I hope that you all are being blessed by this book. I know that it blesses me immeasurably. I love the positive way that the Book of Revelation is presented.
Chapter Two deals with Hope When You Are Depressed by the Greatness of Your Problems. What an appropriate message for these times! It seems everywhere we turn, we are facing great problems. The failing economy, people losing their jobs and homes, corruption at so many levels from church leadership to the leadership of our country, wars and rumors of wars, and on and on goes the list. It is so easy to lose hope if all you concentrate on is the news. What a joy we have that our faith isn't in the world! Our hope is to be in the Lord. I love the verse at the beginning of the chapter.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
God knew before time began that the economy was going to tank at this time. He knows the challenges that we face before we can even contemplate the possibility they could happen. When John was given the Revelation of God, he was on the island of Patmos because he had been preaching God's Word. He was on a prison island, being made to do back breaking work, and yet he knew where his faith lay. It was with God. John still took the time to hold the Sabbath holy and be in the Spirit with God. John made the time, in the midst of his suffering and problems, to spend the day with God. Because of his dedication, John was given the final words of the Bible. He was privileged to give us this hope and knowledge.
How many times have I worked a craft show on a Sunday without even going to church? I know that God will still bless me if I don't make it to church a few Sundays. But, am I taking another day to spend with Him? For that matter, what are the things that I do on the Sundays after church that take away from keeping His Sabbath? I don't want to end up hearing God speak the words to me that He gives to the seven churches in Revelation . I want to concentrate on the Messenger instead. The passage of Revelation in this chapter deals with that. Let's look at Revelation 1:9-20. I'm going to break this up into two days. Today, we'll deal with verses 9-12 and 17-20. These verses deal with our actions. Verses 13-16 deal with the Character of Christ, and that deserves a whole post of its own. It is so incredible to just concentrate on HIM!
As I stated before, John was on Patmos. He was in exile, being made to do back breaking work. Yet, he still took the time to spend with God on the Sabbath. He was praying and just spending time with His Comforter during his time of trouble. I think that John's faithfulness to God was what made God give him that revelation. After all, God wanted to be sure we had His Word, and that it was done faithfully. What if that happened today to you? What if God said that you should listen, and faithfully report to the world what He said? Would you unquestioningly do it? Or, would you count up the cost, lack of popularity, maybe even losing a friend? In today's American society, would you do it if it meant losing your job or your comfort? John was in exile for preaching the Word of God and telling the world about Jesus, and he was still faithful to ALL that God said to do.
Verses 13-16 show Jesus in all His Glory. Verse 17 says once John took that all in, he fell to Jesus' feet. I find it amazing that during this whole time, nowhere does it say that John opened his mouth to say anything. I mean, I'm still working on staying silent if God tells me to share my blog in a new place. I did that today. I shared my blog with a group of women that I talk to about almost anything. But I still felt compelled to give a disclaimer about what I posted here. WHY! I mean, as Christians, we are to share the good news with everyone. Why was I worried about offending someone? I offend people on a regular basis with the things I say - telling my children no when they want to do something they shouldn't, telling someone that I can't help them with their problem (if that's what God's telling me and He has in certain cases), shoot, just talking on a regular basis. I'd like to think that if God told me to do something, I would. The reality is that while I'm getting better, I don't always follow His leading and timing.
We surrender our lives to Christ when we make the decision to be born again. The eventual goal is to be used in service to Him. I want to be like John, wherever I am, knowing what comes first and following God's leading. I know that every day I get closer. I love this passage:
Philippians 3:11-14 (Amplified Bible)
11That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].
12Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
13I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.
I'm pressing on towards God's plan for me, and the life I know I can have in Him. Tomorrow, we'll look at the image of Christ. The passage is full of imagery so rich and incredible it takes my breath away! Trust me, this is going to be a time for praise and shouting!