Physician Heal Thyself

Have you ever had something that you have said come back to bite you in the butt? Well, I had a spiritual chomp nip my butt last night.

Here I have been teaching and preaching that we should be reading and studying God’s Word for ourselves so that we know what God has to say about how we should live our lives – both spiritually and temporally. Well, I will be the first to say that I should follow my own advice!

I have been reading a book called Trim Healthy Mamas. It is about eating a healthy diet and about what makes up a healthy diet. It is written by two Christian sisters who use dietary truths they found in God’s Word to form a healthy diet plan.

In the beginning of the book, they advocate for eating meat, but no scriptures were given at that time to back up their comments. I admit to having been quite confused about the whole vegetarian vs. meat-eating conundrum. I have always looked to the set up in the Garden of Eden as the “ideal”. God gave Adam and Eve a veritable smorgasbord of vegetarian food sources – but meat was not on the menu.

Gen 1:29 And God said, Behold! I have given you every herb seeding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree seeding seed; to you it shall be for food.

Believe it or not, even the lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) bellied up to the salad bar.

Gen 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the heavens, and to every creeper on the earth which has in it a living soul every green plant is for food

In the Garden of Eden, toothpicks would only have been used to get out spinach stuck between the teeth, not steak.

I have never been all that crazy about eating meat. When my sons were teenagers, my husband had extremely high cholesterol, so I took advantage of the opportunity the situation presented to indulge in cooking vegetarian meals. Every time I put the dinner plates in front of my guys, they would poke around the food and ask “‘where’s the beef???”. They would then tell me that they were carnivores and thus needed to eat meat. Of course, I would reply using my ‘great’ store of biblical knowledge (cough-cough) that in fact, we were created to be vegetarians. To which my sons would reply, “Oh yeah? Then why do we have canine teeth?? HMM??!” I would immediately reply, “So that you can bite your celery and carrot sticks!”

It was along this line that I sent off an email to the authors of the book asking why they advocated for meat when God specifically said in Genesis that man was to eat his greens. Well, silly me had jumped the gun. If I had only continued to read the book I would have found the how and why to my question.

And this is where my own preaching about reading scripture jumped up and bit me in the butt. For you see, it never really occurred to me that God would have something to say, in His Word, to all those steak lovers out there. I have to admit, that I never really knew that God addressed the topic of a good BBQ, not just once, but a number of times!

Deu 14:4-6 These are the animals which you shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, the hart, and the gazelle, and the roe deer, and the wild goat, and the mountain goat, and the wild ox, and the mountain-sheep. And every animal that divides the hoof, and divides it into two hooves, and chews the cud among the animals, that you shall eat.

That’s a whole lotta bar-b-que!

1Ti 4:1-4 But the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, being seared in their own conscience,
forbidding to marry, saying to abstain from foods which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creation of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.

Hmmm – I guess from now on I had better be careful about trying to convince my family that tofukey is the way to go at Christmas!

Rom 14:2 One man has faith to take all things as food: another who is feeble in faith takes only green food.

Well, I am not ‘feeble in faith’, but I was uninformed. Not any longer. Look out all you four-footed, cloven-hoofed critters – I’ma sharpenin’ ma steak knives!

Just kidding. I prefer my ‘rabbit food’ but now I know that it is ok for me to enjoy the occasional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

But please don’t tell my kids. LOL

(The main aim of this post was to prove my point that we all need to know what the Word of God says – about everything, but if you learned a little something extra on the side – all the better)

Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Blessings

Christmas Wishes

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Blessed Christmas. I pray that your days will be filled with love, joy, peace and hope in Jesus Christ. I pray that you will not be alone and lonely at this time, but if you are, I pray that God will surround you with His arms of comfort and love.

In the New Year, I am going to try to read at least 1 blog post from every one of you fellow bloggers who are following me. Whenever I receive a notice that you have liked my post and/or are following my blog, I always check out your profile and sometimes read one of your posts. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time or energy to communicate with a follow-up message. I am going to try to do that soon.

May God richly bless you.

Shari

Christmas Tradition vs. CHRISTmas Truth

At our church Christmas dinner several years ago, our pastor handed out a questionnaire as an activity while we were waiting to chow down. The questionnaire consisted of trivia questions associated with the Biblical account of the Christmas story. It was very interesting to see the large number of people who had the wrong answers! Most of those people thought that they had the right answers. Very embarrassing to be a leader in the church and yet get the Christmas quiz wrong!

How can you possibly go wrong with questions about the Christmas story?? I mean, we all know the traditional Christmas carols and every year we watch the children put on the Nativity play. So how can we not know the truth about Christmas?

