A Great Place To See Jesus

Revelation 1:9-17 “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10) On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11) which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” 12) I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13) and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15) His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16) In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”

You know, sometimes we as Christians can tend to get our eyes off of the Lord and on to our circumstances. When things aren’t going so well, we can really start to wonder if this is the way it is supposed to be. Well, here in the book of Revelation- the great Apostle John is in a very rough place- where things aren’t going so well. He had been banished to this rocky prison island called Patmos because of preaching God’s word and telling others about Jesus. But what I love about his attitude is that he still finds a way to worship God and trust Him- even in his horrible circumstances. Just look at verse 9: He says that he is “our brother, and our companion in the suffering, and kingdom, and patient endurance that are ours in Christ Jesus.” In other words- these are the things that can happen to all of us when we follow Jesus.

Now, I think we all like the promise of the Kingdom mentioned here- right? I mean- yes, I love the part of following Jesus that promises me heaven- who doesn’t? But notice in verse 9 how the promise of the kingdom is sandwiched between two other promises: Suffering and patient endurance. These are the promises that are not as easy to swallow, yet John knows that this is all part of the journey. An important truth for us to know is that when you are someone who stands for Christ, there will be suffering, but in the midst of that suffering we realize that Jesus is coming back and the kingdom will come, and with that hope, we can then have patient endurance to overcome.

It’s also interesting to note that in verse 10, he says that it was “the Lord’s Day and I was in the Spirit.” Now, in the early church days- the “Lord’s day” was Sunday- the day that believers gathered together for worship. So, here we see John “in the Spirit” (worshiping) on Sunday- the same day that all of the other churches that he was overseeing would have been meeting. It is so important that we find a way to worship even when we are in the most dismal of places.

John was no doubt longing to be with the other believers of the churches that he was overseeing in that day- and right at that moment- he hears a voice like a trumpet saying: “write to the seven churches.” He then turns around to see Jesus standing in the midst of the churches (Lampstands) as if Jesus is telling him: “I am with them.”

It’s at this point that he sees Jesus, High and exalted- telling him to “fear not!” (Vs 13-17)
And this is a great place to see Jesus for who He is.

Have you ever been in a place in your life that left you feeling hopeless, helpless and lonely? Have you ever been so concerned about you friends and your loved ones, but you couldn’t be there for them at that time in there lives?

Well this is exactly where John finds himself, in the book of Revelation.
And it’s at this point in the midst of his suffering that he worships. It’s at this point that he prays. And it’s at this point that he sees Jesus Christ revealed to him- stronger than ever. It’s at this point that Jesus places his hand on John’s shoulder and says: “Don’t be afraid”

Lord God, help us to always trust you in every circumstance. You are the one that holds everything in your hands. Help us to always find a way to be in a place where we can really see you for who you are. In Jesus name– AMEN

Jeff Brower is a longtime friend of the camp whose musical talent and Christian witness has been a blessing to the camp for many years.

Lent Reflection: Waiting on the Rock For the Blessed Hope

mountain

When I am going through hard times in my life, times that seem hopeless, I wonder: Is God truly my “Rock?” Is He the most stationary thing in my life? Do I depend on Him for my foundation? Do I rely on Him as my protection, as my hope, as my everything?

These are the question I am asking myself today.

When the Bible speaks of God as our “rock,” it speaks of Him as the immovable boulder in our lives. It’s not only that our lives are better with Him, but more to the fact that without Him we are helpless and hopeless.

I guess one of the pictures that runs through my head when I read through these scriptures is – that of a man, who went for a swim at the beach, and moments later, found himself in the middle of an ocean feeling lost and completely hopeless, wondering if he would ever be rescued, or if he would first be overtaken by the waves, or a monster of the sea. Days go by, and it seems like no one even notices him missing. And then desperately swimming, with little strength and shortness of breath, at that last moment, when he loses all hope, he feels something solid under his feet. Startled by it, he turns around only to see a huge rocky mountain in the middle of that ocean.

All of a sudden, a glimmer of hope gives him enough energy to climb to safety. He knows that his only hope is to wait on the safety of that mountain, until the day someone comes from the sky to rescue him. Without that mountain, there is no life. Without that mountain, there is no hope. Without that mountain, there is no protection, only dangerous waters surrounding him. That rocky mountain is his everything.

I think we’ve all gone through hard times, and depressing seasons. Maybe for some of us, it’s been worse than others. But I know for sure, that every time I have been “washed out to sea,” the God of grace has always been my “rock.” Through the “toughest” of times, my Rock is even “tougher.” And as I wait in faith, He promises to rescue me.

Titus 2:11-14 says:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

The grace of God is that very rock that has appeared to all of us – and it brings salvation. And even if there are some hard times in this life that seem hopeless, I know that my Redeemer is coming with the clouds to bring me to a way better life on the other side of eternity, so I stay on that Rock and I wait for “The Blessed Hope” – and His name is “Jesus!”

Father – be my Rock, be my strength, be my savior, be my everything – In Jesus name- Amen

Image of Mount Kenya from Wikimedia Commons