Friday, October 31: Revelation 16- It is done!.

Now the seven bowls of wrath are poured out. No interlude before the seventh bowl as with the seven angels and trumpets. The seven bowls are poured out one after another… the judgment and wrath is immense and yet people refuse to repent (11). It seems once a heart becomes so hard, repentance is nearly impossible. The Pharaoh, in Moses’ day, seemed to fit this bill. In fact there are a number of things about the Moses/Pharaoh account that seems to parallel this account, but that is for another day.

With the seventh bowl poured out it is exclaimed, “It is done!” (17) followed by an exclamation mark of flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake (18).

It is done… stark words in English, only one word in Greek. And with that word the wrath of God is meted out. I closed my eyes as I typed those last words. That is a day of great sadness and pain. They didn’t believe. They wouldn’t believe. And because of that they will pay with eternal torment.

O God, what would you have me do to help people hear of Your love and grace and therefore avoid this ghastly outcome? O Lord, help me to know how to be most effective in spreading the Good News of Your love and the forgiveness that can and is found in faith in Jesus. In Your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.



Thursday, October 30: Revelation 15- Images of our God.

As the end approached, the saints of heaven sang. “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed” (3b-4).

Great and marvelous are your deeds… our God is an active God, alive, and for His people.

Just and true are your ways… our God is honest and His actions and judgments are built on truth and meet out justice.

For you along are holy… our God is holy, perfect, righteous. His ways are above our human ways. He is the Lord!

All nations will come and worship you… from the beginning it has been Your goal for all nations to worship and adore You. And now as the time of fulfillment comes close, Your goal will be fulfilled.

Your righteous acts have been revealed

Lord, I long to see Your righteous acts revealed. Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Holy Spirit, rule this earth/world/universe. Show us Your power and might that our understanding of You might be full and complete. Halleluiah. Amen.


Wednesday, October 29: Revelation 14- One final offer.

The account of the end is moving toward its climax, and yet God gives one more offer of salvation. It is the proverbial 11th hour and the Lord is once again, this time for the final time, offering words of salvation to any who would turn and believe.

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water (6-7).”

This reminded me of Jesus’ parable of workers in the vineyard.  This is where the owners went out in the morning at the 9th, 12th and fifth hours to get more workers, and yet they all get paid the same amount. God is offering salvation –free and full– to anyone who would believe, even now, as the final judgment is being prepared.

Why risk it? Why wait? If you are reading this, why not say ‘Yes’ to Jesus? Accept the truths of His Gospel. Worship the Father, worship the Son, worship the Holy Spirit… believe in the God of the Bible.

Think about it…

Lord, God, thank You for the grace to believe. Pour that grace onto the world that there would be a great harvest of belief among people who right now are still opposed to You. I pray this is Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, October 28: Revelation 13- Patient endurance and faithfulness .

In the imagery of this chapter we see the dragon exercising his power on the earth through the first and second beast. It is as if the dragon is the power but the beasts are the front men, the face of the dragon’s empire. The world is duped except those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (8). And the beasts will wage war against God’s holy people (7).

In the midst of all these images comes a word to God’s people. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people (10b).

Patient endurance… since we are living in the time of the dragon & the beast (whoever they are and however they are manifesting at this time). Following Jesus will take patient endurance. People will be deceived, people will persecuted, people will not believe us and will stand opposed to us. God says, “Endure what comes our way because of our faith. Keep living for the Lamb. Keep bearing His name and standing for what He stands for… endure, persevere, hang in there and hang on no matter how bumpy and hard the faith journey becomes!”

Faithfulness… stay true to the Lamb and His wWord. Let the Lamb’s character become your character. Grow into the character of Jesus. Cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 6) in your life.

Patient endurance and faithfulness… two words to guide my living today!

Thank You, Lord, for these straightforward words. Never easy, but that is likely why you gave me and Your church this reminder.

Lord, help me to rely on the Spirit, Your Spirit within me, to live for You and as I do, let my life make a difference for You and Your kingdom. I pray this is Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, October 27: Revelation 12- Why are followers of Jesus persecuted and martyred? .

It seems the storyline of the Revelation has stepped back from the brink of Jesus’ return, explaining in broad strokes why believers are persecuted. God’s enemy has been defeated and hurled from the heavens. At this the dragon –Satan, the devil– was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus (17).

