Yes, I know it’s not Christmas yet. But I want to get you thinking about its non-religious meaning before all the commercial and religious huppla makes you numb to the topic. And I want you to have a whole new experience this year. So forget everything you’ve ever heard “Christians” and atheists say regarding Jesus and read to the end.
Etymology of “Holiday”
The word “Holiday” came from the phrase “Holy Day.” (Ought Oh . . . you ARE talking religion. NO I’m NOT! Keep reading!) “Holy Day” meant “a day set aside” for a special purpose or remembrance. It was a day set aside specifically to think about and commemorate a theme which or person who impacted history. And to enjoy related discussions and remembrances with friends and family. On Memorial Day, we not only have the day off, but we have it off because brave men and women died to preserve our freedom and liberty. Martin Luther King Day commemorates the ministry and life of Dr. King and his valiant stand for civil rights against bigotry and oppression.
So why is Christmas a “Holy day”?
The One whose birthday we celebrate every December 25–though that was not the actual date when he was born–has so impacted the world you and I live in, that time itself is classified as A.D. “Anno Dei”–“the year of our Lord.” The celebration of that birth–the birth of God’s Messiah (or “anointed One”) divides old history (B.C.) from new history (A.D). The coming or “advent” of the Messiah not only did that, but it ushered in a new Kingdom. A Kingdom far different from the Kingdoms of men. It divided of an Old Covenant with God and ushered in a New Covenant (that’s where believers get the tern “New Testament” even though it’s origin is thousands of years old). When Messiah Jesus came, He inaugurated the prophesied “Kingdom of God.” What’s more, He claimed that Kingship. And God backed Him up, proving His claims by raising Him from the dead. NO OTHER HISTORIC WORLDVIEW CLAIMS A RESURRECTED SAVIOR AS ITS LIVING LEADER. Yes, Jesus is Alive! This is not religion. This is HISTORY.
The Supernatural Kingdom of God
People have always mistaken that Kingdom God for a human, political/religious Kingdom. Yet, that Kingdom has been expanding and growing quietly, secretly just as Jesus said it would. Most often, the Royal Reign of God is totally missed . . . even by so-called “Christians.” But those who are truly included in that Kingdom understand and expand it joyfully. We recognize its supernatural origins and ultimate natural manifestation.
“he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’” (Luke 8:10)
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.”” (John 3:3)
“for through him [Jesus] God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)
The Shepherd-King Knows Us
We aren’t necessarily recognized by the world or even by the church, but we know that we know the King and–more importantly–He knows us personally. He communicates with us and we with Him (Gospel of John 10:14, 23). Those who say that they are followers of Christ or know Him are quite mistaken if they have never heard Him call them by name. Hear what Jesus himself says regarding this:
“To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:3–4)
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14–15)(emphasis mine)
Jesus–the Shepherd King–is the reason for the season. He is the center-point of human history. It is from His life that both western and eastern Christianity were birthed. Granted, Christian orthodoxy has swung wide from it’s original intent and founder, but that does not mean that His was a life to be ashamed of or relegated to “religion.” Jesus is King of the Royal Reign of God–the Kingdom of God. He is God’s best and final WORD to hurting, distressed, and broken world.
Here and Coming Kingdom
The horrors converging upon this world in the forms of Ebola, ISIS, weather anomalies, kingdom rising up against kingdom, decadence and dissolution are evidences of the second-coming of the King:
“Then he [Jesus] gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”” (Luke 21:29–36)
You are Invited IF you Hear His Voice
This Christmas, perhaps you might think about topics worthy of the season, you will give and receive gifts, but if you don’t know the Shepherd-King’s voice or have fellowship and great joy from knowing Him (especially if He doesn’t know you), you have a hopeful word from Him. He said:
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)(emphasis mine)
If you don’t know Him. If you’ve never asked Him to call you by name . . . Don’t waste a moment. Get alone and in all seriousness call upon Him with a sincere heart and watch the miracle unfold over the next few hours, days or weeks. He has another promise:
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37)(emphasis mine)
Celebrate a Messiah-centered Christmas this year as a follower of the Shepherd-King whose Kingdom is Just, good, compassionate, supernatural, and everlasting!
DISCLAIMER: We don’t behead those who don’t want the Royal Reign of our God. We grieve that they have missed out on the Kingdom and our most wonderful Shepherd and have never heard His voice.
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If you really want to know the TRUTH about ISIS, Jihad, and Islam; this video is MUST VIEWING to correct mistaken notions that believers spread through ignorance of what’s really going on behind the myths we hold.
Recently my wife, Marcy, read me a quote from an “Open Doors” ministry memo. Islamic extremists (devout Mohammedans) issued an ultimatum following “prayers on July 18.” Following PRAYERS! [which tells as much about their god as it does them] Are you ready?
