Tag: Revelation

Mar 23 A blessed life

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”

kneeling-1989128_640He has brought me into life in a time and place of His choosing; to a family of His providence. He has watched over me and protected me from serious illness and injury, trouble and violence, time and again. There were times when I cried out to Him for deliverance from circumstances, and He delivered me, or gave me what I needed to endure. There were times when He rescued me from things that I was not even aware I needed rescuing from.

He allowed me an understanding of spiritual matters, so that I began to see how sinful I was, and in need of a Savior. And that He, Jesus Christ, in love, shed His blood to pay the price, the penalty my sin had earned. He showed me, taught me, that this is the only way to reconcile my sinful self with God, who is holy.

He has tested me and refined me like silver. And although the process is not complete yet, each step in the process brings me closer to being Christ-like. The best silver is put into the fire seven times and brought up to a temperature of heat that burns away the impurities, creating a purer, more valuable quality.   And though the process of purification is not comfortable, and is often painful, it yields a harvest of blessing.

He has blessed me with loved ones, with friends, with a sense of purpose in life. He has provided me with hope, love, and a heavenly Father I can trust. He has comforted me with scriptures, by singing me songs; with revelations of His perspective, by sending people to talk with me, counsel me, rejoice and cry with me.

He has given me the hope of an eternal existence with Him in the future, with promises that He will never, ever, no, not ever, leave me. He has forgiven my sin. He has promised that nothing will overtake me, but that He will always make a way for me to bear up under whatever He allows into my life.

How awesome are His deeds! How great is His power! Praise be to God!

Father, let me never forget these things or all that You have done for me. Let me never shy away from an opportunity to tell others about them and about You.   Amen

Psalm 66:1-20

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Mar 7 Follow the Leader

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Lord, I love how You are always available to me. I can come to You any time to ask for wisdom and direction. There is no question too big or too small for You to answer.  And You never make me feel bad for asking.

 

The Israelites came and inquired of You through Moses about a problem for some wanting to celebrate the Lord’s Passover. In response, You told them exactly what to do. Not only did You answer their question, but Your presence was visible in the camp as a cloud over the Tabernacle. When You remained, the people remained where You were. When Your presence moved, they moved.

How I would love to have my own pillar of cloud appear before me and stay with me to direct my path! Then I would know precisely if I were in Your perfect will or if I were ever in danger of straying from it. I would know when to move on and when to stay put. There would be no question of misinterpreting what You were telling me. And what an accountability factor! If I were not near the pillar, everyone would know it was me who had moved away – who chose not follow.

In Jerusalem, when Your disciples asked about their future, You revealed events that would help them prepare for the dangers and challenges to come. You also reminded them to watch for signs and pay attention to the things around them that would help them discern what was coming. And warned them about false prophets. As Your Word warns, help me also keep watch and be prepared.

In Psalm 50:15 You tell me to call on You in the day of trouble and You will deliver. Again showing Your availability and desire to respond when I ask. I can trust that You, the mighty Creator of the universe, are available to help me, whenever, wherever, however a need arises.

“The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous”. And You have shown me that way. You came and lived on earth to be my example by showing how to treat people and live a moral and godly life. Also, through Your sacrifice, death and resurrection, You showed me the way to have eternal life. And gave me the gift of Your Word so I would have it written down, to read and study and memorize and hide in my heart.

You are my refuge. Thank You for being my sheltered, protected place of sanctuary.   Thank You for being ready with whatever I need. And for knowing what I need even when I do not. I am so grateful to have a God who hears, who is able, who is available, and who is willing. Amen.

Numbers 9:1-23; Mark 13:14-37; Psalm 50:15; Proverbs 10:29

Jan 11 Be like Rebekah

rebekah_at_the_wellpainting of Rebeca by Michael Deas 1995

Oh Father, may we be like Rebekah. For when she heard all that was “from the Lord”, how You had worked to prepare a way for her, she did not delay; but went quickly in obedience, anticipating all You would bring her. When given a choice to go or to stay and wait, she chose to go immediately. She gave up all she knew: the familiarity of family, of people, of a place and a style of living. She set out with a stranger, whom You had blessed and led to her.

Give me Rebekah’s courage. Let me be willing to go when You say ‘Go’. Let my faith and trust in You be so strong, it overpowers all other concerns, worries, or obstacles in my path.

