Revelation 8

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour … Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar.  He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.  The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” (v 1, 3-4 NIV)

Thank You, Father, for such a vivid assurance that You hear the prayers of those who belong to You.  In this imagery, all the praising in heaven ceases for a time, so that the prayers can be heard and lifted up.

These particular prayers seem to tie in with the earlier chapters of the saints who were persecuted and crying out for vindication.  Here in this passage, You let them know that their cries were heard and You have a plan to handle the matter, as You release Your judgment on part of the earth, not yet unleashing Your final judgment.

Father, thank You for hearing my prayers.  Thank You for, some time ago, moving my heart to repentance and an acceptance of Your salvation through Jesus.  While there is still time left before Your judgment comes upon all the earth, keep on making me just like Jesus.  Use my life to lead others into an understanding of Your will, Your ways and Your gift of life in Him.  Amen.

Revelation 7

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“Therefore go and MAKE DISCIPLES of ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)

Before You left this earth in Your physical form, Jesus, You left this command quoted above.  Your desire was for us, as we go, to be focused on making disciples (followers of You) among all ethnic groups.  In today’s culture, the task of reaching another ethnic group can be as attainable as starting with one’s neighbor, since people from almost all over the world live almost all over the world.  Then, again, reaching “all nations” can be as challenging as seeking out a lost tribe in the depths of the jungles of West Africa.  Wherever I encounter people, THAT’s where You want me active in making disciples.

The end result of my obedience, together with the efforts of every other believer: “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb…” (7:9 NIV)

Father, remind me continually that You have me on this earth for the purpose of making disciples as I go.  Every resource, gift, skill, path You supply so that I can be Your instrument in connecting people to Jesus.  You have nurtured my faith so that it can encourage the faith of my family members, my friends, my coworkers, my church family members, my neighbors and the strangers on the street or across the globe.

Make me more like Jesus, Father, so that this world sees HIM when they look at me.  When people encounter me and go their own way, may they love Jesus more because of our time together.  Amen.

Revelation 6

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!  For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’ “ (v 16-17 NIV)

The very One who strikes fear into those described here as about to face judgment is You, Father.  You have supreme authority over all things in Your creation–and that means me too.  You choose when You will act.  You choose what You’ll supply.  You set the limits for all creatures, for instance, the rider on the fourth horse was given power only over one-fourth of the earth to kill, not the whole earth, not his own discretion.  YOU are the Sovereign Lord.

Father, here is my heart, my life, my things, my relationships, my future… Would You govern them completely?  Help me to submit to Your sovereign will and to trust Your unrelenting love for me to bring forth only what YOU know is BEST for me as You make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Revelation 5

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!
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“…’See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed’ …Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne…” (v 5-6 NIV)

Jesus, my Prince of Peace, the great I Am,
You are both the Lion and the Lamb.
In Your might You reign;
In Your meekness, You were slain.
You are strong and King over all who are and have been.
You were silent and became the price for all who sin.
With Your own strength You empower me.
With Your own blood You purchased me.
Let Your power flow through me to serve You.
Let Your mercy shine from me to mirror You.

art by Sally Brestin - click on image for ordering info

art by Sally Brestin – click on image for ordering info

Father God, thank You for Jesus. Keep on making me just like Him. Amen.

Revelation 4

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“…there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it…” (v 2 NIV)

It was YOU, Father!  YOU are the One “who sits on the throne” in heaven and “who lives forever and ever” (v 9-10 NIV).  You are the Lord God Almighty.  To You alone belong glory, honor, praise, and thanks.

