Prophecy and The Church Today

Scripture Study, 1 Corinthians 14:1-40; Ephesians 4:11

PURSUE LOVE AND DESIRE SPIRITUAL GIFTS, BUT ESPECIALLY PROPHECY

THE GIFT OF PROPHECY is the most predominant of the Spiritual gifts in that it’s a gift manifested most often.  In Acts 2, Peter says that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with the manifestation of speaking in tongues isn’t the result of too much wine, but is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Prophet Joel (Joel 2), a sign of the end times (Joel 2:17-18).  This is significant because, in the Old Testament, only the priests and prophets prophesied.  But not so in the New Testament.  Sons, daughters, women, men from all walks of life are prophesying and speaking in tongues.  (1 Corinthians 14:31)

In our scripture passage, we have the apostle Paul’s words on the subject, but caution must also be exercised.  Because the gift of prophecy is the one most used, it’s also the gift most misused. 

Paul does go on to say that believers should covet prophesy.  It ministers to the entire church.

So what is Prophecy?

Prophecy is divinely inspired utterance concerning past, present or future events in a known language to the church or to people, or even to places or things.  God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the mountains.

The gift of prophesy is exercised when God (not man) anoints a believer to be His vessel.  He speaks through your vocal cords but it comes from divine inspiration.  It’s not something that you can go to school or a church seminar to learn how to prophesy.  It’s a Spiritual Gift from the Holy Spirit.

Many confuse the gift of prophecy with the ministry office of prophet found in Ephesians 4:11.

The gift of prophecy doesn’t make you a prophet.

There are certain characteristics (Numbers, chapter 12) that will distinguish the ministry office of a prophet but that doesn’t characterize one who has the Spiritual gift of prophecy.

The purpose and usage of the Gift of Prophecy is a message to the church sent to edify (to build up); to exhort (a calling near); and to comfort (to bring consolation, especially during a time of trial or distress, to cheer up!).

Prophecy can also be instrumental in bringing an unbeliever to conviction.

 

1 Corinthians 14:24-25

“But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all,   [25] as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare.  So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”  (NIV)

Abuses of the Gift of Prophecy; What the Gift is Not!

The gift of prophecy isn’t to be used as a personal prophecy to others – NEVER!  Years ago, my wife and I were fellowshipping at a small church nearby.  A personal friend and pastor invited me to be his associate because of his busy schedule.  One evening we attended a pot-faith supper at a home with a prayer vigil afterward.  Before prayer began, pastor Anthony was called away on an emergency call. leaving me in a room of 15 people along with a self-confessed “prophet” who pulled up a chair in the center of the room.

And then the hair on my arm stood straight up!

Several people began to ask the “prophet” for personal prophecy.  Thoughts rang in my ear as the Holy Spirit was speaking to me to leave this gathering and leave my responsibility hanging on the doorknob as we left.  This wasn’t a prayer meeting, it was ‘fortune telling’!  This is the area where the gift is probably abused most often.  I don’t want to say that those who practice this are under the influence of a deceiving spirit.  It’s most likely just the flesh.

The gift of prophecy isn’t to give direction or settle arguments.

The gift of prophecy isn’t to teach or introduce doctrine to the church. 

The gift of prophecy isn’t to rebuke the body of Christ. 

It isn’t to bring correction.  The Word of God is supposed to do that.  When the Lord corrects or rebukes the body, generally it’s through the Word and through the pastor.  So don’t rebuke the body through prophecy unless you’re 100 percent certain it’s “thus says the Lord.”

The gift of prophecy isn’t to predict the future.

There can always be exceptions to what I’ve already mentioned.  God is ALWAYS in control in every situation and can use anyone in any way that He sees fit.

The Believer’s Attitude toward this gift is to “Covet (desire, be eager to have) the gift.”

Sincerely desire that God will use you.  This gift can be freely exercised by women as well as men:  “…and your sons and daughters shall prophesy…”  (Acts 2:17).

In my study this week I found something interesting that I had overlooked in the past.  That seems to happen quite often these days.  Maybe it’s because I’m older?  I digress.  When women do prophesy, they should do so with their heads covered. [Reference: 1 Corinthians 11]

Be anointed when you prophesy!

The anointing brings a compulsion to speak; an anointing of power within you.  You will know when you’re anointed and so will the gathered assembly.  Generally, you won’t know all that you’re going to say when you step out in prophecy.  It’s a step of faith!  Certainly you’ll have a few words and an idea and the general direction God is leading when you step out to prophesy, but it will be a step of faith!

Order In the House

I remember growing up,  my mom and dad repeating the phrase, “Mind your manners.” – Don’t start eating at the table until everyone is seated. – Asking to be excused from the table after a meal. – Calling adults by their last name and not their first. –  Not walking into a room and interrupting a conversation before waiting for an empty space. –  Walking on the outside of a walkway when with a young lady,  and opening doors letting women enter first, including car doors.  I still do this today!

