VIDEO Our Heavenly Home

And [the angel] . . . showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Revelation 21:10-11

We sometimes hear people say, “It’s not perfect, but it’s the best of all possible worlds.” That phrase “the best of all possible worlds” was first used by the German philosopher Leibniz in 1710 in a work in which he attempted to justify the goodness of God and evil in the world. But given what we know from Scripture there is a much better world coming.

When the apostle John saw the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1–22:6), he saw the best of the biblical world: the Garden of Eden, Jerusalem, and the temple—all reflecting God’s glory at various times. Like Eden, there will be a tree of life in the New Jerusalem. Like Jerusalem, the city will have beautiful walls and gates. And like the temple, God Himself will dwell in its midst. Finally, for all eternity, we will dwell in the best of all possible worlds.

Are you anticipating living in this glorious new city? It is the inheritance of all who belong to Christ.

To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Jonathan Edwards


Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home – Revelation 21-22 – Skip Heitzig

Run Away

How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way? Matthew 26:54

The introductory lesson on aikido, a traditional Japanese form of martial arts, was an eye-opener. The sensei, or teacher, told us that when faced with an attacker, our first response should be to “run away.” “Only if you can’t run away, then you fight,” he said seriously.

Run away? I was taken aback. Why was this highly skilled self-defense instructor telling us to run away from a fight? It seemed counterintuitive—until he explained that the best form of self-defense is to avoid fighting in the first place. Of course!

When several men came to arrest Jesus, Peter responded as some of us might have by drawing his sword to attack one of them (Matthew 26:51; see John 18:10). But Jesus told him to put it away, saying, “How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:54).

While a sense of justice is important, so is understanding God’s purpose and kingdom—an “upside-down” kingdom that calls us to love our enemies and return evil with kindness (5:44). It’s a stark contrast to how the world might react, yet it’s a response that God seeks to nurture in us.

Luke 22:51 even describes Jesus healing the ear of the man Peter had struck. May we learn to respond to difficult situations as He did, always seeking peace and restoration as God provides what we need.

By:  Leslie Koh

Reflect & Pray

How did you respond to a difficult situation recently? How does this compare with how you think Jesus might have responded?

Father God, give me a new understanding of Your greater purposes in Your kingdom, and a godly, loving, and peace-seeking heart to respond to situations as Your Son did.

Lessons in Sonship

As God’s Son, Jesus perfectly demonstrated for us what it means to be children of God

John 8:25-59

Jesus’ assertion that He was the Son of God incited fury in the religious leaders of His day. Yet His explanation to them so many centuries ago helps us understand how to act like God’s children today:

• He spoke His Father’s words to the world (John 8:26). And we were given the same assignment: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). 

• Christ did nothing on His own initiative (John 8:28). Sonship requires surrender to the Father’s authority. 

•The Son spoke as the Father taught Him (John 8:28). We should rely on the truth of God’s Word, not our own wisdom. 

• Jesus did what pleased the Father (John 8:29). God’s children no longer live for their own pleasures but seek the joy of obeying their heavenly Father. 

• Christ pursued the Father’s glory, not His own (John 8:49-50; John 8:54). In the same way, we’re to humble ourselves and exalt the Lord in our thoughts and behavior. 

• He knew His Father (John 8:55). Like Christ, believers have the same privilege of intimacy with God. 

We are God’s children only because of the faithful obedience of His Son. Christ opened the door for our adoption, showered us with blessings, and demonstrated how we are to walk in faith. Now we are to follow His example. 

God’s Complete Supply

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

The key to this promise in today’s verse is the need that must be met by the riches of the great King as we render our service in His Kingdom. But how vast those needs can be and how different the supply is!

Millions of Israelites needed food in the wilderness, and the manna came fresh from heaven each day for 40 years (Exodus 16:35). Gideon needed victory over the innumerable Midianites, and God caused confusion to fall on his enemies (Judges 7:22). Elijah needed a powerful demonstration of God’s authority, and fire came down from heaven (1 Kings 18:38).

