Make Me Your Sanctuary

The day was hot and the trail was full of dust. It was a choking brume that coated the barren landscape. They had seen the other side, looked upon the green and verdant hills. Yet they had been afraid, unwilling to believe. So they were turned away, cast out and sent to wander, an aimless juncture even as their faith was led astray. How long would this exile last? How long must they endure?

Until they had passed beyond reach, until every last one who had rejected was gone. Even so, hope remained for those that came after. They would one day see those same green and verdant hills. Yet would the new generation believe? Would they find inside themselves what was needed to have faith, to trust?

Only time would tell…

As we look back to this episode, we can glean lessons for our own lives. Do we have faith? Do we believe? Are we able to trust in the wake of what appears to be insurmountable odds? What does it take to be led by God?

Let us return to the story.

So we see the Children of Israel wandering for forty years in the Wilderness—

searching for the Promised Land

And why were they sent to wander in the Wilderness—they disobeyed God.

They forgot that God was with them, that He had guided them and helped them. They lost faith. They knew better than God, after all, the evidence showed that giants lived in the land. What could they do about giants? They were mere people. But they forgot that the Lord traveled with them.

You see sin cannot enter into the Promised Land.

Yet, God said to them, “You don’t have to go it alone. I will show you the way, only you must follow me.”

“Firstly, you must build Me a Sanctuary (Ex. 25:8) that I may dwell among you.”

“Not a Sanctuary of your design, you must make the Sanctuary in the way that I tell you. I will instruct you. Then I will show you the way to the Promised Land. All you need do is follow Me.”

I tell you—

We are the children of Israel; this world is the Wilderness.

Heaven is the Promised Land

And we need to build God a Sanctuary so that He may live among us.

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:3

But first we need to understand what a Sanctuary is—for how can we build if we do not know of what we build?

Temple—Tabernacle—Sanctuary

According to Webster’s Dictionary it is a consecrated place, set apart for God’s service.

A hallowed place, a holy place, a dwelling place for God

The habitation of God through the Spirit

The Temple of the Old Testament typified Christ’s dwelling by faith in the hearts of believers.

  1. Our bodies are the Temple of God and are designed for worship

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3: 16

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:10-12

Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:20

2. Our bodies are the place where God dwells

God is holy and cannot live in an unclean house.

If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.1 Corinthians 3: 17

3. Our bodies are sacred

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:14.

4. Our bodies do not belong to us

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 you are 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 Corinthians 6:19-20

If we received the truth in our hearts, we will honor Him in our bodies.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Does everything we do and say glorify God?

We need to say as Jesus did, “Not My will, but Yours be done.”

We cannot have two masters. We cannot go our way and follow after God’s way at the same time.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24

Remember, wherever we go, whatever we do, God is with us.

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

I will dwell in them

And walk among them.

I will be their God,

And they shall be My people.

2 Corinthians 6:16

We do not have to be afraid. We can trust in our Redeemer, who dwells within us. His way is always the best way. Only have faith and follow Him, no matter what giants may stand before us. The Promised Land awaits.

So Lord, I pray, make me Your Sanctuary …

~ Susan

 

 

The Story of Christmas : Part IV

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, and the sky closed dark and still, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” In simplicity of devoutness and faith, they forsook all, those shepherds to whom the angels spoke, and went to find the Savior. With eagerness of spirit they came in haste to the place of where they were told. The path was dark after the glory displayed by the heavenly messengers, yet they ventured on into the swarthy night, until at last, they came upon a stable hewn into the side of the hill. Slowly they peered into the illuminated camber, eager, yet with trepidation, as the anticipation pulled at their hearts.

As they entered into the room, there they found Mary, and Joseph, and just as the angels had said, the Babe lying in a manger. When they looked upon the Child, they knew it was He, the One foretold. This new-born King, this Messiah, he looked through time directly into their hearts. And in the eyes of the Christ Child, they saw the abiding love that would suffer all things for them and on bended knee they fell and worshiped Him.

Now when the shepherds had seen Him, their hearts were full. Abounding in hope and faith, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. Not being able to contain all that they had seen, with exultation overflowing, they went out proclaiming the day of the Lord. And all those who heard it marveled at what was told them by the shepherds.

But Mary gathered all that had happened, all that was said, and placing them in her heart, pondered and cherished them. Delicate and beautiful, a mother’s heart, that kept them, resolved them, locked away in her very being, all those things respecting her child. Treasured up in her memory, she carried them always until the time would come for all to be revealed.

