Tag Archive | Charles Dickens

How To Make the Best of a New Year

“It was the best of times… it was the worst of times”.

With these words, Charles Dickens begins his timeless classic, A Tale of Two Cities. Although it was written in 1859, this opening sentence sounds a lot like our world today.

We see turmoil in other countries…

We see political and social unrest right here at home…

We see an economy filled with uncertainty…

NE ChurchBut through it all, we have hope. Hope – not in an ideology, politicians, or financial markets. We have hope in a God who is bigger than any challenges we face, and mightier than the forces of darkness that are trying to tear this world apart.

Because of that, we can find joy in the future, and anticipation for a wonderful New Year.

Echoes of A Christmas Carol

DickensIn 1867, during a visit to Chicago, Charles Dickens read A Christmas Carol at a public reading. There was a man in the audience by the name of Fairbanks, who owned a factory. He was so moved by what he heard that he decided to break his tradition of being open on Christmas Day, and gave his employees the day off. Not only that, he gave a turkey to each and every employee.

We never know how the words that we speak will affect someone else, and how that can spread to affect many. Whether a literary masterpiece or a kind word spoken in secret, the tongue holds great powers of healing and encouragement.

As we begin this Christmas Season – the season of peace on earth and good will to men – may we all remember to let our words be seasoned with love, garnished with hope, and simmering with kindness and good cheer. May the love of Jesus be evident with every word we speak.

“And so, as Tiny Tim observed, ‘God bless us, every one.’”

When Legends Come to Life

Halloween is traditionally a time of ghosts, ghouls, and things that go bump in the night. For many, it is a time of parties, costumes, and candy (lots and LOTS of candy). According to Alliance Data Retail Services, Halloween is the fourth most popular holiday that prompts people to spend money, behind Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.

Sleepy Hollow stampWhether it is stories and folklore from the likes of great authors such as Washington Irving or Charles Dickens (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and A Christmas Carol come to mind), or stories and characters based on actual historical figures that have morphed into legend, there has always been something about stories of suspense and mystery that intrigue people. One such popular Halloween figure is Dracula, who is actually based on Vlad III (Vlad the Impaler), Prince of Wallachia (Romania). A brutal and merciless killer, he preferred to be known as “Dracula”, which means “Son of the Dragon”.

Earlier this year, the movie Noah was released in theaters. While there was much of the story that deviated from the historical account we find in Genesis, one of the elements in the movie that drew an inordinate amount of attention were the Nephilim — if you saw the movie, they were represented by the giant “rock people”. Although the portrayal seemed rather fantastical, the producers of the film attempted to address something that is an often overlooked part of the Genesis account. It is one of those afore-mentioned historical facts that have morphed into legend (if not even cartoonish characters).

Caesarea By The Sea2

So, who were the Nephilim? Were they real or just figurative characters in the Bible? Let’s take a look…

Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. ~ Genesis 6:1-2 (NKJV)

Here we have the intermarriage of the descendants of Cain and Seth with embodied demons. This produced a race of people called “giants” in the English Bible. They are literally Nephilim, which means “fallen ones”.They occupied the land of Canaan (this view is supported by both Falvius Josephus and Philo Judaeus). These beings produced a subhuman or hybrid race prior to the Flood. These hybrid beings could be the beings that became the ancient mythological gods (see John Fleming’s The Fallen Angel and the Heroes of Mythology and Thomas Horn’s Nephilim Stargates). This race brought vile immorality, crime, terror, and war on the earth. We have a grievous picture of what this means in Numbers 13:32-33…

 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (NKJV)

As we can see, these hybrids were present when the children of Israel entered the land of promise.

David would finally wipe them out (we assume). The human race seems to have experienced this activity before the Flood, and in seizing Canaan during the Exodus. In the last days, this pit will be opened, and the Antichrist will be the seed of Satan born to a woman.

These fallen angels, Nephilim, left their own estate and cohabited with women and produced horror for the earth. These demons disrupted God’s order on earth. This is why the Flood came. It explains the order by God to kill the inhabitants of Canaan. Many of them were not fully human.

For the sake of clarity, it needs to be explained that while this initial population of Nephilim were eliminated by the Flood, the abomination happened again. In Genesis 6:4, we read…

There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (NKJV)

This indicates that after the Flood, these fallen angels came again and procreated with “the daughters of men”.

So again… is it just a “story” from the Bible? Could it really have happened?

The wonderful aspect of this is that God’s Word is true, and truth does indeed “spring from the earth”. The subject of the Nephilim is, as some have said, “the elephant in the room” for the archaeological, anthropological, and scientific communities. Here are some interesting facts…

  • In AD 1692, a skeleton was found near Angers, France, of a man measuring seventeen feet, four inches.
  • In 1950, in the Euphrates Valley of Southeast Turkey, several tombs were found containing full skeletons of giants fourteen to sixteen feet tall.
  • Digs in China have uncovered skeletal remains of giants over fifteen feet tall.

