12/19/13

From Ben Fronczek... Movie: It’s A Wonderful Life

Movie: It’s A Wonderful Life

It’s A Wonderful Life – and… The Rich Man and Lazarus       
By Ben Fronczek

I really enjoy watching some of the older movies, especially this time of the year. One of my all time favorites is the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life.

In the movie Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, a small-town man whose life seems so desperate he contemplates suicide. He had always wanted to leave the town of Bedford Falls to see the world, but circumstances and his own good heart led him to stay. As he prepares to jump from a bridge, his guardian angel, Clarence, intercedes and shows him how life would have turned out for the residents of Bedford Falls if he had never been born. He gets to see life from a whole different perspective and then gets a second chance. It kinda reminded me of the second chance that old Scrooge got when he had a chance to look ahead in the movie, Christmas Carol. Just seeing things from a different perspective changed both of their lives.

For some reason as I thought about those movies, I thought about a parable that Jesus told, and wondered what it would have been like if the main character of His story had a second chance like George Bailey, or old Scrooge.  Let’s first read the parable to you in Luke 16:19-31.   

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’  “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Now what I would like to do is put a little twist on this story and I would like you to bear with me a bit and use your imagination.   Imagine if you would that after pleading with Abraham for his family and kin-folk, and experiencing the fury of Hades with all its pain and suffering…. If for some reason Jesus appeared on the scene and granted the rich man a special favor, allowing him to return to his life on earth for just one year so that he could warn his brothers and anyone else who would listen to him.

And then all of a sudden, ‘BAM,’ the next thing the rich man realizes is that he is out of the fiery torment and on his own bed taking gasps of cool fresh air. As he gasps he opens his eyes and sees his doctor bent over him shocked saying something like, “Wow, for a while I thought we lost him.”
If something like that happened what do you suppose the rich man’s reaction would be? Better yet, suppose that it was you that had this 2nd chance, and it was you who had returned from the fiery fury of Hades? Do you think his new found life would be different? What about yours?
Maybe he would blurt out something like, “Thank You, Thank You!”  “How did I get here? How long was I gone? Where did father Abraham go?  Where is Lazarus?”
“Who?” those at your bedside ask.
“You know Lazarus, the beggar that always sat out by the entrance gate.”
And someone answers by saying, :”Sir, that beggar died a few days ago. Don’t you remember I told you and you said that you were glad and you told us to get rid of him?”
Then the rich man mumbles, “He said I only have a year”    ”A year for what? We don’t understand what you are talking about… you better get some rest sir.”
And a gitty smile I’m sure would come over the rich man’s face; may like the on George Bailey or Scrooge had when they woke up from their visions.

I wonder how his life would change. I wonder how our life would change if it was you or me knowing that we had a second chance and we were free from that fiery torment?
As we considered this parable and this imaginary twist on the story, I would like to suggest a few ways that I think that this rich man’s life, or even my life would have changed if I had that second chance like this.

#1. For one thing, I would from that point be a zealous believer in heaven and hell. I don’t believe I would quickly forget the torment and the suffering in Hades:  

●The utter pain  
● The unending suffering   
● The longing for relief    
● The cries coming from my mouth and from those around me.  
● The longing for just one drop of water  
● And the feeling of total helplessness 
● And that chasm that I could never cross

But then there was that other place where Lazarus was along with father Abraham, and the Lord Himself. It was a paradise. It was a place only for believers, the faithful, for those who accepted God’s grace and obeyed His will, and for those who had their sin washed away. What a contrast, one was a paradise and Hades was the abode of the selfish. I believe that I would remember the view of that paradise from the place of torment and I would not forget the scene no matter how long I lived.

#2. From that point on, I don’t believe that there would be any hesitation in seeing a personal need for the Savior, for Jesus, to save me from returning to that place of torment. From that point on I would do whatever I’d have to do, no matter what it entailed, to get right with the Lord. This would become my first and highest priority… to seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness.

-       I would probably rush out to buy a Bible if I didn’t have one

-       I would read the New Testament and study it until I really understood how to get right with God. I would take note of how men and women of old were saved from their sin and the fearful expectation of Hell.

