Posts Tagged ‘Biblical history’

Wilderness Seasons

Throughout Biblical history, God has used the wilderness to test His servants in order to perfect His purposes within them. His goal is to speak to the independent heart that leans on its own understanding and call His Sons and Daughters into proper alignment with His Divine order (Hos 2:14).

The wilderness speaks of a barren and desolate area. It is a place where inner needs become intensified and there is no available resources to meet those needs. God seems to want to move us there at times to speak to us about the condition of our hearts.

Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8:5)

There is a heart quality about this “one” who is coming up from the wilderness that attracts the writers special attention. She is “leaning” upon her Beloved. This position of leaning demonstrates the fact that she has become completely dependent upon Him. Something has changed during her time of being in the wilderness which has resulted in her becoming submissively dependent upon the Lord.

This is the quality of Sonship that God is after in us and we must become aware that its the wilderness that produces this in our heart. How often have we murmured or complained about the wilderness experience only to find that there was increased glory as we emerged from this season.

We entered the wilderness season leaning on our own understanding and emerged leaning on our Beloved.

Shake off the fear of abandonment and draw near to the Father who speaks lovingly to His children. He wants to become the Promised Resource for our abundant life.

The Integrity of Truth

“but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ” (Eph. 4:15)

We must speak the truth in love! In trying to win the approval of others I hear so many stories. Stories that might be exciting and fun to listen to, but lack integrity. What is not truthful, does not qualify as a testimony! By that I mean the story goal might be very virtuous, in that we want our listeners to be moved to change their direction in life… but when facts do not line up, God cannot bless our efforts. The reason for that is obvious I think… it wreaks of manipulation, and therefore it is not the truth spoken in love. We must value the integrity of truth! Remind yourself of the goal again… “that we grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ”!

Truth is Vital for Belief!

One of the most important reasons truth matters so much, is that we are telling a bigger story than our own! Notice the following testimony from a soldier who was at the cross when Jesus was being crucified. Notice the testimony fulfills Scripture! Its less about the one testifying … and more about the King of Glory. Read it and then I will share some thoughts about this interesting moment.

“Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who were crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN. And again another Scripture says, they shall look on Him whom they pierced” (Jn. 19:32-37)

An Eye Witness Account Carries Seed for the Future!

This testimony was no simple observation, it was an eye witness account of a “kairos” moment in history… a seed for future fruitful belief. Something was clicked into human events that God would make sure carried more weight than just a nice story line. God was making a significant point, that although Jesus was dying like a ruthless criminal; this was no ordinary moment in the handling of human justice. This man was innocent and the testimony of His innocence reverberated all the way through Biblical history and discourse.

The Prophetic Significance:

During the days of Moses and the Exodus of the Jews from Egyptian slavery, a prophetic act was performed during the last night before their deliverance.  Blood from an unblemished lamb was to be placed on the door posts and lintel of the houses where they ate and when the death angel passed over the houses of the Children of Israel… they would be spared. Interestingly, they were to eat the lamb without breaking any of its bones (Ex. 12:46)(Nu. 9:12). In order to preserve the truthfulness of this event the Jewish people commemorate and remember all that took place through a Passover Celebration every year. They tell the stories and remember the significance of the blood that was shed, even in the way they prepared their unblemished lamb for the feast… not a bone shall be broken.

It Testifies of the Authenticity of Christ – The Lamb of God!

The true Unblemished Lamb gave Himself for the sins of the world. He died to bring deliverance to every believing heart. He died without any bones broken, and fulfilled the Scripture through the mouth of a soldier who observed His crucifixion. It speaks to the honor God gives to the innocent! Even David would later tell us that God will deliver the righteous from all affliction. Although God would place our sin upon Christ in His death on the cross; He would not allow any bones to be broken in the process (Ps. 34:19-20). It is because He was innocent, that this testimony becomes a powerful point of our believing.

The Grip of Sin is Broken – And the Testimony of Christ is True!

Re-Imagine Church

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Eph. 2:19-22)

Its easy to believe that God is in the process of perfecting His Church. The institution we have come to know as “Christ’s Body” has experienced enormous change over the 2000 years since Jesus’ day. Some people have found the variety and flavor of church culture an encouraging mix; with mega churches and home churches, store fronts and village outposts, there is something for almost everyone’s taste. Others have left the whole thing behind in disgust, feeling more confused than ever about their trust in church dynamics, their relationship with each other and worse of all, their faith in God.

Yet, somewhere in the midst of all the chaos; surely, there remains a remnant. A remnant of Kingdom People; cut from the original fabric we see in the Book of Acts. People who the Apostle Paul spoke of as “Ambassadors for Christ”, with a “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18-20). The people Jesus is willing to call “friends” (Jn. 15:14), who hunger for the heart of God and will not settle for an institutional substitute.

When Jesus said “I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18)… He was imagining something that most of the world has yet to embrace. 

Jesus is wanting us to re-imagine Church, as He intended it to function and advance His Kingdom in the Earth. His heart is for a lost and broken World looking for truth in all the wrong places. Could the Church once again become the place where people find God? I believe the answer to that question is – Yes! But only if we will get our blueprints from heaven… not the wisdom of man or traditional religious systems.

3 Key Thoughts the Apostle Paul Emphasizes:

  1. The Purpose… is for a habitation of God by His Spirit!
  2. The Foundation… is Christ as the Chief Cornerstone and the teaching ministry of the Apostles and Prophets!
  3. The Process… is a joining together and growing house that results in a holy temple; a spiritually vibrant and pure people, in the Lord!

The Habitation of God:

One of the most valuable thoughts the Apostle Paul makes in regards to why the Church exists, is this summary statement… “for a habitation of God in the Spirit”  (Eph. 2:22). Throughout Biblical history there have been literally hundreds of story lines for how God spoke with His people, walked with His chosen leaders and made Himself known as their “very present help in times of need”. But, what we must never miss is the fact that God wants fellowship, simply because He loves us and desires to live among us.

The Household of God:

Habitation is a deeply intimate, relational dynamic reserved for only one type of human interaction… the family. God wants the Church to look like a family! A family so strong that the gates of hell itself will not prevail against it, so strong that Satan has no authority or power to cause harm. A family where God is “Our Father” and we are given the wonderful privlege of life in His Glory (His Shekinah), living as His children (Jn. 1:12). 

A Dwelling Place:

Unlike any other social institution, the Church is designed to be a dwelling place (a shekan) for God on the Earth. Therefore, the Church must welcome God as the place designed and perfectly suited for Him, similarly to the way King Solomon welcomed the Glory of God into the Temple (2 Chron. 5:7-14).

The goal is that the Church would function in community, as fellow “citizens with the saints” and “members of a household” with purpose and priorities, values and dominion. What makes the Church function as a family is the Manifest Presence of God governing, abiding and responding in the midst of its activities. Notice how the Holy Spirit speaks to the Apostles in the Book of Acts…

As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)

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