Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

This awesome passage of scripture is loved by, and has provided so much strength to, so many Christian brothers and sisters that I know. It was obvious, early in my walk of discipleship and serving the Lord that the vision and my goal was working in the ministry fields, where Jesus said that the harvest was plentiful, but the workers are few (Luke 10:2). But the Lord equips the saints with this whole armor for use because, the road is not always smooth and evil lurks along the sides (& sometimes smack in the middle), in living out our faith and reaching those who do not know the love of God in Christ and His salvation, which is the harvest. We are not sent defenseless, nor without the power of the Spirit of God behind our pilgrimage here. The armor is real, yet spiritual, to "stand firm" in the attacks that will, and do come, to extinguish (not some, but) all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Warring attacks come in various forms from Satan, the sinful world and our own sin nature of the flesh - darkness against light. Opposition to evangelism, contentions toward faith, hostility towards biblical truth, but also direct spiritual assaults. A good example is that our home personal computer was infected by a massive attack of virus’ and killed the hard-drive, but that will not stop this blog for the Lord by His worker. Not to fear. It was a blessing that we received this laptop lately, and this ministry shall stand firm. The home computer is replaced with a newer model now. The pen is mightier than the sword, but nothing is mightier than the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Hey, it’s good for each of us to revisit (or even for the first time) this affirming passage of holy Scripture and  take a deep & delightful look at the full armor of God (the true spiritual battle meaning and application and implementation today) and use each part for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom righteousness, remembering that in the end is "saved souls" and victory.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Freedom or Slavery?

John 8:34 "Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  

For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings. Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? (meaning putting aside the eternal for momentarily safe from physical harm or death in this temporal life on earth) For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.  Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775. 

What do we demonstrate, by our thoughts, words and actions, is the one or ones that we truly desire to please; who we admire & adore, we love and long for, who we are dedicated & devoted to, who we never want to be judged & rejected by, who we follow and obey? Who is Lord of our life? Who do we fall for and who do we stand for? 

Romans 7:25 "Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

I take our Founding Father words from his famous "Give me Liberty or give me death" speech as spiritual truths that can be applied to every practical life in every age. May we always take a good, deep, honest and hard look at our priorities and what our witness demonstrates. My mom use to teach me in more simple, parabolic terms about doing “right” and “wrong”, with questions like: “If everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you jump also?” What do we stand for, and what do we fall for? Freedom or slavery; it’s our choice. May we never compromise the Lord for this sinful world and its praises. Live in liberty, God's liberty, liberated from sin and death to life and life eternal. John 8:31-32

1 Thessalonians 4:7 "God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives."

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Iniquity & Enmity Reconciled

Romans 5:6-11 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Heading into our church’s summer break for the small group ministries and the beginning of an all-church mid-week summer series, our little Friday night group decided to jump halfway, but not half-heartedly, into a short study on having an authentic, genuine, and meaningful relationship with God, to understand better the personal relationship He wants to have with us and about the community He wants to bring us into. To understand what exactly reconciled, regenerated and restored of that relationship, we need to comprehend the root cause of the broken and separated intimacy with God - sin. We didn’t become sinners in iniquity and at enmity with God because God pulled away from mankind, abandoning us, leaving us on our own. Our relationship with God was damaged by man’s own willfulness and choice. Like rebellious children, we walked away from the protection of being obedient to our Creator and Sustainer. A sinner means people who basically run their own lives, doing things their own way rather than God’s way. Therefore they fall short of God’s standard and separate themselves from God. Being “Just & Holy”, sin had to be paid for, so God in “Love & Mercy” sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on that cross to pay for the sins of the world in our place. When we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son. We need to recognize the seriousness of sin in our lives; the distance that we fall and the gap it creates in our relationship from Him. What great lengths God had to go and what a great price God had to pay for our reconciliation, demonstrating His love for us in action. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead. He lives and we will live too, saved through His life. Praise be to God and our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:1-9As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
In Christ, Brian  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Time to check the List

Psalm 96:9-13Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;
The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.” Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.  For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.”

Part of the Christ life is to occasionally stop and make an evaluation of ourselves, to look at the truths of God and our goals & priorities, to see what direction we are going and how we are measuring up to His Word, Will & Way. To celebrate and enjoy, but also to make corrections to the methods, procedures and steering along the pilgrimage path on the journey to victory. I found this passage, in our last week's Bible study and when I broke it down like a list of goals for me, I found a nice little evaluation for myself. Here's what I found.

