Cornerstone Magazine
             Practical Ministry School
                              Called to be Priests
 Here is the heart of revival and healing.  It is also the foundation of the Church which will never fail.
 There will always be accusers, gossips, and troublemakers.  They will be in your neighborhood, your work
place, and your church.  They will sound good.  Most of them will know scripture.  When they attack, you will be
surprised and shocked.  They won’t see it as an attack.  They will think God is on their side somehow.  They will
gossip.  They will pass on their hurts and judgments.  It will never stop.  Perhaps the tragedy is not that they are
there, but it is that most people don’t know how to handle it.  They panic, live in fear and anger.  They counter
attack.  They try to resolve it lovingly.  But nothing can stop it.  If you try, you too will be labeled as an accuser. 
It is the storm that God allows to test His Church.  It can only be dealt with by a priest, something that you are called 
to be.  Only those who build for survival will be left standing.  That survival is the root of lasting revival.  It is the
foundation of the Church.  It is the cross of Jesus Christ.

It was over 50 years ago a neighbor girl had just fallen off of a step ladder. My dad heard her crying and
called me to come home. He was punishing me for what happened to her. Though I had nothing to do with her
falling and getting hurt he said, "Someone has to take the blame for it." I felt very offended and violated, and it was
one of those things that I never forgot from my childhood.  I wonder today if it was prophetic of the call of God.

You too have been hurt in your life.  Some of those hurts came from unjust things done to you.  Some of
those things have run so deep that they may seem to have ruined your life.  Every now and then these things happen
to us and we just don’t know how to get past them.  That is until we take a long, hard look at the cross that we have
been called to carry.

Seeming injustice can go very deep sometimes. It can take deep roots in us. The only thing that will salve
the pain of the injustice is a higher value. That value is love. It is higher than justice and righteousness. It doesn't
discount righteousness. But it steps up higher and establishes it.

 Isa 53:1-8  Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
If there is anything unbelievable about this it is that God would send someone, and that someone would be
willing to come who would accept the blame, accept the sorrow, and would patiently love us to the very experience
of death itself. There ultimately is nothing that will work to change the heart of another than experiencing
love to the point of death.

Before I can say, "There is nothing that you can do to stop me from loving you," I must have experienced
it myself. I must have learned it. Only this will truly change the heart of a man, though there is no righteous
requirement of justice that would demand such love.  It is a sovereign choice of God to stake himself to this new
law of life. Love has been placed higher than justice and righteousness. It does not in any way discount the
righteousness. But it willingly meets its demands. This is the unbelievable report, that someone would be willing
to love us beyond all that we could think or do.

For righteousness to be established, there must be some higher power, some greater thing than
righteousness and justice itself. That greater power is the love of God. It doesn't guarantee it will accomplish
righteousness in everyone. But it does make it available.

Somewhere people must go beyond what they deserve or what others deserve. Ultimately laws and
ordinances and written codes of conduct won't bring about a resolution. We may try to resolve every problem and
issue in life with human means. But the reality is, unless we go further, we won't be able to solve life's deepest
issues. We simply need God. A society without Him will not work. To appeal only to the merits and abilities of man
is to admit atheism. To run God out of government and education is to declare that an atheistic society can
perpetuate itself. It can not.

This teaching belongs in the world we live in as much as in Church. 

People like to say that God belongs in church and not the public market places of the day. It's personal, they
say. But the fact is that we will be held accountable for how we have lived in the market place and not merely in
our churches. We live and act and hurt and hate and sin and blow it in the real world where God wants to be. He
needs to live in the market places more than in the churches, because that is where the sin is supposed to be.
(Though we know it's in the churches too.)  So this is a message that will go beyond what men can do to resolve the
unresolvable.  It is the only message that will truly minister the heart of healing and restoration to the world.

