VIDEO The Eternal City

Israel, Jerusalem, city walls from the Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2


Ecclesiastes 3:11 might be a summary of the whole Bible: “[God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in [our] hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” This earth, God’s creation, is beautiful. Yet we long for more; we long for eternity, for the roots of humanity in Eden. But our longing requires walking by faith because we can’t know the details of God’s plan by our own efforts.

But we can know some details that He has revealed to us. John 3:16 promises that faith in Jesus Christ will result in the gift of eternity we long for. And we have been given a picture of our eternal destination and home—New Jerusalem, “the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Revelation 21–22 paints a picture of the eternal city that defies human imagination.

Read Revelation 21–22 and give God thanks for the city that will satisfy every eternal longing of the heart.

Those who have the new Jerusalem in their eye must have the ways that lead to it in their heart. Matthew Henry

Revelation 21

Not a Dream

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Ephesians 5:14

It’s like living in a dream you can’t wake up from. People who struggle with what’s sometimes called “derealization” or “depersonalization” often feel like nothing around them is quite real. While those who chronically have this feeling can be diagnosed with a disorder, it’s believed to be a common mental health struggle, especially during stressful times. But sometimes the feeling persists even when life is seemingly good. It’s as if our minds can’t trust that good things are really happening.

Scripture describes a similar struggle of God’s people at times to experience His power and deliverance as something real, not just a dream. In Acts 12, when an angel delivers Peter from prison—and possible execution (vv. 2, 4)—the apostle is described as being in a daze, not sure it was really happening (vv. 9–10). When the angel left him outside the jail, Peter finally “came to his senses” and realized it had all been real (v. 11 nlt).

In both bad times and good, it can be hard sometimes to fully believe or experience that God is really at work in our lives. But we can trust that as we wait on Him, His resurrection power will one day become undeniably, wonderfully real. God’s light will rouse us from our sleep into the reality of life with Him (Ephesians 5:14).

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

Why is it sometimes hard for you to feel God’s power and love? How can you experience His love more tangibly?

Dear God, thank You that in good times and bad, whether I can feel it or not, You’re real, creating new life and hope.

The Power of Love

God offers His love to every person, no matter their past—and He wants us to do the same. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Today’s passage tells us that love doesn’t “rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (v. 6). In other words, God doesn’t want His children to turn a blind eye to sin. Yet at the same time, Christians are to look for ways to help unbelievers discover the Father’s love for them. 

The Lord lovingly created each of us, and even though we’re all sinners who have fallen short, we have the potential to be made into something good. He considers even the most evil and corrupt person worth saving. How do we know this is true? Because in the first verse we teach our school children, Christ said that whoever believes in His Son will have eternal life (John 3:16). And why would He do this? The answer’s in the same Because God loves us. There is nothing we can do to deserve His love. God doesn’t work that way. He loves every single person, no matter how awful his or her sin may be. 

The Lord extends His care, His mercy, and His salvation to anybody who wants it. He keeps no record of wrongs. He loves without conditions. And He wants us to love others in the same way.

The Gospel of Peace

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7)

Surprisingly, there are more verses containing the word “peace” in the Old Testament book of Isaiah (King James Version) than in any other book of the Bible. The central occurrence (15 before, 15 after) is in our text, speaking of those whose feet travel with the beautiful gospel (that is, “good tidings,” mentioned twice in this verse) of peace. The one proclaiming this gospel is said to be publishing salvation, announcing the imminent reign of God the Savior over all the earth.

The first mention of “peace” in Isaiah speaks of the coming King and His reign, and so does the final occurrence. First, “the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called…The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Then, in Isaiah’s last chapter we read, “For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to [Zion] like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream” (Isaiah 66:12).

This wonderful gospel of peace is specifically mentioned just twice in the New Testament. The first is a direct quotation from our text. “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15).

The second is in connection with the Christian’s spiritual armor. The “beautiful feet” that are to carry the good tidings are, most appropriately, to be “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). It is our high privilege to be among those whose feet travel upon the mountains, and across the plains, and over the seas with the beautiful gospel of peace and salvation. HMM

How Are We To Understand And Respond To Suffering?

For example:

  • A friend’s twelve year old boy dies of cancer.
  • An unforeseen change in tax laws suddenly wipes out an established business.

Why do people suffer? Is it the result of sin? Circumstances? Bad luck? Evil forces winning over good?

How much suffering is self-inflicted through our sloth, greed, ignorance, or stupidity?

