Sunday, December 22, 2013, 7:11 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with this song:

Jesus Loves Me / Anna B. Warner / David R. McGuire / William Bradbury

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.

Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 10 (quoting vv.5-11).

The Mystery of God

Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

What is the mystery of God? It is Jesus Christ crucified, risen and ascended to heaven; the gospel of our salvation, the hope of heaven; the message of God’s wisdom which he destined for our glory before time began; and it is God’s divine will and purpose for all people. His divine will and purpose is that we be holy and blameless in his sight; that we become children of God by faith in Jesus Christ; that we be bought back for God via Jesus’ shed blood for us on the cross for our sins; that through Christ’s sacrifice we might be forgiven of our sins; and that we, who hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. His purpose in dying for our sins is that we might turn away from living for sin and self, that we might be delivered from slavery to sin, and that we might, instead, walk in his righteousness and holiness, living holy lives pleasing to him by the power of his Spirit.

The mystery of God is his divine grace to us in saving us from our sins; and that through the gospel we who are Gentiles by birth can become heirs with Israel, “members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus,” both by faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives. The mystery of God is the word of God in its fullness; Christ in you, the hope of glory, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Jesus Christ, thus, is the mystery of God from which true godliness springs. In the end of time, Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection, which was for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of souls, will come to fulfillment, and our salvation will be completed when he returns for his bride and we are with our Lord forever in glory.

[See: Ro. 16:25; 1 Co. 2:7; Eph. 3:3-9; 6:19; Col. 1:26-27; 2:2; 4:3; and 1 Tim. 3:16; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25; Gal. 2:20.]

The Word of Truth

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

The scroll, though definitely representing words that John was to prophesy concerning God’s judgments on the people of this earth, was the word of God. The word of God is Jesus Christ, the living Word, the books of the Bible known and recognized as scripture, i.e. God’s God-breathed words, and it is also the word spoken in our hearts by the Spirit of God who is our counselor, guide, teacher, and encourager, who makes known to us the mystery of Christ, and who leads and empowers us to follow in Christ’s way; in his righteousness and holiness. The Word is truth, it is life, and it is full of the Spirit of God. It is alive and active, judging the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts.

Jesus said that whoever obeys (or keeps) Christ’s word will never see death. He said that if we hear the word, and we put it into practice, we are wise, but if we hear it, and we don’t put it into practice, we are foolish, and our lives will come crashing down when the storms of life beat against us. We won’t be able to stand. Not only are we to listen to the word, and put it into practice, but it is to bear fruit (have produce or outgrowth) in our lives and in the lives of those whose lives we touch. We are also to not be ashamed of the word, but we should live it and we should proclaim it. Scripture teaches over and over again that we are to obey (keep; do) the word, not just hear it and speak it. It must become alive within us through us applying its truths to our daily lives; living what we say we believe.

Jesus Christ is not only the Word, but he is also the bread of life. Symbolically speaking, we are to eat this Word/Bread if we want to live forever with God. God did not purpose that our lives on this earth would be for ourselves, but for the glory of God and for his purposes. Our sustenance should not be of the things of this life only – bread, water, air, etc. – but should be that of the living water, the bread of heaven, and of the Spirit of God. We need both physical and spiritual nourishment for life, love, liberty and true joy, peace and safety. The way in which we “eat” the word is by listening to it, accepting its truths into our lives and by doing what it says to do – all in the strength and power of the Spirit within us.

[See: John 6:35, 51; Matt. 4:4; 7:24-26; 13:20-23; 24:35; Mk. 8:38; John 1; 1 John 1; 2:5; Jn. 6:63; 8:51; 17:17; Ro. 10:8; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:21-23; Rev. 3:8.]

Sweet and Sour

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

John was told to eat the scroll (the Word). It would taste as sweet as honey, but would turn sour in his stomach. This brought to mind this idea of bittersweet, i.e. causing feelings of happiness and sadness at the same time (Encarta), or being both pleasant and painful ( John loved the word of God, and so he received the word with great joy, but he certainly did not love giving messages of divine judgment. God’s true servants and witnesses don’t give out the hard truths of scripture or messages of divine judgment because they enjoy bringing sadness to people, but because they believe the Word of God, they believe God, and because they care about people’s lives and their future hope.

Yet, I saw other ways scripture gives us a picture of the Word as being “bittersweet,” when we take it into our lives and we obey its truths. Because of the Word of God (of truth), and because we listen, accept and do what it says, and because we proclaim it to others so that they can come to know Christ, too, the world of sin hates us, and it (they) will reject, persecute and even kill us for our testimony for Jesus Christ and for his gospel of salvation. That makes the Word bittersweet, because we love God’s word, and we love to do what it says, but it is painful to be hated and rejected, ostracized and persecuted because we hold to the truths of God’s word and we don’t deny the name of Jesus. It is especially painful when we are rejected by the family of God and/or by those within our natural families.

As well, going back in thought to why the scroll was bittersweet to John is the fact that the word contains both words of encouragement and of rebuke. Although we love the word, and we love to spend time at Jesus’ feet, taking in his truths, sometimes the words can be joyful, hopeful and encouraging, yet other times they are painful or sorrowful, too. Yet, no matter whether the words are ones that make us feel joyful or they are ones that bring us to tears and perhaps to repentance (contriteness), they should still be sweet to our taste, because they are the very words of God to our soul, and God always has our best in mind.

[See: John 17:14; 2 Tim. 4:2; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 6:9; 12:11 and 20:4.]

In Summary

Jesus loves us so very much! That is why he gave his life up for us when he died on a cross, taking upon him the sins of the entire world so we could be free. His purpose in dying for us is not just so we can go to heaven one day, as wonderful as that will be. His purpose for us is that we be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, away from living for sin and self, to living to please God in the power of his Spirit at work within us. His purpose for us is that we walk with him in fellowship and in the Spirit of God, that we listen to him, accepting his words, and that we take them to heart by doing what the word says, i.e. by submitting to the working of the Spirit of God within us in doing the will of God.

In doing so, we must also be willing to accept the “bittersweet” part of God’s word and that is that we will be hated, persecuted and may even have our lives taken from us because we hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ. God is not looking for part-time and half-committed followers. He wants our all on the altar, with our hearts surrendered to his will and purpose. Because he loves us so much, he will discipline us in order to get us to submit to his will, i.e. he will allow us to go through hardship, pain and suffering to draw us close to his heart. Yet, we should not resist him, but we should accept these trials as from him, knowing that he loves us, and that through these “bittersweet” experiences we will grow in his grace.

Return to Me / An Original Work / September 5, 2013

Based off Jeremiah 31; Cf. Rev. 2-3

I have loved you with an eternal love,
Which I give to you, in my faithfulness.

Keep your voice from weeping,
And your eyes from tearing.
You will be rewarded
With much fruitfulness.

There is hope for you that My family
Will return to Me; live in victory!

Though I discipline in My love for you,
My heart longs for you that you walk in truth.

Turn your thoughts to your Lord.
Choose to walk in His ways.
Turn from your sins daily.
Follow Jesus Christ.

Oh, how long will you wander in your sin?
Give your hearts to Me; be restored within.

I will satisfy ev’ry weary soul
Who repents of sin; is renewed within.

Behold, days are coming;
It will surely happen;
Though I discipline them,
They will thrive again.

I will be their One and their Only God.
They shall walk in white; be in Me, made right.