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

my new heart gave me a new perspective

The people who survived these plagues still did not turn to me ... [Revelation 9:20 GW]

Trials, troubles and suffering are an odd phenomenon. For some they cause a turning to God. For others they have the opposite effect. I can relate to both. Here is a bit of my story.

I was 22 and newly married when my young wife went blind. She was blind for over three years. Though I was raised in the church, I really do not ever remember turning to God in prayer. Instead I turned to booze. It helped to numb the pain and the disappointment of Ellen's blindness.

Three years later God came into Ellen's life and healed one of her eyes. Our lives began to dramatically change with the return of her eyesight. My life changed the following year as I submitted my life to Jesus. As I turned to God I began to get a new perspective on past pains.

Fast forward fourteen years. Ellen had heart and kidney failure that took her life four years later. During that time, and in the years since, I have found it so helpful to turn to God. To release my pain to him. To cast my cares towards him in prayer. My new heart gave me a new perspective.

Open the eyes of our hearts Lord that we might turn to you when things go wrong.

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

the importance of prayer

The smoke from the incense went up from the angel’s hand to God along with the prayers of God’s people. The angel took the incense burner, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it on the earth. Then there was thunder, noise, lightning, and an earthquake. [Revelation 8:4-5 GW]

Isn't it interesting to see how activities in heaven affect things on earth. It reminds me that God is always working. I think that the noisy thunder and earthquakes indicates that sometimes God's workings are more obvious than other times. Sometimes visible and other times invisible.

Also noteworthy is the effect that our prayers have on these things. As I said in my previous post, our prayers are factored into God's decisions. It is why prayer is it is important to involve God and invite him to act. In some sense, generally speaking, God only acts if he is asked to intervene.

Help us Lord to believe that our prayers matter.

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

more than incense

Another angel came and stood before the altar. He was holding a golden censer, and he was given a large quantity of incense so that he could offer it, along with the prayers of all God’s holy people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. [Revelation 8:3 NTE]

The symbolism is rich in this verse. In ancient times the Jews offered fragrant incense twice daily in the tabernacle. In the psalms David likened his prayers to incense rising to God. There is something about prayer that is like incense rising and filling a room with a sweet fragrance.

In Exodus incense is likened to perfume. I love that imagery. In prayer we create a beautiful scent that sweetens a noxious situation. As our prayers arise they create a divine atmosphere of hope. Despair is turned inside out and vision is imparted. Prayer can change the bouquet of life's trials.

Yet this verse indicates that prayer is much more than incense. More than just a sweet heavenly aroma. Prayers appear before the throne - the place of divine rule. It encourages me that our prayers are factored into God's decisions. It motivates me offer prayers of intercession.

Let our prayers be a fragrant incense to you Lord. Help us to know how to intercede.

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

the praise filled heart

Responding out of a heart filled with praise, they congregate before the throne of God and constantly worship Him day and night in His temple. The One seated on the throne will always live among them. ... He will lead them to the water of life. [Revelation 7:15,17 VOICE]

I love this beautiful image of heaven. It speaks to me of eternal life and a heart that knows God. Such a heart senses the presence of God. The praise filled heart is watered by life giving springs.

Jesus said that believers will have this experience. Springs of life will flow from the deepest parts of their heart. In reality, the giving of praise opens our heart to God's refreshing springs.

I can so relate. I know that praise can break the chains that bind me. When life is heavy I want to respond with praise. Join with me. With heaven. And sing a song of praise to our God.

You are worthy Lord. You are worthy. I praise You. I praise You. Be glorified in me.

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

welcome to heaven

These are coming from the time of great suffering and affliction. ... They will never be hungry or thirsty again. ... God will dry every tear from their eyes. [Revelation 7:14,16,17 VOICE]

Multitudes surround the throne of God. Those who have been suffering are now worshipping. Their tears are being dried. This is the destiny of all who persevere in faith. Welcome to heaven.

I persevere because of heaven. I continue to hope for that day when times of suffering and affliction are no more. Heaven is one of the most real things in my life. I live for that beautiful day.

Yet while I wait, I get glimpses of what that day will be like. I see people comforting people in pain. Tears being dried. Hunger and thirst being subdued. Heaven comes to earth as we love.

Help each of Lord to bring a bit of heaven to earth today.

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