Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Day 253

Monday, September 10, 2012

Welcome to Day 253 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Lamentations 3; Lamentations 4; Lamentations 5; Revelation 15 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Lamentations 3, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Lamentations 4:22, “O Daughter of Zion, your punishment will end; he will not prolong your exile.”

Lamentations 5:21, “Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old… unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.”

Revelation 15

With the main adversaries identified (the dragon, the sea beast, the land beast, and Babylon) and the people of God reassured of ultimate victory (chapters 12-14), the full out-pouring of God’s wrath is about to be shown. Chapter fifteen is a “prelude” to the seven bowls of wrath described in the next chapter.

8 “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”

O bservation

In spite of their captivity and the desolation of their city, Jerusalem, Jeremiah (the presumed author) calls back to his mind God’s love and faithfulness.

A pplication

In the most difficult times, this is the passage to hang on to!

“Yet this will I call to mind…”

You’ve lost your job, lost a loved one, are struggling with an addiction, problems with your kids…

“Yet this will I call to mind… and therefore I have hope…”

Lamentations was written in the midst of awful, tragic times, yet Jeremiah reflects on God’s goodness.

I love that it says “his compassions never fail. They are new every morning…”

Every morning…

They are new every morning!

When I am going through difficult times, that verse is often my first thought of the day… His mercies (compassions) are new every morning.

David Ruis wrote a song, “Sweet Mercies.” “Let your mercies fall from heaven, new mercies flow from heaven, new mercies for today, shower them down Lord, as we pray.”

I don’t know about you, but I need his mercy every day… every morning!

P rayer

Thank you Lord for your compassion, for your mercies that are new every morning!

Day 252

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Welcome to Day 252 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Lamentations 1; Lamentations 2; Obadiah 1; Revelation 14 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Lamentations 1:1, “How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.”

Lamentations 2:1, “How the Lord has covered the Daughter of Zion with the cloud of his anger! He has hurled down the splendor of Israel from heaven to earth.”

Obadiah 1

Nothing is known for certain about the author. Other OT references to men of this name do not appear to be referring to this prophet. His frequent mentions of Jerusalem, Judah, and Zion suggest that he belonged to the southern kingdom (cf. vv. 10–12,17,21). Obadiah was probably a contemporary of Elijah and Elisha.

The striking similarity between Obadiah 1–9 and Jeremiah 49:7–22 brings up the question: Who borrowed from whom? Assuming there was not a third common source, it appears that Jeremiah borrowed, where appropriate, from Obadiah, since the shared verses form one unit in Obadiah, while in Jeremiah they are scattered among other verses. www.gty.org

Obadiah 1:1, “The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Sovereign Lord says about Edom.”

Revelation 14:6, “Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice,

“Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

12 “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.”

O bservation

Each day there is a decision I make concerning which to focus on, the destruction of Jerusalem and its captivity in Babylon or the events in Revelation. Yet there is a striking similarity between these two… a common denominator if you will… to trust the Lord in spite of the circumstances that are being faced.

The Lord I think is allowing me to see his overriding will, encapsulated in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

A pplication

I know we all struggle with “what is God’s will for my life??”

Well… there it is, simple and clear in black and white. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (Note that it says, “in” all circumstances, not “for” all circumstances.)

Regardless of what is going on around us…

And how about this for just a little more clarity on this topic, from the previous chapter, in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands just as we told you, 12 so that

your daily life may win the respect of outsiders.”

It seems that much of God’s will is HOW we live our lives, not so much is to be focused on where or what… meaning where we work, what should I do to serve the Lord, things like that.

Work hard at whatever you do. It honors God.

Find you place in serving the Body of Christ. Use the gifts God has given you.

And give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Seems pretty clear and straightforward to me…

Great!

Now we don’t have to struggle with what God’s will is for our lives any more!

Let’s move on…

(So glad I could put that to rest! 🙂

P rayer

Thank you Lord that in the midst of all of our circumstances, good or bad, your desire is for us to give you thanks!

Day 251

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Welcome to Day 251 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Jeremiah 42; Jeremiah 43; Jeremiah 44; Psalms 48; Revelation 13 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Jeremiah 42:19, “O remnant of Judah, the Lord has told you, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be sure of this: I warn you today 20 that you made a fatal mistake when you sent me to the Lord your God and said, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us; tell us everything he says and we will do it.’ 21 I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all he sent me to tell you. 22 So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle.”

