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Psa 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

 Feb. 4, 2007           Keeping the Sanctuary         Kathleen Maples

Lev 19:30 Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.

I want to look at this word 'keep' for a minute. A cursory glance at this Scripture and one comes away thinking, sure, I'll keep the Sabbath-it means I don't have to work. I can take the day off. Yee hah! I hope that would not be our response. God help us if it is. We must also consider that the rest of that verse is very important.

The Word "Keep" here is shamar (H8104). It means to hedge about, as with thorns, to protect, and guard, to preserve, watch and carefully observe everything in the Sanctuary. The Word "Sabbath" means intermission, day of atonement, rest. PLEASE don't discount that because it's in the Old Testament. It grates on my nerves and wounds my heart in ways I can't describe to hear somebody discount the Old Testament. It was written for our learning on whom the ends of the earth come. No, we are not bound by the ordinances, and animal sacrifices, but they are a physical illustration of spiritual types. A pattern of heavenly things. (Heb 8:5) They were written to illustrate how HOLY GOD is and how he deals with men. We can learn much about the character and nature of God, we can see the tender mercies of His love in His dealings with rebellious, adulterous people, who loved Him with their mouths while their hearts were far from Him. What we learn from reading the Old Testament about God should affect how we view Him and approach Him and serve Him. God, help us learn by Your dealings with them how judgment will fall on us if we follow their steps-and America has. I don't think it's an unrealistic leap to make this connection from that verse in Leviticus 19:

Heb 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

Heb 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

I've heard a lot about entering into His rest. I've come to realize some about what it means. There is a rest-a peace, in the heart of the Christian who knows their Lord personally, and will not entertain the voice of a stranger. They will reject it. They will not let the lies of the devil lead them away from the Lord, they will remember HIS Word, they know whatever comes, big or small, nothing has any power to touch them except it's given from above, and they KNOW HIM and TRUST in HIS LOVE and they know He already promised them whatever happens all things work together for good to them that are THE CALLED according to His plan and those who love Him. (Rom 8:28) They know their soul, their life, rests in His Hand. They believe in and trust in His love to keep and protect and guide them to HIM. They read His Word not out of some misguided sense of duty but because they hunger for HIM. His Word is their meat. It sustains them. THAT is what entering into the rest of God means to me. Its done through cultivating intimacy with Him. When a husband and wife are intimate, physically, seed is exchanged from one body to the other. God wants to draw us close to HIM to so He can fill us with HIS SEED which is the Word of God. That seed will blossom into the life of Christ lived in and through us. This is His desire. He wants to fill us with the Holy Ghost but we have to be obedient and sanctified, separate from the things of this world, and hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. We can't compromise with the world, with our flesh, or carnal minds. We must present them to Him with the heart's cry that says "Please burn up the chaff Father! Send the FIRE that will consume everything in me that is not like you so when others see me they SEE YOU!!!!" God be glorified!

He also said you reverence My sanctuary. Does that sound like an option to you? It's a command. We need to keep it with reverence, and not allow anybody to just do anything they want. There has to be order in the House of God. We must not pollute His House with carnal ways and the world. Do you go to your mother's house and trash it with your own stuff, with your own ways? Do you bring garbage into her house and ignore her when she asks you not to do this? I wouldn't dream of doing so, nor allowing my children to do so. Do you enter parent's home and speak to others there but not acknowledge your parents? I HATE it when I enter the House of God and somebody is crying out to God for mercy on the altar, and other people are just standing around, ignoring that despairing cry and chatting, exchanging the latest pix of the kids, or catching up on events. WHAT is the telephone for? This is the sanctuary of God, and THAT is out of place and across the line in His House. Do we have so little self control these carnal things can't wait until after the service, outside the Sanctuary? We need to teach our children to sit on that seat quietly and show respect or we'll light their hind ends up. We can do it with firmness and love, but firmness means no arguments, do as I say. People are so carnal when you walk in His House if you don't shake their hands, and talk to them, they get hurt and offended. Are we so childish in the House of God that we don't recognize that devil is always trying to divide, and we come to the House of the Lord as a Body that needs nourishment from the HEAD. Instead of chatting and laughing, how about joining the one at the altar who is doing what we all should be? It is SO disrespectful when we come into the House of God and can't control our mouths and sit ourselves down in quiet respect because someone is on that altar crying out to God, and if we can't bring ourselves to join them, then we better learn to be silent in the church! People are not allowed to act like that in courtrooms, and when I was growing up, in class rooms. Now it is different. A spirit of lawlessness even invades the church. Standards are laid aside, the women come in wearing their pants, young people think nothing of coming to church and instead of listening to the Word, their eyes rove and lust over some body else in the congregation. People get driven out of the House of God because they are harassed in this way. Where is the order? Don't tell me the glory of God is going to fall in here when things are so out of order.

