Tag Archives: Christmas

Revelation 15-18

What does Christmas feel like? Our regular radio station played Christmas music almost every day in December. We drove down streets with houses festooned in colorful, blinking lights and displays. Our house had its tree decorated and lit; shimmering red ribbons curled and placed across a mantel; snowflakes and ornaments dripped from light fixtures and windows. I tried to recreate my favorite childhood memories of the season–purchasing boxes of chocolate covered cherries, baking a Christmas morning warm cinnamon pastry, playing music throughout the house to signal the celebration of the new day.

Despite the outward display, though, sometimes it doesn’t feel like Christmas. So, what does Christmas feel like?

In Revelation, End Times approach and there’s no escaping it. From my vantage point, I read of what will happen, and wonder: then and there, would it feel like End Times?

So the first angel left the Temple and poured out his bowl on the earth, and horrible, malignant sores broke out on everyone who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. (Revelation 16:2, NLT)

The first of the seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out. I noted by the fourth bowl, a first mention: They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory. (Revelation 16:9b, NLT)

What will End Times feel like? And would one know when the time is upon him?

15 “Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.” (Revelation 16:15, NLT)

So much in the Bible requires further explanation by the speaker. Revelation describes a future yet to take place, people yet to be born, and items yet to be made.

“Why are you so amazed?” the angel asked. “I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits …” (Revelation 17:7, NLT, emphasis added)

Back-to-school morphs into packages of candy in October, sharing shelf space with Thanksgiving and Christmas–a blending blur of season. Christmas seems out of place in October, and yet, its date is fixed and arrival certain–whether it feels like it or not.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 24-27; Revelation 17

So it is Christmas Eve. We celebrate the coming of Jesus the Messiah into the world. This event is but a chain of events that end in the total victory of the Messiah — the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world — against the powers of darkness in this universe. So it is fitting that we read Revelation 17 today. The verses that strike me are as follows:

14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” 15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages (Revelation 17:14&15 [NIV]).

Today we celebrate a link in the chain that brings total victory for God. An eternal Kingdom that will be established and God’s reign will be established for all eternity.

Part of celebrating this first advent is also preparing for the second advent, when Christ returns and this prophecy begins to be fulfilled. What are you doing this Christmas 2018 to prepare for the coming second advent of Jesus? Think and pray about that because what we read in Revelation 17 will some day become reality.

Merry Christmas!

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2 Chronicles 24; Revelation 11; Zechariah 7; John 10

As I enjoy the Christmas season, I am hearing more than ever before, that our celebration is not only of the babe that came to die but of the King who is coming again.  I am being challenged even in my devotions to do what is right in my walk with God.

Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of the priest Jehoiada. – 2 Chronicles 24:2  NRSV

I love the fact that even though I have been a follower of Christ for almost 45 years, the Holy Spirit continues to work on my walk, continues to challenge me to be holy.  I am surprised, but I shouldn’t be, that even in the book of Revelation God has witnesses still bringing people into a relationship with God.

 And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days, wearing sackcloth. – Revelation 11:3  NRSV

I completed a spiritual assessment and then had my daughter complete one for me as well.  She is 27, so I felt she would assess me honestly.  Interesting how she noted that I tend to be a closet Christian.  She felt I needed to express my walk with Christ more openly with others.  Being invited to express some of my walk here in this blog has helped me do that better. I am looking forward to sharing more next year too.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another;  do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. – Zechariah 7:9-10 NRSV

Is a closet Christian a bad thing? Not really.  When I use the term I mean one who spends a lot of quiet time with God – listening to His voice, engaging Him every day in conversation.  I like getting to know Him and having Him work in my life. But I do realize that I need to take Him with me into the real world.

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. – John 10:3  NRSV

Father, I love you. Already knee-deep in Christmas celebrations and You are still talking to me and challenging me to be more like Jesus every day.  Thank you.  As I take You out in the world with me, I pray that the gospel – the good news – of Christmas will be an easy message to share and that there will be open doors for those conversations to happen. Amen

evanlaar

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2 Chronicles 21, Zechariah 5, John 8, Revelation 9

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8

We live in such a dark and cold world. The effects of sin are far reaching and devastating. From physical calamities, pain and suffering to spiritual sin and death, evil fills our world. Car bombings, school shootings, fear of war, the refugee crises….there is no lack of darkness in the world around us. Though our world seems out of control and darker than ever, the darkness was present thousands of years ago just as it does today. Humans have always searched for something greater.

At Christmas time we celebrate the Creator of light who has become the shining light for us in a cold and dark world. He is our hope and brings peace to our hearts among the pain and suffering of life. Jesus is the Bright Morning Star who came down to earth to be born- God incarnate; Emmanuel, God with us. It is in following him and abiding in him that we not only receive life but are set free from the power of sin in our lives.

Jesus created light when there was only darkness. Jesus then stepped into darkness, coming to earth two thousand years ago to bring us hope. And Jesus will return again and bring peace forevermore for those who trust in him. This season and every season, may we remember the true meaning of Christmas when love came down from heaven bringing light into a dark and weary land. May the light of Jesus’ love fill your hearts and minds this Christmas as you celebrate his birth.

 

 

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1 Chronicles 11, 12; Hebrews 13; Amos 7; Luke 2

In 1 Chronicles 11, David becomes king over Israel.

So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord through Samuel.” (1 Chron. 11”3)

Amos 7 is about visions seen by the minor prophet.

Hebrews 13 contains a commonly heard verse:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

(Hebrews 13:8)

But it’s the Christmas account found in Luke 2 that is the most meaningful to me as we approach the season of Advent.

While they were there, the days were completed for her to give

    birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped

    Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no

    Room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)

    “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the

    Heavenly hosts praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the

    Highest, and on Earth peace among men with whom His is

    Pleased.’” (Luke 2: 13-14)

    “And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told

    them by the shepherds, But Mary treasured all these things,

    pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:18-19)

Lord, help us to be like Mary and treasure how You came to be with us over 2,000 years ago.  When the busyness of the holidays hits with full force, help us to reflect on the true meaning of it all and give You all the glory.

Amen,

Kellie

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