Monthly Archives: December 2009

Revelation 21,22

The Ultimate New Year

Scripture

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

~Revelation 21:5

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

12“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

17The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

~Revelation 22:1, 12,13, 17 (ESV)

Observation

Eternity is already a certainty. Written in stone so to speak. It has yet to actually occur, but here we find what the ultimate reward will look like. Completely perfect and pure, just as the Creator Himself.

Kind of like a redo of Eden, but this time with the knowledge of the consequence for those that rejected God’s plan. This time around we have seen first hand how far God is willing to go to show us His love. This time, paradise won’t come to an end.

The book of Revelation and the entire Bible end with this stirring vision of the New Jerusalem. A glimpse into the glory and perfection that we as Christians will enjoy for eternity. No expense spared, all evil barred at the gates, the same, but completely different. Fresh, renewed, purified, bright, lovingly prepared, completely incomprehensible to our human minds.

Yet, He calls us to come. The judgment day remains at least a minute away, but maybe no more than that. John writes passionately about the need to not delay. How can we ignore the loving plea of our Savior who wrote this invitation with His own blood?

Application

Everything begins and ends with God. Creation through Revelation. Each of my days should be the same – starting and ending with Him.

As we wrap up a great year of Bible study, we also stand at a new beginning. A new opportunity to read God’s Word afresh. We all need to make a continued commitment to be in God’s Word on a daily basis in the year ahead, and 66 books will be right there.

Let’s not miss this opportunity to evaluate where we are at, and where we have yet need to be. Take time to look at the purity and holiness of God and heaven. Savor it, crave it, and make practical, individualized decisions to take steps toward greater holiness in the year ahead.

I really need to look at sin in my life without a shred of compassion or excuse. God hates it. Heaven won’t tolerate it, better learn to live without it now.

Prayer

Lord, please keep me looking with fresh perspective as I read in Your Word. Thank you for the hope we have to come, the rewards for those of us who overcome in Your strength. Thank you for the promise of something new, and eternal peace. I look forward to an eternity with You. Reveling in Your love that I still can’t grasp. Thank you, Lord, for another amazing year of walking with You, and for the promises of the one ahead and the thousands of years beyond.~Amen

Erin (5intow)

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Revelation 19-20

Scripture:

“At this I fell at his (angel’s) feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!” (Revelation 19:10, NIV)

Observation:

I think that we have been led to believe that angelic appearances were common occurrences in biblical times. Instead they were quite rare. In fact, when the angel appeared to Mary to tell her she would birth God’s Son, there hadn’t been an angelically-delivered message in several thousand years. It would be no different than an angel showing up in my living room at this very moment…the same amount of shock and disbelief due to the rarity of the event.

When in the presence of an angel, a human’s instinctive reaction is to bow down and worship the being. I was recently told that this is true of every angelic appearance in the Bible. It was also explained to me that in every case, the angel instructed the human to stop worshiping the angel and instead worship GOD.  I haven’t personally checked into each account to see if this is accurate so please don’t hold me to it. It would make an interesting study though…one I may look into this holiday week.

Application:

So what if an angel DID appear to me at this very moment? What would I do? I’ve been pondering this for a bit. I honestly don’t think I would worship the being but I probably would fall down out of sheer shock or fear. After regaining my composure I’d listen (with fear and trembling) to the message the angel had for me. But the imaginary scenario that follows will give you some insight into the bizarre way my mind works.

As I played out this pretend angelic visit, I imagined that the angel gave me the opportunity to send a message back to God which the angel would deliver for me. What would I ask Him? What shocked me was my response. I wouldn’t need to ask Him anything. He has already revealed everything I need to know: I already know about salvation; I’ve been informed how to live for Him; I’ve been told that LOVE is the recipe for living and that my relationship with HIM is the main ingredient; I know that the whys, how-comes, and what-ifs are all answered by “because I AM” and everything is part of HIS plan and for HIS glory. So at the end of the day (or at the end of an angelic appearance) there is nothing more I need to ask of God.

Is this arrogant? Quite the opposite… it is mortifyingly humiliating. Because the bottom line is…I already know what “to-do” yet I don’t do it. It’s as though God has said, “I’ve already told you all you need to know. Now if you would just live it.”

Prayer:

God, I don’t know how You put up with me. I think I must be the epitome of a two year old who needs to be told over and over again what to do and still doesn’t get it. I’ll never understand Your patience with me. But I am eternally grateful for it. Amen.

simplyspoken

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Passage: Revelation 17-18

Scripture:

“They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers” (Rev. 17:14)(NIV).

Application:

“The Beginning and The End.”

I am struck by the humble intensity of this verse – a lamb overcoming the powers of evil. There is a meekness and a fire here that only God is capable of. He is sovereign. He will destroy every form of evil in His time. He will judge the living and the dead, and will make reparations for what has been lost. Revelation is full of fire and intensity. But the Lamb’s tender love for us motivates His actions throughout the Bible, and for all eternity. He is the same here, at the Bible’s end, as He was in the beginning, when He reached out from the cosmos to create us in His image.

