Monthly Archives: May 2014

2 Chronicles 1, 2, 3; John 12:1-19

The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him? 2 Chronicles 2:5-6

But who can build Him a house, since even heaven can’t contain Him…

God is so infinite that it is impossible to contain Him and Solomon understood that. He appreciated that the temple that He built was simply a gift for the greatest God, a place to make offerings and to give worship.

God is so limitless, that He doesn’t fit into a structure and yet He chooses to inhabit. He fills the heavens, and the earth, and His church, and my home, and my heart. I have become His temple.

In the Old Testament, Moses and the Israelites constructed the tabernacle, a place where God could dwell among the people when camped. It was a foretelling of the future of my relationship with Jesus. When Solomon built the temple it replaced the tent, again prophesying the permanent place that would be built by Jesus. Both structures were a place where sacrifices were made to appease God, to ask for forgiveness and where the people came to worship and give praise.

When Christ came to earth, He began to explain that the temple, as the people of Israel understood it, would no longer be necessary. It caused outrage among the priests because they did not recognize the truth of the Savior.

When Jesus gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice, when he died for my sins and rose again, the requirement for blood sacrifice was met forever. The price was paid for every sin. The picture of relationship painted by the temple came to fruition in Christ and the traditional ‘temple’ was destroyed.

When I believe that Christ was raised from the dead and I confess with my mouth that He is Lord, my body, becomes His temple. The hearts of the church, His children, become the Holy of Holies. Our offerings are no longer blood sacrifices, but living sacrifices.

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3

Mary demonstrates what it means to offer myself as a living sacrifice. She gave her most treasured possession, most likely a part of her dowry, to honor Jesus. It was an expensive gift given freely and without reservation. It was offered in worship and praise, a preparation of what was to come.

As I build relationship with my Savior and daily ask Him to abide in my heart and in my home, I can’t help but question how I can be a living sacrifice. What can I give? What can offer to Him that is worthy of His praise? What will be a pleasing fragrance?

Yesappa, Thank You for Your sacrifice. Thank You for choosing to reside in me, for choosing to make my heart Your home, Your temple. Show me how to honor You. Help me be a living sacrifice with a fragrance like perfume. I give myself to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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1 Chronicles 28-29; John 11:47-57

Early yesterday evening, I was out on the bay with my daughter. Close beside us, a dolphin glided up, over the water and then slid back down with what sounded like a sigh. He repeated this half a dozen more times and we were left breathless. The moment gave us a glimpse into a world that is mysterious and foreign to us. It filled us with a sense of wonder at the beauty of our Creator. Today, I read David’s words of praise and make his song my own.

Praise be to you, O Lord,

God of our father Israel

from everlasting to everlasting.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power

and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,

for everything in heaven and in earth is yours.

Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom;

you are exalted as head over all.

Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.

In your hands are strength and power

to exalt and give strength to all.

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

1 Chronicles 29:10-13

I read today’s passage in the latter part of John 11.  The very Son of God, the Creator who has given me my very form and breath becomes a marked man, the target of all the smallness and evil that exists in the heart of man. Who is this God that I serve? The very one who set the stars in the sky and fills the earth and its waters with wonders took the form of man and became despised and rejected on my behalf. God bowed down low to save me. The beauty of it all takes my breath away. I long for God to make my life one filled with gratitude to Him for who He is and what He has done.

Klueh

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1 Chronicles 26-27; John 11:18-46

In 1 Chronicles, there’s an account of gatekeepers, treasurers, commanders and leaders. It’s the extra information that stands out to me.

The sons of Obed-edom, also gatekeepers, were Shemaiah (the oldest), Jehozabad (the second), Joah (the third), Sacar (the fourth), Nethanel (the fifth), Ammiel (the sixth), Issachar (the seventh), and Peullethai (the eighth). God had richly blessed Obed-edom.

Obed-edom’s son Shemaiah had sons with great ability who earned positions of great authority in the clan. Their names were Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad. Their relatives, Elihu and Semakiah, were also very capable men. 1 Chronicles 26:4-7, NLT.

In lists of names and jobs throughout scripture, I always slow when a little extra information is given about an individual. This is the stuff that made the cut, that has been copied and translated through the millennia. It’s all I have to flesh out an impression of that person.

These things make me think on legacy. Very little may be passed down about each of us, and yet, influence can reach vertically within a family line for generations, as well as horizontally to those around us (and whether our names are attached to actions or not, those actions can still ripple out).

I worked with some teenagers from Christian families last school year. I wonder how far back that love for Christ travels. Who was the first in their families to believe and pass that love down? Who was an outside influence that affected change in a life? In my family, my husband and I are believers who raise our kids with knowledge and love for the Lord. Will that continue four generations from now? I can’t know.
When I am tempted to think on things lost and the weight of sin through generations, its destruction of dreams and crushing of lives, I am reminded to stand in front of the tomb.

38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” John 11:38-42, NLT.

Jesus can take what’s lost, what’s broken, what’s dead, and through it we can see God’s glory.

Lord, there are broken relationships in my life, places where grudge or unforgiveness have pushed out love. When I am tempted to bury hope behind stones of preservation, help me to roll them aside so that you can do your work.
Courtney (66books365)

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1 Chronicles 23-25; John 11:1-17

If any man ever lived with hindsight looking forward, it was Jesus.

And they say hindsight is 20/20. Jesus, though He knew everything as it had to be accomplished, lived with perfect vision in the present. Is it possible that His disciples can do the same? In practice, no—but in principle, perhaps.

