Friday, May 25, 2012

Tabernacle of God

The Tabernacle of God—the Tent, the Meeting Place—is our precious Lord Jesus Christ!  The disciple, John, told us in his gospel (verse 14) that God pitched His Tent—Jesus—with us.  In the Revelation given to John, he shared the vision of the Tabernacle descending permanently as mankind’s dwelling.  The richness of considering Christ as the Tabernacle is more than we can grasp—but let’s look to our fullest!

The ’tent’ picture first appeared when the delivered nation of Israel chose to worship the work of their hands:  the calf idol formed from golden treasures.  Moses, after giving God’s rebuke, pitched the ‘Tent of Meeting’ outside the camp.  Moses sought the Lord inside that Tent; those who chose to seek God’s direction went to the Tent.  Indeed, the picture still speaks truth:  we must go beyond our earthly securities and beyond our chosen idols to meet with God!

After the Tent of Meeting, God gave Moses instructions for the Tabernacle that would become the center of Israel’s lives.  Every aspect of the Tabernacle pattern speaks of Christ.  From the outer boundary to the Holy of Holies, pictures of Christ emanate from the Tabernacle design.  Separation, cleansing, sacrifice, worship, holiness—Jesus Christ is all and in all!  Just as the Tabernacle was at the center of the nation of Israel’s life, Christ is to be at the center of our life.  He is to be our all and in all—and, believe it or not, that means more than just being the center of our life!

God has even greater plans and purposes for the Tabernacle than it being the center of life!  The birth of Christ—the incarnation—gives even more breath-taking revelations of Tabernacle truths.  Christ as the Center of our lives is a beginning, not an end!  All the fullness of God came to dwell in a human tent at the birth of Jesus.  As the Tabernacle, Jesus is the very life of God.  Our Creator not only wants us to place Him at the center of our lives—He wants to be our Life as well.  Indeed, without Him there is no life!

From the Tent of Meeting to the Tabernacle of Christ, we see the glorious realities of Godly love, righteousness and justice poured upon the earth.  Sin separated us in the Garden of Eden from His glory—from Life itself.  The sinless love of God fuels His Righteousness and Justice to accomplish the redemption of fallen man.  The cost of redeeming us took all the power and glory of God dwelling in a human Tabernacle:  Jesus Christ.  That precious Tabernacle took upon Himself the combined pain and suffering of sin to conquer death.   The resurrection and ascension of the Tabernacle is the Hope every human heart needs.  Jesus is the Tabernacle, which descends in Revelation!  Jesus is the Tabernacle, which we are to live in today.  As Paul said, ‘in Him we live and breathe and have our being…’  Rejoice in the Tabernacle today and invite others in!  

Friday, May 18, 2012


Our look at the Lord today focuses our eyes on a vital role of Christ—a role that we are to imitate--Servant of the Lord.  Imagine!  The Creator, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, accepted the role of Servant that He might redeem us from the cruel master we rebelliously chose over Him!  Without the willing Servant, all humanity would remain eternally separated from the glorious goodness of God.  With the Servant, all things become possible--for the glorious goodness of God becomes our inheritance!

The life of Christ radiates the beauty of His servanthood.  Centuries before Christ lived, God allowed the prophet Isaiah to glimpse that beauty and record it for us.  In chapters 40-55, Isaiah expounds on God’s chosen servant, Israel—and the righteous Servant to come:  Christ.  Like Israel, we are useless servants—blind and deaf—without the chosen Servant.  We choose idols of earthly things; we choose death over life; we choose self over the Sovereign Lord.  Yet the Servant came to bring us back to the good purposes of God.

Submitted to the will of the Father, the Servant came to this fallen world with gentle power.  Quietly, confidently, and with great compassion, the Servant fulfilled the purposes of God and brought humanity out of the captivity of sin and death.  The victories of the Servant, though, came through great suffering.  The incongruity of King and Servant—Victor and Sufferer—has concealed the righteous servant from the chosen servant, Israel for a time.  In the fullness of God’s perfect timing, He will one day reveal the Servant’s victory in its complete glory to all.  For believers today, gazing upon the Servant prepares us for the life of service He calls us to live.

The Servant of the Lord demonstrated service to mankind but He does not serve man.  Heeding that distinction in our servanthood is vital.  The Greek word most often used for servant in the New Testament focuses on the relationship of one to the Master; it reflects submission to the will of the Master. Servants of the Lord value the relationship with the Master above all else.  Eternally valuable service flows only from a heart devoted to the Master.  Serving the needs of man derails many from living as servants of the King.

As Servant of the Lord, Christ never served ‘self.’  He served the will of the Father—choosing God’s will above His own even to the point of death.  We are to serve in the same way preferring the will of God above our self-will and self-interest.  Sincere servants never seek their own glory or even their own spiritual growth.  The passion of the servant is the will of the Father. 

