Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tabernacles in Time

Old Testament : Have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.
(Ex. 25:8)
Old Testament-prophetic:  I will give you a new heart ...I will put my spirit in you!
(Ezekiel 36:26-26)    
New Testament:  Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?
(1 Cor. 6:19)

I have consecrated this house...and put my name there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time.   (1 Kings 9:3)
                                                               Amen and Amen

In biblical terms, sanctuary and temple can basically carry the same connotation.  The terms reflect a sacred place of refuge, a place of habitation. As Christians, our bodies house God's spirit and as the dwelling place of God's spirit we can be considered a tabernacle, a spiritual sanctuary.

I want to be a sanctuary adorned in holiness for endless days.   (Ps. 93.5)
I want to be as passionate about the tabernacle/sanctuary as David. (2 Chron. 6:7)
I want to be as deliberate with details as Moses and Solomon. (Ex. 25:8,  1Kings 6,7,8)

Apparently there are only a few chapters in scriptures referring to the creation of all the universe.  Yet  the book of Hebrews, combined with the first five books of the bible (the pentateuch) alone,  contain over 50 chapters about the tabernacle. This speaks volumes  of the importance God places on His desire to dwell with His people.  In fact, the word for "dwelt" in John 1:14 is skenoo  and is translated in the greek as "tabernacled".  
                            The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

                                            Immanuel:   God with us.  God in us.
                                                                   (Matt 1:23)

                                                 Adorn your house with holiness:

***Pray God would grant you new life to rebuild the house of your God and repair its ruins. (Ezra 9:9)  The waves of sin will lap at the shore of our selfishness. We will desire things we shouldn't. Sometimes we may even feel as if we have "ruined" our holy place with improper speech and desires, unholy attitudes and actions, foolishness and folly.  But it is never too late--Repent! Rebuild!

*** Devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God... bring the sacred articles into the temple.  (1 Chron. 22:19)
                                               I envision the "sacred articles" as;
                                  confession  penitence  adoration  obedience  prayer
                             Experiencing the "presence, vision and enjoyment of God"   (1)

***If your sanctuary is desolate, if Gods spirit does not dwell in you as a new creation by spiritual rebirth or as a christian you are in a  spiritually dry place,  ask the lord to look with favor on your desolate sanitary, to listen and to hear your prayer, to forgive and fill you with His presence. Then you will be a people called by His name. (Dan 9:17-19)

***I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well!!  We were created to be in fellowship with the Lord;  body, heart, spirit and soul. (Ps 139:14)
The Lord has prepared a place for His spirit in your beautifully crafted human tent.  Invite Him in!
Desire to adorn your house with holiness.

"May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, 
this place of which you said, 
My Name shall be there..."
1 kings 8:29


--  Romans 10-9-10  If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

-- Eph 3:8 For it is by faith you have been saved through faith- and that not of yourselves, it is THE GIFT of God- lest any should boast.

(1) C.S. Lewis

Thursday, July 12, 2012

More Moments with Moses...

Random Revelations from Dabar--

Dabar;  Hebrew--desert. sometimes wilderness.

*Darkness that can be felt will spread over Egypt.
The sun rises, peeking over the distant horizon, and even the smallest sliver of light brings illumination to  half the globe.  A candle, a flashlight, a nightlight, a campfire. All these are small sources of light that have the potential to brighten hallways, rooms, fields and forests for not only feet but miles.
Light disperses darkness.
When the Lord cast a plague of complete and utter darkness on the Egyptians, it was a palpable darkness so deep that it kept them confined indoors.  (Ex. 10:21-23)
I have been in darkness like that when exploring underground caves. That kind of blackness is thick and disconcerting.   Yet even in such blackness a small beam of light can project some radiance.
But it isn't the darkness that draws my curiosity. It's the fact that  the light in the midst of the Israelites  didn't illuminate the community of Egyptians even though both dwelt in close proximity to the other.
(Ex. 10:21-23)
In a sense, this seems to be the spiritual climate of today.  Jesus illuminates the believers soul with truth,  yet the unbelieving world remains shrouded in darkness.  Jesus, the true light  has come into the world, yet the world, through unbelief and sedition, has chosen not to see.  (John 1:9-10)