In the circumstance where Jesus predicts and allows events to unfold contrary to common wisdom, not acting in a way to prevent Lazarus’ death, Jesus uses the event for His glory and the disciples’ good.

The sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Hearing this news, Jesus stays two days longer at his current location. He knew his staying there and not healing Lazarus, as his sisters, He himself, and the twelve knew, would lead to his salvation. This was in the realm of the possible. It had been done before, it could be done again. But he stayed.

After two days, He prompts them to return but they are hesitant because of the Jews there. He gives the occasion for his visit: to wake Lazarus. When they don’t get it, He speaks plainly: to wake Lazarus from the dead.

“Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

In the midst of the pain and confusion, Jesus speaks Truth into the situation.

So is it possible that disciples of Jesus can always know how events can unfold? No.

But can we walk holding onto the knowledge that Jesus works for His glory and our good in every painful situation? Yes. This is the end game of every event in our lives.

In my life, God is working for His glory and my best possible outcome. I can hold fast to this fact even when in the Darkness.

If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

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Chronicles 20-22; John 10:22-42

What is salvation worth? When I read through John 10 I cannot imagine people standing before me with stones; yet Jesus stands firm and speaks truth.

“I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.”

We are called to do what we know how to do – follow – and Jesus will do the rest. People who do not know Jesus may consider what I believe to be blasphemy; but it is not my job to convince them only to exemplify truth. I cannot let the “stones” of unbelievers cause me to waiver when I know that I have the most prized gift anyone can receive – salvation!

The religious leaders who did not believe in Jesus asked him to speak plainly, because they did not understand Jesus’ words. When people live in unbelief they are unable see clearly.  It takes the spirit’s prompting to make sense of Jesus and accept his words as truth.

I have found that when I am willing to invite God into my daily challenges – through prayer – I experience his prevailing power. I can follow him and stand firm even when I may appear to be blasphemous to an onlooker

Knowing and following Jesus all begins with Prayer.  As my relationship with Jesus becomes more intimate I can say “Yes I follow you and that is what matters and is taking priority.”

My favorite book on this is “Too Busy Not to Pray.” As a read through it again I find myself reminded that as I slow down to simply be with Him it allows me to follow and stand firm amidst the trials that my life brings.

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1 Chronicles 17-19; John 10:1-21

When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice.”

-Jesus

John 10:4+5

– – – – – – – 

That idea of recognizing Jesus’ voice has been a focus for me the past few weeks. 

We all have ‘dark nights’ spiritually

Dry patches

Times in the desert

I’ve been in one of those times for about the past 6 months or so on and off. 

It’s interesting that we tend to talk so much about following Jesus

But we never talk about how to hear his voice

Let alone differentiate it from other voices

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a lot of internal dialogue going all the time

Sometimes it’s hard to quiet that down so I can hear God’s voice

I think a lot of that is I don’t actually want to hear his voice

If I did, I’d make it more of a priority to seek him out

I think the two parts of hearing Jesus’ voice are this:

Reading his word – So we can recognize his voice

Making space to listen

Listening prayer is a tricky thing, that I have by no means ‘figured out’

But the one thing that helps me is starting prayer by asking God to quiet my heart and soul

And asking him what he’d want to speak to me

I find that opens me up to being able to hear him without the distractions of my head.

And once I can hear his voice, and recognize it

Then I can follow him.

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I Chronicles 14-16; John 9:24-41

Warrior, raider, destroyer, adulterer, murderer; king, psalmist, musician, worshiper, and the one man who God said, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22).  King David suited up in armor before leading men into battle, and just as easily donned the priestly linen robe and ephod, leaping and twirling in abandoned joy as he led Israel in bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.

How odd that David could play both roles so well; was he an extremist?  Was he personality disordered? Sometimes that is what I have to ask myself in the midst of my own battles (advocating for others or defending my position).  A flash flood of words uprooting once secure relationships; sarcasm and Socratic questioning meant to bring the necessary conclusion that an opposing position is indefensible. The means is not tempered by awareness of any higher authority.

I felt kind of sorry for the blind guy that Jesus healed (John 9:24-41), for he stands before the Sanhedrin (the legal arm of the priestly judges) and boldly answers their questions with his own, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes!”  Not surprising, the priests responded with indignant anger and cast him out. (That doesn’t just mean that they shoved him out of the door of the synagogue; they meant to excommunicate him from his God and the Jewish community.)

How often do we find ourselves in a battle, standing in the middle of the enemy with foot in mouth?

I cannot decide which I would rather do.  I could go along with the problems, keep silent, and pretend that I am not bothered by what I see.  After all, demonstrating my passion is often misunderstood as judgmental, demanding, or vilifying. Is it my tone of voice? Do I speak too bluntly?  Are my sentiments unkind or blaming?

What is so strange, when I reflect on what created an unsafe environment for communication, is that I truly believe that what I said or did was necessary to bring about positive change in others, in a situation, and/or in a system. It makes me want to dance and sing when I feel that I am in God’s will.

Imagine my surprise and disappointment when others judged me to be harsh or foolish or out of touch.  Their response is like Michal who, when seeing King David dancing in the streets and worshiping God, “despised him in her heart,” (I Chronicles 15:29).

Yet, we see King David living a passionate existence, joyful in the Lord, and deadly in carrying out the Lord’s will. I wish to live like that, relying on the Holy Spirit to convict me of sin, direct me into battle, and remain with me through all my mistakes and markers of growth. Split personality, maybe, but this sword wielder and dancer is relying on Jesus Christ.

Janet

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