Saturday, January 7, 2012

Intimacy with Christ

Unfortunately, I just finished the final day of the Beth Moore, Tabernacle study. It was bittersweet! While I am glad to have completed a task, I will miss my time in the tabernacle! That being said, tonight. . .this is the part that stuck with me.

When you study the tabernacle, you learn that there is the outer court (Altar of Sacrifice, Laver), then you move to the Holy Place (Table of Shewbread, Lampstand, and Altar of Incense just before entering the Holy of Holies), and then to the innermost place of intimacy with God, the place where He displays His glory, where we fall to our face in awe, The Holy of Holies (ark of the covenant, ark of testimony). It's interesting when you think about it that the altar of Sacrifice (which Christ is for us) is at the "beginning" of the tabernacle in the outer court. You have to "accept the sacrifice" before you can enter further. So, it makes sense that it would be just as you enter. However, it also "assumes" that salvation (acceptance of the sacrifice) is JUST the beginning. There is so much more! How intimate do you want to be with your God?
You might ask how do experience Christ deeply in the intermost sanctuary. . .
       This is how Beth Moore's study put it tonight
  • "Be unafraid to let Him display the power of the resurrection before your eyes"
  • "Shake off the grave clothes of former lives and enjoy freedom of the resurrection"
  • "Do not be satisfied with this world and things in it"
  • "Be willing to be stripped of ALL earthly perspective & allow your mind to be renewed"
  • "Be willing to fellowship in His suffering"
"We can live our lives on the outer perimeters of our salvation, in Christ but not with Christ, or we can accept the challenge to enter and behold His glory." (Beth Moore, A Woman's Heart Study Guide, p.218)

Do you want to KNOW Him or are you satisfied with the outer court? If you are of the former thought, be excited by this scripture:

Revelation 21:3-5 (NASB) - "And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.' And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' And He said, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true.'"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A tabernacle among us?

So, at our church, we are quickly concluding the Beth Moore study, A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place. And, it has been FABULOUS! I haven't blogged as much as I want. The homework keeps me pretty busy. However, we are going to review the lessons again as a group, so maybe I can share more as we go.

Basically, the bible study took us through the Old Testament Tabernacle, and God's explicit instructions for its creation and use. One thing you learn quickly as you study this is that God was SERIOUS about His dwelling place. You see, it was created so that God could display His Glory! It had to be perfect. . .for many reasons, but one reason is that it was to reflect the Tabernacle to come, the one who would dwell among men. . .Jesus Christ. The earthly tabernacle was serious business because we are an unclean people with unclean lips. If steps were not followed, man could not survive in the presence of His Glory. The components had to be carried certain ways and by certain people. Although I would not do justice summarizing the entire study, I wanted to share this "bit" from our concluding week of lessons.

1st: God created the Garden of Eden but human sin cast us from His dwelling place.
2nd: God decided to create a tabernacle so that His Glory could dwell among men. And, He did.
3rd:  The True Tabernacle came in Jesus Christ, which was not just the glory of God, but God Himself. (John 1:14 Says that, "The Word (Jesus) became flesh, and dwelt among us." The word dwelt, comes from the Greek word, "skenoo", and means "tabernacled". Jesus "tabernacled" among us. Wow!!! God once again being consistent even though we may take awhile to "catch on".)
4th:  Jesus took the True Tabernacle back to the heavens.
5th:  But because the cross COMPLETELY reconciled us to God, we were no longer separated so God's Tabernacle continues to dwell among men. . .AND. . .
6th: You see, the tabernacle. . .It's in You and me. If you have received Christ as Your Savior, then you are the current Tabernacle. Your body is it.

Now, consider the care with which God prepared and cared for the initial earthly Tabernacle. What does that mean for you and me today? I think we are a little too flippant about the Holy Spirit "dwelling" in us. We don't seriously consider what it means. . .like where do we take our tabernacle, how do we maintain our tabernacle. .. The tabernacle was meant to "reveal the Glory of God" in the Old Testament. Do you think the meaning is any less today? And, yes, I'm talking about more than the physical body. But 1 Thess. 5:23 refers to living beings in 3 components: spirit, soul, and body. So, it's the whole deal. Not to mean we should put too much emphasis on ourselves (extreme either way is not healthy; it's a balance), but that we should care for the tabernacle like God would direct. Demonstrating to Him reverence for His Glory, and so that others might see His Glory in us and desire to have a relationship with Him!!

So, maybe this New Year, we can commit to take care of our body, NOT for what it will do for us but because we are the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, and we want to glorify Him in all things!