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Christmas: Why did the date change? October 19, 2012

Posted by lessthanhim in The Walk.
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This holiday season, Christmas 2012, will be the first year my son, who is now 7,  goes through the Christmas holiday season knowing the truth about Santa..

My wife and I played along with the classic American Christmas tradition up until last year.   We listened to classic christmas radio, did Santa gifts, ate cookies, left stockings, and decorated christmas trees.

We read and/or watched the night before Christmas, frosty the snowman, rudolph the red nose reindeer, and other christmas classics, on a daily basis for the entire holiday season.

We love a lot of the tradition of Christmas, aside from the rampant commercialism, and have made a lot of awesome memories as a family, like opening presents from each other, cooking a big meal to eat around a table, and even making and decorating a birthday cake for Jesus, and etc.

Last year, we collectively decided our son was of the age to know the truth, so we explained the situation as best we could.   We told him about Saint Nick, and how he was real person at one time.  A person that did some really good things, and really gave gifts, and loved loved loved little children, but he was not the same Santa Clause that everyone talks about today.  The real Saint Nick was not really magic and didn’t really fly around on Jesus’s birthday.

We also told him that the Santa from TV Commercials and Christmas movies was just a fun game that people play with their children.   A story that is fun for little kids to belive in, and now that he knows, he is welcomed to play along if any of his little friends mention Santa or gifts from Santa…  (We don’t want him to upset other families either.)

Now to prepare for that little talk, I had to actually do some research to figure out where we got our American traditions, and about the real St. Nick.  The more I found out about it, the more I realized how messed up things are today!

I knew no one really knows when the real Jesus birthday really is, but I did find out how long ago our Dec 25th day was set..   There was an official date set some 1,400 years ago by a pope, so Christians all over the world would be on the same page!  We would all celebrate both His birth, and His death on the same days!

I also found out the St Nick story is only about 800 years old, and he was remembered on a day called St. Nicholas day, which was usually celebrated on Dec 6th.   It was not a huge deal, but parents did leave coins in their children’s shoes as a fun thing to do.  This did grow over time though, and they started leaving food for the magic horse, and the santa of that time had black helper slaves to help reach all of the various kids and such..

So, my question at this point was….  how in the world did we go from moving a holiday about a saint, which has been traditionally celebrated on Dec 6th for hundreds of years, to be on the same day as a holiday about the Son of God, which is of much greater importance?  And why does it now seem to overpower the more important day so often?

The best answer I could find to that question is this:

In the 16th-17th century reformation, to explicitly to discourage and demote the figure of St. Nicholas, a reformer known as Martin Luther denounced the gift giving of St. Nick, and made the gift giving that was taking place in December, move from coming from St. Nick, to Jesus the Christ Child….

This was to ward off the side effect of St. Nick getting the glory, and affection of the season, when the gift Jesus gave, being his own sin free life and his sacrificial death, was of much greater value than anything that glitters, and later rusts on this earth.

Since the gift giving was now from the Christ child, instead of having the gifts given on a different day, they merged it into the eve of Jesus’s birth, since it was now from Jesus…  That is how the dates were merged…

But as you know, on Christmas eve, no angel or baby Jesus bring us our gifts…  This part of the change died, and we reverted back to a santa/father Christmas gift giver, but the date change stuck…  Since the 1990s, the Christkind, or christchild, is facing increasing competition from Santa Claus all over the world.

So today, most families in today’s American culture save little bits of money all year, or simply charge it up at the last minute, to make saint nick the most special person in the world to their little ones.

They give their children hundreds or thousands of dollars in gifts, in the name of “santa”, and give him all the credit for those blessings.   And since it was moved to the same time as Jesus birthday, you know what that means…   Jesus’s special day that has been set aside for 1,400 years, can easily take a backseat and disappear into the glory we give santa….

Knowing all of this now… would it be a bad thing to separate St Nick back into a different day, even if it was Dec 6th?  That way when we hear stories of St nick, at least it can be done and over with before the real Christmas arrives?  Or should Christians just not participate at all?

It might not seem like a big deal on the surface, but at least if the dates were seperate, when we said we were watching a Christmas movie….., it would be about the life of Jesus.   Not saying we couldnt still watch Santa movies, but why do we call those Christmas?

