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Happy New Year! Congratulations to everyone who completed the New Testament in a Year journey in 2022 today! It has been awesome to go through the journey this year with each of you. It is quite a blessing to realize that you've read through God's Word this past year! It has been a huge blessing for me. God has continued to transform me this past year through this journey. Reading through the New Testament in a year will change us. For the better! :) For those of you wrapping up the journey today in 2022, I'd like to ask you to post up your reflections on this experience in the Comments section below. The reason for this request is because we have lots of new folks signing up to take the journey in 2023. What advice would you give them? Any encouragement? What has reading the Bible on a daily basis meant to you over the past year? Has this experience changed you in any way? Thanks for sharing! I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this Bible Blog ministry! If this blog has been a blessing to you in 2022, please also consider partnering with us by financially supporting this ministry. Thank you!
Today we finish the book of Revelation with a glorious chapter describing the New Jerusalem in heaven, and with a clear reminder that Jesus is coming again! Below is artist Pat Marvenko Smith's look "Through the Gate of the Eternal City" from Revelation 22:1-6 in today's readings:
To order prints visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
Chapter 22 verses 1 & 2 are so beautiful: "And the angel showed me a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, coursing down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations." This river combines the elements of the river in the Garden of Eden - see Genesis 2:8-14 - and the river flowing from the temple in Ezekiel's vision - see Ezekiel 47:1-12. I love this idea of this "river of life". There are so many beautiful allusions to God and grace being like water or a river in the Bible - particularly in the Psalms. A river that heals us. I love this. There is a great song by Steven Curtis Chapman about diving into the river. I think it's called "Dive" on his Speechless CD. This song of his reminds me so much of these verses. One of his lyrics goes something like: "The River's deep, the river's wide, the river's water is ALIVE! So sink or swim, I'm diving in!" Do you want to dive into this holy river of God? Do you want to be healed and purified by it's waters? Will you dive in?
Verse 8 is powerful for us to reflect upon, where we see an angel speaking to John after he fell to worship the angel: ""No, don't worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this scroll. Worship God!"" My thought here is that do we sometimes worship other people in our life? And does this worship of other people ultimately take away from our worship of God? Meaning, I think it might sometimes be tempting for us to "worship" our pastors or ministers or spiritual mentors. But, should we do this? I think we would do well to remember that these people in our life are simply servants of God, like this angel. They are not God. We are called to give our hearts and minds and souls and worship to God and God only.
Verse 20 (almost) closes out the book of Revelation with these words: “Come, Lord Jesus!” Are these three words a prayer of your heart? Should they be? It’s only recently that I started praying these words from my heart, and it is an amazing thing to truly pray and truly desire. Come Lord Jesus!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Revelation chapter 22 titled "The Epilogue" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today's readings in Revelation reminded me of the Steven Curtis Chapman song "Dive." However, rather than share that song with you in the video below, our readings in Revelation chapter 22 also reminded me of his powerful song about his daughter called "Heaven is the Face." Here's a great live version of this song:
Can you imagine meeting Jesus in heaven? Click here and make your imagination real!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let those who hear say, "Come!" Let those who are thirsty come; and let all who wish take the free gift of the water of life." Revelation 22:17 (TNIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you are thirsty for Jesus today and every day! Pray that you are daily responding to Jesus' call to you to "Come!" Pray that you will follow Jesus and take the free gift of the water of Life He offers you, today and forevermore.
Comments From You and Question of the Day: For those of you wrapping up the New Testament in a Year today in 2022, I'd like to ask you to post up your reflections on this experience in the Comments section below. The reason for this request is because we have lots of new folks signing up to take the New Testament in a Year journey in 2023. What advice would you give them? Any encouragement? What has reading the Bible on a daily basis meant to you over the past year? Has this experience changed you in any way? Thanks for sharing! Also, for everyone, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this Bible Blog ministry today! Please also consider partnering with us by financially supporting this ministry. Thank you!