Tag Archives: temple

1 Kings 7:40-9:9

So at last Huram completed everything King Solomon had assigned him to make for the Temple of the Lord: the two pillars; the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars; the two networks of interwoven chains that decorated the capitals; the 400 pomegranates that hung from the chains on the capitals (two rows of pomegranates for each of the chain networks that decorated the capitals on top of the pillars); the ten water carts holding the ten basins; the Sea and the twelve oxen under it; the ash buckets, the shovels, and the bowls. Huram made all these things of burnished bronze for the Temple of the Lord, just as King Solomon directed.” 1 Kings 7:40-45 NLT

In the past I might have skipped over these verses thinking that all of this extravagance is unnecessary. After all, God’s presence dwells in me and I am His temple. But, as an artist I get to display His beauty to the world. One of the ways that I put this into practice is by painting during worship at my church. It’s a way to be lead by the Spirit and draw myself and others closer to God. I recently went to the National Gallery of Art to see one of my favorite paintings. To take in its beauty and see what God is speaking into my soul. Art can be a tool to draw others into His presence. To give Him glory. As long as I am not worshipping the created, but the creator.

Now I have built a glorious Temple for you, a place where you can live forever! Oh Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep Your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.” 1 Kings 8:13; 23&24 NLT

How am I displaying God’s beauty and hope to a world that so desperately needs it? What gifts and abilities has God given me to display His glory?

Thank you Father that Your presence is always with me. Thank you for the signs of Spring and new life, help me to see Your beauty all around me. Amen.

But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you today.” 1 Kings 8:27&28 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Ezekiel 40-42; John 14

I admit that I am one of those who are quite definitive that the Great Commission is about going out and making disciples. I also believe that others are endowed with the gift of evangelism. Reading Ezekiel today reminds me of the importance that all of us have a part to play in sharing the good news and that in a sense, we are all called to evangelize. I still have a problem with the manner of teaching and manipulation that attends this topic, however, the one thing I can identify in myself is that I love people who do not know Jesus and the love of Jesus causes me to reach out to them. I cannot say that I do not have love for them and I anxiously walk alongside when I can. I constantly see that a relationship goes well when the love of their soul is there.

John talks about the temple in the same way.

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places;[b] if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. – John 14:2 HCSB

Love prepares a welcome. With love, I prepare a room for my baby. With love, I prepare for my guests. Jesus is preparing a place for those who have decided to follow Him because He loves them and is confidently awaiting their arrival.

The whole secret in both Old and New Testament readings is the desire for God to have us united with Jesus.

 I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

“In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”

Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.

“I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. – John 14:18-25 HCSB

The Holy Spirit enables me to experience a deep, inner unity with God and with Jesus, His Son. Jesus deeply desires me to share in this unity with Him, for this is the very reason He gave His life on the cross for my redemption. When I experience unity with Jesus, I find my true self and am made complete in Him.

Thank you God for being so passionately in love with me.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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2 Chronicles 6:12-42; 1 John 5; Habakkuk 1; Luke 20

I love Solomon’s prayer when he dedicated the temple to God once it was completed.  Full of passion, his body  language denoted humility before an almighty God.  I find myself falling on my knees and raising my hands in prayer more often these days – probably an act of surrender acknowledging to God that more and more I need Him in my life.

Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court; and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven. – 2 Chronicles 6:13

Over the years, my “prayer batting average” is pretty low. I have prayed for the salvation of people who have not gotten saved. I have prayed for the restoration of sinning Christians, who have not repented and been restored. I have prayed for the reconciliation of many Christian marriages that have broken up.  I have prayed for physical healing for those in need and they have not been healed.  You would think that I might just give up.  I did once, when I was fourteen, and God showed up so tangibly that I will never lose my confidence that He is working everything out in His own time.

And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14

I am still learning today the same lessons I did then as I face different situations in my life.  I still cry, still tell Him what bothers me and I have given God exactly what He needs to do to solve the problem – oops – He still is ignoring my solutions.

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?  Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? – Habakkuk 1:1

I know there is a temptation for me to abuse prayer, to fake it and to tell everyone how pious I am in my prayer walk.  Pretty sure I have not fallen to the level of the scribes in Jesus’ time.

