Posts Tagged ‘ BLESSING ’

Brought out and taken in

Do you remember the old song, He brought us out to take us in….though there be giants in the land I will not be afraid, so let us go at once to our inheritance? This is what I think of when the feast of Tabernacles comes up. Tabernacles is a celebration commissioned by God so that Israel would remember their time in the wilderness.

The Children of Israel were not supposed to spend forty years in the wilderness, it was supposed to be a short trip through the wilderness to the promised land. How many times do we all do this, stop longer than we should or not heed instructions? But that is not what Tabernacles is about. Tabernacles is about God’s grace, God’s Provision and God’s nearness. Many of us start our walks as Jesus followers excited and then slow down due to distractions. God led the Hebrews the long way so they would not be tempted to turn around and go back. Why? Because the short route included a couple battles along the way, that alone is a message in itself.

The root word for wilderness and the Holy of Holies is the same word. It’s when we find ourselves in desert places that God is so close. We have misunderstood wilderness in our western culture. We look at wilderness as a bad thing, yet it was the wilderness where God spoke to Moses and let His goodness pass him. It was the wilderness where God’s presence first came to the Children of Israel, it is the wilderness where Jesus was filled with power, and it is the wilderness of life where many of us have found God and move forward.

Now grant it we should never live there but we should understand what the wilderness is, it is not a bad place but a meeting place with God for transitional time. Think about the instances mentioned, the wilderness catapulted those individuals into a completely different realm of life. Tabernacles is a celebration of God being with us.

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us the outline of the celebration of Tabernacles and there are two things I want to look at. First, the giving aspect. Leviticus 23:37-38 NKJV “These are the feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day – 38 besides the Sabbaths of the LORD, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD.”

Now before we get into the giving aspect I want to share a quote from Tiz Huch, “God is not trying to get something from us, He is trying to get something to us”. The enemy has convinced so many believers that giving is a taboo subject and that all the Church is about is money. I’m going to have a moment of blunt honesty with us, we are willing to give money for game tickets, willing to give money to eat out, watch movies, and more why aren’t we willing to give to God, the one who has given us the power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18). We must break out of this anti-giving, anti-prosperous mindset the enemy has over much of the Church. We are blessed to be a blessing and if we only have enough for what we need we cannot be a blessing to others.

Verse thirty eight says besides Sabbaths, gifts, vows, and freewill offerings. Giving during the Feasts is what opens the windows of Heaven. Malachi three says we rob God in tithes and offerings. If we are not givers, why should we expect the blessing of God? God loves a cheerful and prompt to do giver. We sometimes hear, that’s Old Testament, tithing and giving isn’t mentioned in the New, we can just give whenever. Jesus and all the disciples were Jewish, there was no need to go over things that were already established and Malachi three and four were written to Gentiles, it is for us. Giving is what unlocks the door of blessing. These are not celebrations relegated to the Jews, they are God’s feasts and we are grafted in to the root and invited to join the celebration. Do as Malachi says, give and see that God will open the windows and rebuke the devour. And give with expectation to reap a harvest.

The second thing I want to draw our attention to is found in verse thirty nine, on the first and eighth day there shall be a sabbath rest. Hebrews four tells us that a rest remains for the children of God. It is good, it is biblical for us to have one day each week that is set aside for rest, especially with the kids of lives we live today. The rest of God, can be present everyday for those of us who will be willing to walk in that rest.

Tabernacles is a reminder every year that we have been delivered from the bondage of sin and have open and free access to a relationship with God. One last Scripture in closing, Deuteronomy 23:13-14 NKJV “and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. 14 For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.”

Bury your poop because God doesn’t want to step in it. Yep, that’s in the Bible. Sin is poop and God doesn’t want to see or smell it. That’s why Romans six through eight is all about how we are free from sin and how to continue to live free from it. It’s Tabernacles, check your toilets, make sure they’re flushed and spray some Febreze, God is coming to hang out.

Advertisements

Joy: The Purpose of God’s Presence

What is the purpose of knowing God, the purpose of relationship with Jesus? in a word, Joy!

Deuteronomy 16:13-15 NIV “Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your festival – you, your sons, your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the festival to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.”