Observation:

I started this Biblical journey in Genesis: Christianity’s prologue, describing the downfall of mankind and his separation from God after the events in the Garden of Eden. I am ending it in Revelation: Christianity’s quixotic epilogue, in which God and man are reconciled through Christ. And so the beginning and the end reveal the Bible’s single, interminable thread: God loves us. He has pursued us for millennia, given us miracles and wonders, pillars of smoke and seas split open, His own Son, and the Holy Spirit as our counselor, because He loves us. Revelation is the marriage of the Church (us!) and it’s Creator. Ultimately, the Bible is a love story. And here, in Revelation, is our happily-ever-after.

Prayer:

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your un-ending pursuit of me. Let me live my life worthy of Your love until that exalted day in which I meet you face to face.

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen” (Rev. 22:20-21).

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Revelation 14-16

Scripture:

“Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.” (Revelation 15:3, NIV)

Observation:

My deeds? Today I lost my temper when my kids weren’t ready to leave the house on time. I avoided a phone call with a person that I didn’t want to befriend. I snapped at my husband about how “I do everything around here”, even though he works every bit as hard as I do.–Harder.

My ways? Impatient and unloving. Anxious and judgmental. Self-seeking and guarded.

Application:

My deeds and ways are nothing to celebrate. But the God enthroned in heavenly glory has higher ways, and his deeds are perfect. Moses’ song proclaims that God’s deeds are great and marvelous, his deeds are just and true, and he is the King of all ages. Not just the king of a fleeting nation, or the ruler over an era in time. Our God is the great, marvelous, just, and true King of all ages. The only one worthy of worship.

Prayer:

God, I praise you. I celebrate your marvelous deeds and your perfect ways. I honor you as the only eternal, holy King. King of the ages, be King of my heart today. Amen.

amystorms

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Revelation 12-13

Scripture:

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” (Revelation 12:10, NIV)

Observation:

A few months ago, my seven-year-old picked up the phrase, “Don’t blame me.” She repeated it frequently, often in an incorrect context.

“It’s cold outside, but don’t blame me.”

“I don’t want my lima beans. Don’t blame me.”

Something in human nature defends against blame. We don’t want to be at fault. The problem is, because of sin, we are. We are, justifiably and eternally, to blame.

Application:

But! Praise God! In his salvation, I have freedom from sin. By his power, I am no longer at fault. And under the authority of his Christ, I can say to my Accuser, “You are not my master. Don’t blame me.”

Prayer:

God, too often I listen to the lies of my accuser, who reminds me of my old life of sin and death. I walk around in shame and regret. But, You have hurled him down. You don’t blame me. Thank You for Your salvation and life-giving power. Help me to walk in it. Amen.

amystorms

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Revelation 9-11

Scripture

“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “ The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”  Rev 11:15 NKJV

Observation

The book of revelation is full of some many symbols and is difficult to understand.  The bottom line is that Jesus Christ has won and He shall reign forever and ever.

Application

God’s story is amazing how all the pieces have come together.  The final book of the bible crescendos with the praise and worship of Jesus.  Some of the parts of Revelation give us a glimpse of what heaven will be like.  My desire is to live more and more in the reality that Jesus is reining forever and ever.  I want my life to reflect that truth and have it guide my day to day living.

Prayer

Lord you will and are reining forever and ever.  I pray that I share that truth with others and live my life with that as my center.  You are worthy of all praise and worship.  Amen

Jon

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Revelation 6-8

Scripture

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 they cried out in a loud voice:  “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9a, 10 NIV)

Observation

In the midst of the darkest period of human history, we see this multitude of believers standing before the throne of the Lamb.  Looking at the passage, we notice several things:  First, they are wearing white robes, a reference to 6:9-11, where those who were martyred “because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained” were given white robes.  Second, they came “out of the great tribulation” (7:14), meaning they were killed during this specific period in history, and are now in heaven before the throne of God.  Third, there is an uncountable multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language – the ultimate fulfillment of Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every people.

These tribulation martyrs give us a glimpse of what eternity with God looks like.  No hunger, no thirst, no scorching heat from the sun, and best of all, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (7:17b).  The message is clear – the only ones who need to fear the wrath of God laid out in Revelation are the unbelieving enemies of God.  For those that believe, death is a friend that ushers them into a Christ-filled eternity.

Application

I was telling my kids the Christmas story tonight, trying to put Joseph and Mary’s journey and experience long ago into terms my 3-year-old daughter could understand.  She got pieces of it, but when I finished, her response was “Daddy, look how big those lights are on the tree.”  I have to admit, when I try to understand what eternity and heaven will be like, I feel just as dazed by it all as my daughter was tonight.  I take comfort knowing that I can trust the Maker of the universe with my future.  I don’t need to know every detail of the eternal state; I just need to know the One who was born long ago who died for me.

Prayer

Thank you, Jesus, for coming to earth and dying for me.  You paid the price for my sin and gave me a hope and a future with you.  I stand in awe of your plans for the future, and I trust in your unfailing love and faithfulness to those that believe.  Help me to share the good news of your grace with others this Christmas day, for your glory and our good.

(wordisalive)

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