Plug for BeFrugal

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I just wanted to make a plug for Befrugal.   I just got a $40 deposit from them because I go through their site when I shop online. If you sign up you can get a $10 referal bonus. Not hard and the more you shop online the more you can make in affiliate commissions. You also can get a % of anyone who signs up under you.   There is a link to their website in the side bar here also.  

Check it out here: https://www.befrugal.com/referral/?ref=ZFOYDZD

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The Responsibility of Hearing the Word of the Lord 

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by T. Austin-Sparks

“I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter; because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but ye did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted not.” Isaiah 65:12.

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away from them.” Hebrews 2:1.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me… He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches… He who testifieth these things saith, Yea: I come quickly. Amen: come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 3:20,22; 22:20.

The Lord is constantly coming to His people. He comes to them every time that there is a living Word from Him. This familiar passage in Revelation 3 is impressive when you note that the knock, the voice, the ear and “the Spirit saith” are all one. “I knock”; and if you listen, it is not a tapping but a Voice, a Voice that could only be heard by the inner ear because it is the Voice of the Spirit and what the Spirit says is all one language. “My knock is My voice and My voice is what the Spirit says”, and that requires an inner ear giving heed to what the Spirit says, so that every time a living Word comes, the Lord has come, and coming in His Word by His Spirit, He comes expecting a response. 

There is a practical issue bound with every drawing near of the Lord in His Word and it is only as that issue is taken up definitely that the real meaning of the Lord’s drawing near is entered into and secured. The Lord may be there in His Word, the Spirit may be there speaking by that Word, the Word of the Lord bringing the Lord near may visit us, may be with us; and all that may be wonderfully true, as true as ever it was in those days of which it is written “The word of the Lord came by the mouth of” this one and that one, as true as ever it was true as a prophet said “Thus saith the Lord”. It may be just as true as that today, and yet at the same time result in nothing; that is, so far as the Lord’s purpose and intention is concerned. That is always the peril which lies alongside of a Word of the Lord coming, that it may, after all, result in nothing so far as that which the Lord intended is concerned.

“Herein is My Father glorified that ye bear much fruit…” not that ye know much truth, that ye hear many expositions of the Word, that the Word of the Lord indeed has come to you, but “Herein… much fruit”. And that can only be as we recognise the issue bound up with the Word and definitely lay hold of it. The response which the Lord expects when He comes in His Word is the response of Life, not merely of assent, agreement or pleasure. We have from Him the parable of the sower, a fourfold response from the Lord being present with His Word, for He is the sower, and the seed is the Word. The Lord is present with His Word, and He is sowing in expectation, and His expectation is disappointed very largely, whenever there is any kind of response to Him other than the response of real fruit, and that is taking hold of the issue into the heart. That is the very core of the parable, it is taking it into the heart; I think I can say: taking it to heart. There may be some kind of reaction that is not the response the Lord is seeking. He wants a heart response, not in emotion, but in fruit: that which becomes the embodiment of the Life that is in the Word which He brings so that the Word, having the Life, being planted in our hearts, means that that Word expresses itself in a living way in us. Such is the response which the Lord is seeking every time He comes to us in His Word. 

The apostle said to Timothy, “Give thyself wholly unto them that thy progress may be manifest to all”; “the things thou hast heard and received of me, give thyself wholly unto them”. As you give yourself wholly to them, the fruit, the progress, shall be seen of all. That is the only way to spiritual progress and it is the only response which satisfies the Lord. That is the response which He is seeking. Therefore it means utterness as well as immediacy.

Another peril is always present when the Lord comes with His Word. It is somehow indefinitely in the mind to postpone the issue. If it is not a deliberate postponement – for very few perhaps do that – it is a postponement all the same, for every failure to take hold and follow up is a postponement.

