God’s Plan

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May 26

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

I confess my imagination ran wild this morning. Revelation 19 is filled with such vivid imagery and such glorious truth! No interpretation here, just some observations:

1. A loud voice cries out “Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God!”  (verse 1)

2. Why? Because His judgments are true and righteous (verse 2). Notice what follows: “He has judged” and “He has avenged.” It is easy to feel overwhelmed. It is easy to feel mistreated. It is easy to feel as though we are treated unfairly. Notice again: He has judged and He has avenged.

3. He returns to the worship again: “Give praise” (verse 5)  and “For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” (verse 6)

4. We are invited to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. In this same sequence is John’s reaction to an angel’s pronouncement of the Feast.  He fell at the angel’s feet and the angel told him “No. I am a fellow servant.”

5. Then comes the most vivid and exciting passage: the appearance of Jesus on a white horse!  He is Faithful and True. A few verses later we see He has on His thigh the words “King of kings and Lord of lords.” What a fantastic description given here which will allow our imagination to fly!

  • eyes are a flame of fire.
  • on His head are many crowns (Reminds me of an old hymn: “Crown Him with Many Crowns”).
  • a name written on Himself which only He knows.
  • clothed in a robe dipped in blood.
  • He is called the Word of God.
  • His army is coming with Him and they are all on white horses.

6. He throws the beast and the false prophet into the lake of fire and brimstone.

What else can be said? My “hero mind” and my “fantasy-laden outlook” draws out such a magnificent picture from this chapter. No battle is lost, no fight is so overwhelming that I need to give into despair. The conquering King is coming!! He will win!

“Father, YOU. WIN!! That means I. WIN!! Nothing is so overwhelming or so heavy that I have to give in to despair. Remind me of that as I go through my day today.”

 

May 25

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

Has something ever had its grip on you and to get rid of it was like ripping teeth out? Alcohol. Drugs. Porn. Tobacco. Food. Job. Busyness.  The list seems endless doesn’t it? These things, these addictions, these nuisances have such a grip on one’s life that it is hard to give them up. We call them addictions because they seem to grab us by the throat and won’t let go.

Revelation 18 pictures that for me. The whole “here is what it means” aside, a unique picture is given.  First, I think it is only correct to say this is a continuation, a sequel and fulfillment of the story started in chapter 17 when it speaks about the doom of Babylon. I even mentioned that event in yesterday’s devotion. Babylon will fall…guaranteed. What Babylon is does not apply here. IT. WILL. FALL.

Chapter 18 is its fall. Verse 2 tells us the inevitability of that. The Lamb will overcome. The description of Babylon and its fall is vivid. All who commit sin with her will fall. He does call out His people so they will not be part of the judgment (verse 4).

Verse 8 says judgment is coming. Without question. The rest of the chapter describes that judgment which ends in complete obliteration.

A stronghold is defeated. We all have them. Jesus calls us to Himself and tells us “My grace is sufficient for You. My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” Living for the enemy is a losing cause. All will be burned up. Strongholds will be defeated. Babylon will fall.

“Father, may I relinquish to You all the strongholds of my life. Please give me victory of my “Babylon” as I watch those enemies fall.”

May 24

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

Once again I come acknowledging my ineptness and ask your forgiveness for my lack of “Revelation knowledge.”

This chapter (chapter 17) brings several ugly pictures, the main one being a great prostitute who sits on many waters (we are later told in verse 15 the waters represents people and multitudes, and nations and languages). Verse 2 says the kings of earth committed acts of immorality with this prostitute and actually became drunk with the wine of her immorality (could that be a reference to becoming drunk with power?). It is quite a description of her given in verses 3-4 with an inscription on her forehead in verse 5: “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Even after describing her and then saying what it means (verses 9-13) doesn’t help me any.

Down through the years several ideas have been floated who this pictures. Some say the Roman Empire. Some have said the Roman Catholic Church. That is only two of them; there are more. I have no opinion.

My focus for this morning is on verse 14: “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them because He is the Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” It sounds to me that in the verses which follow that the losers will turn against the losers, especially the ruler. The key verse is the Lamb will be victorious. He is call the Lord of lords and King of kings.

That Lamb is, of course, Jesus. The great prostitute, whoever that is, has lost, will continue to lose, and will ultimately lose. The Lamb is and will be victorious. He conquered death, hell and the grave and thereby sealed the fate of my enemy. That won’t change.

“Father, all hail to the Lamb, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Conqueror!”

May 23

Monday, May 23rd, 2022

I’m back…with more confusion! 🙂  Revelation 16 has me bewildered. But rather than focus on the bowls of wrath and their meaning, let me take another road.

Several times throughout this chapter we are told the people blasphemed God.

  • In verse 9 it says they blasphemed God because He had power over the plagues but evidently didn’t exercise it.
  • In verse 11 they blasphemed because of their pain and sores.
  • In verse 21 they blasphemed God because of the plague of hail.

Let me just say that this chapter sounds a little like the plagues God put upon Egypt in Exodus. (Short side note there).

