September 19, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 19:1-5

If you watch the news or are on any kind of social media, I’m sure you’ve heard of Hurricane Florence. The hurricane-force winds covered more than 15,000 square miles, and rainfall reached 40 inches in some areas.

People living in the path of the storm had been preparing for days; they trusted meteorologists for updates and experts on what supplies to gather and how to evacuate. After the storm made landfall, you can bet that there was no time wasted with all the arrangements and planning.

This passage today also takes place before a dramatic event. Actually, this point in the Bible is the beginning of perhaps the most dramatic event in Scripture, the Second Coming of Christ. The praise is not just for the destruction of Babylon previously in this book. The rejoicing occurring is resounding praise for God because of His triumph over sin itself, and the upward trend of the rest of history. They are worshipping not just because of past events, but also because of what they know is coming: the second coming of our Savior and the ultimate defeat of Satan.

When we know a storm is coming, we get ready for it. We buy all the eggs, milk, and bread we can get our hands on. We put new batteries in flashlights and make sure we have an evacuation plan. But are we planning for Christ’s return?

Some questions for you to reflect on:

Are you living as if Jesus was coming today?

Are you trusting that the Bible is true and trusting what it says will happen?

What does the Lord want to accomplish through you before His return?

By: Kaitlin White — East Campus Preschool Director

September 18, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 18:15-24

“In you no more”
We see this phrase repeated 6 times between verses 21-24 when describing the future fall of Babylon—from the greatness of the city, to the talented musicians and music that came from it, to the booming economy and thriving families from it.
“In you no more”
Many Christians interpret and believe that Babylon is Rome and the fall/destruction of Babylon makes sense in this interpretation, but I along with many other Christians interpret it as “an eschatological symbol of Satanic deception and power; a divine mystery that can never be wholly reducible to empirical institutions.” (Alan Johnson)
When believing this, you can go throughout history and see entire cities and civilizations that fit that definition that have come and gone. Cities and civilizations that at one time thrive and flourish by worldly standards but are now “in you no more.”
As Augustine once said in his magnum opus, “City of God”:
“the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the witness of conscience.”
And so we can see that same thing in the world today. Much of what society celebrates and glorifies that is not of God will one day be no more, and all we will have left is the heavenly city where the new heavens and earth will meet. Instead of hearing “in you no more” we’ll be saying “in you Jesus, we have everything we were truly created for, want and need.”

What are you looking forward to the most in the new heaven and earth?

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

September 17, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 18:11-14

Revelation 18 is prophecy about the fall of Babylon.  Everything of value – and Babylon’s position is being removed.  These verses remind me of two important principles:

  • Everything we have belongs to God

Sometimes we forget this. We think :

  • I’ve earned it
  • I’ve worked hard for what I have
  • It’s mine

But this isn’t the case.  Everything belongs to the Lord and he trusts us to manage it.  

Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.  Deuteronomy 10:14

The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all it contains, You have founded them. Psalm 89:11

  • We reap what we sow

When we rebel against God and chose our own way, there is a price to pay.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  Galatians 6:7

Babylon forgot both of these important principles. How about you?  Take a moment and remind yourself that everything you have belongs to God and He expects you to live by His rules.

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

September 15, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 18:1-10

One of the themes throughout Scripture is the contrasting of the city of God or other places where God dwells with Babylon, the city of darkness and immorality.

Right from the beginning, we see the Garden of Eden, a place where God dwells, and then shortly after, Babel (Babylon). Eden was a place of perfect harmony with the Lord; Babel was a place of discord.

In Scripture, Jerusalem is the city where God dwells in the Temple, while Babylon is the city of immorality. This is one of reasons it was so painful for Israel to be exiled to Babylon. Not only did they lose their city, but they lost a place where God dwelled and were forced to a place of immorality and sin.

In Revelation, Babylon is shown to be a city that is sexually immoral. This is a place “full of obscenities…” (Revelation 17:4). It is also a place of sinful materialism, and you will read about that on Monday. In our chapter today, we see God’s judgment toward Babylon and a plea from heaven for God’s people to not take part in the sin of Babylon because God’s judgment awaits those who do.

This passage reminds us that sin never wins. Those who sin will always eventually be punished. Those who remain in their sin will be punished for following the kingdoms of the world and will experience an eternity apart from God in agony. Sin brings punishment, and for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord, the punishment has already been brought. If you are a Christian, you had someone else take the punishment for your sin already. Jesus, was willing to come to earth, live blamelessly, and then take our place on a Cross.

Because of this, you who are in Christ will not be punished like Babylon, but will experience eternal life in the New Jerusalem.

What stuck out to you in today’s passage?

By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice