After a harrowing Friday night of an intense band of severe storms, I am pleased to report we and our sailboat faired just fine. Despite the whipping winds and nearby tornado warning in the wee hours of the morning, the storm wasn’t as bad as some others we have encountered since dwelling on a sailboat. Thank you, Jesus! Unfortunately, several others in the South and Midwest were not afforded another day. We realize though the Spring storm season is rapidly approaching (Spring seems to arrive in February in our area) so we will leave everything tied up and stowed away unless we get the urge to go sailing.
In the meantime, I am also delighted to report I finally saw an allergist to address my ongoing heightened allergies and consequent sinus congestion. I was worried perhaps I am allergic to our boat, being boats generate mold quickly in humid environments like the Houston area and seem to be magnets for dust too. My mind swirled with nagging questions like, Am I allergic to my boat?Will I have to stop cleaning yachts for a living? So upon making my selections for the allergy test on Friday, I carefully selected items I suspected I may be allergic to. Each item or unit of the test cost $9.50 so I picked a few totalling around $114. Amazingly, the attentive and wonderful allergist I saw said she wanted me to know for sure what the issue is so she offered to do the entire 60 plus panel of items that should have totalled over $600 for just the $114! What a blessing… All glory to God! As it turns out, I did not react to all the things I was allergic to as a kid: cats, mold, dust, oak trees, etc. In fact, she tested me for 16 different molds and I did not react to any of them. Wow! So either I was miraculously healed or the allergy shots I took as a kid actually worked. Awesome! I did react, however, to some outdoor allergens I figured out in time I must be allergic to like Bahia grass found in southern coastlands, pine trees, as well as a few others I had not known I was allergic to such as cotton wood and elm trees and some prairie sage and pigweed, two common weeds.
Overall, I feel very much relieved to know some allergens I deal with on a daily basis don’t seem to be effecting me and won’t sink me or my cleaning business, but outdoor allergens are certainly challenging. Nevertheless, knowing the problem is half the battle, right? Thankfully, the doctor prescribed me some medicine that we hope will break up the congestion. Thus far, it seems to be better than before so we are on track to actually sounding normal again soon! I look forward to not sounding like I have a cold and hopefully, being able to sing with my guitar again in the near future.
Thank you for your prayers as we overcome storms and sinuses!
With the passing of the holidays, many are packing up ornaments, carefully wrapping nativity scenes, and tossing out the dried up Christmas tree. This particular Christmas Hanukkah season I was struck with a call to worship the way our Abba Father wants to be worshipped, to be the light, and to cleanse our temples. The above graphic shared on a public Christian Facebook page compelled me to comment, which sparked many positive feedback as well as some seemingly foaming at the mouth. Truth changes the atmosphere as should our set-apart lifestyles.
Like preaching holiness while sharing the stage with a pagan Christmas tree or other pagan traditions re-marketed as all about Jesus. The Israelites did the same thing starting with the Golden Calf incident (Exodus 32) celebrating saying Yahweh was the reason for the season. Numerous passages throughout Scripture specifically tells us not to adopt the ways of culture/pagans/those who do not believe in the One True Living God (Deu 12; Jer 10; 2 Cor 6:14+; Eph 4:17+ are a few examples). May we test everything and be courageous enough to actually be set-apart, holy as led by the Spirit of Holiness (Holy Spirit). 💝📖🙏”
In response to those genuinely wanting to know more in addition to those whose Christmas traditions were challenged, I invited readers to re-examine traditions, worship, and lifestyles. I invite you, dear reader, to do the same. Blessings! 💝
Truth is absolute and therefore, cannot change otherwise it was never truth to begin with.
The original graphic above poignantly speaks to so-called truth ever-changing with the times and so-called worshipers adapting to accommodate culture. Truth is absolute and therefore, cannot change otherwise it was never truth to begin with.
For those interested in worshipping The One True Living God, do we get to define what worship is? Do we tell Him how He wants to be worshipped? Or does God, the LORD of Lords, King of Kings dictate how He wants to be worshipped, how He defines love, and how He wants to be loved? Is He looking for worshippers of an unholy spirit and error? Or is He wanting worshippers of His Spirit and His Truth (John 4:23-24)? How culture defines “truth”, “worship”, “holiness”, etc. is irrelevant.
With that said, where is God’s truth, worship, holiness, etc. defined? In His Holy Word inspired by His Spirit of Holiness, correct? 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Does His Word talk about traditions, holidays, the birth of Christ, pagan customs? You bet!
