All posts filed under: Teaching

Why did it take five centuries for the cross to be embraced as a symbol of Christianity?

You may have seen the images circulating of how Notre Dame’s alter and cross survived the devastating fire that destroyed much of the church on Monday, April 15, 2019. Though this cross is making history, it is interesting to note that the cross was not fully embraced as a symbol of Christianity until around the fifth century. In his article, Jesus and the Cross, historian Steven Shisley states that the first sign that the cross had finally gained public acceptance as a symbol of Christianity was in its appearance on the doors of the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome in the fifth century. Until then, the cross had for the most part been down played and the reason for this Shisley claims is because of societal views on the cross. For the Romans, that cross was associated with the deaths of criminals and slaves, the despised of society. They used the cross as a form of execution because it was particularly brutal and painful. And it was also favored because it often took days …

Ultrasound of dangerous Mo-Mo pregnancy reveals two sisters fighting in the womb

A video out of China has caught the attention of millions of people worldwide. According to an article in the Daily Mail, Mr. Tao, 28, provided a video that showed his identical daughters fighting with each other in the womb. The couple, from the city of Yinchuam, were at the doctor’s office for the wife’s prenatal check and Mr. Tao took a video of the ultrasound that showed the two babies in their fourth month seemingly kicking and hitting each other. When Tao uploaded the footage it went viral and within days had 2.5 million likes. The two identical girls had a very rare and dangerous pregnancy. They were sharing the same placenta and amniotic sack. In these type of births, referred to as Monoamniotic-Monochorionic or more commonly Mo-Mo pregnancy, there is a 50% chance one of the babies will die after 26 weeks because of the increased risk their umbilical cords will become entangled causing the mother’s blood supply to be cut off for at least one of the babies. In this instance both …

Three Crosses

On Easter we focus on Jesus and the cross. This is awesome and good. However there were three crosses that Good Friday. The middle cross has Jesus on it and you can’t do what he did on that cross. No one can. But the one on the right and the one of the left each one had a thief hanging on it. The Bible doesn’t say much more about them. If you were there, you’d just think three men were being executed. The reality is much different. Jesus was paying the price for us all. He chose to hang there and to die out of love. He became the sacrifice so we could be set free from the consequences of our sins. So this wasn’t just a bad guy dying. This was the only person who never sinned dying so everybody who did sin could live! The two thieves represent us. It’s hard to believe our lives can be summed up by two thieves I know but hear me out. The guy on the left …

Is Che Guevara Like Jesus?

When I was in high school, some of my fellow students were radical leftists, or at least they tried to be. We always knew them because they wore army surplus clothes, and raised their fists and shouted words like “Che, Che, Che!” They were referring to Che Guevara, the communist revolutionary who fought in Cuba, as a comrade of Fidel Castro. Che was a doctor, born in Argentina, who joined the communist guerrillas in Cuba, led by Fidel Castro. After the successful Communist take-over in Cuba, he travelled to several countries to promote Communist revolutions. It all ended when he went to Bolivia and formed a guerrilla force to overthrow the government there. The Bolivians did not support him, including the Bolivian Communist Party, and he was betrayed, and then captured and killed by the Bolivian army. RELATED: Che Guevara: Wikipedia The face of Che Guevara as a popular icon, almost a religious symbol, is still popular on t-shirts and posters, and tattoos. It was the great symbol of youthful rebellion among my friends. Recently, …

Church in Germany Credit: Bernard Blanc/Flickr/Creative Commons

Bad News for Organized Religion

Where I live, we are a few days away from an election. A few night’s ago, we had a leader’s debate, with all the usual personal attacks and petty bickering. The reaction today is that no-one won the debate, and the voters haven’t changed their minds about how they will vote. It was all a required exercise before the vote, with no results. In all the arguments, there is a story about someone who preached a sermon at a Baptist church. I wasn’t there for the sermon, but apparently he talked about sexuality and morals, and he described some similarities between homosexuals, and pedophiles who molest children. I don’t know what he said, but someone found a record of the sermon, and noted that the preacher is a candidate in the election. That has produced angry demands to fire the candidate, and he has apologized. The debate last night included angry words about “homophobia” but I predict that preacher will win his local election by a landslide. People in his small-town region don’t have a …

