Reality. Check.

Treadmill control 20150120

Reality.

I will be honest, I have been slacking in my exercise and fitness plans. Recently, I made some adjustments and have chosen to focus with renewed commitment and energy on returning to a “more fit me”. It didn’t take long to reveal the test results of just how unfit I really was. Shortness of breath. Very low endurance for the distance. Carrying a few saddle bags of weight. It left me feeling worn out, out of sorts and out of shape! That reality check about my physical condition caused a spin off question. Just how fit is my faith? My spiritual condition? I mean, it seems things are speeding up and pressing toward critical mass.

I am just a little past half time in my life. Like you, I have suffered my share of challenges, losses and difficulties. Like you, I have failed sometimes but, overcome most of the time. I will be quick to admit there were times when the heartache and pain were a more than I expected and sometimes unexpected. There were times when I wanted to give up. Stop. Quit. What’s the use? Let me just live my life in peace. Reality, now is the time to dial up faith, courage, desire and passion!

God’s answer to Jeremiah’s complaint comes to mind,
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5 NIV

The same words translated through The Message Bible are even more poignant, “So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses? And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm, what’s going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?”

The writer of Hebrews sites a time of shaking will come that will shake all that can be shaken… [for what purpose?] to reveal the Kingdom that cannot be shaken (12:26-28).

Check.

The Scripture suggests that there will be a time when the race will be accelerated, as when the horses are released. There are times when a safe, orderly society will be less orderly and downright dangerous. Times when trouble breaks out and the enemy breaks in like a flood. What will be our response? Are we fit for the challenge? Will I be among the faithful who can endure?

If you are loving and believing God today I am so thankful and encouraged. I am encouraged because I know you have been made fit for this time. Jesus exerted great effort in order to save my soul. It is that effort that I rest in and labor from. He saved us from ourselves; from our tendencies toward failure, disobedience and weakness. We have been granted a new status before the King of the Universe. We are now partakers of His divine Nature for His Glory! On my own from my old nature I could not perform nor achieve. As a new creation in Christ, now I can! We were born for more than an ordinary life. We were born to go beyond, to live in that reality as an Over-comer!

Christ in you, the hope of Glory. Under any conditions. Reality. Check.

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Home, Sweet Homelessness

I’ve had the opportunity work in team to benefit homeless men in our region providing temporary housing, food and counsel. I am familiar with the frustration and hopelessness they face.  I have also been able to spend brief times in the mission field. One time not too long ago I was in a foreign land and gone from home for three weeks. During those three weeks my passions and enthusiasm were on a curve. Early on the excitement was about the mission and the needs of the locals. Later into the three weeks I found myself bent in another direction-toward home. I recall the last couple days feeling an overwhelming urge and expectancy for going home.

There’s no place like home. Like Dorothy’s stay in Oz, home has a will always call our name. After being gone from home for varying lengths of time the cathartic effect of new faces and new places begins to wear thin and we begin to pine for home.

Where does that longing for home come from? Do we all long for home or is it just the few? I think most of humanity carries an amount of yearning, longing, craving to return to the familiar boundaries of home. There arises this deep sense of homelessness. From timid college freshmen to battle hardened soldiers. From runaways to the rich and famous on the walk-ways each has a void that refuses to be filled called Home.

It seems quite reasonable to conclude that this craving and longing for home has been passed down through our physical and spiritual DNA. It came from the very beginning of creation and the time of Adam and Eve in the garden. As migratory birds cross land and sea for thousands of miles in answer to the instinctive calling deep inside, I believe our Creator has given us a similar passion to arrive at Home.

Think of it like this. Our first parents were at home in The Garden of Eden. Lush, green, well watered, comfortable, environmentally controlled with sufficiency of all things including no sense of any fear nor need of any kind. Their luxurious accommodations included regular walks and conversation with the owner, developer of the estate—God himself.

Then, the day came when Adam and Eve lost it all. (Genesis 3:23,24) Because of disobedience, Creator God separated them from Himself and from the Garden. They were removed from the Garden on the spot. Their circumstance were immediately altered. Instantly, they were homeless.

Since then, in the processes of life generations have been born who have lived with a sense that Home is out there somewhere. The writer of Ecclesiastes said, He has put eternity in their hearts. Family and friends do us fine for awhile. Yet, deeply within there is a need for home; a need that cannot be satisfied with the natural or the ordinary. Throughout all humanity there has been an ongoing search for home.

There has been no satisfying remedy until Jesus Christ came to establish the dwelling place of God.  Now through Jesus Christ the longing for Home, the filling of the eternal can be satisfied.

Naturally we think that home is a place that I move into. However, this unanswerable and eternal empty place, this spiritual place is called Home wherever Christ moves in. Here in the human heart eternity meets the Eternal.

In this way we all have been homeless. Thank God for my homelessness! My need with its passion and pursuit brought Jesus home to me! Oh, Sweet Homelessness is now Sweet Home!

Do you want to live like that?