Archive for December, 2021

A Place beyond Imagination (Revelation 21-22)

December 31, 2021

23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. Revelation 21:23

In a world filled with bad news, there comes a shout of good news. Oh, it is better than good news, it is God News! Are you ready for the news? Here it is: Jesus is coming to establish His Kingdom which will be a new Heaven and a new Earth.

The Apostle John describes the capital city of Jesus Kingdom (which is the New Jerusalem). I have listed below some highlights from the city:

  • The city is 1,380 square miles of beauty beyond imagination.
  • God almighty dwells with His people in the city.
  • There will be no sin in the city.
  • There are gates of pearl and streets of gold.
  • There are walls made out of every kind of precious jewel.
  • The gates are always open.
  • The river of life and the tree of life is there.

Oh, what a place Heaven must be. But even better, consider the people who will be there. All those who have freely drank of the water of life will be there. All the brothers and sisters in Christ will be there. One hymn writer wrote, “Oh how beautiful Heaven must be.”

Oh, but it gets even better when we realize Jesus will rule and reign there. Some day I will get to see my Lord and I will get to worship my Lord in person. It is true, I want to see the place called Heaven, but even more I want to see the person who is The King of Heaven.

Brothers and sisters, as we end 2021, we have much to look forward to in the days to come. To borrow a line from preachers of long ago: “I am not looking for the undertaker but for the upper-taker.”

The Lake of Fire (Revelation 17-20)

December 30, 2021

 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:15.

There are few things in life that scar worse than when you have been taken in by whatever or whomever you placed your trust in. If you don’t believe me, just ask the people who placed their trust in the Enron Corporation. People lost their savings and their retirement to what was a scam.

As we open our Bibles to Revelation 17 we see a people who have placed their trust, their wealth, and their faith in the world system of the Antichrist. On this day, recorded in Revelation, a day that is still to come, people had sided with all that the Antichrist had placed before them.

According to Scripture, judgment from God had come in one hour (18). The natural question, for those invested was why. You and I know why. These people invested in the world system of wickedness and immorality propagated by Satan Himself. In this system the blood of the church was being spilled (19:3). But now, God would judge the world and the people in it.

Revelation 19 reveals the battle scene at Armageddon (16:16; 19:19). Here we see the armies of the Antichrist filled with hate against God. Untold numbers come for battle against the One on the white horse.

Brothers and sisters, pay close attention because the world is marching toward the Lake of Fire (20:11-14). In one moment (with a word from God) the battle will be over and all that will remain will be judgment and eternity in the Lake of Fire.

There are two things that fill my heart and mind as I consider these chapters:

  1. I am glad that I am headed in a different direction.

“Blessed are those who are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb,” 19:9.

2. I am thankful I serve a leader who is holy and just.

19 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

    for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
    who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants, 19:1-2.

Brothers and sisters, as we draw near to the end of 2021, I must ask: where are you headed and who are you following?

184 Miles of Blood (Revelation 12-16)

December 29, 2021

20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.[l] Revelation 14:20

I am ashamed to admit it, but there are times when I read God’s Word as one who is simply checking the box of the days reading plan. When I do this, the Lord taps me on the heart and ask’s, what did I say to you today? In those moments I then go back and listen to God’s Word as I read it.

I hope and pray that today you have listened to God’s Word from Revelation 12-14. If not, go back and listen.

The content of Revelation 12-16 is so, I believe, relevant to our day. It could be as a senior pastor said to me on Sunday, the time of the fulfillment of these Scriptures.

In this blog I want to focus on the events detailed in chapters 13-16 which give us the details of the last 3 1/2 years of the Great Tribulation period. In chapter 13 we read about the war between the True Trinity of Heaven and the false trinity on the earth. According to Scripture (13:12) Satan is allowed by God to empower the antichrist (False Jesus) and the false prophet (False Holy Spirit) to take over the world.

The people on the earth make their decision to align with the antichrist (13:4). The people on the earth (Maybe in our day) decide to take the mark of the beast (13:14) to be able to do business and survive in this world. There are no secret disciples in this time of history. Everyone is all-in.