I invite those authentically interested in being worshippers of His spirit and His truth, to examine their lifestyle, habits, traditions compared to what He says about the topics being presented. Before proceeding though, understand that I view this platform as teaching opportunity..an opportunity for each of us to be more matured in His love, His truth, His holiness so that we may bear His fruit and bear His Name as best as we can empowered to do so by the gift of His Spirit of Holiness dwelling within.
Let’s explore God’s Word, the source of truth. (This is by no means an exhaustive list of Scripture, but a few to seek Him on.)
1) Are traditions evil or not to be practiced just because it is not commanded? Not neccessarily. Hanukkah, also known as the Feast of Dedication, is a tradition not a commandment that Jesus evidently celebrated in the temple or at the very least did not rebuke (John 10:22-30). Surely if that tradition was offensive to God, He would have made it known (i.e. flipping tables). Rather, He used it as a teaching moment to reveal He is God and the Messiah. So, no, not all traditions are evil by default and they can be used to share God’s truth. Are we commanded to celebrate Hanukkah? No. Are we commanded to celebrate the birth of Christ? No. However, His word also says “Whatever is true, excellent, praise worthy, etc., to think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8). Is it a fact and praise worthy event that Jesus was born and the Messiah or that Judah Maccabees and his disciples persevered in honoring God’s commands despite the culture, overcame persecution, and reconquered and restored worship the way God defines it? Yes and yes! Those things are true, praise worthy, etc. So it would be acceptable to think about or celebrate such things.
2) Can we use traditions or other aspects of our lives to share God’s truth? Sure! We covered that above as Jesus used Hanukkah, physical objects, parables, etc. to convey truth.
3) Is it OK to mimic pagan practices, culture, or unbelievers and re-package it as a good thing..as redeemed…as holy…as worship…as truth as something of, from, or about Him? NO. God says over and over again to avoid any appearance of evil (1Thes 5:22), to not learn the ways of pagans/adopt their culture (Romans 12:2; Eph 4; Jer 10:2- Also, the Prophet Jeremiah specifically rebukes cutting a tree, bringing it in one’s home, and decorating it as the pagans do in Jer 10) and worship/celebrate Him that way even if you re-name or market it as having to do with Him(Deut 12:30-32; Exodus 32- the Israelites copied the pagans form of worship by putting up a decorated calf and celebrated it saying it was Him and all about Him..they made a feast/holiday of it), to not have anything to do with things that violate His Torah/commands/instructions/Word/lawlessness (2 Cor 6:14-7:1) and to not associate with anyone who claims to know Him and yet does not obey His word (1 Cor.5).
Please thoroughly investigate how you are celebrating/honoring/worshipping the Lord and His life for the practices of Christmas are undeniably pagan since atleast 500 BC repackaged in order to sell/promote Jesus. In theory, the customs in of themselves could have been OK had the pagan customs celebrating the birth of the sun god on Dec 25 the original winter solstice, human sacrifices being decorated on trees, gift giving to celebrate the sun god, partying orgies, lawlessness etc not been established first leading up to or surrounding that day. The church took the same exact custom practices and attempted to wrap it in Jesus’ Name to spread Christianity (in reality to spread their power and control). Another person attached (see link below) a thorough, non-biased, factual investigation about the history of Christmas. Please do watch it. I learned some things as well.
4) Is it wrong to put a tradition or doctrine above or instead of obeying what God says in His Word? Yes. Jesus rebuked religious leaders for putting more emphasis on their tradition than God’s commands (Mark 7). Are you celebrating traditions like Christmas, Hanukkah, 4th of July, etc, but not God’s commanded holidays like Passover/Unleavened Bread (John 22) or His other feasts (Lev 23)?
