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Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36

When Jesus was on earth many people became disillusioned with him when he began to speak of his upcoming death. They misunderstood his mission. They were looking for someone to deliver them from the bondage that the Roman Government was putting on them

The people of Jesus’ time were tired of high taxes, tired of government rules and regulations and tired of being told how and where and when to worship. They wanted government off their backs. They wanted freedom. In Jesus they saw all that and more. Imagine having king that was not only righteous, but could heal as well! Life would be so much better.

But Jesus didn’t come to earth to provide the people with a guarantee of prosperity. He didn’t walk the dusty roads of Palestine to preach revolution from government. Jesus didn’t come to remove trials and tribulation from people’s lives, he came to show them how to live in the midst of them.

We really haven’t changed much from the days when Jesus was physically here. During those honest times we still expect, or at least wish, that he would wave some magic wand and make our world easier.

Who wouldn’t love to have a Savior that would provide all our wants? How marvelous would it be for him to remove the crabbiness from those around us. If we could pray against the guy who just cut us off and have a policeman promptly pull him over! If we could simply wish those extra pounds away, magically produce lower gas prices, or change our spouse/significant other into the caring person we once thought they were.

Life would be so much easier if Jesus were our Santa Clause instead of our Savior! Ok, maybe that was a bit of a stretch, but every day people lose faith because their prayers weren’t answered the way they hoped, or the strength they prayed for didn’t come.

Jesus didn’t come to bring his physical kingdom into existence. Someday that will come. Jesus came to bring a Spiritual kingdom into the hearts of those who choose to follow Him. We should not expect to feel at home in this world. Our home isn’t here on earth, it’s in heaven. Until we get there, we are aliens in a foreign land.

Since this world is not our home we can expect to be misunderstood, mistreated and even attacked for our faith. Since we are aliens if a foreign land our hope isn’t in the life we live here, but in the life we live when we get home.

PRAYER: Father God, sometimes I get so tired of being under attack for my beliefs. I’m misunderstood, I’m tempted to doubt and I’m encouraged by the world system to go against your word. I live in a world system of no values and no absolute truth. I ask that you would strengthen me through your Holy Spirit to remain true through the attacks and struggles. Help me to remember that my home is not here, but with you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23

Imagine what it would be like if your favorite actor, athlete, author or some other public figure gave you a call and said something like, “Hey there, I’ve been thinking of you lately and was wondering if I could stop by your house for a chat?”

What would you do? Thank him profusely and tell him under no circumstances do you want to see him? Would you suggest that you meet him elsewhere, say a restaurant or coffee shop or your favorite burger joint? What if he insisted that he come to your house and that he would be there in an hour?

No doubt you’d look around and decide what could and could not be cleaned. You’d think about repainting or re-carpeting…but you don’t have time. You may even consider borrowing a neighbor’s house and telling your guest that he had the address wrong.

Once your emotions were somewhat under control you’d think of the people to invite, the food to serve…you still have time to run to the store for a few things. Over the span of the next 59 ½ minutes you would do everything in your power to have your home looking it’s best for your guest.

Take this story to a whole new level. Now imagine that your guest really isn’t coming just for a visit. He wants to move in. He wants the room down the hall and on the left and he wants to be able to wake up every morning to have a cup of coffee with you and chat about the day ahead! Oh, and instead of this guest being some admired public figure, envision this guest as being God instead of some famous public figure! Sound outlandish? It isn’t.

Jesus told his followers that he and his Father not only wanted a relationship with them. He wanted to live with them. Let that sink in a bit. The great God of heaven, the creator of the universe, the almighty, all powerful, all knowing God WANTS to live with YOU.

Now, you may think, how would I ever be able to prepare my humble shack for God? That’s the other beautiful part of this story. You don’t have to clean up to get ready for him. God wants to come into your home and do everything that needs to be done for him to dwell with you. How’s that for an Extreme Makeover!

You may be thinking, “I’m not worth all that”, and you are right. You aren’t. But God’s desire for you is based on his love for you, not on your worthiness to receive it. All he asks of us it to love him and show him our love by obeying his word.

PRAYER: Father God, I’m in awe to think about how much you must love me if you want to live with me. There are days when I don’t even want to be around me, but you always want to be around me. I pray that you would come into my home. Forgive me for the mess I have here. Empower me by your Spirit to show you my love through obedience to your word. Amen.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Lamentations 3:21-22 (NLT)

Jeremiah walked the streets of Jerusalem in agony. He saw homeless children who had become orphans due to war, now dying in the streets of starvation. He saw the elderly looking lost, confused and yearning for the days when they lived in prosperity, but now lived in hopelessness.

In the midst of the national horror, he’d experienced huge personal loss as well. He was verbally and physically abused by those he tried to help. He was all alone and in despair he cried out to God, but it seemed that even God Himself had turned a deaf ear to his pleas. Everything that he considered sacred and secure had either been destroyed or taken from him. He was alone, brokenhearted and saw no hope.

As Jeremiah looked around and took stock of what he was seeing, he was reminded of one thing that had remained constant throughout his ordeal; his faith in a God that loved him and had shown himself faithful in years past. It was the hope that he had in God that helped Jeremiah see that even in the direst of situations God still was in control.

Later, in chapter three he writes: “For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.” (Vss. 31-33)

Hundreds of years later Jesus would teach us the same truth in the story of the Prodigal Son. As the young man sat hopelessly in a pile of pig slop with no money, no hope and no friends, he remembered his father. He remembered home. Pulling himself out of the slop he returned to the one place he knew there would be acceptance, love and compassion. The arms of his father.

So it is with us today.

No matter what you have done in your past to separate you from God, you can always come home.

No matter how much debt you have and how hopeless your financial state, you can always come home.

No matter what consequences of poor choices you carry with you, you can always come home.

No matter what relational turmoil you are in, even if it is a result of your actions, you can always come home.

No matter what abuse you have suffered emotionally, physically or spiritually, you can always come home.

No matter how long you have rejected His call in the past, you can always come home.

Your Heavenly Father longs to have a passionate love relationship with you. He is not concerned about your past. He is not worried about your future. He can help you with present struggles. When you see no light in the darkness; no hope in the midst of despair; no comfort in the midst of your pain. Jesus urges you to come home and rest in His loving arms.

PRAYER: Father God. I look at myself and the mess I’ve made of things and am embarrassed to have to come to you time and again for forgiveness. I am under attack by those who constantly attack me verbally, emotionally and physically and struggle to find ways to carry on. I contemplate the future and fear for myself, my children and my grandchildren. I ask today that you would empower me to rest in your arms of everlasting arms. I can’t do this without you. Amen.

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