Tag Archives: Christian life

Proclaiming: a task given to Christians

Christians get their title by their baptism in the Body of Christ (the Church). By receiving that title normally they are supposed to recognise Jesus Christ as the Messiah and to be willing to follow him.

In this world we do find lots of people who call themselves Christian but do not follow Christ and often even do not keep to the teachings and ordinances of their so called church or denomination. We may find lots of people who say they are a Christian but who live contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Their lives are rooted in the world. They keep to heathen festivals and when they worship some one it are a three-headed god and saints, instead of keeping to the only One True God of Israel, the God of Jesus. By living a contrary life Jehovah God will not know them and they will not be saved. There are people that go to churches that teach doctrines contrary to the Bible and by continuing to go to them they are distancing themselves from the Only True God.

A lot of christians do not mind to keep their faith for themselves, not sharing it with others. They forget that the Nazarene master teacher Jesus wants his followers to help connect all people to the life-giving message of him. Jesus wants as many as possible to experience God and having them to find freedom, have them to discover purpose and to make a difference in our world.

Jesus wants us to say on each day

“Give thanks to Jehovah; praise Him and proclaim His name! Celebrate His works among the peoples – make his deeds known. Tell the nations how glorious how great He is and declare that His Name is exalted. {Isaiah 12:4}

All people should come to know that authority has been given to Jesus (in heaven and on earth) and therefore we should not hesitate to proclaim the message of the Good News, and should also make disciples of[f] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything Jesus has commanded his disciples. {Matthew 28: 18-20}

15 Jesus said to them, “Go everywhere in the world, and ·tell [preach; proclaim] the ·Good News [Gospel] to ·everyone [all creation]. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved, but anyone who does not believe will be ·punished [condemned]. 17 And those who believe will be able to do these things as ·proof [signs]: They will use my name to ·force [drive; cast] out demons. They will speak in new ·languages [tongues]. 18 They will pick up snakes and drink poison without being hurt. They will ·touch [lay hands on] the sick, and the sick will ·be healed [recover].” {Mark 16:15-18 EXB}

Believers in Christ and his God should not be afraid of the badness which may surround them. They should show that they might be stronger than it when trusting in the Most High God. Not by our own means can we do things but we must count on the power of the Holy Spirit (God’s Force).

It is no difference than in the time of Jesus Christ. There is no reason at all to think there has to be done no preaching any more. The opposite, today it is even of more utmost importance than in the time of Christ Jesus. When Jesus was walking around in the planes of Jerusalem and Galilee he could perhaps encounter much more believers in the Only One true God than we can today in our regions. Today, around us are much more unbelievers and worshippers of binary, trinary and other multiple godheads, than in the region where Christ walked around.

Today there is also a much more hostile environment for those who want to worship the Only One True God, Jehovah. Already by hearing the Name of God lots of people raise their voice.

Let us take at heart what Jesus said to his disciples:

Jesus sent out these twelve men with the following ·order [instructions]: “Don’t go ·to [L on the way/road of] the ·Gentiles [non-Jewish people] or ·to [L enter] any town where the Samaritans live. But go to the ·people of Israel, who are like lost sheep [L lost sheep of the house of Israel]. When you go, ·preach [announce; proclaim] this: ‘The kingdom of heaven is ·near [at hand].’ Heal the sick, raise the dead to life again, ·heal [L cleanse] ·those who have skin diseases [T the lepers; see 8:2], and ·force demons out of people [L cast out demons]. ·I give you these powers freely, so help other people freely [L Freely you have received, freely give]. Don’t ·carry [or acquire] any money ·with you [L in your belts]—gold or silver or copper. 10 Don’t carry a ·bag [traveler’s bag; or beggar’s purse] or ·extra clothes [L two tunics] or sandals or a ·walking stick [staff]. Workers ·should be given what they need [deserve to be supported; L deserve their food/sustenance].

11 “When you enter a city or town, ·find [seek out] some ·worthy [honorable; respected] person there and stay in that home until you leave. 12 When you enter that home, ·give it your blessing [L greet it; C typically, “Peace be with you”; see Luke 10:5]. 13 If the ·people there welcome you [L house is worthy], let your peace ·stay there [L come upon it]. But if ·they don’t welcome you [L it is not worthy], ·take back the peace you wished for them [L let your peace return to you]. 14 And if ·a home or town [L anyone] refuses to welcome you or ·listen to you [heed your words/message], leave that ·place [L home or town] and shake its dust off your feet [C in protest and as a warning of judgment]. 15 I tell you the truth, on the judgment day it will be ·better [more bearable/tolerable] for the ·towns [L land] of Sodom and Gomorrah [C evil cities destroyed by God; Gen. 19] than for the people of that town. {Matthew 10:5-15 EXB}

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Preceding

To proclaim the day of vengeance

Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture

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Additional reading

  1. The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave
  2. As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude
  3. Back from gone #2 Aim of godly people
  4. Breathing to teach
  5. Blogging in the world for Jesus and his Father
  6. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  7. Going deep into cultures to reach lost people
  8. Engaging the culture without losing the gospel
  9. How do I know if I’m called to ministry?
  10. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  11. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  12. Oratory Style
  13. What Should I Preach ?

