By Paul Bass
Is A Smile Contagious?
It’s OK To Say “Happy Hanukkah.”
The miracles we miss are the ones we choose to ignore.
I used to work for a ministry that did good work in helping to defend the rights of Christians to express their faith during December. In a time when many people were seeing their nativity scenes taken down, this ministry stood up and rallied the troops to defend the right to display baby Jesus.
You have probably seen their buttons and their bumper stickers displayed proudly during the Christmas season. Some people just keep the stickers and magnets up all year. When I see that, I can just about guess if that person has a few lights still dangling off the side of their roof. Why take ’em down, right? Just unplug them until November… Or October, maybe?
Who Took My Baby Jesus?
When we visited the Sight and Sound Theater in Branson, MO a few years ago, we had a baby doll thief in our midst. Our own baby, looked at the Life sized nativity scene and saw a baby doll which just so happened to be portraying the Christ Child in a manger. As we were walking about, waiting the next play performance, I noticed our little girl (about age 2) was clinging to baby Jesus – swaddling cloths and all. She had helped herself to the doll. Quickly I rescued the plastic baby from her clutches and tried to slip it/him back in the authentic feeding trough.
Well, ever since I started celebrating Hanukkah, many Christians have looked at me as if I were a baby Jesus thief. Not kidding. It’s essentially the most popular reaction from fellow Christians.
I once remained silent in a room with a small group of Christian leaders. These ministers were belly aching over retail companies acknowledging Hanukkah during December. They were upset at the concept of advertising and in-store graphics which included greetings that said something other than the sacred words “merry” and “Christmas.” Not all of them were angry, but none of them acted as if Hanukkah was a real thing.
Sometimes the zeal for Christmas convinces me all the more for the case for Hanukkah. Many consider it another Kwanzaa, or at least, a substitute Christmas. The fact is Hanukkah was here first. I suggest that if we are convinced of our holidays, other people must be equally excited during their festivities.
If people take offense when people say, “Happy Holidays,” I want to ask them why their Christmas is not considered by them to be “holy.” One should accept tidings of good will, right? The Golden rule of holidays should be, “do unto others’ not-mass as you would have them do to your Christ-mass.”
Hanukkah itself was about the rededication of the temple. This happened after biblical feasts and practices were replaced with those of the pagan dictator.
After the cleaning project was completed, the people of God fortified the temple and city and drove out the bad guys.
The maccabees did NOT go to Greece and take away their practices.
If you are happy with your celebration, with your sacred times, maybe you should enjoy them and “be ye firmly convinced in your heart.”
The point is this. If we are free to celebrate and wish people well, then others must be free to do the same. If not, then it’s just a matter of war. Then, eventually one side wins.
At that point, maybe Christmas is king. Maybe Hanukkah. Or maybe some kind of winter solstice observance, who knows?
We Need A Little Hanukkah
So, this year, if you have a nativity play and exchange gifts in the name of Christmas, maybe it would benefit everyone if you add a little Hanukkah education to your December of joy. After all, you may actually discover eternal truths as you kindle the lamp of reverence in your heart toward God and His chosen people.
While bad actors want all the “Christ” out of Christmas, that’s not a “Jewish conspiracy.” Mean people are just mean. Not everyone who celebrates something other than Christmas wants to steal your Baby Jesus.
The evil emperor Antiochus Epiphanies tried to steal baby Jesus by killing away Jews and replacing the sacred lamp of God with a statue of a pagan deity.
The Jews Survived
And Jesus was born. So, if you like to celebrate that, you should welcome the special time of Hanukkah, as Jesus did in John 10.
Enjoy this opportunity to rededicate your heart (the temple of the Holy Spirit) and proclaim the testimony of the miracles that Jesus performed for you and all of the family of God.
Happy Holiday! Or Holidays, if you have more days than one.
I leave you with a link to this movie. This is a good one. If you want an example of how people can respect each other’s observations during the holidays, this will do the trick. I have watched it twice already. It’s family friendly, but beware. There is a shooting depicted near the beginning of the hour-long film.
His Torah Is… Perfect. Christian, Do You Believe?
How can I not start at Psalm 19?
“The law of YHWH [is] perfect, refreshing the soul,
The testimonies of YHWH [are] steadfast, Making the simple wise,
The precepts of YHWH [are] upright, Rejoicing the heart,
The command of YHWH [is] pure, enlightening the eyes,
The fear of YHWH [is] clean, standing for all time,
The judgments of YHWH [are] true, They have been righteous—together... In keeping them [is] a great reward.”” (Psa 19:7-11, LSV)
Do you want your soul refreshed?
How do we refresh our soul? Caffeine? Yoga? 30 Day Challenges? Well, repentance did it for me. I speak to my fellow Christian. Do you remember when you first humbled yourself in the sight of this man Jesus? Do you remember putting trust in the promise of eternity with the Creator of the Universe?
It’s almost mind blowing. He spoke the world into existence. Also, He died to reach out and save my life from death itself.
The perfect God did not create an imperfect Torah. His instructions are a part of His gift (inheritance) to His children.
This is why I celebrate.
I once was lost, but now I’m found. When I was lost, I had no direction. I had no “way.”
Now that my Jesus brought me back into His flock, I need His Rod and His Staff to guide me and keep me away from danger.
