Putting God's Word into Practice…

Revelation 5 ~ Truth and Worship

Then I saw IN THE RIGHT HAND of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “WEEP NO MORE; BEHOLD, THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, THE ROOT OF DAVID, HAS CONQUERED SO THAT HE CAN OPEN THE SCROLL AND ITS SEVEN SEALS. (Revelation 5:1-5)

The scroll contains future events.  It is encouraging to know that the entire future of our lives and the world are resting in the powerful, authoritative right hand of God the Father!  The future wrath, judgment, suffering, redemption, and restoration are all in His grasp.  He is always in control!

The unholiness of mankind and the condition of the world broke John’s heart.  He wept–loudly.  Whenever we are in despair, when discouragement sets in, when things feel hopeless; all is not lost! WEEP NO MORE; BEHOLD JESUS!!!  Look at Him, gaze upon Him, set your heart and mind on the One who is able, powerful and essential to our future!!!  He is our Hope!

In Revelation 5 we see Jesus referenced in three ways.  First is as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  He is the ruler and protector of His people.  He is filled with strength and majesty.  His presence invokes reverence and awe! The Root of David is the second name.  Jesus was born into the lineage of a king fulfilling the prophecy that the promised Messiah would also be the King!  And finally in verse 6 we see Jesus referred to as “a Lamb standing as though it had been slain.”  Jewish sacrifice required a pure, spotless lamb to be slain everyday as an offering to cover intentional and unintentional sins.  According to Leviticus 4:7 the blood of the sin offering was “poured out” at the base of the altar in the temple.  In Matthew 26:27-28 Jesus told His disciples that His blood would be “poured out” for the forgiveness of the sins of many.  John the Baptist declared in John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

Beholding Jesus leads to worship!  Knowing the truth about Jesus–who He is and what He has done on our behalf–leads us to worship!  Jesus alone is worthy of–deserving, entitled to– unadulterated (undiluted, absolute) worship!

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (vs. 12)  “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (vs. 13b-14)

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Revelation 4 ~ Unceasing Worship

After this I looked, and behold, A DOOR STANDING OPEN IN HEAVEN! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

Right after John transcribed the letters to the churches from Jesus Himself, he saw an open door in heaven.  The last time we saw the word, “Behold,” was in 3:20 when Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…”  We put Jesus outside and close the door.  But the door into His presence is always standing wide open!

Next, John gets a personal invitation into the throne room of God.  The setting was too beautiful and awesome to fully describe, and what was taking place in there was not what I always picture…  I think it could look like any number of things: a) a planning meeting around a whiteboard, b) worried pacing over the condition of the world, c) a laughing, wizard-like god zapping down punishment on “sinners.”  But John saw none of those.  GOD IS SITTING ON HIS THRONE!  He is ruling and reigning in complete control.  He is not worried, stressed or surprised by anything.  And He is being worshipped all day and night!  Unceasing, unending praise to God–that’s what’s going on in His throne room!

Those in His presence are overwhelmed by His holiness!  God is not just holy, but “holy, holy, holy.”  His holiness is like nothing we have ever been, seen or experienced.  He is eternal!  He is the creator of all things, and He is sovereign over all He has made!  God alone is worthy to receive glory, honor and power!  Heaven is filled with His worship!

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!…Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created ALL things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:8, 11)

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Notes on John 18-20 (Easter)

For over a week I have been focusing my attention on the four gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) accounts of the fragrant anointing, the last supper, the betrayal, arrest and trial of Jesus, His death and resurrection.

John 18-20:

  • When people seek Jesus, they will find Him whether their intentions are right or wrong.  When He reveals Himself to people a response is required!  The soldiers fell down.  I’m not sure if it was awe, fear, or worship; but when they got back up they had two options. 1) Change their plans in light of His revelation or 2) Ignore His revelation and go about their business. They chose option 2. (18:4-8)
  • The religious leaders unveiled their hypocritical hearts by refusing to be defiled by going into Pilate’s because they wanted to eat the Passover.  Meanwhile they were looking for people to give false testimony about Jesus during his middle of the night trial so they could have Him killed by Pilate.   (18:28)  I find myself doing that too–feel good about myself for holding fast to certain rules I like while disregarding ones that interfere with what I want.
  • Jesus went into the presence of a Gentile.  He was obedient to authority and not afraid of being around someone “unclean.”  He was so different from the religious leaders, that’s why they hated him. (18:33)
  • When Jesus steps into the midst of a fear-filled environment; there is peace!!! (20:19)
  • “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed!”  So easy to overlook this truth.  I am blessed if for no other reason than I believe in Jesus! (20:29)
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Notes on Matthew 26-28 (Easter)

For over a week I have been focusing my attention on the four gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) accounts of the fragrant anointing, the last supper, the betrayal, arrest and trial of Jesus, His death and resurrection.

