Hi there! I want to begin our time together today by asking you a question. Those who are reading this post will fall into one of two categories: those who have previously studied Revelation and those who have never done an in-depth study of Revelation. So, I have a question for each group.
To those who have previously studied Revelation: How did your study impact you?
To those who have never studied Revelation: Why have you never studied Revelation?
I want to address the last group first, because I once was one of you. The reasons I never studied Revelation were a few: I was frightened by the events of the book; I felt that there was no way I could understand what I studied because of all the symbolism in it; It seemed like even most pastors avoided the book of Revelation so maybe it was a book that was just in the Bible, but we really did not need to study it much.
In 2012-ish my small group began studying the book of The Revelation. Every last one of us entered the study ‘with fear and trembling’ because we had no idea if we could even do the study. The study was intensive and laborious, but boy, was it good! So, with that said, allow me to now answer the question I asked the first group. My study of the book of Revelation impacted me in two ways: It deepened my faith and trust in the sovereignty of God (God’s got this!) AND it encouraged me greatly to know that Jesus knows exactly what goes on in His Church. He will deal with any wrongs and He will reward faithfulness.
That is a perfect segue into why I am investing so much time and effort into writing this Revelation series here at LeahAdams.org. As a Bible teacher I believe God has tasked me with helping others dig into Scripture, and there is no Scripture that is less dug-into than Revelation. I am absolutely certain that God gave me the assignment of helping anyone who would happen by LeahAdams.org study the book of The Revelation. So, if you are new here, today’s post is the latest in an almost 2-year series. Would you like to read some of the past teachings? Please go here and you will find every teaching linked in the order in which they appeared on the blog beginning with Revelation chapter 1.
On to today’s study where we flip the page and journey into Revelation chapter 12. You may recall that my friend, Lisa Cockerham, graciously offered drawings of each chapter of Revelation. These drawings depict the major happenings of each chapter. You may click the following link to download and print the FREE drawing for chapter 12.
Beginning today and moving forward we will encounter much symbolism. Some of the symbolism’s meaning will be immediately obvious, while others will require some digging. Today’s passage includes symbolism that is pretty easy to understand and will not require much commentary from me. Take a look at Revelation 12:1-6 (ESV).
1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.
3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.
4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.
5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,
6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
Let’s break this passage down and take a look at the two signs that appeared in heaven detailed herein.
What does it say about this sign?
- A woman
- Clothed with the sun
- Moon under her feet
- Crown of 12 stars on her head
- Pregnant and in the throes of childbirth
- Gave birth to a male Child who will rule all the nations with a rod of iron
- Child was caught up to God and to his throne
- Woman fled into the wilderness to be nourished in a place prepared by God for her
The woman is generally accepted to represent the nation of Israel. The description of her being clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and the crown of 12 stars on her head draws our memories back to the vision/dream that Joseph had in Genesis 37. Recall that his dream was that the sun, moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to him. Ultimately his entire family (the beginning point of the 12 tribes of Israel) bowed to him in Egypt.
This woman (Israel) is pregnant with a male Child (Jesus) who will one day rule the nations with a rod of iron. Check out Psalm 2:9, Daniel 2:40, Revelation 2:27 and 19:15 for the prophecies linked to Christ ruling with an iron rod.
What does the passage say about this sign?
- Great, red dragon
- Seven heads
- Ten horns
- Ten crowns on his heads
- Tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to earth.
- Dragon stood before the woman as she gave birth in order to devour her child
The dragon is accepted to be Satan, and the reference to his fall and the subsequent fall of 1/3 of the heavenly hosts pretty much seals this identification. Satan desired to get rid of Christ and the cross was his tool for that, but Jesus rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and lives today with God.
Let’s wrap up for today, but I will be back soon with more from Revelation 12. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friend.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
Most anyone who knows me know that I can hardly resist a trip to a bookstore. I love books, and in particular, I am crazy about Bibles and Bible commentaries. I, like many of you, am blessed to have multiple copies of the Bible within the walls of my home. Of all the Bibles I do have, the one that I have never purchased is a Bible written specifically for women. So, when the opportunity dropped into my inbox to review a Bible that is fresh to the market and targeted toward women, I jumped at it without hesitation.
May I introduce you to the She Reads Truth Bible?
“The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of “Women in the Word of God every day.” The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.
Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking.”
Go HERE to see a video about the Bible, then come back and read about all the things I love about the She Reads Truth Bible.
Y’all, I will go to my grave telling anyone who will listen that I am not the same woman I was prior to committing to a daily time of Bible study. My heart has been softened and molded by the Word of God. I make better choices because of my time in the Word. I speak kinder words because of the influence of Scripture on my tongue. I am a better wife, mom, mentor, speaker, author, and friend because of the living and active Word planted deeply within my heart.
So, why am I telling you about the She Reads Truth Bible? What makes it stand out among the hundreds of choices of Bibles on the shelves in bookstores? I’m so glad you asked.
First, and I’m going all girly here, it is pretty. The copy that was provided to me to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions is a hard-back in a lovely poppy color. The Bible comes in several different colors, including gray, poppy, brown, and navy. I’m thrilled that mine is poppy.
