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Showing posts from 2019

“The Great Invitation”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 22 As we come to last chapter of this incredible book, we call the Bible, it is important for us to remember a few things.First, this book comes directly from God (2 Tim 3.16).This is His message for His creation.Next, this book is an epic love story between God and His creation of man that spans thousands of years.Third, as with any love story, we see wooing, setbacks, problems and redemption, then finally ending with the reader seeing that true love will overcome, and the couple will live happily ever after.That is exactly what we see with the Bible. God revealing Himself to us to woo us into a relationship with Him, we become tempted and fail on a routine basis only to understand that He continues to love us even with our flaws.Until finally, we can live with Him for an eternity in heaven with an eternal happily ever after.After virtually every sermon or lesson we hear from the Word of God, we offer an invitation to anyone out there who is willing to accept …

“Are All Sins Equal?”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 21 It was just recently that I was approached by a young student with a very troubled look on his face, so I asked if I could help him.“Mr. Matt”, he said “Are all sins equal in the eyes of God?”.As you can imagine this is not the first time that I have been confronted with this question.However, I knew that I had to proceed with caution to make sure the young man fully understood what I was about to tell him.I replied, “The short answer is yes and no”, but to clarify I asked him to read this passage.“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." (Revelation 21.8).I continued to explain that according to the Bible, to sin is to “miss the mark” and if the mark is Jesus Christ, we all fail in hitting that mark (Romans 3.23).We also know that in our world there is a great deal of …

“A determined heart”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 18, Luke 2, Matthew 1, Revelation 19-20 In ancient history there is a story of a valiant captain whose banner was almost always first into the fight; whose sword was dreaded by his enemies, for it was the herald of slaughter and victory.His king once asked to see the sword.He took it, quietly examined it, and then sent it back with this message: “I see nothing wonderful in this sword.I cannot see why any man should be afraid of it.”The captain sent this response: “Your Majesty has been pleased to examine the sword; but I did not send the arm that wielded it.If you had examined that, and the heart that guided the arm, you would have understood the mystery.”This is a fitting illustration of the victorious believer.The world looks at the story of Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection and sees nothing special about such a story.However, the Christian has a heart that remains determined and the heat of battle has not weakened his resolve.He shares in the “first res…

“Victory”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 20 Throughout the book of Revelation, God has encouraged struggling believers to remain steadfast because ultimate victory would be found in Jesus Christ.Even though the present section is the most debated chapter in Revelation it contains the clearest details of Christ’s victory over Satan. We are promised victory in an amazing picture.We see that victory is possible because Satan has been bound (v.1-3).The devil cannot freely function in this world – he is restricted because Christ has triumphed (Colossians 2:15; Matthew 12:29; Hebrews 2:14).Satan may be able to destroy our fleshly bodies but never the soul that holds fast to Christ! (Matthew 10:28) Second, God reveals that only His followers are true winners (v.4-6).John saw the triumph of believers who suffered the anguish of attacks from the beast, false prophet, and great harlot.These saints were victorious!The oppressors were defeated and the oppressed glorified!These triumphant saints have perfect blesse…

“Are you prepared?”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 19 John gives us a view of the Lord’s return and judgement.His coming can be seen in one of two ways.It can be greeted as the bride greeting the groom (v1-10), or as one greets an enemy (v.11-21).It is quite a contrast. Those who are prepared for Jesus to return are praising Him constantly.The marriage of the Lamb (v7-10) provided great encouragement for the struggling believers.The Jewish marriage had several elements: the betrothal during which time the intended marriage was announced, and the dowry was paid.This period could last up to one year.At the end of the betrothal the groom would go and claim his bride and take her back to his house to live.In the wedding procession there would be shouting, dancing, and merriment.After the husband had brought his wife back to his house there would be a great feast and several days of merriment would celebrate the marriage.It is this joyful symbol that was used to show John the blessings awaiting faithful saints.They (…

“God is with us”

BIBLE READING:Matthew 1 “‘Behold the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel.’ which is translated, ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth, was tempted as we are tempted (Hebrews 4:15), and sacrificed Himself on the cross for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). What a blessing it must have been for those alive at the time to be able to say that God is with us. How special it must have been for Joseph and Mary to be able to say, “God is with us.” In fact, they got to raise baby Jesus into a young man. What an interesting perspective they had! We may have missed the window of being alive while Jesus was living His earthly life, but, how special it is as Christians that we have the ability to say, “God is with us.” “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be ab…

“The night before…”

