“[What is] crooked cannot be made straight…”(Ecclesiastes 1:15 NKJV)
When our boys were little and misbehaved, we would direct them to “straighten up.” They might manage for a while and then we would have to issue the instruction again. They were boys and they were messy. Straight would last a bit but not for long.
Solomon said, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all [is] vanity and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14 NKJV). He saw the world through the eyes of man. In all his wisdom he saw chaos, disorder, and incompleteness. He discovered the crooked, perverted, bent, twisted, and bowed down could not simply autocorrect itself. Adam and Eve bowed down in the garden. They ignored the voice of wisdom and embraced the lie. When they did this, it messed up the world and they could not fix it. They could not bring worldly order out of the disorder they had created.
They could not straighten nor mend things up. It was just not in their power.
When man sinned, he bowed down to the words of Satan and turned his back on God. Thank God, He had a plan to straighten everything out, Jesus. Isaiah through faith-washed eyes saw things from God’s perspective. He heard…
“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:” (Isaiah 40:4 KJV)
“And I will bring the blind by away [that] they knew not; I will lead them in paths [that] they have not known I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16 KJV)
“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:” (Isaiah 45:2 KJV)
Isaiah saw the coming Messiah as a change agent to make the “crooked places straight.” Solomon realized all the wisdom under the sun was futile, empty, and could not bring the needed eternal straightening. He concluded, “For in much wisdom [is] much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” (Ecclesiastes 1:18 NKJV). He was discouraged. The more he learned, the more he realized he didn’t know. The more knowledge gained about life under the sun, the greater was his sadness and hopelessness. Turn your back on God and this is where life will lead.
I encourage you with the words of John recorded by Luke, “Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be made low; the crooked will become straight, the rough ways smooth, and everyone will see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:6 CSB). God had a plan to “level the playing field.” It was and is the salvation of God! His name is Jesus. Can you hear Him calling? “Straighten up, kids! I will lead the way and be your example.” He is the only way. He is the only wisdom that can clean up the mess that we have made in the world and our lives. Men cannot autocorrect, but Jesus can and will straighten up the “crooked places” in the world. It is why He came to straighten the mess man made. Don’t be discouraged. We have hope in Jesus. Invite Him and watch him straighten things up.
“’Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all [is] vanity.’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2 NKJV)
“’Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2 NIV)
“’Absolute futility,’ says the Teacher. ‘Absolute futility. Everything is futile.’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2 CSB)
Ecclesiastes is written by Solomon. 1 Kings 4:31-34 tells us he was famous for his wisdom in all nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs: and wrote 1005 songs. He spoke about everything from trees to fishes. All people came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, including from all kings of the earth. He collected knowledge and was wiser than all men. Ecclesiastes begins with “the words of the Preacher.” Preacher literally means “collector of sentences,” and an “assembler together.” Solomon knew a lot and shared a lot. He studied a lot, actually everything “under the sun .” He uses this phrase often throughout his book.
He begins Ecclesiastes with His conclusion. After studying everything and gaining immense wisdom about everything on earth. Solomon in all his wisdom comes to a great conclusion that can be summed up in three words, “All is vanity!” The word vanity means that which vanishes. It is a vapor. It is a breath. It is “poof”, and it is gone. It’s nothing. It’s an emptiness. It is meaningless. It is useless. It is futile.
This is His view. It is world view. This is not an eternal view. He is right. Man alone is nothing and can do nothing. However, “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NKJV). Solomon didn’t talk about life with God. He talked about just life sans God. Again, he was right. All is vain, empty, worthless, having no substance, value, or importance…when God is not in the middle of it.
In Ecclesiastes 1:3-9, he discusses the cycles of life. He states, “That which has been [is] what will be, That which [is] done is what will be done, And [there is] nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NKJV). We say it like this, “What goes around comes around.”
“Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this [is] new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.” (Ecclesiastes 1:10 NKJV)
The cycle of life is empty and futile. We get up, go to work, eat, go to sleep and do it all over the next day. There is no hope of things changing accept, Jesus. Add Jesus to life and He changes everything. He is Spirit, Breath and Life. He fills the empty and broken spaces in our lives. He completes us and gives us purpose. He gives meaning to this crazy life.
I enCOURAGE you to not do life without Him. Invite Jesus and all His wisdom into every area of your life. It will be miraculous. It’s Him in us “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV). Stay tuned tomorrow for some real life examples oh how Jesus stepped in and saved the day.
“Whereas you do not know what [will happen] tomorrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14 NKJV)
“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer.” (1 Peter 4:7 KJV)
When we think of the word sober, our minds usually conjure one meaning. Don’t get drunk. Why do “we”get drunk? “To lose our minds” from the bombardment of the day and to kill the pain. However, pain has its purpose and can be numbed in a better way, sober prayer.
In the original Greek “sober” appears twice in 1 Peter 4:7. Each word has a little different meaning. Translated 1 Peter 4:7 could read, “Be sober(1) and sober(2) unto prayer.” A double encouragement to be sober.
The first sober we see in the verse is the Greek word sophroneo. It means be of sound mind; self-controlled; without excess of any kind; moderate and discreet.
The second sober in the 1 Peter 4:7 is the Greek word nepho. It originally had a physical meaning, opposed to drunkenness and to be free from the influence of intoxicants. It is a derivative of the Greek word sophron (see above) meaning, of sound mind, sane, in one’s senses, curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate, calm, impassionate, exercise of cool reasoning. The root words of sophron are sozo, meaning, saved, whole, healed and phren meaning mind or understanding. Hence, we can deduce being sober is having a saved mind, a whole mind, and a healed mind.
“Ellicott, on 1Ti 3:2,11, distinguishes between the two words by regarding sophron as pointing to the outward exhibition of the inward virtue implied in nepho.”– H. E. Jacobs
Excess clouds the mind. Excess divides the mind and our attention. Excess distracts and diverts our focus.
What does 1 Peter 4:7 mean to me? I hear:
BE SOBER. Be self-controlled. Don’t lose you mind. Save your mind. Don’t get drunk. Don’t get drunk on alcohol. Don’t get drunk on drugs. Don’t get drunk on sex. Don’t get drunk on food. Don’t get drunk on power. Don’t get drunk on money. Don’t get drunk on fame. BE SOBER. BE ALERT. BE AWAKE. Stay calm, cool, and collected. Save the mind. Don’t get drunk. BE SOBER in the place of prayer.
I enCOURAGE you (and me) to be sober. We are blessed. It is so easy to step or slip into excess and “lose our minds.” We are called to be sound minded and self- controlled in all things.
1 Peter 4:1 tells us to arm ourselves with the same mind as Christ. This is not possible if we are drunk with the things of the world.
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we [have spent] enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” (1 Peter 4:3 NKJV)
Remember, as followers of Jesus,“We have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV). We don’t want to lose it! Be sober.
“And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.’’’ (Matthew 24:4 NKJV)
I prayed and asked the Lord what He has to say today. I did not have anything stored in the treasury vault waiting to be spread abroad. I was hoping to lead off the week with an upbeat, encouraging word of blessing or exhortation, instead I got “warning.” I could not run away from, so here we go.
In Matthew 24 the disciples pulled Jesus aside and asked Him what would be the sign of His coming, and the end of the world? His first response was, “take heed that no one deceives you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5 KJV)
Jesus warned them and us.
That no one
Be out of the way
Lead aside from the right way
He warns us again later again in Matthew 24:4, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
Thank God for the warnings. I love that He says, “if possible” in the verse above, meaning that it is impossible for the fake to deceive the True Lord.
Sadly, I have fallen for the ploy of the devil. I have deceived and I have been deceived. I have allowed my mind to be misled. I have believed what is false and disbelieved what is true. I have been deluded. I have deceived to “protect ” my family. What a lie from the pits of hell. Satan’s mission is to deceive and that is why God hates the lie. Well, I have fallen for the deception, but we do not have to. I take Jesus’ warning very seriously. I watch and am looking continually for the truth in all things. If we do not take that stance, we will be deceived.
