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Making God your dwelling place during this life changing Covid-19 season we are in.

Psalm 91
 
Hi all, I am not a huge writer as you have probably guessed but more of a talker so this has taken me a while to write particularly as I keep recovering.  Also I am less of instant chatting and more thinking and longer writing!
Firstly loving the idea of declaring Psalm 91, and just wanted to share some thoughts around this.
As Elaine said especially verse 9.  If you say “The Lord is my refuge” and you make the Most high your dwelling.  V10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.  V11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
I love how these verses speaks of us making the Lord most High our refuge and dwelling.  A good question is in this season what does it look like to dwell in Him?  The whole Covid-19 lockdown has changed a lot of how we do life, the main change is that we can’t all gather together in person on a Sunday or midweek (as well as changes for some of us including working from home, home schooling etc, or just being at home more without work to do).  What does it look like to make Him our dwelling place?
 As you know I love my outdoor activities I have been tempted to buy an emergency shelter so that if something went wrong while paddle boarding or something I could swim to shore and then use an instant shelter to stay warm and out of the elements if needed.  The thing is to feel the benefit of the shelter I would actually need to get into the shelter and not just carry it around.  I have been thinking that in the current covid 19 storm what does it look like to take shelter in God during this season. Then as I think more, God challenged me on not making changes that are only sustainable in the short term or that are only because of this storm.  Instead God has been speaking on using this storm as the opportunity for a reset, to put in changes in how I live that will last long term, that are sustainable and will mean that when this storm ends He will still be my resting place, and when the next storm arrives bigger or smaller He will still be my resting place.  The pace of life has gone from really fast for most of us to an awful lot slower.  This slow pace of life means that I can introduce new habits, the danger is I can fill my time with lots of new things, like exercising lots at home or watching loads of Netflix, or all my time gardening.  But for me if I do this then I believe I have missed out on the oppurtunity that God is saying to make me His dwelling place, not just now but habits and patterns that will impact the rest of my life. 
Have you ever tried to change someone’s behaviour or your behaviour.  The best way to do it at first is to be really intentional and it takes a lot of time and energy and then once it has become a habit then the effort reduces.  I feel like this storm creates the oppurtunity for us to be intentional about changes that normally we wouldn’t have the time to do. 
Would you like to make Him your dwelling place not just for now but in a way that impacts the rest of your life? And if so what changes to do you need to make for this to happen? 
To help you have a think, here’s some of the things we as a family have decided.  For us our lifestyle has massively improved since self isolation and lockdown.  We are eating better, and at a more regular time everyday, we are exercising most days, we are watching a lot less tv, we are listening to more worship music and worshipping more, we are listening to other preaches more, we are reading our Bibles more, we are doing a Bible study with Josh about learning to take his thoughts captive.  We believe that our new rhythms are healthier than some of our old rhythms, but not only that I believe that our new rhythms line up with us wanting to make Jesus our dwelling place.  We want to be a family that dwell in His presence in the storm and out of the storm so we need to make sure our new rhythms are sustainable.  There is no 3 hour bike rides that when kids go back to school we won’t have time to do.  There is no 6am worship/prayer as we will just be too tired to function.  Our good habits include going to bed at sensible time, getting up at sensible time.  Why because our heart is to take the forced changes that have happened to us and use them to our advantage to make Him a dwelling place, not just in the storm but for the rest of our lives. 
I have been caught by not meeting as a church causing us to suddenly think, who is going to teach my child about God?  How I am going to worship without Sunday worship?  How am I going to get taught and grow.  For me the answer is I am going to take responsibility to make sure I make Him a dwelling place.  It’s my responsibility to disciple my kids and teach them in the ways of the Lord it is not the churches even though Elaine, Sara and Sarah do a great job.  My heart is that the habits I start in this season I maintain that we keep studying the Bible as a family.  We keep worshiping more.  I am taking responsibility to worship to pursue Him.  I have written loads more than I thought.  
I understand that we are all in different places in life and different situations so my challenge for you is what does it look like to make Him your dwelling place, your refuge not just during this storm but to take this oppurtunity to either reset, or to go deeper than before, to start habits that become a long term lifestyle change of making Him your dwelling place.  I am aware that it might be a season for somethings that won’t be long term and I encourage you to do what God is saying on these things.  But I also believe that what God is speaking to us about is not just for us.
I am excited for when we gather back together as a church as I believe that we won’t be the same people as when we last meet, because we have all chosen to use this time to make Him our dwelling place and as we have done this we have grown more in love with, be changed by Him, that I trust and follow Him more than I did before.  I really see us finding our first love again with Him.  I believe that these are exciting times, life changing times, but not in the way the world sees it, but in the way that we fall in love with Him and see the promises listed in v10 and 11.  No harm come to our tent.  That we will see Gods amazing protection, provision and have loads of stories of His goodness and miracles in our lives.  Feel free to share what changes you are making to make Him your dwelling place in this storm but for the rest of your life.
Hopefully this has been helpful and got you thinking just like I am thinking.  I have it on my heart to do some stuff on how to say at peace in this season, so will do some more writing or maybe some short videos.    What would you prefer to read stuff or watch a video?  Please let me know? Or maybe I do a bit of both.
 
Paul