Though there is no question that YOU are on the throne over all Your creation, perhaps there’s a place where You’re not allowed sovereign rule.  So often, the throne of my own heart is more occupied by me than when I let You reign.  I sit down there instead of letting You sit and then kneeling at Your feet.  Father, forgive me and help me to be different.  You are the true Sovereign over my life.  Help me to know and understand Your will for me and then do it.  Keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Revelation 3

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“I know that You have little strength, yet you have kept My Word and have not denied My name … Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come…” (v 8, 10 NIV)

When I am weak, Father, YOU lift me up.  YOU are my true all-in-all, my ultimate Source of all things.  How I pray that You would be able to say of me the same that You said above to the church in Philadelphia, that I had “endured patiently.”  Since patience is most readily wrought through endurance, I’m sure that there will be and are already quite enough opportunities for me to “endure.”  Yet I do know this: YOU are in the midst of every one of them WITH me, as You keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Revelation 2-3

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“…we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37 NIV)

“But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV)

“for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4 NIV)

TO THE ONE WHO OVERCOMES, LORD, YOU PROMISE…
ETERNITY“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (2:7 NIV)
IMMORTALITY“He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” (2:11 NIV)
IDENTITY“To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” (2:17 NIV)
AUTHORITY“To him who overcomes and does My will to the end, I will give authority over the nations … just as I have received authority from My Father. I will also give him the morning star.” (2:26-28 NIV)
PURITY“He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before My Father and His angels.” (3:5 NIV)
SECURITY“Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from My God; and I will also write on him My new name.” (3:12 NIV)
ROYALTY“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (3:21 NIV)

Father, You hold forth so many promises of so many things to me as rewards for remaining faithful to You.  Help me to FIX my “eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of [my] faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand” of Your throne (Heb 12:2 NIV).  Help me to remember His endurance … and the assurance of His strength and presence throughout my own way of endurance.  Keep on making me just like Jesus, Father.  Amen.

Revelation 2:1-7

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance … Yet I hold this against you: YOU HAVE FORSAKEN YOUR FIRST LOVE.  Remember the height from which you have fallen!  Repent and do the things you did at first…” (v 2, 4-5 NIV)

“…you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love] … Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when you first knew the Lord],…” (v 4-5 AMP)

Take me back, Father, to those times when I found SUCH joy in focusing on the needs of others around me and connected to me … when I had no fear of being rejected by even Your people… when I could be found seeking ways to serve others unreservedly… I remember those times dimly.  Restore to me the vibrancy of an understanding heart, a selfless mindset, and a generous spirit.  Keep changing me to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

Revelation 2

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (v 10 NIV)

How faithful You are to me, Father!  How I desire to remain faithful to You, no matter what the cost to me!  You alone are worthy of my true devotion and following.

When I chose to follow You, there was never a promise from You of an easy, pain-free road.  Instead, You let me know that You expected me to deny myself (become selfless), to take up my cross (whatever suffering would come), and follow You (my ultimate example).  I still choose to trust You as I walk forward in Your footsteps.  Make me faithful, Lord.

“Only hold on to what you have until I come.” (v 25 NIV)

You have given me the words of life, the Truth.  Let no philosophy of this world supplant that in my mind and heart.  Keep me centered on the Truth of Your Word as You continue to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Revelation 1:1-8

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!

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“The revelation of Jesus Christ… “ (v 1 NIV)

“A revealing of Jesus, the Messiah… “ (v 1 MSG)

Father, You chose to unveil Your plan to Your Son regarding how You would bring ultimate victory to Your creation and final deliverance from the evil of the enemy.  Here in these passages unfolds a story of how Your Son stands as the Victor over all, and how He brings that same victory into my life simply because I am HIS.

You reveal Jesus’ place in the Godhead in v. 4-5 … First, there’s You, Father: “Him who IS, and who WAS, and who IS TO COME” (v 4 NIV).  Then, the Holy Spirit is noted in “the sevenfold Spirit before His throne.”  Finally, You convey the identity of Christ Jesus: “the FAITHFUL WITNESS, the FIRSTBORN from the dead, and the RULER of the kings of the earth” (v 5 NIV)  How great the assurance is in knowing that Jesus is 1) FAITHFUL; 2) that because He rose from the dead and I will too one day, and 3) that HE is the RULER — HE’s in charge and no one else (not even me!).

You also relate the saving work of Jesus: “To HIM who LOVES US and has FREED US from our sins by His blood, and has MADE US to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father…” (v 5-6 NIV).  Before I knew You, Lord Jesus, You loved me.  Out of Your love for me, You died to free me from sin.  Having freed me from my sinful self, You have made me into a new self, equipping me to serve You by serving others.

