Thursday, November 25, 2021

What’s In Your Thanksgiving? Imagine! Thankful for God’s Goodness and Mercy. "Health Food" vs. Healthy Food!

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"What’s In Your Thanksgiving?

What are you thankful for this year? With the U.S. holiday upon us, it’s beneficial to stop and collect your thoughts on this most wonderful of American traditions. It has been a long year with a lot of bad news and continued fallout from COVID-19. Turning our mind and heart to God in grateful thanksgiving for what we do have is about the best we could do to calibrate a positive orientation.

I am thankful to know God has a purpose for this life we share on earth. That knowledge grounds me, anchors me in a reality that is unshakeable.

I am thankful for a family I love and who have shaped my adult life in every positive way—a wife, children and grandchildren with whom I share every important, rich experience.

I am thankful I live in the United States of America. Here I have guaranteed religious liberty to worship according to my conscience. That is the reason the pilgrims came in 1620 seeking a refuge to worship God without compulsion from another authority—whether civil or religious.

That point is long forgotten today when we come to this great national day of Thanksgiving. Religious liberty was at the heart of the foundation of America. The nation may not have always lived up to its ideals as it dealt with the native Indian tribes or the imposition of slavery into the culture. But the founding principles of America were personal freedom and religious liberty.

At a time when the nation’s history is being rewritten by a false narrative, and a culture war is upending gender identity and race relations, it is vital to reset our minds on the liberty embedded in the American ideal.

God’s hand is behind the founding of America. From the incredible geographic features of a resource-laden land situated behind two great oceans for protection, to a history replete with miraculous events—which in retrospect point to God’s involvement, America is a unique story in history.

We chronicle this amazing story in our Bible study guide, The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy. There is a chapter that talks about God’s promise to Abraham and how He has kept that promise into our modern age. These are facts of history and the Bible, which impact the headlines affecting us today. You cannot understand the reason for our present turmoil without knowing the divine plan that impacts America.

I encourage you to take time to read this chapter from the study guide: “Two Nations that Changed the World.” It will stimulate you to read more in this booklet.

Thanksgiving is a great time to pause and consider the purpose of God in this world. Part of giving thanks is to acknowledge He is the God of history. Be thankful for what is provided for all of us in this blessed nation." From: https://us1.campaign-archive.com/?e=72c729d811&u=1d04480cefc2e7c4492fe4a04&id=6d0c0b1cf6

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“Imagine that you woke up today, and everything was gone.  EVERYTHING!
Everything except; that which you expressed gratitude for yesterday.  
What would you have?
Your house?  Your family?  Your pets?  Running water?  Food?  Community?”

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Thankful for God’s Goodness and Mercy

1 Chronicles 16:34

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

On the joyous day that David brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, he “delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the LORD” (1 Chronicles 16:7). This theme of thankfulness for God’s goodness and mercy is found throughout the Psalms (see Psalms 106:1 and 107:1, for example).

Psalm 107 goes on to give examples of how God displays His mercy to sinners who cry out to Him: “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:13-15)."  From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/thankful-for-gods-goodness-and-mercy/?

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Unthankful to Our Creator

Romans 1:21

“Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

In the early chapters of Romans, Paul shows the sinfulness of all men, gentiles and Jews. This verse follows the powerful statement that “His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (verse 20). God’s creation itself is proof that God exists, so even those without any biblical background are without excuse.

But the gentiles of Paul’s day put God out of their minds and didn’t give Him glory or show Him thanks. Many people today follow this same poor example. Ingratitude is a hallmark of human nature and especially of this end-time perilous age (as Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 3:2; see our article “Unthankfulness: A Sign of Perilous Times).”

Psalm 100, “a Psalm of Thanksgiving,” provides the cure for this common ailment. “Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. … Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:3-4).”

For more about gratitude, see “In Everything Give Thanks” and our magazine article “‘In Everything Give Thanks’ (Really?).”  From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/unthankful-to-our-creator/?

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"Health Food" vs. Healthy Food -- How to read labels

“Do you know how to read food labels? Maybe you THOUGHT you did. Truth is, you probably don't. But Jeff Novick, MS, RD -- of the McDougall program -- does. And in his full talk he shows the 3 easy steps you MUST know if you ever buy foods at any supermarket or "health" food store.

In this online excerpt, Novick -- who used to be a food service manager at Kraft Foods -- exposes one of the dirty secrets major food corporations use to deceive consumers. It's no accident labels are so confusing! High-protein/low-carb diet proponents claim that the US started eating "low-fat" foods 20 years ago and yet still gained weight, "proving" that the low-fat diet wasn't effective.

