Into the Holy Presence of God

Let’s do it — full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out!

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about who you think you are? Are they in agreement with the words of the Lord God and the meditation of his heart?

As you spend time resting in the word of God daily, forgetting everything you know except Jesus the Messiah, are you aware of a growing desire for your every word and thought to please the Lord? Are you becoming conscious of the Lord’s response to your every word and thought?

Read the words of Scripture slowly and reflectively. Let them settle deep in your soul and take root as you wait in anticipation for the Spirit of God to bring them to life in you.

I am like a green olive tree.

Ps 52:8-9 – But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. (ESV)

I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.

Where God is.

Heb 10:19-23 – And so, dear brothers, now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies, where God is, because of the blood of Jesus. This is the fresh, new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain-his human body-to let us into the holy presence of God.

And since this great High Priest of ours rules over God’s household, let us go right in to God himself, with true hearts fully trusting him to receive us because we have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean and because our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Now we can look forward to the salvation God has promised us. There is no longer any room for doubt, and we can tell others that salvation is ours, for there is no question that he will do what he says. (TLB)

Because of the blood of Jesus
We may walk right into the very Holy of Holies, where God is!
Let us go right in to God himself
With true hearts fully trusting him to receive us.

I am like a green olive tree in the house of God, in the very Holy of Holies, where God is.

Let’s go a bit deeper into the interior of the tree and ourselves to explore the life-giving spirit that exists in the tree and in our body. God has given us humans the capacity to know him in ways that the natural tree can’t know him. Yet, it seems that the natural tree may be much better at serving and praising and declaring God’s works just by being themselves than we humans are.

The Spirit of God has made me.

Job 33:4 – The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (ESV)

God’s careful attention.

Job 10:12 – You granted me life and grace; your careful attention preserved my spirit. (CJB)

The Lord does not see as human beings see.

1 Sam 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (ESV)

Are we intimately familiar with the Spirit of God who makes us and grants us life and grace? Are we aware of God’s careful attention to preserve our spirit regardless of outward appearance? Or are we preoccupied with resisting God’s care, working to take care of ourselves, or looking for someone else to take care of us the way we think it should be done?

What words or thoughts have caught your attention in these texts? Why?

Die to become.

The inner bark of the tree lives for only a short time, then dies and turns to cork to become part of the protective outer bark of the tree.1

Fifty to seventy billion cells in our body die every day as part of a normal process that serves a healthy and protective role. Those that die in the largest numbers are skin cells, blood cells and some cells that line structures like organs and glands.2

We discover that death is a natural, normal process in trees and in our own physical bodies that serves a healthy and protective role. Yet, there is a part of us human beings that is afraid to die. There is a part of us that fights and/or flees from that part of the normal process that serves a healthy and protective role.

So, Jesus became like us to show us that we need not fear death. We need not get stuck in the defilement of our thoughts and ways that hinder us from trusting the normal death process to transform and strengthen us to become a part of the ever-living, healthy, vibrant whole.

If the life of prayer is to transform our spirit and make us “new men” in Christ, then prayer must be accompanied by “conversion,” metanoia, that deep change of heart in which we die on a certain level of our being in order to find ourselves alive and free on another, more spiritual level.3

Set free.

Heb 2:14-15 – Therefore, since the children share a common physical nature as human beings, he became like them and shared that same human nature; so that by his death he might render ineffective the one who had power over death (that is, the Adversary) and thus set free those who had been in bondage all their lives because of their fear of death. (CJB)

Through his death, the very thing that we fear, Christ Jesus rendered ineffective the one who had power over death and set us free. But many of us don’t seem to have gotten the message of freedom or experienced it yet. We have not experienced the gracious process of dying to become.

Perhaps that is because we don’t know what is within us.

Read the texts again. What thoughts and questions and emotions arise? Does a word satisfy? Encourage? Convict? Prod? Instruct? Empower? Give hope?

As you read the descriptions of the layers of a tree, note patterns of life and death, the purpose and contribution of dead and transformed parts to the vibrant whole when all parts continue to work together in their respective roles.

A tree has leaves or needles that carry out photosynthesis, making food for the tree and releasing oxygen into the air.

