Worship

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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 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 19

Thursday, May 19th, 2022

Do I call Revelation 15 the song of the saints or the calm before the storm? For this devotion, let’s go with both for that is what it is. Chapter 16 unleashes the bowls of wrath and Armageddon (I looked at the headings preceding the paragraphs. I have yet to read it).  🙂 But rather than try to put my stamp of interpretation of chapter 15, let’s just meditate on the song in verses 3-4. I wish I was a musician who could sit down and put this into song. What a powerful praise song it would be. But since I’m not…

Just a couple thoughts/highlights of chapter 15:

1. God’s works are great and marvelous.

2. His ways are righteous and true.

3. We will fear (adore, honor, worship) the Lord and glorify His Name.

4. God’s righteousness will bring worship from all people.

The consummation of this worship was the majesty and glory and power which filled the temple (not earthly but heavenly). The angels were being prepared for what was to come.

“Father, may my praise fill the temple. May my praise be that which flows from my heart of adoration to You, the One worthy of it.”

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 9

Monday, May 9th, 2022

Mother’s Day is over. Well, at least the “official” MD. Can I write about that? ‘Cuz that’s much easier to write about than Revelation 8!! 🙂 No? Ok…well here goes.

I didn’t understand Revelation 8 and its significance with the trumpets. So I “checked” and glanced at a couple of commentaries. Guess what? I still don’t understand, but here is what I gleaned from reading Rev. 8.

But first my soapbox. We hear a lot these days about the New Green Deal. In my mind it is simply repackaged Environmentalism. Extreme environmentalism. We used to call them “tree huggers.” I remember the old MacGyver (probably my all time favorite show) would delve a little bit into that subject. But not hyper. Maybe it was heading that way. I don’t know.

I’m all for taking care of the environment and I try to do my part. But no way is it the “end all.” No way is a tree or a plant or a species of animal more important than a person. It seems the height of inconsistency to see the emphasis placed on protecting an eagle’s egg or a plant or whatever, but not see the value of protecting a baby in the womb.

Rant over…now to this chapter.

The whole chapter seems to deal with the destruction of the planet. A third of the earth burned up, a third of the trees, and all the green grass in the first trumpet (v.7). A great mountain was hurled into the sea and the water turned to blood with the second trumpet (v. 8)

There is more than what I wrote. Each trumpet sounded by each angel carried with it the destruction of part of the planet. You can read the rest of them on your own.  (We still have 3 more trumpets to go after this chapter).

I guess my question is why do we worship the planet, and in some cases give it god-like status, when it will ultimately be burned up and dissolved? I simply cannot do that.

There is ONE who is to be worshiped, only ONE worthy of it. I will stake my claim with Him and not creation.

“Father, help me to care about the environment but not to worship it. It will all be destroyed in the end.”

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.

May 3

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

Today’s devotion is inspired by a song and a Scripture.

First, the song:

Please listen in its entirety and allow yourself to bask in the worship.

Next, the Scripture: Revelation 5

After yesterday’s devotion on Revelation 4 and the idea of worship, I am being drawn to revisit that same topic. How can one possibly read Revelation 5 and not feel the resonance of worship vibrating through you? How can one not sense the palpable feeling of worship that flows out of this passage and not have it grip you?

Personally? I don’t think you can.

The Lion still roars, so says Verse 5.

The slaughtered Lamb is worthy to open the scroll and watch as those who inhabit heaven break out in song. That same slaughtered Lamb hears the cries of the creatures and elders-thousands upon thousands-break out in praise for the Lamb who was slain.

“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory and the dominion forever and ever.” (Verse 13)

AMEN!!

That’s all I have to say. It is time for me to join in the praise.

May 2

Monday, May 2nd, 2022

Today begins a task I’m not sure I’ll finish. I’m not sure I’m up to it frankly. The past two weeks of posts have been about Revelation 1-3. Today begins chapter 4. Chapter 4 I understand, grasp and stand in awe. The rest of Revelation I think I will just be in awe. No understanding. No grasping (except at straws). So I’m not sure how far into Revelation I will go.

