Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lent Season Mar 23

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt
Good vs. Evil
Today's Reading: Revelation 12:1-6

"And the dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she did give birth he might devour her child."

Good and Evil are two very real forces in our world. Have you ever wondered how it got to be so bad? In today's reading John sees several visions. Three are past and one is future. The Woman with the 12 stars represents Israel and the 12 Tribes of Jacob. The birth is Jesus Christ. Then we are told about the event in which Satan was cast to earth and took 1/3 of the angels with him. This occurred at the beginning of our time.

This is a vision of the war between the dragon and Israel but it includes every person who has taken Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Satan is furious because he knows he has just a little while longer. Many people may say there is no such thing as Satan. This is not true. Jesus talks about him several times in the Bible.  Jesus also tells us the truth of the matter:

"The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest." John 10:10 

The most exciting part of John's vision is seeing Jesus as our final King:
"A male (Jesus) who is going to shepherd all nations 
with an iron scepter" Rev 12:5 

Jesus is coming back as Lord of Lords and King of Kings and He will rule the earth with an iron scepter. Hallelujah! Good will eventually overcome Evil through our Savior. The only way to have a truly full life is through Jesus Christ. Believe in Him! Rely on Him! Accept Him as your Savior.

Reflection: Do I believe there is a being called Satan? What kind of harm might he bring to me? How can I be protected from Him?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lent Season Mar 22

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt
Your Kingdom Come
Today's Reading: Revelation 11:15-19 
"The Kingdom of the world has become
the Kingdom of Our Lord and of His Messiah,
and He will reign forever and ever!" Rev 11:15

This is Exciting News! At the sounding of the 7th trumpet John hears loud voices in heaven proclaiming God's Kingdom has come.  This is a long awaited event spoken of often in Scripture and prayed for by millions of Christians and Jews.  

A Jewish prayer recites the 13th verse of Psalm 145 in the Amidah:

"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; Your rule is for all generations. The Lord is faithful in all His words and gracious 
in all His actions." Psalm 145:13

Jesus taught us The Lords Prayer:
"Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10 

Reflection: Are you looking forward to the coming of God's Kingdom? What about it gives you the greatest joy?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lent Season Mar 21

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt
The Two Witnesses: Message of Hope
Today's Reading: Revelation 11:1-14 

 "I will empower My two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 
1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth." Revelation 11:3

Let's first consider the amazing love and mercy that God is expressing by sending two more witnesses to the Earth to warn people of the coming wrath and final judgment. Think of it, even at this horrific time God is offering a message of HOPE!

Over and over in Scripture we find God warning mankind about the consequences of sin, as well as the solution to their problem. (16 Old Testament Prophets have their own books, John the Baptist made the way for Jesus Christ, the Apostles and Paul preach the Good News and all of God's messengers that we have today - we are without excuse!)

Whether we realize it or not, we are enemies of God until we are saved and become children of God.  We may look at serial killers as truly horrible human beings but God sees all unsaved people the same, as enemies of His Kingdom:

"For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!" Romans 5:10 
Many people know about God and feel they are right with God by doing good deeds, however, we can never be good enough to save ourselves. We need a savior, and the only one who will save is Jesus Christ.

God doesn't simply send the Two Witnesses for one moment in time, He sends them for 1,260 days or 3 1/2 years!  They will be given such great power that we can assume everyone on Earth will know them and their message.  We do read that the majority of mankind rejects them and has a great celebration when they are killed by the beast (Rev 11:10). However, they surprise everyone when God resurrects them and calls them home to Heaven. (At which point many finally turn to God)

Reflection: Consider how important the message of sin and salvation is to our Lord. How important is it to me? Does it give me hope?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Lent Season Mar 20

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt
 The Little Scroll
Today's Reading: Revelation 10:1-11
"Go take the scroll that lies in the hand of the angel
. . . Take it and eat it . It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." Revelation 10:8-9
This is not the first time a scroll had been given by an angel.  In the Old Testament we read about Ezekiel being given a scroll and being told to speak to  God's people:

"And he said to me, "Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am givin you and fill your stomach with it. So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth." Ezekiel 3:1-3

We can compare the two accounts in Scripture and see that both times the angel instructed the men to speak to God's people.

The scroll might be viewed as God's word which to us as Christians tastes sweet however, when we are sharing the good news with others it is not always so sweet, it may appear sour to an unbeliever. However, we can not give up sharing the good news with those who need to hear it.