I sat thinking about this troubling image. Throughout history, and still quite visible to this day, Christ-followers are being required to give their lives for the sake of the Gospel and the love of Jesus. Today’s reading reminds me that though human hands may be seen persecuting Christians, it is the spellbinding sway of the dragon –Satan, the devil– that is ultimately behind those persecuting acts.

This fact does not make the atrocities against Christians any less heinous, but it reminds me that the true enemy of God’s people is the dragon –Satan, the devil– and not the human agents. This, in turn, helps me focus my anger at the dragon while at the same time encouraging me to pray for the salvation of the human perpetrators.

By the way, this is not easy. What comes all too naturally to me is to hate the human perpetrators and to think murderous thoughts against them.

Even as I wrote the final words of the sentence above, God’s command to love my enemies (Matthew 5:44) and those who persecute me, filled my thoughts. Jesus’ words about harboring anger in my heart (Matthew 5:21-26) also came me.

O God forgive me. It is so easy for me to slide into sin! And I can even do that making myself believe I am justified in doing the sin.

Following You is a most unnatural act. And yet following is what makes me truly human in the design You had for us as humans from the beginning.

Lord, help me gain victory over my sin-filled ways and the corrupted, defiled parts of me that still are in me. I fall on Your mercy and grace. Through Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.


Saturday, October 25: Revelation 11- Time plays out slowly.

I am chomping at the bit. Where is the seventh trumpet? As I turn the page to chapter 11, I anticipate that the seventh trumpet will sound. But no, it is the story of two prophets, who perform miracles like Elijah and Moses of the Old Testament (no rain and turn water to blood, respectively, plus plagues).

They testify with power, seemingly to no avail. They are martyred spectacularly by the beast and the world gloats and then they are resurrected and return to the Lord even more spectacularly. All of this over 3.5 years.

Now and only now does the end come. The seventh trumpet is blown and “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever” (15).

And the populace of heaven begins praising God saying:

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign (17).

Note Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was no longer is “He still to come,” as in Rev 4:8.

Jesus has returned, the end has come and judgment has begun!

I found myself pondering the two prophets and the delay in sounding the seventh trumpet. The sixth came two chapters ago. The seventh was announced last chapter and it finally comes halfway through today’s chapter after a 3.5 year interlude.

God’s timing is different than mine. God’s ways are different than mine.

Mine is to trust and obey.

I thought about life; God’s timing isn’t always my timing. Answers to prayer seem to delay. Problems I have prayed about continue…

What I have learned is that I am to trust and obey, and to keep living faithfully as I trust and obey God’s Word.

Lord, faithfulness is my desire; faithfulness to You and for You and to be faithful I must trust You and obey You and Your Word. Help me, Lord, to do this, to live for You even when and especially when Your timing and my timing don’t match.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Friday, October 24: Revelation 10- No more delay.

John’s Revelation grows more symbolic, but clearly is building toward God’s climax. The announcement of this chapter serves to set up the seventh trumpet. This momentary interlude heightens the suspense and emphasizes the pronouncement of the Lord God upon the blowing of the seventh trumpet, There will be no more delay! (6).

The time is coming and will come when God will set in motion the final things… judgment of sin, wrath upon those who have rejected God and lived in rebellion, and salvation of those who believe.

There will be no more delay… these words shutter in my soul. As wonderful as salvation will be for me and those who believe, it will be equally terrible for those who do not.

What, O God, is my best role to help trumpet Your name and salvation while there is still time? What, O Lord, do You need me to do before that day? What, Lord God, is my role in extending Your name to the ends of the earth?

Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening…

Through Christ, I listen and I pray. Amen.


Thursday, October 23: Revelation 9- A heavy heart.

As the trumpets sound, the intensity of the wrath of God increases. I can form no mental pictures of what is described? I cannot fathom the pain, the destruction, the devastation. God’s wrath is a horrible thing…

My heart breaks, even as my eyes fill with tears, thinking of some people near and dear to me who do not believe in God of the Scriptures. They know I believe, we’ve spoken and shared but their heart remains shut to Jesus. My heart is heavy for theirs is the fate described but they remain blinded to this. And I am sad about this.

Returning to the text the closing paragraph only piles on my heavy heart. The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts (20-21). So many will not repent of their lives lived against the Lord.

Lord, I pray for this blog that it would strengthen those who believe in You and be an invitation to any who read who do not yet believe in You.  May something I say spark a desire to know You.

