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As a kid I often wondered why the shepherds were invited by the angels to go visit the newly born Jesus.

In the area around Bethlehem the sheep were bred for the purpose of sacrifice in the Temple. Every first born lamb born on these hills under the care of the shepherds were checked for blemish and set apart for the purpose of sacrificial death.
 Luke 2:8 says "in that same region' meaning that these Shepherds were in the same region as Bethlehem.

So these shepherds who had the responsibility of witnessing and setting apart the first born male lambs that were born, were invited to witness the birth of THE LAMB OF GOD.

It's a beautiful touch to Christ's birth.


Many people are currently 'into' angels. If that's you then why not look a little deeper into their origin, what they do, how powerful they are, and even who is in charge of them...

Over the past couple of weeks I've heard quite a few people mention angels.

It's made me think about Tim Millen's series on the world of angels.
I have the transcripts from him for these, but i'm pretty sure there's audio knocking about as well, but i can't find it at the moment.

The World of Angels:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

I was chatting with Simon this morning and one of the passages we talked about was Luke 10:17-20 were the 72 disciples come back to Jesus all pumped up and excited cause they were even casting out demons.
They'd just had a blazing ministry campaign with miracles and signs and they were excited - understanbly so!

Yet Jesus responds by saying:

"Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Is that enough? Is it enough to have our name down?

The question we had to ask was then; is it enough for us, will we be content to go through life without any blaze of glory or amazing wonders and miracles, so long as our name is written in heaven?


Why am I seeking Christ?
For His earthly benefits or for His Kingdom?

Bang ... Bang ... Bang ... Went the door.

The guy banging at the door was in fancy dress.
Each bang caused a shudder to run through the strong doors. Rather than knocking the door on 31st October this guy had hammer in hand. He was nailing a list to the door.

Bang ... Bang ... Bang ... Went the door.


With the nailing of Martin Luther's 95 Theses of what was wrong with the roman catholic church, not only did the vibrations cause the door to shudder; but the ripple ran right across Europe, and history. Thus the reformation began. Biblical truths such as being saved by faith alone would shine a light on the dark practises of rome.

A huge part of the reformation was the fact that it's leaders and preachers did not want to keep people from reading the Bible for themselves, nor from reading it in their own languages. Where church said that commoners could not have it, reformers handed it out to all who would take it. They did not force it upon people, as the bishops and priests did with catholic doctrine and darkness. But preached Christ and grace and Christ alone!

On 31st October a more important event than halloween took place at a door. Rather than knocking for a gift this young monk came knocking with a gift. The gift of truth!

499 years later I sit here writing this thankful for the reformation of Biblical truths and pray for a revival of them in my own life.


Thomas Brooks was born in 1608, but we know very little about him except what can be gleaned from his writings. He entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1625 but left before graduating. In 1640 he took to sea as Chaplain to the parlimamentary fleet. After the civil war, and back in England Brooks became the minister of St. Thomas of the Apostle in London where he served until 1651. In 1652 he was asked a second time to preach at parliament and he took the pastorate of St Margarets, Fish-Street Hill

Since he held to a more congregational view of church government he lost his pastorate when the Act of Uniformity was passed in 1662. This didn't stop him, and he continued to preach around London with no or little opposition. While most fled London when the plague hit in 1665 Brooks bravley stayed to tend to the people of London's spiritual needs. This is deeply impressive, since law had it that this guy should not be preaching at that time.
During the time of the great plague he wrote a book called 'Heavenly Cordial' but most copies of this were destroyed during the fire.

His first wife Martha died in 1676 and he remarried to Patience Cartwright who was a young lady, causing a few people to talk about his age vs hers.

He died 27th September 1680 at the age of 72.

His books (sermons) are simple, practical and full of Scripture and while i've only read one (The Secret Key to Heaven, which is a great book on prayer), Spurgeon loved Brooks, so that is a greater reccommendation than I can give to look at his works.

He was described as a sweet, charitable, patient man with strong faith by John Reeve, who preached at Brooks' funeral, which is a great description i'm sure of how we'd all like to be remembered.


Tyndale was born in the western part of England in 1494.
In 1515 he graduated from Oxford, where he had studied the Scriptures in Greek. By the time he was thirty, Tyndale had committed his life to translating the Bible from the original languages into English. Nothing would distract him from this.

His heart’s desire is exemplified in a statement he made to a clergyman when refuting the view that only the clergy were qualified to read and correctly interpret the Scriptures. Tyndale said:

 “If God spare my life, ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the Scripture than thou dost.”

English Bibles Refused
In 1523 Tyndale went to London seeking a place to work on his translation, after the bishop of London showed very little hospitality towards him, Tyndale stayed with Humphrey Munmouth, a cloth merchant. In 1524, Tyndale left England for Germany because the English church, which was still under the papal authority of Rome, strongly opposed putting the Bible into the hands of the common person in their own language.

Tyndale first settled in Hamburg, Germany. Quite possibly, he met Luther in Wittenberg, there is an entry during that time in the University's ledger for one 'Guillelmus Daltici ex Anglia which is a latin translation of yndale's name. Interestingly Tyndale would spend most of his life using fake names to protect his work from those who sought to stop it.

New Testament In England
Tyndale completed his translation of the New Testament in 1525.  1500 copies were smuggled into England between the years 1525 and 1530.

Church authorities did their best to confiscate copies of Tyndale’s translation and burn them, one such occasion was organized by one of Tyndales most bitter opponents Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall who gathered and burned Tyndale's New Testaments outside St. Paul's. But they couldn’t stop the flow of Bibles from Germany into England. In fact the money the church used to buy up the Bibles for this burning, filtered back to Tyndale and paid for a new edition to be printed in greater numbers.

Tyndale himself could not return to England because he was considered an outlaw at the same time his translation had been banned. But he continued to work at correcting, revising, and reissuing his translation until his final revision appeared in 1535.

After finishing the New Testament Tyndale started work on a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, but he did not live long enough to complete his task. He had, however, translated the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), Jonah, and some historical books.

Danger
Throughout his time in Europe both the church and the monarchy of England (Henry VIII) at times sent assassins to kill Tyndale. Henry sent letters asking him to return to England as a ploy to capture him, and rewards were offered for information. Tyndale used false names and at one point went to live in Worms, where Luther had been called to answer only a few years before. He went to this dangerous place to learn Hebrew from the best scholars so that he could begin translating the Old Testament. He was willing to risk his life for the sake of translating a Bible everyone in England could read for themselves.


Martyrdom
In May 1535, a new friend, Henry Philips, who he'd been warned about, led Tyndale down an alleyway in Antwerp, where soldiers waited on him. Tyndale was arrested and carried off to a castle near Brussels, where he was imprisoned.

 While he was in prison, an associate of his named Miles Coverdale (1488–1569) brought to completion an entire Bible in English—based largely on Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament and other Old Testament books.

After being in prison for over a year, Tyndale was tried and condemned to death. He was strangled and burnt at the stake on October 6, 1536.

 His final words while tied to the stake were “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”