Saturday, December 27, 2014

Salute to the NYPD and all Police Officers (Romans 13:1-7)

"NYPD Squad Car in New York City"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Today in New York City a funeral is being held for Police Officer Rafael Ramos.  He was our brother in the Lord.  A servant in the Church, who looked out for others, and was an usher.  To be honest I probably wouldn't have noticed him.  Just another Christian helping the elderly and supporting his Church.  We get used to this at Church, he's with Jesus now in Paradise.  These verses were written many years ago but they still apply to us today.  God's Word is timeless : )  

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
(Romans 13:1-7 NKJV)

I am confused by our young people.  I wonder what the school system is teaching them.  Since when is suicide noble?  It's never been nor will it ever be noble.  It's evil.  And the result of this decision will bring eternal suffering, not peace.  Maybe the schools need to be re-evaluated so kids are taught to be good and give to the community instead of destroying it and themselves.  The Police are not our enemies.  In New Jersey they've helped me out many times and I am very grateful.  Maybe it's a sign that Jesus will return soon.  I hope so!

My prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
This is beyond me.  I don't know how to fix this broken nation where young people destroy all that is good.  You do.  You are God.  You know all and see all.  I pray for Your Holy Spirit to  heal and protect the Ramos family, as well as the Liu family.  I pray You will open the eyes of those in education and help them teach children honor, responsibility and respect.  I praise you for the kids who are good and considerate of others.   I'm sure the good outweighs the bad.  We usually only hear about the bad.  Please revive our nation and bring us back to who we really are, "The Land of the free.  The home of the brave."    Please bless our Police Officers and protect them from harm.  Thank You Father for looking after our needs.

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 I pray,

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Story 5, Shepherds and Angels (Luke 2:8-14, Psalm 23, Isaiah 11:10, Micah 5:2-4)

"Such an amazing sight, angels everywhere, singing!"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

The first time the full impact of this part of the Christmas story really dawned on me, was when I was watching a movie about Jesus.  I'm not one to get real emotional, but I cried.  The shepherds were the lowest of the low socially.  They were humble people who lived in the fields tending sheep.  They told each other stories about the constellations in the night sky; they played instruments.  They didn't have fine robes and big houses. If God had waited 2000 years He could've made an announcement on TV.  But that wasn't His plan.   I'm so grateful.  King David was called by God when he was a shepherd boy.  These were simple, humble, and honorable people- like us.

Luke 2:8-14
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 "Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

I think I would be afraid too if I saw an angel.  Just imagine, it's the dead of night.  The shepherds are listening for any disturbance in the bush, a wolf? A lion?  There may have been a soothing song playing in the background to calm the sheep.  They always protected the sheep, their income.  When suddenly a great light appears before them!  An angel speaks.  Sheep?  What sheep?  What is this?  Then the whole sky lights up!  And the angels rejoice right in front of the shepherds!  We will see this in Heaven too.  How awesome is that?  In verse 10 you see "I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people." The message is expanding it's no longer just for Jews it's for all people now.  Even those of us who are Gentiles.  There are many prophecies in Isaiah and Jeremiah about the Gentiles.  Here's one:

Isaiah 11:10
10 "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious."

The Jews will always be God's chosen ones, always the first-fruits.  God chose to include the Gentiles as well.  For that I am very grateful.  Jesse was David's father, Mary and Joseph are of the lineage of David.  Jesus came through the root of Jesse.  This prophecy sounds like it's referring to the manger in Bethlehem.  The wise men were Gentiles.  

God mentions the shepherd many times in Scripture.  He is God, I'm a sheep...  But, from what I've read a shepherd's job is very taxing.  They need to watch everything their sheep do.  They're not the brightest of animals and will eat poisonous food, get scared to death literally, and fall off of cliffs.  It does sound familiar ...  They are also considered a tasty treat by meat eating animals so they constantly need to be guarded and protected.  It would take a great deal of patience and love to handle a job like this.  