Lord, I pray for my church that we live as winsomely as possible, inviting those we know and the community in which we live, to believe in You.

I pray for myself that through my life others will come to know You.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, October 22: Revelation 8- Silence.

Devotionally my attention was arrested by the utter silence at the opening of the 7th seal. When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour (1).

In the heavenly vision of Revelation, where there are few time references and no other hourly time references, the utter silence for half an hour seems emphatic.

In the constantly moving story line of Revelation the utter silence for half an hour seems emphatic!

Stunned silence…


Total amazement…

Is this what the power and majesty of God should or will engender in us… utter, expectant, silence?!

I allowed myself to sit, not for 30 minutes, but for some time in silence and ponder the majesty of our God –Father, Jesus, Spirit…

Oh, God… I mumbled in awe. Amen.



Tuesday, October 21: Revelation 7- Where is my devotion?.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” … Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (9-10, 13-14).

So many thoughts… I sit in comfort and here John sees a multitude no one could count, martyrs for the faith. It matters not to me if this great tribulation is a major event still to come or represents all the time between Jesus’ crucifixion and second coming. What hit me is that so many suffer and die for the faith and I sit in comfort. I wonder, “Lord, can I sacrifice my money for You?” I wonder, “If, Lord, so much of my free time is ‘me time’, where is my giving? Where is my dedication? Where is my devotion to the Lamb and the One who sits on the throne?” This multitude, this throng of people no one could count, gave everything!

I wonder about vacation and holiday. There are people who wonder if they will have a next meal. Where is my devotion to the Lord?

The people in the white robes and the sacrifice and devotion they showed dominated my meditations. Their reward was to be in the presence of the Lord where they were saying:

“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen! (12)”

They were delighted and blessed to be in God’s presence. Being in His presence was enough reward for them. WOW! What a thought!

Lord, I feel shallow in my faith… shallow in that it doesn’t cost me what it cost these white robed saints in the book of Revelation.

Lord, is this real or false guilt. Let me know, Lord. Let me know. Amen



Monday, October 20: Revelation 6- martyrdom continues to this day.

If the scenes in heaven haven’t been “other” worldly enough, they grow even more incredible, hard to comprehend and symbolic in today’s chapter. One thing is clear; God’s wrath is a terrible thing, while at the same time it is the longing of the heart of the martyrs who see it as the justice their deaths call for. When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been (9-11).

The verse above makes it clear that martyrdoms are not yet over… there are more to come. And it seems they will continue until God yells, ‘Stop’, which will be at the time of His justice and His judgment.

Our world seems to have gone or is going more crazy lately. And in the Middle East, particularly Iraq, Christians are bearing the brunt of ISIS’ sword. As I read this morning’s text, this should not surprise us. God’s enemy still prowls and is looking to slay those who stand for the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.

In the United States, in particular, and our world of political connectedness and voice, today’s word does not mean I (we) should stand by and do nothing. But it does mean that I should not be shocked that the hand of the evil one can work through humanity like this. The real enemy is the devil but he uses blinded and duped fellow humans to do his bidding.

Lord, I pray that the time is not long, that Your coming will be soon, that you will avenge the blood of the martyrs and judge the world and the people here in. Come, Lord Jesus. Come.



Saturday, October 18: Revelation 5- The Lion who is a Lamb Slain.

Although his name, Jesus, is never used in this chapter, the imagery is unmistakable… Lion of the tribe of Judah (5), lamb who looking as if he were slain (6)… you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God persons from tribe and language and people and nations (9). You cannot miss this as a definition of Jesus.

Jesus is now worshiped and praised as the Father on the throne in chapter 4 was worshiped and praised.

I sat with images, thoughts and meditations of Jesus bounding around my head. Jesus, my Lord and my God! Jesus, Savior of all who believe. Jesus, son of man and son of God. Alpha and Omega. Jesus…

What a marvelous way to start a day and to start the day before I will gather with my faith community and worship Jesus, the Father and the Spirit.

Praise the name of Jesus. Praise the name of Jesus. He’s my rock. He’s my deliverer. He’s my fortress. Praise the name of Jesus…

Thou art worthy. Thou art worthy to receive glory, glory and honor and power…

Jesus, name above all names…

Praising Jesus… praising Jesus…

Halleluiah, Amen.


