VIDEO Fit for a King! Frankincense

Fit for a King! Frankincense

And the Lord said to Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be equal amounts of each. You shall make of these an incense.” Exodus 30:34-35

For thousands of years, the tree arbor thurifera, growing in the Arabian Peninsula and Lebanon, has been tapped for its resin. The bark was cut and exuding resin was allowed to dry as nodules, or “tears.” When hardened, the resin, called frankincense, was ground into a fine powder. When subjected to a flame, it gave off a sweet and powerful aroma—an incense used in the worship of God in the tabernacle and temple. (“Frankincense” derives from the old French franc encens, meaning “highest-quality incense.”)

When the Magi journeyed to Bethlehem and saw the baby Jesus, they “fell down and worshiped Him,” presenting frankincense—the most noble incense of worship—as one of their gifts (Matthew 2:11). Paul refers to the life of the Christian as a living sacrifice, a reasonable service of worship (Romans 12:1). That service becomes a wonderful aroma—the incense of worshipful service—in our life (Philippians 4:18).

What gift of frankincense can we give to Christ this Christmas? The highest quality incense of service to Him and to others—the aroma of Christ in us.


Scent From Above – Exodus 30:34-38 – Jon Courson

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Answering Atheists: Italy’s New Government Promotes Christ in Schools

 

 

Answering Atheists: Italy’s New Government Promotes Christ in Schools

The Italians don’t have anyone like the Nebraska principal who recently tried to ban even candy canes and red and green items at Christmastime. But they do have a war on the season, as some Italian schools have moved to prohibit Nativity scenes and crucifixes in the name of “inclusiveness” and “respect for other cultures.”

This prompted a backlash from the ruling patriotic government, with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini calling the move “idiocy” and writing that the Christmas displays are “not just about religion, but about history, roots, culture.” He added, “I will not give up! Long live our traditions, and may they spread!”

Chiming in was Education Minister Marco Bussetti, who said, For me, the crucifix is a symbol of our history, our culture, our traditions”; moreover, he told “a meeting of 180 teachers and school leaders from across the country he believed the same to be true for Christmas trees and nativity displays at this time of year,” reports Breitbart.

This comes as the “Italian media is describing an ‘open war’ on nativity scenes in the classroom, where local administrators were forbidding the Christian imagery [from] being displayed in schools across the country,” Clash Daily adds. “Parents in Venice, however, protested the decision[,] which was blamed on ‘lack of funding.’”

The site continues, “This explanation was quickly shot down by the populist Lega party[,] who said that local officials had set aside 50,000 euros for Nativity scenes at schools.”

Funding excuses are often the last refuge of cowards; they justify monetarily what they can’t defend morally.

There are other cop-outs, too. For example, Italian website Aleteia blames a “malevolent atheism” that continually uses the now stale excuse, “There are students of other religions, [sic] we must respect them.” (It should be mentioned that aiding these anti-theists are naïve sorts genuinely imbued with cultural/religious-equivalence doctrine.)

A case in point is a school in Terni, Italy, that canceled its traditional nativity recitation, claiming it was “‘a sign of respect’ for pupils from other cultures,” Breitbart also informs. Yet reacting to this, local populist Lega Party representative Valeria Alessandrini pointed out, “‘Only by respecting [our own traditions] … can we make others understand everyone is free to practice their own faiths but that it is also required they respect the history and culture of the country in which they live,’” Breitbart relates.

In reality, weakness breeds contempt. It’s hard to command respect from others if you clearly don’t respect yourself — this applies to cultures, too. Just consider what foreigners may infer from the West’s lukewarm attitude: “Wow, if Westerners’ won’t defend their faith and culture, they must not be worth defending.”

And then are they worth embracing?

