Posts Tagged ‘observances’

Passiontide and Easter

 

Today, reply is on the use of “Resurrection Sunday” and similar labels to replace “Easter”. Many feel the use of “Easter” is a comfortable tradition; however, the church of Jesus Christ also is to acknowledge admonitions, guidance and principles that speak against indulging custom, fashion and novelty such as the following: Matthew 15: 8-10, King James Version (KJV): 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: One of the fighters in the “Yahoo! Answers” public forum on Religion and Spirituality who uses the ID “Anonymous” (no profile information shown) posted the following:

 

Christians, do you think we should change Eater name to Resurrection day?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW: And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12: 1-3, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: “I Am The Resurrection” (03/25/2018); Why An Easter Season? (04/19/2017); Chocolate Bunnies! Easter Eggs! (04/18/2017); Resurrected With The Lord (04/16/2017); The Cross and Resurrection Sunday? (03/16/2016); The Resurrection of Jesus Acknowledged? (04/03/2015); Resurrection from the Dead? (04/23/2014); Not A Matter Of Opinion? (04/24/2014); Are Holidays Bad? (11/16/2013); Denying GOD by Eating Shrimp? (11/17/2013)

 

Anonymous”, many developing Christians are now using the label “Resurrection Sunday” when speaking of the observances and worship activities related to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, his being raised from the dead, and other sacred events that include his ascension into heaven. Mature Christian believers often continue the use of “Easter” in the understanding that focus must be on the spirit substance from the makeup of divinity residing within events, within oneself and others, within ones practices, and within ones utterances. All believers are cautioned to be vigilant against the spiritual confusion that sometimes arises by discussion of the first and second resurrection for the final judgments of mankind, and of becoming joined to divine fullness (we say, the Godhead; the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit) by the resurrection of Jesus (we say, the new life; the new creation). Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

1. Acts 12: 1-5, King James Version (KJV): 1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. 5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

2. 2nd Corinthians 3: 4-6, KJV: 4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

3. Acts 24: 14-16, KJV: 14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: 15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. 16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

4. Romans 6: 3-6, KJV: 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

5. Philippians 3: 7-14, KJV: 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, 6. Revelation 20: 4-6, KJV: 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

Image downloaded 11:06 AM, April 23, 2019 @ https://twitter.com/johnmrutter

 

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THE BLACK PHOENIX

Washington, DC

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Today, I share a reply to a question on what Christmas means to me.  It is true there are those outside the covenant made through the blood of Jesus from the cross who mistakenly feel the birth of the Savior has established liberty from all religious laws and traditions, and they celebrate the occasion of his nativity expressing abandon, displaying covetousness, and seeking the price of a dog or a whore’s reward (debt, deceit, depression, disease, disgrace, and death).  Even so, the Holy Spirit is present among believers through the festival of Christmas as anointing, fresh endowments, and sacred deposits that reside within diverse events, messages, and persons, and are visible only to those having spiritual discernment.  One of the fighters at “Yahoo! Answers (New Zealand)” using the ID “Anonymous” (no profile information appears) posted the following:

 

Religion- Christians, what does chrismas really mean to you as you celebrate with time off work and indulge yourselves silly?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:  When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:  for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus:  for he shall save his people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  (Matthew 1:  18-23, King James Version , KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Mother of GOD? (12/09/2016); A Day For Forgiveness? (12/25/2015); It Is Our Wisdom To Ask (05/18/2015);  A Christmas Message, 2014 (12/25/2014); The Christmas Spirit? (12/23/2014); Both Born Holy? (04/29/2013); Scripture at Funerals? (04/30/2013)

 

“Anonymous”, in the same way, the law of GOD required the participation of all firstborn males throughout Israel in three annual observances (Pentecost or Weeks; Trumpets; Tabernacles or Booths) through the covenant of Moses, Christmas is a festival acknowledging prophecy and sacred events that was commanded by GOD through divine proclamation delivered by angels as the terms for a covenant in blood.  The secular activity, meanings, and traditions associated with Christmas do not fulfill the sacred duty for those within the household of faith, and so is a mandatory obligation discharged only by those willing to sanctify themselves (i.e., set themselves apart to serve GOD exclusively) through the imparted, indwelling Spirit of GOD.  Just as making gifts and offerings to GOD were central in the Mosaic feasts, rightly understood, making gifts and ministering to the Son of GOD are a central focus when observing Christmas.  Consider the following points from the holy writings:

(1.)  Deuteronomy 16:  16-17, King James Version (KJV):  16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles:  and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:  17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.

(2.)  Luke 2:  8-14, KJV:  8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not:  for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(3.)  Nehemiah 8:  9-11, KJV:  9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.  10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared:  for this day is holy unto our LORD:  neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.  11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  Romans 8:  5-10, KJV:  5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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Freedom, idolatry, the celebration of Christmas, and use of the Christmas tree are topics, today.  Cultural arrogance, ethnicity, and racism are vain, and do not nourish the imparted, indwelling Spirit from GOD.  For mature Christian believers the birth of Jesus is acknowledged as the fulfillment of prophecy, divine proclamation, and sacred promise, therefore even African American believers count themselves free to celebrate understanding principles for living that come from GOD.  However, for developing believers—those recently born again, or continuing their gradual growth as being in sacred relationship—the observance of Christmas may appear as only a family custom, the expression of popular culture, or merely a longstanding social tradition.  Even so, such features as Santa Claus, fantasy, gift-giving, and folk tales to amuse and entertain do not convey an antichrist spirit as does apostasy, heresy, and slander.  Americans include those having root as Black sons of Canada, Haiti, Jamaica, Germany, and even Great Britain.  Christian worship among those of Black descent in America includes African Methodist Episcopal believers, Baptists, Catholics, Pentecostals, and Seventh Day Adventists.  Among the true disciples of Jesus, there are many devices, experiences and lessons that are to be used to foster cleansing, growth, healing and perfection.  Consider again the holy writings, and the points shared below:  Psalms 97:  9-12, King James Version (KJV):  9 For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth:  thou art exalted far above all gods.  10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil:  he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.  11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.  12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.  Also, 1st Corinthians 13:  8-12, KJV:  8 Charity never faileth:  but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:  but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:  now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  The fighter at “Yahoo! Answers” who uses the ID “yahoosucks” (Level 1 with 18 points, a member since August 26, 2015) posted the following:

 

Why does Black America celebrate Christmas when the bible Jeremiah 10:1-5 clearly tells the Israelites not to?

I understand the white edomites breaking GOD’s laws but the blacks who are the Israelite tribe of Judah need to wake up

Update:  To all the dumb edomites, you remember the song “silver & gold” song during Christmas?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:  And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands:  and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.  Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law:  and the people stood in their place.  So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.  And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.  Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared:  for this day is holy unto our LORD:  neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.  So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.  And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.  (Nehemiah 8:  5-12, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  American Culture and Law? (07/13/2015); The American Covenant? (03/03/2015); The Christmas Spirit? (12/23/2014); Peace The Gift of Christmas? (12/24/2014); Beliefs, Customs and Racism? (09/24/2014); Are Holidays Bad? (11/16/2013); Denying GOD by Eating Shrimp? (11/17/2013)

 

“yahoosucks”, Black Americans are now privileged to be in covenant with divinity through the new testament established in the blood of Jesus Christ.  While many accept a heritage as Jews and inclusion within spiritual (not national) Israel, few claim place as “Israelites”.  African Americans have always been a diverse aspect of this New World experiment in democracy and the hope of a homeland that is to be a “melting pot.”  The bias and ignorance that established and maintained chattel slavery of Africans began in Portugal (Europe) 50 years before Columbus sailed.  Africa then (as now) was an entire continent serving as home to multiple cultures, language groups, and those who were grounded as believers in many different systems for spiritual truth.  Black Africans were never all from one tribe, one nation, one region, or one religion.  Many were Islamic believers; some answered forms of shamanism; others had received some instruction in Christianity.  Nevertheless, all were initially dehumanized and maintained as “beasts of burden,” “darkies”, and “niggras”.  In somewhat the same way, Americans whose ancestry and origin are traced to Africa, have developed differently in accordance to the peculiar challenges of life in rural vs. urban settings, status as freeman or slave, East coast vs. the West, and Mid-west vs. Northwest America. 

