Thursday, January 31, 2013

An Open Door

682.  "An Open Door"  January 31, 2013
Revelation 4-Part 6
And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. Revelation 4:2 KJV


Recall John's instructions to write things he had seen (chapter 1), things which are (chapters 2-3), and things to come (chapters 4-22). So far, the first two have been discussed. Now we will enter into the latter part of the three sections of Revelation. (What must take place after this-the church age)
Now, I want you to understand that I am not a scholar on this book, but I do have access to several commentaries which I will be using. Please don't expect to get all your questions answered by me. I have many my own self. I intend to only give an overview of each chapter. I leave the details to to scholoars.
However, I do agree with Falwell, who said, "All this is to be fulfilled in the future after the church is taken home to heaven."

Doors-they keep things out and keep things in whenever closed. Here we have an open door.
Door used here refers to the way to enter into the God's Eternal Kingdom, like a palace. (Thayer's Lexicon)

If I go to visit a friend or family, and they open their door to me, tell me to come on in, chances are, I will enter. So it was for John-he saw an open door before him, then Jesus said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." (NIV)

Here John was on the Isle of Patmos, worshiping God, probably alone, when Jesus approaches John. Has he gotten over the shock of  all that he invisioned and experienced? He heard what to write to seven churches. Yet there was more? I wonder how may steps John took before he was taken up.
Did you notice that Jesus was already in heaven, on the other side of the door? Anyway, the Word says, "At once I was in the Spirit." Not a second of hesitation. I think that is how it will be when I die-immediately I will be taken up to heaven and will enter the open door, then see Jesus.

Whooee! I'm ready! How about you dear friend? Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are your garments white as snow? (Spiritually speaking) Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins and come into your heart as your Savior? That is the only way we can enter into our eternal home.

This is the open door to the throne of God. How do we enter? By Jesus only.

In John 10:9, Jesus said,"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

God has called you up higher. Growth in grace is measured not by the fact that you have not gone back, but that you have heard God say, "Come up higher," not to you personally, but to the insight of your character. Never let God give you one point of truth which you do not instantly live up to. Always work it out, keep in the light of it. (My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers)

Help me, Lord Jesus, to live up to your higher expectations of me. 


John saw...
  • a throne set in heaven;
  • One sitting on that throne;
  • a rainbow around the throne, like emeralds;
  • 24 elders sitting on 24 seats;
  • lightnings;
  • 7 lamps of fire;
  • a sea of glass like crystal;
  • 4 beasts full of eyes.
Here are some things Charles Swindoll, in his book Swindoll's New Testament Insights on Revelation has this to say:

John's indescribable vision he saw while he was in the Spirit, was accurate yet words were inadequate to describe God's throne. John used the word homoios, which means like, similar to. John saw God's matchless worth represented by precious stones ahd His brightness and beauty shining like a rainbow. His power burst forth like thunder and lightning. Even in John's vivid description, however, the Father Himself remained hidden from sight, veiled (as Paul put it) in unaproachable light. (1 Tim. 6:16) On the one hand, the Bible clearly says that God is invisble and unseen (1 Tim. 1:17). Jesus is the only one who has seen God. (John 6:46) He who has seen Me has seen the Father, Jesus said in John 14:9.
The Father is the center and source of all creation. Everything points to and revolves around Him, He occupies the sovereign place of rule and has unshakable authority over all things (Ps. 115:3). His sovereign rule is fixed, permanent, and unshakable. Once we come to grips with John's vision of God, our response can be nothing less than utter awe, unwavering commitment, and deep reverence for the eternal King.
Amen! Amen! Do I praise God for Who He is and for what He has done? Do I worship Him as the jewel of my life?

Swindoll says that our churches are missing the jewel of worship. Worshiping God alone as supreme. He alone is the subject of our praise and the object of our worship. Keep our eyes and ears on the One who is worthy of all praise. Do I? Do you?


Do I shut off my cell phone during worship time so I shut the door on the world and enter the throne room?

Do I focus on people and objects in the service instead of God?

He alone is worthy of worship and praise.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Can You Hear Me?

681.  "Can You Hear Me?"  January 30, 2013
Revelation 3-Part 5
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  Revelation 3:22 KJV


"Can you hear me?" How many times have we heard people ask that question while talking on their cell phone? I have said it whenever my location is not one of clear reception. Just think, one day, the cell phone maybe distinct and something else takes its place. I wonder what my grandchildren will say about it then. Perhaps it is like the rotary dial phone that I grew up using, with a party line, of course. Are you with me?

In the first three chapters of Revelation, we read what Jesus had to say to seven churches. Keep in mind, these specific churches existed back in New Testament times. There is one thing I noticed that was a common thread for all seven-Jesus told them all that if they had an ear to hear what the Spirit had to say to the churches. So I wonder, do you and I have two ears that hear what Jesus is saying to our churches, to us as individuals?

After studying seven churches, their good points and what they were lacking, I wanted to review them before going onto chapter 4. You must realize, this is not my information, but my resources include: Swindoll's New Testament Insights on Revelation by Charles Swindoll, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur, Liberty Bible Commentary by Jerry Falwell. FYI: I have been using these as references in previous postings.

With that said, to you want to hear from the Spirit of God? We read of this opportunity that Jesus gave to seven churches and tirelessly give to us. Listen up and learn something-were you told that by teachers?

First, let's look at the commendations that Jesus gave to each church:
  1. Ephesus-good works, endurace, discernment, rejects evil, persevers, has patience; known as "the church with everything but the greatest thing"
  2. Smyrna-faithfulness in persecution, gracefully bears suffering; known as "the suffering church under attack"
  3. Pergamum-some faithfulness in persecution, keeps the faith of Christ; known as "the church that conpromised the truth"
  4. Thyatira-some love, faith, services, endurance, love, service, faith, patience is greater than at first; known as "the church where tolerance went to seed"
  5. Sardis-worthy remnant kept clean, some have kept the faith; known as "a dead church"
  6. Philadelphia-good works, endurance, faithfulness, perseveres in the faith; known as "the church with little strength and open door"
  7. Laodicea-none; known as "the church that nauseates God."
Some of these characteristics are good and some not so good. Even if we just have one ear, these messages are for us today. Am I listening? What is my church lacking? What am I lacking?


The seven churches were given not only commendations from Jesus, but condemnations, criticisms, as well. Here they are:
  1. Ephesians-departed from first love, love for Christ no longer fervant
  2. Smyrna-none
  3. Pergamum-tolerated idolatry, false teaching, immorality, heresies
  4. Thyatira-tolerates cult of idolatry and immorality, false teaching
  5. Sardis-hypocrisy, incomplete works, a dead church
  6. Philadelphia-none
  7. Laodicea-pride, materialism, laziness, indifferent
Am I loving Christ first? Is He the priority in my church? Do we seek His will, doing things His way, not our own?
Tis good to do a self-examination every once in a while, don't you think?


Confess and put away any hypocrisy, idols, immorality, materialism, pride, laziness, indifference that I may have.

Be faithful, endure whatever, love, serve.

Don't nauseate God, surrender to Him.

Open my spiritual ears so I can hear the Spirit.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


680.  "Discipline"         January 29, 2013
Revelation 3-Part 4
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
Revelation 3:19


Because I loved my children, I would discipline them whenever they did something wrong. I wanted them to learn what was acceptable and right.  So it is with God. He disciplines us, His beloved children, so we will turn to Him and repent of the wrong done, then not do it again. Other translations say similiar words in verse 19. Here's what I found.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. NIV

I correct and discipline everyone I love, so be deligent and turn from your indifference. NLT

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  ESV

Did you notice, for rebuke, they say correct, reprove. Thayer's Lexicon defines rebuke as by deed; to chasten; punish.
Did you notice, for chasten, they say discipline. Thayer's Lexicon says chasten means employed of God to chasten by the infliction of evils and calamities.
Webster's Dictionary defines both words as reprimand.

