February 2021

2.19.21 Friday

2021-02-19T06:47:29-06:00
Good Friday morning. Another week has flown by.

Revelation 15: 5-8

5 “After this I looked, and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6 and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robed in pure bright linen, with golden sashes across their chests. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever; 8 and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended.”


The “tent of witness” is a common title in the Old Testament for the tabernacle in the wilderness. John is seeing this vision in terms of the ancient tabernacle, not the temple in Jerusalem. Here comes the seven avenging angels. They are coming out of the Holy Place in the tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was, where the tables of the ten commandments were kept, the Law of God. The angels are coming out to avenge all who did not keep God’s Law.


Their outfits are symbolic: they are priestly, royal, and gleaming white. They are inhabitants of heaven who have come to execute God’s decrees upon earth. Verse 7–remember the four living creatures from 4:7? The lion, ox, man and eagle. One of them hands the bowls of wrath to the seven angels. This may symbolize that nature is serving God’s purposes.


The smoke is a common symbol of God from the Old Testament. Exodus 40: 34-35 “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Possibly, the plans and purposes of God will be clouded and obscured to humans because we cannot see into the mind of God. It appears that nothing can be done until the avenging angels have completed their mission. Nothing can halt the judgement! Yikes!


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue



2.19.21 Friday2021-02-19T06:47:29-06:00

2.18.21 Thursday

2021-02-18T06:17:25-06:00
Good Thursday morning. We had a good turnout at our Ash Wednesday service last night. It was nice to see people in person. Ashes imposed with Q-tips worked pretty well. I pray things begin to return to some sort of normalcy.

Revelation 15: 1-4

“Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended.


2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:


“Great and amazing are your deeds,

    Lord God the Almighty!

Just and true are your ways,

    King of the nations!

4 Lord, who will not fear

    and glorify your name?

For you alone are holy.

    All nations will come

    and worship before you,

for your judgments have been revealed.”


This is very typical apocalyptic writing. John has told of horrors and now he adds more horrors in the upcoming verses. The material is grouped in sevens and threes standing for completeness and perfection. The scene is in heaven. The martyrs who have come through the end times are looking at a sea of glass mixed with fire. This is the fire of judgment.


They sing the song Moses sang when the Israelites came triumphantly through the Red Sea. The martyrs died agonizing deaths, but they came through victoriously. Exodus 15: 1-19. This song was sung by the Jews at every Sabbath evening service in the synagogue. This song commemorated the greatest deliverance of God’s people in the history of Israel.


This song is almost entirely composed of quotations from the Old Testament, mostly from Psalms. When the martyrs wished to find words to praise God for His goodness and His greatness, it was in the Scripture that they found them. There is not one mention about their own victory in this song; it is all about God’s greatness.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

2.18.21 Thursday2021-02-18T06:17:25-06:00

2.17.21 Wednesday

2021-02-17T06:45:50-06:00
Good Wednesday morning. Any signs of spring, yet? Other than it is almost light out until 6:00 pm. Remember in December when it was dark at 3:30? There is hope in the air. This weekend, the temps will be in the 30’s again! Yay!

Today, we finish chapter 14 in the Revelation to John.

Revelation 14:14-20


14 “Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like the Son of Man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand! 15 Another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to the one who sat on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So the one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.


17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and he threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse’s bridle, for a distance of about two hundred miles.


Such imagery! This is the final vision in this chapter and it is a vision of judgment. The images are very familiar to Jews. the first picture comes from Daniel 7: 13-14  “As I watched in the night visions,

I saw one like a human being

    coming with the clouds of heaven.

And he came to the Ancient One

    and was presented before him.

14 To him was given dominion

    and glory and kingship,

that all peoples, nations, and languages

    should serve him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

    that shall not pass away,

and his kingship is one

    that shall never be destroyed.”


Then, we have imagery of harvest using metaphors that would be familiar to the Jews.

Joel 3: 14 “Multitudes, multitudes,

    in the valley of decision!

For the day of the Lord is near

    in the valley of decision.”

And Mark 4: 29 “But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”


God’s judgment is also like the trampling of the grapes. See Lamentations 1:15 and Isaiah 63:3.

In this passage, the risen Lord would be reaping those who are destined for salvation and the angel would be reaping those destined to condemnation. The amount of blood seems to represent an amount in the tide of judgment that would cover the land. There is no other logical explanation for this. Judgment will be complete.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

2.17.21 Wednesday2021-02-17T06:45:50-06:00

2.16.21 Tuesday

2021-02-16T05:46:19-06:00
Good Tuesday morning. Praying for all the people who are not used to the cold. Poor Texans called a National Emergency! Millions are without power; there were tornadoes and snownadoes! All across the East they are getting weather they are not accustomed to. We just go on like it’s Tuesday!