I say again, dear brothers and sisters, may we have the courage to examine our traditions, forms of worship, and lifestyle in accordance to God’s word and cheerfully be willing to submit to God’s Spirit of Holiness as He longs to teach us God’s truth, holiness, and the worship He longs for! Ultimately, we each must answer for ourselves (Rom 14:10-12), but love as defined by Him speaks truth, especially to those who claim to follow Him.🙏🙏🙏
This week I have been pondering authentic worship and how what much of we label worship or honoring our faith is grossly offensive to God or so I have discovered in this 3 year ‘wilderness’ journey of traveling to different lands while engrossed in His Word. For example, Christians proclaiming ‘Jesus Is the Reason For the (Christmas) Season’ while celebrating, feasting, developing worship services, cantatas, etc all in His Name is no different than the Israelites of the wilderness fashioning the golden calf, celebrating, feasting, worshipping, saying it is all about and for Yahweh (Exodus 32). From beginning to the end of the Bible, God is clear.. He is a jealous, non-tolerant, holy, set apart, One True Living God who has specific terms of worship and does not share with other gods, nor desires us to take pagan practices such as decorating our homes with Christmas trees, etc, while slapping His Name on it in attempts to justify our desires nor does God instruct anyone to celebrate His Son’s birthday, much less on an inaccurate day with an inaccurate story surrounding it (i.e. the wise men didn’t travel to a manger nor met a baby Matt 2:11-nor did they give gifts to each other but to Jesus), but He does instruct us to celebrate many other holidays (see Leviticus 23).
He doesn’t redeem people just so they can continue being proverbial Egypt. He doesn’t lead us with His Holy Spirit just so we can remain unholy. We cannot take other gods or mingling pagan practices while slapping God’s name on it deceiving ourselves and those around us pretending we are honoring God. We cannot keep participating in darkness while convincing ourselves it is light whatever it may be.
We are designed by our Creator to worship, to rejoice, to feast, to celebrate, to fellowship, but we are not to fashion idols with proven historical origins in other gods under the guise of faith. Perhaps by being so eager to celebrate a non-prescribed holiday founded on fallacies wrapped in Jesus’ Name, in doing so we have proven we are no different than the forgetful, ungrateful, rebellious Israelites hungry or desperately impatient of a visible prescence of a Messiah type of leader like Moses up on the mountain for what may have felt like forever. So instead of actually doing what God tells us to do, we make up what we think is right in our own eyes while waiting for His return. We are not permitted to worship or celebrate Him however we see fit, no matter how sincere we may be for IF it is not how He defines worship, we are sincerely wrong (Deut 12; Jeremiah 10; 1 Cor 10:14-22; 2 Cor 6:11-7:1; Eph 5:1-21). Regardless of our intentions, we can still celebrate and worship in a false, unholy spirit.
Disciples or followers of Jesus/Yeshua the Messiah are called to be worshipers of His Holy Spirit and His truth (John 4:23-24), fulfilling His laws as He is the Lawgiver and teaching others to do the same (Matthew 5:14-19;28:19-20; Gen 49:9-10; Isaiah 2, 51; James 4). His instructions are not suggestions nor dissolved because we want to do it our way verses Yah’s way.. What law is like that? None. His boundaries are designed to reveal more of Himself to us, how He longs to be worshipped, as well as how we can love Him and others.
We cannot be the light as He was if we continue to participate in darkness no matter how many times we use His Name in vain. We cannot be set-apart people while apart of the culture that so easily entangles.
Jesus the Messiah, the Creator, is not just the reason for *every* season, but He is the reason for our redemption and resurrection from “Egypt”, “Babylon”, worldly, Gentile, common, unclean, unholy ways having the veil, the mask removed and being transformed each day in every season into His likeness, His creation, His worshipers of Spirit and Truth.
His redemption and resurrection are what we are commanded to remember and celebrate. There is a horribly amazing purification process that transpires from being redeemed to being resurrected…from entering The Promised Land. It’s not just about re-examining practices such as Christmas, but all areas of our lives. Come out of her, My people…lest you also share in her plagues. It’s not too late till it is.
After a day of eating gluten in various meals and snacks combined with winds blowing knee-high fields of ragweed, I recently suffered all night with gasping nasal congestion, an ongoing battle that I’ve been trying to discern the source. For months, while suffering from such consequences not understanding what I am allergic to, whispers within said things like “gluten” and “stop eating bread”, much to my dismay. While I realize there are many things I most definitely are allergic to here in Texas, namely their large bladed grass and fields of ragweed for sure, I could not image bread being an adversity. Nevertheless, neither essential oils, allergy pills, nasal spray, nor any other remedy relieved the pain and inconvenience this particular night nor many others in the past.
