Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Christmas Tree or Not? 3 Reasons I Stopped Keeping Christmas. Updateimageimage

For this “Scripture Sunday”, which is also December 25, known as Christmas Day:

Jeremiah 10

A Christmas Tree or Not?

Is Jeremiah 10 really talking about a Christmas tree, or something else? Jeremiah 10 really talking about a Christmas tree, or something else?
[Darris McNeely] “The question has come in from a Beyond Today viewer regarding Jeremiah chapter 10 and what it says about bringing a tree in and decorating it with gold and silver, and whether or not that is talking about a Christmas tree.

[Steve Myers] It says some interesting things when you actually read what it says there in Jeremiah chapter 10. And it starts out I think in an amazing way in verse 2 by saying, and this is God talking, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles.’” Some versions say heathens. And then He goes on to say, “The customs of the peoples are useless. They’re futile. One cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with an axe. They decorate it with silver and gold. They fasten it with nails, hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright like a palm tree. They cannot speak” (Jeremiah 10:2-5).  So what exactly is it talking about? Some of those things, especially if you look at the holiday decorations start to sound pretty familiar.

[Darris McNeely] Matches up pretty closely, doesn’t it, to what might, what is a Christmas tree and what Christmas decorations of gold and tinsel on a tree that’s been cut down from the woods, at least in the traditional way, brought into a home, set up, and around which gifts are spread. It is very, very plain, and matches up with this. Now, some commentators on Jeremiah chapter 10 say that this is talking about a form of idolatry where a tree is cut, but then it is cut into a totem or an idol from that, and the axe is actually a skilled artisan carver that makes this into something different from and therefore cannot be applied to the idea of a modern Christmas tree. But I think that the fact that Jeremiah here is talking about avoiding the practices of the heathen that then become idolatry and a part of worship that replaces something that is truthful was something that is wrong and pagan in place of God. I think that it still refers to what is being described here.

[Steve Myers] Absolutely applies in the sense that if you look into some of the practices of the pagans during this day, they did worship trees. They worshiped all kinds of things. They had a god for just about everything you could imagine. So when you look at the trees, especially at this time of the year, they’re looking at the life that a green tree would bring. And that was a common practice back in that day as well.

[Darris McNeely] Yeah, they were cut. They were used in the middle of the winter time because they supposedly didn’t die, still had life in them, and to represent the life that people wanted to gather around at this time of year in the darkest part of the winter. Those trees were a part of the practice of the ancient world, and yes they did migrate into other parts of the world including Northern Europe from which our modern customs in the United States and the Western world regarding a Christmas tree eventually were adopted. And yet they were still connected with pagan ideas and worship that did migrate from the exact part of the world Jeremiah is talking about where anciently green trees, evergreen trees, were even used in the winter time as a part of this type of worship.

[Steve Myers] And I think that’s such an important point. Can you adopt a pagan principle? Can you adopt something from the Gentiles or heathens, those that don’t know the true God, and somehow try to use that to honor God? Well, He says right here don’t learn that way. Do not do that. That is not a way to honor God by adopting some other practice, and try to call it Christian. He says that’s unacceptable. You can’t do it.

[Darris McNeely] And so you’re left with the question: does it really matter? And the answer is it does matter. And truth does matter and our worship and our relationship with God, we should worship Him in spirit and in truth and not according to the ways that are adopted from heathenism or paganism. That’s what the scripture says. It does matter.”

"Keep not the way of the heathen."

Have you ever wondered why the whole world cuts down a tree and brings it into their home during the Yule season?  There is a reason.  You might not want to know it though. The real history behind the "Christmas" tree is as shocking as finding out that your uncle Frank, whom you love dearly, was a serial killer years ago, but he is a sweet old man now.  If you don't like hard truths, please stop reading now.

William Sansom, in "A Book of Christmas," states that human sacrifice originated during the winter solstice, which falls around December 25th.  He says, “The giving of presents, particularly candles and dolls, called Sigillaria also derives from the insistent origin of human sacrifice at this time of year......Winter solstice traditions included giving dolls to children. Scholars believe that the term doll is derived from the word idol and may specifically refer to the “dolls” or clay effigies that were placed under evergreen trees in the home, imitating the actual sacrifice of children made under a grove of evergreen trees.

