What is this Grace?

October 17, 2016

What is this Grace?

Ephesians 2: 1-10

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Grace is one of those basic principles we tend to assume that we know all that it entails and quickly skip over it.  The definition I have always heard of grace is that it is ‘God’s undeserved favor’. Indeed it is, but I sense the Holy Spirit saying you need to take a closer look at grace and the part that it plays in your life.  The very fact that we could not have even been cognizant and have come to Christ without His grace makes this quality something that deserves a closer look.  We might tend to acknowledge it and then quickly dismiss it as a fundamental of our faith.  It is kind of like breathing or your heart beating you don’t consciously have these take place, but I’ll guarantee you if they stop working you will be immediately be aware and concerned over it.  Grace is like the loving hands of the Father that caresses His humanity.  It is grace that provides us fellowship and relationship with our heavenly Father.  It was grace in the Father and the Son that extended the sacrifice of Christ’s holy life for our sinful ones.  All the benefits we enjoy in Christ we owe to grace.  The richness of our salvation is the product of God’s grace.  Even the incomparable riches of what God is going to do in and through us in the coming age are the benefits of His grace.  The riches of God’s grace are so much more than tangible elements could ever attain or express.  They are the fullness of God’s favor, His benefits, His mercies, His good will, loving kindness and His love.  Grace is an ocean of God’s blessing directed at mankind.  Like salvation, it is so shallow a small child can wade in it and so deep that the most profound and faithful of men will never sounds the depths of it.  What is contained in God’s grace is the fullness of Christ Himself.  What God has done in and through Christ He is doing in and through us, for the Lord Jesus is our prototype and the image after which our Father has called many sons to glory.  Even now the Word says that through grace working in us by faith, God has made us spiritually alive in Christ Jesus, but beyond that, He has raised us up with Christ and seated us in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.  

Do we begin to catch a glimpse of the potential power and life of God at work in us even now through this grace that we have received?  Grace, by its very virtue, tells us that this is a gift and quality that we could never earn, deserve or merit in our own being.  Grace is all about God’s goodness, His undeserved favor and blessing.  The faith, that is not even what we possess, but that which He has placed in us, is the key to unlocking the riches of God’s grace.  Because God has enabled us to believe through faith in the marvelous thing He has done through Christ, we have the keys of His kingdom.  God is an extravagant giver and He has bestowed upon us such extravagant gifts that we still don’t fully comprehend and realize what we have and what has been so freely given to us.  

It might be kind of like you bringing home and giving to your child a fully loaded Mercedes worth a $190,000.  He kind of looks it over and then goes back to playing with his Legos.  What we should be saying is Father, teach me how to drive.  I can never fully enjoy what God has given me until I know how to use it.  The process of our lives is God teaching us about how to drive, how to operate in this grace which He has so richly bestowed upon us.  Let us not be content with our Legos and simple toys of this life, when Father has given and promised us so much more.  Press in that you might know the riches of this grace through faith.  

Verse 10 tells us the reason for God bestowing this grace upon us.  “10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  God has given us grace that He might have a people conformed to His image and the expression of the good works that are in Christ.  We are not only the products of God’s grace, we, like Christ, are becoming the expression of God’s grace to the rest of this world.  We are the favored of God to express the favor of God.  Grace has delivered us from the dimension of condemnation, death and the law.  It has brought us into the dimension of Life, liberty and freedom in Christ.  It is the freedom to live out of the life God rather than our former life dictated through lust and sin.  2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us, “And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work.”  Faith is all about the endeavor to operate this vehicle of God’s grace; for it is grace working in us that will abound to God’s glory and praise and honor.  It is grace working in us that shows forth God’s strength in the midst of our weakness.  Grace must be received in all humility for it not anything that we could ever boast in of ourselves.  It is not the product of our being or doing, but the product of God’s loving kindness and mercy.  

God has called us out  of this world and into the grace of Christ.  Live out of the richness of the grace, which He has bestowed upon us.  Allow that grace to have its perfect work in you.  Never take for granted the marvelous riches and wealth of the grace God has bestowed and that now works so wonderfully within us.



