End to the Beginning

End to the Beginning

Whenever I read a book, I always read the last chapter first. That way I eliminate the mystery, suspense and unpredictability of the story line. Then, I can read from the beginning, without the stress of not knowing how it will turn out.

Some of you may enjoy horror movies and suspenseful mysteries, but they cause my psyche too much anxiety. I love to watch Hallmark movies, because as my husband derisively points out, the endings are predictable. There is very little stress and suspense in these wondrously sappy romances.

I did this with the Bible too. I read Revelation first. This colorful depiction of symbolic drama gives us a bird’s eye view of the culmination of time as we know it.

Revelation confirms the prophetic books of the Bible, such as Daniel, Ezekiel and Isaiah – as well as the New Testament letters such as the gospels and Thessalonians. They report to us God’s intention for creation, redemption and restoration.

When we know how the end plays out, these facts remove the guesswork from life and give us a fool proof game plan to follow in our walk of faith through the Son of God.

God made His will plain and stress-free for us through the Biblical account of His clear timetable of events leading up to His final return to earth and His eternal plans for humanity.

God does not dwell in time. The 6,000 years since creation are all in the present to Him. He is not restrained, directed or controlled by the hands on the clock like we are (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).

Our Creator and King dwells in eternity. He invites us to join Him in this place of unhindered existence through salvation in His Son. Jesus won this privilege for us by taking on the form of a man and dying in our place (Philippians 2:6-8).

God also provided us with His Word in order to afford us hope for a joyful future and instructions for living in a peaceful existence through every moment of each new day regardless of our circumstances (Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for Your Word, which takes the guesswork right out of life. Remind us to check with You before we do anything, so that You can direct our plans (Proverbs 3:5-6). When Satan attempts to hinder us, teach us to use spiritual warfare through the power of Christ in us to withstand his onslaughts.

Thank You for always answering our prayers, and for not always giving us what we want, but what is in our best interest. We squirm under the pressures of life and often feel like we know how to alleviate these trials; but we often jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Keep us in the center of Your will and walking in the fruit of Your righteousness.

Thought for the Day:
Our Father is God and there is no one like Him; He declared the end to the beginning. – Isaiah 4:9-11

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Quiet Moments

The hardest practice for modern humans to develop is to sit still! In times past, once the chores were done, families sat around on the porch and talked, sang and told stories.

We have no time for that anymore. We are overly scheduled with activities that will not matter in eternity. God tells us to be still and to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10); however, we rarely take the time to abide in His presence.

If we sit quietly in God’s company, He floods our spirit and soul with His attributes and the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He warms our entire being with His presence and He guides us through each moment of our day.

The curse, which Adam and Eve brought upon the earth affects creation, as well as humanity. We all long for the return of Christ as Lord and King, with the government on His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6).

Even nature responds to God’s love. The stones will cry out if God’s people refuse to praise Him (Luke 19:28-40). All of creation actually groans for the revelation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19-22).

Our new birth in Christ fills the aching void in our life and makes us complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). Our hungry soul changes from desiring more of the world to craving more intimacy with Him.

This only occurs when we increase the quiet moments in our day. We wait on God between each activity, to seek His will for our next endeavor.

We ask Him to guide everything, which we think, say and do. We walk in His Spirit and find our joy in the center of His will (Galatians 5:15-25). He alone is worthy of all our glory, honor and praise (Revelation 5:8-14).

Prayer:
Father God, help us not to conform our thoughts and behavior to the values of this world, but to allow Your Spirit to transform us by renewing our mind until we walk in Your good, perfect and acceptable will (Romans 12:2).

Remind us not to plan our own life, but to realize each day that Your Spirit resides within us and will control our life as we completely surrender to You. He will heal our soul – our mind, will and emotions; direct our steps and help us to live in Your eternal peace, joy and righteousness (Romans 14:17).

Thought for the Day:
God is worthy of our quiet attention all throughout the day, and He deserves the glory and honor for all that we accomplish in our life, because He gives His power to all of His creation. – Revelation 4:11

All Things Through Christ IN Us

When we quote the first half of Philippians 4:13, we put the emphasis on our self. WE can do all things. We stop there, feeling rather smug with our self and overly confident in our own ability to accomplish great works for God.

Let us quote the verse in its entirety: “I can do everything, which God asks me to do, through the power of Christ in me, who gives me the ability and the strength to obey.”

This verse is actually telling us that apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). He is the Vine, and we are the branches. Apart from the vine, the branch is useless and dies.

A branch bears no fruit apart from the vine. The Vine gives us the ability and strength to produce only that fruit, which the Vinedresser created us to bear (John 15:1).

