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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dedicated to the Presence of God

"For the dedication of this house of God they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and, as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, one for each of the tribes of Israel"
(Ezra 6:17).

 When my wife and I were both single people, seeking the face of God over the future of our relationship with each other we had the opportunity to board a ship in the Baltimore harbor for her college's spring banquet.  She was majoring in elementary education at a small college between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and I was completing my Biblical Studies degree outside of Philadelphia.  I made the almost 3 hour journey on a Friday afternoon and stood outside her dormitory building awaiting the descent from her second floor room.

As I stood there, there were other guys that joined me as we all waited patiently for our dates to grace us with the beauty of their presence.  One by one, these guys that had come to the landing well after me departed with great joy as the doors opened, and the gleam in their eyes were met by the smile of their significant other.  I waited.  And I waited.  And I waited some more until I was standing as I had begun, alone.  As my patience was beginning to tire, the door opened, the sun shown even brighter as this picture of Heaven's glory strolled into the cathedral of creation!  All of the time she had spent in preparation for this moment was not lost.  It was worth it.  I was thrilled!

Ezra also speaks of great detail being taken as the Jews endured great passion, preparation, and perseverance in sacrifice in the dedication of the temple they had believed for and were now seeing with their very eyes.  It wasn't an after-thought, a routine ceremony, or a mere tradition.  They didn't just "go through the motions."  It was worth so much more to them than that.  They desired this temple to be a place where the presence of the LORD would one day inhabit.  It meant something to them, and they followed that up with their lives.

The Bible says that we (you and I) are the temples of the Holy Spirit.  Let this challenge you and provoke the question of how do you measure up to this kind of dedication.  How is your passion?  Your passion for God can't stop at an emotion.  When the emotions are low, on empty, or non-existent, the passion must remain.  Does your passion lead to preparation?  Are you willing to let something in your life die - be killed even?  What is it in you, that God is calling you to lay down at His altar of sacrifice.  And, what about when it seems so tiring and overwhelming?  He never promised it would be easy.  But you are His temple.  Are you willing to keep going, keeping in mind that this is part of your dedication of this temple, your life, unto Him?

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