It is worth returning regularly to John’s vision of the throne and the Lamb in Revelation 5. We are reminded what the Lamb has done and what He is making. In doing so we are also reminded of what we are part of.
John saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, and four living creatures and twenty-four elders who were singing a new song.
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain,
and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
What He has done is lay down His life to pay our ransom from captivity to sin. We owed righteousness and we had none to our name. He spent Himself on behalf of those the Father gave to Him. What He is making is a kingdom of lesser kings, those who will serve Him with responsibilities to rule.
And He redeemed people, we might say, from every county, state, and country on earth. He’s saving from all kinds of cultures, languages, and families. His His goal is a unified body with each part working properly so that it builds itself up in love. His blood overcomes family feuds and sibling rivalries and generational wars.
Thou; the Father’s only Son,
Hast o’er sin the victory won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be;
When shall we it’s glories see?
(“Savior of the Nations, Come”)
We eat and drink together not only to remember that this will happen, but our eating and drinking together is evidence that it is happening. It is good news for all people. Savior of the nations, come!
Here are lessons I’ve learned or reasons that I’ve got for giving thanks. Also, although I did recently turn 41, I don’t have a 41 point list. Instead, in the spirit of having recently read 1984 which was written in 1948, here are 14 things, numbered but not ordered by importance.
Learned: Line diagramming is great for meditating on God’s Word. It’s my favorite observation tool to beat the meaning out of a passage.
Learned: Christians need to read good fiction. “Good” is key. I’ve really profited from Peace Like a River, the 100 Cupboards series, and Lewis’ Space Trilogy.
Learned: Family is not an obstacle to what a man wants to accomplish, they are what a man is accomplishing. Maggie, Calvin, Hallie, and Keelah are how I’m changing the world. More importantly, they are God’s grace changing me.
Learned: Any doctor’s diagnosis that includes the word “cancer” will probably lead to a lot more conversations.
Thankful: Reading on the treadmill has saved my reading life.
Learned: You can read on the treadmill if you make the font big enough in the Kindle app on your iPad.
Learned: The fact that Christ created everything does more than reveal His wisdom and power, it also reveals His interests. So don’t be a dualist. Also, see anything written by Kuyper. The quote at the end of this post is from a fantastic book that syllogizes worship by way of the world.
Thankful: Dropbox. (As long as you don’t have to explain it to people older than you). You have hundreds of files, dozens of apps, and multiple devices. Have your stuff with you and backed up as an added benefit.
Learned: Scissor skills and penmanship are related. I don’t have either, but I do have hope for the next generation.
Thankful: Fountain pens. There’s one in particular that has written over 4000 pages for me, including the rough draft of this article. The scratch of the nib across the lines on a yellow pad makes me glad.
Thankful: IPAs. I like (intentionally) bitter beer. The New Belgium Ranger is my current favorite.
Thankful: Starbucks French Roast. I like my beer bitter and my coffee burnt. That’s what friends tell me, at least. I’m more than okay with it. There is hardly a more enjoyable aroma than opening a new bag of beans.
Learned: I have a wife who prefers beards. My dad had a beard the entire time I knew him. When I was a kid I never thought about growing-to-keep one for myself. After 15 years of marriage and a lazy week of not-shaving my cheeks, the beginnings of the bush-face became the beginning of being a beard guy.
Thankful: There is no human who I have sinned against more or who helps me so much as Mo. She is the crown I don’t deserve, the reason our kids are cute, and the one who makes me most want to live like the Trinity.
God’s love for God led him to create the world from nothing. Therefore, our love for God, if it is to be an accurate reflection of God’s love, must also lead us to a deep and profound and fitting love for creation. God’s love for God pushes him into creation. So should ours. (Joe Rigney, The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts, 62)