-       If I had questions I would ask until I had a clear answer. Nothing less would do because my eternal destiny depended my understand and what I did with that knowledge.

-       Hopefully I would have learned the lesson that having money and worldly power and being a know-it-all was dangerous and could be deadly if used improperly.

-       And once I became a Christian, and accepted Jesus as both my new Lord and Savior I would rejoice in my salvation and in my new hope for that paradise and seek to thank and worship Him on every occasion.

#3. And I believe that my new found faith would empower me or change my everyday life. Maybe I’d stop serving self and start serving my new Lord in the short time I had left. This new found faith, this kind of belief can empowers you to do things like never before. I would pray that the Holy Spirit would really start to work thru me. And I don’t think that I would ignore or treat the poor as I did before. Lazarus was poor but he became rich. I think I would do my best to help them and consol them if I could. Maybe I would try to give them hope by telling them about Lazarus and how he was saved because he put his faith in Jesus. Maybe, I’d help them financially or even find them jobs.

#4. I believe all this knowledge would also lead me to do something else in the short time I’d have left. Each time the memory of Hades came to mind… and the sheer terror of it… and my narrow escape… I would have to tell my brothers and my family over and over again what I saw and the torment I felt… And how I pleaded to have someone come and warn them….and the paradise I almost missed.

I think I would do whatever it took to convince them that they needed Jesus, that He was the only way to escape Hell. I would tell them of their need to become a Christian and have their sin washed away. And I probably would not stop with just them… I would tell anyone and everyone I could, even knowing full well that some would not listen.
If I was the rich man, and if I had that kind of 2nd chance, after my year was up, not only would I want to be there in paradise with the Lord, and with Abraham and Lazarus, I would also want to know that my parents, my brothers, and all of my family and friends… as a matter of fact, everyone that I warned was going to be there as well.

#5. One last point:  If I was that rich man, I don’t think the money and luxuries of this world would seem as important anymore.  I’d probably have a whole new perspective and realize how temporary money and material things are.

I would probably feel real bad if there were people I cheated or hurt to get ahead financially.
From that point I think I would ask God to forgive me for my greed and I would ask Him to give me the wisdom on how to be a good steward of my material possessions. And I would also ask Him to show me how to wisely invest in spiritual things that will bring Him glory and enlighten others so that they would not have to suffer the same fate as I did in Hades.

Conclusion:
As you know, the way I presented this story is all make believe. I made it up and Jesus did not preach it that way.  The reality of Heaven and Hell is real and true, but once you get there, you don’t come back. You don’t get a 2nd chance. And there isn’t some kind of  purgatory, where maybe you can work things out. It’s now or nothing. Either you accept Jesus and the forgiveness He is offering you and become a Christian in this life,     or you lose. And if you are a Christian, the greatest gift that you can ever, ever, ever give anyone is what you know about Jesus and how to get into that Paradise. Either we share that information and persuade family and friends in the here and now, or they will lose out on God’s paradise later. There’s no coming back!  In this parable, I believe that Jesus was trying to shock His listeners into reality, and likewise, it is meant to have the same effect today on us. It is my prayer that tomorrow we will all wake up with a renewed spirit like George Bailey and old Scrooge who both woke up filled with an appreciation for life and with a renewed purpose in their hearts. God has given us a great gift that we can share with others. And I pray that  you will not squander that gift but share it with others.

….For truly it can be a wonderful life.

My challenge for you this week

is to share it with at least one person this week.  Talk to at least one about how God has prepared an eternal paradise for them and how to receive it.  And I also hope that every time you see one of those old movies, they will remind you of this sermon and what you learned here today and you will be moved to action by that memory.

For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566

From Jim McGuiggan... A lover's quarrel with experts

 A lover's quarrel with experts

I used to hear it in the pubs when I went there. I’ve heard it in Bible classes and sermons and read it in lorry loads of books. "All we need to do is..." then follows the solution to moral/social/economic/family/national and international problems that were/are on everyone’s mind. Even the Beatles got in on the action. "All you need is love...dant dant da..." If only we knew what love would do in all situations and if only we could ensure that all would be lovers we’d be in great shape, wouldn’t we? In our saner moments as we reflect on global challenges each of us knows we can’t meet them, we don’t know what to do or how to do it. And even if we did, all our brilliant and wise schemes for wholesale reformation and renewal flounder on the rock of human sinfulness. So with what wisdom and heart we have, we cut out a piece of the action and get on with it. This is good and how it should be. Albert Schweitzer, no stranger to tremendous difficulties, said he didn’t let the size of the job paralyse him—he seized a lump of it and started banging away.

