12/25/13

From Ben Fronczek... Stinkin Thinkin


Things That Sabotage Our Success – Part 1 ‘Stinkin Thinkin’

Stinkin Thinkin          By Ben Fronczek

As we begin a New Year many of us think about New Year resolutions, maybe new goals, or things we want to accomplish. But after considering and looking at some great accomplishments of others, I have to confess that there have been times when I have had some great ideas about things I would like to do, but that’s as far as I got; great ideas but I did not act on them.
And I know that I am not the only one guilty of this. As I thought about this problem, I have came to the realization that there are many things in this world that hinder and keep us from achieving our goals or dreams. There are things that stop us from doing fantastic, meaningful things, or hinder us from doing something of real substance with our life.
Over the next few weeks I would like to talk about some of these things that hinder us or short circuit our ambition. I want to talk about this because I truly believe that we designed to do great things; because as I read it in the Bible, God created us that way…. He created us in His own image. And if that is so we should be able to do some amazing things.
You see God knows more about us and our potential than we do. We are designed for glory. We have an awesome potential and He know it better than we do.
Before God disbursed the people of the earth at the Tower of Babel, because of their wickedness, God made an interesting statements as to the ability and potential of man.      

Read Genesis 11:1-7 (Especially take note of Verse 6 in red)

“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.  The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

When I consider some of the awesome things that people have done, I have to admit, I am blown away. The building of amazing projects, the advances in science and technology, inventions that are beyond my comprehension, I wonder how can anybody come up with some of the stuff that’s out there.  How can anyone plan and build or even take on such huge projects?

And I’ve come to realize, I just don’t think that big. And then for some reason like many others, I occasionally sabotage myself with negative thoughts and attitudes. Do you know what I am talking about? Like taking a year to travel around the world, or like owning and living in really big house, or doing something really important to benefit mankind, or writing a book to inspire other, or starting a new business…And what do some of us do when we imagine these kind of things?  We short circuit those dreams by thinking, “I can’t do anything like that.” Or think that these dreams are beyond our ability.

We can even short circuit following through with these great ideas because of a negative view of our self, and by putting our self down and believing, ‘I can’t or don’t deserve more that what I already have.

In Proverbs 23:7 King Solomon wrote a truth for the ages. The verse basically states

‘As a man thinks in himself, so is he.’ ASV

According to Solomon, what we think, how we think, will directly affect who we are and what we end up doing with our life. We are not going to be victorious if we are always walking around with a defeated attitude.

You are not going to step out and do big and wonderful things for this world or for yourself if you think that you are insignificant, weak, or unworthy. You won’t even try. But it doesn’t have to be this way. That’s not part of God’s design for us.

I remember reading a story years ago about a couple on vacation and they stayed in a motel on Lake George. The middle aged man was a good man who had achieved a moderate level of success at his own business.  While on a cruise ship that goes all the way up the lake the man was thinking that he had reached a comfortable level of success for who he was.
As they cruised up the shoreline they saw one of those large houses on the shore line that just blew them both away. It was beautiful, more a small mansion that a house. It had big beautiful windows that over looked the lake. It had big beautiful decks and porches. It was nicely landscaped with an Adirondack camp look. It even had attached boat house where one could walk down stairs inside their home to their boat garage, get in their boat, push the garage door button and cruise out on to the open water in one of their boats. It was so picturesque, so peaceful looking on the water, surrounded by mountains and small beaches.

As the man look out at the house he commented to his wife saying, I can’t even imagine living in a place like that none the less owning something like that.”   As he said the words, immediately something inside his head said, ‘Don’t worry with a mindset like that you won’t – you will never live in a great place like that!’

The man correctly realized that his own thoughts and negative attitude were shutting him down, stifling him into believing that he did not deserve, nor would he ever possess such a beautiful home.

At that very moment he corrected himself by determining right there that he should believe in himself and to trust in God’s ability to do awesome things through him and for him.
AND, it’s the same with us. If you don’t think that you can do something, that you can build something like a great business, or if you don’t think that you’ll ever acquire something here in your head, you probably never will.

We not only have this awesome ability and potential to do so much, I also believe our God the Father wants to help us, His children,  do wonderful things. 

