WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Remember when you were young, and one of the questions you would ask when you met someone new was “What is your name and where do you live?”

Even as adults we ask the same questions, although we often add “What do you do for a living” and “How long have you lived in our city?”

I have been going through hundreds of slide pictures taken by my father before his death and I came across several that prompted thoughts about houses in which my forefathers lived.  My grandparents’ house in California, for example.

grandparents-house-in-california
Grandparents’ house in California.

Or my grandparents’ house in Wisconsin.  I loved that front porch!

clyde-smiths-house-in-neenah-60
Grandparents’ house in Wisconsin.

But then there are houses that I can’t even contemplate living in … houses that are so big that I don’t think I could count the rooms.  This Louisiana plantation house is one such building.

louisiana-plantation-house
Louisiana plantation house.

To top it off, there is the house that is currently for sale in our city … a house with its own name, Villa Collina.  The newspaper says that it is “glorious” with over 50 rooms and is 37,000 square feet.  I simply cannot wrap my head around a single family residence that size.

But, all these houses are here, they are material, they are temporal, they are subject to rust and decay.  While I don’t live in any type of house like that, I am confident that I will live in a truly glorious house one day … my Savior says so:

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:2

Jesus is telling his disciples that he will be leaving them, not for a frivolous purpose or to get away from people who just did not get his mission in this world.  No, He is going home to His Father and he will prepare a place for them in heaven.

This place will be massive because there is room enough for all the believers in the world.  It is a place for those who shall be saved, who were ordained unto life through belief in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross.  These mansions were to be sprinkled with His blood just as the tabernacle and all the ministry vessels were sprinkled by the blood of the sacrifice.  Hebrews 9:21.  By His resurrection from the dead, by His ascension into heaven as our forerunner [Hebrews 6:20], and by His sitting at the right hand of God interceding for us, He prepares our place in heaven.

Just pause for a moment and imagine the glory that will surround these dwellings and the incredible sound of millions of voices singing praise to the Father for the work that He did through Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior, and to the Holy Spirit who sealed us for our salvation.  Glory, power and praise is due to our God and we will participate in giving that glory to Him in eternity.

 

I pray that the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” as sung on the album Hymns for All Saints: Adoration, Praise, Comfort, from Concordia Publishing House was a blessing to you.

I don’t know if we will sing this in heaven, but I am sure that singing songs of thanksgiving  that give honor to God will be as natural as breathing.

So, “Where do you live?”  Or, more importantly, “Where will you live for all eternity?”  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and your answer will be certain … you will live in the place prepared for you before the foundation of the world together with the saints from all ages.  Praise God for such hope and grace.

Father, if there is one who does not know You or your Son, I pray that the Holy Spirit would use these words to convict of sin and to comfort those who fear death.  Thank You for sending your Son as our Savior and your Spirit to effect salvation in your people.  Thank You too for the sure confidence of faith in Scripture and the truth of Your words. 

ONE THING TO DO – MANY WAYS TO DO IT?

When we were in Nashville recently, we took a trip to Lane Motor Museum. The recommendation from the hotel “things to see and do” data sheet indicated that this would be a worthwhile excursion.

Lane Motor Museum building, Nashville, Tennessee.
Lane Motor Museum building, Nashville, Tennessee.

We found the museum to be fun, educational and interesting, even to me as a non-car person! (Regarding that last characterization statement: When I rented a car for work travel, my husband would ask “what car did you drive” and I would respond “a blue one”.)

A 1938 Tatra at the Lane Motor Museum. This car was made in Czechoslovakia.
A 1938 Tatra at the Lane Motor Museum. This car was made in Czechoslovakia.

The museum was truly interesting and it showcased the fact that the design of vehicles is open to interpretation and what is beautiful for one may not be the same for another.

1929 BMW IHLE-600 at the Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, TN.
1929 BMW IHLE-600 at the Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, TN.
Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, Tennessee exhibit of a 1951 Hoffman
Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, Tennessee exhibit of a 1951 Hoffman

According to the information card by the vehicle, the 1951 Hoffman was designed and built by Michael Hoffman.  It has 3 wheels, small engine, slow speed, and rear wheel steering.  The vehicle’s handling, again according to the information card, was like “a drunk leaving a hotel bar”.

