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.

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27.3 Revelation – Built by God

There is one God and one new Holy City.  There is one dwelling place where those chosen and called will live in daily communion with God.  There is a New Heaven and a New Earth, but no separation between them.

Creation is new again, but God and believers come forward into the new existence. There is not a new God, God is God, unchanging and eternal.  The God of the tribes of Israel is the God of the apostles.  The God of the old testament is the God of the new and the yet to come.  Man is born again, in new bodies, free of sin and pain and tears.

But mankind has no dowry for the wedding day.  Mankind has nothing old, for all the old is gone.  Mankind has no possessions or deeds, because all have been judged and burned away.

But Christ, as the groom has beautifully ordained and dressed His bride.  As we read through the size and magnitude of the city.  As we view the beautify of the jewels, the emerald, the ruby, the sapphire, amethyst, pearls and gold.  As we see the names on the gates and on the walls, we need to remember one important thing:  All of these are from God, not for God.  The new Holy city is not built by human hands, it is built by God and descends from heaven.  These are not things that God owns, to show off to others or to display His wealth.  These are not things made valuable because of scarcity.  These are things presented simply because they are beautiful and simply for the joy of the bride.

One thing that is interesting to keep in mind is that, in the dark, these are simply rocks.  Nothing more, nothing less.  They are no greater or less than any other rock made by God.  But in the light the reflect the light in beautiful brilliant ways.  They reflect a rainbow of colors.  They reflect shine and depth, they reflect the love of God, the presence of the Lamb.

My Answers:

6.
a.
Jasper Sapphire Agate Emerald Onyx Ruby Chrysolite Beryl Topaz Turquoise Jacinth Amethyst Pearls Gold

b.
Old and New Testaments – No kingdom or castle on earth has ever compared – gold is nothing but paving stones, but all creations

7.
12. On the gates were written the 12 tribes of Israel
14. The wall of the city had 12 foundations, and on them were the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb

8.
a.
Glory: shone, brilliance, precious, clear as crystal, great, gem covered
Security: walls thick and of stone (precious), gates, wide and high as it is long (cube)
Perfect: dimensions are perfect, jewels are perfect, Gold is transparent as glass,

b.
It is real and measurable.  It has substance and beauty, it is sufficient as a city

c.
The beauty – it is not necessary, but it is right.

26.4 Revelation – Permeated with sin but Present in Peace

In Genesis 1, again and again we read that God’s creation was good.  But, then sin entered and, like a virus, it spread into every part of creation.  Every part of creation.  It spread into man’s DNA, our very existence, our nature.  But it also spread into the soil (blood), into the plants (weeds), into the rocks and streams and waters and air.  It spread into space, into the universe.  It spread into everything animate and inanimate.  It spread into the spiritual realm with the serpent and demons and fallen angels.  It is so invasive and so corrosive that the ultimate proper response is not to control or manage it, but simply to remove it.

In Revelation 21, we read that is what God does.  Every part of creation dies.  The living and the inanimate.  The mortal and the spiritual.  The earth and the cosmos.  All of it simply goes away and exists no more.  And, God starts a-new.

A new heaven and a new earth.  A new existence that in which God is fully present, where there is no more hurt or pain or sadness or separation.

We get fleeting glimpses of this in our present day.  The joy and innocence in a child’s eyes.  The shiver of the spirit when we feel God move in our life.  The peace that comes in the midst of prayer in a dire situation.  While we long for these flickers to light into raging fires, they are too quickly gone, smothered in the sin of the world.

But these glimpses are not mirages, they are real.  They are embers of the fire that burns in our God’s heart that He wants to place in ours for eternity.  It is the warmth and peace and joy that surpasses all understanding and keeps our hearts and minds on the truth, on the Word, on Jesus Christ.

The challenge for us, as believers, is not in finding the words to say to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  It is not in finding the spirit and conviction to talk to others.  It is not in our prayer lives.  The challenge is in our witness for Christ.  All of those others things impact it, but our loudest witness is in living a life noticeably different than the rest of the world.  A life that, despite the trials and tribulations, the pain and persecution, still shines with joy and assurance and peace.  Too often the witness that people see is one of hypocrisy of lip-service and compartmentalization of our faith to an hour on Sunday morning.  We are sinners and do not have the ability to shine this living witness on our own, but through prayer, reading the word and the power of the Holy Spirit, the reflection of God’s holiness can shine through us.

My Answers:

7.
Our current existence – because it has been corrupted by sin –  all of creation, not redeemed directly by the saving power of Jesus Christ, must suffer death and destruction

8.
During the time in the garden God walked and talked with man daily.  In isolated instances after He did the same (Enoch, Moses).  He spoke to and through the prophets.  He revealed himself in visions and direct signs and through angels (Lot, Daniel).  He became man and dwelt among us (Jesus).  He is coming again to reign for 1000 years after which time all creation will be purged and replaced with a new heaven and a new earth and only those who have committed their lives to Him will live for eternity in peace.

