E100: 097 | A New Name Just for You

Something's Gotta Give
"In today’s reading in Revelation chapter 2 to chapter 3 verse 22 John writes down Christ’s words to the seven churches in Asia. The main theme of his messages to the seven churches is to contrast congregations who were faithful in teaching and practice with those who weren’t. Two churches received only praise (Smyrna and Philadelphia) because they were poor and weak. In contrast, the church in Sardis thought they were alive when in fact they were dead." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read Revelation 2:1-3:22; | (ESV)

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To those who are victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give each of them a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. (Revelation 2:17)
Names are important in the Bible. They often had specific meaning and implications in life. In the Old testament we read about God changing a person's name to mark a spiritual change in that person or their relationship with God. God changed Abram's name to Abraham. Abraham means "father of nations" or "Father of a multitude."

This new name that will be given to us by Jesus is not just an identifying tag as our names are today, living here on earth. The new name given by Jesus will mean something significant. It will say something about who we are and how we lived our life. The new name will completely describe us as a person. It will be a unique and special name that no other creature has, and only the bearer of the new name will know what it even is. It won't be an identification tag for others to know us by. It will be an intimate personal name give to us by Jesus and known only in the confines of that personal

E100: 096 | Shining as Bright as the Sun

"We’ve now come to the final book in the Bible: Revelation. Today’s reading in Revelations chapter 1 verses 1 to 20 the apostle John received this revelation from the resurrected Christ through a voice that sounded like a trumpet blast. Jesus tells John to write down what he sees and send it to the seven churches in Asia. Today’s reading describes the saviour’s dazzling glory and how he holds the keys to death and the grave." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read Revelation 1:1-20; | (ESV)

On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet...

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:10,12-18 or Listen to Chapter)
Exiled on the island of Patmos, John has an encounter with Jesus that blows him over, literally. He sees Jesus as a supernatural figure shining as bright as the sun. This incredible sight of Jesus knocks John to the ground at his feet. The sight fills him with wonder and fear.

To be honest, for me, it is difficult to

E100: 095 | Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

Fear of the Dark
"We started this week’s readings with the “Love Chapter” and end with the same message that God is love. In 1 John chapter 3 verse 11 to chapter 4 verse 21 we see that Just as Jesus came to model the Father’s love, we are called to model that same love today. May we be Christians known for our practical outpourings of love, not so that we can be glorified but our father in heaven." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read 1 John 3:11-4:21; | (ESV)

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. If we say we love God yet hate a brother or sister, we are liars. For if we do not love a fellow believer, whom we have seen, we cannot love God, whom we have not seen. And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love one another. (1 John 4:16b-21)
Love & Fear. Two very very strong emotions. It is important to not necessarily just use your own understanding of these two loaded words. It is very important to let Scripture define them for you to understand this passage better.

Love is defined by Christ and John writes this in clear terms a few sentences earlier in this passage.
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:10)
In the Bible the word fear is

E100: 094 | Faith to Action

World's Favorite Sport
"In Today’s reading, James chapter 1 to chapter 2 verse 26 the words echo the popular saying, “Trials are opportunities for spiritual growth”. “Faith without deeds is dead”. But do we live it? Faith is so much more than a belief. Let’s be doers of the Word." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read James 1:1-2:26; | (ESV)

But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. (James 2:18)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8–10)
The result of faith in God is action. It is not just a knowledge thing. If you believe in God and accept his love for you in Christ your deeds will blossom. Christ was all about doing good. He was all action. As followers of Christ we too will desire to do as Christ did.

It is something like a chain reaction that is set in motion when one first finds

E100: 093 | Hard Change with an Eternal Purpose

Time For Change
"In today’s uncertain times we all long for certainty. In today’s reading in Peter chapter 1 to chapter 2 verse 12 we hear that God has given us a sure foundation in Christ through our “new birth” and Jesus assures us of our “living hope” as we have an eternal inheritance with him. We are part of God’s chosen people, a royal priesthood, and are therefore called to live a holy life worthy of that calling." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read 1 Peter 1:1-2:12; | (ESV)

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9)
I am encouraged today as I read this passage.

Frankly I find it easy to rejoice in the rescue found in Christ. Salvation brings Joy. Dwelling on Christ and his rescue of my life fills me with "inexpressible and glorious joy."

More recently I sense I am learning to rejoice in the grief and frustration that have surrounded me & my family over the past couple years. I feel like I am in a period of suffering. It is not physical suffering. In many ways it is small. On the surface it is a financial trial, I suppose, but deeper down I think it has more to do with control and self sufficiency. It is not completely clear to me right now, in the midst of the difficulty, and I am not sure what direction I am to go, but I must say I am increasingly feeling the embrace of peace in it all. Or to put it another way, I am not freaking out about as much as I was last year. (Read Why do I Freak Out?)

