Monthly Archives: December 2019

Revelation 10-14

Revelation can be a terrifying book to read and a difficult thing to understand.

However, the one thing I’m always drawn to, fascinated with, and encouraged by is the great and mighty throng that worship God in Heaven. All throughout this book, we see a common thread of worship described in the most beautiful terms.

And even in this passage, in the midst of the suffering and judgement being poured out onto the earth below, those in Heaven are worshiping and praising God Almighty for His power, love, goodness, and justice.

Revelation 11:15 (NIV)

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

“The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever.”

This passage makes me so excited for Heaven.

I can’t wait for the salvation that we’ve been promised to finally be fully realized.

I can’t wait for the moment when Jesus finally has complete victory and rule over the earth.

I can’t wait for pain, suffering, and death to be gone.

I can’t wait for the joy of His presence.

And I can’t wait to worship God with millions of others who have been set free by Jesus and are overcome by the love of God.

Oh the love of God. It’s beyond comprehension.

Christmas is but a glimpse.

Easter a glimmer.

Heaven is where we will finally see in full the beautiful masterpiece God has been creating for thousands of years.

And it will be beautiful.

And we will worship.

And He shall reign forevermore.

Father, thank You for your great love in sending Jesus to live in our world, take on our sin, and die our death so that we could one day soon enter into Your Kingdom and live with You forever. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your power. Thank You for Your justice. I can’t wait to worship You in Your home, as You sit on upon Your throne in victory, but in the meantime, I will worship You here and now as You give me glimpses of the great joy that awaits me in Heaven with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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Revelation 5-9

11 Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. 12 And they sang in a mighty chorus:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing.”

13 And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
belong to the one sitting on the throne
and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
(Rev 5:11-13) NLT

In these chapters, John continues to give us a vivid description of Jesus and all that leads up to the second coming of Christ as revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. All of creation sings praises to God the Father and Jesus.

13 Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?”

14 And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.”

Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.

15 “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne
and serve him day and night in his Temple.
And he who sits on the throne
will give them shelter.
16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty;
they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun.
17 For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7:13-17)

I can persevere in this life because of these promises–the hope of knowing that one day Jesus will make all things right, that he will take away all the pain and suffering, and I will be in His presence through all eternity. I believe this and hold fast to them. Everything in this book I’ve been reading all year is true. I stake my eternal life on the Word.

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour. (Rev 8:1)

All the praising stopped! It was silent for 30 minutes. I think all of heaven prepared for what was about to come. The consequence of sin and those who chose not to believe in Jesus for salvation was about to begin. I think even in those 30 minutes God was giving people a chance, one last chance, to accept his son.

20 But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk! 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their immorality or their thefts. (Rev 9:20-21) NLT

After all the terrors (the NIV calls them woes) set upon the earth in chapters 8 and 9, there were still those who were unwilling to repent and accept Jesus. Their hearts were so hardened, nothing could get through to them. Woe to them is really what comes to mind. My heart breaks for these people and tears well up in my eyes at the possibility of any of my loved ones being in this group. It is why I must continually and fervently pray for those who have not yet accepted Jesus as their Savior.

Lord Jesus, I know that one day I will be in your presence and I, too, will sing praises and worship you. You are my Shepherd. There are many in my family that have not yet accepted you and I pray for their salvation. Please work in their hearts, reveal yourself to them, let them know you as Savior. I pray this not only for my loved ones, but for all who have not believed. Use me to tell my story of you, your love, your kindness, and your forgiveness. May they see all you have done to change me and seek you to do the same in their own lives. As we celebrate your birth on this Christmas Eve, may many come to understand the sacrifice you made for all of us, so none would be lost. Thank you for coming from heaven to this earth as a baby. You alone are worthy of worship.  In your precious name I pray. Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Revelation 1-4

I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:3-4 ESV)

Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10 ESV)

I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. (Revelation 2:19)

I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. (Revelation 3:1-2)

How many of these congregants thought they were doing the right thing day in and day out until these letters arrived? How would we evaluate our own personal, spiritual lives?

Many of us in America today live in a state of spiritual gluttony. Donald Whitney points this out in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. And, I find it quite fitting in light of these letters written thousands of years ago. Just as they did, we would likely come up a little short during a truly honest evaluation.

Just take a minute to think about the opportunities to spiritually gorge yourself surrounding you on any given day.