7 “Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah…”

Jeremiah 43:7, “So they entered Egypt in disobedience to the Lord…”

Jeremiah 44:14, “None of the remnant of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah, to which they long to return and live; none will return except a few fugitives.”

16 “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord! 17 We will certainly do everything we said we would:

We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her

just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. 18 But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.”

25, “Go ahead then…” Jeremiah.

(In so many words, do what you gotta do. You are bent on destruction. So be it. You’ll regret it… Mark my words.)

Psalms 48, a Psalm exalting of the City of our God, [Jerusalem] in comparison of the above verses and it’s destruction.

Revelation 13:10b, “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.”

O bservation

After asking Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord, 10 days later he tells them the word of the Lord, which they then completely ignore. (By going to Egypt after Jeremiah tells them to stay in Jerusalem and trust the Lord.)

A pplication

Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah…”

In our microwave society, who is willing to wait 10 days for anything…

I’m wondering why God didn’t speak to him at that moment? Why the 10 days?

I could speculate, but I’m not going to.

Just taking it for what it is. A lesson in waiting, a lesson in learning to be patient, a lesson in perseverance, a lesson about pressing in.

Did it really matter to anyone that it took him 10 days to come back with the word of the Lord?

No.

They rejected the word anyway… Bent on doing what they wanted, hoping that the word of the Lord would affirm their plans to get out of Jerusalem and head back to Egypt??

Granted, it’s been nearly a thousand years since their captivity, but are they not the slightest bit concerned about going there? Guess not.

Let’s put this in perspective, if Columbus landed in America in 1492, that’s 520 years. While we reflect on those events once in a while, their being enslaved by the Egyptians was twice as long ago. They may have just considered it to be irrelevant, as they did the Law of Moses. With their religious practices having incorporated much of the surrounding cultures’ practices (burning incense to foreign gods) they may actually have been hoping to go to Egypt! Better than captivity in Babylon, right? Or staying in the burned-out city of Jerusalem…

With our having 3,500 years of perspective and the ability to look back and forward, it can be hard to understand their thinking.

It is for me.

I just think, “Why didn’t they just listen to Jeremiah and the word of the Lord?” (That they had asked for!)

(At this point, I haven’t even read Revelation, I was so caught up in these three chapters of Jeremiah.)

I always look for the bottom line… Application is “what does this mean to me today?”

Funny how it often comes down to this one thing…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

Compare Jeremiah 43:11, “He will come and attack Egypt, bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and the sword to those destined for the sword.” to Revelation 13:10, “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed.”

The million dollar question is, are these verses already fulfilled as some believe and teach?

(It is generally agreed that they refer to either or both the Roman Empire (past) or some sort of European Union (modern-day). Some even believe that the fall of the Berlin wall ties in to these passages, so that East and West Germany would become “one” instead of “two” separate countries to make this math work out for a more current/modern interpretation.) CLICK HERE for Richard H. Perry’s lengthy interpretation.

I do like the possibility that this could relate to modern-day Europe… However, scholars on both sides make strong cases.

Again, it really doesn’t matter. Events will unfold as God has ordained and our job is to be ready. (Do I sound like a broken record yet?)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

P rayer

Lord give me the strength to do what you say, when you say it, to not just hope that you will affirm what I think or want.

Day 250

Friday, September 7, 2012

Welcome to Day 250 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 36; Jeremiah 40; Jeremiah 41; Revelation 12 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Finally, after all the prophecies, Jerusalem is now overtaken by Babylon, as was proclaimed by the word of the Lord, through the prophets.

2 Kings 25:1, “So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army.”

2 Chronicles 36:16, “They [his people] mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar.”

Jeremiah 40:5, “However, before Jeremiah turned to go, Nebuzaradan added, “Go back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the towns of Judah, and live with him among the people, or go anywhere else you please.”

Jeremiah 41:10, “Ishmael made captives of all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah…”

Revelation 12

We are told of his failed attempt to prevent the male Child from being born and assuming His rightful place of authority as ruler of the nations (1-6). An effort to usurp that authority by waging war in heaven is thwarted, resulting in the devil and his angels being cast to earth. That prompts a loud voice in heaven to proclaim that salvation, strength, the kingdom of God and the power of His Christ has come.

11, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”

17 “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”

O bservation

Our testimony is powerful!

A pplication

Never underestimate the power of your testimony, of what God has done in your life. It’s how we overcome. (That, and what Christ has done, by going to the cross and shedding his blood. “The blood of the Lamb.”)

My testimony isn’t only how I came to faith in Christ, what he did in my life, how I was “born again.” But it is also what God is doing in my life, day in and day out…

Makes me think of the story in John 4 about Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. She went and told her friends, “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did.” (Which Jesus didn’t do… he only addressed the number of husbands she had…) Many came to faith because of her testimony, before they heard for themselves, just based upon her words!

(By the way, there will plenty of time to address the Babylonian captivity, especially when we get into the book of Daniel…)

Again the issue of Revelation is how much of this has already been fulfilled and how much is pending…

There is no question, that the birth of Jesus had to have set off a firestorm in the heavens… Remember when King Herod had all the young boys in Jerusalem killed, “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.”

Sounds like it fits with Revelation 12?

I am always reluctant to weigh in heavily as to my opinions or preferences in Revelation, because I am certainly no expert. Just connecting a few dots and sharing my musings along the way…

Regardless of what the future holds, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb (the work of Jesus on the cross) and by sharing our testimony with others. (So that they may come to faith.)

Sharing my testimony builds faith in others… if it is about a healing, it raises their faith to believe for healing for themselves, or perhaps for someone around them. The same would be true for enduring a tough situation, a financial miracle, or whatever God may have done for us.

The Apostle Paul, after speaking in Athens, recapped by saying, “Some believed, some sneered and some wanted to hear more.” That’s usually the case. I contend for those who may believe, but just know that some will sneer or want to hear more. Not lowering my expectations, just being prepared for what to expect. (Acts 17:32)

Don’t let other people’s reaction prevent you from sharing your faith.

My best tip, do it in love. Be sincere, transparent and kind. Romans 2:4 states it’s “the kindness of God leads to repentance.” Not our fancy presentation, not quoting tons of scripture… just a loving interaction, sharing our faith, offering a prayer… helping to move, being a listening ear.

But it has to tie back to Christ (the blood of the Lamb) and the work he has done in our lives.

That is when we experience breakthrough and lead others to Christ.

P rayer

Thank you Lord for the work you have done in my life! Open doors for me to share my faith with others I come into contact with.

Day 249

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Welcome to Day 249 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Ezekiel 29; Ezekiel 30; Ezekiel 31; Ezekiel 32; Revelation 11 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Ezekiel 29:1-32:32, this section primarily addresses Egypt and it’s allies.

Ezekiel 29:6,

“Then all who live in Egypt will know that I am the Lord.”

21, “On that day I will make a horn grow for the house of Israel, and I will open your mouth among them. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

“A horn” symbolizes strength. See Psalm 132:17, “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.”

Ezekiel 30:25, “I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh will fall limp.

Then they will know that I am the Lord,

when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he brandishes it against Egypt. 26 I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries.

Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Ezekiel 31:18, ““Which of the trees of Eden can be compared with you in splendor and majesty? Yet you, too, will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth below; you will lie among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his hordes, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

Ezekiel 32 is a lamentation for Pharaoh, king of Egypt… In short, you and all your allies will be killed.

Summary: Though like a giant cedar tree, Egypt will fall as did Assyria.

Revelation 11:15, “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.'”

O bservation

Apart from all the detail contained within all the imagery, Revelation 11:15 is the bottom line!

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

A pplication

I don’t have to wonder or worry about when, what or how things will unfold.

I just need to trust in him, every step along the way…

I know there is still another 11 chapters, but this is the theme of Revelation, Jesus is Lord over heaven and earth, and it will be made abundantly clear to all, at some point.

Interesting thought regarding the “two witnesses.” They could be Moses or Elijah!” Or at least ones who are reminiscent of these two prophets. They have appeared together one other time, right? On the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus!

Revelation 11:6, “These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.”

Remember Elijah prayed that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t for… Hmmm… 42 months! And if I recall clearly… Hmmm… Moses brought the plagues upon Egypt and turned the Nile into blood.

