Archive for December, 2015

The God who knows everything (John 21; Revelation 22; Malachi 4)

December 31, 2015

“…Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.  Jesus said to him, “feed my sheep.”  John 21:17b

On this last day of 2015 I want you to consider what’s behind, what is, and what is ahead.  Before we engage in this mental activity, I want you to consider Peter’s pointing out of one characteristic about our God.  Our God knows everything!!!

In this moment, Peter is called to answer a question that the Lord already knows the answer.  This is very humbling and very important.

  • The Lord knew everything about Peter’s past.

He knew where he was born, how he grew up, and everything he had ever said and done.  In this moment, I think Peter had his immediate past in view.  8 days earlier Peter had denied his Lord three times and now he was feeling the pain of his sin.

  • The Lord knows everything about Peter’s present.

Here Peter sits with Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias having just enjoyed the earthly provision by Jesus.  Our God cares for both our physical and spiritual needs.  The Lord has provided fish to meet their need and he will provide whatever we need, Matthew 6:25.  Jesus has come and met our spiritual need.  Peter is restored in this moment before the Lord.

  • The Lord knows everything about Peter’s future.

The Lord knows Peter is forever changed by what has happened in his life.  He will walk as a committed disciple, not perfect, but pursuing the call of God.  The Lord even knows how Peter will glorify him in his dying, John 21:19.

As Peter stands before the Lord, all He can say is this, “Lord you know everything.”  Peter loves the one who loves him in spite of what the Lord knows about him.

On this last day of 2015 I challenge you to consider how much love God has for you and how much love you have for Him!!!

This day I challenge you to praise God for the victories of the past and to confess the failures of the past.  This day I commend you for walking with God in the present.  This day I call you to great faith in what God is going to do in the future!!!

 

Advertisements

See the Man (John 20; Revelation 21; Malachi 3)

December 30, 2015

“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’-and that he had said these things to her,”  John 20:18

I want to encourage you to stop what you are doing and turn back to John 20.  Once you have the place in the Bible, call out to God, “Please Lord, give me fresh eyes to see your Word.”

Personally, “I have many times read John’s account of the resurrection of Jesus.”  But this morning I was given, by the Lord, fresh eyes to see this chapter.

John is giving us resurrection moments with Jesus and those who saw him after the resurrection.  In verse one we read the news, “the tomb is empty.”  Mark 16:1-8 gives us greater detail of what John covers in one verse.  We read of John’s own account of going to the tomb along with Peter.  It is here that John believes in the resurrection.  In the verses that follow, John gives us three encounters with Jesus:

  • Mary Magdalene meets Jesus with weeping-He wipes away her tears.  Vs: 11-18

 

  • The disciples meet Jesus with great fear in their hearts-He removes their fears.  Vs: 19-23

 

  • Thomas meets Jesus after a week of dealing with doubts-He wipes away all doubt.  Vs: 24-29

In this moment there is an amazing point made by Jesus, “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen  and yet have believed?” John 20:29

Brothers and sisters, “It is our belief in Jesus that daily wipes away tears, daily removes fears, and daily helps us to overcome all doubt.”

Over and over again we need reminders to believe.  However, there is coming a day when we will see Him.  On that day, all tears will be wiped away forever, Rev. 21:4.  On that day, all fears will be wiped away, Rev. 21:23-24.  On that day, all doubt will be removed, Rev. 21:25-26.

You and I serve a great God, We need to daily see Him through the lens of Scripture.  As we do, we are encouraged in our tears, fears, and doubts!!!

Behold the Man (Revelation 20; John 19; Malachi 2)

December 29, 2015

“So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.  Pilate said to them, ‘Behold the man,'” John 19:5

In recent days the Lord has placed more and more people in my path that have a different view of who Jesus is.  This morning as I opened my Bible to John 19 I was preparing myself for the scene of Jesus crucifixion.  It is a scene I have visited many times with great thankfulness for Christ taking the wrath of God for me.

This day I was brought by the Holy Spirit to a zoomed in moment on the words of Pilate, “Behold the man.”

Question:  “Who was this man Jesus and why did John give us the specific details of this moment in his life?”