So why does God rebuke, discipline, chasten, reprimand us? The reason is He loves us. Grace was available back then and still is available to us now. All we need to do is repent. We agree with God that we did wrong, sinned, and ask His forgiveness. Are we to be slow in repenting? No, we are to be earnest and deligent.

I should repent before God needs to discipline, rebuke, or chasten me.


What else does Jesus tell the Laodiceans and us?
  • So we are not in poverty, nakedness, or blindness (verse 17-18), Jesus advises buying gold, which speaks of righteousness, white raiment, which denoted practical righteousness, and eye-salve, which points to spiritual discernment. The Laodiceans lacked all three spiritually.
  • Open the door of our heart to Him. It is an invitation to accept Christ as Savior. He stands at the door and knocks. Will you let Him come in? If so, He will sup with us and we will sup with Him. Sup means to dine; take the principal or evening meal. He will sit down and talk with us as He feeds us spiritual food. (verse 20)
  • Overcome. Believers will share the privilege and authority that Christ enjoys as they reign with Him. (verse 21)
  • Hear what the Spirit of God has to say as He pleads with the individual heart.(verse 22)
Christ is knocking at the door of your life. Won't you let Him in? He wants to bless you with eternal riches, provide your true spiritual needs, open your eyes to your real condition, and clothe you with His righteousness and works empowered by the Holy Spirit. Stop! Don't go any farther until you've opened the door of your heart to Him. (Charles Swindoll)


Accept the Lord's discipline for my wrongs. Repent.

Let go of my sins and wrong ways; turn to Jesus.

Hear what He has to say to me.

Open the door of my heart to Jesus when He's knocking.

Buy gold, white raiment, and eye-salve for me spiritually from Jesus.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Am I a Hot, Cold, or Lukewarm Christian?

679.  "Am I a Hot, Cold, or Lukewarm Christian?"         January 28, 2013
Revelation 3-Part 3
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Revelation 3:15-16) KJV

City of Laodicea:
Laodicea was located about 40 miles southeast of Philadelphia. It was name after the wife of its monarch, Antiochus II.
This city was noted for its three things-their wealth, their clothing, and their healing ointment. Their location on the important Asia trade routes, the Laodiceans recovered from the devastation of the earthquake in AD 60. It was a major banking center of Asia Minor.  It had a thriving trade, with garments woven from a special wool. It was famous for its medicines and physicians. They mixed a Phygian powder with water and used it as a salve to treat ailments of the eye.
The major porblem which the Laodicea had was a lack of good water supply. It could not produce the healing power of hot water like neighboring Hierapolis, nor could it produce the refreshing cold water found in Colossae. They had only lukewarm water, to which Jesus referred that He intended to spit them out of His mouth unless they repented.

Church of Laodicea:
In later times, it was a Christian city of importance and was the residence of a bishop, as well as the meeting place of church councils. Pride and self-satisfaction characterized the people and made their impression on the church as well. The city was destroyed by the Moslems in the Middle Ages, and today the site of the once wealthy city is a mass of ruins.
The church began through the ministry of Epaphras, while Paul was ministering in Ephesus (Col. 1:7), though Paul never visited there.


Christ  refers to Himself as the:
  • Amen-the One who establishes all God's promises; the Last Word, the Ultimate Authority, the Finality of all things. All the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ. They are unconditional covenants which are guaranteed and affirmed by the person and work of Jesus.
  • The Faithful and True Witness-All God's witnesses have failed at one time or another, but Christ never has.
  • The beginning of the creation of God-He is the Head of the new creation; the first-born of creation.
Who has the first and last words in my conversations? Is it Jesus or me? Do I share that He is faithful and true?


Along the highway that leads from our neighboring town to a  city, we would often see people parked on the side of the road when I was a kid up to the 80's. They had gallon jugs and glass jars, filling them with cool, clear spring water here in the mountains. Once my husband and I stopped to get a drink. It was so fresh and natural without all the added purifying ingredients and cool to drink. I understand why folks wanted the spring water to take home.

I contrast, a city in our state used to be well known nationally for its hot springs. I have seen pictures of the elaborate hotels, spas, and hot pools back in the old days. They were used for medicinal purposes (arthritis) and pleasure (for the elite rich party people) . (I never checked them out.)

I was reminded of these two opposites in our state-cold water and hot water resources when I read about Laodicea. Its neighboring cities of Colosse was famous for its cold, refreshing mountain stream, while Hierapolis was famous for its hot springs.

Laodicea's water source was not like those two cities. It was dirty, tepid, lukewarm water that flowed for miles through an underground aqueduct. Visitors unaccustomed to it, immediately spat it out.

Jesus compared the church at Laodicea  to its water system-lukewarm. It was neither cold, openly rejecting Christ, nor hot, filled with spiritual zeal. Instead, its members were lukewarm, hypocrites professing to know Christ, but not truly belonging to Him.
Jesus told this church that He will vomit them out of His mouth. Just like the dirty, tepid water of Laodicea, these self-deceived hypocrites sickened Christ.

Am I lukewarm spiritually, a lukewarm Christian, or am I hot or cold for Christ? Does my life make Him want to spit me out of His mouth? What about my church? He wants me hot for Jesus. Something to ponder.


Make sure Jesus has the final word, the amen of my prayers.

Your will, Your way, today, I pray.

Stop being a cold Christian; don't be lukewarm, be hot for Jesus.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Closed Doors

678.  "Closed Doors"            January 24, 2013
Revelation 3-Part 2
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.  Revelation 3:8 KJV


City of Philadelphia
This city was named after its founder, Attalus Philadelphus, king of Pergamos, (190 BC) because he was loyal to his brother Eumenes. His unusual devotion to his brother earned the city its name. Its name, Philadelphia, means city of brotherly love. The city was an important commercial stop on a major trade route called the Imperial Post Road, a first century mail route.
 It was situated 25 miles south of Sardis. Like their neighbor Sardis, in AD17, a massive earthquake demolished the city of Philadelphia. May of the people moved out to surrounding areas. Those who stayed rebuilt with the help of its emperor, Tiberius Caesar. Thus, it was renamed as Neocaesarea.

Church of Philadelphia
Scripture does not mention this church anywhere else, so it was probably the fruit of Paul's extended ministry in Ephesus (Acts 19:10). Philadelphia and Smyrna are the only churches of the seven without reproof. It was a weak church and Smyrna was a suffering one. As a gateway to the East, Philadelphia sat at the crossroads of several languages, cultures, and people groups. It had great opportunities for ministry, evangelistic and missionary one.
In comparison, Philadelphia could not match the riches and influence of Laodicea, the history and heritage of Ephesus, the great reputation of Sardis, nor the fame of faithful Smyrna.  Although it was a small, insignificant, poor, and often overlooked church, God used it.


Charles Swindoll mentions four encouraging promises that Christ relayed to Philadelphia:
  1. He would cause their adversaries to be humiliated before them (verse 9).
  2. Christ would keep them, and all believers, from the coming worldwide tribulation(verse 10).
  3. It would remain strong and secure (verses 11-12).
  4. Christ gave the promise of a new ownership (verse 12).
Though it suffered from persecution, this church was holy and true, having no marks or blemishes.
Can Jesus say that about my church? About me?


When our two children were growing up, there was a  time when my teaching contract was not renewed. It came unexpectedly. I chose to trust God to open the door to another job, to provide for my family. He did just that.

God opens and closes doors according to His sovereign will and guided by His infinite wisdom. When He closes doors of opportunity, He does it to open others. Our God knows what He is doing and why He is doing it, though I may not understand. If my path is blocked and I get pulled through other doors, do I protest by kicking and screaming? Do I patiently trust God to reveal His plan for me, one step at a time? Only Christ is qualified to make decisions regarding His work. He is an awesome God.
Swindoll calls it "insurmountable opportunities," the closed doors before us. When God closes doors to passageways that seemed so obvious and easy, He opens other doors that may appear less desirable and more difficult to enter,
They should turn our attention away from ourselves and back to our God. They are supposed to force us to trust completely in the Lord our God.

