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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

The Winter Time Birth of Jesus and What I Have Learned About It.

 

Luke 2:7-20

 

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

 

The Birth of Jesus Christ and the shepherds coming to worship him just after his birth is a wonderful and true story.  However there are flaws in the rationale of celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th.  Tradition has it that Jesus was born in the winter.  However, all biblical accounts would have made it either, late March or early April, or late August through September.  The shepherds would not take the flocks out to pasture during the rainy season (which usually started in October) or winter.  Winter would be something like our winter in the Southern United States, particularly, southern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona plus all of Florida.  This causes quite a bit of consternation on the part of most traditionalists, who have always celebrated the Birth of Our Savior on Dec 25th.  It is truly not because of the way things were worded in the Bible but because of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the region and the region’s customs and the working constraints that the shepherds were under.  In fact one of the most popular songs during the Christmas season is the English carol The First Noel.   The carol is considered to come from the 17th century.   It was edited and lyrics were added by William B. Sandies and Davies Gilbert in 1823. It was arranged in a four part hymn style by English composer John Strainer and published in 1871.  The carol leads the listener to believe ‘it was a cold winter’s night with snow so deep with shepherds in fields where they lay’.  Now if you know anything about snow you will not find it on the ground in the lower elevations of the subtropical regions.  Israel is in one of those regions.  However, it will be cool enough that shepherds would not have their flocks out at night in this type weather.  The sheep would be in a covered sheep hold and in some cases caves where they could guard the entrance from wolves and other intruders.

Unfortunately for the majority of us this causes a problem.  We have always celebrated the Birth of Christ on Dec. 25th.  Even our churches have always done so.  It is tradition to do so.

Whatever you decide to do with this information that I have just presented to you, know one thing… it is not when you celebrate the Birth of Christ but that you honor Our Lord.  And by honoring Him we worship Him.  We have set aside a special day to honor His birth and also a special day to honor His death and resurrection.  It should not discourage us that the actual date of His birth is not given.  We do not have a definitive date of His death and resurrection either; we celebrate it at the same time of the year every year because it was recorded that The Jewish Passover meal was the Last Supper.  We should go forward with our celebration of Christmas with the knowledge that we are honoring and worshiping Him.

However that is not to mean that we should not honor the Lord every day of our lives,  We should remember and honor HIM everyday.  We should all also gather together on the Lord’s Day (the first day of the week [Sunday]) and worship with song, praise, prayer and the preaching of the Holy Scriptures; this is another way to honor HIM.

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Context, Context, Context!!!

2 Timothy 2: 14 – 18 KJV

14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

2 Timothy 2: 14-18 ESV

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,

17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

It is interesting that even in the most orthodox of denominations that the preachers and teachers take things out of context to get their point across or to point out their rules for their “religion”.   When a person takes things out of context he is not only doing the person (In this case God) a disservice but also misleading those who are reading what he has written.  It is the same when they are giving a speech or are preaching.  One of the primary rules of the English language is never, never, never ( I cannot repeat never enough) take things out of context.  My dad has often said “You can take a piece of paper and put anything on it but that doesn’t make it true, and just because someone famous said doesn’t mean it is true either.” (Quote by Unknown)

I hear and read over and over where someone has taken something out of context to make a point of doctrine and when I look at the entirety of the scriptures surrounding the singled out scripture I find that 9 times out of 10 the person or persons have not taken the whole paragraph or chapter into account and therefore have taken the bit of scripture out of Context. 

What if I were to tell you on this blog that it says in the Bible “There is no God.” That is a complete sentence grammatically and I would be correct.  I could promote a doctrine on just that statement alone.  In fact some atheist have down through the centuries tried it.  But the real truth about the sentence is that it is not a real sentence, it is a phrase inside of a sentence in Psalms 14 :1, which is part of a greater paragraph inside of a chapter in the book of Psalms, Psalms 14 : 1-7. [see below]

Psalms 14 : 1-7 KJV

1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.

5 There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.

6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.

7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

You see when it is put into context with its surroundings the complete sentence that could stand alone becomes what it actually is a phrase inside of a sentence, inside of a paragraph, inside of a chapter of a book and it lends it meaning and weight to the complete thought.

People need to be careful what they quote and where they quote it from.  It could lead to confusion and misunderstanding.  However there are those who do not care to apply the correct rules of the language known as English so that they can make up their own doctrines and religions.  I am not singling out any one individual or religious denomination.  However most of the worst offenders come from a group of individuals that have been trained in a college that has no theological accreditation and have not attended a Theological Seminary.  These men and women will even tell you that exegesis and hermeneutics are useless to them because they know how to interpret and apply the Word of God.  They are wrong and most are of the nature that they can be called false prophets and heretics.

Even though I do not have a seminary background, yet I stand on what the Apostle Paul wrote to his beloved Timothy in 2 Timothy 2 : 15. [see below]

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The Apostle Paul was writing from Rome to Timothy who was in Ephesus. Paul was instructing Timothy on how to carry out his duties as head of the church there in Ephesus.  In verse 15 he is telling Timothy to study the Word of God diligently so that when he preached or taught in the church that he would be able to expound on (rightly divide) the Word of Truth (The Scriptures, The Word of God).  This was not only good and wise instructions for Timothy, it is good and wise instructions for all preachers and teacher of the Word of God today and in the future.