I do feel that there is much room with the Lord’s people as a whole for immediate transaction on the basis of every word which comes to us which we have any reason to believe is the Lord’s. This is the way of fruitfulness, this is the way of progress, this is the way of enlargement. I am sure you are concerned very much about the matter of spiritual growth, advancement, progress. I am sure you, in your own life with the Lord, often ask Him for spiritual increase in you, progress, that you might go on, that you might come to maturity. I am sure there is much in your prayer in that direction. Now, may I suggest to you a way in which you may co-operate with the Lord in answering such prayer? It is that you make a practice, whenever the Word of the Lord has come, of going immediately and dealing with the Lord on that matter, with the practical issue bound up with that Word. If you wait until tomorrow you will get into that vicious course that there will be another message presented and the last one has simply gone past, and so you go on. 

Each message is intended to have an issue, but it becomes an accumulation of messages, of words, with the weeks and months and years, and the great responsibility being piled up inasmuch as we are going to be judged by the Word. “The word that I have spoken unto you, it shall judge you” (John 12:48). The piling up of a great responsibility, because for some reason or other – not deliberately, not intentionally – we never square immediately to the practical issue bound up with the Word. If you will at once give yourself wholly for an application to the Word as well as of the Word, your progress will be seen of all. Here is a man or a woman who deals with God at once upon any issue raised by His Word. God takes that one on wonderfully; it is honest thoroughgoing dealing with the Lord immediately. The Lord is a Lord who requires prompt response. If you like to go through the Word, you will see what is bound up with a prompt response to the Lord. The blessing of the Lord is there. You will see the trouble that is bound up with the postponement, the increased difficulty, and you will see the loss that eventually comes when the thing is passed: “Because I called and ye did not answer”. “Behold… I knock, if any man will hear My voice” – what the Spirit says. That is speaking to the Church, as you know, not to the unsaved; it may be true there, but this word was a word to the Church.

It is only my purpose to help towards the end which I am always trying to keep in view for myself and for you: how can we come to that maturity, to that growth, to that enlargement? The Lord puts His finger upon this point and just hedges it about and says, “Now I want immediate and definite response in action, a transaction with Me on the issue that is raised by this word”. If we would do that every time instead of letting it go, and would beware of all those things which are ever waiting to dissipate God’s Word when He has drawn near in His Word, we should grow. You need not move out of your seat before someone will talk to you about something of tomorrow or the past, something which has nothing whatever to do with what the Lord has just been saying. You have only to get to the door and find yourself in general conversation. That kind of fellowship may be good and I am not in any way against the real fellowship of the Lord’s people, for it is a great help to be able to meet and talk; but beware because no sooner is the Word spoken than it is snatched away and for all practical purposes it might be as though it had never been spoken. That could never be if we immediately got down before the Lord and said, “Now Lord, there is a practical issue bound up with this and that issue has got to be possessed!” That is the way of growth. Bear the Word. As I say, it is only to help towards the end which we have in view. 

There is a great value in immediacy, and that response of course will call for utterness for the Lord. Such a response will test our utterness. If anybody really does have the Word of the Lord, seriously and immediately we must get before the Lord about it, meaning business; not just attending meetings and listening to addresses, but out for the Lord, bringing up this question: “What is it that the Lord has said? How does that apply to me? What is the Lord after in me concerning that? I may see it or I may not, but that is not the point. The point is, Lord is there something there that I do not see? Is there something You are trying to say to me and I am not yet alive to it?” How often, sometimes afterwards, we have seen that the Lord said something at a certain time and really it touched upon something in our lives, but at the time we did not see it. Now we see how that was fitted for our case. If we had gone to the Lord, might we not have seen it? That is utterness for the Lord in our response to His Word. There must be a taking hold and a keeping hold until the thing is settled, until it is established, because it is possible even to have exercise over a Word, to follow the point of the Word, to feel the weight of it and feel it getting into us and touching us and then for it to fade. We felt it and we always look back and say, “Yes that was a word that came to us; we felt something in that word; it moved us!” But we have to say that it fell short of the actual issue. What we have to do is to take hold and to keep hold. Has the Lord said something to us? Are we holding on to that until the matter is secured and established and the Lord has got that in us?

