“The Kingdoms Of Our Lord & Of His Christ”

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.
Revelation 11:15 KJV

Handel Messiah by James Gurney

The words of the “Hallelujah” chorus in Handel’s Messiah are from Revelation 19:6, 16; and 11:15. Revelation reverberates with the power and majesty of God. It gives assurance to believers in Jesus Christ that God will keep His own children through suffering, persecution and death. Nations will know the wrath of His righteous judgment. Christians will realize our hope of glory.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 3:16–18

Be encouraged and with your love encourage other believers. Continue to trust God with your days, and as Paul enjoined us:

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Colossians 3:1–4

On this last day of the year, take the time to read Luke 17:20–18:8, in which Jesus teaches about His second coming. I. H. Marshall writes:

Jesus’ warning against looking for signs seems at first to be out of harmony with His own words in 21:5–36….But premonitory signs were a recognized part of apocalyptic teaching, and Jesus had to warn people against trusting to them for security. At the same time, He had to prepare His followers for the troubles that lay ahead of them, lest they should lose faith (cf. 18:8).1

In other words we are not to confuse being aware and knowledgeable of signs of His return with trusting in those signs. We are to be faithful in our obedience and continue to trust in God until Jesus returns—not just until we think the signs are incontrovertible. Jesus tells this parable in 18:1–8 .

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”

And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
Luke 18:1–8

Marshall has these comments:

Although we think of this parable as being about prayer, it really forms the closing part of the teaching about the future given in 17:20–37….The point is that even if God gives the appearance of unwillingness to answer, like the unjust judge, yet He will certainly answer prayer without the need for importunity. He will vindicate His elect speedily (‘soon enough’ NEB) or perhaps ‘suddenly and unexpectedly’. The vital question is not whether He will respond to importunity but whether there will be faithful men, who have persisted in prayer, when the Son of man comes. Luke rightly characterized the parable as one to encourage men to continue in prayer without losing heart before the end comes.2

We must take care not to transfer the reluctance of the unjust judge to God. Luke tells us exactly why Jesus told the parable—at all times we ought to pray and not to lose heart! Whatever events may occur in our lives during this coming year, at all times we ought to pray and not to lose heart! One day the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever. Until that day, at all times we ought to pray and not to lose heart!

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.


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Handel Messiah sketch by James Gurney using a water-soluble graphite pencil: posted originally in Handel’s Messiah at Gurney Journey. Mr. Gurney is the creator of Dinotopia. Used in 2012 for the first time by permission.
1, 2I. H. Marshall, “Luke,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1970) 914, 914–915.
Messiah: Libretto: Old and New Testament Passages selected by Charles Jennens
Oratorio: George Frideric Handel
Antony Walker conducting Cantillation and the Orchestra of the Antipodes.

Copyright ©2012–2016 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Adversity, Christian Life, Christmas, Church, Comfort, Courage, Encouragement, Evil, Faith, God, Grace, Hope, Jesus Christ, Joy, Judgment, Justice, Love, Music, Peace, Perilous Times, Personal Distress, Prayer, Suffering, Truth | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“Coventry Carol”

I discovered the Coventry Carol in a novel by Helen MacInnes when she used it at a critical moment in her story. It’s a song that’s probably unfamiliar to many Americans. I know I’ve never heard it sung in church or in concert here in the United States.

The carol is both lullaby and lament, sung by the women of Bethlehem to their children, slain by the decree of an enraged Herod. It was written in the sixteenth century for The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors in Coventry, a pageant that told the story of the birth of Jesus, beginning with the Annunciation and ending with the killing of the little baby boys of Bethlehem.1

Now when they [the magi] had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”

So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

“Out of Egypt I called my Son.”

Das Massaker der Unschuldigen François-Joseph NavezThen when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
And she refused to be comforted,
Because they were no more.”
Matthew 2:13-18

This is a lovely and poignant rendition of Coventry Carol by Valeria Mignaco and Alfonso Marin.

Lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lullay, Thou little tiny Child.
By, by, lully, lullay.

O sisters, too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day;
This poor Youngling for whom we sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod the King, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young, to slay.

Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
And ever mourn and say;
For Thy parting, nor say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

John MacArthur, preaching on Matthew 2:16-23, said:

“…Those little babies, they didn’t know it but those precious little babies in Bethlehem at that time were the first casualties in the warfare waged between the kingdoms of this world and the kingdoms of His Christ, they were the first casualties. But ultimately the victory would be won, the babies surely, if I read my Bible right, the minute they died went instantly into the presence of God, who gathers the little ones in His arms and says, “Forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom.” And the mothers, they could stop weeping because this very One who was now exiled in Egypt would come back to offer them a salvation that could unite them with their own babies….

“Matthew paints a masterpiece of a picture. Micah, he said the King would come to Bethlehem, and to Bethlehem He came. Hosea, the King would come through Egypt, through Egypt He came. Jeremiah, there would be weeping like Rachel in Ramah of old in the picture of Jeremiah, and there was as the mothers wept over the babies, beside the tomb of Rachel in the Ramah of Bethlehem. And the prophets of old said His name would be Nazarene, and He would be from Nazareth, and so it was. And at each point, He fulfills a prophecy that solidifies His right to reign. And so says Matthew, this is the King, by genealogy, by birth, by worship, by the jealousy of hatred, and by the fulfillment of prophecy this man was born a King, for this cause came He into the world.”2


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In the Anglican ecclesiastical calendar December 28th is The Innocents’ Day on which the little ones slaughtered in Bethlehem are remembered.
Das Massaker der Unschuldigen by François-Joseph Navez
1Coventry Carol:  The Hymns and Carols of Christmas.
Video by Lutevoice: Valeria Mignaco & Alfonso Marin, soprano-lute duo.
2John MacArthur, “The King Fulfills Prophecy, Part 2.” http://www.gty.org
This article originally appeared here at Grace to You

Copyright ©2012–2016 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Adversity, Christmas, Evil, Jesus Christ, Music, Perilous Times, Personal Distress, Suffering | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“Hallelujah!”

Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.”
Revelation 19:6

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

The formality of a concert setting is fitting for praising the Lord Jesus in His majesty and wonder, while listening in a food court reminds us the Gospel is for the reality of who we are. There have been several flash-mob settings of the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah. This one is from November 2010.

“…and He shall reign for ever and ever….King of Kings, and Lord of Lords….Hallelujah!”

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Messiah: Libretto: Old and New Testament Passages selected by Charles Jennens
Oratorio: George Frideric Handel

Christmas Candle Stars: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications: cropped with “Messiah” wording added.

Copyright ©2010–2016 Iwana Carpenter

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“O Come All Ye Faithful”

I have always loved to sing O Come All Ye Faithful on Christmas morning.  The last verse bursts into a crescendo of joy as it calls us to worship and adore Jesus Christ the Lord.

“Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given!
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing!
Oh, come, let us adore Him,
Oh, come, let us adore Him,
Oh, come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.”

This video is an orchestral arrangement by the Icelandic composer and organist, Stefan H. Kristinsson.

A very happy Christmas morning to you!  Whatever our circumstances, we are blessed because of the birth of our King.

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Copyright ©2010–2016 Iwana Carpenter

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“Carol of the Bells”


Bells have been used for centuries to mark events of significance. Carol of the Bells was composed by the Ukrainian composer, Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych, and is frequently performed by handbell choirs. These handbell ringers in Taipei are unique, however; their entrance and processional as they ring out the notes enhances and underscores the exuberant melody. The sights and sounds are a wonderful way to ring in Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas!

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Copyright ©2010–2015 Iwana Carpenter

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