Monthly Archives: July 2010

10. Beware of religious activities

The Jews rebuilt the Temple of God and dedicated it to Him as we've seen last week. They rejoiced and were glad that they had a Temple again to worship God in. Unfortunately the backsliding of the Jews continued. They never truly worshiped God as they were supposed to. They never truly loved Him and Him alone with all of their hearts. God became 'quiet' and didn't speak to them for 400 years. The gap between the last prophet in the Bible, 'Malachi' and when Jesus came was about 400 years. No recording of any interaction between God and the Jews were accounted for in the Bible.

Now as far as the Temple is concerned, the Jews continued with their sacrifices. The Pharisees made sure of that. But it was empty and hollow, it was simply rituals. Their hearts were far away from God. The sacrifices were more a display of power by the Pharisees as well as a way to make money. The whole Temple area and everything it entailed was more about the pride and the political status of the religious leaders of the day, than about God.

That is why Jesus became so angry at the Temple:

"When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the Temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" John 2:15, 16

Jesus knew what they were doing, He knew their hearts were hardened and that made Him very angry. Instead of the sacrifices at the Temple drawing them closer to God, it drove them further away.

"You do not delight in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart." Psalm 51:16, 17

God wanted them to have a change of heart. He wanted them to reach out to Him, repent of their sin and draw near to Him. But at this moment, it was just a ritual to them, just a way to display power and to make money. It was so sad and it made Jesus very angry.

Today we must also beware of rituals. Religious rituals without the substance of drawing us closer to God are empty and worthless. Beware of getting trapped into rituals without really focusing on what you are doing. For example it has happened in churches that I attended that they call out a fast for example. And they play on your emotions to join them, but for most it will only be a ritual. They will merely go through the motions without truly focusing on God. Or how many times have you prayed a rhyme before you eat without even truly thinking of what you are saying? It is merely a ritual, something you have been doing from childhood.

God doesn't want us to become trapped in religious activities. Of course it is great to pray before you eat and it is wonderful to fast, but if you are simply going through the motions, you are lukewarm and God doesn't want lukewarm Christians. I have fallen into this trap a number of times, only to feel empty inside and hating every minute of the fast. I have also prayed before I eat without even thinking about it, numerous times! And at the end, I feel sad and far away from God.

God wants US. Our actions will flow once we live in His presence. But first and foremost, He wants us close to Him. Only then will we start to do the things He wants us to do. He wants us to do good and to reach out to others, but make sure that He leads you and helps you on your way. In your own strength you might just burn out and hate all the 'good work' that you are doing for Him. Or even worse, expect from Him to bless you because of all the 'good work' that you have done….. It is not about you, but about Him and glorifying Him at all times! It is about drawing close to Him and walking in His love.

Father, we are sorry that we get trapped in religious activities. You only want our hearts. Lead us into all Your ways and show us the way to walk. Teach us how to walk in Your footsteps. We desire to make You proud of us. Amen

9. Do not compare, just be thankful

The Jews experienced a lot of opposition when they rebuilt the Temple as we've seen last week. It was not all smooth sailing, because the devil didn't want them to finish the Temple. He didn't want them to live within God's will and God's blessings for them. But they continued and finally finished the Temple! God helped them mightily just as He promised He would in Zechariah 4:6:

"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts."

He helped them by His Spirit leading and guiding them and orchestrating everything to work out for their good. And once the Temple was finished they dedicated it to the Lord.

"Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy." Ezra 6:16

They rejoiced and offered 100 young bulls, two hundreds rams and 400 lambs. Now if you will remember, Solomon sacrificed 22 000 oxen and 120 000 sheep with the dedication of the first Temple. It was way more than what they sacrificed this time. But they gave what they had and God accepted it. God doesn't despise small beginnings as we've seen a couple of weeks ago.

"And they kept the Feast of Unleavened bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria towards them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel." Ezra 6:22

Not only did God accept their offerings, He also made them joyful and prosperous with the help of the king of Assyria. God was pleased that they followed the path that He had laid out for them. And He was pleased that they thanked Him with the resources that they had.

