Day 365

Today’s Reading – Revelation 19-22

2018

Who knows what the New Year will bring?

Are you ready?

There is global warming, rising gas and energy prices, shortages of food and water, disasters on land and sea. There are new diseases and economic uncertainty. Terrorist activity is increasing and banks are failing.

There are rumors of war, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, war, famine, poverty, and more. We are surrounded by the signs or so we think.

The conditions in the world have been getting progressively worse for many years.

Have things gotten so bad that the world is going to end?

That has been the story for years, for generations, for centuries.

The one who bears witness to these things says, “Yes, I’m coming soon.” Amen. 
Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.  Revelation 22:20-21 CEB

I don’t know when soon is . . .

Until then . . . Remember what you have learned in our journey this year:

God loves you!

He sent Jesus to die for you.

How you live your faith matters – now and forever!

Grace to all you in the adventure of faith that lies ahead for us.

Day 364

Today’s Reading – Revelation 12-18

This calls for wisdom. Let the one who understands calculate the beast’s number, for it’s a human being’s number. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.   Revelation 13:18 CEB
We can not address the mark of the beast without acknowledging the Number of the Beast. The number is 666 in most manuscripts of the New Testament, and in modern translations and critical editions of the Greek text. Although Irenaeus (second century) reported several scribal errors of the number, there is still doubt by some theologians about the original writing, as some recently discovered third century early manuscripts of Revelation read 616. This topic is a source of contention for many church groups and theologians. Most scholars contend that the number 666 is a numerical coded entry that refers to the Roman Emperor Nero. 616 was a coded entry for Nero as well but while derived from using his Latin name.

What does the number mean?

Futurist contend that the number would be a number that all currency would be based upon (and you thought the metric system was hard?). Exact interpretations vary widely and many now refer to more current technologies:

•Some interpret the mark as a requirement for all commerce to mean that the mark might actually be an object with the function of a credit card (e.g. implanted RFID tags)
•Some propose that the mark of the beast may refer to a social security number or card
•Others suppose the mark to be a microchip or a tattooed barcode on the human body

Some who take a contextual view of the Book of Revelation identify the Mark of the Beast with the stamped image of the emperor’s head on every coin of the Roman Empire: the stamp on the hand or in the mind of all, without which no one could buy or sell. New Testament scholar Craig C. Hill, a Methodist, says, “It is far more probable that the mark symbolizes the all-embracing economic power of Rome, who’s very coinage bore the emperor’s image and conveyed his claims to divinity. It had become increasingly difficult for Christians to function in a world in which public life, including the economic life of the trade guilds, required participation in idolatry.”

The ‘mark’ is also seen as an ironic contrast with the Jewish institution of tefillin – bible texts worn bound to the arm and the forehead during daily prayer. Instead of binding their allegiance to God to their arm and head, these places are instead taken up with the people’s allegiance to the Beast.

Whatever the number and the beast represent it is important to understand that it is about choice – your choice – who will you choose to follow?

Who will have your allegiance?

Day 363

Today’s Reading – Revelation 6-11

31807-womanocean1200.1200w.tn

Then one of the elders said to me, “Who are these people wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.”   Then he said to me, “These people have come out of great hardship. They have washed their robes and made them white in the Lamb’s blood . . . They won’t hunger or thirst anymore. No sun or scorching heat will beat down on them, because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  Revelation 7:13-14, 16-17  CEB

This series of chapters is very troubling to read – seven seals and seven trumpets calling for death, doom, and destruction.  The pages are filled with horror, death, and judgement.  The imagery makes for great cinema, but we skip over the judgment part because we prefer to believe the promises at the end of passages.

Revelation reveals a story yet to happen that tells of the events related to the second coming of Christ – the time when God will establish His Kingdom on earth.

We like the idea of a Righteous King on the throne.  A Kingdom of fairness and love for all.  But any kingdom is based on loyalty to the throne.  Do you think God’s kingdom will be different?

When the Son of Man cometh to set up His Kingdom, shall He find Christian faith upon the earth?  Yes, but I fear as little as He found of Jewish faith when He came in the flesh. 

