How is Revelation Applicable?

While attending Point Loma College in 1983, I remember my New Testament Professor, Dr. Reuben Welch, asking the class consisting of mostly Freshmen students, “How many of you believe Jesus will be returning in your lifetime?” At least ¾ of those in attendance raised their hands. He then said, “I don’t.” I remember thinking, “That’s because you are a lot older than us. We have a better chance of being raptured out.” At that time, my only interpretation was seeing the Book of Revelation through the lens of a Pre-Tribulation conviction, awaiting and proclaiming the return of Christ as imminent, holding to a belief that the prophecy of Revelation is yet to come. The Left Behind Series helped solidify my conviction.

However, I am now enrolled in a Revelation class for Seminary. We were assigned to read a novel called “The Lost Letters of Pergamum” by Bruce Longenecker. The novel is based on a fictional relationship between a nobleman named Antipas who is a Roman unbeliever and Luke (the writer of the Gospel according to Luke and the Book of Acts). Through letter writing, Luke is patient and respectful to answer Antipas’ questions about Jesus and His anti-Roman message. I didn’t understand the severity of Jesus’ message to the Romans until seen through the eyes of an unbelieving Roman (Antipas).

Roman Emperors expected those under their rule to revere them in worship and honor as equal to their gods. In the Roman Empire, an atheist was defined as a person who did not believe the emperor was god. As Christians today, we understand that the Jewish religious leaders could not embrace Jesus proclaiming His equality with their God. However, do we realize that the Roman Emperors held the position of “god” as well? Jesus’ presence and message threatened both the Roman and the Jewish rule. To believe in Jesus Christ was to completely go against the pattern of all establishment at that time. Many Christians died as atheists. We have clearly come a long way in definitions.

The Book of Revelation gives the people hope to continue to believe despite what they see and hear. That is applicable! The Book of Revelation was for its present time as much as it is for us today. From chapter 1, John (the author of Revelation) writes that he is a “companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus.” (v. 9) John has been exiled to Patmos because of his belief in Jesus Christ and understood the horrid suffering and persecution of those who shared in his belief. When understanding the extent of torture by the Romans, it is understandable why the New Testament writers continually preach, “the time is near.” (1:3) Why near? To provide hope that God sees the cruelty of man, God will judge the wicked who are blinded to the truth and Jesus will return to set things right. I believe that is why each of the seven churches is told that God sees their areas of strengths, weakness, loyalties and compromises. He wants them to live fully and completely committed to His will regardless of the culture, the persecution or the presence of Satan. That message is the same today.

By Revelation 6:9-11, John describes “the altar [of] the souls of those who had been slain because” of their testimony and they were calling out to God “how long” until this is over? This period of time definitely represents the prayers of the first century Christians of John’s day. They wanted God to intervene and put an end to the blame game (i.e. crazy Nero’s fires) and the horrific murders but the answer was “to wait a little longer” until more were killed. Because of the hardness of the unbelieving hearts, the penalty of disagreeing with the Roman rule was ruthless and tortuous. Innocent blood was shed with an audience approval as an arena filled with observers enjoyed the entertainment of it. No wonder the Book of Revelation is written graphically with a sense of intensity and urgency.

I didn’t realize how much the Book of Revelation has a message of comfort and counsel for the reader; some day, the Beasts will be destroyed, Babylon will fall and God will have the final authority and rule. Some day, heaven will descend to earth and there will be streets of gold and trees of life in its midst. Some day, God’s light and peace will reign and there will be no more tears. Regardless of the timing of its fulfillment, this message brings comfort to the suffering, counsel to the persecuted, hope to the hopeless and strength for us all to endure until the end.

The book of Revelation was written for every generation, starting with the first century church. Through the gift of interpretation to understand and comprehend the Scriptures with the wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit, we are able to apply the prophecy throughout the years.

In addition, I hate to admit it but I am now at the age of Dr. Reuben Welch when he asked the class if Jesus was returning in our lifetime. Maybe the change of my convictions has something to do with being a lot older now too!

