Looking out the kitchen window to the hill blocking view of the valley below, I recognize the need to top the hill if I want to know the valley layout. God is atop the hill of the deep, sunless valleys of life. Stick close to the Good Shepherd, and he will reveal the paths of life and point the way through the valley.
My understanding and belief is that God is One God, but He manifests Himself to us in three distinct entities. It is a truth that can be difficult, at best, to describe, and near to impossible to comprehend. In fact, without the aid of God’s Spirit, this truth is so beyond our finite mind’s ability to comprehend, that I believe this to be the greatest cause to doubt the existence of God found in humankind. Thinking on this, as I study on the Third Entity of the Triune One, something said brought to mind identical triplets.
Identical triplets form from one egg that splits itself into three entities. These three look so much alike that it can be near impossible to tell them apart. They think alike and have similar interests because they are one, but they also have clear distinctions, recognized by those who know them best, distinct characteristics that mark each as their own being.
This is what I understand of God. God says He is One; yet he expresses Himself to us in three different entities, identical beings that possess distinct attributes that define their roles in their triune function as one being.
- God the Father is the God Head of the Triune. He houses all knowledge, understanding, and eternal insight, along with all holiness that cannot even look on evil. This headship is expressed in scripture by Jesus’ proclamation that only the Father knows the time of The returning Christ (Matthew 24:33, 36-39 ).
- God the Son is the physical manifestation of the God Head. He is the Spoken Word of creation, the Angel of the Lord of Old Testament, Jesus the Christ who brings the massage of God and reveals God’s who to us in the New Testament. When He comes, He can be touched, heard, seen, and He can touch us. Jesus is the head of His body, the true and living church.
- God the Spirit is the Holy Presence and manifest Power of the God Head. He dwells in us to bear His image through us, equipping and empowering us, making us one with the Triune and enabling our unity with one another. He is the power of God at work in and around us.
When I first received Jesus, my focus in growth was totally on Him. Still today I see many, longtime Christians whose focus is Jesus. But after some time, the Spirit began showing me that Jesus came to make the Father known; that it is the Father we are to pray to in the name and authority of Jesus, as a representative of the interests, priorities, and purposes of Christ. And that we are to seek to know the Father. So I asked Jesus to reveal the Father to me, and began a glorious journey of ever growing relationship with Abba. The difference between Father and Son entities of the Triune One grow ever clearer, helping me better relate with each and the Whole.
Through the years I have also looked closely at the power and work of God, the Holy Spirit, but lately I have been drawn to realize Him as an individual part of the triune that desires to be known and acknowledged. He makes us one with the Father and Son in thought, desire, purpose, and action, and the Father jealously desires association with His Spirit actively working in us. So I have been digging anew, asking Father through Christ to make me know His Spirit with greater intimacy.
The Spirit of God is the Fruit Bearer. He is the seed of Christ that works in us to empower and enliven the image God created to be ours, but that sin killed and Satan stole from us. That image comes forth as fruit of the Spirit produced in all of us. It proves our relationship with Father bought for us by the Son and made alive anew in us as we cooperate with the Spirit. Each possess all these fruits to the degree that we surrender to God’s Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These make up our who by the power of God’s Spirit enlivened in us. These are ours to the degree that these make us who we are.
Another thing found in my study of God’s Spirit that I have known a long while in part, but that strikes me today of greater importance to understand, has me pausing to grasp this fact more fully. The Spirit of God “gifts” us for ministry and for victory in Christ. The gifts of the Spirit are different from the fruit. The fruit is our who, the gifts are our do. The truth I need to realize more deeply and with greater trust is that The Spirit faithfully gifts us for each encounter or situation with gifts like prophecy, service, teaching; exhortation; giving, and mercy, to name a few. There are gifts we work out of most frequently, but the Spirit also recognizes the need of the moment and fully equips us for that need. We do not have to worry about what to say or do in any given moment when we trust God’s equipping through the power of His Spirit in us.
Therein lies my focus and the prayer of my heart. Father God knows what my day holds and the people I will encounter. He knows each need and the way He desires to express Himself to me and others. Holy Spirit knows the Father’s heart toward me and those around me, and He moves in me to make me ready, adequately equipped and gifted for every good work, as best expresses God’s image and power into each situation and every encounter. The work of God’s Spirit is here to help me yes; but more importantly, He is here to equip me to express the Father into the lives of others for their encouragement, so they may be built up in their faith and service. I pray for that gifting and for surrender to the work of God’s Spirit through me for the glory of the Triune.
How are you doing on this journey of growing relationship with God in the form of His identical-triplet representation: Father, Son, and Holy Presence? May we each be found faithfully growing strong relationships with our One God’s Three Expressions of His One Person. And may we each surrender self to His manifest glory made known in us. He is faithfully making us as He is and desires us to be.
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
1 John 2:15-17 NASB
The world or worldly. This passage defines “all that is in the world” as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Considering this malady today, my thoughts settle on the eyes.
I know that lust resides in my dead flesh. The flesh wants what it wants. When revived from the death of sin bought for me by Jesus, that flesh with its passions and desires rises to draw me away from God and His desires for me. That enlivening begins in the eyes.
When my eyes fall to something flesh desires, the lust of the eyes excites the flesh. Then that flesh woman in me raises up from the dead to spark life back into the boastful pride of life in me as it did in Eve.
The lie of Satan is seed that is passed from parent to child. When lust of eye tweaks lust of flesh to resurrect itself, that seed of Satan starts talking in my own voice. “Surely one taste won’t hurt. I am strong and can just have one. God won’t mind as long as I reassert my self control. I can do it.”
I’ve fallen to this trap of fleshly lust over and over, especially in my way of eating. One reason for that is my knowing that no food is evil in itself. It’s my lust of flesh that is evil, and it knows how to trap me into making food an idol that too readily enslaves me. The lie is thinking “I” can be strong enough for anything. The trap is pride that ignores the first step into it: the focus of my eyes on an idol that too easily enslaves me.
Today, as I consider these things, I realize that the first step toward victory over the lust of my flesh is to look away from that which caught my eye’s attention. This may be the physical sighting of a delectable morsel, or it may simply be my mind’s eye allowing it’s focus to shift off course. Look away and turn gaze back on God.
Step two: do battle with pride. Take every prideful thought captive and make it bow to the name of Jesus as Lord and the Spirit of God as ally to our ability to do anything, knowing that “I” is unable to do anything apart from God. Take self thoughts captive to God’s desires for me, His power to overcome given to me. Refocus on relationship with Him and my desire to please Him above all else, keeping Him as the Lord and one true God over me. Set my mind and keep it set on walking in eternal victory. Keep it set on Temple life.
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
James 1:12-15 NLT
The lust of the flesh keeps me in the grave of sinful passions. But God! By His grace, it is no longer “I” who live as flesh, but Christ lives in me through the power of His Spirit. His Spirit gives true life to me as I walk in believing faith and trust in God. By God’s Spirit alone, I have power to overcome the passions and desires of my flesh. Walk in victory with me and let’s be made whole.
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17 NASB1995
It’s easy to look around the world today and think there’s nothing good going on. It seems there is unfathomable turmoil around every corner. Something unthinkable happens, leaving us stunned with nothing good that is readily apparent to our flesh mind and emotions, and we plummet to despair. Yes, I’ve been there many times, and here’s what I’ve learned, and am learning, even as I write.
First, we don’t think or see things like God does. His thoughts are higher, meaning smarter than ours, having greater perspective of the full picture than us, and always possessing eternal purpose. He does not allow anything to hit our lives without there being purpose in it, and His desire is that we know and trust Him with the absolute assurance that He is accomplishing something for someone’s eternal good in fulfilling that purpose.
His ways are higher than our ways. When He allows trauma into our lives, there are many things going on at one time.
* It gives us opportunity to shine as people who know and trust Him, giving those around us visual proof of faith’s aid in walking through troubled waters.
* It gives us opportunity to recognize where we still struggle in our faith walk and fruit bearing so we may grow stronger in those areas. It’s one thing to realize we are human, subject to slip into fleshly impulse. It’s another to let that knowledge become excuse for surrendering to it. Like with Job, in our stubborn resistance to deny our fleshly dictates, God will get as hard on us as our stubbornness requires, because He loves us and desires our best. That best is to grow stronger agreement and cooperation with the dictates of His Spirit
* Trouble tests our heart’s soil in areas of fleshly indulgeance, pride, and arrogance, revealing whether the seeds for growth, maturity and fruit bearing can thrive there.
* And trouble gives us life experience of our God that provides a testimony of His faithfulness and goodness and comfort we can use as His instrument in helping others when trauma hits.
This Father, from whom every good comes, always brings good out of trouble for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. When God allows His child to walk into troubled waters, He always has a purpose in it that becomes a call for us to walk with Him in fulfilling it. We, who are saved by grace through faith, are called according to His purpose and equipped by Him for EVERY good work. Trouble is always a door to us, affording us this opportunity.
God is doing a good work in us, and He WILL do it right up until Jesus comes for us. God will complete His work, will, and purpose in us. Thrashing against trouble is fighting against God, saying, “No. I don’t want it” to His will, way, and purpose.
Our response when trouble hits, flows out of not only our degree of surrender to our fleshly impulse, but out of the degree of our habitually practice of faith to trust God, believe these truths about Him, and enter the rest He supplies us when we successfully practice this faith. Falling to the flesh in a moment of sudden trauma is common to all. The thing that shows our maturity in faith is how quickly we recoup, drawing near to God, submitting to Him, and finding supply to control that fleshly impulse and enter God’s rest.
