Believe

•October 19, 2018 • Leave a Comment

You know.  God is pretty amazing.  I sit here at my job completely drenched in the love and presence of my Savior KNOWING that I am not worthy of Him.  Knowing that I do not deserve His love.  Knowing that my filthy sin causes Him pain daily.  But yet, He loves me.  Still, He pursues me.  Still, He wraps me up in His arms and says, “I love you son, I am here”.  I am literally sitting here at my desk with tears in my eyes thinking about it.  I deserve death but yet God gives me life.  What a God?!  What a Savior?!  What a Father?!

It’s so easy to see Judgement as something negative right?  I love how Pastor Nick worded it this week in talking about our view of judgement.  That we are currently being judged.  Judgement isn’t something that only happens once.  Sometimes judgement says “Well done my faithful servant”.  But, what we need to remember that even in His judgement there is grace.  IF not, we would all be death’s main course.  Instead we have an open door called eternal life that we have already stepped through if we have accepted Him in.  That’s right, eternal life has already started guys.  Stop dreading that day of judgement and look forward to it.

The fact is, it is our choice.  It’s all on us:

Mark 16:16
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Remember is more than just knowing God exists.  If that were the definition of “believing” here then technically Satan would be a Christian.  The kind of believe that brings us to our knees daily and to live a life that honors our Creator.  Judgement isn’t something that should scare us.  It should encourage us if we truly do believe in Him because we know He is judging us justly.  Because of His grace we don’t really get what we deserve.  Christ proved that with His blood.

You can see this on the cross in so many ways.  But, look at the two that hung with Christ.  One rejected Him.  One turned to Him.  The who rejected found true death.  The one who turned to Him found life in His death.  You see, that wasn’t the final judgement.  But, that was A judgement.  Christ looked at him and told Him he would be with Him in paradise.  That thief didn’t EARN it.  He didn’t DESERVE it.  But, God’s grace opened the door through a heart that believed.

It’s simple.  BELIEVE.  Find comfort in the comfort.  If we are living each day for Him then it’s something we don’t have to dread each day.  He loves us.  Sitting where you are right now; God loves you.  If you open your heart you will start to feel Him NOW begin to pour out on you.  Go ahead, “Spirit breath”.  “Spirit come”.  You WILL feel Him.  It comes down to believing.

We have so much to look forward to.

Advertisements

The Holy Place

•September 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

So, let’s take a birds eye view of what has been going on so far.  Pastor Nick has talked about the Outer Courts so far.  We have walked through the Gate with a heart of praise as we approach the Brazen Altar with our Sacrifice of Submission.  We have washed in the Word at the Laver and are ready to enter into a more personal relationship with our Father.  After the Laver we enter into the Holy Place.

One thing I would like to highlight again, is the birds eye view.  Outside the Holy Place you see and smell a lot of death.  More judgement and physical activity.  Everything in the outer courts is made of Bronze; again symbolizing judgement.  Now, once you enter into the Holy Place things change.  They become more intimate.  The smell and the atmosphere completely change here.  Here everything is either made of or overlaid with Gold.  This symbolizes Christ’s deity.  His Royalty.  His Kingship.  The mood changes drastically.  In the Holy Place things are more about the intimate relationship with God and His people.

  1. On the right hand side we come to the Table of Shewbread. This is all about our fellowship and communion with Christ.  We have been cleansed by the Word and now can walk with Christ.  This is where we take in communion with the Bread of Presence and Wine.  This is where we Breathe Christ in.  A beautiful communion.
  2. On the left hand side we see the Lampstand. Now, it’s important to understand that this is called a Lampstand and not a candlestick.  The difference?  A candlestick will eventually run out of wax.  The wick will eventually fall short.  A lampstand will not stop burning as long as there is oil.  It’s important to understand this and the symbolism.  What does oil represent?  The SPIRIT of God.  So, what we see here is as long as we are living in the Spirit; the light of Christ will burn bright for all to see.  Another cool fact here is that it was only to be lit using flames from the Altar of Sacrifice.  WHAT?!  So, our sacrifice of submission place a part in shining the light of Christ.  It was what lit the Holy Place.  No windows, just the Golden Lampstand.  There is a lot more detail than I have time to go into.  But there are some important points.
  3. Now, just before we get to the Holy of holies is the Altar of Incense right in between the other two. This represents our intercession rising to God.  Do you spend time in intercession for others?  Or do you think that is only a gift some people obtain?  NO!  This Altar is the last thing we see before entering the Holy of holies.  The priests would actually use the incense to fill the Holy of holies so when the high priest entered the smoke would mask the glory of God and not….kill him.  So, we need to understand that a heart of intercession is huge in preparing our hearts for the presence of God.  It’s not a gift some have and others don’t.  It’s an expectation on all of us.  God’s heart is for His people.  Ours should be no different.

