Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rev 21:1-8 No More Death

Rev 21:1-8 NIV
We have today scripture that I often use for funeral services. The one who sits on the throne promises that all things will be made new. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no death or mourning or crying or pain..." (vs 4)

These verses are a reminder that there is hope for those who believe in this promise given to us by the one who sits on the throne, who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I remember one young woman who began worshipping where I was serving after a string of deaths in her family. She said after attending so many funerals she noticed that the people who belonged the congregation; although, they grieved, seemed to grieve with hope and even joy at times. She needed that. She wanted that. She wanted to know how to deal with her grief. She needed to know that there was more. She found the answer in Jesus the Christ.

The vision of St. John reveals that the end, the first death, is sorrowful for those who do not believe; for "the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars." (vs 8) They will also suffer the second death following the day of judgment. But, for those who believe there is hope. There is hope and the promise that we shall live eternally with our God in the new home that he has created for us. He will be our God and we will be his children, both now and forever.

For all who believe there is the promise of eternal life. There is hope. There is even joy as we look to the day when there will be no more sorrow or pain.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rev 20 Fear of Death or Love of God?

Rev 20 NIV
Chapter 20 has brought about a lot of surmising among people regarding who will be raised and when; about what the first and second resurrections and deaths might be. There are whole sects built almost exclusively around all of this surmising. They are built on fear of death rather than the love of God.

It is difficult (impossible) to tell what exactly chapter 20 means in spite of the fact that are the many theories and teachings regarding it. Beware of false teachings and those who would use this and surrounding chapters to incite fear of death rather than the love of God. We will probably not know the specifics or even some of the generalities until the day we all stand at the judgment seat of God. This, though, I am quite sure of: we will all stand before God on that day and everyone will know that He is God. Every knee will bow before the Lord God Almighty who loves us and reconciles us to Himself through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

God's Peace - Pr. J

P.S. On the road today so no photos.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rev 19: Hallelujah!

Rev 19 NIV
In Chapter 18, we heard a three-fold woe. Today we hear a three-fold hallelujah. Woe to those who worship and serve anything or anyone other than the one true God. Hallelujah for God is GOD and salvation and glory and power belong to our God. His judgments are true and just. With justice he destroys the great whore who has corrupted the earth by her adulteries.

What a battle that will be. In fact, we are already in the midst of a battle to keep her from leading God's children astray. Alas, there is nothing we can do. Only God can save His children. Indeed, he will. The rider on the white horse, whose name is faithful and true, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will destroy the prostitute; will destroy the beast and the false prophet who have led God's people astray.

Hallelujah! Our Lord reigns!

God's Peace - Pr. J

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rev 18 Adultery and Idolatry

Rev 18 NIV
It is finished! The time of judgment upon Babylon the great harlot and upon those who committed adultery with her has come. 

So what's the difference between adultery and idolatry? Not much. Whenever we make a commitment to someone to put them first in our lives and then place other things before that commitment, that is adultery. It does not have to be a sexual liaison for it to be adultery. Football or fishing or gold or alcohol or drugs or money or  multitude of other things sometimes edge their way into our lives causing us to be unfaithful to those whom we have committed ourselves to love and care for.

If we say we worship the one true God and we put any of those same things that cause us to commitment adultery with our spouses before God and His perfect will for us, we commit idolatry.

Being reconciled, through the blood of Jesus to our Father, is about being in a committed relationship. God our Father committed His only begotten Son so that we might live in and with Him. God, the Son, committed His life to death, that we might live in and with Him. God, the Holy Spirit, commits us to be our help and our strength so that we might live in the presence of this perfect Triune God for all eternity. It's a pretty one sided commitment though. God desires that we should worship Him. He is faithful to us. Yet, we are not faithful to Him. We promise to be faithful and then we go off and serve other false gods committing adultery and idolatry as lovers of Babylon the great harlot.

The angel in John's vision warns us to come out of her while there is yet time; for when that final day comes neither the voice of the bride or the bridegroom will be heard in her again.

