Lining Up Your Ducks

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We have spent a great deal of time examining our past and dealing with what we found there.

But what we have discovered in doing so is that it ‘distracts from the now’ to quote Edna Mode.

 

I  have always wondered what that even meant.

zz distracts from the now

This is New Year’s Day.  Hooray.  Where we live there wasn’t a great deal of celebration last night, it was unusually quiet.  I mean, its quiet around here anyway, its why we live here, but it was eerily quiet.  People were probably out ‘living in the moment’ somewhere else, getting drunk and enjoying the holidays.  Not that those two are necessarily synonymous.

We like to get our ducks lined up regarding, well – everything actually.  We are inveterate duck herders.  If we have all the facts straight and all the lines organised we can proceed.  But what are we proceeding with and to?

I was thinking that, since we are now into a new year that I should say something profound. Ironically, the same thought occurred to me exactly ten years ago.  Here is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote back then. The blog was entitled ‘The Introvert Myth’ and was a foray into pop psychology which appealed to me back then.  Interestingly, whilst looking back ‘detracts from the now’ , it also highlights how far you have come.  I present exhibit ‘A’….

 

I have been trying to think of something profound to say to start off The New Year.

Nothing…….zip……..a blank.

I fear my normally reliable level of profundity has been affected by the packing frenzy we are currently in the middle of. We will be moving house shortly.

Actually, its more a sort of a packing hiatus at the moment. Its only a frenzy when my husband is home. He is a Packer extraordinaire. No relation to Packer the media magnate I hasten to add. No, I refer to his preternatural ability to fit small irregular shapes into large regular ones. Examples of this are….groceries into a trolley, or groceries into kitchen cupboards, builder’s paraphernalia into a builder’s Ute, household articles into packing cases. He can wrap pack and load more boxes in an hour than I can in a week. After roughly twenty years of marriage and nearly as many moves I have learned to leave him to his own excellent devices. I go and clean things while he packs. It seems an uneven workload but trying to help him or even match his pace would be like trying to make a bed in the middle of a tornado; not only completely redundant but possible lethal. I focus instead on working alongside him, the paramedic to his Jaws of Life.

What is profound anyway?

To be labelled ‘Profound’ to my mind, something should articulate the mysteries of our existence in ways which had previously not been thought of. Profound is supposed to be the opposite of trite, yet surprisingly, profound statements are often so stunningly simple we marvel that we didn’t think of them ourselves. Surprisingly too, Great Men or Professional Thinkers do not often produce profundities. Often they come from the mouths of the temporarily enlightened, or even very small children. Four year olds are the great observers of human nature and could teach a few psychologists of my acquaintance a thing or two about the bleeding obvious. “The Emperor is naked” is a very profound statement. Not because it is a sign of genius, but because it is the sign of somebody whose moral compass is not aligned to the ‘moral majority’. Not that a four year old is necessarily conscious of a majority of anything except his bad self. It explains the moxie they perpetually exhibit. But I am shooting myself in the foot here. The child who spoke those immortal words was purely verbalising what all around him thought. “A word spoken in season is like apples of gold in settings of silver” says the book of Proverbs. Profundity is like that. Profundity is truth plus timing.

Here is some divine profundity.

14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV

We proceed forward with Christ and towards Christ.  Though the things of the past have stayed with us in one form or another, but we press on towards the high calling, and to the finish line which is up ahead. When we left lawlessness we were ourselves lawless yet had no real understanding of it.  Now, we look back, see the rebellion and the self clinging to what comforted us despite the difficult circumstances.  God had mercy on us and did not save us from the battle and the tribulation but saved us from ourselves and the wounds of evil.

This world is slowly moving towards its close.  Many will think that I am crazy for saying this, but it is.  Most discerning Christians, and this includes those from all walks of life and ethnicity, are aware that we are in ‘the last days’.  Not all who identify as Christian believe this and many preachers actively promote the opposite.  Regardless of who says what,  soon we will be facing a unified world with a leader who will appeal to every form of religious and ethnic background and who will be powerful both in natural and supernatural ways.  He will be the messiah that Christians look to, the Maitreya that the Theosophists seek, the Muslim Mahdi, the Buddha, the deliverer and wise sage of every age and religion and belief. But he will not be Christ, he will be the antichrist.  Nobody will believe that of course because they will have departed from the truth and will be given over to a strong delusion.

More profundity.