*A lot of stuff went down on that Mountain of Sinai.
 --- I am intrigued about Mount Sinai  being the place of God's revelation to Moses, the place where Moses' faith story and journey begins, and the specific destination Moses sought the minute his sandals hit the desert sands.
In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt... they came to the desert of Sinai... and camped there in front of the mountain.  (Ex. 19:1-2)
If we were to emulate the example of Moses in witnessing to others,  shouldn't it be as simple as this-- taking people to our Sinai story?  That place where we first realized who God was?
Every christian has a testimony, a personal story!  Are you prepared to give an account of that story?
Always be prepared to give a reason to everyone for the hope in you. (1 Peter 3:15)
 ---Moses saw and heard  some amazing things;
1.)  God's voice.  The people also heard!   (Ex.19:9)
2.)  Angels!  In order to craft the cherubim for the ark, Moses would of had to have seen them. (Ex.25:18).
3.)  He was shown the pattern for the lamp stand. Can you even fathom laying eyes on an actual hard copy of a divine architectural pattern? (Ex.25:40)
4.)  He was shown the plan for the tabernacle.  (Ex.26:30)

*I brought your divisions out of Egypt.
God referred to the  Israelites as His divisions. (Ex. 7:4, 12:17)
The King James Version uses the word armies.
I am a christian, the concept of also being a "division' challenges me.
These titles infer the general concept of service.  Primarily, Gods plan is to rescue us from the slavery of sin and oppression and give us the gift of eternal life.  However, following our salvation, the call to take that gospel message to the rest of the world is issued.  (Acts 1:8)
Being a christian isn't passive, it is active and purposeful.

*The Peoples Representative
Moses was instructed by his father-in-law to be the peoples representative. (Ex. 18:19)
He had the responsibility of teaching them God's word, of showing them how to live and the duties they were to observe.  As Christian's, we have that same calling.
The question then, is;
Am I living a life of holy obedience, purity and service as an example? (Titus 2:12)
Am I being very careful how I live, so that when others watch, they are drawn to God?  (Eph 5:15)
Do I claim to know God, but by my actions deny Him?  (Titus 1:16)
Am I setting an example in speech?  (1Timothy 4:12)

*Confusion of the Egyptian Army
The Lord threw the Egyptian army into confusion.  (Ex.14:24).  What a thought for us to consider when we are being pursued by an enemy, whether it be man or Satan!
David prayed along those lines;  "oh Lord, turn Ahithophel's counsel into foolishness."
(2 Samuel 15:31).
Next time you find yourself in a trial or hardship, pray as David did, ask God to frustrate or confuse the counsel of your enemy!  Watch The Lord throw your enemy into confusion . Experience Him come and stand between you and your enemy as a wall of protection!!  (Ex.14:19,24)

*Stand Firm
Moses answered the people and told them to --stand firm.  (Ex. 14:13)
God's response;  why are you crying out to me?  Move on!.  (Ex. 14:15)
Aside from the humor in the disparity here, is the conviction that  I better be sure I am giving the right information before sharing a word from God.!!!!

*Plundered profit
The Israelites plundered the Egyptians in the course of their exodus out of Egypt. (Ex. 12:36).
They found themselves the beneficiary of silver, gold, precious stones and other material gain liberally thrown at their feet!
However,  they weren't in the desert very long before part of the purpose of the plunder was revealed. God requested a free will  offering from the people be brought to Moses for the construction of a sanctuary. A place where God could dwell and live in the midst of them.  (Ex 25:1)
God reminds us that anything we possess comes from Him and is ultimately meant to be used for His glory.  (Romans 11:36)
Hosea 2:8, though not directly referring to the story at hand,  tells us that it was GOD that gave Israel the grain, new wine and oil...the silver and gold.
I am not convinced all the materials God instructed the Israelites to use in the construction of the sanctuary wasn't  indigenous to the desert.  It's highly probable most of the supplies were from the plunder taken in Egypt.

