12/25/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Matthew 20.28 and parachutes

Matthew 20.28 and parachutes

 Dean reminded me of this and it reminds me again of people like Lizzie Eaton. Their names don't go up in lights, they get no medals, authors don't write adventure stories about them, they don't make the honours lists and it never enters their minds that they should, but the world depends on them. George Eliot famously wrote right at the end of Middlemarch, "That all is not so ill with you and me as it might have been is largely due to those who lived hidden lives and now rest in unvisited graves."

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent six years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said,

"You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"
 
"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.
"I packed your parachute."

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!"

Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. He says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, after all, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor." He thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

It doesn't matter to me that all this sounds a bit sweet—though I find a little sugar goes a long way. Real people, actual, specific people who never make the headlines or the honour lists keep even the cynical or those of us who have just too much realism for our own good—they keep us alive and well.

He blew no trumpets, didn't whisper his good deeds in the ears of the influential; in fact, without parading it, he "made himself of no reputation" (Philippians 2, KJV) and announced when he came that he came to save by serving (Luke 4:16-21 and Matthew 20:28).

Can his followers do any less?

©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, theabidingword.com.

Exclusivism and Christ’s Church by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2844

Exclusivism and Christ’s Church

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Churches of Christ (Romans 16:16) have long been demonized for their insistence that all peoples are required to render obedience to the God of heaven, and that this obedience means that people must not tamper with God’s Word by inventing new churches, doctrines, creeds, and religions. They have insisted that the Bible depicts for humanity the religion of God, i.e., New Testament Christianity. Catholicism, Protestant denominationalism, and the plethora of manmade churches that have sprung up over the centuries are departures from “the faith” (1 Timothy 4:1). They have maintained that it is possible—and necessary—for a person to go back behind all denominational creeds and affiliations, and to be simply a New Testament Christian, a member of the New Testament church.
This biblical posture has brought down upon members of churches of Christ a great deal of abuse, ridicule, and antagonism. The revulsion manifests itself in such accusations as: “You think you’re the only ones going to heaven.” Especially with the massive shifting that has taken place in American culture in the last 50 years, with “political correctness” and the “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” mentality having thoroughly saturated national consciousness, anything that smacks of “exclusivity” is immediately demeaned and dismissed as “intolerant,” “mean-spirited,” “judgmental,” and even “a cult.” This mindset has literally infiltrated and infected most Americans. Take, for example, the following statement regarding the name for the church of the Bible:
The truth is that the name “Church of Christ” carries the baggage of an exclusivistic mentality to many people in our culture. “Oh, yeah,” somebody says, “those are the people who think they’re the only ones going to heaven.” One lady said that she never would have come into our building if she had known we are a “Church of Christ.” Once she came in and experienced the presence of God in this body, however, she isn’t about to leave! She and her children—from a very different denominational background—are reveling in the experience of Christ in this community of faith (Shelly, 1998, emp. added).
What does it mean to be “exclusivistic”? The dictionary definition of “exclusive” is “excluding or tending to exclude; not allowing something else; incompatible; not divided or shared with others; not accompanied by others; single or sole; excluding some or most, as from membership or participation” (American…, 2000, p. 620). A simple perusal of the New Testament reveals that the church of the New Testament is the church of Christ. He built her (Matthew 16:18). He gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:25), and purchased her with His own blood (Acts 20:28). He loves her, nourishes her, and wishes to maintain her holy, unblemished nature (Ephesians 5:25-27,29). Christ’s church is not to be equated with the denominational churches that mere humans have established. This is where the name for the church becomes an important factor. Christ’s church will wear His name. Granted, a church may wear His name and claim to be His church when, in fact, it is not. But a church that identifies itself by some denominational designation that draws attention away from the founder (i.e., Christ) to some point of doctrine or lesser spiritual aspect cannot rightly be said to be His church.
Alas, such reasoning is almost universally rejected in today’s permissive climate of indiscriminate acceptance and toleration. Certainly, to suggest that there is “one church” (Ephesians 4:4a), and that every accountable person is obligated to submit to Christ’s plan of salvation in order to be added to that one church, is to be guilty of “exclusivism.” That is the very nature and essence of truth; it is narrow and exclusionary. But is there any indication elsewhere in the Bible that God’s will is exclusive? Does the Bible teach that the correct approach to life and religion is, in actuality, very narrow, rigid, and restrictive? Does the Bible endorse the current climate of toleration, acceptance, and openness?
Consider one brief illustrative incident. At the very beginning of human history, God placed the first man and woman in a beautiful garden paradise. He gave them wide latitude in exercising their own discretion with regard to daily dietary decisions (Genesis 2:16). However, He placed upon them one restriction: they were to refrain from eating the fruit from one particular tree (Genesis 2:17). Satan took issue with this restriction, and urged Eve to do the same (Genesis 3:4-5). She succumbed to his prodding, and to her own fleshly appetites, and ate of the fruit, encouraging her husband to do likewise. The result? Sin was introduced into the world, and the first family was changed forever and permanently banished from the beautiful garden. Question: was the restriction placed upon Adam and Eve by God exclusivistic? That is, did His instructions to them “not allow something else”? Were God’s directives “incompatible” with what Eve wanted to do? Was God’s command “not divided or shared with others” and “not accompanied by others”? Was God’s “my way or the highway” attitude inappropriate? To ask is to answer.
You “do the math.” Check out instance after instance, example after example in the Bible from beginning to end. Apply the definition of “exclusive” to each biblical account in order to determine if, in fact, God’s requirements are “exclusivistic.” Examine the cases of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-8), Noah (Genesis 6:22), Abraham (Genesis 26:5), Moses (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:7-12), Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-3), the Israelites (Numbers 14:20-23; 21:4-9; Joshua 6; 9:14; 1 Samuel 8), Eli (1 Samuel 3:13), Saul (1 Samuel 13:11-14; 15), King David (1 Samuel 21:1-6; 2 Samuel 11; 24), Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:6-7; 1 Chronicles 15:13), Jereboam (1 Kings 12:26-33), Samaria (2 Kings 17:7ff.; 18:12), Josiah (2 Kings 22:13ff.), King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:16-21), the Jews who returned from exile (Ezra 9-10), Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). The inevitable, indisputable conclusion to which the honest heart is driven is that God’s instructions to humans have always been exclusivistic.
Make no mistake: no human and no church have a “corner on truth.” Gospel salvation is available to all: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11); “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). God decides who will be saved and who will be lost. However, He has given us His Word to inform us as to His will and His decisions. He says that He wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). He says that He does not want even one person to perish in hell (2 Peter 3:9). But He also says that most people will spend eternity in hell (Luke 13:23-24). He is most certainly inclusive in that He offers salvation to all without partiality. But He is equally exclusive in that he requires a proper response of obedience to His directives (John 14:15).
We would do well to jettison our petty jealousies, pride, and political loyalties, devote ourselves to ascertaining the precise parameters of God’s directives, and then focus on conforming to His will—“bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). He is “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). There are only two possible courses in life: “sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16). Jesus Himself declared that the former approach to life is “wide” and “broad,” and that most people go that direction (Matthew 7:13). He also stated that the latter approach is “strait” and “narrow” (i.e., exclusivistic!), and few people muster the gumption to confine themselves to that rigid, strict course (Matthew 7:14; Luke 13:23-24). Faithful Christians will remain undaunted when demonized as “exclusivistic,” since they are merely teaching and advocating that which God instituted. After all, an objective appraisal of the Bible reveals that Jesus, Himself, was an exclusionist. God is, in reality, the God of exclusivism!

