Monday, September 10, 2018

Victory In Jesus

Victory is on the way so don't get discouraged.


Revelation 14:1-3 Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him were 144,000 who had His name and His Father's name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together. 3 This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

Revelation 15:3-4 And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: "Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations. 4 Who will not fear You, Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous deeds have been revealed."

Revelation 19:1 After this, I heard what sounded like a vast crowd in heaven shouting, “Praise the LORD! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.

A lot of people stay away from the book of Revelation because of all of the scary stuff that happens but that certainly wasn't the intention when this book was delivered to the early church. The saints that were being persecuted found these words to be encouraging as they were struggling to do church the right way.

It should be encouraging to know that the reader of this book is promised to be blessed and it should be even more uplifting to see God, Jesus and Heaven in vivid detail that is not seen very often in the rest of the Bible.

If you need to be encouraged today then check out the voices of victory that Revelation tells us about as the final triumph over evil is drawing near in the last half of the tribulation.

The first voice we hear is the combined voices of the 144,000 that lived through the tribulation. Their instruments and voices make up a huge choir that sings a wonderful new song to Jesus from Jerusalem. They don't stay on the earth much longer, their final destination is Heaven and in a little while we will see this same choir in Heaven singing the song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-27) and the song of the Lamb. (Revelation 15:1-4)

The next voices that John heard was of three angels. (Revelation 14:6-20) The first angel goes on the last mission trip that the world will experience as he goes across the sky proclaiming the gospel to everyone. The angels have never been used to share the gospel before but now there are not any believers left to share the gospel.

The next two angels announce that judgement is here and the world system is going down. If you are a child of God then you should find comfort in knowing that the burden of living in this sin filled world will not last forever. (Revelation 14:14-16)

The Son of Man comes with his harvesting tool as two angels announce that the harvest is ready to be gathered and put into the winepress. The judge is the King of kings and the Lord of lords; his tool for judgment is the Word of God. (Revelation 14:14-20, 19:11-16)
Revelation 16:17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. And a mighty shout came from the throne in the Temple, saying, "It is finished!"
"It is finished!" The same words that Jesus spoke from the cross to announce victory over death for God's children are the same words that God spoke to announce victory over Satan and the end to his rule over this world. In both instances the victory was so sure that it was announced even though it hadn't happened yet. (John 19:30)
Praise The Lord
Five reasons for their praise emerge:

1) God’s deliverance of His people from their enemies (Revelation 19:1);
2) God’s meting out of justice (Revelation 19:2);
3) God’s permanent crushing of man’s rebellion (Revelation 19:3);
4) God’s sovereignty (Revelation 19:6);
5) God’s communion with His people (Revelation 19:7).

-MacArthur Study Bible
As the end draws near and the final victory is in sight there is an explosion of praise and celebration. (Revelation 19:1-10)  All of the trials and the suffering that God's children have experienced and all of the effects of sin on this world are about to be gone forever. Living without sin sounds awesome but since we have never experienced it we really cannot comprehend or fully appreciate it.

The Bible makes it clear who will be victorious at the end of time. God's children will overcome this evil world but we don't get to take credit for it. As a child of God we need to live joyfully and give the credit where it is due knowing that our victory has been guaranteed by someone far greater than ourselves! (John 16:33)

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

You Say

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me.


Video: Lauren Daigle - You Say

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, (ooh oh)

Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You'll have every victory, (ooh oh)

It is so easy to think that all of our failures is what defines us. It seems irrational that someone as good as God is could look beyond that big pile of failures, wrong turns and mistakes to see us as someone of infinite worth.

The gospel changes everything; it took me from a pile of filthy rags and made me into a precious jewel with an incredible future!
Who I Am In Christ
I am Jesus’ friend.
John 15:15 – I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

I am victorious.
Philippians 4:13 –  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I am God’s handiwork and destined to do good works.
Ephesians 3:10 NIV – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I am an heir of God and joint heirs with Christ.
Romans 8:17 – and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

I am more than a conqueror.
Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

I am adopted as God’s son.
Ephesians 1:5 “He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”

RELATED ARTICLES
Who I Am In Christ (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Eat God's Word

You need to make it your own before you share it with others.


Revelation 10:1-2 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire. 2 And in his hand was a small scroll that had been opened. He stood with his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land.

