THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR

Rev.22:16 – “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

This is the very last name in the Bible attributed to Christ, needless to say, I don’t think that is an accident. Christ has appeared in these last days to bring light into our lives and to point us to the glorious day that is dawning on our world. We live in the last moments of the darkness, the glorious day is about to break in upon us. As I was beginning to prepare for my Revelation class I came upon several quotes about the bright morning star. This first one is by Albert Barnes.

“Its place—the first thing that arrests the eye in the morning—might serve to remind us that the Saviour should be the first object that should draw the eye and the heart on the return of each day.”

This connection of Jesus to the morning star reminds us to center ourselves every morning by turning our attention to Jesus. It is impossible to sustain your faith without a consistent, daily time with the Lord. Learn from the morning star and look to Jesus as we begin this new year. The next quote is from jonathan Edwards.

“And he is the fountain of that spiritual influence whereby this light is caused to shine into the heart: he is the luminary whence all this light shines into the heart. And therefore he himself is the daystar, or morning star, that rises in the heart.”

What else can you say, light flows into us as we look to the morning star Himself. Next is Adam Clarke.

“The bright and morning star. I am splendor and glory to my kingdom; as the morning star ushers in the sun, so shall I usher in the unclouded and eternal glories of the everlasting kingdom.”

Clarke says that the morning star is ushering in the glories of the eternal day. All we can say is come quickly Lord Jesus. The last quote is from Matthew Henry.

“He is the fountain of all light, the bright and the morning star, and as such has given to his churches this morning light of prophecy, to assure them of the light of that perfect day which is approaching.”

This light that flows from Jesus is the light of prophesy. As we gaze daily upon the morning star we can chart our course through the turbulence of our new year. The Lord is drawing this age to a close, whatever you plan to do, do it now.

ALPHA AND OMEGA

Rev.1:8 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

What a way to start Revelations, the last book of the Bible. He is the Alpha, the beginning of all things. Everything that is came from the Alpha. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. He is not only the Creator, He is also the source of redemption, healing, deliverance, provision, and renewal. Every good gift comes from above and keeps coming continually. He is an overflowing fountain of life. He is also the Omega. Everything consummates in Him. He will finish everything He has started. He is also the cause, everything exists to display His glory. From moonbeams to rainbows, from earthquakes to volcanoes; everything that is displays his attributes. We see His beauty in the sunsets, His power in the splitting of an atom, His creativity in the smallest things like ears, noses, and fingers. Only the fool has blind eyes, not able to see the glory of God all around. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes today’s verse.

“And when God is so often spoken of as the last as well as the first, and the end as well as the beginning, what is meant (or at least implied) is, that as he is the first efficient cause and fountain from whence all things originate, so he is the last final cause for which they are made; the final term to which they all tend in their ultimate issue. This seems to be the most natural import of these expressions….

And the manner is observable in which God is said to be the last, to whom, and for whom are all things. ‘Tis evidently spoken of as a meet and suitable thing, a branch of his glory; a meet prerogative of the great, infinite and eternal Being; a thing becoming the dignity of him who is infinitely above all other beings; from whom all things are, and by whom they consist, and in comparison with whom all other things are as nothing.”

As we end one year and enter another we can be encouraged from today’s verse. He will lead us into the beginning of this year with His promises of new beginnings. He will also strengthen our hearts as His declaration that He is Omega, He will watch over every day of the year from the first day until the final day to guarantee that is promises will be realized.

WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR VOICE?

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps; And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders; and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.”—Revelation 14:1-3.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOUR VOICE? Has anyone asked you that question? Maybe you were getting over a cold, or like me mumble or reach for words? But the real question to ask is “where is your spiritual voice?” I believe throughout our lives our prophetic voice has been taken away or attempted to be taken. Like a fresh horse out of the gate running for the finish line our legs begin to give way. Our voice fades, loses its strength and grows silent, dreams fade and our echo is no longer heard.

