A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS

A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS
And ye shall be unto Me a Kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.”
— Exodus 19:6 —
1st Peter 2:5:  “You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a Holy Priesthood, to offer up spiritual Sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
All born-again believers are members of the “Holy Priesthood”
— Yeshua being our Great High Priest.
What does it mean to be a Priest of God?  Have you ever thought of yourself in this capacity? Under the Old Testament (under the Law) priests were set apart and sanctified for that office.  Now, under the New Covenant, all born-again believers (saints) are priests unto God, appointed and directed by the Holy Spirit.  Take a moment to think about this … you are a Priest !!
All true servants of Christ are a royal priesthood. We are royal because of our relationship with God the Father (as Children of God) through Jesus Christ (our High Priest).  As priests, we are given authority to act on His behalf, and have power over all our spiritual enemies.  Because we have Christ living in us (born-again), our characters have changed becoming more excellent beginning at the deepest levels of our spirit.  We now have heavenly-minded thoughts, hopes and expectations.  We are separated from sin and sinners, consecrated to God to offer spiritual services acceptable to Him through Jesus Christ.
Duties of a Priest
 
Priests are ministers of God, ministering to God and to His people.  Sharath in Hebrew means to minister, serve or wait on.  In Greek the word for minister is diakonos referring to Christ inspiring His servants to carry out His plan for His people.
 
Who do we serve?  As priests of the Most High God of Heaven and Earth we are called to serve, minister, wait on those within the Household of God.  And by doing this we serve Jesus, our High Priest.  Jesus gave us an example when He said:  “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
The Future Role of Priests
 
There will come a time when God will be positioning and placing His saints in leadership to reign on the Earth.  “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:10)  What we do now in our walk with-the-Lord will determine whether we will be given these positions reigning with Christ on the Earth.  Reigning with Christ on the Earth will be a blessing beyond our imagination.
Pray that God will open your eyes and ears to know who you are in-Him.  That the spiritual forces preventing you from seeing your Priestly position will be bound and that the Holy Spirit will infuse you with all Godly Wisdom to take your rightful position as a Priest unto your God.
Selah.

WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD

WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.”   (Ephesians 6:12)
We, as a church, and as individuals have become complacent in our walk in that we regard not the fact that we are in a BATTLE everyday for our souls and for the souls of every human being on the planet.
We see all around us brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord who are discouraged, depressed, tormented, just barely hanging on, having weak or non-existent prayer lives, waiting for the Lord Jesus to come and rescue them.  These believers have “dug in” to their fox holes and have quit the fight.  It has all become too much!  For whatever reason … they have given up and the enemy has won because they are no longer in the battle and the “fox hole Christians” are keenly aware that they are AWOL because the “fiery darts” have stopped pricking them.  These “meek” sheep are content, grazing on spoiled bread, drinking old wine.
And they overcame him (Satan) by the Blood of the Lamb 
and by the word of their testimony
and they loved not their lives unto death.”
(Revelations 12:11)
Today, we want to encourage you to get back into the battle.  “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS MIGHT.”  (Ephesians 6:10)  Without God’s help you will be helpless and hopeless and the enemy could easily overpower you.  GOD WILL DEFEND YOU … BUT YOU NEED TO CALL ON HIS NAME!  “The strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!  I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.”   (Psalm 118:16-17)
Man is impotent without the strength of God.  If the ship, launched, rigged, and with her sails spread, cannot move until the wind fills her sails, and the timber in the carpenter’s yard cannot hew and frame itself into a ship; so to we need the power of God to contend with spiritual foes.  
 
Yes, everyday we are involved in a fierce conflict with the powers of evil.  We battle with unseen spiritual enemies, foes of mighty rank, chieftains in the spirit-world exercising complete dominion over their dark domain.  “They are evil – their appetite for evil only exceeds their capacity for producing it.” (Eadie)
As believers we are engaged in a double conflict — of the flesh and the spirit.  Everyday we are tempted with our senses, and doubly assailed by an “anti-Christ” world mind-set.  Our foes invade the “high places” of faith and hope — and if possible, would rob us of heaven.
To Jesus Christ, Satan was no figure of speech, but a thinking and active spiritual being, whose presence and influence our Lord saw everywhere as He walked the earth.  We should never forget that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood …” and always remember to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-17).
Selah.

