Tag Archives: Focus

The Reformation shows us why we need expository preaching

In Christianity pastors or preachers should be followers of Christ Jesus and spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. Their first and most important book in their preaching should be the Greatest Book of all, the Bible.

It is not bad to look back at the several people who also tried to be a servant of Christ or to be a servant of God. But the main focus of the preaching may not be on the words of those previous preachers, but always should focus on the Words of God. Too often that is forgotten in several churches, where they shout only a few quotes from Scriptures and fill the main service with their own words and with music, in the hope to entertain the people in their church.

Today we have to ask all those elders, presbyters, expositors to come to preach That Most Important Word. all those who hope to have some mega church running should better remember those who did their best to bring the Word of God to the people: The evangelists in the Second and First Great Awakenings and the Reformers who preached the Word, like the apostle Paul preached followed Jesus who also preached the Word, him following Isaiah, Ezra and so many man of God who where not afraid to preach the Word of God.

*

To remember

Martin Luther  = main spark to Protestant Reformation <=  95 Theses  > because the Word was unleashed.

William Tyndale, John Hus, + many others executed for translating or preaching the Word in people’s language.

Roman Catholic Church prevented Catholics from reading the Word themselves + from possessing a Bible > restricted for a thousand years.

Read word for soul’s health > solace

expository preaching > involves exposition, or comprehensive explanation, of Scripture => presenting meaning + intent of biblical text, providing commentary + examples => passage clear + understandable ==> expose meaning of the Bible, verse by verse.

 

Knowing the blood of the martyrs soaks the ground under thousands of stakes, how dare we insert our own words, opinions, fads, and stunts onto the pulpit? Men died for this Word to be preached. Jesus as the Word suffered and absorbed all God’s wrath for the elect so this word would go out and be preached.

 

+++

Further related

  1. The Reformation shows us why we need expository preaching
  2. St. Luke: An Expositional and Devotional Commentary” by William Klock
  3. How Relevant is Your Church?
  4. 1810 5vols The Family Expositor or A Paraphrase and Version of the New Testament
  5. The Protestant Reformation and the Reformers: The Truth Restored
  6. Was the Reformers’ Gospel something new?
  7. A Swiss Reformer
  8. The Human Reformer: Martin Luther Struggled With Depression and Nightmares
  9. Scripture Alone, for the Reformers and us!

+++

Related articles

The End Time

With the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation coming upon us October 31, many people are looking to history and learning Martin Luther and his the men that came before him.

Martin Luther is generally acknowledged to have been a main spark to the Protestant Reformation. Protestant comes from the word protest, which Luther’s 95 Theses sparked against the Roman Catholic Church’s excesses of indulgences (sin absolution for hire) and other abuses.

The Reformation didn’t happen because Martin Luther put the 95 Theses on the door to Wittenberg Chapel. It happened because the Word was unleashed. ~Mark McAndrew, North Avenue Church

Here, John MacArthur explains in a 1:33 clip How unhindered access to God’s Word changed history.

William Tyndale, John Hus, and many others were executed for translating or preaching the Word in the people’s language. The Roman Catholic Church prevented the Catholics from reading the Word themselves and…

View original post 597 more words

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under History, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs

How to set your mind

Colossians 3, 4

Paul said,

English: the first of the Epistles to the Colo...

The first of the Epistles to the Colossians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3 v 2).

This is all very well to say, but how do we do it? Paul gives us some great advice to achieve the goal.

1. Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, … anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language. (Ephesians 3 v 5 – 8).
2. Do not lie. (v 9).
3. Don’t be racist. (v 11).
4. Practice compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (v 12).
5. Forgive. (v 13).
6. Love. (v 14).
7. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts. (v 15).
8. Be thankful. (v 15).
9. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. (v 16).
10. Teach and help others to do the same. (v 16).
11. Sing with thankfulness. (v 16).
12. Do everything with Jesus in mind. (v 17).
13. Love your family. (v 18 – 21).
14. Work hard for your employer as if you were working for Jesus. (v 22 – 25).
15. Treat others fairly. (4 v 1).
16. Devote yourselves to prayer. (v 2).
17. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders. (v 5).
18. Always show grace in the way you speak. (v 6).

If these actions become habits in our lives then we will be doing what Paul said to do. We will have set our minds on the things above, not on earthly things.

2 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Life Goes On

Today’s guest-writer with his decease knows that  whether we’re going through the worst of times or the best of times, history and our own experiences show us that life does go on.

Though we can not say this to everybody at any time.

“There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven —
A time to give birth and a time to die…
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)

I thought about the above passage last week when our daughter gave birth to a beautiful seven pound girl on Wednesday, then a close friend died of cancer on Friday – “A time to give birth and a time to die.”

Twenty years later after our guest-writer Bill was diagnosed with ALS he still goes strong and inspires many people with what he writes on the net, reaching many in countries who would never come to. His writing are clearly inspired by God’s Spirit, Who is able to give incredible powers to those who are willing to give themselves in the hands of God.

*

To remember

life’s great highs + lows = day-to-day life > seem so trivial

we tell ourselves that we’ll never again settle for the trivial life

our emotional or spiritual highs & lows gradually find their old balance => return to a mundane normalcy

=> root cause of much of addiction + depression we see around us

answer? = “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

focus not on the personal and professional “highs” missed => make  conscious effort to focus on  good things in life

Life = hard == much easier if we surround ourselves with people that won’t only rejoice with us in the good times but will also support us in the difficult times.

+

Preceding: Why are you afraid?

