Dual Citizenship

By Emily Pollard

Civic freedom is a privilege Americans have had for centuries. It is also something many people around the world have never experienced. Throughout history, both free and tyrannical governments have risen and fallen. As Americans, we bask in the glory of our freedom. We exercise our rights. We even take freedom for granted, while citizens of socialist and communist nations long for the freedom we have. When our freedom is threatened, we feel like it’s the end of the world. But the bottom line is, whether living in a free country or an oppressive one, Christians are citizens of a different nation altogether. We are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” of God’s (1 Pet. 2:9). Paul explains this also in his letter to the Philippian church…

But our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.”

Philippians 3:20-21

At every turn, we’re bombarded with news of corruption, injustice, and oppression around the world. Fear strikes our hearts at immorality that is accepted and even encouraged. We react with fear because we know our native country to be our homeland, and as the world moves further from Truth, we feel less and less at home. Certainly, Paul knows exactly how this feels as he wrote the book of Philippians in jail after being arrested for sharing Jesus.

            But the beauty of belonging to God’s kingdom is that we have a better home waiting. Through civil unrest or persecution, Christians on earth have an opportunity to live exemplary lives (1 Pet. 2:11-12, 15) and become more like Christ (1 Pet. 2:21-23) through trials. Even more so, in death, the faithful Christian has nothing to lose and everything to gain (1 Cor. 15:53-56). Whether we’re talking about cancel-culture or blatant persecution (both of which happen today), Paul’s message rings true. We must never let the instability of this world overshadow the glory of Heaven. No matter what happens, our homeland is Heaven, and our Ruler is God.


(Photo credit:  Kellsey Erin Photography)

You Can Always Come Home

HOME SWEET HOME.  Those three simple words engage the senses.  They conjure up images of loved ones, the home place, your childhood tree swing.  Perhaps you associate it with the smell of apple pie, your favorite birthday meal, or your mother’s perfume.  Or maybe you can close your eyes and hear your father whistling while he’s working on the car.  We want to fill our own homes with that same sense of belonging and rightness, so we intentionally create good memories for our own families:  laughter around the dinner table, nightly devotionals, loving touches, and sweet traditions.  Home is synonymous with comfort and security.  When we’re away from it, we long for it.  Not every earthly home is ideal, but many would agree that “there’s no place like home.”

Thank God for the home He provides for His family!  He must want us to enjoy that same sense of love and security because He gives us a home to enjoy now and one to look forward to in eternity.  When I close my eyes and think of my church family, I can’t help but recall warm hugs, precious memories, dear songs, and loving support.  No matter where we live, we have a home made up of Christian family.  What a blessing!  I can’t imagine trying to get through this life without it.  Jesus promises a heavenly home with our Father (John 14:1-3).  This one will be big enough to accommodate all of our loved ones.  There will be no goodbyes or sad memories (Rev. 21:3-4).  It will be the ultimate Home Sweet Home.

As dear as home is, some choose to walk away from it.  Whatever the reason for it (indifference, rebellion, sin), the absence is keenly felt by the Father and family.  I ran across a song recently called, “You Can Always Come Home.”  It is based on the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15.  In that passage, Jesus tells a parable of a young man who chose to leave home to experience the world.  He lived wildly and recklessly.  He cared not for his reputation or his family name.  But his new lifestyle brought no satisfaction.  The thrill was short-lived as he found himself broken and alone.  That’s when he thought of home and his wayward heart longed to return.   This passage never gets old for me.  My breath catches every time I read of his father running to meet him.  His father didn’t say, “You made your bed; now you have to lie in it.”  He didn’t say, “What do you have to say for yourself?!”  He most certainly didn’t say, “I don’t know you,” or “You’re no son of mine.”  Instead, every action on his part said, “Welcome home, my son.

I have loved ones who have wandered away.   I pray they will long for home and make the journey back, regardless of time or distance.  As the song pleads, “Remember, you can always come home.”

My own heart has struggled with seasons of waywardness.  May I always be drawn to the real love and security offered by my Father.  May HOME remain my favorite place to be.






Getting Back to Hospitality

If getting back to homey hospitality is a desire of yours, then I understand how you feel.  When it comes to relationships, nothing compares to having someone in your home.  Yes, we can go out to eat and still get to know one another, but there’s something special about being in someone’s home.  Your smile is a little wider and warmer the next time you see each other.

So what’s the hangup?  We’re just busy, busy, busy.  Even “stay-at-home” moms are starting to feel like real time at home is a luxury.  How can we get back to the joys of hospitality?

Make It a Priority

We’re always trying to squeeze in oooooone more thing– exercise, a Bible study with someone, a child’s extracurricular activity.  But just like anything else, if hospitality is important to us, we’ll make it work.  If our life is too busy to have anyone over, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate our schedule.  Is there anything we’re doing that hospitality should take a priority over?  Some say they don’t want to take away from family time, but being hospitable can be a very good family activity.

