December 30

December 30

Revelation & Eternity Future — Jesus Christ’s Kingdom will last forever & ever & ever & ever…
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 22
Reading 2: Isaiah 9:6-7
Reading 3: Ephesians 1:1-14

The final chapter of Revelation shows us how wonderful eternity will be, and Jesus gives His closing words – I am coming soon.

His government will never end (as we read from Isaiah just a few days ago) and we will be the beneficiaries.

Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus sums everything up for us: This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

Have a great day and a Happy New Year!

Mark.

December 29

December 29

Revelation & the Renovated Universe — There will be a new heavens, earth, & Jerusalem
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 21
Reading 2: Isaiah 65:17-25
Reading 3: 2 Peter 3

After the final clean-up yesterday, we have two days to celebrate the promise of everything made new. Just as we are preparing to celebrate a New Year, so God is preparing to celebrate a new heaven and a new earth. The old will pass away and He will make everything new.

Jesus is the beginning (as we saw on January 1st this year) and the end (as we are seeing now). The whole Bible is One Story: His-story.

The new Jerusalem is a picture of God’s dwelling with mankind. No need for a Temple or any special place to go to find God. God will be everywhere and so there is no need for any light, nor is there any day or night. And, in a human touch surely designed to encourage John who was imprisoned by water on the Island of Patmos, there is no sea!

It is impossible for us to imagine what this new earth is like, because it will be different from all that we know. It is as if we are currently living in an acorn, and God is going to grow a vast oak. We can look forward to so much!

Have a great day!

Mark.

December 28

December 28

Revelation & the Final Consequences — Some will experience the second, eternal death
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 20:14-15
Reading 2: Luke 16:19-31
Reading 3: Isaiah 66:22-24

Before we reach the final celebration we see the final clean-up. Death is thrown into the lake of fire, along with all those who were not found in the Book of Life (those who were consumed by fire in the final battle).

Traditionally hell has been characterized as a place where people are tormented eternally, but that would be a misreading of today’s scriptures. The eternal nature of the lake of fire is experienced by satan, the beast and the false prophet, but these verses do not say humans are tormented forever.

For sure there is an eternal consequence to our choice to follow Jesus, but we share the good news that through Him we can have eternal life, rather than threaten people with eternal punishment to get them to follow Him! Following Jesus out of fear of the alternative would be hell not heaven!

Have a great day!

Mark.

 

December 27

December 27

Revelation & the Final Judgment — God will judge people by the perfect standard of Jesus
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 20:11-13
Reading 2: Romans 2:1-16
Reading 3: Romans 3:9-26

When the final judgment comes, the whole truth about everyone will be known. BUT because God will judge everyone by the perfect standard of Jesus, only those outside of Jesus will be compared to His perfection. All who have believed in Jesus are included in Him, and appear before God in the perfection of Jesus. As Paul writes to the Romans: “People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.”

So on that day, when the Book of Life is opened alongside all the other record books of people’s lives, it is the Book of Life which will over-rule. All who have trusted Jesus will no longer be judged for their sins – they are covered by His blood!

Have a great day!

Mark.

December 26

December 26.
Revelation & the Millennium — Jesus Christ will reign on earth after His return
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 20:1-10
Reading 2: Zechariah 14:16-21
Reading 3: Luke 19:11-27

Yesterday we celebrated the birth of Jesus and His coming victory over all evil. Today we read more detail of that victory. Jesus will reign on earth for a thousand years while satan is bound and powerless. Then satan will be released to deceive the nations into fighting against God one last time.

In that battle, fire from heaven consumes those who have come to fight against God. A purifying act that signifies the end of all opposition to God’s rule. Then satan is thrown into the lake of fire with the beast and the false prophet. As eternal beings they suffer there forever.

By contrast, Jesus describes how those who faithfully steward the gifts He has given them will be presented with rewards in heaven. As we look forward to a new year, why not take a moment to review how God has gifted you , and ask Him how you can best use those gifts in the year ahead?

Have a great day!

Mark.

December 24

December 24

Revelation & the Second Coming — Christ will return to the earth in power & glory
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 19:11-21
Reading 2: Zechariah 14:1-15
Reading 3: 2 Thessalonians 1

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus tomorrow, what better readings than today’s accounts of His present and future status – as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The rider on the white horse is Faithful and True – the first human to fully obey God, and open the way for all who trust Him to do the same. In a final battle, Jesus and the armies of heaven are victorious over satan and evil. As Zechariah prophesied: “On that day there will be one LORD—his name alone will be worshiped.”

And Paul tells us that our participation in this whole panorama of salvation and righteousness is solely by grace – grace that became visible in a feeding trough one night more than two thousand years ago. Happy Christ-mas!

Have a great day!

Mark.

December 23

December 23

Revelation & the Marriage Supper — Jesus Christ will marry His bride, the church
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 19:1-10
Reading 2: Matthew 22:1-14
Reading 3: 2 Corinthians 11:1-4

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ, we read today of an even more joyful occasion – the Marriage Supper of Jesus when the Church (all believers) will be united with Jesus forever.

Jesus told us about it before His crucifixion and Paul wanted all those he discipled to be ready for this central event in God’s plan. As we celebrate, let’s look forward to greater celebrations to come!

Have a great day!

Mark.

December 22

December 22

Revelation & the Tribulation — God’s judgment will be poured on the world
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 13
Reading 2: Revelation 16
Reading 3: Matthew 24

John goes on to describe what will happen as God’s judgment begins. There will be troubles of many kinds, and it is interesting to see that these judgments actually cause some to turn away from God (in a move similar to accelerating when approaching a blind corner)!

Several times we are told that God’s judgment is just, and clearly the result for those who have turned their backs on God is terrible. But those who trust Jesus, who are in relationship with God, will escape these terrible consequences unscathed.

We have much to be thankful for, and much to share with those around us, especially at this time of year when many are more open to talking about Jesus.

Have a great day!

Mark.

December 21

December 21

Revelation & the Trumpet — People will be called suddenly into God’s presence
Today’s Readings:
Reading 1: Revelation 4
Reading 2: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
Reading 3: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

After the instructions and encouragements to the seven churches, Jesus shows John what is to come. Today we see the implications of us being created in the image of God – eternal. All those who have received the life-giving spirit of Christ will live with Him forever. If we die before He returns we will be raised in new bodies. If He returns before we die we will be transformed. Then we join the eternal party with God!

No matter how dark this world becomes, the light shines, and we have much to look forward and anticipate!

Have a great day!

Mark.