My Two-Minute Summary of Today's Bible Reading

December

"Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face." -Ronald Reagan

"Green Ceramic Mug Beside Book" by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
  

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December 1 (2 Corinthians, Acts)

We read how Paul was frustrated by the Corinthians' wavering loyalties. Paul taught them the pure and simple Gospel without charge, but in his absence, spiritual swindlers had come in to gain control of the people for their own benefit. Paul gave evidence of his selflessness by listing many of his sufferings for the Gospel in hope that they would respect his authority and obligation to correct their behavior. Paul warned that Christ is among them and although He died in weakness, He now lives in awesome power and Paul will also use his spiritual power to correct those living in error at his next visit.

Finally, the reading ends with the account of Eutychus falling asleep during one of Paul's late night sermons. He was sitting in the window and fell three floors to his death. Paul must have prayed for him because the boy went home unharmed.

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December 2 (Acts)

We read where Paul, intent on returning to Jerusalem, met with the Ephesian elders to deliver a final message that he hoped would encourage them to keep their faith pure by remaining true to the message of the Gospel and by resisting false teachers that were bound to infiltrate the leadership. Paul boarded a ship with Luke and some other Greeks and eventually landed in Tyre Syria. The believers there prophesied of the persecution that awaited Paul's arrival. Paul was determined not to allow anything to thwart his goal.

In Jerusalem Paul and his companions stayed at a home of a man that was either a Greek or a Hellenistic Jew. There was a conflict that ensued because while Paul did not depend on the Mosaic Law for his salvation, he did still practice his cultural duties. Those that opposed the Gospel of Jesus Christ were not able to separate the two and accused Paul of preaching against Moses' teachings. Since it was during the time when the Jews celebrated Moses' reception of the Law on Mount Sinai, they were especially zealous and sought to kill Paul. The roman commander and his men barely saved him from the mob by placing Paul over their shoulders to shield him from their attack.

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The celebration was formerly called Pentecost (the Feast of First Fruits), but by this time in history the emphasis of the celebration had shifted to honor Moses' receiving of the Law at Mount Sinai. (MacArthur, 2005, 1482).

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December 3 (Acts)

We read how Paul was about to be killed by the Jews who believed that he was destroying their culture and frustrating their attempt at pleasing God by their strict adherence to the Law. The Jewish zealots misguided purpose in obeying the Law was designed to manipulate God into returning the glory of David and Solomon's empire. The Roman soldiers saved Paul from the riotous mob. As he was being taken away Paul spoke in Greek to the commander who had apparently mistaken him for an uneducated troublemaker. He allowed Paul to address the crowd of people that had quieted themselves. Paul narrated his testimony to prove his zeal for the Law and the Jewish culture, but when he got to the part where God said that He wanted to extend salvation to the Gentiles, their mad fury returned. So the commander arranged a more civil meeting with the leaders to determine the cause of all the conflict.

Realizing that there was not going to be an amiable resolution Paul divided his enemies by tossing the doctrine of the resurrection between the Sadducees and Pharisees. Amid the mayhem the commander ordered his soldiers to rescue and escort Paul back to the fortress, but the next day he decided to send Paul to Governor Felix because a plot to murder Paul was revealed to him.God encouraged Paul with the assurance that he would be a witness for Him in Rome.

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December 4 (Acts)

We read how Paul's Jewish persecutors' aggression caused him to constantly gain audience with more powerful leaders further up the chain of command, all the way (potentially) to Caesar. Each trial the Jewish accusers made fools of themselves by trying to promote their precis that the Gospel was a threat to Roman rule, in an attempt to get the Romans to execute Paul.

The monumental task that frustrated them so much was to represent their (misplaced) religious zeal as a Roman civil and political problem while proposing that Paul's execution would be the best solution.

The carnally minded Roman rulers were each at a loss to identify the source of the problem because the conflict was a spiritual one. When the opportunity became available they were more than willing to move Paul to another jurisdiction. So when he enacted his right as a Roman citizen, they were eager to comply. However, their new problem was: how to justify wasting Caesar's time with (from their viewpoint) such a trivial matter.

