VIDEO The Fall Color Gold – The New Jerusalem

And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city.  Revelation 21:15

Autumn trees are never more beautiful than when they burst into gold. It seems incredible that the leaves of summer should change into colors that remind us of wealth.

Few things are more valuable than gold. It’s the only metal on earth that is yellow or golden in color, and it is extremely pliable. Almost half of all the gold mined today is used in jewelry. Maybe you have some of it in your dresser drawer. If not, you might want to check with the U.S. Federal Reserve. They have 530,000 gold bars laying around somewhere.

God created gold to delight us, and the Architect of New Jerusalem is using it as a primary building material as He prepares a place for us. Revelation 21:18 says, “The city was pure gold, like clear glass.”

If you have a gold ring (or if you simply see a golden tree this fall), let it always remind you of the City of Gold—the City of God—the eternal inheritance for His children.

We are all going to emigrate in a very little while to a country that is very far away…. A grand and glorious world where God reigns. D. L. Moody


Revelation 21:9-21 – The New Jerusalem

In Focus

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong.  Acts 3:16

Author Mark Twain suggested that whatever we look at in life—and how we see it—can influence our next steps, even our destiny. As Twain said, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

Peter too spoke of vision when he replied to a lame beggar, a man whom he and John encountered at the busy temple gate called Beautiful (Acts 3:2). As the man asked them for money, Peter and John looked directly at the man. “Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ ” (v. 4).

Why did he say that? As Christ’s ambassador, Peter likely wanted the beggar to stop looking at his own limitations—yes, even to stop looking at his need for money. As he looked at the apostles, he would see the reality of having faith in God.

As Peter told him, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (v. 6). Then Peter “helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk” and give praise (vv. 7–8).

What happened? The man had faith in God (v. 16). As evangelist Charles Spurgeon urged, “Keep your eye simply on Him.” When we do, we don’t see obstacles. We see God, the One who makes our way clear.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What are you focused on instead of God? With refocused faith, what could you see in Him for your life?

Heavenly Father, when my eyes wander from You, focus my gaze on Your unlimited power

In the Believer’s Valley Experiences

Psalm 23

Have you ever had heartache so deep or hardship so difficult that it’s almost impossible to stand? Like a giant wave crashing on the shore, some trials threaten to overwhelm us.

We all experience valleys in life. They might be of our own making—for instance, when we choose to disobey God and our fellowship with Him grows cold. Or perhaps other people cause our suffering, in situations such as job termination, marital infidelity, or betrayal by a friend. And sometimes our heavenly Father Himself leads us into the valley. Although He could steer us around suffering, He chooses not to because He has a specific purpose in mind.

Psalm 23 uses four words to describe these valley experiences: shadowdeathfear, and evil. These terms evoke images of oppressive circumstances, grievous affliction, and deep discomfort, and there is no way to hurry through them. That’s because both the depth and length of the trial are determined by the Lord.

Thankfully, God promises to be with us and to use every valley—even those of our own making—for our benefit (Rom. 8:28). It is our job to walk steadily, attuned to His presence and trusting in His promises.

Be Taught by the Word

“Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.” (Psalm 119:33)

This eight-verse section (vv. 33-40) closely parallels a similar passage in Proverbs 2:1-5. Both focus on being taught, gaining understanding, and keeping “the way” of God’s Word.

Certainly worth noting is the manner in which the psalmist asked to “go in the path of thy commandments” (v. 35). In every case, the request is for God’s hand to control the process. There is no indication that the psalmist assumed the capability of finding these truths on his own.

  • “Teach me, O LORD” (v. 33).
  • “Give me understanding” (v. 34).
  • “Make me to go” (v. 35).
  • “Incline my heart” (v. 36).
  • “Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity” (v. 37).
  • “Stablish thy word” (v. 38).
  • “Turn away my reproach” (v. 39).
  • “Quicken me in thy righteousness” (v. 40).

However, having prayed for God’s intervention and oversight in his life, the psalmist promised to act on the given insight and order his life around “the way” so illumined by God’s instructions. He acknowledged his “delight” and his “longing” in the holy life and character revealed in the Scriptures and, like the Proverbs 2 passage, showed a willingness of the spiritual consciousness of his heart and mind to “understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5).

