Throne of God

Bless the Lord, oh, my Soul. Bless His Holy Name, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. This week we’re doing a deep dive of chapter four and five of the Book of Revelation: The Throne of God. Hi, I’m Reverend Kenn Blanchard. Thank you for listening, downloading, and subscribing to the Speak Life Church Podcast. This show is dedicated to you in hopes of encouraging your spirit, feeding your faith, and blessing your life. [Intro music plays]

Hey, did anybody gain weight, or am I the only one that ate a little bit more than they should have? Now, at the time of this recording, I’m heading toward Hatteras, North Carolina to fish for tuna out in the ocean. So, hopefully, prayerfully, you’ll hear from me again this week, or you’ll see me on social media. So, check on our Speak Life Church Facebook page to make sure I came back from the ocean. If not, send help! But I have faith that everything’s going to be okay. You know, just this week, I realized that I’ve been pretty vocal about some things, and I may have pissed a few people off. I gotta watch that. I’m becoming that uncle. Yeah, that old guy that just has no filter. I mean well, but man! — It’s not coming out that way, so please pray for me.

1After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. — Revelation 4:1-2

Eternal God, our Father, it is in the Name of Your Son, Jesus that I bow before you now, that I ask that You forgive me of everything that I have done, everything that I’ve said, everything that I have failed to do. Help me, Lord God, to do what You called me to do. I ask a blessing for the hearers, the doers, and the person right now listening to this podcast. We are separated by time and space and distance, but through You, we are together. I thank You, Lord God, for all that my ears have heard, and my eyes have seen. Allow it to be used for the glory of Your Kingdom. Forgive us, Father God, for everything we’ve done contrary to what You would have us to be and to do. Help us to be better servants, children, ambassadors for You. Thank you, Lord God, for this day. Thank You for all the blessings in which You have given us. As we enter into this season of thanksgiving and gratitude and love, help us to remember the good things because we are bombarded daily by the negatives. Help us to focus on You, on The Throne of God. This is my prayer, and in the Name of Your Son, I ask. Amen.

Somewhere high in the heavens, out in the universe, a throne is set, which is The Throne of God. Remember I said that The Bible teaches us that there are three heavens — the first, the atmospheric heaven where the Prince of the Power of the Air holds forth but will one day be destroyed. The second heaven is the stellar heaven known to us as the universe. The third heaven, into which John was caught up in Revelation 4:1, is the Heaven of God. This could be the empty space referred to by Job in 26:7. Now although the heavens are filled with stars, wherever the telescope can reach, it seems that behind the North Star there is an empty space. For that reason, it has been suggested that this could be the third heaven. We know nothing, actually. We are just guessing, but if it was, it would be the Heaven of God where His Throne is. The central object of Heaven is the Throne of God, referred to eight times in Revelation 4:1-6 and eighteen times altogether in chapters four through five. It seems to be a fixed point with everything else in Heaven being located in relationship to it. We find such expressions as “about the Throne,” “out of the Throne,” “before the Throne,” and ‘in the midst of the Throne.” The Throne of God has been considered the fixed center of the universe, the immovable point of reference, just as the North Star had been the ancient navigators’ positional guide because of its fixed position among the stars. So, the Throne of God is the place of authority, and the center of God’s Rulership and for the activities of Heaven. This Throne before which everyone in Heaven worships may well be the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all Christians will one day stand. That’s in Romans 14:2, and 2 Corinthians 5 and 10. Now, immediately after the Rapture, to receive their rewards, is when this is going to happen (and that’s coming out of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15), or to have them burned up, and that’s depending on how faithfully we have served our Lord.

Seven things are around this Throne of God. The remainder of chapter four conveys to us these distinct characteristics of what we’ll see, so we’re going to break them down individually:

