March 27, 2023

March 27, 2023

Daily Bible Reading

To prevent the frustration of falling behind, which most of us tend to do when following a Bible reading plan, each month of this plan gives you only twenty-five readings. Today we start a few “free days” . We encourage you to catch up on any readings you may have missed this month.

If you have finished the month’s readings, you can use these final days of the month to study the passages that challenged or intrigued you.

Daily Devotion

I go to this portion of scripture, often, if I’m feeling overwhelmed, stressed or frustrated with how life is going. 

Revelation 1(NLT) Prologue
1 This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, 2 who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
3 God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.
John’s Greeting to the Seven Churches
4 This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. 
Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; 5 and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.
All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. 6 He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
7 Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
    And everyone will see him—
    even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
    will mourn for him.
Yes! Amen!
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
Vision of the Son of Man
9 I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. 10 It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. 11 It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. 
19 “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen.  20 This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Revelation comes with an undeserved stigma in my opinion, due to the content of certain “apocalyptic” chapters. But when you look deeper you can find uplifting and amazing truths all throughout the writings of John the Revelator. Revelation Chapter one, I find to be especially fascinating. From beginning to end. John speaks of his exile in the isle of Patmos, and how that isolation and imprisonment didn’t keep him from worshiping and being “in the spirit on the Lord’s day.” This tells me that no matter where I am or what is going on in my life, whether I feel victorious or defeated, if I will praise God, He will be with me. No matter what. God draws near to those who have the foresite to look past what they are experiencing. Jesus draws near to those who praise Him.

John continues to describe a face to face encounter with the risen and glorified Jesus. His description of the power and majesty that the Lord commands, always makes me feel encouraged when I read this passage. The description of a two edged sword protruding from His mouth (which is the Word of God), and God’s voice thundering like mighty ocean waves as He speaks always make me think of the power and authority that God holds over all His creation. If we can remember who our God is, and try to understand the immeasurable power He wields, then when we come up against oppression and opposition we can be comforted in knowing that the sword of His mouth will fight for us. God’s word will never return to us void. He does not lie and He will not do anything that is contrary to what His word has spoken. If we can submit to Him then His voice will thunder before us, cutting a path for us as we walk the path of life.

Lastly and most powerfully to me, God begins to speak to John, telling him not to be afraid of the scene he is beholding. Jesus tells John, “I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”

This part of the chapter speaks the most to me, because it reminds me every time I read it, that Jesus is already victorious. He already won the battle, and if we can find the strength to walk with Him, then we to can be victorious. We are not in the midst of a war, because Jesus has already won the war. We find ourselves in a series of battles as the forces of good and evil fight for the souls of humanity. He is victorious. He has defeated hell, death and the grave. And if we stay humble and submitted to Him then we will also be victorious. 

~ Jesse Sanders