No More Crying, Sorrow or Pain

 

July 11, 2017

When All Things Are Made New

by

 

As a pastor and theologian, I’ve had to think about a lot of hard questions over the years. Truth be told, however, the most difficult problem I’ve faced is the problem of suffering. We all face suffering in some way, and we all know people who’ve lived such painful lives that we wonder how they can go on.

We don’t ever want to downplay or deny the pain that suffering brings. Christianity isn’t a system of Stoic denial wherein we pretend that everything is OK even when we are enduring the worst things. At the same time, we dare not forget the Christian hope that one day suffering will be gone forever. When we deal with suffering, we tend to have our gaze completely locked on the present, but the Christian answer to suffering, while making it incumbent upon us to alleviate present suffering as much as we are able, looks beyond the present to the future.

The very essence of secularism is the thesis that the hic et nunc, the here and now, is all there is. There is no realm of the eternal. But as Christians, we are called to consider the present in light of the eternal. This is what Jesus preached again and again. What does it profit a man if in this time and in this place he gains the whole world, but he loses his own soul (Luke 9:25)?

Scripture says that the end defines significance of the beginning (Eccl. 7:8). God alone knows the end from the beginning comprehensively, but in His Word, He gives us a glimpse of the end toward which we are moving. And if we can focus our attention on the end and not merely on the now and the pain we experience here, we can begin to understand our pain in the right perspective.

In unfolding the new heaven and the new earth, Revelation 21–22 gives us one of the clearest glimpses of the future. Let me touch on a few of the highlights.

Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes”(21:3–4). When I was a little boy, life was tough. There was a boy in our community who was much bigger than I was, and he was a bully. Sometimes he would beat me up, and I would run home crying. And my mother would be in the kitchen, and she’d have her apron on, and she’d say, “Come here.” I’d come in, and then she’d lean over and wipe away my tears—one of the most tender forms of communication—with the edge of her apron. When my mother wiped away my tears, I was truly comforted, and I was encouraged to go back into the battle. But I’d go back out, and sooner or later I’;d get hurt again, and would cry again, and my mother would have to wipe my tears away again. But when God wipes away our tears, they will never flow again for all eternity. (Unless, of course, they are tears of joy.)

That’s the eternal perspective. That’s the end from the beginning. Right now we live in the valley of tears, but that situation is not permanent because God will wipe away our tears.

John also says, “Death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying” (v. 4). Death, sorrow, crying, pain—these all belong to the former things that will pass away. I can imagine having conversations with you in the new Jerusalem, and you’ll say, “Remember back then when we used to worry about the problem of suffering?” And I’ll say, “I hardly remember what that was.”

Then, in verse 22, we read about something else that will be missing. Not only will there be no sorrow or death, but there will be no temple in the new Jerusalem of the new heaven and earth. But how can the new Jerusalem be the holy city without a temple? Well, John means that there will be no temple building. There will be another kind of temple, John says—“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” The most beautiful earthly sanctuary in this world will be passé in the new Jerusalem because we’ll be in the presence of God and of the Lamb.

;No longer will there be anything accursed” (22:3). You know that song “Joy to the World”? I love the line in the song that ends with “far as the curse is found.” How far is that? In this present darkness, the curse extends to the end of the earth— to our lives, to our labors, to our businesses, to our relationships. All suffer under the pangs of the curse of a fallen world. That’s why there’s a cosmic yearning, where all of creation groans together waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, waiting for that moment when the curse is removed (Rom. 8:19). There won’t be any weeds or any tares in the new Jerusalem. The earth won’t resist our plows because the curse won’t be found. “But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him”(Rev. 22:3).

And then we get the highest hope, the most incredible promise in the New Testament—we will see God’s face (v. 4). All of our lives we can come close to the Lord, we can sense His presence, and we can talk with Him, but we cannot see His face. But if we persevere through the pain and the suffering of this present world, the vision of God waits for us on the other side. Can you imagine it? Can you imagine looking into the unveiled glory of God for one second? It will make every pain I’ve ever experienced in this world worth it to see that.

These words are trustworthy and true”(v. 6)—not salve or opium to dull our present pain but the truth of Almighty God, who made us, who knows us, who by the suffering of His Son has redeemed His people. He has now guaranteed that if we are in Christ by faith alone, we are bound for glory, and nothing can derail that train. So these former things that cause us so much grief will pass away, and He will make all things new

Hypocrisy

download

July 11, 2017

Deceitful means insincere, hypocritical, underhanded, false, dishonest, treacherous, sneaking, double-dealing, tricky, cunning, and crafty. Such a person is altogether untrustworthy. As Jeremiah 17:9 says, our heart is desperately sick or weak, implying it knows better but deceives anyway. Who can fathom its corruption, manifested in the incessant transgression of this commandment?

