Biblical Argument for Celebrating Christ’s Birth on December 25

The Bible does not tell us the exact day of Jesus’ birth, but it gives us clues.

Clue#1 The first chapter of Luke in the Holy Bible tells us that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb six months after his cousin, John the Baptist. (See Luke 1:26-40.)

Clue#2 John the Baptist was conceived shortly after his father, Zechariah, received the message from the angel Gabriel.  It is written that Zechariah met with Gabriel while he served in the temple. (See Luke 1:8-25).

Theory Based on the Biblical description of Zechariah’s service in the temple, some scholars believe he served during Yom Kippur (in September or October). This means John the Baptist would have been conceived in September or October.

Conclusion If John the Baptist was conceived in October and Jesus was conceived six months later, Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit in April. If Mary conceived on April 2, Jesus would have been born on December 25.

I hope this nerdy calculation helps you draw closer to Christ and glorify God this holiday season. May your Christmas be merry and meaningful!

The world needs prayer. Be a part of the solution. Visit Draw Near’s Call for Submissions for details https://drawneartochrist.com/call-for-submissions/

Homosexuality & Other Issues

rO

As a longtime online religious forum contributor, I can honestly say I have witnessed a fair share of people state they reject Christ because of their opinions on homosexuality or abortion or some other other political issue. As a longtime church member, I can also say I have heard the true-life stories of a fair share of people stating they are homosexual or that they received abortions—yet they still committed their lives to Christ. It seems ironic that people would feel so strongly that they must defend someone else’s political rights that they themselves would reject their God and opportunity to obtain eternal life based on the “Christian view” of certain political issues. This is especially disturbing considering the fact that opinions of Christians vary so greatly. Today, I want to implore the strong-minded, Non-Christian political activists reading this blog to reconsider their rejection of Christ. I am not asking you to abandon your political views about any issue—just your view of Christ.

Take a moment to consider how God feels about you. Maybe you feel unsure about God’s feelings for you. Well, let’s look at what Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) says about it: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. If God will not let anything in all creation separate you from His love, then why would you let political issues come in between you and your Creator?

 If you have decided you no longer want political issues or anything else to stand in the way of your acceptance of Christ and His promise of eternal life, then pray this prayer: “God, I accept Jesus as my Savior. I believe Jesus is the Son of God. I believe He died on the cross and rose from the dead. I believe His death is the sacrifice that paid for my sins and His resurrection is a promise of eternal life. I choose to commit my life to You, Lord. Thank You for my salvation. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Closet Atheism

JOhn

When non-believers think of Christians, we want them to think of an upstanding man or woman who loves God and exhibits the fruit of the Spirit. We do not want them to think of abortion clinic bombers or funeral picketers. When they project those qualities on us, we want to scream, “NO, I AM NOT LIKE THAT! That’s a misunderstanding.”

Now consider how Christians think of atheists. What’s popping into your mind? Is it someone ridiculing your beliefs? Blaspheming God? Suing governmental institutions to exclude every reference to God? If we do not want to be stereotyped, we should stop stereotyping atheists. After all, there are LOTS of atheists that silently and privately disbelieve in God. This is closet atheism.

In fact, you might be surprised to learn some people you assumed were Christians actually do not believe in God at all. They have not told you or anybody else because they are afraid they will be rejected or be forced to endure a long, one-sided conversion speech. If we regard and respect all of God’s creation, quiet atheists among us will be more likely to voice their opinions about God. Then, your love for them will have opened the door for an intellectual conversation about God and the Bible.

Once the closet atheists in your life feel comfortable enough to confide their lack of belief in God, you may feel privileged to have this information. Yet at the same time, you may feel too intimidated to speak openly about your faith in God. Try this:

*Serve this person. In John 13, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. If our Savior washed feet, we should never feel too superior to serve another human being. Be ready. Look and pray for opportunities to fill needs in this person’s life.

