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Friday, December 30, 2022


One year ago this new year's weekend, by chance I heard a motivational speaker I had never heard of before that day. She's a tiny little woman with a tiny little voice that sounds like it belongs in a Barbie doll instead of a grown woman with things to say, but the things she talked about that day started me on a journey that has been really good for me. She releases a YouTube video podcast every week, and I rarely miss one.

Around this time of year she always talks about vision boards. I've always been a bit lukewarm on the idea (I'm not really an artsy-crafty type - I'm a music guy) but after hearing her talk about it over and over again, I bought a whiteboard and put some stuff on it. Good stuff, that I really wanted to accomplish. Stuff that would take some effort, but that was within reach. Just enough to be a bit of a stretch. I did a pretty good job of it, I thought!

Essentially, I accomplished none of it. All year long. It's pretty much the same now as when I first set it up months ago. It's about a foot from my head every day while I work! Why didn't it do the thing? Why haven't all of my goals materialized?

This week she talked about vision boards again, but she emphasized something this time that I don't remember from before (maybe I just have poor listening skills). You can't just record goals on your vision board. You have to record your commitments. It's not enough to say "I want to get out of debt" - you have to knuckle down and make payments until it happens.

So this week I'm going to be reconfiguring my vision board. I'm not getting rid of any of the ideas, but I'm going to tweak the execution a bit. I need something that will help me remain committed to a course of action and keep moving along the path that will get me where I want to go.


Wait just a minute, Michael... I thought this was your CHRISTIAN blog! Where's the part about God in this post? Are you still even a Christian, or are you just one of those new agey motivational weirdos that show up in commercials and want to sell me a book? Hey, you know what? Psalm 37:4 says "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." I don't think that means that God will give you anything your heart desires... I think that means that God will actually be the source of the desires themselves! So if your heart is toward God and He is guiding your desires, all you have to do is follow what He's placed in your heart and it's pretty hard to go wrong.


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 22

He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

And finally... the last chapter of Revelation. The last chapter of the Bible. The last chapter of human history that we know anything about. What is God's last word to mankind? "Come to me, I'm coming for you!"

And the river flows from the throne of God,
Passing by the tree of life
And in this place no candle burns
For the Lamb shall be our light
See the Holy city coming down from heaven
Here, there'll be no tears, no night
We shall reign with Him in raiment shining bright
(Chorus) And we say "Come Lord!" (Jesus quickly come)
And he says "My reward is with Me."
And we say "Come Lord!" (Jesus quickly come)
And He says "I am the first and last"
The Bride crys "Even so, oh when will my Love return?"
We say "Come Lord!"
And He says "Soon!"

We will see His face, He will speak our name
And He'll wipe our tears away
He shall be our God, we shall be his own
And His love will light our way

There will be no sorrow, there will be no mourning
Death is vanquished on that day
"So come quickly Lord," the Bride and Spirit say


Friday, December 23, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 21

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4)

I hope you like your songs about the afterlife beautiful and contemplative. Also, I hope you like them very loud. This song is both! (Jerusalem is one of the best Christian metal bands that never truly got a chance to make it big.)

One thousand years His reign shall be
And every eye shall be the one to see
His glory in New Jerusalem
For all eternity
Our King to be
Our hearts we swear to You

One thousand years King Jesus shall be
Our Lord for all eternity
To see His glory
In New Jerusalem
We bend our knee
We make our plea
Our hearts we swear to You

Behold the New Jerusalem
Sent down from God above
The dreams of all His Saints fulfilled
The city of His love
And all the angels sing for her
Their songs are ever heard
In the city of our Savior
The city of His Word

Life giver, live in us
Life giver, shine in us

Sorcerers and murders
And all who love a lie
They have no part within the gates
None stains the holy bride
The city has no sun or moon
No need for stars so bright
The glory of the lamb is all
Jesus is the light


Thursday, December 22, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 20

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:11-12)

The song that this chapter brought to mind is actually inspired by a story of the same event told by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46. I'm not going to add lyrics for this one - it's much more rewarding to experience this song in real time!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 19

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:11-16)

Who doesn't love it when the hero rides in on a white horse at the end of the story?