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The stones are crying out

One my favorite stories in the Gospels involves what would be Jesus last trip to Jerusalem. A week later, the Romans would crucify Christ. Many churches celebrate Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as Palm Sunday. In preparation for the trip, the Lord sent His disciples to Bethany to look for a donkey colt telling the owner that the Lord had need of it. As Jesus slowly rode into Jerusalem, people began throwing their cloaks on the road before Him while others threw down palm branches. This was an act reserved for royalty as we see happening when Jehu was declared King and people put their garments on the ground as he walked down the steps (2 Kings 9:13). Then people began shouting “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38 NASV). The pharisees in the crowd understood what was happening and became very upset by what they were witnessing. They yelled out for Jesus to rebuke His disciples. But Christ answered them: “I tell you, if these become silent, …

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Make Yourself Healthy With the Bible

Have you heard of LKM? Me neither, until today. The letters mean “Loving Kindness Meditation” and it’s one of the newest health fads. Apparently it’s right up there with KETO diets and Yoga and fruit smoothies. Who knew? Apparently, this meditation helps with migraines, depression, and possibly aging. LKM is even recommended by the Mayo Clinic: RELATED: Mayo mindfulness: Can sharing kindness help your health? Kindness, or some expression of God’s love, is highly recommended in the Bible. Really, I don’t think it’s recommended; kindness is required. There is no other lifestyle for a Christian. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) These words are instructions, not one more fad to think about. So does that mean the Bible had LKM first? Can the Bible make us healthy? Yes. And this is important for the Christians I know; kindness is an action, not a feeling. Kindness is not warm and fuzzy, and sentimental. You can be kind when you are not in the mood. The …

Sundial in Glasgow, Scotland Credit: AskMeAboutLoom/Flickr/Creative Commons

Was Jesus referring to another time dimension?

I am not going to pretend for a moment I understand this, but researchers from the US and Russia claim they have reversed time. No this did not involve Back to the Future’s DMC DeLorean time machine, it was part of an experiment involving the bizarre world of quantum physics. We live in a linear world. We all chug down the same path getting older. We can’t stop that process. We can’t reverse time and get younger. But it seems that the rules that govern our world don’t apply in the world of Quantum physics involving the bizarre subatomic world inside atoms. Their experiments, published in Scientific Reports, involved “wave” study. Basically subatomic particles travel out like waves do on water when you toss in a rock. The more time that passes, the further away the waves are from their original starting point. This same rules apply to particles. However, in their experiment the group was able to reverse this process, and have the particle appear at its starting point instead of where it should …

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Narcissism and Religion: PODCAST

  Group narcissism can happen in religion; most of us are guilty. Imagine a peaceful and quiet nursery for mothers with new babies. Everyone is resting, and happy, with excellent medical care and a regular feeding schedule. Suddenly, the door bursts open and the room is filled with many, very tall, alien creatures. They take the babies from their mothers and squeeze and rub the babies, and disrupt all the peace and order in the nursery, including feeding schedules, and possibly they transmit infectious diseases from outside. Then they give the babies to the wrong mothers and leave. Imagine the crying babies and the hysterical mothers, and imagine if some of the babies died. That horror story happened recently, in England. Really. If you missed the news story, I left some details out. The nursery was a pig farrowing barn and the mothers were sows, the tall aliens were about one hundred animal-rights activists who invaded to cuddle and pet the piglets, to comfort them. And yes, some of the piglets died. RELATED: Vegans accused …

Jesus wants to heal the broken hearted Credit: Diego Sevilla Ruiz/Flickr/Creative Commons

Healing your broken heart

In an interview with Psychology Today, a secular therapist based in New York City suggests that struggles we are having with cow0rkers may be a result of unresolved issues with our family. Maria Baratta said that certain actions of coworkers may be subconsciously reminding you of the behavior of family members and triggering your negative reaction. According to Baratta the key to dealing with this is to recognize what is happening as this is the first step of dealing with your negative reactions. However, Jesus went one step further. One day, Peter asked Christ how many times does a person need to forgive his brother and sister, and threw out a number of seven times? This suggests some family issue had popped up or at the very least a memory of an earlier incident. I suspect Peter thought he was being magnanimous when he suggested seven times (Matthew 18:21), because the Jewish rabbis taught that a person didn’t need to forgive more than three times and often cited Amos 1:3-13 as the basis for this …

