Category Archives: God’s Kingdom

The Visitation

THE VISITATION

My newest painting has a story and a message. It portrays a few of the great moments in my book, The Greatest Moment. Enjoy the painting as you ponder the greatness of God.

An ancient mountain stands tall in the background from which flows a mighty river. The waters run pure and support life. Above, the sky is aflame with anointing. A dove hovers in the foreground, waiting for the right moment to descend. Evergreens grow strong as they reach towards the heavens. One tree, though, is different from the others. Like the river, it also contains life and its leaves provide healing for those who are hurting. A little lost lamb comes to drink from the living waters and is refreshed. All those who are thirsty are welcome in this place.

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The Best Water of All

The Best Water of All

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Revelation 7:17).

Scripture: Revelation 7:9–17

Song: “Springs of Living Water” (by John W. Peterson)

One afternoon, while hunting for a new camping spot in the Mammoth area of Central California, my father drove his truck into an alpine meadow. It was beautiful. The meadow offered the perfect place for pitching a tent, with level terrain and ponderosa pines to offer shade. However, one essential thing was missing—fresh water. After setting up our campsite, Dad hiked up the canyon to search for a mountain spring. In a few hours, he returned with a grin on his face, carrying a canteen of spring water.

With each new trip, the path to the springs became more established and easier to traverse. In a few years, others were following the trail my father had blazed. Many campers now enjoy this meadow because someone first led the way to water.

One day, Jesus will lead His sheep to a heavenly water source. Much like the tree of life in Revelation, these precious waters have eternal properties. The springs are pure, limitless, and spiritually refreshing. At the springs of living water, we will always find safety, peace, and contentment—no tears allowed.

God and Father, not only is Your Son my shepherd in this lifetime, He will shepherd me throughout all eternity. I can hardly wait to see Lord Christ in person and drink from the springs of living water. A long, satisfying drink will be worth the wait. I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord. Amen.

“The Best Water of All” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2011 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

How Willing?

How Willing?

Read Matthew 23:23–39

When Joshua took possession of the land of Canaan, he left the fortified city of Jerusalem under Jebusite control. It remained that way until the reign of King David. Although David had a ruling city, he saw the advantage of Jerusalem over Hebron. Leading a daring attack, David captured Jerusalem and made it his new capital. The Jewish people still refer to it as the City of David and sometimes as Zion (2 Samuel 5:7).

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37).

Jesus spoke here of all the Jews. They were special, called of God, but unwilling to come together and follow Him.

God desires to gather all His children in unity. He wants us to lay aside our differences and worship Him, to pray together, to work side by side in the harvest, to serve only Him. The call to Jerusalem echoes to the Church today—how willing are we?

Thought for Today: Only at the cross are we truly made willing.

Quicklook: Matthew 23:37–39

—Charles Earl Harrel

God’s Word for Today © 2007 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

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Delivery Day

Kingdom of God

Delivery Day   

Read Matthew 24:1–28

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:7, 8).

The nightly news has begun. By the time it ends, reporters will cover the latest military conflict, increasing crime, devastating earthquakes, and record-setting weather. After the commercial break, we hear about deadly viruses, diseases with no known cure, inner cities filled with hate, and hungry children. In some countries, whole cities are starving.

Fires of unrest are sprouting in every nation, bloodshed their answer for everything. Death tolls are rising on all fronts. The newscaster ends his broadcast on a happy note, but even a heart-touching story cannot erase the images just seen.

All these “birthing pains” were foretold by Jesus. They are laborious but leading somewhere. With each contraction, the world announces the delivery of something grand—the arrival of a new kingdom—one filled with righteousness.

Challenge for Today:  Be patient, the delivery will be on time, and soon.

Quicklook: Matthew 24:4–8

—Charles Earl Harrel

God’s Word for Today © 2007 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

Order God’s Word for Today devotional guides.
Visit Gospel Publishing House.

Looking Ahead

jesus-returnLooking Ahead           

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him (2 Peter 3:14).

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:14–18
Song: “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder”

I met Smeedy at the Carpenter Shop, a teen outreach ministry in Reedley, California. He rarely missed a service or function. Smeedy was the first to arrive and the last to leave. He always carried a paperback Good News for Modern Man, which he folded in half and tucked into the right back pocket of his jeans. When not reading this Bible, he was praying. Sometimes you had to interrupt him if you wanted to speak with him.

A few kids thought Smeedy’s behavior a little strange. And yes, he was a unique personality. But to me, he seemed like the real deal—the kind of Christian mentioned in the book of Acts. I respected his dedication and faith in God.

judgment-daySmeedy believed Jesus could return at any time. So he’d often ask people whether they were ready to stand before God and give an account of their lives. The approach didn’t endear him with everyone. But we know that the disciples shared the same concern. In today’s verse, Peter looks forward to a future day in eternity called the Day of the Lord. Since this day of reckoning is approaching, Peter exhorts us to conduct our lives accordingly.

Lord, help me live in expectation of what lies ahead in eternity. Until then, may my conduct be acceptable in Your sight. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Looking Ahead” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2010 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

 

All Pieces Necessary

jigsaw puzzle

ALL PIECES NECESSARY

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others (Romans 12:4, 5).

Scripture: Romans 12:3–8
Song: “Bind Us Together”

Long before video games, high-definition television, cell-phone text messaging, and surfing the World Wide Web, people entertained themselves with less technical pursuits. One of them was putting jigsaw puzzles together. My sister and I loved working on them: the more pieces, the better. If Mom and Dad joined in, then we each took a corner and worked toward the middle. Sometimes it took weeks to complete one—all the more fun.

Occasionally, pieces disappeared, no doubt chewed up by Whiskers, our dog. What a disappointment to work for weeks on a picture and not finish it because of missing pieces! It didn’t matter which ones were gone; without all of them, the picture was incomplete, fragmented.

The same holds true for the church. We need everyone and every ministry if Christ’s body is to be whole and healthy. Each jagged-edged member fits perfectly together when Christ becomes the focus of the picture. All members have their own specialty, each one complementing the other.

O Lord, I realize my contributions to the body of Christ are valuable. When I am absent from the body, an essential piece of the ministry is missing. Being needed feels good! Thank you, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“All Pieces Necessary” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2010 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

Come to the Glory

God's gloryCome to the Glory

I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory (Isaiah 66:18, New King James Version).

Scripture: Isaiah 66:18–20
Song: “To God Be the Glory”

The church bulletin read: “Come to the service tonight, and experience the glory of God.” It sounded interesting. Being a new Christian, I wasn’t sure what the glory of God was, so I decided to attend and find out. I half expected to see a pillar of fire or someone turning water into wine. Instead, I saw people kneeling at the altar or lying prostrate on the floor, their faces buried in the carpet. Some were silent; others cried softly. Most of the people just sat in their pews, eyes closed, with smiles on their faces. It didn’t take me long to drop my preconceived ideas and move toward the altar.

Sometimes the glory of God comes as an outward manifestation, expressing itself in a visible sign or wonder. Other times it is inward, like a still small voice whispering that God is worthy.

We can see God’s glory in His judgments or in His great mercy. Either way, it beckons us to watch in awe and then draw closer. One day, all people will experience His glory . . . but there’s no penalty for starting early.

O Lord, from the first day of creation to now, Your glory remains in plain view. Each day, Your glorious presence draws me closer, and I fall deeper in love with You. In the blessed name of Jesus, I give You thanks. Amen.

“Come to the Glory” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2009 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.