Friday, September 26, 2014

World events (Revelation 8)

"God saves our prayers!"
They are incense to Him.  So amazing!
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

When I hear comments about the color of our skin from the White House, I smile and remember Condalisa Rice and Collin Powell.  When Collin spoke, I always felt we were safe.  They are great people.  I heard Condalisa helped save our nation.  An evil dictator was trying to send a bomb to us.  So she told him she would help.  She sent it somewhere safe, "Oops did that go there?"  

I'm sure they are both happy not to be in the stress the George Bush administration had to endure.  Now the current president knows more of what Bush went through. We have so many people in our history to look at and be proud of.  Presidents, Church leaders, government officials, military people, police and more,  male and female, all colors and sizes.

I'm reading this chapter of Revelation with my project manager hat on.  What does it say?  What does it mean to us?  How much can we understand?  And what was I thinking of to try this?

Ok, we start off with the seventh seal that could only be opened by Jesus.  There would be angels, the Apostle John, and God in the throne room.  I read Pastor Chuck Smith's notes on this chapter and he is right these catastrophes are all environmental.  They affect the land, sun, moon, stars, water, oceans, trees and grass.  I don't believe these are going to happen because of our handling of the earth.  It will happen because of the sin we just can't let go of and our stubborn nature not believing in God's sacrifice- His Son.

Chapter 8
Seventh Seal:  Prelude to the Seven Trumpets

By opening the 7th seal, a new round of problems would come to the earth.  The seven trumpets would be unleashed.  The trumpets would sound by seven angels.  At this point another angel was given the golden censer with our prayers in it.   The Bible says, the angel was given "much incense."  Lots of prayers are good : )
1 When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand.
I see the incense as His love for believers (He saved our prayers since the beginning).  He loves our prayers and all our imperfections.  He knows how hard faith can be and the evil...  Jesus was crucified.  His pain would've been felt by God the Father, they are one. The mix of pain for us, the Saints, and His love.  Some are facing persecution today, it must break His heart and provoke His anger.

So after the smoke of the incense, and our prayers reached God.  He gave it back to the angel who filled it with fire and threw it to the earth.
5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.

6 So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

First Trumpet:Vegetation Struck
7 The first angel sounded:

And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
The first trumpet burned down a third of the trees and all the green grass.  It would take quite a fire to destroy grass, almost like lightening.  Blood was also added.  It could be the blood of the martyrs.  Jesus' blood cleanses and sanctifies.

Second Trumpet:The Seas Struck
8 Then the second angel sounded:

And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
After the second trumpet sounded, something like a great burning mountain was thrown into the sea.  It sounds like an underwater volcano.  A third of the fish, whales, and other sea creatures would be destroyed.

Third Trumpet:The Waters Struck
10 Then the third angel sounded:

And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.
A star called, "Wormwood" was thrown into the world's waters.  It made the water bitter and not good for drinking.  Many people died from the poison.

Fourth Trumpet:The Heavens Struck
12 Then the fourth angel sounded:

And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.
13 And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"

This is interesting.  A third of the sun, moon, and stars will be darkened.  It sounds like a huge eclipse.  We know that the sun and moon affect the tides in the oceans.  I don't know what kind of catastrophe this would produce scientifically, it won't be good and I'm hoping for the rapture first personally : )  We need sun to grow food.  The last, "woes" sound really bad.
(Revelation 8:1-13 NKJV)

Dear Heavenly Father,
I read these verses and feel afraid.  Thank You for all the consistency in the world  we see today.  You are ever vigilant to keep us safe and reading this reminds me how much we take for granted.  Father I thank You for loving us even though.  Thank You for keeping our prayers.  I pray for the nations who are standing up to terrorism in the middle east.  I pray You will grant them strength and wisdom as they fight.  Let the right win and the wrong fail.  Please bless Israel that they may have their land back and find peace.  I pray You will protect those in Ukraine and Turkey.

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
10 Set the world right;
Do what's best––
  as above, so below.
11 Keep us alive with three square meals.
12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
  Yes. Yes. Yes .
(Matthew 6:9-13 Message)

In Jesus Name, Amen.

By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North (link)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Multitude from the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:1-17, Mark 11:6-10, Matt 27:51-54)

Four Angels held the corners of the earth to stop the wind.
“Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees
till we have
 sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.

