Forgive my sports metaphor, but last night as I write this, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series after 108 years. That's a long time and a lot of disappointments for Cub fans to hold on to hope, but the dream came true!
This world does not understand God's grace, even though its meaning is powerfully displayed in the cross of Christ. Thank God for his strange book called Revelation, that is so much more than a timetable or another “Da Vinci Code” novel. We are reading “the last chapter” and it is hope – not wishful thinking – but God's answer that defeats evil forever!
When the Apostle John experienced God’s revelation on Patmos, he was living in a world of despair. Society was divided between a small, powerful, wealthy class and an enormous impoverished and oppressed lower class. In the isolation of Patmos, John saw a vision of God. Instead of an angel promising John he too could be could be powerful and wealthy, the vision was a scene of worship before God’s throne in heaven.
Revelation is written in a style that fits into the fashionable entertainment of our day: sci-fi, mythological creatures at war and strange beings from another dimension, connected by violence and terror.
Exodus tells the story of Israel's beginnings and the establishment of their faith. Malachi is composed in the period of Israel's national identity as God's people. In spite of the very different time and circumstances, both texts address the same key question: What is the focus and evidence of your faith?
As I prepared to write this lesson today, news came that my dear friend, encourager and fellow minister, Dr. John Howell, has died. You will know John as the other Sunday School lesson writer for Word & Way. I will miss John, but one day we will be together again because of our Savior's promise that we will all be together again when Christ returns.
The Christian faith is built on a foundation of relationship.
In Christ, God has come into our world and our individual life at a staggering personal price: the cross. God did not love us as the human race, but as individuals, fully understanding our flaws and willing to make himself vulnerable.