Psa 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

Psa 63:2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

Psa 63:3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

This was written by David when he was on the run for his life, in the wilderness and having to hide in caves and various places to prevent Saul from killing him out of jealousy. The church today is in a harsh world which hates the righteousness of Christ and the demands of holiness from God. Anyone who dares act like Christ, who displays the life of Christ will be shunned by a scoffing world. It's not popular to be a true Christian these days. Those who only pay lip service, they get along fine. They are not perceived as a threat, their 'religion' is jokingly tolerated because those around them know it is a front. I think of people who call themselves reverend, but are so politically divisive in the media they stir up a hornets' nest of debate wherever they go. They entertain politicians, but they don't know the Lord they speak of. If they did, they would fear to mention His name with such hypocrisy. His name is HOLY. He clearly states He will not be mocked. He has been so good and so gracious to mankind. Every morning His mercies are new. But He won't change who He is to suit man. We have to come to HIM. He is our Maker and not we ourselves.

My soul is troubled. I look around and see the condition of the church, the great lack of spiritual discernment, spiritual passion, and zeal, the lack of reverence in the Sanctuary, the lack of the moving of the Holy Ghost, and I wonder. I read one thing in the Bible and see another in reality and my heart longs to see what I read in action. In my own life, as well as in the Sanctuary. I don't see in my own life what I want, either, but I'm striving and determined to have what God promised. Lately, I've been seeing terrible things, tragic things on the news. Tornadoes destroying high schools in Alabama. Storms wreaking havoc in small, rural towns in the Bible belt, down south, as its referred to. And I wonder. I was thinking on these things, wondering, as I listened to the news reporter refer to these places as solid Christian communities, where people are devout in their faith.

Psa 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Psa 91:5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Psa 91:6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

Psa 91:7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

These are promises God's children have. As I beheld the devastation in these places across the south, the midwest, different places, whether it was due to extreme amounts of rain, snow or tornadoes, whatever the case may be, and wondered why is it the small towns? Why is it the rural areas where people go to church more often, and say they are Christians, and love God? On the heels of that thought, came this:

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

Eze 9:4 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

Eze 9:5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:

Eze 9:6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

Boy, that might make some people mad. But God's Word won't change for anybody. How many of those homes have people who are separating themselves from the world, praying and fasting and seeking God and His direction? How many go to church or meet together somewhere else if the church got damaged in this, and hear how everything is going to be alright, we will rebuild, and it never crosses their minds that the Scripture says judgment must begin at HIS House, among those who claim to be HIS. I don't want to be carnally secure in myself just because I go to church. Just because I read my Bible. It's the doers of the Word that are justified, not the hearers. You can go to church every time the doors are open, but do you show up and meet personally with Jesus in your prayer closet? Does He know you? Does He see any of Himself in you? THAT is what is going to matter in these last days. My heart aches for the families whose children were killed in the school in Alabama when that tornado hit. They need prayer and comfort from God. But people, we need to awake and shake ourselves. If things like this hit small towns, where there is a church on every corner, and people say they love God, what about the big cities? I saw recently on Fox News footage from last years' gay pride parade in San Fransisco, and it hurt my heart when I saw a man, who was obviously dressed as Christ is depicted on the cross with a loin cloth, dancing and glorying in their flesh in the streets of this city. It was like a smack in the face of Almighty God. This summer they have their events scheduled for June-world wide. It's in your face, we are not ashamed and we don't care what you think, God. According to Scripture, and the pattern laid out in the Word, when HIS OWN people reached this point, God judged them. He sent other nations to conquer and take them captive and burn their cities. Many were slaughtered as they resisted.

Now more than ever, we need to keep the Sanctuary, we need to be sanctified, set apart, seeking God, and fortifying ourselves in His Word, and praying. I am only a stay at home mom who loves God and loves His Word. I don't have any special gifts or prophetic insight. But I hear the same warning cry I feel in my spirit, coming from pulpits in New York City from Times Square Church, and from other praying, set apart Christians I know who live in Canada, California, and other places-who all sense the same thing-something's coming and it's going to be bad. But God's people do not have to be afraid. They need to be looking up. He said when you see all these things begin to come to pass, look up for your redemption draweth nigh. God help us be getting alone and seeking His face and filling up on HIM. We need the oil of the Holy Spirit flowing freely in us. We don't want to be a foolish virgin left out in the cold when He comes. The Body of Christ does not have to be afraid. The Head will not destroy His own Body. He forbids self mutilation in the Word. He will nourish and cherish His own people who are abiding in HIM. We must feed on Him. He is our strength, our source. We have a place of safety...

Psa 27:3 Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Psa 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

Psa 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

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Isa 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.

And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32