Reflection: Does God's word taste sweet to me? How does it taste when I share it with an unbeliever? Over the past year, who have I shared the good news with?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lent Season Mar 19

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt
Idol Worship
Today's Reading: Revelation 9:13-21

"The rest of mankind. . . did not repent of the works of their hands 
nor give up worshiping demons and idols . . . which 
cannot see, or hear, or walk." Revelation 9:20
In today's reading we see that God's plan includes four angels "who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year . . . to kill a third of mankind." Rev 9:15 Showing us once again that God is sovereign and in control.
The truly remarkable thing is that the inhabitants of the Earth see all of this happening, know God is judging them yet still continue to cling to their personal idols. It looks as though the problem is Pride and Rebellion.  Pride because they did not want to admit they were wrong about where they placed their faith and rebellion because at the root of every human being is a sinful nature that desires to do what it wants whenever it wants with no consequences.
Idol: an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.

This can include anything that takes our attention away from God.

"You shall have no other gods before ME." Exodus 20:3

Reflection: Ladies, let's take a good look at what we truly worship. This can be anything we value above God (or spend more time with) including children, home and smart phones. God deserves the number one place in our lives.
Who is Vance Havner? (above quote)


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lent Season Mar 18

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt
 A Spiritual Battlefield
"Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.  They were told not to harm the grass . . . but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their forehead." Revelation 9:3-4 

The final verse from yesterday's reading warns, "Woe! Woe! Woe! to those who live on the earth, because of the remaining trumpet blasts" Rev 8:13. So we learn there are three remaining trumpets and three Woe!(s) to come.

The Fifth Trumpet: The first Woe! is a horrifying animal that has been living in the Abyss. An Abyss is "a deep hole, so deep that it seems bottomless." ( Luke's gospel records a conversation between Jesus and a demon who begs Jesus not to send the demons back to the Abyss:

"Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion," for many demons had entered him. And they begged (Jesus) not to command them to depart into the abyss." Luke 8:30-31

We are also given the name of the king over them, in Hebrew it is "Abaddon" and in Greek it is "Apollyon" which literally means destroyer. There is debate over whether this is Satan or one of his demons.

Reflection: Ladies, the urgent message from today's reading is that we desperately need God's protection. Not simply for this future time period, but for daily life. We are living on a spiritual battlefield and Woe! to those who fail to put on the armor of God. 

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."  Ephesians 6:11-12


Friday, March 17, 2017

Train Them Up

Train Them Up 

Adults should take every opportunity you get to train up children, and not just your own. 

Training means building them up with affirmation, encouragement, wisdom, instruction, and gentle correction done in love. 

Please do not show them how low you are willing to go with judgements, anger, impatience, and indifference. 

Truly, there are no bad children or youth, only a reflection of the poor examples and lack of guidance in their lives.

Children are little sponges and have so much to learn as they mature. Grown ups have the privilege of getting to help mold young hearts, especially if you are a coach, teacher, and of course a parent. 

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:14

women encouraging women

Lent Season Mar 17

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt

"And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets
prepared to blow them." Revelation 8:6

The seventh seal sets into motion the seven trumpets of judgment.  It is interesting to consider the punishments for each as follows:

     Trumpet #1: Hail, Fire, Blood - 1/3 of the Earth was burned up
     Trumpet #2: A Great Mountain thrown into the sea - 1/3 sea destroyed
     Trumpet #3: Wormwood star falls to Earth makes 1/3 water bitter
     Trumpet #4: 1/3 Sun, Moon & Stars struck - 1/3 darkness

All of the things God has provided for us to live, (and that we generally take for granted), are destroyed by 1/3. The Earth, sea, drinking water and light are all things which are necessary for life to continue on our planet.

Finally we read that even this is not the worst of what is going to occur. There are three remaining trumpets and three major Woes to come.

Reflection: Consider how magnificent is God's creation. What about it gives you the most joy? Everything on Earth has been placed here for us to live our daily lives. It works in perfect order, on a perfect schedule to give us perfect conditions for life. Ask yourself, 'Am I taking all of this for granted?'

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lent Season Mar 16

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt

"He (the angel) was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne." Revelation 8:3

A positive discovery from today's reading is that we who have accepted Jesus as Savior are called "Saints" and our prayers are heard by God! They go up to heaven and appear before God's altar. Is there power in prayer? Yes! Yes there is!  Prayer is a spiritual weapon that we need to use more often.

Now let's take a look at the seventh seal:

"When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven 
for about half an hour." Revelation 8:1

This statement gives me chills. The seventh seal ushers in something so devastating that the beings in heaven will not even speak.

