Devotional

Hanukkah-Day 2

Hanukkah- Day 2

Again Jesus watches a candle being lit, the blessings are said and the feasting continues. But what is the history behind it all? Why did this tradition start? Let’s begin with one of my favorite men of action, Alexander the Great. Yep, he’s where this all began. Go figure. I should specify as to not tread on any toes, I like Alexander for his contribution to the equin world, from what we know of horse history we owe a lot to Alexander and his breeding. I also think that if it was ever actually discovered, his Library would be cool. We find Alex doing what he did best, conquering.

Alexander iii of Macedon known as the Alexander Great the Greek General (His Father Phillip of Macedon united much of Greece, he was Macedonian but raised with Greek tutors) took over much of Asia including Palestine, Persia and North Africa. He died just before his 33 birthday (same age as Jesus) in 323 BC. It is said he divided his Kingdom amongst his 4 generals, but it is actually way more complex than him just giving the Kingdoms to 4 generals, with military clashes and political intrigue but 2 or 3 did rise to the top, so to speak. I have also heard that Alexander did not give his kingdom to any of his generals but instead they simply took and battled for his kingdom after he was dead. The latter making a fair amount of sense considering Alexander did have a son who should have inherited his whole Kingdom . Alex was married three times before his death and his last wife he had a son with but the boy was assassinated at the age of 14 . It doesn’t seem his generals had anything to do with that , but who knows ? They easily could have plotted against him . Ptolemy was over Egypt and Seleucus was Syria, Babylon, Persia, and India.

The Ptolemies controlled Palestine from 323 to about 200 BC then the Seleucids took over. (Cleopatra was a Ptolemy) The Ptolemies allowed Jewish religion. The Seleucid Antiochus iii seemed to leave them alone as well, but Antiochus iv known as Epiphanes was very pro Greek culture and started disallowing Jewish religion. Putting Greek friendly Jews in positions of power. Here’s where things really get interesting.

Footnote:

Larry VanBeek, doctor of Theology

Devotional

Recently I realized something that I should have known a long time ago, Jesus probably celebrated hanukkah. Going on this thought I became curious about the holiday/celebration, so I decided to research it. Up came the name Maccabees so I called my dad who is a theologian and has read all those books and got the rundown. It has been argued that the book of The Maccabees should have been added to the Bible for its history and of course for the miracle. It was not added however, so many don’t realize the significance of the books- the eight days of oil Miracle is just a part (a very important part) of the story. Over the next 6 days I want to cover a small section of the amazing true story of Hanukkah. Pronounced with an exaggeration on the ha, try not to soak anyone when you do that😉 I will only do six days because of Christmas.

advent · Christianity · Christmas · Devotional · Jesus · searching · True Joy

I’d rather be in Bethlehem tonight

As Connie Scott sings, I’d rather be in Bethlehem tonight, just to be one of the shepherds, just to hear the angels sing.
I’d rather be close to the baby. Draw me closer to Him. Do we long to be closer to the King? Would we give up our presents and decorations to be in Bethlehem? To be there to see the wonder of wonders? To hear the angels and see the star? Would we want to be shepherds just so we could be amung the few who witnessed the baby in the manger? Do you long to be in Bethlehem tonight?

Christianity · Devotional · guidance · Jesus · still fighting · The Bible

We take the love, but do we return it?

We say we should love people back into Heaven. Jesus told us to love, has become the motto of our generation. But are we truly loving? When we tell people their sin is okay because Jesus covered it, that’s not love, that’s a lie. Yes Jesus covered our sin on Calvary, but that doesn’t make the sin okay, it means that as the devil stands before God accusing us of our sin Jesus can say, “but I paid that debt.” Does that mean that the devil having the right to accuse us who claim ourselves Deciples greives God any less? No. Not even a little bit. Every sin hurts God even though it’s covered (when we repent) under the cross. Jesus loved us enough to take all our sin onto Himself so we can ne saved. But we don’t love Jesus enough to stop sinning and change. We can’t spit in God’s face by saying sin is okay because of Jesus, that’s not a proper interpretation of the Bible. We are saved because we follow and love Jesus, but if we keep sinning willfully and don’t ever change or repent then we don’t love Jesus and we aren’t deciples. How many times do we nail Jesus back to the cross by telling people their sin is okay and they can keep doing it because Jesus loves them?
It is so easy to shrug off sin. But if we love Jesus we should recoil at sin and pray for God’s protection from the devil. We don’t sin on our own, we sin by letting the devil in. How do we do this? Through what we watch, feel, think, listen to, read. The devil is always waiting for an open door.
Jesus loves us enough to cover our sin. Do we love Him enough to resist our sin?