2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”
3 Therefore He shall give them up,
Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth;
Then the remnant of His brethren
Shall return to the children of Israel.
4 And He shall stand and feed His flock
In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God;
And they shall abide,
For now He shall be great
To the ends of the earth;
(Micah 5:2-4 NKJV)

My favorite Psalm, I memorized this and repeat it before I go to sleep at night.  God calls Himself our Shepherd.

Psalms 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

A great Christian book on God as our shepherd is A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (link), by W. Phillip Keller.

One day we will see the angels in glory, and sing in their choir!  My husband is bringing Santa Claus with him to the Nursing Home, where he works.  They always get a big laugh and have fun.

Pentatonix, The Little Drummer Boy (link)
Gifts from the heart are the very best.

Do you hear what I hear? Carrie Underwood (link)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Joseph's Reaction (Christmas Story 2) (Psalm 19:7, Matt 1:18-25, Isaiah 9:7)

"At first Joseph didn't know what to think"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Over a thousand years before the birth of Christ, David wrote this Psalm.  This verse seems to fit what Joseph and Mary had to deal with.  It would be amazing to be visited by an angel. 
Psalm 19:7
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple...
Matthew 1:18-25
18 After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
Joseph seemed to have the same reaction to this as Mary, "What!!?  Wait a minute..."   Joseph, like a lot of men, came up with a plan in his mind and knew how he was going to fix things.  By this time, Mary knew she was carrying a baby.  She trusted God, believed Gabriel, and now she would've felt incredibly alone. 

This is how God worked it out:  

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
(Matthew 1:20-25 NKJV)

Joseph strikes me as a simple man, a carpenter.  He's honorable and keeps his word.  Obviously he had great strength and faith that God would choose him to take care of Mary and Jesus.  Joseph and Mary were asked to believe and do the unacceptable, the impossible.  But the purpose behind what God had in mind is beyond comprehension. Both Mary and Joseph were from the lineage of David fulfilling this prophecy about Jesus:

Isaiah 9:7
7 Of the increase of His government and peace, There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice. From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

'm so glad they took God at His Word and didn't give up.  I can only imagine what Joseph was thinking through all of this :  )

Nicole C. Mullen is one of my favorite Christian Musicians.  This song seems to apply to Joseph's thoughts.
O Come, O Come, Immanuel, Nicole C. Mullen (link)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Story 1, Gabriel and Mary (Luke 1:26-38, Isaiah 7:14-15, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, Luke1:46-55)

The story begins in the Old Testament with prophecies.  It's such an incredible story, I'm sure people debated how the prophecy could possibly be fulfilled for many years.  I wonder if they discussed whether the scripture is literal or figurative...  Here's one prophecy:

Isaiah 7:14-15
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.  
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
(1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NKJV)

After many many years, God sent the angel, "Gabriel," to visit Mary.

Luke 1:26-38
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 

I would have been nervous too if I heard the words, "Rejoice highly favored one..."  I'd be skeptical of who this was, and what this was about.  This is a common reaction to an angel's appearance in the Bible.  But it also shows how humble Mary was.  She didn't say, "You got that right!"  

30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"

Jacob became Israel after wrestling God.  Another twist is that there already was a king in place for Israel, "Herod."  He was put in place by the Romans.  So what Gabriel is saying is that her child would reign over Israel.  Her response is so sincere.  "What!!?  Wait a minute... She might've been thinking, I was just picking flowers and feeding animals what is all this?"

35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible." 
38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. 


Her faith must've been very strong.  She seeks to please God, acknowledging she is His maidservant.  Perhaps this is why God chose her to bear His Son.  Her faith is simple trust, she is humble, and wise.  You would think God would choose a wealthy family, people with educations, and a big safe house.  But not our God.  He chose Mary and Joseph, two hardworking young people, with a simple faith that helped change the world.  I can only imagine what Mary must've been thinking after meeting Gabriel.  I would've been going over this for awhile in my mind.  