Today, African Americans practice spiritual disciplines that include Buddhism, Judaism, Mormonism, and Scientology.  All do not celebrate the birth of Jesus as the intercession of divinity for the deliverance of Creation from the shackles of sin.  Religious liberty is more than a political slogan in our lives; and, like the right to vote, pertains to the “quality of life” and self-esteem in ways that are fundamental.  The concepts of “equality” and “impartiality” are vital to the ideas of freedom and justice through law that are essential for stable nations.  More than this, commitment, conscience, and sacrifice—what we willingly give our lives to, or give up our lives for—is determined in response to a myriad of life conditions, challenges, goals, and opportunities.

All Black Christians do not acknowledge, praise, and reverence divinity the same way; nor do those who celebrate Christmas all do so the same way.  Blacks also may enjoy a “white Christmas” as do their neighbors across the Nation.  Customs and traditions vary like family life, home ownership, and the goals we set for our children.  As is true for all Christians everywhere, Black Christians vary in their level of knowledge, preparation, skills, and spiritual maturity.  The relationship to Deity through Jesus Christ—one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one God and Father of all—establishes Black Americans and all other Christians as having oneness (unity), rather than sameness.  Within the bounds and limits of new life through rebirth (the “law” some call self-discipline), believers all are free to pursue acquiring sacred knowledge, developing through fellowship with other believers, expressing personal devotion, maintaining sacred practices (we say, sacraments), continuing study of the holy writings, and pursuing congregational worship.

There are many other ideas that should be carefully considered, correctly understood, and made a part of ones own spiritual development, here.  (For example, many Black Americans have chosen Christianity as a way to express and satisfy their personal needs for affirmation, direction, and spiritual strength.  However, others accept Christian belief as a matter of their being chosen and put to work as instruments to accomplish divine and eternal purposes that are not their own.  These are in an ongoing process of permanent change and transformation that also alters how they perceive duty, their place in society, and their participation in both secular and religious traditions.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

 

New Disclaimer

Scriptures are shared to clarify the Gospel (we say, good news) along with the various memorials, and annual observances for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  Today, Good Friday, is the day designated for remembrance of the crucifixion.  Many cultural and social customs and traditions are now attached to the sacred events (we say, miracles) of judgment, death, and resurrection that were demonstrated through Jesus Christ.  Most of the apostles and disciples with him at their camp on the Mount of Olives went into hiding (fearing their own arrest), were not present at the crucifixion, did not expect Jesus to be detained or punished, and therefore doubted the reports of the Lord having been killed.  However, one of the women who had witnessed the execution also discovered the empty tomb, saw the Master alive, and proclaimed to the others, He is risen!  The Savior was not seen following his arrest, death, and temporary burial until the first day of the week, Sunday.  Combined hours from the four days (Thursday to Sunday) account for the “three days and nights in the grave” as written in prophecy.  When the good news was announced, many continued to be uncertain, despite Jesus having carefully explained on many occasions the events that were to occur in fulfillment of the holy writings.  The fighter at “Yahoo! Answers” using as ID “israel” (a member since October 25, 2014, with 7 points at Level 1) posted the following subtle (i.e., barely visible; disguised; having multiple hidden shifts in meaning and value) thrust:

 

