May 30
Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 3
     Psalms 85
     Isaiah 31
     Revelation 1
''I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."  (Revelation 1:8)
       The final Book of the Bible, the great apocalyptic vision of John from the Isle of Patmos, is the Grand Central Station of the Bible -where all the trains come in. Just  as Genesis is the Book of beginnings, Revelation is the Book of consummation. In it, the divine program of redemption is brought to fruition, and the holy name of God is vindicated before all of creation. Revelation is the only New Testament book that focuses primarily on prophetic events. Its title means the unveiling; thus, the Book is an unveiling of the character and program of God. Many old Bibles titled it the ''Revelation of St. John the Divine." A better title, however, is in the opening verse of the book. It is ''the revelation of Jesus Christ." It is the only book of the Bible that promises, at the beginning and the end, a special blessing to those who read, hear and keep the words of the prophecy. (Revelation 1:3 & 22:14) A warning is given to those who would tamper with the words of the prophecy of this Book. (Revelation 22:18-19)
       The Emperor placed John in exile on the Isle of Patmos. All the other twelve Apostles were martyred. This effort to silence the Apostle John only exposed him to this incredible revelation that tells us the future and blesses our lives today.
       The most important purpose of the book, however, was to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as the beginning and the end. Over and over again, in this incredible prophecy, is Jesus presented as the Alphaand theOmega. When John saw Him, he was so awe-struck; he fell at His feet as dead. Again, Jesus said, ''do not be afraid, I am the first and the last.'' What a powerful thought, that the risen, ascended, and glorified Christ laid His right hand on John. What a blessing to  know that, even in our worst of times, when we may feel even at the point of death, that He will lay His right hand on us, saying, ''do not be afraid, I am the first and the last." So now you know it is not the hand of restraint, correction, or chastisement, but the right hand of the Everlasting Father. Whenever His hand is laid upon you, it gives inexpressible peace and comfort, and the sense that underneath are the everlasting arms that will support, provide, comfort, and strengthen. Once His touch comes, nothing at all can throw you into fear again. In the midst of all of His ascended glory, the Lord Jesus comes to speak to an insignificant disciple, saying, ''Do not be afraid." His tenderness is inexpressibly sweet.
       What a blessing that we can learn even from this apocalyptic vision that our awesome God has a personal concern and a tender touch for all of His children. Even when you lay at His feet as dead, you may be touched by the hand of God. It is only when we recognize the limits of what is humanly possible that He is able to do the impossible for us. We may not know what the future holds, but we can indeed know “Who holds the future.”
       Today, we will focus our praying on the HashemiteKingdom of Jordan. Jordan has been one of the most stabilizing influences in the turmoil of the Middle East. She definitely is not pro-Israel, but she has been a greater friend to Israel than any other nations in the Middle East. This country has its problems with poverty in that more than 25% of the families live in poverty. After a free-fall of losing evangelical Christians in the country, these churches are now experiencing some encouraging growth. As we pray today, pray for the unreached groups. These would include the Muslim majority, millions of Palestinianswho are now the majority in Jordan, the Iraqi refugees, the 200,000 nomadic Bedouin, and people of many nationalities who live in Jordan.
''Happiness is neither within us only, or without us; it is the union of ourselves with God."