Sunday, December 27, 2020

Is Your Life “Good Enough” for God? Repentance: What Does Repent Mean? Pride Hunting. Update.


Is Your Life “Good Enough” for God?

“So what does God expect of us? What does it mean to “get right” with Him? What does it look like in a person’s life? Let’s notice Jesus Christ’s own statements that give us the answer!

A person holding a Bible and looking up to the sky.fantom_rd/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Getting right with God and receiving His gift of eternal life involve much more than just belief.

Considering the chaos we see in the world around us, it’s understandable that many people see a need to “get right with God.” But what exactly does that mean?

Many think that all God expects or requires is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

But is it biblical that belief in God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ is all that’s required to be saved? Clearly not! As Jesus’ own half-brother wrote in James 2:19: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (emphasis added throughout). They likewise know that Jesus is the Messiah (see Mark 1:24).

Yes, the demons believe—but clearly they are not saved!

So what does God expect of us? What does it mean to “get right” with Him? What does it look like in a person’s life? Let’s notice Jesus Christ’s own statements that give us the answer!

In Matthew 7:21 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”  Merely acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Master—calling Him “Lord, Lord”—is not sufficient. To inherit salvation in God’s Kingdom, we must do God’s will, as Jesus clearly stated.

Getting right with God and receiving His gift of eternal life involve much more than just belief. Our conviction that Jesus is our Savior who died for us must be more than just a comforting feeling or intellectual idea. It means actively doing God’s will in our lives, which starts with surrendering our lives to Him, studying His Word and praying regularly so we can understand how He wants and expects us to live.

Matthew 19:16 records how a wealthy young man asked Jesus a crucial question: “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Christ’s reply might shock those who think Jesus came to do away with the law or that He taught that obedience to God’s law is unnecessary. Jesus responded, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (verse 17).

Jesus didn’t tell the young man that all he needed to do was believe. Jesus told him he must obey the commandments of God. How plain! And then, to clarify which commandments He meant, Jesus listed as examples several of the Ten Commandments plus another summary commandment God had given through Moses. Jesus then told the young man to reorder his priorities in life to become a committed follower of Christ (verses 18-22).

In Mark 16:16, Jesus revealed another condition we must meet to receive God’s gift of eternal life: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Baptism—being fully immersed in water—is a symbolic act representing the death and burial of the person we formerly were, with our rising from the water signifying a resurrection to begin a new life committed to serving God and striving to avoid sin (Romans 6:1-23).

Scripture shows that baptism is to be followed by the laying on of hands by a true minister of Jesus Christ, through which we receive God’s Holy Spirit and truly become His (Acts 8:17; Romans 8:9). Unless we surrender our lives to God through baptism and the laying on of hands to receive His Spirit as shown in Scripture, we fail to meet this requirement for receiving His gift of salvation.

To those who ignore these and other clear biblical instructions—and there are more—Jesus replies, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?’(Luke 6:46).

So returning to the question at the beginning, is your way of life “good enough” for God? In these passages you have seen the beginnings of His answer. And as Jesus states in Luke 14:33, “No one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me. (New Living Translation 1996).

Read the articles in this issue to learn more about what God expects from your life!"  From:


Repentance: What Does Repent Mean?

“A major message of the Bible is a call to repent and change. This isn’t popular, but it’s vitally necessary. What is repentance? Why does God require it?

According to the apostle Paul, God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30 ).

Repentance is not a popular subject in most of the religious community. Seldom is a modern-day religious audience exhorted to repent.

Yet Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, vigorously preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and told his audience to “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:2, 8). Soon after John’s martyrdom, Jesus Christ continued the same theme by preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

Within weeks following Jesus’ crucifixion, the New Testament Church was founded. Peter’s inspired words to an audience of thousands of devout Jews were, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

What does repentance mean? Is it required for salvation? How important is this subject to you? Read more about what the Bible says about repentance in the related articles.”  See:


AmericanTorah: Applying the same scriptures that Jesus & the Apostles used to real life in America.

