Ok, so I'm going to take a break from general family updates, and let you in on a little part of my heart that God is opening! When you look at the title of this blog, you're probably immediately thinking, "Uh oh, weirdo post about 2012 and the doom and gloom of the coming end of THE WORLD." If you're not thinking that, the rest of the world sure is. Just google image search the word "revelation." You'll find everything from Jesus in the clouds, aliens, weird asteroids, and the Journey Greatest Hits album cover. For me, the book of Revelation has always been a book that was "over my head." Something that I stayed away from because I just felt that it was a mystery that only John and Jesus understood. I've skimmed through the pages...even read chapters at a time, but never studied it deeply.
Back in January, Matt's cousin Brooke (I'll just say she's MY cousin because I love her so much) told me about something called CBS that she is a part of. CBS (Community Bible Study) is exactly what the title of it describes it to be. It's a gathering of women from the community that come together every week from September to May and study one book of the bible. I was instantly intrigued when I heard about it. I have never spent a year on one book of the bible, and I dare say I can't spend an entire month in one book of the bible and stay focused. I felt drawn to this kind of study, prayed about it, and decided to join. Shortly after, I found out that the book we would be studying was Revelation. Uh oh...not that strange and potentially divisive topic of the end of the world! I was nervous but at the same time could feel my pulse start to race with excitement to walk an untrodden path in my spiritual life.
Shortly before starting the CBS study, I started a class with the Wesleyan denomination to be licensed as a pastor called New Testament Elective. I thought this could be anything from studying the culture in which God sent His son to do His ministry...to something mild like Acts (ha!). When I found out the topic was Eschatology (aka studying end times), I knew that it was no coincidence. God wants me to KNOW Revelation...not just have some knowledge of it, but truly understand it!
Needless to say, I have been studying end times for the last month, and there is a new zeal in my heart for ministry, for evangelism, for my relationship with God. A few things that have been life changing for me...
1. Revelation is not too hard for me to understand. Sure, there are parts of Scripture that are a mystery, but John 16:13 says, "But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into ALL truth..." This verse is a great comfort to me that maybe my human mind cannot comprehend Scripture in all it's entirety, but God has given us the Holy Spirit to understand ALL truth....What an encouragement when starting to study such a hard subject such as end times.
2. Jesus is coming BACK! SOON! I know I know...I'm a Christian and should know this and live like it's the last days, but honestly, sometimes I forget! I think of Jesus words, "The kingdom of heaven is near." My first reaction is to see those words as thousands of years old and to subconsciously think, "what are the chances it would happen in my lifetime? Of all generations it most likely won't be this one." Let me tell you, every day that we live is ONE DAY CLOSER to us seeing our Lord's face! Whether or not I see that before I die a physical death is irrelevant really...I will see Him...and SOON!
3. Jesus is NOT who I thought He was! Going into this study, I don't think I had the correct understanding of who Jesus is. I know who He is...my mind understands it, but I don't think my heart really connected to the idea that HE IS GOD! Read the first chapter of Revelation alone, and your Sunday School rendition of a mild and meek Jesus sleeping with lambs and talking gently will be crushed! Jesus is coming back in POWER AND GLORY! His voice will be heard by everyone and EVERYONE will know that He is God. This is the God that I worship. This is my Savior!
I find in myself a renewed sense of urgency. I don't look at Revelation as the "END OF THE WORLD" or a time of doom and gloom. Sure, it will be hard, but instead I see it as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ...the fulfillment of all God's promises. The time when all brokenness, sin, and injustice will be corrected! I can't wait. I want it to come now. I'm not afraid for once in my life of not being on the earth. In fact, I pray for Him to come. The early church used to greet each other with the word "Maranatha" which means COME LORD JESUS COME. That's going to become my new Hello to cashiers and pizza delivery guys. Ok, maybe not, but maybe it should be!