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December 5 (Acts)

We read about Paul's adventures at sea. It is important to remember that sailing was more difficult and more dangerous back then because the ships were designed for sturdiness rather than speed and the sails were "square-rigged" rather than the contemporary "Marconi-rigged style." In addition the wood was heavier as the timber was thicker because sailors had no way to stop the wood-boring worms from sinking the ship nor the incessant rot that constantly weakened the planks and frames. This combination made it where the ship could only travel pretty much in the same direction as the wind and the bow pushed through rather than cut through the waves. In addition, wood was quick to break apart when battered by waves or run aground. It is difficult for us to imagine the high level of risk for disaster that the ancient sailors faced, not to mention the notorious undercurrents of the Mediterranean Sea. (No wonder why sailors have always been so superstitious.)

Modern fiberglass boats are far superior because they can sail up to forty-five degrees from directly into the wind and can cut through large waves, not to mention that the modern boat has several kinds of high tech navigational and communication equipment aboard.

Paul sensed that the journey would meet with disaster, but the captain thought that he was more knowledgeable about the sea than a preacher (not unlike Peter's opposition to Jesus instructions to him on how to fish). The ship was too slow (for the aforementioned reasons plus the added weight of the cargo, so they got caught in a mighty tempest while attempting to make a simple forty mile trip to the next harbor and all but their lives was lost.  

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December 6 (Acts, Ephesians)

We read that Paul and his shipmates made it safely to the shores of the Island of Malta. The islanders assumed Paul's guilt when they saw a viper with his deeply embedded fangs hanging from his Land, but then reversed their opinion of him when unharmed he shook off the snake into the fire. Because he prayed and healed the sick, the indigenous people mistook him for a god and loaded the new boat with the necessary supplies to travel to Rome.

In Rome Paul was able to live on his own with a guard. As was his custom, he presented the Gospel first to the Jewish leaders. He received a mixed response. So as God directed, he turned to target the Gentiles. It was at this time that he penned his letter to the Ephesians.

He stated the God's Holy Spirit who indwells believers is His guarantee that they will share in the promised inheritance, so that believers will praise and glorify Him through their lives. He prayed for them to gain spiritual wisdom and to be made alive in Christ. He stated that the system of obeying the Law and offering sacrifices for salvation ended when at the same time Christ reconciled the distinction between Jews and Gentiles through His sacrificial death.

Finally, He told them that as members of God's family, they were His Temple along with the Jewish Christians.

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December 7 (Ephesians)

We read how God's secret plan was now being revealed through His holy apostles and prophets. "God's purpose in all this was to use the church to display His wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places." Ephesians 3:10.

Paul prayed for the believers' empowerment and increased spiritual maturity to the level of imitating Christ. He challenged them to live in unity, overlooking petty differences, while focusing on the nobler goal of building up the body of Christ. With the Lord's authority he commanded them to live in line with His Holy Spirit, which is a stark contrast to their former lifestyle.

Finally, He said that they must be sensitive to and determine to commit the type of actions that please the Lord.

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December 8 (Ephesians, Colossians)

We read the rest of Paul's letter to the Ephesians and begin the letter to the Colossians. He told the Ephesians to live soberly and to create love songs to God as a personal expression of gratitude toward Him. He instructed husbands and wives to nurture their relationship as a reflection of Christ's relationship with the body of believers. He gave instructions about the proper relationship between children and parents, and that of slaves and masters. He taught that since the battle was not in the physical realm, but in the minds and hearts of men and in the unseen heavens, their armor should be spiritual in nature. The goal is to resist and stand firm by being alert and persistent in prayer, accomplishing this through truth, righteous living, abiding and dwelling on the truth of the Gospel and the Bible.

His letter to Colossae began with thanksgiving and prayer. He prayed that God would give them a complete knowledge of His will. He affirmed the eternal deity of Christ to attack the heresy that denied it. He attributed Christ with enabling all believers to be holy and blameless before God. 

