Where Is Home?

by Sheri Schofield

Peculiar things tend to happen in our country church when our senior pastor goes on vacation. This time, the assistant pastor was in charge. His ministry, which is mainly to a local rest home, is to a different congregation. When he stood to give announcements, he said gently, “This week we have had a number of deaths among us.”

I felt instant alarm. I had heard nothing of this! I looked around to make sure all my friends were there.

The pastor said, “Dan Smith* passed away this week.”

Dan, who was sitting not six feet away from him, shot up in his seat, shook his head vigorously and said, “No, I didn’t!”

We all roared with laughter! Needless to say, confusion reigned for a few minutes. Communion juice and bread were passed out willy-nilly, and the ushers with the offering plates stood helplessly in front, one waving his plate in the air, not sure when to pass it out. It was most unusual. Fortunately, Dan has a good sense of humor!

Our senior pastor is now back from vacation. We are his flock. If he had been handed that announcement, he would have known it wasn’t true. He would have looked immediately for the family involved, and he would have seen Dan standing with them.

This reminds me of what Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep . . . My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:14, 15, 10, NLT). With our Good Shepherd, we go way beyond mere recognition! He blesses us, too.

What is this rich and satisfying life that Jesus wants to give us? Is it a life of wealth and ease? No. Elsewhere, Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me”  (Luke 9:23-25, NLT). He also told his disciples of coming persecution because of their faith, then ended by saying, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (Luke 16:33, NLT).

I do not think Jesus was speaking only of the peace and exhilaration we will have with him in eternity when he said he wants to give us a rich and satisfying life. I think he was speaking of the relationship we can have right now, if we keep our souls melded with his throughout our days. We will inevitably suffer some loss and grief in this life. But if our hearts have found our life and hope in Jesus, we will be inwardly rich and satisfied… even now.

Consider what Moses wrote: “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!” (Psalm 90:1, NLT).

When I return home from a vacation, I feel a sense of relaxation and belonging. I have my own pillow, my own bed, and I know where everything is. I relax and feel comfortable. This is the feeling Jesus wants to give us when we belong to him. With Jesus, our hearts are rich and satisfied, no matter what external perils we suffer. Abiding in our Good Shepherd, we are at peace. We walk into his arms, and we are home.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:13 NASB

*Not his real name

Where Is Home? Insight from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: How has God blessed you lately?

Forever Grateful

by Pam Farrel

Our preschool granddaughter reaches for my hand anytime we walk. Recently as we walked together, she heard the rumbling of a train nearby and, reaching up for me, said, “Nana, I  ‘fraid.”  I immediately picked her up and gave her a hug. She knows I’m there for her. She knows I will rescue her.

Just as a loving grandparent is prone to do, God uses a variety of ways to let us know He is there for us. In my own life I have seen abundant evidence of His care over the years in our marriage, family, and home. He has blessed me with amazing friends and given me a job that I love. I’ve been privileged to travel to many exciting places and meet interesting, inspiring people.

Of course, my hope in Him goes beyond life on earth to an eternity I know I will spend with Him. I first fell in love with my husband when he explained the meaning of a simple phrase on the front of his leather Bible—“That they may know You.” This phrase comes from John 17:3 : “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (NIV)

Eternal life is a wonderful promise, but the blessing of His presence starts right here on earth, long before I will ever get to heaven. Knowing Christ is to know the one called “Immanuel,” which means, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). It is to know the God who said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV). It is to know the God who promised, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NASB).

While eternity with Him is my future, He has given me many personal reassurances that He is a God for the present as well. I’ve found that remembering God’s presence and involvement in my life has been a key to trusting Him for whatever lies ahead.

  • God heard my cry for help when my abusive father was out of control.
  • God walked me out of chaos through the wisdom of a godly mentor.
  • God sent me Bill, an amazing partner in life and love.
  • God sent food when Bill and I were struggling, poor students.
  • God gave me a bicycle to ride when my car died.
  • God gave Bill and I hope in the face of death, disease, and disappointments.
  • God gave me love when I was angry or frustrated in my marriage.
  • God challenged me to rethink how to run a love relationship.
  • God gave me wisdom when I was perplexed in my parenting.
  • God has always been with me to process my emotions so Bill is spared the drama!

And daily, my Grateful to God list continues to grow.

Do you struggle to trust God for your future? A great way to increase your faith is to begin your own gratitude list. Then take some time alone or even with your spouse or family to review and thank God for all He has done to prove his love, grace and provision in your life. Recognizing Him at work in the here and now will supply confidence to trust Him for your future.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13 NASB

pam ferrelAbout the author: Pam Farrel is an international speaker, relationship specialist and best-selling author of over 45 books including her newest books: 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience . She and her husband, Bill, are Co-Directors of Love-Wise.  Follow them on Twitter (@pamfarrel)  and Bill and Pam Farrel on Facebook.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Pam’s book, Discovering Hope in the Psalms  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What has the Lord done in your life that you need to put at the top of your gratitude list?