Friday, December 30, 2011

New Beginnings (Part 1)

What is going to change in the coming year, and what do you desire to change in 2012? This is a time when we make resolutions and think about life in one year intervals. There can be value in that, although I think the Christian ought to regularly assesses where they are at with the Lord. We should always know we are walking in the Spirit as long as we are faithful moment by moment. He should reign in our hearts at all times. I want to look at another king as we look again at new beginnings.

2Chroniles 29, the last king of Judah was the wicked Ahaz. He fed his sons to the Baal altars, closed the temple and stole its sacred instruments. Three armies that were each victorious invaded Judah. In one day a third of his army was slaughtered. Families were separated and taken as slaves. Judah was on it’s last leg and that leg was wounded.

Ezra is again driving home the point that if we forsake God, He will allow our demise to draw us back. Ahaz’ son, Hezekiah is now on the throne. In verse two we breath a huge sigh of relief because we have seen this verse over and over and it indicates what is about to happen to the nation. Just when it looks like it is too late for any hope, God sends someone that has a heart after Him, a new beginning for Judah.

Hezekiah’s first act is to open the Temple doors and repair them. This has to be our first act as children of God. We have to open the doors of the Temple. You are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Are your doors opened? Is God welcome in every corner of your life? Will you give Him complete access to every recess, every desire, every dream and plan? PSALM 34 Lift up your head oh ye gates! Has the King of Glory come in? Who is on the throne? The only reason you would not let Him have access is that you don’t understand the love He has for you – how He longs to see you freed.

Let me speak for a moment on repaired gates. Gates that are shut too long don’t swing freely. Their natural position is closed. We may have to apply the oil of the Holy Spirit to the hinges. Love may need to pry the door from its closed position. It may take some replacement of attitudes, like hardware, to see it moves freely again. And then it must be worked back and forth until the rust is worked out, closed to what should not be allowed to enter, open to the Lord, closed and opened again and again till they swing freely. Are you willing? Or is ‘locked and closed’ a more comfortable position?

We read the book of Acts and wonder, don’t you wonder? What happened? Where did the power go? Where is the zeal and life of God today? Why don’t we see a church that is as dynamic today? The Temple our fathers turned their faces from is that in their very hearts, to have a living worship that is a work of the Holy Spirit. That is how all the great movements of God began and soon we turn them into rigid structures that are no longer able to be moved by the Holy Spirit for we have drawn parameters as to how God is allowed to work and no longer walk into the Temple to see and hear. Our backs are toward Him and our faces toward the things of the world. We may have snuffed out the light or it may have died for lack of attention. No light for our path remains so we read about someone whose path was lit and imitate their method.

The incense is prayer that has stopped flowing from the heart. Oh we pray our perfunctory prayers because we are suppose to, but they are full of memorized phrases that we repeat without much thought or heart. Burnt offerings, we know Christ died for us but it is certainly not fresh for us today. And so we have our difficulties that are from our own actions, allowed by God to wake us up and draw us back, to purify and purge.      

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