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).

 

 

 

 

 

“True Worshipers” Are Paying the Price

If we are true “genuine” worshipers, according to John 4:23, we must bow down our lives so God’s will can be expressed through us.  Are you willing to pay the price of a true worshipper?

Luke 9:22 in saying,  “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be [deliberately] disapproved and repudiated and rejected on the part of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be put to death and on the third day be raised [again].”

Luke 9:23 continues in saying,  “…If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself]”

STOP right there!  Jesus has presented us a decision to make; coming to Him in worship.  Remember Hebrews 13:15 says, we are to constantly and at all times be offering up a sacrifice of worship and praise. Luke gives us points of preparation in paying the price of “true worshipers”. 

#1.  “Deny oneself; forget your outside interests”, quit giving attention to others around you in church services.

Jesus continues preparing us to worship in verse 23:  “…take up his [our] cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, dying also.”

#2.  Follow Jesus’ example in living, by dying, if needed to “self”.

Romans 12:2  “take up our cross daily and deny self”.  “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the (entire) renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude]…”

#3.  Get a new attitude about being a “True Worshiper” in Christ Jesus.  How? By the “daily” renewal of your mind.

Leaving ALL your STUFF outside before worshipping!

Luke 5:11,  “And after they had run their boats on shore, they left everything and joined Him as His disciples…”

If you are a believer in Jesus and a “True Worshiper“; not a pretending worshiper, you are a follower of Christ; a disciple. You are going to have ‘leave everything that is in your boat on shore and join Him in worship’.  The leaving it all behind continues in Luke 5:27-28.  The tax collector named Levi, leaves his lifestyle behind, to follow Jesus as His disciple.

The Cost of discipleship in Luke 14:26:

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate hid [own] father and mother [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God]…”   Amplified Version.

“If people come to me and are not ready to abandon their fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers, and sisters, as well as their own lives, they cannot be my disciples.”  God’s WORD translation.

God is telling all of us that if we want to truly be His disciples and be true worshipers of Him, you are going to have to pay the price of separation; not in a corporeal, but in a spiritual way.

Going after it!

Luke 14:27 goes on to say to us that  “Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple.”

If you are reading this blog, desiring to be a “True Worshiper” of Jesus and you are willing to pay the price of discipleship this next Sunday, you’re going to have too have, an attitude change; not give up, cave in and quit.  If you still don’t feel acceptable to God after your formal worship time, don’t give up.   Jesus says you are to “persevere” which means you’re to be “resolute, persist in doing, be stubborn” in “Going after it”; to be a true worshiper in Christ Jesus.  Verse 28 tells you to “calculate the costs” to see if your willingness is sufficient to finish what you started.

Spiritual Maturity

I was part of a men’s bible study a few years back in my neighborhood.  One morning, a study participant asked this question to discuss.  “What does it mean to be spiritually mature?”  There were several different answers given but I like the answer that was given that brought the discussion back to the Word of God.

Matthew 19:20-21,  “The young man said,  I have observed all these things [read verses 18-19] from my youth; what do I still lack?   Jesus answered him,  If you would be perfect [that is, have that spiritual maturity which accompanies self-sacrificing character], go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; and come, be my disciple [side with My party and follow me],”

I like how Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies and the Amplified Version of the Bible defines “being perfect”:  “have that spiritual maturity which accompanies self-sacrificing character”.  Jesus is saying that your good works, your church title, your college degree in ‘church stuff’ won’t make you perfect for following Christ and in worshipping Him. 

What is CHARACTER?

Character is:  Doing what is right, not because of what society says is right; what’s right is what God’s Word says is right!  It’s not what I feel is right about worship and praise and serving God based on others definitions.  Also, when you do right because of what’s right, God’s word says you will prosper;  “have riches in heaven”.  “You will never rise above your limitations of your character”.  If your character doesn’t want to give up anything, then there isn’t a sacrifice in worship; no price is paid.

Releasing your Benjamins

In Genesis 43-45, we see the principle of releasing your Benjamins in discipleship and spiritual maturity.  It becomes “sacks full v.s. wagons full“.  In todays vernacular it would be “trailers full“.  The rich man in Matthew 19, wouldn’t give up his “Benjamin” (verses 23-26).

Who are the “everyone’s” in Matthew 19?

Matthew 19:29  “And  everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My sake, shall receive many times as much…”  NAS version.

The “everyone’s” are you and me.  If you are “persevering”,  if you are self-sacrificing in character and your desire to worship and serve the risen Saviouris in your spirit, you have planted a seed.  Christians today live in “hope deferred”.  You will have to plant your best seed to reap the fruit harvest of worship.  Now is the time, not next time you enter the sanctuary of your church.

Hebrews 13:15  “Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His Name.”