Branches and twigs grow out of the tree trunk and serve as support structures for leaves, flowers, and fruit. They also transport materials between the trunk and the leaves.

The trunk of a tree is made up of five different layers.

The outer bark (A) is the tree’s protection from the outside world. Continually renewed from within, it helps keep out moisture in the rain, and prevents the tree from losing moisture when the air is dry. It insulates against cold and heat and wards off insect enemies.

The inner bark, or “phloem,” (B) is a pipeline through which food is passed to the rest of the tree. It lives for only a short time, then dies and turns to cork to become part of the protective outer bark.

The cambium cell layer (C) is the growing part of the trunk. It annually produces new bark and new wood in response to hormones that pass down through the phloem with food from the leaves. These hormones, called “auxins,” stimulate growth in cells. Auxins are produced by leaf buds at the ends of branches as soon as they start growing in spring.

Sapwood (D) is the tree’s pipeline for water moving up to the leaves. Sapwood is new wood. As newer rings of sapwood are laid down, inner cells lose their vitality and turn to heartwood.

Heartwood (E) is the central, supporting pillar of the tree. Although dead, it will not decay or lose strength while the outer layers are intact. A composite of hollow, needlelike cellulose fibers bound together by a chemical glue called lignin, it is in many ways as strong as steel. A piece 12″ long and 1″ by 2″ in cross section set vertically can support a weight of twenty tons!1

Did you notice the process of transformation that accompanies the various processes of death within the tree that serves a healthy and protective role in the life and fruitfulness of the tree?

Heartwood is dead, yet it is the central, supporting pillar of the tree.

As in the natural, so it is in the spiritual.

Being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.

1 Peter 3:18 – For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (ESV)

Never again will death have the last word.

Rom 6:6-11 – Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the Cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life — no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. (MSG)

When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. Do we recognize our mother tongue? Are we hanging on every word that God speaks? Or are we still in bondage to fear of death?

An old commandment and a new commandment.

1 John 2:7-8 – Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command. On the contrary, it is an old command, which you have had from the beginning; the old command is the message which you have heard before. Yet I am writing you a new command, and its reality is seen both in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. (CJB)

Reality. At the same time. Seen in both Christ Jesus and in us because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Read the texts again. Chew upon the words. Turn them over and over in your mind. Ask the Lord God what he wants you to receive from them and how he wants you to respond to them.

Let the Word of the Messiah live in you.

Col 3:16 – let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you, as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude to God in your hearts. (CJB)

Let the Word
Let the Word of the Messiah
Let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness
Let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you
With gratitude to God.

Are you letting the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you? Or does attention to outward appearance restrict the Word of the Messiah? Does something hinder the Word of the Messiah from living profusely in you?

His anointing teaches you about everything.

1 John 2:27 – But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything—and is true and is no lie, just as it has taught you—abide in him. (ESV)

Anointing: the special endowment of the Holy Spirit; the idea of contact, to consecrate to an office or religious service; to furnish what is needed; touch slightly, light upon, entreat.4

The anointing that you received from him abides in you.

Abide: a primary verb; to stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy; continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry for, thine own.5

Are you familiar with your anointing? Are you in contact with her, aware of her touch and continual entreaty? Are you diligent in being present to her, an open heart and ear to receive her teaching?

Just as his anointing has taught you—abide in him. Have you been, are you continually being taught by the Messiah’s anointing?

The Spirit abides in you. But do you abide in the Spirit of God? Do you stay in a given place, a given state, a given relation, a given expectancy and so actively present to the Spirit of God?

With the help of the Holy Spirit.

2 Tim 1:13-14 – Follow the pattern of the sound teachings you have heard from me, with trust and the love which is yours in the Messiah Yeshua [Jesus]. Keep safe the great treasure that has been entrusted to you, with the help of the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit], who lives in us. (CJB)

Follow the patterns of the sound teaching with trust which is yours in the Messiah Jesus.
Follow the patterns of the sound teaching with the love which is yours in the Messiah Jesus.

Free.

1 Peter 2:16-17 – Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (ESV)

Live as people who are free.
Live as servants of God.
With trust and the love which is yours in the Messiah Jesus, follow the pattern of sound teaching.
Keep safe the great treasure that has been entrusted to you,
With the help of Holy Spirit, who lives in you.

