Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Solomon’s prayer of dedication continues: “Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that Your servant is making to You today. May You watch over this Temple night and day, this place where you have said, ‘My Name will be there.’ Yes, hear us from heaven where You live, and when You hear, forgive” (I Kings 8:28-29a, 30b, NLT).

“May you watch over this Temple night and day.” While Old Testament believers looked to a specific building as the Temple where they were to worship the Lord, New Testament believers have the Lord present with them wherever they are and whatever they’re doing. First Corinthians 6:19-20a reminds us: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.” We, my brothers and sisters, are portable temples of the Lord God Almighty.

Joseph, engaged to marry Mary, found out that Mary was going to have a baby. Since an engagement was as binding as a marriage, a divorce was required to resolve the engagement. Joseph must have deeply loved and respected Mary because he “did not want to disgrace her publicly, so… decided to break the engagement quietly” (Matthew 1:19b).

That’s when God sent an angel in a dream to intervene: “‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a Son, and you are to name him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins’” (Matthew 1:20b-21).

This same passage goes on to explain that “All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through His prophet (Isaiah): ‘Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us'” (Matthew 1:22-23).

“God with us.” Unlike any other so-called deity, the real God didn’t expect us to come to Him. Instead, He came to us to be born of a virgin and to live fully human yet fully God until the day He gave Himself as the payment for our sin-debt.

And remember what Jesus told His disciples? “I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send Him unto you” (John 16:7, ASV).

“The Comforter,” God in the form of the Holy Spirit. Other translations call Him: “the Advocate” (NLT); “the Helper” (NASB); and “the Counselor” (HCSB). I love how the Aramaic Bible in Plain English identifies the Holy Spirit: “the Redeemer of the accursed.” We were indeed “the accursed” until Jesus Christ in His great love gave His life for us and sent His Holy Spirit to indwell each and every one of us who put his faith in Him.

And then there’s the Douay-Rheims Bible, which uses the literal word from the original language: “the Paraclete.” “Paraclete” means “one who stands alongside.” He who promised never to leave us or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5) has kept that promise.

“God with us.” “The Advocate.” “The Helper.” “The Counselor.” “The Paraclete, the one who stands alongside.” You and I, as “the temple of the Holy Spirit” have the mind-boggling privilege and responsibility of representing Jesus Christ in all we say and do.

Realizing He stands right alongside me 24/7 makes me more careful to honor Him in my thoughts and actions. How about you?

Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates

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