My favorite Bible verse is 2 Chronicles 16:9  

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”    

Do you see how God wants to help His own? How big can you dream?    Have you ever thought about this church having a membership of 2 or 3 hundred?      Have you ever thought about traveling around the world helping people, serving as a missionary in some capacity?
What about working your dream job or starting a new business?
What about living in a certain area or a certain kind of house?
How big can you dream?  If I understand this correctly, we have to conceive it, or imagine something on the inside before we are ever going to receive it.
But if you do imagine something great, what do some of us do? We sabotage it!  We bury it because we think too small, and we don’t believe we can do any more than we are doing right now. The barrier is in our mind.

It’s not because God lacks the resources and desire to bless us, most of the time it’s not even because you personally lack the talent or recourses. Rather it’s our own wrong thinking that stifles us and keeps us from getting what God would probably love to bless us with.

I once heard this called, “Stinkin Thinkin”.   It’s a lack of vision, and a lack of faith. Unless you and I are willing to change our thinking, and even enlarge our vision and view of ourselves, we are going to stay right where we are.

I think we should dream big and try to reach greater heights in our life.        Most of us to some extent have already done this. Almost everybody here in our church owns their own home, car, maybe more than one car. We have jobs. Some own a business they chose to be in. At one time you could only dream about having these things, and now you have them whether you what them, appreciate them or not. You imagined having that car, that truck, a house, or farm, and now you have it.

My point is you don’t have to stop, or give up dreaming and trying to fulfill more dreams. Picture in your mind where you want to be, how you want to live, and see your life getting better. See yourself doing what you always wanted to be doing. See yourself starting a new business. See yourself going on a nice vacation. See yourself retiring. See this church growing with all kind of neat programs, even buying a piece of land and building an awesome church building and then move forward with it believing that it will all eventually materialize.

You may think I’m being silly, that nothing is going to change. I think that kind of thinking is stinken thinken. These kind of dreams are attainable!

If all you can do is think about how hard it is, and how you can’t do this or that, and imagine only defeat and failure, that is exactly what you are headed for.   But if you develop an image of victory, success, joy, peace, happiness, nothing on earth will be able to keep you from these things except God Himself.

Paul knew this. In Philippians he wrote, 

“I can do everything (all things) through Him who gives me strength”.      

Paul knew where his own strength and power to do awesome things came from,,,, our Lord!

The Apostle Paul wrote about this to the Ephesians 3:20-21  

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Paul here said that ‘God is able to do more than we ask for or can even imagine thru His power that is at work in us’                                                                         

I believe that God wants us to be all that we can be.  He wants us to rise to new heights. He wants to increase you in wisdom and knowledge and help you make better decisions, and help you see and accomplish what others cannot.

If you want this, you must think bigger, increase your vision, and get rid of the  ’stinken thinken’, the self imposed limits we put on ourselves. Some of you may already have some goals, things that you would like to accomplish. But then again there are some here who want to do something, but don’t know what it is.

I believe God will show us the way at just the right time. But I think sometimes when He give us an idea we don’t recognize it’s from God. Too many times we don’t believe we can do what He shows us. He plants a seed in our heart and we continue to keep burying it even further…so deep in fact that it cannot grow.

Maybe God wants to improve your marriage. Maybe He wants to improve your family. Maybe He wants to free you from some bad habits or an addiction, or free you from debt, change your career or do something you can’t imagine yet.. Don’t say no, it can’t be done because it can.
Today I encouraging you to open the eyes of your heart, and stop doubting your God given ability and together let’s move on to the place where God wants us to be.

It may mean a lot of work, or what may seem like taking a few chances, but I’ve learned that if you do a little bit ever day eventually you can accomplish even a large task. Jesus said that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can tell a mountain to get up and move from here to there.

Do you believe or are you plagued with stinkin thinking?
The choice is yours. You can do great things, but first you have to believe.

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

From Jim McGuiggan... VERBAL DESCRIPTION & THE REAL THING


VERBAL DESCRIPTION & THE REAL THING

Not far from where I live is the Shimna River that flows down the Mourne Mountains and into the Irish Sea. As a youngster I used to go there with the boy’s club. Fast flowing, cold as ice and clear as crystal, sparkling with a million lights in the sunshine, leaping, foaming, gurgling, laughing at rocky obstacles, slowly whirling in silence now and then to catch its breath before jumping over a rocky edge again in reckless adventure, heading for the sea. That’s what I remember.

