Monday, December 24, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 22

Monday, December 24, 2018
PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 22. Meditate on verse 17 - who would want these things to come to pass soon and who would not want them to come to pass soon?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? His is our light (5), the giver of truth (6), the one who determines what is and what is not (18-19), and the object of our worship (3). He is the Alpha and Omega (13). He is gracious (21).
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? God sent His angel to forewarn us (6) and will come to judge (12).
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are His Bride (17) and can wash our robes to be cleansed (14) that we may enter into His presence.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? John warns everyone by sharing this prophecy (18) and we are to tell others of Christ's imminent return.

RESPOND
Have you told anyone lately that Jesus is coming back? Most people are fine hearing about Christ's first coming (to offer grace, peace, hope, and joy), but they may not like that Jesus is coming back to judge. People today do not like to be held accountable. But there is also an opportunity for us to have peace with and from God so that we do not fear, and that is the reason why we have God's Word. Tell others about Jesus! God, help us not to delay telling others about Jesus Christ. What we celebrate at Christmas is meant to be fully transforming of our lives, so help us help others to go to Jesus and to find peace with You. We need Jesus to return to bring us Your work to completion. We need goodness. So help us to put our hope in Jesus still today. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 21

Sunday, December 23, 2018
PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 21. Meditate on verse 4 - what makes you cry about life in this world today?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? God's heart is to be with His creation, His people (3). God cares about our tears, our pain, our mourning (4). He is the Alpha and the Omega, eternal God (6). He is glorious (23).
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? God brings restoration to us and to Creation, renewing that which He originally created and intended for us to experience and to be. He purifies us (27) by grace.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are conquerors and children of God (7). We are the bride of Christ (2). We are His people (3). We are the recipients of His love.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? He has given us His revelation (5) and we can share this with those around us, inviting them to receive from the Lord the grace He desires to give. What John witnessed He recorded for all of us to know and respond.

RESPOND
Do not let this pass by - there is a beauty in his chapter that ought to stir our spirits, hearts, and minds. None of us have experienced such purity and perfection, but God is intending for us to live like this. This is what we were created for and this is what we long for. It is given to us by God's presence being fully realized and that is heaven. God, thank You for the promise of heaven, the hope of a future with no effects of the Fall staining or straining us again. This is worth waiting for, and during this Advent season, please remind us of this greater home to which we belong, that all the things in this world will be rightly valued in contrast with the beauty of heaven. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 20

Saturday, December 22, 2018
PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 20. Meditate on verse 15 - how do we get our names written into the book of life?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? God has authority over all of Creation and over Satan and man (1-3, 7). There is no hiding from God (11). God allows some of His elect to endure painful suffering but watches over their souls and receives them in the end.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? God binds Satan and calls us to rule and reign with Him. This was supposed to be Adam's place in God's Kingdom, but Adam strayed. God chooses us, renews us in grace, and secures us through Christ's sacrifice for us.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are at God's mercy for salvation as we will be judged "according to what they had done" (12). Having faith in Jesus is what we do upon receiving Him.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? There are different interpretations of the timing of this chapter - when is the millennial reign going to occur and is it a metaphorical thousand years and reign? In any case, we know that there is a time when Satan will be "winning" the battle, but we also affirm that God is working and things will happen according to His will.

RESPOND
Jesus will reign. Satan will fight against it. Jesus will still reign. Let's not let Satan's attack compromise how we will approach life as we anticipate Jesus' return to make things right. God, thank You giving us a glimpse into the future. We know you will reign and Satan will fight it but You will overcome. Help us to long for the consummation of Your promises, for the relief of the suffering of Christians, and for the return of Jesus. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 19

Friday, December 21, 2018
PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 19. Meditate on verse 7 - what does it mean to be ready for Jesus' return?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? He reigns with power and glory.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? He sends "The Word of God" (13) who calls us to gather and takes on the battle and wins (19).
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are rescued. We are invited to be renewed, cleansed by grace (8).
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? There will be a gathering from all over the earth. We must rejoice and give glory to God (7).

