Meditation on the Various Articles of the Tabernacle Helps Us See Jesus

 

Long ago, in Old Testament times, people attempted to commune with God in various ways, even by offering up animal sacrifices.  That system proved to be quite insufficient.  For it never did take away sins (Heb. 10:4).  Though it was insufficient, it did, however, and it does now, speak of Christ.

The tabernacle. Every detail of the tabernacle, with all its parts and in all the furniture, reminds us of who He is and what He did for us.  It also speaks to us of His living temple, the church—the habitation of God.

The tabernacle shows to us, as it did to them, a “new and living way” by which to commune with God.  It is the way of the living Christ, “which He consecrated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Heb. 10:20).

Furthermore, the tabernacle gives us a pattern (as a map) of how we are to commune with God.  It is a copy from heaven, or from God’s own mind, of the way we are to commune with Him—of how we are to draw nearer and nearer to His presence in prayer (Heb. 9:24).

Let me suggest that, as you pray, close your eyes and prayerfully walk through the tabernacle in your mind, meditating on each article of furniture.  The objective of course would be that you would obtain a greater confidence toward God, as you see who Jesus Christ is, what He has done for you, and who you are in Him.

As an aid to your journey I offer the following meditations.  Let me lead you now (with the Holy Spirit as our guide) as we take a mental prayer journey through the tabernacle.

 The gate.  We begin our journey at the gate of the outer court.  The gate speaks of Christ.  As we see in John’s gospel, He is the door (Jn. 10:9); He is the only way to God (Jn. 14:6), and the only way by which we can approach Him.

The brazen altar.  As the sinner came through the gate with his animal he would see a large brass (or copper) altar, 7 ½ feet square and 4 ½ feet high.  Upon this altar the priest would place the animal to be sacrificed. The animal pointed to Christ, the Lamb of God.

As we look back to that altar in prayer, we see Christ on the cross, upon which He gave His life for us. “He bore our sins in His own body…that we, having died to sins might live for righteous- ness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).

Jim Downing has suggested that “[Just] as the priest in the Old Testament placed the communicant’s sacrifice on the brazen altar, [we should] mentally present [to God] Jesus Christ as our sacrifice and offering, which has opened the way for us to come into God’s presence.”9

The laver.  After the priest offered the sacrifice, he came next to the brazen laver, filled with water.  There he washed his hands and feet from the defilement of the sacrifice.  This washing by the priest was, in Talbot’s words, “prophetic of Christ cleansing his believer-priests before they may minister for Him or have fellowship with Him.”10

The laver then represents for us Christ our Cleanser, and it reminds us that if we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).  It also reminds us that we need to be reading and meditating on the Word every day.  For every word of God is true (Jn. 17:17), and when we meditate on it, it will help to cleanse our mind of impure thoughts.

With these things in mind, we bow our head in humble confession of sins—with a resolve to meditate more regularly on the scriptures, realizing that all the words of the Bible are the very words of God to us.

 

9 Jim Downing, Meditation, The Bible Tells You How (Colorado Springs, Colorado: NAVPRESS, 1976), p. 62.

10 Louis T. Talbot, Christ in the Tabernacle  (Chicago: Moody Press, 1978), p. 230.

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How Meditation on the Word Helps Us Approach the Throne of God with Confidence

 

In this post we will first discuss prayer as approaching the throne with confidence, and how mediation aids us in that process.  Next, just briefly, we will talk about Jesus as our High Priest and how He gives us confidence in prayer.

 

Meditation Helps Us Approach The Throne of God with Confidence

 

First of all, we need to understand this aspect of prayer—that prayer is an approach to the throne. And it is that, simply because that is the nature of prayer.  According to Spurgeon, “True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God.  It is not the utterance of words, it is not alone the feeling of desires, but it is the advance of the desires to God, the spiritual approach of our nature toward the Lord our God.”5

Secondly, we could say that prayer is approaching the throne because that is where Christ is, “sitting at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).  Therefore, we ought to set our mind in prayer on things above where Christ is (Col. 3:2).

