Tag: end times

Dec 31 Alpha and Omega

Alpha OmegaO Father, You are “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”.  You are faithful to Yourself, by Your Word and by Your actions.  You are faithful to Your creation and to me.

You existed at the beginning of all things, and You will be there at the end of all things as I know them.  You will create a new heaven and a new earth.

Malachi talks about that day when the righteous will be healed and the evil, set on fire.  John, the same: the righteous will live with You, seeing Your face, and the evil are thrown into the lake of fire.

Father, You have been faithful to me each and every day this year.  Each day, You have shown me in Your Word how to pray: from the first day of the year to the last, from the beginning of Your Word, to the end.  Thank You!

I am both amazed at Your faithfulness to me, and at the same time, not surprised by it.

Of course I know and believe in Your faithfulness.  But now, I have felt the blessing of it personally.  Thank You Father, for walking through each day of this year with me.

Thank You for leading me through Your Word in such a meaningful way.

And now Father, like the Proverbs 31 woman,“clothe [me] with strength and dignity; let [me] laugh at the days to come”.  [Help me] speak with wisdom, and put faithful instruction on [my] tongue. 

 [Help me] watch over the affairs of my household and not eat the bread of idleness.  [Let my] children arise and call me blessed; [my] husband also, and praise [me].   [I am] a woman who fears You!”

“I praise You Father in Your sanctuary” – under the sky You created, in the forest and in the open, I kneel before Your great presence and acknowledge Your authority.  I lift my voice to give glory to You.

In every person I see Your creativity and diversity.  In every bird and flower and creature, I observe Your infinite imagination.  In the cycle of seasons, I marvel at Your ingenuity.

I cannot wait to see You face to face and live with You throughout eternity.  I believe “You are coming soon.  Come!  Come Lord Jesus!”  Amen

Malachi 4:1-6; Revelation 22:12-21; Psalm 150:1-6; Proverbs 31:25-31

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Dec 29 All Creation praises You!

man-look-over-natureFather, how does the earth praise You?

When I hear recorded sounds of whales in the deep oceans sing, are they praising You?  When I hear the melodic song of the birds, are they singing of Your greatness?

When the winds howl and the lightening cracks across the sky are they declaring Your majesty?

Do the trees affirm You with their upturned branches, their leaves, blossoms, fruit, and their gorgeous colors?  Do flowers bless You as their blooming faces turn to You?  When the wind stirs the golden Aspen leaves, is their shimmering applause for Your being?

A line in a poem, Trees by Joyce Kilmer touched me at a young age.  It read:  “A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray.”

Since then I have wondered exactly how Your creation acknowledges and exalts You.  And what I can learn from Your creation about how to honor You.  Here are some thoughts stirred by Psalm 148:

I will join with the earth in rejoicing in my LORD and recognizing my Savior

As the rocks and stones cry out, I will add my voice:

 

in sunshine and in shadow I will praise my LORD

in harvest and in drought I will voice my thanksgiving

in sickness and in health I will give the LORD His due

for my praise depends not on my earthly situation

it depends not on the circumstances of my existence

it depends not on the wealth of my pocket

 

But it is the response of my recognition of who God is

I praise You for who You are

Your greatness

Your glory

Your power

Your person

 

“The Lord will be king over the whole earth.  On that day there will be one Lord, and His Name, the Only Name.” 

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it…the dead, great and small, standing before the throne…were judged…anyone whose name was not found in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Father, there was a day when You created the heavens and the earth, the moon and stars, the birds and beasts, and man; when all acknowledged You as Creator and worshipped You and had fellowship with You.

One day, it will be that way again.  All that You create will know You, will worship You, will give You praise.  Again, I can’t wait!  Amen

Zechariah 14:1-9; Revelation 20:11-15; Psalm 148:1-14

Dec 28 Wedding Feast of the Lamb

wedding-365943_1920Father, how it seems as if Zechariah and John are talking about the same thing: the end times

 “On that day when all the nations of the earth are gathered against [Jerusalem]…”  Could that be the battle of Har Meggido [Armageddon]?