Matthew 26-28:

  • The disciples (specifically Peter) swore to never desert Jesus and said they were willing to die with Him before He actually died.  Yet, at the arrest every single one of them fled.  And after the crucifixion, they all sat in hiding out of fear of Jesus’ prosecutors.  But because of the resurrection, they lost their fear in death.  They passionately preached the name of Jesus and fulfilled His commission for them even until death!  The resurrection changed their outlook and squashed all fear in their lives!
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Notes on Luke 22-24 (Easter)

For over a week I have been focusing my attention on the four gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) accounts of the fragrant anointing, the last supper, the betrayal, arrest and trial of Jesus, His death and resurrection.

Luke 22-24:

  • 22:7 “Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover Lamb HAD TO BE  sacrificed.”  It was mandatory that Jesus’ death on our behalf would take place on the Passover.  He was the sacrificial Lamb that was going to take away the sins of the world.  The symbolism is so amazing!
  • When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he gave thanks before each element–representing His broken body and shed blood.  He was thankful for what He was about to do for mankind.  Even knowing the agony and pain He was about to face, He was thankful for the opportunity to save the world!
  • Jesus gave a lesson to the disciples about true greatness.  In 22:27 He said, “For who is the greater, the one who reclines at the table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”  Yet in verse 14 it clearly states, “And when the hour came, he reclined at table…”  Is this a contradiction?  No Jesus is the Greatest and the Least, He is the First and the Last!  Servant and King! He is all in all!
  • We overcome temptation by prayer!  Sleeping (literally and figuratively) makes our spirits weak! (22:40)
  • Jesus was strengthened in His agony, not taken out of His agonizing! (22:43)
  • The Lord turned and looked at Peter when he denied Him, and Peter wept bitterly.  What would it do to me if I saw Jesus’ face every time I denied Him in word or action? (22:61)
  • On the cross, the crowds said to Jesus, “He saved others; let him SAVE HIMSELF, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” (23:35)  Jesus didn’t need to save himself.  He needed to die to save everyone else–even the ones calling out for His death.  The Christ of God had to die, it was always the plan.  The plan couldn’t change to prove anything to the people.  God loved them enough to give them what they needed, not what they asked for!
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Notes on Mark 14-16 (Easter)

For over a week I have been focusing my attention on the four gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) accounts of the fragrant anointing, the last supper, the betrayal, arrest and trial of Jesus, His death and resurrection.

Mark 14-16:

  • Judas placed moralism over worship–He thought the woman wasted her perfume on Jesus instead of taking care of the poor.  Worship trumps moralism in Jesus’ eyes!  When someone pours out all they have at His feet it is beautiful to Him!
  • Peter made several bad choices leading up to his denial of Jesus. First, Peter followed Jesus “at a distance.”  Then he sat “warming himself” with the enemy. (14:54)
  • The crowds shouted at Jesus on the cross, “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.”  The truth is, if Jesus had come down from the cross, there wouldn’t be anything to believe in!  It would leave us with unfulfilled prophecy and unfulfilled promises, and no sins would be atoned for! (15:32)  It was only by seeing Jesus’ death on the cross that belief was possible.  Even the Roman guard recognized it when he responded, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (15:39)
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Revelation 3:14-22 ~ Lukewarm…blah!

There are several things that when experienced as lukewarm are worthless. A lukewarm “I love you” or hug leaves me feeling uncertain about the giver’s love. A lukewarm shower leaves me feeling unclean. Lukewarm coffee is not nearly as comforting as a steaming hot one.  And lukewarm eggs or oatmeal will usually find themselves in the trash and myself feeling undernourished.  People can be “lukewarm” in their faith, too.  And Jesus said, lukewarm people leave him with a sick stomach!  “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (vomit) you out of my mouth.”

