Forever and Ever

Bible:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:1-5 ESV

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 25:6-8 ESV

Reflection:

In medieval Europe, peasants who worked hard and lived in poverty dreamed of a wonderful place called Cockaigne. In this mythical country, the houses were made of barley sugar and the roofs were made of cake. The rivers were flowing wine, and the streets were made of rich pastry. Buttered larks, which were a real delicacy back then, rained from the sky, while roast geese wandered the streets and begged people to eat them. The shops had anything anyone could ever want, and you didn’t have to pay for anything. All you had to do is walk in and ask, and the shopkeeper would give you whatever you wanted. People dreamed that someday they might be able to find Cockaigne and live there for the rest of their lives.

Cockaigne wasn’t a real place, but just a dream. Throughout history people have dreamed of a place where all troubles and pain are gone and people live happily ever after, but the only place where this is true is in heaven. John saw visions of heaven, and in his last vision he saw a wonderful place where a river of the water of life flows. The water is as bright as crystal, and on its banks there are twelve trees bearing fruit for each month of the year. The leaves of the tree heal all the illness and pain of all the nations. Nothing bad or harmful will spoil this beautiful place, but instead God and the Lamb will be there. The water of the river flows from their throne, because they are the source of all life. Everyone in heaven will see God’s face, and he will be their light. There will never be the darkness and fear of night again. Heaven isn’t just for awhile, but it will last forever and ever.

We can be sure that we will go to heaven someday, because Jesus, the Lamb of God, gave himself as a sacrifice for us on the cross. Our sins are forgiven because of him, and we are God’s people now and always. He heals us from our sins and gives us the new life that begins now, and that we will know completely in the new world to come. Through the pain and suffering of this life, we can look ahead to heaven and know that it is more than a dream. It is a glorious reality, won for us by Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving yourself for us and making us your people, and for the promise of heaven. Amen.

Source:

http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-coc2.htm

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The Holy City

Bible:

And [an angel] carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. . . . And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:10-22, 18-19b, 21-27 ESV

Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:
that he looked down from his holy height;
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die,
that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord,
and in Jerusalem his praise,
when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord. Psalm 102:18-22 ESV

Reflection:

Many years ago in Mexico there was a marvelous city called Tenochtitlan. It was the capital city of the Aztec civilization, built on an island in the middle of a lake. Tenochtitlan had a grid pattern of streets and canals and a stone aqueduct bringing water into the city. Throughout the city there were palaces where nobles and officials lived, and in the heart of the city there were many temples and pyramids. In the very center of these was the Great Temple, a pyramid structure with two twin temples at the top, one dedicated to the god of rain and the other to the god of war. All the temples of Tenochtitlan contained works of art, some made by the Aztec people, but others made by other civilizations, because the Aztecs appreciated and collected the art of other people. When Hernán Cortés, a conqueror from Spain, and his men saw the city for the first time some of the soldiers wondered if what they were seeing was a dream.

John saw a vision of a glorious heavenly city, the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven. He saw it glowing and clear as crystal, shining with gold and pearls and precious jewels. The streets were gold, the gates were made of pearl, the walls looked like rare gemstones, and the foundations were studded with jewels. There is no sun or moon, because God’s glory gives the city light, and the kings of the earth will all bring their glory into the city, just as the Aztecs brought the glory of the art of other people into their temples. But there are no temples in the holy city of Jerusalem. God himself and Jesus the Lamb are there, giving their light and blessing the people with their presence. The Spanish conquered and destroyed the city of Tenochtitlan, but nothing and no one that could hurt or spoil the holy city will ever come into the New Jerusalem.

