Psalm 1&2 “Rooted in the Word”
Who wants to be blessed or happy? Most would answer “I do!” But our way to happiness and blessedness is fraught with dangers set by our enemy the devil whose intents and purposes are in sharp contrast to the Almighty. Thus to be truly “happy” and “blessed” the psalmist directs our attention to the way of the “righteous” which is compared to a tree which is nourished and grows in sharp contrast to the chaff, the leftover of the harvest, or ungodly amongst us.
He who has ears to hear should listen was the word of the Lord in Revelation. In doing so the righteous are able to distinguish or discern those that are the “chaff” of the field that walk with us each and every day who seek only their own way or scoff at God and his Word. Their words echo across the centuries; “I’m okay, you are okay” but we know from scripture that we are not for God says “there is none righteous, no not one.” Their philosophy is anti-God and the words of Col 2:7 remind us not to be swept away by their philosophy: “Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
As you begin this 2017 journey remember these words from Psalm 1 and Malachi 3:10: Earnestly desire to be planted and rooted by the streams of living water which flows from the throne of God. It is then that God will open his windows of heaven and pour forth blessings which cannot be numbered.
Revelation 16 “Tick Tock….”
‘You are just—the one who is and who was, the Holy One—because you have passed these judgments, they got what they deserved.’ Does God take pleasure in this? NO! The answer is found from the pen of Ezekiel: “Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked, declares the sovereign Lord? Do I not prefer that he turn from his wicked conduct and live?” [Ezek 18] and from the pen of Peter: God ‘is being patient toward you because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.’ [2Peter 3]
The truth is this: what you sow you reap. Satan has sown his seeds of the “deadly d’s” and now God has set his sickle to him and his tares and with righteous judgment they will be reaped to destruction. Satan’s heart was defiant from the beginning and now God’s patience has run its course. God’s sacred history and His plan are unveiled that we might know and be challenged to repent and live righteously. He has immersed us into the lives of the 7 churches that we might know God’s standards of righteousness and be warned of the consequences if we do not. God has opened his book that we might see how much He hates unrighteousness as we should as well.
It is darkest before the dawn but Christmas is coming and the Holy One, the Ancient of Days’ clock will have sounded its last tock forever and we hear the bells resound: “It is finished!” and so it will be.
All Scripture is taken from the FREE online Bible Study tool of Bible.org ministries.
The heavenly choir “were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one was able to learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth.” [Revelation 14]
Julie Andrews’ song echoes in our heads: “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” One day it will not the hills but Mount Zion of God will be alive with the sound of music. The choir of the 144,000 sealed by God will be heard singing a new song before the throne. They will be accompanied by the harpists playing their harps reminiscent of the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah. That choir celebrated joyfully with songs of thanksgiving and songs accompanied by cymbals, harps, and lyres. [Neh 12] The difference being that this song is sung by those purchased and preserved. They are the professing choir of virgins redeemed from the earth and are now rewarded for their faithfulness and purity. They had heard the Lamb say “follow Me” and they did.
The Shepherds of old heard the choir of heavenly angels as they sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased” as they proclaimed the Messiah’s birth. What song will you sing for the Messiah king?
Revelation 3&8 Part 6: “The Empty Manger”
The Alpha and Omega’s solemn pronouncement to the Church in Sardis. I hold the seven spirits of God and the seven stars and thus can see your vulnerability. Your walls appear strong and impenetrable but the enemy without sees with his binoculars that your watchman failed to stay alert. While retrieving his dropped helmet, he revealed your secret entrance and now the enemy has infiltrated your midst. Take a lesson from Habakkuk who stood at his watch without wavering.
To the outside world, your church appears alive but inside, I who searches the mind and heart see that you are like whitewashed tombs with dead men’s bones. Like the Pharisees of old, you are a hypocrite because you do not hunger and thirst for righteousness. Instead, you have a high opinion of yourself and are relying upon your works to earn your salvation. In addition, I see your Christmas traditions with the nativity replica but the manger is empty. Where am I? Will you invite me to your Christmas celebration?
Oh Father, forgive us for relying on traditions, lights, and gifts which are temporal rather than on the Eternal Wonder of Your coming to earth as Emmanuel. Forgive us for being satisfied with the victories of the past and failing to see the fields are truly white for harvest. Come and fill our manger hearts with your presence.
Photo Credit: Udra11 http://tinyurl.com/z8l8jl8
The One who has the sharp two-edged sword speaks and says “remain faithful as Antipas.” [Revelation 2]
Just as then, today there are the faithful in their stand for Christ and do not deny the name of Christ. However, just as then, these had to navigate and choose the road that is narrow because they lived and moved amongst those who are part of the kingdom of darkness. The false teachers had infiltrated with and were accepting of immorality. They, like many today, were failing to rebuke these teachers who espoused false doctrine. Although still bearing the title of being Christ’s church they were not rebuking and removing these teachers. And unlike the church at Ephesus who hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, this church was in danger of being like the frog placed in cold water which slowly dies when the heat is elevated. The danger is real and very present for these Pergamum believers and why Christ calls them to be like the Bereans to be discerning. Christ called them with His two-edged sword to repent and to remove the stumbling blocks that cause others to go astray.
