Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ISSUES OF THE HEART - 4: The Spirit of Compromise

COMPROMISE:
   - To make liable to danger
- To reduce the quality, value or degree of something

Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, 
and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 
And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, 
and no one gave him anything. 
Luke 15:15-16

The prodigal young son had left home with his inheritance, spent it all and had nothing left. A severe famine in the land caused him to be even more destitute. He found himself at the lowest point ever….working for a pig farmer. This young man grew up in a Jewish household, and would have known what God had said about swine. Jews would not have raised pigs since they were unclean and not used for food.

Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses. Deuteronomy 14:8

One may argue that he had no choice, but is this true? Did he have to accept the job feeding pigs? The young man could have thought that his situation was so desperate that feeding swine was rational and acceptable. Here is where the spirit of compromise steps in.

God has instituted laws that we, His children, are to follow. These are not to prevent us from enjoying life, but rather, they are to guide us in the right direction and protect us from harm’s way. However, the enemy of our souls always comes with an alternative. The more mature you are as a Christian, the more subtle and divisive his tactics of compromise become. It started in the Garden of Eden.

The spirit of compromise begins with a subtle questioning of God’s will - introducing doubt concerning your particular situation.

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Genesis 3:1 (emphasis mine)

The spirit of compromise never works alone. It is always accompanied by the spirit of carnal reasoning. Carnal reasoning operates through your senses – sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing – and works powerfully by manipulating your emotions.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. Genesis 3:6

Eve listened to the serpent, saw the forbidden fruit, touched it, and tasted it. (I'm sure that she smelled it too!) She reasoned that it was a good thing - something that would make her feel good - and she gave in to the spirit of compromise!

FAMINE
Famine is defined as a severe, drastic shortage of anything. Sometimes, in our own lives, we experience some sort of famine.

ECONOMIC FAMINE
We are in the midst of a global recession. This economic famine has affected the believer as well as the unbeliever. We, as the children of God, have a choice as to how we will respond to the crisis.

God doesn't need an economic stimulus plan. His law concerning finances is clear...we should return 10 percent of our earnings to Him, and we are expected to use the other 90 percent wisely (Malachi 3:10-11). He, in turn, promises to provide for us abundantly.

How easy it is to question the validity of God’s ordinance during hard times! How convenient it is to rationalize that you can’t afford to give your tithes! After all, the utility bills need to be paid, the children need clothes and food, the mortgage and car payment are due.

But God says...
Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear? For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. Matthew 6:31-33

MARITAL FAMINE
There are more separations and divorces today than ever before. The stresses of everyday life have put an enormous strain on even the best of marriages.

The enemy has launched an all-out attack on marriages, especially God-ordained, Christian marriages. He drives a wedge between husband and wife, using their own weaknesses against them.

It is tempting, during times like these, to consider separation by reason of "irreconcilable differences", emotional stress and downright lack of interest.

The enemy can then begin his bait with alternatives. Maybe life would be easier with someone else, and doing something else other than being married.

But God says...
Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. Mark 10:9

When God joined Adam and Eve - the first couple - He had a purpose for their union. It is the same for every marriage that has been sanctioned by the Father.


FAMINE OF THE WORD
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. Amos 8:11 (emphasis mine)

Today there is a great famine of the uncompromised Word of God. In many churches God’s ordinances are being manipulated, twisted or simply ignored to suit men’s carnal desires. Once again the question is now very subtly being asked, “Did God really say……?”

Many church leaders "reason" that the church must keep up with the times in order to be relevant and attract members. The culture of the world system has infiltrated the church.

Alternative lifestyles, secular music with "Christianese" lyrics, and programs that focus on improving personal comfort abound in places of worship. A righteous life that glorifies God and reflects the character of Christ is no longer the primary aim in many assemblies. Consequently there is a form of godliness without the authentic manifested power of God. The spirit of compromise has a stranglehold on too many of God's people!

FAMINE - MAN'S HEART
God never said that we should follow His rules only in good times, and adjust them to suit ourselves when things get rough. As a matter of fact, He uses those hard times to expose what was hidden within our hearts all along. The prodigal son's compromising mindset was unmasked during the famine.

There is a way that seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death. Proverbs 16:25

FAMINE - GOD'S HAND
He is a loving God, and history proves that in times of famine He always provides for His people who obey His commands.

When there was a severe famine in Egypt God had strategically put Joseph in place to manage and distribute the resources of the land. As a result his father Jacob and his family were fed. When there was severe famine in Elijah’s day, God instructed the prophet to go to the Brook Cherith, and then to the widow of Zarephath so that he would not hunger or thirst.

Whatever the famine is - financial, relational, spiritual etc. - God has a solution for you that lines up with His will.

Are you experiencing a famine in your life today? Examine your decisions, attitudes and actions.  Make sure that you have not reasoned yourself into yielding to the spirit of compromise.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, 
giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 
speaking lies in hypocrisy, 
having their own conscience seared with a hot iron… 
1 Timothy 4:1, 2

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ISSUES OF THE HEART - 3: It's Mine


Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 
The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ 
So he divided his property between them. 
Luke 15: 11-12 (NIV)

The younger son was in essence saying to his father, “It’s mine!” Many of us today have the same mindset. However, we all need to take a reality check.

This world's system teaches that things in our possession belong to us. That idea of ownership instills a subtle message of entitlement in our minds, giving us the false sense that we have ultimate control. As a result we often jealously (and nervously) guard these possessions.

The Kingdom of God, however, is counter-cultural to this world’s system.

Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.”

Clearly we see here that it is the Lord who owns everything and everyone who lives on this planet.

David acknowledged the awesome truth of God’s ownership as he prayed during the dedication of the temple. It is recorded in 1 Chronicles 29:11

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all.