Then the shepherds returned to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, of the Babe in the manger, of the Christ Child that had come.

~ Susan

The Story of Christmas: Part III

shepherds-see-new-star-39535-galleryNow in that same country, through the watches of the night, there were shepherds tending their flocks. The lonely melody of the flute floated through the dark sky as a shepherd boy soothed the sheep with his song, lulling the flock into a torpid lassitude. The glittering orbs of the starlit sky winked down upon the hapless boys who looked well to their charge. As the migratory flock rested upon a bed of green grass, a stillness settled over the watch fires.

With tremulous power the heavens unfurled, the night sky aflame in glory. With shattering opulence, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, His glory rebounding. In the presence of the magnificent splendor, the shepherds trembled, all their sin laid bare before them and they fell upon their faces in fear and doubt.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, both wonderful and amazing to behold, which will be to all people.”

With trepidation, the shepherd boys lifted their eyes to look upon the messenger of the Lord. In the watchfulness of his beauty they despaired. Yet there was something in his voice which drew courage from their souls as they listened to the words spoken.

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord; He is the Good Shepherd foretold, the Messiah spoken of by the prophets, the anointed of the Lord: Prophet, Priest, and King. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

By three tokens you shall know Him: The Babe, the swaddle, and the manger.

In this manner you shall find the Child, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. Amazing contrast there shall be, for it was by this birth the Savior of all has chosen to come.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

that though He was rich,

yet for your sakes He became poor,

that you through His poverty might become rich.

                        ~2 Corinthians 8:9

For pride is the character of all the children of Adam, but humility the mark of the Son of God. By humility Christ comes to reign, for it is by these means only, one may enter into His kingdom.

Then suddenly on high, the heavenly vision all encompassing, ruptured the sky. Oh, magnificent appellation! A multitude of the heavenly host, heralds of the new-born King, descended from on high, who compass the majesty of God round and filled the air with lofty strains, “The way of peace is thrown open to all people, by reconciling the world to God by His atonement.”

The angelic beings transferring their exalted station, bent to the poor earth and with pure voices proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

And as the morning stars sang together, the foundation of man’s soul was laid; the cornerstone of man’s salvation set in the incarnation of the Son of God, inducing man to lay down the weapons of rebellion and to submit his soul to God’s redeeming love. (Albert Barnes)

~ Susan

The Story of Christmas: Part III

shepherds-see-new-star-39535-galleryNow in that same country, through the watches of the night, there were shepherds tending their flocks. The lonely melody of the flute floated through the dark sky as a shepherd boy soothed the sheep with his song, lulling the flock into a torpid lassitude. The glittering orbs of the starlit sky winked down upon the hapless boys who looked well to their charge. As the migratory flock rested upon a bed of green grass, a stillness settled over the watch fires.

Suddenly, with tremulous power the heavens unfurled, the night sky aflame in glory. With shattering opulence, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, His glory rebounding. In the presence of the magnificent splendor, the shepherds trembled, all their sin laid bare before them and they fell upon their faces in fear and doubt.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, both wonderful and amazing to behold, which will be to all people.”

With trepidation, the shepherd boys lifted their eyes to look upon the messenger of the Lord. In the watchfulness of his beauty they despaired. Yet there was something in his voice which drew courage from their souls as they listened to the words spoken.

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord; He is the Good Shepherd foretold, the Messiah spoken of by the prophets, the anointed of the Lord; Prophet, Priest and King. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

By three tokens you shall know Him: The Babe, the swaddle, and the manger.

In this manner you shall find the Child, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. Amazing contrast there shall be, for it was by this birth the Savior of all has chosen to come.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

that though He was rich,

yet for your sakes He became poor,

that you through His poverty might become rich.

                        ~2 Corinthians 8:9

For pride is the character of all the children of Adam, but humility the mark of the Son of God. By humility Christ comes to reign, for it is by these means only, one may enter into His kingdom.

Then suddenly on high, the heavenly vision all encompassing, ruptured the sky. Oh, magnificent appellation! A multitude of the heavenly host, heralds of the new-born King, descended from on high, who compass the majesty of God round and filled the air with lofty strains, “The way of peace is thrown open to all people, by reconciling the world to God by His atonement.”

