Friday, April 29, 2011

Genesis 4

At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.  

How could this happen?  Was shame, fear, pride, anger or grief getting in the way of reaching out to the LORD with the language He had given them?  

Through the sin, the curse, the exile, the murder of one son and the banishment the other, no one called on the Name of the LORD.  How did Eve survive this without calling on her Creator?  How could Adam carry on without calling on his First Love?

Only when a grandchild is born do people begin to call on Him.  

What opportunities am I barely surviving without calling on the Name of the LORD?  What do I think I must endure without God?  My life is nothing like Eve's; but I still live in a big, sinful world.  I must choose to call on my LORD at every opportunity.  Not just the big heartbreaks, the "I had it coming" situations, the loss of innocence, status, position or family members.  I, also, must not wait until I feel His favor again.  I must call on the Name of my LORD always.

Lord, You are never far from me, no matter what the circumstances hold.  I praise You for Your faithfulness and loving kindness, even in the face of grim consequences or joyful additions.  You never change despite how volatile my predicaments may be.  I thank You and trust You and LORD, I call on Your Name, a Name worthy of all praise and adoration and worship.  I thank You that You hear me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Genesis 3

Then to Adam He (God) said, 
         "... Cursed is the ground because of you;
         In toil you will eat of it
         All the days of your life.
         Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
         ... Till you return to the ground,
         Because from it you were taken;
         For you are dust,
         And to dust you shall return." 
... the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.

God tells Adam (and when God says something, it is never as casual as our mentioning - it is truth and eternal) that from the ground he was taken and now Adam will be at odds with that ground.  Thorns and thistles will be the inclination of the ground.  The LORD God then sends Adam out to begin the perpetual battle with the stuff from which he came.

The physical curse on what we come from appeared to me to be a picture of the spiritual conflict we have as a result of sin.  Our congenital nature produces thorns and thistles for life.  We must engage in that war of the "land" or that will be the stuff of our lives - thorns and thistles.  Inherent in our spiritual birth is sowing of eternal life; from God's grace which propagates in us the right crop and the crucial ability to determine the difference between the thorns and the roses, the thistles and the wheat, the weeds and the desired harvest.  

Without God, we are going to produce spiritually that which we are cursed to be good at - thorns and thistles.  By yielding our hearts, lives, minds, passions, time, actions, reactions, pursuits, ...  - in essence, our entire lives, we are equipped to rightly cultivate the territory of our spiritual plantations with right plantings which  yield the best and most plentiful fruit.

Thank You LORD God for this stark illustration of the nature of me and the potential of me.  I can't do it without You, not even for one day.  Please keep me secure in the yoke of Your will and love that I may faithfully tend to the harvest You have given me.  Open my eyes to recognize anything which pretends to be good in my life that we, (You and me) may yank those suckers up by the bitter, deceptive roots and burn them.  I want my life to be a planting for the display of Your splendor.  I pray this for my sisters and brothers, too.  Lord, let us be a global forest which bears Your fruit for Your purposes.  

One more thing that sent my mind awondering and captivated my attention.  

God did not uproot the Tree of Life.  

He banished humanity from access; but He protected the Tree of Life.  

God honors life.  

The caution was to prevent man from eating from it and acquiring eternal life while under the curse. 

Man was designed to eat everyday. 

Jesus is the answer to the curse.  He is our Tree of Life.

Again, man was designed to eat everyday.  

Doesn't that mean I need Jesus everyday?  

I know I do; but in this passage I am charged with making sure that I am spiritually and cognitively partaking of what my Tree of Life, Christ my Lord,  offers me everyday for my strength and nourishment, my life.

Thank You Lord that in the beginning You set the standard for my life and that You have given me full access to Life Eternal.    What grace and love and mercy!   Help me to daily experience that Life from You.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Genesis 2

 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

All creation was told to come forth from nothing and it did.  Nothing balked, not one thing waited, no one questioned; God spoke and matter appeared, heavens were established and life began on planet earth.  A garden was established, rivers ran and watered, trees came forth, man breathed.  Pure obedience.  And they were finished...all the host of them.  Whew.

My lesson is the best time to obey God is when He speaks.  Don't dawdle or take it under consideration.  Just do it - to borrow Nike's slogan. 

If the creation had not come forth when He called, there would have been a mess.  Light, heavens, land, plants, more light, sea creatures, birds, land creatures, man. A specific order for a specific glory.  Imagine, plants without land, sea creatures in the heavens, everything before the light.  Huge responsibility to obey and to obey responsibly.  