There are those who would judge that there are many and various levels of adultery and idolatry. That may be. But, I am not sure that God sees these many levels that humankind has concocted. If you dip just your foot into a cesspool you will still get dirty.

I am not sure if I know anyone who does not put themselves or others or things of this world before God from time to time. We are all idolaters and adulterers; forsaking the beautiful gift of reconciliation, life with our God, for reconciliation with the pleasures of this world.

Thanks be to God, that Jesus was willing to commit his whole life that even though we have turned our back on him; he did not turn his back on us.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rev 17: Babylon the Great

Rev 17 NIV
Who is Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth? I have heard many theories. Some say that it is Iraq; others have said Rome; and others I've heard claim that it is either New York or Washington D.C.. There are many theories. It does appear; though, that the angel makes it clear that kings and indeed people from all over the world will follow Babylon. They will not worship the Lord. They will join in persecuting those who do worship the one true God.

All the surmising over who or what Babylon the Great is will not bring us any closer to God. It will only detract from what we are called to do and that is to proclaim the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ our Lord for all who would believe.

Worship the Lord your God and do not bow your knee to any false god, no matter what kind of riches or pleasures they might promise you.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rev 16 Wrath and Justice

Rev 16 NIV
It appears that the seven trumpets only brought a foretaste of the wrath to come. The seven bowls wreak even more devastation. While the trumpets affected only one third of everything, the wrath pours out from the bowls affect the whole of the land, water, and skies. The beast and all who follow the beast are plunged into utter darkness. Yet, none will repent.

Rather than repent, a great army is amassed. Demonic spirits gather the kings of the world and their great army at a place called Armageddon to do battle on the great day of the Lord God Almighty; to make their last stand.

As they gather, the seventh and last bowl of wrath is poured and even greater comes upon the earth and those who follow the beast. An earthquake strikes the entire earth, mountains and islands are obliterated, one hundred pound hailstones fall upon the earth and the people, the earth is devastated. There is no repentance. The people curse God.

Be careful then to examine yourself and repent. Do not blame God or anyone else for your choices and the consequences of your choices. Do not blame God for being just. Be careful not to worship other gods. There is only One God.

There is still time; although, we do not know how much time. God is just. He will save all who believe that His only begotten Son died that we might be reconciled to God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rev 15 Seven Bowls of Wrath

Revelation 15 NIV
Now that's a novel idea: God's wrath. It seems to me that many who say they believe; but, lift up other false god's (priorities) and do not actually worship God have kind of discounted God's wrath.

I know that I am accepted by many as long as I say and do everything to please others. But, when I speak a truth that does not condone worshipping other gods, I am not at all accepted by many. If a word of truth that comes from God through me or others who proclaim His Word is not accepted, then how much less is He accepted as He is? God is not to be mocked. He is more than a benevolent spirit. He is who He is and He will do justice. Justice includes judgment. It includes His wrath as well as His mercy.

John's vision of seven angels about to pour out seven bowls filled with the plagues of God's wrath upon the earth reminds us that those who do not worship Him will endure His wrath even while those who have been victorious through the blood of Christ will praise His Holy Name.

God have mercy upon us.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rev 14:14-20 Two Harvests

Rev 14:14-20 NIV
For a couple of decades, every July, we traveled north to Upper Peninsula of Michigan to make hay. It was not exactly my idea of how to spend a vacation; but, family needed help. In good years the farmers get to harvest two crops. The first harvest, beginning around the 4th of July, is usually the best.

John's vision includes two harvests, as well. The first is of those who are found righteous. The second harvest is of grapes that grow from the vine of the earth. These grapes are thrown into the great winepress of God's wrath and from that winepress, that is outside the city of God, flows blood.

Two harvests; one for the those found righteous through Jesus the Christ, the other for those who have followed in the ways of the world.

In which harvest will you be gathered?