 

 

 

The Difference between Men & Women in Broken Relationships

Bobbye and I asked a friend of ours to be interviewed on our daily radio show. Her name is Donna Scott and she is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Today she came to our office for the recordings. Even though we know Donna, her kindness and sensitivity to share in her clients’ pain and then to wisely and calmly provide counsel to those in broken relationships amaze us. God is using her and mightily moving through her to repair broken hearts and mend broken relationships.

On a side bar conversation, I asked her what the biggest difference is between men and women when struggling in their relationship? Her answer may surprise you…

“When people come in to get healing help for relationship wounds, I notice a difference between the types of injuries found in men versus women in their moments of brokenness. As I counsel men, they generally tend to intellectualize their pain through interpreting life events. They typically sense that no matter what they do, it is not ‘good enough.‘ These feelings frequently create a sense of helplessness and futility. Unfortunately, it is usually manifested as anger or indifference to their partner. Women, on the other hand, are likely to experience their emotional hurt as ‘I’m not worth fighting for.’ This hurt results in lowering her sense of worth and security in the relationship. Her pain is sometimes displayed as anger or nagging. Neither understand that they actually have the same need in common; It is the longing to love and be loved by the one who matters most.”

We all want to be loved. We may not be very good at communicating how we want to be loved and we might not be very good at explaining why we are acting out or withdrawing but the bottom answer is the same.. to be loved. “For God so loved…” and because “God first loved us” we can love. I am certainly thankful our relationship with God is based on His love.

Donna Scott’s contact information is http://www.DonnaScottTherapist.com or (619) 500-4653. Calling her may be your first step in learning how to express love and how to receive love from God, others and yourself.

Thank you Donna for sharing your heart with us today and loving others through God’s gift of counseling.

God is Moving. Are you going with Him?

Today is the day you can change direction and begin a new journey to your own personal victory. Because of the finished work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, today is the day you can change your life for the better.

One of the exciting things about having a relationship with Christ is that we may journey with Him, which makes life an adventure. The adventure is one of change and focus and being able to soar above the circumstances by keeping our eyes on the eternal.

This morning, my reading was in Ezekiel 1. In this opening chapter, Ezekiel is describing the “invisible” world. He sees a heavenly vision that involves whirlwinds, raging fires, rainbows and odd-looking, living creatures. In chapter 1:6-11, Ezekiel attempts to sketch a visual for us:

Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings.Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straightforward.

 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies.And each one went straightforward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

We might try to imagine what these different creatures from Ezekiel’s description are doing or what they look like, but verses 9 and 12 give us significant insight.

V9:    The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went  straightforward. 

 V12: And each one went straightforward; they went wherever the spirit  

wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

 God has given each of us many opportunities to move with Him. We all have the command to “go and make disciples”. The problems arise when circumstances bring doubt, discouragement, disappointment and the fear of defeat. Are we willing to go straightforward and not turn when the Spirit moves us to go?

The problem comes when our beliefs, understandings, fears and needs speak louder, as a result of our current situations, than the Spirit of the Lord’s voice.  As our lives change, these issues may not change.   When we experience something shocking, overwhelming, scary or challenging it can take some time to shift our focus.  It is in this moment of needing to shift that we often sit still.  Sitting still is not a problem. It is what we do in the times of stillness that can become problematic.  Fear, dread, panic, exaggeration, overreaction, depression, insecurity and uncertainty are just some of the emotions that can overpower good judgment and hinder our faith.

Good judgment becomes necessary to shift from the fear to faith. It is in this moment that we need to lift our eyes to see the eternal.

You are capable of determining what you believe, what you understand, what you are afraid of and what you need.  And you are certainly capable of doing that with careful consideration through the Scriptures, prayer and wise counsel.

You can go forward by the leading of the Spirit and choose to not turn your head to follow the distractions or false fears.

We speak from experience as Bobbye and I have been in ministry for over 10 years, and have experienced the vast range of situations, circumstances and emotions. It is never easy and the battles continue but we must move forward. We’ve been asked to host women’s conferences throughout the United States in 2014. Partnering with Salem Broadcasting, we will be holding evangelistic crusades in 19 cities, ranging from New York City to Houston to San Francisco. Have we been distracted, discouraged and downright depressed at times? Yes. However, we believe that God has called us to go straightforward and bring a message of hope, encouragement and faith to women, all over the world.