Christianity · Devotional · guidance · Jesus · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

I’m just too young to know better

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119:9‭-‬12

People write off our falling away from God and sinning as a product of youth, but that isn’t right. The Bible tells us how to live, if we love God we will live according to His word no matter our age or lack there of. I know so many good strong Christ loving young people. I know even more who have fallen away from God. Why? Because we aren’t taught the Bible like we used to be. Our parents no longer require us to go with them to church. We don’t bother to pray. So, we fall away. So many youth don’t even believe in sin. But sin is real. The devil isn’t a scary bedtime cheracter, he’s a seeking enemy looking to kill your soul. Jesus isn’t just a happy go lucky smiling face on a bilboard. Sin eats away like a virus. The devil corrupts and kills and makes it look like what we are doing isn’t wrong. Jesus is the one true powerful king and God, and the only way to Heaven. Don’t let youth be your excuse. Stick to the narrow path and seek Jesus.

advent · Christianity · Christmas · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · power of God

There must be more

There must be more to Christmas
I really think we’re missing something
There must be more to Christmas
But what?
-veggietales

Lights. Camera. Action.
Isn’t that how Christmas seems to go? And that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with fun and decorations and a little healthy gift wrapping. But. We can’t forget the reason for it all. Not just now, but all year. I know we talk a lot about how people have missed the true meaning of Christmas, but if we’re honest what people have missed is the true meaning of life. Jesus wasn’t meant to stay under our Christmas tree, He was meant to be a part of our day to day lives. In Evie’s song a Shepherd’s prayer, the little shepherd begs to be moved closer to the savior. He wants to touch Him, to hold His hand. He isn’t satisfied by looking at the baby from a distance. We need to be like that. Not satisfied with just a short service at Christmas to remember Jesus, but instead to be obsessed with being with Him. I know talking about obsession isn’t popluar, and being a fanatic is claimed as wrong, but to have a sole focus on Christ isn’t a bad thing, if He is all we see then we will live better and do better. There must be something more, but what?
It’s not what, it’s who.
Jesus is our something more. We need Him, but we forget that and only give Him what is basic. He didn’t forget us, and He gave us everything not even sparing His own life. There must be more to Christmas. There must be more to this life. And that more, is Jesus.

Christianity · Devotional · guidance · holy spirit · Jesus · power of God · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Are we willing?

Are we willing?