Note that word in Hebrews 2: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we heard, lest haply we drift away from them.” I have often pointed out that that word has behind it the picture of a man in the boat taking up his moorings. There is a current running and he comes up on his moorings, reaches out with his boat hook, takes his moorings on his boat hook, but he does it carelessly; he does it without all his attention bent upon it. The tide is running fast, the current is strong, and he has not given the more earnest heed and before he knows what has happened, he has slipped his moorings inadvertently and is drifting away. He had them, he came into touch with them, they were on his hook, and he lost them. It is so often like that. The Word of the Lord comes; we make contact, we even would say we have got it, but where is it after a bit? After a while, what about it? “Therefore… give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest haply we drift away from them.” That is the kind of response that the Lord is seeking all the time.

Now, it would never be right to leave things there without another word. Such a response to the Lord which He is seeking will always be costly. The Lord will see to that. The things of the Lord are not had cheaply; God’s purpose is a costly purpose and any fresh movement in relation thereto will be costly. You know that Hebrews 13:13 is the summary of the practical issues of going on. The exhortation throughout the letter is “Go on”. The summary is this: “Let us therefore go to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” That is what we are going to get for going on. Down here that is just what you are going to get if you go on. It all looks so glorious to go on, all that we are going on to is wonderful. We can romance about the eternal purpose and reigning and having dominion. Yes, but the present side of that is outside the camp bearing His reproach. There is a cost attached to going on with the Lord. There will be a cost bound up with every step. It will make demands; it will only be men of faith who will go on. That is what drives it in. It is that which makes it ours and makes it a part of us.

The Lord comes looking for response; the Word demands it and everything hangs upon it. There is nothing so established that it cannot be set aside by God if it ceases to respond to His purpose. “I… will remove thy lampstand out of its place, except…” (Rev. 2:5). God planted those churches in Asia, those lampstands; He blessed them, He used them; they were vessels of testimony; and then there came the crisis in which God said, “That which I have planted, that which I have blessed, that which was the work of My Spirit, and had My Spirit in it, I will move it out of its place”. There is a sense in which we are always on trial for our life and the nature of the trial is this: immediate response to every visitation of the Lord in His Word. “If any man will hear…”.

Edited and supplied by the Golden Candlestick Trust.

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120 Trumpeters

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by Joanne Panettieri              Photo credit 1 

The Glory Of The Lord Falls

The apostle Paul tells us that what happened to Israel in the past happened as examples for us. 1 Cor 10: 11Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition,”  and we can say with certainty that there are repetitive patterns in Scripture. One such pattern that I would like to explore here, is when the Glory of the Lord filled the temple. This story is given to us in 2 Chronicles chapter 5.

1 “Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished…. 2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. 3 Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month. 4 And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. 5 And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up…….

God’s Glory Fills the Temple

V:11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: 12 Also the Levites which were the singers, …. being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets: 13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; 14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.”

The Assembly:

The Glory of the Lord filling the temple is a picture of the future Glory of God, the Holy Spirit, filling the New Testament temple, the believers in Jesus, the Messiah.

2 Chronicles 5:3 “Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast”

During the dedication of the temple the people were assembled. The actual word that is translated “church” in the New Testament is  ekklesia which means “an assembly or congregation”, whereas the word “church” comes from the Scottish word “kirk” and refers to the building where the people meet. The believers in Messiah are actually the assembly of those who believe in Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

The Work is Finished:

Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished”

Solomon’s name in Hebrew is from the root word Shalam, and means “amends”. In this story he is a type of Jesus, who finished the work of atonement.

Shalam: “make amends, make an end, finish, full, give again, make good” This is what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross and making amends between God and man. He has finished the work:  John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

Because Jesus / Solomon had finished the work of building the temple, it could now be filled with the ark which held the presence of God. The temple that Solomon built was made of the materials of the earth, stone, wood, gold and silver. The Temple that Jesus has built is also made up of the things of the earth, because God created man out of the dust of the ground, but we are the living stones.

1 Cor 3:16 “ 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

1 Peter 2: “4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The Temple is dedicated during the Feast of Tabernacles:

2 Chron 5: 3 “Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month.”

The appointed Feast in the 7th month is the Feast of Tabernacles. It begins with the Feast of the blowing of Trumpets, called Yom Teruah, then comes the Day of Atonement, called Yom Kippur and ends with the 8 day long celebration of Tabernacles or Sukkot, when everyone lived in booths for a week. This is significant because the Day of Atonement is the most holy day of the year in the Hebrew calendar. It was a day of deep repentance for the people. 2 Chronicles also tells us in verse 11 that all the priests were sanctified, or made holy. Because Jesus made atonement for us, we, as Kingdom priests, are also made holy.

