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“Do you not know that your very body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, …”  1Cor 6:19 Amp

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Rom 10:10 Amp

Much examination of the parallels between the layout of the first temples (and tabernacle) and the believer in Jesus Christ has already been accomplished, and that is not my focus here.

I want to establish in your immediate thinking the notion that there is an important similarity between God having three parts, the temple layout having three parts, and you as a believer having three parts.  It is not accidental.  It is very important!

Recall the first temple layout.  There was an outer court, a Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.  You are a type of this layout.  Your Holy of Holies is where your spirit resides, and the Holy Spirit as well.  When you were first saved this is the place where the Holy Spirit came and awakened you, bringing new life to your spirit, and made a residence for Himself as well.  This is the place that allows you to relate to the spiritual realm, and to have fellowship with God.  It is the place that allows you to be God conscious.

In the temple, the Holy of Holies was the place where, once a year on the day of atonement, the High Priest would minister before the Lord.  The only light in that place was the Shekinah Glory of God. The Holy of Holies contained the ark of the covenant including the golden jar of manna, and the rod of Aaron, and also the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments.  This Holy of Holies was separated from the outer division (Holy Place) by a massive curtain or veil.

So this Holy of Holies of the temple is comparable to your spirit, and the activities of the temple Holy of Holies give us great insight into the workings of our own spirit man.

However, most of the day to day business of the temple actually took place in the Holy Place.  That is where the priests entered in daily performance of their ritual acts of worship.  This Holy Place is like your own soul, where your will, intellect, and emotions reside. 

Our personal Holy Place is likewise a place of great business:  filled with much thinking, reasoning, desiring, estimating, and all the processing of our emotions and opinions. It is in this place, the soul of man, where the enemy first stirred up in Eve in the garden as he provoked her to much thinking and analysis, and ultimately to independence in thought and sin.  This place is where Eve received and entertained the enemy’s questions and doubt concerning the goodness of God.  It is the place where she decided for herself a course of action, and then enticed Adam to also eat. It is from here that she entered all of mankind into isolation from God and death to the spirit. It is here, in the soul of man – where sin found fertile ground, that a Savior was needed to overcome our rebellion and independence from God.

But a really important point, and one that must not be overlooked, is that before Eve ever acted on the apple – before she ever appraised its value or desirability, she first had to entertain doubt in her heart about the goodness of God.  It was in her heart that darkness of corruption was first introduced, because she entertained the devil’s thought that God was withholding good from them.  Because it is with the heart that we first believe, so Eve with her heart first erred in belief, and received Satan’s lie.

While the temple layout (its Holy of Holies, Holy Place, and Outer Court) and our layout as spirit, soul, and body are critical, I want to turn our attention to an equally critical area of the temple. It is an area rarely discussed in depth, yet a reference point for much of the teaching that Jesus accomplished in the temple.  That is the two pillars which framed the entrance to the temple area, and are known as Jachin and Boaz.  Just as these pillars framed the entrance to the temple, they also frame the entrance and become the supports for our discussion of God’s plan and the heart of man.

Hence, we will pick up the discussion of these two pillars, and their importance in the next chapter…

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The Greatness of

His Plan:

Jachin, Boaz,

and

The Heart of Man

Spring 2017

I was preparing for the Spring Quarter of Sunday School at our church, Cottonwood Christian Fellowship. God had so gotten ahold of me concerning the topic of the believer’s heart.  Beyond it’s importance as your identity before the Lord, it is the place where belief resides in you. 

As I launched into this study, I was provoked on so many levels, and expanded in my own understanding.  One place in particular:  the understanding that your heart trumps even your mind in importance.  In fact, it is the heart more than the mind that determines if corruption is in you (by way of the old man nature) – but it will be manifested in your thinking, and your posture and perspective concerning everything.  Everything will be colored by this!

But then the Lord began to stretch my understanding, and He opened before me a panoramic perspective that became an immensely broad place.  It is that understanding that I hope to share here… concerning the heart of man and God’s provision and plan for us all!

Be blessed, be provoked, be transformed – as He leads!

Sandra

“He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high,…” Heb 1:3 Amp

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If I were to ask you the time, where would you look? Would you refer to your phone, the clock on the wall, or would you look to the world clock which is the time-setter for all other time-keeping devices?  Better yet, would you look to the One Who is the Creator of time, while even outside of time Himself?

