No Oil, No Light

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

Herodian Era Oil LampMatthew 25:1-12
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”

I have been a house painting contractor for a good part of my self-employed career. I consider myself to be a pretty good painter, capable of doing some pretty nice work.

The other day I came home from work after stoping at Home Depot to pick up a gallon of redwood stain and sealer to use on my grandson’s playset.

As soon as I got home I went down into the backyard  and began to stain the playset. I worked well into the evening and did not finish until well after dark. I was forced to put on the yard light that helped me to see somewhat, but a lot of the surfaces were still in the dark.

Never-the-less I did my best to stain every surface before stopping for the evening. I figured that I may have missed a few places, thinking that I’d just touch up any misses the next morning.

The next morning I headed out, paint brush and stain in hand. I was very surprised to see how much I had missed. As good as I thought that I was, I still missed a lot. In fact where the playset was completely in the dark I had missed about a third of the surfaces. I really needed light to see what I was doing.

Our walk with the Lord is much the same way. We need to walk in the light (1 John 1:7). We need his illumination to light our way everyday, lest we go off the path and fall into a ditch in darkness.

Our lamps need to burn brightly, but if we are out of oil our lamps will flicker and eventually go out. Generally the oil mentioned in the Old Testament, as in this parable, is a type of the Holy Ghost. We keep our lamps full by being continually being renewed in the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5).

This doesn’t happen by being a Sunday morning Christian, or just going though the motions. Our walk with Him is not about a religious activity, it’s about a day-to-day relationship. If you are married, what kind of a relationship would you have with your spouse if you only talked to them once or twice a week?

We are foolish if we do not find a place in prayer DAILY. A time and place where you can be alone with just you and God. A time of worship, of supplication. A time of praying in the Spirit and with understanding also. If this is not a regular part of your life, make it so today!

This is not just a five minute prayer. If possible do not limit it. It may be different for some, but generally the best time is early in the morning when you are rested.  Get up a little earlier and find a quite place. A place where you do not need to be self conscious about disturbing others. your bedroom, a bathroom, the kitchen, the basement, the attic, the back yard, the woods, your car, the shed, the garage, the barn, the middle of the pond, but find a place and meet the Lord there daily.

Jesus said that “the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matther 26:41). Most of us know that we need more time with God, in prayer, in worship, in His Word.  But the flesh is weak and gets caught up with the cares of this world. We need to bring our flesh into subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27).

You cannot help anyone else to show the way if you cannot see it for yourself.  You’ve heard the phrase the “blind leading the blind”. First be full of the Spirit so that you can see clearly and have direction, and then you can better see to guide someone else.

This is of the utmost importance for a leader, whether it be of a family or the Church.  It is not just your soul at stake, but those that you love and are responsible for. How can you lead anyone to a close relationship with God if you do not have it for yourself? How can you lead if you yourself cannot see? How important is it to you for your family to be saved?

Let us not be foolish unto an everlasting death. The Word of God is clear, we are to continue to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).  If we are to be full of the Holy Ghost, then we can also be depleted. If our lamps can be full, then they can also be empty. It is not “once saved, always saved”. The infilling of the Holy Ghost was never meant to be just a one-time experience. There needs to be a continual refreshing and renewing.

Don’t be one of the foolish virgins caught with no oil when the bridegroom comes. Keep your lamp full and burning brightly and therefore light your way. We will be raised up on that last day only if the Holy Spirit dwells in us, For it is the Spirit that dwells in us that will quicken our mortal bodies and raise us. (Romans 8:11).

If we are not Spirit filled (lamps full of oil) we are like the five foolish virgins. God will not know us when it comes time to enter in (Matthew 25:11,12).

Is you lamp full should the bridegroom come today?

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Bait, Lures & Traps

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

It seems no matter where we are, we are constantly being lured. Big Corporations, Small Companies and even individuals vying for our attention.  They each have a motive, they want something from us.

In business it’s called advertising, and they very good at it. They have learned what works and what doesn’t. They have it down to a science.

