THE ROCK WAS CHRIST

1 Cor.10:4 – and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

Every season of God is special and unique. The things we often take for granted are amazing daily blessings that come from the Lord. In the case of the Israelites they had daily miracles right in front of them. From the day that they passed through the Red Sea there was a cloud literally guiding them along the way. This cloud covered them from the heat, directed their paths, and had a fire in it for warmth at night. They also had forty years of daily provision of food. Manna from heaven formed on the ground and sustained them for an entire generation. In today’s verse Paul spoke of the Rock that followed them and provided water for them every day. Whether the Rock literally followed them is debatable. The fact remains, over a million people were supplied with water for forty years in a desert. Here is how Adam Clarke describes this miracle.

“How could the rock follow them? It does not appear that the rock ever moved from the place where Moses struck it. But to solve this difficulty, it is said that rock here is put, by metonymy, for the water of the rock; and that this water did follow them through the wilderness. This is more likely; but we have not direct proof of it. The ancient Jews, however, were of this opinion, and state that the streams followed them in all their journeyings, up the mountains, down the valleys, and that when they came to encamp, the waters formed themselves into cisterns and pools; and that the rulers of the people guided them, by their staves, in rivulets to the different tribes and families.”

How about us today? I have daily bread that comes down from heaven. Every time I open my Bible I feast on the Living Bread. The Cloud of Glory also falls on me everyday. Do I see a cloud like the Israelites did? Maybe, sometimes. Regardless I have the anointing of His presence falling on me everyday. The water from the Rock is also with us everyday. If anyone is thirsty He is right there to give us drink. So everyday our world is full of miracles. Maybe everyone isn’t aware of them but they are here nonetheless.

BAPTIZED IN THE CLOUD

1 Cor.10:1-4 – For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

The Old Testament is filled with pictures, types, and shadows pointing us to the reality that we have received in Christ. In this passage Paul claims that the people of God were baptized in the cloud as they traveled from Egypt to the Land of Promise. Of course Paul is saying the experiences of the Children of Israel as they left Egypt picture what we have available to us in Christ today. Think of it, Paul said that the jewish nation was being baptized in the cloud, this is clearly a picture of what’s available today. So have you been baptized in the cloud? Have you received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit? This Spirit baptism is the very life of His church. To be filled with the Spirit gives us major advantages over everyone else in the world. Check out Adam Clarke on today’s passage.

“It is manifest from Scripture that the miraculous cloud in the wilderness performed a three-fold office to the Israelites. 1. It was a cloud in the form of a pillar to direct their journeyings by day. 2. It was a pillar of fire to give light to the camp by night. 3. It was a covering for them during the day, and preserved them from the scorching rays of the sun; and supplied them with a sufficiency of aqueous particles, not only to cool that burning atmosphere, but to give refreshment to themselves and their cattle; and its humidity was so abundant that the apostle here represents the people as thoroughly sprinkled and enveloped in its aqueous vapour.”

I love the involvement of the Holy Spirit in every part of my life. Clarke pointed out several things the Spirit helps us in in our day – to day excursions. First, he says that the cloud provided guidance in our lives. Those who remained “under the cloud” received guidance from the Lord. The Holy Spirit is also our guide. As we look to the Lord in worship and begin to experience the power of His presence, know this; the Holy Spirit is our guide. Don’t be anxious about tomorrow, the Lord will guide you into His pastures of rest and provision. We also see that He is the pillar of fire to give us light. This also pictures our precious Lord as our light; He lights up our own lives as well as giving us insight and revelation into spiritual things. He helps us understand the scriptures and also distributes His gifts among us. Finally, Clarke speaks about the atmosphere of the cloud. Today, His cloud comes upon us, heals us, and and actually creates an atmosphere for us to live in, an atmosphere that fosters His powerful signs and wonders.

SPIRITUAL DEHYDRATION

SPIRITUAL DEHYDRATION

…and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).

Just as He provided bread for the children of Israel in the wilderness, Moses’ unseen Friend was their source of water as well. The water that came from the rock is an awesome picture of the only drink that will satisfy a thirsty soul. We need to drink of the Lord’s presence every day, drinking in His living waters.

Recently, I was speaking to a pastor friend about chronic dehydration. He said that 80% of all Americans are dehydrated. While those figures can be questioned, dehydration is real and can cause severe medical problems. The symptoms that result from natural dehydration, parallel spiritual symptoms that result in spiritual problems that come from a lack of spiritual water. A dry mouth is the first symptom of dehydration. Some Christians have dry mouths. All they talk about are the things of the world, things that don’t edify. They never talk about the things of God. Their mouths are full of dryness. Constipation is the second symptom of dehydration. If you don’t have enough water in your system, your body can become constipated. This is even true for little babies. They can become dehydrated and experience a lot of pain and discomfort. In the same way, spiritually dehydrated people have difficulty expelling the waste in their lives. They are constipated with the things of this world.

