May 11, 2023
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING:
“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!
The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.”
TODAY’S REFLECTION ON GOD’S WORD:
I believe it is time, mighty ones of God, to put the world on notice. Know that when I speak of “the world” I am speaking of the people who are living on this planet. I am speaking of the global community consisting of disparate and desparate children. From east to west and north to south, we all are children. We are someone’s child even though they may have long since passed from life to death and to “what comes next.” Even as a parent, it should be apparent that we who are alive today (in whatever condition we find ourselves) are children of the world. Oh, that we would be able to humble ourselves and accept that we are all children of God. We are given the opportunity, the duty and yes, the responsibility of nurturing the next generation of children who are coming into the world. We are intended to be “on mission” and “with purpose” to shepherd, steward, nurture and cultivate them to transition from merely being “children of the world” (which is broken and can never be repaired but brought along with semblances of healing) to being “children of God and the Kingdom of God.” As I mentioned the urging of Jesus to His disciples to not stop the children from coming to Him for blessing, nor for their caregivers, He was also including the disciples as that generation of children. Were they not new to the faith? Were they not being cultivated in a community of spirit, truth and righteousness? Were they not being prepared to be spiritual parents to a coming generation undefined by age, race, ethnicity, creed, religion, philosophy, history, geography, finance, possessions and gender? Were they not all sinners in search of salvation with many not knowing from where and from whom that salvation which strengthens and satisfies comes? Paul captured this when he taught “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” He included himself in this paradigm claiming that he was chief sinner among sinners. Yet, God, His own Son not sparing, found it worthy to extend His healing, compassionate and forgiving mercy to restore Paul (the former Saul of Tarsus) back into the place for which he had been intended. What was that place? It was none other than to bring glory to God the Father of Heaven and earth and to bring God’s children back into the awareness of who they were and whose they were. That ministry of mission and purpose has not changed since the beginning. That ministry must be maintained to the close of the “Age” when Jesus promises to return in full revelation of judgment, justice and the execution of God’s will inevitably done on earth as it is in Heaven.
So now, as we are gathered together with John the Elder and Presbyter of the Churches of Asia Minor in the heavenly court of praise which exists before the promise, we are given the opportunity to witness what that looks like in Heaven so we can hold ourselves accountable on earth. We, who are God’s children because we claim it as our identity and bear testimony to it with our lives (even in our imperfection) seeking “to be perfect as our as our Father in Heaven is perfect,” are a part of what Paul identified as “…so great a cloud of witnesses which surround….” It is the very Spirit of God who has made us that is poured out upon us when we confessed our humanity and professed our unity with God as the something to be sought. That same Spirit which Jesus promised to us as the edict of the Lord of the Messianic Kingdom on earth identifies us as citizens of a kingdom not of this world eternal in the heavens where neither moth nor rust can consume nor thief can break in and steal or kill or destroy. And we are to be gathered on earth in the midst of “the world,” as the angels and elders were gathered around the Throne in the midst of Heaven. They were gathered by the thousands, thousands of thousands, ten thousands by ten thousands in the harmony and singularity of purpose: to bring praise to God before the promised fulfillment of His will was complete. We dare not think that Jesus life, death and resurrection was the completed fulfillment of His Will. No, that is yet to come. What we are blessed with and benefit from is the nurture of our Heavenly Father who, through His Son who is Jesus the Christ, has restored our vision so that we may see and perceive, our hearing so that we may listen and understand, our hearts so that we may live and love one another, our minds so that we may consider and confirm what is true and our souls so that we may be the dwelling place of God’s Spirit before all the world. There in Heaven we are given that glimpse alongside of John as to what the completed fulfillment of God’s will looks like. It is the circling of all life which has the breath of God in it to share together in worship and praise of God Almighty. In all they say and in all they do, it is focused solely on giving the praise of thanksgiving for His justice to be done everywhere. In that moment there is no sending out but gathering in. Drawn like a moth to the flame yet never consumed, so are the witnesses of the faith, hope and love which defines God’s authentic relationship with us. It is our true religion free from the burden of this world’s religion. And what is this world’s religion? It is nothing less, and thus nothing more, than serving the unholy trinity of “Me, Myself and I.” Satan, the Accuser, lifts up this demonic trinitarian view to its virtual nth degree. What is not so easily seen is that it draws all eyes to the “one” who is the true focus of that false religion: Satan himself. In that place where such religion and worship exists there is only the taking in and never the giving out. Satan consumes all those who dwell in “that midst” and feeds them all with the lie of “there is more.” This is why idolatry in all its forms is an anethma to the truth. The prophets declare the Word of God which states clearly the invalidity of false worship. It focuses on things that cannot satisfy, cannot provide, cannot sustain, cannot give life and cannot give hope. What idols do by default is consume the time, energy, efforts and resources of their adherents with the promise of nothing. And what is the consequence of nothing? It is chaos, eternal death and an emptiness that can never be sated. God has redeemed us from such chaos from the beginning of time. But we, like the children of Israel enslaved by and then freed from Egypt, profess the preference of those good old days because “that which is promised and not yet revealed” is less worthy than sustenance in a land that only consumes without promise. So bad was this identity and mentality among them that even when the bounty of the Promised Land was laid out before them, they would not believe it could be theirs. And for their faithlessness to the call, they wandered for an entire generation in the wilderness of Sin just on the border of the land of Plenty. They were worse than children standing before the proverbial candy store pressing their hands and faces to the window looking in but never able to enter in. They no longer looked ahead but only behind. Their desire for the security what was tangible blinded their eyes so they could not see the goodness of God. It deafened their ears so they could hear only the echoes of their own grumblings instead of listening to the truth of faith. It brought only death to those who would not turn their eyes toward God and give thanks saying “Worthy is the Lamb whose sacrifice has made us free to be the children of Almighty God.”
Mighty ones, this is the word which needs to be espoused to the world around us. We may well be coming to the end of “that generation.” The completed fulfillment may be at hand but no one except the Father knows the day and the hour of its coming. We are called to live in praise of God visibly and tangibly before all nations so that they may see and perceive, listen and understand, open their heart and receive, bare their soul and be filled with the indwelling of God’s Spirit. If we do not, then are we any better than those who have gone before us into the darkness in which no light of hope exists except the light of judgment which will dawn over us all. What will that light show about us? Let our worship be true and our service be made complete as we gather together not on “this or that mountain” but in spirit and in truth. -Selah.
A PRAYER FOR TODAY:
You are our God and we shall be Your people in spirit and in truth. Continue to dwell among us. Let the revelation by Your Holy Spirit inspire us to greater service in a more refined identity. We do not live as ourselves for ourselves. Rather, we live in Christ as He lives in us. We declare it with all the elders and angels in Heaven, saying “Holy, holy, holy is He who was and is and is to come.” In Jesus’ name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.