It has always been interesting to me how God gets the blame when tough times come. It is never because of our own stupidity, of course. It’s always God’s fault. Both followers of Christ and those who aren’t followers are too quick to blame Him for all the bad stuff that hits them. It’s as though we think that we “deserve” not to have this trouble. You know…we “deserve” better treatment. Ironically, in this chapter it is those who despise Him and His people who are doing the blaspheming. In verse 1 I think it is summed up well: “they blasphemed God because of …” It’s all His fault.

One last thought before I go: Verse 15 seems out of place but it is a true statement of hope: “Behold, I am coming like a thief.”

God is in control. There will come a day of reckoning. When that day will be no one knows.

“Father, help me to be ready. Keep my eyes focused on You not on events. And certainly help me not to blame and blaspheme Your Name.”

May 18

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

This is getting hard. Revelation 14 this morning. I counted six angels pronouncing judgment. No clue what the significance of that is. But to “de-prophecy” this, here is what I gleaned:

1. We will stand with the Lamb and sing a new song. (1-5). I have no clue what the 144,000 means. I know what the JWs say and I totally disagree with that. Simple math says  12 tribes x 12,000 = 144,000. Significance? I don’t know. It gets me no closer to the meaning. So I’ll focus on the new song we will sing.

2. The words or pronouncements of the angels were of the destruction of the enemy. Verse 6 is of the angel pronouncing judgment. Verse 7 is an angel saying Babylon will fall. Verses 9-11 tell them getting the mark of the beast was a terrible thing to do.

3. Saints need to persevere (12-13). There is blessing in dying in the Lord.

4. Three more angels come bringing the judgment (15-20)  I confess to replaying the scene from Tombstone where Kurt Russell, playing Wyatt Earp, yells, “I’m coming to get you and hell’s coming withe me!”  This angel is no longer just talk. Judgment is coming.

WOW!! It is at this point I’m saying, “What in the world?” I’ll look more closely what the prophecy gurus say, but let’s just say this:  it often looks like those of us who follow Jesus (the Lamb) are the losers. We are persecuted. Mistreated. Maligned. Criticized. And so on. But some day we will sing a new song. What the words are to that song no one knows. Does it really matter as long as we are singing it? I think not.

And I’m willing to wager that it will be sung on key.

“Father, the song of the Lamb will be one of triumph. That will be my song for and through the ages.”

May 17

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

Revelation 13 today…spells trouble. For me at least. 🙂 I’m sure there are prophecy buffs who will make much of this chapter. And I suspect they would have an adequate explanation. But since my idea is to “de-prophecy” this, I’m going to focus on two other things.

The first is the beast which comes out of the sea. In verse 2 it says, “and on his head were written blasphemous names.” What could those names be? My take is that blasphemy is anything that denigrates the holy God or depicts Him as who He isn’t. In verse 5 it says he was given authority to speak arrogant words and blasphemies against God-to blaspheme His name and those who dwell in heaven. He waged war and the only ones he couldn’t defeat were those whose name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the world.  (v.8)

The other beast reminds me of what we have today-false teachers who perform parlor tricks to deceive. Todd White. Paula White. Shawn Boles. Bill Johnson. Kenneth Copeland. Joyce Meyer. Benny Hinn. You get the picture. False teachers who deceive with false promises and false “healings.” (i.e. parlor tricks). This beast had a number: 666. The most imperfect number of all.

My take on all of this: Be aware. False teachers abound. They say things that tickle our ears. People misrepresenting God and His Word (blasphemy). Its all there and it is calling each of us to follow. Don’t! Stand on the truth.

“Father, the siren song of false teachers beckons. Help me to resist through the power of Your Word and the presence of Your Spirit within.  Help me to proclaim Your truth.”

May 16

Monday, May 16th, 2022

I’m looking this morning at Revelation 12. I don’t know what to make of it in the “Revelation scheme” frankly, but I do see something else. That in a moment.

To begin with there are 4 principle characters:

  1. The woman (1-2). I always thought this was Mary, but think this may be Israel, the “genetic” home of Jesus’ physical body.
  2. The red dragon (3-4). We are told this is Satan in verse 9. The dragon is pictured as waiting to devour the child from verses 1-2.
  3. The Male child (5-6). Without a doubt this is Christ.
  4. The angel, Michael (7). Michael and his angels wage war against the dragon and his angels.

This scenario confuses me a bit. It seems to picture Satan and his angels being cast out of heaven, which is depicted in Isaiah 14: 12-15. But at the same time, I’m confused as to when this is taking place. The beginning of time? Are the prophecy gurus correct that this is during the Tribulation following the Rapture? I don’t know.

He is my “something else” I mentioned above: The victory is ultimately God’s. Not only is the dragon cast down, but verses 10-11 leave little doubt who will win. I encourage you to read that on your own and then adopt it as a battle cry. I particularly like the words in verse 11: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”

GOD. WILL. PREVAIL. God’s people will also. There will be persecution and hard times but stand strong.