How do I react to closed doors? Am I looking for open doors? Do I pray that God will help me see the opportunities He's placing before me? Am I ready to step through an open door of opportunity in God's strength? Do I keep His Word and proclaim His name above all others?


Let go of the doorknob to a closed door.

Look for the open doors to witness for Jesus.

Obey as I walk by faith, not by sight.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dead or Alive

677.  "Dead or Alive"            January 23, 2013
Revelation 3-Part 1
But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.  Revelation 3:4-5

City of Sardis:
Sardis was about 27 miles due south of Thyatira. It was one of the oldest and greatest cities of western Asia. Its primary industry was harvesting wool, dying it, and making garments from it. The patron deity of the city was Cybele. She was represented as half-human and lion. She supposedly had power to restore the dead.
Once a wealthy and prominent city in Lydia, Sardis was devastated by an earthquake in AD17. They never regained their former wealth and power, though its residents continued to live there. They were once on top of the world.

Church of Sardis
This church had the external marks of a busy, productive congregation, but decay was taking its toll internally. There were memories of what had been. It was a church of empty profession-dead.  Like the city, the current reality no longer matched its former glory. This dead church had its autopsy conducted by the Great Physician, Christ Jesus. Shall we see what He found?


God always preserves a remnant to carry out His will and to bring forth fruit (2 Kings 19:30-31, Is. 10:20-21). This remnant can serve as the seed for a boutiful revival. The church of Sardis had a remnant who remained faithful to the Savior, loyal to their Master.

Charles Swindoll says there are three promises the Christ gives to the church of Sardis in the Scriptures above:
  1. They will walk in white with Christ. They will be among the large multitude of saints gathered in heaven who "have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (7:14). The white robes represent the cleansing from sin received by faith in Christ. The image of "walking in white" is a promise of eternal, unblemished righteousness. 
  2. Their name will remain in the book of life. Christ promises not to remove the believer's name.The biblos, or "scroll of life," is a symbol of permanent security. Our future blessings are certain, as if God has written our names in a great registry of the citizens of heaven.
  3. Jesus will confess the believers' name before God, His Father, and His angels. If we confess Jesus before men, He will confess us to God. (Matthew 10:32, Luke 12:8) On the day of judgment, Christ will vouch for those who belong to Him.
Yes, I'm going to trade in my old sin-stained clothes for a white robe, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. I have confessed knowing and believing in Jesus as my Savior, so my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. How about you, dear friends?


I have shared this before, but to our new readers, I want to tell you about my experience 11 years ago.
My surgery went well and I was awake, but groggy in my room. I remember the nurse explaining to me about the pump of morphine, the pain killer, was available when I needed it. My mind was still foggy and I thought she told me to push the button. I did and it put me back out. By the time my husband came into the room, I was turning blue, not breathing. Needless to say, Jesus, through the doctors, revived me. I was near death, and Jesus extended my life, breathed new life into me. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve Him.

Christ sought to breathe new life into this dead congregation. He shouted five orders, like a doctor in a trauma unit:
  • Wake up.
  • Strengthen the things that remain. Good deeds were only done half-heartedly.
  • Remember what you have received and heard. The Good News of Jesus' payment for sins was the Truth.
  • Repent. Admit the sins committed, confess them to Jesus, and ask forgiveness. Plain and simple.
Swindoll gives us five marks of a dead church:
  1. It worships its past.
  2. It is inflexible and resistant to change.
  3. It often has carnal and lazy leadership.
  4. It neglects children and youth.
  5. It lacks evangelistic and missionary zeal.
Yahweh, YWHW, is the sound of breathing. The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. (Lawrence Kushner)

Are our churches like that? Perhaps it is time to take the test. Christ is the Life-giver, the one who came to give us abundant life. He is the Life. It is time for churches to wake up and share the hope of Jesus. Take a stand for God's Word. Are we ready for the challenge? Are we will to endure the consequences?


Be alive in Jesus. Let Him live in and through me.

Let go of the past, wake up.

Love God, His Word, and others.

Let Jesus breathe in me, giving me new life every day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Should I be Tolerant?

676.  " Should I be Tolerant?"
January 22, 2013
Revelation 2-Part 4
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.  Revelation 2:19 KJV

Town of Thyatira:
Instead of a large city like the previous ones mentioned by John, this was a small town. It was originally founded as a shrine to the sun god Tyrimnus. This was a blue-collar town, where the trade guilds stood at the center of social and religious life. It was a small town with a big problem. It was located between Pergamos and Sardis; under the Roman rule for nearly three centuries. Was situatedin a long valley, and was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt.

Church of Thyatira:
A woman named Jezebel had a group of followers. They advocated Christian participation in the pagan rituals of the trade guilds. Probably, this would have included idolatry and ritual immorality in temple worship.
Of course, there were the faithful believers who remained true to Christ. However, they were tolerating this group. There were big sins in a small church. Those are what Christ was confronting.


Should I be tolerant of other religions? I will not tolerate them trying to enter our church with false doctrines. I will stand up for my Christian beliefs and what the Bible, the Truth, says. This church did not seem to have the same opinion as I do. Shall we look closer at them?

What did Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star, see as He looked into this church?
Swindoll puts it like this:
He saw three groups-the Faithful (good), the Jezebel and Company (bad), and the Toleration Party (ugly).

The Faithful, good group was characterized by:
  • works
  • charity (love)
  • service
  • faith
  • patience (perseverance).
The Jezebel and Company, bad group was characterized by:
  • called herself a prophetess, but was a false teacher,
  • represented one of the early Gnostics,
  • mislead Christ's servants into sexual immorality and eating of food sacrificed to idols,
  • unwilling to repent of immorality,
  • used grace as a license to sin,
  • led many down their sinful path with them, were deceiving sinners,
  • will be judged, have children killed by Jesus Christ the Savior.
The Toleration Party, the ugly group was characterized by:
  • expecting everyone to accept, approve, and validate everyone's beliefs, values, and lifestyles,
  • sought to affirm deviant behavior as the norm,
  • considered those who took a stand for their Christian beliefs as hating and discriminating.
I hope we find ourselves in the first group.


What does Jesus tell the church at Thyatira to do?
To those who don't hold to false teachings and false doctrine, He says to hold on to what they have. The overcomers will be given authority over the nations when He returns to reign. Keep the faith, keep patient, continue good works. Hold fast till He comes. Repent when needed.

Am I tolerating sin in my own life and the lives of my brothers and sisters?


Be discerning toward false teachers in my church, then stand against them, not tolerating them.

Learn the truth and live the truth.

Keep the faith; continue to do good works; share the love of Jesus.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Need a New Name?

676.  "Need a New Name?"                  January 21, 2013
Revelation 2-Part 3
And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this...   Revelation 2:12 NAS


City of Pergamum:
It was located only a couple of miles from the historical city of Troy, Pergamum was. It was the official center of the imperial cult, built in honor of the goddess Roma and the emperor Augustus. Also, Pergamum was crowned by a forty-foot tall altar to Zeus.
The city was famous for its library, a large gymnasium, and its medicine. It had little or no commerce, but was remarkable for its learning, refinement, and science, especially medicine. A number of kings made Pergamum their royal residence. The early science of medicine was identified with the worship of Satan, who usurped the place and dignity of Christ.

Church of Pergamum:
This was the church of worldly alliance. It was during the period of the church being elevated to a place of power and married the world. This era was when the church and state came together under the reign of Constantine and his successors. The heathens were won over by the adoption of pagan rites and festivals as parts of Christian worship. The church faced the temptation to join the Romans false religion for money. Yes, they were paid to convert.


In verse 12, Jesus is revealed as the One which has the sharp two-edged sword. This sword is the Word of God (John 5:22, Heb. 4:12). Since this church is tolerating error, it needs to have the measuring rule of God's Word brought into action.

