Devils and Demons. Just a creature in red with horns that whispers to you when the dessert menu comes around? Revelation 9 gives a VERY different picture - but also a remedy, if we're willing to receive it.
Music Today: 'Man of the Tombs' by Bob Bennett. Southern California soft rock may seem like the wrong genre for today, but Bennett does an amazing job of capturing the pain and the grip of demonic oppression, taking on the character of Legion in Mark 5:1-20. 'Shame and shamelessness equally there/Like the random toss of a coin in the air'. I had the opportunity to see this place on a trip to Israel a couple of years ago - truly amazing.
Are you interested in getting God - and heaven's - complete attention? Do you wonder if there's any hope in the face of natural disasters, global warming, and the general chaos of 2020? Join me for a few minutes in Revelation 8, and the 'backward masking' of creation. (And yes, I'm in the dark - but that's a pretty good analogy for where we are in prayer sometimes - and hopefully the biblical story behind me becomes a little clearer.)
Music Today: 'C.S. Lewis Song' by Brooke FraserOne of the best songs I know for facing the heart ripping sadness of this chapter. "If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfyI can only conclude that I was not made for hereIf the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary,Then of course I'll feel nude when to where I'm destined I'm compared"
Marvin Gaye: 'Mercy Mercy Me' (The Ecology)Rolling Stone's latest ranking of Rock and Pop Albums ranked 'What's Going On' as #1. This song is certainly a big reason why. 'If I knew Christ was coming back tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree today.' - Martin Luther
Ever presumed you were on an invitation list, only to have a very unpleasant surprise when the party begins? Join me for a look at Revelation 7, where the heavenly banquet includes people from all sorts of people and tribes - but is missing one from Israel!
Music Today - Andrew Peterson, 'Is He Worthy?'Kristina and I first heard this song performed by Peterson in concert at Grove City before the paint was even dry - he had just written it and forgot some of the words as he went along. Now hundreds of thousands of people sing it by heart - and draw great hope from it! I think it's one of the finest worship songs of the past 20 years, and it's rooted in Revelation 5 and 7.
Emmylou Harris - 'Jerusalem Tomorrow'Finding good songs about religious manipulation and abuse are difficult, especially told from a first-person perspective. This one is chilling and incredibly effective, as the 'Bluebird' of country music turns into storyteller as a charlatan healer who encounters a surprising 'rival.'
Revelation 6 is usually where Presbyterians get off the roller coaster and heavy metal bands get on. What could possibly be encouraging about the four horsemen of the apocalypse? Maybe we should find out what this chapter looks like through the eyes of our Albanian brothers and sisters in Christ. Let's take four and half minutes together!
Music Today: Johnny Cash, 'When the Man Comes Around.' Recorded on his last album before his death, the man in black has some good questions - and answers! - for us preparing for the day of judgment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJhgEMKLuHI
Bob Dylan - 'A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.' Written when he was just 21(!), I think this is Dylan's best early masterpiece. The video ties the lyrics only with the Vietnam war, which works, but the apocalyptic imagery can apply powerfully to today. Dylan wasn't yet a Christ-follower, but the Holy Ghost haunts this and so many other songs in his '60s work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-aHRJt8zNk
Hitler stole it. Napoleon stole it. At least 5 others stole it as well, but had it slip through their fingers. Yet it landed in the lap of a janitor in Washington D.C., and it's within your reach as well. Join me for 4 minutes with Revelation 5.
Artwork Today: 'Adoration of the Mystic Lamb', Jan Van Eyck (1424-32). The amazing lifelike detail coupled with the supernatural power of the scene is a powerful meditation on the reality of God's offer of redemption to people like you and me. Perhaps the greatest painting European culture ever produced. (Not a huge fan of the piano 'jazz lite' accompaniment, but they do a nice job pointing things out in the painting. The part about the lamb comes about halfway through video 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udgNvPpDb2I...
'Throne of the Third Heaven,' James Hampton (1950-64). I had a chance to see this at the Smithsonian, where it's been on permanent display for years. There are a number of videos on this, but the bottom (top?) line of this overwhelmingly imaginative work of devotion to God are the words over it all: "FEAR NOT". https://psmag.com/.../cracking-code-james-hamptons...
Music Today: "Revelation Song", Kari JobeThe first time I heard this song was in Honduras, as a part of evangelistic mission trip with our High Schoolers and feeling quite far from home. Afterward, I realized 'home' was very near indeed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FrhDJa3XCM