Monthly Archives: January 2015

16. Walk worthy of your calling

Last week we had a look at the Heavenly temple of God. It is the sixth Temple mentioned in the Bible. The Temple built in Jerusalem was a replica of the Heavenly Temple. Jesus took His precious blood and sprinkled it on the Mercy seat in Heaven, atoning for our sins. He paved the way for us so that we can always enter into His presence.

This week we will discuss the seventh and last Temple mentioned in the Bible. And that is us. The Bible tells us clearly that we are now the Temple of God. He dwells in us now. Let us have a look at a couple of Scriptures confirming this:

"Or do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Cor 6:19

"For you are the Temple of the living God." 2 Cor 6:16

"…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 2:4-5

We are therefore God's Temple today and there are wonderful symbolism locked in it which I will share in the next couple of weeks with you, but what I want you to realize today is that our Temple needs to be built by the Spirit and not by our own effort. We've seen how wonderfully everything works together when it is within God's will as the first two Temples. God will provide, He will create avenues for you, He will cause your enemies to look favorably upon you, He will give you the strength and His mighty hand will be upon you. But if it is not His Will, and if you are building your temple in your own strength, the glory of the Lord will not descend upon you and success will not follow you. You need to follow His Spirit, only then will His Shekinah Glory descend upon you, only then will you find peace in the Holy of Holies, only then will your relationship with God grow. He has to be your everything. Protect your temple from the onslaughts of the evil one.

You are the Temple, to portrait God's glory to the world. You are the one that is supposed to lure people to God. You are His 'face' here on earth, His representative in every way. As you've seen these past couple of weeks, God's Temples were glorious! A sight to behold. A sense of awe and wonder filled all those who saw His Temple. His Temple lured people to come and have a look, to come and learn more of Who He is. And today as His Temple, He wants people to look at you with awe and wonder. He wants people to see something special in you. We all are special, but we need to allow His Spirit to shine through us for all to see. Therefore look after your Temple. Do not allow vulgar jokes, negativity, gossip or anything inappropriate proceed from your mouth. You need to be an example. You need to look after yourself and be presentable. We are not all rich, but we can all look neat and presentable at all times. That is how you lure people closer, how you draw them into the Kingdom of God. At the end of the day, your sole purpose in life is to spread the Gospel and to spread the Kingdom of God. God has a different way for each of us to do it, but our main purpose remains the same.

We will discuss your Temple in detail over the next few weeks. But for now stand tall, knowing who you are in Him. Knowing how incredibly special you are. When you walk with the fullness of Him inside of you, your steps will be directed, your ways made smooth and your peace will multiply as you fulfill your destiny in life.

Father thank you for regarding us worthy to be Your vessels. Thank you that You made Your home in us. We know that You are proud of us already, and today we want to walk in the confidence that You have in us. Hallelujah! We want to walk worthy as good and faithful sons of God! You are amazing. We love You. Amen

 

15. Spend time in His presence

Last time we had a look at the magnificent fifth Temple that we find in the Bible. It will be Jesus' Temple in the Millennium. During that period of time He will rule on the earth from Jerusalem. The Temple is discussed in detail in Ezekiel 40-48, it is really worth the read. It will fill you with awe of the mighty God we serve. Your current problems will fade in comparison of what lies ahead for us all.

Now this week I want us to have a look at the sixth Temple mentioned in the Bible. And that is God's Temple in Heaven. Remember when God told Moses to build the Tabernacle, He said that he must build it according to the design that He showed him in Heaven. That design was God's Temple that Moses saw in Heaven (Hebrews 8:5). There are also a number of Scriptures confirming that God has a Temple in Heaven. Let us have a look at a couple of them:

"We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected and not man." Hebrews 8:1, 2

"Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are true copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Hebrews 9:23, 24

"Then the Temple of God was opened in Heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His Temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake and great hail." Revelation 11:19

"Then another angel came out of the Temple which is in Heaven, he also having a sharp sickle." Revelation 14:17

"After these things I looked and behold, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the testimony in Heaven was opened." Revelation 15:5

I hope I have convinced you that there is a Temple in Heaven. This is the Temple where Jesus took His blood. Remember when He appeared to Mary after His resurrection, He told her not to touch Him, because He needed to ascend to His Father first. Why couldn't she touch Him? He still had to take His blood into the Most Holy Place. And the next time when He appeared to someone it was to His disciples. And this time they could touch Him. Why? Because He had taken His blood to the Mercy seat, where it cries out day and night for our salvation.

