VIDEO Our Heavenly Home

God Himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:3

If you ever have the privilege of buying a new house in a development that is under construction, it can be exciting. You sit down with the builder’s representative and go through everything: the floor plan, the color schemes, the flooring materials, the appliances, and more. You come away with a picture of what our new home is going to look like. It’s exciting!

Given how much fun a new house or apartment can be on earth, think of how exciting it will be to move into our eternal dwelling in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2). We don’t know exactly what our eternal home will be like, but given the apostle John’s description in Revelation 21, it will be like nothing we have ever seen. Jesus told His twelve disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them, and that means a place for us, too. Jesus left His heavenly home and came to earth so He could take us to His home forever.

Jesus endured a hard life on earth so we could enjoy an eternal life with Him. Give Him thanks today!

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McGee – Study of Revelation – Revelation 21:3-4 Part 126

Morning Mist

I have swept away your offenses . . . like the morning mist. Isaiah 44:22

One morning I visited a pond near my house. I sat on an overturned boat, thinking and watching a gentle west wind chase a layer of mist across the water’s surface. Wisps of fog circled and swirled. Mini “tornadoes” rose up and then exhausted themselves. Before long, the sunlight cut through the clouds and the mist disappeared.

This scene comforted me because I connected it with a verse I’d just read: “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist” (Isaiah 44:22). I visited the place hoping to distract myself from a series of sinful thoughts I’d been preoccupied with for days. Although I was confessing them, I began to wonder if God would forgive me when I repeated the same sin.

That morning, I knew the answer was yes. Through His prophet Isaiah, God showed grace to the Israelites when they struggled with the ongoing problem of idol worship. Although He told them to stop chasing false gods, God also invited them back to Himself, saying, “I have made you, you are my servant; . . . I will not forget you” (v. 21).

I don’t fully grasp forgiveness like that, but I do understand that God’s grace is the only thing that can dissolve our sin completely and heal us from it. I’m thankful His grace is endless and divine like He is, and that it’s available whenever we need it.

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How is it possible to abuse God’s grace? What steps can you take to break free of sinful habits and experience His forgiveness?

Dear God, thank You for Your gracious presence in my life. I don’t want to live in habitual sin. Help me to feel the freedom that comes when I confess my sin and You erase it completely.

Read Grace: Accepting God’s Gift to You at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0613.

The Changing Battle of Faith

James 1:2-8

Have you ever felt as if your Christian life swings back and forth like a pendulum between faith and doubt? This is a fairly common problem, especially in trying situations. Although you know what God’s Word says, your feelings may tell you something different.

The question is not if we’ll experience this, but when—and how long we’ll remain on one side or the other. Three factors can influence whether we lean toward faith or doubt: the state of our faith at the time of the trial; our knowledge and understanding of God; and our experience with failure or success in past trials.

To grow in faith, it is important that we …

• Trust in God’s divine nature and wisdom.
• View difficulties from a scriptural perspective.
• Set our mind on God’s promises.
• Reflect on the Lord’s past faithfulness, both in Scripture and personal experience.

We can stabilize our faith by choosing to trust God rather than circumstances or human wisdom. Our perspective of the world is limited and unreliable, but the truth of Scripture stands firm. You can know with certainty that the Lord is faithful and will see you through every situation.

Unto Him Who Is Able

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24)

There are three wonderful doxologies in three New Testament epistles extolling the transcendent ability of God to accomplish and perfect our eternal salvation. One is our text above, assuring all who are “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 1:21) that He is fully able to bring us joyfully into the presence of God in glory.

Then, look at Ephesians 3:20: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Furthermore, His power is able to keep us forever. “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25).

Little wonder that the apostles exhort us to praise such a wonderful God and Savior! But in addition to the three doxologies, the Word of God contains many other testimonies to the omnipotent ability of the Lord on behalf of His people. “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). “The Lord Jesus Christ:…shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).

With such a Savior and heavenly Father, we can join with Jude as he concludes his doxology: “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:25). HMM

Can’t Have Easter without Good Friday

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. —Philippians 1:29

God will crucify without pity those whom He desires to raise without measure!…

God wants to crucify us from head to foot—making our own powers ridiculous and useless—in the desire to raise us without measure for His glory and for our eternal good….

Willingness to suffer for Jesus’ sake—this is what we have lost from the Christian church. We want our Easter to come without the necessity of a Good Friday. We forget that before the Redeemer could rise and sing among His brethren He must first bow His head and suffer among His brethren!

We forget so easily that in the spiritual life there must be the darkness of the night before there can be the radiance of the dawn. Before the life of resurrection can be known, there must be the death that ends the dominion of self It is a serious but a blessed decision, this willingness to say, “I will follow Him no matter what the cost. I will take the cross no matter how it comes!”   ITB096-099

Lord, I come before You on my knees to say, “I will follow [You] no matter what the cost. I will take the cross no matter how it comes!” Amen.

Part of the Total Plan

They that are after the Spirit [mind] the things of the Spirit. —Romans 8:5

The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.

You must be satisfied that it is not abnormal. I admit that it is unusual, because there are so few people who walk in the light of it or enjoy it, but it is not abnormal….This is unusual only because our spiritual lives are so wretchedly sick and so far down from where they should be.

You must be satisfied, again, that there is nothing about the Holy Spirit queer or strange or eerie.

I believe it has been the work of the devil to surround the person of the Holy Spirit with an aura of queerness, or strangeness, so that the people of God feel that this Spirit-filled life is a life of being odd and peculiar, of being a bit uncanny. That is not true, my friend! The devil manufactured that. HTB039

The Holy Spirit is pure, for He is the Holy Spirit.

He is wise, for He is the Spirit of wisdom.

He is true, for He is the Spirit of truth. COU075

The House of Bread

John 6:48, 51

Bethlehem—the very name floods the imagination and stirs the emotions. God chose this tiny village, annually revered in churches and homes around the world, as the cradle of celestial joy, hope and peace. Each Christmas, young and old contemplate the reality and significance of the manger, the shepherds, the Magi and the Holy Family under the star of Bethlehem. In this hamlet, one quiet, mysterious night two thousand years ago, an event took place that forever changed the course of history!

Modern Bethlehem is remarkably unchanged since the time of Jesus’ birth. Its Hebrew name, “House of Bread,” well defines this fertile parcel of land on the edge of the Judean desert. As they have through the ages, Bethlehem’s fields still supply nourishing grain, the olive grove’s distinctive oil, and the vineyard’s succulent grapes.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherds were keeping watch over their sheep in a nearby field, and “an angel of the Lord appeared to them” (Luke 2:9). While no one knows the exact spot where the angel appeared to the startled shepherds, tradition identifies two sites.

In the second century, Justin Martyr wrote that Jesus’ birth took place in a cave close to the village. At the urging of his devout mother, Queen Helena, the Emperor Constantine built a magnificent basilica over the site, richly decorating it with marble mosaics and frescoes. What had been a simple cave at the edge of an obscure village became the “heart” of the town of Bethlehem and the focal point of Christian thought and devotion throughout the world.

Descending into the grotto under the central altar, one follows a well-worn path. Numberless pilgrims have entered this cave believed to be the authentic site of Jesus’ birth. The grotto’s focal point is a fourteen-point silver star on the white marble floor, with the Latin inscription: “Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary.”

Here, in a hostel’s basement cave in the village known as “the House of Bread” was born the baby who would one day declare, “I am the bread of life… I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:48, 51).

May the Babe of Bethlehem’s followers continue to respond as did His first century disciples: “Lord, evermore give us this bread” (John 6:34 KJV).

William Francis, The Stones Cry Out