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December 9 (Colossians)

We read the rest of Paul's letter to the Colossians. He reiterated the fact that God had recently revealed His plan that had been hidden until the arrival of Jesus who now lives in the hears of redeemed believers, giving each one the assurance that they have a home awaiting them in heaven. He encouraged them to continue to follow Christ by growing in the spirit. Paul compared the Law of Moses to a shadow of behaviors that gives a description of how Christians will behave when they are finally free from all sinful Hindrances.

Paul described the picture of what a believer's behavior in the new life should look like. He gave instructions for proper behavior in the home and the workplace. He encouraged the Colossians to pray often and to conduct their lives in a manner that will give them an opportunity to be a witness.

Finally, Paul sent the Colossians greetings from all his coworkers in Christ.

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December 10 (Philemon, Philippians)

We read Paul's letter to the Christian slave owner, Philemon. He wrote to persuade him to accept the return of his recently converted runaway slave, Onesimus, without punishment, since he is now a believer and since Paul is his spiritual father.

Next, while in prison, Paul wrote a letter to the believers in Philippi to encourage them with the truth that they have been given the privilege of trusting Christ and the privilege of suffering for Him. Paul believed (and proved by his actions) that all suffering for Jesus is a gift of gratitude, an effective way to evangelize, and the way to increase glory and pleasure for the Lord.

He reminded them that Jesus, (Who deserved every good thing), willingly gave up His right to demand what already belonged to Him, so that He could be the humble Servant who would save the world of believers. Paul desired for them to live likewise. Finally, he stated that because of Christ's obedience to the Father, His name will be held higher than any other name by every creature, and every created being will bow low in willing submission before Him (when His full glory is revealed in heaven to all creation).

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December 11 (Philippians)

We read Paul's letter to the Philippians. In it he told them to work hard at showing the results of their salvation and the good behavior God's Spirit had enabled them to do. He warned them about the false teachers that will inevitably and consistently try to pollute the Gospel with the doctrine of works (their actions prove their identity). If doing good "works" really could save, Paul would have been the best example of success, but he counted all his previous hard work for God as worthless because he knew that salvation was found on by having faith in Jesus' sacrifice. Now as faith followers, Paul challenged them to follow him, as he followed Christ, even though he admitted that he had not yet reached perfection.

Finally, Paul encouraged the Philippians to keep their thoughts on positive things in the faith while practicing all the lessons he taught them. He thanked them for their generosity, but added that he was able (by strength in Christ) to endure all things, whether in plenty or in need. He ended his prayer with greetings.

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December 12 (James)

We read the writing of Jesus' half brother, James. He encouraged persecuted believers to be joyful because the stress of maintaining their faith in God will provide the best environment for the development of their sanctification. He taught that believers should pray with faith in God alone; not as someone who would try to use God's favor as a "good luck" charm.

He dispelled any notion that Go would tempt anyone to sin. He presented an instrument that can measure the authenticity of a person's piety. Based on an avoidance of evil and owning a faith that resulted in an equal measurement of practical action with service to the needy. He gave a stern warning against having prejudicial preferences toward any fellow worshipers.

Finally, his assessment of a person's maturation level of self-control is evidenced on the content of his or her conversations.

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December 13 (James, 1 Timothy)

We read that James boldly stated that it is impossible to be a friend of both a Holy God and the evil world system. James wrote that believers need to have great sorrow for their sins so that God may purify and encourage them. He also taught that believers ought to use the phrase, "Lord willing" when making their plans to acknowledge that He controls their destiny. He warned that hording now will bring regret later. James challenged everyone to confess his or her sins and to pray. God answers prayer and will reward those who are instrumental in restoring a backslider.

Next, we read Paul's letter to Timothy. He stated that some people are misrepresenting him. He wrote, "The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith." Paul warned against false teaching. He wanted the tools of the faith to be used to build up the faith in others, not to be used for anyone's personal gain. He told Timothy to protect the worship of God from distractions.

Finally, some male chauvinists have misapplied Paul's words that seem to discount women. The problem lays in the conflict of truth, arrogance, and the shifting of societal protocols that are too vast for me to comment further.