“Remember your manners when you’re away from home,” my folks would repeat over and over again.  And good manners…Order in the house applies in the church today – or it should!

And we must not forget, there’s to be “order” in the house in the giving of prophecy.  God isn’t the author of confusion and the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet.  Therefore, there shouldn’t be interruptions during the teaching moments, etc.   A proper time for the manifestations of the gifts should be given in each service.

In any particular church meeting, “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said” (1 Corinthians 14:29).

The most likely interpretation of the controversial passage is the silence of women in 1 Corinthians 14:33-35.  And yet, at the same time, Scripture reveals that women may prophesy (see Acts 2:17-18; 21:9; 1 Cor. 11:5) but not publically judge the prophetic words of men in the congregational setting.

Prophets were always to be in control of their speech (1 Cor. 14:32) as an expression of God’s desire for peace (1 Cor. 14:33).  And as important as this ministry is in the body of Christ, even those claiming to be prophets must be subject to the final authority of the spiritual leadership (deacons, elders, pastors).  (1 Cor. 14:36-38).

I believe that everything we need to know as Christians is found in the Bible.  It’s a sufficient source of revelation for each one of us.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,

The Bible is the firm foundation that God has given to us all.  All other ground is sinking sand.  This is the source of truth on which we need in our lives.

Yet, we must be willing to listen if God chooses to speak to us in an “uncommon way” – in a way we don’t expect.  By that I mean if He chooses to speak to us outside of the normal channels of the Scripture, we need to be still and listen to what God says.  Just because there’s a lot of abuse by people who falsely claim they have received a message from God, doesn’t mean we need to slam the door shut on any possibility of God speaking to us in that way.  Oh, I suspect it might be wise to slightly shut the door, but we need to leave it ajar so that if God has something to say to us and to let it be known to others, we are able to hear Him.

And yes, it’s true, the Bible contains all we need as Christians.  But our gracious and generous God sometimes chooses to give us more than we think we need!  Sometimes He may choose to communicate with us in another way in order to provide special encouragement when we need direction trying to make a decision.  I’m seeking that encouragement and direction in a matter right now that I’ll share in a later blog.  I’m not going to pretend these uncommon messages from God always make us comfortable.  Many of us like the status quo.  If someone says he or she has a message from the Lord on a Sunday morning which requires us to do something new or different, we probably won’t want to hear it.  But if God is speaking to us, we’d better be willing to listen!

The GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT are never to be made the focus of congregational life.

Make Us Aware…

Worship and the Word are the focus, and the gifts flow under God’s direction, not men.  The great, final purpose of all spiritual gifts in the church, including PROPHECY, is the edifying of God’s people.

Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here should be the focus of our minds and on our lips when we enter the House of God.

True Prophecy in the Church to remember – by Derek Prince

  1. All true prophecy agrees with the letter and the spirit of the Scriptures. (2 Tim. 3:16)
  2. All true prophecy centers in Jesus Christ and exalts Him. (John 16:13)
  3. True prophecy produces fruit in character and conduct that agrees with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-23)
  4. True prophecy, given by the Holy Spirit, gives freedom and not bondage. (Gal. 5:1)
  5. True prophecy, given by the Holy Spirit gives life and not death. (2 Cor. 3:6)
  6. True prophecy, given by the Holy Spirit agrees with the Holy Spirit within each believer who hears it. (1 John 2:27)

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CREDITS –

Music Video:  Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here – by Heavens Mutambira & Amplified Praise.

Photo/Images:  Google Image Search.

True Prophecy by Derek Prince (pdf): Giving, Receiving and Testing a Prophetic Word.

Commentary:  What Does Scripture Teach About the Office of Prophet and Gift of Prophecy by Sam Sorm @ TGC; October 8, 2015.

Bible Translations Used:  New International Version (NIV); New Living Translation (NLT); Amplified Bible (AMP).

 

 

 

Living Our Lives With The “Two Minute Warning” In Play

SCRIPTURE:  1 Peter 4:1-11 (NIV)

In football, the manner of play I’ve noticed over the years changes when the “TWO MINUTE WARNING” has sounded.  And in VERSE 7 in our study together, Peter says “The end of all things is now.”

I think that thought gives meaning to the whole passage as the Holy Spirit is saying through the Apostle that we should live our lives on earth as if Life’s TWO MINUTE WARNING has sounded.

The question becomes…we should ask ourselves while investigating this passage of Scripture, the same one Peter asks his readers (2 Peter 3:11)–“What kind of people ought you to be?”

