John 15:9-11 (NKJV)
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My Love. If you keep My Commandments, you will abide in My Love, just as I have kept My Father’s Commandments and abide in His Love. These things I have spoken to you, that My Joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
We are moving. The house is not for sale yet. A new location not secured. I know in my heart that the Lord is moving our family to a new place, new season, and new thing. I trust the Lord. Even though nothing is certain yet, I can feel the stirring of change in my heart and the need for fulfillment. It has happened before. When it was time to leave my career with the school system, before another offer had been presented or a new position found, I began cleaning out my office. In my heart, I felt the tiny hooks of responsibility give way to sweet release. God prepares us to move. He knows our hearts. The Lord understands our need for comfort and security. Yet, to live in the Presence of God will always require trust. Faith is what we know about the Lord and not what we see. Hope is fostered and matured by faith but if you can visualize it naturally – there is no need to hope for it. Hope is the confidence and full assurance that God’s Word is true and active in our life. It motivates us to respond to His Word rather than the events around us.
If you were to take a long hard look at our circumstances, life is pretty good. We both have short commutes to work. Our house is exactly what we dreamed of and prayed for. It has grown larger with each bird that has flown from the nest. It is comfortable. It is ours. We know how to live here. We know the schedule and routine. Waste collection on Monday. Yard trash every other Thursday. Mailman just after lunch and Fed Ex all the time. We have lived here more than ten years. Why move? The Lord has laid it on our heart. He is preparing and pressing us for change. Our commutes will double. Everything will be new. It will require change. Showing our house which means keeping it ready at all times on high alert. Not a challenge? I have two teenage daughters make a bedroom and bathroom look like the aftermath of Armageddon shortly after awakening each day. Not to mention, two little dogs who believe that run things and will yap incessantly at the slightest sound or movement. Yet, in all of this a soft, gentle whisper says, “It’s time to go!”
Abide. Yes, this is the word for the day. I am a lover of His Presence. The Peace and Joy that prevail in our home is born of His Spirit. I give God all the glory and honor for this family and its means of survival. We have done more than that here. Learning to thrive. It is time to go with God. Move with His Calling. Following His Lead. Stepping out of comfort to “where His Name abides”. Hold right here. To abide means remain, continue and stay. To dwell. To continue in a particular condition, attitude and relationship. To wait. To accept without opposition or question. To submit to. To comply. Abiding in the Lord is obedience. It is to offer our lives to Jesus even when we must move with the Lord and go where He goes.
John 14:1-3 (NKJV)
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Jesus went to prepare a place of us. The place prepared is called righteousness. It is the foundation of faith that allows us to believe AND receive the Lord’s Promises. Grace is not a provisionary endorsement that adds to our love covenant with God but the attachment. We can abide in God’s Love because Jesus handed us the keys to the kingdom. In doing so, when we walk by faith and not by sight using those keys of spiritual power and authority, it is possible to open the impossible making it a reality in our life today. I have seen the impossible happen. I know that miracles still happen. I believe more in what I cannot see than anything I can see. This perspective is only possible when we abide in His Love. Live in it. Dwell there. But right standing with God has a requirement – the absence of sin, obedience and submission of our life to His Kingdom. Grace didn’t change that. It just made it a beneficial and prosperous position again.
When I began to study the Word of God today – I searched for passages with the word “abide” in them. I came across four passages in Deuteronomy with the words “where His Name abides”. It caught my attention. I find that in our relationship with the Lord from the beginning it is evident that there is only one way. We can try to change it or map out a new direction for holiness but there is already a Highway to Holiness. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father (God) except by the Son (Jesus). It is plain. We make it complicated and gray. Before Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, the Holy Spirit could not inhabit us. Sin would not allow it. It was in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus and the application of His Grace that now we have His Spirit. I am getting ahead of myself.
Back to the Old Testament, two things are mentioned to gain entrance to the place where “His Name abides”. Deuteronomy 12:10-11; 14:22-25; 16:5-8; and 26:1-3 – all discuss what to bring to the place where His Name abides. It all about offerings and obedience. If tithing and offerings offend you – please do not read these passages. The new-age, modern-day, spoon-fed religion requires nothing of us to rob the coffers and pillage the vaults of Heaven. We can plunder His Kingdom with no regard for His Beauty, Sovereignty or Righteousness. Wiping our feet on the white robes of righteousness to gain entrance in, stepping over the Blood not to offend, and avoiding the Cross as it is barbaric at best, there is a lie being mass produced that there is no requirement in taking up our Cross to follow Jesus. In fact, don’t worry about the Cross just come as you are, stay where you are, and do as you like. Well…it’s simply not true. God is not concerned with your money or your mess. The Lord desires our heart. He wants to prosper our soul. He has prepared a place for us where His Name abides. To enter this place will always require the Bloody Cross and repentance of sin. It will mean turning our life over to the Lord and trusting Him. We have been given the opportunity to live in the Presence of God and all things are possible in this place. Will we move our life to achieve it? You cannot move the lines of righteousness, change the rules of holiness and avoid obedience to prosper in the Lord. You must move your life into His Presence.