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Toddler says bear protected him while he was lost in the wilderness

On Tuesday, January 22, 2019, the family of Casey Hathaway reported the three-year-old boy as missing. Casey had wandered away from their North Carolina home into the woods surrounding the home. By the time search teams had organized that evening, the temperature was already below freezing. For two days they searched for the boys with volunteer and professional search teams. By Thursday the weather had become so bad that they stopped the volunteers from searching and continued on with just the professionals. The area is described as “treacherous” covered in sinkholes and flooded areas. Incredibly, that night they found Casey about a half a mile inside the woods after a woman walking her dog heard him calling for help. The sheriffs had to wade through waist deep water to recuse Casey and though cold, hungry and scratched up, he was safe. Then Casey told them a story about what happened. He said that bear looked after him while he was lost. Casey’s aunt posted on Facebook: “He said he hung out with a bear for …

Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland Credit: SebaSimon/Flickr/Creative Commons

What if God won’t help us?

Español: ¿Y si Dios no nos ayudará? I have some friends who are struggling with problems in their lives. Where I live, the economy is weak and people are losing their jobs, and a good friend is losing a business. The process of closing the doors and trying to pay debts is painful to watch. I am a Christian, and I pray for my friends, but the problems are still with us. Is God ignoring us? Is there a reason why we can’t have a miracle? In the Jewish religion there is a debate called “Holocaust Theology.” After millions of innocent people were killed, in terrible places like Auschwitz, religious Jews started asking ‘Where was God?” They want to know why God did not stop the atrocities against his chosen people. RELATED: How could God have allowed the Holocaust?: Huffington Post I don’t want to be a comfortable Christian, telling those people now, what they should have done differently many years ago. No one wants an armchair quarterback, but we can all relate to the …

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But I Don’t Like You

So who do you not like? You could answer with a name. I could do the same in my life. If we want to use the word ‘fault’ it probably is their fault, and maybe they started it, that’s even better. Have you noticed how easy it is to dislike, and maybe hate people these days? Internet media gives us pictures and videos of people who need correction, and it’s always their fault, and they started it. We can correct the whole world, and feel good about ourselves. There is a popular video game called “Hatred” where we can act this out in virtual reality, and not liking other people is the basic plot of most movies these days. We can pay money in a theatre to watch the ballet of pay-back. In October of 2018, some protesters with different ideas collided in the same space. It’s not hard to see the dislike: If you watch the video, you will soon start to dislike someone, and it really is their fault, and you didn’t start …

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Hate the Wait?

Who here loves waiting? Okay I know there is really nobody in the room with me except Spot, my lovely Italian Greyhound. And yes, if it means he can sleep on the couch, then he loves waiting. I am a weird guy and I don’t mind waiting sometimes. But only if there are people more interesting than me in the waiting room. The other day I was in a doctor’s office with my granddaughter. There were only two moms and two kids in there so when we sat down I wasn’t feeling particularly optimistic about being entertained. But I was saved from the boredom of cats playing piano by a young toddler named George. I might have changed his name to protect his mom, so if you were in a waiting room with a toddler named George and if George is your son, this isn’t about you. Honest! So my granddaughter and I are deciding where to sit in and we decided on a couple of corner seats. Little George was playing with some toys. …

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The Lying Truth

I love to tell stories Sometimes it’s hard to tell if what I am saying is actually true. When I worked in a clinic for a few years as a counselor, my co-workers would phone my wife to ask if what I was saying was true. Kind of weird since how did they know she was not lying to them? I guess you could say that some of my stories were deceitful. I disguised them as the truth until the very end when I admitted I made the whole thing up. One time my son and his girlfriend, Judith, were camping. I suppose he was bored because he asked us to join them around the campfire. Now I have a reputation as a bit of a story-teller so when we get there, I sit at the campfire and start making up a story. I can make up a story at any time about anything. On this particular night I started rambling on about nothing in general until it formed itself into a story. Although I …

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You Need A Business Failure In The New Year?

