HOME


Now we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal home in heaven, which is not made by human hands. In fact, the reason we groan is that we long to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven.               (2 Corinthians 5: 1) [EHV]

            As I get older, I find that I have become what people refer to as a home body. I am happiest when I am at home in my own space where things are familiar and comfortable. It’s fun to take a vacation or go visiting, but I am always happy when it is time to return home.

Do you ever feel that way? When you are far away from home visiting friends or relatives, or when your job has called you away, do you miss your home setting and the people there who love you? Does thinking of home make you long to be back there? As the old saying goes, there is no place like home!

            I remember back in the day being away from home for months at a time while in college. After college I spent a year on the Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona doing mission work. Many times, during those years I longed to be back home with my family. My first Christmas away, though festive and Christ-centered, was just not the same as celebrating at home with my family – home where I knew I was loved unconditionally. 

            Recently I was gone from my home in Wisconsin for 8 days and 7 nights visiting my family (children/grandchildren) in Michigan. I was there to help support my daughter, and granddaughter (who was having hip surgery), and spend a couple of days with my son and family which was very nice.

            It was great to see them and fun to be with them, but about halfway through my visit I began to miss my home. I missed my husband especially and our little dog and pet birds. Hmm… come to think of it I missed other things about home too. I missed the relaxed feeling one has when being home. I missed sleeping in my own bed, sitting in my own comfortable chair in our living room, and having my own bathroom available to me whenever I wanted it or needed it.  Home is a place where we know we are loved. It is a place where we can relax and be ourselves. There is just no place that compares to it.

            Entering our apartment upon my return home felt wonderful. I was happy and relieved to be back where I belonged. I was greeted joyfully with a kiss from my husband. Our little dog happily wagged his little tail and jumped up to be closer to me. I felt good and safe and happy.

            Jesus tells us, in my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that you may also be where I am. (John 14:2) [EHV]

            When God calls us to heaven, it will be like coming home. The feeling we have regarding our home here on earth is but a taste of the wonderful homecoming we will receive when we reach our heavenly home. We will be welcomed by the arms of Jesus and we will never have to leave again. It will be wonderful. We won’t miss our own bed or chair or any of the other comforts of our earthly homes. We will know we are loved, and we will all be a part of one family – the family of Christ. We will feel good and safe and happy. There is just no place that will ever compare to it!

            When my son went to heaven several years ago, his last breath was like a quiet sigh of relief. It was and continues to be a comfort to me. I picture him at that moment being carried in the arms of the angels to his home in heaven to meet his Savior.

Gloria Dei!

By Christine

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, take away our fear of dying and help us to remember that it is but the gate to our eternal home with you in heaven. Amen

My Unbelieving Friend


The following letter was written to a friend of mine who is an unbeliever. In the end her unbelief came between our friendship. I have had many friends over the years that did not believe in Jesus or had differences of opinion about God, and we were still able to remain friends, but this time it was different. She was so adamantly against Christianity that I was not able to be myself around her for fear of offending her. Yet she offended me each time she denied Jesus as God, and her claim that the Bible is a Fairy Tale felt like a punch in the stomach.

I know that Jesus said, If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first…if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also… They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me… He who hates me hates my Father as well (John 15: 18, 20, 21, 23). He also said to his disciples, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves… All men will hate you because of me…When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another… (Matthew 10: 16, 22, 23). These same words apply to Christians today, but that doesn’t make it easier. He also told his disciples, if anyone will not listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town (Matthew 10: 14). In this case that is exactly what I did. But I still think about her and pray for her.

She claimed to have no fear of ghosts or evil spirits. One day, after a discussion between us about the spirit world, I loaned her my book, Wizards That Peep, A Journey into the Occult. It is a study of the occult written by Lutheran Theologian Siegbert W. Becker. It is basically a Christian perspective on the spirit world and the occult. It is informative and accurate, and a book I would highly recommend all Christians read.

The reaction she had to the book came as a complete shock to me. She called me the next morning to tell me she would be dropping the book off at my apartment. She exclaimed, you have no business even having a book like that in your house! It had scared her to the point where she couldn’t sleep and out of fearfulness had put it in her freezer claiming it was hot. So much for “no fear”.

I believe her fear was real. My intentions had not been to scare her, but to comfort her. It is my feeling, that the devil thought her easy prey, so he pounced. The apostle Peter warns, Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). But the devil and his demons hold no fear for those who have faith in Jesus. He promises believers his protection. We are reminded, Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you (James 4:7, 8).

