DAY 21 – WHERE WILL YOU WORSHIP?

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

Today is Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. This prayer and fasting guide was written to prepare you for the greatest experience ever in corporate worship to our King. I pray you are ready to worship Him in spirit and truth. But before you head to worship, can I ask you a question? Where will you worship today? I am not asking “where” as in relationship to the specific church. I assume you will worship at Gardendale First Baptist, duh. No, when you arrive, where will you be seated? Again, I am not asking in what section of the worship center you will sit. I am certain you will sit in your favorite spot (unless someone steals your seat!) I want to know, from a temple perspective, since you are the temple of the living God, in what section of the temple will you worship? In your mind and spirit, where will you be? Will you be standing on Solomon’s Porch? Will you be in the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Women, the Court of the Israelites, or the Court of the Priests? Or, will you be in the inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies?

The place where you sit in our worship center is not reflective of where you are in your temple. Just because you sit down front to catch the slobber does not necessarily mean you are in the inner sanctuary. And, for that matter, just because you are on the last row in the stadium seating does not mean you are standing on Solomon’s Porch. The important place is not your physical place but your spiritual place. Here is the million dollar question: “Will you be in God’s favorite room?” “Will you worship God in the only room where worship is acceptable to God?” “Will you be in the Holy of Holies with God?” The writer of Hebrews encouraged believers to come boldly to the throne room of God to worship Him!

Everyone, who attends worship this weekend at GFBC, will be in the same physical room but not everyone will be in the same spiritual room. They could if they read and discovered the truths of the temple discussed in this book but not everyone picked up a copy. Some will be in Solomon’s Court because they feel too condemned to move inward. They may even be on the front row in the worship center! Others will be in the Court of the Gentiles because they will feel as if they are too unworthy to experience the risen Savior. Some will be in the Court of the Women because they want to impress God by how much they give in tithes and offerings. Others will be in the Court of the Israelites because they are or think they are morally good and keep the law. A few will be in the Court of the Priests because they are or think they are leading in worship. Where will you be?

Where should you be? You should be in the Holy of Holies because of what Jesus did for you not what you can do for yourself. You will be found in the Holy of Holies if you have and will present yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. Again, the Holy of Holies is the only place where your worship is acceptable to God. However, the lack of understanding in this truth causes us to manipulate a false Holy of Holies experience for those who are in one of the other courts. If they will not join us in the Holy of Holies, then we will encourage them to do things that make them feel as if they are. If you are in the Holy of Holies, it will not be necessary for someone (in the Court of the Priests) to prime your pump! Those who are found in the Holy of Holies will worship in spirit and truth without any external coercion to do so.

Where will you worship? I pray we will be found in the inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, where God dwells mightily. If we do, we will experience the risen Savior in a supernatural way. Jesus will be magnified, the household of faith will be edified, the lost will be justified, and the devil will be horrified! It does not get any better than that (well, until we all get to heaven.)

Soli Deo Gloria!

DAY 20 – RELIGION REPAIRED THE VEIL

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Hebrews 6:19-20

The writer of Hebrews precisely described what took place during Passover. Jesus, our Great High Priest, went behind the veil in the Holy of Holies, when He, the perfect, sacrificial Lamb, was slain and made atonement for our sins once and for all. At this very moment, God the Father ripped the veil from top to bottom. Jesus, our forerunner, went before us and prepared the way for us to come in. No longer would the veil keep us from experiencing the presence and power of God.

History tells us that after Passover, when the priests discovered the torn veil, they had it repaired. History does not specifically mention who made the repair, it simply suggested the repair occurred. The mended veil, sixty feet tall, thirty feet wide, and four inches thick, remained intact for forty years until the temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 AD. The priests did not have a clue as to what had happened. The timing of Jesus’ death and the torn veil was a mere coincidence to them. It was crucial for them to seal the curtain so their rituals could precede on to The Day of Atonement in approximately six months.

