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
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.
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
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: shadow, death, fear, 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.
“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
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
How many emotions are swirling around inside you? In the old days, we were taught human personalities were composed of six emotions that mixed together, like primary colors, to create a range of feelings. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America suggests that there are 27 basic emotions. The list is too long to print here, but it includes: amusement, anxiety, awe, boredom, calmness, disgust, envy, excitement, fear, horror, sadness, and sympathy.
Our emotions can overwhelm us, but we shouldn’t let them overwhelm the truth of God. When you experience fear, sadness, anxiety, or confusion, turn your attention to the Word of God. There are two chapters in the Bible, Deuteronomy 31 and Joshua 1, in which the Lord tells us again and again: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
These are good chapters to read when your emotions are giving you trouble. Listen to your Father more than to your feelings!
You should not believe your feelings more than the Word which the Lord preaches to you. Martin Luther
Bible Prophecy – Happening Now with Jack Hibbs and Amir Tsarfati (September 2020)
Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18
Sarah has a rare condition that causes her joints to dislocate, making her reliant on an electric wheelchair to get around. On her way to a meeting recently, Sarah rode her wheelchair to the train station but found the elevator broken. Again. With no way of getting to the platform, she was told to take a taxi to another station forty minutes away. The taxi was called but never arrived. Sarah gave up and went home.
Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence for Sarah. Broken elevators stop her from boarding trains, forgotten ramps leave her unable to get off them. Sometimes Sarah is treated as a nuisance by railway staff for needing assistance. She’s often close to tears.
Out of the many biblical laws governing human relationships, “love your neighbor as yourself” is key (Leviticus 19:18; Romans 13:8–10). And while this love stops us from lying, stealing, and abusing others (Leviticus 19:11, 14), it also changes how we work. Employees must be treated fairly (v. 13), and we should all be generous to the poor (vv. 9–10). In Sarah’s case, those who fix elevators and drag out ramps aren’t doing inconsequential tasks but offering important service to others.
If we treat work as just a means to a wage or other personal benefit, we will soon treat others as annoyances. But if we treat our jobs as opportunities to love, then the most everyday task becomes a holy enterprise.
Reflect & Pray
Why do you think we can become annoyed at someone needing extra assistance? How can you turn your job into a channel of love today?
Father, a job is never just a job to You but an opportunity to love You and serve others. Help me to see my work as an opportunity to benefit others today
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition in which the eye cannot focus on distant objects. Today this physical defect is easily treatable with corrective lenses. But spiritual myopia is more dangerous because it has consequences throughout eternity.
To emphasize the importance of an eternal perspective, Jesus told a story about a rich man who couldn’t see beyond his present life. His enjoyment and security were wrapped up in the abundance of his wealth, possessions, and comforts. Although he may have been honored and respected by others for his great achievements, in God’s eyes he was a fool. That’s because he stored up treasure for himself but was bankrupt before the Lord.
In order to make deposits in heaven’s bank, following Christ must be more important than any worldly ambition or priority. His kingdom and righteousness should direct our plans, pursuits, and pleasures. Colossians 3:1-4 says that instead of having an earthly focus, it is better to set our minds on things above, where Christ is. If we do this, our affections and ambitions will follow, and we will become rich toward God.