Tag Archives: Christ in me

October 6; CANNOT

Matthew 5:21-7:29

Every verse in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is a precious Truth that blesses and challenges me every time I read it. Today, however, it was one word that jumped out at me.

The other day I was convicted as I read that the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives has to show Himself in a change in our lives. (September 30; Baptized With The Spirit). There is no room for sin in the life of a believer because God does not stay where sin is.

I was reminded of that when I read 7:18, “A good tree CANNOT bear bad fruit, and a bad tree CANNOT bear good fruit. (emphasis mine)

Jesus was talking about recognizing false prophets. They look righteous, sound righteous, but they are really wolves in sheep’s clothing, Satan dressed up like a Christian.

I am once again reminded how important it is that my actions align with my profession of faith, that I am a light in a dark world, that I am able to address the speck in my brother’s eye because I have dealt with the plank in my own.

God CANNOT bear bad fruit. God CANNOT sin. God CANNOT think those thoughts, say those things, do anything which hurts or angers Himself. He CANNOT.

And if Jesus has really taken up residence in my heart, I can’t either, and be ok with it. If Jesus lives in me He WILL be seen.

Jesus said, “Thus by their fruit you will recognize them.” (verse 19)

People CANNOT NOT recognize Jesus if He lives in me.

2 Chronicles 1-7; Temple Building

I understand that the magnificent temple Solomon built for the Lord here in 2 Chronicles stood for a little over 400 years before it was destroyed. For those of us who live in a country about 241 years old, 400 years seems pretty impressive.

But I was in Switzerland a few months ago and explored a building built in 866. It’s still in use today. That’s 1,151 years that structure has been standing. Puts Solomon’s temple in perspective.

What happened? Why couldn’t God protect this amazing temple?

As we continue to read Israel’s history as recorded in Scripture, we’ll find the answer: Disobedience.

It’s not that God couldn’t protect His temple. It’s that He wouldn’t if His people rejected Him. God’s promises for blessing are conditional. (7:19-22)

So, New Testament Christian, how’s your temple? Is it as magnificent, as beautiful in God’s eyes, a place where He delights in dwelling? Or are you beginning to show signs of decay? Is the enemy closing in?

I want this temple called Connie to last for eternity. I want God’s Presence to fill me, and cause me to worship Him with every minute He gives me. I want His Presence to be visible, and point people to Jesus by the way I live, the things I say and do, and by my faith in the Holy God.

May God’s residence on earth, this earthly temple I wear, be fit for the King He is.

I Kings 5-8; Christ In Me

This morning I read about the temple Solomon built for the Lord, every intricate detail. It must have been fabulous. Was there anything too good for the place God would dwell on earth? Solomon didn’t seem to think so.

At the dedication ceremony, after the temple was completed, Solomon appears to be overcome with awe, as he raised his hands and prayed. He had just built the most elaborate building most had ever seen. Yet standing in front of this magnificent structure he said:

But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built. (8:27)

Paul tells us our very bodies are God’s temples these days. (I Corinthians 6:19) He’s not limited to one building, even a beautiful building like Solomon’s temple. He lives in me. Can it be, when even heaven can’t contain him?

The answer is yes!

Christ in me, the hope of glory. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the redeemed is as real as this chair I’m sitting in. The God of creation lives IN ME. I, like Solomon, am in awe.

Once again I am reminded to care for this temple where the Creator lives. I want to guard my heart, choose purity and commitment. Everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike, knew that God dwelt in the temple Solomon built. I want Christians and non-Christians to know God lives in me today, by the way I talk, the things I do, the stand I take.

Let them see Jesus in me. Because Jesus really is in me!

________________________

Still waiting to get back on the island after the hurricane. Power and sewer companies hard at work to get things up and running, Chain saws are busy clearing the roads. And I sit here, ready to go home, waiting for the “all clear.” Thank you for your continued prayers for all of us effected by Irma. We all still have a lot to do, but am so thankful for God’s mercy.

People are asking why God did this. Is it a judgment on our nation? Honestly, God hasn’t let me in on that secret. But I do know, if it was judgment on a disobedient people, we are very blessed that all of us weren’t thrown into the ocean. God is merciful. And I continue to praise Him!

September 29 – Hidden Chambers

Nehemiah 11-13, Psalm 126

It seems as though as soon as Nehemiah went back to his job as King Artaxeses’ cupbearer, the people in Jerusalem, with their newly repaired wall, began to do their own thing. The priest even took one of the temple chambers and made it into a hotel room for Tobiah. Yes, THAT Tobiah who had been one of the liars and cheaters trying to stop the Jews from rebuilding the wall. The enemy was allowed to live IN THE TEMPLE!

The Jews began to disrespect the sabbath by farming, buying, and selling on that holy day. And…

wait for it…

a son of Eliashib the high priest married Sanballet’s daughter. The enemy had infiltrated Jerusalem and the temple without firing a shot.