But that's nonsense, as Novick demonstrates in his talk. The foods weren't/aren't low-fat at all. Food companies use sleight of hand to make them appear that way. Novick shows how to cut through the nonsense of food labeling to see what you need to see, and understand what you're really getting. This is an excerpt from Novick's 80-minute talk at the VegSource 2007 Healthy Lifestyle Expo, and part of a 12-part series of top health expert presentations.

In his full fascinating and entertaining presentation, Novick teachers the "three easy rules" for cutting through the b.s. and quickly understanding food labels, to know exactly what you're getting. After watching his talk, you'll never look at packaged food the same!” YouTube: https://youtu.be/yd9XnyNGXGs

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Sunday, November 21, 2021

What Does "Help Meet" Mean? Is It Really “Glory to the Newborn King”? The Art of Selling Slow Poisons.

 

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Blog PostWhat Does "Help Meet" Mean?

“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Genesis 2:18

According to Adam Clarke (Commentary on the Bible), the Hebrew for “help meet for him,” ezer kenegdo, “implies that the woman was to be a perfect resemblance of the man, possessing neither inferiority nor superiority, but being in all things like and equal to himself.” He was right to an extent.

Mankind, both male and female, is unique among God’s breathing creations, those beings that Scripture calls nephesh, or souls. This is confusing to many English speakers because we often use the terms “soul” and “spirit” interchangeably, but they don’t mean the same thing in the Bible. A soul is a living being, while a spirit is the incorporeal part of a person that carries on the essence of the person after the body dies.

Eve was like Adam in that she was of the same kind of being, mankind, somewhere between angel and beast. Like Adam, Eve was a living soul in possession of a body, spirit, and mind. She shared his divine mission of caring for the Garden and, by extension, the whole Earth. She shared in his authority and in his role as a connection between the eternal Creator and his temporal creation.

But Eve was never “a perfect resemblance of the man, possessing neither inferiority nor superiority.” The physical differences between men and women are obvious. Sane people do not allow men to compete in women’s athletic events, even if those men are pretending to be women. Every society that has every existed has recognized the sexual dimorphism of humanity, sorting men and women into activities that are best suited to their capabilities. Among hunter-gatherers, men almost always do the hunting, fighting, and heavy lifting, while women almost always do the gardening and textile work, which might be even more challenging in their ways, but don’t require the same strength or speed.

The mental differences are intuitively apparent to most people. Think of the joke about men being a machine with a single switch and women being another machine covered in switches, dials, gauges, and buttons without a hint of what they’re supposed to do. The joke is an exaggeration, of course, but still close enough to the truth to be funny. The mind is significantly more opaque than the body, so the differences between the sexes is harder to quantify, but the work of many reputable researchers, astute observers of human behavior, and less reputable (but possibly more effective) proponents of dating Game, have established their existence and general parameters beyond reasonable argument.

The spiritual differences between men and women are not so obvious. They are evident, however, in the spiritual and hierarchical roles into which men and women have almost universally organized their activities, in the Creation story of Genesis, and in the many scriptural examples of and references to the differently ordained roles of men and women.

Consider just a handful of many dozens of examples....
[CONTINUED]

Read the rest of the article at American Torah: What Does "Help Meet" Mean?

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Christmas, Is It Really “Glory to the Newborn King”?

A christmas tree with lights in a snowfield.“Most people assume Christmas originated as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. But history shows that it’s far older, rooted in ancient idolatrous practices honoring other gods. So does it really honor Jesus and God the Father? How does God view observance of Christmas?

by-studio/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Most people fail to understand what God plainly says. For many, it’s about what they want rather than what God explicitly states.

As the year comes to an end and seasonal decorations appear on front lawns and in store windows, many choirs are already warming up to sing carols. “Hark! The herald angels sing,” they’ll declare, “glory to the newborn king.”

Truly the angels did give such honor at Jesus’ birth. But does Christmas do the same?

While a shopping frenzy ensues, from many a pulpit will come the cry to “put Christ back into Christmas,” as in earlier days. But was Jesus Christ ever really in Christmas? U.S. News & World Report explains that the historical record shows “the earliest Christians simply weren’t interested in celebrating the Nativity . . . They ‘viewed birthday celebrations as heathen.’ The third-century [Catholic] church father Origen had declared it a sin to even think of keeping Christ’s birthday ‘as though he were a king pharaoh’” (Dec. 23, 1996, p. 58).