When we are in the flesh, responding to our emotions, it can be very frustrating to us for people to point us to these truths about God. We know these truths, but we’re not ready to hear it yet. We want to scream and holler, or cry and waller, and we want others to commiserate with us.
The problem with that is, the call of God to His people is to encourage our righteousness, turn us from the dictates of flesh to the Spirit, and help us turn our thoughts toward the higher things of God and His ways. Those of us who believe the quicker we turn to God’s way of thinking, sometimes move too quick with encouragement to come up higher. In our desire for the person’s Power for the journey, we forget that God also tells us to weep with those who weep. And so, our zeal hitting their trauma comes across as preachy or better than thou.
Our intent is to help the traumatized one to come quickly to Colossians 3:1-2 thinking, so they can have right thoughts within them, thoughts that increase one’s coping skills and strengthen us for the days we face. Thoughts that help us recognize the good gifts of God to be found in the rubble of trouble. But we must take care to acknowledge their trauma and the pain they are in. This is an area where I need work.
The fact of the matter for all within the sphere of our turmoil, both us who hurt, and those trying to encourage, is that God’s desire and purpose is to build a new relationship with us – a deeper, more vital and effective relationship with us. As the perfect Father, God wants only the best for His child, and our approach to trouble, whether in facing our own or in encouraging those we reach to help, always presents us opportunity to grow and come up higher into that love and security. May we surrender to Him, enter His rest, and enjoy the good gift of His faithfulness.
“IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2 AMPC
Reading through Ezekiel, I’ve noted over and over where God pronounces that those He is addressing will know that He is Lord because of His hand toward them. Most of the book pronounces judgment against Israel and Judah for sin, sending other nations to enact His judgment. At the end of their sentence, God begins pronouncing judgment against the offending nations and restoration for Israel and Judah. At the conclusion of each proclamation, He announces, “They will know I am Lord.”
Conclusion: I would much rather know His Lordship by the good He does toward me, than by His discipline for sin. That said, live each day as if He is Lord, for He is! Reap the reward of righteousness, rather than the consequences of sin.
Father, in Ezekiel 36 You proclaim Israel’s restoration as Your faithful people, practicing faithfulness to You by Your power at work in them, doing so for Your name’s sake. I pray, Lord, empower faithfulness in us so Your Name is honored in our lives. We desire to know You are Lord by living like it. Make it so, O God, to the glory of Your Name. Amen.
“THEREFORE, SINCE these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the [reverential] fear of God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 7:1 AMPC
Led to this verse of the day, the question I must answer for complete understanding is “What are the promises Paul references that I must remember if I am to fully consecrate myself to Christ, thus perfecting holiness in me?” The answer in this case is found in chapter 6, verses 17-18.
“So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; THEN I WILL receive you kindly and treat you with favor, AND I WILL be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 AMPC
God receives kindly and treats with the favor of a Father to sons and daughters those who separate themselves from the ungodly, the evil, the unrepentant. We consecrate ourselves, working in agreement with the Spirit’s perfecting work of holiness in us, when we desire to please our Father by acting like sons and daughters should, desiring to rightly represent Him and His interests.
When we separate ourselves from worldly pursuits and those who chase after evil (evil being all that rebels against God and His will and way), we prove ourselves as God’s children. The Spirit of God then has full sway to accomplish His purpose in the heart, mind, and life of one fully surrendered to pleasing God above all, just as a small child loves and lives to please their Father. That is the life seen in those who are perfected in holiness.
“Just as He says in Hosea, Those who were not My people I will call My people, and her who was not beloved [I will call] My beloved. [Hos. 2:23.] And it shall be that in the very place where it was said to them, You are not My people, they shall be called sons of the living God. [Hos. 1:10.]” ~ Romans 9:25-26 AMPC
“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMPC
Most of us have times of struggle to be in the Word of God, to even read it comprehensively, much less to have any depth of personal study in it. Why is that?
Scripture tells us that the Word of God is profitable to us. God’s word is the seed of God’s Kingdom, sent to establish us as His people (Luke 8:4-15). God’s Word is a mirror, helping us to look more like our Father (2 Corinthians 3:18, AMPC). God’s word is a sword, useful for defeating enemy assaults, and faithfully used by God in separating old man mentality and fleshly desire from the eternal purpose of making us the new creation we are in Christ (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12-13). And, as Paul tells us in 2 Timothy, God’s Word has purpose for us, instructing in the ways and will of God, convicting of sin, correcting error, disciplining us in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living; in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).
All of this has the purpose of making us complete and proficient, being adequately equipped for the good work that God planned for us to accomplish. So, yes, our flesh, the world’s demands, and demonic influence (all being the false wisdoms of this life) is going to fight against our time in God’s Word. God’s enemy, Satan, does not want this profit produced in us. He does not want to admit his defeat.
Scripture is vital food for fruitful lives God can use. Think for a minute, asking the Father for inspired insight. What most often hinders you having time every day in God’s Word? Is there something you can do to thwart that enemy assault on your God given treasure?
Even a few minutes to grasp a portion of scripture to carry with you throughout your day, meditating on it, digesting every morsel of nourishment from it, will be life changing: increasing profit for the need of your life. Refuse to let the enemies of godly wisdom to steal one more seed of profit from you (James 3:13-18).
We Are the Children of God: Recipients of The Father’s Discipline
“… The Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. …” (Hebrews 12:5-15 AMPC)
Beloved, as people who are rebirthed into Christ, we are the blood born children of Holy God. He loves us completely and unconditionally. One proof of God being our Father who loves us is His discipline working righteousness in us.
Discipline gets a bad rap in our day. The ways of discipline are toned down, often calling actions common to discipline abusive. Spanking is taboo, yet God’s Word says that if we spare the rod (some define as a small switch for stinging the legs), we HATE our son (child). (Proverbs 13:24 NKJV)
The main reason that I believe “discipline” gets a bad rap is that many define discipline as harsh, linking it only with spankings, grounding, or other punishments given for wrong doings. But God’s discipline, though it does respond to wrong doing and may respond harshly, is always done out of love, and is much more than reactive.
The defining parameters of discipline is training in righteousness, that we may be holy as He is holy. The number one verse I run to when describing discipline, which speaks of the purpose and work of scripture, is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. This oft quoted verse uses words like teaching, reproof, correction, training, instruction, conviction. The goals of such discipline are to increase righteousness, to make adequate and fully equipped for good work; to train in discerning good and evil. So we don’t just get onto a child for doing wrong. We train them to understand why it is wrong and teach better ways and reasoning so they find value in righteousness. That is God’s purpose in all He allows to touch our lives.
God does not tempt us to evil, but as He trains us to know the difference between good and evil, He does grant opportunity to recognize and choose between them. The older I get, the more I realize that any choice between good or evil is actually a choice between God and not-God.
Scripture teaches to avoid bad company because desire to fit in with those we call friend, when they constantly lean toward evil, erodes at and corrupts our good morals. The Father practices what He preaches, another vital aspect of discipline, desiring us to follow suit. Our walking with corruption separates us from the Father. If we truly want a close relationship with our Father, we must run with Him and with those close to Him.
Training involves time. We cannot teach a child how to love on a puppy without hurting it and expect them to fully understand in that instant how to love and treat others. It takes time and practice with ever growing subject matter to bring us up in how to love and treat others. And those that learn fastest and easiest are those who have parents who are good role models. Consistency is a must.
Now, I know parents can be abusive, but instead of training parents how to discipline righteously, we are training them to coddle children, making for kids who are selfish, unable to truly care for others, making them targets for evil.
Beloved, as blood born children of God, because He loves us and desires us to be all He knows we can be, having a right estimation of ourselves, God disciplines us. This discipline aimed at helping us become all He knows we can be is the meaning of training a child according to his (or her) “individual bent” (Proverbs 22:6,AMPC). It means recognizing one, the type of discipline that works best in training the child without breaking their spirit. Secondly, it requires the parent to recognize their child’s strengths, weaknesses, gifts, talents, and abilities, helping them grow and develop in line with who they are and can be.
When training a child to overcome their weaknesses, discipline helps them recognize resources that make them strong in weak areas. A child learns to hold on to things that stabilize them while growing strong walking legs. As we teach a child to walk by giving them our fingers to hold while we stabilize them, so we must help them learn to grab God’s hand and rely on His resources. The thing God wants us to learn and to pass on to our kids is this: where we help a child learn to walk, the goal being to eventually let go of us, God wants us to grow to know to never let go of Him. Our true weakness comes when we run in our own strength, forgetting that we still will do best by holding His hand. We are at our best when willingly surrendered to His care.
Beloved, we are the most BLESSed kids around, because our God loves us enough to care what we do and who we become. Because God loves us, He is always ready to forgive failure and, taking us by the hand, He shows us the still more excellent way of love, righteousness, peace, and joy, breeding heavens glory into all we are, say, feel, believe, and do, so we are the best “me” He created us to possess.
“My son, keep your father’s God-given commandment and forsake not the law of God that your mother taught you. Bind them continually upon your heart and tie them about your neck. When you go, the words of your parents’ God shall lead you; when you sleep, they shall keep you; and when you waken, they shall talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp, and the whole teaching of the law is light, and reproofs of discipline are the way of life.” (Proverbs 6:20-23 AMPC)
“… we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. ….” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NASB)
We are The Temple: Outer Court Part 1
Before looking at the thoughts for today, I want to emphasize again that the purpose of this trip through Hebrews is not to delve into what this author is teaching. I thought that is what I was to do when the Spirit inspired this journey. Instead, I find Him highlighting topic matters that we can delve into with the goal of “Finding Who We Are” in Christ.
