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The Twelve Days of Christmas


The Twelve Days of Christmas is a classic but we often forget to think about what in the world the song is talking about? The song is so ridiculously outlandish and absurd that many say if one were to actually receive all the gifts given to them it would cost them a small fortune. PNC banking group has taken the song and used it as a tool to teach economics, rules of inflation, and money management. According to them in 2014, A Partridge in a Pear Tree costs $207.68 (+3.8%). Check it out. It is quite an entertaining website.

If you are like me you often ask the question why? Who wrote this song and why?

Historical information


 

The Twelve Days of Christmas was originally written in order to teach children Christian doctrine. According to legend it was used during times of persecution when open practice of faith was forbidden.

“From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.” – gotthebible.com

So the song was written as a “secret code” to teach Christian truths to children. 

Symbols


 

The actual 12 days represent the days between Christmas on December 25th and Epiphany on January 6th. Epiphany was the traditional celebration commemorating the arrival of the Wise Men. Yes, those wise men in the nativity scenes didn’t actually show up till years later. However, it helps to add a little diversity into our nativity scenes by including them and their camels.

These gifts that are given on each day are not particularly representative of anything in their choice but rather in their number. Most people believe the birds, rings, and animals are nothing more than memory tricks to help with the numbers that represent Christian doctrines. But the act of giving a gift is a solid Christmas gift in that Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift from God to save humanity. So hopefully this will shed new light on our misinterpretation of this seemingly “silly” song.


GIFTS WHAT THEY REPRESENT
Partridge in a pear tree Jesus Christ, who died on a tree for our sins
Two turtledoves The Old and New Testaments
Three French hens Faith, hope, and love(the three abiding virtues according to I Cor. 13)  or the three Wise Men
Four calling birds The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)
Five golden rings The Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible
Six geese a-laying Six days of creation (Genesis 1)
Seven swans a-swimming The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:6-8)
Eight maids a-milking The eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11)
Nine ladies dancing The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
Ten lords a-leaping The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17)
Eleven pipers piping The eleven faithful apostles (Acts 1:13)
Twelve drummers drumming The twelve points of the Apostles’ Creed

Ephesians1:18,19

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Check out this fascinating quote explaining the meaning of Paul’s unique phrase the “eyes of your heart.” It is more than just a misjudging of the location of one’s ocular devices. It is Paul describing the importance of the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work in our hearts allowing us to see the truth.

Paul uses a strange construction here: the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. Usually we think of the eyes as being in our head, and we connect the head with the brain and the brain with the mind. Hence we say that we understand a particular teaching with the mind. But the apostle refers to the eyes of the heart. What does he mean?
He means that by nature we are closed to the things of God. He does not mean that we cannot discuss them nor have intellectual debates about them. But the heart in New Testament terms refers to the central disposition, inclination, bent, or proclivity of the human soul. In simple terms, the bias. Everybody has a bias and prejudices. The word ‘prejudice’ is usually a pejorative term, but what it literally means is to prejudge certain things, to have a standpoint, a viewpoint.
Our natural prejudgment of reality is against God. To receive the truth of God requires that our ‘anti’ bias be changed. The key work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration is not giving new knowledge to the brain but changing the disposition of the heart. Before the Spirit turns that heart of stone into a heart of flesh, we have no desire for the things of God. We may desire the blessings that only God can give us, but we have no affection for the things of God. At the moment of regeneration, the eyes of the heart are opened somewhat, but this is just the beginning. The whole Christian life involves an unfolding and enlarging of the heart’s openness to the things of God. There are concepts, attitudes, and values in my life at present that do not please God, for there will be stony parts to my heart as long as sin abides within me. Sin clouds my thinking, my will, my desires, my affections. There will always be parts of me that need to be opened more and more to let the fullness of God’s truth dwell in me. — The Purpose of God: Ephesians

A modern parable, this insightful video illustration examines the life of a man searching through the false promises of other religions and finding his salvation in Christ.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a situation that you couldn’t get out of?  And not only that, but you didn’t know how to get out of.  When you need help, where do you turn?  How do you get out?  The culture believes that there are many paths in life we can take, but this video illustration demonstrates that none of them will ultimately help you out of your situation.

This reminds me of the famous story about CS Lewis where he proclaimed the most distinguishing fact of Christianity.  Here is a direct quote from Philip Yancey’s, What’s So Amazing About Grace? (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), p 45.

