12/21/13

From Ben Fronczek... #1 On Their Bucket List




#1 On Their Bucket List

#1 On Their Bucket List
 
Matthew 2:1-12 
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,     are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler     who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”  After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

As you see, the world is still here…I guess according to the Mayan calendar I need to be wishing you a happy Mayan New Year. I guess the next long count calendar won’t be ending until the year 7137 A.D. or something like that.  All kidding aside, what I do find interesting about the Mayans is for being a somewhat primitive people living in a jungle, it is reported that they had a vast knowledge of Mathematics and astronomy. But…What is often called Mayan ‘astronomy’ was actually what we call astrology’, and this is something the Bible condemns. So what is astrology?  

According to the — The New Columbia Encyclopedia

Astrology is a… form of divination based on the theory that the movement of the celestial bodies—the stars, the planets, the sun and the moon—influence human affairs and determine the course of events.”

In contrast, when the Bible refers to the celestial objects, sometimes it refers to them as showing us signs from God Almighty. But the Bible likewise prohibits worshipping the stars, planets, moons, comets or anything like that.

For example, we read in the Book of Job,  

if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendour, 27 so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage, 28 then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.” Job 31:26–28

The Old Testament even decrees the death penalty for star worship in

 (Deut. 17:2-7)

Yet the Bible does make a surprising number of references to signs in the heavens in both the Old and New Testament. Even Jesus Himself made mention of the fact in Luke 21:25 that there would be signs given in the sun, moon, and stars before certain events occurred.

And that brings me to our lesson today. The Magi, in our opening story, were they practicing Astrology? A quick answer is simply, NO!

Astrology holds the stars exert forces on men and our affairs and that’s not what happened here. This story of the star which appeared is only seen here in Matthew, chapter 2. We’re told that “Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked 

‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’” Matthew 2:1-2

And that “… 

the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. Matthew 2:9

I believe this is an example of the Bible giving us a sign in the heavens, from God, that something special had taken place. .

Now, scholars disagree about what type of star the magi saw. Some claim it was something supernatural from God. Others claim that the star was result of 3 or more heavenly bodies, probably  Jupiter, a bright star named Regulus, and maybe more celestial bodies all lining up to form one bright light. I guess this happens about every 1000 years, and would likely have happened around the time of the birth of Christ. Their collective brightness would have lit up the night. And their apparent movement and alignment would have even answered the problem of a “star” appearing to move and then stop. 

The text says that it 

“stopped over the place where the child was.”
 
Now I’m not a great theologian or star gazer, and I really don’t care what that star was. But this much I know: There was a star, or at least something unnatural and bright. And it led those men to the place where Jesus was.

And I also know that this star was unlike any that the wise men had ever seen before. These men were men who studied the stars. They knew the stars by names and they knew which constellations had what stars.

But this star was different. This star didn’t belong. This star had a radiance all of its own and the Magi knew it had to be something special and it signified  something special. There was something about this star that drew them… to worship a new and special king. Somehow they knew that’s why it appeared.

Who are these magi? The word, ‘magi,’ which is sometimes translated ‘wise men,’ is the root from which we get our word ‘magic.’ This doesn’t make them all magicians, in the present sense of the word.

Some of them were very educated and learned men who studied the physical world and were knowledgeable about many things, including the stars.      Magi were often court astronomers who were consulted by the rulers of the day for guidance in affairs of state. This was also true in much earlier times. For example, during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, some 500 years earlier, King Nebuchadnezzar kept a stable of court magi. Nebuchadnezzar made the Jewish prophet Daniel Chief Magus of his court when Daniel was able to interpret a dream the other magi could not.

There were also different schools of magi as well, and some were more respected than others. We know something of one particularly prestigious school of magi from the writings of Philo. Philo was a Jewish philosopher and contemporary of Jesus who lived in the large Jewish community of Alexandria, Egypt.  In his writings Philo praised an Eastern school of magi for their great learning and understanding of the natural world. This school may have descended from the Babylonian magi of Daniel’s day. Matthew does report that the Wise Men were from the East, and Babylon is east of Judea. It was at one time part of the Persian Empire, which ties in with Philo. So it is possible the Wise Men were from this prestigious Eastern school. This would account for Herod giving them an audience, and for his strong reaction to the news they brought. 