 

++

Further reading

  1. What Would You Say?
  2. Time slowed
  3. Courting Joy
  4. Still Life
  5. Survivor or Fighter?
  6. 5 Things You Need to Know About Life (1 min read)
  7. Opportunity Meets Impression! (2 min read)
  8. The Road Ahead
  9. Solace Can be Found
  10. It starts again….
  11. Silent Screams
  12. Just
  13. On the topic of crying
  14. Fibromyalgia and remission
  15. Suicidal thoughts
  16. Behind the face,  the mask. 
  17. Dignity
  18. 005 Coping with depression
  19. Losing Friends, Making Friends
  20. Experimenting
  21. Daily Shorts – Can I Run Away?
  22. Perfect Love
  23. Depression I
  24. It feels weird 
  25. The Steps of Falling Apart
  26. Better Days: Creating Change
  27. 02.47

Unshakable Hope

“Life Goes On”

Whether we’re going through the worst of times or the best of times, history and our own experiences show us that life does go on. This is true, but I don’t recommend saying “life goeson” to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one.

“There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven —
A time to give birth and a time to die…
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)

I thought about the above passage last week when our daughter gave birth to a beautiful seven pound girl on Wednesday, then a close friend died of cancer on Friday – “A time to give birth and a time to die.”

Those who are grieving and those who are rejoicing have this…

View original post 549 more words

5 Comments

Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Positive thoughts, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs

Stop worrying about what you have to loose

“Stop worrying about what you have to loose
and
start focusing on what you have to gain”

 

Dutch text: Stop met je zorgen te maken over verliezen

English: Sheep Worrying Just don't do it!

Sheep Worrying Just don’t do it! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

+++

2 Comments

Filed under Positive thoughts, Reflection Texts

Stop met je zorgen te maken over verliezen

“Stop met je zorgen te maken over wat je te verliezen hebt
en
begin je te concentreren op wat je moet en kan winnen”

 

In English: Stop worrying about what you have to loose

Spotprent op de verliezen van de Spanjaarden t...

Spotprent op de verliezen van de Spanjaarden tijdens de veldtocht van Maurits in 1597 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

+++

1 Comment

Filed under Bezinningsteksten, Nederlandse teksten - Dutch writings, Positieve gedachten

Brian Tracy on leadership

Business expert Brian Tracy in his book “How the Best Leaders Lead: Proven Secrets to Getting the Most Out of Yourself and Others” gives you a series of practical, proven ideas and strategies that leaders and managers at every level can use immediately.

Those in charge of churches have to be good leaders. Have a look at what he has to say:

 

You become what you think about most of the time.

Most of the time, leaders think about the qualities of leadership and how to apply them daily.

Leaders have a clear vision of where they are going, and they convey this vision to everyone around them.

Leaders have the courage to take risks, to move forward, to face danger with no guarantee of success.

Leaders have integrity. They deal honestly and straightforwardly with each person. They tell the truth, and they always keep their word.

Leaders are humble. They get results by using the strengths and knowledge of those around them. They know how to listen, and they know how to learn.

Leaders have foresight. They continually look ahead and anticipate what might happen. They make provisions to guard against possible reversals and put themselves into a position to take advantage of possible opportunities.

Leaders focus on what’s important. They concentrate their time and resources, and the time and resources of the company, on the activities that will make the most difference.

Leaders cooperate well with others. They are liked and respected by everyone around them. They go out of their way to get along well with the key people upon which the company depends. They truly believe that people are their most valuable asset.

The best companies (churches) have the best leaders. The second-best companies (churches) have the second-best leaders. The third-best companies (churches), in these times of turbulence, are unfortunately on their way out of business.

The most important contribution you can make to your company (church) is to be a leader, accept responsibility for results, and dare to go forward.



+

Preceding articles:

A Brief Thought on Leadership

Failures, mistakes and Initiatives for Excellence and success, Working towards turning a Dream of yours into reality

+++

1 Comment

Filed under Being and Feeling

The Mountain: Radical Love

In our second reposting from the paraphrased chronological harmony of the four gospels, by Frank Boulet we look once more at the central message of Jesus which is simply this:

 Love God by loving people, even your enemies.

with From Guestwriters we do want to spread this message of love and want to get enough people to see how we do have to control ourselves first before we can try to get a better world.

Our aim is also that those who come along our site, shall make the effort to read the appropriate Bible text and shall take time to meditate on the material.

Insofar as they convey that message, these meditations may be helpful as an introduction to the complete texts of the New Testament, or for daily devotional reading.

Those who call themselves Christian always should remember that they have to be followers of Christ longing for God’s Spirit to feed them. They cannot be called Christian when they do not keep to the laws and teachings Christ adhered to.

The spirit that God wants reflected to the world by your life is revealed in the law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. {The Mountain: God’s Word}

As believers in Christ we do have to be believers in the One True God and become children of Him.

In order to live as God’s child, you must be faithful to the essential spirit of God’s word. {The Mountain: God’s Word}

It was on a mountain that Jesus began giving examples of the spirit of God’s Word. From that sermon on the mountain we should get to know that our faith needs those works Jesus spoke about.

As a Christians we should not only have a good relationship with Christ Jesus, but also with God and God His creatures.

If you’re about to worship God in any way, and you remember an unsettled dispute with another person, first go & make peace with that person, and then return to worship God. {The Mountain: Anger}

As a Christian we should follow Christ’s teachings and God’s commandments.

God’s law says, do not engage in sexual cheating (meaning sexual relations are to be enjoyed only with your husband or wife). {The Mountain: Sexual Cheating}

This means we have to be faithful to the partner we have chosen to share our life with. That faithfulness demands control and requires acts of love. The keeping our minds focused on the right persons is one of the works we do have to do. Because we should know that we may not even look with lust at a woman, because for God that is considered the same as sexual cheating in your heart!

We also should be careful which words  we use and what sort of promises we make.

