Category Archives: Revelation

Job 40-42; Psalm 150; Revelation 22

And so we end the year with three important passages of Scripture. Whether your year has been hard or easy, challenging or a breeze, we can always spend our days praising God. Psalm 150 gives us that basis:

1 Praise the Lord!Praise God in his sanctuary!Praise him in the sky, which testifies to his strength! 2 Praise him for his mighty acts!Praise him for his surpassing greatness! 3 Praise him with the blast of the horn!Praise him with the lyre and the harp! 4 Praise him with the tambourine and with dancing!Praise him with stringed instruments and the flute! 5 Praise him with loud cymbals!Praise him with clanging cymbals! 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!Praise the Lord! (NET)

We are given many ways we can praise God and everything that does have breath should praise God. And here’s a great reason why. Because of how the whole story ends, how this time on earth comes to an end and we read that in Revelation 22.

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

Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready? Are you living each day and each year like you’re ready. Let’s start 2019 with that attitude and lifestyle. Come Lord Jesus. Come.

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Job 34-36; Revelation 20

I had lunch with a friend recently who shared she’d read a book in one day. I was intrigued. I’m not usually a fast reader. And I’ve been known to fall asleep during read-alouds if we venture past three chapters at a time–and I’m the one reading out loud. I looked up the average reading speed and decided to test it out, if I could read 50 pages in an hour. I began to calculate how long it would take me to get through a stack of books I really and truly want to read. Maybe 2019 will be the year I read all the books, at least, all the books I have that I want to read but haven’t yet.

The first time I ever stepped foot into my dad’s house was the day after he died. I took in the details of his life, one I had not been invited into; I noticed a lot of things, but maybe what surprised me most were the books he had about Christianity and Jesus, and not one book spine creased. They were brand new, unopened. My impression of him was he was seeking and hoping. I felt a sadness, and not because he didn’t read those books (those books are not his salvation)–but for so many other things that run profound and deep. Grace reaches here too.

It’s almost two years since he died. I’ve thought long on legacy, family, faith, the marrow of what matters, and eternity. I’ve wondered about success and purpose and how others define it–or is there a universal definition? Mostly, I’ve focused on my own walk, and to this point I thought I had been intentional, but now even more so. My words and actions will either reveal or betray my heart–they will show what really mattered to me.

11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15, NLT).

My 2018 word was seek, and God showed me many things. But seek first his kingdom was the underscore of so much. Next year, a focus on purpose (and reading all the books). (Did you pick a word? Also, what’s on your reading list?)

Lord, it is everything to know you and to be known by you. To love you, and to be loved by you. It is joy, confidence, safety, peace, hope, strength to be in relationship with you. You called to me to seek your face, and it has changed everything.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 24-27; Revelation 17

So it is Christmas Eve. We celebrate the coming of Jesus the Messiah into the world. This event is but a chain of events that end in the total victory of the Messiah — the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world — against the powers of darkness in this universe. So it is fitting that we read Revelation 17 today. The verses that strike me are as follows:

14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” 15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages (Revelation 17:14&15 [NIV]).

Today we celebrate a link in the chain that brings total victory for God. An eternal Kingdom that will be established and God’s reign will be established for all eternity.

Part of celebrating this first advent is also preparing for the second advent, when Christ returns and this prophecy begins to be fulfilled. What are you doing this Christmas 2018 to prepare for the coming second advent of Jesus? Think and pray about that because what we read in Revelation 17 will some day become reality.

Merry Christmas!

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Job 15-17; Revelation 14

It is certainly different for me these days to be reading Job and Revelation during the Advent season. Poor Job – he is getting all kinds of advice and long lectures from his friends. Some of them call their words so special that they believe they are coming right from God. That sounds so familiar to me from certain days gone by. I am still afraid I might run into it again, but I trust that God has made me wiser and more mature to respond a little bit more like Job.

And you have been offered
comforting words from God.
Isn’t this enough?

