Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? Part 2

Is a Christian free to celebrate Christmas, a holiday that not only has pagan origins but also is used by the unbelieving world as a promotion of commercialism?

In my opinion, it depends on the person and his convictions before God.

First of all, we are to hold our standards of righteousness and devotion to God above everything else. We must seek to please God according to what we believe is consistent with Scripture. But, when we look at Scripture, we don’t find any place that says to celebrate Christ’s birth. But, on the other hand, the Bible says all things are lawful though not all things are profitable (1 Corinthians 6:12). In addition, we should be fully convinced in our own minds about days of worship and eating (Romans 14:1-12). This last reference supports the position that Christians have liberty and freedom to interpret Scripture and to celebrate Christmas.

The Old Testament says that we are to worship God in truth according to the dictates that He has established (Exodus 20:1-424:12-31:18). But, Christmas was not established by God. In addition, there are no records at all of the early church celebrating the birth of Christ. Yet, there is no Biblical prohibition about celebrating the birth of Christ. So, since it doesn’t say that we can’t do it, does it mean it’s okay to go ahead and do it?

This issue deals with the Regulative Principle. One version of it says that we can only do what the Scriptures expressly commands. The other says that we can do everything except with the Scriptures forbid. So, which is the right position? When we turn to Scripture, we find that it says that we are “not to exceed what is written,” (1 Corinthians 4:6). Obviously, the Scriptures are our guide. But when we look to the verses above about all things being lawful (1 Corinthians 6:12) and that Christians are to be convinced in their own minds (Romans 14:5), then celebrating Christmas becomes more of personal preference.

Also, consider this:

In the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 10:23-33, Paul speaks about meat sacrificed to idols that was then later sold in the meat market place. The question arose, “Should a Christian each such meat?” Paul answers the question in verse 25 when he says, “Eat anything that is sold in the meat market, without asking questions for conscience’ sake.” Paul said that it was okay to eat the meat.

Then in verses 28-29 he says,
“But if anyone should say to you, ‘This is meat sacrificed to idols,’ do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?”

Paul is saying that if you are with someone who might be negatively affected by your eating meat that was sacrificed to idols then don’t eat it–not because of you but because of the other person. In other words, eating that meat won’t affect you. The false gods are not real (Galatians 4:8-9). They have no power.

1 Corinthians 8:7-9 echoes this idea.  It says,
“However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. 9 But take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.”

Though this passage requires a bit more examination, it still carries the sense of freedom. And, Jesus has definitely set us free!

So, celebrating Christmas is up to the conviction of the Christian.

 

He is free to celebrate it.
He is also free not to celebrate it.

 

 

But, do not judge other Christians who celebrate it or don’t celebrate it since they are free to act according to their conscience in this matter.

Sanctification


The Lord, through His sacrifice, has cleansed us of our sins. He sanctifies what He touches. When we came in contact with Him, it is we who were cleansed.
It is not He who is defiled.

The woman with the issue of blood who touched Jesus (Mark 5:25-34) was made clean.
It was not Jesus who was defiled.

Likewise Jesus touched the unclean lepers and cleansed them (Matt. 8:3). Jesus came in contact with many people, and it was never He who was defiled. It was they who were cleansed.

 

I think this principle can be applied to Christmas.
Yes, the advent of Christmas was used to assimilate pagans into Catholicism
Yes, it is a highly commercial time of year.
Yes, many do not have their eyes on Jesus.

But for the Christian, it is a time to reflect upon the importance of the birth of our Lord Jesus, and to celebrate His coming into the world to die for our sins.

 

I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the Antichrist
2 John 1:7

 

Trust Jesus!

 

 

 

Special thanks to CARM

 

 

 

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? Part 1

The debate about whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas has been raging for centuries. There are equally sincere and committed Christians on both sides of the issue, each with multiple reasons why or why not Christmas should be celebrated in Christian homes. But what does the Bible say? Does the Bible give clear direction as to whether Christmas is a holiday to be celebrated by Christians? 

First, let’s look at the reasons why some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. One argument against Christmas is that the traditions surrounding the holiday have origins in paganism. Searching for reliable information on this topic is difficult because the origins of many of our traditions are so obscure that sources often contradict one another. Bells, candles, holly, and yuletide decorations are mentioned in the history of pagan worship, but the use of such in one’s home certainly does not indicate a return to paganism.