Revelation 4 can be summarized in one word: worship. Two places words of worship are used: verse 8 and verse 11.

It starts with John being told to “come up here” and he would be shown some marvelous things.  What is he captured by? The One on the throne who is then surrounded by 24 thrones with each throne occupied. Light shoots out from the one throne and 4 animals appear: a lion, a calf, a creature with a face like a man, and a flying eagle.

Their purpose? Worship.

Then the 24 elders who were on the 24 thrones were also moved.

Their purpose? Worship.

Makes one wonder what my purpose is. No, I don’t wonder. Led by 4 creatures and 24 elders, I have my purpose: worship. My life in heaven will be dominated by worship. That should say what my life on earth should be dominated by. This should be practice time, preparing me for a lifetime of praise and adoration.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God…Worthy are You…to receive glory and honor and praise.”

AMEN!!

April 18

Monday, April 18th, 2022

I know this is out of character but I’d like to ask you to check out my other blog, Cycleguy’s Spin, for a song that I believe will have you tapping your toes and wanting to listen to it over and over.

Okay…now for my regularly scheduled devotion.  🙂

Uncharted territory. That is how I see where I am right now in my Encounter Time. It’s not that I haven’t read it before. It’s not that I haven’t preached on it before…well, at least certain parts of it. In actuality, if the truth be known, I have avoided it in some ways.

What is that?

The book of Revelation.

Like I said, I have read it. Countless times. But I’ve not spent time in it. Slowing down. Savoring its words. Catching its grandeur.  Not that I will this time, but I won’t do what I did the last time…skip it and go right back to reading Matthew.

To stop me from doing that I’m going to write some devotions on it. I won’t be right to some viewpoints. In others I’ll admit my confusion and even dismay. But I have avoided it long enough. I’m going to take the 7 churches and write a devotion on each. I will write on what strikes me.

Let’s get started. Revelation 1: 7-8

This whole chapter is John’s introduction and description of Who is actually the author of this book. It’s his vision, but He has a Teacher.. That would be the One mentioned in the two verses above.

  • He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him even those who pierced Him. Sort of reminds me of Paul’s words in Phil. 2: “Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
  • He is the Alpha and Omega who is and who was and who is to come -> the Almighty.

The Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. For an added description, please read verses 17-18.

“Father, You are the King! You are the Almighty! Who can stop You?”

And in case you haven’t so far, let me remind you to check out the song mentioned at the beginning of this devotion. I guarantee it will become a favorite and have your toes tapping. 🙂

 

April 11

Monday, April 11th, 2022

A slight detour for this morning from my previous thoughts.

Yesterday, Sunday, was what is commonly called Palm Sunday.  It is considered the start of what is called “Holy Week,” i.e. the final week of Jesus’ life here on earth. As we know, it begins with Palm Sunday and ends with the crucifixion (called Good Friday) and culminates with the Resurrection on the first day of the week.

It is historically called Palm Sunday because it is the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people waved palm branches, laid them on the ground, and yelled, “Hallelujah! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  (Mt.21; Mk.11; Lk.19; Jn.12)

Luke’s is the longest account. Each gives his perspective. But there are some similarities. The one which stands out to me is Jesus riding in on a donkey. He is being hailed as a king yet rides in on a donkey.

No conquering king or general rode in on a donkey. Nothing less than a white charger would do! it was below a person of status to ride anything less. But here is Jesus-the King of kings and Lord of lords-riding into town on a donkey. A borrowed one at that.

What a picture of humility!! The accolades flow. The praise reaches a crescendo. The religious leaders get mad. But here is Jesus  riding, not a white charger, but a borrowed donkey.

Again…what humility! One act speaks volumes…for eternity.

“Father, may I exhibit humility like Jesus. When people praise me, may I accept it and act with humility and now allow it to go my head.”