1. The Triune God. At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it (Revelation 4:1-2). It reveals all three members of the Triune God when John said, “At once I was in the Spirit” — with a capital S. He was referring to the Holy Spirit. John is a Christian who was always filled with the Holy Spirit, but as he indicated in chapter one, verse 10, he was “in” the Spirit, in a special revelatory sense his God was revealing to him in the same manner he had “moved” the prophets and apostles in times past to write the Holy Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20-21). Here, the Spirit was revealing to him “the things that shall come hereafter.” Verse two indicates someone sitting on the Throne. Greek does not denote singular or individual characteristics, instead it refers to a presence on the Throne, but it does not say how many. Consequently, we know that God the Father is there. However, if you look at verse three, it suggests that God the Son is likewise present as is taught in other passages of Scripture. He is seated at the Right Hand of God. Note that the One who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, a rainbow resembling an emerald encircling the Throne. This verse describes the Lord Jesus Christ for we know from several passages of Scripture that God the Father cannot be seen. That’s written in John 1:18, John 6:46, and 1 Timothy 6:16. So, the One John looked on was none other than the only member of the Trinity that can be seen — The Lord Jesus Christ, who is described in two ways: First, Christ is our High Priest. John’s description of the One he looked on as “appearance of jasper and carnelian,” is the most illuminating. Jasper of the Revelation is not only an opaque stone, but it’s also later described as a crystal in chapter 21. It is probably a diamond — the most brilliant of all precious jewels. The other stone is blood red which is probably a ruby. Thus, the two together give the idea of glory and sacrifice. Remember that the first people who read this thing were converted Jews, so we might ask, “What did these stones suggest to them?” Surely, every instructed Hebrew would instantly recall that they were the first and last stones in the breastplate of the High Priest (Exodus 28:17-20), and as these stones bore the names of the Tribes of Israel, arranged according to the births of the Twelve Patriarchs. One would suggest at once the name Reuben (behold the Son) and the other Benjamin (Son of My Right Hand). It is Christ in Throne, The Son about to reign in power who was before the seer’s vision. So, why is it the first thing we notice about Jesus here is that He’s presented in a priestly role? The answer to that is seen in the location of this description; it comes right after the Church Age, before the Tribulation. It represents the first time Christ has had His entire Priesthood together at one time. The Priesthood of Believers began at the Day of Pentecost. Every member of the Body of Christ is a member of this Priesthood of Believers, and we are called a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). The Church of Jesus Christ, made up of that Royal Priesthood, is not now in the presence of Christ, at least in its entirety. Only after the Rapture of the Church, when the dead in Christ are raised and we are changed, will the entire Priesthood of Christ be united at one time. Therefore, the sardius and the jasper stones are used to depict Christ as our High Priest. The second way Christ is described is as The Eternal One — as seen by John in that rainbow resembling an emerald encircling the Throne. Now, I said “circle” — not like a regular rainbow. This one’s a complete circular rainbow, and we only see half of a rainbow on Earth, but in Heaven, we’ll see that perfectly circular rainbow which, like a green emerald, represents the true nature of Christ, Truly, He is The Eternal One. Alright, look back at the Scripture (chapter four), and as you examine these two descriptions of Christ: the first, the Greek, the Christian after the Rapture, they remind us that we are in Heaven not because of anything we have done, but because Christ, our faithful High Priest, has given us a Royal Priesthood, freely, by His Grace. He has imparted of His Eternal Nature to us entitling us to share His Everlasting Life. When we take this into consideration, it should not be difficult for us to offer God continually a sacrifice of praise as it says in Hebrews 13:15. One of the most commonly neglected Bible subjects is the Priesthood of All Believers, that is, that we today are Priests of God, and as His Priests, we should be faithful in exercising our privileges and responsibilities. So! What are our responsibilities, you ask? Well, basically, they are twofold: Intercession and Sacrifice. That’s what priests do. Intercessory prayer should occupy much of the life of a believer, according to 1 Timothy 2:1. If we really understood that unbelievers cannot pray, and that Christians out of fellowship with God cannot pray, then we would be burdened to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for the unsaved. The course of history could well have been changed had we been more faithful in this regard. Other works of the priests in the Old Testament was to do the sacrifices. The New Testament tells us four sacrifices we should be making. The first is to our bodies (Romans 12:1-2), the sacrifice of praise or worship (Hebrews 13:15), the sacrifice of good works (Hebrews 13:16), and the sacrifice of giving (Hebrews 13:16). Now, when I say “works,” don’t go crazy on me, because I know that by works we are not saved, but it is a sacrificial work that God wants you to do as a priest.

2. The Twenty-Four Elders. Scripture says that surrounding The Throne were twenty-four other thrones and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.

3. Twenty-Four other thrones with elders in white clothing with crowns on their heads sitting on the seats. One of the most controversial questions raised by this vision of The Throne of God is the identity of the twenty-four elders. The world “elder” means “leader.” Actually, it is a title of rank, and it has been pointed out that, militarily speaking, we have a similar expression in English. The Commanding Officer of any unit is often called “the old man.” This has nothing to do with the age or the size of the unit he or she heads, for he or she may be a commanding general of an entire army. On the other hand, he may be a twenty-four-year-old 1st lieutenant who is a company commander. Both are more or less affectionately referred to as “the old man.” Essentially, that is what the word “elder” means: the old man. This word is used of pastors and church leaders to indicate leadership. Obviously, good Bible scholars can be found on both sides of this issue when they’re talking about the heavenly elders, but further biblical study convinced me that these elders have been redeemed by the Blood of The Lamb, as it says in 5:9. Angels have not been redeemed, so it could not be angels. In the NIV translation, it identifies the twenty-four elders in 5:9 with “your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” So, nothing could be clearer. These are, indeed, redeemed men.

4. How about the Signs of Judgment? From the Throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Three things are mentioned here: lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder — all proceeding from The Throne of God. Lightning and thunder have long been associated with the concept of judgment. Thus, we conclude since they come from The Throne of God that they are a prelude of the judgment that is about to fall upon the earth. It should be remembered that the Tribulation judgments come from The Throne of God. They are not the result of the Evil One, a human being, or what we do to one another, but appears a direct judgment of God. How about the Seven Spirits of God? Before the Throne, Seven Lamps were blazing.

5. These are the Seven Spirits of God. The Seven Lamps that are fire burning from The Throne are defined as the Seven Spirits of God. We’ve already read this in the description in Revelation 1:4 where John was apparently referring to the sevenfold characteristics of the Holy Spirit. This was also revealed in Isaiah 11:2. The Seven Spirits: the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel, the Spirit of Power, the Spirit of Knowledge, and the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord. The Seven Spirits do not mean seven different spirits, but the seven characteristics of one Holy Spirit. It should be born in mind, however, that these characteristics are not limited to His Role in Heaven, His Role during the Tribulation, or His Role during the Church Age, but are an eternal part of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, in addition to the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), we should expect to manifest these characteristics: wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and reverence for the Lord. When someone says, “Do you know God?” You know His characteristics. You know His traits. That’s how you can tell whether it’s from Him or not.

