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Glory, Freedom, and the Ultimate Battle

In Middle School we watched the movie of the Civil War in the United States, which was called Glory. It took place during the Civil War, and showed, if I remember correctly the Northern point of view, as opposed to the Southern point of view, which Gone With the Wind seems to portray.  When I was watching this movie I was asked to define what the word “glory” actually meant.  I had difficulty coming up with an answer.  While the definition has many terms in implication in the Jewish root, and basically identifying God’s glory as the glory of the Presence of the Son – I want to take you through a journey as the Holy Spirit compels me and enables me to do so on the aspect of Glory, Freedom, and the Ultimate Battle, and the parallels between the Bible and the Civil War.

In the Bible – particularly in the Old Testament, the Israelites cried about their slavery and God heard them –

23 However, after a long time [nearly forty years] the king of Egypt died; and the Israelites were sighing and groaning because of the bondage. They kept crying, and their cry because of slavery ascended to God.

24 And God heard their sighing and groaning and [earnestly] remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. – Exodus 2:23-24

It took them a long time of trials and trusting in God to get to their Promised Land, but yet they still didn’t have freedom.

When the African slaves were taken captive in American History, they cried and sang out and they had great heroes of faith like Harriet Tubman and they sang songs of Moses in the times of their slavery.  The Battle of the North and the South was particularly a battle of ideas, the idea that people should be enslaved to make riches for the higher class verses the idea that each individual has a right to be acknowledged to an individual and has the right to Freedom.  They fought out this war with a bloody fight and it was the bloodiest fight with Abraham Lincoln leading the way seeking God through this time, and he was President.  I had to do a study on Abraham Lincoln, and I heard he suffered from depression, or maybe that was his wife, I don’t remember, but the point being that he was a man who sought God to deliver the African people freedom from slavery in the Declaration of Emancipation.

So that was the ultimate battle and that is one many Christians still face today because Christ has purchased our freedom, but through the limits of this life we are still bound, and we need to be rescued.  The beautiful thing is that Christ rescues us over and over and over again, constantly redeeming us and bringing His purpose to pass through our lives even though we may not see it.  We still have this battle of ideas of slavery and bondage to the Law, and the Freedom that is inherited by Grace.

God not only brought the Israelites out of bondage of slavery from the Egyptians, but He also brought them out of bondage to the Babylonians, and Assyrians and many times over and over again.  They waited several years for total freedom which was going to only come through the Messiah, and when Jesus came, they thought he was going to physically free them from Roman captivity, but instead He freed them from the bondage of the Law.  He became a curse so they wouldn’t have to be bound any longer anymore and when Cleopas and his companion came across Him, they were mourning, and He had not revealed Himself to them, and He was actually pretending like He didn’t know what they were thinking.  They were expecting some great physical delivery or political delivery and freedom, but they didn’t realize how much power the freedom that they did have.

Luke 24:

18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”

19 And He said to them, “What things?”

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

So this glory encapsulates the freedom that He gives.  The freedom from the bondage of sin and death is what this freedom offers to mankind.  But people can go and take advantage of the freedom, and that’s where the issue comes up.  People can get so carried away with freedom, that they begin to live their licentious lives over again.  Look what’s happening right now in America.  The rights that were once considered valuable are now being trampled upon and the rights that are of no value to a human being are exalted and proclaimed over to the point where the rights of the people that instill values that reduce crime, and violence, are now being minimized.  So then freedom has bounds.  Bounds were set for protection, but not to bind if that makes sense.

Interestingly enough the word “boundary” comes from the word meaning “mark, or delimit” which brings up a very interesting conversation topic, the there is the Mark of God, and the Mark of the enemy.  So how does a believer know which mark is which?  When referring to the mark of the enemy, where one cannot buy or sell without the mark, it seems like it is delimiting and putting more and more control.  Whereas the Mark of God, freely grants you the right to ask from God whatever you desire, knowing that you have believed in Him, and have received.  We must remember that one of the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness and in that gentleness, Jesus is so gentle with you as to not force you into any direction, but as a loving shepherd He guides you by the still waters, but even the sheep have to go into the sheep gate so they don’t get attacked by wolves.

Getting back to the Civil War, which was anything but civil, we come again to the cost of freedom.  If you want to check out my previous post on Freedom, check out my blog on Freedom posted July 4, 2011.  Freedom means that someone has to die.  In the Christian walk, it means that Jesus has died for us.  He has set us free, and we are no longer captives.  We operate in a different kingdom, which is the Kingdom of Love and in that we find the freedom.  We find the Freedom to be able to love to the max, but through our own flaws and imperfections we fail to see what demand this love requires.  This love requires pain, emotionally, and sometimes even physically, but in the end it is Christ who frees us from the law of sin and death, and that is where the Ultimate Battle is won – on the Cross. So ask yourselves where in our lives have taken up the Cross?

