In a recent message given during our Tuesday night prayer meeting, we heard about the subject of holy ground. This is mentioned a few times in the Bible. The one we are most familiar with is the story of Moses and the burning bush.

“When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

— (Exodus 3:5)

Why was it that God declared that place to be holy ground? It was just a piece of rock in the wilderness. Was there anything special about that place? The answer is; God was there. A holy place is a place where we meet with God.

Have you ever had a place in your life that was special to you because of the only thing you did there. I know I have. In my family’s home, we have a garage, and in that garage, there is a workbench. At that workbench, I have spent hours and hours; I have no idea how much time I have spent there; working away on some wooden project or other. Chipping away the wood with a chisel and hammer, grinding it down with a rasp, or making it smooth with some sandpaper. That place is special to me, it is “holy”, set apart for woodworking. Every time I go there, I smell the fresh pine sawdust, feel the handle of my tools, and I know that I am in a special place. It has a meaning to me, deep down. And every time I step inside a different garage or workshop, that has some similarities: the shape, the smell of the wood, it reminds me of my own special spot, and I get that feeling that I am in a “holy” place.

Do we, do I, have such a spot for Jesus? Do we get that feeling deep down, that when we step into a Church sanctuary or other place dedicated to worshipping God, we are entering a holy place? We might not take off our shoes. In some places it is good to wear footwear for sanitary reasons or protection of your toes, but do we ever have that attitude of reverence and awe, because we are in a place where people meet with God? Think of the privilege that we have. Moses met with God the first time at the burning bush. After that, he still longed to meet with God. He asked God if he could just see Him. At the core of every believer, we long, desire, yearn to see God. We may not be able to see God with our physical eyes. That will have to wait, but through Jesus Christ, God has opened the way for us to come sit at his feet and meet with Him.

I think that that God deserves a place in our lives where we meet with Him alone, a spot that is set apart for just Him. If one of my little siblings were to take some of their toys and go play with them on top of the workbench in my family’s garage, I would probably say, “You can’t play with that here. This is a spot for working only. Go play in your bedroom.” To have a place that is holy, set apart for meeting with God, you can’t do other things there. It just isn’t proper. If we do something that doesn’t involve our meeting with Jesus on holy ground, it loses it’s meaning and just becomes another piece of rock.

We might say, that we are supposed to be in fellowship with Jesus all the time; never stop worshipping and praying to Him. That is so true, but do we? I don’t know of a single person who has mastered that way of living fully. So, anyways, if we are supposed to pray without ceasing, why should we have just one place where we meet with God? We can’t very well live in that spot. Having one place where we meet with God consistently every day is the first step. Once we develop this habit firmly, as we live, other places will remind of us of our little meeting place, and you find yourself wanting to pray. Eventually, step by step, we find ourselves working towards praying without ceasing.

This whole concept sounds very beautiful and inspiring, but do not be fooled. It takes hard work. It requires much practice and perseverance to achieve these goals. There can be all sorts of things that will distract us and try and make our holy places for other uses. However, one day, we will be able to live in and never leave our meeting place with God. It’s called heaven.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

— (Revelation 21:3)


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Somehow, that phrase "Die to Self" just doesn't become more appealing or for that matter easier. I'm certain that by now I have heard every form of how you can die to self. In a vehicle, I can let someone else get the front seat and die to self. In relationships, I can be the first one to go apologize, reconcile and die to self. In finances, I can consider the needs of others, share and die to self by not just making selfish provisions. Name an area of life and I'm sure I can name a way I can die to self in it. But knowing and doing are as far from each other as the East is from the West. Lately this warning has been ringing in my ears, James 1:22 "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." And in Luke 6:31 "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise." I need to die to self and consider others. 

Dying to self isn't even about self. It is a removing of the self and replacing it with someone else's concern or pleasure above my own. First and foremost, God's pleasure, then other's cares and concerns. Today I baked an apple pie, with some help, for no other reason than to do it for God and for the people who will be the recipients of it. I am not someone who bakes pie for the fun of it. In fact, I try to keep busy with everything else before I'll do kitchen work. So how did it come about that I would bake this pie? And with joy? Well, in my last speech I shared a practical way of how I can apply what God is teaching me about work from the book the Divine Embrace. In the book, it talks about Benedictine monks and that they equated prayer, study and work. And though I see myself as hard working I realized I do not have a healthy attitude towards some kinds of work such as baking pie and other kitchen related things. I shared in my speech that I have come to learn recently that if I dare to enjoy eating an apple pie I need the humility to bake an apple pie with a diligent spirit. Yes, and this pie isn't even for me. 

God in His Sovereignty put an opportunity in front of me that even a blind man could see. Someone asked for an apple pie that was homemade and just like the ones we had provided at the Fall Fest. As I'm hearing this request I stand rolling my eyes at God saying, "is this a test?" He says, you can either put your speech where your mouth is or be a hypocrite with many word and no action. So, I baked the pie and did it with joy because it was simple obedience to what I knew to do. I love receiving fresh baked treats and I ought to take opportunity to give of my time to bless others by giving baked treats to them as well. I am floored by the way God speaks so directly into my life. He knew I needed to put into action the practical application of changing my attitude towards work and He provided an opportunity to do it.  

 Will I always get it right from now on? No, but always turn around if I'm heading in the wrong direction. Romans 6:13 says, " And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." If God can use me to bless someone else then in fact I am alive to God and I am an instrument of righteousness. I tend to over spiritualize thing and say things like: "what good can come out of a pie?" Or, "how will that help anyone grow in their faith?" Those are good questions but what if the question I need to answer is actually: am I reflecting Jesus in my words, thoughts and actions right now and in this situation? I can read all the books on godly character that I want to but if there isn't an immediate change in my heart upon the Spirit speaking to me, then truthfully, I become more useless to God then useful. At the end of the day it's not about me dying to self because if I'll have done that, then I'll have forgotten all about me and I'll be able to think about God first, others second and then perhaps myself. As the Apostle Paul, I declare: "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) I have not mastered this by far nor do I think it possible but this is my life goal because Jesus is my Saviour, my Lord, my Brother, my Redeemer and Example and I will follow Him. So, my attitude towards work has slightly changed... and praise the Lord, He's not finished with me yet. Die to Self and Bake Some Apple Pie



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