Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Where Do You Dwell?

Friends, I did not want to sit down and write this morning. I am trudging through a bit of sickness, a wave of discouragement, and the inevitable challenges that come when we live in relationship with others. 

Life together brings on the best of times and the worst of times, doesn't it?

I've weathered these things before. We all have. Each time a new unpleasantness arrives, I'm tempted to settle down into the yuck, pull the covers over my head, and eat Oreos. Double-stuff. Like, the whole package. {Not that Oreos are the absolute worst way to cope.}

But this morning I pondered what it means to settle down into something, to really "dwell" somewhere. Where we live and abide has so much to do with our identity and perspective. It determines what the world looks like through our windows. 

I know what it's like to dwell in a pit

I know what it's like to dwell in the mire of crazy circumstances and to see the world through a window smeared with slime and sorrow. 

But because of Grace, I also know what it's like to be in the midst of those same circumstances and instead see the world through a window gleaming with God's faithfulness, protection, and good promises. The pain is still there but the perspective is altogether changed. 

What's the difference?  The place we choose to dwell.

In Psalm 91, God invites us to live in the only good and true dwelling place:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Throughout my life, I have chosen many lesser shelters as walls and roofs and windows. I've attempted poorly-constructed shelters of marriage and family, financial security, approval, self-protection, religion, right living and escapism, just to name a few. 

Though these shelters may provide temporary bliss and hold up for a time, they cannot withstand true danger or prolonged storms or real trouble. When these lesser shelters collapse, we can feel devastated and left with nothing. Though we may dwell in relative safety for a season, these flimsy abodes don't offer ultimate protection or lasting peace.

If you're feeling a bit exposed and shaken this morning, if you're insecure and uncertain and convinced you don't have the inner strength and proper shelter it takes to weather this particular storm, let me be the bearer of both good and bad news.

First the bad: You're right. You don't have what it takes, not for the long haul anyway.

Now the good: God has what it takes and He has a place for you to dwell. He is everything you need. 

I studied Psalm 91 for a while this morning and spent some time in much-needed prayer. {And by prayer I mean venting and railing and pleading.} As I sat down to write, I flipped to September 24th in Jesus Calling. "On a whim," you know. I shouldn't have been surprised by the message:

Live first and foremost in My Presence. Gradually you will become more aware of Me than of people and places around you. This awareness will not detract from your relationships with others. Instead, it will increase your ability to give love and encouragement to them. My Peace will permeate your words and demeanor. You will be active in the world, yet one step removed from it. You will not be easily shaken, because My enveloping Presence buffers the blow of problems... 

I don't know about you but I'd like to be less easily shaken. I long to truly dwell in his presence, to abide securely in the shadow of the Almighty. 

This is a place of protection and privilege and perspective we only begin to imagine. 

Though we're tempted to set up makeshift tents with the supposed salvations of the this world, He offers something infinitely better. He offers to serve as our dwelling place. Storms and sludge will continue to blow our way but they won't prevail against the One who cannot be shaken.

How about we break up this camp of shoddy shelters and makeshift homes? 

How about we move, today, away from our false securities and into a secure Savior, a dwelling that is somehow a place and also a Person.

May we dwell in Him and through Him. And may we be strengthened by the peace and protection his shelter offers.


  1. By any chance are you doing BSF this year?? That same passage was in this week's lesson. Clearly God is pointing something out to me, just as He is you. :)

  2. Hello, I tried to read as many of these last post in the series. Okay my eyes are about to roll back LOL
    Great job! Really covered all the bases... Conviction is utmost for many I speak to. I am a guest speaker for the Homeschool Association in October. So I may look at your points one more time LOL
    I am in my late fifties and I did keep both my children HOME. I now have seven grandchildren and six of them are being taught at HOME. I really enjoyed visiting your Blog!
    Blessings, Roxy


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