God, help me to obey in the order You give me Your instructions.  I desire to hear You and obey; but sometimes I distract, delay, doze or disobey.  That's not what I want to do.  Sharpen my spiritual senses and stoke my spiritual appetite that I may be ready at all times to just do it.  Do it now.  Lord, help me serve You well that I might bring You glory.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Genesis 1

God spoke light into creation and separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light "Day" and the darkness 'Night.'  Purpose: Day and Night.

God arranged the waters and introduced 'Heaven.'  He made lights to give light, separate the light from darkness and for signs, seasons and time.  All the green plants were to be food for all the creatures.  Even man was made for a purpose.  Nothing was superficial, extraneous, wasted nor made for itself.  All purposeful creations from His holy intentions.

<A Savior isn't needed in this world.  Not yet.  Can you imagine?>

Fast forward, sin debuts and seemingly wrests the God-given authority away from man.  Now, the lights are not just for separating light and darkness, they are used to romance the Darkness through fortunetellers and astrology.  Night is now as a time for lawlessness.  The living creatures are more treasured, esteemed and worshiped than their Divine Creator; except the ones made in the image of the Creator.  Green plants no longer suffice much for the creatures who have the breath of life.  Mosquitoes, abortionists and serial killers, (I will ignore the extreme similarities between the last two examples and allow them to remain as distinct samples), exemplify the corruption of that pure purpose.

Man corrupts what he touches.  It's his nature.  That even the very creation of God could be used for sin by God's own image is unfathomable.  The creations don't choose to be useful for sin; man redefines their purpose, employs the creation in the redefined manner and sin happens.

God created good and very good.  Man begat sin, darkness begats Darkness and evil, stars begat "wisdom" and light for life, man begats sinners and so on.  Same creation, different purposes.

God, You are good and what You do is good.  Help me to cooperate with Your Holy purposes rather than to rearrange the purpose and priority of my life to suit my very greedy, needy, prideful, self-loving self.  Please help me to remember that You are the Creator and all creation is Yours that I might not redefine Your purposes to accommodate my ego, comfort or leisure.  Help me steward and steward well the part of Your creation which You have entrusted to me.  You say and it is so.  Make it so, Lord, make it so.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

John 21

Jesus directs the disciples to cast their fishing net on the other side of the boat in order to make their catch.  He calls them children.  The direction is obeyed and many fish are captured.  Peter recognizes his Master, quickly dons his non-fishing attire and jumps into the sea.

My challenges are:

Where am I fishing like crazy and catching nothing?  Physically and spiritually, speaking.  

What is my response to God when He tells me what to do?  Immediate, humble, rebellious, procrastinate, grumbling, argumentative, half-heartedly, etc.  Do I believe Him in that instruction?

Jesus called them children and told them what to do.  They needed to obey like children do when given instruction from an authority figure.  They did.  Do I?  Do I want the big picture, the fuller explanation, the whole scene play-out before I move?  If so, that is not childlike obedience.  Pretty sure that Jesus wants me to respond as a child more than a reasoning and combative adult.

Do I expect obedience to yield great results?  Am I prepared to accommodate the yield from a harvest of compliance?  Only His direction will lead to a harvest of quality and worth. 

When I am aware of where Jesus is working, how ready am I to get ready and dive into the sea to get to Him?  What delays or distractions do I allow to keep me from His presence everyday?  Peter sank last time he went through water to get to Jesus.  How fearful am I of messing up?  How much pride will I allow to keep me from jumping in deep?  How much baggage do I tote around that will keep me from jumping in quickly?  How light do I travel so I can be ready in all seasons to draw nearer to my Lord?

I can choose to keep my eye on a great work or on Christ.  For what do I wish to be known?  How willing am I to let go of everything to pursue Christ?  Even the very thing in my hand at that moment?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

John 20 - He Picks the Girl

The various individuals in Jesus' life must have had different reactions to His death, beyond grief.  That topic has occupied my mind this week.  What did His loss mean to them personally?  What did His return hold for each of them?

Mary Magdalene had been healed of seven demons by Jesus.  She was one of the ones standing by His cross, and she is now coming early to the tomb, in the dark.  I am not sure how kosher it was for a woman to travel in the dark; but she, (and a couple of other ladies - referenced from the other gospels), made that trek a priority.  The goal to anoint her Healer and Savior's body for burial.  

