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Our future confidence: “all things new”

January 7, 2022

Daily Scripture

Revelation 21:1-5

Revelation 21:1-5

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

We value the fresh start(s) each New Year brings. But even as we celebrate the New Year, we know each human year brings some disappointments and pain, too. But the Bible’s grand story ends with a better promise: “Look! I’m making all things new,” truly new. Revelation 21 drew from Ezekiel 43:7’s vision of a restored temple as God’s “throne” and Isaiah 65:17-19’s announcement that God would make all things new and banish all sadness.

  • The ancient world counted on high city walls and strong gates shut out danger. In that world, Revelation 21:25 said something amazing about God’s eternal city: “On no day will its gates ever be shut.” As 2022 begins, there are plenty of frightening things going on in our world. What “walls and gates,” which might fail, are you counting on? How can you build your faith in God’s indestructible eternal city? How does Christ’s presence today calm your spirit?
  • No matter what life brings, we, like those first Christians, can trust that THIS is where history is going: “God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” In the end, we trust, our God will reign unchallenged and unrivaled. As Pastor Hamilton wrote, “I don’t know your politics, but if you are a Christian, I know your King.” * What is most meaningful for you about giving your allegiance to Jesus as the eternal King who rules your life?

Jesus, God with us, you are already making me new. I can hardly wait for you to complete that work, for me and for our world. Fill me with your hope and energy this day and every day. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of  Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe & his wife, Doris, first met in a Resurrection Single Adult Sunday School class in 1997 & were married in what is now the Student Center. They are empty nesters with 2 college-aged sons, Matthew & Jacob. Darren serves as a Couples Small Group co-leader & Men's Group Leader, while volunteering in a variety of other capacities at Resurrection.

Ah, a new year is upon us. Which of course means the psuedo-obligatory New Year’s Resolutions. Some resolve to exercise more, eat less, or improve our behavior. Like the lady who vowed to be more cautious with her words & not put her foot in his mouth in 2022, then had the following conversation with a friend:

Friend: I bet you can’t guess my New Year’s Resolution.

Woman: To lose weight or to update your hairstyle?

Friend: (Staring) No. I’m going to learn to speak Spanish.

Woman: Oh.

As one ponders New Year’s pledges, it is easy to imagine resolutions for some of our favorite Biblical friends.

  • Eve: I’m going to be an Android girl in 2022. No more Apple or Apple related products for me. (Tip: Always thoroughly read the terms & conditions.) (Eve’s experience in the Garden of Eden with the forbidden fruit probably tainted her view of the Blackberry phone, too.)
  • Goliath: I think it’s time to give up the whole “war-monger” thing & follow my true passion & play basketball for the “Phighting Philistines” in the N.B.A. (Nineveh Basketball Association.) (Hook shots are probably preferable to sling shots. 1 Samuel 17)
  • Joshua: After our victory at Jericho, I think we’ll form a permanent marching band with uniforms & color guard – the works. We’ll call it “The Pride of the Promised Land.” (Joshua 5:13-6:20)
  • John the Baptist: Going to finally open my insect-themed restaurant – “The Best Grub(s) in the Galilee!” (John’s legendary diet could become trendy. Matthew 3:4)
  • Samson: I’m going to follow Delilah’s advice & get rid of my comb-over this year. I think she’s right. I’ll look more hip with a man-bun. (Judges 16:17-19)
  • John (The Disciple): After that dream of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, no more late-night pizza & John Wayne western movies for me. (Revelation 6:1-7)
  • Noah: Not going to hear me gripe about the weather again. As the great prophet, B.J. Thomas, wrote, “Never gonna’ stop the rain by complainin’.” (After his Oceans of Fun experience, this seems apt – Genesis 6:9-7:24)
  • Joseph of Arimathea: I’ve been such a packrat through the years, collecting cups from sporting events, mugs from church new member programs, & even chalices from Passover meals, it’s now time to downsize. Someone, somewhere, could really want this old stuff. (Considering his role in the legend of the Holy Grail, he’s probably right.)
  • Jeremiah: Laugh more. More re-runs of “The Carol Burnett Show” & less “Old Yeller” for me in 2022. (Jeremiah, a.k.a. the Weeping Prophet, could probably stand a break from the tearjerker genre – Lamentations)
  • King Solomon: Simplify my life. After I buy Henry David’s Thoreau’s Walden’s Pond for my Kindle, I’m going to quit surfing Amazon. (Simplicity was not Solomon’s strong suit – 1 Kings 10:14-29)

We’ve heard a lot of expert opinions the past 2 years that have turned out to not be so wise. Chatting with a group of friends last week, we concluded that we would probably have been better served just following our Grandmother’s advice from the get-go:

  • Get outside & enjoy the fresh air
  • Get in the sunshine (Experts have now concluded that vitamin D is helpful.)
  • Too much TV is bad for you (Change to “screen-time” & even the experts have concluded that encouraging young people to spend even more time in front of screens has caused some issues.)
  • Get out of the house & play with your friends (Physical distancing can be necessary, but social distancing has a lot of unintended consequences.)
  • Don’t slouch (Well, some advice applies to any era.)
  • Go to church

Our friend, John, in today’s passage would emphasize this last tip. Perhaps we should take the “expert advice” with a grain of salt &, instead, choose to place our trust in God. As John might say, “You’ve tried the rest, now try the Best.”

Maybe 2022 is the perfect year to quit looking solely to earthly sources to find our hope & peace. What if we really began to look to God as the basis for our joy, our hope, & our peace? We could start by spending time chatting with Him in prayer, then join a group to discuss His characteristics, & then start to determine exactly what He thinks of us. I would submit that after we discover the lengths that God will go to show His love for each & every one of us, 2022 might become a year of great possibility & amazing potential.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

** Adam Hamilton. Incarnation: Rediscovering the Significance of Christmas (Kindle Locations 345-346). Abingdon. Kindle Edition.