Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Best Is Yet To Come

John begins his gospel by saying that God created everything through Jesus, and nothing was created except through him.(a) In today’s promise Jesus tells believers that He is going to prepare a place for us in his Father’s house.(b) Have you ever tried to imagine what that is going to be like?

This visible world, which Jesus created, is awesome! The great natural wonders like Mount Everest, The Grand Canyon, the Northern Lights, to mention a few. Then there is the beauty we can see by telescope of countless stars and galaxies in space - the minute things that become visible through the microscope – plus the everyday world all around us of flowers and trees, lovely fragrances, singing birds, changing seasons, sunsets, rainbows, etc. etc.

While this natural creation is so wonderful, it is only a veiled hint of the grandeur and beauty of a spiritual reality that is invisible to natural eyes. Somewhere in that indescribably beautiful spiritual reality is the Father’s house with its many mansions, and where Jesus is preparing a place for us. In our wildest imaginations we will never, in this life, even get close to envisioning how gloriously fabulous that place is going to be! It will be infinitely beyond the natural creation.

But what makes that place even more wonderful is that Jesus will be there! And furthermore he is coming back to get us so we can be with him!! We will be with Jesus forever!!!

As lovely, and enjoyable as this natural world is, it along with all the material things we have built and accumulated are all going to burn up.(c) Our primary focus needs to be on the spiritual creation and our eternal relationship with Jesus. Paul says, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”(d)

When we come upon hard times – the death of a loved one, or when we ourselves are diagnosed with a life threatening illness, our thoughts quite naturally shift to spiritual things and the Father’s house where we will be with Jesus. But even the healthy, joyful times of this life can become even richer if we think more about the things of heaven than the things of this world. It’s going to be far better than the best we will ever have on this earth. Indeed, the best is yet to come!

Let’s Pray –
Father, thank you for this lovely world and the material things you have blessed us with. But Father, what we are most thankful for, is the wonderful hope of spending eternity with Jesus. Help us to keep our minds fixed on that priceless privilege. Amen

Foot Notes:
(a) John 1:3, (b) John 14:1-3, (c) 2 Peter 3:12 (d) Colossians 3:1-2,


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Getting A New Heart

Thursday was Valentine’s Day. Fifty- eight years ago Valentine’s Day changed my life. In January I had just enrolled at a college in South Dakota, which had the tradition of “Reverse Dating” for the Annual Valentine’s Party. Donna, a sweet gal with a big heart, felt sorry for the newcomer, so she asked him to be her date for the Party. The rest is history! About a year later we were married. The Lord has blessed us with three great children and eight wonderful grandchildren who all love Him.

What does Valentine’s Day have to do with today’s PROMISE FROM GOD? Really nothing - other than that they both deal with hearts. One is a heart with an arrow through it, symbolizing sentimental feelings for a person who is special to us. The other is more crucial to our life than the physical heart which pumps blood through our veins. If our physical heart begins to fail - the problem can possibly be solved, with a heart transplant – a heart from a donor who just died. However, the heart which today’s PROMISE makes reference to, is our spiritual heart. Only God can do spiritual heart transplants. He can do them because His sinless Son Jesus died for our sin and rose again.

Before we were born again our spiritual heart was dead - hard and unresponsive to God. The Scripture refers to it as being “stony and stubborn.” We ignored God and lived as we pleased. We were set in our ways and as far as we were concerned even God wasn’t going to change us.

But then God in His sovereign and gracious way arranged circumstances in our lives, which woke us up to the fact that we needed help. As we began to realize that truth and called out to Him for help and forgiveness, it began to happen! Our cold heart began to warm up and become tender and pliable. God was doing a spiritual heart transplant!! We had received a New Heart and a New Spirit – His Holy Spirit!

Remember what an exciting time that was? We couldn’t get enough of His Word – we talked about Jesus with everyone we met – we wanted to please God with everything we did. Spiritual energy and the joy of the Lord filled our lives!

