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

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Psalms 48:1-3,14
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.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Our God Forever and Forever

You know there are times that I look at myself probably like many of you. I see all of my weaknesses, my frailties, failures, sins and faults. If I only had eyes to see myself, I could become very discouraged and depressed. Sometimes it is not only hard for others to live with us, it is hard for us to live with ourselves and still keep our hope. We can become very discouraged with life and want to give up. We can easily reason how the world would be so much better off without us. Maybe we feel all we ever do is screw up, make mistakes and fall so short of what we hoped we would be. There are times in our lives we can feel pretty beat up, battered and condemned. So why do we continue on? Why should we still have hope?
When I read passages like this one in Psalms it helps me realize that I am not an island, but I am part of a much greater plan. That faith I have in God and Jesus Christ rises up to show me that there is a mighty God that is so great and wonderful beyond my comprehension and that this God really loves me, even the way I am. He created me. He knows my heart, my thoughts and my intentions. He has not left me alone, but He has brought me into Himself to be a part of something so magnificent and glorious. He made me a part of His City and His Presence and Being indwells me. ‘This God is my God who is with me for ever and for ever and He will guide me even to the end.’
I realize that maybe He allowed me to have so many weaknesses and flaws for a reason. Maybe it was so that I could never boast in myself, but I could only boast in Him, in His grace and sufficiency for my life. What gives me courage and hope is that I know that my God is for me, that nothing can ever separate me from His love and that the reason that I am a conqueror and an overcomer is because of the Christ that indwells me.
I know that the purpose of the enemy and of satan is to destroy that life which you and I possess. Jesus tells us that in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” While the enemies’ purpose is to destroy us, Christ’s purpose it to build us up and to give us life abundantly. No, we may not feel worthy or deserving of that life, but He has given it to us just the same. Through Christ we can have eyes to see into Him and what we are in Him. We no longer have to focus on the mess that we have been and the inadequacies that we feel. I know that we are still struggling through so many of these issues. Our faith takes us where our present experiences have not yet been. It takes us to what God has to say about us, what His Word declares over us and promises to us. In these things we find hope, we find life and reason for being.
I love the scripture that Paul gives to us in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” Maybe that is why He chose me and that is why He chose you. In our weakness He is made strong and when people observe the marvelous things that can come forth from your life they will recognize that it is not you, but Christ in you. God knows how to take cracked pots and use them for His glory and praise. So before you and I give up and succumb to our discouragement, let us draw courage from the God of strength and life. I thank God for who I am because it makes me keep my eyes upon Him and my praise toward Him. I have to trust Him for every aspect of my life.
Yes, I see my faults, my failures and my weakness, but more importantly I see His life, His promises and His strength. These are what we are going to lay hold of. These are what will pull us out of the pit and set us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. HE IS OUR STRENGTH, OUR LIFE AND OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. HE IS OUR FAITH, OUR FORTRESS AND OUR SALVATION. HE IS THE ONE THAT GIVES ME HOPE IN THE NIGHT AND JOY IN THE MORNING. HE IS OUR GOD FOREVER AND FOREVER, HALLELUJAH AND AMEN.

Blessings,
#kent

Peace

December 1, 2014

Peace

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Peace is not righting all that is wrong.
Peace is in knowing that our wrongs are made right,
That even in darkness and tribulation we have a song.
It is in knowing the “greater is He” when we go out to fight.

Peace is not just a quiet morning after a freshly fallen snow,
It is not always sunshine in your face and wind in your hair.
It is confidence in your God and “knowing that you know”.
It is resting in God’s justice when life isn’t fair.

Peace is not a life without opposition or strife,
Peace is in knowing that Christ has overcome the world,
Even in the valley of darkness and death He is our life.
When our enemy attacks like a flood, He is our flag unfurled.

Peace is not always about pleasant circumstances of the day.
When unpleasantness comes, it is upon His strength we rely.
It is in trusting that where a door is shut He will make a way.
He hides us in the cleft of the rock as our storms pass by,

Peace is not just about having any more war.
It is in knowing that He alone can transform the hearts of men.
In due season we will see the world we all long for.
Our greatest peace is in the forgiveness of our sin.

Peace isn’t having lived the perfect life,
It is in knowing His acceptance and the presence of His Dove,
Peace is redemption and mercy, in place of sin and strife.
Peace is our abiding in the riches of His grace and Love.