I am all for having a John day, or a Luke day, or a Nick day, but I just wish that date was never changed.   I just wish Jesus could get our 100% of all of our attention and glory on the 25th, and if you give gifts to each other, it is done because of His special occasion, and not a saint.


What Bible Translation? June 1, 2010

Posted by lessthanhim in The Walk.
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What bible translation do I read?  I am usually reading “New King James”, or “Gods Word” editions, but I heave read a little NIV also.   A while back I learned that our english translations are fine, and the Holy Spirit would show us anything that needs to be corrected or emphasized if we would let Him.

I never did understand people that belive that the original American King James bible was the only way to go though.   They state that the most current revision is the only acceptable way to read Gods word, even though it has been though many edits since its birth in the 1600’s.  (To correct errors.)

One verse I never cared for that is still there in the standard KJV is Isaiah 9:3.

3Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.  -Isaiah 9:3 KJV

Every other Translation doesn’t include a “Not”, and it is much less confusing .  (Even New King James, Modern King James, ASV and NASB)

I thank God that He is still living, and gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us!   His sheep will know his voice!  It is my prayer that I will let him open my eyes, and ears to what He is telling me.

Can you lose your salvation? June 1, 2010

Posted by lessthanhim in Salvation.
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2 timothy 2:11-14

Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;

if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

The above verses show a small part of why I believe we have the
power to give up our faith and our reward of heaven.  “If we disown him,  he
will also disown us;”  “if we endure, we will also reign with him.”,
but when we “lack faith, he remains faithful”.  Amen!

So being weak does not cause you to loose your salvation.  Only if you
disown him, are you in trouble…

How does a husband know if he is Right with God? June 1, 2010

Posted by lessthanhim in Family, Salvation.
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how does a husband know when he is right with God?
You’re right with God when you can be humble and say you’re sorry
You’re right with God when you can admit you were wrong.
You’re right with God when you can be the husband your wife needs.
You’re right with God when you can be the daddy your son/daughter needs.
You’re right with God when you can lift your hands up in worship.
You’re right with God when you can sacrifice on sleep to get up and pray and spend time in the word.
You’re right with God when you can pray with your wife.
You’re right with God when you can live a christian life without making excuses as to why you aren’t.
You’re right with God when you can hear Him speaking to you.
You’re right with God when you can lead your house in a christian and Godly manner.
You’re right with God when you can make choices that are in the best interest of your family and not of yourself.
You’re right with God when you aren’t being selfish.
You’re right with God when you are being convicted of the wrong you have done.
(If you aren’t being convicted of something daily, you aren’t where you need to be.  You’re human, you will error daily. And if you’re where you need to be, you will be convicted of that sin daily.)

My New Routine June 1, 2010

Posted by lessthanhim in Family.
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I took my first break today to pray, and I thought a lot about how to make God number one in my life, and here is what I came up with:

My New Routine:

1.  Try to read the bible first thing in the morning.  If I oversleep, it will be done at lunch.  6:00-6:50am
2.  Get ready for work  6:50-7:35am
2.  Pray with wife before I leave for work. 7:35-7:40am

3.  1st break: Eat my lunch  11:00-11:15
4.  Lunch:  Read bible if I didn’t that morning, if I already did, do work or play a game  11:30-12:30
5.  2nd break:  open.    1:00-1:15

6.  Read a book and pray with son at night at his bed time.  9:00-9:30
7.  Do a devotional or read some bible with wife in bed, and pray before we go to sleep at our bed time.  11:00-11:30
8.  Do contract work if it is there.  11:30-12:30

Shavuot / Pentecost predates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. June 1, 2010