It was business as usual around the temple. Religion repaired the veil. The torn veil, that created a relationship between Jehovah God and all people, was repaired so the law’s restrictions could continue to keep certain people out while allowing only the appointed priests in. Jews and Gentiles continued to approach Solomon’s Porch to hear religious leaders declare the sick to be defiled and unclean. They heard the governing officials pronounce judgments upon criminals, even condemning many to death. The Gentiles could only go as far as their court or they would face the consequence of death. The Jewish women could enter their designated court and place their offering in one of thirteen boxes to financially support the upkeep of the temple as well as the needs of the poor. The Jewish men could step in further and present their sacrifices to the priests while the priests were the only ones permitted in the temple proper.

Religion, man’s futile attempt to reach God, continued to fall short of God’s glory. God, by His demonstration on the cross said, “Come in and live,” while religion said, “Keep out or die!” It was imperative for the devil to continue to deceive the religious leaders so their influence would continue to lead the lost down the road to destruction. Although Satan knew Jesus had made an opening for everyone to come in, he, through religion, kept people in utter darkness to the truth.

Today, religion continues to keep people from experiencing a relationship with Jesus. Complete access to God is available to all who will believe but religion stands in the way like a big bully, discouraging people from drawing near to God’s throne. A pseudo veil still remains. What does this veil look like? It appears in the form of pride and prejudice. It presents itself in the following ways: “Only good moral people can come to Jesus.” “God cannot and will not love or redeem certain people because of their behavior or background.”

“God will not accept someone if they are not dressed or act a certain way.” “God only died for a certain skin color.” “God only redeems those He loves and sends the rest to hell.” Can you see the veil?

Has the religiously repaired veil kept you from a personal relationship with Jesus? Jesus tore the veil so you could come in. Stop believing the lie! Hear and heed the voice of Jesus, “Come!” (Revelation 22:17) Have you been guilty of promoting the religious veil? Have your beliefs, words, and actions kept people from experiencing the resurrecting power of Christ? If so, you are the veil! Will you repent of your sin and start inviting everyone to come to Jesus? I have good news, “Sunday’s coming!”

DAY 19 – WHY RESIST THE HOLY OF HOLIES

“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.”

Acts 7:51

Stephen, a man of faith, proclaimed to the Jews that God no longer dwelt in a temple made with hands. He dwelt in the lives of people who professed faith in Him because of the atoning work of Christ on Calvary. Through Christ’s work on the cross, everyone was free to come into the temple’s inner sanctuary. Did they all come? No! The majority resisted. Stephen called them “stiff-necked and uncircumcised.” This was an insult to their race. They were God’s chosen people but they were acting more like barbarians and Gentiles who did not know God. It is hard to fathom why they would resist entering when the door stood wide open for them to come in.

We may criticize them, the Jews, for not seeing what Christ did for them but are we not guilty of the same thing? Do we as believers in Jesus always, in our minds and hearts, remain in the dwelling place of the Most High? The sad truth is that many believers resist the Holy of Holies experience. Christians are content with hanging out on Solomon’s Porch or in one of the preferred courts. Like Zacchaeus, we want to be in proximity of Jesus but not up close and personal with Him. Like the Jews, we want to hang out at God’s house but we do not want to meet with Him personally. Why do we resist the Holy of Holies? Let me suggest several reasons why.

First, we resist the Holy of Holies experience because we believe the restrictions are still in force. Many continue to impose restrictions on themselves that Christ removed. Believers are convinced they cannot fellowship with God because of their past. Their past actions are too severe for God to give them permission to come in completely. They are content with hanging out in the Court of Condemnation because they exhibit a “Woe is me” complex. Second, we resist because we are unwilling to deal with our present sins. It was easy for Jesus to forgive our sin of unbelief but it is too difficult or impossible for Jesus to forgive our secret, shameful sins. We resist the Holy of Holies because we do not think Jesus can or will atone for our secret, shameful sins after we have been born again. Third, we resist the Holy of Holies experience out of fear for what God may command us to do for Him. “If I get close to Jesus, He will send me to Africa!“ “If I get close to Jesus, He will command me to teach seventh grade boys!” “If I get close to Jesus, He will command me to move outside my comfort zone!” Fear of commitment causes us to resist. Fourth, we resist the Holy of Holies experience because we are unwilling to obey. We have become stiff-necked! We have resisted for so long that our hearts are extremely hardened to God’s commands. We cannot feel His conviction; therefore, it is easy to resist. This is a dangerous, spiritual condition because the one who cannot feel God’s conviction has been deceived into believing that God is okay with their current condition. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God wants every believer to come boldly and confidently into the inner sanctuary without resistance.

