I love this Bible Study. I have had the book for a long time. Here's the link at Family Christian, if you are interested in getting it.
So often, when you think of the Book of Revelation, you think of prophesy and doom and gloom. That does seem to the the focus of most studies, at least that I've seen. But there's an incredible hope in Revelation. First of all, imagine that after all God has done for us - created us, loved us, forgave us, and gave us everlasting life through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ - He still took the time to show the Apostle John this incredible glimpse into the future. Jesus pulled back the veil and allowed John to bring us this message of hope, love, faith and the future. How can you not count that as love!
The first chapter of the book is titled "Hope When You Are Depressed by the Smallness of Your Life". It deals with Revelation 1:1-8. Think about it. God is telling us to not be discouraged or depressed, although not in those exact words. He is showing us His love, His mercy, His faithfulness. How many of us read the last few pages of a book before we finish it, just to see if it's going to end how we want it to? Well, God is telling us how He has ended His book. He has shown us the last few pages of time here on earth. Why would God do that? In a word, HOPE. God wants us to not grow weary of serving Him and praising Him. He wants us to know that until the very last, He will provide if we are faithful to Him. What a blessing!
In these eight short verses, God shows us the depth of His love. He gave John a revelation of the time to come, using angels and Jesus to show him. It's like going to the White House and having the Vice-President and all the cabinet members giving you a tour because the President values you that much. The awesome thing about God is that He doesn't just give you the test, He gives you the answers. Verse 3 says
Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
God is telling us to read and be blessed. Know and be blessed. Time is running out. Katelyn has several tests this week. We've told her to study every day. Time is running out before the tests. You can't cram the night before and expect to get anything out of the information. Well, the Bible is the same way. Yes, you can wait for the last minute and be saved just in the nick of time - like the thief on the cross next to Jesus. Or, you can take your time and savor the Word every day, incorporating it into your every day life. You can live it and when you get to Heaven, be blessed to know that you touched so many lives and they are there in Heaven with you.
Revelation goes on to remind us all that God has done. God gives grace and peace to the seven churches in Asia (v4). He reminds us that Jesus loves us and paid for our sins with His Blood (v5). We are created to be God's kingdom and priests to serve Him (v6). He tells us to keep watch for Jesus' second coming (v7). Finally, He reminds us that He is in control, and always has been. Praise God! He is the beginning (Alpha) and the end (Omega) and everything in between (v8).
In the perceived smallness of your life, He has taken the time to reassure you that He is faithful and loving. How much must He love us! If you are feeling depressed because you think you are only a wife, only a mother, only a woman, only (whatever tag you put on yourself), start praising God. If you feel small because you don't have a worldwide ministry, you stay at home and "just" take care of the home and family, you have a dead end job or no job, start praising God. Think of all the blessings He has already given you. This wonderful thing happens when you start praising Him right where you are, in the midst of your mess. By praising God, you invite Him in wherever you are. His Glory takes over and radically transforms your circumstances. You may still have that job, or not have a job, you may not have a ministry, you may not see any changes at all in your situation. But God. Just think on those two words. BUT GOD! All the excuses and inferiority falls away with those two words.
BUT GOD steps in and takes over. He molds you and your heart into His vision. He lifts you up and gives you hope and grace and joy. You are transformed from the smallness you perceive to the greatness that He made you for. In the natural, you still have this mess to deal with. BUT GOD, in your spirit, has cleaned it up and shown you what to do. Praise expands to fit the space provided. Keep praising Him and allow Him to expand to fill all those hidden spots in you with doubt and depression and disbelief.
I'm more excited now about this message than when I started! Praising God will do that for you. Tomorrow, I'll go over the Bible Study method that Anne Graham Lotz teaches in the devotional guide in the back of the book. I haven't found the workbook yet, but I will. Right now, I'm just being blessed by the Word. Have a great day all! Keep the praises for God coming. Your day will be radically changed and blessed. Praise HIM!!!