Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Temple

1 Corinthians 6:19 - 20: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

Recently, my friends and I were discussing the Ark of the Covenant. Our conversation consisted of comments like "Can you imagine traveling with the Spirit of God like that?" "I can't begin to imagine carrying the Ark..." Then a friend reminded us that the Spirit of God dwells in us. Oh, yeah.

Since then, I've been contemplating my body and how I treat it. Not just physically, but spiritually and mentally as well. How do I honor God with my body? It is in the way I live my life.

Romans 6:19 reads: "...Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness." The Greek word for slavery is "doulos" (pronounced doo'-los) meaning a "slave (literally or figuratively, involuntary or voluntary frequently therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency): bond, servant."* We were once slaves to our bodies, needing to gratify every carnal desire, but not anymore. Jesus died in order to pay for our sins. He paid the price for us to free us. Now that the Spirit of God dwells within us, our old desires have been replaced with new desires to please God, to live a holy life.

What does a holy life mean? "holy" means "...morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated: saint."* Believe it or not, this is possible by listening to that still, small voice inside known as the Spirit of God. Holiness comes from obedience to the Word of God. We cannot attain holiness without God. Of course, the only way to get to God is through His Son Jesus.

If we live our lives recognizing, on a daily basis, that we are the temple of God - the dwelling place of His Spirit, I wonder how different we would be? Would we be kinder to others and to ourselves? Would we be healthier physically and mentally? Would we be the salt Jesus talks about? And before anyone thinks I'm judging them, I'm not. These questions are directed to me as well.

What are your thoughts?

*Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Rest

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Too many demands and not enough rest in the Lord makes an empty, cranky person. At least that's how I feel. I don't necessarily feel burdened, but I do feel weary. I've allowed my to-do list to control me and now my body and mind are rebelling. It's not that I need sleep - I need to rest in the LORD. I need to soak in His glory, to gaze upon His beauty, and to know that He is God.

The Greek word for "rest" is "anapauo" (pronounced an-ap-ow-o Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). It means to "take ease, refresh (give, take) rest." Jesus is offering us refreshment and rest. To me, it's like swimming in a cool pool on a hot day. We are immersed in His rest, His refreshment.

How do we rest in Him, especially if we have responsibilities requiring our attention? Look at your daily schedule. Are there any blocks of time (an hour here, a half-hour there), that are free? For example, I know once the kids go to bed, I have a couple of hours to myself (which I've been using poorly). I also know I watch too much television and spend too much time surfing the Internet.

Jesus found rest by escaping to quiet places. In Mark 6:31, Jesus tells His disciples to "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Mark 1:35 says "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Notice both of these verses state He went to a quiet or solitary place. He gives us rest when we are quiet.

Find a quiet place and rest in Jesus. Make time for Him because only He can restore our weary, burdened souls.

How do you find rest in Jesus? Feel free to discuss it in the comments section.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Work

Colossians 3:23 - 24 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

I face a constant battle as a Christian writer. One part of me desperately wants to be published and recognized for my writing. The other part desperately wants to glorify and worship the Lord with what He has given me. Thankfully, these verses help quash my ego and everything is put into perspective.

These verses not only apply to my calling as a writer, but to my other roles as wife, mother, house manager, and so on. Whatever I do, I should see it as working and serving the Lord. That includes those days of folding underwear and scrubbing toilets.

What if I don't want to do the work? I have to admit, this has been an issue lately. Other than updating my blog and sending a few e-mails, I have not been writing (I'm in so much trouble now from my writer's group). I've been putting off my writing because "my heart just isn't in it." I've allowed distractions. I've taken my focus off of God and placed it on earthly concerns.

How do I remedy an unwilling heart? I'm reminded of Romans 12:1 "Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." Sacrificing what I want to do and focusing on what the Lord wants me to do is an act of worship. It may be difficult at first and will require discipline, but viewing my actions as worship prepares my heart for the work.

Also, it's considered an act of worship when I write for the Lord's glory and not for mine. It doesn't matter if zero people read my blog postings or if I ever become a published author, as long as I'm obedient to Him.

What is your motivation behind your work? Is it for you or for the Lord?