Home Sweet Home!

I sincerely thank God for the privilege and ability of being able to complete such a long road trip as the one we returned from last night. Over the last 3 weeks, Nancy and I travelled through 17 states (not counting our home state of Florida). These are just a few random photos from our 5,500-mile jaunt. While away, we visited all 7 of our grandchildren, both our sons and their wives as well as many close friends. We were also able to stay in the beautiful small town of West Plains, Missouri, which is close to the village where we were married 50 years ago. It was really neat going to the old church, which is now Immanuel Southern Baptist of Pomona Missouri, and worship with those lovely people. While we sang the old hymns, I noticed that they are still using the piano on which Nancy played on the worship team before we were married! Now that we are home, we have to mow the lawn, go shopping, pick up the mail, wash the car and reconnect with our local friends and neighbors. But as I was resting and rejoicing in being, “Home Seet Home” I remembered that while He was here on this planet, that Jesus rarely had any such privilege. In fact, while responding to an eager listener who said he wanted to follow Him, Jesus said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20 NKJV

Then it hit me that after I had unpacked all my thing and settled in, that I would still not really be home, because as a Christian our only true home is with Jesus. As the Apostle Paul once said, “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:6 NKJV. But God does have a home prepared for each of us who by faith have followed Jesus and given our lives to Him. No matter where you call home today, whether things are going well or terrible, whether we are loved and accepted or rejected and unloved, Jesus has a home for us in Himself and we can have great and unmeasurable peace as we unpack our spiritual bags, come home to Him and find rest in Him alone! Some on Home! Jesus has left the lights on for us!

The Guest Room

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love.                Ephesians 3:17 ESV

When I was a teenager, my favorite place to go on summer vacation was to my grandparent’s house. Of course, I loved their company, but they also made me feel special because they had a guest room just for me! It had really neat antique furniture and its own bathroom. But in the back of my mind, I knew that no matter how long I stayed or how much fun I had, that eventually I had to go home.

As Christians we begin our journey with Jesus by putting our faith in Him and inviting Him into our hearts. But Paul prays that we when we invite Jesus to come, that it will be far more than expecting Him to stay in our guest room for a while. Paul uses the word dwell, which means,” take up permanent residence.” Jesus wants to do more than just come for a visit. Dwelling means as Paul goes on to say that we are being rooted just like a tree into a relationship with God. Now if you go outside and glance down the street, I am pretty sure that there are not any trees going for a stroll around your neighborhood. No! Trees stay in one spot because that is where they are rooted. Last of all Paul shows us that we are not just rooted out of obligation to God, but because of love – His love. The God of the universe sent His only Son to die on the cross because of His love for us. And because of that, we can trust Him with every room of our house. In fact, we can joyfully sign over the title to our home to Him and hand Him the keys! Jesus wants more than a guest room.  He wants to live in our hearts forever!

Welcome Home

Even though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 ESV

During times of crisis, it is natural to be fearful. Our airwaves are filled with the constant reports of sickness, quarantines and businesses shutting down. There has never been anything like this in our lifetimes and we wonder what trouble still lies ahead; and not just for ourselves but for our children and grandchildren. But in the valley of the shadow of death we have a hope that is greater than any disease, and stronger than any hardship. We have the presence of the good shepherd; Jesus Christ; who gave His life for us.

Outside of the city where I was born there was a long valley called Sugar Hollow. It was a notch between the hills through which the main road from the South ran into the city. One interesting thing about Sugar Hollow was that as you drove into it at evening rush hour, darkness fell early. Everyone began to flick on their headlights as the shadows of the surrounding hills blocked out the sun. In the Hollow it looked as if night had fallen; but when you rounded the final bend that led out of the valley, the shadows drew back and the sun reappeared as if saying “I left the light on for you, welcome home!” 

Prayer: When fears are all around us like a deep valley help us remember Lord that You are always with us. Remind us that we can trust You to lead us through this valley and all the way home!