Who else was Jesus to Mary Magdalene?  The first person to accept her, honor her, consider her?  The first man to treat her with dignity and respect?  The first person to demonstrate love, mercy, grace towards her?  The first person in whom she could really trust?  Her first true friend?  Her introduction to society?  Her promise of purpose?  One to whom she was already inconceivably indebted?  Her actions indicate He was her priority.

As I contemplate these thoughts, I see that the disciples leave the tomb and Mary is left standing, weeping.  Through her tears and grief she looks in the tomb and meets two angels.  She does not receive the standard supernatural greeting, "Do not be afraid."   Wonder why?  Was she so far into the grief that she didn't care about her own safety?  Was Jesus so significant to her that nothing compared to Him?  

Mary next encounters her Lord Jesus.  

Why Mary Magdalene and not the men?  Why the one who had desperately needed to be healed and not the ones who had followed Him with invitation? Why the one who experienced His miracles rather than the ones who were experiencing His ministry?  Was there something in her grief, her lingering, her waiting before the last place her Lord had been ... -that gave her eyes to see what the others had not?  -that displayed her heart's love so irresistibly that Christ stepped from the spiritual into the physical just to meet her at her place of greatest need?  -that demonstrated her brokenness and desperation for Him that He came to her?  She saw Him, the others did not.

Sweet Redeemer, may I never be so overcome with the details of an event that I miss You.  Please help me to linger in Your presence that I may receive all that You have for me today.  Don't let me hurry away from where You have desired to meet me.  I am so encouraged that You chose to reveal Yourself to Mary Magdalene before the in-crowd.  I praise You that You see the heart and know the desires of each one.  I thank You that You are what I am seeking, what I need and more than enough in any situation.  Thank You for all that You are to me, Redeemer, Lord, Healer, Savior, God, and infinitely More ...  Please help me to have a heart more like Mary Magdalene's and to be more grateful to You in each aspect of Who You are for me.  I am so amazed, You picked the girl.  Thank You for that.

Luke 7:47 "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much ; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."

Friday, April 22, 2011

John 19

King of the Jews!
Behold, the Man!
no guilt in Him
the Son of God
Behold, your King!

These are words spoken by people who had encountered Christ and did not believe Him.  How much, as believers, do we not consistently believe of His revelation to us?  

Is He really my King?  Am I really His slave?  Am I loyal?  "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love."  Holy Spirit, keep my heart close - keep my mind fixed on my God.

He was crucified ... for me.  What do I die to for His sake?  Is anything I give up really that much of a sacrifice for His sake?  Holy Spirit, rip myself from me.  

How will I behold Him today?  Lord, give me eyes to behold You afresh, every day.  May I ever behold the Only Begotten and tell of His love for me. 

For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture  ...  I praise You that You knew it all along, that You chose this story to be Yours, that I might be Yours, too.  I praise You.

... a disciple of Jesus, but secretly...

Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.

Jesus lived and died where everyone could see.  His ministry, works and death were not private affairs (despite the fact that any who believed  Him had a most personal encounter with Him).  We saw a disciple who denied Him and now, a secret agent for Jesus.  

I can't imagine how difficult those days were for Jesus or His followers.  I just can't.  But I do know that they were more extreme than anything I have ever walked through.  And I have found myself going under-cover for Jesus rather than boldly proclaiming His Name and Fame.  He did not refuse the shame nor the pain of the cross for me.  He did not write this out any other way before time began.  He chose the cross.  He chose the suffering.  He chose the separation.  He chose the crown of thorns rather than keep His crown and comfort of Heaven.  For me.  So that I would proclaim Him (very) quietly and privately.  

Our Blessed God-Man created everything in just under a week.  All of history pivoted on that three day weekend where the humble Rabbi radically displayed obedience and victory.  Christ Jesus openly demonstrated hope and redemption to all who would see and the masses that continue to learn of Him.  How can I follow such a One secretly?

Help me in my unbelief, Lord Jesus. Help me. 

One more thing which God gave me to understand from this passage regards the crown of thorns.  He was crowned with thorns.  

Genesis 3:18 says there will be thorns and thistles as part of the curse man received for his first act of rebellion.  

Thorns and thistles are representative of the curse of sin.  Jesus was crowned with them; but they were not His.