How do we avoid the deception?
“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This [is] the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21 NKJV)
And one of my all-time favorite guiding scriptures,
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalm 32:8 NKJV)
The only way to way to wade through this world of deception is to follow Jesus.
I enCOURAGE you. I share strength with your mind and spirit. I warn you again with the words of Jesus, “TAKE HEED THAT NO ONE DECEIVES YOU!”Ask God, seek, watch, get into the Word of God, He will show you the way to go. Trust Him! He will guide you in all truth so you will not be deceived, but you have to watch continually and that is work. It is not idly standing by.
“Behold, God [is] my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the LORD, [is] my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ “” (Isaiah 12:2 NKJV)
I might need to turn on the television more often. I was watching football and another ad caught my attention. It was a Fitbit ad where one overweight man was preparing for a marathon, another to block soccer goals, another pushed themself on the bench press, and another rolled on a stage in a wheelchair. It ends with a woman climbing out of a tent, suspended in midair at a 90-degree angle to the side of rocky mountain wall, and her ascent up the wall. The Fitbit user’s question, “What’s strong with me?” before they conquer their fears or disabilities to show their own strengths. Finally, Fitbit questions the consumer, “What’s strong with you?”
From the ad, I learned as we are challenged to overcome fears and failures, we should not ask, “what is wrong with me?” Instead, we should dig deep, find our inner power, and ask “What is strong with me?”
WHAT IS STRONG WITH YOU?
“For we walk by faith, not by sight:” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV)
We walk strong. We walk, tread all around, make progress, trample, crush with the feet, encounter successfully the greatest perils from the machinations and persecutions of Satan, strike with a sting and hit as if by a single blow. This is how we walk in Him.
“Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV) And “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”(Hebrews 12:1 NIV)
We run strong. We prepare for the marathon. God gives us the endurance and encouragement. Our flesh might fail, and we might be weary, but God gives us the strength to keep going. He increases the power of the weak. He gives us hope, renews our strength. He makes us soar like eagles. We will run and not grow weary! We will walk and not be faint, stumble or fall.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement…you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:6 NIV)
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26 NIV)
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)
We block strong. If we have to “block soccer goals,” or any other obstruction that Satan throws at us, the Lord is our strength and our defense. He is the one that saves us; it is not ourselves. We have to be on guard. Stand and be brave. How do we block the greatest offenses coming at us? With great defense! We do everything in love in and do not take offense.
“The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (Exodus 15:2 NIV)
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14 NIV)
We lift strong. We push ourselves on the “bench press” of life. Pressure and temptation will come, but we lift and throw everything to Him. We push through. We press on to take hold of what Christ Jesus took hold of for us. (Philippians 3:12) We press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22 NIV)
“After we have suffered a little while, God himself restore us and make us strong, firm, and steadfast.”(1 Peter 5:10)
We roll strong. Satan thinks if he knocks our legs out from under us, and even paralyzes us that he has won. The fall does not define us. Being paralyzed does not define the person in the wheelchair. If we have to “roll on the stage in a wheelchair,” we roll strong, fearless, and brave. God gives us the peace for pain and fear. He gives us His joy in all circumstances. It is our strength. This is how we roll. This is how we overcome.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV)
We climb strong. If we are called to do the impossible, like climbing out of a tent suspended in midair at a 90-degree angle to the side of rocky mountain wall, Jesus says that all things are possible. Believe. God will give us the strength we need to climb strong…”feet like deer.”
We climb strong knowing He goes before us, stands beside us, and covers our rear end. Not to mention, He hold us in His hand.
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things [are] possible to him who believes.’” (Mark 9:23 NKJV)
“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to tread on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:19 NIV)
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
We are clothed strong. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” (Proverbs 31:25 NLT)
We go strong. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)
I enCOURAGE you with my answers to what is strong with me. We are only strong in Him. In Him we walk, run, block, lift, roll, climb, dress, and go strong. In Him we can do all things. You are complete in Him, but you have to discover and believe this for yourself. “What is strong with you?”