Touch not the anointed

1 Chronicles 16:22 mentions not to touch the anointed.  The anointing of God is a very special thing in a person’s life.  Once a believer becomes born again, and they are put into a position of preaching and sharing the gospel, they are endowed with spiritual gifts.

15 So David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy your lord the king. 16 This thing that you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, you deserve to die, because you have not guarded your master, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the jug of water thatwas by his head.”

There can be serious consequences for interfering with someone’s anointing, and when you do that it is good to repent for anything you might have done out of vengeance in ministry in order to allow God to justify you out of His wrath.  We are all washed with the blood of Jesus when we accept Christ alone as the only way to get to heaven, and when we apply this to our sins, God forgives us, but there will be consequences, but God is so merciful He can use it for His advantage.

The anointed can refer to – Kings, Priests, and Christ Himself – and also Pastors or shepherds.  Now I am particularly talking about anyone that has a spiritual gift, whether that be writing, preaching, healing, or the many other giftings, but especially Pastors because they are called to be Pastors.  No Pastor is perfect, not television pastors, not pastors at the local church, and no one in ministry is perfect, so if they have said something to offend you – (I must admit I was offended by a television pastor’s remarks, hence the last post), but I made that mistake and I repented for it, and I realize now that positions of authority, any kind of authority have been given room for error.

That goes for presidents (modern day kings) as well.  We may think that the  people have voted for the president, and that may be true, but they wouldn’t be voted for without God’s permission without the perfect planning of God’s prophetic timeline.  But that does not negate free-will – we make the choice, but God has the final say in who is going to be president.  In America sometimes leaders don’t understand Biblical foundations and the consequences, so they will be prone to error, but all people should be subject and respectful to their leaders, even when their leaders are wrong according to Romans because in that way you are honoring God.  That doesn’t mean that if your leaders are wrong you just do what they say, but like Daniel with Nebuchadanezzar – He called upon the wisdom of God so dependently that it got him out of very difficult circumstances.

This generation is looking for the true sons of God who are people like Daniel in this generation who have the wisdom it takes to seek out God, and to live according to His plans and purposes and put right the presence of the Holy Spirit and the people who are going to back to sound Biblical truth which is well balanced and not an extreme on any case, but holds fast to the Truth, which is the Word of God.  We may not be there yet, but God is preparing the true sons (and daughters) of God for the last days. (ref. Romans 8:19)

Jesus says in the last days the love of many will grow cold and many will be offended.  As a Church we must not get offended by anyone or anything, and that takes spiritual maturity – we are all at different levels of growth and some people with more soul issues get offended more easily, but the truth is that we are all in a growth process.  When we are the point where we are ripe then we will be ready to be harvested as the true wheat and have the tares sifted out.

Leaders, especially Pastors are under a lot of pressure to get the body of Christ lined up properly, and they don’t always have time to get everything correct.  Many of them have personal family times and children they need to take care of, and they have sheep that they have to take care of and counsel and guide.  (ref. John 21)

So you should pray for leaders and other positions of authority over you and have respect for them, and when they abuse their position of authority if you pay them back with kind words and a blessing, then you will reap coals on their heads.

In Bible study we were discussing the prospect of seeking your own vengeance, and doing it by using the Bible or prayer claiming things like Psalm 35, to pray against people, which is the wrong application of Psalm 35.

So this message is short – if anyone has hurt you, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a Pastor, but it can be anyone in authority or not, and I am sure you have been hurt because everyone has been hurt, angry, frustrated, distressed, or burdened by someone at least once in their life, if not every once in a while or on a regular basis – forgive them.

Heavenly Father,

Forgive us for any grievances we hold or have held against positions of authority.  Forgive us for any acts of knowing or unknowing behavior or attitudes that we may have against them.  Guide us and protect our hearts and seal them with the blood of Jesus.  If there any sin that is weighing our conscience right now, cleanse it with the blood of Jesus and let us be made whole.  Cause us not to take any actions of lawlessness against anyone.  Give us wisdom on how to interact with people and help us guard our mouth.

In Jesus Mighty Name I pray,

Amen.

 

Liberation of Repentance, and the Presence of God

A lot of people look at repentance as a bad thing, and of course it is better not to have to repent, but because we are all fallen we need to be able to go to God and say, “Daddy, I know I was wrong, will you please forgive me?  Help me not to do it again.”  When Adam and Eve were in the Garden  and they sinned, they hid from the Presence of God.