As for me, I am reminded, If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rest on you…if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name (1 Peter 4:13, 14, 16).

By printing this letter, I am hoping that my words will be a help to other Christians who may struggle with this same issue. I pray also that it will light the way for those who don’t yet know Jesus.

THE LETTER

4/10/16
Dear Friend,
I feel so sad about what happened between us the other day (the book incident), but I don’t know how to fix it. Our differences in beliefs seem to be coming between our friendship. I love you as a friend and I want you to know that. We have good fun together and good laughs. We have many things in common, but not our spiritual beliefs and that is causing a wall to go up between us.

It’s difficult for me because the foundation of my life is based on Jesus Christ and what He did for me and for all people. I love God and all that I do, I do in service to, and out of love for, Him. In Him I have hope for eternity in spite of the fact that I am a sinner. His Spirit lives in me and it crushes me when you tell me it’s all just nonsense.

My heart sank the day you told me you don’t believe that Jesus is God and that you feel the Bible is just a big fairy tale. It hurts my soul. My heart hurts not for myself, but for the Lord who gave His life for me and for you and for all people. I fear for your soul. We can’t deny Jesus and still be a part of God’s family.

I guess I just don’t understand where your views come from. Maybe someone in your past turned you against God. Or maybe there was a life circumstance that turned you away from Him. Maybe if I knew, I would better understand. Life is hard sometimes, but this life is not all there is. It is just a path we have to travel to get to the prize which is to come on the other side of the river.

Often times people say they have faith, but faith in what? If your faith is not connected to something stable and unmovable what good is it? Does faith in oneself help anyone? Even when we have confidence in our own abilities we many times fail. We are all human and are born with a sinful human nature. Faith in myself does not help me because hard as I try, I am not able to always be 100% dependable and never perfect. Does having faith in a Dr. help anyone? Sometimes God allows us to think so but doctors aren’t perfect either. They know a lot, but they are only human too. They are limited in what they can do. They couldn’t heal Bob, as much as they would have liked to.

The only faith that counts is the faith we place in our God. He never changes and He always keeps His promises. My faith is the rope that attaches me to Jesus as my personal Savior. It’s my faith in Jesus that carried me through Bob’s illness. He had that same faith in Jesus. He knew that Jesus had a place prepared for him in heaven and he knew that that faith would carry him home because that is what Jesus promises us. God also promises us that we will see our fellow loved ones who have died in the Lord in heaven again when we are called home. So I know that I will see him again along with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and all those I know who have died in faith.

Through faith in Jesus, I also have the confidence that He will protect me from evil, and by evil I am talking about spiritual evil – the evil that surrounds us every day, but we are unable to see with our human eyes. You say you are not afraid, but you are afraid. Why else would my book (Wizards That Peep) have upset you so much? It is just an informational book written by a man who loved the Lord and it was written from a Christian perspective to help people understand how serious the unseen evil in our world is. In the end he reminds his readers; “Our best defense is the gospel of God’s redeeming love in Christ, who has come to destroy all the works of the devil.” I can tell you that I personally have no fear of Satan or his demons. As a Christian I want no part of any of it and I shouldn’t, but I am not afraid of it because just the mention of the name “Jesus” will drive them away.

In spite of what you believe also, there is a Hell and it isn’t anywhere anyone would want to be, but heaven is not hard to access. All humans are born sinful, but Jesus lived a perfect life for us and suffered the punishment for sin on the cross in our place. He conquered death and Satan by rising from the dead three days later. On the last day He will come again and reunite the souls and bodies of all people. All who believe in Him will live with Him in heaven. There will be no more suffering or pain or sorrow there. Those who refuse to believe will live eternally in Hell.

No human can judge hearts. We must leave that to God. But God tells us in His Word everything we need to know for our salvation. It’s not hard and it’s not a fairy tale as you say. I could quote scripture to you, but you don’t believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God so there is no point. I can tell you that God loves you though. He loves each and every one of us as a father loves an only child. He wants you to be in heaven when your life here on earth is done. He tells us that in His Word, which again, I won’t quote to you because you think it is nonsense.

In the end, I want to be your friend. I am sorry if I offended you, but you offend me every time you tell me that you don’t believe that the Bible is God’s Word and especially when you tell me that Jesus is not God. You ask me for proof, but the Scripture is the proof and you don’t believe it so what can I do?