Rebekah received a blessing before she left: “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.” I ask for that blessing for myself as well. Let the words You have given me, the spiritual light and life You have placed in me go out from me and be multiplied. Let it birth a spiritual blessing to thousands upon thousands And let these who are spiritual offspring be empowered to be victorious against their enemies, by controlling the enemy’s impact on their lives, and possessing their gates; locking the enemy behind them.

Later, when Rebekah was confused by what was happening to her in pregnancy, she “went to inquire of the Lord”. You gave her an answer and a revelation.

May I be like Rebekah in this as well. When I am confused, let me draw close to You and seek Your perspective and explanation. Let me not lean on my own understanding. But give me a fresh understanding of my difficulties and a revelation that directs my path and encourages me in the way I should go.

Like Rebekah, help me place all my sense of security in You. Even when there is no evidence to point to that would give me security by the world’s standards. Even when circumstances seem radically out of control and way beyond my comfort level.

In every relationship, every decision, every circumstance, let me turn to You; because You are able and willing, and deserving of my trust. You have promised never to leave me; never to forsake me. You can handle whatever comes. I choose to trust You. Thank You. Amen

Genesis 24:52-61; 25:21-23

Dec 30 Eternity

heavenpainting by Danny Hehlbohm

O Father, I can only think this Revelation of John’s is where many ideas of heaven are found: streets of gold, pearls for gates, “You will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” It is how the New Jerusalem is described, after all mankind and angels have been judged, and the earth and heavens as we know them have been swept away.

It is certainly a place I would want to spend eternity. You, Yourself, will always be present. Your presence provides all the light that is needed.   And there is a promise, a security, in there being nothing “impure…shameful or deceitful” ever being there.   Only Your people, Your children, will inherit all this.

The Psalmist says “Sing to the Lord a new song, [sing] His praise in the assembly of His faithful people.” That will truly be able to happen in this Holy City.

Thank You for Your promises of help while here on earth. And thank You for the promise of my eternal future with You. Your praise is ever on my lips! Amen

Revelation 21:1-27; Psalm 149:1-9

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 21 Shield my head

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Father, what an incredible vision You gave John! As he describes the scene and the action, it sounds like a great cosmic video game! But this one does not play out over and over with a ‘reset’ button when the player fails at the quest.

 

The revelation John sees here: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” and “an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads”. These are not anime characters, but are signs that represent actual happenings. The woman represents Israel, and the red dragon, satan. Satan was hurled down to earth and roams here now, to “lead the whole world astray”.

The bad news: “woe to the earth and sea because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury…”.   The good news: “his time is short”.

Because satan roams the earth in his furious state, and has duped people into following him, I need You, Father, to “keep me safe from the hands of the wicked”. It is not only the evil one, but also those under his authority who do his biding that I have seen at work.

I know that sometimes, I don’t make wise choices, and must bear the consequences. In those times Father, I ask for Your forgiveness and Your wisdom to learn from my mistakes. But at other times, I feel attacked, caught by surprise in situations and circumstances I did not anticipate. I feel entrapped, tripped up, led into places, relationships, emotional states, and difficulties that feel like an oppressive force is orchestrating it all.

When I begin to feel discouraged and hopeless, when I find myself doubting Your goodness and Your love, I know there is some element of evil at work. Thank You that You have promised to “shield my head in the day of battle”.   Your helmet of salvation protects my thoughts and reminds me of Your truth. It helps me hold what I am feeling up against the truth of Your Word.

Thank You that I can be sure of Your love for me. Thank You that I can know without a doubt, that Your purpose and plan for me are good. Thank You that I know You will never, ever, leave me or forsake me. And thank You that the devil’s time here on earth is short. And a time will come when You will triumph over all!

In the meantime, I “will praise Your name”! And “live [my life] in Your presence”, in safety, with You as “my strong deliverer”. Awaiting Your ‘end game’. Amen

Revelation 12:1-17; Psalm 140:1-13

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-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 13 Holy, Holy, Holy

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Father, once again, a vision of such great detail and magnificence!

This could be a scene in a fantasy movie, or one of those wild, imaginative video games. From John’s words, I can hear the rumbling thunder. I can see the bright almost blinding flashes of lightening. And between flashes, can see a halo of green glow, arching over and around a magnificent, brilliant throne. I can feel the heat of seven torches with burning flames.