The sword referred to in verse 12, is the Greek word rhomphaia, is a sabre, a long and broad cutlas, any weapon of the kind (Strong's Greek Concordance); a kind of long sword to be worn on the right shoulder (Thayer's Lexicon).

This type of sword, the rhomphatia, was a weapon similar to the sword used by the Romans in battle. Pneuma is the Greek word Spirit, breath. Jesus will judge and strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, His breath, His Spirit. Sword from His mouth symbolizes the verbal pronouncement of judgment. Christ's adversaries will come against Him with an arsenal of weapons. Christ's warfare against error and evil will be swift and decisive. (Swindoll)

Paul used the same type of imagery in puting on the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:17, And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the world of God.

Hebrews 4:12 describes the Word of God, For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Matthew Henry's Commentary states:
The Word of God is a sword; it is a weapon both offensive and defensive; it is in the hand of God, able to slay both sin and sinners. It is a sharp sword. No heart is so hard but it is able to wound it; it can divide between the soul and those sinful habits. It turns and cuts cuts ever way; it is an edge to open a festered would in order to its healing. There is no escaping the sword.
Do I surrender to this sword, the Word of God, or not? I think it will keep cutting me until I do.


I received  a new name when I  was 16 years old. Oh, my name Linda remained the same, but this name describes my soul. Can you guess it? It was Christian. Since I asked Jesus to save me, He gave me that new name. How about you, friend? Do you have the same name as me? You can. Just ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and come into your heart to be your Savior. Then we will be in the same family, sharing the same name-Christian. (I am praying for you.) Friend, you need that new name in order to enter heaven.

Now, the church of Pergamum had a problem- it was the church had taken the route of compromise. Some of the Christians held onto Christ's name, while others harbored Balaamites and Nicolaitans. Numbers 22-25 tells about the prophet for pay who tried to lead Israel astray as they married ido-worshiping pagans. The modern followers of Balaam encouraged idolatry and sexual immorality, selfishness, greed, and lust. The Nicolaitans were the false teachers in the Ephesian church. That church knew how to love the sinner and reject the sin, but Pergamum chose to love the sinner and accept the sin. they compromise doctrine and morality.

The compromising had to end. This church had to get back on the right track. They needed a change of heart and mind. Christ's sword could do the job, calling them to repent, and us as well.
If they repented, what was awaiting them?
  • hidden manna to eat (divine food),
  • a special favor (white stone, which was a ticket of admission into the theater there),
  • a new character (new name).

Are my spiritual ears listening? Do I compromise my beliefs, the Word?
I want that new name which only I will know, the one my Savior gives to only me.

Now, their were still some of the believers who didn't compromise. Antipas was one that is named in verse 13. He was a faithful witness, a martyr.

Beware of compromise. It never occurs quickly, always lowers the original standard, and often is the first step toward total disobedience. (Swindoll)


Don't compromise my Christian beliefs and God's Word.

Stay faithful to Christ.

Obey God's Word, or He will get His sword out and use it on my, resulting in deep cuts of my soul.

*Sorry for not posting on Friday, but I was in Ft. Worth at a VBS training.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rich or Poor

675.  "  Rich or Poor"                      January 16, 2013
Revelation 2-Part 2
I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Rev. 2:9 NAS

City of Smyrna
*located 35 miles north of Ephesus
*modern name is Izmir
*was a thriving city that had a famous stadium, library, and theater
*had a diverse population of around one-half million
*religious Gentiles worshiped the emperor and the Jews were committed to their Old Testament
Church of Smyrna
*Though Jew in the Roman Empire were legally excused from sacrificing to the emperor, Christians
   were not after being cast out of the synagogues.
*Believers face physical, emotional, and economic pressures from both Jew and Gentiles.


During our college years, my family was poor financially. However we were rich in faith, trusting God to provide for our needs as we did His will, preparing for the ministry. He was so faithful through those four years. Truly, He is Jehovah Jire, the Lord Provides.

Jesus knew about the works, tribulation, and poverty of the Christians in the Church of Smyrna. However, in the midst of their suffering, Jesus gives hope. God gives strength to those who suffer.
Also, God rewards those who endure. He knew firsthand the kind of suffering and pain they endured as rejected outcasts.
Due to their refusal to worship the emperor, the Smyrneans suffered economic poverty. Christian owned business were avoided, vandalized, and looted. this church was spiritually rich, while being earthly poor. They were slandered verbally. What a warning-some would be put into prison, tested, have tribulation for ten days. Good news-the faithful would be given a crown of life.

Am I rich in faith?


Overcome and come over to the promised land. True believers in Christ will not be hurt by the second death. We will have everlasting life, immortal bodies. for those who endure persecution unto death, a crown of life is awaiting.

What can I learn from this church?
  • Our Lord know every detail of our circumstances. He knows us inside and out.
  • If our hurtful situations remain or intensify, we have no reason to fear of flee. Regardless of the journey, Christ will be with us through our trials.
  • Take comfort as I experience personal pain, suffering, trials, or hardships. Christ is with me through it all.  
Do I turn to Him during my time of need?

[Resource: Swindoll's New Testament Insights on Revelation] 


Endure whatever for the glory of Jesus.

Suffer for doing good, not bad.

Trust Jesus.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Without Love

675.  "Without Love"             January 16, 2013
Revelation 2-Part 1
I know thy deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false, and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. but I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Rev. 2:2-4 NAS

Here we have the first church to whom Jesus is speaking. In order to better understand what is going on in this church, let's look at the condition of the city around Ephesus.

Backgound of Ephesus
The City:
*emporer's political activity centered there;
*most important city of western Asia Minor;
*a major center of political, economice, and religious activity;
*the first port of entry for seafaring vessels, so it was large in market and population;
*home of the grand temple of the fertility goddess Artemis, known as Diana;
*one of the seven wonders of the world;

The Church:
*Paul founded the church at Ephesus, preached one time for there for 3 years;
* pastors were Timothy, John, and Onesimus;
*John minister there for 30 years, leaving his home in Jerusalem.

In verse 1, Jesus walked in the midst of each church. He know everything about them-thoughts, motives, intentions. He cared enough to encourage them and correct them.


I enjoyed playing the tinkingling triangle in my elementary music class. I would make the distinct sound to beat of the songs we sang. I tought of that experience when I read about the noisy gong in the Love Chapter of the Bible.
I don't want to be a resounding gong nor a clanging cymbal, for nothing. That is what it would profit me if I didn't have love in my heart when I do good deeds.Without love, my deeds are nothing. I Corinthians 13 explains about love, its characteristics. The Ephesian church had a love problem. Before we get into it, there are some things we need to discuss.

What are the strengths that the Ephesian church had, which Jesus point out?
  • Toiling in good deeds, works, labors;
  • Patiently enduring through trials, such as slander, boycotts, abuse, malignment due to their refusal to bow to the false gods and statues;
  • Doctrinal discernment; sect of Nicolaitans practice idolatry and sexual immorality, perhaps combined with the worship of God and pagan worship.
Am I pleasing Jesus with my good deeds? Do I patiently endure trials? Do I have discernment when it comes to doctrine?
What about my church-is it pleasing Jesus with these characteristics?


Like an unexpected twist in the road during a pleasant drive through the countryside, Christ interrupted His commendation of the Ephesians with one abrupt word: but.  He said,"But I have this against you, that you have left your first love."

The church in Ephesus had everything but the greatest thing-love. It didn't happen overnight. Some 35 years earlier, Paul wrote to this church commending them for their love. (Eph. 1:15-16, 6:23-24). Now they lost their first love-Jesus.
1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us that the greatest of faith, hope, and love is love, a golden virtue.