I have often heard this,
and it offers no comfort.
But I would offer hope
and comfort instead.

Job 15:11; 16:2,5 CEV

I think the Advent season is such a time for me to be comforted. Every year brings it toils and snares and this year of 2018 is not different. Yet God has words of comfort this Advent season. Words of hope, peace, joy and very soon love. They make a difference to me. And I realize that they are more than just comfort for a trying year. They are also a bugle call as I pray into the new year coming. Those same messages of comfort become my call to action to live a life with exclamation marks of hope, with a heart centred in peace, for the joy of the Lord to be my strength and to see every bit of life through the lens of God’s love. Life as a follower of Jesus is not necessarily going to get easier, but I walk into each new year with an amazing promise.

God’s people must learn to endure. They must also obey his commands and have faith in Jesus.Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Put this in writing. From now on, the Lord will bless everyone who has faith in him when they die.” The Spirit answered, “Yes, they will rest from their hard work, and they will be rewarded for what they have done.” – Revelation 14:12-13 CEV

It is my prayer for my family that this promise with be part of our celebration and comfort this Christmas season but also our challenge and comfort in the new year.

Father, thank you for Christmas, for Your words of incredible comfort. Job would have loved to hear them as much as I and my family do today. I give You my family, walk with them, may they joy in walking with You. Should this be the year that they meet You face to face, I pray they will enter into Your promise and I look forward to the day that I will too. Help me walk in faith, obey Your call in my life and I will look forward to receiving Your promise if that day should come. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Job 12-14; Psalm 100; Revelation 13

“But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.” Job 12:13 NLT

Job’s friends were trying to make sense of his suffering.  Even though Job himself, didn’t understand, he pointed them to the one who he knew did.  He knew where true wisdom could be found.

“O God, grant me these two things, and then I will be able to face you.  Remove your heavy hand from me, and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.  Now summon me, and I will answer! Or let me speak to you, and you reply.  Tell me, what have I done wrong? Show me my rebellion and my sin.  Why do you turn away from me? Why do you treat me your enemy?” Job 13:20-24 NLT

There have been times in my life when my faith has been stretched and I wonder what God is doing.  I can relate to Job, when I think that God’s silence means that I have done something wrong.  But, I’m learning to lean in and trust in the waiting.

“Even a tree has more hope! If it is cut down, it will sprout again and grow new branches.  Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, at the scent of water it will bud and sprout again like a new seedling.  “But when people die, their strength is gone.  They breathe their last, and then where are they? As water evaporates from a lake and a river disappears in drought, people are laid to rest and do not rise again.  Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep.  “I wish you would hide me in the grave and forget me there until your anger has passed.  But mark your calendar to think of me again!  Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death.  You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.  For then you would guard my steps, instead of watching for my sins.  My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover my guilt.”  Job 14:7-17 NLT

I am thankful that I don’t struggle without hope.  Even when things seem dark, I know that light is coming.  Jesus is near. I grapple with Job’s questions and vulnerability.  He didn’t have the knowledge of Jesus like I do. Yet, he still pressed in, when it would have been easier to fall away.

Help me to remember Lord, in times of silence, you are teaching me to depend on you.  Thank you for friends who point me to you.  Thank you for your word and your promises.  Help me to praise you in the midst of suffering. Amen.

“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness.  Come before him, singing with joy.   Acknowledge that the Lord is God!  He made us, and we are his.  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Psalm 100 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

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Nehemiah 1-3; Revelation 5

And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people (Revelation 5:8, NLT).

When I went back to see my doctor after cataract surgery, I knew that I was going to thank him for restoring my sight. What I said to him came from my heart, and gratitude brings me to tears.

During sunrise walks, I think on things that God has done in my life. I challenge myself to discern what a walk with God should look like. I meditate on messages I get through podcasts, and sometimes am brought to tears (like yesterday when one podcast played music from Rocky, an inside story that God would know, and I’m moved mightily by his attention to detail).