Another reason that I am a fan of this Bible is a super nerdy one…..I like the interior font (Bible Serif). It is beautiful, inviting, and easy to read.
While I do not have an artistic bone in my body, I absolutely love the artwork at the beginning of each book of the Bible. The editors have chosen one verse from each book of the Bible that embodies what that book teaches. That verse is highlighted at the beginning of the specific book using beautiful artwork. “Together, these 66 verses present the complete arc of Scripture, book by book.” Y’all, I love that like crazy! It is like getting a clue on the first page of a book what the entire book will be about.
In addition, at the beginning of each book, there is an overview of the book and a timeline. I do love me a timeline, let me tell you!! The other feature that I am really digging about the She Reads Truth Bible is a guide, or checklist, for reading through that book. It is broken down into weeks and days. So, for example, if you wanted to read the entire book of Psalms, there is a 15-week plan that gives specific readings on five days each week. And, if you want to go deeper, there are additional references that one can explore that pertain to each daily reading.
As if all that were not enough, there are wonderful devotions written by women for women scattered throughout the She Reads Truth Bible.
The She Reads Truth Bible is not a word-for-word or thought-for-thought translation, but rather it uses ‘optimal equivalence’. ‘Optimal equivalence starts with an exhaustive analysis of the text at every level in the original language to determine its original meaning and intention. Then, relying on the latest and best language tools and experts, the nearest corresponding semantic and linguistic equivalents are used to convey as much of the information and intention of the original text with as much clarity and readability as possible.’ (Taken directly from my copy of the She Reads Truth Bible.)
The translation that is used in the She Reads Truth Bible is the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). This version of the Bible does not seek to be overly politically correct, but rather attempts to translate the ancient text faithfully. “While the CSB avoids using ‘he’ or ‘him’ unnecessarily, the translation does not restructure sentences to avoid them when they are in the text. (Taken directly from my copy of the She Reads Truth Bible.) I will tell you that the CSB is not my favorite translation of Scripture.
Thanks for letting me share this beautiful Bible with you today. I am tickled pink to tell you that you can register to win a copy of it! Simply go to this link to register to win.
Want to purchase your own copy? Head over to my affiliate link on Amazon and order away!
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
DISCLOSURE: I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media. While I was given the Bible for free all thoughts and opinions are my own.)
Welcome back to our study in the book of The Revelation. I know you must be thinking that we will still be studying Revelation when Jesus returns. Mmm-hmmm! You might be right. To be honest with you, my desire to write comes and goes…and by the look of my posting schedule, it goes more than it comes. So, with that said, here I am to offer you what the Lord has given me for this day. I have no idea when the next post will come, but Lord willing, we will move on and study Revelation more consistently in the coming days.
We have studied the book of Revelation up to our current passage of Revelation 11:15-19 over the course of almost two years. The last time we studied in Revelation 11, we finished our visit with the Two Witnesses from Revelation 11:1-14. In verse 14, we were told that the ‘second woe had passed, the third woe was soon to come’. These ‘woes’ correlate with the 5th, 6th, and 7th trumpets, and they signify an intensifying of the devastations of the earth. The 3rd woe/7th trumpet will take us on a journey from Revelation 11: 15 – Revelation 14:20, so buckle your seat belts, friends.
We took a break between the 6th trumpet/2nd woe and the 7th trumpet/3rd woe to study the Day of the Lord and the Rapture. Please go here to find those, and other posts in this series:
The End – Studying Revelation
The reason we studied the Day of the Lord and the Rapture at this point is because I believe, and I may be wrong, that the Rapture occurs just prior to the sounding of the 7th trumpet. So, here we are, hearing the blast of that 7th trumpet. Let’s read about it.
15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God,
17 saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.
18 The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
We were told in Revelation 10:7 that when the 7th angel sounds his trumpet that the mystery of God would be fulfilled. The Greek word for mystery is ‘musterion’ and it means private knowledge or a divine secret. So, let’s take a look at all that happens when this 7th trumpet sounds.
- There is an announcement in heaven saying: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
- There is worship in heaven
- God’s temple in heaven is opened and the ark of the covenant is revealed
- There is lightening, thunder, heavy hail, and an earthquake
- A sign appears in heaven pointing toward the increased persecution of the Jews
- Satan is thrown to earth
- The antichrist and the false prophet appear
- There is a harvest of souls from the earth
Never before has Christ physically reigned on the earth, but it seems that the sounding of 7th trumpet heralds his reign on earth, and with that comes His wrath. Does that mean Christ is physically present on earth, or that Satan simply no longer has jurisdiction over the world? It may be that this is also a reference to the Day of the Lord.
The first time we read about the wrath of the Lamb was in Revelation 6:16-17 which correlated to the breaking of the 6th seal. We do not find the full wrath of God poured out until the bowl judgments that begin in Revelation 15.