Pride Hunting

“Pride is acting and/or depending on an assumption that could be easily verified.”

Identifying pride in your own life and ridding your life of it.

“Pride. I had a native German for a friend and mentor in the electrical field. We met when he was newly arrived. He spoke very little English and we worked together every day. He understood electrical very well and always carried around a translation dictionary so he could communicate with others on the jobsite. We got along very well and after a bit he made me a deal: if I helped him with English he would help me learn electrical better.

We talked during the day while we worked and at lunch. We were gossiping one day about the way others worked and how we cared about our work while most didn’t seem to. I remember saying, “It is like others do not take pride in their work.” He stopped me there and wanted to know what word I had used. He didn’t understand the word pride. I tried to explain it as he looked it up in his dictionary. When he found it, his reaction was memorable to say the least. “No! No! No! Danny this is no good.” He explained that this was not a good word in German. I tried to explain that there was a positive and negative use of the word in English, but he would not have it. No, he told me, it is no good.

I had never really thought about pride, and his reaction to the word stuck with me. Pride had always been mostly negative for me, I mean the sense of the word. I felt many people were prideful in my family and the phrase, ‘take pride in your work’ never really set well with me. I could not think of a reason why, except that pride seemed so negative. I never saw myself as prideful though. Others had called me arrogant and prideful before, but they just didn’t know the whole story, in my view. It was the way I understood pride that kept me from seeing it for so long.

The clearest way to describe what I understood pride to be is to watch Disney’s animated version of Beauty and the Beast, particularly the scene where Gaston sings his ballad. That has always been what I thought of as pride. Pride meant thinking highly of yourself and overestimating your abilities or knowledge. That was not me; I hated myself. How could I be prideful?

Let me illustrate what I mean.

Let’s say I assume my wife will want flowers, so I stop at the store to pick some up. I don’t want to ask her because I want it to be a nice surprise. Not being prideful here. I buy some flowers, her favorite, assuming, again, that she didn’t change her mind since the last time we talked about it. I start to go home and on the way I envision her response, she is going to be so happy, she is going to think I am a good husband and she is going to want to have some alone time latter to thank me.


See the husband has now built on the assumption, he is now depending upon his original assumption for the rest of his assumptions. The wife is now hopeless unless she can read his mind. He gets home, she just finished with the bills and they have little money. She thinks she is allergic to those flowers now and she just started her period. Needless to say, she is not thrilled about the flowers, and all of his plans have come crashing down. This may be a fight now from what was supposed to be a very kind act.

If the husband had not built on his original assumption he would have come home and gave the gift, listened to the new information from his wife, thrown the flowers out, and went on with the evening. She may have seen his caring heart and, though the situation was a bummer, they now know each other a bit better. I plan to give more examples, but I hope you can see what I mean by ‘acting and/or depending’ on an assumption.

Lastly, what I mean by “easily verified” is that we take an assumption and build upon it when we could, with very little proportionate effort, verify the assumption.”    Continued...  Read the rest at American Torah!



My van and a truck “kissed” and so now there is a bit of fiberglass repair needed on my van.  Also an apartment managed by the same company has become available in Cleveland, TX. But the available apartment is exactly like this one which faces west, so I have blinding sun in the kitchen all day and really bright sun in the afternoon.  I had to install really thick pull down shades because it hurts my eyes so much.  I won’t be able to look at the apartment until mid-January, so maybe a more suitable one will be available by then. 

At least Cleveland has a Kroger grocery store, a health food store, a Walmart, a senior center, the church that I like, and lots of places that Navasota doesn’t.  Here you have to drive to another town for any of those things.  So I am going to wait on getting the van fixed until after I have moved.  Cleveland is close to Conroe, and I know where to get things done there having lived in that region for 40 years. I won’t feel so lost there.