Especially whey they asked, 

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews” 2:2a

The motive of the Magi in coming to Jerusalem tells us a great deal more about them. They wanted to worship a new Jewish king. It can’t be proven from the text, but it is quite possible that some of the Magi were of Jewish descent, perhaps a Jewish remnant from Daniel’s day. This would help explain why the Jewish philosopher, Philo, admired them, and why they were watching the sky for things Jewish, and why they wanted to worship a Jewish king, and why they were taken so seriously by Herod and Jewish chief priests.

In my heart of hearts, I can’t help but believe that this was a lifelong dreams for these men. This past year my wife and I watched the movie, The Bucket List.  In it couple of old guys made up a list of things they really, really wanted to do before they died, or kicked the bucket.

I can’t help but believe that finding and meeting the new king of the Jews, the King of kings, the much foretold Messiah, was on the top of their list for these men as well as a few which we read about in the NT. Those guys spared no time, expense or hardship to find and worship Him…… But there were others who had also waited to see this special one who was to be born.

Read:  Luke 2:25-30 (click on the verse to read)   The account of Simeon

Read:  Luke 2:36-38 Anna

Have you ever wanted something so bad that it didn’t matter what it cost, or what you had to do if you only get the chance to see or get it. Maybe not.

But that’s how these people felt about wanting to meet baby Jesus.  These magi traveled a great distance over land and mountains, deserts and rivers just to lay eyes on Jesus and have an up front personal opportunity to worship Him.

And I also can’t help but believe that they had a real skip in their step as they walked away knowing that their dream had been fulfilled.

Why, because I believe they knew who He really was and what He meant to the world, for them and for us. Just as Simeon and Anna said, they recognized baby Jesus as ‘the Messiah’, our salvation, our redeemer, the one who would bring light unto this dark world.
Without Him there would be no hope of heaven for anyone, anyone! Jesus is the greatest gift God has ever given to mankind.

I don’t believe that Jesus was literally born on December 25th, actually I don’t believe anyone living today knows the exact date He was born on. But December 25th has been the day that was been set aside for generation to remember and celebrate His birth. Just like it was for those Wise men, Simeon, and Anna who honored and worshipped Him that day and were filled with joy, I pray that you can find the same feelings of peace and joy knowing who came into the world to save us. God Himself took on flesh to live among us, and then died to save us. And so I say, may the peace of God fill your heart …

For, as the song goes… “Why did my Savior come to earth and to the humble go. Why did He choose a lowly birth? Because He loved me so.”

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

From Jim McGuiggan... MARSH HENS & GLORIOUS PEOPLE

MARSH HENS & GLORIOUS PEOPLE

Sidney Lanier, the poet, tells us he used to be afraid of and depressed by the marshes of Glynn that lay right on the edge of the sea. At one stage in his life their length was fatigue and their breadth was bitterness to him. But as he grew older and wiser he came to see them differently—they were no longer places of doom and gloom. They were still marshes mind you, but there was a new way to look at them now that his eyes were opened; there were wonders and mysteries that could be entered into without terror and unnamable pain.

There were creatures of mystery and joy swimming beneath the surface, there were walks for lovers and places for those who hunger for silence.

When the sun was in the right place the marshes were sheets of burnished copper or thirty million moving and laughing lights.

There were old oaks that knew more than they were telling and then there was the marsh hen who loved the place, raised her family there and would have clucked to the burdened boy. "Now that’s just silly. This place? Frightening and depressing? Never." And Lanier, now assured and at peace in believing, became firm friends with the marsh hen and tells us this:

As the marsh hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God:
I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh hens flies
In the freedom that fills all the space ‘twixt the marsh and the skies

Ask those who’ve come through times of doubt or trouble and they’ll tell you it’s true. Once the eyes are opened in faith, the places that before were only darkness become the "darkness where God is" (see Exodus 20:21) and they take on them an added assurance of peace. Before the fires or the marshes or the endless dark corridors of limitless space test your faith you may worry and fret about its reliability—will it hold? But once you’ve been there, in that place, under that pressure, once you’ve had it out in a face to face confrontation you recognize these experiences as friends. Or if not friends, at least places of safety where no threat can harm. "I thought if I lost her it would be the end." "I just knew my life would shatter into a million useless fragments if he went away." "I was convinced that...but then..." And here you are, watching the marsh hen going about her business.