Today we should also not compare ourselves to others. We shouldn't be looking at what others are doing and feel useless with the little that we are doing. God doesn't see it that way. He is pleased if you do what you can with the limited resources that you have. For example you might be in a corporate environment and you do not have the time to go on missionary outreaches. Do not compare yourself to the missionaries going; rather be the missionary right there where you are in the boardroom. Or you might be a mother with a small baby. Do not go out and try and change the world and leave your little one alone without you nurturing him. Stay where you are and be the difference right there. Or you might look at others living your dream, excelling where you are supposed to be (according to you). Do not compare. Your journey is unique and what the Lord is laying on your heart is special. He is leading you where you need to be, not as you see it, but as He ordained it to be. Walk with the small beginnings and allow Him to work, He will lead the way. He knows what is best for you and where and how you will influence others for His Kingdom.

Spend time with God and hear His voice and go where He leads you. Do what He places on your heart to do without comparing what others are doing. God will be pleased with you if you listen to His voice for your life.

Also remember to thank Him always. He loves it to fellowship with you, and when you come to Him with a thankful heart, the fellowship together will be so much more meaningful. You won't come to Him with a beggar mentality, but with a grateful heart, as a son, knowing who you are in Him. Then you don't have to ask Him for things, but you can just enjoy being in His presence, drinking in His heart of love. Therein lies the true treasures of life.

Thank you Father that You have a specific plan for each of us. Please help us to walk in Your plan for us without us comparing ourselves to others. Thank you that the path You have chosen for us are specifically suited for us. You are such a good Father and we thank you for all Your goodness and grace bestowed upon us. We love You. Amen

 

8. Just keep going

Last week we saw that the Jews continued to build the Temple, though the foundations were much smaller than the Temple Solomon built. They cried at the small beginnings. But God was with them and they continued to build the Temple despite the fact that the Temple will be less imposing and spectacular than Solomon's was.

Yet, whilst building the Temple they experienced severe opposition from their adversaries:

'Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia." Ezra 4:4, 5

The opposition grew worse and worse and eventually they stopped building God's Temple and left it in ruins (Ezra 4:24). But God was not happy with this. He wanted them to finish the Temple. He sent two prophets to encourage them to continue building, Haggai and Zechariah. Fortunately they listened and started building the Temple again. Of course the opposition immediately arose again and came against them with force. But God was with them. He ordained that King Darius command the enemies of God to stay away from the building of the Temple AND not only that but to help them rebuild it AND pay them the full construction cost for the temple AND to give them without fail all they need. It was a true miracle from God's side (Ezra 6:6-12). God came through in a mighty way and forced their enemies to help them in every way possible. Again Ezra 7:28 and 8:31 declares that God's hand was on them. And Ezra 5:5 declares that God was watching over the rebuilding. The temple was finally completed in 516 BC, 20 years after their return from exile.

You see when you walk in the will of God, on the pathway that He has chosen for you, you can expect opposition. Satan hates it when you are walking in God's divine plan for your life and he will do anything to stop you/discourage you. So when you truly know that you are on God's pathway for your life, rejoice when opposition comes. It only means that you are on the right route. Just do not stop with what you know you should do. Do not give up like the Jews did. God wants you to continue even if it is hard.

And when you do continue, He will help you. He will cause your enemies to turn in shame and even help you. He is mighty and will not leave you to suffer on your own. He will always be there. He will always come and stretch out His mighty hand. Look forward to see God's work in your life. Live a life of expectancy. Stand up in the mornings, expecting to see good manifesting. God is always there and loves it when His children walk in His pathways with courage.

Father, please help us on Your pathway for our lives. It is not always easy and the opposition sometimes gets a bit tough for us. Thank you that You are with us every step of the way, more than willing to help. You are an amazing Father, standing beside Your children always. Hallelujah! Amen

 

7. Do not despise small beginnings

As we've seen last week God led a group of Jews back to Jerusalem from their exiled life in Babylon. He wanted them to rebuild the second Temple. He gave them all the supplies that they needed to rebuild the Temple and He gave them favor with the ruling authorities of the day. All they needed to do was to start.

