28.5 Revelation – Tendrils of Distraction

Living according to God’s will for us is hard.  We are called to be salt and light to the world.  We are called to rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all, to be thankful, and alert.

I think that for most of us that last one is the hardest. Following biblical teaching, we often think of sin as a lion crouching in wait for us.  We think of a beast grabbing ahold of us and pulling us under. A leviathan of the deep with tendrils choking and crushing our bodies.

But, in my day-to-day life, the bigger issues are not the direct attacks that I can see and those around me join together to pray through.  It is not in the big bully beast wrapping around me in attack.  Instead, it is in the little taps of distraction on my shoulder.  It is more like a buzzing fly, drawing my alertness away.

I sit down to read or pray and my mind goes a million directions.  I stand in worship at church and feel a cramp in my foot or hear an instrument out of tune or feel cold or just start day-dreaming.

Even the chosen 3 apostles who went with Jesus to pray fell asleep time and again.

We are powerless.  But God is not powerless.

Do you start your bible study with a prayer for peace and alertness and focus?  Do you ask God to keep your mind and body focused on worship time?  Do you call on the power of the Holy Spirit in each of these situations?

These tendrils of distraction are real evil things.  Yes, everyone has them.  They are completely “the norm”, but the norm is a fallen world permeated by sin.  Normal and right are not the same thing.

I think this is an area that all of us can ask for God’s help in our journey to eternal holiness with Him.

My Answers:

10.
M28: Go – make disciples of all nations – baptize them (father, son, holy spirit), teach, obey, walk with Jesus, every day, every single day

J13: Understand that while Jesus is gone He is still glorified with and in us.  Love one another, be known for love. We will follow Him.

1T5: Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, accept God’s will, be in Jesus Christ. Trust, not doubt, rjct evil

H12: Be thankful, worship God (acceptably with reverence and awe), look forward to a kingdom that cannot be shaken

1P1: be alert, set hope on grace brought by Jesus, be obedient, do not conform to the evil desire, be holy because Christ is holy

11.
fear and doubt and worry.  It is not in my belief, but in my unbelief.  It is in the little ways and thoughts and temptations and words that are not the witness that they need to be.  It is in my failures to pray continuously, but intermittently, to run ahead of God, instead of walk beside Him, to ask Him to save me instead of asking for direction in advance.

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28.4 Revelation – Blink

Even though we know better, we tend to think of time as a constant.  A second always last exactly a second, a day a day, a year a year, etc.  But, we know that time is simply another dimension just like spacial dimensions height, width and depth.  And we know that these dimensions that bind the physical world, these laws of physics, don’t apply the same way in the spiritual world.

Not only are space and time similar, but Einstein’s theory of relativity, published in 1915, postulated that they were interwoven into the same fabric of spacetime.  Bear with me, but many of us don’t understand this 100 year old “science fiction” sounding term so let’s do a little bit of an explanation.

Let’s say a pitcher can throw a fast ball at 100 miles per hour.  Now let’s say you are standing stationary on a tall mountain and the pitcher is standing in the back of a fast airplane hurtling through the atmosphere at 900 miles per hour.  As the plane rockets past you, the pitcher releases a fast ball from the back to a catcher in the front of the plane.  Relative to you, how fast is that ball going?  The answer of course is 1,000 miles per hour (100+900).  From the point the pitch is released to the point that the catcher catches it, it travels a distance in space away from you far greater than it would have traveled if the pitcher would have been standing next to you on the mountaintop.  And since speed is measured in space/time (e.g., miles/hour), it travels at a faster speed.

Light also travels at a speed.  Most of us know it simply as the speed of light or 186,000 miles per second.  So, lets take our same scenario as above, but instead of the pitcher throwing a baseball, lets give him a flashlight.  And lets also give you, standing on the mountaintop a flashlight as well.  And, just to make things easier to understand, instead of an airplane, the pitcher is in a very fast rocket ship traveling at 50,000 miles per second (very fast).    So, same scenario, as the rocket streaks by, both you and the pitcher perfectly simultaneously light your flashlights pointing in the same direction the rocket is going.  Your light beam streaks forward at 186,000 miles per second and the pitchers light beam streaks forward at 186,000 miles per second, the two light beams traveling forward neck-to-neck through space.

