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

Love Your self

October 27, 2014

Galatians 5:14
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love Your self

It is interesting sometimes as a photographer to see how people view themselves. Often, when viewing family or individual photographs people can be very critical of themselves. Most often it is the women. They can see and magnify weaknesses or faults that most everyone else considers normal and a part of them. It is not uncommon that great family portraits will fail because mom doesn’t like the way she looks.
In today’s age of technology we have the skills and abilities to actually go in and alter the way someone looks. We can lift and tuck some of the sagging parts, hide the blemishes and soften the wrinkles, but the real issue may not be how we look to ourselves outwardly, but how we perceive ourselves inwardly.
On the other hand I have photographed attractive ladies who may have had a scar that could have easily been removed. I find it is often best to ask people what they do and do not want taken away, because assumptions can get you into trouble. These women that I refer too wanted their scars to remain, because to them they were a reminder of what they had been through and the gift of life that they still had. In today’s world many of us feel the pressure to live this façade of a perfect life, have a perfect body, beautiful looks, a perfect home, children and husband or wife. The truth is that that is not the real world. We all have scars, wrinkles, handicaps and weaknesses whether they are outwardly evident or not. Brushing or photoshoping over them isn’t going to take the reality of them away, nor should it. These blemishes upon our lives are the evidence that we have lived and experienced what life had to offer and that it wasn’t always nice or kind.
The Lord tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, but some of us don’t really love ourselves, so how can we love our neighbor properly? Understand that all real people have weaknesses, faults and frailties. That is a trait of our humanity. Don’t be ashamed of yourself and don’t boast in yourself, but rather see the completeness of yourself in Christ. Christ is not a crutch; He is the fulfillment and the completion of our humanity. The scars, the wrinkles and experiences that we share all testify that by the grace of God we survived them and we are still taking hold of life. The wonderful thing about our relationship with Christ is that where we end, He begins and where we are weak, He is strong.
Don’t be so harsh and judgmental of yourself. I know that sometimes I think, “God, why am I stuck with being me?” It is because in my weakness He is made strong and His grace is sufficient for all of my needs, my infirmities and my weaknesses. If you are down on yourself today it is because you don’t have your eyes on Jesus. Take courage, take heart and know that you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Love yourself as Christ loves you.

Blessings,
#kent

What God does to us or for us?

Job 42:1-6
Then Job replied to the LORD : 2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

How many of us have gone through times in our lives when we have experienced such pain, sorrow or disappointment at circumstances that have come upon us or happened to us? We question, “God where are you, where were you and why did you let this happen to me”? There are those of us who have gotten angry, offended and hurt because we felt that the Lord let us down and He didn’t meet our expectations in the ways that we thought He should have. Perhaps God would ask us, as He did Job, ‘Who is this that obscures council without knowledge?’ God is the Magnificent One that created the Universe, the earth and all of the mysteries and wonders contained therein. Would we be so bold as to compare our wisdom and understanding with His? If what God says in Romans 8:28 is true, “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,” then we must believe that God is working for our good. Jesus never makes the promise to deliver us from tribulation. In fact, He says just the opposite, “…In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). To the natural mind, life often isn’t fair and it doesn’t always make sense. It is in these times that we must rely upon our faith to bridge the gap between our understanding and God’s plan. Often what we thought was the enemy coming against us, in retrospect, we see the hand of God was working through what seemed to be a negative circumstance to bring us into God’s plan and higher will for our lives. It serves to stretch us and takes us to places we would never go on our own.
Let us not be so foolish as to attempt to pass judgement upon God for allowing things to happen to us. His ways are so much higher than our ways and His thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts. Job thought He had a pretty good handle on understanding God till His world and theology got turned upside down. The one thing that Job never lost was faith and trust in the Lord. I think that with many of us it will be as it was with Job when he said, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” When we really come into the revelation and presence of God and all that He is we will repent that we ever questioned, doubted or spoke negative of Him.
God is not doing things to us; He is doing things for us. Our understanding may not comprehend it, but our trust has to receive it and know that God’s nature is to work in our behalf. Even when that means we are crushed in the process, it is because He does love us and sees the end from the beginning. We see in terms of time and earthly values. God sees in eternity and kingdom values. God values you. Even when you don’t understand His hand, trust His heart. God is for you, trust Him and rest in His wisdom, love and council.

Blessings,
kent

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