STEWARDS, NOT OWNERS
God has made us stewards of what He owns. According to the Blue Letter Bible, a steward is one “to whom the head of the house or proprietor has entrusted...
  1. the management of his affairs, 
  2. the care of receipts and expenditures, 
  3. the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant 
  4. and even to the children not yet of age.”
As a steward you cannot merely have great skills and gifts, yet lack the required close relationship with your Owner. The decisions you make must be based on your knowledge of your Master’s desires concerning His possessions. Keeping that in mind, let us do an assessment.

A SHORT INVENTORY
Let's look at some things that we often think of as ours.

'YOUR' BODY

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, 
and you are not your own? 
1 Corinthians 6:19

Do you keep a clean 'temple', inside and out? Are you feeding God’s body the proper foods, and giving it enough exercise? Are you clothing God’s body in a way that reflects His glory and beauty as well as His purity? How well are you maintaining the body that God has entrusted you with - the body that belongs to Him?

'YOUR' CHILDREN
The child that you brought into this world is not yours. He/she belongs to God. You are a steward, commissioned to ""train up a child in the way he should go" - Proverbs 22:6. The way that that child should go is determined by the One who created him for a specific purpose, not by your personal preferences.

'YOUR' MONEY
The money you have in your possession and in your accounts is not yours. It’s God’s….all of it. He graciously has made a covenant with you to receive 10 percent of it back to Himself, while He expects you to use the remaining 90 percent wisely, according to His statutes, plans and desires.
"'The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,' says the Lord of Hosts." Haggai 2:8

How well are you managing and using God’s money, especially during this Christmas season when extravagant spending is the norm? How would God evaluate your stewardship concerning receipts and expenditures?

 'YOUR' CAREER
When you go to work, remember that the One that you’re ultimately working for is God. Yes, He also owns your job! He is Head over all, including your boss and your boss’ boss. Knowing that you have been placed as a steward in that position should encourage you to do your work as unto the Lord. You are not merely working for your earthly supervisors. They also are stewards, whether they realize it or not.
"...there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." Romans 13:1b

'YOUR' MATERIAL POSSESSIONS
The car you drive, the home you live in, even the clothes you wear all ultimately belong to God. You bought them with His money, and He holds you accountable for the way you use them.

Is the vehicle you drive used to bless others, or is it your trophy? Is the home you live in cluttered with items that you don’t need, but someone else could use? Is that clothes closet overflowing from hoarding? (See #3 under the definition of a steward). Are your material possessions reflective of Christ's desires and plans for their use?

'YOUR' MINISTRY
Even those in ministry can become very possessive and territorial about the position they have been chosen to serve in. This mindset is especially dangerous since God Himself says, "My glory I will not give to another." - Isaiah 42:8. God is the Chief Shepherd of that ministry, and He will never abdicate His position. Does your stewardship in this area reflect His vision?

'YOUR' FUTURE
The world teaches that you must have short term and long term goals. Goals are good. However, plans made without the Master Planner are risky at best. There are also those who are anxious about the future and resort to consulting fortune tellers. Only God Himself knows what the future holds for you because He holds your future. Anyone else is counterfeit.

The young son in the parable probably had plans for his future when he took his inheritance. But because his father had no input in those plans he ended up in trouble. God’s Word is clear on this issue. All time belongs to God. Even your future doesn’t belong to you. It’s His.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11

Take a look at your life.
Everything in it, without exception, belongs to the Lord.
How would you evaluate your stewardship of the tangible and intangible things He has entrusted to your care?

Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:2

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ISSUES OF THE HEART – 2: It’s About Time

 
And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together,
journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 
But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, 
and he began to be in want. 
Luke 15:13-14

I can imagine this young man leaving his father’s house with his inheritance in hand. He was probably exhilarated by his newly acquired independence. He could now chart his own course for his life. I would think that he thoroughly enjoyed his newly found popularity as he used up his gift to impress others. Fame, finances and freedom! This was the life!! He finally had it all…….or so he thought. A rude awakening awaited him.

While he was in his father’s care he had never experienced lack. When he ate, more food was provided for him….. by his father. When he needed clothes, those too, were given to him….. by his father. His father gave him provision, protection, guidance, and most importantly, love. The young son may have had to work, as his older brother did, but he would also have enjoyed all the benefits of being under his father’s covering.

But now he was out there on his own, and this young man was unprepared for the culture of the world system.

He didn’t realize that outside of his father's household he would now have to toil to acquire what he needed, toil to maintain it, toil to grow it and toil to protect it from predators.

In that world it was every man for himself. No one was there to love him just for who he was. To those who lived in that world he was simply a means to an end.

His father was no longer there to replenish his supply, and eventually his gift dwindled down to nothing. He was left alone and destitute, without the friends, without the finances.....and without his father.

Like the father in the parable, our Heavenly Father gives gifts and abilities to us all. Some are called to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and some teachers. There are other giftings within the Body of Christ also. Some are endowed with the ability to lead. Yet others are given the gift of giving, administration, hospitality or discerning of spirits. The gifts are numerous and varied and you can read about them in the following Scriptures:
  • Romans 12:3-9
  • Ephesians 4:7-13
  • 1 Corinthians 12:1-31
  • 1 Peter 4:10-11

Unfortunately, too many in the household of the Christian faith do just what the younger son did. They become convinced that their gift is not being recognized, that their leader(s) are impeding their progress and/or that the Father is taking too long. They decide to pursue their calling and launch out on their own, not waiting to be fully trained to handle the responsibility that comes with the gift. The results are usually just as disastrous as with the young man in the parable.

