The City of our God

October 9, 2015

The City of our God

Psalms 48:1-3
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.

Most of us understand the concept that when we talk about the church we are not just speaking of physical locations made up of sticks and stones and building material. We know that when God speaks of His church He is speaking of the organism and a body that functions under the headship and authority of Christ. The city of God and Zion are the same way. Yes there is a natural Jerusalem and Mount Zion, but it is much more than a physical location; it is a spiritual location. Many of us have become so earthly minded that we only see Jerusalem in a natural context. We fail to fully comprehend that this city is comprised of His people and that King Jesus is upon its throne, ruling out of mount Zion. Mount Zion was in the older part of the natural city of Jerusalem. It was a citadel, a high place and a fortress. It included Mount Moriah where the temple was built. God has used Jerusalem and Zion as a metaphor throughout His word to speak of the spiritual city of His holy habitation.
Hebrews 11:8-10 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.” God founded this city of salvation in Abraham. It was there that God sent Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Genesis 22:2 says, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” It was Mount Moriah where Solomon built the temple. “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where [the LORD] appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. (2 Chronicles 3:1)” It was in Jerusalem that God fulfilled His promise of salvation because it became again the place of the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son when Jesus gave His life for our sins. And finally we see Jerusalem, not the old natural city, but the New Jerusalem which is from above, as being the completion of God’s salvation at Christ’s return. Revelations 21:2 tells us, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” This is Lord’s church, His Bride, His holy habitation and dwelling. You and I are a part of that now as Christ indwells us. The Word speaks to this heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews 12:22-24, “But 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.” This Jerusalem is a spiritual city and assembly whose builder and maker is God. The natural has been the type and shadow to reveal the real.
Finally we come to a scripture that we have shared many times that so describes the part we play in this city. 1 Peter 2:4-9 says, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” We, the body of Christ are what constitutes and comprises this New Jerusalem. Out of this New Jerusalem the Lord will reign and govern the earth. Truly, “great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the Great King!” (Psalms 48:1)

blessings,
#kent

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Psalms 119:11
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

What We Treasure in Our Hearts

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)”
Think about the things we protect, hide away, keep and save. They are the things that we value and that are meaningful to us. Most of the things that we treasure and value are temporal and perishing. Many of us save and put away money, possessions, jewelry and other items we consider valuable. The most precious and lasting treasure of all lies upon the pages of the book we call our Bible. While we treasure our earthly things, for many, the Bible sets upon the shelf and collects dust. It might even get taken to church on Sunday, but do we really appreciate the treasure that is contained and hidden there among the pages of God’s Word. The treasure that we find there is life-giving and eternal. It has the power to change our lives and helps us to know the true heart and mind of God. It has the power to show us ourselves and bring light where there has been darkness.
God no longer walks among us in flesh and blood as He did in Jesus Christ, but neither is He absent and gone from us. He has left us the testimony of His Spirit and His Word. It is His Spirit within us that unlocks the mysteries and reveals the treasures of His Word. If we want to walk with God and have a closer relationship with Him then we must treasure, honor and revere what is precious to Him. His Word is what reveals and imparts that to us. Do we desire to please God? His Word gives us that direction. Do we desire to be free from sin and avoid that which is evil? Again, His Word digested and hidden in our hearts is what transforms our thinking and renews our minds to think and see things as God does. It puts within us the fear, the reverence and awe of God that we would in no way want to offend or displease Him and at the same time dispells the fear that we find in the world and in our minds. We hide many things in our hearts, but far too often it isn’t the Word of God.
John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” We know through the scripture that Christ declared that He was the Word. We know that spiritual life is contained and obtained through Him. When we possess the Christ and He truly possesses us then we will find that treasure that is hidden in our hearts. He will take those words from a page and make them a fire in our belly. His Word will illuminate and transform us. Come and find that treasure that doesn’t perish with the using, that only increases and never decreases and brings you into the presence of the Father.
Where is your treasure today? What do you value and store up in your heart? “Where a man’s treasure is, there will his heart be also.”