Revelation 14: 13

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.”


This is a beautiful promise that follows all of that doom and gloom. It is a word of encouragement to those who are faithful. Everything in the ancient world was trying to separate people from Christ. Remember the encouraging words Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome. Romans 8:38-39

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


What John is saying is that no matter what life was like on earth, there will be rest in heaven. The only thing we take with us in death is our character that we demonstrated during our lifetime.


Blessings on your day; stay warm!

Pastor Sue

2.16.21 Tuesday2021-02-16T05:46:19-06:00

2.15.21 Monday

2021-02-15T06:16:45-06:00
Good Monday morning and happy President’s Day! Another frosty morning it is! We had a great turnout at church yesterday in spite of the cold. We are tough Minnesotans!

Revelation 14: 9-12

9 “Then another angel, a third, followed them, crying with a loud voice, “Those who worship the beast and its image, and receive a mark on their foreheads or on their hands, 10 they will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and they will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image and for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”


12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus.”


This is a warning to all who fail in the time of trial. It is the fiercest warning of all dooms. In the days of John, the Church was righting for its life. If the Church was to survive, it was going to have to be prepared to face suffering, trials, imprisonment, and even death. This fate was dependent on each individual Christian being faithful until death.


In Genesis 19:28, we read of the same fate for Sodom and Gomorrah. Also Isaiah 34: 8-10 describes the same kind of vengeance from God. The wicked will be destroyed in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. Ezra 4 says, “There shall be shown the furnace of hell, and opposite to it the paradise of delight.”


To us modern Christians, this seems so harsh, but in ancient times, the persecution of the church was real and hellish. They were encouraged by the thought that some day, their tormentors would face judgement.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

2.15.21 Monday2021-02-15T06:16:45-06:00

2.11.21 Thursday

2021-02-11T05:48:52-06:00
Good Thursday morning. It is 70 degrees in Hawaii. Wishing I was there!

Revelation 14:6-7 “The Summons”


6 “Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”


The first angel came with a summons to all humans to worship God.


In Matthew chapter 24, the disciples asked Jesus what the sign will be for the end of the age. Jesus answers them with a lot of language that we have been reading in the Revelation.

Matthew 24:14,

14 “And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.”


The earth is given a final opportunity to accept or to reject Jesus Christ. There is no more time for action, or showing you are a Christian. The time will come when it’s yes or no.


The eternal Gospel means that the Gospel stands even in the midst of the world crashing around it. In Romans 16:25, Paul writes of Jesus Christ as the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began. The Gospel, or good news, is the eternal purpose of God, that all will know Jesus Christ.


In verse 7, the angel calls upon everyone to worship God. Everyone must remember their creator. Barclay writes, “Religion must start from the world in order to realize that there is a Maker of the world. It is only when man realizes that he is a creature in the presence of his Creator that there comes to him the sense of sin and the awareness of the need of a Savior.”


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue


2.11.21 Thursday2021-02-11T05:48:52-06:00

2.9.21

2021-02-09T07:24:11-06:00
Good Tuesday morning. Our staff is busy creating devotional bags for Lent. You will be invited to pick them up on Saturday from 4-6, Sunday, or during the next week. We will have a Feb. Spire ready by then also that will introduce our new council members.

Revelation 14: 2-5

“And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the one hundred forty-four thousand who have been redeemed from the earth. 4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; these follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from humankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found; they are blameless.”


A description of the voice of God! Beautiful language. Especially because I love water. The sound of many waters could be quiet like a slow moving stream or crashing like the waves of Hawaii. Thunder! God, “Have I got your attention?” Harps: beautiful, melodic, the power of music to soothe and calm a troubled soul.


They are singing a new song based on their experiences. They had suffered and endured. It brings to my mind,  African American Spirituals. Sorrow can produce bitterness, or it can produce faith, peace, and a new song. In the company of the lamb, they have made progress in their faith. (Many Christians are not interested in growth, they believe everything they have been taught in the past and have closed the book!) We can never stop learning about our Savior. Learning brings us closer.


Verse 14:4 has to wait until tomorrow. It needs its own explanation.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

2.9.212021-02-09T07:24:11-06:00

2.8.21 Monday

2021-02-08T06:44:41-06:00
Good Monday morning. It’s another frosty one as we begin another week. Yesterday’s Annual Meeting was great with wonderful discussion and forward thinking. We elected three new council members: Julie Nielsen, Angie Spartz and Dan Peterson. I was so happy that we could broadcast to FaceBook and people could join us and hear the discussion even if they couldn’t be there in person. Thank you Lord for technology.

