October 23, 2020
Revelation 5:8-10
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.  And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth.”

New International Version (NIV)
                What really happens to the letters sent to Santa at the North Pole?  Asking for a friend.  I asked Siri and she said that they get funneled into operation Santa by the USPS.  Some are answered by people who are interested in helping.  Others end up in a room somewhere.  Some think of prayer that way.  Do you ever wonder what happens to our prayers?  I’ve heard some say they bounce off the ceiling.  They would be wrong.  John actually saw our prayers when he had a vision of heaven.  The prayers of God’s people are kept there in golden bowls of incense.  Our prayers matter to God.  They are not forgotten in a warehouse somewhere.

                When Jesus, the Lamb of God, took the scroll that only he could open, worship broke out in heaven.  Angels and elders sang a new song about the worthiness of the Lamb to open its seals.  What qualified Jesus, the Lamb?  He had been slain and not in vain.  The blood Jesus shed purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.  Remember Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..." This vision shows that the church will ultimately succeed in fulfilling the Great Commission.  The Kingdom of heaven is not about any particular nation but about all nations coming together under our one King, the crucified risen and reigning Lord of all, Jesus. 

                Not only did Jesus purchase people from all over the world with his blood but he will transform us into a kingdom and priests to serve our God.  The people who become followers of Jesus will someday reign on the earth.  Along with Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:17-18) and in his letter (1 Peter 2:9-10), Revelation tells us that Christians are already priests, prophets and kings.  So our future is not just to sit around on clouds in the sky but to serve God and to reign on the new earth. 

                Many have written books about the end of time.  Others have made movies to show what it will be like.  Somehow in all of the fervor over the Second Coming of Christ, we may have forgotten that the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven to the new earth.  As we continue to read Revelation together we will learn more.  One thing is clear though, God not only hears our prayers but he has great plans for us.  God is keeping our prayers for his purpose.  Every time we share the good news of Christ with a person from our country or another, we are preparing for our future.  What we do today matters to God and to the world for all eternity.  
Pray with me:         
Father, thank you for hearing our prayers and holding them in golden bowls.  We praise you for purchasing people from all over the earth to be part of your Kingdom.  Help us today to advance your Kingdom through our prayers and our participation in the Great Commission.  We pray that all heaven will break loose as someone chooses to follow Christ today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 7:9-10
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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