Encouragement for Today - November 1, 2011


Susan Meissner

November 1, 2011

Where the Heart Is
Susan Meissner
She Reads Featured Author

"He has planted eternity in the human heart ..." Ecclesiastes 3:11b (NLT)

A while back, my young adult son took a trip to visit friends in the state where we used to live. He stopped by the house that had been ours for all of his childhood. And, he felt compelled to knock on the front door and introduce himself to the strangers who now own it.

When he said he had grown up in that house, the wife didn't hesitate to open the door wide and invite him in. She knew that in our hearts we often feel toward our houses what we might feel for a trusted ally, a kind friend or maybe even a silent witness to our pain.

My latest character Marielle Bishop understands this. In my new novel A Sound Among the Trees, new bride Marielle takes up residence in an old house with a storied past. She just isn't sure that this place can be a safe haven for her heart.

We are wired to feel a tug toward that one special place we feel safe, wanted and cared for. Our hearts are restless when we're far from home, or our home is taken from us, or when discord disrupts the tranquility of that place.

So what's a girl to do when she doesn't feel at home? We need to remember that Christ is at home in her. So in a sense, we take our eternal home with us wherever we go. Wherever we are, we can feel safe, wanted and cared for by Christ who dwells inside every believer.

When the Israelites were waiting for God to lead them to their new home in the Promised Land, He had them build a tabernacle for His presence to dwell right there where they were, wherever that was on their journey.

We don't use the word "tabernacle" much these days but if you were to look at its Hebrew roots you would see that it comes from the same word as "dwell" and "abide" and "settle down." When God brings His presence right to where we are, He is "tabernacling" with us.

The Lord God Almighty settles down inside us. His Spirit lives in us. Our heart becomes His Holy tabernacle and He is at home in us. Isn't that a thrilling, mind-bending concept?

The Bible tells us God has "set eternity in our hearts" which means He has made us hungry for His heavenly embrace. The affection we have for our earthly houses stems from this smoldering ember of our longing for Him as our eternal home.

There's no place like home. It's why we like everyone to be home for the holidays and home before dark and why we just want to go home when we're having a bad day. Home is where our hearts are at rest. And our hearts can always be at rest in Him.

Whether your earthly home is as near as your next breath or too far away to be seen today, know that God has promised to tabernacle with you! He dwells with you. You are His earthly address. And in Him, you are home.

Dear Lord, help me today to find all my joy in knowing You are my forever dwelling place and that I am at home in You because You are at home in me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Have You Made God Your Dwelling Place?

A house with a turbulent Civil War history becomes home to a new bride and stepmother in a richly absorbing tale of a line of women living in patterns of regret. Visit She Reads to learn more about Susan Meissner and her new novel A Sound Beneath the Trees. Also, enter to win a Civil War era styled quilted table runner, or a southern caramel cake along with the novel.

Application Steps:
Are you feeling "homesick" today? Do you wish you could go back to a simpler time or place? Make a list of ten things you are grateful for that do not change simply because your address changes. Start the list with: 1) God lovingly lives in me.

Visit a nursing home in your area today. Find out if there is a resident there who rarely gets visitors. Ask that resident to tell you about the home where they grew up and before you leave, ask if you can read them Psalm 91.

Regrets keep us focused on the parts of our past that God wants us to move forward from. Are you holding onto an old "dwelling place" where God's peace is not present?

Power Verses:
Ezekiel 37:26-27, "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people." (NIV)

I Corinthians 3:16, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?" (NIV)

© 2011 by Susan Meissner. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Tuesday, 01 November 2011.