John 8:34-36 (NKJV)
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
John 14:15-17 (NKJV)
If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
It is time to move. I know it in my heart even though at times, I am still trying to wrap my head around it. The Holy Spirit is pressing and prodding me to step out in faith and live in the freedom offered in full obedience. That’s right, my obedience to God increases my boundaries and enlarges my borders as I step fully into the Light of His Love by faith in Him alone. I am not a slave in the House of God but a child of the Living God. Sin binds and restricts my life apart from Him. Each act of right standing and obedience to My Father yields dramatic, life-changing results. The Holy Spirit helps me find God’s Way and accompanies me when I move into it.
My husband asked me last night if I am sure. It will take me almost an hour to get to work. I am time-challenged as it is. No comments necessary, please. At first, I groaned on the inside because I am willing to admit promptness is a weakness. Our grown daughter who is married and living in another state does not embrace the notion of change. She calls this “her house” even though she has made another home. I understand that and it pulls at my mama heartstrings to take that from her. But our home is not this building, it is the place in us that Jesus lives and has changed so that together we have a home. Home is where the heart is. We plan on taking that with us and just leaving the shell that once housed our home behind. Jesus is in each one of us. He is what binds this family together with all our faults and imperfections into something cherished and beautiful. We must go where He leads to maintain this lifestyle in which we thrive.
John 12:45-47 (NKJV)
And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
The Love of Jesus is a beacon. The Light of His Love draws us closer. Those who desire to live in the Light will leave darkness behind. But please understand that forced love is not love at all. Jesus invites us to abide, dwell and live in His Presence. He will never make us. He did not come to judge or condemn us so He doesn’t punish those who choose not to obey or offer their life to His Holy Inhabitation. He just continues to pursue them with His Grace, Mercy and Love. Consequences are produced by sin and cannot be changed or dismissed without repayment. His Grace is sufficient in our surrendered weakness. Otherwise, we are rejecting a new life with new outcomes in His Goodness, not because He is withholding, but simply because we chose something else.
With this in mind, what is the Lord telling you to do today? Are you avoiding it? Or fully embracing it by faith? Faith will always include the unseen, illogical and totally impossible. Hope is formed on these things. Trust is required to go deeper with God. To live fully and completely in His Presence demands obedience, needs offerings and requires obedience. Not out of obligation but respect. God will not lower His Standards for you. He only wants you to have His Very Best. The “fear” or to “respect” the Lord giving Him proper placement leads to life and full satisfaction. (Proverbs 19:23) It will always give us fulfillment. It will be a challenge. It will always be worth it.
Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV)
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
I love Psalm 91. I also love Psalm 15. They both are all about living and abiding in the Presence of God. To know the depths of His Love and reside there changes our life. We are on the move to the place where His Name abides. When we prayed about getting a new car, yes, we prayed about getting a new car. I knew that when it was time that I would know immediately. The Holy Spirit would confirm it and we would know. Sure enough after months of searching, wandering car lots, doing research, an ad popped up for a shiny, new-to-me, Honda Pilot. When I saw it, I knew immediately that it was my car. There was not a doubt in my mind. We went to the dealership who told us another person had already begun the process of purchasing the car, but that we could essentially buy it out from under them. I knew God was giving me this car and I didn’t have to do anything underhanded or manipulative to have it. The next morning they called to let us know the time on the offer had expired and after multiple attempts to contact them it was clear the other party was no longer interested. The night before we had cleaned and prepared our old vehicle to trade in – by faith. The next day on the way to the dealership, the Suburban who had been so faithful and reliable became demon possessed and we almost didn’t make it there. I prayed all the way.
I share this to say that the Lord will give us His Word and show us what to do. We step out on faith to do it. It seems in that moment that natural circumstances start to rise up and all hell breaks loose around us. Of course, it does. The enemy does not want us to abide in God’s Love, experience His Goodness, or dwell in His Presence. This is where our heart becomes secure in Who He is not what He does. To experience the Power of His Presence and fulfillment of abiding in Christ, will change us forever. We will begin to take steps of faith that don’t make any sense but our need to move closer to our Lord makes it a lifetime pursuit. We cannot live apart from our Lord and Savior anymore. Obedience becomes faithfulness. Offerings become surrender. The “things” we once thought were so important become vessels to serve Him more. All those things we strive for, all those things we want to do, all those places we desire to go is all culminated in our need for fulfillment, longing for peace and desire for joy. These are found in His Presence. We can have all these “things” added to us when we desire His Kingdom, His Presence more than any “thing” else. (Matthew 6:33) We are moving. Not to a place, but rather deeper and closer to our Lord. It is obedience that takes us there. The offering of our life secures our place.
What has the Lord laid on your heart today? Where are you going? Are you ready to move?
Psalm 61:1-4 (NKJV)
Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your Tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your Wings.