Some of us own businesses. I own a small business, very small. It exists mostly so I can get paid with invoices. There is no gleaming office tower. A few days ago I talked to a good friend who also owns a business. Well, he did own a business, until the Credit Union called in a loan. They seized his inventory, worth much more than what he owed, and auctioned it for about two hundred dollars. Now they might force the sale of his house. I met my friend for a coffee break, and when I located him, he was at a site working with another man. The other man was friendly, but really wanted to know who I was. I learned later that he owned a successful business, and he needed to upgrade some equipment. He went to a lender that specialized in business loans, and they looked at his books carefully. Their conclusion was that they would only give him a line-of-credit for ten times what he asked for. They saw great potential …

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What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol?

Several decades ago, I was part of a church that took a strong stand against drinking alcohol, but it wasn’t just alcohol, it also had an opinion on several other things like long hair on men. The list of unwritten rules and regulations was quite extensive. Looking back now I realize the church was caught up in a religious spirit which I define as making up rules for Christian living that are not required by Scripture. The church leaders were essentially adding man-made rules to Christianity. In fact, one of the respected teachers that the church connected with wrote a book trying to prove that when the Bible talked about wine, it was speaking of non-fermented grape juice. Yes, he believed when Jesus turned water into wine at the Cana wedding, the headwaiter was shocked that the bridegroom had reserved the “best grape juice” for last (John 2:1-11). Though the Bible condemns becoming drunk, it does not forbid drinking wine. In fact, the exhortation forbidding drunkenness proves that the wine people were drinking was alcoholic. …

Great White Pelicans: Credit: Costel Slincu/Flickr/Creative Commons

Inner healing: My story of three pelicans

In my previous article, I wrote how Jesus wants to bring healing to our inner hurts and when the Lord does this He often takes us back to the point when we were first hurt. Jesus did this for Peter through a charcoal fire and the Lord did it for me through three pelicans. In the summer of 2018 I was at a church senior camp, enjoying all the fun a “senior” can get away with – kayaking, swimming, climbing a climbing wall and practicing karate, as well as tormenting people with a water gun! In the midst of this, I had no idea what God had in mind to complete my healing. Although I had experienced significant healing in the 90’s, there was more to be done. One day at camp the movie “I Can Only Imagine” was going to be shown. It’s a fantastic must-see movie about the life of Bart Miller and what led to his writing the song. I had not seen it yet, so was looking forward to spending the …

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Inner healing: Peter’s ‘charcoal fire’

Have you ever had a sports injury that put a stop to your active life? Sometimes once the medical treatments have been done and we have a clean bill of health to continue our sport, the fear of not really being healed or of re-injury can cause us to freeze in our tracks. It started with a real physical injury, but the real problem has become an inner one, a fear of moving forward, an “infirmity.” We can look healthy on the outside, but inside be broken with fear, doubts, anger, insecurities, etc. The gospels use similar phrases to describe how Jesus ministered in different communities, phrases like, “healed the sick,” “forgave sins,” “cast out demons,” “preached the good news,” and “healed people of their infirmities.” Most Christians can easily define the first four phrases, but many are not sure exactly what an infirmity is. Matthew 8:17 says, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Other references to infirmities can …

Las Vegas Credit: Mr. Jason Hayes/Flickr/Creative Commons

Vegas and Hollywood: the truth

On the evening of October 1, 2017, a man named Stephen Paddock used a gun to kill and injure spectators at a country music concert in Las Vegas. You probably know something about the story, but have you noticed all the comments and conspiracy theories that have spun off from the incident; the story about the story? It’s interesting because Mr Paddock is such a mystery. We don’t know why he shot those people except that he made a decision. His background story gives us no clues, so we are free to make our own judgments. That’s useful for some people. RELATED: Las Vegas Shooting: Wikipedia A few days later, on October 5, the New York Times published an article about Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in the Hollywood movie industry. He has been accused of gross misconduct with young women who were trying to make careers in movies and television. At this time, it is fair to say the accusations have been denied, and any accusations are only alleged; but that …

