Monday, November 24, 2014

So much money can't buy (Revelation 18, 1 Thess 4:11-12, Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV, Matthew 6:9-13 The Message)

"Gigi, my Husband's Grandma"
Our visit in 2010

the richest things in life are free
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

My husband, "Todd," and I went to see his Grandma in New Mexico.  It was in Roswell the famous place for Martians and Extraterrestrials : )  We've been blessed to do lots of fun things but visiting her melted my heart.  She always hated her picture taken so I had to sneak a photo while my husband distracted her.  I'm afraid to post the photo with her glaring at me when she caught me.  She was just a really sweet woman.  She would wear clothes from the Salvation Army even though her husband worked in a bank.  She liked to save money.  Her simple life, antics, and fun sense of humor are surely missed now.  This kind of stuff is what is most valuable in life.  She passed away this year.

Revelation 18

The Fall of Babylon the Great
1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 
Ok so glorious light that illuminates an angel is good.  Smoldering charcoal, ashes, and brimstone, endless depths... very bad.  Just a few thoughts.  

2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 

3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
To me this describes debt and credit cards.  Buying things we can't afford to pretend to be rich, while children are home with no parents.  If you ask someone else they would probably come up with another answer.  I just remember playing hide and seek outside after school, swing sets and red rover.  God is pleased when we work hard.  He loves honesty and those who look after others.  We've all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  This describes a commercial Babylon, you can get anything on the internet these days.  It could be the latest Babylon.
11 ... aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
(1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NKJV)
4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow. ’ 8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.
I don't think it's wrong to go shopping.  I guess we need to really think about what God would say if He was behind the cash register.  The internet is so private, are there things He wouldn't like and we believe He can't see?  In verses 4-8 I sense God's compassion, "Come away from this."  He's saying, "This is not for you."
28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
(Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)
The World Mourns Babylon's Fall
9 “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come. ’
11 “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore 12 merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13 and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men.
I'm thinking the bodies and souls of men are what God is most concerned about.  It reminded me of these words of Jesus.
36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul.
(Mark 8:36-37 NKJV)
At first I read this and thought it's the shopping mall up the street!!?  Oh no!  Gold, silver and precious gems remind me of the stock market and the internet.  Face it we have access to some really bad and good stuff.  I don't know that the stock market is all that bad unless we put money in we can't afford to spend.  The internet?  We really need to be careful.  Adobe came out with this "iCloud" concept.  Just put copies of your original artwork on iCloud and we'll critique it for you...  Right.  And who loses the rights to it?  Artists.  We used to call that stealing... dunno.  Even more concerning is all our phone calls and messages can be stored in the ominous, "iCloud," without our knowledge.  When I shut it off on my iPhone, I got a message from AT&T saying, "We won't be able to see your photos!"  

Stuff that is mine stays in my studio unless I'm using it for the Lord, or want to sell it.  Sorry my programmer/artist side took over : )  What would we do without the internet now?  Just be sure to keep "location services" turned off unless it's an emergency.  Bad guys can track down children with it on a photograph.  Does it seem to you like the more cool stuff we get, the more chance of evil creeping in happens?

14 The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all. 15 The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16 and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! 
I can relate to this.   Sometimes I get something and think it's just the most wonderful thing in the world.  In The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien, it was Smeagol's "my Precious."  Smeagol lost his health, friends, happiness, and became consumed with a gold ring that made him invisible.  Is that what the web does?  Makes us invisible to do bad things?  Maybe it was prophetic : )

Then I have simple desires like: just sitting and reading the Bible, spending time with my husband, seeing someone's face light up when I say, "hi."  Painting something with animals in it, simple things that make life fun and happy.  I like to play games on the computer.  These things aren't worth millions.  They're worth far more than money.

When I got my new Nikon.  I thought how it is going to really make my photos awesome.  So I pulled it out and we went to find the fall colors.  This camera has a million settings...  It has options in rings around the shutter button for 3 levels!  The wonder and glory of the camera just went poof!  Now I have to spend time studying the camera argh!  I really love nature more than the tool to photograph it.  Now I get it...

17 For in one hour such great riches came to nothing. Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance 18 and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city? ’
19 “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate. ’

20 “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”

Finality of Babylon's Fall
21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore. 22 The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore. 23 The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.
(Revelation 18:1-24 NKJV)
This is describing advertising that makes people addicted to buying new products. "Get rid of that old washer.  It's time to get a Zappo!  It will wash away all of your problems."  

Could elevator music be as or more annoying to God than we realize (verse 22)?  The other one that really stood out was about the bridegroom and bride.  It's very common for couples who will marry to get on a registry for wedding gifts. That's not wrong in itself there's more to this in God's eyes. 

According to verse 17 it only took 1 hour to destroy it all.  After we had the hurricane in NJ a few years ago, I felt like I was in the dark ages.  The house was really cold.  The heater didn't come on.  I used candles for light at night.  We could only watch dvds on a battery operated dvd player my husband had, and music on my boom box.  I cooked canned food primarily.  With a gas stove, I could use a match to light it.  It wasn't fun.  I felt like I could never create art again, shut down.  I read my Bible and prayed finding comfort with that.  There was a Christian radio station I could listen to with XM in my car.
Still hoping for the rapture first.  But there's also a happy surprise in Chapter 20.

Dear Heavenly Father,
There's so much to consider in this Chapter.  Everything disappearing in an hour.  I thank You for Your unending love and forgiveness when we come to You and confess.  I pray for those in Ukraine that You will bring peace and hope.  Bless the European countries father and help us overcome our greed. Open our eyes to see what all the shopping and stuff we buy really does to us.  Heal our creativity, help us to enjoy life like little children again.  I look forward to Your return.

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
10 Set the world right;
Do what's best––
  as above, so below.
11 Keep us alive with three square meals.
12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
  Yes. Yes. Yes .
(Matthew 6:9-13 Message)

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Another example of how much God loves us.  
This is a great song from Francesca Bottacelli, "He knows my name (link)"

My thanks again to Pastor Chuck Smith, Costa Mesa Calvary Chapel,  here are his notes for this chapter of Revelation: 

Though spiritual Babylon is identified as Rome, commercial Babylon isn't identified with a particular city. With the transfer of the world's wealth to the Middle East, some believe that the original Babylon will be rebuilt.
v.1-10 The destruction of commercial Babylon will be swift. In one hour it will be utterly burned. Since the onlookers will be "standing afar off for the fear of her torment," perhaps there will be radiation contamination.
v.20-24 While those on earth are mourning the fate of Babylon, heaven is rejoicing.
v.23 This verse speaks of the merchants. "By thy sorceries were all nations deceived" suggests a Madison Avenue-type advertising which makes people slaves to the acquisition of things.


  1. Hi Karen,
    We sure do need to be careful with the internet an losing our original stuff. The rules in cyber space are changing rapidly and sometimes it is hard to keep up. Facebook just changed their privacy policy again!

    Glad you were able to sneak a good pic of your husband's grandma. I can relate to her though, I really hate my picture being taken. :P


  2. Hi Child of God thanks so much for your comment. To be honest I don't like my picture taken either! But, I knew we wouldn't be able to see her again soon. So glad I got just one shot. Yeah all the cyber stalking is scary. I was looking at a web site and saw an ad for my home town. It really made me nervous about how much info these guys are collecting about us.

    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! May God bless you in your prayer ministry.