In the foreground I can see a shiny sea of crystal glass and twenty-four elders seated on twenty-four small thrones, but bending down to kneel before the magnificent throne, and the One who sits on it.

But in the center of my view, what captures my attention, are four unbelievable, huge creatures: the likes of which I have never seen before! It is truly the stuff dreams are made of! Or nightmares! “The first living creature was like a lion the second was like an ox, the third had the face of a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under it’s wings.” And these creatures fly; encircling the One who sits on the throne who could only be described as looking like beautiful, gleaming jewels.

I can hear the living creatures say in unearthly voices that resound with deafening volume and fill my senses, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come”.

It is so easy to think of You as my Father, my Comforter, my Helper. But John reminds me here of Your immense Power with a capital P, and Sovereignty with a capital S! You are Majestic in Holiness, Awesome in Power, Highly Exalted. You are more than anything I can imagine on this earth. You are more kingly that the most exalted king, stronger than the strongest man, wiser than the wisest sage, smarter than smartest scientist.

By Your hand, all things were created, and they continue to be in existence by Your command.   And not just people, which is an incomparably immense task in itself, but every insect, bird, lizard, fish, and mammal! All that people refer to as “Mother earth” came from You. And beyond that, the moon, the stars, the sun, the solar system, the galaxy, the universe!

There is none like You. You are The One and The Only Lord and God. You are the only One worthy to receive all the glory and honor and power. Receive my worship. I am in awe of You.   Amen

Revelation 4:1-11

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

Sept 22 Hope in the darkness

book-1936547_640O Father, these are some of the verses that have come to me in the darkest times. Times when I truly thought there was no hope. Times when I was at the end of all I could think to do to save myself from what appeared to be dire and dark circumstances that I believed held no happy ending.

These words are spoken by Your prophet Isaiah who is telling how it will be when the judgment of Israel is over. “You are the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth! You will not grow tired or weary…You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak…those who hope in You will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.”

What hope that gave me Father – because I was weary and weak. But because I know You as my Savior, I believed that these verses were true of me. It’s like You were speaking right into my heart then, and since then. You were promising to give me Your strength and power. You promised to renew my strength. When I felt like I could not take one more step, You empowered me to “walk and not grow faint”.

You told me “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my Righteous Right Hand.” And even more than that, You sang it to me. I could hear a melody in Your words. It became a theme that I could sing to myself over and over – Your words of encouragement and empowerment. I still sing them today.

Thank You Father, that Your Word, written down so long ago, has power and influence and still speaks right now. And not just to me, but to any and all who will seek You there.

And these words of Paul – I love them and have prayed them over and over again for myself, my family, and my loved ones. I pray them now, again Father, for everyone reading this prayer. “I give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know [1] the hope to which He has called you, [2] the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people [that’s us], and [3] His incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Father, speak these words of comfort and empowerment to all who need to hear them from You.   When the evil one whispers ‘you’ve failed again, there’s no hope’, Let them know what it means to “not fear” and “not be dismayed”.   Give us victory! Amen

Isaiah 40:1-41:16; Ephesians 1:1-23

Mar 11 from beginning to end

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Thank You Lord, is not enough to say to You, for enduring such a horrible death so that I could be reunited, reconciled, into fellowship with You. Thank You that the precious blood You shed washes away my sin and pays the penalty my sin deserves.

I cannot begin to imagine the horror of all You felt and went through. Movies that depict it are difficult to watch and fill me with sorrow and shame, that it was for my sin You chose to go through it all.

It boggles my mind, that this was planned before the foundation of the world was laid! That You already knew what would happen with sin being a part of the world You created, and what it would take to make it right again.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, as they were separated from Your presence. And eventually died physically. They continued in sin, as did all man for centuries, and a system of shedding innocent blood and making offerings was instituted.

In the desert when Korah sinned against You and rebelled, You swallowed him up in the earth with his followers. Yet sin continued, with more sacrifices being made as a way to enter Your presence, first in the Tabernacle, then the Temple.

In the fulfillment of Your prophecies, You came to the earth as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God and became the ultimate sacrifice, laying down Your life once for all – all the sin, all the people. Yet all have not accepted that gift.

