March 22, 2010

The Riches of God’s Grace EPHESIANS 1:3-9

Imagine an elderly couple living in a dilapidated farmhouse. They can barely afford a few groceries and the medicines they need. There isn’t even enough money to keep the heat on all the time.

Then a short while after they both have died, a huge deposit of oil is discovered on the old homestead. All their years of poverty were lived out sitting on top of untapped wealth.

Sadly, many Christians go through life like that elderly couple. These believers have distilled Christianity down to its most basic parts: God saved me and someday I’ll go to heaven. Jesus Christ offers an abundant life now (John 10:10), but they aren’t living it. Spiritually poor Christians fail to tap into the reservoir of God’s grace. Eternity begins the moment we are saved; there is no reason to wait until heaven to start enjoying the Lord’s riches.

God has lavished His grace upon believers. We receive righteousness, freedom from legalism, and an unbreakable union with Him. In return, He desires that we invest time and energy in our relationship with Him. When believers open themselves to God, then everything He has to offer flows freely into their lives. Our connection to Him makes it possible for us to live joyful, contented lives rich with blessing.

True wealth isn’t measured by your bank account or automobile. Believers, as joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17), have access to God’s riches, which include unspeakable joy, unconditional love, and peace beyond understanding. Invest in your spiritual life, and enjoy these blessings of grace.

March 20, 2010

The Trustworthy Character of God 2 SAMUEL 7:21-22

Whom do you trust? These days, it’s not easy to find many people who are true to their word. At some point, we all learn the hard way that anyone other than almighty God can disappoint us. Let’s look at the Lord’s character to discover why He can be trusted.

First, He is the one true God. Back in Old Testament times, it was common for people to actually carve and worship a false god. Today, it is more typical to idolize something unseen, such as wealth, power, fame, or relationships. These can consume our passion, money, and time—and in the end leave us fruitless and empty. Jehovah, on the other hand, is alive and real, ready to be intimately involved in our lives.

Second, God is truth, and He is always faithful (John 14:6; 1 Cor. 10:13). Unlike sinful man, the Lord is trustworthy—and everything that He says will happen comes to pass. Our sovereign God has all power and is in control of every situation.

Third, Christ loves us unconditionally. How can we ever doubt His love when He willingly gave His life in our place? And His love is based not on our behavior or status, but rather on His character alone.

Fourth, the heavenly Father is unchanging. All of the above are timeless attributes that will forever be true.

God can be trusted. So don’t give Him just the easy concerns; rely upon your Creator for everything. He desires a personal relationship with His beloved and is able to guide each believer through life victoriously. In a changing, suspicious world, you have a Friend who is 100 percent reliable.

March 19, 2010

A God We Can Trust PSALM 37:1-9

Throughout Scripture, we are admonished to trust in the Lord. When times are good, this doesn’t seem like a difficult task. However, when trials arise, it is much more difficult to rely fully upon Him.

Yet it is always important for us to place our trust in the living God, especially when everything around us seems to be falling apart. That may well have been the situation that inspired the writing of Psalm 37.

Notice that in today’s passage, the psalmist mentions several times that we should not fret (vv. 1, 7, 8). Distress over a situation is the opposite of trust, and fretting has ill effects. For one thing, it can take a toll on physical and emotional wellbeing. Another problem is that feeding worry can lead to evildoing: by attempting to manage the situation quickly in our human way, we may miss God’s best solution. A third consequence is that others may not enjoy our company, so we could lose our effective witness for the kingdom.

What, then, is the antidote for worry and stress during a difficult time? Absolute trust in Christ. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” This means we are to lay all our burdens at His feet, believing that He is good, loving, and in control.

When trials arise, do you run toward the Lord? Or do you try to handle things yourself? He who created you can handle any difficulty and pain, even when it seems overwhelming. What He desires is your surrender and trust. It is in His arms that you will find rest for your soul.

March 18, 2010

When Others Fail Us 2 TIMOTHY 4:9-14

The apostle Paul knew the value of having good friends. Barnabas encouraged him in his ministry. Silas partnered with him in establishing new churches. Timothy became like a son to him. Paul also knew the heartache of co-laborers turning away from him when times got tough (2 Tim. 1:15). We may experience something similar in our life.

People will react differently to our struggles. Some feel inadequate and hold back because they are uncertain about what to say or do. Others are so protective of their time that selfishness causes them to turn away. And sometimes our friends and co-workers do not want to be identified with us in our trials. In my early days as a pastor, this happened to me when the church was going through a period of turmoil. Only two pastors reached out to me and offered support; the others stood back. This experience taught me the importance of reaching out to people in crisis.

Helping others requires an investment of time and energy. We start by praying for them and asking the Lord how we can help. He may have us lend emotional support, provide spiritual guidance, offer assistance in a physical or financial way, or find others who can. Standing with people will encourage them.