Friday, October 17: Revelation 4- A glimpse of heaven.

There are any number of “visions and ideas” of heaven that have made the rounds. One I can trust is here in the Book of the Revelation of John. As part of the Holy Bible it is trustworthy and true. This I know.

And what I thought about as I read this chapter is that heaven’s focus in on the Lord God Almighty. Whatever else heaven will be, God will be its center and source!!!

The songs of heaven sung in this and the next couple of chapters are so telling. They are all about God and all sung to God. What I notice is that heaven is not about with whom I will be reunited  or whom I will meet or even what questions I will have answered. The focus in heaven will not be “I”, it will be on God.

The host of heaven sang:

“ ‘Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,’

who was, and is, and is to come.”

And then to God they sang:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they were created and have their being.”

When our salvation is complete and I (we) get to heaven, God will be our focus… for eternity will be in the presence of perfection, wonder, beauty, love, power, honor and glory. And I will join the heavenly chorus…

Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,’…

 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

Halleluiah, Amen!



Thursday, October 16: Revelation 3- Godly discipline.

Oh, the Church… a second dose of mixed motives and actions. It seems things haven’t changed much. These pictures of these ancient churches could be written to churches of the 21st century. Every one of us fights the same battle; the battle against sin in the world and in our lives.

Verse 19 caught my eye. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. It reminds me of Hebrews 12.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:4-11).

Godly discipline is for our good. It is for our growth. It is for our maturity… It is not pleasant, but it is growth producing. John 15:1-2: I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Embrace God’s discipline when it comes, I (you/we) obviously need it. That’s God’s Word to me today.

Lord, I pray that I can avoid Your discipline by living correctly and humbly in Your eyes. But when I need it, please send Your discipline that I might be Your son and grow up to honor and emulate You. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, October 15: Revelation 2- Oh Church.

Oh, Church, we are such a mixed bag, much good and much that doesn’t live up to the name of our Father or Savior. ‘Yet’ and ‘nevertheless’ are words we don’t want to hear. I praise you yet… You have stood... nevertheless I hold this against you…

Like the churches to which John writes, we –the Church today– are mixed bags. Parts of our lives are faithful and strong. Other parts are not…

I began thinking about some of my nevertheless-es… I have much to work on and much in my life that still needs sanctification.

Lord, help me. I wonder if I would listen if You wrote me a direct letter like these. And yet, each day I sit and listen for You to speak from Your Word and Spirit.

I pray, Lord, that I am growing and maturing in You… Amen.


Tuesday, October 14: Revelation 1- Pictures of Jesus.

Revelation opens with pictures of Jesus, different and symbolic. I found myself drawn to them.

Verse 5: and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. …

Verse 8: I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.

Verses 12-16: I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 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. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 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.

Verses 17-18:  Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 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.

After typing these I thought, no one picture, image, or sentence can describe Jesus. Who He is, is beyond our full comprehension!

Faithful witness, Ruler of the kings of the earth, Alpha and Omega, Him Who was, is, is to come, the Almighty.

And so the descriptors tumbled…

One like the son of man, with all the symbolism of 12-16, the First and Last, Living One, once dead & now alive forever and ever, holder of the keys of death and Hades.

More than I can handle, One who is beyond me. Almighty…

I found myself reading and rereading, thinking and pondering.  I was praising and worshipping Jesus, my Lord and my God…

All hail the power of Jesus name let angels (and me) prostrate fall…

Crown Him with many crowns the Lamb upon His throne…

Praise the name of Jesus, praise the name of Jesus…

All glorious and powerful the only wise God…



Monday, October 13: 3John 1- Wrestling with media.

I had two pauses as I was reading 3John. The first came early, verse 4: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. The parent in me shouted, ‘AMEN!’ I love watching my children grow into responsible adults. It gives me joy when I observe them making a difference where they work. But there is no joy that comes even close to the joy I experience watching their faith in Jesus grow stronger. And there is no sadness deeper than watching when they don’t. I place them into the Lord’s hands and trust…

My second pause came with verse 11: Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. So simple and so true.

Do not imitate what is evil. I first wrestled with the word ‘evil’. Is that evil, as in vile and heinous, or is it that which is not good and wholesome? The more I think about it, the more the latter becomes the better definition.  Biblically behaviors that are good are ‘God-honoring’ and ‘God-pleasing’ so that which is evil is God-dishonoring and displeasing to God.

