Reflections

Well, Christmas Eve is over. We had our big family dinner and gift exchange to night and attended a candlelight service and heard a really good message about Joseph, and how he was a carpenter and used the proper tools not only in his trade but in his life. As I consider the preachers words, I realize that we do not know that much about Joseph other than what is recorded in the scriptures, but that we can learn a lot from how he was open to God’ leading and was willing to do what God asked of him, no matter what the consequences might be. As currently I am home alone, my son and his girlfriend are out visiting other friends, I contemplate the coming year, and pray that it is not as challenging as the last  two years have been. Yet, it is through those challenges that my faith has been tested and tried and ultimately has grown stronger. I look forward to new opportunities, meeting new people, and growing my ministry to the point that it will have an impact on the community.  There are still gifts under the tree that my son and I will exchange in the morning(or afternoon, depending on what  time he decides to come home).   The last few years that has been a special time for us. But as he grows older I see some traditions fading away opening the door for new ones to develop.  I have come to accept change, I do not like change because it has been my experience that when things change I lose something in the process that has become valuable to me. I will now share one thing that happened to my family last year on Dec 22. My daughter was expecting a child to be born in January, on Dec 22 we lost that child. A beautiful baby girl. The autopsy was inconclusive and there was no apparent medical reason for the child not to have survived. My daughter was in the hospital last Christmas Eve, well she has never missed a Christmas Eve service in her life- the hospital was kind enough to let us use the chapel and I conducted a communion service.  Now,, before anyone gets downhearted with this sad story, let me tell you what I think my departed grad daughter is doing this Christmas. She is listening to the angel choirs singing the carols and hearing about the birth of Christ from Jesus Himself, and Joseph and Mary, and the shepherds and Simeon and Anna.  And even hearing the Wise Men tell of their adventures of the journey that they  undertook to come and worship the Anointed One.  No celebration, no worship service here on earth could ever compare to that Christmas Celebration!  I noticed a medallion on  shelf in my daughters living room, that had the words I used when I officiated my departed grand daughters  celebration of life, the words on the medallion are” She is safe in Jesus arms”.  There is no more secure place in all of creation than that.  Now to the rest of the story, this gave someone the opportunity to minster to us, it was my brother was a Christmas surprise that we knew nothing about. I do not know how or where he got the money, but we all have been on tight budgets, and he had purchased a head stone for the baby. Now my daughter and I had discussed this just a few weeks ago, and she was absolutely thrilled!  As was I.  I usually do not share what I pray for, but this situation I had prayed for, with seemingly no answers forthcoming. And here is a gift, very unique, and a need met.  This shows that God always has a surprise for us, just around the corner!  In conclusion I would like to challenge everyone and myself , to be the beacon of light for Christ to a world that is walking in darkness. 

Isaiah 9:2

2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

 

Christ Mass

Merry Christmas!

One of the things that make this celebration of the birth of Jesus complete is going to a worship service. I would urge everyone to go to the church of your choice tonight. Many churches offer a candlelight service, many Catholic churches have Midnight Masses.  If you are not able to attend a worship service here is a link to one that is one line:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/universallifechurch/2011/12/24/ulc-radio-network–friday-night-schedule?fb_comment_id=fbc_10151065491950032_28485616_10151074759495032#f213a5c7d4

Luke 2

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Matthew 1&2

18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Matthew 2

1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

13And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

14When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

15And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

16Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,

18In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

19But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

20Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.

21And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

22But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

23And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

And that is what Christmas is all about- the arrival of the Messiah as the Savior and Redeemer King.   Today we are in advent of the second arrival of Jesus as the Conquering King and Judge of the nations. 

Rev 22

 20He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

21The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Here is wishing you and yours a joyous and blessed celebration of Christ!  

Mean Old Malachi

I wasn’t going to post anything tonight, but it seems I am being called to. Last week started out rough and this week is not much better. Seems I am being attacked on all sides. I will spare you the details of all this other than to say I am having several problems all at once converge on me and I know from past experience it is an attack from the enemy and his cohorts. I will let the Lord do battle with them as they have no legal grounds to be attacking me, but I do think I know why they are choosing this time to try to wreak havoc. More about that later.   There is a very difficult date just a couple of days ahead, for now I will just say that Dec 22, 2010 was not a very good day nor a good ending to year that presented more challenges than blessings, at least that is from my weak and mostly inaccurate human understanding of God and His ways. One thing I have learned though, the Psalmist said that “God is near the broken-hearted” and that is so true. Jesus did say that”in this world you will have trouble” but He does keep His promise and comfort and guide us through the difficulties , and that He would never leave us nor forsake us. He is in the battle with us, and He is the conquering King. So we do come out victorious, one way or another. Which bring me to the book of Malachi once again- as we come to the second chapter and here Malachi is dealing with the corruption of the Priests, the spiritual leaders of Israel and with what Malachi calls treachery.  First we will look at the corruption of the  spiritual leaders:

1 “And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.
2 If you will not hear,
And if you will not take it to heart,
To give glory to My name,”
Says the LORD of hosts,

“ I will send a curse upon you,
And I will curse your blessings.
Yes, I have cursed them already,
Because you do not take it to heart.