So who’s living in your temple? Are there hidden chambers in your heart where you’ve prepared a place for the enemy? A secret room you think no one sees? Do you hide jealousy, lust, tolerance, unforgivness, internet sites or TV shows, drunkenness or dishonesty?

Have you established relationships with ungodly people, anti-christ and/or politically correct theologies that oppose Scripture? Are you one person at church and another in the workplace or in your home?

God is asking me today to clean out my temple like Nehemiah cleaned out the temple in Jerusalem. Completely. If I am comfortable living with sin in my life, in those hidden chambers of my heart, God is not going to be comfortable living in me.

And more than anything I want God to feel at home and welcome in my heart.

March 25 – A Rest From War

Joshua 9-11

These chapters tell of Israel’s taking of the Promised Land. It involved wars, and fire, and hangings, and destruction. Then in 11:23 we see that finally the land had rest from war. But it hadn’t been easy. And it didn’t happen over night.

11:18 says, “Joshua waged war a long time with all the kings.” God had promised the land. But the land needed some serious cleansing. They had to purge the evil before the Jews could live there.

My spiritual Promised Land is mine for the taking, too. It’s there God promises to never leave or forsake me, to live in my heart, to bless and keep me. But, just as with the Jews, there is some purging I must do.

I need to repent of sin, flee youthful lusts, love God with all my heart and soul, cleanse my hands and purify my heart, fight the good fight, put on the whole armor of God. And, just like with the Jews, God is going to fight for me.

God will help me rid my life of sin that so easily entangles me. When I allow God to come in and stand with me against our enemy, there is victory. Then I, too, can live in this world resting from the spiritual war Satan has declared on my soul.

With God I can be more than a conqueror. With God I can know the peace and rest that comes from abiding in Him, living in the Promised Land.

Feb 23 – Protecting The Presence

Number 1&2

It took a great amount of organization to navigate the Israelites through the desert. Clearly a million or so people weren’t going to get to the Promised Land if they were going at it a million ways. As it happens, God is a good organizer.

God broke it all down in manageable bits. His plan, if followed, would make the journey more enjoyable, and guaranteed its success.

You’ll notice in these chapters that everyone camped with their own family, and they set out with their own family. Reuben’s ancestors stayed together, as did Judah’s and Gad’s, as did each of the rest of the twelve tribes.

The Levites, who were in charge of caring for and transporting the temple, and who had no warriors among them, were always surrounded by the other tribes for protection.

You do know I think this is more than just nice little history lesson, right? The temple was where God abided on earth at that time. Today He abides in the hearts of those of us who are saved by His grace, through the blood of His Son.

So as I look at how God instructed the Jews to surround the temple, to protect it from all sides, I wonder what I am doing to protect God’s Presence in my own life.

Reading the Bible and praying, going to church, listening to Christian music are all good and useful. Resisting sin, being selective about the TV I watch or the books I read, standing up for the Truth of Scripture, sharing Christ with the lost, surrounding myself with Godly friends, serving, giving, are other ways of protecting Christ in me. The Bible tells us to put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6)

I am reminded there is an enemy in Satan who would destroy the Presence in me. I believe God is encouraging me today to be organized in my defense, to make purposeful choices to protect this place where He lives. If I do, it will make my journey through this life more enjoyable, and guarantee its success.

After all, Christ in me, the hope of glory! That’s worth protecting!

A Tattoo On My Life

Tattoos are the rage these days. I have a friend who got her first tat when she turned 60. I recently saw a boy of about eight with a cross tattooed to his leg. Both his parents were covered in colorful ink.

Tattoos are no longer “Mom” written on a sailor’s arm. Flowers and skulls and dragons and butterflies, even faces and catchy phrases are worn from the scalp to the toes and everywhere in between by a growing number of people.

In Ezekiel’s vision, an angel was given the task of putting a mark on the forehead of the people who were grieved over sin. (Ez 9) Only those few, with the angel’s tat, were saved. Everyone else lost their lives as a result of God’s judgement.

So I ask myself: is there a visible sign in me that identifies me with the Savior? Is it possible to be a closet Christian? Or, like in Ezekiel’s vision, are we to live as though we had “JESUS” tattooed on our foreheads? The Bible tells us there is no other name under heaven that can save us.

I have no plans to ever have a tattoo. I’ve only ever seen one worth having, and that’s my niece’s personal tribute to her brother, who was tragically killed in an auto accident two years ago. It’s the Hebrew word for “brother” that Jesus used when he spoke to his disciples, and it’s on her right wrist.

I don’t want a tattoo. But I want to live my life in such a way that Jesus is as visible as if his name was tattooed to my forehead. May Christ be seen in me by the words I say, the places I go, the things I do, by the very look on my face.

Dear Jesus, I love you. What you did on the cross so that I can be with you is everything to me. Help me live my life so that others know that about me. May they recognize your love, your grace, your peace, your Presence when they look at my life. Convict me when I begin to get off track and may I be quick to confess. I would be honored to represent you today according to your Word. You have tattooed your Name on my heart. May I wear it proudly and truly so that someone will recognize you and want you in their life, too.