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A New View of Grace

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Some time ago now I wrote a blog that explored the meaning of grace in the context of Noahs’ life. Here is an exert from that blog:

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

This is the first place in Scripture we find the word grace, a word that we are all quite familiar with but a word I fear we understand all too little.

In Hebrew the word for grace has two letters, the letter Chet which has a pictorial reference to a fence and the letter Noon which has a pictorial reference to fish darting through water = life. When we put these two together we see that grace is: a Fence that protects Life.

Isn’t that exactly what the ark was? It was a big wooden fence that protected all the life left on planet earth.

Genesis 6:14 “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.

Yet there is something more to this picture of grace.

You will notice in the verse above that the fence (the gopher wood) was lined inside and out with pitch. I have read this so many times and thought nothing of it. However, the fact is that the Hebrew word for pitch comes from exactly the same root word as the Hebrew word for atonement.

So, grace is God’s protection of our lives lined inside and out with the atoning blood of Jesus.”

I was chatting with some folks on line the other day and one of them made the statement that whilst God gave Noah the design for the ark He actually required Noah to oversee the practical building of the ark.

This got me to thinking about the practical application of grace in daily life.

God wanted the ark built by Noah so that it could be a fence that would protect life. God also wanted it lined with pitch to be a constant reminder of the connection between grace and the atonement; but Noah had to apply the pitch.

Could it be that grace is a blue print, like the blue print for the ark, which God has placed in our hands to use on a daily basis whenever we come across situations where life or relationship needs to be protected?

Could it be that it is up to us to construct the fence of protection and to line it inside and out with the atoning blood of Jesus?

Just a thought I wanted to share with you.

Matthew 5: 14 “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.

Correct me if I am wrong; but Jesus appears to be making the point that a lamp apart from a lampstand is not all that effective in spreading it’s light.

So, it would appear that understanding what the lampstand is in Scripture would be most helpful to us.

As you know, if you have been following my blog for any length of time, I believe that Scripture aligns ‘light’ with ‘purpose’.

Likewise I believe there is a connection between the ‘lampstand’ and God’s view of His ‘church’.

In Revelation 2 Jesus is dictating a letter that John is to send to the church at Ephesus and here is what He says:

4 But I have this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. 5 Therefore, remember where you were before you fell, turn from this sin, and do what you used to do before. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place – if you don’t turn from your sin! 
Yes, that is right, the lampstand is a reference to the menorah, and who made that first menorah:

Exodus 31: 1 Then the LORD said to Moses,
 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel1 son of Uri, the son of Hur,2 of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge3 in all kinds of crafts4—  4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,
5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.
Yes, a tradie, a marketplace minister!!!!
It was also a tradie (a carpenter) who said:
Matthew 16:18 ………….. and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 
Bezalel in Hebrew means “in the shadow (or protection) of God”. Could it be that Bezalel in fashioning the first menorah was working in the shadow of the Carpenter from Nazareth (Jesus) who has now come and is fashioning the modern day menorah which is His church?
What if the church was not represented by a building but by a menorah, a lampstand.
It is an interesting thought.
In the past 2 years I have come across two businesses that look a lot like a menorah. Here are some links that will give you some understanding of what they are doing:
http://www.christianexperts.com/  (ensure you scroll down this page for all the info)
In essence what these two businesses have done is they have allowed the Lord to fashion them into a menorah so that He can take individual lamps like you and me and place us on the menorah so that collectively we can become light to the world.
My prayer for you is that you will find your unique place on the menorah of God, but brace yourself, it will most likely be well outside the confines of a church building!!!!

Proverbs 22:29  Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.

Did you know that as believers we were destined to live out our life purpose in the midst of chaos?

This is bad news for me and for the majority of people I have spoken to of late, as we are all struggling with the impact that chaos is having in our experience of life.

But here is the good news; when God created you in His image He implicitly equipped you to overcome chaos.

In his in depth study of the Hebrew word tselem Skip Moen discovered that when God created man in His own image (tselem) man was given authority (and the need) to control chaos. I encourage you to check out Skips findings at http://skipmoen.com/2012/03/04/identity-theft-4/.

So, what does this have to do with Proverbs 22:9?

Well, as it turns out the Hebrew words behind our English words “excels” and ‘work’ also carry in them this idea of controlling chaos.

A man or woman who is diligent or excels in what they do has the capacity in the midst of chaos to reveal the work that is most important. When chaos reigns it reigns because nobody knows what to do or say; that is except for the person or people who truly believe they are created in the image of God and thus have the authority to control the chaos by what they do or say next.

Our work as believers literally brings control into the midst of chaos as we reveal the hand of God through what we do and say.

The experience of Moses is a fascinating insight into what I have just outlined above.

When Moses encounters God in the burning bush in the course of their conversation God asks Moses “What is that in your hand?” Moses says: “A rod”. It is so easy to think nothing of this exchange until we realise that the rod was a symbol of the work Moses was doing, he was shepherding his father-in-laws flock.

Fast forward into Egypt and we find Moses and Aaron with their rods (work) standing before Pharaoh (a king). But here is where it gets interesting, God uses Aaron’s rod in the first three plagues and each time Pharaoh’s magician’s are able to match it  with Aaron. It’s a tie at three all!!!

As believers this is where we generally give up, we have given it our best shot but our competition (our enemy) has matched us.

The next three plagues rather than coming through Aaron or Moses’ rods (work) come through the direct work of God. But here is the crazy thing, after the sixth plague, the plague of boils, which comes from the hand of God we read this:

Exodus 9:11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.

