A faith that is golden!!!


Click on the arrow in the above video to view!

Sunday afternoon I received an unexpected phone call from my younger brother, David.  We talk often, but most of the time I call him and seldom do we talk on Sundays.  My first thought was: Is mother OK?  For she is quite sick, with asthma, congestive heart failure and now the possibility of Cancer as well.  But, no, he was lonely and just wanted to talk to someone.  We spoke of many things, but when he started to talk about his coin collection, I could almost see his smile.  Like our father, Dave is an avid coin-collector, but admittedly his stash is small in comparison.  However small, he loves what he acquires and describes in detail as many coins as time permits.  Our talk was only a half-hour or so, but I must confess that it even made me think of collecting a few coins.  And when I think of coins, I THINK OF ONES LIKE THE PICTURE ABOVE.  Gold coins, preferably gold dollars!!!  So, when I decided to post the video, I searched the net and found this picture.  To my surprise, after I had placed it at the top, I noticed that it was minted in 2012!!! Even today, America still acknowledges God on its coins.  Some of us STILL BELIEVE, some of us are not taken in by Satan's efforts to remove God from America.  Belief in God is a precious thing, something to be taken seriously.  The following is the story of what it took to convince just one man...

John, Chapter 20

18  Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had said these things to her.  19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were locked where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 

  20  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad when they saw the Lord.  21 Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”   22 When he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit!   23  If you forgive anyone’s sins, they have been forgiven them. If you retain anyone’s sins, they have been retained.” 

  24  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, wasn’t with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord!” 

But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 

  26  After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace be to you.”   27 Then he said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don’t be unbelieving, but believing.” 

  28  Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 

  29  Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed.” 

  30  Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book;  31 but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. 

I can only imagine the varied types of people that read this post.  If I could only know a few of the stories, it would probably involve hundreds of pages of their personal history.  But, I imagine that for most of us, "In God we trust" is more than just a slogan; it is a commitment!!! Look at the picture once again and then view the video; as the individual goes, so the community and then the city, state and lastly, the nation.  God is still here; there is still time to stand up for what we believe, there is still hope for The United States Of America!!!  Hope that is linked to God's favor and that to our personal obedience to his word!!!  Don't be a doubting Thomas!!! Rather be a convicted, determined follower of The LORD Jesus; belief turned the mighty Roman empire from false religion many years ago and Christians can still change things even today!!!  Enough talk; its time for action!!!

Good news and real adventure

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Good news and real adventure

