Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thoughts on the Old Year

It has been several years since I have looked forward to the new year starting, all the fireworks and the countdown just has no excitement to me.  I see the new year as the beginning of wondering 'what will happen this year'.

As this year ends and the new one begins I want to just touch on some things that did happen during 2009.

January brought a new president for us in America, one who, by all accounts, should not even be president as there is still the underlying wonder if he was even born an American and absolutely no desire to make the people happy by providing real proof, only a cover-up that involves much deceit and treachery , let alone his obvious lack of experience.  As time passed this year he has certainly showed his true colors as he has let people call him the messiah, has acted in a most humiliating way towards world leaders, and seems to have little time for anyone who does not see things his way, including the American people who have all but been shunned as non-people.  It amazes me, yet I am not surprised by how many still think he is so wonderful. 

Due to 'global warming' we have also experienced a great amount of snowfall and low temperatures.  January 1st, 2009 came in with snow, then it snowed again on the 4th and the 27th.  February brought more snow for us on the 10th and the 26th, then March with snow falling on the 7th, 9th and 15th...it even snowed here on April 1st!  Not to mention the previous deluge of snow in December of 2008!  It was a crazy year of snow here in the Pacific Northwest.  All across our country and Canada we had record snowfall December 2009 brought a great amount of snow across the country and here we have been experiencing below freezing temperatures for day on end, to the extent that even the salt water is getting a layer of ice on it.

This year on the 30th of July (which is the 9th of Av, Tisha B'av) a group of Israelites began building the altar for the temple they hope to build soon:

"The Temple Institute began work on the sacrificial altar Thursday, Tisha B’av, the day the Second Temple was destroyed almost 2,000 years ago.
The Temple Institute has already built several of the Temple vessels such as the Ark and the menorah, and has now embarked on an ambitious project to build the altar, which will ultimately measure 3 meters wide by 3 meters long and 2 meters tall.
During Thursday’s ceremony, which took place in Mitzpe Yericho just east of Jerusalem, the Temple Institute laid the cornerstone for the altar and demonstrated how tar will be used to cement the stones together. The Institute plans on bringing the altar to its proper place on the Temple Mount when the Temple is rebuilt.
“Today, Tisha B’av, is not just a time to mourn the destruction of the Temple,” said Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the head of the Temple Institute. “It is also a time to build.”" (taken from Arutz Sheva Israel National News)

The significance of this is HUGE and yet few really know of it taking place.  Mitzpe Yericho is a religious communal Israeli settlement near the site of Jericho.  They are training priests for temple duties there as well.

Major deaths for the year were Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, Billy Mayes and Farrah Fawsett all considered 'kings' and a 'queen' in their field of entertainment and all dying within a few days from each other during a time when the House was voting on the Cap and Trade bill, which passed through the House and Iran was in the middle of voting fraud.  Quite a distraction to be sure. There were over 140 celebrities who died in 2009, including Patrick Swayze, David Caradine and Ted Kennedy.  Oral Roberts also died this year.

As mentioned above we had the 'Cap and Trade bill during the summer of 2009, we have had several other bills that are trying to be passed through Congress as well as the Bail-outs/Stimulus/Cash for Clunkers thing....lets see...spend and create more money to get out of debt and destroy perfectly good cars, makes sense right?

Here is a list of some other important to remember things that took place during 2009 in no particular order:

