Thursday, December 31, 2009


New Years, the oldest of all celebrations, began in Babylon 4000 years ago. However, the western cultures didn’t follow suit until only 400 years ago. The early Church condemned the festivities as pagan even into the Middle Ages. Shouldn’t we, as followers of Jesus, pay attention to this? What is the history of new year celebrations?

• Recognized as the season of rebirth, the Babylonian New Year began at the spring equinox.
o Most important of all festivals; it lasted 11 days and included acts of worship such as purification, sacrifice, propitiation, penance, absolution and extravagant colorful processions.
o This magical worship was offered in order to obtain favors from the gods. The greater the appeal, the greater the sacrifice, even to the point of human sacrifice [2 Kings 3:26-27].
o Sacrifices included wine which involved drunkenness and lascivious activity.
o Resolutions were made in order to appease their gods, believing that they would be blessed if the promise was kept and cursed if it was not.
o The culmination was the sacred-marriage ceremony between the god Marduk and godess Ishtar.
• Practiced in ancient Canaan and Syria, these same festivities found their way to Greece and finally to Rome.
• For various reason, Roman emperors kept tinkering with the calender until at last, January 1 was accepted as the “New Year!”

Many of these pagan practices are perpetuated in
New Year’s festivals today!
But what if we “Christianize” them;
doesn’t that make our participation acceptable?
The unchanging Creator of this universe does not compromise.
He tells His people,
“You must not worship the LORD your God in their way.”
What pagans do and how they go about doing it
is detestable to Him [Deut. 12:31]!

God not only rebukes His people for following the festivals of paganism, He warns that He will punish those who do [Hosea 2:11, 13]. He speaks specifically about making resolutions to Him and then breaking them. He refers to these broken promises as “sacrifices of fools” [Ecc. 5:2-7].

When the Lord says to the Israelites, “… Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterward you will surely listen to me and no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and idols” [Ezek. 20:39], He seems to be saying, "Be pagan if you insist; but quit calling it ‘Christian!’

One of Jesus’ final orders to His disciples was, “teach all nations to observe all things I have commanded you…” [Matt 28:20]. Jesus does not command His followers to observe any religious festivals. Instead, He is to be recognized as the fulfillment of the ceremonial laws, including the celebrations of the Israelites [Col. 2:16-17].

Like the Babylonians, many people attempt to wipe their slate clean by making promises and sacrifices. However, Mattie D. Babcock speaks rightly when she says, “…Christian character [is not made] at the New Year. The workshop of character is everyday life. The uneventful and common place hour is where the battle is lost or won.”

Sin can only be abolished through Jesus, who makes all things new. In His economy, every day is a fresh start. He wipes the slate clean every morning and fills us afresh with His precious Spirit in order that we might manifest His love to a world which desperately needs it.

Why dabble in pagan practices when you can enjoy the blessings of a new year, in Jesus, one day at a time!


Thursday, December 24, 2009


Because we’ve been programmed to believe that this time of year is to somehow be more peaceful and joyous than any other, many of us become disheartened by and lost in the expectations:

• Family gatherings are less than perfect or don’t happen at all.
• Circumstances make it impossible to place or find the “perfect present under the tree”.
• Painful memories get in the way of believing that there can ever be any peace or joy.

Often the Lord uses music to express His love to those imprisoned by such emptiness. One of the greatest joys in my life is to be used by Him through this gift of ministry. If you are struggling to experience the peace and joy which is typically promised this time of year, I would be honored and blessed to have the opportunity to sing this song for you. Yet, I pray that the lyrics alone will be comforting and healing to your heart.

Although I don’t believe that our relationship with Jesus can be wrapped-up in a “season” or “holiday,” I do believe that He is the only way to a Whole-Hearted Life.

FROM BETHLEHEM TO CALVARY- adapted from Ponder, Sykes & Wright

You’ve always looked for a rhyme or a reason.
You don’t know if you believe in the season.
It’s just another holiday.
Who is this babe that we give adoration?
He is the Savior, the Lord of Salvation.
He is still the same today.

And if your heart condemns you, He is greater than your heart.
And if your life is broken, He can mend a broken heart.
From His Father’s throne in glory
To a manger filled with hay.
From Bethlehem to Calvary
Jesus Christ is still the only way.

Where do you run when you’re tryin’ to hide
From the fear and the feelin’s you’re lockin’ inside?
Must you keep it all within?
Here is a Man who already forgave you.
He has the power to conquer and save you
He’s gained victory over sin.

And if your heart condemns you, He is greater than your heart.
And if your life is broken, He can mend a broken heart.
From His Father’s throne in glory
To a manger filled with hay.
From Bethlehem to Calvary
Jesus Christ is still the only way.


Thursday, December 17, 2009


For a number of years now, the Lord has been exposing Gary’s and my true heart regarding how we celebrate Christ’s birth. Each year, it seems He reveals more and more of our activities which really have little significance to the true purpose of Christ. We’ve relinquished the desire to spend more than we should or fret over finding the perfect gift. We’ve recognized that no one on our gift list truly needs more. We’ve given up the frenzied attempts to decorate every corner of our home, bake cookies for every neighbor and prepare the picture perfect holiday meal. We no longer get anxious over our holiday greetings not being ready before the arrival of the New Year. The Lord continues to show us that celebrating Christ isn’t about all the “Christmas” activity.

