Genesis 1-2

Highlight:

Genesis 2:1–3 (ESV) 

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. 

Explain:

The Sabbath predates the law (as does the tithe, by the way). In both instances, I believe we are shown stewardship and promised blessing. In the case of the Sabbath, you have the stewardship and blessing of time; in the case of tithing, you have the stewardship and blessing of money. Here are some things you see about the Sabbath in this passage:

  1. It is the celebration of completed work. God finished His work and celebrates what has happened with rest. 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.
  2. It is the receipt of promised blessing. So God blessed the seventh day. God uniquely blesses the Sabbath day and, I believe, blesses those who observe it’s proper meaning.
  3. It is the opportunity for refreshing diversion. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy.
  4. It is the example of needed rest. Because on it God rested . . .

Apply:

Everyone should keep a Sabbath because of:

  1. It celebrates our work.
  2. It blesses our lives.
  3. It refreshes our spirits.
  4. It rests our bodies.

Respond:I will share this with the staff.

Revelation 22

Highlight:

Revelation 22:17 (NLT) 

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. 

Explain:

Revelation 22: 1-5 John sees, now, a vision of a river of life running through the New Jerusalem. The tree of life is there (from which man was banned in the beginning) which bears monthly fruit, twelve different kinds. The leaves heal the nations. There is no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb are there providing light for the city so no lamps nor the sun is needed. The servants will serve Him with His name written on their foreheads and they will reign there forever. 6-11: The angel tells John that all he has seen is true and that Jesus is coming quickly. Those keeping the words of this book will be blessed. The angel forbids John to worship him, but to worship God. The time for these things to happen is soon, so people will be caught up in this in their present condition, unable to have time to change. 12-17 Jesus issues a warning that He is coming soon and His reward is with them. Those who are obedient will eat of the tree of life, but dogs, sorcerers, the sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters and liars will not come in. He ends with an identification and an invitation. Jesus identifies Himself as the offspring of David, the bright and morning star. He invites all who will to come and drink of the water of life freely. 18- Next we are warned: If you add anything to this book, the plagues will be added to you; if you take anything from this book, the tree of life, the holy city and all the other benefits mentioned in this book will be removed from you. Jesus next tells us that He is coming quickly and John echoes, “Even so, Lord Jesus, Come!”

Apply:

There is a connection between this verse, it seems, and the reference to the living water symbolically pictured as the river of life. While there may, indeed, be an actual river like this in heaven, there is a connection between this water and the Holy Spirit, so it may be symbolic. The verse then is an invitation to all to come and drink freely of the Holy Spirit so that you, indeed, do receive life that will never end.

Respond:

God, give me an intense desire to drink deeply of the water of life the Holy Spirit is and the Holy Spirit gives.

Revelation 21

Highlight:

Revelation 21:1–4 (NLT) 

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” 

Explain:

Revelation 21: 1-8: A new heaven and earth replaces the old and the sea is no more. The new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven “like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” A shout from the throne says that God will live among His people, wipe every tear from their eyes and end all death, sorrow, crying, and pain. God says that He is making everything new and that He will give freely from the springs of the water of life. He will be their God and they will be His children. 9-27: John is invited by one of the angels to look at the Bride of Christ. He views the new Jerusalem with twelve gates, three facing each direction. On each gate is written the twelve tribes of Israel. On each of the foundation stones were written the names of the twelve apostles. The angel measures the city and it is a 1400 mile square. The walls are 216 feet thick. The wall is built on foundation precious stones, jasper, sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, amethyst. Each gate is a single pearl. And the streets are clear gold. There is no temple because the Father and the Lamb are its temple. There is no sun or moon because God’s glory illuminates the city. The gates are always opened and there is no night. All the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, only those whose names are in the Book of Life will come in.

John sees the Bride of Christ coming down out of heaven arrayed as a bride on her wedding day. A woman never looks more beautiful than she does at that moment. We will never be more holy, perfect, nor glorious than we will be at that moment when we come to be forever joined to our Lord. Earthly marriage can’t compare to what that will be, but the joy, intimacy, surrender, and worship we experience will be unimaginable. Surely we must be re-created because our capacity for joy and grace will be expanded infinitely just to be able to take in that moment. 

Apply:

This must become something I focus on and look forward to so that my life is impacted and any “sacrifices” I make have the right context.

Respond:

I will focus on this today.

Revelation 20

Highlight:

Revelation 20:7–10 (NKJV) 

7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 

Explain:

Revelation 20: 1-10: An angel binds Satan and throws him into the bottomless pit for 1000 years, after which he must be released a little while. All the redeemed who had refused the mark of the beast all came to life again and reigned with Christ 1000 years. For these, the second death holds no power. After the 1000 years, Satan is released and deceives the nations into surrounding God’s people, but fire from heaven consumes them and the devil, the beast and the false prophet are thrown into hell. 11- Then John sees a great white throne and God sitting on it. The dead stand before God and the books, including the Book of Life, are opened. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in those books. Anyone whose name was not recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Vv7-10 speaks of the last release, then the final defeat of the devil. I long to see his ultimate defeat and the ultimate victory of God over him. 

