Saturday, January 12, 2013

"There is a Place"

“And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord:”
Genesis 19:27

As I sit here this morning, my mind occasionally wanders across the hall to where my daughter is sleeping. “Will this be the day?” is the question we all seem to be asking each other…her siblings, the ladies in the church, and me, her Mom! You know the feeling, if you’ve ever awaited the birth of a baby…when will he/she come?

And while we all feel excitement, there is a bit of anxiety on Anna’s face, because she is a detailed person, and wants everyone to be in their place when her little boy decides to make his appearance. To comfort me, more than her, actually, I told her the other day, “Anna, when your time comes, God will have everyone in their place.”

When I think of Abraham, I think of an elderly gentleman, way past my age.  We don’t know about Abraham’s youth.  We meet him in Genesis 11:26, when he was known as Abram.  I’m not a Bible scholar.  All I know about the Bible I’ve learned by reading it, hearing it preached and taught, and studying it.  I hesitate at times, for that reason, to write lessons and devotionals because I fear making applications that don’t really apply.  But when I’m reading my Bible, and a lesson or a truth comes to me, it begs to be shared.  And so I share this simple, plain truth with you.

I’m sitting at my little desk in my bedroom.  This is the place where I do my writing, while my daughter in law, Mona, is remodeling my office down the hall.  I also e-mail.  But I have a special e-mail place.  It’s in the corner of my living room, in my recliner, of all places, with my computer placed in front of me on the coffee table, which isn’t really a coffee table at all.  It’s a bigger-than-a-coffee-table table.  But it serves its purpose perfectly, because I can easily accommodate my books, pens, and my computer.  It’s here that I get the best internet connection. This corner of my living room also has tall windows all across the wall facing the morning sun. So I love pulling back the curtains, and letting the sunshine warm my little corner of the world while I work.  That’s my e-mailing place.

So here I am writing this devotional about something so practical, so mundane that you would hardly relate it to anything spiritual.  But it is.  At least it is for me.  I want to help all my readers, just as I have been helped by this truth.  “There is a place where you should be.”

Do you remember what had transpired shortly before Genesis 19:27?  The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had just been destroyed by fire and brimstone.  Because of Genesis 18:22, one can assume that standing before the Lord was a regular occurrence in Abraham’s life.  “…but Abraham stood yet before the Lord.”  I believe Abraham had a certain place where he met God on a regular basis.

There is a place where I meet with the Lord.  It seems to be the perfect place for me to sit while I drink my coffee, and have my prayer time every morning.  I’ve tried other places, and sometimes I’m forced to move out of my special place to another one, when I’m away from home.  But if I’m in a home, or a hotel, or a mission apartment for a few days, I find another special place, just perfect for my prayer time.

But this is the truth I learned recently, and I’d like to share it with you.

If you have something to do, and you don’t know how to start, get to the place where you would be if you knew what to do.  If you know what to do, but you don’t want to undertake a task, or if you don’t want to carry out a responsibility, get to the place where you would be if you wanted to work.

I’m a morning person…a very early morning person.  I am a mom, a grandmother, and a homemaker. But I’m also a writer.  If you’ve never written, perhaps you don’t know that the kind of writing you’re reading right now has to be inspired, or you won’t read it.  I have deadlines.  I have lessons to teach to my Sunday school class, and to ladies’ sessions at conferences, and my monthly prayer breakfast, and my weekly ladies’ radio broadcast.  I’ve experienced writer’s block, a time when absolutely nothing comes to my little mind.

But I’ve learned this great truth, and I’m going to share it with you.  This is what I do:  I get to the place where I should be, right here where I am.  Sometimes I take a while getting my desk cleared of all my work from the day before.  I turn on my computer.   While it’s warming up, so is my brain as I get my coffee and settle in my chair.  My aim is my desk.  Just by simply being in the place I should be is a great start.  Get to your place, and tell the Lord, “Lord, here I am.  I’m in the place where I should be.”  And He’ll help you complete that pile of ironing, or that homework, or He’ll guide you as you knock doors.  But you have to be in the place.

