VIDEO The Second New Earth – Breaking Up Camp and Moving On

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13

The new heavens and new earth that are coming as the backdrop for eternity with God are, in fact, the second instance of a new heavens and new earth. The first, of course, is described in Genesis 1—the original creation of the heavens and earth. That was the setting in which mankind was given his preeminent commission from God to be stewards of the earth.

Looking at the earth today, however, reveals a failure on the part of mankind to carry out that stewardship commission. When we compare what must have been a pure and undefiled creation in the beginning with the condition of planet earth today, our anticipation of heaven only grows stronger. Will we despoil the new earth in the same way we have the original earth? No, since there will be no sin to divert mankind from God’s eternal purposes.

If we marvel at the glory of God’s creation now, we will marvel even more when we set our eyes upon a creation that reflects an undefiled glory to the Creator.

If created things are seen and handled as gifts of God and as mirrors of His glory, they need not be occasions of idolatry—if our delight in them is always also delight in their maker.  John Piper


Breaking Up Camp and Moving On – 2 Peter 3:10-18 – Skip Heitzig

A Wide, Sweeping Grace

I have swept away your offenses. Isaiah 44:22

 

Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled device, has an interesting feature: it can erase everything you say. Whatever you’ve asked Alexa to do, whatever information you’ve asked Alexa to retrieve, one simple sentence (“Delete everything I said today”) sweeps it all clean, as if it never happened. It’s too bad that the rest of our life doesn’t have this capability. Every misspoken word, every disgraceful act, every moment we wish we could erase—we’d just speak the command, and the entire mess would disappear.

There’s good news, though. God does offer each of us a clean start. Only, He goes far deeper than merely deleting our mistakes or bad behavior. God provides redemption, a deep healing that transforms us and makes us new. “Return to me,” He says, “I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22). Even though Israel rebelled and disobeyed, God reached out to them with lavish mercy. He “swept away [their] offenses like a cloud, [their] sins like the morning mist” (v. 22). He gathered all their shame and failures and washed them away with His wide, sweeping grace.

God will do the same with our sin and blunders. There’s no mistake He can’t mend, no wound He can’t heal. God’s mercy heals and redeems the most painful places in our soul—even the ones we’ve hidden for so very long. His mercy sweeps away all our guilt, washes away every regret.

By:  Winn Collier

 

Reflect & Pray

Where are you most aware of your failures? How does the image of God sweeping away all your mistakes give you hope?

So many regrets, so many things I’d do differently. God, You tell me that You can forgive and heal me. Thank You for Your mercy and grace.

Help for us in Prayer

John 16:5-15

In the gospel of John, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Helper whom He would send to enable and instruct believers. One of the Holy Spirit’s responsibilities is to help us in prayer. He knows about temptations or experiences ahead, so He prompts us to talk to our Father.

It’s important, then, to pay attention anytime you sense a need to pray. In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, we are told not to “quench the Spirit,” as ignoring that divine prodding can lead down paths God never intended for us.

The Holy Spirit sometimes burdens us specifically to pray for someone else. In this way, He offers Christians the opportunity to participate in God’s work. On many occasions, I’ve received calls asking if I was going through a tough time, and invariably, my caller had been praying for me.

This burdening of our heart to pray for ourselves or for others is a special demonstration of God’s love. By calling us to prayer, He can make us sensitive to our surrounding circumstances or prepare us for a trial He knows is coming. Listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and allowing ourselves to be prepared is how we, in turn, display our love for God.

Love So Amazing and So Divine

“In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” (Colossians 1:22)

The past three days we have studied the verses of the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” We have seen insights into the sufferings of Christ on the cross for our behalf, the love that led Him there, and its bountiful gift to believers. We are now prepared to consider our response.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

The author, Isaac Watts, begins verse four with a mention of creation. If we were to own it, it would not suffice as a suitable gift, for He is the Creator of all (Colossians 1:16-17), including the vastness of space, the intricacies of life and Earth systems, the mighty spiritual angels, and even the creation of His image in man. “There is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Corinthians 8:6). He is Lord of all! He knows us better than we know ourselves, and yet He loves us so.