The angelic beings transferring their exalted station, bent to the poor earth and with pure voices proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

And as the morning stars sang together, the foundation of man’s soul was laid; the cornerstone of man’s salvation set in the incarnation of the Son of God, inducing man to lay down the weapons of rebellion and to submit his soul to God’s redeeming love. (Albert Barnes)

~ Susan

The Story of Christmas: Part III

shepherds-see-new-star-39535-galleryNow in that same country, through the watches of the night, there were shepherds tending their flocks. The lonely melody of the flute floated through the dark sky as a shepherd boy soothed the sheep with his song, lulling the flock into a torpid lassitude. The glittering orbs of the starlit sky winked down upon the hapless boys who looked well to their charge. As the migratory flock rested upon a bed of green grass, a stillness settled over the watch fires.

Suddenly, with tremulous power the heavens unfurled, the night sky aflame in glory. With shattering opulence, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, His glory rebounding. In the presence of the magnificent splendor, the shepherds trembled, all their sin laid bare before them and they fell upon their faces in fear and doubt.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, both wonderful and amazing to behold, which will be to all people.”

With trepidation, the shepherd boys lifted their eyes to look upon the messenger of the Lord. In the watchfulness of his beauty they despaired. Yet there was something in his voice which drew courage from their souls as they listened to the words spoken.

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord; He is the Good Shepherd foretold, the Messiah spoken of by the prophets, the anointed of the Lord; Prophet, Priest and King. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

By three tokens you shall know Him: The Babe, the swaddle, and the manger.

In this manner you shall find the Child, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. Amazing contrast there shall be, for it was by this birth the Savior of all has chosen to come.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

that though He was rich,

yet for your sakes He became poor,

that you through His poverty might become rich.

                        ~2 Corinthians 8:9

For pride is the character of all the children of Adam, but humility the mark of the Son of God. By humility Christ comes to reign, for it is by these means only, one may enter into His kingdom.

Then suddenly on high, the heavenly vision all encompassing, ruptured the sky. Oh, magnificent appellation! A multitude of the heavenly host, heralds of the new-born King, descended from on high, who compass the majesty of God round and filled the air with lofty strains, “The way of peace is thrown open to all people, by reconciling the world to God by His atonement.”

The angelic beings transferring their exalted station, bent to the poor earth and with pure voices proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

And as the morning stars sang together, the foundation of man’s soul was laid; the cornerstone of man’s salvation set in the incarnation of the Son of God, inducing man to lay down the weapons of rebellion and to submit his soul to God’s redeeming love. (Albert Barnes)

~ Susan

The Story of Christmas: Part III

shepherds-see-new-star-39535-galleryNow in that same country, through the watches of the night, there were shepherds tending their flocks. The lonely melody of the flute floated through the dark sky as a shepherd boy soothed the sheep with his song, lulling the flock into a torpid lassitude. The glittering orbs of the starlit sky winked down upon the hapless boys who looked well to their charge. As the migratory flock rested upon a bed of green grass, a stillness settled over the watch fires.

Suddenly, with tremulous power the heavens unfurled, the night sky aflame in glory. With shattering opulence, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, His glory rebounding. In the presence of the magnificent splendor, the shepherds trembled, all their sin laid bare before them and they fell upon their faces in fear and doubt.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, both wonderful and amazing to behold,  which will be to all people.”

With trepidation, the shepherd boys lifted their eyes to look upon the messenger of the Lord. In the watchfulness of his beauty they despaired. Yet there was something in his voice which drew courage from their souls as they listened to the words spoken.

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord; He is the Good Shepherd foretold, the Messiah spoken of by the prophets, the anointed of the Lord; Prophet, Priest and King. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

By three tokens you shall know Him: The Babe, the swaddle, and the manger.

In this manner you shall find the Child, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. Amazing contrast there shall be, for it was by this birth the Savior of all has chosen to come.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

that though He was rich,

yet for your sakes He became poor,

that you through His poverty might become rich.

                        ~2 Corinthians 8:9

For pride is the character of all the children of Adam, but humility the mark of the Son of God. By humility Christ comes to reign, for it is by these means only, one may enter into His kingdom.

Then suddenly on high, the heavenly vision all encompassing, ruptured the sky. Oh, magnificent appellation! A multitude of the heavenly host, heralds of the new-born King, descended from on high, who compass the majesty of God round and filled the air with lofty strains, “The way of peace is thrown open to all people, by reconciling the world to God by His atonement.”

The angelic beings transferring their exalted station, bent to the poor earth and with pure voices proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

And as the morning stars sang together, the foundation of man’s soul was laid; the cornerstone of man’s salvation set in the incarnation of the Son of God, inducing man to lay down the weapons of rebellion and to submit his soul to God’s redeeming love. (Albert Barnes)

~ Susan