But there is a third reason why prayer is an approach to the throne.  It is because He desires that we take an active role in “throne life.”  As Duewel describes, “In the same way that you are to count yourself ‘dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 6:11), you are to count yourself now enthroned with Christ, your reigning Lord…You are to reign by your prayer just as Jesus reigned by prayer.”6  Thus, says Duewel, “The whole foundation of prevailing prayer is that God has given you constant, instant access to His throne…”7

As we approach the throne we may come with boldness, yet we must come with reverence—with boldness because He has died for us and made propitiation for us, with reverence because He is God.  As Spurgeon writes, “Familiarity there may be, but let it not be unhallowed.  Boldness there should be, but let it not be impertinent.  You are still on earth, and He in heaven. You are still a worm of the dust, and He the Everlasting…Let us ask the Spirit of God to put us in a right frame that every one of our prayers may be a reverential approach to the Infinite Majesty above.”8

Now the role that meditation has is that it helps us to abide in Jesus, so that the Holy Spirit is free to lead the soul to the Father in prayer.  Thus when we meditate and set our mind on things above, the Holy Spirit brings about in us repentance of sin, so that we believe and obey Him—so that in effect the blood of Jesus sprinkles the heart clean, and opens the way for us to the throne.

Moreover, when we meditate on Jesus and on all that is true and noble and just and pure and lovely, then He will come and bring peace to us (Phil. 4:8).  Furthermore, meditation on what is good gives us an alternative to dwelling on what is bad.  Thus, it gives us a way of escape from sinful thoughts (1 Cor. 10:13).

I suggest that you memorize some good verses so you will have some good, pure thoughts and images tucked away in your mind.  Then, if you are tempted to lust, you can think good thoughts of love and purity.  And when you are tempted to be angry, you can instead think thoughts of peace. Meditation, therefore, helps to keep the mind pure and available for Spirit-filled prayer; it helps to move the soul confidently toward the throne of God.

 

Meditation on Jesus Our High Priest Gives Us Confidence in Prayer 

 

We have many reasons to think about Jesus our High Priest:  He is so good and so strong; He does so much for us. By His death and resurrection He saved us from the cruel penalty of sin.  By His intercession He is now saving us from the power of sin. Soon He will appear to deliver us from the very presence of sin (Heb. 9:24).

As our High Priest, He sympathizes with our weaknesses, because He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Thus, when we approach the throne of grace, we receive from God through Christ all the mercy and grace we need to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16).

When we ponder these things we can’t help having confidence as we approach the throne of God.

 

 

5 Charles Spurgeon, The Power of Prayer in a Believers Life, p. 15.

6 Wesley Duewel, Mighty Prevailing Prayer (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Francis Asbury Press, of Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), p. 50.

7 Ibid., p. 44.

8 Charles Spurgeon, The Power of Prayer in a Believers Life, pp. 17-18.

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God Calls Us to Come Away With Him – Song of Solomon 2:10-13

Please come and check out this new blog: “Seeing God in Nature.”

Seeing God in Nature

“My beloved responded and said to me,

‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,

And come along.

11 ‘For behold, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone.

12 ‘The flowers have already appeared in the land;

The time has arrived for pruning the vines,

And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.

13 ‘The fig tree has ripened its figs,

And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.

Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,

And come along!'”

Song of Solomon 2:10-13

This passage expresses to us in such poetic and loving language, how God desires to spend time with us and to enjoy the time together. He wants to show us His beauty, and also, all the beautiful things He has made for us—the flowers and the blossoms and their wonderful fragrance.

When I go out on my nature walks I always…

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Pelicans on the Mississippi River in Minnesota

Seeing God in Nature

I felt so fortunate to see so many beautiful white Pelicans the other day. They were floating on the Mississippi River, just north of the Coon Rapids Dam, in Minnesota.

The American white pelican is one of Minnesota’s largest birds, with a length of 1.2-1.8 m (3.9-5.9 ft.) and a wingspan of 2.4-2.9 m (7.8-9.5 ft.). The bird’s size, white plumage, black wing tips and outer secondaries, and large, orange bill distinguish it from any other species. Although the pelican is awkward on land, it is graceful in flight.

Compared to the Trumpeter Swan

The American white Pelican and the trumpeter swan are about equal in size and weight and probably the two largest birds found in Minnesota. According to their published descriptions, the pelican is about 10 inches longer, but the wingspan of the swan is about 6 inches longer.

