Looking Ahead

Lauren Boebinger

Image by Lauren Boebinger

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6

 

Centerline New Media

Image by Centerline New Media

“Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”  Revelation 14:7

 

Zach Fonville plans

Image by Zach Fonville

 

“Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”

At Christmas we remember You, Jesus, coming humbly in human form.  You were totally dependent on Your mother and earthly father to provide for your needs.  Your almighty power was limited to human abilities–for a time–so that You might accomplish for us our Salvation.  BUT—You are coming again in great glory and might and power and exaltation! Lord, we pray that You would keep us in the true faith until that great day.  To You be all glory and praise, now and forever!  In Your name we pray, Amen.

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December 31 Ending Words

Image by Kevin Carden

Image by Kevin Carden

Malachi 3:1-4:6;  Revelation 22:1-21;  Psalm 150:1-6;  Proverbs 31:25-31

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into city.  Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.  I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.

“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”  And let him who hears say, “Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”  Revelation 22:12-17

It’s the end of the year–not yet the end of your life.  An invitation remains open from the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings:

“Come!”

Come to Jesus.  Acknowledge Him as your Lord.  Repent of your sins.  Receive His pardon and peace.  Be clothed in robes of righteousness.  Dress for the ultimate feast that will never end!

“Come!”

A new year, a new life awaits you!

Lord God, on this last day of the year, I pray for those who do not yet know and love you as Lord and Savior.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will create in them a hunger and thirst for truth, for pardon, and for a peace that passes all understanding.  I pray that they will find a new life in You.  Thank you for this past year of your continual blessings–the greatest of which is knowing that our sins are forgiven and that you walk with us day by day.  We give you our thanks and praise!  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

December 30 Longing Words

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Malachi 1:1-2:17;  Revelation 21:1-27;  Psalm 149:1-9;  Proverbs 31:10-24

What words do you long to hear?

“We’ve found her!”

“I’m home!”

“You’re safe.”

“You’ve been accepted to….”

“You’re cancer free!”

To hear those words would bring tears of joy, feelings of exhilaration, relief, or gratitude.

In this world, we may or may not get to experience those words.  We live in an imperfect world.

Yet, our Lord speaks to our longing for a better, perfect  world with His words to us found in the book of Revelation:

“Behold, I am making all things new!  Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  And he said to me, “It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  To the thirsty  I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”  Revelation 21: 5-7

Through the waters of Baptism we have already been made “sons”–the new has already begun in our hearts and will find completion on the Final Day when Jesus comes to take us to our Heavenly Home.  Yes, we still long for this time to come, but we can rejoice in our waiting!

Thank you, Jesus, that you redeemed us by your most precious blood shed on the Cross for all sinners.  We do long to be in your presence-face to face.  We trust that you will bring it all to pass as it has been revealed to us in your Word.  Thank you for your words in Revelation that strengthen our faith and keep us mindful of the glorious life to come.  In your name we pray, Amen.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, nor shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:3-4

December 22 No Visions Of Sugar Plums

Photo by M Jones

Photo by M Jones

Zechariah 2:1-3:10;  Revelation 13:1b-18;  Psalm 141:1-10;  Proverbs 30:18-20

“And, I saw a beast rising out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.  And the beast I saw was like a leopard;  its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth.

“And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words…It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming His name and his dwelling…it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.

“Here is a call for endurance and faith of the saints.”

Selected verses from Revelation 13

When the Apostle John received these visions from God there were beastly things happening all around the Roman world.

Think Nero.

Christians suffered at the hands of this man who declared himself a “god”.

Beastly visions in beastly times.

And God left John with these fighting words:  “Here is a call for endurance and faith.”

God sounds the same call to us today.  Endure!  Believe!

Visions of Heavenly Sugar Plums lie ahead because of our Lord Jesus Christ whose coming again will usher in a New Heaven and a New Earth.  Praise God!

Come Lord Jesus!

“The night will soon be ending;

The dawn cannot be far.

Let songs of praise ascending

Now greet the Morning Star!

All you whom darkness frightens

With guilt or grief or pain,

God’s radiant Star now brightens

And bids you sing again.”

