VIDEO Lord of All

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

Genesis 1:1 says that God created the heavens and the earth—meaning heavens, earth, and everything in between. The psalmist says God knows when he sits and when he stands, when he goes out and when he lays down—meaning God is “acquainted with all [his] ways” (Psalm 139:2-3). This is a linguistic figure of speech called merism—two contrasting opposites which represent the extremes and everything in between.

Jesus employed this technique three times in the book of Revelation (and the Father once) when He declared Himself the Alpha and Omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), the Beginning and the End, and the First and the Last (Revelation 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13). Not only is it a way of saying that God is “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28; Ephesians 1:23), but that time and history begin and end with Christ. All things were created by Him (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16), and all things will be consummated by Him “when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father” (1 Corinthians 15:24).

Christ is Lord of heaven, earth, time, eternity, and everything in between. In Him we are certain of our future.

The cross is the center of the world’s history. Alexander MacLaren


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

Is God Listening?

If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

When I served on my church’s congregational care team, one of my duties was to pray over the requests penciled on pew cards during the services. For an aunt’s health. For a couple’s finances. For a grandson’s discovery of God. Rarely did I hear the results of these prayers. Most were anonymous, and I had no way of knowing how God had responded. I confess that at times I wondered, Was He really listening? Was anything happening as a result of my prayers?

Over our lifetimes, most of us question, “Does God hear me?” I remember my own Hannah-like pleas for a child that went unanswered for years. And there were my pleas that my father find faith, yet he died without any apparent confession.

Etched across the millennia are myriad instances of God’s ear bending to listen: to Israel’s groans under slavery (Exodus 2:24); to Moses on Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 9:19); to Joshua at Gilgal (Joshua 10:14); to Hannah’s prayers for a child (1 Samuel 1:10–17); to David crying out for deliverance from Saul (2 Samuel 22:7).

First John 5:14 crescendos, “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” The word for “hears” means to pay attention and to respond on the basis of having heard.

As we go to God today, may we have the confidence of His listening ear spanning the history of His people. He hears our pleas.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

Pause to consider what you’ve most recently asked of God. What motivated you to ask? How can you know that God hears you?

Father, I come asking and trusting You to hear me because You say that You do

Our Growth as Christians

Christians should reflect Jesus to the world so that all can share in the joy of salvation

Galatians 2:20

What is the goal of the Christian life? Romans 8:29 expresses it this way: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (emphasis added). This is called sanctification, and it has several stages.

First comes salvation—our redemption from sinfulness through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. What results is forgiveness of sin, which lets us have a relationship with God. 

Next, God gives us opportunity to serve. We were created to do good works in Jesus’ name (Eph. 2:10). 

Then comes frustrated inadequacy. This is a necessary part of the journey and can last varying amounts of time. Though difficult, this phase is beautiful because it leads us into total dependence on Jesus, which is the best part of our spiritual life. And it is what brings us closer to our ultimate goal: becoming a reflection of Christ. 

Sadly, many Christians don’t reach a point of complete reliance on the Lord. The apostle Paul reminds us to fix our eyes on the goal of maturity in Christ (Phil. 3:14). Learning to die to self is painful, but ironically, it’s the only true way to life. 

One Day as a Thousand Years

“Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

It is sad that many Christians today are so eager to appear intellectual they are willing to compromise God’s clear revelation to do so. God has made it as clear as plain words could make it that “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11). Yet because evolutionary “science” has alleged that the earth is billions of years old, multitudes of evangelicals have fallen in line, rejecting God’s plain statement of fact and then trying to find some interpretive loophole to hide behind.

Our text verse is perhaps the key verse of the so-called “progressive creationists” who try to correlate the days of creation in Genesis with the supposed 4.6 billion-year system of evolutionary geological ages by citing Peter as agreeing that “one day is a thousand years.”

No, Peter is saying that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years”! That is, God can do in one day what might, by natural processes, take a thousand years. In context, the apostle is condemning the last-day uniformitarians (those who teach that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation”) as “willingly ignorant” of the tremendous significance of the historical facts of creation and the Flood (2 Peter 3:3-6). Real written records only go back a few thousand years, and to attempt to calculate any date before that requires use of a premise that, in context, the Scriptures have just condemned! God says the uniformitarians are willingly ignorant and then urges those who believe His Word to “be not ignorant.” The only way we can know the date and duration of creation is for God to tell us, and He says He made all of heaven and Earth in six days, and not so long ago! HMM

Release From Contempt

Show us favor, Lord, show us favor, for we’ve had more than enough contempt. We’ve had more than enough scorn from the arrogant [and] contempt from the proud (Psalm 123 vv. 3-4).