BIBLE READING:Luke 2 If you are reading these devos on the day they are published, then you are reading this on Christmas Eve. So many people are busy today with family events, cooking, or (hopefully not) last-minute shopping. There is the feel in the air of the little children and the anticipation of Santa’s arrival tonight, and the excitement that brings of Christmas morning. When my first child was born, as with any person, my life was changed forever. From that day on, everything changed. I’ve often thought back about what life was like the night before that day. Sure, I have a lot of memories of life without kids, but I find myself pondering, “What was I doing in my “final hours”?” A Thursday night was the final night that I would spend without children... (not to make it sound like a death sentence) but the only thing I remember about that time of life was that Thursday night was Survivor night. I always watched that show. I probably sat there as if it were a normal night just lik…

“The fall of Babylon”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 18 “’Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!’” (Revelation 18:2).Babylon is symbolic of a great enemy of God.In this symbolism God revealed that all who stood in opposition to Him would taste total defeat.The world’s allurements may promise pleasure, but it will be short. Notice what happens with all who trust in “Babylon”.Verses 9-19 discuss the kings, merchants, and sailors that are associated with Babylon.The kings were intimately connected with her and found in her a source of pleasure.They never thought it would end the way it did!Notice that they were “standing at a distance” (v10).They wanted no part of her demise.The merchants mourned because all their goods were now gone.Notice too, that some of the merchandise included the “souls of men” (v13).The shipmasters and sailors were upset because they also suffered personal loss (v18-19).Ver…

“Treasures”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 13-17 In a world dominated by the evil allies of Satan (evil governments, the temptation of materialism, and false doctrine), it is easy to think you are alone.Many first-century Christians reading this written from John would have believed that and may have been discouraged enough to give up the spiritual fight.But God wants you to realize that there are “treasures” being laid up for eternity.This section emphasizes the final and complete judgment of God and the payment of interest on the “treasures of wrath” (Romans 2:5). Evil has a definite “payday” coming.There will be a time when God says, “Enough!Time has run out!”It will arrive when some are unsaved and will forever remain that way (Revelation 15:8).It will come unexpectedly (Revelation 16:15).Some of this payday will happen on earth (i.e., illnesses, failures, etc.), but there is a greater payday in God’s wrath for all eternity (Revelation 16:19; 14:9-11).All who wear the “mark” of the beast by thinking …

“God is still in Control”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 17 I imagine that most of us studying these home devos live in the United States.In our society, too often, we opt to keep things at peace.Usually it’s because we don’t want to “rock the boat,” or cause any problems.Verse 14 is inspiring to those who would’ve read this writing by John so that they would not compromise and follow the materialism of this world (the harlot) or the worldliness (the beast) that support that attitude.Many would have been tempted in order to maintain peace.But John urged them to remain steadfast because they would be on the side of ultimate victory.“These shall war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they also shall overcome that are with Him, called and chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14).Those who continue with Christ will be victorious as He is victorious.God revealed to John that those who support the harlot will fail, ultimately go to destruction, will become d…

“Armageddon?”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 16 Many religionists insist that world history will culminate in a cataclysmic global holocaust known as “Armageddon,” followed by the “Millennium”—a 1000-year reign of Christ on Earth. They say that current events in the Middle East are arranging themselves in such a fashion that the Second Coming of Christ is imminent. Of course, this claim has been made repeatedly for many, many years—with no fulfillment forthcoming. What does the Bible actually say about “Armageddon”? The term “armageddon” occurs only once in the New Testament: Revelation 16:16. In keeping with the literary genre of the book (i.e., apocalyptic), the term is used with figurative connotations. Revelation is literally packed with allusions to the Old Testament. In fact, “no book in the New Testament is so thoroughly steeped in the thought and imagery of the Hebrew Scriptures” (Swete, 1911, p. liii). But the writer does not use direct quotes from the Old Testament. Rather, he adapted, modified, …

“The Revealing of God’s Vengeance”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 15                 Moses was a unique man who had been blessed by God with many wonderful talents.  He had the unique opportunity to be born a Hebrew, but raised as an Egyptian, enabling him to be the perfect choice for God to be the man to lead His people out of Egypt.  He was an exceptional shepherd and amazing leader and the Bible is full of stories that reveal His humble character.  However, one thing that we never typically associate with Moses is his talent as a song writer.   The Bible records two “Songs of Moses, while he was leading Israel; one after the crossing of the Red Sea, and then at the conclusion of his life (Deuteronomy 32).  In that song, Moses told Israel that they would play the harlot with the gods of foreign lands, as a result many troubles and evil would fall on them.  God instructed Moses to write this song down and teach it to your children so they will remember it.  As the song said, troubles and evil would come in the latter days to…

“Pushing Toward the Finish”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 14 As John’s magnificent vision continues, we find on few occasions where a voice from Heaven specifically calls John to “Write this…”.Every time I read those words my mind immediately goes back to my school days when the teacher would specifically tell us to write something down.That meant she had something that was so important for us to know that we better write it down, because it would be useful to us later.That could not be truer than with this occasion.The words the voice from Heaven asked John to write are not only important for us to know, but they are words that will keep God’s people comforted, strengthened and motivated until He returns.“And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." " Blessed indeed," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!" (Revelation 14:13). The word blessed means “fortunate, well off and happy”…

