I used to think some of Jesus’s parables within the Gospels were hard to understand, but then I wandered into the Book of Revelation.
I know Bible Scholars, Theologians, and Pastors study for years to break down and make human sense out of this final chapter in the Bible. I truly think there is a place in our brain that can comprehend all that Heaven will be like, but it won’t fully known until we get there and see it for ourselves. Until then, the descriptions below shine brilliantly in my mind.
Revelation 21:9-27 (NIV)
9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia[a] in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits[b] thick.[c] 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.[d] 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city 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. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Today is January 1, 2017 and yesterday was so last year. I stayed awake to ring in the new year with my husband. Normally I get sleepy by 9:30pm and find myself crawling in bed by 10:00pm. Because I stayed awake, I, along with millions of other people, either in New York Times Square or sitting comfortably in our homes in front of a television or other electronic device, were witness to Mariah Carey’s train-wreck of a show minutes before the ball drop. Much to her chagrin, her reputation needs repair. I can only guess what her New Year’s Resolution is for 2017. However, a big round of applause goes to her backup dancers as they did a great job!
On February 12 my husband, and I, said good-bye to our little girl, Bean. She was the sweetest Grey Tiger-striped kitty who we adopted from a local no-kill cat shelter years ago. My husband picked her out and the first day in our house, she owned it. She sat up on the couch and took a nap, all while our other cats were sniffing her acquaintance. On December 5, my niece passed away. She was an awesome mom to her children and had a huge heart for helping people. We are blessed to know how many lives she touched in her short 31 years of life. My summation for 2016 is that the good die young.
This past year was heart-breaking, to say the least, but knowing that God is close to the broken-hearted brings me peace. That means He is near to me, my husband, my family, and Jill’s friends, holding us close as we mourn.
Isaiah 43:18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” But our minds hit replay on many episodes of days gone by, conversations that happened or didn’t happen, loved ones who were called home to eternity, or the voice of the doctor delivering news of a grave illness just discovered. God is close to the broken-hearted and he offers His outstretched hand for us to walk into 2017 with Him. Yes, God can even help restore Mariah Carey’s reputation if she reaches out to Him.
Isaiah 41:10 So Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
May God Bless you in 2017.
The church I attend has been without a permanent Pastor for approximately two years. Our Bishop called Pastor Michael Kemper, who is a full-time Interim Pastor, to fill in and shepherd our flock.
After the entrance hymn, opening prayers, and before the readings, Pastor Mike invites the little children to join him on the steps to the altar to sit around him as he shares a story, on their level, based on the Bible readings for the day. Pastor Mike’s first children’s sermon was a little longer than our church family had ever heard. The second week, a little boy asked Pastor if he was going to tell them a long story again. Oh, such honesty. 🙂 As time pressed forward, Pastor Mike told his stories at whatever length was necessary to get the message across and I feel that no one, young or old, concerned themselves with a time limit as he is an engaging story-teller. My inner child would always run up to the altar, with the little children, to hear their special sermon.
Pastor Mike never gave a bad sermon to the adults either. Truly, I wish he would write books as I know he would be my favorite author.
On October 2, 2011, we will blot tears from our eyes as we wave good-bye to Pastor Mike and his lovely wife, Jane. The Bishop has a new assignment for our favorite Interim Pastor. My inner child is throwing a tantrum because I do not want him to leave. My adult self understands that people must pass through our lives as they serve God’s purpose for our growth as well as their own. If I feel this way about my Interim Pastor, just think how the people felt in the towns that Jesus passed through during his ministry. I hope our paths will cross again on this earth, but if not, I will look for Pastor Mike in heaven some day.
Pastor Mike, you have given our church stability at a time we felt broken, prayed for us when we could not, and shared your smile every time we saw you. Our congregation is blessed to have been under your leadership. I pray the church(es) you serve will realize you are a blessing from God.