Posted in 2018/19 Weekly Readings

Week 31

Memory Verse:  Isaiah 65:17

“For behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.”

Reading #1:  Revelation 1:9-27, 6

Questions:  In chapter 1 what, or rather who, does John see Jesus standing in the midst of?  What are the seven stars in Jesus’ right hand?  In chapter 6 what response do the people on the earth have to the what’s going on in the sky?  How would John’s earlier vision of Jesus in chapter 1 be of great comfort to the church during this time?

Reading #2:  Revelation 8, 10

Questions:  How would John’s earlier vision of Jesus in chapter 1 be of great comfort to the church during this time?

Reading #3:  Revelation 12, 14:6-13

Questions:  How would John’s earlier vision of Jesus in chapter 1 be of great comfort to the church during this time?

Reading #4:  Revelation 21-22

Questions: How are the first and last chapters of Revelation of great comfort to you in light of all the judgements revealed in the chapters in between?

Psalms and Hymns

Children of the Heavenly Father “Children of the heavenly Father safely in His bosom gather.  Nestling bird nor star in Heaven, such a refuge ne’er was given.”

Posted in 2018/19 Devos

Devo 28

“And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Acts 2:19-21

I knew this post was coming.  This week’s readings have been sitting here for 9 months waiting their turn.  Why should I  dread writing about the wrath of God if I need not dread His wrath?  Perhaps because I know it is real.  And it is coming.  And I am partly to blame.  God’s wrath is a result of my own sin.  Because of my rebellion against His holiness, His wrath was first poured out on His willing and righteous Son, Jesus Christ.  He bore my sin for me on the cross and therefore He bore the wrath of God against me.

But there’s more wrath to come.  And this time Jesus will be the judge, not the condemned.

We did a quick overview of Revelation in a series of devotionals for the ladies up here, looking specifically at who Christ is and how He is worshipped in the vision John is given.  I was so struck by the attributes God was being praised for; some expected and very present in our own worship like His holiness, eternality, sovereignty, sacrifice, salvation, power, and righteousness; and others, not-so-much, like His wrath, judgements, rewards, justice, truth, vengeance and destruction of the ungodly.

The Psalms are brimming with the same kind of worship we see in the book of Revelation, but some where along the line, certain elements of God’s nature seem to have fallen out of our praise vernacular.  So if I’m going to spend an eternity worshipping God for these attributes, I should at least be able to take a few minutes to write about them.

It’s easy to say passages like Ezekiel 32:1-8 and Micah 3:1-8 are too graphic for our modern day sensibilities, but I’m pretty sure such bloody descriptions weren’t exactly standard Saturday Evening Post fare for the ancients either.  That kind of brutality would be shocking to any generation of man.  Any human at any time would quake at the threat of being flung into an open field to be food for the vultures and other beasts and then to have ones flesh strewn upon the mountains along with so many others the ravines are flowing with blood.

Sounds merciless, right?  And yet that’s exactly the kind of horrid consequence my rebellion demands.  That’s how ugly my sin is to the just and holy and righteous God who made me.  But when God turned the full fury of His wrath onto my sin, it was His perfect and holy and righteous Son who voluntarily took the blow.  The wrath of God poured out on Jesus Christ on the cross was merciless.  And all God’s mercy was poured out on me instead.

So can I praise God for His wrath?  Yes!  Because it is a holy wrath and because He was willing to bear it Himself on the cross for me. But how can one escape the wrath that is to come?  For surely, the same Christ who bore my sins in His own body on the tree, who was buried and who rose again and ascended into heaven, this same Christ is coming back as judge over all the earth.

Just as a star announced Christ’s first advent, the heavens will proclaim His second.  But dear friend, you need not dread that coming.  No, you can rejoice and welcome your King!  Peter, one of the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ death and resurrection, proclaimed in Acts 2:21 that “it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!”  Now, you might have the same question that Peter’s listeners had, “What shall we do?”  His answer was simple.  Repent and you will be born again.  Your sins will be forgiven and God’s loving mercy will be poured out on you.  Then you, too, will have all the reason in the world to praise Him for His wrath for He will have born it for you.  Joel 2:12,13, which Peter was quoting from says,

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;  and rend your hearts and not your garments.”  Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and He relents from disaster.”

Posted in 2018/19 Devos

Devo 27

“And we have this prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”  2 Peter 1:19

Have you ever felt yourself in a dark place?  Friend, even without feeling it, without Christ you are there now!  So please, pay attention!  I’m about to shine a lamp for you and Lord willing daylight will dawn, and the Bright and Morning Star will rise in your heart. You see, without Christ, your situation is just like that of the Israelites in Isaiah 59:2,3.

“Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden HIs face from you so that He does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity;  your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.”  

In verse 9-13 Isaiah describes clearly the human condition because of our sin.

“We hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes… We hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.  For our transgressions are multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us;  for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.”

This is a dark and hopeless situation indeed.  But Isaiah continues and offers the very kind of illuminating and hope-filled prophetic word Peter was confirming in the passage above.  In verse 16, God affirms that due to fallenness of our nature there is not a single thing we can do to make things right with Him.  So get this.  “His own arm brought him salvation.”  He knew we couldn’t save ourselves so He came down and made atonement for us.  But how?  The very next chapter in Isaiah gives us a hint of what’s to come.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;  but the Lord will arise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you.  And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

First, Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, was born in human form.  Right before that a man name John was born who was appointed to

“go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of  death.”

Next, Jesus lived a perfect sinless life, fulfilling the righteous requirements of God in every way thus becoming the spotless lamb, willing and able to give His life as a sacrifice for all who lived in rebellion against Him.  The Son of God handed over His body to be brutally beaten and hung on a Roman cross, a laughing stock to those He came to save.  And as he He hung there, this rejected Savior of man, this forsaken Son of God, thick darkness came over the land.  He died.  He was buried.

Three days later, after the sun had risen, Jesus’ friends came to His tomb.  But THE SON had RISEN!  Not only had He conquered sin, He had beaten death!  And He offers that same sin slaying, death destroying power of new, everlasting life to all who trust in His righteousness alone as the means by which they can stand before a holy, wrathful, and yet graciously merciful God.

Do you see this lamp shining, showing you the only way out of your eternal peril?  Has the Son of God, the Bright Morning Star risen in your own heart?  He IS risen, friend.  He IS risen indeed.  And He’s coming again as judge.  Are you ready to stand before His soul- penetrating light in life or in death?  Today can be the day of salvation for you!  Call on Jesus and be saved!