SNARES

MORE SNARES 
 
Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you,
but they shall be as thorns in your sides,
and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”  (Judges 2:3)
 
When I received Christ thirty-some years ago I was a practicing Buddhist.  I had a Buddhist altar set up in a spare bedroom and I had been chanting for over six years.  The sister who led me to the Lord gave me specific instructions as a baby believer to go home and to imagine Jesus coming into my home and anything that would offend Him to dispose of it.  The first thing I did was to take down the Buddhist altar along with all the items necessary for the false worship — everything was tossed into the trash.
In the Book of Judges Israel is fighting for the land which God has promised to give to them.  God gave specific instructions not to make a league (alliance) with the heathen or their gods but to drive them out or destroy them.  The Israelites did not do as God commanded.  Consequently, an angel of the Lord was sent warning them that their disobedience would become a snare … “And it came to pass, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.” (verse 4)
Some of us are still holding on to things of this world that are snares.  We need to be hyper-vigilant when it comes to guarding against those things which are demonic that will sneak into our lives, the lives of our children, grandchildren and into our homes.  Something that seems innocent like a children’s book  references magic, spells, fairies, elves, dragons, etc.  Or that TV program that does not refute godlessness, God-forbid you are watching the afternoon Soaps, how about the music your children are listening to?  Country music … is it lifting up self or God?  How about dream catchers?  Small dolls or statues that are suppose to bring “good luck.”  Carvings of false gods.  Hyper-vigilance is required as the Days become Darker!
A true story …  an older Christian sister goes to a hair dresser that she knows is a Wiccan.  Even though she is warned, she continues to go because “I like the way she cuts my hair.”  Every time she goes the Wiccan hairdresser gives our Christian sister a piece of jewelry.  Slowly, over time, strange things begin happening in the home of our sister.  Apparitions begin to appear.  Furniture and other items within the house are moved.  Strange winds blow through the house.  Our sister is now not getting any sleep.
One day, I am on the phone with this sister-in-the-Lord and she now realizes the seriousness of her ignoring God’s command to: “Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” (Ephesians 5:7)  The Holy Spirit prompts me to ask her if she has any jewelry in the house that the Wiccan had given to her.  She says “Yes!”  While I am on the phone with her, she takes the jewelry outside and with a hammer attempts to break the jewelry into pieces.  Well, guess what!  The jewelry does not break … no matter how much strength she applies.  Our sister then tosses the jewelry into a large dumpster.  Were her problems over ….???   NO…
 
A few months later, something strange is going on, we hear from friends that our sister is acting very odd.  She has been reported to have been found at someone’s home crawling under a car “looking for something she lost.”  She is talking to herself and seeing things.  To make a long story short … our sister has now been committed.  We continue to pray for her.
Now, I know, many of you are of the opinion that believers are “exempt” from demonic oppression or possession.  The Bible does not clearly state that demons cannot influence our lives to the point where they can cause irreparable harm.  Scripture does tell us us that Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy … not unbelievers (for they are already heading for Hell) but believers.
What did the people of Israel do?  They repented !!  God who is merciful will always forgive a repentant heart.  Unfortunately, we do not take repentance seriously enough, we believe that once we are saved, we are okay and if we sin that our sins are automatically wiped away even if our heart is not right towards God.  This is a falsehood.  Oh, that God would show us our sins daily and that we would everyday come to him with repentant hearts asking for His forgiveness and help.  Look around now … is there anything in your life or in your house that needs to be tossed out and repented of?
Selah.

