Tag Archives: Christian devotionals

Becoming the Ark of His Covenant

Ark of the Covenant replicaRecently I spent some time meditating on the Ark of the Covenant and its significance to New Testament believers. It is also referred to as the Ark of Promise, the Ark of Agreement, the Ark of His Presence, and the Ark of Testimony.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the Ark, it was the symbol and manifestation of God’s Presence among His people Israel in Old Testament times. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies to apply blood from an animal sacrifice to the mercy seat which covered the Ark, thereby covering the sins of the people from God’s sight by that blood for another year (Exodus 25:10-22 and Leviticus 16).

The tabernacle (later, the temple) and the Ark of the Covenant within it were earthly patterns of a temple which exists in heaven. Hebrews 9:1-10:22 tells us that Jesus, the High Priest of the New Covenant, entered the Holy of Holies in the heavenly temple and sprinkled His own blood upon the mercy seat there, so that our sins are forever atoned for and never need another sacrifice made for them.

Today, we who believe on Jesus are living temples of His Presence, fully washed in Jesus’ blood, with the Holy Spirit continually abiding in us, as God’s Presence once abode, via the Ark, in the physical tabernacle / temple of old.

As I thought on these things, I prayed, “Lord, make me an ark of Your covenant, an ark of Your Presence. Let the covenant provisions, which I have with You through Jesus’ blood, be visible to others, so that I am also an ark of testimony to Your goodness.”

I realized that when we petition God for healing or any other provision of our covenant with Him, it’s not about getting Him to agree with us for it. No, we are to agree with HIM for what He has already said He will do for us.

The shift in how we pray and believe is tremendous. When we feel we must get Him to agree with us, we try to twist His arm to do what we want, and we’re never quite sure we’ll succeed in persuading Him. But when we say, “Lord, I agree with You for the healing (or other provision) You have already promised to me in Your covenant,” we are coming into unity with Him. We don’t have to convince Him; He’s already there waiting for us to ask.

What has God given us as part of our New Testament covenant with Him? Any promise God made in His Word is included. Salvation, deliverance, healing, protection, financial provision, peace, joy, and wisdom are just a few. It’s time we inform ourselves of what is in the contract! Partaking of the covenant provisions is honoring to the Lord. When they become our daily reality, we are a living testimony of His goodness to the unsaved people around us.

So Lord, give me ever-increasing understanding of how to live as an ark of Your covenant. Make me an ark of agreement with You, a living ark of Your Presence, and an ark of testimony to the world around me, so that they will be drawn to You.

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman's Guide to the Nature of God

 

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God
by Lee Ann Rubsam

Part B

Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.Proverbs 13:12

Oak treeFor those who are discouraged and seem stuck in “hope deferred, heartsick” circumstances, I want to encourage you today. I’ve sometimes heard people who were living in a lengthy time of waiting repeatedly quote the first part of this Scripture. However, this verse has a Part B: “BUT when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”

God always has a Part B ending to the trials and disappointments He allows us to pass through. He does not intend to leave us forever in the “hope deferred, heartsick” state.

Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David all experienced having their hopes get to the point of looking pretty bleak, but at the appropriate time, God brought their desires to fulfillment. Psalm 105:19 says of Joseph, “Until the time that his word came, the word of the LORD tried him.” We could rephrase that, “Until the right time for his promise to be fulfilled arrived, that promise tested his faith.” But the trial ended, and his expectation received its answer.

Abraham waited twenty-five years for Isaac to be born, but Hebrews 6:15 tells us that “after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:12 exhorts us to persevere too, that we might “through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

In the New Testament, a disciple named Aeneas waited eight years to be healed. It must have seemed like an awful “hope deferred, heartsick” kind of existence. But he received his healing in due time, and all the people in two entire towns gave their lives to Jesus as a result. His healing also brought in his harvest. (You can read his story in Acts 9:32-35.) 

Do you have a long-standing promise from the Lord? A desire of the heart which has endured, and yet it looks like its fulfillment will never come? Part B of Proverbs 13:12 says when the desire comes, not if it comes.

Your hope will not be deferred forever. Encourage yourself in the Lord, as David did, by remembering His past faithfulness to you and by meditating on what the Bible says about His faithfulness. If you need some help finding the  verses you need, I’ve compiled some for you at my website. God’s “Part B” is goodness toward you. Jeremiah 29:11 sums it up well: “‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.'”

Continue to expect God to fulfill the desires He has placed in your heart, and you will receive your expected end.

Steady as She Goes!

Steady as she goes.  It’s a nautical phrase, a command given by a ship’s captain to the helmsman to stay on the same course when the waters get rough, in spite of wind gusts and cross-currents.  And, it’s good advice for Christians to heed.

When the Lord has given you a promise or specific direction for your life, inevitably there will be some rough seas.  We tend to think that if we’ve got our sailing orders, God will prepare calm waters before us — but it rarely works out that way.

I would imagine there are times the helmsman feels nervous while carrying out the captain’s orders to stay the course.  He might not always think his superior is making the best judgment.  And when our personal ship is rolling on the high seas, it’s sometimes hard to remember that Jesus, our Captain, knows what He’s doing too.

We may feel like we’re way down here in the storm, while the One giving the orders is way up there in heaven, radioing commands. But in reality, our Captain is right there in the boat with us, just as He was with His disciples on the Sea of Galilee, when they were shipping water and thought they wouldn’t make it.  They did, and we will, too. 

If the Lord has laid out a vision for your life, but it has shifted into looking mighty impossible right now, He wants you to keep a steady hand on the helm and stay the course, based on what He has already said to you.  You may even have panicky sailors around you shouting contrary orders to you out of obsession with the obvious outward circumstances.  Those sailors may be well-meaning people reacting to what they see with their natural eyes.  They may be your own fear-filled thoughts, or even injected thoughts from the enemy of your soul to tempt you to disobey.

But you’ve got your Captain’s orders.  He’s a wise old seasoned hand Who has seen this kind of storm many a time before and navigated through it successfully.  So listen to Him.  Do what He says.  Steady as she goes.