Monthly Archives: February 2016

Dwelling

DSC_0272By Judy Villanueva

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. (Psalm 27:4)

Tax prep-check, load dishwasher-check, shop for dinner-check, doctor appointment-check. Wait.  The man in the hospital elevator wants to talk?  He’s rambling about politics and Donald Trump and then mentions that he is worried about a blood clot in his leg. What?  I become aware that I’m trying to maneuver away from him and suddenly feel compelled to look at his face.  I finally see him!  He says he has multiple auto-immune diseases and talks casually as he lifts his pant leg to show me the area on his calf that is causing concern.  Something holy sweeps over my heart and I finally set aside my “to do” list and hear the Lord say to me, “Dwell, daughter.  Stop.  Linger.  Make a place for Me.”

My favorite definition of the word, dwell, is “to linger over”.  It implies an interested pause whereby we allow ourselves to be still and ponder.  The challenge of the daylight hours is that they are filled with enticements to occupy and preoccupy our minds, hearts, and hands.  Then, of course, there is the voice of our 21st century culture that isn’t bashful about imposing the notion that we are what we do so, DO…and then, do some more!

If we are not careful and prayerful, we will forget how to linger over life…how to pause at God’s urgings, join Him in loving and discover the Divine presence that lingers over us…all the time.

How do we make our lives a place for Jesus?  Where might we dwell to cultivate a Psalm 27:4 heart that yearns for only One thing?

My best guess is that any place where God is can become holy if we’ll linger there and give Him our attention.  What if we slowed down as we read the Word and let it become a place of gazing at God’s beauty rather than simply reading a text?  What if, instead of rushing through days, we endeavored to set a sane pace so that we’d notice God’s movements around us?

What if God really was our one desire?

I wish I could say that I knew just how to minister to the man I met in the elevator.  To be honest, by the time I realized I was on holy ground, we had reached the parking lot and the moment was slipping away.  But, in dwelling there for just those few minutes I felt the weight of God’s love for him and the beauty of it splashed all over my heart!  It made me tearful and grateful — and eager to tarry with Jesus.

“Thank you, Father, for inviting me to dwell with you in my life.  Help me to make my life a place for you.   Shape in me a heart that wants only One thing.  Amen.”

What about you?

How do you do at dwelling?  in a moment?  a passage of scripture?  at a sunset?  with a stranger or friend?

Can you feel God’s invitations to be still and ponder?

How is the pace of your life?  Does it allow you time to stop, linger and make a place for Jesus?

God has made a place for you.

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Worship

Worship!

heart wiminucheBy Judy Villanueva

Psalm 145:3-7

Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised,  and His greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall praise Your works to another,  and shall declare Your mighty acts.  On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
, and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.  Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.  They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
, and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.

I found myself standing by the window early this morning, sipping hot coffee and watching for the sun to announce the new day. Shadows slowly transformed into snow-laden pines and colors of pink, purple and blue emerged on the horizon as if being softly painted by a Master. With each minute that passed the landscape unfolded its splendor and shouted, “Glory!” I looked from east to west and felt the goodness of God reach out and offer me its blessing through glistening snow and frosted mountains that wrapped around me with a happy embrace! A mesmerized witness, I listened as creation declared, “He is worthy! He is good! Worship Him!”

Seeing God, wherever and however we do, creates worship in our hearts. It writes a song that must be sung!   Noticing Him in the world around us, in the things that we might ordinarily pass by, all become invitations to celebrate His goodness! It might be a moment of laughter, a tasty meal, or a warm hug that draws you into awareness of God’s love. It might be the feeling of gratitude that sweeps over you as you hold a child, pay for groceries…or sit by a fire eating heart-shaped brownies with a friend.

All day long we live in moments given to us, each one a grace and each one holding opportunities to see God and feel His touches of love.

On mornings where we stand at windows that display His glory it is an easy song to write, but what about the harder moments in life? What lights the flame of worship when we are hurting?

The Psalms of praise point us, with all our joys and sorrows, at the One who is high and lifted up! Their songs encourage us to worship God in joyful celebration. They ask us to look at the face of God and behold His glorious splendor, abundant goodness, and unfathomable greatness. Their proclamations of God’s faithfulness are unswerving and jubilant! They tell of His power, sing of His righteousness, and help us meditate on His wonderful works.

The fact of God’s faithfulness becomes an unfolding landscape of love that wraps around us with healing grace.

And, out of these musings our songs bubble up and join creation in singing,  “He is worthy!  He is good!  Worship Him!”

“Thank your, Lord, for beautiful mornings and gently painted skies — for heart-shaped brownies, mountain hugs and unfolding landscapes that sing of your glory. Help me to notice you in the moments of this day that offer me your love and grace. Amen.”

What about you?

What draws you into worship?

How did God reach out to you today and offer you His blessings?

Are you able to feel God’s tap on the shoulder that invites you to notice Him in your day?

Muse on the wonders of God and worship!

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Worship