While trying to breath and hopefully drift off to sleep those wee small hours of the morning, that still small voice of Abba Father instructed me to intercede in prayer for “your country”. He said, “Pray for President Trump, California, New York, Mexico”, at which time I almost interjected informing God Mexico is not technically my country, but decided to not interupt my Heavenly Father when He is speaking – something my Earthly father taught me well. Abba concluded with interceding for “Alabama” in addition to the previous mentioned states though I know not why. He also lovingly informed me I need to educate myself about national and political matters so I will be able to more effectively pray this nation. I confess I avoid following politics unlike my husband who seems obsessed with such affairs. After praying, I managed to drift off asleep briefly, but have learned sleepless nights are opportunities to listen and pray or perhaps to listen and obey. So the next time you find yourself sleepless unable to breathe, consider it may be a good time to let God breathe something in and through you instead.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, according to popular culture, but is it really? Surely you have heard, “Jesus is the reason for the season”. In reality though that is far from the truth. It could be more accurately stated as the holiday we justify using Jesus’ name in vain for capital gain.
Numerous years ago, before being Spirit-filled, much less led by the Spirit to go where He says to go, and to say what He says to say, I had been leary of Christmas and it’s ridiculous traditions, much of which are designed to commercialize the name of Jesus while promoting lies and pagan rituals. When my sons were small I refused to deceive them into thinking Santa brought them gifts for I could not understand why any parent or Christian would lie to their children only for them to be disappointed at a later age – not to mention learn not to trust their own parents. Such “traditions” directly contradict the simply stated commandment which reads, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices .” Colossians 3:9 (NIV) as well as many other Scriptures with similar sentiments. Nevertheless, I still proceeded with all the other typical traditions – mostly to go with the flow of everyone else.
Later, when I researched the origins of Christmas, I was not only surprised to learn it’s pagan history, but I was surprised to learn Christmas was illegal in early United States history for early settlers believed Christmas to be a Satanic, unholy custom:
For the preventing of disorders, arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other communities, to the great dishonour of God and offense of others. It is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like — either by forbearing labour, feasting or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offense five shilling as a fine to the county. Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1659.
as well as a second notice, which reads:
The observation of Christmas having been deemed a sacrilege, the exchanging of Gifts and Greetings, dressing in Fine Clothing, Feasting and similar Satanical Practices are hereby FORBIDDEN with the Offender liable to a Fine of Five Shillings.
In fact, did you know the origins of Christmas actually have nothing to do with the birth of Christ Jesus, but rather have everything to do with the Roman pagan festival known as ‘Saturnalia’? According to the History Channel’s History.com site,
“Saturnalia, held in mid-December, is an ancient Roman pagan festival honoring the agricultural god Saturn. Saturnalia celebrations are the source of many of the traditions we now associate with Christmas.
Saturnalia, the most popular holiday on the ancient Roman calendar, derived from older farming-related rituals of midwinter and the winter solstice, especially the practice of offering gifts or sacrifices to the gods during the winter sowing season.
The Christian holiday of Christmas, especially, owes many of its traditions to the ancient Roman festival, including the time of year Christmas is celebrated…by the fourth century A.D., Western Christian churches settled on celebrating Christmas on December 25, which allowed them to incorporate the holiday with Saturnalia and other popular pagan midwinter traditions. ” Saturnalia, History.com
Did you also know the pagan holiday known as Saturnalia has been described by other sources likened to Mardi Gras with no morals, drunkenness, orgies, and other lawless activities? Did you know the reason we give gifts during Christmas isn’t because of the wise men, but rather because gift-giving was a custom of Saturnalia where the Romans gave one another gifts representing human sacrifices originally given to the temple god, Saturn?
“On the last day of Saturnalia celebrations, known as the Sigillaria, many Romans gave their friends and loved ones small terracotta figurines known as signillaria, which may have referred back to older celebrations involving human sacrifice.” Saturnalia, History.com
I strongly encourage you to research the origins of Christmas and Saturnalia as article after article I read portrayed nothing but pagan practices later repackaged as ‘Christmas’.
I know what you may be thinking, perhaps you are thinking, ‘Well, that’s not what it means to me, Carrie. It’s just a nice tradition my family has been doing for years…’
In my opinion, customs or traditions, which could also be known as doctrines of men, are acceptable so long as they do not violate certain parameters:
The tradition or doctrine cannot contradict God’s word, His written voice and instructions for our lives.
The tradition or doctrine cannot have pagan origins glorifying other gods or pagan practices that encourage violating God’s word.
The tradition or doctrine cannot supercede God’s word.
While the beautiful lights decorating homes are alluring, in addition to singing famous Christmas songs, as well being bedazzled by Christmas trees of various creative themes, these practices are designed to delight our senses. These sensual festivities on the surface seem harmless, but the fact is, they violate all three of the parameters above. We’ve already discussed their pagan origins, now check out what God’s word says about participating in pagan, Gentile practices. The prophet, Jeremiah scribes in Jeremiah 10, what sure does sound like a Christmas tree, a wooden idol:
“Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.