"Mary pondered these things in her heart"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Mary's song:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
   of the humble state of his servant.
   From now on all generations will call me      blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

Luke 1:46-55

Here's a song that describes how Mary may have felt:   

Monday, December 15, 2014

The River of Life (Revelation 22, John 1:1-5, 4:14, Romans 8:31-32)

"Pure Water"
Pure, Clean, Life Saving, Water!
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

This is the last chapter of Revelation!  We should all do a cheer : ) Not an easy book to read in the Bible at all but it has a great ending.  It's near Christmas so I thought I'd call relatives before I send out cards. I called my Aunt and we had a good talk.  She said she has also been reading Revelation.  I had no idea but she reads a few chapters of the Bible every night.  We talked about what it meant and it was just very cool!  I told her about how God kept following me until I became a Christian and she said, "It's because God knew you needed Him with all the stuff your parents were going through."

That brought so much healing.  It's not just me.  

Revelation Chapter 22

After Armageddon, the rivers will be full of life again.  They will be crystal clear.  

The River of Life
1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there:  They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
If you remember the Euphrates was to be dried up before the Battle of Armageddon.  Now a new river will be in place that will never dry up.  I still want to paint there if it's ok with Jesus. No more curse for women or men.  Instead of the "6 6 6" mark of the beast we'll have God's name on our foreheads.  We were created in His image.  No more night, darkness or fear.

The Time Is Near
6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
7 “ Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.
It is very important to God that we not worship other people, angels, prophets anyone other than God Himself.  It is also saying that the book of Revelation is to remain open and not be sealed.  I think He's referring to people who pretend to be Christian and perfect but secretly do evil.  God is saying He will deal with that, not to interfere.

Jesus Testifies to the Churches
12 “ And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
(John 1:1-5 NKJV)
I am including John 1:1-5 because it is so similar to Revelation.  Jesus is from the beginning of the world and the Bible.  The Alpha (Greek letter "A") and Omega (Greek letter "Z").  The beginning and the end.  There is so much consistency throughout the Bible.  Yet it was written by several inspired men.

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17 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.

A Warning:
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:  If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
I believe what this means is God doesn't want Revelation to be censored or edited.  I write my thoughts but that's all they are just thoughts, so I use a different font to make it clear.  I think something we struggle with today is, "Political Correctness."  People are so worried about what others think, they may even be tempted to change the meaning of Revelation, so it's more comfortable for others.  Definitely not a good idea.  We also have several versions of the Bible today, in all sorts of languages.  I believe this is very good and will please God.  

I would sum it up as God is almighty, nothing is impossible for Him.  I respect Him.  Not out of fear but out of love.  Because He changed my life in really good ways.  He helped me through some pretty impossible situations, even blessing my career.  It's something we don't even think God would be interested in but He is!  
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.
(Romans 8:31-32 NKJV)
Amen.  God is for us!  Come Lord Jesus, Come.

I Am Coming Quickly
20 He who testifies to these things says,“ Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen
(Revelation 22:1-21 NKJV)

The one who wrote this down and testifies to it's truth is the Apostle John.  Looking forward to meeting him one day, in the New Jerusalem.  

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thanks for streets of gold, and clear, clean, water.  Thanks for cleansing us from our sins when we confess.  You are a righteous and Holy God!  The only God.  I lift up those in Australia as they struggle with terrorism in Sydney.  Please bring peace and hope to these people.  Help them get through this terrible time.  America has had some dark days as well.   I pray for Your protection in Ukraine and that there will be no more penalties for these people.  Bless them with Your hope and presence Father.  I pray You will bless the American kids protesting with a true understanding of what Christmas really is about : )  It's in our hearts not our pocket books.  Protesting Macy's is just plain silly.  Thank You for Jesus, our Savior!  Expose the deeds of darkness and let Your awesome light shine!  Bring back the Jesus movement Lord, so more young people can come to You.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Ok I love to laugh and after reading Revelation we could sure use some laughter!!! 
Willie Robertson and Luke Bryan are wishing us all a Hairy Christmas (link)!  

Not sure if you remember, but tradition says that gift giving and Santa were started by Saint Nicolas in Turkey. I like how this song says Jesus and Santa Claus both came from love.  Santa from human love; Jesus from God's love.