It has also been said, ‘Do not break your promise to God.’

But I say, do not even make promises to God.

Yes we are told not to promise by heaven, by the earth, by Jerusalem, not even by your own head, because it’s sinful to try to add emphasis to your promises in that way.

We should not do the wrong things but the right things and as such

Instead of promising to do what God says, just do what God says. {The Mountain: Promises to God}

heart-of-a-good-samaritan-reveals

We also may not seek revenge against any other person, which again shall demand control of ourselves and not getting into anger which would bring us to do wrong.

extra_mile

Jesus gives an indication how in our relation to others we should care for them and even be willing to go with them.

If a soldier demands that you carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles.

Whenever another person asks you for something, give it to him.

Whenever another person wants to borrow something, lend it to him.

Matthew 5:38-42

Also to love your enemies we shall need to be stronger than the first reaction most people get against their enemies or to those they hate.

Jesus concluded:

Instead of being like everybody else, God wants you to love perfectly — just as God himself loves perfectly. (Matthew 5:43-48) {The Mountain: Loving Enemies}

Living for God in this life means you need to have different goals than most people.

For instance, you must love your enemies. {The Mountain: Radical Love}

*

We should remember

  • things essential to gain all of God’s blessings:

• Admitting + Mourning self-inflicted spiritual poverty.
• Regretting your self-inflicted separation from God.
• Desiring to live God’s way
• Expecting & accepting trouble living God’s way will bring in this life.

  • Living for yourself in this life will never lead to God’s blessings in the next life:

Then the author says:

  • • goal in this life to be rich => poor in the next life.

  • • goal in this life to be full => hungry in the next life.

  • • goal in this life to be happy => sad in the next life.

  • • goal in this life for other people to speak well of you => no one will speak well of you in the next life.

But with death we have paid for our sins and then there comes an end to our life. When we die it shall be too late to do anything. there shall be no “next life”, except the life we shall continue to live on this earth in this system of things when we have done wrong and do not repent, or after Armageddon and the judgement when we shall be rejected or receive the entrance to God’s Kingdom, being able to live in the restored ‘Garden of Eden‘, the paradise, God’s Kingdom.

It is here, now or never that we shall have to do and make it. Several parables of Christ show us how for many it will be too late for them to change anything for their entrance in the Kingdom of God … they just shall miss it … because they have not done the required works to be saved.

+

Preceding articles

Illusion of control

First man’s task still counting today

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

The Mountain: Radical Obedience

Restitution

++

Also of interest

  1. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  2. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  3. Christ’s ethical teaching
  4. The business of this life
  5. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  6. Running away from the past
  7. Be holy
  8. Love for each other attracting others
  9. The Greatest of These is Love
  10. Unconditional love
  11. Love is like playing the piano
  12. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  13. Relying on the Love of God
  14. No person has greater love than this one who surrendered his soul in behalf of his friends
  15. Work with joy and pray with love
  16. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  17. We love because he first loved us
  18. Malefactors becoming your master
  19. 112314 – A Peculiar People
  20. Be ye angry and sin not
  21. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  22. He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger
  23. Singing gift from God
  24. God does not change

+++

Further related articles

  1. “Week One Reflection” by Dr.J. 2016 Fast Post 19
  2. The Difference Between Healthy And Unhealthy Shame
  3. God Can Set You Free From Your Shame
  4. The Surprising Key to Increasing Your Willpower
  5. How to gain self-control & self-discipline
  6. Control When It Counts
  7. Bible study: Blessed are the meek: For they shall inherit the earth (Mt 5:5)
  8. Frank Sinatra quotes from Sermon on the Mount
  9. You are the Way Jesus!
  10. Who gets your attention?
  11. Building on the Rock
  12. The Jesus Revolution
  13. Class #1: Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
  14. sermon on the mount – an introduction
  15. The King’s Sermon (Matt. 4:23, 25, 5:1-2)
  16. Blessed are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
  17. Sermon on the Mount: Ask, Seek, Knock
  18. Sermon On The Mount – Blessed are the meek
  19. Blessed are the Meek
  20. Sermon on the Mount: In the Eye
  21. January 17 Matthew 7:1-14
  22. Misreading the Bible: “Judge Not”
  23. The Sermon on the Mount (18)
  24. The Poor in Spirit
  25. Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit
  26. Blessed Are They That Mourn
  27. Sermon on the Mount: Wisdom
  28. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  29. God give us grace to face the Sermon on the Mount
  30. Sermon on the Mount: Blindness
  31. Salt and Light
  32. Sermon on the Mount by Vance Stinson
  33. The Lord’s Prayer
  34. The Third Way: Nonviolent Resistance
  35. Loving the Unlovables – Part One
  36. Be Different in Your Purity
  37. The Poor in Spirit (Matt. 5:3)
  38. Like A Bull In A China Shop
  39. God is Jehovah Jireh – The LORD Will Provide
  40. Thesis of Jesus
  41. Be Different in Your Anger
  42. Class #3: Three you are statements. Matthew 5:11-16
  43. January 12 Matthew 5:21-32
  44. January 13 Matthew 5:33-48
  45. Borrowed Trouble — Being Perfect, Part 4
  46. When Grief is Good
  47. Lay Down Your Blessings
  48. Teacher
  49. Master, teach us how to pray – The Lord’s Prayer
  50. James 1
  51. Be Your Attitudes
  52. beatitude
  53. The Beatitudes: Growing into the Kingdom of Heaven. Already.
  54. In Search of Eternity
  55. Be Different in Your Righteousness
  56. Daily Riches: Can One Obey Without Actually Obeying? (James Hannay and William James)
  57. A Greater Righteousness
  58. Out with the old, in with almost nothing
  59. Be Different in Your Influence
  60. Rain or Shine — Being Perfect, Part 1
  61. Virtue Signaling — Being Perfect, Part 2
  62. The Business of Blessing Others

+++

4 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, Social affairs

Continued nostalgic Christmas memories

In Christmas in the 1950s we looked a first time at the way we and experienced the Winter holidays and enjoyed watching the movies.