1973 Citroen SM Coupe at the Lane Motor Museum.
1973 Citroen SM Coupe at the Lane Motor Museum.
A BMW Isetta at the Lane Motor Museum. You get into the car by opening the front of the vehicle.
A BMW Isetta at the Lane Motor Museum. You get into the car by opening the front of the vehicle.
The USMC Mighty Mite, a 1960 AMC-AV-108-4 on display at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.
The USMC Mighty Mite, a 1960 AMC-AV-108-4 on display at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.

During a video tour of the museum, one of the speakers made a statement that resonated with me.  He was pointing out the wide variety of exhibits in the museum, vehicles with 2-wheels, 3-wheels, 4-wheels, and even 1 wheel.

The Trident is a 3-wheel vehicle at the Lane Motor Museum.
The Trident is a 3-wheel vehicle at the Lane Motor Museum.

Here’s a picture of the 1-wheel vehicle, the 1998 McLean Wheel!

The McLean Wheel, Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, Tennessee.
The McLean Wheel, Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, Tennessee.

The McLean Wheel is a monowheel. In other words, it is one big wheel with the rider and the engine inside the circumference. It differs from a unicycle which has the rider above the wheel. The monowheel depends on a gyroscopic effect to keep it upright. Like a bicycle, it is unstable at slow speeds. At 15 mph, you can put your feet on the footpegs. Turning is accomplished by leaning. Obviously, it takes patience and practice to learn to successfully ride the monowheel.

Returning to the video, the museum representative said all the exhibits in the museum were intended to do just one thing – transport a person from one place to another. (That’s not a word-for-word quote, but the meaning is the same.)  People have thought up a variety of ways to accomplish this one goal; but, the fundamental purpose for each of these vehicles is the same.

When listening to the video, I saw this museum as an analogy of mankind seeking God. Many people look to various philosophies, programs, and rituals in their attempt to achieve a relationship with God. Good works are done with the hope that it will appease God and, when all is tallied up at the end of our life, we will have more on the good side than on the bad side – so God will have to let us into heaven.

The desire is the same; the goal is the same; it is just that the methods are different. Indeed, there are even bumper stickers that assert that all religions are the same. If we are sincere in what we are doing, it will all work out right in the end!

Not so, Holy Scripture says. Running around acting religious or trying hard will not do the trick. In Mark we read that after Jesus had been teaching, he wanted to go to a desolate place to get away from the press of the crowd. He got into a boat and left the area.

“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.” – [Mark 6:34 ESV]

In teaching about the way to get to heaven and to live eternally, He created a word picture that the people would readily understand, sheep in the sheepfold with the shepherd watching over them. We may not have experience with this, but the hearers of our Lord Jesus certainly did. He said:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” – [John 10:1-3 ESV]

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture…. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” – [John 10:9, 11 ESV]

A bit later in John, Jesus is explicit in his teaching, no confusion here … He said:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – [John 14:6 ESV]

Jesus is saying that He, and only He, is the way to God. There is no other. If you want to spend eternity with God in heaven, you must come by way of Jesus Christ, the One who redeemed you when He sacrificed His body on the cross, Who rose from the dead the third day, and Who now sits at the right hand of God the Father.

There are a host of designs for automobiles and vehicles for transport of persons and packages. The purpose is the same and each design fulfills that singular purpose.

But this is diametrically opposed to what happens when people seek God in their own way.

There are many religions, philosophies, plans, religious systems, and rituals that have the same purpose of  seeking God. But, while the purpose is the same, the result is not.  All of man’s attempts to reach God will fail miserably; in short they will not achieve the purpose of eternal life with God in heaven.

God has given us the Way to Him in His Word.  There is only one Way to go to the Father, and that is through Jesus Christ.

All roads do not reach the same destination – and all methods of religion do not suffice for achieving eternal life in heaven.

“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” – [Romans 10:9-10 ESV]

The way to reach heaven and eternal life is singular … it is through belief in and reliance upon the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.   Seek Him, and you shall be saved.

Father, I thank you that you sent your Son to be our Savior and that He came so that we would have life eternal.   I pray that your Word would become real to each person reading this prayer and that, if they have not come to Jesus in faith, your Spirit would quicken them, in Jesus name I pray.