Blessings,
#kent

Leader of the Pack

May 5, 2014

Leader of the Pack

1 Samuel 22:1-2
David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard [it], they went down thither to him. And every one [that was] in distress, and every one that [was] in debt, and every one [that was] discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

It is interesting that when David became an outcast, rejected and hunted by the King, he became identified with a different group of people. David was the anointed of the Lord and even though he was anointed to become king of Israel, David never presumptuously pursued to gain that by his own means and with his own hands. He was submitted to the Lord’s work in his life and the Lord’s timing. He had his chance to do it his way. He was tested, he was given opportunity and encouragement, he could have justified it, but David never raised his hand against Saul, whom he also regarded as the Lord’s anointed.
David became the outcast of the traditional and proper Israel. It was through no rebellion or disobedience of his that now he is running and hiding for his life. When the anointing is operating in our life it can create some interesting dynamics. Those you think would accept you and embrace you, may well become your greatest persecutors. They may be the leadership of the church, the ones regarded of men to be spiritual pillars of the community. So why would they reject you if you carry the anointing of God? The same reason they persecuted Jesus and the prophets. This is one way to discern between those operating under a religious spirit and those who are operating out of the truth and spirit of God. A religious spirit will have the pretense and the appearance of the real, but its interest is in control and domination, not in developing the anointing and calling of God in other people’s lives. Especially when their spiritual stature and abilities exceed those of the present administration.
One thing that is interesting about this anointing is that while it causes rejection and persecution from the religious spirits, it will attract the sinner, the distressed, the debtor, the discontented and the needy. There is something in their spirits that is drawn by this anointing. They have already experienced the disappointments of the world, they are hoping and looking for something and someone not of this world, someone who has touched God and carries in themselves the reality of His presence and life. We can readily see these qualities in both David and Jesus. Look at the people that both David and Jesus were surrounded with. They were not exactly the socialites or the happening crowd by the world’s standards. They were often the outcasts, the hurting, the needy and the discontents. They are often people that would take you out of your comfort zone and not necessarily those you would choose in the natural for friends. That anointing in you is like the smell of water to a thirsty animal. They will be drawn to it, because it offers life, hope and salvation in their time of need. Their spirits are the poor, broken, humble and meek. Their heart is in a condition to receive the life of the Spirit.
Those that are drawing near to Christ in relationship, prayer, praise and worship are becoming like the David’s of their generation. In that place of fellowship with the Father and the Son they are being anointed of the Holy Spirit. There will be a day when the Holy Spirit will lead you into the wilderness and there you will begin to live out of this Anointing and Spirit life. It is not for you alone, it is for those whom the Lord will attract to you and place you with.
Father is not looking for the rich, the famous and the social up and coming. 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 says, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where [is] the wise? Where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Many of us know that we are nothing by the world’s standards. We may not be exceptional, outstanding or distinguishable as someone of any significance in the world’s eyes. But God is not the world and He sees something valuable and significant in you and I, because we see that He needs to be everything in us for us to be anything. Paul goes on in this passage to say, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are That no flesh should glory in his presence But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:27-31).” If Christ is bringing forth His anointing in you and I today, then we mustn’t despise those of low estate, just as Christ did not despise us. All that He places in us and however He uses us is for none other than for His glory alone. God is in the business of making somebodies out of nobodies. Aren’t we His examples? Take those Christ brings to you and nurture them as He has nurtured you.

Blessings,
#kent

Revealed

March 20, 2014

Revealed


1 Corinthians 2:9-16

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

As God’s people we know more than we think we know.  Just as I don’t know what I am about to write right now, the Spirit of God within me does.  Many times as He has led me to write in an area or on a subject, I have protested saying, “God, I don’t know about that or what to write about that. ”  He would simply ignore my protest and wait for me to begin to write.  Today is another of these days.  Often God doesn’t reveal but the initial portion we need to get started.  Further revelation comes as we step out in faith and act on what we have, rather than on what we don’t have.  If we are God’s vessels, filled with His Spirit and possessing the mind of Christ, as the last verse of our scripture for today says we do, then we have to realize that we have a power to move beyond our natural ability and limitations.  I know my limitations and they are many, but I also know that in my weakness God’s strength is revealed.  

