Life in the Spirit Ministries March of the Message Newsletter
Blessings To All Of You,
Well, the blessings from the Gathering last year in November continues to manifest. As I had mentioned before, we have had extra finances from that Gathering come in. I realize that it is primarily due to the fact of your heart responding directly to cover the Gathering expenses and for the need to upgrade much of our equipment if we are going to be able to expand our capacity to reach more people on Zoom and Skype. But BEFORE I stepped out to purchase anything new I wanted to make sure that, if those of you who gave may have needed me to give back any money that you gave, that I was ready and willing to do so. We have not heard from any of you along that line. So at this time, I would like to share with you some of the things YOU and I have used the money toward. I think you will be pleased.
First off, there was a person who was financially unable to afford a computer and they had been unable to join and interact with our meetings in the manner the rest of us have, even though they had a great hunger and desire to be with us. I only became aware of this recently. So, with the money you gave we were able to purchase a really nice used laptop for her that perfectly fit the bill and she was so blessed! Right now the price of new equipment for internet use is so expensive due to being “locked in” during the pandemic. The laptop was given to her “in the name of all of us” that are a part of the Gathering! She asked and wanted me to express her gratitude to you all (y’all). I didn’t feel comfortable in announcing her name publicly but if any of you would like to express your love to her I will gladly give it to you in private. She is a real sweetheart and you will be thrilled to know the one you helped.
Also, several Gatherings back we were able to buy a single speaker to use to improve the sound quality during our times when we gather together. You may remember how everyone really noticed the improvement. Well, we were able to purchase the matching one for the other side so that all sound is not just coming out of one side of the room. Hopefully the pandemic will be gone by Thanksgiving 2021 and you will get to experience the improvement.
And lastly, we were able to purchase our own quality camera and microphone for everything we are producing now in terms of classes, services and teaching that you attend on Skype or are sent to you. What we’ve been using hasn’t been bad, it just wasn’t ours. And since all the equipment right now is seeing double and triple duty I just didn’t want to wear out someone else’s equipment. What we purchased was not more expensive or elaborate than what we have been borrowing but is comparable in quality so that what you see or hear in audio/video will not be a distraction from the Word that you are hungry for.
I apologize for taking all this time to elaborate on where the finances are going but it is YOUR MONEY, given with pure hearts toward the work of the Lord and, to me, it is almost as important as the quality of the Word of God we have given ourselves to spread, and we honor you before the Lord.
And just a few more things. Over the years you have entrusted me with the privilege to hear from the Lord in the finances of the Gathering, for the things that I feel from Him that are important or needed. I do not take that responsibility lightly. However, if any feel that my use of them, such as buying this person a laptop, so that she can join with us, is not right then I will gladly replace the money and pay for it myself. I just felt that if this gesture was done by us together instead of me, that it would mean so much more to her. Also, I always put money that you all designate to be used toward a specific purpose, toward that purpose only. And, a final reminder, I have not used the gifts you have given to my own benefit.
I love you and am praying for you all.
click the image below to listen Randy's song
"Like a Fire Shut Up in My Bones"
This month's article is the final two chapters of the booklet "The Ashes of the Red Heifer"
Chapter Four Sons of God and the Offering of the Red Heifer
We could assume that the knowledge of good and evil has no place in the thinking process of a son of God in whom Christ has been revealed. However, this is not the case. It seems that even though areas pertaining to the life of Christ have been opened unto us and we now walk in them, there are other areas in which we have little or no light. Consequently, the mind of Christ may be able to motivate us in specific areas while an influence of the knowledge of good and evil can simultaneously taint another area or even influence the big picture.
The Conflict in Our Hearts
This fact can be seen in relation to the prophet Jonah. He was not a rebellious backslider as some suppose, who cared nothing for the things of God. Quite the contrary, he was a prophet of God who served as God’s mouthpiece to His people. He was the only man of God chosen to take His message to Nineveh. Jonah, like some today, had great God-given insight into the heart of the Lord. He also had great revelations from the Word of God that much of Israel did not have.
