Author Archive

Celebrate His Presence

Written by Les Dahl on October 8th, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

FamilySukkot

Shalom!

Becoming familiar with the Jewish roots of my Christian faith has added profound appreciation the grace of God. Am I converting to Judaism? Not at all. It simply means that I, a ‘wild olive shoot’ engrafted into the ‘root of Jesse’ (Jesus is that root), allow the ‘richness of the root and sap of the olive tree’ to saturate me.(Romans 11:11 AMP)

The ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ celebration begins this evening at 6 p.m. Each family constructs a sukkah (makeshift shelter) in which to enjoy meals, fellowship and prayer. This break from usual routine which becomes so readily commonplace, reminds us of a special place of refuge in the midst of swirling chaos or mundane routine around us. It is a prophetic act to remind us of simple, true values of life–family, friends, communion with the Almighty.

King David knew this special place of refuge. ‘The Eternal is my light amidst darkness, my rescue in times of trouble. In the stress of my day, He hides me in His sukkah; in the secret place of His Presence; He surrounds me with a fortress of protection.’ (Psalm 27 paraphrased)

Jesus connects the Old Testament practice with present reality. He teaches us that WE are the sukkah and HE is our Friend come to share the festive meal with us. Furthermore, Jesus told His followers that after taking His place in Heaven with the Father, His Spirit would take up His abode in our spirit. Our communion with the Almighty is now without constraint of time or space–wherever we go, His Presence surrounds us like a fortress of protection and strength.

The Feast of Tabernacles reminds us of this absolutely amazing reality–the Presence of the Almighty is a sukkah around us, His Spirit is a welcome Friend within us!

Blessings…

The Sage

 

Image courtesy: www.curtisloftinnc.com/

HOME SCHOOL: Why Bother?

Written by Les Dahl on October 7th, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

Enthusiastic Student by stockimages

 

Why is home-school a growing trend gaining momentum every year?

The blood, sweat and tears involved in home-schooling begs the question:

why bother?

It is much easier to just send the kids to public school.

Let the system deal with the bother.

Is all the time, effort and sacrifice really worth it?

 

We home-schooled our four children in Jamaica, where they grew up.

Very few of the amenities and opportunities of first-world countries was available,

yet each of our children more than ‘survived’ their home-school experience;

each has gone on to become a successful adult

contributing positively to their community.

All have very fond memories of their years in Jamaica

and of their adventurous home-school journey.

 

HOME SCHOOL: Why Bother? explores a pro-active approach 

to home-school (and parenting).

As with anything else, a positive attitude puts a different light on everything.

The burden is lighter, the journey is brighter, and the results are more rewarding.

 

Either the Almighty thought Miriam and I had done very well with home-school,

or He thought we needed more practice.

We now home-school two of our grandchildren

who, with their mother, live with us in Jamaica.

Everything proposed in my book is duly ‘child-tested’ on our grandchildren!

 

Request your FREE sampler which includes four chapters and Table of Contents.

ebook-cover

 

 

What’s Ahead in 2014?

Written by Les Dahl on January 1st, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

 

Shalom!

We are on the brink of 2014!  

Who knows what lies ahead?  

 

Personal experience, study of the Bible, & wisdom of sages 

   have taught me. . . 

…my future is a creative partnership between myself and God.   

 

King David testifies of this creative partnership in Psalm 37:23-24.

   “Adonai directs a person’s steps,

            and He delights in his way 

           He may stumble, but he won’t fall headlong,

            for Adonai holds him by the hand.”

                   (Complete Jewish Bible translation)

 

Here’s how it works. . .

 

Adonai (Hebrew for ‘Lord‘) comes alongside us and says,

    ‘I have prepared a special pathway for you in 2014. 

        You may not see what is around the bend–

           take courage, press on, the best is ahead!

 

    ‘On this path you will meet people, encounter circumstances and visit places. 

        Each has a purpose and all fit into my plan for you.  

        Your attitude, your thinking & your emotions will be challenged.

        You will exercise power of choice (‘free will’) as you respond 

           to the people, situations and places along your journey.  

 

     ‘Sometimes you will stumble & fall, make a bad decision, choose the wrong way;

           but never fear, I won’t let you fall–

        I’m right beside you ready to steady you with my strong hand,

           just as a loving father watches his toddler stumble through his first steps,

              ready to catch him as he falls.

 

     ‘And when you do fall on your face. . .

        I am at your side to help you back on your feet again. 

 

      ‘Eventually, with practice, 

        you will walk with steady step, 

        with perfect balance,

           ready to take on bigger challenges that I have prepared for you.    

 

     ‘In the meanwhile, as you begin the road marked 2014, remember this . . . 

        I’m directing your steps–

           I enjoy (‘delight in’) watching you learn to walk–

        I’m right beside you ready to catch you when you stumble or fall. 

 

     You will make it through 2014 and be a better person for having travelled that road!

 

Here’s a prayer to help you on your way . . .

 

     Father, 

     I completely and unconditionally trust You to direct my steps today. 

     I won’t try to figure everything out on my own,

        nor will I assume I know it all;

     instead I will look for Your guiding, helping hand,

        I will listen for Your still, small voice–

           speaking wisdom to my heart.

