Washed Robes

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 7 (day four)

Reading chapter 7, you come away with a feeling of protection…shelter…tabernacle …provision.  This is the antithesis of the feeling of judgment you get when the seals are broken.  The difference is the target group.  Chapter 7 deals with the people who have a relationship with God through the blood of the Lamb.  The seal of protection is applied to God’s bond-servants…those who have been washed from their sin encircle the throne …springs of the water of life flow and God will wipe away their tears.

Protection and provision sound immensely better than wars and pestilence and death.  How can we be sure that we are in the right group?  It is the relationship with the Lamb…Jesus Christ!  No wonder heaven celebrated that the Lamb was worthy to break the seals.  Jesus is the only name given under heaven that can bring salvation.  (Acts 4:12) Many have looked to others, but only the Lamb is worthy.  Only the Lamb can give protection…shelter…tabernacle…provision.  Eternity is a long time, choose wisely!

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Door

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 7 (day three)

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne.”  Man’s exclusivity is unremarkable: Who among us hasn’t quietly delighted in someone’s outsider status?  God’s inclusivity is the newsworthy item here: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”  But the wideness in God’s mercy is not unaffected by our door-closing habits. So he takes to task those of us who set up barriers that invite men to become “twice as much of a son of hell” as we would be.  Are you, then, a road-blocker or a path-clearer? How many in that innumerable multitude will stand there despite your efforts?

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No Tears

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 7 (day two)

“…and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” vs. 17b

What was it about having your mom or dad kiss your boo-boo that made it better? Did it change the nature of the injury or the circumstances that caused it? No it did not. Did it give you a sense of comfort to know that you had shared your pain with someone you loved, and who you knew loved you? Absolutely. Consider for a moment the story of the prodigal son. When he came back home, even when he was far off his father ran to him. He didn’t wait for him to come groveling. The price had been paid, the deed was done, and now it was time to celebrate redemption. God cares for each of us enough to run to us, and wipe away each of our tears. Is there a more tender picture of our great God than that? The deed is done, time to rest and fill ourselves with the Redeemer.

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Washed white

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 7 (day one)

“These. . . have come out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”–v 13-14.

It is not unusual for me to use my difficulties as an excuse for spiritual or moral failure.  I had a rough day.  I am frustrated.  The implied argument? I not responsible for being grumpy or ungrateful or unfaithful.  Sound familiar?

The narrative of scripture allows no such escape or excuse.  All believers ( in every age) have had tribulations to face and conquer.  “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God”–Acts 14:22.  The cross I carry is not unique and mild compared to that of others.

Struggle is not the story!  Christ is!  He is worthy to RECEIVE, receive from me, and no level of difficulty can ever change the fact that my robe, my actions, my ambitions, my choices must be washed white in His blood.

 

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Harder than I expected

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 6 (day seven)

I am a wimp.  Pain-complaining, excuse-making, comfort-seeking.  At least, I was until I met Jesus.

For forty years, like a marine drill instructor, the Lord has been toughening me.  Training me to accept a threshold of pain that is higher than I would have ever expected of myself.

I whine and expect pity.  I make MUCH of my burdens.  HE calls them “temporary and light afflictions”–2 Corinthians 4:17.

I’ve come to see that He is right.  My burdens ARE light compared to the dangers ahead for the ungodly. (Revelation 6) His call to holiness is hard, but ultimately a great mercy.  My burdens ARE light compared to those that other Christians carry. (1 Peter 4:12).  My burdens ARE light compared to the glory that will be revealed.

“Godliness is profitable. . . since it holds promise for the present life and ALSO FOR THE LIFE TO COME.”–1 Timothy 4:8

Following Christ has been harder than I expected.  And better.

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Forest

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 6 (day six)

It can be hard to see the forest from the trees, but it is a necessary endeavor, especially in Revelation. There are so many curiosities in Revelation, it is easy to get stuck amongst the tree limbs trying to figure out every detail, of which we will never fully understand this side of eternity. For instance, do the riders in chapter six have names, are they real entities? Could be I suppose; maybe, maybe not. We can get so intrigued or caught in the trees that we lose sight of the fuller picture, the forest. In this case Jesus reveals to us that judgement is not only coming, but it is an important part of completing his saving work in all creation, so much so, the martyrs ache for it to come to pass.

Do you see it? The trees are important for sure, and worthwhile to study, but not at the expense of seeing the forest.

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Truth Teller

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 6 (day five) 

Revelation 6 is almost unbelievable: all kinds of symbols and predictions of judgment and the wrath of God. How can we trust that the Lord is telling us the truth? Answer: Because, He has proven to always be truthful and trustworthy. Even in the hard and disturbing things, God’s nature and character is to tell the truth. Look at the life and teachings of Jesus. (John 14) In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; (John 16) I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone… In the world you will have tribulation,

Praise God!! He has proven to be a truth teller in revealing both the beautiful and difficult parts of His plan for mankind.  Do you believe that?

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Make a Decision

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 6 (day four)

There was joy in heaven…the Lion of Judah was worthy to break the seals and open the scroll.  You might expect that good things were going to happen.  As each seal was broken, tragedy came upon the earth…war, famine, death, martyrs, terror.  The people of the earth tried to run and hide, but there was nowhere to hide.  They even wanted the mountains and rocks to fall on them to hide them from the presence of God.  The great day of wrath had come…they had put it off for too long.  “I still have time to follow Christ.  I’ll maybe do it after I have done all that I want to do.”  Is this the reasoning that you have been making?  We do not know when the Day of the Lord will come, but when it does…like a thief in the night…it will be too late to repent.

Will you have joy like the angels in heaven or will you be looking for a deep cave to collapse upon you?  What will you do with Jesus?

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Persist

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 6 (day three)

“They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”  Sound familiar?  We’ve heard this before–in Genesis.  Those who want to keep on thinking about the universe in the same way will always attempt to hide themselves from God. The underside of a rock or the interior of a cave now becomes preferred real estate. The intimacy of the echo chamber holds greater appeal than the intimacy of the confessional.  Which place do you seek?

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LIVE FOR HIM

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 6 (day two) “And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer…” vs. 11a

The voices of the martyrs cried out to the Lord for justice, and they were told to wait because their number would continue to increase before the end. One of the comforts that we have in the American church is that we do not live under any constant threat of persecution. There are indeed examples of pressure placed on the body, but we, as a group, are not under the kind of oppression that our Myanmar brothers and sisters have faced. We do not know and understand radical persecution like other parts of the world. For this we are thankful, but this passage serves as a warning that the church has not seen the end of persecution.

We, then, are forced to examine ourselves and ask if we are willing to die for our faith. Perhaps a better way to look at it is – are we living like we are willing to die? When it all comes to a close, what will really matter about our journey? LIVE FOR HIM

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