How does God want to reveal Himself in you and through you?  Will you, like myself, protest of your inability and weaknesses, or will you like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8 say, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me.”  When God sends us, He will equip us and He will provide for us a way.  Faith is the precursor to all that He gives to us.  Rarely is everything laid out on the table and we know the whole plan and have all our provisions.  Faith reveals the will and provision of God as we walk in it and believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  You have a vast, immeasurable reservoir of Spirit Life within you.  You have not began to sound the depths of what God’s Spirit can and will do through you.  Our God is an ever increasing light revealing Himself more and more unto the perfect day when as 2 Peter 1:19 declares, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” God’s people are the revelation of His truth and the proclamation of His glory.  Before you see the fullness of this truth you will see the revelation of all that hold the truth in unrighteousness for the man of sin will reveal it in his day.  Matthew 12:24 says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 warns us, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”  All that is seen in the world proclaiming Christianity is not the Church.  The true Church is the remnant whose hearts and lives belong to the Lord, not just in outward profession.  The day will reveal His own.  

As God is revealing the dross in us, He is also revealing Himself in us.  Beneath the dross lies the gold and silver, the nature and character of God and His redemption.  Though we are often discouraged and mourn over the sin that still wants to cling to us, we must not let that become the identification of who we are.  God is at work in us, perfecting that which concerns Him, that His Son may be revealed through us.  2 Corinthians 7:1 tells us, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 

God has a plan.  Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” A body is prepared for Christ, the head, to rest upon and fill with the fullness of all that He is.  Are we prepared to have revealed in us all that He is?   Let us move out in faith and be that revelation of God’s glory and truth. 

 

 

Blessings,

#Kent

The River of God

March 11, 2014

 

The River of God


Psalms 65:9

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.

 

Water is an essential element to life as we know it.  Without it this planet would be another dry desolate planet like most others that we are currently aware of.  In God’s kingdom that water is like Spirit Life.  As necessary as water is to us in our human state to live and produce life not just in us, but in plants, animals and other organisms, so the Spirit is the essential to the production of Spirit Life.  We find a description of this river of Life in Revelations 22:1-4, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.”  

Ephesians 1:11-14 tells us, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  Here is the thing that God wants us to know as His people.  There is a river from the throne of God that is waiting till the fullness of time to be channeled through the earth.  As the scripture says the seal, the earnest, the foretaste of this has been given to us as believers to speak to us of whose we are, of what we have and to give us insight into the abundant flow of God’s Spirit that He is waiting to release in the earth.  

Guess who He has chosen to be the channel of this river of His grace and Spirit life?  Yes, it is His saints He is waiting to channel His divine Life and blessing through.  Romans 8:18-25 tells us, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that[i] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 

    22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  Many of us have known this inward groaning within us.  We have cried out in the midst of our pain and sufferings, “how long oh God?”  The Spirit of the Lord is saying “soon”.  Soon the Spirit of the Lord will no longer be just trickles and streams, but will be poured out so that no one vessel can contain it.  It will be the vessels of His people that will be filled to overflowing and spill out upon the nations so that the Spirit life of God will fill the earth. We have an anointing and an anointed One that lives within us.  It is a time to prepare our hearts and our lives for the release of His glory.  He is coming to be glorified in the earth in an unprecedented way and He desires holy and sanctified vessels to have expression through.  As John came saying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”, this is the day when message is coming forth, “Prepare ye for the glory of the Lord.”  Many of who have suffered much affliction and discouragement will be fully refreshed and delivered.  They will be like the lame man who leaps like a deer.  Prepare your hearts, set your lives in order for the River of God is soon to flow through the earth and carry with it healing for the nations. You are called to be His conduit and channel. 

 

Blessings,

kent

Zion

January 27, 2014

salm 132:13-18

For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling:

14“This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it—

15I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food.

16I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints will ever sing for joy.

17“Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.

18I will clothe his enemies with shame,


Zion


Many of us may know that Zion was a stronghold or hill in pre-Israelite time.  David captured this hill from the Jebusites as described in 2 Samuel 5:6-7, “The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” 7Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.”  This is where David  takes up residence.  Here, in Psalms 132, Zion is referred to as the desired dwelling of God, His resting place where He eternally dwells and where He is enthroned.  In the natural it was the high place and stronghold of Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, the place of headship, rulership, authority and kingdom.

