The Apple Of God's Eye

May 2, 2010

Effective, Fervent Prayer: Deepening Our Relationship With God

denniscesone.blogspot.com

Praying is getting to know God because we communicate with Him. Christians should pray daily and as often as possible. Besides equipping ourselves with the armour of God, prayer is the essential element that keeps the armour strong. (Eph. 6:18)

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the great jewels of the Bible. Every verse has deep meaning and hows us how to pray effectively to have a life filled with the love, faith and power of God.

Tithe Your Time In Prayer

Luke 11:2-4 is what we commonly call the Lord’s prayer and shows how Jesus Christ gave His disciples lessons in effective prayer.

We should give God a tithe and offering of our time. There are 1440 minutes each day, which means 144 minutes each day to God – giving 48 minutes of prayer, meditation and study. Throw in an offering of 12 minutes, and we have 1 hour of each daily. A Christian needs 1 hour of prayer daily to win the battle against Satan, the world and himself. (more…)

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December 30, 2009

Jesus' Birth: The Untold Story

In late December of each year, thousands of tourists flock into the small town of Bethlehem in the Judean Hills south of Jerusalem to participate in annual Christmas celebrations there. Some make the 6-mile journey from Jerusalem on foot. Upon arrival, they crowd with silent awe into the paved expanse of Manger Square in front of the revered Church of the Nativity, built over the traditional site of Jesus’ birth.

Inevitably, some of these tourists arrive in Israel unprepared. They have not thoroughly studied their guidebooks. As they step off their plane, they receive a real shock!  November through early March is “winter” in Israel! The weather gets cold, especially at night. Often it rains — or even snows! Yet many arrive in Israel carrying luggage bulging with summer attire, reasoning that it is always hot and arid in the Middle East. So they hurriedly purchase coats and sweaters in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem for their pilgrimage down to Bethlehem.

Nevertheless, most of those who stand in Manger Square on December 25 each year — prepared and unprepared alike — fail to perceive the message being proclaimed by the very weather around them!  Notice this plain testimony of your Bible: On the day of Jesus’ birth “there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). (more…)

April 23, 2009

Bible Answer: Square Beards And Shaved Bald Spots!

What is the meaning of Leviticus 19:27 and 21:5. Do these passages imply that it is wrong to shave or cut one’s hair? 

Notice a more modern rendering of these verses in the “American Translation” by Goodspeed: “You must not shave around your temple, nor do away with the corners of your beard” (Lev. 19:27); and, “They must not shave part of their heads bald, nor shave off the corners of their beards, nor make incisions in their bodies” (Lev. 21:5).  

It was a ceremonial custom of the heathen to cut and trim their beards and hair into special shapes in honor of a particular pagan deity — the sun god. The ancient Egyptians had their dark locks cropped short or shaved with great nicety, so the hair which remained on the crown appeared in the form of a circle surrounding the head (the halo has been borrowed from this), while the beard was dressed in a square form. Alternatively, a round bald spot might be shaved on the head. 

It is this type of false worship the Bible forbids. Shaving ones beard and cutting ones hair for normal good grooming is something entirely different and not at all condemned in the Scriptures!

April 12, 2009

Easter: A Holiday For A Deceived, Misled, And Misguided World

endrtimes.blogspot.com/2008/03/pagan-worship-... 

endrtimes.blogspot.com/2008/03/pagan-worship-...

Easter Sunday morning devout believers by the millions will be engaged in what they feel to be the reenactment of the resurrection drama. The ceremony will more than likely be staged in some scenic setting. It’s all quite impressive. 

There will be a sunrise service with pomp, pageantry, communion, the joyous announcement that Christ is risen, the hot-cross buns, colorful eggs, chocolate bunnies, new clothes, and games. All of it seems so wholesome, so Christian. But we should not be keeping Easter, and there is a reason. 

Isn’t it peculiar that in the Bible, which Christians accept as the revealed, written Word of God, there is absolutely no command, no example — not even a hint — that Easter should be observed. On the other hand, we are given a strong warning not to improvise on how to worship God. One who is “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (the Creator God) states, ” … If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18). No matter if we take these words as a threat or a promise, the sobering warning remains. 