Blessings,
#kent

Luke 20:17
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

The Rock in the Middle of the Road

There is a rock in the middle of the road that is often traveled on foot. Those that pass by the rock, what will they do with it? Most will ignore and walk on. Some who are not paying attention will stumble over it. Some may kick it. Some may throw it or toss it aside. How many of a multitude of people will take the time to pick up the rock, examine it, value it or keep it? Why, because it is a common rock of no particular value or significance to those who pass by. What if it were a gold nugget obscured in granite or a diamond hidden in an ordinary exterior? This is what Jesus was and that is why He was missed by so many. It wasn’t the outer beauty that attracted men to Jesus; it was what was within the man.
Jesus passed a lot of ordinary rocks as He walked down the road of His life. Rocks that people passed by all of their time and never gave a second thought too. There were harlots, tax collectors, blind men, lepers, beggars, cripples, little children, demon possessed, those who were dying or those who were dead. The list goes on and on, but the point is that Jesus took the time to pick up a lot of rocks. He didn’t just see the ordinary or common without, He saw they were precious to the Father and so they were precious to Him. He ended up giving His very life for a lot of ordinary, common and undeserving rocks.
As we travel down life’s road it is easy for us to pass a lot of rocks and never give them another thought or glance. I know I need that sensitivity to take the time to pick up some of those rocks and as I can, make their lives better in some way. I may well be treading over gold ,diamonds and precious gems unawares. Peter shared what God had spoke to him in a vision in Acts 10:28, “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
As you go through life today, think about that rock in the middle of the road. As God has picked you up, pick up and value those around you.

Blessings,
#kent

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

Precious Stones

October 3, 2014

Precious Stones

Zechariah 9:6
And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they [shall be as] the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.

Stones are used throughout the Word of God to represent a natural occurring element as opposed to one that are fashioned by the work of men’s hands. Precious stones have always been a sign of wealth and most often associated with kings or used in the Lord’s service, such as in the ephod of the priests.
What kind of stones do we suppose the Lord would use to build His house? Would they be common or ordinary rocks or would they be smooth, polished and precious stones? 1 Peter 2:5 says, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Understand that if God has chosen you out and is using you to build His house, then obviously you must be pretty precious. We often don’t see ourselves and how precious we are in the sight of God, because we see only the raw materials, but God sees the finished work. With God there is a process of us being built into a spiritual house and becoming His spiritual priest hood. God is removing the temporal in us and replacing it with the eternal. What is being developed and formed in us will stand the test of time and more importantly it will stand the test of the fire of God, because we have been fashioned and formed through the fire. Stones are elements created under pressure and it is the pressure that God allows in our lives that proves us, that deals with the temporal and causes us to lay hold upon the eternal. In place of our natural mind we put on the mind of Christ. That mind is revealed to us as we lay hold of the Word of God by faith and walk it into our reality. Our vision is not fixed on the earth and that which is quickly passing away, it is fixed upon the eternal that can only be realized and appropriated as we walk by the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3: 11-16 tells us this, “11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” While God desires to fashion us for His purpose and His temple, how are we working together with Him concerning the material we provide to fashion our spiritual lives. Are we providing and using corruptible and perishable materials or are we using eternal principles and materials to build our lives in Christ. The Day will reveal the stones as they are put through the fire. All that has been formed of perishable and natural things will be consumed in us and only that which of the imperishable precious things of God’s redemption, nature, and the wisdom and knowledge of His life in us will stand the test.
God is building a house with precious lively stones. Let us do all to make sure that we are the stones fashioned in His image; building our individual temples and lives upon the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

Qualifying

September 24, 2014

1 Peter 1:6-9
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

James 1:2-4
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Qualifying

How many of us have endeavored to do something in life that required us to qualify to participate. If we ever went through basic training in the military, or went out for sports or any number of other events, there was a difficult period we went through of preparation and trials. Many of us can probably remember times in our life when physically and maybe even mentally and emotionally we were pushed to our limits. We may have hurt so bad or been so discouraged we thought we couldn’t go on, we couldn’t make it. Something didn’t just magically happen that suddenly made us qualified and we were taken out of the testing. If we qualified we had to stay the course, we had to persevere and endure. Maybe some of us didn’t make it when all was said done, but the one sure way we were disqualified is if we gave up and quit.
Our life in Christ is often like that qualifying period when God is working in us a greater thing of His nature and character. Sometimes we are pushed to our limits and we want to give up and quit. The old ways of life were so much easier for us. Many do give up when trials come and forsake their faith. They allow the precious seed to be robbed from them and they fall by the way side.
James says that faith produces patience and it is that patience that must have its perfect work in us. We are like a raw sacrifice until we are cooked over the fires of tribulation and trials. It is that faithfulness and steadfastness in the trials that make us to be a sweet smelling savor unto the Lord. It is then that He can say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” It is faithfully keeping our eyes and heart on Him that is the demonstration of our faith and overcoming. Only faith can count as substance that which it cannot see and physically experience. It is that faith that pleases God. It is faith that sees beyond the natural realm and counts God faithful even in the thick of our trials and testing; that is the faith that is more precious than gold.
Today, if you are discouraged, if you are broken, if you are hurting, if you’re feeling bankrupt and destitute, hold fast to your faith. Don’t give up, don’t give in, just keep your heart steadfast in Him. Jesus will carry you through. He will become in you what you cannot be in yourself. It is only as we lose ourselves that He can be. Place it all on the altar. Reckon yourself dead unto sin and the world and alive unto Christ. He will qualify you as you hold fast your faith.

Blessings
#kent

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