Of course, this is more of an issue than ever in Italy, and the West generally, with the rapid influx of Third World migrants, many of whom are religiously chauvinistic Muslims. It’s worth noting here that these newcomers don’t share the West’s relativism and won’t return the “tolerance” favor should they ever take control. Just consider the warning that is the Muslim world: Persecution of Christians is common there and “freedom of religion” uncommon.

Yet another warning, for Italy and others, is us. In deference to the “separation of church and state” — not actually in the Constitution — we’ve separated sanity and state, going so far as to allow satanic “Christmas” displays in “anti-establishment’s” name.

Yet what of this notion that faith doesn’t belong in the public square? Not only was it belied by the Founders’ behavior, but does it make sense? Consider the following argument.

If the “religious” ideas in question really have been handed down by God, the Creator of the Universe and Inerrant Author of All, don’t we actually have a duty to infuse our public sphere with them? Is it not then an imperative that we immerse schoolchildren in this divine light? Of course, an atheist will respond, “Not everyone worships sky fairies! These are just man-made beliefs.”

Yet this is where their argument collapses. For what then justifies putting “religious” beliefs on the back of the bus? How is it that the man-made beliefs we happen to call “secular” may be in the public square, but the man-made beliefs we happen to call “religious” may not be? If they’re all man-made, wherein lies the difference?

This striking truth leaves us with only two possibilities: Either religious ideas are man-made, in which case they may be in schools.

Or they’re from God — and must be in schools.

Secularists may now, sputtering, claim that religious ideas can be “offensive.” But this is wholly subjective. Most everyone is offended by something and most everything offends someone. Whose feelings of umbrage will be judge and jury?

In reality, everyone accepts dogmas knowingly or not, and all these battles concern whose dogmas will prevail. Secularists may claim offense at having “religious” isms (e.g., Catholicism, Protestantism) in schools, yet put their own isms (e.g., multiculturalism, feminism) in them. They’re so ideo-centric, too, that this never even strikes them as a double standard.

The confusion begins, though, with the acceptance of the religious/secular dichotomy, a distinction that is, in the most important sense, a false one. For how does this religious/secular discrimination model serve to separate good from bad influences? Does the “secular” label magically cleanse Nazism or Marxism? Does deeming “Thou shalt do no murder” “religious” render it bad counsel? In reality, there’s only one truly relevant distinction, only one that should determine public-square presence: the true and the untrue.

Having lost sight of this, we wallow in cultural/religious relativism and what it often breeds, apathy. The result is that too many Westerners don’t care enough to defend their own faith and culture. Thus, where a confident West once colonized and evangelized the Third World, it now invites the Third World to gradually colonize and Islamize it.

Photo: Crisfotolux/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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https://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/europe/item/30847-answering-atheists-italy-s-new-government-promotes-christ-in-schools

The Good Judge

Psalm 9:1-20

The Lord is often depicted as the supreme Judge, seated in heaven and ready to dish out vengeance for all evil and disobedience. But He’s also presented as a good and loving God who’s quick to forgive. Although both aspects of His nature are true, the human mind has trouble comprehending how they can coexist in the same Being.

From our limited earthly perspective, the Lord may not always seem good. People who struggle to accept His goodness often look around and wonder why He doesn’t stop all the evil and suffering in the world. Or they look ahead to the coming judgment and wonder how He could condemn anyone to hell. The irony of this reasoning is that it finds fault with both the Lord’s present tolerant permission of evil and His future intolerant judgment of evil in eternity.

In reality, both ends of this spectrum prove our heavenly Father’s goodness. God doesn’t immediately write off everyone who rejects or disobeys Him; instead, He patiently waits for us to repent and accept the forgiveness of sins that is available in Jesus Christ alone. But in the final judgment, the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. If He did, He would cease to be good.

Only when we get to heaven will we comprehend God’s absolute holiness and the depth of sin’s depravity. Then we’ll understand the necessity of hell and the goodness of a Savior who died to rescue us. In the meantime, rejoice in the knowledge that your Judge is good.

