Month: March 2019
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
John saw it! And God told him to “write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
We should pay attention to a passage that God recommends so highly. Let’s list the facts as they are presented. We are privileged to know:
- There will be a new heaven and earth, without any sea. (Sailors and vacationers will no longer need a sea!)
- A new Jerusalem will come. (An entire city will come from the sky, dressed like a bride! How impressive will that look?)
- God’s home will be with His people and He will sit on a throne. (I’m thinking this is a pretty majestic place.)
- They will be His people. (That’s us!)
- He will be their God. (Our God!)
- He will wipe away every tear. (Every. Single. One.)
- There will no longer be death, or mourning, or crying or pain. (Wow! Could it mean we experience constant contentment?)
- The old order is passed away. (All of the man-made systems, good or bad, will be gone.)
- God says, “I am making everything new!”
If we pause to let that all sink in, we will see that it means that in the end what brings us the most grief will be in the rearview mirror. Our focus will be on God because we are His people. And just like the satisfaction we experience when we put on a new outfit, God is making everything new and satisfying for all of us.
The old order is passed away! The one we struggle to balance and control? It will all just… go away? My guess is that if we can one day see God, everything and everyone else will become irrelevant. Should we trust God with it today?
Thought of the day: How should we live today in the light of knowing that we, His people, will one day be in the presence of God?
Prayer: Lord, open our eyes today to see Jesus. Let us look into His face and experience now the satisfaction of feeling new every day. Let us grieve, mourn, and cry now while we are in this world. Let us know His presence and power. And let us, like John, have a glimpse of what Your new kingdom means to each of us! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
When Jesus died, Satan was hurled out of heaven! And the heavens rejoiced!
But Satan was hurled to earth. Right here with us! Should we rejoice?
When Jesus died, Satan lost his job. He was a professional accuser—telling God about our sins constantly. He was a professional tattletale. But Satan loved his job. He was so good at it and he trained others to do it with him. So now he has a whole battalion of tattletales. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, Satan and his followers no longer have God’s ear. And he is raging mad with fury!
But he loves his job! So now, who does he tattle to?
YOU! He tries to whisper in the ears of every believer, follower, and servant of God. Anyone who believes in Jesus is subject to the tattles and accusations of Satan, the enemy of God—or one of his henchmen.
Because Satan is the enemy of God, by our choice to follow Jesus and become the church, we also become the enemy of Satan. Remember, the church is not a building, it’s a movement we choose to become a part of by believing in Jesus.
Satan is busy. He has a short time to destroy the church and to destroy us.
If you hear a voice telling you “you can’t do that” or “you’re not worthy of this” or “see what a mess you are,” don’t believe it! Because it’s only a half-truth.
We are not able, worthy, or clean without the blood of Jesus. Jesus empowers us, He makes us worthy, and He cleans us up.
And that’s where all the fun starts!
Thought of the Day: If you hear a whisper that sounds like someone accusing you, don’t believe it for a second! Rejoice! Satan thinks you are a threat, so he is trying to stop you. Put on your full armor and stand firm in your faith and the truths of God (Ephesians 6). Be unstoppable in Jesus’ name! Jesus makes you able, worthy, and clean!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, make us wise to all of the tattletales of your sworn enemy. Teach us to respond with the biggest “no” we can muster when we are accused or tempted. Let us see when Satan is at work on a brother or sister. Teach us to use our gifts to support them in their faith. Deliver us all from evil counter-attacks. We pray this in Jesus’ name, for Your glory and our good, amen.
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
The God of the universe absolutely adores you. There was a time in your life when you were lost, and maybe you still are. God sees you and knows the number of hairs on your head. It says in Psalm 139 that His thoughts of you are as vast as the grains of sand. Imagine that!
In the parable above, Jesus is trying to give us a glimpse of the rejoicing that happens from God and all of Heaven when even just one soul repents and says “yes” to following Jesus. This is because God loves each and every one of us thoroughly and completely just as we are.
His desire is that we would all choose to follow him, choose a life in pursuit after him because he so desires to be in deep relationship with us. He wants to show his love to you, to reveal his promises and lavish his goodness on you, and mold you into the son or daughter He’s destined you to be before the beginning of time.
Be encouraged that God has a plan and rejoices over you. If you’ve said “yes” to Jesus, continue pursuing Him and celebrate today that your life is in His hands. If you are still unsure but have questions or would like to talk to someone about what it means to say “yes” to Jesus, email us at email@example.com.
Thought of the day: Jesus loves you and He made a way to connect directly with God. Saying “yes” to Jesus means there is great celebration going on in Heaven and we now have access to Him through the Holy Spirit and are part of His family—we belong to God. Know and claim your identity in Jesus today!
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for becoming sin so that I might have a relationship with God. Thank You for saving me and for loving me enough to not give up on me. Remind me today to celebrate my life in You and to share that light with those around me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
I recently came home from a trip to Ikea with my trunk full of possibility. There were boxes with the parts necessary to build a table and chairs, and I was eager to get to work. Starting with the table, I carefully removed everything, including nearly 40 screws and bolts, and a small Allen wrench to assemble it all. I had the parts and pieces, I had a picture of the finished product, and yet, I was missing a very important component—the instruction manual.
If you’ve ever had the joy and drama of building a piece of Ikea furniture, you can imagine the problem I was facing. There was just no way I’d be able to successfully assemble the piece without the instructions. Fortunately, Google came to my rescue and I was able to download the manual. About 40 minutes and a slight headache later, I had my table and chairs finished and ready for use.
There are a lot of things in life that are a lot more daunting than a box of Ikea parts. I wish a quick Google search could provide us all with the instructional manuals necessary to navigate life.
This passage in Acts 2 is about as close as we can get to an instructional manual for fully living in Christian community. The early church modeled for us how to be devoted and dependent on the Word and each other. They gathered together on a regular basis. They took care of each other’s needs. They welcomed others. Those steps spelled out for us make living in Christian community seem a lot more attainable.
Thought of the day: Are you embracing the Church and living in community as modeled in this passage? Maybe God is asking you to engage with other believers more regularly. Maybe you need to take a step in generosity in meeting the needs of those around you. Maybe you simply need to shift your focus outward a bit and welcome outsiders. When we take steps to live in fellowship as Jesus instructed, we are blessed by the community and we may become a blessing to those around us.
Prayer: God, I want to be known by others and used by You. Help me to know what steps I need to take and give me courage to take them to live more fully in community with those that love You. Amen.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son “and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Are you a disciple? And by disciple, I mean: are you a follower of Jesus Christ? If so, there was probably someone in your life who helped lead you to that place where you made that decision. Maybe there were many people who influenced you and pushed you toward Jesus. Maybe it was a parent, pastor, or friend. For the original disciples (Peter, John, James, etc.) that person was Jesus himself.
Today’s passage is a quote from Jesus. When He looked His disciples in the eyes and was basically telling them: I have led you to this point and now it’s your turn to replicate what I’ve done in your life for others.
Moving forward throughout history, we can see that they followed his example. They carried and passed on the good news. As a result, we know the truth and have found freedom. All of this because they were faithful to what Jesus asked them to do. We stand on their shoulders.
The disciples were given the Great Commission to share the Gospel, which means good news. The good news is that God loves us and that he has made a way for us to be made right with Him through faith in His son Jesus. Like the disciples, we believers have been invited into a relationship with Jesus. We have found hope, love, and joy as a result. However, in the glow of the fullness that Jesus brings into our souls, He also asks us to not be stingy with His grace.
The good news is meant to be shared. We have been charged with that tremendous responsibility: to make disciples. Making disciples is about building relationships, meeting needs, and helping others find spiritual maturity in their walk with Jesus. And we’re not alone. The Holy Spirit is working in and through us as we share and teach those who are willing to listen. God is with us as we carry the Gospel to the world.
Thought of the day: Are you a disciple maker? Do you see yourself as having the responsibility to make disciples in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? If you claim to be a believer, if you have put your hope and faith in Jesus, then the Bible says that this is our next step.
If you’ve never shared your faith with others before, what’s keeping you from looking for those opportunities with your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers? Who is that person in your life who really needs to hear about the love of God? Let’s continue the work that Jesus started. Let’s reach out to the people God brings into our lives to share the hope we’ve found.
One last thought on this subject: let’s preach the Gospel with our actions as well as our words. It does absolutely no good to whisper Jesus’ name to a neighbor while we are living a life that is contradictory to what the Bible teaches. May we gain wisdom and courage from the Holy Spirit to live out our faith.
Prayer: Father, please bring people into my life who need to hear from you and help me to be a worthy representative. Give me the tools I need and the words to say. May others come to know and follow You as You work in and through me. May you receive all the glory. Amen!