It's an age-old score that's got to be settled
It's an age-old debt that's got to be paid
When the King breaks through in all of His glory
To claim His throne and the world that He made

The nations wait with their armies gathered
With Jerusalem firmly under their thumbs
There will be no peace in Armageddon valley
Till the trumpet sounds and the cavalry comes

When He arrives He will conquer them all
Take back the ground given after the fall

All the King's horses and all the King's men
Gonna ride down from heaven from where they've been
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Gonna put this world back together again
Gonna put this world back together

On a great white horse the King will come riding
He's the One they call Faithful and True
With His eyes of fire and blood dipped clothing
He had a name nobody else knew

And by His side ride the armies of heaven
Dressed in linen clean and white as the snow
Riding down to earth with a vengeance so holy
For a one-day battle that will trample their foe

And when the dust and the smoke disappears
The King will reign for a thousand years

When the lion lays down with the lamb
There'll be peace in the land of Abraham
They will beat their swords into plows
When every tongue declares and every knee bows

Hey, how about a bonus song? This one is based on the worship section earlier in the chapter. ("Agnus Dei" means "Lamb of God".)

Alleluia Alleluia
For our Load God Almighty reigns

Holy Holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
You are Holy


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 18

After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice,

    "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
        She has become a dwelling place for demons,
    a haunt for every unclean spirit,
        a haunt for every unclean bird,
        a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
    For all nations have drunk
        the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
    and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
        and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living."

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,

    "Come out of her, my people,
        lest you take part in her sins,
    lest you share in her plagues;
    for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
        and God has remembered her iniquities.
    Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,
        and repay her double for her deeds;
        mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
    As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,
        so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
    since in her heart she says,
        'I sit as a queen,
    I am no widow,
        and mourning I shall never see.'
    For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
        death and mourning and famine,
    and she will be burned up with fire;
        for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her."

And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,

    "Alas! Alas! You great city,
        you mighty city, Babylon!
    For in a single hour your judgment has come."

(Revelation 18:1-10)


Tomorrow we're going to see Jesus return one last time and defeat the powers of the enemy - but today we have one last thing to do: lament over the spectacularly disastrous fall of the sinful, corrupt, detestable world system Revelation calls Babylon. (Actually, WE won't lament over it—but the world powers who have profited handsomely from her corruption will!)

Woe, woe, great Babylon
Whoa, you are a great fool, Babylon
You're gonna drink your cup whether you want it or not

The kings of the earth will cry over you
Your filth and adultery is tormenting them
Yes, fallen, yes, fallen is Babylon the great
The cup of God's wrath is what they have to taste

Come, come, watch and see
Where is her glory and luxury?
Ooh, the great prostitute is gone
Doom on the sinful Babylon

She's been like a queen, but she's now like a widow
And all of her wisdom, trust, and hope have vanished
She gathered herself with the Beast and his servants
And in pride, she deceived herself unto judgement

Come, come and watch the scriptures fulfilled
Come, come and watch, and see the signs of the times
Come, come you nations, great and small
City of power will fall, will fall

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Wash, wash your hands; wash off the dirt
And clean your hearts, you citizens of Earth
Make up your mind; it's time, it's time
Saints and sinners do not drink the same wine

Come, come and watch the justice from Heaven
Come, come and watch the signs of the age
Come, come you nations, great and small
The King of kings is calling you all

Oh, and she's falling, falling, falling, falling

Monday, December 19, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 17

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly. (Revelation 17:1-6)

