Worth It

For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes. – Revelation 7:17

jon-tyson-FID3uzP8T5U-unsplash

Chapter seven of Jesus’ Revelation to John the apostle speaks of a time in the future when the martyred saints of God will find rest. I’ll leave the determination and debate on the exact date or order of these events to other, more qualified theologians (and so-called end-times experts) and focus on the work of our Savior.

He is the “Lamb on the throne.” The One who died for our sins and yet, unequaled Victor over all.

He is the Shepherd of those who have remained faithful to the end … the One who will never leave your side.

He is our Guide to the “springs of life-giving waters” (reference John 4) that forever quench the dryness and thirst of this earthly life.

AND He is the Comforter who “will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” What a tender picture of His love for the ones who have wept through the struggles of obedient service to the Master.

He is the LAMB on the Throne and He is Christ, our King. With rewards in hand, He awaits the end of your faith-filled race. Persevere … press on to the end … reach. He is worth it all.

Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory. – William Barclay

On Being Ready

Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed. – Revelation 16:15

alex-jones-2u9aALMdPnI-unsplash

Can any of you remember the days in your youth when your mother would ask, just as you were exiting the house for a night with friends, “You’re not going out looking like THAT, are you?” In their opinion, we were clearly not appropriately dressed for the occasion. Unfortunately, they were probably right! Of course, as you grow up, you learn what to wear and when to wear it, and how to be ready for whatever might “pop up.” The way some guys dress today, you may wonder if they’re ready for anything at all!

The Lord said, “Look, I am coming like a thief,” then He went on to indicate that the person who was ready for this event would be blessed. Christ’s “readiness” requires that one be properly “clothed” … this clothing being, of course, His righteousness.

Will you be “dressed” when He comes? Will you be ready? You know, it is possible to relax and grow complacent, to get lazy in this walk with Christ. Best stay “clothed.” He is coming.

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die. – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Worship the King

Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for He judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on His head were many crowns. A name was written on Him that no one understood except Himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and His title was the Word of God. – Revelation 19:11-13

amaury-gutierrez-rzmQOng8h8I-unsplash

This is my King!

There have been some crazy changes in the life of my family in recent years and I am not certain what tomorrow will bring, but I do know this. I serve the rider Who is called Faithful and True!

I have a King!

Every time I am blessed to complete another daily pass through God’s Word, I am more assured than ever that Jesus is my Lord. This was true yesterday and will certainly be true tomorrow. My life in Christ has been filled with self-study and self-examination … and I have learned a lot …, but I am still learning.

Worship the King!

I have tried. I am trying. I will continue to try. Ultimately, He is worthy of all we might give and there is no other.

The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless. – Billy Graham

Use, Don’t Abuse

So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” – Genesis 1:27-28

v2osk-1Z2niiBPg5A-unsplash

My wife and I once took the trip of a lifetime to the lower peninsula of Alaska. The sights and scenery were amazing and truly awe-inspiring. In spite of all the evolutionary speeches from our guides, we (who are committed creationists) were blessed to hear and gain a detailed understanding of how elementary forces (driven by an Almighty God) shaped that rugged land. As the chief of His creation (mankind), we also pondered our own responsibility to take care of it. What must we do with this power and rule we have been given?

God told Adam and Eve to reign over, fill, and rule everything that He had made. This was a lot of power to handle and, well, we know how that turned out. While I would not consider myself an environmentalist, as a follower of Christ I believe I need to take care of that which God has created. I also believe that God’s creation exists for us to use. In other words, it is a resource to be stewarded, not abused.

Without a doubt, there are many people in the world who place more value on an owl’s egg than a human embryo, but this is not a biblical position or idea. Honor God’s creation. Care for it, but don’t worship it.

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists. – Charles Dickens

Decisions, Decisions

But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” – Genesis 2:16-17

burst-aoN3HWLbhdI-unsplash

Decisions, Decisions. How does a person make the right ones? Sometimes it is easy to make the right choice given the available alternatives. For example, Adam shouldn’t have had any trouble making the right one, “Avoid the fruit and live … or eat it and die.” Pretty simple, huh? You would think so, anyway.

Of course, not all decisions appear this simple, which is why we need God’s wisdom and understanding in how to trust Him in all things. Each of us must learn to use all the spiritual resources available in this life: the Word of God, the Family of God, conversation with God and how to apply these resources to our circumstances.

Will we make bad decisions? Sure we will, but God will lead us and teach us through each difficulty for our greater good and His greatest glory.

Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level. – Peter Drucker

He Loves

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? – Psalms 8:3-4

tyler-nix-Pw5uvsFcGF4-unsplash

Do you have any doubt that God loves us?

He created the world for us. He clothed us after the fall. He preserved a remnant through the flood. He gave us His commandments. He sent a multitude of prophets to share His wisdom and truth. He even gave His one and only Son to die for our sins. This Son then rose from the dead, ascended into the heavens, and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us, lead us, and teach us. If God did not love us, then why did He do all these things?

God’s love reveals His glory. This love is the direct manifestation of His attributes and when His Son’s followers love one another they validate and manifest His presence as well. God is love. He loves you.

Now, go love one another.

Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. – Paul to the Church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

No Additions Needed

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.'” – Genesis 3:2-3

peter-conlan-LEgwEaBVGMo-unsplash

One of the greatest deceptions Satan uses in the lives of believers today (and ever since the Garden) is to encourage adherence to rules rather than the enhancement of a relationship with God. God told Adam that it was forbidden to EAT the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. He never said they could not TOUCH it, but somehow that is what Eve came to understand. In other words, she added rules onto her relationship with the Lord that God never intended.

It seems that today many Christians live a joy-less life, because they believe that this life in Christ is about a bunch of rules. It isn’t, or at least it shouldn’t be. It should be about a relationship. While some things might not be “beneficial” additions to our lives, we are free to enjoy this life in ways that do not dishonor the Father, hinder our relationship with the Son, or grieve the Spirit.

Let’s stop adding to God’s list. In fact, if you are truly “adoring” Christ, then you won’t even need a list. Where the Word is silent, don’t make it speak. Embrace your liberty in and your relationship with Christ … and live.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. – Paul to the Church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 3:17)