Remembering what is important

Buttermilk Falls, in Melrose, N.Y.

An old friend of mine (Walter Vogt) put the above picture of Buttermilk Falls on facebook recently.  My memories of the falls are of summer and the many times my younger brother Dave and I went swimming there.  So, a winter scene was refreshing to see.  The thing is- I have been there in the winter, but I didn't pay any attention to the falls- I was just too busy kissing my girlfriend!!!  Over the past few years I have been getting more and more forgetful and the thought of that is a little upsetting, but I am not alone!!!  Paul, had this problem as well...

1 Corinthians, Chapter 1

10 Now I beg you, brothers, through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  11 For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers, by those who are from Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.  12 Now I mean this, that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas,” and, “I follow Christ.”  13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?  14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, except Crispus and Gaius,  15 so that no one should say that I had baptized you into my own name.  16 (I also baptized the household of Stephanas; besides them, I don’t know whether I baptized any other.)

Paul didn't remember exactly how many people he baptized and the thought of that makes me feel a lot better.  What was in his memory, though, was concern over the brethren at Corinth.  In ancient times, Roman culture was based on the patron system.  That is, those with power granted favors (we might say took care of their friends today).  Naturally, if someone was taking care of you, there would be a measure of loyalty involved.  Since basic subsistence was often involved; we are talking about LOYALTY EXEMPLIFIED!!! Suddenly, the division seen in Corinthians becomes a bit more understandable.  Ultimately, it is Jesus that is most important and that is what they needed to know!!!  Same goes for us as well!!!  Somehow, I just can't remember anything more important!!!!!
Anyway, thanks for the picture, Walter!!!

Jenny Kissed me!

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Jenny Kissed me!

Here’s what I think. I think many of us Christian types look at a world that sings like a happy drunk and dances like a dervish and we think we’re missing out on life. I think we console ourselves with the thought that while in this life we’re miserable (we’re supposed to be, right?) but one day we’ll be rewarded for being miserable for Christ’s sake. What a tragic view of Christ, what a tragic view of his intentions and what a tragic view of life as it even now lies before us. (I do recognize that there are lonely and oppressed people for whom life in its entirety will always be pain. Of these poor souls I have nothing to say just at this moment. This is for those of us who despite troubles and heartache are richly blessed in life.)
Leigh-Hunt, with the heart of a romantic and eyes to see where the profound riches of life are to be discovered wrote something that the blessed but blind among us would do well to reflect on.
Jenny kiss’d me when we met
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, you love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say that health and wealth have miss’d me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
        Jenny kiss’d me.
Don’t you love that? Unless you’re one of those that snarl, "Bah humbug" when romance is talked about you’ll surely smile with pleasure at Leigh-Hunt’s joy. Whatever else he missed, whatever he went without, no matter about failing health, loss of independence, economic hardship or living and dying in obscurity and feebleness—none of it changed this one mesmerizing truth and life-defining experience, Jenny kissed him.
People would watch him growing old and getting feebler but every now and then they’d catch him smiling to himself and they’d wonder why.
He’s remembering.
To have one Jenny and every bit as important—to be able to recognize that Jenny when you meet her; to have the heart that can see Jenny in that light means a man can die rich and happy.
I know there's more to be said, I know there are tough questions that warrant answers but those are subjects for another time. Not now! Not for millions of us! We're too blessed to pretend we're victims, too rich in lovely and uplifting experiences to pretend we've been robbed. We won't do it! For me personally, to know that "Ethel kissed me" and for fifty-three years loved me however much a failure I've been means I have absolutely no grounds for taking out my pains and losses and making them the entire story of my life. Other poor souls will come to God when it's all over and show him hands that were worn out with work since they were boys or girls and they'll tell him their sad stories. I won't be able to do that and my suspicion is that the most of all who might read this will feel the same.
Filled with joy and the romance of life and the Christian adventure GK Chesterton would say things like, "One Sun is splendid: six Suns would be only vulgar. One Tower of Giotto is sublime: a row of Towers of Giotto would be only like a row of white posts. The poetry of art is in beholding the single tower; the poetry of nature, in seeing the single tree; the poetry of love, in following the single woman; the poetry of religion, in worshipping the single star."
To know one lovely child, to have one glorious friend, to experience one glorious day, to do one glorious and selfless deed in one glorious and selfless moment of sheer unadulterated generosity—that’s living!
To know one God, one Lord Jesus Christ and one Spirit in whom the Father and Son have eternal fellowship—that’s life eternal. A man or woman, boy or girl can die rich like that.
Others in their millions will come before God after a life of ceaseless soul-crushing poverty, abuse—crushed and empty. I won't! I won't because I can't. I have two lovely sons and a lovely daughter and some friends who came into my life and stayed. I have some enemies—some of them I've earned, but all in all I've been blessed beyond measure by Him who gave his all for the entire human family (and for me as part of it). That would be and is enough! But from His generous hand I got a bonus:
"Ethel kissed me."

