When some people hear someone mention the book of Revelation, they think, "Oh no the world is coming to an end!" Well my husband Steven, who likes to see things in a different light, used that approach with the group as he presented the lesson this week.


When was a time when you were speechless?

The first thing that popped in the minds of a few people was when someone did something stupid or offensive and it caused them to be speechless. It's natural for humans to think negatively. But stop and think of a time when something good happened that made you speechless or at loss for words. Maybe it was the birth of your first child or a wedding proposal.

Steven shared of a time when we were in Honduras on our first mission trip. While passing out food and household items to a community that was in great need, the head of the household was asked to line up and collect their items. To our shock, a girl about our daughter's age (12) was in line as the leader of her house. As she reached up to receive a bag of food from Steven, he was left speechless and fought back tears.  

What does this have to do with the book of Revelation?

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
— Revelation 8:1-5

Revelation 8:1 says that "All of heaven was quite for half hour." How can you keep millions of people and angels quite for half hour? Steven thought on this and suggested, what if everyone knew what was about to happen and they all were all praying and focusing on the salvation of all the people still on earth? Erin read the rest of Revelations 8 to the group:

Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”
— Revelation 8:6-13

A penny for your prayers

What if a prayer were a penny. No, we don't mean a prayer isn't worth much. Jason pointed out that there is a rare penny wandering around in our world that was made – the 1943 S Copper Lincoln Wheat Penny. Guess how much it's worth?  Yes, it sold at auction for one million dollars.

But Steven pointed out something else special about a penny: the phrase "In God We Trust." A penny represents an expression of trust in God – the primary prerequisite of effective prayer.

Using the penny to remind us to pray with trust in God, first we took a moment to write down a prayer. Then, we went around the room and prayed for ourselves, then for something outside ourselves like community or government – something that would take more people to come together in prayer and action as like many pennies.

This week's challenge

Hearing the story about Revelation 8, and praying and coming together as a group was very moving in my heart and mind. I really liked thinking about putting our pennies together to reach more people. But I know that just one penny, "me," can still make a difference in the life of someone else. It might be small difference to start but hoping that it will soak into someone else's soul and they can pass on my one penny difference, adding their own penny to it for the good of others.