22, '12 3:09 PM
By Regner Capener
Have a blessed weekend, did you? Ready to fire things up for another week? Well, OK, for the rest of the week?
It’s hot water and lemon for me today. Maybe for the next couple of days, actually. Time to do a flush of toxins out of my system. Hey, don’t look at me like that! There’s nothing like drinking hot water and putting in a slice of lemon. Tastes good, and works well.
I used to get strange looks at the restaurants in the south when I would ask for a cup of hot water and lemon. The waiters or waitresses looked at me like I fell out of a spaceship. I can’t tell you how many times they brought me a glass of hot water and put some lemon slices on a dish. When you try to explain that the glass is too hot (and sometimes they actually bring you warm water – not hot) and you need a cup, they still didn’t get it.
When Della and I have traveled in Alaska, Canada and the northwest, we tend to order hot water and lemon. Unless the restaurant happens to serve gourmet coffee, we just don’t order coffee in the restaurants because what they serve is either instant coffee (yucckkkk!) or canned, pre-ground coffee that tastes like last week’s leftover, and has all the acid to go with it. For whatever reason, ordering hot water and lemon is pretty common in the northern tier states. Oddly enough, when Della and I were in
Washington, DC and asked for hot water and lemon in the restaurants, no one blinked an eye.
Anyway, 'nuff of that! Hot water and lemon not only refreshes, it has a real health benefit. The citric acid in the lemon does wonders when used with the hot water. Drink that for three days or so, and you’ll be surprised at what it does for you.
Several years ago, I did a series of Coffee Breaks dealing with our Covenant position in Jesus Christ, and the rights we have in Christ as a result of that relationship. I'd like to revisit a small portion of that discussion and perhaps amplify that which Holy Spirit has been emphasizing in my spirit of late.
This might take some doing so let me begin by laying a few foundations so you understand where I'm taking this discussion.
I've mentioned this before, but there is an aspect of covenant I don't think I've ever heard discussed in any church or fellowship in my 50+ years of active ministry. It is based in a Hebrew word that really has no direct translation into English. That word is ãñçkheseed with the "k" sound almost silent. Strong's Concordance is literally all over the map with the word, and without explaining why, gives totally divergent meanings.
Gesenius, in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon explains the word like this in its primary applications: to love with intense desire; to show oneself gracious; zeal (towards anyone); ardor; kindness; benevolence; the grace, favor and mercy of God; tender mercies; lovingkindness.
Depending on context, this word does have some opposite uses, but these uses are limited in Scripture and always occur with appropriate diacritical (breathing) marks. Because those uses are peripheral to our study, I won't try to get into them other than to say that they always occur with antiphrasis -- that is, set within the context of communicating a negative article.
This word, ãñç kheseed, is -- in my personal opinion -- one of the closest Hebrew words to the Greekagape in usage and meaning. Appearing most frequently -- actually, almost entirely -- within the context of covenant, it gives us a picture of the kind of relationship the Lord had with Abraham, and the extravagant nature of what the Lord was establishing.
ãñçkheseed draws a picture of an almost intense rivalry in which covenant partners seek to meet each other's needs, go out of their way to defend, uphold and care for, and to display a sense of mercy and lovingkindness that knows no bounds even in the face of dispute or disagreement.
In one of my Coffee Breaks dealing with the concept of covenant, we talked about the fact that one of the first events to occur during the covenant ceremony was the exchange of cloaks or outer coverings. It symbolized the giving of all that a person was, making all that he had available to his covenant partner: his wealth, the resources of his household, the intervention of his family in time of need or distress, and his personal guarantee or oath upon which the covenant hung.
Consider how the Lord showed His cloak during the covenant ceremony. Abraham is put into a deep sleep as the Lord shows up to pass between the halved animals and stand in the blood. The KJV puts it that"when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces."
That's somewhat obscure in the way it gets translated, but the word translated "smoking" is the same word that gets used in some instances for cloud or vapor. Remember the cloud or pillar of smoke that stood guard for Israel when the armies of Pharaoh came after them? Now do you have the picture? It is metaphoric of the covering, the defense of the Lord on behalf of His covenant people.