Writing calls for quiet and concentration.  In order to speak to your heart, my words must come from mine.  At least for me, writing is a spiritual activity.  I ask the Lord to prepare my heart for the writing task ahead.  But moving the body to a chair, or a street, or putting up your ironing board and plugging in your iron is a very physical no-brainer activity.  Put yourself in the place you should carry out a certain activity, and the Lord will guide you successfully.

If you’re a mother of little ones, teach this principle to your children while they’re still young. Ever heard the saying, “A place for everything, and everything in its place,”? That’s a great principle to apply when your house is a mess.

This may not seem like a great revelation to you, but it could be; and I would hope it is.  For instance, do you hate getting up in the mornings like I do?  If you apply this truth from Abraham of old, it will be a great motivator.  If you’re under the cover, and you should have your feet on the floor, it’s obvious you will never be in the place you should be until you move yourself out of bed.  At 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning, who’s going to be reasoning?  I know. But as Dr. Jim Vineyard said one time, “Move your body, and your brain will follow.”

Are you trying to diet?  I’ve heard that successful dieters have a certain place to eat.  It’s not in front of the TV or at their desk, or in bed.  Most people who are disciplined enough to avoid food at those three places are probably disciplined enough to control their food intake, also.

Think of something you don’t want to do, something you dread maybe every day.  Tell yourself, “All I have to do is get myself to the place where this activity should take place,” and then just simply get there.

I hate shopping for groceries, for several reasons.  I can think of a million things I can be doing at home, for one.  But I also know the consequences of going to do laundry, and the detergent container being empty.  So I know this is an important chore in my life.  I’ve found that if all my morning routine revolves around simply getting myself out the door, and into the car, once I’m out the gate, I actually enjoy my little outing.

Up until now, this has been a motivational speech.  “How to Get Things Done When You Don’t Want to do Them.”  But there’s a more serious side to this lesson.

Are you in the place where God wants you?

My place when I was a single young woman was at home with my parents.  I enjoyed helping in the mission work, and being Daddy’s secretary.  I enjoyed teaching, and I loved visitation and soul winning.

But once I was married, my place was with my husband.  If you’re a mom, your special place is with your children, in your home.  I know ladies who spend more time outside their home than inside it.  And they’re never happy.  They’re always looking for new activities outside the four walls of their own home.  Unless you’re a single, working mom, you should spend more time at home than away from home. And even at that, there are many ways a woman can earn money from inside her home.

When our children were small, my husband and I lived in a little village for five years.  We lived outside the little town, up on a hill.  We would drive through the main street, which wasn’t paved, up the hill to our home, which was also home to fifty young men.  We lived for most of those five years in a little travel trailer, until we wrecked it, and moved into a section of the dorm/chapel building.  I have stayed for six weeks without leaving the property.  My husband would make a trip once a week to the nearest town and bring in supplies for the week.  I don’t remember being bored and I don’t remember feeling unfulfilled.  I took joy in caring for my children, and my simple little home.  I stayed busy as busy could be cleaning, cooking, washing, and preparing my children’s Sunday school class.  There were no pressures, no one to compare myself or my children or my husband with.  There was a place where I was supposed to be, and I was there.

I’ll have to admit the hardest years of my married life were the first few years we lived in the mountain valley I call home.  But because I was in the place where God wanted my husband to be, I was also where He wanted me to be.

It isn’t good for a husband to live and work in a place apart from his wife.  I know military obligations make the exception for this.  Sometimes I read of an evangelist who must travel, and be away from home for weeks at a time.  It’s always a blessing to hear that although perhaps the living conditions are not as delightful as one’s own home, he manages for her and the children to travel with him, so that she can still be in the place where God wants her, at her husband’s side.

Three simple steps to un-complicating your life, and living it more pleasing to the Lord:

1. Acknowledge this principle: there is a place where you should be.
2. Arrange everything in your life toward getting there.
3. Get there.
4. Do what you should do once you’re there.

I’m a very simple person, and I have simple ways and simple thoughts.  Sometimes my life gets so complicated.  But things suddenly fall “into place” if I go back to this one basic truth:  be in the place where you should be, carrying out your tasks and responsibilities.

I once heard a great preacher make this statement:  “I’m glad there is a place where I should be, a time I should be there, and something I should do after I arrive.”

There is a place for you, too.