The Pure Atmosphere

2nd Cor. 6
14  Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
15  Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
16  Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
17  “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.
18  “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.

 1 ¶  Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

In verses 14-18 of chapter six Paul is exhorting the Corinthians to walk clean before the Lord. The reason parts of verses 16-17 are capitalized is because they are quotes taken from the Old Testament. As a side note, it’s interesting that Paul pulls these verses from various Old Testament passages. According to the strict rule of hermeneutics (the “science” of Biblical interpretation) this is a no-no because the verses are taken out of the original context to accentuate another point.  But such is the moving of the Holy Spirit.

Verse one of chapter seven is the passage we want to focus on. We understand well enough what it means to be cleansed from the defilement of the flesh. The Adamic, flesh nature is a bottomless pit of corruption. But what about the defilement of spirit? What does that mean? Our spirits are influenced by the defilement of the soul realm. We are created spirit, soul, and body. But these three aspects of our being are not separate compartments each unaffected by the other. For example, what we eat can adversely affect us not just physically, but emotionally. What we eat can also affect our spirits. Have you ever had a keen awareness of the presence of the Lord and then after a big meal feel as if you couldn’t discern you way out of a paper bag? Or, if you are going through some emotional trauma find that your physical body develops certain ailments?  That same emotional trauma can also cloud our spirits from perceiving the Lord. We are an interrelated and complex creation. We want to be a people who can live, move, and breathe in a pure atmosphere of spirit devoid of the defilements that inevitably come. Now, how does this come about? Continue reading

The Time to Build His House

Hag. 1:

1 ¶  In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,
2  “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘This people says, “The time has not come, even the time for the house of the LORD to be rebuilt.”‘”
3  Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying,
4  “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?”
5  Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways!
6  “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.”
7  Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways!
8  “Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the LORD.
9  “You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?” declares the LORD of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.
10  “Therefore, because of you the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce.
11  “I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands.”
12 ¶  Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the LORD.
13  Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke by the commission of the LORD to the people saying, “‘I am with you,’ declares the LORD.”
14  So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,
15  on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king.

Judah had been taken captive into Babylon because of its disobedience to the Lord. But God had spoken that after 70 years had passed He would bring the tribe of Judah out of captivity and re-establish them. Initially, work began on rebuilding the temple, but interference from those who did not want to see the Jews succeed brought the work to a halt. The work lay dormant for 16 years.

2  “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘This people says, “The time has not come, even the time for the house of the LORD to be rebuilt.”

 The people had resigned themselves to the resistance of the temple being rebuilt. The full story of the resistance and battles they faced in rebuilding the temple is found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The temple, which was central to Judah’s relationship to the Lord, was being neglected. It’s so easy to think we have a word from God to accomplish something, but when resistance and battle come, we back off, saying, “It’s not the time.” Continue reading

Zion: The Apple of God’s Eye

The realm of Zion holds a special place in God’s heart. Psalm 87 says, “The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.” This is easily misconstrued when quoted. The inference is that those who speak this are somehow boastful and proud. But this is not so. It is kind of like political correctness. There are some things you just cannot say without them being misinterpreted and used against you. But the fact is there is a spot in God’s heart for Zion above all other realms. It does not make us special as individuals, because that is the soul realm. But as we walk in Zion, we “are counted among those who are born there (Ps. 87:5-6).” I want to share Isaiah 60. It is the Lord’s heart to Zion, and to those born in her. Such is the wonderful relationship God is birthing His sons into. Continue reading

The Womb Is Open

Isa. 66:
7  “Before she travailed, she brought forth; Before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy.
8  “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons.
9  “Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?” says your God.
10  “Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her,
11  That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts, That you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom.”
12  For thus says the LORD, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees.
13  “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
14  Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad, And your bones will flourish like the new grass; And the hand of the LORD will be made known to His servants, But He will be indignant toward His enemies.

These verses are all related Zion. Let them burn in our hearts! Zion is in travail and she is bringing forth sons. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?” says your God. It is so abundantly clear. It is Zion who is giving birth to sons. Sons are not brought to birth in some random fashion through various teachings and ministries. Sons do not come to birth through isolated personal experiences. Sons are fathered out of the realm of Zion. Continue reading