I think there are two main reasons, the first being that man-made traditions have superseded Biblical truths. For example, we all know that naughty Eve chewed a chunk of  forbidden apple  – right? WRONG! The Bible never states that it was an apple that Eve chowed down on. In fact, the Bible does not even mention what type of fruit it was.

Gen 2:16, 17 And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, but you shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate.

See – no apples!

There are many instances in which man-made tradition has become accepted as biblical truth. The traditional story surrounding the birth of Christ is a prime example. Here are a few examples of what has traditionally been generally accepted :

1) Mary rode a donkey into Bethlehem. The scriptures do not tell us how she traveled.

Luk 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee to be taxed (out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David).
Luk 2:5 And he took Mary his betrothed wife, being with child.

2) Mary was in the last stages of labour when they arrived in Bethlehem. The scripture does not say that, in fact, the way it was written , it appears that they were in Bethlehem for a little while before Mary delivered Jesus.

Luk 2:6 And while they were there, the days for her deliverance were fulfilled.

3) The family could not find room in an inn. Some Biblical scholars feel that since Joseph was returning to the town where his family line originated, that he would have had a number of relatives there and it is in one of their homes that they would have sought shelter. But since it was so busy because of the census, all his relatives’ homes were already full. The Young’s Literal Translation says that there was no room for them in the ‘guest-chamber’.

Luk 2:7 and she brought forth her son–the first-born, and wrapped him up, and laid him down in the manger, because there was not for them a place in the guest-chamber. (YLT)

4) Jesus was born on December 25th. No where in scripture does it mention what the date that Jesus was born. Many Bible scholars feel that it can’t have been in the winter because the shepherds were still in the fields with their flocks. In the winter, the shepherds bring the flocks in from the hills.

Luk 2:8 And in the same country there were shepherds living in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

5) Of course, we all know the carol “We Three Kings”. Quite the story has been built up around those men – almost all of it wrong. First of all, the Bible does not describe the men as kings, but rather as ‘wise men’. “Magi” or ‘wise men’ often worked as advisors to kings, but were probably not kings themselves. Also notice that the scripture does not mention how many wise men there were. And, we are never told their names. Sorry Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior.

Mat 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem,

6) The wise men visited Jesus while he was still in the manger of the stable. The scripture tells us that the wise men followed a star to find Jesus who was in a house at that time.

Mat 2:11 And coming into the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother. And they fell down and worshiped Him. And opening their treasures, they presented gifts to Him, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

The Bible does not tell us that the shepherds followed a star nor does it mention an angel or angels hanging about the manger. And the Bible certainly does not mention a barn full of animals suddenly bowing down on their knees before Jesus.

I am sure that some might say “why does it matter if we believe these things?” “It’s not really all that important”. Or is it? This brings me to the second reason why people believe these stories rather than the biblical truths  and that is because people either do not read and study the Bible for themselves, or they don’t know how to correctly interpret God’s Word. And it is in these two problems wherein lies the big problem. If you don’t read the Bible for yourself and if you don’t ask God to give you the knowledge and wisdom to discern the truth in the scriptures, you leave yourself open to being misled by any number of wacky theories and doctrines.

Jesus said “Joh 8:31,32 … `If ye may remain in my word, truly my disciples ye are, and ye shall know the truth,  and the truth shall make you free.’

Traditional man-made tales may be nice, but they are not the truth and they will not set you free. Instead, they may lead you astray.

Eph 4:14 so that we no longer may be infants, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, in the dishonesty of men, in cunning craftiness, to the wiles of deceit.

It’s time to grow up and accept truth over tradition.

Blessings

 

Oh – Christmas Tree!?

I LOVE the Christmas Season – the colourful decorations (green and red being my favourite colours all through the year), the twinkling lights, traditional Christmas carols, ginger bread men, shortbread cookies, candy cane hot chocolate, The Nutcracker Suite, Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, buying Christmas presents (and of course receiving them), and decorating the Christmas tree with loved ones.

Many years ago, I came across teachings from a few different ‘Christian’ sources which taught that the Christmas tree was not a Christian symbol or tradition and that in fact, it was a pagan tradition and therefore should not be found in a Christian home. I was shocked and dismayed, as I loved the whole aspect of the Christmas tree tradition (Ok – I admit I hated all those dry, prickly needles falling all over the place).

I used to enjoy taking my two young boys out for a drive in the country to search for a tree in one of the many Crown Land wood lots that were in our area of Northern Ontario. I remember one time when we spotted a tree that looked like it was just the right shape and size standing in the middle of a clearing. The boys and I got out of the truck, I swung the axe over my shoulder and we stepped off the road onto the field – only to find out that the snow was up to my hips! I had to break trail for the boys and when we finally got to the tree, we discovered that half of it’s height was hidden under the snow – so much for being the perfect size! We did bring that tree home though.