At our last women retreat while another speaker was sharing I was brought back to a very painful time in my life. It was the day I gave up my baby at 15 years old. But this time In the open vision I saw a hand reaching over my throat and attempting to strangle me. Then it seemed I was transported to one shameful moment to the next with the same hand over my throat. Next I saw scriptures began to wrap around each of those times I was being suffocated. In 1974 Dick Mills spoke over me as a young wife at Gods Army with the verse “songs in the night”. Then “for such a time as this” came the day at the kitchen sink as a young mother of 3 boys when the voice of suicide and despair came. “Breakthrough-enlarge the place of your tent came at yet another crossroad. Our voice is taken through depression, despair and offenses as we grow silent in our praise, silent in our intercession, silent in our prophecy. We are to become bearers of the voice of joy uniting with the voice of the bridegroom in us. The god of this world wants our silence! I also saw that when I get angry with people my voice of intercession was taken.

Jonathan Edwards said, “The work of the saints in heaven doth very much consist in praising God. The saints in heaven are employed; they are not idle; they have there much to do: they have a work before them that will fill up eternity.”

Want your voice back? Labor to praise, labor to prophecy and labor to join the voice of others in prayer! The sound of many waters is about us! The sound of heaven wants to give vent through us!

I want my voice to be heard here and in heaven. Our voice is our song.

FOUR BEASTS

Rev.4:6-8 – And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,

who was and is and is to come!”

What a shock all of this must have been for John. One minute he is all alone, in prayer on the beach. The next minute he is caught up into heaven in the midst of a scene that is too big for words. There is a voice like a trumpet, One seated on the throne surrounded by an emerald rainbow, elders, angels, and unimaginable beasts. The sounds and images only manageable because John was “in the Spirit”. Heaven is a place too big and too wonderful for words, nothing in this realm can ever compare.

Today, I want to focus on these strange beasts that John saw. Isaiah had called them seraphim, the burning ones. You think?! These beasts had been in the fiery presence since the day of their creation. Their whole existence has been spent caught up in unimaginable glory. These beasts are seen by John with four faces. I think these faces have prophetic significance and have something to say to us today. Maybe these characteristics portrayed by these beasts say something about us as we spend time in His glory.

First, there is the lion. The lion speaks to us about royalty and boldness. You and I are royalty, reigning with Christ in this life. As we draw near to the Lord beginning 2019 we too are filled with boldness. Nothing the enemy throws at us can cause us to back down. The next creature is like an ox. This speaks to us about servanthood and sacrifice. Our lives are now consumed before the Lord as we draw close. What do you have for me Lord in 2019? I offer myself as a living sacrifice in view of all you have done for me. Now we come to the beast with the face of a man. Man alone is created in the image of God. We are now born again, adopted as His sons and daughters. Man alone holds this place as the crown of His creation, our redemption from our fallen state will bring glory to the Lord forever. The last beast has the face of an eagle. This beast speaks to us about prophetic vision and insight. As we press in to the Lord at the beginning of this new year we are being filled with understanding about the things to come. The Lord has promised to fill us with visions and dreams, 2019 is unfolding before us by the Spirit of the Lord.

I HAVE SET BEFORE YOU AN OPEN DOOR

Rev.3:8 – I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it…

I was praying on the last day of the year in 2017 and I kept hearing this verse of scripture in my heart, “I have set before you an open door”. One of the beautiful things about the Word of God is that it is alive and active. That means that it speaks specifically to us; it also means that it applies to many people and circumstances in our lives. In other words, the Word of God can have many applications in our lives. The first thing I thought of when I heard this verse was that the Lord is giving us fresh access into His heavenly places. I know we always have access into His presence by faith in His blood, but sometimes there are open doors for more of heaven itself in our lives. I believe we are moving into one of those seasons. Here is an interesting comment from Albert Barnes on today’s verse.

“He had given them the most unlimited privileges. The temple of salvation was thrown open to them; the celestial city was accessible; the whole world was before them as a field of usefulness, and anywhere, and everywhere, they might do good, and at all times they might have access to the kingdom of God.”

Open your heart wide as we begin this new year. Expect fresh outpourings and infusions of His glory. This verse also speaks to open doors of fruitful ministry. There are clearly distinct seasons of harvest from the Lord. I believe that is what the Lord is saying, He is giving an open door of fruitful ministry in this season. Here are some thoughts from john Gill on today’s verse.

“This “open door” may design an uncommon opportunity of preaching the Gospel; and a very great freedom of mind in the preachers of it, and great attention in the hearers, whose hearts will be opened to observe, receive, and embrace it; and a very large gathering in of souls to Christ, and his churches; much and frequent preaching of the word with great success, which it will not be in the power of any creature to stop or hinder: now will the abundance of the sea, the forces of the Gentiles flow in, and the nation of the Jews shall be born at once…”

I love those seasons of harvest. Engage in ministry, walk through the open doors of opportunity. This may be a time of unprecedented harvest in the kingdom of God.