But, wait a second.  Why is it going 186,000 miles per second and not 50,000 + 186,000 miles per second?  This is where things get really interesting.  It is because the speed of light is a constant.  So, if it is being accelerated along at a speed of 50,000 miles per second, but still goes at 186,000 miles per second then either space (miles) or time (seconds) must not be constant.  And what Einstein proposed was that time, for the rocket pitcher, slows down.  The faster you go, the slower time gets.  His watch takes longer to count off 10 seconds than yours does.  (I know: Mind Blown!)

Evidence has supported this theory, rocket ships and space satellites have to be operated on different clocks to stay in synch with earth time.  Furthermore we have found that gravity, too, bends light and thus also influences time.  As a result a second is not a second, a day is not a day, and a 1000 years is not a thousand years to every place because of speed and gravity.  In some places a 1000 years is but a day (sound familiar?)

This is a really deep explanation to address a simple question.  Where do people go after they die while the rest of us are still living?  The problem with that question is that it is huge on assumptions.  It assumes “where” is strictly physical and bound by the laws of space, such as height, depth, width (even though we don’t believe the dead go on limited by their physical bodies).  It assumes “while” is a time dimension that is exactly observed at the same rate as those standing still on earth.  But our growing understanding of physics shows that this is not how God designed reality.

Understanding the beauty of God’s design in the laws of physics also helps us see how being freed from the bodily constraints of life and having our souls separate from our bodies at death means a totally different experience of both space and time.  The criminal on the cross would be in paradise “today” from his reality.  Thousands of years may go by for those on planet earth, but the newly saved believer simply blinked.

It also is beautiful in the words of Jesus from centuries before mankind began to understand the speed of light when Christ said, I am the light of the world (John 8:12).  Jesus is the only constant in all of creation.

My Answers:

7.
1Cor: Upside downness – everything weak is made strong, dishonor traded for glory, humility into glory.  Not by our own strength or works or thoughts or actions, but by the gift provided by the saving grace of Christ on the cross and resurrected from the tomb.

1John: What we will be has not yet been made known.  We have nothing of reference to the glory and holiness that we (you and I) will become.  We shall be like Christ, able to be with Him and view Him face-to-face.

Rev22: Paradise.  To create anew what once was “good”.  To make a new world in which there is no sin, because everyone in it has already made the choice to love and serve God, unlike the first world in which choice must be offered.

8.
In paradise, in rest.  Time is a dimension like height, width and depth which do not have the same constraints in the new world or in the spiritual world as they do in our physical world. When time is not a constraint, a moment and a 1000 years are not different.

9.
The understanding that this is not it.  All of us know that and want that, but to believe there is more opens the question of what is more, what else is there?  This implies something else, something more, something greater.  In a world that denies God and Jesus, this means opening a mind that is closed. – I pray for those who accept the lie as truth, who ridicule and deny God as fairy tale.

 

28.3 Revelation – Results

I work in a job where results matter.  If we are honest, we all do.  It is not simply a matter of putting in our time, punching the clock, waiting for the weekend.  We need to work diligently.  We need to work smart.  We need to work with goals in mind, with objectives, with measurements and with outcomes.  We need to work to get results.

Yet, many people don’t.  They put in their time, do only what they are told, blame someone else, and live paycheck to paycheck hanging on to survival.  These are also the people who hate their jobs, are unhappy, dissatisfied, and who seldom get praise, recognition or raises.

What is true for work is also true for life.

Unfortunately, many people go through life simply punching the clock.  They get up, drag through the day, eat, sleep, numb their minds with media or drugs or alcohol and look forward to exiting someday to the great retirement home of heaven.

But, God gave us this life for a purpose and that purpose is to produce results.  What kind of results?  The only ones that matter – eternity results – being a witness to others so that they too can be saved into an eternity in the presence of God.

But, unlike our 8 to 5 jobs, in this one, God, through the Holy Spirit does all the hard work.  He asks, commands, us to only do three things: pray, go, witness.  We don’t have to convince anyone, we don’t have to sell the good news, we don’t have to go into foreign lands or live in poverty.  But we do need to begin each day by asking God to show us how we can be a witness for the good news today.  Sometimes it will be through actions.  Sometimes it will be through words.  Sometimes it will simply be through love.  We can’t sit all by ourselves, we must go into the world.  We can’t be cooped up with media, hiding, but out with others, going, living, doing life together in community.