In Romans 8:31-39 someone who had seen the marshes of life up close and personal said that nothing—not pain, hunger, loneliness, beatings, past, present, future, life or death—nothing! could persuade him that God doesn’t love us.

Build your nest on the greatness and faithfulness of God who came to us in and as Jesus Christ, who lived in the marshes of life along with us. He didn't pretend "the marsh" was a manicured park but he lived in it with the full assurance of faith that LIFE was possible there and he demonstrated it by a life of glory and beauty and gallantry, beginning in Bethlehem's manger. And for this cause he has a special place in his heart for those realists who trust in God and live gallant lives in the marshes. 

There IS a great day coming!

©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... Jesus Christ, Our Hope (1 Timothy 1:1)


                     "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                      Jesus Christ, Our Hope (1:1)

INTRODUCTION

1. In reference to Jesus Christ, Paul uses a title which is very unique
   in the NT...
   a. He calls Jesus "our hope" - 1Ti 1:1
   b. Nowhere else is Jesus so described, other than in Col 1:27

2. Yet it came to be a precious title used by some in the early
   church...
   a. "Be of good cheer in God the Father and in Jesus Christ our common
      hope" - Ignatius, To The Ephesians 21:2
   b. "Let us therefore persevere in our hope and the earnest of our
      righteousness, who is Jesus Christ." - Epistle of Polycarp 8

3. The word 'hope' (Gr., elpis)...
   a. Means "a confident desire and expectation"
   b. Is closely aligned with the word 'faith' - cf. He 11:1

[In what way is Jesus 'our hope', our basis for 'confident expectation'?
Jesus is 'our hope'...]

I. FOR FORGIVENESS OF SINS

   A. MAN HAS A PROBLEM WITH SIN...
      1. All have sinned - Ro 3:23; cf. 1Jn 1:8,10
      2. The consequences are grave - Ro 6:23
      3. People deal with this guilt of sin differently
         a. Some try to ignore it
         b. Others seek to compensate for it by doing good works
         c. Many look to different 'saviors' or teachers (the Law,
            Buddha, Mohammed, Mary)

   B. JESUS IS OUR ONLY 'HOPE'...
      1. He is the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"
         - Jn 1:29
      2. In Him we have "redemption through His blood, the forgiveness
         of sins" - Ep 1:7
      3. Christians place their hope in Jesus' blood as the atonement
         for their sins
         a. By believing and being baptized into Christ - Mk 16:16; Ac2:38; 22:16; Ro 6:3-6
         b. By continuing to repent, confess, and pray - Ac 8:22; 1Jn 1:7,9

[Is Jesus your 'hope' for salvation from the guilt of sin?  Unless you
believe in Him, you will die in your sins (Jn 8:24).  Jesus is also our
'hope'...]

II. FOR RECONCILIATION WITH GOD

   A. MAN HAS A LONGING FOR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD...
      1. It is something put in man by His Creator - Ac 17:26-28
      2. Many seek to fulfill this longing with the wrong things
         a. Trying to satisfy it with material things
         b. But such things only leave an emptiness - Ec 5:10
      3. Many seek to fulfill this longing in the wrong way
         a. On their own
         b. Through some man or man-made religion

   B. JESUS IS OUR ONLY 'HOPE'...
      1. He is the only 'way' to the Father - Jn 14:6
      2. Only in Him can we really come to know God - Jn 14:7-9; cf. Jn 1:18
      3. In Him we are reconciled to God - 2Co 5:18-20

[Is Jesus your 'hope' for fellowship with God?  Without Jesus, you
cannot have a close relationship with God (1Jn 2:23; 4:15).  Jesus is
also our 'hope'...]