6. How about the Sea of Glass? Also, before The Throne, there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. Now, it’s impossible to me dogmatic as to the meaning of the sea of glass, though no one can conclude it meant to convey stability, for a glassy sea is a calm sea, untroubled by winds or storm. Two suggestions for the sea itself are: the church at rest or The Word of God. The latter, taken from the Sea of Glass in Solomon’s Temple, symbolized the Word of God for the means of sanctification. So, we are cleansed by the washing of water through The Word (Ephesians 5:26). A sea in Scripture usually refers to people, and this is in accord with what we find in Revelation 15 later, where the tribulation Saints who have been martyred by the Antichrist stand on the Sea of Glass. It would seem, then, that the Sea of Glass represents the Sure Foundation, the Word of God, our means of cleansing. The stability speaks of a completed sanctification and security of believers. One of the things that shakes our confidence or our feelings of security is sin. The strife that goes on in the lives of believers, between the old self and the new self, causes them to yearn for ultimate sanctification when they will no longer be tossed about by the winds of life. Here, we see the Tribulation Believers after the Rapture standing on a solid, untroubled foundation — the Sea of Glass.

7. Now, this next part really gets funky. The Four Living Creatures. Ooooooooh! In the center, around the Throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes in front and in back. It is most unfortunate for readers in the King James Version that they translators rendered this Greek word used here: “Zoa,” as in “beast.” This word, from which we get “zoology,” is better rendered “living creatures” or “animals.” As we look at the descriptions of these creatures, we find that they take on animal-like characteristics. These four living creatures are Seraphim, described by Isaiah in his vision of The Throne of God (Isaiah 6:1-2). They have six wings, and they cry, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty!” There are many orders of angels of which the Elders are leaders, but over the Elders are: Seraphim, which number only four. It seems that they are engaged in the worship of God constantly, but their forms suggest that they also have other duties, and because of their characteristics, it may be that they are leaders of a realm that they depict. For example, note the forms: a lion, a calf, a man, a flying eagle. A lion — leader of the kingdom of wild animals. That’s where we get that whole King of the Beasts thing. It comes out of The Bible, actually. A calf — leader of domesticated animals. Man — leader of the angelic hosts responsible for the human race. A flying eagle — leader of the kingdom of the fowls of the air. And, then we get to our last piece: The Heavenly Worship of Christ. The Living Creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on The Throne and who lives for ever and ever. This describes the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the object of worship in Heaven. He in The One who sits on The Throne, the Object of their affections. The cause for this worship may be well-linked to the fact that the Church will be raptured at this point and, for the first time, believers will be gathered together before The Throne in resurrected body. That’s kind of cool, right? You’ll be in your new body. That’s bringing to fulfillment the purpose of Christ Incarnation. Only the Lord Jesus Christ could have left the glories of Heaven to take on the form of a man, identify Himself with human beings, become their sin, and thus pay the penalty for their sin, as He did on Calvary’s Cross. Don’t forget that. As mighty as these celestial beings of the angelic order are, none of them could have qualified to redeem the human race from our sin. However, the Blood of God’s Own Son could and did. These angelic beings seem to be responsible to God for humanity and were, no doubt, frustrated because Satan had perverted himself and subverted God’s Plan by bringing sin into the world. They stood by helplessly while generation after generation of human beings fell into sin, and lost fellowship with God. This present act of worship seems to be their expression of devotion and adoration to the Lord Jesus Christ for redeeming them from the earth when they could not, themselves, redeem.

Revelation 4:11 says: “You are worth, oh Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your Will, they were created and have their being.”

The song these celestial beings sing is a song of glory and honor to God because He is the Creator of all things. This, of course, on the basis of John 1:3, is another evidence that the Lord Jesus Christ is The One being worshipped. One cannot help but be moved at the loving concern and the feeling of adoration and worship in the heart of celestial beings because the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed human beings from sin. How much more should our hearts rejoice as we worship Him, since we are the recipients of this redemption? Chapter five goes onto the Seven-Sealed Scroll. We’re going to save that for the next time. Amen?

You know, life is still good, no matter what’s going on. Every day you get up is another chance to do what’s right. I want to thank you for being a part of this podcast, part of this mission, part of this ministry. If you want to contact me, my email address is pastor@speaklifechurch.net. I’m going to give you one, two, three different ways you can support the ministry if you care to — no obligation whatsoever. Let your heart be so moved. I’ve got some plans to — I’ve still got a baptism I have to do in the Midwest. Haven’t done it yet. Also, a baptism up in New England I didn’t do this year as well. I know the Lord has some plans for us. If you want to help, there’s a PayPal account. There is a patreon.com for Speak Life Church Podcast, and there’s a Givelify also, and there’s even some really smart people who use Zelle, which I never would’ve figured out on my own. And, you can also support the ministry by check or money order, just by sending it to Speak Life Church at P.O. Box 2, Upper Marlboro, MD 20773.

This morning I woke up thinking about the Marine that we helped out a few years back around this time. We raised about $10,000 for him to help him. He was dying of cancer that he had gotten from being on Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. We raised the money a whole bunch of ways, and you guys came through on that. He wanted to help his widow out, and she wasn’t even his widow yet. We actually sat on the porch and talked and prayed and laughed about our old times together. Then, when he went on to Glory, his wife was set just as he had tried to do before he left. You were part of that. You helped. And there are so many other people who have asked me to pray for them, and God answered. It’s almost…it’s not almost, it’s humbling. It’s fearful that God listens to people like us. Sometimes you think you have to be real pious and have a big hat or something, some special thing. There should be a sign or…how you know some person’s real and some person’s fake…but I’m telling you, God answers prayers. I’m telling you that I’ve seen it through this ministry, people that I know on this site, on this podcast, on this thing! I don’t know about the rest of the world, but we are in the Apple of God’s Eye. We are being touched. [music plays] So, thank you for allowing me to be a part of that because I can see it. Sometimes folks don’t want anyone to know, can’t put their business out on the street, but God’s blessing. God is answering prayer. God is healing people. God is doing what God does. [Hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” plays here]

Now, to Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the Presence of His Glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Let the church say, “Amen.” [closing music]

 

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The Latest Episode of the Podcast

Are you looking for more control in your life?

And Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest unto your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

 

Welcome to the Speak Life Church Podcast. I’m Reverend Kenn Blanchard, and this week, we’ve got a message about control, Bible study about the Book of Revelation — we’re going to be ending the Church of Sardis, finishing that up —and, we’ve got music from Sister Sarah. All this and more, coming up next.

 

The Bible says in Proverbs 18 and 21, that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Here, we choose to speak life. We are a 100% online ministry created to restore and strengthen the family, provide hope for those in need, and offer a nontraditional place of worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, using technology to be anywhere. All are welcome, including those souls still searching for what they believe in. My name is Kenn Blanchard. Welcome.

 

This week I’ve got a message about control. You know, control kind of is a huge thing for everybody. You might not think it’s you, but I can guarantee there is some elements of it that even you want. It’s a life thing. It’s a normal thing. Many of us are unhappy right now over many things. I’m not going to say anything that will change that except for maybe that “God Is.”

Happiness is dependent upon what it happening now in your life. It’s temporal. It’s temporary. It’s fleeting. Some of us are waiting for things to change. Others are changing the things that we can — little things like cleaning up around the house, painting, building things, practicing new things.

Straighten the stuff out. I’m in that boat. I’m practicing more with my new guitar. I’m trying to finish and write a book about the joy that God gives. I’m taking advantage of this teleworking option. I’m a little bit anxious, worried that I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know holds tomorrow. I’m mending fences and reaching out to people I haven’t spoken to in awhile — politics aside, social media aside.

Believe it or not, your current situation isn’t unique. Would you believe that you’re not alone in the way that you feel if you’re feeling some kind of way right now? We may not all be in that same boat, but we are all in the same storm. After years of filling my cup with more and more, trying to control the matters of my life, I’ve realized that I’ve got to learn how to stop and let go, and let God. I am so much more at peace, so much happier, so much “stress-less” knowing that God has my tomorrow.

 

Control. Anybody got control issues? Control is typically a reaction to the fear of losing it. People who struggle with the need to be in control often fear being at the mercy of others, and this fear may stem from something that happened to you in your past when you were totally helpless and vulnerable. Maybe you just got some disproportionate and unhealthy issues that you want more of everything. Sometimes, those of us that experienced some abuse, some neglect, look for ways to reign in control of that so that it doesn’t happen again.

So, it can be from traumatic or abusive life experiences. It can be from a lack of trust. It can be from just plain old anxiety which happens if you breathe, fear of abandonment. You might have some self-esteem issues. There might be some personal beliefs, some values that you don’t have, some lack of faith. Maybe you’re trying to be perfect. Perfectionism and the fear of failure run hand-in-hand. And maybe you’re just emotionally sensitive to some stuff that’s going on. And there’s a lot of stuff that’s going on. You want to micro-manage and orchestrate something in other people.

Maybe you want to get a little bit more rigid in your routine. You want to change your diet. You might want some more order. Those are all things that have control in them. Psalm 33:8-22 says, “the Lord watches over those who obey Him.

Those who trust in His constant love. He saves them from death. He keeps them alive in times of famine. We put our hope in the Lord. He is our Protector and our Help. We are glad because of Him. We trust in His Holy Name. May Your Constant Love be with us, Lord, as we put our hope in You.” (I believe that’s the New Living translation.)

 

The wise among us recognize your struggles because we had them, too. The wise among us seek to share advice, probably unsolicited, because we care, but believe it or not, there is nothing new under the sun. King Solomon had that totally right. But, who controls this dag-gone storm? You know the answer. God. Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” For those who have been to church a few times, I’m sure you’ve heard the story of when Jesus was in a boat and a storm came up. You’ll find it in Mark 4:35-41, Matthew 8:23-27, and Luke 8:22-25.

It sounds a little something like this:

On the same day when evening had come, He said to them, “Let’s cross over to the other side.” Now, when they had left the multitude, they took Him along, in the boat, as He was. Other boats were also with Him, and a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat so that it was already filling, but He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. They awoke Him, and said, “Teacher! Do you not care that we are perishing?”

Then, He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace. Be still.” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm, but He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And, they fear exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be that even the wind and sea obey Him?”

They said to each other, “What kind of man is He? He speaks to the wind and the waves and they obey Him.” Matthew 27 says, “but the men marveled (in the King James version) saying, ‘What manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

How cool is that?

See, what we really need to do right now in our situation is to stop striving and start abiding. You know what the truth is. You know who God is. You know how you are in the world. You know how far you’ve fallen. You know where you’re at. There’s no joke. Right now, we all crave control, but the remedy for all of that is to be with God, to pray, to be honest, to tell Him how you feel, to say what’s wrong and confess that you like being in control. After all, you are made in His Image. But, you’re not Him, are you?

No. You’ve got to recognize who you are, too. I know you want to please Him, because I do. I had to recognize that I need Him in my life. I’m not going anywhere without Him. Lord, help me and us to surrender control to You each and every day. Help us to trust You deeply. Help us, Lord God, not to fear surrendering control. Help me to remember that You hold everything in Your Hand.If you’re having trouble surrendering through prayer alone, I find out that you can try by taking a piece of paper and writing down the things that are holding you down, holding you tightly. Once you get all that stuff out of you, pray about them individually. You know, trusting in God is a lifelong process.