World Map

After the rapture, when believers disappear; the great tribulation will set in.  It's not going to be fun.  I saw on TV that Willie Robertson, one of the Duck Dynasty guys is helping to put out a new movie, Left Behind with Nicolas Cage (link).  The "Left Behind," movie illustrates what it could be like during Revelation 7.  Kirk Cameron was the one who originally made the movie.  I believe what really happens with God will be so amazing, it's beyond our imaginations on earth.  I do enjoy seeing the possibilities in these movies.  I'm happy to see the Duck Dynasty guys contributing to Christian movies (that's very cool)!  There's another new Christian movie called, "The Song."   That's coming out soon too.  The main actor refuses to kiss an actress and said he will only kiss his wife in a scene.  It turns out the Christian movies are box office hits : )  People can sense things aren't right in the world and want to understand.  I remember seeing "The Greatest Story Ever Told," in 1965.  I was 5 then and can still remember it.

Revelation 7

The Sealed of Israel
1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty- four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:
The Lord won't allow the time of tribulation to occur until after the remnant (144,000) of Israel are protected.  There will be 12,000 from each tribe.  I noticed that the angels are standing at the "four corners" of the earth.  This is apocalyptic symbolism.  Man didn't know the earth was round until the time of Columbus in the 1600's.  God did of course, but Revelation is written for humans.

5 of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed;
7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.
Benjamin was the younger brother of Joseph. After the older brothers lost Joseph, Jacob (known as Israel) refused to let them take Benjamin. It has been prophesied that not all of the Jews will come to Christ in the end.  A remnant of 144,000 have the seal to be saved.

John is so blessed to be able to see all of this.  A great and amazing number of people from all the nations, tribes, languages, came to stand in God's throne room!  
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
What this tells me is that after the rapture, those who are left behind will still be able to accept Christ's gift of salvation and be saved.  However, it will be much less painful to do it before the rapture.  John looks and sees a multitude of people wearing white robes and carrying palm branches. People didn't wear white robes when Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem, but they did wave palm branches and said, "Hosanna," to Jesus.  The multitude in verses 9-12 are the martyrs from chapter 6.
4 So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. 5 But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?”
6 And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! ’
10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest."
(Mark 11:6-10 NKJV)
In Matt 27:51-54, after Jesus was crucified dead were also raised:  51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
I love these verses.  Saints who had died before Jesus, went to visit the holy city in Jerusalem.  I'd love to have seen the looks on people's faces!

One of the elders asked John about all these people.  I believe those who go through the great tribulation and become Christians will become martyrs.  The anti-Christ will destroy as many Christians as it can.  These would be people that were not in the Church.  As Chuck Smith noted, John always recognized the Church.  He also saw Jesus, Moses and Elijah on the Mt. of Transfiguration.
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
(Revelation 7:1-17 NKJV)
These verses are some popular favorites : )  They are so comforting.  This world will end, despair will turn to joy.  Fear to courage and hope.

Here's a song from Third Day, "I need a miracle (link)"  We all need a miracle now and then.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Opening the 6 seals (Revelation 6:1-17, Ephesians 5:25-27)

I wrote a post awhile ago about Biblical Prophecy (link).  It's very encouraging for times like this.  Jesus is explaining things in Matthew 24.  Feel free to refer to it.  The book of Revelation is written in symbols.  It's hard to figure out the exact meaning.  And all through it there are warnings that no one knows when Jesus will return, except Him.  When things go really bad in the world (like terrorism) a lot of us think, "Oh wow is this the end?"  

This is top secret information God holds.  These verses describe the events that will take place.  Sometimes I think, "Now would be a really good time Jesus!  Ready when You are!"  Other times I think, "There's so much to do still."  Actually that's why I wanted to make sure Revelation is on the web, just in case someone needs to understand after the second coming of Christ.

Ok so here's where Revelation gets a bit scary.  It's believed the Church won't be on earth at this time.  God won't unleash His wrath on those who are His bride, the Church.  I've read these verses many times and never really associated it with the end times.  I found the notes on this from Chuck Smith's Blue Letter Bible notes (link).
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  (Ephesians 5:25-27) 
Here's what I was taught in College and Church. There are 3 theories on the rapture (when Christians rise to Heaven leaving those who don't believe behind):
  1. pre-millenial, we will rapture (go to Heaven) before the end of the world.
  2. post-millenial, we will rapture after the end of the world.
  3. pan-millenial, no one knows for sure, it will all pan out in the end.  Trust God.
So in Chapter 5 John fell on his knees in tears because no one could open the seals.  Then Jesus stepped up and was able to open them.  Here's what the open seals do:

Chapter 6
First Seal: The Conqueror
1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
This is beautiful imagery.  Jesus rides out on a white horse, wearing a golden crown and carrying a bow.  His purpose is to conquer evil, set captives free, give life.  It could also symbolize the beginning of the Antichrist who will come when the world is in trouble.  The Antichrist will claim that he is the Savior of the world.  At first, he will seem so wonderful.  Then things will take a very dark change.