Because we are sinners, we don’t deserve to ever see this incredible city or to spend our forever there. But God loves us and wants us to be with him, so he sent Jesus to take the penalty for all our sins on the cross. Jesus’ blood washes away all our sins, and he gives us the gift of faith and writes our names into the book of life. We can look forward to living forever in the marvelous holy city because we know that our sins are forgiven and won’t follow us there. Nothing will be allowed into the city to ever hurt God’s people, and instead we will know joy forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the promise of life in the holy city, and for sending Jesus so that we can be there forever. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

https://www.ancient.eu/Tenochtitlan/

A New Heaven and a New Earth

Bible:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “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, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5 ESV

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:18-23 ESV

Reflection:

In 1906 the city of San Francisco experienced a massive earthquake that leveled many of its buildings, but even more of the city was destroyed in the following three days as fires raged through the city. But the city was rebuilt very quickly. San Francisco residents who stayed after the disaster got to work to clear up all the debris, and soon the rebuilding began. The old houses that had stood in San Francisco had been built in the Victorian style, but the new houses that replaced them were built in new styles of architecture such as Craftsman, Tudor, and Mission. Even today, the city is known for its beautiful houses that were newly built after the earthquake and fire.

John saw a vision of a new heaven and a new earth that God will bring into being after this old heaven and earth come to an end. All the old things in this sin-sick world that have become worn out and have gone wrong will be brought to an end, and the Lord will make everything new. John saw a picture of how this would be. He saw a new Jerusalem coming down from heaven like a beautiful bride. God had come to live with his people forever, and bring to an end death and mourning and crying and pain. All the sadness of the past will be forgotten, because the Lord will wipe away all the tears of his people.

We can look forward to this glorious new heaven and new earth because in Jesus, God has already come to live among us. Jesus came to us, not in power and glory, but quietly and humbly as a human person. He experienced our suffering and pain and sadness, and he allowed himself to be put to death on the cross for us. Because of that, all our sins are forgiven and we are God’s people forever. Jesus rose from the dead and returned to his place of power and glory in heaven, and it is through him that our Heavenly Father will make all things new for his people.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to make us your people and for the new heaven and earth that you’ve promised. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.mobileranger.com/uncategorized/shake-it-off-how-san-francisco-rebuilt-itself-fast/

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Bible:

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19:6-9 ESV

Husbands, love your wives, as 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, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV

Reflection:

One of the happiest times in life is when there is a wedding. There is often a big celebration and a party and lots of good food to eat. Different cultures have different wedding customs for making it a special day. In Italy, the bride and bridegroom smash a vase into as many pieces as possible, because each piece stands for one happy year of marriage. There are all kinds of delicious foods including wanda, which are bow ties of fried dough dipped in sugar. The bride and groom lead their guests in dancing a fast dance called the tarantella. A Chinese wedding might have a ten- or twelve-course banquet. At a big Chinese wedding there might be a lion dance, with performers dressed as lions dancing to drums, cymbals, and gongs. A Mexican wedding often has a mariachi band and a follow-the-leader kind of dance called La Marcha. At a traditional Swedish wedding, the smorgasbord lasts for three days, and everyone is invited to sing love songs and other songs or to toast the bride and bridegroom. A Moroccan wedding traditionally lasts for seven days, with separate parties for the bride and groom for the first days combining into one big party at the end. Guests might dance all night, even with flaming swords!

It’s no surprise that when John saw a vision of heaven, it was pictured as a glorious wedding. The Bride, which is the church of all of God’s people, is all dressed up in a beautiful wedding gown for her groom. John wrote that the wedding gown was made up of all the righteous deeds of God’s people. It is a picture of a bride who has made herself as beautiful as possible because she loves her bridegroom so much, just the way God’s people show their love for him by acts of loving service. Everyone has gathered for the marriage supper of the Lamb, the most wonderful banquet there ever was. At this wedding there will be wonderful happiness and joy and a celebration that will go on forever.