This is where Adam and Eve were before the fall. When they wanted to know something, they looked to God.  Watchman Nee explains it this way:

Before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit their right and wrong were in God’s hand. If they did not live before God they knew nothing at all, for their right and wrong actually were in God. By taking the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they found a source of right and wrong in other than God Himself.”  (pg. 21, Spiritual Authority, Watchman Nee.)

Before the fall if you asked Adam and Eve what time it was, they would have asked God. Afterwards, they could only try and figure it out themselves…

This is important for us to understand. The enemy, Satan, introduced into all of mankind self and independence from God: in other words, lawlessness and rebellion.  

Yes he brought mankind into sin.  Forever after the default setting of man would be under sin … until the Cross of Christ paid for that sin.

But also, he introduced into the heart of man, like a silent creeping poison, unregistered, unnoticed, the principle of lawlessness.

After the fall, every time man wanted to know the time … he would look to his own devices.  His watch, his sundial, his self-sufficiency. He didn’t need God anymore to tell him the time. He could do it himself….

This lawlessness meant that not only would man not ask God the time, he would actually dispute God about what time it really was.  The created suddenly knows better than the Creator about what time it is.

So Christ not only had to deal with the sin issue, but He had to somehow overcome the lawlessness that had been introduced forever into the heart of mankind. Legally, it had been welcomed into the heart, so Jesus couldn’t just kick it out. It had legal authority to reside there. Until, that is, Jesus purchased us….

What Jesus provided at the Cross, is not only miraculous, amazing, undeserved, incalculable, eternal, beyond comprehension!  But it is ours, freely, if we will accept it!

As Jesus came into the world, He brought with Himself a new antidote to lawlessness. He brought the capacity to obey. Never before had the divine attributes of obedience been hand carried from the Heavenly realms to earth. But with a Baby Christ-Child, it came.

In Hebrews 10:5 and 7 it says:

Hence, when He [Christ] entered into the world, He said, Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but instead You have made ready a body for Me [to offer];

Then I said, Behold, here I am, coming to do Your will, O God – [to fulfill] what is written of Me in the volume of the Book.” Amp

Like never before His coming, now there was the ability to obey what God said.  Now, not only could we let go of our own notion of what time it is… we could in humility acknowledge our need to know the time, face the fact we couldn’t even find the clock, but the also submit to God believing that He not only knew the time but was more than willing to give us the time!

Just like God created the universe out of the barrenness, He now through Christ created a capacity for our hearts to let go of lawlessness and to embrace obedience, thereby also embracing Him … the One Who is the emblem of Obedience!

Now like never before, we had a choice!  Our innermost being, our heart and our soul could now operate according to obedience.  We could let go of our old man compulsion to be a recorder of the time, and actually receive from God a life to understand the significance of time!

Interesting point in all this is Watchman Nee’s take on where things are headed:

Lawlessness is disobeying God’s authority; and this is sin. Sinning is a matter of conduct but lawlessness is a matter of heart attitude.  This present age is characterized by lawlessness. The world is full of the sin of lawlessness, and soon the son of lawlessness shall appear. Authority in the world is being increasingly undermined until at the end all authorities will be overthrown and lawlessness shall rule.” (pg. 16, Spiritual Authority, Watchman Nee)

Of course we know, through the word of God in Thessalonians that this Man of Lawlessness will not be able to come until the Body of Christ is taken up in the rapture of the Church. But then it will occur, that authorities will be overturned and lawlessness will be unleashed on the earth.

We see the signs of this increasing lawlessness in every sector of society: from Government down to the individual scorning correction, championing their rights to be lawless!

Lawlessness is on the rise, but for us today, it is important to see the truth.

So I ask you, “What time is it?” Will you automatically look to yourself and your devices? Or will you look to God for the answer?

You may think in this moment, “I have a watch, I can tell time.” But that is different from the men of Issachar, who had understanding of the times to know what Israel should do (1Chr 12:32).