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Further reading

    1. What Does the Lord Require? :: Prayers of the People
    2. A Day in Capernaum: Proclaiming Release to the Prisoners
    3. Send us Out
    4. Evangelize: Downtown Boise With Love
    5. Feed on His Faithfulness
    6. Attitude is Everything
    7. When Does Grace Run Out?

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Lifestyle

Showing the beauties of nature

Are you one of those people who can find enough time and joy to visit parks or different countries?

English: Spring Beauties

Spring Beauties (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today there are many who can travel several times of the year and can go to lots of places in one year. Do they ever think of people who are less fortunate than they? Do they ever think of sharing that what they have come to see and enjoy?

We still look for authors who want to share their experiences of their travels and/or their visits of national parks or some beautiful resorts.

In case they have their own blog we do not mind them sharing what they have admired and directing our readers also to links to their articles, so that our readers also can come to enjoy those experiences.

If you feel called to talk about the beauties of this creation, please do not hesitate to contact us or to present yourself as a author on this blog.

The writer we are looking for should love nature and be willing to share this love with our readers.

In case he or she is a Christian, this may be an advantage. Then we expect from him or her, that he or she has respect for all religions and all sorts of thoughts, even when we would not agree with such a way of thinking. Then we expect the author to put everything in the light of the creation and our duty to take care of mother earth. Because that is the reason we do have to make others conscious about the beauty of creation and our duty to take care of it so that others after us can still enjoy all the wonders of it.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove

Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For us it is important that a Christian life should be a.o. exemplary, loving, selfless, generating, challenging, transforming, stimulating intellectually, busy, and bring a sense of emotional stability, meaning and peace. We want to show others that does not have to mean our life has to be boring. Just the opposite.

The Elohim having created us in His image expect us to use our minds the right way. The Adonai knows that our minds need intellectual stimulation, and provides many stimulative effects in nature. He has provided a beautiful world, full of all the things we need to live and to admire a spectacular attraction. We should experience the happiness that gives us not only the joy of being one with it but the blessing of being a person in God’s creation. In it we should place ourselves and become one with it. Showing our respect for nature is showing our respect for God. Showing others the wonderworks of nature is showing others the works of God.

Each creature should be a powerful source of inspiration that allows us to appreciate the beauty of our universe and associate the beautiful and romantic nature of beauty and feelings. 

If there is some one out there who feels he can understand our thought and understands the need to show others the beauty of nature, please let him or her not hesitate and react positively on our call to become a member of those who want to show others the Master Hand of the Divine Creator.

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Preceding article about “Sharing Writings and linking“:

A charter for a truly free world and why we need it

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Filed under Announcement, Ecological affairs, Fashion - Trends, Nature

Mishmash of a legal code but importance of mitzvah or commandments

Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, working in England, writes

Interestingly while Judaism teaches that mitzvot are divinely ordained and therefore not to be questioned or even necessarily understood, it does at the same time try to explain them as a rational force, and many commentators suggest reasons for our doing them.

We are told: – “The essential reason for the commandments is to make the human heart upright” ( ibn Ezra on Deut 5:18); or “Each commandment adds holiness to the people of Israel.” (Issi ben Akavia,  Mechilta on Ex 22:30); or even that “The purpose of the mitzvot is…to promote compassion, loving kindness and peace in the world” (Maimonides, yad, Shabbat) {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

English: The Covenant Confirmed, by John Steep...

The Covenant Confirmed, by John Steeple Davis (1844-1917), as in Exodus 24 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who believe in the God of Abraham, should know that this God of gods has given the many commandments to help man find his way in this universe and to live in a proper peaceful relation with God’s creation.

The world has been given Mishpatim, which we may consider judgements by ‘laws’ or ‘rulings’ and they will govern the community who agree to accept them. But not all humans will accept them, that’s a fact. Also in the previous times people of God did not have it easy at all times with those Mishpatim, though just after Moses has finished relating all the various laws to the Children of Israel, we can see in the Old Testament how often those People of God went astray.

English: Moses Showing the Ten Commandments, b...

Moses Showing the Ten Commandments, by Gustave Doré (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Real lovers of God should agree “to do all the things that God has spoken” (Exodus 24:3). They should cling to the Word of God as the only Perfect Rule Giver and should go for keeping “miẓwah”, the divinely instituted rule of conduct. As such, the divine commandments are divided into (1) mandatory laws known as , and (2) those of a prohibitory character, the . This terminology rests on the theological construction that God’s will is the source of and authority for every moral and religious duty. Many of the old laws were given to and concerned only special classes of people, such as kings or priesthood, Levites or Nazarites, or are conditioned by local or temporary circumstances of the Jewish nation, as, for instance, the agricultural, sacrificial, and Levitical laws.

For us today some rules may be curious, and that is why at a certain moment in time some changes were allowed. It was not God Who changed, but the people who changed and God came closer to them by adapting His rulings. As such we may now face other food laws and about sanitation than at the early beginning, plus about how to relate to others, because certain concepts changed, like the position of slaves.

