Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Missionary Quotations: CT Studd

CT Studd gave up professional cricket to become a missionary to China, Africa and India.  In a letter home, upon the approach of his soon death, C.T. Studd wrote of the outstanding events of his life:ctstudd

“As I believe I am now nearing my departure from this world, I have but a few things to rejoice in; they are these:

1. That God called me to China and I went in spite of utmost opposition from all my loved ones.

2. That I joyfully acted as Christ told that rich young man to act.

3. That I deliberately at the call of God, when alone on the Bibby liner in 1910, gave up my life for this work, which was to be henceforth not for the Sudan only, but for the whole unevangelized World.

My only joys therefore are that when God has given me a work to do, I have not refused it.”

Going to be with His Lord in 1931, C.T. Studd’s last word he spoke was “Hallelujah”!

Praise the Lord

 


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Jesus and Incense

In Jesus and the Altar of Incense we saw that the Altar itself is a type of Christ, pointing the way to Him.

censerAs the Altar of Incense fore-shadowed Christ, so too the incense offered on the Altar also fore-shadows Him.  This is how:

The Incense

Old Testament Shadow New Testament Reality in Jesus The Church’s Application
It was made of a delicate blend of four different spices. Each spice had to be of equal quantity, exactly balanced. Jesus Christ is the One in whom is perfectly balanced grace and truth, holiness and love, righteousness and mercy. Christ lives His holy life through the Church, as His Body. “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”
Each spice had to be crushed to a fine powder before it was added to the incense. Christ was “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities”. He was smitten, stricken, crushed. His perfect, sinless life poured out. This points to “death to self”, the humbling of the believer.
Salt was added to the incense – salt is a seasoning and a preserver Salt points to the holiness of Christ and the flavor of His life. The Church is the salt of the earth –a preserving agent.
The incense was burned on the altar in front of the Ark of the Testimony. Christ went through the fire of affliction in His sufferings and ultimately His death on the cross. Our faith is tried by the fire of affliction and suffering.
The incense sent up a sweet perfume which entered the veil into the Holy of Holies, surrounding the Ark of the Testimony. Christ’s sinless life of obedience was as a sweet perfume unto God. Christ has entered the veil  and has made the way open for us too through His shed blood. We are now able to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”
Aaron was to burn the incense in the morning and the evening when he also attended the lamps. “As Christ ministers to the Church interceding for His own, He trims the wicks of the lamps and supplies the oil of the Spirit.”(1) We are to pray in the Holy Spirit. “Prayer is the key for the day, the lock for the night” Corrie Ten Boom
No strange incense was to be offered on the altar, nor was anyone to make for themselves the incense. It was to be holy to God. Points to Jesus being the only Way to the Father, there is no other Name under heaven whereby man can be saved. It’s only through faith in Christ that we are saved. We are to have no other gods before Him. We are to pray in Jesus’ Name.
The incense was to be “perpetual…before the Lord”. Points to Jesus as our High-Priest “who ever lives to make intercession for us.” We are commanded to “pray without ceasing”. Our life is to be a perpetual prayer unto the Lord.

 

The Golden Censer

Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die” Leviticus 16:12-13

Old Testament Shadow New Testament Reality in Jesus and the Church
On the Day of Atonement the High Priest brought a golden censer full of fire and a handful of incense into the Most Holy Place. He put the incense on the fire in front of the Ark so that the cloud of incense covered the mercy seat. He then sprinkled the blood of the sin offering upon the mercy seat. The mercy seat is a picture of Christ Himself. The sprinkled blood points to Christ’s shed blood. The censer of incense is significant of Christ taking the prayers of His people within the veil to God’s presence, on the basis of His shed blood. Read also Revelation 8:1-5

Incense is simply an Old Testament shadow or type of prayer and intercession.  God is no longer interested in the shadows or types, but rather in the eternal realities to which these shadows point.

He is extremely interested in the prayer and intercession of His Church. For the life of a believer to be truly saturated in prayer is well-pleasing to God.

Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:18

 

God bless!

  1. Page 49, The Tabernacle of Moses, Kevin J Conner

 

 


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Jesus and the Altar of Incense

“The New is in the Old concealed, the OId is in the New revealed.”

The Tabernacle of Moses was built as an earthly copy of the true, heavenly Tabernacle. As the earthly, temporal priests ministered at the earthly Golden Altar, (or the Altar of Incense),on behalf of the Israelites, so too our eternal Great High Priest ministers at the true Golden Altar in Heaven, on our behalf.