Revelation 10:8-10 Then the voice from heaven spoke to me again: "Go and take the open scroll from the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." 9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. "Yes, take it and eat it," he said. "It will be sweet as honey in your mouth, but it will turn sour in your stomach!" 10 So I took the small scroll from the hand of the angel, and I ate it! It was sweet in my mouth, but when I swallowed it, it turned sour in my stomach.

It is amazing how we treat the word of God as just another piece of literature. We don't really listen to ourselves and let it sink in when we say that this is the words of God. We should be in awe that God has given us the story of mankind from beginning to end so that we can know our creator and his purpose for our existence.

Our lack of interest in God's commands is absurd but it isn't anything new. From the beginning of history we have been very good at doing things our own way, instead of learning from the mistakes of the characters mentioned in the Bible, we rush to make the same mistakes as we act like we are better than them and would never do those things. (1 Corinthians 10:3-6, 11-13)

John took the word of God and ate it, he took it into his inner being so that it would influence his character, he needed to digest it and apply it to his own life before he could effectively give it to others. If you aren't consistently being influenced by the word then how will your audience take you serious when you share the word with them? (Ezekiel 3:10)

John was told to reveal the future events to let us know what God's plan is for rebellious people that do not know our Savior. The judgments that he had to warn us about were difficult to digest and were very upsetting. That's how God's word should affect us.

The sweet promises that are given to God's children are contrasted with th extreme punishment for everybody else. The Christian bears witness of both life and death, blessing and curses (2 Corinthians 2:14-17, Deuteronomy 30:15-18). If we take God's word serious we will understand how John felt.
Ezekiel 3:1-3 The voice said to me, "Son of man, eat what I am giving you--eat this scroll! Then go and give its message to the people of Israel." So I opened my mouth, and He fed me the scroll. 3 "Fill your stomach with this," He said. And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
Ezekiel was also sent to warn hard hearted, rebellious people. God warned him that the people wouldn't listen but it was still his responsibility to give them the warning so that they are responsible for their doom.

God's children are sent to the rebellious to warn them of the penalty that they must pay for rejecting the Savior. I am responsible to give the warning and they are responsible to make the wise choice and repent.

Digging into the word of God can be a great resource if we take it in and and fully digest it so that it is a part of our character and it influences us to stay in line with God's desire for our lives.

I need to take in God's word daily, meditate on it and apply it to my life. Then I can be a credible testimony of the life changing power of the gospel.

Thank you Lord for your word. Thank you for the sweetness of the promises to your children. Help me to remember the bitterness and the devastating consequences that are also found in your word so that I can sound the warning. (Ezekiel 3:16-27)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Make The Wise Choice

People without a Savior will beg to die instead of living for Him.


Revelation 9:3-6 Then locusts came from the smoke and descended on the earth, and they were given power to sting like scorpions. 4 They were told not to harm the grass or plants or trees, but only the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were told not to kill them but to torture them for five months with pain like the pain of a scorpion sting. 6 In those days people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them!

Revelation 9:20 But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood--idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk!

In the last blog post we saw the incredible amount of trouble that was reserved for the unbelievers during the Great Tribulation. So far the earth has been subjected to all kinds of catastrophic events that have affected the people, these events are similar to what happened in Egypt when Pharaoh wouldn't let God's children go.

That is about to change as the misery becomes a result of physical torture that is applied directly to the unbelievers. The first few rounds of torture were the result of events that take place on the earth. (earthquakes, famine, water becoming blood)

The agents to administer this torture are released when the key to the bottomless pit is handed over to their leader. The bottomless pit is opened and its demons receive their orders, they are released but they are restrained, they are told what they must do and they cannot do anything else.

For five months the unbelieving world will have non-stop stinging pain like a scorpion inflicts. The pain will be so extreme that the people will wish to die but God does not grant them their wish, man has always had the ability to self destruct, but in the Great Tribulation suicide will not be an option.

The seals and trumpets are a gradual start of God's judgment that allows people some more time to change their minds but instead they are still rebellious even after being constantly tortured for five months. That's 216,000 minutes of non-stop, extreme suffering without any hope of relief.

To live without hope is a very sad place to be, you would think that this misery would be enough to get them to turn from their wickedness but instead of changing their ways they prove that they love their sinful ways and just seek to die. (Proverbs 2:14, 26:11, @ Timothy 3:1-5

Instead of seeking life they seek death but how is dying without a Savior going to make things better?