We live in a moment when we have the capacity and provision, in Christ, to again live as if all of our right and wrong is found in the Lord. Where like Jesus, our hearts are one with Him and the echo of our heart is, “Here I am coming to do Your will O God — and to fulfill what is written of us in the volume of the Book!” (Heb 10:7, Ps 139:16)

Will we look to ourselves after all, believing in error we can, and thus should?

Or will we humble ourselves before God, confessing our pride and independence is nothing short of the legacy of the fall?

Saints, what time do you have?

 

 

 

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“And Simon answered, ‘Pray for me [beseech the Lord, both of you]’’, that nothing of what you have said may befall me!”  Acts 8:23

Have you ever considered the freedom you have been given by God as dangerous?  Have you ever regarded your freedom to perceive or think, to have a personal perspective, or to hold attitudes of your heart as a liability?

I want you to consider that. For it is possible for you to have experienced salvation, and yet to continue to exercise a heart that resists conviction, and continues to operate on attitudes of your old nature.  It is the presence of such old attitudes that can not only bear dangerous, evil fruit, but ultimately can usher you into eternal condemnation.

Consider the life of Simon from the Book of Acts Chapter Eight.  Simon was a magician of great skill and success. But when he encountered the power of God operating in His servant Philip, Simon became a believer.

And when he watched the signs and wonders Philip operated in, Simon coveted this ability as a new money making strategy. It was as if he was saved from the natural realm as a magician, but now thought he should be a supernatural magician.

Simon was seeing the free gift of God, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as a money making endeavor. His heart was not right before God. And as it is with the heart that you believe, his believing was thus also like his heart… corrupt.

The Apostle Peter gave Simon a scathing rebuke in response to his request to purchase and thus receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit:

Destruction overtake your money and you because you imagined you could obtain the [free] gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is all wrong in God’s sight [it is not straightforward or right or true before God]. So repent of this depravity and wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, this contriving thought and purpose of your heart may be removed and disregarded and forgiven you.”  Acts 8:20-22 Amp

Now, before you jump the gun and sympathize with Simon, hear this clearly!  This was a warning from the Holy Spirit, delivered by Peter with the intention of rescuing Simon from his old heart way of thinking.  It was for Simon’s benefit and not harm that it was delivered. It was a serious wake-up call from the Lord, that Simon’s old way of perceiving was not gonna cut it anymore.  And if there was to be any hope for Simon, it would be through his repentance!

A great rendering of the meaning of repentance can be found in Acts 2:38 (Amplified version of course):

“…repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it)….”

To accept the will of God in your inner selves actually means to accept God’s will in your soul.  It means to have surrendered your right to hold an opinion that differs from Gods.  It means the giving over of your right to yourself, and coming along side God and agreeing with Him.  You are letting the opinion and will and purpose of God rule in your thinking and being.  At that moment you are trusting and obeying God.  You are leaning your entire personality on Him!  That is actually the exercise of faith!

So what is the danger here?  What is the jeopardy that you potentially face in living in God’s freedom?  It is to accept God’s atoning sacrifice on the Cross to save you, but to deny Him the full right to be Lord over you and to allow His Kingdom to then rule in your hearts and mind.

You have the choice continually before you at every turn to resist and refuse God’s leading.  When He shows you the truth of your heart and how you have been petty, uncharitable, selfish, evil and murderous even in your thinking …, He also is giving you the chance to repent and carry His thoughts and opinions and His life therefore, instead of your own.

This is actually where we miscalculate.  We think that we are still allowed to indulge, and live by, and harbor our own way of thinking and believing, even though we have been saved.  But this is itself wrong.

Scripture says in 1Cor 6:19-20 that you are no longer your own. You have been bought with a price (that means redeemed – bought back by Christ’s sacrifice).  So you are admonished to honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.

In other words, you give glory to God when in your natural body you show yourself to be ruled by His supernatural thinking and His life!  You have thus lost your lower life, and have found your higher life (God’s life) in you!

God is not going to be mocked in this, nor will He be fooled be mere pretentions…. That is, you cannot “call Him Lord and yet not do what He says.”(Mt 7:21)

When you profess Christ as your Savior, but persist in old ways and patterns of thinking from your old man nature that is still allowed to rule in your life, you risk your very eternity before God.  When you say God is your savior and believe you are working for Him even, but you harbor malice, hatred, or un-forgiveness in your heart concerning the way you have been treated … you are in grave danger. 