What does your dream, goal and ambition mean to you? When the government tells you that you can’t be a teacher, lawyer, politician, doctor, and so on, unless you accept certain sins as no longer sin what will you do? Is dream worth so much that you will buckle and bow to the death system. Death system was a term that came up when I was a kid. In books, in TV (mostly anime) it means a system unacknowledgably careening toward destruction, sort of like Chaos Theory. Back then even the secular world could see it coming and what it would bring. Now even Christ followers bow to the death system. Not the death of the planet, though much of the shows that winked at the death system did cover the death of nature, but instead we should focus on the death of our souls and the rape of our minds. Do we even know what’s wrong anymore? Or are we taking a pen and crossing out the parts of our Faith that offend us? I was reminded recently of what Christians face in countries that don’t support the Christ belief. People with high IQs and great talent have demeaning jobs, can’t attend certain schools or social events and live in shamble, because they refuse to deny even a tiny part of Jesus, they embrace Him even though they are left in the street by the world. Do we? Are we willing to take the humble road rather than deny even a speck of our Lord? So often we see “christians” praised for taking a job in a secular setting because they can, “promote their witness” there. But do they? How much of Jesus did they have to deny to get that job? What sins did they accept so that they would be accepted? The devil sits back and gestures to a goblet, “drink this, accept the darkness and I will give you everything.” Jesus takes our hand and says, “don’t! It’s a trap.” We pull away from Christ, “if I drink what he offers then he will give me a place in society where I can promote you better, it’s just a little sip, I’ll be fine.” Our bold statement dies as we drink the whole glass and join the devil. If Jesus says something is wrong then it is wrong no matter our good intentions. Are we willing to live as ditch diggers and serve Jesus by denying the devil? Or have we already taken of the death drink, and now we serve the devil under the badge that used to say ‘Christian’, but now says ‘deceived’?
We are so lost in this death system that we have forgotten what life is. Go back to Jesus. Reach for Him. Don’t let the devil deceive you. Don’t let your heart become poisoned. Give yourself to Jesus. Whatever you end up doing, no matter how valueless it feels, remember- if you are doing it for Jesus, if you are sacrificing it for Jesus, if you are suffering it for Jesus, then what your doing is right. The easy road of compromise leads to death. Not death in this world, but death of your soul. Don’t give in. Fight back. Dare to take God at His word no matter the cost.

Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Final Level!

Final level

Growing in God is something we hear a lot.
“I’m just growing in God.”
“Don’t forget to grow in God.”
“Always grow in God.”
But what does grow in God mean? What visual does that statement give you? I used to picture a sapling, growing into a tree. But lately I’ve had a different visual. Video Games. Hang on, don’t run away yet. Let me explain. Recently I was reminded of my short stint as an avid gamer, and that brought to mind this simili. I had a game for a time… actually I think it’s still in my closet, anyway- this game was a progressive story arc type. You know, you have an avitar and you follow the cheracter on different quests and so on. I recall the peace of the starter village. Old fashioned cabins, cathedrals and pretty brick bridges. You could walk and never see a monster all day. But as you leveled up the game obviously grew harder. Eventually I reached a level where I had to look up the hacks to pass it. Monsters were everywhere and they didn’t die no matter how hard you attacked them. The only way to win that level was to let your character lose all his or her strength, right before your avatar was down for the count you would get a bonus strength boost, and that was the only way to win. What do I mean by all this?
When we first become Christians it’s nice to go to church, maybe bake for a potluck, perhaps you will even read your Bible once in a blue moon. It’s nice and quiet with no work. But. That’s not how we are meant to stay. We are intended by God to level up. And as we level up things will get harder, because the devil wants to keep us low and weak. Say you keep going. Level after level. Praying every day, reading your Bible with conviction, volenteering at your Church and Church events, maybe even branching into missions work. With each level you grow, but with each level the monsters seem to increase. One day you find yourself in an abandoned town with monsters that refuse to die. Why? Because you are doing things right. Thay doesn’t make sense, does it? But the devil is fighting against you. Whatever that monster is. An illness, debt, a habit, or something less personal, like how the world has gone and the darkness and sin taking over. Everywhere you see the monsters. You have fought and fought and now you are on your last life. But don’t forget. As you were leveling up and growing, God was growing with you. Not that He was ever small, but maybe He was small inside you because you hadn’t let Him grow yet. Now you have been growing in God and God has been growing in you, so when your last life comes up blinking and your avatar gets fuzzy, don’t give up! Hold down the A and Y buttons and use your power boost to kill those monsters. In other words, use your trump card. Pray. Talk to God and use His power within you to win the battle and reach the final level. You are never fighting or growing alone, God is right there, you just need to reach for Him.
So go on friends. Level up. Grow with God.

