Do Not Open Til Dec. 26th

You may think it odd timing, but think about it…

 

Historically, Jesus’ birth was likely not on December 25th. That date was set as the celebration a long time ago, and established in the church calendar to coincide with the pagan celebration of Winter Solstice. At the time, church leaders were seeking ways to include followers of other faiths in the Christian celebrations. For this reason, some Christians have stopped celebrating Christmas. Historians estimate the blessed event to have happened some time in October. There are several historical and biblical discrepancies in traditions of the season. For example, the Bible does not specify how many Magi there were; however, it does say that they found Mary and the young child about two years later “in the house”. But the tradition makes a beautiful nativity scene.

But really… does it matter when we celebrate the birth of our Savior? Shouldn’t we celebrate Emanuel all the time? The miracle of God becoming one of us should affect every day of our lives. Choosing to celebrate on December 25th does not make us pagans. Regardless of the non-Christian origins of many of the season’s traditions, observing them does not invalidate our celebration. God has used pagan nations and practices to show His glory and fulfill His will. For example, the ancient Roman Empire built superior roads connecting the entire empire (which included most of the civilized world at that time). When the Romans began persecuting the Christians, it caused them to scatter. The road system made travel easier, and theses believers took the gospel with them wherever they went. God had used the Roman empire to spread His good news.

As the season approaches, we must resist the world’s attempts to take Christ out of Christmas. Commercialism breeds despair, particularly in our economy. Giving gifts is a wonderful thing, especially joyful when we give in remembrance of the gift we received from our heavenly Father in Jesus.

Glorify God in all we do in all seasons. Celebrate Emanuel (God With Us) every day. Be a beacon of joy this Christmas. Do not wish anyone a “happy holidays” or “merry X-mas”. Respond with love: “Peace on earth, and goodwill to all”.

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Being A Witness

“So, let me ask you a very important question… If you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?”

I was standing in line at the customer service desk at Walmart, when I heard the man behind me ask the young man behind him this question. I did not turn around, but listened to the conversation.

The young man was apparently not fluent in English, as he was clearly from… let’s just say not this country. He either genuinely did not understand the question, or thought feigning incomprehension would get the stranger to leave him alone. “What is eternity?” he asked.

The Witness responded “Forever and ever. So do you know where you would be?

Again, the foreign young man answered what he thought might get the Witness to leave him alone, “Hope Heaven

Our Witness then proceeded, quite predictably, to share the gospel of Jesus, and how one could be certain they will go to heaven, by “trusting that Jesus died for all our sins and accept Him as our personal Lord and Savior“.

The foreign man did not seem to want to argue, but graciously said he did not believe that anyone can know for certain they are going to heaven, nor did he necessarily believe the Bible because “there are so many other books people consider holy writing“. You know what? He was right about the other books.

Which brings me to my point.

Christians are commanded (not requested) to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world. This Gospel is laid out plainly in the Bible. However, if a Christian encounters someone who does not believe the Bible is the inspired and completely true Word of the Living God, is it being an effective witness to continue spouting Scriptural quotes? Could that be likened to starting a conversation with someone who does not speak your language, so you just speak your language slower and louder?

It is God The Holy Spirit that will lead Christians to whom they are to present the Gospel, and gives the Christian the words to effectively communicate the message. Furthermore, it is the same Spirit that enables one to understand the Scriptures. So, when a Christian is talking to someone who does not believe the Bible, yet they continue to quote (i.e. the most common texts are called “The Roman Road”), I believe it is possible the Witness may possibly not be led by The Holy Spirit at that moment.

I compare that approach to a machine gun. You don’t aim a machine gun. You point it in the general direction of your target and hold the trigger. By virtue of the spray of rapid fire bullets, the chances are you will hit your target. Machine gun witnessing does not require God the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Armed with training to escort someone through, for instance, the Roman Road, and persuading them to say The Sinner’s Prayer puts another notch on the Witness’ salvation belt (or another jewel in their heavenly crown).

MORE ON THIS TOMORROW