We'll come back to this illustration in a few minutes. ãñçkheseed is the core of covenant. It describes what we could call an "alter ego." Let me explain.
I've shared this before, but it's worth sharing again. When a person is in a covenant relationship, their covenant partner virtually becomes their alter ego, their "other self." I can probably liken it to a description that folks used to use in referring to Dwain McKenzie and me during our Long Beach Christian Center days. We were so linked to each other in relationship and companionship that even when folks only saw one of us, they saw the other. We were frequently referred to as "the Bobbsey twins" (a reference to two nearly identical twins in the famous series of children's books).
The situation developed to the place where when we were in Barrow (we ministered together in the church I [in my teen years] had helped my Dad build years before we were at Long Beach Christian Center), people would see me walking down the street and wave at me with a shout of "Hi, Dwain." He experienced the virtually identical thing when folks would say to him, "Hi, Regner, Hi, Betty June." (Betty June -- since gone to be with the Lord -- was his wife at that time).
You've got to know how strong this identity thing was when my father returned from a boat trip along the arctic coast where he had been ministering in some villages and summer campsites and saw Dwain coming to meet him on the beach. His first and immediate reaction was, "Well, Regner, what are you doing here?" Funny thing. I was in Nome at the time, and that's a long ways from Barrow.
Anyway, you get the idea.
[Here's a side-note for you. Dwain and I developed the closest of friendships and have had a bond in the realm of the Spirit for more than 55 years. We've had our moments of disagreement, to be sure, (they were so long ago, I've all but forgotten what they were) but throughout the years there has been a nonstop bond of love and fellowship between us closer than any ordinary blood relationships.]
Here's a good way for me to describe this. Within the framework of covenant, kheseed describes a condition in which each other's blood flows in each other's veins: so deep is the sense of caring and covering for each other.
Now maybe you can begin to understand how the whole concept of covenant has been so diluted and watered down throughout the centuries that we've lost the true sense of it! Now maybe you can begin to get a grasp on the New Testament (Covenant) and the use of the word, agape, as the descriptor by which the Lord commands relationship.
Covenant relationships defined the character and nature of those in covenant with each other. So deep was the sense of responsibility and concern for each other that they would gladly die for one another if the situation so demanded. It transferred over to the family members within that covenant so that each party to the covenant, their wives, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren -- and even aunts, uncles and cousins -- all became identified with each other.
The entire Old Testament -- the word "testament" all by itself scarcely conveys the whole picture -- is a picture of God's covenant, His first covenant with Abraham and his descendants. Everything framed in the Old Testament is described within the structure of covenant relationship.
So what am I getting at? Why am I talking about covenant relationships?
While every covenant brings a level of responsibility between the covenant partners, it also brings covenant blessings and covenant rights. I could probably really get off track here by talking about this concept of blessings and covenant rights if I began describing it within the framework of human covenants, but the covenant we have with the Lord Jesus Christ far transcends anything human imagination can perceive. In order to explain it properly let me share something that I think a lot of believers have missed.
Let's go back to the time when God first made His covenant with Abraham. (See Genesis 15)
The Lord proceeds to tell him," I am the Lord God that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it."
Abraham by this time, of course, was well aware of the significance of covenant. To inherit is to have heirs. At his age, having children is rare, if not impossible, so he says to the Lord -- within the framework of covenant-thought," Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it."
Now we're going to see the enactment of covenant -- and this is no ordinary covenant; this covenant is about as one-sided as you can get!
The Lord instructs Abraham to bring Him "an heifer of three years old, a she-goat of three years old, a ram of three years old, and a turtledove and a young pigeon."
The animals are slaughtered, their carcasses divided in two parts and laid out with each half facing the other. One bird was placed on one side, and the other bird the other side. (I don't have time -- and while important, it isn't specifically relevant to this discussion -- to get into the significance of each of these animals or birds, and their spiritual implications. We'll save that for some later discussion.) Suffice it to say that the halved carcasses were placed far enough apart that Abraham could stand between them and the Lord could pass between them.