Lukewarm things and people don’t generally know that they are lukewarm.  Usually when we judge our lives we feel just right.  Unfortunately, we aren’t the judge of our lives!  Jesus is!  In verse 14 He describes His writing as, “The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning (source/originator) of God’s creation.”  Amen literally means “so it is.”  Amen is a word that signifies absolute truth, it is constant and unchanging–the final word!  Jesus has the final word when describing our lives, and only His opinion matters.  When I think of a faithful and true witness, I picture a courtroom and the one on the witness stand swearing on the Bible to give “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”  What Jesus says about our lives is sworn truth–even if it is different from our perspective!  And because He is the source and originator of all creation, Jesus has supreme authority over our lives and permission to judge them.

When the Laodicean Believers measured their own lives, they were blind to their self-sufficiency, their spiritual poverty and blindness.  They were keeping Christ outside of their lives and trying to go it alone.  This isn’t just a judgment against the Laodiceans–I find this to be true in my own life on a regular basis. What we provide for ourselves doesn’t make us prosperous, only what God provides can do that because He knows the true definition of prosperity.  When we think we are covering our sins, we are really exposed.  Only Jesus’ righteousness covers our sin and shame.  When we feel like we are insightful and humanly wise; we are really blind.  Only Jesus can open our eyes and cause us to see clearly.  We have nothing apart from Jesus– we are just lukewarm oatmeal!

In the following verses we see that Jesus is loving, faithful and patient with us.  “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so BE ZEALOUS and REPENT.”  GET HOT!!!  As I’ve been typing, my coffee has become lukewarm =(  I could let it sit on the table all day and get film on the top until I decide to empty it and wash it out, or I could add hot coffee to it and stir it up so it’s drinkable or zap it in the microwave.  (I chose option 2.)  It is the same with our spiritual lives.  In February I experienced a real soul revival, but by April I’m back to feeling stagnant.  Guess what–Jesus doesn’t want me to stay stagnant!!  He wants me to get hot and repent!  He loves me too much to let me sit around and get film on my life.

Repentance is the first step!  But we also have to let Jesus back into our lives–in every area.  Verse 20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”  Jesus, the one who holds the keys, is standing outside knocking???  Jesus doesn’t force Himself into our lives or willingly leave us to ourselves.  When we push Jesus out of our lives, He patiently knocks and knocks and calls to us until we open the door and ask Him back into our lives.  He wants to be close to us, He wants to experience life with us.  He offers to eat with us–to be part of a daily necessity.  He doesn’t offer us renovation and domination–He offers us fellowship.

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Revelation 3:7-13 ~ Eternal Label Maker

Jesus wrote an encouraging message to the church in Philadelphia!  He reminded them first off that He is holy and true; that He has full power and authority; that He is sovereign over every open and shut door of opportunity and over their entrance into their eternal home!

Jesus then went on to acknowledge three things about them:

  1. “I know that you have but little power.”  In our culture that might be considered a low-blow–an insult.  But according to Scripture we know that weakness is a good thing!  God uses the weak to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). He has pity on the weak (Psalm 72:13).  He rescues, delivers, and gives justice to the weak (Psalm 82). He died for the weak (Romans 5:6). And God uses our weakness to display His power! (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
  2. “You have kept my word.”  Keeping God’s Word is not always easy.  We live in a world that opposes God’s Word at every turn and always has.  Holding fast to absolute truth requires unwavering commitment and patient endurance even in the face of persecution.
  3. “You have not denied my name.”  God’s Word promises that belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is all we need to be right with God, but “religious” people say that following rules and keeping up with a list of do’s and don’ts is what’s required. Jesus is the name above all names–nothing else matters except acknowledging Him as Lord!

