John, to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood — and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. So it is to be. Amen.
"I Am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:4-8
These verses are the salutation to the seven churches in Revelation. As we read these verses I feel I need to remove my shoes; we are standing on holy ground! What a powerful introduction for the seven churches in Asia which includes us; not geographically, but spiritually. God, the Father is described twice in this salutation as the One Who is and Who was and Who is to come. Let’s just let that sink in. He has always been, He will always be, and He is coming!
Next John gives us a description of our Lord Jesus: The faithful and true witness, the firstborn of the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth. Remember, He is the King of Kings. Man is not the ruler of the earth.
Then we are reminded of what He did for us: First, He loved us. Then He released us from our sins by His blood. This enabled all to be a part of a kingdom of priests to His God and Father. To Him is to be glory and dominion forever and ever!
Then we hear God define Himself:
" I Am the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end. He is and was and is to come, the Almighty!"
Now that we have these powerful truths established, let’s turn our attention for a moment to John, the bondservant of Christ and writer of this book. He tells us he is our brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and in perseverance which are in Jesus. He has been exiled to the island of Patmos. He reveals he was sent there because of the Word of God and his testimony of Jesus pertaining to his life.
It is clear in scripture the true followers of Christ were not spared persecution and martyrdom. This has been true throughout the history of the church. Let us look at Jesus, and all of His disciples. I think we can safely say they were a part of the remnant of the church. If you read the scriptures this is a huge part of being a Christian.
We are to be overcomers. Being an overcomer is not defined as escaping persecution and martyrdom in the Bible. Quite the opposite. I realize this is not going to set well with the majority, but for the true Bride of Christ we must know the truth and be ready for whatever transpires in the coming year.
So let’s look to the only reliable source for truth — the Bible. Revelation 12:11-12 states:
"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the Word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing he has only a short time."
You need to read the previous verses leading into these two in order to get this fully in context, which is very important when studying the Bible. Remember what John revealed. He was exiled because of the Word of God and His testimony. He and his fellow disciples did not love their lives more than laying down their lives for the One Who did so for them. God help us to stop playing religious games and to become a Bride worthy of our Groom, the Son of God!
I encourage you to read Matthew, chapter 10. It is when Jesus sends out the twelve disciples with His instructions. It is a good place to find your purpose in life from the Master, Himself. In Matthew 10:24 Jesus declares:
"Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
I realize this is not a comfortable devotional for most of us, but it is necessary to know the whole counsel of God’s Word. I do believe time is short, and I want to love others enough to try to share the truth I have found in the Word of God. This is not my opinion. It is what scripture says. So let us ask ourselves, are we equipped to be overcomers according to the Word of God, and not what we are told by others?
Do we have the Word of God as the supreme authority in our lives?
Do we have a testimony concerning our lives that glorifies the One we claim we serve?
Our testimony should consist of His love for us above all else, and our love for Him. He truly has to be the first love of our lives. He alone is worthy of first place in all things in our lives. (Colossians 1:17) Please take time to read Colossians 1:15-23.
He gave His all for us while we were yet sinners. And finally, are we willing to do the same for Him and our fellow believers, including the lost? God is love, and everything must be motivated by our love for Him first, and then our love for each other. His love is greater than any evil force against us. We must keep ourselves in His love above all else. That will enable all who partakes of His agape love to be overcomers, and to stand before Him to hear:
"Well done, thy good and faithful servant. Enter into your reward!"
In His love.
Enjoyed participating in the Frosty 50/25K race at Salem Lake in Winston Salem, NC yesterday morning. Very pleased with an average pace of 10:24 considering I stay on the trails, and seldom do speedwork.