Are you resisting the Holy of Holies? Have you imposed restrictions on yourself that prohibit you from entering? Are you unwilling to deal with the secret, shameful sins? Have you convinced yourself that Jesus cannot forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness? (1 John 1:9) Do you live in fear of what Jesus may command you to do for Him if you did enter into the Holy of Holies? Have you become gullible to the devil’s lie that you will be all alone if you obey? Jesus said He would never leave you nor forsake you. Has your heart become so hardened to God’s voice that you find it easy to disobey Him? Would you repent of any or all of the above and experience the forgiving and cleansing power of Jesus? Friend, do not resist. There remains no restrictions, so enter! You will not regret it!

DAY 18 – IN CHRIST, I AM A WITNESS

“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

1 Peter 2:5, 9

In the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, when the High Priest presented the sacrifice, he did not atone for the sins of the people. God did! The responsibility of the High Priest was simply to obey God and offer the sacrifice. When you experience the Christian life from the perspective of the Holy of Holies, your responsibility is to obey. As a high priest, our responsibility is to present ourselves daily as a living sacrifice unto God. Like Isaiah, we say, “Here I am, send me!” (Isaiah 6:8) How do we obey? We obey by proclaiming the praises of Him who called us out of darkness. As high priests, we are His witnesses to the world. As we go, we are to share with an unbelieving world what the Lord has done for us. (Matthew 28:18-20) We share the good news and the Lord is the one who atones for their sins. He is the one who redeems them and gives them eternal life. The evidence that you know you are seated with Christ in the Holy of Holies is by your willingness and effectiveness to share the gospel with unbelievers. It is supernaturally natural to witness for Jesus when you dwell with Him.

As high priests, charged with the task of proclaiming His praises, we must understand several important truths. First, as witnesses, who dwell with Christ in the Holy of Holies, our lives are always on display. Just as it was obvious from the High Priest’s clothes that he was a servant of God, people should and will know you belong to Christ, not by what you wear as much as how you act. An unbelieving world can tell the difference. Second, when you dwell with Christ, as a witness, you have the spiritual insight to recognize and discern where an unbeliever is in their spiritual journey. Have they reached Solomon’s Porch, the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Women, the Court of Israel, or the Court of the Priests? The goal of a witness is to meet and discern where a person is so they can ultimately be ushered, by the Holy Spirit, into the presence of Almighty God in the inner sanctuary, and there, experience His atoning grace. Third, the ability to witness, with a supernatural anointing, in such a manner as to be pleasing unto the Lord can only be accomplished from the Holy of Holies. You can witness, do what is right, but do it the wrong way. You will know what to do and when to do it. If the soil of an unbeliever’s heart needs cultivating, that is what you will do. If a life is ready to receive the seed of God’s Word, then that is what you will do. If the seed needs water, then you will pour water on the soil. If the harvest is apparent, then you will assist the Lord in reaping. Fourth, witnessing from the perspective of the Holy of Holies allows the Christ follower’s words to compliment his life, not contradict it. An unbeliever will not say “No” to Jesus because your words do not match your ways. The life you live in the dwelling place of the Most High God is convicting and contagious to an unbeliever who is drawn to God. Fifth, when the high priest came out of the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, the people knew he had been with Jesus. When you dwell with Christ in the Holy of Holies, an unbelieving world will know you have been with Jesus by the way you act and speak. They will sense the anointing because you speak as one who has authority. Sixth, a witness who dwells with Jesus understands the Great Commission. You know you are going into all the world every day; therefore, you are always looking for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus.

Where is your dwelling place? Is it in the Holy of Holies with Jesus? If so, then you admit you are sharing the love of Jesus on a regular basis. If not, the answer is not to try harder or attend a seminar to learn how to share the gospel. The answer is to dwell with the Lord in His Holy Place. If you will return to your rightful place in Christ and obey, He will anoint and speak through you so He can apply His atoning blood to someone who desperately needs His grace. Get ready! The field is white!