REFERENCES

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language(2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
Shelly, Rubel (1998), “What Is Your Church’s Name?” Lovelines, 24[5], February 4.

From Mark Copeland... Principles Of Discipleship (Mark 9:38-50)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                  Principles Of Discipleship (9:38-50)

INTRODUCTION

1. Previously, we saw Jesus teaching His disciples the way to true
   greatness...
   a. A way involving servitude - Mk 9:33-35
   b. A way involving humility - Mk 9:36-37
   c. Both important principles of discipleship

2. In response, John brings up what seems to be a totally unrelated
   subject...
   a. How the disciples tried to prevent someone who would not follow
      them - Mk 9:38
   b. Which Jesus answers, relating it to principles of discipleship
      - Mk 9:39-50

[The principles taught may appear unrelated (at least to my mind), but
they all relate to the matter of following Jesus as His disciples.
Let's consider them one by one, beginning with...]

I. HE WHO IS NOT AGAINST US IS ON OUR SIDE

   A. THE PRINCIPLE...
      1. Stated in response to John's question - Mk 9:38
         a. The disciples saw a man casting out demons in Jesus' name
         b. Whom the disciples tried to forbid because the man would not
            follow them
      2. Jesus' response:  do not forbid Him - Mk 9:39-40
         a. The man was clearly empowered to do works in Jesus' name
         b. So empowered, it was unlikely he would speak evil of Jesus
         c. So while he did not follow the other disciples, he was still
            on their side

   B. THE APPLICATION...
      1. A common misapplication
         a. Many commentators use this passage to decry denominational
            rivalry
         b. Which might be appropriate if denominational distinctions
            were not wrong
         c. But denominationalism is wrong within itself - cf. Jn 17:21-23; 1Co 1:10-13; 3:3-4
      2. A more proper application
         a. Do not fault individuals or churches who may choose to do
            things differently
         b. Assuming that what they do is "in His name" (by His
            authority) - cf. Col 3:17
         c. There are often different ways to do the will of the Lord;
            if someone prefers not to do something "our" way, we should
            not forbid them doing it "their" way

[Next, we learn the value of...]

