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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Living in the Outer Courts

Did you know that God has 'courts?'  The Bible tells us that the temple that Solomon built is a 'type and shadow' of the temple in Heaven. (1 Chronicles 28, Hebrews 8)  The temple had outer courts, inner courts and The Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest could enter The Holy of Holies once a year to offer sacrifices for the peoples' sin.  But Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice and God tore the curtain that separated us from Him and The Holy of Holies.



If you're not familiar with these facts, please let me know, and I will give a more in depth explanation.

Even though many Believers have heard this truth, they've not understood or taken advantage of the blessing and LIFE that has been given us through Jesus' sacrifice.  That is - they've never entered The Holy of Holies. They've stayed in the outer courts their whole lives, never enjoying an intimate relationship with God.

The word 'know' in the Bible - as in 'knowing God' - is the same word as when a husband 'knows' his wife.  It is intercourse.  God desires to have intercourse with us.  Spirit touching spirit.  Spirit infusing spirit. It is this relationship of spiritual intercourse that makes us whole.

God and His Word are one - Jesus tells us that in John 15 when He said, "I and the Father are one." Before Jesus became flesh, He was The Word that was at the creation of the world.  Spirit God creates with His Word.

But the Bible cannot contain an infinite God.  God is a Spirit.  He is a living 'being.'  There are no words that are adequate to describe this infinite God.  What I'm trying to say is that reading the Bible is not 'knowing' God.  Reading the Bible is extremely important as it builds a boundary of Who God is.  It renews our mind in Truth.  It causes us to think correctly.

But only reading the Bible will keep us in the outer courts.  We need to do more to touch the Spirit of God.

God's Word tells us 'to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise."  Psalm 100  To come into His Holy Presence we must come to Him with thanksgiving and praise.

Thanksgiving is 'giving Him thanks' for what He has done and given us.  'Praise' is declaring the wonder of Who He is.  As we focus on Him, giving Him thanksgiving and praise, His Presence comes on us in a tangible way and we enter a state of  'worship.'   Just as we 'know' our spouse, there is a time of focusing on them and then a time of intimacy.  This place of 'worship' is an intimacy with God.  It is entering The Holy of Holies.

It may take us a while to learn 'to enter in.'  The enemy has a powerful weapon.  It's called 'distraction.'  It comes in the form of television, movies, internet, iphones and any other thing he can use to cause our mind to spin and not be quieted.  He can even use things that seem Godly to keep us from being intimate with God.  We can become so busy baking cookies for the church social that we've neglected our relationship with God.  I am guilty of this too.

This place of intimacy leaves no place to hide our sin or room for dishonesty with ourselves.  It lays bare every thought we have before a Holy God, every failure, every pain.  But the amazing thing is that in this place we will never find condemnation.  Instead we find a God whose mercies are new every day. Who knows our every weakness.  Who restores our soul.

In this place we are humbled, we are healed. In this place, we gaze upon God and are changed into His Image.  In this place we no longer have to try to change our actions because God changes our heart.

In this place of intimacy we find out who we are.  We find out who we were made to be.  And we see ourselves in His eyes and find out that He thinks we're beautiful.

If you're hurting or failing or feeling empty, only God can heal you.  You can't heal yourself.  You can't lose enough weight or buy a new wardrobe or do anything else that will make you feel like a loved person.  Only God can heal your identity, show you your purpose but even more than that help you understand that you are so loved, so desired, so beautiful to a perfect, beautiful Holy God. Only God can help us know that we never have to DO anything to be loved by Him.  He sees us as we are and loves us - anyway.

And then He fixes us

Be blessed.