Day Twenty-Five: The Promise of Protection

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”   Psalm 91:4

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”    Psalm 91:11

“Because he loves me”, says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”   Psalm 91:14 

I was stopped, waiting to turn left into my neighborhood. People typically tend to fly down this main road so I’ve gotten into the habit of looking in my rearview mirror.  I guess I am just making sure they will stop.

On this particular day, I looked up again.  And I noticed what I hoped I would never see.  This car was flying and had no plans to stop.  I tightened my grip on the steering wheel and braced for impact.  But there was this split second that I took my foot off the brake and my car slightly moved forward and then put my foot on the brake again.

This car somehow managed to not hit me.  It made its way slowly around the right side of my car.  It literally hugged the side of my car but never once did it touch it.  Not once.  All I could do was watch as this driver made his way around me without ever hitting me.

Now, my first reaction was not a pleasant one.  I was super mad at the driver who got distracted enough to not pay attention to my car with its left turn signal on.  I was yelling in my car!  Good thing I was alone.

But then my next reaction was a sigh of relief and gratefulness.  Had this car hit me, I probably would have been sent into the oncoming traffic.  There is no telling what would have happened.

I firmly believe that God protected me that day.  He sent His angels to guard me. I believe that it was an angel who took my foot off the brake so that I could move forward just a little bit.  I think this small amount of feet gave the driver more time to stop and graze the side of my car instead of hitting it hard from behind.  The Lord had His hand of protection around me that day.

Psalm 91 is a beautiful Psalm of protection.  Verse after verse you will find the comforting words that God will always protect us.  I love the imagery in verse 4 when it says that “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.”   I can just picture the arms of God as these massive wings that surround us and shelter us; the place we can go to find refuge.

I have this beautiful prayer shawl at home that was made by the women at my church and given to me when I first came on staff.  This shawl was crafted by talented women who prayed for me while they were making it.  Then when it was presented to me a sweet woman wrapped me in it and prayed over me.  It was an amazing moment where I could feel the wings of God over me.  I have this shawl at home and when I need to physically feel God’s arms and His wings, I wrap that shawl around me and pray.  In those moments I can feel the warmth of His wings and know that I am protected.

In Psalm 91, there are three things the psalmist talks about in connection with protection from the Lord.  The first is found in verse 14 where God says that He will protect those who acknowledge His name.  First and foremost we must recognize God and who He is.  Not as some genie in a bottle who will grant our wishes.  Not as someone who we come to only in the bad times and forget about in the good times.  No, we must acknowledge God all the time. Give Him the praise and glory for all things.  Give Him the honor He deserves all the time.  Give Him our whole heart and follow Him.  Acknowledge His name and who He is.

The next thing is that we must dwell in Him.  Verse one says that “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  Dwelling in the Lord means to be aware of His presence and spend time with Him.  And we need to do this consistently.  We should not be sometimes dwelling, but need to make an effort to continually dwell in His presence.  Dwelling in His shelter involves praying and reading His Word.  Stay close to the Lord and rest in the shadow of Him.

Finally, we need to be trusting the Lord.  I love what the psalmist says in verse 2 of this chapter:  “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'”   Proclaim this!  Shout it from the mountaintops!  “HE IS MY REFUGE AND MY FORTRESS, MY GOD IN WHOM I TRUST.”  There’s something about repeating this, and maybe doing so loudly, that helps us put our trust in the Lord.  Give your need over to Him and then just trust.  Trust that He will protect you.  Once you fully trust Him then you can calmly rest under the shadow of His wings.

God promises to protect us.  But why is it so hard to believe in this promise?  Why can’t we let go and let God be our refuge, our protector?

Every day is a new day.  A new day to acknowledge, dwell, and trust in the Lord.  Don’t give up because you think you can’t do any of those things.  Work at it so that then you will find rest and “will be covered with His feathers.”

Prayer:  Most High God, thank You for the promise to always protect us.  Help us to daily dwell in Your presence, to daily acknowledge Your mighty name, and to daily put our trust in You.  Father, you know sometimes it’s hard for us to do these things, but we ask that You will help us make these things a priority so that then we can fully rest and feel Your protection.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Journal

  1.  Name a time when you have felt God’s protection.
  2.  What can you do better in your daily life to be able to rest in Him?
  3.  Write down some ways you can acknowledge God in your life.