~ Jochen Klepper

Lord God, beastly things are happening in our “modern” world, too.  Christians are suffering at the hands of wicked men.  The Church is “under fire” from those who don’t want anything to do with the Truth.  Believers meet challenges in the work place, at school, in the home.  Lord, for Jesus’ sake, keep us strong in our faith.  Help us to endure and to persevere.  Help us to love our enemies and so reflect the Light of your love for all people.  In His name we pray, Amen.

December 15 Cajillions

Image by Sandara Lee

Image by Sandara Lee

Jonah 1:1-4:11;  Revelation 5:1-14;  Psalm 133:1-3;  Proverbs 29:26-27

“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive

power and wealth and wisdom

and might and honor and glory

and blessing!”

And,

I heard every creature in heaven and on earth

and under the earth

and in the sea and all that is in them saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb,

be blessing and honor and glory and might

forever and ever!”

And,

the four living creatures said, “Amen!”

and the elders fell down

and worshiped.”

Revelation 5:11-14

Myriads of myriads!  I learned that myriads means ‘millions.’

Millions and thousands and thousands and millions–Angels, ALL in agreement, ALL in ONE voice declaring that ONLY Jesus Christ-the Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive  all that mankind covets–wealth, power, prestige, honor ,glory, wisdom.

And then we hear or see an ad on TV or in a magazine that throws out the phrase “because you’re worth it.”  Really?????  What have we done compared to Christ who gave His life for us on the Cross so that our sins might be forgiven and forever forgotten by our Heavenly Father?

Yet in God’s eyes, because of Jesus, we are worth it–Because of Jesus He’s opened the gates to Heaven to all who believe on His Name.  His love for us and what His Son has done for us makes it all so worth it.

So one day we will be among the cajillions of voices praising the Lamb in Heaven!  And even now, as we worship our voices join with theirs:

“Holy, holy, holy

Lord, God of Sabaoth,

adored;

Heav’n and earth with

full acclaim

shout the glory

of  Your name.

Sing hosanna in the highest,

sing hosanna to the Lord;

Truly blest is He who comes

in the name of the Lord! Amen.”

~Sanctus

December 13 24/7 Worship and Praise

Photos by Laura Jostes

Photos by Laura Jostes

Obadiah 1:1-21;  Revelation 4:1-11;  Psalm 132:1-18;  Proverbs 29:24-25

“And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:  the first living creature like a lion, the second…like an ox, the third with the face of a man, the fourth like an eagle in flight…they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,

who was and is and is to come!”

And whenever the living creatures give glory

and honor and thanks to Him who is seated on the throne,

who lives forever and ever,

the twenty four elders fall down before Him…

they cast their crowns before the throne saying,

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created!”

Revelation 4:6-11

IMG_0168

*******

Our Lord puts songs of praise into our hearts

and unites us with these Heavenly 

Holy,

Holy,

Holies

even when feelings overwhelm

Holy, holy, holy”

when sorrow hovers

“Holy, holy, holy”

when doubts creep in

Holy, holy, holy.”

Jesus’ blood,

given and shed for us

ushers in

Holy, holy, holy,

Revelation hymns

of praise!

IMG_0106

Lord God, Praise your holy name!  Praise you Father, Son and Holy Spirit!  Praise you for your glory shown to us in the Babe of Bethlehem, in the Cross of Calvary, in the Empty Tomb, in your perfectly preserved Word that continues to speak your Truth to the Nations!  May we all fall down in worship and praise along with the company of Heaven.  May we join in the 24/7 hymns of praise!  For Jesus’ sake, Amen!

“Holy, holy, holy

All the saints adore thee

Casting down their golden crowns

Around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim

Falling down before thee,

Which were and are

And evermore will be!”

~Reginald Heber

December 12 Feeling Small?

Image by Domonic Webster

Image by Domonic Webster

Amos 7:1-9:15;  Revelation 3:7-22;  Psalm 131:1-3;  Proverbs 29:23

” I know your works.  Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.  I know you have little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.  I am coming soon.  Hold fast what you have, so that no one can seize your crown.

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God.  Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”

Revelation 3:8,10-12

*****

Feeling small in the kingdom of God?

No big hat to wear?

No podium to shake?

~

Our Lord sees

your small seed

of faith.

It’s roots grow

deep.

~

He sees you standing firm,

saying “yes” to Him

and

“no”

to all else.

~

He sees you serve

a friend in need,

a stranger in the aisle.