So with that in mind, let’s look for ANSWERS to that question:

First, as Christians living in a lost world at the end of time, we should be ARMED with an ATTITUDE.  By the way, I didn’t steal that idea from Dr. Laura–it comes right out of this passage of Scripture (1 Peter 4:1-2).

Peter is giving us a picture of putting on our ATTITUDE as part of a suit of armor.  Very similar to the passage Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesian church–“Putting on the whole ARMOR of GOD” (Ephesians 6).

So What is ATTITUDE?

The English Oxford Dictionary:  “A settled way of thinking or feeling about something.”

Referring to “ATTITUDE”, Peter is saying it’s the same one that Christ took towards suffering–ARMED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE that He once had, completing the task, never again to wrestle with sin or temptation–that would all be over with, “It is finished!”

What it’s not saying is that if you suffer once, you’ll never suffer again.  It’s saying that we should “understand” suffering for what is right and it sometimes part of life in the body.

BIG PICTURE…as a result, you won’t live your life as if you must satisfy your earthly appetites–your desires, your pleasures, for a little suffering here.  It can’t be compared with an eternity FREE from SIN & SUFFERING.

ILLUSTRATION:

The ATTITUDE we should arm ourselves with is like that of a quarterback in the Superbowl who gets injured in the 4th Quarter of the game and the TWO MINUTE WARNING begins.  He would be willing to play through a great deal of pain for the sake of that victor’s ring because he know’s everything is at stake and the end is in sight.

We who are Christians, who stands on the edge of history should arm ourselves with the ATTITUDE that says, I can see the goal line and it’s worth any price to obtain it!

That’s the ATTITUDE that free’s us to do God’s will in our lives.

That’s NOT the Way We Used to Live, however.

VERSES 3-4

VERSE 3 actually is a direct contrast to Verse 2,  It literally says enough time has been spent doing the will of nations (worldliness) in CONTRAST to our NEW ATTITUDE which frees us to do the “will of God”–we used to live our lives to PLEASE the World and ourselves; not anymore.

And now the World doesn’t understand this new attitude of ours; why we don’t plunge into a life of SENSUAL PLEASURE–drunkenness, sensual immorality, worshipping money and fame.  The will of the WORLD summed up in the phrase “If it feels good, do it!”

Secondly, as Christians living at the end of times, we should have…AN AWARENESS OF ACCOUNTING.

To live as followers of Christ we need to understand that AN END IS COMING!

Coaches begin to watch the clock very carefully inside the TWO MINUTE WARNING.  It’s important to know where they stand in the time they have left.

Peter says that we need to understand the end is near and living in this time requires clear headedness, self-control, allowing us to keep in communication with the Coach.

It is important as well that we understand what “the end” means–that it means there will be an ACCOUNTING…whether we are LIVING when that time arrives, OR…whether we have already passed on, that we’ll give an account to our lives.

Even those who have gone before us will be judged and this is why they needed the GOSPEL too–it’s not just for those who will be living when the ACCOUNTING comes.  And when those who have gone before us put their TRUST in Christ Jesus, thought by human standards being judged GUILTY, in the spirit, they live everlasting because of the work of Christ.

As we sit on the edge of history’s end, we must be aware that Christ will judge the living and the dead.  We then must consider how we will be judged on that day.  Our DEEDS will be laid before Him.

Woe unto us on that day if our SINS are not covered by the BLOOD of Jesus.

Those who trust the SAVING GRACE of Jesus whose BLOOD was shed on Cross, understanding that only HIS BLOOD can cleanse them; that nothing we could ever do or say will make us worthy.

Those who have put their TRUST in Him alone…ALSO, commit their lives to Him–to live for Him, not to earn His affection, but to demonstrate our affection–because we have been ARMED with the ATTITUDE of Christ.

And because we are aware of an ACCOUNTING…

Third, as Christians living during the “TWO MINUTE WARNING” we should be…

ABOVE ALL AFFECTIONATE (Verses 8-9)

[8] Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  [9] Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  (NIV)

More important than anything else is LOVE.  

JESUS’ top TWO LIST was this:  Love God, Love your neighbor–everything else, He said, All of the Scripture is tied up in those TWO!

Church tradition says that when the Apostle John, the beloved disciple, became too old to even walk, used to ask to be carried to the local church meetings, go before the assembly of believers and say only this:  “Little children, love one another.”  Well, that sounds sweet enough but after a while, it started to get on people’s nerves.  Finally, the elders of the church went to John and asked him why do you keep saying that?  His reply was short and to the point:  “Because it is our Lord’s command and because it’s enough!”

LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS.

The Lord knows as well as my wife, I have a multitude of sins.  That said, my wife also knows that I LOVE her.  Sometimes I hurt her feelings and I’ll demonstrate that LOVE in a tangible way–in an exercise that some have said is a “suck up gift”.  But that “suck up gift” works NOT because I spend money, but because she knows that I genuinely care deeply about her!