I cannot state strongly enough how very significant this 7th trumpet is in the entire end time story. So much happens here, and it really is the beginning of the end. You will notice that much of what happens at the sounding of the 7th trumpet takes place in heaven: the announcement, worship, the temple is opened and the ark of the covenant is revealed, and a sign. The things that take place on earth are natural disasters, Satan, antichrist and the false prophet appear and there is a soul harvest. Many of these things we will study in more detail as we move through the events of the sounding of the 7th trumpet.
One more thought. I find it so interesting that when the temple in heaven is opened that the ark of the covenant is revealed. Not the cross. Not the empty tomb. The ark of the covenant. Why?
This is purely my speculation and you may think differently…and that is okay. I believe with all my heart that the entire Scriptural canon was written for the Jewish people…God’s chosen people. From beginning to end, the Bible is God’s love letter to Israel. A letter designed to draw her heart to Him. Because of Israel’s refusal to recognize Jesus as Messiah, you and I, as Gentile believers, have been ‘grafted into’ the lineage of Abraham (Romans 4:13-17 and Romans 11) and experience the blessings of God through Scripture. The Bible is for us, as well, but still it beckons Israel.
The Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament tabernacle was where God met with the High Priest of Israel once a year. It was there that the priest offered a sacrifice for the sins of the nation. The Ark of the Covenant was the most holy part of the Old Testament tabernacle, and when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed for the final time, the Ark was lost.
So, for the Ark to show up in the heavenly temple detailed in the book of The Revelation would be highly significant to a Jewish person. It would be God’s way to saying the Israelite, ‘this book, The Revelation, is for you! Pay attention!’ God continues to call Israel to Himself, even when they do not respond. It is a beautiful picture of love and faithfulness.
Okay, enough for today. I will see you back here soon.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
I would love for you to go back and review what we have studied thus far about two topics: The Rapture and The Day of the Lord. Here are links that will allow you to do that:
Go HERE to find every single post in this Revelation series.
Go HERE to find the first post on The Rapture.
Go HERE to find the first post on The Day of the Lord.
Go HERE to find the second post on The Day the Lord.
Go HERE to read the second post on The Rapture
Did you read The Left Behind series of books that were written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins? I read every single one of them and really enjoyed them. In case you did not, the Left Behind series is a collection of fiction novels that focus on events that might take place when the Rapture happens. The characters are interesting and very relatable. The events are catastrophic, and likely, very realistic. The ultimate goal of these books is to point the reader to the need for a relationship with Jesus by using the coming Rapture and other end-time events to point out that salvation through Christ is the only way to heaven.
In our post today I want to give you my assessment and thoughts about the timing of the Rapture. I could be wrong, and I know that many people have a different interpretation of these events than I. But, after a great deal of study about this topic under more learned teachers, this is where I fall on the topic. No one can know for sure when and how it will happen, but the Bible seems pretty clear that it will take place at some point, and Scripture gives us sign posts that we can watch for on the journey toward that day.
Let’s summarize what we know about the Rapture from our previous discussions:
From 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 we learned:
- The Lord will descend from heaven
- The dead in Christ will rise first (the bodies of those who have died as Christ-followers)
- Believers living at that time will be caught up together with the dead in Christ in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (this is NOT the second coming of Christ)
From 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 we learned:
- A trumpet will sound
- Dead will be raised imperishable
- Those who are alive will be changed, too
In 2 Thessalonians 2 we learned a few things that must take place before the Day of the Lord:
- An apostasy/rebellion/falling away
- The ‘restrainer’ must be taken out of the way
- The man of lawlessness (antichrist) will come on the scene in a big way
In 1 Thessalonians 5 Paul teaches on the rapture before he teaches on the Day of the Lord. Although we cannot write it in permanent marker, is it possible we can assume that the rapture precedes the Day of the Lord on the timeline of end-time events? I think it is highly possible.
Also in 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul, in teaching about the Day of the Lord, adamantly proclaims that believers in Jesus Christ are not appointed or destined to wrath. Scripture places the wrath of God within the events of the Day of the Lord, which begins at or shortly after the 7th trumpet. So, again, it seems that the rapture might take place before the Day of the Lord.
Although we have not studied the 7th trumpet yet, Scripture tells us that the man of lawlessness will be revealed at the 7th trumpet. (Revelation 13) So, it is reasonable to assume that the Rapture occurs prior to the 7th trumpet, perhaps?
Most people refer to the last 7 years/Daniel’s 70th week as the tribulation, and make no mistake, there will be horrors and tribulation. However, the judgments that come on the earth and on mankind ramp up significantly during the final 3 ½ years of this period. Matthew 24:21 records Jesus as saying there will be ‘great tribulation’ during this final 3 ½ year period. It seems that the trigger for this final 3 ½ year period are the events of the 7th trumpet.
It is my sincere belief, after much study, that the Rapture takes place just prior to the sounding of the 7th trumpet. Could I be wrong? Of course. Are there other rational explanations and timings for the Rapture? Absolutely. This is only my opinion, and my opinion is only worth what you paid for it. I do not write this in permanent marker,, and neither should you.
