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Joy in Abiding in the Lord

Does your soul long, cry out, or desire to be near to God?

Throughout my youth, I would think, “if I could just have “peace and joy…” At the time, I thought peace and joy were a bit like living on a cloud, being a part of and looking at the beauty of God with no troubles, no fighting, or sadness. Almost like the stereo-typical “peace, love, and happiness” that one might think they can obtain if they just hang out with the right people or search long and hard enough for it. I didn’t realize that it was an impossible desire, impossible because it wasn’t really what I was desiring, but also because without a connected and authentic relationship with Christ, without being focused on Him, I couldn't find what I was looking for.

As I grew, I was often captivated by songs I would hear about drawing near to the Lord, seeking His face, dwelling with Him, and abiding in His presence. It was so curious to me when I would hear people share testimonies and stories about an intimate relationship with God. It made me want to learn more about it. As I spent time in the Bible, I was spurred on to understand more each time I opened its pages. In the deepest parts of my heart, I desired to somehow obtain this connection people so passionately spoke of.

In my quest to find that deep connection with the Lord, I found myself often in the Psalms. It truly is not a mystery why David is known as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). He is a frequent author of the chapters and verses we find in this book. His words seem to almost linger in the air as I read them. He so freely shares his deep love, awe, and respect for God, as well as his highs, lows, frustrations, joys, and everything in between. Considering all that his life entailed during this time (1Samuel 16 - 1Chronicles 29), it truly is an example of a man determined to live life, for better or worse, authentically and completely with his great God!

Reflecting on David’s relationship with the Lord, I realized that was what my soul had been longing for ---to dwell, abide, and be with God the way he did. That was it!

The cry of my heart became much like many of the psalms. One of them being: “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27: 3-6 NIV).

There are layers of meaning in what David is saying here. For today, I want you to consider that he asked ONE thing from the Lord, and he sought it faithfully: David wanted to be with the Lord in the beauty of His presence all the days of his life. We know He did this by engaging with God regularly, and we can do that, too! In the Old Testament, the presence of God was often found only at the Temple or “house of God.” Today, because of Jesus and His sacrifice, we have the opportunity to be in the presence of God right where we are. We have the Holy Spirit within us. Hallelujah! What my heart longed for long ago was a right relationship with Christ and an awareness of these things. Peace and Joy are found in Him and Him alone.

You can see that a part of what brought me to these more intimate places with the Lord was the time I chose to spend with Him. You have the freedom to do the same thing! How exciting is that? I invite you to join me this week and practice dwelling with the Lord in new ways.

Choose to practice one thing new this week.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Read a Scripture passage each day,

  • Listen to music that glorifies God and lifts you up, or

  • Memorize a Scripture passage.

God is with you!

Supporting Scriptures

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11 (ESV)

"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints

for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God." Psalm 84:1-2 (ESV)

Erin Nonaka is a Co-Founder and the Director of Communications and Community at Humble Faith Ministries. She is an experienced worship leader, Bible teacher, and encourager of women. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and two of her three sons.

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