We can’t earn our way into this wedding banquet, and even though the good works we do for God are remembered as beautiful acts of love for him, it’s Jesus who brings us into the wedding supper and dresses his bride in his own righteousness. The blood he shed on the cross won the forgiveness of all our sins, and through baptism he has washed each one of us clean and pure. It’s through Jesus that we are welcomed into the heavenly wedding supper, part of his holy Bride and part of the celebration that will go on forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for making us part of your church, your holy Bride, and for the promise of the heavenly wedding celebration that will last forever! Amen.

Source:

https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-customs-and-traditions-from-around-the-globe

God Will Wipe Away Every Tear

Bible:

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:13-17 ESV

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:4-6 ESV

Reflection:

The English poet Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a short poem about what he wanted written on his gravestone. Here are the words he wanted:

“Here he lies where he long’d to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.”

The poet understood that death would be a rest for him, a time of peace after all the troubles and work he’d known in his life. It would be like a sailor who has sailed on stormy seas for months and years, and has finally come home, or a hunter who has been out hunting through rain and snow and danger, and has returned home to rest.

John had seen a vision of many people of different tribes and languages from all over the world, and they were all wearing white robes and holding palm branches. One of the elders that stood around the throne of God asked John who all these people were, and John politely told the elder that he was the one who should answer the question. The elder told John that these were all people who had come through the great tribulation of life. They had washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. Now they were home in heaven, and God had made all things new for them. He protected them from danger and pain the way a shadow protects people from the heat of the sun. God had wiped away all the tears from their eyes. Jesus, the Lamb, was their shepherd, and led them to streams of living water, and they would never be hungry or thirsty again. This is a beautiful picture of rest and of the sweetness of heaven. But it is not boring. The people there are kept busy with the joy of serving God.

Because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, we will someday be among the people who know this rest from pain and sorrow and the joy of serving God forever. Jesus died so that all our sins could be forgiven, and his blood washes all our sins away, making us pure and white. In this life we will know sorrow and pain and hard work, and sometimes people will hate or hurt us because we love Jesus. But when all this tribulation is past, we will join all the people who know the joy of heaven, forever and ever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for winning the joy of heaven for us. Please help us through the trouble and sorrow of life and bring us home safely to you. Amen.

Source:

https://www.bartleby.com/103/15.html

All Tribes and People and Languages

Bible:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 7:9-12 ESV

I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14 ESV

Reflection:

Some years ago, at a time when there was a war and violence in the world and many people were longing for peace, there was a beautiful commercial for a soft drink showing young people from all over the world, with different colors of skin and holding bottles of the soft drink with labels in different languages, standing on a hillside in Italy singing a song about peace. This commercial showed the hope that people from all over the world would some day live in peace and harmony with each other. It was a beautiful dream, but many years later it still hasn’t come true. No soft drink, and no human dream, can bring people of the world together like that in a way that will last.

John saw a vision that was like the vision Daniel had seen many years before, a vision of people from all the different tribes and nations of the world, speaking all their different languages, coming together to worship and give praise to God and to the one Daniel called a son of man, and John called the Lamb. The Lamb has been given a kingdom that will last forever, and the praise of the people who stand before him will last forever as well. Only the Lamb can bring people from all nations all around the world together into one kingdom united in his praise and honor and glory.

We know that the Lamb is Jesus, and the reason he can bring people from all groups and languages together is because salvation belongs to him. Jesus came into the world for all people, and he died for all people on the cross to win forgiveness and life. All people who believe in Jesus becomes part of his kingdom, no matter what color their skin is or what language they speak or what nation or tribe or people they come from. It will be glorious when we get to heaven and join with everyone who believes in Jesus and see brothers and sisters from all around the world, singing his praises forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for your love for all people in the world, and for making us part of your kingdom forever. Amen.

Source:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/05/17/id-like-to-buy-the-world-a-coke-the-story-behind-the-worlds-most-famous-ad-whose-creator-has-died-at-89/?utm_term=.98445ebcfefb

The Returning Hero

Bible:

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain.

