Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:5
Pulitzer Prize winning American author Wallace Stegner is credited with observing that: “National Parks are America’s best idea.” Filmmaker Ken Burns included that sentiment in the title of his twelve-hour documentary series on America’s national parks. America’s 62 national parks are natural jewels in the nation’s landscape. Yellowstone National Park was the first (1872), with its geysers and hot springs showing off their power like clockwork. But Yosemite National Park may be the grandest, with its towering rock faces and plunging waterfalls. It’s hard to imagine anything better.
And yet something grander, more beautiful, and more exciting is coming. God’s plan for planet earth is not done. It was God Himself who said of the heavens and the earth, “I [will] make all things new.” At the end of this earthly age, God will remake His original creation by renovating the earth to provide an eternal home for His forever family—those redeemed from sin through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As the saying goes, “You haven’t seen anything yet!” Enjoy the beauty of the earth today, but get ready—the best is yet to come.
Wisdom opens the eyes both to the glories of heaven and to the hollowness of earth. J. A. Motyer
Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home – Revelation 21-22 – Skip Heitzig
As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34
My husband’s brother lives about 1,200 miles away in the mountains of Colorado. Despite the distance, Gerrits has always been a beloved family member because of his great sense of humor and kind heart. As long as I can remember, however, his siblings have good-naturedly joked about his favored status in their mother’s eyes. Several years ago, they even presented him with a T-shirt sporting the words, “I’m Mom’s Favorite.” While we all enjoyed the silliness of our siblings, true favoritism is no joking matter.
In Genesis 37, we read about Jacob who gave his son Joseph an ornate coat—an indication to his other children that Joseph was special (v. 3). Without a hint of subtlety, the coat’s message shouted: “Joseph is my favorite son.”
Displaying favoritism can be crippling in a family. Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, had favored him over her son Esau, leading to conflict between the two brothers (25:28). The dysfunction was perpetuated when Jacob favored his wife Rachel (Joseph’s mother) over his wife Leah, creating discord and heartache (29:30–31). No doubt this pattern was the unhealthy basis for Joseph’s brothers to despise their younger brother, even plotting his murder (37:18).
When it comes to our relationships, we may sometimes find it tricky to be objective. But our goal must be to treat everyone without favoritism and to love every person in our life as our Father loves us (John 13:34).
Reflect & Pray
When have you struggled with showing favoritism? How is God helping you to treat everyone equally?
Loving God, as I interact with others help me to avoid showing unhealthy preferences. Help me to see others as You do and to treat everyone fairly and without favoritism.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
One of the benefits of adversity is that it challenges our pride. Paul experienced this kind of intervention through what he called “a thorn in the flesh,” and the Lord used it to hone his effectiveness as a servant of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:7).
We don’t usually realize what’s at stake when we allow pride to take root in our life, but it affects how God interacts with us, as He “is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Pride will prevent Christians from reaching the potential of what God wants to do in and through them. Even if the world sees them as a success, a self-motivated and self-empowered ministry lacks value in the Lord’s eyes.
Can you see how much was at stake for Paul—and for believers throughout history? God used the apostle to build up churches and write letters that would become a major portion of our New Testament. When he understood the reason for his “thorn,” Paul reacted with trust and gratitude for the Lord’s wise and loving protection.
Perhaps you can see why adversity may be beneficial for you, too. Each of us has been given areas of influence. Humble yourself today so God can use you greatly.
“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9)
The Bible clearly teaches that faith in the person and saving work of Jesus Christ is essential for salvation. Jesus Himself said: “I am the way…no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
This means that there is no salvation whatsoever in Islam or Buddhism, and certainly not in evolutionary humanism—or anything other than faith in Christ!
But what about the millions over the ages who have lived and died without ever hearing about Christ? Paul answers: “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18). That is, they have heard! Our text reminds us that Jesus Christ is the true Light that has been sent to every man in the world. Paul was referring to the familiar 19th Psalm, which reminds us that God’s glory is declared by the heavens themselves.
Paul also stressed that even God’s “eternal power and Godhead” are “clearly seen” “from the creation of the world,” so that those who don’t see are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Thus, as Peter said, “in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:35). Although Christ has provided at least some light for “every man,” the tragedy is that “men loved darkness rather than light” (John 3:19). But for those like Cornelius (to whom Peter was sent with the gospel—Acts 10) who act on whatever light they have (in nature or conscience or any possible remnants of primeval truth in their native religion), God will send more light, for “he that doeth truth cometh to the light” (John 3:21). HMM
So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
—1 Thessalonians 1:7-8
I would like to see a church become so godly, so Spirit-filled that it would have a spiritual influence on all of the churches in the entire area. Paul told some of his people, “ye were ensamples to all that believe” and “in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad” (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8).
It is entirely right that I should hope this of you. I could hope that we might become so Spirit-filled, walking with God, learning to worship, living so clean and so separated that everybody would know it, and the other churches in our area would be blessed on account of it….
There is no reason why we could not be a people so filled with the Spirit, so joyfully singing His praises and living so clean in our business and home and school that the people and other churches would know it and recognize it. COU009-010
Please, Lord, enable us to be models of godliness, spirit-filled victory, joy and worship. Amen.
Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness….All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia.
In the New Testament, when the Holy Spirit came, His presence fulfilled that whole list of fragrances found in the holy anointing oil. When New Testament believers were anointed, that anointing was evident. Read it in the book of Acts. “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:4). “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (4:31). “But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven” (7:55). “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word” (10:44). The list goes on.
The Holy Spirit has not changed. His power and authority have not changed. He is still the third Person of the eternal Godhead. He is among us to teach us all we need to know about Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. I am suggesting—indeed, I am stating—that no one among us, man or woman, can be genuinely anointed with the Holy Spirit and hope to keep it a secret. His or her anointing will be evident. JMI062-063
All that God wants of any of us is room for Himself, the displacement of our self-consciousness and strength in sufficient measure to let Him have His way without resistance and interference. SI111
1 John 1:7
The Salvation Army was born not in cloister, nor in a drawing-room, but on a spiritual battlefield, at the penitent-form. And it has been nourished for spiritual conquests not upon speculative doctrines and fine spun verbal distinctions, but upon those great doctrines which can be wrought into, and worked out in, soul-satisfying experience.
One of the Army’s central doctrines and most valued and precious experience is that of heart-holiness. The bridge the Army throws across the impassable gulf which separates the sinner from the Savior, who pardons that He may purify, who saves that He may sanctify, rests upon these two abutments: the forgiveness of sins through simple, penitent, obedient faith in a crucified Redeemer, and the purifying of the heart and empowering of the soul through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Remove either of these abutments and the bridge falls. Preserve them in strength and a world of lost sinners can be confidently invited to come and be gloriously saved.
It is this holiness—the doctrine, the experience—that we Salvationists must maintain, else we shall betray our trust. We shall lose our birthright; we shall cease to be a spiritual power in the earth; our glory will depart. The souls with whom we are entrusted will grope in darkness and go elsewhere for soul nourishment and guidance. And while we may still have titles and ranks to bestow upon our children, we shall have no heritage of spiritual power, of burning love, of holy triumph to bequeath to them.
Our Lord still baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire. He has given us a standard. He has given us a doctrine, and He waits to give us an experience that shall incarnate both standard and doctrine in heavenly and all-conquering life.
A Chinese man got full salvation and his neighbors said: “There is no difference between him and the Book.” That should be said of you and me.
Samuel Logan Brengle, The Privilege of All Believers