Why do Christians celebrate crucifixion on Easter?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,  And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:  (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:  And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.  See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:  Whose voice then shook the earth:  but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.  And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:  For our God is a consuming fire.  (Hebrews 12:  18-29, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Crimes Christ Crucified For? (11/07/2014); Both Lost and Found? (11/08/2014); Resurrection from the Dead? (04/23/2014); Not A Matter Of Opinion? (04/24/2014); Resurrection Sunday (04/19/2014); Jesus Scourged (04/05/2014); Brothers, Not Equals (04/06/2014); The Judges Who Condemned Jesus? (01/17/2014); About the Second Coming? (01/18/2014); Jesus Arose Bodily (12/24/2013); Thanking and Blaming GOD (12/25/2013); GOD Angry With Us? (12/08/2013); So We Could Have Life? (12/09/2013)

 

“israel”, you appear to be one of those who has some spiritual confusion regarding Christian beliefs.  The resurrection of Jesus is to be continuously acknowledged, along with the establishment of spiritual gifts for mankind.  In place of celebration and parties, atonement, repentance, sorrow for sin, and escape from condemnation are the focus, rather than such events as the end of Winter, the beginning of Spring, fertility and nature symbolized by a bunny, church attendance, and family reunion.  Please consider the following:

(1.)  Acts 2:  22-24, KJV:  22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:  23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death:  because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

(2.)  Acts 17:  24-32, KJV:  24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;  27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:  28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.  29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.  30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.  32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked:  and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

(3.)  1st Corinthians 15:  12-14, KJV:  12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?  13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:  14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

(4.)  1st Corinthians 15:  21-26, KJV:  21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  23 But every man in his own order:  Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually understood.  For example, (5.)  John 3:  1-12, KJV:  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:  2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God:  for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.  3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.  8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth:  so is every one that is born of the Spirit.  9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?  10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?  11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.  12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

More is shared on the Christmas Spirit, the spontaneous holiday truce during WWI, and other gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit.  The divine benefit and godly value of Christmas centers in the Advent and Incarnation of GOD as Jesus Christ.  Covetousness, hilarity, levity, pleasure and self-indulgence have no part in the true meaning of Christmas.  No one is condemned by Christ simply because they encourage their children with material gifts, Santa Claus, a special family meal, or peculiar observances for the season.  For only where there is blasphemy, idolatry, iniquity and rebellion are we guilty of forgetting GOD and abusing our privilege.  Observing Christmas should provide assurance, comfort, contentment, laughter and satisfaction.  Even so, in the same way the gifts of covenant and divine law were accompanied by occurrences to evoke awe and wonder, the birth of Jesus was filled with marvel and holy spectacle that continue to call forth hope, humility and reverence.  Correctly understood, the special gifts and joy of Christmas are divine proclamation, promise, and prophecy fulfilled.  The account of a cease-fire during a time of bitter combat and war is cherished and received as a sacred event (we say, miracle), because it emerged as sameness and shared purpose within the hearts and spirits of diverse men under the influence of specific unifying truths, and appeared in spite of anger and rage, harsh conditions, military discipline, hierarchy and orders (we say, the chain-of-command), national pride, public policy, politics, tactics, or strategy to seek advantage.  For those outside of Christ, the human desire to “live and let live” is enough to explain what occurred in 1914.  Roughly 100,000 British and German soldiers along the Western Front participated in an unofficial cessation of hostilities.  However, it remains that wars among created beings and living creatures are usually founded upon accusations of betrayal, bias, injustice, the misappropriation of resources, malice and wrong-doing that may only be corrected, suspended, and permanently resolved through divine judgment—the settlement of conflicts and disputes through the proclamation of sacred law.  Historically, the fruitage and seeds of war can only be bitterness, desire for revenge, despair, grudges, hatred, imbalance, loss, and mistrust that will eventually appear as renewed warfare.  Christian believers are to understand that, like joy and life itself, the Spirit who establishes peace appears through the active presence of divinity.  At Christmas and at every other season, peace is only emanated and known through such eternal aspects of Deity as divine love, forgiveness, judgment, longsuffering (we say, endurance), revelation, sacred promise, and salvation.