Spiritual Mountain Climbing

October 14, 2016

Spiritual Mountain Climbing

Isaiah 40:9

You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, 

lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” 

In Hebrews 11:8-10 it says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.” As we have began our journey of faith we have started our spiritual climb up the mountain of God, at first the path may have seemed gentle and very pleasant.  As we travel on we find there are very difficult and perilous places that we must pass through as we continue our assent.  Continually the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are urging us on, but as we journey up the mountain we notice that many have turned off of the trail at various points.  They have even put up dwellings and have set up house keeping on these lower realms of the mountain.  At times we may have asked the question, “ Lord, haven’t I gone far enough?  This seems like a pleasant enough place, can’t I just stay here?”  But the Spirit of the Lord would say to us, “ to obtain My best, you must press into My highest.”  It came to me that though these ones had chosen a pleasant and easy place to abide rather than press on up the mountain, they had left themselves very vulnerable to the attack of the enemy.   They had no real cover or protection when they came under attack.  So we press on, not knowing exactly what to expect or even the fullness of what we are pressing into.  What we do have are the promises of God and we know that the more that we press up into the heights of this mountain, the more real and realized these promises will become.  

There are times on our journey we become weary, discouraged and even scared.  There are times that we experience the blessings of mountain lakes, streams and meadows and there are times we are inching our way along jagged rocks and perilous ledges.  The thing that must continue to burn in our hearts is that the Lord is ever calling us upward.  

In Revelations 4:1 the Spirit speaks to John on the Isle of Patmos where he was exiled, “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Every day there stands before us a door opened that speaks “Come up here.”  It is the call of God upon our lives to continue pressing onward and upward into Him.  We know that only in pressing onward and upward into Him that we will discover our destiny and calling in Him.  Only by continuing our climb will we realize that He is the power and endurance in us to abide, to survive and to accomplish what He has designed our lives to accomplish.  In those times when our body wants to give up, when our soul is discouraged, it is the Spirit of the Son that rallies within us and that reminds us that He has called us unto Himself.  Where He has called us He has also gone before us and made a way for us. We are reminded that this journey and this climb is not in our ability, but it is in His ability through us as we press on in faith, believing that He is mighty within us.   We are a called out people, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and a holy nation.  We are the overcomers of God set apart for the glory of His Name, but we must keep climbing and keep pressing onward, upward and inward.  As we climb we are developing agility, wisdom, faith and strength.  Even when we slip upon the path, we sense the unseen hand of His grace laying hold of us and helping us back up into the way.  

Sometimes we sit for a moment to catch our breath and regain our strength, but we never want our eye distracted from following that path that continues upward.  We know that at every bend and over every precipice we may catch a greater revelation of His glory and find new truth revealed.  Everyday is an adventure, a challenge and a steadfast commitment to follow on to Know Him in a greater and higher way.  He is saying to the weak and the lame, “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  Take courage you saints of God as you ascend the mountain and be renewed in the spirit of your faith and place confidence in the high calling you have in Christ Jesus.  “You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our “God is a consuming fire.””(Hebrew 12:18-29).

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14



Enter In, the Third Dimension, Part 2

Hebrews 9:16-22

This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

This scripture is pregnant with promise and while we as Christians enjoy a greater degree of intimacy and closeness in our relationship with our God, yet there is still an itch in our spirit that cries out to be scratched.  We experience our God’s glory and presence in a measure, but we know that there is so much more we have yet to experience.  In those moments in our walk with our God, when we taste of a deeper revelation and experience of His holy presence, when His Spirit comes over us and we are undone in ourselves and yet sense the fullness of joy and completeness that only His presence can bring, our spirits cry out, “Abba, Father, we want more of you”.  Inwardly we groan and travail because we know that still we haven’t experienced and aren’t walking in the fullness of what He has created us for.  

It is a principle of God that many times God gives us a promise that we lay hold of and enter into by faith, but we don’t always fully experience the full manifestation until its fullness of time. Abraham had the promises of God, but saw only a small portion of them fulfilled in his lifetime.  God has given us principles here and in the Old Testament examples for entering into the Holy of Holies.  

