Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.08.11.
Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Where Are You Christmas
THURSDAY — One Day All the Tears Will Go Away
Big Point: Christians have hope because our suffering will pale in comparison to what God has in store for us.
Here is a portion of an article titled, “Why Does God Allow Suffering” from former atheist, now well-known pastor and author, Lee Strobel: “Imagine that on the first day of the year, you had a horrible time — you had a horrendous toothache, your stock portfolio plummeted, you crashed your new car. But then each and every one of the remaining 364 days of 2001 was filled with incredible joy. Your stocks rebounded and you made twenty million dollars; you had an idyllic vacation in Tahiti; you got the dream job you’ve always wanted; your daughter gave birth to your first grandchild and named the child after you; you were selected the state’s Person of the Year. Each day is blissful and wonderful.
Now, imagine that at the end of the year someone asks you, ‘How was 2001 for you?’ You’d undoubtedly reply, ‘It was terrific!’ The friend might ask, ‘But didn’t it start out bad?’ “You’d say, ‘Yes, you’re right. I can’t deny that. But when I look at the totality of the year, putting everything into context, it’s been great! The 364 wonderful days far outweighed the one bad day.’
The same is true for heaven—even after a hard life, a life of struggles and difficulties, after the equivalent of 154,563,467 days of pure bliss in the presence of God Almighty in heaven — with infinite more days to come — if someone asked, ‘How has your existence been?’ you’d exclaim enthusiastically, ‘It has been absolutely wonderful!’ If the person inquired, ‘But didn’t you have a tough time before you got to heaven?’ you’d reply, ‘Well, yes, that’s true. I can’t deny that. But when I put everything into context, in light of all God’s outpouring of goodness to me, those momentary bad days aren’t even worth comparing with the eternity of blessings and joy that I’ve experienced!’
READ…What does the Bible say?
John 14:1-3 (New Living Translation)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
Revelation 21:4 (New Living Translation)
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
THINK…Find the answers
Read John 14:1-3 and the commentary about this passage of scripture. Jesus knew that we would be facing tremendous difficulties in this life. What comfort does Jesus offer believers in John 14:1-3?
What did you think about today’s introductory story? Revelation 21:4 contains a promise to all who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Once we leave this earth, why is it that all pain, death, and sadness flees forever?
Commentary on John 14:1-3:
This passage starts what is called Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” where He gives His most passionate and important instructions to His Disciples and us. Here, Jesus is not consumed with His own coming agony, but rather turns attention to his disciples and their needs. Jesus comforts, encourages, admonishes, and coaches them. He warns them not only of his impending death, but also of the trials they will face in building the Kingdom. He shows us that He is the way, the role of the Holy Spirit, the importance of our connectivity to Him to produce faith and fruit – and that even in persecution, we will always be comforted as we remain in him. (from intothyword. org)
LIVE…What will you do now?
Look at Revelation 21:4 again. What sadness, pain, or sorrow will you be glad to be rid of when you get to heaven one day?
How do you feel knowing that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, that there will come a time when you will no longer feel pain or sorrow about the things that happened in this life?
PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Jesus understands what you are going through today—but Jesus also knows what eternal joy and peace await those who live their life in faith to him. In your prayer time today, focus on Jesus’ promises to you for the future and thank him.
DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ezra 1-5
1:5 “whose hearts God had moved…” The primary underlying message of Ezra and Nehemiah is that the sovereign hand of God is at work in perfect keeping with His plan at His appointed time. God stirred up not only the spirit of Cyrus to make the decree, but His own people to go and build up Jerusalem and the temple.
3:3 “fear of the peoples around them…” The settlers who had come to occupy the land during the seventy years of Israel’s absence were deportees brought in from other countries by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. These inhabitants saw the Jews as a threat and quickly wanted to undermine their allegiance to God.
3:12 “who had seen the former temple…” The temple built by Solomon.
4:1 “the enemies of Judah…” These were Israel’s enemies in the region who resisted their reestablishment.
4:2 “have been sacrificing to him…” This claim was falsely made by the Samaritans who had developed a superstitious form of worshiping God.
4:5 “frustrate their plans…” This caused a sixteen year delay. As a result, the people took more interest in their personal affairs than spiritual matters.
4:21 “issue an order to stop…” This command was not a small order for one or two workers, but the efforts of 50,000 were called to a halt. This decree would not lose its authority until the king established a new decree.
5:5 “the eye of God was watching…” God’s hand of protection which led this endeavor allowed the work to continue while official communication was ongoing with the king.