the disappearing dimension

I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. ... I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: “Now God's home is with people! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them. [Revelation 21:1,3 GNT]

Revelation is filled with imagery that indicates a desire to make God in our own image. I think that this is normal. Really. Who can understand, back then or now, what it means for God to live among us. When John writes that God's home is with us, he is really saying that our home is with God.

It is a subtle shift of language but an important one. When we each pass from this earthly dimension we will begin to experience one that is so different. Time will not exist. Neither will darkness. We will have no need to sleep. And God will be with each of us in a very different way.

For the believer, this truth is a revelation of hope fulfilled. A dimension of pain and poverty will disappear. It will give way to a dimension of majestic beauty and outrageous love. Words and language do not exist to describe such a place. Yet such a dimension exists in each of our hearts.

Dear Lord. In hard times help me to remember the place that you are preparing for me.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation

the book of life

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. [Revelation 13:8 NIV]

I once heard the phrase: 'you are what you worship'. I think that is true. In a sense worship is all about life priorities. You spend your time, money and energies doing the things that are most important to you. Jesus put it this way: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth ... store up for yourselves treasures in heaven ... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

When one is born from above they receive a new heart filled with new priorities. Pleasing God becomes central in their lives. Love becomes their modus operandi. The focus of their lives becomes storing up heavenly treasure instead of the earthly variety. They have a new life reflective of being in the Lamb’s book of life. A new life filled with worshiping God and making his work their priority.

Awaken our hearts Lord that we might become more like you today.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation

the silence of the damned

Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Anointed One have come. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who relentlessly accuses them day and night before our God, has been cast down and silenced. [Revelation 12:10 VOICE]

We live in a culture of guilt and shame. So many accusers believing the worst about us. Spewing hatred and lies they tempt us to join them in accusing. These who elevate themselves by accusing others seem to be children of the one who is damned. These keep others down when they fall.

This verse tells us that such ones will be silenced when salvation comes. Transformed brothers and sisters no longer shame and accuse. Those who have been born from above will silence accusations with encouraging and affirming words. Such is the way of the kingdom of our God.

Fill us with love Lord. That we might silence those who accuse our brothers and sisters.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation

revelation as a satirical poem

The dragon became angry ... and went away to do battle against ... the ones who keep God’s commandments and hold on to the testimony about Jesus. [Revelation 12:17 ISV]

I recently read about a different way to read the book of Revelation. The view sees it as a satirical poem targeted at those who worshipped Domitian, the Roman emperor from 81 to 96. John's apocalyptic story seems to track with some of the events of Domitian's reign. The emperor regularly began his speeches commending his followers for what they were doing right and rebuking for what they did wrong. He demanded his subjects to worshipfully chant 'you are lord' in his presence. John's writing seem to be a direct mockery, rebuttal and condemnation of Domitian's reign and claim of being a god.

Yet Revelation is much more than satire. In it Jesus is revealed as King of kings and Lord of lords. Rulers like Domitian, and their claims of divinity, are put in perspective. John writes to us of a King that subverts the plans of despots and tyrants. A Lord who considers the cries and prayers of people who suffer at the hands of malevolent dictators. John tells us of a time when all will be made right and divine justice will prevail. The book of Revelation speaks to the worst and best of humanity. Of people who bow down to oppressors. And ones who do not bow when faced with death.

I find John's story to be a fitting and beautiful end to, and summation of, the bible.

Help us Lord to keep your commandments and hold fast to our testimony about Jesus.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation

they did not love their lives

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even in the face of death. [Revelation 12:11 TLV]

I love how this verse likens the way that the saints overcame to the way that Jesus overcame. It reminds me of the time when Jesus taught his disciples that to be his followers they must deny what they want and do what God wants. To find your life you must first lose it. It is a kingdom principle.

The word testimony speaks to me about the power of our words when they are validated by our actions. In reality people testify to what they actually know by experience. If they know a loving God they will, most likely, be a loving person. If their image of God is not loving then they may not love.

Yet sometimes our new hearts are simply not strong enough to testify to the love of God. Those times help us to realize the importance of nourishing, exercising and strengthening our hearts. That we might overcome our earthly desires and our love of earthly things. To lose that we might gain.

Thank you Lord for the example that you have given us. May our lives testify to that example.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation

the kingdom of the heart

The seventh Angel trumpeted. A crescendo of voices in Heaven sang out, The kingdom of the world is now the Kingdom of our God and his Messiah! He will rule forever and ever! [Revelation 11:15 MSG]

This verse speaks to me of two kingdoms at odds with each other. One is ruled by earthly flesh and one by heavenly spirit. My heart groans for the day when this worldly kingdom is engulfed by the divine kingdom. I join my voice with those in heaven as I patiently wait for that day.

Until that day I believe that we can, day by day, usher in the reign of God. One heart at a time. One action at a time. One prayer at a time. In reality, for those who have been born from above, the divine kingdom has already come. These have hearts that are a part of the heavenly kingdom.

Help us Lord to, with our hearts, live out your kingdom.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation

the prophetic heart

The seven thunders told me, “Again you must speak what God has revealed in front of many people, nations, languages, and kings.” [Revelation 10:11 NOG]

Spiritually speaking, I grew up in an atmosphere of charismatic prophetic revelation. Many people, including myself, spoke prophetic words at church. In retrospect it was a surreal experience. I have mixed feelings about those days. The words that I spoke were sometimes divinely inspired.

These days I think that prophecy is probably best expressed in the context everyday life. The verse indicates that we should "speak what God has revealed" to us. I love that! God has revealed many things to us. In our conversations with friends we can share those revelations with them.

In reality, prophecy is not something that is revealed to our brain but to our new heart. Our new, born again, heart is prophetic. When we speak from the new heart we are communicating prophetically. So the issue for us becomes disciplining ourselves to speak from our prophetic heart.

Help me Lord to nourish and exercise my heart that it will become strong.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Revelation