“Father, You win! He could not defeat the Son so he heads off, and even now, is waging war against Your people. Help me to remember I can overcome by the blood of the Lamb.”

May 12

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

I begin this devotion with a picture, an emoji of sorts that I can’t insert here. Ready for it?  If you have seen Home Alone do you remember the scene where Kevin shaves for the first time and then he uses his dad’s After Shave? In one of the most iconic pictures/scenes-ever-the After Shave burns his face, he lifts his hands to each side of his face and screams. That would be me right now.

I have waded into deep water and feel like crying out, “Aaaaah!” *picture of screen just described*

Revelation 11 actually has two scenes in it. One is of 2 witnesses who prophecy for a certain period of time…1260 days to be exact. I don’t know what that means. I know what some say but that is not my purpose here. At the end of those days a beast comes out of the abyss and kills them. They are mocked, rejoiced over because they are dead, and refused burial. After 3 1/2 years, they are raised to life and brought into heaven.

Enter Trumpet #7. We last heard Trumpet #6 in chapter 9.  This angel and his trumpet celebrates God. It celebrates that God reigns. The praise from the lips of the 24 elders (perhaps the ones mentioned in 4:11?) is powerful and pointed.

  • It declares who God is (verse 17): “the Almighty, the One who is and who was.”
  • It declares the judgment of God (verse 18), both good and bad.

My takeaway (besides I’m in over my head 🙂 ): There appears to be a time coming when my faith will be tested. Whether or not this is the case-depending, I guess, on your interpretation of Revelation-God ultimately has the last word. Judgment will take place-both reward and consequences.

“Father, I’m not sure what all this means but it tells me I need to be faithful because You are.”

May 10

Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Okay…so this is strange. Maybe I should say, “This is getting stranger.” So I read Revelation 9 & 10 this morning. Chapter 8 (yesterday’s post) included the first 4 trumpets. Chapter 9 included trumpets #5 and 6. I read chapter 10 thinking Trumpet #7 would be there. Nope.

Chapter 8 seems to continue the ecological disaster from the previous chapter and the first 4 trumpets.  The big difference was who was doing the destroying. It starts in an abyss and out of the abyss comes a swarm of locusts. Not just locusts-which are bad enough-but a swarm of the ugliest, meanest, weirdest-looking locusts anyone could have ever seen. Their description is in verses 7-10.  But the big reveal is their leader: Abaddon (Hebrew) or Apollyon (Greek) . Translated: Satan. I guess the clue should have been where they came from: the abyss.  (Sounds like a scene from Lord of the Rings)

With the 6th trumpet comes more devastation. An angel (trumpet) releases an army that rains down devastation on the earth. But a change occurs in the narrative. Devastation and destruction rain down on the earth but this time people are included, not just the environment. Sinful people. Those who refused to repent (verses 20-21).

I’ll save chapter 10 for tomorrow.

What does all this mean? Got me. Hmmm. Perhaps the answer is two-fold. One, devastation is coming for sure. Two, maybe a clue is found in 10:4- “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken, and do not write them.” Perhaps we are not to know?

“Father, Your Word is sometimes too complex for me. But I trust it because I trust You and You are its author. I do not and can not know it all. Give me faith to trust You and Your Word.”

May 5

Thursday, May 5th, 2022

My Bible has a heading at the beginning of chapter 7: An Interlude. It stands between Seal #6 and Seal #7. The purpose? Clueless.

But I did glean a couple of thoughts from my reading.  I hope you find them helpful.

First, I’m no math genius. Never have been. Several numbers are listed in this chapter. He speaks of 144,000 (v.4) and then a great multitude (v.9).   I don’t know if these are literal numbers or what. I do know the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) took this literally  saying the 144,000 were the number who were going to be saved (JWs of course). But when their numbers soared beyond that (sadly I might add), the 144,000 became the “elite” ones while the great multitude became the rest (JWs of course). IMHO that is crock. First, they won’t be there…no cult will. Second, it was a “fishy” way of rationalizing and Scripture twisting to accommodate squirrely teaching. Personally, I have no clue what the numbers mean. Some say the 144,000 and 12,000 have something to do with the Jews and God’s election. I’m not ready to agree to that since election and predestination as it is currently believed by Calvinists leaves me somewhat cold. I’d have to study more.

What intrigues me more about this chapter is what the great multitude will be doing. They will be clothed in white robes (a symbol of purity) and weaving palm branches with words of praise on their lips.  (Verse 10 and verse 12). I particularly like the latter. Sounds to me like it is all inclusive in who God is and what He should receive.

One final thought: Verse 17. All that came to my mind were the words from Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd.” Shepherds don’t beat sheep; they feed sheep.”

“Father, so much is here. Help me to remember I will be part of that great multitude praising You. Thank You for being a Good Shepherd and leading me to the water.”

Jo and I will be heading to Ohio for a couple of days. We will be back in town, Lord willing, on Saturday afternoon. I will approve any comments and respond as I have time. Thanks for understanding and thanks for your prayers.