It Starts At Home
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” Deuteronomy 6:6 (ESV)
Given a choice, I’d rather go to a faraway country than clean out my pantry. I’d rather dig wells for other people, seeing progress and visible fruit, than work through math problems again with my child. Truth be told, sometimes I esteem the value of ministry to others over the often unseen ministry within my own home.
“Send me, Lord!” — as long as it’s not to the hard soil of difficult extended family relationships, or to the unnoticed work of sowing truth within the walls of my own home.
Recognizing that my home is a mission field — equal to a remote land or culture — changes the way I think about the people and places before me and why God has placed me there.
When I became a mom, I marveled that babies didn’t come with owner’s manuals. As parents, we look for blueprints to ensure success — a method, paradigm or routine that will make it easier. We wonder why we must repeat things over and over, why it feels so unrewarding at times, and whether or not we’re even making a difference.
God went to great lengths to instruct His children about instructing their children. He helped the Israelites make a connection we need, too:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, ESV).
What we choose to repeat at home, practice as a family, and speak about directly affects our knowledge of the presence of God and our ability to recall God’s faithful works. God’s greatness and redemption story don’t automatically appear in our families. They’re made known in and through us by deliberate praise and practice.
God instructed His people to persevere in their work at home while keeping their eyes on their future home (as seen in Deuteronomy 6:10-12). They were to recount and rehearse the faithfulness of God in every way possible with those in their care so future generations would remember to give God the glory when He brought their journey to completion.
When we point to Jesus with our praise and practice, we make it known that it is God who saves and rescues us from our heaviest burdens.
Mother Teresa famously said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
One of the most loving things we can do as parents is to love our children with the full truth of the gospel — not a watered-down story, a feel-good pep talk, or a behavior-manipulating gospel of self-help. That’s not the good news of grace. Jesus loved and saved us while we were His enemies, paid the ultimate price to pluck us out of slavery to sin, and made us welcome in His presence. This is the gospel.
When we speak of this amazing grace in the ordinary routines of our days, we take the good news of the gospel with us to car lines, dinner prep, laundry and even errands during rush hour — which may as well be the ends of the earth. We are missionaries to our people, right where we are … from the first moments of the day to the moment we turn off the lights at night.
Dear Heavenly Father, You have called me to fix my eyes on You and to deliberately teach my children the truth of who You are. Help me faithfully rehearse the truth of the gospel to myself and to my family. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The Wonderful News of the Spirit-Filled Life
Many Christians simply don’t know.
We live in a broken world, where rejection— even from fellow Christians— could be just around the corner. But there is good news as we wait in expectation for God’s ultimate redemption! And that is Jesus. Jesus brought with Him a love that remains . . . is constant . . . stays the same.
No person’s rejection can ever exempt me from God’s love for me. Period. No question mark. The most beautiful love story ever written is the one you were made to live with God.
Imagine how differently you might approach each day by simply stating:
God is good.
God is good to me.
God is good at being God.
And today is yet another page in our great love story.
Nothing that happens to you today will change that or even alter it in the slightest way.
Lift your hands, heart, and soul, and receive that truth as you pray this prayer:
A Prayer for When You Feel Rejected
My whole life I’ve searched for a love to satisfy the deepest longings within me to be known, treasured, and wholly accepted. When You created me, Lord, Your very first thought of me made Your heart explode with a love that set You in pursuit of me. Your love for me was so great that You, the God of the whole universe, went on a personal quest to woo me, adore me, and finally grab hold of me with the whisper, “I will never let you go.”
Lord, I release my grip on all the things I was holding on to, preventing me from returning Your passionate embrace. I want nothing to hold me but You. So, with breathless wonder, I give You all my faith, all my hope, and all my love.
I picture myself carrying the old, torn- out boards that inadequately propped me up and placing them in a pile. This pile contains other things I can remove from me now that my new intimacy- based identity is established.
I lay down my need to understand why things happen the way they do.
I lay down my fears about others walking away and taking their love with them.
I lay down my desire to prove my worth.
I lay down my resistance to fully trust Your thoughts, Your ways, and Your plans, Lord.
I lay down being so self- consumed in an attempt to protect myself.
I lay down my anger, unforgiveness, and stubborn ways that beg me to build walls when I sense hints of rejection.
I lay all these things down with my broken boards and ask that Your holy fire consume them until they become weightless ashes.
And as I walk away, my soul feels safe. Held. And truly free to finally be me.
Paul’s desire to depart
By: Charles Spurgeon
“Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better.” Philippians 1:23
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 8:14-30
Here we are like Israel in the wilderness, who had but one cluster from Eschol. There we shall be in the vineyard. Here we have the manna falling small, like coriander seed, but there shall we eat the bread of heaven and the old corn of the kingdom. We have sometimes on earth, lusts, ungratified desires, that lack satisfaction; but there the lust shall be slain and the desire shall be satisfied. There shall be nothing we can want; every power shall find the sweetest employment in that eternal world of joy.There will be a full and lasting fruition of Christ, and last of all upon this point there shall be a sharing with Christ in his glory, and that for ever.“We shall see him,” yes, and let us have the next sentence, and “shall be like him when we shall see him as he is.” Oh Christian, anticipate heaven for within a very short time thou shalt be rid of all thy trials and thy troubles; thine aching head shall be encircled with a crown of glory; thy poor panting heart shall find its rest and shall be satisfied with fulness as it beats upon the breast of Christ. Thy hands that now toil shall know no harder labour than harp-strings can afford. Thine eyes now filled with tears shall weep no longer. Thou shalt gaze in ineffable rapture upon the splendour of him who sits upon the throne. Nay, more, upon his throne shalt thou sit. He is King of kings, but thou shalt reign with him. He is a priest after the order of Melchisedec, but thou shalt be a priest with him. Oh rejoice! The triumph of his glory shall be shared by thee; his crown, his joy, his paradise, these shall be thine, and thou shalt be co-heir with him who is the heir of all things.
For meditation: Being with Christ must be far better, because we will then be with Christ who is far better. God has prepared something far better for the believer (Hebrews 11:40).