This is said of God: "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:15)
He triumphed over all the powers and authorities, whoever or whatever they are, and he exposed them in a public manner. He didn't out-talk them! He outlived them! He didn't simply out-fox them! He out-suffered them! These powers and authorities that dominated the creation and showed their character and power in and through the structures by which humans live, they were stripped of their grand reputation and made a public spectacle. And it was done in the crucified Christ in the crucifixion itself. The cross, in the most graphic way, spoke of weakness and vulnerability and yet it was there the powers and authorities that claimed world dominion were exposed. Sin and suffering and loss weren't the only realities that were present in that supreme moment of human history—triumph was being worked out!
Can you believe that, even in the presence of your pain and suffering and loss? If you could be persuaded that this was true—could you embrace it and bear your awful burdens with a gladder heart and filled with faith?
This timeless act in history speaks its message to every generation that is intimidated by the powers. Every new generation invests these satanic forces and powers with an authority they don't have but all who have seen—really seen—the cross and been drawn to it, they have accessed the truth that the death of Jesus heralds. The powers are helpless before the weakness of God!
But that truth's shown not in the absence of all suffering and loss—it's shown in the very place where some silly people say God is not! And the suffering of Christians (if and when it comes) is their destiny! They are the body of Christ (Colossians 1:24) and Peter told his suffering brothers and sisters (1 Peter 4:12-13), "Don't think it's a strange thing that is happening to you..."
The Christ bore the sicknesses and the disease of the hurting human family (Matthew 8:16-17) and so do Christians! Christ continues to work in us for the world! We are up to our necks in trouble for the world!
Agnostic psychologist and pragmatist, William James, said more than he knew when he said it seems as if "there is something very wild in the universe and we are required to redeem it."
There's a God-denying look about this life and this world. The truth of Colossians 2:15 is to be brought to the whole of creation in every generation. This is the adventure! This is what the elect have been called to bear witness to in life and liturgy. Baptism is death-defying; even in a world filled with death! The Supper of the Lord is death-defying; even in a world where Death struts as if it were Lord.
Colossians 2:15 makes the truth known that God's power is always made fully present in and through weakness. It is the ever-present cross that defeats the ever-present evil. This is the adventure!
The gospel has been reduced to a tame humaneness. Let's all be nice people, saying nice things, going to nice churches and having nice kids so that we can be sure of a nice place in a nice city in the here and now and then after death we can go to live in a nice one that has golden streets.
This isn't what Christ came to the cross for. This isn't what ripped Paul away from his blameless life under the Torah and sent him careering half way across the world leaving pints of blood on the streets he ran through or was beaten senseless on. And it isn't what made believers leap out of bed in the morning with shining eyes when they remembered they now lived in a world that had a new Lord and King. Well, all right, we're not all going through that kind of experience but our faith-brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers down the centuries have and we're their children! Their story is ours and the grand finale will be glorious beyond our imagining!
T.S. Eliot sensed this and it led him to say, "I would rather walk daily—as I do—in terror of eternity as to believe that this whole life is a child's game, at the end of which, every participant receives an equally worthless prize."
We didn't learn a watered-down view of the gospel from the Christ or from any of those who knew him best. The gospel is the good news about God! It's the good news about God being righteous because he is faithful to his commitment to his beloved creation. He came in and as Jesus Christ on a rescue mission to save us from ourselves and to give us fullness of life; life that is brim full of life. He came to make war with the satanic powers and authorities that we've invested with dominion and to expose them in the most profound but ironic way; by enduring a public "hanging by the neck until dead" and then showing himself alive, glorious, majestic, deathless and a world's Saviour.
Wouldn't it be wondrously good news if it were true that one day, at a given moment in history, all the satanic forces were gathered together in all their perverse power and that they were defeated? Wouldn't it be wondrously good news if it were true that one day, at a certain spot on this very planet all the demonic forces that show themselves in corrupted and corrupting political and social forces were gathered together in all their power and they were made a spectacle of? The good news is that that's exactly what happened!
"And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:15) By the Cross! And suffering Christians today for all their tears and awful pain gladly embrace Christ's agenda and method because that's who they are! They participate in the sufferings of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God and of glory rests on them (1 Peter 3:13-14 and 4:13). In the face of Matthew 8:16-17 and 2 Corinthians 1, what nonsense it is to narrow the significance of Christian suffering down only to that which is "persecution". As the body of Christ they bear the hurt of the world!
Now that's adventure and that's good news! In his body, the Church, Jesus Christ is showing again and again and again and again and again, all over creation, what he did with once and for all effectiveness—proclaiming his Lordship.
Don't mistake ceaseless hand wringing for biblical based sympathy. Don't mistake the whimpering preaching/teaching you hear or the repetitive trotting out of moral platitudes for the throbbing gospel that comes gushing from the heart of God, written in his Drama and lived out in the world. Nobody loves you like God! Nobody! But Christians are the extension of the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ and that Christ lives and triumphs in and through them every day, making the Lord's power perfect through weakness and vulnerability (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). The dynamic and creative Spirit of God is still very much alive and shapes and sustains the new creation in Jesus even during the dullest looking days.
If the sense of adventure's gone out of us it isn't because the gospel's become dull, it isn't because God has gone into permanent hiding or that Jesus wishes he were the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! If it isn't there it's because we and our leaders have lost our way, lost our vision and have fossilised.
Ask for the gospel!
You might want to listen to this in the audio section under ADVENTURE.

Bible Reading, Jan. 15

Jan. 15
Genesis 15

Gen 15:1 After these things the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Don't be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."
Gen 15:2 Abram said, "Lord Yahweh, what will you give me, seeing I go childless, and he who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?"
Gen 15:3 Abram said, "Behold, to me you have given no seed: and, behold, one born in my house is my heir."
Gen 15:4 Behold, the word of Yahweh came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir, but he who will come forth out of your own body will be your heir."
Gen 15:5 Yahweh brought him outside, and said, "Look now toward the sky, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." He said to Abram, "So shall your seed be."
Gen 15:6 He believed in Yahweh; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness.
Gen 15:7 He said to him, "I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it."
Gen 15:8 He said, "Lord Yahweh, how will I know that I will inherit it?"
Gen 15:9 He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."
Gen 15:10 He brought him all of these, and divided them in the middle, and laid each half opposite the other; but he didn't divide the birds.
Gen 15:11 The birds of prey came down on the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.
Gen 15:12 When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. Now terror and great darkness fell on him.
Gen 15:13 He said to Abram, "Know for sure that your seed will live as foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them. They will afflict them four hundred years.
Gen 15:14 I will also judge that nation, whom they will serve. Afterward they will come out with great wealth,
Gen 15:15 but you will go to your fathers in peace. You will be buried in a good old age.
Gen 15:16 In the fourth generation they will come here again, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full."
Gen 15:17 It came to pass that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
Gen 15:18 In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:
Gen 15:19 the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,
Gen 15:20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,
Gen 15:21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites."

