Open the Gates!

Take a close look at the picture of the Eastern Gate of the old city of Jerusalem.  You might want to click to enlarge it.  In particular, notice the cemetery in front of those gates, filled with the graves of Arab Muslims.  They built a graveyard there thinking to keep anyone from ever coming through those gates again.  As our Israeli guide shared this with us, I couldn’t contain the laughter.  Excuse me, but isn’t this the gate through which the glory of God will enter before filling His temple? 1 Doesn’t that effectively make this God’s Gate?  And man thinks he will keep God from using these gates by erecting a graveyard – filled with dead men’s bones – to guard it?

Luke 1:37 AMP For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

This scene, and the absurdity of it, came back to me as I prayed for someone who has known and served God with a burning zeal in the past, but has been offended and turned his back for a time.  In light of the facts behind the picture above, I would say that this person has been deceived by offense into thinking they have made themselves invisible to God, since they no longer want to see Him.  But the barrier they’ve built is made of dead stuff, and cannot keep Him out forever!

It’s laughable, in a sad kind of way, to read of this one’s plight.  As the beginning of another new year arrives, however, it would be good to consider what dead stuff we might have used in areas of our own lives to make a barrier against Almighty God?  Whatever they may be only keep us from the fullness of God’s power, love, and work in us – and His perfect protection of us.  Trying to eliminate access to what belongs to God spiritually, as the Arab Muslims have done physically around the Eastern Gate, won’t stop Him.  God’s good plans and purposes shall be fulfilled – and they are all good. 2

With the help of Holy Spirit, it’s time to scrape away those rocks and dig up those graves now – that the King of Glory shall come in! 3

1Ezekiel 43:1-7
2Jeremiah 29:11
3Psalm 24:7-10

Freedom to Be

I am a spirit being with a soul (mind, will, and emotions) and a body.  If I really know and understand this, why do I continue to allow my mind to compartmentalize what I do as either spiritual or non-spiritual, as either of value to God or as keeping me from things that are of value to Him?

This is not the first time I’ve battled this issue, but it’s time to settle it for good.  When Jesus ministered on this earth in His physical body, having received the same Holy Spirit now living in me, His whole life was spiritual.  Think about it.  When He paid taxes to the government, a spiritual principle was at work – paying taxes to whom taxes were due.  He ate physical food as sustenance for His physical body, taking time away from the “important” things of life.  He walked, physically, from one place to the next, probably spending some of that valuable time simply laughing and living with the disciples, rather than teaching or preaching “spiritual” things. At the same time, He was the most relaxed, worry-free, anxiety-free, stress-free person to have lived, which means He was never separated from His Father in Spirit or action until the cross!  Because He remained in the secret place at all times, regardless of where He was physically, all He did was spiritual – for the glory of God.

Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. AMP

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. NIV

Jesus Christ lives in me by His Spirit.  If Jesus didn’t struggle with this, why do I continue to go back to this old mindset?  It only causes frustration.  When I do those things that are required for basic living – cooking, cleaning, shopping, exercising, washing the car or the dog, etc. – a nagging thought goes on in the back of my mind that I’m being kept from the spiritual.  Then, I feel guilty for not doing those “spiritual” things, and I don’t live fully in the now.  Like Paul said, “Who will rescue me from this body?  Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25) That’s not how Jesus lived then, and it’s not how He lives in me now.

Jesus’ Spirit is alive in me.  That is where I choose to dwell.  In this place, whether I eat, sleep, exercise, shop, pray, read the Bible, teach, or whatever else, there is no condemnation, no imaginary line of separation between spiritual and non-spiritual.  My life is hidden with Christ in God.1 It is all for His purposes and glory.  If I live and move and have my being in Him,2 what part of me is not included?  None!

So, today I’m slamming that door on guilt and condemnation,3 locking it, and throwing away the key.  It was for freedom that Christ set me free, no longer to be subject to any yoke of slavery,4 so that’s what I choose going forward.  I rejoice in His freedom to be the one He’s called me to be, all facets included: child of Abba Daddy, wife, mother, teacher, grandmother, cook, writer, book reader, pray-er, exerciser, praiser, friend, housecleaner, dog owner, student of God’s Word, etc.

Won’t you join me in this glorious freedom to be5 in Christ – all day, every day?

1 Colossians 3:3
2 Acts 17:28
3 Romans 8:1-2
4 Galatians 5:1
5 Romans 8:21