Speaking as a Christian I would say that in the end our difficulties are more moral and spiritual than anything else because our pride, self-centeredness and greed set themselves against even those programmes that have the look and sound of wisdom and charity. But in the entire mix that is human life there are major difficulties that retard our working with the mammoth problems. One of them that continues to nibble at the edges of my mind is trying to find the balance between our need for "experts" and "leaders" and our willingness to let "experts" and "leaders" make decisions for us that affect hundreds of millions.

Hosts of us allow celebrities and agony aunts to dictate how we dress, speak, think and behave. Even those celebrities and media advisors that don’t take themselves too seriously become our guides. It isn’t one-way traffic—the public would have it so, but if we wanted to we could topple the foul-mouthed and self-confessed slobs that feed on our love for slime. We look at the muck that people like Robert Mapplethorpe put out and art experts intimidate us into believing that a crisp picture of one man urinating in the mouth of another is "classic" and "brilliant". Yes, but the light and shadow, the sharpness and contrast show how well shot the photo was. No doubt, and the Berlin was probably perfectly built for the purpose it was intended but should the wall have been built or the photographs made? If technical or pragmatic brilliance is to blind us to moral muck or the oppression of the vulnerable maybe Stalin and Hitler should be praised for their manufactured famines and their death camps.

Experts can out-talk us; that’s part of the problem. In the matter of censorship we’re told that freedom of speech shouldn’t be curtailed. We all know better—that is, those who care to know better—but we can’t out-talk these people. Inch by inch they talk us into believing it’s all or nothing and because we aren’t able to answer all their arguments we begin to doubt the obvious. Yes, yes, I think there’s a place for people like David Hume who said that the only reason we say water is wet and sugar is sweet is that we’re too lazy to argue it out. But then Hume said he often got tired of inwardly hearing himself argue and he just went and played backgammon with his friends. The old bone of contention that there’s no proof that movies and television and literature affect how we behave comes in here. Everyone knows that we’re affected but when it suits the experts we hear talk about "proof". What kind of "proof" is proof in this area? The very fact that these silly people appear on talk shows or give interviews or write books exposes their nonsense but when we descend to details, "proof" is demanded. One noted American judge speaking about pornography said something like, "I can’t define it but I know it when I see it." And the experts sniggered. Good for the judge! Percy Ainsworth, in another setting, said to his students, "I want you to understand it so I won’t define it."

Another element in the challenge is the human necessity to differentiate between the legal and the moral so that we can exist as societies of humans. Courts are all about legality and if you want morals, a former British Prime Minister said, go to your clergyman. Well, I think we have to acknowledge that the pragmatic distinction is essential but that only underscores the point of human wickedness. To keep wicked governments from oppressing the citizens we have established rights for the accused that are now so fine-tuned and cunningly argued that they promote further wickedness by citizens and injustice is perpetrated on their victims. And what is tragic here is that "the moral right" of the accused has become the chief moral right. Lawyers don’t argue their case for the defence merely on legal grounds, they claim that a defence is a moral right. Bring in the moral right of freedom of speech and life (and with it a flood of moral filth and victimisation) and then damn morality as irrelevant. One film critic who "calls it like it is" was absolutely besotted with Reservoir Dogs and Good Fellas but thought that I Am Sam was "offensive" as well as unhelpful. We’re supposed to take him seriously.

In the UK, government ministers have just given the pubs/bars license to stay open longer, twenty-four hours a day if they want to. This is to help combat excessive drinking. Bless me! Only the already excessive drinker would want to drink longer. Good grief. In any case, the booze industry is a parasite on any society. Alcohol is the most abused drug known to man. Its side effects (beginning with its power to eat away at our capacity to be responsible) are numerous and many of them deadly. Pharmaceutical companies are sued and pull drugs off the shelves when a number of people are hurt by their use. The booze industry? A handful of "experts" say we should give more people more time to drink ("responsibly," of course). Never mind the side-effects of the booze drug. Oh well.