Genesis 3:8 –  8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the [c]cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”  Now don’t go running around naked please.

But the wonderful thing now through the Precious Blood of Jesus, is that we can run to Him and say, “I know I was wrong, please forgive me.”  God is merciful and just to forgive.

One time I was at a prayer meeting and I had a heaviness because I felt guilty about something and I couldn’t experience the release of the Presence of God, but through the unction of the Holy Spirit led by the worship leader, who repented on behalf of the Church, there was a tremendous release from all the burdens.  It was coming again to the point of the Cross and saying, “Lord, I surrender, I surrender all my burdens, griefs, pains, and sorrows, down at your feet.  You take them away.”

In the Tabernacle example there is a model – there is the Outer Court, Inner Court, and the Holy of Holies.

When you are in the Outer court, which is the first part after the gate to the worship, you have the bronze altar.  Before that is that the gate and that’s where you enter.  You enter with praise and thanksgiving.  Then the second stage is the Cleansing or self examining at the bronze altar. I am not going to go in to the details of the tabernacle just yet, but maybe in the future post I will share.

When we sin, God doesn’t want us to run away from Him, but to run to Him, but somehow because we have been believing lies, the devil tries to  make us believe that God won’t accept us or love us if we do sin.  That doesn’t mean that we keep on sinning.

 

Romans 9:16 says – 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

That brings me to my second point –

1) Liberation in the Word of God

Even though there is liberation in repentance,  or turning your heart towards God, and away from the sin, there is even more liberation in knowing that the Word of God has all the answers for the troubles you are facing.  I once listened to a sermon called, “The only way out is the Word of God”, and the person said the Word of God brings in the Presence of God as well.  It is better to be obedient to God and not have to repent, because Romans 3:6 says that the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.  But in context it is talking about Christians who are earthly minded –

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

One thing that God hates the most is idolatry – putting something whether that be a molded image, like the hindus and buddhists use, or anything that keeps us from the presence of God, and the people that participate in idolatry, will be stored up for God’s wrath because in idolatry it leads to many sins.  God is a Jealous God because He wants us to love Him completely and not lift up anything before Him including ourselves.

Ephesians 5:1-13 says –

1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved[a]you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God [b]as a fragrant aroma.

3 But immorality [c]or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among[d]saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no [e]immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 [f]trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even [g]expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are [h]exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

What is the opposite of empty words(words that are void of truth):  The Living Word, which is the Word of God, and He gives you the Grace to reveal the Word to you in that time of need.  That is if you set apart time to study and to pursue His presence or to dedicate your life to Him.  Lately I have been finding that I just open the Bible and God leads me to a verse that immediately applies to my situation and sometimes gives me a rebuke, or something I need to repent for, or gives me a sense of encouragement knowing that He has equipped me for whatever battle I need to face.  Part of the armor of God is the loin belt of Truth – without the loin belt of Truth you cannot have intimacy with God, because it protects your intimate organs from being attacked.  That is to be used in the Soldier analogy.  I think there is more teaching on the Armor of God on one of my posts.    I know some of us are busy with work and don’t have the time to really get in the Word of God so much, and I know I have said it does not need to be out of obligation, but God has a remarkable way of rescuing you with His Word, and sometimes it is as much as flipping a page and then find just what you need.  I was told once not to play Bible roulette, where you just open up the Bible, and the first verse that pops out at you, apply it to yourself.  But the amazing thing is that the Word of God has so much power because it can become a rhema or revelation and not just a letter or logos even if you just open the one page.  Discipline in studying the Bible is important characteristic trait to develop, not because of obligation but because of getting to know Jesus more and more.  So studying the Bible can bring revelation and that revelation can bring liberation.  After all isn’t life all about revelation knowledge of Jesus and who He is?  Whether you get it by youtube songs, or by a worship service, or by the Word of God- the whole point is to get to the presence of Jesus.

So what is the Presence of God –

The Holy Spirit can hover upon, rest upon, and reside within a believer.  When a believer is born again the Holy Spirit resides within the person.  When God created the Heavens and the earth, the Spirit of God hovered upon the waters – Gen. 1:2- The Spirit of God can rest upon a believer where the person can actually experience a sense of “abiding under the shadow of the Almighty” – that is the resting upon.  In Luke it says that the Holy Spirit will overshadow her.  When you are dwelling in the Presence of Almighty, that is when the Holy Spirit is resting upon you.