  • Who is this man?
    • He is one who is hated because He is the Son of God, Vs: 7
    • He is the one who surrendered His authority as the Son of God, Vs: 10-11
    • He is the one who was despised because He was King, Vs: 16
    • He is the one who fulfilled prophecy,
      • Even his clothes were part of the prophecy, Vs: 24, Psalm 22:18
    • He is the one who cared for His mother on the cross, Vs: 27
    • He is the one who finished the work of redemption, Vs: 28-30 “It is finished.”
    • He is the one who died, Vs: 31-37
    • He is the one who was buried, Vs: 38-42

One chapter later, “He is the one who rose from the dead.”

 

  • Why did John share these facts about Jesus?
    • So that we would believe!!!!

Brothers and sisters, “Salvation comes through belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ!!!”  Without this true belief, salvation will not be ours!!!

“But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  John 20:31

It is my prayer, that you and I both discover who He is so that we can engage those with the wrong belief with the true belief that is required for genuine salvation.  Galatians 2:16-17!!!  There is coming a day when we will all behold the man, Revelation 20:11-14.

The invitation (Revelation 19; John 18; Malachi 1)

December 28, 2015

“And the angel said to me, ‘write this: blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb.” Revelation 19:9

Question:  “Have you been invited to a New Year’s Eve party?”

If there is one invitation I stay away from, it is this one.  Here is the reason why: “I do not like to stay up until midnight.”  I am of the view of, “Early to bed and early to rise.”

Consider with me “the invitation in Revelation 19.”  This is God’s invitation to His people to come the greatest moment in the life of the church.  It is the moment when Christ (the bridegroom) is united with the church (The bride)!!!

This scene is sandwiched between two eternal facts:

  • The almighty  reigns, Vs: 1-6

This world will no longer spin out of control.  The Lord will reign.

  • The almighty returns, Vs: 11-21

When Jesus returns John describes Him as the Faithful (kept His Word) and true (His ways are true and His judgments are true) one!!!

The armies of the world stand against him, but with the word of his mouth the enemy is destroyed, Vs: 15, 21.

Brothers and sisters, I am so excited about the invitation.  By the grace of God, I have received my invitation and I have accepted my invitation.  I am waiting for the party to begin.

Question:  What should we be doing while we wait?  Look back at Revelation 19:9.   The word “invited” gives us a clue.  The cross reference in my Bible is Luke 14:15.  This verse links us to the parable Jesus gives of a wedding feast announcement given, received, and then rejected at the last minute.  Take time to read the passage, Luke 14:12-24.

Our task, while we wait is given by Jesus:  “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” 

We could be coming to the end very soon!!!  I want as many people as possible to come in.

 

A Babylonian Christmas (Revelation 16; John 15; Zechariah 12:1-13:1)

December 25, 2015

“And they assembled them at the pace that in Hebrew is called Armageddon,” Revelation 16:16

Last evening our church family hosted a Christmas eve service.  This service is always one of my favorite services of the year.  We gathered with both followers of Christ and with people we were inviting to follow Christ.  In the service I spoke about “A Bethlehem Christmas.”

This Christmas story is much different than the one the world seeks after today.  Luke 2:1-20 shares the glorious story of God giving to the world a personal gift, “The gift of a Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord!!!”

This day is truly about us saying to Jesus, “Happy Birthday.”

However, we live in a world that has arisen on this Christmas day to celebrate a Babylonian Christmas.

Maybe you ask, “What is a Babylonian Christmas?”

Answer: “It is a Christmas that celebrates oneself and all that one can get from this life!!!”

In Revelation 16 we see a world that has bought into this system.  Keep in mind the name Babylon is a name of a literal city (Genesis 11:1-9; Daniel 1-6; Revelation 17-18).  This city represents a world system that totally defies God.  It is this system and its followers that come to the battle of Armageddon to fight against the Lord.

On this Christmas day I am thankful for God’s awakening of my life to the truth of a Bethlehem Christmas.  Jesus Christ has chosen me to follow His path, John 15:11-17.  I have received the personal gift of salvation.

However on this Christmas day I am heartbroken for the billions of people who embrace a Babylonian Christmas.  Revelation 16 reminds us of three truths:

  • They delight in Babylon
  • They are deceived by Babylon
  • They will be destroyed with Babylon

While this is a day of celebration of family (Please spend time with family).  This is also a day of calling out to the world (Come out of Babylon).