Be joyful at your festival. For the LORD your God will bless you…and your joy will be complete.

Sometimes the man developed systems can suck the joy right out of serving Jesus and that’s unfortunate. E. W. Kenyon said just as Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the expositions of how to live the instruction of Genesis and Exodus, so too are Paul’s letters the explanation of how to live out Jesus teachings in the new creation.

Look at Galatians 5:22-23 NLT “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”

I’ve always found it interesting that it’s called the fruit of the Spirit and not the fruits, with an s. Think about this when we walk in love, we will be joyful, we will be at peace (things won’t bother us like they used to), we will have patience, be kind and good, be faithful to our friends and our calling, reply gently and exercise self-control. Am I the only one that looks at that and says, ‘Jesus I need help’. This is the purpose behind Rosh-Hashanah, Atonement, and Tabernacles.

Rosh-Hashanah, the celebration of a new year and victory. Jesus of course is our atonement, this is a good day for self reflection, repentance, and fresh commitment (this is why the Jewish people go through the Mikvah (baptism), a symbol for new life. Tabernacles is a remembrance of dwelling in tents and entering the promised land, which is why on Rosh-Hashanah people eat an apple with honey.

Even in the midst of atonement and a time of reflection, we pass through the waters of baptism and enter into new life as we progress towards tabernacles and a celebration of harvest!

Let tabernacles be a time when the joy of your salvation is renewed. Receive fresh vision! Make a new dedication and go forward in the goodness of God!    

A WORD Based Life

biblePsalm 119:9-11 AMP “How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed and keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to it]. (10) With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of you and yearning for you; O let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. (11) Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

 
before we go to the next Scripture let’s look at what this is saying. Today, we are going to talk about living a word based life and what a powerful verse to start with.

 
You see many of us claim that we live our lives based upon the Word of God, yet if we were to closely examine ourselves we would find that is not true. As I once read,“we do not need to dig up in doubt what we planted in faith.”

 
E. W. Kenyon said, “Our attitude toward the Word determines the place that God holds in our daily life”.

 
If we plant faith for healing yet go around talking about pain and saying you feel bad when people ask instead of saying you are standing on the word getting better day by day, you are digging up in doubt what you planted by faith.

 
If you’re struggling in your finances declare the word of prosperity over them. The Bible says we can have what we say, so why do we say what we have?

 
Psalm 119 tells us to conform our life to the word. Too many of us try to fit Bible reading into our schedule, when we need to be arranging our schedule around our reading and prayer time.

 
With my whole heart have I sought You, we cannot say these words if we are not putting the Word first place in our life.

 
We all know we need to read and study daily, so why is it so hard? The answer is simple, we haven’t made a habit of it.

 
You don’t miss your favorite show, we even DVR stuff so we won’t miss it. Why do we do that? Because it’s a priority. We can just as easily make the Word priority, we just have to choose to do so.

 
Proverbs 4:20-27 AMP “My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. (21) Let them not depart from your sight; keep them at the center of your heart. (22) For they are life to those that find them, healing and health to all their flesh.”

 
These three verses explain why people get moved off of their faith. If we don’t submit to the word, if we don’t keep the word in front of our eyes and in our heart we can’t stay in faith and we won’t walk in divine health.

 
When we take our eyes off the word that’s when doubt comes in. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God.

 
In order to have the life God wants for us we must have His Word at the very center of everything we are and everything we do.

 
Verses 23-27 “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard , for out of it flow the springs of life. (24) Put away from you false and dishonest speech, and willful and contrary talk put far from you. (25) Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you. (26) Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright. (27) Turn not aside to the right hand or the left; remove your foot from evil.”

 
We must guard our heart for everything flows from it. What comes out of our mouth originates from our heart. If we really want to know what we believe we will listen to what comes out of our mouths when were alone, when we pray, and when were with those close to us. It’s easy to put on the positive confession show when were at church but what really matters it what flows from us when nobody is there for a performance.

 
Let’s all take a moment and truly examine the place the Word has in our lives. Let’s examine our mouths. The hard truth is, if the Word is first place in our mouths, what we say will line up with that Word.