 

THE BATTLE AXE:  The Christmas Spirit? (12/23/2014)

Psalms 95:  1-3, KJV—O come, let us sing unto the LORD:  let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.  3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

Isaiah 61:  10-11, KJV—I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.  11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Deuteronomy 18:  15-17, KJV—The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;  16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.  17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.

Isaiah 9:  2-10, KJV—The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:  they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.  3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy:  they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.  4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.  5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.  6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:  and the government shall be upon his shoulder:  and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.  8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.  9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,  10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones:  the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.

Isaiah 11:  1-5, KJV—And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;  3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD:  and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:  4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:  and he shall smite the earth:  with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.  5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Isaiah 32:  13-20, KJV—Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city:  14 Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks;  15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.  16 Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.  17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.  18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;  19 When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place.  20 Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.

Nehemiah 8:  1-8, KJV—And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.  2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.  3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.  4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.  5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:  6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands:  and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.  7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law:  and the people stood in their place.  8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

Nehemiah 8:  9-13, KJV—And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.  10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared:  for this day is holy unto our LORD:  neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.  11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.  12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.  13 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.

1st Chronicles 29:  10-18, KJV—Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation:  and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.  11 Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:  for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.  13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.  14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.  15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers:  our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.  16 O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.  17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things:  and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.  18 O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:

2nd Chronicles 6:  7-9, KJV—Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.  8 But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:  9 Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name.

2nd Chronicles 6:  13-16, KJV—For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court:  and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven.  14 And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:  15 Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.  16 Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me.

Ezekiel 37:  25-27, KJV—And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever:  and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.  26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them:  and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.  27 My tabernacle also shall be with them:  yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Luke 2:  4-10, KJV—And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)  5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:  and they were sore afraid.  10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not:  for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:  15-20, KJV—And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Luke 1:  68-79, KJV—Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,  69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;  70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:  71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;  72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;  73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,  74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,  75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.  76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest:  for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;  77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,  78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,  79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Matthew 5:  1-12, KJV—And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain:  and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:  2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,  3 Blessed are the poor in spirit:  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  4 Blessed are they that mourn:  for they shall be comforted.  5 Blessed are the meek:  for they shall inherit the earth.  6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:  for they shall be filled.  7 Blessed are the merciful:  for they shall obtain mercy.  8 Blessed are the pure in heart:  for they shall see God.  9 Blessed are the peacemakers:  for they shall be called the children of God.  10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:  for great is your reward in heaven:  for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

John 10:  9-10, KJV—I am the door:  by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 18:  33-38, KJV—Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?  34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?  35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me:  what hast thou done?  36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world:  if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews:  but now is my kingdom not from hence.  37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.  38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

Luke 11:  11-20, KJV—If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children:  how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?  14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.  15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.  16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.  17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.  18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.  19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.  20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

Hebrews 1:  5-9, KJV—For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?  6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.  7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.  8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever:  a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.  9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Acts 13:  26-33, KJV—Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.  27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.  28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.  29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.  30 But God raised him from the dead:  31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.  32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,  33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

John 17:  11-17, KJV—And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.  12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name:  those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.  13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.  14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  17 Sanctify them through thy truth:  thy word is truth.

John 16:  19-21, KJV—Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me:  and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?  20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice:  and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.  21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come:  but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

James 3:  13-18, KJV—Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.  14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.  15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.  16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

1st Thessalonians 1:  6, KJV—And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.

Colossians 1:  9-21, KJV—For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;  11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:  all things were created by him, and for him:  17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  18 And he is the head of the body, the church:  who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;  20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.  21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

Hebrews 13:  20-21, KJV—Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,  21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

Today, I share more points regarding spiritual benefit and power through the Rosary devotions and other prayers.

