Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesdays with Jesus #170

#170  "Your Heart, His Dwelling"
September 21, 2010
"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty"!  (Psalm 84: 1)
Hello, dear ones! The first thing that I would like to tell you is how good it feels to be sitting at the keyboard writing a "Tuesdays", after almost exactly two years. I consider it a high honor and privilege to serve you in this way. Thank you to those who responded in person, or by e-mail, to tell me how excited you were that "Tuesdays" was coming back.  Welcome to those of you who have signed up to be a part of this journey for the first time. 
Right now I am imagining you and I sitting across from one another, sharing a Pumpkin Spice latte. (You will soon learn that I love me some Starbucks!) I truly do see you in my mind's eye on the other side of this monitor, and I am praying diligently that this word, God's Word, will minister to you in some small way on an almost autumn Tuesday morning.  Pray with me that God would open the eyes of our understanding and make our hearts fertile ground for the planting of His Word.
A couple of days ago, my morning devotional pointed me to Psalm 84:6.  I like to make a habit of reading the verses that come before and after, so I set out to read the entire Psalm. The first verse is a very familiar Scripture to me, as it probably is to you. We've read it and we've even sang the song.  This particular morning, it stopped me in my tracks. I mean, I never got to verse 6; I never read the rest of the chapter.
"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty." 
This psalm appears to be written during the period of the monarchy at a time when the Temple was still standing. Previously it referred to the wilderness tabernacle and in later Judaism referred to the "presence" of God. Written on the Old Testament side of the Cross, the psalmist longed for the temple of the living God. He envied the birds that nested in its precincts, and the priests who lived and served in its buildings. Right here is where I had an "AHA!" moment.
"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you"? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
"…the Holy Spirit who lives in us". (2 Timothy 1:14)
"I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith". (Ephesians 3: 16-17)
On the New Testament side of the Cross, today, here and now, we need not long to be in the temple precincts. We need no priest to enter the Holy of Holies on our behalf. The birds may envy us because we, you and I, are the temple of God. And the psalmist calls the dwelling place of the Living God "lovely".
"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty."
We've walked all this way to get to the crème de la crème of the whole matter.
I'm a pretty fitful sleeper these days and I wake up looking far from lovely. A shower, a little (well, maybe more than a little) make-up and some teased hair brings me a little closer to lovely, but friend, let me ask you to ponder a few questions.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? If you had to use three adjectives to describe yourself physically, what would those be? What about three adjectives to describe yourself emotionally, circumstantially, spiritually? Has the word "lovely" come up on any of your lists? I'm going to venture not, especially if you're a woman. We struggle so much with low self-esteem and image distortions, don't we girls? It's no wonder, with all the media hype about how we're expected to look. Let's not leave our guy-friends out. You're not hiding your self-esteem and self-worth issues from us gals. We know you have them. You just don't talk about them so much, right? The world tells you that your worth and value is in what you do for a living, how much money you make, and how many women are casting doe-eyed glances in your direction.
We may also look in the mirror and see things like, abused, mistreated, no worth, no value, unloved, alone, stupid, rejected, sinful, too far gone, drunk, addict, ex-con, poor, angry, sick and tired of being sick and tired. You fill in the blank.  
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you"? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
God Himself, through His Son, Jesus Christ has made your heart His dwelling place. And He calls that place lovely. Jesus Christ has made His home in your heart and He will abide there permanently. We need not take a yearly pilgrimage to a physical temple to be in the presence of God Almighty. Every place our feet trod is holy ground because Christ, the hope of glory, lives on the inside of us. Holy ground is in front of a sink full of dirty dishes or a basket full of laundry you just put away a few days ago. Holy ground is at your desk surrounded by phones ringing and deadlines that have to be met. Every single, solitary place on planet Earth that your feet touch is holy ground. You are God's temple, God's Spirit lives in you, and precious thing, YOU ARE LOVELY! And don't let the devil, the father of lies, speak his native language to you and convince you otherwise. (John 8: 44)
I will keep asking that the God of our Lord, Jesus Christ will fill you with this truth down to the very spirit, joints and marrow of your being. You are lovely because of His indwelling.  You are lovely to Him! His address is your heart's address. What you look like, where you came from, what has happened to you, what is happening to you right now, doesn't change the truth of God's Word to you today. How lovely are you, His dwelling place, His temple.  If you are searching for the loveliness that seems so illusive to you today, look no further than your heart.    
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)
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