Thursday, December 31, 2020

The End...for now

Today marks the end of regularly scheduled posts on this Blog from Bethany Lutheran Church.  It has been a fun 15 years.  When we started this little adventure both Facebook and Youtube were in their infancy, Twitter wasn't even a thing and I was a vicar! For well over a decade we have posted online studies for the One Year Bible, sermon manuscripts, announcements and the occasional post about something going on in the world.  While long form blogging has made a bit of a comeback the microblogging sites have the lions share of the market.   Thank you to all of you who have made stopped by over the years.  We will keep this site active if you ever want to find one of the devotions for the One Year Bible, or if you want to search a sermon from the past, heck, I might need to do that on occasion!  For now, may the Lord be with you and bless you always and we will see you around in other parts of the internet. 

If you want to keep up to date on things from Bethany Lutheran Church please check out the following links:

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Monday, December 21, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of December 20, 2020




Link to Online Worship Video for 12/20/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: 

*Direct link to Vimeo:


Link to Outdoor Worship (8:00AM service recorded) for 12/20/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:  


Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 12/20/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:


Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 12/20/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: 


Online Worship Changes – PLEASE READ

On December 27th and January 3rd our online worship services will be recordings of the in-person service at Bethany on those days.  These videos will be posted by mid-day of that given Sunday.  If you normally watch online worship earlier on Sunday or on Saturday, we apologize for any inconvenience.  Please note that beginning January 10th online worship will now be posted after 8:00AM Sunday mornings.  



Bethany Bullet Update for the Coming Weeks:


Wednesday, December 23 – Look for a Special Bullet today with links to sign up for Sunday, December 27th Outdoor Worship on the Field. Remember there will only ONE Outdoor Worship Service at 9:00PM on 12/27.


Monday, December 28NO Regular Bethany Bullet today for the week of Sunday, December 27th.


Wednesday, December 30 – Look for a Special Bullet today with links to sign up for Sunday, January 3rd Outdoor Worship on the Field at 8:00AM and 9:30AM.


Monday, January 4 – A Regular Bethany Bullet will go out today with only upcoming Chimes information in it.



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Sermon Message:

“Stir Up Your Power Among Us, O’ Lord, and Work Revival Among Us”  
Text: 2 Samuel 7:1-11 & 16 and Luke 1: 26-38


The church has often prayed for revival.  Unfortunately, on occasion it has taken a un-Adventy twist in which the faithful desire that the world begin to resemble them, when the call of Advent is that we desire to more and more resemble Him, whose first Advent we celebrate and whose second Advent we anticipate.  At times, this un-Adventy aspect has found the church praying that the culture in which it dwells begins to pattern itself after the church; when the call of Advent is for the church to pattern itself after the one whose first advent we celebrate and who’s second Advent we anticipate.


That is how revival works, one heart at a time praying to be more like Him and walk in His way more closely.  


The only reason people walked out to the wilderness and waded into the Jordan (confessing before friend and foe alike) they were sinners desiring new life; was because a lone elderly couple listened to the Word of the Lord. And this lone elderly couple sought to obey their God by raising their son John to leave them and go prepare the way for He who came in the Lord’s name.  Revival happens a heart at a time.


The only reason shepherds left the fields and flocks and hurried off to Bethlehem was that Joseph took his family to the city of David after he had listened to the Word of the Lord, obeyed his God and married pregnant Mary.  Revival happens a heart at a time.


Would we be pondering and treasure all this season entails had Mary said, “Let it be to...somebody else; I’m not interested?”  Thank the Lord, that she listened to His word, obeyed her Lord and said “May it be to me...” That is how revivals start, one heart at a time.


So as we close Advent, let’s pray for a beginning of a revival. The only way a revival takes place, as we seek to listen to His Word and follow His will, desiring He work revival among us one heart at a time, starting with mine, yours, ours