With all of these things being true, then why was Jonah having a difficult time doing what God wanted accomplished at Nineveh? The answer lies in how there can be a conflict in our own hearts between the spirit of the Lamb nature and the knowledge of good and evil. The man who needed the benefit of the ashes of the red heifer was probably in a similar situation. He may have seen the heart of God. He may have known what it was that God hoped to obtain in His people. All of that compassion and understanding for the things of God had only come through intimate communing with the Lord. These precious insights may be laid hold of by only a few who have dearly sought the Lord.
The conflict comes when that same person sees the people of God or their ministry in violation, not just of God’s order, but of the very spirit and desire of the Lord. For one who has been brought into the intimacy of the King’s chamber (Song of Songs 1:4), the contrary actions of man can be very disturbing. But it is at this point that the one who is so in tune with the heart of the Lord Jesus is in danger of touching death.
As we showed earlier, it is possible to be enveloped in life but then touch death and be found needing to be put out of the congregation. The problem comes when we start standing up for what is right and dear to the heart of God and yet do so in a wrong spirit. That wrong attitude is usually directed towards others who are insensitive to what is in the heart of Jesus. However, the person who stands up for the Lord now moves to a place of insensitivity to the heart of the Lord concerning those who the Lord is in the process of bringing in.
In Touch with God’s Heart for the Undeserving
The whole spirit behind the ashes is that the red heifer gave up its “cow” form and was reduced to ashes with the express purpose of bringing the hard-hearted and rebellious into what God desires. The one needing the ashes of the red heifer is not a sinner per se. The fault that they are charged with is that they have touched death. The reason they take a hard, brittle stance is because the tenderness that they feel for the desire and needs of the Lord is not being appreciated; however, they too are missing God. Their stance means that they have not yet experienced the tender mercies of the Lord themselves in His heart toward the undeserving. In this area, they are devoid of life and therefore have touched and identified with death. This was the case with Jonah, who was a son of God.
Jonah knew well that God’s purposes in the earth were going to be fulfilled in Israel. This is similar to the fact that sons of God today know that nothing outside of Christ has any eternal value, for all that is now honored of God is found in Christ. That is what the New Creation is all about. Jonah was intimately aware of God’s heart concerning Israel. To him, it must have seemed foolish and a waste of time to spend energy to bless and bring revival to Nineveh, whom he knew would later turn back to idols and become the enemy of God. Why bless that???
Jonah probably thought that if God insisted on blessing them, that was God’s business, but he did not want to be any part of it. There were plenty of other men of God who were not so near to God’s heart who could be used for this task. The issues of real importance rested with the ones who intimately sought out the heart of God, and all else was probably seen by Jonah as fruitless waste. Then does it not seem strange that later, Jesus said that Jonah represented a sign of the Cross (cf. Matt. 12:40), which symbolizes willingness to suffer and even be shamed if it will reach the ungodly and undeserving?
The Universal Remedy
Jonah ended up being angry with God and sitting outside of the joyous movements of the Lord, grumbling about the fact that he knew God was going to be merciful. This is a picture of one who has touched death. One who was so close to the heart of the Lord has now become the one God must take the time to deal with in order to bring him back to a place of peace and oneness.
While the answer to the dilemma is not given to us in Jonah, we do find the answer in the application of the red heifer’s ashes. This remedy is a universal remedy given by God, not just for Jonah but for all. In other words, God does not give a specific “Jonah Book answer” because the remedy is not personal but universal. From this we might gather that many are looking to God to come down and give them a specific, personal answer that fits their individual situation. But the Cross of Christ is the universal remedy. God should not have to spell it out to Jonah or to each of us every time. Instead, we should be able to turn to the Word of God and find the answer that was supplied long ago. As each person who has touched death awakens to their condition, they are able to avail themselves of the ashes instead of expecting God to show up in their particular circumstances.