One day Your world will be free of sin again, as You judge all the living and the dead, even the angels, and create a new heaven and a new earth. You will have delivered Your people from all trouble, and will look triumphantly upon all Your foes. They will be brought down to eternal death, separated from You for all eternity. And Your people will live with You forever. I am eternally blessed to be Your child. Thank You. Amen

Numbers 15:17-16:40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:7

Dec 31 Alpha and Omega

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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!  At the same time, I am both amazed at Your faithfulness to me, and 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 3:1-4:6; Revelation 20:11-15; 22:1-21; Psalm 150:1-6; Proverbs 31:25-31

Dec 30 Eternity

 

heavenO Father, I can only think this Revelation of John’s is where many ideas of heaven are found: streets of gold, pearls for gates, “You will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”  It is how the New Jerusalem is described, after all mankind and angels have been judged, and the earth and heavens as we know them have been swept away.

It is certainly a place I would want to spend eternity.  You, Yourself, will always be present.  Your presence provides all the light that is needed.   And there is a promise, a security, in there being nothing “impure…shameful or deceitful” ever being there.   Only Your people, Your children, will inherit all this.

The Psalmist says “Sing to the Lord a new song, [sing] His praise in the assembly of His faithful people.”  That will truly be able to happen in this Holy City.

Father, as I prayed Psalm 1 on the first day of the Year for my husband and sons, I pray now at the end of the year, these Proverbs 31 verses for myself and for the women who will marry my sons:

May we be “wives of noble character…worth far more than rubies, bringing [our husbands] good, not harm all the days of our lives.”  May our “husbands have full confidence in [us] and lack nothing of value.”  May we “work with eager hands” to provide for our families’ needs.  May we have sharp mental skills, a good head for business and strong arms for the tasks You bring to us.   May we manage our households wisely and show compassion and charity.   Father, give us the wisdom we need to benefit our husbands and children, the energy we need to accomplish the work of our ministries, and the ability to reflect Your love to care for our families.

Thank You for Your promises of help while here on earth.  And thank You for the promise of my eternal future with You.  Your praise is ever on my lips!  Amen

Revelation 21:1-27; Psalm 149:1-9; Proverbs 31:10-24

Dec 28 All Creation praises You!

 

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Father, 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 upward 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 laud 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 14:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15; Psalm 148:1-14

Dec 28 Wedding Feast of the Lamb!

 

 

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Father, 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: “On that day I will strike every horse with panic and every rider with madness” from Zechariah, 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.”

Father, 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 Lord of Lords.”

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

Zechariah 12:1-13:9; Revelation 19:1-21

Dec 25 God in flesh

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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 144:1-15

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 21 Shield my head

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Father, what an incredible vision You gave John!  As he describes the scene and the action, it sounds like a great cosmic video game!  But this one does not play out over and over with a ‘reset’ button when the player fails at the quest.

The revelation John sees here: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” and “an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads”.  These are not anime characters, but are signs that represent actual happenings.  The woman represents Israel, and the red dragon, satan.  Satan was hurled down to earth and roams here now, to “lead the whole world astray”.

The bad news:  “woe to the earth and sea because the devil has gone down to you!  He is filled with fury…”.   The good news: “his time is short”.

Because satan roams the earth in his furious state, and has duped people into following him, I need You, Father, to “keep me safe from the hands of the wicked”.  It is not only the evil one, but also those under his authority who do his biding that I have seen at work.

I know that sometimes, I don’t make wise choices, and must bear the consequences.  In those times Father, I ask for Your forgiveness and Your wisdom to learn from my mistakes.  But at other times, I feel attacked, caught by surprise in situations and circumstances I did not anticipate.  I feel entrapped, tripped up, led into places, relationships, emotional states, and difficulties that feel like an oppressive force is orchestrating it all.

When I begin to feel discouraged and hopeless, when I find myself doubting Your goodness and Your love, I know there is some element of evil at work.  Thank You that You have promised to “shield my head in the day of battle”.   Your helmet of salvation protects my thoughts and reminds me of Your truth.  It helps me hold what I am feeling up against the truth of Your Word.

Thank You that I can be sure of Your love for me.  Thank You that I can know without a doubt, that Your purpose and plan for me are good.  Thank You that I know You will never, ever, leave me or forsake me.  And thank You that the devil’s time here on earth is short.  And a time will come when You will triumph over all!

