Seven Thoughts – Two

Throughout the Bible, the seventh day is featured as something special, significant, and a day to be remembered. It’s worth seven thoughts.

2. The seventh day tells of the importance of human beings to a personal God; it’s primary message is not of duty but divine commitment. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27 NLT

Seven Thoughts – One

Throughout the Bible, the seventh day is featured as something special, significant, and a day to be remembered. It’s worth seven thoughts.

1. God is the primary subject of the seventh day. We tend to make most spiritual things about us which is why we often stall out in our journey. The seventh day points us to a Creator, Savior and Re-creator; the only one who meets us where we are and takes us where we cannot go on our own.

All About That What?

I feel compelled to complain about a popular song. I realize nobody likes the guy who complains about popular songs. And complaining about a popular song only seems to make it more popular. However, as a cultural atheist I can’t just stay quiet as we all mindlessly sing along to catchy lyrics. Maybe you’ll thank me later.

It’s great to see the recent surge of self-acceptance, positive body image, and anti-Photoshop messages. Of course, I would really like to see people discover their true acceptance, value and worth in God. Baby steps, baby steps.

When I first heard Meghan Trainor’s song, “All About That Bass” I thought it was cool with it’s upbeat and somewhat funny lyrics sending out a positive body image message. And then I listened more closely.

One of the key lines is:
“My momma she told me, “Don’t worry about your size…”

What an awesome mom! But wait, that’s not the whole message…

“My momma she told me, “Don’t worry about your size,
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”

What?!? I had to double check this with my wife. I asked her if she’s telling our daughter to not worry about her size because boys will like to hold her booty at night. She says that’s not advice she gives our daughter. Personally, it sounds like something one of those moms would say as they sell their daughters into prostitution. Is that being judgmental?

Besides being a weird message from a mom to her child, listen to what she’s saying: Be okay with your body, not because you are intrinsically valuable and beautiful, rather it’s because guys like a curvy butt.

One step forward, two steps back.

The Three – Coming to Rest

We’ve come to the end of this series. Thank for taking this journey with me. After this post we’ll go on to other things.

The Bible letter, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, is God’s last message to a dying planet. In Revelation 14:6-12, three angels shout a warning to “those who dwell on the earth;” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a message given in great love because God is willing to go to the uttermost to reach even his most aggressive enemies.

Revelation 14:11 states that those who have completely aligned themselves with the Beast, becoming beast-like themselves, “have no rest day or night…” Why is that?

There is a contentment and peace that comes from resting in God’s love and grace. It’s about no longer striving to prove yourself to others and to God. Those who dwell on the earth do not have a sense of love and belonging with God.

Instead, they are driven to prove their value; to prove their worth and by extension they must prove their salvation. Exhaustion is a status symbol because it proves they are productive and therefore valuable; being tired is a source of pride. Value is found in grades, awards, promotions and raises; on things like homes and cars, even in their children. Those who dwell on the earth wake up saying, “I didn’t get enough sleep.” They go to bed saying, “I didn’t get enough done.” And all day long they were saying, “I’m not enough.”

You see, those who dwell on the earth are prone to worshipping the beast because the beast plays their song. The beast’s message, the maddening wine of Babylon, tastes good to the inner being because it’s all about self – self-worth, self-salvation, self-worship.

Are you willing to accept Jesus’ invitation when he says to you: “Come to me, my weary and burdened child, and I will give you rest.”? Do you know God’s rest today?

The Three – Forever Smoke

The Bible letter, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, is God’s last message to a dying planet. In Revelation 14:6-12, three angels shout a warning to “those who dwell on the earth;” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a message given in great love because God is willing to go to the uttermost to reach even his most aggressive enemies.

A year ago, we went to Florida. It was a nice trip but wherever we went we were waiting forever and ever. We would go to the Golden Corral for supper and we had to stand in a line waiting forever and ever. We went to Universal Studios and just to get in we had to wait forever and ever. After we were in the park, guess what – we were in more lines waiting forever and ever.

So let me ask you a question: if we were waiting forever and ever – how can can I be back home and writing this blog today?

In Revelation 14:11 we read that those who have aligned mind and body with the Beast will come to an end “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever…” How long? Forever and ever.

Take a look at Isaiah 34:8-10. From what we can tell, John lifted this phrase about the smoke ascending forever and from Isaiah and used it to describe what he was seeing in God-given vision. In this case, the place being discussed is Edom, modern Jordan. If you were to go there would you find places still burning? No.