But if we are honest, we have to admit, we haven’t always lived the way we did when we first got our New Heart and a New Spirit. We have had seasons when our heart became calloused and unresponsive to God. We have had times when in stubbornness we went our own way. Serving the Lord became a chore and the Joy of the Lord had all but dried up. In fact that may be the place where we find ourselves today. If that is the case, we need to repent and give ourselves afresh to the Lord. He promises "I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart."

Lets Pray –
Father, “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” (a)
"Change my heart oh God Make it ever true
Change my heart oh God May I be like You
You are the potter I am the clay
Mold me and make me this is what I pray
Change my heart oh God Make it ever true
Change my heart oh God May I be like You."(b)

(a)Psalm 51:9-11 NLT, (b)Arul John

If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

His Yoke Is Lighter

At times the load of life can become overwhelming. We are weighed down with all sorts of burdens. We worry over job security and possible loss of health insurance - worries over house payments that just went up - and then there are car payments – bills, bills, and more bills! We are haunted with the thought - what would we do if we got the pink slip? The worry load gets really heavy! Jesus sees our predicament and gently invites us. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Worry is a burden we don’t need to bear, in fact the Lord doesn’t want us to worry. Jesus says: “You cannot serve both God and money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life —whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear… don’t worry about these things… These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”(a)

In this week’s PROMISE, Jesus tells us how we can get rid of the burden of worry. By God’s grace we can get out from under that heavy yoke. We begin by changing our focus, from our problem (worry) to Jesus, and His invitation to help us. The help we need can’t be found anywhere else, only in Him. Jesus lovingly calls, “Come to me and let me teach you how to lay down the heavy load and how you can get under the soft and light load that I give and you will find rest for your soul.” Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you – for my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” It isn’t hard to figure out which is the better choice.

Let’s pray –
Jesus, we are so grateful for your love for us, even when we are struggling with heavy burdens we really don’t need to bear. Thank you for offering us the choice of your lighter load and even helping us pull it. We are so blessed! But Lord, some times we make the wrong choice. Please forgive us for worrying when we should be trusting you.

(a) Matthew 6:24-34 NLT


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Our God Keeps His Word

Have you ever said to someone, “But you promised”? Maybe it was years ago when you were just a child, but you still remember the deep disappointment. Or maybe as a parent, you said it to one of your teenagers. Their broken life and wasted opportunities still cause you to weep. Or then again you may have said it to your spouse when you found out what had been going on behind your back. People break promises! Some broken promises aren’t that serious, but some can tear our hearts out!

Our PROMISE FROM GOD today assures us that our God who “is indeed God” will always keeps His word. He is faithful. We can count on Him to follow through on every promise He makes. “He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations.” The Hebrew word translated “faithful” has the idea here of something you can lean on – that you can build on. In other words it can be trusted to be solid. It will not give way or fail, even in “a thousand generations.”

I read the other day that several years ago a famous coffee shop chain gave some of their employees a special email coupon for a free iced coffee, good from August 23rd through September 30th. They instructed their employees to share the email coupon with friends and family. The email coupon quickly spread so far and wide that the company decided to stop the promotion – it just cost them too much.

No matter how much it may cost God to keep His promise, He will never go back on His word – we can lean on it and build on it! We will never be disappointed in Him and have to say to Him, “But you promised.”

One more thought – could it be possible that our God needs to say to us at times, “But you promised”? Are we keeping the promises we have made to Him? Or does “But you promised” echo in an uneasy conscience? If that’s what’s happening, we need to acknowledge it to Him and ask His forgiveness. Another promise He makes is in 1 John 1:9 NLT “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

Let’s pray –
Father, please forgive us for not always keeping our word, to you or to people around us. Even though people have failed us, you never have, and by faith we know you never will! We take comfort in your faithfulness. Your “unfailing love” is such an indescribable blessing. Help us as your children to be more like you.


If today’s promise and comments have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)