Charles Stanley – Our Heavenly Place: New Jerusalem

 

Revelation 21:1-8

While Jesus was on earth, John heard Him promise to prepare a place for His followers (John 14:3). Years later, the apostle was given a vision of that place, and he watched the New Jerusalem come down out of heaven. The sight was beyond human description, but he did his best to put this heavenly vision into earthly language. (See Revelation 21:9-27, Revelation 22:1-5.)

John saw the brilliance of God’s glory radiating from the city’s structure, whose foundation gleamed with the dazzling colors of precious stones. The gates were made of pearls and the street of transparent gold. This nearly 1500-mile-long cube-shaped city was designed by the Lord as a place for Himself and mankind to live in perfect intimacy for all eternity. In Revelation 22:3-4, he notes that “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face.”

Though we may have difficulty imagining the physical structure of the New Jerusalem, we understand and rejoice over the fact that certain things will be absent from this heavenly city—namely, there will be no pain, tears, mourning, or death. Sin and every one of its consequences will be removed. All frustration, boredom, and problems will cease. No one will have handicaps, and our bodies will never grow tired or sick.

When the difficulties you face become burdensome, focus on your glorious heavenly future. The only time you will ever experience trouble and pain is in this earthly life. When you walk on the streets of New Jerusalem with the Savior, all the old ravages of sin will be gone, and your joy will be full.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 15-17

 

http://www.intouch.org/

 

Our Daily Bread — Hurry Not

 

Read: Isaiah 26:1–4 | Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 6–8; Luke 15:1–10

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

“Ruthlessly eliminate hurry.” When two friends repeated that adage by the wise Dallas Willard to me, I knew I needed to consider it. Where was I spinning my wheels, wasting time and energy? More important, where was I rushing ahead and not looking to God for guidance and help? In the weeks and months that followed, I remembered those words and reoriented myself back to the Lord and His wisdom. I reminded myself to trust in Him, rather than leaning on my own ways.

After all, rushing around frantically seems to be the opposite of the “perfect peace” the prophet Isaiah speaks of. The Lord gives this gift to “those whose minds are steadfast,” because they trust in Him (v. 3). And He is worthy of being trusted today, tomorrow, and forever, for “the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (v. 4). Trusting God with our minds fixed on Him is the antidote to a hurried life.

Lord God, You give the peace that passes all understanding.

How about us? Do we sense that we’re hurried or even hasty? Maybe, in contrast, we often experience a sense of peace. Or perhaps we’re somewhere in between the two extremes.

Wherever we may be, I pray today that we’ll be able to put aside any hurry as we trust the Lord, who will never fail us and who gives us His peace.

Lord God, You give the peace that passes all understanding, which is a gift I don’t want to take for granted. Thank You.

God’s peace helps us not to hurry.

By Amy Boucher Pye

INSIGHT

The word peace in Isaiah 26:3 is one of the prophet Isaiah’s favorite words; it’s used over twenty times in Isaiah. The word appears for the first time in Isaiah 9:6 where we find several titles for the promised Messiah, including “Prince of Peace.” Peace is a translation of the great Hebrew word shalom. While peace is certainly an acceptable rendering, more broadly shalom speaks of “welfare,” “prosperity,” “wholeness”—the comprehensive well-being of a person, people, or place. What isn’t immediately apparent in modern versions of verse 3 is that the word translated “perfect” is also the Hebrew word shalom. Thus a literal rendering of “perfect peace” is “shalom, shalom” or “peace, peace.” What’s in view is multiplied peace, true peace, exponential peace. Verse 3 helps us to see that peace awaits those who trust in the Lord as their eternal source of strength—their Rock (v. 4). Such peace allows one to exhale, to rest, to slow down.

Arthur Jackson

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Time to Grieve

Recently, a colleague sought an explanation regarding the untimely death of a friend. It was one of those questions that exposes the vulnerability of a confident apologist. How one wishes that the dots could be connected, the blanks filled, and a satisfying response proffered. But lo and behold, that is not to be. In some questions, an agnostic stance appears more honest and reasonable. It’s no wonder Job’s friends made more sense in their silence than in their speeches. In that ancient story of a life whose struggles are articulated exhaustively, Job’s pain is something we still grapple with millennia later.

