I said to Jesus, “What would I give you for Christmas if I could give you something?” I thought on it, then said, “I would give you a beautiful, cleansed temple.”
I had been thinking about Christmas and was still puzzling over what to get for a couple of gifts yet. I had just asked God to help me think of the right gifts and it had gotten me thinking. I said to Jesus, “What would I give you for Christmas if I could give you something?” I thought on it, then said, “I would give you a beautiful, cleansed temple.” By this, I meant my own spirit, soul and flesh. (1 Corinthians 6:19,20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.) You know how one thought leads to another, sometimes leading down a rabbit hole of epic proportions? Well, this made me think about the fact that I was still a work in progress that the beautifying and cleansing of my temple wouldn’t happen overnight. I thought then about God’s temple in Jerusalem that had been destroyed more than once and ransacked and defiled also. I was trying to remember who it was that had cleansed the temple in only 8 days after it had been trashed and defiled. I ruled out the time of Hezekiah and the time of Esther until it finally dawned on me that I had just read about it! I had been reading about the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah.
You can read this at http://www.oneforisrael.org/blog/249-celebrating-hanukkah As this article states:
The Greeks had ruled Israel since Alexander the Great had invaded in 329 BC, and had become more and more tyrannical and restrictive, banning Torah study, circumcision, and sacrificing anything except pigs on the temple altar. At one point, Jews were forced to eat the flesh of a pig that had been sacrificed in this way. This proved to be a step too far, and a violent rebellion led by the Maccabee family rose up to fight and take back power from the Greeks. The temple had been defiled with all kinds of Greek statues and vile practices, but it was now time to cleanse and rededicate it. The seven-stick menora needed ritually pure oil to keep it perpetually burning, but there was only enough to last for one day, and it took seven days to produce this purified oil in accordance with tradition. Amazingly, the story goes, the oil lasted not for one day, but for a full eight days, giving them enough time to produce more oil in the correct manner. The temple was rededicated to the God of Israel, and his order was restored.
As I thought of all of the trash and idols they would have had to haul out and the repairs and cleaning and the ritual cleansing they would have had to do to restore the Temple, I was amazed they were able to complete this enormous job in only 8 days! Then I thought of the temple of my own flesh and spirit, and said to God, “I wonder what I could do in eight days to purify my temple?” It seemed a little overwhelming.
I was about to shake my head and admit it would take a lot longer than that, when something rose up in me and I said, “Jesus, if you will help me, I’ll bet we could accomplish a lot in 8 days.”As I said this, I suddenly remembered that the first day of the Feast of Hanukkah was that very day and I remembered what God had spoken to me just hours prior, during my morning prayer. He spoke of something he called, “The Holy Wait”.
I had prayed for a while earlier but then had fallen back to sleep until it was almost time to get ready for church. That being said, I found myself rushed when I sought to enter the flow of God’s Holy Spirit to listen for his voice. I don’t start my day until I have had my time with God and that includes a time listening for His Voice.
As I waited on God, I kept sneaking glances at the clock, knowing I was, minute by minute running short on time to prepare for church. I was feeling ashamed of my late start and wondered if God would even talk to me under those circumstances. With all my heart, I was wishing I had been more conscientious and set an alarm. Finally, I felt the unmistakable presence of God and felt after his words. I heard gentle words of instruction and reproach. He said,
“My daughter, you long for my Voice as I long for you to hear My Voice. This is a sacred time and must be treated as a sacred time. When you allow time for My Voice, you honor me. When you pause and listen for My Voice, you activate your faith. If you would but create an atmosphere of Holy Waiting and expectation, I will meet with you, daughter in this sanctuary you create, not with building made by hands but in the sanctuary of your person. Holy Waiting pleases me. Guarding this time honors me. Preparing for this time honors me. I will meet with you, daughter, but your honor is a good thing and pleases me (… ) you must long to delight your God. Your praise and worship and honor delight me. Give me your specially prepared time. You must go prepare for church. This honors me also.”