Torah scroll and silver pointer (yad) used in reading

Torah scroll and silver pointer (yad) used in reading

Of the more than fifty mitzvot to be found in the sidra, we have some that deal with the treatment of slaves, with the crimes of murder and kidnap, with personal injury and with civil damages through neglect or theft. There are rules about witchcraft and idolatry, about oppression and unfair business practise, about applying legal codes in a prejudiced fashion and not giving false testimony; laws about not mistreating widows and orphans, and about care for animals. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

When we look at those laws and regulations we may not forget that many still keep going and should be fulfilled by a lover of God. It is not because we have Jesus as our Messiah who liberated us from the curse of Law that the Law has ended. No, not at all. The Law still counts. Even now we have received a New Covenant, should we keep to those law covered in that covenant.

Too many Christians commit a mistake by thinking they do not have to do any works any-more. We still have to keep the works of faith, keeping to God’s Commandments.

In parshat Mishpatim, the Israelites learn that accepting the commandments is a 24/7 job. {Parenting by the Parshah – Mishpatim}

We also must be fully aware of the most frequent mitzvah in Torah, given at least 37 different times in the text,which  is repeated in the Mishpatim too –

“you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress them, for you were strangers in the land of Israel.”

It is a mishmash of a legal code but what comes through loud and clear to the reader is the importance to the Jewish people of mitzvot, commandments.

From Torah we see that for the ancient people there were particular reasons for observing the mitzvot – firstly and most importantly because God tells us to. Secondly there was in the ancient understanding an idea that people who obeyed them would be rewarded, and people who disobeyed risked punishment. Then there were two different types of reason given in Torah – that the mitzvot were intrinsically imbued with divine wisdom, and that they would lead us to achieving holiness.  {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

Each person who wants to become a Child of God, or to belong to God’s People shall have to resign oneself to the Will of God. But none can belong to the children of God when they do not accept others to be their brethren and sisters, and loving them as their siblings. The agape love for the others is a indispensible necessary part of belonging to God’s family.

In Judaism as in Christianity too there might be a tension in their tradition

– do we do the commandments (mitzvot) simply because there is a Commander (metzaveh) who told us to do this and this should be enough, or do we search out a meaning behind each mitzvah? And if we do the latter, what happens if we cannot find a suitable reason and meaning? Do we abandon the mitzvah as unreasonable or pointless? Or do we continue to do it in the hope that meaning will emerge? After all, at Sinai the people famously answered “na’aseh ve’nishma, [first] we will do it and [subsequently] we will understand”. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

The tension and balancing between holding a religious belief and a rationalist position was as great in the ancient world as it is today. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

For those who love God ‘blind faith’ was never a prerequisite, neither of a Jewish life nor of a Christian life.

Judaism tends to the position of na’aseh ve’nishma – doing in order to understand, blending faith and reason and giving neither the upper hand, but instead knowing that if we behave “as if” we believe, if we follow the way of mitzvot, then further understanding may come. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

From Scriptures we should come to understand there is no way of doing “as if” because God sees the heart and He does knows each of us. We can not hide anything from Him.

1 Samuel 16:7 The Scriptures 1998+  (7)  But יהוה {Jehovah} said to Shemu’ĕl, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him, for not as man sees, for man looks at the eyes, but יהוה {Jehovah} looks at the heart.”

Jeremiah 17:10 The Scriptures 1998+  (10)  “I, יהוה {Jehovah}, search the heart, I try the kidneys, and give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.

Moses with the Two New Tables of Stone (illust...

Moses with the Two New Tables of Stone (illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our hearts may not be removed from God and by our way of living we should show to others how God is in our heart. Our heart, our feelings but also how we act should always be pure, full of love for God and His commandments. When we are willing to give ourselves into God’s Hands He will bring us where He wants us to be.

Proverbs 21:1-3 The Scriptures 1998+  (1)  The sovereign’s heart is as channels of water In the hand of יהוה {Jehovah}; He turns it wherever He wishes.  (2)  All a man’s ways are right in his own eyes, But יהוה {Jehovah} weighs the hearts.  (3)  To do righteousness and right-ruling Is more acceptable to יהוה {Jehovah} than a slaughtering.

Each day we have to work at ourself taking care we keep to the commandments of God.

Meanwhile we are impacting on ourselves and on our world in a positive way as we are directed to behaviour that may not be our first instinct – to support the poor and downtrodden, to value life, to respect the boundaries of others, to rein in our own power and desires so as not to trample over the lives of others. The list goes on. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

As tradition says again and again in different words, the same message:  “the commandments were given only to refine God’s creatures…”(Midrash Tanchuma). They change us, they cause us to think about what we are doing and not to act out of immediate self interest, they shape our behaviour and ultimately they may help us to bring holiness into our world. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

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Preceding

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

A Royal Rule given to followers of Christ

First man’s task still counting today

Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?

Christians remaining hidden not sharing the gospel

Witnessing because we love

Leading people astray!