God's Peace - Pr. J

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rev 14:6-13 God's Peace or His Wrath

Rev 14:6-13 NIV
Today's reading reminds me of the Gospel from yesterday's service where we heard the story of Jesus calming the wind and the sea. Those who worship the Lord will know peace no matter what the might encounter. No matter what might befall them, they will know the peace that surpasses all understanding because Christ is with them and for them. But, those who worship false gods; anyone who would worship the beast, will know no peace. They will drink the wine of God's fury. They will have no rest by day or night.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always!

God's Peace - Pr. J

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rev 14:1-5 144,000?

Rev 14:1-5 NIV
I cannot wait to meet these 144,000 who have never lied; who have remained virgins; who are completely blameless. Well, actually verse five says no lie was found in their mouths. In fact, all who believe in the life giving sacrifice of Jesus have had our sins washed away by the blood of the lamb. They no longer exist.

But, I am not sure if this 144,000 refers to all who have been saved by the sacrifice of Jesus or if this vision of 144,000 refers specifically to a sub-group of God's people.

Years ago, I studied with a group who believed that only 144,000 would enter into God's kingdom. The rest of us believers were going to get to live awesomely perfect and eternal lives here on earth. I couldn't quite get that picture into my head. You see, they already knew that the 144,000 slots had been filled and I was informed that I would not get to go to heaven. There was no room left for me. If I joined their church I would get to live here on earth with my family. That was a bit confusing as I am not sure who my family would be. Would that be my children and their children and all their spouses? Would it be my parents and siblings and their multitudes of spouses? How about my husband's family? Would we all be living under the same roof? I have to tell you just as I told them that I want to be with Jesus. I want to be with my Father in heaven. I do not want to live on a new earth no matter how perfect anyone suggests it might be. Eventually, I got shunned by this group of people for insisting living in God's presence would be much more desirable than living eternally in a new house, in a new world, here on earth.

144,000 or so many more than can even be counted, I believe that all who believe that Jesus is Lord will inherit their places in the Kingdom of God for that is what Jesus promised. There will be more than a few of us, who have been washed by the blood of the lamb, singing a new song.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Rev 13:11-18 Who is the Anti-Christ?

Revelation 13:11-18 NIV
On the seventh day God rested. The number 777 if often used to symbolize the threefold perfection of the Trinity. On the sixth day God created humankind. Therefore, six being less than seven is sometimes used to symbolize man. In interpreting the 666 in John's vision, this number is often looked at as representing one evil man whose name can be translated into the number 666. It may well be that; but, personally, I have heard of way too many public (political and/or religious) figures whose names can add up to 666. We seem to be looking for a scapegoat; an excuse to demonize a person whom we personally don't happen to like or agree with. 666 could also symbolize, not just the one beast; but, the imperfect trinity found in Revelation, chapters 12 and 13: the dragon, the beast from the sea, and the beast that comes out of the earth. There most probably is more than one who is actively the anti-Christ.

And... that brings me to the idea that there is definitely more than one anti-Christ and that it is probably not a good idea (or very Christ-lie) to try to single out one man or woman. Jesus said, "“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." (Matt 10:30; Luke 11:23) Anyone who is not with Christ is against him and is anti-Christ. Six being the symbolic number for man and not just "a" man, I would suggest that we look not out to the world for some extreme anti-Christ; but, within ourselves to see if the anti-Christ resides within each of us. Either we are for Christ or against him. There is no in-between. Either Christ abides in us or he does not.

God's Peace - Pr. J

P.S. Sorry, but this is just a blog and since 666 is such a popular topic, there is no way I can go too much in depth and cover even a decent sized portion in a couple of paragraphs.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Rev 13:1-10 Beast of the Sea and Idolatry

Rev 13:1-10 NIV
If you are a Christian, expect persecution. The dragon, who is Satan, has been exiled to the earth and he is not happy. He will give authority to the beast who comes out of the sea to rule the nations and make war against God's people. Anyone who will not fall down and worship the beast will be persecuted. It will not be easy. It is not easy. With faithful patience and endurance we are to reject all forms of idolatry, whether they are to things that might bring us earthly pleasures or people in power. God is with you. But, do not be deceived. Do not think that this is something that all will just happen in the future for the devil is also very near to you. He will use all means to detract you from your relationship with God our Father and Creator. He is busy, very busy, trying to break your relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord. Do not succumb and fall down and worship anything or anyone other that our Father, our Saviour, our Protector.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rev 12 At War With Satan

