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This month's teaching : Repentance

Activities Within the Sanctuary (2)

There are people who live under the constant guilt of personal imperfection simply because they pursue to perfect themselves under competing pressure. The intensity of this battle is in being under constant maintenance, the focus being on the output of man’s works and performance. This may be perceived by some as an honorable token of spirituality, but it carries the seal of the defeat of self-righteousness. This is not what God is looking for, regardless how spiritual it may seem. We must consider this fateful dilemma within our soul, lest we become bound by it in blindness.

We are all prone to love our own product of performance. While the saint troubles himself with the carnality of such noble fraud, it is humbling to note that God wants no part in it. These are tactics of the enemy to cause us to take our eyes off God and focus within. Now we become a miserable escalation of ugly defeat. The more our eyes focus on our self, the more vicious this battle becomes. The constant defeat of this battle creates an atmosphere within the saint where the Holy Spirit is not welcome. Once the Holy Spirit is not welcome, there goes our joy and strength. This vicious cycle is almost humorous once we see the picture. However, the true saint is honest, and will at some point come to the truth of this messy self-criticism. Why? Because within he is a sanctuary temple of heavenly royalty that God will not forsake.

2 Corinthians 5:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. V.3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. V.4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up by life. V.7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight)

Many of these conflicts that war within us, turn us to the utmost and only spiritual resolve. Hope becomes a discovered treasure and the only source of dependence on God’s grace and mercy. Here, we lose—He wins, and the picture is perfect! So in essence, we lose—He wins—we win, and all win! Thus are the conversation and picture that form upon the page of experience as a true sanctuary of victory! Hallelujah!

Found within us is this noble interaction between victory and being crushed. This creates an environment of contrition and brokenness that are draws to prayer, meditation, and vehement desire for more of Heaven and less of me. These longings lead us through the path of His righteousness. These personal places are mountains of valleys, or valleys of mountains, that offer a sanctified climate of spiritual strength and dependence. These private experiences bring a form of interaction from Earth to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth. It is the sanctuary of God’s interaction with man and it is the exact place God desires to be. Heaven is God’s throne and Earth is where His feet rest. May we be to Him a sanctuary so His presence can rest and not fight us? Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? where is the place of my rest? V. 2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Being spiritually poor here means saddened, even a bit depressed, in mind or circumstances. The Hebrew meaning for contrite is: maimed, dejected, crushed. Trembleth means: “reverences His Word”. God is looking to live in the heart that has these conditions. These are conditions often found in the spiritual and effective saints. These true refined saints have few instructions for other people. They are vessels that God alone is glorified in. The fountain that flows out of these is so rich that many reject it and cannot drink. Their discourse is for God’s glory alone. They have the refinements and victories of Job. These saints know no double life. They are a sanctuary where the attributes of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are exceedingly present.

Psalm 96:6 Honor and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Discerning Tribulation

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. We will all go through tribulation, but let us never neglect to understand the purpose. Could it be that it is because God is jealous over His possession? Can tribulation be punishment, or a way to draw us back to Him?

Does God have a right to be jealous? After all, everything has been made by Him and for Him. He created it all and has the absolute legal documents: “The Word”, for total ownership to everything that is. When God sees a nation or people walk away from Him he does not close His eyes with blindness. He has a plan for redemption that might come into view as a detour to man at times. We must not forget His jealousy for His people and for everything that is intended for Him. Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. Within that jealousy there is a fount of love that consumes and a desire so deep that He was willing to see His dearest Son, martyred; providing a way to get back a creation that had gone off completely into a fallen kingdom of destructive evil, right from the presence of God.

At times, God offers ways to bring back those who abandon faith and faithfulness that seem so difficult. At other times, it seems God just lets them go. A backslidden child of God goes through much deeper things than that which meets the eye of the saint. He goes through a long period where he feels so rejected by God. He strengthens himself with blame and imaginations to justify his own failure. Things get gloomy within the heart, so dreadfully that there is almost no sense of God anywhere. Sin now becomes a way of life. Guilt and sorrow are covered over with new desires to satisfy the abandoned presence of God. Some throw themselves deeper into work and things to entertain their troubled heart.

Many seek for hope everywhere except turning back to God because Satan has caused them to believe there is no hope of returning. This form of tribulation is a torment that blinds spiritual trust found only in Christ. This loneliness of false hope found in things other than Christ sustains nothing but difficulty in the midst of deteriorating adversity. Backslidden mankind must at once be honest and declare an end to this destructive path. This path is filled with sorrow and abandonment from God’s presence. We must wake from our sleep and take responsibility for what is happening. Blame cannot rule our life nor can hurts be nurtured any longer.

