As you think about the New Year, setting goals and making resolutions, consider the one act that will affect you and your year more significantly and powerfully than anything else, where you worship.
What’s the temple(s) of your life? What do you give your resources to, energy and time, to cultivate in your life? How do you make your decisions and choices? What do you sacrifice other things and people for, including your sacred time with God each morning? What are your priorities that come above all else? Mark 12:30-31 What/who do you put above God and abiding in His truth? Matthew 6:33 What doctrines and philosophies are you truly serving and worshipping with your thoughts and actions? Write out the answers to these questions and be honest, it will reveal what you truly serve. True change follows honesty.
Below is just a sampling of the temples we build, sacrifice for and thus worship at … when these are our temples, there is one outcome …
Relationships with other gender
Self-righteousness/being right & fair
Consumed in the darkness of the lies of this world, we build, sacrifice, serve and thus worship at a myriad of temples, like those above, trying to create the rest, fulfillment of hope, purpose, peace and love we desperately long for. Yet, God in His love for us has shown us how to obtain what we truly long for exceeding our expectations. For the life we seek, God instructs us to forsake and destroy all other temples in our lives, and take part in building His temple. Mark 14:58 It’s the temple of truth in our souls in which God’s spirit dwells. Eph 2:19-22 It’s the kingdom of God within us. When this is our temple, then all else in our lives follows as it should and as we deeply desire.
The temple(s) of your choosing will lead to one of two outcomes because there are only two paths in this earth pilgrimage; one of truth and one not, one of life and one not, one of God and one not. If you choose temples like the ones listed above the outcome is of increasing angst, hardship, worry, fear and stress. If you choose to build God’s temple within you, the outcome is growing peace, rest, joy and love.
What are you experiencing, which outcome? The outcome reflects the temple(s) you are currently worshiping at. If it’s the results of angst and fear, are you going to continue to build and worship at the same temples and get the same results?
Not only does only one temple bring the life you truly seek, but there is only one which will stand as all the rest are cast down.
1 Corinthians 3:13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is
In the Day of the Lord, all temples, the work of our hands, will crumble except the One. As the Day of the Lord dawns, now is the time to examine and realign your life to build the everlasting temple, the kingdom of God within you. If the presence of the living God is within you, you need nothing else for His presence manifests every need and desire as it should be.
As you decide your path for this year, meditate on these verses …
Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 34:10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
John 6:28-29 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
Get out a piece of paper and write down a typical week for you. How is your time divided? What consumes your time? What do you do with your spare time?
The most important activity for believers is building the temple. Was that on your list?
The eternal temple of God is made of the souls of the true believers in Christ. It’s the place God will call home for eternity. So the most important activity we do is prepare/build that place for Him, have you been building?
How do we build?
Among many attributes, God is holy, truth and love. For God to fully manifest Himself through us as the temple we have to be in unison with Him in these areas as noted in the scriptures. As oil and water don’t mix, neither does a corrupt soul lacking these and God’s spirit.
The soul that is able to hold God’s spirit is one that is pure, structured in truth, and consumed in love.
First, Jesus Christ cleansed our souls with His sacrifice. In Him, our slates are wiped clean.
Second, Jesus Christ builds a structure of truth within us. Jesus is the Word of God. It’s the Word, truth, that sanctifies. John 17:17 He gave us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who writes truth on our hearts and minds as He instructs us in the ways of God. 1 John 2:27 As we abide in the Word, putting the truth in us, the Spirit uses that truth in conjunction with our lives and constructs a framework of truth in our souls. I talked a bit about this in the video Prepared for Christ’s Coming.
In Proverbs, it talks about the importance of seeking and obtaining true wisdom and understanding that is of God, not this world. Proverbs 4:5-9. Wisdom and understanding are fundamental to the lives of believers, because these are what make up that framework of truth in our souls, which allows God’s spirit to dwell in us.