The words “green tree” (evergreen tree) are used 10 different times in the Bible in connection with idolatrous worship and, in four cases, with child sacrifice. Sun worship or Baal worship required firstborn children to be burned alive by “passing through the fire to Molech” under a grove of evergreens.

Stop and think about the fact that thousands of years ago, the whole world worshipped the sun.  Firstborn children were sacrificed under green trees (stayed green all year) and this is specifically mentioned in the Bible!  Read Isaiah 57!
Isaiah 57:5 Enflaming yourselves with idols, under every green tree slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks...”

Jeremiah 10 certainly does sound like a description of the modern Christmas tree! But rather than commanding us to put a tree in our house, it says, “Thus says the Lord, learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; (the winter solstice of December 25th) for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain, for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. They deck it with silver and gold, they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it moves not....” Jeremiah 10:2-4

In fact, the whole book of Jeremiah mentions the solstice god Baal or Baalim 13 times altogether and it is in connection with sun worship that God is stating, “learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. (The signs of heaven that he alludes to is the December 25th winter solstice!) Sun worshippers were astronomers who clocked the movements of the sun, moon and stars as part of their religion. The winter solstice was fear provoking to them.....and that is how human sacrifice began

Can it be a coincidence that scriptures directly place child sacrifice and the evergreen tree in the same context?  People who want to say, yes Christmas may have pagan origins, but we have "Christianized it," need to remember that it was a time of child sacrifice.  That can never be sanitized or made acceptable!  It would be like saying yes, old uncle Frank was a serial killer, but he was nice to me and he went to church, so he was a great man in my book.  That just doesn't fly.  Neither can we keep a holiday that is so evil with a clear conscience before God.  His admonition concerning the matter, if that matters to us, is "Keep not the way of the heathen."
Several paragraphs were excerpted from our article "Good Old Time Religion"

3 Reasons I Stopped Keeping Christmas

If you profess Christianity, now is a good time to consider why Dec. 25 is kept so fervently by so many, yet is totally devoid of New Testament support.

3 Reasons I Stopped Keeping ChristmasMy wife and I have been married for 50 years, and we still treasure some photographs—taken in an obviously Christmas setting just a few months after we met. Like people in many parts of the world, we realize that Christmas celebrations are generally memorable family occasions.
So why ever would a Christian choose not to celebrate Christmas?
Well, my wife and I stopped celebrating it many years ago. Here are three major reasons we decided we could no longer keep the popular holiday.
1. We don’t know when Christ was born.
Several dates have been proposed for the birth of Christ, but Dec. 25 is by far the most common. However, there is no biblical evidence to support this date.
Philip Schaff in History of the Christian Church makes the following comments:
“The only indication of the season of our Saviour’s birth is the fact that the Shepherds were watching their flocks in the field at the time, Luke 2:8. This fact points to any other season rather than winter, and is therefore not favorable to the traditional date. … The time of pasturing in Palestine (which has but two seasons, the dry and the wet, or summer and winter) begins according to the Talmudist, in March, and lasts till November, then the herds are brought in from the fields, and kept under shelter till the close of February” (Vol. 1, Apostolic Christianity, A.D. 1-100, p. 127).
Some insist that even though we do not know the exact date, Dec. 25 is as good a date as any to celebrate Christ’s birth and have a good time.
But what is the ancient history behind Dec. 25? How, when and why did Dec. 25 festivities become Christianized?
2. It was celebrated in pagan Rome.
Dec. 25 was part of Saturnalia celebrations held in pre-Christian Rome with uninhibited lawlessness. During that period nobody could be prosecuted for damaging other people’s property. Even worse was the tradition that each year an innocent person was forcefully selected by mob rule to be considered an “enemy of Rome.” He or she was mercilessly murdered on the concluding day of their festival, Dec. 25.
Wouldn’t connecting Jesus Christ to the date of vile pagan celebrations be an abomination to Him?
“The festival began [on Dec. 17] when Roman authorities chose ‘an enemy of the Roman people’ to represent the ‘Lord of Misrule.’ Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman” (
There is clearly no basis for celebrating Christ’s birthday on any date, but even if there were, would He or His Father pick the explicitly heathen Dec. 25?
3. Jesus warned about human traditions.
Jesus Christ warned the Pharisees of His time to reconsider their futile “traditions”—and He commands all Christians to do likewise.
“Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Matthew 15:6-9, emphasis added throughout).
The Old Testament is filled with warnings specifically about mixing pagan traditions with the worship of the true God and the Old Testament is filled with warnings specifically about mixing pagan traditions with the worship of the true God: “Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise’” (Deuteronomy 12:30).
God also said, “You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things” (verse 4). Christians should not worship “according to all their [pagan] abominations” (Deuteronomy 20:18).
Church leaders, sacrificing their own professed Christianity, succeeded in converting large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue their old customs. But, sadly, they ignored the above warnings against such blending.
Jesus was never in Christmas
This time of year, we often hear the phrase Put Jesus back in Christmas! But, as we have shown, Jesus Christ was never in Christmas! God never made Dec. 25 “holy” as only God can.
On the other hand God did make holy seven annual holy days in the Bible, and Jesus Christ has center stage in every one of them. Each holy day enlightens us further about Jesus Christ’s role in God’s plan of salvation.
To learn more, view our short videos in the “Feasts of the Lord” series on the Learning Center at