Here is the only foundation of the Church and man that will stand the test of fire that Paul talks about
in I Corinthians.  It is not the wood, hay, and stubble of demanding our way and demanding justice.  1 Cor 3:9-15
For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God
which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each
one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus
Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each
one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test
each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 

In the midst of our blessings and moves of God’s Spirit among us, in the midst of things going well in our
families and jobs, something rises up and threatens to blow it all apart.  That is the fire come to test what sort of
foundation we have built.  Here is the foundation summed up in an unbelievable report.  It was something I was
reminded of the other day when someone came up to me and told me that we are priests.  I said, yes, I understand.
Then she said, as a priest sometimes you have to take the blame so that others can go free.  It was a word
from heaven.  It was the word of God that described the true foundation that is Jesus Christ.  No other foundation
can a man build than this one that will last.  It is the fortress that the devil himself can not destroy.  For when a man
willingly gives his life for another, resurrection is the next thing that will happen.  It is victory over death itself
- the death we are called to die for our own reputation, dignity, honor and self defense.

 2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or
comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 
3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces
from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 

No one could possibly relish being despised and rejected. For Jesus it would not be accompanied by doubt.
He knew who He was even when He was alone. So His rejection was pure to Him. It was hatred and jealousy
towards Him, but it was not mixed with self doubt within Him.

However, when you are brought here, you will be tempted with many self doubts.  That is why you will need
to deeply feed your faith.  Others will see your humble position and the devil will tell you that you are smitten by
God for your own failures and sins.

4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and

Here is our model and example as priests unto God. Beyond all of the obvious, here is the realization of
bearing someone else's griefs. To carry your sorrow means I am a man of sorrow. I feel what you feel. I am
taking your pain as my own pain, and I am not appreciated for it. I am being despised for it. But I willingly
accept it. I am willingly misunderstood for it. My power over your misery with the authority of God behind
it is released in Me to you because I am willing to bear this pain, your pain.

No one knew where His authority came from. Yes, it came from the Father. But it was appropriated because
He was willing to take upon himself the consequences of our sinfulness. He was taking our blame. That love
released the life of God. People thought and will think that He, and you, are taking a deserved beating. To carry this
authority meant carrying this cross.  When the disciples asked Jesus for a favored position of authority next to Him,
He answered, “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace
was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 

Are you willing to be wounded for someone else's transgressions? Sometimes other people will not have
peace unless you take the bruising meant for them.

Part of the healing of another's life begins by our taking their garbage as our own. At some point they will
see, only if they are honest and humbled, but they will see that they were genuinely loved. That beating you took
will be seen as the stripes of their release. They will know that they were loved as an enemy. But you do it
whether they ever know or not.

If you don't take the beating and the blame, they will be judged, and justly so. But here is a higher law.   If
we have accepted this for ourselves, learned to live it and embrace it, then we will be able to give it away. In the
pluses and minuses of life, the unjust beatings and blame, and in the blessings beyond our desert, we will
come out far, far ahead. And we'll take others with us.

There is a chastening for someone else's peace that you are going to have to take, a price you are going to
have to pay for someone else's freedom. He did it. Then He called you and I to do it. It will bring healing.
Healing is dependent upon punishment being meted out. My healing requires that somehow my guilt be
taken from me. I can't take it away. I can't forgive myself. I can't stop beating myself. I keep hearing the accusing
voices. I keep feeling the sting of the word, failure. It will bring me nothing but more hate, more hurt, and more fear.
In the real world, we need someone to take our pain away. We need someone to bear our iniquities, someone
to take the blame. "Well, I thought Jesus did that. Why do I have to too?" Because someone needs to see, taste and
feel what Jesus did, perhaps. Because being a priest before God, He needs to see that in you. There are things He
will forgive because you were willing to take the heat for someone else's sin.  You have become a true intercessor. 
There is nothing as powerful in grace before God as His forgiving someone else that you have prayed for
because you have willingly bore the pain of their sin under Christ.  Do you really think God will be inclined
to answer your prayer for someone else’s forgiveness if you pray with a grudge upon your soul?