Revelation 12 NIV
A great war breaks out in this vision of John between Michael's legion of angels and the dragon and his angels. Michael prevails and the great dragon, that ancient serpent who is called the devil or Satan, is hurled to the earth. Satan could not win against the angels of God so he attacks the people of God. But, neither can he prevail against God's chosen people. By the blood of the lamb, Satan and by the word of God that old serpent, the devil, will be defeated. He will not prevail. No evil can prevail against the Word of God. No evil can prevail over the blood of the lamb, who is Jesus the Christ.

Take heart, no matter how grim some of these visions may appear for humankind; they are good news for the Kingdom of God; for all who love our Lord and King and long to be with him forever.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rev 11:15-19 Seventh Trumpet Sounds

Rev 11:15-19 NIV
The second woe is passed and as the seventh trumpet is sounded.

Unknown voices from heaven and the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God are ecstatic as they proclaim the Kingdom of God. The time for judgment has come and all God's people will revere His name.

Let us fall down and worship the Lord our God before the day comes when the Lord call each of us to His judgment seat.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rev 11:1-14 Every Eye Will See

Revelation 11:1-14 NIV
As horrible as humankind can be, it is difficult for me to be able to comprehend how the world would
kill God's witnesses and then leave their dead bodies on display in the public square for three and a half days so that the world can rejoice over their deaths.

However; this, too, will be a very good thing. After all, Jesus was in the grave for three days and because there were no witnesses to the actual resurrection, only to his presence after the resurrection, not everyone believed that he was risen. Even to this day, many doubt or just flat out refuse to believe because they did not see it.

If the resurrection of these two witnesses happen exactly as John saw it in his vision there will be no doubt that God can raise the dead. Television cameras will capture the moment. Cell phones will be clicking away. Every eye will see. The enemies of God will tremble in fear. As God calls the two witnesses to himself, they will ascend visibly into heaven and the earth will quake  killing multitudes. The survivors will know. They will all be witnesses. They will then understand that God is worthy of  receiving honor and glory. There will be no doubt. Every eye will see and know that God can and will raise His chosen ones.

God's Peace - Pr. Judy

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rev 10: Sweet as Honey; Yet, Bitter to Swallow

Revelation 10 NIV
Prophecy is often a "bitter pill" to swallow. We don't like to hear that we have a need to make changes in our lives. We usually don't care to hear that there are consequences to everything we do. Sometimes, those consequences are good. Sometimes, they are not. A lot depends on whom or what we choose to serve.

The angel who stood with one foot on the sea and one on the land holding a tiny scroll announces to John that the seventh trumpet is about to sound and "the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets." (vs 7) This could well be a "bitter pill" for those who  refuse to hear the message of the prophets.

John is told to take and eat the little scroll from the angel. He eats. The scroll tastes as sweet as honey; but, it turned his stomach sour. He has swallowed the words and it is sweet to taste; yet, bitter to stomach. It sounds good and it is good; but, with the words that were delivered to John on the scroll will come many anxious and troubling times. Events and times that will be very difficult to stomach.

John must go out and prophesy with the words that he has swallowed about peoples, nations, languages and kings. It may well be that to those who believe in the Son of God and anxiously wait for the mystery of God to be accomplished that the word is sweet; yet, a very "bitter pill" to those who reject the Lord. But, it will not be easy for John. With the sweet word of the Lord will come much persecution from the world to those who love him.

May God help us to hear the word and receive it no matter what kind of changes it asks us to make in our lives.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rev 9:13-21 Sixth Trumpet; Fiery Plagues

Rev 9:13-21 NIV
The sixth trumpet sounds and what is this army that God sends that it would have no impact on the hearts of humankind? John sees a powerful image of hundreds of thousands mounted troops to destroy one third of mankind by three plagues of fire that come out of the mouths of the horses. What a fearsome site that would be! My husband, who as a young man was a "tanker" in the U.S.M.C., always surmised that these horses would actually be something like tanks.