When  had started sixth grade in Gretna, Louisiana to spend the next three years at the same “Grammar School” his life was common to those of his school mates.

Cover of one of the books of the Robert L. May...

Cover of one of the books of the Robert L. May story by Maxton Publishers, Inc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like in our country he had also real Christmas holidays, and had real Christmas programs at school. When we do hear our grand children and see what is done at schools for the Christmas holiday we do not see such nice activities like we had in school. Though, Today there are more people stressing that this is the Season of the Year, and several Christians are shouting that Christmas should be the Reason of the Season. But when they want to celebrate the birth of Christ, not much seems to remind people to that birth of the Jewish rabbi who is our saviour. On the streets and in the shops the so called Christmas songs do not really mention Jesus Christ but go on about reindeer, Santa(s), jingle bells and present, though not that special present or precious gift you could call Jesus Christ. The winter-related songs celebrate the climatic season, with all its snow, dressing up for the cold, sleighing, etc. and with the years all the pagan elements came more and more to the forefront, new mythical characters created, defined, and popularised by these songs; “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman” both introduced by Gene Autry a year apart (1949 and 1950 respectively).

In the previous century we gathered and special presentations were offered to sing carols.

remembers

We would sing Christmas carols, which included biblical songs. The school would give the children song sheets that showed the words to those biblical songs. Teachers were free to talk to their classes about their church lives. {120714 – Christmas Of Simpler Times}

Today lots of teachers are not allowed to speak about their religious life. They are not allowed to talk about Jesus Christ being the saviour. church live and talks about God are in many schools not authorised any more.

The kids have also nothing to share about church life, because most of them never go to church or just have some periods of church activity to prepare them for the first and/or second communion. they are not really interested in anything to do with church or with religion. The talk of the day is the new smartphone or any other new electronic gadget, plus laughing with one or the other posting on Facebook. Television lost grace in the hand of our grandchildren. The present generation does not watch so much television as we did or do, but have their eyes focused on the computer screen, watching al sorts of postings or games.

Most of my friends watched the same television programs. {120714 – Christmas Of Simpler Times}

writes

We didn’t have cable tv or dish types, so our selection was limited to traditional network programming. The programs were family oriented and were not restricted to “church and state” limitations.The Cleaver family went to church and Sunday School. Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, Opie, and Gomer were shown in their church, even when Gomer might fall asleep and snore during the “Reverend’s” sermons.
The Christmas programs that were produced and shown by ABC, NBC, and CBS did not hide the fact that “Jesus was the reason for the season.” Television hosts did not omit “Jesus” from their discussions when they were talking about Christmas. Jesus was truly “God with us” during those programs. {120714 – Christmas Of Simpler Times}

Jesus nor God are the subject of this season. It is time that those who call themselves Christian and find that this should be a time to think about Christ Jesus, perhaps should do better to have others thinking about that special man who was sent by God for a specific reason.

In Belgium we listened, behind frosted windows, to songs like the one of Frank Sinatra who sung about the songs for you and me, but were told that this was all about that heathen character the Americans loved so much, because their country had become slave of consumption. Today we in Europe are not better off. Most people are slave of money and consumption. As in the previous article told, they even get so much stress that we have already time spend in the media about that ‘Christmas stress‘.

Of the time when every one falls in love there is not so much to see. In some American writings we hear that it is now fashionable to have a divorce around Christmas. Many have new years dreams of having some extramarital adventures with some delicious unknown and some even think it can be good fun to have some extra sex with somebody of their own gender. Those same gender relations are also promoted extra in this time of year. This week for example we had on television some gays who prepared meals for each other and talked every episode about the ‘Christmas kitsch’.

Merry Christmas (Bing Crosby album)

Merry Christmas (Bing Crosby album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 1950ies and 1960ies from the States we got Andy Williams and Bing Crosby who be the must haves and must hears at the Winter holiday season. You may wonder what glow it is when snow would appear these days. But even the snow has given it up and Winter does not want to let see her face. Bing Crosby reminded people about what happened in Bethlehem and asked people to remember it not just in this particular season but the whole year through.

Judi Harbin remarked

Just as we cannot benefit from a wrapped gift under the Christmas tree until we open it, so gratitude can be seen as our way of opening the gift of God’s love intended by all the small and big positive events of our lives

**

One of the Biggest Christmas hits in several families for years

“White christmas” by Bing Crosby (1942) Original

Later he made a more fluent, faster version, which I like more

*

*

O Little Town Of Bethlehem – Bing Crosby

*

*

Bing Crosby “The Secret Of Christmas”

“The Secret Of Christmas” was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn for Bing Crosby, and was first performed by Bing in the 1959 film, ‘Say One For Me’. Bing recorded “The Secret Of Christmas” with an arrangement by Frank DeVol for a single that year released by Columbia Records. Bing recorded the song again in 1964 for the album 12 Songs Of Christmas with Fred Waring and His Orchestra.

*

**

It may well be that after World War II our families had to overcome the shocks of the Great War and the last atrocity which showed the cruelty of man and made it so much more important to focus on the better soul of mankind. Perhaps it was truly a much simpler time of Christmas in our nation’s not too distant history.