While there are definitely pagan roots to some traditions, there are many more traditions associated with the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of the Savior of the world in Bethlehem. Bells are played to ring out the joyous news, candles are lit to remind us that Christ is the Light of the world (John 1:4-9), a star is placed on the top of a Christmas tree to remember the Star of Bethlehem, and gifts are exchanged to remind us of the gifts of the Magi to Jesus, the greatest gift of God to mankind.

Another argument against Christmas, especially having a Christmas tree, is that the Bible forbids bringing trees into our homes and decorating them. The passage often cited is Jeremiah 10:1-16, but this passage refers to cutting down trees, chiseling the wood to make an idol, and then decorating the idol with silver and gold for the purpose of bowing down before it to worship it (see also Isaiah 44:9-18). The passage in Jeremiah cannot be taken out of its context and used to make a legitimate argument against Christmas trees.

Christians who choose to ignore Christmas point to the fact that the Bible doesn’t give us the date of Christ’s birth, which is certainly true. December 25th may not be even close to the time Jesus was born, and arguments on both sides are legion, some relating to climate in Israel, the practices of shepherds in winter, and the dates of Roman census-taking. None of these points are without a certain amount of conjecture, which brings us back to the fact that the Bible doesn’t tell us when Jesus was born. Some see this as proof positive that God didn’t want us to celebrate the birth, while others see the Bible’s silence on the issue as tacit approval.

Some Christians say that since the world celebrates Christmas, although it is becoming more and more politically correct to refer to it as “the holidays” Christians should avoid it. But that is the same argument made by false religions that deny Christ altogether, as well as cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny His deity. Those Christians who do celebrate Christmas often see the occasion as an opportunity to proclaim Christ as “the reason for the season” among the nations and to those trapped in false religions.

As we have seen, there is no legitimate scriptural reason not to celebrate Christmas. At the same time, there is no biblical mandate to celebrate it, either. In the end, of course, whether or not to celebrate Christmas is a personal decision. Whatever Christians decide to do regarding Christmas, their views should not be used as a club with which to beat down or denigrate those with opposing views, nor should either view be used as a badge of honor inducing pride over celebrating or not celebrating. As in all things, we seek wisdom from Him who gives it liberally to all who ask (James 1:5) and accept one another in Christian love and grace, regardless of our views on Christmas.

 

Trust JESUS!

 

 

 

Special thanks to gotquestions.org

 

Created in Christ Jesus to do Good Works!

Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
See I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,

To pluck up and to break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
To build and to plant”

The Word of the Lord came to me saying,

“What do you see Jeremiah?”

And I said

“I see a rod of an almond tree”

Then the Lord said to me,

“You have seen well, for I am watching over My Word to perform it”
Jeremiah 1:9-12

 

God has been preparing us for what is to come

It may have been painful,

You may have been asking a lot of questions and not finding any answers,

It may have seemed tedious and endless,

and you could be ready to just about give up!

 

But these trials have come to show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – even though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.

And the Lord is watching carefully over your life to perform all that He has purposed for you to do.

 

 

I came across this great documentary on NBA’s unlikely success story, Jeremy Lin

I think it beautifully captures the journey we embark on in preparation to fulfill the Lord’s carefully planned purpose for our lives.

 

 

As you prepare for this New Year and all that the Lord has in store for you, you just might find this inspirational and helpful to keep you pressing in until that victory arrives!

 

I declare this day that every plan and purpose God has ordained for your life shall be accomplished in the Mighty Name of JESUS!

 

 

Trust JESUS!

 

 

LINSANITY!

Documentary on the Life of Jeremy Lin
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YE_j9ynusg4

 

Made In the Image of God

Made in the Image of God

Nontraditional Student Testimonies

Biola University Chapel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zn9lo66GK8

 

The stone which the builders rejected has become the cheif corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:22-23

 

Trust JESUS!

 

 

 

 

Andy Mineo – In His Image

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUuuNvTdo2A

 

Holiday Healing & Restoration!

It is an old adage that “hurt people hurt people.”

It is well known that those who have been emotionally damaged tend to inflict their hurt and pain on other people. For example, a large percentage of those who have been sexually abused become the abusers of others; those who suffered under an alcoholic parent often themselves cause their future family to suffer because of their drunken stupors.

Until we as a church deal with the whole person as shown in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 our congregations will be filled with people who are spiritually gifted but act like emotional infants. In other words, the church must deal with emotional health and not just spiritual health and power.

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
1Thessalonians 5:23

 

The following are common traits hurt people display in their interactions with others.