We can’t be sure as to how literal this is, but there is a startling similarity between the two witnesses and Moses and Elijah, wouldn’t you agree?

Again, so what?

It’s just interesting, not necessarily critical to the outcome…

Back to my point, I don’t have to worry.

Jesus is clearly in control…

I just need to be ready!

P rayer

Thank you Lord that I can trust in you at all times! You are the same yesterday, today and forever!

Day 248

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Welcome to Day 248 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Ezekiel 25; Ezekiel 26; Ezekiel 27; Ezekiel 28; Revelation 10 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Today’s readings from Ezekiel 25-28 contain prophecies of retribution to these nations:

Ammon (25:1–7), Moab (25:8–11), Edom (25:12–14), Philistia (25:15–17), Tyre (26:1–28:19), Sidon (28:20–24)

Ezekiel 25, four times the phrase, “then they [you] will know that I am the Lord.” appears.

Ezekiel 26, again the phrase, “then they will know that I am the Lord.” appears.

Ezekiel 27, in this prophetic word agains Tyre, the phrase, “then they will know that I am the Lord.” does not appear…

Ezekiel 28, nor does it appear in this chapter in reference to the King of Tyre. It does appear in reference to Sidon though. Interesting… Tyre and Sidon are often mentioned in the same breath, like “Minneapolis/St. Paul.” being neighboring cities.

24 “No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns.

Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.

25 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. 26 They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.”

Revelation 10

Just as there was an interlude between the sixth and seventh seals that included two visions designed to comfort the saints, so we find an interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets with three visions that would have similar effect.

The voice from heaven tells John to take the book from the angel. As he does so, the angel tells him to eat the book, with a warning that while it will be sweet as honey in his mouth, it will make his stomach bitter. When John eats the book, he is told that he must again prophesy about many peoples, nations, tongues and kings (8-11).

The significance of eating the little book seems clear enough… it symbolizes John mastering the contents of the message (Ezekiel 2:1-3:11). As to its contents, it may pertain to the prophecies of upcoming chapters 12-22, which certainly contain prophecies of peoples, nations, kings, etc. (Excerpts edited from Mark A. Copeland’s study of Revelation.)

Seven thunders??

O bservation

When John eats the book, it tastes good going down, but makes his stomach bitter… As he must prophesy about many peoples, nations, tongues and kings.

A pplication

Having to say the hard thing is never easy. I don’t like it, but we all have to do it once in a while.

It can make your stomach upset, for sure.

Prophesying against people and nations and kings could be that much more difficult.

This Revelation that John is witnessing (keep in mind, this is “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.” Revelation 1:1) John was instructed to “write this down.”

Thinking about the “bitter-sweet” nature of what John is experiencing… The glory of the risen Christ, yet judgment being dispersed upon the earth.

Isn’t that just how life is?

Life is almost always a mixed bag. I have four young adult kids, ages 19-25. They are in various stages of life, in differing stages of faith, figuring things out for themselves.

When I look at their lives, sometimes I can relax and smile and enjoy what I am seeing. At other times, though, being a father (in John’s case, a prophet) requires action on my part.

Honestly, sometimes I would rather just bury my head and let them work it out for themselves. But sometimes that’s just not possible.

I hope to spare them some headaches or heartache down the road…

But input can be met with mixed reaction, right?

I could be the wisest father on the planet, or come across as the most harsh, judgmental, nit-picker, ever.

Perhaps both are true at times…

Bitter-sweet for sure.

P rayer

Lord, give me wisdom to lead, and kind words for those around me. Even when I have to say the hard thing…

Day 247

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Welcome to Day 247 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Ezekiel 22; Ezekiel 23; Ezekiel 24; Revelation 9 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Ezekiel 22:30, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”

Ezekiel 23 compares Samaria and Jerusalem as sister-prostitutes. 29 ” Your lewdness and promiscuity 30 have brought this upon you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols.”

Ezekiel 24:1, “In the ninth year, in the tenth month on the tenth day, the word of the Lord came to me: 2 ‘Son of man, record this date, this very date, because the king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day.'”

Revelation 9, the fifth and sixth angels sound their trumpets to unleash even more wrath upon the earth.

(There are those who believe, as I have said before, that these events have already taken place, ie the fall of Rome. Still, futurists believe these events are yet to unfold.)

