The Original Sanctuary

The Original Sanctuary
with Marc Owings

"I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you." (Psalm 63:2-3)

My memories of early childhood involve the outdoors where my brother, our friends and I were either building or tearing something down. One of my favorite projects was building a unique tree house. It was an all-out assault on a giant oak tree that ruled an empty field behind our neighborhood. We threw lumber into that massive tree and hammered uncut and unmeasured wood strips onto any place that seemed right. We had no plans, no architect and no adults to tell us how to do it and we thought it was a one-of-a-kind masterpiece envisioned in the hearts of little kings.

Our friends moved on to other adventures, but the tree house became a private haven for me and my brother. It was the place we hid when we were scared or when our hearts were hurt. When nothing in our world made sense, we went to the tree house to sort our thoughts and feelings. High above the world and its troubles, the tree house became our refuge, a safe house free from intrusion…our sanctuary.

In the beginning, God embarked upon a massive building adventure. He had a plan for His tree house that was beyond compare. God's physical creation is breathtaking and beautiful, but the most amazing of His creations is the human heart. I am not referring to the amazing, blood-pumping organ, but the unseen heart at the core of every human.

The heart is that place where you labor to keep secrets and yet strangely long for someone else with whom to share your private thoughts. It contains the DNA of who you are and is as unique as fingerprints. Our heart has dreams, gifts and callings deposited inside it to accomplish God's purpose and destiny. Our hearts were created to be the original dwelling place of God, the sacred sanctuary, and there is a beautiful mystery about such a place.

At the age of nineteen, I started reading the Bible. It was there I learned that Jesus is the Son of God and through Him, I found real value and purpose. Until that moment, I had no goals in life other than pleasure. When I received the Truth of God's Word and gave my heart and life to Jesus, I discovered that the power of God's grace makes all things new. Some changes were gradual, but God put a new desire inside of my heart. I longed to know Him and have intimate fellowship with Him.

The Bible talks about the heart more than any other issue. In Proverbs 4:23 we are warned, "Above all else, guard you heart, for it is the wellsprings of life." When God knocked at my heart's door, I opened it and He made it His dwelling place--a sanctuary. His presence causes my heart to flourish with life but I discovered ungodly things also want in, and they battle for areas of need in my heart.

Most people interpret feeling needy as being flawed or imperfect. For men, admitting they have needs in their hearts feels un-masculine and childlike. For women, it feels helpless and exposed. The need to feel valued, loved and safe was created in people of every race, creed and religious system. Needs don't make us weak; they make us human. God designed us with needs that can only be satisfied in union with Him.

While we live in this world, our hearts and souls can be branded by God with an internal compass directing us to live higher, where our spiritual ears are engaged to hear His voice. We long for vision, blissful rest, perfect protection and eternal value. We need a sanctuary where life is reduced to its simplest and most profound form…us and God. We need regular trips to our personal "tree house," the place where God dwells. It is in that sanctuary that our hearts meld with His heart in intimate fellowship.
This Week Make time to get alone with God. Stop the busyness and arrest the traffic in your mind. Meditate on Him and tune your spiritual ears to His voice and your thoughts to His thoughts.

Prayer Lord, let's meet in the sanctuary of my heart every day. I will openly admit my needs and let you fulfill my deepest desires. Help me guard what you deposit in my heart so that it is a continual wellspring of life that touches everyone around me.

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