Daily Nuggets

Dec. 31, 2018

Revelation 22 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

 

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.

“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

Today’s text says: These words are faithful and true …   Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.   As I have said throughout our reflection on Revelation, my intention is not to delve deeply into the prophetic meaning or interpretation of John’s vision, but rather to apply what is being said and revealed in and to our own lives, our own time; in and to our situations and circumstances. When we looked at the letters to the churches, the intention was not to understand those churches, but rather since the events prophesied in Revelation had not yet come to pass, it was to hear what the Spirit is saying, not what He was saying to the church. My hope is that we would be and become people who are the fulfillment of what that statement says; that we would be blessed as we have heeded the words of the prophecy of the book of Revelation. You see, hearing, heeding and applying what the Spirit is saying is more important than interpreting what was said. It is those who heed the words, not those who interpret the words who are blessed.    

The text says:  “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”    Along with heeding the word, we are blessed if we are among those who washed their robes. Previously, in Revelation 7:14, we are told how we are to wash our robes:   “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.   We are blessed by the cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb; blessed by and in Christ.  What is the blessing?     That they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.    In Revelation 3:22-24, after the fall, God said:   “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.   Through the blood of Christ, we are blessed with the very thing that Adam and Eve were denied because of sin and disobedience.  We have the right to the tree of life; to eternal life through Christ. We may enter the place which Adam and Eve were sent from. We are blessed with all that God intended from the beginning. Look in Genesis 2:16-17 at God’s commandment concerning the trees in the garden:  The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”    God did not forbid them from the tree of life in the beginning. It was only because of sin; so that they would not live forever in a fallen, sinful state that they were not allowed to eat of the tree of life. Jesus blood, His sacrifice for us, restores to us all that God intended from the beginning. We are blessed with eternal life through Christ; the right to the tree of life. John 3:16 says “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”    What else though is restored to us through the blood of Christ?  In Genesis 1:26-28 it says:  God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”    We are also blessed with and restored to God’s intention that we would be created in God’s image and likeness and that we would have the authority to rule over creation on earth. That too is our blessing in Christ.

While we who believe in Christ are permitted into the presence of God and Christ, the text says:  Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.   Many people contend that a loving God would not exclude people from having access to His blessings. These words and warnings though are consistent with the words which Jesus spoke, even as He lived here among us as a man of grace and compassion. 2 Peter 3:9 says:  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.   It is not God’s desire or intention, it is not His will that anyone would be excluded, to be left outside or perish. God desires that all would repent and believe. He desires that all would be blessed with the right to the tree of life and all that He intended from the beginning. Each person chooses for themselves, whether they will believe for the blessing or remain outside.

The Lord is not slow about His promise to return, His patience is His extended grace. The text says:  “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

I too say: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

I indeed hope you have been blessed, not only with the meditation from Revelation, but throughout the year as we have journeyed together through God Word. I invite you to journey with me again in 2019 or until the Lord returns either for us all or for any of us individually.  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec. 30, 2018

Revelation 21 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.17 And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements18 The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.19 The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

I thought it appropriate as we come to the end of this year and look forward to the year to come, that we reflect and meditate on the words from today’s text. It occurred to me that the things we read in today’s text are not only things that are to come at a time in the future, but they are also things which we should apprehend now, and in the coming year in our lives.

Look at the description of what is to come upon Christ’s return, when we see the new heaven and earth:   “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,  and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”  In Matthew 4:17, Jesus says:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”   To repent is to change. It is not only to turn from sin though, it is also to change the way we think. Jesus was called Emmanuel, God with us. In John 14:23 Jesus says:  “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”  God and Christ already dwell with us and in us, we need only to apprehend all that His abiding provides for us and through us. In the new heaven and earth it says:  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.   In Matthew 5:4 Jesus says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”   The comfort of God for those who mourn and cry is a promise from God, not only for the future, but now. In John 16:33 Jesus says: “I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  Isaiah 53:4-5 says:  Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken,Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.   Jesus established the New Covenant on the night He was betrayed and He instituted it on the cross, not in some future time. In John 19:30 Jesus said:  “It is finished!”  Everything that Jesus came to do, all the promises of the New Covenant and all the realities of the kingdom of heaven are already ours. They are completed for us in the overcoming finished work of the cross. We need to apprehend them in and for our lives now.

