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Robert Barkley of Doulos International Empty Re: Robert Barkley of Doulos International

Post  Admin on Tue 19 Oct 2010, 2:17 pm

Scripture: Revelation 12:7-9—And war broke out in heaven; Michael
and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels
fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place
for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down that ancient
serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole
world—he was thrown down to earth, and his angels were thrown down
with him.

Reflection: The book of Revelation is an intriguing mystery to many
Christians—and consequently a book of controversy and argument. I
make no claim to settling all the questions here—but I am suggesting
four simple themes our passage mentions that provide insights for the
Christian.

First, there is a great war raging. On earth, we understand about wars
(though not always what to do about them)—but earthly wars only
reflect the supra cosmic, all encompassing war in the spiritual realms
that pits good against evil; God's angels against Satan's
agents. Though we cannot see so clearly this war, we can believe it
exists—we see in ourselves the results of conflict between good and
evil. Secondly, Satan intends the destruction of the good. Our
forbearers believed in dragons—and it is still a good symbol for
evil. The ancient dragons were destructive, devouring knights and
preying on fair maidens. A third insight is that many people cannot see
or believe the dragon is really that bad—they follow him in throngs
(13:3-4). The fourth insight is that the dragon and his evil companions
and purposes are defeated—God and his Messiah are the winners of the
cosmic struggle—good will triumph—and for people of faith, the
triumphal celebration has already begun.

Prayer Starter: We praise you O Lord for you have triumphed over evil
and brought us safely into the Rock Fortress of your Grace. We rejoice
in your victory over the dragon and his helpers. Amen.
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Robert Barkley of Doulos International Empty Robert Barkley of Doulos International

Post  Admin on Tue 19 Oct 2010, 2:16 pm

Robert Barkley of Doulos International
Scripture: Luke 1:1-4—Since many have undertaken to set down an
orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as
they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were
eye-witnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after
investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an
orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know
the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.

Reflection: The book of Luke is unusual in several ways. First, this is
likely written by a Gentile—a non-Jewish person. If so, it is the
only New Testament book not written by the early Jewish Christians.
Tradition attributes the book to Luke, a physician who was said to have
been the traveling companion of the Apostle Paul on some of his
preaching mission. Our passage here gives one some flavor of Luke's
writing even before reading the content of his gospel. Of the four
gospel accounts, it is the one most consciously literary. The author
claims he has done considerable research before writing. The Greek
language in which the book is written is more formal and more like old
Classical Greek than other books of the New Testament.
This gospel account is actually part one of a two part work scholars
term "Luke-Acts." Both Luke and Acts were written by the same
person and both addressed to the same recipient Theophilus. Luke was not
an eye-witness of Jesus, but in his travels and conversations with
Christians, he almost certainly met with many disciples who remembered
Jesus in the flesh and shared their insights with him. He must have been
in some sense a reporter, interviewer, and interpreter of history.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank you for the literary, cultural, historical
and emotional insights of Luke the Christian historian. Help us to read
his account with empathy—allowing Jesus to be a real person and
early Christian history to be vivid and moving as we seek to penetrate
centuries of separation. Amen.
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