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Ezra 3-4:23

Mike asked the question “Is there perhaps a “Temple” of some sort in your life that needs rebuilding?” That is an important question; however, we must take into account a pattern of distraction and danger that circles around our rebuilding effort that is laid out in Ezra.

1) The enemy will use any means necessary to block the Temple we want to build for God (Ezra 4:1-2). The first attempt to block or discourage is an attempt to join in or collaborate on the project. Amos 3:3 states, Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren't going to the same place? (MSG)

And Paul states In his 2nd letter to the Church at Corinth,

Don't become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That's not partnership; that's war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God's holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way: "I'll live in them, move into them; I'll be their God and they'll be my people. (2Co 6:14-16 MSG)

2) Intimidation and sabotage: So these people started beating down the morale of the people of Judah, harassing them as they built. They even hired propagandists to sap their resolve. They kept this up for about fifteen years, throughout the lifetime of Cyrus king of Persia and on into the reign of Darius king of Persia. (Ezr 4:4-5 MSG). And the last trick I see in this reading, and probably there are more that I haven’t picked up.

3) Use the same political system that gave the go ahead to build to stop the project. The enemy waited for a regime change.
Again later, in the time of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and their associates wrote regarding the Jerusalem business to Artaxerxes king of Persia. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated. (What follows is written in Aramaic.) (Ezr 4:7 MSG)
This worked for a while in stopping the rebuilding effort because the new king searched the archives for history of the city and citizens of Jerusalem. However, the search was not to locate the original decree giving the O.K. to rebuild. We humans have a tendency to forget what God has said, because we either stop believing the Word or we don’t keep reading it and forget what it says.

We must always keep before us the promises of God or else we will become discouraged and stop working on our Temples.


I Corinthians 2:6-3:4

We now go on to speak of another letter, but this letter was not written to discourage Believers but to straighten out and encourage. Paul in this section of his first letter to the church at Corinth explains to them the “Wisdom” that is of God and not the wisdom of this world. This Wisdom that can only come from God and is given to Believers only allows us to know the mind of God and to operate in that Wisdom.

However, Paul also says that this body of believers at Corinth is acting like children who have no teeth yet so he was and is unable to impart to them any kind of information because what he desires to impart requires teeth to chew on. Therefore, he can only “feed” them milk, like babies.

Hmmm, failure to grow up will cause one’s Temple not to be built ‘cause babies are not employed on construction projects and babies cannot handle the Wisdom of God. Maybe this is the fourth number that should go with Ezra and Temple building.

Psalm 28:1-9

[A Psalm] of David. UNTO YOU do I cry, O Lord my Rock, be not deaf and silent to me, lest, if You be silent to me, I become like those going down to the pit [the grave].
(Psa 28:1 AMP)

I can’t get this Temple building thing out of my head so everything I’m reading points me to building a foundation and the Temple. David calls out to the Lord who is his rock and juxtapose to the first verse, Paul states again to the church at Corinth (We will be reading this tomorrow),
According to the grace (the special endowment for my task) of God bestowed on me, like a skillful architect and master builder I laid [the] foundation, and now another [man] is building upon it. But let each [man] be careful how he builds upon it, For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward. But if any person's work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire. [Job 23:10.] Do you not discern and understand that you [the whole church at Corinth] are God's temple (His sanctuary), and that God's Spirit has His permanent dwelling in you [to be at home in you, collectively as a church and also individually]? If anyone does hurt to God's temple or corrupts it [with false doctrines] or destroys it, God will do hurt to him and bring him to the corruption of death and destroy him. For the temple of God is holy (sacred to Him) and that [temple] you [the believing church and its individual believers] are.
(1Co 3:10-17 AMP)

The Temple we are building has already been preceded by a foundation that if not built by Christ is not really a solid foundation.

Proverbs 20:24-25

An impulsive vow is a trap; later you'll wish you could get out of it. (Pro 20:25 MSG)

We are apt to make a vow or utter a “rash promise” in the confines of a body of believers, a church. Someone has an idea, a vision to do “something for the Lord.” We are caught up in their enthusiasm and don’t consult God in prayer. We sign up and instead of it being a joy when we do the “work of God” it becomes a burden and drudgery. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy my burden is light (Matthew 11:30). I believe what we have done is signed up under someone’s vision that God did not give us or tell us to do. We didn’t count the cost and we certainly didn’t consult the Master on the “work at hand.”

Could it be we are building with hay and stubble on our Temple foundation with someone else’s material and not God’s? If we find that, we are doing the wrong work we must continue because we must be people of our word. But don’t do it again.

Mike, your question regarding Psalm 28,
“I'm curious about this - if you don't mind sharing in the Comments section below - do you periodically lift your hands in prayer? Do you kneel when you pray? Close your eyes? Bow your head? What do you do to really signify your worship and praise of God? Do you think lifting our hands or doing other body movements can change the way we pray to God - rather than doing nothing unique with our body?”

The stance of prayer can become a ritual that sets aside the communication with God for the posture. Since God hears us, believers, when we pray, I find that the stance we take is immaterial. If God speaks to you to lie prostrate on the floor while others around you are kneeling, then lie prostrate on the floor. If you can lie in bed on your back and pray, without falling asleep, then do that. I have walked 3/12 miles from or to my job to a subway connection because God told me to and I heard mightily from Him. I have been told to lie on the floor, sit on the floor, stand with my hands raised, because I felt led by the Holy Spirit to do so.

The key to communicating with God (Prayer) is submission of our spirits, not our physical bodies. Once our spirits our submitted our bodies will follow whatever way we are led to pray. By the way, Prayer should be more about us listening to God then us bring our laundry lists to God.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/jg_delights-heart/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TodaysThought+%28Two+Thoughts+for+Today%29
Have a Blessed day

Okay Mike, your comments about rebuilding the temple, and your questions about whether we have a temple in our lives, and if so, do we want to rebuild it made me think you knew what I was thinking and feeling this morning as I took a very early morning walk. Are there some good habits that we have lost and do we need to reclaim them? Have we picked up some bad habits, and as we have grown old and are retired have we just become lazy in so many ways. I sure have. I just want to do things that are comforting to me. Well, this Bible Blog is definitely a comfort to me, but also a call for action! I still walk and ride my bike when the weather permits, but there are areas of my life that need exercise, and my walk with God is one of them.

I am so thankful for people like you who help keep us accountable in our faith and in serving the Lord. My Pastor is another one who is so inspired and full of the holy spirit.

As for praying on my knees, I can't do that anymore. Walking and praying is when I talk to to God.
Judie

Thank you for your inspiring commentary. You asked how we use our body language in praise to our God. I have had a Christian dance team for 35 years and we minister in many churches and organisations, bringing praise and worship in a visible, picture form. For us, in the team, it is our personal expression and comes from an overflow of time spent with Him on our own and then together. As it says in the psalms, dancing is part of worship and praise. God is in the restoration business and I believe He is restoring anointed worship (not entertainment!) to the Body of our Messiah. Recently we staged a production on The Tabernacle, taking believers through the stages of the Tabernacle of Moses, until we finally enter the Holy of Holies by the blood of the Lamb. The congregation truly entered in and worshiped in a most wonderful and powerful way with us, with testimonies afterwards telling of a new freedom to worship and understanding of the approach to a Holy God through the Tabernacle in the light of Jesus. PTL! Gaynor

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