The Rains are Coming!

August 26, 2015

Joel 2:21-24 (The Message translation)
Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things. Fear not, wild animals! The fields and meadows are greening up. The trees are bearing fruit again: a bumper crop of fig trees and vines! Children of Zion, celebrate! Be glad in your God. He’s giving you a teacher to train you how to live right—Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do. And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain, casks of wine and barrels of olive oil.

The Rains are Coming!

As I was asking the Lord about what to write this morning, I heard in my Spirit, “Tell my people the rains are coming.” He then reminded me of the rains spoken of in Joel 2:23. King James reads, “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” Just as the rains of heaven rejuvenate and give the life giving fluids to grow the crops, so the Spirit anointed teaching of God’s Word will come like rain to cause His people to come forth in spiritual fruitfulness. We have all set under much teaching and even good instruction, but this teaching and Word of God will be life changing and spirit transforming. It will come with the demonstration of such power and life that it will be a well of restoration, breakthrough and freedom. This rain comes after a time of great darkness upon the earth. It comes after a time where the people of God have entered into fasting and praying, of rending their hearts and not just their garments. It comes as we fully return to the Lord and bring the acceptable sacrifices of a broken and contrite heart.
When this rain breaks forth it will be like none you have seen before. It will be the former and the latter rain together, a double portion blessing upon the people of God. The rains are necessary both for preparing the soil to plant and also for bringing the harvest to fruition. These rains are for the bringing forth of a great harvest in the earth and also for the fruition of that which has already been planted. The rest of the passage of Joel 2 goes on to read, “24And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come. 32And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”
There is a season for every purpose under heaven. There is a season for tearing down and destruction, but that preceeds the season of restoration, blessing and life. Let us prepare our hearts in the manner that God has prescribed, seeking Him in fasting, repentance and prayer. For surely He will answer us and bring the showers of His blessing and life.

Blessings,
#kent

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Horns of the Altar

March 16, 2015

Leviticus 4:18
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.

Blessings,
#kent

God Offenses

February 21, 2014

Genesis 4:2-6

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”


God Offenses


How many of us, if we are being totally honest, have had times and maybe still are, when we were angry or offended at God?  God didn’t answer in the way or time that we thought he should have.  Maybe someone we loved dearly was taken from us or someone we had been praying for to be healed died anyway.  Maybe that spouse never came back as we believed God to heal our marriage.  Somewhere along the way most all of us have had the opportunity to take up an offense with God, because He didn’t meet our expectations.  I know there has been times I have struggled with that and maybe we say, “We’ll God, what is the use of praying and believing if you’re not going to answer.”  The fact is, He did answer, it just wasn’t the answer we were looking for or that we wanted to hear.  One thing about God is that He is far too great and big to fit in the box of our finite thinking.  

When we come to these places in our life we find ourselves in the place where Cain was.  God didn’t reject Cain.  He simply told him to do what was right and he would be accepted, “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” 

What was Cain doing wrong?  There is a principle in the Word of God that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22).  Cain was a man of the soil, which speaks to him being man that operated out of the works of his hands.  What he brought God was the product of the works of his hand.  Our works are not an acceptable sacrifice.  It is not that good works can’t result out of faith, but neither can they be the substitute for faith.   The fat portions of the lamb that Abel offered spoke of the blood that covers sin and the sacrifice of that offers up our flesh to Him as a living sacrifice (Roman 12:1).  

When we pray and believe God that is a good thing, but He doesn’t act according to our will unless it is in alignment with His will and purpose. 

Let’s take a New Testament example of offense.  This one that the Lord showed to Sharon, my wife, but a lot of us don’t really see it.  It deals with John the Baptist when he is imprisoned by Herod.  

Does he know who Jesus is?  

John 1:29-34 says, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”  So, yes, he knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.  

Matthew 11:2-15 reveals John the Baptist’s offense with Jesus. “When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

We just read in John 1 where John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the Christ.  So if He is the Christ why hasn’t He done a miracle or something to rescue John the Baptist?  Do you suppose John the Baptist was praying to God to take him out of that prison?  If Jesus can work miracles and He is the Son of God, then surely He can get his servant, John the Baptist, this great man of God out of prison.  

John was in a test.  The enemy was no doubt bringing everything about God and his ministry into question as he remained there in that dark dingy cell.  He was even beginning to question if this Jesus really was the Son of God. Sin was crouching at the door and only an unrelenting faith would conquer it, but he sends his disciples to ask Jesus if He really is the Christ.  Have we ever been in a test like that?  

“4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

7As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’

Jesus rehearses the greatness and the calling of God on the life of John the Baptist, that there was none greater and yet what does He say?  “yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  Why?  Because John the Baptist had taken up an offense with God. 

11I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15He who has ears, let him hear.

What forcefully advances the kingdom of God is those who refuse to be offended when things don’t work out their way.  They will speak as Job did in Job 1:18-22, “While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

20At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job didn’t take up an offense, even though God contradicted every principle he knew,  he would not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.  It was this kind of faith and faithfulness in Job that would eventually promote him into a priestly ministry  of intercession and bring a double portion increase of all that had been taken from him.

We may need to repent today if there has been a offense in our heart against God.  We aren’t always going to understand the ways of God and it is not necessary that we do.  What is necessary is that we maintain our faith and our faithfulness.   ‘He gives and He takes away, but blessed be the name of the Lord.’  ‘When we can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.’

 

Blessings,

kent

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