Verse 17 says, “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.  I will clothe his enemies with shame.”  A horn is a “strong one”  What we gather from the scripture and from how Zion and Jerusalem are described in the spiritual sense, we can see by the Spirit that the natural Jerusalem and Zion are only a shadow of a heavenly Zion and Jerusalem.  King David, is a type of Christ that has come to reclaim and conquer what satan has stolen and gained possession of.  Zion represents the spirit of man which was God breathed and owned but which fell into the enemies’ hands through Adam’s disobedience.  Christ Jesus is the King of Kings that reclaimed Zion upon Calvary.  Hebrews 2:8-11 says, “and put everything under his feet.”

In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”

That is a scripture to meditate upon for there is a wealth of truth in what is said here.  Jesus conquered Zion which is represented in the redemption of mankind.  Christ is that horn, that “strong one”  Psalms 132:17 refers to, but more than that, He has become the eternal resting place and dwelling place of God.  The awesome thing is that we are “in Christ” which brings us into and makes us a part of Zion.  Didn’t Hebrews 2 just say, “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”  We, the IN-Christed Ones, are that Zion and Jerusalem of God.  We are His holy people and the place of His habitation, because our spirits are in Christ.  What we await is the New Jerusalem, the city of God to come down out of the spirit and manifest itself in this natural world.  Christ, Himself will lead that descent.  

Revelations 21:1-4 declares, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Do you see that New Jerusalem is not just a location, it is a person.  It is the bride of Christ.  Christ in His people.  Praise God! 

There could be so much more written and said about this, but I just felt Father wanted to give us a foretaste of what Zion is all about.  

 
Blessings,
kent

His Church

October 3, 2013

His Church

Ephesians 5:25-30
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body.

We, the Church, the loving bride of Christ, are taking in our hands the faces of the world’s wounded, downtrodden and outcast. We are the voice of God’s love and good news to those that are looking for direction and purpose in their lives. At some point, I think most people come to the realization of how shallow and empty that life is without God in it. Some would scorn and say we just use God as a crutch, because we aren’t able to think for ourselves and have no mind of our own. I am just so thankful that I have the wisdom to recognize how lame I am without Him. They are right I have no more use for my mind, because I understand how much greater it is to have the mind of Christ. Yes, the world and its spirit will often mock and ridicule us, but in the end what do they have but themselves, a meaningless life and an eternity of darkness. Mock the church if you will, but a least she is full of light and hope. She has purpose for living and being. She is more than just the expression of humanity; she is the expression of God’s redemption working in humanity. Yes, we will find in her many cracks and flaws if we are only looking on the outward vessel, but contained within her is a treasure beyond measure. It is the awesome presence of God’s Holy Spirit and Life. So many and varied are her members, all of them unique and different, but each one reflecting some aspect and dimension of God’s nature.
The Church is the redeemed of the Lord. It is the blood of Christ that now courses through our veins with the life-flow of God’s life, love and forgiveness. His mind is renewing our mind. His thoughts are becoming our thoughts. His eyes are becoming our eyes as we see our world from a kingdom of heaven perspective. As we hear with spiritual ears the world’s voice, we are moved to compassion for the hurting and the weak. We are moved to indignation over the world’s sin and antichrist behavior, but in it all, we are the salt of the earth. We are the ones that season it with the flavor of life and godliness. We are the ones who bring hope and the message of God’s love and reconciliation. Our world is perishing before us as we speak, but are we speaking God’s life and His love? Are we communicating with our world only on its terms, or are we communicating in a manner that our world is seeing something different in us? It doesn’t take us standing on a soapbox, preaching hell, fire and damnation to communicate God to people. It takes living a life that is like His, full of self-sacrifice, compassion, righteousness tempered with humility. It is not about us being lifted up or us being better than others, it is about us rolling up our sleeves and being willing to get down in the mud and dirt so that we lift someone else up. God didn’t place us in the position of looking down on others. He has placed us in the position of servanthood, of being the least that we might serve the greater. People won’t care about what we have to say until they know we really care.
It is sad when see so much of the church caught up in the outward show of things, in crowd appeal, pomp and splendor. You are more likely to find the greater presence of the Lord in some small nobody minister of the Lord who is simply in the fields of humanity laboring for the kingdom. His notoriety is not in the way he dresses, or performs, or orates, it in the likeness he has to Christ and His nature. He stands out the way Mother Teresa stood out. These people are a unique breed who have lost their life in expressing His.
Is that who we are today? How much of our life is still about us? Most of us would have to admit an awful lot of who and what we are is still about us. This is not to condemn us, but it is not in living for us that we will find God’s highest and His richest blessings. We have to become about serving others and that doesn’t mean letting everyone manipulate you into what they think you should do. It is in being humble and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit to direct you in His purpose and His plan.
The Church is a beautiful woman, but she is not yet without spot or wrinkle. It will no doubt take the fuller’s soap to cleanse her and the fire of God to iron out her wrinkles, along with the washing of the water of the word. Each one of us is a part of what makes up God’s church and His bride. How are we living out our part?

