I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them."
I am anticipating gathering with family this weekend. My husband and I are packed up, ready to drive to our son’s home where the two of us, along with our five children, one son-in-law, our grandson, and two friends will be together for an entire weekend. My heart is overjoyed at the prospect!
I just love each of my family members, I really do like them! I enjoy spending time with them. I relish the conversations and laughter we share.
When my children were young, I tried to spend time playing and appreciating quiet moments with them. But, as any parent knows, much time is consumed every day just meeting their needs; leaving parents tired and longing for tranquil time alone.
I wouldn’t have wanted my children to have remained little forever; that would be unnatural. My husband and I were not raising children to be children; we raised them to be adults. Still, it would be wonderful to cuddle them just one more time when they were 10 or tuck them into bed when they were six, or read that favorite story again to that four-year-old. I do not dwell on those days gone by, but rather savor those sweet memories. And I look forward to meeting with them now, at their present adult ages, with their adult thoughts and yes, even adult problems. These are special times as well.
Jesus was physically with his disciples for three years. Day in and day out, Jesus lived life with these men. He had memories of when he first met each of them. He knew their strengths and weaknesses. Scripture tells us that Jesus loved these men right up to the end of his life on earth. John 13:1 reads: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
The gospel writer, Luke, wrote about this gathering, quoting Jesus as saying to his disciples, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16).
During this last Passover time, knowing that his time of suffering was near, Jesus needed strength and encouragement, and he longed to be with those closest to him in the world.
That’s how God created us; we need each other. The biological families that we have, may not be where we can draw such strength and encouragement, but sometimes they are.
Just over a year ago, I gathered with my family for my mother’s funeral. It was a sad time, but also a time of hope for we knew that our Nana was with Jesus. The strength and encouragement we gained from gathering together was so important. My children gave me strength as we celebrated my mom’s life.
I think that our Heavenly Father looks forward with great anticipation to the day when he will have all of his children home with him.
The disciple John wrote of this future gathering in Revelation 21, “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people.God himself will be with them. 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.’ And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’ And then he said to me, ‘Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true’” (Revelation 21:3-5 NLT).
Weekly Memory Verse
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.