The ophthalmologist examined my eyes, and now I have to go for more eye surgery next week.   I hope that cures my “light blindness”, because it is getting worse.  Even wearing good sunglasses, I am blinded by the sun.  This is one reason why I don’t travel outside of Navasota to the neighboring towns.  The open freeways here, with no trees, are so blinding.  In Cleveland it will be great to be able to get everything I need without having to get on a freeway to another town.

On Friday, Sherry, June and I had our usual Bible study and good discussions about it, ready for the Sabbath School the next day, but I went there alone because Sherry was feeling very tired.  June never goes there, she “Zooms” with her previous congregation.

On Saturday, when I returned from Sabbath School, June and I were driven to another town for the Torah Bible study in Paige TX, by some residents of Brenham. It is 75 miles each way! That was so great for us because neither of us can drive in the dark and we didn’t get home until way after 7 pm that day.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Wait! You Just Said Jesus Was Not Born on Dec. 25! Adam and Eve and the Two Trees, Bible Story For The Kids To Color.


Wait! You Just Said Jesus Was Not Born on Dec. 25!

“You probably realize Christ was not born on December 25, and you may not think it’s important. But it really does matter. And it really is important that you not celebrate that day as His birthday!

Ancient Roman silver disk depicts Sol InvictusMarie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons

This ancient Roman silver disk depicts Sol Invictus, the Roman sun god whose birthday was celebrated annually on Dec. 25—the date later adopted for the Christmas holiday.

Don’t you think it’s about time you stopped living like a Roman? Maybe you don’t think you live like a citizen of the greatest empire of the ancient world. But you do if you celebrate Dec. 25 as the birthday of the divine Savior. If you call yourself Christian, then it’s time you started living like a citizen of the Kingdom of God and not the kingdom of ancient Rome. And a citizen of the Kingdom of God does not celebrate Christmas day as the birthday of Jesus Christ.

No matter how well-intentioned your Christmas celebration is, worshipping Him with practices taken directly from paganism is an abomination to God.

It’s commonly acknowledged today that Jesus was not born on Dec. 25. You can easily find this in many resources on the Internet. Even many churches readily admit this truth and openly tell their membership the facts.

I recently had an experience that opened my eyes to how easily sincere religious believers gloss right over this core fact. It was eye-opening. Let me tell you about it.

Echoes of a pagan past

Some colleagues and I recently went on a study tour of Italy, visiting sites connected with the story of the apostle Paul and the early Church. While visiting the ruins of a farm villa in southern Italy, the childhood home of Poppea, Emperor Nero’s wife, our guide was telling us what everyday life was like for a Roman.

By the first century A.D., Rome had declared no less than 80 days as holidays. The most important of these holidays was Dec. 25, the birthday of the sun, at the culmination of a several-days-long festival called the Saturnalia. Coming in winter, this festival of lights, food and revelry was a very popular occasion for all citizens. The year’s darkest period was the perfect time for a party!

As our guide described this festival he asked the group, “Did Jesus have a birthday on Dec. 25?” “Absolutely not!” he quickly answered. I caught a glance at a number of fellow travelers, all of whom were Bible-believing folk, and saw they were nodding their head in agreement.

He continued: “The text shows it was warm and there were sheep in the field. In the winter months the sheep are all indoors and not in the field,” he went on to say. “But,” he said, “if this new God we are serving is the big God then let’s put His birth date on Dec. 25 and make it a big celebration.” So they did. The rest is religious history.

Today we have a term for that—syncretism. It means a blending of ideas to create something different or new. In this case they blended a thoroughly pagan idolatrous winter festival into their version of Christianity.

Never mind that a straightforward reading of the biblical account of Christ’s birth shows it was not in the dead of winter. Never mind that a little digging into the history behind the Gospel accounts points to His birth being in the fall of the year. Never mind that the New Testament gives no command to observe His birth as a festival or holiday of any kind. Never mind, as my tour guide was saying, that Jesus was not born on Dec. 25 or anywhere close to that date.

Never mind these things because syncretism says we can do whatever we want when it comes to worshipping God!