Hosea 3:8 (NIV) The high places of wickedness will be destroyed —  it is the sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles will grow up and cover their altars.  
(AMP) The high places also of Aven [once Beth(el), house of God, now (Beth-)aven, house of idolatry], the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed; the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their [idol] altars.

Jesus' life, death and resurrection ransomed the curse of sin from humanity and ushered in victory over sin and death. As a result, thorns and thistles, symbolic of the curse, are to cover the sinful, idolatrous places...places where the god of self is chosen over the God of the Universe.  Because of the Cross, thorns are supposed to go over the abandoned, neglected, vanquished altars and high places in our lives.  The cursed things. Not us.  That we might live as Beth-El, the House of God.

I thank You Lord for Your amazing redemption.  You have separated me from the curse.  Let me live that set-apart life - Beth-El - for You.  Father, I know that You are beyond time and I understand that Christ was to pay the full expense of sin on that cross; but if there is anyway You could show Him comfort throughout that entire week, please pour it out on Him.  I thank You that You are Mercy and Love and Peace in addition to  Judge and Righteousness.  I praise You that the cost was sufficiently paid and then it was done.  No lingering in the curse for Jesus.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

John 18

Jesus stands, being judged and His response is, "Examine My record, talk to those who heard Me. "  His actions and words would be His defense.

Peter stands, three times he's examined and his response is, "#*%!@$, NO!  I don't know Him." He does not want the response his actions and words may bring.

The religiosity stand, when asked what charges they bring against Jesus, they hedge with, "We wouldn't waste your time, He's a bad guy."  They attempt to cover their actions with their words.

Words and actions.  Very powerful things.  Not only does speech and work reflect my life and passions, they testify to my God, of my God and for my God.  Oh, that I would live such a life that my words and accomplishments could be my defense.  I know that I have had reactions much like Peter's; but I never want to do that again.  

Lord, I thank You for Your grace in forgiveness.  Please cultivate in me that desire for holiness that I would ever live with a walk and talk which matches Your example.  May I glorify You in word, thought and deed so that I don't even need to be "examined" by others; my life would be obviously Yours.  I also pray for all the religious leaders and Jewish people who are deceived by words and actions.  May they come to know You as the Messiah You are, may they receive Your gift of grace and forgiveness, may they know their need and find You have always been the Answer.  May Your Light continue to dispel darkness all over the world.

John 17

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
Jesus extolled, magnified, honorably acknowledged God  and His worth on earth by completing the work, rendering the job fully done that His Father had given Him.  

This is how I can give glory to God with my life, too.  Finish the work He gives me.  Don't do anything halfway or without devotion.  My work must acknowledge God and His worth or there is no honor in it.  Obedience is glorifying to God.

Father, let me be faithful with Your itinerary, Your schedule.  Strengthen me for those times we know I will be tempted to slack off or play hooky. Please help me to always consider Your glory before my comfort, Your fame before my preference, You before me.  Christ Jesus, my Lord, thank You so much for Your faithful example and strong teaching.  Holy Spirit, help me to serve as You know I should.  Give me Your counsel and remind me of the fruit I wish to bear.   

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

John 16

"But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?'  But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart."

Did the disciples not question where the Master was going because of the grief and fear?  Did they miss the point due to an emotional response?

A few verses later the disciples are asking each other what Jesus meant, while Jesus was still standing there with them.  Was confusion, timidity, pride keeping them from turning to the Source of All Answers?

Holy Spirit, cultivate in me self-control that I may not be so overwhelmed by emotions and myself that I miss what You are saying to me.  Help me always ask You first.

"The prince of this world now stands condemned. ... But take heart; I have overcome the world."  

Christ = peace
world = trouble
prince of this world = now condemned
Jesus = has overcome the world

What life He speaks to His followers then and now!  These words are prior to His arrest, crucifixion and resurrection.  What confidence and victory our Lord has!  It is ours, too.

I praise You Christ Jesus, my Messiah.  You are the only One who has overcome the world, the prince of this world and ushered in peace in place of trouble.  Thank You.  Thank You.  Thank You!

Monday, April 18, 2011

John 15

Abide in Me, and I will abide in you
you remain in Me, and I in you
you live in Me and My words live in you
Remain in my love (by obeying my commandments) as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love 
I appointed you to go and produce abiding fruit  
This is my command: Love each other.

When my Savior's words live, dwell, remain, abide, last in me and I obey Him, I am abiding, living, remaining in Him and in His love.  

His commandment is to love.  