Have you ever heard news so horrifying that you could not even speak? Perhaps you just clasped your hand over your mouth and looked at the person in shock?

Let's take a moment to review the events leading up to this moment. Jesus was given the scroll which had seven seals upon it. Each seal was broken, one at a time, and caused something to occur:

     1st Seal:  A Rider on a White Horse brings peace to the Earth
     2nd Seal: A Rider on a Red Horse takes peace away from the Earth
     3rd Seal: A Rider on a Black Horse brings famine
     4th Seal: A Rider on a Pale Green/Gray Horse brings death
     5th Seal: We see the souls under the alter crying out
     6th Seal: A Great Earthquake, Sun turns black, Moon turns blood red
     7th Seal: Silence in Heaven before the 7 Trumpets begin to sound

This news is devastating for those not in Christ. We are reading the book of Revelation so that we will understand what will come but so that, again, we will have peace knowing that we who are in Christ will either be raptured (my hope!) or in some way protected by God.

Keep reading (and praying) faithful Sister!
Many many blessings to you.

Reflection: Do you understand how powerful your prayers truly are? When you see a post or hear a request for prayer, do you pray for that person? Do you ask others to pray for you? Who can you pray for today?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lent Season Mar 15

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt

Daily Reading: Revelation 7:9-17

"These are the ones coming out of the Great Tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Rev 7:14

So, who are these coming out of the Great Tribulation? There are two viewpoints. The key verse is, "and there before me was a great multitude that no one count, from nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne." Rev 7:9  The first viewpoint is that this is the Rapture of the church. (personally I really like this view!)  The second viewpoint is that these are all those who gave their lives to Christ but were killed in some manner, therefore being those Christians coming out of the Great Tribulation.  

When we look at the Rapture overall we see that the word "Rapture" is actually never used in Scripture, however, the words "Caught Up" are and in Latin this is translated "Raptus" or Rapture. Scholars who have studied the end of times have three points of view: A Pre-Tribulation Rapture, a Mid-Tribulation Rapture and a Post-Tribulation Rapture (which would be with Christ when He comes at the very end of the Tribulation). However, there are several verses found in Scripture that assures Christians that they will be kept from the "Hour of Trial that is going to come upon the whole world." Rev 3:10 Another key verse is: 

"Wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." 1 Thessalonians 1:10

No matter which view is correct, today's passage gives us great hope! We see that those who have given their lives to Jesus will have the reward of being shepherded by Jesus Himself for eternity.

        "Never again will they hunger, Never again will they thirst ... 
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd; 
He will lead them to springs of living water. 
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:17

Reflection: Which view of the rapture do you hold? Think about when you first committed your life to Christ. What was the date? Where were you? Who were you with? Thank Jesus for your salvation.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lent Season Mar 14

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt

Today’s Reading: Revelation 7:1-8

“I saw another angel rise up from the east, 
who had the seal of the living God.” Rev 7:2

Have you ever wondered why so many countries in the world want to destroy Israel? Iran stated that "Israel won't exist in 25 years" because they want to wipe it off the face of the globe. Think about how small the country of Israel is in comparison to other countries. Have you ever thought about the fact that 16 countries will not even allow an Israeli citizen to visit their country? 

Why is there such hatred of the Jews in our world? It is because it is God’s chosen people and Satan wants them destroyed. Ladies, this is spiritual warfare and it is real. You should pay very careful attention to the events happening in our world, especially in the Middle East.  The United States has a very special alliance with Israel and it is urgent that we support the politicians that want this relationship to grow and prosper. God tells us that, 

"I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12:3

The passage we read today tells us of four angels that are holding back the winds from the earth. The next thing that happens is 144,000 of God’s chosen Jews are sealed for their remaining time on earth.  We are told that these are “from every tribe of the sons of Israel.” Revelation 7:4-8

Who are the sons of Israel? Back in Genesis there was a man named Abraham. He was the father of many nations. His son was named Isaac.  The sons of Isaac were Esau and Jacob. Jacob’s name was changed, by God, to Israel. He was the father of 12 children which became the twelve tribes of Israel. (Genesis 32:28)

Reflection: Do I understand the importance of the connection between God and the country of Israel? Am I keeping up with current events in the Middle East? Pray for Israel.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Lent Season Mar 13

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt
Seventy Weeks

"Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding." 9:20

Today we take a pause in our reading of Revelation to gain additional insight into this prophetic work. We look at a passage from the book of Daniel, a Jewish scholar and prophet living in exile in the city of Babylon. (Daniel is most notable as the man who made it through a night in the lion's den Daniel 6:16)

We read that while Daniel is praying he is visited by the angel Gabriel and is given insight into future events.