So, am I a pre-tribulation person? Well, yes, if you consider the last half of the 7 years to be the Great Tribulation. Maybe I am a mid-tribulation person. Yes, if you consider the entire 7 years to be the tribulation. Am I a pre-wrath supporter? Yep, if you believe that the wrath of God begins at the 7th trumpet and the 7th trumpet sounds in the middle of the 7 years. I am clearly not a supporter of the post-tribulation wrath hypothesis.
What I am is a woman whose faith rests in knowing that God has it all figured out and timed perfectly, so there is little reason for me to stress over the semantics and timing of the Rapture. I hope this teaching on the rapture has been interesting and informative for you. I strongly encourage you to search the Scriptures for yourself and formulate your own opinions on this, and other, end-time events. I also encourage you to give grace to those who belief differently from you.
Thanks for taking this journey through Revelation with me. We will continue our study back in Revelation 11 with a look at the events of the sounding of the 7th trumpet soon.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
Eat your vegetables, and then you can have dessert.
It is mantra of moms everywhere. The plate is colorful with broccoli, carrots, corn, and a side of cornbread. Oh, and don’t forget the meatloaf. Definitely eat the meatloaf! And if you eat all of everything that is on your plate, then you can have dessert.
It is bribery of the highest order. That delicious coconut cake is sitting in the corner, calling my name, tantalizing me so much that my mouth waters just looking at it. But, in order to get to that little slice of heaven, I must wade through the green, orange, and yellow on my plate. Every bite of those vegetables is a little bit of torture for a girl with an incurable sweet tooth. Yet, because I am a Type A who has to do everything well and right, I rip my gaze from the coconut cake and focus on the vegetables and meat loaf. Let’s get ‘er done!
Meatloaf. Check! Check! (I do love me some good meatloaf.)
Now, the pièce de résistance. Coconut cake!
For a girl who is very much a productivity addict the idea of ‘finish your vegetables before you eat dessert’ can be crippling?
Oh, I see you frowning and wondering how I turned vegetables into a handicap. Let me explain.
As you know, if you have been around these parts for more than a few days, I am on a journey toward rest (it was my OneWord 2016) and observing Sabbath regularly. Part of that journey is navigating the tension of completing my checklist of things to do each week before my Sabbath begins on Saturday evening. I’m doing really well at it now, but that has not always been the case. You see, as a productivity junkie I reasoned that there were things that needed to be accomplished (i.e., all the veggies eaten) EVERY. SINGLE. DAY or the world might implode! So, while I desperately needed a day to rest (coconut cake), the veggies that needed eating (tasks on my to-do list) never ended. Which meant that I never set aside a day to rest (enjoy my piece of coconut cake).
Is that clear as mud? What I am trying to say is that the eat-your-veggies-before-you-eat-cake principle works well with a child, but for an adult with a need to always be productive, it doesn’t work so well. There has to be a point at which I say, ‘enough veggies!’ and settle down to enjoy my coconut cake.
May I share with you the part of all of this that makes me clap my hands in praise to my Jesus?
When I am obedient to carve out that Sabbath rest, the world does not implode, nor does my to-do list become an unmanageable Goliath. In fact, quite the opposite takes place. I am much more able to do what needs to be done in six days, and I do it with a greater measure of peace than I had when I was frantically striving seven days a week.
No one on the planet has ever had a greater agenda and to-do list than God:
Monday – Create light
Tuesday – Create the heavens
Wednesday – Create the earth and the seas, plants and trees
Thursday – Create the sun, moon, and stars, and set the seasons in order
Friday – Create sea animals and birds
Saturday – Create livestock, beasts of the earth, creeping things (eekk!), and Man
Then, on Sunday, the seventh day, God blessed His work and rested. If God decided to rest on the seventh day, who in the world am I to decide that I do not need rest? The Sabbath is for me, not for God, because He knew that I would need that rest. And oh, how desperately I need it! I need that time to slow down so that I can hear His voice in the stillness and silence of rest. I need that time for my physical body to decompress and relax. I simply need that time…..and so do you!
I want to encourage you to make Sabbath rest part of your week. I promise you will be glad you did.
Tell me about your Sabbath observance. How do you prepare? What does it look like?
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
I am linking to two books that have been great influences on my life this year in regard to making good choice and to observing a Sabbath rest. I hope you will check them out!
Time gets away, doesn’t it? I looked back at the date of my last Revelation post, and holy moley, it was June 26th. I think it is time to get back to our study of The Revelation. I would love for you to go back and review what we have studied thus far about two topics: The Rapture and The Day of the Lord. Here are links that will allow you to do that:
Go HERE to find every single post in this Revelation series.
Go HERE to find the first post on The Rapture.
Go HERE to find the first post on The Day of the Lord.
Go HERE to find the second post on The Day the Lord.
In the last post I wrote I said that in our next time together we would finish our look at 2 Thessalonians 2 and the Day of the Lord. Hello! Here we are. Let’s refresh our memory about this passage.
1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,
2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
There are three things that must happen before the Day of the Lord:
- A restraining influence is removed (we dealt with this in our last post)
- The rebellion
- The man of lawlessness is revealed and responds
Let’s consider the rebellion. The Greek word used here for rebellion is ‘apostasia’ and it means defection from truth, falling away, forsake (Strongs).