Crisis man needed in this world

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

Preaching by example

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

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Additional reading

  1. Bible in the first place #1/3
  2. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  3. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  4. Creator and Blogger God 6 For His people
  5. God-breathed prophetic words written torah and the mitzvot to teach us
  6. Words God speaks unto all and the Spirit that quickens
  7. The Bible is a today book
  8. Statutes given unto us
  9. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  10. God’s design in the creation of the world
  11. Time passing away
  12. Best intimate relation to look for
  13. Let us not forget it was God who chose us
  14. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  15. Engaging the culture without losing the gospel
  16. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  17. Knowing where to go to
  18. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  19. The inspiring divine spark
  20. A good idea to halt all activity for one hour some day
  21. Eternity depends upon this short time on earth
  22. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  23. Truth never plays false roles of any kind, which is why people are so surprised when meeting it
  24. Foundation to go the distance
  25. Preferring to be a Christian
  26. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  27. Purify my heart
  28. United people under Christ
  29. Honesty beginning of holiness
  30. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  31. How we think shows through in how we act
  32. Object of first woe
  33. Think hard before you act today

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Further reading

  1. The Kotel Decision: The Parties at the Table
  2. Mishpatim פרשת משפטים
  3. Mishpatim – Who’s Serving Whom?
  4. Shift and Consolidation: Thoughts on the Torah Portions Mishpatim and Terumah
  5. Commentary for Mishpatim
  6. Mishpatim – Its just a White Lie
  7. When the plumbers stop society’s moral leaks
  8. Parashat Mishpatim /
  9. Shabbat Parashat Mishpatim 5776–Shabbat Torah Study at Adat Shalom Synagogue–Don’t Make Him Tell on You
  10. Mishpatim – Wholly Love
  11. Parshat Hashavuah: Mishpatim by Alex Gage
  12. Scripture for 2.5.2016
  13. Stole My Heart – Parshat Mishpatim 5776
  14. Parsha Mishpatim
  15. Shabbat Shalom! – Mishpatim
  16. Dvar Torah Parshat Mishpatim 5776 2016
  17. Mishpatim 5774 – Visión y Detalles
  18. Double Cry – Mishpatim 5776
  19. Il monoteismo etico – Parashat Mishpatim
  20. Mishpatim: Where heaven and earth converge
  21. Parenting by the Parshah – Mishpatim
  22. Parashat Kedoshim – What is it doing here?

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Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress

Today lots of people tend to treat things such as Christmas trees and holiday gift giving as if they’ve been with us forever. While these are old traditions, they were once far more localized. In this world of media everywhere, we tend to forget that customs were once far more specific to the area. Lots of people also have lost the connection of those festivals and have transposed it to their group of people, believers or non-believers in Jesus Christ or in God.

From the Saxon days there was Yule for mid-winter and in the regions of West Europe the autumn storm brought many ideas alive to think about gods who controlled everything in nature. The days becoming darker demanded for and still demand for some more light bringing into it. In the old times to honour the gods it was custom to put all sorts of things in the trees as an offering to the gods. On December the 25th it was the day of the goddess of light. Time was taken to celebrate her.

Traditional Christmas card with holly and mistletoe. Circa 1880s

Druids, Celts, and even the Romans used evergreen branches made into wreaths in winter solstice celebrations. Because so many things lost colour and seemed to have died people looked up for those elements in nature which could be so strong that they stayed green. Pagan symbols as holly and ivy remained green and were taken as a promise of life to return in dead of winter. Holly – prized for its ability to bear fruit in winter and its healing uses – were the blessings people hoped they could have in the house and share with each other. Healing elements were very important to get through Winter.

While the Romans were holding the feast for the god Saturn — which occurred about the time of the winter solstice — they decked the outsides of their houses with holly. At the same time the Christians were quietly celebrating the birth of Christ, and to avoid detection they outwardly followed the custom of their heathen neighbours and decked their houses with holly as well. In this way holly came to be connected with Christmas customs. The plant was also regarded as a symbol of the Resurrection.

The missionaries coming in these regions quickly understood how the pagan traditions were so strong and how people would not like to give them up. This we still see today happening. As Christians should come to know more about traditions and about usages all over the world, plus having the Holy Scriptures to find what they could or could not do, we see that those who call themselves Christian still do not like to give up those pagan traditions and pagan festivals.

The Roman Catholic Church had already given in to Constantine the Great allowing the false teaching of the trinity be part of the Catholic Faith, so it was a further small step to adapt the Western Celtic and Saxon traditions to the Roman Faith. In 336 CE, during the time of this so called  first Christian Roman Emperor for the first time on December 25th “Christmas” was being celebrated.

A very early Christian tradition said that March 25th was the day when Mary was told she’d give birth to Jesus (called the Annunciation). And nine months later, of course, would be December 25th. But the Bible doesn’t mention the exact days of that annunciation, nor of the birth of Jesus, though from all the secular writings we do know when the cencus took place, when the falling star appeared and that it was in October that Mary and Joseph went to fulfil their duties. We can take it was in 4BCE on October the 17th that rabbi Jeshua from the tribe of King David was born. For those who would love to celebrate his birthday it is strange that they than not do this around the period Jesus was rally born.

An image from the necropolis under the Vatican...

