Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reflections on the Tree of Life: Our Bodies"

Our vacation in the UK was filled with lots of good food; especially during tea. Molly and I both fell in love with the scones with clotted cream, and for the first time I discovered sugar and cream in tea. The Brits and Scots sure do know how to live!

When I came home, I was ready to get back into right eating when I sensed the Lord directing me to “change my mind about food before I tried to change my eating habits.” I committed myself to do just that. I could never have dreamed where the Lord would take me in this path of changing my mind about food and my body.

1st Corinthians 6:19-20 states, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

I’ve known this verse for years, actually since I was a child, but I didn’t make the full connection until this fall. It goes beyond just taking care of my body through exercise, sleep and healthy eating; this is of course, important, but it also includes realizing the high calling that we have to house Holy Spirit.

In order to appreciate the fullness, we need to travel back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve experienced God’s Presence in the Garden; His glory was present in Creation and in Adam and Eve. The term for this is called “Shekinah Glory.”

Shekin means “a dwelling place for God.” Glory is interpreted as “the presence of God” so the combination of the two is “the presence of God in a dwelling place.” The Garden of Eden was certainly full of Shekinah Glory.

But, after Adam and Eve made the fateful choice to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they had to leave Shekinah Glory and venture into an unknown world.

God is indeed creative, however, and he brought forth another vehicle for the
Shekinah Glory to dwell on earth. When Moses spent 40 days on the mountain with God he not only received the 10 Commandments, but he also got detailed plans on how to build a movable Tabernacle. The book of Exodus records the exact detail that they followed to set up a holy place for God to dwell; one that would move with the people when the Cloud and Fire directed them to move.

Exodus 40:33-35 tells us “Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard.
And so Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the Glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”

It’s important that all the work was finished in the Tabernacle. God is a holy God who can only dwell in perfection. Nothing less will satisfy God. When everything was finished down to the last detail, then the Glory of God, the Shekinah Glory, moved in.

As the Isrealites moved into the Promised Land, King David began to long for a permanent place for God to dwell. His son, Solomon, was given the privilege of building it. Modern day estimates say that it cost 16 billion to build and 7 years of labor.

Once again, the Scriptures tell us that when everything was ready, the Glory of God moved in. Read what 2nd Chronicales 5 states: When all the work Solomon had done for the temple of the LORD was finished he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and all the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of God’s temple. Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the Glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.”

There is it again: when the work was completed and the temple was in perfection, then the Shekinah Glory came and filled the Temple.

Eventually this beautiful temple was torn down by the Babylonians. This made way for another "Shekinah Glory to come; his name is Jesus. John 1:14 tells us “
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The literal word for dwelling in the Greek is “tabernacle.” Jesus became the Shekinah Glory for the world while he walked on earth.

But, his time on earth was short. He lived to be 33 years old before he gave his life on a cross. When he died and was resurrected by his Father, a new way was made for the Shekinah Glory to dwell on the earth.

What can it be? When I discovered the progression and really considered the implications of the reality, I had to sit down. It was overwhelming. Could I actually be the current "Shekinah Glory carrier?"

Could you?

Could all who follow Jesus?

If I took a poll, I think that most of us would say, “No way, I am not worthy of such an honor.” But, if we answer that way, we are answering with our answer, not with the answer of our Creator and Loving Father God.

If we say no to the reality of being walking Shekinah Glory, we are saying no the work of Jesus on the cross. He is the One who has made this overwhelming reality possible. He has died so that we can be the Temple of the Holy Spirit: Shekinah Glory: a dwelling place for the presence of God.

Colossians 1:27 reminds us: "to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

This is the mystery that has come through the ages of human history. That at the appointed time, we would become Shekinah Glory: Christ in us!

This week, ponder this thought. Don’t just read this and forget about it. Think about it and ask the Lord to take the seeds of this truth deep into prepared and ready soil so that the fruit of harvest comes from you being able to live this truth out.

Next week we will spend time processing what it means to live as Shekinah Glory shining brightly in the world. Until then, practice carrying the light and bringing it into the places of darkness. John 1:5 tells us that The Light penetrates the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it.”

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