We Are More than Conquerors!

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Romans 8:35-37

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Many times in difficult situations we look to passages like this one to find hope, rest, and maybe even comfort in our trials. It is comforting to know that NOTHING shall separate us us from His love. That pure, unconditional love that served as the catalyst for Calvary; the love that caused the God of all eternity to robe Himself in flesh and to present Himself as a spotless lamb to redeem the souls of man, that love is inescapable! Deny it if you will, but He still loves you! Run from it if you must, but He still loves you! You may very well spend an eternity in Hell for rejecting His love, but rest assured the worst part of Hell will not be the fire, the spirits or Satan himself; it will be an understanding that God still loves you and you can never love Him back! That perfect love, the one that casts out fear, that love is available for you and for me! And there is nothing you or I can do to stop God from loving us!

As much as we acknowledge and accept God’s unconditional love, there is a cold reality that we are equated to sheep being led to a slaughter. The Apostle Paul captures our attention by proclaiming that nothing shall separate us from God’s eternal love; then he proceeds to define life… tribulation… distress… persecution… famine… nakedness (wanting)… peril… Life is tough! Yet this great Apostle doesn’t leave us with a vulnerable and defeated spirit, but he energizes our faith by emphatically declaring, “Nay, in ALL these things we are more than conquerors…”!

I have long and oft quoted this verse with little or no understanding of what it really implies. But last night as I was praying I felt the question began to stir in my spirit, “How am I MORE than a conqueror”? As I began to dig into this mystery I began to look into the word conqueror; it simply means to defeat or to subdue by force. It implies that the defeated adversary was weaker than you. History is filled with men who have wore the label of conqueror. Whether it was the Biblical accounts of Kings like Nebuchadnezzar, or Historical figures like Alexander the Great, we have plenty of examples of conquerors.

I have, as I’m sure many of you have, found myself in trials and struggles that I was able to conquer on my own! I have faced temptations that my will power was able to control and conquer. And that is the way it should be! Every Christian should develop spiritual muscles to be able to conquer things that try and trip us up. But in reality God doesn’t get much glory from that. There is a reason Moses wasn’t able to just stay in Egypt until he took his rightful place as Pharaoh and then simply pass a law to let Israel leave! God didn’t want the books to say “And Moses let the people go” he wanted it to read, “And God let the people go”! God doesn’t get much glory from the things we can do on our own.

There is a word in scripture, however, that implies dependance on God; overcomer. This word indicates that the defeated adversary was in fact stronger than you! You didn’t walk off of this battle field a conqueror, you found yourself on the other side of a trial that should’ve killed you as an overcomer! You’ve walked through cancer that the doctors said was incurable! You’ve walked through ugly divorces that should’ve wiped out your faith in God! You’ve walked through tragedy, pain and heartbreak; yet when the world expected to see another casualty of life they saw an overcomer! And you know, and they know God did this!

I realized what made me more than a conqueror, being an overcomer! Conquerors know the tactics and the skill they used to win their battles; yet when people look at us they understand, “And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb…” I don’t have to depend on my talent, my strength or my abilities to be successful! God is fighting for me! You may feel overwhelmed and like your fighting to stay above water, but rest assured you are more than a conqueror through Him that loved us! It’s not your power that will deliver you, it’s His power!

We are more than conquerors!

The Measure of a Worshiper

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Revelations 11:1

“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.”

The book of Revelations is a unique book of prophecy, symbolism’s and foreshadowing of spiritual things. It is a remarkable book in which John, the last remaining apostle, pens after seeing these wonders with his own eyes. John has just witnessed an angel descend to earth, one foot on the earth the other foot in the sea, clutching in his hands an open book. This book, in my opinion, represents the word of God; and John was commanded of this angel to eat this book. As odd as it may sound, this scene is a symbol of something deeper. John was ordered to eat the book in the same manner Ezekiel was ordered to “…open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee…” (Ezekiel 2:8) What God was doing with these two prophetic visionaries was preparing them to receive a revelation that would change them drastically! Don’t just observe these things, consume them!

After John consumes the word, a voice speaks to him and tells him that he will be a prophetic voice to many nations. As the shear power of this moment shakes his core an angel appears with a reed, a measuring device, and tells John to measure the temple, measure the altar, and measure them that worship therein. It would be through John’s connection to God’s word that John would measure these things.

Now in order to measure something there first must be a comparable measurement. When God moved on Moses to build a tabernacle the Bible says that this tabernacle would be fashioned after the pattern in heaven. Before the tabernacle could be built on earth, it first had to have a pattern in heaven. So I understand how John could measure the temple and the altar, there was a heavenly pattern that he could compare it to. However, the idea of measuring a worshiper seemed a bit strange to me.

That was until the Lord directed my attention to the prophet Ezekiel once again. I felt like God was getting ready to show me something. I felt him whisper into my spirit that in order to understand John’s experience I fist needed to understand who these worshipers were to begin with.