When friends abandoned him, Paul asked God not to count their actions against them. He followed the example of Jesus, who prayed for the Father to forgive His persecutors. What’s your response when friends let you down? Forgiveness is the choice that pleases God every time.

March 17, 2010

Forward by Faith GENESIS 12:1-20

Faith can be lulled to sleep when we are focused on our own comfort rather than God’s plan. Abraham did not fall into this trap. He traded the familiar for the unknown and received many blessings.

Living by faith is the right answer when God calls you to move forward. His call can come to us at any age and in any situation. Abraham was 75 when he began his journey. David was a shepherd boy when he was anointed to be king (1 Sam. 16:11-13).

Paul encountered the Lord on his way to arrest Jewish believers in Damascus. After his conversion, he became the Lord’s representative to the Gentiles (Acts 9:1-6). Our call may not be so dramatic, but it will always involve moving forward by faith.

Following the Lord will also include times of testing. Abraham, like all of us, had some successes and some failures. The initial call to leave his country was met with strong belief and immediate action. As a result, he received a promise of great blessing for him and his descendants. But encountering famine brought a different response—a sojourn to Egypt, deception about his relationship with Sarah, and chastisement from Pharaoh. Our response to God’s commands really matters. We can bring blessing or heartache through our actions.

Obeying God can be uncomfortable. Those close to us may question our motives or disagree with our decisions. And we ourselves may not want to do what He asks. But faith will keep us moving forward in obedience. It helps us stay the course and experience the blessings found in a relationship with Christ.

March 16, 2010

Living by Faith HEBREWS 11:8-10

Abraham is one of the people in the Old Testament who have had a great impact on my spiritual walk. In his life, I see the necessity of living by faith.

Separation is oftentimes a part of our development as Christians. Before we can take on something new, the Lord may ask us to let go of something we already have.

In Genesis 12:1-3, God told Abraham he was going on a journey that would require leaving his country, his people, and his father’s household. Obedience meant saying goodbye to relationships and things dear to him. The only family that traveled with him were his wife and nephew; the life he knew in his homeland was left behind. But this godly man did not hesitate. His strong faith enabled him to say yes.

Moving ahead in the midst of uncertainty can be another aspect of following the Lord. Abraham was told to travel without knowing his destination. Try to imagine explaining to friends that you’re moving away but have no idea where you are going. This lack of detail did not stop Abraham. Unwavering trust in his heavenly Father enabled him to answer the divine call wholeheartedly—even though specific details were lacking. Abraham was spiritually ready to answer affirmatively when God called.

Following God requires living by faith, which means: trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us (John 16:13) when we don’t see how all the pieces fit together; believing that God always works for our good (Rom. 8:28) and His glory; and desiring to please our Father. Will you be ready when He calls?

March 15, 2010

The Lord Comforts Sinners JOHN 8:1-11

We expect a loving heavenly Father to care for His children when they are hurt, persecuted, or misunderstood. But you might be surprised to realize that God comforts believers even when they have sinned.

Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save anyone who believes in Him (John 3:17). Consider His response to the woman whom the Pharisees dragged from an adulterous liaison and dropped at His feet. Her accusers wanted the offender stoned to death. But instead of taking up a rock, Jesus offered her forgiveness. The Lord did not defend her actions or completely erase all consequences of her choices. However, He did offer her compassion and an opportunity to turn her life around: “Go. From now on sin no more” (John 8:11).

God understands our human frailty. And even before we do wrong, He knows the poisonous harvest that we will reap from sin. We certainly want a lot of comfort when we are suffering from our own foolishness. A loving God does not abandon His children at their hour of great need—His Spirit wades into the mess we have made. He offers to guide us out of the pit, soothes our broken heart, and provides reassurance that He is always close by.

Sinning against the Lord makes us feel unworthy of His care and solace. Yet God’s forgiveness is based on His great mercy rather than our conduct. If Jesus Christ sacrificed His life to save you from your sins, then He certainly will love and comfort you, no matter what.

March 13, 2010

The God Who Comforts 2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-7

Look up “comfort” in dictionary.com or another reference, and you will read a definition like this: “Something that promotes a state of ease or provides freedom from pain and anxiety.” But God’s Word has a different solution when consolation is needed: the indwelling Holy Spirit. In Greek, He is called parakletos, which means “he who stands at one’s side; he who comes to one’s aid.” Believers don’t have to seek outward remedies or distractions to ease their mind, because help is available within.

Even before the Spirit was sent to indwell believers (John 14:26; Eph. 3:16), Scripture identified God as the one who comforts His people (Isaiah 40:1; 49:13). The Lord personally provides consolation and reassurance because no one knows our hurts the way He does.

I like this anonymous quotation: “When we have gone into the furnace of affliction, His hand is on the thermostat and His eye is on the clock.” God lets us pass through hardship to make us stronger believers, wiser servants, and more humble people. But He stays right by our side through the entire experience, sustaining us and limiting the intensity and duration of our distress. The Holy Spirit’s reassuring whisper to our heart gives more comfort than the solace of family or the encouragement of friends.