Okay, so I see someone’s hand waving wildly in the air. Yes, you are right! We just might be living in the apostasia because we are living in a culture that calls good, evil and evil, good. Our culture has fallen away from, or forsaken, the truth of God’s Word. Even the church of the Living God has succumbed to the temptation to approve of things that the Scripture clearly calls sin. Paul said these days would come in 2 Timothy 3. Let’s take a gander at what they might look like. People will be:
- Lovers of self
- Lovers of money
- Disobedient to their parents
- Without self control
- Not loving good
- Swollen with conceit
- Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
- Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power
It does kind of make one wonder if we are living in the rebellion, doesn’t it? However, I don’t think we have seen anything yet. I think the world will grow more and more evil. I know. Aren’t you glad you stopped in today?
Let’s turn now to the third thing that must happen in order for The Day of the Lord to come.
The man of lawlessness must be revealed and respond. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 tells us that this man, whom we believe to be the antichrist, will exalt himself above every other person, god, and thing. He will set himself up on a throne in the Temple in Jerusalem and demand to be worshipped as God.
There currently is no Temple in Jerusalem, so we can be assured that this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, but only after a temple has been built in Jerusalem. Guess what? Preparations are being made daily in Jerusalem to build another temple. The Jewish people do not know when that will happen, but they are prepared.
Let’s put a bow on this next time and see if we can figure out when the Rapture MIGHT take place in the whole scheme of the Revelation. Mind you, I am NOT saying that we can pinpoint a date. Nope, only God knows that, but we can watch for the signposts along the way. I’ll see you back here next time.
I want so very much to write about the weekend at the Come Away retreat, but how in the world do you even begin to put into words an experience that was so intimate and precious?! I feel a bit like Mary must have felt when Scripture tells us that she treasured up things about her pregnancy and the birth of Christ and pondered them in her heart. And so, I will probably share less rather than more in this space because some things simply need to held closely.
As you know I have been praying into and planning this retreat for a very long time…almost a year. I knew that God was calling me to this work, yet I had so many doubts about whether I was physically and emotionally able to do it. Doubts about my calling to ministry, and whether I could offer anything that would speak into the hearts of other women. I wondered if anyone would come, and if they would be glad they had come when all was said and done. Almost daily I begged God to let the women be glad they came. I was not sure that anyone would pay $300 for a retreat, because Y’ALL, $300 is a lot of money! If there was a doubt to be had about hosting a women’s retreat, I can assure you that it passed through my mind over the course of the past year. The only thing I did not doubt was the sufficiency and willingness of Jesus to make this retreat happen if He had a mind to do it. Of that I was certain.
I had space for 7 ladies. God sent 6 women who walked eagerly through the door of Tippy Canoe, expecting Jesus to meet them there. In fact, one of the things that we consistently laughed over were the words of one woman’s preschooler. For quite sometime, she had been telling her children that she was going away in September to have a weekend with Jesus. On Friday when her husband came home from work to report for ‘Daddy duty’, her little one went running to him and told him that, ‘Mommy is going to meet Jesus!!’. He said, ‘Oh, please don’t say it like that!’ So we laughed all weekend about this sweet woman ‘going to meet Jesus’.
May I just tell you that we all met Jesus this weekend? The Holy Spirit was incredibly present with us, doing the work that only He can do in hearts that are tuned to His frequency. We worshipped, we studied, we prayed, we laughed, we cried, we shared our hearts, we cooked together, and we ate. Of course, we ate!
The focus of the retreat was not only to help the ladies carve out a time to come away with Jesus, but also to understand how deeply loved they are by Jesus, and how safe their hearts are with Jesus. To that end, I taught from several different passages over the course of the weekend….John 8:1-11, Psalm 139, Psalm 51, Romans 12:1-2, and 2 Samuel 9. I wanted them to understand that an intimate relationship with Jesus does not happen by accident. It requires intentionality and work, being diligent to lean into Christ through regular prayer and Bible study. I poured out everything I had, hoping they would catch the fever for a relationship with Jesus.
Satan fought hard to keep the ladies from coming, and to keep me from teaching, but He did not win.
May I share some comments from the women?
Come Away fanned the fire that I knew was still in me, but had been affected by the circumstances of life.
Come Away was a breath of fresh air. I was impacted by the Word of God; encouraged by other women. I am trusting Him in a deeper way and being led to take steps of faith.
Come Away showed me where I need to be with the Lord, and what it is going to take to be close to Him again.
Come Away has given me a ‘booster’ to help me get back to where I need to be. Spending time in the Word is vital!
I feel like I have a fresh love and desire for Jesus because of my time at Come Away.
I feel at peace and know it is well with my soul. I feel Jesus near.
These sweet women made sure I understood that there would be another Come Away retreat next year! They also asked for it to be a three-day retreat rather than just two days.