The great treasure that has been entrusted to us.

2 Cor 5:17-21 – Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. (MSG)

Look inside!
See that anyone united with the Messiah is created new.
God settled the relationship between us and him,
Through the Messiah, God settled the relationship between us and him,
By offering forgiveness of sins.

And then he called us to settle our relationships with each other.
God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing.
Anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start!
Anyone united with the Messiah is created new!

Do not resist the Holy Spirit.

Acts 7:51 – “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. (ESV)

Resist: to oppose; opposite; to fall, fail.6

Do not quench the Holy Spirit.

1 Thess 5:16-19 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. (ESV)

Quench: to extinguish; go out.7

Do not quench the Spirit.
Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
Give thanks in all circumstances.
This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
With trust and the love which is yours in the Messiah Jesus.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.

Eph 4:30 – And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (ESV)

Grieve: to distress, make sorry.8

Fan the flame of God’s Spirit.

Ex 35:26 – All the women whose hearts stirred them to use their skill spun the goats’ hair. (ESV)

Ex 36:2 – And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. (ESV)

2 Tim 1:5-10 – I recall your sincere trust, the same trust that your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice had first; and I am convinced that you too now have this trust. For this reason, I am reminding you to fan the flame of God’s gift, which you received through [the laying on of hands] from me. For God gave us a Spirit who produces not timidity, but power, love and self-discipline. So don’t be ashamed of bearing testimony to our Lord or to me, his prisoner. On the contrary, accept your share in suffering disgrace for the sake of the Good News. God will give you the strength for it, since he delivered us and called us to a life of holiness as his people. It was not because of our deeds, but because of his own purpose and the grace which he gave to us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua [Jesus]. He did this before the beginning of time, but made it public only now through the appearing of our Deliverer, the Messiah Yeshua [Jesus], who abolished death and, through the Good News, revealed life and immortality. (CJB)

Your sincere trust.
Fan the flame of God’s gift.
God gave us a Spirit,
A Spirit who produces power, love and self-discipline,
The great treasure that has been entrusted to us,
The Good News.
God settled the relationship between us and him.

Through the Messiah
God settled the relationship between us and him.
By offering forgiveness of sins.
And then he called us to settle our relationships with each other.
Grace.
United with the Messiah Jesus.

God did this before the beginning of time!
But made it public only now through our Deliverer, the Messiah Jesus.
He abolished death.
Through the Good News, he revealed life and immortality.

Read the texts again, setting aside your own thoughts, perceptions, judgments, your own agenda, to allow response from your inner depths to surface. What do you discover?

In the house of God.

Ps 52:8-9 – But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. (ESV)

In the house of God,
I am like
I am like a green olive tree.
Green: verdant, new, prosperous, flourishing.9
I am like a green olive tree
Olive, as yielding illuminating oil10
I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.

I trust.
I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
With trust and the love which is mine in the Messiah Jesus.
I will wait.
I will wait for your name,
For it is good,
In the presence of the godly.

We often focus on the exterior, even the superficial, having no idea what we have within, which is where the mystery of reality and life resides.

Into God’s presence.

Heb 10:19-23 – So, friends, we can now — without hesitation — walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. So let’s do it — full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. (MSG)

Without hesitation we can walk right up to God, into the Holy Place!
Jesus has cleared the way for us by the blood of his sacrifice,
Jesus has cleared the way for us, acting as our priest before God.
The curtain into God’s presence, ripped and broken, is Jesus’s body.

So full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out,
Because Jesus has cleared the way for us,
Let’s enter into the Holy Place,
Let’s enter into God’s presence!
Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises.
With trust and the love which is ours in the Messiah Jesus.
He always keeps his word.

Read the texts again. Chew upon these words. Turn them over and over in your mind and allow their significance to be absorbed by mind, body, soul and spirit.

 

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

Become aware of your breath. The breath of the Almighty in you.

Breath by breath. Become conscious of the presence of the Almighty in you. Seek his strength. Seek his presence. Surrender to the influence of the breath of the Almighty that you may serve him.

Inhale.
Exhale.

You must rely on the breath of the Almighty, the Spirit of God who lives inside you, to make you understand Gods words, to discern the thoughts and intentions of your heart, to seek the interests of Jesus Christ and not your own.

