The Book of Revelation is full of exciting mysteries. For example, Revelation 8:1 records, “When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour“. Now that is a mystery.
Earlier in Revelation 4:8-9 John records a vision he had of the throne room of God, where four living creatures were. “Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come. Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the 24 elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him who lives for ever and ever’.
These living creatures never stop crying out praise to God. That is why they were created, just to sing praise to God. That is apparently their only purpose for existence. And yet, at this point in history, they fall silent. There is a hush throughout heaven and everyone stops praising. No one breathed. I wonder if angels get goose bumps? This silence marks a major shift in God’s workings on the earth. Because immediately following this silence seven angels were given seven trumpets and the Trumpet Judgments begin.
Let’s have a healthy respect for God’s silence; it means God is up to something good in your life.
“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away…how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:1&3).
Each of us, as Christians in this dark world, must be careful with what we hear, read, and learn. Because it is the way of the world to drift away from the truth that’s been revealed. Jesus used this terminology: “the cares of this world” will choke spiritual life out of us. And we’re all vulnerable to cares of this world. When we drift away, it happens so gently that we don’t realize its happening, like the proverbial frog in the boiling water. Drifting fades out calmly without notice. We must stay cautious.
If we ignore such a great salvation as what Christ provided on the cross, there is no escape. The judgment is coming and no one will be able to hide behind his/her good works. The whole context of this chapter/book is one of faith in the face of opposition and persecution. Stay alert, Church; pay more careful attention to what you have heard.
Anita and I went to the county fair Wednesday night. We prayed before we arrived that God would guide our steps and allow us to connect with people by divine appointment, and we believe He did that. We were able to encourage a few folks that we hadn’t seen in awhile. We met one gal who was in our youth ministry back in the 1970s. Today she’s a grandma. How old does that make us?
While there we treated ourselves to some things we try to avoid: Anita had a fair donut and caramel corn, and I had an apple dumpling. There’s a price we’ll pay for that indulgence.
Anita and I will be returning to watch the big parade on Saturday morning with our granddaughters. On that trip, they will be our priority, not ministering to others. What kind of divine appointment was arranged for you at the fair this year?
Jesus taught a lot in parables. “The disciples came to him and asked, ‘Why do you speak to the people in parables?’ He replied, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance’.“(Matthew 13:10-12b).
Why didn’t Jesus then speak in private to the disciples? Why did He teach in public? I think the answer is to make them begin questioning. When we seek, we find, Jesus said. People who have been enlightened by a spiritual awakening see things from God’s perspective, but people who are still in darkness only see things from their own perspective. Jesus was always getting people’s attention to make them question the status quo. Have you questioned a few things lately?
But there is more to the revelation. Jesus said that whoever has been given will receive more. The more spiritual insight we receive, the more we will be able to see new spiritual insight. The more I study the Bible, the more mysteries I find revealed. I’ll never learn it all, but I keep learning more. The more patience I develop, the more patient I become, and can take more patience. It continues to grow and we will have an abundance. What has He taught you today?
In the midst of his praise to God, David wrote, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). That troubles us on first glance. But let’s think about this for a moment. The verse didn’t say saints’ deaths made God happy. He said it was “precious” to Him. Precious means valuable. And important.
We modern Americans do everything in our power to prolong life. We spend a fortune on drugs, doctors, and facelifts to make our lives count more. We tend to fear death as if this physical life was all there was. It always is reassuring when I hear an older person tell me, “I’m ready to go.” It means that in life or in death, its OK.
Also notice that he was speaking of the death of saints, not just people. Saints are those men and women who have been sanctified (a ‘saint’ is one who has been sanctified) by Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit’s cleansing. When a saved person dies, they enter into the presence of the Lord immediately, and then receive reward for what they’ve done (or not done) in this lifetime since being sanctified. God loved us so much He sent His own Son to redeem us. Imagine if He loves us that much, how much more He wants to greet us in heaven. It will be like a family reunion without all the family dysfunctions. The next time you hear of a saint passing on, join in the Lord’s rejoicing, because its precious to Him.
“Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. ‘Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?’ they asked. ‘Hasn’t He also spoken through us?’ And the Lord heard it” (Exodus 12:1-2).
Miriam and Aaron were Moses’ siblings. They had all been born Jews under Egyptian bondage and had been delivered by God’s mighty hand. But the story says the reason they challenged Moses’ authority was that he had previously married a foreigner, a Cushite. Some have implied that she was black, thus their persecution. But Cushites were simply descendants of Cush, not Abraham. Moses’ wife was an outsider who had been adopted into the family through marriage. Aaron and Moses used this element of Moses’ past against him. Perhaps this is a common error in the church today.
God calls and appoints whom He chooses. He doesn’t interview His candidates, he drafts them. And God chose to speak through Moses, not Aaron or Miriam. And God is not interested in our past, but in our future.
The interesting part of the story, however, is that the Bible notes that God was listening in on their conversation and took immediate action. The rest of chapter 12 is the account of how God dealt with that rebellion. Your words spoken behind someone’s back are heard by God. And He always takes appropriate action. The words you speak are a declaration of your faith. May the Lord help us to guard our tongues because He is always listening in to our heart’s attitude.
Twenty years ago I planted a Bartlett pear and two cherry trees in our side yard. Two years later we sold the house and built a new one just a quarter mile away. That previous house has gone through several owners since then, and most recently went back to the bank when the latest owner couldn’t make the payments. There has been a For Sale sign in front since late winter.
I’ve been watching that empty house for several months now. After watching the cherries rot on the tree, I decided that if the house wasn’t sold by fall, I was going to harvest the pears. I did that last Monday. I felt a little guilty, since it wasn’t my tree, yet there is no sense seeing them go to waste.
There’s nothing like the sweet fruit of your own labor. In the same way, I think God sits back and enjoys seeing sinners turned into saints. That way He can enjoy the fruit of His own labor. Let’s live for Jesus.
Do you think it was stealing to take those pears? Should I repent or eat?