Exhaustion is a third symptom of dehydration. People who don’t drink enough of the living water can feel tired all the time. They may think they have no time for the things of God, such as church on Sunday night and Wednesday night. Too tired to go to a home group or to Bible school, they may not even have enough energy to share the gospel or to pray and seek the Lord.

The absence of tears is another symptom of dehydration. In spiritual dehydration, the things of God don’t affect you emotionally. Lack of elasticity is the fifth symptom of dehydration. The body starts to age and doesn’t repair quickly. Spiritually, this means that a person gets bent out of shape and easily offended. This is a sure sign of someone who is not drinking deeply of the fountain of living water.

One of the most interesting characteristics of dehydration is that people often mistake their thirst for hunger pains, and they think they need to eat. According to the article, if people drank a lot of water before going to sleep at night, they wouldn’t wake up feeling hungry. How many people do you know who think they need more teaching when what they really need is a drink from the well of life?

There are some interesting parallels in this illustration and some good spiritual lessons to be learned. I don’t want to become spiritually constipated, nor do I want to become tired or emotionally insensitive to the things of God. I don’t want to become cranky and carry around offenses everywhere I go. And, believe me, offenses will come. Instead, I want to be thirsty, and I want to drink of the presence of the Lord.

IN THE CLOUD AND IN THE SEA

IN THE CLOUD AND IN THE SEA

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).

As they began to leave Egypt, the Israelites found themselves trapped between the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian army. Once again, Pharaoh hardened his heart and prepared to wipe out the children of Israel and take the remainder as slaves. As he stood there, looking at the Red Sea and the advancing army, Moses wasn’t afraid. He had been in the presence of the only One who he could ever fear again. He had been in the presence of Almighty God. How could he possibly be afraid of man or what man could do to him? In Exodus 14:13, Moses told the Israelites, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord….” Moses stretched out his rod and an incredible miracle occurred. The Red Sea opened, and the Israelites walked through on dry ground. When Pharaoh and his army tried to follow them, they all drowned.

As Paul describes the events of that fateful day, he says the Israelites were all baptized in the Red Sea. Like the children of Israel, born-again Christians are baptized as we leave Egypt. As we leave our old lives behind, we experience a death to the life of Egypt, the land of the natural. I no longer live in the land of the flesh and the pleasures of man. I have come out of Egypt. Instead, I have my eyes on the unseen friend that Moses saw on the day that the Red Sea opened. I am following after Him. I too have been baptized. My life has been buried in Christ and I have taken up a new life. I have found my joy now in the presence of God.

Once on the other side of the Red Sea, the Israelites were led through the wilderness by the cloud with the fire in it. Paul says that they were baptized in the water and in the cloud. Have you been baptized in the cloud? Have you been baptized with the Holy Ghost and with the power of God from on high? As you are immersed in that awesome cloud, the Lord will lead you through the challenges of this life. His power and His presence will give you wisdom, direction, and strength. Everywhere that Moses went, he saw the handiwork of the invisible God. He saw Him in the cloud and in the fire. Just like Moses, every day you and I can see the hand of our unseen Friend. Every day of my life, Jesus is there, baptizing me with the Holy Ghost. Every moment of the day, His presence is pouring into me. His glory cloud comes upon me; the fire begins to burn in my heart, and I am filled with His passion again. Have you seen this unseen Friend? Or are you wandering in the wilderness by yourself, depending upon your own strength and your own abilities?

SHANGHAIED

“SHANGHAIED IN SHANGHAI”

MERRY WEDNESDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” (2 Corinthians 6:11-13 MSG)

As I am writing this we will be landing in the USA after spending a week in Shanghai. I mentioned in one of my last blogs, China has been on our radar for almost 40 years. We felt the call to China way back in our Bible School days. Five years ago, we sent the Weidner’s to Shanghai, the Barnitz’s and 2 single girls are also helping with the work. To say the least one can’t help to be moved by their ministry. I can relate to the Queen of Sheba when she said, “And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.” I Kings 10:6 If you are a human your heart will be moved seeing orphaned babies cared for at the healing home (Chinese can have only one child so some abandon the ones with birth defects). One baby stands out because he is “blue”- born with his heart on the wrong side, he too awaits a family to care for him. You can’t imagine the bill every month! The whole purpose of our trip was to hold a Holy Spirit Revival Conference at their church but God had other plans. I guess you could say we got Holy Ghost Shanghaied (to abduct, kidnap, nobble, snatch – take away to an undisclosed location against their will). We ended up having a very historical weekend of services throughout Shanghai with precious believers who were stirred up to “make their calling and election sure”. The Chinese church is growing very rapidly, more than any other nation at this moment. Christians worldwide are being persecuted but the Apostle Paul said, “the Word of God cannot be bound”. First Cor 6:11 tells us we are not being fenced in, but are learning to live openly and expansively despite the restrictions in the natural realm. Christina is speaking Mandarin like she was born there, along with Jamie and their precious children. Spending the sabbath worshipping with our Victory team watching them interact was amazing. No the half is not being told. Their world just gets larger everyday. I find myself chuckling knowing who is really getting “SHANGHAIED IN SHANGHAI”!