God is in the House A Christian Devotional: inviting God's presence into your home
When we were first thinking of buying the house we now live in, I found myself liking it more and more each time we visited.
I yearned to fit our family into it, to pick apples from its fruit trees, and to enjoy looking out to its “Christmas card” view of snow-laden trees framing an old horse barn.
But in addition to all that, there was something I had discovered about the “spirit” of the place that I just couldn’t shake.
When we toured the house and walked around the property, I felt something good and right in the air that resonated with my own spirit.
You see, the house we now live in was previously owned by an elderly woman who spent many long years serving Jesus. She and her husband had raised their six kids here, housed Sunday School classes for their church and provided a soft bed for many a missionary.
Even after her children were grown and gone, the woman opened her doors for a female youth pastor to live here with her.
This was a place where the Spirit of God had been welcomed to dwell.
I remember telling someone why the house would be a perfect fit for us saying, “And most of all – I want those angels!”
Sometimes, when I walk into a home or someone’s room, I am overwhelmed with the presence of God.
Often, it catches me off guard, and I think with joy about the people that live there and how full of God their lives must be.
Sadly though, in some homes I can’t sense anything at all.
I have a friend who has one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. It’s wonderfully decorated and she and her husband live daily in a house that most people only see in magazines. But the woman and her husband don’t serve Jesus and when I visit I sense a vacancy of God’s Spirit.
When I visit houses like that I get the sad reminder of “Ichabod.”
You see, early in the Old Testament, God chose the tabernacle as a place to house the Ark of the Covenant and to rest his presence. The Ark was kept in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle where only the high priest could visit once a year.
But during a time of war with the Philistines, the Israelites foolishly decided to bring out the Ark of the Covenant as a sort of “good luck charm” to try to win the war.
You’ve probably figured out what happened.
The battle was lost and the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines.
I don’t think that God liked the Israelite’s plan.
When the news came back to Eli, the high priest of the time, he fell over, broke his neck and died.
His pregnant daughter-in-law went into labor and in her dying breath named her son Ichabod saying, “The glory has departed from Israel.”
I’ve heard “Ichabod” also translated as meaning “The Spirit of God has left this place.”
What a horrible thing to have happen.
As Christians, although we enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we can always use a fresh filling from time to time. And I believe that our homes can too.
We can do this by playing/singing praise and worship music in our homes, displaying scriptures and reading them aloud and even getting in the habit of saying: “Lord, I welcome you and your angelic guard here in this home today.”
Nothing like a simple invite!
As our church was nearly bursting at the seams a few Sundays ago with the sounds of praise and worship, one woman found her way to the microphone and soulfully declared something that I think most of us were feeling: “God is in the house today!”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to say that about our own homes every day?
Let’s set out the holy welcome mat!
Here are some Bible verses that'll help you on your journey:
1 Samuel 4:21-22 English Standard Version And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
Matthew 23:37-38 New Living Translation “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 New International Version These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.