And I said to these priests, “You and these treasures have been set apart as holy to the LORD. This silver and gold is a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of our ancestors. Guard these treasures well until you present them, without an ounce lost, to the leading priests, the Levites, and the leaders of Israel at the storerooms of the LORD’S Temple in Jerusalem.” So the priests and the Levites accepted the task of transporting these treasures to the Temple of our God in Jerusalem.
                Ezra 8:28-30, NLT

As I read this, I was struck by the way that Ezra spoke to the priests – reminding them that they were set apart as holy to the Lord and the treasure they were carrying was holy to the Lord. I couldn’t help but be awed by the honorable responsibility given to them and to be challenged that God has given me this same responsibility. Because I know Him, because I have a relationship with Him, He’s given me His awesome Holy Spirit to live within me. I don’t know how that happens, but I know that everywhere I go, He goes. In a sense, I am transporting or carrying God into every place and every situation I find myself today, tomorrow, the next day and the next day, until He calls me to be with Him. He is the treasure in the earthly vessel of my body. Let me paraphrase Ezra – this is how I heard it in my spirit as I read the passage:

“You have been set apart as holy to the Lord. He has given you a free will offering – His Son for your salvation and the Holy Spirit within You to help you become more like Him. These gifts are more precious than silver and gold offerings. Guard them well as you walk through life, until one day you present yourself to God and hear Him say ‘well done.'”

Am I taking liberty with Ezra 8:28-30? Absolutely! But I am also being true to Scripture. Christ has come to live within each of us who follow His leadership – who give Him lordship of our lives.

This is my “Thursday” Christmas blog this week – I’m delivering it on Tuesday – so that you can begin to pray about and see the awesome task you have before you this week – to carry Christ into every situation you find yourself. For many of you, that will mean those difficult Christmas gatherings where Aunt Betty will do nothing but criticize you and Uncle Bart will be obnoxious and boorish.

Enjoy yourself! Christ lives in you and wants to bring joy in the midst of criticism and boorishness. He wants to bring it to you and those who seem unlikely candidates for it!

Have a wonderful, Christ-centered (at least in your heart) Christmas!

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