What Do You Want For Christmas? (John 14; Revelation 15; Zechariah 11)

December 24, 2015

“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son,” John 14:13

Last evening I watched a video of a church that decided to put to the test its emphasis on kindness in the community.  The church ordered a couple of pizza’s that were to be delivered in the service.  The person came in and was shocked that the service was going on and that the people had taken up an offering of 588.00 for her tip.  This was a gift that was over the top.

This morning I was greatly moved by the kindness of our Savior in His teaching in John 14.  There is so much in this chapter.  I want to highlight two things:

  1.  Thomas asks a question:  “Lord, how can we get to heaven?”

Jesus response is amazing.  “You get there through me.”  Here is how he describes the through me:

  • I am the way-It is through my redemptive work that you have access to heaven, I John 1:7.
  • I am the truth-It is my path that is righteous and just that will guide you on the way.  This is a true path, Matthew 7:14; Rev. 15:7-8.
  • I am the life-I am the one who brought you out of spiritual death and gave you life, now and forever more, Ephesians 2:1-4; John 11:25.

2.  Jesus gave a promise, “You will do greater works than these,” John 14:12b

If we ask God to do the works in us that he did in Jesus, it will be done!!!  If we ask God to do works that glorify Him, it will be done!!!

Pay close attention here:  “I already have all the gifts I need for Christmas.  I have a home in heaven awaiting me when I finish this walk.  I have a power within me to do His work as I walk the path of life.”

So today I both praise the Lord for all I have and I petition the Lord to do great work in me that will bring praise and glory to His name!!!

Beyond Imagination (Revelation 14; John 13; Zechariah 10)

December 23, 2015

“And the winepress was trodden outside the city and blood flowed from the winepress as high as a horses brindle, for 184 miles.”  Revelation 14:20

As we edge closer and closer to Christmas I remember those days when as a child that I used to have wild imaginations of what would happen on Christmas Eve.  I wondered how Santa Claus could get to every house in the world in one night.  I could not imagine how he could carry all the presents for the children of the world in one sleigh.  “It was beyond my imagination.”

This morning I came to Revelation 14 trying to imagine all that was being placed before John.  John sees and hears things that are beyond our imagination:

  • John sees the Lamb of God standing on Mount Zion.

Here in verses 1-5 we see the victorious lamb standing with the victorious church.

  • John sees the angel with the everlasting gospel.

This gospel has been proclaimed in every nation (still beyond our imagination) and the completion of the gospel message is at hand.  Jesus Second-Coming is in view.

  • John hears the angel make a powerful announcement.

The evil empire of the world (represented by the name Babylon) has been defeated.

  • John hears the angel make a painful announcement.

In verses 9-11 Gods wrath will be poured upon those who obey Satan.  God’s eternal torment will be carried out against all rebels.

Even though this is beyond our imagination, we should walk by faith in following Christ because we know the day of our rest is coming, Revelation 14:12-13.

  • John hears the announcement of Christ Second-Coming.

Verses 14-20 reveal to us the harvest of both the righteous and the unrighteous.  Those who know Christ are redeemed from the earth.  Those who are rebels will be judged by the one who created the earth.

The blood of the slain is beyond my imagination.  However, it is not beyond my belief.  This chapter always leads me to both be thankful for God’s salvation and to be intentional in sharing God’s everlasting gospel.

You and I have little time, let us be about the business of the eternal gospel which is also beyond imagination of its impact when we share.

Be ready (Revelation 13; John 12; Zechariah 9)

December 22, 2015

“If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword he must be slain.  Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”  Revelation 13:10

As we get nearer and nearer to Christmas, it seems, at least in our city, “that people are kinder and more loving than at other times in the year.”  Could it be that this season helps us to see, for even a few days, the need to be different?

This morning I awoke to a different scene before me in God’s Word.  As I turned the page to Revelation 13, I had before me the memory of connecting the dots from Revelation 12.

I already knew the enemy was building support to stand against God.  Unlike the days leading up to Christmas, the days leading up to the Lord’s Second-coming will be days of great hatred!!!

Here is an overview of chapter 13:

  • We see the identifying of the unholy Trinity.

We see the dragon-Satan; We see the first beast-the Antichrist; and we see the second beast-the False Prophet.  This unholy trinity is described in verse two as a group that is fast, strong, and vicious in character.  So unlike the slaughtered lamb who came to save us.

  • We see the influence of the unholy Trinity.