Here is the timeless principle that we always should look for in scripture… That regardless of what is happening around the world, or even to a person, they still have the choice to repent. Many will not. See verse 20 below…

20 “The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

O bservation

It’s difficult for me to believe that these passages have already occurred, as never in history has 1/3 of mankind been killed in one event or by one plague. (Wondering how literal “hail, fire and blood” was meant to be?)

A pplication

I know I keep going back to this, but, the day or the hour is not important, in that we can not know it anyway. And any attempt to pinpoint a timeline is foolish. (Jesus did say we can know the seasons and recognize the signs of the times. So, in general, we are not left unaware.)

The truth is, though, someone will be right at some point.

It is true that we are at a point in history when it really is possible for “every eye to see” some event, thanks to smart phones and tvs… (I don’t think just because the Bible says, “EVERY eye will see” that it has to mean that literally… Like “Everyone saw it!” meaning a vast majority vs a literal EVERYone.)

I always ask myself, “So what?” What does this have to do with me? Us? How does this apply to us today?

It applies in that people still need to repent from the very things listed in Ezekiel 23. Not much has changed in 3,000 years…

The problem is, many people now believe that truth is relative. If you believe it to be true, then for you it is true. (Much “truth” is impossible to prove.)

Can I prove that Jesus was who he said he was? Can I prove he rose from the dead? I can point to the Bible, but that doesn’t prove it’s “true” for many people.

I may have to say this every day during the reading of Revelation… Just be ready. See the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.

With the explosion of technology in our generation (landing on the moon, cell phones, internet), we are living in a unique point in history. Add to that, that the nation of Israel was reformed in 1948, many believe that this one event points to these being the “last days” as mentioned in 1 John. (Although John said, “these are the last days…” 1 John 2:18, “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.”

“This is the last hour.” Again, not literally, but figuratively.

We could say the same thing, right?

Having said that, I believe we do live in a unique point in history.

Add to that we now have enough of a nuclear arsenal to destroy the world many times over. China could actually produce an army of 200,000,000. (But who needs an army that size when you can push a button and wipe a country off a map??)

This would not have been possible at any other point in history. Keep in mind the WORLD population didn’t reach the first (one) billion until 1804. Then, it took only 123 years (1927) to double, to two billion. Then, only 33 more years (1960) to reach three billion!

I was born in 1962… at just over three billion people on the planet. In my lifetime, the population has doubled to over seven billion people!

Again, so what? Doesn’t mean much until you read about an army of 200 million people in Revelation and realize that this is now possible. It wasn’t just a few generations ago!

What’s the point?

The point is, we ARE living in a unique time in history when many things are now possible that simply weren’t before at any point!

Only in Star Trek would one be able to talk to a person on a computer screen. Now I can do it on my cell phone via Skype! (Not anxious to be “transported” until they get all the bugs worked out on that one!)

One of the final pieces of the prophetic puzzle is the rebuilding of the Jewish temple… where the Dome of the Rock now stands. This is a toughie… This Muslim shrine was constructed on the very site of the Jewish temple that was destroyed in 70 AD! This shrine would have to be destroyed in order for the Jewish temple to be rebuilt (if it’s important for it to be at the exact same original location… Personally, I’m not sure it has to be. Would it be significant if it were to be built there? Of course. But the destruction of the Dome, even by an earthquake… the sacred nature of the ground itself… they wouldn’t just hand it back over to the Jews. So… who knows?

All of this adds up to one thing: This is an exciting age in which to be living…

“Every eye will see…”

P rayer

Lord, only you know the day and the hour. And I’m ok with that!

Day 246

 

 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Welcome to Day 246 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Ezekiel 20; Ezekiel 21; Psalms 111; Revelation 8 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Ezekiel 20, lamenting over Israel’s elders in captivity for their idolatry…

40 “For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them.” (Emphasis is mine.)

Makes me want to stand and shout and cheer every time the Lord proclaims restoration over Israel!

Ezekiel 21, the sword of God’s judgment… again?? I get it, I get it… Israel was unfaithful and worshiped idols and is being cut off for a time.

Psalm 111:9, “He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name.”

Revelation 8, the seventh seal causes silence in heaven for about 30 minutes. That silence must have been deafening! Going from the scene in Revelation 4-7 with all the thousands of angels worshiping and crying out. Possibly it signifies the awe in heaven for what has already been revealed, or for what is about to be revealed?