First, we know that there is no entrance without the blood of Christ applied to our hearts by faith.  Secondly we see that Christ Jesus was not only the sacrifice, but also the high priest and it was only the high priest that could enter into the presence of Almighty God.  In the Old Testament the high priest wore what was called an ephod or breastplate set with two onyx stones. These stones represented the twelve tribes of Israel (Exodus 28:12).  When the high priest entered into the Holiest of All, all of the tribes and all of the peoples were represented there in that ephod.  We could have no entrance before the presence of God in ourselves, but as believers, by faith, we are in Christ.  The identification of who we are is no longer seen in that former sinful man we were, but in the Christ man that we are, one in Him.  When we come before the Father in faith He no longer sees sinful, corrupt flesh, He sees the righteousness of His Son because we are in Him and covered by His blood.  This is what gives us that boldness to approach His throne.  We don’t come before the Lord with defilement.  The Word says here, “ Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”   We have touched on our ‘approaching in full assurance of faith’, meaning without doubt or wavering.  It says that our hearts should be sprinkled from an evil conscience.  We need to deal with heart issues that aren’t right with the Lord whether that be unforgiveness or sin we are still harboring in our hearts.  These issues need to be dealt with and put under the blood of Jesus.  Otherwise there is a defilement that brings separation.  Our bodies are to be washed with pure water.  It is Spirit and Truth, the washing of the water of the Word, quickened and revealed by the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:24, “ God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.”  It is not about where we worship that matters, it is about how we worship that matters to God.  

Lastly let us discuss this area of worship because it is the atmosphere that God lives in continually.  In heaven around His throne we see the picture that there are multitudes of heavenly hosts of angles and the redeemed of the Lord singing and worshipping their God continually without ceasing.  This is the atmosphere that we need to cultivate within our spirit.  There was a piece of furniture that stood at the entrance of the Holy of Holies.  It was the altar of incense.  The priest would burn sweet smelling incense and wave the smoke of it before the Lord.  This is our praise.  Our worship and praise is foundational to our entering into the Lord’s presence.  Praise is used in some 216 verses, so the Holy Spirit is telling us this is a key not to be overlooked in approaching the throne of God.  Psalms 22:3 says, “But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”  If we want to enter in and experience the presence of the Holy One we need to worship in Spirit and in Truth. We need to create the atmosphere of praise and worship that invites His presence into our midst.  We will experience more of the presence of God in this atmosphere than anything else we can do.  

The body the Lord has given us is His tabernacle.  We have a body, outer court, a soul, holy place, and a spirit, which is our Holy of Holies.  What part of your being are you living out of?

Ours is a progressive walk in the Spirit as we seek to grow up into Christ in all things.  By faith and the blood of Jesus we go through each entrance into a deeper level and experience with God.  We have only touched on a vast subject as we briefly looked at each entrance into the greater depth and dimensions of God.  In conclusion, let us share the vision that Paul had as He pursued the fullness of God for his life in Philippians 3:8-16, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” 



Enter In, the Third Dimension

As we touch upon the entrance of this Dimension we do so with utmost reverence, respect and awe for in this place the very presence of the Almighty God dwells and resides.  In the Old Testament tabernacle the glory cloud of the Lord rested over this place.  The Holy of Holies was a foursquare room inside of the Holy Place.   It contained the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat that covered it.  Within the Ark it contained the ten commandments, the golden pot with manna and Aaron’s rod that budded.   In Holy of Holies only the high priest could enter once a year to make a blood atonement for the people of Israel.  The high priest had better be right in his heart and life when he entered into this dimension, because he would fall dead if he entered with any defilement.  He had bells on the bottom of his robe so they could hear if he was still moving and they would tie a rope around his waist in case he died so they could pull him out.  

This is the highest and most holy realm of all.  The Word says that anyone who beheld God would surely die.  Our flesh can’t stand before Him and live.  In this place God was pretty much separated from man.  It was only the blood sacrifice and the atonement that allowed any access at all.  It is important that we see that in every dimension the blood never looses its power, but it is the only substance that provides access into the presence of the Almighty from beginning to end.  This is why Christ Jesus is so central and the key of our salvation is in Him.  In the Father’s eyes He is the sinless Lamb of God, offered upon the cross and His blood was shed for the atonement of all mankind.  The blood of animals only stood as a substitute until the fullness of times came and Christ Jesus came on the scene to be that eternal, once for all, sacrifice for all of mankind, past, present and future.  Not only did Jesus become the supreme sacrifice; He is also the spiritual High Priest of our confession no longer after the Levitical order of the Old Testament priest, but after the order of an eternal priesthood, the order of Mekelsadek.  This is explained in Hebrews 7.  There is so much here and I can only hope to begin to touch on it, but Hebrews 7:22-26 says, “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;” What we now see is that with the New Testament and the advent of Christ there is a new order that changed the old order of how things were.  When Christ Jesus hung upon that cross and gave up the spirit something supernatural and even superspiritual happened.  Matthew 27:51 says, “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” The veil was the thick seven layered curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.  God was revealing that through the death of His Son, the veil, representing His flesh was torn and access was now provided that had never been available before into this most Holy Place.  Hebrews 9:16-22 says it like this, “This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”  

We will continue this in the next session and speak more of Entering In, the Third Dimension.



