He’s controlling all

I am the Alpha and the Omega,

the Beginning and the End,

the First and the Last.

Revelation 22:13

God’s oversees all time—

The past, present and the future—

is a merism, an allusive paradox

He’s using a few words

to represent many.

“Alpha and Omega”

the first and last letters

of the Greek alphabet

“Beginning and End,”

“The First and the Last”

This is God ruling over everything

from first to last and

everything in between.

Three times in Revelation

these phrases are found

in the words of Christ

when describing Himself:

Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13.

Revelation presents an overview

of the culmination of human history

on this earth, these words signify

that Christ is Lord over all

that is yet to come.

He has been Lord over the past,

He is Lord over the present,

He will be Lord over

everything yet to come

This is all

His redemptive plan for us.

Not only is Christ Lord

over human history,

He is Lord over

our future as well—

the things yet to come in our life.

We may not know

what the future holds

but we know

Who holds the future.

Ray Edman notes

Faith makes the uplook good,

the outlook bright,

the inlook favorable,

and the future glorious.

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Give and it will be given

“God is working out

His eternal purpose,

in spite of human resistance

and in the face

of satanic opposition,

but miraculously

by means of them.”

A.W. Pink

Our God has a method in providence

Our Lord can succeed our endeavours

beyond our expectation,

Strange as it appears

He defeats our plans

and we feel the panic

It’s confusing and unsettling;

Then God turns through His hand

He steers us to a profitable path,

But He also can disrupt with

our insufficiency and inadequacy.

God enriches the liberal

But withholding causes scarcity

Generosity brings joy,

Kindness results in prosperity.

The liberal giver gains wealth

beyond expectation;

stinginess can make cranky cheap’s

being tight degenerates to poverty

Spurgeon noted

“The giver receives

larger and larger sums,

As the Lord gives by truckloads

to those who give by baskets.

Where wealth is not awarded

Jesus makes the little much

by His contentment given”

Give us the feelings

of a set apart heart

Let us dedicate every

portion back to You Lord

Our little offering

You multiply exponentially.

Selfishness invests in us,

godliness seeks first Your kingdom

self-seeking is loss,

godliness is great gain.

It’s by faith we act towards You

with an open heart and free hand,

but You Lord Jesus

deserve it of us;

The most we can do

and the best we can give

is a very poor appreciation

of our amazing indebtedness

to You O God’s

In Your generous goodness to us.

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Emptied for His filling

One by one God took them from me

All the things I valued most;

Until I was empty-handed,

Every glittering toy was lost.

As I walked along earth’s highways,

Grieving, in my rags and poverty.

Then I heard His voice inviting,

“Lift those empty hands to Me!”

Then I turned my hands to heaven,

And He filled me with His riches,

Until they’d contain no more.

And at last I comprehended

With my stupid mind, and dull,

That God cannot pour His riches

Into hands already full.

anonymous

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I love the book of Revelation

Over the years I’ve read it over and over.

One time a friend of mine and I read it together all the way through out loud.

It was 1974. We were in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We were both in an internship at a local church.

He read a few verses then I’d read a few verses.

It only takes about 40 minutes to do the entire book out loud.

We had a growing mutual enthusiasm as we read louder and louder.

It is an inspiring account.

There’s a spirit of pathos that washes through you as you read Revelation.

The book of Revelation is a dynamic voyage.

It is vibrant literature and a captivating odyssey.

God wins.

Christ triumphs.

Righteousness prevails.

Satan loses.

Sorrow, sickness, and death disappear.

A new heaven and earth emerge from destructive forces

God wipes away all tears from our eye.

This book fills us with hope!

Revelation says, despite what happens in this life—

no matter how discouraging the world appears

No matter how complicated and knotty our life is—

life in Christ has an amazingly joyful ending.

When heartache beats us up and stresses us totally out,

we anticipate a the brilliant dazzling consummation

Our surroundings are far from the last chapter

There’s a phenomenal new story that will never end.

It’s an eternal story with a message of fantastic purport

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain”

“Give Him all the Glory”

Jesus is on the threshold of a mighty, spectacular return

It’s hard to wait any longer

Please come back right now Lord!!!

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AN ACCURATE AIM

As I drove home after our study in 2 Samuel I mused on the phrase

A FAMILIARIZED SONG 2 Samuel 1:18

Also David bade them teach the children of Judah
the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher

To get the fit of this longing of David, we wonder was David

wanting warriors to be trained in the “use of,” “the bow.”

