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October 31, 2013

Sunset cross 10/30/13
Last night's sunset featured a cross-like pattern in the sky.

"The Ultimate Celebration"

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"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9,10).
"After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God" (Revelation 19:1).

Death's chilly waters I'll soon be crossing,
His hand will lead me safely o'er,
I'll join the chorus in that bright city,
And sing up there forever more.

Last night the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. Having lived in New England and attending several games at Fenway Park I certainly can imagine the excitement at this World Series victory, although certainly not quite to the same degree as in 2004 when their last previous victory had been in 1918! However this was their first time winning a series at Fenway for 95 years.

Red Sox victory celebrationI enjoy the excitement of the game but I especially enjoy watching the postgame celebration. It's pretty predictable with the players running to the center of the field and jumping all over each other. I have watched these since my childhood although rarely for "my" team. Growing up in Kansas City Missouri my home town has not exactly had a multitude of championships (one in football and one in baseball). My adopted cities have done better with Pittsburgh, the teams we followed while living in western PA and Boston having several championships.

I hope many of you have experienced similar times of excitement in life. It may have been due to the
victory of your favorite sport's team. Even non baseball fans should be able to identify with the excitement in Boston last night.

But we also consider the various occasions in life that are celebratory such as a birth, marriage, long sought reconciilation or other personal achievement. From the eternal perspective we consider the joy of one coming to Christ, a Christian baptism or victorious overcoming. Even a funeral service can be celebration for a life lived well.

Anyway, sports fan or not we have a celebration coming that will make any earthly celebration absolutely pale in comparison. Today's Scripture portions give us a glimpse of this celebration.
Indeed, as the old gospel song says,

"When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!"

Revelation 7:10

Consider the great multitude in the glimpse of that celebration in our daily text.  People of faith comprise "a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language." Representation from every generation since Adam and Eve will be present.  Enoch will be there, along with Noah and Abraham, and all who have lived by faith throughout the ages.  We know the names of only a tiny fraction of this great multitude that happen to be recorded in Biblical history, church history or well-known people of faith in our own time.  The vast, vast majority will just be ordinary people like you and me. 

The skin color of the redeemed next to us won't matter.  Neither will their ethnic background or age.  Who knows, I might be standing near a black believer from Kenya who lived for God hundreds or even thousands of years ago! 

We will be "standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb."  This is a glimpse I can scarcely imagine. The Lord will need to make a transformation for me since I'm not drawn to large crowds but I am most confident that it won't matter here. I will be engaged in worship to the only true God.

Frankly I don't know how comfortable I'll be wearing a white robe and holding palm branches in my hands.  But I know I'll get over it, because the real focus will be toward the throne and the Lamb.

I have a loud voice and I'll have no difficulty making the greatest declaration of all time as I stand with the redeemed multitude and cry out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb"!  That will be the ultimate celebration! Won't you join me there for the ultimate celebration?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we the redeemed declare that praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength belong to You, our God, forever and ever.  Never again will there be hunger, never again will there be thirst.  You will wipe away every tear from the eyes of those who have suffered making us long for that glorious eternal event that will take place in our lives. It is in the name of Jesus that we come to You in prayer. Amen!

(Prayer adapted from Revelation 7)

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Oh,What A Savior"   Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

"When We All Get to Heaven"  Video  Homecoming

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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