RESPOND
Finally. After witnessing many scenes of suffering and reading promises of judgment, we see how Creation groans and finds relief with the arrival of God. We are waiting today.  God, thank You for fulfilling Your promises and bringing us to the marriage supper where we will be able to be reclothed with Christ's righteousness and goodness. Oh, to be done with sin once-and-for-all. We thank You for this gracious gift and the finality of the work of the rider on the white horse. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 18

Thursday, December 20, 2018
PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 18. Meditate on verse 12-13 - what cargo do people chase after lustfully today?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? He is mighty (8) and He will judge. He is gracious in calling out His people (4).
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? He calls us out and He judges to show what is righteousness and who are His. He will complete His promises to us.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are secure in His judgments, spared from the fate of those who do not turn to God for salvation. We are also called to be separate from the sinfulness of the world.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? This metaphorical Babylon/woman is proud in her sin, "As she glorified herself and lived in luxury" (7). The world is proud in its vainglory and dismissive attitude towards God. Knowing how things will end, we must call others to turn to God and come out and be separate by turning to follow God.

RESPOND
Interesting that this extended metaphor (as was the case with the Old Testament prophets) uses Babylon, the kingdom that conquered Judah and Jerusalem in 586BC, as a representative for the enemies of God. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was very full of himself and ignorant of God...until God showed up through Daniel and his friends. The prophecy of Revelation forecasts the judgment to come, but it also offers an opportunity to avoid such terrible destiny as described here if people turn away from sin and turn to God in faith.  God, over the years, Advent offers some an opportunity to celebrate and anticipate Christ but it seems the number of those who ignore Jesus grows. Our world is full of distractions and sinful pursuits, hinted at even in the rawness of the commercial relationships explained here in chapter 18 - Christmas has become commerce! Turn our hearts back to You, we pray, in Jesus' name.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 17

Wednesday, December 19, 2018
PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 17. Meditate on verse 6 - what does it mean to marvel at someone?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? Implicit in this scene are several characteristics of God. He knows all that is going on in the world. He keeps us from falling into temptation but gives us wisdom to follow.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? He guards us against falling into temptation and fulfills His purpose through people and through the Savior (17).
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? I see here that we are both powerless and empowered. We are powerless with certain temptations. But we are empowered to overcome by the power of the Spirit working within us.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? The kingdoms of this world will pass away. The Lord will fulfill His purposes and we can help people see the impermanence of those things that are passing away.
RESPOND
God knows the corruption of the world, the problems that we face. And He has a plan to overcome all these things, by transforming us through Christ. God, thank You for showing us Your plan. Thank You for inviting us to have a glimpse of our journey ahead and of Your work to get us there. We look forward to Your celebration of ultimate victory.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 16

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 16. Meditate on verse 6 - how do you feel about God judging people?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? Repeatedly Revelation portends a judgment, but there is a positive attitude toward this - we are waiting for God to judge to show up. Repeatedly we are told his judgment is true and just. God's power, authority, and righteousness come through.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? Read this carefully: God redeems us through judgment. We need God to judge for sin needs to be addressed. It is in being judged unrighteous that the wonder and love of the cross of Christ is made real. God really did send Jesus for us, and for this purpose of redemption.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? It is amazing that some who are facing judgment stay stubbornly against God (9, 11, 21). We are marked not with the mark of the beast (2) but with the Holy Spirit that secures us to stay awake (15) and alert.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? It seems the time to turn to God has passed. Indeed, those who are facing judgment here show their true rejection of God, even to His face. We are called to share the Gospel now while we still can. The judgment will be harsh and terrible. Pray for your family and friends, your co-workers and neighbors, and everyone else to come to Jesus.

RESPOND
Brothers and sisters, the judgment is real. We need it to be. But it will be harsh. Jesus really took on human form, lived a life here while longing for home in heaven, and endured the cross and the grace for our sake. His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection were all real. Let us anticipate what more God is doing and will do, and let us pray for God to bring people to Him. God, You are righteous and just. Let us show how much You love by sharing Your Gospel with those around us. Let us grow deeper in our faith and grasp of grace. By Jesus' love, Amen.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 15

Monday, December 17, 2018
PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 15. Meditate on verse 4, who are people who do not fear God today?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? His works are great and amazing, just and true (3). He is holy (4).
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? God reveals His righteous acts to us, while He also gives out judgment to those who do not fear Him.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are to come and worship God (4). Once we have witnessed and experienced God's goodness, we worship.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? The scope here is broad: "All nations will come" (4). We need to share the Gospel with all others.