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-13 NKJV

The difference for Christians is that the Bible gives specific and explicit instructions, not just in the book of Revelation, but the book of Daniel and Ezekiel and in places where Jesus, Paul and others spoke.  Jesus will return, but it will not be to save the world, He has already done that.  He will return in judgement. He also said that many will say ‘look, here is Jesus’ but not to believe them.  Some years back a hippie wanna-be messiah turned up in Queensland.  A.J. Miller, a former Jehovah’s Witness elder and computer programmer  claims to be Jesus reincarnated, and many of his followers totally believe it to be true.  He now has a Youtube channel and website ‘Divine Truth’ in which he offers his opinion regarding just about everything and offers counseling in the form of ‘assistance groups’. He also has a large donation page.  It is truly amazing what people will believe.  Remember though, Jesus fakes like this are not just nutters with the ability to manipulate, they are truly demon possessed.

The difficulties in the world are already proof.  The bible calls them ‘birth pangs’. (Romans 8).  The world is experiencing horrors the like of which they have not seen before.  The horrors of the Tribulation period, the seven year period which will occur after the Rapture of the Believers, will make the current circumstances look like a Sunday School picnic. Once the Holy Spirit is removed from the world, the real end begins.

We have an opportunity to make this New Year truly new.  Right now, the sufferings for westerners living in sufficiency are nominal.  We have what has been sarcastically called ‘first world problems’.  This will not stay like that for long.

Knowledge has increased.  The bible predicted that in the book of Daniel (12:4).  The internet is a great source of information.  It is also a great source of surveillance by the forces that run the world, and I am not talking about the governments, although they are of course making the most of it.  Our Iphones are being used against us in all sorts of ways.  And while this may seem more than a little paranoic, rest assured that the information is all there, all you have to do is look.  Google it. Yes, it is ironic. Look up Google Deep Mind. Or… what about Google’s involvement with Ancestry.com.  All the information you give about your family now belongs to somebody else to use as they want for whatever nefarious reason.

We are being brainwashed by the media, by the internet, by everything we read and hear and by those who repeat the mantras they are fed.  “You are just a conspiracy theorist”.  That phrase was coined by none other than the CIA with regard to those who wouldn’t accept the official explanation of the Kennedy assassination.  50 or so years later, there are more people than ever before who don’t buy the official explanation of anything, let alone the murder of a president.  911 was an inside job.  Sounds crazy, but NONE of the official story makes any sense and there is a massive groundswell of expert analysis to prove it.  We have been so brainwashed into accepting the official story that we dare not, in fact don’t want to, question it.  When the world is going mad, it pays to have somebody in charge who knows what’s going on and can keep you safe.  The problem is that the people in charge know what’s going on because they are in charge of what’s going on.  They are lying to us because they will benefit from lying to us and keeping us asleep.  The ‘Matrix’ wasn’t just a movie, it was a playbook.

I am not saying anything profound here.  Nor is this anything new.  The corrupt powerful oppressing the impoverished (both mind and body) masses has been the way of the world since the world began.  Nobody has any issue with  Roman emperors acting like nincompoops, but they won’t buy that an American President would, or even an Australian Prime Minister.  We say we don’t trust our politicians and laugh it off. But if you try and tell them that they really are working against us, people don’t want to hear it.  It’s too scary, its too real, its too much like forcing us out of our comfort zones.

So, not good news for the New Year.  But then, the gospel isn’t called the good news for nothing.  We won’t hear good news from the world but we will hear it from God.

It is ironic enough that New Year is one week after Christmas.  That the celebration of Christ’s birth (so called) is just before the old New Year’s resolution tradition, the idea of making the new year, a clean break from the old ugliness we have lived with that we know is not good for us.  Christ came to set us free from the ugliness of our flesh, of the natural human condition.  But we ignore that.  It’s too much like having to actually change, and that is far too difficult to cope with.

My brother-in-law committed suicide 29 years ago today.  Steve came home about two weeks earlier because God had told him to go home to Christchurch.  He had been with his brother Kieran and told him about Jesus.  Kieran said ‘Well, its great that you found what you are looking for’.  Clearly it didn’t have an impact on him.  His mind was already made up at that point.  Then he waited until everyone had gone to Nelson to celebrate the New Year and fixed his car exhaust to fill the car, turned on the engine and died.