Just as You, Lord, have focused all of who you are on loving, saving and growing me, give me that kind of focus.  “Take my eyes so totally off myself that I see nothing before me but the needs of others.” (Kathy Troccoli, My Life Is in Your Hands, p. 189)  Make me just like Jesus as You reveal His story through my life to others in this world.  Amen.

Revelation 1

Thanks, Jesus, for the victory YOU bring!
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How fitting, Father, that “the [story] of Jesus Christ” (v 1) begins with so many references to whom He is:

  • “the faithful witness” (v 5) — As the Father has revealed His plan to You, Jesus. I can trust Your revealing of that plan
  • “the firstborn from the dead” (v 5) — The FIRST to rise from the dead and not die again, but to gain a new imperishable body
  • “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (v 5) — My all-powerful King, victorious in battle, glorious in peace
  • “Him who loves us” (v 5) — matchless love for me demonstrated on the cross!
  • “Him who … has freed us from our sins by His blood” (v 5) — I’m free because of what You did, Jesus, not because of anything I’ve done
  • “Him who … has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father” (v 6) — You’ve guaranteed my place in Your kingdom and made me a priest to administer Your love to others
  • “He is coming with the clouds” (v 7) — Your second coming will be both visible and victorious
  • “the Alpha and the Omega” (v 8) — You are the beginning and the end of all existence, wisdom and power
  • “who is” (v 8) — You are ever-present
  • “who was” (v 8) — You have always been
  • “who is to come” (v 8) — You are already there in the future
  • “the Almighty” (v 8) — no one compares to You in power and greatness
  • “the First and the Last” (v 17) — You have FIRST place in my life and the “last word” on how I live it
  • “the Living One” (v 18) — You are alive forever and untouchable by death’s tiny sting
  • “was dead, and behold am alive forever and ever” (v 18) — You paved a way for me to experience this same eternal transformation
  • “hold the keys of death and Hades” (v 18) — I can be free of the fear of death, because You, Jesus, are the One who controls it now 

Jesus — WHAT a wonder You are! You are all those things noted in this chapter and MUCH, MUCH more! How blessed I am to know You, to be loved by You, and to belong to You! Keep on making me just like You as I determine to live my life for You! Amen.

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Father, I feel like I’m truly beginning to learn that without You everything is nothing; and with You, nothing is everything.” — Kathy Troccoli, My Life Is in Your Hands, p. 183.

Jude

The key question in life is not “How strong am I?” but “How strong are YOU, Lord?” (adapted from Max Lucado)

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“…To those who have been CALLED, who are LOVED by God the Father and KEPT by Jesus Christ” (v 1 NIV)

CALLED

Father, You have called me out of the darkness of my sin, which had separated me from You (Colossians 1:13-14).  You saw me in my sinful state and desired for me to know You.  You know my name and called out to me.  You knew all about me and spoke to me in just the way You knew I’d hear best.

LOVED

Long, long before I ever thought or knew of my need for You, You were loving me.  You were at work to convey Your most ultimate expression of love for me: Jesus and His death on the cross.

KEPT

When You called to me and showed me Your gift of love, I accepted.  You have my heart and You continue to hold me near to Yours.

Thank You, Daddy, for calling me, loving me, and keeping me as You make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

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Our Father
When you come to God in prayer,
you don’t come to a stranger who needs an introduction,
or to an enemy who is against you.
You do not come to a statue that cannot see or hear,
or to some mean and impersonal deity who needs to be appeased.
You come to your Father,
whose heart reaches out to you in goodness and kindness,
who knows every detail about your life, and
who wants you to come and welcomes your company.
He wants you to come as a child
who is loved …
who is accepted …
who is cared for … and
who is secure.
He wants you to come in openness … in confidence … in truthfulness.
He waits to hear your heart and
to share His heart with you
— Roy Lessin

3 John

For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!

