Hope and Courage

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Today’s Scripture: Revelation 7
Have you ever thought that heaven might be boring? Does the concept of an eternal worship service not really excite you? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dishonoring God, I just think the traditional concept that we are going to walk around on clouds with harps for all eternity is not particularly appealing to most people.

Revelation 7:9
 After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.

I’ve been reading some of Mark Twain’s story of Miss Watson, where she tells Huck Finn about heaven: “She said that she was going to live so as to go to the good place. I made up my mind I shouldn’t try for it. But I never said so, because it would only make trouble and wouldn’t do no good. Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn’t think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and, she said, not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together.”

Miss Watson tells him he can receive anything he wants through prayer. This then causes Huck to believe he could receive fishing gear, if he just prayed. But when his wish does not come true, he starts to contemplate the concept of prayer and wonders why, if someone can get anything, why he cannot get any fish-hooks.

Because Huck takes everything at face value, he cannot understand the concept of prayer or “spiritual gifts.” He does not reject religion, but his literal mindset has difficulty with beliefs that, on the surface, appear to be impractical or untrue.

Sometimes we can become so focused on the suffering of Jesus on the cross that we fail to see the intended outcome. The suffering of Christ led to the redemption of mankind and the redeemed of Christ will reign with him forever. It is this total picture that gives us hope and courage.

Romans 15:4
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Suffering Christians who overcome the sorrows and tribulations of life will be with God, in his very presence, and participate in the joys of heaven forever. “Only the blood-washed throng can stand before the throne of God and enjoy his presence forever.”

Revelation 7:15-17
15 “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne
and serve him day and night in his Temple.
And he who sits on the throne
will give them shelter.
16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty;
they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun.
17For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.

Questions:
What are your thoughts on suffering and the intended outcome? Do you love your neighbors?

Next Steps:
Take a moment to thank God for his grace and praise him for his plan for us. Look at your efforts to share the Gospel and to love your neighbors as ourself.

Prayer:
Father, you are our God of hope and love. Thank you for sending your only begotten Son into the world so that sinful men might be forgiven of their sins and be given peace with God, through the sacrifice of the precious life of Christ Jesus. Amen.


This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a first time contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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1 reply
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    Huck was very polite in listening to Miss Watson. People are not always so polite today. Our job is only to plant the seed. God will make it grow. I really enjoyed your writing! Thanks for sharing.

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