Living Water

Revelation 7

Revelation 7 17

When I am sad it is hard for me to function properly. I usually get anxious and worried and often I am emotionally compromised. It usually takes someone else to put me back on the right train of thought and to change my attitude.

Revelation 7:17 says this, “For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Often times when we are sad or upset, anxious, mad, or disgusted, Jesus has to Shepard us into a new train of thought. One with a better perspective and one that is better for our well-being. He gives us a new feeling, that which feels like a fresh drink of water and refreshes us. He allows our hearts to be calmed and gives us hope for the future.

This is my prayer this morning, that Jesus would give you hope and that you would find peace in him and his ways. Because he is the Shepherd who leads and guides us through the hills of life.

Jesse Allen

Majestic

Revelation 4

Revelation 4 10b 11

Where are some places you have been that could be described with the word “majestic”? Maybe somewhere like Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, Appalachian Mountains, the beach, redwood forests, etc. There are many things about these areas and more that make them majestic; however, there is one thing that links them all together. That is, their creator. God is what makes these scenes and places majestic.

This is what comes to mind when I read the imagery in Revelation chapter 4. All of the thrones and elders with crowns and different animals and faces and a rainbow, four faces and eyes everywhere. Flashes of lightning and thunder going on in the background. It is all just majestic, and for what reason? On the surface of this chapter I would say it is safe to say it is to illustrate the importance and demonstration of worship. To worship our God in a holy way because He is holy. It says in verse 11 that, “He is to receive glory…. for You created all things”. So, we ought to worship God in a holy majestic way as all of creation does as well.

As far as the in-depth meaning of all the imagery in this chapter you must research what each animal represents in that time and worldview of Judaism as well as understanding the importance of the use of certain gems in reference to objects and people.

Jesse Allen

Pillars

Revelation 3

Revelation 3 12 .png

I live and work in Louisiana and the land down here is often very wet and soggy. Most of it in fact, is considered to be swamp land.  But nevertheless, people build on this land close to rivers and lakes. For my day job I work on building shorefront and boat houses. In order to do so we must use “piles” or otherwise known as oversized telephone poles and we drive them with a machine into the ground. When we drive 4 to 8 of them for a boat house, they create a pillar like effect which can support up to and if designed well over 15,000-pound boats. Each pile is driven with the machine with over 20,000+ pounds of force. That is really strong.

One of the most encouraging verses I can think of in the Bible is located in Revelation 3:12

“’He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God; and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”

The one who overcomes this world and all of its false hopes and temptations and focuses on Jesus will be like a pillar of faith in the temple and in the New Jerusalem. They will have written on them his own name YHWH. This is something I strive to have every day –  to allow myself to represent the LORD almighty everyday by carrying his name through my actions. Although I fail sometimes with this, I learn a little bit everyday how I can overcome my shortcomings.

Today I want you to focus on how you can be a pillar of faith in your communities and how you can carry the name of God with your actions. Also don’t forget to keep looking up phrases you see and don’t understand!

Jesse Allen

Overcome

Revelation 2

To him who OVERCOMES
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.”  Revelation 2:7
One of the phrases I would like you all to notice and underline when it repeats is this, “To him who overcomes”. This phrase refers to specific obstacles in Revelation 2 however this phrase could mean any obstacle in the way of your relationship with God. If you overcome your greatest fears and struggles and rely on Jesus, your relationship with God will thrive.
Jesse Allen

Signs

READ REVELATION CHAPTER 1

Revelation 1 3 road sign

Why do road signs exist? Road signs are very useful for driving and directing traffic and preventing unwanted circumstances. If followed correctly the road signs are very helpful to everyday life. They stop us before we get hit by other cars in the intersection, they warn us of upcoming obstacles and they generally help us know where we are at and where we are going.

“In the United States, the 1900s also came with a call for signs to meet automobile industry growth.Drivers were easily getting lost without signs. The signs that did exist at the time were often damaged or broken. As a result, Americans were becoming aware of a need for signs.”[1]

What do signs have to do with Revelation? Well I’m glad you asked. Actually, it’s in the very first verse of Revelation. In the NASB Rev. 1:1 says this “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bondservant John,”

The word communicated also can mean signified or to be made known. In other words God used an angel to “signify” (use signs, just like we use road signs) to communicate with John, so he could then reveal to “His bond servants” (Us/Christians) the things that have taken place, that are taking place and that will take place in the future (Revelation 1:19), during the time John was receiving this Revelation.  Hence the name of the book.

So, road signs are a sort of revelation of roadways and intersections, just like the things revealed to John in Revelation, passed down to us, are like road signs to living a Christian life. What John writes in the book of Revelation must be taken seriously just like road signs we encounter every day. That is because what John says, sees, hears, feels, and smells in Revelation are warnings, and guidelines on how to correctly live one’s life as a disciple of Jesus. While at the same time revealing consequences for the unjust/ungodly, and rewards for the Righteous and Godly. Revelation exists in the form it does not to confuse its readers (although it can be confusing at times) but to simplify the life of a Christian and not get lost.