That said, chapter 9 is discourse regarding temple worship and the priestly sacrifice of Christ. That leads me again to our priestly role and our responsibility as the very Temple of God in our days.
I’ve spent days here trying to make one blog out of the topic of our being the New Covenant Temple and our priestly role therein. However, the topic is vast, my thoughts full. I decided yesterday that it would take several posts to cover properly. Then, this morning The Spirit woke me with discernment that I was starting at the wrong door – the door to the Holy Place; thus, I was missing some important insights on us as The New Temple of God and our priestly role here.
The Temple complex has the outer court where sinner and saint, priest and laymen, could all enter in. This yard is outside the actual Temple, which includes the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, each having only one, covered entrance.
Once a person took care of their business in the outer court, the priest assisting them had to continue the ritual for them, entering the Holy Place on their behalf. Then, as we know, once a year the High Priest, after proper cleansing for his own and all the people’s sins, entered the Holy of Holies on The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
As I woke this morning, I realized there are important aspects in the outer court that are contributions to understanding who we are as The Temple and Priest unto God in Christ. The outer court is in us as part of the Temple of God through Christ, just as in the first Temple.
When people came to the Temple to worship and tend to business with God, they found only one entrance. Jesus is and always has been the way, the truth, and the life. No one enters God’s Presence without going through Him. The first doorway leads into the outer court, where the unclean is cleansed. Each doorway leading us deeper into God’s Presence requires passing through the Christ. Through Christ, often using one of us, The Father draws those in need of grace. That grace is found in the outer court.
A thought that hits here: as a temple of God, people cannot come near to us without passing through Jesus to get there. If God allows a person to come close enough for us to effect one another’s lives, it is God ordained for eternal purpose. Be alert to the opportunity.
Once a person responds to God’s call, they step through the curtain of Jesus to find a priest, one of us, standing at the altar of sacrifice. The instant they step through the curtain, they step onto holy ground as they are entering the very presence of God.
I realize as I write this that this aspect of Temple service is why the image of Christ in us is so vital. We are the face of this doorway. When people enter our presence, they enter the outer court. What they experience in us either rightly or wrongly represents God.
Our Temple posture is to be one of holiness, revealing a quality that leaves the world and reveals God’s Presence. Our priestly role is to be a conduit of God’s love, wooing people to the altar where the covering of Mercy’s grace is found.
Beloved, we are the Temple and the Temple includes the outer court encounters with people of the world. Wherever we are, we are on holy ground. Wherever we are, we are in our priestly robes, called and equipped by God to perform our priestly duties. The first duty is to lead people to the altar of sacrifice, which for us is the cross of Calvary.
When a person entered the temple of Moses’ day, they had sacrifice in hand. They would take it to the altar, which was near the entrance as first order of business with God. The priest was ready and waiting to make sacrifice for them.
In our bodies as His Temple, Beloved, Jesus has already provided their sacrifice and ours. We stand as priest in representing Him and His interests. Jesus in us makes His appeal to draw people who need Him to the altar as they see His Light – His work in and through us. He does so through us as we remember that we are His priests, having our holy feet set on His Holy Ground, living holy lives as the holy people of God.
“The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered WHICH CANNOT MAKE THE WORSHIPER PERFECT IN CONSCIENCE, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, HE ENTERED THE HOLY PLACE ONCE FOR ALL, HAVING OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, CLEANSE YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD?” (Vs. 8-14 Hebrews 9:8-14, 27-28 NASB)
The outer tabernacle was the Temple made with hands that a person had to attend often. It did not fully cleanse, but was a temporary solution until the time of the Christ. When Christ came, His sacrifice entered the eternal Temple, cleansing us for all time. This is the Temple in us, the Temple we are: the eternal temple in the heavens with God. We are cleansed forever in Christ, made holy as He is holy. That holiness sustains us, cleansing conscience from dead works to serve the living GOD.
“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (Vs. 27-28)
Before we leave the altar of sacrifice leading to salvation in Christ, this seems a good time to breakaway and answer two commonly debated questions: Who are saved? And can one’s salvation be lost?
Bear with me for a pause from Hebrews. Sharing with friends about having a bad attitude and trying to head it off, one replied, “I am working on my own attitude. I just read, “Instead of counting to 10, try saying the first 10 words of the Lord’s prayer several times.” Sounds good!”
I thought so too and began immediately! But I was led to add the next 14 words, 24 total.
“Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”
It dawned on me as I said those beloved words, that if we truly grasp what this first part of our Lord’s outline says, we are set for Life!
God’s Kingdom and His will is to Father us. That has always been true. His is not the role of any old dad, though. We can take the descriptions of all the greatest dad’s, add all we can imagine in the makeup of dad-greatness, and we will never come near to understanding and grasping that of our Daddy-God.
Not only is He truly the Father who knows (and does) best, but He is GOD. Our God is higher and greater than we can fathom, the one we can run to day or night. Even running into His throne room unannounced, with no greater desire than to sit on His proverbial lap and be near Him for a bit, we will always find His scepter ready to receive us in mercy and love, as the king did for Esther.
Beloved, I believe this is the greatest truth about our God that there is. His will and desire is and has always been that we recognize and honor Him as our true Father, our One True God, the Good Shepherd we look to and follow. That is Who He is. Think of all that those role-descriptive words imply and know God. When we grasp hold of this truth and choose Him, desiring all He has for us, the remainder of the prayer is unnecessary, for the rest of the outline is fulfilled in Him.
He is Daddy God, our Shepherd, ready, willing, and able to tend our every need to perfection, according to all He knows is best. He is also King, ordering our steps and giving us purpose. We can run with that, having no need to pray the middle, because His will is to take care of us, leading, guiding, and directing our path to His full supply. His desire for us far exceeds all we can fathom, deeper than our greatest thoughts.
When we can trust Him enough to be still and know God, we can skip to the end and worship His glory, honor, and praiseworthy Presence with us, fully satisfied in and by Him. Is this not the picture given us in Holy Writ of Heaven’s splendor?
In Part 3 of this series, we covered Christ’s Priesthood, how His sufferings were purposed by God to grow Him in His ability as a Priest on His way to possessing His place as the eternal High Priest. We spoke of His experience being an example to us who are called to the priesthood in Christ. We, too, earn the right to share our comfort with those in need through the experiences of suffering we possess.
Today, looking at chapter 5 in Hebrews, we begin the journey to uncover it’s instruction on the priestly role we are called to possess, as exemplified by Christ. Breaking it down, we discover:
~ Our inherited appointment (covered today)
~ some of the duties of our priestly role (beginning today and continuing tomorrow)
“The High Priest is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.”
Jesus gave Himself, once for all, as the sacrificial Lamb, never having to offer such sacrifice again. He was called of God to this role, and through Him is our call.
Since there is no longer the need of a sacrifice for sin, our role as priests unto God is now to offer gifts and sacrifices of praise with thanksgiving for the freedom the gift of Jesus provides us.
Jesus “deals gently with us” out of His understanding of the battle in human flesh. As we learn and grow in our priestly role through lessons of suffering, we learn mercy and grace towards others who struggle with sinful flesh.
“No one takes the honor of the Priesthood to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.”
Jesus is blessed with the call of God to His Priestly role “in the order of Melchizedek.” Melchizedek was King of Salem and Priest of The One True God, said to be without beginning and without end. Jesus, too, is from before the beginning of time and without end. He, too, is King and Priest. He, however, exceeds Melchizedek because He is also God Incarnate.
Jesus being High Priest forever, we are called and equipped through our union with Him to that order in the line of the King and Priest of Israel, of the lineage of Judah in Christ Jesus, the Son of David and Son of God. Through our High Priest we have our being as the sons and daughters of God, The Father, being of the Royal court, of the Holy heritage and priestly order.
We will stop here today. Next post will continue from here to look at more in Chapter 5 of Hebrews, where we find more clues of our priestly heritage and responsibilities through Christ.
Do you ever have moments of forgetting who and Whose you are in Christ, and because of that, inadvertently resurrecting the old you? I’m sad to say that I do. The enemies of righteousness, the false wisdoms of flesh, world, and demons, know just how to enliven old nature issues like insecurity, fear, pride, and on and on we could go, ad infinitum.
Jesus walked in victory, partly by refusing to forget Who He was. That strength flowed securely from assurance of WHOSE He was; and by the purpose of His life, set in Order by The One He called Father. Jesus came to set things straight, not only revealing truth and becoming our Kinsman Redeemer, but also to set the example we are called and equipped to emulate.
As Jesus lived, so must we, by knowing who and Whose we are. To do that, we look at Jesus.
Hebrews 1:3, 8-9 NASB gives us an excellent starting place. In searching for truths we must apply, we find in verse 3:
“He is the radiance of His glory”
Jesus ever lived to radiate the glory of God. His goal was to always be an expression of God’s nature. He, the Son, looked like the Father, leaving no doubt that He was God’s Son.
When we see a child that is the spitting image of a parent, we say, “Boy! You can’t deny that one!” Jesus lived a life that proved Him as Son. As children of God in Christ, we are tasked to do the same. We must grow in the knowledge of Him, becoming so much like Him, we cannot be denied as being His.
I think of a friend who, in the midst of a life threatening heart attack, was found so calm that the doctor questioned it. The nurse, in response to the doctors stunned query, said, “I’ve seen this before! You’re a Christian, aren’t you?”