I feel so blessed by the Lord to have…

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4 Ways to Obtain God-Confidence

Confidence in God

Self-confidence is inherent within us.  It is something we were born with, a gift we have from God.  But that kind of confidence can be abused—when we give into our pride.  A better, more reliable source of confidence, and what I want to talk about now, is God-confidence.  This is something a bit different.  When we are confident in God we are not confident in our strength, rather in our weakness, so that He is made strong in us (2 Cor. 12:9-10). We could also say that a God-confidence will serve to help our self-confidence—to help us not to abuse our self-confidence.

So, with that said, how do we get this God-confidence?  I want to suggest four ways: by repentance and trust, by obedience, by meditation, and by fellowship.

Repentance and trust.  The first step on your way to confidence is to admit your spiritual need (admit that you are a sinner and need forgiveness); then repent of your sins (that is, turn away from your sins) and trust in God.

When I say trust in God, what this involves, first of all, is that you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins.  Secondly, it means that you must receive Him into your life.

The happy result is that when He comes into your life He will give you a brand new life, with new confidence!—a confidence not in your old self but in God who reigns within you.

Now, in order to continue in this God-confidence, you must continue to abide in Jesus.  This implies that you will read His Word, pray, and trust in Him every day with all your heart.  Do this and He will continue to be your confidence.

Obedience. If you are careful to reverently obey God He will bless you with a promise: He will give you a strong and wonderful sense that He is keeping you safe and secure.  Here is that promise from Proverbs 14:26-27: “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.  The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.”

Now if at some point doubts creep up in your heart, fears take over your life, God does not answered your prayers, and you feel that you have lost your confidence in God, do nothing more than repent.  Your problem is sin.  You have stopped abiding in the one that cares for you.  Turn back immediately to the one who gave you confidence in the first place.

Then, when you have conformed in obedience to all the light you have, your heart will no longer condemn you, and you will again feel confident in your relationship with God.

In 1 John 3:18-22, there is a good description of how our obedience helps to give us confidence.  Here is my rendition of what it says.  First, as we abide in His love and are obedient to Him, we will begin to love God and others in deed and truth (v. 18).  Then when we look at ourselves and see that we have loved and that our love has been of God, we will conclude to ourselves that we are of the truth and that we are truly saved (v. 19).  As we continue to obey Him and reflect on what He has done for us, our heart will not condemn us, and we will have confidence toward God that we can come into His presence to ask and receive from Him whatever we want (vv. 20-22).

Meditation.  So far we have seen how trusting in God is planting the seed of confidence, and how obeying Him is removing the barriers of confidence—or how it gives us a chance to grow in confidence.  Now we will focus on meditation.  Meditation on His Word, on who He is, and on what He has done for us, is how we water and feed our confidence in Him.  It gives us understanding (Ps. 49:3) and helps us to grow deep in our love for Him—so that we will say with the Psalmist, “Oh how I love your law.  It is my meditation all the day” (Ps.  119:97); “Within Your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love” (Ps. 48:9). There is much more on this subject of meditation that I will share with you in my next blog post.

Fellowship.  If you have repented of your sins and trusted in God, if you have obeyed Him as much as you know how, and if you have meditated on the Word of God, but still you have not yet been confident in prayer or in your life, perhaps you are lacking fellowship.  One of the great things about fellowship is that it stirs us up so that we are encouraged to love others and do good works.  It makes our obedience to God and our confidence in Him more complete (Heb. 10:24, 25). No one can survive in the Christian life without fellowship.  Let us never fail to meet together for worship and fellowship.  We can’t be confident in God and in prayer without it.

 

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Great Nature Trails!

Seeing God in Nature

Most of the walking, nature trails are in good shape around where I live. I think the trails I walk on are plowed just as soon as the snow stops. I never see them plowing so they must do it early in the morning. I  think most people are quite pleased.

Since I got my hip replacement, and my legs feel better than ever, i really enjoy walking. Before my surgery, I had pain and was struggling to walk for a number of years. So now I feel like I have a new leg. The VA really did a good job. They say it will be good for twenty years–I suppose as long as I live–God willing.

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Confidence in God: for 5 Things

 

In my last post we learned from the Bible that confidence is a trust, mainly it is a trust in God. Confidence is also having hope, courage, and assurance.  Thus if we have confidence toward God we have hope in what He has provided for us, courage because He is with us, and an assurance that the things He has promised us He will give to us.  And through it all, because we have confidence in Him, we feel secure and safe. If you think about it, for a Christian, confidence is absolutely essential. Here are five things we can have confidence in God for.