In my last post, I asked you to consider Genesis 19, the destruction of Sodom by fire and sulphur. In verse 28, Abraham sees smoke rising up from where Sodom was. What does this tell him? That the destruction has happened. Sodom isn’t burning or smoking today. It only burned as long as it took to consume it (see verse 15).

Remember that in the Bible, fire is never intended to preserve, prolong or maintain something; it’s always to cleanse and consume. Smoke is the sign that the consuming fire has completed it’s task.

Forever and ever is expression that we don’t take literally; we say it for things that might even just be seconds or minutes. In a sense, what we are talking about is the quality of the experience rather than actual time.

How does that perspective impact how you see God?

The Three – Fire and Brimstone

The Bible letter, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, is God’s last message to a dying planet. In Revelation 14:6-12, three angels shout a warning to “those who dwell on the earth;” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a message given in great love because God is willing to go to the uttermost to reach even his most aggressive enemies.

In Revelation 14:10 we read that those who have aligned mind and body with the Beast will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Lamb. Why fire and brimstone?

What’s brimstone? It’s sulphur. When I was about 12 years old, I went though an explosives phase – rocket engines, gunpowder, etc. It was winter, I was bored, and I had some extra sulphur. Obviously, I had to see what happens when sulphur burns. A snowbank on my parents driveway was my laboratory. It made perfect sense at the time.

Have you ever put your finger in melted wax? Well, there in the snow I had a little puddle of melted sulphur. Kind of the same, right? The thing about sulphur is it burns hot and it sticks. (Cue video of boy running around screaming and then jamming hand into snowbank.)

In Genesis 19, concerning the destruction of Sodom through fire and sulphur, verse 15 says, “When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.””

Do you catch the word “consumed”? In the Bible, fire is never intended to preserve, prolong or maintain something; it’s always to cleanse and consume.

In Revelation 14, God’s last message to those who dwell on the earth, those who have given themselves completely to the Beast and by extension the Dragon, those who are intent on doing evil against others and are opposed to love and life: their path is leading to self-destruction; turn back lest they be consumed. This is a loving last call to repentance.

For those who will feel like the Beast is unstoppable, who will be the target of hatred and violence, this is a message of deliverance. No matter how bad it gets, no matter the circumstances, they will be rescued from this terrible evil.

The Three – Tormented 3

The Bible letter, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, is God’s last message to a dying planet. In Revelation 14:6-12, three angels shout a warning to “those who dwell on the earth;” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a message given in great love because God is willing to go to the uttermost to reach even his most aggressive enemies.

In Revelation 14:10 we read that those who have aligned mind and body with the Beast will be tormented in the presence of the Lamb. Why would they experience torment in the presence of the One who is love, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance?

Here’s a quick overview starting in Genesis 2:25. The Bible says, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Unfortunately, this didn’t last and because of their choices they became separated from God. They began to blame each other and God for what happened and they were ashamed.

Shame is toxic. If you dig into our stories you will find that shame is behind much of the pain the in the world. Thankfully, Jesus is the shame remover. At least three times, the writers of the new testament tell us that the one who believes on Jesus will by no means be put to shame (for example 1 Peter 2:5-7).

Even the author of Revelation, the apostle John, wrote in 1 John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” Deliverance from shame is an important part of our relationship with God and in meeting him face to face at the great reunion.

Sadly, even though Jesus is the shame remover, there are those who hang on or remain in their shame. Paul writes in Philippians 3:18-19, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.”

When we are close to God our glory is his righteousness – his character in us. Not so for those who worship the beast. What is their glory? Shame.

Shameful experiences are very traumatic. When it happens it really is a full on physical torment: our stomach churns, we get tunnel vision, our heart pounds and our face burns.

Those who will not release their shame to Jesus get to keep it all. And in the presence of the Lamb; the slain Lamb; the Lamb of glory, and grace and love; those who worship the beast are in shame to an infinite level. It will be a horrific torment.

My favourite author puts it this way:
”Like Israel of old the wicked destroy themselves; they fall by their iniquity. By a life of sin, they have placed themselves so out of harmony with God, their natures have become so debased with evil, that the manifestation of His glory is to them a consuming fire.” White, Great Controversy

This is key: Nobody is “put” in this position. God destroys no one. Those who are destroyed have done it to themselves by a life of consistent choices – choices that lead the to deliverance from shame or immersed in it.

What choice are you making today?