We are to live our faith out so brightly that the curios onlooker sees the resemblance we possess in Christ.
“…and (He is) the exact representation of His nature….”
Watching a young child following a parent around can be enjoyable as we observe the child working so hard at being just like daddy or mommy. The child does so by watching the parent’s actions, listening to the inflections of voice tones, embracing the parent’s likes and dislikes, adopting their desires and passions.
We do the same as we look closely at scripture passages like this; closely observing the pictorial passages that describe God in all His forms and fashions.
We also grow to understand Him as we learn to follow the dictates of His Spirit in us, Who stands as intermediary, tasked with bringing out the image of the Father through us, making us one with Him. Just as Jesus is One with the Father, thus is His desire for us.
“…and upholds all things by the word of His power.”
Jesus walked in unity with the Father, being One with Him, because of His assurance and faith to believe. Having strength of character and resolute purpose because He believed in and possessed the Word of the Father, He walked in strength and power. What God proclaimed true of Him, what He authorized His Son to accomplish, Jesus took to heart and walked in the power of that Word. When He spoke, He expressed what He heard from the Father, knowing it to be a powerful and unstoppable truth.
God our Father has given us His Word. In the power of His Spirit, He gives that Word life, empowering it to be living and active in our day and in our daily lives. It cuts through all barriers to inspire our lives, opening to us the life giving morrow, instructing us so that we, too, may possess the abundance and victory He has for us today.
His word is never out of date because His breath is in it. By the power of God’s Spirit in us, we inhale and exhale the truths and wisdom of God found in His Word. As we fully possess His opinions as our own, speaking as best represents Him and His interests, we walk in His power just as Jesus showed us to do.
As we seek God’s power living in us, giving Him full sway to grow and mature us, we, too, can be an expression of the radiance of His glory, rightly and truly representing His nature, being empowered to make full use of His Word to us, fulfilling His purpose in the strength of His supply, to the glory of our God, Father, and King. In Jesus, Lord, make it so!
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” Philippians 2:14-16 NASB
I don’t know about you, but for me there are few things more testing and trying to my patience than a child who gripes, complains, and argues with every call to duty. I want them to obey willingly and with a right and good attitude that does right and good as unto the Lord. Our passage today tells me that God desires that in our relationship with Him as our Father as well.
There’s a parenting warning tag that goes something like this: Rules without relationship breeds rebellion. I believe that goes both ways. A bad relationship between child and parent makes both rebellious. The child’s rebellion comes out in the ways of disobedience, bad attitude, and more. The parent rebels through impatience – sometimes explosive, crankiness, indifference, and more. A loving relationship is vital for a life that behaves in blameless innocence toward God and man.
Throughout scripture we see relationship with God is mirrored in our relationships with each other. Scripture relates our relationship with God in likeness to a good marriage; the love and care of parent and child; sovereign with servant; and His being the best friend we can ever know. Relationship is important to our God and He wants us to do that well at every level, especially with Him.
For a healthy relationship with God, we are called of God to obey with a willing spirit. Submitting ourselves to God as a living and holy sacrifice that is acceptable to Him as our “spiritual service of worship”, as inspired by Romans 12:1. Our willing obedience, according to Christ, is equivalent to actions of an abiding love relationship with God in Christ (John 15:9-10). Willing service is done out of love for Him who loves us; a love that desires to remain with Him forever, a love that honors Him through blameless innocence toward Him, proving our loving relationship with Him.
So, Beloved, as a child of God that desires a good relationship with Him we must do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that we will prove ourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God.
“… “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. IN THAT DAY YOU WILL KNOW that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. ….” (John 14:16-31 NASB)
One reason for the resurrection of Jesus and His 40 days of visitations was to assure the disciples that He was still with them and in them through the power and provision of His Spirit. Still today, we are each, individually one with Father and Son by the power of the indwelling Spirit of Triune God. And in our fully living that out, we are one with each other, the prayer of the Christ fulfilled (John 17). We have the mind of Christ and the heart of the Father within us because of this miraculous union.
I have long believed this truth, yet never as I do now. Father has spent the last few years calling me to deeper, more intimate understanding of this reality: that “I”, ““I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer “I”, I who live, but Christ lives in me (also); and the life which “I”, I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved “ME” and gave Himself up for “ME”.” (Galatians 2:20 NASB)
The hour Jesus cried out for the cup of His suffering to be removed, I believe one thing heaviest on His heart was the understanding that, in the instant all our sin was piled on His Shoulders, He would, for the first time ever, know life without the Father’s Presence. He took all our sin with the destitute abandonment of a God who cannot abide evil, so we, NOW, can enter into our eternal unity in the Spirit.
No temptation can overtake the one who abides in The Triune, Who abides in us. Holding our Abode as of most vital importance and greatest treasure is our way of escape from sins grip. Though we may slip or stumble and need our feet washed, we will not go down for the count and fall away from victory in Christ.
So enter into the Beloved, sweet friend, then go forth and conquer with every breath of your days in Christ. Nothing can steal that joy from us, the joy of unity with the Eternal, when we live and breathe it in our now-day.
Old Church Choir
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a DOUBLE-MINDED man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8 NASB
One with thoughts being tossed by the wind, causing one to struggle with doubt and fear, is said to be “double minded”. This struggle of faith to follow the wisdom God sends for our need comes when our fleshly mind argues against the very mind of Christ indwelling us.
“For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 NASB
The mind of flesh is haughty, daring even to argue with God. The mind of Christ receives and surrenders to the higher thoughts of the wisdom of The Father-head. The mind of Christ ALWAYS cries out, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Like 21:42
The mind of Christ in us empowers our surrendered living. Bow down, Beloved.
“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not drive it out?’ And He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you’” ~ Matthew 17:19-20.
Last post we discovered that the “littleness” of faith Jesus warned of was not a lack of enough faith, as Jesus says that it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains. The “littleness” Jesus speaks of in this analogy is faith that is immature, being unable to sprout forth and grow. It does not matter how much faith we have if that faith is immature: incapable of growth producing the fruit of the Seed. Faith, inadequately mature for growth, is useless, even though we possess enough of it to pile it up to mountainous heights. However, the smallest amount of faith, made ready to grow, is powerful, to the removing of mountains. That is the teaching of Christ I see.
No doubt, we each have many seeds of faith within us, each in various stages of maturation, some already grown into large, mature trees. Trees sprout forth in fruitful glory when, having experienced God enough in some areas of life, we no longer question His ability and willingness. Instead, we readily and easily trust Him in areas kin to our experience. In those areas, we bear much fruit to the glory of God, for we know from whom our help comes.
Facing new needs requiring faith, finding just that tiny seed available for the new situation standing before us, our past-experience of God helps prepare the new seeds of faith, making them ready to germinate at the unction of God’s Spirit. Just a little time with God’s Presence, receiving instruction regarding the path ahead of us, assuring our hearts of His faithfulness, and roots spring forth to produce a harvest. In the process, mountainous issues fall away into nothingness as we grow to know how great God is.
The problem the disciples had hindering their faith was that Jesus, the one who instructed them in the heart of God and His purpose, was unavailable for consultation. The Presence of God they knew was nowhere to be found in that moment of need.
Last post, covering this understanding that the seed Jesus sights as having “littleness” is immature, we ended with the thought that we must realize the mountain God has set His sights on removing. Knowing the mountain set by God for removal with hope set on Him who powers it is vital to victory.
Beloved, we will never, this side of eternity, have sufficient understanding of God and His ways so as to never have need to plant new seeds of faith. There is always new growth and fruitfulness to possess in our knowledge and understanding of God. The thing I am learning is that the mountain we think we see in front of us is most often potting soil, set in our path by God as the soil required for our faith-seed to grow.
We see the difficulty standing in the middle of our road; the hardship that we cannot get past. That thing standing in front of us, causing such frustration and doubt as it refuses to move, becomes enormous in our eyes as we fight the challenge we deem an obstacle. Wanting not to have the difficulty that challenge presents us, we decide it must be a mountain to cast off. Failing to recognize the soil made ready for seeds of faith’s growth, discontented in the place God plants us, we find ourselves fighting against God, thinking we are working with Him to move the mountain in our eye’s sight.
The truth I find is that the bigger mountain God is always after is those things in us that hinder our knowledge of Him and His ways, destroying our trust to believe Him and take Him at His Word. Let us look at our disciples again to glean from that example and see that, though they failed to heal the boy, a mountain did come down.
Before their mission trip, Jesus gave the disciples an assignment (Mark 6:7-14). They listened to the Creator of all things, The Living Word sent from the Father. He prepped the seeds of faith they would plant for fruit bearing as they faced each challenge set before them. That seed fertilized by God through Jesus’ words, commanded what they were going on mission to do, giving them authority to do it. The mountain was not the challenges lying ahead of them, but the things within that would stop up the growth of their faith to believe the command of Christ who gave them their authority. Believing Jesus, they overcame the challenges as they went forth in victory to fulfill Jesus’ Word to them. Their seed, impregnated by His instruction, grew to a fruit-bearing tree as they came to each challenge to their faith. They learned that they too could follow the instruction of God in the power of His supply and accomplish the great things of God’s choosing by trusting Jesus.
Now back home, the disciples faced a similar situation as that successfully met on their mission journey. Unable to perform the work they easily faced before, what happened to their faith? Why were they unable to heal this one brought before them now? I believe God was working on a new seed of faith they needed to germinate in preparing for the ministry ahead of them, but they had their eye on the wrong mountain. They saw the potting soil set before them in this one needing healing, and failed to see the mountain found in the lack of their knowledge of God that made for their littleness of faith. The healing of the boy was God’s will. Healing Him was within God power to accomplish. The demonized boy was soil prepared by God for a growth encounter that would remove a mountain of doubt standing in the way of the effective ministry He had for these disciples to possess.