But the evidence is not relegated to just skeletal remains…

  • I once visited the Heraklion Archaeological Museum in Crete, and there exists an exhibit of ancient bronze battle-axes from as far back as 1700 BC. This is not that unusual until you consider that the axes are over five feet in length. These are not, as some assert, decorative, but show signs of use in battle.
  • In the Great Orme Copper mine in the coastal town of Llandudno in North Wales, sledgehammers of over sixty pounds have been found. These hammers, used in the mining of copper, would have had handles of approximately nine feet.

You may say, “These are all very interesting stories, but what do they mean to me, for my life today?”

These things, and countless other facts, artifacts, and historical records bear out the truth of the Bible. “The rocks cry out” and declare the truth and glory of God! The psalmist bore witness that Creation itself testifies to the handiwork of God when he wrote…

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. ~ Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

If we make the decision to ignore the empirical evidence that supports God’s Word, then we choose to live in ignorance and disbelief. However, if we choose to believe the Bible as truth, then we must believe it in it’s entirety. The same Word that tells stories of floods, giants, angelic visitations, and miracles also gives us this dire warning…

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. ~ Matthew 24:37 (NIV)

Immorality, crime, terror, war… any of this sounding familiar?

But there is also hope, for the same Word also gives us this promise…

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16 (NKJV)

Salvation is here, my friend. His Presence in your life is only a prayer away.

Pastor Ron

 

Much of today’s content was adapted from my book Unexplained Mysteries of Heaven and Earth
(Copyright © 2013 Ron Phillips, published by Charisma House).

Experience and the Light of Contentment

Through the Looking Glass

As a general rule, how we see and respond to things in life depends on our own experience.

DickensUpon the death of Charles Dickens, Dean Arthur Penrhyn Stanley delivered a memorial eulogy, praising Dickens for showing by his own example that…

“…Even in dealing with the darkest scenes and the most degraded characters, genius could still be clean, and mirth could be innocent”.

Dickens, who had been through a great deal of adversity in his own life, managed to find the bright side of human nature in some of his most famous characters — people who made the best out of bad situations.

The Apostle Paul discussed this mindset in Philippians 4:11 when he said that “I have learned to be content… whatever the circumstances”. Paul understood that, while the circumstances of life may not ideal, contentment is a vertical choice… not a horizontal one.

Circumstances can be an “undeserved” condition, but contentment is always a choice — a choice to follow Jesus… regardless.

An Odd Beginning…

“Marley was dead: to begin with.”

KS12503With these words, Charles Dickens begins his classic tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge, who found life and redemption after living a life of greed and misery. A story that begins with death ends with life.

Kind of ironic, huh? Well, there is another story very similar…

It is the story of people who were born into death, with no hope. Yet, in their darkest hour, a baby was born with the power of life in His hands. A child was born who would become the Savior of the world.

It is our story… yours and mine.

It is the story of all of us who have found hope in the life, death, and life of a risen Lord. It is the story of all of us who have called upon the name of…

KS12499Yeshua…

Immanuel…

Jesus.

During this Christmas season, maybe you are looking for something the presents, songs, and sentiments of the season just can’t satisfy.

Jesus invites you to make Him the center of your holiday by making Him the Lord of your life. This year, give Him the greatest Christmas gift you can… your heart.

From our House to yours, may you have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Carols, Carnegie, & The Life of the Overcomer

One of the most loved Christmas stories of all time would have to be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. There have been dozens of adaptations on film and television, dating back as far as 1901. One such version was An American Christmas Carol (1979) starring Henry Winkler as Benedict Slade (the Scrooge character). In the movie, his partner (and Jacob Marley parallel) is a shrewd businessman by the name of Jack Latham. When his ghost appears to Slade, he makes a profound observation…

Each day, each man is given a thousand chances — but they’re missed forever once they put you in the ground.

Holly and snowThere is a common saying that goes, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” A similar sentiment can be said about failure… “The bitterness of failure will never be as bad as the bitterness of never having tried.”

Dale Carnegie once said that “discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones of success.”

So, here are my questions for you: Has God given you a task, but fear of failure has kept you paralyzed? Has past failure kept you in a place of darkness and despair?

If so, here are a couple of simple rules to live by…

1. Regardless of what you have done, God is bigger than your failure. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and no failure is final for anyone that trusts in Him.

2. If you find yourself doubting rule #1, God’s Word always rings true…

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Whether success or temporary failure, with the Presence of God in your life, you’ll never go through it alone.

Echoes of A Christmas Carol

Through the Looking Glass

Dickens

In 1867, during a visit to Chicago, Charles Dickens read A Christmas Carol at a public reading. There was a man in the audience by the name of Fairbanks, who owned a factory. He was so moved by what he heard that he decided to break his tradition of being open on Christmas Day, and gave his employees the day off. Not only that, he gave a turkey to each and every employee.

We never know how the words that we speak will affect someone else, and how that can spread to affect many. Whether a literary masterpiece or a kind word spoken in secret, the tongue holds great powers of healing and encouragement.

As we begin this Christmas Season – the season of peace on earth and good will to men – may we all remember to let our words be seasoned with love, garnished with hope, and simmering with kindness and good cheer. May the love of Jesus be evident with every word we speak.

“And so, as Tiny Tim observed, ‘God bless us, every one.'”