Who says there's no romance in the book of Revelation? Here's a cute 50s crush song about the biggest prostitute of all time! reality not a woman but a world system that nations and civilizations have fallen prey to many times over the Millennia. Looking forward to chapter 18, we find that the nations of the world will mourn her overthrow: "And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, 'Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.' " (Revelation 18:9-10)

she's got a giant head
we've got the hat to fit it
she'll take us all to bed
what she wants, she can get it

have you heard about the girl
the prettiest in the world
have you heard about the girl
named Mystery Babylon

she wears her gold and pearls
and sits upon the water
and every boy and girl
is drinking her elixir

have you heard about the girl
the wonder of the world
everybody wants a date
with Mystery Babylon

in scarlet, fine raiment
(glass of wine held high)
the harlot seeks payment
so lay us down to die

there's fear now in her eyes
i guess she knows what's comin'
they'll say she once was wise
so beautiful, so cunnin'

have you heard about the girl
the prettiest in the world
have you heard about the girl
named Mystery Babylon
everybody wants a date with Mystery Babylon

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 16

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, "Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God."

So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.

The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.

The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say,

   "Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was,
        for you brought these judgments.
    For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
        and you have given them blood to drink.
    It is what they deserve!"

And I heard the altar saying,

    "Yes, Lord God the Almighty,
        true and just are your judgments!"

(Revelation 16:1-7)

God does not pour out His wrath on people. Romans 1:18 says "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." God has and will, however, pour out His wrath on sin in order to eradicate it from existence. You don't want to be hanging on to that sin when God's wrath hits it! Here's a song that just might hit you like a bowl of wrath...

I'm sure you've heard the story Gomorrah and of Sodom
If hell is not an endless pit I'm sure they're at the bottom
Of all of their abilities the greatest one was math
Their multiples of curses equaled a bowl of wrath

Bowl of wrath
Breakfast on the crooked path
Bowl of wrath
Bowl of wrath
Breakfast on the crooked path
If you choose to laugh
You can have a bowl of wrath

Moses came down from the mount one dark and gloomy morn
His eyes and heart fell in distress when he saw the golden form
A ghastly frown fell to his face, "You like this golden calf?"
"Well, get your knives and slay it, and have a bowl of wrath"

You Who were,
You are just.
You Who are,
You are just
We've spilled Your Blood, and killed Your saints
And wrath's what we deserve.
You are just in these judgements
The Holy One

Seven bowls before me, served up with all God's rage
I would've had to eat it, 'til Jesus paid sins wage
I'll take my cross up daily, in You I'll take a bath
Please clothe me in Your righteousness, not in a bowl of wrath

One of the bowls of wrath manifests itself in the final world war of the history of planet Earth. But, as David and the Giants tell us in this bonus song, in reality it's always in God's control!

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. ("Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!") And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12-16)

He's got it under control
He's got it under control

Rainy days, rainy nights
Sometimes come our way
Sometimes up, sometimes down
Your Word lets me know it's okay
We're not afraid of the night
'Cause we are the children of light

He's got it under control
He's got it under control
No matter what the circumstance
He's got it under control

When there's mountains you can't climb
The road never seems to end
Just remember you're not alone
The Lord is more than a friend
I know you've heard it before
We need to hear it some more

"We interrupt this program to bring you the following emergency broadcast. Russia has invaded Israel. I repeat: Russia has invaded Israel. Soviet caravan troops are now entering the battle of Armageddon."

He's got it under control
I wanna tell you right now
No matter what the circumstance
He's got it under control

He's got it under control
He's got you under control
So don't you worry
Everything is alright
He's got the world under control...

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 15

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also 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. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

"Great and amazing are your deeds,
    O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways, 
    O King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord, 
    and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
    All nations will come
    and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed."
(Revelation 15:2-4)

"Dear Christian songwriter: here are some lyrics my boy Moses wrote. They sing it up here already, but I thought you might be interested in taking a crack at writing a new tune for them. Love, God"

All kidding aside - beautiful words, a beautiful melody by Jim Cooper and Brian Wooten, and a beautiful arrangement by Petra.

Great and marvelous are Your deeds, o Lord God almighty
Great and marvelous are Your deeds, o Lord God almighty
Just and true are Your ways, o King of the ages
Who shall not fear, oh Lord, and glorify Your name?