What I hate the most about this time of year is that churches go on hiatus at a time when they should be keeping their doors open to people like Kieran.  He might not have gone through the doors, but he might have.  At the very least there needs to be the recognition that Christmas and New Year are NOT the happy happy joy joy times that we have been brainwashed (there’s that word again) into believing they are.  We no longer celebrate Christmas.  It is in fact traditionally the time of the birth of the god Tammuz in Babylonian culture.  In fact the Bible talks about this guy as well.  He was worshiped by the Israelites when they were captive in Babylon, and his worship is an abomination to God.  Yet Tammuz’ birthday was slated as the 25th December.  His mother was called ‘the Queen of Heaven’, the very name that the Catholics give to Mary.  I could go on, but we just don’t do the whole Christmas thing anymore and not just for that reason.  Its funny though, we have had a lot of conversations with strangers at supermarket checkouts when asked ‘what we are doing for Christmas’.  We sometimes say ‘we don’t do Christmas’, and it is amazing how many people say with real energy ‘yeah, I wish we didn’t have to do Christmas’.  People are becoming more and more aware how much of a drag it is, and how little it actually has to do with genuine joy, love and peace on earth and goodwill to men.  Those words were spoken about Jesus. Not Santa.

He is our joy, our peace and our salvation.  God’s mercy towards men was the goodwill that the angel talked about.   He continually offers it to us, and along with it, the new life, the eternal life and the peace with God that is ours not just for the New Year but for all of our existence, which is eternal.

It is deeply and truly profound.  God is our very present help in trouble, and this year will be no exception.  Life is going to get more difficult and troubling, but God has offered a light in the darkness.  It is up to us whether we take it.  I don’t know whether Kieran did or not.  He was offered the opportunity and given the good news.  I pray that everyone reading this will likewise not miss the opportunity to find peace and salvation through the blood and name of Jesus Christ.

If, like us, you get a real kick out of having all your ducks lined up, this post will help you get a good headstart for the new year.

 

 

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Why I Hate Santa Claus

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The other day, my husband and I were walking through town when the local fire brigade/ambulance contingent blasted down the main street, deafening sirens blaring in staccato bursts and a dishevelled Santa Claus waving vaguely on the back of the fire engine. I cringed. While other more friendly, less Santa-phobic members of our community tooted their car horns and waved in response, I walked quickly in the opposite direction and generally tried to avoid having to make eye contact with the parade. They passed swiftly, thank God, but it brought back some very uncomfortable memories of my hate/hate relationship with Father Christmas.

I am not sure if this is just an introvert thing, but I have always disliked anyone using grotesque costumes to hide their true identity, even in a good cause. Admittedly, Father Christmas would hardly seem grotesque to most, but in fact there are very few genuine looking Santas around the place, most looking like they got dressed in a locker with their eyes shut, sporting nylon beards and faces which frankly resemble anything but a jolly old man.

As a very small child, I was once accosted by a Santa Claus whilst sitting in the car-park of our local shopping mall. I was in the back seat of the family car, my little brother beside me, my older sister in the front seat. I watched him weave around the car park poking his heads into car windows with growing dread. Eventually, he came up to us and tried to hand us some lollipops. I panicked. Then I dropped behind the front seat of the car, pretending to look for something under the seat, and trying desperately to avoid eye contact with the guy. My brother seemed less concerned, and my sister tried to explain my ‘behaviour’ to the Claus pretender. I stayed on the floor of the car until the clone got the message and decided to move on. My sister chastised me afterwards for being so shy, but in my mind, this person was an intruder.

As I grew so did my litany of characters to avoid. It wasn’t just Santa Claus, it was the Easter Bunny, clowns, mime artists, people pretending to be statues in the park, or anyone getting in my face and attempting to sell me something in shopping malls. As a child, as a teen, as an adult, these people have been the bane of my life. Frankly I don’t find Christmas characters or even Christmas stuff generally to be that enjoyable. I avoid choirs of small children in shopping malls, people dressed as christmas fairies in shopping malls, huge crowds of people in shopping malls, shopping malls. All of these things are hell at any time, but at Christmas they become hell with muzac.

It’s not that I don’t like music, or celebrating, I just have a great deal of appreciation for subtlety, and authenticity, and I have a pathological fear of pretenders of any stripe. Put it down to having grown up with a mother who took great delight in behaving like Martha Stewart in front of company, but became the Wicked Witch of the East when there were no witnesses, and perhaps it will explain the way I detest pretense. I guess I just don’t enjoy over-the-top performers and that includes circus acts or anything strange and surrealistic.