Brussels, Belgium Credit: Francisco Antunes/Flickr/Creative Commons

God Bless You

Do you feel better now? I hear people getting blessed all the time, when they sneeze. In ancient times, people worried that the soul would come out with the sneeze, where the devil might steal it. A blessing would put it back safely. But really, what is the point of a blessing? Is there something we should know here? I learned some lessons about blessing yesterday. Lesson 1) I already know that words spoken into the air have no power, unless God does a miracle. OK, not ‘no power’; I might feel better about myself if I hear myself saying the words, but the other guy only gets words. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2: 16) Lesson 2) Blessings are common in the Bible, so they must be a good idea. In ancient Israel, the priests were told to say these …

Church in Hishult, Sweden Credit: Jacob Surland/Flickr/Creative Commons

Where Is the Love?

Cue Black Eyed Peas I always seem to get a giddy feeling when I see competitive sports with good sportsmanship. Something about the opposing team helping their opposition up off the ground, giving acknowledgement when someone makes a good play against you, or giving a high-five after a solid punch to the face. Granted, it’s not a very common occurrence, but I absolutely love to see that type of comradery from the opposition. But then, the question begs to be asked: Why do we lack this type of behavior in the church? I don’t mean to say that it doesn’t exist, but nearly every church has seen some kind of separation through its years. I haven’t seen anything extreme, but I’ve heard of people getting worked up enough over the music or seating arrangement that they feel the need to find a new home for Sunday morning. A couple of years ago, I did see some division in my home church. While I won’t get into the specifics of what went on, one of the …

Festival of the Assumption of Mary being held at a Roman Catholic church in Sicily. Credit: effems/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Why did Mary become so prominent in the Roman Catholic Church?

Español: ¿Por qué María se hizo tan prominente en la Iglesia Católica Romana? Several years ago, my wife and I adopted our daughter from a Roman Catholic orphanage in Peru. Part of the process included being in the country for several weeks as we worked through the adoption. We ended up staying at the orphanage where our daughter was living. It was a well-run orphanage and clearly the men and women working there were dedicated to helping these children. My wife and I became friends with a young Peruvian couple working at the orphanage who could speak English. Though committed Catholics, they were also actively involved in the Roman Catholic charismatic movement that held services every Saturday night at the local cathedral, where they emphasized the filling of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. I remember one evening, my wife and I went to their home for supper and we began talking about doctrine which invariably led to a discussion of Mary. The husband who helped lead the Charismatic group defended the Catholic church’s theological …

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Show Me The Easy Money

I once met a couple who won a lottery. They were ordinary people in a small town, and no-one would call them especially good-looking or interesting, they were just the neighbors. Before they won, they worked at jobs, and the cost of living was low in the small town. I think they had children and I’m sure their bills were all paid. After they won, they invested their winnings in expensive horses. They did not invest in each other, but they had to travel to the bank together to take out money, so they still had a relationship. I don’t know how anyone can make money on horses, and by now the money is probably gone. My best advice is, ‘Go back to work, that’s where you were successful.’ A woman in Canada won the lottery, one thousand dollars a week, for life. And guess how she is spending her money? She is not into investments, expensive jewellery, or sports cars. I made that up, but she is not doing what we expect. She decided …

Resistencia, Argentina Credit: Valerio, Pillar/Flickr/Creative Commons

2003 – The Third Heavenly Visitation

Español: 2003 – La Tercera Visita Celestial After having met the angel Preacher in the First Visitation and Conquer in the Second Visitation my expectation was that the Third Visitation would be similar. It was not. It was greater in power and I encountered an angel, or someone of a higher order that changed my destiny. About two weeks after Conquer had visited I was awakened in the night with a power in my room so great that I was immediately startled and started to rebuke this being “In Jesus na……”. I was going to command this one to get out of my room. Mid-sentence I shut my mouth, put my head under the covers and said “I’m sorry, what do you want?” I do not know if this was the Lord or the Angel of the Lord but the immediate response was “I WANT MY ARGENTINIAN REVIVAL TO MOVE NORTH!” I try in situations like this to get out at least one intelligent question and so I said “Why?” The answer was “They have …

Wealth comes to China Credit: Jimmie/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have You Fallen From Your Car?

