√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first…7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
I’ve looked for evidence in these second chapters of God’s continuing desire to replace and repair what is worn out, run-down, or broken. That word “broken” has been a part of every post. God created life to be an unending circle for those first two people but they broke the circle because they violated the rule of one unique tree. “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Why two unique trees? I know what the results of that break are and I know Revelation 2 is the answer that repairs that broken circle.
Despite our best efforts here on earth perfection is still lost. God has noticed our desire has changed from being content to know His perfection to the confusion of trying our best to sort out the knowledge of good and evil. “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance…you cannot tolerate wicked people.” I know “that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.” I know “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary…Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. ”
Here’s the Good News from Revelation 2 about that other unique tree. “The tree of life” is still standing, untouched, and we still have it’s promise of that first love. There is repair and renewal for that worn out, run-down, or broken circle. “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Revelation 1:1 This is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must soon happen. And Jesus sent his angel to show it to his servant John, 2 who has told everything he has seen. It is the word of God; it is the message from Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of God’s message, and blessed are the people who hear this message and do what is written in it. The time is near when all of this will happen. [NCV]
I began The Firsts on January 6, 2019 with a big idea from Matthew’s genealogy list. That list was God’s reminder of lives that were sometimes divine and sometimes way too human but they were part of His Story. For that reason that list has become part of my own revelation. The Firsts have all confirmed God works His Story THROUGH people…not BECAUSE of them.
God’s genealogy is still a reminder of faithful and imperfect lives and now it includes their descendants too. That’s us, and we fit right into my description of that list, sometimes divine and sometimes way too human. Revelation confirms God is still determined to make plain the consequences of what man in his own spirit is willing to ignore at the same time His Word is revealing the reality of the power his Son has to change lives and here’s the big truth of Revelation; Jesus wins!
The last of The Firsts – Revelation 1 has coincided with Easter Week. I’m grateful for that because the one part of the many mysteries of John’s prophecy I understand with some clarity is “the revelation of Jesus Christ” has happened in me. The miracle of His Story is that God continues “to show His servants what must soon happen” THROUGH His sovereignty, not because he’s had to work around the faithful but imperfect people in His genealogy. “Blessed are the people who hear this message and do what is written in it.”
Revelation 3:8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Quote from Oswald Chambers – My Utmost For His Highest”
“God does not tell you what He is going to do— He reveals to you who He is.”
So does that mean God is showing me through his opening of doors the paths he wants me to take? I had to ponder the Open Door idea a bit. I do think God is always in charge of doors. Only he knows what he’s going to do and how he’s going to show you who he is. I like the image of a “hand-holding” Christ.
In my life this is how it’s worked. Sometimes I’ve gone through an open door and have discovered new strengths and abilities I didn’t know I had. Christ was holding my hand, pulling me along saying “Come on, let’s do it together.” He was there.
There have been other times I’ve gone through an open door expecting the same result only to find disappointment and even failure. The same Christ was holding my hand and saying the same words “Come on, let’s do it together” with a totally different outcome, but… He was there.
Open Doors are not guarantees, they are opportunities. As long as you recognize those two things you can choose that open door with the best possible information you have, and confidence. Then hang on to his hand for dear life. He’ll be there.