+

Preceding articles

Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress

Christmas in the 1950s

The Proper Place of Excess

Looking for the consummation of presents

One can buy a lot in the supermarket, but not hope

++

Additional reading

  1. Creator and Blogger God 11 Old and New Blog 1 Aimed at one man
  2. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus
  3. Our love for Jesus – A Christian Science perspective
  4. Isaiah 55-56, Revelation 11
  5. God’s wrath and sanctification

+++

Further reading and listening

  1. Celebrating 365 Days of Legends, Folklore & Spirituality for December 17 – 23 – Saturnalia
  2. Countdown to Christmas 17: Saturnalia
  3. War On Christmas Memes: Saturnalia
  4. Christmas: it’s all about money, not messiahs.
  5. Why Did He Come?
  6. What Really Happened?
  7. He Loves You So
  8. 10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy, Happy, Glow Over Christmas and Into the New Year
  9. Cancer survivor supports others battling the disease with massive Christmas light display
  10. Giving money for Christmas: When and how to do it right
  11. Carols by Candlelight
  12. “Hush, now listen…”
  13. Hymn, ‘Mary, Did You Know?’
  14. Carol, ‘I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing on Christmas Day’
  15. Joy to the World, Not Just Another Christmas Carol
  16. Christmas Carol Day 17
  17. Jubilation
  18. Manifestation
  19. “For hate is strong and mocks the song”–A Civil war Christmas carol
  20. Celebrating Christmas as a Family
  21. Holiday Decoration: Celebrate Christmas in Style
  22. Dec 18: My somewhere peaceful is Christmas magic
  23. New trending GIF tagged 80s christmas vhs 1987…

+++

3 Comments

Filed under Audio, History, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Video

The Proper Place of Excess

The Word of God given to us in the Bible or Holy Scriptures tells us to know Who we should worship and what we should not worship. Idolatry of money has crept into the soul of mankind and has poisoned their hearts.

The wisdom teacher of Ecclesiastes says, there is a time for all things under the sun, no to agree with the excess man loves so much, but as a warning how to behave and how and to what to focus.

For those who want to celebrate Christmas for whatever reason they want to give, Christians should remember that it is originally a pagan festival and should better abstain from it. But we do agree in Wintertime it is ideal to socialise at the dark hours and it may be lovely to exchange presents around the turn of the year.

When we provide presents for others they should be given with joy and when it brings such a stress like we hear many tell on television, than there is certainly something wrong.

In so called Christian countries, we also see lots of Christmas markets, but at those ‘great events’ there is not much to see about what they call would be the “reason of the season”. At most Christmas markets there are not many stall about the nativity of the Nazarene Jew nor about that man’s ransom offering. Jesus Christ his birth they often call the reason for the season, but we can not see him much in that season or in people’s homes. Also the attitude of those people gathering at those markets does not speak of such an attitude that master teacher asked from his followers. Most people strolling around at those markets are more concerned about the food and drink opportunities and in buying (ridiculous) gadgets and not to expensive presents.

So many feel obliged just to find an other gadget or an other extra surprise and do hope they themselves also will receive many presents.

In this society where excess has become a way of life, for many it might well be also a way of understanding the world, a way of being and interacting in the world, but for sure many chapters in the bible warn for such an attitude and ask us to focus on the more important immaterial things.

Those who call themselves Christian should wonder where they fall in the consumer trap of the capitalist society and why they do not keep to the festivals ordained by the Most High? the festival for the goddess of light and a celebration for a Santa Claus for sure are no part of those.

*

To remember

Thanksgiving here + gone > too much to eat + drink = Excess = regular part of natural order

Excess > consequences = plays important role in survival process

Survival of the fittest + the fertilized

Northern Hemisphere winter = season of rest + recuperation

ancestral winter seasons > forebears rejoiced in gathered harvest, savored freshly slaughtered meat, + delighted in new beer + wine.

Northern Hemisphere ancestors celebrated = winter solstice = December 21 = marking the rebirth of the sun = traditionally been associated with feasts + festivals replete with excesses => secular Christmastime holiday = direct descendant of these revelries.

Roman Saturnalia + misrule, centered on feasting + gift-giving > societal role reversals where servants + peasants became lords + ladies for a day or short season => usually steady tables of fortune turned for a moment

misrule (common in European societies and colonial America) individuals of low socioeconomic status demanded wealthier neighbors + patrons treat them – the servants + peons of society – as if they were the wealthy + deserving

Puritans of Massachusetts infamously outlawing Christmas in late 1600s =/= legendary anniversary of the Savior’s birth > simultaneous misrule celebrations that exalted excesses, some acceptable + others decidedly distasteful.

1800s, misrule evolved > new type of social inversion > persisted to our own day => Christmas made for children

children = miniature adults = occupied bottom rung of social hierarchy along with peasants + servants

Modern secular Christmas – family celebration – created at this time with children becoming focus of charity + goodwill

starting with Black Friday Eve (used to be called Thanksgiving) + continuing through New Year’s Day celebrations = unmatched devotion to consumerism, materialism, consumption, waste, and over-indulgence.