Recently, a young man in Russia posed for a picture, with him sprawled on the ground. His feet were near the bottom step of a very expensive private jet. This was a joke, pretending to be richer than Solomon, and owning a fabulous private jet. Most of the world would never know about this small joke, except that it went viral and became a meme, in China. Now, China has a fad of ‘falling out of your car.’ Typically, a young woman, in expensive clothes will pose for a picture, sprawled on her face. Around her head will be an arch of expensive things that only rich people have, like high-end phones, make-up, jewellery, and wads of cash. Her feet will be near the open door of a very expensive car, as if she fell while getting out. All the hardware and clothes show that she lives the life of a fabulous movie star. RELATED: China’s ‘flaunt your wealth’ challenge goes viral with people falling out of cars with luxury goods I predict this meme …

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Heavenly Visitations 1 and 2

Español: Visitaciones celestiales 1 y 2 Dr. Sam Matthews, from Shawnee, Oklahoma serves International Christian Leadership Connections (ICLC) as a member of the Apostolic Company. As I mentioned in my previous article, Dr. Sam had spoken this RHEMA word over me, “If you speak in tongues for three hours a day for 30 days you will have three Heavenly Visitations and you will birth your destiny.” I completed the obedience and spoke in tongues for three consecutive hours a day for 30 days and then I waited. I didn’t know what would happen. What is the proper protocol to receive a Heavenly Visitation and what should the responses be? Early in my Christian life I was taught that if a spirit appears to you, you should demand that it says “Jesus is the Lord.” This stems from I Corinthians 12:3 that reads: “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed:’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.’” I had also …

Peter walking on water by Amedee Varin (1818-1883)/Wikipedia

Hello My Name is Peter

Español: Hola mi nombre es Pedro I am six weeks short of age 65. I have never written anything about my experiences. I met Jesus 48 years ago. When I was very young my rather fiery, English war bride Mother would have regular outbursts. All that it took was for one of my friends to call me Pete. She wore hearing aids and there were many different things she didn’t hear, but, she always seemed to hear when I was called Pete. Mother would yell from wherever she was and say “Do not call him that! I named him Peter!!” I always found it odd and a little embarrassing. I was born again when I was 17. I started reading the Bible and I went to my Mother and asked her “Why do you get so upset when people call me Pete?” She explained, from a very deep place inside of her, that I was named Peter, after the Peter in the Bible. It didn’t matter how old I got, teenager, adult, father of my …

Priscilla Shirer: YouTube capture

Don’t be out of step with the Gospel in terms of race

I was recently struck by the words of Priscilla Shirer, 44. She is a black woman, a motivational speaker, TV host, author, preacher and founder of Going Beyond Ministries. Priscilla recently had her first acting role in the Christian movie War Room playing Elizabeth, the wife of Tony Jordan. Chuck Bernal, the pastor of Lifepoint Church, recently shared a video on Facebook of some profound statements Priscilla made about race, politics and the Christian faith. On the video that has been viewed nearly 7.5 million times, Priscilla said: “I do not describe myself as a black woman because that gives too much power to my blackness. “I don’t want my race to be the describing adjective of who I am as a woman. I am not a black woman. I am a Christian woman who happens to be black. “It’s the job of your adjective to describe the noun of who you are. If there’s gonna be an adjective describing me it’s not gonna be my race, it’s going to be I’m a woman who …

Fire near Santee, CA during the 1980s. Credit: Rick Bolin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apocalypse 5: The Final Occupation

This is about the end of the book that is at the end of the Bible. It’s the last installment in a series of articles on the book of Revelation, at the end of the Bible. Revelation is a future description of the end of this age in history. Christians are supposed to read this book, but too many of us are satisfied with a few pictures like 666 (chapter 13 and verse 18) and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (chapter 6), and Armageddon, the great final battle (chapter 16 and verse 16). The pictures are interesting, but we are told to read the whole book: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (1:3) We are supposed to make sense of this book, and to understand where we are in history. So, think about something that makes you angry, or someone who has that effect. Now calm down …