I remember all the cigarette commercials on television when I was a young boy.  They always showed some famous movie star or some rugged, good looking man enjoying a cigarette.  Remember the Marlboro man? The rugged, masculine, good looking, mature and wise looking cowboy?  Even doctors were used in the ads.  Movie stars smoked in the movies.  It seemed like everyone, even the kids wanted to be like them.

In modern times the advertisers have really caught on to the the fact that “sex sells” and it sells to the women as well as to the men. What they have really learned is that to the world at large, anything that plays to lustful desires, a persons greed, hedonism, and pride will sell.  The Bible calls it the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).

It’s everywhere! In stores, on magazine covers at the checkout, on the television, on the Internet, and in movies. It is so ingrained in our culture and society.  It seems the majority is just waiting for the next big thing to flock to, the latest fashion, newest computer, smartphone, or hot car.

The vast majority seem to have a mob mentality that is being conditioned and trained by Hollywood, television, popular singers, or sports stars. We live in a “me” generation.  “Whatever makes me feel good”.  The general attitude is “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, do what you want”.

Is it any surprise that the world at large would do the bidding of, and follow after the desires of the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)?  It is satan that we are battling (Ephesians 6:12) and no one else.  When you are lured in, it is satan who lured you.  When you become attracted to the medium that portrays his message you are allowing yourself to be lured and enticed by him.

Never before has television programing and commercials been so perverse and so foul. I will not tell you that you cannot be saved if you have one, but you are putting yourself and others in harms way if you have one in your home.

The Internet can be the most dangerous and perverse place in history.  If you do not have proper filters on your computer, then with the stroke of a few keys you, or any loved one in your home can be viewing the most perverse and foul websites and videos imaginable, with no restrictions.

One of the most serious plaques today is pornography.  Not just on the American family, or our youth, including your girls, but it has even had grave consequences attacking those in the Church.  Too many men of God have fallen prey. It is an attack on individuals, it destroys families, and it is an attack on the Church.  Satan seeks to destroy all.

I have become convinced that every computer, if you feel that you must have one, should have filtering software on all computers as well as on any wi-fi system. This secret epidemic is far reaching.  Even young girls are increasingly becoming addicted to pornography.  Do not think that you know your family and that you are okay.  The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it (Jeremiah 17:9)?

Recognize satan’s bait, his lures, and his traps. He will reel you in.  It just may be an ad on a website that contains enticing wording, or the picture of a pretty girl.  Perhaps it’s just curiosity that causes you to click just to see what it’s all about.  The next thing you are looking at scantily clad women and you get lured deeper, giving into the flesh and falling prey to the trap of the enemy. Some soon find themselves in places they should not be, and on thoughts in which they should not be dwelling upon. We need to learn to recognize the lures, the traps, and the pitfalls of satan, and avoid them.

The best Internet filter, and world filter for that matter, is to be full of the Holy Ghost. It will illuminate satan’s traps so that you will not be snared unaware. If you have not been filled with the Holy Ghost, you need it.  If you have, then you need to keep your lamp full more than ever before (see “No Oil, No Light“).

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Five Words that Never Belong in a Christian’s Vocabulary

Friday, May 4th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

As true Christians we can be SAD for a season over some event or issue. We can be BROKE at least temporarily. We can be HUNGRY. We can even have some PAIN physically or emotionally.

However, if we have a relationship with Jesus, we should never feel BORED, we should never be LONELY, we can never be POOR, and we should never feel LOST, or UNLOVED.

Why?

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

Do you ever wonder why about things?  Why we are?  Why do we do what we do?  Why are we here?  What is it all about anyway, and why do we believe what we believe about it?

I meet, hear about, or read about more and more people that do not believe in God. People that believe that the Bible is just a book of fairytales. This is the person that I feel the most sorry for.  The Bible says; “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God” (Psalms 53:1). The Bible also says that we are without excuse (Romans 1:20). The evidence and proof that there is a God is staggering, and all around us.