And here is a tiny vial of it in a laboratory and a wise man is daring to tell us that what’s in this glass tube is the Shimna River. Well, actually, he didn’t have the nerve to call it the Shimna River—he said it was H2O. Oh I don’t doubt the accuracy of his learning or its importance, but even truth accurately told can obliterate the sense of excitement of living truth that transcends one aspect of any truth.

True lovers of flowers have their reservations about even good-natured botanists with their horrible specimen dishes and tiny spades! "You see?" she says, as she pulls to pieces an exquisite creation. "This is the stem, here’s the petal and the stamens and the calyx." And as she goes on ripping and dissecting, "Here’s the corona...." and before you know it you have a withering heap that is no flower at all. The grace, the poise, the witchery and the beauty are all gone.

And, God forgive us, but some of us, before we’re done, we have the living, vibrant, gallant, redeeming and glorious Christ lying before us, a pile of old dogmas, bits of accurate information and the ground and support of hundreds of moral opinions. In our teaching/preaching we confront people, entire congregations of people, with facts, information, explanation—great firewood no doubt but there's no fire.

Do you know the difference between a verbal description of a lovely daisy or your precious grandchild? Do you know the difference between the verbal description of a glass of water and that cold, crystal liquid that you’re gulping down at the end of a hot and dusty walk? Can you guess the difference between an accurate analysis and description of a savage and aggressive cancer and the one that’s actually stealing your beloved?

Can you imagine the difference between the preacher’s sermon or the teacher’s lesson and the exalted Jesus Christ who looks at you even now? You can sense the difference between a photograph of someone you adore and their very personal presence but can you imagine the shock of joy (or something else) if Jesus Christ were actually standing before you?

Don’t allow anyone to dismiss words. They are indispensable to fullness of life. It’s invincible stupidity to despise Bible study! But Jesus Christ is bigger than the gifted preacher’s puny little gift or the wise teacher’s pitiful store of knowledge and wisdom. He’s profoundly more than the hymns we sing. He’s infinitely greater than even the Bible. This is personal! He’s no abstraction or a set of truths. As surely as Shakespeare is greater than his plays and Beethoven is greater than his compositions so Jesus Christ is greater than his church or his creation and all the speakers in the entire universe.

And because he is personal we must surely see to it that we talk to him and not just about him; that we talk about him while we're talking about him.


From Mark Copeland... The Lawful Use Of The Law (1 Timothy 1:8-11)

                     "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                   The Lawful Use Of The Law (1:8-11)

INTRODUCTION

1. A major problem in the early church was a proper understanding of the
   law of Moses...
   a. Some Jewish Christians sought to bind it upon Gentile Christians
      - cf. Ac 15:1-6
   b. Some Jewish Christians continued to observe certain elements of
      the Law - cf. Ac 21:20

2. The issue prompted several epistles from Paul...
   a. To the church at Rome
   b. To the churches in Galatia
   c. To the church at Colosse
   d. To the Hebrew Christians in Palestine (if Paul be the author)

3. It was evidently a problem in the church at Ephesus...
   a. Where Paul left Timothy - 1Ti 1:2-4
   b. Where some strayed as in their use of the Law - 1Ti 1:5-7

4. A similar problem often exists today, where people...
   a. Fail to understand the purpose and limitations of the Law
   b. Use the Law in ways that are not lawful

[But as Paul writes, the Law (of Moses) is good when used lawfully (1 Ti
1:8-11).  From his words in this text and elsewhere, let's examine
first...]

I. THE LAW USED LAWFULLY

   A. FOR WISDOM REGARDING SALVATION THROUGH FAITH...
      1. As Paul wrote later in his second epistle to Timothy - 2 Ti 3:14-17
         a. Referring to the Scriptures Timothy knew from childhood
         b. An obvious reference to the Old Testament, including the Law
            of Moses
      2. Appeal was often made to the Old Testament in discussing the
         nature of salvation
         a. As when Philip preached Christ to the eunuch - cf. Ac 8:
            30-35
         b. As when James spoke at the conference in Jerusalem - cf. Ac 15:13-17
         c. As when Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome - cf. Ro 4:1-8
      -- We can learn much about our salvation in Christ from the Law!