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. Revelation 5:6a, 11-14 ESV

Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:18-23 ESV

Reflection:

After World War II was over and soldiers came home again to the United States, many towns and cities welcomed their returning heroes with parades and other special events. In the town of Albion, Michigan, there was a big celebration a year after victory had been won, for everyone who had returned home. It started with a parade, which was filled with floats from many of the industries in the area that had supported the war effort. There was a band concert in a park that afternoon, and people bought hot dogs and ice cream and pop and beer to enjoy during the music. In the evening there was a big fireworks display. All of these celebrations were the town’s way of saying, “Welcome Home,” to their victorious soldiers.

John had once stood with the other disciples and seen Jesus return to heaven by rising from the earth and being received by a cloud of God’s glory. But now John was given a vision of Jesus’ return from heaven’s side. He saw Jesus as the Lamb who had been killed as a perfect sacrifice for sins, and angels and living creatures and elders and indeed creatures from the whole universe praising Jesus for his victory. They said that the Lamb who had been slain was worthy to receive all the power and glory and honor for what he had accomplished. After praising Jesus, the elders, men who stand for the people that Jesus has made his own, fell down and worshiped him.

This glorious vision of celebration and praise will be ours to share someday, when we meet Jesus in heaven and are with him forever. It will be better than any earthly celebration of parades and music and fireworks, and it will never come to an end. We will take part in all the joy of heaven because of what Jesus has done for us. He gave himself for us on the cross just as lambs had once been sacrificed to cover the sins of God’s people. Jesus’ death covers our sins and gives us forgiveness and life with God. He conquered death by rising again, and now lives forever, ruling in power and victory. Because he did it all for us, we will share his victory over sin and death and evil, forever!

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving yourself for us on the cross. We praise you for your victory and glory! Amen

Source:

http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/080810.shtml

A Sealed Scroll

Bible:

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:1-5 ESV

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,
or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Isaiah 40:12-15 ESV

Reflection:

Many years ago a man named Frederick Barbarossa was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe. He was a strong emperor and warrior, and he led a large army and fought many battles. But then one day, when he was trying to cross a river with his horse, he drowned. He is buried in a rock tomb in the Kyffhäuser Mountain, and there’s a legend that his tomb has been guarded for hundreds of years by circling ravens. Some say that when the ravens stop guarding his tomb, Frederick Barbarossa will come out and return to his people to lead them in battle again, but until then his tomb remains sealed and the ravens continue to guard it.

John saw a vision of a scroll full of writing on both sides, but sealed with seven seals. This heavenly vision was a picture of the plans of God for his church and his world, but there was no angel in heaven or human person on earth who was worthy to break the seals and see what God’s purposes would be. This made John so sad that he started to cry, but one of the elders who stood around the throne told him not to cry. He said that the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, was worthy to break the seals and open the scroll. God had long ago promised that the promised Savior would come from the tribe of Judah and the line of King David, and this Savior is Jesus. He is worthy to break the seals and read the words on the scroll.

Jesus is not only worthy to look into God’s plan, but he is also the center of God’s plan. He came to earth to lay down his life on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could become God’s people. This has been God’s plan from the beginning. God’s purposes continue in this world through Jesus. He is always working to protect his church and to bring the good news of Jesus to people around the world so that they can become part of his kingdom forever. Jesus will return someday to put an end to everything that is evil and to bring about a new heaven and a new earth. He has conquered death and evil through his own death and resurrection, and he has the power to bring about the all plans of God from beginning to end.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for carrying out God’s plans for us. We look forward to the time when we see all of God’s purposes carried out. Amen.