A syncretized Christianity

What I already knew that day in Italy was dramatically reinforced by the open admission of a very smart and sincere teacher. It started me thinking about how much like the Romans people are today when it comes to religion. Rome borrowed the gods and goddesses and religions from Greece, Egypt, Babylon, northern Europe and other nations. They mixed them together in their version of “faith” and went on living their lives.

The church that succeeded to Rome’s position of power syncretized in adopting many of the pagan days, chief of which was Dec. 25 and the Saturnalia festival. To their concept of Jesus Christ they gave the biggest holiday and brought in elements of the sun god to complete an image of a new god made in their image.

Paganism was baptized with a form of biblical religion, and the new church was off and running. False doctrine, a triune god and completely foreign forms of worship became accepted teaching and practice, and ultimately the tradition to which succeeding generations of church teachers would subscribe.

Christmas today is a mixture of false religious teaching and commercialism. Throw in some new age abstractions and you have a perfect holiday that adapts itself to just about any culture on earth today. Even non-Christian nations like China and Japan have parts of the Christmas traditions attached to Dec. 25. They may not care about the religious symbols, but they do observe some form of the holiday in parts of the countries. Japan does a booming retail business during the Christmas season.

So what does all this mean for us in our modern world? Christmas is the world’s single biggest and most lucrative holiday. Sales during the Christmas season determine the commercial viability of many businesses. Eliminating Christmas would mean a severe economic slump for many sectors of the economy. This commercialism isn’t going away despite the sentiments of those who desperately want the religious message to prevail.

In fact, Christ cannot be “put back into Christmas,” as many call for, because He never was in Christmas in the first place! Further, Jesus wants nothing to do with a holiday deeply rooted in pagan worship to which His name was vainly attached. The fact that most people do not care about this truth makes it all the more serious when we consider what God says about such customs!

God doesn’t accept syncretized worship

Isaiah the prophet addressed this same kind of matter to Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah in the seventh century B.C. Judah had adopted customs and worship traditions contrary to what God had given to them at the beginning of their national history.

In the first chapter of Isaiah God states the problem with idolatry and forgetting who He was to them. In Isaiah 1:12 He shows a problem with the feasts and Sabbaths they had altered on the days they were to “appear before Me.” Their worship resulted in empty rituals on days God had specifically designed and commanded as His appointed feasts (Leviticus 23:1).

While people in Jerusalem still went to the temple of God on days He had designated, their actions rendered those days effectively meaningless for them. They incorporated elements of idolatry into the worship of God, and their attitude and actions were wrong in many ways. God hated their defilement of His time and occasions through living contrary to Him: “I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them” (Isaiah 1:13-14).

Regardless of any additional feast days or their calendar, the fact that they polluted something sacred to Him made it meaningless. That is an important lesson for us today. Today’s Christian world has a festival calendar completely different from the one God gave to His people for all time. Holidays like Easter and Christmas, to name only two, are steeped in pagan origins and symbols. God hates these days. They have no place in a biblically defined Christian form of worship!

The people of Isaiah’s time did not listen to the warning. In time God completely drew back His hand of blessing from them, and they were invaded by a foreign power. Their time on the world stage drew to a close. Their national sovereignty ended. The same will happen today to any nation that claims God’s name yet insults that name with the indignity of pagan trappings. America, Canada, Australia and Great Britain, along with other nations, will be judged by God for this and other sins.

Christmas and other pagan days presented as Christian celebrations are an abomination to God. Let’s paraphrase Isaiah’s words to hear what God says and feels about this: “I have had enough of your pious worship and take no delight in what you offer of your life for Me. You presume to appear before Me with something I value. Your offering and worship is empty and meaningless. Your religious celebrations mean nothing to Me. They trouble Me. I turn My eyes away and do not see. Though you make many prayers, I do not hear them. Your way results in death and not life” (Isaiah 1:12-15).

This sounds harsh and judgmental to a modern ear. So be it. It is far less than the reality God visited on Israel and Judah for their sins. God’s direct judgment on the nations has always been fair and not without warning to give anyone who hears the opportunity to repent.

