Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Final Prayer of the Bible Answered

What is the final prayer of the Bible? Well, we read in Revelation 22:20 Jesus has just said: Yes, I am coming soon. The final prayer of the Bible then prays for the final words of Jesus to be answered: Amen. Come Lord Jesus (22.20b). That is the last prayer we read of in Scripture: Come Lord Jesus.

Before we look at how the prayer is answered, notice something that is often lacking in prayers today. Today we say Amen (so be it, it is truth) at the end of our prayers but the people of God must also learn to say Amen at the beginning of their prayers. In other words, they must take the words and promises of God, agree with them, believe in them, and then pray them back to God. That is why Amen in verse 20 is at the beginning of the prayer. Our prayers would then go something like this: Amen. Give me strength to stand in the midst of difficulty - and may I love you and give you glory. We start with God's Word and then believe in faith God will be found faithful and gracious.

If verse 20 is the final prayer of God's people, what happens in verse 21? Verse 21 is God's answer to the prayer of His people. The book of Revelation has been about the challenges and opposition God's people will face, all the while having the picture of the throne of the Lamb in the background. God reigns and rules. So, the final prayer is for Jesus to come and take them to glory and God's answer is: the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.

Absolutely amazing! What is God saying? My grace, my undeserved kindness will carry you all the days of your life and when I come, you will be with me. Why will you continue to serve God despite opposition? God's grace. Why will you not deny Jesus if you are truly saved? God's grace. Why will you love God more than the world? God's grace. Why will the beast of the sea and the earth and the dragon not have the final victory? God's grace. Why will God's Word and the gospel go throughout the nations? God's grace. Why will you banquet at the table of God? God's grace.

The final verse in the Bible is an answer to prayer. In this answer God reminds His people why they stand - all because of God's grace.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dry Eyes

Revelation 21.4: He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Contrary to much of the teaching of North American churches, Jesus did not die to make us happy. Jesus died to glorify His Father through the salvation of God's chosen people. Jesus and the apostles are unmistakably clear that those who follow Jesus will suffer - their lives will be filled with tears.

That is why Revelation 21.4 is so instructive and encouraging to the believer. A believer's earthly life will be filled with tears - we ought to expect death and mourning and crying and pain - that is the inevitable result of the Fall. Our lives, especially Christians, will be filled with a unique pain as we watch rebellion all around us - and experience it within us.

If there are tears in your life, that is part of the life God has called you to live. He promises to sustain you, comfort and help you but not take away the tears. Not yet.

When we pass from this life the first act of God we read in the new heaven and earth will be He will wipe every tear from their eyes. It is comforting that God's knows our tears here on earth and when we enter glory, he stoops, wipes and ushers you into unimaginable glory and pleasure and delight - into the very dwelling of God.

In this life, we will find our eyes moist - as we suffer personally and as we weep with those who weep. But praise God one day all results of sin will be done away with and God will give us dry eyes for all eternity.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Where To Begin Asking for Help?

Psalm 121:1-2: I lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Going through difficult times almost always causes us to look for answers - why is this taking place? And we think that once we have the answer, we will gain perspective and be able to live through our trial or difficulty.

Psalm 121 teaches us that before we look for answers, we need to ask a question. In other words, when you are suffering, begin with asking a question, not looking for an answer.

So what question should we ask? The psalmist is so simple and profound: where does my help come from? There it is - the question. How does that help?

First, when you ask that question, your eyes are lifted from your issues and troubles, which can be overwhelming. The psalmist lifted his eyes up to the hills - something bigger than his problems. God - the Maker of heaven and earth - is able to help. This puts our issues in proper perspective.

Second, the answer was found in an unexpected place: where instead of why. When we are grieving, we often begin with why - we want to know God's ways. The psalmist begins with where - he wants to know the person of God. That is a big difference. If you are to read through the Psalm, you will find his comfort in the person and promises of God: he who watches over you will not slumber or sleep, he will be your shade at your right hand, he will keep you from all harm.

We need to train our hearts and minds to ask the right questions when we are in need of help and we do so by asking where instead of why. And our hearts will find the Maker of heaven and earth, a person whose promises and strength we may find our rest.