Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore let us also, having so great a 1acloud of 2witnesses surrounding us, put away every 3encumbrance and the 4bsin which so easily entangles us and crun with dendurance the 5race [course] which is set before us,
2 1Looking away aunto 2Jesus, the 3bAuthor and 4Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the ccross, despising the dshame, and has 5esat down on the right hand of the fthrone of God.
15 The Christian life is a race [a course]. All the saved Christians must run the race to win the prize (1 Cor. 9:24), not salvation in the common sense (Eph. 2:8; 1 Cor. 3:15) but a reward in a special sense (10:35; 1 Cor. 3:14). The apostle Paul ran the race and won the prize (1 Cor. 9:26-27; Phil. 3:13-14; 2 Tim. 4:7-8).
One of the items in the all-inclusive Spirit that we believers receive is the element of the ascension of Christ. Most basically, ascension was the last step before the dispensing of the Spirit, which was in two stages: when the Lord breathed the Spirit into the disciples in John 20, and when He poured out the Spirit upon them in Acts 2. These are typified by the Old Testament feasts of the Firstfruits and Pentecost, respectively.read more
This morning I was considering Revelation chapters 4 and 5. In chapters 4 and 5, praise is given to God and to the Lamb. In chapter 4 verse 8, the four living creatures give God the praise: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God the Almighty," and in verse 11, the 24 elders give Him the praise: "You are worthy, God the Creator because You have created all things." All of this praise is in the nature of the Old Testament. It praises God as the Creator of all things, the Creator of the old creation.read more
We often wonder how we can reconcile the conflict between acting in an appropriate way towards people when we think or feel quite differently. For instance, there might be someone we don’t really like, but the person wants to shake our hand and greet us. So we smile, shake their hand and greet them, and feel like a hypocrite inwardly. Or perhaps I’ve been having a rough day emotionally, but someone greets me, asking how I’m doing, someone not close enough for me to share my inner struggles. So, I say, “Fine,” and feel like a hypocrite or liar.
On thinking about such situations, I realized that to think in this way is to act as if man only has two parts, a body and a soul. This kind of thinking is actually according to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that merely considers whether a situation is right or wrong according to my own reasoning, feeling, or assessment. This is contrary to the tree of life, which determines the rightness of things according to the principle of eating God, becoming one with God, and living out God–when we live out God, God is always right, and we are right in Him, not apart from Him.
How I might think or feel inwardly is according to my soul, that is, my mind and my emotions. To consider that this is what I am sincerely is to consider that my soul-life, my self, is the primary and real aspect of my being. But no! In addition to my body (actions, including my speech) and my soul (my inner thoughts, feelings, and decisions), I have a spirit! My spirit is the aspect of me that can be one with God and that can contact God.read more
In my reading from Joshua, I noted the following outstanding things:
Joshua 10:3 mentions Adoni-zedek (Lord of righteousness), king of Jerusalem. I wonder what the similarity is in this name and Melchizedek (king of righteousness), king of Salem (peace, Jerusalem)—Hebrews 7:1-2.
Joshua 13:1 … Jehovah said to [Joshua], You are old and advanced in age, and very much of the land remains to be possessed.2 This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and all that of the Geshurites,3 From the Shihor, which is before Egypt, unto the border of Ekron on the north (this is considered to be Canaanite), with five lords of the Philistines: the Gazite and the Ashdodite, the Ashkelonite, the Gittite, and the Ekronite; and that of the Avvim … 6 … I Myself will drive them out before the children of Israel; nevertheless allot it to Israel as an inheritance as I have commanded you.
Contrary to my prior misunderstanding, God definitely alloted the land of the Philistines (that is, the Gaza Strip) to the sons of Israel, along with everything else from the Nile to the Euphrates.read more
This morning I was considering a conversation I had yesterday concerning growth in life versus growth in numbers. The Lord reminded me of the following story (this is a story about Elisha, not to be confused with a similar story about Elijah causing meal and oil to last throughout a famine):
2 Kings 4:1-7
2Ki 4:1 Now a certain woman from among the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared Jehovah. And the creditor has come to take my two children to himself as servants.
2Ki 4:2 And Elisha said to her, What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in your house? And she said, Your servant has nothing at all in the house, except a jar of oil.
2Ki 4:3 And he said, Go and borrow vessels outside, from all your neighbors, empty vessels, and not just a few.
2Ki 4:4 Then go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all those vessels; and each one you fill set aside.
2Ki 4:5 So she went away from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons; and they brought the vessels to her, and she poured out into them.
2Ki 4:6 And when she had filled the vessels, she said to her son, Bring me another vessel. But he said to her, There is no other vessel. And the oil stopped.
2Ki 4:7 And she went and told the man of God. And he said, Go and sell the oil, and pay your debt; and you and your sons can live off the rest.
