In the End

A reflection on Revelation 19:17-21,
the doom of the beast

In the end,
the rage of hatred will be swept aside by
joyful, self-giving love.

All that is false will vanish completely in the
beautiful, blazing light of the truth.

Evil will be crushed under the full weight of
all that God is.

In this wicked world,
the slaughter of all wickedness will be
vast,
profound, and
sobering.
Its end will be
total,
final, and
forever.

Those who have separated themselves from
the Source of all good
will be left as
empty shells,
fit only for consuming flames.
All that is not of God will be
burned away.
All that remains will glow with
the radiant reality of
His immediate, glorious presence. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: God Will Be Exalted
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See the Seed of Faith

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See the seed of faith once planted,
Sown with tears and sacrifice,
Now a garden all around us,
Rich with color, rich with life.
See more blossoms daily open,
Spreading still the precious seed,
Bearing fruit for every hunger,
Filling every human need.

We are part of all He’s growing,
Rooted in long ages past,
Spreading out to fill the future,
Blessing far beyond our grasp.
Daily plant the seeds of kindness.
Sow His mercy, reap His peace.
Share in love’s abundant harvest,
Filling all eternity.

Mysterious Wonders

There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12, NIV)

Imagine the mysterious wonders of that first Christmas night.

A world-changing event, foretold for centuries, was actually happening, and only a handful of the commonest people knew it.

God Himself was becoming flesh and blood, arriving as the most helpless of creatures: a human infant.

This child had been conceived by an infinite spirit being and a young virgin, probably a teenage girl.

Imagine what the shepherds saw and heard and felt. In the blackness of a silent night in the open fields, suddenly a blazing light, a stunning message, and a sky full of angels.

But how would the shepherds recognize this “Savior…Christ the Lord”? What would make Him unique? It would be His shocking lowliness and poverty. They would find an infant, wrapped up like a newborn, lying in a feeding trough.

Imagine yourself a shepherd, on the ground, gazing out into the blackness, hearing only the night sounds. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Shepherd’s Carol
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This Is Our Champion

A reflection on Revelation 19:11-16,
the vision of the warrior Christ

See Jesus Christ for all He is.
He is more than a baby in a manger.
He is more than a gentle healer and teacher.

He is a Mighty Warrior who leads
all the forces of Sovereign God
against the armies of evil.
His enemies are
many,
vicious, and
determined.

He not only teaches and heals.
He judges and wages war.
He is no longer clothed like a peasant.
He is a great conqueror
who wears a robe dipped in the blood of His enemies.
His name is still Prince of Peace,
but it is also King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
He carries not only a shepherd’s staff
but a rod of iron to shatter any who oppose Him.

He rides a white horse.
His eyes are a flame of fire.
On His head are many crowns, and
He treads the wine press of
the fierce wrath of Almighty God.
He is Yahweh Sabaoth,
Lord of all the armies of heaven.
From His mouth comes a sharp, double-edged sword:
the eternal truth and
sovereign authority of the One High God.
With it He will make a slaughter of the enemies of
truth,
love, and
justice.

Satan and all His followers are arrayed against us.
But this is our Savior!
This is our Deliverer!
This is our Champion,
Jesus Christ! 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Psalm 2
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Peace, Peace, Peace

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Peace, peace, peace–
The gift of Christ is peace.
We walk with God, our past forgiven.
All in Him is life and heaven.
Peace, peace, peace–
The gift of Christ is peace.

Hope, hope, hope–
The light of Christ is hope.
In all our darkness Christ is shining,
Leading upward, faith refining.
Hope, hope, hope–
The light of Christ is hope.

Love, love, love–
The heart of Christ is love.
On all who come He pours His presence-
Life and love in holy essence.
Love, love, love–
The heart of Christ is love.

Joy, joy, joy–
We praise You, Christ, with joy!
Our peace, our hope, our love and treasure,
Highest calling, deepest pleasure!
Joy, joy, joy–
We praise You, Christ, with joy!

Our King

David had been the most powerful,
most commanding,
most “successful” king Israel had ever had.
And the Messiah was promised to be
a greater heir to
David’s glorious throne.

But Jesus arrived as the seemingly-illegitimate son of peasants,
with a filthy stable for a nursery and
a feeding trough His only cradle.
He entered this world sharing
the misery,
the poverty,
the shame, and
the oppression of His people.

Maybe that’s how a king should come.

His riches would be the Spirit of Almighty God.
His power would be the unrestrainable love of our Father Creator.
His most sweeping victory would be His death, and
His greatest gift to His people would be
Himself.

He has come!
Receive Him now,
the King of all Kings and
the Lord of all Lords! 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: All Praise to You, Eternal Lord
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Our Wedding Day Is Near

A reflection on Revelation 19:7-10,
the marriage supper of the Lamb

No matter what our current situation,
our future is bright in Jesus Christ.

We are engaged to the sovereign Lord of all that is.
He loves us and
always will.
He has given Himself to us completely, with
all He is and
all He has.

In Him, our future is love,
rich and all-encompassing.
Our future is deep and total fulfillment.
Our future is joy and
belonging.
Our future is unbroken union with the Source of all
wisdom and
goodness.

We are destined to become creatures
more radiant,
more marvelous
than anyone could ever imagine.
Together, we will be the Bride of the Creator,
lovely,
pure,
highly honored, and
magnificent in all His glory.
All the universe will celebrate our eternal joining.

The Father, Son, and Spirit are preparing us
even now.
As our wedding day approaches,
let us keep ourselves pure.
Let us give ourselves to our Bridegroom alone. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: See Christ, Your Bridegroom
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See How God’s Flower Blossoms

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See how God’s flower blossoms
From dry and hardened earth,
And from our sin and darkness,
A child of humble birth;
So small for such a need,
Yet all of love’s long promise
Is in that tiny seed.

The breath of God eternal
Fills fragile flesh and bone
With truth and love and beauty
That glows of God alone.
And we have seen His face–
The glory of the Father,
The flower of His grace.

This flower is now a garden,
The fruit of that small seed,
A promise green and growing,
An Eden yet to be.
O Christ, our heart’s delight!
We rise and bloom and flourish
In You, our love and life!

Hear the Voice of Love

Submit yourselves, then, to God…
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
(James 4:7-8, NIV)

I passed the television and reached out my hand to turn it on. But I felt You prompt me to turn to You and pray instead. I obeyed, and I was glad I did.

I was even gladder when I realized that it was a request from You, my Savior, my Brother, and my Friend.

Lord, help me hear all Your promptings not as demands from a higher authority but as personal invitations from You. May each request remind me of the intimate moments we have enjoyed and the many times You have come and met my need.

Each word from You is an invitation to draw closer. Help me to always hear Your voice as the voice of love. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Constant Love
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You Are Good

A prayer response to Revelation 19:1-6,
the four-fold hallelujah

Father, we join the song of
all the saints of
all the ages:
You are right and good, and
everything You do is right and good.

You are good when You bless and
good when You punish.
You are good when You give and
good when You take away.
You are good when life is bathed in light and
good when all is darkness.

You are good when we understand You and
good when our minds and hearts are too small.
You are good in our abundance and
good in our need.
You are good when we laugh and
good when grief overwhelms us.

Father, through every season
in every situation,
You are good.
You are good, and
Your love endures forever. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: You Are Good
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