The Christmas wars….

I was going to stay out of this….. NO… REALLY…  okay, I’ll wait for y’all to stop laughing now….

As with every year, there are those who come out and start in on the “it’s pagan” refrain…  most of them that have come to my attention don’t even know what that means.

Without getting to far into the weeds here, I will put out a few thoughts for young christians who might read this and need to know.

The Christmas Tree… that’s a favorite of mine and the two most popular angles seem to be;  decorating an evergreen is a pagan tradition…    and The Bible says not to put them up.. citing a passage of scripture that, when you read it, is actually talking about the carved and painted idols that were being made to worship.    So, unless you are worshiping your Christmas tree, don’t sweat it.

The Date….  It’s a pagan holiday date…    Now, we all should realize that December 25th is not the actual day that Jesus was born.. He was born at tax time after the harvest.  The Catholics may well have chosen the date to sort of step on someone’s holiday.. but that really doesn’t matter.   After all, there are ~365 days in a calendar year.. I defy you to locate one… just ONE that isn’t a pagan holiday of some sort.

Santa…  okay, really?  get over it already.  Santa has nothing to do with Christmas he’s just window dressing.. a fun myth that hearkens back to an earlier time and a generous man.

What is Christmas, really?   I submit that to the follower of Jesus, Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord, and speak of Him to all mankind.  That some of the world celebrates with us just makes it easier to spread the Gospel message this time of year.

There is an applicable New Testament principle that is being overlooked by many who have gotten lost in the weeds of this issue:  Romans 14:

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

 

Bottom line stop fighting amongst yourselves and start spreading the Gospel.

A disturbing trend on my facebook feed..

I have started seeing a line of thought invading my FB wall that follows this way…  ~I can’t be happy on the 4th because of (abortion, gay marriage, judicial abuse of bakers etc…)~.  They are ashamed of the abuses of various governmental entities (rightly so) and so paint the nation with the same brush.  When was the United States of America encapsulated within it’s government? The last time I checked our nation was Much More than that.

Our nation is under assault today, from within and without. Those of you who have become unable to understand that We the People are the nation, are unwittingly helping in that assault.  The nation known as the United States of America is the sum of it’s people, their dreams, the dreams of our founders, and the warriors who have defended her.  Not the opinions of liberal governments and agencies.

I am not blind to the wrongs that our nation has done through the years, nor am I blind to the good that we have done.  If you have lost so much heart that you can no longer fight for righting our course, then I bid you Godspeed as you find the nearest border and exit in search of a country that is already on the right course.  If, however, you are willing to see the USA return to what it was meant to be I ask you to stay and help make it happen.  You are elected to become an Activist.  Get in touch with your representatives, stay in touch on the issues and let them know how you think that they should vote.  Even more importantly pray.  Get close to our Lord and walk with Him.  While you do this, start reaching out to others with the good news of Salvation. Remember this passage… it’s from 2 Chronicles chapter 7:

14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Mark

Should Christians be involved in politics….

This seems to come up now and again, so I thought I would put out there that the answer is: Yes.  This is the United States of America! everyone should be involved in how our government operates.  Now since being a follower of Jesus is not a part time thing, you don’t get to hide your faith away from the public sector either.  Does this mean that you should only support christians?  no.  It should ensure that you are most supportive of men and women of good character though.  And towards those politicians that claim that they are christian, we should keep track of their actions and votes.

While we are not the judges of their hearts and salvation, we can indeed judge the fruits that they produce.  If you say you’re a Duck but act like a Coyote I’m liable to toss you back out of office on the next election cycle.

I know we’re all busy, but politicians do need to be kept track of, so that you can know that they are doing what they said they would do.  That is the only way to weed out those who don’t belong.  Or better still… call and write them so that they know what their voters think on different issues. That can help keep things on track between elections.

What Christians can do to help a former witch…

Thanks Brandy, for your question.

Things that you can do to help a new Christian that came from witchcraft start with prayer.  That’s where they end also.  Prayers for God’s love and power to cover them as well as yourself.