COVETOUSNESS

“COVETOUSNESS”

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Luke 12:34

Jesus is approached by a man who says to him “Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.”  Our Lord answers, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?”  It is obvious that Yeshua did not want to enter into a conversation about worldly concerns.  Instead, He tells the man, “Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of things which he possesses.”
Eye-candy.  We are bombarded with it. Every TV commercial, internet advertisement, highway billboard and magazine is filled with pictures that are superficially attractive and entertaining but intellectually undemanding.  There was a time before my born-again experience when I would enjoy reading through magazines and making mental notes of things I would want but not necessarily need.  Consequently after trips to department stores, flea markets or yard sales I would return home with my “finds” only to “find” that there was limited satisfaction in these worldly things.  It would only take a few days and the desire for “things” would return, the eye-candy once again seduced and I would be out and about shopping.
I was possessed by the possessions.  I had clothing I would never wear, dishes I would never use, collectables that gathered dust, shoes … we won’t discuss the shoes, and then there was this crazy passion for oriental rugs …  When I think back on the hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars spent to fill a need that could never be filled … it saddens me.
Yeshua knows our hearts.  He warns against covetousness, “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou has provided?  So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)  Our Lord calls us fools for laying up treasures on earth.  A little later He tells us:  “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither corrupts.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 
 
Look around your own dwelling place — the things that you have accumulated — can they be sold and used to further the Kingdom?  Or, are you holding on to these things to pass them along to others who covet?
 
Selah.
 
 
 

OUR FELLOWSHIP WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON

OUR FELLOWSHIP WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON
 
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you …
and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus.”
— 1st John 1:3 —
 
So what does it mean to have fellowship with the Godhead?
 
As born-again believers, we can experience a daily, life-giving relationship with Jesus, and with the Father by and through the Holy Spirit because of the Cross.
We can have fellowship with God, with Our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, and with each other.  This is our taste of future heavenly pleasure, knowing that we belong to and are a part of Him.  It is almost an impossibility to describe the communion of the Creator to His Creation except to say that it is Love in a form that we only have glimpses of because of mental and physical limitations.  Sometimes when we do feel a closeness/communion with Our Father and Yeshua, we glory in those blessed times.  He comes to us with His Presence when we abandon self (through praise and worship); and also in times of greatest despair and sorrow.  To seek God with our whole heart, soul and mind is to find Him.  Our Father Creator wants to have fellowship with His Children.
Because of our fellowship with God through His Son Jesus Christ we are given spiritual, material and physical blessings.  Because of our fellowship with the God of Heaven and Earth we can call on Him and have confidence that He hears us.  He will be with us in all our trials and will supply supernatural grace to overcome all obstacles.  He gives us Wisdom through His Word.  He guides our steps through His Holy Spirit.  He protects us with angelic beings.  He gives us Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Preachers, Evangelists to warn, guide, direct, edify, build-up and if needed, rebuke, the Body of Christ on the Earth.
Yeshua to whom we owe all glory, honor and praise came to the earth
as a Servant-King.  But, He is so much more,
He is the Alpha and Omega, He is the incarnate God.
Jesus fully understands and is touched by all our emotions and infirmities.  He feels our suffering and has tender compassion for us.  He understands our trials, our persecutions, our fears and our joys.  Jesus experienced poverty, neglect, reproach, injustice, and harsh treatment.  He understands being misunderstood by those who you call friend(s).  Proverbs 17:17 tells us:  “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”  (There are many ‘fair’ weather friends, who, when the storms of life come up, will leave.  But, a true friend will continue to “love” irrespective of the circumstances and situations — that is Yeshua – our True Friend.)  Our Lord understands when you are on a mission for Him and the ‘legalistic’, religious authorities approach and ask you “On whose authority …?”
 
“He wears our nature, and we are recipients of His.  All the infinite resources of Deity are exercised on our behalf.  As He endured our poverty, so we are made partakers of His riches.  His righteousness is truly ours as He took our sins on Himself.  His reward He shares with His redeemed, so that the glory which the Father gave Him will be given to us (John 17:22).  We will participate in like privileges and honors:  He is Priest and King, and He “hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father” (Revelation 1:6).” (A. W. Pink)
Because we are in fellowship with God the Father and with His Son, we gladly endure loss for His sake, bear His reproach, and enter into His Joy as we partake in “the fellowship of His sufferings.” (Philippians 3:10)
Selah.

