(December 19, 2017) Dr Jim McClure respected theologian, shares a Christ-centred Christmas word…
Today millions of Jews around the world are almost at the conclusion of the celebration of Hanukkah – which relates to something that occurred 2156 years ago.
It celebrates the recapture of Jerusalem and the rededication of the temple after the Syrian ruler, Antiochus, killed thousands of Jews, banned Jewish worship, prohibited the reading of the scriptures, sacrificed pigs on the altar and refused the Jews to practise the ceremonial laws of their religion.
A group of Jews, under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus, formed a band of guerrillas to fight against the much stronger and larger army of Antiochus – and they won! Jerusalem was liberated, the temple was cleansed, a new altar was built and the temple was rededicated in 139 BC. A new lampstand had to be made as the beautiful golden lampstand had been stolen from the temple by the Syrians.
Only pure fresh olive oil was ever used to provide the light on the temple’s lampstand… this is where the story gets really interesting. Only a small jar of pure olive oil could be found, sufficient for keeping the lamp lit for only one day. But apparently, miraculously, it burned for eight days until new oil was again available. That event is still celebrated over an eight day period today and it is also called The Festival of Lights. That eight day period this year is celebrated between the 12th and 20th of December.
I mention this because of the proximity of the Festival of Lights celebration to the Christian celebration of Christmas, and also because, while Hanukkah celebrates the miraculous gift of oil that provided light in the temple for eight days, at Christmas we celebrate the inexpressible gift of Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world. (more…)
GLEANINGS (October 28, 2106):
- MANDAN, USA – Be neighbourhood carriers of the light this Halloween
- GROVE, Oklahoma – Let your light shine!
- ERBIL, NORTHERN IRAQ – Run over by a tank, this monk now ministers to refugees
Halloween – Light a candle or curse the darkness!
Becky Fisher challenges: ‘Halloween – do you ‘sanitise it? Hide from it? Or confront it?’
For years I was one of those Christians who hid in the basement and turned off my lights to avoid participating. Or I joined my church with sanitised ‘Christian alternatives’ … ‘Halloween’ became Harvest Parties.
In a brief post like this, it’s hard to say everything I believe about Halloween. Just be assured I despise it. I have done several blogs on the topic and have come out strong against Christians participating with it. (Go to my website and search for ‘Halloween’ to see them.)
Time to shatter the darkness!
So, while some Christians still may not agree, a few years ago I thought why do we let the world spit out its demonic messages unchallenged to our kids? Why are we not telling the truth to kids in an age-appropriate way that they can grasp – both Christian kids and unsaved kids? I’m not looking for a ‘sticky lolly’ way to participate to be ‘religiously politically correct.’ I wanted to shatter the darkness and get in the face of evil with the truth! (more…)
Brian Bell shares a meditation on sorrow, shelter and security…
Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s recent article, God’s Mysterious Ways (https://connectingwithyou.net/2016/06/04/gods-mysterious-ways-june-4-2016/), brought to mind the lyrics of that old (1943) E J Rollings‘ Standing Somewhere in the Shadows song, very popular once.
Perhaps these words may be familiar to you –
Are your crosses too heavy to carry,
And burdens too heavy to bear;
Are there heartaches and tears and anguish
And there’s no one who seems to care? (more…)
Robert and Maureen McQuillan reflect on a life choice …
I (Robert) have a thing about steam trains!
My dad was an engineer – the official title for locomotive drivers in those yesterdays of steam trains.
I’ll never forget the day he took me – just a ‘little fellow’ in short pants – down to the local, large city rail station and explained about the, to me, ‘huge monster’ that was technically called the engine. And then being lifted up onto the platform, his working domain. What a thrill, and such excitement for a small boy.
Dad explained the controls, how the engine operated. It was a cold morning but the heat from the blazing firebox quickly warmed physically – my heart was already on fire with curiosity. I had stared at the huge wheels, now I gazed at the control levers, so much bigger than little me, so heavy looking, and back at the tons of coal in the tender. I was elated to be on that platform. (more…)
Harold Harvey shares…
Metaphors, similes and parables are forms of speech that many people use every day in their communication with each other. The New Testament uses these forms of speech quite often with regard to its message.
In fact, I think it nigh on impossible to understand the word of God unless one is familiar with these speech forms because the writers of scripture used them so frequently. (more…)
Conference speaker and author Ken Legg shares good advice:
‘We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Cor.3:18).
At one of my Radical Grace seminars I was teaching on what it means to live in the glory of the new covenant and someone asked me, ‘What about the Old Testament? Should we not read the Old Testament anymore?’ (more…)