An image from the necropolis under the Vatican in which Jesus = Mithras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is true that in many cultures we can find a festival of lights, also the Jews have such a festival of lights. Germans and Scandinavians had their yule festival. Celtic legends connected the solstice with Balder, the Scandinavian sun god or Norse god of light, son of the chief god Odin and his wife Frigg, who was struck down by a mistletoe arrow from the blind god Hödur (or Höd). At the pagan festival of Saturnalia, Romans feasted and gave gifts to the poor. Drinking was closely connected with these pagan feasts.

The Babylonian sun-god and god of agriculture and flocks, Tammuz, lover of Ishtar, born on the winter solstice according to legend was also celebrated on December the 25th and by the Roman Catholic Church his symbol was taken as the symbol for Jesus (the sign of Tammuz or the cross), placing Jesus as the bringer of light and god of light.

The leaders of the instituted organisation of clergy who accepted the trinity, agreed to adopted the saturnalia day of the ‘day of birth’ or ‘day of new life’ as a remembrance day of the new life Jesus has given to all mankind. For them it was easier to get more converts by keeping the folks from indulging in the old pagan festivals as part of the pagan culture, now transformed or redressed in a Roman Catholic dressing.

Branches that had thorns became to be the thorns Christ wore on the crucifix (sign of Tammuz) and the berries were stained red by his drops of blood. From the Norse and the Druids, the Mistletoe you may find growing here everywhere and at that time was considered special because of it found growing on the sacred oaks, was featured in several old myths and held to be sacred and associated with fertility, which led to kissing boughs.

Also today at the Christmas markets we can find the gangway where there is the kissing bough custom one holds that a woman who refuses the kiss shall have bad luck, and that those who kiss underneath it shall be having a blessed and fruitful year.

Not all the following years Christmas was part of Christian life. During Cromwell’s rule, Christmas was even banned. Charles II restored the holiday in England. However, the Parliament of Scotland officially abolished the observance of Christmas in 1640, to purge the church “of all superstitious observation of days”, and it was not restored as a public holiday in Scotland until 1958.

Julbocken, by John Bauer (1912)

From the 4th to the 19th century the tradition of the Northern people their celebration for their chief god and the father of Thor, (Thunor, or Thonar), Balder, and Tiw, Woden or Wotan became more and more also liked by the people from Holland and Belgium and the man with a long white beard who rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn became their Sint Niklaas (Sinterklaas) or Sint Nicholas  (saint Nicholas) and in the Anglo Saxon countries Father Christmas or Santa Claus/Sancta Claus.

1881 illustration by Thomas Nast who, along with Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, helped to create the modern image of Santa Claus

From the 20th century onward that Father Christmas started gaining more popularity and the presents became more and more the focus of the people for that season were the darkness seemed to have darkened their Christian sight. Lots of Christians enjoyed decorating the ‘Christmas tree‘ and telling their children the Saint from Spain had brought presents for all those who had behaved well the previous year. Later in the month it was the Santa who once more brought presents in the house.

History illustrates the awesome outworking of initial events from when the Divine Creator has declared

Zephaniah 1:17-18 The Scriptures 1998+  (17)  “And I shall bring distress on men, and they shall walk like blind men – because they have sinned against יהוה  {Jehovah}, and their blood shall be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung.”  (18)  Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of יהוה  {Jehovah}. And by the fire of His jealousy all the earth shall be consumed, for He makes a sudden end of all those who dwell in the earth.

This comes from the Christadelphian bible reading for December 15 when we started reading this short and somewhat overlooked prophecy of Zephaniah. He would have been one of the prophets Peter referred to, as we read the final chapter of his second letter of the same day-reading, he told them they should remember

2 Peter 3:2 The Scriptures 1998+  (2)  the words previously spoken by the set-apart prophets, and of the command of the Master and Saviour, spoken by your emissaries,

Today we may find lots of people who have stress about the coming days when they have to present nice meals and many presents and have to fulfil many family visits and social obligations. Their eyes are closed for the real issue in life. Not a Santa shall bring salvation and he from the North has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ. When we look at the many Christmas markets we even do not see much what reminds us of the Saviour who was sent by God to this earth.

Ages ago holy prophets told about the eyes of people which would become blinded. Today we

“should remember their predictions

Folk tale depiction of Father Christmas riding...

Folk tale depiction of Father Christmas riding on a goat. Perhaps an evolved version of the Swedish Tomte. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We also should remember that they also warned for the time that scoffers were going to come and would lead people following their own sinful desires. About the promised one who was born, lived for a very short time here on earth, died, was resurrected from the dead and showed that he was not a spirit, but the one brought back alive by his heavenly Father, that master teacher is not remembered much these days and many do not think about his return or even do not believe in it.

Yes many laugh at us and say,

“Where is the promise of his coming?”

Many children have to promise their parents that they will be good next year. Then they also will get some present. But not many children learn about that man who died for our sins. Not many take time in this ‘Time of the year’ to read the Bible and to meditate on what God and his son Jesus had to say.

Today lots of people are concentrating on their self and do see all those refugees coming in our regions as a possible threat to what they can enjoy. Many are afraid they shall have to share with those poor people who travelled thousands of miles to find their luck in our Western world where money seems to flow like moulted butter.