With your inhalation draw the words of the Lord God deep within you.

With your exhalation empty yourself of all your own ideas, plans, thoughts, imaginations, and words to make room for the words of God to take possession. Open yourself completely to what the Lord God wants to reveal to you about yourself and about him. Become reverently responsive to what he says.

Heb 10:21-22 – And since this great High Priest of ours rules over God’s household, let us go right in to God himself, with true hearts fully trusting him to receive us because we have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean and because our bodies have been washed with pure water. (TLB)

Inhale: (draw the words of the Lord God deep within you)

Let us go right in to God himself

Exhale. (empty yourself of self to allow the words of God to take possession)

With true hearts fully trusting him to receive us

Wait, watch, listen, be still, be willing for the Lord God to transform you from within, revealing who you really are. Strive and reach for the goal, alive to the energy that he powerfully works in you as you rest, completely dependent upon him to reach the goal, united with the Messiah.

As you receive the Word of God into that deepest place of your being, the Lord God is rescuing you, he is loosening your bonds to your old nature, he is delivering you from your illusions and foolish boasting. Through Jesus, our Messiah, God is gradually transforming you from within, revealing who you really are, becoming one spirit with him.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeGuide/anatomy.cfm

2https://www.livescience.com/48741-facts-about-cells-nigms.html

3Thomas Merton (2014). Contemplative Prayer (pg 50). New York, NY: Image Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC.

4Anointing: NT:5545 <START GREEK>xri/sma<END GREEK> chrisma (khris’-mah); from NT:5548; an unguent or smearing, i.e. (figuratively) the special endowment (“chrism”) of the Holy Spirit: KJV – anointing, unction.

NT:5548 <START GREEK>xri/w<END GREEK> chrio (khree’-o); probably akin to NT:5530 through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, i.e. (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service: KJV – anoint.

NT:5530 <START GREEK>xra/omai<END GREEK> chraomai (khrah’-om-ahee); middle voice of a primary verb (perhaps rather from NT:5495, to handle); to furnish what is needed; (give an oracle, “graze” [touch slightly], light upon, etc.), i.e. (by implication) to employ or (by extension) to act towards one in a given manner: KJV – entreat, use. Compare NT:5531; NT:5534. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5Abide: NT:3306 <START GREEK>me/nw<END GREEK> meno (men’-o); a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): KJV – abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for),  thine own. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

6Resist: NT:496 <START GREEK>a)ntipi/ptw<END GREEK> antipipto (an-tee-pip’-to); from NT:473 and NT:4098 (including its alternate); to oppose: KJV – resist.

NT:473 <START GREEK>a)nti/<END GREEK> anti (an-tee’); a primary particle; opposite, i.e. instead or because of (rarely in addition to): KJV – for, in the room of. Often used in composition to denote contrast, requital, substitution, correspondence, etc.

NT:4098 <START GREEK>pi/ptw<END GREEK> pipto (pip’-to); a reduplicated and contracted form of peto (pet’-o); (which occurs only as an alternate in certain tenses); probably akin to NT:4072 through the idea of alighting; to fall (literally or figuratively): KJV – fail, fall (down), light on. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

7Quench: NT:4570 <START GREEK>sbe/nnumi<END GREEK> sbennumi (sben’-noo-mee); a prolonged form of an apparently primary verb; to extinguish (literally or figuratively): KJV – go out, quench. Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

8Grieve: NT:3076 <START GREEK>lupe/w<END GREEK> lupeo (loo-peh’-o); from NT:3077; to distress; reflexively or passively, to be sad: KJV – cause grief, grieve, be in heaviness, (be) sorrow (-ful), be (make) sorry. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

9Green: OT:7488 <START HEBREW>/n*u&r^<END HEBREW> ra`anan (rah-an-awn’); from an unused root meaning to be green; verdant; by analogy, new; figuratively, prosperous: KJV – green, flourishing. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

10Olive tree: OT:2132 <START HEBREW>ty!z^<END HEBREW> zayith (zay’-yith); probably from an unused root [akin to OT:2099]; an olive (as yielding illuminating oil), the tree, the branch or the berry: KJV – olive (tree, -yard), Olivet. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

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