The key thing about Christianity is that it is not a religion filled with rituals that you must do this and you must do that.  It is about a journey full of mountains and valleys, and there are lessons to be learned, tests to take, and relationships to build with God and with other people.  Sometimes the devil comes in tries to beat you up and make you feel like you are condemned, but you don’t have to listen to it.  The more we feel condemned it means that God has not completed the restoration of our souls and He is waiting for you to come to Him.  He is reaching out to you to turn to Him, to change your mind against idolatry and disobedience, to take up your cross, or whatever is keeping you to fully worship and enjoy Him.  When we work, we can still keep Him in our thoughts – if we work in retail, we can think, “How can I be a light today?”, if we work for an electric company, we can focus on “the Light of this world”, if we work for an insurance company, we can focus on, “What is the best insurance policy?”; if we work with manufacturing, we can focus on “God created the heavens and the earth.”, if we work with computer programming, we can focus on, “God gave a marvelous code of instructions on how this world should work”, if we work with filing, we can focus on, “How wonderfully organized God is”, if we work in media we can thank God for how the media has been used to share the Gospel, etc.

Jesus said, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” so the more we focus on the Cross of Christ, the easier it will be for Jesus to lay down the burdens that so easily ensnare us and to break all the chains.

Here is a prayer for protection for inviting the presence of God into your life,

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for revealing to me more about Yourself everyday in the way You see fit.  Thank You for taking complete and total charge over my life and having the mercy upon me that despite the times I disobey in little things, you are always quick to forgive.  Thank you for being the loving arms that hold me and embrace me when times are hard or difficult.  Thank You for letting me know that You are always there for me.  Please remove from my life any area where I am displeasing to you, or anything that gets in the way of sharing our love together.  Thank You for the abundant mercy, grace, and love You have showered over my life.  Thank You for picking up the pieces.  Thank You for giving me the strength to get through anything.  You are precious to me, and I love you.

In Jesus Name I pray,

In the same Spirit, I pray for the people in America who have been devestated by tornadoes.  Please help the victims recover from their damages, and I repent on behalf of the nation for anything that they are doing to displease You LORD God, for You are holy and righteous, and you cannot tolerate sin, please show them Your mercy, and Your love so that they can see that You are not a God of anger, but a God of mercy and that You are willing to forgive America for anyway that it has missed the mark or caused an abomination or a lie.  You rule over the nations in the world and anyone that needs Your help right now, please protect them and put Your hedges of protection around them, and I apply the Blood of Jesus over this nation.  Let us all come back to the Cross of Surrender,

In Jesus Mighty Name I pray,

Amen.

Should Christians celebrate Christmas -questions and answers

First of all before anyone reads this I would like to pray:

Heavenly Father,

I apply the Blood of Jesus over this article and ask You to only allow what is permissible under Your Holy Spirit to give as a covering over our eyes, and our mind, that we only receive the necessary information that we need to receive, and that we keep everything in line with what You want to reveal.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen.

There is a narrow gate, that the Bible says we have to walk upon, and that way is narrow.  So I have spent a good part of the night gathering from what I have collected to give you some of the roots behind the traditions we follow without knowing the roots today.  I tried to take as many sources, including the Bible to get my information to help you decide whether, and in what way you want to celebrate or not celebrate Christmas.

Let’s first start with the Christmas Tree…

 

The Christmas tree, also known as a Yule tree, is a decorated evergreen coniferous tree, real or artificial, and a tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas. The tradition of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas started in Livonia and Germany in the 16th century.[2][3] The Christmas tree is traditionally brought into the home and decorated with Christmas lights (originally candles), ornamentsgarlandstinsel, andcandy canes during the days around Christmas. An angel or star is placed at the top of the tree, representing the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.

The custom of erecting a Christmas tree can be historically traced to 15th century Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia) and 16th century Northern Germany. According to the first documented uses of a Christmas tree in Estonia, in 1441, 1442, and 1514 the Brotherhood of Blackheads erected a tree for the holidays in their brotherhood house in Reval (now Tallinn). At the last night of the celebrations leading up to the holidays, the tree was taken to the Town Hall Square where the members of the brotherhood danced around it.[8] In 1584, the pastor and chronicler Balthasar Russow wrote of an established tradition of setting up a decoratedspruce at the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame”.[2] In that period, the guilds started erecting Christmas trees in front of their guildhalls: Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann (Marburg professor of European ethnology) found a Bremenguild chronicle of 1570 which reports how a small tree was decorated with “apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers” and erected in the guild-house, for the benefit of the guild members’ children, who collected the dainties on Christmas Day.[3]

