Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 28, 2021

“He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.”

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 22:10-11.

“And he *said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.  Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong;  and the one who is filthy, still be filthy;  and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness;  and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”  Revelation 22:10-11.

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Why does today’s Scripture state:  “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong;  …  and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness;  …”?

Scripture clearly and repeatedly shows that God condemns and punishes wrongdoing.  

“The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing,
But the righteous has a refuge when he dies.” Proverbs 14:32.

“For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” Colossians 3:25.

By its statement, today’s Scripture seems to me to be sarcastic. Oxford Languages defines sarcasm as “the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.” Oxford Languages defines irony as “the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.”

Likewise we see in Scripture the response of the Lord to the rebellious who state:

“3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
” Psalm 2:3-4.

Thus, rather than think by today’s expression that the LORD is wringing his hands as if there is nothing He can do about wrongdoers, today’s Scripture leads us to meditate on the sovereignty of the LORD.

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:19.

“18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!” Psalm 73:18-19.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault?  For who resists His will?”  On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?  The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?  Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?  What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?  And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”  Romans 9:15-24.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 26, 2021

“heed the words of this book. Worship God.”

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 22:7-9.

“And behold, I am coming quickly.  Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things.  And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.  But he *said to me, “Do not do that.  I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”  Revelation 22:7-9.

——————

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it;  for the time is near.”  Revelation 1:3.

“10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” Psalm 2:10-12.

“9 Worship the LORD in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
12 Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
13 Before the LORD, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
And the peoples in His faithfulness.” Psalm 96:9-13.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 22:3-6.

“There will no longer be any curse;  and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;  they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.  And there will no longer be any night;  and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them;  and they will reign forever and ever.

And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”;  and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.”  Revelation 22:3-6.  

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Today’s Scripture highlighted in bold italic reminds us of one of the roles of the Holy Spirit.

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth;  for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak;  and He will disclose to you what is to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.  All things that the Father has are Mine;  therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”  John 16:13-15.

“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”  Ezekiel 36:27. 

Thus, we have both the Word and the Spirit to disclose to us what is to come, to guide us into all the truth, to cause us to heed the words of this book, and to worship God.

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”  Colossians 3:2-4.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;  who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”  Philippians 3:20-21.

“He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.”  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.”  Revelation 22:20.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 22:1-2.

“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street.  On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month;  and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”  Revelation 22:1-2. 

—————–

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.” Psalm 46:4.

“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:23-24.

“2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:2-3.

“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” Matthew 7:17-18.

“15 “You are a garden spring,
A well of fresh water,

And streams flowing from Lebanon.”

16 “Awake, O north wind,
And come, wind of the south;
Make my garden breathe out fragrance,
Let its spices be wafted abroad.
May my beloved come into his garden
And eat its choice fruits!
” Song of Solomon 4:15-17.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 23, 2021

“For You are my lamp, O LORD; And the LORD illumines my darkness.”

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 21:22-27.

“I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.  The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.  In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;  and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it;  and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  Revelation 21:22-27.

—————-

“For You are my lamp, O LORD;
And the LORD illumines my darkness.” 2 Samuel 22:29.

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12.

“Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
2 “For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the LORD will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
3 “Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

4 “Lift up your eyes round about and see;
They all gather together, they come to you.
Your sons will come from afar,
And your daughters will be carried in the arms.
5 “Then you will see and be radiant,
And your heart will thrill and rejoice;
Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you,
The wealth of the nations will come to you.” Isaiah 60:1-5.

“19 “No longer will you have the sun for light by day,
Nor for brightness will the moon give you light;
But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light,
And your God for your glory.
20 “Your sun will no longer set,
Nor will your moon wane;
For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light,
And the days of your mourning will be over.
21 “Then all your people will be righteous;
They will possess the land forever,
The branch of My planting,
The work of My hands,
That I may be glorified.” Isaiah 60:19-21.

“9 For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.
10 Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
11 But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” Psalm 37:9-11.

“18 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel,
Who alone works wonders.
19 And blessed be His glorious name forever;
And may the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen, and Amen.” Psalm 72:18-19.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 21:15-21.

“The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.  The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width;  and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles;  its length and width and height are equal.  And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.  The material of the wall was jasper;  and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.  The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone.  The first foundation stone was jasper;  the second, sapphire;  the third, chalcedony;  the fourth, emerald;  the fifth, sardonyx;  the sixth, sardius;  the seventh, chrysolite;  the eighth, beryl;  the ninth, topaz;  the tenth, chrysoprase;  the eleventh, jacinth;  the twelfth, amethyst.  And the twelve gates were twelve pearls;  each one of the gates was a single pearl.  And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”  Revelation 21:15-21.