After chipping away over the years on those more external things, our Lord has begun to expose an even deeper level of concern. We’re seeing that our very definition of “Christmas” has been built upon things we hold even more dear to our hearts, such as our tendency to look to others to make “the celebration” complete. We recognize thoughts such as, “It doesn’t really feel like Christmas if we can’t celebrate it with family.” It is at this level where we begin to ask, “Lord, what more can You take away. Isn’t this what Christmas is all about?”

It is here where Christ’s Spirit has begun to show us that celebrating His birth is about nothing and no one else, except Him. It is about being willing to stand alone before Him – everything stripped away. We don’t like that much. We don’t want to see ourselves as we truly are, let alone willingly “show it to God”. Yet this is what celebrating Christ is truly about. In fact, this is the only way to rightly celebrate His birth. To stand before God, the Son, with every obstacle removed, separated from every distraction and to see ourselves as we truly are.

Only then will we see how desperately we need Him, our Savior.

Only then will we truly know how to celebrate the real purpose in the coming of the Christ Child.

Only there, at His manger, will we truly come and receive His love.

Who among us will celebrate Christmas right?
Those who finally lay down all their power, honor, and prestige.
All their vanity, pride and self-will
at the manger,
those who stand by the lowly and let God alone be exalted,
those who see in the child in the manger the glory of God
precisely in this lowliness.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Mystery of Holy Night

It is my prayer that the Lord will richly bless you and those you love with a deep awareness of His love. May your hearts be turned toward the Christ Child for peace & strength in the days to come and may His Holy Spirit deliver unto you a clear understanding of His will for your lives.


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Our daughter, Julie has painfully dry and cracked hands in the winter. She has tried nearly every traditional product on the market to no avail. This isn’t surprising since most cosmetics, including lotions, contain harsh and harmful chemicals. In fact, one of their main ingredients is petroleum. Yes, skin requires lubrication. However, engine oil is not the choice for skin! Instead of helping, petroleum clogs the pores and keeps moisture out.

In the process of researching how I might help Julie, I discovered the blessings of comfrey.

Comfrey is a perennial herb with
a black turnip-like root,
large broad hairy leaves
and small white or lightly colored
bell-shaped flowers.

Although comfrey has the potential to cause liver toxicity if taken internally, it posesses effective healing properties when used externally. In fact, comfrey is often referred to as “knitbone” and scientific studies confirm that it can influence the healing of bones.

Comfrey is a cell proliferant and is effective in treating:
• respiratory problems
• sprains
• arthritis
• back pain
• ulcers
• skin conditions, including severe burns.

Loaded with this information, it seemed that comfrey might be the answer for Julie’s hands!

While researching, I discovered that comfrey can be propogated by taking root cuttings. Recalling that my neighbor had comfrey growing in her yard, I asked if I could take some starts. She brought me a spade and her three daughters watched me dig. As I worked to remove the “offsets”, the five year old questioned her older sisters, “Why is Bonnie digging up our weeds!”

With cheers from the girls at my success, I headed home with my new “weed”. I planted a portion away from my garden to give it room to spread and used the rest to make a hand balm following these simple steps from Earthly Bodies & Heavenly Hair by Dina Falconi:

• Slice roots into small sections. Place on paper towel to dry.

• Hang stalk with leaves in dry, dark spot with good circulation.

• When stalks are brittle, leaves crumbly and roots dry and hard, coarsley chop in pulsating blender.

• Place 1 oz. of processed herb in glass jar. Add 4 oz. olive oil. With lid in place, aggitate daily for six weeks. Strain.

• Combine:
o 2 oz. comfrey infused olive oil
o 1 oz plus 1 Tbsp. jojoba oil
o 2 oz. plus 1 Tbsp. shea butter
o 1 oz. beeswax

in glass measure and place it in pan of hot water over med.-low heat. Stir frequently until melted.

• Remove from heat.

• Continue stirring 2 minutes to keep ingredients mixed while cooling.

• Pour mixture into wide-mouth jar.

• Add ¾ tsp. lavender. Cap quickly to seal in essential oil

• Allow to sit undisturbed overnight.

The results were beautiful! Although it can be used any time, the greatest reparative action is achieved by applying the balm before bed and wearing 100% cotton white gloves. Irritated skin doesn’t need dyed synthetic fabric against it!

My friend, Ina has similar problems to Julie’s, so I asked if she’d be my guinea pig. With the problems already developing, she was delighted! After three days of use, cracked and painful areas on Ina’s hands were healed! With these results, I quickly filled a lovely blue satin bag with white cotton gloves; a pretty jar filled with comfrey hand balm, along with instructions and sent a package off to Julie. She called today and is also thrilled with the results!


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


An error was made in getting last wks article published in the newspaper. will be published this week. I don't want to get ahead of that publication online, therefore, I will not publish a new blog until Dec. 9th.

Thank you for your faithfulness!

God's Blessings,