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“children running and shouting through the Temple, ‘Hosanna to David’s Son!’ . . . Jesus said, ‘Yes, I hear them. And haven’t you read in God’s Word, ‘From the mouths of children and babies I’ll furnish a place of praise’?’” (Matthew 21:15-16).

Easter dawned on the horizon as Christ marched through formidable gates to redeem His house of worship. With every step across the courts of women and Gentiles He manifested God’s presence among those furthest removed from the holy place. In strode the One Who would make all things new.

The resident authorities balked at change. The current state of worship served their lifestyle of disdain and exclusion. Sizable gifts impressed them, not whether men offered them from their hearts. The swindling of poor worshipers failed to prick their conscience. Priests and politicians shared the drink of corruption. The Temple rulers shrugged away such apostasies.

But, oh, those children.

Jesus foreknew the Temple purification would meet resistance. Sanctification always does. He took time to weave a whip, readying His physical instrument as He prepared for battle against unseen forces. While we don’t know the inner details of this quiet time, Christ maintained perfect concordance with His Father throughout His life. That He prayed during these moments requires little conjecture.

God’s maelstrom thundered across the Temple as He flipped wooden tables over onto the stone floors. Merchants pawed across the marble tiles to recover spilled coins. Christ’s whip cracked over their heads and spurred them to flee the halls. His voice echoed off the smooth walls, declaring the purpose of His Father’s House. And His task was not yet complete.

Sanctification requires more than cleansing filth away.

Enter those relentless little worshipers. As the children ran through the Temple, the Lord used their praises to help cleanse the Temple by renewing its divine purpose. It wasn’t enough to stop doing wrong. The right type of worship had to fill God’s house again. Worship like a child who loves the Lord.

Scripture defines Christians as “temples of the Holy Spirit” (1Corinthians 6:19). Just as the driving out of money changers represented something larger in need of removal from the place of worship, our lives tend to harbor elements that don’t belong. Our sin nature clings to its corrupt old ways and resists change. Despite human and supernatural opposition, Christ’s sanctification can renew our lives. If we submit to His ongoing work of transformation, He drives out residing powers that don’t belong. Pride, selfishness, all manner of sinful strongholds flee out of the halls with a pathetic squeal.

A purged Temple isn’t fully cleansed yet. After the Lord relieves my soul of a nasty attitude, renewed purpose must complete His work. I need to reorient my spirit and fill the cleansed spaces with the worship He desires. Whether He prescribes certain actions or a discipline of stillness, complete renewal means submitting to renewed purpose. I must worship Him with the relentless praise of a devoted child.

Not childish, but child like. Knowing my utter dependence upon Him, yet comfortable that He carries me. Filled with awe and wonder. Accepting the unexplained. Believing without seeing. Trusting with all my soul. Loving Him with all my heart.

Will you join me in worship today, accepting the royal status as His transformed child?

 Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there” (Matthew 19:14-15).

“‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me'” (Matthew 18:3-5).

We travel the daily paths of life as vagrants. Our home exists in another Kingdom. We wear rags now, as opposed to the robes of our inheritance. Passers by hurl insults and treat us with contempt. Betrayal can dim the light around our campfires. Life’s rough journey can sap our strength. Chilly nights and painful days can tempt callouses to grow over our tender hearts. Some of us begin adopting the mindsets of the world’s residents.

Then the uncommon peddler arrives, selling without taking payment from customers. He wears rags, like we do, but dances in them. Expressing thanks for his walk, he wraps the blisters on his soles. The peddler grants compassion to the hecklers, the back-stabbers, and their victims. His smile blares a silent melody. The insults fade into background noise in his presence. He sings to brighten the fires, and springs onto the road with vigor each morning. The peddler discourages us from marveling at his indefatigable joy. Instead, he offers the secret to living an awe-drenched life. He refuses compensation, since the joy came to him free of charge. In fact, he insists all Kingdom citizens have access to it already.