In reality, Jesus Christ was not born anywhere near December 25 (see our study guide offered at the end to learn more). The U.S. News & World Report article continues: “How the church [later] arrived at December 25 . . . is a matter of conjecture. Most widely held is the view that the holiday was an intentional ‘Christianization’ of Saturnalia and other pagan festivals . . . in the third and fourth centuries . . . marking the winter solstice, when days began to lengthen . . . December 25—the solstice on the Julian calendar—[was the] natalis solis invicti (‘birth of the invincible sun’), a festival honoring the sun god Mithras” (p. 59, emphasis added throughout).

Source after reputable source attests to the idolatrous origin of Christmas and its customs. For instance: “The Christmas tree is believed to have its origin in the ceremonial use of the palm tree in the worship of the Egyptian goddess Isis . . . at the winter solstice . . . In northern climates . . . the celebration of December 25 was modified by the substitution of a fir tree” (Clyde Parke, The Lincoln Library of Essential Information, 1959, p. 2070).

(Jeremiah 10 “Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:    “Learn not the way of the heathen, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the heathens are dismayed at them,
for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move.
Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.”)

Most people aren’t too bothered by all this. But in light of the facts, we should at least ask, “How does Christmas bring glory to the newborn King”?

“Christmas” before Christ

Christmas today is often a joyous family occasion, but we must look at where it came from. In significant part it derived from the Roman Saturnalia, a hedonistic harvest festival dedicated to the god Saturn with exchanging gifts. Saturn was worshipped all around the Mediterranean under different names, and often with sexual immorality and horrible atrocities. The Phoenicians sacrificed their children to this god identified in the Bible as Molech and the sun god Baal, the birth of which was later declared to be Dec. 25.

While no one celebrates Christmas in these ways today, they form the roots of the Christmas holiday. Tragically, even the ancient Israelites were swayed to adopt these heinous practices.”  More at: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-magazine/christmas-is-it-really-glory-to-the-newborn-king

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The Art of Selling Slow Poisons

The Art of Selling Slow Poisons“If you need a passionate, unreserved examination of facts regarding the "poisons" contained in animal foods in order to motivate you, you'll find what you're looking for in this article written by Dr. John McDougall. Dr. McDougall holds nothing back. He uses a direct approach, addressing the concerns regarding meat, dairy and eggs.

Dr. McDougall starts out by saying, "Animal foods burden us with three times more protein, fifteen times more fat, greater than 100 times more cholesterol, four times more methionine, and at least ten times more dietary acid. The toxic effects of these poisons are interactive. For example, excesses of protein, methionine, and dietary acids work together to destroy the bones. Excesses of dietary fat and cholesterol combine their deleterious effects to damage the arteries (atherosclerosis) and promote cancer."

Dr. McDougall also explains how the protein in an animal based diet damages our kidneys and produces kidney stones.

The saturated fats found in animal products are problematic as well. "Dietary fats," Dr. McDougall states, "are almost effortlessly stored in your body fat, liver, heart and muscles." As a result, insulin resistance develops, and promotes heart disease, strokes, and type-2 diabetes. This fat alters our cellular metabolism, which creates a favorable environment for cancer.

Equally important, our bodies produce all the cholesterol that we require. We do not need to consume any additional cholesterol from our diet. "Cholesterol deposited in your arteries," Dr. McDougall emphasizes, "is a major contributor to vascular diseases of your heart and brain. Cholesterol also facilitates cancer development."

Sulfur-containing amino acids such as methionine found in meat, also poses serious health risks. According to Dr. McDougall, "Methionine is metabolized into homocysteine, a risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, peripheral vascular disease, venous thrombosis, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and depression." Furthermore, Dr. McDougall points out,  "Sulfur feeds cancerous tumors and is known to be toxic to the tissues of the intestine. Sulfur-containing amino acids are metabolized into sulfuric acid—one of the most potent acids found in nature."

By switching to a whole-food, plant-centered diet, you'll avoid many of the harmful components mentioned above. You will also be reducing your intake of antibiotics, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals since concentrated levels are found in meat, dairy, and egg products. Lastly, by removing animal products from your plate, you will avoid being exposed to animal-borne, infectious microbes (bacteria, viruses, parasites, and prions) that attributes to acute and deadly illnesses.  

