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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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 …

God’s Benefits

Blessed by the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah” Psalm 68.19

Have you thought about the fact that God daily loads us with benefits? What kind of benefits? Let’s take a look: (1) the privilege to live for Him because we are His child, (2) the privilege to be a witness for Him because we are His child, (3) the benefit of a life that is filled with hope because the life He has given us is eternal – it will never end, (4) the benefit of having a life filled with joy because we are always in His presence and Psalm 16.11 says in His presence is fulness of joy. When was the last time you blessed God for His goodness to you? Have you ever done that?

The verse continues with this simple, but profound phrase: “even the God of our salvation.” Let’s meditate on that for a moment. God is the ONLY one who CAN save us. Salvation was totally His IDEA. The gift of salvation cost God the greatest gift He could ever give – His ONLY BEGOTTEN Son. The plan of salvation was in the HEART of God before the foundation of the world. This is not all, but it is enough to think about.

Selah” How can one little word say so much to us? What does it mean? Simply this: Stop and think about it! I dare say that most of God’s children seldom, if ever, just stop and think about the daily benefits we get from God, or the myriads of promises made and kept that have met so many of our needs. Could I challenge each one of us who are reading this to be willing to set aside some time to simply stop and think about God’s benefits to us? The issue is not how much time we spend, but do we ever just take time to do it. I hope you are in with me on this. I am. 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 …

UNSPEAKABLE – Thought-provoking Word

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.’ 2 Corinthians 9.15

Paul speaks about two things that he cannot describe: (1) heaven) and (2) Jesus, the Son of God. He speaks about his “out of body experience” in 2 Corinthians 12:4 “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” In this verse above he says that God’s gift of His Son Jesus is the “unspeakable gift.

Jesus truly is unspeakable. How do you describe God and man in the flesh? How do you explain one who loves you so much that He was willing to die for you to keep you out of hell? How do you explain one who is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah? There simply are NO words.

But the key to this verse is the opening phrase: “Thanks be unto God … ” I am fearful that far too many of God’s children fail to take time to thank God for the gift of His Son, Jesus. We are reminded over and over in Scripture to be thankful. The words or phrases give thanks, be thankful, or thanks occur 65 times in the KJV. 31 times in the Psalms alone the psalmists remind us to give thanks or have thanksgiving in our hearts.

So, let’s begin today with a commitment to God that we will make giving thanks a part of our daily prayer lives. If you do not have a prayer list, let me suggest that you start one. Then you can put giving thanks at the top of your list. It may be helpful to take time when you are not praying and make a list of the people and things for which you are thankful, including the unique things that God has done for you through the person of His Son, Jesus. This will take time, but it is well worth the time you decide to commit to it. Just my thoughts …

 

Something Big Is On the Horizon!

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep tings of God. ” 1 Corinthians 2.9-10

There are certainly some beautiful sights down here on this earth. We just returned a few days ago from seeing the Grand Canyon. I have never seen such natural beauty in all my life. God really outdid himself when He formed the Grand Canyon.

But Paul’s words here is attempting to prepare us for what heaven will be like: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” Even though we use the most descriptive language possible, we cannot come close to what heaven will be like. There are times when we say things like, “This is a little taste of heaven”, but we really don’t know that. I have seen some pretty awesome houses that men have designed and built. But again I will say, nothing can compare with what we will experience when we get to heaven.

Paul goes on to say, “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:” The Holy Spirit’s job is to lead us into all truth. Jesus promised that when He was about to go away and leave His disciples. I think it is probably a good thing that God chooses NOT to reveal some of these things to us. The unknown remains a mystery and that should make each one of us all the more anxious to be there and see God’s handiwork. The Holy Spirit is able to know the heart of God – the deep things of God – and when He reveals some of the mystery to us, we are all the more anxious to be there with God and see what He has done for us. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. ” (John 14.1-3)

It is real – just believe it. Just my thoughts …

God Became What?

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. (and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.” John 1.14

I wonder if we have really absorbed the full meaning of the words we have just read. “The Word (God) was made flesh …” The eternal, holy, righteous, all-knowing, all-powerful God BECAME flesh. He took the form that you and I have – God clothed in human flesh.

In Matthew 1.28 we read: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” God made the deliberate choice to dwell among us in the form of a man. Emmanuel – God with us. Isaiah 7.14 says: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” This declaration of God dwelling among us runs throughout the Word of God.

When Jesus came to earth, those New Testament believers “beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the Father … ” There was something about Jesus that caused those who wanted to be with Him to acknowledge that He was God. On more than one occasion they saw Him do things that no ordinary man could do. While the Pharisees were unwilling to acknowledge that He was the son of God, the man whose sight was restored in John 9:30-33 said: “Why herein is a marvelous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.

Let’s simply remember that when God became flesh, it was a demonstration of His unconditional for us. Just my thoughts …

So Much We Don’t Know!

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3.17

This verse from the pen of Zephaniah is a great reminder of the significance of God’s presence. I like the way it is translated in another translation. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

We may periodically think about the attribute of God’s omnipresence, but how often do we live as if we are conscious of His presence? “The Lord your God is in your midst … ” That truth in itself is a great comfort to me. But the verse continues: “a mighty one who will save … ” I believe the statement about God saving us is more than just our salvation. You and I may never know the things God saves us from in any given day. His constant watch care over us goes beyond our greatest expectations.

He will rejoice over you with gladness …” God doesn’t just consider us part of the family of God. He rejoices over us with gladness. Did you know that? What a life-changing piece of information. If God loves me that much, how can I ever NOT demonstrate my love FOR Him and my service TO Him?

He will quiet you by his love …” Have you ever watched a mother pick up or embrace a hurting child who is crying? You will her whisper something like this: “Mommy loves you. Everything is going to be ok.” This phrase presents a similar scenario when I think about how God quiets me by His love.

Finally, “he will exult over you with loud singing.” This word exult means “show or feel elation.” I wonder what it sounds like in heaven when God sings over His children? Some day we will find out. In the mean time I choose to live with the knowledge of His presence with me always, to realize that He “saves” me from things I may never see or know, to be grateful that God is rejoicing over me with gladness, to accept His embrace that quiets me in time of need, and anticipate what I will hear is heaven some day when God “exults over me with loud singing.” Just my thoughts …