+

Preceding

The Culture of Excesses- Losing Humanity

Learning that stuff is just stuff

Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth

Looking for the consummation of presents

One can buy a lot in the supermarket, but not hope

 

++

Additional reading

  1. A time for everything
  2. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  3. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  4. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  5. A new year with hopes and challenges
  6. Opportunity!
  7. A season of gifts
  8. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
  9. Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth

+++

Further reading

  1. Presents, Presents, and more Presents.
  2. Christmas Stress
  3. Buying All the Gifts
  4. Christmas time!
  5. The spirit of Christmas
  6. Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. ~J.L.W. Brooks
  7. It’s the Thought that Counts?
  8. 30 Ways to Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas
  9. 17 Things Only Girls Who Hate Shopping Understand
  10. How The Garden Grinch Saved Your Christmas
  11. 2015 Holiday Gift Guide
  12. My Christmas Gift Guide 2015
  13. 15 ways to get into the Christmas Spirit
  14. A Special Package
  15. The Gift & the Giver
  16. Baby Jesus Brings the gifts
  17. Blogmas Day 14: Christmas Gift Guide 2015
  18. On the 14th day of Christmas…
  19. Dear Santa
  20. Secret Santa!
  21. Why we don’t do Santa
  22. Nativity?
  23. Christmas Blogging Challenge Day 2 – My Favourite Christmas Tradition
  24. The Gift That Keeps on Giving
  25. The Holiday Gifting Struggle
  26. Do you search? ✨BlogMas✨
  27. Finding God
  28. Why Not Do Something Different This Christmas

+++

Just a Little Bit More - Book Blog

Thanksgiving, once again, is here and gone. I know I had too much to eat and drink. How about you?

Excess is a regular part of the natural order. Our bodies turn excess calories into fat cells – technically, stored energy for later use. Most excess weight, however, is simply lugged around serving unwittingly as a contributing factor to health problems. Alcohol, on the other hand, is eliminated by the body. But a morning-after dehydration headache, caused by excessive drinking, lets you know you overdid it. Long-term excessive drinking, of course, will kill you.

Excess has its consequences.

Excess, nevertheless, plays an important role in the survival process. You and I are here thanks to an excessive amount of spermatozoa, from which emerged one little victor to join forces with an ovum. Survival of the fittest and the fertilized! And not only that, some of the plants which provide food, oxygen, and beauty upon the earth produce seeds for their own reproduction numbering in excess of hundreds…

View original post 687 more words

7 Comments

Filed under Being and Feeling, Economical affairs, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, Social affairs

To find ways of Godly understanding

Chad Graham of Onetheology.com is not affiliated with any religious organization, denomination, or church. He thinks

pastors have a responsibility, just as doctors and mechanics do, to become experts in their field for the benefit of society and the expansion of the kingdom of God. {Pulpit Authority}

In his article Pulpit Authority he looks at our world where people try to find specialists in different fields. For him it seems theology, doctrine, or philosophy are essential parts of a church community. It looks like a church cannot exist for him without such leaders who have gone to colleges where they were trained to become specialists in theology, doctrine, and/or philosophy.

He also gives the impression that people are not able to get authority without such an education. Though he forgets for the Word of God, they should not so much receive their education from man but more from God Himself. It seems that a lot of religious leaders, pastors and priests exclude God Himself from the educational field. Too many forget that it is the Word of God as given to mankind in the Holy Scriptures which can educate and edify man. Real knowledge about the True God can come straight ahead from the Bible itself. We do not need lots of theological works to give us an idea about Whom God is and what He has done. All is written down in the Bible. That Book of books is sufficient enough. though we do agree other books may help further to give more insight or to make the way of understanding shorter.

Also when we have several believers it is best that they do come together at regular times. We may not forget one of the tasks Jesus had given his followers was to come together, to  assemble or to gather with like minded, at regular intervals. The followers of Christ had to become part of the Body of Christ and should find unity in that body (the Church). Organising such a system or community demands work and organisation itself. Wherefore certain people can take charge to organise those meetings and to make the arrangements to keep that community of believers alive. Pastors or elders may well be the persons to do such a thing.

Pastors

Pastors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Church needs pastors and leaders who wield their pulpit with authority. {Pulpit Authority}

writes Chad Graham, who also finds that

We need pastors who see their lack of knowledge and work hard to remedy it. {Pulpit Authority}

For him it looks like everything in the church-community turns around a or the Sunday service.

Next Sunday is right around the corner and congregations will show up to hear their beloved pastor deliver his sermon—with authority. {Pulpit Authority}

He does know that reason is not necessary for, or is even opposed to, faith.

However, this position will be showed to be false and the enterprise of apologetics shown to be biblical and worthwhile through the survey of the theological justification for it. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

It is not because the Elohim frequently throughout the Old Testament got His prophets use rational arguments and verifiable evidence to justify their beliefs in God, that today we do need people to show up arguments ,by having full proof of they being educated by a college enabling them to reason about those matters.  Those prophets in the past, not all, went to a high school (universities did not exist yet). God also used non-educated people to go out and to throw out the fishnet for man. Jesus his disciples were not all doctors in medicine like Luke, or doctors in philosophy, nor where the apostles or preachers learned scholars like Paul, but were also ordinary labourers, men and women who used their hands to earn their living.

The writer seems to overlook what he himself quotes:

God, speaking through His prophet Isaiah, said,

“’Come now, and let us reason together’” (Isaiah 1:18). {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

Clearly it was the Most High who invited man to reason with Him. Together they had to plan things. Today it is not different. We too, ourselves have to reason with God. We ourselves have to go into conversation with God. We do not need priests any more, other than the high priest Jeshua (Jesus Christ).

The Supreme Being was,

and is, not opposed to reason when it comes to God, the truth, and the Bible. It is even possible that the account in Genesis 1 of creation was written as an apologetic against the mythical creation stories of other cultures in the Near East. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

As written already in earlier writings, each individual is created in the image of God and has some inner feeling to look for his own being and for that Divine Creator Who made it possible to be, without Him “The I am Who Is the Being” there is no life possible. Chad Graham knows what we all should come to know, that

The stars, oceans, mountains, and planets were not gods nor were they controlled by gods. Rather, the one true God, Yahweh, brought those things, and everything, into existence and continues to sustain them in their existence. This latter element is a testament to the fact that God exists and has a plan and purpose for creation. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

“The Old Testament does not often dwell on why we need to do apologetics, but rather it simply sets out its apologias for those with eyes to see. {Philip Johnson, Apologetics, Mission, and New Religious Movements: A Holistic Approach. electronic edition (Salt Lake City, UT: Sacred Tribes Academic Press, 2010), 125-26.}

It is handy and best to have some one to encourage people in the community of faith to engage in spiritual warfare and intellectually struggle for religious truth. But it surely do not all have to be people who had a university degree in theology. It is not to have much knowledge about the different gods and about different human theories about those gods and forms of worshipping. We do need people leading a congregation who have sufficient knowledge and belief in and about the Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. Other gods are not really of any importance. Scriptural knowledge must lead in the forefront and not a knowledge about all sorts of human fantasies and human writings around godheads.