Wikipedia Christmas Tree

There are a few things that I want to bring out from different sources that I have heard about the Christmas Tree-

According to the Restored Church of God:

The following quote demonstrates what the Babylonians believe about the origin of the Christmas tree: “An old Babylonish fable told of an evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump. The old stump symbolized the dead Nimrod, the new evergreen tree symbolized that Nimrod had come to life again in Tammuz! Among the Druids the oak was sacred, among the Egyptians it was the palm, and in Rome it was the fir, which was decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia!” (Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs, p. 242).

http://www.thercg.org/books/ttooc.html

Carmen Welker says in her book, Should Christians be Torah Observant:

“trees were used as pagan altars where offerings were placed for the deity Asherah [associated with Tammuz] wreaths symbolized wombs, trees symbolized phalluses, tinsel, tinsel symbolized Semen, (ornaments) symbolized testes, which were used to observe the sexual aspects of these pagan rituals.” (emphasize)

I could never look at a Christmas tree again after I read that.

 

 

Traditionally speaking, the tree was cut down, to represent the death of the god of Tammuz and resurrected his body on winter solstice.  (ChristianMediaResearch.com)

13 And He said to me, “Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing.” 14 So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.
15 Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.” 16 So He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.  (Ezekiel 8:13-16)

According to the DAKE ANNOTATED REFERENCE BIBLE:  “The Babylonian Dumuzu or Tammuz was represented as a beautiful shepherd slain by a wild boar, the symbol of winter.  Ishtarm [who I am supposing his wife according to the myth] long mourned for him and descended into the underworld to deliver him and descended into the underworld to deliver him from the embrace of death.”

Before I want to go any further, I want to clarify, that this is NOT JESUS.  Jesus was not slain by a wild boar, or winter, He was pierced by the Father’s willingness for Him to die for us.  In Isaiah it says there was nothing appealing about His earthly appearance.  His appearance now is quoted in Revelation 1 and you can read that for yourself.  satan likes to copycat everything about God just to bring confusion, and doubt.

Now to get on with Christmas itself – We have to ask ourselves, why do we celebrate Christmas?  Is it because Jesus was actually born that day?

This is what I found out:

It is worthwhile to note that December 25th is likely not the date of Jesus’ actual birth. In the Biblical description of Jesus’ birth, He was visited by three shepherds who had been out that night with their sheep. Shepherds would not have been out with their sheep in the winter. Jesus’ birth date is more commonly agreed to be some time in the autumn. It was not until A.D. 440 that the church officially proclaimed December 25 as the birth of Christ. This was not based on any religious evidence but on a pagan feast. Saturnalia was a tradition inherited by the Roman pagans from an earlier Babylonian priesthood. December 25 was used as a celebration of the birthday of the sun god. It was observed near the winter solstice. [1]

Conservapedia: Christmas

So what do we celebrate on December 25?

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti

Main article: Sol Invictus

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means “the birthday of the unconquered sun”.

Modern scholars have argued that the festival was placed on the date of the solstice because this was on this day that the Sun reversed its southward retreat and proved itself to be “unconquered”.[citation needed] Some early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus.[6] “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born…Christ should be born”, Cyprian wrote.[6] John Chrysostom also commented on the connection: “They call it the ‘Birthday of the Unconquered’. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord . . .?”[6]

Although Dies Natalis Solis Invicti has been the subject of a great deal of scholarly speculation,.[citation needed] the only ancient source for it is a single mention in the Chronography of 354, and modern Sol scholar Steven Hijmans argues that there is no evidence that the celebration precedes that of Christmas:[23] “[W]hile the winter solstice on or around December 25 was well established in the Roman imperial calendar, there is no evidence that a religious celebration of Sol on that day antedated the celebration of Christmas, and none that indicates that Aurelian had a hand in its institution.”[23]

Wikipedia: Christmas (Pre-Christian)

What can be the harm of participating in Yule traditions….

READER BEWARE:

In chapter 55 of the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, different names for the gods are given. One of the names provided is “Yule-beings.” A work by the skald Eyvindr skáldaspillir that uses the term is then quoted, which reads:

Again we have produced Yule-being’s feast [mead of poetry], our rulers’ eulogy, like a bridge of masonry.[5]

Ynglinga saga, the first book of Heimskringla, first mentions a Yule feast in 840. Saga of Hákon the Good credits King Haakon I of Norway with the Christianization of Norway, as well as rescheduling the date of Yule to coincide with Christian celebrations held at the time. The saga states that when Haakon arrived in Norway he was confirmed a Christian, but since the land was still altogether heathen and they retained their practices, Haakon hid his Christianity to receive the help of “great chieftains.” In time, Haakon had a law passed that established that Yule celebrations were to take place at the same time as when the Christians held their celebrations, “and at that time everyone was to have ale for the celebration with a measure of grain, or else pay fines, and had to keep the holiday while the ale lasted.”[6]

Wikipedia: Yule (Old Norse)

So what are we to celebrate anything during the winter months?