Ezekiel, much like John, was given insight into supernatural things. He in fact witnessed the same visions John did to some degree. And it was in Ezekiel 40, where the prophet of the Lord would encounter an angel with a reed measuring the temple. And for 40 or so verses, the angel monotonously measures every nook and cranny of the tabernacle. Then as the chapter nears a close, Ezekiel shows us a glimpse of something extraordinary!

Ezekiel was led by this angel into the inner court of the temple. And it was here where Ezekiel would discover the chambers of the singers; that’s the worshipers! What is fascinating is the fact that there are actually two chambers here. One for the priests who kept the charge of the temple, and one for the priests who kept the charge over the altar. As the angel is unveiling this to Ezekiel, it becomes clear that the priest were the worshipers!

Before Ezekiel ever saw them as priests, he first saw them as worshipers!

I commend any young man or young lady who desires or pursues the call to ministry! I applaud you for accepting God’s will for your life; but let me remind you that you will never be priest in God’s house, if you don’t first prove yourself as a worshiper!

David is recognized as king in the eyes of man. That’s position.  But before David ever wore the garments of a king, David was a worshiper!

John the Baptist is recognized in scripture as the voice of him crying in the wilderness. He was the one who paved the way for the incarnation of Christ! But before John was an anointed voice, John leaped in his mother’s womb! John was a worshiper!

Every minister desires position and influence for their ministries. But your position and your message will be birthed out of a spirit of worship!

So as Ezekiel’s vision unfolds, included in the description of these priests were this caption in Ezekiel 40:46, “these (the priests) are the sons of Zadok…” The next thing we learn about these priests are that they are of the Zadokite priesthood.

There was a priest named Eli, a weak-kneed, spineless priest who desired favor with his own sons more than he desired the favor of God. During his ministry sin was rampant in the temple. His own sons stole sacrifices, abused their power to get what they wanted, they took advantage of the women who worked at the gates of the temple. The priesthood of Eli represented flesh, carnality, and greed. The spirit of Eli is willing to compromise truth, in order to become more successful. So as Eli refuses to address the blatant sin in the church, an unnamed prophet begins to prophesy of Eli’s demise.

This prophet tells Eli, God WILL raise up a faithful priesthood who would do according to God’s heart and God’s mind. And the men of this priesthood would be anointed forever! But there is something here we need to be aware of. Although Eli was punished, and although the prophet told him that God would cut off his arm, or remove his power; God said I will not cut him off from before mine altar. It is important to note that there will be two spiritual priesthoods that will last forever. The spirit of Eli, and the spirit of the faithful priest.

So as time progresses we come to the life of David, the anointed young man we’ve come to adore. As David was anointed, Saul’s rage and jealousy force David to flee to Ziklag. It was here where we are introduced to a young priest named Zadok. Zadok recognized the spirit of God upon the life of David, and rather than enjoying the luxuries of being priest in Saul’s kingdom Zadok went with David in exile. And this priest would never leave David’s side! Through every rebellious act, Zadok stayed faithful! Through every betrayal, Zadok stayed faithful! When Absolom stole the hearts of Israel, Zadok stayed faithful! Even when Abiathar, another priest in Israel, joined forces with Adonijah to overthrow David and take the throne, Zadok stayed faithful!

It wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always popular; but Zadok was faithful to the man of God!

As Ezekiel’s vision progresses it brings a sense of clarity to John’s vision. As John was ordered to measure the temple, and to measure the altar; could it be the reason God wanted John to measure the worshiper be because the power of the temple and the effectiveness of the altar were predicated in the spirit of the worshipers?

So John, armed with a reed in his hands, begins to measure the worshipers (priests) to see if their ministry reflects that of Eli or of Zadok! Does their ministry reflect sin, flesh and compromise; or does their ministry reflect the mind and the heart of God? As I was recently given the obligation to commission two young men entering into Bible college, I could not shake the responsibility i felt in my spirit to measure the worshipers!

It’s not about success, it’s not about how big your name gets; it’s all about the character of your ministry!

The spirit of Eli is running rampant in traditional Christianity today; but God is raising up a generation of faithful priests! 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us God is searching the world, looking to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards him! He’s measuring worshipers!

Perhaps that’s why John first had to consume that word, “for the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart.”

Thoughts… Heart…. Thoughts… Heart…

A priesthood after God’s mind and God’s heart…

As the Psalmist concludes his 78th Psalm, he begins to shed some light on why God chose David from the pasture of the sheepfold, to be king and leader over His people Israel. He writes in the 72nd verse, “He fed them with the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” People may follow your “skill”, but if you don’t have integrity they will die of starvation.

Eli had skill. Zadok had integrity.

As the spirit of the Lord measures your ministry. which spiritual priesthood will you reflect?