Getting our house in order

    06.05.20 | by Bernard McNeill

    Getting Our House in Order, Part 2

    Memorial Day reminds us that we have the freedom to worship freely. Think about that and how it compares to what the apostle Paul experienced as he obeyed the Great Commission of bringing the gospel to the unsaved. Paul was often chased, beaten or jailed as he moved from town to town spreading the gospel of salvation through belief in Jesus Christ.

    When Paul reached Athens (Acts 17:16-28 NKJV) he had just been chased from the last town he had visited. The men of Athens seemed very religious and had all types of gods, including one they called ‘The Unknown God.’ Paul sensed that they were really seeking the God we know, and so he taught them: 17:23-28
    Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one [f]blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

    The learned men of Athens lacked what we have: a God in whom we can worship and dwell. Psalm 91 describes God as ‘our dwelling place.’ This is critical during stressful times when, if you hear any news, it’s bad. A dwelling place means the sort of place where you don’t have to ‘prequalify.’ You can find refuge any time you seek it. In Athens the men verified gods by adding things up. It confused them to hear about a God that could be trusted to be there any time, in any place. Paul told them that we were never restrained from worshipping God because He could never be restrained. No edifice necessary.

    We have built great churches to a God that you may only casually know. This is not the time to be socially distant from God. In Psalm 61, David said to God, ‘Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. 2 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.’
    God will lift us above our circumstances. We need a place to go when we can’t find our way out. Seeking refuge means finding our last resort. While on your way, think, ‘I’m almost home.’ Like the prodigal son (Luke 15) that wasted his father’s resources, then remembered his father’s unchanging love, we can always run home to God’s loving arms.

    Where is the place that you can run to and be safe? Where is your dwelling place; somewhere that you can be refreshed? ‘He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide
    under the shadow of the Almighty’ (Psalm 91:1). This verse indicates that we have to choose to
    accept God’s protection. We have to trust in Him. Trouble has a way of exposing our halfstepping
    faith. If you believe in God, ‘He will cover you with His feathers.

    (91:4-16) - And under His wings you shall take refuge;
    His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
    5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
    Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
    6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
    Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
    7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    And ten thousand at your right hand;
    But it shall not come near you.
    8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
    And see the reward of the wicked.
    9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
    Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
    10 No evil shall befall you,
    Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
    11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
    To keep you in all your ways.
    12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
    Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
    13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
    The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
    {God changes and speaks in the first person:}
    14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
    I will [e]set him on high, because he has known My name.

    Don’t miss having a close, personal relationship with God. Don’t be like those that know about
    Him, but don’t know Him!

    1. Has God truly become your dwelling place? Describe what that means to you during this
    time of challenge?
    2. Do you feel that your house is in order or do you feel the sting of spiritual conviction?