LESS HE WALK NAKED

LESS HE WALK NAKED
Behold, I come as a thief.  Blessed is he that watches,
and keeps his garments, less he walk naked and they see his shame.”
— Revelations 16:15–
Jesus is Coming!  He will come as a thief in the night.  In the above scripture we are told to WATCH and KEEP OUR GARMENTSless we walk naked and are ashamed.
During the time our Lord walked the earth the Second Temple was in Jerusalem.
When our Lord made the reference above in Revelations 16:15 saying “… less he walk naked.”  Those hearing this letter to the churches would have understood immediately what Jesus was talking about if they were a Hebrew.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, a strict watch was kept over the Second Temple by Temple Guards consisting of three priests and 21 Levites.  The priests guarded the sanctuary in three places and Levites in twenty-one places.
The Captain of the Mountain of the House went round to every WATCH in succession with torches flaming before him, and to every guard who did not stand forth, the Captain said, “Peace be to thee.”  If it appeared that he slept, he beat him with his staff; and he had permission to set fire to his cushion.  And then the cry came:  “What is the voice in the Court?”  “It is the voice of the Levite being beaten, and his garments burned, because he slept on his guard.”
 
If you were a guard on watch during the time of the Second Temple and you were found sleeping during your watch … your cushion (overcoat rolled up) and in some cases, your garments (what you were wearing) were burned and you would be naked.  (In extreme cases, a priest would be punished by having his shirt burned while he was still wearing it as an extreme warning to others.)
BLESSED IS HE THAT WATCHES … against sin, the lusts of the flesh, and the cares of this life, lest they bring a sleepiness upon him, and so the Day of the Lord will come upon him unaware.
AND KEEPS HIS GARMENTS … our covering (given to us by God, when we were born-again) unspotted from the world.  And whenever defiled, we wash our garments (confess our sins) and make them white again in the Blood of the Lamb.  We hold fast to the robe of Christ’s righteousness, fine linen, clean and white, which not only covers our sin (nakedness), but also our shame.
——————
We can only imagine the great shame the poor Levite priest felt when the sun arose in the morning and he had to walk naked in front of his brethren.  How much more shame will we feel if we do not repent, confessing our sins before a Holy God … so that when He appears we do not have to walk naked before Him.
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou may be rich;
and white raiment, that thou may be clothed,
and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou may see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
(Revelations 3:20-21)
Selah.

THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST
 
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ;
that every one may receive the things done in his body,
according to that he hath done, whether good or bad.”
(2 Corinthians 5:10)
Only once in my thirty-some years of salvation do I recall hearing about the Judgment Seat of Christ.  The blessed words of reward and warning came not from the mouth of a pastor, but from the mouth of a visiting evangelist.  Sadly, most pastors do not preach warnings, as an attentive parent or guardian would to a most loved child, thus some sheep will wander off, or worse, fall into gross sin.
The labor of the Lord is not burdensome and every born-again believer is called to labor for His Lord.  It is our labor for the Lord that will be examined when we stand before Christ at the Judgment Seat.  “For we must all appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.” (1st Corinthians 5:10)  Sins will not be judged but rather our motivation and faithfulness.  Did we live our lives for the Lord?  Rewards will be given or lost depending on how one has used his or her life for the Lord.
And behold, I come quickly and My reward is with Me to give to every man as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:12)
The parable of the talents is something all of us should read and heed.  The Lord did not save us to have us sit up in the church grandstands waving our Christian flags and cheering as only a few of our fellow soldiers-for-Christ labor in the harvest fields winning souls all the while dodging the darts of the enemy.
Matthew 25:14 – 30.  In this parable everyone was given talents and expected to use them.  The believers who did well pleased the Lord; but those who buried their talents were admonished and cast into the outer darkness.
When you were born-again the Lord through the witness of His Holy Spirit gave you a ministry.  You may not remember what it was because you have been about your own business, instead of the Father’s, but you received one.  This is verse 14 and 15:  who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods … to every man according to his ability.   Talents were given based on not only our faithfulness but on God’s foreknowledge.  Some of us received more — some less.  It doesn’t matter what we received (more or less) but what we do with the talents we are given.  Remember, service for the Lord will end with our death.
When the Lord returned He called His servants asking what had been done with the talents they were given.  In each case where there was some increase the Lord exclaimed, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of your Lord.”   Faithfulness is rewarded.
Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”  (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Selah.