Sunday, May 7, 2017

Is It Okay to Wear a Cross? A Little Child’s Prayers Matters to God. Update.


For “Scripture Sunday”:

Is It Okay to Wear a Cross? Why or Why Not?

“Why don’t we use the image of a cross—symbolizing the crucifixion of Christ—as a symbol of our faith? Should you use a cross as the symbol of yours?

Is It Okay to Wear a Cross? Why or Why Not?

The symbol of the cross is used around the world to represent Jesus Christ and Christianity. Yet, if you visit a congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association (which sponsors this website), and meet our members, you may notice that they are not wearing or displaying the cross to demonstrate their faith. You may also notice that the cross is not displayed on our website or any of our publications—even though we are Christians. We believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ and recognize Him as our Lord, Savior and the Head of our Church (Colossians 1:18).

So why don’t we use the image of the cross—typically symbolizing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—as a symbol of our faith? Should you use the cross as the symbol of your faith?

The Bible and history help provide answers to this question.

The cross predates Christianity

A study of ancient history reveals that the cross was used as a religious symbol long before the first century A.D.—when Jesus Christ walked the earth, was crucified and resurrected. The Bible does not record the use of the cross as a physical religious symbol in either the Old or New Testaments. But historical records of other civilizations do make record of the cross as a symbol.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, records: “From its simplicity of form, the cross has been used both as a religious symbol and as an ornament, from the dawn of man’s civilization. Various objects, dating from periods long anterior [preceding] to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world” (Vol. 7, p. 506).

George Willard Benson, in his book The Cross: Its History and Symbolism, writes: “Centuries before the Christian era ancient crosses were in use as pagan emblems. They have been found carved in stone dating back to remote ages” (p. 16).

It is a historical fact that the cross has been used as a symbol of pagan religions going back to antiquity. Further study reveals that the cross can be found in the ancient religions of Babylon, India, Syria, Egypt, Rome and other ancient pagan cultures.

The Bible is clear that God forbids the practice of syncretism—mixing elements of pagan beliefs and practice with the worship of the true God.

Deuteronomy 12:29-32 plainly states that worshippers of the true God are to be extremely careful not to try to worship and honor God in the way that pagan nations worshipped and honored their gods. It is very clear, based on history, that the cross was used to represent and worship the false gods of many cultures and religions.

Cross adopted after the Bible

The cross as a physical symbol is also absent from the writings of the New Testament. The Bible does not say anything about the apostles or early Christians representing their faith by displaying crosses. History records that the cross wasn’t adopted as the institutional symbol of Christianity until about 300 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Encyclopaedia Britannica records: “It was not until the time of Constantine that the cross was publicly used as the symbol of the Christian religion. … Under Constantine it became the acknowledged symbol of Christianity” (11th edition, Vol. 7, p. 506). Constantine the Great ruled the Roman Empire more than 250 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Not necessarily a cross

Many are surprised to learn that the Bible does not actually specify that Jesus was crucified on a cross. Though the word “cross” is used in most English translations of the New Testament, it is important to remember that the New Testament was originally written in the Greek language.

The word commonly translated “cross” in English is the Greek word stauros. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, the word stauros means “an upright pale or stake.” This classic reference on biblical words also states: “Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of the two beamed cross” (p. 248). Theologian E.W. Bullinger also noted this distinction in Appendix 162 of The Companion Bible: “Our English word ‘cross’ is the translation of the Latin crux (kruks); but the Greek stauros no more means a crux than the word ‘stick’ means a ‘crutch.’”

Even though it’s probable that Christ was crucified on a single piece of wood without a cross beam, we can’t be absolutely certain what the shape of the device was. Romans used crucifixion devices of all shapes—sometimes they were upright stakes, sometimes they had crossbeams and sometimes they merely crucified criminals on trees. The shape of the stauros is not important. What is important is the meaning and significance of Christ’s death to pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind (1 Peter 2:24).

Worship in spirit and truth

The Bible forbids the use of physical icons to worship and represent the true God. The Second Commandment plainly states: “You shall not make for yourself any carved image” (Exodus 20:4). God did not intend for His people to use physical icons, pictures or images to represent Him. Jesus Christ teaches us that, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

Based on the above reasons, members of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, do not use the physical image of a cross as an object of worship or as a symbol of our faith. We believe that we are to worship God “in spirit and truth”—focusing on the spiritual truths of His Word and not trying to represent Him through the use of any physical objects. We focus on the magnitude of the incredible truth behind the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—that because of Christ’s suffering and death we can be forgiven of our sins and be reconciled to God (Romans 5:8-11).”  From:


A Little Child’s Prayers Matters to God 

“God wants a relationship with your child, so teach them to pray.

A young girl looking up.

Teach your children to pray, because they matter to God!

I recently bought a doll for my little granddaughter, Stella Rose. Someone made the comment that it reminded them of the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. That comment brought back some awesome memories.

Years ago, when my daughter Michelle was 4 years old, Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were so popular. All of her friends had one, but we could not afford to buy her one. They were $45 at the time, and we could barely put food on the table, so we certainly did not have that kind of money to buy a doll. I told my daughter to pray about it, and she did.

