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I Will Put My Dwelling Place In You

 

I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. Leviticus 26:11. Those are fourteen powerful words. God was telling the Israelites that He was going to dwell among them. And for God to say, “I will not abhor you,” meant that God would not regard them in distaste or hatred.

In the book of Leviticus God gives the Israelites a detailed blueprint about how to build the Tabernacle. When their work was completed, He resided in the “Most Holy Place” of the Tabernacle. How amazing it must have been for the Israelites to have God living among them with the promise that He would not abhor them. What about you and me today? We don’t have the Tabernacle so does that mean God is not living with us? On the contrary, God is living “IN” us.

God not only took up residence among the Israelites but He took it one step further and has taken up residence “in” those who believe that He sent His Son to die for them. When you give your life to the Lord and believe that His son died for your sins, you become God’s temple and His spirit dwells in you.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (ESV)

58310462 - pretty girl posing in the desert

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16 (NIV 2011)

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. Romans 8:9 (NIV)

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23 (NIV)

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

God has made His home in you. You were bought and paid for with a price. His words to the Israelites, I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you from Leviticus were a precursor to what would come for you and me – the gift of Jesus Christ.

 

 Originally written for Living Better 50 Magazine

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Be the Change

I’d like to build the world a home and furnish it with love. Grow apple trees and honeybees and snow-white turtle-dove. I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I’d like to hold it in my arms, and keep it company.

Growing up I remember singing that song from the Coke advertisements. It was a great ad but is singing a song or having a Coke with someone really going to change the world? We are called to live like Christ no matter what our age. Our lives are to be a reflection of who Christ is within us to all we come in contact with.

You may wonder how can I, one person; make a change in our world?

A changed world must first begin with you. Each one of us individually can make a difference. Micah 6:8 (NASB) says, He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Loving what is right, showing kindness and walking humbly with God impacts everyone you come in contact with. If you want to be the change, start with yourself. Pray for God to change your heart. To break your heart for what breaks His. Ask God to give you His eyes, and His ears, so that you can see and hear the needs around you.

Starting with yourself, your desire to change the world will grow to include others who are in our life. As you walk humbly with God, like Micah 6:8 says, you will find in your day many situations that require you to show kindness. Your family, your friends and those in your classes will need you to show His love and His kindness to them. Moment by moment we affect the world by how we choose to react to those in our lives.

Your attitude towards others is either going to open or close the door to Christ. Your prayers for others are an act of love for them.

Your friendships are also a means of sharing yourself and your relationship with Christ.   As you share your heart with your friends, their hearts can be won for Christ. When that happens, you can walk with them and support them in their spiritual growth.

15036003_sYou can change the world. Start with yourself and then be willing to let God use you with others in your family, with your friends, and in your work place. No matter your age you can be the change in your school, the clubs you belong to or in the sports you play. There are so many people who would love someone to care enough to sit and visit with them over a cup of coffee, or even while drinking a Coke. This simple act can change our world.

Maybe the Coke song is on to something…

I’d like to build a world a home and furnish it with love. Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle-dove.

I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I’d like to hold it in my arms, and keep it company.

I’d like to see the world for once all standing hand in hand. And hear them echo through the hills for peace throughout the land.

It’s the real thing (Jesus is the real thing) what the world wants today (Jesus is what the world NEEDS today), that’s the way I’ll stay with the real thing. (With Jesus)

I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. A song of peace that echoes on and never goes away.

Today I want to challenge you to make an effort to really press into God and be willing to let Him change you and mold you into a reflection of Him for the world to see. Then I want to challenge you to pray and ask God to show you where there is a need and how you can be used to make a difference.

The change you want to see in the world begins with you. Are you willing to try?

Originally written for the Whatever Girls Ministry.

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Out of Practice

Today’s guest post is by Deborah Thomas, Eye Sights BlogDebby with short hair

Everyone knows that practice is not optional if you want to get better at something. I just talked with a seasoned piano teacher about the possibility of teaching a four-year old to play the piano–can they do it? She said that to the degree that the parents make the child practice is how well they do. With discipline and regular practice, they progress solidly. But parents that do not require their child to practice see them struggle.

The same goes for any skill. I used to take private dance lessons to learn how to country swing better. I had no boyfriend so practicing alone in between lessons was almost useless. Line dancing practice a la solo worked better, as long as I did not forget any of the moves.

In Christianity, we have moves, also. I call this practice. If we are out of practice, today is a new day! Christianity does not end at conversion; that is only our birth. We must go on with Christ, a life time with Him. We need to get smart!

Whoever learns how to throw hardball while sitting on the sideline? Who learns how to suffer without bleeding or injuring a body part? Who knows grief unless there has been loss of some life? Who can swim well without practicing strokes or treading water a long time? Can anyone really practice being kind until they are shown unkindness in their face? The Lord is not going to hand these things to us on a gleaming platter. He wants us to practice and exercise our spiritual muscles.