Hebrews 2: 17 Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation (atonement) for the sins of the people.

Romans 5: 11 “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

The Tabernacle of David is Brought Up

Solomon brought up the tabernacle and all the pieces of furniture that were in it up to the new Temple in Jerusalem. He also established the singers in the Temple, which is a type of New Testament worship.

2 Chronicles 5: “And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. 5 ; And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up…… 12 Also the Levites which were the singers, …. being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps.”

When David brought the Ark back to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6) he did not put it in the Tabernacle of Moses, which was still standing on Mount Gibeon, but he built a new tent for it on Mount Zion. Here he established 24 hour worship with songs and instruments.

….but in the midst of the Tabernacle of David on Mount Zion; and further that there were no animal sacrifices there, only sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving; and no priests, but only Levites, whom David appointed “to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record,” that is literally to make mention of, or bring to remembrance, or in other words to proclaim or preach the mercies and the marvelous acts of God, “and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel” (1 Chr. 16:4). This was a very remarkable suspension of the system of worship of the Law, and an equally remarkable foreshadowing of that of the Gospel. And so it was during the greater part of King David’s reign, during all the years the ark of God dwelt in the Tabernacle of David.2

Isaiah 16:5 tells us the the Lamb will rule from the Tabernacle of David: “And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.”

The Bible promises in the book of Amos (Amos 9:11) that the Tabernacle of David would be restored at some future time. The Apostle James declared that this was fulfilled in the first century by the bringing in of the Gentiles to the assembly of believers:

Acts 15: 16 “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.”

White Linen

The priests in Solomon’s temple were arrayed in white linen, which is symbolic of the righteousness of the saints when Jesus Christ washes away our sins.

Revelation 19: 7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

120 Priests Sounding Trumpets

1 Chronicles 5: 12 …….“and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets ……. 13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD”

What occurred here at the dedication of Solomon’s temple is a prophetic symbol of the dedication of the early church when the Holy Spirit filled the believers on the day of Pentecost. The believers were all together in one accord (they were as one to make ONE sound)

Acts 2: 1 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place”

There were 120 waiting in the upper room, who were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, trumpeting the praises of God with their mouths!

Acts 1: 12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem …. 13And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, ….. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, … 15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)…… Acts 2: 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance…… 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, (they had gathered there for the Feast of Pentecost) devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, (They heard the believers speaking in tongues the trumpeters) the multitude came together, (and said in amazement)… we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”

Just as the priests sang praises to God with the blowing of the trumpets on the day of the dedication of Solomon’s temple, so also, on the dedication day of the living temple of Jesus Christ, there were 120 trumpeter priests giving praise to God!

Peter’s Message is Atonement:

After Peter talks to the assembled crowd on the day that the ekklēsia of Jesus Christ is born, he tells them that the only way into this new temple is through the atoning work of Jesus through repentance:

Acts 2:37 “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call

Even as the glory cloud filled the temple of Solomon, the promise of the Glory of God, through the Holy Spirit, fills the Kingdom Temple of Jesus Christ. And as Peter tells us “this promise is for AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL”

Hosea 14: 1 “Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! 2 Take words with you and return (repentance) to the Lord. Say to him: Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” (This is the Torah portion read every year in every Synagogue on the Sabbath between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur during the Feast of Tabernacles)

1 Corinthians 5:8 “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

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The Breaking of the Waters

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by Joanne Panettieri

For the past several days in prayer I have been hearing the Holy Spirit saying “Breakthrough, breakthrough, breakthrough”!

This brought to my remembrance the story of King David when he defeated the Philistines:

 2 Samuel 5: 17:   When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold.  18  Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim;  19 so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.

