Devotional

Rejoicing in Time Together

When We Meet Jesus series – Part 1 of 3

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a Mighty One who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you with his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”   Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

My husband and I had the blessing of spending time with many groups of faraway family and friends this summer. Before the two trips, there was great anticipation. We could hardly wait to see our dear ones! It had been two years since seeing some relatives, and more than a decade for others.

First, we had to prepare. We packed, and then stuffed the last items into full suitcases. We put addresses and phone numbers into our cell phones so we could contact family and friends, and so we would have maps for the journey. The car had to be prepared too. New brakes and a radiator were installed. For the second trip we rented a car.

Our plans included a birthday party, a wedding, and meeting a new baby. We purchased gifts and the wrapping paper and ribbon to go with them. A few other gifts made it into our stuff as well, as tokens of our love.

After long days of driving, we arrived at our destinations. As we expected, we were greeted with love. As we were gathered into enthusiastic hugs, we knew we were welcome. Conversations revealed excitement in catching up with each other and sharing our lives. Fun times together included meals, visits to museums, music, and photos of past and new memories.

Too quickly the vacations ended and we parted ways again with hopes to see each other again soon.

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Image by Robert Fotograf from Pixabay 

I got thinking about how it will be when we see Jesus.

There’s great anticipation. Will we meet Him in the air when Jesus returns to earth, or see Him at heaven’s gate waiting for us? What will it be like to finally see Jesus face-to-face? It’s been a long wait.

First, we have to prepare. No suitcases are required. We only need to receive the invitation to be with God forever by our adoption into His family. Having a personal relationship with Jesus makes us heirs with Christ! Scripture gives us the only map needed. Jesus said, “I am the way… no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Our gifts are the gifts of our lives and devotion to God. The best gift has already been given — from Jesus to us – when He died on the cross to pay for the penalty of our sin. Jesus’ sacrificial gift releases us from the power of sin over us and from the everlasting punishment sin earned. Jesus gives us eternal life with Him!

We will be greeted with love. Just imagine our Heavenly Father gathering us into His embrace! The Mighty One will be in our midst. He will quiet us with His love and exult over us with singing! Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He sacrificed His only Son for us. I picture Jesus Christ sitting and talking with us like He did with children and with His disciples on earth. Will I begin to understand how much He loves me when I see His scarred hands? Maybe the Holy Spirit will lovingly explain how He moved within us, catching us up on how God’s plan was worked out within us. There will even be a meal, the Marriage Feast of Christ with His bride, the Church. It looks like a big celebration is planned when we are in heaven with Jesus!

This trip will have no ending. There will be no parting of ways, for believers will be with Jesus forever. What rejoicing there will be when we are all together!  I hope the journey is soon!

Are you ready for the journey? Do you anticipate it with happiness? How do you picture Jesus greeting you?

Dear Lord, thank you for the invitation to live with you, and for making my eternal home with you possible. Please help me to live in anticipation each day until I see You face-to-face. Amen

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals can be found in the Devotional archive.

Devotional

What is LOVE?

Love… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (I Corinthians 13: 7, 8a NKJV)

What do you think of when you think of the word L-O-V-E? Is it hearts, flowers, and chocolate? Valentine’s Day hype? Or is it something deeper? Is love romance and sex? Is love the deep care for another? What about love for our family and friends?

If love, as we know it, is so enduring and never fails, why do so many relationships fall apart?

Could it be that we need to follow a better definition of love?

Let’s take a look at the Bible’s description of love using a variety of Bible versions of I Corinthians 13.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.  (NLT) The New King James Version replaces “Love is patient” with Love suffers long. Certainly some of our patience with others can require some longsuffering. It’s easy to lash out or become irritated rather than to show kindness and patience. I’ve found that I have to swallow pride to go to my husband of 36 years and tell him I was wrong in a spat. An ‘I told you so’ does additional  harm if I’m boasting I was right. Oh, that I would love like God does! I’m so glad my Heavenly Father is patient and kind with me.

5 [Love] is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; (RSV)  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (NIV) Ouch. This part of the definition of love is one I need to practice more. How many times have I been irritated when the dishes have been left on the table, or angry when I thought my ‘rights’ were being ignored or I thought something would have been better if it was done my way. Didn’t I just tell my husband of someone’s wrong against me? That does not honor the person, and it certainly does not honor my Lord God.

6 [Love] does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. (NKJV) It does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.(RSV) A prayer partner once told me that while she wanted me to pray for her prodigal child, the specifics were best left to the Lord and not told. She didn’t want the actions of her daughter to become the focal point, or a matter of gossip disguised as a prayer request. What was important was the young woman’s return to Christ.

7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (NLT)   It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV)

8 Love never fails.(NKJV)   Love never ends. (RSV) Did you note the words “never” and “always” in these verses? True love is consistent. The Lord’s love for us is the best example. He never gives up on loving us, no matter what we do or don’t do. His love endures whatever the circumstances.  There is always hope in Jesus Christ and His forgiveness. Jesus persevered even to the cross to show God’s love for us.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (NLT)

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

How can we show true, biblical love to others around us? Is our love the love with which God loves us? Let’s focus on showing true love to our spouse or romantic love interest, to our parents, siblings, children, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to flow through us with LOVE.

Dear Heavenly Father, Please teach me to love others as You love me. Help me to look past another’s foibles and to see them as You do. Amen.

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Key to Bible Versions:

NKJV- New King James Version; NLT –  New Living Translation; NIV –  New International Version; RSV – Revised Standard Version

Love Block photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com