For You alone, You alone are holy
All nations will come and worship before You, Lord
For You alone, You alone are holy
All nations will come and worship before You, Lord
You alone are holy, holy

Friday, December 16, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 14

Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, "Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe." So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, "Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe." So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia. (Revelation 14:14-20)

I have no earthly idea why Stryper chose to record "Battle Hymn of the Republic" on this early album. I do remember a kid playing it for me through headphones back in high school, and looking pleased when I seemed impressed! It's weird to see this in Revelation and to think that this song was written after the Civil War as a pro-abolition song. The verse about this isn't in Stryper's recording, but it goes "In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea/With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me/As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free/While God is marching on."

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 13

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, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. (Revelation 13:16-18)

One of the first Christian rock videos ever aired on MTV? But first it was rejected from MTV for being too violent and had to be recut? (Apparently they didn't like the part where they caught the antichrist on fire at the end.) Yes, please! (By the way... raise your hand if you are old enough to know what an address book is.)

I was feeling kind of restless
So I went out for a walk
And I ran into a stranger
And for hours we just talked
Said I'm waiting for this moment all my life
This is it
And when I asked him to explain it
He just smiled and he told me, six, six, six

He said that things will get much better
That tonight is New Age Eve
I can even change the weather
I can do things you won't believe
I got signs and wonders in my bag of tricks
Hmm, tricks!
When I asked him to explain
He just smiled and he told me, six, six, six
Six, six, six

I said, "Jesus won't you save me
From this evil man of sin?
I have read about his future
I don't want to go with him!"
And when I looked he had gone
But he had left a note that said:
My number is, my number is, my number is...


Said my number, my number, my number is six, six, six

When morning came I laughed
At what I thought was just a dream
And I went to call my neighbor
And tell him all I'd seen
But when I reached for my address book, I felt sick
Ooh, sick
'Cause, written across the page
Every number there was six, six, six
Ooh, six, six, six

Yeah, that's probably one of the creepiest Christian rock videos ever made. It's a little bit dramatic... I wonder what life might actually be like for someone living under the antichrist? Here's maybe my favorite song about that. It's so bleak and hopeless, and the last few lines almost leave you gasping for air. Art of the most amazing kind!

In the midst of the war he offered us peace
He came like a lover from out of the East
With the face of an angel and the heart of a beast
His intentions were Six Sixty Six

He walked up to the temple with gold in his hand
And he bought off the priests and propositioned the land
And the world was his harlot and laid in the sand
While the band played Six Sixty Six

We served at his table and slept on the floor
But he starved us and beat us and nailed us to the door
Well, I'm ready to die, I can't take any more
And I'm sick of his lies and his tricks

He told us he loved us, but that was a lie
There was blood in his pockets and death in his eyes
Well my number is up and I'm willing to die
If the band will play Six Six...

If the band will play Six Sixty S...

If the band will play Six Sixty Six


Hey, why don't we wrap up this creepy chapter with a SECOND bonus song from King's X? I promise Dug is joking at the end! (I think...)

Here's a little story, it is frightening
Or just a fantasy
Just a little boy, he is different
Different than you or me

The serpent is rising
Growing stronger every day
You will see him in the future
You may have seen him today

Oh, 666, seven years bad luck
You won't buy or sell, no, without his mark

There is more to the story
It can be read
In a book called Revelation
Guess one day we'll see, oh

666, seven years bad luck
You won't buy or sell, no, without his mark

I'll take that number, yeah
(You know I'm just kidding)

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 12

A Michael Card Dragon 2fer!

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. (Revelation 12:1-6)

Really, I would have to paste in the whole chapter—but you can pick up a Bible (or click here) and read it yourself.

Michael Card has recorded two really great songs inspired by this chapter. The first one is from 1983 and starts at Christmas (!). The second is from 2006 and follows Revelation 12 pretty closely. Which one do you like? (I know, the answer is "both of them!")