It seems that a considerable amount of the pain we suffer happens at random. Few would disagree that life, taken at face value, appears to be unfair. (Ecclesiastes 7:15; 8:14)

In my recent reflections on suffering from the Book of Job, five observations emerged:

1. In the struggle between good and evil, God may allow the righteous to suffer without their knowledge of the issues at stake. (Job, chapters 1, 2)

2. Because our lives are expendable for the glory of God, He is the One who determines their quality and duration. (Job 1:9-20; 2:6-10; 42:10-15)

3. Our friends may well misjudge the cause of our suffering by failing to comprehend God’s inexplicable purposes at work behind the scenes. (Job 42:7, 8)

4. How we respond to suffering reveals the quality of our faith. (Job 1:21, 22; 13:15; 23:8-12)

5. This side of eternity, God may choose not to explain the reasons for our suffering. He gave none to Job. (Deuteronomy 29:29; Ecclesiastes 8:17)


Certainly Job’s response to the destruction of his family and fortune is worthy of our consideration. Upon learning of his losses, Job

Fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job 1:20-22)

“Never man spake like this man.”

John 7:40-53

John 7:43

Sermons do not produce the same effect upon all minds. Even when the Lord himself was the preacher some believed and some believed not, and among those who did believe there were several degrees of faith. May God grant that when we hear the word we may be led to embrace it, and feel its power in our inmost souls. One ground of unbelief in our Lord’s day appears to have been ignorance; his hearers knew that the Messiah would be born at Bethlehem, and supposing that Jesus was a native of Galilee, they could not believe in him. Had they taken the trouble to inquire, this stumbling-block would soon have been taken out of their way, for they would have learned that he was of the house and lineage of David, and was born in Bethlehem, according to the word of prophecy. If we remain in unbelief through wilful ignorance, we shall have no one but ourselves to blame.

John 7:44

Yes, even in the Redeemers congregation there were malicious hearts which remained unsoftened by his message of love, and would have repaid his affectionate zeal by making him their prisoner, if fear had not held them in check.

The Lord’s enemies among the rulers now resolved to seize him and put an end to his teaching, and therefore they sent officers to arrest him; but these returned empty-handed to those who sent them.

John 7:46

They had been spell-bound both by his matter and his manner, and the Pharisees were compelled to hear their own servants sing his praises. If we have ever heard the Lord Jesus speaks in our hearts, we shall fully agree with the verdict of the officers. Speak to us now, O Lord, and we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable.

John 7:47, 48

This is an old and foolish objection. Rulers and eminent men are quite as often wrong as right, and human authority is a very doubtful rule.

John 7:49

This again is another stale form of opposition to the truth. The adversaries represent those who believed in Jesus as an ignorant rabble, a contemptible and cursed crew. We may well be content to share the world’s scorn with the despised saints, for it has always been the lot of the godly to be sneered at.

John 7:50, 51

This was well spoken. Nicodemus may have been timid, but when he saw that his help was needed, he spoke out right well and wisely. What a blow was here aimed at the heart of prejudice! Prejudiced persons would do well to answer the question of Nicodemus.

John 8:1

John 8:1

He had no other resort. Sleep was for all except the Saviour: he went to meditation and to prayer. Blessed Lord, what an example dost thou set us by thus resorting to sacred solitude!

Never mortal spake like him!

More than man he needs must be,

Sure he is the God supreme,

For I feel his power in me.

He hath changed me by his word,

By his charms my soul subdued;

Ever since his voice I heard,

All my nature is renew’d!

Blame Someone Else

And the man said, The woman… gave me of the tree, and I did eat. (Genesis 3:12)

In the earliest day of failure and tragedy in the garden of Eden, Adam came out of hiding, knowing full well his own guilt and shame.

Adam confessed: “We ate from the fruit of the tree that was forbidden—but it was the woman who enticed me!”

When God said to Eve, “What did you do?” she said: “It was the serpent that beguiled me!”

In that brief time our first parents had learned the art of laying the blame on someone else. That is one of the great, betraying evidences of sin—and we have learned it straight from our first parents. We do not accept the guilt of our sin and iniquity. We blame someone else.

If you are not the man you ought to be, you are likely to blame your wife or your ancestors. If you are not the young person you ought to be, you can always blame your parents. If you are not the wife you ought to be, you may blame your husband or perhaps the children.

Sin being what it is, we would rather lay the blame on others. We blame, blame, blame! That is why we are where we are.