Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gone Fishin'

While I've loved doing 365 Forum, it's time for a break. If there's a special topic you want to look up, use the search window at left or use the Archive to access a specific date.
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It is also coming soon in print available from

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Day 365: Revelation 19, 20, 21 and 22

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13).

John’s Revelation ends the same way it began. I am the Alpha and Omega, says the Lord God (1:8). For the Christian, oppressed under Rome’s thumb, this is yet again a message of hope and an invitation to endure – but not just to endure – to endure with faith and hope.

This beast of yours, this Roman Empire... I was here before this great empire was even a thought, and I will be here long after it turns to dust... even after its dust ceases to be, I will be here.

Some of our problems that cropped up this year lasted a few weeks and were resolved. Some may still be dogging us, and if we were honest we might admit that sometimes we wonder if they’re going to get the best of us. The truth is: God was present and faithful before those problems came along, and God will be present and faithful long after they are gone.

What’s the name of the beast raging against you today?

When troubles seem overwhelming, hold on. God is on your side. That’s what Revelation is all about. Tell them, God may not have started this fight, but he sure can finish it!

Happy New Year!

God knows the troubles that have cropped up in your life this year. Some are already resolved, but some feel like they’re going to dog you the rest of your life. Your heavenly Father has been with you all this year. Affirm that he’ll be with you next year too. And together, there’s no enemy you can’t handle!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Day 364: Revelation 15, 16, 17 and 18

Fallen is Babylon the Great! (Revelation 18:2).

The writer of Revelation delivers the same message with four different groupings of symbols. That message is, according to Marie Strong: “God is victorious over all the forces (and faces) of evil and the church will endure. The Alpha and Omega is coming to judge (Revelation 1:7-8 and 22:12-13) . . . we live with the hope that our suffering in the battle between good and evil will be answered by the one who ‘will wipe every tear from [our] eyes’ (21:4). We will then belong with the one who makes all things new!” [17].

In Chapter 18, we see the promised destruction of Rome. Rome has been around for a long time, and it seems like it will dominate the world for many years to come. But finally: the answer to our prayers. That which seemed like a long time coming, now comes quickly.

Our battles seem to go on forever. Satan shows no mercy and has no qualms about attacking us at our weakest point, or in waiting until we are exhausted or discouraged to give his plans a better chance of success. But there is coming a day when our Babylon the great – that force pitting itself against God’s people today – will go up in smoke. God wants Believers to know the outcome of the story – the end of the book. God wins! And so do those who remain faithful!

What’s fighting against you? Keep resisting.

Celebrate the assurance that even when it seems our battles go on forever, you’re on the winning side and, more importantly, God is on your side!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Day 363: Revelation 11, 12, 13 and 14

The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts (Revelation 11:10).

Our selection for today begins with the apparent deaths of the two witnesses (11:3) – or olive trees or lampstands (v. 4), or prophets (v. 10. We first read about the two olive trees in Zechariah where they symbolize Zerubbabel and Joshua. Zerubbabel governed (a descendant of King David) the exiles who had returned from Babylon and Joshua was the High Priest, symbolic of joint godly leadership in both the political and the spiritual realms.

What I find particularly telling about this passage is the reaction of the inhabitants of the earth (symbolic of the unbelieving population of Rome – or Rome itself). After their deaths, these scoffers will party and send one another gifts in celebration that these two prophets are seemingly dead. But after three and a half days – Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) wreaked havoc on Jerusalem for three and a half years; three and a half days and 42 months are both symbolic of significant persecution – things would start looking up. If the inhabitants of the earth symbolize Rome, then the prophets (olive trees, lampstands, prophets, etc.) symbolize the church.

Though the church’s defeat looked like a sure thing – enough that its enemies were already congratulating themselves with a victory celebration, after three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them (11:11).

Give thanks that even when evil prematurely throws a party thinking you’re down and out, with God’s help, you’re still here.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day 362: Revelation 7, 8, 9 and 10

Who are they, and where did they come from? (Revelation 7:13).

This question is asked by one of the elders regarding the great multitude that no one could count (v. 9). The writer wants his readers to be aware that the path ahead is difficult, and for many will result in martyrdom. The writer also wants his readers to know that they are not walking this path alone.

Remember Elijah and his despair following the victory over Baal’s prophets? He’d just experienced an incredible display of God’s power, but one that reinvigorated Jezebel’s murderous hatred for him. He was on the run, beyond burnout, and needed encouragement. He railed against God: I have been very zealous for [you] . . . I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too (1 Kings 19:10). In other words, why have you left me all alone? But God informed Elijah there were 7,000 others who remained faithful. Elijah was by no means alone.

Likewise, God’s faithful under siege from Rome need some assurance too. It’s tough enough to ask someone to suffer martyrdom, but it’s even more difficult if that person thinks he (or she) is the only one making the supreme sacrifice. The writer here encourages Believers: Stay strong. There are more faithful than you can count, and they come from all nations, tribes, peoples and languages. You are not alone.

The next time someone whispers in your ear, Everyone else is doing it…

Pray for strength to be faithful in tough times, even if it seems you’re all alone. Consider that you have brothers and sisters who are also holding true.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Day 361: Revelation 4, 5 and 6

There before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it (Revelation 4:2).

No doubt about it; under Roman Emperor Domitian Christianity was under attack. And one of the first things John is shown in his heavenly vision is a throne. This is a throne higher and mightier than the throne of Rome – this is the throne of heaven. And at a time when Christians might have been wondering, Is God still on the throne? Revelation leaves no doubt.

One of my favorite scenes is when the angel proclaims: Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll? (5:2). For a time no one answers, and John weeps. Then one of the elders speaks: The Lion of the tribe of Judah . . . He is able (v. 5). And John turns expecting to see a lion, but instead: Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne (v. 6).

Not only is there a throne, encircled with a rainbow, (reminiscent of Noah’s story of God’s preservation in Genesis 6-9); the throne is not empty – in chapter 4 a majestic, heavenly figure is sitting on it. In chapter 5 the one sitting on the throne is none other than Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. John illustrates that God has come through for his people in the past and will again. To John, all of this is evidence that God and not Rome is in control.

Have you ever felt like the throne is empty? It’s not. What does it mean to your faith to know that God reigns?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day 360: Revelation 1, 2 and 3

Be faithful, even to the point of death (Revelation 2:10).

Revelation is a message to first century Christians facing dire persecution. Things are bad and are going to get worse before they get better. Nowhere does God tell those who are his that they will avoid suffering. Rather, they are warned that suffering is unavoidable, and may even lead to death.

But in Luke, Jesus tells the crowds, Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. (12:4) And in Revelation: I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades (1:18).

In other words, death isn’t final. Sure, the enemy is a thief who comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10), but even if things go that wrong, there’s still hope. Christ reminds us that he and not Satan holds the keys to death and hell. And if Jesus was dead, but is now alive forever and ever, then may we find assurance that even in death, death doesn’t get the final word. Death is the worst the devil can do to us, but not even death can separate us from our Savior.

Though being a Christian may not put your life at risk (count your blessings), your faith is still under attack, sometimes in such subtle ways that you may not even recognize it.

Will you be faithful this week?

Thank God for those who suffer for their faith. Pray for them to stay strong. Ask God’s help to remain faithful no matter what the enemy throws at you.