Tag Archives: heaven

Isaiah 64-66; 2 Corinthians 2

Many of us know that the entire Bible — Old and New Testaments — have a crimson thread that ties it together. It’s all about Jesus. And many of its prophecies are about things that have happened way before we were born, but today we see a prophecy that is yet to be realized. It’s a beautiful picture of what the New Jerusalem will be like. These prophecies are some of my favorite because they share with us what the future for Christ-followers will ultimately be like. Read carefully through these verses and imagine what it will be like when we are there in person.

17“See, I will create

new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered,

nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever

in what I will create,

for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight

and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem

and take delight in my people;

the sound of weeping and of crying

will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it

an infant who lives but a few days,

or an old man who does not live out his years;

the one who dies at a hundred

will be thought a mere child;

the one who fails to reacha a hundred

will be considered accursed.

21They will build houses and dwell in them;

they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22No longer will they build houses and others live in them,

or plant and others eat.

For as the days of a tree,

so will be the days of my people;

my chosen ones will long enjoy

the work of their hands.

23They will not labor in vain,

nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;

for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,

they and their descendants with them.

24Before they call I will answer;

while they are still speaking I will hear.

25The wolf and the lamb will feed together,

and the lion will eat straw like the ox,

and dust will be the serpent’s food.

They will neither harm nor destroy

on all my holy mountain,” (Isaiah 65:17-25 [NIV])

What about these prophecies warms your heart? What if anything makes you nervous? What are you looking forward to the most? Share in the comment section.

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Daniel 7-9; Psalm 91; John 19

You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right-he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you-under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.” Psalm 91:1-3 MSG

I tend to think of a refuge being a place, like a soft blanket on a rainy day. The shelter of my home. I feel exposed when I am vulnerable. But, God goes before me even on the days where I feel the weakest. Or when I face a tough situation that I would rather avoid and be fearful about. A writer from a blog called  Loop, put into words what God is teaching me about refuge.  “When you know you are home, and you belong, there is no other home. When you know you are loved, and you know who you call family, and you know your name is Daughter, Beloved, Chosen One, you can rest, and you can live, and you can be free…Maybe there isn’t a better place than where I am.”

Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door.” Psalm 91:12 MSG

My family and I were fascinated by the Eagle Cam at Codorus State Park near our house. There was a live feed of the eagle’s nest, before and after they had their babies. We would stand around the computer screen and watch the babies wobble around the nest and hide under their mother’s wings. Their stoic father would puff out his chest to protect them, until they were ready to fly. Is this how God cares for me? He takes me under His wings. But, He is always there with me, even when He sometimes has to push me out of my comfort zone. He tells me to take refuge, but not hide. That I can be seen and take courage, knowing that He is still there.

Dear Father, I am thankful that You are always with me. That my home is where You are. I pray that I would trust You more and follow where You lead. Amen.

Amy(amycatnner)

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2 Kings 22-23; Psalm 73; 2 Corinthians 5

For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven-God-made; not handmade – and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move- and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.” 2 Corinthians 5: 1-5 MSG

At the risk of sounding morbid, I heard a bible study teacher say how it is common to hear talk of how natural the deceased person looks at a viewing. When in reality, they look the most unnatural, because their body is a shell and empty of their soul. I think this is what Paul is talking about when he describes our bodies as earthly tents. Tents can easily be picked up and moved. They are a temporary dwelling. Because our soul doesn’t belong here.

That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us?…The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!” 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 &17 MSG

Sometimes I don’t feel like a new creation. I find myself stuck in my old ways and old habits. That’s usually when I am looking everywhere else but Jesus. I want to be found in Him. He is my safe place. But, my human nature tells me to run to other things, or the other way. This is when I can forget His goodness and allow doubt to creep in.

No doubt about it! God is good.  But, I nearly missed it, missed seeing His goodness. I was looking the other way.

You’re all I want in heaven!

