This week, in follow-up to Sunday’s Sermon and 2nd hour activity/discussion, our Lenten devotionals feature stories of “Turning Points”–moments where one’s journey moved in a new direction.
TAKE A MOMENT TO BREATHE IN GOD’S PRESENCE as you begin.
20 Now to God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to God’s power that is at work within us, 21 to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
“Dream House” by Jim Fisher
There is a place at the center of my soul, a holy place, where the Spirit of God chooses to make Her home. She is my counselor, my interior designer, my housekeeper.
But this was not always the case. There was a season in my life when I did not welcome Her. I did not welcome God nor His son Jesus either. The center of my soul was occupied by my busyness, my arrogance, my pride. The place was a mess, actually. The center of my soul contained little more than just … well, me … and my stuff.
At some point in my past I came to realize that this is a beautiful place. I was created by God. He knows all the hairs on my head. I get that. The incredible truth is that the Lord has chosen for His dwelling place the core of my being because it is the single most beautiful place in all of creation. And please grasp this. It is not that I think I am the most beautiful thing on the planet. Nope. It is that all of humanity is the crown jewel of His creative work. We are not just “good” as the rest of creation is “good“. We are the only works of His hands that He deemed “very good“. And the center of this gem within all of us is His most precious, for He created us with the full intent of moving in. He created me to dwell within me. I am His dream house.
During my season of self-absorption, He was not welcome in His own house. What could be worse than that? I rejected Him. I pushed Him away. When He knocked on the door to His own house, I did not let Him in. I ignored Him, and yet He persisted, not in a violent or angry manner, but lovingly, patiently, expectantly.
He had faith in me even though I had no faith in Him.
And, eventually, I welcomed Him in to His own home. He then consecrated it — He made me different. OK, weird, actually … in a good way. He set me apart to be noticed. He erected an altar at the center of my soul, poured oil on it, and deemed it holy. His Spirit moved in and She has been working at cleaning, straightening, rearranging, and repairing the place ever since.
But we don’t always get along. I keep arguing with Her and moving the furniture back to where I feel comfortable. Why do I not trust Her sense of order, Her sense of beauty, Her sense of what is most appealing to those who come to visit this place? Who would know better what pleases the Lord and what pleases those who want to know Him, than His Holy Spirit — my holy housekeeper?
Oh, but She is so patient with me. She endures my sloppiness, my thoughtlessness, my complaints. Why do I keep forgetting to take out the garbage? The worldly pleasures keep piling up, accumulating, filling up the closets, the bookshelves, the garage. Why do I keep letting my culture influence me in ways that are unhealthy for me and hurtful to those around me? I keep tracking dirt into this holy place and keep forgetting to sweep up afterward. Why do I keep trying to hide things in the closets? Lord, forgive me!
… and She always does forgive me. She smiles, gives me “that” look, and always gives me a second chance … and a third … and a fourth. She never tires in Her forgiveness. Thank God for that!
Then one day, just for fun, I plopped myself into the easy-chair of my innermost self and said, “Dear Spirit of God. Rearrange all you want. Nail that couch to the ceiling and glue the rug to the window if you want to. Throw open the door to that closet and see all that I would rather keep in the darkness. Turn my easy-chair upside down and leave no place for me to sit. Make me sleep on the porch. The place is yours to do with as you wish.” I gave in to Her persistence. I surrendered … smiling in anticipation of what She might make of me .. of what I might become.
And from that point onward, She was given free reign to make in me a new creation … every day if need be. From that point onward, I started to feel like more of what I was created to be. From that point onward, I began to feel more fully human.
From that point onward, I gave my sovereign Lord authority over my life.
From that point onward, I began to love Her more than I loved my self.
Do we now always see eye-to-eye? Of course not! I still whine. I complain. I plead for what I want. I still move the couch … just maybe not quite as far as I used to. And I still hide things in the dark corners of the closet, hoping She won’t point and convict me with that smile that leads me to confess.
And She still suggests that I sleep out on the porch once in awhile, just to see if I am still willing. And I am still willing, at least some of the time, as I give her a wink and a smile knowing that She knows more about what is good for me than I do.
God loves me for who I am. He also loves who He expects me to become. And I absolutely adore His Spirit as She counsels me in the way to renovate, renew and remodel this holy dwelling.
Enter into the dream house of God at the center of who you are. There are no guards at the door, no locks, no obstructions. No one controls access to this refuge, this holy place, other than you. Enter into His love. Listen to the soft whisper of His voice beckoning you to explore the many rooms and hallways of the magnificent mansion of God that is within you.
REFLECTION. What is a moment where God showed up in your life and the direction you were headed changed? Pause to reflect upon this. Then end with this prayer:
Now to God, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to God’s power that is at work within us…to you, oh God, be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
TAKE A MOMENT OF SILENCE as you close.