We offer Christians three choices: convert to Islam, pay the Jizya [a protection tax], or you will have ‘nothing but the sword.’”
In other words, their god tells them that either you convert, submit, or die. This is the core of Islamic devotion to Mohammed.
The memo goes on to report that Mosul was home to 3,000 Christians before the attacks by ISIS—the Islamic State in June 2014. Now the majority of those followers of Jesus Christ have had to flee. Why? Because the god of death has issued an ultimatum against the God of Life and His people—Jews and followers of Christ.
This is not a new war. This is not a new version of Islam. Nor is it merely a human war. We’ve seen this all through history.
I was amazed when I heard Bill O’Reilly say that he just didn’t get it where all the antisemitism came from in history. I’ve watched O’Reilly for years. I appreciate his take on things. But I was shocked that a student of history who also testifies to being a Christian doesn’t know where it came from.
[True followers of Christ do not go around forcing anyone to believe in Yahweh or Jesus. We certainly present Him as the Truth, but that is because Truth is who HE revealed himself to be. We simply present HIS claims. People are free to choose or not. God grants this liberty, this freedom to all human beings. Therefore no one in heaven or earth, human or non-human can take it away. That’s why genuine followers of Christ (I can’t speak for all who claim the title “Christian” because horrors have been perpetrated upon the world in the name of God by those who did not know Him). Those Jesus said were His true followers, understand Him and will not follow another, or DO THINGS THAT DENY HIS CHARACTER. They are possessed by the Spirit of Christ.
ISIS is a typical example of the anti-Yahweh, anti-Christ spirit. This is the demonic principality that was in Haman, Herod the Great [who, sometime between 4BC-2BC, had all Jewish boys below the age of 2 murdered], Mohammad, Catholic zealots of the Inquisition, countless others in the dark ages, in Hitler and his SS, and today continues to possess Islam’s decadent followers of allah. I assure you demon oppression and possession is real, not figurative. I have been involved in deliverance ministry in the past and I assure you, what I’ve encountered there is the same reality that Jesus encountered in His own ministry. I didn’t just read about deliverance ministry, I live it. So I recognize it when I see it.
Jesus Christ said that you can know a people by the spiritual animus and character of their god. The god of Islam demands that people die. The God and Father of Jesus Christ demands that people not murder one another: “Thou Shalt not Kill” and “Love your enemies.” The Spirit of Yahweh’s unique Son—Jesus Christ—animates His true followers. You will not find them threatening, killing, hating, and hunting down those who will not accept their worldview. They serve the only true God—a God of LIFE! The author of love, who has chosen to reveal Himself through the Messiah as “Father.” And not a dysfunctional father either.
Allah is a god of death who has no son.
Yahweh is the author of Life and love, and testifies that He has a Son–Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
They obviously are NOT the same god.
Christians MUST take a stand in prayer against this evil demonic god and his demonized followers. Jesus identified the Father of all (including the Jews) who would commit murder and say they’re doing it for God . . . Their father, allah, is the father of lies. The Pharisee’s father was Satan himself–the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning. Hear Jesus:
“ . . . your father the devil. A liar and murderer.”
You can easily know who a person is following as his god by the fruit that follows. Jesus said of FALSE prophets (including, and especially Mohammad) that “ . . . you shall know them by their fruits.” What do their lives produce. Even their words can fool you, but their character and what they leave in their wake will not (if you have eyes to see and ears to hear).
Those who love and follow Christ are too busy winning the world for Christ to hate people and want to massacre them. We will win the world, not through violence but through the love and transformative power of God upon the human heart. Those who further both nationalistic Zionism and orthodox Islam, do so by threats and murder. They have one and the same god–Satan. Their fruit proves it.
If they really thought their god was all powerful, he could defend his own reputation. He wouldn’t need mindless, robotic, evil murderers to do his dirty work for him. No this exposes the rotten core of Islam for all the world to see. And we’ve seen it before. The Ottoman Empire was destroyed by the West on 9/11/1835. It will be consumed again, but not by the West. The West is lost in a politically correct dream. Islam will be destroyed when Yahweh destroys allah, his followers– all liars and murderers who have not repented of their evil deeds–in the Lake of Fire at the coming of Christ.
I speak to the church. Don’t let the world (islam or otherwise) squeeze you into its mold. Allah, the Canaanite moon-god should NEVER be mistaken for Yahweh–the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of everything seen and unseen.
We are to put on the spiritual armor and STAND against the evil forces and principalities of this world. Jesus will deal with them when He returns. But we must stand in the Love of the Father, by speaking the truth and not allowing others to be convinced that we have the same God. Those who still seek truth and God need to see the difference as we glorify Him in our lives.
CONCORD, NH – Op. Ed. – People change. This is an incontrovertible truth in life. Yet, this concept seems to be lacking in the wonderful state that has become my home–at least it’s MIA in the New Hampshire state prison system. [Fortunately it hasn’t hit our schools yet.]