A gift used without the Father’s loving blessing, covering and guidance soon becomes corrupted, and its owner falls into spiritual bankruptcy.

Jesus Himself had to wait 30 years before He could launch out into ministry. Had He moved out on His own, ahead of His appointed time, you and I, and indeed the entire universe, would have suffered the consequences. Even after He began His ministry, Jesus always moved in cadence with the Father's timing. As a result He remained continually under the Father’s covering, and enjoyed the blessings of His Abba’s provision, protection and guidance.

The young son in this parable would have eventually received his inheritance……in the right time. But because he moved out of his father’s timing a terrible domino effect occurred.

God is a God of perfect timing. He is very deliberate and strategic in everything He does. He sees the big picture in each of our lives while we see only a portion.

What seems like delay or denial to you may be His way of preparing you for what the future holds. It could also be His way of showing you what your true motivation is.

In other words, do you have a true desire to build the Body of Christ, or are you just interested in using the gift to build a following and promote you into the limelight? Are you willing to wait for your appointed season, or are you impatient to get out there and show people how gifted and anointed you are? In the depths of your heart where no one but God sees, who do you really want to please.....God or yourself?

What gifts and/or abilities  has the Father given to you? 
Please make sure that you don’t use them until the Father says, 
“It’s time.”

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ISSUES OF THE HEART – 1: My Brother’s Keeper


Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. Luke 15:12

The young man in this parable which Jesus told has often been vilified as selfish, uncaring and wasteful….and rightfully so. As with all of Jesus’ teachings there are so many lessons that can be learned.

First, let us look at this from a historical context. In those days, and in that culture, it was unheard of for a son to ask his father for his inheritance. It was given to him after the father’s death. So in essence, what the young man in the story was saying was, “Father, I can’t wait for you to die. I want what is due to me now.” Or worse, he could have been saying, “I’ve been waiting so long for you to drop dead, and since you haven’t, just give me what is mine.”

What a blow this would be to any parent who has lovingly birthed and raised a child! This must have broken the father’s heart. But it gets worse……….notice that the inheritance was divided to both sons. It was customary for the older son to receive 2/3 while the younger received 1/3, so the older son had quietly accepted his larger portion instead of rebuking his younger brother for his disrespect. The older son may not have wasted his holdings, but he seemed to have the same heart issue as his brother – a lack of respect and honor for their father.

The man in this parable represents God the Father, and the two sons represent two who are part of the Body of Christ. Jesus didn’t elaborate on it, but I’m sure that because of the culture of that day his audience would have readily sympathized with the father’s hurt. People lived in towns and villages for safety, so his listeners would have envisioned this man being humiliated in front of his neighbors who certainly would have been aware of what was going on in the family.

Now let's bring this parable into our time. See the father's household as the church. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and the Father in His love gives us opportunities to repent and rebuild our relationship with Him.

There are times, however, when you will be made aware of sin in the church family. The Holy Spirit will reveal to you if there has been no repentance, if the sin is habitual, or hidden from undiscerning eyes.

If nothing is done about it our Father is hurt, the Holy Spirit is grieved, Jesus’ Name is put in disrepute, and the assembly becomes vulnerable to further attacks from the enemy. Political correctness has no place in the Body of Christ.

Jesus tells us that we must first deal with our own sin before confronting a brother's or sister's. He said that we should take the log out of our own eye first, and then help the brother or sister to get the speck out of theirs. Could this be why sin is so rampant in the church today?? Could it be that leaders and mature saints are so busy trying to hide their own iniquity that they overlook the transgressions of their younger brothers and sisters?!

It is time for us to restore honor back to our Heavenly Father.

God's Word is very clear on the protocol for dealing with sin in the church, and He holds you accountable. When dealing with a fallen brother or sister remember...

1. It is not an opportunity to spread gossip.
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Matthew 18: 15-17

2. The goal should always be to restore the straying one back to Christ.
Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. – Galatians 6:1 (Amplified Bible)

3. You could be saving that errant brother or sister from great disaster.
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20


4. Make sure that your motive is pure.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. Colossians 3:12-14

The older brother in the parable did not try to stop the transgression against their father. Even if the younger brother had not listened to him, it was still the older one’s responsibility to try to steer him in the right direction.

Confronting someone who is in sin doesn't guarantee that they will thank you, or that they will even heed your warning. But God doesn't require you to change them...just to obey Him in pointing them in the right direction. The decision is ultimately theirs, and the judgment belongs to God should they continue to sin.

Seeing a wrong and staying silent makes you just as guilty as the one who is doing the wrong. Be sure, however, to deal with the person in love and humility. Remember.....except for the grace of God, it could have been you.

Do you truly cherish our Heavenly Father? Then it is time to become your brother’s keeper.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

WHAT ARE YOU BUILDING?

Written by Allison Sylvester-Conliffe

As God’s creation, created in His image and His likeness, we have the ability to create, to build, to construct.  That’s just part of our make-up.

Some have the God-given ability, in wisdom and knowledge, to build great buildings with intricate designs and with a craftsmanship that is unique to each particular builder.  It’s the same for those who build ships and aircrafts and rockets.  It becomes natural to them because of the gifting and unique creative power that’s given to each of them by God.

Even though the creativity and mastery of craftsmanship is resident in each builder, and it forms part of them, do you know that the builders would still encounter some measure of difficulty while building or constructing the thing?  That difficulty becomes a sort of stumbling block for them and they must cross that hurdle to make their project a success.

Sometimes the threat could come as some outside force.  For the builder of a great building for example, the threat, while digging the foundation, could be heavy rains or snow, or some other uncontrollable element that was not foreseen when the project commenced.  Steps would now have to be taken to protect the work that had already been completed, until it was safe to proceed with the construction.
 
