I have several close friends in Brazil. Each of my friends is an excellent cook and they love sharing their recipes with me. Sometimes they even invite me over just to show me how to prepare different dishes.
I LOVE it when I visit my Brazilian friends and they greet me at the door with a hug and air kiss on my cheek. They welcome me in their home and say a phrase “vc ta em casa”. It means, “You are at home” and they mean it. They want me to be comfortable enough to move a chair over by the wood burning stove and grab a cup out of the cupboard and pour myself a cup of coffee. This illustrates today’s post perfectly.
Consider your current relationship with God.
Is He at home?
Can God move something around in your life and heart at His pleasure while you serve Him?
Or do you tell Him what He can and can NOT do?
I remember one time I went to a Christmas party here in the States. It was being held at a church member’s home. She and her husband lived in a really nice neighborhood and I was kind of excited to see what a big home like theirs looked like inside. I excitedly dressed in my Christmas sweater and black skirt and decided I would wear black boots since it was chilly. I wanted my feet to stay warm, so I put on some aqua colored reindeer socks that someone had given me. They looked ridiculous with my black and red outfit, but since they would be hidden by my black boots I didn’t give it another thought.
There I was, standing in front of this beautiful home and ringing the doorbell. (I felt like the kitchen staff on Downton Abbey when they were allowed in the Great Hall for Christmas Eve!) The gorgeously wreathed door opened and I was welcomed inside. My eyes traveled up the sweeping staircase and my mouth hung open a little as I took in everything around me.
Then the unthinkable happened.
I heard a voice asking me to remove my boots before I stepped off of the foyer rug. MY BOOTS? I thought. I sat down on a beautiful bench along the wall and unzipped my boot. And I saw the hostess raise her eyebrows as my bright aqua blue reindeer socks made their appearance. My only saving grace was that they weren’t musical or blinking, but they might as well have been.
Suddenly all my prior excitement I had for this elegant party left me and I felt like a complete idiot. Oh well, every village has one, right?
Now, I understand some people have rules about their floors….I get it, trust me. But when it comes at the expense of embarrassing your guest, I wonder, is it worth it?
When we say we want to dwell with God and have a relationship with Him, why would we want to put stipulations on Him? He takes us at our word and actions doesn’t He? I mean, the Bible says very plainly;
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8
He sees us drawing closer to Him and taking needed steps towards getting right with Him, so He begins to be “at home” and continues His perfect work in us…..and we begin complaining.
Oh, we don’t mind showing off some personal preferences and pretending in front of our neighbor that we are “walking with God”. But Jesus said;
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27
I don’t want to be a false projection of an unwelcoming heart.
My husband commented to me this evening,
“A moral revival will only fix the exterior, but a real, true Spritual revival will transform the interior and the exterior”.
Talk about getting a remodel!
God knows what we need in order to glorify Him the most. He knows that it may seem painful during the process, but He isn’t being cold and callous. Just the opposite, He cares.
How do I know this? Romans 8. Read it. Dwell in it. Study it a little for yourself.
God loves us, therefore, every single thing He does in our lives is done in that perfect love. Period.
It may be a hard pill to swallow when we are facing a mountain of pain, but like my preacher friend, Andy Brink, says, “Nothing can come into our lives that has not been first filtered through the hands of a God who loves us”.
Are you allowing God to make Himself at home in your life? Or do you demand He leave pain and suffering and heartache at the door? What if that heartache is what produces a kinder attitude in you that helps you reach someone for Christ? Is their soul not worth your personal pain? If we are to be Christlike, then we need to be willing to go through it for the sake of souls.
My life has had it’s fair share of bad moments, moments that made me want to swallow a bottle of pills and be done with it. But I tell you what, once I could get past the “numbness” and shock of the pain, I realized God had never once left me to deal with it by myself. And every love-filtered painful moment has helped me help someone else.
Paul said, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:10.
“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:21
Our old nature doesn’t want to get swept away and cleaned out in order to welcome in the abiding presence of a relationship with God. But we are supposed to lay it aside and receive with meekness the engrafted word. To receive with meekness means to accept what God does in our life as good. We trust Him to be acting in love.
Do you want to know Him? Do you want a real relationship with Him that goes beyond Creator and Creation, Saviour and Saved? Then hit your knees and throw out the Welcome mat for His nail scarred feet. Tell Him to come on in and make Himself at home.
Until next time, Lord willing,
READ THE BIBLE THROUGH WITH ME IN 36 WEEKS!
Today’s reading: Genesis 16-17 / I Samuel 11 / Psalm 9 / Matthew 10