DAY 17 – IN CHRIST, I AM HIS SERVANT

“But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”

Romans 7:6

 From Solomon’s Porch to the Court of the Priests, those who entered the temple grounds were considered “recipients” of God’s mercy and grace. In the temple proper (the Holy Place and Holy of Holies), the priests were considered “servants” of God’s mercy and grace. When we, as followers of Christ, understand our position in Christ, in the Holy of Holies, we know we are not attendees or members in God’s kingdom, we are servants of the Most High God.

The New Testament describes three types of servants: a hired servant, a household servant, and a head servant. The hired servant is described in Luke 15, when the prodigal son returned home and told his dad to make him a hired servant. A hired servant was hired off the street by the household servant for a day’s wage with no guarantee of an opportunity to work again. A hired servant worked around the master’s estate but never met the master. The household servant was hired by the head servant to work indefinitely within the household for the master’s family. He knew of the master but he was never personally introduced. (Luke 12:35-47) The head servant was the chief servant, chosen by the master to work directly for the master. The head servant or bond servant, served his master. The head servant handled the personal business of his master as it related to the household, the estate, and to the master’s relationship in the city and country. The master and his head servant were personal companions.

The bond servant enjoyed a freedom that permitted him to leave but he chose to remain with his master. The apostle Paul referred to himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1, Philippians 1:1)

 As followers of Jesus, although free, we choose to remain with our master in the Holy of Holies, because we are head servants. We have become personal companions of the Lord Jesus Christ. The main goal of a head servant is to exalt his master and edify the household. (Ephesians 4:16) Being a head servant, you must understand several truths that apply to this position and privilege to be in Christ. First, a head servant or follower of Christ knows he never goes to work, he is always at work. He remains with his master in the home. Serving the Lord is twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. There is never a moment in time when you are not a servant of Christ. Your willingness to serve is proof you are dwelling in the Holy of Holies. Second, work done at church (in the church building) is not the only work done for the Lord. As a matter of fact, more work is required in the field than in the building. Third, a head servant or follower of Christ’s work place is his mission field. (1 Corinthians 3:9) A follower of Christ understands his master placed him in his position at his work not only to make a living but to make Him known. A head servant strives to represent his master well in the workplace. Fourth, a follower of Christ whose work is built on Jesus will last. He will receive a reward. (1 Corinthians 3:10-14) The only believer who will hear “Well done” and receive a reward is the head servant who followed Christ by exalting his master and edifying his household. Hired and household servants will only receive earthly gratification and the praise of men because they never desired to experience God personally in the Holy of Holies. The most frightening words a hired or household servant could possibly hear is “I do not know you, where you are from, depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity!” (Luke 13:27)

 As one who professes faith in Christ, are you content and comfortable with being an attendee or member of the local church? If so, have you been convicted by God’s Spirit to surrender your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Maybe once again after reading this devotion, God’s Spirit is convicting you to commit your life to Him by entering into the Holy of Holies with Christ. Would you surrender to Him right now and allow Jesus to save you? If you consider yourself to be more than an attendee or member, then what kind of servant are you: a hired, household, or head servant? If you feel like a hired or household servant, what has happened in your life to make you feel this way? If you have settled for being a hired or household servant, then you are living way beneath your privilege and purpose as a child of God. You have chosen not to experience Christ in His dwelling place. You will never please the Father until you see yourself, in mind and spirit, seated with Him in the Holy of Holies. Jesus redeemed you to experience Him personally and intimately and this can only happen in one place and one place only — the Holy of Holies.

Do you hear that sound? It is the voice of your master calling you this morning to come and join Him in service. Will you serve Him today? He has personally selected some people who desperately need Him for you to minister to today. If you obey, your service will exalt your master and strengthen the household of faith. Go serve!

DAY 16 – THE BENEFITS OF BEING IN CHRIST

“By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit.”

1 John 4:13

The greatest blessing or benefit of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior is to know I will never be separated from His love. As a child of God, I am eternally secure in Him. On this earth, if I never receive another blessing from God, I still have more than I deserve. However, being in Christ and choosing daily to live with my Lord in the Holy of Holies comes with several benefits. When Jesus redeemed you, He gave you His Holy Spirit to confirm for you His benefits. Since they are too many to name, let me share just a few.

