Posted in memories, Ministry

The seven seals

I apologize in advance if you ran across this post because you were searching for deep theological insights into the book of Revelation. This two-sided bookmark is on my office bulletin board, and when I glanced at it this past week, it brought back a great ministry memory.

I think my (middle) daughter was sixteen or so when she and a group of her youth group and lacrosse team friends wanted to do a bible study on the book of Revelation. So, once a week we informally got together in the youth leader’s home and worked our way through all the apocalyptic images and symbols. These include the seven seals of a scroll that only Jesus is worthy to open. Their young, imaginative minds delighted in the image of the kind of seals you’d see at Sea World. So I made them each a bookmark with seven seals.

On the reverse side, I arranged pictures of the ten plagues from Exodus. These helped us connect the images of God’s judgment in the Old Testament with these in the New.

Every once in a while, teach kids and youth. It will keep you young. And you will learn a lot!

Posted in Devotions, Lent

“A third of the sea”

2020 “By His Blood” Lent devotion #41

Photo by Aneta Foubíková on Unsplash

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (Revelation 8:9)

Here’s a shocking vision of bloody currents in the ocean from dead sea creatures and sailors. What could this be? Is this an image of war and sunken naval vessels? Or volcanic eruptions that spew molten rock into the ocean, spawning tsunamis that wipe out harbors and coastal communities? No matter what you envision, it is certainly unsettling.

It is precisely what Jesus said would happen. He spoke of wars and rumors of wars. He described earthquakes that would rock our world. As horrible as it might sound, though, it’s just business as usual. It’s not the end. Not yet, anyway.

It is however, a call for faithfulness, endurance and the continued proclamation of the gospel. That means we trust God, we remember we’re in this for the long haul, and we have a message of hope we do not want to keep to ourselves. We have the best news of all of a Savior who has overcome sin, death and the power of the devil by his suffering and death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. Nothing in this world or from anywhere else can separate us from his love.

Crazy headlines of a world coming apart at the seams are supposed to remind you of why Jesus came. They are like big, flashing neon signs telling you to “Repent!” Turn back to God and find your hope and security and peace in him!

Lord, I’m paying attention. Thank you for coming here and being here for me. Amen.