What is expected of us

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord really wants from you: He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful, and to live obediently before your God. Micah 6.8

It is true in many areas of life that knowing what is expected of us makes life easier. Our jobs would often be much more difficult, if not impossible to do, if we did not know what was expected of us. Not only adults are affected. Children would find it hard at school if they did not know what the teacher expected of them.

Have you ever contemplated how little we would know about God if the Bible did not exist? Life would be so much more difficult trying to please a god that had not communicated with his followers what he expected of them.

The good news is that God has communicated with man through his word which is contained in the Bible. Because of the writings of Moses, the prophets, and others, we have an accurate account of what God wants us to know. Not only does he want us to know, he expects us to search the Scriptures to discover the truth, Acts 17.30. He wants us to be open-minded and to examine the Scriptures to know what his will is for us , Acts 17.11.

He wants us to imitate his son, Jesus, I Corinthians 11.1. Micah, the prophet could have been describing Jesus in the above verse. Jesus promoted justice, was faithful, and was obedient even when it it brought suffering, Hebrews 5.7-9.

Now there can be a slight problem. Many people have a Bible, but have never opened it to read it. How can one know what is expected of him if he never makes an effort to find out? Jesus has spoken the very words that God told him to speak. We just have to read and believe, John 12.44-50. Are you reading? Do you believe?

#risingjoy #Micah #revelation

New things

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

And the one seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new!” Then he said to me, “Write it down, because these words are reliable and true.” He also said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life. The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (…)” Revelation 21.5-7

We all like new things! Have you ever looked at your body and wished it were different? Well, when Jesus comes again, he is making all things new! We will have a new body. We will live in a new home. We will have a new life. Jesus is the beginning and the end of all things. He will provide us with water that comes from the spring of the water of life.

However, it is not for everyone. It is for those who conquer and remain faithful to the end. It is for the one who is obedient to his commands. We shall once again have the close relationship with God that Adam and Eve had before the fall in the garden. O happy day!

#risingjoy #Revelation #newness

Reputation and reality

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The one who conquers will be dressed like them in white clothing, and I will never erase his name from the book of life, but will declare his name before my Father and before his angels. Revelation 3.5

John was writing to the church in Sardis. Reputation is not everything. You can have a good reputation but the reality can be quite different.

The church in Sardis had a reputation that it was alive and well. However, Jesus told John to write to the church that he knew their deeds but in reality they were dead. They were encouraged to wake up and strengthen what remained before it also died. Their deeds were lacking before God.

Jesus took them back to the roots of their faith. He encouraged them to remember what they had received and heard, to obey, and to repent. This is a principle that we see throughout the Bible. We must respect what the scriptures say and act accordingly. Adding to the word or changing things to bring more people in will not be acceptable to God. He is not interested in numbers for the numbers, but in obedience of the numbers.

Not all in Sardis were lost. There were a few who remained faithful. They would walk with Jesus and wear white in eternity. Jesus used battle language when he said that those who conquer will be dressed like them. Their names will be found in the book of life. Their names will be declared by Jesus before God.

It is so easy to become distracted by the world or worries. However, this is a choice that each one decides for themselves. I can respect God’s word and follow it. Or I can decide that I know better than God and do it my way. The choice has eternal consequences. What will you decide?

#risingjoy #Revelation #reputation

We have to open the door

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

All those I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent! Listen! I am standing at the door and knocking! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into his home and share a meal with him, and he with me. I will grant the one who conquers permission to sit with me on my throne, just as I too conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3.19-22

Life can be overwhelming and can seem so urgent. Everything on our to-do list were things that should have been done yesterday! Or so we think. The seemingly urgent things clamor for our attention like a siren. They interrupt our lives and many times throw it into a chaotic mess. In our verses today, we see Jesus standing at the door and knocking. He is knocking at the door of our lives and of our hearts. Notice that he does not burst through the door and force us to eat with him. No, we have to open the door. We have to allow him entrance. Listen! Do you hear his voice? He is telling us there is a different way. He disciplines us with love. He calls us to repent. He calls us to change our ways. Do we hear him? Are we listening? In Matthew 11.28-30 Jesus issues an invitation. He invites us to take on his yoke and learn from him. I have to listen to what he has to say. I have to learn from him. I do that through the word of God. At the end of my life, will I have permission to sit with him on his throne? I want to be a conqueror! Do you? Let’s open the door.