One of the benefits of being in Christ is you have a conscious awareness that God is with you at all times. Jesus said He would never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5) There is no where you will ever go that God is not there with you. You will never be alone. The high priest would come and go from the presence of the Lord in the Holy of Holies but when Christ finished His work on Calvary, we, God’s new priests, can come and stay forever. Knowing Jesus is with me helps me to know He sees and knows everything I think, say, and do. Because He is with me, I do not want to disobey. His continual presence changes the way I think and act.

A second benefit of being in Christ is knowing who is in charge. To be found in the Holy of Holies requires the believer’s full submission to Christ. Jesus is in total control. It is in the Holy of Holies where the believer becomes a follower of Christ. He dies daily to self so he can follow God’s will.(1 Corinthians 15:3) A follower of Christ is not only in the center of God’s will, he is submissive to God’s will.

A third benefit of being in Christ is the ability to serve God with the anointing of the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 1:21) The anointing of the Spirit is only granted to those who are submissive to God’s will in the Holy of Holies. The anointing is the power of God that fills and allows the follower to accomplish God’s will for God’s glory. The anointing is never given to a believer who refuses to submit to God’s will. To live the Christian life without God’s anointing is exhausting, discouraging, and defeating. It is like pushing your vehicle everywhere you go rather than driving it. A Christian cannot operate without God’s anointed power. The most miserable person on the face of the earth is not a lost person but a believer who lives life without God’s anointing!

A fourth benefit of being in Christ is to walk in God’s authority. When Jesus completed salvation’s plan, He passed along to His followers the authority that was given to Him by the Father. (Matthew 28:18) The only way a believer can rise above this world and live victoriously over the devil’s schemes is to be found in Christ. A believer will never overcome the devil’s accusations, temptations, and deceptions unless he operates in the authority of God. The authority of God always trumps the devil’s power. The key to exercising the authority of God is to understand what it means to be in Christ. Jesus has authorized you to be victorious. You, child of God, can and will only live victoriously within God’s authority when you acknowledge your place with Christ in the Holy of Holies.

Are you enjoying the benefits of living with Christ in the Holy of Holies? Are you aware of His presence at all times? Is Christ in total control of your life? Are you submissive to His will? Are you walking daily in the anointing of God? Are you exercising your authority over the enemy? If not, why not? If you are a child of God, these benefits are available to you. Would you acknowledge your place in the Holy of Holies and begin to enjoy the benefits our Lord has graciously provided?

DAY 15 – GOD’S FAVORITE ROOM

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1

Most people have a favorite room in their home whether it be a bedroom, living room, den, kitchen, or workroom. It is the room a person enjoys more than any other room in the house. It may be a place to be alone or to enjoy with family and friends. God has a favorite room. His room is not a place where He prefers to be alone. It is a room He loves to share with the believer. God’s favorite room for He and the believer is the Holy of Holies.

In Jerusalem’s temple, Solomon’s Porch, the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Women, the Court of Israel, and the Court of the Priests became obsolete because the old covenant written on stone was replaced with a new covenant written on the hearts of men. The believer is no longer bound by the law enforced by the restrictions and divisions in the earthly temple.

The apostle Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.“ (Galatians 3:28) Since believers are now one in Christ, our Lord no longer looks at us according to our nationality or gender. He sees us as one priestly nation. Since we are now priests, there is only one place suitable for us – the Holy of Holies. The inner sanctuary should be our favorite room!

When Christ takes up residence with us, it is for the sole purpose of communion and fellowship. God is not into rituals, He is into relationships. The porch and the courts were all about rituals while the inner sanctuary is a place of relationship. Jesus has no intention of gathering with us on the porch because we are no longer condemned. He does not consider us to be unclean or sinners, we are His saints. He does not invite us into the courts because there is nothing we can do to earn His favor or His love. We cannot give God anything that is more precious to Him than our lives. There is no act of obedience that will cause God to love us more and there is no act of disobedience that will cause God to love us any less. God wants to lavish us with His unconditional love and the only place suitable for doing such is in the Holy of Holies. Therefore, when God calls us His temple wherein He dwells, He sees us as His inner sanctuary.