Sometimes the threat could come from within.  The builders of a project themselves may not have the same mind for the work and that could be a major hindrance, if not dealt with swiftly.

A sudden change in the economy could prompt the builder to abandon the work for fear of not knowing what the future would bring.  The result would then be an unfinished work or an unfinished project – A waste of resources.

Finally, those who do not have a vision for the work, who are not even part of the project, may suddenly appear on the scene, to cast words that are negative, so as to plant  seeds of doubt and confusion among the builders.  Remember they were not even part of the team of builders.

What are you building today?  Is it more faith in God?  Is it a deeper intimacy with the Trinity?  Is it souls for the Kingdom of God?  Whatever you are building for God, know that the enemy of our souls - satan the devil, is out to stop you …. at all costs.  Actually, his job is to steal, kill and to destroy.  God, on the other hand, has put us here on earth to build, to plant, to restore and to reconcile one with another.  He has also put things in place to reconcile man to Himself.

Take a closer look at Nehemiah.  God had given him the desire to restore the wall of Jerusalem.  This was God’s idea placed in the heart of the visionary, Nehemiah – and so Nehemiah was in constant communion with God concerning the work.  This is key.  The first thing that he did before the Lord was to repent for the sins of Israel, not by calling himself righteous, but included himself among those who sinned against God and was in need of forgiveness.

The next thing that Nehemiah did was that he brought God into remembrance of His own Word concerning the Jews.  Then, he asked for direction or wisdom regarding how to do the work.  This is another key.  As Nehemiah asked God for direction, the Lord began to grant him favour with men.
 
As he strove to do God’s will, and not according to his own plan, the outside forces began to hold a convention about Nehemiah and the work.  They gathered forces together against the builder.  The detractors increased in number as they attempted to disband the work.  But Nehemiah stood his ground in God – fastening his face on the Lord, and God continued to give Nehemiah grace and favour to build as God would have directed him. As the wall was fortified and the work was finished, the opposition was even greater against the builder, Nehemiah.  However, the project was completed successfully, but the war was not yet over.

We are in a war, saints of God.  We are constantly in battle against the world, the flesh and the devil.  But saints, the work has already been completed and the script has been written to the final letter – we have been chosen to play out the scenes.  God has already given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.  We are already called “conquerors” by the Lord.  We ought just to take the tools given us in the Word of God and use them.

Don’t let fear and the threatening opposition be a deterrent against you completing the job that you have been called to do.  Go forth in Jesus’ Name, and build according to the specifics that He has already revealed to you.  We would never fail if we keep our eyes on the Lord and walk according to the pathway that He has carved for us.  He continues to confound the enemy on our behalf.  Praise the Name of the Lord, Jesus the Christ.

God Bless You.
Allison

Friday, November 12, 2010

GUARD YOUR STRENGTHS AGAINST WEAKNESS


DAVID
David’s strength was his intense passion. He valiantly defended his sheep, killed the giant Goliath and conquered vast armies. He did whatever it took to win. But that same passion, unbridled, caused him to commit adultery with Bathsheba and kill her husband.
  • The Result: The Lord spoke through Nathan the prophet, “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.' 2 Samuel 12:10-12
  • The Lesson: Your gifts (spiritual and natural) are given by God. If they are used for your own personal gain the results can be disastrous, with long-term ill effects on you, your family, your church and your community.

SAMSON
God told Samson that he would retain his supernatural physical strength as long as his hair was not cut. He met Delilah, an attractive secret agent for the enemy Philistines and he began to spend a lot of time with her.

Delilah’s singular focus was on getting Samson to disclose the secret of his amazing strength. She questioned him repeatedly, playing on his emotions until he finally relented and told her where his strength lay.
  • The Result: And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. Judges 16:20-21
  • The Lesson: Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:20. The power of your gifting/anointing should be seen in the fruit that you bear. As tempting as it may be, beware of getting into conversations that focus on you or your gift, rather than on the Giver.

MOSES
Moses had an intimate relationship with God. Exodus 33:11 tells us that the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. The Lord trusted Moses to follow his instructions to the letter, and Moses did so... until one day when the Israelites were thirsty and had no water to drink. This was not the first time it had happened. After all, they were in the desert. The Lord had told Moses in previous times to strike the rock, and when he did water had gushed out freely and abundantly. This time, however, God told Moses to speak to the rock and it would bring forth water. Moses stood before the people, and in his anger he struck the rock with his rod twice.
  • The Result: Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” Exodus 33:12
  • The Lesson: You are a steward of the strength/gifting that God has given you. Do not fall into the sin of familiarity by taking God or that gift for granted.

MARTHA
Martha was an excellent hostess. I would imagine that she kept a very tidy home, and went out of her way to make sure that her guests were well fed and comfortable. It seems that Martha had the gift of hospitality. One day Jesus came by to visit and Martha got busy making sure that the Lord was served well. She became angry when her sister wouldn’t help, but instead chose to remain at Jesus’ feet listening to His every word.
  • The Result: And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
  • The Lesson: You may have a full schedule. You may be involved in several ministries at your church. However, if your focus is not on spending quality time in fellowship with the Lord and in studying His Word, your busyness in ministry is fruitless.