You don’t get wise without being stupid first. You don’t get wise without having experiences first. You don’t get wise that you can sit back and share information, unless you’ve done some stupid stuff that God has allowed you to come back on. Like so many things in this Christian faith, there’s a choice that we make everyday. We have to learn how to let go of figuring out all the “whys” of life and just trust God and understand Him more and more than we ever could. And, after you let go, I guarantee you’ll feel better. You will be that happier that you’re looking for. You will see how far you have to go, though, once you let go. Once you get closer to God, you will see all your imperfections and it will make you humble, but humble, being in true humility, is a good thing because God resists the proud.

So, once you let yourself hang out there, that you’re not all that and a bag of chips, that you got some stuff wrong with you, folks will look at you strangely because you’re honest. They’ll look at you strangely because you admitted it. They’ll look at your strangely because you’re self-deprecating, but they don’t matter because they don’t have a Heaven to kick you out of or a Hell to put you into. Being closer to God is all that matters in this world. The song says: When we walk with the Lord in the Light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way. While we do His Good Will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Let us pray.

 

Eternal God, our Father, Heavenly Father, the only One True God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Lover of our souls, it’s in the Name of Your Son, Jesus that I bow before You now, that I close my eyes and lower my head before You, that I ask, Lord God, You will forgive me of everything I’ve done and allow your servant to be heard. Somebody right now is seeking help, and may they, through this time, find it through You. Bless us, Lord God, and keep us and we will be kept. Touch us, and allow Your Presence to be felt now. Somebody is lonely. Somebody is anxious. Somebody is frustrated. Somebody is angry. Somebody is mad. Somebody is going through a tough time, and they need You, Lord God. They’ve tried everything else, but You. Help us to trust You and obey. Help us to let go of the control issues that we have and to trust You. Heal the brokenhearted. Put a smile back on our face. Give us the joy that has nothing to do with this world. Give us the joy that surpasses all understanding. Give us Jesus. Holy Spirit, lighten our burdens. Lighten our eyes. Lighten our spirit. This is Your servant’s prayer for Your people. In the name of Your Son, Jesus, I ask this thing. Amen.

 

 

That was a group I snagged off of Youtube called, Kaoma Chende. I am hoping that you have the chance to check out speaklifechurch.net this week or last week, or maybe even today. It’s our website and the home of all of our stuff. Facebook is cool and all, but you know, sometimes they can censor you how you get to things, and before you know it, you never get to the website. So, if you’re looking for the show notes, they are provided for you at speaklifechurch.net.

Also, I want to invite you to our very first Zoom prayer meeting, which is going to happen on the 14th of October, 2020 at 8:30p.m. EST. The invite can be found on Facebook and on the show notes for this episode. And, if you don’t get any of those, you can call me and I will send it to you myself: (202)579-9435. But, I’m hoping that I’ll get at least one or two of you. We’ll pray. We’ll talk. We’ll laugh. We’ll share what God has done for us, have a little testimony time, only thirty minutes. It’ll just be our trial under fire using technology, to reach out, maybe I haven’t talked to you in person before. I would love to see you. I’m looking forward to this time. October 14th at 8:30p.m.

 

And, if you can’t make it, it’s okay, just send me a note though, and let me know that you would like to. We just pulled this date out of the air. It’ll be after work, for most people, and maybe you can make it. If there is something you would like me to pray for in the interim, feel free to send me an email, to call me, or maybe you’re ready to make a move right now, and come to God. I know you’re not with me right now. You don’t see me right now, but did you know that if you would confess with your mouth — that means say it out loud — that the Lord Jesus is the Christ, and believe in your heart that God raised this Man from Nazareth from the dead, that you will be saved.

For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confessions are made unto salvation. You could never be saved by trying to be a good person. Nor can you be saved through any other amount of good works and things that you do here in this world. The Bible tells us that for by grace we have been saved by faith, and not of ourselves. It is a Gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.

You and I can only be saved by confessing our sins and placing our faith in God’s Son, Jesus, who died for us and paid for our sins on the Cross. We must surrender our lives to Him, placing Him in charge of every area of our lives because we now belong to Him.

Both John the Baptist and Jesus Himself began their preaching with the words, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” To repent means to change one’s mind or to turn. You know, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. No matter which direction you’re going in, to turn around only takes one. I’m asking you right now, that if you don’t have Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, if you don’t know about this God thing that I’ve been talking about, if you don’t understand but you want a change, you want something to happen in our life, that you would stop right now, and ask God to hear your prayer.

Ask Him to forgive you of everything you’ve done, and allow the Holy Spirit to come into your life. Ask Him for the free gift of eternal life. Say, “I believe in Your Son, Jesus. I don’t really quite understand all this stuff that’s been said to me over and over and through life, but I believe that You exist. I believe that You sent Your Son to die for me.” See, God promises that all who receive Him, that those who believe in His Name, He gives the right to become Children of God. God does hear and accept all who come to put their faith in Him.

There is no more need to fear death because Jesus broke that whole thing. He paid it all. Jesus didn’t remain in the grave. He rose from the dead after three days. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. You will be a new creature. Old things will pass away.

All things will become new. Your faith will come by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. All the stuff I’ve just said prior and always through this thing are the Words of the Lord. If you prayed, if you decided to follow God, if you decided to allow Jesus to be your Savior, then your journey as a Child of the King of Kings has just begun. God bless you. Looking forward to speaking with you in the future.

Give me a call: (202)579-9435 or email me at pastor@speaklifechurch.net.

 

{Hymn “Softly and Tenderly” sung by Sister Sarah here}

 

Thank you, Sarah.

 

Let’s go to the Book of Revelation. We’re talking about the Church of Sardis — Revelation 3:1-6. You know, Christ’s nature was reveled to Sardis. Time period wise, this was the capital city of Lydia, Sardis was. After the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, in this book, in Sardis, this church, he reveals two characteristics of Himself. He calls Himself The Seven Spirits and The Seven Stars. The Seven Spirits refer to the Holy Spirit who Jesus said is Truth.