Now, most people have a little fear of fire or at least a little respect of it. If we or someone we know has been burned by fire, we usually figure out that fire is not to be played with. We change the way we do things so that we do not get burned. But, not the people in John's vision. The plagues of fire that God sends do not change the hearts or minds of any of those who were not believers before the great army of mounted riders came. Those who are not killed still cannot comprehend that God is Almighty; that He is God, and He alone is to be worshipped. They do not repent. They continue to worship demons and all sorts of false man-made idols. They do not repent of any of that things they have been doing against God or man.

May God have mercy on humankind and soften our hearts so that all might follow in the way He would have us go.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rev 8:13, 9:1-12 - Fifth Trumpet And Locusts

Revelation 8:13, 9:1-12 NIV
A great eagle flies in midair calling out "Woe! Woe! Woe!" The last three trumpets are about to sound ushering in even more destruction. The fifth angel sounds the trumpet opening up the Abyss so that locusts ascend upon the earth to afflict those who do not bear the seal of God on their foreheads.

The vision is reminiscent of the plague of locusts that descended upon Egypt (Ex 10:13-15) except that the locusts in Egypt attacked plant-life that was needed to sustain the people and the locusts in John's vision actually attack and torture the people who do not worship the Lord. The locusts will cause so much fear and pain that people would rather die than endure the attack. But, they will not die. Death will elude them.

The vision of these locusts is most unlike the grasshopper-like locusts from Exodus. These locusts are terrifying creatures to see. They look like horses prepared for battle; yet, their faces resemble human faces. They have hair and upon their heads is something like a gold crowns. Teeth like lions' teeth and breastplates like iron make them formidable attackers. It is hard to imagine what these locusts might actually look like or be. They are sent, we are told, by their King Apollyon (Destroyer), who is the angel of the Abyss. We will know exactly what this vision means for us when we see it with our own eyes. Until, then we would do well to remember that even God saved His people from slavery in Egypt; He is with those who love Him today.

The fifth trumpet has sounded and the first woe is passed. But, it is not over. There are more woes to come.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Friday, June 12, 2015

Rev 8:6-12 First Four Trumpets

Rev 8:6-12 NIV
As the angels sounded the first four of the seven trumpets there came destruction to a third of the
land, water, and sky. There are many theories as to how this could occur. God could directly bring destruction. It could come in the way of a meteor or some other such catastrophe. The destruction might also could come through the work of man or rather the lack of the conscientious work of man by not caring for our natural God-given resources and continual polluting of the air, land, and water.

There are many theories. The reality is; though, that we have not done a real good job caring for those things that God made us stewards of. We have not taken real good care of those things that we and future generations need to survive.

May God help us to better care for all things He has created.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rev 8:1-5 Prayers Rise Like Incense

Revelation 8:1-5 NIV
Let our prayers rise like incense before thee. For those who do not recognize these words from Vespers, you are really missing out! Attend a Vesper's service.

As I read the lesson this morning I was struck with the thought that immediately following the prayers of God's people going up before God along with the smoke of the incense, the censer was filled with fire from the altar and hurled on earth to cause quite a rumbling. I wonder was the storm and earthquake in John's vision the response to the prayers of God's people that had just come before Him?

We know that God hears our prayers and answers. He is with and for His children whether in heaven or on earth. We give thanks to God for in His mercy, He has heard our prayers and answered.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rev 7: The Multitudes

Revelation 7 NIV

What a vision the multitudes praising God must have been. I cannot wait to see it for myself with my own eyes. That great multitude who have come though the tribulation and have been sealed by God are promised:
"Never again will they hunger;
    never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
    nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne
    will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
    ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (vss. 16-17)

Thanks be to God for salvation belongs to our God and we will live with Him in His kingdom forever!

