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To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:4

In her book about heaven, Anne Graham Lotz talked about the time she bought a ticket for a tour of Buckingham Palace in London. She passed through one spectacular room after another, gazing at the hand-painted ceilings, magnificent paintings, gilded furniture, and crystal chandeliers. But nowhere did she see a child’s toy, an open magazine, a coffee cup sitting on a side table, or a table set for two. “Buckingham Palace is a magnificent showplace,” she said, “but it’s hard to think of it as a home.”[1]

The glittering scenes of heaven will far exceed anything in Buckingham Palace, yet it will be our home. It will feel like home, it will look like home, and it will be home. Our resurrected and glorified bodies will be perfectly equipped to enjoy all the features of the new heaven and new earth. Our friends and loved ones in Christ will meet us in New Jerusalem. Our tears will be gone; and our years will have no end.

How exciting to know the joy that awaits us in heaven. We should look forward to the eternal home Jesus is preparing for us.

Knowing where you are going takes the uncertainty out of getting there. Anne Graham Lotz


1 Peter 1 – Living Like You are Born Again

Refreshed at Simon’s House

They refreshed my spirit and yours also. 1 Corinthians 16:18

My trip to Simon’s house was unforgettable. Under the cover of a starlit sky in Nyahururu, Kenya, we made our way to his modest home for dinner. The dirt floor and the lantern light reflected Simon’s limited means. What was on the menu, I don’t recall. What I can’t forget was Simon’s joy that we were his guests. His gracious hospitality was Jesus like—selfless, life-touching, and refreshing.

In 1 Corinthians 16:15–18, Paul mentioned a family—the household of Stephanas (v. 15)—who had a reputation for their caregiving. They’d “devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people” (v. 15). While their service likely included tangible things (v. 17), the impact was such that Paul wrote, “they refreshed my spirit and yours also” (v. 18).

When we have opportunities to share with others, we rightly give attention to matters of food, setting, and other things that are fitting for such occasions. But we sometimes forget that although “the what” and “the where” matter, they’re not the most important things. Memorable meals are great and pleasant settings have their place, but food is limited in its capacity to fully nourish and encourage. True refreshment flows from God and is a matter of the heart; it reaches the hearts of others, and it continues to nourish long after the meal is over.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

What occasions stand out where you were memorably refreshed by the hospitality or welcome of others? How can you change the way you serve others to make such occasions more spiritually meaningful?

Father, forgive me for the times I’ve made welcoming others more about me than those I seek to serve. Help me to extend myself in ways that truly refresh others.

Blessed Assurance

We don’t have to wonder where we will spend eternity. Belief in Jesus guarantees a future with Him

1 John 5:9-13

People fall into one of four categories. Which one applies to you? 

1. We are saved and we know it.

2. We think we are saved, but we’re not. 

3. We don’t claim to be saved.

4. We’re not saved but would like to be. 

As today’s passage shows, God wants us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will spend eternity in His presence (1 John 5:13). Salvation is His deliverance from all the effects of sin, and it is available to whoever trusts in Jesus Christ. Do you have that kind of certainty? Unless you’re already confident that heaven is your eternal destination, I urge you to settle the matter now. 

First, realize that our Father desires salvation for all people (1 Timothy 2:3-4), and He has provided the way through His Son (John 3:16). We are saved when we believe in Jesus Christ and confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10). 

God is faithful to keep His promises. If you trust in Jesus as your personal Savior, the Father will forgive all your sins and welcome you into His family (John 1:12)—without regard to merit or worth on your part. He freely gives eternal life to all who believe in His Son. Will you receive it?

Pay Attention

“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)

From earliest childhood, we learn by watching the actions and lives of others. First, of course, our parents, then our peers and educators, politicians, business leaders, musicians, celebrities—the list is nearly endless. We learn by what we receive, hear, and see.

Jesus said, “They shall be all taught of God” (John 6:45). The foundational learning process that enables the receiving and hearing of further truth must come first from God, through His Word and by the born-again believer. Paul’s young protégé, Timothy, first learned from his mother and grandmother about God, and then under Paul’s tutelage from the Scriptures (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15).