After five months of torture one-third of the earth's population gets their wish. God allows another group of wicked angels to be released and there is another outbreak of demonic activity that will bring widespread death to the people that were so anxious to die.

Again, I must ask you, even if you are being tortured continuously for 216,000 minutes, how does dying without a Savior improve your sad condition?

Back in Revelation 6:8 one fourth of the earth have already died and now another one third of the population dies in Revelation 9:15. There are thousands upon thousands of bodies lying around that needed to be disposed of, there are great wars, famine and evil demonic torture. No wonder mankind's only hope is to die.
It is unnecessary to try to “spiritualize” these symbols, or to interpret them in light of modern means of warfare. John is heaping image upon image to force us to feel the horror of this judgment.
-Warren Wiersbe
Again, I must ask you, even in these terrible conditions, how does choosing to die without a Savior improve your sad condition?

There must be another option, there must be time to make the right choice and accept the Savior, otherwise why would John tell us that man refused to repent. It seems to be implied that they have a choice but they refuse to choose wisely. (Revelation 2:21, 9:20)

You know that Cain and Abel must have heard their parents tell them about life in the garden and that God judged them for sin. When Noah and his family left the Ark they all immediately run back to their sinful ways.
Deuteronomy 30:15, 17-18 Now listen! Today am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 17 But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.
When you read about it in scripture it seems like the correct choice is so obvious. After everything that happened on the way to the promised land God's children should have been able to make the right choice. They suffered severe consequences that are as big as some of the events in Revelation and many of them refused to repent just like the people in the end times.
Proverbs 1:22 "How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge?
We are all just one step from stupid. We can all be known as a simpleton that enjoys his own rebellion and pride. The chances of success in this area are greatly increased when we truly love God and his book of instruction that he has given to us. 

Saturday, August 04, 2018

The King Is Coming

The only way to be a citizen of this kingdom is to be born into it.



Isaiah 52:1, 7, 8, 13 Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem, for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!

The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see the LORD returning to Jerusalem.

See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted.

Someday the beautiful state that the world was in at the end of the creation story will be restored. The beauty and peace and especially the access to God that Adam and Eve had will be restored to all of God's people from every corner of the earth.

The Bible is the story of the Kingdom of God being restored, first the Bible makes it clear that we are so bad, from the original sin to the first murder and then shortly there after the story of Noah. Our tendency has always been to reject God and embrace evil.
John 3:3 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God."
The Bible lets us know that the day is coming when the king will restore his kingdom, the Book of Life will be opened and the citizens of the kingdom will be brought together to enjoy God's presence even more fully that it was in the garden.

The Book of Life is a list of all of the people that belong to God's kingdom. This country won't have any illegal immigration and there won't be any discrimination based on your color or the place of your first birth.

Have you become a citizen of God's eternal kingdom? Find out how you can have peace with God that starts now and last for eternity.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Trouble Ahead

The day is coming when God will bring mans rebellion to an end.

Revelation 6:10-11 They shouted to the Lord and said, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before You judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters--their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred--had joined them.

Revelation 6:15-17 Then everyone--the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person--all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?"

Revelation 8:13 Then I looked, and I heard a single eagle crying loudly as it flew through the air, "Terror, terror, terror to all who belong to this world because of what will happen when the last three angels blow their trumpets."

So far most people are okay with the Book of Revelation, we have met the glorified Jesus and we have received his instruction on how to do church, then in the next chapter we see the church in Heaven where they meet the Creator and then the Redeemer.

We don't mind talking about meeting Jesus and getting our rewards but we don't like to think about the events that are about to start now that Jesus has called the church home and now he has taken the sealed scroll from God's right hand. It is now time for mans rebellion to be brought to an end.

This information about the end times isn't completely new to John, he has already heard Jesus teach about what will take place, Revelation six looks a lot like what Jesus predicted in Matthew 24 when he was teaching the disciples from the Mount of Olives.

The wrath of God begins with the opening of the seals of God's scroll:

False Christ - Matthew 24:4-5, Revelation 6:1-2
War - Matthew 24:6-8, Revelation 6:3-4
Famine - Matthew 24:7, Revelation 6:5-6
Death - Matthew 24:7-10, Revelation 6:7-8
Martys - Matthew 24:14, Revelation 6:9-11
Cosmic Changes - Matthew 24:29, Revelation 6:12-23

To the people that are subject to God's wrath it looks like complete chaos but John shows us from his perspective in Heaven that everything is in order as each seal is opened and nothing is happening without God's approval.