But isn’t God being unreasonable? What’s wrong with these quaint, cherished customs that everybody loves? No problem, except, “Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen … ” (Jeremiah 10:2). But surely, Easter is not “heathen.” 

One doesn’t need to be a Rhodes scholar to get to the roots of Easter observance. It’s as simple as a trip to a library. For example, look up the article “Easter” in The New Funk & Wagnall’s Encyclopedia

“… it (Easter) embodies traditions of an ancient time antedating the rise of Christianity. The origin of its name is lost in the dim past; some scholars believe it probably is derived from Eastre, Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility … 

“Her festival was celebrated on the vernal equinox, and traditions associated with the festival service in the familiar Easter bunny, symbol of the fertile rabbit, and in the equally familiar colored Easter eggs originally painted with gay hues to represent the sunlight of spring … Such festivals, and the myths and legends which explain their origin, abounded in ancient religions.” That’s Christianity? The roots are suspect, but let’s go on. 

Easter, Astarte, Eostre, Ishtar … What’s in a name? “It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven … That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar.” (See The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop, page 103). 

Continuing, “The worship of Bel and Astarte was very early introduced into Britain, along with the Druids, ‘the priests of the groves.’ ” The Old Testament is profuse in documenting this pagan type of idolatrous worship. Note Jeremiah 7:18-19: “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven … 

“Do they provoke me to anger? saith the Lord: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?” Notice that cakes were offered to the “queen.” Could this be the origin of the hot-cross buns? 

“The ‘buns’ … were used in the worship of the queen of heaven, the goddess Easter, as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens — that is, 1,500 years before the Christian era” (ibid., page 108). 

Other pagan traditions revolving around the spring festivities include the commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, otherwise known as Bacchus (the lamented one). He was often pictured (and worshiped) as a little child in his mother’s arms (ibid., pages 21-22). This adoration of Tammuz was enacted by the believers with “… their faces toward the east: and they worshiped the sun toward the east (at sunrise) … ” Sunrise service? Sounds familiar, and God comments on this tradition in Ezekiel 8. He has a word for it. It’s spelled: abomination! 

As decades and centuries passed, the dominant “Christian” Church headquartered at Rome continued to bring the heathen masses into the fold by amalgamating their pagan practices, apparently oblivious of Jeremiah 10:2. And so the nominal Christianity grew, but was the God of the Bible in it? 

The deceived, misled, misguided world (see Revelation 12:9) has its Easter. 

The God of heaven has given us the Holy Days. In the springtime, when nature bursts forth with new life, God ordained special feasts. A time of gladness and of profound meaning — for young and old alike. Through these days God unfolds His master plan: the purpose of life, the precious sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the incredible potential that we have of being born into the very Family of God. Now that’s something to celebrate and get excited about. 

Source: The Good News, March 1979 

March 17, 2009

Is The Christmas Tree Biblical?

library2.nalis.gov.tt/Default.aspx?PageConten..

library2.nalis.gov.tt/Default.aspx?PageConten..

Christmas and the use of the “evergreen” tree is one of the most unbiblical and pagan doctrines ever devised by man. And God hates it! Jeremiah was inspired to write: “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, 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.”

Can anything better describe our modern custom of a Christmas tree? It’s almost as if God knew in advance that man would continue this practice right down to our time today. So although these scriptures picture the carved idols of Jeremiah’s time, they are also an accurate description of the Christmas tree we are familiar with today. The practice Jeremiah wrote about was a CUSTOM (verse 3) and was associated with “the signs of heaven” (verse 2) — just as Christmas today is a custom and is associated with the winter solstice. Many argue that they do not associate Christmas with the winter solstice, but that does not change its pagan origin.

Even though these scriptures no doubt had an application to the customs practiced some 2500 years ago, we must keep in mind that the book of Jeremiah is PRIMARILY prophetic. Just as with other prophecies, this was written for our time, to our people, and referring to the common customs of the modern world!

We should especially note that cutting down and setting up a tree is termed “the way of the heathen.” We are commanded not to learn or follow that way (verse 2). This whole passage clearly tells us that using a tree in this manner is idolatry. The basic commandment against idolatry, of course, is found in Exodus 20:4-6.

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