The star-led wizards came to see
Who might this new born Dragonslayer be
He'd come the serpent's lies to cease
To win for us a never-ending peace

The serpent reared his ugly head in the stillness of the garden
To bite the Dragonslayer's heel and defeat His plan of pardon
But the Mighty One provided for the fallen ones instead
And the quest began to slay the beast
To finally crush his head
To finally crush his head

Behold the Dragonslayer
He stills the serpent's scream
He stops his accusations
He spoils the dragon's dream
Behold the Dragonslayer
He died to set us free
The dragon thought he'd won then
It wasn't meant to be
It wasn't meant to be

The dragon sought to take the child of the woman clothed in sunlight
But once again the King stepped in and began to fight the last fight
And so the battle raged between the heavens and the sky
And the dragon was defeated
And at last was doomed to die
At last was doomed to die

A vile, enormous dragon with heads and horns and crowns
And a tail that swept the stars from heaven and cruelly cast them down
He lurked before the woman about to bear her Son
The One who'll rule the nations with a rod of iron

Now has come our salvation
The power and the kingdom of God
For the dragon is defeated
By the word and the blood of the Lamb

Behold, a war in heaven reflected here on earth
And Michael and his angels fought for all their worth
That wicked ancient serpent who leads the world astray
The accuser of the brethren was beaten from the fray

Now has come our salvation
The power and the kingdom of God
For the dragon is defeated
By the word and the blood of the Lamb

Rejoice then, oh ye heavens, but woe to the earth and the sea
For He is filled, filled with fury; he knows his time is brief
'Cause he knows His time is brief

Now has come our salvation
The power and the kingdom of God
For the dragon is defeated
By the word and the blood of the Lamb

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 11

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)

One of the most well-known verses in the book of Revelation, solely because of this piece of music? Maybe! (Well, maybe not this specific version, but you know.)

Stand up! It's tradition!


For the Lord God omnipotent reigns!

The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ!

And He shall reign forever and ever!

King of Kings and Lord of Lords!



Monday, December 12, 2022

The Savior Reigns

NOTE: Revelation chapter ten is a weird one, even for Revelation. First there is a giant shouting angel, then there is some thunder that says something but John tells us he was not allowed to write it down (well then, why did you even mention it in the first place?) Then John is told to take a scroll from a second angel and eat it. It will taste good, the voice tells him, but it will give you an upset stomach. So what does he do? He eats it, of course! It tastes good, but he gets an upset stomach! And that's what happens in the chapter!

Apparently this chapter hasn't been a huge inspiration to Christian artists, so why don't we take a break today and sing a Christmas carol instead? Let's pick one that is more about Jesus' second coming than His first...

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy!

I was listening to some Christmas music this morning, and this verse came on. I thought, when that artist sang the words "joy to the earth, the Savior reigns," I wonder if she thought about the significance of those words. When you sing this, you are proclaiming Jesus as the king over all of creation. That's BIG! It's a basic cornerstone of Christian Theology, but it's important.

It's also very controversial. Revolutionary, even. There are plenty of people in the world right now who would argue against that idea. Maybe even in Christian circles, on days when we're feeling pessimistic. But it's the truth! The book of Matthew quotes Jesus as saying "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV) Without the kingship of Jesus, we have no power to fulfill His commission to make disciples for Him. So this Christmas season when you sing those words (You know you will! You cannot escape!) - think about the importance of what you're saying. Jesus reigns and rules over this earth, and that's what empowers us to bring the people of the world to Him!
He rules the world with truth and grace
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love!


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 9

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. (Revelation 9:1)

This song starts off with Satan's fall from Heaven, which is in Revelation chapter 9, but if there's any doubt who this verse is talking about:

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And 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 the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)

And, just because we want to, why don't we preview the inspiration for the last verse of this song?