Second Seal: Conflict on Earth
3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.
The second horseman is on a fiery red horse.  This usually signifies extreme anger and wrath.  This horseman will take the earth's peace.  He will unleash pure evil.  Terrorists will destroy themselves. Evil will devour itself.

Third Seal: Scarcity on Earth
5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”
Black usually symbolizes darkness, and death.  Scales symbolize equality and also disparity or inequality.  In Bible times people would put false weights on a scale to cheat others out of money.  To me this describes stealing from others, inflation, despair.  People having wine instead of food to forget the reality.

Fourth Seal:  Widespread Death on Earth
7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth."
Yikes!  The fourth horseman is called, "Death."  Hades follows after him.  These verses say 1/4 of the world will die.  There have been several plagues, famines, aids, all sorts of disease throughout history.  Many times people have died and people have worked hard to find cures.  To me, it sounds like at this time people will be sick, deprived and evil.  Many will die.  

Fifth Seal:  The Cry of the Martyrs
9 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 testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
The Martyrs are those who died in the name of Christ who refuse to take the mark of the beast.  I think of the disciples, those who died because of their faith.  The rapture of martyrs from this time forward will be included here.  It won't just be the early Saints, all who die on earth.

Sixth Seal: Cosmic Disturbances
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand.
This seal describes what environmentalists try to claim.  The earth will be completely changed.  This isn't like a hurricane, it's much bigger.  We don't know where the illustration begins and where the facts end in these verses.  This year there was a blood moon in the sky.  It's a special astronomical event that usually blesses Israel in some way.  The moon appears as red as blood.
(Revelation 6:1-17 NKJV)

This is crazy.  I lived in California as a young girl and am blown away by all the weather there.  I never saw this before.  We were told California would fall in the ocean but this?

Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift up the nations to You and California.  I pray for Your protection for the innocents in harms way.  Father I pray you will give our country wisdom in choosing presidents in the future.  Help us to see clearly what our role is and elect officials that are qualified.  I pray that You will guide our President.  Open his ears to hear our people.  And where he is unable to understand, help others rise up to guide.  Thank You for all that is good and holy, help us count our blessings on the good days : )  I pray for Ukraine and Israel that You will bless and keep them.  Bless us with unity and strength.

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
10 Set the world right;
Do what's best––
  as above, so below.
11 Keep us alive with three square meals.
12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
  Yes. Yes. Yes .
(Matthew 6:9-13 Message)

In Jesus Name, Amen.

This song is from, "Sidewalk Prophets," with sign language : ) "Keep making me (link)"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A new song (Revelation 5, Romans 3:22-26, Ezekiel 28:13-19)

"Sing to the Lord a New Song"
from our concert in Carnegie Hall 2013
We decided not to do the concert this year.  It was pretty exhausting.  But totally worthwhile.  It was so amazing.  Singing in Heaven's throne room must be WOW!!!

1 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
It's interesting, I always think of those in Heaven as being perfect.  But, according to these verses they aren't all perfect.  We know that satan was a beautiful, favorite angel that fell from Heaven and became a serpent that tempted Adam and Eve. 

Fall of satan:
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
16 “By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.
17 ‘Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor;
I cast you to the ground,
I laid you before kings,
That they might gaze at you.
18 “You defiled your sanctuaries
By the multitude of your iniquities,
By the iniquity of your trading;
Therefore I brought fire from your midst;
It devoured you,
And I turned you to ashes upon the earth
In the sight of all who saw you.
19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you;
You have become a horror,
And shall be no more forever.”
(Ezekiel 28:13-19 NKJV)
satan's biggest mistake was his pride and arrogance.  Somehow he thought he was better than his creator.  Sounds familiar, like something we would believe at times.  Humans are blessed to have lots of people help us remember our true position in life : )  Yet pride and a desire for ultimate beauty is still what some crave.  

