1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 – The Lord’s Return

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Jesus in the clouds

It’s going to happen; we just don’t know when. Jesus promised he would come back, and we know his word is true. Paul says, “For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.”  Does that leave you a bit unsettled or oozing with peacefulness? I don’t think we’re supposed to be afraid, despite the thought of having a thief breaking in while I’m sleeping doesn’t sound all that pleasant.

Yet, the idea of Jesus returning to rescue our fallen world gives me hope. Yes! It most certainly gives me hope and with it some peace. It helps me get through some tough days knowing they don’t last forever. Jesus’ love for me lasts forever. I’ve even been known to say, “Okay, Jesus, you can come back any time now.”

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Revelation 21:9-27 – Holy City of God

Read Revelation 21:9-27

We have probably all heard a joke or two about the “pearly gates” of heaven. You might even remember how St. Peter is said to be standing there as the gatekeeper. Now you know where this picture comes from and how totally off base the description truly is. There are actually twelve gates, not one, and all of the apostles have a place in the foundation, not just Peter. But at least people are talking about heaven, even if only in “jest.”

God is preparing a beautiful place for us. The magnificence defies description. While the dimensions were meant to be symbolic, they are given in great detail. What we do see may have been lost in the translation. Each measurement represents a multiple of 12. You will recall that in the Bible the number 12 represents God’s people. First there are the 12 tribes, then the 12 apostles of the Lamb. The Holy City of God beautifully represents the people who have stayed true. There are even 12 precious gems adorning the city. It is a magnificent place for God’s people to dwell, and the size will be just perfect.

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2 Corinthians 3:7-18 – The Glory of God

Read 2 Corinthians 3:7-18

When Jesus came, everything changed. The old covenant with God, as given to Moses, was replaced with a new covenant promise from God. No longer was there separation between man and God. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Because of Jesus, we can now approach our Father God.

So, what is the “glory” of God? I could spend hours researching it, and I’m sure my husband will correct me and hand me the exact books I need if I’m totally off base here. To me, simply put, the glory of God is his majesty manifested into tangible form. God is full of light, and that light, his glory, shines brightly when we’re in his presence.

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Matthew 8:23-27 – Storms of Life

Read Matthew 8:23-27

This is a Bible story I have acted out time and time again. As a Sunday School teacher, you always hope that using an “experience” like a re-enactment will help the kids to grasp a little of what’s happening here. It’s more than the waves. It’s more than Jesus being a deep sleeper.

This is something that happened, rather than a parable or story Jesus is telling. But the lessons we see here are plentiful. We see Jesus get into a boat with his disciples, presumably to retreat to a quieter destination where the crowds aren’t closing in. We see Jesus falling asleep out of pure exhaustion. Jesus is God, but he is also human, and he has been in demand with his teachings and healings. Who wouldn’t be totally spent and ready for some peace and quiet?

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Acts 27:13-26 – Stormy Seas

Read Acts 27:13-16

We have all had “I told you so”  moments in our lives. I’m sure one, in particular, sped through your mind as you read today’s reading. I know one did for me. However, Paul’s message was not to condemn but to comfort. Again, Paul’s integrity and leadership shine through the darkness of the moment.

When we are going through the storms of life, it is sometimes hard to focus on anything good. When we are lost in the moment of despair, there is nothing anyone can say that is going to lift us up. I wonder how it was for Paul’s shipmates. They had been frantically doing things to keep themselves safe–as if they had control.  Continue reading “Acts 27:13-26 – Stormy Seas”