   B. FOR DOCTRINE...
      1. There is much we can learn about God in the Old Testament
         a. His omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience - cf. Ps 139
         b. His longsuffering and mercy, His justice and righteous
            indignation - cf. Ps 103
         c. His providential workings in the affairs of nations and men
            - cf. Dan 2,4,5
      2. There is much we can learn about mankind
         a. The origin and fall of man - cf. Gen 1-3
         b. The weakness of man and need for redemption - cf. Ps 51
      -- We can learn much about God and our need for Christ from the
         Law!

   C. FOR REPROOF, CORRECTION, INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS...
      1. The Law contains principles of righteousness that remain true
         throughout time
         a. Condemning such sins as murder, fornication, homosexuality,
            kidnapping, lying, etc.
         b. When admonishing Christians regarding basic principles of
            righteousness, the apostles often appealed to the Old
            Testament - e.g., Ro 12:19-21; 1Pe 3:8-12; He 12:4-7
      2. The Law reveals much about sin
         a. The nature and spread of sin - Ga 3:19
         b. The condemnation of sin - Ro 3:19-20
      -- We can learn much about sin and its terrible consequences from
         the Law!

   D. FOR LEARNING AND ADMONITION...
      1. As Paul in his epistles to churches in Rome and Corinth - Ro 15:4; 1Co 10:11-12
         a. The Old Testament was written for our learning, that we
            might have hope
         b. The Old Testament was written for our admonition, that we
            might not fall
      2. God's dealings with Israel serves as an example for the church
         today
         a. As God's elect, corporate Israel received the promises, but
            some individuals did not
         b. As God's elect, the church as a whole will be saved, but as
            individuals we must make our calling and election sure - cf.
            1Pe 2:9-10; 2Pe 1:10
      -- From the Law we can learn much about the very real danger of
         apostasy! - e.g., He 3:8-4:1

[Yes, "the law is good if one uses it lawfully."  What then would be some
examples of the Law being used improperly...?]

II. THE LAW USED IMPROPERLY

   A. FOR FOOLISH ARGUMENTS...
      1. What Paul described as 'idle talk', the result of ignorance
         - 1Ti 1:6-7
      2. What he described as "foolish disputes, genealogies,
         contentions, and strivings about the law" - Tit 3:9
      -- Have you noticed how often false teachers appeal to the OT to
         promulgate their false doctrines?

   B. FOR JUSTIFICATION FROM SIN...
      1. This was the error of the Judaizing teachers, who demanded that
         Gentile Christians must be circumcised and keep the Law of
         Moses - cf. Ac 15:1,5
      2. It renders the death of Christ meaningless - Ga 2:21
      -- Seeking justification (salvation) by the Law separates one from
         Christ! - Ga 5:4

   C. FOR BINDING SUCH THINGS AS ITS FEASTS AND SABBATHS...
      1. Paul evidently had no problem with Jewish Christians (including
         himself) observing various elements of the Law as a personal
         matter while the temple was still standing - cf. Ac 16:1-3;
         18:18,21; 21:18-26; 1Co 9:19,20
      2. But he drew the line when attempts were made to bind such on
         Gentile Christians - cf. Ga 2:3-5; Col 2:16
      3. For the death of Christ broke down the Law which divided Jew
         and Gentile - Ep 2:14-16
      -- Some have sought to bind various Jewish feast days, the
         Sabbath, dietary restrictions upon the church; this is an
         unlawful use of the Law!

   D. FOR AUTHORITY IN WORSHIP...
      1. Some have appealed to the Law to justify various practices in
         their worship
         a. E.g., separate priesthood, special clothing, building of
            temples
         b. E.g., burning of incense, instrumental music, even animal
            sacrifices
      2. Yet the New Covenant ushered in a more spiritual worship
         a. As Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well - Jn 4:20-24
         b. The worship under the Law of Moses:
            1) Was "symbolic for the present time" - He 9:9
            2) Contained "fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of
               reformation" - He 9:10
      -- To appeal to the Law as authority for any practice in worship
         fails to recognize that the time of reformation has come!