Day Twenty-Four: The Promise to Be Called His Friend

“I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.”  John 15:15

Jesus spent the last three years of His life here on earth in ministry.  He chose a team of men to be His disciples.  These men would spend the next three years learning from the Son of God.  They learned how to be true followers of God.  They learned how to speak to others about God.  They learned how to pray to God. They learned how to listen and obey God.  They learned how to be called friends of God.

In this passage from John 15, Jesus is speaking to His disciples.  He is sharing with them words of wisdom.  In this passage, He shares three things about God’s promise for us to be called friends of God.  Let’s take a closer look at each one.

First, in John 15:13, Jesus says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  God loved each of them (and each of us) so much that He sent His one and only Son to this earth to lay down His life for His friends (John 15:13).  At the time, the disciples did not truly comprehend these words.  Jesus hadn’t died yet.  And even though Jesus told them He would be taking on the sins of the world and dying in order to save us, the disciples didn’t get it.  They couldn’t fathom anyone being willing to die for every person on this earth.  Why would someone do that?  Did God really love us that much?  Yes, God did!  And even though they didn’t quite understand this sacrifice right then, they would come to understand and to believe.  One day soon after this conversation, the light bulb would come on and they would grasp the truth and the reality of God’s love for them.

Second, Jesus says in John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”   Now, how many of you like to hear the words, “I command you!”  Not many.  Really no one at all.  But our relationship with God is quite different from our relationships with friends on earth.  We serve a mighty God.  One who is all powerful and all knowing.  He knows what is best for us and it’s wise of us to listen to what He commands us to do.

In verse 14, Jesus is telling the disciples two things.  In order to be called a friend of God you must listen and you must obey.  God doesn’t speak to us by telling us what He wants us to do just for the fun of it.  No, He speaks to us because He knows what’s best for us.  We need to be good listeners and then we need to obey.

One example from the Bible that sticks out to me of someone who was chosen by God but did not listen and obey God was King Saul.  He was anointed as the first king of Israel by the prophet, Samuel.  But Saul had what I like to call “selective hearing”.  God would speak to Saul through Samuel and Samuel would share with Saul what he was to do, but Saul only half-way listened and partially obeyed God.  Once God told Saul to attack Amalek and kill everyone including the animals.  Well, Saul did attack Amalek, but he let some people go free and he kept some of the best animals in order to sacrifice to the Lord.  The Lord was angry for Saul’s disobedience so He rejected Saul as king.  Samuel said to Saul, “Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). Because of his disobedience, Saul was not a friend of God.  He did not listen and He did not obey what the Lord commanded.

The third thing Jesus spoke of is found in John 15.  God no longer called them servants but friends (John 15:15).  He called them friends because Jesus revealed to them everything that the Lord had spoken to Him.  A true friend speaks the truth.  And Jesus was a true friend to them and He definitely spoke the truth.  A true friend does not hold back in sharing all they know.  God was speaking to Jesus and He then passed on to His friends all that the Lord was speaking.  No longer were they called servants, but they were called friends.

All of this applies to our lives today, too.  This isn’t just Jesus speaking to His disciples, but this is God speaking to us and giving us a promise that we can be friends with God.  In order to do this, we must believe in Jesus and what He did for us.  We must also listen and obey to all that the Lord is telling us.  And we must firmly realize and believe that God speaks truth to us and He will reveal Himself to those of us who seek Him.  

“I am a friend of God.  I am a friend of God.  I am a friend of God.  He calls me friend.”  (Friend of God by Israel Houghton)

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for the promise to be called Your friends.  Open hearts of those who don’t believe and help them accept Your love and the sacrifice You made for us.  Help us to listen and obey all that You ask of us.  And remind us that You speak only truth and we can trust in You.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Journal

  1.  What qualities do you look for in a friend?
  2.  What do you think of God calling you a friend?
  3.  What can you do to strengthen your relationship with the Lord?

Day Twenty-Three: The Promise to Provide for Us

“And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”   Philippians 4:19

You want me to do what, Lord?

That’s the question I asked God when I felt the call to move.  Seven years ago I felt a tug on my heart to take a job as a Children’s Minister.  I had been in Youth Ministry for eight years and and then I felt God calling me to take a job in Children’s Ministry.  I was excited, except this job required me to move 2 hours away.  I was going to have to uproot my husband and two children.  We would be living in a new community, one that I knew well, but I was still very nervous about it.