All of this lays out a path to enter right into the very presence of God.  Isn’t it awesome that God gave a direct path from our filthy flesh into the perfect presence of God?  Hopefully in all of this you see what Pastor Nick meant when he was talking about how this is still relevant to us today.  This isn’t just an Old Testament teaching we shelf and move on from.  This is an example of God’s love and plan of redemption that gives us a clear back to His presence through a life of worship.

Are you in daily fellowship with your King?  Are you allowing the Spirit of God fuel a fire in you that can’t be snuffed out?  Are you falling on your face for your brothers and sisters creating an incense that pleases our God?  These are all important parts of our worship lifestyle that leads to the very presence of God.

Altar of Sacrifice

•August 22, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I want to discuss a couple things that the Altar was literally and symbolically.

  1. Place of judgement

The altar was overlaid with Bronze (Brass).  This symbolized judgement.  Each person was to bring the best of their livestock, depending on what type of offering, and it’s blood would atone for the sin of that person.  Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  The animal would take on the judgement that belonged to that person.  So, we talk about the Gate.  We enter through the gate with a heart of praise and I am assuming you picture something glorious as you enter?  NO!  What you got was death and judgement.  You walk in and immediately smell burnt flesh and death.  This wasn’t a pretty site at all.  But, the Altar of Sacrifice (Brazen Altar) was a place of judgement.

  1. Place of forgiveness

Leviticus 17:11 says “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”

Here we also find forgiveness.  Once the blood is spilt there is forgiveness.  Another cool part of the altar are the horns.  The horns had function and symbolic meaning as well.  As did everything in the Tabernacle.  But, as Pastor Nick said they used the horns to tie down the animals.  But, they also symbolized mercy.  Someone who deserved judgement could run in and grab the horns crying for mercy.  (1 King 1:49-53, 1 Kings 2:28).  So, we come to the altar guilty and leave forgiven.  This is huge.

Now, let’s break this down even further.  The altar was made of acacia wood overlaid with brass.  Acacia wood was very tough and used a lot back in the day.  It is said to be indestructible.  Using the Acacia wood here symbolized Indestructible Humanity (Jesus).  Jesus was human who was perfect and sinless.  He is the Lamb of God who is spotless.  He took on our judgement (Brass) as He died for our sins and spilt His blood for us bringing forgiveness and the ability for us to come to Him directly.

What does this mean to us now?

  1. Place of Submission

Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefor, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

We come to the Altar and offer to God our Sacrifice of Submission.  We no longer offer livestock.  We offer our lives in service and submission to Him.  Do you think it is an accident that we enter the Gate with a heart of praise and immediately have to submit our hearts and lives to Him?  Before anything else there needs to be submission.  Surrender.  I am speaking the last week of this series and will be repeating a lot of this.  But, I think it is vital and important we understand this.

Leviticus 6:13 “Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.”
Leviticus 9:24 “And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offereing and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”

The Altar was only to be lit by fire from the LORD.  It was not to be made by man.  This goes for us now.  We cannot manufacture a fire from God.  Only God can burn our sacrifice of Submission.  This is not something we can do on our own.  It means complete and utter submission to our God.  You walk in with a heart of and immediately surrender.  Investigate your heart right now.  Are you wholly surrender to God or are you offering the ugly weak calf, figuratively speaking of course.  When we offer our best to God He burns it up with His Holy fire and we begin to look more like His perfect Son.