II. A CUP OF WATER IN HIS NAME GIVEN

   A. THE PRINCIPLE...
      1. He who gives a servant of Christ a cup of water in His Name
         will be rewarded - Mk 9:41
      2. The principle further explained in Matthew's gospel - Mt 10:40-42
      3. Even the smallest acts in helping others serve the Lord will be
         noticed by Him

   B. THE APPLICATION...
      1. When we help the brethren of the Lord, He takes notice - cf. Mt 25:34-40
      2. When we support their ministries, we have fellowship in their
         work - Php 1:5; 3Jn 1:5-8

[Then we are warned of...]

III. CAUSING LITTLE ONES TO STUMBLE

   A. THE PRINCIPLE...
      1. Causing the little ones who believe to stumble is a great
         offense! - Mk 9:42
      2. Again, Matthew's gospel expands on this theme - Mt 18:6-7,10

   B. THE APPLICATION...
      1. We should be very careful about our example and influence on
         the young
      2. Every one is a role model, either for good or evil
      3. The best way to show love for the children of God is by loving
         God and keeping His commandments - 1Jn 5:2

[Another principle is that sometimes it is necessary to have...]

IV. RADICAL SURGERY TO AVOID HELLFIRE

   A. THE PRINCIPLE...
      1. Sometimes radical actions are needed to avoid hellfire - Mk 9:43-48
      2. Eternal life is worth whatever cost it takes - ibid.

   B. THE APPLICATION...
      1. Not to be taken literally, because one could still sin with one
         hand, one eye
      2. But anything close to us (family, job, friends, etc.) that
         would keep us away from God must be removed if necessary - cf.
         Mt 10:37; Lk 14:26,33
      3. Note:  Jesus believed and taught the reality of hell! - cf. Re 20:15; 21:8

[Finally, Jesus segues from the punishing effects of hellfire to the
positive effect of a different kind of fire...]

V. SEASONING EFFECTS OF FIRE

   A. THE PRINCIPLE...
      1. We are seasoned with fire, like sacrifices are seasoned with
         salt - Mk 9:49
      2. The salt makes the sacrifice better, so fire can make one
         better - Mk 9:50

   B. THE APPLICATION...
      1. Appreciate the purifying nature of trials and difficulties - Jm 1:2-4
      2. As difficult as it may seem at the time, there can be glory in
         suffering - cf. Ro 5:3-4

CONCLUSION

1. Thus we find in our text five principles regarding discipleship...
   a. He who is not against us is on our side
   b. A cup of water in His name given
   c. Causing little ones to stumble
   d. Radical surgery to avoid hellfire
   e. Seasoning effects of fire

2. Seemingly unrelated perhaps, but important to serving Jesus with
   humility...
   a. Others don't have to follow "our" ministries, plans, etc., to be
      faithful
   b. Sometimes we may only help in the smallest of ways, but the Lord
      notices
   c. We cannot arrogantly overlook the needs of the little ones around
      us
   d. Sometimes we have to deny ourselves those things that mean much to
      us
   e. We need to humbly accept the seasoning effects of trials when they
      occur

Indeed, the way of following Jesus requires much humility on our part.
With such humility, we will find ourselves at peace with one another (Mk
9:50).  Are we willing to humbly follow Him...?

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... Accidents will happen!!!


If your presents are a little late today, be advised that there was a major sleigh wreck at the corner of girl-crossing boulevard and Reindeer Rest avenue in Helsinki.  It seems that the boys were distracted during their journey by some unknown disturbance.  Relax, though, everyone is OK. Santa suffered only minor embarrassment when he was ejected from his sleigh and landed in a manure pile. Fortunately, there was plenty of snow to "wash" with and a small bottle of body wash that had been opened in the wreck was nearby.  If Santa has not arrived yet, please be patient. If Santa has another accident, please try to understand, because reindeer need love too. So, try to be content with what you have - for you are blessed...

 Philippians, Chapter 4
 8  Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.  9 The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  10 But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your thought for me; in which you did indeed take thought, but you lacked opportunity.  11 Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it.  12 I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need.

ps. This year, forget the milk and cookies- Santa could use a small bottle of perfume instead.