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · Jesus · Love · power of God · searching

Hearthorse


Hearthorse
A hearthorse is that one horse who loves you more than himself. He will do anything you ask, even when the other horses give up and walk away. Why? Training for one thing. And he has a heart for you. He loves you so much he would walk through fire for you. Most horses would dump you on your tush and bolt if they even smelled a big fire. Not your heart horse. He will carry you through and trust that you know what you’re doing. Do we have a heart for God like that? A heart that says “you lead. I’ll follow. Because I trust in you.”
I like to think that I do. Then I have a day like today. It was a great and fun day, but I failed God badly. There was a woman with a painful and injured hand. I knew I should pray for her but I was afraid, I was afraid of being laughed at and afraid that maybe God would choose not to heal her and then she might doubt God. I feared a lot of dumb stuff, so I did nothing and left. Praise Jesus for my friend who was there too. She took the time to look around, see a large line up behind her of people waiting to go through the check out and said, “I see you are in pain. I promise I will pray for you.” Then we left. And she did. She prayed whole heartedly for that woman. I don’t know if the woman was healed or not because we didn’t see her again, but I do know that my friend pleased God by making a faith statement in public. And I know that I dissapointed Him because I said nothing. Do we have a heart for God? Do we love Him enough to walk through fire for Him? If not, how do we change ourselves to love Him more? I’m not an expert, but I would say from what I read of the Bible, that reading the Bible and praying is the way to draw closer to God. A great way to be fired up for Him is studying Him and remembering how Holy and powerful He truly is.
I don’t want to fail God. But I do everyday. I want a heart for Him, but I know that fear often holds me back. I am just so glad that God understands how limited I am and helps me and guides me and gives me another chance 10, 000 times a day. Praise God for His mercy, power and love.

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · holy spirit · Jesus · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible

Blood Fuller

Blood fuller

Before we get started I want to make it clear that yes, I do know that a blood fuller has been proved to have nothing to do with the channeling of blood through the sword’s channel to cause the removal of the blade to be easier or for the target to die quicker. Instead the Fuller is meant to strenghthen and lighten the long blade so it doesn’t wobble like a plastic child’s sword, this was arguably first used in Japan’s Katana swords.

Now that we have covered the facts, I want to use the old myths for my imagery instead. The blood channel full and ready to strike. Weilding with passion and quickly removed to continue it’s defense.
The sword of the warrior, coated in blood and ready to strike again.
The blood channel, as a grizzly image of destruction and strength. Destruction of the enemy. Strength of the defender.
The Holy Spirit is misrepresented in many places these days. He is seen as a fluttering White butterfly, harmless, gentle, powerless. This is not accurate. Yes the Holy Spirit is gentle and unassuming -but- he is still the spirit of the Living God. When God sent his sword through Egypt did you see him as weak, harmless, or powerless? Of course not. He is the spirit of God. He is powerful. He is Ageless. And he is a warrior, and we forget that. We like to think of the Spirit as someone who encourages us and helps us with our gifts and helps us not do naughty things, which is true in part, but He is also bloodstained and ready for battle. He isn’t a pixie flying around causing magic to happen, He IS the powerhouse inside of us battling our demons with us. He isn’t floating around with a harp, he is walking boldly with his sword drawn, ready for battle. The devil is constantly attacking us, even in ways we don’t see, it’s the Holy Spirit in us who is battling for us. God called the sword of the Spirit a sword for a reason.
Going into battle in the days before guns and bombs your greatest weapon was usually your sword. Swords also had a certain claim that came with them, a claim to authority and power, not just anybody had a sword, usually only people a heritage whose background and bloodline gave them a title and a power. Sure some of your average people had swords too, but not high quality swords. Some swords even had a reputation of their own, one that the wielder inherited with the weapon. Our sword. Our Spirit, comes with His own reputation, the reputation of God and all He has done in the past long before the book of Acts. God mentions His Spirit and His Sword often. He has a reputation, but we don’t read the old Testament so we forget. Our sword also comes with a claim to Authority and power; the authority and Power of the Living God. And we have earned this sword not through our own works but through our heritage as children of God. Our bloodline has nothing to do with our DNA or our ancestry, our bloodline that grants us this power and authority in this earth is the bloodline flowing Down the Cross at Calvary and washing our feet in its Crimson Tide. Our sword is a weapon of power and authority. The spirit of God lives inside of us. Whom can harm us? And of whom shall we be afraid?