And start they did. They laid the foundations and after they did, they praised God because the foundation had been laid. There were joyful shouting and singing, but many of the older priests, Levites and other leaders remembered the temple of Solomon and wept, because this temple wasn't going to be as beautiful and imposing as Solomon's and was surrounded by ruins and not a thriving city (Ezra 3:12,13). They were saddened by these small beginnings.

But it didn't matter to God, He doesn't despise small beginnings:

"The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this Temple; his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things?"

In God's eyes the foundation was wonderful. In His eyes it was the beginning of a nation turning back to Him. In His eyes it was a rebuilding of their relationship with Him. They needed the sacrifices in order to be able to have a close relationship with Him. Jesus hadn't yet died, so they needed the animal sacrifices to atone for their sins. And without that atonement, God couldn't come near them as sinful people. Therefore the Temple represented God's closeness to the people, His presence with them. So God rejoiced that He could be near them once again.

However the older people saw the small beginnings and cried, yet God met them in their despair and helped them to rebuild the Temple.

Today when we follow the voice of the Lord the beginnings may be small too. We might dream of bigger things and we might even receive a vision from the Lord where He wants to lead us. But remember two things when you start out with what the Lord has placed in your heart and it doesn't grow as fast as you would have liked:

Number one, if you look at your situation from an earthly viewpoint, all things begin small. No athlete wins the 100m in record time without training. No business lists on the stock market within a month of opening. No scientists discover great things without at least maturing in his field. No new born baby starts talking and walking within the first month. Certain things take time. Unfortunately humans are not very patient. They want to see things happening a.s.a.p. They do not want to take the time to allow what God had placed in their hearts to mature. If they do not allow that time and force things to happen, the timing will be off and the success will not manifest as they might have hoped.

Number two. In God's eyes nothing is small. He doesn't see what you are doing for Him as small. He sees your obedience, He sees your dedication and He sees your effort. And He will reward it in due time. But also remember, His reward might remain 'small' in the world's eyes, but what you are doing is making a massive difference in the spiritual realm. Always remember that and do not allow the devil to tell you that you are not amounting to anything. If you are following God's will, you are a huge success in this world!

Do not despise small beginnings. Spend time with God, listen to what He has to say and follow Him. Then whatever happens is fine. Just remain in His will. And if you battle to hear His will and you are truly spending time with Him, then do good and do what is right, there where you are. Reach out to others and walk each step in His peace. When His peace lacks, you know you need to make adjustments. But do not despise where you are, rather look up and walk with your head in the clouds, expecting His grace, His unearned favor to follow you.

Father, help us to hear Your voice and to follow You. And once we do, please give us the courage not to cry at our small beginnings, but rather to embrace life with You and to dance in the rain even though we don't feel like it. Amen

6. God supplies (1)

The first Temple was destroyed by king Nebuchadnezzar. He took the Israelites with him to Babylon and forced them to work for him. The Israelites were in exile for 70 years, the number of years that the land didn't have its 'Sabbath' rests due to Israel's disobedience. But God was gracious and good and allowed them to return to their land after the 70 years. And not only did He allow them to return, He helped them to rebuild the Temple.

God ordained it that King Cyrus decreed that the Temple must be rebuilt and that the gold utensils that Nebuchadnezzar took had to be returned (Ezra 6:3-5). God stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites to return to Jerusalem and all their neighbors gave silver and gold and supplies for the journey (Ezra 1:5, 6). All and all with donations received, 5 400 gold and silver items were turned over to the exiles to take to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:11). Also some of the leaders gave generously to rebuild the Temple - 61 000 gold coins, 6 250 pounds of silver and 100 robes for the priests (Ezra 2:69). And if that was not enough, Artaxerxes also decreed that silver and gold be dedicated towards the temple (Ezra 7:11-24).

God truly supplied all that they needed to rebuild the Temple. God ordained it all. They didn't need to fret and worry about where the supply will come from, they didn't need to even ask for supplies, God stirred the hearts of people and they gave willingly. Isn't it wonderful?

The Israelites in exile were down and out because they turned their backs on God, but the moment they repented and turned back to Him, He helped them. Doesn't that just show us the Father heart of God? Though they sinned woefully against Him, He immediately came to their aid to help them.