 *Share your testimony. Wait for an appropriate time in natural conversation to share the story of how God delivered you, healed you, or saved you. If you cannot think of one that applies to yourself, share the true story of what God has done in someone else’s life. Atheists depend on logic to discern whether or not your story adds up so they may explain away the truth in their own mind. That does not matter. The truth of the testimony has an anointing that went forth when you spoke it. Spiritually, Jesus is knocking on their door. It is up to them to answer or not. Just do your part and speak the truth.

 *Discuss God and the Bible. The key word here is “discuss.” In a natural conversation, bring up God and the Bible. Ask them what bothers them about Christianity. Be ready to answer according to the Bible. The fact that your answers are Biblical will not mean much to the atheist since they do not regard it as God’s Word, but you know you are speaking the truth if it is Scripturally founded. Admit you do not know all the answers. Humility is a virtue.

Do not take it personally if an atheist rejects your words. They are rejecting Christ—not you! Do not become discouraged no matter how long this atheist rejects Christ. God may be working emotional healing and/or other Christians to witness of God’s truth into that person’s life. Just keep praying for this person’s faith to be ignited. I pray you will boldly and lovingly communicate God’s invitation into His kingdom to any unbelieving people in your life.

Supposing a non-believer in your life agrees to say the sinner’s prayer with you or answers an alter call while visiting your church or somehow finds faith in God, then what? Go ahead and celebrate! Just don’t abandon them after the celebration. Take the time to disciple them. Encourage the new Christian to: 1) confess their faith publicly and become baptized by showing them what steps are necessary to become baptized, 2) attend church regularly by inviting them, 3) read their Bible by giving them one as a gift, 4) lead a holy life by being a good example.

Consider how much time Jesus spent with His disciples and how He loved them. I pray the Lord gives you the ability to disciple a new Christian in your lifetime with the heart of Jesus. Some of our best opportunities come within our own family. Take the time to disciple new Christians especially if they are your brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, and your very own kids. God bless!

PRAYER: Lord, I pray the atheists in our lives would have the courage to confess their lack of belief. I pray You would inspire us to love them the way You love us. Let them see Your glory and be saved by Christ’s blood. Thank You, Lord, that You are good to all and have compassion on Your creation. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Catholics & Protestants

jo

We may not agree with everything other Christians say or do, but I hope we can agree on this basic definition of a Christian. A Christian is someone who believes all of the following: 1) Jesus is their Savior, 2) Jesus is the Son of God, 3) Jesus died, 4) His blood paid for the sins of mankind, and 5) Jesus rose from the dead.

Once we have isolated who is a Christian, we could further organize them by details of their belief system. If someone calls themselves a Catholic, it is implied that they follow the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. They have usually been baptized, confirmed, and received the Eucharist in a Catholic Church. In contrast, a Protestant is any non-Catholic Christian. This includes all denominations (and non-denominational) like Baptist, Charismatic, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc.

The two groups have inspired a great deal of curiosity by both Christians and non-Christians. The comparison between Catholicism and Protestantism could be the contents of a thick book. Yet, even an incredibly long book would still not account for the differences in the beliefs of individuals within each group. In this short passage, we will examine classic opinions toward authority, justification, and salvation. For contrast, we will identify basic principles from the reformation period that are commonly known as the “five solas.”

First, let’s look at sola Scriptura (Scripture alone). Catholics and Protestants agree the Bible is divinely inspired sacred writing. However, Catholics depend on tradition and the Pope’s authority while Protestants trust in the authority of Scripture alone.

Secondly, consider sola fide (faith alone). Both groups will say faith is required for the justification of man to God. Catholics depend on their faith and good works for justification. On the other hand, Protestants emphasize faith alone.

Thirdly, there is sola gratia (grace alone). Protestants and Catholics both confess we are saved by grace. Yet, Catholics state grace is received through sacraments (such as the Eucharist or communion). Protestants stress grace alone.

