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DEVOTION

A Dwelling Place for God

By Cathy Irvin


You may have heard terms such as “we are a vessel" or “we are a sanctuary" and wondered what they meant. These words often describe Christians. One song we sing is, “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true.” When we pray, we might ask God to make us a vessel of honor. Both of these words can mean a dwelling for the presence of God.

We need to know that it is our hearts that should be dwelling places for the Lord. As we fellowship with Him, we can feel His presence when we meet. It can be in our churches, workplaces, or in our homes. I sometimes can feel His presence so strong and other times it is just knowing He is right with me in my everyday activities. His Word tells me that He will hide me under the shadow of His wings if I dwell in that secret place.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91: 1)

Recently I lost my only sister. I heard the Lord speak to me that He was taking her home. Several hours later she passed away. His presence was dwelling with me to comfort me from that day on. I felt His arms around me when I held my sister and said, "I love you and don't know how I will live without you; but I will."

I only could have said that because I knew my Lord and knew He would surely carry me through the first week when no one else could possibly understand my loss, except of course my family.

I had comfort and peace, although I felt disconnected at times. I knew that I would have my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and my sister's family. She left behind a husband, five children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. I know they are still my family, but at that moment only the Lord could really comfort me.

In everything we go through, we must let Him be our focus. It helps with grief, trials, etc. to remember that. I know in time my emotions will heal. I will have moments of tears, but I have chosen to let God have His way in my life. I will trust Him to do what is best for me and for those I love. I want to give Him my heart and soul as His dwelling place, a home for the presence of the Lord. In doing this, I know that I can face any obstacle that this life tosses my way.

Even though I felt as if my heart would break at the viewing of my sister, I shared with family and friends that our lives are a vapor and that we must know the Lord. My brother-in- law asked me to share what the Lord had spoken to me the morning my sister passed away. I was trying to be strong and comfort my sister’s family because that is what she would have expected me to do. She always let me pray for her and share some things the Lord was doing in my life, so I knew she would want me to share this precious moment with her family.

I told them about the events of my morning, that I woke up suddenly in the early hours of the day, and was unable to go back to sleep. I was thinking of my sister and about the day that I would have to say goodbye. I got up and started to write her a letter and thought of two songs I wanted to have sung at her funeral.

After writing a short paragraph, I realized that I should get back to sleep because I needed to go to work earlier than usual that day. In the silence I heard Him say, "Get some rest, I 'm going to take her home.” I thought, that is my assurance she is saved. The week before, on three separate occasions, I had asked her two questions. I asked, "Have you asked Jesus to forgive your sins? And, is He your Savior?” Audrey nodded yes.

I was comforted by the Lord - He was assuring me that some day when she passed away she would enter heaven's gates. I had no idea of how soon it would happen. I arrived at work at 7:00 am. My nephew called me at 8:30 am. She had passed away about an hour after I went to sleep that morning.

For me to be able to minister to others at the viewing, and in front of the church at the funeral, just two days after she went to be with the Lord, made me realize and know that the Lord can dwell in a broken heart. I am proof! He dwells in a temple where He is welcomed. You can invite Him in today for yourself.

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Cathy Irvin authored well over 50 Devotions for CBN over three decades where she served the Lord Jesus Christ at the Christian Broadcasting Network. Cathy loved telling stories and glorifying God in all that she did. On December 16, 2011, Cathy left this earthly dwelling to take up residence in the dwelling prepared for her in Heaven. Her Devotions minister with love and truth.

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