Exhorting all Israelites to learn a song was not unusual,

Moses exhorted Israel to learn a song he had composed

Now therefore write you this song, and teach it the children of Israel:
put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me
Deuteronomy 31:19

Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the children of Israel.
And he gave Joshua a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage:
for you will bring the children of Israel into the promised land and I will be
with you
Deuteronomy 31:22-23

The use of the bow may mean to write Psalms that have an aim

In an article titled the art of musical writing

The suggestion is presented that we need to make our sentences musical,

We need to have them in right rhythm. To keep the sentences in balance.

David was musical in his compositions.

His aim was to shoot at soothing music

But to gain this aim with the bow, the strings need to be stretched tight.

There has to be strained tension.

The elongated protraction of our inner strands.

David expresses this in the phrase

“through pressure you have enlarged me”

Will we break. Will we crumble.

The rhythms of God’s stretching the bow

of our lives are what tunes are aim for His glory.

Through His tuning God’s Spirit writes through us

His tempo
His pattern
His flow
His oscillations

As we lean on Christ in the mysteries of Godliness

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Getting stripped naked

Ive had a variety of gym memberships over the years.

I don’t go to the gym anymore though.

It’s hard to get my body back out.

Or maybe it’s, I don’t fit in.

I’m prone to injuries.

I’m not going to laundry list

the areas in my decrepit body,

but I’ve got some lose ends.

I’m at a juncture where

I’m unsure how to tie things

together in my soft structure

right now.

My excuse is, I have injuries

and health challenges.

I hate to admit it, but;

exercise scares me,

and so do Doctors.

I know that sounds dumb,

and I’m loath not to explain it.

There’s one Gym

that I’ve been put into

that I can’t deactivate.

It’s God’s Gym.

I’ve seen documentaries

on Seal training,

and special forces training.

The end results, of that kind of grueling rigid gym, that those warriors go through;

is incredible.

I’ve read about the dropout rate, and it is extreme.

But, God’s gym is worse then that.

The Word “gymnasium” in the Greek, means striped naked,

to expose weak areas.

The Greek Olympic athletes

didn’t want an area of

deficiency in there muscle formations and physical tone.

They wanted to be at their best, perform at their highest level,

and break records to receive

the top recognition.

It’s the same with our special forces.

These are elite combat high breeds.

They’ve met all the requirements

of training in a horrific Gym

that none of us want to really join.

It’s just too extreme, too tough,

and too packed with injury vulnerabilities.

Yet these individuals,

these rugged warriors,

just keep training in grueling exercises.

What about this other Gym

that Jesus is calling us too?

This God Gym, where we get stripped of all the pretentiousness.

We can try to get out of it.

We can stay nominal.

We can be pretenders in a

facade of religious externals

and phony hocus pocus.

But a real relationship with Jesus means devotion to Him.

It means God’s gym.

It means rigorous stripping.

Don’t take this wrong.

Sometimes though, it is public nudity and total exposure.

This word Gym or gymnazo, stripped naked, is mention four times in the Bible

“All discipline, for the moment, seems not to be joyful,

but sorrowful;

yet to those who have been (trained) by it,

afterwards it yields the

peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Heb. 12:11

Trained, or exercised as it’s

rendered in some versions;

is the Greek Word Gymnasium

or (stripped naked)

Discipline is self discipline

that we impose on ourselves

to get in shape.

But more than that, it’s God’s discipline that He imposes on us,

to get us toned up.

It’s also called chastening.

When we have children,

some of us are too indulgent

with our children.

It’s called spoiling.

Then some of us are too rigid.

We all know areas where we’ve rebelled against our parents

for a variety of reasons.

Maybe because they were

too hard and maybe because

they were to soft.

I know; it’s strange and weird,

but our reactions can be quirky

and hard to translate.

We can also blow up or rebel,

in God’s gym.

We can get sour and bitter

and chide with His methods

and ways.

The wilderness wanderings

are a perfect example.

God leads the Jews into captivity. They were slaves in Egypt.

Then He led them into a desert wilderness.

Then they choose to wander

in it for 40 years.

They had a choice.

It could have been just a

10 day trip.

But no, they chose 40 years.

Yikes. That’s extreme.

I’d rather jump on into the

promised land.

Sure. I can say I’d of done better.