1. Hurt people often transfer their inner anger onto their family and close friends

Often those around them become the recipients of harsh tones and fits of rage because they have unknowingly become the vicarious recipients of transferred rage.

On the other hand, people often look for the obvious manifestations of this in grand or ostentatious ways, but it can also manifest in subtle ways like through passivity or repudiation.

2. Hurt people interpret every word spoken to them through the prism of their pain

Because of their pain, ordinary words are often misinterpreted to mean something negative towards them.

Because of this, they are extremely sensitive and act out of pain instead of reality.

3. Hurt people interpret every action through the prism of their pain

Their emotional pain causes them to suspect wrong motives or evil intent behind other people’s actions towards them.

4. Hurt people often portray themselves as victims and carry a “victim spirit”

Often hurt people can cry “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” or often use the words “unjust” or “unfair” to describe the way they are being treated, even if there is no truth to this. (That is not to say that sometimes there really is racism or sexism in some instances; this is just used as an example.)

Hurt people have a hard time entering into a “trusting” relationship. It’s possible to have ‘many’ friends yet not one friend with whom you can be completely vulnerable with.

Hurt people often carry around a suspicious spirit.

5. Hurt people often alienate others and wonder why no one is there for them


They often continually hurt the ones they love and need the most with their self-destructive behavior.

6. Hurt people have the emotional maturity of the age they received their (un-dealt with) hurt

For example, if a girl was raped by a man when she was 12 years old, unless she forgives that man and allows Christ to heal her heart and allay her fears, in that particular area of her life (sexuality with a man) her emotional growth will stop. Even when she reaches her later years she may still have the emotional maturity of a 12 year-old.

7. Hurt people are often frustrated and depressed because past pain continually spills over into their present consciousness

In many instances, they may not even be aware of why they are continually frustrated or depressed because they have coped with pain by compartmentalizing it or layering it over with other things over time.

8. Hurt people often erupt with inappropriate emotion because particular words, actions, or circumstances “touch” and “trigger” past woundedness

I have been in situations with people in which there was a gross overreaction to a word I spoke or an action that was taken. Although I was shocked and thought this reaction came “out of left field” it was really the person responding to an accumulation of years of hurt and pain that could not help but spill over in various situations.

I myself have been in situations where I felt hurt, troubled, or overreacted to something because it touched a nerve with what I was still dealing with because of a wound I received in the past. In these situations I have attempted to reason through the situation as objectively as I can with much prayer and introspection so I would not say or do anything damaging to another person or myself.

9. Hurt people often occupy themselves with busyness, work, performance, ambition, and/or accomplishments as a way of compensating for low self-esteem

Even ministers are not always motivated by a love for Jesus but a drive to accomplish.

It is important that pastors and ministers be led by the Spirit instead of being driven to succeed.

A minister should not preoccupy himself with making things happen. He should walk in integrity and humility and allow God to open up doors and provide a ministerial platform according to their assignment for their life and ministry.

10. Hurt people often attempt to medicate themselves with excessive entertainment, travel, drugs, alcohol, pornography, sexual relationships, food, or hobbies as a way to forget their pain and run from reality

The church must deal with and emphasize the emotional life and health of the believer, so the body will find victory and healing from the wounds in their souls.

11. Hurt people surround themselves with other hurt people

In order to avoid having to deal with past hurts and wounds, hurt people will often surround themselves with other hurt or wounded people. This behavior subconsciously allows them to validate their behavior further by reiterating the thinking and making it seem normal to them that there is no need to address deep rooted issues. It creates a seemingly safe environment for them to socialize without the fear that anyone will ever touch or come near those places in which they feel the most vulnerable, knowing that the other person(s) wants to also avoid addressing these an such issues.

Having safe environments is very important for a persons spiritual, emotional, social development, but if the relationship we share in those environments remain superficial, then we can spend years never actually maturing, and using those environments as a crutch to escape the work of actual spiritual, emotional, or social growth.

12. Hurt people have learned to accommodate their private “false self” or “dark side” which causes them to be duplicitous and lack integrity

Often their private life is very different from their public life, which causes hypocrisy and compounds feelings of guilt, condemnation, and depression.

13. Hurt people are often self-absorbed with their own pain and are unaware that they are hurting other people

They are often insensitive to other people because their emotional pain limits their capacity for empathy and their capacity for self-awareness.

I have been in numerous situations when someone hurt me and kept on going in the relationship without ever apologizing because they had no clue what they were doing. Consistently left unattended, past hurts can leave us insensitive to how our words or actions affect others.