Story of Santa Claus (link)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Heaven and Earth (Revelation 21)

We had a Nor'easter today in New Jersey.  It was nothing this year.  Lots of rain and not any snow.  That's some good news : )  Our bank worked with the Salvation Army to put together Christmas gifts for kids.  In NJ we do have some very rich and very poor people.  My husband got a set of 100 hot wheels and a box to carry them for a little boy, and I got a set of crayons with some small "Frozen" dolls.  We never had kids so it was very fun!  The Salvation Army will distribute the toys to parents and allow them to pick things out for their kids.  It must be hard to be low on money around Christmas if you have kids.

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
No more pain, crying, or mourning.  We'll get to meet the Bible heroes like Moses, Abraham, David, Mary, and Joseph. When we sing our songs of worship the whole world will rock!  And we'll see Pastor Chuck who has gone before us.

5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
God sounds so excited : )  "I'm making all things new!"  No more evil or temptation.  The devil is no more.

6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars —they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
He won't tolerate people who give up and choose to continue in evil.  God describes evil doers as cowardly.  Children will be safe from predators.  We'll be under God's rule now.  As I read this I am concerned that people will think of their sins and give up.  It's not like that, the victorious are those who seek God first.  Those who believe in God's sacrifice for man and women, His forgiveness and ability to help us change.

9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
God chose 12 disciples and created 12 tribes.  God has not forgotten the Apostles or the Martyrs. 

15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
The new city will be 1500 miles, up, down, sideways, all around cube (not like work cubes... ugh!) this will be Heavenly.  Something that stands out to me and maybe I'm being a geek, but God makes most things round.  The sun, planets, earth these are round.  But the New Jerusalem will be a cube.  Who cares right?  We will be free with the best music ever, no more evil, pain, shame, none of that stuff.  We will sparkle.

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
It stands out to me that the glory and honor of the "nations" is mentioned.  The Church is much bigger than we realize today.  It spreads all over the world.  
(Revelation 21:1-27 NIV)

Matt Maher, Christ Is Risen  (link)

Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift up the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa.  It would be really hard to lose a man like Chuck.   I'm sure You have others in mind to lead the ministry.  I pray You will heal his family from the pain in losing their Dad.  Please be with our leaders in government.  I pray You will watch over them and help them make the right choices.  I pray for Your continued blessing on Ukraine and safety as Prince William and Kate travel.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

I included a link to Pastor Chuck's tribute after he passed away.  I thought some others might have known him or about him.  
Tribute to Pastor Chuck's ministry (link)
1927-2013 He was blessed by God who touched my heart.  Bet your having lots of fun in Paradise Pastor, maybe doing some cloud surfing : )  I'll never forget Calvary Chapel from when I was a little girl.  I vaguely remember seeing him and his wife.

Notes from Pastor Chuck Smith's Blue Letter Bible (link):
v.11 "Jasper stone" is the diamond.
v.12 The number twelve is used often in the new city.
v.16 The new city will be about 1500 miles in a cube, so it may be built on many levels.
v.19-20 These stones were in the breastplates of the Jewish priests.
v.23 God will provide the light source for the new city.

Used With Permission
© The Word For Today. We thank Chuck Smith, The Word For Today and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for their permission to utilize this work.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Jesus' reign for 1000 years (Revelation 20, John 1:1-5, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 )

"We long for God's goodness and hope"
We have lots of deer in New Jersey.

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

All around it seems like violence is stirring up.  We have heard of a couple of men who died as a result of a couple of Police.  The temptation is to believe all police are doing this.  Deep down we know it isn't true.  This happened before, in the 60's.  We are dismayed and afraid of the protests, of not knowing where to turn.  To express the horror of death, people chose to destroy businesses, cars, whatever they could touch.  The owners didn't deserve it.  Where is the hope? the love?  Respect for our neighbors and their property?  God hasn't forgotten us.  This part of Revelation describes 1000 years of peace.  I can't even imagine that much time.  Jesus will reign on earth.  He is full of compassion, He sees all and knows all.  No one will be able to hide from the truth or the light.  