2 Thus says the Lord:
‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the peoples are futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. 4 They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails and hammers So that it will not topple. 5 They are upright, like a palm tree, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, For they cannot do evil, Nor can they do any good.’
6Inasmuch as there is none like You, O Lord (You are great, and Your name is great in might), 7 Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? For this is Your rightful due. For among all the wise men of the nations, And in all their kingdoms, There is none like You. 8 But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine. 9 Silver is beaten into plates; It is brought from Tarshish, And gold from Uphaz, The work of the craftsman And of the hands of the metalsmith; Blue and purple are their clothing; They are all the work of skillful men. 10 But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation….
25 Pour out Your fury on the Gentiles, who do not know You ..”
Whether you realized it or not, the custom of dragging a dead tree in your home is establishing a wooden idol and participating in pagan practices. I have heard others preach you are even offering sacrifices/gifts to it when you kneel down and place them under the tree, unknowingly.
According to an article titled ‘All about the Christmas Tree: Pagan Origins, Christian Adaptation, and Secular Status’ on religioustolerance.org, “During the Roman celebration of the feast of Saturnalia, Pagans did decorate their houses with clippings of evergreen shrubs. They also decorated living trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god, Bacchus.”
In numerous passages, the LORD says to not adopt the traditions or customs of the pagan Gentiles. As believers in Jesus, or Yeshua, in His Hebrew original name, we are apart of Israel spiritually, regardless of your physical DNA, according to Scripture, a type of adopted Israelite (Galatians 3:26-29; Romans 11), no longer identified as a Gentile, but having been born-again, having crossed-over, which is what ‘Hebrew’ means, we are a new creation in Him…no longer a pagan Gentile. To learn more, read https://flipflopfellowship.com/2019/04/23/walk-like-an-egyptian/
“And you shall know that I am the LORD; for you have not walked in My statutes nor executed My judgments, but have done according to the customs of the Gentiles which are all around you.” Ezekiel 12:12 (NKJV)
“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. ” Ephesians 4:17-24
For me, in recent years, I avoid any resemblance of participating in the typical Christmas traditions like exchanging gifts, decorating trees, etc. for I now understand they violate God’s word, His call to be set-apart, and similar to Halloween, have pagan origins. But I welcome opportunities to spend time with family and friends such as sharing a meal similar to Thanksgiving around or on Christmas Day (unless exchanging of gifts will be present – pun intended). 😉 Even so, my parents still give me something for Christmas, but they would be highly offended if I refused to graciously receive them. So I have discerned for the sake of love, to pick and choose my battles. Being set-apart is designed to make you be a light to the world, not an explosive bomb, although it will most likely shake things up!
Being set-apart is designed to make you be a light to the world, not an explosive bomb, although it will most likely shake things up!
Furthermore, throughout the year, I celebrate God’s holy holidays prescribed in the Bible (see Leviticus 23, as one passage discussing them), since they are commanded, prophetic, and centered on our Messiah, Jesus/Yeshua. It is believed, but not proven, based off clues found in Scripture, Jesus may actually have been born during the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’, the final Fall feast known in Hebrew as ‘Sukkot’. It also is speculated for those same reasons, Jesus most likely was conceived during or near Hanukkah. In addition to God’s holy holidays, I also celebrate the tradition of Hanukkah since it meets the parameters discussed above, though that holiday is not commanded to celebrate like the others. However, even Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights or Feast of Dedication (see John 10:22-23).
Keep in mind, coming to such observances was a long process of cooperating with the Spirit of Holiness dwelling within me for He specializes in removing the unholy and replacing it with holy, hence, God labeling His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. I respect your decision to celebrate Christmas even if you still choose to do so now knowing it’s pagan origins and what I believe are contradictions to God’s word. I hope you too can respect me as I choose to no longer celebrate Christmas.
To learn more about God’s holidays, Hanukkah, and my perspective regarding other holidays, click on the following links for various articles or videos I have published.
“Barch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melch ha-olam Asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu liheyot or la-goyim ve-natan-lanu et Yeshua Meshicheinu Or ha-olam.””Blessed are You, O LORD, ruler of the universe, Who sanctifies us with His commandments and commanded us to be a light to the nations and who gave to us Yeshua our Messiah the Light of the world.”