The next thought I had is that so much of what is on TV these days is God-displeasing… most TV programing portrays as normal lifestyles that are not lived as God would have His children live. This hit me:  Are we the proverbial frog in the water?  If the water is heated slowly enough the frog will cook to death! Yesterday I cleaned my pool skimmer…..a record 10 dead frogs. The chlorine level is perfect for keeping the pool clean but is not good for frogs. And when they stay in it too, long it kills them. In fact all the while they are swimming and having a great time in my pool it is poisoning them.

Is TV poisoning me?

I didn’t expect verse 11 to take me here as I first began meditating…

Lord, are You asking me to change my viewing habits?



Saturday, October 11: 2John- Love & Truth.

Love and truth leap off the page at me this morning.

Love… the way we are to act toward one another. John then defines love as ‘obedience to the Father’s commands (6), which is that we ‘walk in love’ (6)'.’

This seems to reiterate what God said yesterday… love = obedience to the Father’s commands.

But now truth bursts on to the page. Truth is known in Jesus. Jesus presented by the teachings of Scripture. Scripture becomes our defining source of truth. Don’t run ahead of the truth of Scripture John writes because when we do we loose our connection to the Son and Father (9).

Truth… objective, life defining, truth found in Scripture tells us who Jesus is.

Love… obeying the Father’s commands found in Scripture defines how we are to live!

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love (3).

Oh, God, keep me grounded in truth, Your truth, the truth found in Scripture. Keep me in the Word. Give me devotional moments and teaching moments… words and encouragement for me as well as understanding of Your will, way and Word, that I might know Your Word is right.

And, Lord, fill my heart with Love… love for the brethren, love for the saints, love for the world, love for the lost, love for my enemies…

Through Jesus, Who came in love, bringing grace and truth. Amen.


Friday, October 10: 1John 5- Love for God.

My eyes latched on to the simplicity of John’s description for love. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands (1-3a).

What is love for God? What is faith in Jesus? Loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands

This is where I spent my thought time and meditations today… Love for God = keeping His commands. And so I pondered God’s commands, from the 10 commandments to loving brothers to sisters to loving my enemies. And then I asked myself, “How am I doing keeping these commands?”

How are you doing keeping God’s commands?

Lord, I am a very mixed bag when it comes to keeping Your commands. Forgive me where I sin. Oh, I need Your forgiveness. Strengthen me where I am weak and fall sometimes. Grace me where I am strong, that pride won’t go to my head. I surrender my life to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.


Thursday, October 9: 1John 4- Just how important is LOVE?.

Do we really have to love one another? According to the Lord, YES, absolutely!

John hammers this home in this chapter. Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (7-16).

Did you hear what John said? Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. That’s how important love is. It is the indicator of our relationship with the Father!!!

And Love is verb. Notice how he describes it. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (9-10). Jesus loved through sacrifice. Love is a verb, an action… love is what we DO.

At this point, the voice of God chimed in, “Bill, how is your loving going?” And then He started pointing out some holes in my loving of the brothers and sisters.

How is your loving of the brethren going?

Think about it…

Lord, help me to love others as You have loved me!!! In Your name, I pray. Amen.



Wednesday, October 8: 1John 3- Big Picture.

Big picture wise, John hammers the ‘do not sin card’ pretty strongly throughout this entire chapter. Verse 6 seems to be John’s thesis sentence: No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

I think it is fair to say from prior chapters John is not writing in absolute terms, i.e., that one sin and you are done, out, of the Devil. I say this because forgiveness is available in Jesus, the Righteous One (1John 1:9, 2:1-2). So John must be referring to some kind of willful, continuing sin. And one aspect that he highlights is love for brothers and sisters (10-15, 18).

At this point in my time, listening to the text shifted to meditations on the text.

Was God calling me to consider the manner in which I treat other brothers and sisters in Christ? Yes, that is what resonated throughout my heart.

How do I speak about other believers?

What attitudes do I harbor about other brothers and sisters in Christ, especially brothers or sisters with whom I disagree?

How do I treat brothers and sisters in Christ? Do I help those in need? Do I pray for them? Do I give my life for them as Jesus gave His life for us? Jesus is, after all, our perfect example of love and service. And John readily calls us to live after the example of Jesus. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (16-18).

How I treat others, particularly my fellow Christ followers… this is the part of my life that God would have me examine today.

