Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Building Made without Human Hands

David wanted to build God a proper house on this earth in which He could visit His people. David's heart continually focused on God, and he realized that he lived in a palace and God still dwelt in a tent from Israel's days in the wilderness (Acts 13:22).

As a man of war, David was disqualified from building this holy place (1 Chronicles 28:2-3). Yet, God allowed David to gather the materials and for his son Solomon to build this grand palace for the Lord.

When they completed the temple, God's glory filled the Holiest Place and He spoke to His chosen people (2 Chronicles 5-7). His main request was that Israel repent of all sin and to live holy before Him.

Characteristically, Israel sinned before the Lord, and God did as He warned them that He would do. He anointed a warring country to destroy the temple and to take the people captive.
Yet, God allowed a faithful remnant of His people to eventually return to the chosen land. 

They were able to rebuild Jerusalem and a smaller temple. This actually grieved those who experienced the former glory, which they lost because of their sin (Ezra 3:12).

God's plan all along was to build a house for Himself using living stones, acceptable to Him through our relationship with Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-12). We are His temple, and His Spirit dwells in our midst (1 Corinthians 3:16).

The building where the church meets is not holy nor is it God's house. It is simply a place for Believers to actively worship God who dwells within us. God's Spirit builds Believers together into a holy dwelling place for Him (Ephesians 2:22; Hebrew 3:6).

Heaven is God's throne and the earth is His footstool. There is no temple grand enough for us to build for Him, which is more awesome than the myriad of galaxies, which He created (Isaiah 66:1; Genesis 1:1).

Father God, remind us that our behavior is a reflection on You (Psalm 23:3, 1 Timothy 3:14-15). You are holy and You call us to be holy as well (1 Peter 1:16). You want us to have clean hands before we lift them up in worship to You (Psalm 24:1-6, 134:2).

Search the hidden recesses of our inner being and see if there is any wicked way in us, and lead us in Your everlasting way (Psalm 139:23-24). Heal us from the deep wounds inflicted on us by other people (Proverbs 18:8). Fill us instead by Your deep, spiritual riches (Proverbs 24:4).

Thought for the Day:
God never wanted to dwell in buildings made with human hands; but in the hearts of His People. - Acts 17:24

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Living by Faith

At times, we make poor choices and allow them to define who we are, causing us to live in a downward spiral with one destructive choice after another. We put away our faith and shipwreck our life.

However, we can also hold on to our faith with a good conscience and to please the Lord (1 Timothy 1:19). We share our faith, have charity toward others and live in sober purity.

I am not referring to somber holiness without enjoying life, but sober and Biblical living in thoughts, words and conduct (1 Timothy 2:15, 4:12). Our ways please the Lord and we do not sin against Him or dishonor His holy name (Psalm 23:3).

We gain our self-image and fulfillment from His presence in our life and we follow His will for our career, relationships and all of our decisions.

If church leaders are responsible in their office and have boldness in their faith, following Biblical doctrines, they earn for themselves a commendation from the Lord (1 Timothy 3:13, 4:6; Titus 2:2).

They provide for their own family and cling to their first love and faith (1 Timothy 5:8, 12). They keep worldly riches in proper perspective, as a source of provision rather than to be coveted as their first priority (1 Timothy 6:10).

There is a temptation for all of us to allow seducing spirits to water down our faith through demonic doctrines. We compromise with sin and allow it to squeeze through the cracks in our faith.

For instance, we do not want unsaved friends and relatives condemned to eternal destruction, so we reject the truth of God's Word that Jesus is the only way (1 Timothy 4:1).

God calls all of His children to run from ungodliness and to live in holiness, faith, love, patience and meekness; fighting the good fight against sin, the devil and the world; and sharing our sincere faith with others (1 Timothy 6:11-12; 2 Timothy 1:5, 2:22, 3:10).

Father God, the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached to the whole world, but it does not bear fruit in everyone, because it is not mixed with faith in some of those that hear it (Hebrews 4:2). They condemn themselves to hell by their own unbelief (John 3:18).

Help us to repent from our dead works and to believe in You by faith in the principles of the doctrine of Christ. Our heart's desire is to press on into perfection and to come to the fullness of an intimate relationship with You now and throughout eternity (Hebrews 6:1).

Thought for the Day:
The holy Word of God makes us wise, helps us to understand our salvation which comes from Jesus Christ, and enables us to finish our course, which God planned for us before the beginning of time. - 2 Timothy 3:15, 4:7; Ephesians 2:10

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

God's Wisdom

In this dark and fearful world it is so hard not to hyperventilate, not to allow our mind to fry with evil possibilities happening to us or our loved ones, and not to allow Satan to overwhelm us with his lies.

One way to escape the penchant we have as humans to think of the worst case scenarios is to live in the moment. This keeps our heart and mind free from worry for our safety and provision.

If we are fine in this one moment of time, we need not worry about the next moment. If we are not fine, we can seek God's wisdom about how to deal with the negative aspects of this one moment of time (James 1:5).

When we acknowledge God first, we abide in His peace as He directs our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). God promises that in this world we will have tribulation; but we can face it with joy, because He already overcame the world and He lives within us (John 16:33; 1 Peter 1:6).

This way Satan, the world and our human tendencies of the flesh do not control our life through desires, insecurities, anxiety and concerns; but we are submitted and totally surrendered to Christ in us.

As branches on the Vine, we receive the supply of all of our needs, and we depend upon His strength to keep us stable and productive during the storms of life (John 15:5).

As we keep our mind focused on Him, He floods each day with His peace and joy, regardless of any turmoil or suffering we experience (Isaiah 26:3). We know that everything He allows in our life is for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

The fruit of God's Spirit, the very nature of God Himself, branch out from us in all directions (Galatians 5:22-23). Our nurture and provision come from God alone, regardless of our vocation or situation in life (Roman 8:28).

Father God, we cast all of our cares onto Your strong shoulders, because we know from experience that You care about us (1 Peter 5:7). Sometimes, circumstances make us feel that You do not care, or that You abandoned us, but often we are causing our own grief by our choices. 

We fail to consult You or to walk in Your Spirit, and we reap the consequences of our codependency and faulty thinking. Remind us to keep track of all the times You answered our prayers. Rather than to take You and Your goodness for granted, we want to give You continual praise for all that You do for us each day. 

Help us not to get distracted by our busy life and our failure to keep our focus on You, so that we overlook the "hugs" You provide for us throughout the day.

Thought for the Day:
God's wisdom from above is unpolluted by the world, agreeable, sympathetic, pleasant, full of compassion and fruitful, unbiased and genuine. - James 3:17