Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Suffering: According to the Pattern

th2VB52JDDI have asked God about suffering, especially lately. I have read and studied the Word. I certainly do not know the answer to it all, not even close. But one thing I have noticed is that the Church, in general, seems to no longer teach on suffering nor sanctification.

Why?

In this generation there is so much suffering, look at the situation in Nepal for example.  There are so many trials, battles and griefs that one would logically assume that the Church would be teaching volumes on this subject in order to bring hope, comfort and direction. However the opposite seems to be true. Instead of solid teaching in this area there seems to be a proliferation of the Health, Wealth and Prosperity false gospel.

So I have felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to do a little series on suffering and sanctification. I would like to share with you some of what I have learned through my own hard experiences in order to “strengthen the souls of the disciples, (and) exhort (you) to continue in the faith…” Acts 14:22

According to the Pattern

“That is the strange lesson we all have to learn, and Calvary is the pattern of it from beginning to end. God’s victories look like defeats. It is victory in the unseen realm while one is apparently, absolutely down and out in the visible.” Prayer and Evangelism, Jessie Penn-Lewis (emphasis mine).

The pattern is suffering. And if we are God’s child He will deal with us according to the pattern.

When Christ died on the cross it seemed that evil had triumphed. Isaiah 53:3,4 says:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces

source: mudpreacher.org

source: mudpreacher.org

from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:

yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

Through His great suffering and death it seemed that all hope was lost and that Satan had triumphed. But this was only how it seemed in the natural realm. This is how it looked to human eyes. In reality, the cross was the place of Christ’s ultimate triumph over death, hell, sin and the devil. Sinners are delivered from sin, Satan must relinquish a captive, death is overcome and hell loses one more inhabitant – because of the cross.

What seemed so despicable, so contemptible, so utterly humiliating was the place of total and complete victory. As believers our eyes have been opened to the victory of Christ’s death and of course His subsequent resurrection. But to unbelievers the preaching of the cross is still regarded as meaningless foolishness.

Definition of

Definition of “Pattern”: a regular and intelligible form or sequence discernible in the way in which something happens or is done

And so is suffering. To the world suffering is meaningless, utterly contemptuous and something to be avoided at any cost. But as Christians, once again, our eyes are opened.  Just as we see Christ’s sufferings were for an eternal purpose, so we need to see that once we are God’s child, so too are our sufferings. We don’t need to suffer for our own sins, Christ has done that once for all, but there is always a purpose to the suffering of a child of God. It is easy just to see the immediate circumstances before us, but God is interested in eternal values.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

And because of the cross, there is always a victory.

Next post…. God’s Victories Look Like Defeats

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Where Have all the Warriors Gone?

source: hdw.eweb4.com

source: hdw.eweb4.com

The battle field is empty
The soldiers all gone
Weapons discarded
Unused, forgotten, alone

A tired old banner hangs,
sad and forlorn
And I stand and look and wonder:
Where have all the warriors gone?

The belt of truth, I see
It lays forgotten in the field
Look, at those brave soldiers’ boots
That used to tread out
The gospel of peace

What to make of this?
What on earth has happened?
I look beyond the hill
And I see the enemy-
He still advances

His banners read “Peace
We want no war with you”
Another:
“Go home,
put your feet up
And we will leave you alone”

Alas I now can see it:
The warriors – why they’ve gone,
They’ve believed the propaganda
And they’ve all headed home

Comfort, convenience,
Relevance, Reputation.
These are the only things
For which the “church” will fight
In this last generation.

The sword is at my feet….
Dare I….?
What can one person do?
And (the big one):
What WILL they think?
in my mind, these make a to-do

I don’t care anymore
I’ll do it!
I lift up the sword!
In my hands it is powerful, alive
The eternal Word of God

As I lift it up
Those ancient words
In my heart revive
“for to whomsoever i shall send thee
Thou shalt go
And whatsoever i command thee
Thou shalt speak”

I stand

My son's work, 7yo

My son’s work, 7yo

The fear of man all gone
In its place – the fear of God
It surrounds me
And propels me forward
Where those before me trod.

My daughter's work, 10yo

My daughter’s work, 10yo

Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.” John Wesley


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Bible Prophecy: Significant and Dangerous Times for Israel

bloodmooninjerusalem

source: pray4zion

Blood Moons, Passover & Nisan

When God prepared to take the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, He decreed that the first Passover would take place on the eve of the 14th day of the first month of the Jewish religious calendar. Subsequently that first month was called Nisan. He further decreed that each year on the eve of 14th Nisan through to the eve of Nisan 15th, Passover would be celebrated as a festival to the Lord. The full story is found in Exodus chapter 12.

This year, 2015, Passover was celebrated beginning on the eve April 3rd through to the eve of April 4th.

We believe it is also important to point out that this year two blood red moons, total lunar eclipses, occur/ed. The first has already occurred on April 4th, Passover, and the other will occur on the 28th September, Feast of Tabernacles.  In Genesis chapter 1 we read that they, the two lights in the sky, serve as lights and also signs, but in Joel chapter 2 we read that the sun will turn dark and the moon to blood before the coming of the Day of the Lord. In Matthew 24 Jesus also refers to the moon failing to give its light at a time when the Son of Man appears again.

While we do not wish to place undue emphasis on the appearance of blood red moons over Israel, we would like to point out that when they have occurred in the past, significant events have occurred which had a great impact on Israel and the Jews.  According to ancient Jewish tradition, a lunar eclipse is a harbinger of bad things for Israel.  If that eclipse is blood red, tradition regards it as a sign that war is coming.  And blood red moons that happen during Biblical festivals seem to be particularly significant.

