By Jordan Rowley
One day, over two-thousand years ago, God sent His only begotten Son to this world that He so loved. Jesus was sent to seek and to save the hungry, the hurting, the struggling, the suffering, the bound, the blind, the addicted and the abused. He came as a physician for the sick and as a restorer for the broken. Our Lord Jesus came as a rescuer for the ensnared and a redeemer for the enslaved. And one day, a little over 30 years after Jesus was born into this world, after 3 years of selfless ministry, He died a brutal death on a horrible cross to pay the price of our sins with His own precious blood. He willingly did that so you and I could be saved from death and born anew into everlasting life. Three days later He rose from the tomb as the firstfruits of the resurrection, leading the way for all who would follow Him.
Now, one other day, when God’s perfect kingdom comes and when His perfect will is done in a new heaven and on a new earth, there will be an end to all hurt, all hardship, and all heart-ache for all of humanity. We will see Death and Hades once and for all thrown into the lake of fire. From that day on there will be no more destruction of human life, not by disasters or disease or depravity. There will be no more people lacking food and starving to death. There will be no more people lacking medical treatment and suffering from preventable or curable diseases. There will be no more people thrust into destruction and desperation by earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, or other “natural disasters”. There will no more people forced to endure persecution or oppression. The former things will have passed away and, behold, He will have made all things new! (Revelation 21:4,5)
As Christians, our hearts long for heaven and deeply desire to be in the presence of God. It will be there, in His courts, where our faith will finally become sight and where our hope will fully be realized. Doesn’t your heart burn and yearn for that day when there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain, no more sin, no more death (and the list goes on!)? And in addition to all of these “no mores” that we’ll be blessed to embrace in heaven, there will be many more “forever mores” we’ll taste as well. We’ll experience joy forevermore and embrace love forevermore! We’ll partake of freedom from sin and death forevermore. We’ll worship and simply be with the Lord forevermore! In Psalm 84:2, the sons of Korah sang it like this: “My soul longs, yes even faints for the courts of the LORD. My heart and my flesh cry out for the Living God.” Amen! Doesn’t your heart long, yes, even faint, for the courts of the Lord? The Good News (pun intended) is that soon and very soon we who have placed our hope in Jesus will in fact be in His courts!
So with all that said, one day, this day, may we worship Him all the more fully in praise for all He’s done and in anticipation for all that is yet to be. May you and I bow our hearts before Him as we raise our voices in humble thanks singing the heavenly song, “blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne and to Lamb, forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13b)
By Lynn Metier
In the “old days”, the coming of Spring meant it was time for the annual ritual known to every housewife as “Spring Cleaning”. But do you realize that God is also in the “cleaning business”, especially when it comes to His church and children? By the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross 2000 years ago, He has cleansed His church. By the shedding of His blood, He fully paid the price for our redemption, meeting the requirements of the law in the payment for sin, and satisfying the justice of a holy God. But God is also engaged in the continuing work of sanctification; that is, "cleaning" the world out of His church. Paul explained that Christ "loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word." (Ephesians 5:25-26) Notice the past tense of the verb "cleansed". When Jesus said on the cross: "It is finished", He had completed the work of redemption the Father had sent Him to do. But when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church at Pentecost, His work of sanctification was just beginning.
What is true in the corporate sense for the church is equally true in each individual person. When a person is "born again" he becomes a new creation and is given a clean heart, but usually he is not immediately taken out of this world. He is still affected and influenced, tempted and tainted by this sinful, fallen world and his old sin nature. This is explained by Jesus as he sought to wash Peter's feet (John 13:6-10). When Peter protested, Jesus replied: "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." But then, when Peter wanted a complete bath, Jesus explained: "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean." Therefore, even though a believer is cleansed at conversion - ALL his sins washed away by the blood of the Lamb – the process of cleaning the world out of him (sanctification, or "setting apart") has just begun and will continue until the Christian is taken home to glory.Read more ...