...and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)

Since Petra is one of my lifetime all-time favorite bands, and this is an amazing song that is not to be missed, I'll give you two versions to choose from. If you're a lover of hard rock music, here's the original version:

If you're more of a late '90s acoustic rock type and want a slightly mellower presentation, here's your ticket to ride:

Son of the morning, highest of all
You had so much going till you took the fall
Had a place in the glory but you wanted it all
Impossible odds but you had the gall

It seemed so unlikely that you would rebel
Such a worthy opponent that you knew so well
But you went down fighting when you heard the bell
Took a third of all heaven when you went to hell

This means war, and the battle's still raging
War—and though both sides are waging
The Victor is sure and the victory secure
But till judgment we all must endure
This means war

Then came the cross. You thought you had won
You thought you had conquered God's only Son
"So much for Jesus", you said in jest
Then you got a visit from an unwelcome guest

Now it's all over, down to the wire
Counting the days to your own lake of fire
But you'll go down fighting for all that you're worth
To try to abolish His image on earth

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 8

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them... Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. (Revelation 8:1-2, 6)

In stark contrast to the direct here's-the-lyrics-write-the-music handout John gives us in chapter 7, there's not a lot here to inspire your average Christian songwriter. Essentially, seven angels blow seven trumpets, one at a time, and every time a trumpet sounds, an ecological disaster occurs. Which sounds really terrible—and of course it would be and will be to the people living on Earth at the time—but we have to look at it from God's perspective. God made this whole world once, and if he wants to, he can make it again (but let's not jump forward to chapter 21 too soon here!) I believe God wants us to take care of the world, our environment, our home, just like I take care of the house I live in. But God's focus is the human race, and He is willing to do whatever it takes to try to convince as many as possible to come to him!

That said, I don't know of a song that specifically is about this chapter, but I do know about this Bloodgood song, which is all about how many times the number seven appears in the book of Revelation. Let's rock, shall we?

God gave Jesus a revelation, and the Lord sent His angel to John
The faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead
The ruler of the kings of all the earth
The one who loves us and has freed us from our sins
His blood has washed clean and now He's coming
So shall it be, Amen

Seven: the number of churches
Seven: the number of spirits
Seven: the number of lamp stands made of gold

Stars and seals, the number of horns
The number of eyes lookin' at you:
Seven... seven
The number of the crowns
The number of plagues
The number of bowls made of gold

Trumpets, how many trumpets
How much thunder, and how many signs?
Seven... seven

God gave Jesus a revelation and the Lord sent His angel to John

Friday, December 9, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 7

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." (Revelation 7:9-12)

How great is it when the Bible just feeds you the lyrics, and all you have to do is come up with a tune to go with them? 😇

Salvation belongs to our God
Who sits upon the throne
And unto the Lamb
Praise and glory, wisdom and thanks
Honor and power and strength

Be to our God, forever and ever
Be to our God, forever and ever
Be to our God, forever and ever

And we the redeemed shall be strong
In purpose and unity
Declaring aloud
Praise and glory, wisdom and thanks
Honor and power and strength


Thursday, December 8, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 6

And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!" (Revelation 6:6)

The idea from Revelation 6 above is in the first verse of today's song, but mostly it's based on this text from some words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 24:

For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:38-42)

And for anyone who was a Christian kid in the 90s, here's the almost equally famous DC Talk cover of Larry's song:

Life was filled with guns and war
And everyone got trampled on the floor
I wish we'd all been ready

Children died the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
The son has come and you've been left behind

A man and wife asleep in bed
She hears a noise and turns her head, he's gone
I wish we'd all been ready

Two men walking up a hill
One disappears and one's left standing still
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
The son has come and you've been left behind

There's no time to change your mind
How could you have been so blind
The father spoke the demons dined
The son has come and you've been left behind

You've been left behind
You've been left behind


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 5

  Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."

  And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

   Worthy are you to take the scroll
      and to open its seals,
   for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
      from every tribe and language and people and nation,
   and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
      and they shall reign on the earth."

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

   "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
   to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
   and honor and glory and blessing!"

(Revelation 5:1-12)

This song is actually two consecutive tracks on Mylon LeFevre's album More—I tried to find a video with both songs and just the album cover, but the album cover versions I found were one or the other. So I had to settle for this one. Please feel free to ignore the groovy psychadelic images (or groove out to them, if that's your thing). The song is easily spectacular enough on its own without them!

