March 27, 2015
Fear of Man
Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. 2 My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? 5 All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. 6 They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life…
Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise- 11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Fear is a powerful force. Most all of us have been influenced and moved by it. But ironically it is the fear of God that will move us to faith, while the negative fears that we harbor and allow touching and influencing our lives will move us away from faith. If we think about it most anything we fail to trust God for is either an act of disobedience through rebellion or it is disobedience out of fear. Faith is a confidence in God and His Word, fear is the doubt and apprehension that God will fail us. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” One of our greatest fears is what others think about us, how they will accept us and what they can do to hurt us. Fear is one of the strongest instruments at the enemy’s disposal. It undermines our faith and gets our eyes and our confidence off of Christ and back on to us. It causes us to see after the natural rather than the supernatural.
There are different levels at which fear can touch us from the most surface levels of fear to the deepest levels of psychological trauma. On the surface levels we all deal with fear of social acceptance, failure and insecurity. Think about a baby in the mother’s womb. It knows no fear there. It is safe, it is warm, provided for, accepted and secure. It has all of the things that we loose the guarantee of as we come into this world and are forced into self- responsibility. When these basic needs or wants are threatened it causes us to fear. We fear when we are not in a safe environment. We fear for our health, our daily provisions and needs as well as the needs of those we are responsible for. We fear when we feel insecure and threatened, physically, emotionally or even spiritually. Thus fear becomes a very powerful motivator and influence in our lives. Jesus addresses this fear that stems out of worry in Matthew 6:25-34, “”Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Is all fear bad? No, we can’t say that all fear is bad, because it is often fear that can motivate us to right actions or even protect us from things that could harm us. The fear of God is a good fear because it moves us into Him and the more that we move into God the more we learn to trust Him. He can bring us again to that place of peace we had as an infant only it won’t be without conflict. It won’t be without many things, people and circumstances coming against us, as they attempt to rob our peace and confidence in the God that we’ve come to know, love and serve.
Many of the challenges to our faith come through the fear of man. We fear that others will not accept us so we focus on what will be pleasing to the world. Many of us get our self worth and esteem from what others think. We often fear man so much that we let society and our circle of influence shape our values, our opinions and form the standard for how to act, what to wear, what we can and can not talk about. In Jesus’ day people were fearful to talk about Jesus. John 7:13 says, “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” Many of us fear to speak openly of Jesus today for fear that others will be offended or not accept us. We want to have the heart that David had when he said in Psalm 56:4, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Our flesh avoids pain and seeks pleasure. We fear not living up the standards others have for us for fear of rejection. Many of us live in a constant state of worry and anxiety, which is fear. Yet the word teaches us in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Fear will always focus us on the natural and take our eyes off of our faith in God. Deuteronomy 31:6 exhorts God’s people, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” God speaks His Word into us to disperse our fears. Isaiah 41:10-14 says, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
It is our faith in God that gives us boldness in place of timidity, that gives us eyes and a heart to see beyond our fears as we embrace the realities of God’s promises and His Word. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” And again in 2 Corinthians 4:18 he says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. “ The fear of the Lord will bring us into faith for it will cause us to exalt God’s ways above man’s ways and it will embrace His Word as truth even in the face of opposing natural evidence. Our hope, our confidence and our faith are in the Lord. When we embrace who we are in Him, then the fear of this world looses its power over us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. (1 John 5:4)”
March 26, 2015
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Finding Your Purpose
God has a calling and purpose for each life that He creates. If we live in a perversion of our purpose then we will miss our destiny and our highest calling in Christ. God’s desire is to see you fulfill your destiny in concert with Him, but the enemy’s goal is to thwart and pervert the purpose God has for you. When we simply live according to our flesh then we have missed the greater calling and purpose we have been created for. We have settled for the husk when we could have had the corn.
What is your destiny, your calling and your purpose? Some people just know what it is that they are here for and to many others it may be unclear. Often our destiny is our discovery through our relationship with Christ and a living out of our lives in Him to find what it is He has for our life and what part we play in the grand view of things. Often it is tied to the passion God has put in our heart.