~ John Fletcher (in a letter to Charles Wesley

 

 

Day 362

Today’s Reading – Revelation 1-5

They took up a new song, saying, 
“You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slain, and by your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will rule on earth.” 
Revelation 5:9-10 CEB

I have to admit I don’t understand most of this book of the Bible.

That is not to say that I am not fascinated by it.

I am also more than skeptical of anyone who claims to know what it all means – even the author didn’t understand all that he saw and wrote!

Here is what I do know . . . this is the final chapter of God’s revelation to humankind called the Bible. Like any good book the last chapter sums everything up and ties up the loose ends.

God wins!

All the battles that seemed lost – God wins!

All the evil that seemed to prosper loses – God wins!

Oh and Jesus – for those that had faith without seeing – You will see Him!

Every now and then, when the night is darkest, read the last chapter of the book and remembered how everything turns out – it makes the scary parts not so scary!

Day 361

Today’s Reading – 1 John and 2 John

defaul1

 

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us  2 John 1:4 NIV

John’s second letter opens with a report that as parents we would all hope to receive.

Undoubtedly we can all recall other reports that made their way to us as parents or we can recall reports that made it to our parents for which we are lucky to still be alive today!

The reality of it is that in our desire to raise children that “walk in the truth” we often turn to the church, Sunday school, or youth group in the hopes that they will provide the desired results.  g children.

In the movie Parenthood, Keanu Reeves says “You need a license to fish and a license to drive, but any jerk can become a parent.”

It’s a funny line, partially because the idea of an actual parenting license seems so absurd. Obviously there is no way to prevent people from becoming parents just because they weren’t issued a license.

But if there were such a parenting license, what would the questionnaire look like? What are the most important things that every parent needs to know before taking that baby home from the hospital?

Does the Bible have anything to say?  And if it did, could we reduce to a few words to put on our refrigerator to remind us daily?  I believe John revealed some of those things in his second letter.

1) You Must Pass Along Your Faith  v4 “your children walking in the truth”

Parents don’t be dependent on someone else to actually talk to your children about faith.  Don’t wait for someone else to introduce them to Jesus.

2) You Must Pass Along A Love For Others V 5-6 “Continue to love one another”

Just teaching them to have faith is not the end of your obligation.  The Bible teaches us that how we live our faith matters!  Children observe daily whether you express love for other people, particularly people who are hard to love.

3) You Must Pass Along Godly Values  v 8-9 “Watch out do not be deceived . . . continue in the teaching . . . .”

Deception comes to our children most easily in the areas where we have failed to teach them.  We need always to be teaching our children Godly values.  They are always watching …

Last weekend we out running errands as a family and Sherry said something she says every time we get in the car, “Riley, do you have your seatbelt fastened?”  The lessons and values we teach everyday were driven home when for the first time Riley responded not by saying, “Yes, Mom!” but instead replied, “No because Daddy doesn’t have his on.”  Needless to say I quickly fastened my seatbelt.

If you will but Live your faith … you will have taught your children well.

 

 

Day 360

Today’s Reading – 1 John


We announce to you what existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have seen and our hands handled, about the word of life. The life was revealed, and we have seen, and we testify and announce to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us. What we have seen and heard, we also announce it to you so that you can have fellowship with us. Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.   1 John 1:1-3 CEB

Does this sound familiar?

As you read this passage, did you recall the story of the shepherds at the birth of Christ?

When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them.   Luke 2:15-18 CEB

Now that you know the story.

Share it.
Testify to others about it.

This Good News is too Good to keep yourself.

Day 359

Today’s Reading – 2 Peter and Jude


Remember this day these words from Jude:

Dear friends, I wanted very much to write to you concerning the salvation we share. Instead, I must write to urge you to fight for the faith delivered once and for all to God’s holy people. Godless people have slipped in among you. They turn the grace of our God into unrestrained immorality and deny our only master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:3-4a CEB

On this day of family, presents, Santa, food, ornaments, and celebration – don’t allow all of it to crowd out the reason for our salvation.

Merry Christmas!