Why was I so worried?

Because it was 2010 and the housing economy was not very good.  How were we going to sell our house and move away?  Nobody was buying homes.  And even if someone was able to miraculously sell their home, they would not be getting what they really wanted out of it.  They would end up losing money.  We don’t have any money to lose. We also could not afford to have two house payments.

How are we going to do this, Lord?

My husband and I prayed and prayed and prayed.  And we felt God calling us to move so I could become the Children’s Director at the church where I work now.  We were scared, but we had to let go of the fear and take the leap of faith, even if we couldn’t see all the details…even if we had no idea how God would provide for us.

I am so thankful for the promise that God gives us in Philippians 4:19.  God promises to provide all our needs.  He doesn’t promise to maybe provide them.  He doesn’t promise to sometimes provide them.  He doesn’t promise to provide just a few of our needs.  No, He promises to provide ALL our needs.  Everything we need, God promises He will provide for us.

There is no need to worry, no need to fear, no need to stop short and not follow the Lord’s calling because we are afraid He won’t provide for us.  I love the sixth chapter of Matthew where Jesus points out how He provides:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air:  They do not sow or reap or gather into barns- and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan?  And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these.”   Matthew 6:26-28

If God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers, won’t He provide much more for us?

Yes, He will!  And we know this because He promises that He will.  We can find peace and rest in knowing that God is not going to call us somewhere only to leave us to fend for ourselves.  He is going to take care of every detail for us.

In my situation in 2010, God definitely provided for us. We still had a house to sell, but we moved anyway.  I was a little worried about where we would live until we could sell our house.  But, I had no need to worry.

God provided a place to live until we could sell our house (paying only utilities).

I was afraid that we would not sell our home.

God provided a person to buy our home.

I was afraid that it would take a really long time to sell our home.

God provided.  Two months later we had a contract on our house.  Two months!!!  In 2010 that was totally unheard of.

I was afraid that my children would have a difficult time adjusting to our new town.

God provided for us by sending sweet friends for them.

I was afraid that my youngest daughter would not be able to get into our new church’s preschool because I had been told that they were full.

God provided.  A spot came open a few weeks before we moved.

I was afraid that we would not be able to buy a new home right after we sold ours since we had to pay to get out of it. We had no money for a down payment.

God provided.  He sent us an amazing realtor (who became a good friend of ours) who searched high and low for a new home for us…always looking for “hot deals” for us.  He found us a wonderful home that was in foreclosure.  We were able to buy it and had no problem with the closing.

Friends, God took care of every single worry of mine.  I had no reason to fear and fret over the details of that move.  God had everything planned out.  He satisfied every need we had.

Are you afraid of stepping out in faith because you’re unsure of the details?  Let them all go.  Give them over to God.  And then sit back and watch as God fully satisfies every need of yours.

Prayer:  Jehovah Jireh, thank You for providing for us.  You promise to take of our every need and we are so grateful.  Forgive us for not believing in this promise and being full of worry and fear.  Help us to be bold enough to step out in faith when You call.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Journal

  1. Has God been calling you to something? If you haven’t listened, what is holding you back?
  2. How has God provided for you before?

Day Twenty-Two: The Promise of New Life in Christ

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”  2 Corinthians 5:17

When I first began in the ministry I worked at a church in Charlotte, NC as the Youth Minister.  One of the Easter activities this church did was a butterfly release.  About two weeks before Easter, each family was given a caterpillar. (We ordered them from Insect Lore:  www.insectlore.com).  The families took these caterpillars home in a small one-ounce cup with a little bit of food inside.  When it was time to begin the metamorphosis, the caterpillars would climb to the top of the cup and make their cocoon. When the families noticed it had made its full cocoon, they would then wait 1-2 days and transfer it to a bigger, more open container.  After 7-10 days, the cocoon would open and out would fly a beautiful butterfly.  Families would then bring their butterflies to church with them on Easter morning.  After the service, the congregation would go outside and watch as the families released their butterflies. It was a beautiful sight to watch so many butterflies all around us.  I always loved that special activity with the families.