-Pr. Kevin Kritzer

The One Year Bible- December 21st

We are almost at the end of 2020 (Praise the Lord) so that means this is the last post for the One Year Bible for this year. If you were at all like me, seeing the end of the book is both exciting and rewarding. It is no small task to read the entire Bible. There are parts that are not much fun to read and there are parts that are hard to relate to. I think the best part for me is seeing how all the pieces fit together. The story as a whole is so much more powerful than some sections taken out of context. I hope that as you hear scripture being read in worship, you can fit it into its context and fill in some of the blanks in your mind to get the whole picture. I have finished my reading so this post will make reference to some things that you may have not read yet. Don’t worry, you can always come back and read the post again. And, this is the end of an era.  In 2021 I will be changing up my daily devotions and will be reading a book called Unveiling Mercy by Chad Bird.  If you want to read along with me I will be moving over to Facebook for that weekly conversation.  You can get more information at this link-  That means that after almost 15 years I will be saying goodbye to this blog for now.  I will keep it active so you can always go back to the studies but there will not be new content on this blog in 2021.  With that, on to the last study for this blog…for now…


Seth’s Thoughts


The Old Testament

This week we spent time in the book of Zechariah. The book of Zechariah is a post-exilic book, meaning it was written to the people who had returned to Jerusalem at the end of the exile in Babylon. It has many interesting and detailed images written in apocalyptic form. It was nice that we were reading from the book of Revelation at the same time since John seems to have used Zechariah for some of his imagery. This is not to say that John plagiarized his book but he did use other sources to help him make sense of what he was seeing. Many scholars have a difficult time with the prophecies in the book because there is no consensus on the historical context of many of the images. We know that some are obviously Christological (The Branch, illusions of Palm Sunday (9:9), looking on the one whom they have pierced (12:10)) and others must have some context in the day that we are too far removed to see. Eric Hartzell has this to say in his commentary on Zechariah: Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai. He too had seen the captivity and had returned. With Haggai, he say the people’s apathy toward building God’s house. He joined in the message of Haggai who spoke for God...”Build my house!” The book of Ezra tells us. “Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them” (Ezra 5:1) There are many striking pictures in the book of Zechariah. Some of them are surrealistic and in kaleidoscopic colors. Some are stark and strange. Zechariah painted with prophetic brush on the imaginations and consciences of his people. We come upon these paintings today and see that over the years the colors have not faded and the images have not been blurred. He painted hell and heaven; he preached God’s law and his gospel. Zechariah was also a prophet who spoke words directly describing the coming Savior. In this book we hear words that we recognize from the Passion History of our Lord. Zechariah knew the Savior by inspiration and by prophecy.


A few more days in 2011 sees the reading of the book of Malachi and the finishing of Revelation.


Here are the vital stats for Malachi:

PURPOSE: To confront the people with their sins and to restore their relationship with God

AUTHOR: Malachi

TO WHOM WRITTEN: The Jews in Jerusalem and God’s people everywhere

DATE WRITTEN: about 430 B.C.

SETTING: Malachi, Haggai, and Zechariah were post exilic prophets to Judah. Haggai and Zechariah rebuked the people for their failure to rebuild the temple. Malachi confronted them with their neglect of the temple and their false and profane worship.

KEY VERSES: “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace...But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall” (4:1-2)

LAW THEMES: Rejection of Edom; condemnation of unfaithful priests; divorce; unfaithfulness in offerings; the day of the Lord.

GOSPEL THEMES: Love for Israel; the Lord’s faithfulness; the messenger of the covenant; deliverance from evil.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Malachi’s literary style employs a dramatic use of questions asked by God and his people.


The book of Malachi is another post-exilic book and has many connections with the book of Nehemiah. Kenneth Barker in the book introduction of Malachi in the NIV Study Bible says:


Although the Jews had been allowed to return from exile and rebuild the temple, several discouraging factors brought about a general religious malaise: (1) Their land remained but a small province in the backwaters of the Persian empire, (2) the glorious future announced by the prophets had not yet been realized and, (3) their God had not yet come to his temple with majesty and power to exalt his kingdom in the sight of the nations. Doubting God’s covenant love and no longer trusting his justice, the Jews of the restored community began to loose hope. So their worship degenerated into a listless perpetuation of mere forms, and they no longer took the law seriously. Malachi rebukes their doubt of God’s love and the faithlessness of both priests and people. To their charge that God is unjust because he has failed to come in judgment to exalt his people, Malachi answers with an announcement and a warning. The Lord they seek will come—but he will come “like a refiners fire”. He will come to judge—but he will judge his people first.


Malachi ends with a warning of the Day of the Lord. As we have discussed before in this blog, this Day is always referring to the Day of Judgment; the day that God will put an end to the wickedness of this world once and for all. It is never a good day for those apart from God, but for those who believe it will be a good day.