We lean in, expecting a profound discipline of daily steps. His recipe seems too simple at first. “Seek God. Seek the Lord with all your heart. Cling to His love with your mind and soul. Let nothing else shift your focus from the love of Christ. What you seek, you will likely live by.”

If I look for sunshine, I can find its light despite a thick cover of storms. If I scour the day’s journey in search of beauty, I will find some remnant of creation to satisfy my pursuit. Complaints present themselves with little effort, and it takes no work to discover a shadow. I must choose my focus with determination, or my mindset will slide into the world’s default setting of darkness. I don’t want the common life of likely pity and despair. I will aspire to peddle the secret to indefatigable joy, clinging to the love of my Savior until I am no longer a vagrant. I might not model it with perfection at first, but Kingdom citizens don’t have to journey this road alone. Perhaps we can support one another’s efforts to dance on sore feet and brighten the campfires with His love.

“I say these things …so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them…the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world... I pray also …that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me… I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” – John 17:13-25

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

I peer into a hole in the mud. About two and a half inches in diameter, it sinks at an angle to a depth I cannot see. No one has walked along this side of the house in months, so I rule out poles and sticks. The abundant squirrels and overgrown weeds offer prime real estate features for a snake. I straighten and back away, my soles sinking into damp earth and stirring its musty odor into the breeze. 

I leave impressions with each step as I head across the northern lawn. Robins weave their nest in our hedge and stir melodies into the backyard air. Slug trails glisten across the deck. All creatures leave evidence of their life’s path, even the cunning serpent. Will I leave more behind than muddy depressions?

Once inside, I remove my shoes and socks. If I don’t change out of my grimy footwear, I will undo all the cleaning I finished yesterday and ruin the pleasant accommodations for everyone else in our home. I slip on fresh socks and wool-lined mules, banishing the odor of mud from my soles.

As a child, I dreamed of wearing slippers made of glass or rubies. Life’s path ought to become a spangling dance to share joy with a technicolor world. Real life differs from my idyllic hopes. My tennis shoes don’t sparkle, and I must trudge through mud and dodge snake holes.

The walk of a disciple requires certain footwear–protective layers over the soul. Wrapped in the light of God’s truth, my spiritual feet shimmer with greater brilliance than any of my youthful dreams. There are serpents and worldly filth to contend with in my work, but I must leave the mud at the doorstep. Evil threatens to contaminate my mind, heart, and spirit each day. Dark attitudes set me back and their odor impacts others in my environment. I must remain vigilant with maintenance, or face a lengthy cleansing process. My soles need daily refreshment in prayer and scripture.

With the right footwear, I can leave liquid light prints behind me. I now hope to dance in squishes and shimmers. If I follow the lead of the King’s Spirit, a fragrant trail of compassion, generosity, and praise can stir Christ’s aroma into the air along my life’s path.

Lord, please guide me to leave sweet, fragrant impressions of Your splendor in all the steps of our dance together on this earth.

Matthew 5:14; 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

 

 

 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.Matthew 5:15-16

 

Once upon a time, in a window not so far away, a candlestick tarnished on the sill. As layers of dust thickened over the wax, hope for a purposeful existence faded. Then one day, the owner came to the window. He smeared white paste over the silver. The polish cut through the corrosion, with some initial discomfort. As the owner polished the surface, it gleamed with increasing beauty. He continued buffing until seeing his own reflection in the silver. After trimming the wick, he also lit the candle. Dust crackled and burned away with each moment.

A few passers by turned down the path toward the light and the owner welcomed them into his home. Others continued on their way down the dark, stormy road. The candlestick strove to burn higher, shine brighter, to find itself exhausted. It failed to provide more light than the owner had offered it. The candlestick doubted its purposefulness, wishing to leap through the window and reach those bedraggled travelers.

The owner dusted the candlestick with a soft cloth. “Those who aren’t looking won’t see, even if the light appears before them in the middle of the street. They’ve rejected me, not you. Only my light has the power to save them. You only carry the light I give you. You are a candlestick, not a flame. I’ll take care of you,” He said. “And I can take care of them, too. Keep shining, but shine in peace with the light I’ve given you.”

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

 

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