In her book When Life Takes What Matters, author Susan Lenzkes suggests that this posture of grappling with uncertainty, even angered grappling, can be kindly held by the Christian God: “It’s all right—question, pain, and stabbing anger can be poured out to the Infinite One and God will not be damaged….For we beat on his chest from within the circle of his arms.”(1)

For Job, something similar is true. Somehow his own questioning appears to lose its sting when he sees how wide this circle really is. In the glimpse God offers him from the very foundations of the world, Job’s despair is somehow quieted within a story so much bigger than his pain can comprehend.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Time to Grieve

Joyce Meyer – Cultivate Healthy Relationships

The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken to pieces and come to ruin, but there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother. — Proverbs 18:24

Everyone wants friends, and God wants us to have them. He encourages relationships throughout His Word, but it is important to have healthy, safe, and godly relationships.

Some relationships are not safe for us because we are being used, manipulated, and taken advantage of. God wants us to pray for and love everyone, even our enemies, but that doesn’t mean we should let people take advantage of us.

I personally am not interested in having what I call one-sided relationships in which I do all the giving and the other party does all the taking. God does use us at times in the lives of selfish, self-centered people, and we do make sacrifices, but there is a point at which we are hurting people if we let them manipulate us for their own pleasure.

Stand up for yourself and always be willing to confront unhealthy relationships. Speak the truth in love (see Ephesians 4:15). You are very valuable and entitled to have good friends who will respect and honor you properly.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me always be a good friend. I ask You for safe, healthy relationships in which I can flourish and grow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Prays for You

 

“Likewise, the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself [Himself] maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26, KJV).

Prayer is our mighty force for supernatural living and the most personal, intimate approach to and relationship with God. Through the instrumentality of God’s Holy Spirit, we have access to the Almighty, leading the way to supernatural living.

In some theological circles there is much skepticism and hesitancy about the Holy Spirit. We must not forget, however, that Jesus Himself had much to say about the Holy Spirit.

In John’s gospel, for instance, Jesus explained to the disciples that it was necessary for Him to leave them in order that the Holy Spirit should come to them. “He shall guide you into all truth…He shall praise Me and bring Me great honor by showing you My glory” (John 16:13,14 LB).

Just as the Holy Spirit transformed the lives of the first- century disciples from spiritually impotent, frustrated, fruitless men into courageous witnesses for Christ, He wants to transform our lives in the same way. We need only to surrender ourselves and by faith we will be filled with His power.

It is the Holy Spirit who draws us to the Lord Jesus whom He came to glorify. He makes the difference between failure and success in the Christian life, between fruitlessness and fruitfulness in our witness. Through His filling of our lives with God’s love and forgiveness we are “born again” into the family of God.

And it is the Holy Spirit who not only enables us to pray but who also prays on our behalf, as today’s verse clearly points out.

Bible Reading:Romans 8:27-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Today I will visualize, with deep joy and gratitude, the Holy Spirit Himself praying for me, beseeching God on my behalf.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Very Hairs of Your Head

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Bertrand Russell was the fatalistic atheist who concluded, “I believe that when I die my bones will rot and nothing shall remain of my ego.” He can’t be right, we sigh.

He isn’t right! Jesus announces. And in some of the kindest words ever heard, he allays our fear. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31 NIV).

Who inventories follicles? We monitor money in the bank and gas in the tank. But no one posts tiny number signs adjacent to each strand. We style hair, color hair, cut hair. . .but we don’t count hair. God does! That’s how much you matter to him. “The very hairs of your head are all numbered!”

Read more Anxious for Nothing

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – Should babies with Down syndrome be aborted?

“If anyone has ever had the arms of a Down syndrome child or adult wrapped around your necks, you will know that you have encountered profound love that comes from the heart.” So states a Kentucky legislator in supporting a law banning abortions involving a fetus with Down syndrome if the diagnosis is the reason for ending a pregnancy.

Indiana and Ohio have already passed such bills, though a federal judge has temporarily blocked Ohio’s law from taking effect. Last Monday, the Pennsylvania House passed its own bill to ban such abortions. The bill passed with bipartisan support in a 139–56 vote.

If the bill passes in the Senate, it faces an expected veto from Gov. Tom Wolf.

In Iceland, nearly 100 percent of women who discover their unborn child has Down syndrome choose to abort their baby. In Denmark, the abortion rate for unborn babies with Down syndrome is 98 percent. The abortion rate in the US for such babies is 67 percent.

Famous people with inherited challenges Continue reading Denison Forum – Should babies with Down syndrome be aborted?