He is told about "Seventy Sevens (that) are decreed for (the Jews)." Daniel 9:24 Gabriel tells him this period of time will:

"Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city,
to finish the trangression,
to put an end to sin,
and to atone for iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal both vision and prophet,
and to anoint a most holy place. 
Know therefore and understand
that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem
to the coming of an anointed one, a prince,
there shall be seven weeks." Daniel 9:24-25  

It is important to understand that the "Seventy-Seven weeks" are actually 490 years (70 x 7 = 490). It is also important to understand that the beginning of this period is in 445 B.C. 
What does this all mean? The bottom line is that this prophetic vision accurately accounted for the year Jesus Christ would "atone for iniquity." It fortells the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD and leaves one seven year period that has not yet come. This seven year period is the time of the Tribulation. This will fulfill the prophecy to "bring in everlasting righteousness."

It goes on to tell us about the seven year period.

"He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the seven's he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." Daniel 9:27

This passage tells us that:

1. The anti-Christ will make an agreement for peace in the Middle East for a seven year time period.

2. At 3 1/2 years he will go back on the agreement and stop sacrifices and offerings. This means there must be a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem by this time.

3. He will go into the temple and declare himself to be God.

4. He will meet his end, which will be poured out on him.

Reflection: Meditate on the fact that God's word is true! There are several prophetic messages about the end of times throughout the Old Testament. Let us take heart that we know what events lead up to the 2nd coming of Christ!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lent Season Mar 12

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt

Today's Reading: Revelation 6:1-17
"I looked and there was a white horse. The horseman on it had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he went out as a victor to conquer."

Ladies, this passage represents the beginning of the end of the current reign of Satan upon the Earth. This one chapter includes the first six seals that are broken into by Jesus. As we read the book of Revelation we must keep in mind our purpose for reading it.

The main reason we should want to read Revelation is because God wants us to know that He is in control. He is telling us the signs and what is going to happen.  We might wonder, 'Why in the world would God do this to us?' The answer to that question is, 'Because He is Sovereign and Just and knows more than us. Whatever He does is good and we can trust Him.'

Another reason to read this book is to give us peace. God's word is true. No error has ever been found in the Bible. ALL previous prophecies have come to pass. This one will too. However, have peace dear sisters that as Christians we have the protection of our Savior. No matter what happens to our physical bodies, our spirits and new bodies will live forever with Jesus in His kingdom. Also,  one of the three views of the Rapture of the Church, known as the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, has us out of here before this even begins. (we will talk about this in more detail in future posts)

Many prophets foretold the end of times when God would judge the world for its iniquities, including Daniel. We will read a passage in Daniel tomorrow to reinforce that this is God's plan. Jesus also spoke about the end of times and we will see this in future posts. Hang in there!!!

Review of the Four Horsemen:
     #1:  White Horse - Brings peace to the earth
     #2:  Red Horse - Takes peace from the earth
     #3:  Black Horse - Scales: Showing the price of food is very high
     #4:  Green/Pale Horse - Death: Kills 1/4th of the Earth

Reflection: Meditate on the fact that by reading this book you will be prepared for the time that is to come. What questions/concerns do you have?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Lent Season Mar 11

Going Beyond - Revelation
Carri Lynne Pratt

Today's Reading: Revelation 5:1-14

"The Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has been victorious so that He may open the scroll and its seven seals." Rev 5:5
In today’s passage we read that John weeps because no one is found worthy to open the seals on the sacred scroll. However, he is told to stop weeping because Jesus is worthy!

Why does John weep? He knows this scroll represents the way to end sin and suffering and begin the reign of Jesus. This can not occur until the scroll is opened. 

Many people say Jesus was a good man, a prophet, or a philosopher. However, none of those answers would make Him worthy to open the scroll.

Jesus is the ultimate kinsman redeemer who has redeemed us with His blood and will one day return to earth to receive his bride - The Church. He will bring us with Him into an eternal Kingdom.
Jesus alone is worthy because He is God in the flesh. Jesus is the Son of God who takes away our sins, He died, was buried and was resurrected on the third day, He is the only way to God, and He alone is worthy to be the Lord of our lives. 

The local church is the method Jesus chose to put forth His message. Every believer should be a member of a local church. We need the church and the church needs us.  

Reflection: In your opinion, what makes Jesus worthy?

Am I supporting a local church? If not, which one can I visit on Easter?