The Stars are the angels of the churches. This church had more than adequate opportunities to know the truth and to obey the Lord if they had heeded His warning. The natural explanation of the deficiency appears to be that they preferred to trust the state instead of God. The Church of Sardis received the shortest commendation from our Lord than any of the other churches. In fact, some biblical scholars do not include any commendation for this church, but lists the commendation as a condemnation because of the way it ends. It says: “I know your deeds.” This may well refer to the early stages of the Reformation when Martin Luther and others chose to defy Roman authority, even at the risk of their own lives, to obey the Bible’s teaching on salvation by faith. “You have a reputation,” it says, probably referring to the fact that the Reformation Church had a reputation, as a faithful church particularly in the early days of the movement, of being “alive,” in the case there was some life in the church. If you remember, last week, I talked about my own experience with my church that it wasn’t always dead.

Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ made the church alive. It should be noted, though, that the act of placing one’s trust in Jesus Christ and receiving His Salvation does not guarantee us consistent obedience to the Holy Spirit. It’s a daily thing you have to do. I mean, you can wake up some days and just be disobedient. You can wake up some days and just be in the flow. It’s a work in progress. You have to submit, personally, to the Will of God. We have so many choices, and it’s really easy to somebody, even a church person, to go off kilter. Christ did condemn this church, though. He says, “but you aren’t dead.” I already said that, but I got good news for you, yes, I do. There are five things that God says that if you do them, He’ll make you acceptable again.

 

The first is to wake up! It’s an expression that points to a serious deficiency in the teaching of some of the early church people. The word our Lord uses here is used in other passages of Scripture to indicate the attitude of life that should characterize His children in view of His Promise to return. We should be talking more about Biblical prophesy and separation. Prophetically instructed Christians are more apt to be separated, consecrated Christians, than those unaware of the promises of our Lord’s Second Coming. We’re talking about this Revelation piece right now because from all intents and purposes, things look a little closer today than they did twenty years ago, that the Lord is coming back.

Number two: strengthen what remains. This is a no-joke kind of thing, like, duh! There’s a whole bunch of depravity right now, number three, we need to lean more on the Authority, on the Word of God. Number four is we need to remember, therefore, what we have received and heard. We need to obey, as we spoke about earlier, and number five is we need to repent. So, the five things are:

 

  1. Wake up.
  2. Strengthen what remains.
  3. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard.
  4. Obey it.
  5. Repent

 

Repentance not only involves an act of turning to God, but of having a submissive heart. See, it’s one thing that after He slaps you down, you fall on your face that you say, “Alright! I surrender!” It’s a lot better if you do that before that happens, seeking His Will and His Teaching in all truth.

 

Christ had a big warning to Sardis. He said, “If you don’t wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know of the time I will come to you.” One of the worst things that can happen to us here, is that we think we have all the time in the world. “I’ll get my life together when I get older.” “I’ll get my life together after I get married.” “I’ll get my life together after I get through school.” “I’ll get my life together after I get a house.” Whatever you put before God is a bad thing. You don’t know when He’s coming. You don’t know when your life will end. You don’t know that you could live a whole lot better if you would just give your life to God now. How much joy are you missing? How much pain are you enduring that you don’t have to?

I’m not saying that you won’t have some stuff happen to you after you give your life to Christ, because all the Christians listening to me right now know that in this world, you will have tribulations. You’re going to have some stuff, but it’s a whole lot better to go through it with God than to go through it without. And, like my church, He says to this church, “Yet, you have a few people in Sardis who have now soiled their clothes. They will walk with Me dressed in white for they are worthy.” There are some individuals, even now, who remain faithful even through all the crazy stuff that’s going on. I want you to be like that, to be faithful to God regardless of what’s going down. The Lord has promised that all who are faithful to Him during persecution will “walk with Me dressed in white for they are worthy.”

A lot of us have never tasted the sting of persecution for the cause of Jesus Christ. We’ll stand aside and be thrilled at the Judgment Seat of Christ when those who have endured are rewarded.

 

Christ’s challenge to Sardis, as to all the others, is directed to the individual. He or she who overcomes, as we have already seen, is a direct reference to those who have been born again by faith in Christ. I want you to check out 1 John 5:1-4: He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. It refers to the righteousness of Christ with which we are clothed when we are born again (2 Corinthians 5:21). Scripture says, “I will never blot out his name from the Book of Life, but will acknowledge his name before My Father and His angels.” This indicates the security with which a believer is held against the Day of Judgment that’s described in Revelation 20:11-15 that we haven’t gotten to yet. That Book of Life is the book that contains the names of all living individuals. It is possible to have one’s name blotted out in that book for three reasons.

One, sinning against God.

Two, not being an overcomer, which is synonymous with being born again, or putting one’s trust in Christ, and three, for taking away from the words of the prophesy of Revelation. In short, anyone who has sinned against God has his or her name blotted out of the Book of Life upon death. And then our Lord concludes, in this book,

“He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Whether or not you have heard is determined by whether or not you have heeded His warning to be born again.

The way to guarantee that  — that your name will never be blotted out of the Book of Life — is to get on your knees and ask God, right now, to cleanse you of your sin and save you as we asked earlier and gave you the opportunity. It’s not too late. Still think about it if you’re not.

 

Next week, we’re going to hit the Church of Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13.) Amen? Wow! Time is flying. Thank you for listening, downloading, and subscribing to the Speak Life Church Podcast. I’m Reverend Kenn Blanchard, and I want to thank you personally for listening and for your prayers. I’m hoping to meet you online on the 14th of October, if you can. Now, unto Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.