The same is true for us. No matter what we have done, our Father in Heaven waits for us to turn to Him. Do you realize that everything He does, He does so that we can turn back to Him? His main aim is to have us in His presence always. He loves us with an infinite love and wants us by His side. And no matter the sins we committed, if we turn to Him and start to walk in His ways, He will help us and lead us just like He did with the Israelites. He will help us to rebuild the 'Temple' in our lives. He will provide all the supplies that we need. We will never be in lack when we walk by His side and on the road that He has planned for us. All we need to do is to stay close to Him. But as we saw last week, Satan wants to keep us busy, preoccupied, so that we do not have the quality time that we need with our Father. He wants us focused on earthly 'gods' rather than on the one true God.

The time has come to leave 'gods' and stress behind and to walk in His ways, completely trusting Him. I know that we are all busy, but even when we are, we can still walk with our heads in the clouds, focused on Him, thinking His thoughts about certain situations. And yes, it is possible. Paul says we must pray always. And I think what he meant is that we must always walk with a 'God-mentality', with a 'God-centeredness' despite our busy schedules. Praying always means that we must allow His Spirit to work through us and in our lives in extraordinary ways. We must allow Him to flow through and to accomplish His purposes in our lives. He desperately wants to. He wants to help in every area of your life. Allow Him to.

Father, thank you that You are always there to help us. That You are always willing to guide us and to lead us unto the best pathways for our lives. We want You to flow mightily through us and accomplish Your will on this earth through us. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Get rid of the 'gods' in your life

The first Temple built by Solomon was awesome in splendor and truly something to behold. God entered the Temple with His Shekinah glory and dwelt amongst His people, as their God and King.

Unfortunately the people's hearts started drifting away from God. They started to worship the gods of the people they were supposed to drive out of the land. They erected Asherah poles throughout the land as well as high places where they worshiped gods like Baal. If you read the Old Testament you will see that the Israelites truly had a rollercoaster history. They will serve God and worship Him at the Temple, and then once things go well, they drift off and start to worship other gods. Then they realize their mistake and start to worship God again in His Temple, just to drift off again once things go well. It was truly a sad state of affairs. The Temple that had to draw them closer to God simply became a symbol to them. They believed that if the Temple was in their presence, no enemy will destroy them. Unfortunately it was not the Temple protecting them, but God living in the Temple. And yet they neglected Him.

The situation grew so bad, that the Israelites even started to sacrifice their own children in fire to the god Molech. God had enough and had to punish them. He allowed the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar to invade Jerusalem. He even allowed him to destroy His sacred Temple. It was truly a sad day in the history of Israel. They had forsaken God and despite all His efforts and all the prophets He had sent, they refused to turn back to Him. The consequences were devastating.

Now when I look at the lives of the Israelites I am appalled by their behavior. When I read the accounts recorded in 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings, I cannot believe how selfish and wayward the Israelites were. They truly had everything in Solomon's day. They were the nation on earth, blessed, rich and protected. And yet they threw it all away, simply to run after other gods. Go and read these books in one go; it is really shocking how they literally turned their backs on God, despite everything He had done for them. I was really disgusted with them. But then God revealed something to me. We are not much different…..

A lot of times we do the same thing to Him. He wants to give us everything this world has to offer, but we are too busy to spend time with Him. We have different 'gods' today. It might be your work, it might be your phone/social media, it might be your sport or it might even be your children. Whatever it may be, we tend to exalt these things above God. We tend to spend all our thoughts and energy towards it. Now I know we need to work, spend time with our children and exercise. But the fundamental question is where is your heart? Is God at the center of it all, or have you taken control and tried to operate on your own? There is a big difference. God must be the One our work revolves around, He must be the One in charge of our children, and He must be the One leading us to the right sport for us. You see He knows best and wants to bless you and lead you on the right path. But if you focus all your energy on your work etc., and try to control everything on your own I am afraid that you will burn out.

