May 16, 2007

A Quick Meditation on Our Eternal Home

Originally posted 4:23am Tuesday, Jan 23 on Facebook

It’s a funny thing, home… belonging. I have never been one to consider SC my ‘home.’ I have moved and had to ‘start over’ a lot in my life and it’s not really that difficult for me anymore. I have lived all over the US. Thus, I am not particularly loyal to SC or any other geographical place (except maybe the US itself, since I’ve never been out). I am a family / people oriented person, thus I am ‘at home’ with people, not places in particular. I feel like I am repeating myself, but I really want to stress the idea of positional ‘home’ vs. just loving to be with family. I guess to put it bluntly and succinctly; I generally feel no sense of belonging tied with locality.

That said, I am legally a permanent resident of SC and as of now most of my family is in SC. I live in KY most of the time for school (I refer to both as ‘home’). Until last week, it had been a while (almost 6 months) since I was home in SC (I even missed Christmas, as many students did). I really missed my mom and was glad that I was able to make the trip home. It takes about 10 hours of driving, so I had plenty of time to think and sing. My thoughts were everywhere, as always. However, a very strange thing happened, unrelated to any of the things I was thinking about… my heart leaped for joy when I saw and passed into the SC state border. I realized that after 6 months of driving all around KY with an SC license plate, I was instantly declared ‘home’ again. I was no longer viewed by those traveling on the road or working at the gas stations as a foreigner (or to put it another way “not from around here”), but as a resident, a part of the ‘family’ of SC. The moment I placed the license plate on my car two years ago, I was marked as being a resident of SC. While in SC, my car declares that I belong; I am a part of SC. While in KY, my car declares that I am transient, just passing through. Perhaps I am literally just driving through the state on my way somewhere else, or perhaps I am staying a little longer: either way, I do not ‘belong’ in KY (“them vs. us,” as I’ve heard some people say it). All of this is declared by this marking on the rear of my car.

Within an instant, I received instruction and a new meditation. I lack the skill to write in a way that would adequately describe the force with which this meditation hit me, but I will make a feeble attempt. The analogy of being pilgrims in a foreign land is so often used to describe our position on this earth. As Christians, we believe that ‘this earth is not our home’ and we are simply foreigners / pilgrims passing through. Thus we are to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven and look to the unseen and eternal things, not the temporal. Also, we are not to become too comfortable in our present state (in but not of).

We as Christians, bear a marking. We have been marked and sealed as children of God in Christ Jesus by the Spirit of the one living and true God. This mark declares us to be part of family of God. We are declared as belonging to this family. Further, this mark declares us foreigners in this world and residents of the world to come. It assures us that if He goes to prepare a place for us, it will be so and He will return and take us home. I can’t begin to fathom the joy that will be in my heart as I ‘cross the line’ into heaven. I will finally be home with Christ, both in the sense of family and in the sense of location. I will no longer live away from home and have to be a foreigner. Instead, I will live with and do the works of my Father. I will belong; it’s a family thing. This experience was just a foretaste!!!

On the other hand, I cannot, in this life, think of the joy that will be mine, without thinking of the terrible dread awaiting those that are not part of the family of God. Non-Christians also bear a mark, one declaring that they are destined for separation from God in the place reserved for His wrath, known as hell. When the roll is called, only family will be allowed into the presence of God. Only those that have been declared to belong will be seen as natives / residents and thus allowed in, once the doors are shut. The lost are marked as a part of the family of anti-Christ. They are declared / declaring that they do not belong to the Kingdom of Christ, but are natives / residents of the doomed kingdom of Satan (related John 8:42-44).

I am afraid that I have done a very poor job of explaining my thoughts, but this meditation drove me to both praise and prayer. I rejoice that I belong to the Kingdom of Christ, but grieve for all those that do not! Just as I am a foreigner in KY for the purpose of preparing for ministry, we are foreigners on this earth with / for a purpose. My friends, we need to be about the business of our father, leading as many as possible to adoption in Christ!!!

Revelation 14:9-10 9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb

Revelation 2:17 17 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.'

Revelation 3:12 12 'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

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