Friday, 28 July 2017

Coming Home

Dear Friends,

Our family recently had a lovely summer holiday which was such a blessing to us. It was great to have a temporary place to stay. But I have to confess that, towards the end of our time away, I was really looking forward to going home. As Dorothy discovered in "The Wizard of Oz", there really is no place like home. Well, for me anyway.

I had been in touch with friends and family, via texts and phone calls, but it was not the same as being able to actually see them face to face. I was also missing our dog, Rue, who has so quickly become a part of our family.

I love being home. Home is a place where I feel comfortable and relaxed. I can be myself. Home is where I experience peace and security. A place where I am with loved ones, where I can love and be loved.

Towards the end of his time on earth, Jesus told his disciples that he would be leaving them, returning to heaven with the purpose of preparing a home for them and us.

Jesus said “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am." John 14:1-3 (NLT)

We see in these verses that there will be plenty of room for us all. God doesn't want anyone to miss out on this, but to receive our place in heaven we do need to first accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

In the Old Testament, men and women of faith also understood that earth was just a temporary dwelling place and that heaven was their real and lasting home.

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:13-16 (NLT)

The writer to the Hebrews also says this:
For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)

Just as I always look forward to coming home at the end of a holiday, we can also look forward to our eternal home with Jesus.

How can our heavenly home be something we can look forward to when we've never even been there?

I believe the answer, in part, is found in Ephesians 3:17 where Paul writes: Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. (NLT)

Christ makes his home in us. or, as other translations say, dwells in us. The meaning of this word is that Christ is not a temporary visitor but a permanent resident in my heart and life. Heaven is in my heart. And the more I experience his indwelling, the more I come to know and love him. Then the attraction for the temporary things of this earth will grow less and less. I shall desire more and more to be in my heavenly home. This is why we look forward to it, even when we have not yet been there. When we get there it will truly be a feeling of coming home. And what a home it will be - with no more pain, or tears, or suffering, where there is fullness of joy. A place far beyond what we could even think, dream or imagine.

I believe there is this longing in our spirit that there is so much more to life than just this earthly one and having Jesus dwell in us gives us a foretaste of heaven. 

To Think About:
Have you ever invited Jesus to dwell in our heart - to make his home within you? If not, and you would like to, you can pray the prayer at the end of this post. If you decide to pray that prayer I would love to hear from you.

If Christ dwells in you, how "at home" have you made him? Has he got access to all areas or have you closed the door on some rooms? Will you allow him full access?

What difference has it made to your life having Christ dwell in you?


If  what you read was of interest to you, then you may like to know that my book "Dear Friend...52 Weekly Devotions to Encourage, Challenge and Inspire" is available to buy from Amazon. (Its content is material adapted from previous blog posts.) To learn more, click on the link below:
"Dear Friend..."

Lord Jesus, 
I'm sorry for my sins. I confess them to you now. I thank you that you died on the cross and took the punishment for my sins. Would you please forgive me and bring me into a relationship with you. Be my Lord and Saviour as I submit my life to you and I invite you to take up residence in my heart. With grateful thanks, Amen.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Take A Leap Of Faith

Dear Friends,

During our holiday in Cyprus, Jason suggested we (and the kids) all went paragliding. Now, if you know anything about me, you'll know what my answer was. It was a no brainer. Nuh huh! No way! No how! Brave is not a word I would describe myself. I don't do heights; I don't do fairground attractions; I don't do water slides and I don't do water sports! I prefer to have my feet on terra firma! I was perfectly happy for the rest of the family to do it, whilst I sat on the side-lines watching.

However, with gentle persuasion by Jason, I agreed I would do it. Now where did that come from? I can't believe those words came out of my mouth! The heat must have addled my brain because I would never have agreed to it if I was in my right mind.

This holiday I've been reading John Ortberg's book "If you want to walk on water you've got to get out of the boat". It was as if God was prompting me to go paragliding. To take me out (way out) of my comfort zone and exercise trust. Without meaning to be flippant or irreverent, I believe God wanted to use this practical experience to teach me a spiritual lesson.

The morning we were to go paragliding I had the following verse on my phone: 

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7.

Could God be any clearer?

The five of us - Jason, me, Josh, Jess and Jordan were given a talk about the procedure by the professional. We were then given life jackets and harnesses were put on us. Two men who worked for him took us out in the boat. My heart was pounding! I was scared! I wanted to go first before I had too much time to think and chicken out of it. However, the kids were told to go first and they thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now for my turn! I didn't back out of it.  I did it scared. No one is more surprised than I am that I went through with it. (I have witnesses and a certificate to prove it!) To do it meant putting my faith in the men who were in control, who had the experience and the know-how and also to believe that the equipment would hold me. One condition I had was that I would do it only if Jason was with me. I needed the reassurance that came from knowing he was right there with me.

It was an incredible experience and one I would have missed out on if I'd chosen not to take that leap of faith. How I would have regretted it if I'd stayed in the boat. I could have experienced it through the eyes of those who had seized the opportunity but that would not have been the same as experiencing it for myself.  

So, what was God teaching me through this experience?

1. To step out of my comfort zone when he provides the opportunity. To take that leap of faith. To act even though my heart is pounding and I'm fearful of what may happen. And don't let fear stop me. Just do it, even if it means doing it scared.

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 (NLT)

2. God is right there with me, just as Jason was. As much as I gained confidence knowing Jason was beside me, how much more confidence and encouragement is there when the Almighty God is right beside me. His presence with me means I never need to face anything on my own.

For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." Hebrews 13:5 (NLT)

3. To put my trust and faith in God. I can safely put my trust in him because he knows what he's doing. He's the one in control; he's the one with the power and experience; he's the one with the know-how. He's got a hold of me. Taking a leap of faith is not about the amount of faith I have, rather it has everything to do with the one in whom I'm placing my faith. My faith may be small, but placing it in a great God means great things can be achieved. 

4. God produces the results when I make myself available. When it came to paragliding, the men on the boat did all the hard work, the result was their responsibility. All I had to do was be obedient to their instructions. When I'm obedient to God he's responsible for the results.

I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfil His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] Philippians 4:13 (AMP)

5. It's not always easy to take a leap of faith. It's not always comfortable. But is it worth it? Oh yes!

But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. Jeremiah 17:7 (NLT)

I believe God is preparing me to take a leap of faith with him. Perhaps you too have been sensing him calling you to move out of your comfort zone.

Will you, and will I, take up his challenge?

To Think About:

What is it you're fearful of? What may be at the root of that fear?

Do you believe God is calling you out of your comfort zone? Can you take that step (maybe for you it's a leap) of faith?

What would help you take that step?


If  what you read was of interest to you, then you may like to know that my book "Dear Friend...52 Weekly Devotions to Encourage, Challenge and Inspire" is available to buy from Amazon. (Its content is material adapted from previous blog posts.) To learn more, click on the link below:

Dear Friend...