But it works the other way too.  Our LOVE for others covers a multitude of OUR sins toward them but our SIN should also cover a multitude of THEIR sins.  About 70 times seven I’d say.

There’s one last thing I want to mention that we should do as Christians while living at the end of time.  That’s ADMINISTERING GOD’S ANOINTING (vs. 10-11 a).

Each one of us should use whatever GIFT he/she has received from the Holy Spirit to SERVE others, faithfully administrating God’s GRACE in its various forms (verse 11).

Here is this passage of Scripture, Peter urges us to be “faithful stewards” of the GIFTS God has given to each one of us.  And as ADMINISTRATORS (Stewards) of God’s GRACE in various forms, that is of the gifts that God has given YOU (put your name in place of the word “you”), NOT for your pleasure but for His, to SERVE OTHERS.

And notice also that emphasis is given here as it has in the passages found in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, to the fact that these Spiritual Gifts are exercised not in our own strength BUT in the strength of the Lord.  And this is the part that makes it important for us who live in History’s TWO MINUTE WARNING…to OPERATE in the GRACE (the FAVOR) God gives to us through SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

So as the BUZZER, the whistle approaches (or actually, as the TRUMPET sounds),  we must work in God’s strength, FAITHFULLY ADMINISTERING as good stewards, God’s Anointing in its various forms.

Conclusion:

ARMED with an ATTITUDE that says I have my eyes on a prize above and I can’t be distracted by the pleasures below.

AWARE of the ACCOUNTING–keeping our focus and ready for that day!

Above all AFFECTIONATE–because it’s the Lord’s command and because it’s enough!

And ADMINISTERING faithfully God’s Anointing that through HIS STRENGTH we might accomplish ALL that He has for each one of us as the day approaches!

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CREDITS –

VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY of Old and New Testament Words.

PHOTOS:  Advance Settings–Gooogle Image Search.

Bible Translations:  The New International Version (NIV), EXCEPT WHERE NOTED.

 

 

 

Don’t Let Your Ashes Put Out the Fire

SCRIPTURE – Numbers 4:13; Ezra 4:12

NUMBERS 4:13 (AMP)

[13] And they shall take away the ashes from the altar  [of burnt offering]  and spread a purple cloth over it.

Biblically, the origin of the ALTAR goes clear back to Genesis in the bible when Noah built an Altar and then offered SACRIFICES after the flood (Genesis 8:20).  

Now in Old Testament times, there were many restrictions concerning the Altar.  In Exodus 20:24-26, for instance, the ALTAR was made “of earth or stone that had not been shaped or cut with human hand” AND… “there were to be no steps up to the altar.”

Now the ALTAR was used to make animal sacrifices to the LORD–The PURIFICATION of the Altar was accomplished by sprinkling BLOOD upon it.  Often Altars were erected in places where the LORD had accomplished some great work or had delivered some prophetic message.  Later, the Israelites had ALTARS in the tabernacle in the desert and once Solomon’s Temple was built the Altar was in the Temple.

But the ALTAR’S MAIN FUNCTION, and this is important to remember, was… SACRIFICE and WORSHIP–

And special care had to be taken to keep it Holy– And part of the special care was to “GET RID OF THE ASHES THAT ACCUMULATED ON A DAILY BASIS.”

As a “Word Detective,” I had to discover why this ritual was so important.  Although I have a gas fireplace in my current home, I do remember in the previous house having a wood-burning fireplace insert and heating the entire structure through the Fall, Winter, and Early Spring months.  If I didn’t clean the ASH out of the insert…if I wasn’t careful removing the ASH, I would have to explain to my understanding wife why there was BLACK SOOT everywhere!  If I didn’t remove the ASH daily, the ash would smother the FIRE and cause the flame to be extinguished–NO SPARK, NO FLAME, NO HEAT!

NOW WATCH THIS HERE:  One of the jobs of the priests in the OT was to never let the FLAME on the ALTAR to go out because the FLAME represented God’s Presence.  Since the ALTAR FLAME burned continually, the priest [on a daily basis] would have to go to the ALTAR and scrape the ashes off–because if left there, the ashes were subject to put-out the FIRE and bring down punishment and judgment from God on them and the entire camp and then the priests would have to redress the ALTAR with purple cloth.

That’s it!  Another Holy Spirit moment!!  Many of us need to go and get in a proper WORSHIP POSITION and scrape-off the stuff causing us to miss our deliverance and causing our FIRE to go out.

Some of you reading this might be wondering why you CAN’T get your breakthrough right now.  It is probably because you’re trying to come to God for A BLESSING, but you’re holding onto a mess in your life!