Another article:


The weather did a quick turn around and now it is in the high 70’s!!  We installed the heat/air in the guest house, even though my helper wasn’t feeling well.  He has an addiction to eating cereal right out of the box, so I call him a “cereal killer”!   He had eaten a lot of Raisin Bran that someone gave me to donate.  He didn’t read the ingredients because he said he used to eat that all the time.  He used to have acid reflux all the time, too.  The first ingredient is whole grain wheat.  When he eats wheat or gluten he gets terribly sleepy, and doesn’t even know that he has been asleep, sitting up, for hours.  This isn’t narcolespy, it is more like hypersomnia. Then the acid reflux starts and he can’t keep anything down.  We had to quit work after an hour and a half one morning because of that.  I have been so careful to get him gluten-free ingredients for lunch then he goes and does that.   He was sick for over two days.  You really are what you eat, and everything starts in the gut.

Purry, my adorable foster cat arrived from the Habitat, and was put in my bathroom which would become his head-quarters until he got used to the sounds and smells of a household.  I call that getting him “house-ified” for his new home.  He had never been loose in a house before in his whole little life.  I knew that he was a busy little boy, so we took up the rugs in my bathroom, and taped down a big piece of kitchen carpet.  He could have ‘skid’ the rugs and made it so that the door would be jammed shut.  BTDT!   It took him one day to untape and move the carpet, but being firm it didn’t jam up the door. He just loved the freedom of not being in a cage, and adapted very well, which I knew he would, as he is a very adaptable, happy little boy.

Then I heard that Purrcy will not be going back to the habitiat right away, so he will stay here.   After one day he also had the freedom of my bedroom, and the next day the whole house.  He has been very good and hasn’t jumped up on the kitchen counters.  He has settled down into a very calm little man, but still prefers his own little bed in my bathroom.  Another foster cat arrives tomorrow, a 12 year old gray male.

The little dog is becoming more and more difficult to care for, she can now climb over my gate.  This is the dog that chewed up my Ethernet wires when she first arrived.  Even though my living room is scattered with doggie toys, she chews up anything when she is in the house alone, so I had to bring a big cage into my living room.  When she figured out how to open the door on one big cage, and tore up the floor in it, I had to bring in a different one.  I only put her in there when I wasn’t able to watch her, so she and the cat, Purrcy had a great time chasing each other around the house.  No animosity, no one had told them that they were enemies.  A tired dog is a good dog.  But she wouldn't let anyone know when she wanted to go out, so I would take her out on a schedule, but she wouldn't pee and waited to pee on my carpet.
The dog’s owner had never inquired about her, said thank you, never offered to pay for her board, or food, so after 5 days, legally she belonged to me.   I had dewormed the dog, given her monthly heartworm and flea preventative,  I could run her through the SPCA system, get her spayed, vaccinated, treated for heartworms, foster her and find her a new home.  But if I can’t contain a dog in my fence, it is too much liability and expense for the SPCA, so I sent her to her owner’s daughter, where the dog used to live.  I hated to do this, but I don’t have “Muggins” written on my forehead.   I try to help when I can, but enough is enough.