WORD OF GOD (Bible):

At that time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt.[d] 9 And on the eighth day they held a sacred assembly, for they observed the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. 2 Chronicles 7:8

John 10:22

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 

What was The Feast of Dedication that Jesus actually celebrated:

22 Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim.

John 10:22 CJB

What is Hannukkah—-

http://judaism.about.com/od/holidays/a/hanukkah.htm

The Hanukkah Story

In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods….Read more at the above link at about.com

For further study on this defeat of Nimrod leading to the Dedication of the temple, would have to go through 1 Chronicles to 2 Chronicles, and it would be around there.  I would go into it, but for the sake of time, and since I’ve just been introduced to this angle I can only encourage you to do your own research of the WORD on that one.

What does the Bible have to say about the god Zeus the Greeks worshipped?

Idolatry at Lystra

8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. 11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them. – ACTS 14

What does the Bible have to say about celebrations?

16-17So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ…….

20-23So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? “Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!” Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important. [ The Message]

In this context, Paul was talking to the believers at Colossae to not be so obsessed with following all the laws.
Why do we really celebrate Christmas?  Forget about all the paganism involved in the holiday like Santa Claus, Winter Solstice, Reindeer, a magical mystical superstitious time, but isn’t it all about this idea that we have to spend massive amounts of money to get gifts to spend on Christmas.  I suspect that even when Jesus went to the Feast of Dedication, it was celebrated like a regular feast, but it wasn’t about the gifts.  That’s the Pharisee mentality- that they were going to all these feasts, to get the best seat in the place, and for food, but did they really care about honoring God?  Too much importance has been put on Mary by the Catholic Church, and I am not saying there aren’t Catholics, who are really born again, but Mary was just a woman, and that’s why Jesus said, “Woman, this is your son,” referring to John, the apostle.
This is just a side note, but there are three references to” women” that we are to regard as holy:  One is New Jerusalem, the bride of the bridegroom,  the other is Wisdom.

So what should we do on Christmas for those people that really like to spend time with their family?  One thing is that you can worship the LORD like any other day.  Give thanks and spending time with your family are ok.  In my house I was blessed to find out that “Santa Claus” was not real at age 5.  I never felt at peace during Christmas and it was depressing.  I liked giving presents, but I didn’t know why I was giving presents, but the real true celebration of Christmas – Christ Mass, is a Christ Feast.  It is just a feast to honor Christ.  I personally would be weary about the day and the origins.  The color Red, is good to signify the Blood of Jesus, and the color Green to signify evergreen and living life.

In Conclusion, what are we supposed to do with all this paganism that has gotten in the way?  Well it’s just like the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares – let them grow up together, and when the time is ripe, the tares will be gathered together and burned into the fire.  But we have to spend time more in the LORD’s presence, and arm ourselves with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and prepare ourselves for daily battle, seasonal battles, and an hour of testing, but the best way to do that is the “bed of intimacy” with the Lord, which is the root of Obedience and that is founded and grounded on love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like Pottersville

I was just going down the streets where I live and looking at all the signs and billboards where I live and a shocking thought to me.  It seems like we are living in Pottersville, instead of Bailey Park.  In case you don’t know what I am talking about, there is a movie that came out, I think it was 1946, with Jimmy Stewart, and Donna Reed in it, called “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  It is a Christmas themed movie and many shows have done their version of it.  In this story we find a man, at the end of his rope, everything lost and he is about to jump off the end of the bridge, and commit suicide because his Uncle Harry has misplaced a large part of the money that belongs to Bailey Building and Loan, the bank, which George Bailey inherited and was voted in when his father died.  Before that George had big dreams.  He wanted to see the world, and travel, and have an impact in the world, and yet he was stuck in this town and every time he could have a chance to get out something happened.

So this man is about to jump off the bridge, and what the audience knows is that his “guardian angel” Clarence Oddbody, was watching his life, and trying to prevent him from committing suicide, because he knew that he had a great calling on his life.  So he jumps in and he rescues George by having George jump in and save him.  So the story goes that Clarence goes through a hard time trying to convince George that he was his “guardian angel” and was sent to rescue him.  George is still depressed and says, “I wish I was never born.”