CONCLUSION

1. As Paul wrote to the brethren at Rome:  "Therefore the law is holy,
   and the commandment holy and just and good." - Ro 7:12

2. Even so, the Law had its limitations...
   a. It was designed to be temporary, until the coming of Christ - Ga 3:19,23-25
   b. It could not provide true redemption from sin - He 9:9; 10:1-4

3. Thus the Law of Moses today is not designed to make one righteous
   (1Ti 1:9), for true justification and sanctification comes only
   through the work of Christ

4. Our understanding and application of the Law must be governed by and
   in harmony with the sound doctrine and gospel teachings of the
   apostles - cf. 1Ti 1:10b-11

Appreciate the lawful use of the Law, and benefit thereby, while being
careful of it's unlawful use...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011


From Gary... Bible Reading December 25


Bible Reading   

December 25

The World English Bible



Dec. 25
Zephaniah 1-3

Zep 1:1 The word of Yahweh which came to Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah.
Zep 1:2 I will utterly sweep away everything off of the surface of the earth, says Yahweh.
Zep 1:3 I will sweep away man and animal. I will sweep away the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, and the heaps of rubble with the wicked. I will cut off man from the surface of the earth, says Yahweh.
Zep 1:4 I will stretch out my hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place: the name of the idolatrous and pagan priests,
Zep 1:5 those who worship the army of the sky on the housetops, those who worship and swear by Yahweh and also swear by Malcam,
Zep 1:6 those who have turned back from following Yahweh, and those who haven't sought Yahweh nor inquired after him.
Zep 1:7 Be silent at the presence of the Lord Yahweh, for the day of Yahweh is at hand. For Yahweh has prepared a sacrifice. He has consecrated his guests.
Zep 1:8 It will happen in the day of Yahweh's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, the king's sons, and all those who are clothed with foreign clothing.
Zep 1:9 In that day, I will punish all those who leap over the threshold, who fill their master's house with violence and deceit.
Zep 1:10 In that day, says Yahweh, there will be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, a wailing from the second quarter, and a great crashing from the hills.
Zep 1:11 Wail, you inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the people of Canaan are undone! All those who were loaded with silver are cut off.
Zep 1:12 It will happen at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are settled on their dregs, who say in their heart, "Yahweh will not do good, neither will he do evil."
Zep 1:13 Their wealth will become a spoil, and their houses a desolation. Yes, they will build houses, but won't inhabit them. They will plant vineyards, but won't drink their wine.
Zep 1:14 The great day of Yahweh is near. It is near, and hurries greatly, the voice of the day of Yahweh. The mighty man cries there bitterly.
Zep 1:15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness,
Zep 1:16 a day of the trumpet and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high battlements.
Zep 1:17 I will bring distress on men, that they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against Yahweh, and their blood will be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.
Zep 1:18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Yahweh's wrath, but the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he will make an end, yes, a terrible end, of all those who dwell in the land.
Zep 2:1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, you nation that has no shame,
Zep 2:2 before the appointed time when the day passes as the chaff, before the fierce anger of Yahweh comes on you, before the day of Yahweh's anger comes on you.
Zep 2:3 Seek Yahweh, all you humble of the land, who have kept his ordinances. Seek righteousness. Seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of Yahweh's anger.
Zep 2:4 For Gaza will be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation. They will drive out Ashdod at noonday, and Ekron will be rooted up.
Zep 2:5 Woe to the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of Yahweh is against you, Canaan, the land of the Philistines. I will destroy you, that there will be no inhabitant.
Zep 2:6 The sea coast will be pastures, with cottages for shepherds and folds for flocks.
Zep 2:7 The coast will be for the remnant of the house of Judah. They will find pasture. In the houses of Ashkelon, they will lie down in the evening, for Yahweh, their God, will visit them, and restore them.
Zep 2:8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the insults of the children of Ammon, with which they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.
Zep 2:9 Therefore as I live, says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, surely Moab will be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, a possession of nettles, and salt pits, and a perpetual desolation. The remnant of my people will plunder them, and the survivors of my nation will inherit them.
Zep 2:10 This they will have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of Yahweh of Armies.
Zep 2:11 Yahweh will be awesome to them, for he will famish all the gods of the land. Men will worship him, everyone from his place, even all the shores of the nations.
Zep 2:12 You Cushites also, you will be killed by my sword.
Zep 2:13 He will stretch out his hand against the north, destroy Assyria, and will make Nineveh a desolation, as dry as the wilderness.
Zep 2:14 Herds will lie down in the midst of her, all the animals of the nations. Both the pelican and the porcupine will lodge in its capitals. Their calls will echo through the windows. Desolation will be in the thresholds, for he has laid bare the cedar beams.