It’s time to choose: Follow God or follow pagan traditions

Earlier I mentioned the home of Poppea, Nero’s wife. The home was near Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. It was covered with volcanic ash in the devastating eruption of A.D. 79.

The home we were in had been excavated, and you could still see the effect of the lava and ash that had covered the villa. That place and that event were a reminder to me that no culture—neither pagan Rome nor our neo-pagan world today—is exempt from judgment. Rome and its empire eventually went the way of all empires. Its time of power was eclipsed by the God of history whose determined purpose moves forward toward the day of final judgment (Acts 17:26; Acts 17:31).

Our tour guide acknowledged that Jesus wasn’t born on Dec. 25, the time of celebration following the end of the ancient Saturnalia. In his few words he admitted what is commonly known today among those interested enough to have looked into it. But he then moved on to another subject as if it didn’t matter. I wanted to say, “Wait—do you realize what you just said?”

Can you grasp what this fact means? How can you stand before God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and defend worship that is effectively meaningless and even defiant? It doesn’t matter how sincere you are. No matter how well-intentioned your Christmas celebration is, worshipping Him with practices taken directly from paganism is an abomination to God.

No matter how warm and family-oriented your festival is, it is futile and empty before God. Even if you don’t care, He does. He is a God of righteous judgment, and He commands all who hear the truth to repent—to put away such pagan trappings and begin to worship Him in the joyous meaningful manner He designed from creation. God is also merciful, and He desires us to worship Him in humility and sincerity.

It is time to stop living like a citizen of ancient Rome and begin living like a citizen of the coming Kingdom of God. This holiday season, you should turn things around and begin worshipping God in spirit and in truth. God is waiting to receive your sincere worship in spirit and in truth and hear your prayers!”  From:


Bible Story: Adam and Eve and the Two Trees

“One of the first stories in the Bible is one of the best known but least understood. Adam and Eve’s choice between the two trees changed the course of history.

It includes a PDF download for family reading with a coloring page.

Adam and Eve and the Two Trees

PDF to print for family reading

The story of Adam and Eve and their choice to eat fruit from the only tree that God told them not to eat from is one of the best-known stories of the Bible. This sad beginning has touched the lives of everyone who has lived ever since.

Let’s look at this true story and why it is still important today.

The main characters

There are four main characters: One good, one bad and two people who had to make a vital choice.

  • God: The Creator who made everything.
  • Adam: The first human being God created.
  • Eve: The woman God created using one of Adam’s ribs.
  • The serpent: This tricky, talking snake was the devil in disguise. The last book of the Bible tells us Satan the devil is “that serpent of old” (Revelation 12:9).
The creation of Adam and Eve

The Bible starts with God, who decided to create people who were like Him, who could become His children (1 John 3:1). He made the first man, Adam, out of the dust of the ground; but His plan was for people to actually become His sons and daughters if they made the right choices and tried to think and act like He does.

God breathed into the dust He had shaped into Adam, and Adam came alive! God gave him the job of caring for a beautiful garden with every type of tree and fruit imaginable. Then God gave him an important rule:

“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

God then let Adam name all the animals God had created. Perhaps while watching all the animals with their mates, Adam realized that he was alone as the only human being. In this way it seems God showed the value of companionship before He created Adam’s beautiful companion.

God put Adam into a deep sleep and took one of his ribs to use in making Eve. When God brought Adam and Eve together as husband and wife, He created the first marriage. This close relationship, like everything God created, was very good!

We wish that the idyllic story had continued and that we could say “they lived happily ever after.” God wanted them to choose life and happiness, but God’s enemy did not.

The temptation

Satan the devil hates God and hates human beings who have the potential to be God’s children. So he intruded on Eve one day in the garden. Eve probably hadn’t heard a talking snake before, but it seems she hadn’t learned to fear any of the animals in the peaceful garden.

The tricky serpent asked her, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). He wanted her to start thinking that God was unfair.