The text says:   I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;  and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.    It says:  I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says:  Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?      6:19 says:  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.  The text says: nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it. 2 Corinthians 6:16 says:  What agreement can exist between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people."   The text says:  The city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;  and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.    In John 8:12 Jesus says:  "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."  1 John 1:5 says:  God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says:  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”    We are to be the people in whom the presence of God dwells now. We are to be a people who live the overcoming life of the New Covenant now. We are to be a people who shine the light of God and Christ, a people in whom there is no darkness now.

Jesus taught us to pray saying:  Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.   Even today, as we come to the end of this year and look forward to the new year which is coming, even as we look forward to the return of Christ and the new heaven and new earth, may we be the people who apprehend all of the finished work of the cross in our lives and for the world.

‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. (finished)  ‘And forgive us our debts, (finished) as we also have forgiven our debtors.(with your help)  ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (finished) For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory (now and) forever. Amen.’    Amen.

 

 

Dec. 29, 2018

Psalm 148 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

The Whole Creation Invoked to Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.                  Praise the Lord!

 

The title of today’s psalm is:  The Whole Creation Invoked to Praise the Lord.  The psalmist says:  Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!   Every time, in scripture, that we are given a glimpse into the heavenly realm, we do see that praise is ongoing there. Isaiah 6:1-3 says:  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” Revelation 4:8-11 says:  And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almightywho was and who is and who is to come.”  And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,  “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”  So it would seem that there is no need to invoke praise in the heavenly realm.

The psalmist says:  Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away.
   Scientists have actually been able to record sounds from heaven and sounds from things like rocks and mountains. In Luke 19, Jesus was told to stop the people from praising him. In verse 40 He says:  “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”   If you have ever listened to the sound of the ocean, the roar of a waterfall, or the gentle soothing sound of a quiet stream, you’ve heard the praise of God from creation. The psalmist says:  Praise the Lord from the earth, Sea monsters and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; Mountains and all hills; Fruit trees and all cedars; Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and winged fowl.  If you’ve ever listened to the sound of songbirds in the morning or the sounds all the animals make communicating to each other, you’ve heard the praise of the creatures for the creator.  All of creation responds to God not only with praise, but also in obedience, doing what God created it to do. So it would seem that there is no need to invoke praise on earth or from creation.

Finally the psalmist says:  Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth; Both young men and virgins; Old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven.  And He has lifted up a horn for His people, Praise for all His godly ones; Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him. Praise the Lord!   It is people, God’s highest and greatest creation, we who were given a free will, who must be invoked to praise the Lord. In giving us a free will, we have a choice of whether or not we will praise God. Of all of creation, we alone can choose obedience or disobedience. The tree that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God’s intention, His desire was that we would only know good, but through disobedience, we also now know evil, and so we must choose between the two. In John 3:16-21 Jesus says:  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”  Jesus came so that we who had been disobedient, we who had previously chosen evil, could be redeemed, that we could come to the light and practice truth.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise the Lord from the earth…Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven. Praise the Lord!   Amen.  I no longer need to be invoked to praise You. I will thank You and praise You forever with all of creation and all of heaven.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec. 28, 2018

Revelation 19 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

 

After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.” And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying,

“Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in mid heaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”

19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

 

I often say and will say again, I am not a Biblical scholar. In reading today’s text though, I think I can safely say, even without being a scholar; that it will not go well for the enemies of Christ at the end of the age. The text says:  I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army… And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.  And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. 

