Also, read about the hurtful power of words and how the truths of God are stumbling blocks to those who refuse to believe.
Hosea 13 & 14
God’s Grace in the Tribulation
The Time is Short
The more complete and accurate title for this book is contained in verse 1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Jesus, “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (verse 8) appeared to the aging apostle as he was in exile on the Isle of Patmos. The seven churches representing the church as a whole were about to come under intense persecution. They were to be encouraged by John’s vision of future events.
Even though the book of Revelation contains images which are horrific, it is still a book filled with God’s grace!
Much of the book describes the future events surrounding the tribulation and second coming of Christ. The tribulation will be a seven-year period of time when God will complete His discipline of Israel and bring final judgment on the unbelieving world.
During His first coming, Jesus came as a helpless baby. He lived and died as the Suffering Servant prophesied in Isaiah 53. At His second coming He will come back as the conquering King along with the armies of heaven.
During the Tribulation, God will pour out His wrath in a last-ditch attempt to say “repent … the end is near”! So, although people might suffer here on earth, they would spend eternity with Him. But sadly, many will still not repent, and will spend eternity separated from Him and burning in a “fire that shall never be quenched” (Mk. 9.43). Even though every mountain and island will be shaken and the sky itself will be rolled up like a scroll, some will still reject Him. Revelation 6.14-16:
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! …”
The time is short. May we share the truth this Christmas season.
Today’s Other Readings:
Hosea 13 & 14:
A Stone of Stumbling
The book of Hosea ends with these words:
“For the ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.”
1 Peter 2.7-8 says, “Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.”
In today’s world, you can talk about God as long as you leave it open-ended—“god as you understand him” some say. But when you talk about Jesus as “the Way and the only Way” (Jn. 14.6), you’ll be labeled narrow-minded and accused of trying to impose your religion on everyone else. He is “precious” to those who believe and a “rock of offense” to those who reject Him.
Sticks & Stones
Verse 3, “They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips.”
That childhood saying, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you,” is a lie. Words hurt and can continue to hurt for a lifetime unless we nail them to the cross and allow them to stay there. We do that by meditating on God’s forgiveness toward us and, with God’s help, choosing to extend that forgiveness to those who hurt us. Then we must replace those hurtful words in our hearts and minds with God’s truth.
Pride & Humility
“A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
God resists the proud, but gives His grace to the humble (Jas. 4.6) is Scripture’s constant refrain.
Getting ready for 2018 with a Chance to Win a Bible & Journal
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading and prayer an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible and to sign up for my daily encouragement. This year I’ll be adding Scripture-based prayers to each day’s post. If you sign up before December 15 you’ll have a chance to win a MacArthur Daily Bible and a journal to record your thoughts and those Scripture-based prayers. Email subscribers will also be automatically entered into a drawing for monthly giveaways throughout 2018.
I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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