Are you truly an intercessor? Are you truly giving your life for another? Did you accept the call to be like
Jesus and to be His ambassador here? Then someone will have to experience the power of this atonement that Jesus
has done through you in some measure.

Do you have to? Perhaps not. The law of justice does not require it. But you have said you are living in the
law of love by the Spirit and through faith now. You have said that you want to see others free. So Jesus said, "Love
your enemies. Bless them that persecute you and do good to them that hate you." He didn't just say to do it to those
who were really good people.

“But what if they don’t see it?  What if they don’t accept it?  What if they never think that they did
anything wrong?”  Jesus didn’t wait for or expect such a response from mankind before He went to the cross. 
Many would never accept it.  But God commended His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.

Everyone you know will go astray in some big way some day. Everyone will do his own thing and walk his
own way. We have often criticized the world for it. And if you are willing, the Lord will lay their iniquity upon you
in some measure. You will feel their wrath, anger, hurt, and disgust. The Lord will let it be laid upon you. Will
you accept it? Is He not enough for you, as you say?  All the disciples, save John, died in this manner.  They
accepted their martyrdom as a redemptive work for the world that they were given to influence.

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And
as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

People will oppress you too. They will bring your soul to the place of affliction. Will you keep your mouth
quite? You know there are times when your life has been led as though to the slaughter. More so will it be done if
you live the life of Christ. Herein is the secret of God's power. Healing comes through those who are wounded
healers as He was.

As verse 8 says, will you too become stricken for the transgressions of other people?
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the
land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 

For the transgressions of your people, too, you will be many times struck down and afflicted. Though
you are not their sacrifice for sins, you are also called to bear the sins of others. Paul told the Galation Church that
we are to bear the burdens of others, and we're also taught that love covers a multitude of sins. So understand that
God has anointed His ministers to often be stuck down for the sins that they will encounter in the Church. If they
have done it to Him, they will do it to you. You say, "That was the sinners who did that." But there are many in the
Church who will sin, and that sin will be against God and people. Don't be surprised when it happens, but take
comfort in these chapters when it does.

For those who will understand it, I give the following verses about the time King Hezekiah came through
the great trials of his life.  After he had been delivered from the judgement of his nation and from his terminal illness
he wrote these words.

Isa 38:15-17 "What shall I say? He has both spoken to me, And He Himself has done it.
I shall walk carefully all my years In the bitterness of my soul.  16 O Lord, by these things men live; And in all these
things is the life of my spirit; So You will restore me and make me live.  17 Indeed it was for my own peace That
I had great bitterness; But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, For You have cast all
my sins behind Your back. 

The king would be careful in the times of bitterness of soul.  God allows them for reasons that are deeply
redemptive.  Sometimes we are brought to great bitterness of soul that those awful seeds be mined out of the depths. 
There are those specially chosen ones who will humble themselves, take the blame, stop justifying themselves, stop
defending themselves, and be priests unto God for the peace of the people.  The person that will take up his cross
in such fashion is truly a free heart.

Phil 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
The following words are given for those who will struggle with this ministry of death for the reclamation
of others.  It is the just theology of righteousness through grace.  It is not a path of enabling nor of co-dependency. 
These things happen when we look away in unbelief.  For those questions about us not responsibly disciplining
others who sin, for not “going to them” and getting justice straightened out in them, consider these words.

We live to take the sins of others. If they continue in sin anyway, it shows that they have not become one
of us who live in love. If they serve sin, slander, gossip and accusation, then they are serving self and not serving
God and love through others. Such understanding keeps us from thinking that we are some how legitimizing their
sin.  So there is a point where they must be challenged. But it is not merely to call people not to sin, but it is
the call to serve love verses self. 

We are not here to be perfect. We are here to serve the remedy for sin - Jesus. We do not enable. We say in
our hearts, I will take your sin's blame. Only then can we challenge them in a way that restores and it will truly be
for them and not for us. 