In John’s description: “Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and all their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army.”

And the result of each?  From Zechariah “On that day I will strike every horse with panic and every rider with madness” and from John “The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”

banquet-453799_1920Father, in that day there will be such an amazing celebration for You in the heavens!  And with the believers both in heaven and on the earth.  For the day of the wedding supper will have come!

It will be the culmination of the Divine Romance.  According to Jewish customs, the Father of the Groom chooses the Bride.  You, the Father, chose each and every believer!

Also, the Bridegroom traveled from his home to the Bride’s.  You left the majesty of heaven as Jesus and came to earth.

And the Bridegroom paid the price for the Bride – in this case, it was Your very life!  You shed Your precious blood to pay the price for me!  The Bridegroom makes the offer, but the Bride can accept or reject.  You invited me into relationship with You, as You invite each one here on earth.  I accepted the offer to become Your Bride.

Just as in Jewish wedding custom, when I accepted, we became betrothed.  As each believer is now in a state of betrothal, we are set apart, belonging to You, and have the Holy Spirit as a pledge, a seal of the relationship.

The Groom then leaves to prepare a place for them to live.  You left earth, and have gone to prepare a place for me and every believer to join You.  And at the right time, known only by the Father of the Groom, the Groom returns to take the Bride to be together.

The right time, known only to You, the Father, is this day these prophets are speaking about when they say: “The wedding of the Lamb has come.”

And what an entrance You make!  No better scene was ever directed in an epic movie!

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True… His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself.   He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.   Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations…On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” 

What a glorious day!!  What a day of rejoicing!  I can’t wait!  Amen!

Zechariah 12:1-9; Revelation 19:1-21

 

Dec 22 Patient endurance

board-928392_1920Father, what amazing visions You have given Zechariah and John!

Besides the plain meaning of their words, I know there is another level of understanding to be grasped.  There is symbolism, and foretelling of what is to come.

Zechariah records You saying “…in that day…many nations will be joined with the Lord and become Your people.  You will live among [them].”   He records that You declare “I myself will be a wall of fire around [Jerusalem] and I will be its glory within.”

John is recording a vision that will ultimately get us there; when You are living in peace with many nations, in Jerusalem.

But before that comes, there will be this time of turmoil and woe and devastation that John refers to with dragons, beasts, blaspheming and idolatry.    Are these real beasts?  Are they people?  Are they nations or other powers?  Even with great study and debate, some of these answers are not yet revealed.

Will I be alive during these times?  Again, that is not yet known.

But You do say “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.”  So Father, give me the patient endurance I need.

Teach me to be faithful.  Nothing even remotely close to this turmoil has happened to me, yet I find myself often in a state of impatience and doubt.

Lord, I look at my life and am impatient to have my family all living their lives for You.  I am anxious to get to a place in life where finances aren’t an issue, and where my children are all successful and happy.

I am frustrated when my loved ones don’t do things the way I think they should.  I am restless to have a closer, deeper, more meaningful relationship with close family members.

I fear my country is going the wrong direction.  I grieve that young people are being deceived away from patriotism and godly values.

I see unjust people prospering and wonder if my being faithful to godly values really counts for anything.  And I wonder how long my faith can endure all this.

Father, help me endure, what I need to endure.  I trust that You will give me what I need when I need it.  Grow my faith big enough that it can shelter others under it, so their faith can be nurtured and grow too.

I know You have a plan.  I trust in Your plan.  For my life.  For today.  For tomorrow.  For the future.  For eternity.  Amen

Zechariah 2:1-13; Revelation 13:1-18

Dec 15 When?

Father, I wonder what the people thought when they heard this prophecy from Micah?  Were some moved to change their ways?  Did some campaign for a national awakening and shift in policy?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Did they just think it was for another generation?  Or that it would never happen?

Did they believe it at first, and then as time passed and destruction did not come, think they were safe in their sin, and settle back into complacency?

