Do You Want to Enjoy Exceptional Fruitfulness?
In Revelation 22 there is a tree that produces plentiful fruit, not just once a year or even several times a year, but every single month of the year. It’s a little hard to figure out whether John envisions one very large and unusual tree that somehow grows on both sides of the river of life, or whether he sees a collection of trees. But we don’t have to get hung up in the details. The point is that the tree (or grove of trees) provides an abundant harvest throughout the year. Talk about exceptional fruitfulness!Read Post
Do You Need the Water of Life?
The beginning of Revelation 22 reminds me of an experience I had last summer. With some friends, I went fly fishing in Montana. In addition to lake fishing, we tried our luck on the picturesque Madison River. On the first day, we fished from boats floating downstream. The second day, we donned our waders and fished while standing thigh-deep in the fairly fast moving water.Read Post
Whatever You Do, Play Skillfully
Psalm 33:3 reminds us that we’re to use well the gifts God has given us. If we have musical talent, then we should learn to “play skillfully” for the Lord. In reality, this takes years of diligent practice. Though it might be tempting for people with lots of natural musical ability to coast on their laurels, Psalm 33 encourages them to work hard on developing their skills. Yet their commitment to excellence must not keep them from singing “with joy” (v. 3).Read Post
Will Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the iPhone Be in the New Jerusalem?
Before you reject this devotion as downright silly on the basis of its title, hang in there with me for a few moments. I believe there is a serious argument to be made for the notion that the Brandenburg Concertos, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the iPhone are candidates for the New Jerusalem.Read Post
Christian Faith and Politics from an Unusual Perspective
I expect that the title of this devotion, “Christian Faith and Politics from an Unusual Perspective” will impress my readers in a variety of ways. Some of you are probably eager to read on while others of you have already dumped this devotion in the trash because, frankly, you’re sick of politics and the Christians who try to combine it with faith.Read Post
When the Kings Come Marching
When the Kings Come Marching In examines a stunning prophecy found in Isaiah 60. In this vision of the future, Isaiah says to God’s people, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isa 60:3). A few verses later the prophet adds, “Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you” (60:10). The gates of the New Jerusalem will always be open, “so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations – their kings led in triumphal procession” (60:11).Read Post
There’s a stereotype of folks who live in Texas. (Actually, there are many stereotypes, but I’m thinking of one in particular.) It’s captured in the phrase, “Y’all come!” According to the popular viewpoint, Texans are always inviting people over to their homes, the more the merrier. “Y’all come,” means “Bring yourself, your family, your friends. Everyone is welcome.”Read Post
Living in Light of God’s Glory
In light of Genesis 1, we are surprised by what we find in Revelation 23:22. The New Jerusalem “does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” The physical light for the holy city comes from God’s own glory, shining from the lamp, which is the Lamb of God.Read Post
Beyond What We Can See With our Eyes
I’m intrigued by that word, beyond. As followers of Christ, we are beyond people. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we have unique access to the God of the Universe, who is making all things new. God sees beyond the way things are and knows how things can be. When we claim as our inheritance this same divine perspective, we bring the hope of beyond into every encounter, every situation, every relationship along the way. As the righteousness of God, we bring beyond to all systems of injustice and every instance of hopelessness.Read Post
A Holy City Without a Temple
One of the greatest surprises of John’s vision of the New Jerusalem comes in 21:22: “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” A holy city without a temple? Shocking! (It’s hard for Christians to grasp the significance of this for people in the ancient world. It would be rather like saying in the city of the future there will be no Bible. But even this analogy falls short.)Read Post
Now That’s a Beautiful City! Part 2
I began yesterday’s devotion by talking about the impressive size of New York City. But what makes New York so distinctive isn’t only how big it is. This city is also striking because of its beauty.
Once again, New York reminds me of John’s vision in Revelation 21.Read Post
Now That’s a Big City! Part 1
The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was…Read Post