Why do people believe what they believe? Whatever they believe, it becomes truth for them. It’s their truth, their reality no matter how varied or different. Many go through their entire lives never pondering the question; why do I believe what I believe, and what is the truth of the matter?

The world’s opinions on life, our purpose, God, creation, etc., has almost as many variations as there are people in the world.  Each person having their own set of ideas, concepts, ideals, traditions, religions, and beliefs.

Take just the area of Christianity alone;  There are more Christian denominations in the “Christian” world than anyone can accurately number or list.  Yet,  this is contrary to what Jesus had established.  The one true Church was built (Matthew 16:18) and added to (Acts 2:47) by Jesus.  Jesus’ last prayer while he was still with us in the flesh, was that we would be one (John 17:22).

Truly there is still is, and can be only ONE Church, regardless of what assembly one belongs to, or what sign is out front of the building where they meet.  Some are part of the true Church that Jesus founded, but sadly most are not.

Which are and which are not?  You have to decide for yourself, but be very careful, your eternity depends on what you believe or accept.  The criteria set forth for this determination is found in the Word of God, but do you know where?  It is primarily found in the book of Acts. The book of the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ is the history of the early Church.  This is the Church that Jesus founded, not Martin Luther, not Joseph Smith, not L. Ron Hubbard, not Budda, not Mohammed, not John Wesley, or anyone else.

If you want to learn how to make sure you are in the Church, you have to go back to the beginning.  Back to where people were told what they needed to do to be saved. Back to where the gospel was first preached. Back to where the people first obeyed the gospel. Most of the books of the Bible that follow the book of Acts are epistles, or letters written to those that were already in the Church.

If you want to know how to be part of the Church, you need to go to the beginning, back to where the Church began, in the book of Acts. If you want to know what the early Church believed and did.  If you want to know if you are in the Church, you have to compare what you believe and do based on what is written there.

Why are there so many denominations? It’s for the same reason why there are so many religions and creeds, traditions, beliefs in the world. . . deception. Satan is the great deceiver and the father of lies. The Bible says that “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Corinthians 4:3).  The revelation of who Jesus is and the Gospel is a revealed to us by God Himself. You can go on following man-made traditions, or you can seek God for a revelation of what the truth is.

In my opinion it would be virtually impossible once having looked at all of the religions and beliefs in the world, to choose the right one based upon our own understanding. Yet that is what the vast majority of mankind tries to do.  We often choose based on our own intellect.  What seems right to us.  Sometimes just because of tradition.  It is often heard that one is what they are because that is what their parents were.  “Our family has always been Catholic”, or Baptist, or whatever.

A person will often choose a “Church” based on if they like the people, or the pastor, or if the Church is convenient, or they have nice music or activities.  Often its just that they feel uplifted when they leave, and that is what they feel they need (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

Most people naturally desire to be part of something that caters to their flesh. The flesh wants to be entertained, but entertainment is often satan’s substitute for the joy of the Lord.  Most people want to hear that they are saved, or going to heaven because they accepted some creed, or said some prayer, without really having to change their lifestyle or give up the things that they enjoy in this world, or want to do.

Most that consider themselves to be Christians in this world are very difficult to tell apart from the rest of the world.  They still do most of the things the world does.  Perhaps they have cleaned up their act a little.  Perhaps they watch movies, just not the x-rated ones.  Perhaps they have quit swearing or taking the Lords name in vain, at least when they could help it.  Perhaps, they gave up drinking or smoking, at least while around other “Christians”.  Perhaps they abstain from fornication, and perhaps they try to be honest, but for the vast majority, truthfully that’s about it.

The Word of God says that unless we repent, which is to turn from our ways to God’s way, that we cannot be saved. It’s not just changing our ways, but true repentance means that we have changed our mind.  Changing your ways simply because you are told it is what you should do, will find you right back doing the same thing, because you never truly had a change of heart.

The truth is that we were created by God to have a relationship with Him.  The truth is that sin has separated us from Him.  The truth is that He has paid the price for that sin to redeem us to Himself. The truth is we need to merely obey the Gospel to be born again into a relationship with Him.