Jesus, the one they communicated with to know the Father’s heart, was off doing something else. He was not there, readily available to instruct and prep the soil of their hearts by speaking to them the truth of God’s authority given to prepare their seed of faith to see the boy healed. They apparently did not realize fully that they could speak with and know the Father’s will for themselves, receiving His instruction and authority with power. Prayerlessly skipping the communication phase of their journey, doing what they had done before without clear direction for the “now” situation, they tackled the challenge with immature faith that could not sprout. Chopping at what they saw as a mountain to defeat, they failed to plant the seed of faith there and watch for what God would do. They tried to heal the boy with no root of authority and power established for that particular work. Good as the work they wanted to do was, they were working off depleted resources, using seeds of faith that Jesus called “littleness”.
In this account of the disciples little faith, I see that the disciples needed to grow to know that when Jesus was gone, the Father was with them to help them. They lacked faith to understand that the Father hears and responds to them personally. All they needed was to call to Him and seek His face with earnest expectation and hope of receiving His response. That is the mountain I believe God was after, their lack of reliance on Him as Father, and understanding to know that He was with them even when Jesus was gone. The next verses in the Mark account of this faith encounter, shows Jesus, beginning to prepare them for His soon departure. Jesus being about to leave the earth, we can see that it was vital they grow to know and seek the Father for themselves.
What mountainous challenge are you facing, Beloved? Are your sights truly set on the one to be cast away, or is that challenge in your sight truly God’s field of fertile soil made ready for your seeds of faith to germinate as you discover and overcome the true mountain God is after? If a situation stands, immovable, perhaps it is time to ask God to reveal the true mountain He is working cast away as He uses the experience to mature seeds of faith in you. Seek the Father with faith that knows He is faithful to respond in due season. He will show you what you need to know on the journey to cast out every mountainous obstacle to your mature and effective faith.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. …” ~ Psalm 23, NASB.
When life gets hard and my body wants to hide under a rock, denying all that is coming at me, The Lord comes to me as a Shepherd, reminding me of His sure presence and instructing my heart anew that I can follow Him, step by step and breath by breath, through each day. Jehovah-Raah, The Lord my Shepherd, calls me to follow Him so I do not fall away in the storm and lose my way in life, trying to do for myself what only He can do. The Amplified version of Psalm 23 further increases hope for the help of my God in difficult days.
“THE LORD is my Shepherd to feed, guide, and shield me, I shall not lack”
When the waters get rough, the first thing I too easily strive for is to try to fix things. I run around like the proverbial headless chicken, wearing myself to a frazzle, trying to do what is only God’s to handle. Too often I do this without first seeking Him and His ways.
The best thing for me to remember in any situation is my need to follow my Shepherd, trusting His provision for all the need I see before me. This trust calls me quickly to seek Him and His righteousness first before taking any action. Often He uses the Shepherd’s Crook of His Spirit, urging me forward or pulling back to right paths. Through His Word and the Spirit’s lead, He lets us know when there is something to do. Following God’s Spirit, I learn the benefit found as I walk where He walks, feast on His supply, and find my rest under His Fatherly wings. Doing so…
“He makes me lie down in fresh, tender, green pastures”
In “fix-it” mode, I too easily miss the good God has for me in life. “Fresh, tender, green pastures” speak two things to me:
† This is a place where I can find food and God’s resource meant to nourish, grow, and change me to be all He intended when He planned me.
† This is a place of opportunity where, with reliance upon God, He can use me in right ways that accomplish His purpose.
I don’t have to be the “fixer”. I can trust God to take care of all I entrust to Him.
God often takes us through seasons that are too hard for us to face without Him. He uses these things to make us “lie down”, a position of complete surrender to His will, trusting Him, placing all reliance upon Him. When we lie down in His pastures, we find ourselves in a place that requires our full trust in His protection, provision, and direction.
In the pastures of our Good Shepherd, Jehovah-Raah, we learn to know God. God is in the business of creating for Himself a people after His own heart, readied for His Kingdom. Life’s storms are part of that work of God, revealing areas of needed change, growing our faith, changing our hearts and our nature to the image of God. Here God, feeds, guides, and shields us so that we have no lack of any true need in life. He is our only true need, and He gives Himself to us as we walk in the pastures in which He places us, trusting Him to be the Good Shepherd over all we find there. The things He allows us to experience on the paths of His pastures causes us to lie down in surrendered trust of Him, believing with faith in His supply for our ability to discover and accomplish His purpose for life.
“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” ~ John 1:5.
In this passage, Apostle John gives Jesus the descriptive name of “The Light”. One responsibility Jesus had in His time on earth as a man was to correct misconceptions people had regarding God and the truth of His will and way. Reading this passage in The Message Bible the other day, Eugene H. Peterson’s interpretation grabbed me with renewed fervor and comprehension.
“What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out. …The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light. ‘…my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize Him (The Life-Light) as the God-Revealer’” (says John the Baptist) ~ John 1:4-5, 9, 31, MSG.
Here, John the Apostle describes Jesus as the Life-Light, the one who makes true life in God known. He quotes John the Baptist as proclaiming Jesus as the God-Revealer. This is the work of The Light. Jesus made God known and brought His reality into view for all to see.
Beloved, Jesus calls on us as His ambassadors, to do the same. In John 8:12, Jesus proclaims, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus passes the responsibility on to us who follow Him out of the darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9): “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
We, the called of God, are to be The Light, shining out to dispel the darkness of this world by being His representatives, equipped as God-Revealers in the likeness and fervor of Christ. Later in the reading of this John Passage in The Message bible, John the Baptist pointed out Jesus to some of his followers. Two of them followed Jesus. Getting His attention, Jesus invited them to see where he was living.
“They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day” ~ John 1:39, MSG.
As people seeking to live in Holy Habitation with God, it is vital that we develop a relationship with Jesus, The Light, who reveals the truth of God to us in our daily situations. Only then can we be Light that rightly represents Him. When we stay with Him throughout our day, in close union with Him, He shines through to reveal Himself in us.
Jesus calls us to be His Light in the world. Light must have a power source. Plug into Him every day and stay plugged in so His Light may continue to shine. Do not hide the Light or fear its brightness dispelling the dark and exposing things hidden in blackened corners. Shine bright in this day and glorify the Father in the name of the Son.
“… So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. … Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner. …” ~ Exodus 17:8-16.
Over every nation I know of flies a flag representing that country. That flag flies over capitals and government buildings. Displayed during special events or during governmental addresses, it inspires national unity. It goes with that nation into battle: whether in war or in sporting competitions. Everyone, from governing officials to the people of the land, desiring to show their allegiance, displays the flag of their nation. Often the displaying of it speaks hope of all the good that nation desires coming to completion.
The same is true for the Kingdom of God and in Exodus 17 we see that the Lord is that banner. Here in this account where Moses reveals a new name to memorialize God and the victory He brought to Israel, Moses uses the words “Jehovah-Nissi”: the Lord our Banner. When we lift God High for all to see His sovereignty in our lives, we align ourselves with His Kingdom and purpose and see His hand move, leading us to experience His victory. In Holy Habitation with God, we acknowledge His right to reign over us and we align ourselves with His desires, goals, and purposes, to accomplish His plans that build for Him a Nation of glory. Under the Banner of God’s Kingdom, we find inspiration to represent His interests as ambassadors of Christ. Inspired when looking upon our Banner, we find strength to trust His supply.
We lift Him up as our banner when we bring every thought to obedience in Christ, take every step at His command, breathe the breath of His presence and glory into our daily lives and encounters, acknowledging our need of Him first and foremost with assurance of His supply for every need and good deed. Through Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord who says to us, “I AM your Banner”, we walk continually in Holy Habitation with God, bringing a glory to His name that He uses to inspire others to come in under our Banner with us.
“Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you…’” ~ Exodus 33:18-20, NASB.
Happy New Year, beloved. I pray your Christmas was indeed blessed and that you are ready to press forward with God for another year of partnership with Him in the work of Life. As we begin our journey anew to develop a life in Holy Habitation with God, let us begin today with the glory of God seen in His proclaiming His name before us.
Beloved, to understand the importance of this aspect of God’s glory revealed to us, we must understand how vital the name of God is to us and how His name over, in, and through us empowers our lives. Before peeking at the proclamation of God’s names as seen in scripture, let us understand the purpose and power found there.
To begin, realize, beloved, that Jesus never taught us to pray to Him, but to the Father in Jesus’ name. “Our Father who art in heaven…” is the model Jesus gave us to follow in praying to God. And He instructs in John that we are to ask in His name: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:23-24; See also Matthew 6:9; John 14:10-14, 26; 15:16).
Here is the thing about our prayer life and holy habitation with God in Christ Jesus, beloved: all that we do, all that we pray, all that we say, and every thought we think is to be in Jesus name, as rightly and truly represents Him and His interests. There is power in the name of Jesus as we realize our call to be His ambassador’s, representing His interests and kingdom purpose in our lives, thoughts, prayers, and ministries. God grants power to those sent forth in the name of the King to do kingdom business. This is what we are, ambassadors with the authority of the King behind us.
Jesus is our example who tells us that He came and lived in the name of the Father, representing Him in the world: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10).
He calls us to this same unity of life and purpose:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me” ~ (John 16:18-21, 23-24).