Only God knows best. Spend time with Him somewhere this week and ask Him to reveal to you the 'gods' that you have in your life. What do you idolize above Him? He will gladly show you, as well as how to handle it differently in future. I have done this exercise a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing what He revealed to me. I changed the way I viewed the particular area in my life and it has made such a difference. Truly it has. I feel so much more relaxed and more loved. He is in control and will lead and guide you if you allow Him. Remember He is a Gentleman and will never force His way of life on you. He wants to gently work through you and change you into the representative of Him He wants you to be.

Father, we confess that we have 'gods' in our lives. We have areas that we haven't dedicated to You. Please come and fill us with Your wisdom, love and grace and show us the areas where we haven't yet surrendered. And please help us to do so and lead us unto the path that You want us to walk on. Amen

4. Celebrate life and thank God

King Solomon built the first Temple for God in Jerusalem within 7 years. He was obedient to God and built the Temple exactly as He specified. God blessed his obedience and helped him in all ways possible. The construction of the Temple happened without any glitches and God was mightily with them.

Then Solomon did something wonderful, they dedicated the Temple to God in grand fashion. Solomon sacrificed peace offerings to God, twenty two thousand bulls and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep. Can you imagine that? It was a celebration that has never been seen before. He held a feast for all Israel, a great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt (1 Kings 8:65). The feast lasted for 14 days. The people rejoiced and were glad of heart for all the good that the Lord had done for His people. These people didn't merely say thank you, they had a proper, grand feast! Can you just picture millions of people coming together and rejoicing in the goodness of God and just thanking Him? They weren't there to beg things from Him, but just to thank Him. How wonderful.

And Solomon prayed a wonderful prayer to God. Let me quote one small part:

"Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts. You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day." 1 Kings 8:23, 24

Isn't it just a beautiful prayer, one building faith in me that God will also fulfill everything that He has promised me!

With this dedication the Shekinah glory of the Lord also transcended on the Temple, filling the building with His might. The priests couldn't even continue ministering due to the awesome presence of the Lord filling the Temple. What an amazing day that must have been!

The lesson for me today is a beautiful one. Solomon and the whole of Israel didn't neglect to thank God when their task was completed. They thanked Him in abundance for all that He had done for them and I think it is wonderful. How often do we thank God? We are so quick to ask and so slow to thank. I see it also in normal human interaction. I see a whole lot of people asking for things and sort of expecting things from others, and yet when it comes to thanking those who helped you or blessed you, it is few and far between. That is indeed very sad.

In your day to day walk remember to thank people and especially God for all His help and for everything He is blessing you with. And celebrate with Him. God loves to celebrate, He really does. After all He is the One who gave the Israelites so many feasts to celebrate. And today He wants us to celebrate with Him as well. He wants us to enjoy life and to rejoice in it.

Remember that. Remember to thank Him, remember to thank those He sent on your path and celebrate life with Him. Be the joyful child He wants you to be. Be like Solomon and the Israelites and recognize His Deity and power and thank Him for all His goodness. Then you will see His Shekinah glory like never before and experience Him on a whole different level.

Oh Father, thank you for all that You've done for me. Thank you that I can breathe, that I have friends and family, thank you that I can walk, talk and pray. Thank you that I can be an instrument in Your hands. You are our Lord and King and we praise You and want to celebrate life with You. Amen

3. God will help you (1)

King Solomon was the one that built the first Temple to God. As we've seen last week, King David wanted to build the Temple to God, but God said no, Solomon will. So David started preparing for the building of the Temple. He helped Solomon by collecting a vast number of materials as we have seen last week.

God wanted Solomon to build Him a Temple. And Solomon was obedient and followed God's instructions and God was mightily with him. All the material was collected by his father David before he died, so there was no need to scramble to find material. Then the timber - cedar and cypress - was sent to Solomon without delay by King Hiram (1 Kings 5:7-9). There were no issues concerning that. The laborers working on the Temple were 183 600 people. There were 30 000 laborers enlisted in Israel, 70 000 common laborers, 80 000 stone cutters and 3 600 foremen (1 Kings 5:13-18). Can you imagine organizing, instructing and overseeing so many people without today's technology? It must have been a massive task. And yet there were no issues with that either. God was with them and helped with all the detail. He even sent skilled workers to help with the more difficult work of designing the furniture.