That must live in me and I must live that love out in order to remain in Him and His love and to produce that abiding, living fruit.  

Obedience yields love.  

Love is fruit.  Love brings glory to God and proves my discipleship to Christ.

And He loved me first.

Oh, Gracious Lord, thank You for allowing me to abide anywhere near, in You.  What an amazing situation is that!  Oh, that I could aspire to the heights and fruit of the love You describe.  I want to abide well, to love much, to obey humbly.  Please dissolve my affinity for myself and replace/graft me closer to the "trueness" of Your Vine.  Prune me for Your purposes and keep me from preferring the shallow, showy growth rather than the work, time and vulnerability of bearing fruit.  The fruit is not for the branch's sake.  It is for the Gardener's sake.  To You be the fruit.  To You be the glory.  To Your Name be the fame.  To Your handiwork be the accolades.  To You be me.  Oh, how I love You.  Let me love You "mucher."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Revelation 22

The first garden, defined by four rivers, had one tree of life and found man running from God and saying, "Go away."  In this last garden we learn again of the tree of life which is on either side of the river.  And we see the 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.  What a different perspective. 

My Messiah, I praise You for Your healing and restoring gift of salvation that has allowed Your people to seek Your coming rather than flee from Your holiness.  May I always seek Your coming in my life and reflect the joy which is derived from that anticipation.  I pray that You would help me share the desire for You with others, that Heaven would be greatly populated.  I pray also, for the healing of the nations.  Lord, whatever that can look like before Your return, please bring that healing - between countries, families, neighbors.  Only You heal completely. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Revelation 21

...the first things have passed away...Behold, I am making all things new...I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

The time for the first things has been completed.  There is an end to our earthly work and service and suffering; a point in which nothing can be added nor enriched.  Will I have accomplished all I was created to do?  All I set my heart to do?  Have I served and do I serve in an excellent fashion, such that I will be pleased to offer my work unto the Alpha and the Omega?  Do I procrastinate so that the work is done; but only barely?  

Father, help me to always put my all in that which You call me to do so that when You make all things new, I will not want to touch-up nor finish anything You have created me to do.  God, I desire to persevere in excellence, not just the motions of service.  Please help me to be focused, organized and discerning that I may know exactly what and how I am supposed to do.  Help me to only do what is mine to do and to do those things in Your strength.  To the praise of Your glorious Name, Yeshua, Alpha and Omega.

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."

 Sometimes we serve in ways we love and sometimes we serve in ways which are difficult for us.

Sometimes the service is high-profile and others it is very behind-the-scenes. 

Sometimes, the service fulfills our very design; other times, the service challenges our very being.  

One time our service may have us giving, another time we will be taking. 

Any way you look at service it is always appointed, required, honorable and ... obedience.

Holy Spirit, help me to welcome the service to which You call me.  Let me give my all for my King rather than just enough because it doesn't suit me.  Help me to keep my eyes on You.  You chose the service for me or vice versa - may I be found to be a loyal servant of the Most High King.  May all my service be pleasing and acceptable in the court of my Sovereign. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Revelation 20

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.  Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

There is a permanent record.  It really is important.  What you do is recorded forever, really.  Make sure your name is entered in the right book, the book of life.
Lord, so many people don't believe or don't think the book of life is serious.  Please help me be useful to convey the earnestness, veracity and significance of the book of life.  Please help me tell anyone I can about Your gospel.  For Your glory's sake.

Revelation 19 Better Than a Hallelujah, Really?

I love that the birds were called to formation to eat the flesh of the defeated foes before the armies had finished gathering.  Even the birds have faith in Heaven.  Victory, indeed!

Calls of "Hallelujah" are from the multitudes for salvation, glory, power, right judgments, judging immorality, avenging His martyrs lives, that the smoke from the vengeance continually rises and because the "Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns."  The twenty-four elders and four living creatures add their hallelujahs in echo of the multitudes, "Amen Hallelujah!"  Those closest to the throne say, "Truth, that and Hallelujah some more!"

Hallelujah is Heaven-language used to worship God.  Why is it not used more in my life?  Where am I acknowledging the salvation, glory, power, righteousness...reign of God in my life?  Why do I not punctuate my praise with "Hallelujah?"  If this is what is offered to the Sovereign King of the Universe by those who reside in Heaven, how can anything be better than a hallelujah?