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December 14 (1 Timothy)

We read more of Paul's letter to Timothy. He instructed him to be careful when choosing and installing leaders. He gave specific qualities with which to measure the candidate's spiritual maturity.

He warned Timothy to keep a close watch for false teachers that will inevitably infiltrate the church and lead unwary believers astray with demonic doctrines. Paul encouraged him to continue reading the Scriptures, to build up and teach the believers.

He gave instructions on how appropriately treat the elderly in general, and the elderly and youthful widows in the church. He taught that a slave should respect his or her master, especially if the master is a Christian. Paul instructed Timothy on how to identify false teachers and the value of the wholesome teachings of Christ.

Finally, he encouraged Timothy to be content with having enough food and clothing. "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil."

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December 15 (1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy)

We read the rest of Paul's first letter to Timothy. In it Paul tells Timothy to run from the evil in which the false teachers indulge themselves, and to keep the faith that he had so boldly proclaimed before so many people. He told him to instruct the rich how to use their wealth to serve others, and by so doing, they would be storing up treasures in heaven where they will have an eternal benefit. He ended the letter by telling him to avoid vain and unproductive theological arguments.

Next, Paul wrote a letter to Titus to encourage him in his work on the Island of Crete. He told him to choose leaders carefully  and to discipline those who sir up strife among the believers. He gave instructions on how people of various positions should behave, living in submission, self-control, and committing good deeds.

Finally, Paul may have sensed the nearing of his death by Nero's increased persecution of Christians and so wrote another letter to Timothy to encourage him. He stated that it was always God's plan "to show us His grace through Jesus Christ."

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December 16 (2 Timothy)

We read Paul's encouragement to Timothy to remain true to his calling and not to engage in fruitless arguments, youthful lusts, or insignificant matters that would distract him from his Gospel mission. He told Timothy to prove his acceptance through hard work.

Paul warned him that in the last days evil would become rampant and vile. He did not shy away from saying that persecution will come to those who share in Christ's salvation. He said that Timothy should work at telling others the good news that Jesus saves.

Finally, Paul said, "The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. Now a prize awaits me - the Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return." (May all believers be able and willing to say the same thing.)

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December 17 (2 Timothy, Hebrews)

We read the rest of Paul's letter to Timothy. He gave an update to the status of their mutual friends.

Next, we read the beginning of the Book of Hebrews where the writer started by comparing the superiority of Christ to the angels and Moses. He warned his readers to be wary of false teachings that could lead them astray. He praised the unique essence of Jesus who came into this world as both fully God and fully man. He is able to empathize with human suffering because He also suffered as a human.

The author of Hebrews encouraged his readers to demonstrate their belief through obedience to received the reward of eternal rest. In this portion is also found the often-quoted praise of God's words: "For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the One to whom we are all accountable.

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December 18 (Hebrews)

We read that Christ our High Priest in heaven suffered temptation on earth yet He did not fall prey to it. So being chosen and called by God He is more than able to deliver us when we cannot see a way out of our temptations. He offered His prayers with loud cries and tears. (Who are we to think ourselves "too refined" for that kind of praying?)

The writer of Hebrews encouraged the believers to mature spiritually. He appears to be frustrated with the fact that they were not showing any apparent growth, He warned that the believer that is not moving forward in truth (by acting on it) is moving backwards (by rejecting it).

He affirmed that God, Who cannot lie, created hope by making [and keeping] promises throughout history. This hope is as trustworthy as an anchor that is well-embedded in the ocean floor that prevents a boat from drifting at sea. *

He compared Christ's priestly position to that of Melchizedek, who was Abraham's priest. However, Christ was a perfect priest Who did not have to offer a sacrifice for His own sins (having none), rather He made Himself to be the sacrifice, once and for all, for the sins of everyone who by faith believes.

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* The best way for a sailor to know that an anchor is or is not embedded and is therefore either holding or dragging on the bottom, is evidenced in the way that the waves break against the bow. A drifting boat suffers little opposition from the waves and glides off-course peacefully.