RESPOND
The suffering of our brothers in sisters around the world is real, and we are waiting for someone to make things right. Only Jesus can do that, only Jesus can judge. We must celebrate His first coming and His return, as these bring justice and righteousness for us. God, we worship You for You are holy, righteous, and just. Show us how You work Your might to save us, and teach us to respond.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 14 (12/16/2018)

Sunday, December 16, 2018
PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 14. Meditate on verse 12, how are you being challenged to endure?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? There is mention of God's wrath here (10, 19) and judgment (7). There is, in the 144,000, a demonstration of God's holiness and righteousness.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? God has an "eternal gospel" (6) and a call and invitation to worship God (7). The Lamb (1) returns and there is a harvest and judgment, by which we are blessed by our faith in Christ (12).
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are saints, we are saved, and we are at God's mercy. We are called to endure in faith. My heart goes out to the brothers and sisters in China and elsewhere where there is persecution.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? There is a call here to endure. For those who are not saints, we must tell them of judgment to come and His salvation (7).
RESPOND
The oppressive administration of the two beasts ends: "fallen is Babylon the great" (8).  God comes and brings judgment and harvesting to glory or judgment. One thing we must remember here is that there will be a judgment. We live much of our lives as if we did not believe in a judgment to come, but God is judge and Christ's return consummates the blessings but also delivers the curses where appropriate. God, You will have the last word. And we are accountable to You. Bring justice to the world, but thank You for the mercy that comes through Christ by faith. We believe in judgment to come, so let us share the Gospel widely until that day.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 13

Saturday, December 15, 2018
PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 13. Meditate on verse 8, what do people on the earth today worship?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? He has a plan, having written down names of some before the foundation of the world. He is still at work despite what's contained in this chapter. That's always a good thing to remember, given how the world turns.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? God sent His Son for us (8 "the Lamb who was slain") and helps us to endure the waywardness of the world shown here.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are saints, but we are also oppressed and reliant upon God to make things better. We need the Christmas message and the hope it brings.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? There are two calls here: in verse 10 "is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints," and in verse 18 is a call for wisdom. We are salt and light and can show people the way of the Lord in the midst of turmoil, confusion, and ignorance.

RESPOND
The two beasts appearing here are a worldly authority (2 "his power and his throne and great authority") and a false prophet performing signs and misleading people to worship its image. In today's political climate in the USA and with the oppression of Christians in China and around the world, we see the battle raging and many falling away from God. We are not surprised, just as our brothers and sisters in China were not surprised at getting arrested last week. But we look forward to Christ's return. God, these words from Revelation sober us again. Some may think these visions are too fantastic to understand, but give us wisdom, Lord, to know there is evil and there is You and to put our trust in You, not in man, nor government, nor signs and wonders that are not from You. Make us wise we pray, as we wait for You.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 12

Friday, December 14, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 12. Meditate on verse 5, how does Jesus "rule all nations with a rod of iron" or is this a future reality?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? He is revealing His omniscience (in conveying this vision to John and explaining past and future) and He is revealing His sovereignty over the characters that have made our history.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? God sends the new king and wins the battle throwing off Satan's power in our lives.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are worshipers, either glorifying God or trying to follow the devil. And we are targets (17) when we follow God. But Satan will not have us.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? The reality of spiritual warfare, the battle of good versus evil, is very real in our world. We must help people to see this and to turn to Jesus for salvation.

RESPOND
It is amazing to think of the Christmas story and how tenuous it seems from our perspective (from God's perspective, there may be danger but not anything God cannot handle). Here, the vision highlights that Satan tried to stop Jesus from growing up (like Herod's massacre of Jewish young boys). But God's will is not going to be frustrated or stopped by the enemy.  God, thank You for sending Your Son, even into such a fragile situation. Thank You that Your power and grace are enough to help us to fight against work of the enemy. Thank You for defeating sin and death for us.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 11

Thursday, December 13, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 11. Meditate on verse 2, the trampling of the holy city. Say a prayer for persecuted Christians around the world.