In New Covenant Hope:Jesus Our Priest we saw that Jesus was made Priest by an oath:

God has sworn and will not relent: You are a priest forever, according to the Order of Melchizedek” Psalm 110:410-1_altar-of-incense

The ministry of the priesthood in the Tabernacle of Moses points to Jesus Christ’s ministry now as our Great High Priest. Understanding the principles concealed in the Tabernacle of Moses unlocks so many wonderful eternal treasures about the One we love, Jesus Christ. It also relates to us as believers in our ministry of prayer and intercession.

 

The Altar of Incense  itself is a type of Christ:

Old Testament Shadow New Testament Reality in Jesus The Church’s Application
It was made of acacia (or shittim) wood. Acacia wood was a very durable, non-decaying wood. Wood points to Christ’s human nature.Non-decaying wood points to His incorruptible, sinless humanity.
 It was overlaid with gold Points to Christ’s Divinity/Godhood
It had four horns on each corner of the altar. Horns are the strength and power of an animal. Points to all power given to Christ in heaven and earth. Points to the gospel of Christ going to the 4 corners of the earth under the authority of Christ’s Church
On the Day of Atonement blood from the Sin Offering was applied to the horns of the altar and sprinkled seven times. It is Christ’s blood that was shed on Calvary (or the Brazen altar) which forms the foundation of His ministry of Intercession. The blood of Jesus allows us to stand before a Holy God and gives power to the incense of prayer.
It had a crown (or moulding) of gold around it. Points to Christ being the King-Priest The Church joins Christ in His King-Priestly ministry as a kingdom of priests.
It was 2 cubits high, making it the tallest piece of furniture within the actual Tabernacle Points to the highest ministry of Christ now on behalf of the Church – prayer and intercession The highest ministry of the Church is also intercessory prayer
It was in the Holy Place, in front of the veil, before the Ark of the Testimony. It was the nearest piece of furniture to the Shekinah Glory of God. Points to Christ’s earthly life of prayer and His ascension to the presence of God in His High-Priestly ministry. Points to the place of prayer being the closest place to the presence of God.

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2

Next post….Jesus and Incense

 

 


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Missionary Quotations: Jackie Pullinger1

“Now and again, people would say (concerning her ministry in Hong Kong), “Isn’t it WONDERFUL that God wouldjackie pullinger choose a woman to go? I would say, “No, it’s not wonderful.  Excuse me for being rude about God, but He can pick who He likes.” I mean, it’s no more wonderful for Him to send a woman than a man, or an old man or young woman.  He picks who He wants.  That’s His business.  It was God’s wisdom that sent me.  I was just doing what He made me for.  That’s no credit to me; it’s all credit to Him.  If He’s made you for something, you just do it.”

Spoken by Jackie Pullinger


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Of Labyrinths and Christianity

In response to some comments and questions I have received on my previous post Labyrinths of Emerging Paganism I have decided that the best way to address these is through another post, and so, here it is.

The Lord has placed a burden on my heart for His Church and that’s the main reason why He had me to start this blog. It is not my intention that I offend anyone, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ, yet if I do so in the process of trying to speak the truth, then I am sorry, but it can’t be helped.

It is my strong belief that a Christian should have no association at all with labyrinths. I will tell you why I believe this to be so:

 

1. Labyrinths Are Paganlab

A Labyrinth is a pagan tool which was adopted into the Catholic church around medieval times (see : http://luc.edu/medieval/labyrinths/labyrinths_evolution.shtml) and is now experiencing a re-surgence in popularity due in large part to Dr Lauren Artress of Veriditas (http://www.veriditas.org/).

The first known labyrinth was found in Egypt 4000-5000 years ago. They have been discovered across Asia, the Americas and Southern Africa in different forms. Some turf labyrinths still exist in England, Germany and Scandinavia and these are considered to be associated with feminine deities and fertility rituals.

“The troja labyrinth and roma labyrinth have in the historic form a monster, a minotauros, inside, in the centre, a monster you fear to approach, a monster you need to overcome and defeat. With the building of the labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France 1000 years later this seems to eventually change so that this labyrinth has a solemnity in the centre that you want to reach. According to historic traditions the Chartres Labyrinth was probably placed there by its master builder to protect the church from evil entering the church, because evil cannot pass the winding lanes of a labyrinth. This is in the same way as the Romans placed a protecting labyrinth inside their front door.” (http://www.lavigne.dk/labyrinth/e1intro.htm)

Dr Artress brought the labyrinth to Grace Cathedral (San Francisco, USA) in 1994, after having met and being heavily influenced by Dr Jean Houston, one of the main promoters of the New Age in North America (http://www.jeanhouston.com/blog/?p=170).