Christ pointed out three simple ways to swing a U-turn and reestablish their walks in the right direction (verse 5):
  1. Remember from where they had fallen down. Step back to loving God and others.
  2. Repent, changing their heart and mind. Receive God's free grace.
  3. Repeat the deeds they did at first. Renewal of attitudes leads to right behavior.
Faith is the victory that overcomes the world, found in 1 John 5:4-5.
If I say that I love God and hate my brother, then I am a liar according to 1 John 4:19-21.

Christ expressed His love for us when He obeyed the Father, humbled Himself, died on the cross as He gave His life for us. (Phil. 2:8, Gal. 2:20, Eph. 5:2)

Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Luke 22:37, 39

Am I loving God and others as He would have me do? Is my church?


Have good deeds, endure trials, and be discerning.

Let go of things and love God most.

Repent of my sins.

Love others in my heart and with my actions.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

674.  "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow"            
January 15, 2013
Revelation 1-Part 9
Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.  Rev. 1:19-20 KJV


Throughout my high school and college days, I recall having to read novels and then the class would discuss their deep meanings. At that time in my life, I really was not too interested in what those famous literary authors had to say about life. After all, I was only in my teens and twenty's.
Now on the other hand, here is a book that has deep meanings, the Book of Revelation, and the author is the One in charge of the universe and things to come. Those things are more interesting to me. (Maybe because I am 30 years older) 

Looking back in this chapter, John saw the Resurrected Jesus' appearance-long robe, sash, white hair, eyes as fire, brass feet, strong voice, holding 7 stars in His right hand, and a 2-edged sword out of His mouth, with a glowing appearance.

Now Jesus informs John and us what the 7 stars represented-angels, which are messsengers,  the pastors of the 7 churches, and 7 candlesticks, golden lampstands, are the 7 churches to whom the book is to be sent.

I am happy to have you along with me on this journey through Revelation. I welcome your input.


After Jesus describes Himself to John, again Jesus instructs John to write. What is John supposed to write about?
  • the things seen-not what John had seen Jesus do when He was living in the flesh, but what John had just seen about Jesus; the glorious heavenly Jesus; the living, risen, resurrected Savior; chapter 1; past;
  • the things which are-things of John's present day, messages regarding the 7 churches in Asia; Jesus is here now; chapters 2-3; present;
  • the things which will take place after this-future events, things of the last days; chapters 4-22; future. 
This is an inspired outline for this book.

Jesus is alive. Furthermore, He is alive forevermore. His life is endless.
Saved believers in this Jesus are alive forevermore, too. And to think, we will get to serve our Lord together in heaven.

I can look back to a lot of yesterdays, but today is when I am living. Am I trusting Jesus with my yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows? My yesterdays outnumber my tomorrows. My tomorrows are in His Hands.


Acknowledge Jesus as the only glorious, Risen Savior.

Trust Him with my yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows.

*Update: My sister in law, Wanda is able to sit in a chair, talk, eat soft food. That is what my glorious Savior can do-raise the dead.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Turn Around to See Who is Talking

673.  "Turn Around to See Who is Talking"  
January 14, 2013
Revelation 1-Part 8
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me. and having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across his chest with a golden sash. Rev. 1: 12-13 NAS


When I am in a crowd, I can easily recognize the voices of my cousins, even if I don't see them. We grew up together, spending time playing as kids. My ears perk up and my radar is on as I turn around in search of their location in a crowd. I want to be close to them, talk to them, hug them. (We're a huggy family.) I imagine that the voice of Jesus startled John, since they probably had not visited in 30-40 years. Shall we look in on this private visit?

Christ stood behind John and spoke with a great voice like a trumpet the words in verse 11. John turned to see who spoke to him. Then John saw:
  • Seven golden candlesticks-seperated, but similar to those used in the tabernacle and Temple. These were portable gold lampstands that held small oil lamps. Each lampstand represented a church (verse 20). Since seven is representative of completeness in Scriptures, these seven lampstands are representative of all the churches.
  • The Son of Man-the title that Christ used most often for Himself during His earthly ministry (81 times in the Gospels). His garment(a princely and priestly robe denoting righteousness and honor) hung down to His feet with a golden girdle, sash (breast-plate of high priest). Christ is revealed as the High Priest coming in judgment, yet as the serving One.
  • His head, hair, eyes-snow white hair as wool, as a crown of glory, the Ancient of Days; eyes of fire which pierced and penetrated into hearts; a glowing white light (Dan.7:9)
  • His feet and voice-strong and steadfast feet like burning brass which will trample the winepress of God's wrath (Is. 63:1-5); His powerful voice roars as a mighty stream, (crashing against rocks) not calming a troubled sea, but calling down the judgment of God on the wicked.
  • The seven stars, a sword, and His face- ministers of the 7 churches, under Christ's direction; the sword is the Word which wounds and heals, strikes at sins; His face, countenance was as the sun shining, too bright and dazzling for mortal eyes to behold, with splendor and holy strength.
Christ is not coming as a mere man like He did the first time. He was not the kind of Jesus that John remembered from earlier years-preaching, healing, suffering on the cross, ascending into heaven. Joh had witnessed Jesus' glory at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17, Mark 9, Luke 9). This was the risen Lord in all His splendor that John saw.
All see Him and all will know who He is the next time Jesus Christ appears in the clouds.


And when I saw Him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand upon me, saying, " Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades." Rev. 1:17-18 NAS

How did John react to such a sight of Jesus that He had never seen before?

Here is John, the elder, apostle, evangelist, theologian, writer, and elite member of Christ's inner circle, reduced to a trembling sinner lying powerless before the King of kings and Lord of lords.
A terrified John fell at Jesus' feet.

Do we do the same when we come into the presence of a Holy God and Savior?

Then this might King bent down and touched John with His nail-pierced hand to comfort His old friend.
I picture Jesus raising John up on his feet. The sixty year old apostle is tired from working on the island. The Savior spoke kind words to him.

Christ lived, lives, and lives forever. He is the One who has supreme authority over death and Hades.

After I fall on our knees to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, He raises me up to stand on mountains, to walk on stormy seas, as the song goes. He raised me up to be more than I can be.

[Resources: The MacArthur Bible Commentary, Liberty Bible Commentary, Matthew Henry's Commentary, Swindoll's New Testament Insights on Revelation]


Take time to get away from the noisy world and listen to Jesus.

Fall down on my knees in worship.

Turn to Jesus when He calls me.

Bring my heartaches to Him.

Let  Him raise me up above my trials and problems.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Spiritual Journal

672.  "A Spiritual Journal "           January 11, 2013
Revelation 1-Part 7
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great, voice, as of a trumpet,
Saying, I am  Alpha and Omega,  the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ehesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto  Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Revelation 1:10-11


It is always best if I write down what I see and hear, otherwise, I tend to forget it. This is especially true if it is said in a sermon or Bible study. Sometimes I can bearly get it written down before I forget. I am now writing in my second journal. I write down significant quotes, ideas, principles which I want to remember or have available to review. Another reason I keep a journal is for my spiritual legacy to leave my family. Do you keep a spiritual journal?

The voice of Christ is likened to a trumpet sound to indicate that the message was a matter of great public importance. (Falwell)

Even though John was in exile, imprisoned on an island because of his faithfulness to his Savior, John continued to worship the Lord Jesus. That was when the Holy Spirit spoke to him.

Hebrews 10:25 states, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 

In John 10:28, Jesus says, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Are we as faithful to attending worship services as we could be?
Whenever we are, are our ears and heart open to hear the Holy Spirit speak to us?
When we hear, are we obedient?
Do I follow Jesus' voice?


In verse 8 and 11, Jesus identified Himself as Alpha and Omega. Jesus gives directions to John:
  • Notice  and remember what you see;
  • Write what you see in a book;
  • Send the book to the seven churches in Asia (those listed in the verse).
Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in you instructions. Ps. 119:18 NLT

Open your mouth wide and I will fill it with good things.  Ps. 81:10 NLT

I am not sure which direction the Lord is leading me concerning my writing. So I am walking step by step. So far, it is His will for me to write this blog. I am open to where He leads next.