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December 19 (Hebrews)

We read that the Mosaic sacrificial system was a mysterious precursor to the perfect sacrifice, redemption, and glorification of Christ. In the New Covenant, rather than the Law being written on tablets of stone, they would be written in the hears of the believers.

Christ's sacrifice made all believers right before God in status even though each believer, by the work of the Holy Spirit, progressively sheds the effects of carnality to become holy through sanctification. He sternly warned, "...If we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins." Willful sinning (sinning of a high hand) is evidence that the sinner is rejecting God's salvation altogether.

Finally, the writer encouraged the believers by writing, "But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved."

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December 20 (Hebrews)

We read Hebrews chapter eleven, the chapter of the great heroes of the faith. Each hero is credited with righteousness because of how he or she obeyed God in faith.

A great truth revealed in this portion is: "...it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek Him." The reward is God Himself."

The writer noted that all the heroes named, many of them enduring horrific tortures, died without realizing the full enjoyment of the reward that came with Jesus' ultimate sacrifice. Now with the sufferings of these heroes in mind, we, who are on the other side of Christ's salvation work, who enjoy the full benefit of the Holy Spirit's indwelling, must ever be vigilant to rid ourselves of all hindrances to what God wills for our lives. We accomplish this by detesting the temporal to cling onto the eternal. (We cannot carry diamonds if our hands are full of mud.) God will help us through the unpleasant tool of discipline.

Finally, the writer warned the reader not to refuse to listen to Jesus because if the rebels who refused to listen to the human prophet Moses were destroyed, how much worse it will be for those who rebel against the Eternal Son of God.

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December 21 (Hebrews, 1 Peter)

We read the conclusion of Hebrews where the writer encouraged the readers to guard their behavior, to care for the hurting, and to imitate and respect the leaders of the faith. He warned against straying from the truth of the Gospel for strange doctrines or a return to the old sacrificial system of trying to obey the Law of Moses. He prayed a final blessing that God will equip them with whatever is needed to do His will and that through the power of Jesus Christ, they would be given the ability to please Him.

Next, we begin reading the first of Peter's two letters. In it he begins with a brief synopsis of God's grace and power of protection for the salvation of our soul. He confirmed the content of Hebrews 11:39 in 1 Peter 1:10-12. The prophets longed to know what we know and sadly what we often take for granted. He reminded them that God's mysterious plan was revealed in Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection, but more is to be revealed when He returns. So the writer encouraged them to live a life of holiness because they have been born into a life that will last forever. Secular advisers say, "Do not dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want." Christians are clothed with the heavenly garment of Christ's righteousness.

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December 22 (1 Peter)

We read how Peter used the analogy of the structure and function of the Temple to describe the roles of God, Christ and the believers. He warned the reader to remain focused on their heavenly residence, where all deeds done on earth will be judged, and to consider their current situation as that of a temporary existence.

He gave instructions on proper Christian conduct regarding relationships with people of various social stations. He encouraged them to maintain a clean reputation in spite of the suffering they are called to endure. He praised the gift of suffering for Christ because in the midst of enduring it is the proof that sin has no dominion over the sufferer. So knowing this, he taught the martyr to keep doing what is right and trust his or her life to God because He will never fail him or her.

Finally, he challenged the mature men in the church to be vigilant in selflessly and carefully watching over the church body of believers, because Satan is ever eager to mercilessly inflict the maximum pain possible. His prescription is for believers to resist him and remain strong in their faith while remembering that, "...He will restore, support, and strengthen [them], and He will place [them] on a firm foundation."

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December 23 (1 Peter, 2 Peter)

We read the conclusion of Peter's first letter and the entirety of his second letter. He explained that the purpose of his letter was to encourage the suffering believer to endure patiently by standing firm in what he or she believes, because what she or she was experiencing was God's will for their life.

In his second letter Peter affirmed that because the readers know God, they have assurance that he has given them all that they need to live like Christ. He reminded them to keep God's eternal promises in mind to shield them from carnal temptations. He challenged them to get into the center of His will. This will assure them that their salvation is genuine. However, those who know little of Him, hang out on the fringes, and avoid His discipline are shallow, weak, and ungrateful, and will be more likely to fall away.