The Gate

•August 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Psalms 100:4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise!  Give thanks to Him, bless His Name!”

There is a book called “How to Worship a King” by Zack Neese that talks about our worship using the Mosaic Tabernacle.  When he talks about the gate he talks about how if there is a password to enter through the gate that password is Praise.  Have you ever read Psalms like this before wondering what exactly the Psalmist was talking about?  Well, this past week Pastor Nick discussed the gate and so you know what the Psalmist was talking about in Psalms 100.  He was referring entering into the outer courts through the gate.  Praise prepares our hearts for all of it.  Surrender, the Word, right relationship with our God.  Praise sets the stage to keep us focused on what matters most, CHRIST.

Again, every aspect of the Tabernacle points to Christ.  The symbolizes Jesus as the ONLY way to our Father.  We see a process as we enter into the outer courts which Pastor Nick will begin to discuss this week with the Altar of Sacrifice; or the Brazen Alter.  There was ONE way in and ONE way out.

John 10:6 “I am the door.  If any enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”

John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

This is huge that we understand that 1) Christ it the first thing we see as we enter into the courts of the tabernacle and 2) Praise is the language that gets us through that gate.  A heart of praise is huge as we enter into the presence of God.  Think about it.  The enemy uses what? FEAR.  God says that He is seated on the what?  PRAISES of His people, Psalm 22:3.  If God’s throne is our praise and our worship then how can fear take hold?  Can fear coexist where the throne of our God is?  So if the enemies greatest weapon is fear.  Ours is praise.  It messes up all the plans of the enemy.  It causes confusion in the camp of the enemy.  Look at the story of Gideon.  They blew the horns and it brought fear to the enemy.  When we praise, it causes fear itself to fear.  WOW!!  Did you ever think about turning the tables on fear and causes fear to fear?  Well, that is what praise does.  It also begins a process where we enter the very Holy of holies.  It opens the door for us to welcome the Holy Spirit in obedience.  It prepares us for the throne of our God.

So let me ask some questions:

Are you facing the impossible?  PRAISE GOD
Are you feeling hopeless?  PRAISE GOD
Are you feeling alone and unloved?  PRAISE GOD
Are you feeling anger and bitterness?  PRAISE GOD
No matter what it is you’re facing:  PRAISE GOD

He is worthy.  He is holy.  And you know what?  The best way for you to fight and give it all to Him is through a heart of praise.  It’s begins the process of Submission and sacrifice in our lives that hopefully leads to us digging more into His Word.  Then, we enter into the Holy Place and find TRUE relationship.  This will all make more sense over the coming weeks.  But, it all starts with a heart of Praise.

And ends in the very presence and Spirit of God.

Selah 20

•August 15, 2018 • Leave a Comment
Morning prayer

Holy Spirit come, come like oil
Drench me head to toe
Let the fragrance of Your Spirit fill every room I enter
May it cover every molecule that is me

Holy Spirit come, come like fire
Consume my flesh now
Let the flames of Your Spirit burn away my dross
May it make me more like You

Holy Spirit come, come like the wind
Breathe in me new life
Let your breathe awaken dry bones
May it create in me a new song

Holy Spirit come, come like the rain
Drown me completely
Let the waters of Your Spirit overtake me
May it sweep me away

Holy Spirit come, open my mind
Expand my understanding of Your Spirit
Let it bring knew revelations in You
May the veil that is my flesh fall away

Holy Spirit come, open my heart
That It would beat in rhythm with Yours
Let what I feel be what You feel
May Your love be the love I show others

Holy Spirit come, open my ears
Silence all other voices that distract
Let your voice echo in me
May obedience be my worship to You

Holy Spirit come, open my eyes
Light my path to You
Let me see Your manifold beauty
May I see Your glory

Holy Spirit
Come and have Your way
Set up camp in this heart and never leave
Where You go I go
What You speak I speak
What You desire I desire
Holy Spirit, come

Heartbeat of Redemption

•August 8, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This past week we started a new series I am personally very excited about.  As Pastor Nick said, it is something so many people kind of throw to the side because of it being an “old testament” thing.  But, this is the Tabernacle.  I am going to discuss three points Pastor Nick made about the Tabernacle I think are very important to understand out the gate.  (No pun intended, hahahaha)  You’ll get that later.