Bible Reading, Jan. 11

Jan. 11
Genesis 11

Gen 11:1 The whole earth was of one language and of one speech.
Gen 11:2 It happened, as they traveled east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they lived there.
Gen 11:3 They said one to another, "Come, let's make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.
Gen 11:4 They said, "Come, let's build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top reaches to the sky, and let's make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth."
Gen 11:5 Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.
Gen 11:6 Yahweh said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do.
Gen 11:7 Come, let's go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."
Gen 11:8 So Yahweh scattered them abroad from there on the surface of all the earth. They stopped building the city.
Gen 11:9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there Yahweh confused the language of all the earth. From there, Yahweh scattered them abroad on the surface of all the earth.
Gen 11:10 This is the history of the generations of Shem. Shem was one hundred years old and became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood.
Gen 11:11 Shem lived five hundred years after he became the father of Arpachshad, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 11:12 Arpachshad lived thirty-five years and became the father of Shelah.
Gen 11:13 Arpachshad lived four hundred three years after he became the father of Shelah, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 11:14 Shelah lived thirty years, and became the father of Eber:
Gen 11:15 and Shelah lived four hundred three years after he became the father of Eber, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 11:16 Eber lived thirty-four years, and became the father of Peleg.
Gen 11:17 Eber lived four hundred thirty years after he became the father of Peleg, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 11:18 Peleg lived thirty years, and became the father of Reu.
Gen 11:19 Peleg lived two hundred nine years after he became the father of Reu, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 11:20 Reu lived thirty-two years, and became the father of Serug.
Gen 11:21 Reu lived two hundred seven years after he became the father of Serug, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 11:22 Serug lived thirty years, and became the father of Nahor.
Gen 11:23 Serug lived two hundred years after he became the father of Nahor, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 11:24 Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and became the father of Terah.
Gen 11:25 Nahor lived one hundred nineteen years after he became the father of Terah, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 11:26 Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
Gen 11:27 Now this is the history of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran became the father of Lot.
Gen 11:28 Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldees.
Gen 11:29 Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran who was also the father of Iscah.
Gen 11:30 Sarai was barren. She had no child.
Gen 11:31 Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife. They went forth from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan. They came to Haran and lived there.
Gen 11:32 The days of Terah were two hundred five years. Terah died in Haran.

Jan. 11,12
Matthew 6

Mat 6:1 "Be careful that you don't do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Mat 6:2 Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don't sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward.
Mat 6:3 But when you do merciful deeds, don't let your left hand know what your right hand does,
Mat 6:4 so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Mat 6:5 "When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward.
Mat 6:6 But you, when you pray, enter into your inner chamber, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Mat 6:7 In praying, don't use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking.
Mat 6:8 Therefore don't be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him.
Mat 6:9 Pray like this: 'Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
Mat 6:10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
Mat 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.
Mat 6:12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.
Mat 6:13 Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.'
Mat 6:14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Mat 6:15 But if you don't forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Mat 6:16 "Moreover when you fast, don't be like the hypocrites, with sad faces. For they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen by men to be fasting. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward.
Mat 6:17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face;
Mat 6:18 so that you are not seen by men to be fasting, but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.
Mat 6:19 "Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal;
Mat 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don't break through and steal;
Mat 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Mat 6:22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light.
Mat 6:23 But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Mat 6:24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and Mammon.
Mat 6:25 Therefore, I tell you, don't be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Mat 6:26 See the birds of the sky, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you of much more value than they?
Mat 6:27 "Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan?
Mat 6:28 Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they spin,
Mat 6:29 yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.
Mat 6:30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won't he much more clothe you, you of little faith?
Mat 6:31 "Therefore don't be anxious, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?'
Mat 6:32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Mat 6:33 But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.
Mat 6:34 Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient.