But Eve said, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die’” (verses 2-3).

Satan, disguised as the serpent, then lied to Eve. “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (verses 4-5).

Satan called God a liar. He said, in effect, “You can’t really believe God.” He made it seem like God was keeping good things from Adam and Eve. He made the fruit seem very appealing; and when Eve looked at the fruit, it looked good and tasty. She began to believe that the serpent was right. If she ate it, she would become as wise as God!

So she touched it, and nothing bad happened. She took a bite, and she was convinced the serpent was right. She encouraged Adam to eat some too. He wasn’t convinced by the serpent, but he decided to eat as well.

The results

God was right, of course. Adam and Eve’s choice led to their death.

They chose the way of get. They chose to selfishly take things for themselves. They chose to decide for themselves what they thought was good and evil, but it didn’t make them more like God. God really knows what is right and wrong. People, following the lead of the devil, often get these things wrong. As the story of Adam and Eve shows, there are very bad results when people ignore God’s instruction and choose for themselves what they think is the right way to live (Proverbs 14:12).

After disobeying God, Adam and Eve were ashamed of their bodies and tried to hide from God. They felt guilty and had lost their closeness to God.

When God asked what happened, Adam blamed Eve (and basically blamed God, since He had given her to him). Then Eve blamed the serpent.

Along with death, Adam and Eve also earned other bad results. Their sin brought sorrow and conflict to families. They lost their home in the beautiful garden and had to work much harder to live.

Because their choice would make their lives miserable, God didn’t want them to “live forever” in misery (Genesis 3:22). God put angels and a flaming sword at the entrance of the garden “to guard the way to the tree of life” (verse 24). Their sin cut them off from God and from the gift of eternal life He wants to give.

Adam and Eve chose the way that leads to death for themselves and all their children.

But thankfully God had a plan to turn that around. Jesus Christ was willing to pay the death penalty for us. If we reject the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and accept what God says is right and wrong, God will open the way to the tree of life.

What the two trees mean for us today

Every person since Adam and Eve has also chosen the way of get. We have chosen to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. In that way we have listened to the lies of Satan and chosen to sin. We have eaten the forbidden fruit. We have earned death.

But the Bible says Jesus came to the earth as a second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45). He was willing to pay the death penalty for those who will repent. That means to turn around, stop going Satan’s way of get and start going God’s way of give—of love.

The apostle Peter said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

When God forgives our sins, He gives us the help of His Holy Spirit to change our lives. When we accept that gift and grow the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, it is like eating from the tree of life. It is choosing the way of giving and of outgoing concern for others. We must always choose that tree.

At the end of the Bible we see the tree of life again. Jesus told those who were striving to overcome sin and to obey God’s commandments: “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7; see also 22:14).

When we choose to obey God’s law, the result is real happiness. God will be happy to have us live forever when we come to Jesus Christ the Savior in true repentance and do the good things that make us and the ones around us happy.

For more about what the two trees mean, see the article “The Tree of Life” and the article “The Fruit of the Spirit.””    From:


Monday, December 14, 2020

Biblical Masculinity. Did Jesus Celebrate Hanukkah or NOT? Do Not Fret Because of Evildoers. Update.

Biblical Masculinity: Becoming a Man After God’s Own Heart

“Many men are falling short of what God expects from them. What is causing the decline of biblical masculinity? What does the Bible say about masculinity?

Recently, musician Harry Styles was the first man to be featured on the cover of Vogue magazine, a periodical that focuses on fashion and is targeted toward a female audience. This was widely celebrated. He was shown on the front cover wearing a dress, and the photo was proclaimed as an “antidote to 2020.”

Referencing the photo shoot and his persona, Mr. Styles commented that the “lines are just kind of crumbling away . . . When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play.”

Is this where society needs to go? Should the barriers that distinguish men and women (such as clothing styles) be totally torn down? Should Christians embrace these ideas? Or does God expect there to be universal differences between males and females?”

Continue Reading  



Did Jesus Celebrate Hanukkah or NOT?