Human nature is a reflection of the spirit of the prince of the power of the air, whom Jesus identified as the father or generator of lies (John 8:44). Satan had so deceived himself, he thought he could overcome his Creator! Proverbs 11:9 says, “The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.” Satan is a destroyer who passes this carnal attribute along to those who will follow him. Unless the hypocrite repents, he destroys himself too. This is also the lesson of Proverbs 26:26-28.        God will deliver the just person, however, because he yields to truth.

 

God Controls The Wind, The Waves, And The Future

Reflections Of A Blue Collar Christian

Some went down to the sea in ships,doing business on the great waters;they saw the deeds of the Lord,his wondrous works in the deep.For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,which lifted up the waves of the sea.They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;their courage melted away in their evil plight;they reeled and staggered like drunken menand were at their wits’ end.Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,and he delivered them from their distress.He made the storm be still,and the waves of the sea were hushed.Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,and he brought them to their desired haven.” – (Pslam 107: 23-30 ESV)

Their seems to be a lot of controversy among Christians over who has ultimate authority over “natural disasters” Jesus or the…

View original post 414 more words

What Is Pride

Psalms 39

July 11, 2017

What is pride, the subtle yet powerful influence that most commentators believe is the father of all other sins? Hebrew, Greek, and English share the sense of the word’s basic meaning: to be lifted up; to have an undue sense of one’s importance or superiority.

Pride motivates us to exaggerate the value of our thoughts. It causes us to elevate our opinions and raises the importance of the fulfillment of what we perceive as our needs even above God’s and, of course, decidedly higher than our fellowman’s.

To be even-handed, the Bible shows that there is also a narrow, positive application of the word, and thus, depending on the context, it can be translated as “dignity” or “glory.” For instance, Proverbs 16:31 reads, “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.” This verse provides us with a slender sliver of insight that there is a natural pride to which God gives His approval. However, He qualifies it with “if it is found in the way of righteousness.” Righteousness is the very thing pride sets itself to resist, making achieving a proper sense of pride more difficult. With God’s own Word describing man at his best state being “altogether vanity” (Psalm 39:5 KJV), it certainly makes one wonder what we really have to be proud of!

In the context of the relationship between God and man, the overwhelming number of usages of the six Hebrew words and four Greek words translated as “pride” or its synonyms are negative and damning. These words are translated into such terms as “arrogance,” “lifted up,” “presumptuous,” “loftiness,” “proud,” “proudly,” “exalted,” “overbearing,” “condescending,” “haughty,” “superior,” “disdainful,” “scornful,” “boasting,” “self-esteem,” and “contemptuous.” Not all of these synonyms are in the King James or the New King James versions, but various modern translations use them depending on the context.

Pride carries, not only a lofty self-centeredness, but also a lively competitiveness against others that easily becomes a lustful, destroying enmity. It is highly critical, envious, and impatient, and it can be effortlessly stirred to anger, possessiveness, and suspicion of being taken advantage of. These characteristics are part of Satan’s spirit. Each of them is destructive to loving family unity within the church.

The Spiritually Vigorous Saint

Phillipins 3 10July 11, 2017

The Spiritually Vigorous Saint

…that I may know Him… —Philippians 3:10

A saint is not to take the initiative toward self-realization, but toward knowing Jesus Christ. A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we will have the realization of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives, and He will bring us back to the same point over and over again until we do. Self-realization only leads to the glorification of good works, whereas a saint of God glorifies Jesus Christ through his good works. Whatever we may be doing— even eating, drinking, or washing disciples’ feet— we have to take the initiative of realizing and recognizing Jesus Christ in it. Every phase of our life has its counterpart in the life of Jesus. Our Lord realized His relationship to the Father even in the most menial task. “Jesus, knowing…that He had come from God and was going to God,…took a towel…and began to wash the disciples’ feet…” (John 13:3-5).

The aim of a spiritually vigorous saint is “that I may know Him…” Do I know Him where I am today? If not, I am failing Him. I am not here for self-realization, but to know Jesus Christ. In Christian work our initiative and motivation are too often simply the result of realizing that there is work to be done and that we must do it. Yet that is never the attitude of a spiritually vigorous saint. His aim is to achieve the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances.

Oswald Chambers