#risingjoy #Revelation #invitation

Is it enough?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Will the Lord accept a thousand rams, or ten thousand streams of olive oil? Should I give him my firstborn child as payment for my rebellion, my offspring – my own flesh and blood – for my sin? He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord really wants from you: He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful, and to live obediently before your God. Listen! The Lord is calling to the city! It is wise to respect your authority, O Lord! Listen, O nation, and those assembled in the city! Micah 6.7-9

God does not leave us in the dark about what he wants. He is very clear in his word. However, we are not convicted of that fact nor at times do we want to listen to what he has to say. We tell ourselves that is does not matter what we do, we will be accepted since he is a loving God. We go through the rituals thinking that is enough when we could not be further from the truth. God does not want ritual worship. The good thing is that for the one who is truly interested, God has told us what he wants. He is the source of all that is good. He has told us what he wants us to do. He wants us to promote justice. I need to live making choices that are right, correct. He wants me to be faithful. I must live out my faith believing in the one who makes that possible. Finally I must live obediently before God. He has put everything within my reach. It is all there in his word. I must make the effort to learn what his will is and obey it. I must respect his authority. Micah the prophet made this appeal hundreds of years ago to God’s people. It is an appeal that we still need to make today.

#risingjoy #Micah #revelation

The new Jerusalem, Revelation 21.2

“And I saw the holy city – the new Jerusalem – descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.”

Revelation 21.2

What a blessing it must have been for John to have seen this vision! For this he has waited and prepared all his life. And he offers the vision to those who may see it before he does.

Christians know that beyond the grave lies the heavenly city of God. To be eternally with him motivates them. How much does heaven occupy my thoughts and dreams?

#votd #Revelation #heaven

The hidden to be revealed: Luke 12.2

“Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing is secret that will not be made known.”

Luke 12.2

Why guard against hypocrisy, such as the Pharisees demonstrated? v. 1 Because it will all come to light in the future. Fear of man causes dissimulation, v. 4, but fear of God should lead to honesty and transparency, v. 5.

Human drama derives from secrets. (Read any novel.) Divine redemption occurs from revelation and knowledge. We move from one to the other by confession.

#votd #Luke #revelation

Your actions do not meet the requirements: Revelation 3.2

“Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.”

Revelation 3.2 NLT

Many in the Sardis church did not live up to God’s standards. He has requirements that must be met. If they are not, judgment draws near, v. 3.

The whole Bible makes clear that God requires certain things. These things are not hard to understand. Nor are they difficult to obey. Are you up to his requirements?

#votd #Revelation #requirements

Grace with all: Revelation 22.21

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.”

Revelation 22.21

With these words end the book of Revelation and the New Testament. It is a note of grace, a focus on Christ, a prayer that everyone be included in the hope of salvation.

Is my life a demonstration of God’s grace? Does everything revolve around the Lord Jesus? Do my prayers and actions seek to extend his grace to all?

#votd #Revelation #conclusion

The Lord’s spirit spoke through me: 2 Samuel 23.2-3

“The Lord’s spirit spoke through me;
his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke,
the protector of Israel spoke to me.”

2 Samuel 23.2-3

David’s final words reflect his consciousness of God speaking to and through him. The Holy Spirit spoke through David, Acts 1.16. Many of his writings are in Scripture.

God blessed us by recording in Scripture many of the great events of salvation history, by inspiration of those involved. They deserve our full attention.

#votd #inspiration #revelation

I declared my mind through them: Hosea 12.10

“I spoke to the prophets;
it was I who gave vision after vision:
I declared my mind through them.”

Hosea 12.10 REB

REB interprets the third line, which NET reads as “I spoke in parables through the prophets.” The revelation throught the prophets, like Hosea, was one of judgment and repentance.

God continues to communicate to us today through the prophets and inspired apostles, whose writings are contained in the Bible. We must give even greater heed to them, now that Jesus has come.

#votd #prophets #revelation

Coming soon: Revelation 22.20-21 VOTD

“The one who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.”

Revelation 22.20-21

The very last words of the Bible include a promise from the Lord Jesus, a prayer and a blessing. Jesus promises to return. This is the desire of his people. In the meantime, they live in his grace and work for it to reach everyone.

In Christ suffering makes sense. His death means victory now. His coming means eternal bliss. What does it mean to live in the Lord’s grace now?

#second-coming #Revelation #VOTD

To the one who loves us: Revelation 1.5b-6 VOTD

“To the one who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood and has appointed us as a kingdom, as priests serving his God and Father—to him be the glory and the power for ever and ever! Amen.”

Revelation 1.5b-6

John’s greeting to the seven congregations in Asia includes praise to Christ. His three-fold description of the Lord’s work begins with love.

Write your own praise to Christ and include other biblical descriptions of what Christ has done for his people.

#love #Revelation #VOTD

Hold on: Revelation 3.11 VOTD

“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one can take away your crown.”

Revelation 3.11

The Lord Jesus urged the Philadelphian church to remain faithful, not losing their reward soon to be awarded them.

How does Jesus’ coming serve as motivation? What is involved in holding on? To what does Jesus refer that we have?

#faithfulness #Revelation #VOTD

To everyone who hears: Revelation 22.18-19 VOTD

“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy contained in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.”

Revelation 22.18-19

At the end of his prophecy, the apostle John applies a general principle to his book. Appearing as it does at the end of the canon, it also serves as a warning to the complete word of God.

How is the principle of reciprocity applied here?

#respect #revelation #VOTD