Dr. McDougall concludes by encouraging us to replace animal products with "generous amounts of complex carbohydrates, dietary fibers, alkaline substances, and a healthy balance of vitamins, minerals, and essential phyto-chemicals" found in whole, plant foods. Instead of suffering slowly with disability, disfigurements, and death, as Dr. McDougall points out, make an investment today in your health, so you can help protect yourself from serious illness in the future.  Read the article, "Five Major Poisons Inherently Found in Animal Foods" by John McDougall, MD here.”

From: https://www.drcarney.com/blog/health-issues/the-art-of-selling-slow-poisons

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen. We Cannot Avoid Judging. Is Milk Good For Our Bones?

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Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen

“Jesus said, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Called and chosen for what? What is God’s calling? Are you sure you are among those who are called?

Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen

Jesus Christ told His disciples, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). What did He mean by that? This article will explore:

“No one can come to Me unless …”

Earlier in His ministry, Jesus explained, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws [calls or invites] him” (John 6:44).

Can you imagine your telephone’s caller ID displaying “God calling” when your phone rings? Of course, His calling is much more subtle than that, but it is just as real. Jesus was telling the assembled crowds that no one can come to Him—that is, no one can become a Christian—unless the Father first calls that person”

 CONTINUE READING        From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-magazine/christmas-is-it-really-glory-to-the-newborn-king

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We Cannot Avoid Judging.

Matthew 7:1-5

(1) "Judge not, that you be not judged. (2) For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (3) And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye"; and look, a plank is in your own eye? (5) Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

  • New King James Version

We cannot avoid judging. As the stock in trade of the mind, appraisals are inevitable. If we were witnesses to a flagrant violation of law in which innocent people were harmed, could we keep quiet because we are not to judge?

Does not Jesus command us to judge in verse 6? "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." Do we not have to judge who are "dogs" or "swine"? Considering verse 15 ("Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves"), do we not have to judge whether a man is a false minister? Do we not have to reject his teaching based on an appraisal of his fruits?

We must therefore take care to understand clearly what Jesus meant. He obviously did not mean we should not judge at all. Within the context of Luke 6:35-38, Jesus uses "Judge not, and you shall not be judged" to urge us to love our enemies, be merciful, forgiving, and generous. This very greatly modifies Matthew's account, showing that "Judge not . . ." is a warning against self-righteous severity, sharp-tongued criticism, and condemnation. Thus, it is not a command to be absolutely neutral and tolerant regarding moral issues, but a warning to be careful and loving when we judge. We can apply this admonishment to Romans 14:10-13 and James 4:11-12 as well.

There are practical reasons why Jesus would advise us about this. Of prime importance is that even though it is important that we judge rightly, it is even more important that we do not usurp the place of God! "Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand" (Romans 14:4).

Paul begins this letter to the Romans calling himself a servant of Jesus Christ. He reminds us that we are all His servants (verses 7-8). A servant does not have the same rights and responsibilities as a master. Though we are permitted the right of making an appraisal of conduct, we are not permitted the right of passing judgment upon a fellow servant. A fellow servant does not stand or fall at the bar of our judgment. The only judgment that matters is the judgment of our mutual Master. If He is satisfied or displeased, He will act in His good time and in His way. To usurp His responsibility is an act of sheer presumption.

This in no way means we cannot approach a brother to inquire about and understand his conduct so that we might know whether our appraisal is correct. Assuming that our intent in questioning him is for his good, why would we even approach him? Would it not be because our evaluation of his conduct had led us to conclude—yes, to judge—that he was in serious moral or spiritual trouble?”  From: https://www.theberean.org/index.cfm/main/default/id/599/ver/NKJV/matthew-7-1-5.htm

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Is Milk Good For Our Bones?

"The galactose in milk may explain why milk consumption is associated with significantly higher risk of hip fractures, cancer, and premature death.

Milk is touted to build strong bones, but a compilation of all the best studies found no association between milk consumption and hip fracture risk, so drinking milk as an adult might not help bones. But what about in adolescence? Harvard researchers decided to put it to the test.

Studies have shown that greater milk consumption during childhood and adolescence contributes to peak bone mass, and is therefore expected to help avoid osteoporosis and bone fractures in later life. But that’s not what they found. Milk consumption during teenage years was not associated with a lower risk of hip fracture, and, if anything, milk consumption was associated with a borderline increase in fracture risk in men.