Zep 2:15 This is the joyous city that lived carelessly, that said in her heart, "I am, and there is none besides me." How she has become a desolation, a place for animals to lie down in! Everyone who passes by her will hiss, and shake their fists.
Zep 3:1 Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, the oppressing city!
Zep 3:2 She didn't obey the voice. She didn't receive correction. She didn't trust in Yahweh. She didn't draw near to her God.
Zep 3:3 Her princes in the midst of her are roaring lions. Her judges are evening wolves. They leave nothing until the next day.
Zep 3:4 Her prophets are arrogant and treacherous people. Her priests have profaned the sanctuary. They have done violence to the law.
Zep 3:5 Yahweh, in the midst of her, is righteous. He will do no wrong. Every morning he brings his justice to light. He doesn't fail, but the unjust know no shame.
Zep 3:6 I have cut off nations. Their battlements are desolate. I have made their streets waste, so that no one passes by. Their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, so that there is no inhabitant.
Zep 3:7 I said, "Just fear me. Receive correction, so that her dwelling won't be cut off, according to all that I have appointed concerning her." But they rose early and corrupted all their doings.
Zep 3:8 "Therefore wait for me," says Yahweh, "until the day that I rise up to the prey, for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, even all my fierce anger, for all the earth will be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
Zep 3:9 For then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that they may all call on the name of Yahweh, to serve him shoulder to shoulder.
Zep 3:10 From beyond the rivers of Cush, my worshipers, even the daughter of my dispersed people, will bring my offering.
Zep 3:11 In that day you will not be disappointed for all your doings, in which you have transgressed against me; for then I will take away out of the midst of you your proudly exulting ones, and you will no more be haughty in my holy mountain.
Zep 3:12 But I will leave in the midst of you an afflicted and poor people, and they will take refuge in the name of Yahweh.
Zep 3:13 The remnant of Israel will not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth, for they will feed and lie down, and no one will make them afraid."
Zep 3:14 Sing, daughter of Zion! Shout, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem.
Zep 3:15 Yahweh has taken away your judgments. He has thrown out your enemy. The King of Israel, Yahweh, is in the midst of you. You will not be afraid of evil any more.
Zep 3:16 In that day, it will be said to Jerusalem, "Don't be afraid, Zion. Don't let your hands be weak."
Zep 3:17 Yahweh, your God, is in the midst of you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zep 3:18 I will remove those who grieve about the appointed feasts from you. They are a burden and a reproach to you.
Zep 3:19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all those who afflict you, and I will save those who are lame, and gather those who were driven away. I will give them praise and honor, whose shame has been in all the earth.
Zep 3:20 At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says Yahweh.



Dec. 25
Revelation 11, 12

Rev 11:1 A reed like a rod was given to me. Someone said, "Rise, and measure God's temple, and the altar, and those who worship in it.
Rev 11:2 Leave out the court which is outside of the temple, and don't measure it, for it has been given to the nations. They will tread the holy city under foot for forty-two months.
Rev 11:3 I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth."
Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands, standing before the Lord of the earth.
Rev 11:5 If anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies. If anyone desires to harm them, he must be killed in this way.
Rev 11:6 These have the power to shut up the sky, that it may not rain during the days of their prophecy. They have power over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.
Rev 11:7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them.
Rev 11:8 Their dead bodies will be in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
Rev 11:9 From among the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations people will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not allow their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.
Rev 11:10 Those who dwell on the earth rejoice over them, and they will be glad. They will give gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
Rev 11:11 After the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet. Great fear fell on those who saw them.
Rev 11:12 I heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" They went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them.
Rev 11:13 In that day there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Rev 11:14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe comes quickly.
Rev 11:15 The seventh angel sounded, and great voices in heaven followed, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ. He will reign forever and ever!"
Rev 11:16 The twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God's throne, fell on their faces and worshiped God,
Rev 11:17 saying: "We give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was; because you have taken your great power, and reigned.
Rev 11:18 The nations were angry, and your wrath came, as did the time for the dead to be judged, and to give your bondservants the prophets, their reward, as well as to the saints, and those who fear your name, to the small and the great; and to destroy those who destroy the earth."
Rev 11:19 God's temple that is in heaven was opened, and the ark of the Lord's covenant was seen in his temple. Lightnings, sounds, thunders, an earthquake, and great hail followed.