From the evidence in the Old and New Testaments, the examples of Jesus and His apostles, and God’s character in wanting Himself to be made known, there is much theological justification for Christian apologetics. Thus, fideism and any other argument against apologetics fall flat. Rather, it is shown to be a duty of the Christian to “contend for the faith” and “give a defense.” And it is also shown to be useful in evangelism since many biblical accounts record people being saved after hearing a reasoned account of the gospel. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

That reasonable account of the gospel is best given by some one who truly believes and lives according to that faith in the gospel, being the Word of God. We can find many priests and pastors who earn their living by ‘holding church’, but do not really belief in God and some even not in Jesus (the son of God). Also we may find lots of priests and pastors who are as weak as any other man, also elders, who are not able to live up to the faith, Christ and God requires from godly man. The last few years lots of scandals came in the news and many priests, pastors and so called educated theologians became defiled by atrocious things they had done. Church can do without them. Church can better use people who really belief in what they preach and do what they demand from others to do.

In the world of theology we can find lots of different writings bringing words against each other, words for sure which could potentially spark a lot of controversy, but worse, also lots of words which could bring people further away from Biblical truth.

Some theologians do know and

oftentimes think what seminary enrollment would look like if they pose a picture of Dr. King dead on a balcony on their fliers. What if they made a banner of Bonhoeffer hanging from the gallows? What if they Really showed what happened to Paul, Peter, James, and our Lord? What would enrollment look like if they showed us what would happen if we truly allowed our academics to be the impetus for our actions?

They know exactly what would happen.

That’s why our brochures are filled kids playing ping-pong. {The Subversive Scholar: The Danger of Being a Theologian in the 21st Century}

Theology without spirituality is a sterile academic exercise. Lots of countries do have universities offering courses in theology, where more time is spend on human writings about philosophy and theology than on the study of the Holy Scriptures themselves. The spiritual factor is often missed out and mostly the courses are given from the only point of view to be taken, that of the own denomination. As such in Belgium most Christian universities are Roman Catholic and offer theology to form people thinking the Roman Catholic way. In Leuven there is also an opening for protestant thinking, but also there only one way or protestantism is allowed to be the backbone to succeed end of year tests.

Street pastors

Street pastors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not so much the words of human beings we do have to study, but we should make sure that we come to know what is written in the Bible, God’s infallible Word and take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Elohim commanded to God’s people. If we want to belong to God’s people we should live up to it and love the Adonai, Almighty God and worship Him as our only One God, walking in all His ways, keeping His commandments. It is not required from any person to be a follower of any other man than Christ Jesus. He is the cornerstone of the church and not a theologian or some one who can proof that he has received a degree in theological studies. We have to follow Christ Jesus and to hold fast to his heavenly Father, Jehovah God. We do not have to serve churches of man, but be part of the Body of Christ serving the only One Eternal God with all our heart and with all our soul.

We should remember Joshua who gave the departing ones from Egypt a word of exhortation,

Jos 22:5 RNKJV  But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of YHWH charged you, to love YHWH your Elohim, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

The writer of etsop95.wordpress.com remarks

You will note in this word from Joshua two important ideas. First, the Israelites were to pay attention to the Lord and do exactly what He said. Second, they were to have their motivation (love) properly in place. This is the idea behind what some people disparagingly call “pattern theology.” Those who do so speak about that which the Lord set in place! {The Pattern}

When people do find God and decide to become baptised, receiving a “new birth”, we and theologians may not forget that it is the work of God and not of us, elder or theologians

since one can’t “join” the family of God (a work of man, presumably), it is a work of God when one is “born” into the family of God. {The New Birth (2)}

Portrait of a pastor at the age of 35.

Portrait of a pastor at the age of 35. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Too many people stay in the tradition of their family and keep to the faith-group they were born into, though they may not believe or not practice their views. Real faith should come from own choices being made by adult thinking and wise decision.

It is not the result of parental descent, of one’s own willpower, or by “any of man’s religious creeds, systems, or ceremonies.” The new birth is of God; it is a miracle and only God can perform it. {The New Birth (2)}

It is by allowing the Power of God come into our body that our soul (our being) can be transformed. It is the individual who has to make the right decision and allowing God to work in him or her. Only then a spiritual birth, not a miraculous one, can take place.

Nothing in nature has been suspended for one to be “born again.” {The New Birth (2)}

It is when one hears God, and is prepared to do what He wants form His creation that one can become whitewashed and be baptised by the Spirit. Those receiving the Spirit of God than can take up the tasks Jesus has given his disciples and go out to the world, to others, so that they too may find God and convert to the true faith.

Without the foundation in place the strength of a local congregation is only perceived (imagined), not real. {Strength in the Local Church}

It is not necessary by an education institute that we shall come to the God of gods. All Christians should recognise that it is Jesus is who is the way. The Bible tells us even more, that he is the truth, and he is the life. Not the theologians are going to be able to give us life.

