This blog is for moms who love God and love their children. It is intended to offer encouragement and share lessons learned by moms on their journey to grow spiritually while simultaneously raising Godly children. The main thing is to keep the Main Thing the main thing, then everything else will fall (stumble, tumble, and sometimes bounce) into place.
I hope you’ve
been blessed by this 12-week devotional study based on the first three chapters
of Revelation. I certainly have been. God has been faithful to lead, guide, and
reveal more about Himself through the examining of His Word. He has also used
this most powerful two-edged sword to pierce into my soul and call me to
examine myself. The goals of seeking who God is and who He desires me to be
have been met, but only in part. The journey of getting to know God greater,
developing a deeper intimacy with Him, and transforming to become more like Him
is a process that doesn’t end as long as we’re on earth. Any time we open God’s
Word with ears to hear, eyes to see, and a moldable heart, He will use it to
transform us. My prayer for each of us is that we continue to seek Him, love
Him, obey Him, and glorify Him to greater and greater degrees.
To God, who
was and is and is to come, who is holy, who is Lord Almighty, be glory and
honor forever and ever. Amen.
holy is the
Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come. Revelation 4:8
If you are interested in having a printable copy of this devotion or a book version to share with others, email me at email@example.com
I hope you'll join me next week for the start of a new devotion from James 1.
Scripture focus: And
to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: “The words of the Amen, the
faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works:
you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So,
because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my
mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not
realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel
you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white
garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of our nakedness may not
be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love,
I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door
and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him
and eat with him and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit
with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his
throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Application: I believe we could sit in
this one passage for a full twelve weeks. There is such great richness in it,
beyond what we even see on the surface. We miss the contextual information the
first century church would have had when they read this letter. Briefly, from
what I’ve learned there is a lot in this letter referring to the geographical
location and culture of the city of Laodicea. As He often does, the Lord uses
specifics to an individual or group to personalize His message. Laodicea had no
good water source, where one nearby city had hot springs known for their
healing properties and another a fresh, cold water source known for its purity.
Hot and cold aren’t opposites here, but equally beneficial. Lukewarm, on the
other hand, is useless, as is lukewarm faith. Also, Laodicea had thriving cloth
and eye ointment industries. Yet, Jesus calls them naked and blind. How often
do we have what we need physically yet miss out on what we need spiritually? In
each of these cases the Lord uses what would be familiar to the hearers of this
letter to get their attention. He does the same with us. But even more so, He
uses His Word.
One of the
sentences in this passage that sticks out to me is: “For you say, I am rich, I
have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched,
pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Could it be that when we are most
self-sufficient, we are most spiritually deficient? There is not a direct link
between financial wealth and lack of faith, but there is often a correlation.
Remember the “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle”
passage. Why is there such a connection? Because when we experience success on
our own, we tend to lose our dependence on God. But the truth is, we couldn’t
do one thing without Him. There’s no way for us to even cause ourselves to
continue breathing or our heart to keep beating if the Lord does not sustain
us. Much less get out of bed and work. Yet we take these things for granted and
give ourselves entirely too much credit. Granted, there is choice involved in
what we do and how we spend our time and talents, but it is God alone who gives
us our time and talents. We tend to forget that we have a thousand reasons to
praise Him each and every day. Every breath and heartbeat are cause for
worshipping the Lord.
Oh, that we
would be on fire for God, desire to be filled with His presence, seek to do His
will, and be a vessel to bring Him glory every day! That we would share the
cool, refreshing, revitalizing truth of the Living Water with others wherever
we are. That we would spend more time clothing ourselves with His righteousness
than we spend on our physical clothes. That we would focus our eyes on Him and
see as He sees. And what He wants us to see. That we would open ourselves and
even welcome the loving discipline of the Lord. That we would be zealous and
repent and open the door when He calls out to us. Oh, to experience the
indescribable presence of the holy, Lord Almighty! This is the call He makes
each and every day.
Prayer: Lord, let me not forget what
you have been teaching me through Your Word. Plant it deep into my mind and
heart and transform me by it. Help me to always evaluate my works according to
the fruit they produce for Your Kingdom. Stoke the fire in my heart for the
Gospel and embolden me to live in such a way to bring glory to You every day.
Give me the wisdom, power, and steadfastness to conquer in this world and one
day sit with You on Your throne, to ever bring glory and honor and praise to
Reflection questions/prayer prompts:
What temperature am I? Do I burn for Jesus and
bring healing? Do I pour out the cool, refreshing Water on others with my words
In what ways
do I place confidence in myself and my abilities instead of in God?
Where is my greatest spiritual need?
In what areas or my life and/or ministry could I
see more clearly?
Lord, help me not to shrink back from Your
discipline, but embrace it as You mature my faith and multiply my fruit.
What can I change to hear God’s voice more?