People who fail to understand the true source of comfort try to escape their pain. They seek out pleasures, material wealth, or drugs and alcohol to soothe their heart. Only God can offer lasting relief from the crushing pressure of heartache. He even brings joy into periods of mourning.

March 12, 2010

A Living Hope 1 PETER 1:3-9

Hope is both a strong belief and the anticipation that something good is going to happen. When our goals are not achieved, we may experience discouragement, which over time can turn into depression and even despair—the absence of hope.

How can we remain optimistic in the face of unmet expectations? First, we’re to remember the reason for our confidence: our relationship with Jesus. At salvation, we were born into a living hope (v. 3)—God made us a “new creation,” and we are no longer in bondage to the old sin nature (2 Cor. 5:17 NIV). His Spirit lives within us. We have been made co-heirs with Christ, and our true home is in heaven with Him. Nothing can alter our familial connection with the Lord.

Second, to maintain a positive outlook, we must spend daily time in the Scriptures. Romans 15:4 says that the Bible was written to give us encouragement and hope. The Psalms can be especially helpful in difficult times because they express the feelings we have and also tell us about the comfort available from God.

Third, we rely on the Lord’s faithfulness. Trusting in Him will never disappoint us because all of His promises are yes in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20).

Believers should not react to trials as the world does. We’re to live by faith—”being sure of what we hope for ” (Heb. 11:1 NIV). When circumstances overwhelm you, shift your focus to the Lord. Read the Scriptures to find encouragement, and be reminded of what is yours in Christ (Eph. 1:3-8).

March 11, 2010

Feeling Hopeless ACTS 27:10-22

Jesus told His disciples that we would have tribulation in this life (John 16:33). And truly, people do disappoint us, circum-stances cause pain, and our own limitations lead to frustration.

Many Bible stories attest to this truth:

1. Hannah was unable to conceive. The longer her yearning for a child went unfulfilled, the more hope dwindled. Sorrow and bitterness took hold of her. (1 Sam. 1:6-10).

2. Paul was caught in a violent storm. Against his advice, the ship had set sail, endangering him and all the others on board. After futile efforts to save the vessel, everybody had to swim ashore to survive (Acts 27:11, 20).

3. Jealous Saul pursued David throughout the land, trying to kill him. In Psalm 13:1, David wondered if the Lord had forgotten him.

How did these people find their way through such negative emotions? All three spent time in prayer. Hannah cried out to God, confessed her misery, and asked Him to provide her with a son. When she left the temple, her face was no longer downcast. Her hope returned because she trusted Him with her future. Following prayer, Paul witnessed to the hopeless sailors. He told them to have courage because the Lord had promised to deliver them. David turned his attention away from his circumstances and focused on God’s unfailing love (Ps. 13:5-6).

Communion with God can combat hopelessness. Prayer moves our attention to the Father’s deep love for us, the Son’s sacrifice on our behalf, and the Spirit’s reassuring presence. If we confess ungodly thoughts and become willing to surrender personal desires, forgiveness and peace will be ours.

March 10, 2010

Our Relationship With God PSALM 119:33-40

By trusting Christ, a person enters into a lifelong relationship with the heavenly Father. As believers, we have a responsibility to keep that connection healthy.

First, we must learn about our new family. An essential and on-going part of family life involves knowing and being known by the other members. In the Bible, God gave a detailed description of His attributes, values, and thinking. And since Jesus came to earth, we can better understand divine character, which was demonstrated in a human life. As we meditate on Scripture, our sense of connectedness to our triune God will grow.

Second, we should stay in close contact with God through prayer and study of His Word—and resist the temptation to put people, work, or pleasures ahead of Him. Remember: Relationships thrive with consistent interaction but wither if neglected.

Third, we are to respond to what He has communicated. He provided instructions for living and explained what pleases Him. In healthy families, people pay attention to each other. We need to heed our Father’s warnings and obey His commands.

Finally, we must grow in likeness to God. Relatives can resemble each other in subtle and obvious ways. As we cooperate with the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, we will start to think and act like our Father.

God the Father provided salvation through His Son, who died so we could become spiritually alive. Jesus set an example for us to follow: a life of loving, obedient service. God’s Spirit is doing His sanctifying work in us (1 Peter 1:2). Are we doing our part to keep the relationship healthy?

March 9, 2010

Intimacy With Our Heavenly Father JOHN 1:12-13

From the beginning, God intended to have an intimate, loving relationship with us. What evidence do we have that this is His desire?

His Son. One reason Christ came to earth is for us to know and relate to God the Father. The Bible tells us that Jesus is His exact representation; His words and works were the same as God’s (John 5:19; 12:50). Therefore, when we look at the Son, we are seeing the character of our heavenly Father.

Invitation. Through the Scriptures, God invites us to join His family (3:16). He took care of all the arrangements; our part is to say yes.