He warned against the false prophets. He taught that God's coming judgment of the world through fire will be even more devastating than His former judgment through the great flood. (When we see the strength of His power in action, we will be thrilled to be safe with Him. This ought to motivate us to live godly lives while we have the choice. We will be ever so happy that we did, on that Day.)

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December 24 (1 John)

We read the first of the Apostle John's letters that he wrote to encourage his believing readers to remain in the Truth so that they will not sin, but that if any believer does sin, he or she can rely on Jesus as their Advocate before God for forgiveness. He taught that the evidence of the believer's salvation is proven through obedience to God's commandments and the expression of his or her love for fellow Christians.

If anyone lives in rebellion or harbors hatred for any believer, the Love of God cannot be in him or her. He taught that no one is able to love both the things of the world and heaven at the same time. Worldly things refer to physical pleasures and pride in self-sufficiency.

He taught that if believers maintain their fellowship with Christ, they will be able to stand in confidence while all others shrink away in shame during Revelation 21:7-8. He wrote that all who remain in Jesus will not deliberately sin. Finally, for today's reading, he repeated the theme of warning against false teachers, those who hold to a non-Biblical worldview.

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December 25 (1 John, 2 John, 3 John)

(Merry Christmas!) We read that the purpose of John's letter is to confirm the authenticity of the readers' salvation and that they should pray with confidence when they do so in agreement with the will of God. He challenged the believers to demonstrate love for each other. He reminded them that having God's Spirit on the inside assures them of their salvation. He taught that the believer's victory of over the evil of the world system can only be accomplished through their faith in God.

He taught that believers should pray for God's mercy over another believer who is struggling with a particular sin, but he also warned that a believer who deliberately and repeatedly sins (with a high hand) may have their live taken by God for the sake of the health of the rest of the church body.

Next, we read John's second and third letters. In them he encouraged the believers to remain in God's Truth, obey His commands, and show love to the others in the church.

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December 26 (Jude, Revelation)

We read the letter written by Jude who wrote his letter to urge the believers to defend the faith against all false teachers. He challenged believers to build each other up in the faith.

Next, we read Jesus' revelation of the impending climax of God's plan. John gave a description of Jesus and the purpose and intended audience for the book. In it Jesus assessed the condition of each of the seven first century churches.

Jesus was disappointed that the church in Ephesus had given up on the love that they once practiced for each other and God. His encouragement was for their diligence, faithfulness, and their resolve not to deny Christ during their persecution. He promised them a reward for overcoming.

The second church was in Smyrna. He made no complaint against them. His encouragement was for their endurance in the face of persecution and poverty. He promised them a reward for their faithfulness.

Finally, the third church was in Thyatira. His complaint was that they tolerate a false prophetess within their church membership. His encouragement was that the were some that resisted her teaching. He promised future positions of authority and power to those who continue to obey Him.

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December 27 (Revelation)

We read Jesus' revelation given to John. It continues with Jesus' assessment of the remaining three churches. He informed the church in Sardis that He could see right through their masquerade. Jesus challenged them to sincerely return to the basics of Christianity. He commended the obedient ones.

Jesus had only encouragement for the church in Philadelphia because they demonstrated resilience in the face of persecution. Jesus promised great rewards for their continued perseverance.

The final church that Jesus assessed was in Laodicea. He decried their self-sufficient indifference. Included in this portion is a statement that demonstrates Jesus' magnificent grace of waiting for an invitation to enter where He has every prerogative to expect humans' complete and unrequited subservience.

Next, John described the brilliance of God's throne and the constant unified worship of Him by the surrounding elders and the living beings for His holiness and His master craftsmanship in all of creation. Then one of the twenty-four elders revealed that Jesus was the only One worthy of opening the scroll held by God on the throne. Catastrophic disasters were inflicted upon the earth as He broke six of the seven seals on the scroll.

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December 28 (Revelation)

We read that before the breaking of the seventh seal, an angel came to preserve the Lord's one hundred fourty-four thousand servants. The next scene is of the crowds of believers from every race who died during the great tribulation, praising God in heaven.

