Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Study of Revelation

I've always had a fascination for the Book of Revelation but also a deep fear as well.
When I was a young teenager, I saw the 'Image of the Beast' movies and they totally freaked me out. I was a rebellious teenager and chose to go against what I was taught by my parents and went through a phase of drinking and partying...BUT, the fear that was instilled in me about the end times kept me from turning completely against God. Now in my later years, the fear has turned more into an excitement. A number of years ago, an adult Bible study class leader in church took us through Revelation and then in 2012, Roger and I led an adult Bible study class that took us through John Hagee's sermon series on Revelation. It was very interesting! He is definitely a believer of pre-trib and does give some good arguments about it. He's very knowledgeable and a very passionate speaker, but I can also somewhat see where other people get their viewpoints from as well.

When the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins began coming out around 2000, we bought every single book the moment it was released. I was particularly interested in the book called The Remnant as on the front cover is a photo of the treasury at Petra Jordan. It's so hard to believe that I've been there, 3 times and my husband and children have also been there. :)  What a fascinating place! Many people believe that Petra will be the place in the desert where the Jews and Christians will flee to, to escape the horrors of the end times and the  anti-christ and that they will be protected there for 3 1/1 years. We don't know this for certain as it could also be a spiritual protection that God was talking about and not necessarily a physical place that they will go to for protection. Nevertheless, it is all very fascinating to have read these books and to also study all the different viewpoints out there. I happen to believe in it all pans out in the end is how it will be. :)

In June 2012 when I had attended the Beth Moore conference in Calgary, I saw that she had a study on Revelation as well, called Here and Now -> There and Then. I bought it but have always had other studies on the go. With the desire to tour through the 7 Churches of Revelation in Turkey and God opening that unexpected door for me to go there in May, I knew that now was the time to journey
through this study. It's been fascinating! I've loved journeying through it with my husband and other couples/individuals on Wednesday nights, but also Thursday morning and Friday morning with ladies. On Tuesday nights, another group of us have been journeying through the life of the Apostle Paul in the To Live is Christ Study, which has been excellent as well! It is preparing me for going through Paul's footsteps through various places in Greece during the same time of the tour that I'll be on in Turkey come this May. But back to the Revelation study, it has kept me on the edge of my seat and wanting more. It's no longer scary for me but very exciting! But at the same time, it has also put an urgency on my heart for those that don't know Jesus and part of me has wanted to be that person on a street corner holding a sign that says "Do you know Jesus? Do you know that there is a heaven and also a hell?" Yes, I've walked into a grocery store wanting to stop every person and ask if they know Jesus. :)  Really...really....if we really understood what hell was, why are we not talking non stop about Jesus and heaven?
What makes it extra special to be going through this study right now is that God had taken Roger and I
down to Houston TX for a few days in January. I had attended a Scripture memory celebration organized by Beth's office and it was together with many other ladies from around the U.S. What an incredible time! It was such a blessing to meet with Beth face to face again and to meet all her staff at Living Proof Ministries as well, to visit her churches and to attend her Tuesday night Bible study. But what was very cool too is that a dear woman from Houston had emailed me about a year ago because she had come
across my blog posts from my Israel tours. She was looking for the contact information for Arie Harel, my tour guide in Israel. Well, her and I became instant friends and chatted on the phone and emailed each other. We hadn't spoken in a while but when this opportunity came up to go to Houston, I emailed her about meeting her face to face and spending some time with her. Wow! God is so amazing at how He brings wonderful people into my life. We had a lovely time visiting with her and her husband! One of my favorite moments was sitting outside on her patio in the sunshine and talking about Bible study. What I didn't know was that she had already taken the Revelation study and had sat in on all the teaching sessions with Beth Moore during the taping of this series. How unique is that!! God was just giving me these sweet gifts one after the other. :)  It was an incredible time that we had there and if you want to read about it or see more pictures, then return to my previous post before this one on my blog. :)

Another precious gift in all of this was that I was able to attend the first session of Beth's Tuesday night Bible study called 'Breath - the Life of God in Us.' Oh how precious!! She spoke about the Holy Spirit and how God's breath is in us and it was also the breath of His Spirit that hovered over the waters/earth at the beginning of time. When we left for Houston, God had already given me that Scripture on the plane along with a beautiful picture of it from the sky. But what an incredibly sweet gift for one who's led Bible studies for over 20 years and now I got to sit in an actual Bible study session rather than just seeing it over the TV.

What was even more special about this, which I just found out on this day that I'm typing out this blog post, is that 'Breath' is the last Tuesday night Bible study that Beth will lead in Houston's First Baptist Church. She has led studies and Sunday School in that church for 29 years and now this was her last one. You can read more about it in her Living Proof Ministries blog.  God has just made being able to attend this even more sweeter to me, knowing this now. What a tough night Beth had that last night of leading this study (which was just yesterday). What a mixture of emotions! I can relate a wee bit because I have a mixture of emotions running through me right now too as our lead pastor at church has just resigned. I love my pastor dearly, God has used him tremendously in our church and he has taught me so much and stretched me in my faith walk so incredibly in this past season of my life...just like Beth Moore has through her studies.  Both Pastor Russ and Beth have had a lot to do with me leading ladies groups to Israel, leading more indepth Bible studies, getting involved with the inner city, having my heart broken over the sex-trafficking issue right in our own city, and so much more. So, my heart is super full knowing that my pastor is leaving our church soon and that Beth has just finished her very last Tuesday night Bible study...of which I got to attend the first session of! Wow! God's timetable is astounding and always in perfect timing! What an amazing God we serve! He already knows the outcome so how could we not completely trust Him! Yay! :)

So, anyway, I felt led to continue on with the Scripture memory group this year, just on our own with a bunch of ladies through a Facebook group as Beth is not doing one for this year. For a couple of the verses in February God has given me to work on memorizing have come from the book of Revelation. In the study, Beth has encouraged us to memorize Revelation 17:14 in the NIV, which she calls the theme of the book.

"They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

What a verse to memorize and meditate on! To be his called, chosen and faith! That is what I desire more than anything here on earth!  It's not about Beth Moore or Pastor Russ Wilson or anyone else who has had a significant part in my life or your life...but it's all about who Jesus Christ is to you and what is He doing in and through your life to make a difference for the Kingdom of God...and it's about your heart and my heart being willing to serve Him and glorify Him in all we do. That is what Beth's mission is and I know it's the mission of my dear pastor too. God wants us to go wherever He leads us...are we willing?

Another couple of verses I've been working on memorizing in February were Revelation 4:11 and Revelation 5:13 NIV. The amazing picture of God's Throne on which He is always occupying and the fact that Jesus Christ is the only one worthy enough to open the scroll of the future events to unfold to bring about the end of's all just too much! Such amazing pictures too glorious to behold and they have just stuck with me

"You are worthy, our Lord God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things ,and by your will they were created and have their being."

"Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and all that is in them, saying: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praised and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!"

After reading these chapters in Revelation, I can't close my eyes while praying and picture nothingness...all I see is this incredible minute vision of God's throne and me before Him with my prayers and petitions. My prayers don't just go into oblivion...they go right before that amazing throne of Grace and are laid bare before an Almighty God who created the whole universe. Wow! Lord, forgive me for praying in a flippant manner and for not believing enough in the power of the words being spoken through prayer. Our prayer is like incense rising to You and You hear every single one of them!  Thank You Father, thank You.....

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