 
My prayer for us today is this, that we put the Word first place in our life and that we will build our life around the Word and not try to find a slot to stick it in. I pray that our mouths and minds will be transformed by the Word of God.

 
*****

 
I pray this post has helped and encouraged you, but I don’t want to leave you without some tools you can get a hold of to help make the Word first place in your life, in your mind and in your mouth. Faith doesn’t come from having heard but hearing. So please take advantage of these resources so you can get the Word in you so that when you find yourself in the situations of life you aren’t having to reach for your Bible, it’s already flowing out of you and taking care of the situation.

 
If you haven’t subscribed to the blog, why don’t you do that today so you will never miss your time to receive a word of encouragement, and if you haven’t already why don’t you friend me on facebook or follow me on twitter so we can connect more on our journey of faith.

 
Resources for a Word centered life:

God’s Master Plan for Your Life: Gloria Copeland

ReThink Your Life – A Unique Diet to Renew Your Mind: Stand Toler

New Creation Realities: E. W. Kenyon

The Power of Your Words: Don Gossett & E. W. Kenyon

Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)

sukkotRevelation 21:3-4 NKJV “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (4) “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Amen. This Wednesday begins Sukkot, (Feast of Tabernacles). This is one of the appointed feasts, the Feasts of THE LORD.  (The second of four blood moons occurs on this day).

The instruction for this feast is found in Leviticus 23:34-43. This feast relates to us for two reasons; one, because it is a Feast of the Lord and second, because Jesus came and tabernacled with us and will again.

John 1:14, The WORD became flesh and tabernacled among us.

Tabernacles is a week to rejoice in the goodness of God, it comes after the head of the year and the day of Atonement.

The Israelites built and dwelt in tabernacles as a reminder of the time in the wilderness. This is a time where God dwelt in the midst of the camp.

It was on the last day of Sukkot that Jesus spoke these words in John 7:37-38 NKJV “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his [belly] will flow rivers of living water.”

Even though this feast is yet to be fulfilled in Christ’s return, we can still take this special appointed week to get alone with God and hear Him.

Some might be saying, I spend time with God every day, that is good, but this week God has set an appointment, every year this appointment stands, will you come and meet with Him?

This is not a legalistic issue, you don’t have to celebrate the feast, but there is a BLESSING in celebrating!

Paul said of Passover, because Christ the Passover lamb was sacrificed let us keep the feast.

These are the Feasts of the Lord, they still have benefit. They are circled dates on God’s calendar.

Enjoy God! If you have kids build a tabernacle and camp out with them! Draw close to God this week and He will draw close to you.

Again this isn’t a legalism thing, God appointed these feasts for our benefit, let’s do what believers have done for centuries, let’s celebrate the feasts!

_____

I began my week last Friday at 3:00pm. While I am not staying in a “tabernacle” I did decide to take a week away from social media and television and seek God. I would encourage everyone to do the same. Even if you can only give an hour a day, Holy Spirit can do and say many things in an hour a day for seven days. Be creative and just get in the presence of the Lord to be renewed and have the river flow from you.

Part 1: We Are BLESSED

imageToday we are beginning a new series titled Mountaintop Motivations. This series comes from Jesus’ classic discourse from Matthew chapters five through seven.

Before we begin with todays teaching I want to make some clarifying statements on some things we will see throughout Jesus’ teaching. We need to remember that Jesus ministered under the Old Covenant, He ministered under the law, yet He had grace in mind.

When we read particular points in His teaching let us not fall into law but into grace. Grace is not freedom for our nature, its freedom from our nature. Jesus is not talking about rules, He’s talking relationship. When you are in relationship with someone you want to make them happy, not because you want to but because you get to.

As we read let’s keep in mind we are sons of God and joint heirs with Jesus and co-laborers with the Holy Spirit. The parts of the Scripture that deal with what flesh sees as “rules” our spirit sees as the BLESSING of relationship.

Today we are going to focus on THE BLESSING of the Lord in our life that is found in the first twelve verses.

We will read the verses then discuss each BLESSING individually.

Matthew 5:1-12 NKJV “And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. (2) Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: (3) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (4) Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (5) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (6) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. (7) Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. (8) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (9) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (10) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. (12) Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The word BLESSED in this portion means supremely happy, specially fortunate, and well off.

