-Read the Bible: An Excellent Idea for 2024

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A new year has come and many are looking to change their life for the positive in 2024. I believe that one of the best things one can do if not the best is read the Bible daily. It is life changing.

Several polls taken during the last year have unfortunately demonstrated that American Christians are somewhat illiterate when it comes to the Bible and particularly Biblical teachings. One good way to reverse the trend is to set aside time to read the good book everyday. An excellent idea is to read through the whole Bible or at least the New Testament during 2024. There are a number of good programs to help you in the process.

One of the easiest ways to get it done is to get a ‘One Year Bible’ where the whole year is divided up into daily readings usually with a selection from the New Testament, the Old Testament, and from Psalms. You can even get it in your favorite version at the book store or at Amazon.

If you find that reading all of it in one year is maybe too much, then you could read just the New Testament and Psalm offerings for each day and then maybe save the Old Testament or the following year (or visa versa).

There are also a number of good plans available that allow you to use your regular Bible for the reading. Here’s a few online: The One year Bible Online, Bible Gateway

You could also get the Bible on CD or tape and listen to it on the way to work this year or download it into your iPod, iPhone or MP3.

There are lots more Bible helps available just search online.

May God Bless you and yours during 2024.

-Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours

The Real Christmas Story

When our children were growing up it was a family tradition to read about the ‘real’  Christmas story in the Bible on Christmas Eve.

You’ve probably seen a dozen or so ‘Christmas stories’ on TV in the last couple of weeks but the real Christmas story is found in Matthew (Matt. 1:18-2:18) and in Luke (Luke 1:26-56, 2:1-40). However, Isaiah should never be ignored:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Matthew gives us the story largely from the perspective of Joseph, including the dreams that he had and his family genealogy. In this gospel the ‘Kingship’ of Jesus is the major topic. Starting with the Davidic Kingly genealogy through Joseph and the coming of the Magi (Wisemen) who are looking for the new king. Also King Herod’s reaction is in Matthew.

The events in Luke are given to us from Mary’s view. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces the coming of the child. Mary’s genealogy is also given in Luke (Luke 3:23-38), she was also a descendant of David, but not in the ‘Kingly’ line. Chapter 2 begins with the Christmas story that everyone is familiar with:

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, who we celebrate which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!”

However, nothing explains the real reason for the season better than John 3:16-17:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  -KJV

May we remember the first and greatest gift of Christmas:

God’s gift of his Son Jesus.

-Christmas and Attacks of the ‘Super Spiritual’ and ‘Knowledgeable’

Sometimes it is Sunday, Tattoos, the name ‘Christian’, contemporary worship, or any Bible but the KJV that gets them going.

But this time of the year it is Christmas that is under attack by those folks that I call the ‘Super Spiritual’ and ‘Knowledgeable’-folks that know it all and are way beyond the rest of us Spiritually.

I am sure you have all heard it by now from one source or another, December 25 was originally celebrated by the Romans as ‘Saturnalia’- the birthday of Saturn and the tradition of decorating trees comes from Druid pagan worship -‘Real’ Christians don’t celebrate Christmas and God hates and condemns it!

All that may be somewhat historically true and I guess if you are worshipping Saturn on the 25th of this month and you have dedicated and decorated a tree to a pagan god then they may have a point.

First time I heard this line was back in the early 70’s one Saturday when our family was decorating our tree. Then there was a knock on our door and a very fine couple from the Watch Tower (Jehovah Witnesses) proceeded to explain to us how what we we doing was pagan. It wasn’t very convincing to me then and still isn’t and I do know all of the history and the facts thank you very much.

Yes, Jesus was probably born sometime in the fall since the shepherds were still in the fields and the Wisemen didn’t show up till months later when they were living in a house, that’s why Herod had all the babies under 2 killed and not just the newborn. But the rest of the events and story we celebrate this time of the year is entirely true and recorded in Matthew (Mt 1:18-2:18) and in Luke (Lk 1:26-56, 2:1-40). However, Isaiah should never be ignored:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Is. 7:14)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Is. 9:6)

As usual on Christmas Eve our family will break out the Bible and read those passages about the first Christmas and when we come to the part of the angels appearing to the shepherds my granddaughter will probably point to the angel at the top of our tree.

Oh yes, there will be no mention of Saturn or any other pagan deity.