I had made some quinoa for my helper’s lunch as it is gluten-free, but he wasn’t feeling well, and didn’t appreciate it, so I made it into “Cajun Quinoa ‘Dirty Rice’ with ground sirloin, canned diced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and a lot of Cajun seasonings.  That crockpot was nearly empty by the time the church potluck was over.  One elder had brought a whole lamb simmered in a big crockpot, it was very tender, and he gave me the remains to make Lamb Bone Broth.  He knows that I will cook something in it for the church potlucks.  It might be brown rice, farro, freekeh, beans, lentils, or something else.  I’ll save most of the meat, add some veggies, and make a lamb stew for the potluck.

The Bible readings were Gen. 37:1-41:25, Amos 2:6-3:8, and Acts 7:1-16.  These about Joseph, his coat of many colors, and his being sold to Egypt.  The Teaching was about “Canopy of Blessings”, about how God shelters his people.

The last Sabbath we had been so cold in the church as the heater couldn’t keep up, but this Sabbath the AC was so cold that even the people who are hot all the time, complained. Can’t please all the people all of the time.

Eat your hearts out, Northerners.  Yesterday it was a high of 80°, now how about that for a late December Day?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Where did Christmas come from? When Was Jesus Born?


For “Scripture Sunday”: late again as I just got my old computer back.

Where did Christmas come from?


“If it can be shown that the historical birth of Jesus wasn’t the real root of the holiday, where did it come from?

Hislop explains this as well: “Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen [that is, the pagans], at that precise time of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ. This tendency on the part of Christians to meet Paganism half-way was very early developed” (ibid., p. 93).

Secular and biblical evidence shows that the modern Christmas traditions came from the ancient winter solstice or Mithraic festival, adopted and celebrated by the Romans.

“Christmas has its origin in two ancient festivals, the great Yule-feast of the Norsemen and the Roman Saturnalia. During the Saturnalia, gifts were made by the wealthy to the poor in honor of the golden age of liberty when Saturn ruled the known world, and slaves were allowed to change places and clothing with their masters. They even elected their own king who, for the period of the festival, ruled as a despot. The Saturnalia involved the wildest debauchery, and was a festival of Pan himself” (Richard Cavendish, Man, Myth and Magic, 1983, Vol. 2, p. 480).

The Catholic writer Tertullian complained around A.D. 230 about the ancient festival period that led to Christmas: “‘By us … who are strangers to [Jewish] Sabbaths and new moons, and festivals, once acceptable to God, the Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia, and Matronalia, are now frequented; gifts are carried to and fro, new year’s day presents are made with din, and sports and banquets are celebrated with uproar; oh, how much more faithful are the heathen to their religion, who take special care to adopt no solemnity from the Christians’” (quoted by Hislop, p. 93).

“Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostacy went on, till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan superstition. That Christmas was originally a Pagan festival, is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin” (ibid.).

The bottom line: Christmas came from a pre-Christian, pagan festival."



When Was Jesus Born?  (It is easy to figure it out by the Bible)

Did His birth occur on December 25th? Can we even know when Christ was born? And, should we really be celebrating His birth?

image"We find the important clues about the real time of Jesus’ birth in what the Bible tells us about His cousin, John the Baptist.

Maybe you’ve read the Gospel of Luke and thought it was strange that the book and the story begins not with the story of the conception of Jesus, but with the story of the conception of John the Baptist. There’s a very good reason for this. Luke was sure to tell us in very specific detail when John the Baptist was conceived and born.

In Luke 1, it tells us that John’s mother, Elizabeth was six months pregnant when Jesus was conceived.

“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary…” (Luke 1:24-27).

Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were cousins. That means that from this verse, we know that John was six months older than Jesus. So we can discover the approximate time of year Jesus was born if we know when John was born.

