Archive for July, 2011

Heaven

Have you dreamed what Heaven or the New Jerusalem would be like? God gives great clues in Revelation 21. Check this out:

  • The New Jerusalem will come down from Heaven like a jeweled chandelier.
  • The walls will be of jasper (that means diamonds).
  • Each of the twelve gates will be a single pearl.
  • The foundations of the walls will be made of all kinds of jewels–emeralds, sapphire, topaz, diamonds and amethyst to mention a few.
  • The streets will be made of pure gold.
  • There will be no evil, shame or lies.
  • There will be no tears, pain or suffering.
  • There will be no sun, moon or stars because the glory of God will give it light.
  • There will be no temple because God the Father and Jesus the Son will be our temple.
  • Jesus, the lamb, will be it’s light.
  • The nations will walk by it’s light.
  • The City of God will be as long as it is wide as it is high, 1400 miles cubed, which is as far as from San Francisco to Chicago.

Jesus told the apostles before He returned to the Father that He would prepare a place for them (and all who believe), so where He goes they will go. Our loving Father doesn’t want anyone to be left out, but we cannot enter the pearl gates if we have any sin. Jesus died on the cross to take away our sin, but we have to believe and ask Jesus to help us live for Him. Think about it. He gave His all for us. It makes sense that we give our all for Him.

Heaven is not pie in the sky. It is as real as you are and it’s the place for people who love God and live for Him. Jesus loves you and wants you to be in Heaven with Him. In fact, He’s coming again. Nobody knows the exact day except the Father. Will you be ready?

Lord Jesus, I pray for the ones reading this, that they would experience your amazing grace and love and respond with lives holy and true for you. Amen.

Jesus Loves Me

“Hey, Christi, are you signing up for soccer?” asked Julia.

“No,” replied Christi. “I thought about it but decided not to.”

“Why?”

“Because some of the games are on Sunday mornings.”

            “Yeah, so?”
            “Well, I go to Sunday school.”
            “Can’t you miss a Sunday or two?”
            “I suppose I could,” said Christi. “But I don’t want to.”
            “What’s so special about Sunday school?”
            “You mean you’ve never gone?”
            “No, why should I?”
            “Well, I like going because I have fun and learn how much Jesus loves me.”
            “How do you know Jesus loves you?” asked Julia.
            “Because He died on the cross for me.”
            “What?” Julia asked.  “What do you mean He died on a cross for you?”
“He was nailed to a cross for . . .”
            “Christi, that’s disgusting!” shouted Julia. “That’s horrible. How could that prove anything to anyone?” Julia didn’t give Christi time to  answer. She just stomped away. Christi walked home from school by herself. She looked down at the ground and felt terrible. “Dear God, I’m sorry,” she cried. Tears streaming down her face, she opened the front door to her house and ran straight to her bedroom.
            “Christi, what’s the matter?” Mom asked as she stepped into her room.
            “Oh Mom,” she said. “Julia wanted me to sign up for soccer, but I told her I couldn’t because some of the games were on Sundays. I told her I liked Sunday school and learning how much Jesus loves me.”
           “Christi, I am glad you made that decision,” Mom said.
           “Mom, she asked me how I knew Jesus loved me and I told her because He was nailed to a cross for me.” Christi couldn’t talk. She cried and cried.
           “Mom, Julia said for Jesus to be nailed to a cross for me was disgusting. She cut me off and strutted down the street. Oh Mom, I feel awful.” Mom held her close and Christi sobbed big sobs.
           “Christi,” Mom said, “I know God was with you and I know He  loves you very much. When you think about it, being nailed to a cross is pretty  disgusting. It was painful and humiliating for Jesus. But He endured the cross because He loves us. You were right. People who don’t know Him don’t understand the cross. I bet you gave Julia something to think about.”
           “Really?”
           “Oh yes,” Mom said. “I know she is a good friend and she trusts you.”
           “Do you think God will give me another chance to tell her how much Jesus loves her?”
          “It’s possible,” Mom said. “Let’s be thankful for today. God was with you.” Christi stopped crying and smiled. Mom started singing and Christi joined in,
            “Jesus loves me, this I know,
            For the Bible tells me so.
            Little ones to Him belong.
            They are weak but He is strong.
            Yes, Jesus loves me.
            Yes, Jesus loves me.
            Yes, Jesus loves me.
            The Bible tells me so.”

Jesus Feeds a Crowd

When Jesus heard that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been executed, He wanted to get away to be alone with His disciples. Away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. Away to the peaceful countryside where birds sang in the trees and coyotes howled in the distance. Yet, people followed Him. Lots of people. Do you think they heard what happened to John the Baptist? I think they did, and I think that’s why they followed Jesus. He had compassion on them and spent the day healing the sick, comforting the grieving and answering tough questions. At the end of the day He told His disciples He wanted to feed the crowd.

