HOME – WHERE DID YOU SAY IT WAS?

The posts on The Ruminant Scribe have been anything but regular for the past couple of months.  I have diligently tried to post every Tuesday and Friday since I began the blog, and I have been pretty successful in keeping that schedule (apart from when surgery has thrown the calendar into a spin).

But, for the past couple of months, the posting schedule has been shot.  I didn’t want to explain what was coming as I did not want to publicize the fact that we were going to be out-of-town for two months.  No sense alerting whatever malevolent forces are lurking to do harm to the fact that the house would be unoccupied for that period of time.

So, what took us away?  My husband, the two dogs and I went on our 2018 Western Adventure RV Road Trip. 

RV with car
RV ready to roll with Jeep following wherever we go!

The mileage on our motor home when we began was 56,660 miles.  When we pulled into the storage lot 64 days later, the mileage was 61,919.  Thus, after applying higher math to the equation, we had traveled 5,259 miles. 

However, the coach was not the only vehicle driven.  We towed our Jeep and used it at the various stops to visit the National Parks, towns and roadways while the RV was hooked up to the power at the campground.  In short, the Jeep gave us portability that the coach would not have done, so we need to consider the Jeep’s mileage as well.  The trip meter says that the Jeep was driven 1,334 miles during this trip. 

So, the total mileage for our 2018 Western Adventure over the past 64 days was 6,593 miles. 

I am confident that there will be more references to our trip in future blog posts; suffice it to say that for now we are very glad to be home.  This prompted me to think about what Scripture says about home.

One of the most prominent references is where people are simply returning to their home, the place where they belong, the place where they are safe and secure, the place they want to be for a host of reasons.  Consider:

As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country.”

Genesis 30:25

“And Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his home.

2 Chronicles 25:22

The Lord God was so detailed in giving the Law to His people that He required that a newly married man should remain at home with his wife for one year.

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.”

Deuteronomy 24:5

Scripture speaks of having a place to call home, noting that this even applies to animals:

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.”

Psalm 84:3

After Jesus healed people, He most often would tell them to go to their homes:

“I tell you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”

Mark 2:11

Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.””

Mark 5:19

And of course we also have Jesus’ words in the parable of the lost sheep:

“And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.'”

Luke 15:6

While we didn’t have a party at the house upon our arrival, we were very thankful for the home to which we returned., and the children did, in fact, have a surprise waiting for us. 

Traveling is great fun with many adventures to have, sights to see, foods to taste, pictures to take and roads to travel.  But there is something heart-tugging about “home”. 

So join me today as we celebrate returning “home”.  We often think of our home in terms of chores – laundry, cleaning, dishes, yard work.  All that is necessary to be done, but for now, I would ask that you think about your home differently.

Think about your own home, no matter what it looks like: whether it be a house, an apartment, a tenement, a bungalow, a cottage or a townhouse; whether it is in a city or village; whether it is huge or tiny; it could even be a motor home that can move to different locations!  If it is the place where you feel secure … safe … loved, then it is “home,” and praise the Lord for it.

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

John 14:2-3

Home, for the Christian, also includes being with the Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity in our heavenly home.  Praise God for His gracious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Through Christ’s righteousness, we can have life everlasting in our heavenly home.  Thank Him now for such a marvelous gift that we have yet to experience.

Blessings to each of you.

Father, thank You for the blessing of travel and experiencing new things, seeing new sights, going down unexplored roads.  Thank You also for the blessing of returning home, and for the blessing of Your presence no matter where we are.  We praise You for being with us each step of the way.  Thank You, Lord.

I’ll be home for Christmas

 

 

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me”.  It was recorded by Bing Crosby during war times and was intended to express the feelings of the soldiers who were far from home at Christmas and also to encourage those at home in realizing that their loved one was thinking about them, as they were thinking of the soldier. 

Often, by the end of the song, I have misty eyes as I remember Christmas times in the past when things were easier, when loved ones were still with us, when the children were young.  All the fondness from memories of years past comes crashing in especially when I have been away from home at Christmas time.

While this is an awesome concept and many of us do return to our natal homes for the holiday, it really has no application to Christmas for the Christian.  It sounds great in Hallmark movies or as sentiment in a song, but do you really think that Jesus was anxious to return to the manger to celebrate his birthday?  Scripture says:

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7

nativity
The nativity scene as sewn on a Christmas tree skirt.

 

Even during His ministry, Jesus did not have his own place to live.  Scripture gives this statement from our Lord:

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Matthew 8:20

Of course, the reality is that Jesus did have a “home”.   Three of the disciples saw a bit of Jesus’ nature from His “home” at the transfiguration. 

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. …  He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified.

Matthew 17:1-2, 5-6.

Paul tells of it like this:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11.

Paul is telling us that Jesus did not hang on to his position in Heaven, but He willingly took human form as a baby.  This does not mean that He no longer was part of the Trinity that existed before there was any created order. (John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:1-2; 11:3)  He was both God and man, a mystery that we cannot fully comprehend but we accept through faith.  He came from Heaven and, after His resurrection and further ministry on earth, He returned to His Father in Heaven.  Acts 1:11. 