Jesus came to teach us of the Father. He did so by being a representation of God’s nature, purpose, work, and interests, in the power of oneness with the Father. He, as our example, calls us to do the same in representing Him and His interests, thus proclaiming His name in the world. Living, breathing, speaking, and moving in the name of Jesus is the power of God toward us, doing His work in the earth through us.
“…But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’ …” ~ Exodus 33:18-23, NASB.
Moses came as close as any mere human can come to seeing the face of God, yet his view was dim. God did not let him see His full essence with clarity for the protection of his human life.
In scripture, we see that the glory of the angel is enough to make a man faint. How much greater glory the full essence of God: it is beyond our ability to look upon it without our falling over dead from the effects the greatness of His essence has on weak human flesh.
Consider a time when some excitement flooded your body with the hormones that rush forth, overcoming your ability to function as it drained your face of life’s force. That understanding is but a shadow of the effect the full impact of God’s glory, purity, and righteous illumination has on human frailty. So, God tells Moses, “You cannot see my full expression. The effect on you would kill your flesh.”
Now think about that, beloved. We love life and don’t want to die. God loves us and has a purpose for us to fulfill in this life. He knows that the weakness of our flesh cannot see Him in all His glory and live. Therefore, He holds His glory back to protect our life and keep us safe until the fulfillment of His purpose for our living is completed.
On the flip side, the vision of the glory of God kills our flesh. Physically, we want to live and fulfill God’s purpose, but we can only do that from a thriving Spirit-life. Spiritually, we want our flesh-man dead, so our Spirit-man may thrive. Recognizing the glory of God, longing for more and more realization of His glory with us and in us, is the weapon of God against our flesh rising up from the ashes to disturb our journey as partners in the glory of God.
“Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God]” ~ Proverbs 29:18, AMP.
Revelation of God, understanding of who He is, His essence, reality, will, way, and glory, is the key to restraining fleshly impulse. Though we cannot see His fullness without the destruction of our physical being, we must grow to realize the glory God does reveal to us. Only then can we overcome our fleshly desires in order to walk in the ways of God, in the power He supplies through His Spirit at work in us who are an expression of His essence to the world.
“Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’ …’” ~ Exodus 33:18-20, NASB.
God’s goodness toward us, His giving to us a personal and intimate knowledge of Him, and His grace that meets our need: all are aspects of God’s glory-revelation. Last on this list of visual representations of God’s glory is His compassion toward us.
“…and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion. …”
Compassion ~ Deep awareness of the suffering of another accompanied by the wish to relieve it. God does not like to see our suffering, and so, He is compassionate toward us.
Trouble is part of living in this world that is most often in stark contrast to God and His ways. As long as we live this earthly existence, trouble will touch our lives; and more so as the day of Christ draws near.
Evil increasing and people’s hearts growing cold toward any aspect of God’s reality is what ushers in the coming Christ. As people wax cold toward God, closing their hearts to Him, Christ will come to remove those who are His from this mess, and apocalypse will have its way. Until then, trouble will increase, touching us more frequently and with greater devastation as this world decays and the day of Christ’s return for us draws near. That said, how is God’s compassion revealed?
“It is of the Lord’s mercies (lovingkindnesses) that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV (NASB).
The Lord’s compassions toward us keep us from being consumed by the trouble found in this world. Instead, He uses such to strengthen our faith to trust Him more; leading us to greater depths of repentance and surrender to more of Him, strengthening our resolve as He grows our likeness to Him. God’s compassion produces heart-peace in us when life’s storms hit, that peace that passes understanding, amazing the heart of the recipient. Father’s compassions equip us with wisdom to weather every wave and stand firm in the harshest winds.
We are in this life with a purpose set by God: to partner with Him in making His glory known. Therefore, God does not always remove trouble from us, but His compassion helps us to stand so that we fulfill His purpose in allowing the trouble to touch us. Light shines brightest when contrasting the dark.
No matter how bad the waves of trouble may rise above us, we can trust God’s faithful compassions to protect us from the destruction difficulties seek to bring to us. This world of trouble will not consume us as long as we rest securely in His grace that works His good for us out of every wave on the tossing sea of this life.
Whatever storm you are in, beloved, watch for God’s provision: not putting Him in a box of what you think He is doing and should do, but trusting His will, His way. His lovingkindness is with you to provide for your every need out of His compassionate mercies that fail not. He amazes the heart and mind of those who sincerely wait upon and watch for Him in earnest expectation and hope of the glory He will reveal.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name’” ~ Exodus 33:17, NASB.
Walking in God’s favor empowers our lives and makes us fruitful as His people. It is a sign of intimacy with God, being a people after God’s own heart. Along with that is the increased intimacy of friendship with God as ones knowing each other well, privileged to call each other by name.
Known by name:
I know many people when I see them, but those I know best, I know by name; and those I am most intimate with, I know by their chosen or preferred name. This passage leads me to the understanding that it is the same with God.
Some have a shallow acquaintance with Him, while others draw near on a first name basis. People who possess a depth of knowledge as His chosen people that goes beyond mere acquaintance come into a friendship with God that is real and alive.
When God speaks to my heart, 99 times out of a hundred He begins by getting my attention as He calls out, “Darlene”. That sign of intimacy goes the other direction as the child of God learns the names of God, calling on Him with intimate knowledge of who He is (something we will look at closely in days to come).
Deeper intimacy still is found in a relationship that has God naming us according to His desire for us (Revelation 2:17). We see this in instances of people’s relationship with God in Scripture:
Abram (exalted father ~ Genesis 11:27, NASB footnote) becomes Abraham (father of many ~ Genesis 17:5, NASB footnote). Abram’s name change takes him from being the start of a nation to the promise of being the father of more than can be numbered.
Jacob (heel catcher, trickster, supplanter) becomes Israel (he fights or persists with God in prevailing prayer). Jacob no longer relied on himself and trickery to get what was his. He learned to rely on God and receive from His hand.
Simon (he has heard) becomes Peter (rock – one who stands on what he knows and speaks what he believes).
And in my time, Darlene (Beloved) becomes Abigail (Rejoicing – One whose heart rejoices in God. One in whom the heart of God rejoices.) God gave me this name long ago during a time of drawing near to Him and it became my mantra, my life goal, to live so-as-to bring Him rejoicing as I rejoice in Him. For someone who has suffered much rejection and the fear of rejection, this name inspires hope and helps me to know that God does not reject me, but has chosen me, and He finds joy in my presence with Him.
Knowing God inspires faithfulness that wins favor. Him knowing us produces an intimacy that is deep and abiding, as face to face as we can possess in this life, based on a love that never fails.
“…the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend…” ~ Exodus 33:7-11.
Moses relationship with God began as a curiosity. God reached out to Moses’ physical senses through a burning bush, unsinged, drawing him in for a look. There God offered Moses the opportunity of a lifetime: the experience of being God’s instrument in the earth to bring freedom to millions. Thus, scripture depicts Moses as a picture of Christ. (Exodus 3; 1 Corinthians 10:2)
At first, Moses was afraid when God spoke through that bush, so God drew him in closer: “take off your sandals.” Reverent obedience seen in removing the shoes draws us intimately close to God as Lord, where the touch of His holiness enlivens our spiritual senses. That instruction for entering the holy presence of God gave Moses the comfort of feeling welcome and wanted, adjusting his fear to that of reverence. His drawing in close to visit in earnest with God about His plans for Moses and Moses qualms that hindered started him on a road to a relationship with God that grew strong.
Day by day from there, drawing him ever closer, God formed a bond with Moses that led to a trusted friendship.
Relationship with God is vital to our seeking after Him in ways that bring His reality to life for us. The people of Israel had an ungodly fear of God that led them to push Him away when He sought to draw them in, so their relationship with God was standoffish (Exodus 20:18-21). That fear brought harm to their ability to come into personal relationship with Father. Fear, disbelief, busyness, anger, lack of trust: there are so many bad emotional states that rob us of relationship with God.
We must shake that off and come into His holy presence.
Moses pushed past his issues to enter into relationship with God. Exodus 33:11 tells us that Joshua, wanting that relationship for himself, stayed in the tent of meeting with God, seeking Him on his own – he was unafraid to draw near and hear, and as such, was chosen successor to Moses. We, too, must lay every encumbrance aside and draw near.
“… Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. …” ~ James 4:7-10.
“You in Your lovingkindness and goodness have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them with care to Your holy habitation” ~ Exodus 15:13, AMP.
I have, for years, had in my heart to do a series of devotional thoughts that lead the reader to their seat at the feet of Jesus, our Lord, and of the Father God. It amazes me the number of Christians who do not realize personally the nearness of God. I am not talking about a “feel good shiver”. I am talking about assurance of heart that has no doubt of His nearness.
People who fail to know God’s nearness too easily fail to recognize His voice: His way of communicating to them in personal and applicable, heart knowledge. That inability to recognize God speaking His instruction for life in our personal situations leads to our stumbling about in darkness, struggling to find our way to the other side of chaos.
I cannot fathom life without this knowledge of God, so real, near, and dear to me; and yet many go through life never achieving this deep and fulfilling relationship with the Father of all eternity. How very difficult our life is when recognition of His sure presence with us eludes us.
Recently Father reminded me of this call and desire to write devotionals intended to help the seeker of God to find this place of His sure presence, impressing upon me that now is my time for this project to flow forth from His heart, through mine, to you. As I began the journey, God led me back to this recently read Exodus 15 verse in which two key words grabbed me, drawing me to seek even greater, more consistent realization of God, His presence with me, and His desire for me.