In chapter 2, we will get further into details with each church. So stay tuned.

Christ selected these seven churches because their situations represented conditions applicable to churches of every age, including our own. Ephesians, the first of the seven churches and John's own home, was nearest to Patmos. The rest of the churches were on a natural overland route in the specific order given by Christ. (Swindoll)

The seven churches, to whom the book is sent, are named in the order messengers would carry letters, going from northwest to northeast and southeast. (Falwell)

I suggest finding a map of the New Testament times and connecting the dots of these 7 cities, which will make it easier to understand.

I wonder which church you and I are members of. (food for thought)


Spend less time for my pleasure and more time in God's Word.

Open my ears to the Holy Spirit.

Obey what I hear.

Write what He tells me to write.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Getting my Attention

671.  "Getting my Attention"
January 10, 2013
Revelation 1-Part 6
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ, I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet. Rev. 1:9-10 KJV


What does it take for God to get my attention? Over the years, He has used various things-irrate parents, upset bossses, loss of job, angry spouse, sickness, disease, various events. Why does it take something big, tragic, horrific to get us our attention? Shouldn't I be walking in the Spirit all of the time? Yes, but do I allow sin to seperate my from fellowshiping with God? I still have times that I walk in the flesh instead of in the Spirit.

John, who is the receipiant of this magnificent vision, identifies himself. Remember, he is writing what he saw spiritually, and writing to the seven churches which the Lord Jesus has instructed him to do.

What are the four characteristices that John and his believing readers share?
  1. He is their brother in the faith of Jesus as Savior. Though John was an apostle, he seems to value himself upon his relation to the church, rather than his authority in it.
  2. He is a companion in tribulation, partner in suffering, a partaker who is suffering also. Christians were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus and for sharing it that faith. The persecuted children of God did not suffer alone. They experienced the same trials. John wanted them to realize that.
  3. He is their companion in the kingdom. They had membership in the redeemed community over which Christ serves as Lord and King. They shared an eager anticipation of the glorious coming of Jesus' millennial reign on earth.
  4. He is their companion in the patience of Jesus Christ. They showed endurance and perseverance, in spite of difficult times, to what Jesus called them to do.
[Resources: The MacArthur Bible Commentary, Matthew Henry's Commentary]


Looking back at verse 9, we see John is informing his readers of his situation:
  • John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos. During Domitian's reign of the Roman Empire, John was exiled, for eighteen months beginning in AD 95, to a place where criminals were sent to work on the marble quarry. It was a type of Alcatraz Island in the Roman Empire; a prison without walls. The island was located about 40 miles off the coast of Asia Minor and a part of a group of about 50 islands. It was 10 miles long and less than 6 miles wide at its widest point.
  • One of the reasons John was exiled to the island was for preaching the Word of God.
  • Another reason was for the testimony of Jesus. Remember, John witnessed Jesus' life, death,  empty tomb, then the  resurrected Jesus.
  • John was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day. Instead of walking in the flesh, John was walking in the Spirit. (Gal. 5:16) He was worshiping the Risen Savior on Sunday, the day of the Lord's Resurrection.
  •  John heard a loud voice like a loud trumpet. It indicated the solemnity of what God was about to reveal. It got John's attention.
What does it take for God to get my attention? Sickness, financial problems, loss of job, family problems, storms, trials?


Listen to the Holy Spirit.

Leave the fleshly desires behind, turn to God.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

From A to Z

670.  "From A to Z"                  January 9, 2013
Revelation 1-Part 5
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.  Rev. 1:7-8 KJV


When I start to print out statements to our customers at the tire shop that have charged during the month, I tell the computer to print their last names that begin with A and all between, to any that begin with Z. 
So it is with God-The A and Z of life. He does care what comes between. He is our Creator, our Re-creator, our past, present, and future. All is in His hands.

Jesus tells John that He is:
  • Alpha-the first letter of the Greek alphabet;used by the Jews for the chief of persons or things;
  • Omega-the last letter of the Greek alphabet; all things are from Him and for Him; He was made the lowest state of humiliation;
  • Beginning-(Before anything was created, Jesus existed.)
  • End-(He is everlasting, without end, but will put an end to the devil and his demons, and the world as we know it now. His dominion is everlasting and His kingdom will not be destroyed.)
  • Is-He is alive, existing now.
  • Was-He was existing before time began and was there when everything was created because He did it. He was before all things and will remain beyond all things.
  • Is to Come-He is coming a second time to earth to reign as King for a thousand years.
  • The Almighty-His power is supreme over all cataclysmic events it records. He exercises sovereign control over every person, object, and event; not one molecule in the universe is outside that dominion. (MacArthur)
An alphabet is an ingenious way to store and communicate knowledge. The twenty-six letters in the English alphabet, arranged in almost endless combinations, can hold and convey all knowledge. Christ is the supreme, sovereign alphabet; there is nothing outside His knowledge, so there will be no unknown factors that can sabotage His Second Coming.  (MacArthur)

Jesus has a plan for history, directs path of human events toward His designed fulfillment. There is no blind fate, random meaninglessness. (Guzik)

Do I acknowledge Him as such?
Do I surrender to Him as such?


The second coming of Christ to earth in fulfillment of Old Testament prediction (Dan.7:13, Zech.12:10-14)) will be seen by all:
  • kindreds of the earth at the time,
  • every eye,
  • Israel,
  • the nations.
Jesus will be coming in the clouds. What a grand and magnificent manner of His entrance!

These clouds are no ordinary clouds but clouds of glory. In the Old Testament, God often manifested Himself in an energized, blazing light, called the Shekinah or glory cloud. No one could see it fully and live, so it had to be veiled. but when Christ returns, the glory will be completely visible. (MacArthur)

Am I looking up?
Are my eyes of expectation and faith looking for His coming?


Get ready to leave all of this behind, soon He will take me home.

Trust in Jesus, The Almighty.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Lively Hope

669.  "A Lively Hope"         January 8, 2013
Revelation 1-Part 4
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.   Revelation 1:5-6 KJV


When I die, don't creamate me. Lay my body in a casket. I have a lively hope in being resurrected from the dead when Jesus comes to earth to reign, if I am dead at that time. I do like that description-a lively hope. This hope is alive and living inside of me-Jesus is the One in whom I put my hope and trust. He gives me that lively hope because He didn't stay dead, but arose from the grave, alive.

Webster's Dictionary defines lively as full of life; vivid, bright; bouyant, elastic.
Yes, my hope is full of life, not a dead hope or no hope, but lively. Can you tell I like the way Brother Henry described the hope we have because of Jesus' resurrection?

Looking at our verses, we can see that John answered the question:
Who is Jesus?
  • He is the faithful witness. He was from eternity a witness to all the counsels of God (John 1:18), and He was in time a faithful witness to the revealed will of God, who has now spoken to us by His Son; upon His testimony we safely depend, for He is a faithful witness, cannot be deceived and cannot deceive us.
  • He is the first begotten of the dead. He is the first-born from the dead, or the first parent and head of the resurrection, the only one who raised himself by his own power, and who will by the same power raise up His people from their graves to everlasting honor; for He has begotten them again to a lively hope by His resurrection from the dead.
  • He is the prince of the kings of the earth. From Him they have their authority; by Him their power is limited and their wrath restrained; by Him their counsels are over-ruled, and to Him they are accountable. Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
  •  He has loved us. He is the great friend of His church and people, one who has done great things for them, and this out of pure disinterested affection.
  • He has washed us from our sins in His own blood. Sins leave a stain upon the soul, a stain of guilt and of pollution. Nothing can fetch out this stain but the blood of Christ; and, rather than it should not be washed out, Christ was willing to shed His own blood, to purchase, pardon, and purity for them.
  • He has made us kings. Having justified and sanctified them, He makes them kings to His Father. As kings, they overcome the world, mortify sin, govern their own spirits, conquer Satan, have power and prevalency with God in prayer.
  • He has made us priests unto God and His Father.  He hath given them access to God, enabled them to enter into the holiest and to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices.
[Resource: Matthew Henry's Commentary]

Jesus has freed us from our sins by His blood. NIV-verse 5
Brothers, you are a king; sisters, we are a queen. Through King Jesus, I am royalty.
Whenever I enter the throne room offering prayers, I am a priest by the High Priest Jesus' standards.
I am loved by the One who made everything-Awesome God.
Praise the LORD of lords and KING of kings!