Read chapter 14 in preparation for this week.


The Lamb and the 144,000


14 “Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the one hundred forty-four thousand who have been redeemed from the earth. 4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; these follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from humankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found; they are blameless.”


The 144,000 is a symbolic expression, but some churches believe that is THE number of people who will be saved. Do you really think our gracious God would take that few people to be with Him in the end? Remember, we talked about this mark before. It could stand for ownership, loyalty, security, dependence and/or safety. Branding of people was a common phenomenon in the ancient world. People were branded with owner’s marks, the name of a general to whom they were loyal, on a body to keep it safe until a loved one arrived, the mark used on a chieftan’s camels marked his dependents as well; as  captives, some were branded with a horse on their forehead, the emblem of Sicily, and some were branded with a ivy leaf, the emblem of Bacchus.

These are marks to indicate degradation and cruelty.


The mark that we bear on our foreheads is invisible. It is the mark of the cleansing water of baptism and the sign of the cross. That is a mark of safety, security, and God’s gracious goodness.


Blessings on your day, stay warm!

Pastor Sue

2.8.21 Monday2021-02-08T06:44:41-06:00

2.5.21 Friday

2021-02-05T05:48:26-06:00
Good Friday morning. Are you chilly enough? The cold has arrived and plans to stick around a while. Maybe the groundhog was right!
As we finish up chapter 13, we get the mark of the beast 666.

Revelation 13: 11-17

11 “Then I saw another beast that rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of all; 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to perform on behalf of the beast, it deceives the inhabitants of earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet lived; 15 and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.


The beast could speak. That was not a difficult task for the emperor’s priests who knew how to make all kinds of signs and wonders (magic); they knew how to make images and idols speak. Sort of like ventriloquism. Speaking like a dragon could very well mean like a serpent, the one who deceived Eve.

Those who would not worship the beast would be killed. Yes, indeed. That was the law!


Ok. The mark of the beast. I bet you are on the edge of your seat! All good Jewish men wore phylacteries on their left arm and forehead. These were little leather boxes with little scrolls of parchment with the following passages: Exodus 13: 1-10; 13:11-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11: 13-21. The mark of the beast is a parody of this sacred Jewish custom.


OR. Slaves were branded with the mark of the owner if they had run away or were guilty of any grave misdemeanor. The mark was called a stigma. We use that word today to describe someone attached to a dishonorable deed. The ones who are marked are the property of the beast.


There are many more theories about this mark. But, they all point to being property of the beast or being devoted followers of the beast. There are as many theories as to what the actual 666 means. Numbers in Greek and Hebrew were represented by letters. Someone came up with the theory that it is a code number for evil and during the Second World War, a Dr. Kepler assigned numbers to letters beginning with A=100, B= 101, C=102, etc.

Watch this:

H=107

I=108

T=119

L=111

E=104

R= 117

and the sum is 666!


What do you think?

Most scholars believe the number stands for Nero and that John is forecasting the coming of the antichrist in the form of Nero, the incarnation of all evil, returning to this world.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

2.5.21 Friday2021-02-05T05:48:26-06:00

2.4.21 Thursday

2021-02-04T05:46:30-06:00
Good Thursday morning. Thank you to all of the followers of this study on Revelation. It is not easy stuff, but you are hanging in there. We are more than half way through!

N.T. Wright has this to say: “For Christians at the time John wrote Revelation, worshipping or not worshipping the Roman powers was quickly becoming the dividing line between people who were acceptable in the community and people who weren’t. Not long after this time, some local officials introduced a formal requirement that unless you had offered the required sacrifices you weren’t allowed in the market. From quite early on the Christians were faced with a stark alternative; stay true to the Lamb and risk losing your livelihood, the ability to sell or buy; or capitulate to the monster, sacrifice to Caesar at the behest of the local officials, and then everything will be all right–except your integrity as one of the Lamb’s followers.”


Just imagine the dilemma and ask yourself what you would do. How are we tempted to compromise our faith in order to make life easier?


Revelation 13:9-10

9 “Let anyone who has an ear listen:


10 If you are to be taken captive,

    into captivity you go;

if you kill with the sword,

    with the sword you must be killed.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”


See Matthew 26:52 for the same words spoken by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.


Pray for all who are tempted to give in to the pressures of the world to trade in our God for the gods of the world. Pray that our government officials govern in a way that stands up to evil. Pray for those whose faith is built on the sand.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

2.4.21 Thursday2021-02-04T05:46:30-06:00
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