Through radio, television, webcasting, Internet and conferences, the message of the gospel will go to every nation and generation in the name of Jesus Christ. The task is big but the opportunity is now. We are asking for your prayer support and your financial support. Support from partners like you is making a difference and we thank you for your support throughout the years as well as now.

We ask that you prayerfully consider a donation or offering to Daily Disciples Ministries. We need your support to support others and to continue the mission of the ministry: to evangelize and to disciple, to encourage and empower, to teach and to train. It takes tremendous resources, finances, technology and ongoing support, but to God be the glory for great things He has done, through His people.

God uses the body of Christ to accomplish His purposes.

Every person who gives any amount will receive a copy of our latest book, “Check Your Motives”. How can we pray for you? Please let us know how Daily Disciples can serve you. And, please let us know if you would like to serve alongside us.
$25 Monthly Donation

Image

Spiritual Warfare Bible Sudy “LIVE”

Click this link to watch tonight’ Bible Study “https://new.livestream.com/accounts/5288767/events/2460756/feed_embed?

Just click the highlighted area and you will be on our Livestream broadcast page. All participants and followers can join for free.

Let me know if you have any questions at 800-992-0369

Circumstantial Depression

Image

It seems pretty easy to define circumstantial depression; it’s depression that was caused by hardships or difficult life circumstances. So if we change the circumstances, will the depression lift?

Looking at the life of David on the run from Saul to running the Kingdom did bring a major change in his circumstances. David’s prayers changed, his position changed, his daily living activities changed and his writing in the Psalms changed. We can also look at Joseph and Job. Same thing, with the change of circumstances, there was a lift in the depression (and a change in challenges). Even the circumstances in the life of the disciples pre-resurrection to post-resurrection brought about a huge change in their lives and in the world, for the good.

So do changed circumstances lift depression? Yes. However, it is the very nature of depression to prevent us from seeking the change.  Depression is caused by feeling trapped by your circumstances. It’s the catch 22 syndrome of “oh no, I am stuck and I feel absolutely helpless in living in the day to day,” We feel as if there is not way out and no problematic solution to control the outcome. Questions like “Where are you God?” and “Why are you not answering my prayers?” tend to make us want to blame God for we do believe He has the power to intervene. His sovereign silence brings about more depression as He does not seem to have the desire to intervene.

Boy, I have been in the depths of depression, angry that God did not intervene! The natural tendency is to pull away and not draw near as if we can punish God and protect ourselves from Him. I have tried it all — manipulation, guilt trips, threats. After “not getting my way” time and time again, I decided to change the approach and do better this last time knowing that God will allow us to take the test over and over until we pass.

What I’ve noticed is that as I make the effort daily to depend on Him despite the circumstances, He will one day — someday — in His time — make circumstantial changes. There might be years of sovereign silence until we align ourselves with accepting His lack of willingness to bring change in our desired timing. God needs to remain God in our lives, despite our thoughts to believe we know better than Him.

It does come down to the simple fact of being faithful to move forward in faith regardless of how hard it gets. “Lord, I will trust You. Lord, I am trusting You. Lord, I believe You heard me the first time I prayed for change. Lord, are we good because I know You are?”

And in a day, everything can change. It is the day that Jesus’ followers look forward to. In light of that time to come, the apostle Peter tells us how the believer can live with a joyful purpose  despite the circumstance (2 Peter 3:10-18). We can look upward by living Christ-honoring lives (v.11). We can look inward by making every effort to be found at peace with God (v.14). And we can look outward by being on guard so we aren’t carried away by the wrong influence of others (v.17).

There is a day coming when righteousness and faithfulness will meet together; there is a day coming when our tears will be turned into rejoicing; there is a day coming when God will take his hands and wipe the tears from our eyes and say you are home!

There’s more to this life than what we see so we set our eyes on things above where Christ is seated for their is no other way to live and it is no other One to live for.