It appears that the extra boost in total body bone mineral density you get from getting extra calcium is lost within a few years, even if you keep the calcium supplementation up. This suggests a partial explanation for the long-standing enigma that hip fracture rates are highest in populations with the greatest milk consumption. Maybe an explanation why they’re not lower, but why would they be higher?

This enigma irked a Swedish research team, puzzled because studies again and again had shown a tendency of a higher risk of fracture with a higher intake of milk. Well, there is a rare birth defect called galactosemia, where babies are born without the enzymes needed to detoxify the galactose found in milk, so they end up with elevated levels of galactose in their blood, which can cause bone loss even as kids. So maybe, the Swedish researchers figured, even in normal people who can detoxify the stuff, it might not be good for the bones to be drinking it every day. And galactose doesn’t just hurt the bones.

That’s what scientists use to cause premature aging in lab animals They slip them a little galactose and you can shorten their lifespan, cause oxidative stress, inflammation, brain degeneration, just with the equivalent of one to two glasses of milk’s worth of galactose a day. We’re not rats, though—but given the high amount of galactose in milk, recommendations to increase milk intake for prevention of fractures could be a conceivable contradiction. So they decided to put it to the test, looking at milk intake and mortality, as well as fracture risk, to test their theory.

A hundred thousand men and women followed for up to 20 years; what did they find? Milk-drinking women had higher rates of death, more heart disease, and significantly more cancer for each glass of milk. Three glasses a day was associated with nearly twice the risk of death. And they had significantly more bone and hip fractures too.

Men in a separate study also had a higher rate of death with higher milk consumption, but at least they didn’t have higher fracture rates. So a dose-dependent higher rate of both mortality and fracture in women, and a higher rate of mortality in men with milk intake, but the opposite for other dairy products like soured milk and yogurt, which would go along with the galactose theory, since bacteria can ferment away some of the lactose. To prove it though, we need a randomized controlled trial to examine the effect of milk intake on mortality and fractures. As the accompanying editorial pointed out, we better figure this out soon, as milk consumption is on the rise around the world.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer at: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-milk-good-for-our-bones/

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Sunday, November 7, 2021

Eternal Life Offered to All. Do the Souls of the Dead Live Forever? There's Weed Killer In The Foods You Eat.

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Eternal Life Offered to All, The Eighth Day.

Large groups of people in an open air market.“What does God have in mind for those who have never believed in Christ or understood any of God's truth? How does the Creator provide for them in His plan?

Juan Ignacio Tapia/Unsplash

Thousands of millions have lived and died with their deepest spiritual needs unrealized. When will they be refreshed by the life-giving power of God’s Spirit?

The Bible makes abundantly clear in Acts 4:12 that "there is no other name under heaven" than that of Jesus Christ by which human beings can be saved.

This particular passage raises troubling questions for anyone who believes that God is desperately trying to save the whole world in this age. If this is the only time for salvation, we must conclude that Christ's mission to save humanity has largely failed. After all, over the centuries billions of people have lived and died without once hearing the name of Jesus Christ. Even now thousands die every day never having heard of Christ.

In spite of the missionary zeal of so many over the centuries, far more people have been "lost" than "saved." If God is truly all powerful, why have so many not even heard the gospel of salvation? The traditional portrayal of conflict between God and Satan over mankind leaves God on the losing side of the struggle.

What is the fate of these people? What does God have in mind for those who have never believed in Christ or understood any of God's truth? How does the Creator provide for them in His plan? Are they lost forever without any hope of salvation?

We should not doubt God's saving power! Let's examine some common assumptions and come to an understanding of our Creator's marvelous solution.

Resolving the dilemma

Paul tells us that God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). Peter adds that God is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). This is God's overriding goal in dealing with mankind: He desires as many as possible to repent, come to the knowledge of the truth and receive His gift of salvation!

Jesus explained how this will come to pass. John 7:1-14 describes how Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. He appeared publicly and stood in the midst of the people, crying out: "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-38).

Christ's message recorded here most likely was given on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Scholars vary on whether this was the seventh day or the day following, but the weight of evidence and the series of events indicate that John 7 describes incidents on the seventh day while the setting moves to the eighth day in John 8 and 9.

It is also possible that Christ's teaching recorded in John 7:37-38 came at the end of the seventh day or the very beginning of the eighth day (God's Holy Days begin with sunset and end at the following sunset), as the chapter concludes with people returning to their homes after sundown for the night. The theme of Christ's teaching then continues in chapter 8 (which is clearly the next morning, John 8:2) and includes the offer of salvation to all mankind.