Dr Artress founded Veriditas in order to “facilitate the transformation of the human spirit through offering the Labyrinth Experience”.  Contrast this jesus passoverwith the Biblical belief that the human spirit is rather raised from death to life by the Holy Spirit through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ at the cross.

“Over one million people have walked this labyrinth to date. People from all different backgrounds and religions are using it. Jews, Buddhists and even Christians use the institute’s labyrinth. If one visists Grace Cathedrals web site you find it being inclusive, they offer every conceivable item, from New Age holistic to interfaith to the Koran. They are church that is not holding the Christian distinctive at all.” (source: http://www.letusreason.org/Nam30.htm)

“You walk to the center of the labyrinth and there at the center, you meet the Divine. The labyrinth is a large, complex spiral circle which is an ancient symbol for the Divine Mother, the God within, the Goddess, the Holy in all of creation. For many of us the feminine aspect of the Divine has been painfully absent from our lives, our spirituality, and our Western culture.” Dr Artress

 

2. Labyrinths Facilitate Geomancyprayer lab

A labyrinth is designed to be geometrically perfect in order to facilitate “geomancy”.

“An important fact to know is that geomancy and other occult arts are often incorporated in the building of labyrinths. Charles Gilchrist a labyrinth promoter states it has a direct connection to “Sacred Geometry,” a powerful potential as an oracle. And there are other “oracle systems” that are related to Sacred Geometry, Astrology, Numerology, I Ching, Rune Stones, and the Tarot….”

Through geomancy, labyrinths are designed to bring the walker into an altered state of consciousness, through meditating on physical movement. As Dr Artress states: “A labyrinth is a walking meditation…” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9rt39ieP5E)

“A labyrinth is unicursal – this means there is one open, unobstructed path the walker follows into the center and back out again. A labyrinth has only one path leading to the center and back out again with no dead-ends.There are three basic designs being used–the seven circuit, eleven circuit, and twelve circuit; the seven circuit is the most common design found today. It is described as you roam back and forth, turning 180 degrees each time you enter a different circuit. As you change your direction your awareness changes from right brain to left brain. They are right brain activity enhancers. So the claim is that the labyrinth can induce different states of consciousness. Others say It also helps balance the charkas, spiritual energy centers described in Hinduism.” http://www.letusreason.org/Nam30.htm

See also : http://www.geomancy.com.au/

Once an individual is brought to an altered state of consciousness he/she is open to the deceptions of Satan.

I think it is important to note that no believer, no matter how mature or spiritual, is beyond being deceived. Satan is subtle, clever and the father of lies. We are no match for him. However if we sincerely love the truth, seeking after God wholeheartedly, He will deliver us from deception. On the other hand God does give people over to delusion if they refuse to love the truth:

angle of light“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

 

3. God Forbids Using Pagan Practices to Worship Him 

There seems to be an increasingly common misconception amongst Christians that something that is utterly ungodly and unholy can be “redeemed” if it is “Christianized”. This line of reasoning takes something secular or even pagan and tries to change it into something godly by using Christianized language. This reasoning has no basis in scripture. Redemption is the work of God, and Him only, through His Son Jesus Christ. We cannot change something that is detestable to God into something acceptable to Him, despite our sincerity. In fact it’s the very opposite.  Rather than take on the pagan practices and beliefs of the world around us God commands us to :

Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”2 Corinthians 6:17cropped-joyful.jpg

For, as 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15 says:

“…. what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.”

Just as God commanded the children of Israel to have nothing to do with the pagan practices of Canaan, but rather to destroy them, so we too are commanded to worship Him as He has proscribed. This is not a grey area – pagan practices are outright forbidden to God’s children.

When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,  or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.  You shall be blameless before the Lord your God.  For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.” Deuteronomy 18:9-14

Ezekiel 8 describes the abominations the Israelites had incorporated into their worship of God in the Temple.

The syncretistic absorbing of paganism into their worship of Yahweh rendered Israel “Ichabod” and brought the judgment of God upon them, just as the Canaanites had been judged for their pagan practices earlier.

The syncretistic blending of paganism into the Church will also bring judgment upon the Church.

As godly king Josiah “took away all the shrines of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger…” (2 Kings 23:19) so we too, as the Church of Jesus Christ need to be ruthless in our removal of pagan and occult practices from our own lives.  As God called the Israelites to be a light shining in the midst of pagan idolatry, so too are we called to be the light of Christ shining in a dark world.  This can only happen as we are wholly consecrated to God, separated unto Him.

It is my whole-hearted belief that any Christian involvement with labyrinths, (as with any other occult practice) needs to be repented of and renounced.

God bless