-Happy Thanksgiving

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(“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth”: Wikipedia)


Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. The following is our traditional Thanksgiving message:

Thanksgiving is an uniquely American celebration that began nearly four centuries ago with a deeply religious people, the Pilgrims, giving thanks to God for preserving them though a very hard year and bringing them their first bountiful harvest which they gratefully shared with their indigenous neighbors.

It was our first President George Washington who proclaimed that our first official national day of public thanksgiving should be dedicated by observing and:

“…by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.

In recent years the ‘politically correct’/secular crowd has rewritten the history of the First Thanksgiving placing an emphasis upon the hand that the indigenous American Indians played in helping the original Pilgrim community to survive. In the process they have redirected the emphasis on thanks towards neighbors and friends and away from the providence of Almighty God.

While it is always good to be thankful for others who have enriched our own lives and certainly that has a good part to play in the celebration. Nevertheless the major emphasis of Thanksgiving should always be upon giving thanks to God along with our family and friends as it was on that very first occasion.

For my family and I, we will be praising and thanking the Lord God Almighty for the bounties and the providence that he has bestowed upon us this year in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. May Our Heavenly Father bless your family today and continue to bless all of us and this nation during this holiday season and in the year to come.     

-A Day to be Thankful!

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Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.              –1Thessalonians 5:18clip_image002

As we gather together with friends and family for Thanksgiving in America, let us remember the blessings that God has bestowed upon this nation and the ultimate gift to be thankful for–His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that graces our lives.

In the midst of economic trouble we do need to remember that our worst times are better than the best of fortune for 95% of the folks living on this planet. Even in times of personal difficulty we can always be confident in the love and the strength of the Lord–we can always depend on him.

It is a great time to remember how the Lord has truly blessed each one of us and our family.

Thank you Father for your Love for us, thank you Lord Jesus for your strength, and Holy Spirit for your peace. In Jesus Name Amen.         

–Oct. 31: Happy Reformation Day!

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(The door of All Saints’ Church, Wittenberg)

Happy Halloween Happy Reformation Day!

I know. October 31st is known for witches, goblins, pumpkins, and trick or treat.

It is amazing to me how in the last 20 years or so Halloween has gone from a one night ‘celebration’ to become an entire ‘holiday’ season of it’s own with parties and decorations that span nearly an entire month. Plus it has become an excuse for every TV station to flood the air with the worst horror movies of all time.  Not a genre that I am particularly fond of.

However, this is also the anniversary of a real earth shaking -game changing- historical event that altered the face of Europe and forever changed the Christian Church. 506 years ago on this day- October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany starting The Reformation.

The enemy (Satan) likes to use this day for propagating his dark agenda but on this day a genuine move of God was initiated that still continues. The beginning of a revival right in the face of the enemy on his own day.

For years the church tried to redeem this day calling it- All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve with church services looking forward to midnight which began the traditional Christian celebration of ‘All Saints Day.’ However in our present culture the historical Christian observance of this day has been largely forgotten.

Let us redeem this dark day and pray for God to continue to reform and revive his church.  Let’s also in remembrance of the original Reformation pray today for a new awakening to begin in America. May a new door of renewal and revival open in America that no man can shut.  In Jesus name, Amen          

-Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement

YOM KIPPURDAY OF ATONEMENT

Today is Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement in God’s Biblical calendar. Starting at sundown Sunday 9/24 and continuing for 25 hours through sundown on Monday 9/25/23.

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered .” —Psalm 32:1 ESV

Even more blessed are those whose sins are totally washed away by the blood of Jesus!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. –1 John 1:9 ESV

For Christians it is a great day to repent and ask for forgiveness. Ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything you need to receive forgiveness for and to show you anyone you need to forgive:

…and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.  –Luke 11:4 NLT

During Bible times, all Israel refrained from work on this day, fasted, and offered themselves before the Lord for forgiveness. (See: Leviticus 23:26-32)

Today, Jews world-wide observe Yom Kippur for a 25-hour period, beginning at sundown. It is considered the Shabbat of all Shabbat therefore work is prohibited. Five additional prohibitions are included in the observance: 1) no eating or drinking; 2) no bathing; 3) no anointing the body with oil; 4) no wearing of leather shoes; and 5) no sexual relations.

Many Jewish folks attend a service on this day—at the end of the observance a shofar is blown and all sins for the previous year are considered covered.

-Biblical New Year -A Time For Introspection and Change

Rosh HashanahYom Kippur

A New Year began today- 5784. The Biblical New Year–Rosh Hashanah began at sundown Friday 9/15/23 and the celebration will continue until sundown on Sunday 9/17. It ushers in the high holy days of the Jewish calendar. You ask, what significance does this have for Christians?  The Jewish calendar is Biblical and God instituted it in the first place and still seems to honor it in many ways.