V1- shows this rebuke which started in 1:8 continues on in this chapter.

v2  The behavior of the priests was defiling the name of God.

“ I will send a curse”- The priests were not obeying the Law they were supposed to uphold.  They would therefore, receive the curses. More can be found about the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience in Duet 27 and 28.  

3 “ Behold, I will rebuke your descendants
And spread refuse on your faces,
The refuse of your solemn feasts;
And one will take you away with it.

Refuse was the dung in the sacrificed animal that should have been removed when the animal was prepared for sacrifice to the Lord. 

4 Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you,
That My covenant with Levi may continue,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

My covenant with Levi – The Levites had the privilege of serving tabernacle. (Duet 33:8-11)

5 “ My covenant was with him, one of life and peace,
And I gave them to him that he might fear Me;
So he feared Me
And was reverent before My name.

v5 The word peace means fullness, completeness, things as the really ought to be.  

  that he might fear Me;- The context here means holding God in reverential awe, responding properly to His wonder, and worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. 

6 The law of truth[a] was in his mouth,
And injustice was not found on his lips.
He walked with Me in peace and equity,
And turned many away from iniquity.

v6- The law of truth- The priests were to represent the people in holy worship before the Living God, and they were to teach and apply God’s law to the people. 

 in peace and equity- This refers to  complete moral virtue in all things before the Lord.

7 “ For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge,
And people should seek the law from his mouth;
For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

v7- This is the only time in OT that priests are called messengers of the Lord. It was common for the prophets to be referred to as such though. 

8 But you have departed from the way;
You have caused many to stumble at the law.
You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

v8- The judgment on the departed religious leader would be more strict because of the ripple effect of that one person’s sin.  

9 “ Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base
Before all the people,
Because you have not kept My ways
But have shown partiality in the law.

v9- The priests had the truth but had not kept it or practiced it. When they acted as judges , they showed partiality, making their sin even worse. 

 

Have a blessed and joy filled Christ Mass!! 

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Why I Like Malachi and More from Malachi

We will finish up Revelation in a bit. I thought it important to study the Nativity accounts and see that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah and how those involved responded to God’s call for them to participate in that great event. The only one that responded to God’s call in a not quite appropriate way was Zacharias. We could say that his Christmas present was a lesson in faith and not to doubt God and not to doubt that God can use anyone for His purposes that He chooses- no matter what their personal circumstance might be. It this time of the year that we “get on fire” for the Lord and that is great but, how long does the fire burn? Does the flame begin to flicker and go out about mid January and not rekindle again until Lent and Easter come around again?  How is our faith between these two most important Church Holidays? I am not only speaking about our faith but what about our service for the Lord? Does it  wane and we become lackadaisical in our efforts to advance the kingdom or even in our prayer time and devotional and Scripture reading?  I know my prayer life and devtional time tend to become sporadic during the off times between Christmas and Easter.  I read through the entire Bible every year, and I have had to do, what I call, marathon reads to catch up with where I should be at times. We have been looking at the opening passages in the book of Malachi and he is warning the people and the religious leaders about the coming judgment because of their laxness in offering sacrifices and not giving the best animals that they had . Well, today, we do not sacrifice animals, but we do give money, time, our skills and abilities in service to the Lord, but are we not guilty of the same things when we give money that is left over? Do we just volunteer to do things that we have time for?  Do we tend to stay in our comfort zone and not take a risk?   Where is the sacrifice in doing our service when it is convenient for us, where is the sacrifice if we just give what we think we can afford, where it the sacrifice in doing the same things we have always done ? And this question are essentially what Malachi was speaking about – 

Malachi 1:9-10

New King James Version (NKJV)

9 “ But now entreat God’s favor,
That He may be gracious to us.
Whilethis is being done by your hands,
Will He accept you favorably?”
Says the LORD of hosts.
10 “ Who is there even among you who would shut the doors,
So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain?
I have no pleasure in you,”
Says the LORD of hosts,

“ Nor will I accept an offering from your hands.

V10- “shut the doors” In a choice between service without gratitude and no service at all, God chooses the SECOND.  The word ‘pleasure” here describes God’s desire to smile, even to laugh with joy, at true worship from a godly people.  