The money to be made by an opposite view–people don’t change–is real. The flawed anthropology which argues that people can’t change has no place in any serious attempt at rehabilitation. The shallow promises to act on behalf of change are the result of playing to the popular. In New Hampshire, when it comes to sex offenders, the popular is paranoia and ignorance. These never lower rates of recidivism.
Any pseudo-science that would claim that people do not change, does not deserve our serious attention. For every Psychiatrist or psychologist with an MA in the art of Psychology or Sociology, I’ll give you three Dr.’s of Theology or ministry who will present documented proof of miraculously changed lives. Changed lives can be easily documented or demonstrated. The press, politicians, and pseudo-scientific community refuse to acknowledge change. Change is threatening because transformation apart from them excludes them and is something they can’t take credit for or control.
Another reason the mainstream media refuses to understand spiritual change is their Western, anti-supernatural bias. Although you cannot see spiritual, supernatural transformation, you can clearly see its results in the life changes in millions of people. Yet they either refuse to see or cannot see. Is their blindness willful or does it have another source?
I learned in journalism [in my investigative reporter days assigned to East Boston and Boston City Hall], that we should “follow the money.” In NH, easy money hides in the notion that people like Raymond Guay can’t change. Good politics too.
Here in New Hampshire, the money trail is found in all the fees that are collected by independently contracted counselors–licensed by the state. The state collects licensing fees. The men and women on parole have to see these counselors weekly and have to pay for it themselves. Why should they ever get better? Why should they be released as healthy and changed? There’s no money in human transformation. So, “sex offenders can’t change” is the motto of profit.
There’s lots of talk about rehabilitation here in New Hampshire, but I question the sincerity. Four or five years ago I met with the Commissioner of Corrections, Bill Wrenn. He promised a meeting of those of us involved in aftercare. It never happened. He also promised to get to the bottom of parole officers undermining parolee’s chances of reestablishing themselves in community after having done their time.
The state set up a chaperone program to help ex-sex offenders be able to attend churches of their choice. After having certified thirteen of the people at New Life Fellowship in Concord, the state decided that it did not recognize their own certification. All training was conducted under an independent “counselor,” used almost exclusively by the state to inform them about prisoners and parolees. He has since been charged with a crime. And I believe was convicted and sentenced.
I know first-hand that some officials in the state of NH want to use these state certified counselors to declare parolees, who have served their time, as mentally unfit for release. If they can’t keep sex offenders in prison, then they can at least have them committed to their mental facilities.
Several years back, one woman on the parole board made it her mission to incarcerate sex-offenders for life. Never mind making distinctions between repeat offenders and one time offenders or predatory versus passive, single instance offenders. In her narrow mind, She lumped them all together.
During a parole hearing, she announced as much to a man that I was interceding for. She obviously does not believe that people change. For that reason ALONE she has no place serving our community on the parole board. We do not serve the people when we do not consider the weakest among us to be people also.
I hate to think of what the little mob in the town of Chichester or the state officials of NH would have done with Saul of Tarsus, who through his experience of regeneration became the Apostle Paul, one of Christianity’s greatest champions. Previously a murderer of men, women, and children of the early followers of Jesus, he was transformed to become a man of great love and character. Though he still had flaws after his conversion, they were not dangerous flaws. Nor did he ever kill anyone again. Today he is known as one of the greatest of Christ’s apostles–a champion of the Christian faith. So much for people not being able to change.
I’m really more concerned with the question: Can politicians and journalists really change? I believe they can . . . IF. If they are willing to return to integrity and character they can change. If they are willing to be compassionate, they can change.
We need to and can do several things:
- We need to take a close look at Maine’s way of classifying sex-offenders
- We need to take a close look at Vermont’s new system of combating recidivism. States all over the union are inviting Vermont’s prison officials to speak and teach about their successes.
- We need to thoroughly purge New Hampshire’s propensity for profiting from its “rehabilitation” programs. No more keeping parolees of proven character who have paid the penalty and done their time under the control of the state and financially bound to it by various fees, fines, and levies.
- We have to end ALL clear conflicts of interest in the counseling and reporting of ex-prisoners.
- Find men and women who do believe that people can change and support them to find NEW ways to work with prisons and parolees. If the people who now work there don’t believe they people change, then remove them and show them that we’re not afraid of change. Too many successful models work to hold on to one that doesn’t.
If they are willing to embrace a genuine concern for ALL people . . . even ex-offenders, perhaps there is yet hope. If the people and politicians of New Hampshire will treat one-time ex-offenders the way they would want to be treated, everyone will change–for the better of our future and our remarkable state. Let’s put NH on the map for something other than politics as usual.
–Dr. David C Alves
QUESTION: Can people really change? Haven’t you?