Our Dwelling Place

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” –A Prayer of Moses, Hebrew prophet, teacher and leader, 13th Century BC, found in Psalm 90
This morning I read a devotion that I want to share from a book titled, 31 Days of Encouragement as We Grow Older,” by Ruth Myers (1928-2010), who was a missionary with The Navigators, a popular conference speaker, and author. Before I go any further, you don’t have to be “older” to benefit from this devotion, although the audience that this particular devotional book was written for is, well, let’s just say, in their senior years (60+). But don’t let that stop you from reading it and the rest of the blog post if you are younger or even much younger then 60. 

The devotion I read is found on “Day 7” (pp. 37-40) and it is titled, “Everlasting”:

God is eternally God, “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2).

Try stepping into His timelessness and pause there–resting there from the constant pressures of time. Gain perspective as you meditate on how brief and momentary life is.

The Lord is not impressed by how much we squeeze into our days. In the end, He won’t reward is for how busy and pressured we were–for how many items we’ve checked off our list, whether paper or mental. He’ll judge is for how much we loved Him… by how much we trusted Him… and by how much we obeyed Him, including His commands to trust, to rest, to be still, to look above and beyond the demands of the visible world.

The Lord has been “our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalm 90:1). He was the dwelling place of all who have gone before us, who by faith were through financial depressions, wars, traumatic natural disasters, dark valleys, multiplied dangers. By faith we can see Him above and beyond all else, as Moses did, “choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).

In the pressures we continually face, we can depend on our everlasting God and Father to help us adopt the Jesus-focused perspective Paul had:

We are hard pressed on every side, but it crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NIV).

We’re to fix our eyes on Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Psalm 90 is a good psalm of repentance for older people whose years have been marked by the failure to give priority to the everlasting God–not believing Him, not seeking Him, not depending on Him, not glorifying Him. Please take a moment to read through the psalm today.

In God’s sight a thousand years is as a day–and a day is as a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8). It’s never too late to put goodness and mercy and glory for God into one’s final season of Life–Not it a day or a decade or half a century. His view of time is vastly different from ours.

It’s never too late to turn our lives over to Him “from now on.” Moses’s prayer in Psalm 90:14-17 (ESV) can guide us in this commitment:

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
    that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,

    and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants,

    and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,

    and establish the work of our hands upon us;
    yes, establish the work of our hands!

Whatever else life may or may not bring; the Lord, the everlasting God, gives permanence in a transient world.

“Lord, our days as human beings are like grass. As a flower of the field, so we flourish for a time, until the wind passes over and it is gone, and its place remembers it no longer. But Your mercy is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear You (see Psalm 103:14-17).

“How I praise You, Lord, that Your “favor is for a lifetime” (Psalm 30:5)–and for the endless ages of eternity.” (Quote source: “31 Days of Encouragement,” pp. 37-40.)

As I read that devotion, knowing that I was raised in the church from the time I was born several decades ago, I realized that some of my readers might not know exactly what the Christian life is supposed to be like. There are a lot of “external” things we might notice, like church attendance, but what does it really means to live a Christian life?

GotQuestion.org provides an answer to that question:

The Christian life is supposed to be a life lived by faith. It is by faith that we enter into the Christian life, and it is by faith that we live it out. When we begin the Christian life by coming to Christ for forgiveness of sin, we understand that what we seek cannot be obtained by any other means than by faith. We cannot work our way to heaven, because nothing we could ever do would be sufficient. Those who believe they can attain eternal life by keeping rules and regulations—a list of do’s and don’ts—deny what the Bible clearly teaches. “But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is clear, for, ‘The just shall live by faith’” (Galatians 3:11). The Pharisees of Jesus’ day rejected Christ because He told them this very truth, that all their righteous deeds were worthless and that only faith in their Messiah would save them.

In Romans 1, Paul says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power that saves us, the gospel being the good news that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. When we enter into the Christian life by faith in this good news, we see our faith grow as we come to know more and more about the God who saved us. The gospel of Christ actually reveals God to us as we live to grow closer to Him each day. Romans 1:17 says, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” So part of the Christian life is diligent reading and study of the Word, accompanied by prayer for understanding and wisdom and for a closer, more intimate relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.