Enter In, the Second Dimension

1 Peter 2:5

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 

In the tabernacle, the plan that God gave to Moses, there was a blueprint of heavenly order.  God works throughout His word in three dimensions.  There are many examples of this of which He as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we, as body, soul and spirit are a primary example.  We have talked briefly of the first dimension, the outer court and how the entrance is a type of coming into a relationship with God through our faith in Christ and receiving Him as the sacrifice for our sins.  There we confessed with our mouth and believed in our hearts that God did raise Him up from the dead.  If we have not yet done this, then this is where relationship with God begins.

Now the second dimension in the tabernacle was the Holy Place.  This was not a place the general multitudes of Israel came into.  It was a place of priesthood ministry.  The order of priesthood ministry at the time of Moses was through the tribe of Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, of which Moses and his brother Aaron were a part.  The function of this place was for priests to operate from as they did their service between God and man.  The requirement of entering this dimension was that you had to be a priest.  Off hand we might think, “well, that leaves me out,” but the New Testament order changes what qualifies as the office of a priest.  

Now understand that in the Old Testament order it paints for us the function and office of priesthood.  It was a place of consecration, being set apart for service.  The priest washed in a polished brass basin which could be symbolic to us today of washing in the water of the word as it speaks of in Ephesians 5:26, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” The priest could see his reflection as he washed, much as the Holy Spirit reveals our heart as it is reflected back to us through the light and truth of His Word.  He didn’t dress with regular garments.  The garments used for priestly ministry were made of linen, which didn’t cause sweat.  Sweat typified the works and efforts of our natural man.  The priest’s tasks and duties are to be done with the strength and empowerment of the Lord, not our fleshly or religious efforts.   As a priest one would step from the place of expecting to be ministered too, to the place of ministering to others.  In order to operate out of the Holy Place, the entrance included ministry horizontally, man to man and vertically from man to God.  The call of God on the priests was one of consecration and relationship with Him on a more personal and intimate level.  It became less outward and more inward as he learned to minister out of the realm of the Spirit of God and not out of the natural realm. The call to priestly ministry for the believer is not seen in going to seminary and being approved or appointed of men.  It is seen first through the call we find in our verse today in 1 Peter, which tells us that we “are built up an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices. ”  It is call upward to increased maturity in our spiritual walk with Christ.  

What are these spiritual sacrifices?  Romans 12:1-2 says, “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. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  The place of the believer is a call to priestly service by the offering of ourselves, our wills and the transformation of our minds from thinking like the world to thinking as God thinks.  We learn that as we study, meditate and practice His Word.  The sacrifice God is looking for is not in a lot of religious works and efforts, but in the obedient and submitted heart to hear His Spirit and do his will.  Another area of spiritual sacrifice is seen in Hebrews 13:15, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.”  When our lives are in alignment with the will and purpose of God, that will be maintained through the sacrifice of our lips that expresses from our heart a continual praise, worship and thanksgiving to the Lord.   It is the worship that perpetuates Spirit and Truth ministry and ‘it is out of the abundance of the heart that our mouths speak.’

The Holy Place was illuminated by the golden candlestick fed by the pure olive oil as opposed to the outer court, which was illuminated by natural sunlight.  The Holy Place is a place that we gain spiritual understanding and revelation.  It is a place we are baptized into a deeper measure of the Spirit of God.  It was a place where the table of shewbread was placed speaking of the life and body of Christ.  That, in turn, speaks of our communion with Him and the body of Christ.  It is a place of holy things.  