The Purpose of the Tabernacle

Exodus 25:8 “And let them make a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.”

Did you know that there are churches that actually teach that God’s grace is not in existence in the Old Testament?  Yep, I personally think that is nuts and anyone that says that obviously doesn’t study the OT at ALL.  Let’s look at what is going on here.

Not too long before this the Israelites had been rejecting God………. AGAIN.  Moses goes up to get the tablets (not an iPad) and when he comes down the people are worshipping idols.  God’s people had rejected Him, complained to Him, even said that they would rather go back to Egypt than be stuck in the desert.  So, what does God do?  And this is huge, especially for those who say God’s grace isn’t evident until the NT.  God gives more access to His people to be able to access HIM.  Come on, if that isn’t grace I don’t know what is.

It’s simple, God wanted to dwell among His people.  He wanted to TABERNACLE.

Back at the beginning when Adam and Eve did what they did God already had a plan of Redemption that stretched from that moment all the way until Christ returns.  I believe this Tabernacle is a huge milestone in God’s plan of redemption.  Christ is at the heartbeat of God’s plan of Redemption.  And you know what?  The Tabernacle points to Christ; 1,500 years before Christ takes on flesh.  God is telling His people He desires them and wants to walk with them.  And at the same time; prophesying about the coming of their Messiah.  If that doesn’t give you chills; what will?   That brings me to my next point.  (Again, no pun intended)  OH SNAP

The Pointing of the Tabernacle

This was around 1,500 years before Christ was born.  The one thing you hear Pastor Nick talk about is that all of it.  Every square inch of the Tabernacle points RIGHT.  TO.  CHRIST.  Again, He is the heartbeat of God’s plan of redemption.  What each article of the tabernacle is made of.  The order by which everything exists.  The very meaning of each piece; it all points to our Messiah.

And they had no clue.

Again, if this isn’t grace then what is?  God was giving the Israelites a look into their future and they didn’t have a clue.  He was showing them what things would look like in the future.  He was telling them; One Day.

One other thing about the pointing.  Have you ever had a fight with a shadow?  If so, PLEASE tell me because that would be interesting to watch.  Especially if you lost the fight.  But, my question is this.  In regards to your shadow what has the power?  The shadow itself or what is casting the shadow?  You see, the Tabernacle isn’t powerful in and of itself.  It is a shadow of how things are done in Heaven.  The real power comes from the thing that is casting it.  Think about it, the birds eye view that Pastor Nick showed you.  When you zoom out you see a cross.  You see am image of our redemption.  You see an image that points right to Christ.  A shadow.  Again, the power?  Our heavenly Father, our Messiah, our KING.

The power of the Tabernacle

I really just dealt with this in my previous point.  But, you can’t have the pointing without the power.  The point is, and you will see this more and more over the coming weeks.  All of this still teaches us TODAY.  It gives us an order and an understand as to how we can worship our King.  We need to understand that we serve a God that desires to dwell among us.  A God that, even though His people reject Him daily, still holds to His promise of Redemption.  He still breathes in us.  He still speaks to us.  He still walks with us.  And if we let Him He will still set our lives on fire that will leave an aroma that fills the heavens and every life around us.

The Tabernacle teaches us pure worship.  Teaches us how much God loves and cares for us and how we can enter into a walk with Him that will never stop.

I welcome you to continue coming each week with an open heart and open mind.  I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

What the Conquest requires

•July 24, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This past Sunday Pastor Nick discussed Joshua and them conquering and trusting God in His instruction.  He discussed some points I wanted to rehash in this blog so bear with me.

First, I just want to define CONQUEST in it’s simplest definition “the ac t of process of conquering”.  Now, let’s move on.