“The Gospel of John seems to indicate that Jesus Christ celebrated the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah. Is that right?”



Do Not Fret Because of Evildoers

Psalm 37:1-2

“Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

In this world under Satan’s sway, things do not always work as they should. Sometimes it seems the wicked prosper while the righteous face troubles. But God offers us the long view. From His perspective, the passing success of evildoers is fleeting. Those who do good will win in the end.

David repeats this theme several times in Psalm 37. Verses 14-15 add: “The wicked have drawn the sword and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to slay those who are of upright conduct. Their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.” God is a God of ultimate justice—you could even say poetic justice.

For related reading, see “When Life Doesn’t Make Sense.” For more about the ultimate reward of those who faithfully serve God, see the “Kingdom of God” section.



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The weeks have sped along with the usual things, you know, grocery shopping, laundry, taking care of my hyperthyroid cat, housework, and the normal things to do.  Sherry one of my neighbors, and I finally got our hair cut.  On Friday we three, June, Sherry and I had the usual Bible study in Sherry’s apartment.

On the Sabbath, June went to Paige TX to the Torah study there, and Cherry and I went to Willis to my old church.  It was a long drive, but we wanted to do it. There weren’t many there, Covid still stops folks from gathering.  I hadn’t seen them for many months because I have been going to the church in Navasota, so it was great to see them, and we all hugged, Covid protocol forgotten.

The Bible readings were Gen.32:4-36:43, Obadiah 1:1-21 and Heb. 11:11-20.  If you follow the Torah Portions, you know that these readings are one week off from the designated week. That is because that church service was cancelled the week before because of nasty storms.   The Teaching was about the several times in the Bible when God has intervened and really small armies have overtaken huge ones, with His help.

We had great fellowship in the dining room afterwards. I had taken a carrot, apple, raisin, celery salad and a trifle made with pound cake, fruit cocktail and a non-gelatin non-GMO, JEL dessert. (Jello brand has pork in it). It was a long drive, but it was a great day.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Just Do It! Christians, Jews and Holy Days. True Origins of Christmas.


Just Do It

“Promises are easy to make.

A woman walking on a dirt road.Annie Spratt/Unsplash

When we make a promise or the more official vow — just do it! That is what God would have you do.

We promise we will be better, that we will do this or that, that we will change. Those who hope in those promises are often disappointed because the one making the promises is usually the one who has left so much undone that promises of doing better are needed. Red Auerbach wrote, "An acre of performance is worth the whole world of promise."

We rejoice when we meet a person of their word. There is a quality of character in such a person that we admire. Jesus Christ was a little more forceful in His comment. He said, "Let your 'yes' be ‘yes' and your 'no' be ‘no' for whatever is more than these is from the devil" (Matthew 5:37). Promises are usually a "yes" that has not been carried out. When we make a promise or the more official vow—just do it! That is what God would have you do.”  From:


Christians, Jews and Holy Days

“Both Christians and Jews, for entirely different reasons, lost something so significant that it totally altered their understanding of a core biblical truth!

I was surprised today to see that my word processor’s thesaurus lists only one antonym for “evolution”—regression. On the other hand, synonyms include positive words like growth, progress, advancement, development.

I got the message: if you’re not evolving, you’re going backward, degenerating!

Curiosity prompted my thesaurus check. Are there better words than “evolution,” I wondered, to describe the monumental changes that have altered Christianity’s practices over the centuries?

Well, if evolution means progressing and advancing, I’ll find another word. I cannot say, in good conscience, these changes have been good.

What Christianity and Judaism lost

It’s commonly recognized that many of the practices and doctrines of the New Testament Church for the first couple of centuries after Christ are vastly different from what we see today. A prime example is in this issue’s lead article examining how Easter and its observances found their way into the Church. People write about this every year, so you’ve probably seen before its ties to paganism.

What you hear little about, however, is what got lost in all the religious confusion that arose after Christ.