The New Testament

It would take me weeks to give you all the info needed to understand the book of Revelation. One of my seminary classes was devoted to this book and we spent hours trying to figure out what it all meant and to try to make some applications for ourselves. For that class I read the biggest book of my scholastic career (almost 700 pages!!). I learned a lot and I am struggling trying to figure out how I can give you the condensed version. I will give you some highlights from my big commentary authored by Louis Brighton:


The book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible. Whether it was written last or not, the church was led to place it at the end of the canon because she saw in it the completion of God’s revelation. Nothing further would be revealed by God until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Revelation is thus the culmination of the entire story of salvation contained in the Bible. It is the end point of all that is written in both the OT and NT. for it draws all of revelation, both prophetic and apostolic, to its final goal: the exalted reign of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of lords and the fulfillment of the promise of the new heaven and earth. As the last book of the Bible and the completion of God’s revelation to his church, it is the lens through which the entire Scripture is to be viewed. Revelation reveals and confirms that Christ was prophetically promised and that his incarnation, death and resurrection happened so that God’s creation could be restored to its original glory and righteousness. Revelation thus points to the final meaning and the final answer to all that is revealed in the Bible. In addition, as the last book, Revelation puts an official stamp on all of God’s revelation, a final confirmation of the divine truth and origin of God’s spoken and written Word. This finality points to the urgency of the last times, in which all things will be brought to an end—an urgency which reminds the Christian to Hold fast to the faith and which encourages the church to complete her mission.


Brighton goes on to say:

The message of Revelation reveals two ongoing phenomena: the terrifying sufferings and horror on earth, and the reign of Jesus Christ as Lord in his heavenly exalted glory. As these two phenomena are described, God’s people on earth are encouraged to cling in hopeful faith to the eternal heavenly glory that beckons them in Christ. In turn they also are strengthened and encouraged for the work of Christ’s mission on earth. The tribulations and sufferings portrayed lead the Christian not to pessimism and despair but to realism. The adversities and troubles prophesied will come to pass, and Christians will suffer because of and through them, as will unbelievers. Such plagues and distresses demonstrate God’s wrath and judgment for the purpose of motivating the godless to repentance. God’s own people also experience these same sufferings and plagues, for the dragon, Satan uses these sufferings and plagues in his attempt to destroy the church and her witness.


With all this being said, the most important thing to get out of a reading of the book of Revelation is that God is in control, his wrath is coming, it is time to repent, God will be victorious and all those who put their trust in him will have the blessings of eternal life. If this is all you got out of the book, then great. The other stuff is there to help make this point clear.


Bits And Pieces


I think the best way to finish out this study is to quote from the last Psalm, number 150:

Praise the LORD.

Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD.


I cannot say it any better myself. AMEN!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of December 6, 2020




Link to Online Worship Video for 12/6/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: 

*Direct link to Vimeo:  


Link to Outdoor Worship (8:00AM service recorded) for 12/6/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:  


Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 12/6/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: 


Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 12/6/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: 



V  V  V 


Sermon Message: 

“Stir Up Your Power Among Us, O Lord, and Fill Us with Repentance” 


Text: Luke 3:1-18 


Many of the Advent accounts recorded in Scripture are testimonials that God has changed addresses.  Though once dwelling in a tabernacle and temple, our God tabernacled in the flesh at Jesus’ incarnation and now dwells within the body of His Son (the Church, a people - not merely a building the church.) 


No longer is a stone structure the primary place to connect to the Creator, no longer a facility the main source of mercy.  No longer is a pilgrimage needed to seek God’s favor.  God dwells among us, He dwells within us. 


These accounts of Advent, (mentioned above) remind us that Advent is about repentance, faith and fleeing


Advent is about repentance.  Confessing our sin.  Telling the truth about ourselves.  Admitting that at times we confined God inside a stained glass box.  Advent is about repentance.  Daily turning to Him and confessing that we are guilty of impurity and unworthy of His presence and company.   


Advent is about faith.  Trusting that God is for us and with us, that He covers us in Christ’s grace and dwells within by His Spirit of power.  Advent is about faith, certainty that our God has come to deliver us from righteous indignation, just condemnation and His holy wrath in Christ. 