But what is the Gospel?  Is it not just that Jesus died for our sins, and all we have to do is accept Him as our Savior?  No, the Gospel is clearly laid out in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. “Moreover brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I have preached unto you, which ye have also received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures”.

That’s the Gospel!  Now pay attention! 2 Thessalonians 1:8 says that Jesus will take vengeance on them that obey not the Gospel! You may say; “Wait, isn’t  1 Corinthians 15:1-4 just a historical event!  How do I obey a historical event?”

Answer: Jesus does not ask us to die on the cross as he did for us.  He asks us to die to ourselves through repentance.  Turning from our will to His will.  He does not ask us to be buried in a grave as He was.  He asks us to be buried in like figure in the waters of baptism for the remission of sin.  Then He promises to fill us with His Spirit.  It is that same Spirit that raised up Jesus on the third day, that will also raise us to meet Him when He returns for His Church.

Peter confirmed this in that same book of Acts I told you about, where he said; “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38).

Jesus Himself confirmed it in John 3:5 where He said; “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.

If the the assembly you attend does not preach repentance, then you are not in the company of the true Church. If the assembly you attend does not preach baptism in Jesus’ name of the remission of sin, then you are not in the presence of the true Church.  If the assembly you attend does not preach about the infilling of the Holy Spirit with the same evidence as found in the books of Acts, then you are not in the presence of the Church.

The true Church today is they same as it was on the day of Pentecost 2000 years ago.  Read the book of Acts and compare.  It is the true measure.

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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The Greatest War Ever Waged

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

greatest-warThe greatest war that was ever fought, or ever will be fought, having the greatest consequence, was not World War II that claimed somewhere between an estimated 40 and 72 million lives.

It won’t be the war that is yet to come that will claim one third of mankind. The greatest war that was ever waged, or ever will be waged where man is concerned, is the war that is waged in your mind.

It is a spiritual battleground where only you will be the victim or the victor, no one else. The consequences are greater than any mortal life can fathom, and they are eternal. The decision that you make, perhaps even this day, and the side you choose will determine your greatest joy, or your greatest torment for all of eternity.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  – Matthew 10:28

 “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” Luke 12:4,5

Every man and woman that has ever been killed in a war, even enduring great torment in their flesh, still can rise up unto eternal life, if they were right with God unto the death. That world war, that earthly battle, that bodily torment and death will just be a blink in time, something that will not matter in eternity.

The good news is you have control over the outcome.  You decide if you will win, or lose by the very choice that you make. You are either a slave to satan or a servant of God. There is no other choice, and no middle ground to be had. Many think they are neutral, but sadly, they have already made their choice.

“Choose you this day whom ye will serve.”  – Joshua 24:15

Obey the Gospel: Acts 2:38, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Offended Friends & Embarrassed Family

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

©2011 Stan Hallett

Embarrassed FamilyI have occasionally considered quitting Facebook (I actually did in 2012).  I happened to mention this to a family member recently to which they replied; “Great, I won’t have to read your posts anymore”. When I asked why they had made such a statement they told me that they did not agree with my telling people that they were wrong when it came to what they believed about salvation.

They went on to say that they felt that I would not win anyone that way and that it is better just to be an example to people, and that people would become interested because how they see me live my life. That’s not word for word, but pretty close.

So how should we as Christians live?  Should we just be a quiet example so that we don’t offend people and embarrass family?  I was asked how that was working for me?  Had I won anyone by this method?  The answer is, yes I have actually.

We need to speak the truth in love, and we need to preach the Gospel.  The Word of God is clear that one may plant, another may water, but it’s God that gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6,7).  We may not always see the fruit of our labor, but we still need to do the work that we were called to do. I guess I would like to ask the question back; How many have you won by just being a quiet example?  No answer is required, I already know. Satan would love to silence those that would preach the truth.

