8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 1 **
As we lit the first night of Chanukah, I thought how much life in America has changed since this time last year. Over the last twelve months, we have seen Christians and Jews attacked, tortured and beheaded by I-SIS over and over again. Just this past week, we had another terrorist attack in our country. (**Please note that this post was written in 2015, and is being re-posted.)
Each year at Chanukah, we remember how the Maccabees stood up against an ungodly tyrant and turned people back to ADONAI. They refused to comply with the demands of Antiochus Epiphanes to worship the pagan gods of Greece.
Mattathias shouted, "My family and I will always keep the promises our ancestors made to G-d. We will never give up our faith or disobey even one of G-d's laws. We will not obey Antiochus!" (1 Maccabees 2:19-20)
The bravery of the Maccabee family inspired others to fight, and victory was eventually won. Jerusalem and the temple were once again consecrated to ADONAI.
GIFT #1 OF CHANUKAH - REMEMBRANCE
Like Israel in the days of the Maccabees, America has become more and more pagan. We've seen a Christian woman put in jail because she refused to marry a homosexual couple. Pastors are being persecuted for preaching the truth of the Bible. Abortionists (murderers) are held up as good people, while those who speak out against the murders are called haters.
We have reached the days of strong delusion. We live in the time of "what's right is wrong, and what's wrong is right." We will soon have to choose whether we will obey G-d or man.
Therefore, let's use the first gift of Chanukah. Let's REMEMBER the story of the Maccabees. Let's REMEMBER their courage and strength. Let's REMEMBER their faith and follow their example of obedience to ADONAI.
These are dangerous times, but we must not give in to fear. I pray for myself, my family, and for all believers, to stand strong on the side of ADONAI and to continue to obey HIM. He is our SHIELD, and our EVER-PRESENT HELP IN TIME OF TROUBLE.
Psalm 91 is my go-to Psalm in times like these. I held on to those words while going through four hurricanes in the summer of 2004. I cling to them now, as I REMEMBER ADONAI'S protection.
** This writing is part of the series 8 Gifts of Hanukkah, and is being re-posted.
You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year: 8 Days of Chanukah
and see how we celebrate the birth of Yeshua combined with Chanukah: Christmas Unplugged