14. Hurt people are susceptible to demonic deception

I am convinced that most of the divisions in the family, church and society as a whole are caused by people who lack emotional health and project their pain onto others.

Satan works in darkness and deception, and stays away from the light. Hurt people often have destructive habit-patterns that are practiced in the dark. Hence, their mind becomes a breeding ground for satanic infiltration and deception.

When the church deals with the emotional health of the individual, there are less footholds for demonic infiltration. (The Battlefield of the Mind) Also, there is stronger relationships, stronger marriages, healthier children, and a more balanced approach to ministry with less of a chance of pastoral and congregational burnout.

15. God often purposely surfaces pain so hurt people can face reality

Whether it is because of a marriage problem, or continual personal conflicts on the job, God often allows conflict and spillover because he wants the infection to stop spreading and the person to be healed.

Often Christians are fighting the devil and blaming him for conflict when in essence God often allows conflict so that people would be motivated to dig deeper into their lives to deal with root causes of destructive thought and habit patterns.

God’s purpose for us is that we would all be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). This does not just happen with Bible studies, prayer, and times of glory but also in painful situations when we have to face what has been hurting us for many years.

I have noticed that these periods of surfacing woundedness often take place when people transition into the mid-life years of their upper thirties and later. Perhaps this is because by then they are old enough to understand by experience that there is something wrong and also that it is not too late to redeem their pain and restore relationships and maximize their purpose.

Rarely is a person able or even willing to deal with and face pain when they hit their senior years (in their sixties or older). Most at this age have already become cynical, hardhearted, and/or become so depressed they have become hopeless even though God is able to help them at any age.

16. Hurt people need to forgive to be released and restored to freedom

The Gospel of St. John 20:23 says that we have to release the sins of others if we are going to be released ourselves. This means that if we do not forgive others, then the very thing we have become victimized with – will become a part of our life. For example, alcoholic fathers breed alcoholic sons if their sons do not forgive and release their fathers.

 

I’m sure we’ve heard it said before that: “unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” This saying is true.

 

Since we are all human, and subject to feel hurts or even to encounter disagreements like everyone else, everyone will find some area on this list of things where they may still need to work through. The good news is that, through the efficacious blood of Jesus Christ, we can all be healed and set free from all past hurts so we can comfort others with the same comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:4).

 

Truly, the messes in our lives can become a ‘message’ to help others!

 

 

 

This holiday, remember the reason for the season.

I implore you,

Trust JESUS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to P. Joseph Mattera

 

The General Epistle of James – Scripture Without Borders

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”

you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”

also said, “You shall not murder.”

If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless

? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”

and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people,

don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us

? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”


Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister

or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will,we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

 

 

Trust JESUS!

 

 

 

Special thank to Biblegateway.com

The Epistle of James – The Message

 

An Agnostic’s Insight on Atheism

Philosopher David Berlinski, who is not a believer in God, writes in the flap of his book: “The Devil’s Delusion,” in response to Richard Dawkins book “The God Delusion” this brief forward.

It appears that even for someone who did not believe in God’s existence, he was honest enough to clearly state the facts concerning the fallacy that other schools of thought sometimes try to purport with certainty.

He writes:

Has anyone provided a proof for God’s in-existence?
Not even close

Has quantum cosmology explained the existence of the universe or why it is here?
Not even close

Has science explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life?
Not even close

Are physicist and biologist willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought?
Close enough

Has rationalism and moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral?
Not close enough

Is secularism in the terrible 20th century been a force for good?
Not even close to being close

Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences?
Close enough

Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational?
Not even in the ballpark

 

Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt?
Dead on.

David Berlinski

 

 

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made,

so that they are without excuse.
Romans 1:18-20

 

Trust JESUS!

 

Rehoboam

Rehoboam

by Stephen the Levite
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1JmhJwuodI

Verse 1

This is for my back-packers who hate the crap they play on the radio
All of it is garbage they calling it entertainment though
Boobs, booties and booze, fools spewing the lamest flows
No respect or etiquette ethics are situational

I remember listening mimicking in the age of gold
Hip hoppers who taught and brought me back to the days of old
It was retrospective respecting the heads who came before
Cats who battled for status rapping before their names were known

Started in the parks in the Bronx with parties and crazy shows
Crowds wowed by the styles wildin’ shouting and saying “Ho!”
Innovators made it amazing changing the way we flow
Turning turntables from players to something playable

