Monday, October 8, 2018

SHOULD CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE BIRTHDAYS?

The Bible mentions individuals celebrating birthdays on two separate occasions, but both times terrible things occurred. 

The first mention is in the Book of Genesis where the Egyptian king Pharaoh used his own birthday occasion to execute his chief baker, whom he was angry with. This incident happened three days after Joseph interpretation of a dream that the chief baker had. He was hung at the party just as the dream foretold. (See Genesis 40:1-23)
The next time a birthday is mentioned in the Bible, is in the New Testament in the book of Matthew where King Herod ordered the beheading of John the Baptist at the urging of his wife Herodias.
“But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias’s daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him, so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted. At her mother’s urging, the girl said, “I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!” Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders. So John was beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.” Matthew 14:6-11 NLT

Birthday celebrations are originally of pagan origin and came about through the practice of astrology. In the ancient times, pagan astrologers invented calendars and calculated birth dates for kings, rulers and their successors through the monitoring of the stars; they examined horoscopes and birthday omens because they thought the fate of those in positions of power would affect all society. The customs were to offer congratulations, presenting gifts, celebrating with honey cakes and lighted candles as a means to protect the birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the coming year.

The Scriptures never refers to a servant of God celebrating a birthday. Jesus did not do it, neither His disciples. But there is also no prohibition against a Christian celebrating birthday.

What the Bible does say is,

“In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor Him.” Romans 14:5-6 NLT

In other words, a Christian believer can be fully convinced that celebrating a birthday as a special day is a good thing for them. It all comes down to this,

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1. Corinthians 10:31 NLT

Meaning, whether or not a Christian celebrates a birthday, he or she should fill his or her time with things that glorify the Lord! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

FAITH EXPLAINED

The Bible says: “And My righteous ones will live by faith.” Hebrews 10:38 NLT

Living by faith means to obey God’s will and not cherry picking only what we want as many preachers falsely teach, “name it and claim it.”

That is why it says that, “We are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him.  And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for.” 1. John 5:14-15 NLT

In other words, God will give us anything He wants and not what we want! When God says it, we can have faith that it will happen! Therefore, to live by faith means having faith in what God wants, no matter how impossible it might seem. If God says it, you can have faith for it, confess it boldly, because IT WILL HAPPEN!

This is the way Jesus taught His disciples: “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Mark 11:22-24 NLT

Because, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 NLT

For example, the scriptures say: “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith.”Hebrews 11:8-9 NLT

And,

“It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” Hebrews 11:17-19 NLT

Abraham exercised his faith by obediently doing what God told him! We can read in the book of James how it is further explained, when it says,

“Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.” James 2:21-24 NLT

Faith has always been about pleasing God and was never meant to please ourselves, giving us what we desire. Faith is about believing what God says and acting upon it! You need to remember that, “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13 NLT

So, you see, it is always about Him! It is for this very reason that the Bible says,

“It is impossible to please God without faith.” Hebrews 11:6 NLT

And therefore,

“Faith without works is dead.” James 2:26 NKJV