I survived speaking at the church yesterday, as if there was any doubt. However, I had serious doubts that I would speaking with the notes I so carefully prepared. Between power outages, a thunder storm, a server crash, a network crash…and finally, discovering that my printer was out of ink around 10:30 at night, I was beginning to wonder. I finally managed to email it to work and save it on a memory stick. The next morning, traffic was crawling – I haven’t seen it that heavy in months, and I never did find out why. But it gave me time to pray and to listen to the words of a few songs, and I came to accept that even if my notes were unaccessible, God was not and He would provide the message. I just had to trust Him…Thankfully my memory stick didn’t fail me, nor did the power or the printer. The author, Max Lucado, in his book, The Great House of God, compares living our lives in God’s presence to living in God’s house…and he took us on a journey through the Lord’s Prayer – each portion represented by a different room in the house. This is the summary of the book that I shared yesterday.
When it comes to resting the body, there’s no place like home. When it comes to resting the soul, or finding direction, there is no place like the Great House of God. I’m not talking about a building or a structure. I’m talking about lifestyle…living daily in the presence of God by faith. Moses prayed “Lord you have been our home since the beginning” (Ps. 90:1). Imagine God as your home, the place where you can exchange your shoes for your slippers (put on kitty slippers), eat a chocolate bar (break off a piece), and not worry about being seen in your bathrobe (put on bathrobe).
If you could ask God for one thing, what would it be? A new car? A bigger house? A smaller rear end? Fabio?
In Psalm 27, David wrote “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in his temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling”. David’s one thing was to live in the house of God.
David also wrote in Psalm 84, “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you…Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked”.
Most of us are familiar with Psalm 23: “I will live in the house of the Lord forever”. The author simply meant “I never want to be away from God”. He craved the ambience of God’s presence wherever he went, in whatever he was doing…
I email my Mom nearly every day and we usually talk on the phone once a week, but neither way of communicating compares to having a face-to-face conversation over a cup of tea. God wants that from us every day – not a quick chat over coffee, a family meal, or even an evening together. He wants us to move in permanently, to have our own room.
The Lord’s Prayer is meant to be a floor plan, a blueprint for our lives outlining everything that is found in a healthy home – security, protection, love, grace, forgiveness, instruction, belonging, and provision. Then why do so many of us not feel forgiven, safe, loved? The answer is simple…most have not learned to dwell in the great house of God. We enjoy the benefits of the Earth. We know God’s name, His habits, and His expectations. We may visit His presence and sometimes linger there, but we never know His passion – us! We see His face, but we never know His heart.
But we can…we cannot earn a place in His house, but if we confess our sins and ask God to be our Lord and Saviour, God will give us our own place in His house, not just for the rest of this life, but for our eternal life. John 14:1-3 “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 unto me; that where I am, there you may be also”.
Jesus made it all possible when He took our place on the cross. The moment we ask Him to be ours, we become His children and He knows us by name. Jesus promised “If people love me, they will obey my teaching. My Father will love them and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14:23). God invites all to live in His house, but first He wants us to invite Him into our lives. God wants to be the one in whom “we live and move and have our being”. (Acts 17:38)
This is not a house of “dos and do-nots” – it is a house of freedom.
So when you are worried, step into God’s kitchen and He will provide for you.
When you make a mistake, look at the roof – God’s grace will cover you.
When Satan is tempting you, hide behind God’s walls – they will protect you.
When you need instruction, join God in the study and He will teach and direct you.
When you feel overwhelmed by the hurt in the world, or the hurt of a friend, fuel the furnace with your prayers.
When you feel unloved, snuggle with God in the Family Room.
God is a firm foundation you can trust. But if you ever begin to wonder if He would really do any of these things for you, slip into the Observatory and look at the detailed beauty all around you. God spoke that into being for your pleasure, but you – He fashioned you with His bare hands. He dances and sings over you. God wants to make your heart His home…
May you grow so at ease in the House of God that you never want to leave it. And if you should ever find yourself somewhere else, call on God, and He will welcome you back with open arms.
The Great House of God by Max Lucado © 1997, Thomas Nelson Inc., pp. 171-175
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.