May the Lord bless and keep you. May Heaven’s Face continue to shine upon you and give you great peace. Until that great day when there is no dawn and there is no sunset, my friend, my sister, my brother, I will see you at the Feet of Jesus. Until next time, God bless.

Julie Golob is Wild at Heart

Julie Glob is Wild at Heart

This is the first design in a promotional tee shirt design called Wild at Heart with the superstar pro shooter, mother, veteran known as Julie Glob.  In this first rendition I chose someone I just know that is both a child of God and a multi-time world, a national shooting champion, an experienced shooting instructor, woman of the outdoors, proud US Army veteran, published author, wife and mom.

Here is how you can get one of these as a shirt or something else cool from our shop.

I got this idea to create action tee shirts based on the spirit of this ministry.  The Speak Life Church ministers to everyone seeking an honest relationship with God but we are focused on ones that live life to fullest.  For too many, churches today are reserved for the elderly or have become stagnant in dogma.  Religion is how we are comfortable in worshipping a Holy God.

I am looking forward to worshipping our Creator and the lover of our souls with others like me on the range, on the water, on two wheels and online.

Wild at Heart

I remember getting persecuted for being pro-gun in church too often as I grew in ministry.  At the same time, I know many gun owners, competition shooters, and hunters that love the Lord Jesus but don’t regularly attend church for more than one familiar reason.  I have been called to minister to God’s people regardless of what the brick and mortar churches are saying to them.

So true to form, I am back in the wilderness, where I am comfortable, using the internet to teach, preach and reach people for Christ.  I’m not alone.  God is with me.  He was in the wilderness a lot if you think about it.  He was with the Israelites, the prophets, Jesus, and John the Baptist in the wilderness.

If you would like to be considered for a tee shirt to made of you representing a follower of Jesus that is wild at heart, send me a high definition photo of you in action.

Collect all of them.  Inspire a design.  Join us.  Follow Christ.

Get Yours Here

 

The Surprisingly Simple Remedy for My Lukewarm Christian Life

Here’s an example of a podcaster using what is available in social media to reignite his passion for the Lord.  The tale of a project called Miracles & Atheists.  The surprisingly simple remedy for my lukewarm Christian life.

What do you mean, “when was I born again?”

I grew up in a church, I’ve always believed…it’s awesome that you found Jesus right before you were about to take your life, that God spoke to you as you opened the door to cheat on your wife, that you were delivered from your 10-year addiction, but I don’t have a story.

The Dilemma

I prayed for Jesus to be my Lord and Savior when I was a kid I guess, but I don’t remember being saved. What I do remember is praying that same prayer several times throughout my childhood, on 5 or 10 occasions maybe. I suppose I just wanted to make sure I was saved, but nothing happened.

The point is, I don’t have a story so don’t ask me about it, I get uncomfortable.

I don’t like being uncomfortable.

The truth is, not having a dramatic story makes me wonder whether I truly am saved. I believe, sure. At least I think I do.

But what does it really mean to believe anyway? I’m supposed to know that I know that I know I’m saved, right? That’s what the pastor says. Ok then, but how do I know for sure?

Faith is being convinced about things we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that; but am I convinced? The whole concept sort of stresses me out. Jesus tells us those who believe will cast out demons in His name, they will speak in tongues…wait tongues? What’s that all about anyway? I grew up United Methodist man, I don’t know what all this means.

Those who believe will pick up snakes with their hands and drink deadly poison without getting hurt. They’ll place hands on the sick and the sick will be healed…seriously? (Ref: Mark 16:17-18)

I certainly haven’t experienced any of that. Maybe I don’t believe then. But why not? What am I doing wrong? If I’m not saved, why am I wasting my time with church?

These are the things I struggled with during the first 38 years of my life as a lukewarm Christian.

People always used to tell me about the freedom they found in Jesus, but all I felt was condemnation. Paul says there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) so I felt confused all the time. What’s the point of it all?

My lukewarm Christian friends used to tell me not to worry about it…that I was bearing fruit, I was fine. Even so, I had a potty mouth, an adulterous heart and an empty feeling inside….continuously searching for fulfillment, for something more.

Far from freedom, I know.
The truth is I was doing something wrong. I was going through the motions: seeking after the Lord with one hand but holding onto the world with the other. I’ve learned it doesn’t work that way.

About 18 months ago I started an unexpected journey in search of making sense out of it all. It was a Sunday afternoon, where despite having three energetic kids running around the house, I found myself scrolling through a mind-numbing playlist of movies on Netflix, most of which were full of sex, violence, and self-centered living. I’d been watching too many of those lately and I needed something kid-friendly, but not a kid’s movie, I couldn’t stomach anymore of those.

I selected a documentary called “The Finger of God.” I thought to myself, “hey that’s different.” The premise of the film was to investigate why some churches were on fire for the Lord, while others were well, lukewarm, perhaps? The film’s producer, Darren Wilson, sought after churches that were seeing real-life miracles, with the goal of capturing them on film.

Before watching this movie I knew absolutely nothing about miracles. I never even thought about signs and wonders before, or that any of the miraculous things Jesus talked about still happen in the 21st century. The Holy Spirit was basically an afterthought to me.

I figured miracles were a conceptual thing, not literally something us humans here on this planet could actually partake in. But I tell you, this documentary got the wheels turning for me. I was fascinated by some of the things I was seeing: deaf people’s ears opening up, knees being healed on the spot, manna showing up in people’s Bibles. It was weird…was this the same Jesus I thought I knew?

The idea of seeing miracles stayed in the back of my mind for the next six months. I wanted to know more, but I didn’t do anything about it.