III. FOR POWER IN HOLY LIVING

   A. PEOPLE HAVE LONG REALIZED THE NEED TO LIVE GOOD LIVES...
      1. Yet the ancient world admitted their inability to do so
         a. "We hate our vices and love them at the same time." - Seneca
         b. "We have not stood bravely enough by our good resolutions;
            despite our will and resistance we have lost our innocence.
            Nor is it only that we have acted amiss; we shall do so to
            the end." - Seneca
      2. Even the apostles described the difficulty of living godly
         lives
         a. Paul described what it was like under the Law - Ro 7:21-24
         b. He reminded Christians of the conflict between the flesh and
            the Spirit - Ga 5:16-17
         c. Peter wrote of the warfare between fleshly lusts and the
            soul - 1Pe 2:11

   B. JESUS IS OUR ONLY 'HOPE'...
      1. In Christ we are freed from the law of sin and death - Ro 8:2
      2. In Christ we have strength to do that which is good, and turn
         away from evil
         a. Because of the Spirit of God - cf. Ro 8:11-13
         b. The means by which God strengthens the inner man - Ep 3:16,
            20

[Is Jesus your 'hope' for power in holiness?  In Jesus there is strength
to do God's will (Php 4:13). Jesus is also our 'hope...]

IV. FOR PROVISION IN DAILY LIVING

   A. PEOPLE OFTEN WORRY ABOUT THE NECESSITIES OF LIVE...
      1. They worry about their food and clothing
      2. They desire basic contentment, with true joy and peace
      3. Jesus acknowledged this concern was common among men - Mt 6:
         31-32

   B. JESUS IS OUR ONLY 'HOPE'...
      1. His Father knows our needs - Mt 6:32
      2. Jesus provides the secret to God's care - Mt 6:33; Mk 10:28-30
      3. He also is the source to true joy and peace - cf. Php 4:4,6-7
      4. In Him there is contentment, knowing that God will supply our
         needs - cf. Php 4:11-12,19

[Is Jesus your 'hope' for God's providential care in your life?  If you
trust in your own riches, you cannot please God (Lk 16:13).  Finally,
Jesus is our 'hope'...]

V. FOR VICTORY OVER DEATH

   A. THE FEAR OF DEATH IS COMMON TO MANKIND...
      1. People try to avoid it, delay it
      2. Some try to ignore, even refusing to speak of the dead

   B. JESUS IS OUR ONLY 'HOPE'...
      1. He came to deliver us from the fear of death - He 2:14-15
      2. This He did by His own resurrection, and continues to do
         through the promise of His coming again - cf. 1Th 4:13-18

CONCLUSION

1. Jesus is many things to those who love Him; let's make sure that He
   is 'our hope'!

2. Have you made Jesus your 'hope'?  If not, then you are still...
   a. In your sins
   b. Alienated from God
   c. Unable to live a truly righteous life
   d. Going through life without God's providential care
   e. Unprepared for death, not ready for the Judgment to follow

Why not let Jesus become your 'hope' today...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading December 21