Now let’s look at what the Bible tells us about the time of John’s birth.

John’s father, Zacharias, was a priest serving in the Temple at Jerusalem. The Bible tells us that he and his wife were both righteous people who put their hearts into serving God. Zacharias, we’re told, was a priest who served in “the division of Abijah” (Luke 1:5). At this time, the Temple priests in Jerusalem were divided into several different “divisions” or what were called “courses” - or groups of priests that would take turns performing Temple service during the year. It’s like a yearly schedule for those serving at the Temple. There were so many priests at the time that they had to be set up on a schedule to have their time to serve in the Temple.

Now, here’s what’s important. Historians calculate that the course of Abijah mentioned by Luke, during which Zacharias served, happened from June 13-19 in that year ( The Companion Bible , 1974, Appendix 179, p. 200).

The announcement therefore to Zacharias in the Temple as to the conception of John the Baptist took place between June 13-19 as our calendar has it today in that year.

During his Temple service, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and announced to him that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a child (Luke 1:8-13). After he completed his service and traveled home, Elizabeth conceived the cousin of Jesus; the child that would one day become John the Baptist (Luke 1:23-24). It seems that John’s conception took place near the end of June which was after the division of Abijah and Zecharias completed his Temple service, adding nine months brings us to the end of March the next year as the most likely time for John’s birth.

Adding another six months - the difference between the ages of John and Jesus (Luke 1:35-36) - brings us to the end of September as the likely time of Jesus’ birth.

Now, when we look back and we look at this timeframe, we learn some interesting facts.

Zacharias, remember, was serving during the course of Abijah which was in the middle part of June of that year when he heard the announcement of his son’s birth. He went home, his wife conceived John the Baptist toward the end of June that year. Nine months later, John the Baptist was born in the spring, probably during the month of March as we know it today.

Six months later, Jesus Christ was born. Therefore, Christ is six months younger than his cousin and was born most likely in the fall sometime in the timeframe of September or October of that year.

So, if it’s provable using what we know from the Bible and some historical research that Jesus was born in the autumn of the year instead of the middle of winter in December, does that mean then we should keep Christmas or Christ’s birth and celebrate it in September instead of December? No it doesn’t.

For this reason: Nowhere in the Bible is there any instruction or command to commemorate or in any way celebrate the day of Christ’s birth. The fact that so many specific dates are given about other important and even less important events in the Bible, yet this exact date - the date of Christ’s birth - remains vague, that is significant.

For this reason: Nowhere in the Bible is there any instruction or command to commemorate or in any way celebrate the day of Christ’s birth. The fact that so many specific dates are given about other important and even less important events in the Bible, yet this exact date - the date of Christ’s birth - remains vague, that is significant.

God didn’t intend for this specific date, the date of Christ’s birth, to be celebrated. Now God does give us other specific days to observe that honor Christ and the Father. We do not need to invent our own days and times to do this. For those who love God and His Son, it is only natural to desire to worship both of them. But it is far better to worship God and Jesus Christ on the days and the times God has set.

As for the celebration of Christmas in December: Remember what we read earlier about the Roman church adopting pagan practices into the Christian faith to create Christmas. Jesus wouldn’t want us to celebrate pagan days as a means of honoring His birth. Now how can I make such a statement?

How do we know what Jesus would or would not want us to do? God makes it very clear He does not like pagan practices and He pretty well lays it out for us in one passage of the Bible that we should take note about. It says this in the book of Deuteronomy.

“When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. ‘Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to [it] nor take away from it’ ” (Deuteronomy 12:29-32 ,NKJV)."

Excerpt from:


“What’s all this about?” 

Christmas is here again.

imageIt seems every year some are just trying to find out what the real meaning of Christmas is about. They get tired of the commercialism, the pressure to give the right gift and when it’s all over there is an emotional let down. Something is not quite right. Something is missing.