I believe. I love the Lord with all my heart and soul. It is who I am. I can’t change and I don’t want to. You claim it is a fairy tale, but for me it is hope. It is hope for lost sinners. It relieves the bondage of sin and guilt humans carry around which burdens them with depression and sadness. If there is no hope for eternity, what is left for us? To die? Not for me. I am sure of where I am going when I die. I am going to be with Jesus and with my family. I pray that the Holy Spirit will soften your heart. Please don’t hate me. I do love you. I am here and would welcome you any time you would want to stop and say hi.

Friends Always,
Chris

Note: The “Bob” referred to in this letter is my former husband who died in February of 2016 of a terminal blood disease called Myelodysplastic Syndrome. God has a plan for each of His children. I am now remarried to a wonderful man. Weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30: 5).

Build on the Rock


Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down and the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine [Jesus] and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. (Matthew 7:24-27)

 Did you come to faith in a really moving church service, Christian Concert, or maybe in a desperate situation which led you to turn to God for help? Now that things have settled down and life is back to normal, do you wonder or maybe even fear that your faith is gone because you are not feeling the moving warmth which you felt in the beginning?

These are important questions because “faith” and “feelings” are closely related. The problem with human “feelings” is that they are not dependable. Faith does produce deep feelings in the human heart. But those deep feelings don’t always remain on the surface of our consciousness. And we are fickle at times. Our feelings may change and then we doubt ourselves – and our faith. Some may then wonder, when the feelings are gone, is our faith gone too?

Some days we are upbeat and flying high. Others we are down in the dumps. Does that mean that on the days when we may feel hopeless or depressed, or just plain blah we have lost our faith??? No, it does not. But we each need to ask ourselves these questions. What is my faith based on and/or What do I have faith in? If you are unsure how to answer, or if your answer reflects a faith that is based on the ability or strength of yourself or another human, then you need to rethink things. You need to better understand the meaning of having faith.

So, let’s talk a little about “faith…”

The first point we must make is that “faith” means nothing if it is not connected to something. It needs an object to be attached to and that object needs to be set on a firm foundation, like the house built on the rock in the verse above from Matthew. Without that solid foundation the house would never withstand the wind and rain, and the rising water of a strong storm. It would be washed away like sand on the seashore.

Faith needs a connection to something which is stable – something that will not move away from us when we reach out to it. Without that connection it would be like tossing a life rope to a person who is drowning and walking away without hanging on to it or connecting it to a dock or boat. For the Christian, that life rope is Jesus. You can be sure that when your faith is connected to Jesus you are safe and secure.

 Scripture defines faith as …being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11: 1). Faith is confidence that what we have learned and been taught from Scripture, is true even though we are sometimes unable to see it or understand it.

There is no earthly human who can predict or guarantee our future. Only God can. And He does not only predict the future, He knows the future and has the perfect plan for each of our lives. When we place our faith in God, we can be sure of His divine providence not only here on earth, but we can rest calmly and firmly in the hope He promises all believers for eternity.

Out of love for all people God sent His only Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life we are unable to live. Jesus not only lived a perfect life in our place, but He also suffered and died on the cross in our place. His innocent suffering and death paid the debt we owe to God for our sins. And it didn’t end with His death on the cross. He conquered death when He rose from the grave 3 days later. Because He lives, we also will live with Him in eternity when our life here on earth comes to an end. His promise to us? I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die (John 11:25, 26). In John 14: 19 He tells his disciples, Because I live, you also will live.

Jesus is the only firm foundation for our faith. Faith in Jesus means our house is built on a rock. The troubles and sorrows of this life will never wash away His promise to always be with us.  And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

On busy days when we are focused on this earthly life, (for example work, children, school etc.) and God and faith are not in the foreground, our faith in Jesus is still there running in the background. Like the apps on our cell phones which run in the background even when we are not aware of them, so it is also with a faith that it is connected to Jesus.

When Jesus is the object of our faith, we will never find ourselves swimming aimlessly in the sea of life without hope. He will never let go of us, even though we may let go of Him at times. We can relax and rest secure in His promises and His Word and enjoy the freedom it offers. Jesus loves you and will never leave you.

Faith does produce feelings, but never base your faith on human feelings alone. You may end up like the man in the above verses from Matthew who built his house on sand. When the wind and the rain came his house could not stand. It collapsed and was washed away. But the house built on a foundation of stone stood firm in the wind and the weather. Let Jesus be the foundation (object) for your faith.

When we place our trust in Him, live by His example, and believe the promises in His Word, we are building on a firm foundation. We will be able to withstand the storms and troubles of this life. We can rest secure in His love and forgiveness and live in hope of an eternity with Him in heaven when we die.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31).

Gloria Dei!

By Christine