Advent is about fleeing.  We flee to God and find deliverance from sins consequence - guilt and eternal death, we flee to God and find an ever present shepherd and guide who accompanies us through life’s maze.  Advent is about fleeing and as we do we find we don’t have far to go for our God is right here, wherever we are whatever we are going through.  For He has in His Advent had a change of address and He who lived for us now lives among us and within us. 

-Pr. Kevin Kritzer 



President’s Message to the Congregation 

December 6, 2020 


We have a lot of “don’t haves” right now. We don’t have worship in the sanctuary. We don’t have our regular family of believers gathered together as some people attend worship in person and some attend remotely. We don’t have Carol. We don’t have a school filled with children. We don’t have coffee and doughnuts. And all of these things can make us feel a bit sad. 


But there are things we do have...  

We have an amazing staff. What is our primary Call here? It is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And our ministers, our teachers, and our support staff continue to do that even in the midst of all the chaos going on. I know that they are working more hours and harder than they ever have. But they do so because of their commitment to share the Good News to our members, our students, and our community. So, on behalf of our congregation, I want to say thank you to our whole staff for your dedication to your Calls. 


We have each other – our Bethany family. I have been a member here for a long time. I have seen changes in buildings, in staff, and in members. But one thing that continues to remain constant is that we continue to be a family of believers – a family that supports, uplifts, and prays for each other.  

Now sometimes, like any family, there can be differences of opinion. I say that because in the past few weeks I have had communications with people who have different opinions. Some feel we should be in the sanctuary and not have any restrictions. Others feel we should not be open at all - that we are risking people’s health by being here. And there are differences of opinion on other things as well.  

Differences of opinion – all with the best of intentions.  


What I want everyone to know is that all decisions that are being made are being based on a number of considerations, but three things are key

  1. Our primary call to continue to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.  
  2. Our call to minister to our members and community. Third, our call to do what is in the best interest of the entity of Bethany Lutheran Church. And, based on my history here, I know that at the end of the day we will work through these differences of opinion and continue to be a family – because we are a family.   
  3. And most importantly, we have Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And that will never change regardless of all the chaos in the world. So, let’s all remember to hold tight to Him.   
-Bob Lange 





Worship Resources for Sunday, December 13th will be up on Bethany’s website by midday Saturday, December 12th.  

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of December 13, 2020




Link to Online Worship Video for 12/13/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: 

*Direct link to Vimeo:


Link to Outdoor Worship (8:00AM service recorded) for 12/13/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:


Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 12/13/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:



Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 12/13/20 – HERE 

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser: 


V  V  V 



Sermon Message: “Stir Up Your Power Among Us, O Lord, and Fill Us with Rejoicing”
Text: Isaiah 9:2-3 & 6 and John 1:6-8


Winter is here…. almost!  Now I know many of you feel Jack Frost nipping at your nose right now, and might think these days we are experiencing are cold but let’s get some perspective.  This week in Anchorage Alaska, the high will be in the mid-20s.  The sun will rise at 10:08 AM and will set just five and half hours later. The dark days of winter are brutally experienced in the north.  While it might feel like winter out there, it officially begins with the Winter Solstice, which is next week.


Days have felt shorter and shorter since the first day of summer, or the Summer Solstice on June 21 where the sun came up in Anchorage at 4:20AM and set almost 19 and half hours later.  However, in reality, we know that the hours in the days themselves are not shortening or lengthening, but rather the amount of daylight is diminishing each day, being replaced by the dusk and darkness of night.


This limited amount of daylight can affect people in many different ways. Winter can be dim and gloomy, with lack of sunlight and everything just seems gray, all the time.  There are many people who are affected by the lack of Vitamin D, and suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a type of depression that is related to changes in the season. In the middle of this season, it sure seems like the light will never come back, that darkness is all there is, that hope is lost, and things will never be right again.


Physical darkness is one thing but spiritual darkness is something even more sinister.  Humanity knows all about living in the dark.  These past months have been filled with darkness, despair, depression, disease, with not much hope or light or expectation. The prophet Isaiah lived in dark times.  Times when the promise of the Messiah seemed to have been lost.  He writes to a people who have no hope, who are lost in the dark, who have given up that the light would come, so he writes, 


The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
(Isaiah 9:2-3)


However, the people of Isaiah’s day missed the message, but God would not give up on his people and in spite of their unbelief, he sent the light to descend into the darkness of this sin-stained world. The day of rejoicing was yet to come.


