Wednesday, June 25, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*eight*

We wrapped up our Sunday teaching series recently on 'The Temple'.
And as part of closing it off we looked at the idea of how our temple can be known for certain things:
A place of Worship.
A place of Prayer.
A place of Sacrifice.
The concept being that the old testament version was known for those things, so as the living breathing temples should we also be able to be described along the same lines?

Here is another one I would love to share with you briefly...

As part of the worship, prayer and sacrifice seen in Jerusalem, a lot of this activity was motivated it seems be a desire for forgiveness.
Each year the high priest would offer very specific sacrifices on behalf of the nation.
Individuals during each year would regularly perform smaller rituals.
All in the add of cleansing their consciences towards God.
To seek His forgiveness and His favour over their lives.

Now that you and I are temples of the Holy Spirit...what sort of temple are we?
Would someone be able to describe you as "A place of Forgiveness"?
As you wander through life, could this be a descriptor of how you operate?

Because we are not fixed to an earthly stone foundation, we are able to move freely around the world and interact with so many.
I believe God designed us this way so that this temple, a place of forgiveness, can move around as many of possible. Sharing His love. Giving hope and freedom.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 niv

Can I encourage this week the seek to be that temple for God?
To be a place that offers and receives forgiveness...
I think you will change your world and those you come into contact with!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*seven*

Have you ever heard someone say that they are in a 'dark place'?
Maybe you have even said that based on how you were feeling?
Because that is essentially what the phrase means...a 'dark place' is that sense in your soul that things are not right on the inside of you.

This dark place we speak of can come to anyone.
It can come into our lives through choices we have made that weren't very smart.
Or it can come through circumstances that seem beyond our control.
Either way it doesn't feel cool at all.
And even God doesn't want it to be the definition of our existence!

When you look at the Jewish Temple you will find some very important features inside.
Each of those features has a very specific and important task otherwise it would not be there.
God's design leaves no room for random and unusable in His temple.

There was a lamp stand. Sounds simple because it kind of was.
While there is debate over the overt meaning behind its design, it's function points to something else.
The lampstand gave light. Crazy concept I know. Surely it must have done something else? Well not really. It gave light so that the temple could function. Without this lampstand and the service it provided, the whole temple was dark and not very inviting.

When you then consider that our bodies are now the temple where God desires to make his home, the parallels for me are interesting.
Would God want the inside of us dark? Of course not. Because God is a God of the light and not darkness.
So what lampstand can we use to make the inside of our temple is light?

Check this out...

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105 niv

His 'word' is the very thing to light up the darkness that may exist within us.
It also prevents darkness from taken ground on the inside of us.
You don't need heaps to chase away the darkness. Think of a light bulb in a room of your house. One small bulb can make a huge difference!

Can I encourage you this week to light up your temple?
To make time to read some scripture during the week.
Don't leave your temple dark and uninviting for God. Light it up!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*six*

I have always been intrigued by the following statement that Jesus made...

He said to them,“Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
Matthew 13:52 niv

Jesus in context has been sharing a lot of teaching in the form of parables.
Parable of the Sower.
Parable of the Weeds.
Yeast, Hidden Treasure, Pearls, Net...
Lots of amazing teaching we can sink our spiritual teeth into!

And then He throws this comment in which I think fits nicely our series on 'The Temple'.
That we should ideally bring both old and new out of something called the storehouse of our lives.
Interesting in a world where old or new is valued, not necessarily both at the same time?

Inside the Jewish Temple were storerooms.
Places where everything from the Book of Law, wood, clothing, to the treasures and other items of high value were kept.
In our lives we have spiritual storerooms.
Places where we can keep the teachings of Christ, the life changes experiences from long ago, and the most current revelations of God's amazing grace to us.

The point for me is this...
That your storehouse needs all it can get and that all you have is useful for your life and ministry.
We need the balance of the past with the freshness of the new.
To be a good minister of the gospel/temple, we need all this divine storehouse can hold and then offer.

Can I encourage you today to do a couple of things?
Make sure you never let go of the testimony of God's goodness in your life. 
Store it and share it as much as He gives you opportunity to. 
Use it to remind yourself/encourage yourself along your journey.

Second - shop, hunt, find, research God's Word for fresh revelation.
Go along to your Church each week expecting God to speak into your spirit something new.
Read something of His Word.
Dive into great books, not just any books.
Listen to faith filled podcasts.
Discuss His Word with others in a Connect Group.