Adoption. The closest tie we can have with one another is family. At salvation, the Lord adopts us into His own. This relationship with our heavenly Father lasts for eternity, providing us with support, encouragement, and love.

Friendship. By calling His disciples “friends” (15:15), Jesus revealed a new aspect to their relationship, which applied to His future followers as well. Christ is a forever friend, one who will never desert or turn away from us.

His Presence. From the moment of our salvation, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is even closer to us than any earthly kin can be.

The Lord invites us to become family through faith in Christ. This is our highest calling—to believe in Him and live for Him all of our days (20:31). Once we become God’s children, His Spirit will work in us to make our family resemblance stronger and clearer in thought, word, and deed.

March 8, 2010

The Holy Spirit’s Lesson Plan JOHN 16:12-15

The ways of God are a mystery to man. Only when we have accepted salvation from Jesus Christ and received the Holy Spirit can we begin to understand. The Spirit uses three methods to open our minds and fill our hearts with godly wisdom.

Revelation. This term refers to truth given by the Lord that cannot be obtained in any other way. The Scriptures are the most obvious example. Anyone can read God’s Word and even understand some portions, but only a Spirit-filled believer can begin to grasp the layers of meaning within the Bible.

Illumination. We use this word to describe the amazing moment when the Holy Spirit lights up our minds so that we understand God’s Word. If the Bible were any other book, we would be able to read it a few times and know it thoroughly. But the Lord reveals ever-deeper truths about Himself as we mature in our faith (Eph. 1:18).

Remembrance. The Holy Spirit reminds us of godly principles or biblical passages when we need them. He helped the gospel writers recall events and Jesus’ words many years after the fact. And he does the same for us when we could use encouragement, inspiration, or comfort.

The Holy Spirit illuminates believers’ minds so that they can recognize and comprehend God’s revelation. When we memorize Scripture and store up biblical insights, the Holy Spirit can dip into the “reservoir” to bring needed wisdom to our memories.

March 6, 2010

The Holy Spirit: Our Teacher JOHN 14:25-26

If you are going to take instruction from someone, you want to be certain that person is well qualified, right? It’s interesting, then, that so many believers neglect the greatest Bible teacher available. We read religious books, consult friends, and tune into a favored preacher before we will get on our knees. While those sources can point us in the right direction, only the Holy Spirit illuminates God’s Word to our hearts and minds.

Asking someone to explain God’s Word seems easier than seeking to understand it through the Holy Spirit’s power. But consider what a person misses by forsaking Him. Who better to instruct believers about the Scripture’s depth and breadth than the One who wrote it (2 Peter 1:20-21)? The Spirit laid His message on the authors’ hearts, and they dutifully recorded it, each in his own unique voice.

Furthermore, as a member of the holy Trinity, the Spirit knows the mind of God (1 Cor. 2:10). He is often called the Spirit of truth, because He understands everything. The Spirit recognizes our emotional and mental state and can identify exactly where we are in our Christian growth. Therefore, He can reveal to our minds passages that will encourage, challenge, or convict us as needed.

We have a teacher of divine quality. He will help us to learn and grow, guide us through difficult passages, and shed light on why the Lord allows certain challenges our life. When it comes to aiding God’s people to know His Word, no one is more qualified than His Spirit.

March 5, 2010

The Value of God’s Word 2 TIMOTHY 3:14-17

From the opening line of Genesis to the final words of Revelation, all of Scripture is divinely inspired. And every word has purpose and importance.

The Old Testament introduces us to God’s nature, ways, and power; it lays the foundation for us to understand the Lord’s holiness and humanity’s desperate need for a Savior. The New Testament explains that Jesus sacrificially became our “bridge” to the Father (John 14:6). Its writings clarify why we must trust Christ for salvation, how to live as God’s children, and what to expect in this life and after death.

Through the Scriptures, almighty God reveals Himself to us. He also says that His Word is important for teaching, reproof, correction, instruction, and preparation for what we will face in life (2 Tim. 3:16-17). No other book holds such value for living.

Ephesians 6:13-17 compares the Word to armor, and for good reason: in the battle of life, we have a real enemy who wants to destroy us. But God’s power is greater (1 John 4:4), and “dressing” in war gear daily prepares His children for the temptations, lies, and decisions they will face. We ought to be excited about the Word of God, for it is the only hope for mankind—and the only instruction that leads to victory both in life and after physical death.

The Bible predicted that many people would reject the truth, and a glimpse at our culture shows that to be the case. Don’t let yourself fall into the same trap. Meditate daily on Scripture, and ask God to speak to you. Life without His truth is destined for failure.

March 4, 2010

God’s Word to Us 2 TIMOTHY 4:1-5

Most everyone in our culture has easy access to a Bible, yet this remarkable book is too often left on the shelf to gather dust. If only people grasped its true worth, they would prize God’s Word above all other possessions.