I’m done for now. I had thought of saying I don’t know how to fix these problems and then I thought, "Would anyone even imagine to think I needed to say that?" So I decided not to say it. This I know, there are areas in which I’m glad to defer to experts but I’m choosy about the areas.


©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, the abiding word.com.

From Mark Copeland... A Charge To Withdraw (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)

               "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS"

                     A Charge To Withdraw (3:6-15)

INTRODUCTION

1. As Paul nears the end of his epistle to Thessalonians, he gives them
   a serious charge...
   a. To withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly, and not
      according to the tradition received from Paul - 2Th 3:6,14; cf.
      2:15
   b. The seriousness of the charge seen in that Paul invokes the name
      of Jesus - 2Th 3:6
      1) Something he rarely does
      2) Another example is found in 1Co 1:10

2. The circumstances at Thessalonica that prompted such a serious
   charge?
   a. Some had quit working, and had become busybodies - 2Th 3:11-12
   b. Contrary to Paul's own example, and previous commands - 2Th 3:
      7-10; cf. 1Th 4:11-12
   -- Perhaps excitement about the Lord's coming was the excuse given

3. This charge to withdraw pertains to the subject of church
   discipline...
   a. How churches are to discipline unruly members
   b. A subject not often discussed, even less often applied
   -- Yet necessary if we are to remain a faithful church of Jesus
      Christ!

[With Paul's charge to withdraw before us (2Th 3:6-15), this may be a
good opportunity to review what else is revealed about the command and
purpose of church discipline...]

I. THE COMMAND TO WITHDRAW FELLOWSHIP

   A. BY JESUS HIMSELF...
      1. In the case of a brother who sins and refuses to repent - Mt 18:15-17
      2. Jesus' own words:  "...let him be to you like a heathen and a
         tax collector."
         a. Spoken in the context of social relations at the time
         b. Jews had no social dealings with Gentiles, nor with their
            Jewish brethren who worked for the Roman government as tax
            collectors
      3. The point is to withdraw social association from a brother who
         refuses to repent

   B. BY HIS APOSTLES...
      1. Paul's charge to the church at Rome - Ro 16:17-18
         a. Involving those who "cause divisions and offenses"
         b. The brethren were to "note" and "avoid them"
      2. Paul's charge to the church at Corinth - 1Co 5:1-13
         a. Involving a man who had his father's wife
         b. The church was instructed:
            1) To "deliver such a one to Satan..." - 1Co 5:5
            2) To "purge out the old leaven" - 1Co 5:7
            3) To "not keep company" - 1Co 5:11
            4) To "not even to eat with such a person" - 1Co 5:11
            5) To "put away from yourselves that wicked person." - 1Co 5:13
      3. Paul's charge to the church at Thessalonica - 2Th 3:6-15
         a. Involving those who would not work and support themselves
         b. The church was instructed:
            1) To "withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and
               not according to the tradition which he received from us"
               - 2Th 3:6
            2) To "note that person and do not keep company with him"
               - 2Th 3:14
      4. John's charge to the elect lady and her children - 2Jn 9-11
         a. Involving anyone who would seek their support, and yet not
            abide in the doctrine of Christ
         b. They were instructed to "not receive him into your house nor
            greet him"

[It is clearly evident that "withdrawing" is necessary under certain
conditions.  What is the purpose of withdrawing in such cases?]

II. THE PURPOSE FOR WITHDRAWING FELLOWSHIP

   A. TO SAVE THE SOUL IN ERROR...
      1. Note well:  one who refuses to repent of sin is in a lost state
         - cf. He 10:26-31
      2. By making him (or her) "ashamed" of their sin, perhaps they may
         repent - cf. 2Th 3:14
      3. Consider again Paul's words in 1Co 5:5...
         a. The church is to "deliver such a one to Satan"
            1) That is, to remove all godly influence from that person
            2) This is done by withdrawing fellowship
         b. The purpose is "for the destruction of the flesh"
            1) It is "fleshly desires" (of which pride plays a great
               part) that encourage one to persist in sin
            2) But "shame" can go a long way to destroying these things
               of the flesh
            3) Therefore the command to publicly note and withdraw from
               such a person - cf. 1Co 5:4,13
         c. The ultimate goal:  "that his spirit may be saved in the day
            of the Lord Jesus"
            1) Our concern is not his (or even our own) temporary
               happiness
            2) But the salvation of his soul on the day of judgment!
            3) Therefore the need for "tough love" by withholding
               fellowship