9.
a.
God’s answered prayer – Also that God has revealed Himself through circumstances that simply cannot be described in any other way than divine intervention.

b.
Because of the peace of the presence of the Holy Spirit – it is a feeling, but also a comfort and consolation and contentment that can be described in no other way than “from God”

24.5 – Scavenging

Our scripture for today gets a little gory, a little gruesome, but in a glorious way.  We are repulsed by the idea of these scavenging birds being filled with the flesh of those fallen soldiers who stood in opposition to Jesus when He returns.

But lets step back and really look at this.  The only thing of value from these individuals is their flesh.  They lived by the flesh.  They cherished flesh and bone over spirit.  They not only denied Jesus Christ but they took up arms against Him.

Who forms an army to fight against the eternal God?  What hope did they have?  Yet, in their delusion, they saw themselves as equals to Christ and His army.

But, as the facts show, they were truly deluded.  It did not take Christ’s army to defeat them.  Everyone fell by the sword of His mouth.

But even out of their hatred, out of their death, God still did not waste.  He prepared the scavenging birds to consume the only valuable part of these men.

The beast and false prophet did not even have this as a redeeming quality.  They were so fully corrupt that nothing was of value even to the scavenging birds.  Instead they were captured and thrown alive into the burning fiery lake of sulfur.

We hear of fire and brimstone warnings.  This is the source.  This is the lake of burning metal and noxious fumes.

The sword cuts and the flame purifies.  But for these standing against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, there is nothing pure in them.

Do not be deluded by the wicked ways of the world.  Because they are common, because they are acceptable, because the provide worldly riches or fame, because they feel good – Does Not Make Them Right or True.

 

My Answers:

12.
captivity for the beast and false prophet – thrown alive into the burning sulfur of the fiery lake.  Rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse – birds gorged themselves on flesh

13.
Where they put their treasure, where they put their trust, the lack of attention to the things of God, the ridicule of believers, the denigration of God to an “also ran”, the contempt for anything holy

14.
Worship boldly – Do not hide, do not be hindered by wickedness (even that from those within the church), who speak in hurtful ways.

19.3 Revelation – Do this in remembrance of me

Do this in remembrance of me

At the last supper, Jesus took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:27-29)

Later that night, while praying in the garden “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”” (Matthew 26:39)

We have been given the choice of cups to drink.  We can drink from the cup of forgiveness or the cup of sinfulness.  We can drink of the cup that is Christ’s righteousness or we can drink of the cup of self-righteousness.

If we choose to accept the gift of Jesus and drink from His cup – He has emptied it of the wrath that we deserve by filling it with His own blood.

If we choose to not accept the gift, then we are choosing to be judged on our own perfection, not His, to face God’s wrath on our own, without His covering.

As God has held back His wrath, mankind has gotten drunk drinking from their own cup of self-righteousness.  We have made idol after idol after idol to replace God – all man-made and all imperfect.  We idolize ourselves.  We idolize human power.  We idolize wealth.  We idolize a really good bite of chocolate.  We break our covenant to be His people and He our God.

But at the end of the day, after an indulgence of adultry against God, the check comes – the check of wrath and the only currency of payment is blood.

 

My Answers:

6.
a.
1st: Fear God give him glory, b/c hour of his judgment come. Worship him made hvn, earth, sea, h2o
2nd: Fallen(x2) Babylon the great which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adltrys
3rd: If anyone worships beast and takes mark => drink  full strength cup of wrath (sulfer, smoke, etrnal)

b.
To those who live on the earth – Every Tribe, Language, People, Nation

7.
Repentance and Salvation – to open eyes and turn from dark to light – Christ died, buried, risen – coming again

8.
Take authority, go, make disciples, baptize and teach, be with Jesus – For Jesus sake, let light shine out of darkness, let heart shine – Live like priests of royal priesthood, declare praises to God, out of darkness into his Wonderful Light

26.3 Moses 26, day 3

At the Gateway of the Next Thing

We’ve all been at the place where the Israelites find themselves in the book of Deuteronomy.  They are no longer wandering the desert, but they also have net yet moved into the next stage of their life.  They are in the “in between”, knowing they are at the gateway of what God has in store for them next, but not yet being called to move into that next mission.

If any of us reflect on our life, we’ve spent time in this place.  In some ways it is one of the most difficult places to live.  Its not the time of trial and survival, but it isn’t the time of feast and bounty.  Its not the desert, but it also is not the promised land.  Maybe you are there right now.

I think we can learn a lot from Deuteronomy 4-11 to help us navigate this time of life as people of God.

Stay in the word of God.  Don’t add to it or subtract from it.  Don’t embellish the stories but also don’t forget the lessons.