Every day, we must make a conscious decision to experience God in the Holy of Holies because any place less will leave us feeling unfulfilled. The psalmist made this truth clear when he said whoever dwells or remains in the secret place, the inner sanctuary, will abide with the Almighty. The inner sanctuary is the only place where we can abide in Him. Jesus stressed the importance of abiding when He said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:4, 7). To “abide” means to live with someone in total agreement. Abiding in Christ is to live in the center of His will. Abiding in Christ is the only place to be blessed by Christ. The psalmist said we abide under the shadow of the Almighty which means, abiding in Christ in the inner sanctuary is the only place where we are protected by Christ. To be in the Holy of Holies is to be under the umbrella of God’s protection. The adversary, the devil, cannot touch us, inflict us, discourage us, or defeat us when we are under the Lord’s protection in the Holy of Holies. Our enemy is not permitted to enter into the Holy of Holies. It is reserved for God and His children.

Where are you right now? Do you see yourself in the inner sanctuary with Christ? Is the Holy of Holies your favorite room? Are you making a conscious decision to experience God in the Holy of Holies? Any place other than the inner sanctuary will leave you feeling unfulfilled and unprotected. If you have lost sight of this profound truth, will you repent and return, in your spirit, to your rightful and only place where God has chosen to commune and fellowship with you – the Holy of Holies.

DAY 14 – COME ON IN!

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in our time of need.“

Hebrews 4:16

The torn veil did not let God out of the Holy of Holies, it allowed all, Jews and Gentiles, who were willing, to enter in. God was not freed to come to us, we were freed to come to Him. The high priest was no longer the only one who could enter into the glorious presence of God. As chosen priests of God, all who believe can come in with boldness and assurance to Christ’s invitation. Anyone who desires to come in will in no way be denied entrance.

The ability of the believer to enter in is a beautiful and accurate picture of salvation. When a person understands the gospel, surrenders his life to Christ, and submits to His Lordship, at that very moment, he enters into the Holy of Holies to dwell with Christ forevermore. The initial act of salvation is more about us coming into Christ than it is Jesus Christ coming into us. The doctrinal term is called Justification. The apostle Paul consistently used a phrase to describe our relationship to Jesus. Paul said often, we are “in Christ.” (Romans 6:23, 8:1, 8:2, 8:39, 12:5, 16:7, 16:9) We are eternally secure in Christ; therefore, He will never cast us out once we are in Him. Paul also used another phrase to describe our spiritual growth in Christ. In Colossians 1:27, Paul said the goal of the Christian life is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The doctrinal term is called Sanctification. Sanctification or “Christ in you” is the process of the believer becoming more like Jesus and less like himself on a daily basis. John the Baptist said, “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) Our daily goal is to look, think, and act more like Jesus and less like ourselves. This is spiritual maturity. The final act of our salvation is completed when Jesus calls us home. The doctrinal term is called Glorification. During our Christian life on earth, we should look and act like Jesus to the point that when He calls us home, it will only take a little tweaking on His part to make us completely like Him. The sad truth for many Christians when they die is, because of their lack of spiritual maturity, it will require on God’s part, a major overhaul to make them look completely like Jesus. Are you looking, thinking, and acting more like Jesus or yourself?

The torn veil is also a beautiful picture of worship. In worship, we do not invite God to come into our presence, because God already invited us into His. We simply acknowledge where we are. To think you must invite Jesus into your presence exposes your lack of understanding regarding the nature of God. Since God is everywhere at all times, it is not necessary to invite Him in because He is already there in your midst. True worship begins with the acknowledgement that God is present. Also, true worship occurs when God is given His rightful place to control what happens. God moves, not because He “shows up,” He moves because He is given complete control to do what He wishes. In worship today, will you acknowledge Jesus is present and will you give Him His rightful place?

Have you entered into the Holy of Holies? If you have not, what are you waiting on? Jesus has invited you to come on in! Once you enter, you cannot leave. As a matter of fact, you will not want to leave (even if you could) when you experience the Christian life in the Holy of Holies. There is no place you would rather be than in the Holy of Holies with Jesus. I promise!

