Dwelling on God through the New Year

At this time of the year many of us make resolutions, a promise to yourself that you will do something you should do. Few of us turn those resolutionKariss Lynch New Year 2015s into goals, and even fewer of us write those goals down. Statistics prove the goals which are written down are 95% more likely to be accomplished than those which are not.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could all accomplish our goals?

Many years back, my husband and I heard a sermon from Dr. Charles Stanley of Atlanta, Ga.  He recommended a plan in which couples take time to plan at the end of each year, and set goals in at least five different areas of our life:  financial, physical, professional, personal, and spiritual; and many others have similar categories from which to choose.

Lots of experts in the field have different recommendations for financial goals such as saving for: retirement, our children’s education, vacations, or following a budget, etc. Few of those experts tend to note there are numerous scriptural references about our finances, with over 2200 references in the book of Proverbs alone! I only wish I were able to conquer all of these!

Many of us tend to start in January with goals for getting physically fit, such as getting in shape, or loosing weight. Some of us may even set professional goals and others even for  personal improvement.

All of the above goals are important; however, few of us take the time to even think about the most important goal of all, our spiritual growth. Do we want to grow in our relationship with God? Have we even read the Bible in its entirety? How do we know God’s direction for our lives if we do not dwell in His Word? What kind of spiritual legacy do we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?

God cares about every segment of our life and wants nothing but good for us. (Jeremiah 29:11)  I have witnessed greed, infidelity, divorce, and various other life circumstances within my own family as well as others which has caused heartache and brokenness. Only by abiding and dwelling in His Word do we recognize areas of  sinfulness we need to overcome, and we can, but only with His assistance.

Dr. Robert Jeffress has a plan recommended in his book Spiritual Essentials which is good to use to make God’s word a part of your life and spiritual goals for 2017.  He recommends we:

  1. Set aside a period of time for reading God’s word.
  2. Designate a place to meet with God.
  3. Choose a translation that speaks to you. (ex. New American Standard Bible, New King James, etc).
  4. Learn to distinguish between principles or general truths such as “Be Holy”(Leviticus 11:44) and precepts or specific commands which apply to us like not stealing nor gossiping.
  5. Keep a prayer journal.
  6. Establish a program for reading through the Bible, book a month, etc.

It is my prayer that we all will take time to make a plan (Proverbs 21:5) for all of the above areas for 2017, but especially to plan our spiritual growth in order to start down the road to a deeper and more rewarding relationship with our Heavenly Father than you can ever imagine! In a world that is sometimes upside down in thoughts and actions, how can we survive without the knowledge and wisdom found from dwelling on His Word?


All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:16-17.

About the writer:
Beverly has been an educator, administrator, educational sales representative, Sunday school teacher, and mentor; but most importantly she is a wife, mother, and grandmother with a passion for sharing Christ through working with Yada Yada in Women’s ministry of First Baptist Dallas.

My Refuge, My Fortress

To dwell is to inhabit as a permanent resident, to keep the attention directed on one place. This word perfectly describes my heart’s daily desire. Though my heart wants to abide in His Word, His presence and His will each day, the struggle to do so is real. With three kids who demand much attention, my heart’s desire is often times squelched by screaming voices, chiming phones, and a to do list much longer than the day can accommodate.Dwell

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:

Dwelling in a shelter is offered to me each day and abiding in the shadow of the Almighty provides relief that can only come from one place of refuge, one fortress, our heavenly Father. Do I wake up each day thinking, “I get to abide in Him today,” or “Man, I’m giving all of my attention to the Lord today!” No, let’s be real, I’m usually awakened by a sippy cup hitting my head or a small person crawling onto me with a wet diaper. Those days when I do sleep until the alarm goes off first, my feet don’t just bound from bed. I often feel worn out before I even start. And when I awake worn out, why am I not seeking My Refuge instantly? Why am I not standing in the shadow of the Almighty right out of the gate?

As women we must be conscious of where we dwell, moment by moment. We must take note of where we find refuge.  Are we finding validation and strength from the perfect picture of the kids posted to Facebook? Are we seeking refuge at the coffee shop with other women as we compare our lives to others? Or, are we seeking Him, daily, moment by moment and dwelling in His Word and everlasting love?