Chapter Five The True Spirit of Life Is Found Outside the Camp
“And ye shall give it unto Eleazar, the priest, that he may bring it forth outside the camp, and one shall slay it before his face. And Eleazar, the priest, shall take of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle of its blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times.” (Numbers 19:3-4)
“Let us go forth, therefore, unto him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.” (Hebrews 13:13)
In the above verses we go back to the events that took place at the offering of the red heifer. Notice that this offering was only done “outside the camp”. This speaks of rejection and not being found among the congregation, as seen from the Hebrews passage above. Remember that Jesus was crucified on Golgatha, which was also outside the camp. Similarly, though God had already anointed David as king and head of Israel, he, too, was rejected and placed outside the camp. But it was there that he grew, became strong, and learned to trust not in riches, power, or position, but in God. It is for this reason that God encourages us in the Book of Hebrews to “go forth unto Him outside the camp”. The real point of emphasis is not that we go outside the camp but that we go unto Him. A person can be rejected and considered not to be “in” yet still have more of the spirit of the thing than a person who is actually physically located in the camp.
Our physical location or social status should not be nearly so important as our present spiritual state before and with the Lord. This can be seen in the fact that the blood of the red heifer was sprinkled seven times toward the holy place, but it was never taken there. It was there in spirit though banished from the camp. It may have been more pure of a sacrifice than a lot of sacrifices that actually happened in the holy place. The proof of this is the fact that Jesus’ sacrifice on Golgotha had more of the spirit of what God had in mind than all the sacrifices that took place that Passover day within the camp. When outside the camp, do not let the feeling of rejection get to you. You may be “outside” the camp of those who worship together, but are you “in” Christ where there is no condemnation? Never forget that there is a difference between persecution (being an outcast) and condemnation.
The great truth of the offering of the red heifer is that it chooses its place outside the camp. It is not just thrown out. Those who join in the spirit of the red heifer are not just going outside the camp but are going “unto Him” who first initiated this spirit. Those who have the spirit of this sacrifice do so not because they are defiled but because they are willing to be looked upon as a reject in order to reach others who truly will be rejected if something does not happen. They know that they are not rejected of God and therefore are safe in their relationship with Him. But they are concerned for others who are not so steady.
The Red Heifer – We Are His Body
We have written much about the spirit released through the loss incurred by the red heifer and how the ashes, though completely reduced, have mighty power in them. They are similar to the old decaying bones of Elisha that, when touched by a dead man, caused life to flood into him again. But all these things do not just apply to Jesus who was the fulfillment of all offerings, including that of the red heifer. They are meant to have meaning for us today also. When Jesus walked the earth, He carried Himself toward others as an example of the way we should be after the resurrection. Before the Cross, the only body Jesus had available to work through was His own physical body. That is why we see Jesus moving through the congregation of Israel ministering life everywhere He went and to everyone who came into contact with him.
Nevertheless, our view of him in the gospels tends to place us outside of Christ, even to this day, in that we still tend to view the present situation as if we are the congregation and Jesus still comes and touches. To us, the only difference between then and now is that now He is in spiritual form. While this has a certain degree of truth, we have allowed this to overrule greater truths since the resurrection. Now, we are not just the congregation of God but the very Body of Christ. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He still wants to minister to people, but He no longer touches through His physical body. He now moves through His risen Body, which we are. We are now supposed to operate as Jesus’ hands that touch others and are supposed to be His feet that carry Him to others.
Again, we are quick to put ourselves outside His Body, wanting to be those He is coming to touch. Like Israel, we have tried to make ourselves the object of His blessings instead of the channel as we function as the vehicle and Body of Christ’s life. Like Elisha’s decaying body, though we may be reduced down to nothing except bones, they are still life-giving, we are declared to be “bone of His bone” (cf. Eph. 5:30). As those who are one with Jesus, we are to be functioning by releasing life into the congregation rather than death.