~

He’s got just the place

for you,

when Kingdom time arrives.

You’ll stand strong,

and proud,

and tall,

His name emblazoned

on your chest

and a crown

upon

your brow.

Lord God, again you speak to us, just as you spoke to the church in Philadelphia with words of love and encouragement.  Times were tough for them.  They were not seen as a Christian “power house”.  In your eyes, though, their faithful presence was enough.  They believed in you and trusted you–in the face a of great opposition.  Thank you for encouraging them to stand firm, hold onto their crowns and hold on to YOU!  May we be encouraged by the same!  Thank you Lord Jesus! In your name we pray, Amen.

December 11 Walking Clothes

Photo by Kevin Carden

Photo by Kevin Carden

Amos 4:1-6:14;  Revelation 2:18-3:6;  Psalm 130:1-8;  Proverbs 29:21-22

“I know your works.  You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, then, what you received and heard.  Keep it, and repent.  If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and your will not know what hour I will come against you.

***

“Yet you still have a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.  The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.  I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”

Revelation 3:1-5

Jesus gave a wake up call to the Christians in Sardis.  Their reputation was solid, but it was a charade and Jesus saw right through it.

Wow.  That means He can see right through me too. When I think I’m walking the walk, and talking the talk Jesus says, “Wake up!

I’ve been doing some sleeping lately; my motivation for writing a Christian blog on a daily basis teeters on a “have to” thing rather than a missional “I want to serve Him in this way, this day” thing.

That’s why Jesus’ words in this letter to the Sardis Christians speak hope to me:  Repent!  He sees.  He forgives.  He gives me His set of walking clothes–His righteousness won for me on the Cross are mine to wear, because I believe in Him and what He is able to do through me!

Thank you Lord God, for your letters to me and to all Christians as found in the book of Revelation.  Thank you for caring enough about our spiritual welfare that you write us strong warnings and give us your encouragement to “hang on.” Thank you for the assurance that our names are written in the book of life as we continue to put our faith and trust in You and You alone.  In this season of Advent, may we remember your letters to us and to give you thanks and praise.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

December 10 Speaking Of Crowns

Image by Michael Bernico

Image by Michael Bernico

Amos 1:1-3:15;  Revelation 2:1-17;  Psalm 129:1-8;  Proverbs 29:19-20

Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.”

Revelation 2:10

* * *

A spiritual battle rages on.

Satan prowls about

hurling insults,

adding injury,

seeking to devour

a tender soul

laid bare.

* * *

Persecutions, tauntings,

snubbings by the score,

all take their toll

as Satan

never satisfied

desires all the more.

* * *

He whispers in

a believer’s ear

“Do you really believe

what you cannot see,

hear,

or feel?

Do you go against

the best minds of the day,

the wisest of the wise

who claim only

this world is real?”

* * *

Press on, beloved, press on

and hear the words

of the Overcomer,

“Be faithful unto death,

and I will give you

the crown of life.”

Christ wore a crown himself

for all the world to see.

His blood trickling

from the thorny barbs

declared a new kingdom

in the making.

* * *

A kingdom that can never be destroyed,

safe from sin, death and Satan himself,

where all who believe in

Christ the King

will be adorned as He.

* * *

See that crown of life

destined for your brow

and give thanks and praise

to Him who fails not,

who walks with you

right now!

* * * 

Oh, give thanks unto the Lord

for He is good!

And His mercy endures forever!

Amen.

December 9 Written For You

Image by Mark Stuckey

Image by Mark Stuckey

Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20;  Psalm 128:1-6;  Proverbs 29:18

“John, to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him

who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

Behold

he is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him,

even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth

will wail on account of him.  Even so.  Amen.

“I am

the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,

“who is and who was and who is to come,

the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:4-8

***

Written for us

living in times ending,

observing the season of

Advent-

a time of reflection,

of repentance

of humble adoration

of the One who is, who was, and who

is to come

to deliver us from a world,

though wonderful and bright,

pales in comparison to the

glorious kingdom of Heaven

lit up by the very presence

of God!

Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Lord God most Holy, I await for your return.  Please give me patience and faith to do so!  During this season of Advent please search my heart and bring to light all that is impure and unholy.  On bended knee please hear my prayer and forgive my sins, for Jesus’ sake.   May I be still and really hear your message of redeeming love for all the world.  Amen.