The desire for God’s presence with us is a desire that will constantly see fulfillment and will not come to full satiety until we enter the eternal with Him. This desire for God is there to keep us seeking, wanting more of Him until we see Him face to face. Holy Habitation: Those words altered the title of this devotional focus and intensified its purpose.
In this devotional series, we will see how God’s glory is recognized in His lovingkindness and goodness expressed toward us. Out of that lovingkindness and goodness, Exodus 15:13 tells us that God supplies the power for us to come into this ‘holy habitation’ relationship with Him. Every detail of our lives is His instrument, carefully used to lead us to this place of understanding His reality with us, and His desire for our lives.
Holy ~ the word is pregnant with meaning: set apart to God; sacred; personal; unified oneness with the Eternal; commitment to His Likeness; obedience to His headship, as a hand moves with the impulses of the brain, as feet go where those impulses point. Holy…
Habitation ~ the state or process of living in a particular place: in this instance, being continually in this state of holiness. The act of inhabiting or the state of being inhabited. Note the unity of this a Holy Habitation: “me” in God and Him in “me”. Habitation is the work, process, experience and reality of possessing the Promised Land of God’s holy presence with us, now and forever made one together with Him.
Look up the word “Kingdom” on this site, and you will find many devotionals and articles on my journey to realizing that we are here and now a part of the Kingdom of God, with all of its resource and responsibility ours to possess and walk out each day. We are people of destiny, having eternal purpose in every experience of every breath. No trouble in this life is without this eternal purpose, providing us opportunity to fulfill our destiny.
Number one in that purpose is to KNOW God as surely as you know the person most important to your reality. He is with us and for us. He longs to know us and for us to know Him. He reaches out to us, desiring we possess such great oneness with Him that we become the extension of His reality in the world.
When we enter the eternal Kingdom at the exhale of the final breath of this life, He wants us to recognize Him when we take our first breath on the other side of glory. He wants us to be one who has long known His voice and become accustomed to His features. The Eternal should not be strange, foreign, or different to us when we enter that Kingdom ~ though we will see completely who and what He is and have our desire for Him fully satiated only then, there should be familiarity that causes us to recognize Him as our most intimate, well known Lover, Companion, Life Partner.
Our entry into that eternal Kingdom should be the greatest homecoming ever experienced, fully entering into the familiar place of His eternal presence, having lived it every day in the Holy Habitation of God’s sure presence here and now. Are you ready? Watch for each excerpt of Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet.
PS: This introductory post will most likely be the longest post of the series of devotional length excerpts. Enjoy and be BLESSed, refreshed in His reality with you.
“For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:2.
I believe the gift of tongues is still active in the body of Christ today. It was not until recently that I have sought the Lord for deeper understanding of this gifting. The teaching I have heard has downplayed this gift. It also has told me that this “tongue” is the language of the “angels” and that Satan cannot understand it. That never came across to me as true because Satan, fallen as he is, is an angel. He knows the language of the angels. That being true, to seek that gift and long for it rather than for greater experience of God puts one in danger of a false tongue. That raises up fear in me that hinders my desire for the gift.
I have heard stories of people who received a false tongue and the work of the demonic that came with that to hinder their effectiveness as God’s instruments. One such story reports from a missionary of a time on furlough when he stopped in for worship while traveling to his destination. The church he visited was a tongues speaking church. They had people come up to the interpreter with their tongue and the interpreter would expound on the message of the speaker. After one particular message, the missionary stood up. Apologizing for interrupting when he was but a guest, unknown by the body, he explained that he was a missionary to an Asian area of the world. Then he told them that the last person speaking was speaking in the language of the people group he worked with. He said, “In that language, this man just cursed God and Jesus.” Tongues can be falsified and work in the heavenly realm and on the earth to do harm if we are not careful to seek God rather than a language.
Nevertheless, I have experienced the gift of tongues and the interpretation of it enough to desire the closeness with God and I have prayed many times that, if I can have more of Him with it, I want it. Yesterday that desire increased as I contemplated the scripture above and God instructed my heart with understanding that corrected the teaching I have received. He brought to my heart the memory of the language of twins (triplets, etc.). On the earth it is observed many times that twins from the same egg often share a language that is known by no other than themselves. Parents and other siblings may pick up on the language as they observe the twins. The twins may teach the language to another, but it is their own voice, and no others. Suddenly I understand that the true “tongue” of God to His people is not the language of the angels, but the language of the Triune.
Now I see how no one else would know it, not even the devil. Wow! Now I see how awesome this gift is and my desire is increased by the understanding that this gift can only be had by those whose desire is for Him and greater understanding of the Triune Glory.
Now I see why tongues edify the person speaking it. It is a sign of the nearness of God, personal communion with Him in His personal language. Not even the angels have that. It is God’s gift to us who house the Spirit of God, given to those with whom the Spirit wills to share it. I experience the groaning of the Spirit often, even as I type this. How blessed it would be to me to know the language, not only to speak it, but to interpret it so my mind is edified and I can share it with others. Now I pray with increased understanding and faith in God, who can protect from the false, if it be Your will, O God, here am I.
“Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.
I am saddened today as a result of losing a friend because of my problem. Here is my problem: I believe fully and completely every word within these covers…
The Bible of Christianity is not a “politically correct” book in our day. Essentially, it says this…
“There is Only ONE”:
- One TRUE God
- One Savior, the Son of God, Jesus
- One Spirit who unites believer to Father, Son, and each other for all eternity
- One truth
- One Righteousness
- One pathway to heaven
- One gate to the…
- One kingdom of God
- One Door to the Father of all eternity
- ONE and only ONE
I believe these things, not because my momma told me to; not because of the circles of people I run with; not even only because it is what I choose to believe. I believe this word…
…because I have experienced Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a way that compels my belief and strengthens my faith through the experience. It is what gives me courage to speak up and risk rejection, persecution, and alienation.
This word instructs me to understand that the greatest love is to deny fear of losing a friend so-as-to share these things I believe true with those who I do not know have ever heard; and to encourage the faith of those who struggle to believe. From my standpoint, the greatest act of hate is to remain silent about this faith I possess in this truth I believe because, from my understanding of these pages, there is only ONE.
If the Atheist is correct and the truth is, “There is no God, no heaven, and no hell,” we don’t have to worry about it. One day we will die, turn to dust, and be none the wiser that we were following the wrong truth. If the Pantheist is correct and there are many Gods and many ways to heaven, we don’t have to fret. We are each on a path and will meet up in eternity. However, if this word is the ONE…
…dare I be silent when given opportunity to say, “I believe…because…”?
It is my understanding that every devil behind every false belief has one goal: to keep as many as possible away from the ONE way, truth, and life.
As one who truly and fully believes the God of Holy Bible is ONE and only ONE, showing us the way, the truth, and the life, I cannot stand silent about what I know. I try never to push my beliefs on others, though my excitement and commitment may come across that way. Pushing would do no good, for God says we each must choose. However, I do have to share my beliefs as opportunity comes, for to do less is to participate in someone being separated from ONE for all eternity. If there is no interest in what I share, they made their choice and I move on to love them anyway, being the best friend I can be in the situation. If my sharing my faith insults another, I hate the insult, but I love the person too much to fail to share what I can.
One of Elvis Presley’s brothers spoke at a conference I attended. There he shared complaining to Elvis about his girlfriend continually telling him about Jesus and trying to get him to go to church with her; to which Elvis’ reportedly replied, “Brother, if someone loves you enough to tell you about Jesus, they REALLY love you!”
If my sharing plants a seed of truth that God later uses to help even one person find the path, I win a brother or sister. For me, as one believing the things I believe to be true, remaining silent is the true “hate crime”. In light of this, though I hate losing friends, I make no apologies for the faith I believe and proclaim because I truly love each one I am privileged to meet.
Beloved, God positions us at His side with eternal purpose, empowering us for success on the journey of life. The supply of our position, empowered first by growth in surrendered living that is dependent on Him and His supply for life, is abundant and full.
As we grow in our ability to surrender to and trust Him, He moves us to His right side where our apprenticeship as His servant-child begins. There we grow in our stability as His followers, coming up higher to understand our role as part of His royal priesthood and our responsibility in His royal court as stewards gifted with authority for His Kingdom purpose. Growing strong as His representatives, equipped as His ambassadors, we grow in our victorious journey as His lights, being in the world while living as people of His Kingdom, charged with power to fulfill His purpose in our day. As people who understand our responsibility in our left and right side stance with Him, we are…
Empowered and Endued with Authority to Accomplish His will in His way
“Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name” ~ Isaiah 63:12.
Moses was the visible instrument in the hand of God, through whom His power flowed to produce miracles in the world. As we stand to God’s right side, in the position of responsibility with authority to act, God feeds us with full power to do all He calls us to accomplish in His name. With His resources flowing to our left hand side, the side of dependence and trust, He empowers and supplies all we need for stretching out our right hand of action and obedience, equipping us to fulfill His purpose for our lives. With Him empowering our right hand through our left hand dependence on Him, all things are possible for us who know and trust that nothing shall be impossible with God.
In understanding this power, I love the picture seen in the animated movie, “Lion King” where King Mufasa, standing behind his baby, Simba, adds his roar to his sons. Simba, facing an enemy assault, takes a posture of authority and power, letting out a roar to send the enemy off in fear. The king, knowing Simba was too small and weak to have any real influence against the assault, takes a stance behind him, roaring out in unison with the son. The kings roar added to Simba’s gifted the son with the authority and power necessary for the son’s actions to be effective.