Now that you know the beginning and the ending… let’s look at some things in the middle.  They are people, same as you. They have a past that Jesus has saved them from, same as you. Yes, they will have special challenges along the way, since Satan likes to hit us where he got us before.  Encourage them to read the Bible and pray, and perhaps get into a bible study.  In times of extreme stress, pray more for them.  Be willing to pray with them.

Please understand that much of what the church thinks about witches just doesn’t fit the reality of most that I have met. One thing that may follow them even after they have turned to Jesus though, is they may remain sensitive to the spiritual realms around us. Above and beyond many people. This can lead to confusion, sometimes serious. What you can do to help with this is show them about prayer and the shield of faith. The last thing we want is for them to think that the only way they can defend themselves spiritually is with what we learned on the magic paths.  Getting closer to God is a much better option.

Another thing would be to neither buy into or spread the various church myths about witches and Halloween…They are mostly wrong anyway.  Those are some of the things that can be done, then again, we end in prayer.

Sorry Chris Martin, Franklin Graham was right…

Another blog was shared and crossed my news feed on facebook, by a gentleman called Chris Martin who has taken issue with Franklin Graham over his decisions about Wells Fargo and their support of the LGBT community.

Martin’s heart may well be in the right place, but I find his conclusions to be somewhat off.

First, let’s be clear; Wells Fargo can support whomever they choose, after all, this is America.  By that same token, Franklin Graham can bank wherever he chooses.  He even has the right to call on people to join him in moving their accounts away from that Bank.  This seems to be what Martin has taken exception to.

Martin says that we are to love our neighbors, no matter what. Okay. I’m good with that.  What he seems to be missing though is that there is a difference between loving them and supporting them in a sinful lifestyle.   You don’t love your alcoholic neighbor by keeping a bottle of Crown handy in case they need a drink.  Much as you don’t love your addicted neighbor by driving them to their next fix.   To bring it a little closer to home… you don’t love your local witch by helping them get to coven meetings.

This is the principle involved here, as Franklin Graham moves his accounts from a bank that is providing support for and enabling people following the LGBT lifestyle.  He is calling for others to do the same and some of them probably will, thusly removing their resources from a place of being used to support this lifestyle.

It is not always possible to make such an informed choice, and at times even when informed such a choice is not possible. However, making the choice to love your neighbors without helping them wreck their lives is to be commended rather than condemned.

enjoying your religion….

A quote is apparently going around on facebook from Kerr Cuhulain and was drawn to my attention…

“If you’re not enjoying your religion, either you’re not doing it right or you’re in the  wrong religion.”

Letting alone for the moment that Kerr is a witch with whom I have crossed paths a couple of times in the past, let us look at the statement as it stands by itself.   For starters, it implies that all religions are equally valid, which is reasonable coming from an occultist worldview.  Also reasonable from that perspective is the thought that one could be unhappy doing a religion wrong…

The actual issue that I have with this otherwise okay statement, is that the number of folks who do not realize that christianity is not really a religion and will just lump it in with the world’s religions when they see statements like that.  My Father in Law liked to explain it this way…  ‘religions are man made ways of reaching out to gods… Christianity is God reaching down to mankind’.  Following Jesus is truly a relationship, not a religion. Sometimes we make it out to be a religion, but it really is more than that.

Taking that all into account, I would like to submit that Kerr Cuhulain’s statement is almost correct.  My thought is a little different though:  Whether or not someone is enjoying their religion, they should trade it in for a relationship with our Savior, Jesus,

Just ask Him to forgive you and save you…

~Mark

Is something missing?

This came about by a question which was posed to my daughter.. a paraphrase is:  Is it possible to lose part of yourself, possibly magic and can it be regained? Now this is an absolutely GREAT question.

The best way to look at it is thus:

What you have felt is missing, is a connection to the spiritual world.  Yes it can be filled, poorly, with witchcraft. What really needs to happen though is to accept Jesus as your Savior.  Ask Him to forgive you and save you.  After all, that is what He invites you to do, and it is what all of us need to do.

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

The good news is this: John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

And this is how we, as humans, are supposed to interact with the spiritual realm, through Jesus.  You will find some conflict among the christian community about how this works and how much interaction with the spiritual world is proper.  I invite you to read the Bible and then to read a book by John Rice called “The Power of Pentecost”. Those will set you well on your way.  I’ll have some of the points showing up in the blog here, indeed there have been snippets already if you look at earlier posts.

