Sunday, October 8, 2017

Revelation 7:14-17

Revelation 7:14-17
They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God
      and serve him day and night in his temple;
   and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
 Never again will they hunger;
      never again will they thirst.
   The sun will not beat upon them,
      nor any scorching heat.
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.

Promises, Precious promises, O how I delight in Your promises! O how I cherish the wonder working power of the blood of the Lamb.

You guarantee that in this world we'll have all kinds of trials and tribulations. We'd be naïve to believe that we won't be despised and disdained for faithfully following You. Afflictions, adversities and atrocities are bound to affect us. Yet, if we persist and don't give up, You promise we'll come through the tragedies with white-washed robes - bleached by the blood of the Lamb. Blessed assurance!

Dressed in white linen, we'll be led into Glory. Enthralled by our beauty, You'll endow us with the privilege of being priests in the Temple of Heaven. Delighting You day and night with songs of praise and the sweet scent of prayers will be enchanting. With my ear pressed close to my heart, I can almost hear the melodious music. With my nose in the air, I can almost smell the fragrance of prayer.

In the safe shelter of Your presence, we'll have access to Your boundless buffet. Our starved souls that insistently sought satisfaction will be content at last. Under the shade of Your canopy, the scorching sun will no longer sear our souls. You'll lead us to ceaseless streams of refreshing water. With a soft stroke of Your hand, You'll gently wipe every tear from our swollen eyes and we'll never again have reason to cry.

O Lord, why do I dread dying when You promise me all this? Please dear Lord, permanently paint a pleasant picture of Paradise in my mind to prevent me from discouragement and despair while I wait for You to return and take me to live with You there. Amen. 

Ponder the promises of heaven, and ask the Lord to permanently paint them on your mind.

 Elisha A. Hoff­man,Spir­it­u­al Songs for Gos­pel Meet­ings and the Sun­day School(Cleve­land, Ohio: Bark­er & Smell­ie, 1878)
Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Refrain
Are you washed in the blood,
 
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
 
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
 
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you walking daily by the Savior's side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Refrain

When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Refrain

Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;
There's a fountain flowing for the soul unclean,
O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!

Refrain

Revelation 5:6-9

Revelation 5:6-9
I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song.

King of the Universe,
You are the Sacred Lamb of God, omnipotent, omniscience, and omnipresent. Perfect in power and knowledge, Your presence is everywhere. Because You were slaughtered, You and You alone, are worthy to step forward, take the secret scroll, sever its seals and open it. Your right to rule the world was and is and always will be undisputable, unquestionable, and undeniable.

With Your precious blood You purchased people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to build for Yourself a kingdom full of priests to rule and reign over all the earth. Instead of resisting Your will, disputing Your purpose, and complaining about Your ways, I must immediately start submitting to Your almighty authority. Falling in step with the rest of the universe, it is imperative that I recognize Who You are, change my haughty attitude, and fall down in reverent awe of You.

Taking up a harp, with my eyes focused on You standing on the throne of my heart, I'll practice plucking a lovely cord for the King when I live harmoniously with others. Holding out my golden bowl full of passionate, persistent prayers, I'll honor You, hasten Your coming, and attract the hopeless, helpless and heartless to the sweetness of Your splendor. By maintaining one accord within the multicultural, multilingual, and multiracial body of Christ, I'll reproduce the crescendo of thunderous praise that will one day, possibly quite soon, resonate throughout all of creation:

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
   to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
   and honor and glory and praise!

Thank You for giving me a guided tour through the gates of Glory, and allowing me a glimpse of the gala events at the throne of grace. To the Sacred Sacrificial Lamb who sits on the throne, be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever! Amen. 

I can't wait to get to heaven to see the magnificent Throne Room where the King of the Universe conducts His official business, and to find out for sure what's on that secret scroll. Absolutely no one but Jesus, the Sacred Sacrificial Lamb who was slain, is worthy of taking it from the King, severing the seals, and opening it. According to God's revealed Word, the Truth, our only response will be to reverently worship the Only One who has the right to rule and reign over all creation. We can practice for the priestly performance for which He purchased us by:

Living harmoniously with others.

Praying for the hastening of Christ's return, as well as, for others.

Being united in worship with other believers.