I discovered some years ago that, pre-Rome, Christmas was originally about some other semi-religious pagan festival, and not about Jesus at all. I think it was Ceasar Augustus who morphed the two celebrations together more for reasons of political convenience than any similarities between the two. Most pagan festivals have some sort of mythological icons which represent the festival itself. Spring festivals focus on gods and goddesses of fertility, winter festivals focus on spirits of death and life and so forth. For us though, the whole Christmas thing has focused on Saint Nicholas/Father Christmas/Santa Claus, the man with the sack of presents, giving to children and the poor and unfortunate. The idea of the cold and stark mid-winter being blessed with a spirit of wealth and generosity is entirely satisfying. For those of us in Australia, its the barbeque and surf angel who is celebrated moreso than the guy with the sack of toys. Santa Claus is merely a token of our Victorian past, as he has become with most western nations. His ubiquitous nature at this time of year is taken for granted. Most people just nod and laugh when they see Santa Claus’ helpers sweating in their synthetic garments and stumping around the shopping malls and streets of our major cities. A lot of children think he is wonderful, a lot don’t I have noticed. You still get the children who cry instinctively when confronted with a man hidden behind a bushy mound of rayon barbie doll hair. They look grotesque, and to a small child who doesn’t know the difference between surreal and real, they are frightening. I was one of those children, and the surreality has not diminished with age. I don’t care who thinks I am weird for not liking Santa Claus.

But Santa Claus represents to me all of the repellent aspects of Christmas. It’s not just the consumer-driven obsession with making everything ‘perfect’ for Christmas day. For me the spirit of this season is the spirit of excess not genuine love of our fellow men. That spirit,, benevolence and generosity, is far more visible at other times of the year, despite the loud protestations of tree-hugging politically correct do-gooders who insist that we should all adopt an ‘orphan’ so they will ‘know that it’s Christmas’. A genuine do-gooder will be led by their better angels to reach out to others in need at times when it is less popular but far more necessary.

Charity does not only begin at home, it begins in the heart, and the heart is changed more completely by still small voices, not frightening or shaming ones. Not angels, not spirits of Christmas past or Christmas present (was Dickens making a play on words here?) or Christmas future, not choirs of cherubic children, not big bearded men, not the expectations of others will truly change our lives or the lives of others. Maybe we are too invested in the idea that Christmas is the only truly ‘magical’ time of the year, a time of miracles and changes of heart. Maybe Scrooge is a far more appropriate icon of the yule tide than the fat red man. Scrooge was a skinny old man who came face to face with the supernatural (albeit in a dream), his own past, and his possible future demise. The threat of hellfire, a common Victorian peril, caused a miserable old man to change his behaviour. I would love to know how old Scrooge was on boxing day and how long his ‘change’ would have lasted. In my experience, real Scrooges don’t turn on a dime and become sweet-natured disabled-children-loving old men overnight and for no other reason than they were visited by the angel of death. Cranky old bastards tend to stay that way, Christmas or no Christmas.

I guess the main reason I hate Santa Claus is that my own childhood Christmases were fairly dismal. My mother, as I said, was more into what things looked like than what they were. As a child, I longed for genuine love and generosity, moreso than gifts and food, but a gift well given is a symbol of love to me. By that I mean a gift which has been given in consideration of the person you are giving it to, symbolising an intimate knowledge and appreciation for that person. A Christmas which is filled with symbols of the power of adults over children is hardly a christmas to be remembered, unless you, like Dickens, have a morbid love of tales of hardship and deprivation.

I understand that Christmas and Santa Claus go hand in hand. I understand that consumerism and advertising use Christmas as their flagship, and that poverty becomes both the antithesis and the focus of everything Christmas represents and is therefore spoken of in tones of harsh judgement against those who don’t consider the poor, and grandstanding on behalf of those who do. I also understand that it is in the invisible realm of the human spirit and heart that the true nature of character and action is seated, and no amount of ‘christmas cheer’ is going to make a difference if you are a genuine Ebeneezer Scrooge, rather than a literary one.

 

 

Samhain and The Myth of ‘Redeeming’ Pagan Feast Days

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Samhain (pronounced ‘sow’inn’) is a very important date in the Pagan calendar for it marks the Feast of the Dead. Many Pagans also celebrate it as the old Celtic New Year (although some mark this at Imbolc). It is also celebrated by non-Pagans who call this festival Halloween.

Samhain has been celebrated in Britain for centuries and has its origin in Pagan Celtic traditions.. It was the time of year when the veils between this world and the Otherworld were believed to be at their thinnest: when the spirits of the dead could most readily mingle with the living once again. Later, when the festival was adopted by Christians, they celebrated it as All Hallows’ Eve, followed by All Saints Day, though it still retained elements of remembering and honouring the dead.  (BBC Religions site)

There seems to be a growing trend in churches to somehow ‘redeem’ the pagan celebration of the ‘Day of the Dead’.  Why is this so?  Essentially, evangelical churches see these days as a means of reaching out to the community with the truth and light of Jesus Christ.  Instead of getting involved in the usual trick or treat festivities, dressing up, eating weird food, lighting candles in pumpkins etc, some churches simply have an alternative celebration.  They use this as a means of offering something else to their children so the kids don’t feel as though they are missing out.  It also shows that the church is not opposed to celebration, but that they are celebrating in their own way.