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV)
“Surely, He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He [was] wounded for our transgressions, [He was] bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace [was] upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5 NKJV)
Recently, I was watching a movie on television. Holy Spirt decided to speak to me through a brief advertisement. The ad featured a large out-of-shape man doing the “battle rope” and “big tire flip” workout. Usually, I tune out commercials, but this man looked familiar to me. It looked like me when I did these workouts. The message of the commercial: “Oh humans, listen to what every strain, every twist, and every backache is telling you, ‘Pain says can’t!’ Advil says, ‘You can!’” Advil is not the answer. Jesus is.
I heard Holy Spirit say pain is a liar. Pain says, “You can’t!” Jesus says, “You can!” I have been chewing on this for a few days.
I found fourteen different words in the Bible that mean pain. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “various forms of bodily or mental suffering are generally translated “pain”; 28 out of the 34 passages in which the word is used are in the poetical or prophetical books and refer to conditions of mental disquiet or dismay.”
My Bible tells me in Isaiah 53:4, “Surely, He has borne our griefs.” The Hebrew word for grief is holi. It means sickness, disease, sadness, wounds, weakness, pain, tired, and sore. It is a derivative of the word hala which means to be rubbed or worn; polished smooth; to be pained; worn down; weary; made sick, weak, or afflicted; make oneself sick.
The Bible also tells me in Isaiah 53:4 that Jesus “carried our sorrows.”Makob is the Hebrew word for sorrow It means pain, physical pain, muscle pain, brain pain, soul pain, heart pain, and head pain. It means pain! Jesus carried every pain, so we do not have to! He took it so we do not have to. Isaiah 53:5 states that He was wounded for us. He was bruised for us. He was chastised for us. Glory to God! “BY HIS STRIPS WE ARE HEALED.” We are whole, healed, and complete. We are cured, repaired, and restored. We are mended by the stitching of the Great Physician. We are sown back together again. Pain may come, but just as fast it is gone through Jesus.
Pain is a liar. Simply, pain is worry and fear that we will hurt. God made our bodies to be healed and restored. “Advil” or any other medicine just helps speed up the process that God has always had in place.
When people workout, little tears occur in the muscles. After working out, the muscle tears are repaired or replaced. Muscle fibers are “fused” or mended to form new muscle strands which increase in number to create healing and growth. However, this does not happen while you actually workout. Instead, it occurs while you rest. (https://www.builtlean.com/muscles-grow/)
PAIN SAYS, “YOU CAN’T!” JESUS SAYS, “YOU CAN!”
Pain says, “You can’t work out.” Jesus says, “You can!” 1 Timothy 4:8 Pain says, “You can’t overcome.” Jesus says, “You can!” Romans 8:37 Pain says, “You can’t be strong.” Jesus says, “You can!” Psalm 28:7 Pain says, “You can’t be brave.” Jesus says, “You can!” 1 Corinthians 16:13 Pain says, “You can’t endure.” Jesus says, “You can!” 1 Corinthians 10:13 Pain says, “You can’t be happy.” Jesus says, “You can!” Nehemiah 8:10 Pain says, “You can’t be at peace.” Jesus says, “You can!” John 14:27 Pain says, “You can’t be cured from sickness.” Jesus says, “You can!” Luke 4:18 Pain says, “You can’t be healed of a broken heart .” Jesus says, “You can!” Psalm 147:3 Pain says, “You can’t forgive.” Jesus says, “You can!” Luke 6:37, Romans 12:21 Pain says, “You can’t escape.” Jesus says, “You can!” Psalm 91 Pain says, “You can’t crucify your flesh daily.” Jesus says, “You can!” Matthew 16:24 Pain says, “You can’t stop worrying!” Jesus says, “You can! Have faith in Me.” 1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7
I enCOURAGE you to listen to Jesus, “You can!” Repeat after me, well Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV) Pain is a liar. The word of God says that you can do all in Him. Don’t listen to the pain. Listen to Jesus!