The people of the earth come the place called Armageddon (16:16) standing with Satan against the army of God. According to Scripture the battle will be quick and deadly (14:17-20). All those who are all-in with Satan will die a quick death and their blood will fill a 184 mile stretch with the blood being so deep that it will come up to a horses bridle.

But this will not be the end of those who are on Satan’s team. No, this is just the beginning of God’s wrath. Here is what Scripture says that awaits the enemies of God:

10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Brothers and sisters, what do you say about these things?

For me there was two responses:

  1. I am devastated:

Yes, the power of the enemy to deceive the entire earth break’s me. The evil of people who side with the enemy comes at me so hard. The wrath of God being poured out causes me to tremble.

2. I am more determined:

I am called to carry the everlasting gospel (14:6) to the nations while there is a window of time.

Dear Father, may I never read the Bible without listening and being challenged by You!

Horrifying Truth (Revelation 6-11)

December 28, 2021

13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” Revelation 8:13

I knew it was coming, but I was not ready for how it would affect me. After it happened, I asked myself, how could it be possible that anyone would not be effected by the horrifying truth found in the pages of Revelation 6-11?

In honest confession, I have read these Scriptures many times and I have even written a commentary study on the Book of Revelation. But this morning, its horrifying truth has left me with questions and it has left me with an even greater urgency of heart and resolve.

Take a moment and read Revelation 6 as an example of the horrifying truth before us. Here is the text:

Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart[a] of wheat for a denarius,[b] and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers[c] should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave[d] and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Let us consider just the first 4 seal judgments and how they could easily happen in our present world.

The first seal depicts a world leader who will with negotiation be able to bring the world to his side. Look where we are in the world.

The second seal depicts the world super power armies declaring war on each other. Look what is happening in China, Russia, and the United States.

The third seal depicts a sky-rocketing poverty from inflation and corruption. Again look at what is happening in the world.

The fourth seal depicts death by disease and beasts that can easily be seen in Covid-19.

Here is the horrifying truth that sunk in me: This could be the beginning of the end.

If it is, I must ask, what should be our response?

  1. We should begin to work as if there is no tomorrow (II Peter 3:10-13).
  2. We must be willing to endure knowing it will soon be over (Rev. 7:15-17).
  3. We should partner with brothers and sisters to prepare as many people as possible for what is coming and maybe now is (Rev. 10-11).

Brothers and sisters I praise the Lord because I am ready. But at the same time I am pleading with the Lord to mobilize the Body of Christ to urgent work.

Two questions:

  1. Are you personally ready for the end?
  2. Do you care about those who are not ready?

What’s on Your schedule this week? (Revelation 1-3)

December 27, 2021

And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. Revelation 2:23b.

It happens almost every day in our house. It takes place at the end of my devotion time with my Poppa. It is a joyous happening in my life. It has been happening for almost 30 years. It may not seem important to you, but its vitally important to me.

Each morning I leave my home office and I walk to the kitchen to be welcomed by my wonderful wife. Each day we share an embrace and we ask how the other is feeling on the given day. Then it happens, Sherry ask’s, “Whats on your schedule for the day.” Oh how wonderful this is. To have someone who cares about what is on your schedule. For a few minutes we talk about not only my schedule, but we talk about her’s and then we pray together.

Now here is where I want to get personal with you. The schedule I share with Sherry was not designed by me. Each day, in my devotion time, I ask God what He has scheduled for me.

This morning, I asked the Lord this very question as I began to read Revelation 1-3. To be transparent, I was deeply convicted about chapters 2-3. Chapters 2-3 contain the written record of Jesus personal letters to 7 pastors and their congregations.

Before I read those chapters I asked God, which church is the one I lead. I also asked God to clearly show me His schedule for my week.

As I read, I saw areas where I could rejoice in faithful work, but I also saw areas where I needed to repent for forgetting my assignment. Brothers and sisters, God’s Word always does it’s work in preparing us for our daily assignments.

Here is a good question: What are God’s assignments for you this week?

As Jesus spoke to the church at Ephesus, He said: You are doing the work, but you have forgotten the why of the work. As Jesus spoke to the church at Philadelphia, He said, the door of ministry is wide open because you are doing this for me. As Jesus spoke to the church at Laodicea, He said, you are refusing to do what I say to do.

Here is a tough question: Which church are you in?