But the key to learning is active attention! One must first receive, hear, and see. Paul commended the Thessalonians because they “received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). The Bereans were “more noble” because they “searched the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). The wise preacher “gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs” (Ecclesiastes 12:9).

Information, however well absorbed, is worthless without applying that which is learned. The philosophers of Athens were scorned because they “spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21).

All of us must first be learners. Soon, however, we must work out our “own salvation with fear and trembling,” since God has chosen to work through us (Philippians 2:12-13). HMM III

The Interchange of Love

There is one God; and there is none other but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul. —Mark 12:32-33

Having been made in His image, we have within us the capacity to know God and the instinct that we should worship Him. The very moment that the Spirit of God has quickened us to His life in regeneration, our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition!

That response within our beings, a response to forgiveness and pardon and regeneration, signals the miracle of the heavenly birth—without which we cannot see the kingdom of God.

Yes, God desires and is pleased to communicate with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the souls of redeemed men and women is the throbbing heart of the New Testament religion. WHT025

The one who is caught by [love] is bound by the strongest of all bondsand yet it is a pleasant burden….Nothing makes you so much God’s, nor God so much yours, as this sweet bond. The one who has found this way will seek no other. BME036

Four Simple Words

The woman … went into town, and told the men, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did!”—John 4:28-29

In the true Christian heart, sharing is instinctive. What was the instinct of the woman at the well as soon as she had received salvation? It was to share what she had found with others.

What I am saying will cause some people to feel guilty, especially those who do not find it easy to share their faith. It is not that we should go out and accost everyone we meet with the message of salvation, but we do need to be alert for every opportunity and to take advantage of it.

The four words which most succinctly summarize the gospel are each found in the Scripture passage before us today. They are these: “come … see … went … told.” We get a firsthand knowledge—”come and see”—and then the instinctive impulse takes over—”go and tell.” And if there is no “go and tell” impulse, then perhaps the “come and see” impulse is not ours, or at least it has ceased to hold a commanding place in our lives.

A woman once wrote to me following something I had written in Every Day with Jesus and said: “I had a real experience of God and refused to share it with anyone, so it died.” How sad. J. B. Phillips’ translation of 2 Corinthians 9:10 is luminous: “He who gives the seed to the sower …” See the inference? He gives seed only to the one who uses it—the sower. If we won’t use the seed, then we won’t get it. Our powers are either dead or dedicated. If they are dedicated, they are alive with God. If they are saved up or conserved, they die.

Prayer

O Father, I ask not for an experience of You—I already have that. I ask rather for the courage to share it with others. Give me some seed today, and help me to sow it in prepared hearts. For Your own dear name’s sake. Amen.

Further Study

1Pt 3:1-16; Ps 66:16; Isa 63:7

What must we always be prepared to do?

How did Isaiah and the psalmist do this?

Obedience Step by Step

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he answered.

“Take your son,” He said, “your only [son] Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”—Genesis 22:1–2

Our difficulty is not that we don’t know God’s will. Our discomfort comes from the fact that we do know His will, but we do not want to do it!

When God first spoke to Abraham, His commands were straightforward. “Go to a land I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). Then God led Abraham through a number of tests over the years. Abraham learned patience as he waited on God’s promise of a son, which took twenty-five years to be fulfilled. Abraham learned to trust God through battles with kings and through the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The pinnacle of Abraham’s walk of faith was when God asked him to sacrifice the one thing that meant more to him than anything else. Abraham’s previous obedience indicated that he would have quickly and decisively sacrificed anything else God asked of him, but was he prepared for this? God did not ask Abraham to make such a significant sacrifice at the beginning of their relationship. This came more than thirty years after Abraham began walking with God.

As the Father progressively reveals His ways to you in your Christian pilgrimage, you, like Abraham, will develop a deeper level of trust in Him. When you first became a Christian, your Master’s instructions were probably fundamental, such as being baptized or changing your lifestyle. But as you learn to trust Him more deeply, He will develop your character to match bigger tests, and with the greater test will come a greater love for God and knowledge of His ways. Are you ready for God’s next revelation?