We have a choice as to where we dwell, and God gave us this ability to choose. He gave us this choice knowing that we could make the decision not to dwell closely with Him. Freedom to choose is something I value highly. I think the same is true for lots of people. Thank You, God, for giving me a choice as to where I dwell. It’s comforting to know that if we choose to seek God and desire for Him to be at the center of our lives, we can never be out of reach of His hand or in any situation where He will not lead us.
This morning I read Psalm 18. It’s a Psalm that King David wrote, praising God for rescuing him from his enemies. It must be a pleasing Psalm to God, and it lives through the ages by means of His Bible. In the Old Testament, God often stresses to the Israelites the importance of passing along what they know of Him and His miracles…His saving power…to their children (future generations). This Psalm accomplishes that same purpose. There were many verses or parts of verses that I underlined while reading it, however one in particular resonated with me in a deep way today…”He took me…(Psalm 18:16).” The whole verse reads, “He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.” But “He took me” sums things up for me in my life. There are all of these complex emotions and thoughts I have every day. Some are helpful and some are not. It’s clear to me that when I try to figure life out without submitting myself before God first, things are confusing, a struggle, and at times, dark. But God doesn’t leave me there. He didn’t leave me there. He took me. He lifted me up from a place of not knowing Him, to a place of knowing that I’m known by Him. He took me from darkness to the awareness of His love. He gave me things I didn’t deserve and topped them with a handful of, “I love you.” And there were no strings attached. Before I knew Jesus, I was on my own, at least in my own mind. I had made my decision that I would lead the life I wanted to and that I was only accountable to myself. I didn’t realize God’s love for me. But He took me. He took me from there and said, “No, I’m real, this is Who I Am, and I love you.” I am sure this is similar to what every parent wants their child to know…that they are not alone and that they are loved.
“I will give thanks and praise You, O Lord, among the nations.” – Psalm 18:49
Have you ever heard the phrase, “the promises of God,” and wondered what those promises were? Well, I know what one of them is. It is that God will send His Holy Spirit to dwell in His people. Not only with them, but in them (John 14:16-17). When I think about all of the day-to-day challenges that come up in our lives, or the small details we ask God to be a part of, I sometimes wonder if He wants to be a part of those things. Does He want us to pray for the courage to speak up in a meeting, or for safety while driving to work? I would say that because He has sent His Spirit to dwell so closely to us (in our hearts), that He does want to be involved in every intimate detail of our lives (and by default, He will be, which is comforting :)). It is not only a promise, but a blessing. Which leads to another promise. That we are never alone.
“And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.” – Ephesians 1:13
Did God give us the sun
to remind us of Him
To show us what we’re in for
when earth’s light starts to dim?
“O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!” – Psalm 8:9
When someone is good to you, you want to share it with others. When they are kind, patient, understanding and self-sacrificing on your behalf, you want to give back somehow. When someone has extended mercy and forgiveness to you and has pursued you even though you felt you were not worth pursuing, you want to express thanks. And my way of thanking God is to tell others about Him. To share with others that He is good, patient, forgiving, humble, and a seeker after them. When Jesus left this earth to go back to His Father, He told his disciples to tell others about Him. To let others know that they could come to Him if they wanted to have a life with He and the Father. Both here and now, and forever. When I think about Christmas, I think of all of the fun things that our culture does to celebrate the season – the lights, the Christmas trees, the gift giving, but there’s this quiet voice in my heart that keeps reminding me that Jesus was the greatest gift ever given, and that Christmas is about Him being all we need when entering a relationship with God. We don’t need to make special sacrifices (Jesus did that), we don’t need to put on special garments (Jesus is that), and we don’t need to be perfect (Jesus was that). All we need to do is invite Jesus into our hearts and lives. I was lost before He became a part of my life. I was searching, but I didn’t realize I was searching. And even though I wasn’t looking in His direction, He gently knocked on the door of my heart and drew me to Him. There is nothing I can do to repay God for what He has done, but I can tell others that God is hope, and He can fill your heart with it. That’s not to say that life will be perfect, Jesus told us that life would not be without struggles, but He will never abandon us in those struggles. It is a Merry Christmas, and it’s all because of Jesus.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” – Luke 2:8-14
I remember that soon after I became a Christian I was impressed by the fact that the Jesus I was coming to know was consistent with the Jesus I was reading about in the Bible. It was as if the love, gentleness, kindness, compassion, and understanding that He demonstrated, and the truth that He brought had been gently set down inside of me; to teach me, guide me, and comfort me. The Bible says that when we trust in Jesus to be our Redeemer, God’s Holy Spirit makes His home in our hearts. This was when the words on the page also became the Voice in my soul.