Temple Cleansing

This is the first of a week long reflection on Jesus' sacrifice. Join me tomorrow for more Passion Week Reflections.

Today is Temple Cleansing Day (Mark 11:15-19).

This morning I read Malachi 3:1-9. The temple was to be called a house of prayer for all people (Isa. 56:7), but instead he found tables set up in the outer courts, exchanging currencies (probably at outrageous rates) for the temple tax and selling items needs for the various sacrifices (see Leviticus for more about that!). He came as "refiner and purifier" to those who were robbing the Lord by creating a financial barrier between God and his people. Not only that, but the outer court was the only place where Gentiles could worship and pray to the God of Israel. He also curses a fig tree, which had no fruit but was full of leaves (like fig trees do when they're ready to bear fruit).

Perhaps my temple, that was made for God's glory and HIS purposes, is in need of some cleansing. I am quick to call myself a Christian, Jesus lover, Christ follower -- but what about me is unpleasing to Him or unnecessary for his purposes? I won't speak for anyone else, but I have to say that I have lots of barriers between my world and the Kingdom of God. Is blogging in the way, or Facebook? What's the first thing I reach for in the morning, my phone or my Bible? Why do I do the things I do?

If I'm honest, I'm treating much of my life as my own. Much of what I do is fueled by self-interest. Paul says "if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Rom 8:13). But praise God, he has paid the price for me to have the rights of an heir! There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ (v. 1). Does that mean go on sinning, never trying to improve or change? Of course not! I am not longer a slave to sin, should I continue on under its power? Jesus was lead like a lamb to the slaughter so that I would not have to live as a slave to the sinful nature. And the proper way to show my gratitude is to do what HE has asked me to do.

The truth is that obedience is imperative in the lives of Christ followers. So you believe in God? Awesome. Even demons believe in God. Because he is real. So what is setting you apart from the demons? Who is your master? Are we fig trees full of leaves but lacking the fruit of obedience? Let's use today to "cleanse" our temples.. What needs to be confessed and repented for in our lives?

love, me

Prayer with beads, after the jump.

The Cross 
Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins; His mercy endureth for ever. Amen

The Invitatory 
Hear what the Lord has said: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 22:37-40)

First Cruciform Bead
Recount and confess sins pertaining to sins of the heart.
Have you experienced feelings of anger, hurt, frustration, jealousy, envy or anxiety?

The Weeks
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. (Luke 18:13) 

Second Cruciform Bead
Recount and confess sins pertaining to sins of the soul.
Have you spent time in daily prayer? Have you been faithful in reading God's Word? Have you attended church regularly? Have you made your church family an integral part of your life? Have you been generous with your time in assisting others?

Third Cruciform Bead
Recount and confess sins pertaining to sins of the mind.
Have you been diligent in your job or your studies? Has your language been clean?

Fourth Cruciform Bead
Recount and confess sins pertaining to sins of the body.
Have you treated your body as the temple of God? Have you eaten sparingly of nutritious foods that enable you to reach and maintain a healthy weight and sound body? Have you been giving your body enough rest? Have you kept your muscles fit and toned through exercise and activity? Have you kept your body pure from fleshly indulgences?

The Last Cruciform Bead
Almighty and most merciful Father,
we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep,
we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts,
we have offended against your holy laws,
we have left undone those things which we ought to have done,
and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.
But Lord, have mercy on us,
spare those who confess their faults and restore the penitent,
according to the promises declared to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;
and grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake,
that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life,
to the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

The Dismissal Bead If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. (I John 2:1) 
The Almighty and merciful Lord grant us absolution and remission of all our sins, true repentance, amendment of life, and the grace and consolation of his Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Cross
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

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