A Blessed Christmas to all of you!
In recent weeks the Lord has given me a fresh outlook and insight into the Book of Revelation that has both thrilled and startled me. I must confess that I generally stayed away from Revelation because I felt rather inadequate to teach it. Given the various prophecy teachers (whom I respect) and their varying interpretations, I found the book a bit daunting. Perhaps you did too.
Some four weeks ago or so, in my private prayer and study time, the realization struck me that Revelation is the only book in the Bible that presents Jesus to us AS HE IS NOW, not as He was when He walked the streets of Nazareth or Jerusalem two thousand years ago in a human body having 'emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant' (Phil. 2.7)
That realization was a life-changing moment for me and transformed my attitude towards the last book of the Bible. Since then, I discovered that in fact, the Book of Revelation is a manual for cutting-edge discipleship in the end of days. That was startling, shocking, to say the least! But as I have pursued that understanding, it has been a thrilling experience. What greater privilege than to be a radically committed follower of Jesus?
Why bring this up in a pre-Christmas post? Because the Jesus who came to this earth, born in a shed, laid in a manger, visited by shepherds and kings, adored by angels is the same Jesus, now glorified and eternally triumphant, who is preparing to come again - not as a baby but as the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
If Christmas is exciting, His soon appearing is far more exciting.
Even a casual reading of Matthew 24 & 25 points the reader to real events happening in real time in our world today. For those who have eyes to see, prophetic signposts are everywhere and we have every reason to be eagerly anticipating the sound of the Trumpet of God and the glorious appearing of our beloved Lord and Savior.
For me, this Christmas has much more to do with the near future than the past. I will joyfully and gratefully celebrate His birth in Bethlehem. I will enjoy my family and friends, the special foods and the warm fellowship of Christmas time. But I will do so with the vivid awareness that 'soon and very soon', as the song says, 'we are going to see the King'. The anticipation of His return enlivens my Christmas. Thoughts of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb overshadow our joyous family meals. And every gift speaks of Him, the greatest gift of all.
This past week at Whole Life Ministries in Augusta, GA, I have been teaching the Book of Revelation from this new-for-me perspective and the teachings are in the process of being uploaded on the ministry's You Tube channel. The first two introductory teachings are given by Pastor Sandra Kennedy and they are followed by five more given by yours truly, to which more will be added until the teaching of the entire book is uploaded. I invite you to view these teachings, particularly if the Book of Revelation has been either mysterious, frightening or perplexing to you, as it was to me. I believe that you will be encouraged and uplifted by looking at it from a different perspective, as I and the congregation at Whole Life have been.
Click the link below to access videos 1 through 7 of the entire series:
If you are not inclined to watch on You Tube, I invite you to order CD's or DVD's of all the teachings by contacting Whole Life Ministries at 706-737-4530.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and friendship to this ministry over the past year. Your prayers and your gifts are deeply appreciated and make possible our continued efforts to spread abroad the love, the grace and the truth of Jesus Christ and His Eternal Word which is life and light to the world. I especially want to thank our monthly partners who so faithfully give into this ministry throughout the year. My deep thanks as well to those who include us in their end-of-the-year giving.
I want to close this message with one of the sweetest renditions I've ever seen of the classic Christmas carol, Silent Night, sung by 4 year old Claire Ryan Crosby. This is precious - be blessed. Click on the photo to watch.
Our warmest wishes to you for a blessed and healthy Christmas season. May the joy of His coming overshadow every celebration and may the anticipation of His return fill your hearts and homes with increasing joy and peace.
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year,