“HE SPOKE AND IT WAS SO”

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast”

Ps. 33:9

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We will begin a new page in history living out 2018 in our lives. For some it will be a cold day in January, for others the fire and warmth of the Holy Spirit will light the way and thaw our cold hearts to a brighter and prosperous new year.

The book of Genesis was also a new beginning. Where earth became our home and we saw glimpses of a Savior sent to mankind. God had a plan and it is wonderful. There is a purpose in all that he does, and allowing yourself to be penetrated by His Spirit you too can participate in his purpose through you and in you. Each time God spoke, he spoke creation into existence and he hasn’t stopped speaking.

McClarens says, “When we read even the rudiments of what astronomers have discovered regarding the inconceivable vastness of the universe, the huge dimensions of the heavenly bodies, and the grand scale on which everything is framed, we find rising to our lips, and with tenfold reason, the words of David: “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers: the moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained; what is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou visitest him?” One can hardly estimate the grandeur the emancipating power of the uniting force of that utterance.”

What is he uttering to you in the new year? Reading the word in this new year will bring direction and blessing into your life-without the word you will be lost, and lose your moorings. Praise is something to adorn yourself with on a daily basis, knowing he will continue and finish the work in our lives and his plan for redemption. Last, make an impact in your world, don’t be a taker but a giver….the more you unload his graces onto others he will load you up with more of his benefits. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

THE LAST DAY OF THE YEAR

Jn.7:37 – On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink”.

 

Everyday, from the Lord’s perspective is important. You can see it in today’s verse, the scriptures specify that the Lord’s appeal came on the very last day of the feast. No one knows how many days they have on this side of eternity, we do know this is the last day of the year. For some, today is just a day for another party or another opportunity to get high. Maybe there is something else that matters on this New Year’s Eve. Rather than fireworks and party trays and adult beverages maybe there is something else, something more satisfying. That is exactly what Jesus was saying in today’s verse. For many, this Jewish feast was a chance to go on a trip, not to have to work, and hang out with friends and family. The Lord was calling out that there was something more. He was begging His hearers to come drink from Him, drink living waters that will quench the thirst of your soul. This living water would not only quench your thirst, it would flow out to others. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes it.

 

 

 

“Patience had her perfect work in the Lord Jesus, and until the last day of the feast he pleaded with the Jews, even as on this last day of the year he pleads with us, and waits to be gracious to us….Pity expressed herself most plainly, for Jesus cried, which implies not only the loudness of his voice, but the tenderness of his tones. He entreats us to be reconciled. We pray you, says the Apostle, as though God did beseech you by us. What earnest, pathetic terms are these! How deep must be the love which makes the Lord weep over sinners, and like a mother woo his children to his bosom! Surely at the call of such a cry our willing hearts will come.”

Maybe 2017 was not all you hoped. Maybe you are happy to say goodbye to whatever the last year held. Don’t enter 2018 the same way. Listen to the crying out of Jesus. “If anyone is thirsty come and come to Me and drink!” Just come to Him, take the thirst that was directed at other activities and turn it to Jesus.

MAKING ALL THINGS NEW

Isa.48:6,7 – “You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known. They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’”

It is common for God’s people to believe in the miracles of the past and miss what the Lord is doing, or wants to do, right under our noses. The children of Israel always boasted in what the Lord had done under Moses in delivering them from Egypt. They had a much harder time dealing with the troubles in their own day in dealing with the Babylonians. Sound familiar? All of us Christians believe in the God who did miracles through Jesus and the apostles. Some even believe in the God of past awakenings like The Great Awakening or even Wales or Azusa Street. What about right now? What about the Lord who wants to do something unprecedented in 2018? Albert Barnes pointed out this dilemma in his comments on today’s passage.

I have showed thee new things from this time – From this time I make known a thing which has not before occurred, that you may have a similar demonstration that Yahweh is God. The ‘ new thing’ here referred to, is, doubtless, the prediction of the deliverance from the captivity at Babylon – a new thing, in contradistinction from those which had been before predicted, and which were already fulfilled.”

