Some Things Won’t Be There!

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21.4

I have heard well-meaning people say there won’t be any tears in heaven but this verse says that God will wipe away all tears. That is something very different. He can’t wipe away what isn’t there. When I think of tears, I think of some of the things I have heard others say about tears. (1) Tears are a sign of weakness; (2) I’m a man, men don’t cry; (3) that person cries about everything. First let me say that I don’t consider Jesus a person of weakness and we read in John 11.35: “Jesus wept.” And if I remember right, Jesus was a man among men. While it is true that some people cry about everything, it is also true that for many people, tears are an indication of a compassionate heart.

In this verse above John mentions the things that have brought pain to us in this life. In addition to tears he mentions death, sorrow, crying, and pain. Each one of us has experienced all of these to one degree or another. So since heaven is not going to have any of these, that gives us great hope for a place of peace, comfort, and tranquility. After all, we will be in the presence of our Savior who took care of these things for us while He was down here on this earth. When we read “ … the former things are passed away”, we know that they were real but they are real no more. So when I think of the hope of heaven, I think, “Heaven’s sounding sweeter all the time.” So many in our world are living without hope. Let’s share this good news with them today! Just my thoughts …

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Accepted! Yes!

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1.6-7

I love the phrase: “accepted in the beloved”. You and I are accepted by God because of His beloved Son, Jesus. This is made possible because of the truth found in v. 7 we have “redemption through his blood … ” How is that possible? It is possible because of His sacrificial death on the cross. In the Old Testament the high priest offered a sacrifice once a year for the sins of the people, but that sacrifice did not take away their sins, it merely pushed their sins forward for one more year, in anticipation of the death of Christ on the cross. In John 19.30 we read the words from the lips of Jesus: “It is finished!” What was finished? The once-for-all sacrifice for sin was complete. Everything that God the Father required as a sacrifice was provided by God the Son. Nothing more needed to be done. Nothing more could be done to add to what Jesus had already done.

These words are significant: “the forgiveness of sins … ” It is through God’s grace that you and I receive acceptance into God’s family. As the words of the song tell us: “Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.” This phrase “riches of his grace” tells us that you and I will never leave God with less grace because He gives us freely of His grace. It is an inexhaustible supply. Praise His holy name. We are accepted and we are redeemed because of His grace. These truths will encourage us today! Just my thoughts …

Afraid? Really?

In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Psalm 56.4

I remember sitting in a classroom in junior high school and when I should have been doing my homework, I was reading the words of Psalm 56 and the words of this great Psalm have stuck with me throughout my lifetime. Especially helpful are the words of the verse above. Consider them with me.

In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust … ” As David pens these words, I can almost picture him sitting watching his sheep and thinking about all that God has done for him in his lifetime. His heart cries out, almost involuntarily, “In God I will praise his word … ” It seems to me that he is thinking, “How could I not praise Him? He has already done so much for me.” I find myself thinking those same words. God has already done so much for me in my lifetime.

And then we read these words: “ … in God I have put my trust … ” Sitting out there in some pastureland all by himself, with just his sheep, who else did he have to trust? God was all he had. Can I suggest that we never know if God is enough until He is all we have? There are days when we look around us and think, “I really am all alone. Is God even here?” and then we get the calm assurance through the Holy Spirit that yes, God is “here” and He cares more than we know.

These last words have special meaning to David: “I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Saul wanted to kill David. It is pretty tough to keep a king from doing whatever he wants to do, but David’s heart reminded him, you do “need to fear what flesh can unto (you).” You and I need to remember that simple truth too. Just my thoughts …

No Reason to Have Heart Trouble!

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” John 14.1

From John 14 through chapter 17 Jesus is speaking words of instruction to His followers and praying specifically for them and us. These opening words are great words of encouragement: “”Let not your heart be troubled … ” We hear a lot of reminders from our medical community about heart trouble. And we need to give attention to any issues that relate to physical heart trouble. But the words of Jesus here are speaking about a different kind of heart trouble. The issue here is the condition of our spiritual heart. So many people are troubled about what will happen for them when life is over. As you and I know, a personal relationship with God through the person of His Son Jesus Christ settles the matter of life in eternity.