Jan. 15, 16
Matthew 8

Mat 8:1 When he came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
Mat 8:2 Behold, a leper came to him and worshiped him, saying, "Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean."
Mat 8:3 Jesus stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, "I want to. Be made clean." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Mat 8:4 Jesus said to him, "See that you tell nobody, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
Mat 8:5 When he came into Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking him,
Mat 8:6 and saying, "Lord, my servant lies in the house paralyzed, grievously tormented."
Mat 8:7 Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him."
Mat 8:8 The centurion answered, "Lord, I'm not worthy for you to come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
Mat 8:9 For I am also a man under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and tell another, 'Come,' and he comes; and tell my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to those who followed, "Most certainly I tell you, I haven't found so great a faith, not even in Israel.
Mat 8:11 I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven,
Mat 8:12 but the children of the Kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Mat 8:13 Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way. Let it be done for you as you have believed." His servant was healed in that hour.
Mat 8:14 When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother lying sick with a fever.
Mat 8:15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her. She got up and served him.
Mat 8:16 When evening came, they brought to him many possessed with demons. He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick;
Mat 8:17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He took our infirmities, and bore our diseases."
Mat 8:18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes around him, he gave the order to depart to the other side.
Mat 8:19 A scribe came, and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."
Mat 8:20 Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."
Mat 8:21 Another of his disciples said to him, "Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father."
Mat 8:22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
Mat 8:23 When he got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Mat 8:24 Behold, a violent storm came up on the sea, so much that the boat was covered with the waves, but he was asleep.
Mat 8:25 They came to him, and woke him up, saying, "Save us, Lord! We are dying!"
Mat 8:26 He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then he got up, rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm.
Mat 8:27 The men marveled, saying, "What kind of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
Mat 8:28 When he came to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, two people possessed by demons met him there, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that nobody could pass that way.
Mat 8:29 Behold, they cried out, saying, "What do we have to do with you, Jesus, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?"
Mat 8:30 Now there was a herd of many pigs feeding far away from them.
Mat 8:31 The demons begged him, saying, "If you cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of pigs."
Mat 8:32 He said to them, "Go!" They came out, and went into the herd of pigs: and behold, the whole herd of pigs rushed down the cliff into the sea, and died in the water.
Mat 8:33 Those who fed them fled, and went away into the city, and told everything, including what happened to those who were possessed with demons.
Mat 8:34 Behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus. When they saw him, they begged that he would depart from their borders.

Daniel, The Vision Of The Ram And The Goat, Mark Copeland

                          "THE BOOK OF DANIEL"

              The Vision Of The Ram And The Goat (8:1-27)


1. In previous chapters we've seen visions describing four kingdoms...
   a. The vision of Nebuchadnezzar - Dan 2
   b. The vision of Daniel - Dan 7
   -- These kingdoms were the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Greek,
      the Roman

2. In Dan 8, Daniel relates another vision...
   a. Commonly called "The Vision Of The Ram And The Goat"
   b. In which two kingdoms are described

[As we shall see, the two kingdoms as the same as two of the four
kingdoms in earlier visions.  But just as the vision in Dan 7 related
more information about the fourth kingdom, so now the vision in Dan 8
provides information about the second and third kingdoms...]


      1. Received by Daniel in the third year of Belshazzar king of
         Babylon - Dan 8:1
      2. This would be about 552 B.C., two years later than the vision
         in Dan 7

      1. In the vision, Daniel saw himself in Shushan (Susa) - Dan 8:2
         a. In the province of Elam (western Persia, modern day Iran)
         b. The winter capital of the Persian kings
         c. He was by the river Ulai
      2. He saw a two-horned ram - Dan 8:3-4
         a. Standing beside the river
         b. The horns were high, with one higher than the other which
            came up last
         c. The ram was pushing westward, northward, and southward
            1) No beast could withstand him
            2) None could deliver from his hand
            3) He did according to his will and became great
      3. He saw a one-horned male goat - Dan 8:5
         a. Coming suddenly from the west
         b. Across the surface of the whole earth, not touching the
         c. With a notable horn between his eyes
      4. He saw the goat defeat the ram - Dan 8:6-7
         a. With furious power the goat attacked the ram and broke his
            two horns
         b. The ram was unable to withstand the goat, and was trampled
      5. The goat become great, but when he became strong... - Dan 8:8
         a. The large horn was broken
         b. In its place four notable ones came up toward the four
            winds of heaven
      6. He saw a little horn come out of the four with great power
         - Dan 8:9-12
         a. Which grew exceedingly great
            1) Toward the south and east
            2) Toward the Glorious Land
         b. Which grew up to the host of heaven
            1) Casting down and trampling to the ground some of the 
            2) Exalting himself as high as the Prince of host
         c. By this powerful horn...
            1) The daily sacrifices were taken away
            2) The place of His (God's) sanctuary was cast down
            3) An army was given him to oppose the daily sacrifices
               (because of transgression)
            -- He did all this and prospered
      7. Daniel then heard a conversation between two holy ones - Dan 8:13-14
         a. One asking:  "How long will the vision be, concerning..."
            1) "...the daily sacrifices and the transgression of
            2) "...the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be
               trampled under foot?"
         b. The reply given to Daniel:
            1) "For two thousand three hundred days"
            2) "Then the sanctuary shall be cleansed"

[With the details before us, we are now ready to consider the
explanation provided Daniel...]