BLESSED are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

What is the Kingdom of heaven? It is not dying and going to heaven. Later in this teaching Jesus says “Your Kingdom COME, Your will BE DONE on earth AS IT IS in heaven.”

We need to look at these BLESSINGS from the place of victory. Jesus is not saying he wants us to be poor or be in lack when it concerns money, health, relationships, or anything pertaining to life. He is talking about being humble in spirit.

James 4:10 says if we humble ourself God will lift us up, thats how we receive the Kingdom.

James 4:7-10 in the Message reads, “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”

We see the need for sanctification all throughout this teaching. I’m going to get a little ahead of the teaching here but in Matthew 5:20 it says unless our righteousness exceeds the religious leaders we will not see the Kingdom. Hebrews 12:14 says without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Jesus goes on and explains the difference between rule holiness and heart holiness. Sanctification gives us heart holiness, which is true New Covenant holiness, this is what we are to be.

The Pharisees got mad when Jesus healed on the Sabbath because they were more concerned about a day, then what God wants to do on that day, that is rule, not relationship.

We will get more into this as we go through these three chapters but it is imperative to establish that the entire ministry of Jesus is based on a holiness that flows from the heart and not a holiness that flows from rules. Holiness is to be a freeing lifestyle. We are not to exchange the bondage of sin for the bondage of legalism.

being poor in spirit means recognizing our need for God.

BLESSED are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

We should experience the joy of our salvation, we may see sadness but joy always comes in the morning.

BLESSED are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Meek means patient and long suffering. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says love endures long and is patient and kind.

The love filled person will inherit the earth. The love filled person is a candidate for THE BLESSING of God to overtake them.

Proverbs 10:22 AMP “THE BLESSING of the Lord – it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].

As Brother Copleand has said, “I’m not BLESSED because I’m rich, I’m rich because I’m BLESSED”.

Matthew 11:30 NKJV “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

When we live in THE BLESSING we remain at rest, it doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. Jesus was able to sleep through a storm that had the disciples fearing for their very lives, that is easy and that is light, and that should be are realm of living, Amen!?

BLESSED are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.

As believers we should be constantly hungry for the things of God. In the natural, being hungry leaves you empty but in the Kingdom being hungry is what satisfies you, it is what makes you full. Hunger is the key to being satisfied yet still seeking.

BLESSED are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. It is those who forgive who receive forgiveness from Father, when we are merciful, we too will receive mercy in our time of need.

BLESSED are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Here again we see sanctification and also what sanctification is and what it receives. Sanctification is purity of heart, holiness, and holiness is what enables us to see God, Hebrews 12:14.

BLESSED are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.

Later read Romans 12:9-21 it explains what it means to be a peacemaker, for right now I will simply say that to be a peacemaker means to walk in love.

the last three verses go hand in hand.

BLESSED are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

BLESSED are you when people revile and persecute you…

Rejoice for your reward is great.

Persecution is not just being tortured or dying for your faith, I am not minimizing that, and that truly is the greatest sacrifices one can make for the Lord Jesus. I do believe however, in focusing on that one type of persecution we forget that many believers don’t walk in faith because they don’t want to be ridiculed by those inside the Church, being called radical, name it claim it, or anything else.

Many in the world sought Jesus, it was the Church that persecuted Him. Again while I’m not minimizing those who suffer physically, I believe we have forgotten and dismissed this kin of persecution.

In closing this first portion of the message, say out loud, I am THE BLESSED of the Lord, I am THE BLESSED of the Lord. I have THE BLESSING of Abraham though Christ Jesus and I live on the victory side! Amen Church. We nee to get this down on the inside of us, we are THE BLESSED of the Lord.

Father we love you, Holy Spirit I ask that we realize and walk in THE BLESSING that has been declared to us through the Word in Jesus name, amen.

Part 2: Spiritually Blessed & Holy

brnLast week we began our In Christ Series with an established definition of holiness, “A state of personal spiritual life resulting from the baptism with the Holy Spirit, involving freedom from voluntary sin, purity of conscious intention and motivation, the practice of personal Christian ethics, and complete devotement to God.” (Donald Metz, Studies in Biblical Holiness, pg. 15).