Jesus’ words focus on His last phrase: “ye believe in God, believe also in me.” His disciples were still in the learning curve in their understanding of Who Jesus was. He said, “ye believe in God, believe also in me.” What is He saying? I am God too. You can take my words to be the words of God. He then proceeds to give them and us words of hope. “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (14.18) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (27) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ” (14.26-27)

You and I can read these words and find the same hope He gave His disciples. And why? we “believe in God, believe also in (Him).” Just my thoughts …

A Child WAS Born! Merry Christmas!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9.6

It would have been a rich experience to be sitting with Isaiah when he penned these words. “Unto us … ” Was he thinking, “Me?” What are you thinking as you read these words? “Unto me?” Wrapped up in these words is the totality of God’s love for sin-sick mankind – including you and me. The day He was born is not nearly as important as the truth that He was actually born.

Whatever form it Isaiah acknowledged the reality that God had a Son and His Son was coming into this world to do what only God could do – address the question of sin. Sin in whatever form it appears breaks the heart of God. And His Son was the only perfect sacrifice who was qualified to meet the demands of this Holy God.

His name shall be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” Is there any way that you or I can quantify this word wonderful? Knowing that God is wonderful and having any concept of how wonderful He is are two different concepts. Counsellor – have you ever come to God with a problem He did not understand or did not know how to handle? The answer is an obvious no! He is the Wonderful Counselor. He is without doubt The mighty God. He does not see problems because He is the solution to our problems. That is quite a Christmas present.

The everlasting Father – some reading this have a father who is still alive. Others have already lost their father to death. BUT we have this Everlasting Father. He is not going away – ever. But this Christ is also The Prince of Peace. Does this world need peace? Do the hearts of men need peace? The answer to both questions is yes and Jesus is the Prince of Peace! Merry Christmas! Just my thoughts …

He Loves Me How Much?

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. (10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4.9-10

Over the years of ministry I have heard so many people say, “How do I know God loves me?” The answer is found in these verses. Don’t just read these words, but rather absorb them into your heart. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world … ” If one says, “I don’t believe Jesus ever came”, they are denying a fact of history. That must be a conscious choice. Jesus did come into this world and He came to show this sin-sick world that God loves us. The name Emmanuel means “God with us.” This is how John says it: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we behold his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1.14) In the opening verses of John 1, John had identified Jesus as the Word – the personification of God in human flesh.

When the Word came in the flesh, God was saying in the clearest way possible not just “I love you,,” but “This is how I love you and how much I love you.” And then He said, “Watch what I allow men to do to Him to prove My love for you.” Let your mind move to the cross and hear the sound of each spike being driven in. Watch as the crown of thorns is jammed on His head. Observe the roman soldier as he jabs the spear into the side of Christ. And remember these words: “he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Just my thoughts …

What a Wonderful Gift!

And she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1.21

She = Mary. Mary has been a part of this picture since Genesis 3.15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy see and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Her seed is the seed of the woman, Mary. There has never been another conception or birth like this one. And that’s the way it should be. The angel said to Mary, “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (35) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon the, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be call the Son of God.” (Luke 1.34-35) The only blood in this baby’s veins was God’s blood – He was the Father. Think about it! Human blood was tainted by sin. The blood shed on the cross needed to be without the taint of sin.

We read in Matthew 1.23: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, ad shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” God chose to enter this world as a baby – a form that made Him vulnerable but acceptable. God chose to be with us so He could save us. Can you imagine the thoughts running through Joseph’s mind as the angel reveals these truths to him? His head must have been spinning, but he believed what he was told and he acted on what he was told. I’m so glad God had all this planned from eternity past to enable you and me to have a Savior. What a wonderful gift at Christmas! Just my thoughts …

Thanks and Mercy Go Hand in Hand!

