Exodus 26:14
And thou shalt make a covering for the tent [of] rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above [of] badgers’ skins.

Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover

If we read the description in the Old Testament of the interior of the Tabernacle we find that it was made up of very costly and finely made furniture and pieces. We know that within the Holiest place were the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. We know that the very presence of God Himself would manifest and come into that place. Isn’t is strange that with such beauty and holiness within, God chose to have a ram’s skin dyed red and an old plain ugly badger skin to be the outward covering? The person that would look upon the tabernacle from without and that didn’t have knowledge of its contents would not think that it was anything particularly special. It looked very ordinary, plain and unattractive.
We have all heard the expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That was very true of the tabernacle. We can speak to the symbolism of the tabernacle in several different ways. We know it was a type of Christ, but we also know that it can be symbolic of our lives as well. Let’s look for a moment at how it pertains to us. The old badger skin covering is like our bodies, which house our soul and our spirit. The man and woman of God contain something within them that is far more precious than silver or gold. They are the containers of the Christ and the Holy Spirit of God. The outward man, though he or she may be very plain, are the essence of this structure. The body simply serves to house and facilitate the soul and spirit’s function and activity. The ram’s skin dyed red speaks to the redemption of the soul washed in the blood of the lamb. The soul again is the residence of the spirit.
God often wraps His most precious gifts in plain brown paper. If our ideas of wealth, success and power are all about what we see as beauty in the outward world or in the outward man, then we have overlooked the truly rich, wealthy and powerful. The riches of God are hidden throughout the earth covered in plain, ordinary badger skin. The world will be amazed at the unveiling of the sons of God, when Christ is made fully manifest in them. Those they disregarded and counted as nothing will be the kings and priest that rule and reign.
Maybe you don’t even think that you are anything today. Maybe all that you see in yourself is that old badger skin that is getting more weathered and worn with time. What God sees is the rich and eternal presence of His life within you. What God sees is that you have become the habitation of His praise and worship. He covets His redeemed and He nurtures us under the shadow of His wing that which others may see as just a covering of badger skin. Jesus said, “ The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21) Don’t be so concerned about your outward status or success or beauty, come to know how rich you are in Christ and cultivate the riches of His grace within you. One day the cover will be opened and your book will be read by all.

Blessings,
#kent

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In God’s Time

April 13, 2015

Acts 12:25, 13:5, 13
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled [their] ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
13From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.

In God’s Time

Many a young person has been caught up in the zeal of the Lord and desired to go into ministry. One thing that many don’t realize at first is that to be a true minister of God is it is not man or education that truly prepares you. Certainly God can and does us these in the process, but what any of us who desire to be in the service of the Lord must realize is God’s order and not man’s. It is really God who raises up a man or woman for His work. It is He who trains them through most often humble beginnings. It is He that anoints them for their calling and it is He that test their hearts before He sets them in a place of authority and ministry. For many of you who are excited to serve God, we are not always ready when we think we are. Such is the case with John Mark.
John Mark was the son of Mary and we first hear about him when Peter is locked in jail in Jerusalem. Herod had pretty much chalked Peter in to be the next martyr after having put to death James. We read the account of the angel coming into the prison and setting Peter free. Peter then goes to the house of Mary. Acts 12:12 says, “And when he had considered [the thing], he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.” We gather from this introduction that Mark had some strong Christian influences and roots. He gets his first shot at getting on the big name ministry team of Paul and Barnabas, and so we see him embarking on his first missionary trip in Acts 12: 25. Then over in Acts 13:5 it affirms that John is there with them as an apprentice and helper, but by verse 13 we see John leaving them and returning to Jerusalem. What happened? The word doesn’t give us much in the way of details, but it becomes obvious in Acts 15:37-40 that Paul was not impressed by Mark and wanted no more part in his going with them again. Apparently Mark wasn’t as ready and able as He thought. Maybe he couldn’t take it and went home, but Barnabas was one that did see the potential and continued to believe in Mark even after he apparently failed the first journey. Later we see that Paul has softened his position concerning Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11 when he remarks, “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”
The message we can learn from Mark’s life is that ministry and service to God comes through a preparation of God. Sometimes we may fail to meet our own expectations or the expectation of those we are working with. Fortunately Mark didn’t just quit and fortunately he had men who still believed in Him and helped him to come into his place of ministry and service. Mark was also known to be Mark the Evangelist and later wrote one of the first gospels, the gospel of Mark, thought to have been largely narrated and influenced by Peter.
When we look over the lives of many of God’s great people we see them coming up against times of apparent failure, shortcoming, trials and tribulation. What we come to realize is that this is really God’s school of preparation. We may know that God has anointed us and given us a passion in some area of ministry, but what we have to be careful of is that we allow Him to establish and place us in that ministry in His time and His way. That often means that we may feel passed over, put aside or not really valued. All of the time it is searching our true heart and motives, to see if there would be any unclean, impure or selfish motive on our part. When we can truly be okay with whatever and whenever the Lord wants to use us, then we are getting much closer to being where He wants us. Love always wants God’s best first and our best last.
Moses was 80 when he started his ministry. David was anointed as young teen, but didn’t become king until he was 30. The word tells us not to despise the day of small things. It is in those days that our hearts and lives are being prepared for greater ministry. We must first prove ourselves faithful in the little before we can be faithful over much. Don’t be discouraged if your life and ministry isn’t where you want it to be. Remember God is in control, not you and not man.

Blessings,
#kent

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