How many . . .

churches within an hour drive?

Bible studies offered at those churches on any given day of the week?

Christian kids’ programs in the evenings?

Bibles on bookshelves around your home?

Christian radio stations within your area? (or jump on the internet)

Podcasts? Books? Bookstores? Christian counselors? Christian schools?

With this smorgasbord ever at our disposal, our problem is not lack of  opportunity for spiritual growth, but rather a spiritual food coma.

Sometimes we sit back, content to soak in God’s love and goodness toward us. Other times we find an isolated place to ponder a recent conviction or teaching. We might even pull together a few fellow Christians and dissect a passage, sermon, or book yet again after a teaching or personal reading.  But, for what purpose?

17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:17-19)

I’ve been in a little season of having my soul restored after some painful experiences in the church, but there comes a time to step out again. Not leaving behind bible study or prayer, but putting it all into practice and shining my light out in my neighborhood and community once again. Time to walk off those spiritual calories and regain some of the muscle that weakened. My faith is not meant to be a quiet one; it might be personal, but definitely not private.

Dear Lord, thank you for a much needed season of healing, but help me not to fall into the traps of the churches in Revelation and mistake my spiritual study for growth. Help me put to action all I have soaked in and shine more brightly for you in the fresh way of Your crafting. In Jesus name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Revelation, Uncategorized

Job 40-42 & Psalm 124

Psalm 124:1-8, 1 If the Lord had not been on our side- let Israel say- 2 If the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us, 3 then they would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger against us. 4 Then the waters would have engulfed us; the torrent would have swept over us; 5 the raging waters would have swept over us. 6 Praise the Lord, who has not let us be ripped apart by their teeth. 7 We have escaped like a bird from the hunter’s net; the net is torn, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Christian Standard Version)

Has this been your story this year? It may not be people, but could be circumstances. Has God protected you? If you belong to Him you know He has, even if it doesn’t look that way from a human perspective. At the end of the day we can say that God is good all the time and we can also say that all the time God is good.

We have a family coffee roasting business and there have been times — for no apparent reason — that our roasters have not worked all three of them. It has been frustrating and we have lost time and gotten behind in orders, but still at the end of the day we have had to say God is good. He has our best interests at heart.

None of us know what 2020 holds, but God does. The best place to be is in the protection and purpose of the Maker of the universe.

Father God we pray for your grace and goodness to shower on us today. We may not recognize it as such, but show us Yourself in all things and circumstances. In Jesus’ loving and powerful Name we pray, Amen!

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms, Uncategorized

Job 38-39; Psalm 149

In his challenge to Job, the Lord’s abilities stir a cheer from my heart. As he lists what only he can do, I feel peace. I feel joy. I trust him.

31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—
    binding the cluster of the Pleiades
    or loosening the cords of Orion?
32 Can you direct the constellations through the seasons
    or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
33 Do you know the laws of the universe?
    Can you use them to regulate the earth? (Job 38:31-33, NLT)

I sit for this time and remember how he has orchestrated uncanny details in my life–a phone battery strong and unaffected after more than three hours of GPS (when its energy is generally sapped by a few podcasts and a Map My Run excursion); a captain’s bell buried deep underneath clematis vines; an encounter with a woman recovering from stroke, whose ability to speak was unhampered long enough for her to encourage me in a battle she was witnessing unfold that I was unaware of; a dear dog named Ruth who really and truly was an answer to my heart’s desire. I can go on and on.

I seek him and I find him. I trust him. I praise him.

Praise the Lord!

Sing to the Lord a new song.
    Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.

O Israel, rejoice in your Maker.
    O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King.
Praise his name with dancing,
    accompanied by tambourine and harp.
For the Lord delights in his people;
    he crowns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them.
    Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds. (Psalm 149:2-5, NLT)

I am humbled by his accomplishments–the universal, the mundane.

Lord, every year as I pass through your Word, I learn more about you, and more about myself. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (2 Timothy 3:16, NLT)” Thank you, God, that you love me so much to provide guidance and instruction for my good and your glory. Your Word is light and truth and hope. “For everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope. (Romans 15:4, NIV)” Thank you, God, for words that give hope and encouragement in times that require endurance. You are life-giving, strength and stamina. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1, NIV)” You spell it all out and present it for the taking, generously, freely, and it is a feast for my heart and soul.

Courtney (66books365)

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