“Can I trust you to bare my sin?  Are you willing to die for my sins?” That is the God kind of faith, for that is how
I trust Him.  Would I then keep sinning so you could keep suffering for me?  If I did there would be chastening from
and for love.   This is the highest appeal to the heart of a man to overcome sin through love.
Your sin doesn't harm me because you have no power to do me any harm. It hurts me because I
willingly take your blame.  I can't go to jail for you but I can consider your sin my own and cry out to God for you
because I love you, not because I'm mad at you for being harmed by your sin. I am hurt by your deserved
punishment. For I would bear your shame instead of defending myself from your sin against me. Is that not what
Jesus did? Are we not called to be like Him? Whose sin would you rather die for, yours or someone else's?  If
you die for your sin you will never live again.  If you die for someone else’s sin, not only will you live, but they
may as well.  So when someone accuses you it's not about justifying yourself but justifying them as Christ has done
for you. That's your real goal.

Many years ago Jim Elliott and his fellow missionaries died on a sandbar deep in the interior of the jungle. 
The natives that they had tried to reach were a vicious group who attacked them with spears.  Though they had side
arms to defend themselves, they gave their lives.  Their wives came some time later and converted these natives and
actually became their friends.  A church was developed upon the blood of these martyrs.  It is not just a theory.  The
Church is built upon the rock that is Christ, and it will go forward in no other manner.  If we will not do the same
then we become no more than like the lukewarm church that we so quickly criticize.

Jim wrote these words years earlier, “He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not
lose.”  Whatever we try to keep, the devil will eventually take.  If we try to keep our dignity and reputation, our joy
and happiness, our adversary will rob our joy.  If we give away all that we have in love, if we give away our life,
only then will we truly find it.

Until we can find a way to give this kind of love to those we rub shoulders with in worship we will never
have a genuine revival that the devil can not rise up and rob.  But thank God we are coming to the place of God’s
favor in willingly taking the blame for others!  We are on the doorstep of genuine resurrection power.  It always
comes only after a death to self has taken place by faith.  It is truly a faith that works by love.

Many times I have quoted 1 Peter 2:20-24
20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and
suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also
suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 
22 "Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; 
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed
Himself to Him who judges righteously;

When you somehow feel that you are suffering for the transgressions of others, and you find that there is nothing else that you can do, listen.  When you know that you are called as a priest to minister life through God's love, when you know that this is not about your faults - though they be many, and when you realize the call of the Spirit to take the blame for another, then somehow your sense of justice, self-respect, and dignity doesn't have to suffer.  As Victor Frankel said when, in a Nazi camp he lost his life's work, "When you have an answer to why, and when you understand your purpose in it, you can endure anything." 

One of the leading deceptions that Satan will throw at you is, “But should we be doormats?”  I can honestly
say that in the many times I have had to flee to this teaching for refuge, that I have never felt like a doormat.  There
is an exaltation that comes from God when we willingly humble ourselves.  He will never leave us destitute and
trampled upon.  There is a resurrection for every death that we encounter.  And remember, the death that Jesus died
prior to His resurrection was for the sins of others.  So too will the dying to our flesh that we encounter for true
resurrection not be death to our sin only.  It will be the death caused by the sins of others.  That is the foundation
of the Church which no devil can destroy.  Whatever revival will come, it will die if we are not willing to.

Additional scriptures:
1 Cor 4:11-13 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. 
Matt 5:39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 
Matt 5:44-47  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,  45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 
1 Peter 3:8-10 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 
9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 
John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you,'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 
1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Rev 5:10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." 
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 
Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Isa 58:6 "Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 
Rom 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
   This is one of the most important foundation teachings for Christian conduct and faith.  Without this firmly in place the Church and Christians will remain in a mediocre position of authority and freedom, always wondering where the power and life of God is.  It is a long read, but it is one of the greatest secrets to favor with God that I know of.  It is long because if you are facing this cross in your life it's going to take some enduring effort to overcome with dignity and freedom.