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus
We'll sing and shout the victory!

Revelation 4:10-11

Revelation 4:10-11
The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
 "You are worthy, our Lord and God, 
   to receive glory and honor and power, 
   for you created all things, 
   and by your will they were created 
   and have their being."

My Creator King,
You alone are the King who reigns in power over the entire universe, and You alone are worthy to receive glory and honor and power because You created all things.

Why then, if I believe this, am I so contradictory? If You alone are worthy of ALL praise - and You are - why then do I pursue pleasing people for their praise? Why do I relish rewards and recognition from mere man? Why do I long to stand in the spotlight to be seen? And, why am I offended when others don't give me credit for the work I've done? My heart is deceived, and my thoughts are distorted.

Thank You for opening my eyes to see how subtly Satan seduces me and steals my glorious golden life. He'd love nothing more than for me to be focused on the attention, applause and accolades of people. Oh, that all sounds so wonderfully harmless. Yet, it is a lie, straight from the pit of Hell. If I cash in on it, I cheat You, the Lamb of God, of the glory and honor and praise that rightfully belongs to You, hampering Your work in the process. Apart from You, I would not even exist. In the Throne Room in Glory, I will be compelled to cast down my crowns, and give You all the credit for anything good I've ever done.  

Please, dear Lord, give me power to abandon all my misguided ambitions, and faith to believe that You are in control, and have a plan and purpose that's vastly beyond my dreams, for the glory and praise of YOUR name, both now and forevermore. Amen.

Are you cashing in on the attention, applause and accolades of people, cheating God of the glory, honor, and praise that rightfully belongs to Him? Apart from Him, we wouldn't even exist. He deserves complete credit for every good thing we've ever done.

Unreservedly abandon your misguided ambitions. His Word says, "He stoops down to make me great." Psalm 18:35

Matthew 2:2, 11

Matthew 2:2, 11
Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 

Holy Child of God-
I have seen Your splendor and beauty brilliantly beaming down from heaven on high. Under the glowing streams of glory is the wonderful gift of worship. In awe of Your radiant reflection, I joyfully come, falling on my knees in adoration to worship Your Majesty! You are the:

Word of the Father
Son of God
Abba Daddy
Blessed Word of God
Truthful Teacher
Lamb of God
Bread of Heaven
Glorious River of Life
Healer of Hearts
Breakfast Server
Lover of My Soul
Lord of the Dance
The Way, the Truth and the Life
My Beloved King

You are the worthy of the best I have to offer.

Generously, I give you the tarnished gold of my life. Remove my impurities so that I will glitter and glimmer and become increasingly more pure and valuable to You. Selflessly surrendered to You, I will sparkle when I worship You, my Master, with a life of sincere service.

Freely, I offer You the fragrant frankincense of my faithful prayers flowing heavenward. The sweet sound of the song in my heart will be a pleasant perfume of praise to You, O Holy King.

Boldly, I bring to You the bitter myrrh of my brokenness. In the stunning splendor of Your sanctuary, You graciously accept the sacrifice of my suffering and shame, and restore me with heavenly healing.

I have come to worship You with all my soul and strength like the star-guided sojourners. After a long strenuous journey through darkness, I have found You in the home of my heart. Now I gladly open the glowing streams of glory, take out the wonderful gift of worship, and triumphantly sing in exultation, "Gloria, In Excelsius Deo." Hallelujah! Amen.

If You have found the gift of the Christ Child in your heart, will you bow down and worship Him? Give Him the tarnished gold of your life, allowing Him to remove the impurities. He can make you beautiful no matter how much tarnish you've accumulated. Present him the sweet scent of your prayers and praise. Offer him the bitterness of your suffering and sorrow. Then find someone who needs the heart of Christmas and offer them the Holy Child of Christmas.

Christmas isn't a season. Any day is Christmas when Christ is born in the manger of a human heart.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Never Give Up

I waited almost six months for this popcorn plant to bloom. It grew up, and up, and up ... to well over six feet. The green foliage was pretty in the prime of its life, but I knew it had more to give. I knew there should be colorful blossoms. Finally, after I almost gave up on it, it reached its full potential at the end of the season.
Lesson: Sometimes people, like popcorn plants, don't bloom until late in life. Never give up on anyone.