When times get tough late in the day, or you wake up exhausted simply because the season of your life right now, remember and remind one another to dwell in the Lord. Encourage each other to have some quiet time with the Lord today. Point one another to Christ, who is the source of our strength. Stand in the gap with one another as we dwell in the shelter of the Most High.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:6

About the Author:
Tamie is a stay at home wife and mom of three kids with autism. She is a member of First Baptist Dallas and enjoys spending time hanging out at home with her family or at a quiet dinner with girlfriends. Tamie is passionate about encouraging other woman in their daily walk with the Lord.

Dwelling Place of God

 

In John 1, two new disciples of Jesus, when first meeting Him, asked, “Where are you staying?” Jesus answered, “Come on over,” and they hung out together at Jesus’ place the rest of the day. If Jesus kept a scrapbook entitled “My Dwelling Place,” surely pictures of that seemingly insignificant day would fill a few pages. It’s exactly why He left His “Ivory Palace” in Heaven – to dwell among His people and have them hang out at His place.

There were few visits from God to men, until Moses built the tabernacle during the wilderness trip from Egypt to the Promised Land. He built it according to God’s very detailed plans and for this purpose: “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8.) It was to be a “tent of meeting,” where God could meet with His people.

holy of holies            Every detail was special, none more so than its most sacred room, the Holy of Holies where the very presence of God would reside. The grand crescendo of the book of Exodus records God’s moving-in-day when His Glory filled the tabernacle. Photo-op! More pictures for the scrapbook!

There were even more opportunities for pictures five centuries later when Solomon replaced the tent with a permanent temple. 2 Chronicles 7 records the special day when God moved into His new place, His glory again filled the temple and all the people bowed to the ground in praise and worship. “How lovely are your dwelling places” (Psalm 84:1a), and many songs echo the message of the joy of spending time at that temple where the glorious presence of God actually resided. Sadly over the next four centuries, the hearts of God’s people grew cold, and they quit coming to visit God. Their abandonment led to the dramatic and sad departure of the glory of God from the temple, as recorded in Ezekiel 10:18 and Ezekiel 11:23. That temple was destroyed, later replaced with a smaller temple, and later with Herod’s Temple – no Glory of God in there.

Then. . . . “The word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory.” (John 14:1a).  This marvelous visitation of God with us (Emmanuel), the beginning of which we celebrate today as the most special time of the year, Christmas. Throughout his ministry here on earth, Jesus dwelt among the people, as recorded in the four Gospels.

When He returned to the Father after his death and resurrection, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell inside us. Amazing! No wonder the Apostle Paul called it the great mystery hidden for ages and revealed now – Christ in you – the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27)  Later Paul also reminded us that we are the temple of God! Like a building of many stones, all believers are a part of God’s new temple. (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them. Revelation 21:3

Photo opportunity! When we die, only those who have trusted in the risen Christ as their savior will be in heaven. Make sure you’re in the picture! All have sinned, (Romans 3:23) but good news, Christ paid the price, died for our sins (Romans 5:8), and gave us a precious gift, if we will only receive it (John 1:12).   Hopefully you will be there to smile and say… “Heaven!”

About the Writer:
Ruthe serves as the Director of Truett Memorial Library at First Baptist Dallas, where you can find much more information pertaining to the love of God, as well as the stories behind the songs we sing in church. Please visit us, or see our website at http://www.firstdallas.org/library.

Rewards in Heaven

crown_000001I can always use a little motivation to get me going!  And the Bible supplies some great motivation for me to do the good works God has prepared beforehand (Ephesians 2:10).  Here are some verses that point to the rewards in heaven for what we do here on earth:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.  2 Timothy 4:7-8

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.   I Peter 5:4 

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  James 1:12

We will receive crowns as rewards.  What joy!  What sweet motivation to be recognized for our faithfulness!  What will we do with those crowns?  We see a glimpse of what we will do in Revelation 4:10 “the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne. . . . ”

You see, heaven is a place of great reward.  It is a place where every tear will be wiped away (Revelation 21:4).  But all the rewards we will receive pale in comparison to the glory of Jesus and seeing Him as He is (1 John 3:2).  What assurance it is to know that my Jesus is greater than any reward I could ever receive.  He is worthy to receive glory and honor and power.  For He created all things and because of his will they existed and were created (Revelation 4:11).  He rescued me from sin and is my all.

About the writer:
Caroline is a wife and mom who loves Jesus.  She also has a career in commercial real estate investing.  God has given her a heart for encouraging other women.  She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class, at First Baptist Dallas.