Many people will tell you that the “Law of Moses” is bad news, that it should be avoided at all costs.
I tell you, I was there, I thought like that. I spoke like that. But God’s Word says that Torah is more precious than gold and that it is sweeter than honey. God promises me that if I seek Torah, there is great reward.
I like rewards.
Shouldn’t you? Shouldn’t we all?
Next post: More “why’s” in my return to Torah.
It Is Your Mother’s Torah
Learning to love the ancient paths
I remember the TV ads for the Oldsmobile. The executives decided to appeal to a new generation, so they penned the phrase, “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.”
What if you like dad’s car?
The assumption is that young people don’t like their parents, so they wouldn’t like to follow in their footsteps. It’s the plot of just about every so-called coming of age movie. “I don’t want dad’s job. I don’t want dad’s clothes (I want less clothes), his haircut, or even his religion.”
A fortress built on rebellion
There is strength within the walls of the castle. We have a story from Yeshua that debunks every “Footloose and Flashdance” of each generation. We call it “the prodigal son.” He wanted the cash, but nothing else. He didn’t want the fence, the roof, or the bed. What he found was mud and pig poop. He finally was able to see the comparison.
He opted for a taste of his dad’s life. He would rather have his dad’s leftovers than those of Miss Piggy.
Yet the smear campaign continues
The agents of the enemy know that it stinks out there in the wilderness, but they spin a tale of oasis. The wonderful truth is that our Father God will take us back and feast in our name. The angels even celebrate.
How do we stay in the blessing zone?
We follow our instructions that our loving parents give us. I speak of our Heavenly Father as well as our earthly parents (if they are, in fact feeding us scriptural guidance).
hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the Torah of your mother.”Proverbs 1:8 KJVERV
Why should I listen to Mom’s Torah?
They are a gift, an award. Think “gold medal” in the Olympics. Holy bling for your head and neck. Close to the heart.
I read a book about the history of the English language. I was fascinated to learn about a four hundred year reign of France over Britain. How did that happen and we still have a language called “English?”
In “The Adventure of English,” the author claims that mommy did it. That essentially, the moms taught the children generation after generation of occupation and the English language survived. While it now includes many French words, it eventually was capable of an amazing revival. I happen to speak English, even in my head.
Let’s keep the Torah close to our hearts. Not only that, it’s time we brag about it, knowing we didn’t make it. But we were given it by a Father who loves us. And we can gift it to our children.
As dads and moms, we have the power to hand the key to powerful understanding and blessings.
I may be tickled if my daughter has my nose or my particular taste in old movies, but…
The real reward is when we hand our children the grace and beauty found in God’s Holy instructions.
Long live the world’s most important warrior, who has proven stronger than kings and conquerors – The Torah wielding Mom.
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Esther – A Purim Play
This is an updated version of our radio drama, designed to be read from script at Purim parties. Download and feel free to use. Please do not publish or post as your own. If you have any suggested edits, leave us a comment below.
Click Here To Download Your Own Copy Of The Esther Radio Play
How Do We Know If We Really Love God?
And How Does The World Know?
Keep in mind, I did not ask, how do we prove that we love God. Are these ways that we know that we love God?
- You have a bumper sticker.
- You sing in the praise team.
- You have #blessed on your profile.
- You listen to positive, encouraging music in the car.
- You recite the apostles’ creed.
- You even know what the apostles’ creed is.
They call John “the beloved disciple.” Theologians say that he had a special bond with Jesus. Evidenced in several verses, but especially at the cross where Jesus asked him to take care of Miriam, his mother. So this beloved disciple tells us the evidence for showing that God is our beloved.
Obey God if you love Him.
The Fruit of Loving God
Fruit Is A Testimony
Fruit is pleasant, and it has great effects. People of the world see the good deeds that are described in the Torah and glorify God because it has shown them that He is real.
Fruit Is Not A Burden
If Paul was adamant about us rejecting God’s laws, why did he want us to miss this opportunity to bless the world? Was he calling the law a yoke? Why did John say that it’s not a burden? Why did Jesus call us to take His yoke and why did He say that it is easy?
Seeing our obedience to God (following His Torah) can be a conquering force. John says that our faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Does the world need to be overcome today?
Don’t Just Say It, Live It.
Do you have faith enough to conquer? Then you must have faith enough to obey.
Show me some faith without action. I’ve never seen it. But I can point you to some people who have actions that speak louder than words. The mouth of faith is an arm. The hand of God is in the works of His servants. The eyes of the world take notice, and they have no gripe in the court of heaven.
This is just one way that the Torah brings victory over the enemy. If you have faith, you will seek to follow the Jesus example. Like Him, you will overcome.
The world will give God the glory for our good deeds. The enemy will lose more of his grip.
Bring YHWH glory on earth, as if it were the very throne of God.
Give Torah A Try
Open up your heart to the possibility that man has largely gotten it wrong about Torah for more than 2,000 years. From Genesis to Revelation, we now know, Jesus (Yeshua) is present. People used to think He was a “New Testament” invention. A closer look shows that He has been here from the beginning.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”John 1:1
Now, as He is the alpha and Omega, and the living Word. Let’s consider that He has been here as the Living Torah for All Time.