In each case the God-given strength became a weakness when the focus was turned inward to satisfy self. Take a moment to assess your own strengths and giftings, both natural and spiritual.
  • Are you in full time ministry? Don't aim at being a star in the eyes of men. Man-made "stars" fall eventually. Focus on being a humble servant to Almighty God.
  • Are you a good organizer? Detail oriented? Able to multi-task well? Beware of a judgmental and critical attitude.
  • Are you a leader? Don't use your position to control or manipulate those whom you have been entrusted to lead.
  • Are you multi-gifted or multi-talented? Resist the temptation to pump up your own ego. Those gifts and talents are God's .....on loan to you.
  • Have you been in ministry or service for a long time? Beware of a stubborn, unyielding attitude.
  • Do you have an intimate relationship with the Lord? Never take your relationship with God for granted.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 
1 Corinthians 10:12

Friday, October 29, 2010

SUPERNATURAL SURGERY - A TESTIMONY OF DIVINE HEALING


I thank Rev. A. Dalton for sharing this powerful testimony

On Monday 28th January, 2009 I left church after leading our Corporate Prayer Service. We had done intense warfare, and so I went home and immediately got into the shower.  As I got into bed I felt a slight itching under my right breast.  It was not severe, just at intervals.

The next morning I tried to see if there was any soreness or a pimple. There was nothing but the occasional itch.  By Tuesday night I began to feel a heaviness, and by Wednesday the breast was enlarged 3 times the size, and it was painful and sore.

Obviously family members became concerned and suggested that I visit the doctor, or have the doctor (who is a family friend) visit me.  I preferred however, to apply the stripes that Jesus took for all manner of sickness and diseases.

The pain intensified and my right shoulder began to feel the pressure of the weight, yet I refused to be medicated or tested.  I would just gently stroke it and declare "By His Stripes I am healed."

Friday night came and we had a Healing and Deliverance Service.  I attended but refused to go to the Altar for prayer because I had already spoken to God who promised that "Healing is the children's Bread”, and as a child of God I qualified to partake of the Bread.  "By His Stripes I am healed.”  The pain grew worse in the service and I just sat down which a sister noticed. At the end she asked, "Is something wrong, because you do not sit during the worship."  I said, "God is taking care of it."  She said, "I will still pray", and she did.  Nothing happened.

The next day, Saturday, I had given my word to a young couple to perform their marriage ceremony, and so I was determined not to disappoint them. I found a flowing gown that would not show the distortion in my breast, and went to the wedding.  I did not stay too long because I had to drive myself to and from the place they had chosen.  It was on a hill on a farm, and the pain to steer the car up the hill was really a challenge.

When I left the wedding on my way home, I asked the Lord. I said, "Lord, in the Worship service tomorrow morning, begin the process." 

The next morning (Sunday) I went to church as usual.  The ministers have to meet half an hour before the service to pray, and I was most present.  Faithfully, in the Worship service I felt a pressure on the breast.  It was as though someone was just squeezing and releasing - very gently, squeezing and releasing. But nothing happened. 

I left the service and went home.  My daughter, who is married, was at my house with her son. They were both in my bed, and she was visibly very upset.  She informed me that she had called the doctor and she would be coming to the house later that afternoon.  I told her that her timing was bad because I was rostered to preach that evening and I intended to do just that, so she’d better call and cancel.  After telling me how stubborn I was she left and went home.

In the meantime my sister called to say that she was taking the next day (Monday) off because it was now 8 days and there was no change, so she would take me to do some tests.  I told her that she did not need to miss a day from work because I was not going anywhere other than to apply the stripes.  Now I had another person trying to convince me that God has given doctors wisdom etc.  I agreed with that but said, "They are for the people who need them."

I went to church, preached and went back home.  It was very uncomfortable to sleep, but I did sleep and awoke in the morning with a song in my heart.
"Father in Heaven how we love You
We Lift your Name in all the earth
May Your Kingdom be established in our Praises
As your people declare your Mighty Works
Blessed be the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
Blessed be the Lord God Almighty
Who reigns forevermore!"

I proceeded to get ready for work because I had not missed a day and did not intend to miss any.  I went to work every day during this time, and not one person noticed what was happening because I wore loose jackets.

With the song now vocal, I proceeded to get ready, and so I leaned over my face basin in the bathroom to brush my teeth.  I began to feel the same pressing motion that I felt on Sunday in the Service… only this time I heard drip, drip, drip and this dark reddish brown mucus began flowing from where the itch was coming from.  It increased from a drip to a flow until all of it was drained out and the breast returned to normal size before my eyes.  I called my husband so that I would have a witness, and he was in awe asking, “What is that? What is that?” I did not answer because I was giving Glory to God, praising and worshipping.

Curiously I wanted to see where it came from. When I lifted the breast there was an incision about a quarter of an inch in length. I say an incision because it was a clean cut!  The great Physician did the work Himself!

I was able to talk to the doctor and my sisters who had decided to make a delegation and wait for me at my Mom's home that evening. I was glad that they were all together because I was able to show them and tell them of this Great Awesome God that we serve. The only thing is that the wound was closed back up by then.  

His promises are true.  He is waiting for His children to begin to trust him so that He can get some Glory.  No pain killer, no medication, no medical intervention was able to share in the Glory which was due only to Him.  He is still in the business of healing but He said, "I will not share My glory with another nor give My Praise to graven images.” A graven image is anything that takes the place of God.

I hope that this testimony blesses somebody who needs to be encouraged.  
To God be all the Glory!

Friday, October 22, 2010

MOSES' TABERNACLE - A PATTERN FOR INTIMACY: PT. 10

THE HOLY OF HOLIES


God often works in three’s, and your journey of intimacy through Moses’ Tabernacle reflects this.