Brothers and sisters, the sweet Holy Spirit seemed to be saying the following to me:

  1. If you are tired of my work, focus again on the one you work for. Your tiredness will leave.
  2. If you are excited about the work, give all your heart working with the Spirit to reach others.
  3. If you are doing other things, repent and open the door of your life in surrender to Jesus once again.

Brothers and sisters, there is no greater schedule than the one Jesus sets for us! Let’s do it today!!!

Looking forward to what is ahead (II Peter 1-3; Jude)

December 24, 2021

13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. II Peter 3:13

As the year draws to a conclusion, it seems that more and more people are commenting about being excited about ending this year and looking forward to next year. At first consideration it would seem that this would be a good thing if people are focused on Hope For the Future founded in Christ. But a deeper consideration unveils how that many people have a view that they are in charge of their own destiny. It is as if God is in Heaven just waiting to give His approval to whatever humanity decides.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. God is not deist. He is not away on vacation letting humanity set its own course. Nor is there a calendar God that promises better in a new year.

When a Christian says, I am looking forward to the future, He is saying, I know that God is at work and I know that someday God will return to establish His reign on the earth.

In II Peter 3 we are taught these very things.

I can truly say, I am looking forward to 2022 because of Jesus. Please all me to place three actions that will set you up for 2022:

  1. Live each day with a thankful heart because God has given grace to you. II Peter 3:7.
  2. Live each day to it’s fullest knowing that Jesus could be coming this very day, II Peter 3:8-10.
  3. Live each day as an evangelist who seeks to harvest souls before the end comes, II Peter 3:11.

This day could very well be the last day we have on the earth or 2022 could be the last year we have on the earth. Either way, let us have joy because we know the Lord!

The Gift of His Presence (II Timothy 1-4)

December 23, 2021

17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth, II Timothy 4:17.

As Paul wrote his last letter, it would be a letter to Timothy, his son in the ministry. Paul’s ministry was at a close and Timothy’s was in full motion. Paul’s wisdom (given by God) is vital to every person who’s desire is to live their lives for God.

As Paul writes, it is with the full understanding that God was the source of His success. Paul considered the presence of God presiding over his life as a great gift. Since the day God opened Paul’s eyes and heart on the Road to Damascus, Paul had experience the gift of God’s presence.

Because of God’s presence Paul was coming to the end of his journey knowing that God had empowered him to fight a good fight, finish his race, and to keep the faith.

Paul’s testimony was not that of an arrogant man, but of a thankful man. Every day the Lord stood by him.

Question: Do you understand the value of God’s presence?

Moses did. He pleaded with God to walk with Him. Moses knew that it was useless to even try to do ministry without God (Exodus 33:15-16; Numbers 14:13-14). If you are feeling alone in your journey, it could be that you have forgotten about His presence or maybe you have taken matters in your own hands. Pause from what you are doing and call out to Him. He is not far from you.

As Paul looked back over his own life, he could say, God had been faithful!!!

This day I look back and I proclaim, God is faithful. This day I look forward and I know He will be faithful.

2 questions:

  1. In what ways has God been faithful in your life?
  2. In what areas of your life do you need to surrender to Him?

Its Our Turn Now (Hebrews 11-13)

December 22, 2021

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1.

Oh how I pray that the Lord speaks to you as He did to me this morning. The wisdom and weight of what God spoke into my life is greater than I can write about in this blog. The truth is, unless you know Him and unless you are in His Word, this blog is simply a reading assignment that will be over in a few minutes.

Please stop reading the blog and read Hebrews 11-13.

What did God say to you as you read His Word?

The great truth of Hebrews 11 is found in the personal callings and personal challenges of each person. Those callings and challenges demanded a living faith. Here are two facts about their faith:

  1. Their faith was grounded in their rock solid conviction that God keeps His promises (They had assurances).
  2. Their faith was elevated by the miracles that took place as God’s down payments on the promise that was coming (these were their evidences).

With each person named and those unnamed we are reminded of the impact Jesus makes in a person’s life. As I worked my way through Hebrews 12, the Lord reminded me that He is saying to His people: Its our time now!