And a voice came from the throne, saying, "Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great."  I wonder who would be considered great in Heaven?  With the varieties of puniness we will represent, what would be noticeable compared to the Glorious Godhead.  The fact that they are all directed - from the throne - to "Give praise to our God" makes me think it's not what I would reason out with my earthly imagination.

A bit later our tour-guide for Heaven says simply "...worship God."  Whether praise is given or hallelujahs are proclaimed, worshiping God is what it's all about.

Lord God, please teach me to worship You regardless of what I am tasked with doing.  Let my work and thought and rest be done to worship You.  You alone are worthy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Revelation 18

And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will
      not be heard in you any longer; (no more calls to service and no more worship)

and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer;      (no more ministry)

and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer;  (no more Bread of Life)

and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; (no more Light of the World)

and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; 
                                                                     (no more Jesus and no more Church) 

for your merchants were the great men of the earth,                     (not men of God)

because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.
                                     (not amazed by the reality of the One True God's Authority, 
                                                                                       Holiness and Faithfulness)

Satan's agenda is finally realized and it's the judgment against challenge is to be aware of his agenda in my life today.  

Father God, please help me be faithful in worship and always listening for Your trumpet's invitation to come closer.  Let my work promote ministry as You would have ministry look.  Help me to be faithful in growing more like Jesus that I may extend Your presence as Sustenance and Light to this ravenous and dark world.  May I live as a pure bride-to-be as part of Your Bride, delighted and adoring.  May my work and commerce reflect Your Name and glory with integrity, honor and accuracy.  Let me never depart from the awe of You; let me live in Your shadow.  Please never allow me to be deceived and be a part of the enemy's itinerary. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Revelation 17

“Why are you so amazed?” the angel asked. “I will tell you the mystery...This calls for a mind with understanding"

God's work and words often blow my mind and I am amazed with the magnitude or the mystery of Him.  They sure do call for a mind with understanding...and maybe a heaping helping of discernment and courage, too. 

 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2 verse 6

James 1:  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  

Only God can supply a mind with understanding; but I must ask, receive and implement the wisdom.  I must use wisdom to interpret God's revelation to me.  This speaks against just receiving the information and, also, against refusing the revelation.  He does not give anything away by accident.  I never just happen across something.  He has the divine field trips planned and in place way before this girl showed up on earth.  I must participate in what He has planned, else I reject God in that moment.  

God, I praise You that You are amazing, marvelous and mysterious.  You blow any mind which contemplates You.  Please grant me Your wisdom.  Give me eyes to see and the holy creativity to process what You have for me.  Let me not just step over nor refuse to see.  I want all that You have for me, I want all that You have for my family; sometimes, not quite as much as others, though.  Please strengthen my resolve and my faithfulness for Your glory's sake.  God, You are worth knowing and seeking wisdom from. 

Enjoy this video clip which speaks of His amazing mysterious Self. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Revelation 16


My first reaction was "GROSS!"  Then I reread and noticed the Heaven's response to God's wrathful judgment:

...because You judged these things; for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.

Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments."  is what the altar says.  The Mercy Seat strongly affirms our Father's judgments are right, honorable and virtuous.  Mercy no longer seeks mercy. 

The reaction from earth, offered to God's wrath:  they did not repent so as to give Him glory... they did not repent of their deeds. 

Hmmm....they do deserve it.  Make no mistake.

Holy Father God, You are righteous and pure.  You are good and what You do is good.  You have been so patient throughout the ages of earth to pour this particular cup of wrath upon its long, the victims wondered when.  But Your timing is perfect, Your heart is blameless and Yours ways are perpetually excellent.  I can only praise You.  Praise and honor and glory and majesty and authority and love and adoration are Yours, Sovereign King of the Universe.  Please keep me from pressing on Your patience. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Revelation 15

because in them the wrath of God is finished. 

Wrath has its completion.  Finished.  Done.

...those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name...

Victory, triumph, success over the beast.  It does happen.  Be encouraged in the trial. 

Great and marvelous are Your works,
O Lord God, the Almighty;
Righteous and true are Your ways,
King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy;
If this is what the triumphant say in Heaven, why can't I say it now?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Revelation 14

A few notable things which speak to me from this chapter:

1.  Jesus still has crowds following Him in Heaven - I thank You, Lord, that I am one of Your crowd, too!  May I bring a crowd with me.