In Leviticus 23:39, we see that this day immediately follows the Feast of Tabernacles but is a separate festival with its own distinct meaning. Based on Christ's words and the theme of offering salvation to all mankind, this festival is sometimes referred to as "the Last Great Day," although the Bible simply calls it "the eighth day." 

Symbolism of Christ's teaching

What was the significance of Christ's teaching about "living water"? In His day, according to tradition, during the Feast of Tabernacles the priests would bring golden vessels of water from the Pool of Siloam on the south side of Jerusalem and pour it over the altar at the temple. Joyous celebration along with the sounding of trumpets marked this ceremony as the people sang the words of Isaiah, "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3).

Jesus stood where all could hear Him and drew a lesson from the water, revealing that all who were thirsty could come to Him and be refreshed—forever. In Christ's analogy, the water represented God's Holy Spirit, which those who believed in Jesus would receive (John 7:39). He showed that the basic wants of spiritual thirst and hunger could be satisfied only by Him as "the bread of life" (John 6:48) and the source of living water.

But when would this happen? Within six months Christ's own countrymen pressured the Roman authorities to execute Him. About 40 years later the temple and all its ceremonies, including those described above, were brought to an end at the hands of the Roman legions.

Humanity still hungers and thirsts for the message Christ brought—and for the means to live as they ought to and find true happiness. God's promise to pour out His Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28) has not yet fully taken place. Thousands of millions have died with their deepest spiritual needs unrealized. When will they be refreshed by the life-giving power of God's Spirit?

A physical resurrection to an opportunity for salvation

To find the answer, we must consider again a question the disciples put to Christ just before He ascended to heaven: "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). When the disciples spoke of this restoration, they understood it in the context of the many prophecies of a reunited nation of Israel under the coming rule of the Messiah.

One such prophecy is in Ezekiel 37. This passage describes Ezekiel's vision of a valley full of bones. God asks, "Son of man, can these bones live?" to which the prophet replies, "O Lord God, You know" (Ezekiel 37:3). God then says to the bones: "Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord"  (Ezekiel 37:5-6).

In this vision a physical resurrection takes place. The account acknowledges the hopeless situation in which these people had found themselves: "Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!" (Ezekiel 37:11).

Their Creator, however, offers them the hope of a resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit in the setting of a reunited nation. In this dramatic vision, ancient Israel serves as the model for all peoples, whom God will resurrect to physical life. God says: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves . . . I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live" (Ezekiel 37:12-14). At this future time God will make freely available the life-giving spiritual water of His Holy Spirit.

More at: https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/gods-holy-day-plan-the-promise-of-hope-for-all-mankind/the-eighth-day-eternal-life-offered-to-all?

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Do the Souls of the Dead Live Forever?

Ezekiel 18:4

“Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die.”

The word translated soul is the Hebrew nephesh, which can even refer to animals ( Genesis 1:21 ) and corpses ( Leviticus 22:4 ). The Bible does not describe humans as having an immortal soul, but as being a living soul—a living creature. As God says in Ezekiel 18:4 and 20 , human souls can die. In fact, death—eternal death—is the punishment for sin ( Romans 6:23 ).

Only God has immortality (1 Timothy 6:16 ), and He offers it as a gift to those who believe and obey Jesus Christ ( John 3:16 ; Romans 6:23 ).

For a study of the subjects of the mortality of the soul and hell in the Bible, see our articles “Do Humans Have an Immortal Soul?” and “What Is Hell?” Understanding what the Bible teaches about the mortality of the soul provides further reason for Christians not to celebrate All Saints’ Day and Halloween.  From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/do-the-souls-of-the-dead-live-forever/?

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There's Weed Killer In The Foods You Eat Every Day - Here's How To Avoid it

“Roundup is sprayed on everything these days, and countless studies have showed the many negative side effects of this. But even if you avoid soy and corn, the most commonly sprayed crops, you can not steer clear of the weed killer RoundUp and its active ingredients glyphosate.

Conventional farmed oats, wheat, and beans, score high in glyphosate because some of them are sprayed with roundup so they dry out quicker and can be harvested. In my opinion, you need to buy organic and avoid putting this toxic chemical in your body!”. 

See YouTube:   https://youtu.be/xPHAsThLXOY

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Saturday, October 30, 2021

Where Will You Sit? Witches and the Occult. Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. A Morning Hymn and Prayer. Zeranol Use in Meat & Breast Cancer.