Doing something would make me uncomfortable, and I don’t like being uncomfortable.

It’s funny though, the Lord doesn’t seem to be concerned about my comfort. It’s like He has other plans for me or something…

So I figured the best thing would be to start getting into the Bible; to see what God’s Word says about miracles. Didn’t they go away? The problem was I found the Bible boring and confusing. I was going through the motions when I read the Bible and felt guilty about it. It shouldn’t be that way, having guilt didn’t feel right.

God knew I would get frustrated and blow off my Bible reading, and I did. So He put someone in my path who was well-versed in miracles, signs and wonders. I met Cale Nelson at a conference for podcasters in early 2017. We had only talked for five minutes or so, but I could see this guy was on fire for Jesus. I admired that, all the while wondering why I wasn’t on fire like he was…what was I missing, seriously?

At this point my finances were a mess and my marriage was about to fail. I was full of pride and selfish intentions. Yet, I put up a really good front. By God’s grace Cale and I kept in touch online, and after a few weeks I asked him whether he’d be interested in talking about Jesus with me more regularly.

Through Cale’s example, I learned how truly different real followers of Jesus were from the rest of the world. That scared me.
I was comfortable in my lukewarm world; I wanted to blend in.

Even so, I recognized in my search for fulfillment that I needed to make some sort of change. We all know the definition of insanity. So one of the first things I did was pray the Lord give me a hunger for His Word. If His Word truly brings life, I want to understand how.

Miracles and Atheist project

It took a few months, but the hunger I prayed for did eventually come, gradually. I made a commitment that the first thing I would do after waking up is get into the Word of God before I did anything else, even if just for five minutes. To my surprise, I actually started enjoying my time reading! For understanding, I started devouring any Christian media I could get my hands on related to miracles: audiobooks, YouTube videos, podcasts, and more documentaries.

It opened up a whole new world for me! I couldn’t believe I’d been missing out on such life in the here and now. For my whole life I’d just been concerned about not going to hell, but for the first time I realized Christ is actually inside me in the form of the Holy Spirit, I just needed to learn how to access Him.

I was sitting in church alone one Sunday morning and the pastor gave a sermon about taking risks for the Lord. He said faith had to involve some sort of risk, that without risk, it wouldn’t be faith. The message resonated with me.

I realized I had developed a fear of man. If I were to talk about my faith, to move outside my comfortable, lukewarm world it would be awkward. Talking to Cale every week was fine, but getting out into the world and being that weird Christian well, that was different.

Yet Jesus said “so everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33 ESV

Acknowledging Jesus would mean I’d have to take a risk, probably more than one, and I didn’t like that very much. On the other hand, I didn’t like going through the motions anymore either.

It was time.

A lot of Christians love to learn, but far fewer take action on what they learn. I wanted to take action.

The Lord gave me a vision of bringing atheists and believers together to talk about miracles, signs and wonders. The problem was that atheists intimidated me. They thought Christians were stupid, they talked with big vocabulary and I didn’t want them to challenge me on my beliefs. My theology wasn’t all that strong and I didn’t want to jeopardize my faith, so I stayed clear of any religious talk when I found myself in a conversation with an atheist. Nevertheless, I respected them. They weren’t like me, in that they made a decision. They didn’t question their beliefs, they just didn’t believe and moved on.

There’s something to be said for being decisive, yet I couldn’t understand why they would be willing to jeopardize their salvation. It was a fascinating worldview, and I realized I had a heart for the atheist.

So I took my first risk, I took action.
I needed to find atheists and Christians willing to have a conversation. So I put out a polarizing post on Facebook about the folly of the aggressive, Bible-thumping, “you’re gonna burn” Christian. I mentioned that I would be working on a project to address the issue. I put out the post at around midnight on an early Wednesday morning and within 24-hours, I had nearly 300 comments and 20 private messages asking me what I was doing.

My post took people by surprise, it was out of character. And it also struck a chord. The next day I found myself filled with what could be none other than the Holy Spirit. I felt like I was high! Nothing else mattered, not my finances, not my frail marriage, not the kids, nothing…just God.

It was one of the most fulfilling experiences I can remember; that day I was baptized of the Holy Spirit. I took my first risk for the Lord, and I got my first taste of real faith. Shortly thereafter I found myself laying hands on the sick, rebuking illnesses and starting to see people healed. It’s been nothing short of amazing (and a little crazy).

One week later I launched a four-hour livestream on Facebook – I call it Miracles & Atheists. The premise of the show is to facilitate a healthy dialog between atheists and believers about the supernatural. It hasn’t been easy, but incredibly fulfilling.
Piece by piece, brick by brick my faith strengthened.

Nowadays, I see my wife and kids growing in their faith. My marriage is stronger than it’s ever been and God’s handling our finances. My six-year-old is even laying hands and praying for the sick! It’s been an amazing roller coaster of a ride.

I don’t care about being the weird Christian anymore, I just want to help the lost and heal the sick.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 NIV

I had read that verse for years, but I never knew how to truly apply it in the fray of life, until I took my first risk for the Lord. Seeking God’s kingdom first means to truly die to yourself, every day. It’s means listening to the Lord when He calls you to do something, whether you know for sure that it’s Him or not. If it’s aligned with the Word of God, you go for it.

For me, I’d already lived the first 38 years of life for myself, so I’ll go ahead and live the rest out for Jesus.

If you’re like me, you may be afraid of going all in for Jesus. You probably don’t like being uncomfortable – believe me, I don’t either! Just know that your fear isn’t from God, it’s from the enemy. Push through and take that risk! When the dust settles, don’t be surprised when that mountain moves.