Who is my King, the King of my life?
who is your King, dear one?


To Him, our Father God, be glory and dominion for ever and ever.

Glory (doxa in Greek), means praise, honor; dominion (kratos in Greek) means strength, might.
(New Testament Greek Concordance)

Do I give God praise and honor that He deserves?
Do I rely on His strength?


Praise God my heavenly Father and His Son Jesus every opportunity I get.

Depend upon His strength to carry on.

Proclaim with a  lively hope  the resurrection of the dead that is coming and Jesus' resurrection.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Letter Writing

668.  "Letter Writing"                  January 7, 2013
Revelation 1-Part 3
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne.
Rev. 1:4 KJV


How often do you write letters? With our modern technology, I either Facebook or email to people. Sometimes I call them, but rarely do I write a letter anymore. (To think, letter writing and telephoning were the main ways to communicate with people who lived away when I was a child.)
I can't imagine writing seven letters to seven churches, of which six were rebukes now days.

I noticed four things in this key verse that John says.
First, the seven churches to whom the letters were addressed existed in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Asia Minor had seven postal districts, whose centers were seven key cities which served as central points of information. Apparently they were singled out because John had ministered in them. It is to the churches in those cities that John writes-Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. (MacArthur)

These churches are chosen because of the specific characteristics in them. (Falwell)

Second, John is greeting those churches in Asia Minor with grace and peace. We refer to the grace of God as unmerited, unearned, and undeserved favor. It is His grace through faith that saves us
(Eph. 2:8-9). It is the gift of God. There is nothing that we have done, will do, or even promise to do that can earn salvation. It is all the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross. Precious grace is a relationship that offers us true peace that overcomes any trial and tribulations the world can bring. (Swindoll)

There can be no true peace where there is not true grace; and, where grace goes before, peace will follow. (Matthew Henry)

Third, this present peace and the future fulfillment of our salvation come from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Trinity). John called the Father the On "who is and who was and who is to come." In Exodus 3:14, I AM indicates God's complete transcendence over all history-past, present, and future. God is just as much in control of our unknown future and unnerving present as He is of our unpleasant past. (Swindoll)

God's eternal presence is not limited by time. He has always been present and will come in the future.

Jehovah is eternal, unchangeable, the same to the Old Testament church which was, and to the New Testament church which is, and who will be the same to the church triumphant which is to come. (Matthew Henry)

Don't we all desire grace and peace from the One who is, was, and is to come?


Fourth and last, John is sending grace and peace from the seven spirits which are before God's throne.
John isn't describing seven distinct Holy Spirits; there's only one Holy Spirit (1Cor. 12:13, Eph. 4:4). In a vision of the heavenly throne room described in Revelation 4, John saw the Holy Spirit symbolically represented by "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne" (verse 5). Seven qualities of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Isaiah 11:2-3 are the Spirit:
  1. of the Lord,
  2. of wisdom,
  3. of understanding,
  4. of counsel,
  5. of strength,
  6. of knowledge,
  7. of the fear of the Lord.
John is describing the infinite perfect Spirit of God, in whom there is a diversity of gifts and operations. He is before the throne; for, as God made, so he governs, all things by his Spirit. (Matthew Henry)

Do I seek wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and fear of the Lord from the Holy Spirit of God? Ask and ye shall receive.


Leave behind my own wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and fear of the Lord, ask, and receive those from the Holy Spirit.

Seek the Lord for those things in my life.

Friday, January 4, 2013


666. "Revelation"               January 3, 2013
Introduction to Revelation-Part 1


In our local paper this week was a front page feature of a man who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and various committees. He has done many things throughout his political career and his name is well-known in our country. This man was born and raised within twenty miles of my home. He has  a degree from a Christian university and our state law school. Throughout the years, he has maintained his integrity and values while developing an influence within our nation. As I read about this local man, I realized John, who wrote Revelation, had many similiar experiences, was influential in public life, and in his service for his Lord Jesus.

Who is John?
John, nickednamed the "Sons of Thunder," (Mark 3:17) was one of Jesus' disciples and the author of the Gospel of John, as well as 1, 2, and 3 John. 

Where was John?
When John recorded what he saw, he was in exile for his faith on the tiny island of Patmos, which was located about 40 miles off the coast of Asia Minor. Patmos was a small rocky island in the Mediterranean Sea, about 35 miles southwest of Miletus.During the time of the Roman Empire, it was used as a place of banishment.

When did John write Revelation?
About AD 95 or 96, making Revelation one of the last books of the Bible to be written. This was during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian

What is Revelation?
It is a written record of messages, prophecies, and visions that John personally saw and heard.
(It was through divine inspiration that John wrote.) Revelation is considered a part of the canon of the Bible, since it carries divine authority and is normative for Christian abeliefs and behavior. Although it doesn't quote directly, its 404 verses contain about 550 references to the Old Testament.

Why was Revelation written?
It was written to show believers the things that will take place in the end times, with a view toward exhorting them to repentance and faithfulness. It was written for certain churches in Asia, but intended for other churches of that day and the church universal of all ages. It assurred final victory of Christ as the early church during Roman times experienced much persecution.

[Reference: Swindoll's New Testament Insights on Revelation, Liberty Bible Commentary]

What kind of influence do I have in my community?


Unlike most books of the Bible, Revelation contains its own title: The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

In verse 1, we have the fivefold avenue of transmission of the Word is:
the Father to the son to the mediating angel to John the apostle/prophet to God's servants. (Falwell)


Care, share, declare the Word of God and Jesus.

Tell what Jesus is doing in my life.


667.  "Blessings"             January 4, 2013
Revelation 1-Part 2  
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.  Rev. 1:3 KJV 


Do you want to be blessed? I surely do. Who doesn't? I think that when we question if we are blessed,  it depends on our perspective and position as to what we consider as a blessing. How can I say that I am blessed with having two diseases, Crohns and osteoporosis? Because I am alive and breathing to experience them, and have been for 11 years now. Yes, I am blessed. I haven't broken any bones, especially my weak spine in the last two years that I have been off medication. I am able to walk, run, skip, climb. I am not in a wheelchair. Yes, Lord, I am blessed! (I needed this lesson, since I found out yesterday the results of my bone density test and was down in the dumps. I'll have to start taking medication again to stop the deterioration of my bones.) Thank You Jesus for all Your blessings! He already knows that I was not happy about my diagnosis. Oh well, here we go again-another challenge in life. How do I react to it? Happy or down in the dumps? It's my choice.

Blessed (makarious) means supremely blessed, fortunate, well off, happy.
John wrote that the ones who read, hear, and heed the words of prophecy of Revelation would be blessed.

What does it mean to be blessed in the Biblical sense? One commentator says this about blessed, "It does not express superficial sentiment but instead the rugged and tested assurance that it is a good thing to be walking in the pathway of God's will."

Now that is where I want to be-walking in the pathway of God's will. I've walked on my own path, and it ain't no fun. (Pardon my slang.)

Did you know that the same Greek term, makarious, is used repeatedly by Jesus in the famous "beatitudes" found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:3-11?