1. Austrailia experiences major brush fires and a sand storm that turns the sky red.
2. H1N1 Virus claimed to be a pandemic and vaccines pushed.
3. American flight makes an emergency landing in the Hudson River due to complete engine failure, everyone survives.
4.Guantanamo Bay is scheduled to be closed by the end of the year by the President on his second day in office.
5. President is sworn in 'incorrectly' making another swear in necessary 'behind the scenes.'
6. Recession/Depression causing much turmoil in the Stock Market and bankrupting countries such as Iceland and Dubai and bringing the U.S.A. down greatly.
7. Huge 'meteors' coming through the atmosphere and lighting up the night sky, creating loud explosions and shaking the earth. See here: Fireball Nov 18th, 2009 and Monster Fireball Dec. 14th, 2009 , More on Monster Fireball
8.Solar Eclipse over Asia and Pacific Ocean.
9. G-20 meets in Pittsburgh, preventing protesters to have a voice by keeping them well away from the area.
10. Lisbon Treaty voted on, passed and signed by EU, now becoming European Law, taking away sovereignty.
11. Herman Van Rompuy, Prime Minister of Belgium, becomes the first permanent President of the European Council.
12. President Barak Obama receives the Nobel Peace Prize.
13. The UN Climate Change Conference is held in Denmark.
14. An unusual 'spiral' in the sky of Norway and a strange 'pyramid' are visible in the sky on the same day, weird stuff.
15. A man with no passport is allowed on plane to Detroit from Amsterdam, he attempts to blow up the plane, but fails thankfully.
16. Four police officers are killed.
17. 29 recorded earthquakes of magnitude 5 or higher with multiple aftershocks around the world including Italy with over 300 dead.
18.  Volcanic eruptions of Mt. Redoubt, Alaska, many other volcanoes are erupting as well.

This has been a busy year indeed!

Can hardly wait to see what happens next...it is surreal to take this time to look back at what 2009 has been.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

About Christmas

How can I as a follower of Jesus not celebrate Christmas?  By celebrating I mean these things...not put up a tree or decorate, party or give gifts.  Many use Jeremiah 10:1-5 as part of their reason for not having a tree and I do agree it is a good argument, even though it is talking about making a tree into an idol...here it is:

Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; 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 with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. 

And then there is this passage in Revelation 11,which speaks about the two witnesses being killed, makes me wonder what it means?

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

I do not mean that we don't get together with family, that we be rude to others who do not see it 'our way', or not talk about Jesus at all during this time because he wasn't born on Dec. 25th, that would be a wrong way of dealing with not celebrating Christmas and God does not want us to be this way at all!  We are however called to be set apart from the world, so we cannot do Christmas like everyone else.  At this point there is no difference between the Non-Christians and the Christians, they both set up trees and decorate, make cookies and give gifts to each other in the name of Santa Claus...you virtually cannot tell them apart, what a shame that is!

Most people know that Jesus was not born Dec. 25th, but it has so been ingrained in us that this is when we celebrate, it is hard and uncomfortable to change and sometimes we hurt others unintentionally when we make the choice to end the madness of Christmas.  That is inevitable.  The truth is hard and not everyone will see it no matter what it is whether because of tradition or memories or they just do not care to know or whatever their reasons or blockages...we are all imperfect after all.  Thankfully, our salvation does not stand on these things but on Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again so we could be set free and there is grace for those who believe in Him!

Knowing it is not Jesus' real birthday and has become a time for spending money we don't really have, eating too much and talking about Santa coming to town is enough for me to not celebrate let alone the pagan roots which I won't go into here.  So what do I do about the time of year when most people are open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  This is the dilemma we face when choosing to not celebrate Christmas.

For us, we have chosen instead to celebrate Hanukkah, which is the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication and falls in December, but not always during Christmas time.  The last two years we spent much time learning the root of this holiday and finding Jesus in it and acknowledging it (John 10:22).  He says that He is the Light of the world, the Menorah in the temple was also known to be called the 'light of the world' and the windows in the temple were built to shine the light out to the world.  He also calls us who follow Him the light of the world.  We have also found that He was sent of God more than likely during Hanukkah and was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, which is the reference Immanuel, God with us.  So Hanukkah has become very important to us now that we understand it better.

