Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Revelation 21:1
A great misconception carried by many Christians has to do with the location of heaven. The word heaven itself implies that our eternal destiny is somewhere “up there” in the heavens. But the Bible says our eternal destiny is earthly, not heavenly. As Peter wrote, we look for a “new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
In his vision of the future, the apostle John saw that “new heaven and a new earth,” our new domain being pictured as the New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:1-2). Somehow, at the end of the age, when Christ has returned to reign and inaugurate the eternal state, this earth will be renovated and a new earth will be the result—a new earth full of righteousness in which pain and sorrow will be absent. The beautiful imagery of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 lets us know that the new earth will be a place that reflects the glory of God throughout.
Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for you if you belong to Him (John 14:1-4). The New Jerusalem, on the new earth, is that place.
Let thy hope of heaven master thy fear of death. William Gurnall
SKIP HEITZIG – Six Things That Will Surprise You About Heaven – Revelation 21:1-8
When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
When Aaron (not his real name) was 15, he began praying to Satan: “I felt like he and I had a partnership.” Aaron started to lie, steal, and manipulate his family and friends. He also experienced nightmares: “I woke up one morning and saw the devil at the end of the bed. He told me that I was going to pass my exams and then die.” Yet when he finished his exams, he lived. Aaron reflected, “It was clear to me that he was a liar.”
Hoping to meet girls, Aaron went to a Christian festival, where a man offered to pray for him. “While he was praying, I felt a sense of peace flood my body.” He felt something “more powerful, and more liberating,” than what he felt from Satan. The man who prayed told Aaron God had a plan and Satan was a liar. This man echoed what Jesus said of Satan when He responded to some who opposed him: “He is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Aaron turned to Christ from Satanism and now “belongs to God” (v. 47). He ministers in an urban community, sharing the difference following Jesus makes. He’s a living testament of God’s saving power: “I can say with confidence that God saved my life.”
God is the source of all that is good, holy, and true. We can turn to Him to find truth.
Reflect & Pray
How have you experienced God rescuing you from evil? Who can you share your story with this week?
God is more powerful than the father of lies.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
If someone asked if your life is centered on Christ, how would you respond? Oftentimes a Christ-centered life is equated with going to church, giving, praying, reading the Bible, and talking to other people about Jesus. However, did you know that even if you do every one of these things, it’s still possible to live a life that is controlled by self rather than Christ?
This is because our motives may be self-centered. Religious activities can be done for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with our love for Jesus. We could be seeking to relieve feelings of guilt or to make ourselves feel better or look more righteous. Perhaps we read the Bible to quickly find a verse that affirms us. Or prayer might be our attempt to get God to do what we want.
The answer is not to give up on these good activities but to shift our focus to Christ and what He desires. Our battle with self is one that will continue as long as we live in these earthly bodies. That’s why Paul tells us to “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted,” and to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:22; Eph. 4:24).
A Christ-centered life is fueled by love for the Savior, which flows from increasing knowledge of Him. And we learn to know Jesus more intimately through reading, praying, and quietly abiding in His presence. As Christ increases in our mind and heart, we’ll discover that our self-focus decreases and He becomes the delight of our lives.
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)
This classic verse on the filling of the Holy Spirit can be rendered as follows: “And don’t begin to be drunk with wine, which involves profligacy, but be continually being filled with the Spirit.” That is, one cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit (which implies complete control by the Holy Spirit) if he has come to even the slightest degree under the control of wine (or anything else, for that matter).
Being fully controlled and guided by the Spirit is not just a one-time experience. It should be a continual experience—a moment-by-moment control of one’s thoughts and actions by God. In practice, however, it is at best a repeated experience, whereas most Christians experience it quite rarely, if at all.
But how does one have such an experience, and what is the evidence that it is the real thing? To be controlled by the Spirit, one must yield control to Him and not let himself be controlled by anything or anyone else. In practice, this means believing and obeying the Word He inspired, consciously yielding one’s self as often as necessary. Jesus promised that “when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
It should be noted that the filling of the Spirit is not necessarily marked by any particular feeling or ecstatic experience. The real proof is in the life, manifested by such characteristics as are described in the context of the passages referring to the Spirit’s filling. In our text, it is obvious that such a filling is accompanied by redeeming one’s time (v. 16), understanding God’s will (v. 17), a happy and Bible-centered conversation (v. 19), a continuously thankful heart (v. 20), and a right attitude and relationship with one’s spouse (vv. 22-25). It is also evidenced by boldness in witnessing and in standing up for God’s truth (Acts 4:31; 13:9-10). HMM
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
Many a preacher would like to challenge the intellectual and thinking capacity of his congregation, but he has been warned about preaching over the people’s heads.
I ask, “What are people’s heads for? God Almighty gave them those heads and I think they ought to use them!”
As a preacher, I deny that any of the truths of God which I teach and expound are over the heads of the people. I deny it!
My preaching may go right through their heads if there is nothing in there to stop it, but I do not preach truths which are too much for them to comprehend. We ought to begin using our heads. Brother, you ought to take that head of yours, oil it and rub the rust off and begin to use it as God has always expected you would. God expects you to understand and have a grasp of His truth because you need it from day to day. ICH145
Lord, help me to use my head, to be willing to be stretched intellectually by Your Holy Spirit. Use me to stretch others as well. Amen.
Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my soul unto Thee.—Psalm 143:8.
I will guide thee with mine eye.—Psalm 32:8.
Teach me to do the thing that pleaseth Thee,
Thou art my God, in Thee I live and move,
Oh, let Thy loving Spirit lead me forth
Into the land of righteousness and love.
J. B. S. Monsell.
The minds that are alive to every word from God, give constant opportunity for His divine interference with a suggestion that may alter the courses of their lives; and, like the ships that turn when the steersman’s hand but touches the helm, God can steer them through the worst dangers by the faintest breath of feeling, or the lightest touch of thought.
Richard H. Hutton.
It is no delusion, no dream of a hot brain, no error of a too confiding soul, that has made the children of God delight to trust in His Providential aid. When God, in deed and in truth, is present and dominant in the soul of a man, He can, and He will give to that soul a real guidance. He will guide it, with the guidance of an eye that seeth and foreseeth—that knoweth what is best for us and the world, and leadeth us in that way wherein, for our sakes, and the world’s, it is best for us to go.
Henry Septimus Sutton.
“One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.” Joshua 23:10
Why count heads? One man with God is a majority though there be a thousand on the other side. Sometimes our helpers may be too many for God to work with them, as was the case with Gideon, who could do nothing till he had increased his forces by thinning out their numbers. But the Lord’s hosts are never too few. When God would found a nation, He called Abram alone and blessed him. When He would vanquish proud Pharaoh, He used no armies, but Only Moses and Aaron. The “one man ministry,” as certain wise men call it, has been far more used of the Lord than trained bands with their officers. Did all the Israelites together slay so many as Samson alone? Saul and his hosts slew their thousands, but David his ten thousands.
The Lord can give the enemy long odds and yet vanquish him. If we have faith, we have God with us, and what are multitudes of men? One shepherd’s dog can drive before him a great flock of sheep. If the Lord sent thee, O my brother, his strength will accomplish his divine purpose. Wherefore, rely on the promise, and be very courageous.