That is an awesome picture of our stance with God in Christ. Anything we accomplish of God’s kingdom purpose where we stand is His power flowing through us to make us effective. That power is ours to possess as we learn to thrive at God’s side. I see this dependent supply and empowered action pictured in the following passage:
“Then the priest shall take the one male lamb and bring it for a guilt offering, with the log of oil, and present them as a wave offering before the Lord. Next he shall slaughter the male lamb in the place where they slaughter the sin offering and the burnt offering, at the place of the sanctuary—for the guilt offering, like the sin offering, belongs to the priest; it is most holy. The priest shall then take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. The priest shall also take some of the log of oil, and pour it into his left palm; the priest shall then dip his right-hand finger into the oil that is in his left palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of the oil seven times before the Lord. …The priest shall also pour some of the oil into his left palm; and with his right-hand finger the priest shall sprinkle some of the oil that is in his left palm seven times before the Lord” ~ Leviticus 14:12-16, 26-27.
Blood pictures cleansing and oil pictures renewed relationship with God that anoints with authority and power for life made new in Him. Note the bowl of blood and the hand full of oil is in the priest’s left hand, showing supply from God. The work of ministry He pours through the priest’s right hand of obedience.
The priest then applies the blood of cleansing to the right ear, hand and foot of the person anointed for service to God. Right ear, hand, and foot shows left-sided dependence on God to make one clean and ready for right-sided service to Him. The anointing of the oil he sprinkles on the person as a whole, empowering them for service that depends on God’s supply.
Right ear hearing: That service flows to ears made ready and empowered to depend on God to make Himself heard. Given the ear of a disciple, to hear as a disciple, we then take that word to others made ready to hear God’s word sent through us.
Right hand working: The right hand cleansing pictures a person made ready to reach out with power to fulfill the will of God in ways that minister to those we reach to with His gracious supply. God then uses us to empower others to come to His side in likeness to our example, made ready to serve Him.
Right foot moving: With God’s supply that cleanses our feet, He makes us holy, setting us on a righteous path. We become His witness wherever He sets our feet to walk.
We no longer kill the fatted lamb; Jesus is that lamb for us, and He is the priest, reaching out His hand to touch us with His blood of cleansing and empower us with His anointing oil of gladness, making us one with Him in purpose and service. God, through Jesus, supplies our left hand and empowers our right.
“When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!’” ~ Judges 7:20.
Note that in these last two passages for this post, as we thrive at His side, our lives meld into His. We become one with Him, our left hand as His own, filled with His supply, and our right hand moving with His, effective in ministry. The left hand of God is the place of His protection and provision; our left hands hold His supply. The right hand of God is the place of His authority, power, victory, and wisdom; our right side flows forth the revelation of His right hand power in us.
When God sets us on His left, grabbing us by our right hand, all is His to do as He leads us safely through this life. When God sets us on His right hand side, He shows us what we have authority to accomplish while empowering us to do so. There, He grants us wisdom to know and do our part as His representative in the world. There we have His authority as if we are His signet ring on His right hand (Jeremiah 22:24). There, we become His instrument for victory, His pouring forth to and through us with the power He gives us to win the day in His Name and to His glory.
In life lived for God, we truly are seated on both sides at all times, dependent on Him and moving in unison with the authority He pours through us at all times. At the right side of God, with the trust of His left side supply, we become His swords in the earth, rightly dividing the word of truth and influencing the world for good. Fully dependent on God, as good stewards trusting His supply, we live out our days as His instrument, accomplishing Kingdom purpose where we live.
But wait! We have an ambidextrous God…
“Now what I mean is that as long as the inheritor (heir) is a child and under age, he does not differ from a slave, although he is the master of all the estate; but he is under guardians and administrators or trustees until the date fixed by his father. …But we, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise” ~ Galatians 4:1-2, 28, AMP.
Reading Galatians 4 this morning spurs further thought regarding our apprenticeship as people positioned as children of God, Heirs of Promise.
In my journey to understand this position in Christ, I began with the understanding that I am no longer slave to sin, but slave to Christ. Under the guardianship of God’s Spirit, having teachers entrusted as trustees of my growth, I learned to no longer allow myself to be slave to lusts of the flesh or to demands of others, but to do all as slave of Christ and slave to righteousness (1 Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:5-6; Romans 6:16-19).
Once I understood my need to surrender myself to God in all things as a slave to a Master, God began teaching me the difference between a slave and a bondslave (Exodus 21:1-6; Luke 1:38; 1 Peter 2:16). The difference between the two is subtle. A slave is a slave that wins the heart of the Master, receiving His favor by choosing obedience out of realization of one’s need to please the Master so as to receive the benefits gifted for a service well done. A bondslave is one who falls madly in love with the Master. Trusting that he is better off as a slave of God than without Him, and having as one’s greatest desire that of pleasing and tending well to the business of the Master despite any difficulty that may mean for the bondslave of Christ, they surrender themselves to His ownership for life. Love and trust trumps trouble, and surrenders to the Master for all eternity.
Once I understood slavery to Christ for life because of loving trust, God led me to understand that I am a child by His choice, child of promise through Christ.
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” ~ Romans 8:16-17.
“We, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise” (Galatians 4:28). We are children of God and heirs with Christ forever. Learning that, now, finally, from age 58-60, God is bringing fuller comprehension of the responsibility and authority I have as child of God and heir with Christ. We are children in the Royal Court of God and His Kingdom, having full authority in Christ and responsibility under God to represent the interests of His Kingdom in our here and now life and throughout eternity. As we discover our heritage as children, we understand that we are no longer slaves, but owners of the Kingdom with Christ. Our responsibility moves from that of ones commanded, to ones who possess and protect the Kingdom of our heart. We are in the world, not of it, for we are child-heirs, part of the Royal Court of God’s Kingdom, fulfilling Kingdom purpose for Kingdom prosperity to the glory of Father God and King-Ishi. Thus, we are…
Positioned as Children
In this Galatians 4 passage, we learn that our training in Christ leads us to understanding of God as Father and our ability to draw near to Him as a beloved child climbs into the lap of her daddy.
“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God” (vs. 6-7).
The goal of God in our apprenticeship under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit is to equip us to make this transition from “slave of God in Christ” to “Heir apparent”. Having full assurance of our security in Christ, we realize our position in the Royal Court, fully possessing our authority to carry out our responsibilities as His representatives where He has us stationed in the world.
“But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” ~ vs. 9.
God is God, all knowing and all-powerful. He knows who we are, but this scripture instructs that as we serve Him well, that service catches God’s attention, growing the closeness of our relationship with Him as we draw nearer still to Him, and making us one He knows with a favor that makes us stand out as His representatives in life. I am sure you know a Christian whose relationship with God inspires you to know Him better. Those who know God well, trusting Him fully, not being easily swayed by false doctrine or the desire to please others, and that He draws near to because of that close, personal relationship stand out as His children of Light (Ephesians 5:7-10).
“…you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself” ~ vs. 14b.
The one who is heir with Christ realizes that many will only come to know Him for themselves as they see Him in us and experience His presence through us. We are conduits of all that represents God, His will, way, purpose, and Kingdom. When we come into this position of letting Christ live through us, we are near to the heart of God, well known by Him and recognized by others as “having been with Jesus” (Galatians 2:20; Acts 4:13).
“So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you. My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you—but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you” ~ vs 16-20.
Children of Light, Heirs of God in Christ, grow in stability, following God’s truth, having full faith in Him. Here we see that those who were speaking religious legalism to the children were luring them away from the truth of God. Paul reminds them that it is good, being sought after commendably. To me that means we are to be that example of Christlikeness that draws others to seek us as teachers, examples worth following, as they seek Christ for themselves.
However, these followers of Christ found themselves sought out by those wishing to draw them into religious legalism that denies faith’s assurance in Christ. Instead of trusting Christ fully for saving-grace and the path to son-ship, growing strong in their relationship with God, pleasing Him, they fell back into the old covenant of law, trying to add Jesus plus works of the flesh as necessary for true salvation, seeking to please those religious leaders. That leads to constant struggle as we try to balance the pleasure of other people with pleasing God. Assurance of our position in Christ is difficult to realize when wavering between relational-faith that produces the fruit of the Spirit and good works that make one a pleasure to man’s ideology.
Paul reminds them that those true children, filled with the Spirit and following the dictates of God in the Spirit’s power do not need legalistic ritual added to their salvation. We are free in Christ to be God’s children, but if we choose to believe salvation through law, we must keep all the law without fail (Galatians 3:1-14). We cannot claim trust in Christ and the earning of our way into God’s kingdom. Instead, our trust in God through Christ, as empowered by the Spirit, produces in us the good works of God’s desire for us. Works of a righteousness of our own making do not save us. Our salvation is in Christ who is our righteousness, and through that, we are empowered to live righteous lives for the glory of God as pleasing Him. This is the heart of the one who understands their position as a Child of God and Heirs with Christ.
“Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. … you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise” ~ vs. 21-31.
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” ~ Ephesians 4:14-16.
The hour is near for Christ’s return. Time grows short for us to shine the Light of God so all who will enter into this Kingdom life with us may come. It is time for us to grow up in full understanding of who we are in Christ, heirs with Him, given charge to represent Kingdom interests wherever God stations us in life. God positions us as children with Kingdom purpose where He places us. Some of those places are hardened soil, challenging to our holy feet, but we must grow strong in knowledge of Him so we may live in ways that make us known as His lights, children of God’s favor.