For those who would discount or disregard today’s text as merely symbolism or simply a vision or dream of John and not the actual words of God and Christ, In Matthew 13:40-43 Jesus Himself says:  Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”  Again in Matthew 22:2-13 He says:   “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.  “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” 

It seems unfair, almost unthinkable that one who gained access to the feast would be removed because he was not properly dressed. How could a loving and compassionate God exclude or remove anyone? That too is addressed in today’s text. It says:  The marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  The most important act of righteousness, in fact the only one that is necessary in order to be admitted to the feast is to believe in Christ; to accept Him as Lord and Savior and to put on His righteousness. We cannot attend based on our own works, but only in His righteousness, through the work of the cross. In John 14:6 Jesus says"I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  

Although it is obvious that it will not go well for the enemies of Christ, no one needs to fear. The text says:  Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God;  because His judgments are true and righteous… Behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.   God is faithful and true. His judgments are true and righteous. The simple answer to avoiding the wrath of God’s judgment against sin is to be for Him and not against Him, the answer is to believe in Christ and put on His righteousness. Romans 8:31 says:  If God is for us, who is against us?  If we are against God, it will not go well for us. He judges and wages war in righteousness.  

Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” and precious Holy Spirit; You are faithful and true and Your judgments are true and righteous. What I could not do on my own, be righteous enough to deserve to be with You, You did for me. Jesus You are the way the truth and the life. I believe and I receive Your righteousness; and so I will not fear, but rather I will say:  Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous; Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.  Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.   Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec. 27, 2018

Psalm 146 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

The Lord an Abundant Helper.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord while I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Do not trust in princes,
In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
His spirit departs, he returns to the earth;
In that very day his thoughts perish.
How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them;
Who keeps faith forever;
Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
10 The Lord will reign forever,
Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!

 

The psalmist says:  Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.  His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish.   How often do we put our trust, our hope and our faith in mortal man; in people? We trust in people and in human institutions; in our government, in our justice system and in our health care system. We trust in our educational system, we trust in counselors and on and on. All these people and all these human institutions are necessary, but as the psalmist says, there is no salvation from them.  Often our trust and confidence in them leads to disappointment not deliverance. It leads to poverty rather than abundant provision.

The psalmist says:   How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever;
 Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free.   The same God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; created each one of us. In Jeremiah 1:5 God says:  Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”  In Jeremiah 29:11 He says: I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   Those are promises we can trust. He Who keeps faith forever;  Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry; is the one we should have confidence in. Again, people and human institutions are necessary, but we should trust in God and seek His plans for our lives.

The psalmist says:  The Lord sets the prisoners free.  The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises up those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous;  The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.   God is faithful to do all that the psalmist says and more. He is faithful to provide for our every need. Even more though than our physical provision; God has a plan for our spiritual lives and our eternal soul. John 3:16 says:  God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”   2 Peter 3:9 says:  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.   Of all the good plans that God has for us; His plan for our salvation and redemption is His greatest plan and our most necessary provision.

The psalmist says:  The Lord will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!   Human institutions are necessary; some are even good and noble, but they and those in them will come and go, they will rise and fall. The psalmist says:   their spirit departs and returns to the earth; In that very day their thoughts perish.   The Lord God has and will reign forever. He will remain when everything we know is gone. The psalmist says:  Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

I too will: Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.  Then, because of the plan God has for me, because of His great love and His provision of Jesus Christ, His Son as my Lord and Savior; my Redeemer, the one who reconciles me to the plans that God had and has for me, I will also praise Him forever.

May the declaration of the psalmist and the words of Amazing Grace be my declaration and my prayer.  Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 

  1. 1.   Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost, but now am found;
    Was blind, but now I see.
  2. 2.   ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
    And grace my fears relieved;
    How precious did that grace appear
    The hour I first believed.
  3. 3.   Through many dangers, toils and snares,
    I have already come;
    ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
    And grace will lead me home.
  4. 4.   The Lord has promised good to me,
    His Word my hope secures;
    He will my Shield and Portion be,
    As long as life endures…
  5. When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
    Bright shining as the sun,
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
    Than when we’d first begun.  
    Amen