Rev 12:1 A great sign was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
Rev 12:2 She was with child. She cried out in pain, laboring to give birth.
Rev 12:3 Another sign was seen in heaven. Behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven crowns.
Rev 12:4 His tail drew one third of the stars of the sky, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
Rev 12:5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. Her child was caught up to God, and to his throne.
Rev 12:6 The woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that there they may nourish her one thousand two hundred sixty days.
Rev 12:7 There was war in the sky. Michael and his angels made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war.
Rev 12:8 They didn't prevail, neither was a place found for him any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9 The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Rev 12:10 I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now is come the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.
Rev 12:11 They overcame him because of the Lamb's blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn't love their life, even to death.
Rev 12:12 Therefore rejoice, heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil has gone down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has but a short time."
Rev 12:13 When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.
Rev 12:14 Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, so that she might be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Rev 12:15 The serpent spewed water out of his mouth after the woman like a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream.
Rev 12:16 The earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon spewed out of his mouth.
Rev 12:17 The dragon grew angry with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep God's commandments and hold Jesus' testimony.


From Gary... The union of facts and faith

Harland Sanders

http://www.biography.com/people/colonel-harland-sanders-12353545

Yesterday was a day of errands.  While driving through Dade City, I drove past the KFC fast food restaurant and noticed a $19.99 special and thought- that is a lot for "just chicken", but then I remembered how good it was and purposed in myself to partake once I reach my goal weight.  It is hard not think of Kentucky Fried Chicken without thinking of Harland Sanders.  For me (and probably most of us) he is (rather was) the face we automatically think of when we remember KFC.  I was curious about him, because I had heard that he started his franchising after retirement age- which gives me encouragement and brightens my future (knowing that anything is possible, even when old).  But, I wanted to get the story straight, so I first went to wikipedia and then biography.com to investigate.  Luke did something similar (but without modern computers) as this passage says...

Luke Chapter 1
 1 Since many have undertaken to set in order a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us,  2 even as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word delivered them to us,  3 it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus;  4 that you might know the certainty concerning the things in which you were instructed. 

Acts, Chapter 1
 1 The first book I wrote, Theophilus, concerned all that Jesus began both to do and to teach,  2 until the day in which he was received up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.  3 To these he also showed himself alive after he suffered, by many proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking about God’s Kingdom.  4 Being assembled together with them, he commanded them, “Don’t depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which you heard from me.   5  For John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 

  6  Therefore when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 

  7  He said to them, “It isn’t for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority.   8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.” 

  9  When he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.  10 While they were looking steadfastly into the sky as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white clothing,  11 who also said, “You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who was received up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky.” 

Christianity is based on facts; the documented historical facts about Jesus and what transpired after his ascension into the heavens are overwhelming!!!  True, there are concepts about the Christian faith that can only be understood by faith, but Jesus was real, what his followers did was as well.  Many follow him and many hate him, but HE was who HE said HE was and the choice to believe truth when it is right in front of you is YOUR CHOICE.  Harland Sanders was an interesting man, who left a great legacy, but what is mere fried chicken compared to ETERNAL LIFE?  While eating your Christmas meal today, you might think for a moment of this Harland Sanders and what he accomplished in the food industry, but be sure to remember Jesus, whose legacy is documented in the new testament and lived in the lives of his followers. To me, this last thought is better than any fried chicken that could ever be- how about you?