It is important that we keep that definition at the front of our thinking as we study through Ephesians. In chapter one, Paul begins a sentence that in the original Greek begins in verse three and does not end till verse fourteen. It seems that Paul just looses himself in what he is writing.

Today we will not look at all the verses, I want and believe it is important for us to first notice the words of verses three and four before proceeding into what I call a salvation discourse.

Ephesians 1:3-4 NIV “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (4) For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

I want us to notice that we are blessed in the heavenly realms. We will get into this more in verses nineteen through twenty-three but I want to go ahead and make mention here of the fact that we have victory in Christ Jesus and do not have to be a slave or in bondage to sin, it is not written in the scripture, we are not lead to believe by the scripture that we as Christians cannot help but sin everyday, that is simply not Bible.

What I really want us to focus in on here for just a minute is the phrase, “with every SPIRITUAL blessing in Christ.” So many times we can focus on THE BLESSING for our finances, health, relationships, and other areas of our lives that we forget the SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS.

I am thankful for financial blessings, the blessing of health and all these other blessings, however if we begin to focus on these blessings at the neglect of our spiritual blessing, our spiritual life, THE BLESSING of these other areas will become a curse for us (Jeremiah 44:8, Deuteronomy 6:10-15).

We must always keep our minds on the right thing and we must always keep our eyes on Jesus.

Proverbs 11:27 NIV “Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to the one who searches for it.”

Proverbs 21:17 NIV “Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.”

Proverbs 28:20 NIV “A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.”
We see from these three scriptures that motives are the key to THE BLESSING of God, the moment we get our eyes off Him and on His “stuff” we can forget receiving anything.

Now let’s go back and finish our text for today, verse four, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

That’s God’s plan right there, that we be holy and blameless in his sight. Now some would say that is a positional holiness only, meaning that God sees us as holy but we are still bound to our sin nature, this is contrary to scripture.

Romans 6:6, 11-13 NIV “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with (destroyed – KJV) that we should no longer be slaves to sin. (11) In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (13) Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.”

Holiness is key to our Christian lives, we are admonished to holiness all throughout scripture, in Ephesians alone as we will see as we go through this series that we are called to be holy and blameless in love, terms relating to holiness; called, inheritance, holy people; holy temple, living worthy of our calling, new self, righteousness, holiness. We are told they way of holiness is no cursing or slander, no bitterness or rage, anger or malice, no immorality, impurity or greed. We are instructed that the way of holiness is to encourage, forgiving, kind, and compassionate.

Some will look at that no doubt and cry foul, legalism, Pharisee, and other terms, but we need to understand something, grace is not the absence of law but the ability to walk in it. Let me repeat that, grace is not the absence of law but the ability to keep it.

contrary to what many might say and hear, the law was given for our benefit, to teach us how to live.

many will say we wouldn’t no sin except the law. This is not entirely true, sin came before the law, and the law was written so that we would know to sin.

Now the law does not save anybody, but it does teach us how to live. Yes, the Holy Spirit teaches us, but what does He teach us? The Word (the law).

Jesus said He would right the LAW OF GOD on our hearts, He expounded the law in His sermon on the mount. He summed up the law, not did away with it in the two commandments.

In this day of “greasy grace” I believe we need to look again at law and holiness, they are not bad but good. Do we really thing God would give the Children of Israel something bad? Do you think Jesus would have affirmed and expanded something that was bad or going to be done away with?

Some may have gotten upset because I didn’t include verse fourteen of Romans chapter six, I did it not because it creates a problem, but because the wrong understanding of it creates a problem.

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

Now that I have finished my remarks on law, grace, and holiness I will conclude today’s post explaining this verse. Under sacrificial law, the sacrifice atoned for sin, thus the law not being able to save. Jesus came and saved us by His blood, the forgiveness of sin. When we are filled with the Spirit the nature of sin is destroyed, thus the law is no longer OLD Testament rule keeping but a guide to helping us live right and walk holy before God.

Some may still not like that answer, they may still see all this as legalism, I just ask that you would continue to journey with me through Ephesians and have an open heart as we learn together.

 

%d bloggers like this: