Category Archives: Chapter-a-Day

Chapter-a-Day Revelation 6

When he ripped off the fifth seal, I saw the souls of those killed because they had held firm in their witness to the Word of God. They were gathered under the Altar, and cried out in loud prayers, "How long, Strong God, Holy and True? How long before you step in and avenge our murders?" Then each martyr was given a white robe and told to sit back and wait until the full number of martyrs was filled from among their servant companions and friends in the faith. Revelation 6:9-11 (TM)

I read an interesting op-ed piece the other week in which the writer justified his atheism by claiming God was silent during the Holocaust. I find it interesting that we often want God to make everything perfect. When something horrific happens, God is either blamed for not preventing it or dismissed as not being present. We don’t want to acknowledge the existence of evil, the constancy of war between good and evil, nor the fact that suffering has a purpose (Romans 5:3-5, I Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-3).

Today’s verse reveals two important facts. First, there is an eternal plan in place and those who have suffered and been martyred for the faith are a part of that eternal plan – though we may not fully understand it. Second, in taking that eternal perspective we come to understand that "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV) This world is not our home. We’re just passing through.

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Chapter-a-Day Revelation 5

There was no one—no one in Heaven, no one on earth, no one from the underworld—able to break open the scroll and read it. I wept and wept and wept that no one was found able to open the scroll, able to read it. One of the Elders said, "Don’t weep. Look—the Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David’s Tree, has conquered. He can open the scroll, can rip through the seven seals. Revelation 5:3-5 (TM) 

We have a lot of great discussions in our house about movies, books, music and drama. One of the things that Wendy constantly reminds me is that all great stories are rooted in the Great Story (which she will usually follow with a reminder that "all truth is God’s truth"!). That’s why it hit me this morning – the impossible task that no one could accomplish but the one who was chosen. Sound like King Arthur and the sword in the stone? Frodo and the Great Ring? They are but off-spring of the Lamb who can break the seals.

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Chapter-a-Day Revelation 4

WorshipI was caught up at once in deep worship and, oh!—a Throne set in Heaven with One Seated on the Throne, suffused in gem hues of amber and flame with a nimbus of emerald. Revelation 4:2 (TM)

I wonder how long John sat in exile on Patmos before the vision came. What preceded getting "caught up at once in deep worship"? Was it a prelude, announcements, and a hymn? I doubt it. I tend to believe that the liturgy and worship order of most church services don’t lend themselves to "deep worship." Deep worship happens when people take time to focus, to meditate, and to empty their spirits before God. I wish I was so spiritual I could say that it happens to me often. Heck, I wish I could say that it had happened to me more than a handful of times, and certainly not anything like John. But when it happens, you know. It’s transforming. I wish our church sought after deep worship more than they did the lunch buffet at Pizza Ranch.

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Chapter-a-Day Revelation 3

Dinnerparty Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Revelation 3:20 (TM)

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to love nothing better than a wonderful meal with wonderful people. I look forward to siting down with good food, good drink, laughter, and thoughtful conversation among loved ones. That’s just what Jesus wants according to today’s verse. He doesn’t want a passing conversation, no "hey, how ya doin’?" without care for the answer. Jesus wants to sit down with us and talk, laugh, dialogue, fellowship. He wants to know and be known in the truest sense of fellowship. Reading that today, I asked myself if I’ve invited the Master to dinner lately.

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Chapter-a-Day Hebrews 13

HideSo let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This "insider world" is not our home. Hebrews 13:13-14 (TM)

I read this verse this morning and heard the words of Madison as she told us she was being called to the mission field this summer – "to the front lines." Good for her. It amazes me how the Body often creates this insulated sub-culture inside the walls of the church. It’s our own "insider world" where we act as if we are privileged to be in here hoarding the Truth.

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Chapter-a-Day Hebrews 13

HideSo let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This "insider world" is not our home. Hebrews 13:13-14 (TM)

I read this verse this morning and heard the words of Madison as she told us she was being called to the mission field this summer – "to the front lines." Good for her. It amazes me how the Body often creates this insulated sub-culture inside the walls of the church. It’s our own "insider world" where we act as if we are privileged to be in here hoarding the Truth.

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Chapter-a-Day Hebrews 12

JunkfoodWatch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears. Hebrews 12:16-17 (TM)

Sometimes I’m discouraged at how our culture, and me as a part of it, are so distracted by short-term appetites. We are so absorbed by spiritual junk food that clogs the Body’s arteries and does nothing to satisfy our hearts.

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Flickr photo courtesy of awrose