I believe this will be the last encouragement from Revelation for now. This journey through Revelation began back at the first of September. For me there have been highs and lows. The most beautiful thing to me is that in the last book of the Bible, the last stanza in His love letter to us, He lays it all out there. He tells us how things will “end” only to tell us about the new beginning He has planned for the children of God. He also reveals to John and the Churches that’s us, many, many, facets of His glorious name. To God be the Glory.
On September 25, I posted “ JESUS HOLD THE LAST NOTE,” It is a compilation of His names in the first three books of Revelation. Holy Spirit showed this picture:
“I envisioned the Savior. He was standing with arms outstretched like an opera singer, singing a song, and holding the last note for a very long time. I could hear Him sing, and boldly declare, “I am Jesus Christ. I am the First and the Last. I am the Amennnnnnnnnnnnnn!” Holy Spirit showed me that the book of Revelation is like a fermata that facilitates the cadenza, the brilliant, virtuosic display of Jesus Himself as King of kings, in the final paragraphs of our love letter from the Lord.” – Tammy Phillips from JESUS HOLD THE LAST NOTE(click here to read if you missed it.)
Below is a treasury of His Names from Revelation 5-22. Be encouraged as your read!
Satan, the great pretender, was described “like” a lion in 1 Peter 5:8. Jesus, our brave, strong, and mighty hero, is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. (Revelation 5:5,9) I see Him and the “King of the beasts.” He is King of Satan, King of the Antichrist Beast. King of the false prophet. He of all their followers. The elders in heaven describe Jesus as a lion. John was expecting to see the Lion and he saw “a lamb as it had been slain.” (Revelation 5: 6,7) I am sure in the spirit he saw the scars of Jesus from his beating and crucifixion. Jesus’ scars told the story that He should be dead, but He was and is very much alive.
Jesus is the Lamb (Revelation 5: 8,9)who offered himself up for us. He was the sacrificial Lamb who paid the price for our sins. He was meek, mild, and gentle. He allowed himself to be slaughtered for us. He gives us every opportunity to follow Him into His kingdom where He is…
Lord of lords and King of kings (Revelation 17:14). There have been, and are, so many evil leaders in the world. Instead of doing good with the power and authority they have been given, they choose to do evil. Personally, I look forward to the day “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; and [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:11 KJV) All the leaders driven by money, power, and Satan himself will one day know the only King and Lord is Jesus.
When Satan has exhausted all his resources to gain world domination and Jesus is ready to return the sky will unfold to reveal Him, the One called Faithful and True. (Revelation 19:11) He is the one we can trust. He is the one in which we can always be confident. He is “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 KJV) He keeps His word. If He makes a promise, we can bank on it. He is True. He is the real deal, true and genuine. He is not fake. He is not hidden nor concealed but revealed. He loves truth, speaks truth and is the Truth.
Jesus is also called the Word of God. (Revelation 19: 13). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” (John 1:1 KJV) and end the was the Word of God. All things were made by “the Word” ; and without “the Word” was not anything made that was made. In the Word was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:3-4 KJV). The Word was the creative force that formed the world, and the Word is the force that will end the world as we know it.
I have said this before. Nike is not creative nor original in their branding. The billions of dollars Nike has made is a feeble attempt to brand “victory.” Victory was originally branded on clothes 2000 years ago. It was an original God idea. We see it in Revelation 19:16 when Jesus returns wear clothes designed by God and branded KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS on His robe and on His thigh. I absolutely love this picture of Jesus.
Jesus is pictured as ruling and reigning Christ, the Anointed and appointed. (Revelation 20: 4)
Jesus tells us that He is the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End, the First and Last. He had the first word, and he has the last. And He declares the end is near and He IS coming quickly. (Revelation 22:13)
“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, [and] the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16; 5: 5,9 KJV).