     I have no fear, 

        because You love me completely and unconditionally

           and You will keep me on track.

     Thank you . . . I love you.

 

Blessings,

The Sage

What’s Ahead in 2014?

Written by Les Dahl on January 1st, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

 

Shalom!

We are on the brink of 2014!  

Who knows what lies ahead?  

 

Personal experience, study of the Bible, & wisdom of sages 

   have taught me. . . 

…my future is a creative partnership between myself and God.   

 

King David testifies of this creative partnership in Psalm 37:23-24.

   “Adonai directs a person’s steps,

            and He delights in his way 

           He may stumble, but he won’t fall headlong,

            for Adonai holds him by the hand.”

                   (Complete Jewish Bible translation)

 

Here’s how it works. . .

 

Adonai (Hebrew for ‘Lord‘) comes alongside us and says,

    ‘I have prepared a special pathway for you in 2014. 

        You may not see what is around the bend–

           take courage, press on, the best is ahead!

 

    ‘On this path you will meet people, encounter circumstances and visit places. 

        Each has a purpose and all fit into my plan for you.  

        Your attitude, your thinking & your emotions will be challenged.

        You will exercise power of choice (‘free will’) as you respond 

           to the people, situations and places along your journey.  

 

     ‘Sometimes you will stumble & fall, make a bad decision, choose the wrong way;

           but never fear, I won’t let you fall–

        I’m right beside you ready to steady you with my strong hand,

           just as a loving father watches his toddler stumble through his first steps,

              ready to catch him as he falls.

 

     ‘And when you do fall on your face. . .

        I am at your side to help you back on your feet again. 

 

       ‘Eventually, with practice, 

        you will walk with steady step, 

        with perfect balance,

           ready to take on bigger challenges that I have prepared for you. 

  

     ‘In the meanwhile, as you begin the road marked 2014, remember this . . . 

        I’m directing your steps–

           I enjoy (‘delight in’) watching you learn to walk–

        I’m right beside you ready to catch you when you stumble or fall. 

 

     You will make it through 2014 and be a better person for having travelled that road!

 

Here’s a prayer to help you on your way . . .

 

     Father, 

     I completely and unconditionally trust You to direct my steps today. 

     I won’t try to figure everything out on my own,

        nor will I assume I know it all;

     instead I will look for Your guiding, helping hand,

        I will listen for Your still, small voice–

           speaking wisdom to my heart.

     I have no fear, 

        because You love me completely and unconditionally

           and You will keep me on track.

     Thank you . . . I love you.

 

Blessings,

Les Dahl

 

Image courtesy of num_skyman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

CHRISTMAS (3) – Butting Heads With Culture

Written by Les Dahl on December 19th, 2013. Posted in Uncategorized

 

The much debated issue of celebrating Christmas or not goes back

    much farther than you might realize . . . 

    back to the 2nd Century.

 

As the ‘good news’ about Jesus spread beyond Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria 

     to ‘the uttermost parts of the earth’, Christianity butted heads with pagan cultures.

 

In a parable, Jesus said the Word is like seed; 

     it needs receptive soil and careful on-going nurturing. 

 

Everywhere they went, 1st Century Christians sowed the Seed, 

     and everywhere new converts readily embraced the Kingdom of God

          —freedom, life, love and hope in Christ.

 

Without centuries of grooming in Torah, 

     the ‘new-breed’ Christians were very different ‘soil’. 

     Deeply embedded pagan culture cluttered the new ‘ground’. 

 

With great patience and faith the Apostles cultivated Kingdom seed 

     while at the same time digging out entangling roots. 

 

They understood that as regeneration is a sovereign work of God’s grace 

          in the heart of a believer, 

     so too is transformation a work of the Holy Spirit 

         from within—breaking down cultural ‘strongholds’ 

         and renewing the mind with the Word.

 

One such cultural stronghold was the Roman celebration of

     Dies Natalis Solis Invicti . . .

     ‘the birthday of the unconquered sun’ . . .  

     December 25th .

 

Some early Christians dissociated themselves completely from these pagan festivities. 

     They staunchly admonished new believers, 

     “Come out from among them and be ye separate . . .”

 

Others boldly challenged the pagan celebration. 

     They cited the prophet Malachi, 

     “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.”

     ‘Jesus is the ‘sun of righteousness‘, the unconquerable light,’ they announced. 

     ‘He delivers us out of darkness into His Kingdom of Light

          Come, celebrate Jesus!

 

Many left their pagan festivities to worship the true Sun of Righteousness.

 

The Kingdom of Darkness does not take passively any threat 

     to the death-grip on its hapless captives. 

 

Two centuries of persecution ensued,

     culminating in The Great Persecution by Emperor Diocletian 

     who destroyed all churches and sacred texts,

     confiscated all liturgical vessels, 

     banned all meetings for worship and executed Christians who refused 

     to participate in pagan sacrifices and customs.

 

The persecution lasted until Constantine became emperor.

 

Judgment is easily cast on Emperor Constantine who ‘legalized’ Christianity 

     and supposedly polluted the Church with paganism. 

