Sunday, December 4, 2011

Island Exile

Island Exile
December 5, 2011
Revelation 1:9 "I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus."

If Jesus ever had a best friend while He was on this earth, it would have been the Apostle John. This isn't John the Baptist, but the one called the "beloved of Jesus," who also wrote five books of the New Testament (the most controversial of those books being Revelation). You'd think that by being the best friend of Jesus you might get special privileges, maybe an extra watchful eye on your life by the Almighty Himself. Not so. John, though Jesus loved him as a dear, close friend, was not spared difficulty, suffering, or even loneliness in his lifetime. In fact, for being bold in speaking up about the Christ, John was imprisoned. He was sentenced to imprisonment on a deserted isle, an island only for criminals. John was not a criminal, however; he was allowed to be there by the will of the Father.

While in exile on this island, John had nothing but time, time to be alone with the Lord. It was during this alone time that John was inspired by the Holy Spirit and given the words for the book of Revelation. John wrote, and wrote, and wrote some extremely weird stuff. If you've ever read Revelation, you understand that it is different from any other book of the Bible. But it contains very important information from the Lord, so important that it took John's devoted time in exile to accomplish the writing of it. John thought he was in exile because of speaking boldly about the Christ, but John's exile was used by the Lord to accomplish the important task of writing the book of Revelation.

In fact, if you've ever read the entirety of the Bible from cover to cover, you'll find that every man of God who was used mightily for His purposes, was in exile at one time or another. Abraham, Daniel, David, Elijah, Jesus, Paul, Samuel, this list could go on. That time of exile, either forced or self imposed, was critical for the Lord to change that person or to communicate vital information. This time alone, where the individual had no one but the Lord, was a time for the Lord to speak into his life, molding him for the future. These times of exile were never meant to be permanent, but intended as a launching point for something greater in the near future.

You've perhaps been alone, but this alone time was not, and is not, intended to be lonely. It is a time for the Lord to speak into your life, change your heart, empower you for the future, to launch you into something greater for your life and those around you. It might feel permanent, but the Lord did not abandon you. In fact, the Lord wants to have a deep relationship with you during this unique time. He wants to wash you of your past, inspire you, to bring you to a new place in life where you will do important things, things that are dear to the heart of the Father. But you cannot move forward from this alone time unless you've discovered the heart of the Father, listening intently to what He has for you. If you find yourself feeling lonely, it is a clue to be alone with the Lord and hear what He has for you, what plans He has for your future.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Ps 147:2, Is 11:12, Is 17:13, Jer 24:4-6, Ezekiel 11 & 12, Daniel 5 & 6, Micah 4:6, Matthew 1:17, 1 Peter 1:1, Revelation 1

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