Source:

Life and Legend of Frederick Barbarossa

A Vision of Majesty

Bible:

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!” Revelation 4:1-3, 6b-8 ESV

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. Isaiah 6:1-4 ESV

Reflection:

When Louis XIV ruled France, he took a royal hunting lodge named Versailles and transformed it into a magnificent palace. It had fabulous gardens with fountains of still water that seemed magical. These fountains symbolized the power of people, and especially the king, over nature. The Court of Honor was separated from the Royal Court with an elaborate gold leaf gate. Beyond the Royal Court was the marble court, with alternating black and white tiles and dozens of marble statues of Roman gods and emperors. The most famous part of Versailles was the hall of mirrors, a long gallery of mirrors along a wall that face windows overlooking the garden below. Glass chandeliers hang from a ceiling full of beautiful paintings. The palace of Versailles was designed to show the absolute power and authority of the French king.

After Jesus gave John messages for seven churches, he showed John a vision of heaven. There was a magnificent throne with a rainbow around it that glowed like an emerald. Around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes. The first one looked like a lion, the second one looked like an ox, the third one looked like a man, and the fourth one looked like an eagle in flight. These creatures were some type of angel attending the throne of God, and they called out some of the same words that Isaiah had heard when had seen a vision of God’s throne long before. “Holy, holy, holy!” the angels said. Both John’s and Isaiah’s visions gave incredible glimpses of the power and the glory of God.

The glory of God is a fearful thing for human people, because we are sinful and mortal and don’t deserve to be in God’s presence. No one could enter even the earthly palace of Versailles without being invited by the king, and it could be a fearful thing for anyone who might have offended the king in some way. We could never see the glory of God unless he opened the way for us, but that’s what he’s done for us in Jesus. Jesus came to us as a human person, and took all our sins on himself. He paid for them when he died on the cross, and because of that our sins are forgiven. The gold leaf gate kept people out of the royal court of Versailles, but John’s vision showed an open door in heaven. Heaven is open for us because of what Jesus has done.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for opening heaven to us by dying on the cross. We look forward to the day when we see your glory. Amen.

Source:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Palace-of-Versailles

You are Poor and Blind

Bible:

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3:14-22 ESV

[Jesus said:] “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

[Jesus said:] “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. Luke 12:35-37 ESV

Reflection:

There’s a play called The Unsinkable Molly Brown about Molly, a very poor young woman who wanted to be rich and to have all the status and power that comes with riches. She married a man named Johnny who had become rich with a silver mine. The two of them went to Denver and bought a mansion and dressed in fancy clothes. But the rich people of Denver just laughed at them. They weren’t impressed with Johnny and Molly’s fancy clothes and house, because they knew that the young couple didn’t know how to behave or dress in rich society. They found Molly to be pathetic rather than impressive.

The city of Laodicea thought they were rich and powerful, but they had no natural springs for fresh water, either hot or cold. Hot water would have been nice for bathing and washing, and cold water is wonderful for drinking. But the people of Laodicea, even with all their wealth, were only able to get lukewarm water, not good to drink or for washing either. This made them pathetic rather than impressive. Worse than that, the church of Laodicea was poor and feeble also, although they didn’t realize it. They thought they had wealth and might, and that their wealth was a blessing from God and a sign of his favor, but they didn’t realize how pathetic they were. They didn’t realize how much they needed Jesus to forgive their sins and to help them. They thought they could handle things on their own.

Jesus called to them to repent and to look to him for help. He gave them some wonderful promises if they would turn to him. He would give them true riches of the finest gold,  beautiful white clothes to cover their shame, and an ointment for the eyes that couldn’t see how poor and miserable they really were. These were all pictures of the blessings Jesus gives to people who believes in what he’s accomplished for everyone on the cross.  Jesus disciplined the church of Laodicea by showing them their sins and how short they were falling, and promised that if the church would let him in, he would come to them and eat with them. Jesus gives his people his forgiveness and his help and his presence, and that makes us truly rich.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help us to always see how poor we are and how much we need you. Thank you for dying for us and for making us rich with your blessings. Amen.

Sources:

Walters, Charles, dir. The Unsinkable Molly Brown Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1964. Film.
https://legacy.tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/Library/TynBull_1987_38_06_Porter_LaodiceansRev3.pdf