With such a passionate preference for the Lord, servants become friends of God understanding His purposes.  Christ, the Servant of the Lord, learned obedience through suffering.  He came to deliver us not as a King but as a Servant enduring unbelievable hardship to fulfill the will of the Father.  He calls us to the same kind of servanthood that He might elevate us to friends of the Father!  May our focus on Christ as Servant inspire us to live as servant-friends!

Friday, May 11, 2012


But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.   Hebrews 11:6

Our journey through the alphabet of names for God brings us to an awesome truth with “R.”  God is a Rewarder of those who seek Him—and even better—HE is the Reward!  Perhaps best of all, the Reward of God Himself is a gift of His grace.  No human endeavor can entitle us to earn such a great reward.  We cannot work hard enough or be good enough to deserve such a treasure as the Lord Himself.  This is a Reward of such magnificent proportions we actually never possess it; the Reward encompasses us and becomes our life. 

Like Abraham, we enter into its riches through faith in the goodness of God.  In the Reward, the Giver of Life--the Creator of all--enters our days bringing vast unearthly treasures.  God, who spoke the universe into being, infuses our personal reality and speaks life into everything we encounter.  When God first said, “I am thy exceeding great Reward,” He was revealing Himself in a new way in response to an act of faith on Abraham’s part.  Abraham, having just refused an earned reward from a battle, receives the ultimate Reward of God Himself.  Abraham demonstrated his confidence in the goodness of God by refusing earthly reward.  Such a heart attitude is necessary for receiving God as our Reward.   We must remain confident of God’s existence and God’s goodness!  Life has a way of casting doubt on the goodness of God.  Tragedies and struggles cloud our eyes to the good plans of God.  Yet clouds are the cloaks with which God disguises Himself.  When we insist on stubborn confidence in God’s goodness, we receive Him—life itself—and our darkness becomes a place for His glory to shine.

Receiving the Reward has a danger we must avoid.  Our worship must never be for the benefits of the reward.  Our eyes tend to focus on the earthly results of allowing God to flow through us.  We begin to mistake the Reward for ourselves.  We fail to remember we simply are recipients of the Rewarder—privileged to reflect Him.  Our ‘goodness’ becomes our treasure, and we relish the praise of men.  We misuse the Spirit in our own pursuit of wealth or honor.  We find greater pleasure in our service to God than in His great goodness.  His rewards are not what we are to revere…we are to remember He is the Reward. God’s great desire woven throughout scripture is that we will know Him…and when we know Him purely; His greatness becomes our sole focus.

He is the treasure we are to seek for He is Worthy!  Seek Him today…enter into thy exceeding great Reward.  .

Friday, May 4, 2012

Our God is QUICK

We have an interesting aspect of the Lord to consider today:  He is Quick!  It is not the quick we think of—hurry, hurry, hurry.  The rushing quickness of modern life brings death, but the Quickness of Christ is life giving.  As the Messiah, He has quick understanding of reverence for the LORD.  That quickness allows Him to be joy-filled, wise and just.  As the Last Adam, He is a quickening spirit—the One who gives life.  Without His Quick-ness, we have earthly life, which gives us a grand illusion of fullness.  However, it is only when we receive the Quickening Spirit that we actually have abundant, lasting life.  As the Word, He is quick, powerful and sharp—dividing our soul and spirit perfectly.  The Quick Word gives us the understanding to discern between God-life and man-made life.  We need to have the Quick-ness of Christ to live well.

Isaiah prophesied of the coming Savior that He would be of Quick Understanding (Isaiah 11:3); the essence of this Quickness is reverence of God.  The Messiah’s Quickness of Understanding is the source of His wise judgment…and salvation does not come without judgment.  At the time of Christ’s coming, the nation of Israel was feeling the pain of judgment.  They had gone their own way and landed in subjection to Rome…captives to cruel rulers because they refused reverence for Jehovah.  The Spirit of Christ brings the character of God to life; His Quick Understanding gives vitality and freedom to God’s children.

The Spirit that ‘quickened’ Jesus in the resurrection is the Spirit dwelling in every believer.  Because the Spirit quickened Christ, He lives.  That resurrection life is available to us.  His life gives us the potential for life.  That Jesus is quickened—and willing to quicken all who will trust in Him—is the hope we all need.  The Quickening Spirit is the key not only to living; it is the key to living in a way that brings life to others.  Man-made life offers temporary pleasures and blessings; God-made lives bring hope to a world under judgment and captivity.

Finally, the Quick-ness of the Word allows us to understand the difference between delusion and truth.  The human soul finds great delights in physical life; the Spirit, though, longs for eternal meaning.  The Word dissects our lusts and our longings so that we can choose life.  Just as Joshua offered the people of Israel a choice:  blessing or cursing, life or death, God offers us a choice:  live for ourselves or live for Him.  Christ, the Quick, gives us the understanding, the freedom and the discernment to choose wisely—to choose Him!