 

Was he simply solidifying his power and control over the Roman empire? 

Or was he granting reprieve from ‘the Great Persecution’ of Diocletian?

 

Was the celebration of Christmas on December 25th a compromising move of newly-appointed ‘bishops’ 

under pressure from political leaders and commoners reluctant to give up their saturnalian revelry? 

 

Or was this a concerted effort of Christians to invade pagan customs, 

     redefine the meaning attached, 

     thus creating a platform on which the gospel could be preached 

     in vernacular understood by the ‘unchurched’?

 

John Chrysostom, appointed Archbishop of Constantinople at the time, makes it clear in a sermon, 

     “But they call it the ‘Birthday of the Unconquered’.

      Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord …? 

      Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun,

      He is the Sun of Justice.”

 

Out of early church history emerge two very opposite responses to Christmas which persist even today. 

 

On the one hand are those who shunned Christmas because of its pagan roots. 

On the other hand are those who seized the opportunity to infiltrate pagan culture with Christian focus.

 

Which is right?

 

Neither, in my opinion, is more right than the other

     —nor is either more ‘wrong’ than the other!

 

As the Apostle Paul advises Roman believers regarding similar issues:

 

     ‘One man’s faith permits him to participate, while another man’s faith limits him from participating. 

      Let him who participates not look down on or despise him who abstains, 

           and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who participates; 

           for God has accepted and welcomed each. 

      Let everyone be fully convinced in his own mind. 

      For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God

           and each of us shall give account of himself to God. 

      Let us rather endeavor never to put a stumbling block or obstacle

          or hindrance in the way of a brother.’  

               Romans 14:2-14 (Paraphrased from AMP)

 

Good advice, when it comes to celebrating Christmas or not!

 

Blessings,

Les Dahl

 

 

Image courtesy of Jeff Weese via Wikimedia Commons 

Christmas (2) – How Did It All Start?

Written by Les Dahl on December 14th, 2013. Posted in Uncategorized

 

 

Jesus was miraculously born,

     to a young couple

          in the humble town of Bethlehem.

 

That is a fact of history.

 

Long before the event, prophets foretold His coming.

     Isaiah called Him the ‘Prince of Peace‘ and declared that His 

     Kingdom of justice and righteousness would expand across 

     all boundaries and all time.

 

On the night of His birth, angels heralded the nativity,

     “Good news! The Saviour, who is Christ, the Lord, is born!  

     Rejoice!  Give glory to God in Heaven!  Let peace and good 

          spread among all the people on earth!”

 

The shepherds, with simple child-like exuberance and faith,

     ran to find this gift from Heaven.  They joyously spread the news

     and good cheer to family, friends and neighbors.  Their excitement,

     gratitude and praise could not be constrained.

 

Sometime within the first year after His birth, magi (wise scholars 

     and astrologers) who observed an unusual astronomical phenomenon 

     from their observatory in the region of Persia patiently tracked the 

     moving star from the east to the palace of Herod in Jerusalem.

 

“Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews?” 

     they inquired of Herod, king over Judea. 

“For we have seen His star in the east at its rising and have come 

     to worship Him.”

 

Validated by Micah’s prophecy, the wise men followed their celestial guide 

     until its royal beam identified the place where Jesus was. 

These men of great renown, power and influence bowed before the Child 

     to acknowledge the Sovereign Potentate of cosmic significance—

    Jesus, the Eternal King of the Universe!

 

It is claimed that not much attention is given in the Bible to the birth of Jesus.

 

Isn’t it interesting (and significant), however, that the Holy Spirit inspired two 

     of the four Gospel writers to record the details celebrating Jesus’ birth!

 

They recount the pensive meditation of Mary as she ponders the drama, 

     the emotion and the awesome significance of the One whom the Angel called 

          the Son of the Most High God.

 

They include the wild excitement of the shepherds dancing and shouting the news

     with unrestrained joy.

 

Can you even imagine the thunderous blast of sound and piercing brilliance of light 

     that split the night skies as angels celebrated the unfathomable gift of love 

     from the Sovereign King of the Universe to His special creatures

     whom He loved so dearly?

 

And the stately homage of the magi, kings in their own right.

     Hear them as they present their gifts:

          ‘Gold, for the King of all kings;

           frankincense, for the Priest of all priests;

           myrrh, for the greatest of all sacrifices.’

 

That is Christmas!  The first Christmas!

 

Did it happen on December 25th?

All the evidence says it did not.

 

But if we celebrate Christmas today as it was at the first . . .

 

     if we open our hearts to the King of kings born in lowly Bethlehem,

          as Joseph and Mary did,

     and embrace the Kingdom of Heaven that was ushered in that night,

          as the wise men did when they bowed to worship in His Presence . . .

 

we join that great throng 

 

     “people who sat in darkness have seen a great Light, 

     and those who sat in the land and shadow of death

     Light has dawned.”

 

If we celebrate Christmas today as it was at the first . . .

     the Light within us pushes back the darkness,

     making room for ‘peace on earth, good will to all men!”

 

Something to ponder . . .    

 

Blessings, 

Les Dahl