 Life is short, death is sure, sin the cause, Christ the cure!

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What Does God Say About Witches and the Occult?

Deuteronomy 18:10-12

“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.”

God outlawed witchcraft and other pagan practices that appealed to the evil spirit realm for their power. To God, it was an abomination for His people to seek help from Satan and his demons. Still, the Israelites were enticed by these practices again and again.

This was not just an Old Testament concern. The new converts to Christianity also took the subject of magic seriously ( Acts 19:19 ). The apostle John also warns that those who practice witchcraft must repent or they will end up in the lake of fire—the second death ( Revelation 9:21 21:8 ).

How did Western, so-called Christian nations get caught up in a holiday like Halloween that dabbles in the darkness of evil spirits, witchcraft and the occult?    See our article “Halloween: Should Christians Celebrate It?”    See also our article “Wicca: Is It Wrong for Christians?

From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/what-does-god-say-about-witches-and-the-occult/?

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Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

Paul wrote about “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). What do shoes have to do with the armor of God?

This piece of armor is a mouthful in English: the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace. Sometimes we shorten it to “the shoes of peace” or “the shoes of the gospel,” but the whole phrase is important. Before we can unpack exactly what “the preparation of the gospel of peace” means, let’s take a closer look at the shoes themselves.

During the time of the apostle Paul, the shoes worn by the soldiers of the Roman Empire were called caligae. They were specifically designed to keep soldiers’ feet healthy during the rigors of long forced marches and were very different from the sandals worn by most of the populace.

The shoes were constructed from three layers of leather, which were pulled up and laced around the ankle. The caligae helped protect against blisters and foot diseases. In addition, small spikes or iron hobnails were often driven into the soles of the shoes in order to give firm footing on uneven terrain.

The shoes of peace provide a firm foundation

A soldier’s shoes formed the foundation of his armament. In those days, the foot soldiers of the empire relied on walking as their primary means of transportation, so the ability to move easily and comfortably was a necessity for them.

In addition, they needed to be able to step about in battle without thinking about where they placed their feet. They needed solid footing in order to concentrate on the battle at hand. The hobnails on their shoes made it easier to hold their ground or navigate through difficult terrain.

The word preparation used by Paul in Ephesians 6:15 comes from the Greek word hetoimasia. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says this about the word hetoimasia in this context: “The Gospel itself is to be the firm footing of the believer, his walk being worthy of it and therefore a testimony in regard to it.”  Continued at:  https://lifehopeandtruth.com/change/christian-conversion/armor-of-god/gospel-of-peace/?

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Without Fear, Men Forget That They Are Only Men

Psalm 9:19-20

Arise, O LORD, do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O LORD, that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.

Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible says it well: “Humanity in rebellion against God is a gross perversion of God’s plan. The Lord cannot allow this arrogance to go unchallenged.”

Living in this world under Satan’s influence, humanity is continuously pulled away from God and easily forgets God. We tend to overestimate our own power and influence, and the fear of our Creator God is far from us.

But a proper reverence for our Creator is a necessary first step in achieving real success and happiness. Without seeing ourselves in proper perspective, we can’t realize how much we need God’s help and guidance.

Romans 1:28-32 reveal the effects of people refusing to acknowledge and revere God in their lives. Simply put, a lack of reverence towards God leads to moral depravity.

To learn more about why evil exists in our world, read “The Problem of Evil.”

From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/without-fear-men-forget-that-they-are-only-men/?

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A Morning Hymn and Prayer

Psalm 5:1-3 

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.

Psalm 4 ends with David’s thoughts and prayers before going to sleep. Psalm 5 begins talking about David’s morning prayers.

The word translated “meditation” here is not the same as the word used in Psalm 119, where it means reflection. Here the Hebrew word is hagiyg, and it can mean “whisper, musing, murmuring” (Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon). It is translated “sighing” in the New International Version and “groaning” in the New Living Translation. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary says meditation here means “moanings of that half uttered form to which deep feeling gives rise — groanings, as in Romans 8:26, 27.”

We can pour our hearts out to our King and our God in prayer morning, noon or night. He hears and He cares. See more about His deep love and care for us in “God Is Love.”    From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/a-morning-hymn-and-prayer/?