How was it in Noah’s time?  Did they all scoff at the ship builder’s efforts?

Micah at least gave hope, that after the calamity there would be a time of peace again.  Even though the Israelites were delivered from Babylon, was Micah looking even further into the future?

Moving from Micah’s prophecy to John’s Revelation puts the prophecy squarely into my time for consideration.  I have heard of “the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” since I was very young.  And as I grew to understand that they were a part of a bigger picture of the Revelation given in the Bible about end times, I began to wonder if these things would come in my lifetime.

Forty years ago as a young woman in college, I heard some sermons and read some pamphlets and believed the end times were upon us.  When I told my parents of my discovery they said that they too, when they had been in college twenty-five years earlier, had also made connections from prophecy to current events.  They had thought the same thing in their time.

It has been sixty-five years my father has waited, and now he is old.  It has been forty-five years for me, and I am old.   Will John’s Revelation come to pass in my lifetime?  I do not know.  Your time, Father, is not the same as my time.  Psalm 90:4 says  “A thousand years in Your sight is like a day…” 

I have studied Revelation enough to know that man will not know the day and time, but can certainly recognize the signs of its coming which You have revealed.  For me and my life, I can do no more than praise You as Your servant, minister in Your Name, and tell others of Your wonderful greatness.

O Lord, “May You bless [me] from Zion, You, who are the Maker of heaven and earth”.  Amen

Micah 4:1-13; Revelation 6:1-17; Psalm 90:4; 134:1-3

Aug 5 Prophecies and Promises

don-t-lose-your-patience-1241239

Lord God, from today’s scriptures it is clear that you have moved armies, governments, civilizations to accomplish Your will. You told Your prophets, who told the people, exactly what would happen if they did not keep their covenant with You.

Their choices were clear. In obedience they would receive Your blessings. Disobedience would bring Your curses and they would be removed from the land You gave them as an inheritance. Even knowing this, and being reminded by the prophets, their hearts were hard and they chose curses by their behavior.

You even told Your prophet Jeremiah that their captivity would last seventy years. And the prophet Isaiah gave the name of the king who would return them to their land one hundred and fifty years before it happened!

Sure enough, because of their continued disobedience, they were captured and taken away into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. Then the Persians came to power and overtook Babylon. Their King Cyrus announced he would build a temple in Jerusalem for the Lord, the God of heaven. Any of Your people in captivity would be free to go!

This happened seventy years after captivity began as predicted! And the man who released them as promised by prophecy was not even born when he was named by the prophet!

So I can believe with assurance in the prophecies You have given about the coming days.   All You revealed to John on the island of Patmos, and more about the end times. Of course, I do not pretend to know Your exact time table, but I know I need to be ready.

I need to be living like You have shown me, and being obedient to receive Your blessings. I need to be watching so I am not misled.   My faith must not rest on man’s wisdom, but on Your power.

I believe that I must “wait for You”. For Your wisdom, perspective, for Your perfect timing in my life. Help me be patient while I am waiting. Help me to “be strong and take heart”.

You will move things in Your timing: armies, governments, civilizations. You hold the hearts of men and kings in Your hand. And I believe I will see Your goodness, in my life, while I live.

Thank You for Your blessings. For Your promises. For Your prophecies. And for answering me when I seek Your face. Amen

Ezra 1:1-11; Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:13-14

 

Dec 31 Alpha and Omega

O Father, You are “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”. You are faithful to Yourself, by Your Word and by Your actions. You are faithful to Your creation and to me. You existed at the beginning of all things, and You will be there at the end of all things as I know them.

You will create a new heaven and a new earth. Malachi talks about that day when the righteous will be healed and the evil, set on fire. John, the same: the righteous will live with You, seeing Your face, and the evil are thrown into the lake of fire.

Father, You have been faithful to me each and every day this year. Each day, You have shown me in Your Word how to pray: from the first day of the year to the last, from the beginning of Your Word, to the end. Thank You!