11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down,
My name shall be great among the Gentiles;
In every place incense shall be offered to My name,
And a pure offering;
For My name shall be great among the nations,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
12 “ But you profane it,
In that you say,

‘ The table of the LORD[b] is defiled;
And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’

v 11 “great among the Gentiles” God would one day receive praise from all nations, even the gentiles would be offer praise while God’s own people were profaning His Holy Name.  (Psalm 87, 117)

v12 “you profane it” The people were God with contempt by their careless attitudes concerning their offerings. 

13 You also say,

‘ Oh, what a weariness!’
And you sneer at it,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

“ And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick;
Thus you bring an offering!
Should I accept this from your hand?”

v13- The demands of God were neither understood or appreciated, they seemed to mere busywork.  “Stolen… lame… sick..” The gifts of the priests were not presentable, some were stolen goods, and others were animals that were useless.  To sacrifice something of no value was not a sacrifice at all. 
14 “ But cursed be the deceiver
Who has in his flock a male,
And takes a vow,
But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—
For I am a great King,”
Says the LORD of hosts,

“ And My name is to be feared among the nations.

v14- Can anyone really deceive God? The deception is only in the eyes of the deceiver.  “I am a great KING” The reputation of the Lord among His people was to have been the means whereby all nations would be drawn to worship Him as well.

So as we move from Advent into Christmas, lets keep our worship sincere and honest.  Let us make sure that we are worshiping with the proper attitude and with an open mind and a receptive heart- and no matter what your gift to the Christ is – make sure it is the very best- He deserves nothing less from His people. 

Have a blessed and joyous celebration of Christ! 

Plans and Expectations

This time of year is one of high expectations, the problem is many times we set the bar way too high and then this results in failed expectations. We come from Christmas to the New Year- are you ready for Christmas? No, I am not ready for the shopping, the deadlines, the expenses, the gift wrapping, the cooking, the traveling, and why am I not ready? I did not prepare properly! Yet, I knew in January that Christmas was coming in December- that is eleven month to plan and prepare for all the things that need to be done! Ok- I admit it- one of shortcoming is I am an expert at procrastination and also am very skilled at rationalizing that procrastination- I will be in the stores on Christmas Eve doing the biggest part of my Christmas shopping- the good thing is I know what I am going to get for everyone and where it is at- does that count as planning? Anyway , save for the lines it won’t take me too long to shop. Ahh yes, those long lines…. patience is not one of my virtues either, I want to get in the store and get out of the store. But those lines are not really a problem- as with any problem is it actually an opportunity!  I have used the wait in that line to practice my Spanish with native speakers, and even the opportunity to witness the Gospel has presented itself- this time of the year is when more people are open to the gospel even more so than at Easter.  I used to let those opportunities go by and not speak, and that began to really bother me after several years of not saying anything- it took much soul searching to figure out why then one day, many years ago this verse from Romans jumped out of the page and tried and convicted me – it was because of shame or perhaps a better word would be embarrassment – why would anyone be embarrassed to be  a Christian to the point of not speaking out of that faith- anyway here is the verse:

Romans 1:16

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

And another passage with the same tought

2 Timothy 1:8

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,

Perhaps the real reason for not daring to speak the Good News, was a lack of faith.  It took me awhile to realize that I am not responsible for the results just the effort- perhaps the best gift you could give to someone this year is to present the gospel to someone that you know and you know that they need to hear it- it could even be a stranger waiting in a long line at the cash register is being more patient than you! You might think you did not succeed to do think that you failed- all things are on God’s timetable, not ours- you may find out later that your conversation had a huge impact on this person and through that person many were brought to Christ, all in God’s plan as was the baby in the manger so long ago- that changed the world is so many dramatic ways!  Our failed expectations may the success of God’s ultimate plan.  

Romans 8:28

New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according toHis purpose.

 

2 Timothy 4:5

New King James Version (NKJV)

5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Have Merry and Joyous  Celebration of Christ!

Here Comes …. Malachi !! And a stinging rebuke..

 

Malachi 1:6

Polluted Offerings
    6 “ A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?
Says the LORD of hosts
To you priests who despise My name.
Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’
God is using truisms here.  A father and a master can expect honor and respect from those beneath them, but God was not being honored as He should be- God was not receiving the the honor due Him.  The people were bringing in for the animal sacrifices, blind, crippled and diseased animals- Gods law required that the sacrifices be perfect animals. They were dishonoring God by offering up imperfect sacrifices and God was very displeased. The priests were allowing this to happen.  What we give to God reflects our attitude toward Him. We repeat this same sin when we give only of our leftover time, money, and energy. What we bring to God should be valuable and not the left overs, we should give our first fruits to God.
I am the Father- The image of God as Father is more common in the NT than in the OT.
To you priests who despise My name.- In ancient Israel, a name was a symbol of a person’s character, works, and reputation- this is a very serious charge! Yet the people had the audacity to ask :

