I have been reading Revelation this month, but when I heard a sermon last Sunday (Rules of the Game by Shawn Franco which can be found at on Acts 8, it dovetailed completely with what I had been reading. I am sharing the key points using them as a framework to gain understanding of what is written in Revelation instead of Acts. 

The amount of time is decreasing before God’s judgment.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show his bondservants the things which must soon take place. (1:1)

 As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll (6:1) resulting in peace being taken from the earth (6:4), scarcity, famine, pestilence and death. (6:8) The sounding of the 7 trumpets will bring even more severe conditions to those dwelling on earth – one-third of the earth, trees and grass burn, one-third of the sea becomes blood, one-third of the waters become bitter, and the sun and moon and stars are darkened. (8:6-13)

Urgency for repentance is increasing because everyone must give an account of their life before a holy God. Romans 2:5 states, “Because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” Yet in Revelation we do not read about those crying out and returning to God. The rest of mankind not killed by these plagues did not repent. (9:21).

Persecution is multiplied.  The closer to judgment the greater the confrontation between light and darkness.  Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12

When the Lamb broke the 5th seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony which they had maintained. 6:9

The dragon was enraged with the woman and and went off to make war with the rest of her children who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus 12:17

Suffering is Unavoidable

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you…as though some strange thing were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12

I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. (1:9)

Ugandan Bishop Festo Kivengere observed, “What we suffer increases the credibility of the gospel.”

The Holy Spirit is not optional.  He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God. (2:7)

They overcame him (the accuser) because of the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (12:11)

We will overcome, not  in our own strength, but by faith and dependence upon the Spirit.

Victory brings Joy

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless and with great joy, to the only God and our Savior Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Jude 24-25

God will wipe away every tear and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning or crying or pain. Behold I am making all things new. (21:4-5)

Although many portions of Revelation are difficult to explain, verses that can be understood provide a framework for those things harder to interpret. Don’t allow what you can’t understand keep you from the blessing of reading and studying this book as we anticipate the Lord’s return.

Behold I am coming quickly, and My reward is with me, to render to everyone according to that he has done. Revelation 22:7

What Does it Mean to Obey These Words?

Blessed are all who read and those who hear the words of the prophecy and obey the things which are written in it for the time is near. Revelation 1:3; 22:7

How do I heed these words? What is there to obey in Revelation, this prophetic book filled with visions too difficult to fully understand?

Foremost, we are to WORSHIP  1:10; 4:8-11. No matter what is happening, we can make a choice as John did, while exiled on the island of Patmos, to worship. There is a song from many years ago with the lines…

One day every tongue will confess You are God

One day every knee will bow

Still the greatest treasure remains for those who gladly choose You now.

Interspersed among the prophetic images John saw, we find quite a few instructions and examples of what we should do or avoid as we await Christ’s return.

Return to your first love. 2:4 In the midst of a busy life of doing good deeds for the Lord, it is easy to cease being motivated by love and instead perservere in duty.

Where you have fallen away, repent. 2:5

Don’t fear what you are to suffer. 2:10; 12:11

Don’t compromise or tolerate false teaching or teachers who lead others astray by encouraging sin. 2:14,20

Guard against becoming apathetic (lukewarm) in your faith and love. 3:16 Wake up to the harm of self-sufficiency and the ask God to reveal self-deception that is keeping Him outside the door to your life. 3:17,20

Continue to give witness for Jesus in spite of opposition. 11:4-7

Patiently endure and remain faithful. 12:11; 13:11

Do not give your allegiance to anyone/anything – only Jesus! 13:3

Don’t’ be deceived. Not all supernatural signs originate for God. 13:13-14

As we wait for Jesus, stay awake and remain clothed in the righteousness and character of Jesus. 16:15 Don’t get entangled in the world’s systems, mentality, and sinful ways. Come away from her (Babylon), my people. 18:4

Let the one who is thirsty come and deeply drink the water of life without cost. 22:17 Minute by minute, hour by hour, day after day we are to continually come to the source of living water, Jesus, who sustains us until He returns.

I am sure there are many more, but I will end here since I can spend the rest of my days seeking to obey these few words from Revelation.

Good Enoughism

Our society drives us to strive, critique, improve and then strive more. When do we ever reach a point of satisfaction? I am attempting to stop this frantic pace to reach near perfection and exit at a place of “good-enoughism”, finding contentment and acceptance of how God designed me.

It’s one of those traps I fall into – seeing the best in others and noticing what is lacking in myself. For example, in my desire to publish a blog I want to have something exceptional to share. I think about various topics but the thoughts I mull over in my head don’t make it past a draft because they are not fascinating explorations of something that has never been considered. They are ordinary thoughts about loving God and others.  I imagine traveling to faraway destinations but circumstances and finances limit me so I just keep wondering when it could happen and feeling sad because the answer looks like never.

What if I accept something less than perfect as good-enough so instead of staying stuck, I move forward? That doesn’t mean I will never write an excellent blog or have memorable vacations, but this paradigm shift in thinking enables me to live in the present instead of waiting for just right. 

Instead of hesitating to volunteer believing someone else would do far better performing the task, I can offer myself and trust God will accomplish His purposes. I can give myself the same grace to grow as I would give someone else instead of expecting that I should have it all together by now.

I encountered the name of a ministry called “Broken Crayons Still Color.” What an inspired name reminding us God is a master artist who uses broken people to manifest His glory. In the hands of God, our lives are not about being perfect or even good enough but that Jesus is more than enough.