The butterfly is one of the symbols of Easter.  The caterpillar represents Jesus’ life here on earth.  The cocoon it forms represents Jesus’ crucifixion, death and burial in the tomb.  The butterfly represents His resurrection and new body.  The butterfly goes through a metamorphosis or transformation into something new.  That’s what Jesus did and that’s exactly what happens to us when we know Jesus Christ as our Savior.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are ridding ourselves of the life we have lived prior to this.  All the sins we have committed against the Lord, we bring before Him and ask His forgiveness.  We have chosen to believe in God, and in what Jesus did for us.  We no longer want to live the life we had before.  We want a new life.  And that’s what God promises for all who believe.

Just as the Bible verse from 2 Corinthians says, we know that God promises to give us new life in Jesus Christ (not only here on earth, but also in heaven).  When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, there is a new creation.  We are the new creation.  Our lives have been transformed!  Just as a butterfly changes it’s shape and body, we change our lives, our habits, our everyday actions, and become more like Christ.  We are making a conscious change in what we do on a daily basis.  We no longer want the old life.  It has passed away and God has made us new!

We also become a new creation when we pass from this life into eternity.  Gone is our old body and we are given new bodies.  It’s in heaven when we receive the physical transformation. And we will spend eternity with our Savior, Jesus.

Isn’t that amazing?

Thanks be to God for giving us new life in Jesus Christ!

Prayer: Creator God, You have given us a special gift in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  He died so that we could be made new.  Thank You for the promise of new life when we accept Jesus.  Help us to stay focused on You and You alone.  Remind us daily of You and may we see You in all that we do.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Journal

  1.  Have you ever watched the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly?  What amazes you about this process?
  2.  Have you gone back to some of your old habits?  Seek God for forgiveness asking Him to give you strength to keep your eyes on Him.
  3. What in your daily life helps remind you of the new life you have been given?

Day Twenty-One: The Promise of the Holy Spirit

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  John 14:26

“When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”   Ephesians 1:13

Ever had to explain the Holy Spirit to a child?  It’s a little difficult. Actually, explaining the whole Trinity to a child is difficult.  Trying to explain that God is three persons in one, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, is not something a child can truly grasp a hold of at such a young age.  Even adults have a hard time wrapping their minds around the Trinity.

So what is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity.  God is first Father.  Then God is the Son, Jesus, who is fully divine and fully human.  Then God is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is what God promises to all those who are believers.  The Spirit is what is alive and moving on this earth.

But how do we know the Spirit and how do we feel the Spirit?

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, God has promised that “we will be marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit”.  It’s God marking us as His children.  It’s the seal that means that we truly belong to Christ.  I like to imagine that God places a beautiful seal of a cross over our bodies.  And in fact we can see the cross by the way we stand.  Take a second to stand with your feet together and your arms stretched out to the side.  What shape does your body make?  A cross!  Isn’t that cool?!  We can see the seal of the Holy Spirit in the way our bodies are shaped…in the shape of a cross.

Feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit is amazing.  Have you ever experienced this?  One way I can explain it is that I get chill bumps all over my body…even when it’s not cold outside.  It’s like a breeze has blown over my body and I can just feel it.  When I am sitting quietly spending time with God and truly being still, then I get those chill bumps and I know that He is present and I can hear Him speaking.

I also can feel the Spirit when I know that I am supposed to do something.  It’s an overwhelming feeling where I know I am supposed to act on something.  The one example I can give is from one of my many shopping trips to Wal-Mart.  I was in line checking out and the man in front of me, after being halfway through ringing up his stuff, realized that he left his wallet at home.  I felt this strong feeling well up inside me and I told him I would pay for his groceries.  Once I said I would I began thinking why in the world I said that because I was doing good to pay for my own groceries!  But I knew it was the Holy Spirit and I was supposed to act on what I felt Him leading me to do.

In the verse from John 14 above, Jesus is talking to the disciples about what is to come after He leaves this earth.  I can just imagine what the disciples were thinking.  They were confused, scared, shocked, unsure of what was going to happen.  They might have even been thinking about how they were going to remember all that Jesus had taught them over the past three years.  If He wouldn’t be here on earth to help them, then who would?

Jesus knew everything those disciples were thinking, too.  He knew they would be worried.  And that’s when Jesus said that God promises to send the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit would be there to teach them and guide them and to help them remember everything that He taught them.  There was no need to fear and no need to worry.  (The next verse goes on to speak about peace.  Jesus knew after hearing that news, He needed to remind them about peace, too).