      1. Daniel was seeking to understand the meaning - Dan 8:15-16
         a. When there stood before him one having the appearance of a
         b. When a man's voice from the banks of the Ulai charged
            Gabriel to make Daniel understand the vision
      2. Gabriel speaks to Daniel - Dan 8:17-19
         a. He approaches Daniel
            1) Prompting Daniel to fall on his face in fear
            2) Telling him that "the vision refers to the time of the
         b. He stands Daniel on his feet
            1) For Daniel had fallen into a deep sleep with his face to
               the ground
            2) To tell him "what shall happen in the latter time of the
               indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be"

      1. The two-horned ram - Dan 8:20
         a. Depicts the kings of Media and Persia
         b. The larger horn may represent Persia's greater influence
            - Dan 8:3
         c. The expansion of the Medo-Persian empire illustrated by the
            ram pushing westward, northward, and southward - Dan 8:4
      2. The one-horned male goat - Dan 8:21
         a. Depicts the kingdom of Greece; note that it came from the
            west - Dan 8:5
         b. The large horn representing it's first king (Alexander the
         c. The speed of the goat aptly reflects Alexander's conquests
            - Dan 8:5
         d. Alexander defeated the Persians in three decisive battles
            - Dan 8:6-7
            1) At Granicus (334 B.C.)
            2) At Issus (333 B.C.)
            3) At Gaugamela (331 B.C.)
      3. The broken horn and four horns that arose in its place - Dan 8:22
         a. Alexander died at 33 years of age 
         b. His empire was divided between his four generals - Dan 8:8
            1) Ptolemy (Egypt)
            2) Seleucus I (Syria)
            3) Cassander (Macedonia and Greece)
            4) Lysimachus (Thrace and Asia Minor) 
      4. The little horn that became exceedingly great - Dan 8:23-25
         a. Some time later a king shall arise
            1) When transgressors have reached their fullness (when
               Israel has fallen back into sin)
            2) With mighty power, but not by his own
            3) Who shall destroy fearfully, prosper and thrive
            4) Who shall destroy the mighty and also the holy people
            5) Through cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper
            6) He shall magnify himself, and destroy many in their
            7) He shall even rise against the Prince of princes (i.e.,
               God Himself)
            8) But he shall be broken without human hand (God shall
               destroy him)
         b. This is most likely Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of Syria
            (175-163 B.C.)
            1) Who imposed Greek culture and deities upon his subjects
            2) Who when he conquered Jerusalem:
               a) Set up an image in the temple
               b) Offered swine flesh upon the altar
               c) Encouraged Greek soldiers to commit fornication in
                  the temple
               d) Forbade circumcision, keeping the Sabbath, possessing
                  a copy of the Scriptures (Harkrider)
      5. The vision of the evenings and mornings - Dan 8:26
         a. The number of days the sacrifices will cease, and the
            temple desolated
         b. Maybe a literal period (a little over six years)
            corresponding to the actual period of time the abomination
            by Antiochus Epiphanes occurred (171-165 B.C.)
         c. Daniel instructed to seal up the vision
            1) For it was to occur "many days in the future"
            2) I.e., almost four hundred years later

      1. He fainted and was sick for days - Dan 8:27
      2. Though he afterward arose and went about the king's business,
         he was astonished by the vision (but no one understood it) 
         - Dan 8:27


1. This vision is probably the easiest to understand of the four
   visions that Daniel saw...
   a. The identity of the ram and goat are clearly given
   b. History confirms what is described in this vision
      1) The conflict between Medo-Persia and Greece
      2) The division of the Grecian empire following Alexander's death
      3) The rise of Antiochus Epiphanes and his desecration of the
         temple in Jerusalem

2. The purpose of the vision was to prepare the people of Daniel for
   what was to come...
   a. In "the time of the end"
   b. In "the latter time of the indignation"
   -- I.e., the persecution that would come upon Israel toward the end
      of the OT period, during the inter-testamental period (Young)

The remarkable accuracy of this vision has led some to date the book of
Daniel after the events of Antiochus Epiphanes.  But its accuracy poses
no problem for those who accept the inspiration of the Scriptures, and
should remind us of God's power to fulfill His Word:

   "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there
   is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,

   "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times
   things that are not yet done, Saying, `My counsel shall stand,
   And I will do all My pleasure,'

   "Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My
   counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will
   also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it."

                                             - Isa 46:9-11

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011