VIDEO God Is the God of Everything to Come

 

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

A figure of speech used to illustrate God’s oversight of all time—past, present, and future—is merism: using a few words to represent many. For example, “Alpha and Omega” (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), “Beginning and End,” and “First and Last” suggest God rules over everything from first to last and everything in between.

Three times in Revelation these phrases are found in the words of Christ when describing Himself: Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13. In the book that presents an overview of the culmination of human history on this earth, these words signify that Christ is Lord over all that is yet to come. He has been Lord over the past, He is Lord over the present, and He will be Lord over everything yet to come in His redemptive plan for mankind.

Not only is Christ Lord over human history, He is Lord over your future as well—the things yet to come in your life. We may not know what the future holds but we know Who holds the future.

Faith makes the uplook good, the outlook bright, the inlook favorable, and the future glorious. V. Raymond Edman


Revelation 22:13-15 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

Seeds of Grace

The seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  Mark 4:27

For nearly four decades, a man in India has worked to bring a scorched, sandy wasteland back to life. Seeing how erosion and changing ecosystems had destroyed the river island he loved, he began to plant one tree at a time, bamboo then cotton. Now, lush forests and abundant wildlife fill more than 1,300 acres. However, the man insists the rebirth was not something he made happen. Acknowledging the amazing way the natural world is designed, he marvels at how seeds are carried to fertile ground by the wind. Birds and animals participate in sowing them as well, and rivers also contribute in helping plants and trees flourish.

Creation works in ways we can’t comprehend or control. According to Jesus, this same principle applies to the kingdom of God. “This is what the kingdom of God is like,” Jesus said. “A man scatters seed on the ground . . . the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how” (Mark 4:26–27). God brings life and healing into the world as pure gifts, without our manipulation. We do whatever God asks us of us, and then we watch life emerge. We know that everything flows from His grace.

It’s tempting to believe we’re responsible to change someone’s heart or ensure results for our faithful efforts. However, we need not live under that exhausting pressure. God makes all our seeds grow. It’s all grace.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

When are you tempted to think it’s your job to make things happen or grow? Why is it vital for you to trust God’s grace rather than your own effort?

God continues to grow His kingdom by His grace.

Speaking Through Odd Circumstances

Exodus 3:1-22

Can you remember a time when you were so engrossed in the details of your own life that you couldn’t hear God’s voice at all? In times like those, it’s difficult to detect the Father’s whisper. So instead, He may shout through unusual circumstances to get our attention.

Consider Moses in the third chapter of Exodus. Though well educated and raised as a prince, he was now exiled and humiliated in the wilderness. Life certainly wasn’t turning out as he’d envisioned, and he was probably preoccupied with fear, disappointment, and pride.

But God had big plans for Moses and needed to get his attention. So the Lord arranged something that the shepherd just couldn’t ignore: a bush that was on fire and yet was not being consumed. Even more startling, God spoke to Moses through that burning bush! Do you think a sight like that would have made you take notice?

Sometimes God works this way with us, too. In order to speak to us, He must first get our undivided attention by doing something so unusual that we have no choice but to stop, look, and listen.

There is no such thing as an accident for a child of God. Whatever we see or hear could play a role in accomplishing His purpose.

We must learn how to look for God in all circumstances, from the wild and unexpected to the simple and mundane. Whether our situation seems unbelievably good or unbearably bad, we are wise to step back and ask the Lord to help us view the matter from His perspective.

Remember, We Are His Image

“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Colossians 3:10)

Man’s body is made of the same “earth” material (Genesis 2:7) as the animals (v. 19) and as the earth itself (Genesis 1:10). Furthermore, he shares the created “soul” (Hebrew nephesh) and “spirit” (Hebrew ruach, same as “breath”) with the animals (compare 1:21; 7:15, where nephesh and ruach respectively are used of the animals). However, he shares the created “image of God” (1:27) only with God Himself.

