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Where the Heart Is

“The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

This is a nice home that each of you have here to live in. You have folks here that look after you and assure you that you will have shelter and a hot meal to nourish your bodies each day. Bridget is a strong woman of the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and has the gift of God’s love in her heart, as well as everyone here on her staff. You live in the comfort of friends to fellowship with, which in the good and bad provide good comradery amongst your community. This truly is a “Pleasant Manor.”

Your physical and emotional wellbeing is cared for here in this wonderful place and maybe someday I will have the privilege of joining you here to abide. As pleasant as this manor is it is not your final destination, it is not the final destination for any of us here this afternoon. We are only here for a short time and I want to talk about the destination of our short journey through this world to the eternal world of tomorrow. I have to ask the question to you and I, is God our eternal dwelling place? Are we being lifted up by the everlasting arms of His love? Do we have the peace of soul in trusting in the promises of God’s Word? Are we as close to Him as He is to us?

I find myself often far too short sighted in my daily activities. I am much too busy going about my day assuring the provision for my physical needs. I find myself highly involved in chasing that buck, supporting the ones who depend upon me, and assuring that they have food, shelter, and clothing. I do these things for them and I also do these things for myself. The Lord has blessed my efforts as those and I have that which we need. But I am burdened that we all our suffering spiritual malnourishment. We become so caught up in this temporal place and give little attention to the eternal home that we will abide in through the ages.

The Prophet Jeremiah wrote to the Jewish nation this warning from God. For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) Many of us assume that we can come to God’s presence and take a few sips of the living waters and then leave Him and go about our life. People who go to Church on Sunday with their Bibles open and then go home to place their Bibles on the shelf to collect dust till the next Sunday are living in spiritual starvation. Can we eat but one meal a week? We are so holy for one hour on Sunday and then so worldly for the other 167 hours of the week. No wonder there is not power in our lives.

God sent His Son Jesus that through Him our relationship with God could be restored. Our rebellion against His word had broken our relationship and Jesus paid in full the price of our sin. Through this act of love we can now have fellowship with God our heavenly Father. Jesus gave us this new commandment. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) We are to have fellowship with God and with one another.

When we have fellowship we are dwelling with the one we are fellowshipping with. This world is not our dwelling, our dwelling is with God in His Kingdom. We are just sojourning here, we are just passing through, and our destination is in the presence of God. This is His desire to have constant communion with Him and we should “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) If we talk to God expressing our joys and sorrows, then we are fellowshipping with Him. We are making Him our dwelling place. Our life in eternity is not a hope that we long for in the future, it is a present reality of the here and now. Let us look at this verse from the Gospel of John. “And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28) Two things to notice here, Jesus said “I give eternal life,” not I will but I give. Our life is eternal, not tomorrow but now. And Jesus said “no one will snatch them out of my hand,” our eternal life is assured.

Our attitude then is we are in eternity sojourning through a passing world to the Kingdom of Heaven. But, we do not have to wait till we get home to be in our Father’s presence because through Christ we can commune with Him now through prayer. This is what God desires, to have communion with you and me. Let us look at an encouraging verse about God as our dwelling place. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. For you have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.” (Psalm 91:1, 9)

When I was five years old I went to Miami to visit my Grandmother. There I had a friend named Russell. He was ten and he was big and he played basketball down at the park. On the way to the park I was being a hyper five year old and would run ahead of him and then get distracted by the sights of the big city and fall behind. I would look into the shop windows and there I saw a television. Never before had I seen a television. I was watching Howdy Doody. But I had to say bye Howdy, as Russell was way ahead of me. At the park he would play and I would run around and explore. After the game it was dark and I was scared and Russell would hold my hand on the way home. Russell was my strength and courage on the dark streets of Miami. When we live in the shelter of strength we have courage. If while traveling through this darkened world we would dwell in the shelter of the Most High we would have the courage and security in the shadow of the Almighty God. This we should do to give us peace.

It is our choice to make the Lord our dwelling place. If we abide with Him, then He will provide for all our needs and train us up to live Godly lives through our knowledge of Him. Think for a moment is there anyone whom you have known that would be a better presence to be in than the Lord God Almighty? I have met many good and not so good people but all have left me wanting. The Lord God Almighty is Jehovah Jireh my provider. When I dwell in the presence of my God and Heavenly Father I am in the splendor of His majesty and live my life in godliness. I can do this through the power of Jesus Christ. “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3)

If our hearts desire is to dwell in the presence of the Lord, to live in the shelter of His Almighty Presence, then know that this is His desire for us also. This is the purpose for which we are, to fellowship with our Creator. He will place you in His hand and none can snatch you away from Him. As we travel through this troubled world God will be your refuge. “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” (Psalm 18:2)

Does your heart desire to dwell in the presence of God? Is there a greater desire than to be with Him? Does each moment of fellowship that you have with God become a treasure that satisfies your soul that leaves you desiring ever more? If so, then draw ever nearer and He will satisfy your heart’s desire. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) The greatest assurance is to have the everlasting arms of God lifting you from the mire of this world we are in to the home where are treasure is. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Pleasant Manor, August 29, 2015

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