Today’s reading is Revelation 16.
Of course, there are some differences, but don’t these bowls of wrath sound familiar? Painful sores, darkness, water turned to blood, hail. Obviously, the Holy Spirit is again calling to mind the plagues of God on Egypt. Further, He is calling to mind Pharaoh’s own hardness of heart that refused to repent and give glory to God. However, notice right in the middle of this the interjection, “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” Does that sound familiar to you? It should. It is a mixture of what Jesus said to the church at Sardis in Revelation 3:2-3 and to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:18. Smack in the middle of all this judgment coming on the Bride’s enemies, there is a reminder that these messages are for us, the Bride, the church, as well. This is not simply an issue of insiders and outsiders. This is not just an issue of having gone through some entrance requirements, having our name on the role, paying our weekly dues, and now it doesn’t matter how we live. We who make up the Bride are to stand against the enemy as much as God is to judge the enemy. How often do Christians end up turning their back on the Lord because of hardship instead of repenting and giving glory to God. Remember, no matter what, God is the Savior. He is the Lord. He is the deliverer. Even when it looks like He is going to lose, even when we can’t understand why He is behaving as He is, He deserves glory. Whether you are in the church or without, let God’s disciplines accomplish their goal. Do not curse God and die, rather surrender to God and give Him the glory. I promise you, in the end, you’ll be glad you did.
Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 17.
Continue reading “Repent and Give God the Glory”
Today’s reading is Revelation 15.
When the Babylonians took Solomon’s temple apart, the glory of God was gone. When Zerubbabel and Joshua rebuilt the temple, however, there was no visible manifestation of the Lord’s glory. When Herod refurbished the temple, there was no manifestation of the Lord’s glory in the temple. However, under Jesus Christ, the sanctuary not made with hands in the heavens is full of the glory of the Lord. Here is the picture of victory. In fact, it is the same picture that demonstrated victory in Exodus. We often think the crossing of the Red Sea is the climax of Exodus. Not so. The climax is when the glory of the Lord enters the tabernacle. God had sent the plagues on the enemies, He had delivered Israel through the Red Sea, He had brought them to Mt. Sinai. But the climax is when God shows His abiding presence by entering the tabernacle. That is exactly what is going on here. God has sent plagues of judgment and will continue to do so in the next chapter. But the real glory is that He is in the midst of His people. He takes residence in the sanctuary, which is His church. The promises of restoration are fulfilled not in a temple rebuilt on earth, but in the heavenly temple of God’s house. Praise the Lord! He dwells with His people.
Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 16.
Continue reading “The Glory of God”
Today’s reading is John 7.
Why does the issue of authority matter? Is it because we have to prove we are better at keeping rules? Is it because if we don’t cross all the Ts and dot all the Is we’ll go to hell? Is it because we have to earn our way into heaven by following the pattern? No. None of these things is the reason. The reason authority matters is because God’s glory matters. When I act on my own authority, I’m seeking my own glory. When I’m seeking God’s glory, I act on His authority. It’s just that simple. Whose glory are you seeking? How can you tell?
Tomorrow’s reading is John 8.
Continue reading “God’s Glory Matters; God’s Authority Matters”
Today’s reading is Matthew 23.
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and his disciples, ‘The Pharisees do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their social media reach wide and the posts of their actions long. They love the likes and retweets they receive. They love to have the place of honor on the internet, competing for friends and likes. They love to have the greetings of those who agree with what they say and jump to their defense when someone disagrees. But you are not to be called Teacher or Father, for you are all siblings. And you have one Teacher who is Jesus. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.'”
So says the guy writing a blog post. Yes, I get it. And I’m talking to me as much as to anyone else. This platform can accomplish great good. At the same time, it can lead us down a subtly dark and sinful path. As we navigate it, let’s be fearlessly and thoroughly honest about what we are doing here. And let’s make sure it is always and only God whom we are glorifying.
Tomorrow’s reading is Matthew 24.
Continue reading “A Modern Pharisee”
Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 6.
God did not give us bodies so we could be involved in sexual immorality. Expanding that point, we recognize God didn’t give us our bodies so we could do whatever we pleased with them. Rather, He gave us bodies so we could serve Him with them. The body is for the Lord. But also note that the Lord is for the body. In other words, any restrictions or requirements God gives us are actually for our benefit. After all, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Whatever God tells us to do with those bodies will be for our good because that is also for God’s good. Further, what God tells us is for His good will be for ours as well. He is glorified in our bodies not by putting us down or diminishing our bodies, but by lifting us up in our bodies. Therefore, let’s be excited to glorify God in our bodies. That will be best not only for God, but for us as well.
Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Corinthians 7.
Continue reading “The Body is for the Lord”
Today’s reading is Ephesians 2.
Sadly, some are so busy arguing theology that they miss the real point of “dead” in Ephesians 2:1. Paul isn’t trying to give us a doctoral thesis on the nature of sin. He is providing a parallel. Because of the sins and trespasses of others, Jesus was dead. However, God raised Him up and seated Him in the heavenlies above every rule and authority. Because of our own sins and trespasses, we too were dead. However, in Christ, God has raised us up by His grace and power and seated us alongside Jesus Christ in the heavenlies above every rule and authority. WOW!!! Praise the Lord! This is the power of God toward us who believe. Have you followed in Jesus’s footsteps? Where are you sitting? In your chair? Or in the heavenlies?
Tomorrow’s reading is Ephesians 3.
Continue reading “Where are You Sitting?”
Today’s reading is Luke 9.
I get why some people don’t see God’s gospel as good news. The path to victory in God’s gospel is very different from the Roman gospel. In a Roman gospel (the way the word “gospel” was used in Roman culture at the time of Jesus), the Emperor has been born and come to power. He feasts on sumptuous meals and lives in marvelous palaces. He brings divine victory to Rome. The glorious, divine Emperor lives and so Romans can as well. But the path to victory in God’s gospel is the cross. It was the cross for Jesus, our King. But it is also a cross for us. When we follow Jesus, it is not at a distance. It is with him, carrying our cross. That is not just our every day burdens. That is an implement of our death. It is losing our lives, just as He did. No, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will be crucified as criminals. It does mean, however, that we give up on our lives in order to have His. It is a victory like no other, but its path is the path of the cross. It is free, and yet we must count the cost. Jesus bore His cross for us; let us bear our cross for Him. I do understand why that may not sound like good news to you, but remember following Jesus’s cross was resurrection and coronation. If we follow Jesus in the cross, we will follow Him to the crown as well. Carry the cross; receive the crown. Praise the Lord!
Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 10.
Continue reading “The Gospel of the Cross”