God's Peace - Pr. J

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rev 6:12-17 6th Seal

Rev 6 12-17 NIV

The sky turned black
and the stars fell to the earth.
Photo: John Arthur Photography
The sixth seal is opened and the earth and skies are shaken. The world as we know is devastated in the face of the wrath of God. Not only are the earth and heavens shaken; but, the people are shaken at the knowledge of the coming of the Lord. They would hide if they could beneath the falling mountains. They would rather be crushed to death than to face the Lord God in the day of His judgment.

John's visions are horrifying to those who do not worship the Lord; to those who know that they have turned their backs on God. There is still time. We know not how much time. Turn to the Lord. Love and serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart and soul and mind. The visions of the end can be terrifying for those who do not worship the one true God. But, for those who do, we know that all things are for the good for those who love Him; for the coming of His Kingdom.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Monday, June 8, 2015

Rev 6:9-11 How Much Longer?

Revelation 6:9-11 NIV
How many times have we heard or even asked ourselves, "How much longer, Lord?"

As the fifth seal is opened, St. John see the multitude of souls of those who had been killed for the word of God. They want to know how much longer before their blood will be avenged. They want to know how much longer they must wait for the judgment of the inhabitants of the earth. They want an end to the pain and suffering; the persecution of God's children on earth.

They want to know and so do we. When will it end? It will end they were told when the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters in Christ, have been killed just as they had been. The persecution and execution of Christians appears to be escalating once again. Who can tell when the full number of martyrs will join those already dressed in white robes?

God's Peace - Pr. J

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Rev 6:1-8 The Four Horses

Rev 6:1-8 NIV
The white, red, black, and pale horse are sometimes referred to as the four horses of the apocalypse. The four horses and their riders signify conquest, war, famine, death. Some would say that these four horses and their riders will lead the charge at Armageddon at a great and final battle just prior to the day of the Lord. It will be a most horrific day.

I am a bit more cautious about considering this to be just a future event as I am well aware that we are already in a battle with the forces of evil. The desires to control others for our own purposes (conquest), wars, famines, and death have been very present with us for a very long time. We may feel relatively safe here in the United States. There are of these horsemen all around us; but, until it directly affects the individual; sometimes, the eyes are closed to what others are living.

Open your eyes and see. See how the world strives to control others; see the wars; see the famine; and see the death. If we cannot see the pain that others are suffering; then, maybe, as a teacher friend use to remind her students often, "If you're not part of the solution; you're a part of the problem." See the suffering and then see what you can do to help those who are in need. Fight the good fight, while staying firm in your faith. Don't wait 'till that final day of judgment to help those who are suffering or Jesus might say to you, "...Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." (Matt 25:41-46)

God's Peace - Pr. J 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Rev 5: Lamb of God

Rev 5 NIV
"Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

No one was found worthy to break the seal and open the scroll except for the lion of Judah who is the lamb of God. Jesus was deemed worthy because he was slain and with his blood he purchased for God people from every tribe and language and nation. (vs 9) He alone died for the sins of the world. He is worthy to be praised. And... in this vision of John, he is praised. Every creature in heaven and on earth praises him saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (vs 13)

What an awesome vision this must have been! All people will come before the lamb who was slain for them. For those who have believed in him it will be a most joyous moment. For others it may not be quite so joyful. Jesus died for all people. He desires that all who would believe in him would follow him in his kingdom. He died for you. Receive him into your life. Enter into the kingdom of God as a priest to serve our God.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Friday, June 5, 2015

Rev 4: The Sanctus

Revelation 4 NIV
"Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify your glorious Name; evermore praising thee, and saying: "Holy, holy, holy; Lord, God Almighty; Heaven and earth are full of 
your glory: Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest."   (sanctus; sorry, I don't have a hymnal with me, so from memory a few versions intermingled)

Every Sunday we sing the Sanctus just prior to the words of institution being said at Holy Communion. It is a rare occasion that I am not reminded, as we sing these words, of the various areas of scriptures that it's derived from; particularly, chapter 4 of the book of Revelation. I imagine the presence of those twenty-four elders before the throne of God and those four awesome living creatures, with all of the heavenly host praising God Almighty. We join with them and all of the faithful followers here on earth as we lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving for all that He is.