During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods’ appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until CS Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”


Grace makes Christianity unique from all other religions because it marks the stark difference in believing in a God that will come down into a hole and pull you out of your mess, verses a god that requires you to earn its approval.  When we search for God, the Bible promises that we will find Him.  The difference between Christianity and other religions can be explained by the words “Do” and “Done.”

Do – All other world religions have to do with good works or good deeds.  Reincarnation and Karma are major themes in world religions and they always point back to what you do with your life.

Done – Christianity points to what Jesus Christ has already done on the cross at Calvary.  His sacrifice on the cross is what brings a Christian salvation.  Jesus Christ is the only way to God, who comes down to meet us in our own messy lives, to build relationship with us and to save us from this life.  We are free because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It’s not our own righteousness that leads to salvation, but the free gift of grace.

 

 

Student Essay Responses

jordantmoody —  November 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

Please take the time to read what the students at DCA are saying about their Bible Module this year. We are going through a group Bible Study entitled Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris. The students are taking quizzes online and usually each quiz has one short essay question they can answer. Here are some of their responses.

Quiz 2 essay question: What does it mean to put your hope in God?

Your answers: 

As mentioned earlier, hope involves a forward gaze. When we put our hope in God, we put our future in His hands; we trust in Him as our foundation. As Philippians 4:6 says–we need to abstain from anxiety, because we know the Lord will take care of His people. Hoping in God is giving Him full control of our life, allowing Him to train us now and use us in the future.

I think it means to not hope for money or fame but to hope in the fact that he will deliver you through everything you are going through and hoping in the fact of eternal life and salvation

Putting your hope in God means to put your faith and trust in Him. The idea of hope has a forward feeling to it. We can hope and trust that God is in control of everything. We can hope that he has a plan in the future. Finally we can hope that God has given us eternal life through His Son. Through this attitude of hope we can fully serve God and have a true foundation in Him.

It means really trusting him in all situations because we know that God can carry us thru to the future. everything God does and has done is for our good and his Glory. putting our hope in God means we need to be willing to do any thing God calls us to do because that is our future.

Putting your hope on god means that things like money are unstable and God is. You have faith and trust in him but also a security for the future. When you have a hopeful heart you produce generous actions.

Hoping in God means that you can lay aside all earthly materials, it means that you are putting your trust in what God has said He has done and what He will do, and it means that you will produce actions that reflect your hopeful view in Christ.

To put your hope in God is to look forward to what He will do in the future. You may not know what He is going to do, but whatever He does is His will. We have the hope that whatever He does is for our good and is all a part of His master plan.

To put your hope in Christ is to believe that he has saved us from our sins and will continue to work in your life to sanctify and cleanse you. It also entails that we have a hope that we will live for eternity with God in heaven.

 

Quiz 1 Essay Question: How do you think this Bible Module will apply to you and why?

Even just the first day was an eye-opener! I hope that the rest will do so as well! I’m actually excited about this class haha 🙂
It will apply to help me get my focus on making my foundation on the Bible and not on temporary worldly things like relationships or sports.
I think this module will apply to me just in everyday life. So often we build our lives on unstable things when God is really the only thing we should be basing our lives on.
It will give me a better perception of what my true foundation is. It will also give me a growing desire to know Christ more and to live a life that’s pleasing to Him.
This will apply to me because I want to build my life on the Word of God. Because the reason is I can see this world is hurting without God and I would like to be in a place were I can help people.

April 2013

Dear Family and Friends:

For several months now, Jamie and I have been exploring a new direction that God may be leading us in our future life together. Currently we are living in Dublin, NH, where I work as a teacher, coach, and dormitory supervisor for DCA.  Jamie has stayed very busy with several part-time jobs this year. However, this summer we have an opportunity to go on a mission trip to the island of Chuuk, Micronesia, with Grace Dental and Medical Mission. God’s will does not always lead you where you might expect, but we both feel this is an important step to help us determine if this ministry is where the Lord would have us.

The trip is planned for July 2- 18 and will specifically target three islands, with efforts concentrated on opening doors to share the gospel through dental and medical aid. We will be staying for most of the time on the main Chuukese island of Weno, but we were also told to bring a tent, because for several days we will be “camping” Micronesian style in order to set up a clinic on a remote island of Nomwin. Thankfully, Jamie and I will not be asked to pull teeth or diagnose illnesses. We will be assisting the medical teams, but also learning specifically how GDMMissions operates and what our future roles may be with the mission.  Each team member needs to raise $3,000, 80% of which goes toward airfare. We are trusting God to provide the funds, but we do understand that raising $6,000 in a short amount of time is a daunting task. We are confident of God’s leading and that no matter the difficulty, He is always faithful.