He was the perfect offering, so perfect! And today His blood atones for us day and night in the presence of our Father. And that is why we can come with boldness to Him. We can enter into the Most Holy place because of His perfect, sinless blood. In the Old Testament only the High Priest could and only once a year on the Day of Atonement. But now we can enter, every day, the whole day if we want to. The sad part is that we are often times too busy. We are so rushed that we never make the time. We say quick prayers and think that that is enough. It is not. Jesus opened the way for you and me with His expensive, precious blood. He paved the way that we can have entry into the most sacred place in the Universe. Do you not think that it deserves your time? I promise you that if you will make the time to enter into His presence, everything you do that day will be so much more efficient and effective. I have noticed that when I make time for God, time to be in His presence, the rest of the day's events fall into place. And the days where I don't make time, everything takes so much longer to be done and the effectiveness also lags behind.

Make time to come into His presence. See His awesome wonder and experience His goodness. You cannot remain the same. Come to a point where you can remain in His presence, even though you are sitting in a board meeting. It is possible and God's dream for all of us. He wants us so full of Him that He will manifest everywhere that we go. Come and give Him your time. Breathe Him in and meditate on His Word and see how He transforms your life in every aspect. All glory on High!!

O Father, You are so infinitely wonderful, worthy to be praised forever and ever! In Your presence is all that we can ever dream of. In Your presence is true love and grace unending. We love You so very much. Amen

 

 

 

14. Look forward to what lies ahead (1)

Last week we had a look at the fourth Temple of God. It is the Temple that will be rebuilt before the Tribulation period begins. The Jews will sacrifice there again, but then the Anti-Christ will come and exalt himself in the Temple. He will force them to start to worship him instead of God. At the end of the day the Temple will also be destroyed when Jesus and His army comes to destroy the Anti-Christ and his forces. Then Jesus will lock the devil up for a thousand years and then He will reign on earth for a millennium. And I believe this is where the Temple prophesied by Ezekiel comes in. I call it the fifth Temple.

In Ezekiel 40-48 he prophecies about a Temple that has to be built. The specifications are very specific and direct. It is clearly an earthly Temple, with all the dimensions and details given. When and where will this temple be rebuilt? No one knows exactly, there is a lot of speculation. But it will be the biggest and most beautiful of all the Temples thus far. I personally believe that it will be Jesus' Temple when He returns to earth. He will govern from there during His millennium reign on earth. Look at these interesting verses. These verses were written with the millennium context in mind:

"In that day 'HOLINESS TO THE LORD' shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts." Zechariah 14:20, 21.

"All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaoith shall minister to you; they shall descend with acceptance on My altar, and I will glorify the house of My glory. The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the pine, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of My Sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious." Isaiah 60:7, 13

So according to these verses there is clearly going to be a Temple during the millennium period. And God Himself will glorify the house of His glory. This Temple will be filled with God's glory, the first time since His glory entered Solomon's Temple and God declares that He will remain there forever:

"The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. And He said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever." Ezekiel 43:5, 7

"…and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE." Ezekiel 48:35

The Temple Ezekiel prophesied about is going to be magnificent. And God will be there in His Shekinah glory, with the soles of His feet resting there. He will sit on His throne and rule over the earth for a thousand years. How glorifying that will be! How wonderful to behold!

Reading these prophecies makes me very excited. Go and read Ezekiel 40-48 for yourself and see the magnificence of this Temple in your mind's eye and see Jesus ruling from there. See Him in all His glory reigning over the earth as the supreme King over all! Then you cannot help but look at your current circumstances with different eyes. When I read this, my current problems look so small; it pales in comparison to the glory and honor that lies ahead. This world and all its problems and lusts will fade away and only what was done for the honor of His Kingdom will last. When I read these prophecies God is magnified in my eyes and I see how great He is. I cannot help but feel lifted up. I feel part of His royal family and I rejoice for what lies ahead, no matter what is happening on earth at the moment. I rejoice that I am part of the greater scheme of things, so much bigger than I am. It excites me and lifts my spirit, looking forward to what lies ahead!