The world in general, and many of our unsaved friends and family and others would like us to; “Just be a quiet example.” . . . “Don’t profess something contrary to what I believe” . . . “Don’t embarrass me!” Did John the Baptist live a quiet example?  Did Jesus just live a quiet example?  Did the Apostle Paul just live a quite example?  Did the early Church just live a quiet example?  No, they didn’t!

I am not mean to people.  I do not call people names.  I don’t even like debate.  We don’t need to defend the gospel, but we are to contend for the gospel.So I will continue to preach the truth and the gospel to anyone that will listen. Charles Spurgeon once said; “Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion!” You don’t need to defend a lion, you just turn it loose and it will defend itself.

If someone believes a false gospel and is not saved, I’m going to tell them, and use Bible to back up every word I say. Listen, it would be easier for me to just go along with the program and itch their ears and tell them how wonderful they are and agree with their false salvation doctrine.  Think of the friends I could have! So what on earth would motivate me to do something that many find offensive or embarrassing?  Simple. . . souls! I want to see people saved, regardless of what they think of me.

Listen my friends, the Bible does not contradict the Bible.  All of the Word of God is in agreement. If you find something in the Word of God that you think contradicts another scripture, then you do not understand that scripture. Jesus said; “Except an man be born or the water and of the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3-5). The Bible says that baptism saves us (1 Peter 3:21)! The Bible says that everyone was baptized in Jesus’ name, not in the titles of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They obeyed the command and didn’t just repeat it. If you think thats just semantics then we need to talk.

If I wrote you a check and signed it father, or son, or brother, or grandson, or husband, do you think that you could cash it?  Those are just titles, or roles of relationship that I hold or have held. They are not my name.  Matthew 28:19 says to baptize in the NAME (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Look at every account that follows in the book of Acts.  The Apostles knew what that name was, and they baptized in Jesus’ name!

The Bible says that the Gospel must be obeyed or face the judgement (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).  That would contradict this false gospel that says that our obedience is a work.  Obedience is not a work! What is the gospel? Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: Thats the gospel, the good news, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day.

2 Thessalonians 1:8 says that we will face a terrible judgement if we do not obey the gospel. Question: How do we obey what appears to be a historical event?  I’m glad I asked that question! Repentance (death to ourselves), Baptized in His Name, which is to be buried with Him (Romans 6:3-11), then God promises to fill us with His Spirit (Acts 2:38).  It is this same Spirit that raised up Jesus on the third day and will likewise raise us up when He returns to take up His Church. Death, Burial, Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) = Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).  One Salvation, Hallelujah! Come on friends.  Check it out!  Stop believing the lie!  I don’t mean to be offensive, I’m just telling you the truth!

Most of what the world calls Orthodox Christianity is a lie and part of the  broad way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14).

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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All of the Church is in the Ministry!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

©2011 Stan Hallett

There is no such thing as a laity/clergy division in the Word of God. There is such a thing as the ministry of the saints (1 Corinthians 16:15).

In Acts 8:4 we read that “…they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Who preached the word? . . . Those that were scattered.

But if we back up to Acts 8:1 we read “…they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Who was scattered? The Church! . . . Except for the apostles!

The Church went everywhere preaching the word!

In Ephesians 4:11,12 we read:
11*And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12* For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:12 is one sentence broken into three parts. Part number one states that these gifts are for the “perfecting of the saints”. Part number three also says that these gifts are for the benefit of the saints. . . “for the edifying of the body of Christ”. It then stands to reason that part two would not be redundant, or state the obvious, but also refer to the benefit to the saints, “for the work of the ministry”.

In fact no where does the Word of God declare that these are “gifts of the ministry”, only that they are gifts (Ephesians 4:8).

The truth is that all that have obeyed the gospel having repented of their sins, having been baptized by immersion in the Name of Jesus, and have been filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance, as clearly laid out in the New Testament book of Acts, are in the ministry!

Some teach that only those with these “gifts of the ministry” are in the ministry.  That is false!  These gifts are given to some of the Church for the edifying of the Saints and perfecting of the Church for the work of the ministry.