Yes, in the midst of a season of uncertainty and fear God has called you and I to a faith that is elevated by Jesus. We have daily evidences of His grace and wisdom to guide our path. I wish I could walk you through what God spoke into my life, but it is for my race.

God has called you to your race with Him. I can share with you the process of how to live out your calling in this time. According to Scripture (Heb. 12:1-4) the following must be our actions:

  1. We are called to lay aside every doubt (weight) that might be keeping us for our calling.
  2. We are called to lay aside sin that separates us from the race of faith.
  3. We are called to fully embrace the race of faith.
  4. We are called to passionately pursue the King of our faith.

Oh how I can’t wait to see what God does in your life, because this is your time!

The Greatest of All Time (Hebrews 7-10)

December 21, 2021

26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Hebrews 7:26

Brothers and sisters, how can anyone possible read the book of Hebrews without coming away saying, “Jesus is The Greatest of all time.” This is truly how I feel this day and it will be how I feel tomorrow. Jesus is The Greatest of all time.

Please pause in your reading of this blog and find a copy of God’s Word and read every verse of Hebrews chapters 7 through 10!

Was I right or was I right? Jesus is the greatest of all time.

As I read my Bible I just started underling verses that fueled my praise for Jesus.

For example I unlined the entire verse of Hebrews 7:26. Consider with me the greatness of Jesus:

  • He is “Holy.” There is no darkness in Him. Jesus is perfect and His glory encompasses the Heavens.
  • He is “innocent.” There is no scandal in Jesus life. God’s wrath was placed on an innocent man.
  • He is “unstained.” Even though Satan tempted Him. Sin did not tip Jesus in any way.
  • He is “Separate from Sinners.” Jesus was not born with a sin nature. He is the spotless Lamb of God.
  • He is “exalted in the Heavens.” Jesus sits at the right hand of God awaiting the day when the Kingdoms of this world will be handed over to Him.

Jesus is The Greatest of all time. But wait, The Greatest one, Jesus came to this earth and humbled Himself in the most humbling way. Carter Conlon asked in a recent message: why a baby? His response is so insightful: “Jesus came as a baby to illustrate how He was with us in the most humbling of ways. A baby has no recourse but to trust others. Jesus fully trusted God and Jesus fully became one with us.”

Brothers and sisters, Jesus is The Greatest of all time. I love Him and I worship Him because according to Scripture, “He can say anyone who comes to God through Jesus,” Heb. 7:25.

This Christmas season, give thanks and worship to The Greatest of All Time.

2 questions:

  1. Who is the greatest in your life?
  2. In what ways can you let The Greatest one know of your love?

What’s going on in your house? (Hebrews 1-6)

December 20, 2021

but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope, Hebrews 3:6

As I sit here in my usual spot in the house, I find myself listening to the many sounds in our home. I hear the washing machine running at the other end of the house. I occasionally hear Sherry moving in the kitchen. I hear the heat pump as it works so that we can be warm. But there is one thing I do not hear. I do not hear hatred, division, and malice. Because of Jesus I hear sweet peace in our home.

Brothers and sisters, because of Jesus work in our spiritual homes, we have peace in our earthly homes.

According to Scripture, all who know Christ are identified by God as being His houses in the world. Wow, this is an amazing illustration. According to Scripture (I Cor. 6:19-20) Jesus purchased our homes on the cross. At the moment Jesus is invited into a person’s life, He transforms (Rom. 12:1-2) this person into a new creation (II Cor. 5:17). Now God Himself (The Holy Spirit) (Titus 3:5) comes to rule and reign in Jesus name. When He is ruling in our lives we can have peace in our hearts and in our homes!

This morning I sit here praising the Lord, but I am also sitting here with a question on my heart. I am asking God to show me the condition of this spiritual house.

As I ask this question, the Holy Spirit responds, you have God’s Word as the inspector of your house (Heb. 4:12-13). His Word does the work. As you read, Jesus is in Heaven (Heb. 4:14-16) ready to make intercession for those things that you lay before Him. He works in us and through us and even for us to remove the peace killers and to make peace in our homes.

Today, I want to challenge you with on simple reminder: If you begin each day with God in His Word, your spiritual house will always be a place of sweet peace.

2 questions:

  1. Whose in charge of your house?
  2. What areas of your home need immediate attention?