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SanctuaryCreating a Blessed Place to Live and Love
By Pamela Bailey
WARNER BOOKSCopyright © 2006 Pamela J. Bailey
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSeek God for Wisdom and Guidance
Today, I will call upon the Lord and I will seek the wisdom of God in the decisions I make concerning my home. I will create a blessed home.
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. PSALM 127
Seeking the wisdom of God is the first and the most important decision one can make in creating a blessed home. Where will I live? Is it time to buy? Will this person make a good roommate for me? Should I live near family or move away from family? These important life changing decisions should be done only after seeking direction from the Lord.
An enormous amount of creativity and skill goes into the design of a house. The architect, the builder, and the interior designer all work together to build a functional living space with skills and expertise they each have obtained through seeking a higher level of knowledge concerning home building.
We, too, have the ability to obtain a greater knowledge beyond that which we already possess. The Bible encourages us to "seek God in all our ways." God's wisdom, as we see throughout the book of Exodus, is infinitely more than book knowledge. This wisdom is referred to in the Scriptures as "wisdom of the heart."It means being inwardly moved or motivated to do and be your best while following the lead of the Lord.
God gave Moses detailed instructions about how to build and furnish the Sacred Tent and told him whom he should use among the people of Israel to do so. In Exodus 35:30, Moses told the children of Israel that the Lord had called Bezaleel by name and He had filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge to create special works for the house of God. The Lord gave Moses the knowledge to select every cup and vessel, design each praise garment, and select the jewels and every yard of fine linen used in the Sanctuary. The children of Israel performed the work as God had commanded it of Moses.
Wisdom of the heart transcends common knowledge. It allows us to create sacred environments that are beyond anything we could create on our own merit.
How can we apply this concept to our own sanctuaries? God will stir up our hearts and allow us to live excellently and in abundance within our own homes if we are willing to do the following:
Pray for guidance in our homes. Luke 18:1 says that we should always pray. It stands to reason that since we cannot be in church all the time because we work, raise families, and go about our daily lives, home plays an important role in our praise and prayer lives.
Listen and wait for instruction. Our flesh often causes us to act too quickly. We make decisions about staying put or leaving our homes because we are angry, hurt, or frustrated. We sometimes move into living situations that are not pleasing to God and are contrary to His word. It may be God's will that we seek another home, but His timing is impeccable. He may very well be setting you up to obtain great things, but if you move too quickly, you may miss God's intended blessing for you.
Be willing and obedient to the word of the Lord. Sometimes God chooses to bless us in radical ways. He will instruct us to move out of our comfort zones-perhaps a neighborhood where we grew up or the city where we have family close by. Genesis 12:1 shows us how God instructed Abram to get out of his country and away from his family to go to a place that God would show him. With this move to a new home, God promised Abram he would be blessed beyond measure. Acting on faith, Abram departed as the Lord had told him to do and as he journeyed along the way, he prayed and called upon the name of the Lord. Consequently, God gave Abram a home greater than Abram could see with the naked eye. Along with the land came the oath that it would belong to Abram and his seed forever.
Malachi and Gwen were faced with a similar decision to stay in a place where they were quite comfortable and complacent, or make a radical move to be obedient to the will of God. Malachi, a Philadelphia native, had worked in the ministry for many years faithfully assisting other pastors. Then one day God let Malachi know that it was time for him to pastor his own church. This new church would be located in North Carolina, away from the family and friends who would so easily support him in a new work. But, God wanted him out of his comfort zone.
Malachi sought God for wisdom through prayer and fasting. Then he put out a fleece before the Lord, asking Him for confirmation before he uprooted his wife and children from the city where they had lived their entire lives. Malachi knew how important their home was to his wife. In the year that they owned their home, she had designed a warm and wonderful environment. She oversaw every detail-even directing the landscaping crew as they strategically placed every shrub and flower in their yard. Gwen knew her husband's history with God, so when Malachi confided to her God's plan for their lives, she trusted that whatever he was led to do would be the right decision for their family.
