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The Altar of God is Very Low

English: Sumerian ziggurat

‘And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it.’ – [Exd 20:26 NASB]

Here we see the difference between God’s way and religion. Ancient pagan altars were built in high places. Modern religions build up requirements that you must strive to achieve.

God’s altar is very low.

The altar is a type of the cross and Christ, who was crucified on it. You do not need to walk up any stairs or achieve anything in order to reach the cross. The crucified Christ is within everyone’s reach.

We just need to offer up Christ as our offering, identifying ourselves with Him in His death and resurrection.

If there were stairs, our nakedness might be exposed. Our nakedness goes back to Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve sinned. But, God killed an animal and clothed Adam and Eve with its skin. That animal was also a type of Christ, in His death, and as our Clothing.

The nakedness symbolizes our natural self, which was poisoned by sin, and can never please God. But, Christ took our old man on the cross with our sins. Thus, we no longer have to live by the old self because we have a new self, which is just Christ Himself.

God’s altar is within everyone’s reach. When we offer Christ as our sacrifice to God, we are clothed with Him. Praise God! We don’t need to strive to reach Him, for He has brought Himself low for us.

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Disciples, Ministers, and the Stewardship

Jesus in the Word

Image via Wikipedia

 

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-13 NASB)


What does it mean to make disciples? What does it mean to be a minister? What is the stewardship of the mystery?

In order to understand these things, we must understand God’s desire and how He is fulfilling that desire. God’s desire is to have an expression of Himself and to fill all things with that expression. Thus, all things will be filled with Christ, through His Spirit. This Christ, that is to fill all things, is the mystery of God and the Church is the mystery of Christ.

The Church is the beginning of this filling of all things with Christ. Through the Church, the entire creation will be an expression of God. God is filling the Church with Christ, by dispensing His Wealth and His Life into the Church. As the receivers of the Life of God, in Christ, we are stewards of Christ. As Christ has been dispensed in us, we also, dispense Christ into each other.

As containers of God, we must be emptied of self and clear. Without being emptied of ourselves, we cannot be filled with God. Thus, our old self was objectively placed on the cross with Christ and we subjectively experience that by faith. Next, we are clear containers because nothing of ourselves should be seen. When we are seen, only our contents should be seen. This is why New Jerusalem, in Revelation, is clear gold. The gold is that which is made of God and it is clear because our selves have died. With ourselves dead, God who is the contents of the Great City, is displayed for all to see.

The dispensing of Christ is what it means to be a minister. In order to minister to someone we must be living in Christ, learning Him, and experiencing Him. Ministering is not merely done with words and teaching, it is done by imparting something of Christ to someone. You cannot impart something of Christ to someone, if Christ is not being dispensed into you. Thus, as Christ is dispensed into us, we dispense Christ into each other.

Lastly, this is also what it means to make disciples. We are not making disciples of ourselves, but of Christ. If you are ministering to someone you are making a disciple. As you impart your portion of Christ into a person by the Spirit, that person is being filled Christ. Since, that person has received something of Christ from you, he or she will share it with someone else. So, making disciples is done by the dispensing of Christ, from your spirit to another person’s spirit, through the Holy Spirit.

 

May we all work so that the desire of God is obtained: The fullness of Christ displayed for all to see.

 

90 Days of God’s Goodness by Randy Alcorn

This is a wonderful book that I would recommend to all those who love Christ. It is a devotional book about God’s goodness in suffering. The narrator of the audiobook is Lloyd Jones, who’s voice is comforting in a book that describes so much suffering.

This book is based on Scripture, as well as stories of Christians who have suffered. At the end of each day is a prayer. Christ promised that all who followed Him would suffer and this book has many stories of Christians who have been faithful to Him, in spite of much suffering. Many of those mentioned in the book have found that they are now closer to God because of their suffering. Christ is our example of suffering, for He has suffered more than all of us combined.

There was more than one occasion in which this book caused tears to swell up in my eyes. It is a book of hope, joy, and love in the face of deep pain and sorrow. This is the hope, joy, and love that only Christ can give us.

Many think that suffering should be avoided at all costs. Indeed, suffering would be unbearable if our Father was not sovereign in it. Fortunately, He has measured all of our pains and troubles out for us and we can be assured there will not be too much nor too little of the trials in this life.

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

Slave by John MacArthur

In “Slave” by John MacArthur, Christians are reminded that we are slaves to Christ. This is a fact that has been ignored by modern Christianity due to the Greek word “doulos” being mistranslated as servant. The translators most likely avoided the term “slave” because of the western preconceived notions of slavery. In western society, slavery is an offensive idea, because of the evil that has occurred in western slavery.

 

Slaves of Christ should be understood in the context of Greco-Roman and Hebrew slavery. Many slaves were treated very well, although, there were slaves that were treated cruelly. Slaves with wealthy and influential masters enjoyed a high status in society because of their masters’ statuses. If the Cesar’s slaves were proud to be his slaves, how much more should we enjoy being the slaves of Christ?

 

John MacArthur also supports his view that we are slaves of Christ with the testimonies of faithful Christians throughout history. Early Christians boasted of the freedom that they found in being slaves of Christ. Martyrs could not deny their Master, because He had purchased them. Throughout history Christians have enjoyed a privileged position as slaves of Christ.