I invite you to join me in this…

Jesus, my eyes can be so closed to others. I can go through life thinking mostly about me.  Forgive me, Lord, and help me to have eyes for others, particularly my sister and brothers in You. Amen.


Tuesday, October 7: 1John 2- Balance.

This chapter is dense with teaching about the faith. John packs a great deal into a short chapter. The morning question for me about where to meditate came quickly. I found the balance presented in the opening 2 verses to be my meditation nugget for today.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

I found myself drawn in by the opening 3 words. My dear children… John, by now an old man, writes from a posture of love, care and fatherly wisdom. It is as if grandpa is reaching out to his entire family and giving some sound godly advice. No edge, no critical spirit, just honest concern for his family.

After setting his rapport, he puts a primary goal for Christians right there for us to hear. I write this to you so that you will not sin. Don’t sin. Make it your life goal to live sinlessly. Strive to be good and godly. Take what God has revealed seriously and live God’s way. Put your heart in to it. To use sport phraseology, Give 110% to living without sin.

BUT, and in this case BUT is a grace-filled word for us. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. But when you mess up, when your heart gives out, when you don’t give 110%, God has your back. Jesus came and died on the cross for just those times when you screw up.

The balance in these words gives me perspective. Be good, be as good and godly as you can be but when your efforts aren’t good enough God covers you with Jesus’ blood of the atonement. 

Sometimes I, and others, are tempted to say it doesn’t matter because God will forgive me anyway! This simply does not square with John’s words I write this to you so that you will not sin. On the other hand some people make others feel horrible for sinning. John will have none of that either. If anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 

Balance… don’t tip too far in either direction. Both sides are out of bounds. Stay in the center of striving to live sinlessly and grace in times of failure…

I feel God’s invitation to meditated on this Balance today!

Gracious God, Father, Daddy, thank You for this world. Balance. Balance the longing, desire and effort to live well and live a godly life with grace in failure to do so.

Reveal to me where I might be out of balance in this area, I pray, so that I might regain the correct balance You long for me and all Your children. In the name of Jesus, the Righteous One, I pray. Amen.


Monday, October 6: 1John 1- Hearing, seeing, experiencing, obeying.

Four words came to mind as I read and re-read this chapter: hearing, seeing, experiencing, and living.

It opens with John declaring that he has heard and seen God’s Son, Jesus Christ. But John goes far beyond simply hearing and seeing.  A fuller, richer word to explain his opening might be that John shares what he experienced. And he invites us, his readers, to experience Jesus, too. Listen to all the verbs he uses:  heard, seen, looked at, and touched. All that in one single verse, verse 1.

All this he proclaims so that we may experience Jesus, too. We experience Him in the fellowship we have with John and with the Father and Son. And when we experience Jesus, John enjoys joy!

But John doesn’t end with experience. Living in the light of Jesus shines truth into our lives and truly experiencing Jesus leads us to live out this truth. And the truth drives us to honesty about how we are living. We recognize our failures and sin and confess them. We lie to ourselves if we do not face up to our sin.

Hearing, seeing, experiencing, and living out… a powerful formula for faith filled living.

How can I live out what I have heard, seen and experienced in Jesus today?

Lord, as I experience You today, direct me in ways I can live out what You are showing me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.



Saturday, October 4: Esther 10- What's my legacy?.

Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews (3).

If we are still breathing then the full account of our lives cannot be written. This aside, if an account had to be given today, what would be said of my life or yours?

Mordecai is the unassuming hero of this book. He raises Esther after her parents die. He didn’t sign up to be a parent, yet he accepted the role when it was thrust upon him. And as near as we can tell he did it as a single dad. That’s responsibility!

He spoke up when he could have been silent and looked the other way and no one would ever have known. That’s integrity!

He advised Esther and then later in his life the king as well. That’s wisdom.

From the sounds of chapter 10 he discharged his duties well for a number of years after he rose to prominence. That’s consistency.

The whisper of God came, “What can be said of the legacy you are building, Bill.”

Am I (are you) responsible with the duties and challenges of life that come my (your) way?

Am I a person of integrity in the big things as well as the small things? Are you?

Does the flow and pattern of my life speak to consistency in all areas of my life? How about you?

These are the devotional God-questions that surfaced as I read this brief chapter…

Lord, am I living well and living for You? This is the over riding question of my morning. Your answer is the one that truly matters.