Jesus made several key promises to those who keep His Word and hold fast to His name.  God will open opportunities for us that cannot be shut (v. 8).  He will teach others about Himself and His love through our lives (v. 9).  God will make us a pillar in His temple.  Pillars are small, yet mighty.  They stand on the foundation and uphold the entire structure.  As pillars in His temple, we will stand firm and confident in His presence forever (12).  And finally my favorite promise:

I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

My parents’ old label maker has fascinated multiple generations, and I’m sure our family is not unique in this.  It is fun to type out a label and put our name on something that has value to us.  Woody in Toy Story had Andy’s name on his boot.  Some tattoo their spouse’s name on their bodies.  God will write His name on you!!!  When God promises to write His name on us, He is saying we are His valued possession, His treasure forever!  That is hard for me to wrap my mind around.  I know myself–I wouldn’t consider myself a treasure to anyone, let alone Almighty God.  But that is how He sees me, and everyone who is faithful to His Word and the name of Jesus.

“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him?” (Job 7:17)

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Revelation 3:1-6 ~ Wake up!!

Jesus is complete!  He holds the complete plan for the church in His hands, protecting it until the end.  The works of the church in Sardis were incomplete.  Somewhere along the way, they fell asleep and lost their strength.

“Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God!” My son has been on losing teams for the majority of his Little League “career.”  What I noticed is that if they were “sleepy,” they had a really bad inning.  But instead of changing things, they would get discouraged and give up the game early on.  They didn’t remember that one inning could change everything!  If they would just wake up and play ball, the outcome of the game would be different.  God is in control and He judges everything.  Only He knows when our works are complete and when the game is over.  So we need to never stop working; never give up!

“Remember then what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent.  If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.”  If falling asleep spiritually requires repentance, then in God’s eyes, it must be considered a sin.  Why would spiritual stagnancy and powerlessness be an offense to God?  It demonstrates that we stopped seeking Him, depending on Him, and trusting Him.  It dismisses His promises, disregards His plans, and disrespects His power!  (Psalms 139:16, Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:24)

How do we fall asleep spiritually?  I can think of two ways: 1) We work so hard in our own strength doing things He didn’t plan for us that we just pass out, or 2) We are lulled to sleep when we get too comfortable–like a pacified baby being rocked and sung to quietly!


http://youtu.be/PoPWqi0W2DA Wake up by All Sons and Daughters

http://youtu.be/tV77elsdUAI Fall Afresh by Beth Music feat. Jeremy Riddle


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Revelation 2:18-28 ~ Pure Passion

Jesus started this letter to the church in Thyatira (I love the way that word sounds…go ahead, say it a few times…just rolls off the tongue!) by reminding them that His eyes are like fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze.  These were the words and warnings of THE powerful and pure Son of God–the only One who searches heart and mind!

The church in Thyatira was known by Jesus for their love, faith, service and patient endurance.  That sounds like a good list!  If Jesus knew me by those things, I’d think I was doing pretty well!  No one can be perfect, right?  Jesus demands holiness and purity.  Even a little discrepancy must be addressed and eliminated.

Again we see the problem with the church in Thyatira was that they were mixing self-indulgence and sexual immorality with holiness!  These are called the “deep things of Satan.”  Satan is always trying to get God’s people to doubt that His ways are for our good.  He tries to deceive us into thinking we are missing out on something.  He twists everything to make it about “us.” Like my husband says, “Satan shines up the fruit until we see our reflection in it.”  He makes God look bad and sin look good.  Satan’s purpose is to “steal, kill and destroy,” but because he “masquerades as an angel of light,” we get fooled into thinking sin is not that bad and God won’t really mind if we mix it in our lives as long as we’re basically “good.”

Jesus died and rose again to purify us and give us life!  We are to be like Him–holy and pure.  In His grace, He points out our sin and calls us to repentance.  He warns us of the outcome of chasing after sin–sickness, tribulation, and death.

Jesus is fair–He gives to each person according to their works.  Those who hold fast to Him and are faithful are rewarded with honor and HE GIVES HIMSELF TO THEM FOR ETERNITY!  Because the Bible uses the analogy of Jesus as the Groom and the church as His Bride, I picture Jesus waiting at the altar looking for our entrance. However, many times we forget that we will see Him face-to-face, and the things of this world and the desires of our flesh distract and derail our purity.  Jesus deserves a pure bride–not an unfaithful fiance!

Lord, keep Jesus before my eyes. Let the knowledge that I will see Him cause me to desire to live a holy life, so I will not be ashamed when I stand before Him.  Give me one pure and holy passion!

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