Blessed! Precious Is Our Future

Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever! Revelation 5:13

The Great Tribulation is described in Revelation 6-18, but the two prior chapters (Revelation 4 and 5) describe a celebration in heaven that will occur just before the outbreak of the Tribulation. Why celebrate the onset of Tribulation? Because the Tribulation will set the stage for our Lord’s return. At long last, earth’s wrongs will be righted. The final chapters of world history will play out, ushering in a glorious eternity, described in the last two chapters of the Bible. So heaven celebrated in advance.

There’s a lesson in that. Sometimes when we look at our world, we see tribulation and distress. The immediate future seems ominous. But the God of today controls tomorrow; and the day beyond tomorrow is the gateway to eternity.

For the Christian, our future is just as bright as the golden glow of the Celestial City. It’s just as refreshing as the Crystal River. It’s just as exciting as an angelic concert, and just as fulfilling as answered prayer. God has blessed us with the assurance of a precious future, so let’s be forward-thinking optimists. Let’s get excited about what’s ahead and about Who’s in charge.

Regardless of what happens in this life…life in Christ has a happy ending. Nothing in earth, heaven, or hell can ever take that away… David Jeremiah in The Jeremiah Study Bible

Praise Builds Courage

2 Chronicles 20:14-30

Believers oftentimes think of praise as a byproduct of good fortune, but praise is appropriate in any circumstance. Honoring God in the midst of trouble causes the human heart to undergo a dramatic change—from frightened to courageous. We cannot truly claim to understand the power of praise until we have experienced this transformation for ourselves.

When messengers came with warnings of an advancing army, King Jehoshaphat became fearful (2 Chronicles 20:3). But as he recalled the Lord’s sovereignty and past faithfulness, he remembered that God provides solutions to seemingly hopeless situations.

The divine solution seemed strange and rather unnerving: “You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf” (2 Chronicles 20:17). But in the next instant, the king and his people were on their faces worshipping the Lord. Praise magnifies God’s presence, making His followers more aware of Him standing with them.

The Israelites knew their Protector was in their midst; they trusted He had a plan because praise had reminded them that this was always true of God. Celebrating the Lord bolsters faith. Jehoshaphat’s heart traveled a spectrum from fearful to helpless to courageous (2 Chronicles 20:3, 2 Chronicles 20:12, 2 Chronicles 20:20).

The Lord intervened personally and miraculously for the Israelites. He will do the same for you. The next time you face a troubling situation, choose praise instead of self-pity. God will release His power in your life, giving you courage and filling your heart with joy.

I Am Christ’s Friend

“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:15)

Some things in Scripture are harder to understand and believe than others. Christ, the Sovereign Creator of all things, the offended Judge who declared the penalty for sin to be death, the One who willingly died to pay that penalty and redeem us from bondage to sin, now calls us His friends. Certainly we would like to consider Him our friend; but are we really His friends? If He were telling someone about His friends, would He include us? Somehow this seems too much—too good to be true; but He insists it is.

Actually, Christ said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16). We are His friends by conscious choice on His part, even though He knows more about our inward nature than we will admit to ourselves. He has demonstrated His friendship by the greatest act of love imaginable, when He voluntarily died to save us from our sins. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (v. 13). Furthermore, for His friends He promises, “Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (v. 16).

His love for us surpasses human love. “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love” (v. 9) “that your joy might be full” (v. 11). He has “ordained” us as friends so that we “should go and bring forth fruit, and that [our] fruit should remain” (v. 16). What joy!

There should be a response on our part to His friendship. Almost as a self-evident fact, He states, “Ye are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you” (v. 14), among other things, “that ye love one another” (v. 17). How can we do less? JDM

Designed for a Single Purpose

And God said unto Abraham, Thou shall keep my covenant therefore, thou, and the seed after thee in their generations. —Genesis 17:9

We are surrounded throughout our lifetime by a multitude of things designed for specific purposes. Without argument, most things are at their best when they are fulfilling their purpose and design.

For instance, a piano is made with a specific purpose: to produce music. However, I happen to know that someone once stood on a piano in order to put a fastener of some kind in the ceiling…. I have seen piano tops that were cluttered filing cabinets or wide library shelves.

There is an intelligent design in the creation of a piano. The manufacturer did not announce: “This is a good piano. It has at least nineteen uses!” No, the designer had only one thought in mind: “This piano will have the purpose and potential of sounding forth beautiful music!”…

Do not miss the application of truth here. God was saying to Abraham, “You may have some other idea about the design and purpose for your life, but you are wrong! You were created in My image to worship Me and to glorify Me. If you do not honor this purpose, your life will degenerate into shallow, selfish, humanistic pursuits.” MMG022-023

May I be faithful, Lord, to the purpose for which You have created me. Life is too short and too futile to waste on anything other than worship of my Creator. Amen.

Faithful Stewardship, a must

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him. (1 Corinthians 16:2)

God has been pleased to deal with us in a most remarkable way concerning our Christian stewardship and responsibility of honoring Him with the things He has entrusted to us.

The Bible teaching is plain: you have the right to keep what you have all to yourself—but it will then rust and decay, and ultimately ruin you!

This may hurt some of you but I am obliged to tell you that God does not need anything you have!

He does not need a dime of your money!

What you need to understand is that it is your own spiritual welfare at stake in such matters as this.

There is a beautiful and enriching principle involved in our offering to God what we are and what we have, but none of us are giving because there is a depression in heaven!

A long time ago God said: “If I had need of anything, would I tell you?”

Brethren, if the living God had need of anything, He would no longer be God!

This Man receiveth sinners,however, they may not remain sinners

This Man receiveth sinners;” not, however, that they may remain sinners, but he receives them that he may pardon their sins, justify their persons, cleanse their hearts by his purifying word, preserve their souls by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and enable them to serve him, to show forth his praise, and to have communion with him. Into his heart’s love he receives sinners, takes them from darkness, and wears them as jewels in his crown; plucks them as brands from the burning, and preserves them as costly monuments of his mercy. None are so precious in Jesus’ sight as the sinners for whom he died.