How can I praise God and bring Him more glory
Scripture focus: And
to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: “The words of the holy one,
the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who
shuts and no one opens. I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an
open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power,
and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make
those of the synagogue of Stan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie
– behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will
learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient
endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole
world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what
you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will
make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I
will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the
new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Application: What Jesus says and does is
final. There isn’t a power on earth or in heaven that can undo what He does.
This is how the letter to Philadelphia begins, with Jesus reminding the readers
of His holiness, truth, and power. This is the second letter with no condemnation
in it, but only encouragement. Like the letter to the church in Smyrna, Jesus’
followers are facing trials. Yet Jesus knows. And in comparison to the little
power the church has on its own, the Lord declares His undefeatable power.
we see popping up again in this letter is the emphasis on patient endurance.
Something many of us would rather not discuss. Much less consider praying for.
Instead, many joke about not praying for patience because God will bring
circumstances that provide the opportunity to learn it. None of us want to wait
and develop patience. We live in an instant gratification culture. We aren’t
used to waiting for much of anything. In the world of drive-thru food, instant
microwave cooking, and free two day shipping, we don’t have too many occasions
to cultivate an attitude of patient endurance. Yet, when we examine scripture,
we find that patience is a fruit of the Spirit, a characteristic of love, and a
sign of spiritual maturity.
endurance is not only a virtue, it’s a sign of trusting God. Trusting that He
is still in control. Trusting that He is good. Trusting that He is love.
Trusting that He has a perfect will in each of our lives. Trusting His Word.
Trusting His ultimate power. We may face challenges and difficulties,
experience disappointments and hurts, but God will keep us under the shadow of
His wing. He has opened the door to salvation and eternal life through His own
blood, and no one can keep us out.
It is so hard
to imagine what heaven will be like. There are many descriptions of heaven, but
I don’t think there’s anything that comes close to actually describing what it
will be like. However, the glimpses we’re given through scripture are enough to
keep us focused on eternal things. We will be honored and repaid for hardships
due to following Jesus. We will receive a crown. We will be a pillar in God’s
new temple. We will have God’s name written on our being. We will be in the
glorious presence of the one and only true and holy Lord forever.
So no matter
what you’re facing today – whether financial hardships, difficulties on the
job, family stress, illness, hard relationships, failures, lostness of loved
ones, chronic pain, death, or other major losses, let Jesus’ words be a
reminder that He’s always with us, He knows, and He still has the power to
bring about our good and His glory. We are but a mist and our troubles, not
matter how painful at the time, are light and momentary compared to the glories
of heaven. Let us rejoice in who He is and what is to come!
Prayer: Almighty God, You alone are
worthy of praise. You alone sit on the throne of creation and no one can defeat
You. You alone hold the key to heaven and You alone open and shut doors in my
life. Thank You for Your great love. For Your great promises and salvation. I
hide under the shadow of Your wing in the midst of troubles of this life. Help
me to keep my focus on You. To be compassionate and sincere, but not faltering
in my faith. While it feels like I have so little power on this earth, I know
that Your power is within me to endure as I follow You and proclaim Your name
in all the earth. Show me how You desire me to bring glory to you today, where
I am, as I am.
Reflection questions/prayer prompts:
Lord, turn my eyes to gaze upon Your holiness
In what ways have I not kept God’s Word or
denied His name?
Jesus, Reveal to me those around me who don’t
know You and prompt me to pray for their salvation.
How can I cultivate patient endurance?
How can I not only hold fast to what I have in
my relationship with Jesus, but grow in it?
What area of sin, complacency, or comfort do I
need to conquer by the power of Jesus’ blood?
Holy Father, thank you for loving me as I am and
too much to leave me where I am.
focus: And to the angel of the church in Sardis write:
“The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know
your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up,
and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your
works complete in the sight of God. Remember, then, what you received and
heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief,
and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still
a few names in Sardis, people who have not spoiled their garments, and they
will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be
clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book
of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who
has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Application: Five out of the seven
letters to the specific churches found at the beginning of Revelation begin
with these words: “I know your works…” In previous letters, and in the next
one, these words are followed by encouragement. In this and the last letter,
however, these words are meant to cut straight to the heart of the readers.
There is no comfort in being reminded that God knows everything when we are
I cringe at
the thought of taking these words too lightly. Of passing over them briefly
without allowing God to use His Word to examine my heart. During the last nine
weeks, there have been many opportunities for you and I to open ourselves
before the Lord and have Him purge what needs to be excised and plant what
needs to be nurtured. Yet, He is not done. There is no plateau in a
relationship with God. There are always deeper issues to be dug into and higher
places to go. This is such an opportunity.
many sermons I’ve listened to and discussions I’ve participated in, the
question of how we do church and how it compares to the biblical model for the
Church seems to continue to come up. People have various preferences and
desires for worship style, location, programs, preaching style, and
discipleship. We tend to base our opinions on our backgrounds, education,
church experience, and perceived successes or failures. However, this scripture
gives us a perfect opportunity to examine how we “do” church – both
individually and corporately.