Father thank you so much that we are part of Your bigger plan for this earth. No matter what we are facing, we are part of Your Kingdom now already. We glorify Your Name and look forward to the physical manifestation of it all! Amen

 

13. Stay in God's presence

Last week we saw how Herod rebuilt the Temple in order to glorify himself. He wanted to exalt his own name and he even built courts for different classes of people, segregating them from sacrificing and worshipping God. God wasn't impressed and in 70 AD the Temple was totally destroyed by the Romans. And since then the Jews didn't have a Temple.

Only in 1948 did the Jews return to their land as rulers. They desperately wanted to rebuild the Temple on the same site. Unfortunately the Dome of the rock stood on the site where the Temple were. They cannot destroy the Dome without invoking a Muslim war, so they are stuck. They want to build it on the original site. Some scholars believe that the Dome is only standing on the area called 'the court of the Gentiles' and thus the Temple can be built right next to the Dome, because Rev 11:1,2 says the court of the Gentiles should not be measured.

How it will be rebuilt, we do not know, but the Bible tells us clearly that there will be another Temple in the Tribulation period. I therefore call this Temple the fourth Temple. Let us look at a couple of Scriptures:

"Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the Temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the Temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months." Revelation 11:1, 2

"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." Matthew 24:15, 16

"…for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God." 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4

And so I can go on with text verses, but all these verses has to do with the end times and all these verses refer to a physical Temple being there. So somewhere in the near future the Temple will be rebuilt. So whenever you hear that the Temple is being rebuilt, know that the end is near. When we were in Israel, they told us about a group of Jews already preparing for the rebuilding. They showed us the menorah already made of gold ready to be put in the Temple. They have also prepared the table of showbread, the garment of the High Priest etc. It is actually very exciting when you see it all. They are getting everything ready so that there won't be any delay when the Temple is built.

Another interesting thing to note is that God is also not mentioned as helping with this Temple, or living in this Temple. The Jews will rebuild the Temple to continue with their sacrifices, but as we all know, Jesus came as our Sacrifice once and for all, therefore these sacrifices are done out of religion and not because God commanded them to. A Temple built without God is no temple at all. God makes the Temple, the Temple. Only His presence.

Without God's presence in any area in our lives, it is hollow and meaningless. Only God's presence brings meaning and power. Only His presence allows things to work out for your good. His presence is holy, filled with grace and power. Walk in His shadow, in His presence and experience His unearned favor, His grace in your life.

Father we look forward to see the world's events unfolding. We look forward to see Your mighty hand working. We want to stay close to Your presence and walk in Your grace and love. Thank you very much that Jesus made all of this possible for us. We praise Your mighty Name. Amen

 

12. There is no more segregation in Christ

Herod wanted to exalt himself and leave a legacy behind of his greatness. And as part of his construction projects, he rebuilt the Temple of God. He made it bigger and much more imposing than it really was. This didn't please God as we saw last week, because it was all to the glory of men and not to the glory of God.

The Temple was more imposing and magnificent, but basically the layout was the same. However Herod added different courts. A court of the Gentiles were added, then the court of the women, then the court for Jewish men, then the court for the priests, then the Holy Place and the Most Holy place. And between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place a curtain was placed, as it was in the other two Temples.

Now these different courts added were very interesting to me, as the other two temples never had that. God never instructed them to build different courts for different people. And therefore it is my opinion that God never wanted the segregation. God wanted everyone to freely approach His Temple and pray there. He wanted them to be able to sacrifice and worship together. Yet these different courts and segregation between people crept in.

Today still God doesn't want segregation. God loves all people, whether you are black, white, Indian, female or male, He loves all. And He doesn't want us to see different classes of people either. All are special and loved by Him. And with the death of Jesus, we all became sons of God, part of Jesus' body and therefore equal in every aspect:

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26-28

As we've seen in the Kingdom of God series, we are one in spirit with Jesus. When we accepted Him as our Savior, we were born again and baptized into His body. Our newly born spirit and His Spirit became one. And therefore in the spirit, there is no segregation. There is no male or female, rich or poor, or even ethnic groups, we are all one and the same in the spirit. In God's eyes we are as His Son is, perfect in every way.

