Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Week Thirteen - Dwell


“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”  Psalm 4:8

“Now I lay me down to sleep…” is a child’s prayer based on this Scripture.  When I think about heading off to sleep I know that I have to be settled and situated before I can drift off peacefully.  Any lumps or drafts will keep me shifting until everything is in the right place.  That is not only true for the physical side of preparing to sleep, but also for the mental side.  I have to get my mind to shut off and settled down to the business of resting and allowing sleep to come.

That usually comes in the form of a prayer asking the Lord to care for my mind and to give me a good night’s sleep.  I know that only when I am resting in Him will my body and mind relax.  Being settled and situated with the Lord means I can find the peace and comfort necessary.  Only He can give me the assurance that everything is okay and I am safe to lay back and rest in that promise.

This is a great blessing, and one that we often take for granted.  Not everyone in the world can simply lie down and rest in the knowledge that God has everything in control.  Not everyone has the privilege of a safe home and a warm, comfy bed.  Not everyone has peace of heart and peace of mind.

However, as a child of God, there is rarely any reason for us not to enjoy the pleasure of rest in the Lord and the knowledge of safety under His protection.  We ought to be thankful.  And, we ought to be praying for those who are sleeping rough, in the midst of warzones, or living under threat.  When we consider these poor folks, what do we have to fuss and stew about?


“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”  Colossians 3:16

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…”  Ephesians 3:17

To live in, reside or settle is the meaning of dwell.  Christ’s Word and Christ Himself living in, residing with and settled in our hearts and lives is exactly what these verses are saying.

I like the way Matthew Henry puts it.  “The word of Christ must dwell in us, or keep house, not as a servant but as a master.  It must dwell in us; that is, be always ready and at hand to us in everything.  It must dwell in us richly; not only keep house in our hearts, but keep a good house…The soul prospers when the word of God dwells in it richly….to make us good Christians.”

God’s Word will accomplish things in our lives.  If it is the guider of our house, it will be active in cleaning, sorting, decorating, and managing.  It will leave evidence of its effect.  The more we allow it to be the guide, the more beautiful and abundant our house will become.

In order for Christ and His Word to dwell in us we must be in Him and in His Word.  Salvation is initially necessary and the reading and memorizing of God’s Word must follow that.  There is no substitute for knowing God’s Word by heart.  The Word that is known and real to you will have an affect on you.  It will come to you and be an encourager and admonisher.  It will guide you in decisions and help you avoid temptation.  It becomes a tool as well as a master. 

We are admonished to be skillful in the Word, to hide it in our hearts, to divide it rightly and to measure our lives by its rule.  The richness comes in seeing the true worth of the Word and by treasuring its depth and beauty.

Do you know this depth and beauty?  Is Christ’s Word alive in your heart and life?  What riches do you have through the Word?  Does His Word adorn and direct your home?


“…If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”  I John 4:12 &13

Here, in both instances, the word means to stay, abide, or remain, with the idea of a state that begins and continues.  This is definitely a spiritual union.  The God of love abides in His children.  He has given them His Spirit, the spirit of love, so they can exhibit this love to others and thereby show that they are His. 
But the thing that fascinates me is the idea of this state that begins and continues.  Our beginning with God was at salvation when he gave us of his Spirit, and our continuance is to be this outpouring of love to others that we have experienced that shows His permanent residence in our lives. I am to love others.  However, it is not my love, but His.  Somehow, my obedience in loving others fulfills His love.  Like centrifugal force, the God of love began showing love and His love continues through us.  How amazing.

It also tells me that the love that brought me to salvation will continue in my life.  He took up residence with me, and I took up residence with Him.  Let no man put asunder – and no man can.  He dwells with me – He stays, abides and remains.  And I?


“I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.”  Proverbs 8:12

What a funny little proverb!  Initially it makes me cringe because there ought to be some punctuation corrected.  I, wisdom, dwell with prudence…but that is not how it is drafted in the KJV.  I will have to over look that and move on to the real meaning behind the considered word, dwell.  It means to live among, make a home or settle in.

Wisdom is living with prudence.  Wisdom is skill.  Prudence is cunning, or, a quickness of apprehension, the penetrating consideration that precedes action. Wisdom and prudence work together to discover schemes that are eschew or deceptive. Skill and cunning make quite a pair.

Skill without cunning is like being able to push all the necessary buttons to get through a computer game, but never being able to anticipate when the baddie will jump out and take your life.  On the other hand, cunning without skill is like the player who sees all the dangers on the peripheral, but doesn’t understand the tactics of the game.

We need both skill and cunning, not only to succeed at computer games, but also to succeed in life.  It takes skill to navigate our path.  We need to have a good grasp on the basics of life and an understanding about the value of life.  We also need to have our senses honed into right and wrong, good and bad, profitable and unprofitable if we are to be successful.  We need the ability of cunning – the ability to foresee danger and to think before we act.

These two qualities should be in our lives.  They are God-given skills and ones that are sharpened by His Word and His Spirit.  Without them we will not see the dangers on our path or the consequences of our decisions in time to avoid hurts.

How about you? Are you living skillfully and cunningly?  Wisely and Prudently?


“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge…” 
I Peter 3:7

All sorts of jokes are told about men understanding women.  I will spare you these.  The definition of dwell here is simply, to live with; not simply put up with. 

I want my husband to live with me.  And, I want to live with him.  We are mutually responsible to make life happy and fulfilling for each other.  We will both have good days and bad days, times of success and times of failure, times when our hopes are met and times when our hopes are disappointed.  To live with someone means going through these experiences together. 

I want my husband to be there for me, and I want to be there for him.  I need his support and comfort just as he needs mine.  I need to know that he will care for me, and he needs to know that I will care for his needs as well.  Living with someone means that you will strive not only to meet their needs, but to anticipate them as well.

I want my husband to empower me to succeed, and I want to empower him to succeed.  I need him to help me grow and mature and he needs me to do the same for him.  I need him to point out my weaknesses and show me how to gain strength.  He needs the same from me.  Living with someone does not mean “putting up with them”, it means being a real part in their lives and lovingly helping them to succeed and grow.

Marriage could be described as a traffic way. A one way street – all taking and no giving. A single carriage way – both going in opposite directions and just passing in the night. Or, a dual carriage way – travelling alongside each other in the same direction.  It isn’t a race, you know.  It is a journey; a journey made with another person.  How we dwell together makes a difference.

Are you living with or putting up with your spouse?  Are you in competition with them?  Are you bumping bumpers as you travel along?  Why not make some real adjustments to your perceptions and ask the Lord to set you on the right road?

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