“It would take eight months wages to pay for everyone here to have a bite,” they said.

A boy offered all he had, his lunch. Jesus smiled, took the five loaves of bread and two small fish, and lifted them up to Heaven, thanking the Father. Then He gave the food to the disciples to distribute to the crowd of five thousand men (not counting their families). They could hardly believe what happened. The more food they gave, the more they had to give. They gave and gave until everyone ate and was satisfied. Then the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers, enough for each to take a basket home to their families, enough to keep the miracle alive in their hearts for a long time.

When you feel like what you can do is not enough, remember what the boy did. He gave what he had and the Lord multiplied his gift. When you feel sad about something, remember the crowd that came to Jesus for comfort and healing. You can come to Him too. Say His name and He will be with you. He is never too busy for you. He loves you so much He died for your sin, the bad things you do, so you wouldn’t have to. When He did that, it meant that you could live with Him forever, trusting Him with whatever concerns you.

Lord Jesus, I pray for the person reading your story. Thank you for showing us how much you love us. Thank you for always being with us. Amen.

Best Friends

Peter lost his best friend. Has that happened to you? It’s not a good feeling. In fact it’s downright depressing. Peter saw his best friend, Jesus, mocked and spit upon, beaten and crucified. Peter remembered the days Jesus healed the sick and fed the hungry, cast out demons and restored life to Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter. He remembered being on the mountain with Jesus when Moses and Elijah showed up, but he didn’t remember what Jesus said about the coming days when He would suffer and die and rise to life again. Peter believed his best Friend would live forever, yet His body lay in a tomb.

Do you know what he did? He and his buddies did what they spent a lifetime doing before they ever met Jesus. They went fishing, and they fished all night. Back then they didn’t fish with rods and reels and fish finders. They fished with nets. Exhausted from working the nets all night, they didn’t catch any fish.

A voice came from shore early in the morning. “Friends, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

“Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you’ll find some.” Can you imagine what they thought? Yet, when they cast their net to the right, they caught so many fish, they couldn’t pull the net into the boat.

John said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” Peter jumped into the water and swam to shore to meet Jesus. His friends followed in the boat, towing the net of fish. They found their Friend on the beach cooking a breakfast of fish and bread over burning coals. Just as He told them before He suffered, He rose from the grave.

“Bring some of the fish you caught,” Jesus smiled.

Peter climbed back into the boat. He and his friends counted 153 big fish, but amazingly the net did not break.

Did you catch it? Peter and his friends went back to the life they knew before Jesus, but He was right there with them. He promised them when He walked with them that He would always be with them. Even after Peter denied Him! Jesus forgave him. It is the same for you and me. Once we experience God’s amazing love, we cannot escape it. He is always with us whether in good times or bad. Like the best Friend Jesus was for Peter, He is that for you and me. We never have to go through sorrow or suffering, disappointments or pain without our Best Friend. He will never leave us alone. He will always be with us. He promised, and He keeps His promises.

Thank you, Jesus, for always being with us. Be our joy and strength today and forever so that others might be inspired to love you too. Amen.

Living Water

While driving along the Feather River in Northern California, I thought about the River of Life in Revelation 22. It must be beautiful with the Tree of Life rising on each side which bears twelve different kinds of fruit. Hard for me to imagine.

After a winter of heavy rain and snow, the Feather is fuller, faster and more captivating. White water rushers over boulders and descends into glorious waterfalls. The rushing water seems to be alive and I questioned, “Is this what living water is like?”

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well outside of Sychar, that He had living water, water that would spring up into eternal life. She said, “I want some of your water,” because she didn’t want to have to keep coming to the well several times a day for water to clean her house and cook her food. She didn’t want to have to come for water to bathe her family. 

But Jesus wasn’t talking about physical water. He talked about nourishment for her soul. She understood when she realized Jesus knew all about her sinful life but showed her love. She tasted the living water but couldn’t keep it to herself. Like the water in the rushing Feather River, the living water bubbled up inside her and she had to run and tell others in town about the man who knew all about her, yet, loved her.

That’s how God’s love is. Once we experience it, we can’t keep it to oursleves. We have to love God and love others. That’s how God’s kingdom grows and grows. Do you know God’s lavishing love? If you do, you know what I mean. If not, my prayer is for you today, that you will call on Jesus’ name. That’s all you have to do. He is waiting to show you His love just as He did the woman at the well.