The Temple took 7 years to build. Seven is also a significant number in the Bible, symbolic of the full presence of the sevenfold Spirit of God and also relates to perfection. His Temple was perfect and filled with His Spirit as we will see next week.

The fact of the matter is, God orchestrated everything for the building of His Temple and helped that it ran smoothly. Solomon merely had to be willing to be used for this task. God in actual fact built the Temple, not Solomon himself.

The lesson for us today is that if God wants you to do something, He will help you. He won't leave you in the dark to fend for yourself. No, He will help you and guide you. All you need to do is to listen to His Voice and be obedient to His calling by being available to be used. Some resistance may come if you are flowing in His will, but He will help you through it. Just make sure that the resistance is because you are on the right path and not because you are on the wrong one.

The problem with us many times is that we don't make the time to listen and make sure what God wants us to do. We rush into things and think that we heard from Him, and when the resistance and closed doors come, we think it is the devil trying to hinder us. In the mean time we are not on the right path at all. So first of all make sure that you are on the right path, and when you are sure that you are, press forward with God by your side and do what He has placed in your heart. He will help you. Even if apparent success is not manifesting, press forward, the breakthrough will come.

I have experienced this with my books. I have had soooooo much resistance (I can write a whole book about it), and yet I know that I know that God wants me to continue. Even if apparent worldly success still evades, I know He wants me to share His Word to the world. And He makes it possible for me and shares His heart with me. What more can I want?

Continue with what He has placed in your heart. Move forward with His help en change your community right there where you are. He is trustworthy and will help you. He helped Solomon to build a glorious Temple, are you not worth more in value to Him?

Father thank you so much that You help us. We are so grateful. Help us to hear Your voice more clearly. Help us to be obedient once we do and to press forward, knowing that a heavenly reward awaits us. We love You and trust You to know best. Amen

2. Temple 1 - Continue doing good

As you all probably know, King Solomon built the first Temple for God. His father, King David desperately wanted to build the Temple for God, but God said no, he had shed too much blood in the process of securing the safety of Israel. God said he could help his son prepare for the Temple, but he wasn't going to built it. King David's heart was in the right place, and started to prepare for the Temple even though he knew he was never going to build it or see the end result. He collected all the gold, silver, bronze, iron and wood as well as great quantities of precious stones for the Temple. And at the end of his life he gave all of his own private treasures as well - 112 tons of gold and 262 tons of silver. David also encouraged the other leaders to do the same and they gave 188 tons of gold, 10 000 gold coins, 375 tons of silver, 675 tons of bronze, 3 750 tons of iron and numerous precious stones (1 Chron 29:2-8). And they gave it willingly and wholeheartedly to God (1 Chron 29:6, 9). King David laid the foundation for his son, and made it so easy for him to start.

And that is our lesson for today and one I had to learn many times over in my life. Sometimes we are only the ones laying the foundation for others to continue. Many times we won't even see the growth of the seeds we planted and never see the end result. This might discourage us. I know, because it has happened to me often. I have started many groups, that I had to leave before it really grew into a 'success' story. I have sent messages to people that I feel led to, never to hear from them again. I have prayed for people that I never again saw in my life. I have given money to people that I never knew what happened afterwards. I have given some of my books to people in hotels, trains etc, and I never know if it meant something to them or not, I just felt led to give it to them. And so I can go on and on. And then I get despondent sometimes feeling as if I do not make such a big difference, as I seldom see the end result. And then I feel like giving up and not follow the promptings of His Spirit as it sometimes feel as if it leads to nothing. But the Lord placed the following strongly on my heart:

"You don't need to see success, the end result of lives being changed, but I do. You are My hands and feet, reach out and do your part and I will take it further. Do not allow the devil to lie to you and tell you that your part do not make a difference, it does. You are integrally part of the process, part of the change that I want to see in this world. Embrace it and follow the prompting of My Spirit. Then you cannot go wrong. Never ever feel insignificant, never feel that what you are about to do won't make any difference, it will. I am with you and will lead you unto new paths and new opportunities. Do My will and make Me proud. You are just as important as the 'famous' one finishing off what you started."