The apostle John in his gospel takes up the story again.  From our Gospel reading for today he writes, God sent a man named John to be his messenger. John came to declare the truth about the light so that everyone would become believers through his message. John was not the light, but he came to declare the truth about the light.” (John 1:6-8)


This is John the Baptizer who was a man sent by God, as a witness to testify to the light. John was sent to point towards the one who is to come, to prepare the way of the Lord.  It is this light that has been present even before Creation that the people of God were so desperately seeking. They had been conquered, exiled, and made to live under the authority of many kings and nations for what seemed like forever.  There was not much rejoicing.  And in John’s day they were living under Roman rule and they seemed to be a dark place, out in the wilderness, walking through the shadows. Again, not much rejoicing.  But John came to point to the light, the light that would disperse the shadows and illumine their walk in the wilderness and usher in a new age of joy!  And it seems, that we have been stuck in this wilderness as well. It seems that the longest day has come and never left.


We have been living in this perpetual dusk and gloom for the past year. There has not been much rejoicing as we face continued pandemic, political strife, and personal depression.  We grope around in these long grey days collectively and individually as we try to navigate the murkiness and shadows of our own lives.  We have lived this past year with an increase in divisiveness throughout our country and world. We have witnessed the devaluing and dehumanizing of our fellow brothers and sisters. Within these shadows, we fear normalcy will never return.  It sure seems that the darkness will win, that day will be no more. 


It is estimated that the overall mental health of our society is not good.  Depression, anxiety and fear of the future grips many.  People have lost employment, loved ones and security.  But John broke the darkness of this world with a message of hope, a message of rejoicing that light has come!!  This radiance breaks through the shadows of life. This radiance illumines our paths and enlightens our lives. John pointed to the light.  John provided witness, he was compelled, this light couldn’t be contained.


This light is not found in a vaccine or in a change in government.  It is not found in technology or internal fortitude. This light is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the one Isaiah foretold the one whom angels sang and the one who is coming again.


What are those dark places in your life that are in need of the light of Christ to shine?  Where are the shadows that you find yourself in as the days become dark and hope seems to be lost?  Have you fled to the darkness because you feel you have run out of options?  Perhaps you have created a self-imposed prison of darkness by what you have done and by what you have left undone.


Friends, Advent is a time to rejoice because those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light, to you who have dwelt in deep darkness the light has come… to you.  At His first advent, the angels brought good news of great joy, for the light has come and this light brings healing in these words “On Account of Christ, you are forgiven!”  Your personal darkness has been destroyed.


For that light would go to the darkest place for you.  The light of the world would be rejected by the Father because he took upon himself your sin and mine.  And when the devil thought he had won, when it seemed that the darkness was about to consume all the light, Jesus rose to defeat death, darkness and the dominion of the devil!  Therefore, we can join Paul from our New Testament lesson today and “Always be joyful.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)


Advent is a time of rejoicing knowing that the light has come and will come again. The Lord has multiplied our joy and we rejoice before the nations and like John testify and declare the truth of the light!  In this Advent season we can become light bearers in a dark world, preparing the way, dispersing the darkness, brining joy to the nations.


Jesus is the true light and John points to the truth that is Jesus, who breaks open the cracks in the shadows and illumines our lives and our experiences so that His light might shine through us. 


So, as the days seem to grow shorter, as daylight diminishes, we rejoice, for light has come and is coming again, and when he does there will be no more night and we will not need the light from lamps or the sun because the Lord God will be our light forever!


Let us pray…Good and Gracious God, you have gathered us here from all over. Enlighten our paths, illumine are days, give us strength to witness to your light, that others might be enveloped in the radiance of your love. And we ask all this in your Son’s name Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.

-Pr. Seth Moorman



Worship Resources for Sunday, December 20th will be up on Bethany’s website by midday Saturday, December 19th.  

Monday, December 14, 2020

The One Year Bible- December 14th

As Christmas fast approaches, so does the completion of our journey through the Bible this year. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. This journey never really ends but can be the beginning of some new habits. I hope this year has got you in the habit of daily time in God’s Word. I hope you will continue with this habit whether it is reading the Bible again in this same format or it is another way to study, please keep up the hard work. This is the second to last post for this year. Next week I will wrap up all the readings for the year.