Over and over the Lord moved and worked this weekend, not only in the hearts of the women, but in my heart as well. He reminded me that His calling is irrevocable and that where He calls, He equips. He encouraged me with the words of Isaiah 55:11, reminding me that when His Word is proclaimed it will accomplish the purposes for which it was intended. He blessed and encouraged me through the words of the ladies as they shared what the weekend had meant to them.
I waved good-bye to each lady on Sunday morning, trusting that God would continue to use the time at Come Away to draw them into a more intimate relationship with Jesus.
Today is a day of rest for me; a time to ponder, pray, offer thanks, and simply abide with Jesus. And do you know what? I feel the smiling nod of God over Come Away and my faithfulness to be obedient to God’s call.
I stand amazed, yet again, that God would use someone like me, a woman who has been in a ditch of sin more times in my life that I can count, to do much of anything in His Kingdom. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you!
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
I am linking to some of the books that I recommended to the ladies this weekend.
I can hardly believe it! For almost a year I have prayed and planned and prepared. I have thrown out enough fleeces to cover an entire sheep and God has answered every single one of them. I have asked Him to give me the largest details (venue), as well and the smallest ones (decorations for the bathrooms – thank you Lynn Dyer!), and He has been over-the-top faithful. I have pored over passages in the Bible, preparing to share what I believe the Lord has given me.
Today the Come Away retreat begins. Six ladies and I will spend the weekend with Jesus in a beautiful cabin on Blue Ridge Lake in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
We will spend time in worship with some pretty awesome worship leaders. Our hearts will draw near to Jesus as we look into His Word to see how He feels about us. We will cook and eat (HALLE-to-the-LUJAH!) together, sharing life in the kitchen. We will spend time in prayer, seeking intimacy with Christ. And, we will allow ourselves time to rest and hear the voice of Jesus. Honestly, that last one is probably the most difficult for the majority of women. Simply taking a deep breath and being quiet and still for a season.
So, this morning I come here to this space asking for your prayers, should the Lord bring me to your mind. Would you pray for:
- The Holy Spirit’s presence over the weekend
- The ladies who will attend to have hearts that are listening for the voice of Jesus
- The families of these ladies to be healthy and safe while they are away
- That all of us who are attending the retreat will stay well
- Our awesome worship leaders (Judy Tipton, Mike and Rebecca Medori)
- Me as I teach three times
- That the ladies will bond together and encourage one another in their walks with Christ
- That I will be present (physically, spiritually, and emotionally) in each moment and resist the urge to simply move through the weekend, checking off things that need to be done (This is a biggie for me, the ultimate Type A)
- The HVAC, water, and all appliances of the cabin to work well
- Anything else you can think of
Thank you for your prayers. They are everything to me!
Have a lovely weekend.
It looks like I may be settling into an every Monday posting schedule here at the blog. We shall see.
Over the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of getting to know two women who have made lasting impressions on my heart. It all began when we ended up in a writing group together. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of those ladies.
Rebekah Hallberg is someone whom I have never met in real life, but I just know that if we did meet, we would be BFFs. Over the last year, Rebekah has been such an incredible encourager to me. Not only in words, but also in her actions. In addition to being a writer, wife, mom, and all around awesome friend, Rebekah is a virtual assistant. If you see almost anything from me on social media, you can be fairly certain that Rebekah was the one who created it. She is such a blessing to me because social media is a must in ministry these days, but I just do not enjoy spending massive amounts of time creating posts and tweets. Enter Rebekah. She is a master at Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook.
Today I am so excited to introduce you to Rebekah and her new book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. This book, y’all! It is the creation of Rebekah and another wonderful woman that I will introduce you to very soon, Jen Stults. I’m convinced that many wives out there would be so blessed by this book and its authors, because as wonderful as marriage can be and is, it can also be incredibly painful. So without more words from me, allow me to introduce you to Rebekah.
LA: Rebekah, I may have readers who do not know you. Would you please tell them a bit about yourself?
RH: Thank you, Leah, for having me here! What a blessing to be able to spend some time with you and your readers! I grew up as a missionary kid. I was born in the states, but spent 4 years in West Africa when my parents followed God’s call to missions overseas. I learned about faith in God from a very young age, and my faith has always been a strong, important part of my life.
I have been married for 18 years and my husband and I have 3 children. I hold a degree in education and have worked in both regular and special education settings. I originally started my blog as a place to document our family’s journey with special needs after our second son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Over time, I transitioned to faith-based blogging, telling God that I’d blog about anything except marriage. Let me just pause right here for a minute to say this:
Don’t tell God what you won’t do.
I now blog about marriage. God must have had a few chuckles when I told Him what I would not write about. More on that in a bit.
LA: What occupies your free time? Hobbies? Interests?
RH: I spend a lot of my free time listening to piano music as all three of our children play the piano. Our oldest son is a piano performance major at a local university and while he practices a lot at school, between all three kids, there are still multiple hours of piano practice in our home each day.
I also enjoy a good cup of coffee and some quiet time to read. I enjoy watching movies with the family and spending quiet evenings talking and laughing with my husband.
LA: What are some items on your bucket list?
