Church Shopping: Philly’s Restoration

God offers us strength in the midst of our weakness, the ability to see the big picture through patience to find all that he promises, and ultimately Jesus shows us all that is at stake.

robbed

Finding Restoration When you Feel Robbed—Some of you might be sitting out there and feel cheated by God, that he robbed you of what was rightfully yours, a spouse, a child, a job, etc. (Revelation 3:11-13) 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.Jesus describes the people in positive terms: a pillar which is stable and unmoving, a meeting place that they will never be barred from or pushed out of, a new name which would have probably been huge encouragement. When they had the exemption under the heading of Judaism, they had to register their names in a government registry, and now their names had been struck out—but God promises a new name and a new home in the New Jerusalem. In promising a new Jerusalem, Jesus is promising the ultimate reconciliation. Jerusalem was the place where God’s presence physically filled the temple, and now Jesus promises to fill the city with his presence. Listen to the reconciliation in Revelation 21-22: I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…a place with no sun because of the Light of Christ…There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed awayFlowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life.

We get use to disintegration more than reconciliation. One New Year’s Eve at London’s Club, two members had experienced a bitter fall out and hadn’t exchanged a pleasant word in years. The president of the club seeing the division tried to smooth things over, “It is very unkind to be unfriendly at such a time. Go over now and wish him a happy New Year.” So the first guy crossed the room and spoke to his enemy. “I wish you a happy New Year,” he said, “but only one.” Today in the Word, July 5, 1993.

We start to accept brokenness as a reality, when Christ all along has worked to reverse the road. It is what Christ has always been doing—starting with the cross—taking our sins, sitting on the throne—praying on our behalf—and is finalized in the picture of coming in the clouds—restoring what once was.

Remember Thomas Edison’s burning factory. The inventor’s 24-year old son, Charles, searched frantically for his father as the flames billowed from the building remains. He finally found him, calmly watching the fire, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind. “My heart ached for him,” said Charles. “He was 67–no longer a young man–and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, ‘Charles, where’s your mother?’ When I told him I didn’t know, he said, ‘Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.'” The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver the first phonograph.

Instead of choosing a church that meets our needs, ignores our weakness, and keeps us pacified–we are able to look at our weakness and see God’s strength, when we are weighed down under pressure we can see God’s promises, and when we feel robbed we can live for the restoration that is being built!

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