Looking for Hope

Thursday, November 18, 2004

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, 'I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last:' and 'What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia...'

"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me, and being turned I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about...with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars; and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword; and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

"And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, 'Fear not. I am the first and the last. I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

~Revelation 1:10-18


I needed to see that this morning. I found myself compelled into Revelation this morning to catch a glimpse of what hope really is. As I was reading this passage, I found myself tearing up, because here was Jesus--the one who died to save me, right here, pictured on the page with as much description as John could find to do justice to the vision that he had of Him.

So often, I forget that the battle is already won. So often, I get caught up in the futility of the mentality that shadows the people I love. Why are those around me not aware of Satan's tactics?

But when I sit and ponder, I begin to see. I read on into Revelation chapter 2 this morning:

"Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: 'These things saith he that hodleth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; "I know thy works, and thy labour, and they patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou has tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

"'"Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."'"

I was stunned. For the first time in quite a while, I felt my heart--not just my head--stirring in response to the Scripture. The image of the twoedged sword shot through my mind as I began to ponder how far I have come from my unforgettable trek through God's Word this last January. I had fallen in love with Him, and with Jesus, and was ready to give my life to be an instrument of His glory.

Sure, I have weighed and tried others for not "doing the Scriptural thing". Jesus knows my works, and my patience to continue to endure. But when did I stop loving Him? When did I leave my first love, that Person who ignited a flame in my heart that no one can touch? I take advantage of His mercy, I hate those I am supposed to hate, but how can I possibly think to serve Him out of mere duty and prideful adherence to what I have found to be true? I loved Him once... I thought I loved Him still.

Hope? Yes. I was reminded this morning. I found it in the face of my Lord, who raises me again and again to my feet from where I've fallen to say, "Fear not. I am the first and the last," as His eyes burn with a fire that consumes me.


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