Sing: Hold Me by Jamie Grace
Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire so that I can be more like You; help me, I trust You. Father open my eyes so that I may see clearly, open my ears so that I may hear soundly, open my mind so that I may understand fully, open my heart so that I may love more, open my hands so that I may give generously and receive humbly, in Jesus‘ name, Amen.
Read: 1 Chronicles 27:16-29:30
And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. Be careful now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it. 1 Chronicles 28:9-10
While reading this verse this morning I was so very excited about it! Put yourself in Solomon‘s shoes as his father is charging him to know God and serve Him with his whole heart and mind. But the part that got me the most was “the LORD has chosen you“. Did you know that God has chosen YOU?
He‘s chosen you for His very own. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 7:6) Out of all the people on the face of the earth, in all the past, present and future, God has chosen you. Isn‘t that amazing??? Doesn‘t that just make you feel so special? It should!
But on top of all that, God chose you to do something too. God had chosen Solomon to build a house for the Ark of the Covenant which is where God‘s presence stayed on the earth. His favor rested there, His Spirit was there. It was a really big deal! That would be like your dad telling you that God has chosen you to build the biggest most extravagant and sacred church for God that anyone has ever made in all of history; kind of a big deal.
But Solomon isn‘t the only one who has been called to build a house for the Lord; we‘ve been called to do that too!
For the last three days my husband has been getting up at five with me and while I‘m reading my Bible he is working out to the P90X program training for the Tough Mudder he‘s doing in June. He is building up his muscles in preparation for the muddy obstacle course that he knows he will be running in a few months. This morning as I was snuggling with my Bible I could hear the TV in the other room “1…2…3…4…don‘t be too tough to take a break, it‘s not about hurting yourself“ again and again throughout the hour the trainer would emphasize the importance of taking breaks while exercising and making sure to pick the right weights for the exercise they were doing. He would point out that the goal was to push yourself, but not so hard that you hurt yourself. And I just kept shaking my head that was the entire lesson of my day yesterday. As my husband and I have both been getting up an hour early to “work out“ together, him physically, me spiritually, we‘re working hard to grow. He‘s growing physical muscles so that he can endure a physical test and I‘m growing spiritual muscles so that I can endure whatever life tries to throw at me. I am a very… we‘ll say driven, person. When I set a goal for myself, or accept a challenge from God, I go for it with everything that I have in me, and sometimes that means I drive myself a little harder than I should and set my expectations a little higher than I should. Tuesday‘s are my Sabbath day, where I should be resting and enjoying life. And while I have no problem, most of the time, resting from my housework, there are times when God calls me to rest from my work here online, I have a much harder time not doing that. Because, it‘s fun! That‘s what happened yesterday. It was one of those days when I knew what I felt God was calling me to write about for this passage, yet, when I sat down to write I couldn‘t. I‘ve learned that when I sit down to write and it doesn‘t just flow then there‘s something wrong. Whether it‘s not the right time, or there‘s an evil spirit lurking nearby (yes, I am that sensitive that I can feel them near me, and that‘s when I tell them where to go), I‘ve learned that if I don‘t have God‘s blessing to write at that time, then it‘s simply not going to happen and I might as well work on something else! Because what I write on my own isn‘t worth the paper it‘s written on, if I still wrote it on paper that is! J Anyway, that‘s what was happening yesterday, I got a good paragraph into it and just couldn‘t “feel it“, so I decided to take the kids out for lunch and take a break. On the way there, and even while we were out I was a little grumpy and withdrawn about not being allowed to write that morning. But as we were pulling back into our driveway I had a realization, I had no reason to be grumpy, not one. It was an absolutely beautiful spring day, my kids were on Spring Break, their friends wanted to play with us, I had everything to be happy and grateful for and nothing to be grumpy about. Nothing. So what if I wasn‘t getting to write that day, I‘d get to write the next day, and it was becoming ever more obvious that it was not what God had planned for me. It was clear that His plan was for me to take a break and enjoy His creation on this beautiful day! So I did… and encouraged you to do the same thing!