This decision, however, did not come without opposition. First, the couple learned from the real estate agent that their home had not appreciated in value in the one year they had owned it. If the agent was successfully able to sell their home, the bank would get the bulk of the proceeds and they would still owe the agent for thousands of dollars in commission fees. Then, Malachi traveled to the city that would be their new home to look for work only to find the prospects were grim. Ironically, he had just been promoted on his old job and now as he was preparing to move to North Carolina, job opportunities in Philadelphia began to pour in. Still he remained strong in his resolve and prepared his family for the move.
He accepted a job in North Carolina at just slightly more than half of his previous salary. He moved his family to a small and crowded apartment, reassuring his wife that whatever they sacrificed for the ministry, God would reward them many times over. One evening they got a telephone call from their real estate agent in Philadelphia. Knowing the family's mission to birth a ministry, the agent was calling them to forgive the nearly four-thousand dollar commission fee that was owed to him. "You are such good people," he said. "I am sure you can use that money for the new church, so I am tearing up the bill."
After laboring to build the ministry for more than a year, the couple decided to buy a new home. As they began their search, Gwen wandered into a great neighborhood; there sat a beautiful house in the middle of a large corner lot, and it had recently been placed on the market for sale. It was grander and more spacious than the home that she left behind. The fenced backyard would be the perfect place for the children to romp around.
As a formality, she looked throughout the city for suitable houses, but she always came back to this one. When she contacted the seller's agent to inquire about the selling price, she soon realized that the home was way out of their price range, but she remembered her husband's words about God rewarding obedience many times over. So, undaunted by the high asking price, Gwen began to drive by the home daily. She would park in front of the house and pray about it. Finally, she made an appointment with the agent to see the home. Once inside, she knew that this house had to be hers.
As they continued their search, Gwen secretly claimed the home that she had already found as their own. In her mind, she plotted out the new landscaping design. She imagined the children's rooms painted in colorful hues, selected to match their individual personalities. She sketched out ideas for new draperies and window-shopped for new furniture that would fit perfectly into the upstairs nook between the family's bedrooms.
Then the homeowner suddenly took a job in another city and was anxious to sell the house so that he could purchase another. Able to negotiate the contract within their price range, Gwen and Malachi moved into the home of their dreams.
a€¢ Acknowledge that you do not have the answers to every problem and situation that may arise in your home.
a€¢ Keep in mind that there is no challenge too hard or too small for God. Ask Him to give you wisdom when you are making decisions about major investments like a home. There may be hidden things that you are not privy to, such as troubles within a neighborhood or undetected structural problems in the foundation of the home. There is also the possibility He may help you obtain a home in a different way than you ever imagined. You may learn about the perfect apartment community from a friend or coworker, or you may choose to buy a home through a real estate auction or a bank foreclosure. You may be blessed to finance your dream home in ways other than traditional lending institutions, or God may provide a way to pay off your mortgage without a loan and own it outright.
a€¢ Know who is really the head of your house. You may pay the bills and select the furniture, but know that God is in total control. Learn to relax and rest in Him.
a€¢ Finally, be willing to accept what God allows. Be open to whatever answers He gives you, even when they seem to put you at a disadvantage. The Bible tells us that "the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord."
David loved King Saul. Saul, however, feared him because God was with him. David behaved himself wisely when he was in the king's home. As Saul's son-in-law, David lived among the king's riches with many servants at his disposal. Yet there was no peace for him in that home.
Saul's heart was not right toward David, and he unjustly sought to kill the brave warrior while he lay asleep in his bed. God used the king's own children to warn David and later aid him in his escape from Saul's home and his wrath.
God may sometimes make things around you so uncomfortable that you have no other choice than to seek Him in finding and creating your own blessed home.
Make a list of concerns about which you are seeking guidance for in your home.
1. 2. 3. 4.
What kinds of things can you consciously do to remind yourself to seek the wisdom of God in your home (e.g., placing your Bible out on a reading table or next to your favorite chair rather than tucking it away in a drawer)?
Find an enjoyable way to make seeking God's wisdom a normal part of your daily routine. For example, try reading your Bible while you sip your evening cup of tea or before an early morning jog. What other things can you do to connect seeking wisdom with the idea of enjoyment?
In all things give thanks. Thank God for at least one thing about your home environment every day!
Excerpted from Sanctuary by Pamela Bailey Copyright © 2006 by Pamela J. Bailey. Excerpted by permission.
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