You’re all I want on earth!

When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,

God is rock-firm and faithful.

I’ve made Lord God my home.” Psalm 73:1&2,25-28 MSG

Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Joel 1, 2, 3; Revelation 4

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,

who was and is and is to come!”

 

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:8b, 11

There have been moments in my life when I believe that God has given me tiny glimpses of heaven. I haven’t had a near death, out-of-body experience, but I’ve walked away from those moments knowing that I had the chance to peek at what forever will be like.

Each one of those moments has been full of praise; they were times of worship and honor to my King. Some of the circumstances surrounding those flashes of heaven were full of joy and some full of grief, but they were moments when heaven met earth.

One of the first moments I experienced this was the night after my brother died. Some friends and I were worshipping the Lord, blessing Him in the bad as we do in the good. As we were lifting His name on high, a huge hail storm came out of nowhere and beat a torrent of ice balls on the corrugated roof. The sound was deafening, and it spoke to me of God’s glory and goodness.

Another time recently, singing corporately in church, praising His name together. I don’t even remember the song we were singing any more, but I could hear the angels singing with us. I was reminded that together we will sing God’s praises in the heavens for all eternity.

And this past week, as I have been reveling in the birth of my son and still experiencing the surreal truth that I am now a mother of three. I am grateful for an uneventful delivery and a peaceful newborn; and I am grateful for the help I have been receiving with my girls and with meals. I feel God’s presence giving me peace and rest and I praise Him for always being there for me and my family.

The Lord truly is holy and worthy of all praise, and to receive glory, honor, and power, forever and ever! And, together, on earth and in heaven, we who love Him praise His name always! Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Judah Benaiah David Richard

“My God be praised for our beloved son whom you created”

Born December 5, 2014  (9 lbs, 4 oz; 21.75 inches)

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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation

Nehemiah 1-3; Acts 2:1-13

 All were astounded and greatly confused, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others jeered at the speakers, saying, “They are drunk on new wine!”

Acts 2:13

I work at a church, so my wife and I often have front row seats to some interesting spiritual ‘stuff’ – for lack of a better word. 

The Holy Spirit, what he* does, when he does it, etc. is a tricky subject, and it’s easy to step on toes. Everyone’s particular opinions tend to be a mix of what they grew up with, what they’ve been taught, and what they’ve personally experienced. I tend to be much more operative out of what I’ve been taught, and to be honest what I’ve experienced (in terms of the miraculous) have been somewhat limited. I’m also a skeptic by nature, I don’t believe things right away, and it can be a fault. I probably have missed out on countless miracles as I searched for a rational explanation. Ultimately I came back to God because there were things happening around me that I couldn’t explain anymore without Him.

In any event, there was something that happened at church last week that sort of challenged some of the ‘boxes’ I had put the Holy Spirit into. And in the process of praying and thinking through the experience afterwards I came to a conclusion: I don’t really know how you’re supposed to determine whether or not something is from the Holy Spirit or not.

Do I just go on how it feels? Seems dangerous.

The exec. Pastor that oversees me and has been mentoring me a bit shares this quote often, not sure if it’s his or not, “One of the most dangerous thing about being human is you can always choose to interpret data a different way”. 

Seems to apply to ‘spiritual’ events as well.

So I started thinking I needed to establish some criteria on how I sort of filter these sorts of things in the odd circumstances, but also in the everyday. Like when someone tells me the church should be doing a certain program, is that from the Spirit? or just someone’s opinion?

I came up with these three things, you might have a few more, and these might change for me over time, but it’s a starting point for me: 

Where’s the fruit? (Matt 7:16, Luke 6:44, Matt. 7:20 etc.)

Does it bring Glory and Honor to Jesus? (1 Cor. 10:31)

Is it done out of love? (John 13:35)

Again, not an exhaustive list, and certainly room for interpretation, but these are my three quick checks. If it doesn’t pass these three, chances are it’s not a work of the Spirit.