All of Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit. While He used man to pen the words, every thought in the Bible originated with God Himself (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Consider how we treasure letters from people we love. Our response to Scripture should be even stronger. The Creator of the universe—the God who holds eternity in His hand—recorded all the truth that is necessary for His children to live fully and joyfully, both before and after death (2 Peter 1:3). God reveals Himself through His Word, which is alive and powerful to transform our lives (Heb. 4:12).

What’s more, Romans 10:17 explains the great importance of our love for the Word: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. In other words, Scripture is the very means by which saving faith is possible.

How could such a book have become so commonplace in our heart? So taken for granted? It is vital that we realize the preeminence of its author, the Lord, and its potential impact on our lives today.

Think about the last time you saw a Bible. What was your reaction? Did you finger the pages with awe, or did you pass it by with barely a glance? Next time you open this precious book, read the words, savor their meaning, and ask God to help you apply the lesson to your life.

March 3, 2010

Walking in the Spirit GALATIANS 5:16-25

The Holy Spirit is one of God’s most precious gifts to His beloved children. He takes up residence within the believer at the moment of salvation and empowers him to overcome sin and live for God’s glory and purposes. However, the Spirit’s power can be “turned off” or ignored. Only those who choose to walk with Him have unhindered access to His strength and guidance.

Walking by the Spirit denotes reliance upon Him. He leads the way, and we follow. As He speaks, we listen, heed His warnings, and obey His directions. The Spirit’s way is a path of surrender which, although difficult, leads to fullness of life.

God’s Spirit not only guides; He also empowers because the challenge of obeying Him is impossible in our own strength. The Holy Spirit supplies everything we need to live a godly life, and He produces His amazing fruit in us.

Being led by the Spirit should be the natural lifestyle of the sons and daughters of God. As you intentionally seek to maintain an awareness of His presence throughout the day, He is only a thought away. When your mind turns to Him, He gives sensitivity to the things of God and understanding about the situations and people in your life.

Take a walk with the Spirit today, and learn to know His voice. Whenever your mind is not occupied with the duties of the day, focus your thoughts on Him, asking for His guidance and looking expectantly for His leading. When He gives it, rely on His power to obey.

March 2, 2010

Today Is the Day of Salvation HEBREWS 3:7-19

Procrastination can be a big problem: important tasks are neglected, and the benefits of finished work are never enjoyed. However, procrastinating in spiritual matters can be disastrous.

Every person is going to spend eternity somewhere. The destination is determined in this lifetime by a choice to either accept or reject Jesus’ offer of the forgiveness of sins. Some people feel that they can delay this decision. Eternity seems distant, and there is so much to enjoy in this life. They assume, I’ll just wait until I’m close to death. Then I’ll ask Jesus to save me.

The problems with this reasoning are obvious. First of all, there is no guarantee that you will have any warning before death. Second, by spending a lifetime rejecting Christ’s offer, you run the risk of developing a hardened heart. Saying no to God frequently throughout your life may result in being unable to say yes when death comes knocking at the door. In fact, you may not even be interested in Christ’s offer anymore.

There is great danger in abusing the grace of God. All people who are not protected by salvation in Jesus Christ will face the terrifying reality of judgment, as they stand before God without a Savior (Heb. 10:26-27).

By putting off a decision for Christ, you not only lose the immediate blessings of a deeply personal relationship with God now but also risk future separation from Him for all eternity. Don’t procrastinate! Come to Christ today: acknowledge your sin, ask His forgiveness, and trust Him as your Savior.

Spiritual Warfare Faith and Hope

Revelation Round Table Warriors – Lesson three

Lesson Three notes

PART ONE

Remember our Pledge – Remain Faithful, the Truth will set you free and Be Strong.

John 8:31 -32  Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

1st Cor 16:13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

And Our Quest – To search out the Truth about the End Times.

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

NLT – God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.

PART TWO

Getting a handle on where we are in the Bible…

Lets divide up the bible into sections starting with vs 19

Rev 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

The Things which thou hast seen – 1:9-20

The things which are – chapter 2 and 3

The things which shall be hereafter – Chap 4 on

Understand what we read and how to find out what it means…

Rev Chapter 4:1-5

1After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

A door – He went thru it – Like Narnia

2And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

3And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

No Pictures that capture this image – See notes on stones. Rainbow 360

Symbolism, not code – Chap 5:1-8

1And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

3And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

4And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

5And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

6And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

7And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

8And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

lamb=Jesus also Lion=Jesus not a code It is a metaphor – not who it is but what it is, telling us something about Him – This book is full of symbols which helps us understand to new depths…

What does this mean – rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. Throne is authority – signifying power, ruler and king Why a rainbow? And why green like an emerald. – softest/gentlest color by rating – Rainbow – noah promise grace mercy and justice. Thrown of grace

4And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

and government – elders. People who are created, experience time – age. Don’t know who but they have thrones, they work for God. Company office building, top floor is president ceo – then other leaders around and down – org chart

5And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Chapter 1 seven lamps? – seven spirits – Holy Spirit in perfection

The Olivet Discourse – Matt 24 – 25 and Mark 13 and Luke 21

Daniel 2,7,8 and 9

An In depth look at 4:3 for the stones and the rainbow – most makes sense to me but I’m not buying all of it – see what you think and use your spiritual discernment…


http://doweknow.com/html-files/precious-stones.htm

Exodus 28:15-21
15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of
Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.