When the seventh seal was broken, there was a moment of silence. Seven angels were each given a trumpet and an angel took the prayers of the saints mixed with incense and poured them on the altar. An angel took fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, causing great thunder, lightning, and earthquakes. As each angel took turns blowing his trumpet, great destruction and suffering was inflicted on the earth and the people. After the fourth affliction was dealt, an angel few to warn of more destruction to come.

Then after the fifth and sixth trumpet was blown, the people still refused to repent. A pause in the destruction was made to announce that upon the blowing of the seventh trumpet, "God's mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as He announced it to His servants the prophets."

John was given a scroll to eat and instructed to prophesy again about all the earth's various people. It was sweet in his mouth, but it turned sour in his stomach, just as the angel had said that it would.

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December 29 (Revelation)

We read about the two witnesses that have almost three and a half years to prophesy. They will be invincible and will have power over nature. When their allotted time is spent, the beast from the bottomless pit will kill them. Everyone will gloat over their dead bodies for three and a half days until God's breath reenters their bodies and He draws them up into heaven. *

Next, the seventh angel blew his trumpet to announce that the time of God's reign would become evident with the first order of business being to judge the redeemed and the rebels. The deeds of the redeemed are measured for an increased reward while the deeds of the rebels are measured for their appropriate punishment. Then in heaven, the Temple of God will be opened where the Ark of His Covenant will be presented with great power.

John saw, "...an event of great significance." It was the interaction between the woman and the dragon. **

Next, John saw two more visions of beasts coming out of the sea and the earth, respectively. Each one blasphemed God and overpowered the believers, however Jesus will be victorious. ***

In the end, there will be a great harvest of souls over all the history of the world, the righteous to heaven and the unrighteous to hell.

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* In the past, this detail was a mystery, but now with the invention of the personal mobile phone, it is very plausible that there will be enough of them across the earth to make this possible.

** My goal here is only to summarize, not interpret. So I'll only write that (to me) the event appears to be a symbolic overview of Satan's historic attack on God with Israel caught in the middle.

*** The apparent purpose of the vision is to encourage the Christians that will be persecuted and martyred to endure with patience, obeying His commands, and maintaining their faith in Jesus to the point of their deaths.

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December 30 (Revelation)

We read John's second of two "significant events." There were seven angels each holding a plague that would finally bring God's wrath to completion. But before they could begin their task that would devastate the earth with contagious diseases, total death of everything in the sea, the loss of all drinking water, scorching solar flares, total blindness, a temporary reprieve will be given to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. *

The overcomers will sing about God's works, ways, fearfulness, glory, holiness, worshipful essence, and His total transparency to those He loves. Following this, the full wrath of the worst suffering imaginable will be inflicted on all unbelievers, but they will refuse to repent. It will end with an earthquake so severe that the entire earth's topography will be altered, leaving her without any mountains or islands. John also saw the punishment and destruction of the world system infrastructure built on lust and luxury and the fall of all the hoarders of wealth. The command will be given for all God's worshipers of all time to rejoice because this judgment is in recompense for the collective suffering of all righteous people throughout history.

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* This reminds me of Psalm 23:5.

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December 31 (Revelation)

We conclude the Bible by reading that the perfect worship of God in heaven will be done with shouting and falling prostrate on the ground. Then Jesus on a white horse and His armies dressed in white, also on white horses, will kill all the enemies of God. Satan's leaders will be cast alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. He will be bound for a thousand years while the martyred Christian will rule with Christ.

Then upon his release, Satan will assemble all whom he can deceive for a final, but futile attempt to destroy God's people and His city.

John saw the great white throne where those whose names were not found in the Book of Life will be judged and cast into the eternal lake of fire.

God will live among His people, as their Father and they, in their new heavenly bodies will enjoy His presence without fear in the new heaven and earth.

Finally, Jesus said that the events of this revelation is soon to come. So everyone needs to get ready because only those who have "washed their robes" will be admitted.

A dreadful warning was made against changing any of the words in this Revelation.

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