Many people do not see what is really going on and how those set apart men of God had warned for certain situations we can see today. Also Jesus told about the signs of those days we have today. That time Jesus spoke about, may be much closer than many think. Many are blinded by the money this world is offering. Lots of people think everything can be said with presents and with the value of money. The real value for life they often do not see. Capitalism has put sand in their eyes.

The ways of godless thinking and living will be seen for all the foolishness they are; and we must never forget, there are only 2 ways: the broad way and the narrow way. Those on the narrow way are

2 Peter 3:12-15 The Scriptures 1998+  (12)  looking for and hastening the coming of the day of Elohim, through which the heavens shall be destroyed, being set on fire, and the elements melt with intense heat!  (13)  But according to His promise we wait for a renewed heavens and a renewed earth in which righteousness dwells.  (14)  So then, beloved ones, looking forward to this, do your utmost to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,  (15)  and reckon the patience of our Master as deliverance, as also our beloved brother Sha’ul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him,

“waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace” (verses 13,14).

Included in what they (we) are waiting for, is what Job perceived and that we read today. He declared,

I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” (19:25-27).

He believed in resurrection!

That final comment is most thought provoking. Our hearts will be in danger of fainting within us for multiple reasons, when God “bring(s) distress” – the experience will be awesome for believers! But how imminent then will be the time when they will “see God” through seeing his Son, marvelling in anticipation of the ultimate time when

God himself will be with them as their God … for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3,4).

Let us anticipate in faith the things that “our eyes shall behold” to carry us through the coming time of “distress”.

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Additional reading

  1. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  2. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  3. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  4. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  5. Focus on outward appearances
  6. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  7. Christmas in Ancient Rome (AKA Saturnalia)
  8. Christmas trees
  9. Actions to be a reflection of openness of heart
  10. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  11. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus
  12. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  13. The imaginational war against Christmas
  14. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet
  15. Manna from Sint Nicholas
  16. Traditionalists Vow to Fight Charges of Racism in Netherlands
  17. Ignorance of Today’s Youth (and Adults)
  18. Sancta Claus is not God
  19. Brits believe Santa present at Jesus’ birth, new poll reveals
  20. Wishing lanterns and Christmas

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Further reading

  1. Winter Solstice and Yule
  2. Yule is upon us!
  3. Dickens’ Christmas Story as an Intertexteme in Leskov’s Yule Short Story
  4. Winter Solstice 2015: Shortest Day Of The Year Celebrated As Pagan Yule
  5. Commercialmas
  6. Yule 2015 #15 performing magic
  7. Yule 2015#16
  8. A radiant vision of splendour
  9. Yule prep
  10. Yule Wreath and Garland
  11. 13 Trolls
  12. War Against Christmas?
  13. Holiday King of the Hill
  14. SGC Admin: From our inbox to you from: Patti Wigington: Paganism/Wicca Expert
  15. Yule – Wicca subject of the week
  16. Happy Yule 2015
  17. How to bring some real Christmas spirits into your Yule-tide
  18. 10 Ways to Celebrate Yule
  19. Santa Claus, Krampus,The Wild Hunt and Me.
  20. Vigil
  21. Use Yule Bells For Positive Energy
  22. Irish Christmas
  23. Christmas, the Weridest Holiday of the Year; Part one
  24. Holly Tree
  25. Holly, Plant of Saturn and Mars
  26. Symbol of Yule: Holly Mistletoe and Bayberry Candles
  27. Memories of Yuletide
  28. A Little history on the holly tree
  29. Let It Be Done Unto Me
  30. Annunciation
  31. Annunciation: a reflection for Advent
  32. This Annunciation
  33. The Annunciation, according to Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich
  34. Tuesday 15th December
  35. Wednesday Writings – Annunciation
  36. Mary’s Heart
  37. Angels & Advent: In His Shadow – a sermon podcast
  38. And the virgin’s name was Mary
  39. Angels of Advent: Encountering the Annunciation
  40. Somersaults /Wednesday, December 9, 2015
  41. Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
  42. Mary and a “Yes” to God’s Request
  43. Joseph’s Pregnant Advent
  44. The Overshadowing of Mary –Pentecost
  45. Christmas
  46. Saturnalia
  47. From Sukkot to Saturnalia: The Attack on Christmas in Sixteenth-Century..
  48. Togas, Laurels, Chariots and Some Roast Lambs’ Testicles
  49. Countdown to Christmas 17: Saturnalia
  50. Saturnalia Is a Fleadh by Another Name. Just Don’t Tell Jerry Buttimer
  51. By Jove! It’s Christmas: Did the First Christian Roman Emperor Appropriate..
  52. War On Christmas Memes: Saturnalia
  53. War On Christmas Memes: The Yule Tree
  54. Christmas: it’s all about money, not messiahs.
  55. Geranium Lake Properties, Saturn and Sol
  56. Advent Calendar Day 15: Christmas: The Perfect Excuse For A Fight? by Lucy Brazier
  57. Pig Washing 1, “Christmas”
  58. Christmas is Pagan!
  59. Christmas — Who gives a rip HOW we came up with the date we use?!?
  60. Christmas is Tammuz’s Birthday?