Before I go too much into the story, I want to tell you about a man named, Mr. Potter, who is the greediest, most cunning, man with no scruples, and he is the head over the main financial transactions of the city.  Mr. Potter is actually the one who stole Uncle Harry’s money when he saw him at the bank, but no one knows that, and I don’t think they ever find out.  Mr. Potter is actually in a wheelchair, but for his disability he seems to have a lot of power.  Anyway this man has a lot of control.

So when George says that he wishes he was never born, the guardian angel asks permission and grants his request to make it seem like he is never born.  So this would be a strange experience for anyone.  Imagine everyone can see you and talk to you, but it is like you don’t even exist, and you have no history, and everything you have ever done does not exist, and everyone you ever knew does not know you.  This is what happens to George Bailey.

While George is going down the streets of the whole town, where he was raised, brought up, lived, and had the most impact, there seems to be signs of nightclubs, and other vile and decrepid, and debased places, which were nothing compared, to the friendly, nice hometown that he was raised and brought up in.  The town is actually called Pottersville after this alternate reality, and it is rampant with the debasement of society.  Everyone is after his or her own interests and they are going their own way.  They don’t care about anyone, but themselves.

This brings into the aspect of towns and cities like Sodom and Gomorrah, and the times of Noah, where everything was pretty much corrupt, and debased, so that God felt regret, and He wanted to destroy the places, and even the world in the case of Noah, but because of the few righteous people He saved the land.  Abraham was actually negotiating with God about the people in Sodom Gomorrah.  He started with I think it was 50, and he then negotiated until it was 10.

In the movie, George Bailey, was eventually taken back to reality, and realized, that he loved his life, hence the name, “It’s a Wonderful Life”,  and the impact he had on others and that money was not the center of everything, and that even if he had to go to jail, he would still love to be life, because he realized that at least he had friends, and those friends showed him love that was unconditonal.  In the end they all gave him money from all over and he became the richest man, and that was because he knew he had friends and that God was watching out for him.  Similar to the story of Job if you think about it, except Job’s friends were not good for him.

If we take a look at the life that we have now, is it more close to Bailey Park, or to Pottersville?  Especially with the economic collapse, we are seeing more and more Mr. Potters.   We are seeing more and more debasement of society, and if you don’t believe me just check aol or yahoo news.  So what is the answer?  It definitely isn’t Occupy Wall Street.  That definitely isn’t going to get anything done.  The crowd is never the best option.  So what is the best option?  It may be too late because we are living in the last days, but we as believers should shine the light of Christ, and really be true examples, of what we need to see in life.  There is Matthew Hagee, the son of John Hagee, who has a remarkable concept, in his teaching, which I haven’t bought yet, is RESPONSE ABLE.  He basically has talked about how the Church has to play a more active role and reach out to the community and make a change.  We need more George Baileys and less Mr. Potters.  The interesting thing about George Bailey was that he was not Mother Theresa or flawless, but he had his small impact on the community.  He showed everyone love.  Now I don’t know in the context of that movie, whether he was born again or not, but even the selfless acts of people can make a difference.  We need more pay it forwards, and less pay myself.

Sometimes the Church makes the mistake of taking time to spread the gospel, and sell their teachings, that they don’t realize the real impacts of the broken people of society and that sometimes you have to reach to your own community and start for wherever you are.  I am still searching for ways with even my own disabled body, I can still be a blessing to people, and in a way that even Christ was, and even the way that George Bailey was, I through the Holy Spirit living in me by the power of Christ, can make difference in people’s lives for the better, because I know it is not I, but Christ working through me.

Being a Good Driver

What kind of driver are you?  Are you one that passes all the slow cars on the road?  Are you the one that goes past the speed limit?  Have you ever gotten a ticket?  Would you wait behind a bus that is making frequent stops?  Would you wait behind a car that is going 10 miles per hour?

It makes you wonder if you really ponder it in your heart that there is something seriously lacking in today’s American drivers and that is patience.  For those that don’t normally read my blog I would like to point out a virtue that is patience and how as Christians we should strive to develop this character more and more as we walk in the LORD.  Just because you have a Jesus bumper sticker doesn’t make you exempt from developing the fruit of the Spirit of patience in your life.  Ideally all fruits of the Spirit should be developed and grow, but I find that most often this is the one that people including myself struggle with the most.

In this age of modern technology where everything you ever wanted to know is at a click of a button, and we have a microwave, and text messaging, it’s an amazement that some of us have any patience, and we definitely don’t experience the kind of patience that the people did in Jesus time.  Even then people were not patient enough to wait for Jesus to come back and be king.  They wanted Him to be king right then and there and rescue them from governing rulers.