That a church
can have a phenomenal reputation yet be dead to Kingdom works should raise an
alarm in us. It is much easier to look upon other church bodies, other
denominations, other people and point out how they are lacking in spiritual
fruit and growth. It is much more difficult to turn our gaze inward and be
willing to sacrifice any beloved church ministry or way of doing church. This
is the very problem Jesus constantly pointed out in the Pharisees and
Sadducees: they knew the scripture and followed the letter of the law while
neglecting the heart of the law – to love God and people. They most likely had
a reputation of being alive within the larger church, but Jesus called them
whitewashed tombs. They were dead inside.
Could it be
that we are more like them than we’re comfortable considering? Could we be
clinging to a way of doing church more than God’s vision for us being the
church? Could we be pushing the Gospel aside to have great programs? Could we
be failing to make disciples because we’re too focused on feeding ourselves?
Could we be missing the leading of the Holy Spirit because we’re following
rules and regulations according to human teachings? Could we be forgetting the
ends of the earth because of being too comfortable at home? Could we be missing
out on the best God has for us for the good that is before us?
Let us be a
people who hears what the Lord is saying to us and stay alert to who He wants
us to be.
Prayer: Oh, God! Wake me up!
Strengthen me! Let You be my greatest love and the Gospel be my greatest
mission. Make me uncomfortable. Reveal to me if I’m dead in my works. I forego
any reputation I have with anyone other than You. Teach me to walk in Your ways
of righteousness. Remind me that bringing glory to Your name by living a holy
life and sharing Your salvation with others is why I am here. It doesn’t matter
what that looks like. Make me who You desire me to be. Use the unique gifts,
talents, and abilities You’ve given me to bring glory, honor, and praise to
Your name. Thank You, Jesus for confessing my name before the Father. Let me
respond to the worthiness You poured out on me by grace through faith by
letting go of everything that doesn’t expand Your Kingdom.
Reflection questions/prayer prompts:
In what areas or ways have I placed too much
importance or emphasis on my reputation in the world?
What works am I putting my efforts into might
God be asking me to give up or alter?
Lord, by the power of Your Spirit, help me
remember the grace I received and Gospel I heard through Your Word.
Where might my preferences and perceptions of
how church is to be done be hindering the spread of the Gospel?
How can I be more focused on who God desires the
church to be rather than what I think the church should do?
Lord God, I praise You for writing my name in
the book of life.
Father, what are You saying that You want me to
focus: And to the angel of the church in Thyatira
write: “The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and
whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your works, your love and faith
and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls
herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual
immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but
she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a
sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great
tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children
dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart,
and I will give to each of you according to your works. But to the rest of you
in Thyatira, who do not hold to this teaching, who have not learned what some
call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other
burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who
keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in
pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will
give him the morning star. He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says
to the churches.”
Application: I don’t know about you, but
this passage seems to blur the lines between metaphor and literal prophesy.
There is debate on what much in the letter from John to the churches means, and
this section isn’t immune to that debate. Whether Jezebel is an actual woman in
the church, or symbolic. What it means when it says the one who conquers will
rule nations. What the morning star is the conquerors will receive. Instead of
glossing over passages such as this one or diving too deep into trying to
figure out the exact meaning behind each word, I think we are best served by
examining it from the perspective of the two questions we broached from the
beginning of this devotional:
Who is God?
How is God calling us to live?
These are two
of the most important questions we can ask in reference to scripture.
First of all,
I’d like to note once again Jesus starts off His message to this church with
the phrase, “I know….” He knows! When you are loving someone without that love
being returned, the Lord knows. When you are standing on your faith and your
stance isn’t appreciated, He knows. When you are serving and no one seems to
notice, He knows. When you endure hardships, trials, challenges, difficulties
with patience, He knows. When you grow in your relationship with God and
dedicate more time to God-glorifying works, He knows. You are never alone and
you are never unrecognized for your devotion to the Lord.
of course also means that God sees our failures and faults. He sees if we tolerate
sin in our lives, families, or church. He knows if we stand idly by as Satan
corrupts members of the church or church teaching. He knows if we excuse,
ignore, or try to explain away sin. In a culture where people seem to ignore,
embrace, or harshly condemn sin, there seems to be a lack of bold speaking
truth in love. This is the case often within the church as much as without.
Sometimes, there is so much yelling at the lost world for being lost, saved
sinners slipping back into sin are missed. Let it not be of us!
We don’t want
to miss the glaring truth about God knowing our sin: He gives us time to
repent! God’s desire is that we surrender our hearts to be gutted by Him. To
turn from our sin and acceptance of it. To not withhold Him full access to search
our minds and hearts and transform them by His mercy, grace, and power.