Needless to say, I set my alarm in preparation for morning. I was up very early and made a cup of coffee before I settled in on the couch to pray. I set another alarm for shortly after sunrise, just in case I fell asleep again. I had a nice time of prayer, but did start to get dozie the closer it got to sunrise. I was drifting into sleep when my alarm went off again. I got up and made another cup of coffee and was going to settle on the couch again when I thought of what God had spoken to me about “The Holy Wait” and “Prepare a sanctuary”. I decided I had better look a little better so I went in and combed my hair and put it up. I came back out was going to sit on the couch again and decided it was too much like lounging, so I chose my chair instead. I sat for a minute and noticed kleenex in the garbage by my chair. I thought of the presence of God and thought that would never do. I got up and dumped the garbage and straightened up my little table my coffee was on. I sat again but couldn’t take my eyes off of my rumpled couch cushions and the throw blanket I had thrown off when I went to make my cup of coffee. I plumped and straightened the cushions and folded the throw and sat down again. I had only sat silently for a minute when it struck me I had not made sure I had no unrepented sin. I searched my heart and quickly realized I had some stuff that had to be taken care of before I could proceed. I had a nice time clearing my heart and conscience by acknowledging my sin to God and repenting and asking for forgiveness and cleansing. I praised and worshiped and finally knew it was time to listen for the Voice of God. I prayed quietly in tongues and quickly felt the presence of God. I prayed that the blood of Jesus would cover me and help me to discern between the voice of my own spirit and will and flesh and that of God. I prayed for ears to hear the Voice of my God and Savior and waited on Him until I felt that peaceful flow of the Spirit of God, then felt after His Words…His Rhema. It was so comforting and pleasant to not be rushed and to know I had done as he said to do and created an atmosphere of Holy Waiting and expectation. I met him in that sanctuary of my temple and felt after his words.
There is a difference between just waiting and Holy waiting. Holy waiting is waiting that has been consecrated to God.
There are babies born every day, actually probably every hour of the day, yet each of these babies take a certain period of time from conception to form and be born. Mary, the mother of Jesus waited a Holy Wait. She had to believe what had been spoken to her long before she had any evidence it was true. Even when her body began to change she had to believe that what was happening in her was truly what she had been told. Every minute from the time of Gabriel’s announcement to the time of the birth of Jesus was a “Holy Wait”. It had to have been bigger than she could wrap her mind around. She was a very young peasant girl with no education and probably very little knowledge of the way babies were made but she did know that she had not “known a man”. Not only did she have to believe she could be pregnant without knowing a man, but she had to believe the child she was carrying was the Savior of the whole world, the Messiah.
Not only do I wait on God to hear His Voice, but I have been in a Holy Wait since God started preparing me in 2012 for His Service. He has spoken to me of many things that I’ve been in a holding pattern, waiting for. For the first couple of years I can’t say my wait was “Holy”. It was more of a time of surviving the wait. It hasn’t been until the last couple of years that my wait has become a “Holy Wait”. I finally learned to not only prepare but rest in the wait. I had no confirmation that I was anything but crazy or delusional until this year when God has finally allowed me to see the wheels in motion and He graciously confirmed one huge segment of the ministry he has spoken to me of. All I know is that if one thing He has spoken to me often of has been confirmed, it won’t be long until it all is.
So what did God speak to me of today? He told me to write this and He’s the boss. It seems very long and covers an awful lot of territory but He spelled out what I was to cover and I am at the last of the list. To finish it off, I will just quote some of His Rhema to me this morning. He said,
“…I seek a people that is willing to set themselves apart and be holy. This season can once again be a light to the world and to communities and to families. It can once again be shared with the lonely and the desolate. If my people will separate themselves and strive to perfect themselves in holiness they will honor me and they will please me and I will honor them and my blessings will flow to them.”
As for me…I will strive to delight my God and I will seek to honor my God. I will also attempt to use this pre-Christmas time of Hanukkah as a time to seek God and to purify my temple.
Won’t you join me? God can do a lot with humble, willing vessels and we might all be surprised what we can do in 8 days with His help.
Setting my alarm,
1This is what the LORD says:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?
Could you build me such a resting place?
2My hands have made both heaven and earth;
they and everything in them are mine.a
I, the LORD, have spoken!
1 Corinthians 6:19,20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.