“And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone:…” (Revelation 4:3a).  The first mentioning of these precious stones in the Bible is found in Exodus 28:17-20, and as we just read, it has to do with the stones in Aaron’s breastplate–each stone representing one of Jacob’s 12 sons, and subsequently, the tribe that came from their loins.

To understand the significance of Christ looking like a jasper and a sardine stone, we need to refresh our memory as to how Jacob’s two wives, Leah and Rachel, serve as types.  If you’ll recall the story of Jacob’s marriages, Jacob had worked for Rachel’s father seven years for Rachel’s hand in marriage, but was tricked into first taking her older sister, Leah, to wife to fulfill the custom of the time and place.  Then he was given Rachel on the condition that he would work seven more years for her (See Gen. 29).  The story is chock full of symbolism and types, but for our purposes here, we simply need to know that Leah is a type for the Law while Rachel is a type for Grace.  Furthermore, Leah’s first child (of many) was Reuben whose stone on Aaron’s breastplate was the sardine (sardius)–the first stone on the breastplate.  But Rachel had only two sons: Joseph and Benjamin–whose stones were the onyx (sardonyx) and the jasper–the eleventh and twelfth stones on Aaron’s breastplate.  That the Christ of Revelation was to look upon like a sardine stone and a jasper stone refers back to the stones on Aaron’s breastplate.

Reuben’s stone, the sardine, was placed first in agreement with the Hebrew’s patriarchal blessing of the first born for which Christ was qualified–being the firstborn of a Hebrew family under the law of Moses. Joseph’s and Benjamin’s stones, the onyx and the jasper, (the children of Rachel [grace]) were place on Aaron’s breastplate in positions 11 and 12 respectively according to Scriptural numerology.

Although Revelation does not refer to Joseph’s stone per se, it is very interesting that like Benjamin, he was also born of “grace.”  Joseph served both as an example for the Hebrews and a type for Christ.  As an example for the Hebrews, he demonstrated how that those who lived by the faith of Father Abraham, trusting fully in the grace of God, were blessed beyond measure.  As a type of Christ, he suffered the rejection of his brethren who thought they had done away with him.  He endured all that came his way, not riling against those who thought to do him evil.  Eventually, he was raised to a position even higher than what he should have had as a Hebrew; and in that position, he became the savior of his brethren and of the world around him.  In Biblical numerology, the number eleven stands for judgment/the cross.

Benjamin’s stone, the jasper, was placed in the 12th position on Aaron’s breastplate and this is full of significance.  The number 12 stands for the foundations of the church (called out ones).  The first church in the Bible was Israel and its 12 foundations are the 12 sons of Jacob from which came forth the 12 tribes of Israel.   The second Church of the Scriptures (2 is the number for the Church) is the New Testament Church, the Bride of Christ (His Rachel).  Benjamin with his twelfth stone on Aaron’s breastplate is a type of the New Testament Church who was especially loved of his father and for no apparent reason other than he was his father’s baby.  The 12 foundations for the Church are the 12 Apostles upon whose teachings the Church is built. Christ is said to “look upon like a jasper” because He is in the midst of the Grace-Age Church.  In fact, the believer is admonish to live like Paul whose goal was to live in such a way that others did not see him, but Christ Jesus living in him.

The emerald is also full of spiritual/prophetic significance.  To understand this significance, let’s look at a table of the precious stones that represent the 24 elders of Revelation (the 12 plus 12 of Biblical numerology: i.e., the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve Apostles).

The twelve Tribes—-stone on Aaron’s breastplate—-The Twelve Apostlesstone in the foundation of the New Jerusalem
(For order, see Gen. 49.)            (See Ex. 28; 39) (For order, see Mt. 10.) (See Rev. 21)
1. Reuben (Leah)          Sardius             1. Peter                  Jasper                                     (sardine)–first
2. Simeon (Leah)          Topaz               2. Andrew              Sapphire                         
3. Levi     (Leah)           Carbuncle         3. James (of Zebedee) Chalcedony
4. Judah (Leah)           Emerald            4. John                   Emerald
5. Dan     (Bilhah)          Sapphire          5. Philip                  Sardonyx
6. Naphtali (Bilhah)       Diamond         6. Bartholomew      Sardius
7. Gad   (Zilpah)            Jacinth             7. Thomas               Chrysolyte
8. Asher (Zilpah)          Agate                8. Matthew              Beryl
9. Issachar (Leah)        Amethyst           9. James                  Topaz
10. Zebulun (Leah)       Beryl                10. Lebbaeus (Thaddaeus) Chrysoprasus
11. Joseph (Rachel)     Onyx (Sardonyx) 11. Simon               Jacinth
12. Benjamin (Rachel)  Jasper 12. Paul*                  methyst