Just as Jesus promised the Holy Spirit for the disciples, He promises it for us, too.  When we believe in Jesus, we are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will guide us in what we should do.  The Holy Spirit will convict us of what we know we shouldn’t be doing.  The Holy Spirit will remind us of the teachings of Jesus and what we are to do.  The Holy Spirit is alive and present in all those who believe.

I often tell kids that the Holy Spirit is like the wind.  You can’t see it, but you can feel it and you can hear it.  You know when it’s moving because you can see the trees sway and you can feel the breeze on your body.  You can hear it because of how it affects the trees all around you.  It makes a sound when it moves.  Even if it’s just the softest of breezes, you can still hear the faint whisper of it.  And that’s what the Holy Spirit is like for us.  We can feel it, hear it, and see it moving.  We just have to be open to it and listening.

“Holy Spirit you are welcome here.  Come flood this place and feel the atmosphere.  Your glory God is what my heart longs for.  To be overcome by your presence, Lord.”  – Holy Spirit by Francesca Battestelli

Prayer:  Holy Father, thank You for the promise of sending us the Holy Spirit. May the Spirit guide us in decisions we need to make.  May it fill our bodies and give us peace.  May it overwhelm us and help us to feel your presence.  We are forever grateful for Your Holy Spirit and how it moves.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Journal

  1. Where in your life have you experienced the Holy Spirit?  How did you feel?
  2. What do you need the Holy Spirit to guide you in?

Day Twenty: The Promise to Come Again

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come…So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”   Matthew 24:36, 42, 44

Ready or not….here I come!

Those words always brought butterflies to my stomach when I would play hide and go seek with my friends when I was a kid.  The seeker would count and no matter if I was hidden or not, they were coming to find me!  Sometimes I was ready and well hidden.  And other times I was not.  The anticipation of the seeker finding me made me so nervous!  I loved to peek around the corner, stick my head out from behind a tree, lift open the lid to the clothes hamper a little, or watch for the feet that would walk by the bed I was hiding under.  And if I saw the seeker and they saw me then I would scream and try to run to base, hoping that I would make it there before getting caught.  Sometimes I made it.  Sometimes I did not.

The one thing that is important for anyone playing hide and seek is for the player to be ready.  If you are not hidden then chances are you won’t be winning the game. You must be ready.

And this is what we have to remember when we hear about God’s promise to come again. Jesus says in these verses in Matthew 24 that we must be ready.  There is no piddling around (a phrase my mother always used when I wasn’t getting ready for school).  We don’t need to be standing around trying to figure out what to do.  There’s no time to be a half-hearted Christian. We can’t decide to accept Jesus as our Savior and then not follow His ways.  We can’t have one foot in the door and one foot out. We must be all in and be ready.

We also have no idea when the coming of the Lord will happen.  Jesus tells us it will be at an hour we don’t expect.  There is no way we can predict when this will happen.  Jesus says that the angels don’t know and even He, Jesus, doesn’t know.  Only the Father knows when He will come again.

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul says that Jesus will come again like “a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).  When we sleep at night we are not expecting anyone to break in our home.  We sleep peacefully knowing that we are in a safe home.  A thief who enters our home does it when we least expect it.  That’s what it will be like when Jesus comes back.  We won’t have any idea that He is coming back.

I want to be ready.  I don’t want to be caught in this life not following the Lord.  I don’t want to fill my day with useless activities, none of which God would approve of.  I don’t want to be a person who doesn’t seek the Lord when I make decisions.  I don’t want to ignore God when He calls me to do something.  I don’t want to live a life only focusing on myself.  I don’t want to keep Jesus to myself.

I want to do the opposite of all those things.  I want to be ready.  And no, it’s not going to be easy.  There will be days when I don’t get it right.  But what I can do is make a conscious decision to do all I can to prepare myself for the coming of the Lord.

Will you join me?  Let’s be ready together for the coming of the Lord.

And yes, He is coming again.

God promises.