Never despise or berate what God has created you to be. We may not see much in ourselves, but we are just looking at the outline and the skeleton of God’s potential to work in and through us. In our weakness He is made strong. When Hebrews 11:33-34 recounts the men of faith is says, “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” Never insult the Lord by underestimating your potential in Him. Often we are “nothing” that He might be the “more”. He honors His lesser members whose faith and trust are in their God. You and I are important to God’s kingdom purpose. We may not see how or why, but it is important that we press into Him until we discover who we are in Christ and the function that we have. Then do it with all of the passion of your heart in the fear and trust of God. Allow the Spirit to direct and use you in your purpose. You may already be living in your purpose and not even realize it. Our purpose is not to bring us glory, but to glorify the One who created us for it. If we can do that, then we are honoring the Lord by walking in our destiny.
You are important in the economy and kingdom of God. You have a purpose, find it and live fervently in it to the glory and praise of the Lord.
See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
The Nation who Fears the Lord is a Wise and Understanding People
God took this nation, the United States, and birthed it out of a persecuted people that sought to love and worship Him in spirit and in truth. He took this infant nation and protected and preserved it from the enemy that sought to destroy it. From its conception and foundation it was built upon the principles of faith in Him and His Law fashioned our laws. When we look back at the fathers of our constitution who framed and structured our government, we see in them such a spirit of wisdom. It wasn’t natural wisdom, but it was wisdom from above, because they came together and asked God to help them in this great endeavor that would impact the generations to follow. Everything in that document was formed, not to force religion upon anyone, but to preserve everyone’s right to pursue his faith and hold it in freedom of worship and expression. The other nations of the world surely couldn’t help but see the wisdom and understanding that formed this nation. Many others since have followed this model of democracy. As a result, this nation has become the most powerful and prosperous of nations in the earth. That didn’t happen because of us as a people. We are like any other people, but it happened because we made our motto, “In God We Trust.” If we depart from the secular history books and really follow the history and the documents that substantiate it we will find a rich history of God fearing men, who put their trust and reliance upon God as they lead this nation. It was because of God’s law that was set before this nation, that we have had God’s favor and blessing.
Deuteronomy 4:9-10 goes on to say, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”” Unfortunately, we, like the nation of Israel, have forgotten to a great extent where we came from and what is the source of our wealth, blessing and prosperity. We have grown wise in our own eyes, full of ourselves and our vain philosophies so that many think that God no longer has a place in our government, our schools or even our nation. Each generation seems to stray further from the truth. The advocates of darkness have perpetuated the lie through every medium that touches our lives and many of us have failed in taking our stand for righteousness and speaking out against this lie.
We, as a nation, now sit upon the precipice of ruin. First it will happen within and then it will happen without. We see the decay of moral values all around us. We watch them daily on the TV and read about it in the newspaper. Many of us are even the victims of it as we try to walk in the truth. These are perilous times and a time when all of us need to be fervent in prayer and in action. Soon the governments of men will end and the governments will become spiritual strongholds. The battle that we fight is not one of the flesh and blood, but of the spirit. The people of God are all that stands between this nation and its judgement. We must lift up a standard of righteousness again and no longer be a silent majority. We are soon becoming a silent minority. The greater the cloud of darkness and deception that covers our nation the brighter we must shine forth as the people of God. We must not lose our conscience, but be the conscience of our nation. Instead of our children being taught the precepts and principles of God’s Word they are now indoctrinated with humanism and every false thing. If we, the people who bear the name of the Lord, don’t make a difference, then who will?
March 24, 2015
Our Pleasure is in the Lord
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
The Psalmist declares, “You have made known to me the path of life, in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy and at thy right hand pleasures for evermore.” What a wonderfully secure and precious place the redeemed have found in Christ. Though the earthly realms and kingdoms are falling down around us, though outwardly we may face peril, adversity and death, what a security and peace we have in knowing who and what we are in Christ. We know that He will not abandon us to the grave. We know that He is our resurrection and our life, through faith in Christ we are eternally bound to Him. One of the greatest basic needs that a person has in their lives is the need for security. We all want to know and live in that safe place where we are not threatened and we have something and someone that we can count on, that will always be there for us. Someone who will never leave us or forsake us. That is what we have found in Christ. He is our security and our strong fortress. He is our shield and our buckler. Whatever life throws at us and whatever trials come we know that our reliance, our final hope and confidence is in him. Everything else around us may fail, but He won’t fail. Everyone else around us may desert us, but He will stand by us.
The Apostle Paul relates this steadfast confidence and the Lord’s faithfulness in 2Timothy 4:16-18, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge. ¶ Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.” We can hopefully see why our identification with Christ is so powerful and must be so strong. Our identity is in Him and not in the weakness, frailties and failures of our flesh. All that we truly are, all that we hope for and walk in faith in, is realized in Christ. He is our foundational and unmovable rock.
