As a parent, I love my children more than they will ever know. I will give everything I have to ensure that they are safe. They don’t always appreciate my love, but that doesn’t stop me from being there and continuing to love them. Do you know that you are more loved than you know? The LORD loves you with a steadfast love that is full of grace and mercy.
Fourteen times in the Bible we see the phrase “slow to anger.” There are multiple other illusions to the same theme. When God repeats something over and over, it is because he knows we need to hear it. God is slow to anger. He is not as quick to anger as we think he is. You may need to hear that today. Maybe other people are angry at you, or you feel that God is disappointed in you. Don’t beat yourself up; the LORD is good to everyone.
We will never understand the depth of God’s grace. Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve. He gave his Son up to die on the cross so our sins could be forgiven and we could be reconciled to him again. He gives us his love without expecting anything in return. True Grace is more than we can fully comprehend in our finite human minds. Add on top of that his mercy, and you get the full package.
His grace and mercy are the pillars that make up his steadfast love. Steadfast means to be unmovable. You can’t remove God’s love from your life. You can run as far from it as far as you can, but it would be fruitless because he is still there beside you. Be thankful for that because when a storm blows through your life, Jesus will be the only one who remains.
God placed in each human an innate desire to give ourselves to other people. When you fulfill that desire, it produces a sense of joy and satisfaction when you neglect it a sense of frustration starts to build. Jesus set the example. He came to serve and not be served. (Mark 10:45) Devote yourself to serving.
And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
Whenever things begin to grow there will going be growing pains. The early church was no exception. The everyday needs had become too much for the Apostles to handle on their own and they recognized what was important, preaching and praying. They delegated to the job of serving the needs to the Deacons, or servants. These men were in any way lesser than the Apostles; they just fulfilled different roles.
Every person has a role to play in the church. We have all been equipped and called to serve the saints and to evangelize the lost. How that plays out in your life depends on your gifts. There are those who are called to preach and pray, and there are those who are called to serve and support. Each role is vital to the mission of the church.
Devote Yourself to Serving
Seven men were chosen to head up the duty of feeding the saints. They had good reputations and were full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. These three qualities are something that all of us can exhibit. A good reputation means that you are a person who keeps your word and can get along with others. Working in the power of the Spirit and wisdom multiplies the work that we are capable of doing on our own. Devote yourself to serving.
Do you ever think of what heaven will be like when you first see it? I bet if you’re like me you can’t wait to get there. Imagine standing there and taking in all the glorious features. Can you see the throne that Jesus sits on? Overwhelmed doesn’t begin to describe how we will feel when we see Jesus face to face. Our breath will be taken away as we take in the majesty of his presence.
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. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.
Every throne room every king has had in history will pale in comparison to the throne of the risen king. We don’t know what it really looks like because John is using the best words he can think of to give us a picture. He describes Jesus’ appearance as looking like Jasper and Carnelian. Jasper is green colored quartz, and Carnelian is stone that can range from red to white. On top of that, there is a rainbow with an emerald-like hue to it. Emerald is one of the shiniest of the precious stones. Jesus’ throne will be the best of the best. When we see that throne, we will be filled with both awe and reverence.
A Victor’s Crown
Situated around the throne are 24 smaller thrones and sitting on them are the twenty-four elders. Almost immediately when people read this, they want to know who these 24 elders are? Let’s start with who they aren’t. They aren’t angels. We can be sure in saying this because the elders are wearing crowns. Those crowns are for victors, people who have overcome the enemy. So that leaves two choices of who these people are. Some say that is a representation of the church and others say it is the 12 Apostles along with other saints over history. I lean towards the latter.
The important thing about seeing the throne is what it stirs up in us. As you read on in Revelation 4, you will see that the Elders cast their crowns down and fall on their faces and worship the Lord. When we see Jesus sitting on the throne, our ONLY desire will be to fall down and worship. Everything in our heart will be moved to give him all of the glory. Can you see the throne now?
An open door intrigues me. My curiosity always gets the best of me, and I want to look what’s behind it. Most of the time it amounts to nothing, but sometimes you get a pleasant surprise. God will open a door that he wants us to walk through. He has our best interests at heart and wants us to take our next step of faith.
John is writing to the church in Philadelphia. They are a struggling church and are worn out over the battle to follow Christ and make him know. Jesus is letting them know that he sees their works and they are not forgotten. Most people’s discouragement comes from feeling alone and being exhausted from the daily grind of life. Isn’t good to know that God sees our good works?
What made this church stand out from the other six was that they were a church full of love. They spent their energy on the right things, serving one another. The world has fed us this lie that if you are loving to others your life is full of energy and purpose. The truth is that loving others is exhausting and can be unrewarding. When you help others, they often don’t return the love or even say “thank you.” That is why we need to be full of the Spirit so that our love is unconditional.
An Open Door
Because of their faithfulness to serve and their commitment to God’s word a door has been opened that no one could shut. An opportunity was made available that was only possible through the miraculous work of our loving Savior. Nothing the world could do could close that door. When God opens these doors, we need to walk through them. That door may open when we least expect it and have little strength to go through, but we need to be faithful and follow Him. You won’t regret it, and it will open a whole new world of opportunity.
In the old John Wayne movies, especially his westerns, there was usually a scene where two men squared off and stared each other down. They would try to intimidate each other with their stares and words before the fight began. Some of the greatest lines from the movies came from these scenes. Pontius Pilate had a similar encounter with Jesus, and Jesus told him “My kingdom is Not of This World.”
Jesus spoke these words to Pontius Pilate. Pilate was trying to figure out what Jesus did wrong. He charged that the chief priests had handed him over so it must be something big. Was Jesus trying to make himself King of the Jews? Jesus then sets the record straight. His kingdom wasn’t part of this world. If his kingdom were on earth, his people would fight to free him. There would be a revolution in the streets.
Not of This World
Jesus was a revolutionary but not of the political or military type. The world was turned upside down with his message of love and grace. Overthrowing the Roman government wasn’t in his game plan. He wanted to see lives transformed by the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit. His kingdom was not of this world, but one day it will be.
We need to remember, as Christians, we are citizens of heaven. Our time on earth is to glorify Jesus and preach the Gospel as we journey towards our final destination. While we are in the world, we are at the same time not of this world. We have been made new creations with our old sinful nature being replaced by the righteousness of Christ. The things of this world will pass away but what we have in Christ will not.
One of the greatest things about going on a honeymoon with your spouse is waking up to them right next to you in the morning. Looking at them can fill our hearts. Their faithful love is all we need to take on life. Did you know that God’s love for you is stronger and more profound than that? He wants us to see that he loved us before we loved him.
The writer of this Psalm wanted to feel the love of God more than anything else. It was there that he found his strength and his confidence. He put all of his trust in the Lord and looked to him for his daily direction. Most of all, he knew how much the Lord accepted him.
Makes a Difference
Sometimes faithful love is all we need. In marriage, if we know our spouse faithfully loves us, we can face so many of life’s challenges. As a child, the unconditional love of our parents gives us the confidence to venture out on our own. Faithful love is the bedrock on which everything else is based. When we are sure of someone’s love in our life, it makes all the difference.
Did you know that God’s love for you is all that you need? Other people’s love will come and go, but the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His love is unmovable and unending. It is there when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night. We never have to doubt it because it is right there.
When we are sure of God’s love, we can look to him for direction in our lives. The Psalmist declares his trust in the Lord and then asks for his way to be revealed. Are you asking God to show you the way each morning? This is essential to our daily walk. Go to him and seek direction knowing full well that what he tells you will be based on his love for you.