“The Sovereignty of God”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 13 Interpretations of the book of Revelation is a lot like opinions…everybody has one.However, the more I study the book, I have found that the interpretation seems fairly simple; it’s the work that must be put into catching up on the background that makes it so difficult.For instance, Revelation 13 introduces us to an incredible beast that had 7 heads and ten horns with ten crowns on the ten horns.If that description isn’t enough, we are also told that this beast resembled, in some capacity, a leopard, a bear, a lion and a dragon.Now I don’t know about you, but that seems like something out of a strange science fiction movie.What in the world is John writing about?Again, it is important to note that the original readers would have clearly understood exactly what John was explaining and although some of the book does point to the future, much of it is pointing to things that for us, have already happened.In this devotion, I hope to seek to offer just a little b…

“More Study Required…”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 8-12 As you continue reading once again Revelation 8-12, let me also add that it is very important that you not just graze over these passages.These are very important passages for us to study and understand.There are many different, false and quite confusing interpretations of these passages of study, and I am in no way suggesting that the interpretation that is presented within these devotionals are 100% correct.I do hope that you understand that we (writers of these devotionals) are human and we are not beyond being mistaken or wrong.However, these passages were meant to be able to be clearly understood by their original audience.This would disqualify many of the worldly interpretationsonly supporting such analysis that is presented within the Home Devo.We, therefore, recommend that each of its readers apply the same principles that Paul did to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2.15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, righ…

“The Good News”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 12 When we first read Revelation 12 and the story of the woman giving birth and a dragon seeking to devour the child, the imagery can be quite disturbing.Yet, for us as Christians, this should not be disturbing at all, but rather give us reason to celebrate.The woman that gives birth seems to be God’s people, the spiritual Israel (either before Jesus as well as those who have become followers of God through Jesus).This also comes from God’s pronouncement of judgement upon Satan, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3.15).The child would be the seed that would come from Eve (symbolically Israel) and would crush the head of the serpent who is the devil, or in this imagery, the dragon.That would make the seed of the woman and the child of the woman in Revelation 12, Jesus.This is evident in how “this child was caught up to God” in Revelation 12.5 (the Ascension).When the Child arises up into heaven the dragon (Satan) has been defeated and power, salvation and authority belongs t…

“Identifying the Temple of God”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 11 (The following information is taken in large part from Kenny Barfield’s commentary on the book of Revelation) There are a number of interpretations as to what is the identity of the Temple that is mentioned in Revelation 11.Some feel as though this is referring to an actual physical temple that will be built during a literal 1,000-year reign of Jesus on the earth.Others think this is the Temple that Herod had built that was destroyed during the destruction of Jerusalem.Then there are those that believe that this Temple is one that will be built in heaven.Finally, there is the idea that this Temple is symbolic of the church; the kingdom of God.To get our answer we must remember that a large part of John’s Revelation finds its roots in Old Testament prophecy.Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that John’s vision of the Temple would have Old Testament roots as well.In fact, Ezekiel also had a vision of God’s final Temple. Notice the similarities: both vi…

“The Mystery of God”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 10 The first six trumpets of John’s vision are said to be warnings of the impending judgement on those unbelieving Jews and the Israelite nation.However, the seventh trumpet is not a warning at all, but more of an announcement of the completion of God’s revelation.Revelation 10 refers to this revelation as a “mystery” in Revelation 10.7.It was a “mystery” in the sense that the preaching of Jesus was greatly misunderstood by the Jews.It was a “mystery” in the sense that the writings of the Old Testament prophets were misunderstood. Yet now it has been revealed that God’s plan is not just for the Jews but is now available for all nations. This trumpet is the announcement that God’s plan has been put into place and is now a “mystery” that has been revealed.Paul speaks of it this way in Romans: “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long …

“Seven Trumpets”

BIBLE READING:Revelation 9 Over the course of Revelation 8-10, John is describing these seven angels as they blow seven trumpets.Trumpets fulfilled several roles in the early days of the Israelites.Trumpets were blown as a call for people to come to worship, they were blown to announce kings and dignitaries and then also served as the beginning portion of the Jewish feasts.Trumpets however also served as warning instruments for attack or war to alert the people.It became natural to understand that the sounding of a trumpet signified a coming judgement.Over the course of these two chapters we have each of these seven trumpets blown.These trumpets were blown as a final warning from God to a nation of Jews that had lived in rebellion, mistreated the prophets, crucified the Son of God and lead an opposition against the early church.These trumpets were to announce to the unbelieving nation of Israel their impending judgment for how they mishandled the Word of God and His Son. God has always…