—Tonilee Adamson

And It Was Very Good…

3_Book_package_mediumIt is January 1, 2013 today. Deep within my spirit, I knew for the past few weeks that I would read Genesis 1 on this day. I found myself procrastinating because I take on that haughty attitude of asking myself, “Why do I have to read Genesis 1 again on January 1?” For the past 20+ years I have read Genesis 1 on January 1 and for a person who does not have traits of OCD, the thought of doing something ritualistically seems like a very good reason to NOT do it again. However, I knew I would read Genesis 1 because I also sensed the Lord prompting me to read it.

So the question became, “How can I read Genesis 1 in a different light or with a different twist?” There is a shelf in my bedroom which holds most of the Bibles I have read throughout the years.  Some of them are reading plan Bibles but all of them represent a different version, color, font size, commentary and thickness. A friend of mine asked to me during one of the Bible study classes if I change Bibles according to my outfit? The question caught me off guard but I thought it was a clever question considering how often I do try to match my belt with my shoes. If you have as many Bibles as belts, why not match them in a women’s Bible study group? No, this is not my intention in when teaching the Bible but I did appreciate her keen observation of my Bible preference for that week.

Any way, staring up at the Bibles on the shelf, I thought about my Joel Osteen devotional of the day. He actually wrote about Joyce and Dave Meyer and how they began their ministry. I have a purple Bible that is in the Amplified version from a Joyce Meyer conference. I pulled that one down and opened to Genesis 1.

WOW! God is so good… His mercy is new every morning and somehow, Genesis 1 becomes new every year. This is what I learned this time this year:

Genesis 1:4 “And God saw that the light was good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it.”

Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that He had made and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant). And He approved it completely.”

God creates light and approved it but by the time He is done creating it all of creation, He approved it completely. I immediately thought of God telling us that He is faithful to complete what He has started in  us, His new creation in Christ. We are workmen called to be approved and faithful servants but He is God promising us that the work He is doing in our lives will be “good” or suitable and pleasant for His purposes.

Time to stop fighting the struggles, doubts and the things that cause us to be double minded and to start trusting Him. Time to rest in His sovereignty and praise the work of His hands, which includes us! He is a loving God who we can depend upon. It’s time for our lives to start reflecting His peace and yield to transformation through His love.

I guess re-reading Genesis 1 is like reminding myself of the book Building Divine Intimacy, prayer journaling and reading daily devotionals.  Some things we have to be reminded of and some things we need to learn in a completely new light and some things are just best for us if we repeat the action over and over again.

As He said, “it was very good.”

Christians and Technology

God is amazing and all knowing. I have always prayed that we could learn how to use the resources available to promote the Gospel and God’s Word. Several years ago, we founded Daily Disciples Ministries and began writing Bible studies. We had no idea what God would lead us to do using technology. We had no idea how to use the Internet and at that time, social media had not been born yet. But God led us to build a website, way back in 2003; then, put the Bible studies that we were teaching on that website as an mp3 file. We videotaped our Spiritual Warfare study in 2006, which are still being sold to this day. I remember the comments from those who thought we were a bit crazy….at that time, these types of things were not that prevalent in Christian activities and not many people seemed to care.

The biggest comment we received during our early technology ideas involved our decision to start writing “daily devotions” to post on our new website. We were told that we would not be able to keep writing them…that we would eventually stop…that it would never last. Well, that was about 8 years ago and over 400 devotions ago. The daily devotions have several thousand subscribers as well as are posted on Crosswalk.com and are passed around the world daily. This past week, we took technology to the next step in our ministry and launched our first App. We thought it was appropriate that it be for our daily devotions. The Daily Disciples Devotions App is available on the iTunes store and App store, one of a few that are actually an App.

God has given all of us the power to learn and to grow. Pray and ask for Him to show you things and how to use these latest technologies. Our voice for Christ needs to be out there in every place and the online world is growing with the voice of the world. Let’s do everything we can as Christians to use technology to spread the message of the Good News. From Apps to online video teachings to anything you can imagine. With God all things are possible.

Our latest Bible study currently going is on the Book of Exodus. We are teaching in person but are videotaping the sessions for anyone to join us, anywhere in the world. Check it out and join us. Visit our new online store at http://www.DailyDisciplesStore.com. Keep in touch and keep the faith!