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paulchernoch

Love for Laodicea

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Thought I would share an inspirational message that came from my recent meditations on Revelation 2 & 3. 
 

I was researching and writing a chapter for my new book on peace. The chapter was to be on the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. When I got to the last one, Laodicea, I stopped. I lost my momentum. I had to force myself to search the web for commentaries on that seventh church. I also had to remind myself to write what God had to say from those verses, not what I had to say.

 

Then I saw my life flash before my eyes. Every word and phrase of that dark letter applied to me when I was in my early twenties. Lukewarm. Aimless. Blind. Proud. Self-sufficient. Praise God, no longer! Reading those words reminded me of all the ways God has straightened me out and given me conviction and purpose. Then it clicked. 
 

From 1981 to 1985, I stopped going to church, seldom prayed, and only cracked open the Bible twice. Once was to read Psalm 23, the Lord is my shepherd... The other time was to read Revelation. It scared me. I couldn’t understand it and made no effort to ask anybody what it meant.


I believe that those two passages saved my life. Yes, some Christians led me to the Lord in 1985, but how was I kept safe in the meantime during my journey through the valley of the shadow of death (severe depression)? Revelation told me what was wrong with me and the Good Shepherd set about guiding me to the people and church that would help me grow.

 

The letter to Laodicea was a love letter from Jesus. He wrote it to those people because he loves them. He wrote it to me because it is not a mere scold, in his words are the power to overcome. The words did not make sense at first, but like mustard seeds, they miraculously grew, though I didn’t know how.

 

I rejoice that I can now see the love of God pouring out even from parts of the Bible I don’t want to read. I encourage everyone to look in unusual places for unexpected graces.

 

From 2016 to 2019, I felt God’s presence in ways I had not in decades. My thirst to read His Word exploded and my understanding of what I was reading shocked me day after day for over a year, enabling me to write a book on resilience based on Job. I expected that energy and zeal to subside. Then COVID-19 struck. Forced to work from home, I have twelve hours a week that I used to spend commuting that I now devote to research and writing, on top of what I was already doing. If anything, my zeal has increased and I continue to find new insights regularly. I never thought I would see such a season in my life again as I did as a new believer. Since March I have written 400 pages on the theme of peace, from Ecclesiastes and elsewhere, the most productive season of writing I have had since starting to write 16 years ago.
 

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” (Acts 3:19-20, NIV)

 

If you are feeling dry, empty, anxious – times of refreshing can be yours, too. I do not remember doing anything special to deserve this. I just kept at it, day after day for years with not much to show for a long time except perseverance and hope. I have no idea if I will ever make a penny from it, but I understand myself and my savior more than ever and that is a great reward.

 

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Beautiful, Paul! This so signifies the importance of STUDYING God's Word, not just reading the words on the pages. When you dig, you find treasure. The more you dig, the deeper it gets. And God rewards those who dig and seek Him in His Word. His Word is so awesome! Praise the Lord for your digging deeper!

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Posted (edited)

    I live on Long Island, east of New York City.  There is a community here named Wyandanch, where there is an actual Christian House of Worship named "Laodicea Baptist Church". 

   I wonder if by choosing that name, the Congregation members were saying something about themselves?

Edited by William D'Andrea

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