Crystal sea

Re: Verse reading–Revelation 15 and 16 (day one) 

“I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire”  v 2.

Ever see “Jaws”?  Even without the movie, ancient Hebrews regarded the ocean as a dark and dangerous place.  As John watched in wonder, the Revelation of Christ included a picture of a new ocean.  People were standing on it, and, not only was it solid, it was crystal clear!

For John, it meant that all things that were fearful in this present life would not be in the next. Not for God’s redeemed people!  Even the ocean–“clearly” safe, no hidden dangers.

Interesting, he does note that it is “mixed with fire”.  A testimony that the purity of the coming world will not be achieved without God’s wrath.  God offers no apology.  None is required.

“Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story, of the Christ who died for me.  Sing it with the saints in glory, gathered by the crystal sea.”

A choir of “all in” men

Re: Verse reading–Revelation 14 (day seven)

John saw some amazing things as he stood in “awesome wonder” receiving the Revelation of Christ.  Some were terrifying.  An angel calling, “those who worship the beast. . .will drink the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger.”  (v 10)  It’s hard to imagine more sobering words.  Will you read these words again?  Many in our day deny the coming wrath of God. What did John believe/preach?

Some of the sights John saw were encouraging.  A choir of men.  Completely satisfied in Christ.  Joyful.  Transparent. Strong.  They are “all in” for Christ and without any regrets.

As history draws to a close, the separate roads that men will take–toward God in worship or away from Him in pride–will get further and further apart. Different roads.  Different outcomes.  May this warning/this promise give each of us a desire to join that coming choir!

They Won’t “Get It”

Re: Verse reading–Revelation 14 (day five) 

14:3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.

Even in the end times, there are truths and realities that only believers know, understand, and learn. These lyrics/lessons are counter-cultural to a world where hope, values, and priorities are self-centered and not God-centered. The world won’t “get it”.

That’s always been the case. Look at 1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

Apart from the Holy Spirit’s help, man is incapable of learning these lessons.

Make a list today of the lessons/truths you’ve learned that are counter-cultural.  Here’s a start: Sacrifice, Love, Purity, Perseverance…

 

God is at Work

Re: Verse reading–Revelation 14 (day four)

God was speaking to the prophet Habakkuk, centuries before the birth of Christ.  In chapter 1, God said, “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days—you would not believe if you were told.”  (Habakkuk 1:5)  All through history, God has been at work to redeem mankind from sin.  He has painted His picture of redemption in everything.  Unbelievers see God’s activity but have no comprehension of its meaning.  To those who have spiritual discernment, His work tells of His heart and will.

When you are looking for God’s activity, you will learn of His character and His will.  Here in Revelation, even at the very end, God is proclaiming the Gospel one last time.  He is giving men and women every opportunity to come to Christ.  Watch for God’s message…watch for His works…they speak of Him.  Be alert for a fresh understanding…God has mighty plans for the present and the future!

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Re: Verse reading–Revelation 14 (day three)   

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” Consider what death is: darkness, isolation, hopelessness, abandonment, cessation.  Jesus says in John 8 that the one who counts on him will know none of these things.  For the one who has obeyed the word of Jesus Christ, there will be, at the moment this life ends, not one millisecond of dread or regret—of falling into the abyss or receding into the void.  We experience that person as dead, because we cannot presently live with him, but that person will know nothing of the sort.  And one day, his body will be raised to join his spirit in a fully human life in this renewed universe that will never grow old. Now that’s blessed. Go on and rescue that word from social media before it’s too late.

Rest

Re: Verse reading–Revelation 14 (day two)   

And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” vs. 13

Serve well, then rest. Live according to your call. Pursue God with every breath, each gift, every relationship, conversation, circumstance, and opportunity, then rest. For the truth, according to this scripture, is that your work does not rest. Those moments that you labored and toiled for the work of the Kingdom will continue to make an eternal impact. Nothing done for the Lord is in vain, nothing. Every day our witness is made stronger by the work of a saint we will never meet until Heaven. Their sacrifice adds to God’s beautiful design for the Kingdom-work here on Earth. Pursue God and then rest.

Grapes of wrath

Re: Verse reading–Revelation 14 (day one)   

“The angel swung his sickle to the earth, and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God.”–v 19.

It is where John Steinbeck took the title for his famous novel.  It is where we get the image of the “grim reaper” with a sickle in his hand.  It’s a line we recognize from”The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.  “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.”

Ancients were familiar with a wine press.  When ripe, grapes were gathered, dumped together and trampled so that something better could be produced. (wine)  Ruthless process!  Good result.

When the sins of the earth are “ripe”, an angel will give a similar command. This “harvest” will begin.  Rebellious men will be trampled.  The earth will get its first taste of the sweet wine of God’s approval and presence.

A wartime virtue

Re:Verse passage: Revelation 12:1-6, 13-17; 13:1-4, 11-18 (day seven) 

“They did not love their life even when faced with death”–v 12:11.

In peacetime, “loving life” is a virtue.  At least, some think so.  “enjoy oneself in all one’s labor. . .during the few years that God has given”, said Solomon as he tried to discern the way of wisdom. (Ecclesiastes 5:18)

In time of war, this “virtue” is replaced by another–that of “NOT loving life”.  When war comes, the man who seeks safety and pleasure or profit is rightly judged as small and selfish.  He is a traitor.

In the cosmic war that history is, God’s heroes are marked by unselfish courage.   “They did NOT love their lives.”  They do not seek safety or success.  They realize that they must enter the struggle even if it costs them their life.

Jesus knew this truth.  He lived it.  In wartime, loving your life is not a virtue.  Not loving it is.

The Woman and The Dragon(Serpent)

Re:Verse passage: Revelation 12:1-6, 13-17; 13:1-4, 11-18 (day six) 

This should sound very familiar. From the beginning there is a foreshadowing of redemption to come through the offspring of Eve, redemption from the condemnations of the serpent. Revelation 12 retells for us an old story and an old promise, but this time with a woman and a dragon. The first is an episode from the earliest days of human history, the second is redemptive history on display like a grand fresco. Why does God retell this story in this way?

The woman and the dragon in chapter 12 remind us of God’s promise to overcome the travesty in the Garden, to undo sin and rebellion, offering restoration through the woman’s offspring. It is a reminder that God, throughout all history, is making things new through Jesus; that the adversary can never overcome His bride, the Church.

That’s good news! Just the kind of reminder we need.

Faithful and Devoted

Re:Verse passage: Revelation 12:1-6, 13-17; 13:1-4, 11-18 (day five) 

The saints described in Revelation 12:11 remain faithful and devoted until the very end of the world. Their perspective has never changed or waivered. Their worldview remains biblically based.

Sin- Sin is too big a problem/condition for man to fix or solve. It is a man-made problem, but doesn’t have a man-made solution. The sacrificial death of God’s Son (the blood of the Lamb) is the only means by which to experience the forgiveness of sin.

Testimony- An experience deeper than emotion or intellect has forever changed the heart, mind, and soul of each believer. A life-saving encounter with Christ gives personal knowledge and understanding of the power of God. (power that opposes the attack and deception of Satan)

Life- Life is larger and longer than just the experience on earth. There is an eternal outlook and awareness. Physical death is not the end; therefore they need not fear it. (to live is Christ, to die is gain)

Will we be know as faithful and devoted?