 

If you are not a slave of Christ, then you are a slave of sin. Sin is a harsh taskmaster, whereas Christ is pleased to welcome His slaves as members of His own family. Indeed, slaves of Christ are His brothers and sisters.

 

Let us be faithful slaves while our Master is away, so that He will be overjoyed upon His return.

 

I received this book free from christianaudio.com through the christianaudio Reviewers program.

A Look at Fasting Pt. 1

Considering that we are entering into the time when some people participate in Lent, I thought I would take a look at fasting. (I will look at fasting in parts, since I really don’t like long posts.) This is not only in regards to fasting during Lent, but fasting at anytime. If you fast during Lent do it for Christ and His eternal purpose. If you fast some other times, do it for Christ and His eternal purpose. What I do respect from Lent is that it is a corporate fast of the Body, for those who wish to participate. I do think fasting has been neglected in our times, although it is important in the life in Christ. We will start with what Christ had to say about fasting, since He is Everything to us.

Jesus fasted.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
(Mat 4:1-2 ESV)

Jesus prophesied that we would fast.

And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
(Luk 5:33-36 ESV)

Christ, as our example, fasted in the wilderness. He also expected us to fast after He had been taken to His Father. We wait for the return of our Bridegroom, when we will have no need to fast. For now, He has not returned, so we continue in our prayers and fasts.

Enjoying Christ

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

(Psa 46:10 ESV)

 

 

Some of my most enjoyable times with Christ, have been in silence. To sit still and see Him by faith is a wonderful thing. It doesn’t take words to worship Him. You can worship Him by just enjoying Him. To forget the troubles of the world, if even for a moment, and turn your gaze to Him, honors Him much. Instead, of bringing Him your laundry list, you can bring Him yourself and seek Him for no other reason than because you want to enjoy His Presence. If only we turned our focus from our outward duties to God more often, we would surely be consumed with a holy passion for Him. Somehow, during this time, He fills us with contentment, while filling us with more desire. If only we knew how important this quiet time is to Him, perhaps we wouldn’t consider it wasted time.

 

Let Us Be Content With Our Sufferings

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Image by Jacob & Kiki Hantla via Flickr

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2Co 12:7-10 ESV)

In order for the eternal purpose of God to be made manifest in us, troubles, trials, difficulties, and sufferings are allowed to come to us. God is never the originator of evil. Instead, Satan is the author of evil.

Evil is not something created, it is the lack of good. In the same way as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of goodness. You can’t turn on darkness, but you can turn on light.

Satan cannot act against God’s Children, unless it is by the permission of God. God can prevent or stop any trial, whenever He pleases.

You may suffer because of sin, to become more Christlike, to glorify God, or a combination of these. Don’t assume that you are suffering just because you have sinned, for we suffer because we live in a fallen world, where there is an unseen war being waged by powers and principalities beyond our understanding. If you suffer, seek God and He will give you understanding by His Spirit.

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
(Joh 9:1-3 ESV)

God used a messenger of Satan to keep Paul from becoming conceited and to reveal to Him that the power of God is perfected in our weakness. When we do experience any momentary trouble, or lasting difficulty, we can trust that God is using it for our good. Let us be content with our weaknesses, when trouble is upon us, knowing that our loving Father is in complete control. We see from Paul’s example that it is not wrong to ask God to remove our thorns, but that we must be resigned to His will if He chooses not to.

Who are we to question God, whose ways are not our ways and who is beyond or full understanding? We know He is always good and does what is best for us. Let’s walk in peace and contentedness no matter what our circumstances are because we are in Christ.

We Should Not Shrink From Suffering

Brother Lawrence

Image via Wikipedia

That he expected after the pleasant days God had given him, he should have his turn of pain and suffering; but that he was not uneasy about it, knowing very well, that as he could do nothing for himself, God would not fail to give him the strength to bear it.” – Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we should not shrink back from pains and sufferings in this life. We should embrace them as great graces from God, which He is using to sanctify us. If only we could understand, in the hour of difficulty, the blessings God is pouring on us.

When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
(Act 14:21-22 ESV)

There is no reason to search for pain. God will give what is needed. If it is necessary for your growth, then it will come. If your difficulties become too great, know that God will give you strength to bear them. Often, He will use other Christians to strengthen you.

If we are in a situation where our pain will alleviate the pain of someone else, we should wholeheartedly embrace it. There are people who will not suffer a little discomfort for the life of another person. All of us have chosen ourselves over others at some point in our lives. This is not the way of Christ. This is not the way of love. If we wish to save our lives, we must lose them. We must die to self, that Christ may live through us.

If our Father reserved the greatest sufferings for His beloved Son, we should expect that, as heirs with Christ, we should suffer something as well.

Learning Christ in Organic Church

This is what I took away from our organic church meeting this week:

– When we live by Christ, there will be persecution.

– When we let the Holy Spirit live through us, we are a place of rest for God.

– We must learn to see all things in Christ.

– Christ is all and is in all.

A Window to Christ

Window to the life...flickr(Explored)

Image by SamikRC via Flickr

The purpose of every Christian’s life is to be a window to Christ. Whether they know it or not. When the world looks at us, they should see Him. They should see parts of Christ in each of us, and His fullness in all of us. Whether it leads them to love us or hate us, does not matter. It is their response to Jesus, not to us. They will either love Him or hate Him. Let’s surrender ourselves to our Lord. Let the world no longer see our old man, but let them see our new man, that is in Christ. He has washed us clean, so that the world may see Him.

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