Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

John and the book of Revelation:

John tells us that he was on an island called Patmos, "for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ." Patmos was well-known in the Roman world as a prison island, where Rome exiled offenders that they never wanted to see again.  It's here that he pens the remarkable book of Revelation.
John is called (in various King James Versions), "St. John the Divine;" when I first became a Christian, I thought that meant he was "godlike;" if you have one of those KJV's, you may wonder as well.  However, the word "divine" was an old word (1600's and shortly thereafter) for a man who studied divine things--a theologian.  He's someone who speaks about God, who He is, what He's like. In fact, that was John's nickname in the early church: "O Theologos," "The Theologian." He's called this because he spoke about God, about who He is, His character, and man's relation to it.  Many folks think that Paul should have been called "The Theologian," because of his tremendous influence on the teachings about salvation and the Christian life, but the early church recognized something very powerful in John--a special connection with the character of God, so that it became the basis and substance of his writing.  This is especially true in the book of Revelation, where the entire book is an "unveiling" of Jesus Christ--where He's revealed for who He is, not as the humble carpenter who came to minister in 30 AD or so--but as the mighty King of Kings, who will set up a kingdom that will last forever, As Daniel says, (Dan. 2:44),
"the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all [other] kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever."
The book of Revelation is about the days in which the God of Heaven sets up HIS kingdom, over which Jesus Christ is the King.
What does it all mean to you?
Firstly, if you are Christian, you'll participate. That's worth everything.
Secondly, if you're not Christian now, you'll have multiple opportunities to make your decision to follow Christ, in the midst of the most difficult days the world has seen.
Thirdly, John's experiences are a parallel to what yours will be.  The world has never been kind to Christians, except for the last couple centuries, and then only in limited locations and at limited times. Today, persecution rages everywhere but a few countries in the world, even though Christians make up the largest religious identifying group. It's not good, nor is it easy, to be Christian in a Muslim country, for example.  Your life is at stake.
John experienced long life, but all of his colleagues and fellow apostles were murdered by governments or incensed people.
Christians have decisions to make.  You have decisions to make, and the outcome of those decisions involves not only your own faith, but what happens to the people around you. Your decisions will determine the course of your life, and its final end.
The most important decision relates to the question, "What's most important? The temporary, or the eternal?"  If the temporary is most important, then your decision will be to NOT follow Christ.  If the most important thing is your eternal destiny, then your decision is already made.  You'll follow Christ, even if it means exile (like John), or death (like his fellow apostles).
The reason?  Today is temporary.  As Paul said, "The fashion of this world (what makes it up) is passing away." Eternity is really the only game in town.  Be a part of forever.  You can.

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