There are two kinds of tribulation. One “worketh patience” as well as endurance and will draw you closer to God, enriching your faith – though it is also very difficult. This kind will never drive you from God. Oh yes, it will cause you many questions and deep despair at times. My observation for many years is that Christians don’t care much to have an understanding of why they go through tribulation. It is extremely important to recognize which one is being experienced. There is a world of difference between the two. The one is an endearment to Christ; the other tribulation is a form of punishment that is not chastening from the Lord.

One of the ways to gain understanding as to which one we are experiencing is to recognize its origin. Was it after a spiritual breakthrough or great move of God where this all began?  Was there a violation committed of any principle in the Bible? I have observed many times that people do not discern what God is saying while going through tribulation. Some battle and strive to conquer while it continues to fall apart all around them. These are people in disobedience that have caused their own demise, insisting on their own folly. This is a brutal condition and it will take the form of a brazen gloomy cast of helplessness and darkness over the person. This type of tribulation is often the result of us causing trouble against God’s people.

In the following verses, we read about the two different kinds of tribulation. 2 Thessalonians 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: V.5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: V.6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;   

The holy and spiritual kind is designed to bring patience and faith, and is mostly accompanied by persecution for right doing. It is one thing to suffer for righteousness sake and completely another thing to suffer for wrong doing. As we go through so many difficult things in our lives, let us always seek to be clear on why we face tribulation. Is it because of obedience or disobedience?

The Wounded Spirit

Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; BUT a wounded spirit who can bear?

There are many things that can displace true reverence of praise and adoration to God. I have noticed that new things from machines to equipment, cars or even a new horse can delight our minds for a while. Once we get used to it, its ecstatic awe will dissipate even if the value does not change. It is within our human nature to appreciate things we revere. After we acclimate, it loses its value to our fondness and yet it can become even greater in value with time.

This is the nature that all people are fitted with. It is within this compartment of the human make-up that we maintain the idea of the preciousness of things. Without this attribute we lose value, respect, admiration, honor, appreciation, praise, thanksgiving, desire, and many things not mentioned. This wound when nurtured can become so controlling that everything from taste to touch, feeling, and preference becomes suppressed. The ultimate extent of this problem will cost someone the will to live. How is it that some can endure the same trials of affliction and prevail, while others never do?

Have you ever noticed that a problem can cause all of this God-given attributable strength to cease in a heart-beat?  Why is this? Can one little thing ruin my whole day? Can one incident ruin my week, month, year or my entire life? Can two or ten incidents bring me irrevocable ruin? The answer is an undeniable yes!

I sadly acknowledge that many have had their ship wrecked for life because of an incident that caused a shutdown of this God-given attribute. I have never seen a person with this issue at hand that does not place blame on something. This is simply suggesting something happened somewhere.

Highly controlling parents or partners or even employers and employees can destroy this gentle plant within the tender confines of this attribute. A dream that has failed or a friend that has kicked his heel against you or a sin not forgiven can devastate this God-given characteristic.

Some people always thrive on the things that bring ruin. A wounded spirit is very hard to bear because of the vibes that emanate from its presence. The undertones of ruin emit through the words that are spoken even when the sense seems good. These emissions are repulsive to a sound mind and will erect walls instead of friendship. People with a wounded spirit are people who are prone to find or prove blame even if it does not involve them. The wounded spirit is the callous that people use to cover super-sensitivity.

I am not writing on this subject without having experience on the matter. The destructive ambitions of extreme failure and the self-consciousness of flaws I could not accept offered me much opportunity to bring personal damage to my spirit. The intense prolonged persecution, misunderstandings, spitefulness and lies from people I trusted created every opportunity to self-destruct many times.

So where do I find the answer in overcoming this despairing struggle? It is found in Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity BUT a wounded spirit nobody can bear. God’s instruction is that the spirit of a man can deal with this correctly. I have learned to radically separate the things that seek to wound my spirit from things that make my spirit wholesome. I have to take charge of the things that are designed to destroy me. I have separated them completely from the things that sustain healing in me. While my heart is filled with extreme sorrow, my heart is also filled with extreme joy. Here is the balance that can never be violated without consequences. This is a choice we have to make. Until I learn to bring every thought into confinement and separate the two highly influential thinking patterns, I will not be able to walk in Christ’s obedience. Outside of Christ’s obedience I am outside of Christ’s favor. It is like falling dominoes against me because it is unbelief. This violation will seem as a dark cloud of evil over our head with torment like that of demons.

After Jesus’ brutal rejection from His own disciples and then the inflicted pain from the beatings of the cross He concluded saying, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they do!” If it was a violation from someone else, you have to say, Father forgive him or her; he or she did not know what they just did. At times I have said, if I could only explain something, they wouldn’t have done this to me. Sometimes we have to humbly say, God forgive me, I did not know what I was doing. And move on and never revisit it again.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear (timidity); but of power, and of love (affection), and of a sound mind (self-control).