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Filed under Being and Feeling, History, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs

A New Year and a New Person

2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Every time a new year rolls around, folks begin to think about things they can change in their lives. Some people say that they are going to lose weight and start eating healthy. Others say that they are going to go back to college or get out of debt. Some say that they are going to write a book or start their own business. And others commit to getting organized or spending more time with family and friends.
The start of a new year is indeed a great occasion to make a change in your life. Such time markers we can use as a way for us to stop, look back at our lives, and identify things that we can change for the future. However, many people focus on making only outward changes — changes that will improve the way they look, improve their standard of living, or improve how others see them.
The best change you can make is a change from the inside out — a change of heart, spirit, and mind. In other words, a change that brings about a new you for the new year. For there cannot truly be a New Year for you if there is no new you for the New Year.
In Second Corinthians chapter 5, Paul is writing to the Corinthian believers about the implications of Christ’s death. He emphasizes that Christ died for “all men”, so anyone can have a new life through Jesus Christ. Because of Christ’s death, salvation was not limited to the Jews, but was opened to everyone. This is good news for us today because it lets us know that anyone can have a great change in their life through the power of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many people have found new life in Christ. When they say
“I am a Christian.”
What do they mean with that? In what way do they want to accept Jesus and how much do they want to ccept the clear words from the Bible which say he was the son of God? do those Christians also want to believe God has a plan and do they relaise what that plan is?

Though Tony Dungy said

“You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Is he willing to accept that Jesus was really a man of flesh and blood who died for all our sins? Are you willing to accept that?
Many people are like Kirsten Powers who said:
“I don’t really feel like I had any courage when I became a Christian; I just gave in. I wasn’t courageous; I didn’t have any choice. I kept trying to not believe but I just couldn’t avoid accepting Christ.”
What is it that we want to believe, the fairy tales of people or the truth as it is written down in the Book of books?
How much do we want to change our selves and our way of living?
Were do we want to put our focus in our life?
What do you want to do now when you have made the decision to go for Christ and become a a Christian?
Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross said,
“There are many meaningful verses in the Bible, but the one I say to myself most often is, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’ That’s my favorite because on the track, I am usually trying to do things that have rarely been done before. I know that it’s only God that gives me the strength to accomplish these things.”
Having come in the new year we can have a lot of dreams for 2015, but are you really willing to make also a new you of of yourself?
To be able to become a new you for the new year, you must be “in Christ.” Verse 17 begins with,
“therefore if any man be in Christ…”
The Greek word for “in” means to be in a ‘fixed position’ or to ‘dwell within set limits’. What does it mean to be in Christ? Being in Christ denotes the standing of a believer after he or she has accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Unless you are in Christ, you cannot have a new lifestyle or a new mentality.
The term ‘in Christ’ or ‘in Him’ is used several times in the New Testament to describe the position and benefits that the believer has. Notice Ephesians 1:7. This verse tells us that
‘In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace…’
We see here that if you are in Christ, your sins are washed under the blood of the lamb. By Christ’s death, and because of God’s grace, you are redeemed or delivered from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell, or ending up in ‘sheol’ the grave.
When  you chose for Christ and got baptised did you know that by undertaking such action you also could receive many blessings in this life?

Ephesians 1:3 states that God

“hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…”

If you are in Christ, you have spiritual blessings that you would not otherwise have. Please notice here that this is not talking about material blessings. Being in Christ does not mean you will have a big house or an expensive car. But you will have spiritual blessings such as peace that passes all understanding, joy unspeakable, confidence in the midst of the storms of life, and the hope of heaven in the midst of despair.Matthew Henry said,

“Spiritual and heavenly blessings are the best blessings; with which we cannot be miserable.”