(Wow, then this seventh seal being opened unleashes some serious judgment upon the earth when the angels sound their trumpets!) Verse 7, “The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.”

13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

(Watch out when an eagle calls out in a loud voice!)

O bservation

Some serious stuff is being unleashed on the earth…

Artist depiction of fire, hail and blood raining down upon the earth.

A pplication

I stumbled upon a Life Journal group meeting Sunday morning at our coffee bar in the Family Life Center at church… They asked me about the tribulation… if I’m “pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trip.” I gave my standard “I’m a pan-tribulationist… I believe it will all pan out in the end.” : )

Then we talked for a few minutes about it, seriously…

But I am serious…

Jesus said two things that may sound like they contradict one another…

The first was about being able to know the weather, but not the signs of the times… Matthew 16:3, “‘“When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red, 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

But he also said in Matthew 24:36 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”

How can we reconcile both of those statements??

It’s true, we can be a little slow to interpret the time we are in… and no one knows exactly the day or the hour of his return…

In the end, it doesn’t really matter, if we’re always ready… (I wrote about this a day or two ago… about the parable of the ten virgins having their lamps ready for the wedding… Some didn’t and missed it.)

This is not meant to be a cop-out… It’s not that I don’t want to take a stand on the matter or offer up an opinion, it’s just that I don’t really know. And even those who think they know, could be wrong, not matter how convinced they may be that they are right.

At any rate, some not-fun stuff awaits the earth at some point, whether I/we will be here or not. It’s going to happen sometime, and it won’t be pretty.

I do believe, however, that Jesus took the punishment for our sins already, so we won’t have to pay! That’s pretty clear in scripture. That is where the “pre-trib” stance comes from… That we will escape all of this.

I’m not convinced, however, that just because we may be around for some of this that it is judgment upon the church, just that the church may need to be around to preach the good news through this whole mess! How else will people be saved??

Again, doesn’t matter. Just be ready!

I’m hoping to escape this whole mess, though… seriously… Hail and fire mixed with blood?? (Gulp…) Not a pretty picture for sure. Then, a third of the sea turns to blood?? Then a third of all the rivers turn bitter??

Again, just… be… ready. Pre, mid or post.

P rayer

Lord, I’m so thankful that YOU make us ready. It’s because of all that YOU have done that we have any hope at all to escape this mess, or that we could ever endure it!

Day 245

 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Welcome to Day 245 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Ezekiel 17; Ezekiel 18; Ezekiel 19; Revelation 7 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Ezekiel 17:2, “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: A great eagle with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied colors came to Lebanon… [A parable.]

12 “Do you not know what these things mean?” [The parable explained.]

Ezekiel 18:19, “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The soul who sins is the one who will die.”

Ezekiel 19:14, “This is a lament and is to be used as a lament.”

Revelation 7:9, “I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb… 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

12 “Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”

17 “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Artist depiction of the throne room of God. Artist unknown.

O bservation

This scene in Revelation that is unfolding is amazing… Creatures and elders and angels, people from every tribe and tongue and nation, all worshiping the Lamb together. “The Lamb… will be their shepherd!”

Isn’t that ironic that a lamb would be the shepherd?

A pplication

Imagine being there… Every tribe of people from around the world for all time, every tongue, every nation represented, all worshiping together!

This passage, along with the previous, Revelation 4:5, “From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal,” paints an amazing scene of worship!

Flashes of lightning reflecting off this sea of glass, peals of thunder, every calling out in worship…

Wow.

And what about these creatures covered in eyes? Who will the 24 elders be? Will we be able to track down our loved ones who have gone on before us?

All I know is, this scene of worship continues, and we get to join in! I believe sometimes the angels join with us as we press in. They may come and minister to us as we worship, even at other times.

I often say that eternity has already begun. It doesn’t begin after we take our last breath, it has already begun. We have already entered into it! We get to make the choice to worship the Lord here and now. Day in and day out. We get to choose righteousness (or not) and stand on our own merits before him, as it says in Ezekiel 18, saved by grace, by the blood of the Lamb at the center of the throne!

My degree is in visual communication… I can see this whole event unfolding. It’s amazing! Beautiful, intense, powerful. And real!