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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The True Meaning of Christmas

Friday, October 14th, 2011

©2011 Stan Hallett

Christmas is supposedly the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In our day this is very popular and it is associated with beautiful music, beautiful decorations, and religious zeal and of course, last but not least, with commercial zest. A prominent figure in the Christmas celebrations, sometimes even more prominent than the babe in a manger, is Santa Claus who almost assumes a divine character, and a jolly old man, who mysteriously brings gifts to all the children. This is also a time when families can share closeness together—which they may not have for the rest of the year.

No one can really deny that all of these characteristics seem beneficial and wholesome. The ornamentalism is really beautiful, often spectacular and breathtaking. Some of the music is actually very beautiful, sober and even spiritually minded. And who would deny that families need such an invigorating association as this day seemingly provides? And who would deny that we should honor the birth of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world? Certainly this is one time in the year when the world must recognize the supremacy of Jesus.

Anyone who would oppose this celebration is categorized as an old Scrooge who, as the story goes, had no close family and was only a self-centered, unloving miser. However, there are obvious incongruities in this celebration. Most everyone realizes and even openly admits that commercialism has stripped away a lot of the soberness of any spiritual benefit. In reality the sound of the cash registers seems more pronounced in stressing selfish values than real lasting family values. Therefore, we would ask, what are the real facts about this celebration? Does it really glorify Jesus Christ? Is it ordained by God? Are there hidden dangers in it?

Many people are surprised to find out that early colonial America forbade the celebration of Christmas. Yes, the Pilgrims who first settled in America understood the Bible very literally, and since there was nothing in the Scriptures about this celebration, they believed it was of the devil. In fact the Pilgrims and the Puritans affected laws to be established that prohibited the celebration of Christmas in the early colonies and some of those laws remained on the books for well over a hundred years and even longer. They considered the celebration a “Popish-Pagan fraud,” and a “dreadful work of Satan.” The Massachusetts Bay Colony legislature made Christmas illegal: “Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas…shall pay for every offense five shillings.” One stern judge loudly proclaimed that “persons who even made mince pie or plum pudding over the holiday period would surely be cursed by God for all eternity.”

Probably the most serious charge against Christmas was that it “smacked of Roman Catholicism”. Though many of the harsh laws were dropped from books within the first sixty years, yet the unwritten prohibitions against it remained in Protestant American society for another hundred and seventy-five years. Even school children in New England were made to attend school on Christmas day. This continued in Massachusetts up until 1856. In addition, the New York Daily Times for Dec. 26th, 1855 read, “The churches of the Presbyterian, Baptists, and Methodists were not open on December 25th.” The only churches open were the Catholic, Episcopal and Germanic, and they were decorated accordingly. Actually, when the Protestant Reformation was taking place, the churches that were separating from under the domination of Rome were called “Protestants” because they were protesting the apostasy of Roman Catholicism and they wanted to return to Biblical Christianity. Most all these churches, with the exception of the Lutheran, rejected the religious holy days celebrated under Catholicism, including the celebration of Christmas. This carried over into the new world as America came to be populated primarily by Protestants, beginning with the Pilgrims and Puritans.

1.) Christmas celebrations are nowhere to be found in the Bible. The early Christians did not celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. They honored Christ to be sure, but not by celebrating His birthday. In fact, the Scriptures are not even specific as to the date of His birth. In other words, the Scriptures are silent as to any such celebration as Christmas. (Actually we shall see that the Scriptures forbid its celebration.)

2.) Christmas was born out of Paganism. Long before Christ was even born, the Pagans celebrated the “Birth Day of the Sun.” This was called “Natalis Invicti Solis”—“The birthday of the unconquered Sun.” For most of the pagan world this took place at the winter “Solstice”—the time of the year when the sun was lowest in the heavens. This was on approximately December 25th. The Roman celebrations were called “Saturnalia.” This was after the god Saturn and it consisted of great revelry at this time of the year.