May our prayer always be like this: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). HMM III

A Poured-Out Devotion

Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

—Philippians 2:29-30

 

That many Christians in our day are lukewarm and somnolent will not be denied by anyone with an anointed eye, but the cure is not to stir them up to a frenzy of activity. That would be but to take them out of one error and into another. What we need is a zealous hunger for God, an avid thirst after righteousness, a pain-filled longing to be Christlike and holy. We need a zeal that is loving, self-effacing and lowly. No other kind will do.

That pure love for God and men which expresses itself in a burning desire to advance God’s glory and leads to poured-out devotion to the temporal and eternal welfare of our fellowmen is certainly approved of God; but the nervous, squirrel-cage activity of self-centered and ambitious religious leaders is just as certainly offensive to Him and will prove at last to have been injurious to the souls of countless millions of human beings.   SIZ081-082

Lord, give me that “zealous hunger for God,” that “avid thirst after righteousness,” that “painfilled longing to be Christlike and holy.” I want to give myself in “poured-out devotion” for Your glory. Use me as Your servant, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

 

The Blissful Center

He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity….Behold, God exalteth by his power.

—Job 36:10, 22

 

The work of God is not finished when the first act of inward adjustment has been done. The Spirit would go on from there to bring the total life into harmony with that “blissful center.” This is wrought in the believer by the Word and by prayer and discipline and suffering.

It could be done by a short course in things spiritual if we were more pliable, less self-willed and stubborn; but it usually takes some time before we learn the hard lessons of faith and obedience sufficiently well to permit the work to be done within us with anything near to perfection.

In bringing many sons unto glory God works with whatever He has in whatever way He can and by whatever means He can, respecting always His own gift to us, the freedom of our wills. But of all means He uses, the Bible is the best. OGM072-073

The threefold purpose of the Bible is to inform, to inspire faith and to secure obedience….The Holy Scriptures will do us good only as we present an open mind to be taught, a tender heart to believe and a surrendered will to obey. NCA093

 

From the Mount of Beatitudes

Matthew 5:3-10

 

The Mount of Beatitudes rises above the ruins on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. This revered hill offers an awe-inspiring view of virtually the entire shoreline of the Sea of Galilee.

A narrow access road branches from the Tiberias highway and leads up the hill to the stately Church of the Beatitudes and adjoining hospice. Built in 1936, both facilities are now cared for by the Franciscan Sisters.

The renowned architect Barluzzi designed the distinctive octagonal-shaped church, utilizing the plentiful local basalt stone for the edifice and white stone from Nazareth to produce the unadorned, graceful arches surrounding the church’s veranda. Each of the sanctuary’s eight walls commemorates one of the Beatitudes pronounced at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. A lofty, elegant central dome symbolizes the ninth Beatitude. It reminds every believer that blessed (happy) are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

It is the concave southeastern slope, however, that makes this hill one of the most hallowed Christian sites in the Holy Land. Since the fourth century, Christians have identified this verdant crest as the place where Jesus escaped the pressing multitude to teach His disciples. He retreated from the large crowds that had followed Him and led His disciples to this secluded natural amphitheater, sat down and taught them. His subsequent summary of basic gospel themes is known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).

It is important to note that on this occasion Jesus sat down to teach. When a Rabbi was formally teaching, or when the subject matter was of utmost importance, he sat down. The fact that Jesus sat down to teach His disciples indicates that what He was about to say was essential, fundamental and, in the paramount sense of the word, official.

The Mount of Beatitudes is also the traditional spot where Jesus chose His twelve disciples (Luke 6:12-16). The Sermon on the Mount, according to Luke’s narrative, immediately follows the choosing of the Twelve. The Master’s instructions may best be understood as an ordination address to the twelve apostles He had recently selected.

Jesus here introduces and summarizes guidelines and instruction for life and ministry that are unique, unprecedented and revolutionary. The Sermon on the Mount is, in fact, a distillation of the whole gospel message.

William Francis, The Stones Cry Out