If you find yourself still asking “what’s all this about?”  . You’re going to be surprised. Christ’s birth is not about trees and tinsel and lights and gifts. It’s about something far more important. Let’s look at “The Real Meaning of Christ’s Birth.”  Read:



To install the new window in the guest house, we had to move the air conditioner.  It had just been put in that wall temporarily.  All this had to be done before we could finish insulating, paneling or put the siding on the outside of that wall.  We framed up for the window and installed it.  Then we framed up the new place for the air conditioner, but it was too cold to cut through the plywood to install it.  We just about froze in there, even with a portable heater going full blast.  The air conditioner is also a heater, so we need to get that back in there ASAP. 

The next day, it was very cold again, so we did some jobs in this, the main house.  One ceiling fan had started making an aggravating ticking noise, so it was taken apart, the cause found and remedied.   As our SPCA cat habitat will be closed for the holidays I would be taking care of my foster-kitten, Purrcy, who has been on display there, so we got things ready for him.  He is a very rambunctious little boy-cat so I had to “child-proof” my bathroom where he would be staying for a week.  He loves it at the habitat so he will go back there to, hopefully, be adopted, just like his sister little Pixie was. 

The refurbished computer didn’t work very well, and I struggled with it until my old one was brought back, all fixed, thanks to a great gentleman at our church.

For the church potluck, I had loaded a great big ground beef, potato, veggie, mushroom soup casserole dish in the van with my Bible and all the other things that I take to church.  But as I backed out I could tell there was something wrong.  It had a flat tire on a wheel that is hidden from view when it is in the carport.  The Emergency Road Service said that there were a high volume of calls and it would be a while.  I called my helper so he came and changed the wheel.  The spare is a donut and it makes a weird rubbing noise, so I want to get that off quickly.  Knowing that I would be late for church, I thought that there might not be time for the casserole to warm up enough, so I transferred the food into an electric chef’s kettle and turned it to ‘warm’ during the service.  When it was time to eat, my food thermometer showed that the food was safe to eat at over 165°.  Most stomach ills could be prevented if everyone followed Food Manager practices.  I know I have become sick after a potluck where that wasn’t done.

The Bible readings were Gen. 32:4 to I don’t know, as I wasn’t there, then Obe. 1:21, Hos 11:7-12:12, and Rev. 7:1-17. and the Teaching was about “Being Saved”, and Deut. 6:5-25, but mostly verse 14 “You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the people who are around all round you”  That could be the god of money!  And John 14:15 ”He who loves me will keep my commandments”.

I still have the young little dog who was abandoned, but her owner’s boyfriend is going to pick her up soon.  I hope that they will get her fixed before she has another litter of pups and keep up with the heartworm and flea preventative that I have given her.  Some folks just aren’t reponsible enough to have pets, or kids.

When it warms up tomorrow we hope to get the AC/heater installed in the guest house.  We call it the “Mini-house”.    It is so cold that we decided not to work,  so hopefully I can get the tire fixed today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Birth of Jesus Was Not Dec. 25. How Can You Kick the Christmas Habit?

 The Birth of Jesus,” 

Christ and the early Church didn’t celebrate Christmas. Why? If you strip it of its commercialism, pre-Christian customs and inaccuracies, what do you learn?

"A member of the God family was willing to be born as a human, live a sinless life, and suffer and die for us! What an awesome truth, beyond full human understanding. We should and must remember it and use this truth to change our lives.

But how do we remember this truth? By mixing it with lies, commercialism and ancient pagan customs? Surely Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, doesn’t want us to celebrate the rebirth of the sun God or the Roman Saturnalia or the pagan Yule customs of pre-Christian Europe?

This week’s featured article, “The Birth of Jesus,” explores what the Bible really says about Jesus’ birth, and it shows why the truth bears little resemblance to the human-devised holiday most people think honors Christ. God does care how we worship Him, and so must we.

The Birth of Jesus Was Not Dec. 25

Was the birth of Jesus really on Dec. 25?  What else is questionable about Christmas?

Today, Christmas has become a nostalgic icon of a past that never was.  Santa Claus, the Christmas tree and lots of gifts take center stage in Christian and non-Christian homes.  But these and other customs have little connection to the Bible and the true story of the birth of Jesus, or the message and meaning of His first coming.