The term “Baal Perazim” literally means Baal “the owner or lord” of the perets, “breaking forth or breach” or literally the “Lord of the Breakthrough”. We use the term “breach” in English as a noun in referring to a “breach in the law”, a “breach of contract” or a “breaking of the law”. As a verb it means “to make a gap in and break through” as in “there is a breach in the wall”. David saying “as the waters break out” is a term referring to a child coming forth from the birth canal and is a reference to birthing and new life.

“During pregnancy, your baby is surrounded and cushioned by a fluid-filled membranous sac called the amniotic sac. Typically, at the beginning of or during labor your membranes will rupture — also known as your water breaking.” 1

This same term is used in Genesis 38 when we look at the story of Tamar and Judah.

Genesis 38: 27  When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28  As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29  But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez.   30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.

In the story of Tamar we find out that her husband, the son of Judah, dies. Judah then gives her his second son as a husband to have children in his brother’s name, as a kinsman redeemer. He refuses to impregnate her and the Lord also kills him. Tamar is then left to live as a widow, while she waits for Judah’s third son. When Tamar releases that Judah is not going to give her his third son to bring forth a child in her husband’s name, she seduces Judah and becomes pregnant with twins.

When the midwife says “So this is how you have broken out” she uses the same word “perets” that David used in referring to the Lord of the Breakthrough, because God was giving  him victory over his enemies.

Tamar, a barren woman, impregnates herself by Judah, whose name means “praise”. She then gives birth to twins, a double portion. The first one she names “Perez” or breakthrough. The second one Zerah, which means “to rise”, “come forth” or “to shine”.

This same word in verb form is zerach and is used in Isaiah 60: 1 referring to the glory of the Lord “rising” or “coming forth”.

Isaiah 60:

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

2 See, darkness covers the earth

and thick darkness is over the peoples,

but the Lord rises upon you

and his glory appears over you.

As I write this today, it is the first day of the 3 part Feast of Tabernacles. The first part of that feast is called “Yom Teruah” or the “Day of Shouting” and the “Feast of Trumpets”. The blowing of the trumpets is a call to attention, to remind the people that the day of atonement, or repentance, is near. For the Christian, this is a reminder that we are to stay in a constant state of repentance before God. We can shout the victory because of the complete atonement that we have by the blood of Jesus.

During the Feast of Tabernacles there was also a breaking forth of water in the Temple. This was known as the “water libation ceremony” and it took place at on the 8th or “great day” of the feast. In Hebrew it was called Nissuch Ha-Mayim. During this ceremony the priests would bring a procession to the pool of Siloam (living water) and fill golden pitchers with water, which were then poured out on the altar in the temple as the priests and congregation recited the “Hallel”  or praise Psalms 113 – 118,  giving thanks and reminding God of his promises. It was at this juncture we read in John 7:

 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

The “rivers of living water” are the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which breaks out through the believer as the water of life, and is an essential part of the new birth.

The Feasts of the Lord are holy convocations and were required to be attended by all the males in Israel. They are all connected through water. In Passover we pass though the waters of baptism, and go from death to life. In Pentecost we are filled with the water of the Spirit, as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4 “whoever drinks of this water will never thirst”. And in Tabernacles the water of the spirit breaks forth from out of us into the world to bring forth the harvest. Let us always strive to keep the eternal feasts of the Lord in our daily lives!

Leviticus 23: 41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

1 Cor 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of
malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

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What is Meant by Wholly Following the Lord

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Now, on the other hand, the words which Joshua and Caleb uttered seem to me to indicate another kind of history altogether. When they came back from the land, you remember the majority of the spies brought up their evil report, but Joshua and Caleb said, “If the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into this land” (Num. 14:8). You know that in the letter to the Hebrews, the whole question of the Sabbath rest that remains for the people of God is brought up in connection with Joshua bringing the people over into the land. The land was intended to be a type of the rest that remains for the people of God, and when Joshua said that, he was already in the rest of the land. He was in rest. His attitude was this, his state of heart was this: “If the Lord wants us to have this, it is all right, we need not worry, strain, strive, fight, or be concerned about it; if the Lord wants it, it is all right, we will come in and possess. If the Lord delight in us, we do not need to worry about anything – giants, difficulties, walled cities; if the Lord wants it, we will have it; all we have to do is to go on wholly with the Lord, trust Him, and it is all right!” Joshua was in the rest of the land in his heart already because he had no personal thing to which he was clinging which complicated his relationship with the Lord, but his heart was on what the Lord wanted and he was in this position – “If the Lord wants us to have that, if the Lord wants me to have that or wants to bring me into that, I trust Him, it will be all right. I need not scheme, devise or worry, I need not be anxious, I will just go on with the Lord and He will bring it to pass. If the Lord does not want it, then I do not want it!” Joshua was in that position and was at heart rest. It was not just passivity, it was the rest of faith, and you have no rest of faith until the self-element is put out. It is that which complicates our spiritual heart rest all the time. That is simply wholly following the Lord and that discriminated Joshua and Caleb and all the rest. It was the nature of things.  