Let each of us
be emboldened to love the Truth and love in truth as we speak the truth in
Prayer: Father God, search my heart
and mind. Reveal to me any hidden sin. Any hidden fear. Any part of me I
haven’t surrendered to You. Clean me from the inside and help me to see myself
clearly through Your eyes. Reveal to me any sin in my home, my family, or my
church that I have accepted or turned a blind eye to. Guide me in cleansing
that sin from my life and how to confront others’ sin in truth and love. I
praise You for Your goodness, love, grace, mercy, and limitless power. How
great it is to think about absolute power controlled by absolute love! Holy,
holy, holy, are You, Lord God Almighty. All praise and honor and glory go to
You alone. May Your praise always be on my lips.
Reflection questions/prayer prompts:
is God revealing that I need to repent of?
How can I most effectively praise God today?
Is there sin in my church I’ve been ignoring?
Lord, help me hold fast to You today.
How can I cultivate an ear to hear God more
God, thank You for sustaining me when I get
weary and or feel unrecognized/ unappreciated.
Lord God Almighty, embolden and empower me to
speak the truth in love.
focus: And to the angel of the church in Pergamum
write: “The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. I know where you
dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny
my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among
you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you: you have some
there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling
block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to
idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the
teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon
and war against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him
hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give
some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name
written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
Application: Again, the message to this
church begins as the letter to the church in Smyrna did: the Lord knows. What a
comfort it is to recognize that there isn’t anything out of the purview of
God’s knowledge. Not one thing. There is no pain, no hardship, no circumstance
that the Lord is unaware of. He knows what is going on in our nation, He knows
what’s going on in our job. He knows what’s going on in our church. He knows
what is happening in our families. He knows even the state of our hearts. How
eye-opening is it that He knows when His people are living in the midst of
Satan, and leaves them there?
against what we tend to believe and pray for as God’s will. We want to be taken
out of the difficult situation. We want God’s rescue and healing. While God
does rescue and heal, He also works His will in and through us as we walk
through trials. It is by walking through the fire as we cling to God that we
are refined and our faith becomes stronger in us and used in a greater way for
God’s Kingdom. None of us would choose to walk through the fires of trial, but
when we do so holding fast to His name, His rescue and healing found on the
other side is more rewarding than if He’d saved us from those trials. He is
good all the time! Even when times aren’t good.
Then there are
those times we, or someone we love, live with, worship with, work with, doesn’t
hold fast to God’s name. And we tolerate it. As our culture has gradually moved
away from God, many ungodly values, thoughts, and ideas have crept into the
church. They were so subtle for so long that now they are becoming blatant and
we are shocked. This is the teaching of Balaam that Jesus refers to in this
letter. (The story of Balaam and Balak can be found in Numbers 22-25.) Balaam
agreed to take money from King Balak to curse the Israelites, but each time he
attempted to do so, God put blessings in his mouth. Since he wasn’t able to
curse God’s people outright, he devised a plan of subtle deception where he
used the Moabites to entice the Israelites to mix with them and take on their
false gods and sinful behavior. While we don’t have the details of how the
Israelites transitioned from faithfulness to idolatry, I imagine it was what we
would call a “slow fade” today. One small compromise followed by another, and
before they realized what they were doing, they were fully engulfed in pagan
worship and sin. We are just as susceptible to these small compromises and
overlooking the compromises of those around us. They sneak in through our
music, TV watching choices, things we read, time management, busyness, and in
so many other ways. God calls us instead to repent of any idols in our lives
and conquer over sin through His Word and His power.
Prayer: Lord God, the living, sharp
two-edged sword, thank You for Your mercy! You are always faithful even when we
are not. Your mercies are new every morning. You are slow to anger. Call me to
an uncompromising love of You and empower me to see and eliminate any idols
I’ve allowed to creep into my life. Thank You that You know my circumstances.
Remind me whenever I need it that it doesn’t matter where I live, not even in
the midst of Satan’s throne, but You know and are with me. Sustain me with the
Bread of Life. Keep my eyes fixed on You and on Your Kingdom to come. Refine my
heart to love You will all of my being. I praise You, Lord, for You alone are
Reflection questions/prayer prompts:
How can I better let God’s Word act as a sword
in my heart, discerning my thoughts and intentions and refining them?
How can I use where I live, where I work, where
I learn, where I play, and where I worship to bring glory to God?
What trials or difficulties is God calling me to
surrender to His refining fire?
Lord, open my eyes to any stumbling blocks that
have been placed in my way on my journey of seeking You.
Are there any
compromises I’ve made that are hindering my spiritual growth and witness?
Father, help me evaluate every experience,
belief, and decision based on Your Word and Truth and not any other teaching.
What are You saying to me today, Lord? Help me
to hear Your voice.