Another  date  of  significance  occurred  this  year.  That date  being  13th Nisan,  or  in  the Gregorian calendar, April 2nd 2015, the day before the eve of Passover commenced.

Nisan 13th, 474 B.C.

King Xerxes (One night with the King)

King Xerxes (One night with the King)

But first, before we look at the importance of this date as it relates to 2015, let us go back nearly 2500 years to Nisan 13th, 474 B.C. The book of Esther chapter 3 records that on that date King Xerxes of Persia, modern day Iran, issued orders, sealed personally by him, for all the Jews to be killed and annihilated on the 13th day of the last month of the year, called Adar; that was to be eleven months after the signing of the initial decree.

These orders had been engineered by Haman, one of the king’s nobles, who held a grudge against the Jew Mordecai  and his people.  Later we read that  through the intervention of Queen Esther, the

Haman (One Night with the King

Haman (One Night with the King

tables were turned on Haman and all those who planned to kill the Jews.  Not only was Haman hanged but the king issued a decree enabling the Jews to arm and defend themselves on the very day that the Jews were themselves to have been annihilated on Adar 13.

Nisan 13th, 2015 (2nd April, 2015)

Fast forward now from 13th Nisan 474 B.C. to the 13th Nisan, 2015 – or 2nd April, 2015, the day before Passover Eve.

What happened of significance on this day this year that is of concern for Israel?

source: news.com.au

source: news.com.au

On that day the P5+1, US, UK Russia, France China plus Germany, announced that a framework deal had been agreed upon between themselves and Iran (Persia) to enable Iran to continue with elements of its nuclear programme. Once the final agreement is signed, set for a future date, sanctions will be lifted. Of course Iranians were Jubilant, but many called for the destruction of Israel and Jews.

We know full well that Israeli leaders are very concerned about the negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran and that the agreement so far does not appear to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in the near future; something being played down, especially by president Obama. Furthermore president Obama has also played down the need for the agreement torouhani include a clause recognising Israel, as he seemed concerned that it would jeopardise any agreement. Surely that alone speaks volumes about Iran’s trustworthiness!

So in modern times, as in the times of Esther, there are those who are actively seeking to wipe Israel off the map even to the timing of such events lining up with the biblical past; Iran being in the forefront of that movement.

Conclusion

Can we draw any conclusion from these events?  Yes we believe we can.

Within the next few months Israel can expect to have to face some very difficult times, even a threat to her very

source: thomfiles.wordpress.com

source: thomfiles.wordpress.com

existence but in the near future can also expect an “Esther” to arise and turn the tables on those plotting to destroy her, even to retribution against them – the end date, as it was in 474/5 B.C. was 13 Adar, sometime in March 2016.

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in our series “Bible Prophecy”.


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Jesus Christ and the Brazen Altar

The significance of the Brazen (or Bronze) Altar is huge.  This post will be followed up by two

source: blingcheese.com

source: blingcheese.com

more on the Brazen Altar, in order to attempt to cover as much as possible its incredible importance and typology.

Firstly the word “altar” means “slaughter place”, “high” or “lifted up”.

The Materials and Measurements of the Altar

In Exodus 27:1-8 God tells Moses how to make the altar:

“You shall make an altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide—the altar shall be square—and its height shall be three cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it. And you shall overlay it with bronze. Also you shall make its pans to receive its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its forks and its firepans; you shall make all its utensils of bronze. You shall make a grate for it, a network of bronze; and on the network you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners. You shall put it under the rim of the altar beneath, that the network may be midway up the altar. And you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. The poles shall be put in the rings, and the poles shall be on the two sides of the altar to bear it. You shall make it hollow with boards; as it was shown you on the mountain, so shall they make it.”

(The material used in both the Brazen altar and the Brazen laver was either brass or bronze, but more likely bronze because it was discovered much earlier than brass.  Bronze and brass are a very similar metal, both made from copper.  Bronze is made from a mixture of copper and tin and is a hard, non-corrosive metal.)

In Jesus and the Tabernacle Materials we looked at the materials used in the construction of the Tabernacle.  We saw that each material was deliberate and represented something important.

Looking at the Bronze Altar, we see it was made from acacia wood overlaid with bronze:

  • Bronze/Brass :             Representing Judgment against sin
  • Acacia wood  :             Representing the incorruptible humanity of Christ

 

God gave Moses the exact measurements for everything in the tabernacle.  Nothing was left to chance or Moses’ own decision.  God specified that the Altar was to be 5×5 cubits wide and long.  It was to be 3 cubits high.  It had 4 horns, one on each corner.

5   is the number of grace, the number of atonement

3 is the number of the Godhead (ie, the trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit).

4  is the number of earth (the 4 seasons, the 4 winds, the 4 corners of the earth) and the creation

Summary:  It is clear that from the materials used in the Altar and its measurements we can see that the Altar represents:

  • God’s judgment against sin
  • Sacrificial atonement
  • Christ’s incorruptible human nature
  • Grace
  • Atonement
  • The Godhead/trinity
  • The whole earth

As noted earlier the word “altar” means “slaughter place”, “high” or “lifted up”.

Jesus Himself said :

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up…” John 3:14

And “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die” John 12:32, 33

When Jesus was crucified He was the offering for sin upon God’s appointed altar – He was lifted up from the earth upon the cross.

The next post will cover:

  • The significance of blood
  • The offerings of the Brazen altar