Nowadays we’re labeled as haters because we hate the flows
Skills have taken a chill to make a mill for some shady folk
DJs are eliminated from the equation so
Mix-tapes are mistakes a generation has labeled wrong

Rappers battle without a track to back it or make it dope
More like poet with jokes you know they wrote it some days ago
If you’re spitting a written just admit it and make it known
Don’t mislabel or fake it take it the way you take it homes

I am sure there’s more deplorable horrible ways to show
Disrespect and disconnection from heads that have made the culture
Giving into the industry in the name of making dough
Ditching definitions traditions gave us to make your own

Folks who don’t even know the culture control the way it’s going
Saying school is for fools and do the music the way you’re told
Make absurdity circulate and perpetuate the clones
All the slaves are afraid they won’t get paid if they break the mold

All that’s under the sun has been done a bunch of ways before
History is repeated frequently you can trace it bro
Young bucks who buck against wisdom written in ancient scrolls
One in particular we should consider is Rehoboam

 

Verse 2

Following his father Solomon in line to take the throne
Heads met him in Shechem requesting rest for their aching bones
Didn’t listen to the wisdom he’s given forsaking the old
Traded it to obey the peers he played with at eight years old

Instead of blessing them he’s threatening them with a weighty load
Scorpions for the insubordinate or the lazy folk
They retort reporting they have no portion in David’s home
After that they attack the task master who’s slain with stones

They divide like Ahijah prophesied in the reign before
Jeroboam is over most of them he’s a hater though
Every kid that sits in his throne is wicked and can’t be told
One rebellion begets a plethora separating homes

These are the dangers that our generation is facing bro
A legacy can be spread or end with me if I make it so
We be making the same mistakes and say we can change the globe
Change is probably our biggest problem that needs to change the most

Make the bigger decision quicker than we can change our clothes
Peers cheering us on steer us wrong “whatchu waiting for?”
Old heads who know better tell us to take it slow
We dismiss what they’re pitching tripping saying “they ain’t Jehovah”

We be trying to justify our defiance with names and quotes
Even blaming Lecrae when that ain’t what he was saying though
Even I with “To Die Is Gain” I feel like I played a role
Fueling revolutionist with a truth they had taken wrong

The commission depends on the submission of baby souls
How you gonna train up a child that’s not even trainable
Just a couple years in the faith and babies will say they’re grown
Just because they studied a bunch of books they would say they know

But maturity’s more than reading more of these saints of old
It’s putting to practice the stuff you scratch when you’re taking notes
Living it consistently with some length being faithful bro
When someone who is gives you wisdom, remember
Rehoboam”

 

Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from

Egypt. So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”

But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”

The young men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

“What share do we have in David,
what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!
Look after your own house, David!”

So the Israelites went home. But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.

King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram,

who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.

When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people. ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the word of the Lord and went home again, as the Lord had ordered.
1 Kings 12

 

Trust JESUS!

 

 

 

 

The Call of the Servants of the Kingdom

 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John 13:1-17

 

We the unwilling,

led by the unknowing,

are doing the impossible,

for the ungrateful.

 

We have done so much

for so long

with so little,

 

We are now qualified

to do anything

with nothing.

Konstantin Josef Jireček

 

Trust JESUS!

 

Death Has Died! – Overcoming the Fear of Death

 Even the most secure, devout believer can have occasions when he/she fears death. It is hard-wired into our systems to avoid death. It’s important to understand that death was not an original part of God’s plan for His creation. We were made to be whole and holy, living in paradise in communion with Him. The introduction of death was a necessary response to the admittance of sin into the world. Now, it is a grace of God that we die. If we didn’t, we would have to live in a sinful and broken world for all eternity.

Knowing that in your head doesn’t necessarily counteract the visceral reaction to the thought of your own mortality. The fragility of our physical bodies and the sudden cessation of life are violent reminders of our lack of control in a large, dangerous world. We do have a great hope, that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). And He did go to prepare a place for us so that we can join Him (John 14:2). But it might help to consider the more immediate, practical considerations we’re faced with.

Beginning with, what is the actual fear? There are several aspects of death that can potentially cause fear. Fortunately, God has an answer for each of them.

Fear of the unknown


What exactly does it feel like to die? What can you see as your life leaves your physical body? How will it come about? Is it anything like people have reported: a bright light? A group of relatives?

No one knows for certain what it feels like, but the Bible does describe what happens. Second Corinthians 5:6-8 and Philippians 1:23 say that when we leave our body, we are at home with the Lord. What a reassuring thought! We will stay in this state until Christ comes and resurrects the believers (1 Corinthians 15:20:22; 6:14) when we will be given a new, glorified body!

