If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


2 Chronicles 29:3   In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple of the Lord and repaired them. 

2nd Chronicles 31:21   In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.

As Hezekiah began his reign in Judah, there was no worship of the Lord, no praise, no prayer.  The Temple of the Lord, so lavishly built and furnished and supplied by King Solomon generations earlier, had been misused, abused, and ultimately closed. In chapters 29 through 31 of 2 Chronicles, we see a spiritual renewal throughout Judah, and parts of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  In very short order, Judah was changed from a nation of spiritual desolation to a nation which pleased God with their worship.  Judah went from a nation whose God was forgotten to a nation whose God was greatly praised and worshiped, and honored and obeyed. The nation was wonderfully blessed by Him.  The nation and the people were revived.

And it all began with reopening the doors of the Temple of the Lord.

As a Christian, YOU are the Temple of the Lord.  If you are experiencing a drought, it can only mean that your spirit cannot reach out, and God cannot get in.  Your "door" is closed!  Probably, you didn't realize the door was closed.  But, it happens.  Sometimes trials and difficulties, the pressure and stress of every day life press in on us.  Our focus shifts, maybe ever so slightly, from our Lord, our Deliverer, to "the problem".  The problem gains power in our lives.  Before we know it, the problem has all of our attention.  We are living to be rid of the problem rather than to worship our God, in whom lies the solution to all of our problems and needs. As the problem continues to press in on us, the door of our Temple swings shut.

It is the power of our own Holy Spirit inspired praise and worship that holds the door open.  In the absence of true praise and worship a spiritual vacuum is created that pulls that door closed.  We feel distant from God.  But, He has not moved away. We have allowed a barrier to be placed between us.  

King Hezekiah has shown us how to break down that barrier and open that door. The success of his effort to re-focus Judah's attention on the Lord was attributed by God to Hezekiah's wholehearted search for God.

Wholehearted . . . I think we sometimes fall short in what we call our own wholehearted search for God.  In this day and time, with so many powerful distractions, I fear that we have watered down the true meaning of wholehearted. The word defines itself, though, doesn't it?  Wholehearted.  Hezekiah didn't put God at the top of a list of goals and priorities.  God was the priority . . . the only priority.  Wholehearted.

Does a wholehearted search for God mean that you forget your responsibilities in life?  Does it mean that you ignore your problems?  Does it mean that you walk around in some type of spiritual la-la land oblivious to everything happening around you?  Of course not.  After all, we are in the world, but not of the world.

Essential to living wholeheartedly for God is putting every part of our lives - everything -, our responsibilities, our problems, our livelihoods, our fun - everything - in His hands, under His watchful eye, under His guidance and approval.  Did I say everything

Simply stated, what has your attention?  Why do you do what you do?  Where does God fit into all this?  Is He at the top directing you in all things as you "acknowledge Him in all things"?  Or do you have Him off to the side somewhere, and are you hoping that He can't see you from where you think you have put Him?

The Word tells us how to go about a wholehearted search for God.  It is filled with inspiration and practical, everyday life instruction.  The Psalms in particular and Psalm 119 specifically are, just my opinion, unmatched in their guidance in the area of keeping God as our one priority.  Psalm 119 is 176 verses of a wholehearted search for God.  A long Psalm, but one worth studying over and over again as God imprints His message of "Search for Me" upon our hearts.  I have resolved to study it at least weekly.  "Lord, please help me remember this and to avoid the distractions that will surely be placed before me." 

If your door is closed, push it open! Open the door to your temple by simply praising Jesus. Maybe all you can muster at first will be His name.  But, that is enough. There is power in the name of Jesus. "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, . . ."  If it is all you can do, just repeat His name. Don't stop. Keep repeating. You might feel a little silly at first, but soon you will see that what you thought was the least you could do was the most you needed to do.

Repeat His name with a heart set on worship.  The door will fly open and praise and worship will pour out from your soul.

At times, I feel that my "praise vocabulary" is so inadequate.  It is not the words that matter, it is the heart.  Even so, I like to go to Psalms and repeat out loud some of the multitudinous praise filled verses found there.  Begin your wholehearted search for the Father with praise and thanksgiving for all He has done for you.  Stay in the Word and be obedient to the God's revealed instruction as you learn to follow the urgings of the Holy Spirit within you.  And always remember, regardless of our physical circumstances, there can be no drought in a Spirit filled heart!

Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Whether you are going through a little dry spell or an all-out drought open your doors. Praise God, worship Him alone, and expect the rain to come and refresh your spirit.

And now, I get to post one of my favorite songs and videos - again.  I hope it speaks to you.