Sojourner Living Part 2

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It’s been a real season of change for our family. I recently got head hunted for a role which I started a few weeks ago. I was at my last company for nearly six years so it has taken some getting used to. It has been a blessing to me and my family because the pay and hours are all better… it also serves as a reminder to me that we are all on a journey in this life… which got me thinking about sojourner living again.

The thought that comes to mind is that we need to keep moving forward on life’s journey. However, while we make camp in the various stages and seasons of life we should be a part of the story of the spaces where we settle. We need to make a difference where ever God leads us in life and be the place makers he has called us to be.

In my book Sacred Places, after a short word study on “strangers” and “exiles” from Hebrews 11:13-16, I make the following statement:

“With the help of our word definitions and with the wider context in which we find these words in the passage and the Bible as a whole narrative, we can describe ourselves in context to place as the following:

We are a particular and peculiar people, the called out ones who are by the King’s choice and adoption, sons of a better place, living in this place as ambassadors and heirs of the place our King has prepared for us and by his decree sent us out from as his messengers in this place, which itself will one day be the better place we long for.”

Ask yourself the question, are you pursuing sojourner living? To help us all think about this biblically I’ll summarise what it means to be a place maker in the next blog post.

I explore all of this in my book “Sacred Places: The Biblical Theology of Place, Exploring Its Central Importance in God’s Creation and Mission” Which you can pick up today.

Procrastination vs Action

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We have recently published the Daily Truth Devotional on Faithlife which means you can use it in the Vyrso or Logos Apps.

Here is a small snippet from today’s devotional

“Today’s theme will explore the many pitfalls of procrastination, which is putting off what should be done today (delaying or postponing necessary action) and is synonymous with laziness, idleness and sluggishness. On the other hand, we will look at the alternative to procrastination, which is action.”

You can get your own copy from FREE from Vyrso here today.

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/