An important aside to this concept; we are to seek wisdom, but gaining wisdom isn’t dependent on our IQ. It’s dependent on the ability of the Holy Spirit to teach us and write it on our hearts and minds. Therefore, ANYONE, as God wills, can gain the wisdom and understanding of God. Hebrews 8:10-11 Further, this process varies greatly for everyone. It’s a journey and not instant. You may have many ah-ha moments, but the process of building a framework of truth takes time in abiding in the Bible being taught by the Holy Spirit and Him working out those truths in you and your life.
Finally, Jesus Christ reconciled us back to God, so now we can abide in His presence. When we draw near to God, He draws near to us. Because God is love, when we draw near His love starts filling our lives. Like our earthly relationships, when we cultivate a relationship with God, the fruit is love.
Many professing believers neglect to partake in the second and third phases. They understand the purifying done by Christ, but neglect the latter two – abiding in the truth so that framework can be built and cultivating a relationship with God so that His presence, especially His love will reign in their lives. This is why many operate in their self-will and not in accordance to one who is abiding in truth and love.
I think this negligence is why many are called but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14. Christ died for all people. Christ died that all may be saved. But few move onto walking in the purpose of His tremendous gift.
Look at the list you made at the beginning. Do you spend time abiding in the truth to gain a soul lined with truth? Do you nurture your individual relationship with God like you would do with a spouse (remember He calls us His bride)? This is how the temple is built.
Many people spend incredible amounts of time building up their earthly habitations whether homes, careers, health, families, and relationships and neglect the principle thing – their soul. It’s the one aspect that matters and affects all else, and if they neglect it, the rest greatly suffers as Haggai instructs us.
Haggai 1:6- 7 You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!
God says seek FIRST the kingdom of God, Him within you, and His righteousness and all else will be added unto you (the physical necessities of life). Matthew 6:33 Many people attend to the physical first, thus lose out on both. If you attend to the spiritual, then both will prosper. It’s God’s law of how He created this life.
Now you see why building the temple is to be the priority. Your belief systems affect EVERYTHING. If you change those, everything changes.
Each one of us is to do our own building of our part of the temple, our soul. No one can do it for us. We can support each other in the building process (which is very important and it’s part of building the temple as well because we are all conncted), but no one can actually do the building for us.
Restructure your list to make building the temple the first priority. Yes we have to work, attend to our families and health, but those should come second, because when you attend to the main thing the rest follows as it should. I’ve tested it out by taking on this promise 10 years ago. My life has proven it true in every way. It isn’t instant by any means because building truth and cultivating a real relationship with God isn’t easy in a world of lies, but it’s the path.
Now you see why this life isn’t just about being comfortable. God has a much greater mission of preparing His eternal dwelling.
From my previous post, there were some comments questioning whether all churches are lumped together in this concept of Church System. Here I want to address that issue because it touches upon a fundamental aspect of our walk with God.
Even Jesus didn’t judge for Himself. He heard from God and that is what He did. We are to follow His example in all things. John 5:30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. Further, Paul says he doesn’t even judge himself, only God judges him. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4.
When we ask the question whether this denomination, my church, or this pastor is good or not, it’s God’s judgment not ours.
What do I mean? How do we know what to do?
When it comes to our lives, we don’t judge good or bad. We look to God and His truth and that’s our guide. God judges and we follow His lead, whatever and wherever. Following God’s lead and not our judgments is choosing to eat of the tree of life instead of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The former is letting God be judge and being one with His will and simply walking in it. The latter is putting us as judge of what is good or bad.
To know and follow God’s judgments and ways, we have to set our ill-understanding aside and follow Him daily. Luke 9:23 Therefore, each day we sit with God, we seek the truth, we seek the pure manna from heaven (the instruction/truth of the Holy Spirit grounded in the Bible), we seek to know God so we can follow Him, and we seek His counsel throughout the day. (Seeking entails having a LOVE for the Truth, and putting time to know God as the priority in our day) We seek, ask, and act. We don’t pontificate on what we think is good by our own limited understanding. We seek counsel from the One who knows all.
Therefore, it’s not up to us to judge about this church or not, it’s up to God. To be able to know and hear His leading in this area we have to diligently seek Him. We have to put His words above religious leaders. We can’t read the Bible with our religious leaders opinions as our filters. We read for a desire for truth, realizing we don’t know and we may be misled in our current understanding. As we do, we will come to know God and His will; as He directs. We will be in the state of mind to be watchful for the times we are in. We will be hearing from God so we can walk in His will.