You enter through three portals
  1. The Gate to the Tabernacle shows that Jesus is the only Way to the Father
  2. The Door to the Holy Place leads you into the Truth of who Jesus is and who you are in Him
  3. The Veil that once separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies is now open for you to have true divine Life in Christ.
You have three different experiences
  1. In the outer court you present your body as a living sacrifice
  2. In the Holy Place your soul communes with Christ, and you learn of Him and grow in intimacy with Him.
  3. In the Holy of Holies it is no longer you who live, but your spirit is alive in Christ.
Three Lights
  1. In the outer court there was the light of the sun – signifying the emphasis on things that are natural
  2. In the Holy Place there is the light from the Lampstand – here your inner light is ignited by Jesus who is the Light of the world
  3. In the Holy of Holies the only light is the glory of the Father Himself
Your journey through Moses’ Tabernacle also symbolizes
  1. Death to self – outer court
  2. Burial in Christ. Your life, your thoughts exchanged for His – Holy Place
  3. Resurrection to new life in Christ– Holy of Holies
THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
The Ark was the only piece of furniture in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle. It was made of that now familiar acacia wood and overlaid with gold – signifying humanity overshadowed with Divinity.

Today many search for the Ark of old, not realizing that we are now the spiritual Ark of the Lord, carrying His presence and power in us as we rest, remain and abide in that secret place in Him.

Inside the Ark of old were three items. Each is symbolic of your life of intimacy with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and each shows an attribute of Jesus the Christ.

1. The Ten Commandments. The law is now written on your heart.
- For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death – Romans 8:2
- And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us – John 1:14a
2. The Pot of Manna. God is your ever present Source and Supply
- “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you – Matthew 6:31, 33
- Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world –
John 6:32
3. Aaron’s rod that budded. In a place of intimacy with Him the Father can resurrect the dead areas of your life.
- Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life – Romans 6:4
- Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” –
John 11:25
The Mercy Seat
The Mercy Seat formed the cover of the Ark. Two cherubim of gold stood on each end, wings outstretched and touching and faces looking down toward the Mercy Seat.

It was there that God manifested Himself to Moses.
- 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 – Exodus 25:22

When the high priest came into the Holy of Holies he would cover the Mercy Seat with a cloud of incense. Incense, as we discussed earlier, represents your prayer and praise. So when you come into that secret place in the Lord, when you offer praise and worship to Him in spirit and in truth, He manifests Himself!


What a glorious picture of intimacy Moses’ Tabernacle is!

I pray that you will go deeper and higher as you continue on this exciting journey,
and that you will be determined to remain one with 
The Father, Jesus the Son and The Precious Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

GOD HEALED MY MARRIAGE - HIS STORY


I thank my dear friend George for sharing this powerful testimony.

As a non-believer I lived a reckless life of partying, alcoholism and adultery. I had no time for my family, and got into considerable debt to support my lifestyle. Banks and lending institutions would approach me and give me loans, so there was not a time that I didn’t have money.  I remember once spending $15,000.00 in two weeks and had nothing to show for it.  It was all spent on women and alcohol, and on me to have a good time.  This happened on two other occasions when I had $13,000.00 and then $10,000.00, and again I had nothing to show for it. 

I would constantly lie to my wife about my whereabouts and activities. That was easy to do because of the type of job that I had and the position that I was in.  I used to drink so much, that no matter what kind or brand of alcohol that I drank, it had no effect on me.  Somehow I could not get drunk or feel high anymore.  My peers would rate me as the “best drinker” they knew.

I had owned three cars, and with each, had a near death experience. On each occasion I knew it was God who had saved me, and I would say to myself that I needed to give Him more of my time, but that never happened. I just continued drinking all the more each day.

At that time I attended a traditional church, and on Sunday mornings after church I would go home and drink without having any breakfast or lunch. I would drink all by myself.  I would tell myself that something is wrong with this and I would ask God to help me.  I knew that something was wrong, but I was incapable of changing on my own accord.

One day in 2001 my twin brother invited me to a service at Trinidad Christian Center. I refused. Nevertheless, two weeks later I felt in my heart that I had to attend this church. It was as though an audible voice was compelling me to do so. During that second week I found myself lying to all my friends, when they called and invited me to go out with them. I turned them all down saying that I was busy, even though I did not quite understand what was happening to me.  I know now that it was God who was preparing me for His good pleasure.

I decided to go that Sunday and my wife was delighted. I, too, surprisingly, was excited to attend. I even returned the following week. During this service something happened inside of me.

I no longer had the desire to drink alcohol, and I was eager to hear the Word of God preached!

The next Sunday, as the Pastor of the church was delivering the Word I felt my stomach become tied up into knots, and before I knew it I was in tears even before the call for Salvation was made. When the call for salvation was made I somehow was locked into a place alone with Jesus, and felt my legs taking me towards the altar. I remember saying the “sinner’s prayer” as I gave my heart to the Lord. I was broken and in tears. It seemed to me that Jesus had reached His hand inside of me and uprooted every dirty and ungodly thing! I knew that He had cleansed and delivered me from my sins, and I thank God for my deliverance from alcohol addiction and adultery and every other sin.

Today I cannot even bear the smell of alcohol. I feel sick when I do. God has done a complete work – Hallelujah! I used to watch these things on television and always doubted the truth of it, but the Lord has allowed it to happen to me. Now I know that Jesus is real, and there is no one else like Him! I thank God for my dear Pastor and Apostle who led me in to these blessings.

Since then my entire life has been restored and God has since blessed me with a much better relationship with my wife and daughter, a new home, a new car and so much else.

Now my family and I pray together, have fun and enjoy a God-filled relationship that we had longed for.  There is also a peace and joy within me, and within our home that could only have come from Jesus!

Today I can only give praise and worship unto my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Only God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit could do what was done in my life.   

Praise the Lord!

To read his wife Allison's story please click on this link: 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

MOSES' TABERNACLE - A PATTERN FOR INTIMACY: PART 9

THE ALTAR OF INCENSE


Just in front of the veil that separates the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies stands the Altar of Incense. Like the Table of Showbread it is made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold, symbolizing Jesus – all man yet all God.