A tapestry of David playing a harp by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) Credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Why I don’t believe Nitzevet was King David’s mother

Español: ¿Por qué no creo que Nitzevet fuera la madre del rey David? My article, King David’s big dark secret, is easily the most controversial article that I have written on opentheword.org. Including my responses, there have been well over 70 comments (English and Spanish) with many disagreeing with the article. It all revolves around a statement, David made in the Psalms: “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5 NASV) The main point of the article is that I suggest when King David said that he was conceived in sin we are to interpret the verse literally. This means David was conceived in an act of sin by  his mother who is unnamed. No where in the Old Testament is David’s mother named. This is curious considering that the mothers of many of the great Biblical characters are named such as Joseph (Genesis 35:24) and Moses (Exodus 6:20). Now many Christians have interpreted this verse as simply suggesting that David was saying we are all born …

Joseph interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh by Adrien Guignet (1816-1854): Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Does forgiving forget?

I remember years ago, I was selling advertising for a small newspaper. I was walking down the street to a particular business, when a memory of something that had happened years earlier flooded my mind. It was video replay of the incident. Something I saw or heard on that street triggered that memory.  I had about four or five memories that routinely plagued me. I would do something and suddenly there would a flashback of something negative that happened to me years earlier. There were about four or five memories that continually plagued me. But this time I did something different. As I walked down the street I asked God why I was having these memory flashbacks and I felt the Holy Spirit say to me it was happening because I hadn’t forgiven the people involved in the incident. I had thousands of things happen to me as I was growing up and I would not be able to remember them if you paid me, but there were about four or five memories that I …

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations

Over the years my friend Linda and I have walked and prayed around and through the park that is planted in the center of our city. Yesterday, we sat and prayed at one of our favorite spots. The leaves were just starting to turn color and fall to the ground. And we were drawn to the passage in the Book of Revelation: 2 … On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2 NIV) We contemplated the meaning of this verse as we have many times over the years. And like many scholars have noted, the interpretation can be unclear concerning this day and age. Many times this scripture would surface as we prayed for our nation. With the leaves falling all around, we began to pray once again that the leaves of the tree (Christ the tree of life) and we His people (the leaves) would receive …

The brothers show their father Jacob the blood soaked clothes of his favourite son Joseph saying he had been killed by a wild animal. Credit: Domenico Fiasella (1589-1669)/Wikipedia

Is an unbroken pattern a sign of unforgiveness?

Several years back while teaching a Bible School class, I told the students that many young people rashly state that they will not be like their parents. The spontaneous laughter that erupted was evidence that many — if they hadn’t already said it — were thinking it. The class took a more sober turn when I added that often people who make these statements are doomed to repeat the error of their parents. It’s not that this phrase has some magical properties that force the errors of one generation onto the next, rather, it is a principle of God’s word. In Mathew 7:1-5, Jesus condemns judging saying that if we see a sliver in our brother’s eye, it indicates there is a log in ours. Jesus calls anyone who judges a hypocrite because they suffer from exactly the same problem. When we judge our parents, it is a subtle indicator that we have exactly the same issues. But judging can also speak of unresolved issues between a child and parent. More importantly, it may also …

Storm near Garden City, Kansas, US Credit: Dave Sills/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apocalypse 1: The Boring Part

Is it possible for people call themselves Christians to fail? Can we be wrong? That’s not a serious question, and the answer is yes. The famous Pentecostal television preacher Jim Bakker went to prison. RELATED: Jim Bakker And the Roman Catholic Church is trying to recover from the scandal of sex abuse by priests. RELATED: Child sexual abuse and the Catholic Church: What you need to know Sometimes we fail, and our failure has two sides; if we do something wrong, we are prevented from doing good things. Damage control to recover from our failures doesn’t leave room for all the good that we should be doing in this world. I think that is a good starting point to understand the Apocalypse. Everyone should read the book of Revelation. In the Christian Bible, it’s the last book, and one that we often talk about. What we seldom do is read the whole book. For me, that is the best starting point to understand the last book in the Bible. “Revelation” gives us images like the …