 

Fear of loss of control


By the time humans reach adulthood, they have a pretty good idea how to interact with the world around them. They know how to find what they need, get to where they want to be, and interact with others in a way that fulfills their intent.

Many though, even those who profess a trust in God, are so fearful of not getting what they need that they feel they have no choice but to manipulate their surroundings and the people around them to their benefit. We have all met men and women who abuse and grasp out of fear. They don’t trust God to provide for their needs, so they take care of things themselves. They don’t trust others to give them consideration, so they demand what they think they need.

How much more they must fear the loss of control upon their deaths. As Jesus said to Peter, describing how he would die:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go”
John 21:18

Before Peter got this warning, he denied Jesus out of fear. Directly after the warning, he reacted by demanding to know how the Apostle John was going to die. But after Jesus returned to heaven, Peter took the gift of the Holy Spirit and became a fearless new person, one whose passion for Christ’s message far out-stripped his need to control his surroundings (Acts 5:17:42). The Holy Spirit alone gave him the strength to face whatever challenges he might face.

 

Fear for those left behind


The Christian view of death is “separation.” Ultimate death is separation from God. With physical death, we will be separated from our loved ones on Earth for a time. If they are also Christians, we know that the separation will be a short blink of an eye compared to the eternity we’ll spend with them in heaven. If they are not Christians, that will not be the case. Our commission, then, becomes to use this time together to talk to them about where they will go when they die. Ultimately, however, the decision rests with them. Just as God gives them the room to choose, we must also.

Fear of the act of dying


Few of us know how we will die. Quick and painless, in our sleep, a long, drawn-out illness, the mystery of it, the inability to prepare, can be frightening.

If we do know, like, if we’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, it can still be scary.

But it is only a moment. A moment nearly everyone has gone through or will go through. And, when that moment is over, we can claim Philippians 3:20–21: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Often, being informed and actively participating can help assuage fear. You can take steps to prepare yourself and those around you.

Overcoming the fear of death — Practical steps


Many people believe they shouldn’t die because they have too much to live for. Often, this means they have responsibilities and unfinished business that wouldn’t be taken care of if they were gone. But having people and things you are responsible for won’t keep you from dying if it’s your time. Doing what you can to make sure they’re taken care of ahead of time can alleviate fears though.

If you have a business or children or other dependents, consider their care. Decide who will take over your role and work with that person to come up with a plan. Look into a will or a trust. Make sure all of your necessary paperwork is organized and easy to find. Reconcile broken relationships before you’re unable to. But don’t live for dying. There’s a difference between taking reasonable steps and obsessing.

Overcoming the fear of death — Physical steps

 

If you have strong feelings about what you want to happen to you should you become incapacitated, express them now. It’s entirely possible that during the course of an illness or injury, you’ll lose control over the situation and be unable to make your wishes known. Get a living will. Let those closest to you know what you want—or at least tell them where it’s written down. Choose someone you trust to be authorized to make decisions for you should you become unable.

 

Overcoming the fear of death — Spiritual steps


These are all steps to keep up responsibilities or maintain a measure of control in the worldly realm, but they don’t get to the heart of the matter. The most important thing to remember regarding death is the truth about life. You love your family and care for them, but God loves them more. You may worry about your earthly legacy, but God’s more concerned with a kingdom perspective. All the paperwork in the world won’t bring the peace of mind of one simple action: abide.

In the middle of living this life, with these people, in this world, it’s difficult to keep in mind that this is just a temporary condition, and not a very good one at that. First John 2:15″17 says:

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
1 John 2:15-17

How we remember this is by abiding

As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father
1 John 2:24

Staying in the truth of His Word, believing what He says about us and the world around us, will give us the proper perspective regarding this life and the one we will receive.

When we are able to keep that kingdom perspective, we’ll be able to fulfill 1 John 3:1–2:

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
1 John 3:1-2

It will be so evident that we do not belong in this world that others will see it, too. We will so take ownership of our position as children of God that we will actively seek the day we can be like Christ and see Him as He is.

Jesus’s resurrected life in every believer gives every one who truly repents and confesses Him as Lord a certain hope of life everlasting!

We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Romans 6:2-5

Til that beautiful day arrives,

I implore you,

 

Trust JESUS!

 

 

Andy Mineo – Death Has DIED!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zH3_mAdF3jI

 

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to Gotquestions.org & Andy Mineo