Both Christians and Jews, for entirely different reasons, lost the same thing—something so significant that it totally altered their understanding of a core biblical truth!

After Jesus’ death, the symbolism and meaning of the holy days and festivals God gave Israel in the Old Testament stood to take on far greater clarity and depth by the revelations God would give the Church in the New Testament. They could open a beautiful understanding of how God was working out His salvation for humanity! But something blocked that.

Within a couple of centuries after Christ, fiercely anti-Semitic leaders rose to power in the Christian church. They systematically rejected anything perceived as “Jewish,” in particular, the seventh-day Sabbath and the holy days and festivals that God ordained. These are the days Jesus observed—the days the apostles and early Church kept.

And among the Jews a related problem developed. From the time of Christ, Jewish leaders had vehemently rejected Him as a radical, a dissident, a threat to their power base. His followers, who converted from Judaism to Christianity, were likewise heretics and enemies.

So, while Christianity kept a knowledge of Christ, by rejecting God’s holy days and festivals, it lost understanding of God’s plan. And, while Judaism kept the knowledge of those holy days and festivals, by rejecting Christ, it lost the chance to understand God’s plan.

Adopting these positions deeply affected how both Christianity and Judaism would develop—and it wasn’t progressive evolution! Today both are stuck without fully comprehending God’s plan of salvation—the Jews because they don’t connect Christ with the holy days, and the Christians because they don’t connect the holy days with Christ.

The Jews held onto the biblical holy days, but by pushing Christ out of the picture, they failed to develop deeper understanding of how He revealed the plan of salvation through those festivals. Christians held onto Christ, but by replacing God’s holy days with pagan-originated, empty-of-meaning religious festivals, they totally muddled what God is doing in His step-by-step plan of salvation.

You can find what they lost!

How many of the 2 billion-plus Christians today, would you say, can name more than one or two of the seven festivals that God gave in the Bible and describe their significance?

Likewise, although many of the 14 million-plus Jews steadfastly observe those festivals, how many have any idea of Christ’s role in them?

What about you? If you are not very familiar with the biblical holy days and festivals, I invite you to explore our Life, Hope & Truth website (just type “plan of salvation” in the search box) or download from the website’s Learning Center our booklet From Holidays to Holy Days: God’s Plan for You.

It’s an amazing truth that both Christianity and Judaism lost along the way, but it is waiting for you to rediscover!”  



True origins of Christmas

“Most people never stop to ask themselves what the major symbols of Christmas—Santa Claus, reindeer, decorated trees, holly, mistletoe and the like—have to do with the birth of the Savior of mankind. In the southern hemisphere summer climate of December, few people question why they observe a Christmas with northern hemisphere winter scenery!

The fact is, and you can verify this in any number of books and encyclopedias, that all these trappings came from ancient pagan festivals. 

Even the date, Dec. 25, came from a festival celebrating the birthday of the ancient sun god Mithras.

Jesus never told His followers to celebrate Christmas, but He did warn us not to adhere to false, man-made religious doctrines: "And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:7). The truth is, Christmas and other non-biblical religious holidays constitute vain or empty worship of Christ.

The Catholic Encyclopedia indicates that the Christmas season came from an ancient midwinter festival that occurred at the time of the winter solstice. Interestingly, the previously noted Origen, despite the early period in which he lived (ca. 182-251), never even mentioned it (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, Vol. 3, 1967, and "Christmas and Its Cycle," The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, Vol. 3, "Christmas").

Tertullian, another Catholic theologian who lived at about the same time (ca. 155-230), referred to compromising Christians then beginning to join in the pagan midwinter festival celebrated in the Roman Empire, which eventually evolved into what is now Christmas:

"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 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" (Tertullian in De Idolatria, quoted by Hislop, p. 93).

In time Catholic religious leaders added solemnity to this pre-Christian holiday by adding to it the Mass of Christ, from which it eventually came to be known by its common name of "Christmas."


If you'd like to learn more about the origins of the many customs and symbols associated with Christmas, request our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?