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? God is terrifying (13) to those who do not follow Him, and He is glorious to all. He saves His people and overcomes those who oppose Him. He takes His great power and reigns (17).
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? God judges and rewards His "servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear [His] name" (18). He also destroys those who destroy the earth (18).
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are saints, saved and secure in Christ. Though we face trials, God sees us through.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? There are some who will stand and make a mockery of God and His people, but they will be exposed and judged. Through our worship of God, we show others what it means to put faith in God's savior.

RESPOND
The two witnesses reflect Moses and Elijah, whom the apostles saw with Jesus and whom the Jews understand were representative of how God spoke to His people in the past. God restores them for His will is not frustrated by the mocking of them by those who do not know God. God, when Jesus was crucified, some thought the Law, the Prophets, and the disciples had been lost. But You do not forget us. You are true to Your Word and Your Word is true. Help us to navigate the difficulties we face with faith.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 10

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 10. Meditate on verse 10, to whom is the Word of God sweet and to whom bitter?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? God is unfolding a plan, revealing His mystery (7, rf. Ephesians 3), that salvation comes through Christ to any and all who call on Him. God is wise, powerful, gracious, and eternal.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? God delivers His Word to us, revealing His will and His grace.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are recipients of God's revealed Word and will. God initiates and invites us, and the words of the prophets guide us.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? We take the message that is sweet to those who are being saved and bitter to those who reject God.

RESPOND
There is more for us to hear about God's plan and His will. There is more for us to share with those around us. God determines what we speak and who hears. Thank God for His Word to us and let us share that with those around us. God, when You speak, we hear words of grace and salvation, and words of judgment and warning. Let us not fear speaking the truth of who You are and the judgment to come. Let Your word grow in us as You call us to be ready for Christ's return.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 9

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 9. Meditate on verse 20, how these unbelievers do not repent despite the turmoil of judgment. How is this true int he world today?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? The judgment of the people of the earth continues and the images here are terrible still. This is God's attitude toward sin.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? Judgment happens, past, present, and future. But God has sealed us (4) in Christ and we are saved.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are rescued from God's great wrath by God's great grace alone.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? How can we turn people from their sin? We cannot, only Jesus can.

RESPOND
The images here are the stuff of horror movies and nightmares: why is it that the imagination of man conjures up such images to frighten us but we have so little fear of God? That is a theme here. God is the One we ought to fear, for His judgment is true, righteous, and final. Only by the seal of the Lamb are we marked safe. God, help us to take sin and judgment seriously. The signs of our sin and its resultant death are all around us, signs of our brokenness and the disharmony of the world with us. Turn us toward You in Spirit and in truth.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 8 (12/10/18)

Monday, December 10, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 8. How does these visions make you feel?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? There does not seem to be much directly conveyed here, but the entire scene is severe, and the gravity of these visions makes us feel powerless...but magnifies God's presence and person.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? What a terrible scene this is, but God is still presiding over it all, hearing our prayers (3) and acting.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are recipients of the activity around us, at God's mercy and reliant upon Him.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? This is what people need to know - judgment is coming. We must share Jesus with others.

RESPOND
There are some interpretive questions here: commentators suggest the trumpets scenes run parallel to the seals and that some aspects may point to history while others are things to come. The symbolic nature of this vision may render assignment to specific moments in human history a difficult exercise, but the impact of the vision is real and calls us to attention: there will be judgment of sin in the world, and we are at God's mercy. At Christmas and going forward, we thank God for the mercy found in Jesus Christ alone. God, thank You that while we understand that judgment is right, and that judgment is severe, we can put our faith in Jesus Christ to rescue us from the judgment we deserve for our very real sins. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 7

Sunday, December 9, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 7. Meditate on verse 17. How does this promise make you feel?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? God's great plan for salvation is brought to fruition, the Gospel for the world and a Savior who secures our eternal destiny. He is mighty, wise, and gracious.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? It will be time for God's people to be gathered from being scattered throughout the world. "They shall hunger no more...the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd" (16-17). What a beautiful scene it will be.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? Our secure place in God's Kingdom is highlighted here. By the blood of the Lamb (14) are we allowed to gather.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? This is what people need, what people ultimately desire: relief, wholeness, peace, and joy in the Lord. We must share Jesus with others.