Posted by lessthanhim in Holy Spirit.
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Did you know the decent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was symbolic?   God chose that date for a reason.   The giving of the Holy Spirit did not invent the day..
In the old testament, God commanded His people to have a feast seven sabbaths after the passover.  This feast is known as Shavuot, feast of weeks, or Pentecost, which literally means 50th day.   This feast was to commemorate the law God gave to his people to live by.  It also allowed them to give a grain offering, to foreshadow Gods similar offering.
Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. – Leviticus 23:16
For the first Pentecost, we celebrate the law as a guide for our life.   For the second, we celebrate the Holy Spirit as a guide for our life.
Also of note, is the time pentecost on the calendar year.   The three main feast days of Israel are each associated with a different harvest.  The barley ripens first around the time of Passover; the wheat ripens next around the time of Pentecost; and the grapes ripen last in the fall around the time of Tabernacles.
Basically, Passover, (The death of Jesus), ushers in the growing season which only increases with Pentecost.  Jesus started the new covnent, and the Holy Spirit just fans the flame to increase the harvest for the latter days.  This enables us to grow His fruit, for the last harvest, when the grapes ripen, and we are made into wine.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one
accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of
a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were
sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire,
and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy
Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them
utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out
of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the
multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man
heard them speak in his own language.[5]

Why Vines, Wines, and Oil? June 1, 2010

Posted by lessthanhim in Holy Spirit, Jesus.
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Why does God compare Jesus to a vine, and his blood to wine, and the Holy Spirit to oil?  To fully understand, we have to look back to the objects of comparison.
To make wine, or any other alcoholic beverage, you take something living, like wheat grain or ripe fruit and kill it.  The traditional way to remove fruit from trees or vines for this process involves beating trees or vines with sticks, to knock the ripe fruit off.  (Sometimes, you just pluck it if you can reach it.)
After you take away the various coversings like leaves and such, you smash it under foot.  After it is dead for a time, it ferments.   It is through death, only then, changed from fresh fruit to another more potent type of fruit.   Through death, it became something completely new.   (Just like we are if we follow suit.)
Smashing olives in this same way, also gives an olive juice, that is part oil and part flavored water.  (This is how you release oil.)  The oil is so different from the water of the fruit, it naturally separates itself from the other juices of the fruit.
In the same way, God sent His first and best fruit Jesus, as a seed of grain to a dieng world, in the belly of woman for mankind.  His only son Jesus was to be striped, beaten, and killed, making Gods First Fruit, into wine, releasing the oil of the Holy Spirit for our benefit.
In the same way Gods people were instructed to give their first fruits to God as a tithe during the harvest season, they were to give their very best.  To take away sin the sacrifice was made. God sent His very best, because we were not good enough.
That is why the bible uses vines, and oil and wine to describe the process!

The Holy Spirit gifts are for today according to Old Testament June 1, 2010

Posted by lessthanhim in Holy Spirit.
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This is from Joel 2.   Here are some of my favorite parts and comments on them, that show the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today.
The LORD’s Answer to Sin:
18 Then the LORD will be jealous for his land
and take pity on his people.
19 The LORD will reply [a] to them:
“I am sending you grain, new wine and oil,
(I feel like, the birth of Jesus is the grain God sent, the blood of Jesus is the wine, and the oil is the Holy Spirit. So the Lords answer to our sin, is the birth and death of Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  People do not truely understand the role of the Holy Spirit as a part of the answer.)
28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
(Since the bible says afterword, that means today.   This never ended.)

Faith vs Works June 1, 2010

Posted by lessthanhim in Salvation.
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My understanding of the whole faith vs works debate:

Faith allows you to be acceptable to God, which you can not earn, and works allows you to stay that way.

(For more information, see Romans chapter 4.)

If you are controlled by sin, you are not saved June 1, 2010

Posted by lessthanhim in Salvation.
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All saved people sin, but are not controlled by it.  If sin controls you, you are not saved…

Rom 6:7  The person who has died has been freed from sin.

Rom 6:8  If we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also
live with him.

Rom 6:15  Then what is the implication? Should we sin because we are
not controlled by laws but by God’s favor? That’s unthinkable!

Rom 6:16  Don’t you know that if you offer to be someone’s slave, you
must obey that master? Either your master is sin, or your master is
obedience. Letting sin be your master leads to death. Letting
obedience be your master leads to God’s approval.

Rom 6:17  You were slaves to sin. But I thank God that you have become
wholeheartedly obedient to the teachings which you were given.
Rom 6:18  Freed from sin, you were made slaves who do what God approves of.

Rom 6:22  Now you have been freed from sin and have become God’s
slaves. This results in a holy life and, finally, in everlasting life.

Rom 6:23  The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely
gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord.