The Lord of the Temple comes to the Temple of the Lord.
As King He:
Owns all of creation
Accepts worship from all of creation
Rides in victory
Cleanses the temple
Weeps over the religious systems
Makes His temple a house of prayer
Riles the indignant leaders
Is He King of your life?
Someday He will be King of all of His creation
Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord
You have time today
What will you do?
I tell you that, if these should hold their peace,
The stones would immediately cry out
I despise your feast days, And
I do not savor your sacred assemblies.
Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them,
Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For
I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.
But let justice run down like water,
And righteousness like a mighty stream.
What is the Christian’s worst enemy? Is it the internet or pornography or liberalism or cults or …….?
The worst enemy of the Christian life is self!
Self! You are your own worst enemy.
We come into this life demanding attention. That is the only way we can stay alive. Soon, however, we need to learn that we are not the center of the world. That is a difficult concept and so we cling to the early method of self-preservation. How does this relate to the Christian life?
The more of self we allow, the more dangerous we are. The more dangerous to ourselves and to the Spirit of God. The more of self, the more pride. The more of self, the less of God.
If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit lives in you.
If you are a human being, you have a will.
Your will is in conflict with the Holy Spirit. It is your will and God’s will.
They both want to control you. It will be one or the other. They cannot both be in charge of your life.
Life brings us many blessings. Many of them can be dangers. Some of the dangers are:
Money, education, skills, charisma, knowledge, loyalty, politics, training, personality, agenda, popularity, Bible knowledge, cleverness, people skills, loyalty, zeal, influence, persuasion, language skills, birth order, family name, reputation, talent, generosity, good looks, physical strength, strength of will, bullying, philanthropy, fluency, political power, intense desire, sensuality, rules and laws, something to prove, and even Spiritual gifts….. the list could go on.
Not all of these things are necessarily bad in themselves. In fact, some of them are very, very good! The problem happens when we depend on the dangerous factors and begin to identify with them instead of depending on the Spirit of God that lives in us and wants to control us.
What we need is to be broken before God. What does that mean? Satan, in Isaiah 14 said, “I will…” five times. By contrast, Jesus in the Garden said, “Not my will…” That is the difference.
What are you saying to God? Are you broken before God? Is your life on His altar? Does the fire of His Spirit consume you? Is the zeal of God’s house eating you up? Are you engrossed in how you can bless and build His kingdom – no matter what the cost to you?
Jealously guard your heart so that the Holy Spirit is welcome and so that you can hear His voice. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not grieve the Spirit. Be filled with the Spirit.
Know yourself. Be sensitive to yourself, know your weaknesses. Honor the talents God has given you for His use. Keep those talents under Holy Spirit control.
Invest time in the Word – God’s Word is truth – He is the Spirit of Truth. The Word is Spirit and truth – John 6:63. The Spirit is revealed in the Word and the Word is revealed by the Spirit.
Hear the voice of the Spirit – Romans 8:16. Be quiet in a noisy world. Develop an ear to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Obey the Holy Spirit – be clay in the hand of the potter. Do not resist the Spirit.
Allow God to break you. He will if your will accepts His discipline. If you are not broken, you have never really met God. Your unbroken self is your worst enemy.
Kevin Mark Burkholder – April 30, 2002 – March 25, 2012
Jesus – the God/Man – wept. He cried. He was the man of sorrows. He knew grief. He also knew love. Love and grief go together. The depth of love determines the depth of grief. We do not grieve at the death of someone we do not know. We see the funeral, we pause to reflect and soon forget. When it is our loved one, and our funeral, we do not forget.
Jesus loved and Jesus wept. We love and we weep. We do not forget.
We loved Kevin. We will always love Kevin. He still lives in our hearts but we cannot express that love to him and so, we grieve and we weep. Our deep love calls us to deep grief.
We will not always weep. Someday, in eternity, we will rejoice. And so, we rejoice here, now, also. Some day there will be no more death. No more sorrow. No more grief. Only joy. Pain and death and sorrow will pass away – be gone – to be forgotten forever.
Jesus was the Man of sorrows. He is now the King of Kings. He always was the King of Kings. While here on earth He was the Man of sorrows. No more. He died. He rose. He rose from the dead so we can rise from the dead and grieve and sorrow and die no more.
Love produces grief, but grief also produces love. Grief teaches us lessons. We learn how to really love. We learn to appreciate those whom God has placed around us when we grieve. We learn to value the blessing of what God has given us.
And so, we grieve. We love and we grieve and we weep. Like Jesus. He wept. He went to the grave of Lazarus. He wept and then He cried for His friend to come forth out of the grave.
To all of us who have lost loved ones. Especially loved ones lost in untimely death – death that seemed to come way too soon. It is OK to grieve, sorrow, weep – Jesus did. We may too.
On that fateful night three years ago, a night that seemed to have no end – when Kevin left us. We will never forget. But someday, a day is coming where there will be no night. No sorrow – no weeping. We will see Kevin again. Until then we weep, because we love as Jesus did – deep love and deep sorrow for now until Joy comes in the morning.
Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
For they do not know to do right, Says the LORD, Who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.
Thus says the LORD: “As a shepherd takes from the mouth of a lion Two legs or a piece of an ear,
So shall the children of Israel be taken out Who dwell in Samaria-
In the corner of a bed and on the edge of a couch!
From Amos 3
Receive the Holy Spirit – John 20:19-23
Peace be unto you. Peace be unto you. Receive the Holy Ghost and receive power. Receive the Spirit of Jesus and receive the power of His life for your life.
Receive an internal compass to direct, an internal plumb-line to guide. Integral power of God to provide stability. Internal power to overcome sin and wrong.
Power to forgive us of our sin. Power to keep free from Sin. Power to lead His Church. Power to accept the same types of abuse that He endured. Power to not falter in that trial. Power to overcome the shame heaped on oneself. That is the indwelling, Holy Ghost Power.
This is the power of Jesus. Jesus is vindicated and validated for all time. That is because He allowed evil to exhaust its power by lashing out against Him. Evil exhausted itself, but could not exhaust Jesus’ power. God’s power is strength. Abusive power is not strength at all. It is the absence of strength.
That does not stop the spiritual onslaughts but it does mark a pattern for His followers. How can we overcome? Only through the power of the Holy Spirit that also directed Him. He prayed to the Father through the Holy Spirit. We can do no more. We dare do no less.
“A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Sorrows? Grief? Is that possible? For Him? For me? For you? How? The power is not our own but the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. He promised we would receive that power.
When evil abuses someone, the abuse validates the someone. People identify with the person who can allow abuse and still stand and be OK. Spiritually OK. All people need an example of that kind of power. Jesus is that example. Sometimes His followers are called upon to become that example.
Grief makes one vulnerable. You cannot be more vulnerable than hanging naked on a cross. That is ultimate, unbelievable, vulnerability. We must willingly choose vulnerability in our lives. The religious leaders were not vulnerable. They were unapproachable.
When we ‘see’ Jesus being abused we can relate. We feel understood. We feel vindicated. We identify with Him. The same is true when we see someone else being mistreated. Something of valor wells up within us and brings out the Power of God in us. The Godly sense of justice brings us to Spiritual discernment. We feel a connection with the mistreatment because, somewhere, sometime, we also have been mistreated. The Holy Spirit gives us power to respond.
It is the prophets who call us to this understanding. It is the religious leaders who could not understand. From the decency of Nicodemus to the degeneracy of the Sanhedrin; most religious leaders would not understand. They are blind. The common people can understand and they will understand until and unless they are corrupted by pressures to conform to the system. Then, they too will cry out, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him. Away with Him, Away with Him.” The wrong use of power.
Centuries later, when and if we encounter Jesus in His passion, we have the option to identify with Him and His genuine followers – those who are also suffering abuse. Those who have the power He had to live and die for truth.
Those are the ones that He is not ashamed to call brethren. It is when we are neither afraid nor ashamed to call Him “brother” that we can really know Him and He can really know us. That is the real power. That is His breath upon us. That is the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 2:11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12 saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
Receive the Holy Ghost. Receive Power.
The only solution is persecution
It would not have to be so, but it is. We could rise to the challenge around us, but we don’t. God will eventually bring us to Himself by bringing us to the end of ourselves. Then we will have unity. More than that, we will know God.
Sometimes God brings persecution to His people. He does that to discipline and punish His people. He does that to restore our perspective. He does that to reorient us to the real battle. We stop fighting each other.
Persecution will bring identity. We do not fight against flesh and blood. We fight against Satan and the powers of darkness. Persecution makes that clear to the Christians. It also makes clear – who are the real Christians. In persecution, our identity is no longer in question. We know who we are.
Persecution will bring unity. Unity of purpose does not insist on unity of action. Unity does not insist on uniformity. Unity does not mean we all have to be in the same church. That is control. That is not unity. We can all be in the same church and fight and have no unity whatever.
Unity is harmony. It is all of us working together to make the music of God here on earth. Whether we are physically and/or geographically together is not the issue. The issue is building the Kingdom of God. It is representing the God we serve here and now. We do not have the luxury of fighting.
Persecution will bring truth. We will choose truth. There will be no reason to not choose truth. No politics will have any value at all. All will be truth. That will also produce unity. How do you arrive at unity? Not difficult. Establish truth and agree to work with the truth. You will have unity. Nothing else is unity.
Persecution will focus us on eternity. Things of life grow strangely dim when we have no promise of life tomorrow or even today. When persecution threatens life, we will learn to live. When all will be left behind, we will begin to really live. When we cannot pass on our wealth to our children, our wealth must reside somewhere else. When the only legacy we have to bequeath is eternal, our focus will be eternal. Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
It is the only solution. It should not have to be, but it is. Over and over, God brought persecution to bring His people back to Him again. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But as sure as history is true, persecution is coming. It is the faithfulness of God. It is the only solution. We should welcome it. Welcome it as the healing we need. Welcome it as the surgeon’s scalpel to excise the necrotic tissue. Welcome it as the voice of God to us, His people again.
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,
Harden not your hearts… Hebrews 3:7-8