The entrance into this second dimension of the Holy Place is that place where we begin to walk in the things of the Spirit and seek to be led by the Spirit.  We are no longer our own, but begin to mature and learn the place of Holy service and sacrifice where our lives are laid down, we take up our cross and follow Him.  It is a place where we become more than followers; we begin to develop and operate out of the spiritual gifts and anointing the Lord has placed upon us.   We are learning the place of selfless service to God and to man, but it is not a service of works, it is a service of love and divine direction.  And so Peter speaks again of our calling and priest hood in Christ when he says in 1 Peter  2:9, “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:”  The priests bear the witness of their testimony and overcome by the blood of the Lamb.  The priestly ministry begins within our own lives and families.  Let us not neglect and take lightly this office and place the Holy Spirit is calling us to take responsibility for.  It is the second entrance in our progression to the Holy of Holies. 



Enter In, the First Dimension 

Jeremiah 7:2

Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all [ye of] Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.

When Moses was given instruction by God to build the tabernacle, there were three dimensions to its construction.  There was the outer court where only the Jewish people could come in, those who were the circumcised Jews.  Strangers and uncircumcised could not enter in.  Ezekiel 44:9  says, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that [is] among the children of Israel” 

The tabernacle is a very in depth study as God reveals through its structure and protocol an outline of spiritual worship, communion and relationship with God.  We could not begin to touch on all these in this brief discourse.  What the Lord has impressed is to just look briefly at the entrance to each one.  As we come into Christ, the first thing we come to understand is that God is God and that our sin has made a separation whereby we are outside of Him.  In that place of the world, ruled by sin and death we come to understand that all that is outside of Him is subject to the judgement of God because it stands in opposition to Him. The good news is that “God so loved the world, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”  Jesus was the perfect lamb, offered upon the altar of the Cross to make atonement for our sins, to bring us into “at-one-ment” with the Heavenly Father.  By His blood and faith in Him we now, as strangers, uncircumcised outsiders, could find entrance into the outer court experience of salvation and relationship with God.  With that, our relationship with God went from an impersonal, fearful, understanding clouded in ignorance to one where when we received Him into our hearts by faith, He became a personal, loving, Abba (Daddy) God.  One where we reverence Him with all awe and respect, but one where we know He is a God who is personally interested in every aspect of our lives and existence.  

The first thing one encountered when entering the entrance to the outer-court of the tabernacle was the Brazen Altar.  This is where the sin offerings were made for the people and the blood of animals was shed as symbol of the life that must sacrificed for sin and it’s consequences.  Jesus became that for us.  His blood is essential to every dimension that we come into in our spiritual walk with Him.  It is our righteousness, it is our covering, protection and sanctification.  Without the blood of Christ we have no place in Him.  There is wonder working power in the Blood and we can never offer enough praise and thankfulness to our Lord who has provided that for us.  Romans 9:10-12 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”  We have found access and entrance into the outer court whether we are Jew or Gentile through the blood of Jesus and by faith confessing His name as the Lord of our lives.  This is our salvation entrance.



A Call to Respond

October 7, 2016

A Call to Respond

Luke 9:61-62

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. 

We have heard a call to respond to Christ in our lives.  Some of us have heard the calling to salvation and relationship and others have heard even deeper callings to service and ministry.  Whatever our calling we so often don’t want our separation from what we were called from to be without strings and attachments.  We still hold affection for those former things.  What Jesus speaks in the scripture is a hard thing.  Most of us would feel that the man’s request to say farewell before following Jesus was not unreasonable.  It makes me think about how many times that the Lord has impressed upon my heart to do something or say something and I’ve hesitated, procrastinated or felt I would do it when I finished doing something else first.  The Lord is speaking to our hearts to really come to full and unconditional surrender of all other affections with regards to the kingdom of God.   The Lord is asking for a commitment from us where we will not turn around and look back at what we left behind and what we were called out from.  He wants our immediate obedience and complete faithfulness.  

We have been called to press in, press on and prevail through our faith in Christ our Lord.  We have come out of death and into life.  We can no longer turn back to death that is now behind us.  We must press on with faith and obedience into the Life that’s before us.  Perhaps it is our hesitancy and lack of full obedience and response to Christ that makes us lukewarm and unpalatable to the Lord that he would spew us out of His mouth.  Our love for Christ is demonstrated and seen in our obedience to Him.  Today He is calling us to let go of what we are holding onto, the former things of the world that are anchors and hindrances to our relationship and service to Him.  

