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December 23 - Evening

"To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars...
To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open...
 To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation."
- Revelation 3:1, 7, 14

Jesus Greets Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea

Jesus continues to identify himself to the seven churches of Asia in his opening comments to each of the individual churches.

To Sardis Jesus is the one "who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars." The "seven spirits" is a reference to the sevenfold character of the Holy Spirit as described in Isaiah 11:2-5 - the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. This is the Spirit that rested upon the Messiah and makes his authority legitimate and his judgment righteous. Along with this sevenfold Spirit of the Messiah Jesus also is authoritatively holding the seven stars, or messengers of the seven churches he is addressing. Jesus sees his leadership as Messiah manifesting in the churches through these pastors, elders or messengers. These men are responsible to Jesus and to no one else. He will empower them, but he will also judge them.

To Philadelphia Jesus is "him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open." Since Jesus is "true" he is worthy to be trusted by the church of Philadelphia. Their faith will not disappoint them. And, since Jesus is holy, the faith of Philadelphia should produce corresponding righteous behavior. The "key of David" is a reference to Isaiah 22:22 where Eliakim was entrusted with the key to unlock the treasures (or, to lock up the treasures) of the royal house of David. In Philadelphia Jesus hold the key to the royal treasure which is a reference to the souls of the people. The church of Philadelphia is going to have a door opened for them and they need to have the faith to enter the treasure room, but they must also enter in holiness as a church.

To Laodicea Jesus is "the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation." The word "amen" means "so be it" and indicates what was said is what will be done. Jesus tells Laodicea that he is the "so be it" for everything he has said would be. In other words, Jesus' testimony to creation is exactly what is going to happen. The testimony of Jesus, who is the Word of God and the revealer of God's plan, was faithful to God's will and Jesus' witness was true to God's character. It will be done just as the second member of the Trinity testified it would be because the one who provided the faithful and true witness is also the one who will see that it is "so be it" done.
Blasphemeo (Gr) - Blasphemy (Eng) - blasphemeo is Greek verb transliterated directly into the English as "blasphemy." In the Greek language blasphemeo means to "speak abusively"
and it is the word used for the strongest form of personal mockery. It is used 34 times in the GNT and is translated as "be spoken of as evil," "blaspheme," "malign," "dishonored," "hurling abuse," etc.
Do I live holy before God?
I will live in a way that will please the Lord and King.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


To say peaceful words


Heal the broken
Health care

A portion of the mosaic floor from the 333 AD Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The north wall of the Temple Mount built on the bedrock of Mount Moriah. The sockets that supported the beams of the roof of Solomon's Colonade can be seen in Herodian ashlars identified at the top of the photo. These beams would have been supported on their other end and in the middle by the columns of the colonade.

(See Leen Ritmeyer's blog concerning these sockets)

Someone to Quote

"We all talk of reforming others without ever reforming ourselves." - Peter of Alcantara

Something to Ponder

The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft—the Devil's magic—and 20 were executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted. (from

Here’s a Fact

The Ivory Pomegranate is potentially a scepter head that, according to the inscription, belonged to one of the priests who served in Solomon's Temple. The inscription on the ivory reads:
"[Belonging] to the Temple of [Yahwe]h, consecrated to the priests"
(Images 1, 2, 3, 4) (Information 1, 2)


"A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them."
- Proverbs 20:26

Coach’s Corner

When you plant seeds to get a crop, the more seeds you plant, the more you get. So, the more you give, the greater the increase.

Revelation 6
New International Version (NIV)
The Seals
I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
Hebrews 13
New International Version (NIV)
Concluding Exhortations
13 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;     never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.     What can mere mortals do to me?”
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. 19 I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.
Benediction and Final Greetings
20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
22 Brothers and sisters, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for in fact I have written to you quite briefly.
23 I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you.
24 Greet all your leaders and all the Lord’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings.
25 Grace be with you all.

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