There are two groups of people that react to the trouble on earth. There are the martyrs that cry out for their blood to be avenged, and even though their prayers are heard in heaven, they do not bring an end to the suffering. The other group is the unbelievers that want to he hidden from all of the calamity. It is interesting to note that they know the reason for their suffering but they love their sin more that they love Jesus. (Revelation 6:9-17)

God will continue to deal with the relentless rebellion on the earth, the seventh seal brings the next round of his wrath via the seven trumpets. Each of these judgments comes with greater intensity than the six seals. (Revelation 8:1-11:19)
Revelation 9:20  But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God.
It is difficult to comprehend that these people will know that their punishment is from God yet they will continue to refuse to turn to him. God is willing to accept them but instead of repentance the vast majority of the world will lash out at God's people and make more martyrs.

God's children throughout all of the ages are like those martyrs that ask "How long?" Even those of us that are not martyrs ask the same question as we long to be in a better place. Maybe the problem is that we live for the next minute, maybe the next day, but to wait for God to move may not come until generations later.

God will relieve his people of this sinful world and fulfill their longing for his righteousness kingdom to be established but until then it is my responsibility to bring his kingdom into my world. When I yield to the reign of Christ and surrender my throne to him then "thy kingdom come" happens in my life and it has an affect on the world around me.

Will you be a part of this new kingdom and escape God's judgement?
RELATED ARTICLES
The Six Seals (bible.org)
The Cross Absorbed The Wrath Of God (billygraham.org)
What Is The Kingdom Of God (desiringgod.org)

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

God's Books

Believe the contents of the open book or be punished by the sealed book.


Revelation 5:1 Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals.

Revelation 5:4-5 Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, "Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David's throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals."

Revelation 13:8 And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made--the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.

Some of the oldest books known to man are the sixty six books that make up the Bible. The Jews were meticulous about preserving God's word and making handwritten copies of it with a great deal of accuracy.

The Bible tells us about other books that God has that are even older. David says that God has a record of every tear, in Ezekiel God says that he will remove the false prophets from Israel's record books and in Malachi a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name.

What a blessing it is to have the words of our creator to help us know him and have some understanding about who he is and what he expects of us. The thought that he took the time to speak to us is amazing, as small as we are and despite all of our flaws he gave us a book to let us know him.

The Bible doesn't tell us much about all of God's books but we don't need worry about their content. We don't need to try and understand more than God has made undeniably clear in the sixty six books that we have in our Bibles. God isn't going to give us a pop quiz on material that isn't covered in his word. (Deuteronomy 29:29)

We need to read God's open book so that we can know what he expects of us. The open book tells us about a day of judgment that is coming for all of mankind after God's children are safely at home with Jesus.

There is a sealed book that will finally be opened and God's wrath will be carried out as the final battle with Satan takes place. The Lamb that was found worthy to take the sealed book from God will reveal it's contents a step at a time to carry out God's plans. (Revelation 5:1-5)

There are thousands of promises from Genesis to Revelation, so many of them have come true that it is safe to assume that the promises that haven't happened yet are going to be accomplished.
Revelation 20:11-12 And I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from His presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.
The final judgment of mankind will be done with some more books, there will be the book that has a record of all of our deeds and there will be the Book of Life, the first book that God will use will find us in great need of a Savior and his second book will validate if you have one. 
John 3:3 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God."
The Book of Life is the record of all of the citizens of Heaven, everyone that is recorded in this book is a citizen by birth, there won't be any illegal immigration into this country and there won't be any discrimination based on your color or the place of your first birth.

Have you become a citizen of God's eternal kingdom? Find out how you can have peace with God that starts now and last for eternity.

FIND PEACE WITH GOD

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Worship The Redeemer

Sooner or later we are all going to do it.


Revelation 5:9-14 And they sang a new song with these words: "You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For You were slaughtered, and Your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 And You have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth."

11 Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. 12 And they sang in a mighty chorus: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered--to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing."

13 And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: "Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever." 14 And the four living beings said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.