I am both amazed at Your faithfulness to me, and at the same time, not surprised by it. Of course I know and believe in Your faithfulness. But now, I have felt the blessing of it personally. Thank You Father, for walking through each day of this year with me. Thank You for leading me through Your Word in such a meaningful way.

And now Father, like the Proverbs 31 woman,“clothe [me] with strength and dignity; let [me] laugh at the days to come”. [Help me] speak with wisdom, and put faithful instruction on [my] tongue. [Help me to] watch over the affairs of my household and not eat the bread of idleness. [Let my] children arise and call me blessed; [my] husband also, and praise [me].   [I am] a woman who fears You!”

“I praise You Father in Your sanctuary” – under the sky You created, in the forest and in the open, I kneel before Your great presence and acknowledge Your authority. I lift my voice to give glory to You. With every person I see Your creativity and diversity. With every bird and flower and creature, I observe Your infinite imagination. With the cycle of seasons, I marvel at Your ingenuity.

I cannot wait to see You face to face and live with You throughout eternity. I believe “You are coming soon. Come! Come Lord Jesus!” Amen

Malachi 4:1-6; Revelation 20:11-15; 22:12-21; Psalm 150:1-6; Proverbs 31:25-31

Dec 28 Wedding Feast of the Lamb!

wedding-365943_1920Father, how it seems as if Zechariah and John are talking about the same thing! The end times! “On that day when all the nations of the earth are gathered against [Jerusalem]…” Could that be the battle of Har Meggido [Armageddon]? In John’s description: “Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and all their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army.” And the result of each? From Zechariah “On that day I will strike every horse with panic and every rider with madness”, and from John “The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”

banquet-453799_1920Father, in that day there will be such an amazing celebration for You in the heavens! And with the believers both in heaven and on the earth. For the day of the wedding supper will have come! It will be the culmination of the Divine Romance! According to Jewish customs, the Father of the Groom chooses the Bride. You chose each and every believer!

Also, the Bridegroom traveled from his home to the Bride’s. You left the majesty of heaven as Jesus and came to earth. And the Bridegroom paid the price for the Bride – in this case, it was Your very life! You shed Your precious blood to pay the price for me! The Bridegroom makes the offer, but the Bride can accept or reject. You invited me into relationship with You, as You invite each one here on earth. I accepted the offer to become Your Bride.

Just as in Jewish wedding custom, when I accepted, we became betrothed. As each believer is now in a state of betrothal, we are set apart , belonging to You, and have the Holy Spirit as a pledge, a seal of the relationship. The Groom then leaves to prepare a place for them to live. You left earth, and have gone to prepare a place for me and every believer to join You. And at the right time, known only by the Father of the Groom, the Groom returns to take the Bride to be together. The right time, known only to You, the Father, is this day these prophets are speaking about when they say: “The wedding of the Lamb has come”.

And what an entrance You make! No better scene was ever directed in an epic movie! “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True… His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations…On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written:   KING OF KINGS and LORDS OF LORDS 

What a glorious day!! What a day of rejoicing! I can’t wait! Amen!

Zechariah 12:1-9; Revelation 19:1-21

 

Dec 25 God in flesh

20161223_231820 (1)Father, John tells of a day when Your wrath will be poured out upon the earth. After the seven seals are broken with their judgments, and the seven trumpets sound with their disasters, then the seven bowls of Your wrath will be given to angels to pour out upon the earth. And then, “out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’” 

Your ultimate judgment will be carried out. “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, You who are and who were…true and just are Your judgments.”

I do not know when that day will come. But I trust in Your righteousness. And I trust in Your timing. And if I am alive then, I will rejoice in that day.

Today, however, is a day of a different kind of rejoicing. Although it is not historically accurate, it is the day chosen and set aside to remember and celebrate when You came to earth to bring salvation! It is the day believers all over the world celebrate the day You clothed Yourself in the flesh of a tiny babe. You gave up all the glory and splendor of heaven to be with people here on earth. You submitted Yourself to the frailties of flesh to be an example to everyone, of how to live, and how to love. You brought Your love to earth in a way people could see and follow.