The Red Heifer – Touched by Life in the Spirit
“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14)
In this New Testament passage we begin to bring all the pieces together. We find the contrast of the two main elements described in the words “purge … from dead works to serve the living…” We also find that what the ashes of the heifer were meant to communicate was the Eternal Spirit behind the sacrifice and not just the facts of the offering itself and the freedom it brings to us. Right now those who belong to Jesus Christ ought to be functioning by this Eternal Spirit and not by the knowledge of good and evil. When we are filled with life, no obstacle is too great, and things that usually bother us no longer pull us down. When our eyes have seen past the problem and into the nature of God, the answer far outweighs the issue. The only requirement then is that we are willing to follow the Lamb outside the camp and into His death so that those who have become defiled by death might now receive of His life. The power behind the ashes is the death of Christ that brought them forth. The value of the ashes is the Eternal Spirit offering Himself to God for others. This same Spirit works in those who bear the dying of the Lord Jesus in their mortal flesh. It is the very nature and way of God’s Life, and yet it is hidden to those who only see issues of good and evil.
When we see how Jesus walked this earth, we see Him heal the sick, raise the dead, and feed the hungry. We can easily reduce those events down to the subjects of power and healing, but I think the issues are greater than these. Jesus was responding to the death, lack, and injustice all around Him with a mind and nature that has never touched death by partaking of the knowledge of good and evil. He responds by life and is ever giving to that which does not deserve it. He is not pulled down into the darkness of death all around Him, but is ever influencing it with a gracious outpouring of life.
We have seen how having the knowledge of good and evil and operating by it only brings death to the congregation. We have also seen the beauty of the ashes giving life through death to that which was dead and deserves death. As we come to know the Lord in ways pertaining to who He really is by nature, we will tend to function more according to the ways of His life. As His Body, we are called to release life and be the vehicle of life to others. There is very little recognition and honor given by men to something so insignificant as ashes. Even to this day that which appears base and foolish confounds those who are mighty and wise.
What Is the Dying of the Lord Jesus?
“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” (II Corinthians 4:10-12)
The person who needed the ashes of the red heifer was supposed to be bearing about in their body Jesus’ dying. What does that mean? First we must understand that the act of Jesus giving Himself on the Cross over two thousand years ago is what saved us. Then we must realize that Christ’s death on the Cross crucified the Old Man whereby I can now live by the life of Jesus Christ (cf. Gal. 2:20). But Christ living in us brings up a whole other aspect of the Cross that many have yet to perceive. The realization of the aspect I am referring to comes as we discover that Jesus is a Lamb. That is His nature.
According to His nature, Jesus lays down His life for others — particularly for the needy, defiled, and ungodly (cf. Rom. 5:6, 8). Most seem to know and believe it is true how the Lord gives His life for the benefit of even the worst of mankind, but we fail to acknowledge that this same Jesus is in us, and if allowed to live in us, will operate the same way. This is what the verse is referring to when it talks about believers bearing the dying of the Lord Jesus in their mortal bodies. This Lamb, who is now the life of the believer, lays down His own rights and life to bring other in to God’s fullness.
In the case of the man needing the ashes of the red heifer, he did so because he had gone back to living by the life and viewpoint of fallen man. This is what touching death is all about. We touch and identify with a mind and life that was dead to God and was put to death with Christ on Calvary. We leave the life of the Lamb and His heart concerning the ungodly.
We will never give ourselves for the undeserving and compromising masses. We will judge them. Only by us bearing about in our body His dying, self-giving nature will we have the spirit in which the red heifer gave himself. Only by the ashes of that sacrifice and through releasing that spirit will there come a true reconciling and eventual change for those who deserve rebuke and rejection. The princes of this world do not understand this spirit, for had they, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (cf. I Cor. 2:8). If they had comprehended that His giving of Himself in this spirit would be the true answer that led to the release of all rebels, ungodly and uncaring men, they would have approached all this in a different way. Through Christ we allow death to work in us in order to bring about life in others (II Cor. 4:12). This spirit, released by ashes, is the spirit of the Life that we have received. It is in the releasing of this spirit that we comprehend why God crucified us and put the life of His Son in us as earthen vessels. This is the Life you are called unto.***
Thank you to Mike Gentry for recording the audio book of "Ashes of the Red Heifer"! Below are the readings of chapters 4 and 5, as well as the link to find all five chapters for download on the Friends of Life in the Spirit website!