Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seasons of Change

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Matthew 7:16
The month of March has lived up to its name again this year. Notorious for coming in softly and leaving in a huff of swirling chilly winds, the month seems to have acquired a less than admirable reputation. None of us like cold winds finding all those places we are trying so hard to keep covered and warm, and then exposing them to the elements.

March is the last brush with winter that most of the country will see until next year. Those chilly winds, as troublesome as they may be, come for a purpose. They play an important part in the future productivity of the fruit trees and vines from which we love to gather plums and grapes once summer is here.

God plans swirling changes in our lives much the same as He does the month of March. We don't always like the abruptness of these changes, but just as with the winds of March, God is looking forward to the time of harvest when He can gather the fruits of righteousness that He so very much wants to see in His children.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Spiritual Temple

"In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded fogether for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph. 2:21,22

Have you ever wondered just why it is that God compares Christians to a temple? Specifically the temple of the Jews during the time of Christ and before. Once again God was taking something that most of the people at the time (if they were Jews) would know about and using it to explain something they did not understand.
He does this over and over throughtout the Bible.

Today in America, Christians are not as familiar with the Old Testament of the Jews so it may take some explaining and some study to get the connection. This is not meant to be an exaustive study, and I may break it up into several posts to give time for you to do some study on your own. I hope this helps you in your walk and understanding of Christ.

We will start in Exodus. In Chapter 25 you can read the commands for the tabernacle that God gave to Moses (the leader of the Jews). What does the plan start with  in verse two?

"Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering." Ex. 25:2

God is the Creator of all things, you know that He could have commanded the Tabernacle to spring up fully built, perfect, just like he wanted it. He didn't need Moses or the people's help but God wanted to involve the people that he had chosen. He wanted their participation in this gift. But he places a requirement on their work and their offerings, their part must be done willingly, just as His was. It wasn't a command that they had to give, it wasn't the amount they could give,matter of fact it was a command that they first be willing to give what God had asked of them.

Where have we heard that before? The way God commands his people to give didn't change in the New Testament when Christ began to build his church. Paul tells us that in the following:

"For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." 2 Cor. 8:12

Paul is telling us that it is a requirement that giving to the Lord for the building and work of the church must first be from a willing mind/heart. Again, God is looking at the attitude the gift is given in, not how much the gift is.

God had a plan for the Tabernacle in the Old Testament and he laid it out for Moses and the people in the book of Exodus. God has a plan for the New Testament church and both plans require the same thing from his people: that we participate because we want to. In this plan of God's, he knows exactly what is needed to do the work. He looks to his children to willingly supply as much of it as they can, then look to Him to provide the rest. God's work, done God's way, will prosper. He gives the increase.

I hope that this has whetted your appetite to come back and find out more of the plans God has for his church that can include you if you are willing. Until next time...God bless.