Cultivating His Presence

          my perennial bed–Summer 2012

Summer is gardening time for me–the joyous oh-so-green quiet morning, full of fragrance, the sound of birdsong and soft breezes blowing here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
I love it.
I’d rather be outside than anywhere else and often have some wonderful conversations with God when I’m weeding and watering.

I’ve been meditating on the word ‘Dwell’ this year, God’s ‘one word’ to me.
It keeps showing up in many, many places in my reading, in the messages I hear, and in my quiet time.

(I love it when the Holy Spirit confirms something like that —‘here’s what I want you to pay attention to, here’s what I’m saying–Listen!”
My friend Shelley Miller calls these ‘sacred echoes.’)

The word “Dwell” means,
“to exist in a given place or condition,  to reside or live as an inhabitant,
to focus one’s attention.”

So–it has an inward focus–a frame of mind–and an outward focus–a place where I want to BE. Not only does God want to dwell, abide and live in me….he wants me to be where He dwells–in His presence.

Since he dwells in me, His kingdom goes with me wherever I am.  In line at Safeway when I ask the clerk about her day. In the car when I sing out ‘psalms and hymns and spiritual songs’, in the kitchen while I unload the dishwasher or say prayers for friends as I stand at the sink.

All this practicing God’s presence takes a conscious effort on my part–not that the work is my own, as it is the work of the God’s Spirit, but I do have to be purposeful and intentional.  i.e.  Be aware of letting God live through me as well as putting myself in a place to be where He is.

Psalm 84 has also been in my mind and my spirit for several weeks, thanks to the reminder from my friend Nancy Franson writing of her pilgrimage through the Alps.

Verse 5 says, “He has set their hearts on pilgrimage…”
Before that in verse 4, it reads:
“Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
they are ever praising you.”

Several weeks ago I when I was journaling about this I wrote,

“Where I am (in God’s house) or God in me (my ‘house’)
determines and directs what I do–praising Him.”

“How close am I to God?” I wrote.  Are you in His dwelling place?  Are you giving Him room to live in you?”   Hmmmm……

Psalm 37 is also full of this blessed word–in at least 4 places. 
                                                   Verse 3 says,

“Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.”
Another translation says, “….dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.”
‘Cultivate’ means I’m going to be doing something while I’m dwelling.  When I asked Jesus into my heart He came in, but His taking up residence is an ongoing occurence.
Then there’s Philippians, my New Testament place to camp this summer.  The word ‘cultivate’ showed up again.
Verse 12 in Chapter 2 (Amplified) reads:
“12 Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions],
so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence
but much more because I am absent,
work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete)
your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling…”

All this ‘working out’ and ‘cultivating’ came to mind when I was taking care of my roses last week.  They have been in a very crowded flower bed for about 15 years.  I have been battling blackspot and powdery mildew forever. 

It rains here. A lot.  Sort of a losing battle in the rose department.

So, this year, I took them all out–every one of them–put them in 10 gallon containers, moved some to our deck, put some by the fence and gave some away.
In their place I planted a vegetable garden.

It has been a joy and delight.

But the roses–not so much.

Even in their own containers, they still became diseased.  The blackspot is a fungus that spreads through the dirt when the leaves fall on the ground.  You have to pick up leaves one by one and throw them in the garbage.  The powdery mildew was persistent, as there was still too much moisture for them and they didn’t have enough room to breathe. Roses need a lot of space around them for circulation.
Many of the blooms were falling over, growing too far away from the roots so they had to be cut back. Many canes were long and gangly looking and needed pruning to add some strength to the stock.

Hmm….I thought.  Sounds like me.  I need room to breathe if I’m going to grow–to take in the breath of the Holy Spirit. 
I need pruning (always!) when I grow too far away from the root–thinking about abiding in that vine…
I often become diseased with unkind words, anxious thoughts, mean spirited and prideful conversations…spreading like blackspot and falling on the ground. The only place for that kind of dead works is in the garbage.

So–I moved the roses around, did the necessary pruning, put some in quarantine and now some of them are blooming beautifully!

Dwelling in the place where they can grow.

Which is where I want to be–abiding daily in the Son…
focusing my attention on Him.
May it always be so, Lord,
no matter what season we find ourselves in.
Linking for the first time with Laura K.–
Faith Filled Friday
Beholding Glory
and with Cheryl Hyatt Smith for
True Vine Challenge_Small

7 thoughts on “Cultivating His Presence

  1. I'm completely amazed that God was leading both of us to this thoughts about home and dwell – on the same day! How totally cool is that?

    So glad you linked up in the True Vine Challenge. Can't wait to see what God lays on your heart this week!

  2. I just told my friend the other day that I'd been thinking about changing my word in the middle of the year. I keep coming back to the word dwell. I'm still reflecting on Psalm 84: Blessed are those who dwell in your house, they are ever praising you.

    Thanks for the tour of your gardens–lovely!

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