–  You want God to BLESS your finances, but you’re still playing the lottery!

–  You want God to FIX your marriage, but you still want to sleep around.

–  You want to be used by God to minister in the church on Sunday, but you haven’t learned how to get along with the people you see every day.

–  You want that new car or a new house, or a new job, but your BLESSING is being delayed because God is waiting for you to SCRAPE-OFF your ashes!

Have you ever cooked out on the grill and accidentally dropped a piece of meat down through the slots in the grill?  Be honest…if no one was looking, you probably fished it out with tongs, and put it back over the fire, finished cooking it, then took it off the grill, put it on a plate and served it to your guests–but you made sure [when YOU ate] you didn’t get that real black, crusty piece, because you know what it would taste like,

WELL GUESS WHAT…God wants to feed you with the goodness of His Word.  But before you can enjoy the GOODNESS of the Word, you’ve got to remove the ASHES!

Here’s what I’ve learned about ASHES:  I’VE LEARNED THAT ASHES ARE BITTER!

No one, in their right mind, enjoys eating ashes because ashes are BITTER.  Some of us have been eating the ASHES of painful relationships and past experiences for so long, that now, we’re just BITTER all the time with everyone we meet.

The writer tells us in the letter to the Hebrews (12:15):

[15] Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it–  Amplified Bible.

THE STRANGLING ROOT OF BITTERNESS

 

IN OTHER WORDS, I believe the Apostle Paul is telling us, that the ROOT OF BITTERNESS will not only defile us but also the people around us. 

When we FEED on ASHES, that is to say, when we allow the cruel things that were done to us yesterday affect how we feel and function today, we become BITTER, not only within ourselves but to every person we come intact with.

Personally, I’ve discovered over the years, that the ENEMY loves to keep in my face, stuff that hurt me yesterday so that I might be miserable and bitter today.  But thank God for Jesus!  Jesus said, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” ~ John 10:10 (AMP).  

In other words, Jesus is saying that:  “I’ve come to take off what the devil has put on and to put on what the devil has taken off!”

Have you ever noticed how intensely and ferociously the devil attacks you after you’ve had a divine revelation or experience?  Satan doesn’t usually bother you much while you’re sitting around watching television, or out at the mall shopping, or relaxing on the front porch with a tall glass of ice tea in your hand.  NO…he waits until:

  • YOU JUST CAME OUT OF A BIBLE STUDY!
  • YOU JUST FINISHED LIFTING YOUR HANDS IN PRAISE AND GIVING A SHOUT!
  • YOU JUST MADE UP YOUR MIND TO BECOME A GOOD HUSBAND, A GOOD WIFE, OR A GOOD DAD, A GOOD MOM!

That’s when the DEVIL tries to carry you back to where you’ve just come from causing you to sit down around the Old Campfire and EAT ASHES!

Not only are the ashes bitter, but ASHES PROVIDE NO STRENGTH.

Here’s a known FACT:  There’s absolutely no nutritional value in ashes!

In fact, we’ll grow weaker each day if we “FEED ON ASHES”,

Psalm 102:4 (NIV)  My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forgot to eat my food.

Psalm 102:9 (AMP)  For I have eaten the ashes [in which I sat] as if they were bread and have mingled my drink with weeping.

In other words, David is saying:  “I became so busy dealing with yesterday’s junk that I forgot to eat the bread of life.”  

We all know what happens when we forget or skip a meal.  We grow WEAK!  Likewise, when we fail to eat the fresh bread of life each day, we begin to decline and wither like the grass!  That’s why we need to begin each day with personal Bible study and meditation on God’s Word.  You need to understand that your spiritual strength is directly proportionate to how much fresh spiritual bread you eat daily!  It doesn’t matter how much you consumed yesterday, today’s strength hinges on today’s meal!

ASHES WILL MAKE YOU SICK!

In Exodus 16, when the Lord gave Moses instructions concerning the MANNA FROM HEAVEN, He said, “Gather of it as much as you need, let none of it be left until morning”  (vv. 18, 19).  

However, the Bible lets us know that some people ignored the instruction and kept some overnight and the Bible says that it, “bred worms, became foul, and stank.”

But watch this:  When they followed God’s instructions and gathered FRESH MANNA EVERY DAY, the Word  says in Numbers 11:8 that:

“The people ground it in mills or beat it with mortars, and boiled it in pots,

and made cakes of it, and it tasted like cakes baked with fresh oil.”

 

Anytime you see OIL mentioned in the Bible it represents “The Anointing of God!” – HOLY SPIRIT!

So what I’m saying here is YESTERDAY’S MANNA breeds worms and stinks, and if we try to eat it, it will make us sick, but TODAY’S MANNA will taste fresh and strengthens us!