*God let it happen
Life is hard. People get sick. People suffer. People die. Humanity is inhumane.
Our sinful nature still opposes our spirit. And our arch enemy Satan, the prince of the power of the air  presently reigns. (Eph. 2:2)
And.... God lets it happen.  (Ex 21:13).
It's the proverbial scenario;  "If God is so good, why is there so much bad?"
For some reason,  God lets the tares and the wheat,  good and evil, survive together.  (Matt 13:30)
Habakkuk, the prophet to Judah, addressed this very subject indicating that  the revelation awaits an appointed time.   (Hab 2:3)  This would indicate that the answer to the question is, "we don't know!"
But we will, someday.
The corollary here is actually one of reassurance, however, because nothing takes God by surprise!
He lets it happen, He saw it coming, it has a purpose.
He is not willing that any should perish.  (2 Peter 3:9)
He has a plan for man.  (Jeremiah 29:11)
When tragedy or hardship hits,  I take comfort in knowing that  God has gone before me to lead the way.  (Deut 1:30)  God let that hardship happen and He has a divine destination in mind for me by means of it.
He is sovereign, my life and its events are not random, they are ordained and allowed. They have a purpose.

 I carried you on eagles wings and brought you to myself as my treasured possession
  Exodus 19:4-5

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Gift of Grace

There seems to be a common thread running through my soul these days, one I can't deny or dismiss.  It keeps coming back. It keeps pursuing me. In my personal study, in literature I am reading, in sermons I attend, even in conversations with friends it is there. It is relentless. It is stalking. It is ageless. It is:


Grace-  Websters;   a manifestation of favor, esp. by a superior. mercy. clemency. pardon.
Grace-  Hebrew;   (chesed- noun)  chesed must have an action occur to exist,  i.e.  redemption from  something such as an enemy or sin.

That said, inherent in the object of grace, is the obligate nemesis or "action" of sin! 
No subject on grace would be complete without including the matter of sin, and as ironic as it may seem, that can actually be a good thing, because;

"where sin increased, grace increased all the more...."  Romans 5:2

Unfortunately, the harder I tried to stop sinning, the more of a foothold my sin seemed to have on me. It got to the point where I would just roll out of bed and onto my knees in the morning and instead of praying for strength to overcome and be victorious, I seceded in hopelessness and defeat;
"This thing is too big for me, God!"  Exactly!  
"This thing is too strong for me, God!"  Exactly!   
"My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak, God!"  Exactly!
My moaning soul would wail;  "Here it is Lord, I'm just going to give it to you straight up;  "its" going to happen again today.  Bank on it.  I will repeat and replay this compulsive sin of mine today, so please just forgive me now, ok?

Oh the infamous, notorious hamster wheel of humanity;

Yep, that's me alright.  But if we are honest, isn't it all of us?
Don't get me wrong. Confession is good. Confession is commanded. Confession is necessary. It just isn't meant to be a repetitious religious prayer recited over and over again for the same sin.
Contrary to popular opinion, more right behavior + less bad behavior does not = righteousness!

Religion says,  "If all we bring to God is our moral striving, we're back at the same lie that put us in need of salvation. We're stuck with our independent talents, longing, and resolve to make it happen.
We want God to make our life work and our behavior seems like the price tag." *

Grace says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9

The work of forgiveness is finished and eternal if you have accepted  The Truth and covenanted with God to live it!  Any actions on your part hereafter will not add to the equation of salvation through grace.
The same applies for personal sin once confessed.
"If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.." 1 John 1:9
He will remove our sins from us as far as the east is from the west!  Psalm 103:12
I have a very good friend who would tell me that it helps him to write his sins on a chalkboard, list them one by one, confess them and then erase them.  In God's eyes they are erased and forgotten, now move forward in grace and forget it,  he would advise.
My pastor recently restated the same truth.  We are human, we sin, we sin again, and again, why are you so surprised?  The christian way of life is a deliberate veering to the right once you have confessed.

Yes, we are sinners saved by grace. But beyond that lies the truth that we are also saints who sin.
It is who we are. It is what we do. It is how we have been wired since the bust of Eden... for now.
Paul could confirm that fact to you from a personal perspective;  "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Romans 7:15
I'm still trying to grasp the grace concept thing, and am guessing I will still be trying to figure it out until the day the lord calls me home.  In the mean time I don't want to miss a minute of grace. I don't want to waste time beating myself up for a sin already confessed, forgiven and forgotten. I want to live out who God says I am  -- grace...through mercy.

       Oh what glory and what grace,
       What blessed surrender sweet,
       that I, my Lord
       might find forgiveness
       at your feet!
       (L. Paddock)

*John lynch,Bruce McNicol, Bill Thrall    "The Cure"