Then your temple will have what it needs to fulfil the expectation Jesus has for it.

Something to think about...

Sunday, June 08, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*five*

The Jewish Temple had places with very specific location, meaning and importance.
Outer Court.
Inner Court.
Bowls, Stands etc
Lots of places that made up the whole.

You could safely say that each part was important, because the temple couldn't function as well as intended if one was faulty or neglected or even missing.
And the temple seemed to be at its peak of importance or impact when God was filling the whole thing. I think of Solomon and his temple dedication. It is recorded that God's presence was so strong and enveloping that nothing could happen. That is pretty cool!

Now if our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit, it makes sense that every place of our lives needs to be considered. As the original temple had are I have all sorts of places.
That the ultimate expression of our temple is that God could be in every possible place.

So the question for you and me is simple...
Is He?

Does He have permission to be in all the rooms of our soul?
Can He safely and with our blessing invade and occupy us?
Or is there somewhere you are holding Him out of?
Is there a place you don't want Him to be at the moment?

I have found that the more room I give to God the more He will actually take.
And the more I do, the more I feel His presence in my life.
The challenge is to honestly access or audit the true condition of our temple.

Can I encourage you this week to give Him all the places of your life?
Let Him completely in. Let His glory fill your temple.

Something to think about...

Friday, June 06, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*four*

Some things make me a little said to be honest...

Today I read of a sports stars decision to retire.
They sight the issues they are having with constant injury and that their family comes first.
Now I don't know them personally but I have respect for someone who can make hard decisions and puts their family first.

You are probably asking..."what is the bit that makes me sad?"

Some are commenting via social media how happy they are about his demise.
Nasty comments stand out amongst the various well wishers.
It makes me said that some feel the need to let such nastiness come out of their temple.

A throw away comment is never a throw away comment!
In the world of social media it is now recorded around the world, with computer servers more than ready to regurgitate whatever was said to anyone willing to read it.

Let's look at our lives a little different.
See them as a temple and that can have good or bad flow from it.
You are so powerful, that you get to decide the flow from your life.

May your temple be a place from which others can receive life.
May the words of your mouth bless and not curse.
And may your temple reflect more and more the goodness that God wants to pour out through it...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*three*

We have established an amazing God ordained truth in this little series so far...
That our bodies are temples of the very Spirit of the living God.
They are the place that God wants to be most on earth.

This concept actually leads me to many other questions and thoughts.
Many of which lead to answers and/or sometimes challenges...

The original Jewish temple had some very specific components to it.
One of those was the function of priests. And in particular the High Priest.
Without the priesthood the temple can lose it's direction and even it's entire meaning.
If you study the history of the Jewish temple you will see a link between how well it was functioning and the actual Hight Priest responsible.

So here is my challenge/question to you and me this week...

Who is the Priest of your temple?

- Are you the priest?
- Is Christ your High Priest?
- Or maybe you have abdicated the priesthood of your life to someone or something else?

These are challenging and pertinent questions to consider, especially if you identify with the concept of your body being the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Also if you body is a temple, then it needs a priesthood.
And what better than a priesthood that God has designed specifically for the task?

Here is a great piece of encouragement...

14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:4-16 niv

When Jesus is firmly enthroned as your High Priest you can have confidence. You can begin in rest in the fact that He has got your back and your front, and whatever else you need.
Place Him as the most prominent in your 'temple' and watch you world change.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

thoughts on 'this temple'...*two*

You have probably heard people saying this phrase at some time...
"My body is a temple"
Normally those people are saying that because they are on some sort of 'health kick'.
They have just turned down the hot apple crumble with whipped cream you offered them in the hope that their body will thank them for it later.
Maybe they are training for some event and want to make sure they are as ready as possible for the challenge that awaits them.

But have you ever wondered where that phrase actually came from?
How does a living breathing organism like our bodies become described as something so impressive or as imposing as a temple? We aren't made of bricks or other features that match many of our expectations of what a temple is.
In my travels I have seen a few temples, and none of them looked like me.

The phrase comes from a special book where it goes on to describe what sort of temple our bodies can be.
Not just temples of activity or a lack of activity.
Not just places to store cake...even though I love cake!
Our bodies are described as temples because God wants to be with us, and even live in us...a concept which sounds amazing if not fanciful.

We don't have to be big, small, good looking, talented or not so talented for God to want to be in our lives. The offer is there for you and me right now, just as we are. Just invite Him…

Something to think about...