The Root and Offspring of David: This is a Messianic title of Jesus. (Isaiah 11:1). Jesus is both the Creator of King David and His descendent. The Bright and Morning star. This is also a Messianic title. (Numbers 24:17). The Messiah has spoken. He is coming and He lets us know.
I enCOURAGE you to hear the sweet melody of our precious Savior revealing Himself to you Name by Name. Be encouraged. He is the Champion. He is the soon and coming King. To God be the Glory! Thanks for sticking with me through this journey.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:21 KJV)
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed [is] he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” … And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. … “And behold, I am coming quickly,and My reward [is] with Me, to give to everyone according to his work…”He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:7, 10, 12 ,20 NKJV)
Happy Thanksgiving! I am most thankful to God, then my family and friends. I could not do like without Him or them. I am thankful for His love letter that He inspired men to write, the Bible. I am thankful that although “we” fell in the “Genesis” of the book that He had a plan of redemption and restoration from before the beginning. I am so thankful in the end of the book that God reveals Jesus to us in the biggest way and we see in detail “the last act of God’s master performance.” -Hilton Sutton
Anytime we cry out for help, we are asking for salvation from the current situation or circumstance. What is the answer we want to hear in response? “I am coming!” When a child gets a boo-boo and cries out, he wants to hear his parent say, “I am coming!” When we fall, hurt ourselves, and cry for help, we want to hear, “I am coming!” When we cry out to Jesus, we long to hear, “I am coming.” The earth has been crying out for a Savior since it fell. In the final chapter of the written word of God, the Savior answers our plea, not once, not twice but three times. He leaves us with this hope, “I am coming quickly!”
We pick up where we left off yesterday in verse seven. The angel had been talking to John, but now Jesus interjects, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed [is] he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:7 NKJV) Jesus’ message was always urgent…no time to wait…be ready! “You also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44 NKJV) Are you ready for the suddenly of His return? If you are, Jesus calls you blessed because you have kept and trusted His word to be faithful and true.
“And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 22:10 NKJV)
In the book of Daniel, his prophecies were sealed to “the time of the end (Dan. 18:26).” The book of Revelation was never sealed. When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” and He rose from the dead, the time was at hand. “Daniel was told to seal; John is told to reveal.”-Billye Brim
“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” (Revelation 22:11 NKJV)
The Bible, and its last chapter, have exhorted and warned all of us. If what we have read in Revelation does not change us, there is not much hope. This is God’s final warning to turn to the Savior. When He comes quickly, there will be no do-overs, nor second chances.
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward [is] with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.”(Revelation 22:12 NKJV)
We hear a second warning. He is coming quickly, And…there are rewards in heaven! God is a just God. He doesn’t have the mentality of the present-day world of everyone is a winner and gets a trophy just for playing. We gain rewards in heaven for what we do for Him here on earth. It’s a bonus program. We only gain entrance to heaven through the Savior. We cannot work our way in, however, with the right heart and attitude, we do earn bonuses. Rewards are always nice. God has given us much and it is what we do with what we are given that earns us His reward.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, [the] Beginning and [the] End, the First and the Last.”” (Revelation 22:13 NKJV).
Jesus reminds us Who He is lest we have forgotten at this point. He is the beginning, middle and the end. He has the first word and last word. He is the bomb.com! To leave Him out of life is to leave out everything! He is everything beginning to end.
“Blessed [are] those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14 NKJV)
When we recognize and come to know Jesus, we desire to do His word. When we become doers of His word, accepting his call, and not just hearer’s, we are granted entrance into THE CITY, New Jerusalem, Heaven! Sadly, there are outsiders not granted entrance, they ignored or forwarded His call to voice mail,
“Outside [are] dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” (Revelation 22:15 NKJV) No one wants to be an outsider.
Jesus closes and signs His letter in the final verses with an invitation,
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star and the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:16-17 NKJV)
His salvation invitation is “COME!” If you hear, if you are thirsty, if you desire, WHOSOEVER, “COME!” Salvation is free. Salvation is paid for. Our entrance fee into heaven is compliments of Jesus. Can you hear Him pleading? He keeps calling. Answer His call.