Ever since Adam and Eve first sinned, all people have been born in innate rebellion against Him. The image of God in man has been grievously marred, and we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

However, as our text reminds us, the image of God in man can be “renewed” through the great miracle of the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). And this includes more than just our soul/spirit nature, for we have His gracious promise that our own resurrection bodies will be “fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21) when He comes again.

Evidently, God had all this in mind from the very beginning, when “in the likeness of God made he him” (Genesis 5:1). That is, He foreknew that He would one day become man, in the person of Jesus Christ, and so He created man in the image and likeness of that body/soul/spirit complex that He Himself would eventually assume.

In some mysterious way, Christ Himself is, in His eternal and glorified human body, the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), and God amazingly has even predestinated us “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29), and “we shall be like him” when we finally “see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). HMM

Crowds at Any Price Mania

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

—Romans 3:10, 12

The crowds-at-any-price mania has taken a firm grip on American Christianity and is the motivating power back of a shockingly high percentage of all religious activity….

Our constant effort should be to reach as many persons as possible with the Christian message, and for that reason numbers are critically important. But our first responsibility is not to make converts but to uphold the honor of God in a world given over to the glory of fallen man. No matter how many persons we touch with the gospel we have failed unless, along with the message of invitation, we have boldly declared the exceeding sinfulness of man and the transcendent holiness of the Most High God. They who degrade or compromise the truth in order to reach larger numbers, dishonor God and deeply injure the souls of men.

The temptation to modify the teachings of Christ with the hope that larger numbers may “accept” Him is cruelly strong in this day of speed, size, noise and crowds. But if we know what is good for us, we’ll resist it with every power at our command.   SIZ117-119

Lord, give me a deep, unshakable commitment “to uphold the honor of God in a world given over to the glory of fallen men”whether I achieve crowds and success or not. Amen.

 

Hidden riches of secret places

I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.—Isaiah 45:3.

 

God! Thou art Love! I build my faith on that!

 

I know Thee, Thou hast kept my path and made

Light for me in the darkness, tempering sorrow,

So that it reached me like a solemn joy:

It were too strange that I should doubt Thy love.

Robert Browning.

 

If I believe in God, in a Being who made me, and fashioned me, and knows my wants and capacities and necessities, because He gave them to me, and who is perfectly good and loving, righteous, and perfectly wise and powerful, whatever my circumstances inward or outward may be, however thick the darkness which encompasses me, I yet can trust, yea, be assured, that all will be well, that He can draw light out of darkness, and make crooked things straight.

Thomas Erskine.

 

Though sorrows, heaviness, and faintings of heart ever so much increase; yet, if thy faith increase also, it will bear thee up in the midst of them. I would fain have it go well with thee, and that thou mightest not want the holy Counsellor and Adviser, in any strait or difficulty which the wise and tender God orders to befall thee.

Isaac Penington.

 

But Because of Us

“For the elect’s sake those days be shortened.” Matt. 24:22

For the sake of His elect the Lord withholds many judgments, and shortens others. In great tribulations the fire would devour all were it not that out of regard to His elect the Lord damps the flame. Thus, while He saves His elect for the sake of Jesus, He also preserves the race for the sake of His chosen.

What an honor is thus put upon saints! How diligently they ought to use their influence with their Lord! He will hear their prayers for sinners, and bless their efforts for their salvation. He blesses believers that they may be a blessing to those who are in unbelief. Many a sinner lives because of the prayers of a mother, or wife, or daughter, to whom the Lord has respect.

Have we used aright the singular power with which the Lord entrusts us? Do we pray for our country, for other lands, and for the age? Do we, in times of war, famine, pestilence, stand out as intercessors, pleading that the days may be shortened? Do we lament before God the outbursts of infidelity, error, and licentiousness? Do we beseech our Lord Jesus to shorten the reign of sin by hastening His own glorious appearing? Let us get to our knees, and never rest till Christ appeareth.