Apply:

When you read this, you may wonder why God allows Satan to tempt, deceive and seek to defeat us. It must not be seen as a bad thing but as a positive thing. God uses Satan to glorify Himself and to bring us the opportunity to partner with Him in the devil’s defeat. As we serve Him and win the victory, we also receive joy because God is glorified, and we are most satisfied in Him when He is most glorified in us. So, far from being some superfluous drama that makes no sense, Revelation 20’s record of this war is a powerful opportunity for the church to enjoy this demonstration of God’s power.

Respond:

I will look for these opportunities for glory and joy in my life today!

Revelation 19

Highlight:

Revelation 19:11–16 (NKJV) 

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

Explain:

This is a powerful description of the resurrected Christ:

  • His Name is “Faithful and True.” This describes His Character. He is faithful in that He will always do exactly what He promises. He is true in that what He promises is always right and good.
  • He makes righteous war. There will be judgment, but His judgment is right.
  • He has flaming eyes. No one can dare to look at Him.
  • He has many crowns on His head. He rules all the kingdoms of the world
  • He has an indescribable name. His nature is so wonderful that it is past description.
  • He has a robe dipped in blood; His own cleansing blood.
  • His name is “The Word of God.” In the beginning was the Word! He is God’s message to us. He who has seen me has seen the Father.
  • Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword. He will wage war through the word of His mouth.
  • He will rule with a rod of iron. No one can escape from Him.
  • He treads out the winepress of judgment. He will take complete and appropriate revenge for the saints.
  • He has a name: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Apply:

Since Jesus is faithful, I can trust Him.

Since Jesus is righteously fighting evil, I must fear Him.

Since Jesus has an indescribable name, I will seek to discover what He is like.

Since Jesus is the Word of God, I will listen to Him and study what He said.

Since Jesus is the King of Kings, I will worship Him.

Respond:

Today I will meditate on Who Jesus is!

Revelation 18

Highlight:

Revelation 18:4–5 (NKJV) 

4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 

Explain:

Revelation 18: 1-10: Another angel comes down from heaven crying that Babylon has fallen and become a place of demons and every foul thing. All nations have engaged in fornication with her, becoming rich because of her abundance. The people of God are called to come out of Babylon lest they be caught up in her plagues and judgment. The kings who participated with her will see her burning and say, “Alas . . . for in one hour your judgment has come.” 11-20 The merchants who profited from all the precious stones, fine linen, etc., will mourn because she has fallen. On the other hand, heaven, the holy apostles and prophets are told to rejoice because God has avenged them.

21-24 A mighty angel throws a great millstone into the sea and says that this is the way Babylon will be thrown down. There will be no more music, no more merchandising, no more light, and no more marriage in Babylon because the nations were deceived by her sorcery and the blood of the prophets and saints was found in her.

I particularly find that vv 4-5 speak to me and to the church today. We are told to come out from “Babylon.” The various interpretations of this are:

Historicist: This is the call of the reformation to come out from the corrupt papal system.

Preterist: This is the call Jesus gave to those living in Jerusalem to flee the city before the destruction in 70 a.d.

Futurist: This is the call of Christ to separate from the corrupt Babylon which will be the economic centerpiece during the Tribulation.

Spiritualist: This is Christ’s timeless call to be separated from the corrupt system of this world.

Apply:

For our present application, I think the spiritualist’s interpretation the most practical. Believers must be careful not to get sucked into the system of this world. The question is, where do you draw the line? The answer to that question finds expression in various ways in various sects. Sadly, as time passes we seem to be less and less separated and that is why Christianity is less and less important in society. Actually, this is only part of the problem. Yes, separation is important, but separation without a commensurate filling with the Spirit only makes things worse. It is the Spirit’s presence that attracts the world. The point is this: To be filled, you must be emptied: To be filled with the Spirit, you must be emptied of a love of the world. 

Respond:

God I need you to change my heart! Help me to love You, not the world.

Revelation 17

Highlight:

Revelation 17:5–6 (NLT) 

5 A mysterious name was written on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” 6 I could see that she was drunk—drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses for Jesus. I stared at her in complete amazement. 

Explain:

Revelation 17: 1-6: John receives the vision and the explanation of the judgment of the great prostitute. She sits on a scarlet beast with 7 heads and ten horns written over with blasphemies. She holds a goblet of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality. She is named “Babylon the Great, Mother of all Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” She is drunk on the blood of the saints. John is amazed at the sight. 7-18: The angel explains this vision:

The beast: Was once alive, now is not, yet will come up from the bottomless pit to be destroyed. Those without their names in the book of life will be be amazed when the beast reappears.