They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation. – Luke 20:47

Father, as I kneel before You with my outstretched arms, I do it knowing that as I come before You, it is to acknowledge that You reign in my life.  I yield my life before You and as Solomon consecrated the temple, I consecrate myself to You again this day.  As Jesus taught us to pray – I acknowledge You as my Father  –  I worship You today.  Be glorified in my life.  If that comes through answered prayer – that would be a blessing and encouragement to me – if it comes from Your hand another way, I am so thankful that You are still listening to me.  For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory for ever – Amen. 

evanlaar

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Ezekiel 4-6; Psalm 82; John 2

“That’s not what I expected. I’ve been listening to others who have heard Him teach, and their stories of His divine wisdom and hints of rising power have excited me – even ignited hope to my weary soul…worn down with eking out a living under the heavy hand of Roman captors. Yes, I feel like a captive, even though I am not a slave, yet. What a miserable thought – that I might have to sell my body to have some means of caring for my family, paying tithes and purchasing sacrifices, and giving to those who are even more needy and poorer than I. Oh, God, when will You save us? Those were my thoughts that Passover when I brought the few coins that I had saved to purchase an offering and pay the temple tax in the house of God.

As I walked inside the temple, a commotion began at the east corner, a place to avoid when purchasing an offering, though the other vendors are not much better. Dishonest and unjust Ben-Hadad charges exorbitant prices for exchanging Roman denarii for shekels, and his cohorts squeeze every last coin for their pitiful excuses of a sacrificial animal, even selling doves with broken wings and blemished, scrawny sheep.

All of a sudden an explosion of wooden tables crashed all around me and a whirlwind spinning with coins and curses seemed to suck out all the air in the room. Men groped on the floor or pressed against the wall in confusion and desperation. Then His voice, clear and with authority commanded, ‘Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!’ This must be Jesus!” (Adapted from John’s account of the cleansing of the temple, John 2)

Today some see the temple cleansing story as instruction to churches not to sell pastors’ books, study guides, bible covers, CDs of the weekly sermons, etc. What came to my mind, however, was Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own…” This Scripture is instructing Christians not to use the body for immorality, wickedness, and various sexual sins. We are told we are without excuse because we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to convict us (let alone plenty of fellow believers and non-believers to condemn us). Yet, I wonder if the age-old practice of self-flagellation is just a misguided response to this conviction.  I don’t doubt that many of us feel a sound whipping is in order to cleanse our conscience! How long, though, does it take to forgive oneself and more importantly, what does it take for God’s forgiveness to sink in? I know how wretched a sister or brother in Christ feels to be caught up in sin. Christ still is consumed by zeal for His Father’s house – consumed by His desire to see us cleansed by His blood. But wait! Didn’t Jesus Christ already accomplish that? Are we truly forgiven or do we need to perform some ritual, penance, or sacrifice to cover sin?

I don’t think that is what the Apostle Paul was saying. Rather, what we need is to receive the ongoing regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, working out our salvation day to day in the presence of Almighty God.

Thank You, Jesus, that You are still consumed with zeal for my body, mind, soul, and spirit. Keep me aware of the places within me that need Your cleansing. Cleanse me by Your Holy fire and the washing of Your word. Have Your way with me. Thank You, thank You. Thank You, God for Your mercy!

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2 Kings 15-16; Matthew 21

King Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey and an impromptu parade begins. He heads straight for sacred and cherished real estate, the temple. Anger at what twisted and stoney hearts have sone to God’s temple into drives him to send furniture, people and doves flying. He chases away those who would capitalize on the guilty conscience of others. An odd situation follows; those who are most vulnerable, the blind and the lame approach the One who just scared away the others and receive healing.

What a Savior I have! He claims my heart as his precious real estate and fights to keep it holy, sacred and open to his touch. He claims me as his own and never turns his face from me. I am unworthy, crippled by many things and so often blind to my own need, yet He welcomes me by his side without fail.

I think that the chief priests and elders were right to ask Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave your this authority? Matthew 21:23.  It’s a tragic  that they didn’t want the answer, but after all, who hasn’t denied God’s authority in Jesus at one time or another? It’s when I open my heart to the wonder of who Jesus is and  his love for me that I am drawn into the great mystery of this divine dance.

So Lord, please, turn over the tables of my heart. Clear out those dark and stale places where I strive to keep control. Keep my heart tender and open to you so that I might praise you and thank you for all the beauty and strength you have shown me.  Help me to let go of those small dreams for myself and others so that I can see  and enjoy the freedom and beauty of your hand at work in humble lives. Amen.

klueh

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