Is there anything quite like the smell of a fresh evergreen in the home? And then began the fun of decorating the tree – an activity for which my youngest son always waited with much anticipation. I used to like to decorate the tree in the evening. I liked the feeling of coziness that came from being safe and warm inside while it was dark and cold outside. We used to put on Christmas carols, drink hot chocolate and nibble Christmas cookies while we decorated.

I had started the tradition of buying a Christmas ornament every year for each of the boy’s stockings. That way, they would have a collection of ornaments for when they were grown up and had a place of their own. The boys used to enjoy unwrapping their own decorations each year and placing them on the tree. Of course, the perfectionist ‘artiste’ in me just had to do a wee bit of rearranging after they had gone to bed! LOL

I think that decorating the Christmas tree with my sons was one of my most favourite Christmas activities, one that brought us closer together as a family and one that I miss very much now that my sons are grown and living away from me.

So I was very dismayed when I found out that I may be participating in a pagan activity by putting up a Christmas tree. Since I sincerely want to be the best Christian that I can be, and I don’t wish to offend by Heavenly Father, I decided to do some research.

The following is some info. that I have found the History.com website:

(http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas-trees)

Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. … ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.

There is a lot of evidence that a wide variety of cultures and belief systems held evergreen plants and trees in special regard. In that respect, it is true that evergreens have been used for non-Christian practices. However, I also found the following info. on the same website:

Many Christmas traditions practiced around the world today started in Germany.

It has been long thought that Martin Luther began the tradition of bringing a fir tree into the home. According to one legend, late one evening Martin Luther was walking home through the woods and noticed how beautifully the stars shone through the trees. He wanted to share the beauty with his wife so he cut down a fir tree and took it home. Once inside he placed small lighted candles on the branches and said that it would be a symbol of the beautiful Christmas sky. Hence, the Christmas tree.

Another legend says that in the early 16th century, people in Germany combined two customs that had been practiced in different countries around the globe. The Paradise tree (a fir tree decorated with apples) represented the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. The Christmas Light, a small, pyramid-like frame, usually decorated with glass balls, tinsel, and a candle on top, was a symbol of the birth of Christ as the Light of the World. Changing the tree’s apples to tinsel balls and cookies; and combining this new tree with the Light placed on top, the Germans created the tree that many of us know now.

So there is also evidence that Christians were using evergreens to represent Christian beliefs.

After researching, thinking and praying, these are my thoughts on the Christmas tree issue:

God created every plant, including evergreens and He thought that it was all good.

Gen 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth tender sprouts (the herb seeding seed and the fruit tree producing fruit after its kind, whose seed is in itself) upon the earth; and it was so.
Gen 1:12 And the earth brought forth tender sprouts, the herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree producing fruit after its kind, whose seed was in itself. And God saw that it was good.

Now I may be mistaken, but I don’t think that a ‘thing’ or ‘object’ is evil or wicked in and of itself. Even Paul taught that in the eyes of God, the idols that unsaved mankind made were nothing.

1Co 8:4 Then concerning the eating of the things sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God except one.

I think that what Paul was saying was that idols that man has made from things in the earth, are in fact, just things. It is not the things that are bad but the wrong regard that man has for them and the wrong things he does with them, including worshipping them.

God’s Word tells us that the things that God made in this world testify of Him.

Rom 1:20 For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead,…

For me, an evergreen tree is one of the beautiful things that God has made for me to enjoy. The green branches and the fresh smell remind me of life  – the life I have in Christ Jesus. I love nature and am working on collecting ornaments and objects which remind me of God’s wonderful creation. We also have a collection of ornaments which remind us of the many special blessed times in our lives, like the first Christmas my hubby and I shared together, my grand daughter’s first Christmas and of course hand-made decorations that my sons had made for me when they were small. And then there is the beautiful star or angel that sits on the top of the tree which reminds us of the wonderful message of the birth of Christ.

I do not worship the tree, the ornaments on it, or the presents under it. I do not attribute magical or mystical powers to the tree nor does it symbolize a false god to me. What the Christmas tree does mean for me is a wonderful time spent with loved ones and it is just one aspect of celebrating the wonderful gift of the birth of Jesus.

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
Thou bidst us true and faithful be,
And trust in God unchangingly.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee! !”

tree1

 

tree2

December Thoughts Repeated – Week 1

I am going to cheat a bit this month and post links to blog posts I made at this time last year. I had put a lot of thought and research into them and I think that their messages are worth reading again (or for the first time if you weren’t following me at that time)

So here is the link to the first post:

https://heartshabitation.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/merry-christmas-vs-happy-holidays/

And the second one:

https://heartshabitation.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/advent-1/