Hebrews 12:1-3 exhorts us, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”   A soldier, when he enlists, no longer has an allegiance to himself, but to the one he has enlisted to serve.  Our calling is no different.  



Fear Not

October 6, 2016

Malachi 4:1-3

“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. 3 Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty. 

Fear Not

Most of us are aware that we live in troubled times.  Often fear and uncertainty will want to grip our hearts.  I believe we have entered into the day of the Lord, so these things are to be expected, but Father doesn’t want His children to live in a state of doubt, fear or unbelief.  In this hour He has been calling us up into Him that He may hide us in the shadow of His wing.  This is the hour for the world to fear not His believers.  Are we going to go through tribulation?  Of course, Jesus says in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.  Let me tell you that by the Spirit He is still overcoming the world through His saints.  He has set down at the right hand of the Father until His enemies be made His foot stool.  That means that if we are the body of Christ then all enemies must be put under us as well.  

I was somewhat amazed as God dropped this particular scripture into my spirit this morning and yet I am not surprised.  He is bringing such a spirit of encouragement to His people as we watch the clouds building upon the horizon.  

Why do calves leap when released from the stall?  They leap because they have been released from a place of confinement and captivity.  They leap for joy because they are experiencing a freedom that they have longed and prayed for.  That’s us.  While God is bringing judgement upon the evildoer, He is coming to His beloved with healing in His wings.  He is ministering life, liberty, freedom, release and Jubilee like we have never experienced before.  People of God; rejoice in your Savior, for He is coming with healing in His wings to set you free.  Those things that have held you and bound you, it is now time for you to trample them under your feet.  

Fear not little flock, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  



2 Samuel 22

1 David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 

3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent men you save me. 4 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, 

and I am saved from my enemies. 5 “The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 6 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 7 In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. 8 “The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry. 9 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. 10 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. 11 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. 12 He made darkness his canopy around him— 

the dark rain clouds of the sky. 13 Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth. 14 The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. 15 He shot arrows and scattered the enemies , bolts of lightning and routed them. 16 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils. 17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. 20 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. 21 “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. 22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God. 23 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. 24 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. 25 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight. to the blameless you show yourself blameless, 27 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. 28 You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low. 29 You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light. 30 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. 31 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 32 For who is God besides the LORD ? And who is the Rock except our God? 33 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. 34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; 

he enables me to stand on the heights. 35 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 36 You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great. 37 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. 38 “I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 39 I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 40 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 41 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. 42 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them to the LORD, but he did not answer. 43 I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets. 44 “You have delivered me from the attacks of my people; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know are subject to me, 45 and foreigners come cringing to me; 

as soon as they hear me, they obey me. 46 They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds. 

47 “The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior! 48 He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me, 49 who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me. 50 Therefore I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. 51 He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”

When You are Circling the Drain

God is with you even as you fight your battles and experience the hand of the enemy against you.  God hasn’t brought you this far to fail you.  Even as His anointed David was circling the drain and was for all intents and purposes a goner according to conventional wisdom, it was God alone who rescued Him and preserved His life from destruction.  Some of you have felt this kind of onslaught from the enemy.  You have cried out to God, but still the enemy advanced against you.  Perhaps it looks to you like all is lost, but don’t lose your faith.  David says of the Lord, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. 20 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”  You have been going through the fire and under severe attack.  For all practical purposes it would seem the enemy is winning, but it is in our time of greatest weakness that we behold the mighty strength and power of our God.  

Those who rule and reign with Him must know this place of testing and proving.  It is what tempers us for the throne.  Yes, we can become discouraged, tired and weary.  There are times we cry out to God either take me or deliver me.  All things are according to His time and wisdom and not our own.  When you know and experience His deliverance it will be as none other could provide.  When the Lord takes up your cause the pursuer will become the pursued.  Your trial and curse will become your victory and your triumph.  You shall prevail, because you have put your full trust in the Rock of your salvation.  God’s word to you today is to hold fast your faith and stay the course.  Soon, you, like David will make the declaration; “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 

3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent men you save me. 4 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, 

and I am saved from my enemies.”  You are passing from your strength into His strength.  Even though you can’t go on, He remains mighty in you.  You shall prevail if you remain steadfast.  



Hey You! Wake Up!

October 4, 2016

1 Peter 5:9-10

8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Hey You! Wake Up!

