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.