If we haven’t spent time diligently seeking, we will be very susceptible to deception. We won’t be able to follow God’s voice and not the voice of others because we are listening to ourselves. Make sense?
Seeking to know God comes first, so we can follow Him above all else. THEN we’ll be able to know what to do because then we will simply see and follow as Jesus did. It’s not about us deciding good or bad. It’s knowing God and following Him. See the difference? This following comes into play with all aspects of our lives, including this issue of leaving the church system (CS).
If you aren’t diligently seeking, how can your truly follow God’s voice? Again, not seeking is a spiritual death trap, because you remain spiritually blind. So even if you feel I’m wrong about the CS, spend time each day with God seeking to know Him as He is and His truth – this is your life, literally. Amos 5:4
When you seek you gain the spiritual “eyes” to see and the “ears” to hear. Revelation 2:29 As for leaving the CS, I “see” the CS corruption and the spiritual death and decay it breeds. Jeremiah 19:4 “Because they have forsaken Me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods whom neither they, their fathers, nor the kings of Judah have known, and have filled this place with the blood of the innocents.” It isn’t my judgments, it’s just looking and seeing as God leads. It’s not about comparing churches, saying this one seems pretty good, or this pastor seems like a good man. Those are all our judgments. Instead, it’s seeking God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Then wherever He leads we follow. 1 Chronicles 16:11
The Bible is written to all who profess to be God’s people, which includes many denominations and groups. We all are to be examining our lives by its words. To think they are words for someone else is a grave mistake. Read Jeremiah, Isaiah, the minor prophets and Revelation seeking the instruction of the Holy Spirit and listen to what God has to say. When you look into the Bible with a heart to know truth and not to follow the doctrines of mankind, then you will “see”. Then you will know what to do. You will “see” the CS for what it is, how it destroys souls, and the impeding judgment. You will see the contrast between the system and the true temple of God.
The Bible speaks about the impeding judgment on the “house of God” and to leave and fully embrace God as our sanctuary, which is leading to something tremendous… the New Jerusalem, the temple from heaven. Revelation 21:2-3 It’s out with the old and in with the new, just as in the days of Jesus. We are the temple of God. God’s dwelling place is with us, in us. We have the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that we are His, and a taste of things to come. A fuller manifestation of God dwelling within us is upon us. Revelation 21:22 Be careful to not be like the church leaders and members of Jesus’ day, who held on to their traditions and understanding and missed Christ, the truth. The old is passing away, and God is doing a new and tremendous thing … are you ready to embrace it?
As I read and hear about all the unrest around this issue, I felt compelled to share part of my story with you. This is a difficult topic to talk about – no doubt. My prayer is that you will listen with an open heart and that you will get from it whatever God has for you.
This second video is my thoughts on an issue that is often raised when people mention leaving the church system – the assembling of believers mentioned in Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
I’ll be posting more related videos in the following weeks.
First Video Transcriped . . .
Out of the Church System – Into His Arms (Video Transcribed)
Hi, I’m Rachel with Stirring the Deep and I wanted to talk to you about what has been happening in the church community regarding people leaving the church system – not the true church, the body of believers, but the system, the institution, the business. I see a lot of restlessness occurring, so I wanted to share with you my story. Now, I know this topic brings up an lot of different questions and issues. I want to address some of those – not in this video but in a later one when I have more time. For example, the verse Hebrews 10:25 where it talks about not forsaking the assembling together, issues about young Christians, fellowship and those sorts of issues.
But here I want to tell you about my story.
I grew up in the church. Like a lot of us that grew up in the Church, there comes a time when you have to make God your God and the faith your faith. God brought me to a point in my life where He basically turned everything upside down. Where I was just tired of my life. I wanted God to take over. It came to a point that I wanted a relationship with God that was real. I didn’t want a religion. I didn’t want to go through the acts anymore. I wanted a real relationship with God.