When you say you are a believer, but still persist in making decisions based on your flesh that bring you into sin … you are in danger, and you are calling into question the very truth of your salvation.

Romans 6:16 is at once a lovely and terrifying verse for the truth it contains:

Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?”

Simon was diagnosed by the Holy Spirit as being a slave to sin when he was told:

For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in a bond forged by iniquity (to fetter souls).” Acts 8:23 Amp

Simon, hearing this, beseeched them to pray for him that nothing of what they said would befall him.

But unless Simon, himself, repented and was willing to change his mind and receive God’s will in his inner man, he would continue on a destiny of destruction – even though he had confessed Jesus as Savior!

The need for all of us is the same….

We all need to be vigilant in coming before the Lord, allowing Him to search our hearts and minds, to reveal any wicked way in us (Ps 139:23-24) … but don’t then ignore what He points out!

Rather confess and repent, once again so that your hearts will become straightforward and right and true before God.

 

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.” Prov 3:5 Amp

“For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger].” Prov 3:26 Amp

“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand [the side not carrying a shield].” Ps 121:5 Amp

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According to Wikipedia, a constellation is a group of stars that are considered to form imaginary outlines or meaningful patterns on the celestial sphere.

In like manner, what if the things that our heart most values and cares about could form such a meaningful pattern? Could it make sense to us? What would it look like? Our family album? Our pet? Our car? Sad smile

What if what holds the greatest devotion for my heart also carries a charge – like light? With the Lord being that which possesses the most light, and the things of this world the least light ….  Is the constellation of my heart filled with light? Or not?

This notion has an interesting “spin off” for me in my celestial understanding as it involves the Lord as my Keeper.

I can believe the Lord is my Keeper, and I can believe that I am trusting in Him and keeping my focus on Him. I can believe that He guards my way, and by faith I can rest every detail of my life, and even all of my personality, on Him.

Or… I can think that I am believing all of that, but I keep an ever watchful eye on my own walk, my own steps, and even the terrain before me.  In that case, even though I think I am trusting in the Lord … I am really trusting in myself and my ability to walk carefully. (I am speaking to myself here.)

Thus the light of my heart constellation glows with the level of myself and its own inherent light. My eyes are focused on me ….

What the Lord desires is that we truly cast all our cares on Him … for He is our Keeper. Then, my eyes remain trained upon Him with all my heart and all my mind in confident trust. He is able to keep all that is committed to Him.

Kinda like Peter when he was walking on water: He committed it all in faith unto the Lord – but then he stopped as the waves gained his attention.  But in the moment, or minutes, before Peter began to sink I believe the constellation of Peter’s heart shone with the very glory of God’s light – because for that brief moment, God was everything to him!

We have that same opportunity as Peter! In the moments of your life where God is everything, and your focus is entirely trained upon Him — you also shine with the Light of the Son!

And now, we just need to do it again, and again, and again! To connect the dots, and persist! It can happen! The Way is already made. But it is done, not as we examine our steps and moderate our way ourselves.

It is done when we put all our confidence and trust in the One Who is our Keeper, believing He holds us – as we continually commit our way and ourselves to Him!

“For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.” Jn 1:16 Amp

“[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the Divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!” Eph 3:19

“…God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him.  In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.”  1Jn 4:16-17

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Many of us, when we were first saved, received a share of Christ’s fullness.  We received a portion of His abundance that was supposed to not only tide us over while we grew in maturity, but it was to allow us to be and operate in kingdom assets and authority.

Did he not say to us in Jn 4:14:

But whoever takes a drink of the water I give Him shall never no never, be thirsty anymore. But the water that I give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life.”

Okay then. That drink of living water ushered you into the Kingdom, into salvation in Christ.  Here is the issue:  there is a difference between having a share in Christ’s abundance and being filled throughout all your being unto the fullness of God and becoming a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself. 

In fact, the standard of the provision made by Christ for every single believer, is that as He is – so shall we be in this world! The provision is for a reciprocity so grand and staggering between Christ and his Body (of believers), that we collectively would be a body filled and flooded by God Himself!

