All posts filed under: z126

9 | How did December 25th end up as Christ’s birthday?

It is generally believed that the Roman Catholic church made December 25 the day of Christ’s birth to replace a pagan holiday. But that may not have been the case. In fact, Christ’s birthday was probably tied to the Feast of Annunciation.

Credit: Shreyans Bhansali/Flickr/Creative Commons

Renueva tu cerebro

English version: Rewire your brain Como mujer cristiana, siempre estaba esperando que Dios cambiara cosas en mi vida. Tenía una mentalidad muy fija sobre cómo deberían funcionar las cosas. Literalmente, estaba dando vueltas en el barro con una mentalidad indefensa siempre diciendo “pobre de mí”. Cambiar de “pobre de mí” a una mentalidad activa y positiva que te impulsa a avanzar es la única manera de seguir creciendo espiritualmente. Debemos querer el crecimiento y el cambio personal. Necesitamos poder mirar hacia atrás durante el año y decir que sí, que crecí. Cambié. Progesé. Se trata de mantenernos firmes y decir “no más” a los pensamientos que nos debilitan. Tomemos decisiones y aprovechemos las oportunidades que están disponibles para ayudarnos a romper con viejos patrones de pensamientos que se han convertido en fortalezas en nuestras vidas; 4 Para destruir las fortalezas del mal, no empleamos armas humanas, sino las armas del poder de Dios. (2 Corintios 10: 4 NBV) Hay dos tipos de fortalezas. Hay fortalezas demoníacas que nos atrapan y deben ser eliminadas en el nombre …

Credit: Mahmoudreza Shirinsokhan/Flickr/Creative Commons

¿Eres perezoso, tonto, malvado o quizás ungido?

English Version: Are You Lazy, Stupid, Evil, or maybe Anointed? Todo el mundo cree. Yo soy cristiano, hay millones como yo y el mundo también está lleno de otras religiones. Los ateos, que no creen en Dios, creen en algo. Tienen alguna manera de dar sentido a la vida en este mundo. No quiero señalar a los ateos para las críticas especiales aquí, pero estoy seguro de que ellos creen, al igual que el resto de nosotros. Creer es una condición del ser humano. El problema es con los creyentes que se convierten en “ungidos”. Ese es un estado especial, en cualquier sistema de creencias, en el que estamos tan convencidos, que llegamos a una etapa en la que nunca se puede criticar. Simplemente sabemos que estamos en lo cierto, y eso significa que todo desacuerdo está equivocado. No necesitamos discutirlo, simplemente están equivocados. ¿Has oído hablar de la “Visión del Ungido?” Thomas Sowell presenta el concepto de que somos gobernados por élites que se auto-felicitan, el “Ungido”. Su lenguaje es religioso, pero escribe sobre política …

Hillsong Worship Service at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia Credit: Michael Chan/Flickr/Creative Commons

¿Qué significa que Dios está en su trono (Entronado – Habita) en nuestras alabanzas?

English version: What does it mean God is enthroned in (or inhabits) our praises? Es una pregunta que me he hecho durante años. ¿Dios realmente necesita nuestra adoración? ¿O es que tenemos que adorar a Dios, lo que significa que es para nuestro beneficio? Creo que es el último y hay un versículo que proporciona una pista de por qué tenemos que adorar a Dios. 3 Pero tú eres santo, tú eres rey, ¡tú eres la alabanza de Israel!. (Salmo 22: 3 NBV) Este versículo nos dice que Dios está en su trono en nuestras alabanzas. Otras traducciones afirman que Dios “habita” la alabanza de su pueblo. La palabra hebrea “ysb” traducida como “entronizada” por la Nueva Biblia Estándar Americana significa sentarse y permanecer sentado, habitar y morar. Implica la idea de propiedad y control. Vemos la palabra usada como Abraham y Lot habitaron (ysb) en la tierra (Génesis 13: 6, 7, 12) y debido a su tamaño creciente, estaban en conflicto porque ambos estaban tratando de habitar y controlar la misma tierra y había solo espacio …

De Peer city hall Credit: Royalbroil/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Big court case defends religious freedom in small city

It was an early Christmas present for churches in De Pere, Wisconsin and perhaps across the US. On Friday, December 21, 2018, the Pacific Justice Institute was in court in Green Bay, Wisconsin successfully defending religious freedom. The case revolved around an ordinance passed by De Pere, Wisconsin in November 2017. De Pere is a small city with about 25,000 residents, but the court case was huge and if left unchallenged could have set a precedent across the US. The law that came in effect in March, 2018, decreed that churches were for the most part “places of public accommodation.” Churches were only exempt from this ordinance during church actual services. This meant at all other times, churches, as places of accommodation, were subject to the city’s non discrimination law. This meant churches would be required to hire gay staff and would be restricted from what they could say publicly on sexual ethics including sermons posted on the internet. The law would also force churches to allow their facilities to be used for gay marriage. …