I then knew without a doubt that we need to do our part. We need to prepare to build the 'temple'. Sometimes we will experience success and see the end result, but mostly we won't. Mostly we will never know what happened in the end. But that is when we need to trust in God, trust that He knows best. Who knows, maybe your kind action that day led someone to the Lord and he became a great missionary, changing thousands of lives. Maybe another person prayed to God for a sign that He cares and then you showed up and paid for their groceries. You might never know, but live with expectancy that all your actions make a big difference. Expect that God will use it for great things. Live with an expectation of good and never ever give up doing good! Don't ever become despondent. Instead be excited. Look forward to today and see all the opportunities that present itself to further the Kingdom of God. Go out and be His hands and feet and make a difference in this world.

Thank you Father that You have a plan for each of us. Thank you so much for all Your goodness and grace. Give us the courage and the sensitivity to listen to Your Spirit and to go out and make a difference in this world. You are so good and we are excited to be part of Your plan. Amen

 

1. The seven Temples of God

  1. I am very excited to announce that we are starting with a new series, entitled - The seven Temples of God.

This might interest you that there was and is going to be seven temples in total. Within the next couple of weeks we are going to discuss these seven temples in detail and see what we can learn from them.

First of all, let us start with the interesting facts of where the first and the second Temple were built.

You all know the Biblical event where Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac. He was supposed to offer Isaac on Mt Moriah (Genesis 22:2). God was in fact only testing him, He would never have allowed Abraham to sacrifice his only son. God provided a ram in the nick of time and Abraham could make this offering to Him there on the altar he built to offer his son on.

A second Biblical event of significance is where King David took a census of the size of his army (1 Chronicles 21). It was a sin in God's eyes, as it meant that King David was depending more on the size of his army than on God helping them. God therefore gave King David a choice between three punishments, either three years of famine, three months of being given into the hands of his enemies or three days of punishment from God. King David chose the latter and God started to inflict the people with a plague. The plague only stopped three days later, but unfortunately with 70 000 casualties. When the Lord instructed the angel to restrain his hand, he stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.  Then the Lord commanded Gad to tell David to go and erect an altar to the Lord at this threshing floor of Ornan. So David went immediately and bought the threshing floor from Ornan for 600 shekels of gold. He built the altar and offered burnt and peace offerings to the Lord there. The Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offerings. Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath and returned to heaven.

Now the reason I highlighted these two events is because this is exactly the same place that both these events took place. And also the place where the Temple was built:

"Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite." 2 Chronicles 3:1

Isn't that interesting? It is the same place where the patriarch of the Jewish family, Abraham made an offering and also the place where the Jews' greatest King, David also made an offering to the Lord.

And today we are part of their heritage. We are also children of Abraham in the faith (Galatians 3:7) and we are also descendants of King David, because of Jesus living within us and He was a direct descendant of King David.

What can we learn from them today? Both of them understood their dependency on God. They both knew that He was in charge, and they both followed His voice and offered burnt offerings to Him on an altar. Today we needn't make burnt offerings on altars anymore, because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for us and atoned for our sins. But in a sense we still have things to offer to God at the altar of His grace. We need to offer our future to Him, all our future plans should be placed in His hands. We need to offer of our time, we need to set aside all our ambitions and plans and give honour and glory to God Almighty. We should offer our family to Him as He knows best. We should offer our future to Him and place our lives in His hands. We need to have an eternal Temple perspective as we approach Him, our Holy God. We need to understand our dependence on God as Abraham and King David did. We need to internalize that He is in charge and that He knows best. We need to let go and let God as we learned last week.

Total dependency is what God wants. We will discuss His Temple furthermore in the coming weeks, but know the main aim of the Temple was that God wanted them to come to Him with everything and He wanted to live amongst them to bless them. And today the principle is the same. He wants us to come to Him with everything and allow Him to be God in our lives. Are you ready to give over today?

Father, we give over. We surrender. We want to offer You everything that is important in our lives. We want to offer our future to you and we want to offer our lives into Your wonderful capable hands. You are the God of more than enough, and we trust in You. We walk deliberately in Your footsteps. We love and praise You. Amen