This verse helped me a lot, as I believe that I am called to preach His Word to males and females alike, to all ethnic groups. Now some denominations believe that females cannot preach to males, but this text verse set me free. As it clearly states that in Christ I am one spirit with Him, and because I am, He is the one preaching through me and I am only the vessel. And therefore my sex or race doesn't matter; it is Him working through me. And today I want you all to realize that and to look beyond what you can see in the physical. Everyone that accepted Jesus is one and the same. We are filled with Him and His goodness. And therefore we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We shouldn't treat one another differently, we are all His beloved children and we should act that way. It grieves God to see His children racially divided. He doesn't want that. He rather wants us to work together for the good of all, no matter your race or sex. He wants us to build His Kingdom and to be an example to the world in order to draw them closer as well. God has a special plan for you, walk in that and take hands with those alongside you. Collectively we can accomplish so much more than we can on an individual basis.

Father thank you for brothers and sisters in Christ. Help us to walk hand and hand to grow Your Kingdom. We don't want to listen to the world and all its lies, we rather want to listen to You and work together with our spiritual family to draw others closer to You. Please help us accomplish that. In Jesus' Name. Amen

 

11. Build your Temple on the right foundation

Last week we finished discussing the second Temple and we concluded that the second Temple was merely used for religious activities. The religious leaders followed the Torah to the tee, but their hearts were far away from God. They didn't follow all the rules to draw closer to Him. They rather followed it to receive acclaim from people and to get rich.

They used this Temple until +- 20 BC. Then Herod started to rebuild it into something magnificent, much larger than the other two with open paved areas known as different courts. The Temple was totally transformed and that is why I call it the Third Temple.

Herod was interested in perpetuating his name for all eternity through construction projects and by rebuilding the Temple he hoped to find favor with the Jews. During this project the daily sacrifices and rituals could continue as per normal. The reconstruction took 46 years according to the Jewish leaders to complete (John 2:20).

This Temple was finished in 26AD, but destroyed in 70 AD by Titus. Interestingly to note, God is nowhere to be mentioned in the reconstruction of the Temple. No special mention is made of how God helped them. This Temple was rebuilt by the might of men and to the glory of men. Herod wanted to show how great he was not how great God was. He rebuilt the Temple in order to exalt himself. He wanted all the praise.

There is therefore no mention of God's Shekinah glory occupying the Temple. God didn't approve of this Temple. It wasn't what He wanted. He wanted the hearts of the people. He didn't want them to become proud and praise and worship the Temple more than they praised Him.

Today we must also make sure that we are not building a 'third' Temple in our lives that God doesn't approve of. Many times we want to do something, and without realizing it, it might be to exalt ourselves, it might be to further our career, it might be to 'help' our children excel at school. Whatever the case may be, make sure that you are building on the foundation laid by Jesus Christ! Make sure that you are building your 'house' on the Rock, Jesus Christ. And not on sand that won't stand the test of time.

The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD never to be rebuilt again. Why? Because God wasn't honored there. Make sure that whatever you are busy with honors God. Make sure that He is the One receiving the glory. Make His Kingdom your primary concern, and then all other things will be added unto you.

Jesus said He can rebuild this spectacular new Temple in 3 days. He was actually saying that the era of a physical Temple was coming to an end (John 2:19). Without running too far ahead, just know that we are living in the 'no Temple' era. As we are the Temple of God now. We are the ones in which the Shekinah glory of God resides. But I will come to that in the next couple of weeks. For now, just make sure that your Temple exalts God, that your Temple brings you closer to Him. That is all He wants, a relationship. Christ died so that we can have one. Praise His Name!! May we all rejoice in the wonder of His amazing grace.

Father thank you for Your amazing grace. Thank you for looking out for us. We love You dearly. Please show us clearly if we are building Temples on shaky foundations and give us the courage to tear it down and rather to build our Temples on our Rock, Jesus Christ. Amen

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