Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My Powerful and Tender Presence

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Believer,

The history of your planet is pockmarked by violence, famine, war, disease, fear, sin, torture, persecution, and death. This was not how We — Father, Son, and Spirit — created the world to operate. The gift of great beauty and diversity in Our creation was broken by human rebellion that resulted in sin (Genesis 3:9-19; Romans 5:12-14). Creation continues to writhe and groan in pain as people abuse each other and ravage the wonderful place created to be your home (Romans 8:18-22).

As the seven seals are opened in the story of Revelation, the created world shudders in fear as judgment is exercised on a world gone mad in its own evil. My people are oppressed, persecuted, abused, and martyred for their faith in Me. However, as bad as the world condition seems, it is not as bad as it could be. No matter how powerful evil appears to be, I AM still at work to preserve, redeem, and restore My people.

Nevertheless, a high price is paid among My beloved faithful followers. Physical lives are lost, good people are abused, and faithful disciples are persecuted and martyred. These problems are why I want you to get a glimpse of the glory they share with Me before the Father. Stephen saw this glory as he died as an early martyr for My cause (Acts 7:54-60).

Those who like Stephen have paid such a high price for their faith in Me are in My presence. Their sorrow, fear, and loss are caught up in the joyous celebration of victory as they share in My presence and glory. I AM their Shepherd Who protects, sustains, and nourishes them. I AM gentle with them and gently wipe away their tears, acknowledging their hurt while welcoming them into a life of grace, peace, joy, and fellowship. They will find the water of life, My never-ending supply of grace and life to sustain them forever.

On the hearts and from the mouths of My martyred people come the most powerful songs of praise and blessing you will ever hear. They acknowledge My control and My plan to intervene when and how it is best for all of My people. Evil will not defeat them. The worst that Satan, his demons, his human co-conspirators, and his oppressive ways can do to My beloved disciples is to send them into My eternal presence. Paul’s words said it well as he faced his own possible death:

I [Paul] don’t expect that dishonor and shame will plague me in any way, but I do hope that I will continue to be able to speak freely and courageously about Jesus, and that now and forever the Anointed One will be glorified and placed above all else through this body of mine — whether I live or die. For my life is about the Anointed and Him alone. And my death, when that comes, will mean great gain for me. So, if it’s His will that I go on serving here, my work will be fruitful for the message. I honestly wouldn’t know how or what to choose; I would be hard-pressed to decide. I lean toward leaving this world to be with the Anointed One because I can only think that would be much better. To stay in this body of flesh — even with all its pains and weaknesses — would best serve your needs. Now that I think of it, I am sure of this: I would prefer to remain to share in the progress and joy of your growing belief. When I return to you, we will celebrate Jesus the Anointed even more.

(Philippians 1:20-26)

If you face persecution today, please take heart. Be faithful no matter what you face. Unending glory in My presence awaits you. If you do not face persecution, remember your brothers and sisters who do. As you minister to them, please know you are doing My work, the very work I do with those who have been faithful unto death and come into My presence.

Despite how things may appear, My people will triumph. They will share in My victory and the conquering power of My grace. Your sorrow, hardship, and tears are not wasted or are they forgotten.

Verses to Live

With all the powerful and sometimes violent images revealed to John, I want you to focus on two non-violent images in today’s verses.

First, notice that “a huge crowd of people, which no one could even begin to count, representing every nation and tribe, people and language” gathered around Me to praise Me with shouts of praise and joy. Persecution and martyrdom could not strip them of their faith or their victory.

Second, notice My tenderness with those who have been oppressed and who have suffered because of My name. Remember this tenderness for those who are mine when you read about the destruction of the wicked, the demonic, and the allies of Satan. I AM both the “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5) and the Lamb Who voluntarily let himself be slain to buy you from the clutches of Satan and his desire to have hell be your future.

After this vision, I [John] saw four heavenly messengers standing at the four corners of the earth. They were holding back the four winds so that the earth would not be overcome by violent, rushing winds blowing over the land or over the sea or blowing down any tree. Then I saw a fifth messenger, coming up with the sun as it was rising in the east, carrying the seal of the living God. He called with a great and loud voice to the four messengers who had authority to harm the earth and its seas.

Fifth Messenger:

Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we seal the servants of our God with a mark of ownership on their foreheads.

Then I heard that 144,000 would receive the seal, that is 12,000 from every tribe of Israel: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

After I heard about these who would be sealed, I looked and saw a huge crowd of people, which no one could even begin to count, representing every nation and tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and waving palm branches. They cried out with one loud voice.

Crowd:

Salvation comes only from our God, Who sits upon the throne, and from the Lamb.

All the heavenly messengers stood up, encircling the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell prostrate before the throne and worshiped God.

Heavenly Messengers, Elders, and Living Creatures:

Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom

And thanksgiving and honor

And power and might

Be to our God on and on throughout all the ages. Amen.

One of the Elders (to me):

Who are these people clothed in white robes, and where have they come from?

John:

Sir, surely you know the answer to your own questions.

One of the Elders:

These are coming from the time of great suffering and affliction. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, cleansing them pure white.

Responding out of a heart filled with praise, they congregate before the throne of God

and constantly worship Him day and night in His temple.

The One seated on the throne will always live among them.

They will never be hungry or thirsty again.

The sun or blazing heat will never scorch them,

Because the Lamb Who stands at the center of the throne is their shepherd and they are His sheep,

and He will lead them to the water of life.

And God will dry every tear from their eyes.

(Revelation 7:1-17)

Response in Prayer

Almighty Father and eternal God, please work in our history today to liberate and deliver Your people from oppression and deliver those facing persecution. Receive into Your glory those who have already been martyred for the cause of Christ. I pray for Your intervention. I plead for You to deliver them and bring peace to our troubled world. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

© 1998-2016, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus‘ is part of the Heartlight Network.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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