Newness originates with God. “Behold,” he says to us from Revelation, “I am making all things new.” Because God is consistently promising us new, we must be intentional about releasing what we’ve always known and how we’ve always done things, in order to get a glimpse of where God is excitedly inviting us to venture.
As marketplace ministers and leaders, we have the distinct privilege of knowing the God of the boardroom. This powerful God knows how to manifest his kingdom in the most unexpected places and seasons. God has never needed our witty ideas, our professional context, or even our schemes that compel men to acknowledge him. All he needs are obedient vessels who are willing to take God outside of the box of religious and traditional limitations that we have placed him in.
Today is New Year’s Day, the first day of 2017. We’ll hear lots today about newness: new hopes, new resolutions, new leaders, new diets, new relationships, new technology, and so on. But, in fact, there really isn’t much that’s new today, other than the change in the calendar. (And I was just getting used to writing 2016!)
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5 My paternal grandfather was an agricultural extension agent in rural Virginia, long before I was born. In his role, my grandfather traveled around from farm to farm, teaching … Read More
In the last couple of days, I have been reflecting with you on how the “frame” of Scripture helps us understand the Bible, and therefore our lives, more completely. In yesterday’s devotion, we noted how both the first creation in Genesis 1-2 and the new creation in Revelation 21-22 underscore the importance to God of the created world. And if God cares so much about creation, then certainly we should as well.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, I began to consider how our “frame” for the biblical story influences our reading of Scripture. For example, if our frame begins with Genesis 3, the entrance of sin and death into the world, then we’ll read the rest of the Bible as being mainly a story of how God overcomes the problem of sin. But if our frame is wider, then we’ll see more in Scripture than we had seen before. Sin, death, and life after death will continue to matter greatly, but we’ll understand the meaning and purpose of our lives more broadly.
Several times in our life, my wife and I purchased a picture for our home. We liked the photograph or painting and felt fairly sure it would add beauty to our life. Before hanging it on the wall, however, Linda would head off to the frame store. A couple of weeks later, she’d return with the framed picture. I would be amazed by how much the frame influenced how I saw the picture. It not only added to the overall beauty of the picture, but also helped to highlight key colors or themes. It helped my eyes see what they ought to see. Indeed, the right frame can make all the difference.
Three times in Revelation 22 the Lord says, “I am coming soon” (22:7, 12, 20). This repeated promise points to the future, when Christ will come in victory, establishing his justice and peace on earth. Thus, we look forward to the coming of Christ with joyful expectation, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus” (22:20).
As we await his future coming, we are not without the Lord’s presence in our lives. Yes, he is not with us in the way he will be one day. But Jesus nevertheless comes to us in various ways, fulfilling his promise in Matthew 28:20, “And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”
Today, I want to mention something that can seem almost too obvious, but I think it deserves our attention. Jesus says, “I am coming soon.” We respond, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Not just “Come Jesus,” but “Come, Lord Jesus.”
In Revelation 22:20, Jesus says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” In response, we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.” But is that all we do? If Jesus is coming soon, should this truth shape our lives beyond adding a prayer to our repertoire? How should we live in light of the coming of Christ?