About the Book
Earthly Tents or Heavenly Homes started out as a random journal entry in a new full-sized hard cover notebook. I was simply playing around with words, something along the lines of “A new chapter starts a new year, starts a new day, starts a new you.” Sometime shortly later I was in a different notebook writing and write down the following scripture verses from the Bible,
“For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-10)
Then it dawned on me in that moment that this would make a fantastic foundation for a great book, which is exactly the book you are reading about here. The following is the introduction to my book Earthly Tents or Heavenly Homes.
I . N . T . R . O . D . U . C . T . I . O . N
A new chapter starts a new year, starts a new day, starts a new you. We all want to be better; desire to be a better version of ourselves; a version of us who is more into God. To want is normal, but to want change because God wants it for us is not on most people’s minds because of the self-centered, us-first, mentality that we are born with; this so-called sin-nature.
However, when we are born again, we are brought in close to the creator. We are brought in so close to the heart of God, in fact, that we will want nothing more than the change that God wants and desires for us. Along the way to this change we will grow thirsty and have a desire to drink water, but how many of us desire the Living Water that God is offering to us[?] so long as we deny ourselves? (John 7:37-38, Mark 8:34-38) Or, are we simply focusing on the physical water that the world offers our physical bodies, which in return only brings us back to being thirsty time and time again. The water that I speak of here is not physical but the Spiritual Water that Jesus Himself spoke about on several different occasions.
To change is to accept God’s good work in us and to openly receive the free gift of salvation He has for us (John 3:16, 16:4). It is not an easy task or mission of little weight to change and follow God wholeheartedly, it is leaps and bounds beyond that of the Amazing Race. It is the most difficult thing any person could ever set out to do. Nothing compares to a life lived with God, to walk beside Him, to stand side by side with our creator, all the while knowing that He loves each and every one of us with the same unconditional love.
I love the following illustration of where we fit in the middle of everything that God has created: We exist in the middle! We live in the middle of everything God is and has created. This is quite amazing! Look at the universe and how infinitely large it is. Now, look at us and all that we are made up of and how infinitely small everything becomes. We exist in the middle of it all! We are neither infitately large or small, and at the same time we exist at the heart of who God is. It is as though God created us to be a kind of border line that stands at the center of the universe. God even said once, “Let Us make man in our image, according to Our likeness… So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
Denying ourselves, our bodies, of the things we want is nothing little or easy. We are born selfish. We are born with an us-first mind set. But when God takes hold of us, and we respond back and take hold of Him, denying ourselves and this world becomes easier. It is definitely not easy, but easier. We still live in, and are a part of, this world, and Satan will always try to attack us every chance he gets, but we do not live for the world but for God who so graciously, and by His mercy, created us. Satan’s desire and purpose, however, is to get us to deny God. God’s desire is for us to surrender all of who we are unto Him. He wants us whole heartedly, but so does the world. The closer that we get to God our Father, the harder Satan will try to separate us from Him. Do not become discouraged by this.
We must choose to pursue God every day. We must choose to lay down our lives every single day for the sake of the Cross, the Bible, and for the lost souls of the people all over the world, near and far. As I wrote in one of the later chapters of this book, “God does not require perfection, rather, worship demands complete surrender”. As the case is here, as long as we keep our focus on God and our life reflects this in every way possible, God will not become upset if we slip and fall, rather, He knows that our imperfections will cause this to happen. He simply asks us to keep our hearts focus on Him regardless of the situation that we find ourselves in, and that we keep reaching out to Him, not that we would turn and run away from Him.
God has to have a heart that is extremely crazy for us to create something like us, to be like Him, yet would one day have the chance to choose to either love Him or deny Him. God’s heart is so on fire for us, and His desire for us is good, not bad; to prosper us, not hold us back or hold us down (Jer. 29:11-14; Is. 61:1-4). He also desires an intimate relationship with us, but because we are born into this world, which means that we are born into sin, we must learn to desire the changes that will bring us closer to the heart of God every day. We must Change. We must desire to Change. To change, we must desire several things: To Deny the World; To Deny Ourselves; To Desire God Over all Other Things; To Lay Down Our Lives and Become a Child of God. Through this book, we will dive into each of these four sections and look at some of the related topics and details that directly influence our lives for God.