Revelation 20

Satan Bound 1000 Years
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
The devil is in chains!  Woohoo!  We are free.  Jesus will reign on the earth!  It seems to me that God has seen all that the devil has done to destroy and deceive His kingdom.  So in order to sift out those who have been deceived and allow them to know the truth, Satan will get a new home in the abyss.  It's a shaft in the center of the earth.  Sorta wish it would stop here with the devil but God has something else in mind later on.  I can't help but notice some of this is also in Greek Mythology, "Hades," the "Abyss."  Jesus came before the Greeks : )  I believe God's Holy Spirit was spreading His message long before we were born.  With no TV sets in this time period, fishermen, shepherds and merchants would watch the stars and tell stories of the constellations as entertainment.  It would be fun to hear their stories today after all we've learned.  The Bible is the inspired Word of God.  God spread His message by inspiring people and He still is.

Moving right along... 
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
(John 1:1-5 NKJV)
The Saints Reign with Christ 1000 Years
Woohoo!  No temptation, peace, love, joy and fun.  I want to paint by the River of Life : )  if it would please the Lord.  The martyrs and all those who didn't take the mark of the beast will be able to partake in the 1000 years.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

These verses describe what is written above.  This would be from a letter the Apostle Paul wrote.  The Bible is a huge book and it's hard to grasp all the links and consistency in it.  But this is one that is pretty awesome.  Revelation was recorded by the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos.  The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Thessalonians along the same lines:
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV)
Satanic Rebellion Crushed
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Woohoo!  No more devil.  However some people will rebel against God during Jesus' reign of peace.  Their actions will be judged.  Even in a place of peace and joy with our loving, perfect Savior some will still believe sin is more fun, "I want 'my precious,' back."

It's the one thing that is their addiction over all rational choice like, "Smeagol's gold ring," in Lord of the Rings.  It will bring ultimate self destruction.  Even near the end, we all have choices, God doesn't use mind control to make us His robots.  We are free to choose.

The Great White Throne Judgment
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Those who believe Jesus is their Savior, won't be judged from the Great White Throne.  It's really a relationship with God.  Jesus is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent.  He is all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere at once.  When I got to know Him at first, I laughed for the first time in years.  My first spiritual gift was joy.  This heavy blanket of depression just disappeared, I was 16.  He changed my life and I still have the joy.
(Revelation 20:1-15 NKJV)

Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift up those who have been frightened by the latest incidents in the US.  I pray You will heal our land and help us to find peace in You.  We are so looking forward to Your return.  No more war or violence.  You will be our God and no human will take Your place.  I also pray for the families who lost loved ones.  Help them be able to understand and know of Your amazing love.  Bring healing, love and hope to our country.

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.

This is the best song for this section of Revelation.  My throat gets tight just hearing the Soprano section : ) can't believe we sang this last year!
Royal Choral Society, Hallelujah Chorus (link)

I just learned that Pastor Chuck passed away last year.  One of His legacies is the Blue Letter Bible with his notes (I've been using them).  He had a big part of the Jesus movement in the 60's and led countless people to the Lord. He started Calvary Chapel in a Circus Tent in Costa Mesa so the Hippies could come to Church barefoot.  Here's the Notes from Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa:

v.3 "The bottomless pit" is also called the abussos or shaft which goes from the surface to the center of the earth. Hades, in the center of the earth, is where dead men go; the abussos is where the demons go.
v.4 Those on the thrones of judgment may be the Church.
v.6 The Church will be in heavenly bodies and, thus, will not be subject to the deceptions of Satan.
v.7-9 Many people will choose to follow Satan, though they will have lived on earth during the reign of Christ. They will rebel against the "rod of iron"-the enforced righteousness that will characterize His reign.
v.10 "Forever and ever" is from the ages to the ages.
v.11-15 The great white throne judgment will not be for the Church.
v.12 The books that will be opened suggests that accounts of our actions are kept in heaven.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Voice of many waters (Revelation 19, Matthew 6:19-21, Luke 9:46-48, Romans 3:21-24, John 1:1-5, Hebrews 4:12-13)

"Close up of a Waterfall"
It sounded like an incredibly loud roar, booming.