What does this have to do with the believers’ home?  Paul specifically states in Philippians 3:20 that “our citizenship is in heaven”.   The note on this verse in the Reformation Study Bible says:

Just as Philippi was a Roman colony (Acts 16:12), the church is a colony of heaven.  Although presently at a great distance, physically speaking, from the heavenly “city” where the redeemed can see the Lord reigning over all creation in glory, the followers of Jesus already belong to that city, which defines their identity and eternal privileges.

The song “I’ll be home for Christmas” relates to our physical home here on this planet.  But, for the believers in Jesus Christ, we may live on earth, but our citizenship is in Heaven where we will live eternally with our Lord. 

Here is the song as sung by Frank Sinatra on the album Christmas With The Rat Pack.

 

So, I challenge you to think about your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ each time you hear “I’ll be home for Christmas” this Christmas season.  Think about the glories that are yours through His sacrifice and reflect on your assurance that Heaven is where your citizenship lies.

 

Father, I thank You for sending Your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ, to this earth as a little baby that we celebrate this season.  I pray that I would not forget His coming in all the parties, dinners, activities of the season, and I pray that I would remember that my home is in Heaven, where my citizenship has been guaranteed by my Savior and His Spirit.

 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Have you ever been asked “Where do you live?”

 

Childhood home on Olympia Street '59
Childhood home on Olympia Street in Chicago, Illinois.

That question often came up when I was a young child … neighborhood children ask this question to find out if my house was near enough so that they could come visit without having to ask their mother or father.

 

Even as an adult we often ask “Where do you live?”  Sometimes the answer is a physical street address and sometimes it is a city, or a county, or a country.  But it is guaranteed that we all live somewhere.

 

One of the most unusual houses I have seen is the one pictured below, near Willow, Alaska.  It was visible from the train ride as we made our way to Denali National Park.  Looking at the vista, you might think you were looking at a cell tower rather than a house.  It stands tall … over the neighboring trees.

Alaska - 7 layer house in woods (C)
View from Alaska Railroad on trip to the Denali National Park.

 

A close up of the house reveals that it is, in fact, a structure made up of at least 7 “houses”, built on top of each other, above the surrounding forest.

Alaska - Dr Seuss Tower House outside Denali - close up (C)
Close up view of “The Dr. Seuss House” outside Willow, Alaska.

According to the locals, the 12-story house stands above the surrounding trees with each “house” stacked so that it appears to be either an afterthought or a layer on a very tall cake.  The owner built the house after a forest fire, and the house originally had views of Mount Denali (former Mount McKinley) as well as the neighboring Denali National Park.  However, as nature will do, trees regrow after a fire and, as a result, the owner lost the view that he prized so dearly.  So, not being a quitter, he added more and more stories to his house.  The result is the 12-story tower that appears to be another tall tree in the forest, at least it did from the train!  The locals call it “The Dr. Seuss Tower House”.  [There is an aerial video of the house as well as some photographs of the entire building in an article written by Alexa Carrasco, dated April 7, 2015, and found at http://www.curbed.com/2015/4/7/9972998/dr-seuss-willow-alaska-house.]

Where do you live?

For the Christian, the answer to that question is not just our physical address or city in which we reside.  While that information is a correct answer to the inquiry, it is not the definitive statement of where our true ultimate home is.

 

In John 14:2-3, Jesus says:

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

So, where is your home?  Here or there?

 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21.

So, where is your treasure?  Here or there?

 

An old country gospel hymn says, in part:

This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through.

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door;

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

 

Oh Lord, you know, I have no friend like You.

If Heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?

The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door;

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

 

We have a job to do on this spinning planet called Earth; we are here to do the Lord’s work.  He has commissioned His people to witness to others about His life, death, resurrection, ascension and intercession for us before the Father.  We are to tell others of His sacrifice on the cross so that His righteousness could be applied to those who come to Him in faith and believe in Him, following His commandments and loving others as He loved us.   We are to present the gospel when the opportunity is made available to us.

 

We cannot just sit and pine for our home in Glory.  In short, we should not be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good!

 

But, we also should not have a strangle-hold on this world and its treasures because they are only temporary.  They will not go into eternity with us.  The Psalmist knew this truth!

Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him.

Psalm 49:16-17.

Our treasures are to be with the Lord, while we are temporary residents of this world.

 

So, where do you live?  Where is your house?

However, the far more important questions are:  Where is your home?  Where is your treasure?  Where is your heart?

 

Father, I pray that I would keep my eyes on my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, rather than on this world and the lure of money, position, power, ease, etc.  I pray that the Holy Spirit would attune my heart to His song and that I would look for the places that He wants me to go and do that which He directs.  May my treasures and my heart be in Heaven, through Jesus Christ, my Lord.