Sunday, April 24, 2016

THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH

Today’s scripture involves John’s vision of the New Heavens and the New Earth. In this portion of the book of Revelation, John specifically begins to tell us about the city of New Jerusalem. Before we begin with what John writes, I want to first manage our expectations concerning his description.

We need to first attempt to imagine how difficult a task this
John Writing "The Revelation"
was for John. He had to try and describe something that is beyond our limits of experience, and by using only human words that we are able to understand. Think about how difficult this must have been for John. 

Otherworldly Descriptions

In some ways, I think what John was trying to do must have been similar to what we would have to do if we were able to somehow speak to a baby, still in the womb of his or her mother. Imagine what it would be to try and explain to this little one what our present world is like – the world outside of the mother’s womb.

There are perhaps some things that this baby possibly could relate to. For instance, the little baby in the womb would have a consciousness of his or her own being. He knows that he is alive and that he has feelings. We could perhaps relate to the baby on that level.

The baby must also have an awareness that there are other people. They know about their mother, certainly. The baby is living within the very womb of their mother. They must also know about their dad, who gets down close and talks to them through the belly of the mom. With these few bases of knowledge that we have in common with this little baby in the womb, we could perhaps begin to tell him about the family that he will be born into.

But then what? How would you describe to this little unborn one the forests and the lakes of Wisconsin? How would you begin to tell him of the grandness of the world on which we live? And more pertinent to our subject of today, how would you begin to describe what a city looks like? Where would you even begin?   (to continue reading, click READ MORE)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A SHEEP IN THE HAND IS WORTH...EVERYTHING

"They will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand."
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There are several metaphors in the Bible that God uses for his people. Each of these is intended to illustrate and accentuate a particular aspect of God’s relationship with us. One of the most common of these metaphors for the people of the Lord is the sheep of God’s pasture. We find this image repeatedly in both the Old and the New Testaments. 

The picture of the shepherd with his flock of sheep used to illustrate God with his people is not only one of the most common in the Bible, it is also one of the most endearing. It reveals God’s heart of tenderness and love for us.
The prophet Isaiah says this of God: “Like a shepherd He will tend His flock. In His arms He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom. He will gently lead the nursing ewes” (40:11).

There is something about the relationship that a shepherd has with his sheep that illustrates especially well God’s relationship to his people. In our experience with actual shepherds and with real sheep, the sheep are dependent upon the shepherd in every way for their well-being. Without him, they would be left unprotected and defenseless in the wilds, and even often times unable to find food. These shepherding qualities of being a protector and a provider are important for any leader of people.
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