God’s Ways Are Always Best

“And the word of the Lord came unto [Elijah], saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” (1 Kings 17:8-9) 

The leading of God is not always clear to our understanding or satisfying to our pride, but it is always directed to God’s glory and our good. Elijah had been supernaturally fed by ravens until the brook of Cherith dried up due to the very drought that Elijah had prophesied. Then, instead of supernaturally providing water, God told Elijah to move to a village in Zidon to stay with a poor widow who would feed him.

But Zidon was the home of the idolatrous queen, Jezebel, who would soon become Elijah’s implacable enemy. Furthermore, he would have to so humble himself as to request that the widow share what she thought would be her last meal with a stranger whom she had never met and who had claimed to be the prophet of a God she did not know. What a strange way for God to deal with His servant!

Nevertheless, Elijah obeyed God without question, and so did the widow of Zarephath, and thus the Lord was able to perform two of His mightiest miracles of creation. At the same time, He was able to meet the deep spiritual needs, as well as the physical needs, of this unlikely duo—the greatest spiritual leader of his age and an insignificant widow. An amazing daily miracle of continuing the creation of oil and meal took place as long as the drought continued. And then an even more amazing miracle was accomplished, when, for the first time in all history so far as the record goes, one who was dead (the widow’s son) was restored to life (1 Kings 17:20-24), and the woman came to believe that Jehovah was the true God. God’s ways may not be our ways, but they are always best. May He give us the grace always to obey His word, whether or not we fully understand. HMM

Righteousness delivereth from death

2 Peter 2

Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Spirit.

2 Peter 2:1-9

Former judgments are the sure proofs that present sin will also meet with punishment.

2 Peter 2:22

The apostles were most anxious that believers should persevere, and therefore they cautioned them as to the dire results of apostasy. These frequent warnings should make us watchful, and lead us to cry mightily to him who alone is able to keep us from falling. Only divine grace can preserve us from the seducing spirits which abound on all sides.

 

Jesus, the Lord, shall guard me safe

From every ill design;

And to his heavenly kingdom keep

This feeble soul of mine.

 

God is my everlasting aid,

And hell shall rage in vain:

To him be highest glory paid,

And endless praise—Amen.

 

More Than Just A Pardon

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

It is a fact that the New Testament message of good news, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,” embraces a great deal more than an offer of free pardon.

Surely it is a message of pardon—and for that may God be praised—but it is also a message of repentance!

It is a message of atonement—but it is also a message of temperance and righteousness and godliness in this present world!

It tells us that we must accept a Savior—but it tells us also that we must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts!

The gospel message includes the idea of amendment—of separation from the world, of cross-carrying and loyalty to the kingdom of God even unto death!

These are all corollaries of the gospel and not the gospel itself; but they are part and parcel of the total message which we are commissioned to declare. No man has authority to divide the truth and preach only a part of it. To do so is to weaken it and render it without effect!

 

Following Leads to Honor

“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.” John 12:26

The highest service is imitation. If I would be Christ’s servant I must be His follower. To do as Jesus did is the surest way of bringing honor to His name. Let me mind this every day.

If I imitate Jesus I shall have His company: if I am like Him I shall be with Him. In due time He will take me up to dwell with Him above, if, meanwhile, I have striven to follow Him here below. After His suffering our Lord came to His throne, and even so, after we have suffered a while with Him here below, we also shall arrive in glory. The issue of our Lord’s life shall be the issue of ours: if we are with Him in His humiliation we shall be with Him in His glory. Come, my soul, pluck up courage, and put down thy feet in the blood-marked footprints which thy Lord has left thee.

Let me not fail to note that the Father will honor those who follow His Son. If He sees me true to Jesus He will put marks of favor and honor upon me for His Son’s sake. No honor can be like this. Princes and emperors bestow the mere shadows of honor; the substance of glory comes from the Father. Wherefore, my soul, cling thou to thy Lord Jesus more closely than ever.