 

THE BATTLE AXE:  The Power in Prayer? (08/22/2014)—(5.)  The most common and recurring problems for our prayer life are exposed by the discipline of praying the Rosary.  For, too often, believers pray to get from GOD, and not to unselfishly acknowledge and give to GOD.  Believers are thinking of their own desires and needs, or those of our loved ones whom we regard as possessions and parts of ourselves; and we are not thinking of completing or finishing things begun by the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit.  Their true spirit is exposed for those who err by approaching prayer as a function of doctrine and intellect, rather than of faith and Spirit.  Such are repeatedly cast down and overthrown by simple observances such as the Jesus Prayer, the Prayer of Jabez, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Rosary prayers manifesting undeniable spirit power in the lives of those in humility to Christ.  Nonbelievers frequently confuse displaying and practicing faith imparted from GOD with holding to an idea out of fear, ignorance, or stubbornness.  Rightly understood, prayer is also a form of ministry wherein believers serve with Christ as advocates, mediators, and supporters in judgment before GOD.  More than simply that prayer is to further develop patience in believers by having them tarry and wait for answers from GOD, the process of prayer is intended to further develop patience and ability to wait in expectation of fulfillment for divine proclamations, promises, and prophecies.  See Psalms 34:  1-8, Proverbs 28:  9 and Luke 1:  45-47, KJV.

(6.)  Given that all our actions, praises, and prayers offered to divinity are expressions within a personal and private relationship, the privilege of judging their beauty, completeness, depth, sincerity, and whether they are acceptable or not belongs only to those to whom they have been sent forth.  Mary is alive and in heaven through the same resurrection power that lifted Jesus, her son.  She is therefore sanctified and consecrated.  Those who acknowledge that the mother of Jesus is now exalted through the combined love of the Father and the Son, also understand that her role petitioning on behalf of believers does not replace Jesus as the one and only savior given to mankind.  Rather than answer counsel from academic theology, believers use common sense reasoning to endorse their practice of the Rosary, and every other form of group and private prayer.  Included are family prayer, prayer circles, praying in tongues, and silent or unspoken prayer.  Through the Rosary and other prayers, believers may achieve new discipline, express their love, show respect, themselves make intercession, and request and receive comfort, intercession and support both from Mary and from her blessed son.  GOD has not granted authority to anyone in heaven or upon the earth to disapprove and mock a believers heartfelt expressions of devotion and love.

(7.)  As seen among Islamic believers, agreement to honor and worship one God, the same God, is not the same as agreement to worship one way, the same way.  In other words:  there is only one God Almighty, yet, there are many acceptable ways to praise, honor and reverence the one God.  Because belief is also a matter of individual conscience, maturity, and what one may grasp as the completeness and integrity of their own being and personness, diversity will always appear within the assemblies, congregations, and households of faith.  Public worship generates the shared vocabulary of experience needed for acknowledgment of commonly held emotions and otherwise hidden feelings, clear communication, the building of trust as well as genuine fellowship among believers.  Often, symbolic ceremonies, customs, rites, and rituals are used, traditions that have been conserved, repeated, and continued without changes.  By contrast, private devotions, such as the Rosary, call ones spirit content into greater creativity, and more open individual exploration and self-expression.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  The lips of the wise disperse knowledge:  but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD:  but the prayer of the upright is his delight.  The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD:  but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.  (Proverbs 15:  7-9, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Mary (06/13/2014); The Estate of His Handmaiden (06/14/2014); A Kindness to Mary? (04/21/2013); When GOD Controls? (04/22/2013)

 

There is far more to be said, correctly understood, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (8.)  In addition to confessing love, interceding for others, and petitioning to meet ones material needs, prayer is also that aspect of divine judgment wherein those accused of wrongdoing are granted opportunity to speak on their own behalf (we say, plead), and call into divine review peculiar points of consideration and understanding that have power and presence within the awareness of one who is finite.  In appearing before the Father, believers will not be covered with the blood of Jesus; rather, they will be covered in clean, white linen—the prayers of the saints.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

Celebrations and popular holidays are the topic, today; also, there is more on the benefit of divine law.  A writer at “Yahoo! Answers Canada” using the ID “i love jerseylicious ©” (Level 1 with 231 points, a member since June 13, 2010) posted the following originally asked at Yahoo Answers United States:

Is celebrating christmas a sin? why? what about thanksgiving? Easter?

my brother used to be catholic, and my family is currently catholic. my brother found this new religion that believes every holiday is worshipping the devil, and that they’re not real holidays. he believes catholics are going to hell & the pope is the devil. I just wanna know if this is true? where does it say in the bible that christmas, Easter, thanksgiving and Halloween is worshipping satan? I love celebrating the holidays as everyone in my family is happy and joyful and my brother is just putting a damper on everything.

