“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.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:5-7)
We all look forward to the future, to a brighter day. For those who are followers of Jesus, we look forward to being with Jesus and seeing the Father face to face. We long for that new Heaven and the new Earth that is described in Revelation 21 & 22.
These verses give hope. They remind us of the one who makes “all things new”. They remind us of the one who is “the beginning and the end”. The one who loved us so much to die for us so that we may have life. That we are able drink from the “spring of the water of life without payment”. And the awesome thing is we get to have a relationship with God forever. That is our hope.
During the time that Revelation was written, there was mass a persecution of Christians going on by the Roman Empire. Believers needed to stand firm in their faith and hold onto their faith in Christ. John reminded them of the hope that comes for those who endure, who overcome. That same promise is given to us today. We have that hope that once sin and death are finally defeated, we get to gather together wall all those who love Jesus and get to worship together for eternity. That’s a hope worth remembering as we continue on following after Him in the present.
I’m sitting here watching Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s a compelling game. I wouldn’t say it’s the prettiest game of the year. In fact I tweeted earlier about how this game made me wish the Memphis Grizzlies were playing tonight. Their style of basketball is very much in rhythm with this game. Very hard nosed, defensive minded.
There is a phrase that goes with this and is a trademark of the Grizzlies. It’s called #gritngrind. And it’s a lot about persevering and fighting through and giving everything you have. In a lot of ways, being a follower of Jesus and following Him has that same determination and perseverance. There are tough times and there are struggles. There are moments that feel overwhelming. But the good news is Jesus endured everything for us. He died on the cross or our sins. So not only does He know what we’re going through, He has made a way for us if we turn to Him and follow Him. And He gives us the strength to persevere and endure.
So as I’m reminded of the #gritngrind on the basketball court, I’m also reminded of the #gritngrind in my faith journey following Jesus as well.
“I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:1-2)
When we put our trust in God, he becomes our everything. He becomes one in whom we can take refuge in times of trouble and anger. He is the strength that helps us through the times when we are weak. He is the rock that we can cling to through all the storms in our lives. He is the shield that protects us from all the dangers that can attack us. He is our stronghold that we can settle and live in hope. Let us have that trust in the Lord. Let us hope in Him. Let us follow after Him.
For this week’s “Thursday Quote Day”, here is a quote from college basketball analyst Jay Bilas:
“Failing doesn’t make you a failure. Failing makes you a competitor. Every competitor fails. If you lay it on the line, you will come up short at times. Failure is a part of competing, and embracing that fact is an important component of toughness. Tough people fail, but tough people are not failures. The only failures are those who give up, or give in.” (Jay Bilas Toughness)
“And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the directions of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,
“For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”
And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” (Ezra 3:10-11)
The Israelites were in exile, away from their homeland. Then, they were allowed to go home and slowly but surely groups of people began to go home. With this began the rebuilding of lives and family in what was to them the promised land. This included rebuilding of the temple. When they had laid the foundation for the temple, they took time to sing praises to the Lord. They had a lot to be thankful for as they had endured so much. But God was always there and God provided for them in exile and when they returned back home.
It is good to remember and be thankful for all that God has done. When we go through tough times and get beaten down, it’s good to praise God for helping us get through it. As the foundation for a new year approaches, let us give thanks for all that God is done and all he will do.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.” John 1:6-8
Last week’s Sunday Devotional looked at the first five verses of the book of John. This week we look at the next few verses in the chapter. Here we see John (the disciple) talk about John the Baptist. John the Baptist was a forerunner to Jesus. He was one who was sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus’ earthly ministry. That was his calling. He was to be a witness. He was to point others to the light (Jesus).
John the Baptist knew his role and accepted it. Even though his role came with tough times and hardships, he accepted it because he knew who he was serving. We as followers of Jesus are also called to bear witness to the light. That is our calling in life if we are Christians. We are to point others to Jesus. It is not easy and it is not without hardships but we know who we serve is worth it.