To He That Overcomes

I love to read the book of Revelations. It’s an awesome description, a painting of what will go down when the Lord Jesus returns someday soon. Reading Revelations reminds me of why it is important to persevere at all times.

During a recent reading I noticed seven promises given by Christ to those who persevere, who overcome, who “hand in there” if you will. I’m sure I had read them before many times, but for some reason I suddenly noticed them this time. They are all contained within the first three chapters.

Revelation 2:7
To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.

Revelation 2:11
He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

I really like this next one.

Revelation 2:17
To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it.

Revelation 2:26-28
And he that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to shivers; as I also have received of my Father: and I will give him the morning star.

Revelation 3:5
He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 3:12
He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name.

Revelation 3:21
He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne.

In that it is impossible for God to lie, that is some very exciting news. But faith is required, thus I have been praying mightily lately that God will increase by faith. I must trust and believe that my sins are truly forgiven; the blood of Christ Jesus has removed them and far as East is from the West. As it says in Hebrews 11:6,

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

May our faith ever increase to accept God’s love towards our own sinful souls, to believe He truly loves us above all else, and that he will be the righteous Rewarder of those who seek His face. That’s Good News Only. Amen!

A Reminder from the Heavens

I woke up early this morning, 5:10 exactly. Laying on my right side, my brain raced off to attend to the important concerns of the coming day. Obviously, it had decided I had accomplished enough sleeping for one night. Slowly my gazed raised and eventually focused through the glass of the window which is near our bed. The stars brightly shown through the space above the lowered top of the pleated blinds. Their brightness startled me.

I raised up onto my right elbow and looked again. Sure, I have seen the night sky before, but was it really that bright? I just didn’t remember ever seeing it as such in a long time. Soon I was at the window, standing in amazement, looking at Orion as if I had never seen him before. He hung hugely over the mountain tops of the Olympic National Forest. I could not believe it. Every star was turned up a notch. Maybe because my eyes were adjusted to night vision I could see them all better. Whatever the reason, I quickly dressed and raced out to the front porch. The sky was magnificent.

It drew me out even further into the front yard, to the driveway in front of the garage. The Big Dipper was hung just above the tree tops in the west. I found the North Star. It was like I could see every star God had ever created. The Milky Way I could literally see, the haze of its soft light glowing in the back ground. The entire canopy of the universe was on display, and here was I the only spec that God had bothered to create in the image of Himself. As I stood transfixed I remembered His word in Psalms 147:1-6

Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted,
And binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite.
The Lord supports the afflicted;
He brings down the wicked to the ground.

Indeed! Every star is named by Him? How many stars are there in the universe? Only He knows that number. Only He could even imagine it. All praise and glory belong to God. I’m so glad He is in control of the universe and this planet we call home. In the light of the nonsense of the upcoming presidential election I struggle to remain positive. Daily the news brings an accounting of just how badly we are treating each other, not only in this country, but around the world. However, in the second chapter of the book of Daniel it says:

Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
And it is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men,
And knowledge to men of understanding.

As God has placed every star in the heavens, on purpose, with design, so does He have ultimate control of what will eventually transpire on this sad Earth of ours. We have turned away from Him, and our society is really starting to show the effects of that decision. A leader who seeks righteousness is a rare thing. It honestly scares me when I think about where we are headed and what’s coming upon the Earth in time. I think I needed to see that sky this morning to remind me who is really in control. As it says later in the same book of Psalms:

He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.

His starry display reminded of my purpose, to wait for His lovingkindness, in hope, and in as much faith and fearlessness as I can muster. What else can I do? Answer: nothing. Thank you God for your beautiful sky this morning, and thank you that you created me with the ability to enjoy it and be awe-inspired by Your power, love and glory.

Amen.

Jesus, The Solid Rock

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

Edis Hook

Recently, my wife and I went out to a beautiful place here in Washington called Edis Hook. It’s a narrow strip of sand and rock that extends miles out into the ocean. Out there the sky is huge and beautiful. Sunsets are spectacular. The drift wood is amazing. In order to get to the actual water, you must traverse a wall of huge jagged boulders. Most are wet and slippery; some are not as immovable as they seem. Some, on the other hand, are solid and perfect for the journey to the other side.

Christ is like one those perfect, solid rocks – always there, always secure – guaranteed to keep your foot from slipping. When I meditate on what Christ has done for me, His steadfastness is often the trait that amazes me the most. He lived His entire life in complete faithfulness to His Father, without faltering. It’s the one trait I wish I could muster to the extent that He did.

I can totally relate to the Apostle Paul when he said in Romans 7:23-25:

…but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

It’s often a depressing struggle as I try to be “good”, knowing that will I never achieve that goal, doing dumb stuff even when I don’t want to. Sometimes when I think of my life, I wonder how God can actually still love me as much as He says He does. Amazing!