So I started seeking Him in His Word. But now when I read, I was reading on a daily basis getting to know Him – asking God who are you? Show me who you are. I want this to be real because that is what a real relationship is, right? It is communication back and forth. It’s really getting to know somebody. And God started to open up His Word to me. It was slow . . that development of a relationship with Him because I had a lot of things I had to let go of. It was a process. But that is what started to happen in my life, this relationship developing. I was no longer reading to do a Bible Study or to “fix” myself. I was reading to build intimacy with God.
Around this same time, I was involved in a church, highly involved. My husband and I would go to Bible Studies and small groups. We helped out at the church, and built a great sense of community, friends and support. It was wonderful what we had. But over time, a gap started forming between the cultivation of our relationship/intimacy with God as we spent time in His Word one-on-one, listening to His Spirit in our life AND our church involvement. It wasn’t just that we disagreed about different truths in the Bible. It was more than that – it was a bigger gap happening underneath it all. This gap created a restlessness in us that at first we really didn’t understand. As this restlessness continued, we decided to take a break from the church. Whenever you are so wrapped up in something it’s very hard to hear clearly. We said, God we just want to be still and be with you and give ourselves time and not be influenced by all these other things, including our own thoughts because we had enjoyed all that community, all the social aspects and all that it offered. We had to honor that restlessness and figure out what was going on.
We sat with God day after day seeking, reading in His Word – old prophets, Revelation, reading everything. Over time, from His Word and the prompting of the Spirit, we felt that God was calling us out of the church, not the true body of believers. We’re always connected with them, but the church system, the business, the institution. This was a radical thought, because I had grown up in the church. I had always been in the church. It was a part of my life. Can this be? But the more I prayed and the more I read, I felt YES, this is exactly what you’re hearing. I started seeking around and other people where feeling the same thing and had already left the church. It was incredible.
Having been in the church for so long, we decided to go back and see how we felt in our spirits. This is now we often are – we ask God and He answers us in His Word, confirms it in our spirits, and through other people, but we still say, are you sure God?
Leaving was such a big deal and it was hard because we had a community of friends. But when we went back, it was like the spirit was pushing us out the door. It was undeniable that we weren’t supposed to be there. We haven’t been back since, that was 2004. It wasn’t to go find another church that is also something else that was very clear. It was to come out of the church system.
It was difficult and I continued to pray, why, is this right? Because I have friends and family in the church. But the message has only grown clearer and stronger over time. The basic message was, that I’m reading from God’s Word, judgment is coming upon the church. And part of that judgment is that the sanctuary, the house of God, will be given over to the enemy. It talks about this in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations and so on and it all connects back to Revelations – it’s incredible. That’s prophecy and that’s what is going to happen, I believe. God is going to call His people out and He will protect them. Those who are really listening to Him will follow Him, His voice wherever He leads. He will be their sanctuary, their Shepherd, and protect, guard and provide for them in every way. This message is what I’ve been seeing happening exactly. You see what the church is starting to and has become. How the enemy is taking over the sanctuary. How people are giving into a big delusion. The church has become the center and not God. People are trusting in the church and man for their provision, protection, comfort, and teaching. Everything is really centered on the church. They can’t pull away from it because they wonder what’s going to happen to them. That kind of dependency means that is where your trust is thus your idol. And all of this is exactly what God’s Word talks about. Our trust should be in God. God can use different things, but who is the source of our trust – our dependency will tell us.
Anyway, God continued to unfold His Word and lay out this plan. It has been hard because being outside the system isn’t where the majority of people are. But the choice really came down not so much leave the church or not, because you can give all these reasons why church can be bad or good, but it was about whose voice was I going to listen to, man’s or God’s?
I hope that my story encourages you to seek God’s truth in this, not anyone else’s like your church’s, but what is God saying to you. What is His will? And give yourself time to really listen to His voice – that still small voice. If we truly seek and we really want to know the truth, then He will open up His Word to us. He will lead and show us His will for us. But we have to be willing to listen. We have to be willing to truly follow Him. It’s my prayer that you would have that seeking heart.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.