The seven heads: Represents the seven hills where the woman rules and also seven kings. Five kings have fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come.

The eighth king: This is the scarlet beast

The ten horns: They are ten kings who have not yet risen to power. They will reign with the beast and go to war with, and be defeated by the Lamb who is the King of all kings and the Lord of all Lords.

The waters: These are the masses of people from every nation and tongue. The beast will turn on the prostitute along with the ten horns, strip her naked, eat her flesh and burn her remains with fire.

The great prostitute here is seen by almost all interpreters to be the Roman Papal church, no matter their approach to Revelation. The false church, therefore, will turn on the true believers, even to the point of shedding their blood. This happened in history and will happen again.

Apply:

Since this is true, so is the following:

  • There is a false church and a true church—one who truly follows Christ and one who doesn’t. I must be in the true church!
  • The false church will persecute the true church. I should not be surprised at the persecution.
  • The plan of God will allow for both the rise and the persecution of the false church.

Respond:

I will meditate on how to regard Roman Catholicism, since this seems to be the meaning of the symbol of the prostitute.

Revelation 16

Highlight: 

Revelation 16:8-9 – The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. The fierce heat scorched them, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.

Explain: 

In this chapter we see seven angels pouring out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.  The seven bowls were various plagues that caused extreme pain to the people.  In the highlighted verses we see the sun become even more intense in it’s heat, and scorching the people.  With this plague, as with the others, the people cursed God rather than repenting and giving him glory.

Apply: 

People continually miss out on the grace of God because of their rejection.  God allows things to happen in our lives, and we have the choice to respond with anger and curses to Him, or with repentance and surrender to Him.  So often in life, painful circumstances cause people to turn from God, but these painful situations can be a tool that causes us to turn to God, and to see our desperate need of Him.  When we turn to God in repentance and surrender, He receives glory and we receive new life!

Respond:

Lord, help me to use the painful circumstances that I will encounter in my life to run closer to You rather than running from You.

Brad Perry

Revelation 15

Highlight:

Revelation 15:3–4 (NKJV) 

3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! 4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” 

Explain:

Revelation 15: 1-8: Seven angels appear holding the seven last plagues. On a sea of glass and fire, the victorious church stands singing praise to God, lifting up the song of Moses and the Lamb. They sing that God’s works are marvelous and that He will be feared and worshiped by all the nations because His righteous deeds have been revealed. Then the four creatures hand the bowls of judgment to the angels and the temple is filled with the smoke of God’s glory and power until the bowls are poured out.

The praise of the song that the saints sing in this chapter tells us about God:

  1. His works are great and marvelous. What God is up to is beyond our imagination and, in this context, even the judgment of God is great and marvelous.
  2. His ways are just and true. What God is doing will bring justice to the earth. The persecution of the saints is avenged.
  3. He, in His person, is holy. He is the unique, one and only God in whose presence is awe and reverence. 

The result of God’s work will be universal worship: All the nations will come and worship before Him.

Apply:

Since God’s works are great and marvelous, I can trust what He is doing.

Since God’s ways are just and true, I do not have to retaliate in my own wisdom.

Since God is holy in His person, I will meditate upon Who He is and be moved to worship.

Since all nations will come and worship before Him, I will personally begin that worship now.

Respond:

When things go wrong today, help me O God to remember to trust You.

Revelation 14

Highlight:

Revelation 14:12–13 (NLT) 

12 This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!” 

Explain:

Revelation 14: 1-5: Then John sees the Lamb standing on Mt. Zion, followed by 144,000 who have the Father’s name on their foreheads. The heavens erupt with a new song which is sung by a great choir. Only the 144,000 can learn this song and they have kept themselves pure and follow the Lamb wherever He goes. 6-13: Another angel flies through the sky calling on man to Fear God and bring Him glory. Another angel flies pronouncing that Babylon is fallen. A third angel follows shouting that anyone receiving the mark of the beast is under the judgment of God and will be tormented forever. God’s holy people must endure persecution and maintain their trust in Christ. Those who die in the Lord will be blessed by God. Their good deeds will follow them. 14: Jesus, seated on a white cloud, has a sharp sickle in his hand and he harvests the earth. The grapes are gathered and trampled out into the winepress of God’s wrath. The result is that a flow of blood is released that is 180 miles long and as deep as a horses bridle.

Specifically 14:12-13: The people of God will endure the persecution and obey God through their faith in Christ. The result of this faithfulness will be that they “die in the Lord.” Those who die in the Lord are blessed, they rest from their works, and their good deeds follow them.

Apply:

I must be willing to endure persecution since it is endurance that will be rewarded.

I must be willing to obey God by faith since, this is what will produce endurance.

I must desire to die in the Lord since these rest from their works and are blessed by God.

Respond:

I will meditate on what obedience is in my life today.