This is an earnest plea for deliverance from contempt and ridicule. Wounded and hurting, the author cries out, “Lord, show us favor!” (v. 3).

At times an agonized cry for mercy is the only recourse we can take. Christians, in all walks and circumstances of life, have had to take it on the chin for their faith.

The apostle Paul had more than his share:

Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the depths of the sea.

On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from Gentiles; dangers in the city, dangers in the country, dangers on the sea… labor and hardship, many sleepness nights, I hunger and thirst, often without food; cold, and lacking clothing (2 Cor. 11:24-27).

This missionary martyr suffered for doing God’s will; he didn’t suffer for not doing God’s will. Under abnormal stress and pressure, he reached unsealed heights of achievement, exploits, and excellence—not the least of which was writing almost half of the New Testament!

For it was Paul who also said,”I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).

The Lord must laugh at our complaints. We’re soft! We need to toughen up and learn how to take anything the enemy can dish out because “the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Personal Prayer

O Lord, I’m ashamed when I read the recital of injustices and wrongs committed against the great saints of the ages. Help me to shape up as your man in my own hostile environment.

The Shield of Faith

Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life that you were called to.—1 Timothy 6:12

The fourth piece of equipment in the Christian soldier’s armor is the shield of faith: “In every situation,” says the apostle, “take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph 6:16).

Some take Paul’s use of the expression “above all” (as some texts begin this verse) to mean “above everything else in importance,” and from this they go on to argue that the last three pieces of armor are more important than the first three. But the phrase really means “in addition to all this.” It is a transition phrase designed to introduce us to a section of the armor that has a different purpose.

The six pieces of armor fall clearly into two main groups, the first consisting of the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace. The second group comprises the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. The first three pieces of armor were fixed to the body by a special fastening, and hence, to a certain degree, were immovable. But the shield was not fixed to the body; it was something quite separate. The same applies to the helmet; that, too, was something that could be put on or taken off quite easily. And obviously the same was true of the sword of the Spirit.

The lesson, quite clearly, is this—the first three pieces of equipment should be worn at all times, while the other three are to be taken up when and where necessary.

Prayer

Gracious and loving heavenly Father, I am so thankful for the care and design that have gone into providing for me a sure defense against Satan. I have learned much, yet I see there is still much more to learn. Teach me, my Father. Amen.

Further Study

1Tm 1:12-20; 6:12; 1Th 5:8; 1Jn 5:4

What had some rejected?

What was the result?

The Good Fight

1 Timothy 1:18

On May 9, 1912, 7,000 Salvationists packed London’s Royal Albert Hall to hear the Founder, William Booth. “And now, comrades and friends, I must say goodbye. I am going into dry-dock for repairs, but the Army will not be allowed to suffer, either financially or spiritually, or in any other way by my absence.

“And in the long future I think it will be seen—I shall not be here to see, but you will—that the Army will answer every doubt and banish every fear and strangle every slander, and by its marvelous success show to the world that it is the work of God and that the General has been His servant.

While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight!

While little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight!

While men go to prison, in and out, in and out,

as they do now, I’ll fight!

While there is a drunkard left,

While there is a poor lost girl upon the streets,

While there remains one dark soul without the light of God,

I’ll fight—I’ll fight to the very end!”

It was his last speech, perhaps his greatest. Three months later, on August 20, 1912, he died at the age of 83. Staff officers arriving at International Headquarters the following morning saw a simple message in the window: “The General Has Laid Down His Sword.”

At a three-day lying-in-state, 150,000 persons filed past the old warrior’s casket, and on the day of his funeral city offices of London were dark and shuttered. Around his grave lay wreaths from the king and queen and from titled heads-of-state throughout the world.

Unknown to most, far to the rear of the hall, sat Britain’s Queen Mary. Beside her on the aisle was a shabby, but neatly dressed woman, who had confessed her secret to the queen. Once a prostitute, The Salvation Army had saved her. She had come early to claim an aisle seat, guessing that the casket would pass within feet of her. As it did, she had unobtrusively placed three carnations on the lid, and all through the service they were the only flowers on the casket. Queen Mary was deeply moved when the woman turned to her and said simply, in words which could stand as William Booth’s epitaph: “He cared for the likes of us.”

George Scott Railton, General Booth