RESPOND
We like the things of world (Christmas shopping, anyone) but none of it satisfies. The deep satisfaction of our souls comes in heaven and is made possibly because of Jesus' sacrifice. We are looking forward to receiving the ultimate reward He earned for us. God, thank You giving us access to the joys of heaven, and for Your promises and Spirit that direct and sustain us until then. We wait for You. We wait for heaven.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 6

Saturday, December 8, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 6. Meditate on verse 16. How do people still "hide" from God today?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? We might be tempted to ask where God is in this text of doom and gloom until verse 11 when the message comes through. God has not abandoned His people, though trials have come.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? Again, it is tempting to ask why God allows all these bad things to occur. Jesus told His disciples to anticipate these trials (Mt 24). They reveal our true faith and attitude toward God.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? Well, it seems like we are being sorted (Mt 25). Some put their hope in and turn toward Jesus. Some run and hide and pray for destruction before God has a chance to judge.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? The world slumbers and sleeps, thinking that God is not watching and intending to bring things to accountability. We must help people to see the truth about our sin and the corruption and troubles of this world and call them to Jesus.

RESPOND
We like to think of Christmas and Advent as a joyous time of expecting Jesus. Does Revelation 6 fit into this picture, even as we shift to expecting His return? Yes. Every time you face difficulty in this world, whether it's your or another person's sin or simply the brokenness of this world, you experience part of Revelation 6, and you hope for Jesus to come back again to finish banishing sin and its curse. It's okay to admit the pain, even during Christmas. This is how we acknowledge our desire for Jesus to come back. God, thank You for telling us that trials are real and expected, and that You are still with us and at work. Help us to long more deeply for Creation to be made right again. Let us groan deeply, and hope deeply in Jesus.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 5

Friday, December 7, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 5. Meditate on verse 9 and how the Lion-Lamb is worthy to open the seal. Why is Jesus considered worthy?

REFLECT
God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? What are the reactions of those in the presence of God? The worthiness of the Lion-Lamb is emphasized over and over. God is greater than anything else, the only one deserving our praise!
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? The Lion acted like a Lamb and gave Himself for His people. He overcame the curse of Creation.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? Verses 9-10 capture our new identity as a people, a kingdom, and priests for God. We give God worship because He has redeemed us.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? There is a gathering of people from every tribe, language, people, and nation - this is meant to be shared with the world.

RESPOND
Jesus is the one who leads us to salvation and His sacrifice for us opens up the door of heaven for us. He leads us into God's redemptive will. Is there anything else in this world that deserves honor above Jesus? Is there anyone else who ought to receive our praise? God, thank You for sending Your Son to do that which no man could do - live a worthy life to be able to lead us into salvation and into Your will. Help us to see Jesus in all His worthiness! Thank You that He leads us forward, to anticipate what more You have in store for us.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 4

Thursday, December 6, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 4. Meditate on verse 10 when the elders "cast their crowns before the throne" - why do they do this?

REFLECT
When Jesus came the first time, some thought they would witness God's power to restore His people. They got a servant-King who showed God's glory and gave His life and overcame death. When Jesus comes again, it will be to bring us to glory.

God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? The adoration of the creatures and elders highlight His holiness (repeated three times for effect - holy, holy, holy), worthiness, glory, honor, power, and eternal nature.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? He created all things (11) and calls us to witness His work of redemption (1), of which we are the primary fruit.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? We are...not God! Much of John's vision in Revelation is symbolic and hard to interpret in detail. But the effect of the vision is that it throws us into awe, wonder, and humility. God is...something else, and we simply bow in worship.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? All creation is meant to give God praise. He opens the scroll and unfolds His plan and we share the news with others.