Let’s note first that the emerald is the only stone that occupies the same position in both law and grace: i.e., the fourth position.  Let’s note that the number four speaks to the earth.  Also, let’s note that both Judah and John had a very important attribute in common–they had compassion and love for their fellow man!   For example, when Joseph’s brothers threw him into the pit to die, it was Judah that talked them into selling him to a slave caravan to keep him alive.  And John’s tender heart is reflected in John 13:25: “He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?” Now, let’s apply our prophetic interpretation to the emerald, the stone that represents Judah, John, and Christ. In Judah and John we saw the “salt” of the earth, those of God’s creation with attributes pleasing to Him.   And in Christ Jesus (Who liked to be know as the Son of Man,  thereby identifying Himself with His Creation) we saw this love and compassion personified and demonstrated to its zenith when he walked among the people and healed the sick and afflicted. “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14).

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PART ONE

Remember our Pledge – Remain Faithful, the Truth will set you free and Be Strong.

John 8:31 -32  Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

1st Cor 16:13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

And Our Quest – To search out the Truth about the End Times.

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

NLT – God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.

PART TWO

Getting a handle on where we are in the Bible…

Lets divide up the bible into sections starting with vs 19

Rev 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

The Things which thou hast seen – 1:9-20

The things which are – chapter 2 and 3

The things which shall be hereafter – Chap 4 on

Understand what we read and how to find out what it means…

Rev Chapter 4:1-5

1After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

A door – He went thru it – Like Narnia

2And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

3And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

No Pictures that capture this image – See notes on stones. Rainbow 360

Symbolism, not code – Chap 5:1-8

1And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

3And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

4And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

5And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

6And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

7And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

8And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

lamb=Jesus also Lion=Jesus not a code It is a metaphor – not who it is but what it is, telling us something about Him – This book is full of symbols which helps us understand to new depths…

What does this mean – rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. Throne is authority – signifying power, ruler and king Why a rainbow? And why green like an emerald. – softest/gentlest color by rating – Rainbow – noah promise grace mercy and justice. Thrown of grace

4And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

and government – elders. People who are created, experience time – age. Don’t know who but they have thrones, they work for God. Company office building, top floor is president ceo – then other leaders around and down – org chart

5And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Chapter 1 seven lamps? – seven spirits – Holy Spirit in perfection

The Olivet Discourse – Matt 24 – 25 and Mark 13 and Luke 21

Daniel 2,7,8 and 9

http://doweknow.com/html-files/precious-stones.htm

Exodus 28:15-21
15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of
Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.

“And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone:…” (Revelation 4:3a).  The first mentioning of these precious stones in the Bible is found in Exodus 28:17-20, and as we just read, it has to do with the stones in Aaron’s breastplate–each stone representing one of Jacob’s 12 sons, and subsequently, the tribe that came from their loins.

To understand the significance of Christ looking like a jasper and a sardine stone, we need to refresh our memory as to how Jacob’s two wives, Leah and Rachel, serve as types.  If you’ll recall the story of Jacob’s marriages, Jacob had worked for Rachel’s father seven years for Rachel’s hand in marriage, but was tricked into first taking her older sister, Leah, to wife to fulfill the custom of the time and place.  Then he was given Rachel on the condition that he would work seven more years for her (See Gen. 29).  The story is chock full of symbolism and types, but for our purposes here, we simply need to know that Leah is a type for the Law while Rachel is a type for Grace.  Furthermore, Leah’s first child (of many) was Reuben whose stone on Aaron’s breastplate was the sardine (sardius)–the first stone on the breastplate.  But Rachel had only two sons: Joseph and Benjamin–whose stones were the onyx (sardonyx) and the jasper–the eleventh and twelfth stones on Aaron’s breastplate.  That the Christ of Revelation was to look upon like a sardine stone and a jasper stone refers back to the stones on Aaron’s breastplate.

Reuben’s stone, the sardine, was placed first in agreement with the Hebrew’s patriarchal blessing of the first born for which Christ was qualified–being the firstborn of a Hebrew family under the law of Moses. Joseph’s and Benjamin’s stones, the onyx and the jasper, (the children of Rachel [grace]) were place on Aaron’s breastplate in positions 11 and 12 respectively according to Scriptural numerology.

Although Revelation does not refer to Joseph’s stone per se, it is very interesting that like Benjamin, he was also born of “grace.”  Joseph served both as an example for the Hebrews and a type for Christ.  As an example for the Hebrews, he demonstrated how that those who lived by the faith of Father Abraham, trusting fully in the grace of God, were blessed beyond measure.  As a type of Christ, he suffered the rejection of his brethren who thought they had done away with him.  He endured all that came his way, not riling against those who thought to do him evil.  Eventually, he was raised to a position even higher than what he should have had as a Hebrew; and in that position, he became the savior of his brethren and of the world around him.  In Biblical numerology, the number eleven stands for judgment/the cross.