——————-

Heaven is perfect, pure, precious, and priceless in different ways.  Today’s devotion will focus on some of the ways those qualities are shown.

“Walk about Zion and go around her;
Count her towers;
Consider her ramparts;
Go through her palaces,
That you may tell it to the next generation.” Psalm 48:12-13.

Heaven is perfect as shown by its cube shape:  “its length and width and height are equal.”  In sharp contrast, how many earthly cities look like a jigsaw puzzle that is randomly slapped together over time?!

Heaven is pure as “the city was pure gold, like clear glass”.  Heaven is also pure in the following sense:  “and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, …”  Revelation 21:27.

Heaven is precious as shown by “The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone.”  Heaven is also precious in the sense that the only ones that shall ever come into it are “… only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  Revelation 21:27.

Heaven is priceless as shown by “each one of the gates was a single pearl.”

In summary, this “single pearl” quality both ties all of heaven’s qualities together and exhorts us to have single devotion in seeking heaven like that merchant seeking fine pearls.  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”  Matthew 13:45-46.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 21, 2021

“I go to prepare a place for you.” – “home with the Lord”

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 21:9-14.

“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.  Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.  It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.  There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.  And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”  Revelation 21:9-14.

—————–

What do we do to make a house our home?

What do we do with our home to create gladness for our family?

One of the things that we do is to hang photos of our family on the wall.

In today’s Scripture, we see something similar in that God wrote the names of the twelve tribes of Israel on the gates and the names of the twelve apostles on the foundation stones.

“18 “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing
And her people for gladness.
19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; …” Isaiah 65:17-18.

“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God;  for He has prepared a city for them.”  Hebrews 11:16.

“Do not let your heart be troubled;  believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places;  if it were not so, I would have told you;  for I go to prepare a place for you.”  John 14:1-2.

“Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”  2 Corinthians 5:6-8.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 19, 2021

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 21:5-8.

“And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”  Then He said to me, “It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.  He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.  But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”  Revelation 21:5-8.

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“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived;  neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

But, there is hope!

“Such were some of you;  but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”  1 Corinthians 6:11.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world;  and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”  1 John 5:4-5.

“who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:13.

“… To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  2 Peter 1:1-3.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;”  Ephesians 2:8.

“The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself;  the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.  And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life;  he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  1 John 5:10-12.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 21:1-4.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4.

———————

“17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
18 “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing
And her people for gladness.
19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people;
And there will no longer be heard in her
The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.” Isaiah 65:17-19.

“By faith (Abraham) he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Hebrews 11:9-10.

“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:16.

“Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.” Leviticus 26:11-12.

When today’s Scripture states verse 2 (“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”), we are reminded of what Christ (the husband) did for the church (His bride).

“… Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27.

“6 The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death for all time,
And the LORD God will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
9 And it will be said in that day,
“Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
This is the LORD for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:6-9.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 20:11-15.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened;  and another book was opened, which is the book of life;  and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them;  and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.  This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”  Revelation 20:11-15.  

——————

Today’s Scripture points to the importance and simplicity of election.  “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”  Verse 15.

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”  Matthew 22:14.

“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”  Luke 10:20.

“I saw no temple in it (heaven), for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  …  and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  Revelation 21:22 and 27.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

Article 7.  Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before the foundation of the world, he hath out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of his own will, chosen, from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own fault, from their primitive state of rectitude, into sin and destruction, a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ, whom he from eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect, and the foundation of Salvation.

This elect number, though by nature neither better nor more deserving than the others, but with them involved in one common misery, God hath decreed to give to Christ, to be saved by him, and effectually to call and draw them to his communion by his Word and Spirit, to bestow upon them true faith, justification and sanctification;  and having powerfully preserved them in the fellowship of his Son, finally, to glorify them for the demonstration of his mercy, and for the praise of his glorious grace;  …

Article 9.  This election was not founded upon foreseen faith, and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality of disposition in man, as the pre-requisite, cause or condition on which it depended;  but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc., therefore election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to that of the apostle:  “He hath chosen us (not because we were) but that we should be holy, and without blame, before him in love,” Ephesians 1:4.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. … So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” Romans 9:15-16 and 18.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Ephesians 1:3-6.

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