Now, notice Colossians 2:10:
“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
What does it mean to be complete “in Christ”?
The Greek word for “complete” means to ‘be made full’ or to ‘fill up’. In other words, if you are in Christ, you have everything you need to live the Christian life. You have everything you need to be considered righteous in God’s sight. You have everything you need to pass from this life on earth to the next life in Heaven.
So, we see that being “in Christ” means that all of our sins are washed under the blood and we are delivered from the power of sin and the punishment of sin. Being in Christ means that we have obtained spiritual blessings because of Jesus Christ; and being in Christ means that we are not lacking in anything that concerns our salvation and life.
Being “in Christ” is the first step to having a new you for the new year.
To have a new you for the new year, you must realize that you are a “new creature.”
Corinthians 5:17 says,
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…”
There are many Christians who live miserable, unproductive, and defeated lives simply because they do not realize and embrace the fact that since they are in Christ, they are new creatures and it is time for them to put away the old ways and begin living according to their standing as a child of God.
Imagine a young man who is homeless, disheveled, unclean, and poor. He walks the streets begging for coins just to get a bite to eat every day. One day, a man comes looking for him as he is sitting on the street corner begging. This man tells him that he is actually the son of a wealthy business owner and that his father wants him to come home, get his life on track, and get an education. He tells the young man that there is plenty of room for him at his father’s mansion and that everything he needs — food, clothing, and money — would be taken care of from that point on. Now, imagine if that poor young man refused to take his father up on that kind of offer and decided to remain a homeless beggar.
Of course that is ridiculous. Yet, that is what many Christians do each and every day. They do not live according to their status as followers of Christ.  We may not forget that there are many adversaries of God still living in this world. The Bible even tells us they are in charge of this world now. We should realize that they are capable to
“block the effectiveness of a Christian if he can deceive you into believing that you are nothing but a product of your past — subject to sin, prone to failure, and controlled by your habits.”
The adversary of God (Satan) cannot do anything about your position in Christ, but if he can deceive you into believing what the Scripture says isn’t true, you will live as though it isn’t true.
If you do not realize and embrace the fact that you are a new creature in Christ, then you will never live as Christ intended for you to live. You will not have the powerful, victorious life that you can have. Your “new year” will be the same as your “old year.” No matter how hopeful and optimistic you feel about the New Year, and no matter how much you determine to make the new year different, the ‘devil‘ will remind you of every failure you had in the past year and the years before. He will burden you with your sins and mistakes at the onset of the New Year and if you accept his lies and believe that that is just the way you are, then you will go through another year of not living up to your full potential as a child of God.
We do not have to be in bondage to sin. You do not have to go through another year of making the same mistakes and committing the same sins. You can have a new you for the new year if you realize your standing as a new creature in Christ.
To have a new you for the new year, you must put away all “old things.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 says that
“if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. That is true. And if you want different results in the new year, you have to stop doing the same old things over and over again. The Bible says that if you are in Christ, and if you are a new creature, then old things should be “passed away.” What are the old things in your life that you need to put away in the new year?
Did you lie this past year? Did you neglect prayer and reading the word of God this past year? Did you cheat and connive to have your way this past year?
Wives, were you disrespectful to your husband this past year?
Husbands, did you fail to love your wives as you should this past year?
Children, did you disobey your parents this past year?
Whatever you did in the past year that got you bad results, you need to put away in the new year.
Notice this verse from Colossians chapter 3:
“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.”
If you want to make the new year a great year, you must put away all of the old things that you did in the last year and in past years that made that year a bad year. Give your past to God through Jesus Christ and He will take care of it for you.
Let us encourage you to not only put away the sins and failures of the past year, but to learn from them and forget about them.
You won’t accomplish much of anything in the new year if you allow your mind to dwell on the sins, troubles, problems, and failures of your past.
In Isaiah 43:18, God commanded the children of Israel to forget the things of the past. He said:
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.”
In fact, God himself does not remember our sins. A few verses later in the same chapter he says,
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
So, if God does not remember our sins, don’t you think it is best for us to do the same?
Dennis DeHaan wrote a little poem that goes like this:
Look not back on yesterday
So full of failure and regret;
Look ahead and seek God’s way–
All sin confessed you must forget.
My friend, put away the old sins and failures of your past. Learn from them and then forget about them so that this next year can be a great one, because there will be no new year for you if there is no new you for the new year.
As we close today, I want to speak to those of you who have never accepted Jesus Christ as your saviour. In other words, you are not “in Christ” right now. I want to show you how you can get in Christ. This is the only way you can change your life from the inside out.
Many great people of the past and present have spoken of Jesus Christ and the impact he has had on their lives.
The great French military and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte said,
“I marvel that whereas the ambitious dreams of myself, Caesar, and Alexander should have vanished into thin air, a Judean peasant — Jesus — should be able to stretch His hands across the centuries and control the destinies of men and nations.”
Dear friend, you can let Jesus Christ be in charge of your destiny as well.
Basketball great Julius “Dr. J” Erving said,
“The purpose of life is to be found through having Christ in your life, and understanding what His plan is, and following that plan.”
Former President George W. Bush said,
“Christ is the greatest philosopher: He changed my heart.”
Theologian and historian Philip Schaff said,
“Without Christ, life is as the twilight with dark night ahead; with Christ, it is the dawn of morning with the light and warmth of full day ahead.”
The great Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson said,
“When Christ came into my life, I came about like a well-handled ship.”
The British writer and media personality Malcolm Muggeridge said,
“I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness, or cared to live until I chose to die. For these two discoveries I am beholden to Jesus.”
NFL quarterback Sam Bradford said,
“I really don’t see a reason why you wouldn’t want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I mean, not only was He the greatest human being to ever walk the earth, He’s everything that I want to strive for. He’s everything that anyone should ever want to strive for.”
World-famous evangelist Luis Palau said,
“One encounter with Jesus Christ is enough to change you, instantly, forever.”
Jesus Christ wants to change you today.
Jesus his heavenly Father will grant us such change if we do not mind asking it in the name of Jesus. God wants to make you a new person from the inside out. Jehovah said in Ezekiel 36:26: A
“new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
God wants to bring about this kind of change in your life. That is why he sent His Son Jesus Christ so that we can be saved from sin and the punishment of sin. The Bible says in John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Let me show you how you can accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour today.
First of all, you must understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23:
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 says
“the wages of sin is death”
How can you be saved from this death? Romans 10:9,13 says:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the wooden stake for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer:
Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I have broken your laws. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
Jesus Christ said in John 10:9,
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
See the door to the better world, the Kingdom of God. Be willing to change yourself so that you may be granted the entrance through that small door.
God loves you! We love you! May God bless you, and have a great New Year!
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