Often life is hard, but God is always good

Posts tagged ‘Revelation’

A Look Back: Seeing the Past Through God’s Eyes

Photo Credit: Noemi F Creative Commons flickr.com

Photo Credit: Noemi F
Creative Commons flickr.com

“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.  For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.'”  Revelation 12: 10 (NIV)

I stood on the ornate paving stones, looking around at the brick buildings and the decorative trees. The autumn air was cool and fragrant with those pleasing scents of fallen leaves. My college looked well cared for after 31 years.   The chapel bells began to peel, and the evening hymn rolled out across the deserted campus.

Taking my college bound daughter to check out my alma mater included a walk down my own memory lane. I didn’t expect so many flashbacks – from all my years of life from 18 to 53, but they came fast and furiously. And so many were filled with actions and attitudes that I deeply regretted.

And yet, they didn’t sting. I realized, as I walked the college campus, that I have faced my crimes, my faults, and the harm I did to others. My Christian faith includes confession. My God offers forgiveness, and I take it with humility: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9  (NIV)

Amazingly, joy is the result, because now I can face my past, seeing it with courageous, clear eyes and knowing that God not only forgives, but also puts it right.

But, Beware! “The accuser of the brothers” doesn’t like us making peace with our pasts. Satan blames us and wants to bring up the wrong and keep us accusing ourselves and living with our heavy burdens.  He gnashes his teeth at our free gift of being set free from the charges against us and will do anything to try to strip it away, even after we have received it.

We have the choice to hear the voice of our Shepherd:

“The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:3-5 (NIV)

If it is necessary to re-visit our past, let’s do it armed with the truth and with humility and with steady faith in our forgiving God who gave us complete acquittal through Jesus Christ.

Does God Still Speak?

Photo Credit: Jo Naylor

Photo Credit: Jo Naylor

In my quest to read through the Bible, I found a key that is helping me achieve this goal: read twelve minutes a day, every day.  Until now, my efforts eventually bogged down with detailed lists of Bible chapters to read on certain dates.  My start date habitually was January 1 – a New Year’s resolution – which petered out as I gradually fell behind.

This time I bought a One Year Chronological Bible and just started at the beginning on the date the inspiration kicked in (this past September).  A visiting preacher to our church said the average reader can finish the Bible cover to cover in one year if he or she reads daily for twelve minutes.  So unfettered by complexity, I am reading through the Bible and giving myself plenty of grace when I miss a day or so along the way.  I just grab the Book and find the bookmark and off I go!

Unexpected joy rebounds in this dutiful spiritual discipline.  God is speaking to me and to my specific circumstances through the planned readings.  I don’t have to close my eyes and let the Bible fall open to a certain page to receive revealed truths for my heart and soul.  I don’t have to search the topic for which I need answers in the index.

At the halfway point – actually in Proverbs, I bogged down because my little brain couldn’t absorb more than a chapter at a sitting.  Freedom means I can slow down and soak in, too.  No hurry! I just get a big kick out of seeing the bookmark move slowly and surely to the end of the Book of Books!

On the morning before I was slated to speak to one of the largest gatherings I have ever faced, “Don’t be afraid” popped up in a very unlikely place. It’s embedded in the story of King David passing on the work of royal leadership to his son, Solomon.  I Chronicles 22: 13:  “… Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or discouraged.”

I think the Lord is saying: “You read and I will reveal!”

http://www.tyndale.com/The-One-Year-Chronological-Bible-NIV/9781414359922#.UfqCgxbntUQ

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