  1. Worship the Lord in beauty of holiness. Do I and from a pure heart?
  2. Tremble before Him. Do I tremble at His Almighty majesty and do I realize what did He save me “from” to what did He save me “to”? What it took?
  3. Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”  Do I demonstrate my faith and does He really reign in my life? Is He truly my Father God and does the world know it?
  4. The world is firmly established, it shall not be moved. Do I honor nature’s God, my Creator Father? Do I walk in His light?
  5. He shall judge the people righteously. Do I trust Him completely?
  6. Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad. Do I count my blessings, rejoice in my great salvation, glad that I am a child of God?
  7. Let the sea roar, and all it contains. Am I enthusiastic about eternal life?
  8. Let’s the fields exult, and all that is in it. Am I joyful with triumphant redemption?
  9. Sing for joy before the Lord. Do I just sing songs, or do I sing for joy … for Him and to Him?
  10. He is coming to judge the earth. Is He the standard for me to live by?
  11. He will judge the world in righteousness. Do His teachings and commands guide my life, defining right from wrong in this world or does the world?
  12. And the people in His faithfulness. He is faithful; am I?
There are many more lists to be found in the Word of God also. They help to draw us near to the Lord and center our thoughts, words and actions aligned with Him in Thanksgiving. 
Looks like I still have some work, but loving the job. My boss is out-of-this-world!
In Christ, Brian

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Worship in Spirit & Truth

John 4:23-26 The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

We wrapped up our Friday Small Group study of “worshipping” with an in-depth look at How & where those who are now members of the body of Christ (Believers / Disciples / Followers) are to worship God. The word worship in this passage is the Greek word proskuneo. It means to fall on the knees, or to prostrate on the ground (bow down). It also could means to express respect or to show obedience, honor, or reverence to a divine being. When the woman at the well and Jesus talked about worship, the Samaritan woman was thinking of physical worship, but the Lord redirected the focus to the source of true worship – in spirit & truth. Jesus knew that the veil that separated God and man would be torn in two, meaning that there would be a new and living way to enter into the holy place and worship God (Hebrews 10:19-20).

Philippians 3:2-3Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

True worship is not a matter of externals, or of rituals, but of the spirit. We are made up of three elements – body, soul & spirit) It is the spirit that died within us by sin and is regenerated the hour that we first believed in the Savior of the world. Not only must we profess our faith and bring the message; we must possess it and be the message. What the Lord is saying is that it’s not a matter of the body (the physical senses and action) or of the soul (mind, will & emotion) – although both might participate in worship, but rather true worship engages the regenerated spirit of man; not in the feelings, posture and experiences of the flesh, but in the heart of the inner man (aka spirit). How vital is truth in the life of a child of God? Being truthful with ourselves, speaking the truth in love to one another, walking in the truth, earnestly contending for the truth? Worshipping God in truth – sanctified(made holy, set apart from sin, and consecrated (sacred – dedicated to God)?

Psalm 96:9-13 “Worship the Lord in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “ The Lord reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.” Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth  rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord.

The enemy of our soul will do anything he can to keep us from worshipping God in spirit and truth. How we need to be aware and never forget the greatness of our God and our so-great-a-salvation (from spiritual death to spiritual life eternal). He has wrought (brought this about) for us! True worshipers worship the Father in spirit and truth. Remember that the Father is seeking people like this.

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Joy & Peace at My Core

Philippians 4:4-8 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

Last summer, my wife and I flew back to Minneapolis, MN for the wedding of our niece and continued a mid-West swing to visit family in Iowa and Missouri on the same trip. The hospitality we received was phenomenal, yet natural, as common practice for visiting relatives from out-of-town and demonstrated the love of family as it should be – in true love and care. On this vacation, I connected with one particular cousin, who shared in the love of God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and have been corresponding via e-mail since. As we wrote about what was going on in each of our day-to-day lives, the ups & downs & in-betweens, joys & cares & concerns, it was clear that (metaphorically speaking) despite the condition of the roads and weather of life that the rock solid foundation of the Christian faith allows us to stand in the storms and leap in the rays of the sun & Son rejoicing. Why? Let me have Patty share in her words:  

 “I know life is always full of changes, but I am grateful that no matter what is happening, I have a peace and a joy at my core. It may not always show, and at times I have a hard time uncovering it, but it is there.  And I know it’s because I know the Lord, and I love the beauty He has placed all around us, the hope He has put in us, the promises He gives us, and the place He is preparing for us." Patty
Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.”

This side of heaven may not be paradise, where nothing goes wrong, people won’t hurt you, right and justice may not always prevail and we should be turning a blind eye to the bumps and obstacles on this journey along our way to eternity, but remembering who gave us life, placed us here and now for a wonderful purpose, who loved each and every one of us enough to send His Son to die in our place so that we may be forgiven, restored your spirit in new life& relationship and given us a future – a today, a tomorrow and an eternity to come. Paradise and justice may be yet to come, but in that “eternal perspective” of “Victory in Christ”, we can make it through the battle with true and lasting love, peace & joy at our core, standing on the rock of our salvation, enjoying the walk & view, tending the garden of our life.

