Sunday, December 5, 2010

THE BENEFITS OF BEING A CHRISTIAN AND "NOT" CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS

Before the Christmas festivities get into full swing, I guess it is time for me to explain something many of you might think rather strange. Some of you may be surprised that there are members of our family who no longer wish people a "Merry Christmas". And it's not because we don't love you!! More than likely I will wish you a wonderful time with friends and family this season, rather than a "Merry" or even "Blessed" Christmas. If you ask me the typical "So, are you ready for Christmas?" question, you will not get a typical answer.

For several years now (3, or maybe even 4), my husband and I have deliberately chosen not to celebrate Christmas. The main reason being that we believe it is a throwback to Roman Catholicism and ultimately the pagan worship of false gods. We have been given odd stares and I have even been called a "scrooge" for our actions through the years. That's okay, we know what we believe and why we believe it. We believe we live and act with a clear conscience before God in this matter.

Several facts about this topic which are important to us:
  1. Christ was probably not born in December, but more likely in the Fall, possibly during the Feast of Tabernacles. One of His names is "Emmanuel", which means "God with us", and the Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles, which takes place in Fall, was prophetic about God dwelling among His people. Many pagans celebrate the birth of their false gods during the winter solstice in December. It was the Roman Catholic church who began the "Christ Mass" in order to appease and appeal to those who came into that church from paganism so that they could continue in their pagan practices and still feel comfortable in the church. Throughout history they have consistently compromised the Bible by allowing all sorts of pagan customs to be practiced in their church. Because we believe that the Roman Catholic church does not accept the Bible as their only authority and they also teach a false gospel of their own version of grace plus works, their teaching cannot be accepted as biblical. Therefore, we reject the teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic church, which has no authority over the true believer.
  2. "Christ Mass", with its suspect origins, has always been permeated with pagan traditions and has been commercialized so that it is little more to us than a big money-making racket and an opportunity for a debt burden, something no family needs.
  3. We don't believe you can "baptize" pagan traditions and make them Christian, and we don't believe God would want us to celebrate the birth of His Son during a time which has, for most of the history of this world (including the present), been a pagan festival.
  4. We believe that the birth of Christ was an important event, but that it pales in comparison to what He did for us by providing the way of salvation when He gave His life as a ransom and a propitiation for us. Nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to remember His birth, but both baptism and The Lord's Supper were given to the Church for us to remember His death and resurrection, the promise of eternal life. As we have focused more on these two things, we have found that our faith has become richer and more meaningful, not dictated by the RC "liturgical year", but rather a day-in and day-out death to self and the world and daily new life in Christ, keeping in step with the Spirit: the things that really matter in the Christian life. All the Christmas trappings were a mere distraction in comparison.
  5. As the world becomes more and more unified spiritually, economically and politically, we believe the global phenomenons of Christmas, and Easter (from the goddess "Ishtar/Ashteroth/Astarte" and/or "Oestre", Teutonic goddess of fertility), which is distinct from the Jewish/Christian Passover, may very well become two of the unifying factors in the false end time church, and also two of the ties, which for many churches falling into apostasy, will become links back to the Roman Catholic church, first of all, and then back to a pagan worldwide spirituality with the anti-christ at the helm. We are not interested in having anything to do with that.

THE BIGGEST BENEFIT I HAVE RECEIVED BY NOT CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS:
Changing the way we view this time of the year has opened up more opportunities for me to witness Christ to other people than any other occasion. Who in this culture doesn't get asked if they are "ready for Christmas" or "what are you doing for Christmas"? Each time I am asked one of these questions I have the opportunity to explain that, although we are Christians, we do not celebrate Christmas, rather than just giving the standard, expected answers. This has always been met with surprise and the desire to know the reasons why, giving us the perfect opportunity to explain some of the things I have mentioned in this post, and asking who Christ is to them and what His life and death mean to them personally. It has become the greatest witnessing opportunity I have all year. I have never had more opportunities than at this one time of the year, and all because we have broken with tradition. I have found this to be a rather interesting phenomenon, one which I did not expect, nor was it the reason we made this decision. It is just the way it has worked out for me. One of the best gifts I could ever receive.

So, how do we handle this worldwide phenomenon called Christmas? Because this is a time when our family receives time off work and school, we still get together to share a beautiful turkey meal and play games and enjoy each others company. We still give our children gifts, although we are also reconsidering changing the time of year that we do that. But that is it. No tree, no church Christmas banquets, no lavish decorations, and with time maybe no gifts on that particular occasion. Different, yes. But Christians are supposed to be different, not just for the sake of being different, but because their lives are guided by Scripture and not the world or the culture around them.

Please don't take this article as a personal condemnation of people who continue to celebrate Christmas. We understand that there are many people who have not taken the time to examine the issue, or just plain see the issue differently. Just because we have made the decision not to celebrate Christmas doesn't mean we have stopped loving our friends and family. And we do wish you all a very wonderful time with friends and family in the coming days.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic if you are willing to share them with us. Feel free to ask us any questions you may have. Since I have disabled comments on this blog, you will have to either put them on the facebook posting where I have placed this link or send me an email. Sorry for the inconvenience.