Isn’t it amazing how there can be a time when we are so in love, so on fire, so excited, full of joy and anticipation about someone or something, but as time goes on that which was extraordinary, can become ordinary, neglected and taken for granted.  It has often happened with our spouse, our children, our careers, but most unfortunate is that it also happens with our relationship with the Lord.  The things, events, people and especially our God, how do they fall off the radar of intensity, love and excitement?  Other things keep coming in and little by little diverting our attention, draining our excitement and distracting us from that which was once the most important thing in our lives.  Sometimes opposition, trials, frustrations tend to exhaust us and we get tired and want to give up.  So we tend to quit trying, we just want to take a sabbatical from all of our problems and challenges in life.  Often when we come to this place we let go of our self-control.   Instead of alert we be become apathetic, complacent and uncaring.  Now we are ripe for the adversary to come in.  We are like the sheep separated from the flock, vulnerable and easy prey.  You are not alone when this happens.  It happens to most of us at one time or another.  That is why we so often see our brothers or sisters that were so strong in the Lord and then we find out they have fallen into sin, or a couple that seemed to have such a strong family and marriage has come to divorce and separation.  The enemy is looking for our places of weakness and vulnerability.  This is one reason we need to be strong in our relationship with the body and have close fellowship.  We need accountability with one another, we need to be able to share our weaknesses and struggles praying and lifting up one another rather than condemning, judging and gossiping about each other.  

Brothers and sisters you have precious seed within you.  You have the life and promise of Christ within.  You have an enemy that hates that seed.  He will do whatever will rob, steal or destroy it out of your life.  He will do whatever will make you fall or others to fall because of you.  This why the Holy Spirit is saying here, “Wake up!  Pay attention!  Come out of your slumber, your apathy and complacency.  The destroyer is near and seeking opportunity.  

A pastor shared a scripture out of Proverbs 24:10-12, “If you falter in times of trouble, 

how small is your strength! 11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. 12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? 

Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?”  We have a responsibility not only to stay awake for ourselves, but also to rescue one another when we are getting weak or faltering in our walk.   We are all going to have trials, difficulties, troubles, heartaches and temptations.  That is a part of our destiny and heritage.  While none of us look forward to going through these they are the birth pains of the kingdom of God within us.  These are the places where God is able to help us to find the riches of gold tried in the fire, When we overcome and prevail through them in the faith of Christ, this is what makes it ours because we possess a victory through experience.  It is great to read the testimonies of others, but there is nothing more precious than when the testimony becomes our own.  We all have testimonies and experiences, but in the midst of the heat of our trials we tend to forget what God has already done for us.  I find that I am often brought to tears as I begin to remember and recount the many blessings and faithfulness of God in my life.  It is always good to keep a journal of all the answered prayers and the ways that God is moving and doing in your life, because we have short memories and we tend to forget.  We only see what God hasn’t done for us yet, rather than all that He has already done.  Recounting the blessing and faithfulness of God will build faith, reassurance, new hope and confidence as you are facing your trials and tribulations.  Ask David.  Much of Psalms is David writing about the faithfulness of God in His life and the attributes of His character and nature.  That was building faith in Him to continue to stand in His trials, putting His faith in the Lord in the midst of great adversity.  

This is a day when the tempo of the spirit world is changing.  It is going to become much more intense both in light and in darkness.  God is going to begin moving through His people again in a much more powerful way.  As He does the spirit of opposition will also become stronger.  It is not a day to run and hide or be fearful.   It is a day to rise up in the authority you have in Christ Jesus and come forth in a new boldness of faith.   As I prayed this morning there was a fresh anointing of power and authority as I prayed and prophesied over loved ones and those that God would have me pray for.  

Let us wake up out of our apathy and complacency of spirit.  Get excited again about the mighty Christ who has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.  Open your ears and eyes to the things of the Spirit, stepping into what God shows you with authority and purpose.  Remember what can happen through you isn’t dependent upon your ability, but upon your willingness to allow Him to be mighty in and through you.  Together, as one man, let us lift up holy hands and say, “Here am I God, send me.”  Let us stir up one another to good works and ministry.  Let us edify, build up one another and magnify the name of the Lord in our midst.  Hey you! Wake up!  This is a day for us to walk in victory and to be filled with the joy and excitement of what our God wants to do in and through each of us. 



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