Then the next three plagues come from the rod or hand of Moses and Pharaohs’ magicians are out of the game.

Finally, the hand of God delivers the final knockout blow and Pharaoh is out of the game and God’s people win freedom!!!!

What can we take from this case study:

  1. the world and the prince of this world can mimic our work and words up to a point, when that happens we must persevere and wait on God for the next thing to do or say.
  2.  when the hand and the voice of God enters the contest people will start to associate what He does and what He says with the image of God that resides in us.
  3. God will seal the final victory.

Let me conclude with this sobering thought; God appears to orchestrate the shaking of Egypt through the chaos of the plagues so that Moses could rise up to that place of purpose and excellence in God, in the midst of chaos, and shepherd God’s people into freedom through his work and his words.

Hebrews 12: 25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake  not only the earth, but also heaven.”  27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

:”what is that in your hand?”

Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.

What flows out of a fountain?

Water, right!!!

So, we have no problem associating water with life, because everyone knows without water life ceases for a plant, an animal, humans and dare I say the planet.

But for the Hebrews there was something deeper hidden away in their understanding of water. Listen to what God said to Moses when the people started to complain about being thirsty:

Exodus 17:6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

The first point of interest is the fact the word “rock” is the one we looked at in the blog post My Rock and My Fortress. To summarise, this word isn’t referring to a single rock it is referring to a rock face. I’d encourage you to go back and read that blog to get the full impact of the actual picture being drawn here in Exodus.

I now see Moses standing atop a rock face in the desert (Horeb means desert) and striking it with his rod and the result is what we might term a water fall!!!

However, we need to move on from this exciting reality to the really exciting reality found in the meaning of the word “water”.

The Hebrew word for water used here is ma-yim and the word pictures behind this word are water-hand-water. In Hebrew thought this is taken as a direct reference to Genesis 1:7 where God separates the water from the water. It also attracts our attention to Exodus 14 where God separated the waters and they walked through the sea on dry land.

So, you see water isn’t just water. Embedded in our understanding of water must be the supernatural power of the Lord my Fountain.

But there is a little bit more here for us to embrace.

What was it Moses used to strike the rock face?

It was his shepherds staff; which represented his work a day world.

Remember when Moses encountered God at the burning bush and he asked him the question: “What is that in your hand?”

Of course it was his shepherd’s staff which God from that point forward used again and again in Moses life to demonstrate His supernatural power.

Maybe your work a day world has become a desert to you. If that is the case may I ask you the question on God’s behalf: “What is that in your hand?”

Beware, it could just be the means of unlocking the supernatural power of God in your life, the Waterfall known as the Lord my Fountain of Life and  be assured there will be sufficient water  there for everyone one in your world of influence, including you.

Lord show me today what it is you have placed in my hand by way of gifts, skills, talents and labour which you have designed into me as the key that will unlock the reality of you as the Fountain of Life in me.

John 7:38 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

A Personal Request

Hi Everyone

First of all a big thank you for being a regular reader of my blog.

Secondly, can I ask a big favour of you? I am undertaking a “boot camp” to improve the availability of the material on the blog and to hopefully develop this further into publishing books and teaching seminars based around these materials. So, could I humbly ask that if you have found the blog helpful that you write a short testimonial and submit it as a comment in my latest blog.

Thank you so very, very much for your continued support and encouragement.


God My Armour

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Lately we have been exploring the facets that appear on the Diamond of God.

Here is another facet: God our Whole Armour!!!

We all know of course that the armour Paul is referring to is for protection. The question is: what is the armour protecting?

After pondering over the various meanings attached to the Hebrew word for armour (i.e.Chaliytsah) I have come to the conclusion that the key thing being protected is the fruit, the good works purposed by God to be done by the person wearing the armour.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Hidden inside the Hebrew word Chaliytsah you will also find the Hebrew word for disease (i.e.Cho-lee).

Whilst birds and hail are a real enemy of the fruit harvest there is nothing more devastating to a fruit harvest than disease. You see disease can wipe out the whole harvest, in fact it can result in the tree(s) having to be uprooted if the disease cannot be controlled or protected against.

So, the devil is intent on infecting us with a disease that will destroy the fruit harvest of good works, the very God given purpose in our lives.

When I know God as my Armour He will protect the fruit, He will protect the harvest.

A while back we were looking at the first occurrence of the word grace in Scripture and we found it in the centre of Noah’s relationship with God.

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

As we delved deeper into this word we discovered that the Hebrew word picture for grace is: ‘a fence that protects life’.

We then observed that the ark itself was a picture of grace acting as a fence that protected the life within it.

In addition to this we noted that the wood of the ark was lined with pitch and that the Hebrew word for pitch shares the same root as the Hebrew word for atonement.

Have you made the connection yet???

The whole armour of God is another expression of grace as a ‘fence that protects life’.

What the wood of the ark lined with pitch accomplished is exactly the same as what the whole armour of God accomplishes.

A detailed study of all the parts that make up the armour of God: helmet, breastplate, belt, shoes, sword and shield; will inevitably point us towards the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

In essence it is the blood of Jesus that protects us from the diseases of this world.

God’s grace and the blood of Jesus are eternally woven together to create the whole armour of God.

So, I encourage you: “take to yourself, at once and once for all, the complete armour of God in order that you may be able to resist” (Kenneth Wuest The New Testament An Expanded Translation)