After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.
This was my first time to visit the Caldwell House in the Cataloochee area of the Great Smoky Mountains. It is not like most of the other cabins that have been preserved in the park. Instead of logs and mortar, it is two stories with white washed clapboards and blue shutters. I walked up the steps and opened the door to see finished wood work and a carved stair case. As I stood in the hallway the sunlight was streaming through the slightly opened back door and it made everything appear golden. The only thing that I could see through the door was bright light.
As I stood there taking the picture I remembered the image of an open door in the book of Revelation. John tells of a day when in a vision he saw an open door standing before him. As he looked into heaven it must have been amazing to see the light and then to hear God say, “Come up and I will show you around.” This image of an open door to heaven is one that brings us hope. In our darkest days we have this promise that God has made a way for us to be with him. He will open the door for us and we will be with him forever.
In days of darkness, thank you for the bright light of your presence and the promise of the open door.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
One of the places that I wanted to see on our visit to Acadia National Park was the Duck Brook Bridge on one of the carriage roads. The only way to see the carriage roads is to walk, ride a bike, or ride a horse. Luckily I read about a way to get to this bridge by going down a dead end road where there were a few places to park on the side. On the first day we went to see the bridge it was cloudy and gray. The bridge was still pretty and I hardly noticed the marsh on the side of the road where we parked. Since I really wanted to see the bridge and the brook below in good light we went back a couple of days later when we had a blue sky. I was amazed, not at the bridge, but at the marsh on the side of the road alive with color. It was the light that brought the colors of the marsh alive and made them vivid almost beyond belief.
Sometimes our lives are more like that cloudy day at the bridge. We know that there is sun but the skies are gray. Maybe they are gray because of difficult times or maybe they are gray because of our choice to walk on our own that day, away from God’s light. God, like the sun is always there, even when we don't see him clearly. The scriptures tell us that there will be a day when we will always walk with God. The color will always be vivid and there will be no more gray days. There will be no need of the sun for the glory of God will be the light. There will be a new heaven and a new earth; a city where God will reign and his glory will fill our days with vivid, beautiful color.
Lord God Almighty
Make the vivid colors of fall on a clear day fill our eyes with your beauty and remind us of the day when we will live with you and see beauty in your perfect light.
“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Have you seen the Milky Way? It takes some effort. You must find a place that is really dark, a place where all the familiar things that you can see in daylight are no longer discernible. In our busy world we don’t often take the time to sit in a single place long enough to watch the sun set and the sky become dark. When you do find that really dark place to sit, look to the southern sky and you will see the Milky Way. Sometimes you can’t see it - the sky is filled with clouds, the moon shines too brightly, or it isn't the right time of year. On that really dark night as you look to the heavens in amazement, this beautiful sight imprints an image on your heart of the greatness of God who calls each star by name as he brings them forth each night. This same God knows your name and you are as important to him as each star. He made you in his image. The next time there is a clear night and a new moon go to a really dark place and look to the heavens. Take a picture with your mind’s eye and store it in your memory. See the power and majesty of God. Worship him and he will bring beauty to all your darkness.
Creator of the Heavens
We stand in awe of the heavens, the countless stars, and your mighty power and strength. We worship you and thank you for knowing us by name.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
I have lived in sight of the mountains most of my life. I have hiked in them many times, yet I have never really hiked to the top of one until last week. We didn’t really go that day with the intention of hiking a mountain. We were just going to go a short distance up the trail to arch rock but when we got there I decided to keep going to Alum Cave Bluffs. As I climbed higher the view became more and more amazing. It was truly a mountain top experience. There were many people on the trail that day, seeking the clear views that can only come from the top of a mountain.
Climbing a mountain is a physical experience and also a metaphor for a spiritual experience. There are times when we see God more clearly; we catch a vision of what God has planned for his world. While it won’t be like John’s vision of the Holy City from the great, high mountain it will be the vision that we need to keep climbing. We won’t be able to stay on the mountain top. The vision that once was clear will fade at times while we are on this earth. But, as the book of Revelation promises, there will come a time when the mountain top experience will never end. We will see God and live in. his presence.
Thank you for mountains - times when we see your world and you more clearly. Give us this day a vision of your radiance and glory and the strength to keep climbing.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
If I were to be able to image what it will be like when Jesus comes from heaven and catches me up in the clouds, it would be here, in the mountains I call home, and with a sky like this. We have no way of knowing exactly what that day will be like but we do know that he has promised us that we will be with him. I am grateful for the way God reminds us of his promises in the beautiful world he gives us. I am grateful that I know that dear friends and family that have already met you in the clouds are at home with you.
Great God, Creator of Clouds
Thank you for the promises of your word that we see in your world. Keep us walking toward home, even in sad days and days of lost.
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