In Moses’ time the high priest had to tend to this Altar twice per day – morning and evening. As with everything else in the Tabernacle, God was very specific with His instructions concerning the Altar.

Hot coals had to be taken from the Brazen Altar and used as a catalyst to burn the incense on the Altar. Anything else would be considered by God to be strange fire. The incense had to burn continually as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. There is much symbolism here that relates to us and our intimate walk with Christ today.

This Altar of Incense is a picture of your prayers as they rise to the Lord.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8
Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:3-4
The coals had to come from the Brazen Altar which is symbolic of Christ’s sacrificial death on Calvary. This shows the connection between prayer and the finished work of Christ on the Cross. Many today pray to God without acknowledging His completed work. That is like the strange fire that Aaron’s two sons offered up to the Lord.
Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. Leviticus 10:1
These two men had the right incense – the correct ingredients - but the wrong agent. It is only because of Jesus’ shed Blood on the Cross that we can come to the Father in prayer.

Jesus is our Great High Priest, and He intercedes for you and me continuously.
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25
Your communion with God in prayer is to be ongoing. It builds intimacy.
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1
Pray truthfully. Be brutally honest with the Lord as you would with your best friend. After all He is your Best Friend. Are you His?
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7
So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven. Luke 11:2
Pray believing that He has heard and has answered.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. …The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:15, 16b
Dear friend, pray without ceasing. 
1 Timothy 5:17

Please visit this previous article which also details prayer: Abiding in Him - Continuous Communion

Monday, September 27, 2010

MOSES' TABERNACLE - A PATTERN FOR INTIMACY: PART 8

THE TABLE OF SHOWBREAD

Now that the Golden Lampstand is lit, walk with me to the opposite side of the Holy Place to the Table of Showbread. It is made of the same material that we have become familiar with since starting this study – shittim wood overlaid with pure gold. The shittim, or acacia wood, because of its durability, symbolizes Jesus’ indestructible body while the gold symbolizes His divinity. He was all Man yet all God!

TWELVE
On the Table are twelve loaves of bread – flat cakes set in two rows of six each. This bread is also called the bread of the Presence or the bread of faces. There is much symbolism here, so let’s stop awhile, for here you will have another divine encounter with our Saviour.

This pattern of two rows of six is repeated in the garments of the high priest. On his shoulders were two onyx stones and on each stone the names of six of the tribes of Israel were engraved.
"And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders as a memorial." – Exodus 28:12. The high priest was a representative of the presence of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah prophesied of Jesus in this way..
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The number twelve represents governmental perfection. There were twelve tribes of Israel, twelve disciples, twelve foundations in the New Jerusalem which had twelve gates and twelve pearls. The high priest bore the names of the twelve tribes on his shoulders.

Jesus, our Great High Priest, bears you and me on His shoulder. He is the Good Shepherd, carrying you when you are weak, or straying. He is your Husband-Redeemer. Lay your head on His shoulder and be comforted. He bore your sins, and bids you to give your burdens to Him. What a Saviour!

BREAD
The priests were commanded by God to eat the bread on that Table. "And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place…" - Leviticus 24:9

When you eat something it becomes a part of you. You can no longer separate the thing eaten from your being. In other words, there is an intimate bond that develops between you and the food.

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him." – John 6:53-56

Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is the Showbread on the Table!

Now consider this…

"And He (Jesus) took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” – Luke 22:19

The next time you receive communion, eat the bread knowing that you are receiving the power that is in the Body of Christ Jesus – the Body that bore all your sins. Drink the wine/grape juice knowing that you are receiving everything that the Blood of Jesus always did from the beginning – the Blood that never loses its power; the Blood that cleanses, heals and restores. Now mind you - I'm not talking about a religious ritual that produces no power. I'm speaking of an intense spiritual encounter - one that I have experienced personally - that can manifest in physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Eat His Body, drink His Blood, and watch what happens as that supernatural Body and Blood become one with you!!

The Table of Showbread in Moses’ Tabernacle is an awesome picture of the divine intimate communion that you and I can enjoy with our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ today!!

to be continued...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MOSES' TABERNACLE - A PATTERN FOR INTIMACY: PART 7

THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND

You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; 
the lampstand shall be of hammered work. 
Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. 
Exodus 25:31

You are now in the Holy Place in the Tent of Meeting. There are three pieces of furniture here – The Golden Lampstand, The Table of Showbread and the Altar of Incense. Walk with me to the left side of the Holy Place where the Lampstand is.

This is an awesome structure made of one piece of solid gold and weighing one talent – about 75 pounds! This gold had been beaten and hammered over and over again before passing through intense fire in order to be purified and shaped. This is a picture of our Beloved Christ who endured severe beatings and fiery persecution for our sake.

Notice that the Lampstand has a central shaft with six branches attached to it – three branches on one side and three on the other. Jesus said, “I AM The Vine, you are the branches.” John 15:5.  The Lampstand depicts the intimate relationship between the Lord and the Body of Christ - His Bride. We are joined to Him as one.

God, being the ultimate Strategist, chose to have six branches on the Lampstand, not five or eight. Six is His number for man. Without the main shaft of the Lampstand we, the branches, would be inoperable and ineffective. Jesus Himself emphasized that point when He said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4

On the Lampstand were ornamentations of almonds, knobs and flowers. The word “almond” means to wake, watch or be alert. Almonds are symbolic of resurrection. What a beautiful depiction of the risen Christ, and of us coming alive again in Him!