Speak, Lord, your servant is listening… Amen.


Friday, October 3: Esther 9- Am I complicit?.

This chapter drives to the Jews victory over their enemies. God has protected His people. God placed key people in certain positions for just such a time as this. In my spirit I hear, for those who follow Jesus our ultimate victory is secure. This truth, of course, is the principle teaching elsewhere in Scripture and is not built on the account of Esther.

Even as I was noting the above, my heart was drawn with sadness to the king’s response in the middle of the chapter. The king said to Queen Esther, "The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted." 

"If it pleases the king," Esther answered, "give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day's edict tomorrow also, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged on gallows." So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they hanged the ten sons of Haman. The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder. Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king's provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder.  (12-16).

75,000 people killed and the king doesn’t even bat an eye. I couldn’t get this thought out of my head. How little value human life has for some people. We see it in atrocities throughout our world. And contrary to what I would like to believe, “Christians” perpetrate this kind of violence as well as people of other religions. Religious, racial, ethnic, economic… all these forces seem to drive our human atrocity machine.

How sad this must make the Lord. We are all created in God’s image and yet, too often, life is treated with disrespect.

As I mused on this, God turned things so that I would look inward. Do I harbor religion-ism, racism, ethnocentrism, economic-ism… (I know some of these words self-concocted). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus took some of the commandments and said it was not only the overt action but also the heart-action that breaks God’s laws. Lust is as sinful as adultery. Angry name calling is as sinful as murder.  Do I commit religious, racial, ethnic or economic atrocities in my mind and heart and so break God’s heart???

Do I look the other way when I see real atrocities or life devaluing actions by individuals or systems? This, too, breaks God’s heart.

Lord, I know that my meditations have drifted far afield of Esther but Your Spirit is gnawing into me. Where have I been silent when I should have spoken? Where am I silent that I should speak?

Oh, Lord, forgive me. Show me…

Through Jesus’ name and for Your glory, I pray. Amen    


Thursday, October 2: Esther 8- A move of God.

I was attracted to the final sentence of the chapter. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them (17b).

It hit me… a move of God will bring people into connection and relationship with God Himself. A move of God will bring people to repentance and recognition that the Lord God is in fact the Lord God Almighty, the one and only God of the universe! A move of God will bring people to the Lord by faith!

I think this is the first time I really saw this sentence. So often I focus on how God saved His people, which He did. But God did so much more. God used the situation to proclaim His name so that others would see Him and put their faith in Him!

God wants people from every tongue and nation and tribe and language to worship Him and this entire incident brought that closer to its completion. Persians and people of the vast Persian Empire came face to face with the Lord and some put their trust in Him.

Amen. Alleluia!

Lord, I pray for a move of God in my town. A move where You do something for Your people or with Your people or through Your people that results in MANY more people becoming Your people. Lord, use my church, use my neighbors’ churches, use every church to birth Your move of God to bring people to You.

Advance Your kingdom, Oh, Lord my God…

I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Wednesday, October 1: Esther 7- .

In Esther’s drama, the first wave of judgment is set upon Haman, the enemy of God’s people.

I wish that this was universally true, but it isn’t. As I write. evil is still being perpetrated on God’s people around the world. In Iraq ISIS is targeting Christians with the Arabic letter N, causing them to flee, pay an extortion fee, convert or be killed. Likely the most harsh, severe and open persecution today, this is only one such case worldwide.

Will God not fight for us as He did for His people in Esther’s day? I cannot answer that question and others which come to mind. I do know that whether in this world or the next God will punish those who do not serve and love Him.

Haman’s judgment and death is a reminder to me that God has the last word. Between now and then I am called to live as Esther and Mordecai did, faithfully exposing evil and working for good all the days the Lord gives me. And as I live this way, God will place me in places and positions were I can glorify God and tell others about the relationship I have with Him explaining what the difference serving and loving the Lord has made in my life.

I follow Jesus, the Nazarene.  I stand with all who do and I pray that my life makes a difference for good and for God in this world.

Lord, I pray for persecuted brothers and sisters World Wide. For those in the Middle East. For those in Africa, Asia and around the world. Hear my prayers for them.  Lord, give me practical ways to stand with them and call the world to stop the holocausts and persecutions. In the name of Jesus, the Nazarene I pray. Amen.