Prayer:  Almighty God, thank you for sending Your Son to this earth to save us.  And we are so grateful for your promise that He will return to this earth again one day.  Help us spend our days on this earth preparing for that day.  May we seek You with our whole hearts and may we strive each day to do Your will.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Journal

1.  Look closely at your daily life.  What are you spending your time doing?  Make a list of these things.

2.  What do you need to do more of or add to your daily routine? 

3.  How can you best prepare for the second coming of the Lord?

Day Nineteen: The Promise of No More Pain

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”   Revelation 21:4

Will this pain and suffering ever end?

I am sure you have thought this many times over the course of your life.  I hate pain.  I hate suffering.  I hate sadness.  I don’t like it when I am sad and I really don’t like it when others are sad.  I consider myself a joyful person and like to spread God’s joy to others.  I want everyone to be happy all the time.  Wouldn’t that be an awesome thing?

In this world we will not find true happiness.  There is evil in this world that robs us of the joy that we feel.  But there is another world where we will find that true joy…and that place is in heaven with God.

Revelation 21 gives us a glimpse into the world of heaven. This chapter allows us to take a sneak peek into what heaven will be like.  It provides us hope and a longing for the world that will one day relieve us of the sadness of this life.

In verse 4 of Revelation 21, there are four things that God promises we will not be able to find in heaven:  no death, no mourning, no crying, no pain.  All four of these things are alive on earth.  Everywhere you turn someone is dying (just turn on your news or pull up the internet). People are killing each other over hatred.  People are dying from diseases or health issues.  People are dying of starvation.  Women are losing babies to miscarriage or stillbirths.  People are taking their own lives because they can no longer take the pain in this world.  Death is all around us and it is overwhelming.  But God promises that when we arrive in heaven, death will be no more.  We will have everlasting life and will not experience death again.

God says there will be no mourning in heaven.  Mourning is defined as “the act of sorrowing; an outward sign of grief for a person’s death; a period of time in which grief signs are shown” (Merriam-Webster).  When someone you know leaves this earth, you begin to mourn them.  Deep sadness and grief overwhelm you.  People mourn in different ways, too.  Grief does not look the same for each person.  Just this weekend our community lost a senior in high school to suicide.  Students at his high school have been coming together to mourn for their friend.  They meet in the gym for prayer.  They have made a memorial to him in his assigned parking space.  Churches have opened their sanctuaries for prayer vigils.  Our small town is mourning the loss of a young life.

When I was in high school we seemed to lose a student to death every year.  The summer before my senior year in high school we lost one of my fellow Varsity cheerleaders due to a car accident.  What made it even more sad was the fact that she was a twin and her twin sister was also on our cheerleading squad. We honored her memory that year by wearing black armbands with her initials on them at every game.  It was definitely a difficult year for our team.

But we can find hope and peace in knowing that when we arrive in heaven we will not be mourning any longer.  We will be happy and joyful and will no longer experience grief or mourning.

God also says that in heaven there will be no more crying.  We have all shed many tears over the loved ones we have lost.  But crying also happens when we experience sad things in this life:  hurtful words by a friend, a boss that berates you, parents who don’t support you or care about you, seeing your child make the wrong choices, and so much more.  God says that He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and no longer will we cry.

And finally God promises that there will be no more pain in heaven.  All of the things mentioned above have been emotional pain.  There will be none of that anymore.  But also there will be no more physical pain.  Our bodies will no longer hurt.  We will be free of back pain, head pain, neck pain, leg pain, arm pain, foot pain, stomach pain, chest pain, ear pain, eye pain and any other physical pain.  There are so many people who are in physical pain each and every day.  And there’s nothing that seems to relieve it.  But God promises that when our time is up on this earth and we enter the beautiful gates of heaven we will no longer be in pain.

Heaven is going to be amazing!  There is so much hope built up for us in this passage of Revelation.  I pray that you will take hold of this promise from God of no more pain and suffering.  I pray that you will grab hold of THE hand that reaches out to you in this life to help you in enduring the pain you are in now.  I pray that you will find peace in knowing that one glorious day when you go to heaven, all your pain will be gone.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we are all suffering from the pain we are experiencing in this life.  Give us relief from our pain and give us strength to endure it.  I ask that your promise of no more pain will be a beacon of hope for those who are suffering now.  Comfort them and hold them, Lord.  Help them feel Your presence with them today.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Journal

  1. What pain are you suffering from today?
  2. What brings you hope during this painful time?
  3. If you know someone in pain today, reach out to them and share a kind word, or share a piece of Scripture to encourage them.