Jesus’ “P.S…” WARNING: Do not add or take away words from Revelation. Super bad consequences and high price to pay for tampering with the word of God. (See Rev22:18-19)
In Revelation 22:20, it is like Jesus is saying, “Wait! I have one more important thing to tell you before I sign off, ‘Surely, I am coming quickly. Amen.’” Do you hear Jesus? “Surely, assuredly, verily, truth, yes, I am coming quickly! So be it. I have told you.”
I hear Him say, “I know you think it’s been two thousand years, but a thousand years is like a day to me. It’s has only been a couple of days since I said this. A lot has gone on, but it has only been two days.”
John’s response was, and ours should be, “ Even so, come, Lord Jesus!“
I enCOURAGE you to heed John’s words! Listen to the word of God. Do the word of God. Jesus is coming! You might deny Him. You may even scoff, “He has not come again, yet!” You cannot stop, nor delay his sudden return. Do not wait until its too late. Surrender today to Jesus. What better day, Thanksgiving Day? Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Ps. 188:1)
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:21 NKJV)
“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV)
If you are like me, when you read a good book, you cannot wait to see how it ends. However, when you near the final pages, you slow the pace of your reading and turn the pages ever so carefully because you do not want the book to end. Revelation 21 and 22 are like that for me. They are so good! The last two chapters of the Good Book are like the most exquisite dessert. They are to be eaten slowly. We are meant to enjoy and savor every last bite. John attempted to paint a picture of the exceeding abundance of heaven. Usually, I devour a book until is finished within a day, or two. Revelation has been a feast that has fed me since early September. To quote my Mom, Marie Poon, “The beauty of this Book is that it is not over! It will last throughout all eternity! Praise God!” As His kids, the Lord God is sweetness that we will enjoy forever!
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Revelation 22:1 NKJV)
There may not be a sea in heaven, but there is abundant, flowing water and it is life!
“In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, [was] the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2 NKJV)
What a tree! It is in the middle of the river, and it reaches to either side. God began life in the garden with the tree of life. He comes full circle in His plan of redemption and restoration. Direct access to God and the tree of life is restored us, and it yields different abundant fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for healing, therapy, serving and ministering to the nations.
“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name [shall be] on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:3-5 NKJV)
No more curse. No more tears. No more sickness. No more darkness. How is this possible? Because the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in the city. Hallelujah! We will serve Him and we shall reign forever and ever!
God is in the House, forever and always! Love is in the House! Peace and Joy are in the House. Blessing is in the House. Worship, song, and dance are in the House. Life is in the House. We are His and He is ours. His name will be on our foreheads. We are God’s! We are the Untouchables because we will ever be in His presence. We shall see His face! What will it look like to gaze into the face of unconditional, unadulterated Love?
The LORD graciously allowed me a glimpse into my Nanny Abney’s ascent into heaven, as she passed from this life to the next. I was about two hundred miles away from her when she moved on. However, I knew she had taken off into her forever because I heard her say in the spirit, “It is so Love! It is so Life! It is so Love.”
I enCOURAGE you with the eternal hope that is waiting for us as children of God. I know that I know that I know that there is life after we die on earth. The only way there is Jesus. We can rest assured. His word is faithful and true.
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us –not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy – through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7 CSB)
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, [there] you may be also.”-Jesus (John 14:2-3 NKJV)
We all want to go to the newest resort or the newest place to eat. We all have our favorite places. This is not an original idea. The LORD chose “The Place” that Israel was to worship Him, and it was not under every green tree. Read Deuteronomy 12. “The Place” was mentioned over 150 times in only 32 verses. “The chosen Place” of worship was important to God. “The Place” should be important to us because it is “The Place” to be.