 What does celebrating Hanukkah look like?  It could be different for each family and even from year to year.  For us this year, we bought and hung up around our windows some white and blue snowflake lights, because white stands for purity and blue for loyalty and we want to be pure and loyal to God.  We made our own Hanukkah menorah, called a Hanukkiah, a few years ago and it sits in our window all year long.  So, each night of Hanukkah we light the servant candle which then lights one candle for each night eight nights in all.  Thus remembering the 8 days of the first Hanukkah in which the oil of one day lasted for 8, and remembering that Jesus (the servant candle) has made us the light of the world (the other candles)with his Holy Spirit (oil) and has given us enough 'light' to make it to the end.  We then have to chose to shine brightly for the Lord and not put our light under a bushel but set it out for all to see.

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. Luke 11:33

 As for Christmas what do we do?  We get together with our family of course...God is not afraid of the ways of this world and neither should we be. Maybe they don't understand and maybe they never will understand us and what we do and they might even choose to think we don't celebrate Jesus coming, but we do each day in our hearts we are so thankful that God sent His only begotten Son because he loved the world, that whoever believes on His Son might be saved!  In our freedom from sin and death we celebrate!  Praise God!  How will they know if we avoid or ignore them on this day or any day?  We may not be of this world, but we are still in it, therefore, we must do what we can to shine the light of Jesus whether received or not. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)

Please check out this link as well, it is very interesting:


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Sadness of the Coming Days

Two days ago in Lakewood, WA, four police officers were shot and killed in a local cafe`.  There were no warnings this would happen, there were no words exchanged, no visible reason could be seen in the incident.  But, the similarity between the ambush and the killing of the one officer at the beginning of the month were eerie...could it be the same assassin?  As the day progressed, they found who their suspect was...a very disturbed individual who was suppose to be serving a life sentence in another state far away, but mysteriously was let out only to be arrested again and let out on bail again...why???

Nothing happens by accident...there are reasons we cannot understand, maybe it is our fault for not praying enough???  Maybe it is our fault for forgetting God as a nation???  There are always the fall guys...but what is the real reason he was let out?  God forgive us!  It isn't any one persons fault...it happened...and by all accounts it is suppose to get worse as time creeps towards the end...not very excited about that, it is maddening and distressing and discouraging and we demand justice...but there is no justice...'because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.'  (Isa. 5)

Today I heard that the suspect was shot and killed last night...I am relieved that he was found and no one else was killed by this cold-hearted person filled with such hatred...but I am sad that he died not being forgiven and will be forever separated from God...

What terrors await us in the coming days...more senseless crimes and murders..more tragedies and natural disasters...more fear...more chaos not known to most of us here in America...a great sadness and apparent hopelessness.  Will we be prepared for this?  Will we be able to stand against such things?  God help us!  We are weak, we are but a shadow of what we should be, we have placed our trust in men and they have failed us, we have not looked to the Lord and trusted in Him!  God forgive us!  We have let ourselves grow fat and lazy!  We have despised the way of the Lord!  God forgive us!  We have traded our good things for that which perishes!  We have forgotten the Lord and must return to Him!  But, will this nation turn?  It is a pattern, it is laid out...the abominations are great like that of Sodom & Gomorrah or the days of Noah...and are growing it seems daily.   We have compromised with the world for security, for comfort, for pleasure...and is it any wonder that Jesus asked, 'will I find faith on the earth' when He returns? 

God forgive us for not following You!

Asleep in the Light

Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down
Don't you care, don't you care
Are you gonna let them drown

How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job's done

"Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord"
You know it's all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts
No one even sheds one tear

But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds
And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in,
Oh, can't you see it's such a sin?

Cause He brings people to you door,
And you turn them away
As you smile and say,
"God bless you, be at peace"
And all heaven just weeps
Cause Jesus came to your door
You've left him out on the streets

Open up open up
And give yourself away
You see the need, you hear the cries
So how can you delay

God's calling and you're the one
But like Jonah you run
He's told you to speak
But you keep holding it in,
Oh can't you see it's such a sin?

The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can't fight
Cause it's asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When you've been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can't even get out of bed

Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on, get out of your bed

How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job's done
You close your eyes
And pretend the job's done

Don't close your eyes
Don't pretend the jobs done
Come away, come away, come away with Me my love,
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, my love.

~Keith Green