So you’re going to need to make up your mind despite yesterday’s stinking situation…TODAY you’re going to seek a fresh ANOINTING in your life!

  • TODAY…you’re going to go to a higher level in your RELATIONSHIP with God!
  • TODAY…I am going to get in a proper position so I can HEAR from God!
  • TODAY…I am going to get a fresh ANOINTING!

“I WANT A FRESH ANOINTING AND I WANT IT RIGHT NOW!”

ASHES on the Altar produces in us Bitterness, Weakness, and Sickness.

But when you get a fresh touch from God you receive just the opposite:

– BITTERNESS is replaced with SWEETNESS!

– WEAKNESS is replaced with STRENGTH!

– SICKNESS is replaced with HEALTH!

– And HUNGER is replaced with SATISFACTION!

FRESH OIL is what we need, NOT day old oil!

Before the children of Israel could receive God’s approval concerning the offering of the SACRIFICE, Verse 13 says,  “And they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth thereon.”

Before the SACRIFICE could be made, God’s instructions say that yesterday’s ASHES from the Sacrifice must be cleared away and the kingly color of purple had to be draped over the altar.

Before they could receive God’s FAVOR, His BLESSINGS, they had to get rid of the leftover residue and dress the Altar fit for a king!

If you’re needing a fresh anointing from God…PAIN in your body that you had yesterday and may have even woke up with today, but you’ll be able to endure it with a smile because you’ve gotten the ASHES off your Altar!  You should be saying to yourself,  “I want a fresh anointing Lord, and I want it right now!”  The Apostle Paul compares his sharing of the Gospel Message with an ATHLETE1 Corinthians 9:23-27:

 

So what’s Paul saying here?  Simply this:  I must keep my experiences fresh so that after I have fed others around me the good foods of the Word, I don’t wind up “FEEDING ON ASHES!”

“Whatever it takes, come hell or high water, I WILL put forth the effort to build a fresh ALTAR, and keep it clean that I may partake of the ANOINTING of God every day of my life!  Whatever the cost!  I can’t afford to let my ALTAR get ashy!!”

“DON’T LET YOUR ASHES PUT OUT THE FIRE!”

 

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CREDITS –

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search – Advance Search Settings.

Comparative Bible Translations:  BibleStudyTools.com

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP); New International Version (NIV); English Standard Version (ESV).

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do The “Righteous” Suffer? (PART ONE)

1 Peter 3:13-15 (NLT):

[13] Now who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good?  [14] But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.  [15] Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.

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Someone asked C.S. Lewis, “Why do the righteous suffer?”  “Why not?” he replied. “They’re the only ones who should be able to take it.”

There is no doubt we live in a changing world, marked by terrorism, wars and rumors of war and the constant threat of nuclear, biological or chemical extinction.  That’s the BAD NEWS!

But praise God, whatever fearful situation we might find ourselves in…there is the biblical unchangeableness of God Almighty that is comforting.

We must fight fear by anchoring our lives in this truth.

  • Our MASTER never changes.
  • Our MESSAGE never changes.
  • And Our MISSION never changes.

What we need today is an anointing of the Holy Spirit to relate our unchanging gospel to the FEARFUL changing world we live in.

EMOTIONALLY BASED FEAR –

FEAR is such a strange EMOTION.  One Bible Teacher/pastor refers to it as the EMOTION QUOTIENT where some “fears” have even been given names:

Aerophobia:  FEAR of drafts.

Peladophobia: And no, that isn’t a city in Pennsylvania.  It is a FEAR of baldness or fear of bald people.

Chaetophobia:  FEAR of hairy people.

Phobophobia:  FEAR of being afraid.

Experiencing FEAR is normal; however, to be paralyzed by fear is an indication that we question God’s ability to take care of us.

The SUFFERING is Inevitable (v. 13-14):

[13]  Now who is there to hurt you if you are zealous followers of that which is good?  [14] But even in case you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, [you are] blessed (happy, to be envied). Do not dread or be afraid of their threats, nor be disturbed [by their opposition].  (AMPLIFIED)

Peter’s question must have hung in the air for a long moment when the Christians first heard the letter read.  They were no strangers to fear and suffering and suffered on occasions for doing good to others.

Peter is NOT addressing the spiritually immature believer here.  He is addressing strong Christians who were “zealous” for the Lord.

Peter goes on to speak about the Christian attitude to suffering.  It is well noted that man is involved in TWO KINDS of SUFFERING:

  • Suffering in which we are a part of because of our humanity–human flesh: physical suffering, death, sorrow, distress of the mind, weariness and pain of the body.
  • But there is also the suffering we may be involved with because of our Christian Faith.  There may be unpopularity, persecution, sacrifice of principle and deliberate choosing of the difficult way, the necessary discipline attributed to Christian lifestyle.

