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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Heaven Is My Home


When, if ever, have you felt slain in the “Valley of Decision”? When have you felt secure in the Lord’s stronghold? What would get you out of the valley into the stronghold? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1264.)

I have written earlier that my greatest vulnerability is the desire to be liked and loved by others. Nothing can send me further into the valley of dejection than a sense that my best efforts are actively shunned, demeaned, and misconstrued by others. An early example is during the Vietnam War when out of patriotism I opposed the war. Predictably, when I decided to act against the war by going to prison, there were those who got in my face and denounced me vehemently for cowardice and treason. Most recently I felt led to cultivate a friendship that was deeply misconstrued by members of my friend’s family.

Ironically, it can be during these periods within the valley of dejection that God telegraphs to me the assurance of his presence and strength. He encourages me to go forward in strength and with the assurance that he is my sustainer. I need not fear, but instead cast my eyes upon Jesus. The blessing of God must of necessity mean more to me than the fickle approval of men. With this conviction I move from the valley of dejection into God’s stronghold re-energized and re-fortified by faith and by heavenly chords sounding from great yet imminent distances.

Father, help us remember that you’ve given us every moment of this existence on earth. We want it to be meaningful. We want it to be significant. We want our lives to be good, not as measured by the standards of a constantly changing society, but excellent as measured by your Word, as expressed to us by our Savior, Jesus Christ, who not only taught with words but with deeds. He taught us what it means to love, and continues to teach us through your grace by the Holy Spirit. We want to live in love, in a spirit of humility, not in arrogance or superiority. We want to reach out to others in the name of Christ. More and more, help us be like our Savior. In his name we pray. Amen. (NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter, page 1407).

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