Knowing that that is what is provided for, that that is the level of fullness in Christ’s abundance that is not only available but is called to be ours should stir our hearts and call us to rise to receive it.  But there is something critical here that I want you to see.

To become a body wholly filled and flooded with God means that God’s provision is not just going to flow into our spirit man from God, but it will fill our entire being (our self, our actual soul).  It means the very Presence of God makes His home in our heart, and strengthens us in our inner man (soul) so that He can dwell there and flood even our personality. (Eph 3:16-17 Amp)

Only when we believe, and begin to receive this provision of His fullness can we begin to operate in His fullness and love like He operates.  Only then can our natural Adamic nature, which is earthly-minded, begin to bear the image of the Second Adam, the Man of Heaven. Only then can we begin to be heavenly-minded, as He is…. (1Cor 15:45-49)

It was from this place in Christ, that the disciples operated. It was from this Source and His fullness, that miracles were done. It is from this place, from bearing the image of the Man of Heaven, that His Body – the Body of Christ, will fulfill His calling that we do greater things because He goes to the Father (Jn 14:12)…

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“And Ruth said, ‘Urge me not to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.  Your people shall be my people and your God my God, …’”. (Ruth 1:16)

How was it that Ruth could be so done with her past life, her past position in Moab, her past idolatry? Imagine peering over a steep cliff at night from the precarious position of a slim shelf of safety. As the moonlight shifts from behind clouds, you gasp as you see the black hole into which you narrowly escaped tumbling! Shock and terror momentarily grip you, but you will never forget that inky blackness, its nothingness and the certainty of death, and the grace that held you back from destruction.

Even though Naomi’s heart was heavy with grief over her family losses, she carried with her the faith that the Lord had visited her home in Bethlehem, and there was now food there.

Ruth had seen the death and darkness of her old existence. It could offer her nothing. So it was not difficult for her to commit so fully to follow Naomi as she returned. The contrast for Ruth had to be dramatic! Naomi was heading out of darkness, and lack, and travail towards life.  The aromatic promise of fresh bread, and grain, and wine, and greens drew Naomi homeward.  But the future kiss of fellowship and communion with her people and with her God soothed her even where she yet stood as a living balm across the starving edges of her soul.  She was going home!

This hopefulness stood like a beacon before Ruth.  There was nothing to debate, no reason to reconsider. The reality of what she escaped propelled her toward life, toward Naomi’s home and her people, and especially towards her God.

But Ruth did not carry into Bethlehem a plan to reinvent her old self in a new location. In the dust of Moab she left behind all that she was and all that she had tried to be.

She was postured for the new as she came into Bethlehem. But her posture was one of devotion, caring, protection for Naomi, and also the humility to come in the lowest manner – as one who would glean in the fields where she would find favor.

I find this profound:  Ruth’s capacity to not only leave it all behind, but to forget it all – not just Moab and her life, but even herself.  This is also important for you and I as we daily continue our journey into the Promised Land and the Presence of God.

In having packed our bags to enter salvation, we often include old baggage.  We fail to leave behind old ways of thinking, old notions of who we are, but also how we are – what defines us.  I find Ruth’s example to be one I need to revisit.

What is still packed in my bags that needs to be dumped?  Are there old fears, old insecurities, old wounds that are going to hinder my ability to live fruitfully or fulfill the call on my life?

It is time to reckon ourselves anew as being dead to sin (that which misses the mark) and alive to God! This day it is time to allow the ministry of the Holy Spirit the freedom that is His to mortify the flesh that has stowed away on this journey of life. It is there to sabotage success!

Romans 8:13 reveals:  For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.”

It was not just enough for Ruth to leave Moab and enter Bethlehem, it was necessary for her to leave all of her personal “Moab” behind, and pick up her “Bethlehem.”

Likewise, it is not enough for you and I to leave all our “old man nature of the flesh.” But we must pick up the new nature of the Spirit of the life of Christ, the “new nature” and let it occupy us today.

This is what is meant in 2 Cor5:17 where it says:

Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!”

Believe it! Receive it! Walk it out today!  And if you should see any vestiges of Moab life trailing you behind like toilet paper stuck to your shoe, don’t fret or bemoan that fact. Cut them loose and claim the truth of the word as yours today. Press into it and let the Lord do a full work! He is able!!!!