Pictures of Home

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This picture was taken in New Zealand, the beautiful country which I have never left. It was just such a scene as this which I gazed upon as I returned from a family reunion in Wanaka at the end of 2012. Wanaka is in Central Otago, a dry, tussocky place, like the one shown here. After two days of fulfilling the Newton family motto, “If you’re not eating, you’re not having a good time,” my coastal eyes were homesick – for the sea.

As we drove down the Waitaki Valley (and yes, it might help if you looked this all up on Google Maps!), I felt an aching tug in my heart, because I was going home.

However, as I thought this over, I realized that where I was headed was not actually my home. Instead, this moment served as a picture of heaven, that far-off country which we cannot see. It was a reminder of that fact of my heavenly citizenship.

Whenever I see a striking part of God’s creation like this one, I see it as a glimpse and a shadowy picture of heaven. These moments come and go, but the knowledge of living where I do not belong does not.

The longing to see my home in Oamaru was soon replaced by a stronger one, that of waiting for the return of Jesus in the clouds, and our ascension into heaven. Only then will we truly be at home. Because, after all,

This world is not our home.

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This World is Not Our Home

file000520062726This world is not our home. John 17:14 makes that clear: “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,” adds Philippians 3:20.

OK… so what? We know that. We’re headed for heaven, and, well, that’s good, isn’t it?

If you are assured of your salvation, that’s a reason to rejoice! But this knowledge also has implications for our lives in this world.

If we don’t belong here, we shouldn’t live as if we do. We should actively examine our motives for all that we do, say, and think. This is assuredly no easy task, and this need for godly wisdom and discernment is a reason to spend time with godly, wise older people who have learnt from their life experiences and can give us help in our lives. Spending time with people, or girls, of this world will just encourage us to be like them, worldly, foolish and certainly not a good influence. But mature believers who have walked life’s narrow road for some years are sure to be a help, and not a hindrance!

Another implication of our heavenly citizenship is that we should not be satisfied with our lives as they are. We should be able to see our sins, faults, and unwise choices, and work to eliminate them. If you are comfortable with your life, and the world around you, you should do some serious thinking about how you measure up to God’s standards.  Even if you aren’t, we all need to evaluate our habits, and examine our lives.

If you are living for this world, and the things of this world, you may be of it.

We must also look at our serving, and be sure that we are serving God, and not the world.  It must show that we are not taken up with worrying about earthly things, but concerned only with giving the glory to God. It must be honouring to Him, and show that we are waiting for our eternal reward.  Because, after all,

This world is not our home.

Life as an Actress

file7781250177228Girls, did you know that you are an actress? You are performing your own life, live on your own personal stage.

Your audience consists mainly of your director. Others come and go, but they do not fully understand your performance. The director instructs you, and gives you guidance when the script is blank. This play is a one-off event, and at the end, you will either gain admittance to the director’s mansions, or be sentenced to eternal death. The director’s son is also watching. He is a perfect man who has acted his play, and is seated with his father.

As you live, you are acting. But you are not reading the script. It is in your hand, but you pay little attention. The script has all you need in order for you to act the play correctly. It is, literally, ‘at hand’, but you ignore it altogether. You see this as your play, and have no intentions of obeying the orders of anyone else. You have your own ideas about what you should be doing and only glance briefly at the script when you are at a loss for what to do or say next. You have no wish to follow the director’s instructions.

Your director is totally repulsed by your performance. You are not following the script at all. In fact, you are doing the complete opposite of what is written! Only occasionally do you do something which vaguely resembles your instructions. The director can only give you a mark of zero and condemn you to a place far removed from him. It is a place where you, among many others, will wander, eternally doing your own thing. Always you will be there.

On stage, your heart grows faint. You realize the futility and absolute worthlessness of your performance, and you have an inner assurance that, when you take your final bows, there is no future for you but listlessness and eternal nothingness. You can feel the full weight of all your misdeeds on your thin shoulders. You fall to the ground, bowed down with anguish and completely humbled. All you can do is whisper,

‘Sir, I can do nothing but to ask you to remove this burden…’

The director stands, and calls out,

“Son, be there!”

The Son comes onto the stage. Gently He lifts you to His shoulder, and begins to act your part. He gives you strength, and you cry, with utmost gratitude, from the depths of your soul,

“Abba, Father!”