We are excited (and admittedly a little nervous) about this next step, but recently I was encouraged by a quote from a book I have been reading called Finish the Mission:

“Hebrews talks of those who were made strong out of weakness. The implication is not that they made themselves strong, just that they made themselves available. As a result, they were made mighty. God is able to do more than we can imagine.” Please pray with us for wisdom about our future, that the Lord will provide the necessary funds for this trip, and that we would be useful tools in the hand of the Almighty.

In Christ,

Jordan and Jamie Moody

English: Map of Chuuk State, Micronesia. Polsk...

English: Map of Chuuk State, Micronesia. Polski: Mapa stanu Chuuk w Mikronezji. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CONTACT/DONATION INFORMATION

Please send all donations to:

GDMMissions

150 Cross Street

Methuen, MA 01844

*Make checks payable to GDMMissions.  Indicate that this is for the Moodys (on the memo line)

 

Our Address:

106 Page Road

Dublin, NH 03444

jtmoody10@gmail.com

gdmmissions.org

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”

or

Why do we get bombings and people trying to kill one another?

or

Why is everyone angry all the time?

We have been waging a war since the beginning of time between good and evil. However, God wins. Externally, it may look like Satan is winning because we see tragedy, death, hatred, and wars. Suffering evidences itself because sin is still prevalent. I am a saved victorious Christian and a son of God but that does not make me immune to my sinful “DNA” and my desire to do wrong. Through Christ I have conquered sin however until he returns I am in a struggle between good and evil. An unsaved individual regardless of position and location is unable to please God and therefore must only please himself. This is done through a variety of means and one of the ways we please self is to seek revenge, destroy, and hurt other people in a twisted effort to elevate ourself and/or our cause. God gives hope that shames our pride and gives us new life capable of communing the Creator. We must not minimize the hope given to us by Christ but we must magnify His work on the cross.

So why is everyone angry all the time and why is everyone trying to kill each other? Well, one reason is they have not believed in Christ’s attack on hostility, for Christ killed all hostility and has replaced all strife with peace.

Ephesians 2:12-17

Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
Eph 2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
Eph 2:17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.

Here are some notes that I took and used to preach a short message from. (I hope you can follow my train of thought as I walk through the passage and take several words and break them down.)

Kill the Hostility
  • Separated 
    • positional separation we aren’t on God’s team, we are the enemy
    • Aliens– foreigners, unknown, strangers, not citizens of God’s country
  • No Hope
    • without God we have no hope for any kind of future
    • in the world and of the world without God’s plan of redemption
  • In Christ Jesus
    • picture of proximity
      • far and near
      • Jews and Gentiles are made one church in Christ
    • to be brought near means to have access to God
    • He died not only for Jews but for all his sheep even those who were far off
  • He is Peace
    • Peace vs. Hostility
    • Hostility, bombing, killing, murdering, racism, abusing… is torn down and replaced with peace through the love of the Savior Jesus Christ
    • the wall of hostility could be an example of the inscription that alienated Gentiles from entering the inner courts of the sacred Jewish temple. A gentile would be killed if he crossed that wall and entered the place where only the privileged Jews could.
    • In the same way we as SINNERS get to talk to a God who is HOLY. Because Jesus covered up that inscription for us and he is now on our team inviting us to join him at the banquet table to eat and commune with the Trinity.
  • Abolishing the Law
    • the Mosaic law and commandments are now nullified and the result is a NEW MAN, a new human race (new Adam), who is now capable of pleasing God because of the blood of Christ covering our wickedness.
    • ONE MAN made peace for all men
    • vs. 16- one man in one body through the cross – the gospel
  • Killing the Hostility
    • the hostility between the two warring parties was made peaceful through a negotiation –  a hostage had to be sacrificed
    • Christ’s reconciliation has killed the hostility that stood like a wall between us and peace with God.

What is a Christian?

bobbyemberley —  March 15, 2013 — 1 Comment

The following are some thoughts I wrote down in my devotional journal this week. It may contain a theological perspective that I am still uncertain about.