We are not going to always understand all of God’s ways or why some things happen as they do, but that must never deter us from knowing Him as our life and eternal security. The greatest undertaking of the enemy is to rock our boat and to bring about circumstances that will undermine our faith and cause us to forsake it. What we know is that God never fails. Our perceptions of God may not always hold water, but that doesn’t mean that He has failed. He is still sovereign upon His throne and He still holds the whole world in His hands. What I do know is that in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy and that is why I want to spend a lot of time in His presence. At His right hand are pleasures for evermore. There is no greater pleasure in life than to be walking in the perfect will of God for you. In that place you will have fulfillment, contentment, peace and joy. You will find the pleasure that the world can not offer. The world’s pleasures are temporal and fleeting. So many of them only lead to a hollow life full of darkness and despair, but not so with the Lord’s pleasures. They lead to life, liberty and fullness of joy.
The apostle Paul says it so wonderfully in Romans 8:28-39, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Your life is secure in Him.
March 23, 2015
Song of Solomon 1:2-5
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! 4 Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.
Passion for Your Lover
Is your Christianity a routine? Has it become stagnant with the same old ritual and habits? Do you feel like going to church is just going through the motions and doing what you are supposed to do? If our Christianity has become mundane, boring and uneventful to us then we are missing the passion for the greatest lover that ever was.
The virgins and the friends of the bridegroom may have a more distant relationship with the Bridegroom, but for the bride He is her passion, He is the air she breathes, the song she sings and the dream that she dreams. All of her hopes are in Him. He is whom she lives for and pursues with all that is within her. Why, because it is required of her or it is what she is suppose to do? No, it is because she is so passionately in love with this bridegroom that it is all that she can think to do. He fills her thoughts, her dreams and aspirations. Oh, to be with Him and to come into union with Him. What adjectives can describe her love and desire for Him?
She has discovered what so many have missed. She is in love and nothing else matters around her compared to Him. Oh, how she languishes for His love to be poured out to her. He is the one that puts the butterflies in her tummy. He is like sweet smelling perfume, she just wants to breathe Him in and His name is like perfume poured out. With the fragrance of His name there is life, healing, deliverance and salvation. It is the name above every name and the name that is the sweetest fragrance in all of the earth. No wonder so many love him.
She cries to Him, “Take me away with you, let us hurry!” In John 14:3 the Bridegroom tells His bride, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.” As the Bridegroom has prepared a place for her, so she has prepared herself for Him. Now she is ready and crying out to Him. It is not about escaping or running away from all that is happening around her, for her it is the union with Him. “Let the King bring me into His chambers.” It is about union and intimacy that produces life and a manchild that is in the image of his Father.
The fruit of her loins the enemy despises, seeking to devour and destroy this one who comes forth in the image and likeness of the King. This child is he (many membered he) that rules and reigns with Christ and becomes His government in a new heaven and a new earth. It is this bride that desires that seed. His seed of life and godliness that shall prevail and overcome, that will set creation free and bring all of humanity into the emancipating liberty of Jesus Christ.
What is your passion today? If you want to know this kind of love, then pursue Him. Often He may seem evasive as we seek His presence. He is looking for those who will not be discouraged and will not take no for an answer. He is looking for those who are not easily distracted and set their affections upon other things. He is proving her whose heart is perfect toward Him and who will not allow her love to be denied. Are you such a person of passion and purpose?
March 20, 2015
Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.g He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
28“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
29Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”
30She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Advance the Kingdom in Violence
At first reading this language may sound a little harsh and yet we have to understand that Israel was God’s people, so in the context of God’s spiritual order the Messiah was first promised to them, because they were the children of the promise, even of Abraham, Genesis 18:18 says, ” Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.” There was an order to the blessing, first the Jew and then the Gentile.
Jesus, in His earthly ministry, had come to proclaim the kingdom to the house of Israel. When this Syro-Phoenician woman came to Him begging on behalf of her possessed daughter she was really coming in a time that was out of God’s time and order for her to receive of kingdom impartation, thus Jesus spoke what He did about it not being right to take their bread and give it to the Gentiles.