In the meantime, I “will praise Your name”!  And “live [my life] in Your presence”, in safety, with You as “my strong deliverer”.  Awaiting Your ‘end game’.   Amen

Revelation 12:1-17; Psalm 140:1-13

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 13 Holy, Holy, Holy

Father, once again, a vision of such great detail and magnificence!  This could be a scene in a fantasy movie, or one of those wild, imaginative video games.  From John’s words, I can hear the rumbling thunder.  I can see the bright almost blinding flashes of lightening.  And between flashes, can see a halo of green glow, arching over and around a magnificent, brilliant throne.  I can feel the heat of seven torches with burning flames.

In the foreground I can see a shiny sea of crystal glass and twenty-four elders seated on twenty-four small thrones, but bending down to kneel before the magnificent throne, and the One who sits on it.

But in the center of my view, what captures my attention, are four unbelievable, huge creatures: the likes of which I have never seen before!  It is truly the stuff dreams are made of!  Or nightmares!  “The first living creature was like a lion the second was like an ox, the third had the face of a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.  Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under it’s wings.”  And these creatures fly; encircling the One who sits on the throne who could only be described as looking like beautiful, gleaming jewels.

I can hear the living creatures say in unearthly voices that resound with deafening volume and fill my senses, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come”. 20161212_235154

It is so easy to think of You as my Father, my Comforter, my Helper.  But John reminds me here of Your immense Power (with a capital P) and Sovereignty (with a capital S)!  You are Majestic in Holiness, Awesome in Power, Highly Exalted.  You are more than anything I can imagine on this earth.  You are more kingly that the most exalted king, stronger than the strongest man, wiser than the wisest sage, smarter than smartest scientist.

By Your hand, all things were created, and they continue to be in existence by Your command.   And not just people, which is an incomparably immense task in itself, but every insect, bird, lizard, fish, and mammal!  All that people refer to as ‘Mother earth’ came from You.  And beyond that, the moon, the stars, the sun, the solar system, the galaxy, the universe!

There is none like You.  You are The One and The Only Lord and God.  You are the only One worthy to receive all the glory and honor and power.  Receive my worship.  I am in awe of You.    Amen

Revelation 4:1-11  

Dec 10 The lion has roared…

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“Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.” 

Father, You gave a special message to a shepherd, Amos.  His was not in a priestly or kingly line, yet You gave him an important message for the people.  He was a shepherd of Tekoa, a place about six miles south of Bethlehem, as Bethlehem is about six miles south of Jerusalem.  At the time, the people he spoke to thought they were doing well.  But about thirty years later, the Assyrians took Israel into captivity.  The list of nations he voiced Your displeasure of and coming judgment on were eventually judged.

Father, it seems to me that when You choose to bless a nation, You hold that nation responsible for its national conduct.  Surely each person was not guilty of the offenses listed, but the nations were judged nonetheless.  My country has been blessed.  And I believe You will hold it responsible for its national conduct.  Right now, that is not looking good.  Amos questioned “Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey?”  Then answered: “The lion has roared – who will not fear?”  He was telling people there was a real and present danger.  I believe my country is being warned of a real and present danger if the people do not turn back to You.

You also revealed Your plan to John through Revelation.   He wrote down Your Words to specific churches.  I believe they were real churches at the time, but I also believe the same words are meant for Your church today.

In obedience to these words, would You help me remember that You are my first love; that You come before anything else in my heart.  And let me act accordingly.  Like the church in Ephesus, let me not tolerate wicked people, or listen to false teachers, or follow the Nicolaitan teachings of lustful immorality and lording church positions and power over lay people.  Give me the strength to “persevere…endure hardships for Your name, and not grow weary”.

Like the churches in Smyrna and Pergamum, let me remember my wealth comes from my relationship with You.  Show me where the evil one is influencing me, or my loved ones so we can reject it.  Increase our faith so we have the perseverance to remain true to Your Name.  Do not let us be led away from Your teachings by the temptations of Balaam who tempted the Israelites into immorality and idolatry.

Father, thank You for revealing Your plan to Your servants the prophets.  I have ears.  Let me hear and heed these words that are for my life and my country.  Open my ears and my understanding.  Amen

Amos 1:1-3:15; Revelation 2:1-17

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