But would I have made better choices?

Do I excel in God’s gym?

The Jewish nation, even after

they got into the promised land

and out of the wilderness,

still had an entire bevy of weird, ruthless enemies.

Sometimes they even jumped

into bed with their enemies.

Yuck that’s an ugly nasty thought.

Who dives into bed with their enemies?

Who would sleep with a demon?

To actually cozy up, and then suddenly wake up,

and realize your in bed,

under the covers,

with a monstrous devil,

is the ultimate in deception.

We could explore the Jews history more.

Their multiple captivities.

Their many enemies.

It’s in God’s Word.

That’s our Gym

That’s our (stripped naked)

training manual.

Gods Gym is hard situations,

and waiting moments.

It is tests, trials, disciplines, chastening.

It is all to increase faith,

to develop our hope.

It’s to train us to trust.

It’s to teach us perseverance

in God.

It is to train us to listen to His direction in God’s Word.

It is to instruct us in prayer,

which often is talking to God

in impossible circumstances.

Maybe even crying and even screaming out to the Lord.

We are waiting.

We are pushed and stressed

and stretched beyond our limits.

Do we have the strength

to carry on?

How do we relieve the tension?

How do we get rest?

How do we persevere

in the challenge?

How do we develop

a working faith muscles?

How do we increase

the amount of weight

we can lift to be better at our challenges?

Do we want to be a faith warrior?

Do we want to be a leader

for others?

Do we want to be a source

of encouragement and comfort

to others?

Or, are we going to give up,

wash out,

rebel and get sour,

twisted and bitter at God?

If we are real followers of Jesus

we are, ugh,

in His Gym membership.

He demands we rejoice

and exult in our tests,

in our tribulations,

in our being stripped naked

in the Gym.

Thats where patience, perseverance; and,

proven character is developed.

That’s where we learn

unashamed hope;

hope that does not disappoint.

That’s where God’s love

is poured into our hearts

to swell our inner being

to gushing with His beautiful presence through his Spirit

Romans 5:1-5

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God is faithful to His promises

What is our most effective comfort

How do we act when the details

of life are all

devastatingly cockeyed

and crazy making

God’s Word is our source

God’s Word is life to us.

His voice gives comfort

in our affliction,

And His Word and voice

are His presence

In our darkest hour, God,

Our only comfort comes

from confidence in Your ability

to keep Your life-giving

promises to us.

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Let us hear

When we’re overwhelmed

in life’s problems

We call out to God

And He provides our rescue

Psalm 107:13

We have to be sure that we don’t

refuse Him who speaks

Heb. 12:25

For God does speak–

now one way,

now another–

we often fail to perceives it

Job 33:25

Why do we complain against Him

(we may feel)

That He does not give an account

of all His doings?

Job 33:12

We who have ears to hear,

So we need to hear

Matt 11:15

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Jesus is very tender over us

We may feel we are like

the smoking flax;

a rougher spirit

that moves aggressively

might have smashed us

by suggesting too

“put out that smoking flax,

it fills the room

with an offensive odour!”

Jesus will not extinguish

the smoking flax. Never!

He will not quench it.

We may feel we are like

a bruised reed;

a fragile plant whose stems

and stocks are fractured.

Christ’s gestures are gentle

Jesus movements are painstaking

He will never break the bruised reed

Instead of feeling down

by what we are feeling

It’s our privilege

to have Christ’s triumph on us

around us and in us

He sits us in heavenly places.

In Jesus we have all things.

You Lord has given us

the shield of His salvation;

His right hand has held us up,

And His gentleness

has made us great.

Psalms 18:35

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Jesus knows us

We are graven on the palms

of His hands;

We are never out of His mind.

All our knowledge of Him

depends on His sustained initiative

in knowing us.

Christ is clear on that point.

We have not chosen Him.

He has chosen us.

We didn’t find Him.

He wasn’t lost.

How can a person

who is everywhere be lost.

No, He’s always present.

He found us.

We know Him because

He first knew us

and continues to know us.

He knows us as a friend

He wants our intimate friendship. . . .

There is tremendous relief

in knowing that His love to us

is utterly realistic.

His love for us is based

at every point on prior knowledge

of the worst about us.

There is no discovery by him

about us that surprises Him.

He is never disillusioned about us.

We can openly walk in His light

and confess all to Him.

He already knows it all.

Selected

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