Daniel, The Most High Rules In The Kingdom of Men, Mark Copeland

                          "THE BOOK OF DANIEL"

             The Most High Rules In Kingdom Of Men (4:1-37)


1. In Dan 2, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had a dream...
   a. Involving a large image with head of gold, chest and arms of
      silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron with feet of
      iron mixed with clay - Dan 2:36-43
      1) Representing four world empires
      2) I.e., Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome
   b. In which the image was destroyed by a small stone made without
      hands - Dan 2:44-45
      1) Representing the establishment of a kingdom by the God of
      2) A kingdom that would never be destroyed, and would consume the
         other kingdoms
   -- Prompting the king to praise the God of Daniel - Dan 2:47

2. In Dan 3, Nebuchadnezzar made a large image of gold...
   a. He required all to worship it, under threat of death - Dan 3:4-6
   b. Three young men did not, yet survived the fiery furnace - Dan 3:
   -- Prompting the king to bless the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and
      Abed-Nego - Dan 3:28-29

3. From Dan 4, it appears that Nebuchadnezzar had more to learn about
   a. He knew that God was Lord of kings and a revealer of secrets 
      - Dan 2:47
   b. He knew that God can deliver His servants - Dan 3:28-29
   -- But now it was time for him to learn that God, the Most High and
      King of heaven, rules in the kingdoms of men, including his own!

[It was through a second dream and succeeding events that led
Nebuchadnezzar to this conclusion.  In his own words, the king of 
Babylon relates how it happened...]


      1. Addressed to all who dwell on the earth - Dan 4:1
      2. To declare the signs and wonders of the Most High God - Dan 4:
      3. Proclaiming God's kingdom to be everlasting, His dominion from
         generation to generation - Dan 4:3b

      1. A dream which troubled him and made him afraid - Dan 4:4-5
      2. His dissatisfaction with the wise men of Babylon - Dan 4:6-7
      3. The dream is told to Daniel...
         a. The king's confidence in Daniel - Dan 4:8-9
         b. Elements of the dream - Dan 4:10-17
            1) A tree in the middle of the earth, its height reaching
               to the heavens
            2) The decree of a holy one, a "watcher", concerning the
               a) To be cut down, leaving only the stump and roots
               b) Bound with a band of iron and bronze
               c) Wet with the dew of heaven
               d) To graze with the beasts of the earth
               e) His heart changed from that of a man to an animal
               f) And let seven times (years?) pass over him
            3) The purpose of the decree is for the living to know:
               a) The Most High rules in the kingdom of men
               b) Who gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it
                  the lowest of men
         c. The king repeats his confidence in Daniel to interpret the
            dream - Dan 4:18

      1. Daniel is astonished and troubled by the dream - Dan 4:19
         a. Yet the king reassures Daniel to tell the interpretation
         b. Daniel wished the dream pertained to the king's enemies
      2. Elements of Daniel's interpretation - Dan 4:20-26
         a. The tree which became strong and tall represents
         b. The king shall be driven from men, dwell among beasts and
            eat grass like oxen
            1) Seven times (years?) will pass over him
            2) Till he knew that the Most High rules in the kingdom of
               men, giving it to whomever He chooses
         c. The kingdom shall be returned to Nebuchadnezzar
            1) Indicated by the command to leave the stump and roots of
               the tree
            2) Once he comes to know that Heaven rules
      3. Daniel's counsel for the king to be righteous and show mercy
         - Dan 4:27

      1. It came to pass at the end of twelve months - Dan 4:28-29
      2. As the king was boasting about his power and majesty - Dan 4:
      3. That very hour he was driven from men - Dan 4:33
         a. He ate grass like oxen
         b. His body was wet with the dew of heaven
         c. His hair grew like eagle's feathers, his nails like birds'
      4. And the end of the time, understanding returned to the king 
         - Dan 4:34-35
         a. Prompting him to bless and praise the Most High, who lives
         b. Acknowledging His everlasting dominion and kingdom
         c. Who does according to His will in the army of heaven and
            among inhabitants of the earth, and none can restrain or
            say "What have You done?"
      5. Nebuchadnezzar restored - Dan 4:36-37
         a. His reason, honor, and splendor returned, his counselor and
            nobles resorted to him
         b. But now he praises and honors the King of heaven for His
            truth and justice, Who is able to humble those who walk in

      1. Stated several times in this chapter
         a. In the dream itself - Dan 4:17
         b. By Daniel, in providing the interpretation - Dan 4:25-26
         c. As spoken from Heaven when the dream came to pass - Dan 4:
         d. By Nebuchadnezzar when he returned to his senses - Dan 4:
      2. To learn that "The Most High Rules In The Kingdom Of Men"
         a. Which Daniel acknowledged from Nebuchadnezzar's first dream
            - Dan 2:20-21
         b. And now does the king, from his second dream!