1. For our salvation. Some people don’t think it’s important to know that when they die they are going to heaven.  But God does.  That’s why He has given us so many promises that we can claim for our salvation.   A favorite of mine is in 1 John 5:13.  It says, basically, that if we have the Son living in us we have eternal life.  Another good verse is 1 John 3:14.  This verse tells us that if we have love toward the brethren, it is a demonstration and a proof for us that we are a Christian.

 2. For answered prayer. God wants us to be confident in prayer.  What does that mean? Well first, He wants us to be confident that we can approach Him for prayer.  Hebrews 4:16 tells us that we can come boldly before His throne of grace. And the reason we can come boldly is because of His blood shed for us on the cross, for as our High Priest, He has prepared us, and cleansed us inside and out—He has sprinkled our hearts with his own blood from an evil conscience and has washed our bodies with pure water—that we may enter, with extreme confidence, into His presence (Heb. 10:19-22).

Secondly, since He gives us confidence to come into His presence, He also gives us confidence to obtain mercy and find grace (Heb. 4:16); that is to say, when we pray in His name we will receive whatever we ask of Him.  For in John 16:24 Jesus spoke to His disciples, and He speaks to us, saying, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”  Also in 1 John 5:14-15 it says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we ask of Him.”

 3. For victory. When you surrendered your life to God He gave you a new life in Christ, and a new home in the kingdom of God.  Your old man was crucified with Christ.  That means that you died to the reign and rule of sin, and you became alive to Christ who is your new Master and King.  In this new kingdom with Christ, He requires you to stop yielding yourself to sin and to start living a holy life before Him—a life free from sin (Read Romans 6 and Ephesians 1:4).

And how do we do that?  How can we have confidence in God for victory?  The answer is that you must present yourself to God as a slave in the service of His kingdom, to obey Him in all that He asks and desires of you (Rom. 6:16).  As you trust and obey Him in everything, you can take great confidence in God for victory over sin (Read 1 John 3:22).  For He will then give you the promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Well, you say, this is all true, but how do we acquire the strength to trust and obey Him?  Sometimes I just don’t feel like obeying God.  What should I do then?  Well, I believe the answer is that we must prayerfully depend on God to help us. And we must also seek the help of other believers.  We can’t do it alone.  I think every Christian should be in a support group where there is prayer, accountability, and encouragement.  I am in a group myself and I can testify that since I got into this group—which is a wonderful accountability and support group—I have more power now to resist sin than I ever did when I was not in a group.

Therefore, we can have confidence in God for victory when we obey Him in everything.  And that includes abiding in prayer and in fellowship with others.

4. For forgiveness. Just as God desires that we be confident in Him for victory, He also desires that we be confident in Him when we are defeated.  For this reason, He has given us an advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous.  By Him, we can, at any time of defeat, be reconciled to God (1 Jn. 2:1-2).  He is the propitiation for our sins.  In fact, His blood constantly and forever satisfies the wrath of God against our sins.

In Him (if you are a Christian) we are redeemed forever by His blood.  This means that not even the worst sin (murder, adultery, etc.) can cause us to loose our salvation.

We do, however, because we constantly sin, need regular cleansing to stay in fellowship with Him.  And so, for each and every sin we need an advocate to help us, and the power of His blood to cleanse us.

But what do we have to do to get this cleansing?  The answer is found in 1 John 1:9.  We must humbly confess our sins to Him.  And what does that mean?  It means to no longer cover up your sins, but to make them evident.  It means to repent—to change your mind about your sin and to decide not to do it again.  If we do these things we have the promise that He will give us mercy (Prov. 28:13) and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Therefore, let us place our full confidence in such a faithful God for regular (day by day) forgiveness.

5. For guidance. Last, God wants us to be confident in Him for guidance.  And so He has given us many promises assuring us that He will go with us and guide us.  A favorite passage of many believers is in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in [be confident in] the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.”  I like also Psalms 119:105: “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

We surely can be confident in His Word to guide us.  For all the words in the Bible are inspired by God.  For this reason, the Holy Spirit brings the inspired Word to us every day at just the time we need it; He will speak to us in our ears saying, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isa. 30:21).

These point are also found in my book Prayer A to Z (look on the side panel).

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