The significance of this IS relevant since the parties to this covenant would be standing and/or walking in blood as the covenant was struck. Why?
The Lord spoke to Moses and said (Leviticus 17:11), "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."
Understand? Like every other member of the human race, Abraham had been born under and grown up under the same curse that came after Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That curse was death! That curse was poverty! That curse was the requirement to work and toil for one's living instead of working so that one could have the wherewithal to give. That curse brought about a break in fellowship and communion between man and God.
Because the first part of the curse was death itself -- and the degenerative and decaying process had entered the blood of every human being, as well as their genetic structure -- God designed and established the physics AND the spiritual order of things so that blood had to be shed as a redemptive measure in order to reverse that death process. The Lord had first done this with Adam and Eve by the shedding of the blood of lambs or sheep in order to provide them with skin coverings. Abel had that revelation when he brought to the Lord (Genesis 4:4) the first and best of the lambs from his flock.
Once again, let's go back and re-read the passage from Genesis 15 which contains such a stupendous revelation of this covenant the Lord was making with Abraham.
"And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
I thought I was going to get to finish this discussion with one single Coffee Break, but it is obvious to me that's not going to happen. Let's pick up this discussion in a few days and we'll finish it with Part Two.
Sadly, there are many Christians who are cheated out of their inheritance and their rights as citizens of the Kingdom of God; and they are cheated because they neither know what they have a right to, nor do they understand that everything they have a right to has been either withheld until they exercise the same faith that Abraham exercised, or they fail to recognize that Satan has stolen what rightly belongs to them.
My objective in sharing is to help God's people receive what they are entitled to -- and even more than that, in so doing see that Jesus Christ receives His inheritance in a people who boldly and unashamedly walk in their inheritance in Him, displaying God's glory in the process!
Make sense? Good! See you again in a few days.
[Back in the early 1980's I served for roughly three years as an advisor to the area board of Aglow in Fairbanks. Seven years later I served in the same capacity in Anchorage. The following prophetic Word comes from Jane Hansen-Hoyt who is President & CEO of Aglow International. This Word was shared November 7th.]
Last evening a President was elected to another term of office in the United States. It was a measured victory with half of the nation voting for the other candidate. Such a divided vote speaks to the reality that we are a nation divided on many issues, serious issues, that continue to profoundly change America. We have seen historically what occurs when a nation continually turns from the principles of God's Word to walk in its own ways.
As you might imagine, there are many voters who are concerned with the outcome of this election. While I am certain that we, as Believers, must continue to make our prayers heard in the gates of our respective nations, I also want to remind us of our true purpose.
When Pilate questioned Jesus about being "King of the Jews," Jesus answered, "My Kingdom is not of this world!" Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice" (see John 18:33-37).
Jesus knew who He was. His identity was secure. His purpose was focused. He could not be turned aside by people's opinion of Him or the questions they asked. He never once wavered in the purpose for which He had come, which was to demonstrate the realities of another Kingdom. That Kingdom was vastly different from the world around Him. He had come to establish a new mindset, a new culture, and a new way. We, as the followers of Jesus, have been sent into the world to continue what Jesus began.
Think of Pilate's response to Jesus: "Do You not know that I have power to crucify You?" (see John 19:10). In essence, Pilate was saying that he had the power to destroy Jesus and all that He had come to do in the earth! The bold answer of Jesus captured the totality of the situation, even as it does ours, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above" (verse 11).
Jesus knew that there was a greater purpose He had been sent to accomplish. While things around Him swirled in opposition to that purpose, He walked in total confidence that God, His Father, was in control and would not allow any deviation from the plan.
Nothing has changed! We, too, walk in the knowledge that God's plan is marching on. We are the people of another Kingdom. We have joined ourselves to Him in that purpose, as we move on with Him. The hour is more critical than we know and our prayers and worship more vital than we perhaps see. It is the time of our arising. We have stepped into a new place in our identity and purpose. Do not be moved by what you see and hear. Keep your eye single and you will be filled with the light of His revelation as we walk forward together, male and female, taking dominion.
Blessings on you!
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