We do not do works for God, but the works of God, which He called us to do before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10). His perfect plan, orchestrated for each life, yields a beautiful symphony.

This way we cannot either take any credit for our accomplishments or feel as if we are incapable of acting on the Holy Spirit’s direction. We gain our direction from Christ in us (Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 1:27).

Christ abides within us from the instant of our salvation and throughout our lifetime (Matthew 28:20). God’s Spirit directs and supports us in each situation, which He allows to come our way (Isaiah 41:10; Daniel 3:24-25).

Nothing will occur in our life, which is not part of God’s plan for us, unless we are reaping the consequences of our disobedience or self-will. Since Christ dwells within us, we can do everything, which God calls us to do.

Prayer:
Father God, we find rest for our soul – our mind, choices and emotions, when we realize that we no longer need to figure everything out and to plan for every

contingency. We rest in the realization that Jesus is our way, truth and life (John 14:6).

As we come to know You in a deeper relationship, we rely on Christ as our wisdom and strength (Philippians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:30). We completely surrender to You, as You direct our thoughts, words and deeds according to Your perfect will for us (Romans 12:2).

Thought for the Day:
God calls us to live beyond human reason, as we receive His divine revelation for each moment of our day.

To Those who Overcome

All of my Christian life, I heard the verses to the churches in Revelation containing promises to those who overcome. I do not have the moral fiber, mental strength or physical stamina to overcome anything. In other words, I am a wimp!

Whenever I saw or heard those verses, I cringed and shut down mentally and emotionally. As a new Believer, life still frightened me; and yet, I wanted to receive those promises to the overcomer.

Recently, my pastoral husband preached about living as an overcomer and his sermon gave me the key verse that I missed all of these years (1 John 4:4, 5:1-5). We overcome not in our human ability, but through Christ in us (John 16:33; James 1:2-3).

Whoever is born of God automatically overcomes the world, because our faith in Jesus as the Son of God gives us the victory (1 John 5:45). Jesus already overcame the world and He abides in us.

Even in suffering, we glorify God by our example as patient victims (1 Peter 4:12-16; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). In heaven, we will receive these promises to the overcomer:
• We will eat of the tree of life and hidden manna, and we will receive the white stone of acquittal for our sins along with a new name (Revelation 2:7, 17; 3:12),
• We will rule the nations (Revelation 2:26) and we will be clothed in white, which is the purity of our works (Revelation 19:8).
• We will have our name written in the Lambs’ Book of Life (Revelation 3:5), we will forever serve as a pillar of strength in the temple of our God (Revelation 3:12),
• We will sit with Christ on His throne (Revelation 3:21),
• We will inherit all things as co-heirs with Christ as Children of God (Revelation 21:27),
• We will not experience the second, spiritual death in hell (Revelation 2:11),

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to do for us what we could never do for our self. Thank Your for taking away the shame and condemnation of our sins, and for making us acceptable in Your beloved family (Ephesians 1:6). Christ in us makes us overcomers, because we are born again of His Spirit and we have faith in His faithfulness (1 John 5:4-5).

If we could live for thousands of years, we would never have enough time to praise You for what You already did and still do for us every day. We look forward to living for eternity in Your Kingdom and to giving You the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Thought for the Day:
Christ in us will overcome anything, which the world, the devil and our flesh throws at us (Galatians 2:20); we are more than conquerors through Christ who lives in us (Romans 8:31-39).

God’s Timing for the Ages

God’s Timing for the Ages

Society today scoffs at Believers in the same way that people in Noah’s day mocked him (Matthew 24:37). God’s mercy and grace have dealt with mankind since the beginning of time. However, if we reject God’s call to repentance, He will pour out His righteous wrath on our sin, rebellion and pride.

God gives us His precise timeline in His Word, which includes detailed information from Genesis to Revelation. These specifics alert us to His plan, which is unfolding throughout world history, as well as in current events. These prophetic words warn us of both coming destruction and Godly deliverance, which awaits us in the near future.

God’s final judgment on the nations and the devil is called the Great Tribulation (Revelation 5:17). God even gives a specific timeline of events during the Great Tribulation period, as a warning of His coming judgment (Revelation 10:1-7). God uses this time to accomplish three main purposes: To judge unrighteous nations, to save those in Israel who are willing to believe, and to end Satan’s dominion on the earth, which Adam and Eve relinquished to him in the Garden of Eden.

Repenting of our sins and trusting in Jesus Christ allows Believers to escape the terrible Day of the Lord and to enjoy eternity as the Bride of Jesus and co-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom of God (Joel 2:31). As we put our trust in the Lord, we can draw near to His presence continually throughout the day; and experience, as well as share with those in need, the miracles He provides through every trial we ever encounter ((2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Psalm 73:28).