T. Austin Sparks

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How To Read The Bible: Introduction

How to Read the Bible: Introduction

by Herman Newtics

Today I would like to talk about how to read the Bible. I was prompted to write this article because of a post on facebook, where a friend of a friend stated that the recent defacement of monuments was a sure sign of the imminent return of Christ. When I challenged him on where this was in scripture he got insulting, which is what many people do when they can not answer your questions. Go figure.

How we read and interpret the scriptures makes all the difference in how we understand them. The science of the theory and method of interpretation is called “hermeneutics”.

Hermeneutics is derived from the Greek word ἑρμηνεύω (hermeneuō, “translate, interpret” and can sometimes be used interchangeably with exegesis, which literally means “to lead out”. In using EXEGESIS as our method of interpretation we TAKE OUT of the text what it is saying. We let the text interpret itself. By using the exegetical method of interpretation you are finding out what the author was actually saying, when it was said, and to whom was the author speaking. This is the correct way to read the Bible.

The opposite method of interpreting the Scriptures is called eisegesis. Eisegesis means “to LEAD INTO”. In this method you start from a basis of a per-conceived idea or notion and then try to make it fit into scripture. Exegesis and Eisegesis are conflicting methods of interpretation. In exegesis you take out of the text what it is saying about itself. In eisegesis you read thoughts and ideas INTO the text. For example, the letters to the churches in the book of Revelation were actually written to real churches that existed in the first century. They are not meant to be taken as allegory, but in fact this is how most preachers teach them. Unfortunately, most false doctrine today is based on the eisegetical method of interpretation.

In 2 Timothy 2: 15 the writer tells us to use the exegetical methods: “Present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” We must strive to be an exegete, allowing the text to speak for itself.

Eisegesis can easily lead to error, as the reader attempts to align the text with his own preconceived notions. Exegesis allows us to agree with the Bible; eisegesis seeks to force the Bible to agree with us.

When using the exegetical method we must ask ourselves the following questions:

What does the passage actually say?

To whom was it said?

When was it said and what is the timing of the text?

What does the passage mean?

How does the passage relate to the rest of the Bible?

How should this passage affect my life?

Eisegesis, on the other hand starts with a pre-conceived idea, such as a future fulfillment of prophecy, and then tries to fit the text into your idea.

A good question to ask yourself is, do you read FROM the Bible, or do you read INTO the Bible, and do you know the difference.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

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Today If You Hear His Voice

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“Today if Ye Hear His Voice” 
by T. Austin-Sparks

Reading: Heb. 3.

“Today if ye shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts… Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called Today; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin: for we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end” Heb. 3:7,12-14.

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” Heb. 4:1.

Everything in God’s purpose is bound up with our hearing His voice. I want to point out that the translation needs to be kept very accurate here. Unfortunately the Revised Version does not maintain its tradition of improvement at this point, and it should not be: “If ye shall hear His voice”, it should be: “If ye will hear His voice”. If you look at that very carefully you will immediately detect the difference. If we say: “If ye shall hear His voice” we put the onus on God, when really the onus is not upon God. The context makes it perfectly clear about having heard the Good News, and it is: “If ye will hear His voice”. God has spoken, the voice of God has sounded, and it is sounding today, and it is a matter of whether we will hear.

