Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Revelation Chapter 3 - March 31, 2009

Sardis - How many Christian today live out this lie? They act perfect and ac like they are tuned into God when they are around other Christians, while their soul is literally wasting away because their faith isn't real. I think we would be shocked if we knew the truth. In verse 5, Jesus talks about the one who conquers gaining eternal life - what does that mean? I'm guessing the one who conquers their culture with the culture of God...the one who conquers their sinful human nature with righteousness through faith...the one who conquers selfishness with selflessness.

Philadelphia - The only other church beside Smyrna that receives no negative comments from Jesus. The people in this church are described as weak y the world's standards, yet the world around them is unable to slam the door to hope and life that God has opened for them in their face. Thy are holding fast to their faith even in the midst of persecution and hatred. Christian must remember the unconquerable nature o God and put their trust only in Him...then they can face anything.

Laodecia - These people are absolutely nothing. They are not on fire for God and they don't even have the guts to reject Gd outright. They simply exist and by simply existing they are denying the reason for which they were made - they choose nothingness. What people need to understand is that just existing and just getting by are examples of rebellion against God. That is not the life that God has called us to. Read through verse 17...man are there people in our culture that need to hear this - man do I need to hear this when I'm feeling covetous about material things. Verse 20 - there is hope...God is knocking on the door of the broken and the lukewarm of the world asking them to let Him in - e is beautifully relentless. 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Revelation Chapter 2 - March 30, 2009

Sorry about the long wait...

The churches described in chapter two paint a clear picture of struggles that the church is still dealing with today...why do we never learn!

Ephesus - They are walking the fence line between true accountability and sinful judgementalism. If you go too far towards not being judgemental, there is no accountability and you just stand aside as fellow Christians send their lives of the deep end. On the other hand, if you become accountability Nazi's like the people in Ephesus seem to be doing, you replace love with judgement and forget the mercy that allowed you to connect to God in the first place. 

Smyrna - Jesus offers no bad comments for the church in Smyrna, he just offers them words of strength and encouragement for the coming persecution they are going to face. It seems that sometimes, the worse the situation you are facing in life...the better the faith environment is. These people in Smyrna have no time o sit idly and turn to sinful things - their lives are in jeopardy because of their faith every day. I think one of the reasons we see so many Christians screwing up and living out lukewarm faiths is because it is so easy o be a Christian in America.

Pergamum - Jesus thanks them for holding to their faith in the midst of a wicked culture, but they are also falling victim to the lures of that culture. They are allowing vile cultural elements to slip into their church and twist their beliefs. That would never happen here in the States (That was sarcasm if you didn't pick up on that)!

Thyatira - Sounds like this church has so much going for it, yet some of them are still being drawn into sexual immorality, because the leadership will not confront a woman living in sin. How many times have we seen incredible churches torn apart because of sexual immorality. No wonder Jesus refers to sexual sins as the deep things of Satan, because they are some of his most powerful tools of destruction.   

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Revelation Chapter 1 - March 4th, 2009

1:3 - We often relegate the book of Revelation to anonymity, but John seems to think that these words are important for every believer to know.

1:6 - Powerful statement...we are the kingdom of God, bought by the blood of Jesus Christ...priest to the God of all creation and His representatives to the world. And you thought you were unimportant!

1:9 - In the ESV version of the bible, John writes, "I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation..." I think it is interesting that the ESV uses "tribulation" instead of "suffering", because there are many people who have the opinion today that Christians will be taken away from the earth before the tribulations begin (See bumper sticker: "If this car is suddenly an unmanned projectile of destruction, I've probably been raptured!"). I have always been of the opinion that we have been in the end times since Jesus left. Christians have always faced persecution and there has always been great evil in the world and we need to make sure that we are always ready...that we are living like this could be our last day.

1:13-16 - What are some of the words that pop into your mind when you read John's description of Jesus? Wise. Discerning. Judge. Powerful. Pure. Holy. Speaker of truth. The very image of Christ's presence conjures these type of powerful images. John does his best to describe the indescribable Son of God.

1:18 - The ultimate battle has already been fought...victory is ours. Now we must live like the righteous, victorious sons and daughters of God.

1:20 - It was very nice of Jesus to explain write out the meaning of the stars and lamp stands...I wish he had continued his explanatory commentary throughout the book of Revelation.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

John Chapter 21 - March 3, 2009

21:3 - Peter decides to go fishing - why? Maybe because fishing is what he knows...he is confused about what has been going on, with Jesus reappearing after death and he needs some time to get out on the water and seek peace in the fishing. But I feel like maybe he feels so guilty after his denial of Jesus that he figures he has no place in God's kingdom and he has decided to go back to his old job. We will soon see that God makes use of the broken and sinful...God uses the least to do the greatest...God brings men who have rejected Him back into His kingdom to change the world.

21:7 - I love Peter's passion. He knows it is time to act. Before when he was asked about being a follower of Jesus he allowed his fears to let him deny Christ...now he knows that the time for being controlled by fear is over...the time has come to act on his beliefs and follow Christ without hesitation. Is that where you are? Is that where I am?

21:15-19 - Three times Peter denied Jesus and three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves them...Jesus wants to drive home the point that it is time to move on. Peter has now confirmed his love for Jesus as many times as he denied him. Jesus wants to make sure that Peter understands it is over...leave the guilt behind and move forward in your mission. Something all of us need to hear sometimes.

21:18 - Jesus is calling Peter to follow him to the cross. Peter will also die by crucifixion.

21:21 - Peter knows that he is following Jesus down a hard road...a road of sacrifice and he wants to know, "(Whiny voice) What about him? What is going to happen to John? I have all this responsibility and danger ahead - what is John going to do?" Jesus answers by saying that it shouldn't matter what is going on with John...even if I keep him alive until I return, what does it matter to you...I have a mission for you, that is specific to you - so forget about him and handle your business. I think sometimes we get caught up in worrying about what other people are doing for God's kingdom and what their gifts are and how they are fulfilling their mission from God, when we need to focus on what God is calling us towards.

Monday, March 2, 2009

John Chapter 20 - March 2, 2009

20:8 - When it says they believed, it is not talking about them believing that Jesus was alive. They simply believed that he was not in the tomb. Kinda funny when you think about it - "Yep. He's not in the tomb." They were not yet able to understand that Jesus had risen from the dead (An understandably hard concept), which John confirms in verse 9 by saying they did not make the connection of Jesus' rising with scriptural prophecy.

20:17 - Why does Jesus say, "Do not cling to me."? I believe what he is saying to her is this, "Do not cling to the old relationship we had...I am back, but things are not going back to what they were. I didn't rise from the dead to keep leading the disciples around...I am going back into heaven and you guys are going to take up my cross and change the world." I think he was trying to convey something along those lines. He didn't want her holding onto the past because he was about to leave.

20:21 - Why did Jesus come into the world? To save. To serve. To live. To show the way. To make things right. He is sending us to do the same thing. Get to work.