RH: I recently read an article about someone who traveled across the US by train, making particular stops at scenic destinations along the way. I think that would be a great trip to take with my husband someday! I’d also love to see our oldest play at Carnegie Hall in New York City. What an amazing opportunity that would be! I’d love to see my younger two perform as well, but God may have other plans for their lives, and in time, it will be wonderful to see them following their God-given gifts!
LA: How did you develop an interest in writing and when did you begin writing seriously?
RH: Writing is one of my newer hobbies. I am not one of those people who always knew they wanted to write – quite the opposite, in fact. I never enjoyed writing in school. It was always such a chore for me. When I started blogging, the writing came a little more easily. I think that’s because I was writing about topics that I was interested in, and could write at my own pace. I’ve been writing seriously for about 4 years now. As I follow God’s promptings on my heart, the writing becomes easier.
LA: What is the story behind your book, Hope for the Hurting Wife?
RH: Remember when I told God that I wouldn’t write about marriage? I had what I thought was a pretty normal marriage. We were both active in church, we loved each other, we loved our kids and were raising them to love the Lord – by all accounts things were good! One morning we were startled by a sudden knock at the door, followed by a lot of shouting. As we opened the door, the bottom fell out of my marriage and my world fell apart. I was completely blindsided and had no idea what was happening. Reality was being revealed and I realized that my marriage was not at all that I thought it had been. Heartbroken and utterly devastated, I started the hardest journey of my life – to pray for redemption for my marriage. It took me about 6 months to decide that I wanted to stay, that I wanted to work through the choices my husband made that nearly cost us our marriage.
I met Jen, my co-author, in a blogging group. While our backgrounds and stories are different, God brought us together and gave us a deep connection because of our stories. We realized that women needed the hope, the understanding, of another woman who has been through a crisis in her marriage. We first released a 14-day version of our book as a download in February, 2017. The response was so great that we knew we needed to do more. After a lot of praying and seeking God, we decided to combine some of our writings, and to add some content that has never been published before, and turn our book into a 30-day book that we hope will bless and encourage women at any stage of their marriage. We’re proud to share Hope for the Hurting Wife with you.
LA: Tell us more about Hope for the Hurting Wife, please!
RH: Hope for the Hurting Wife is a beautiful story of God’s redemption in our marriages. The book offers 30 days of encouragement for your marriage (plus amazing bonus content at the end of the book). It’s also our story of how God has redeemed our marriages. Jen and I share personal stories from some tough times we’ve faced. We share how God used those times to strengthen us and to give us hope as we worked on issues in our own marriages.
Each chapter addresses a different issue that we have faced, and that most women will find relatable. We cover topics such as communication, dealing with our emotions, trusting God with your marriage, and feeling stuck in the “for worse” of marriage.
We hear from many wives who are in tough situations and want to make it clear that this book is not one that pressures a woman into staying in an abusive marriage. We support the need for women to get help and to find safety if they are a victim of abuse. Our book is not a guarantee to solve the issues in your marriage or to fix your broken marriage. While we’d love to offer that hope, only God has that power. What we can do is gently point you to God, to remind you that even amid struggles in our lives, He is faithful. We can’t make changes in your marriage, but He can! We use this book to offer that hope and encouragement.
LA: Rebekah, where can my readers find your book?
RH: Hope for the Hurting Wife can be purchased on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle versions. (Click links to be taken to the book page on Amazon)
SALE ALERT: The Kindle version of Hope is available for 99 cents for a limited time, so click here to grab that deal.
LA: I would love for my readers to connect with you. How can they do that?
RH: You’ll find me at Sharing Redemption’s Stories (link to http://rebekahmhallberg.com ), on Facebook (link to https://www.facebook.com/rebekahmhallberg/ ), Pinterest (link to https://www.pinterest.com/RebekahHallberg/ ) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rebekahmhallberg/ ).
I’d love to connect with you and be an encouragement for your marriage!
LA: Rebekah, do you have any final thoughts to share with my readers?
RH: I’m positive that the devil came for my marriage they day they knocked on my door. I was so blindsided by all that happened, and I’m sure the devil planned for that to be the undoing of my marriage. But as I slowly waited on God, as I let Him work in every aspect of the situation, He kept reminding me how precious my family is and how much He loved each of us. He worked deep in my heart to remind me that redemption is for everyone, no matter what we’ve done. That reminder gave me courage to pursue redemption in my marriage.
And I want you to know that nothing is too far out of the realm of possibility for God to redeem. Nothing!
Hope for the Hurting Wife is a story of redemption because God still redeems today!
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
Ladies! The Come Away retreat is less than 2 weeks away but I have one space open and I would love for you to attend. Click here to find out more or email me at email@example.com.
This post has been bubbling in my head for a while now. As often happens, a book that I have read prompts lots of pondering. In this case, the book is Chip Ingram’s Good to Great: 10 Practices Great Christians Have in Common.
In this book, Ingram outlines ten practices that are present in the life of Christians who are really walking out a Jesus-like life. Now, not all 10 are evident in every great Christian, but more often than not, many of them are. Some of these practices include thinking great thoughts, reading great books, praying great prayers, taking great risks, making great sacrifices, and the one that has prompted today’s post is PURSUE GREAT PEOPLE.