Keep your eyes open, but don’t allow them to deceive you into making something you see into an idol for worship.  Not the sun or moon or stars, not people, things, animals.

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

Learn and study the word of God.  Not only the letter of the law but even more so the intent.  Know and obey the 10 commandments and also the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  Teach them to your children, talk about God in everything you do.  Put the word of God in your thoughts and in the work of your hands, on your place of dwelling and your journey from gate to gate.

As you think forward to whatever God has planned for you next be resolute, fortified and committed that you will not compromise or settle whatever you may face.  Whatever God has planned for your future, He has planned all the way, without compromise.

Look forward to and claim the blessings of God’s covenant to the obedient, “He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young.  The Lord will keep you free from every disease.”

Commit yourself to not forget to praise and worship.  When God calls you to move forward and you receive the blessings, don’t forget who brought you to the dance.  You are not going there because of your skills or your righteousness, you are going because of God.

Remember your weaknesses.  The temptations you have faced in the past are temptations you will face in the future.  Learn from your past mistakes so that you won’t repeat them.

Love the Lord your God.  There is one God.  He loves you.  Love Him.

Be obedient.  Observe the commands.  Learn them and know them.  Faithfully obey the commands.  Carefully obey the commands.

Know that wherever God is going to lead you, He is going there before you and preparing the way.  Wherever it is you will be going in obedience, God is there now.

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
He is jealous for what is His.  He warns his people what will happen.

b.
heard the voice of God speaking out of fire and lived, took one nation out of another, testings, signs and wonders, war, mighty hand, outstretched arm, great and awesome deeds, , shown things so they might know the LORD

c.
The bible, His spirit, life, family, church, To see the blessing of children.  To have God guide the hand of Doctors.  To find a mission and work for the Lord.  To be given a voice.

6.
a.
Obedience: keeping all his decrees and commands, keeping all his decrees and commands,  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength

b.
Impress them on their children, Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates – Family get togethers focused on God – inviting in missionaries, model prayer

7.
The warning to not forget the Lord when He has brought me into times of “a good land” or when I “have eaten and are satisfied”, but instead – Praise the Lord

8.
fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good

 

17.5 Moses 17, Day 5

Holy Heart not Holey Heart

God has tremendous blessings in store for all of His children.  Bounties of harvest so great that farmers would need to move the old crops out to make room for the new ones coming in.  They would not need to build larger store houses, because there was so much security in God’s promise they didn’t need to worry about storing up more.  God promised them peace and safety, from war, from wild animals, from enemies.  God promised might and victory.  Unprecedented might and victory, where 5 people could defeat 100.

Even more so God offered to dwell among His people.

But, that isn’t where this chapter starts.  This chapter starts with specific commands.  No idols, no graven images, observe the sabbaths, have reverence for the sanctuary.  How do these things go together?

This isn’t quite equivalent, but try this as an explanation:  You have been invited to the top artisan ice cream shop in the world.  You are given free access to every flavor, every topping ever accompaniment you can imagine.  But it is BYOB – Bring Your Own Bowl.  How would you feel if you showed up and your bowl was dirty, broken, cracked, with holes.

In this case, though, the bowl is your heart.

God wants you to enjoy the bounty He has in mind.  God has carefully prepared for you the things your heart craves.  He really doesn’t want you to show up with a bowl that is broken and full of holes.  If you don’t get the message from the promise of the blessing, then He will provide other forms of discipline.  If the carrot doesn’t work, then maybe the whip will.  God does not want to punish you, no more than a loving parent wants to punish a child, but if that is what it takes to get you to show up with a clean and ready bowl – that is up to you.

Leviticus 26:40-45 confirms this.  Repent.  Get your heart back in line, and God freely hands you the golden ticket to His ice cream shop.

What is the state of your bowl (your heart)?  Have you asked God to “create in me a clean heart”?  Have you asked God to help mend your broken heart?  Have you repented and showed the chips and holes to the one who can fix them. ?  Do you have a Holy Heart, or are you showing up with a Heart full of Holes?

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
1. do not make idols or bow down to carved stone, 2.observe the sabbaths and have reverence for sanctuary

b.
3-5: send rain in its season, ground will yield crops, trees fruit,… you’ll eat all the food you want and live in safety
6-8 peace and safety, remove wild animals, no wars at home, defeat military enemies (5 chase 100) 11-13 God dwell with them, safety and freedom – He would be their king

c.
14-17: Illness, famine and defeat
18-20: Drought and bad harvest
21-22: Multiplied afflictions and destructive wild animals
23-26: Diseases and destruction by enemies

11.
a.
If repent and approach with a humble heart, God will remember His covenant

b.
That the holy of holies is open, Jesus is my high priest and He is redeeming me daily, despite my sin

12.
a.
2. a person (child or otherwise), 9. an animal, 14.a house, 16. family land, 22. purchased land/fields