John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,  and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood  and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.  Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet  saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,  and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,  his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,  and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.  Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.  As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (ESV)
By the time John had received this information and started writing he was a “weathered” man to say the least. Imprisoned, beaten, ridiculed, watched his rabbi go to the courts, and then the cross.. we HAVE TO ASSUME that John has had his share of “trials”. Yet, here in the last book of the bible, in his first welcoming statement, i do not read any despair, or torment, or fear, or sarcasm, or hesitation. He clearly and adequately engages his audience with a message of “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come” GRACE and PEACE and CONFIDENCE. And then right into what I believe is one of the most vivid descriptions, as empowering descriptions of our Lord that has ever been recorded.
Today, Friday, the end of the “work” week, just read this a few times over and over. Try to picture yourself as John when Jesus appeared to him. Try to picture yourself abandoned on this island, given up on by men, and cast out of civilization to then open your eyes to this. “Eyes like flame of fire” “Face like the sun shining in FULL STRENGTH”. Imagine the LORD’S Hand , His right Hand on you!!!!!!
You have the ability to do 2 things today… Believe and Act. Belief and Action make the difference for everything. Choose it. Grab it. Read it. Breathe it. Live it. DO IT.
“Fear not I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
Friends, this is our God. This is our King. Alive Forevermore! Whatever you may have in your life this morning that is blocking your vision…. please allow yourself GRACE and PEACE and CONFIDENCE.
“I have the keys of Death and Hades”. says your King.
What more do we need than this truth?