Father God, today our churches are being assaulted by those who are the “pc” police. They seek to water down the truth of the gospel message and seek to cause our little ones to stumble. Give us Your spirit of discernment so that we may not compromise but be like Antipas who was faithful even to the point of death.
Proverbs 29 “Are You Satan’s Bait?”
“The fear of people becomes a snare but whoever trusts in the Lord will be set on high”
There are two kinds of fear; the fear that comes as a natural reaction due to an outside source to protect oneself from danger. The second is a fear that is not real but falls into the category of “what do they think…about me.” When “me” is inserted into the equation, and we listen to those voices, we have broken God’s Commandment “You shall have no other gods before “ME.” It can happen when we see or hear whispers and the receiver’s eyes are focused on “me.” Immediately we think; what are they saying about “me.” When we fall for Satan’s snare, he seeks to stamp “unworthy” on our foreheads. But we know that we are worthy in God’s eyes because Jesus died for us and we have stamped “Believer” on our foreheads. If we are not careful and fall for Satan’s tricks, we quench the Holy Spirit that has sealed us. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” [Eph 4]
Now, right in the middle of this verse is the little but powerful word “but” which means there is a contrast to what came before and what follows. The phrase that follows is: “whoever trusts in the Lord.” Do we really trust in the Lord? If we are fearful of people’s words or looks, we have fallen for Satan’s snare which a dead end street. Remember this, Jesus is on your side, He has never forsaken His own: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart… therefore, do NOT lean on your own understanding.” [Prov 3]. Open your ears to God speaking: “This is the way, walk in it,” [Is 30] He has the escape route. [1Cor 10]
All Scripture is taken from the FREE online Bible Study Tool: https://lumina.bible.org
Psalm 143 “Prayers…Begin Here”
Have you ever been in a prayer group and wondered how those who pray seem like they are talking directly to God? Perhaps it is because they have spent time sitting beside David, listening to him and learning from him. David in his humility writes in Ps 45 “my tongue is as skilled as the stylus of an experienced scribe.” Can we say that? If not, let’s sit down beside David as he talks with His God.
O Lord, hear my prayer! Pay attention to my plea for help! Because of your faithfulness and justice, answer me!
Even David had the nagging notion that perhaps God was being silent for a time just as we do. But, of course, God is not but sometimes our heart fails to hear what God hears or our eyes fail to see what God sees. He is waiting for us to stop and listen for His still small voice because sometimes we are in an earthquake of emotions when our strength leaves us. Sometimes we are facing the fire and its roar. Sometimes we need the reminder that just as He was with the Three Hebrews He will be with us. Stop and ask; Is the roar is so loud your ears cannot hear? Perhaps then it is time to sit quietly as David did so we hear God’s soft whisper which is for us and us alone. In that quiet time we hear his words of lovingkindness and we hear the words of another prayer warrior; Isaiah “You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying, “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left.” [Is 30:21]
Revelation 4 “The Throne Room of God”
John the Apostle has been banished to the small Roman outpost called the Isle of Patmos because he proclaimed the crucified Christ and his gospel message. Patmos is craggy; sterile; rocky; windswept and barren. It is filled with caves and mines from which few escape. It was set aside by Emperor Domitian for men such as John. Yet what man has designed for evil God will use for good. In a darkened cave John will share with us a picture of the awesome, marvelous incredible beauty of the throne room in heaven much like other prophets of old had also seen.
Imagine being “in the Spirit” and given a view that no earthly eye has seen but only eyes that have been spirit transformed. What do you tell others? Isaiah said: “I saw the sovereign master seated on a high, elevated throne. The hem of his robe filled the temple.” Ezekiel said: “Above the platform over their heads was something like a sapphire shaped like a throne. High above on the throne was a form that appeared to be a man.” Daniel said “thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His attire was white as snow; the hair of his head was like lamb’s wool. His throne was ablaze with fire and its wheels were all aflame.” And now John writes: “a throne was standing in heaven with someone seated on it that gleamed as jasper and carnelian with a rainbow encircling it. Around the throne were those who would worship without ceasing with white gleaming clothes and crowns about their heads.”
Beloved, are you ready to enter the expanse of heaven and see this too?
All scripture is taken from the FREE online Bible Study Tool: https://lumina.bible.org
Psalm 139 “Behold, Lord you know it all.”
Google knows a lot about us but the risen Christ, the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, knows each detail that Google does not. He knows because you are always on His mind as you wade through the cultural waters and face different trials. He knows your heart, your name and your deeds which are seen by men.
Do we really believe all of this? If we do then the words of the psalmist should be a wake-up call because behind all of this lay our heart.
Jeremiah asked this question: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand/know it?” And the psalmist answered: “no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” [Heb 4] One day we will stand before him and the books will be opened and THE Word will reveal every idle, spoken or whispered word. Our hearts will be revealed and all heaven and earth will know what He knows. He knows for He is the Living Word; sharper than any double-edged sword which can pierce our soul and spirit to judge the thoughts and intents of our heart.
Do we really believe this?
As we ponder this it behooves us to pray as the psalmist: “Search me, O God, know my heart….see if there is any hurtful way in me; wash me thoroughly; cleanse me from my sin and lead me in the everlasting way.” [Ps 139 & 51]