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“Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible…helping these travelers on their way, hospitality worthy of God Himself! …In providing meals and a bed, we become their companions in spreading the Truth.” (:5,6,8 MSG)

HOSPITALITY–MAKING TRUTH VISIBLE

Father, so many times You have allowed me to see the Truth in this manner.  Ever since those weekends during college, when You allowed me to travel for the college, You’ve been using people to show me hospitality.  In doing so, You’ve allowed me glimpses into who You are and what You’re doing in Your creation and among Your people.

HOSPITALITY–WELCOMING GOD HIMSELF

When You provide opportunities for me to extend hospitality, whether by using the car, the home, or any other things You’ve supplied, You allow my life to be blessed by encountering the “Jesus” in yet another person.  Keep my eyes and ears open and aware of these opportunities, and I trust You to provide whatever is needed to meet a need.

HOSPITALITY–PARTNERING WITH OTHERS

This part is so very true.  How many times have You allowed me to visit in a home and used me or the hosts or both to advance Your kingdom in some way?!  Or, when You’ve brought people into my home, You’ve connected lives with one another, spurred on Your servants, given a period of rest to Your workers, etc.  Thank You for the lives You’ve intersected with mine.

May my heart and home and life be ever open to sharing the kind of hospitality that reveals You, welcomes You, and shares You.  Keep on shaping me to be just like Jesus as we make Your Truth visible together.  Amen.

2 John

For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!

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GRACE, MERCY and PEACE from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love…love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you WALK IN LOVE.” (2 John :3)

3 gifts given to me so that I might give the world one.

GRACE

When You look at me, a sinner who’s not always followed Your commands, You, Lord, chose to have an attitude of grace toward me.  When I go my own way, rebelling against what You say is best for me, You choose to extend Your grace toward me.  Though my ways are unfavorable to You, You choose to freely bestow Your favor on me.  You give me what I don’t even deserve.

MERCY

You see and know my sinful self, and even though I ought to die for my sin, You choose NOT to give me what I deserve.  You have created me to be like Your Son, but the sin in this broken world is a continual obstacle for me, a constant temptation.  You see me in my distress between the natural and the supernatural, and You choose an attitude of mercy toward me.

PEACE

When You became a part of my life, You acquainted me with Your peace.  Your peace takes root and produces a plant which bears the fruit of reconciliation with You, in spite of my sin …the fruit of harmony with others, as You help us to get along …and the fruit of contentment, through experiencing Your ability to handle any need or concern I have ever or will ever face in this life.

Grace must go before mercy, for it’s the forgiven who may be blessed.  You grant favor and withhold judgment.  You give pardon and forego sentencing.  Mercy is the act of You alone, Lord.  Peace is the experience that results in my heart as I encounter You.

You reveal these gifts to me through Truth — Your Word, Your Son, Jesus.  When I follow Your truth, I can know that these gifts are mine–not just a wish or prayer of hope …but having assurance that You’ve freely given them all to me.

A gift can be given, holding all its blessing and promise inside; yet, an unopened gift, never touches the recipient in the way intended by the giver.  Father, thank You for Your grace, Your mercy, and Your peace.  As I open these gifts and integrate them into my life, help me to gift others as You have commanded me: to love them.  Help me to wear Your grace, mercy and peace like garments while walking throughout each day in an attitude of love toward others . . . as You continue to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 John 5

For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!

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“My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in His presence, freely asking according to His will, sure that He’s listening. And if we’re confident that He’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.” (5:13-15 MSG)

Lord Jesus, You died for me on that cross.  You rose from that tomb with me on Your mind.  You saw me even before I was born and You desire for me to be with You forever.

I believe in You, that You are God’s Son.  I am confident that I will be with You eternally.  Thank You for the freedom to dance into Your presence, to be alone with You, and to ask You for anything.

Here’s what I ask, Lord.  Pour Your grace over me.  Let it flow.  Keep pouring and pouring and pouring.  Put it in me, on me, around me and, mostly, send Your grace out through me to others as You keep working to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.NeverForsaken

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“Man is born broken.  He lives by mending.  The grace of God is the glue.”  — Eugene O’Neill