Today: a remembrance and celebration of the love You poured out on earth.

One day in the future: of Your judgment poured out on earth.

I am truly blessed to be alive between the two. I can experience the salvation You brought. I can live in the love You showed, and be inspired to live my life as a reflection of that love.

Father, help me follow Your example. As You poured out Your love and sacrifice, bringing salvation to earth, let me show a bit of that unconditional love to those around me. Let me be show kindness, patience, support, being generous with all You have given to me.

One day You will “Part Your heavens, Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke.  Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them.” For now, “You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge”. And I am blessed. Thank You. Amen

Revelation 16:1-21; Psalm 144:1-8

Dec 22 Patient endurance

board-928392_1920Father, what amazing visions You have given Zechariah and John! Besides the plain meaning of their words, I know there is another level of understanding to be grasped. There is symbolism, and foretelling of what is to come.

Zechariah records You saying “…in that day…many nations will be joined with the Lord and become Your people. You will live among [them]”.   He records that You declare “I myself will be a wall of fire around [Jerusalem] and I will be its glory within.”

John is recording a vision that will ultimately get us there; when You are living in peace with many nations, in Jerusalem.   But before that comes, there will be this time of turmoil and woe and devastation that John refers to with dragons, beasts, blaspheming and idolatry.   Are these real beasts? Are they people? Are they nations or other powers? Even with great study and debate, some of these answers are not yet revealed.

Will I be alive during these times? Again, that is not yet known. But You do say “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” So Father, give me the patient endurance I need. Teach me to be faithful. Nothing even remotely close to this turmoil has happened to me, yet I find myself often in a state of impatience and doubt.

Lord, I look at my life and am impatient to have my family all living their lives for You. I am anxious to get to a place in life where finances aren’t an issue, and where my children are all successful and happy. I am frustrated when my loved ones don’t do things the way I think they should. I am restless to have a closer, deeper, more meaningful relationship with close family members.

I fear my country is going the wrong direction. I grieve that young people are being deceived away from patriotism and godly values. I see unjust people prospering and wonder if my being faithful to godly values really counts for anything. And I wonder how long my faith can endure all this.

Father, help me to endure, what I need to endure. I trust that You will give me what I need when I need it. Grow my faith big enough that it can shelter others under it, so their faith can be nurtured and grow too. I know You have a plan. I trust in Your plan. For my life. For today. For tomorrow. For the future. For eternity. Amen

Zechariah 2:1-3:10; Revelation 13:1-18

Dec 15 When?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Father, I wonder what the people thought when they heard this prophecy from Micah? Were some moved to change their ways? Did some campaign for a national awakening and shift in policy?

Did they just think it was for another generation? Or that it would never happen?

Did they believe it at first, and then as time passed and destruction did not come, think they were safe in their sin, and settle back into complacency?

How was it in Noah’s time? Did they all scoff at the ship builder’s efforts?

Micah at least gave hope, that after the calamity there would be a time of peace again. Even though the Israelites were delivered from Babylon, was Micah looking even further into the future?

Moving from Micah’s prophecy to John’s Revelation puts the prophecy squarely into my time for consideration. I have heard of ‘the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ since I was very young. And as I grew to understand that they were a part of a bigger picture of the Revelation given in the Bible about end times, I began to wonder if these things would come in my lifetime.

Forty-five years ago as a young woman in college, I heard some sermons and read some pamphlets and believed the end times were upon us. When I told my parents of my ‘discovery’, they said that they too, when they had been in college twenty-five years earlier, had also made connections from prophecy to current events. They had thought the same thing in their time.

It has been seventy years my father has waited, and now he is old. It has been forty-five years for me, and I am old.   Will John’s Revelation come to pass in my lifetime? I do not know. Your time, Father, is not the same as my time. Psalm 90:4 says “A thousand years in Your sight is like a day…”.