   B. TO SAVE THE SOULS OF OTHER MEMBERS IN THE CHURCH...
      1. This is Paul's point about the need to purge out the "leaven"
         - cf. 1Co 5:6-8
      2. Just as leaven infects the whole loaf, so can "sin in the
         camp"!
      3. Sin left unchecked will destroy the other members in the
         congregation
         a. Either by tempting them to sin in similar fashion
         b. Or by their failure to exercise the proper discipline
            1) For they would then be guilty before the Lord on that
               basis!
            2) As was the church in Pergamos - cf. Re 2:14-16
      4. Even if the erring brother does not repent, the church that
         exercises proper discipline will still be saved!

   C. TO MAGNIFY THE LORD AND HIS CHURCH IN THE EYES OF THE
      WORLD...
      1. This was an effect of the first case of "church discipline"
         recorded in the NT.
         a. The example of Ananias and Sapphira illustrates how
            seriously the Lord Himself views "sin in the camp" - cf. Ac 5:1-10
         b. The result was one of "fear", yet great "esteem", which lead
            to many conversions - Ac 5:11-14
      2. The world is not going to take the gospel call to holiness
         seriously if the church does not deal properly with "sin in the
         camp"
      3. But when a church deals with unrepentant sin in the manner of
         withholding fellowship, the reputation of the church is held in
         high esteem
      4. When people decide to get serious about sin, where do you think
         they will go?
         a. To a church that winks at sin?
         b. Or one that provides every proper motivation to turn from
            sin?

CONCLUSION

1. One cannot ignore the subject of church discipline...
   a. It is commanded by Christ and His apostles
   b. It is necessary for the salvation of erring brother, and for the
      rest of the brethren

2. It is a form of "tough love"...
   a. Not to be done out of spite
   b. But in the spirit of brotherly love, as difficult as it may be
      - cf. 2Th 3:15

3. Yet the charge to withdraw presumes certain conditions exists...
   a. There is fellowship to withdraw
   b. Fellowship withdrawn will be a significant loss to the erring
      brother
   -- For church discipline to be more effective, church fellowship must
      be more meaningful

If we desire to truly walk "according to the tradition received" from
the apostles, we need to heed the command to love one another (cf. 1 Th
4:9,10) as well as the command to withdraw when necessary!  May the Lord
help us keep both commands as He intended...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011