4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
John was heartbroken.  He knew he wasn't worthy.  He called himself the disciple that "Jesus loved."  Jesus made everyone feel they were loved.  Now he's been given the task of writing the book of Revelation and he can't.  Because no one is worthy to open the scroll.  He must've felt so hopeless. If only he hadn't sinned.
For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
(Romans 3:22-26 NKJV)

6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, (wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of God Isaiah 11:2) sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Ok, this is definitely apocalyptic literature.  Seven is the heavenly number.  Six is satan's. As I read this, I think about how the lamb was slain on the cross.  He is the final required sacrifice for man's salvation.  The scroll is the deed to earth.  Jesus sacrifice broke the hold on earth and set earth free to be God's again.  God hasn't taken ownership back yet.

A New Song

8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty- four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints
Wow!  They keep our prayers in golden bowls in Heaven.  Very cool!  This must be part of the chain reaction when we pray and praise up to God's throne room.

9 And they sang a new song, saying:

You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty- four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
(Revelation 5:1-14 NKJV)
Verses 9-14 sounds like the Church will be in Heaven during the tribulation.  There are a lot of beliefs about this.  It makes sense because all creatures alive and dead will be praising God.

This was on Godtube.  Girls weren't meant to be disposable people, used, and thrown away.  We are important to God.  Be safe and find family.  That's what God wants.  Nothing's easy but it's worth the effort.  I was very impressed by this:

Teenager's Message to Her Generation (link)

Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift up Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Ukraine.  I pray You will pour out your blessings on these nations that they will not be harmed.  Thank You Father for those in Arabia and others who are willing to keep the middle east safe from harm.  I pray terrorism will be stopped.  Bless all on the side of good and not evil.  Thank You for hearing our prayers Father and saving them in bowls of incense.

In Jesus Name,

Saturday, September 13, 2014

God's Throne Room (Revelation 4, Isaiah 11:2, Hebrews 12:2)

"When things are down, remember to look up"
Luray Caverns, Virginia USA
Canon Rebel t1i
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
2 ...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2 NKJV)
We were on vacation this week in Virginia.  We stayed in a nice cabin by the Shenandoah River.  It was really great.  We had our meals at, "Uncle Buck's," a local restaurant in Luray.  It was fun swapping stories with the waitresses.  New Jersey has a, uh, reputation after all : )    After dinner one night we had a problem with my husband's GPS.  It sent us on a one-way gravel logging road over the Blue Ridge mountains.  We were both wondering if we'd ever see the cabin again!  Eventually we made it.   Then driving home we wound up in Washington DC.  So, as a last resort, I suggested we look at paper maps.  And prayed!  DC isn't the best place to be lost.  Eventually, we got home safe.

We took a tour in the Luray Caverns.  It's amazingly beautiful.  I looked around and wondered if God had a lot of fun creating this place : )  I found all sorts of cartoon characters in here: a dwarf, dragon, ice cream cone, carrot, and the list goes on...

"Dual Image- reflection off a cavern lake"
Luray Caverns, Virginia USA

Canon Rebel t1i
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

On Friday we went to see, "Moses," at the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster, PA.  It was so cool.  They did an excellent job.  Moses stuttered like in the Bible : ) Lots of great music and animals.  I felt like I was there with Moses. There's another theatre in Branson, MO.  

So here we are in God's Throne Room, in Revelation.  Some of this is a little hard to understand.  Like these caverns, we understand the scientific explanation but not the whole reason God created them.  I think He's a master artist personally.  

Chapter 4

1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
The voice must have been loud and enthusiastic.  Jesus is excited to show us what happens next.

2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty- four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty- four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
To me, "being in the Spirit," meant John was having a vision.  Jasper can be red, brown, or green.  Sardius is the color of rubies.  The lamps represent the seven spirits of God:  
the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:2)
God is good and full of wisdom, understanding, counsel and might.  So why should we fear Him?  I believe this means a healthy respect.  Sometimes we get into a rut thinking God is a magic genie and if we ask exactly the right way our wishes will come true.  He's not like that.  He knows our thoughts before we think them.  God truly wants us to trust Him and ask for His guidance.  Some of my worst nightmares came from things I thought I desperately needed but really didn't.  (Like a GPS that sends you in the wrong direction)!  In the Narnia Chronicles, C.S. Lewis wrote that Aslan is not a tame lion.  Our God is not a tame God.  He is power, might, and this incredible love.  He decides whom He will bless and how.  He loves our prayers and answers them as a loving Father.