John 10:9-11 “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. ‘I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.’” John 14:27Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Joy & Peace in Christ, Brian

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Worshiping– Part Three

Hebrews 10:19-23Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

In our weekly small group Bible Study, it has been a blessing to read the Scriptures that present and tie the Old Testament people, places and things, events and symbols that foreshadowed the Savior of the world in the New Testament, and even the people, places and activities in heaven. That God’s revealed Plan of Salvation through the gospel may be clearly seen and understood for the sinner may come to a “saving” knowledge of Jesus Christ at the foot of the cross, and to the Believer, the child of God, for the growth and maturing of our faith and application in our life, with joyful rejoicing &, grateful thanksgiving, with spiritual assurance & soulful peace in the promises and Devine work of our Lord at this time in history in this world. That Israelite tabernacle pointed to the Lord, to show us that it is He who provides for us, He who sustains us, He who brings the light of truth in our lives, He who intercedes for us, He who hears our prayers, He that is the way to salvation because He who died in our place for our sins to redeem us by His atoning blood, forgave us by His unmerited and undeserved mercy & grace and give us eternal life; He who is worthy of our worship. 

Matthew 27:50-51 “And (from the Cross) Jesus cried out again (Tetelestai – meaning: it is finished; the debt is paid in full) with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked.” Josephus, a Jewish historian, wrote that the veil in the temple was so thick that it took two teams of oxen pulling in opposite directions to tear it. Being torn from top to bottom, demonstrated that it was torn from above by God. The sin that separated us from the presence of our heavenly Father had been atoned for, the partition veil torn down and our direct access to the throne of God to commune in personal relationship restored by the breaking of Christ’s flesh for the Believer. This is what we celebrate at church communion. 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 “The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

Exodus 25:21-22You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. The Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies within the tabernacle is a foreshadow of the throne in heaven where God dwells. The high priest entered the Holy of Holies only one time a year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This happened on the tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. Leviticus 16:15“He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. The phrase “Mercy Seat” also means “propitiation.” Jesus, the Lamb of God slain to take away the sins of the world (John1:29), is the atonement accepted by God for us today. His blood was shed to cleanse our sins.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” We come to God though Him alone, who paid for our redemption with His own blood. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” This, also, is what we celebrate at church communion. 1 Corinthians 11:25 “In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” Our salvation and restoration is worth remembering and celebrating, knowing from who and how it came about. There is forgiveness for those who believe. Is this good news? Does such a marvelous gospel make us want to worship and praise Him? … to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Romans 12:1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Worshiping – Part Two

 John 1:29 The next day John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!”

This weekly study by our Friday on worshipping digs deep into meaning and the motive of who we worship and why. It seems incomprehensible that God, the sovereign creator and ruler of all the universe would desire to have an intimate relationship with those He created. By the knowledge of how our Lord God was moving towards our restoration and understanding that love of God with us, solidifies the foundation of our faith and the true object of our worship in spirit; not by opinion or feeling but in truth. This brings to light how each piece of furniture in the Israelite tabernacle foreshadowed  the Savior, and by seeing looking at them we can better understand how to live a life of true worship, built on this solid foundation: Revelation 1:5-6 “From Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood  and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Through the tabernacle gate is the outer court, where stood the Bronze Alter and the Bronze Laver. The pattern shown is that Jesus is the door to salvation. Initially, we come to God to be cleansed from our sin through a sacrifice. Therefore, the alter becomes the picture of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Then we continue the sanctification process of being holy through the cleansing power of His Word and confession of our sins. Past the outer court is the tent of meeting, which was divided into two areas: the holy place and the Holy of Holies. In the holy place was the Table of Showbread, a Hebrew word which means “bread of the presence”, picturing Jesus – the true bread of life (John 6:35,48-51) that we depend upon, and feed upon to sustain us. There also stood the Golden Lampstand, which was the only source of light in the holy place, picturing Jesus as the Light of men (John 1:4-5), the true Light of the world and the Light of life (John 8:12), and we are to walk in His light and children of light in this world (Ephesians 5:8). In front of the veil to the Holy of Holiness was the Alter of Incense representing the prayers of the people before God (Revelation 8:3-4), and picturing Jesus (as our High Priest)  as our intercessor at the right hand of God the Father in heaven today (Hebrews 7:25).

