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Saturday, December 20, 2014

What Matters Most of All

by Dr. Paul Chappell

“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Mark 8:34–36

In addition to his work as a director of the Bank of England and his position as chairman of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, Josiah Stamp was an active lay preacher. Noted as one of England’s leading economic experts, he was often asked to speak on financial topics. Not long before he was killed in the German bombing of London in 1941, Lord Stamp was asked to address a gathering concerning the gold standard and its impact on the future economic prospects of the nation.

At the conclusion of his speech, Stamp said, “Before I finish, I should like to say one other thing, and it is this: I have not the smallest interest in what I have been talking about tonight; not the slightest interest in this or any other scale of values excepting only as it may subserve that other scale of values introduced into this planet by Jesus of Nazareth. That is the one and only scale of values which ultimately matters, and which no man now listening to my voice can ever afford to ignore on peril of his soul.”

There is no field of endeavor in which success is a substitute for knowing and following Jesus Christ. And there is no purpose more important for us as His followers than to take the Good News of His birth, life, death, and resurrection to others.

Today’s Renewal Principle: 
Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and to truly honor His gift at Christmas, we must share it with others.
Old Testament Reading
Micah 1

CHAPTER 1

1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. 2 Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. 3 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. 4 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. 5 For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem? 6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof. 7 And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.

8 Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls. 9 For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem. 10 Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust. 11 Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing. 12 For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem. 13 O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee. 14 Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel. 15 Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel. 16 Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.

CHAPTER 2

1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand. 2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. 3 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil. 4 In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away he hath divided our fields. 5 Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD.

6 Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame. 7 O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? 8 Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war. 9 The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever. 10 Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction. 11 If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.

12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. 13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.

CHAPTER 3

1 And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? 2 Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; 3 Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. 4 Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings. 5 Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. 6 Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. 7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.

8 But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin. 9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. 10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. 11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us. 12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.

New Testament Reading
Revelation 11

CHAPTER 11

1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. 19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

Proverb of the Day
Proverbs 20

1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. 2 The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul. 3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. 4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. 5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out. 6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find? 7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. 8 A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes. 9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? 10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD. 11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right. 12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them. 13 Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread. 14 It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth. 15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel. 16 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. 17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel. 18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war. 19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips. 20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness. 21 An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed. 22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee. 23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good. 24 Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way? 25 It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry. 26 A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them. 27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. 28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy. 29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head. 30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

Saturday, December 20 2014