In the chapter entitled “Pursue Great People” Ingram shares an exercise that helped him identify those people who have poured into his life and shaped him spiritually over the years. He called that portion of the exercise looking in the rearview mirror of life. Ingram also used a visual to help the reader with this exercise. In South Dakota (USA) there are four faces carved into the granite of Mount Rushmore. Four men are represented who are part of the history of America: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Each of them contributed to the fabric of America in a unique and special way. In this ‘rearview mirror ‘ exercise, Ingram encouraged the reader to develop their own Mount Rushmore by identifying four or five people whose ‘influence has been positive and indelible.’
He also encouraged the reader to look out the windshield of life and identify three other groups of people: a Paul who has been or is a mentor, a Timothy who would benefit from being mentored, and a Barnabas who consistently encourages your faith walk.
I was completely drawn in to the stories Ingram shared about these important people in his life. I was also spurred to begin thinking about my own life and the people who have molded and shaped me, as well as those who I have the opportunity to pour into.
Today I would like to share briefly the people on my Mount Rushmore. To be honest, this was a tough exercise because there are many people who have poured so much into my life over the years, but after much thought I was able to narrow it down to the following (in the order in which they came into my life):
My Daddy was my first hero and the man who taught me about generosity, perseverance and determination. Having lived almost his entire life with the residual effects of polio, he overcame so much to live a full and productive life. He was an astute businessman and a devoted husband and father. He taught me a strong work ethic ~ give a good day of work for a good day of pay AND if there is a job to be done, do it, even if it doesn’t fit your job description. Daddy was incredibly generous and felt that it was important to help others who were in need.
Grandma Eula Colwell
Grandma Eula loved Jesus unlike anyone I had ever met. She talked about Him as if He was right beside her. I didn’t understand that He actually was living in her heart until later in my life. Jesus was very real to her and she walked out a relationship with him that was born of time spent in His Word and prayer. As I child I recall her saying that she was looking forward to going to heaven and seeing Jesus. My twelve-year-old self thought, “Whaaat? That’s crazy to wish for heaven!” Now, my fifty-three-year-old self completely understands her longing for heaven. Grandma Eula had a deep and abiding faith that I wanted for myself.
Uncle Jack Parker
Uncle Jack came into my life when I was in middle school. He and his family had always lived in New Jersey, so I did not know them that well. In the mid-late 1970s they moved back South to my hometown and Uncle Jack began teaching in the middle school. He taught, what was then called, the gifted class. I was not exactly sure what my gift was, but I ended up in his class and I am so much the better for it. He formed a debate team, I signed up for it, and there my love of public speaking was birthed. He also encouraged me to write creatively, and that is where my gift of writing first blossomed. All the students loved him because he was such an encourager, pushing and prompting us to think bigger. Today, Uncle Jack is near 90 and still going strong. I am so grateful to him for cultivating my passions for speaking and writing.
My Husband, Greg Adams
Although I had known Greg since I was about 15 years old (he dated my best friend in high school), I really did not know the kind of man he was until we married. He is a man of deep devotion to those he loves and unswerving character. Over the years of our marriage he has pushed me to examine my character and lifestyle choices and to bring them in line with the standards of Christ. Believe me, I needed that early in our marriage. I had really gone off the rails in my 20s in regard to character choices.
Greg’s dedication to his son is something that is rarely seen in today’s society where everyone is all about themselves. Every other weekend for 16 years Greg drove to Birmingham, AL to see Charlie. Depending on where we lived, that was either a 2 hour drive each way or a 4 hour drive each way. Nothing prevented him from going and investing that time in Charlie’s life. For sixteen solid years….every other weekend. Today, Charlie is 25 years old and he and Greg have a close relationship because Greg made the choice to do the right thing in a tough situation.
Greg has taught me the importance of doing the right thing even when it is not convenient or fun.
I have never met Beth Moore, but she has had a profound and lasting influence on my spiritual life. In 2001 God gave me a hunger for ladies’ Bible study. I had not the first idea how to feed that hunger. Thankfully, my friend, Kennetha, suggested we form a ladies’ Bible study group and use material by Beth Moore. I had no idea who Beth Moore was, but I was soon to find out. We started our group in January 2001 and studied Moore’s Jesus The One and Only in-depth study.
Rarely had I seen someone so in love with Jesus and the Scriptures. Beth Moore was a woman whose heart was, and remains, sold out to Jesus. Her mission is biblical literacy and it was contagious to me. I wanted what she had. I wanted that hunger for the Word, that intimacy with Jesus. Our group went on to use most of Moore’s resources and with each study, my faith and desire for Christ grew.
Although I will likely never meet Mrs. Moore, one day in heaven, with tears in my eyes, I will thank her for her faithfulness to write material for women’s Bible study groups.
There you have it. My Mount Rushmore. Some of the people in my life who have left an indelible influence on my heart and life.
Who is on your Mount Rushmore? I would love for you to share in the comments or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.