Finally and most importantly do read your material before you publish it and above all do your research before you assert that what you are stating true.  Make sure it is backed up by facts or at least backed up by someone more knowledgeable than you.  I even have an editor who reads what I publish before I publish it to insure it is correct in every way possible so that I will not create confusion or misunderstanding.  It was one of my mistakes in life, when I was younger and I have now learned it is not profitable to create confusion and/or misunderstanding, it will come back to haunt you when you are older.  Again never, never, never take anything out of context to prove your point.  It is not necessary if you have studied your material and done your research.  That will be one of your best tools to properly preach or teach The Word of God.

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Top Ten Christian News Stories for 2011 Countdown.

Below is a list of the Top Ten Christian news stories.

Coming in at number 10.

Crystal Cathedral Bankruptcy has caused the sale of the all glass edifice to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, CA. for a price of $57.5 Million.  It has also caused many Christians to question the Stewardship practices of many churches.

Number 9.

Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos quarterback has brought Christianity in sports to the forefront again.  Amongst severe criticism Tebow has maintained his relationship with Jesus Christ and done so publicly.  He has cause the worldwide phenomenon known as “tebowing” which is dropping to one knee and praying.

At number 8.

“Bishop” Eddie Long “stepped down”, “took a sabbatical” after all of the furor over a homosexual sex scandal involving him surfaced in Atlanta, GA and in his mega-church setting.  Causing many Christians to wonder about the sexual purity of their church leaders.

Number 7.

Norway Massacre

Anders Brivik confessed to the bombing and mass shooting which killed 77 people.  He was dubbed, after the massacre, as a “Christian Terrorist”, “Christian Right Wing Extremist” and a “ Christian Fundamentalist”; even though he described himself as a “social Christian” and not having a relationship with God.

In at Number 6.

Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster have caused Christian Organizations worldwide to pitch in with aide and supplies.  Also praying for more people in Japan to come to Christ.

Number 5.

“Pastor” Rob Bell who pastors a mega-church wrote a book that has the US Christian Community buzzing.  The book questions the Theological existence of Hell.  The notoriety caused Time Magazine to name him in their “Top 100 most influential people list.

At Number 4

Harold Camping, President of Family Radio, A “Christian” Radio organization, has failed for the second (May 21, 2011) and third time (Oct 21, 2011) predicting the end of the world and the rapture.  His comment on this failure was; “It was not the will of God but He could have stopped everything if He wanted to.”  Harold Camping since been replaced as president of Family Radio.

Number 3

Arab Spring and Occupy Movement has caused the over throw of several African and Middle East despots including Mulmar Kadaffi .  It has also sparked mass suffering of Christians in the region.

Number 2

The Death of Master Terrorist Osama Bin Laden.   What more is need to say?  Prayers have been answered.

And the Number 1

This story has many Christians Worldwide concerned.

PCUSA has cleared the way in July 2011 for Gays and Lesbians to be ordained  as pastors and preachers.

That folks are the top ten stories of News in the Christian world for 2011.

However the Story that still tops them all is the Story of a Savior that came from His throne in Heaven to earth as a man and laid down His life on the Cross as the ultimate sacrificial atonement for our sins.  And those who believe on Him will have eternal life through Him.  Sola Deo Gloria!!!

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The Winter Time Birth of Jesus and What I Have Learned About It.

 

Luke 2:7-20 (ESV)

 

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The Birth of Jesus Christ and the shepherds coming to worship him just after his birth is a wonderful and true story.  However there are flaws in the rationale of celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th.  Tradition has it that Jesus was born in the winter.  However, all biblical accounts would have made it either, late March or early April, or late August through September.  The shepherds would not take the flocks out to pasture during the rainy season (which usually started in October) or winter.  Winter would be something like our winter in the Southern United States, particularly, southern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona plus all of Florida.  This causes quite a bit of consternation on the part of most traditionalists, who have always celebrated the Birth of Our Savior on Dec 25th.  It is truly not because of the way things were worded in the Bible but because of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the region and the region’s customs and the working constraints that the shepherds were under.  In fact one of the most popular songs during the Christmas season is the English carol The First Noel.   The carol is considered to come from the 17th century.   It was edited and lyrics were added by William B. Sandies and Davies Gilbert in 1823. It was arranged in a four part hymn style by English composer John Strainer and published in 1871.  The carol leads the listener to believe ‘it was a cold winter’s night with snow so deep with shepherds in fields where they lay’.  Now if you know anything about snow you will not find it on the ground in the lower elevations of the subtropical regions.  Israel is in one of those regions.  However, it will be cool enough that shepherds would not have their flocks out at night in this type weather.  The sheep would be in a covered sheep hold and in some cases caves where they could guard the entrance from wolves and other intruders.

Unfortunately for the majority of us this causes a problem.  We have always celebrated the Birth of Christ on Dec. 25th.  Even our churches have always done so.  It is tradition to do so.

Whatever you decide to do with this information that I have just presented to you, know one thing… it is not when you celebrate the Birth of Christ but that you honor Our Lord.  And by honoring Him we worship Him.  We have set aside a special day to honor His birth and also a special day to honor His death and resurrection.  It should not discourage us that the actual date of His birth is not given.  We do not have a definitive date of His death and resurrection either; we celebrate it at the same time of the year every year because it was recorded that The Jewish Passover meal was the Last Supper.  We should go forward with our celebration of Christmas with the knowledge that we are honoring and worshiping Him.

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