And yet, the Christian way of living has a certain BLESSEDNESS which runs through it all.  IT’S OUR HOPE!

THOSE SUFFERING PERSECUTION WILL BE BLESSED!

Really?

There is something about facing my fears that allows FAITH to be genuine, to shine!  

What good is our FAITH if it is never tested (James 1:3, 4):

10660338865_d40d10fd4e_b

In a book entitled, “Cradles of Eminence”, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development produced a revealing study:

They said,  “413 famous and exceptionally gifted people helped change the world.  And the reasons, the authors spent years attempting to understand what produced such “greatness”; trying to find a common thread.  Surprisingly, the most outstanding fact they found with virtually all of them, 392 of 413, had overcome the personal fears associated with great suffering or failure in order to become who they were.  [See Footnote [i] ]

When a person focusses his/her mind and life on things of this world, those “things” can be taken away in a heartbeat.

You can be stricken with a disease, suffer a heart attack, have an accident, lose everything through an economic slump or stock market crash.  A person of the world can suffer a crushing blow and FEAR destroys them–leaves them hopeless in life.  But that SHOULD NOT BE the case of a TRUE BELIEVER.  We are blessed!  We have victory!!

FINDING VICTORY IN GOD’S PROMISES FROM FEAR –

Here is but a partial list of God’s PROMISES to us as believers in facing our worst FEARS:

  • God will work out all things for good (Romans 8:28).
  • God will provide all the necessities of life (Matthew 6:33).
  • God will give you His glory in the face of insults (1 Peter 4:14).
  • The life of Christ Jesus is best manifested through us in fear and suffering        (2 Corinthians 4:11).
  • God provides GREAT rewards for those who stand in fear and suffering (Matthew 5:11-12).
  • God will preserve us and take us to Heaven as we stand in Him against our fears and suffering (2 Timothy 4:8).

So, what do Christians fear about being a “Christian”?

— SEE PART TWO–

 


 

CREDITS & FOOTNOTES:

Footnote [I] – “Cradles of Eminence” by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development and a Book by Mildred George Goertzel & Victor Goertzel–www.davidsongifted.org/

Photo:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible, except where noted in the text.

 

 

 

“Yep, You Are One Of A Kind!”

TEXT: Exodus 31:1-11  *[Note: It would be helpful in reading this POST, if your Bible was near]. 

You're One-of-a-Kind
You’re One-of-a-Kind

 

Psalm 33:15 (a):  “He made their hearts”

YOU ARE UNIQUE – [See Footnote [i] for the following]

“You are unique.  Even though you share many things in common among other people, you are essentially one of a kind.  No one else has been given exactly the same makeup as God has given you.  Your face, your fingerprints, your voice, and your genetic makeup are matched by no one else’s.  Likewise, God has handcrafted you with your personality, your unique set of talents and motivations, and your special “bent in life.”

After reading the above source, I find that it all means one thing–you and I have a “one of a kind,” unique purpose set before us in life.

As an older brother by seven years, I’m sure my little brother believed while growing up, my unique purpose in life: To irritate him in any way I could.

According to the verses in Exodus 31, God gave BEZALEL the ability to work with gold, silver, stone and other materials.  God had placed in this man one of a kind abilities, and now God was planning to use these talents He placed in Bezalel to His glory.

[1] AND THE Lord said to Moses,  [2] See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.  [3] And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and ability, in understanding and intelligence, and in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship.”

God wants to use your originality for His glory.

Notice the Interesting Progression that Takes Place.

God gets right to the point of a command in our lives.  He doesn’t go around commanding everybody but has an unusual way; a unique way, on how He prepares each one of us for a specific task.

1.  GOD CALLS US (Vs. 2):

BEZALEL was called by name and God knew what He wanted accomplished.

It’s not hard for God to pick who He wants for a specific task, He already knows who He wants–He prepared them.  It’s not like in grade school–hoping we would get picked for a team.

GOD picked Bezalel because He PREPARED Bezalel–so He called the man He wanted by name–“Bezalel, step forward, I have a job for you.”

God has called you by name.  

You are one of a kind to Him because He already prepared you for the task at hand.  You’re NOT on the sideline waiting to be chosen; if you are a Christian, God has already called you.

Do you know your calling?  God has PROMISED to reveal it to you if you will ask, seek, and knock.

2.  GOD APPOINTS US (Vs. 6):

“And behold, I have appointed with him Aholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and to ALL who are wisehearted I have given wisdom and ability to make all that I have commanded you:”

Proverbs 10:8 says, “A WISE HEART takes orders; an empty head will come unglued”  (The Message).

