I am Guided by the Good Shepherd

I Will Dwell in the House of the Lord Forever

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live. Psalm 23:5-6

Jen and I are both aspiring authors.  We’d love to write novels and see them published, and we’ve both done quite a bit of research as to what it takes to make that happen.  The most crucial element?  A great story.  And most literary agents will tell you that readers don’t want a downer of an ending. They want your characters to live “happily ever after.” 

I’ve struggled with that a bit, because it seems that more often than not, real life doesn’t hand out happy endings.  Too often, real people close their days with Alzheimer’s, cancer, tornados, and school shootings.  Too often, their last breaths are taken in the valley of the shadow of death.

But David didn’t end his psalm there.  He marched right out of that valley onto the hilltop of triumph. “God, you are going to give me a banquet right in front of my enemies, and they’ll have to watch me eat it.  You will give me so much good that my cup will run over.  I will live in your house forever – happily… ever… after.”

Surely, even in David’s day, the majority of folks didn’t party until the end of their lives.  I think David is looking further into the future than just this earthly life.  I think he was looking all the way into Heaven. There, finally, all believers will get their happy ending. There, quite literally, we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

My parents recently moved into a retirement facility.  While they were trying to make the decision, they had to weigh their desire to stay in their own home against some health issues. My mom told my dad, “When I look down the road, I don’t see things getting better.”

My father smiled. “You aren’t looking far enough.”

May I be as far sighted as King David and my Daddy.

I am a Citizen of Heaven

Joint entry: Proof of Citizenship

passport“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21, NIV

From Jen:

Citizenship denotes the link between a person and a state. A relationship between me and the kingdom; one that is certain whether I am physically in that kingdom or not.

I can’t help but think on Christian’s pilgrimage to the Celestial City in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. The narrow path is difficult, full of trials and fearful encounters, but along the way, Christian carries with him his parchment—the scroll with the seal upon it—that he’d received at the Cross. He was to study those words, to think upon them and talk of them. And at the end of the journey, he would hand that scroll over to the gate-keeper, and it would be delivered to the King. Why?

It proved his citizenship. During his pilgrimage, as he struggled along the difficult path, suffered humiliation, wrestled with temptation, grappled with grief, and trembled before Apollyon, Christian carried with him that scroll. Because it wasn’t mere parchment. It was his proof of Citizenship.

God gives us his proof—He gave a deposit. The Spirit of God, dwells with me. Seals me. Journeys with me. I don’t know what the road ahead will look like. Sometimes there are dark clouds ahead. Sometimes I get trapped in the dungeon of doubt. Sometimes the valley terrifies me. But along the way, I carry with me the same scroll. He declares now, and at the City Gate, “She belongs. I am her proof of citizenship.”

From Susan

I love that.  The Holy Spirit, my proof of citizenship.

Do you have a passport?  Do you know where it is?  If you are living in your home country, those questions may not seem terribly pressing to you. “No, why would I have a passport?”  Or perhaps, “I think I have one, but it may be expired . . . hmm . . . Is it in my sock drawer maybe?”

But, if you were to ever travel abroad, you’d know exactly where your passport was every second you were on foreign soil.  You’d know, so you could snatch it up in a fraction of a second if you were ever called upon to flee a political coup.

You’d know, so when the police stopped you on the side of the road, as they often do overseas, you could prove your citizenship.

You’d know, because it would be your ticket inside your embassy.  The only ticket. Without it, you stay on the outside of those tall, barbed-wire topped walls.

And you’d know, because it’s the only thing that could get you back on to your country.

We are citizens of Heaven.  The Holy Spirit is my proof of citizenship, far more precious to me than my tattered U.S. passport.  He is my guide through emotional coups and hostile interrogations.  He rejoices with me when I enter a Heavenly Embassy, otherwise known as a church.

And one day, this weary traveler, sealed with the Holy Spirit, will step into Heaven.

I’ll hear God the Father say, “Welcome home.”