Thus, if anyone would know of truth, if anyone would know the way, if anyone would enjoy life, then one must go through Jesus.{Strength in the Local Church}

Furthermore, Jesus said,

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)

We should believe what Jesus says and not so much what theologians say, certainly not when in contradict with what Jesus says. so, when we go to a church where things are preached which contradict Bible sayings we should sincerely reconsider what we want to do and where we want to stay. Do we want to follow human doctrines or Biblical doctrines?

We should look at those theologians and question their thoughts and remember what some students could say about their college

With so many of our finest finishing up at denominational institutions, however, breathing the air of seminaries and schools of theology and salivating at the feet of theologians, we’ve lost our mettle against the idea of theology. {Harding University, twice}

As members of the Body of Christ we never may forget that in the church “educated” men also make mistakes.

There are numerous instances when you have two highly degreed men on the opposite sides of an issue. Some do not have an understanding of the implications of certain “facts” that they read. For example, if someone says

“Scholars believe that Mark was written before the other gospels.”

Would we question that? Is it even important? Some may teach that Mark was written first and have no other implication in mind; however, there is a large group of religious scholars that do not respect the inspiration of the Bible and the dates of the completion of the gospel is one of their places of attack.{Systematic Theology, Rex A. Turner, Sr.}

Too often in theology the focus is not on the subject we as members of the Body of Christ should worry about. It does not matter when and by whom a certain book is written. We do need to know the content and where to look for. The order in which the gospels were written is not the issue per se. What matters most is what is written between the lines and not a Pharisaical theological explanation and historical facts. Historical facts may help to place everything and to see the truth of it, but are not the main issue.

G.C. Berkouwer said:

“We live in a time when even theology is exploding with new and revolutionary problems. There is a danger that the serious student will be so impressed by all the problems in theology that he will circle all certainties by a ring of questions. When this happens, an inverse Pharisaism sets in. The doubting student says:

I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as certain as those naïve people. Let Luther say it again: Spiritus Sactus non est scepticus. Indeed, the Spirit is not a skeptic.” {Bales: certainty is not Pharisaism}

English: Example of appendix from New World Tr...

Example of appendix from New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures, study edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the ecclesia, our Christian community, house church or church-hall or other church-building, we can come together, meeting with brothers and sisters in Christ, having elders, pastors or priest, non-educated and educated people, all together in humbleness wanting to share the same gospel. In that gathered community, the parish, it is not so much the teaching of a theologian, but the teaching of the Spirit which will unsettle false positions and false attitudes,

but it unsettles them by means of truth and not by means of relativism.  {Bales: certainty is not Pharisaism}

It are all members of the ecclesia who have to work together and to share ideas together, not one thinking the other better or worse to give gospel messages. All should follow the task given by Jesus to explain to the lost who the people of God are and why we have to make the right choice to be distinct from the false religions that exist, including those that call themselves Christians but are not, fail to do their duty of proclaiming the gospel of Christ or the gospel of salvation and of the Kingdom of God.

We do not have to have a special platform or pulpit and especially trained people as the only speakers in our community. All people do have to have their ‘input.’ all have to make an effort to help each other to grow in the faith. All have to help the ecclesia to grow and have to make sure that the Body of Christ can continue to grow.

Lets make work of it!

+

Preceding articles:

Living in the Wilderness

Getting out of the dark corners of this world

An uncovering book to explore

May we have doubts

Passover and Liberation Theology

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

In Defense of the truth

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

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

Not making yourselves abominable

Where are the female writers

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

How To Get Started In Sharing Your Faith As a Christian

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

++

Further reading

  1. The gods or mighty ones
  2. Jehovah God Almighty – greater than all gods
  3. People Seeking for God 6 Strategy
  4. God giving signs and producing wonders
  5. Elohim, Mar-Yah showing His wonders
  6. Necessity of a revelation of creation 12 Words assembled for wisdom and instruction
  7. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  8. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  9. Church has to grow through witness, not by proselytism
  10. Which Christian sect is the only true Christian church?
  11. Not everyone in the churches of Christ are “ungodly”
  12. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  13. Why think there is a God (4): And the Rest …
  14. The Presence of God
  15. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  16. Bible God’s Word – to edify
  17. Looking for wisdom not departing from God’s Word
  18. Bible in the first place #3/3
  19. The holy spirit will bring back to your minds all the things told
  20. True God giving His Word for getting wisdom
  21. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  22. Eternal Word that tells everything
  23. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  24. We should use the Bible every day
  25. Feed Your Faith Daily
  26. God’s wrath and sanctification
  27. Bible containing scientific information
  28. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)
  29. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  30. Atonement And Fellowship 1/8
  31. How Many were Bought
  32. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  33. An anarchistic reading of the Bible—(1) Approaching the Bible
  34. An anarchistic reading of the Bible (2)—Creation and what follows
  35. Van Til’s An Introduction To Systematic Theology
  36. Van Til interacting with Bavinck and Calvin on Natural Theology
  37. Christianity without the Trinity
  38. Position of the Bible researcher
  39. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  40. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  41. Epicurus’ Problem of Evil
  42. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  43. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  44. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  45. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  46. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  47. Pulpit reserved for the pastor
  48. May the Lord direct your hearts to …
  49. Victory in rebirth
  50. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  51. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  52. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  53. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  54. Meeting – Vergadering
  55. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  56. Faith is a pipeline
  57. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  58. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  59. Being Missional
  60. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  61. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  62. No other god besides Jehovah who gives all explanation
  63. Politics and power first priority #2
  64. Belonging to or being judged by
  65. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  66. Good or bad preacher
  67. What Should I Preach ?
  68. Determined To Stick With Truth
  69. Oratory Style
  70. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy

+++

Continued reading:

+++

 

32 Comments

Filed under Educational affairs, Religious affairs, World affairs