At the top of the shaft and on each of the six branches was a bowl which held oil and a wick. The oil came from olives, and was extracted from the fruit by crushing. Again we are reminded of our Lord’s suffering. Oil is symbolic of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Here it shows you that when you are "crushed" and allow the Holy Spirit to fill and use you, that brings out the best in you.

The Lampstand was the only source of light in the Holy Place. The Lord had commanded Moses to make it so that the lamps would point toward the Table of Showbread.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

He also said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

In making these two statements Jesus was confirming that when you abide in Him and you have the empowering and anointing oil of the Holy Spirit filling you, then you yourself become a light in this dark world, leading men and women to Jesus who is The Bread of Life - Our Showbread.

In Moses’ day the priests were to tend to the Lampstand twice daily, morning and evening, to make sure that the lamps remained lit and never went out. Here too, you are reminded that sweet intimate communion with the Lord daily is vital if you are to effectively reveal the true light of Christ in this world.

As you go through the Lampstand experience keep these Scriptures in mind:

Job 23:10 - But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

1 Peter 4: 12, 13 - Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

Matthew 25:1-4Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

John 1:4,5 (Amplified Version) – In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it].

To be continued…

Friday, September 3, 2010

MOSES' TABERNACLE - A PATTERN FOR INTIMACY: PART 6

ENTER THE HOLY PLACE


There are three portals in the Tabernacle of Moses. The first is the Gate – the only entrance into the enclosure. We have already discussed how beautifully the Gate portrays Jesus Himself. He is the only way in - the only way to the Father.

You have presented your body as a living sacrifice at the Brazen Altar. You have washed your hands and feet at the Brazen Laver, ridding yourself of the impurities and influences of the world. Now you stand before another portal - the door that separates the open-air Outer Court from the covered Tent of Meeting.

Note that only priests could enter through the Door of the Tabernacle and into the Holy Place - the first section of the Tent. The same is true today. It is a place reserved for those who have committed their lives to drawing ever closer to God by meeting with Him regularly and often, and by living a life of prayer, worship and service to Him and to others.

THE ENTRANCE

"You shall make a screen for the door of the tabernacle, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. And you shall make for the screen five pillars of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold; their hooks shall be of gold, and you shall cast five sockets of bronze for them.” Exodus 26:36,37

This door, like the Gate, is another encounter with the Lord Jesus Himself. Whereas in the first encounter at the Gate, you experienced Him as Saviour, now you are about to interact with Him in a more intimate manner.

This new transition is seen even in the materials used in the pillars that hold up the screen of the Door. Notice that they are made of acacia and overlaid with gold, and that they sit in bronze sockets. You have seen acacia before in the Bronze Altar. It is that durable wood that reminds us of Jesus’ indestructible body which was scourged, pierced and flogged for you and me. You have also seen the bronze fence posts, Bronze Altar and Bronze Laver. Bronze represents judgment.

For the first time, however, you see a new metal – gold. Gold represents divinity. Not only is Jesus represented in the blue, scarlet and purple screen, but in the supporting pillars we also see Him – perfectly human (acacia) yet perfectly Divine (gold), and taking upon Himself the judgment (bronze) that was due us all. Once more you are reminded that in order to get close to the Father, you must come through the Son.

From this point on all the furniture you will encounter will be made of gold. No bronze is allowed in the Holy Place or beyond. You see, there is no such thing as pure bronze. Bronze is an alloy – a mixture of copper, tin and other trace metals. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. There can be no mixture in you as you enter the inner enclosure of your spiritual Holy Place. Do you see why it was important to wash first at the Brazen Laver?

As you look around you notice that the Holy Place is encased by several coverings. Let us examine them.

LINEN
The innermost coverings are linen curtains interwoven with cherubim. Linen represents rest. You may remember that the first time cherubim were mentioned in Scripture was in Genesis 3:23, 24.
“…therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”

Cherubim are guardians. They kept Adam and Eve from returning to the idyllic Garden of Eden where they had enjoyed sweet intimate fellowship with the Lord. I believe that these cherubim, being on the inside of the Holy Place where you are, symbolize how God wants you to guard the treasures that you receive in your spirit during your communion with Him; treasures that enable you to come into a deeper state of rest in Him.

GOATS’ HAIR
"You shall also make curtains of goats' hair, to be a tent over the tabernacle.” Exodus 26:7

In Moses’ day the goat was a sacrificial animal, used on the Day of Atonement. The High Priest would lay his hands on the goat’s head, after which it was led away out of the camp and into the wilderness. This scapegoat signified God's taking away the sins of the Israelites. What a wonderful symbol of Jesus who is our Sacrificial Scapegoat!

RAM’S SKINS
"You shall also make a covering of ram skins dyed red for the tent, and a covering of badger skins above that.” Exodus 26:14

The ram reminds us of a substitute sacrifice. After Abraham willingly took Isaac up to the mountain to sacrifice him as God ordered, the Lord provided Himself a ram caught in the thicket.

The red ram skins are a reminder that Jesus' Blood was the Perfect Substitute given in sacrifice for our sin.

BADGER SKINS
Badger skins are tough and coarse, shielding the precious items in the Tabernacle from the onslaught of rain, wind and sand. Jesus is our Covering, shielding us from the onslaught of the enemy.

These badger skins were also unattractive. Again we see a picture of our Saviour whom Isaiah describes this way…
“He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Isaiah 53:2

Jesus commands you to come often to this secret place, The Holy Place, in Him – away from the noise and clatter of daily routine. It is here in this glorious seclusion that He meets with you and imparts His precious treasures into you.

Don’t rush. Stay a while, and walk with me to the first piece of furniture in the Holy Place – the Golden Lampstand.

….to be continued.
Copyright © 2015 AudreyCharles. All rights reserved.