John 6:38 says, “For I [Jesus] have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” Later in I Corinthians 4:4, Paul, also speaking of doing the will of another, said, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ.” As Paul invites us to follow him and ultimately to follow Christ, we too are to do the will of the Father. We are to do what pleases God. We are to do right. However, as God changes my heart, doing my own will becomes doing God’s will. Or we had best put it the other way around- doing God’s will becomes doing my will. This is a way of life, not something you get done for the day and forget about. It really is silly to think of getting God’s will done so that I may move on to my own. As if there were portions and times of my life in which God has no explicit way for me to act or obedience for me to exhibit.

So we immediately run into two problems:

1. The sheer impossibility of actually doing this even if we wanted to.

And the greater of the two,

2. Actually wanting to.

I think here we find the essence of what it means to be a Christian. It also speaks much about what God does when he saves a person.

You see, no one actually wants to surrender his life to live it in the service of another person. At least no one I’ve ever known. At least not to the extent that the Bible speaks of it when we come to fully understand it. Those who seem to want it inevitably do so for selfish motives, and that is perhaps worse than simply admitting rebellion and being done with it.

And so God must change us. He must make our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. He must take what is dead and make it walk again. No, not even again, but for the very first time. It is still unclear to me when this change occurs. Of course it has not fully occurred in any of us, and perhaps we can say it has more fully occurred in some than in others. But could it be that this change has not occurred in every person who has faith in Jesus? Or does their faith presuppose that God has at least planted the seeds of change? Of one thing we may be sure: the change will come. It must. For to grab hold of God is to grab hold of doing his will as a servant and in the process eternal life.

Truly, we should hardly think of the two (doing God’s will and eternal life) as separate. Did not Jesus say that whoever loses his life for my sake will find it? So it would seem that eternal life is found along the way of doing God’s will. Yet, we must not forget that doing God’s will and more importantly wanting to do it are gifts from God from the start.

If we must think of them as separate for the sake of better understanding, let us suppose that to lay hold of God is to lay hold of a rope consisting of two strands- one being doing God’s will as a servant, the other, the attainment of eternal life. You could no sooner simply grab one strand of the rope than you could jump into a lake on a hot summer day with the hope of staying dry. You can jump into the lake to enjoy relief from the heat, but you will most certainly also get wet, and you had best prepare yourself for that. Indeed, we could think of the rest of the world’s religions as attempts to untangle these two strands. Because everyone wants eternal life. No one wants Jesus. Not in their natural state. Not when it means becoming a servant as he was. Not when they really understand him and what following him entails. Even if they were to succeed in untangling the rope, it wouldn’t be strong enough to save them. I am reminded of preachers who speak of the danger of coming to Jesus as simply a fire escape from hell. I think their warning is much-needed because those who think of Jesus in such terms are not really thinking of him at all.

To lay hold of God is to lay hold of doing his will as a servant and in the process eternal life.

funeral for Chavez


by
 DENNY BURK

MARCH 7, 2013

The head of Venezuela’s presidential guard was with Hugo Chávez during his final moments. His report on Chávez’s last words paints a picture of a man desperately clinging to life. According to this report, Chávez said:I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die.

As a rule, I’m no fan of socialist dictators—particularly those of Chávez’s ilk. But this strikes me as one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. I grieve to think about what the horror of his final moments must have been like. Death is no respecter of persons—not even of billionaire Presidents who command a cult-like following among their countrymen. Not even of you. As the old hymn has it, “Time like an ever-flowing stream bears all its sons away.” None of us will escape this great equalizer.

But the great question we all have to ask ourselves is this: Will we be ready? Will our last words exhibit the desperation of a person who knows that it is all slipping away? Of a person who has the foreboding sense that something more terrible than he can imagine waits just on the other side? Or will our final words reflect the confidence that Christ has defeated the final enemy (1 Cor. 15:26)? The confidence that whoever trusts in Jesus Christ will live even if he dies (John 11:25)?

If the moment of your demise were descending upon you and you could see it coming as Chávez could, what would you say? That is the great question of your life. It’s the great question of every person’s life.

Psalm 90:10-12
10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away.
11 Who understands the power of Thine anger,
And Thy fury, according to the fear that is due Thee?
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.

                                                                                                                 

Let one thing be the surest thing in your mind, your eternal destiny. How foolish to be weighed in the balances and to be found wanting when you could of tipped the scales aforehand. Search your heart. Search for God. He will be found.

Jeremiah 29:13 

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Chavez is realizing he should have sought God when he could have been found. I am afraid for Chavez, it was too late.

Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World

Do you relate to God as if he exists to further your selfish ambitions or are you convinced that you exist to glorify him? Are you trying to live without God? Iain Murray describes this way of thinking:

Worldliness is departing from God. It is a man-centered way of thinking; it proposes objectives which demand no radical breach with man’s fallen nature; it judges the importance of things by the present and material results; it weighs success by numbers; it covets human esteem and wants no unpopularity; it knows no truth for which it is worth suffering; it declines to be “a fool for Christ’s sake”. Worldliness is the mind-set of the unregenerate. it adopts idols and is at war with God. 

Are you at war with God?

If not what is your heart like?

You see worldliness is not simply externals but rather a matter of the heart.

For that’s where worldliness is. It exists in our hearts. Worldliness does not consist in outward behavior, though our actions can certainly be an evidence of worldliness within. But the real location of worldliness is internal. It resides in our hearts.

Oftentimes, we seek to define worldliness as anything or anyone involved with today’s culture. But culture is not worldliness. As soon as one mentions this there is often an immediate chance for people to take offense. However, “the conflict often reveals a wrong focus on externals.”

Yes, it is true conduct often reveals the intent of the heart. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” But your judgment of others conduct does not always ring true with the Bible. You pass judgment on someone’s differing external behaviors but you miss the beam in your own eye. When inclined to judge, first stop and check your motives. Is your heart motivated by love? Is your heart motivated with kindness? Is your heart motivated with an intent to restore? If so judge and confront, but if not, back off and get your own heart right first. Worldliness is not a clothing style or a music style but rather it is an arrogant confident love for something that is dying. We must seek to confront those who are loving the world but be cautious not misjudge someone’s “culture” because it is simply not our own.

The idea and quotes came from the below mentioned book.
Book suggestion: BUY THIS BOOK: (click the link for information) C.J. Mahaney’s book called,  Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World

The website J.C. Ryle Quotes shares the following from a tract Ryle wrote entitled “Christ in the Sick Room”.

Sickness is meant…

1. To make us think–to remind us that we have a soul as well as a body–an immortal soul–a soul that will live forever in happiness or in misery–and that if this soul is not saved we had better never have been born.

2. To teach us that there is a world beyond the grave–and that the world we now live in is only a training-place for another dwelling, where there will be no decay, no sorrow, no tears, no misery, and no sin.

3. To make us look at our past lives honestly, fairly, and conscientiously. Am I ready for my great change if I should not get better? Do I repent truly of my sins? Are my sins forgiven and washed away in Christ’s blood? Am I prepared to meet God?

4. To make us see the emptiness of the world and its utter inability to satisfy the highest and deepest needs of the soul.

5. To send us to our Bibles. That blessed Book, in the days of health, is too often left on the shelf, becomes the safest place in which to put a bank-note, and is never opened from January to December. But sickness often brings it down from the shelf and throws new light on its pages.

6. To make us pray. Too many, I fear, never pray at all, or they only rattle over a few hurried words morning and evening without thinking what they do. But prayer often becomes a reality when the valley of the shadow of death is in sight.

7. To make us repent and break off our sins. If we will not hear the voice of mercies, God sometimes makes us “hear the rod.”

8. To draw us to Christ. Naturally we do not see the full value of that blessed Savior. We secretly imagine that our prayers, good deeds, and sacrament-receiving will save our souls. But when flesh begins to fail, the absolute necessity of a Redeemer, a Mediator, and an Advocate with the Father, stands out before men’s eyes like fire, and makes them understand those words, “Simply to Your cross I cling,” as they never did before. Sickness has done this for many–they have found Christ in the sick room.

9. To make us feeling and sympathizing towards others. By nature we are all far below our blessed Master’s example, who had not only a hand to help all, but a heart to feel for all. None, I suspect, are so unable to sympathize as those who have never had trouble themselves–and none are so able to feel as those who have drunk most deeply the cup of pain and sorrow.

Summary: Beware of fretting, murmuring, complaining, and giving way to an impatient spirit. Regard your sickness as a blessing in disguise – a good and not an evil – a friend and not an enemy. No doubt we should all prefer to learn spiritual lessons in the school of ease and not under the rod. But rest assured that God knows better than we do how to teach us. The light of the last day will show you that there was a meaning and a “need be” in all your bodily ailments. The lessons that we learn on a sick-bed, when we are shut out from the world, are often lessons which we should never learn elsewhere.