I have studied this Revelation enough to know that man will not know the day and time, but can certainly recognize the signs of its coming which You have revealed. For me and my life, I can do no more than praise You as Your servant, minister in Your Name, and tell others of Your wonderful greatness. O Lord, “May You bless [me] from Zion, You, who are the Maker of heaven and earth”. Amen

Micah 4:1-13; Revelation 6:1-17; Psalm 90:4; 134:1-3

Dec 9 Blessed is he who reads and hears and heeds

trumpeter-921677_1280Father, I believe “the Day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand…”. You gave Daniel dreams about the end times. You showed Ezekiel, and now Joel and John. All these prophets heard from You at different times, yet the message was the same. The time has come to “Blow the trumpet…sound the alarm…”.

I do not pretend to know the day or time, but I know that each day that goes by, is one day closer. It will be the end of everything known: the earth, the sun, moon and stars. But there is still time. You desire that all people will ”return to You with all [their] heart”.   Amazing things will happen. There will be spiritual signs, “wonders in the heavens” and many will be saved – everyone who calls on You. And there will be a new day, with blessings for Your people. And You will avenge.

John writes that You will bless everyone who “reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it…” In John’s Revelation, he not only saw with great detail: “dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” but was also given the interpretation of the meaning of what he saw. And all this was to be passed on to the seven churches so believers would know what was and what is and what is to come.

Proverbs tells me that “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction”.   And right here, You are giving a revelation!   Father, let me read and hear and heed what You have given here and in the whole of Your Word! Do not let me “cast off restraint” and walk in the way of the world. But let me sound the alarm to call people’s attention to Your wisdom, Your Word, and the blessing You want to give to all: salvation and eternal life with You! For the alternative is still eternal life, but separated from You. Vengeance is Yours. And You will avenge when the end comes. You are allowing time so all may come to You. And You have sent Your Word so all can know. I pray that all will “hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Amen

Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20; Proverbs 29:18

Dec 23 I feel like a boat

ahlbeck-1542568_1920Father, how interesting that it appears both Zechariah’s and John’s revelations seem to be referring to similar times in the future.  There is much I do not understand, but while one speaks of a “flying scroll” that is a curse and will destroy thieves and those who swear falsely by Your name, the other talks of eternal torment of those who worship the beast and its image.  Similar ends for similar people.  Another vision is of iniquity portrayed as a woman in a basket with a lead cover, being taken to Babylonia, and in John’s vision, it is time for the earth to be harvested and crushed in the winepress of God’s wrath.  Your wrath will also be poured out on Babylon!

All this is still a time that You say “calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep Your commands and remain faithful to You”.   Again, I ask that You would grant me the patience and endurance I need to get through whatever is coming, and grow my faith even stronger.  I do not know when this will happen, or if I will even be alive during these times.   But without Your strength, I fear my faith would fail.

David says, “When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who watch over my way”.  I echo those words Lord.  I know that You can see me and can tell how I am dealing with whatever I am going through.  I know this, because in the past, You have been there with a word of encouragement, a call from a friend, a letter from someone, a song, a verse – exactly what I have needed, exactly when I have needed it.

You know me so well.  You created me.  You knew beforehand the purpose of my life, the places I would go, the perils I would face.  Like a carpenter chooses the type of wood to match the force of the stresses that will be brought against the boat he is making, You, my good and wise Carpenter, lovingly chose how I would be made.  You carefully and masterfully fashioned me to create exactly what You envisioned I would need to weather the storms You knew I would have to face in my life.

I don’t know my own strength, but You do.  You built strength into me that will only be demonstrated by the storms I weather.  So, with confidence and faith, I will enter the darkness, the high winds, the deep swells, the powerful surges, the rain, thunder and lightening.  I will let them crash around me, and wash over me, and I will see my deliverance on the other side.  Where the waters are calm.   And the winds are favorable.   And the sky is blue.   And my Carpenter, who is my Creator, my Heavenly Father, my Savior, my Lord, stands smiling.  Amen

Zechariah 4:1-5:11; Revelation 14:1-20; Psalm 142:1-7

Dec 22 Patient Endurance

 

board-928392_1920Father, what amazing visions You have given Zechariah and John!  Besides the plain meaning of their words, I know there is another level of understanding to be grasped.  There is symbolism, and a foretelling of what is to come.