6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”

9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty- four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
I have a feeling that "the living creatures" in this verse are us.  When we give God glory, honor and thanks a chain reaction happens in God's Throne Room!  That's pretty amazing. The elders fall before Him in worship.  We know that angels exist but we usually can't see them (wouldn't recognize them if we did).  God knows the difficulty of the faith we endure on earth.  We want to believe all the time and know His joy.  But we are tested.  We see and experience illness.  There are bad guys on earth.  Yet we believe God is not dead nor does He sleep.

11 “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created."
(Revelation 4:1-11 NKJV)

This is written in the book of Isaiah.  The prophecies about the second coming are written throughout the Bible.  My very favorite old hymn is, "Holy, Holy, Holy."  It's a great worship song. The words are also in Revelation 4:8 it's one of the common threads in the Bible.  
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me!"
(Isaiah 6:1-8 NKJV)
Here's a song by CentricWorship, Holy Holy Holy (link)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Falling asleep in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22, Psalms 20:7-9, Luke 10:30-36)

"Lukewarm people"
Corel Painter

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Awww good old apathy also known as, "lukewarm people," as God would say.  I'm from the apathetic generation, I can relate.  In college, the Professor asked what was wrong with us.  We had no emotion.  He said, "You don't dress alike.  You don't have any passion.  What do you care about?"  

We all looked at our watches to figure out when class was over.  He saw that which confirmed his suspicion.  "You just want to go home?"  Then he laughed.  

I was born in 1960, after the hippies, during the Vietnam War.  The first television came out around this time.  I remember seeing the war as a little girl on black & white TV.  Walter Cronkite was the top News caster.  I miss just the facts and not so much opinion.  Something in all of this made us shut down emotionally.  We played games outside like, "Hide and Seek."  Divorces became popular and so did drugs.  I drove my Mom crazy because I saw color on the black and white screen hahaha.  I was born an artist : )  

That was before all the electronic devices we have now. It's easy to just tune out and escape all the drama.  But that's not what Jesus wants us to do.  He wants us to help each other out and pray.  I remember after I first became a Christian, we were singing one of those old hymns.  I thought, "This is so boring why do we do this?"  Then the still small voice whispered, "Who are you singing to?"

I looked up and smiled and have sung to the Lord since then.  It's an amazing experience.

The Lukewarm Church
14 “ And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 
Part of me reads this and wonders what it would be like to be rich and need nothing.  Then I realize how complicated it would be.  People trying to steal from you, figuring out the stock market... Nah.  Not for me.  Jesus changed my life, I'm sticking with Him.  He's full of surprises.  The way to get this Church back on track is for them to seek out their first love, "Jesus."  Be zealous after Him.  Fall on their knees and repent, confessing sin (in private is just fine). This verse comes to mind:
7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. 8 They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright. 9 Save, Lord! May the King answer us when we call.
(Psalms 20:7-9 NKJV)
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22 “ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’”
(Revelation 3:14-22 NKJV)
There is still time to follow Jesus.  I just hope people don't miss out on His blessings and majesty today.  He totally changed my life, attitude, anger, and apathy.  I am set free now.  He gave me this amazing joy and then of all things, I got compassion.  I could feel for others.  I was so dead inside as a kid.  Now I have courage and try new things, good, healthy things.

This is what it's like when we do what God wants:
30 Then Jesus ... said:“ A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you. ’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves? (Luke 10:30-36 NKJV)
I'd feel really good after doing something this important : )

Dear Heavenly Father I continue to thank and praise You for drawing the nations to work together in the middle east.  I lift up Israel, Jordan, and Iraq to You.  Please protect Europe from the terrorism and our nation.  Please bless the efforts of those who are fighting the good fight.  Grant courage and strength to the Ukraine Father.  I pray for our country, that You will help us get back on track.  Closing our eyes leads to blindness.  Help us see clearly. And respond appropriately, even if we're just simple servants.

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
10 Set the world right;
Do what's best––
  as above, so below.
11 Keep us alive with three square meals.
12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
  Yes. Yes. Yes .
(Matthew 6:9-13 Message)

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Here's a favorite song from the Newsboys, You are My King (Amazing Love) link