The most amazing line of the hymn is the final couplet. A fitting response to His love would be a complete offering of one’s soul, life, and all. He is our great Creator and the offended Judge. He gave up aspects of His eternal essence in order to take up our likeness and die for us. He is our everlasting King. It all focuses in on the cross—the wondrous cross!

“My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27). “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever” (1 Timothy 1:17). JDM

Old Cross and New Cross

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

—Galatians 6:14

 

The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before that cross it bows and toward that cross it points with carefully staged histrionics—but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear.

I well know how many smooth arguments can be marshaled in support of the new cross. Does not the new cross win converts and make many followers and so carry the advantage of numerical success? Should we not adjust ourselves to the changing times? Have we not heard the slogan “New days, new ways”? And who but someone very old and very conservative would insist upon death as the appointed way to life? And who today is interested in a gloomy mysticism that would sentence its flesh to a cross and recommend self-effacing humility as a virtue actually to be practiced by modern Christians? These are the arguments, along with many more flippant still, which are brought forward to give an appearance of wisdom to the hollow and meaningless cross of popular Christianity.   POM053-054

Help me today to deny myself, to take up my cross and to follow You. Amen.

 

Holiness Is God

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands…and purify your hearts.

—James 4:8

 

God Himself is the holiness and the purity we need. Some people think of holiness as something they have for a time, but suddenly God allows them to lose it. Holiness in the Christian life is nothing else but the Spirit of God dwelling, filling, satisfying the surrendered, committed, trusting believer.

When will we admit and confess that holiness comes with the presence of God? When will we believe that a true encounter with God brings purity of heart?

Christ is not just our Sanctifier. He is our sanctification. He Himself is our holiness. If Christ lives within our hearts, then just as the fire dwelt within the burning bush in living encounter and experience, so we will be cleansed and pure. How could it be otherwise if Christ who is holy and pure lives out His life in us? MMG074

We must consent to the work of cleansing. We must pass sentence upon our sinful heart and give God the right to cleanse it….God will not take one step till we have handed ourselves over to Him unreservedly. CTBC, Vol. 5/313

 

A Christian in a Nuclear Age

Matthew 5:9

To contemplate a nuclear conflict within our lifetime is, for most of us, to think the unthinkable. What parent among us has not pondered his sleeping child and tried to guess whether that young life will end prematurely in instantaneous vaporization or, even worse perhaps, will drain away in the lingering throes of radiation sickness? But it is not only the parent who harbors secret thoughts. Today’s child does not have to be very old before he becomes aware of the awful possibility of a world-consuming conflagration.

The Christian will not be fooled into thinking that the issues are political only. The Holy Spirit will guide him to a recognition of the deep moral questions at the heart of the matter. What can the individual Christian, who has no public influence or power, do to help?

Be as well-informed as possible. Be calm and at peace within your soul by daily walking close to the Lord who loves you. Remember that while missiles can be dismantled, knowledge cannot be uninvented, and so the human race has and will forever have the ability to destroy itself entirely in a short and measurable span of time. Pray therefore for the leaders of nations, for their military advisors, for the peace talks negotiators. Prayer means the individual Christian, without political power, may influence events in accordance with God’s will.

Refuse to see the presence of nuclear devices on our planet as inevitable. Do not leave the thinking or the voicing of opinions only to the politicians. They need our Christian help to clarify the moral issues. Work on public opinion, not stridently but wisely, within your own circle of friends and contacts.

Living in the nuclear age requires courage to face up to the awful possibilities for the future. We can pray to be granted courage, but let us pray also for God to raise up men and women with obedient Christian hearts and able Christian minds to give us a theology for a nuclear age. God is alive. Jesus is risen. God is Lord of every molecule, every atom, every nucleus. We are God’s appointed steward over the created order. The cross of Jesus speaks reconciliation.

Hope in an armed world? Only in Jesus can we find hope. Without Him, we are running out of time.

Shaw Clifton, Strong Doctrine, Strong Mercy