Thank God all I have to do is rely on the completed work of the Rock, Jesus Christ! By trusting that His death and resurrection have sufficed to pay in full the wrath due me, I gain power to rely on Him. I may not ever be as good as I hope for in this life, but at least the Father sees me dressed in the righteousness of my Savior. Whew!

If you pray sometimes, send one up for me; that I can increasingly grow more faithful and run a good race all the way to the end. Truly, I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Welcome into the joy of your Master.”

Now that would be Good News Only.

Power To Pray

angelA revelation recently came to me, one that I suppose I should known for a long while. It was simply this: our prayers are truly precious to God. I know… duh! I just had never thought of my prayers as a precious commodity.

What makes the act of praying an amazing thing is that no man would ever even consider speaking to God unless he had some foreknowledge of God and who He is, and according to Christ that doesn’t happen merely by chance.

Luke 10:22 Christ is speaking and says,

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Hmmm… interesting, no?

Anyway, I have been listening to sermons, and reading/studying about the “end times”. In Revelation the prayers of the saints are likened to a fragrant aroma to God. In Revelation 5, John is describing his revelation of heaven and the throne room. Verse 8 says,

“When He (Jesus, the Lion, the Root of David) had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

I’m sure I had read that many times, but for some reason it struck me deeply this time. I know Christians pray to give thanks to God and make petitions of Him, but I never considered those prayers as precious or valuable to God.

Later in Chapter 7 the Lambs breaks of 7th seal, which sealed the book He had received from Him who sits on the throne. Verses 2 through 5 say,

“And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.”

I’m no theologian , but if the prayers of the saints are suitable for weaponry for God, it must mean they carry much power and are truly holy. Amazing. I searched and read further found a great dissertation written by J. R. Miller, written in 1988. It was entitled The Sweet Fragrance of Prayer.

There he explains the true value and power of prayer, and how precious it is to God. Here’s the link; it’s definitely worth a read: Sweet Fragrance of Prayer.

Long story short – I have a new perspective and appreciation for prayer. To God they are precious. He saves and treasures each one; rightly prayed from a contrite heart, they are a fragrant aroma. It’s given me new power to pray. Knowing that God treasures my prayers has given me new boldness to pray, to ask for forgiveness and help from the Spirit. I feel a bit closer to Him. That’s good, for according to the holy scriptures the closer I get to God, the farther Satan will flee from me.

Now that is Good News Only.

Jesus, the Great Dumping Ground

junk_yard

I recently returned from a week-long visit to see my brother who lives in Carson City, Nevada. He needed help with some major house-hold chores and projects. One of our tasks took us to the local land fill off of Highway 50, where we deposited over 450 lbs. of yard waste, metal, plastic, rotten wood, and an old car seat.

While there I could not help but notice the sky, which is always beautiful in Carson City. However, above the mountains of waste and refuse it’s beauty was even more striking. There it was, heaven looming above the garbage piles below. The metaphor became strikingly evident: the pile of garbage was our sin, the land-fill was Christ Jesus, the sky was heaven where we will one day go, free from sin. As I looked at the piles of garbage I was loathed to realize that whenever I sin more gets added to the piles of waste. Ugh! We all owe a debt to Jesus who took on all of our sin. Every evil deed and thought was laid on him, and by His stripes we were all healed.

I resolved anew to live by the power and grace of the Lord, Jesus. I was reminded of Psalm 19:13 that says, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous (willful, on-purpose) sins; Let them not have dominion over me: Then shall I be upright, And I shall be clear from great transgression.”

This really struck home to me, for my brother is suffering mightily because of some very wrong choices he made in the past. I pray he will come out cleansed and renewed through his ordeal. We vowed to not pile more of our own garbage onto Christ and to keep our hearts and eyes fixed on the blue sky of heaven above, where Christ has gone to prepare a place for us.

What a glorious day when there will be no more piles of refuse. Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

Bible Reading

Millicent and I made only a few New Year’s Resolutions this go around. One of them was to read the Bible together from cover to cover in one year. We found a schedule on the Internet, and so far, have actually stuck to it. We are having big fun.

It had been a while since I had read the Word of God from cover to cover; Millicent never had. So away we went. We will be reading Chapters 12 and 13 of Joshua tonight. The story of Israel is astounding. At this point the people have just subdued all the kings of the realm and possessed almost all the land promised to their fore-fathers, Abraham Jacob, and Issac.

In an attempt to deepen our understanding of those ancient sites, we have been searching on the Internet for pictures and additional information. I came across a truly great web site. It’s called Different Spirit. Here’s the link:

http://www.differentspirit.org/index.php.

This site is packed full of great information. It is very well laid out and organized. It explains much about Israel, faith in Christ and His kingdom which is on the way. If you are interested in such things, this is a great resource. I just thought I’d share.

Take care. God bless you and yours.

David