Revelation, as we will find out in further investigation, has many different signs of its own resulting in various objects, colors, shapes, smells, images, numbers, places and characters. I want you throughout this entire study of revelation (Not just my part) to write down all the different colors, numbers, images, metaphors, etc. Look them up and question what they mean. Circle/underline/write down phrases that occur more than twice and also question what they have to do with Christian discipleship. You may be surprised how interesting they can be!

Jesse Allen

 

[1] https://www.degemmill.com/history-traffic-signs/

Opportunities

Colossians 4

Colossians 4 5

One of the most important parts of being a human is making empathetic connections. I would describe an empathetic connection as finding a basis of similarity so you can start to build a relationship. These connections are crucially important to the Christian faith. As Christians we are to be ambassadors for Christ, helping people understand and live out the Gospel so they may be in the Kingdom of God. Often, I waste opportunities to do this very thing. But Paul has an easy way of reminding us by using a couple of object lessons in

Colossians 4:2-6 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; Praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Our empathetic connections we make with others are drastically important for when we share the Gospel. I would say Paul is using the illustration of a door and salt to describe how we are to handle people who we are supposed to share the gospel with. The door represents hospitality, welcome, and family. In other words, treat others as if you were inviting them into your home. Allow them to be comfortable. Remember we as Christians are not called to comfort, but to carry our cross (even though it’s hard sometimes). Treat them just like Jesus would have treated you. The salt represents preparedness (that which I am unqualified to talk about but here I go anyway) Salt was used as a preservative in the time Paul wrote this, therefore he is referring to our speech having been thought out and planned. Just like someone who wants to cook a steak but doesn’t know what seasoning they will cook it with, Paul calls us to be patient.

Be kind to those who are ignorant of the Gospel and those who might not live a lifestyle you don’t accept. The only way you will be able to effectively share the Gospel is through a relationship that shows them Christ’s love before they are changed.

Jesse Allen

Together

Colossians 3

Colossians 3 14

It is not always easy getting along with people in the church. When I first became a Christian, I thought after that point it might all become easier and I was just along for the ride at that point. However, God has challenged me to grow and to even get along with people I never thought I could. Has that ever happened to you? It appears Jesus joins all of us together no matter the strife that does and will happen.

Paul recognizes this in Colossians 3:14-15

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body: and be thankful.

What Paul said here is that Love is what “Holds us Together”. That is because of Christ’s rule in our hearts. But we must allow Him to rule. Today I want you to think of the people you never got along with until some Church or camp activity and thank God for them. Maybe even let them know too!

Jesse Allen

Roots

Colossians 2

Colossians 2 6 7

 If there was just one thing, I had to point out in my life that has been consistent it would be my faith. With unpredictability being a close second. Ever since I can remember God has always provided me an opportunity to go to church, VBS or camp. These opportunities I believe gave me the idea “church is good”. So, when I was a teenager, I felt it was necessary to return to church and go every week. It is this foundation I am so very thankful God built for me. I became rooted and strong in faith because of those experiences when I was young. Paul in Colossians 2:6,7 says this,

 “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

What things are you rooted in that you are thankful God laid out for you to grow in Christ?

Jesse Allen

Endure

Colossians 1

Colossians 1 24

I like to listen to audio books. Most of the books I read could be considered “self-help” or “Leadership” books. The one that I have just started in the last couple days is called “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. David is a former Navy seal and an ultra-athlete. The premise of his book is to have a mentally tough and disciplined mind that allows us to push through the worst experience’s life can throw at us. This idea of “Can’t Hurt Me” reminds me of what Paul said in Colossians 1:24-29

 “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh,  I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose, also I labor striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

Here we see Paul bringing up a time where he had been persecuted for bringing the Gospel to the Colossians. Where he endured hardship while preaching fully the Gospel to them. He mentions in verse 27 “God willed to make known the riches of the glory” and also mentions “hope of glory”. I believe that this for Paul was meaning no matter what kind of tribulations, trials, or persecution he goes through Jesus also went through this, and God revealed the mystery of resurrection power to the world as well as the Gospel through Christ.

We will have days, often, that are going to be horrible from our perspective. Now I don’t know what David Goggin’s believes personally. However, if we adopt what I think David Goggin’s and Paul would say is a “Can’t Hurt Me” mindset, we can look forward to the resurrection and the kingdom of God.

Jesse Allen

Anxiety or Peace?

Philippians 4

phil 4 6

I almost always feel anxious about something. When I am working or if I am driving, even playing video games or watching tv, I am anxious. I don’t really know what causes this mindset of anxiety but all I know is that it is there. However, there is one place that it reaches least. That is in a state of worship. However you worship you probably understand what I mean. Singing songs, prayer, or even serving someone can often reduce my sense of anxiety. I think this is because I can allow Jesus to dominate my thoughts rather than my feeling of dread.  Paul in Philippians 4 puts it this way.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I would recommend the next time you might feel anxious or dreadful about something, that you may serve the Lord in some form of worship. Whether it be serving another person, praying, or singing a song that refocuses your center of peace. This is what really helps me in times of need.

 

-Jesse Allen