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Pilgrimage: Finding the Way Back Home

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From the moment of birth, every one of us is on a pilgrimage, whether we know it or not. For we are all born as strangers in a strange land. Many never discover this crucial truth. They merely settle down in this world, seeing it as home and doing the best they can to make a life. But alienation from God, being far from His presence, is the lot of everybody upon entering life. Our true home is where He is, and the true purpose of our life is to find our way back home.

Even as newborn Christians, very few realize this fact; some never do, their whole Christian life a struggling mixture of the spiritual and the worldly. And for those who never come to Christ, life is but one long series of futile attempts to fill the void in their hearts, only to find that nothing, no created thing, works. They live and die never knowing who they really are, who God intended them to be.

John Bunyan, in his great epic work, Pilgrim’s Progress, allegorically depicts this great journey: from a fallen nature in a fallen world to the very throne of God. Bunyan documents the many detours, delays, temptations, dead-ends, and pitfalls the enemy stealthily plants along the way. Of course, Christian eventually makes his way through them all and reaches his destination, the Celestial City. For God through Christ has made a way where they seems to be no way!

King Solomon wrote of this same sojourn of the soul, poetically portrayed in the life of the Shulamite maiden and her great love for the King (Christ). The young maiden finds her normal Christian experience to fall short of what she longs for, and the “Song of Songs” is the beautiful account of her quest for more of God. Through a slow and often painful process involving the surrender of her own will, her very self, the Shulamite and her Lover-King are finally united in holy oneness. At the end of the Song, all that remains is for the maiden to be released from her mortal shell, so that her union with her Lover might be even more intimate and complete. She indeed had found her way back home.

It is not my intention to improve upon Bunyan or Solomon. But with allegory and poetry, there is a need for interpretation, which of course makes room for misinterpretation. Furthermore, each of those works can be seen as a mere story, making it difficult for some to identify with the central figures. As I said earlier, this pilgrimage is everybody’s journey, and what I intend to do is simply give an account of my own, with the express purpose of helping fellow pilgrims along their way, hopefully a narrative with no need for interpretation.

The way back home for us all must pass through at least three distinct stages of maturing in Christ; what I have chosen to call: The Scales, Rest, and Exchanged Life. The scales mentality is a leftover from our life before coming to the Lord, a product of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which we unwittingly drag into our new life in Christ. We are taught early on, and grow to expect certain results if we do what is “right.” Picture an old-fashioned set of scales: load down the left side, and the right side will automatically be lifted up. So we study, then work hard, try our best to be honest, love our children, obey the laws of the land, go to church perhaps, look out for our fellow man, etc., etc. All good things to be sure, which, according to the scales, should lift up the right side and make us successful, happy and fulfilled, with all the good things life has to offer. Sometimes that is the case, but unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way. But we tend to romantically cling to this notion nonetheless.

Learning to rest, the next stage of the journey, so eloquently explained in Hebrews 4, is simply believing in all that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have spoken, regardless of the consequences or apparent results from acting upon and living out Their Words. In other words, the scales must be thrown away, and the gate of deeper faith in the grace and goodness of God entered.

After learning to rest, a believer ever so gradually exchanges his own life for the indwelling Life of Christ. For resting in God requires ceasing from our own work and submitting our will to the will of the Father, even as the man Jesus did. He lived out the Life of the Father, and we must allow the Life of Christ to live itself out through us. There is no other way to reach journey’s end.

The twists and turns of the way back home are many and well-disguised by the enemy of our souls; the last thing Satan wants is for any of us to complete our pilgrimage: for this will eventually lead to his undoing and final defeat, Christ becoming all-in-all and the sum of all things in the lives of His people, Father’s eternal purpose finally fulfilled.

So come along with me as a fellow pilgrim; let’s share part of our journey together. Perhaps we will learn a few things from each other that will help us both along our way. May we both remember this: above all things, we must not let anything keep us from making it all the way back home. Father is waiting there with open arms.

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From The Garden To The Kingdom

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From The Garden To The Kingdom

Now available!

From before the creation of the earth, God ordained His eternal purpose for all life–a purpose that, in spite of the rebellion of both Satan and mankind, cannot and will not change.  “From the Garden to the Kingdom” reveals God’s purpose, His plan for realizing it, and what He provides so we can live that purpose today.  Author Rod Connell discusses the history of fallen man and carefully examines the life of Jesus Christ, God’s answer to mankind’s rebellion.  A thorough, engaging guide showing readers how to live here on earth until the day of Christ’s return, “From the Garden to the Kingdom” will inform, enrich, and delight readers from all walks of life.

“From the Garden to the Kingdom” is an incredible, detailed summary of the Bible and the message of hope that God wants to communicate to every living person.  If you have an appetite to understand and study God’s Word and the heart of His message, “From the Garden to the Kingdom” is the book for you.  What a great study.  Reading this book was like drinking in four years of Bible college studies in one sitting.  Thank you, Rod.”

-Dr. Daren Carstens, Pastor, Enjoy Church, Alton, Illinois

“This work by Rod Connell is an asset for believers of all ages.  Through his own pursuit to know and understand our Heavenly Father’s purpose in sending Christ, Rod provides insight and encouragement that give the spiritually hungry a greater grasp of what it means for the hope of glory, Jesus Christ, to dwell richly in every believer.”

-Ivan Doxtator, Executive Director, First Nation’s Counseling Ministries

Available from or the author at (email).  Soon available on and in local bookstores.

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From the Garden to the Kingdom: God’s Eternal Purpose, Plan and Provision by Rod Connell


For over thirty-five years, I have searched for God. Not unto salvation, for eternal life is securely mine; and not for what man has made of Him, but for God Himself. Satan, after his defeat at the Cross, has been driven to confound and weaken the Body of Christ; his survival, after all, has depended upon it. Spiritually, it has been one long chess game, which I believe is reaching its conclusion. The enemy is running out of moves.

Deception has been our foe’s main weapon, to keep sinners lost in sin as well as to stunt the growth of believers; anything to prevent the full manifestation of the Sons of God. Tares were planted amidst the wheat, false teaching crept in early on and has persisted from the days of Paul to the present. The beloved apostle, in fact, spent a great deal of his time not only planting new churches but keeping the existing ones free of the infiltration and distortions of Satan.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled; not only in the future Millennium but now. I can testify to the truth of that promise: the Holy Spirit has filled me again and again, at times when my strength was almost gone. And in the process has revealed many hidden treasures, essential keys to the return of the Lord.

Three revelations stand out:
1. The eternal purpose of God
2. The plan to achieve that purpose.
3. The provisions within the plan to ensure His purpose’s success.
Purpose, plan and provision. With these three revelations, all the rest of Scripture and the history of mankind now make sense.

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