We feel as though we are missing something here.  You only have to regard the array of witches, ghosts and devilish characters which manifest in the form of decorations and disguises to know that something is not quite right.  Many small children have been scared by people dressing up in frightening costumes, and some have even reported actually seeing demons manifest.  Let us be clear, the bible makes no bones about demonic spirits.  They are real, they were opposing and oppressing humans in Jesus day and during the New Testament era, they have not gone away, they are still here bothering humans.  Paul advises us to put on the Armour of God so that we can fight against the principalities and powers which are arrayed against us.  Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  Rather than join him on his own ground, it would make more sense to battle him from the ground on which we already have authority.  Rather than attempting to ‘redeem’ occult feast days which actually worship demonic spirits, which by the way has no basis in scripture, we are to simply carry on living holy lives, and knowing that the days are evil, we use the time to pray against the forces which are arrayed against us, and against those who innocently join in the ‘fun’.

A lot of the thinking behind taking occult feast days and somehow trying to use them for Christian activities is the same kind of thinking which causes believers to appease politically correct thought-nazis.  We are not to be concerned about whom we will offend with the gospel. Nor are we to conform to the world (Romans 12:1-2).  Pagan idolatory has been condemned in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and we are warned against it so vehemently that scripture tells us that idolators will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9).  If Churches are concerned about their presence in the community, rather than attempt to fight fire with fire, why not educate the community on the feast days of the Lord?  Apart from the historical and spiritual insights the community would gain, some of the traditional food associated with some of those feasts are much better than anything we can come up with even on Christmas and Easter.

We think that the world has grown tired of their own cultural feasts, despite the fact that shops and commercial ventures make the most of any community celebration, anything from football games to Mothers day.  We have spoken to a lot of people who complain that they are sick of Christmas.  Christmas has become stressful, filled with family feuds and clashes and an overabundance of stuff nobody needs or wants.  We can eat turkey, pudding, pies and cakes til the cows come home on any day of the week.  We buy ourselves stuff every time we get a pay packet, and we can visit family or friends for any reason at all. Father Christmas is a lie, and its not even a cultural one, since most cultures don’t celebrate Christmas, but in western tradition, we do the whole thing because ‘we are supposed to’.  The same holds true with Halloween.  Australians never used to celebrate this very European and now American cultural day.  We used to ignore it completely and it is really only in the last couple of decades that schools and families used to do anything with it.  It is NOT a traditional day for us, it is simply the mindless assent to imported cultures which have nothing to do with our own.

We have enough of a problem battling demonic entities in our lives and Christian communities.  Why oh why would we need to engage with them on this of all days?  Signalling to the principalities and powers that you are happy to play with them merely communicates that you have stopped believing they exist.  The best thing that could possibly happen in their opinion.  The next best thing is for Christians to attempt to make Halloween a Christian celebration.  Nothing could be more delightful for demons to infiltrate your congregations undercover.  Why would you give Satan the kudos?

Our best means of fighting the enemy is to recognise him for who he is on this the most occult high day of the entire year.  We then recognise our authority in Christ, stand against him with all of our might, and refuse to negotiate a treaty.  We do not participate in Halloween, we do not give ground to anything which is roaming around on this or any other night of the year, and we particularly do not attempt to somehow claim the day as belonging to God. This defense above all apologetic is the most offensive.  God made his own days, his own feast days and his own holy days.  Do NOT attempt to conflate pagan idol worship with the days the Lord has set out for himself.

Any attempt to make out that this day is either just for fun and there are no such things as witches, or that witches don’t worship Satan, or that demons don’t exist etc is simply being ignorant of what the bible teaches.  It will not protect you from what happens on the days leading up to Halloween and the day itself.  This is a big deal in the occult world and it should be treated with the respect it deserves.  We wrestle not against flesh and blood, and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).  Therefore we pray, we witness and we are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and we carry on as though this were any other day of the week.  And if little children come knocking on the door, it is perfectly OK to simply explain that you are Christians and you don’t celebrate Halloween.  In some communities if you are going to participate in Halloween you either put a porch light on or tie a balloon to your letterbox or use some other method of letting parents know that you are happy to hand out food.  This is a good idea, but not everyone does it.  You must decide for yourselves how to navigate this, and it is not easy, but the Holy Spirit will give you the direction you need.

We will continue to pray against the spirits which are being summoned and invited to engage with human beings at this time, and we  will pray that these spirits are also stopped from tricking your church.

 

Further Reading:

https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/52738-why-christians-absolutely-should-not-celebrate-halloween

https://www.chick.com/seasonal/halloween/celebrate.asp