Praise Him in the morning
Praise Him in the evening
Praise Him, let all the people praise the Lord of Glory
Praise Him, He is worthy
Praise Him, He is coming
Praise Him, let all the people praise the Lord forever and ever

And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven. And in my vision, I saw the throne of the Holy One, The Almighty One who lives forevеr. And lightning and thunder issued forth from the thronе, and there were voices in the thunder. 

Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One sitting on the throne. And it was sealed with seven seals, and a mighty angel with a loud voice was shouting out this question, "Who is worthy to break the seals?" But no one in all of Heaven or Earth was permitted to open and read it. Then I wept with disappointment because no one was worthy. 

But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, "Stop crying, for look! The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered!" So I looked and saw a Lamb standing there before the twenty-four elders in front of the throne and the living beings. And on the Lamb were wounds that once had caused His death. 

He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the One sitting on the throne. And as He took the scroll the twenty-four elders fell down before the lamb, each with a harp and a golden vial filled with incense: the prayers of God's people! And they were singing Him a new song with these words: "You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it, for You were slain, and it was your blood that bought people from every nation as gifts for God. And You have gathered them into a kingdom and made them priests of our God, and they shall reign upon the earth forever!" 

Then in my vision, I heard the singing of millions of angels surrounding the throne: "The Lamb is worthy!" Loudly they sang it! "The Lamb who was slain is worthy to be praised!"

He is worthy, worthy, worthy
To receive the power
And the glory and the honor for all things

Holy, holy, holy
Lord God Almighty
The One who was and is and is to come 

Forever and ever and ever
And ever and ever, forever 

He is the mighty King 

Worthy is the Lamb,
The Lamb that was slain



Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 4

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

   "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
      who was and is and is to come!"
(Revelation 4:8)

The phrase "Lamb who was slain" referring to Jesus is actually from Revelation 5, but we'll get there tomorrow!

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lightning rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor strength and glory and power be
To You the only one wise King

Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery


Monday, December 5, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 3

And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: "The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:14–17)

Jesus' message for the church at Laodicea is a harsh one—Steve Camp realizes that sometimes it applies to him, to you, and to me.

Oh Lord, take Your plow to my fallowed ground
Let Your blade dig down to the soil of my soul
For I've become dry and dusty, Lord I know there must be
Richer earth lying below

For I've been living in Laodicea
And the fire that once burned bright, I've let it grow dim
And the very Word I swore that I would die for all has been forgotten
As the world's become my friend

We have turned from Your Law to try to find a better way
Each man does today what is right in his own eyes
We will pay the price for our sinning
We can never know true living, we've exchanged His truth for lies

For I've been living in Laodicea
And the fire that once burned bright, I've let it grow dim
And the very Word I swore that I would die for all has been forgotten
As the world's become my friend

It is no small of a thing that He's done for you
By shutting the gates of hell upon the cross
We were sentenced once but now we are pardoned
And He chooses to use us though we fall

So while we're living in Laodicea
Keep the fire burning bright, don't let it grow dim
For the very Word we swore that we would die for, it must not be forgotten
Fear the world become a friend

For the very Word we swore that we would die for, it must not be forgotten


If you're wondering whether there is a way to get outside the Laodicea city limits in your life, never fear—Jesus is waiting for you! The below quote is often used as an invitation for people who don't know Christ, but it was really written to those who had lost the plot like the Laodiceans.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)


Sunday, December 4, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 2

I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:2-5)

When I read those words, the phrase "the love you had at first" stood out to me. If you've read this in other translations, you might have read it phrased " have left your first love." Reading it in context, though, you'll see that it's not saying "I Jesus am your First Love, and you have left me!" It is saying that the church at Ephesus is still working hard for God, but has forgotten to do the work in love. We learn in the first three verses of I Corinthians 13 that doing good works without love is not what God wants: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."