It has happened, and, it is happening, and, it will continue until we all are joined together in eternity.

Have you ever seen a sea of people? Check out this YouTube of evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke preaching to a sea of people in Africa! Truly amazing and incredible. It gives a visual to this scene in Revelation 7 of 10,000 times 10,000 and thousands upon thousands! (Revelation 5:11.)

I look forward to that day when we will all enter in to perfect worship, untainted by our humanity. All tongues and tribes and nations (and denominations!) worshiping together before the throne of God!

P rayer

Thank you Lord for giving us a glimpse of what is to come!

Day 244

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Welcome to Day 244 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Ezekiel 15; Ezekiel 16; Psalms 70; Revelation 6 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P =  Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Ezekiel 15, Jerusalem, a useless vine… 6 “As I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem.”

Ezekiel 16, Jerusalem, a prostitute, an unfaithful wife… 32 “You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! 33 Every prostitute receives a fee, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors. 34 So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you.”

Psalm 70:5, “I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.”

Revelation 6, six of the seven seals are loosened.

The first four seals:

1. The white horse and its rider – Represents military conquest, such as God used to bring judgment upon Assyria (Isa 10:5-7,12-13,15-16) and Babylon (Isa 13:17-20).

2. The red horse and its rider – Represents civil war, in which people would kill one another, such as God used in His judgment against Egypt (Isa 19:1-4).

3. The black horse and its rider – Represents famine, where necessities (wheat and barley) would be scarce, while luxuries (oil and wine) might be in abundance but of little interest to the hungry.

4. The pale horse and its riders (Death and Hades) – Represents death brought about by the sword, hunger, death (pestilence), and beasts of the earth.

With the fifth seal, we are told why God would bring such judgments. Souls have been slain for the word of God and their testimony, and when the time is right the judgments will begin.

The sixth seal describes cosmic disturbances and the despair of those trying to hide from God’s wrath. Is this scene depicting the end of time?

Revelation 7 hits the pause button on the loosening of seals. John has two visions, then on to Revelation 8 with the loosening of the seventh and final seal; Silence in heaven for about thirty minutes.

Portions edited from Mark A. Copeland’s study of the Book of Revelation.

O bservation

The loosening of the seals is quite the scene!

A pplication

This chapter ends with a statement and a question: “For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

There are so many passages throughout the Bible about “standing.”

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then…” Ephesians 6:13

Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then…”

“You too, be patient and stand firm,

because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:8

For 2,000 year we have been waiting for the Lord’s return. His promise is that he would come again. The million dollar question is, “When?”

No one knows for sure… but most agree that there is a series of events that must happen before Christ returns.

The scene is now beginning to unfold in Revelation.

Some think the church will totally escape any tribulation and be “snatched away” or “raptured” (into heaven) before anything major happens. Some think the church will have to endure some tribulation, then will be rescued. Still others think the church will have to endure to the bitter end to the point of death.

I think it doesn’t really matter. I think we should just be ready.

Remember the parable Jesus told about the virgins and the lamps? Five had their lamps trimmed, five didn’t. Five were prepared, five weren’t and missed the wedding and the banguet. See Matthew 25.

If you’re ready, you’re ready. Doesn’t matter when the events unfold. If you keep your “lamps trimmed” at all times, you won’t miss it.

I’m not crazy about the thought of having to endure war, civil or world-wide… famine or whatever could come.

But I want to be ready.

If we are still here, our job will be to give hope to the world and continue to offer salvation by the grace of God.

But aren’t we already doing that? Yes, but I’m sure the intensity and scope of reach could change dramatically in the last days…

The is some debate about these particular chapters as to whether these events have already taken place, since there is so much similarity to the judgment of Israel and Judah and their captivity in Babylon about which we just read in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, then the latter chapters relate to judgment upon Rome.

Others think this is more symbolic of future events to unfold, rather than the recording of past events. Is “Babylon” literal or figurative?

People have been debating this for centuries, and I’m quite sure I don’t know which it is…

But for sure, the final few chapters of Revelation are yet to come, as Satan has not been bound for a thousand years yet!

No matter, I still say,

“Just be ready!”

P rayer

Lord, I want to be ready… Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you, the author and finisher/perfector of my faith! (Hebrews 12:2)

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