 While the Bible teaches a great deal about Jesus and His message through the story of the birth of Jesus Christ (“Christ” means “messiah” or “anointed”), the traditions of Christmas often mislead, misinform and even contradict the Scriptures!

Would you be surprised to learn that the Bible doesn’t say when Jesus Christ was born? That the early New Testament Church didn’t celebrate Christmas? That Christmas was banned by the Puritans of New England? Or that some Christians today do not celebrate Christmas for biblical and doctrinal reasons?          Why? 

 More at:


How Can You Kick the Christmas Habit?

 MP3 Audio(12.43 MB)
Maybe you’ve heard that Christmas isn’t all that Christian. Maybe you’re wondering if you should celebrate it at all this year. If you’re not sure, read “Would Jesus Celebrate Christmas?”  . And then prove to yourself whether or not you should keep Christmas.
Go on—kick the tires, tug on the seams, look behind the curtain, pull out the microscope. The truth can withstand scrutiny. You won’t hurt its feelings.
There is so much more to family than any one holiday, and you have many opportunities to show your family that you love them.
If you’ve considered the evidence and have decided to kick the Christmas habit, your next question is likely to be, “Well, now what?” That’s what mine was. How do you not celebrate Christmas when everyone around you has put on a Santa hat and put up a tree? How do you keep your relationships with family and friends when you don’t celebrate Christmas anymore? Will they understand?
It can feel like a lonely road with only the strength of your convictions for company, but you are not alone. I too walk this path, as do many others. And most importantly, God the Father and Jesus Christ will be with you. If God is leading you to step out on faith and leave Christmas behind, I’d like to share with you three principles to practice as you take this step: Prepare yourself, honor God and love your family. More at: 
Christ vs. Christianity: The Birth of Jesus: Myths and Misperceptions
Jesus Christ’s birth is often depicted in artwork, movies, storybooks and nativity scenes. But do these traditional images get the story right?
The typical nativity scene depicts a manger surrounded by Mary and Joseph and animals, with three wise men arriving just after Jesus' birth. But what's wrong with this picture?
The typical nativity scene depicts a manger surrounded by Mary and Joseph and animals, with three wise men arriving just after Jesus' birth. But what's wrong with this picture?
We had some really cold nights when it got below freezing, so that inspired us, my helper and me, to start insulating the guest house so that it would be warmer to work in there.  We did that for four mornings, as it was too cold to work on the plumbing.  On top of the usual fiberglass batt insulation we nailed 1/2 " foam board insulation everywhere.  It is really drafty and cold up here on this hill in the wintertime, so we are being very diligent about stopping up any little cracks  even caulking the joints in the window headers.  
One afternoon we went back over to National Supply and bought one more double- paned window for $15.  There was a place on the side wall that could use another window and we needed to install it before the insulation, foam board and paneling were completed.  This is a fixed window, so burglars can't open it and gain access.

I took in a little Chihuahua dog who was abandoned when her "Mom" was taken to the hospital.  The Mom didn't even ask about her dog when released later.  I know the dog, she is very young and has already had puppies.  She is still at the puppy stage herself, and likes to chew on things.  When she is in the house, I have to keep one eye on her.  Just a few days after I got the new-to-me computer, the dog chewed up the Ethernet cable, so I couldn't do much until that was fixed.   Now if I have to leave her alone I put her in a great big cage with a big blankie, food and water.   I have to be very careful where I park my slippers at night!  She has had a previous hard life and has terrible separation anxiety, so I let her sleep on my bed. 
The Bible readings were Psalms 133, 127, Gen.28:10-32:3, Hosea 10:12-14:9, John 1:43-51. Most of those are about Jacob, Leah, Rachel and Esau.
 We have a couple of vegans at the church, so I try to accommodate them once in a while, so I took a vegetarian Israeli dish to the church potluck,  Lentil Stew with Potatoes and Spinach.   
I took a big potful, but it was all gone before anything else, even the 'beefeaters' liked it,  so I couldn't bring any home for another day.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pearl Harbor 75 Years Later. Update.

For "Scripture Sunday", late, because I didn't have a computer.