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Many waters symbolizes across the nations.  We left off with the fall of Babylon the great.  The prophecy stated that it will be destroyed in 1 hour.  These words of Jesus describe what God really wants:
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." 
(Matthew 6:19-21)
The richest things in life are free.

Revelation Chapter 19

Heaven Exults over Babylon
1 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! 2 For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” 3 Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” 4 And the twenty- four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” 5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!
Wow!  This would be so amazing to witness!  At Church one day a woman was describing how she wished she could sing better like in a Choir.  The Pastor and I smiled and said in Heaven you won't have to worry.  People won't be so picky with each other.  Each voice will sound beautiful.
46 Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest. 47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, 48 and said to them, “ Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.
(Luke 9:46-48 NKJV)
We've all been around people who are obsessed with "ME, me, ME!"   Sometimes I am guilty of this. Luke 9:46-48 describes how we should seek to be His servants and not try and grab the glory.  It belongs to Him.  But a funny thing happens when I'm humble...  I get extra blessed!!!  It's all gonna work out in the end.

6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
These verses describe the angels, God, the Lamb, "Jesus," everyone raising the roof of Heaven.  Their song is so loud it sounds like a huge waterfall crashing to the ground.  What a great rock concert that's gonna be!  Right?  Drifted off just imagining lol!  Jesus is the bride of the Church and the marriage is after our works are done on earth.  It's a forever deal.

21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:21-24 NKJV)
We've all failed in righteousness.  None of us are perfect enough to be with God.  So instead of wiping us all out, He chose to become the sacrifice for us instead.  We are clean!  It's our faith that makes us righteous now.

9 Then he said to me, “Write:‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! ’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
We are not to bow down to anyone other than Jesus.

Christ on a White Horse
11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
These verses really sum up so much of the New Testament.  Jesus is faithful and true.  All of this was done so He could draw us to Him.  He loves us so much He doesn't want anyone to miss out on His plan.  His robe was dipped in blood at the crucifixion.  White is the symbol of purity.  The armies in heaven wearing fine linen represent the Church.  We will be completely clean, sparkling white : )
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
(John 1:1-5 NKJV)

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

(Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV)

The Beast and His Armies Defeated
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.
Evil is never really pretty is it?

19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
This is Armageddon.  The final battle on earth.  Evil will be no more.

(Revelation 19:1-21 NKJV)

Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank and praise You for all that is good.   I lift up Ukraine and those in need.  Please help us be aware of the needs around us.  I tend to be so busy thinking I forget to do something.  Grant us wisdom and compassion.  I pray for Your blessing on our nation that You will guide us in the right path.  Please bring peace to Jerusalem.  It is so amazing how long they have survived : )  You have plans in place.  Speak to us through Your Word Father, so we might gain understanding.

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.

This is a great song from Delirious, "Majesty" (link)

Here are Pastor Chuck Smith's, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, notes.  I am having a lot of fun and get excited when my thoughts align with his notes : )   If you'd like to dig deeper into the Bible you can get what's called a Bible Handbook from a Christian book store.  Only the Holy Spirit can interpret the complete meaning of God's Word but we do have access to a lot of great resources.  My favorite is .  Just think how amazing it will be at the aha moment when it all is perfectly clear in Heaven.

v.7 The "Lamb" is Jesus Christ, "wife" is the Church, and the wedding is finally taking place.
v.8 The "righteousness of the saints" is their faith in Jesus Christ.
v.10 John was so overwhelmed by what the angel was revealing to him that he began to worship the angel, who immediately stopped him. When the Holy Spirit speaks, He exalts Jesus Christ, never the instrument or the man. This is the sign of the true movement of God's Spirit. "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" means that all prophecy has to do with Jesus Christ. He is the heart and soul of the Scriptures.
v.14 This army on white horses is the Church.
v.15 The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword.
v.19 This is the "war" of Armageddon.
v.20 "Lake of fire" is referring to the Greek Gehenna.