Bible Reading   

December 21

The World English Bible

Dec. 21
Micah 1-4


Mic 1:1 The word of Yahweh that came to Micah the Morashtite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
Mic 1:2 Hear, you peoples, all of you. Listen, O earth, and all that is therein: and let the Lord Yahweh be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.
Mic 1:3 For, behold, Yahweh comes forth out of his place, and will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.
Mic 1:4 The mountains melt under him, and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like waters that are poured down a steep place.
Mic 1:5 "All this is for the disobedience of Jacob, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the disobedience of Jacob? Isn't it Samaria? And what are the high places of Judah? Aren't they Jerusalem?
Mic 1:6 Therefore I will make Samaria like a rubble heap of the field, like places for planting vineyards; and I will pour down its stones into the valley, and I will uncover its foundations.
Mic 1:7 All her idols will be beaten to pieces, and all her temple gifts will be burned with fire, and all her images I will destroy; for of the hire of a prostitute has she gathered them, and to the hire of a prostitute shall they return."
Mic 1:8 For this I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked; I will howl like the jackals, and moan like the daughters of owls.
Mic 1:9 For her wounds are incurable; for it has come even to Judah. It reaches to the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.
Mic 1:10 Don't tell it in Gath. Don't weep at all. At Beth Ophrah I have rolled myself in the dust.
Mic 1:11 Pass on, inhabitant of Shaphir, in nakedness and shame. The inhabitant of Zaanan won't come out. The wailing of Beth Ezel will take from you his protection.
Mic 1:12 For the inhabitant of Maroth waits anxiously for good, because evil has come down from Yahweh to the gate of Jerusalem.
Mic 1:13 Harness the chariot to the swift steed, inhabitant of Lachish. She was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion; For the transgressions of Israel were found in you.
Mic 1:14 Therefore you will give a parting gift to Moresheth Gath. The houses of Achzib will be a deceitful thing to the kings of Israel.
Mic 1:15 I will yet bring to you, inhabitant of Mareshah. He who is the glory of Israel will come to Adullam.
Mic 1:16 Shave your heads, and cut off your hair for the children of your delight. Enlarge your baldness like the vulture; for they have gone into captivity from you!
Mic 2:1 Woe to those who devise iniquity and work evil on their beds! When the morning is light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.
Mic 2:2 They covet fields, and seize them; and houses, and take them away: and they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
Mic 2:3 Therefore thus says Yahweh: "Behold, I am planning against these people a disaster, from which you will not remove your necks, neither will you walk haughtily; for it is an evil time.
Mic 2:4 In that day they will take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, saying, 'We are utterly ruined! My people's possession is divided up. Indeed he takes it from me and assigns our fields to traitors!' "
Mic 2:5 Therefore you will have no one who divides the land by lot in the assembly of Yahweh.
Mic 2:6 "Don't prophesy!" They prophesy. "Don't prophesy about these things. Disgrace won't overtake us."
Mic 2:7 Shall it be said, O house of Jacob: "Is the Spirit of Yahweh angry? Are these his doings? Don't my words do good to him who walks blamelessly?"
Mic 2:8 But lately my people have risen up as an enemy. You strip the robe and clothing from those who pass by without a care, returning from battle.
Mic 2:9 You drive the women of my people out from their pleasant houses; from their young children you take away my blessing forever.
Mic 2:10 Arise, and depart! For this is not your resting place, because of uncleanness that destroys, even with a grievous destruction.
Mic 2:11 If a man walking in a spirit of falsehood lies: "I will prophesy to you of wine and of strong drink;" he would be the prophet of this people.
Mic 2:12 I will surely assemble, Jacob, all of you; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as a flock in the midst of their pasture; they will swarm with people.
Mic 2:13 He who breaks open the way goes up before them. They break through the gate, and go out. And their king passes on before them, with Yahweh at their head.
Mic 3:1 I said, "Please listen, you heads of Jacob, and rulers of the house of Israel: Isn't it for you to know justice?
Mic 3:2 You who hate the good, and love the evil; who tear off their skin, and their flesh from off their bones;
Mic 3:3 who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
Mic 3:4 Then they will cry to Yahweh, but he will not answer them. Yes, he will hide his face from them at that time, because they made their deeds evil."
Mic 3:5 Thus says Yahweh concerning the prophets who lead my people astray; for those who feed their teeth, they proclaim, "Peace!" and whoever doesn't provide for their mouths, they prepare war against him:
Mic 3:6 "Therefore night is over you, with no vision, and it is dark to you, that you may not divine; and the sun will go down on the prophets, and the day will be black over them.
Mic 3:7 The seers shall be disappointed, and the diviners confounded. Yes, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer from God."
Mic 3:8 But as for me, I am full of power by the Spirit of Yahweh, and of judgment, and of might, to declare to Jacob his disobedience, and to Israel his sin.
Mic 3:9 Please listen to this, you heads of the house of Jacob, and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice, and pervert all equity.
Mic 3:10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
Mic 3:11 Her leaders judge for bribes, and her priests teach for a price, and her prophets of it tell fortunes for money: yet they lean on Yahweh, and say, "Isn't Yahweh in the midst of us? No disaster will come on us."
Mic 3:12 Therefore Zion for your sake will be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem will become heaps of rubble, and the mountain of the temple like the high places of a forest.
Mic 4:1 But in the latter days, it will happen that the mountain of Yahweh's temple will be established on the top of the mountains, and it will be exalted above the hills; and peoples will stream to it.
Mic 4:2 Many nations will go and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For out of Zion will go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem;
Mic 4:3 and he will judge between many peoples, and will decide concerning strong nations afar off. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more.
Mic 4:4 But they will sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and no one will make them afraid: For the mouth of Yahweh of Armies has spoken.
Mic 4:5 Indeed all the nations may walk in the name of their gods; but we will walk in the name of Yahweh our God forever and ever.
Mic 4:6 "In that day," says Yahweh, "I will assemble that which is lame, and I will gather that which is driven away, and that which I have afflicted;
Mic 4:7 and I will make that which was lame a remnant, and that which was cast far off a strong nation: and Yahweh will reign over them on Mount Zion from then on, even forever."
Mic 4:8 You, tower of the flock, the hill of the daughter of Zion, to you it will come, yes, the former dominion will come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.
Mic 4:9 Now why do you cry out aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pains have taken hold of you as of a woman in travail?
Mic 4:10 Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail; for now you will go forth out of the city, and will dwell in the field, and will come even to Babylon. There you will be rescued. There Yahweh will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.
Mic 4:11 Now many nations have assembled against you, that say, "Let her be defiled, and let our eye gloat over Zion."
Mic 4:12 But they don't know the thoughts of Yahweh, neither do they understand his counsel; for he has gathered them like the sheaves to the threshing floor.
Mic 4:13 Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion; for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs brass; and you will beat in pieces many peoples: and I will devote their gain to Yahweh, and their substance to the Lord of the whole earth.
 