"One man judges one day as above another, another man judges one day as all others, let each man be fully convinced in his own mind." With the exception of the commandments to put faith in Christ and showing love of God by showing this to our neighbors, which include a moral code of non-hurtful actions towards others, each one of us must use our own "perceptive powers of understanding" and be "fully convinced in our own mind" of what pleases and displeases God, when it comes to the many conscience interpretations in the bible. All Christians would want to "welcome the man having weaknesses in his faith" and not to "be a cause for stumbling," however, to put undue restrictions and laws on others, because of our personal or organizational conscience, is to "put a heavy yoke on the shoulders of men" going beyond a stumbling factor and living by the "letter of the law that kills." It is the "spirit of the law that gives life." (Heb 5:14; 2 Cor 3:6; Rom 14:2-3,5,13,20; Matt 23:4) -http://www.escapefromwatchtower.com/pagan.html

Blessings in Christ Jesus,
Bonnie

Recommended Reading:
The Top 10 Reasons Why I don't Celebrate Christmas
Christmas: The Curious Origins of a Popular Holiday
The Pagan Origins of Christmas (from a New Age website for the purpose of revealing their understanding of the pagan origins of the holiday; this is not an endorsement of this website)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

PERSONAL PRAYER REQUEST

Update (December 5, 2010):
Thank you for your prayers for our family. Our granddaughter has been diagnosed with Chronic Benign Neutropenia. Although certain cell counts from her bone marrow test indicate she should have leukemia, no accompanying cancer cells were found - this is a medical impossibility, so either God has healed her or the doctors made a mistake, but she has no symptoms of leukemia and appears to be healthy, apart from the fact that she must guard carefully against infections, which would be life threatening if left untreated. My daughter continues to have undiagnosed health problems and the doctors continue to look for answers. We appreciate your ongoing prayers for both of them.

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First of all, I want to thank all those who have been praying for my physical health. There has been a great deal of improvement, although I still struggle with fatigue and have to cope with quite a bit of pain if I try to do more than my body will allow. I am about 70% better than I was three years ago, a point at which I was frequently bed-ridden. Praise God for the measure of health He has given me. I was so excited last Sunday that I was able to go for a 20 minute bike ride, something I haven't been able to do in quite some time.

Now I am requesting prayer for my oldest daughter and her husband and their baby girl, my only grandchild. My granddaughter became ill just after her first birthday and has been sick for the last two and a half months. She has a condition called severe neutropenia which causes her to have almost no immunity to viruses or infections and must be kept in strict isolation. She is also allergic to the only antibiotics safe for young children, which means that if she should contract some type of infection it would probably be fatal. It has been a very trying time for her parents as she has undergone numerous testing (lots of "pokes" for a one year old!) and is now waiting to have a bone marrow test early next week.

On top of all this, her mother has also been sick for the past 3-4 weeks. She was seen by three doctors yesterday and has had a full battery of blood tests done, although not all the results are back yet. The latest revealed a very high white blood count. She also has pain around her joints, fatique, unexplained bruising and lumps throughout her body. The two most likely possibilities are widespread infection or leukemia. They have gone to Saskatoon today for a second opinion, since the local doctors have gone on holiday and she was feeling much worse yet again today. Since I have had an unexplained, persistent cough for the last two weeks I have been unable to help her at home and with Elianna, since she cannot be exposed to me in case I am ill, so I would also ask that you would pray that my cough would go away.

Please pray that the doctors attending my daughter and granddaughter would have the wisdom to make an accurate diagnosis and provide the correct treatment for both of them. Also for daily strength for our whole family, but especially my son-in-law, who is bearing a great deal of this burden. We know that God is faithful and watching over us all, but also that the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous has much value. Would you please consider keeping us in your prayers daily as we go through this trial? Thank you in advance for all of those concerned and willing to do this.

To God be the Glory,
Bonnie



How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BRIAN MCLAREN AND RICHARD FOSTER EDITORIAL TEAM AGREE WITH LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS - CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER AND EASTERN MYSTICISM ARE THE SAME THING

From the November 1, 2009 Lighthousetrails Newsletter:

The headline in this article may seem preposterous – Brian McLaren and two other contemplative prayer proponents (Richard Rohr and Phyllis Tickle) agreeing with what Lighthouse Trails has been trying to say for eight years now? That the same contemplative prayer which is advocated by mainstream Christian leaders (Beth Moore, Chuck Swindoll, Rick Warren, Focus on the Family, etc) is the very same thing as eastern mysticism (i.e., Hinduism/Buddhism). How can we say such a statement?

In a book that was released this year titled The Big Book of Christian Mysticism,author Carl McColman (a former self-proclaimed pagan who converted to contemplative Catholicism) states that “no absolutely clear distinction can be drawn between Christian and non-Christian mysticism” (p. 64). In others words, they are basically the same thing. This is exactly what Lighthouse Trails has been attempting to warn against for many years.

Continue reading the rest of the article HERE.

For further reading on this topic:
1. "Contemplating Contemplative Prayer: Is It Really Prayer?" by Marcia Montenegro
2. "Contemplative Prayer or Terror?" by Roger Oakland
3. "What Is Biblical Prayer?" by Kent Rieske

Monday, March 29, 2010

A LONG-OVERDUE UPDATE

The past three months have been spent concentrating on finding medical help and pain relief for a condition I have struggled with for many years and has gotten worse lately, which means I have been unable to keep up with this blog. I have chosen to leave it open to the public at this time but have closed the comments due to the fact that I am not able to be online as much as previous. I have also decided I would rather spend any spare time I have doing research for a book I am hoping to write. A new blog posting may appear here from time to time, but it will be sporadic. If you wish to receive updates by email rather than having to check the blog, please contact me by email and I will include you on a list created for that purpose.

I have also become aware lately of the likelihood that somebody else has taken a user-name that I commonly use, fortheauthor or FORTHEAUTHOR, on occasion. This has been done by somebody who appears to have malicious intent towards me. Please beware of this if you come across it and the content is not like something I would put my name to. I would appreciate it if you would let me know if you find such a case. The internet can be a vicious place to express yourself and everyone seems to be fair game, especially if you are interested in expressing a biblical perspective and someone does not agree with you.

Thanks, Bonnie