Over the years, God has called me to do special jobs in the Kingdom: Write, produce and direct Christian Drama; sing in choirs, ensembles; teach and of course write weekly blogs.

Under the Law, God chose Prophets, Priests and kings by placing His ANOINTING on them to accomplish His mission.

God’s Grace…

In this period of GRACE or the CHURCH AGE, God places His ANOINTING on believers to accomplish His plan on the earth today.

We ALL RECEIVE His Spirit when we entered into the Kingdom of God, but God gives an extra measure of His anointing; those who “seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness.”

What comes next?

In Exodus 31, the next thing that happens after God’s call of BEZALEL is that He APPOINTS others to work along side of him. We all need help.

God’s Calling–

For the sake of discussion, a looking at this point is the next step God takes in each of us.  For instance, for God to APPOINT Aholiab, Aholiab had to be first CALLED by God.

Before the Apostles were appointed as apostles, they first had to be called.  Aholiab had to first ANSWER the call before he could be appointed to help.

Before God can APPOINT you, you must ANSWER the call.  When you do, He’ll appoint you to a task.  Like Aholiab was appointed for a specific task, you have been appointed.

3.  GOD DOES THE GIVING (Vs. 6 b ):

DOES GOD CALL us before He gives us a skill–doesn’t matter.  God GIVES the skill.

DOES GOD APPOINT us before He gives us a skill–doesn’t matter.  God GIVES the skill.

You are so “one of a kind” to God; so unique where you live, where you go to church, where you work, that He has given you a specific skill to fulfill the call in your life.

Many people are slow to answer the call for SERVICE because they fear their work is not good enough; they feel that the work that is noticed is the only way to serve.  But that’s not true.

God needed men like Moses, Aaron and Joshua…

BUT…God also needed Bezalel!  The work God called him to do was such importance, God gave him a special anointing for the task.

“I have filled him with the Spirit of God” ~ verse 3 a.

–  Moses had the spirit of Administration and prophecy.

–  Aaron had the spirit for the priesthood.

–  Joshua had the spirit for conquest.

BUT…Bezalel had the spirit for design and building–he was certainly one of a kind.

Sometimes we question why God does things the way He does–chooses some people and not others.  Let’s try to remember that HIS GIFTS are distributed, not as we will, but as He wills.  So if this question, “Why not me?” enters your heart, get over it!

There’s something in our name–

I find it interesting and informative when looking up given names and their meanings.  My given name is MELVIN DALE… its meaning is as follows: “Mel”–Chief.  “Dale” means a valley.  So putting them together, “Chief of the Valley” or ‘strong leader,’ and the meaning has played out in my life.

BEZALEL ‘s [ BEZALEEL, BESELEEL]  name means “under God’s shadow”  [See Footnote [ii] ].  He never became the great statesman and organizer that Moses did–nor even “chief of the valley”.

His voice was never heard to preach to the Israelite assembly.

Neither was he qualified to the priesthood.

He was not gifted in military, was not able to go along with Joshua’s adventures in the forefront of Israel’s army.

Yet this man had a DIVINE GIFT, a “spiritual anointing” to fulfill the task.  And yes, he truly was, “One of a kind.”

Service to the Lord —

So, would you rather find yourself in the ANOINTING first or the TITLE before your name?

Finding Ourselves in the “Shadow of God’s Wings”–

EXODUS 19:4
EXODUS 19:4

GOD equates Himself with a bird in Scripture when He tells the Israelites that He carried them on “eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself” (Exodus 19:4).

Again Scripture gives us encouragement in serving with the “spiritual anointing”— Psalm 63:7

~A Psalm of David~

“For You have been my help and

in the shadow of Your wings

will I rejoice.”

4.  GOD COMMANDS US  (Vs. 6 c):

Whenever it is that God puts the skills in us  is debatable but the COMMAND always comes at the end.  God doesn’t command us to do something if He hasn’t first, called us; second, appointed us; and thirdly, put the skill in us.

You Are One Of A Kind:

No one else has your abilities and talents combined–with your own unique personality and standing in life– to the job God has called you to do.

The New Year’s Challenge – “How does God want me to serve?”

SEEK GOD’S CALLING IN YOUR LIFE.

Let the BEZALEL ANOINTING rest on your work, it may be just a “hello” to someone, a kind word to a friend, maybe a cup of water in the name of the Lord.

Whatever the task, know that you’re ONE OF A KIND in the Kingdom of God and do it with all of your might!

“Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men.  Knowing [with all certainly] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward.  [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah)”  (Colossians 3:23-24 AMP).

 


Footnotes:  [i] Urbana.org;  [ii] Harper’s Bible Dictionary/Bezaleel, pg. 110.

Bible Translations: Amplified Bible; The Message.

Photo Credits:  Photo Pin; Google Images/Exodus 19:4.