BUT that doesn't stop people from writing cool songs that use the phrase to mean something a little different. Like, for example, this groovy track from Joe English!

Well the single most thing that's certain
If ever a truth was true
It's that in spite of my many failures
My very first love was You

Lord, the world is filled with lies that make the truth fade from You
But nothing in all creation will ever lessen my love for You

Having Jesus for my first love
Makes the darkest day shine
He has filled me with His Spirit
And I'll love him until the end of time
(And that's a long time!)

There's been a very long list of heartaches
Other loves long ago
But when I finally felt love from You, Lord
I let the loose feelings go

All the pain that hurts the heart and makes the tears freely flow
Will never turn me from You, Lord, or of the love that I've come to know

Having Jesus for my first love
Makes the darkest day shine
He has filled me with His Spirit
And I'll love him until...

If ever there comes a dark time
Where love is nowhere in view
I know that nothing in all creation
Will lessen my love for You

Having Jesus for my first love
Makes the darkest day shine
He has filled me with His Spirit
And I'll love him until...
(And that's a long time!)

Having Jesus for my first love
Makes the darkest day shine
He has filled me with His Spirit
And He's mine for all time!
He is!
Oh yeah!

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Revelation Advent Calendar - Chapter 1

 "I've been reading the book of Revelation," I told my son this morning, "and I keep noticing parts that inspired songs that I know. It's been pretty cool. I'm thinking about doing some blog posts about it."

And then my son had an inspired idea.

"Why don't you do a blog Advent calendar?" he said.

Today is December third... a bit late to be starting an advent calendar.

EXCEPT... guess how many chapters there are to the book of Revelation? Twenty-two! That means that if I start today, the last entry will fall on Christmas eve! PERFECT!

So now I present to you: The Christian Life With Michael Blog Music Video Advent Calendar!

So, the idea of this advent calendar is to find songs that may have been inspired by something from the book of Revelation. In most cases we're not trying to actually tell the story laid out in the book - you can (and should!) read that for yourself. But maybe a little snippet here and there will whet your appetite! Each day I'll start out with a quote from the chapter, then I'll include a YouTube video with the song in it, and I'll paste in the lyrics as well. If you like these songs, seek them out and buy them from the artists, because this will be good stuff. Be forewarned: there will be everything from worhip standards (like day 1) to Christian heavy metal here. Revelation is an eclectic book, so I think it allows for some eclectic music!

Behold, he [Jesus] is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. (Revelation 1:7 ESV)
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet... (Revelation 1:10a ESV)


These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the Word of the Lord
And these are the days of Your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored
And though these are days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

Behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun, at the trumpet call
Lift your voice, it’s the year of Jubilee
And out of Zion’s hill salvation comes

And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of Your servant David
Rebuilding a temple of praise
And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are as white in the world
And we are the laborers in Your vineyard
Declaring the Word of the Lord

There’s no god like Jehovah


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Suffering vs. Faith

I've always had trouble understanding the point of this Bible verse:
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. - James 5:13–14 ESV
Today I read that, and suddenly it was crystal clear to me. These aren't actually specific instructions to follow. I mean, those are good things to do, but that's not a "how to" formula for those specific situations. What if you start suffering but you forget to immediately start praying? What if you're cheerful but you're in a library and can't just bust out your favorite Chris Tomlin song? What if you're sick but your cell phone battery is dead, and there are no church elders in shouting distance??

Those verses don't contain specific instructions that you must follow to the letter, like a recipe for baking a cake or a medical prescription to make warts go away. Those are examples of how a Christian might respond appropriately in a given situation. You might feel cheerful because you are thinking about what God has done, but you don't burst into song - instead you begin to pray and thank God for all He's done for you. You might feel sick when you're volunteering with your church youth group - not an "elder" in sight, but a dozen faith-filled teenagers pray for you instead. These are not precise procedures that must be followed. The specific instruction from this passage is this: no matter what happens to you, respond in faith. It's as simple as that!