Here we are celebrating and rejoicing yet again the birth of our Lord and Savior, even though many scholars say his real birthdate was in September! Christmas is a wonderful mixture of tradition, religion, and reality. Thanks to the “sanctified imagination” of artists, songwriters, and a long line of preachers and academics, we have what is called Christmastide or the Christmas Season. The politically correct have signs and cards that say “Happy Holidays,” forgetting that the word “holidays” comes from Holy Days! How blind and mixed up can the world get?

three-wise-men-postI’m one of “the people of the Book” as the Muslims call Christians and Jews, and when I go to the Book we call God’s Word, there is not a lot of detail in the Christmas story. Mark’s gospel doesn’t shed any light and John’s gospel gives the spiritual backstory and then simply says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 ESV). Matthew starts with a few verses at the end of chapter one on Joseph’s part in God’s plan and in one verse speaks of the actual birth. Then in chapter 2 his is the only gospel to record the visit of the wise men from the East. Luke gives us 20 verses on the actual birth in his chapter two.

With so little recorded facts of this world-changing event, it is no wonder that believers have attempted to fill the gaps, in art and song and ceremony. I’m not opposed to that; at least people are thinking about Jesus or hearing his name at this time of year. But when their imagination depicts something that is opposite of what the Word says, then I have to speak out.  Read More 

I have always been lover of books, a book worm. I still am an avid reader. At the start of our ministry, we put aside money weekly to buy books and magazines that would help us minister better or understand the Bible better. Harry Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Now I have a Kindle ebook reader loaded with hundreds of books, though I’m traditional enough to love and prefer the feel of a physical book.

attitude of gratitude (Nikki Zalewski)However, recently I downloaded an ebook with the title “Give the first cake to Elijah” by Jo Upton (you can get the Kindle version for just 99 cents — well worth a read. I will not make this a spoiler, so enjoy the book!). It is the story of a housewife and mother who wanted to earn money to give to various ministries. I enjoyed reading about the author’s journey and her testimony to the faithfulness of God.

It was the title that aroused my interest, obviously inspired by the record of Elijah meeting the widow of Zarephath (I Kings 17:8-16). When Elijah asked her for some food in the midst of a famine, she replied, “As the Lord your God lives, I have not a cake,  Read More