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DAY 13 – COMPLETE ACCESS

“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

1 Peter 2:5, 9

The second change to occur from the torn veil was there were no more restrictions as to who could come in and where you could go. In the first two temples, the Jews had the most privileges as to who could enter and the priests had greater access to the various courts. The religious leaders stood on the porch to keep the sick and the sinners from entering the temple. Signs were posted at the entrance to the Court of the Women warning Gentiles to stay out. The torn veil changed these rules drastically and permanently. The leaders warned certain folks to stay out while Jesus encouraged everyone to come in. Jesus said, “Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) The religious leaders told the Gentiles if they came in they would die but Jesus said if we did not come in we would die!

One of the great and fundamental truths of our faith in Christ is the Priesthood of the Believer. As a result of Christ’s atoning death, the believer no longer needs a human agent to approach God for them. It is no longer necessary for a priest to offer up your prayers to God. As a born-again child of God, you can do it! You do not need a priest to interpret the Scripture for you, you can study for yourself! You do not need a priest to present your offering to the Lord, you can do it! You do not need a priest to ask God for the forgiveness of your sin, you can do it! There is no need for a priest to do for you what our Lord has given you the authority and permission to do for yourself. Everyone who believes in Him has direct access to the throne of God. You are a priest of the Most High God.

Through the torn veil, Jesus has given you, His child, direct access to His throne. There are no restrictions or warnings. In the same manner, the torn veil should give Jesus direct access to any and every area of your life. Is there any area in your life where you have placed a warning sign for Jesus to keep out? Is Jesus free to roam into any room? Is He in total control? Does Jesus have complete access to your thought life? Does Jesus have the authority to send and use you wherever He chooses to do so? Does Jesus have total control of your finances? If your body is the temple of the living God then He should and must have the freedom to rule, roam, and reign over your life. This is what it means for Jesus to be Lord, He is in charge. Does Jesus have complete access to your life right now? If the answer is “yes” then rejoice in your obedience. If the answer is “no,” then confess this to the Father and commit every part of your life to the Lord’s control. Take down your “Off Limits” signs – the Father’s have been down for almost 2000 years!

DAY 12 – A TORN VEIL

“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks split.”

Matthew 27:51

Before the second temple was destroyed, a new temple was established. When Jesus died on Calvary, the veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. God the Father personally ripped the veil from heaven to earth. The torn veil, that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place, the various courts, and Solomon’s Porch, changed the perspective of the temple in several ways. In the next three devotions, we will examine the changes.

The first change was the temple was no longer a place, it was now a person. The temple was no longer a building but a believer. It was no longer necessary to go to the temple because the believer was the temple. The apostle Paul said, “Or do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) God’s two greatest creations, the temple and humanity, were created to become the dwelling places of God. God took up residence in the temple building once it was dedicated and moved His residence into the believer once salvation’s plan was completed. The believer became the permanent dwelling place of God.

The purpose of both, the building and believer, was and is to be a reflection of God’s glory. The goal was and is not for people to be enamored with the creation but the Creator. Everyone in Jerusalem and Judea, Jew and Gentile, knew the temple was the dwelling place of God. Its unique look set it apart from all other structures. The actions manifested in the temple were not duplicated in any other place. Likewise, as believers, in whom God dwells, we should live in such a manner that it is obvious to everyone that we belong to God. The way we act sets us apart from the world. Our actions in the spirit cannot be duplicated by the world’s works in the flesh. Just as God dictated what would and would not happen in the temple building, God dictates what should and should not happen in the life of His child because we are no longer our own. We have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus. The apostle Paul made this perfectly clear when he said, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)Just as the priests were charged with the upkeep of the temple building, we are charged to take care of our bodies. The priests removed anything or anyone who would defile the house of God. God has charged us to keep our bodies free from corruptible things. How you take care of your temple reflects not only what you think of yourself but how much you value God. To abuse your body, as a believer, is to mock the One who created and redeemed you. (1 Corinthians 10:31) Are you doing anything with your body that would impede your ability to serve and reflect God’s glory? During your time of fasting, has the Lord revealed anything that must be removed from your life? Is there anything that keeps you from being the very best servant for God? Would you let go of it and let God remove it? I promise, you will not miss it!