1 Peter 1: 6 & 7 declares: “…now for a little while, you may have…to suffer grief, in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Trials come to give us practice; if we practice, we prove our faith. God wants to know if our faith is the real thing. Authenticity matters. You cannot just say you are a Christian. Your life has to prove it. Practicing your Christianity brings forth outstanding results: praise, glory and honor to Christ.

I do not want to be out of practice, as I walk in faith before the Lord. Suffering? Grief? Unkindness? Trials? Yes, they are there all right. But they are just the backdrop on which we practice our instruments for Him. Amen?

To read more of Deborah’s posts go to Eye Sights.

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Are You In A Dead Zone?

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 2.05.23 PMCan you hear me now? How about now? Those words are spoken from time to time by anyone who has ever used a cell phone. Even with more and more cell towers going up and the latest coverage offered, there are still many dead zones.

At our family lake cabin, there is a clear difference between which carrier has the better coverage. I have watched many people holding their phones with an outstretched arm on our patio looking for a bar of coverage to make a call or send a text. It’s entertaining to watch.

When I have not been able to get service, I have been bothered about it. How about you? In reality, is having no phone coverage for a little bit really a bad thing? We are so worried about checking our text messages, our Instagram, Facebook, and emails that the idea of being stuck in a dead zone seems to be cause for alarm.

In our desire to be connected to the world with our phones, we have become slaves to technology. Just before I started writing this, I was working on my Bible study and I got a text. I was going to reach for my phone to tell my husband, yes, I can talk now, and then it hit me… I was in my quiet time with God. There was not an emergency and my husband would understand if I finished my study before I called him. I almost chose to set God aside to answer a text.

That knee-jerk reaction to grab my phone and forget about my time with God was a reality check. How many times a day do I reach for my phone to check social media? Am I more concerned about how many bars I have, who is posting what, and what is trending than I am with God? What about you? Are you more concerned with those things than your relationship with God?

Finding the best coverage when it comes to our cell phone seems to be an important thing. However, shouldn’t we be more concerned about finding the best coverage for ourselves? It should be much moreScreen Shot 2015-02-03 at 2.12.47 PM alarming to be in a dead zone that applies to our salvation rather than our phone, and sadly for many, that is not the case. At the end of our lives, the number of bars we had, the number of texts, tweets, and posts will mean nothing. What will matter is, are you covered in the saving blood of Jesus?

He offers the best coverage for us in the long run and His coverage is free to all who seek Him. There is unlimited coverage and you will never experience a dropped prayer like you do a dropped call. With Jesus we all become sons and daughters of God, which means as far as plans go, there is no other family plan like His. Okay, maybe that is a bit cheesy, but it’s true… Jesus is the only way to avoid the dead zone. In John 14:6-7, Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” (NIV)

I challenge you to put your phone down for a while each day and spend time with the Lord. Dig into your Bible, take time to pray, go to church, and fellowship with other believers. Get to really know Jesus so that you will know the Father as well. Being covered in the saving blood of Jesus Christ is the best coverage there is. It is the only way to avoid a dead zone. Put God first! I am not saying to avoid your phone and social media just that God should be our first priority. And, by all means, share that coverage with others. Don’t let those you know and love be lost in a dead zone when they could have eternal life.

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When Life Gets Hard……

When life gets hard go shopping… No, that is not it. New clothes can’t make your troubles better, sure you may look nice in your new outfit but you are still the same hurting person underneath your new look.

Oh I got it…

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 11.23.48 PMWhen life gives you lemons make lemonade. No, that can’t be right. Once you drink it than what? There must be something else we can do when life gets hard?

There are so many self-help books out there with the authors answer to what to do to over come this or that. On Facebook someone posted when life gets hard punch it in the face? Um not sure how to do that exactly? Or how about this, I saw a sign that said when life knocks you down roll over and look at the stars.   Okay the stars are great and it I do love to lay on the dock at the lake and look at the stars but how is that going to help me face my troubles.

When life gets hard we need to pray!

Better yet,

We need to Pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17.1609822_620760681334589_459762485_n

In other words don’t stop praying! We don’t need to wait for life to get hard before we pray.  

Philippians 4:6-7 teaches us to: be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

There is power in prayer. If you don’t believe me, give it a try. What have you got to lose?

It is simple, Just say…Jesus I need you to help me right now. I am hurting, life is hard and I don’t know what to do. Jesus help me, Jesus give me strength, Jesus give me peace. Amen.

Today I want to encourage you to pray, to pray often, to pray big prayers and little prayers. To pray with the faith that God is hearing every word of your prayer. Hold on to the truth that there is not a prayer that is prayed in faith that God doesn’t hear.

If you can’t find the words just say, “ Jesus”. Sometimes just saying his name a few time with a true and open heart is all it takes to feel peace.

It is written in Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.

What are you waiting for? Call on Him…Pray without ceasing.

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