Dec. 21
Revelation 3, 4

Rev 3:1 "And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write: "He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things: "I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Rev 3:2 Wake up, and keep the things that remain, which you were about to throw away, for I have found no works of yours perfected before my God.
Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If therefore you won't watch, I will come as a thief, and you won't know what hour I will come upon you.
Rev 3:4 Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
Rev 3:5 He who overcomes will be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev 3:6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.
Rev 3:7 "To the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write: "He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says these things:
Rev 3:8 "I know your works (behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut), that you have a little power, and kept my word, and didn't deny my name.
Rev 3:9 Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but lie. Behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.
Rev 3:10 Because you kept my command to endure, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, which is to come on the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
Rev 3:11 I am coming quickly! Hold firmly that which you have, so that no one takes your crown.
Rev 3:12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name.
Rev 3:13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.
Rev 3:14 "To the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write: "The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of God's creation, says these things:
Rev 3:15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because you say, 'I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;' and don't know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked;
Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21 He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Rev 3:22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies."

Rev 4:1 After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, "Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this."
Rev 4:2 Immediately I was in the Spirit. Behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne
Rev 4:3 that looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald to look at.
Rev 4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones. On the thrones were twenty-four elders sitting, dressed in white garments, with crowns of gold on their heads.
Rev 4:5 Out of the throne proceed lightnings, sounds, and thunders. There were seven lamps of fire burning before his throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
Rev 4:6 Before the throne was something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal. In the midst of the throne, and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind.
Rev 4:7 The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle.
Rev 4:8 The four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within. They have no rest day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come!"
Rev 4:9 When the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to him who sits on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever,
Rev 4:10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever, and throw their crowns before the throne, saying,
Rev 4:11 "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, the Holy One, to receive the glory, the honor, and the power, for you created all things, and because of your desire they existed, and were created!"