When Jesus called for John to visit Heaven the entire population of Heaven is worshiping the creator (Revelation 4:1-11) until the worship music suddenly stops. The abrupt silence came as God presents his scroll that has been protected with seven seals. (Revelation 5:1)

There must have been great anticipation as they all pondered the contents of God's book that were known only to him. He was ready to reveal the mysteries contained in his book but it seemed like nobody could possibly meet the qualifications to take such a book from his right hand. (Matthew 13:11)

A "strong angel" knew that he wasn't even qualified as he called out "Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?" John was grieved that there seemed to be no way to learn about the contents of God's book. Would we ever know more? (Daniel 12:8-9)

John can stop crying because the all knowing and all powerful Lion has been revealed and he has the right to reveal the contents of God's sealed book because of his submissive and sacrificial death as the Lamb of God. (Matthew 28:18)

The Gospels reveal the Lamb of God to us who came in meekness to be judged as our Savior and the provider of God's grace. God's love story for us continues in the Book of Revelation as it reveals to us the promised Lion who will came in majesty to be the judge that will govern and carry out the return of God's kingdom. (Genesis 49:9-10, Matthew 6:10)

Why did they have to look around for Jesus? In this scene Jesus isn't at God's right hand, the church is in Heaven so there isn't any reason for him to be there in that location interceding for us, Jesus isn't seen until he steps up to take the scroll from God's right hand. (Hebrews 10:12)

As Jesus steps up all of the inhabitants of Heaven break out into song, their song explains why Jesus is the only one that is qualified to take God's scroll. Because he submitted himself as our substitute and died for our sins he is worthy of all praise and honor.
Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
When we get to Heaven we will finally see the infinite worth of Jesus and the natural reaction will be unhindered, spontaneous praise without anything getting in the way. When we meet him face to face we will know him fully and we won't have our carnal man getting in the way of the worship he deserves.
That's His favorite song of all, Is the song of the redeemed
When lost sinners now made clean, Lift their voices loud and strong
When those purchased by His blood, Lift to Him a song of love
There's nothin' more He'd rather hear, Nor so pleasin' to His ear
As His favorite song of all
- Phillips, Craig & Dean "Favorite Song Of All"
Since we are all going to bow the only question is when. Will you choose to practice worshiping now or wait and do it when it is too late? If we bow before Him now we will receive salvation but if you wait to bow before Him at the final judgment then condemnation is your eternal destiny.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Crowns

There are crowns in my future instead of the punishment that I deserve.


Revelation 2:10 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.

Revelation 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.

Revelation 4:4 Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads.

It would be a shame to reach the end of our time here on earth and realize that we didn't do very much that had eternal value. It is sad that few people are interested in knowing how to live for things that have eternal significance that will earn us an eternal reward.

It may sound strange to you that God's children are supposed to be working, don't be confused by this work, we aren't working to become his child, we are working because we are his child. Our work is not to achieve acceptance into Heaven but rather our work is because we are so grateful for Jesus work on the cross to give us what we could never attain on our own.

We have heard of the judgment seat of Christ but that really isn't a good translation for what is going to happen there. The children of God have already been accepted and their sins have been covered so this judgement is really an assessment of how many rewards you have gained or lost. We have no reason to fear what will happen when we meet Jesus. (John 3:18; 5:24; 6:37; 17:23 / Romans 4:7-8; 5:1; 8:1 / 1 Corinthians 1:30, 11:32)
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have--Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials--gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.
On top of the incredible privilege of eternity in the presence of God we also have the potential to earn crowns if we do not waste our life on worthless things. What a shame to build on the foundation of Jesus with building materials that are so cheap, easy to get and even easier to burn.

We need to build with gold, silver and jewels by doing the right things and by doing them with the right motives and attitudes. This is a real "paying it forward" that will last for eternity.
Five Crowns For God's Faithful And Obedient People:
The Imperishable Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-25, 1 Peter 1:3-5)
A garland or wreath that would soon fade away was the crown that was given to the winner of the early Olympic style games. It is amazing that so much extreme work went into receiving a crown that would last a short while.

The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
God the Father's free gift unto his children, promised to everyone who loves the Lord and eagerly waits for His return.

The Crown of Rejoicing (Luke 15:7, Philippians 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 3:9)
Also known as the soul winners' crown. Will you meet people in Heaven that are there partially because of your influence?

The Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4, Romans 8:18)
The shepherd's crown that is reserved for those that take care of the flock. Those of us that heed Jesus' words to Peter to feed his sheep will be rewarded.

The Crown of Life (James 1:12 / Revelation 2:10)
This crown is for all believers, but it is especially dear to those who endure sufferings, who bravely follow Jesus to the point of death.
God's people have always been promised rewards for obedience, his guarantee of blessings can be seen throughout the Bible and while Jesus was here he repeated the promise. (Deuteronomy 28:1–14, Mark 10:29–31)

Man made crowns are used to focus our attention on the one wearing the crown but in Heaven our crowns will draw attention to the giver of the crowns and bring him greater glory. Instead of pride or envy when we see somebody with a greater crown there will only be great joy and amazement that God's son would personally reach out and give us our reward.

Can you imagine how amazing a crown must be that is created with the building materials that they have in Heaven? What will it be like to have that amazing crown given to you by Jesus instead of the eternal punishment that you deserve?

Lord help me to stay focused on the work that you have for me and not be distracted by worthless things so that you will be pleased. It  is amazing that I will receive eternal life with you and on top of that I will also be rewarded for my service to you.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Worship The Creator

We will not worship as we should before we get to Heaven.


Revelation 4:8-11 Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—the One who always was, who is, and who is still to come." 9 Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the One sitting on the throne (the One who lives forever and ever), 10 the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the One sitting on the throne (the One who lives forever and ever).

And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, 11 "You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created all things, and they exist because You created what You pleased."

The Revelation of John continues in chapter four with an invitation to step into Heaven. The Book of Revelation started with Jesus as he is today, the glorified Jesus at work among the churches, giving us instructions on how to do church.

John's vision keeps progressing and now the church age is over in chapter four and we can logically conclude that the rapture of the church has occurred. The progression of John's vision is from the Church Age on earth to the throne of God in Heaven. Combine that progression with what we know from other scriptures and you can see that God's children are safely with him when his wrath is poured out on those that are still on earth in chapter six. (1 Corinthians 15:52 / 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

John is called up to Heaven to encourage us of how wonderful our future is. What an amazing sight that John is attempting to describe for us! John's experience is much different from any of the popular accounts of people that claim that they have been to Heaven. Unlike all of those stories everything that John sees in Heaven revolves around the throne of God.

God is on His throne and around the throne are beings that represent God's people, they have been given white robes and they have received their crowns which they will give back to God as they worship him.

God is in control, which is what we should expect from the one that is on the throne of Heaven. Despite the persecution that is going on back on Earth, which John is experiencing, the persecuted Christians should never doubt his power or his wisdom.

We suffer with so much discouragement and worry because we forget that he is on the throne and he is in control despite all of the chaos around us. We should not entertain the idea that evil is going to win.

God is being worshiped, which is what we should expect from the ones that are seeing the one who is on the throne of Heaven. As good as you may think your worship is, it is nothing in comparison, in Heaven God is truly being worshiped fully and correctly.

It is impossible in our current condition, to worship God as he should be worshiped, we will not comprehend the value and worth that should be given to God and worship him properly before we get to Heaven. As long as our old sin nature is a part of who we are then we will be distracted with our thoughts, our pride and our sinfulness.

While we wait for our call to go to Heaven we should learn more about how to worship and practice doing it.
The inner essence of worship is to know God truly and then respond from the heart to that knowledge by treasuring God, prizing God, enjoying God, being satisfied with God above all earthly things.

And then that deep, restful, joyful satisfaction in God overflows in demonstrable acts of praise from the lips and demonstrable acts of love in serving others for the sake of Christ.
-John Piper
It is clear in scripture that worship is more than just singing a song at church and then going home until next Sunday. Praising God begins with preparing our heart and then honoring God with our lips but it doesn't stop there. We tend to forget that worship continues long after the church music is over. (Psalm 50:14, Isaiah 29:13, Hosea 14:2)

Our worship continues through the preaching of God's Word and through our acts of love that show the value of God by what we are willing to sacrifice to serve others. When I present myself as a living sacrifice to do good for someone else I am declaring the worth of God in my life and I am making God look more glorious to the ones that witness my good deeds. (Matthew 5:16, Romans 12:1, Philippians 4:18, Hebrews 13:15-16)

Everything that we say and do and the lifestyle that we live should draw others to "come let us adore him."
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