Charles Swindoll says, "Revelation contains seven 'beatitudes' for believers, designed to provide hope and encouragement in the midst of trials." Here they are:

      Blessed are those who:
  1. read, hear, and heed the prophecy (1:3). They will grow through its life-changing message.
  2. die in the Lord (14:13). They will rest from labors and receive a reward.
  3. stay alert and keep their clothes (16:15). They will not be ashamed for their lack of reward.
  4. are invited to the wedding feast of Christ (19:9). They will experience everlasting celebration.
  5. have a part in the first resurrection (20:6). They will never suffer or die again.
  6. heed the words of the prophecy of this book (22:7). They will be ready for Christ's coming.
  7. wash their robes (22:14). They will receive reward for their deeds.
We can't say that we have not been told how to be blessed. Yes sir-ee. I am blessed!


Now what was it John said in verse 3 that I needed to do in order to be blessed?
-Read Revelation.
-Hear the words of this prophecy.
-Keep (heed) the things written therein.

This is the only biblical book that comes with a blessing for the person who listens to it being read and explained and, then, responds in obedience. (MacArthur)

Scripture can only be effective when applied in the life.  (Falwell)

Friends, there are some blessings awaiting us these next few, maybe several, months. If I want them, then I must read, hear, and heed the words in Revelation. Are you up for the challenge?

The time is at hand. Time refers to epochs, eras, or seasons. (MacArthur)

Are you ready to get started? I surely am.


Open my eyes,
Open my ears,
Open my heart to see and hear
Words You speak,
Directions You go,
Obey the things
You tell me are so.

Thank You Jesus for Your blessings today!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


665.  "Recall"            January 2, 2013
Jude 24-25   Part 15 
Summary of Jude
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.   KJV


Sometimes it is good to recall things and other times it is best to leave the past in the past. I can think on the many blessings which God poured out on me and my family this past year. These years seem to be flying by, don't they. Maybe it's because I am getting older. Can you believe it is 2013? Just yesterday it was the 1990's.

Here we read the benediction of Jude, the brother of James and half brother of Jesus. He wrote to encourage believers in Jesus to warn them of apostasy.

Jude causes us to recall some things about God that I often don't consider:

1. God is able to keep me from falling, which means not stumbling, standing firm, exempt from
    falling. (Thayer's Lexicon)

    The people of God are liable to falling into temptation, into sin, into errors and mistakes, from a
    degree of steadfastness in Gospel truths, and even into a final and total apostasy, were it not for
    divine power; and they are not able to keep themselves.
    (The New John Gill Expisition of the Entire Bible)

    However, I believe Christians are preserved by the grace of God.

2. Jesus is able to present us faultless before a Holy God. How? Believers that have trusted in Jesus as
    Savior, asked His forgiveness of sins, are clothed in Jesus' robe of Rightousness. It is a robe
    washed in the blood of the Lamb of Godwhich He sees us clothed in, not our filthy rags of sin.

3. Everyone will be joyful, Jesus who presents us, God who receives us, angels who observe us, and
    we who were sinners on earth. Will there be shouts of joy?

4. The only wise God our Savior Jesus, is part of the Trinity-Father and Holy Spirit. He is the author
     of all wisdom, natural and spiritual.
     "God is by nature a saving God, unlike the reluctant and indifferent false deities of human and
     demon invention. Divine wisdom is embodied by Christ alone and not by any human person or
     group, like the apostates," says The MacArthur Bible Commentary.

5. He is glorious in His deity, divine sonship, mediatorial works, and salvation!

6. He is majestic-King of kings and Lord of lords.

7. He has dominion over everything, both natural and supernatural, on earth, under the earth, and
    above the earth.

8. He is all-powerful, omnipotent. Eventually, every knee will bow to King Jesus and the evil devil
    will be defeated.

9. Both now and forever be glory, majesty, dominion, and power to our God.

Wow! He is The Great I AM.


John MacArthur has a profile of an apostate that summarizes the descriptions which Jude warned believers about:
  • ungodly (v.4)
  • morally perverted (v.4)
  • deny Christ (v.4)
  • defile the flesh (v.8)
  • rebellious (v.10)
  • revile holy angels (v.8)
  • dreamers (v.10)
  • ignorant (v.10)
  • corrupted (v.10)
  • grumblers (v.16)
  • fault-finders (v.16)
  • self-seeking (v.16)
  • arrogant speakers (v.16)
  • flatterers (v.16)
  • mockers (v.18)
  • cause division (v.19)
  • worldly minded (v.19)
  • without the Spirit (v.19).
I sure don't want to be like those false teachers.

* As I was reading for tomorrow's lesson, I found out some interesting history, which involves two grandsons of Jude. Domitian was an emperor at that time (90's A.D.). He followed the nortorious Nero in ruling the Roman empire. Here is what Charles Swindoll, the author of Swindoll's New Testament Insights on Revelation said:
Domitian, afraid of the kingdom of God and wanting to rid the world of any threats to his own power, sought out the known descendants of King David. He called in two grandsons of Jesus' brother Jude for questioning regarding the nature of Christ's kingdom and whether they wrere heirs to the throne. To Domitian's surprise, however, these Jewish Christian relatives of Jesus explained that the kingdom they believed in and proclaimed was not earthly but heavenly, and it was to be established at the end of the world. Additionally, the two had little monetary worth. After showing the emperor their empty pockets, he released them from custody.
I pray that my children and grandchildren will continue to have faith and serve our Lord Jesus throughout their lives. This is the type of lineage I desire. How about you?


Let go of grumbling and fault finding, worldly mindedness, ungodliness.

Thank Jesus for being all-powerful, all wise, and ever present.

Praise to the King of kings and Lord of lords!

Give God all the glory due Him.

Share Jesus and His salvation with my grandchildren.

*Revelation is our next study. Are you up for the challenge? Pardon me if I appear a little hesitant.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Needful of the New

664.  "Needful of the New"                January 1, 2012
Jude 22-23     Part 14
And of some have compassion, making a difference; And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.  KJV


Here we are, the first day of a new year! I feel refreshed, even though life and circumstances are still the same as they were yesterday. Maybe it's the hope for better, putting away last year's struggles, burying problems of woe, having the Lord chisel off the not-so-good from me.
Maybe it's the excitement of NEW being available. New what, I don't know. Just NEW. Fill in the blank.
I need a new _______________, Jesus.

If I were finishing that sentence, I can think of several possibilities:
I need a new  healthier body, a new heart of joy,  stronger faith, surrendered will, encouraging way, outspoken witness of evangelism, and more songs of praise to my Savior, not to mention the physical things.

Of what are you in need? Why don't we ask Jesus for them?

The John MacArthur Bible Commentary says the word some indicate three possible groups:
  1. Sincere doubters who deserve compassion,
  2. Those who are deeper in unbelief and urgently need to be pulled from the fire,
  3. Those declared disciples of apostasy who still deserve mercy, but are to be handled with much fear, lest the would-be-resuer also be spiritually sullied.
He goes on to say that these three groups are more likely scenarioes.
Am I alert to such people, whose doctrine or unbelief in Jesus are in need of hearing the Truth of Jesus?


What can I do to help those people?
  • Show compassion, which means to succor one afflicted or seeking aid (Thayer's Lexicon); compassionate by word or deed, specifically by divine grace (Strong's Greek Dictionary of the New Testament);
  • Make a difference. Share and care; love our neighbors; help those in need.
  • Help others find salvation in Jesus.
  • Show mercy.
These victims of the apostate teachers need mercy and patience because they have not yet reached a firm conclusion about charist and eternal life, and so remain doubters, who could possibly be swayed to the truth. (MacArthur)

Have mercy onn those who waver in doubt; save those you can by snatching them, as it were, from the flames. show mercy in godlly fear, although you hate the clothes they wear, stained as they are by the flesh. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

We are to confront those who doubt, or convince them by patient instruction. Flirting with falsehood is like playing with fire. When we reach out to those engulfed in the flames of apostasy, we save them from destruction. We are to approach people in need with mercy and with fear. (Charles Swindoll)

We are to love the sinner, hate the sin.

I can always show more compassion toward others.


Have a renewal of spiritual matters.

Love Jesus and others.

Let go of bitterness and unforgiveness.

Show more compassion.

*Happy New Year, friends!