Hebrews 10:7-12 Then I said, Behold, here I am, coming to do Your will, O God--to fulfill what is written of Me in the volume of the Book. When He said just before, You have neither desired, nor have You taken delight in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings--all of which are offered according to the Law-- He then went on to say, Behold, here I am, coming to do Your will. Thus He does away with and annuls the first (former) order as a means of expiating sin so that He might inaugurate and establish the second (latter) order. And in accordance with this will of God, we have been made holy, consecrated and sanctified through the offering made once for all of the body of Jesus Christ (the Anointed One). Furthermore, every human priest stands at his altar of service ministering daily, offering the same sacrifices over and over again, which never are able to strip from every side of us the sins that envelop us and take them away--  Whereas this One [Christ], after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for all time, sat down at the right hand of God.” Why did Jesus give Himself up for us? Why did He die on a cross? For us, and it was the plan from the beginning.

Are we giving the Word of God the proper place of priority in our life? Are we walking in the light as He walked or are we stumbling in the darkness? Does our walk testify of our godly fear to not let our Lord down, show our respect and our trust of God? In the circumstances, difficulties and temptations of life, do we remember that He is interceding for us at that very moment? And do we, in turn, stay in constant communication with Him committing everything to Him in prayer?  This is the integral part of worship. Who do we worship and why? Who is worthy? In makes makes all the difference in the world.
1 John 2:1-2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation (literally atonement, our "Mercy Seat") for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” The next post shall address the Arc of the covenant and this Mercy Seat behind the veil in the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle.

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Worshiping - Part One

Hebrews 4:14-16  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Our Friday evening small group Bible study has been looking into the Israelite tabernacle features and furnishing to see how everything was made according to the pattern of the true tabernacle in heaven, giving us a beautiful foreshadowing picture of the work of Jesus Christ, and how this relates to worshipping our Holy God, and how all this relates to us today. How the Temple priests mediated for the people between sinful man and God. Sin separates us from the presence of God, for His pure eyes cannot behold evil, and cannot tolerate wickedness - Habakkuk 1:13. How sacrifices had to be made of innocent animals that God would be satisfied, the atonement offering accepted, and man would be restored in his relationship with their Creator. The Hebrew word translated as atonement means “to cover”, not remove sin. The concept is of covering over our sin with the blood of a sacrifice. The wages (the consequential penalty & payment) of sin is death by God’s Law. Atonement was accomplished by offering a substitute payment for sin with the blood of blameless animals without blemish.

Hebrews 9:11-12, 25-26 Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;  nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.”

How a male without defect from the herd was offered on the Bronze Alter at the doorway to the tent of meeting that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behave. How Aaron and his sons (the priests) washed their hands and feet on the Bronze Laver to be cleansed before entering the holy place and when they approach the alter to minister.
Psalm 24:3-4 says: “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully.” 1 John 1:9 tells us: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God always forgives the penitent, but the absence of true repentance will ultimately bring condemnation. The lesson asks an important question. Do we truly understand the holiness of God and the seriousness of our sin against Him – Psalm 51:4.

The lesson asks another good questions for us to think about and answer. Do you think you can worship God apart from being cleansed … clean? … washed in the blood of Jesus. The tabernacle was really pointing at the gospel message of Jesus - the Savior of the world. Understanding this, then we can start to grasp the scope of the fall of mankind and magnitude of God plan of salvation to redeem and restore us by the free gift of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross in our place and be the focus of our true worship every day. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” - Revelation 5:12 - worthy of our worship!

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Renewing Your Mind

Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Though we live in a “fallen” world, God has given mankind a mind to seek Him and His truth. Romans 1:18-19 says: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” God is plain to see in this world, which He created, when you seek Him with all your heart – Jeremiah 29:13. But we could have a physical heart transplant and the darkness and sin of unbelief which suppresses the truth and the will of God remains because the spiritual heart must be transformed by the miraculous world of the Holy Spirit in the renewing of your mind; not from the outside in, but from the inside out.

In Mark 12:30, Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The word “heart” here is kardia in the Greek, meaning heart feelings. The word “mind” is dianioa, meaning mind thoughts. It is with our mind that we think and reason, seek and make choices … choices for or against the abundant life of love, contentment & peace by faith in Jesus Christ alone - (John 10:10) and the sharing of His joy with us, that our joy may be full – John 15:11

The late Pastor Adrian Rogers wrote: “Jesus is still in the miracle working business. His business is the business of transformation. And when we believe that Jesus is the Christ, we will receive life through His name. Someone has well said that nature forms us, sin deforms us, penitentiary reforms us, education informs us, the world conforms us, but only Jesus transforms us.” 1 Peter 2:8-10 explains, They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. By the renewing of our minds, the renovation and renewal by the transforming metamorphosis in the regeneration of our spirit of the Believer, the Child of God can seek and love their Creator, Protector, Provider & Savior God with all their mind, to prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Hebrews 8:10  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

In Christ, Brian