Prayer:
Father God, we suffer now on this planet because of the sin rampant in the world; however, You always make all things beautiful in Your time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We know that You work out everything for the good of those who are called according to Your eternal purpose and who love and obey You (Romans 8:28). We bless You, Lord, for Your mercies and comfort, even in our tribulation in this present age. You are our refuge and our strength in any time of trouble; therefore, we have no need to fear (Psalm 46:1-2).

Thought for the Day:
God’s plan for the ages is amazing and brings us to our knees in humility and gratitude.

All Part of God’s Plan

God’s wrath over sin fated Jesus to a brutal crucifixion before the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:20). Jesus became sin for undeserving sinners like us (Isaiah 53:10). As we confess Him before our Father, He becomes our Lord (Philippians 2:11; Isaiah 53:11). His words of life bring us joy (John 15:11). He is our eternal life, and our fulfillment is in His presence both now and in eternity (Psalm 16:11).

When we come to the awesome revelation that not one thing occurs in our life that is not part of God’s plan for us, we can relax and go with His flow and follow His directives during each situation, just like Jesus did (1Thessalonians 5:18). This absolute truth allows us to live in His perfect peace. Our joy is no longer affected by our circumstances, but simply by the presence of Christ within us (Colossians 1:27).

During our lifetime our thoughts, words or deeds may cause us to reap negative circumstances, but God even uses this to discipline and mature us as His Saints. The Lord is God, He made us, and we belong to Him (Psalm 100:3). He gave us Jesus as our Way, Truth and Life (Johan 14:6). God never leaves us, so our joy is always complete (Hebrews 13:5; John 15:11).

God calls His children to live with gratitude to Him in our heart in every situation, which life throws at us (James 1:2-5; Hebrews 12:3-13; 1 Peter 2:20-21). Due to God’s goodness, mercy and everlasting truth, words of thanksgiving and praise fill all of our days (Psalm 100:5). This gives us continual victory. In our gratitude to Him, we sing songs of praise and we serve Him with His joy as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

Prayer:
Father God, we always give thanks to You, in the name of Jesus, for everything in our life, even the negative aspects (Ephesians 5:20). You did, You do and You will always do so much for us, for which we thank You. Thank You that Jesus gave His body, broken for our redemption (Luke 22:19). Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who keeps us from living on this earth as orphans (John 14:18). Thank You for Your presence in our life. We look forward to dwelling with You in eternity (John 17:3).

Thought for the Day:
We live in praise to God, because He promises that He will work out all things, even the negative aspects of our life, for our good. – Romans 8:28

Unity with God’s Trinity

God already knows when the world as we know it will end, and our time is in His hands (Is 46:10; Ps 31:15). He is eternal with no beginning or end. As Believers and followers of Christ, we start to see life from an eternal rather than an earthly perspective. We do not regret the past or fear the future. We live in the here and now in the precious arms of God (John 5:25).

We walk in His light, just as He is in the light (1 John 1:7). There is no lack in our life, because He supplies all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). Our old nature molts away, layer after layer with each new season of Biblical revelation. We walk in the truth that it is no longer I, but Jesus Christ who lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

As the hectic pace of life increases, we need more alone (all-one) times with our Lord and Christ. We schedule times of the week as a priority to spend with God. We may not have an entire day, but we can find several hours where we rest and breathe in His presence (Psalm 46:10). The Spirit will open up opportunities for us if we will watch for them.

After hearing from God in our quiet place, there is no need to strive to walk in the Spirit. We are used to hearing His voice and He loves to commune with us. As we delight in the Lord, He puts His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4). He works out His will in us for His glory. God’s Spirit controls our thoughts, words and deeds more and more often.

Intimate communication with God will nurture peace in our soul. If we make the time and effort to be still before the Lord, His strength infuses our spirit (Psalm 46:10). We have no need to fear, even if our whole world turns upside down (Habakkuk 3:17-19). Jesus Christ becomes for us our refuge and our tower of strength to help in any time of trouble (Psalm 46:1-3).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to allow You to crucify our flesh so that we can walk in unity with Your Trinity. You commune with us, not in a loud oppressive voice, but in Your still, small voice that confidently tells us which way to go. As we follow Your directives, we end up walking in Your Spirit to accomplish Your will on the earth, rather than living to fulfill the lust of the old, dying fleshly human nature (Galatians 5:16-25).

Thought for the Day:
Even while playing Scrabble I learn to discern the voice of God as I obey that still, small nudge to form letters into words that I do not even know; and this carries over into every day life as I read His Word and follow His direction throughout the day.