And with that, results matter.  It isn’t a quota system, if it was the minimum quota would be 1 (yourself).  But it is an area of daily focus.  It is the most important goal and objective.  Not notches of how many souls have been saved, but a life that is ready when God places that one opportunity in front of us.  The one person who is watching you with your kids.  The one person who sees something different in the way you live your life.  The one person who is hurting or homeless or handicapped or a widow or orphan.  The one person who the Holy Spirit has brought to you who is prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive the gift of Jesus if only you would let the Spirit be bold in you.

So, how do you start your day?  Are you dragging out of bed, with dread and grumbling?  Are you trying to get through another day, survive, do your best and hope for the rest, just enjoy life, live for the moment, get what you can today?

Or, are you starting your day with God?  Are you not relying on your strength but on His?  Are you not setting out on your own path, but going joyfully in His?  Are you facing pain and hurt and challenges and dreading them or are you turning all of these over to the one who has faced, lived and defeated them all?  Are you shelled up by yourself and being ashamed of the gospel or are you going boldly, bravely, diligently?

Colossians 3:23-24:

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

 

My Answers:

5.
broken, fallen, out of control, spinning further into darkness, sin building upon sin, darkness on darkness.  Abominations are paraded as the new norm.  Christianity is openly persecuted daily in every corner of the world.  The sacred is used as a prop for the adulteries of the world. Death surrounds us and sin permeates every pore of the living

6.
a.
2 Cor 4:18,So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal

b.
It is by serving.  I live as a foreigner, living in rental property.  Wealth and power and prestige here are immaterial except to the degree that they help lead others to the promised land.  Everything we know today, heaven and earth, will be thrown into the lake of fire.  Only the things God loves (John 3:16), will be redeemed, bought out, of the refuse, to judgment and eternity.

28.2 Revelation – A gift for us

Our questions today regard heaven in the “then and there” sense.  Without doubt, heaven will be an amazing place, something unparalleled in all of current creation.

But, stepping back from all of that we realize it is even more amazing.  We first need to remember that God created both heaven and earth, both the old heaven and earth and the new heaven and earth of Revelation 21.  Secondly, we need to remember that God is eternal.  By being eternal God has no beginning and no end, stretching forever in both directions.  That means God existed before creation, before there was an earth and before their was a heaven.  Not only did God exist, but by the definition of eternity, He existed for an eternity before creation.

Where I am going with this mind-blowing thought is that heaven does not exist for God.  God lived for an eternity before their was a heaven.  He does not need a place as we do.  He does not need a physical home.

So, then, where is there a heaven?  Why is there a physical home?  The answer is for us.  All of creation, both old and new, is a gift God created for us.  The beauty and splendor we see in the views of heaven throughout scripture are not simply views of something that was designed for God, but something that God designed to live with us.

This is true of all creation on heaven and earth.  We tend to think of amazingly wonderful places as places that exist and that we see and are awestruck.  But, the fact is that the reason they exist is not an accident, it is not because God needed a mountain here or a valley there or a sea or beach or planet system or galaxy or anything else.  They exist for you and me to be able to see, to be able to experience, to be able to be amazed at the wonder of God’s creation – because God chose to bless us with them.

 

My Answers:

3.
I see fully being in the presence of God.  There is beauty all around, but the beauty pales in comparison to the majesty of the most sovereign.  I feel peace and joy, a joy that surpasses anything on earth.  There is no worry or pain, no sorrow or fear, no greed or lust.  Things simply fit.  There is perfect harmony.  On earth heaven is often portrayed as a bunch of people milling around aimlessly and mindlessly in white robes doing work for a slave master.  Of course this isn’t accurate, it is not heaven.

4.
J14: It is a physical place, many rooms, with a place specifically prepared for me.  I’m a guest, a loved one, someone wanted and appreciated.  I am going with Jesus at the invitation of Jesus God Savior King

1Cor: there is a fullness in heaven, in body in spirit, that is unknown on the earth.  Today we see only shadows, only reflections, only hints, but the real thing will be right in front of us and with us

Rev21:It is a Holy place, a big place, a new heaven and a new earth and on it a city, dressed as a bride for her husband, perfect and beautiful, no more tears, death, mourning, crying or pain because sin and all its tendrils are gone, all is made new.