Benjamin’s stone, the jasper, was placed in the 12th position on Aaron’s breastplate and this is full of significance.  The number 12 stands for the foundations of the church (called out ones).  The first church in the Bible was Israel and its 12 foundations are the 12 sons of Jacob from which came forth the 12 tribes of Israel.   The second Church of the Scriptures (2 is the number for the Church) is the New Testament Church, the Bride of Christ (His Rachel).  Benjamin with his twelfth stone on Aaron’s breastplate is a type of the New Testament Church who was especially loved of his father and for no apparent reason other than he was his father’s baby.  The 12 foundations for the Church are the 12 Apostles upon whose teachings the Church is built. Christ is said to “look upon like a jasper” because He is in the midst of the Grace-Age Church.  In fact, the believer is admonish to live like Paul whose goal was to live in such a way that others did not see him, but Christ Jesus living in him.

The emerald is also full of spiritual/prophetic significance.  To understand this significance, let’s look at a table of the precious stones that represent the 24 elders of Revelation (the 12 plus 12 of Biblical numerology: i.e., the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve Apostles).

The twelve Tribes—-stone on Aaron’s breastplate—-The Twelve Apostlesstone in the foundation of the New Jerusalem
(For order, see Gen. 49.)                (See Ex. 28; 39) (For order, see Mt. 10.) (See Rev. 21)
1. Reuben (Leah)          Sardius (sardine)–first                       1. Peter                             Jasper
2. Simeon (Leah)          Topaz                                                2. Andrew                        Sapphire                         
3. Levi     (Leah)           Carbuncle                                          3. James (of Zebedee) Chalcedony
4. Judah (Leah)           Emerald                                             4. John                             Emerald
5. Dan     (Bilhah)          Sapphire                                            5. Philip                             Sardonyx
6. Naphtali (Bilhah)       Diamond                                            6. Bartholomew                 Sardius
7. Gad   (Zilpah)            Jacinth                                                7. Thomas                         Chrysolyte
8. Asher (Zilpah)          Agate                                                  8. Matthew                       Beryl
9. Issachar (Leah)        Amethyst                                             9. James                          Topaz
10. Zebulun (Leah)       Beryl                                                  10. Lebbaeus (Thaddaeus) Chrysoprasus
11. Joseph (Rachel)     Onyx (Sardonyx) 11. Simon                         Jacinth
12. Benjamin (Rachel)  Jasper 12. Paul*                           Amethyst

Let’s note first that the emerald is the only stone that occupies the same position in both law and grace: i.e., the fourth position.  Let’s note that the number four speaks to the earth.  Also, let’s note that both Judah and John had a very important attribute in common–they had compassion and love for their fellow man!   For example, when Joseph’s brothers threw him into the pit to die, it was Judah that talked them into selling him to a slave caravan to keep him alive.  And John’s tender heart is reflected in John 13:25: “He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?” Now, let’s apply our prophetic interpretation to the emerald, the stone that represents Judah, John, and Christ. In Judah and John we saw the “salt” of the earth, those of God’s creation with attributes pleasing to Him.   And in Christ Jesus (Who liked to be know as the Son of Man,  thereby identifying Himself with His Creation) we saw this love and compassion personified and demonstrated to its zenith when he walked among the people and healed the sick and afflicted. “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14).

March 1, 2010

Righteous Redemption ROMANS 3:23-24

All people sin against God. When man was created in the garden of Eden, he had a choice to obey or disobey the Lord. At that time, there was only one thing that was off limits, but Adam and Eve chose to partake of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:3-6).

Since then, the entire human race has been poisoned by sin. The daily bad choices we make are only symptoms of the bigger problem—our sin nature. But God is so perfectly pure and holy that sin cannot enter His presence. Therefore, we come into this world with an “inherited” condition of separation from the Father.

Scripture states that sin’s punishment is eternal death, and there’s nothing we can do to correct the problem. In other words, left to fend for ourselves, we are doomed. Each of us desperately needs redemption.

So God, in His amazing love for us, sent His only Son as the solution to our problem. Fully man yet fully God, Jesus lived a perfect life and then gave His life for our sake. He deserved glory but instead took our sin upon Himself and endured excruciating suffering and separation from His Father. Why would He submit to such torture? Christ took our place and our punishment. He allowed Himself to die a criminal’s death on the cross to save each of us. Three days later, He rose to life again, conquering sin and death.

Jesus, in His love, overcame our dreadful fate and offered us eternal life instead. This free gift is available to you. Simply believe that Christ is Lord, He died on the cross for your sin, and He rose from the grave. Don’t wait to accept this great salvation—commit to following Him today.

Scriptures, Lessons, News and Links to help you survive.