Devotional for May 26

Greetings in Christ,

  “How is going today” is a common phrase spoken to others in passing, and it often said as my place of employment.  More times than not the response given is, “I’m living in paradise.”  Now we all know it is a sarcastic reply and it is the exact opposite of what the person responding really means.  It is a way to diffuse the frustration of the day that person is having, or about to go through as the day progresses. 

  We have all had those days when it seems nothing goes right and just about everything bad happens.  Frustration builds, our patience wears thin, and we do not want to deal with other people.  We want a release from it all looking to find another way to deal with the troubles of the day.  We find ourselves at our wits end trying to stop the onslaught on the things going wrong, or at least find some place to hide to avoid any more disaster. The mind wants to go somewhere it does not have to deal with the troubles of the day.

  We have dreamed of that place where everything goes right.  We have other people waiting on us as we sit on the beach looking at the ocean relaxing in the lounge chair.  We do not have a care in the world.  We enjoy food cooked and ready for us to eat at any time.  We are taking in the beauty of the surroundings as we relax.  Paradise, right?  At least we may think it is paradise.  What does paradise really look like?

 Webster defines paradise as a place of great beauty or happiness.  We connect with this definition of paradise.  It is where our minds go when we look for release of the troubles of the day, or just the troubles of life.  We want to be in a place of beauty and happiness where everything goes right.  We do not want a care in the world.  We want our minds to be free of anything that makes us think or work hard to accomplish what we want for ourselves.  We look to this being our paradise.  The funny thing about this definition, it is listed as the fourth definition in the dictionary.

  The first definition of paradise is heaven, as the final abode of the righteous.  We do not typically attach this definition of paradise; the final abode of the righteous, but it fits what God has in mind for the righteous.  A place where there are no troubles, no sorrow, and no pain.  All of those things we deal with on a daily basis which give us so much trouble is gone forever.  Isaiah describes it this way.  “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them.  Also the cow and the bear will graze,
their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.   The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.  They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” 

  We should know the reason many troubles come our way is because we live in world full of sin.  We cannot avoid things which trouble us here on earth, but we can get all the help we need to live a righteous life in order to get to paradise.  Paul gives some advice to the Corinthians telling them true wisdom is not held by mankind, but it is revealed to mankind through the Holy Spirit.  “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,  which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”

  Jesus also gives some advice to the disciples.  “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.  If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.  These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.  Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

  We know living here on earth has its troubling times for us.  We learn to deal with them as they arise, but we do not have to face them alone.  We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and to help us make the right decisions to follow Jesus’s commands keeping us righteous.  We may not be living in paradise, but we can live like we are going to paradise, and when we live like we are going to paradise we do not fear the troubles we face, but rather let God take control trusting Him to bring us through. 

  The sarcastic response “Living in paradise” can be given by those who dream about being there, but for those who can be called righteous they can claim they will be there one day.

  “I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever.   Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever.   Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.  On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.  They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.  The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.  The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.  All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, and Your godly ones shall bless You.  They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power; to make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts and the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.”  Psalm 145:1-13

  Lord thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit.  May we listen to the Holy Spirit and apply the wisdom to our lives as we live righteously before You.  We are looking forward to spending paradise with You.  Amen


  Mark Johnson
  Psalm 118,145; Isaiah 11:1-9; 1 Corinthians 2:1-13; John 14:21-29

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