It was easy for the Jews in Isaiah’s day to believe in the God of Moses, they weren’t quite sure about the God of Isaiah. Matthew Henry takes it a step further, he said the Lord was creating new things as the prophets spoke.

“I have shown thee new things from this time. Besides the general view given from the beginning of God’s proceedings with them, he showed them new things by the prophets of their own day, and created them.”

When the Lord began to move in our country in the early nineties I was quite reluctant to embrace it. I was not so sure about the power that was being released in some of the meetings. I was okay with all of the historic stuff, seeing and embracing it today was a different story. Draw near to God as we begin a new year. Unprecedented acts of God are on the horizon. We don’t want to be cold and miss the new thing that is about to break out.

ENTERING 2018 WITH JOY

We will be glad and rejoice in thee.

Song of Solomon 1:4

 

 

Joy comes from the Lord. Knowing that He loves you and catching a glimpse of His plans for your life will fill you time and again with unspeakable joy. As we close the book on 2017 and open 2018, our hearts are filled with a great expectancy. The Lord has already set in motion everything for His glory and your joy in 2018. He has every meeting set up, every harvest already in place, and every opportunity for sowing already in motion. He has placed hungry souls in your path and equipped you with every necessary tool for the harvest. The harvest of 2018 is secured in His hand, our job is to follow His steps and rejoice. Charles Spurgeon spoke about entering the New Year with joy 150 years ago, enjoy his comments.

 

“We will not open the gates of the year to the dolorous notes of the sackbut, but to the sweet strains of the harp of joy, and the high sounding cymbals of gladness…… We will BE GLAD AND REJOICE: two words with one sense, double joy, blessedness upon blessedness. Need there be any limit to our rejoicing in the Lord even now? Do not men of grace find their Lord to be camphire and spikenard, calamus and cinnamon even now, and what better fragrance have they in heaven itself? We will be glad and rejoice IN THEE. That last word is the meat in the dish, the kernel of the nut, the soul of the text. What heavens are laid up in Jesus! What rivers of infinite bliss have their source, aye, and every drop of their fulness in him! Since, O sweet Lord Jesus, thou art the present portion of thy people, favour us this year with such a sense of thy preciousness, that from its first to its last day we may be glad and rejoice in thee. Let January open with joy in the Lord, and December close with gladness in Jesus.”

Worship and rejoicing are inseparable. If you are having a hard time getting your joy on, take some time for worship. Find yourself some good worship music and turn it up! Turn on the worship on your way to church, arrive early and enter into the singing with a joyful heart. You too will find yourself entering 2018 with joy.

STARTING THE YEAR WITH SONGS OF JOY

We will be glad and rejoice in thee.
Song of Solomon 1:4
I often think of how much my life was impacted by joy in 1994. Before that time I can’t say supernatural joy was a major part of my life. Most of what I considered joy up until that time was connected to answered prayers and fulfilled goals. I connected joy to rejoicing in the work of God, not to God Himself. I was really alien to the experience of joy when everything was going wrong. I was so consumed with the technical aspects of Christianity, I must be doing something wrong if all these bad things were happening. That’s when, as C.S. Lewis once said, I was ‘surprised by joy’. Up until 1994 I never saw joy as a person, I looked at joy as the response to the things God had done. Everything changed when I was deeply touched by the Holy Spirit that summer; joy was on me, joy was in me, joy was pulsating in every fiber of my being. For the first time I understood passages like ‘in the presence of the Lord is fulness of joy’, and ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength’.

As we start this new year I want to start it off with joy. I have no real idea what awaits me this year but His joy is certain and sufficient in every circumstance. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon about beginning the year with joy.

“We will be glad and rejoice in thee. We will not open the gates of the year to the dolorous notes of the sackbut (a trombone like instrument), but to the sweet strains of the harp of joy, and the high sounding cymbals of gladness. O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise unto the rock of our salvation. We, the called and faithful and chosen, we will drive away our griefs, and set up our banners of confidence in the name of God. Let others lament over their troubles, we who have the sweetening tree to cast into Marah’s bitter pool, with joy will magnify the Lord.”
Singing is our vent for the joy of the Lord. Look closely at the songs you are singing and listening to. If these songs are not pulsating with joy you may want to sing a new song. Time is too short to sing the sad songs, the joy of the Lord is our strength.