God, I come into Your presence today longing to see the magnitude of who You really are.
READ: REVELATION 13:1B-10
 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.  The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.  One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.  People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”  The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.  It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.  It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.  All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.  Whoever has ears, let them hear.  “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.
REFLECT: WHAT IMAGERY STANDS OUT MOST?
Yesterday we met the dragon (12:3–9). Today and tomorrow we have the dubious pleasure of meeting his two henchmen, partners in cosmic crime. First the beast from the sea, all horns and heads and mouth (1,2). He derives his authority from Satan (4), exercises enormous power, gathers lots of followers, accepts their worship, blasphemes God and persecutes the church (5–7). A nasty piece of work. Who is he? John’s readers would immediately identify the imperial power of Rome, far-reaching and cruel in its political and military rule. But John’s vision speaks through history, to a time when the last and most terrible government will rise under Anti-Christ.From an earthly perspective, evil seems to be in the ascendancy; what opposes Christ appears to be invincible. Maybe we are tempted to give up. Who can stand (6:17)? But John’s vision tells us that from heaven’s perspective we are the victors. Our witness to truth will win the day because Christ has already won. So no despair, but a renewed resolve to be faithful and to endure to the end (10).
Prepare yourself to stand regardless of the cost. Make decisions today that will strengthen those spiritual muscles.
Lord of heaven, bring the day when You will finally establish Your kingdom on earth.
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