‘In what way have we despised Your name?’
God’s answer was in terms of defiled food. This is a description of bread that was not prepared properly.  The bread and table on which it was displayed were holy symbols, and the priests treated them like ordinary items.
How often do we take for granted the privilege and honor of receiving the Lord’s Supper? Do we come to the table with an improper attitude?  The bread and the cup are Holy Symbols and much more than that. Do we drop in the offering what is convinet? Should not our sacrifice be perfect as the Lamb that sacrifices Himself for us?  During the time of the Eucharist, we should be looking in several different directions- one is inward in self examination seeking to find the times we fell short and why we yielded to the temptations, and asking forgiveness and then truly repenting, another direction should be back to the cross, realizing that it is because of our sins that Jesus had to die to atone for our sins, seeing the agony, the pain, the blood, that Jesus so willingly offered Himself as the sin sacrifice on our behalf, now leave the guilt and shame there , that is the present from us that He desires. Now we must look forward to the empty tomb and know that He is who He said He was, and the proof to this is the Resurrection. Once again we must look back, not forgetting that He hung on the cross, but realizing that the cross in now empty, and the tomb is now empty- both signs of victory. Yet Once more, we need to look forward to His glorious return, when the enemy will suffer his final defeat by the Lion of Judah- yet this not forget that before the Lion He was the Sacrificial Lamb.
This is my body broken for you- take and eat
This is the blood of the new covenant shed for the remission of sins- drink ye all of it
What does Jesus want you to do to honor Him? He wants you to lay all of your sins, all of your shame, all of your guilt at the cross.  The He wants you to come to Him and let Him change you from the inside through the Holy Spirit and become a living sacrifice to honor Him by doing His will.
So lets make sure we are not making the same mistake the people of Israel and the priests made by treating something holy as something ordinary and treating what we give to God as common place too, we should offer to Him the very best, whether it is money, time, or  talents,- these things are blessed by God and that makes them holy too.
Merry Chris Mass!
Trivia question:  Who did the angel Gabriel appear to first?
a. Mary
b. Elizabeth
c. Zechariah
d. Zacharias
e. Luke Skywalker

Busyness Bees and Christmas Trees

Wow!! What a week!  Not to get bogged down in details of the events of the last week – just to say- wow! What a week! Next week is going to a hectic time too. Which brings to mind one of satan’s favorite devices to keep us from God is that of busyness and he will use that one especially at this time of celebration- he wants us to get caught up in the shopping, in the hurrying, and in the mode of perfection,  the food not only need to prepared perfectly but presented perfectly, and we tend to demand that perfection from our families too, and that is what the devil wants is to ruin our celebration with the friction that demanding perfection of ourselves and others brings about and is sure to develop into at least a quarrel or two and ruin everybody’s festive mood. We need to remember that we are no perfect nor are our families and friends, but it is at this time that we celebrate Perfection. The baby laid in the manager is the only perfect person that ever walked this earth.  The only truly innocent person to ever live,  we are not perfect only Jesus was perfect, he had to remain without fault to qualify to be the sacrificial Lamb.   We are not perfect or sinless, but that is our goal, to imitate Jesus as much as possible, one thing I notice as I read the gospel accounts is that Jesus often got up early to pray, that sounds like such a simple thing, but we tend to make simple things complicated, if I want to get early I need to go to bed that much earlier and that may mean missing that favorite television show or skipping that before bed snack. That said I would like to challenge all of us to get up just 15 minutes earlier than normal for the next week and spend that few extra minutes in prayer and in the Word. This week would be a good time to go through once again the Nativity accounts found in the gospels of  Matthew and Luke and go back to the Old Testament and go through the Messianic Prophecies. To make that easier I will list the Messianic prophecies here:

Gen 3:14

Gen 12:3

Gen 17:19

Num 24:17

Gen 49:10

Is 9:7

Ps 45:6,7 ; 102:25-27

Micha 5:2

Is 7:14

Jer 31:25

Hos 11:1

These are the forth-tellings of Jesus first arrival, and we have His birth in detail and we know about the crucifixion and the resurrection, and we have covered a major portion or Revelation that deals with His return and establishing the Kingdom and reigning eternally. So now lets proceed to the rest of the story(as Paul Harvey would say)  Lets jump clear to Revelation 22:20,21.

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.

Now you know the last chapter of the Bible has 21 verses!( I am sure that bit of trivia could win you a daily double on Jeopardy!)   Verse 20 states the fact that Jesus is coming quickly within the scope of God’s overall plan for this creation. This is a repeated theme throughout the book of Revelation.  John adds the hope of all believers to the declaration of Christ by praying: 

  “COME, LORD JESUS!”

The book of Revelation opens and closes with the phrase, ” The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” implies that the message of grace and the free gift of eternal life in Christ (Eph 2:8,9) can be found in this book.   So I will close by saying have a Merry and Joyous and Blessed Christ Mass and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!