Zechariah records You saying “…in that day…many nations will be joined with the Lord and become Your people.  You will live among [them]”.   He records that You declare “I myself will be a wall of fire around [Jerusalem] and I will be its glory within.”

John is recording a vision that will ultimately get us there; when You are living in peace with many nations, in Jerusalem.   But before that comes, there will be this time of turmoil and woe and devastation that John refers to: with dragons, beasts, blaspheming and idolatry.    Are these real beasts?  Are they people?  Are they nations or other powers?  Even with great study and debate, some of these answers are not yet revealed.

Will I be alive during these times?  Again, that is not yet known.  But You do say “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.”  So Father, give me the patient endurance I will need.  Teach me to be faithful.  Nothing even remotely close to this turmoil has happened to me, yet I find myself often in a state of impatience and doubt.

Lord, I look at my life and am impatient to have my family all living their lives for You.  I am anxious to get to a place in life where finances aren’t an issue, and where my children are all successful and happy.  I am frustrated when my loved ones don’t do things the way I think they should.  I am restless to have a closer, deeper, more meaningful relationship with close family members.

I fear my country is going the wrong direction.  I grieve that young people are being deceived away from patriotism and godly values.  I see unjust people prospering and wonder if my being faithful to godly values really counts for anything.  And I wonder how long my faith can endure all this.

Father, help me to endure, what I need to endure.  I trust that You will give me what I need when I need it.  Grow my faith big enough that it can shelter others under it, so their faith can be nurtured and grow too.  I know You have a plan.  I trust in Your plan.  For my life.  For today.  For tomorrow.  For the future.  For eternity.  Amen

Zechariah 2:1-3:10; Revelation 13:1-18

Dec 15 When?

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Father, I wonder what the people thought when they heard this prophecy from Micah?  Were some moved to change their ways?  Did some campaign for a national awakening and shift in policy?  Did they just think it was for another generation?  Or that it would never happen?  Did they believe it at first, and then as time passed and destruction did not come, think they were safe in their sin, and settle back into complacency?

How was it in Noah’s time?  Did they all scoff at the ship builder’s efforts?

Micah at least gave hope, that after the calamity there would be a time of peace again.  Even though the Israelites were delivered from Babylon, was Micah looking even further into the future?

Moving from Micah’s prophecy to John’s Revelation puts the prophecy squarely into my time for consideration.  I have heard of ‘the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ since I was very young.  And as I grew to understand that they were a part of a bigger picture of the Revelation given in the Bible about end times, I began to wonder if these things would come in my lifetime.

Forty years ago as a young woman in college, I heard some sermons and read some pamphlets and believed the end times were upon us.  When I told my parents of my ‘discovery’, they said that they too, when they had been in college twenty-five years earlier, had also made connections from prophecy to current events.  They had thought the same thing in their time.

It has been sixty-five years my father has waited, and now he is old.  It has been forty years for me, and I am old.   Will John’s Revelation come to pass in my lifetime?  I do not know.  Your time, Father, is not the same as my time.  Psalm 90:4 says  “A thousand years in Your sight is like a day…”. 

I have studied this Revelation enough to know that man will not know the day and time, but can certainly recognize the signs of its coming which You have revealed.  For me and my life, I can do no more than praise You as Your servant, minister in Your Name, and tell others of Your wonderful greatness.  O Lord, “May You bless [me] from Zion, You, who are the Maker of heaven and earth”.  Amen

Micah 1:1-4:13; Revelation 6:1-17; Psalm 90:4; Psalm 134:1-3

Dec 9 Blessed is one who reads and hears and heeds

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Father, I believe “the day of the Lord is coming.  It is close at hand…”. You told Daniel in dreams of the end times.  You showed Ezekiel, and now Joel and John.  All these prophets heard from You at different times, yet the message was the same.  The time has come to “Blow the trumpet…sound the alarm…”.