RESPOND
I used to be confused at the imagery of Revelation, but now I am not bewildered so much as humbled. God is not to be defined or limited by what we are used to or can imagine or are comfortable with. God is God. We give Him glory as He is glorious. God, give us eyes to see You and hearts that are anticipating You to be more wonderful than what we could ever imagine. Give us minds that do not limit Your identity, glory, and plan. Let us anticipate You to be You!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 3

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 3. Meditate on what would a church look like with the reputation of being alive but actually being spiritually dead. What would an individual Christian look like who would fall under that charge?

REFLECT
Advent is also about Christians looking forward to the second coming of Jesus and the rest of the work that God has promised to do.

God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? God will judge. We do not think of His judgment for Christians often, but it is clear that He is watching us and will hold us accountable.
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? God is gracious but He is also sanctifying us, not settling for sanctification by fire but desiring to produce fruit in and through our lives. He loves us more than we love ourselves.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? "I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God" (2). There seems to be an emphasis here on works, but that coheres with James' letter expressing how the fruit of our faith demonstrates the truth of our faith. "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent" (19). We are loved and called forward toward completeness in Christ.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? Imminent judgment should sober us, even those of us who consider ourselves Christian. We must be truthful about our need to grow in righteousness through our faith in Christ.


RESPOND
I think about how in the USA we take so much for granted. I learn perspective when I read about how Christians around the world really do live by faith. God, we repent. We confess that we often take a casual attitude toward our relationship with You - that should not be! Shake us, wake us, and make us more than we are for You have more for us to know, receive, and do. We look forward to how You will continue to unfold Your plan for You are not done yet and we should still pray and live with anticipation, passion, and purpose. Refine us, we pray.

Advent 2018: Revelation 2

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 2. Meditate on the descriptions of Jesus at the beginning of each letter.

REFLECT
Advent is also about Christians looking forward to the second coming of Jesus and the rest of the work that God has promised to do.

God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? What does God value and what does He reject? What do we learn about His character and identity?
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? This process of addressing the churches shows how God keeps us accountable to His call and character - He means for us to experience holiness and goodness.
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? Some are rebuked and some are encouraged, and most receive both. God affirms our identity as His people but also acknowledges that there is a battle which we must take seriously and severely, putting our faith in His work in us.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? This is partial accountability - Jesus will come to judge, but He offers us grace as well. You have to tell others the truth about sin in order for them to truly understand what grace is. Let us not compromise our prophetic voice but with courage speak the truth in love!

RESPOND
God, we are engaged in a battle, but You speak words of grace, encouragement, and diagnosis to us. Lord, help us to hear Your voice calling us out of our sinful malaise and compromise, and let us grasp Your earnest love for us that we may return love to You in purity of heart and a focused mind and spirit. Thank You for loving us.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Advent 2018: Revelation 1

Monday, December 3, 2018
At EACF we've been using the G.R.O.W. rubric to ask God to teach us through His word. We'll use that for this Advent devotional series as well.

PRAY and ask God to meet you and teach you as you read His word today.

READ Revelation 1. Meditate on John's encounter with Jesus and how John "fell at his feet as though dead" (17).

REFLECT
Most people read the Gospels for Advent, reviewing the stories of Jesus' first coming. I'm glad the two-year Bible reading plan I've been recommending at church brings us to Revelation (technically starting December 10). Advent is also about Christians looking forward to the second coming of Jesus and the rest of the work that God has promised to do.

God - What does God teach us about Himself through this text? The image of Jesus here strikes fear in John's soul, but Jesus reaches out to him ("laid his right hand of me") and says "fear not." What words would you use to describe God here?
Redeems - How does God work in our lives? Jesus mentions, "I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades" (18). What has God done on behalf of mankind?
Our - What is our identity as highlighted here? John's reaction and Jesus' response help us think about our relationship to God.
World - How is God calling us to share His grace with the world? John is given this vision (and gives it to us) to share with others. We must help others expect Jesus' return and anticipate the coming judgment.

RESPOND
God, help us to see you more fully, more clearly, without the filters that our sin and self-centeredness impose. And use us to share the message of Jesus' grace to us and His call to turn to You, because He will return. During this Advent season, help us to grasp what it means to expect Jesus to come again.

Recovering Glory Everyday

Sunday, August 2, 2020 This past Sunday's sermon was about  recovering glory . While rebuilding our relationship with God is less a form...