Seth’s Thoughts


The Old Testament

The book of Jonah is famous for its fish story, and in many respects, that is one of the keys to this book. Jonah tried to run from God. His fear got the best of him and he tried to get away from it. I found it interesting that even in the midst of his flight from God, the Lord was honored. Did you catch it when the men on the same boat as Jonah threw him overboard and the storm stopped? “At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.” (Jonah 1:16 NIV). One great connection to Christ in Jonah comes from mouth of Jesus himself, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40 NIV). Jesus used Jonah to help teach what was going to happen to him; yet again another great connection between the Old and New Testaments.


Micah is one of those gloom and doom books of the latter Old Testament. It has a similar message to many of the other books, i.e. destruction is coming, turn back to God. But there is a huge gem of prophecy in chapter 5, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel” (Micah 5:2 NIV). This is one of the great Christmas prophecies and shows why the Messiah had to be born in the small town of Bethlehem. Just one chapter later we see some great practical advice to the exiles as they live in captivity. “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NIV).


The prophet Nahum writes some of the most comforting and the most disturbing things in the Old Testament. He reminds us that the Lord is slow to get angry (1:3) and he is our refuge (1:7), but what will happen to those who don’t believe (i.e. Nineveh) will be something awful.


I am glad the book of Habakkuk is not so long because most of it is depressing and bad news. Thank goodness for the last two verses of the book, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:18-19 NIV). This is the key to the book. It reminds me in a way to the book of Job who said, “I know that my Redeemer Lives!”


The key to the book of Zephaniah is in Chapter 2, “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility” (Zephaniah 2:3 NIV). Even in the middle of this destruction that will come as a direct result of sin, God still reminds them to do right.


Haggai writes to those who have returned to Jerusalem but were busy building their own houses and not a house for the Lord. Haggai gives the people encouragement to get to work on building the new temple and gives them a reminder that God is with them



The New Testament

I think maybe I need to back up and give you some perspective on the book of Revelation. Without seeing the whole picture, the details will only confuse you. First of all as I have written before, the book of Revelation is in the genre of other apocalyptic books; as the American Heritage Dictionary defines as: Involving or portending widespread devastation or ultimate doom. The book of Revelation looks at this in regards to the end of the world and it looks at it from different angles. As one of my seminary professors said, John sees a vision of the end of the world from three points of view. Each point of view is like a different camera angle shooting the same scene. Each camera sees the action and the characters from a different point of view. Each angle provides certain aspects of the story to be emphasized. Some angles completely obscure the action and something may be lost. When John writes about what he sees we must keep in mind that this is not all happening in linear time as we are used to. John sees the complete destruction of the world with the seven seals on the scroll opened by Jesus himself. Then he sees the destruction of the world again with the seven trumpet blasts. This time different parts of the same story are emphasized. A bit later we will see the seven censers of God’s wrath being poured out. This time John will describe the end of the world from another point of view. In the middle of all of this is the cosmic war between Satan and Christ. We must remember that the war was won for us on the cross and the open tomb. We are part of the group that has been sealed in baptism and we have the mark of God on us. Therefore all of this bad stuff will not affect us. We are assured of our place in heaven already. I hope this give some perspective to you as you read. I will spend some more time next week getting into some of the details.


Bits and Pieces

Only two books to go.... Here are the vital stats for Zechariah:


PURPOSE: To give hope to God’s people by revealing God’s future deliverance through the Messiah

AUTHOR: Zechariah

TO WHOM WRITTEN: The Jews in Jerusalem who had returned form their captivity in Babylon and to God’s people everywhere

DATE WRITTEN: Chapters 1-8 were written about 520-518 B.C. Chapters 9-14 were written about 480 B.C.

SETTING: The exiles had returned from Babylon to rebuild the temple, but the work had been thwarted and stalled. Haggai and Zechariah confronted the people with their task and encouraged them to complete it.

KEY VERSES: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey...He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and form the River to the ends of the earth." (9:9-10)

LAW THEMES: A call to return to the Lord in repentance; dishonesty condemned; the whirlwind among the nations; the doomed flock.

GOSPEL THEMES: The Lord chooses His people; the Branch prophecy of forgiveness; the temple restored; nations seek the Lord; the coming King; the day of the Lord.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The book is the most apocalyptic and Messianic of all the Minor Prophets.

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