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: and his mercy endureth for ever.” 1 Chronicles 16.34

A phrase that has been impressed upon me recently is this: “God’s goodness is only exceeded by His grace.” When you think about God’s goodness, where does your mind go? In the verse above we are told to “give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good … ” None of us would deny that God is good. But how frequently do we give thanks for his goodness? Giving thanks is a conscious, intentional action. No one gives thanks by accident. We always do so intentionally. It would seem to me that failure to give thanks is a denial that God is good and none of us would consciously say that.

It is interesting that God’s goodness and His mercy are linked together in this verse. One of the aspects of God’s mercy is that He is good. We must never forget the definition of mercy, i. e. not getting what we deserve. Not one of us deserves anything from God, but all throughout scripture we are reminded of His love, His grace, His mercy, and His goodness. Would it be a different kind of day for you if you chose to live your life by acknowledging the traits mentioned above – love, grace, mercy, and goodness?

What is about our lives that causes the world to look at us and think, “There’s something different about them. I wish I had that.”? I WANT my life to reflect my conscious awareness of these traits of God on a daily basis. In order for that to be true, I must intentionally make the purpose of my life each day to be all about God and His kingdom. That means that the focus of life itself is never about me. Is this easy? Absolutely not! Does it glorify God? That is certainly my prayer. Just my thoughts …

 

Thanks and Mercy God Hand in Hand!

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: and his mercy endureth for ever.” 1 Chronicles 16.34

A phrase that has been impressed upon me recently is this: “God’s goodness is only exceeded by His grace.” When you think about God’s goodness, where does your mind go? In the verse above we are told to “give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good … ” None of us would deny that God is good. But how frequently do we give thanks for his goodness? Giving thanks is a conscious, intentional action. No one gives thanks by accident. We always do so intentionally. It would seem to me that failure to give thanks is a denial that God is good and none of us would consciously say that.

It is interesting that God’s goodness and His mercy are linked together in this verse. One of the aspects of God’s mercy is that He is good. We must never forget the definition of mercy, i. e. not getting what we deserve. Not one of us deserves anything from God, but all throughout scripture we are reminded of His love, His grace, His mercy, and His goodness. Would it be a different kind of day for you if you chose to live your life by acknowledging the traits mentioned above – love, grace, mercy, and goodness?

What is about our lives that causes the world to look at us and think, “There’s something different about them. I wish I had that.”? I WANT my life to reflect my conscious awareness of these traits of God on a daily basis. In order for that to be true, I must intentionally make the purpose of my life each day to be all about God and His kingdom. That means that the focus of life itself is never about me. Is this easy? Absolutely not! Does it glorify God? That is certainly my prayer. Just my thoughts …

 

THIS Is the Day!

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100.4

Have you made your list yet? You know, the list of things and people for which you are thankful. I think it is great that we have a day set aside in America that is set aside for thanksgiving. The founders of our great nation recognized that it was God who had made the establishment of this great nation possible. Wikipedia says: “In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is traced to a sparsely documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts, and also to a well recorded 1619 event in Virginia.”

When I think about the verse above, I am reminded that I can do no less than enter into His gates with thanksgiving. The impact of God on my life has nothing to do with anything that I have done and everything to do with how much God loves me. The heart of a believer that is NOT filled with thanksgiving is a heart that is presumptuous. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to prompt us daily in this area of thanksgiving.

Enter … into his courts with praise … ” Praise is the flip side of thanksgiving. IF I am thankful, it is easy to give God praise. Praise is the supernatural response of the heart that is filled with thanks.

The last phrase says: “bless his name.” To bless God’s name is to acknowledge His holiness and His worthiness to be praised. Today is a good day to ask yourself: “Does my life reflect a thankful heart? Do I allow others to see my heart for God? Do I acknowledge God’s holiness in my daily interaction with Him?” This is the perfect day to make any life changes that you need to make to fall in line with the psalmist’s words above. Just my thoughts …