Daily Dedication

At Rest_16x20Oil_Lynn Abbott

© 2018 Lynn Abbott

I am a housekeeper’s nightmare.

It’s not that I am a messy. No, if anything, I’m a neat freak. It’s just that I cannot seem to complete home keeping tasks with anything like proficiency.

Please don’t misunderstand me; my failures do not result from any lack of trying.

And granted, the matriarchs of the family did try to instill in me the finer points of the home keeping arts. My very, proper, English-Scotch grandmother was the first to tackle the impossible.

I remember Grandma taking my domestic education in hand when I was just eight years old. She was visiting our home, and my mom was at work. Thus, there was no one to shield me.

And the ironing board stood formidably in our family room.

That day’s lesson would include the proper methodology for ironing linens, and in particular, bed sheets and pillowcases. Each fold must be ironed into the offending cotton in order to insure the tidiest and most efficient stack in the linen closet.

I held my breath as Grandma examined my work, which all too often had to be repeated. I was much too dreamy-eyed to pay attention to my task, and it’s a wonder I didn’t burn more holes in that bedding. But once burned, twice as careful. And Grandma’s watchful eye probably prevented any further catastrophes.

I am a housekeeper’s nightmare.

Yes, Grandma followed a precise plan. And every Spring required the turning over of mattresses, the beating of area rugs, and the washing of kitchen cabinets with fire-house red paint. A rhythm regulated it all.

But I had no knack for any of it, and frequently Grandma caught me in my day dreaming crimes:  my mind drifted to the books that lined my parents extensive library, or to my next “doodle.”

You can well imagine, then, that these past several weeks have been an extraordinary trial for this book-loving artist.  You see, the plan was to simply move my art studio.

However, the move required some down-sizing and rearranging of spaces.  My office would be split from my studio space. Thus, as often is the case: one thing leads to another.

In addition, I had allowed dust bunnies to proliferate as I created paintings in my studio.

And you know how it is with dust bunnies…Mine had grown to “killer” proportions.

Grandma most certainly would have been horrified.

Soon, my simple studio move morphed into a 5-room reshuffle.  Once the dust bunnies had been removed, I could see all that had to be cleaned, organized and reappointed.

My spring cleaning was obviously long-overdue.  The Good Will staff and I became fast friends.

Yet, by the grace of God, I completed the move over the weekend.  Well, nearly.  At least, enough has been done that last evening, my husband and I prayed and dedicated the new space to the Lord.

And you know how it is with dust bunnies…Mine had grown to “killer” proportions.

Indeed, I marvel at how far Abba has brought me in such a brief period of time. What began as a path through heart-wrenching grief now serves as a platform of hope and grace.  And moving my studio reflects my journey–the studio has migrated from a room that holds memories of my mother’s death to a fresh, bright, hope-filled space.

At Rest_16x20Oil_Lynn AbbottWith all of this on my mind, I opened my Bible for my morning meditation.  And today, chronologically speaking, my reading plan directed me to 2 Chronicles 29.

If you are familiar with 2 Chronicles 29, you will most certainly know that God’s timing could not have been more perfect.

I definitely relate to the young king Hezekiah.

In the first month of his reign, he made a clean sweep of it.   No, he didn’t destroy enemies as was customary in the ancient world.  Rather, he ordered some radical, physical house-cleaning; the Lord’s temple had been allowed by Hezekiah’s father to fall into disrepair.

In fact, Ahaz had been an extremely evil king.  Ahaz actually followed the pagan god Baal, and encouraged worship in pagan centers called “high places” that had been established throughout Judah.   Scripture records that he “sacrificed his sons in the fire.”

Truly, his was a brutal reign.

Indeed,  killer dust bunnies ain’t got nuthin’ on Ahaz.

Moral filth, and paganism had taken over the kingdom during Ahaz’s tenure.

But God in His grace brought Hezekiah to the throne, and the 25-year-old king “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done,” (2 Chronicles 29:2).

First, Hezekiah opened the doors of God’s temple and repaired those doors.

And as is usually the case,  one thing led to another:  the priests consecrated themselves according to God’s very specific Levitical law, and the temple was purified.

Just over two weeks of purification passed.  When all had been completed, Hezekiah organized a dedication service.  He called together all the city officials as well as the Levites and priests.   Animal sacrifices burned once more on the altar and the Levites, priests and singers led the assembly in worship.

Killer dust bunnies ain’t got nuthin’ on Ahaz.

And there were sacrifices of thanksgiving as well.  The celebration filled the city.

At Rest_16x20Oil_Lynn AbbottChapter 29 of Second Chronicles closes with these words, “…So the service of the temple of the LORD was reestablished.  Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for His people, because it was done so quickly.”

In the first month of his reign, Hezekiah had restored Yahweh’s temple; destroyed the pagan idols of the false god Baal and invited all of Israel to return to Yahweh.

Without a doubt, God blessed Hezekiah’s thorough “house-cleaning.”  And what appeared overwhelming became “do-able.”  After all, God was in Hezekiah’s work.

Sometimes, we must take time out for a spiritual house-cleaning. As believers, after all, we “are God’s temple,” (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Perhaps,  dust bunnies have slipped in the back door as we have been busy persevering through trials or serving others.

Or clutter, junk and even dirt have crept into God’s house as we have become preoccupied with work in the field.

Our temples may have fallen into disarray through simple neglect… and it is time to repair the doors and put everything back in working order.

Or maybe, we have been simply unaware of the baggage that has followed us into our lives of faith. Similar to Hezekiah, we may have been recipients of an unhealthy, family legacy.

Whatever the case, killer dust-bunnies can be downright scary. Yet, when God enters the house, the efficiency of His clean-up is truly miraculous.

Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised.  Our heavenly Father  makes it His business to renew and restore those He calls (2 Corinthians 5:17).

And so, after becoming a new creation in Christ, we simply require a daily “foot-washing,” (John 13:10; 1 John 1:9).

Yes, after just over two weeks of cleaning and then, after the actual moving, I now rejoice over my completed studio.  Its bright white walls and organized space signals a fresh start.

Undoubtedly, Grandma would have appreciated the place for everything and everything in its place.

Yet,  I also know that if I fail to look daily after the cleanliness and organization of myspace, the killer dust bunnies will return with a vengeance.

For this reason, I have committed myself to my studio’s daily care.  Hezekiah understood this as well, and so he made it financially possible for the priests and Levites to ensure the temple’s safe-keeping.

You betcha.  I need to approach my spiritual condition in the same way.

And that’s why you and I devote time to spiritual clean-up–the confession of sin– and the daily dedication of our lives to God’s higher purpose.  Through our daily time with Him, we invite our Great High Priest to guard our spiritual “house.”

It’s a small sacrifice to make…a little time at the beginning or close of the day.

But our unbroken communion with Abba is absolutely necessary to keep the enemy at bay, (Luke 11:21).

And as we survey our Holy Spirit-filled temples,  like Hezekiah and his people, we will rejoice at what God has brought about and marvel “because it was done so quickly.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” ~1 John 1:9

“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.  Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain,”  ~Psalm 127:1