THE BATTLE AXE:  The Benefit of Law? (11/15/2013)—The mistaken idea that all men are not bound to divine law from GOD may have arisen through language used by the Apostle Paul (see Romans 3:  19 and 6:  14, KJV).  Acknowledging a difference between those “under the law” (i.e., in the covenant of Moses as Jews) and those coming to Jesus as new believers or as Gentiles, Paul declared the dispensation of grace that, at first, seemed to annul and conflict with all sacred law.  Paul goes on to clarify the New Testament blessing affirming its benefit as both grace and law (see Romans 7, 8 and 11; 1st Timothy 5-11, Philippians 3:  7-14 and 2nd Timothy 1:  8-10, KJV).

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.  And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.  And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.  And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf:  and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.  And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:  They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them:  they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  (Exodus 32:  1-8, KJV)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Jesus Lives! (05/04/2013); Jesus, A Party Animal? (05/03/2013); The True Miracle (12/23/2012); About the Star (12/24/2012); Without the Noise of Battle (12/25/2012); Knowing Who Your Real Friends Are (12/11/2012); Suffering for Suicide? (12/12/2012); Holiday Displays (12/07/2012); An Attack Upon Creation (12/08/2012)

Christian believers, particularly children and young people, are hurt and shocked when they first hear teachings against celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and the traditions of Christmas, Easter and other holidays (e.g., Halloween, July 4th, Kwanzaa, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving).  Many are convinced that such talk is from the Devil, and is motivated by destructiveness, envy, malice and wickedness.  However, there are some important points of truth that believers must be careful to embrace:

(1.)  Believers are all called to a work of spreading the Gospel as a seed, tending the growth of faith implanted within themselves and others, and preparing the earth for the time when Jesus will come to receive the harvest of the faithful.  In the Bible, harvest and sheep-shearing celebrations only follow hard work, and long seasons of expectation, tarrying and waiting.  Gratitude, humility and joy always mark such seasons for they manifest the active presence of GOD through abundance and plenty as well as conquest, healing by rest, ownership, prosperity, release from fear, triumph, and victory.

(2.)  Jesus has commanded his servants to “watch and pray.” All are to maintain alertness, meekness, sobriety and vigilance.  We do  not know the exact day or time of his second coming; and we are to live as if it would be any minute now.  When celebrations, family gatherings, and holiday excitement promote questionable amusements, exaggerations and excess, hilarity and silliness, our fun becomes a weapon the Adversary uses against the health of our bodies and spirit.  Holidays can be used as a distraction, or a snare to entrap the imagination and the intellect.  The work of truth is then neglected.

(3.)  Disciples and followers of Jesus are cautioned to grasp that GOD is a spirit whom we must worship in spirit and in truth even though we continue upon the earth as carnal, material, and social beings.  All our personal expressions of commitment, love, respect, and trust also are to make visible the Person and Spirit of Christ.  Our words and deeds are as godly seed that should be put forth with balance, compassion, humility, maturity, and a correct vision of the growth that will occur.  Observance of celebrations, holidays, and revels are not automatically condemned as sin that is punishable by death, yet, wrongly taken to be acceptable acknowledgement and worship of GOD, such practices are no more than idolatry, pride, selfishness and the spiritual confusion that results in death.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually understood.  (For example, (4.) Secular bargain-hunting, capitalism, consumerism, and discount shopping are now threatening to replace the sacred experiences of the holiday season.  As surely as frugality, good sense, and thrift are to be fully employed, believers are to be armed with discernment.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.  Jesus is coming soon.  Grow in grace.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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