Getting back to driving, I often wonder what type of driver would Jesus be.  Would He let all the people go before Him?  Would He be swerving from lane to lane to avoid slow cars?  Would he rudely and obnoxiously honk at someone that was going too slow?  Some people say that He wouldn’t drive at all, but then He did ride a donkey.  Would He stick out as an exceptional driver or would He fit in with everybody else?  We see in the movie Bruce Almighty where Jim Carrey “Parts the Red Sea” of drivers after he gets his “powers”, but I really don’t see Jesus doing it that way.

God was really smart, He came down at the appropriate time when He knew He wouldn’t have to deal with issues associated with modern technology and the development of radical scientific exploration.  He had a hard enough time trying to convince the Pharisees that His way was the right way and to this day some people in Israel still don’t see the light, but I believe the time is coming when they will see, but can you imagine Jesus trying to debate with the scientific community.  If they crucified Him now, they would probably take Him off the Cross and autopsy His brain.  I don’t know maybe not, but it is pretty thought provoking if you consider it.

One thing we know for sure, Jesus would not be a drunk driver or be driving under the influence.  He would not cause accidents and He would be very careful not to hurt anybody.  This is my opinion, but I am guessing that Jesus would obey all the rules according to the driving handbook you receive before you get your license.  He might even stop his car in the middle of the road to help an elderly woman cross the street, but He would probably do it in a way as to not aggravate the other drivers.

But that brings us to examine ourselves.  Do we take time to slow down?  What’s the rush?  Where are we so in a hurry to be headed to that we can’t take time to slow down?  Granted we shouldn’t all be slowing down to 10 mph, but if someone is in front of you and they are going slow, then would you consider not honking at them and let them just go at their pace? Here’s a stretch of faith, drive behind them the whole way just having patience and faith that you are doing God’s will by making it there on time.  Someone once said that you can tell that someone is a Christian just by the way that they drive.

Part of the problem is that there is no customization of the horn.  If there is then people can’t usually tell.  When someone honks at you, you can’t tell if they are honking because they think you are going to slow, or that you have something wrong with your brake lights or turn signals, or because your trunk is open.  Common sense tells you that they are honking at you because they think you are going too slow.  Honks were made to catch your attention and to let you know that someone is coming your way or you need to watch out for something and not because you are going too slow.  Just because you are going 30mph in a 35mph zone doesn’t give the person the right behind you to honk at you.

I used to think that the easiest people to forgive were other drivers, but if that were truly the case then there wouldn’t be so many cases of road rage.  People get so angry when they are driving.  They want everything to go their way and when it doesn’t they go around shooting and getting really angry and tailgaiting people.  We need to CALM down as drivers.  It is not the end of the world if things don’t go your way.  If you are in such a rush leave 30 minutes earlier and unless an unavoidable traffic jam comes your way you’ll probably make it on time.

This society is all about “me, me, me, what can I get,  what can someone do for me?”  Do we really take time to appreciate that we even have a car and that we don’t have to walk miles and miles like people in villages do across the world?  Having a car is a privilege and we shouldn’t abuse it.  We are supposed to be defensive drivers, but we wouldn’t have to be if everyone is not only obeying, but “going the extra mile” no pun intended, to show courtesy, respectful, patience, and calmness.  What I do is I pray before I drive, and that can’t guarantee that I won’t ever get into an accident when I am on the road, but what I do is I pray for a spirit of calmness, patience, and peace over the other drivers.  I would say it is by God’s grace alone that we are able to make it home or wherever we’re going safe and alive, because we know that His hedges of protection are around us, even for people that are not Christians.  Do you know that if everyone obeyed this principle, then the Auto insurance premiums would not only be less, but we wouldn’t need things like Medical Payments, PIP, Collision, Bodily Injury? We would probably only need things in which we don’t have any control over.  If people were obeying the Ten Commandments, then we wouldn’t even need theft as an Auto Insurance coverage, so we could negate that on our insurance coverage.  But because we live in  a world of darkness where people are just stiff-necked and stubborn people, we have to put up with higher costs to living.  There is a blessing of living by the principles of the Holy Spirit and of God, but unless we know Jesus and His nature as God and His Spirit as a person it becomes very hard to maintain this integrity of living standards.  If you already obey these things as a driver and are not a Christian, I am sure that there are other areas of your life that need improvement, and the principles of the Bible are sound ways of living so I encourage you to take a look at yourself and see where you are lacking.

I guess for myself I need to work on the area of boldness when driving, but that’s a personal issue with me and I have improved a lot since I started.