In verses 3 the entire earth marvels at this trinity and in verse 4 the entire earth worships at the feet of this unholy trinity.  For three-and-one-half years the influence is unchallenged in its authority.  The whole earth submits to being marked by this unholy trinity.

Question:  “What are those people who are Christ followers (followers of the Holy Trinity) to do in response to this news?”

John gives us the clear response:

  1. We are to endure for the sake of the gospel.
  2. We are to be expectant for the sake of the gospel.
  3. We are to be evangelistic for the sake of humanity.

As we near that day, I hear heaven crying out, “Be ready!!!  Get others ready!!!”  This is our call.  This is our choice, John 12:20-26!  Our king is coming, Zechariah 9:9-10!!!  Make ready a people to meet Him.

Connecting the dots (Revelation 12; John 11; Zechariah 8)

December 21, 2015

 

“11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”  Revelation 12:11

Usually at Christmas time we often take one of two paths:

  • Think about the many memories of Christmas gone by.

In these moments we look back joyfully, sometimes tearfully, and always with a view of what has been.

  • Think about the moment we are in.

In these moments we often focus on gift buying, gift receiving, or the inability to give and receive gifts.

In both moments we can get tunnel vision.  However, God’s Word gives us a wide-angle view of what is taking place in the world (i.e. “Connecting the dots”.)

Revelation twelve helps us to connect the dots of all history:

  1. The memory of a nation (Israel) and it’s promised Messiah (Jesus), Vs: 1-2.
  2. The memory of Satan (Dragon) and his pursuit of the Messiah, Vs: 3-4.
  3. The memory of the war between Satan and the Messiah, in which the victory was won on the cross, Vs: 5-10.
  4. The joy of knowing the war will be over when the Messiah returns for a second-time, Vs: 11-17.

This is the wide-angle view we need each Christmas so that our hope is firmly planted in the hope that is to come.  We need this view so that we know the best is yet to come!!!

Make Christmas a place of happy memories and hope for the future as you share the greatest story ever told, Luke 2:10-11!!!

 

Still shocked (Revelation 9; John 5; Zechariah 5)

December 18, 2015

20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts,  Revelation 9:20-21

No matter how many times I read the above scripture, I am always in shock.

To set the context we need to be reminded that John is writing about the judgment that is to come as a result of the rebellion of man since the days of Adam.  Beginning in chapter 5  John reveals how Jesus Christ is going to win the war over humanity who is in all out rebellion.

Chapter 6 reveals the first wave of judgment in what is known as the seal judgments.

Chapters 8-9 reveal the second wave of judgments in what is known as the trumpet judgments.

Chapters 15-16 reveal the third and final wave of judgments known as the bowl judgments.

It is the second wave of judgments that are in focus in our reading today!!! Very transparently, I am shocked at what I read at the end of chapter 9.

Think it through:  “Here are a people (possible in our day) who have endured two waves of judgments.  Over half the worlds population has been destroyed as well as over half the world is economically and physically destroyed.

However, the people do not change their allegiance, their attitude, or their actions.  Have you ever wondered why?

  • They are convinced their way of life is the best way to live, Vs: 20a

In their view, this is of the enemy and it will get better.  They say; “I will just keep on in this way and it will work out.”  Truly they have been blinded by Satan, II Cor. 4:4

  • They are committed to the worship of their own personal gods, Vs: 20b

Even though they are dead gods, humanity still trusts in them.

  • They are clinging to their right to do whatever pleases them.

Notice what pleased them:

1.  Murder-the killing of the unborn, the taking of others lives who had what they wanted.  Many are murdering others in the name of religion.

2.  Sorceries-this word can mean to worship in the occult or it can mean to engage in the use of drugs.  Many in our world are consumed by both the occult and over the counter drug use.

3.  Sexual immorality-ours is a day of sex on demand with every perversion considered to be simply a choice that God understands.

4.  Thefts-people are robbing God of His right to sovereign worship.

In these shocking verses I am reminded of the truth:  “God is always just in his judgment.”  Consider Zechariah 5, from long ago, when the vision of the scroll reveals the judgment of God against all who do and continue to do evil.

On this day, I want to be moved to action in sharing the light of Jesus, John 8:12, in the shocking world of today!!!!  On this day I want to live in a way that reveals the truth of one Lord and one way!!!