I do not pretend to know the day or time, but I know that each day that goes by, is one day closer.  It will be the end of everything known: the earth, the sun, moon and stars.  But there is still time.  You desire that all people will ”return to You with all [their] heart”.   Amazing things will happen.  There will be spiritual signs, “wonders in the heavens” and many will be saved – everyone who calls on You.  And there will be a new day, with blessings for Your people.  And You will avenge.

John writes that You will bless everyone who “reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it…”  In John’s Revelation, he not only saw with great detail: “dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” but was also given the interpretation of the meaning of what he saw.   And all this was to be passed on to the seven churches so believers would know what was and what is and what is to come.

Proverbs tells me that “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction”.   And right here, You are giving a revelation!   Father, let me read and hear and heed what You have given here and in the whole of Your Word!  Do not let me “cast off restraint” and walk in the way of the world.  But let me sound the alarm to call people’s attention to Your wisdom, Your Word, and the blessing You want to give to all:  salvation and eternal life with You!  For the alternative is still eternal life, but separated from You.  Vengeance is Yours.  And You will avenge when the end comes.  You are allowing time so all may come to You.  And You have sent Your Word so all can know.  I pray that all will “hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”  Amen

Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20; Proverbs 29:18

Dec 4 God is love

Father, You gave Daniel quite a revelation about the end times and what would be happening then.  Some of it came with an interpretation, and some remains a mystery.  Many theologians have studied and sought to know all the answers.  Even Daniel, to whom the vision was given said “I heard, but I did not understand.”  Your response to him was “go your way Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end.”

he-loves-me-1314692With that mystery still intact, You gave Daniel the confidence he needed to live to the end of his life encouraged.  “As for you, go your way till the end.  You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise up to receive your allotted inheritance.”

Father, although the dates and world powers are still a mystery, You have also given me the confidence to live my life encouraged.  Through John, You have shown me how to recognize false prophets, to discern Your Spirit, and how great Your love is for me.  Holding on to those things will help me live a godly life.

There are so many influences in the world today, it can be hard to know which are truly good, from You, and which are truly evil.  Evil can put on such a good face so as to appear justified, acceptable, even beneficial.  It masquerades as good.   Evil influence can even come from well-intentioned people, so it is godly wisdom that You tell me to “test the spirits”.   Then You tell me very clearly, This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” It gives me a bottom line for determining the source, and I am reassured that even if I come up against evil, worldly influences, “greater is He that is in me, than he who is in the world”.  I win!

I can also watch to see if Your love is in those around me.  Because since You ARE love, every one who belongs to You will have that love in them.  Your love is total, complete, sacrificial, perfect, and saves me.  This is not ‘I love ice cream’ kind of love, or brotherly love, or even romantic love.   It is the Greek word ‘agape’ love – a total, selfless, unconditional love.  It is this love that came first – You loved each one of us before we loved You or even knew of You.  It is a love that can overcome sin – Your love put You on the cross to atone for my sin and the sin of the world.  It is a perfect love that has no fear, but drives out fear.

It is Your love, Father, that I seek in my life every day!  I need it to drive out the fear that gains a foothold in me through circumstances I don’t understand, through stressful things happening to my loved ones, through the evil I see prospering in the world.

Father, there are days I feel so overwhelmed and unlovable that I deny Your love because I don’t ‘feel’ it.  Forgive me when I doubt Your amazing, perfect love.  Do not let me be led by my feelings – they have nothing to do with the truth of and the absolute certainty of Your love.  Help me sense Your love, and be lifted up by it, so I can share it with my brothers and sisters.  Let me walk in Your love till the end of days, or the end of my days, whichever comes first.  Thank You for Your amazing love.  Amen

Daniel 11:36-12:13; I John 4:1-21