The story of Christianity is the story of victory at great cost.
Hunted, beaten, starved, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered, this was the life for many Christians in the first century. Just as their Savior, they chose temporal suffering for eternal satisfaction.
This contrast between victory and loss is seen in vivid colors in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Following the great worship scene in chapter four, we find an equally awesome display of worship to the Son viewed as a Lion. But that glorious praiseworthy setting is enhanced by the suffering of that Son who became a Lamb slain (Revelation 5:6-8). Continue reading “By the blood”
The first and last times a word is mentioned in the Bible may not be doctrinally significant, but I find them fascinating nevertheless. Indulge my fascination for a moment.
In Revelation 19.13 appears a description of Jesus with the word “blood” — our theme for this month. It is the last occurrence of the word in the Bible.
We usually associate blood with our cleansing from sin, and rightly so. John takes a different tack here. Continue reading “The Rider with the robe dipped in blood”
Sought by Saul, David lived a life on the run. His enemies were powerful and determined to snuff out his life. But David had the only ally that matters. Looking back on the deliverance that God accomplished and the salvation that God won for David, the king of Israel praised the King of all creation.
“I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” (Psalm 18:1-3 ESV).
David describes Jehovah as “my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” To David, God is a “shield” and a “stronghold.” We have no trouble visualizing those illustrations. We can envision God as a fortress built upon a high mountain. He is impenetrable. “None of those who take refuge in him will be condemned” (Psalm 34:22).
The phrase “the horn of my salvation” is more puzzling to us. Only twice is the phrase found in the Old Testament and both are the words of David (see 2 Samuel 22:3). What does David have in mind? Continue reading “The Horn of my salvation”
In times of crises and doubt, the book of Revelation is a wonderful reminder of the sovereignty and salvation of God. The times were far different, the suffering had a human cause, but the book highlights the concern of God, a reminder we urgently need today. Read with me, please, the eighteenth chapter of the book.
God caused the great fall of Babylon, in Revelation 18. The name of the city figuratively represented Rome. As the great capital of Babylonia had fallen, so would the center of the Roman empire, whence came the sufferings and persecutions of the saints to whom the apostle John had written. Continue reading “Mighty is the Lord God who judges”
When Jesus went to the cross, it marked the lowest point in world history. From his disciples’ point of view, the unthinkable had occurred, their Messiah had failed. The question that John’s disciples had asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another” (Matthew 11:3 ESV) must have seemed quite prescient. The darkness that covered the earth must have been felt in every heart that believed in this great man.
What seemed like defeat from a human perspective was truly God’s greatest victory. The cross was the fulfillment of prophecy (see Genesis 3:15). While it seemed like Satan had delivered the death blow, it was God’s plan all along (see Revelation 13:8 MLV, YLT), and Jesus always possessed the power to offer up or withhold his life (John 10:17, 18). Like the mystery of the unity of the Jew and Gentile prophesied in the Old Testament, this victory was not seen by man until God revealed it in the resurrection.
Continue reading “The Power of the resurrection in daily life”
“And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,’Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed’” (Revelation 15:3-4 ESV).
Isn’t God amazing? Continue reading “The victory of the Lamb”
Over the past two weeks I’ve attended two funerals. The first was a young man who I was privileged to study with after he became a Christian around 10-15 years ago. He was a smart, enthusiastic young man who wanted to serve Jesus. Sadly, he lost his way and took an overdose, as he could not see any reason to continue living.
The second funeral was a woman in her 70s. She, too, became a Christian when she was young along with her husband. She and her husband had several children. Many of these became Christians and are still faithful today along with their spouses. Sadly, she was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and later had a stroke and pneumonia.
Both funerals were packed with those who mourned the loss of their family and friends. It is not my desire to compare their lives – I am content to leave them in the hands of a just and loving God. Continue reading “Victory over death”
Christians spend more time complaining about the Lord’s Church than they do examining the blessings within their grasp. We’re like the person who visits a world champion rose garden and only sees the thorns.
Continue reading “Is the Church a blessing or a curse?”
“Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11 KJV).
On occasion during marital counseling, I ask couples to play a little game. There are no pieces or boards or fake money. It’s a game called “worst case scenario.”
In the passion of the moment, couples are often unable to see the path they are on, and where it is going to lead. We visualize it together and then discuss whether that is a place they’d like to see themselves in six months, a year, or even five years. Continue reading “Worst case scenario”
God will save, and the darkest hour only confirms that the righteous are dependent on him. This critical moment in David’s life serves well to highlight the wonder of the Cross. The godly look at the cross, consider the destructive power and the malevolent plans of the devil, understand how the Lord gained the victory with one fell swoop. Continue reading Filled with Awe