In 2017, I chose a focus word RESTORE. I thought specifically that it would mean restoration in a broken relationship, but it didn’t. With some distance in hindsight, I see that year was the beginning of God restoring me. Fixing the brokenness, strengthening weak spots, releasing me from shackles (mindsets and practices) generations long. And today, in 2018, I am lighter in every respect. Life isn’t easier, but I see it in a different way, literally.

That gold bowl of incense holds my prayers. It holds my hurts and deepest hopes. It holds my crying and struggling expressions. It holds Nehemiah’s prayers too. Fragrant offerings.

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.

“Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’

10 “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” (Nehemiah 1:5-11, NLT)

God made a way for Nehemiah and many others to begin repairing (restoring) the wall in Jerusalem. In Nehemiah, he lists by name the families who came out and where they repaired the broken and weak spots. Perfumers, goldsmiths, merchants, daughters–all had positions to work.

(20 “Next to him was Baruch son of Zabbai, who zealously repaired an additional section from the angle to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest.” Nehemiah 3:20, NLT. I love this notation, emphasis added.)

Imagine a focus and purpose to act on what is in front of us: broken relationships; generational sins; ownership of what is in our ability; a ruthless assessment of our condition, neglect or weakness–couldn’t those things, wouldn’t those things be lifted up to our great God, a fragrant offering in a gold bowl; oh, couldn’t he, wouldn’t he make a way for his people?

28 Above the Horse Gate, the priests repaired the wall. Each one repaired the section immediately across from his own house. 29 Next Zadok son of Immer also rebuilt the wall across from his own house, and beyond him was Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the gatekeeper of the East Gate. 30 Next Hananiah son of Shelemiah and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section, while Meshullam son of Berekiah rebuilt the wall across from where he lived (Nehemiah 3:28-30, NLT).

Lord Jesus, when I think of how you have transformed my life these past two years, I am brought to tears (and more so with a Rocky soundtrack, thank you!) at your care, your provision, your direction, your protection in my life. Lord, help me to discern where I should focus this next year, places of neglect and disrepair, and may I work zealously for you like Baruch. Help me to keep the focus. Help me to persevere. I am so deeply grateful for your love.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ezra 7-10; Psalm 97; Revelation 4

When God loves me, He expresses it through so many different ways.  He cares for me, protects me and keeps me safe. Here is the simple story told through the eyes of Ezra and King David.

Beside the Ahava River,[n] I[o] asked the people to go without eating[p]and to pray. We humbled ourselves and asked God to bring us and our children safely to Jerusalem with all of our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king to send soldiers and cavalry to protect us against enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king that our God takes care of everyone who truly worships him, but that he gets very angry and punishes anyone who refuses to obey. So we went without food and asked God himself to protect us, and he answered our prayers. We are slaves, but you have never turned your back on us. You love us, and because of you, the kings of Persia have helped us. It’s as though you have given us new life! You let us rebuild your temple and live safely in Judah and Jerusalem. – Ezra 8:21-23;9:9

 

Love the Lord
    and hate evil!
God protects his loyal people
    and rescues them
    from violence. – Psalm 97:10  CEV

I know it sounds too simple but it is.  I mean every day of my life I enter into it knowing that I am loved this way.  It does something to me each morning as a learn a new character trait of who God is and how He thinks.  But this simple story, the one of care, protection and safety do not grow old on me.  I find that when Revelations describes worship, I fit right in.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord,
the all-powerful God,
who was and is
and is coming!”

“Our Lord and God,
you are worthy
to receive glory,
honor, and power.
You created all things,
and by your decision they are
and were created.”

Revelation 4:8,11  CEV

Father, You know more than anything on how much I want to honour You and Your purposes in my life.  Even though I cannot wait to join so many others in worshipping You in Your Kingdom, I can wait for such a time once my work is done here on earth.  In the meantime, I know I walk with You and in Your care, protection and guiding eye. I am so thankful and am enjoying all the attention You are giving me.  I love You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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