3.) Christmas is of Popish tradition. About 350 A.D. the Imperial Church (The form of Christianity authorized by the Roman government), in order to win more of the pagans to Christianity, kept the pagan feast day celebration but changed its object of worship from the sun to the Son of God. They reasoned what easier way could they win the pagans than by adopting their own festivities and convert them into the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ. At that time “the Church” called it “The Feast of The Nativity.” It was not until about 450 A.D. that it came to be called “Christi-Masse” (the Mass of Christ), hence “Christmas.” Thus, Christmas came to be called a “Popish” tradition by the Protestants who were endeavoring to return to Biblical Christianity.

As to Number 1-3 all historical authorities, secular, Roman Catholic or Protestant are in perfect agreement. See any Encyclopedia or historical reference work.

4.) The Scriptures do not authorize the celebration of Christmas.  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16,17).  “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.… for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 10:17 & 14:23).  In fact the Scriptures warn against the celebration of holy days—

“Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Galatians 4:7-11).

5.) “Christ-mas” is blasphemous. When one realizes what they are saying when they wish a person “Merry Christmas,” they would never say it again. The word Christmas means “the Mass of Christ.” The Roman Catholic dictionary says, “The Mass is the same sacrifice of the cross, because Jesus is the innocent victim. The difference between the sacrifice of the cross is that the sacrifice of the Mass is not a bloody sacrifice. It is under the appearance of bread and wine.” (A Practical Catholic Dictionary, All Saints Press). In other words, when a person says “Merry Christmas” he is literally saying “Merry sacrifice of Christ.” Therefore the very first Christ-Mass was not at the little town of Bethlehem, but rather at Pilate’s judgment hall and Golgotha where the world was having merriment at Jesus’ expense.

6.) The world does not honor Jesus Christ! In John 5:40 & 41, Jesus said “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men.” Again Jesus said, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil” (John 7:7). “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John. 1:10). And in finality Jesus said, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9).

7.) Christians are not to follow the world’s religious traditions. Jesus said, “…Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2). “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2). Jesus said, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition” (Matthew 15:2)?

Most of the celebrations conducted by the pagans this time of year, which were not originally celebrated by the Christians, provided the model for the merry-making customs of Christmas. These were the elaborate feasting celebrations, the lighting of candles, and the giving of gifts. Lights also played an important part. The Yule feasts played an important part for Christmas festivities such as the Yule Log.

The Christmas tree became widely used in the 18th century. The Saxons began with the use of ivy, holly and mistletoe in such festivals as the Celtic Remnant. In the 13th century Nativity plays, marriage songs and religious themes began to become a part of these celebrations, which began to turn them into a religious activity.

The representation in the Church is said to have been begun by Saint Francis. The sending of Christmas cards by way of friendly greeting and remembrance is grown up since the 19th century.

In the United States the customs and traditions of many nationalities and faiths have blended together into a new tradition.

Merry Christmas everybody! Christi-Masse! . . . The Merry sacrifice of Jesus. Does that sound good?

Ironically the Christmas holiday is also celebrated by most atheists. Many educated and knowledgeable atheists will tell you that the holiday has pagan Roman roots such as the Saturnalia Festival, as well as the Celtic Winter Solstice, and the Yule celebrations.

Saturnalia was associated with the Roman pagan God Saturn. Ironically Saturn was also a god that the Romans equated with the God of Israel, whose Sabbath (on Saturday) he shared as his holy day, Saturn’s day.

The first official mention of December 25 as a holiday honoring Jesus’ birthday appears in an early Roman calendar from 336 A.D.. Prior to this most of Rome worshipped pagan gods.  The then Roman Emperor Constantine had made Christianity the official religion of Rome.  To win over the pagans he made December 25th a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus converting what was a very favored pagan traditional holiday celebration to a Christians one in an attempt to win them to the new religion.

You can call me the spoiler of celebrations, but I want to tell you something; The spirit that goes with Christmas is not the Spirit of the Lord. All this partying and the buying and the selling and frivolous spending is not of the Lord. People will spend money they don’t have because it’s expected. They get drunken, they feast and feed their bodies with all of these things centering around pagan activities.