The Lord showed me something quite remarkable concerning how He operates in His economy to multiply Christ as life in His believers to meet all the need in His economy. First, let’s look at a few passages from Ephesians:read more
1 Thes 5:16 Always rejoice,
17 Unceasingly pray,
18 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
This morning I pray-read this verse with my brother and sister-in-law, and I really enjoyed so much light:
Always rejoice, in everything give thanks: First, I saw that God is the Always in whom we rejoice, and He is the Everything in whom we give thanks. Our rejoicing or giving thanks is not based on outward conditions that are joyful or worthy of thanks; no, our outward situation goes up and down. Nor is it based on our inward condition, whether we are sad, worried, anxious; it is not even based on whether we are victorious, defeated, sinful, holy, or unholy. None of these things, outward or inward, is presented as the basis of our rejoicing or thanksgiving. God alone is the Always, the One who never changes. He is always joy itself, always thanks itself. In Him, we have an eternal fountain of joy. Whenever I tap into Him, I touch the Always Joyful One in whom I can rejoice, regardless my inward or outward situation.
As for His being the Everything, Christ is all and in all (Col 3:11). In many situations in themselves, I cannot find a basis of thanksgiving. I do not believe the Lord is asking us to rotely give thanks for the sake of giving thanks. I believe He is saying here that we must see that He is in all things, and that in all these things we must give thanks because of Him who is in these things. So, as soon as I see Christ in any situation, I will spontaneously be able to give thanks.read more
Last night and tonight, in two separate meetings, we read Luke 5. I was so deeply touched by the relationship between the consciousness of sin in this chapter and the experience of jubilee in chapter 4. Tonight we also read most of Life-Study of Luke chapter 13. Here is a quote from pp. 107-108:
The cases 5:1—6:11 portray the spiritual condition of every fallen human being. Before we were saved, we were occupied. We were also lepers, sinful people, in need of cleansing. In addition, we were paralytics, those unable to walk or do anything according to God. Therefore, we were in need of the Lord’s healing.
No matter what a person’s occupation may be, when he is called by the Lord and released, he immediately realizes that he is sinful. When people are busy with their occupation, they may think that they are very good. But when they are released from their occupation to follow the Lord, they realize that they are sinful. Furthermore, after they are cleansed, they realize that they are paralyzed with respect to God and the things of God. They are not able to walk in God’s way. But after they are healed, they come to see that they are “tax collectors,” despised persons considered to be of no value. Eventually, they understand that they are under the bondage of certain regulations and are in need of both satisfaction and liberation.
After we are freed from our occupation, cleansed from our leprosy, and healed of our paralysis, we become in the Lord a person of value, for now we have Him as the new clothing to cover us outwardly and as the new wine to fill us inwardly (Luke 5:36-39). Following this, we are released from the binding regulations. As a result, we become persons fully saved by the Man-Savior.
In my reading from Numbers, I noted the following outstanding things:
Num 3:47 You shall take five shekels apiece per head; according to the shekel of the sanctuary you shall take them. (The shekel is twenty gerahs.)
48 And you shall give the money, by which the excess number of them is redeemed, to Aaron and to his sons.
49 So Moses took the redemption money from those who were over and above those who were redeemed by the Levites;
In Hebrew, “money” is “silver.” These verses clearly establish that in the Bible, silver typifies redemption.
Num 8:18 And I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel.
19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the Tent of Meeting, and to make expiation for the children of Israel, that there may be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come near to the sanctuary.
Num 18:6 And I Myself have taken your brothers the Levites from among the children of Israel. They are a gift to you, given to Jehovah, to do the service of the Tent of Meeting.
In these verses, the Levites were men given as gifts to Aaron. This is comparable to Eph 4:7-8, where the Father gives certain men as gifts to Christ, and Christ gives these men as gifts to the church:
Eph 4:7 1But to each one of us 2agrace was given according to the 3bmeasure of the cgift of Christ.
8 Therefore the Scripture says, “Having aascended to the 1height, He led captive 2those taken captive and gave 3bgifts to men.”
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It really is so important that we establish a habit to read the Bible every day on our own. No matter how many messages we hear or how many spiritual books we read, nothing can replace directly hearing from the Lord through His word. Even something as simple as reading one chapter a day (which takes no more than 5 to 10 minutes) will get you through the entire New Testament in just under 9 months. Reading one chapter a day will get you through the entire Bible in just three years and three months. That might seem slow, but compare how long...read more
In my reading from Exodus, I noted the following outstanding things:
- Pharaoh’s concept of what is real work and idleness is in stark contrast with God’s concept. I’ve written about this in a separate blog entry.
Ex 13:12 You shall set apart to Jehovah everything that opens the womb and the first offspring of every beast which is yours; the males shall be Jehovah’s.
13 And every first offspring of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you do not redeem it, you shall break its neck. And every firstborn male among your sons you shall redeem.
14 And when your son asks you in time to come, saying, What is this? you shall say to him, By strength of hand Jehovah brought us out from Egypt, from the slave house.
15 And when Pharaoh hardened himself against letting us go, Jehovah slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I am one who sacrifices to Jehovah all that open the womb that are males; and all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.
These verses show that in the typology of the Passover, Christ died to not only redeem those men who take His blood as their covering, but He even died to redeem the animals in God’s created world. (Not that He died that they might be forgiven their sins as men are, but that His death included the restoration of the corrupted creation to its original God-created intention.) This corresponds with:
Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little inferior to the angels because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death on behalf of everything.read more
Col 1:20 And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross — through Him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.