In the New Testament, a crippled man needed a new hand (Mark 3:5), a blind man needed new eyes (John 9:5-6), and a dead man needed life (John 11:43-44). Jesus made the best wine anyone had ever had when the party needed supply (John 2:10-22). He calmed the sea when the disciples needed freedom from their fear (Mark 4:38-39). And He pulled Peter up from the sea when he needed rescue (Matthew 14:30-31). No matter the size of the need, the resources are more than sufficient.

More often than not, however, the need is spiritual. We all need God’s forgiveness from the “sickness” of sin (Mark 2:17). When we first come into His Kingdom, we need the “milk” of the Word (Hebrews 5:12). We all need the wisdom to “walk honestly toward them that are without” (1 Thessalonians 4:12).

And our great God has the resources to supply all our needs. HMM III

God’s Way Is Best

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct my paths. —Proverbs 3:6

The Christian who has in principle accepted God’s truth as his standard of conduct and has submitted himself to Christ as his Lord, may yet be tempted to lay his own plans and even fight for them when they are challenged by the Word of God or the inner voice of the Spirit.

We humans are a calculating, planning race, and we like to say, “Tomorrow I will….” But our Heavenly Father knows us too well to trust our way to our own planning, so He very often submits His own plans to us and requires that we accept them.

Right there a controversy is sometimes stirred up between the soul and God. But we had better not insist on our own way. It will always be bad for us in the long run. God’s way is best. WTA045

Instead of being supremely attached to God and the good of his kingdom, men are by nature “lovers of their own selves.” Hence there is a controversy between man and his Maker. God requires men to regard His glory as the great object of their affections, and the ultimate end of their conduct. DTC138

“As Good as Your Book”

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever.—John 6:51

A Hindu said to a missionary in India: “Sir, I do not want to appear presumptuous, but have you found out what the Acts of the Apostles records? I see there a strange power, making weak, ineffective men into strong, effective, radiant men. That seems new and central—have you found that?” And that is the central question we must ask ourselves. We are taken up with so many little and marginal things in church life that we miss the central power.

A group of children, on the way to see the ocean, got occupied with a pond that one of them had made by blocking the flow of a tiny stream. One little fellow, seeing the ocean in the distance, said, “Come on, Billy, that ain’t the ocean—that’s only a pond!”

Sometimes I feel like calling to the thousands of Christians who are gathered around their little denominational pools, thinking them to be the ocean: “Come on, brothers and sisters, that isn’t the whole thing. Look over there. The ocean awaits us—God’s ocean of power and plenty. I’ll race you to it!”

A Christian who gave a Bible to an acquaintance asked him some time later if he had read it. “Yes,” said the man, “and what is more, I have found you out. You are not as good as your Book! The Book says there is power for human weakness, joy instead of sorrow, victory instead of defeat—but I see little of this in you.” What an indictment! Could the same be said of you and me?

Prayer

O Father, help me to be as good as the Book. Show me the way to power and poise, so that I will represent the highest qualities of life to those I live with or work with. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 6:44-71; Rv 2:4, 3:16; Mt 24:12; Ac 5:13

How did some of Jesus’ disciples respond?

What did Simon Peter say?

The Agony of Prayer

Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.—Luke 22:44

Prayer is not difficult to understand. It is difficult to do. When was the last time your heart so grieved for those you were interceding for that your entire body agonized along with your mind and heart? (Heb. 5:7).

We are a generation that avoids pain at all costs. This is why there are so few intercessors. Most Christians operate on the shallowest levels of prayer, but God wants to take us into the deep levels of intercessory prayer that only a few ever experience. Deep, prolonged intercession is painful. It involves staying before God when everyone else has gone away or sleeps (Luke 22:45). It involves experiencing brokenness with the Father over those who continually rebel against Him. How many of us will experience this kind of fervent intercession?

We long for Pentecost in our lives and in our churches, but there is no Pentecost without Gethsemane and a cross. How do we become mature in our prayer life? By praying. When we do not feel like praying is precisely the time we ought to pray. There are no shortcuts to prayer. There are no books to read, seminars to attend, or inspirational mottoes to memorize that will transform us into intercessors. This comes only by committing ourselves to pray and then doing so.

Why not accept God’s invitation to become an intercessor? Don’t allow yourself to become satisfied with shallow, self-centered praying. Stay with God in prayer until He leads you to pray at the level He wants.