Pearl Harbor 75 Years Later

The Unforgiving Scars of War

 MP3 Audio(5.43 MB)
"I used to work for a man who ran an auto repair shop. If a customer drove in with a Japanese car he would refuse to work on it. Rumor had it he had thrown a wrench at a few of those cars over the years. During World War II he had fought in the Pacific against the Japanese. As long as I knew him he could not forgive the attack on Pearl Harbor and other Japanese atrocities. An unforgiving spirit leaves lasting scars.
This anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack gives us all a chance to examine our hearts to determine how much forgiveness we have.
I thought about my friend as we approach the 75th anniversary of the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the day that lives in infamy, Dec. 71941. This year there are fewer survivors. One 95-year-old veteran told a reporter he can never forgive because he has 1,100 comrades interned on the sunken battleship the USS Arizona. Because of my former employer I can understand the deep feelings. I can understand, but I hope in time they can both forgive.
Earlier this year President Barack Obama paid a visit to the Japanese city of Hiroshima where America dropped the first atomic bomb, killing hundreds of thousands. It was the first time a sitting U.S. President had made such a visit. Later this month it is reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor, also the first visit from a sitting Japanese Prime Minister. Abe’s visit will likely renew deep feelings from that generation who fought World War II.
Seventy-five years has erased a lot of the emotion. Japanese manufacturing has become an integral part of the American economy. A few years ago the study of Japanese production methods was accepted as essential practice for any American company that wanted to stay competitive. Japanese cars are among the best made in the world. I own two myself. I have often wondered what my former boss would say about that. I’m pretty sure he has a few Japanese products in his home, whether he knows it or not.
The 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor marks a significant milestone. Even the growing scarcity of World War II-era veterans and those with firsthand knowledge of that event will create significant notice of the events of the war.
Forgiveness may be something we also hear a lot about during these memorials. Forgiveness is a hard emotion. It is difficult to forgive another for a wrong done. When memories are long, forgiveness is often in short supply. Christ said we should forgive others as we have been forgiven, and if we don’t, then He will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15).
The suffering brought on by war remains for many generations. This anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack gives us all a chance to examine our hearts to determine how much forgiveness we have. I believe forgiveness is a gift from God. He not only gives it when we are able to forgive, but I think God also gives us the ability to forgive. We have to seek this gift, and we have to ask for it.
An unforgiving heart is a prisoner of the past and a victim in the present.  A forgiving heart is a living heart. Which of these fits you?"
My computer went kaput and even my back-up computer wouldn't work, so a wonderful gentleman from our church brought me this one. He took my old ones for the spare parts. Finally, I got this puter to be friends with my printer and camera, but I am having trouble getting this one set up, especially to Open Live Writer.  It won't show My Pictures like it should, and I need them for selling stuff.    I lost a lot of items that were in the old computer, but had Google as a back-up, but it won't let me sign in!  I had always relied on knowing that my back-up computer was here, but something went haywire in it, too.  

The weather has turned cold, but first it was very rainy and the street below me was flooded when I left for church on Saturday.  I knew that I would to have to go the long way round, rather than take a chance on the flooded road.  So I left early and didn't catch Jay's call that he wanted to go with me. He should have called earlier, not after the time I would normally be leaving.
This is what I took to the church potluck to go with their turkey, gravy and stuffing:

It is cooked sliced Carrots, shredded Potatoes, sauteed Celery/Onions, with Spinach stripes.

Someone asked me for the recipe,  There is none, as I often make up dishes as I go, and this was one of them!

The Bible readings were Gen. 25:19-28:9, Mal. 1:1 -2:7 and Rom. 9:6-13.  These are mostly about Isaac, Jacob, and his older twin brother, Esau.  Esau sold his birthright for a pot of  beans.

We have been getting ready for a cold spell, covering the aloe that is growing in the ground, and taking all the pots of aloe into the greenhouse.  In the guesthouse remodel we have been insulating the north side walls and we insulated under the new floor with foam board before we screwed it down.  There is even a layer of Tyvek on the walls and under the floor, too.  I am determined that it will be cozy and draft-free in there.

It is going to freeze tonight, and the temperature has been dropping all day.