This woman answers with such wisdom and faith that it moves the heart of Jesus to step out of divine order and impart to her the request that she desired. She has insight into the mercy and grace that is in God’s heart. While He does move in divine order and on behalf of His chosen people, He still responds to the faith of the Gentiles. The Roman officer in Matthew 8:5 was another example of God moving out of divine order and time to release to them what wasn’t yet to be released.
What does that speak to us?
It tells us that there is realm of faith that moves God’s heart to release kingdom into the earth that is not yet in season to be released. It is not an ordinary faith, but an extraordinary faith that moves God’s heart. It is interesting to note that both of these examples didn’t come to Jesus asking for themselves, it was their intercession on the behalf of another. What can happen when we begin to take bold and extreme faith and ask God to move through us in a supernatural way on behalf of others? Matthew 11:12 says, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” The forcefulness of the kingdom is the faith that seizes and lays hold of it. It advances in faith and it is faithful forceful men and women that lay hold of the those things that are out of spiritual season to bring them into spiritual season. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, ” So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Let us be those violent men and women of faith that bring forth God’s kingdom and manifest it in the earth by our extreme and violent faith.
March 18, 2015
The Perfect Storm
The LORD [is] slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit [the wicked]: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds [are] the dust of his feet.
Most all of us are familiar with storms in our lives. They often come at the most inopportune time and places. In the natural, over the course of the last few years we have seen numerous and devastating storms strike places all over the earth. When our perfect storm comes, that storm of storms or even the smaller ones that we face, how are we prepared to face our storm? Obviously if you see a tornado is approaching your home, you are not going to go out and shake your fist or beat it back or turn its course with any natural means. You know that in your natural self you are no match for such forces of nature. In the natural you would be a fool to try. You know that your greatest chance for survival is to seek shelter in a safe place. When the storms of life come we are going to seek our refuge and fortress from the storm not in natural places, but in the God we know and trust.
Psalms 91 is such a place of refuge for the believer. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Unfortunately, for many the Lord is like that lifeboat on a ship, the only time it gets used is when the ship is sinking. We don’t want our God to be our lifeboat; we want Him to be our life ship, the place where we continually abide. We have seen great storms come upon the earth, but they are but a shadow of what the last days hold and what will be unleashed upon the earth. The Lord tells us that earth is in travail and the natural is just a precursor to the spiritual. Our storms up to this time have been to prepare us and to teach us who our refuge and shelter is, but when that perfect storm comes who will abide the day of His wrath? Our peace, our refuge, our safety and our assurance is in knowing our God intimately and personally.
What did Jesus tell His disciples in the storm of Mark 4:37-41? “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”, but faith is also developed through exercise and experience. These same disciples that feared for their lives in the storm with Jesus in the boat are the same ones that bore testimony of Him resulting in their martyrdom and death. The preservation of our natural lives is not always our greatest concern. What we want to protect and preserve at all cost is our relationship and trust in Christ. Eventually, the natural man will perish in most every man, but the man of the Spirit, is the one that must be preserved. Our faith must stay in tact at all cost!
What is important is that when the perfect storm comes we know, not just with our head, but with our heart and every fiber of our being, who our Redeemer and Refuge is. No matter what happens outwardly, on Jesus Christ, the solid rock we stand!
March 17, 2015
Hebrews 6:13-20 (Amplified)
For when God made [His] promise to Abraham, He swore by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, 14Saying, Blessing I certainly will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.
15And so it was that he [Abraham], having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained [in the birth of Isaac as a pledge of what was to come] what God had promised him. 16Men indeed swear by a greater [than themselves], and with them in all disputes the oath taken for confirmation is final [ending strife]. 17Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath. 18This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us]. 19[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, 20Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.
God’s Unchangeable Promise
Perhaps few passages in the Word speak more powerfully of God’s faithfulness and commitment to keeping His Word and promises than does this passage. Here we are given the example of the father of our faith, Abraham, and how God promised that in his seed all of the nations of the earth would be blessed. All of God’s promises have their season of fulfillment and in our terms that may be a short time or it could be a very long time. God’s promises are sure, but in between the promise and the fulfillment faith must stand in the gap. Hebrews 11:1-2 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.” God says that Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness because it believed and stood upon what it could not see and what may have seemed incomprehensible to the natural man. It wasn’t until way past that time of natural fulfillment that God gave Abraham His promised seed Issac; “the pledge of what was to come.”
In the fullness of time God brought forth another promised seed in Christ Jesus who brought forth the promise of God’s great salvation. He was a type of Issac in that He was the seed of promise and the beginning of the blessing that should follow. What we have seen in Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people and to mankind of His love, salvation and ultimate restoration of all things back to the Father. Just as Issac was not the completion of the promise, but the beginning of it, so the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus was not the completion of God’s plan of salvation, but only the beginning, the firstfruits and forerunner. “Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.” Now if Jesus isn’t the only runner, but the forerunner or front runner, then it is evident that others must follow. God gave us, as believers in Christ, His full assurance in that He gave unto us the Holy Spirit as the earnest and down payment on that inheritance that stands before us. 1 Corinthians 1: 21-22 states, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Again in Ephesians 1:13-14 we are told, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” God has sealed His promise in us, not only with His Word which cannot fail, but with His own Holy Spirit He establishes us as His own and the partakers of the divine nature through the great and precious promises He has given us (2 Peter 1:3-4).
What an assurance to our faith that Jesus never fails that God’s Word is established in eternity and can not be moved. In Hebrews 1:1-3 it says of Jesus, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Because all of creation and the Universe is held in place by the power of God’s Word, which is Christ, then it reasonable to conclude that it is as likely that all of creation will come apart as it is to conclude that God will not keep His word and promises. “This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us.” What a powerful statement that should place unshakable faith and confidence in every believer that they can count on the God that they serve and worship. Now we can understand why the rock of our foundation is Christ Jesus which can not be moved and against whom the gates of hell cannot prevail.
Colossians 3:1-3 reminds us of where we are in the midst of these great and wondrous promises, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” So great is God’s faithfulness, so unchangeable His ways and promises. We are a people who are clothed in the great and precious promises of God. As we hold fast in our faith we, like Abraham, will reap if we faint not and our faith will be accounted unto us as righteousness. Christ is the forerunner who is bringing many sons into glory, into His likeness and into an everlasting priesthood to the praise of His glory and the fulfillment of His unchangeable promises.
March 16, 2015
He is to put some of the blood on the horns of the altar that is before the LORD in the Tent of Meeting. The rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
The Horns of the Altar
There were four horns on the brazen altar in the tabernacle of Moses. These were made of acacia wood and covered with brass. What was the significance of these four horns and why were they touched with the blood of the sacrifice?
The brazen altar was a type of the cross of Christ that was the place of the sacrifice for our sins. The brass speaks of the judgement upon sin. On the cross there were four ends and each of them was touched with the blood of Jesus. The top of the cross was touched with his bloody head from the crown of thorns placed upon Him. It represented the sacrifice of the Lamb to God, the Son of God given for the sins of the world, an acceptable sacrifice unto the Father. The two sides were touched with the blood from His outstretched hands that extended grace and the redemption of the cross to all of mankind. Lastly the feet that were pierced touched the bottom of the cross, His grace extended to the least and the lowest of men. The rest of His blood was poured out at the base of the altar of the cross when the side of Christ was pieced by the spear and blood and water issued forth. Thus, atonement was made for all of our sins through the shed blood of Christ.
As I asked the Lord what these horns represented, I felt He was saying these are my strength and grace in judgement to endure the cross and to become the living sacrifice I have called you to be. Psalms 118:7 says, “God [is] the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, [even] unto the horns of the altar.” God has called us to salvation by calling us to be identified with Christ upon the cross and dying to this body of sin. In Romans 12:1 the Lord exhorts us, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.” It has often been said that the biggest problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off of the altar. We are to be bound to the horns of the altar by the love of Christ and the fear of God. It is His grace that is sufficient to keep us in that place of self-renunciation and Christ acknowledgement.
I am reminded of the Apostle Paul when he sought the Lord three times to remove the thorn that was in his flesh. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” With the horns of the altar are the grace and the strength to endure the cross and suffer the shame. The judgements of God are at work in us now as we present ourselves before the Lord in Christ. He is at work in us performing His good pleasure and while death is at work in our mortal bodies the issue of that death is the blood of life. It is His blood in ours working life and becoming a godly expression of righteousness. These four horns of the altar are the anchors that bind us and keep us in all the directions that God is at work in our lives. There are times when our flesh cries out, “how much longer God.” His answer to us is that “My grace is sufficient.” Hold fast your course, even Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” That, which is working death in us now, will ultimately work to bring forth life. Lay hold of the horns of the altar finding His grace and strength there as He sanctifies and purifies us through the baptism of fire into His redemption purposes.