Christmas truce celebration between German and British soldiers on December 24, 1914. Illustrated by A. C. Michael and published in The Illustrated London News on January 9, 2015/Wikipedia

How ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ stopped a brutal war for nearly two days

Silent Night, Holy Night, one of the most popular Christmas hymns, turned 200 this year or 202 if you go by the year the words were written. The verses to this popular Christmas classic were written in 1816 by Joseph Franz Mohr, a Roman Catholic Priest living in Austria. However, it didn’t become the hymn we know today until 1818 when, Franz Xaver Gruber, a music teacher and good friend of Mohr wrote the music for the song. It was all sparked by a broken-down organ. The song was first performed publicly at a Christmas eve service 200 years ago today at a small church in the village of Oberndorf, near Salzburg, Austria. The organ had broken down in St Nicola church (Nicholas in English) and because of this Mohr who was serving as a priest, asked his friend to put music to the words he had written two years earlier that could be accompanied by a guitar so they could sing it that night as part of the Christmas eve service. Gruber agreed. He …

Photo taken on May 21, 2011, the day predicted as judgement and rapture day by American Christian radio host Harold Camping. Credit: Just call me Jac/Flickr/Creative Commons

For Bad Religion, Just Add Armageddon

In November of 2017, the police arrested some kidnappers in an industrial suburb, close to where I live. Nisku, the suburb, is a huge oilfield service area. If any place is good for a kidnapping, Nisku is not it. The place is filled with large trucks and welding shops. When the details were told, the story got stranger; the kidnappers were mostly naked, in cold weather, and they fiercely resisted the police, who tasered and pepper sprayed them. One of the kidnap victims was a tiny baby. The three kidnap victims escaped unharmed, and the kidnappers have been tried and just recently convicted. The whole story is bizarre, and it was all about religion. The kidnappers are Jehovah’s Witnesses who worked themselves into a frenzy for several days, and there might have been some hallucinogenic tea in the house. They all decided that November 6, 2017 was the day of Armageddon, and then they decided to save their neighbors from the destruction at the end of the world. They rushed to the rescue-kidnapping so quickly …

Credit: Shreyans Bhansali/Flickr/Creative Commons

Rewire your brain

Español: Renueva tu cerebro As a Christian woman, I kept waiting for God to change things in my life.  I had a very fixed mindset about how things should work. Literally, I was rolling around in the mud of a helpless “poor me” mindset. Shifting out of  “poor me” to an  active and positive  mindset  that propels you forward is the only way to keep growing spiritually. We must want personal growth and change. We need to be able to look back over the year and say yes, I grew. I changed. I made progress. It’s about standing our ground and saying ‘no more’ to the thoughts that debilitate us.  Let’s make choices and grab hold of the opportunities that are available to help us break out of old patterns of thinking that have become strongholds in our lives; “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4) There are two kinds of strongholds. There are demonic strongholds that …

Joseph and Mary traveling to Egypt by Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427) Credit: jean louis mazieres/Flickr/Creative Commons

The red dragon and the Christmas story

Diana Rowland from Louisiana recently caught the ire of a neighbor when she set up a Christmas display featuring large, inflatable dragons. Rowland, an author who writes on zombies and demons, has set up a similar display for several years at both Christmas and Halloween. But this year, a neighbor sent Rowland a message complaining about the dragons. When Rowland tweeted the letter, it went viral. The neighbor wrote: “It is totally inappropriate at Christmas. It makes your neighbors wonder if you are involved in a demonic cult.” The anonymous writer asked Rowland to take down the dragons and went on to say that Rowland did not understand the true meaning of Christmas which involved the birth of Christ. So what was Rowland’s response? Well, she briefly considered taking them down but then decided against it. She shared the letter with her sister who promptly donated two more dragons to the display. Rowland then added halos to a couple of the dragons and called them angels. While the neighbor complained the dragons were totally inappropriate, …

Jesus cleansing the Temple by El Greco (1541-1614)/Wikipedia

What is the division of Abijah and what does it have to do with Christ’s birth?

In the first chapter of Luke, before the story of Jesus’s conception by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the record of John the Baptist’s miraculous birth. He was the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth. Zacharias was a priest and he and  is wife were unable to conceive. But that all changed when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, who was working in the temple, saying his wife would have a child in their old age (Luke 1:12-13). And we know Elizabeth’s pregnancy is connected to Mary’s, because we are told around the six month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy that Mary conceived Jesus (Luke 1:24-27). But the passage provides a bit of information about Zachariah’s priestly service that may hint at what month Jesus was born: 5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth ….. 8 Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service …