The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Lent Devotional: Revelation 22:1-5

*This is the last devotional as this is the final day of the season of Lent. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Join us tomorrow for our Easter celebration at SVCC 10:30am. Everyone is invited to bring bread (no nuts) to place on the communion tables before the service. Also, don’t forget to bring flowers to place on the cross. I hope to see you tomorrow.

Revelation 22:1-5 (click here)
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5)

Reflection
No more night…no more darkness.

Today is Holy Saturday. You know…that day between Good Friday and Easter. We never think about this day. It had to be the darkest day of the disciples lives. Jesus was dead…in the ground, buried, not coming back, it is finished…dead.

At least that is how things looked from the disciples perspective.

And, if we’re honest, that is how things often look from our perspective. Our lives almost feel like one giant “Holy Saturday.” Jesus is “gone,” not really, but we cannot see him. And, we find ourselves living in a world covered in darkness. All seem hopeless.

At least that is how things look from our perspective.

But just like Christ had promised the disciples a resurrection…he has promised us a return. He will come again to banish darkness once and for all! Revelation 22 envisions an eternal day in which God himself is the unending light and there is no more night for the brightness of his glory never fades and never fails!

All things accursed will be dealt with, done, finished, gone…and all things made new. And, we shall know eternal joy in worship of him! Our long “Holy Saturday” will give way to an eternal Easter of sorts…for WE will see his face!

The one who has been hidden from our sight, will be the very light by which we see him in all his glory! We will see HIS face!

We WILL see his face! Think of it…can you even begin to imagine it…to fathom it…to grasp it! No matter the darkness we face within this world, we hold onto the promise of his return that is guaranteed by his resurrection. We hold onto the promise of that the night is temporary and the eternal light is coming to cast it out forever. We hold onto the greatest of all promises…

WE WILL SEE HIS FACE!

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Revelation 15:2-4

*Good Friday service tonight, 6pm at SVCC.
160 Oxmoor Rd. Homewood, Al. 35209

Revelation 15:2-4
And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Reflection
The untamable sea.

In the ancient mind, the sea was a symbol of all that was uncontrollable and unpredictable. Travel by sea was risky and often cost people in cargo and even took lives.

No one could control the sea.

Yet, the Jewish people claimed to know the God who created all things including the sea. He set limits for where the waves fall on the shoreline (Job 38:8-11). And, when he took on flesh he walked upon the violent waters (Matthew 14:22-33) and calmed them with his voice (Mark 4:35-41). This God could control the sea and bring all it’s evil and mayhem to an end.

In fact, this God has promised to bring all evil and mayhem to an end. Before his throne there is a sea like glass…perfectly stilled, perfectly calmed…never to harm again! Our God will make all things new and for this we will worship!

Through we are afflicted and oppressed, struck down and mistreated, persecuted and even killed…none of that evil wins! God will set all wrongs to rights and we will praise him for his amazing deeds! We will praise him as the almighty one who has brought justice among the nations! We will glorify the holy one who has revealed his righteousness to the world!

Today, Good Friday, we stand amidst the clash of ages…an age of an evil kingdom that is passing away, and an age of the righteous kingdom of God that is breaking in. We see these things clash when we gaze at the cross.

At the cross, God’s holy, right, and good judgment was pour out on Christ as he took on our sin and defeated it. He defeated this age of death. And, at the cross, God’s grace was poured out toward sinful mankind. By faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ, we become citizens of a new kingdom and belong to a new age.

The cross is a symbol of death to the old age of sin, and a symbol of life to the in-breaking age of righteousness. The cross closes the door on one kingdom and opens the door to another. The cross is the reason we will one day stand before the throne of God, beside the crystal sea, and all evil will be done away with and the kingdom of God will arrive in full.

This is why we call this Friday…GOOD.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Revelation 6:9-11

Revelation 6:9-11 (click here)
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Revelation 6:9-11)

Reflection
When saints are martyred…where is God?

Is he absent? Is he far? Is he not in control? Questions flood our mind. Martyrdom is not something of the ancient past. The reality of its existence was shoved in the world’s face as 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were brutally killed by ISIS.

The horrific reality is that such extreme persecution is much more prevalent than we would like to admit. Most of it is simply not filmed and distributed through the internet. Persecution, and yes, martyrdom are very real and present realities. This has always been the reality of the Church. We are a people who are “being killed all the day long…we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Yet, I thought that if God was on our side, who could be against us? Where is God when Christians are being killed?

He is present. He is sovereign. He is victorious.

The simple truths seem impossible…but “impossible” happens to be our God’s specialty.

Jesus promised us that there would be persecution and death. Luke 21:16-18, “You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” Yet in the very next verse he makes this outrageous claim, “But not a hair of your head will perish.”

How can we be put to death, but not a hair of our head perish? Jesus is asserting his sovereignty over everything that happens to his followers and that he can make promises that are more powerful than death itself. There is no ultimate perishing for his followers.

This is what we see to be true in Revelation 6. Everyone who has experienced martyrdom cries out to God to fulfill all his promises, to vindicate them, to deal with evil and make all things new. They know God can do this because he is sovereign. They cry out, “O Sovereign Lord!”

They are told the promise will be fulfilled, but not until the number of martyrs is complete. God has sovereignly set a limit on the persecution of his church. He is totally in control and will not let our persecution last forever. That is a promise!

We are “being killed all the day long,” but we will not always be “regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” Those words come from the end of Romans 8 which goes on to promise that we are “more than conquerors through him who loved us.” It is this same chapter that claims, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

All of this victorious language in the face of persecution is rooted in an eternal perspective. Who can be against us and ultimately win? No one! Even if they put us to death, ultimately, not a hair on our head will perish…for God himself has rescued us from death through Christ! He will raise us all to eternal life with him!

God sovereignly allows the persecution of his saints in the present for through persecution we come to know him and make him known (more on how suffering accomplishes this here), but we have a promise that all persecution will end.

We will ultimately be called “more than conquerors” and those who have “overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.” Even if it costs us our life’s breath, let us cling to Christ amidst any and all persecution…for Jesus won’t let physical death rob you of one hair on your future resurrected, glorified body.

That’s a promise from the sovereign King who is always present and in control.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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