The very next weekend, my daughter had not one but two Cabbage Patch Kids dolls given to her! One doll was given to her at church by her friend’s mom, and the next day she received one from her grandmother; both brand new and different from each other. Now, 36 years later, my daughter still has those dolls. Those dolls symbolize how much God cared about her and her sweet little request when she was a child. I consider those dolls a gift from God.

God values our children so greatly that He demonstrated it: “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me’ ” (Matthew 18:1-5, New International Version throughout).

When people brought little children to Jesus for him to place His hands on them and pray for them, His disciples rebuked them and sent them away. But Jesus corrected them: “ ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there” (Matthew 19:13-14).

He went on to command His disciples: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). God wants a relationship with your child, so teach them to pray.

Here are just a few examples of how to teach them:

1. Start with giving them examples in the Bible of how valuable they are to God.

2. Tell them to talk to God just like they do to mommy and daddy.

3. Teach them through example by praying with them.

4. Encourage them to pray for their friends and family.

5. Teach them to thank God for all the things they have.

6. Share with your child the times that God answered your prayers.

7. Teach them that they can talk with God all day long and that He is always there for them.

8. Remind them to always ask God for protection for themselves and their family throughout the day, and for God to protect their minds.

9. Tell them it is okay to ask God for personal blessing, like my daughter did with the Cabbage Patch Kids doll.

10. Teach them to ask for wisdom. Read them the story about Solomon, and how he desired wisdom above any material things, and God blessed him with both.

11. Most of all, teach them how special they are to God and that He wants them to talk to Him.

12. Teach them that sometimes God answers our prayers in ways we do not think or understand, but He always knows what is best for us.

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

My daughter Michelle is a praying woman to this day! She knows that God answers prayers. Sometimes not as quickly as with her dolls–her prayers for a child weren’t answered for eight years. But she prayed with conviction knowing that God knew what was best for her.

So teach your children to pray, because they matter to God!”




On Monday, we worked on more light fixtures in the mini-house (guest house),  and on Tuesday we did a bit more down at Roni’s place, now mine, maybe!  Because Roni availed herself of several “free” services like food stamps, and Medicaid, the State of TX now wants their pound of flesh.  But they may decide that the run down property is not worth fooling with, as it is valued at less than $10,000. 

eBay-Maple-treeThe 16 ft. maple tree that was in front of my house has gone. It had grown into my sewer and it blocked the view of my front door, a security risk.  The couple came with a front end loader, some shovels and after about an hour they hauled it off on the trailer with the front-end loader.  Seems bare without it.

On Wednesday, I took my helper to the VA Hospital in Houston, and sat there all day while he had a balloon put in his esophagus for his really bad acid reflux.  Maybe he will be able to eat and keep food down now.  He is as skinny as a rail.  Thursday, he wasn’t feeling too chipper, but still arrived to work, so we did the kick boards on the cabinets that I bought at a yard sale.  We had the cabinets on their tops, and I pried the fiberboard kickboards off the bottom and he screwed real wood ones on. 

The next day, Friday, he was feeling better, so we moved some stuff out of the new workshop to make room for the cabinets.  It took two handtrucks to move the big 5 foot cabinet, and I was at the top of the three little steps yanking on that hand truck for all I was worth, (no, I shouldn’t say that, as I am not worth much), anyway, I pulled on it as hard as I could, and we got it up there.  The smaller, 3 ft. one was easier. Then in the afternoon, as it was ‘preparation day’,  I was cooking, washing my hair, and setting out my clothes to be ready for church the next day.  Then at 5.30pm every Friday everything stops while I watch “Creation in the 21st” on TBN.  This week it was about the formation of the Grand Canyon.

Saturday was the Sabbath, so I had already made some Parsley Butter Mashed Potatoes for one crockpot and some Beef Stew for the other.  Gary at church had given dozens of eggs from his free-range chickens to anyone who wanted them, so I had hard boiled a dozen.  My helper and I had egg salad for lunch and still had plenty left over. So I made some chopped up hardboiled eggs in a sauce, like Eggs Goldenrod, but I wasn’t too crazy about it, so I didn’t take it to the potluck.  I will titivate it a bit to make it more tasty, and have it for my supper tonight.image

imageAlso, on Saturday, I became a ‘grand’ again, I have a new grand-dog! 

Since their great big German Shepherd died, their little Australian Sheepdog has become lonely.  So my daughter and son-in-law have adopted a 6 month old white German Shepherd/mix puppy from a shelter.  He has blue eyes!  They can’t pick him up until next week as he hasn’t been fixed yet.  My daughter asked me what I thought he was mixed with, and I took one look at those ears and said “A donkey”!

The Bible readings were Lev. 14:1-15:33, 2 Kings 7:3-7:20 and Matt. 8:1-17, and the Teaching was “New Life in Messiah”. 

We are a small congregation, and we all are close.  We have a lot of laughs and fun together so the Sabbath is always a great day,

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