December 14, 2017
John the Revelator witnessed the singing and shouting of “ten thousand times ten thousand” of the angelic host, living creatures and the elders as they worshiped the Lamb. Who is this “Lamb?” He is the “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” (Rev. 5:5), “the firstborn of the dead” (Rev. 1:5), and the “Alpha and Omega, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8). He is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Don’t be surprised that He was born in a stable. After all, where else would a lamb be born? He is the Lamb of God. And He is worthy of our worship.
What is worship? It is best described in a two-part response:
1) Recognize what He is worth.
2) Give Him what He is worth.
What gift do you give the One who owns everything? The Magi gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But perhaps you should give Him the one thing He doesn’t have, namely, you! Give Him yourself. Give Him your all in all. For He is worthy to receive all that you have and all that you are. Worthy is the Lamb!
December 13, 2017
The book of Revelation can be understood as having three divisions. Jesus instructed the apostle John to “write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this” (Rev. 1:19). Revelation 4:1 begins the “things which must take place after” section, which is the third and future section. Beginning in chapter four, John writes from a heavenly perspective having been called up to heaven by the “first voice,” which belonged to Jesus, whose voice sounded “like a trumpet” (see Rev. 1:10-11).
Jesus drew back the curtain, unveiling the last days to John from heaven’s viewpoint. He did this to encourage believers to be faithful, watchful and confident that the Lord is sovereign and coming again.
December 12, 2017
Jesus’ letter to the Laodicean church warned them of depending on worldly wealth rather than spiritual power. This church is representative of many in America and the Western world that depend on human methods and material wealth, rather than prayer and spiritual power. Like the Laodicean church, they are in danger of being “lukewarm” in their dependence on the Lord. Yet, when the Lord sees them, they don’t appear rich, but “poor, blind, and naked.”
There is no church in Laodicea today, only ruins. Let us take heed. Let us pray that the Lord would make us rich in Him, seeing His direction and clothed in His power.
December 11, 2017
The book of Revelation opens with seven letters to seven churches written by the apostle John on behalf of Jesus. They were addressed to the “angel” of each church. The word “angel” might also be translated “messenger,” as each letter would be expected to be read aloud by a messenger to the church, who was most likely that church’s pastor.
Each letter followed a similar outline:
1) Place to. (In this case, Thyatira, the ruins of which lie in the modern city of Akhisar, Turkey.)
2) Person from. (In every case, Jesus. To the church at Thyatira He is the omniscient judge, with “eyes of fire” and “feet of brass.”)
3) Praise given. (Jesus commended Thyatira for their “works” saying “the last are more than the first.”)
4) Problem named. (Thyatira was “allowing” or tolerating false teaching from a woman named “Jezebel.”)
5) Prescription given. (“Hold fast” until Jesus returns.)
6) Promise offered. (God would give them authority. After all this is what they had lost with their tolerance of Jezebel.)
Christ’s letter to the church at Thyatira is a warning to any church that makes tolerance their main doctrine and therefore gives up the authority of God’s Word.
December 10, 2017
Listen and think before talking. The book of James, which is sometimes called the “Proverbs of the New Testament,” advises: “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
Try listening more and talking less today. Who knows what you’ll learn.
December 9, 2017
“Blessed.” One experiencing a condition of total joy and contentment under God’s umbrella of care.
“Fears the Lord.” One who has such awe and reverence for the Lord that they seek His pleasure and approval above all others including themselves.
However, by implication, the one who does not fear the Lord, but fears man instead, will not experience the blessing of God. For they will live as people-pleasers, always enslaved by the opinions of others.
As Christ-followers, we do not fear the Father’s wrath, for Christ has taken our punishment. But we are motivated by His great love that moves us to desire pleasing Him above all others. Fearing the Lord, we experience His blessing.
December 8, 2017
Those who are obedient to “go forth” in sowing even while shedding tears of hardship, will one day “rejoice” in the day of harvest. As the apostle Paul wrote, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9).
Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted by faith. Keep sowing!
December 8, 2017
The Lord spoke through the prophet Hosea reminding Israel of His love and how He had brought them out of Egypt. Yet, here He used the phrase “my son,” which made the verse not only a reminder of God’s expressed love in the past, but also His intended manifestation of love in the future. For this is one of many Messianic prophecies fulfilled in Christ, showing God’s love in sending His Son (John 3:16).
The gospel of Matthew quoted this verse from Hosea when recounting the Christmas story. For it was fulfilled when Joseph obeyed the angel’s instruction to carry Jesus to Egypt to avoid Herod’s murderous plan and then to return after Herod’s death (Matt. 2:15).
The Bible is primarily about God. It is a love story and Christ is its lead character.
December 6, 2017
Love is the great motivator for obedience. Not duty, nor fear, but love. And not just any kind of love, but God’s kind of “agape” love, which is both unconditional and sacrificial. So love motivates obedience and then obedience becomes the evidence of that love.
What is love? That we obey Christ’s command (John 14:15). And what is Christ’s command? That we love one another just as He loved us (John 13:34-35).
December 5, 2017
“In Him,” namely, “in Christ,” we have confidence before the Father. For this reason Hebrews teaches us to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). And the apostle Paul writes that in Christ “we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Eph. 3:12).
In Christ, we are God’s children. Everything that is Christ’s, is now ours. The currency of the kingdom is asking. As James taught, “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2). And as Jesus taught, let us, “Ask, seek, knock” (Matt. 7:7-8). So, ask!
Yet, let us pray according to God’s will, for this is how Christ Himself prayed, saying, “Not my will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42).