Sojourner Living, Part 1

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Our family has just moved for the third time in 4 years. The move happened on the weekend. We were hoping to get access earlier in the week but could not get into the new place until Saturday morning, so it has been a really long extended weekend. I’m aching all over, it feels like I’ve been in the gym non-stop for 2 days!

We didn’t have a removal company, instead, I called on two of my brothers and three other friends to help shuttle things in cars and one friend borrowed a huge van for the larger items. It took a lot of effort and determination to clear the old house but we got there in the end.

That was just the beginning, the biggest job will be settling into the new place and getting organised again… that battle has begun but is by no means over. The new place we are in is larger than anywhere we have lived as a family before which is a great blessing that we thank God for.

Reflecting on the times we have moved in recent years and with this move in particular which was set in motion at the same time Sacred Places was published, has brought the subject of Sojourner Living into sharp focus. Sojourner Living is a term I coined in my book Sacred Places. for the closing chapter, just before the further study section. I think if I keep my heart and eyes open at this transitional time there will be lessons to share with you all about the importance and reality of Sojourner Living for all of us.

One lesson from the big move is that living as Sojourners in this world will mean we have work to do, as we move from space to space we need to brace ourselves for displacement, re-placement and all the hard work that brings. If we are not mentally and spiritually prepared for the work and effort needed for the twists and turns we face as pilgrims on life’s journey, we can end up feeling overwhelmed. The same principle applied when we moved on the weekend, moving takes a lot of effort, staying settled is far easier.

Ask yourself, how can you apply this to your life? Is God leading you to move on in an area of your life but you are too afraid of the hard work and uncertainty this displacement will bring? Pray to God about the move he wants you to make today.

We thank God that we are Sojourners here because we have a better place prepared for us, a secure and eternal place in God’s own presence. While we remain in this world, let’s live as Ambassadors for God, working hard with the energy he supplies to finish our daily missions in service to the great commission,  in Jesus name.

This is the first in a series of post on Sojourner Living, through the lens of our house move. The following is an excerpt from the book on Sojourner Living which is good food for thought and will serve as a platform for this new series:

This final section, which brings the book to an end, looks at life, our lives, and how we live them in light of the theology of place.

One of the first things we need to grapple with is the Bible’s description of believers as pilgrims, exiles, sojourners, and strangers in the earth. That seems to drive against the grain of the theology of place; let’s see what the Scripture actually says in Hebrews 11:13–16 (emphasis and expansion of the term exiles added)

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles (pilgrims, sojourners, foreigners) on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

This is not against the theology of place; in fact, it upholds it. This is why this final section in our last chapter on the believer’s response is called “sojourner living.”

You can pick up your own copy of Sacred Places today.

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God, our refuge

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Have you ever had one of those days or even whole seasons where you feel cast down inside? There are many reasons for this, including, an increase in work pressures, relationship issues or financial woes. Or, as is the case with me at the moment, it could be the stress of a big, unplanned life change…. We are moving home and it is proving a challenge… as moving generally does.

I realise I have a lot to be grateful for and my “stress” does not even begin to compare to the troubles billions of people around the world have to face every day, living in unimaginable poverty. In comparison, I’m living the life of the elite here in the UK.

However, things being as they are, I am stressed today and feeling a little low. As I sit on this train on the way home from a long day at work, the scripture that comes to mind is Psalm 61:1–4… it reads:

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah

One of the themes of the book I’ve spent last year writing is “Place” and in particular safe and sacred places. As Human Beings, we need somewhere to run to when we feel like the walls are all closing in, the water is rising and the onslaught of our enemies (what or whoever this represents for us) feels unbearable.

The Psalmist is keeping it real, he is not always ok, sometimes he feels tired, overwhelmed or faint. That’s why I love the bible, it’s not full of maxims and lofty super spiritual talk, it is real, practical and full of truth for each of us. The writer of the psalm has had experience wth God and in this troubled time, remembers that God has been his refuge before and will be again.

It is such a comfort to know that God himself is our safe place, our sacred or protected place. He puts us up on a rock of safety that is too high for us to climb to ourselves, far above the waves that cause us so much stress.

I’m encouraging myself with that reality today and encourage you to do the same. Seek refuge from the storms of life in God, know that he loves you and by his personal presence and grace has prepared a place of protection and assurance for you in Christ… a place you can retreat to in prayer and fellowship with him today.