Next, let’s look at solo Christo (Christ alone). All Christians proclaim Christ as their Savior. Still, Catholics place a higher importance on Mary mother of Jesus and the role of priests while Protestants accentuate Christ alone.

Finally, examine soli Deo gloria (to the glory of God alone). Both Catholics and Protestants believe the faithful ascend to heaven. Catholics have been known to esteem and call on saints in heaven for help. On the contrary, Protestants exalt the glory of God alone.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:16, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” Catholics and Protestants both have strengths and a history of achievements. By looking at the fruit of each group, we can see how both groups complement each other and how we can benefit from working together for the kingdom of God.

The world is waiting and watching us. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I think it is possible for us to love one another in spite of our individual beliefs.

PRAYER: Lord, we invite you into our thoughts and attitudes about our brothers and sisters in Christ. Help us to love one another as You have loved us. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

About Judaism

deut

Who is Jewish? It seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? But it’s not! There is more than one basis for being called Jewish.

1. The first basis is ETHNICITY. People who have Jewish parents are referred to as Jewish. Regardless of their religious beliefs or practices, this group of people are still considered Jewish because they are ethnic Jews.

2. The second basis is RELIGION. Ethnic Jews who practice the religion known as Judaism are called Jewish. However, any person who can convert to Judaism and will then be referred to as a Jew.

In Genesis 12:2, the Lord said to Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.Today, it’s easy for us to see that God fulfilled His promise to Abraham! Abraham’s descendants can be found anywhere in the world including the great nation of Israel. God always keeps His promises because He is faithful. 

With over 300 prophecies about the coming Messiah pointing to Jesus, it may be hard to understand why Jewish people do not accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Well, some Jewish people do accept Jesus as their Messiah and Savior. Jewish people practicing Jewish traditions that have accepted Jesus are called Messianic Jews.

Yet there are many more Jewish people who do not accept Jesus as their Messiah. Here are two major reasons why:

1. The first reason is CONTEXT. Jewish people think Christians take Messianic prophecies out of context. Christians argue the Bible passages that contain prophecy have a dual meaning.

2. The second reason is the JEWISH BIBLE. The Jewish translation of the Bible renders certain passages differently. For instance, Christian Bible state Immanuel will be born to a virgin in Isaiah 7:14. In the Jewish Bible, it simply says Immanuel will be born to a young woman.

There are whole books written on the subject, and the many words written do not apply to every Jewish person. However, I hope this blog has helped a little to unravel the mystery of why Jewish people are still waiting for their Messiah while the rest of us are waiting for His return!

In the Bible, we read God promised a chosen nation to Jacob’s descendants including the Promised Land of Israel. We know one major reason God set this nation apart was to bring forth the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to bring non-Jews into a reconciled relationship to God. Now that Jesus Christ accomplished His Father’s will, does it nullify God’s promise to Abraham’s descendants? Should Israel belong to the Jewish people in modern day times?

The belief that Israel should belong to the Jewish people is called Zionism. Many Christians support Zionism because they believe the book of Romans confirms the original promise stated in Genesis 12. Many Jewish people support Zionism because they have a continued faith God’s promise to them, which is stated in the Jewish Bible. Even people who do not believe in the Bible at all may support Zionism for political or other reasons.

What do you think? I see the existence of Israel as a miracle and a reminder that God has not forsaken us. As Christians, we know for certain God will one day call us to our own spiritual Promised Land in heaven where we can reside forever with Him.

If you are not a Christian, it is easy to become one with simple heartfelt prayer: Dear Lord, I believe your Son Jesus is the Messiah who washed my sin away with his suffering and death on the cross. I believe he was raised up from the dead. His blood guarantees me a place in heaven. I accept the gift of salvation. In Christ’s Name, Amen. 

If you prayed that heartfelt prayer, you are now an heir of God. Congratulations! Click here to read a poem on our spiritual Promised Land in heaven. 

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!