2.  The redeemed firstfruits were singing a new song no one could know but them - as the Spirit teaches us new things no one without Him can comprehend, intimacy for eternity.  Holy Spirit, please teach me a new thing today.  Please cultivate intimacy within me and let me be fertile ground.

3.  It is the honest, pure and blameless who have the private, new song.  Oh Holy Spirit, please help me pursue blamelessness in all of my thoughts, actions, daydreams, ways.  Let me love holiness more than my comfort.

4.  The good news is "Fear God and give Him glory because the hour of His judgment has come and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."  Good news!  Praise You Father for Your creation and wisdom.  You are worthy of reverence and glory and worship for all You do.  I thank You that Your judgment is an "hour" and that life with You is eternal.  You are beyond what You do.

5.  The passion of immorality is forced on the nations - no wonder God so clearly and adamantly spoke against sexual (including homosexual) sins to teach us to refuse the spirit of Babylon.  Help our church to be bright and loving light in society's darkness regarding the passion of immorality.  Keep us from idolatry.

6.  Those receiving the Lord's undiluted wrath and anger do so in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb - how hard that must be for Jesus to witness, how interesting that it is the Lamb who witnesses this and not the Lion of Judah or any other nomenclature for Christ.  Also, their object of worship is not able to exert any authority here.  I praise You Lamb for You do not let such important matters go without Your perfect attention.   I also praise You for Your patience.  

7.  Those tormented have no rest - Jesus offered rest, peace and an easy yoke.  Lord, let me make that ever more evident in my life that others may see and respond to Your drawing them.

8.  Thank You Lord for Your encouragement to endure in obedience and faith.  Please help me to encourage others as I am following You.  I thank You that as obedience increases so does faith.  You are Worthy of both!

9.  I praise You Lord for our work is not in vain or just for here.  Blessed, blessed, indeed.  And thank You for the rest, too.  You are so thoughtful.

10.  One with a gold crown, seated on a cloud with a sickle...where did the harp idea come from?  Two very different tools and purposes.  I praise You, Son of Man, for You and Your Word are not changed by man's traditions nor wrong-telling of Your story. Lord God, I praise You that You have different kinds of harvests and that You are Lord over both.

11.  ...the earth was reaped.  I can't imagine.  Thank You for Your perfect patience, wisdom, faithfulness, righteousness and grace.  The earth is the Lord's and all that is within it.  Bless Your holy Name and blessed be the Name of the Lord, forever and ever.

(The Lord God) did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.   You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed.  Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed....So be very careful to love the LORD your God.                                                                  Joshua, Son of Nun

Friday, April 8, 2011

Revelation 13

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Authority was given the beast over all people to make war and conquer the saints; everyone will worship it save for those whose names have been recorded in the slain Lamb's Book of Life.  The beast has authority to take captive or slay the saints.

Hence, the call for endurance and faith of the saints.

God, Your enemy has been slobbering to devour Your image since the beginning.  Please strengthen and equip Your saints for the times in which they live.  Please keep us all from lives which pursue comfort, luxury and mindless activity.  God of the Host Armies, train our hands for war and make us Your warriors.  Let us all live lives which prepare, condition and hearten us for the endurance and faith necessary to bring You glory whenever and wherever You may place us.  I thank You that You control authority and Your wisdom is infinite.  Your ways are not our ways; but they lead us to You.  Let us journey, encouraged, encouraging and enabled, this sacred path of obedience in unity and in praise of Your very great Name.  Time is in Your hands, as are we.  You are Faithful and Trustworthy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Revelation 12

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. 

What is salvation and power and kingdom rule without authority?  Just words or perhaps illustrations, at best.  Authority is what gives meaning to salvation, power, life...  In the great spiritual throw down, it's authority that makes all the difference.

Lord God and His Christ, thank You for Your words; I pray that I am always found in and under Your divine, eternal, matchless, magnificent authority.  No matter what is coming down or what accusations sound, I bow to Your authority, I want no other apart from what You provide.  Thank You for allowing me to partake of Your Kingdom.  God please strengthen and heighten the defenses of Michael and his angels.  Don't let them grow weary in the battle or sustain grievous injury.  Multiply their abilities and reward their devotion for Your glory's sake.  Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, the Glory and the Authority forever and ever.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Revelation 11

God's two spokesmen were on the job until God's wisdom determined their time was up.  He alone is in charge of life and death.  How can I be afraid to do anything for the Lord when He holds my life and death.  No one can take them, no one can return them save God alone.  