When questioned why us Lutherans are so adamant about following a liturgy and why we can't be more spirit led, I usually let them know that we are definitely spirit led. All scripture is inspired by the Spirit of God and our liturgy is from scripture. The sanctus is a great example of this.

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty . . .” (Rev 4:8)

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3)

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! . . . Hosanna in the highest !" (Mark 11:9-10)

I appreciate every opportunity to remind people that "faith comes by hearing the word of God" (Rom 10:17); therefore, Lutheran Worship seeks to provide the word throughout the service. It is heard in our liturgy; it is heard in our hymns; it is heard in our prayers; it is heard in the reading of the lessons; and, it is heard throughout the sermon. Faith comes by hearing. See you at Worship where your faith might be nurtured and grow through the hearing of the word of God. See you at Worship!

God's Peace - Pr. J

P.S. Don't forget to read Revelation 4 - the vision is an echo of visions of Ezekiel as well as Daniel.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rev 3:14-22 Sitting on the Fence

Revelation 3:14-22 NIV
Get off the fence! The warning to the church in Laodicea is that they are lukewarm and because they are neither hot nor cold, they are about to be spit out of the mouth of God. This message could and should surely be heard by a goodly number of those who claim to be members of the church, the Body of Christ, in North America. They are not on fire for the Lord; yet, they are not totally cold either; as they will profess to love the Lord when pressed on the subject. Thanks be to God not all who profess to be Christians are lukewarm; but, there are way too many. The time is now for all who profess to the love the Lord to get hot! Get off the fence!

He stands at the door and knocks. Don't be talking to him through a crack in a slightly opened door. Open the door all of the way and let him in and you will no longer be able to continue on lukewarm. He will set your heart on fire. Open the door and let him in!

God's Peace - Pr. Judy

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Rev 3:7-13 God Opens and Shuts Doors

Revelation 3:7-13 NIV
"What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open." (vs 1)

God gets to decide whom the door will be open for. He will also choose for whom the door is shut. Jesus promises that the door is always open to those in the church at Philadelphia who, even with the little strength that they have, have kept his word and not denied his name.

Jesus said, "I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God." (Luke 12:8-9)

God grant that we should have the strength to persevere in proclaiming His Holy Name.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Revelation 3:1-6 I Know Your Deeds

Revelation 3:1-6 NIV

Sometimes we can seem so faithful to the world outside because of all our good works. But, to the angel of the church in Sardis, Jesus says, "I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but your are dead." (vs 1) Wake up and repent! Walk with Jesus, dressed in the white robes of his righteousness.

May we always remember that our good works might fool some of the people; but, they can never fool God. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Monday, June 1, 2015

Revelation 2:18-29 No Compromising With Jezebels

Revelation 2:18-29 NIV
The congregation I serve is very welcoming. They truly love each other and our visitors. As the people are sharing the peace, I could almost take a nap some Sundays as everyone has to share the peace with everyone and it does take a bit of time. They have been very faithful and are doing much more than even a decade ago. They have grown both in faith and numbers because of their involvement in loving service to God and the whole community.

Jesus commends the church in Thyatira for their love and faith; their service and perseverance; and that they are doing more than they had previously done. Yet, he warns those who tolerate the woman prophet, Jezebel. He warns them that if they do not repent of their immorality and quit following her ways that they will suffer intensely.

He will, he says, repay each of us according to our deeds. (vs 23)

Now, I hear quite often that we are not suppose to "judge" anyone because we are Christians. This is usually intended to mean that we should keep our mouths shut and not condemn sin even within the church. But, this message from Jesus commending some and condemning others in the church at Thyatira; how do you suppose such a message was delivered to them if not by one of Jesus' followers? We are not the judges that is most certainly true. But, we must discern between right and wrong; faithfulness and sin. The church must not compromise God's word or will for the sake of keeping the "peace." Sin must be confronted.

Although, the world around us might strive for peace by compromising God's word and will; may God help his church to grow through faithfulness to Him.

God's Peace - Pr. J