Friday, September 4, 2015

How Lovely V - Conclusion

Based on Psalm 84
A Sermon.

Dwelling Places

"To be homeless the way people like you and me are apt to be homeless is to have homes all over the place but not to be really at home in any of them."

Frederick Buechner
The Longing for Home

Coming Home

This quote hit me hard. I recently moved from Miami to Fort Myers and for a while rented an apartment while owning a condo. I was working in Fort Myers and had an expecting wife and a young daughter in Miami. I made a conscious effort to call one place home and to never use the term for the other. Can you guess which was home?

It seems like this is a trap for Christians everywhere. We might find ourselves homeless, not in the sense that we have no home, but we feel at home in many different places. I know, the first thing that comes to mind is the world and knowing that we are not of this world (John 17.16). But sometimes these homes can be made of more sinister materials.

Maybe I harbor a home of regret over previous failures. I need to remember that God has taken care of my guilt.

Maybe I harbor a home of superiority. I need to remember that everyone comes to God the same way.

Maybe I harbor a home of religious activity. I need to remember that God wants nothing to come between me and Him, even churchy duties. Am I, are you, at home with the Lord alone?

Too Dirty?

Do you still think you are too dirty to draw close to the Lord? This is a problem I see in the assembly, particularly in our worship meetings. I hear men, usually young but older men have done it too, stand and give a devotional at the Lord's Supper. Problem is, they focus a lot on their own shortcomings. Don't get me wrong, we need to acknowledge our failure and thank God for his grace. But our failures should never obscure God's goodness. We should never be the focus.

But why? How can we even think about approaching God's glorious presence? I have two related stories and one point for you:
  1. We finally sold our condo in Miami. But before then, I decided I would take my family to visit my old work buddies at FIU (Florida International University). We went to lunch. I fed my daughter some broccoli and milk, ate my cafeteria food and caught up on all the goings-on at the University. After a little while, my daughter escaped the table. She is full of energy and really curious, so I got up and decided to wrangle her back to the table in a fun way.

    I began a little faux chase. I completely forgot the immediate context of what we were doing (re: milk and broccoli). She gave chase. I caught her. I tickled her. I spun her around and flipped her upside down. Just as I got back to the table up came the milk and broccoli. Instead of turning out to barf on the floor she turned in and barfed in my shirt pocket.

    Milk and broccoli in my shirt pocket.
    I didn't have time to change before closing.

  2. After closing we went and spent some time at my parent's house. I got my shower and put on some travel clothes because we had to drive back to Fort Myers that night.

    We were sitting at the dinner table and I was holding our newborn. Our kids have strong necks (never wobbly) and weak stomachs (acid reflux) so I almost always hold them outward. That evening, I held her on my knee facing outward.

    After some time, I start feeling warmth on my lap. It seems to be spreading. I mentioned it to the table, but nobody saw her barf. I glance at my lap but don't see anything.

    Then, the baby farts (flatulence) and it's too late to take preventative measures. Poop flies out of her diaper in all directions and my lap is instantly covered in the brown-yellow-green goop that passes for infant excrement. My baby has just crapped all up in my lap.

These experiences were repulsive. They are gross. They are unbelievably nasty. They are the perfect illustration of our current discussion. Immediately following these extracurricular activities, they were un-cuddleable. Something had come between us. But these things do not change my love for them. I still loved them fiercely. How much greater is God's love than my human love? Hint: The answer is greater than you can imagine.

But it doesn't stop there. You see, I can bathe my babies and then cuddle them once they're clean. Our Lord has done that for us. In John 13, Jesus washes his disciples feet as a symbol. He says in verse 10 "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean." He has declared us clean. We still get dirty and need spot work from time to time, but the source of Filth has been dealt with. He has cleaned us and now draws us near. We are family.


Do you know that God wants you as his honored child in his dwelling place? We are not second-class citizens in his presence. We are his guests of honor. We are his family.

This study has meant a lot to me. I hope that through this series of short devotionals you have caught a glimpse of Almighty God. I trust that a small glimpse of God is enough to change the viewer for all eternity. May we seek God's dwelling place continually and know that he wants to help us through the journey.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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