This is all now laid to the account of a very beautiful story in the Bible called the birth of Jesus. There is nothing wrong with celebrating His birth. There is nothing wrong with celebrating His life. There is nothing wrong with rejoicing over the fact they He paid the price for our sins in our stead, and provided a way for each of us to have eternal life. I’m excited about that!

We have communion in remembrance of His death. He said as often as ye do this, ye do it in remembrance of me. But in my opinion, what is wrong is that the devil has very subtly taken Godly things and woven them around his own satanic devices and pagan ideas. He has offered them back to the Christian Church and we have swallowed them hook, line, and sinker. Then we go forward full throttle on the worship and the merriment in something that is not from the Lord.

No one that considers themselves a Christian wants to be an idolater. Don’t stand in defense of something you love, just because you hold it as tradition. First of all check what it is that you love. Don’t turn away from the truth because you have enjoyed something. There is a manner of enjoyment in the world. People enjoy getting drunk or they wouldn’t do it. They enjoy lustful activities or they wouldn’t do them.

I am of the opinion that Merry Christmas, in a sly way, is a mockery of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I think the devil has fooled us into making fun of the cross.

8.) The Christmas Tree:  “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good” (Jeremiah 10:2-5).

9.) Santa Claus is a mockery of Jesus Christ.

a.) Santa wears red. “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews”. And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him” (Matthew 27:27-31).

b.) Santa likes for the children to come to him a sit upon his lap. “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:14-16).

c.) The lie is that Santa gives us gifts. “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” (Luke 11:13)?

d.) Santa sees you when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Hebrews 4:13). “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Proverbs 15:3).

e.) When does Santa come? He sneaks in as a thief in the night when we are sleeping. ”For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

f.) Where does Santa live? He lives UP at the North Pole. He somewhere unreachable and hidden, preparing good things for the children of the world. Parents teach their children this fairy tale. . . At least until, hopefully someday they will realize that it was a fairy tale. When they do they may lump them all together with all the other tales that were presented as truth. The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, David & Goliath, Noah & the Ark, and rest of the Word of God. . . . It’s just another fairy tale, right?

Sources: The Word of God – King James Version, Encyclopedia Americana, A Practical Catholic Dictionary, All Saints Press, Various Online Documents, Added to my own prayerful thoughts and comments.

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Don’t be Foolish!

Friday, September 16th, 2011

©2011 Stan Hallett

You know what is sad? I went to ApostolicLive.com and clicked on the “Most Viewed” link. Do you know that all the top video clips listed were entertainment related? Not preaching, not testimonies, not a good teaching. But rather comedy, singing, or children imitating adults.

Out of the top 30 videos that are viewed I counted just 4 preaching messages, which for the most part appeared in the last 10. Is this an indication of the spiritual condition of the Church? Do we desire entertainment more than the Word of God?

Matthew 22:1-13 is not referring the world, it is referring to the Church. I believe that the ratio is probably pretty accurate. Perhaps half of those that once obeyed the Gospel as it was preached unto us from the beginning, now have lamps void of oil, and are just hanging on.

Remember how you felt when you first obeyed the Gospel and were filled with the Holy Ghost? Remember how on fire you were, and how much you loved God?

The wise virgins are diligent and walk with the Lord daily. They pray daily, they worship Him daily, They die daily to their will, and seek His.

The foolish virgins wander off, fall away, seek pleasures of the world and seek to be entertained more than they seek the joy of the Lord.

Seek the Lord while He yet may be found. Don’t be one of the foolish ones. Your eternity is at stake, the Bridegroom is coming.

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Led by the Word of God vs. Our Feelings

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

©2011 Stan Hallett

We cannot live for God by our feelings. Feelings have no intellect. We must live our lives by the Word of God. As Brother Anthony Mangun says; “Feelings are the caboose and the Word of God is the Engine.” Many live their lives the other way around. We have to be led by the Word of God.

I’ve had this poem written in the front of my Bible for years:

“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
His Word shall stand forever!”
— Martin Luther

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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