You can find out more about the importance of place in my book Sacred Places.

 

Price Drop

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The Kindle edition of Daily Truth, with biblical lessons and reflections for every day of the year, has dropped to less than half price. Pick up a copy today.

The battle for the mind

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Here is an important reflection from today’s reading. taken from “Daily Truth”:

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

2 Corinthians 10:4–6 (ESV)

The battle is for the minds of men. The fleshy way of fighting for men’s hearts and minds is to use human reasoning and underhanded tactics to manipulate the targets. Paul does not fight in this way, he fights with God’s weapons and so fights in God’s way.

The imagery Paul is using is of a full siege which has three stages: 1) destroying defences 2) taking captives 3) punishing resisters. We should use these three stages of attack as we fight for God’s glory and fame.

The strongholds that we need to tear down are the intellectual arguments that have been set up against the truth of the Gospel. The captives are the very thoughts of those who were imprisoned by these mental strongholds (i.e. evolution or false religion).

The weapons we use include the truth of the Gospel, prayer, God’s wisdom and even our holy living. We must fight for the hearts and minds of those in our church and the wider culture. God’s story must be set over and against all the false narratives of this world.

You can pick up your own copy of Daily Truth from Amazon or the Sacred Places book at various online stores listed here.

Keep reading the bible

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We need to keep up a healthy bible reading habit…It’s a simple truth but also so important, the following is an excerpt from my book Daily Truth (Volume 2 in paperback format). It is taken from the notes for today’s bible reading:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8 (ESV)

There are many books today about being successful but God’s formula is simple… keep reading the bible, think about it and live it out, this leads to prosperity and success and very often this will be the true riches valued by God and His people, but not appreciated or recognised by the world. See 2 Timothy 3:16

You can pick up the all in one digital edition of the volume print edition of Daily Truth from Amazon today.

Find out more here: http://www.humblemajesty.com/the-legacy-collection/

 

Book Signings

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We are on the last day of our Annual Passover conference which we hold at our church every Easter break. It has been a great conference and you can find free media from the conference over at our site here.

The book was given an unplanned announcement on the first day of the conference which I was really grateful for and it gave me an opportunity to give a copy to the person I dedicated the book to.

An unexpected but good development was that lots of people who brought the book from the bookstore at the conference asked for the book to be signed and others who brought a copy online showed up with theirs to be signed too.

It’s been a real pleasure adding personal messages to each copy I’ve signed and I’m only too glad to sign more. If you have a copy and want it signed, feel free to bring one along if you attend or are visiting WWMF. I’ll be announcing book launch/signing events in the near future where you can get a book signed too.

Each of us is like a book created by God and his desire is to sign each of us with his name as a mark of the everlasting covenant he desires to enjoy with us in the sacred place he has prepared for us. Jesus mentioned this in Revelation 3:12

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, 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 from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

Be sure to secure your place in the new Jerusalem by putting your trust in Jesus.

I explore all of this in my book Sacred Places which you can get a copy from here

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Resurrection Day

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Today is a great day of celebration for believers in Jesus around the world, it is the day when we reflect and rejoice over the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

This is not a myth as suggested by pseudo-historians claiming that the resurrection is a recycling of “dying and rising gods” from the ancient mystery religions. The so called similarities are overstated with lots of overreaching, special pleading and, well, lies!*

The fact is Jesus actually rose from the dead. This was an event in history…. actual space-time history, it is an event that actually happened and was reported and recorded by witnesses at the time.

Our faith is in the reality of that event, recorded soon after the fact in the gospel accounts found in the Bible.

The resurrection of Jesus changes everything, now the way into God’s presence is open. God’s original plan, of living in the same place with Man will be accomplished because Jesus defeated death, and by his resurrection life, makes everlasting life available to all those who put their faith in him, swering alligence to him as King.

His Kingdom is advancing and the kingdom if darkness is being swlalowed up in his resurection life. Hear the good news today. The king has come, end your rebellion against him and accept the freedom and new life he offers today.

Let’s celebrate the resurrection of our King, heaven’s champion and humanity’s saviour today!

Consider the account recorded in Mark 16:1-6

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

…and the words of Jesus himself after his resurrection, recorded in Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Have more than just a resurrection day this Easter, go all in and live the resurrection life as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

*See Man, Myth, Messiah by Rice Broocks for more detail