Friday, January 19, 2018

New Heaven and New Earth

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)

God calls our attention to the fact that He has made something new for His children. Could He be speaking of when we arrive in heaven? Yes, He is. Can He be speaking of the new heaven and new earth that we read about in Revelation? Again, yes, He is.

I recently had a special friend enter heaven. One of the thoughts I had about her being there was “She won’t remember the terrible things that happened to her when she was a child.” I do not feel free to share her story about her childhood except to say she suffered abuse.

While we live on earth we might have a memory or memories of which we cannot let go. We read where we can give them to God, but, because we are human, we sometimes take them back. However, when we enter His domain, heaven, he takes all our anxiety-causing moments and tosses them away. Those who enter heaven truly do not have a care in the world.

As believers, we look forward to the time when we will see Jesus, face to face.  Let us all practice giving our hurts to God and leaving them with Him. Following this habit will make our lives easier.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Song

And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were playing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. Revelation 14:2-3 (ESV)

Here we have John the Revelator describing a scene he witnesses. He paints a spectacular picture with his words. Standing on Mount Zion is the Lamb surrounded by the 144,000 people who carry the name of Jesus and the name of the Father on their foreheads.

John hears a voice from heaven. This voice is very loud and robust. (Likened to the roar of a huge waterfall and the sound of loud thunder.) I believe John describes a collective voice because he compares the voice he hears to “the sound of harpists playing on their harps,”

I once was a part of a worship service where all the voices blended together and broke off into their respective parts on the chorus of one of my favorite hymns.  I felt as if I experienced a bit of heaven that night.

The song John hears is a new song, never sung before. The people sing it before the throne and the four living creatures and the elders.  These people are the ones who have been redeemed from our earth and they are the only ones who can sing the song.

As I sit here on a chilly morning in mid-January, my thoughts go to six families who are going through the aftermath of having a loved one pass on. These families will have to establish ‘a new normal’ for their lives. For the most part, the ones who passed from this earth went on ahead to heaven and are included in the 144,000.

Monday, January 15, 2018

New Commandment

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are to love one another. By this all people will know you are my disciples if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35 (ESV)

The scene is in the Upper Room, Jesus is talking to His disciples. He has just sent Judas Iscariot out to do what he, Judas, planned to do. Jesus then speaks of His being glorified,  of the Father being glorified in Him.

He then gives the remaining disciples a new command. “. . . love one another: just as I have loved you, you are to love one another.”

How did Jesus’ new command impact the disciples? After Jesus sent His Holy Spirit, they were able to continue the work He began.   

How does this command affect people of today?
I had a friend who now lives in heaven who never met a stranger. While we worked a bazaar booth for our church missionary group one year, she talked to each of those stopping by as if she had known them for a long time. I have come to believe that was how God allowed her to fulfill this command.

How does this commandment affect me? I find I am more of an introvert than my friend was. I listen to people as they speak of their needs and spend time praying with them and for them. Or I might try to send them an encouragement card.

A friend of mine went through a difficult time recently. As I did some Christmas shopping, I came across some small clear plastic objects. Each one had scripture verse and a cross on the backside of it as you looked at it. She had a birthday later in the month. When I gave it to her early, she seemed thrilled that someone was thinking of her and praying for her as God led her through her time of need.

May we all find ways to carry out Jesus’s new command in this coming year.

New Thing

Remember not the former things, nor consider things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV)

The prophet Isaiah speaks a very timely message from God to the people of Israel.
God tells his people that things are going to be different for them. He speaks of sharing things up for the ones who held his people in captivity. He also speaks of refreshing those He has chosen in order that His people might praise Him.

At the end of each monthly prayer list, I have a section where I list one praise for each day of that month. Doing this helps me focus on the positive aspects of life.

One author, Ann Voskamp, learned to be thankful to God by recording three praises each day. I have done that. In less than one year a person would have 1,000 praises for God and His working in his or her life.

Let us all be more aware of God’s working in our lives as we go through this New Year.  

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...