[The main point is simple enough, but do we acknowledge that it is
still true?  Do we appreciate that the Most High still rules in the
kingdom of men, only now through His Son?  Lest we forget, let's review
what the New Testament teaches about...]


      1. As claimed before His ascension to heaven - Mt 28:18
      2. As proclaimed after His ascension - Re 2:26-27; 3:21
      3. As taught by His apostles - Ep 1:20-22; 1Co 15:24-28; 1 Pe 3:22
   [So He has the authority, but does He exercise it? Consider the next

      1. As foretold by the prophets
         a. In Psalms 2, which speaks of:
            1) The attempt of the nations to reject Christ - Ps 2:1-3
            2) The coronation of Christ despite their efforts - Ps 2:
            3) The exercise of Christ's rule over the nations - Ps 2:
            4) The importance of kings and judges serving the Lord 
               - Ps 2:10-12
            -- Ac 4:23-28 confirms that this passage refers to Jesus!
         b. In Psalms 110, which tells of:
            1) The rule of Christ in the midst of His enemies - Psa 110:1-2
            2) The voluntary service of His people (the church), and
               the priestly service of their King - Ps 110:3-4
            3) The exercise of judgment among the nations - Ps 110:5-7
            -- Ac 2:32-36 confirms that this passage refers to Jesus!
      2. As taught by the apostles
         a. Governing authorities exist as appointed by God, to serve
            as ministers of God - Ro 13:1-4
         b. Why pray for kings and those in authority, that peace may
            prevail, unless God through Christ can do something about
            it? - cf. 1Ti 2:1-2
         c. Jesus is the "ruler over the kings of the earth" - Re 1:5
            1) He exercised that rule in the destruction of Jerusalem,
               foretold in Mt 24
            2) He exercised that rule in destroying the beast of
               Revelation (the Roman empire) and all his forces - cf.
               Re 17:14
            -- Truly Jesus is "King of kings, and Lord of lords"! - cf.
               Rev 19:16; 1Ti 6:15
      3. We may not always be able to see how it is so
         a. If Christ rules in the kingdom of men, why do evil men and
            evil empires exist?
         b. This was a problem that perplexed Habakkuk...
            1) Who bewailed the wickedness in Israel - Hab 1:2-4
            2) Who was amazed that God would punish Israel by a nation
               more evil than it - Hab 1:12-13
            3) Who placed his trust in God, no matter the circumstances
               - Hab 3:17-19
         c. It helps to understand the nature of Christ's rule
            1) He rules "in the midst of His enemies" - Ps 110:2
            2) He must reign "till He has put all enemies under His
               feet" - 1Co 15:25-26
            -- Until He comes again, Jesus exercises His authority over
               the nations in ways we may not always comprehend


1. To know that "the Most High rules" must have been comforting to
   a. For at that time he and the nation of Israel were in captivity
   b. Their temple was destroyed, the land plundered and filled with
      transplanted foreigners
   c. Yet Daniel knew the prophecy of Jeremiah, that after seventy
      years they would return - cf. Dan 9:1-2
   -- Knowing that God rules, even when wicked men seem to prevail,
      gave him hope

2. We can take comfort in knowing that "the Most High rules" today...
   a. That He who rules in the kingdom of men is Jesus!
   b. Who is our Savior, Priest, and Friend!
   -- Therefore we can look forward to the future with hope, not 

3. But this is true only if we give Jesus sovereign rule in our
   personal lives...
   a. He must be "our" Lord, the King of "our" lives!
   b. We must be "volunteers" in the day of His power - cf. Ps 110:3

Have we submitted in obedience to Him who is both Lord and Christ (cf.
Ac 2:36-38)?  Remember the admonition of the Psalmist...

      "Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling.

      "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way,
         When His wrath is kindled but a little.

      "Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

                                                       (Ps 2:11-12)

Are you putting your trust in Jesus, the Son of God?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011