The Biblical name for Rosh Hashanah is ‘Yom Ha-Zakkaron’ meaning: “The Day of Remembrance.” It is the beginning of 10 days of Awe in the Biblical (Jewish) calendar when the people of God are suppose to look at their lives and inspect the way that they lived during the just completed Biblical year. The 10 days end with Yom Kippur.  In 2023, Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Sunday September 24th and ends the following evening on Monday September 25th.

On ‘Yom Kippur’-also called “The Day of Atonement” -Jewish folk traditionally repent and ask for God’s forgiveness and look forward to making changes for the better in the new year. 

Many Christians find that the Holy Spirit seems to call them to look at their lives and make changes during this time of year. Especially those in ministry. Most of us have thought that it is because of the change of seasons with the kids going back to school, and the changes that fall brings to church activities and ministries. 

Changes in ministry for me always seem to take place in the Fall. I use to think that it had to do with my birthday coming in October.  Lately, I have come to realize that the Lord always seems to call me to make changes during this time of year, and that it is really connected with the Biblical New Year. A number of major modern prophets have commented that during this time, they believe that ministries ‘pass under the rod’ (Ezekiel 20: 37-38) and are evaluated. If you are involved in ministry, it is a good time to get on your knees and listen to what the Holy Spirit says about you and the coming new Biblical year.

While everyday of the year is a good time for Christians to look at their lives, repent, and make changes.  The Biblical New Year is an especially good season for it.

-Happy Independence Day

Declaration_of_Independence_(1819),_by_John_Trumbull

Happy Independence Day

The following is our traditional message for the 4th of July:

Flags are flying, parades are moving, drinks are flowing, and politicians are speaking today in America.

Over 240 years ago a document was confirmed by representatives of 13 colonies proclaiming their freedom, a freedom that was considered to be derived from God:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Much has been made of the variety of beliefs held by the founders of this country but their words and convictions remain not only on paper but also in the hearts of the people.

Declaration of Independence: The Emphasis Upon God

When it comes to the Declaration of Independence, the words- “by their Creator” were a major part of the message, the subject, and the emphasis.

Many secularists and atheists today want to de-emphasize the role of faith in the founding of this country to the point that many are attempting to actually rewrite history itself. For them, God could have easily been left out of the document with little or no effect.

But in the context of 1776, those words were the whole linchpin of the document and appealed to God as the ultimate authority and source for the rights of the Americans to rebel against the King of England.

In the context of the 18th century the Europeans believed that their Kings reigned and ruled ‘by Divine right’ under the authority of God and were His direct representatives. In fact, the King of England was also the head of the church and was supposed to defend the Christian faith against heresy and all enemies. In that cultural context, to rebel against the King was tantamount to rebelling against God the Creator himself.

In the Declaration the founders made it clear that they were not rebelling against God but that the Creator was actually the ultimate authority they were appealing to saying that their ‘rights’ were derived directly from the Creator and not given to them by the King of England or some parchment or Parliament.

It was a radical document at the time and changed the whole course of human history and ‘the Creator’ was part and parcel of the Declaration of Independence and the ultimate authority appealed to in the whole process.

-So We Killed Him

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“…so we killed him.”

All of a sudden I was undone and tears were flowing down my cheeks. Yes, I was responsible for his death. All of a sudden I could see that in a way I never understood it before.

I had begun the morning in my easy chair with a tall cup of strong coffee enjoying my latest sci-fi read when unexpectedly there was a reference to Jesus and how humanity had killed him because he didn’t meet our ‘religious expectations’:

“…so we killed him.”

Intellectually I knew it was true. After all, I majored in theology in seminary. But this was different and personal, the Holy Spirit had just knocked me down and I was on my knees. I was just as responsible for the death of Jesus as the ones who nailed him to the cross or the crowd who shouted- “Crucify him!.” What a surprise and I couldn’t stop crying.

Fact is, everyone who has ever sinned is ultimately responsible for his death but I always self-righteously held special contempt for those religious leaders who planned it. But he did personally die for my sins and now I could no longer deny the implication. In a moment I could see my own part in his death.

But the story doesn’t end there does it! Jesus rose from the dead and everyone who believes on his name will also.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…John 11:25-26 -ESV

–Michael G. Davis