  1. Conquest requires faith

I have used this example before, but I am going to used it again because it is something that required so much faith.  In 2 Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat and his men had to trust the Lord.  In verse 2 some men came to Jehoshaphat and told him that a large army was coming to attack.   I love what is says about Jehoshaphat’s response.  It says that he was afraid and “set his face to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah”.  His first response wasn’t to get angry at God and stop going to Church.  It wasn’t to go get drunk and try to forget the problems.  It was immediately to seek the Lord and Fast.  Now, at one point the Lord spoke to a man named Jahaziel and one of the things the Lord said was this, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed.” (sound familiar?)  He goes to tell them that they will face this huge army and then tells them “You will not need to fight in this battle.  Stand firm, hold your position and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.”  They all then bowed and worshipped.

My point to this is when they were facing the army Jehoshaphat reminded his men of the Word the Lord spoke and essentially told them to have faith.  They began to just sing praises and God did as He said.   They had faith in the Lord and the Lord was faithful in His promise.  Faith is vital in our conquest.

  1. Conquest requires dependence

Exodus 17 talks about a pretty aw4esome war between the Israelites and Amalek.  Moses tells Joshua to go and fight with Amalek.  Now, the interesting thing here is that Moses rose his hands (One hand holding the staff) Joshua and his men would start winning.  When Moses would lower his hands Joshua and his men would start losing.  So, Moses decided to keep his hands raised and even sat down on a rock at one point because he was getting tired.  Aaron and Hur were with him and were holding his arms up for him.  Now, to me, this took quite a bit of dependency on Moses, Aaron and Hur.  Do you think the power was REALLY in Moses raising his hands and the staff?  No, this proved the need for Israel’s dependency on God.  The only way they one this battle was through a specific plan of attack and very specific leadership.  Moses depended on Aaron and Hur.  Ultimately, they depended on God.  They conquered only through dependency and that is vital.  Sometimes us throwing our hands up and getting out of the way will we allow God to fully move how He wants.  So, get out of the way and depend on in.  Dependency is vital in our conquest.

  1. Conquest requires repentance

Pastor Nick said something very direct but very true this Sunday about repentance.  He said that God doesn’t need your “I’m Sorry”.  He desires your repentance.  Ultimately, repentance is when you are walking one direction, turn around, and walk the other direction.  You can be walking on the path you are on, say I’m sorry and never change directions.  What good is I’m sorry in that case?  NONE.  All throughout the Old Testament God commands His people to repent.  One example in 2 Chronicles 7 when Solomon finally finishes the Temple.  He tells Solomon that the people need to repent.  He says “if my people…” and then he says “THEN I will hear…”.  Repentance is huge.  Yes, ask forgiveness.  Yes, say you’re sorry.  But, most important STOP and TURN AROUND and walk towards Him.  Repentance is vital in our conquest.

  1. Conquest requires perseverance

I like the regular definition for the word persevere.  “continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.  How many people stop before they start because success isn’t promised to them?  Or because the road is going to be difficult and painful?  This is not perseverance.  This is cowardice.  I think that the ultimate show of perseverance is Job.  I mean, MY GOODNESS that joker went through it.  He felt hopeless.  He felt alone.  He was tired and afraid.  But, He never turned on God.  He persevered.  The VAST majority of people would have given up long before his friends got involved.  He had no reason to believe things were going to get better but still didn’t give up on God.  No matter what you face it’s not too big for God.  But, also, and this isn’t the most encouraging though, what you’re facing may not disappear when you want it to.  Sometimes we must persevere the battle to get where God wants us to be.  We find strength there.  We find hope there.  Read James 1:2-4.  Perseverance is vital in our conquest.

Ultimately, the battle belongs to Him.  All we have to do in all of this is keep our eyes on Him.  If we do this, then these things won’t be as hard.  We will find the faith.  We will want to repent and depend on Him.  We won’t think about persevering because all we know is that God will give us strength to get through it.  So my challenge to you?  Keep your eyes on God.  Where is your focus?  What are you looking at this days?  Where is your heart?

Keep your eyes on Him and let Him lead you through it all.  The conquest will be won and you can look back and praise God for the victory.