Blessings,
kent

Acceptable Sacrifice

January 16, 2013

Genesis 4:1-7
Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

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.”

Acceptable Sacrifice

Your external efforts to please God will never do,
He has already given the sacrifice that is acceptable for you.
Christ has paid the price and is the acceptable sacrifice.
Faith in Him alone can save you and give you eternal life.
Christ in you, now lives through you, to do the works above.
Not outwardly, but inwardly are you transformed into His love.
Kent Stuck

Have you ever meditated on why God favored Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s? Here are just a few insights.
First of all man was created on the 6th day, the same day as the beast of the field. What separated man and beast?
Genesis 1:26-27 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” In Genesis 2:7 it says, “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
We see that man, not animals, was made in the image of God and in His likeness for the purpose of having dominion over the earth and His creation. We also see that, unlike the beast and other animals, God breathed His own breath, the breath of life, into man. Because in John 4, Jesus tells us that God is Spirit, we can conclude that it wasn’t just an outward appearance that made Adam in the image of God, it was the spirit formed within him that gave him the capacity and ability to be in the image and likeness of God and through that spirit, being conformed to the likeness of God, he would have dominion over the earth.
Man was created then in a place between God and beast, heaven and earth. In that place he was given a choice, a free will to choose which nature he would live out of; that which was formed from the earth or that which was breathed in Him by the breath of God, the Spirit. In the original state of Adam we have a picture of what it was like to live out of the Spirit and in communion and right relationship with God. After the fall we see the genealogy of fallen man, beginning with Cain and Abel. In those two brothers we see the beginning of these two natures beginning to manifest.
We posed the question earlier, “Why did God favor Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s?” There are types and shadow here that that give us those answers. Cain’s sacrifice came from the earth and were the efforts of his own works and hands. How many people try to please God with their works and efforts to do good only to find that this is not what is acceptable to God.
Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Cain’s sacrifice was not a redemptive sacrifice offered in faith. There was no shedding of blood and so it was unacceptable to the Father.
Abel, took the first fruits of his flock. He followed godly principles for an acceptable offering. He shed their blood by sacrificing them in faith. He brought God his first and his best, not his common and ordinary. He offered the fat of these upon the altar, which speaks to those non-essential indulgences of our flesh and that which is in excess to our need, along with the abundance and excess that we can offer back to God. His heart and his pursuit was to please God in faith and obedience.
Cain’s offering was not accepted of God and Cain’s reaction revealed the true nature of his heart. God gives us a choice to choose what is good and acceptable, because our other choice leaves sin crouching at our door and if we open the door to it as Cain did, it can only lead to sin and death.
Life confronts us with two natures and two paths. One leads to life and peace and the other to sin and death. One is lived out of own efforts and choices and the other is lived out of righteousness, obedience and faith through the power of the Spirit of God which we invite, through choice, to live in us and through us. Even if we have made the wrong choice and headed down the wrong path, God would still tells us, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” We are given the opportunity to repent and turn from our wicked ways, but if not, sin is crouching at the door.
We know the outcome, that Cain slew Abel. The flesh will always persecute the Spirit and even as they crucified Jesus, His blood cries out with forgiveness and not vengeance, with mercy that is greater than justice. His desire is to redeem us all back to Him. He beseeches us to choose the life of the Spirit that He originally breathed into us and in that choice we will know Life.

Blessings,
kent

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