|View today’s reading at Bible Gateway Revelation 1 Prologue 1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. Greetings and Doxology 4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. 7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”|
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” John’s Vision of Christ 9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” 12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 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. 19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Read 1 Timothy 1
In today’s reading:
The warning against false doctrine; gratitude for mercy; the qualifications for church leaders; instructions on widows and the elderly; the good fight of faith
E l Roman emperor Nero was persecuting the believers cruelly and judging many to death when the apostle Paul wrote this epistle to Timothy. But Paul kept emphasizing the importance for believers to pray for all who were in authority over them, without thinking about their conduct. He wrote: “I exhort first of all, that supplications, prayers, petitions and thanksgiving be made, for all men; for kings and for all who are in authority, so that we may live quietly and peacefully in all godliness and honesty ” (I Timothy 2: 1-2).
As we pray for the leaders of the world, and for our local officials, we can be sure that our prayers will have an effect on their actions, be they righteous or wicked men themselves . As the divisions of the waters, so the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; He inclines everything to whatever he wants ” (Proverbs 21: 1).
When the apostle Peter and others were ordered by the religious authorities to stop saying that Jesus Christ was the Savior of the world, because they were faithful believers: “Peter and the apostles answering, said: It is necessary to obey God rather than men” ( Acts 5:29).
Believers must faithfully testify of the truth as revealed by Christ in His Word, even though this could lead to imprisonment or death. While many will “turn away from the truth the ear and turn to fables,” each believer must then be “sober in all things, (and endure) afflictions” (II Timothy 4: 4-5). The number of believers who are “ [enduring] afflictions” (James 5:10) and being martyred for their faith in Christ continues to grow.
Later, the apostle Peter also placed great emphasis on the responsibility of believers to be law-abiding citizens, writing: “For the Lord’s sake submit yourselves to every human institution, whether to the king, as superior, or to the governors, as sent by Him to punish evildoers and to praise those who do good ” (I Peter 2: 13-14). The New Testament provides no example to justify rebellious actions against corrupt governments or to stop paying taxes. The Word teaches us that it is Satan who instigates rebellion, violence, and riots.
«Because we too were once foolish, rebellious, lost, slaves of lusts and various delights (egocentric) , living in malice and envy, abhorrent. . . (But) when the goodness of God our Savior was manifested, and His love for men, He saved us ” (Titus 3: 3-5).
Thought for today:Believers enjoy God’s peace regardless of circumstances.
Memory Verse of the Week: Luke 1:37
A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” –Isaiah 40:3
God promises the Calling Voice to herald Messiah’s appearing. We will know the Promised One because the Calling Voice will alert us. The hearing of God’s words fades after centuries of dynamic exchange between Heaven and earth. Four silent centuries creep by. Battles rage, Masada falls, the Temple is desecrated and Israel mourns. Then a voice thunders in the desert arroyos and along the lush riverbanks. The Calling Voice is right on time. Its culminating words are, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
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Faith versus Reason
The first battle between faith and human reason took place in the garden of Eden. Spurred on by the lies of the serpent, Eve began to look at her situation from a purely logical perspective and decided she was being cheated by God out of something good. Her faith faltered as “reasonable” thoughts of self-interest filled her mind.
I am not saying that the way of faith is never logical, but by operating only on the basis of reason, a conflict with the Lord is inevitable. The reason is that His instructions and actions don’t always appear reasonable from a human perspective. Although Isaiah 55:8-9 describes God’s thoughts and ways as higher than man’s, many people judge divine ideas to be lower than human intelligence.
Paul emphasizes this when he points out that God’s choices are illogical by the world’s standards. His message of salvation seems foolish, and His messengers appear weak and unimpressive. In an age that thrives on recognition, admiration, and importance, a person who believes the Bible is considered a weakling in need of a religious crutch to cope with life. While this description is given in derision, it’s actually quite accurate. Recognizing their helplessness, believers lean on Christ so He can raise them to stand with Him in righteousness.
That day in Eden, sin and self-importance entered the human heart. But all the worldly wisdom that fuels our pride is nullified by God. He is looking not for great and impressive people but for weak, humble servants who can boast only in Christ. The Savior alone is their strength and wisdom.
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Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2019 All Rights Reserved.