Monday, November 26, 2012

Crystal Ball or Bible?

John 14:26 (NKJV) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

You may have already noticed that I have added prayer requests to my ministry. I have a God-given desire to pray. I know it is part of my calling because Philippians 2:13 says, "it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

I may spend several hours at a time in prayer and worship. This does not make me extra holy; this is just my calling. I like to consider myself part of Christ's foot because I like to kick the enemies behind.

Having had a lot of experience in prayer, I have discovered an amazing truth. God likes to answer our requests. Whenever I pray for a particular situation, I always ask God to give me a Scripture to stand on. I cannot recall a time where God has not done this. I am always amazed at how God gives me specific Scripture for each situation.

When I pray for someone else, I will usually share the Scripture that comes to me. I encourage them to hold on to that passage for strength. I really had to ponder the idea of offering a service that---"tells you what the Lord said". I do not want to present myself as one who has a crystal ball. When I prayed about it, the Scripture at the top came to mind. One function of the Holy Spirit is to remind us of the promises of God.

It seems that I have stumbled onto a Biblical principle. The Holy Spirit reminds me of Scripture relevant to my situation. Sometimes the word will come in a service, a Bible study, or daily devotional. It may even come through another believer. I am always amazed when it is some obscure verse that I am not at all familiar with. Hidden in a passage that I know I have read before; I just never noticed it!

I do not believe that only certain people can receive a word from God this way---I believe every child of God can. Ask God for a word on your situation and expect to receive one. If you need someone to be in agreement with---send me a prayer request. I will share the Scripture that comes to me when I pray.

Be Blessed!

Monday, November 19, 2012

What's better---King or Priest?

Revelation 1:6 (NKJV), "[Jesus] has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever."

The Bible teaches me as a born-again believer, I am both a king and a priest in the kingdom of God. For most of my Christian walk, I have focused on my position as king. Being a king has so many wonderful benefits---authority, wealth, and honor, to name the more obvious. I am grateful for the privilege of being a king. I have exercised my authority over the enemy many times with wonderful results.

Recently, I have realized the benefits of being a priest. I think I carried a distorted view of priests, possibly because I connect the Pharisees of Jesus' time to this position of honor. However, in my study of the Old Testament, I see this as the more wonderful position.

The best analogy I can come up with is how Solomon saw wisdom to be greater than riches. The story is in 1Kings 3:5-13. I especially like the last verse (v. 13), it says, "And I [God] have also given you [Solomon] what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.

As a priest, I am an avenue for God's power to flow into the natural realm. As God flows through me, my areas of weakness become strengths. The Wisdom of God flows into my decisions, His love flows into my relationships, and His good health flows through my body. For me, and those I care about, this is a huge benefit. These things cannot come from physical riches.

I do not want to take anything away from the wonderful fact that I am a king; I want to take advantage of everything Jesus paid for me to have. Comparing priesthood to kingship is much like comparing riches to wisdom. I have changed my focus and now I understand.

If you are like I was, change your focus too. I know when you do; you will begin to enjoy the blessings money cannot buy. I also believe you will see plenty of the things money can buy.

Be Blessed!

Monday, November 12, 2012

You are a Priest!

Leviticus 4:3 (NKJV) if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering.

The believers of the Old Testament obtained a good or bad standing with God, depending on the standing of their priest. When the priest sinned, he had to provide a sin offering to free the congregation of guilt.

The Bible says in Revelation 5:10, "[Jesus has] made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." This is wonderful news since we all know the authority of a king. I have also discovered that being a priest is just as powerful.

Jesus came as our High Priest (Heb. 3:1). Jesus was God manifest as a man. He was flawlessly righteous. We know that a sinful priest brings guilt on the people---a righteous priest brings righteousness on the people. We read in Matthew 9:2, "Then behold, they brought to Him [Jesus] a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you." Jesus was in right standing with God so He could tell the man his sins were forgiven.

Jesus was a flesh and blood human; He was also God. He performed miracles and healing as a priest. A righteous priest provides an avenue for God's power to flow. In the Old Testament, a priest had to perform sacrifices to achieve a right standing before God. Jesus had no need to sacrifice because, in Him was no sin (2 Cor. 5:21). He provided God a doorway to bless His children simply because He was righteous.

I, on the other hand, was a sinner. I needed a sacrifice to bring me into right standing with God. The sacrifice of Jesus takes this one step further. In the Old Testament, a priest had to present three different offerings to become a priest (see Exod. ch. 29). Jesus provided all three sacrifices to prepare me as a priest. Romans 3:22 tells me as a believer I am, "the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ."

As a priest, my tribe is as righteous as I am. My whole family and all my loved ones---whether they have acknowledged God yet or not---have the same right standing as me. If you are like me, you have pre-Christians in your family too. I simply declare them saved. I have seen amazing changes in the lives of my loved ones as I stand on this truth.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 21:5, "Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to Him and to bless in the name of the Lord; by their word every controversy and every assault shall be settled." As a priest, I can also release the power of God to bless and to settle any controversy.

Declare your loved ones righteous. Bless people continually. As you see the power of God flow through your words, your relationship with Jesus will rise to another new level.

Be Blessed!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Simply Better

Hebrews 7:22 (NKJV) by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.

The book of Hebrews in the New Testament is all about better. Before the cross, God's children were under the law covenant. The law covenant came to be when Moses received the Ten Commandments. That covenant was straightforward---obey the commandments and be blessed.

Fortunately, God already knew His children could not obtain that right standing in their own strength, so God gave animal sacrifice as a way for mankind to earn salvation. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:13, "the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh."

God always has been a God of grace, wanting to be our heavenly Father. Sin limited God because He is holy. The Bible says in Exodus 33:20, "But He [God] said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." God could not fellowship with sin without destroying it.

The last book of the Old Testament, the book of Malachi, has revealed that God's children even failed to make proper sacrifices. Without redemption, God was unable to bless us. Psalm 35:27 says, "Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant." It has always been His desire.

This is where the book of Hebrews shines. The word better is mentioned thirteen times in this book. When Scripture repeats something, God wants us to understand it. Our new covenant is BETTER!

Hebrews 6:9 says "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner." In the Old Testament, Israel could sacrifice animals for salvation; Jesus gave us salvation plus a personal relationship, this is much better.

Hebrews 7:19 says "for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God." The law did not make us better people---drawing near to God does. The sacrifice of Jesus made this possible.

Hebrews 8:6 says, "He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises." God purges our soul of dead works (Heb. 9:14). He also gave us a new spirit. The old covenant could not provide these two benefits. These are better promises to the born-again believer.

Hebrews 9:23 (NLT) says, "That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals." The world we live in is tainted with sin. An innocent animal made a good sacrifice, but it was still of this world. Jesus was God manifest as a flesh and blood human to become the holiest possible sacrifice.

Simply put---animal sacrifice provided God with an avenue of grace. The crucifixion of Christ was an explosion of grace. It is interesting to note; the word grace appears in the New Testament one-hundred-thirty times. The book of Hebrews teaches us the new covenant is better than the old one. The New Testament teaches us that it is all about grace. That is why He repeated grace ten times as much!

Be blessed.