Drop the Excuses

They’re easy to come up with.  It’s been a rough week.  We need some down time.  The house is a wreck.  I could name some women whose homes are always open to visitors, guest preachers, members, friends, and students.  Is it because they’re not as busy as I am?  Ha…most are even busier!  One family is experiencing painful hardships yet still opens their hearts by opening their home.  Excuses may make us feel better temporarily but the blessings of hospitality have a much longer and happier impact.

Remember What Hospitality Is

A beautifully set table and a home cooked meal are lovely, but hospitality is so much more than that.  It’s about serving others by making them feel loved.  It’s about building relationships by talking, laughing, and praying together.  It’s about being a good steward by using your home to bless others.  These goals of hospitality can be accomplished with simple sandwiches or a store bought pie and coffee.

Moms, being hospitable to your children’s friends counts.

Be Prepared

Regret comes when I know I should offer my home for a meal or a bed but I don’t because I’m just not ready.  With some forethought and a little effort, we can be prepared to seize opportunities to show Christ’s love.

  • Keep easy meals on hand, like spaghetti and sauce, cookie dough, etc.
  • Some clean sheets/ blankets nearby make it easy to offer a warm bed.
  • Store convenient cleaning wipes in the bathroom to shine things up real quick.
  • Pray for a heart that is willing to be inconvenienced.

Don’t Wait for a More Convenient Time

Just begin.  Here are some ideas.  See if any of them seem worth trying:

  • When your next gospel meeting, lectureship, ladies’ day, or whatever comes up, let the ones in charge know you’re willing to house speakers or visitors.
  • Commit one night every other week to having people over for dessert and coffee.
  • Invite different families over on Sunday nights for sandwiches and singing.
  • Challenge yourself to have enough food prepared for Sunday lunch so you can invite others to join you. What a thrill to be able to look around and find someone to invite into your home on Sunday!  It just enhances the idea that the very first day of the week is the Lord’s day.
  • Look through your church directory and see if there’s a demographic you don’t know as well (singles, elderly, young people, etc.).  If you’re having close friends over, invite others as well.
  • Be sure to include people that don’t like you, people that you’re having a hard time liking, or people with whom you have unpleasant history.  God can work wonders through hospitality and humility.
  • Don’t forget your neighbors and co-workers.

“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (1 Pet. 4:9).  “Be kindly affectionate to one another in brother love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord…distributing to the needs of the saints, giving to hospitality” (Rom. 12:10-13).  It’s possible to get into the habit of hospitality!

Image credit:  Michael Hite
Image credit: Michael Hite

Is God in Your Home?

One of the reasons we look forward to Heaven is because of Who is going to be there (Rev. 21:3; John 14:3,4).  Because God is love and light, Heaven will be a place of love and light (Rev. 21:23,24; 22:5).  If we want our homes to be places of love and light, God must be present.  Homes where God is not invited are filled with strife.

Make sure God is present in your home.  Christians are members of the household of God (Eph. 2:19), but is God a member of your household?  Having God in your home involves more than having religious plaques hanging on the walls.  It means that even if you have blank walls, a guest can walk in and tell that your home is a Christian one.

Is your home heavenly because God is present?  You can determine the answer by asking yourself some questions:

  • Do you regularly have Bible studies and devotionals?
  • Does your family pray together?
  • Are spiritual things naturally a part of your daily conversations?
  • Do you continue having family devotionals even when guests are present?
  • Is your home filled with honor, strength, and goodness…the types of things present where God abides (1 Chron. 16:27)?

Make sure God stays welcome in your home.  You may have invited Him in, but are there things in your home that will make it impossible for God to stay?  If you want God to be welcome in your home, then some guests will not be welcome.  Guests like materialism, dishonesty, selfishness, impatience, a lashing tongue, and worldliness.  Any one of these guests might drop in occasionally, unexpectedly, but the God of holiness cannot dwell with them (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8).

According to Isaiah 59:2, God is separate from everything that is sinful.  Verse 3 specifically mentions sin committed by hands, and lies and perversities that come out of mouths.  If sin abides in your home, no one there will see God or know God (1 John 3:5,6).  Worldly things will be noticeably absent in a heavenly home.

  • Go through your collections of books, movies, and music, and remove any that dishonor God.
  • Keep your computers in public viewing areas to safeguard against unwholesome surfing.
  • Make sure the actions that take place in the privacy of your own home would not bring shame on the name of Christ if made public.

Only a holy home will welcome a holy God (1 Pet. 1:15,16).  Is the glory of God illuminating your home?

Prayer for Today:  May Your presence be found in the home of every Christian.


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