Oh Father, Your words are life.  Thank You for Your attention.  Sovereign King of the Universe, that I could be as fearless for You as these two precious prophets - I thank You for their example and lesson.  I understand there is nothing dangerous with You for nothing endangers You or Your plan.  It is only You.  Please let me get this and be intrepid for You and Your fame's sake.  I would rather die in a blaze of Your glory than chew the cud of security only to exit with You being anonymous.  And, please, strengthen these two in their time of prophecy that they may feel Your favor and grace on them. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Revelation 10

And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down."

Luke 2:19:   But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Somethings are for repeating, somethings are for pondering.  Some are for treasuring privately and some are for enriching others. 

Lord, I thank You for Your words and pray that You will continue to speak to me.  Please let me know the difference between the repeat-ers and the ponder-ers.  Father, teach me how to treasure that You may be glorified. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Revelation 9

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk;  and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.

That sin nature is deeply within us.  I cannot imagine that after the first woe and all of the trauma the earth is experiencing combined with the plagues and consuming death that anyone would stand to seek another god but God. 

Lord God, thank You for Your words of instruction and life.  You who are worthy of all obedience and seeking; I cry mercy.   I cannot comprehend how those that are experiencing the events about which we are reading are not running to You ~ for certainly, they have discovered that nothing else works.  But that love of self and self-will runs deep within humanity.  Please help me to recognize the enemy within me that I might keep her (me) in submission to You and Your Name.  I praise You for Your grace that has drawn me to You.  Please help me seek You and serve You and love You because You are worthy.  Today, I need a heart to set Your Name before my agenda.  I need to take the opportunities You present to me and not just think about them; please give me vision, strength and determination to obey.  You are peace and life...and there is no one who does not need You. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Revelation 8

And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.  Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

Incense and the prayers of the saints are what go up before God right before the first trumpet is sounded and the beginning of the woes.  The very order of this event tells me how significant is prayer even in the end and challenges me to pray in response to this.  

How can I pray such that my prayers are pleasing to God who has this work ordained?

How can my prayers be more useful in light of this knowledge?  

How can I pray with a scope to impact and advance God's Kingdom?  

Only, You, Sovereign Lord, can tell me what to ask, what to seek, how to knock in order that I may offer prayers which are worthy to come before You in this season.  The events described are intimidating; but You are never wrong and I trust You, my Only Wise God.  Please give me vision to pray into Your Plan that which would be blessed.  You are Worthy of whatever You ask of Your creation; let me work towards serving You for Your Name's sake.  I thank You for Your Words and Your revelation to Your children.  

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Revelation 7

As the innumerable multitudes worship before the throne and the Lamb, wisdom and thanksgiving are added to the chorus of praise.  Then one of the elders begins talking about those that were coming out of the great tribulation.  

The additional attributes of wisdom and gratitude preceding this discussion cause me to consider the "wiseness" of God in the tribulation and that it would yield  gratefulness.  I have never framed the tribulation with wisdom.  But God does not do dumb stuff.

Thank You Lord for Your wisdom in all things.  You are always worthy of thanksgiving; but thank You for Your grace in showing me  in the most difficult times You are Wise.  I thank You for the palm branches in Heaven.  I thank You for the white robes everyone wears.  I wonder what white is really like in Your Realm.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Revelation 6

The first seal dispatches a white horse and a rider with a bow and a crown who goes out conquering and to conquer.  The next sends a red horse and rider with a great sword to take peace from the earth. ... The fifth seal reveals those faithful martyrs.

Each seal introduces a new circumstance - even though the Lord is LORD over all and the victory is His.  But our God does not fast-forward anything in His plan.  Each seal must be unsealed, each part must be played, each victory must be accomplished, each faithful one must choose to walk faithfully and even die faithfully.

God is Worthy to have each part played out to the fullest extent.  Despite the terrible and awesome nature of each seal's effect, God is worthy.  And God is trustworthy.

Mysterious and All-Powerful Yahweh, I cannot comprehend this passage.  I don't know enough, I can't imagine enough, I can't think of how John lived his life beyond this revelation.  I bet You and he had a lot of conversation on this.  But this I do know is that You are the Victor, You are the Prize, You are Worthy and You alone are capable of fulfilling what You say.  I praise You.  Please help me fully play out the small part You have given me for the time You have entrusted to me.  You are Worthy.  That's all there is to the matter.  You = Worthy.  Let me live that out and bring You glory.