Revelation the Album
TAI: Of all the recordings we've made, Revelation is the one where most proud of. We pushed ourselves to be the best band we could be because we believe that our fans deserve the best music possible. It was a difficult album to make, even just logistically and required an extra effort from all of us. The record contains some of that struggle. It speaks of an ongoing relationship with the God of the Universe who loves us and carries us through the struggles of life.
MAC: We never come up with a plan beforehand of what a record is going to be about. Musically we can talk about what we want to accomplish, but the theme is discovered more retrospectively when we look back once the record is made and see what the songs have been about. Now that may sound a little fake, in trying to make something out of the album that’s it’s not, but we really believe that is how God works in our lives sometimes- we have to look back on our past to see where we have come from, what God has been doing and what He’s wanting to do right now. So with this album, we just wanted to make a great record and we didn’t necessarily have an agenda but find out what happens as the project develops. Once we had made the album we realised that it seemed to be about prayer because there are a handful of songs around that subject. Three steps can be clearly seen- brokenness, prayer, and being changed by that prayer- and there are songs that fit into each category of this process. We haven’t placed the songs in that way, but I think you can definitely see songs that are about prayer, being broken, coming before God with that brokenness, and needing direction and revelation, then taking what He has to give us and moving forward with that.
God loves plans! We see that from the first to the last pages of the Bible, we see that throughout history, we see that in the lives of others and hopefully we see that in our own lives. In the Revelation album we see the hand of God upon the songs and upon the whole project, giving us a glimpse of his eternal redemptive plan for each and every person who has walked, is walking, and will walk on this planet.
God’s loves plans but he loves people more! In fact from the word go His plan was that men and women should enjoy His love, His creation, His blessing, and respond to love with love. God’s original plan was what John Eldredge calls ‘Original Glory’- way before original sin kicked in! Yet from the time of Adam and Eve, individual people, families, races, even whole nations and continents have chosen to abandon the glory of God and make an attempt at living life for themselves, for their own glory, and as a result they’ve suffered the consequences.
You may be one such person, and your journey to this album might have included rebellion from God, or at least a feeling of distance from Him. You may have felt that God either isn’t there or isn’t listening, that He’s not interested in you or that He’s angry with you. Or you may be desperately crying out to God, screaming for an answer. Be assured, God is there, He is listening, He is interested, and His love always outweighs His anger. God wants you to be a part of His plan, and although you might not realise it He’s always thought that way about you. Just as the guys in Third Day can look back at the Revelation album and see the theme of hope for the present and the future that God has woven into it, our prayer is that you’ll be able to look at your life the same way. We pray also that these songs and these devotions will give you that revelation.
Good News - Original Glory
Read Genesis chapter 1 as if you have never read it before (perhaps you haven’t!) Notice how often the phrase ‘it was good’ appears. Especially read Genesis 1.26-28 and give thanks that you’ve been created in the image of God.
The good news is that God formed you and made you in His image- you are valuable in His sight.
Bad News - The Fall
Read Genesis chapter 3 as if you have never read it before. Notice how Adam and Eve are influenced by the deception of God’s enemy and how they doubt God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness. Especially read Genesis 3:23-24 and see the results of the rebellion of mankind.
The bad news is that sinfulness and selfishness has deformed you—if you are separated from God you aren’t living the life you were meant to live.
Good News - Jesus the Savior
Read John’s Gospel chapter 1 as if you have never read it before. Notice how God sent His Word (Jesus) into the world to end the rebellion of mankind, to bring people back to God, and to enable humanity to experience and worship God’s glory once again. Especially read John 1:12-14 and begin to picture yourself as a child of God, with God as your Heavenly Father.
The good news is that Jesus can transform you. He will give you a fresh start, a new life, as part of the family of God. A life with meaning and purpose, made clean by God’s love and grace shown through Jesus.
In order to begin living as a child of God, and to become a part of His plan, and in order to continue living in His family, we’ll need to go on the journey that Mac describes as: brokenness, prayer, and being changed by that prayer. Through these Revelation devotions we are going to meet a number of biblical characters who had to walk this journey, but for now here’s a summary.
BROKENNESS is simply arriving at the place where you realise that you can’t hold life together on your own. What you have wanted to be perfect and good has become broken. This may have been your own fault or the fault of other people. Physically, mentally, relationally, you are hurting, but most importantly you have deep spiritual feeling that your life needs fixing and you can’t do it yourself. Perhaps you feel like the Apostle Paul when he wrote:
My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. Romans 7:20 The Message
This is what the Bible says about God’s attitude to brokenness:
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 NIV
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 NIV
PRAYER is simply having an honest conversation with God, speaking out to Him and letting him know your circumstances and then listening to His response. The prophet Jeremiah heard these words from God:
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3 NIV
Most of the time, when people don’t hear from God it is because either they don’t want to or there are undesirable things in their life that separate them from God. In fact, a crucial part of feeling broken is that you turn away from the bad things that dominate you and turn to God for help:
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19 NIV
This isn’t just a once in a lifetime occurrence, we’ll need to keep approaching the Lord in prayer and asking him for cleansing and refreshing. In the OId Testament book of 2nd Chronicles, God gives an incredible promise for those who are serious about connecting with Him in this way:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
BEING CHANGED BY PRAYER is a reality, but often we don’t live in that reality because we aren’t willing to act upon what we have heard from God. Jesus told a story of two builders. One was wise and one was foolish, and he says this of the foolish man:
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matt. 7:26-27 NIV
In other words it’s not just enough to hear from God, we must learn to put into practice what we hear. Remember picturing yourself as a child with God as your Heavenly Father? Well, the gospel writer John also wrote 3 letters to the early church, and in 1st John he tells us this:
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 1John 5:23
So the culmination of this process is that by being obedient to the guidance of the loving Father we are released from whatever the brokenness is that burdens us and disables us from living life as we were meant to.
HABAKKUK- DESPERATE FOR A REVELATION FROM GOD
Read Habakkuk 1:1-3 to see Habakkuk’s situation.
We are introduced to the prophet Habakkuk as a man who is deeply burdened and troubled. Simply put, he is desperate to hear from the Lord and he asks two questions of the Lord that at some time we have all asked, “How long?” and “Why?” In fact you may be asking God one or both of those questions right now... “How long have I got to suffer this, how long till you give me some guidance, how long till I see the light at the end of the tunnel?” or “Why are you allowing this to happen Lord? Why don’t you act and do something about it?”
For Habakkuk, the concerns were how long would God put up with the disobedience of the nation of Judah, and why was God allowing this disobedience to go unpunished?
How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Habakkuk 1:1-3 NIV
Habakkuk had no other option than the one that we all face--to wait patiently for God’s revelation. If you are in that place of waiting right now, then don’t be anxious or downhearted. The God that spoke to Habakkuk eventually will speak to you.
Read Habakkuk 2:1-3 to see God’s answer.
It’s a real act of faith, and often a hard lesson to learn, to recognize that God will speak to us in His timing, which in the end will always be the best for us. These are the words He speaks to Habakkuk- be comforted by them:
Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:2-3 NIV
God has not forgotten you! He will speak at the right time, and when he does make sure you keep a record of what He is saying to you. All you need to do is position yourself in a place of faithfulness, dependence on God, and expectancy.
IF YOU HAVE TIME, THEN READ HABAKKUK 3:1-19 and see in his prayer of thanksgiving how Habakkuk’s attitude has been transformed because he had encountered the Lord.
Old School Third Day - Listen to ‘Cry out to Jesus’ from Wherever You Are.
Written by Pastor Nigel James