The force of that “will” is suggested by the earlier part of chapter 4. “Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into His rest, any one of you should be deemed to come short of it.” There is a tremendous emphasis upon our responsibility in relation to the voice of God. It is not that God will not speak, but that, God speaking, we shall not hear.

The word “consider” in the first verse of chapter 3 is a very strong word. Our simple English word there does not convey the force of the original language. The word really means “attentively consider”. It implies giving a fixed and prolonged attention to the matter. So you see that the atmosphere of this part of God’s Word is all that which suggests to our heart the necessity for attention.

In such an atmosphere there is this word: “If ye will hear His voice”. That means that we have to apply ourselves to hearing what the Lord is saying. It is a matter of application, of will, to hear His voice. Everything hangs upon that, as the whole context shows. All the promises of the land, all that which was presented to Israel as God’s great and glorious purpose to which they were called, were lost to that generation; and the implication is that they missed it all because they would not hear His voice.

That carries us to a very serious consideration. What was the voice to be heard? What was the voice saying? What was it that the voice was carrying with it? What was it that they would not hear? What was it they did not earnestly apply themselves to hear? If you look closely into the forty years’ history in the wilderness, you will see that everything called for application of heart, of mind, of will to understand. It called for close attention, because that which the Lord was doing with them had a meaning which was not too obvious, did not lie on the surface, could not be grasped instantly by any superficial glance. The dealings of God with them, the ways of God with them, contained a voice, a call, a message, a meaning, and it therefore required that they should earnestly attend to and apply the will, to say, in effect: “This means something more than we can see at a glance; we want to know what God means by this! There is a voice in this that is deeper than can be discerned by the outward ear; there is an inward ear required for this: there is something here to be seen which cannot be seen by the natural eye! The inner eye needs to be opened to see what God means by this!” And because they would not take that attitude and adjust themselves in that way, they missed everything. They simply took things as they saw them, and allowed them to become mere happenings, mere events, and judged by how those things affected their own personal interests and natural, earthly good. Chapter 3, verse 1 is the key to the whole thing. “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling” – “Today, if ye will hear…” 

A heavenly calling! That puts a new complexion upon everything. What is the heavenly calling? A calling from above to glory and honour. How does the letter begin: “For not unto angels did He subject the inhabited earth to come, whereof we speak. But one hath somewhere testified, saying, What is man, that thou makest mention of him?” “But we behold Jesus… crowned with glory and honour.” “Thou dost make mention of him… wherefore, holy brethren, partners in a heavenly calling…” a calling from heaven, of glory and honour in association with the Son of Man, in relation to the inhabited earth to come. It is dominion with Christ that is in view. And today God is dealing with us in relation to that, and there is a heavenly meaning in God’s dealings with us.

Now go through Israel’s history. Not long after they had come into the wilderness they found themselves short of water, and they murmured against Moses and against the Lord. In effect they said, “We have been brought out here to perish!” That is taking the earthly point of view. There are two ways of viewing that. They could look at it like this, and say, “At least we had water to drink in Egypt, but here we are with no water to drink, and if we were going to perish we might as well have perished in Egypt!” They could have taken another view, and said, “Well, the Lord marvellously delivered us from Egypt; marvellously brought us through the Red Sea when it stood up like walls on either side; marvellously overwhelmed our enemies before our eyes, and wiped them out. He can surely provide water in a wilderness!” It depends whether you look up or down, whether you murmur, or whether you triumph.

Later they found themselves without anything to eat. Here was another chance for them to take one of two attitudes. They could take the downward attitude and say, “Now we are going to perish in the wilderness; we are going to die of starvation out here. We have been brought into a trap, all resources have been kept from us, and now this is the end of everything!” They could take the upward look and say, “God, who provided water, will surely provide bread in the wilderness!” Deliverance would have come from heaven, if they had seen the heavenly aspect of things.