These verses spoke to me in a new way today. There is a real and eternal purpose in suffering. My suffering today, the grief I feel and am struggling through has a purpose. It is not rotten

E100: 092 | Jars of Clay

"Today’s passage in 2 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 1 to chapter 6 verse 2 promises us a fresh start – we are a new creation! Our sins are forgiven and we have been reconciled to God. We are called to suffer for the sake of this new beginning, but in the sure hope that this is temporary as we are promised new bodies and a new home. Also with a new start, comes new opportunities, as we join God in the work of reconciliation, so that all may have eternal life." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read 2 Corinthians 4:1-6:2; | (ESV)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

... Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Here in this video below is another incredible parable of our relationship with God. This is a true story of two incredible people. A father and son relationship that is a picture to me of

E100: 091 | I Am Nothing

love & hate
"Today’s reading in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 1 to 13. The Love Chapter – has to be one of the most well known passages in the Bible. This passage reminds us, that the things in life that have the greatest value are faith, hope and love. But love is the greatest. God’s love as expressed through Jesus is the active ingredient in the Christian life, and each of us should desire to practice love as described in this passage in all our daily encounters." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; | (ESV)

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. ... Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. ... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
"I am nothing" ...wow strong words. Shocking words for me. This passage is both beautiful and shocking. Paul's words here are shocking like the words Jesus spoke "love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44). David Sanford put this passage into his own words and titled it Love: A Paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13. This really shakes

E100: 090 | I Can Only Imagine

Danae's portrait in B&W - DSC02072
"Today’s reading in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verse 13 to chapter 5 verse 11 Paul describes the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul’s central message is to be ready at all times as the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. Instead of trying to determine exactly when it will happen, we should focus on being alert and self-controlled so that no matter when it does happen, we’ll be ready." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; | (ESV)

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine ...

Above are the lyrics from a song by Bart Millard of the group MercyMe. Millard said

E100: 089 | I am changing... Slowly ...Daily

green circuit
"In today’s passage, 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 10 to chapter 4 verse 8, Paul describes the usefulness and importance of Scripture in our lives. Scripture teaches us what is true and makes us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we’re wrong and teaches us to do what is right. Paul closes his letter by urging Timothy to continue preaching in the Word." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read 2 Timothy 3:10-4:8 | (ESV)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God's people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)
The Bible is from God. It is the very words of our Creator to us, to me. I have been blessed in reading these words, examining them, learning about them, struggling with understanding them, having them bounce around my mind, and having them change my perspectives, motives, and actions. I am encouraged

E100: 088 | Power is Perfected Through Weakness

"In Today’s reading in 2 Timothy chapter 2 verses 1 to 26, Paul uses four images to help Timothy understand his ministry: a teacher, a soldier, an athlete and a farmer. The thing that a soldier, an athlete, a farmer and a workman all have in common is hard work and a focus on the task. Paul mentions some potential distractions including the “evil desires of youth” and arguing. That was Paul’s message to Timothy and to you." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read 2 Timothy 2:1-26 | (ESV)

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
The books referred to as First and Second Timothy in the New Testament are letters written by Paul to Timothy. Timothy had traveled for some time with Paul and the two grew close. In six of Paul's letters to the Churches which also ended up as books in the New Testament he names Timothy as a co-sender (2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon). At the time of this letter Paul is in prison again. This time he is not under house arrest with plenty of visitors but he is chained like a common criminal in a cold dungeon. It appears that Paul knew that his work was done and his life was nearly at an end (4:6-8).

Paul begins his second letter to Timothy affectionately referring to him as "my dear Son" and writing "I constantly remember you in my prayers" and "I long to see you, so

E100: 087 | I Am Rich, Now What?

Fiat 500 Vintage HDR
"Today’s important passage in 1 Timothy chapter 6 verses 3 to 21, teaches us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. It’s not that money is evil, just the love of it. Paul teaches us that greed leads to strife and arguments. In contrast to this, Paul encourages us to pursue godliness which brings contentment. This is true wealth." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read 1 Timothy 6:3-6:21 | (ESV)

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Timothy 6:17)
About 8% of those living in this world have a car. Granted many would not even have the need for one, but most don't even have access to one, and most definitely don't have the means to purchase one if they wanted it. Perspective is important. I look around in my world and only notice that others have more and very seldom realize that I live in wealth compared to most people in this world.

I continue to be

E100: 086 | Need Wholeness?

"In today’s reading in 1 Timothy chapter 3 verses 1 to 16 Paul outlines the key characteristics God requires of leaders in his church. A leader must be faithful to his wife and have a well behaved family that respect and obey him. Leaders must be self controlled, temperate, able to teach and hospitable. Finally, leaders must have a good reputation." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read 1 Timothy 3:1-16 | (ESV)

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)
Most of the translations of the bible use the word "godliness" in this verse. Some others use the words "piety", "faith", or "religion". Given the varied English words used, the original Greek word must have been a tough word to understand and translate into English. It is helpful to look at the meaning of the original word to more fully understand the meaning of this word godliness. Godliness is not an everyday word and perhaps a little vague, strange, or misunderstood in today's culture. The root words

E100: 085 | Image Bearer

my kind of town
"Today’s reading in Colossians chapter 1 verses 1 to 23 Christ is supreme. He is the visible image of the invisible God. He created all things, he sustains all things and he will redeem all things. In this letter to the Colossian church, Paul corrected their misunderstandings by going back to the heart of the Gospel: Jesus Christ. He chose every phrase of his carefully worded statement to communicate important truths about Jesus. Then Paul gave them the Good News in concentrated form. Anyone who may have drifted from the faith should get re-focused on Jesus." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read Colossians 1:1-23 | (ESV)

So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. ... (Colossians 1:15a New Living Translation)
What does it mean to be created in the image of God? What is the image of God? I am sure it has

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