From Gary... Bible Reading December 19






Bible Reading   

December 19

The World English Bible




Dec. 19
Obadiah

Oba 1:1 The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Lord Yahweh says about Edom. We have heard news from Yahweh, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, "Arise, and let's rise up against her in battle.
Oba 1:2 Behold, I have made you small among the nations. You are greatly despised.
Oba 1:3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high, who says in his heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?'
Oba 1:4 Though you mount on high as the eagle, and though your nest is set among the stars, I will bring you down from there," says Yahweh.
Oba 1:5 "If thieves came to you, if robbers by night--oh, what disaster awaits you--wouldn't they only steal until they had enough? If grape pickers came to you, wouldn't they leave some gleaning grapes?
Oba 1:6 How Esau will be ransacked! How his hidden treasures are sought out!
Oba 1:7 All the men of your alliance have brought you on your way, even to the border. The men who were at peace with you have deceived you, and prevailed against you. Friends who eat your bread lay a snare under you. There is no understanding in him."
Oba 1:8 "Won't I in that day," says Yahweh, "destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mountain of Esau?
Oba 1:9 Your mighty men, Teman, will be dismayed, to the end that everyone may be cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter.
Oba 1:10 For the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame will cover you, and you will be cut off forever.
Oba 1:11 In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that strangers carried away his substance, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots for Jerusalem, even you were like one of them.
Oba 1:12 But don't look down on your brother in the day of his disaster, and don't rejoice over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction. Don't speak proudly in the day of distress.
Oba 1:13 Don't enter into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity. Don't look down on their affliction in the day of their calamity, neither seize their wealth on the day of their calamity.
Oba 1:14 Don't stand in the crossroads to cut off those of his who escape. Don't deliver up those of his who remain in the day of distress.
Oba 1:15 For the day of Yahweh is near all the nations! As you have done, it will be done to you. Your deeds will return upon your own head.
Oba 1:16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so will all the nations drink continually. Yes, they will drink, swallow down, and will be as though they had not been.
Oba 1:17 But in Mount Zion, there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. The house of Jacob will possess their possessions.
Oba 1:18 The house of Jacob will be a fire, the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble. They will burn among them, and devour them. There will not be any remaining to the house of Esau." Indeed, Yahweh has spoken.
Oba 1:19 Those of the South will possess the mountain of Esau, and those of the lowland, the Philistines. They will possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria. Benjamin will possess Gilead.
Oba 1:20 The captives of this army of the children of Israel, who are among the Canaanites, will possess even to Zarephath; and the captives of Jerusalem, who are in Sepharad, will possess the cities of the Negev.
Oba 1:21 Saviors will go up on Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom will be Yahweh's.
 
Dec. 19
Revelation 1

Rev 1:1 This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things which must happen soon, which he sent and made known by his angel to his servant, John,
Rev 1:2 who testified to God's word, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, about everything that he saw.
Rev 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is at hand.
Rev 1:4 John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne;
Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood;
Rev 1:6 and he made us to be a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Rev 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.
Rev 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Rev 1:9 I John, your brother and partner with you in oppression, Kingdom, and perseverance in Christ Jesus, was on the isle that is called Patmos because of God's Word and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet
Rev 1:11 saying, "What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and to Laodicea."
Rev 1:12 I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands.
Rev 1:13 And among the lampstands was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest.
Rev 1:14 His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire.
Rev 1:15 His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters.
Rev 1:16 He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest.
Rev 1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me, saying, "Don't be afraid. I am the first and the last,
Rev 1:18 and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades.
Rev 1:19 Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will happen hereafter;
Rev 1:20 the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies. The seven lampstands are seven assemblies. 

 



From Gary... ONLY ONE

































http://www.godvine.com/A-16-Year-Old-Sings-Blue-Christmas-Just-Like-Elvis-WOW-4387.html

The title on the YOU-TUBE video says:

"David Thibault, a 16 year-old musician, performs a version of Blue Christmas that sounds JUST like Elvis. Listen and be stunned - wow, what talent!"

They are right!!!  If I didn't see his picture and just heard him singing, I would think it WAS ELVIS!!!! But there was only ONE genuine article; one Elvis.  Obviously, this would make me remember the following passage from Second Corinthians...

2 Corinthians, Chapter 11
 1 I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me.  2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ.  3 But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different “good news”, which you did not accept, you put up with that well enough.  5 For I reckon that I am not at all behind the very best apostles.  6 But though I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not unskilled in knowledge. No, in every way we have been revealed to you in all things.  7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached to you God’s Good News free of charge?  8 I robbed other assemblies, taking wages from them that I might serve you.  9 When I was present with you and was in need, I wasn’t a burden on anyone, for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my need. In everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and I will continue to do so.  10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia.  11 Why? Because I don’t love you? God knows.  12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them that desire an occasion, that in which they boast, they may be found even as we.  13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ’s apostles.  14 And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.  15 It is no great thing therefore if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 

There really was only one Elvis and one Jesus.  Only one original; one genuine article.  Anything else is just that- something else!!!   The Corinthians needed to be reminded of this truth and frankly, so does the world today!!!   There is one truth- look for it in the Bible and you will find Jesus, not an impostor or someone who just sounds pretty good.  Fortunately, the Corinthians did listen to Paul and change their ways.  I wonder, will The United States Of America do likewise before it is too late?  If not; it really will be a "BLUE CHRISTMAS"!!!

ps. I encourage you to watch the video again; he really is VERY, VERY, GOOD!!!!!