In the lack of water, and in the lack of bread, and in every circumstance, no matter what it was – and the circumstances were numerous: adversity, want, hardship, weariness – there was a heavenly resource, but it required a heavenly faith, a heavenly aspect, a heavenly look. God was speaking in it all. What was He saying? In the absence of water, in the absence of bread, in these various and numerous situations, where nature and the world could make no provision, God was speaking, and He was saying continually through the forty years: “I am your resource! I am your portion! I am your life! I am your strength! I am thy sufficiency! I have brought you out here, not to let you perish, not to make you the victim of circumstances, but to teach you that for you earthly things at best could never be satisfying. And finally, your life; but in Me you have that which will not only maintain you here from stage to stage, but will be your everlasting portion, and bring you at last into My whole fulness.” God was seeking to say, “Here is another circumstance in which you can make a new discovery of Me, but if you look at the circumstance itself, you will go down! If you listen to My voice in the circumstance you will make a discovery, and that discovery will become your deliverance, your life.”

In His mercy they did make discoveries, but they never allowed the discoveries which they made to be permanent lessons. When every fresh trial came they forgot the Lord, because they were so centred upon their own interests. They could not, they would not, escape from themselves. As a thing came up before them, they immediately regarded it in the light of their own present personal interest: “Here is a bit more trial! That is a new blow! That is one more trouble to add to all my troubles!” That is one way of viewing things. There is another view. They could have said, “This is another lesson the Lord is trying to teach! What is the measure of the Lord that this trial will lead into if taken hold rightly, if viewed rightly?”

That land to which they were going was a great type of Christ in heaven, over the other side on resurrection ground, and they were brought through these trials in order that they might learn how now to live a heavenly life on the earth, by heavenly resources, here in the wilderness. But so set were they upon their own comfort, their own enjoyment, their own pleasure and satisfaction, that they could not detach themselves to listen to the voice; and because things were always regarded in a personal light, from the standpoint of personal interest, when troubles came they hardened their hearts against the inner voice.

It was, “Today”! What a tremendously impressive word that is, viewed in this light. Today! What does that mean? That text has been almost always used for Gospel sermons, and we do not do wrong in making an appeal by it to the unsaved, because the truth applies that there is a “Today!” when God’s voice is sounding to the unsaved, and God does not offer a tomorrow. This word is: “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts!” His voice heard in your heart will not give you a tomorrow. Let this day go, and you have no tomorrow for responding to His voice and doing what you have failed to do now in the presence of the voice with the heavenly calling. That is quite true.

But this text was never written for the unsaved, with all its value and application to them. It was written to the Lord’s own people, and it is tremendous when you hear such a word to the Lord’s people. That says to us that today God is speaking; in adversity, in trial, in suffering, in affliction, in all manner of difficulties into which He Himself has allowed us to come. He has brought us out into a place where all nature is cut off from us, where we are helpless in ourselves, and He allows us to come into the fires of trial and difficulty, and in them all He says, “My voice is the voice of a heavenly calling, the voice which is calling you up, ever higher, to know your heavenly resources, to know what there is for you in Christ even here, in order to prepare you for that dominion over the inhabited earth to come, for glory and honour with Him Who is now crowned with glory and honour.” We are become partners with Christ, if we hold fast.

“Today, if ye will…” What does that say to me and to you? It says, “Here is a trial, a difficulty; here is an adversity, a sorrow, a suffering. How am I going to view it? Am I going to say, Oh, more trouble! One thing after another! Or am I going to say, Yes, more trial – we feel it – and yet always there’s some new knowledge of the Lord, some new discovery, I must hear the voice in this! It is going to lead into some greater fulness, where we have never been before.” Harden not your heart. In other words, do not become bitter because of the trial, the difficulty, the suffering, but listen! The Lord is speaking, this is a great ‘Today’! I venture to say that when this ‘Today’ is past, and all that it was intended to mean to us, and we see its meaning, we shall be sorry that we did not adjust ourselves more wholeheartedly to what the Lord was saying to us here in the very difficulties into which He brought us. We shall say, “Oh, if only I had been more attentive and less self-occupied, I should have seen that in that particular experience the Lord was speaking to me, but it came and it went, and I regarded it as a bit of suffering and no more, and it led to nothing. It may be even that I became bitter, I rebelled and I hardened my heart because of the suffering.”

God forbid! “Today, if ye will hear… Wherefore, holy brethren, partners in a heavenly calling, today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Edited and supplied by the Golden Candlestick Trust.

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