So this morning listening to the trainer encourage the athletes to take breaks and rest I just had to laugh. It made me think about what Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians in chapter nine verses twenty-four through twenty-seven Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. Paul knew that just like an athlete trains to make themselves stronger, we too must train ourselves to be stronger in the Spirit. For me yesterday, it was pushing my chair back away from the computer desk and jumping onto my bike with the kids and going to lunch on the other side of town. It was good exercise for my body and my spirit, plus it was fun! I had to exercise my self control and not allow myself to work too hard and injure my spirit and the spirits of my children. They needed some time with their Mom and God knew that so He made sure that they got it. He‘s so good about that!
You see, that‘s how our verse today ties in. Solomon was called to build the temple of the Living God, and so are we! Our bodies ARE the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:18-20) and so we are called to take care of our bodies. We need to be keeping our bodies healthy. And part, a very large part, of keeping our bodies healthy is keeping our lives as free from stress as we can. Stress is one of the top causes of many health issues. Stress hinders our immune system‘s ability to fight off infections that come to attack us. And as it says in Hebrews, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (12:1-3 NIV) We‘ve got to throw off the things in our life that cause us excessive amounts of stress. And sometimes those things can‘t be completely deleted from our lives, and that‘s OK, because we can still run with perseverance when we fix our eyes on Jesus. Keeping Him at the forefront of our minds at all times and yeilding to His will at all times. It‘s not always easy, I really didn‘t like giving up my writing yesterday, I love writing. But, I also really love my kids and beautiful days and by keeping my eyes focused on what God was taking away instead of fixing my eyes on what He was giving me I was completely missing the gift of that perfect afternoon. I sat in the shade of our backyard tree with the breeze wafting through my hair as I sat chatting with my dear friend Dee sipping ice water and watching the kids play. Afternoons like that don‘t come along every day and you‘ve got to seize those days while they last! If I had clung adamantly to my own plans of writing I may have enjoyed my writing, but I would have missed so much more than my 2D computer screen could ever offer me. Abundant life! Freedom! Friendship with face to face contact where I can hear the sound of the children‘s laughter and feel the cool drops of condensation from my glass drip onto my lap. I would have missed the sight of the freshness of a vibrant spring that comes from a mild winter. My computer could never offer me that kind of experience, not ever. And I would have missed that if I had ignored the Holy Spirit‘s plea to go out and enjoy it fully.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:7-10
We reap what we sow, if we are sowing to please ourselves then we reap destruction (stress and heartache, disappointment and frustration), but when we sow to please the Spirit we reap life, opportunities, experiences that might never have come along if we hadn‘t simply followed the Spirit of Jesus.
My friend, do not become weary in reading your Bible daily. The Enemy is going to throw all kinds of temptations and tests into your path to keep you from reading the Word that brings life, don‘t listen to him! Do not give up! Every time you read the Word of God you are allowing God to sow His supernatural seed of abundant life into your heart and from that seed you will reap love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Do not give up my friend, you can do this! But remember, this is never something that you have to do, reading the Bible is something that you get to do. And when you do it God‘s supernaturally abundant life is unleashed into your life with a force that is nowhere close to anything the Enemy can withstand. Don‘t get me wrong, he will certainly try, but he will be completely unable to succeed because you are in the palm of the One who cares more for you than anything else in all His creation, and He would never let anything into your life that you can‘t conquer WITH Him! I never would have given up writing for a day outside if I had not been reading God‘s word daily. There have been a few days along the way when I wasn‘t able, due to a death in our family, and there will be times like those when life simply will have to come first. But then you need to just jump right back in with both feet. Do not give up my friend, the harvest you will reap is worth more than anything you could ever hope of imagine! The Lord has chosen YOU to build a house for His Spirit within yourself, be strong and do it!