Is the message, prophecy, tongues, etc. done out of love for another? Is there other fruit in this person’s life or ministry to back up this message? Does it bring glory to Jesus? That’s where I start. 

And if applied to the following passages in Acts, we see Peter preach boldly, thousands get saved, glory given to God, and ongoing fruit in the lives of the disciples. I never want to miss out on what the Spirit of God is doing in the midst of his people today, but I want to remain sound in what I affirm and live by. There were many people in Acts who missed out on God’s goodness because they couldn’t believe what was happening through God’s Spirit poured out on men (Gentiles nonetheless!)

Lord would you allow my walk with you to become so close, that I would constantly bring you glory, love others, and bear fruit as I obey your statutes? Lord allow me the gift of repentance for the times I’ve missed out on your Spirit’s work in the world, open my eyes to see your glory in the midst of your people.

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

1 Kings 12-13; Luke 24:36-53

Then the king answered and said to the man of God, “Please entreat the favor of the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me” So the man of God entreated the Lord, and the King’s hand was restored to him, and became as before.” 1 Kings 12:6 NKJV.   I am thankful that as God is in the process of restoring me I am changing into a different person.  He doesn’t leave me where I am.  He wants to make me more like Him.  He is changing my heart and refining me.  He is making me new and…

I won’t be the same as before.

My 6 year old son asked me if the world use to be black and white in the old days. He thinks that the world changed to color when the tv did. I got a good laugh at that. It also makes me think of how differently I will see the world one day. That it will be so much brighter and vivid than I could ever imagine. I am thankful for a God that sees me that way too. And loves me enough to draw me closer to Himself. To change me into someone that I could not dream up. Knowing the only way I was able to not just “get through” or “survive” something, but have victory in it was through His power.

He is restoring me to Himself

Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrifried and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as I have.” When He said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave Him a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.” Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which are written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” Luke 24:36-44 NKJV

Dear Jesus, Thank you that you don’t leave me where I am, but You desire to change me from the inside out. I love you. Amen

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Chronicles 13; Revelation 3; Haggai 1; John 2

Victory for those who trusted the Lord.

13 Meanwhile, Jeroboam had secretly sent part of his army around behind the men of Judah to ambush them. 14 When Judah realized that they were being attacked from the front and the rear, they cried out to the Lord for help. Then the priests blew the trumpets, 15 and the men of Judah began to shout. At the sound of their battle cry, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel and routed them before Abijah and the army of Judah.

16 The Israelite army fled from Judah, and God handed them over to Judah in defeat. 17 Abijah and his army inflicted heavy losses on them; 500,000 of Israel’s select troops were killed that day. 18 So Judah defeated Israel on that occasion because they trusted in the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 2 Chronicles 13:13-18 NLT.

Be alive. Persevere. Names written can’t be erased. Hear this.

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. Revelation 3:20-21 NLT.

Fine houses. Ruin. Rebuild.

Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. Haggai 1:3-8 NLT.

His passion for God’s house.

17 Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”

 

18 But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”

 

19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

 

20 “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” 21 But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. John 2:17-22 NLT.

Home is a multidimensional word for me. We moved from my childhood home when I was 13, and ever since, I have been searching for a place of belonging. Maybe because this house reminds me of the type of community I grew up around (older home, mature trees), or maybe because God (undeniably) brought us here–this place feels like home. God’s name is written above my doors, and His scripture on heart and hearth. Lord, be welcomed in this place.

These verses move me–a protected land, rebuilding a place for God, a heavenly home … belonging. For me, home means things like welcome, included, safe and loved–I feel this with the Lord, my friend. The years of wandering feel over, and a joy replaces void–God lives in me, loves me, and I am never alone. I am his, and I am thankful to my very core.

Courtney (66books365)

13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the people this message from the Lord: “I am with you, says the Lord!” Haggai 1:13 NLT.

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