From Gary.... "Crimes", truth and the Word of God





























Unless you have been in a coma for the past week, you have undoubtedly heard about the persecution of one of the cast of that popular TV show, "Duck Dynasty".  But, things like this are nothing new- Those who do not like what the Bible says will do ANYTHING they can to stop truth from being proclaimed- ANYTHING AT ALL!!!  What about the hypocrisy of what the liberal left is doing.  Consider the following picture and the verses below...



Acts, Chapter 24
 1 “Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense which I now make to you.” 
  2  When they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they were even more quiet. He said,  3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict tradition of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as you all are this day.  4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.  5 As also the high priest and all the council of the elders testify, from whom also I received letters to the brothers, and traveled to Damascus to bring them also who were there to Jerusalem in bonds to be punished.  6 As I made my journey, and came close to Damascus, about noon, suddenly a great light shone around me from the sky.  7
 I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’   8 I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute.’ 

  9  “Those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they didn’t understand the voice of him who spoke to me.  10 I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Arise, and go into Damascus. There you will be told about all things which are appointed for you to do.’   11 When I couldn’t see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.  12 One Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well reported of by all the Jews who lived in Damascus,  13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ In that very hour I looked up at him.  14 He said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth.  15 For you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard.  16 Now why do you wait? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ 

  17  “When I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance,  18 and saw him saying to me, 
‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not receive testimony concerning me from you.’   19 I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue those who believed in you.  20 When the blood of Stephen, your witness, was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting to his death, and guarding the cloaks of those who killed him.’ 

  21
  “He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you out far from here to the Gentiles.’  

  22  They listened to him until he said that; then they lifted up their voice, and said, “Rid the earth of this fellow, for he isn’t fit to live!” 
  23  As they cried out, and threw off their cloaks, and threw dust into the air,  24 the commanding officer commanded him to be brought into the barracks, ordering him to be examined by scourging, that he might know for what crime they shouted against him like that. 


Hypocrisy, the liberal left is saturated with it!!!  And if they find something they don't like-persecute, persecute!!!!  Phil Robertson has the right of free speech, but somehow that is forgotten.  Phil Robertson has the freedom of religion- forgotten as well.  But, things like this have been happening ever since truth has been shared; and that is a long, long time!!!!

1 Peter, Chapter 3 says...
 8  Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brothers, tender hearted, courteous,  9 not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing; knowing that to this were you called, that you may inherit a blessing.  10 For, 
“He who would love life,
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil,
and his lips from speaking deceit.
  11 Let him turn away from evil, and do good.
Let him seek peace, and pursue it.
  12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears open to their prayer;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

  13  Now who is he who will harm you, if you become imitators of that which is good?  14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “Don’t fear what they fear, neither be troubled.”  15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear:  16 having a good conscience; that, while you are spoken against as evildoers, they may be disappointed who curse your good way of life in Christ.  17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, that you suffer for doing well than for doing evil.  18
 Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 

They persecuted Jesus.  They persecuted Paul.  And Phil Robertson is undergoing trials RIGHT NOW!!!  As the left feels stronger, they will increase their persecution, but to no avail.  God's word will always accomplish his purposes, just as the Scriptures teach us...

Isaiah, Chapter 55
  7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 
  8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says Yahweh.
  9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  10 For as the rain comes down and the snow from the sky,
and doesn’t return there, but waters the earth,
and makes it grow and bud,
and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
  11 so shall my word be that goes out of my mouth:
it shall not return to me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please,
and it shall prosper in the thing I sent it to do.

  12 For you shall go out with joy,
and be led out with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break out before you into singing; and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands.

If you think this just applies to Phil- think again!!!  Paul puts it this way...

2 Timothy, Chapter 3
10 But you did follow my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, steadfastness,  11 persecutions, and sufferings: those things that happened to me at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. I endured those persecutions. The Lord delivered me out of them all.  12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.  14 But you remain in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them.  15 From infancy, you have known the holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus.  16 Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness,  17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

May God bless every Christian who proclaims truth!!!  And hang in there when the going gets tough!!!  Pray for brother Phil- he needs it right now!!!  And if you feel so motivated, contact the people who fired him (I am sure they will be glad to hear from you!!!)

Enough said- Let God's will be done!!!!!