“But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.” (Deuteronomy 12:5 NKJV)
Abraham (Gen.22:4) and Jacob (Gen.28:11, 16-17) saw “The Place.” David sought and found “The Place” (Ps. 132:5, 1 Chronicles 15, 18, 20). Solomon built and found “The Place” with David’s direction (2 Chronicles 3:1, 1 Chronicles 7:12,15). This was the earthly place Israel was to worship God. One of the names Jews have for Jerusalem is Ha MaKom, “The Place.”
Jesus told His followers, “I go to prepare a place for you, and nobody comes to the Father , but by Me.” (John 14:2, 6) Our Ha Makom, “our Place,” is the Father’s house. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20-21). We are raised up together and seated together in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). We are His heavenly people; complete in Him. (Colossians 1,2) We are His chosen place, and He is our place. (John 15:4)
Let’s look at New Jerusalem, Heavenly Jerusalem, “The Place” he has prepared for us! The place to be!
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, “having the glory of God. Her light [was] like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” (Revelation 21:11 NKJV)
Jasper is defined as a precious stoned of different colors. When I “googled” jasper, I saw the colors of the rainbow and more. One type of Jasper is called kaleidoscope. (See dream in yesterday’s post)
New Jerusalem has Walls And Gates
She had a great, high wall with twelve gates, three to north southeast and west. The gates were named after the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. (Rev. 21:12-13) The wall of the city had twelve foundations with names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Rev. 21:14) The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth.
New Jerusalem’s Size
The angel measured twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.” (Revelation 21:16 NKJV). The Greek word for furlong is stadion and it’s the derivative of our word, stadium. (Yep, there are “stadiums” in heaven, men.) New Jerusalem is about 12,000 stadiums long, high, and wide. One furlong is about 660 feet or .125 miles, multiply by 12,000 and you get about 1500 miles. This is equivalent to 2,250, 000 square miles. The distance from Nashville, Tennessee to Las Vegas, Nevada is about 1576 miles. And the distance from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border is roughly 1500 miles. This is some city. Don’t forget, it is reaches 1500 miles high, too. Denver is dethroned as the “Mile High City!”
He measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet high (according to the human standard used by the angel).(Rev. 21:17) This is near the height of 15 to 20 story building. This is the wall. The wall was made of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. (Rev.21:18)
The Foundation Walls
The foundation was adorned with all kinds of precious stones:
the twelfth amethyst
the eleventh jacinth
the tenth chrysoprase
the ninth topaz
the eighth beryl
the seventh chrysolite
the sixth sardius
the fifth sardonyx
the fourth emerald
the third chalcedony
the second sapphire
the firstfoundation: jasper
(Rev. 21:19-20 )
“The twelve gates [were] twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city [was] pure gold, like transparent glass.” (Rev. 21:21 NKJV)
For fun, let’s guess and say the gate was only one fourth the height of the wall, 54 foot high or five stories high. Have you ever seen a pearl of that magnitude? …And the streets of gold.
“The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Rev. 21:22 NKJV) The presence of the LORD!
New Jerusalem’s Light Source
The glory of God illuminated it. The city did not need the sun, nor the moon because there is no night either. The Lamb is the light. (Rev. 21:23, 25). “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5 NKJV)
New Jerusalem’s Gates are Always Open
“Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).” (Rev. 21:25 NKJV). Then why have gates? I do not know.
New Jerusalem’s Entrance Mandate
R.S.V.P to Jesus
Name written on the list: the Lamb’s Book of Life
Followers of Jesus Only
No walk-ups at the gate
No unclean, evil, profane, polluted, or impure
No one who practices shameful idolatry or dishonesty
Nothing that causes an abomination or a lie
Nothing detestable or deceitful (Revelation 21: 27 NKJV)
I enCOURAGE you to follow Jesus in all your ways. He is the way to “The Place.” I promise you this is a ticket you do not want to turn down! It is a life and a hope you do not want miss. It is Glory. It is forever living in the presence of God, Light and Love. I promise you that it is everything you have ever wanted, or have been looking for. Make your reservations now! Choose Jesus!
*The blue portion of today’s post was inspired and borrowed from Billye Brim’s, The Book of Revelation Syllabus, pg.80-81