The Christian life is also supposed to be one of death to self in order to live a life by faith. Paul told the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Being crucified with Christ means that we consider our old nature as having been nailed to the cross and we choose to live in the new nature, which is Christ’s (2 Corinthians 5:17). He who loved us and died for us now lives in us, and the life we live is by faith in Him. Living the Christian life means sacrificing our own desires, ambitions, and glories and replacing them with those of Christ. We can only do this by His power through the faith that He gives us by His grace. Part of the Christian life is praying to that end.

The Christian life is also supposed to persevere to the end. Hebrews 10:38-39 addresses this issue by quoting from the Old Testament prophet Habukkuk: “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” God is not pleased with one who “draws back” from Him after making a commitment, but those who live by faith will never draw back, because they are kept by the Holy Spirit who assures us that we will continue with Christ until the end (Ephesians 1:13-14). The writer of Hebrews goes on to verify this truth in verse 39: “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” The true believer is one who believes to the end.

So the Christian life is one lived by faith in the God who saved us, empowers us, seals us for heaven, and by whose power we are kept forever. The day-to-day life of faith is one that grows and strengthens as we seek God in His Word and through prayer and as we unite with other Christians whose goal of Christlikeness is similar to our own. (Quote source here.)

Of course, this leads to the question, “What does it mean to live by faith?” Again, GotQuestions.org provides the answer:

The book of Galatians was a corrective letter written by Paul to the people within the region of Galatia. The Christians there were being convinced that the law of Moses must be followed even though such legalistic demands are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:213:1–5). The people of Galatia were “deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6, NASB). Ultimately, this “different gospel” taught that, while Christ may have declared the Christian righteous at the point of belief, one was still required to live a life under the burden of the Mosaic Law. The people of Galatia were living according to the works of the law, not by faith, and Paul sets for them the example of how to “live by faith” (Galatians 2:20).

Whenever someone believes the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3–5), that person is identified with Christ in the past (being positionally declared righteous), present (growing into righteousness), and future (being presented as perfectly righteous). Both the past and present aspects are seen in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Paul contrasts living by faith with dying to the law: “through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God” (verse 19). This truth is further expounded in Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (NASB). The implied answer is “no!” It is by faith, apart from the law, that one is presently being perfected.

Paul utilizes the concept of beingin Christ(or “in the Lord”) 13 times in the book of Galatians. Instances of this point to the position of the Christian church (Galatians 1:22); the freedom the Christian has because of Christ (Galatians 2:4); the justification one receives through Christ (verse 17); the means by which one should live (verse 20); etc. (for all instances, see Galatians 1:163:141926285:6106:14).

The idea that we live by faith focuses on the present aspect of the Christian’s identity in Christ. In Galatians 2:20, Paul utilizes the phrase “in the body,” pointing specifically to the physical life of the Christian, as lived “now.” Living by faith is an act that takes place while the Christian is alive on the earth. This idea of presently being “in Christ” is critical to living by faith.

What is the object of the faith by which one should live? Paul continues in Galatians 2:20, “and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (NASB, emphasis added). The object of the belief, trust, or faith by which the Christian is to live is Jesus Christ! To live by faith is to live trusting Jesus, who loved us to the point of dying in our place (John 3:16), purchasing our salvation. This trust should be a constant throughout the life of the believer.

The Galatians were being told to live by works, ultimately placing the power in themselves. The gospel tells us that Jesus accomplished the necessary work; Jesus paid the price, and it is through Jesus that the Christian has freedom and power to live as he or she ought. The Christian is justified by faith in Jesus (Galatians 3:10–14Romans 4:3Titus 3:5), progressively made holy by faith in Jesus (Galatians 2:20Titus 2:11–15), and glorified because of faith in Jesus (Romans 8:128–30). All praise, honor, and glory are given to Jesus Christ, the savior of the world (1 John 2:1–2). (Quote source here.)

As we can see, this applies to everyone of any age as 2 Peter 3:9 states:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

And that’s very good news. I’ll end this post with the words from Jesus in Matthew 11:28Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened…

And I . . .

Will give you . . .

Rest . . . .

YouTube Video: “God of Wonders” by Third Day:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here

 

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