Stars and Stripes expanding circles…

The American Heritage Girls ‘Stars and Stripes’ award…

For those of you who are not familiar with it, this is the highest award in AHG.  It takes a considerable amount of work and dedication to receive it but the ranks are expanding these days.

The first Stars and Stripes ceremony I went to was my daughter’s.  Everything lined up just right so that it was not only on her Birthday, but the founder, Patti Garibay was in town so she could present the award to Lydia personally. It was a wonderful evening with multiple troops and other groups present and participating.  Lydia was number 81… that was a couple of years ago. I was, and still am, extremely proud of her.
Lydia was called upon to issue the charge to the next Stars and Stripes recipient whose ceremony I got to attend, just a couple of weeks back.  A friend of hers from another troop had also attained that high rank and bestowed the honor of administering the charge to my daughter.  I was quite moved and proud again.. for her continued involvement and commitment. The ceremony was different but touching as well.  I suspect that they will all be different, reflecting the individual young ladies that they are honoring.

Today we went to the Stars and Stripes ceremony for another of her friends. I believe she is number 144… a number that is climbing fast.   Participating as one of the honor guard escorting her to the platform was my daughter.   Another young lady, another fabulous project for a community, another award ceremony that was a bit different…

Different yet good, and with a memory trigger that actually sparked this post… coming back around to when my daughter was working on her project.  She had been thrown from a horse and just had surgery on her hand when a multi-troop camp was scheduled….
Ellen Samek had asked that I make a couple dozen Native American style flutes for the older girls and my world was in such an uproar that I was still making them on delivery day, finishing a couple of them at the camp.  You see, Lydia wanted to go and be there at least for a while, in spite of the pain she was in.  Flutes delivered and mostly forgotten… until today.  One of my flutes was on that young lady’s table at the ceremony.  It just sort of reached out and slapped a little reality on me….

The things we do touch people and lives.. and that’s one of the things that the American Heritage Girls is about.  Touching and changing lives for the better.  For those of you who have reached this crowning award; the Stars and Stripes…. I know how hard you have worked. I know because I had a front row seat as my daughter did some amazing things..  BUT…. it’s not over now Ladies. Not even close.  Help the other girls, spread the flames throughout the ranks of AHG and encourage all to strive for their Stars and Stripes.  Don’t stop with your own troop either, there are troops out there without anyone that has made it yet.   Be available to go visit them and talk to their girls.  You are ambassadors of the highest rank now..  Shine brightly and encourage all of the girls to reach for the Stars!

Sincerely,
Lydia’s Dad

Preferences and their proper place…

Dear Brethren,

Why, oh why, do you persist in insisting all of us have the same preferences as you do?

I really do get it, that some of you find comfort in the liturgy and symbolism of the Catholic/Orthodox/Lutheran churches… and others…

I even understand that some of you find comfort within the structure of the Torah observant groups.

While I could thrive in those environments at need, that is not where God has placed me.  You remember Him, right?  The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He keeps sending me to fellowship with Indy Fundy Baptists and mildly charismatic non-denominational groups…

The only problems I really have with you folks is when the leaders of your respective movements start twisting scripture to try to make it seem as if your preferences are mandated and that all should abide in them.  If you choose to follow those branches of Christianity, you should at least be allowed to do so honestly, realizing that you are following a set of preferences. And that I don’t need to follow them…

If you don’t want to observe holidays, and I do.. that’s nothing more than a preference.   If you don’t want musical instruments used in church and I do… again, that’s a preference.   Or… how about this one?  traditional hymns vs contemporary…. preferences.

It’s does get more serious when your leading lights start rewriting the Bible to support their claims, but all in all… I would rather let God deal with them on that one. I will hold forth the Truth for people and pray that they let the Holy Spirit guide them out of those dangerous fellowships.

I will put forth the thought that when someone says that they have discovered biblical truth that has been lost for centuries, you should excuse yourself and depart for God has preserved His Word and made sure it is fairly easy to understand.  It is people that complicate it as they seek to build themselves up, rather than honor God.

Read your Bible, seek God’s face and let preferences be preferences, not doctrine.