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Zeranol Use in Meat & Breast Cancer

Transcript of YouTube: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/zeranol-use-in-meat-and-breast-cancer/

“In 1979, an epidemic of breast enlargement was noted in Italian children. Poultry or veal was suspected, given that estrogens may be fed to farm animals to accelerate their weight gain. After this episode, Europe banned the use of anabolic growth promoters in agriculture, and has banned the importation of American meat from animals injected with drugs like Zeranol, sold as Ralgro Magnum.

Zeranol is the one of the most potent known endocrine disruptors—100,000 times more estrogenic than the plastics chemical, BPA, for example. And Zeranol constitutes a special case among potential endocrine disruptors, because in contrast to all other estrogenic “endocrine-disrupting” chemicals, Zeranol is present in human food, because it’s deliberately used—in fact, designed to be a potent, persistent, estrogen, whereas the estrogenic properties of the other chemicals are accidental.

And if you drip blood from a cow that’s been implanted with the drug on human breast cancer cells in a petri dish, you can double the cancer growth rate. We don’t drink blood, though, but preliminary data also showed that muscle extracts, meat extracts, also stimulated breast cancer cell proliferation.

Furthermore, Zeranol may cause the transformation of normal breast cells into cancer cells in the first place. Zeranol-containing blood from implanted cattle was capable of transforming normal human breast cells into breast cancer cells within 21 days.

Obese women may be at greater risk of developing Zeranol-induced breast cancer, since they already have high levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, that can itself promote breast cancer growth. And Zeranol exposure can greatly enhance this growth-promoting action. This result also suggests that Zeranol may be more harmful to obese breast cancer patients than to normal weight breast cancer patients, in terms of breast cancer development.

In conclusion, because these anabolic growth promoters in meat production are, by far, the most potent hormones found in human food, we should really be testing people, especially children, before and after eating this meat. It amazes me that it hasn’t been done, and until it has, we have no idea what kind of threat they may pose—though the fact that Zeranol is as potent as estradiol—the primary sex steroid in women and DES—should concern us. DES is another synthetic estrogen marketed to pregnant women—all pregnant women until 1971, when it was shown to cause vaginal cancers in the daughters. But few know it was also used in meat.

In the absence of effective federal regulation, the meat industry uses hundreds of animal feed additives, with little or no concern about the carcinogenic and other toxic effects of dietary residues of these additives. Illustratively, after decades of misleading assurances of the safety of DES and its use as a growth-promoting animal feed additive, the United States finally banned its use some 40 years after it was first shown to be carcinogenic. The meat industry then promptly switched to other potentially carcinogenic additives, such as Zeranol.

When girls started dying from vaginal cancer, DES-treated meat was subsequently banned in Europe. However, misleading assurances, including the deliberate suppression of residue data, managed to delay a U.S. ban on DES in the meat supply for eight years.

Today, virtually the entire U.S. population consumes, without any warning, labeling, or information, unknown and unpredictable amounts of hormone residues in meat products over a lifetime. If all hormonal and other carcinogenic feed additives aren’t banned immediately, the least we could have is “explicit labeling requirements of the use and of [hormone] residue levels in all meat products, including milk and eggs.””

(To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.)

Sunday, October 24, 2021

What Are You Passionate About? Halloween's Dark Roots. Examine Yourselves. How to Fight Against Cancer.

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What Are You Passionate About?

What Are You Passionate About?“History and the Bible give us examples of zeal and passion. Are we passionate about the most important things? Or are we being distracted by other passions?

What do you feel strongly about? What lights the fire in your soul and infuses you with focus and energy?

What are you really passionate about in your life?

Give me liberty…

An example of the kind of passion I’m talking about comes from U.S. history. In March of 1775 tensions between the American colonies and Great Britain were high. A man named Patrick Henry stood to address the Virginia legislature and share his view of the situation. It was apparently a rather impromptu speech about the need to separate from the British crown and form their own union—something about which Mr. Henry felt very strongly.

Perhaps you’ve never heard or read the entire thing, but I’ll almost guarantee that our American readers know the last seven words of his fiery and impassioned speech. As he brought his relatively short oration to its crescendo, he thundered out to the audience, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

Patrick Henry was passionate about the founding of a new nation.

Some common passions

It seems human beings are hardwired to have strong feelings about certain things. Not everyone feels strongly about the same things or in the same way, and certainly not all of our passions are of the same magnitude as founding a new country!

But there are still a lot of different things that fire up the imaginations and passions of people.

A few things people are commonly quite passionate about are fashion, art, music, health and fitness, hobbies, technology, sports and sports teams, hunting and fishing (or anti-hunting and maybe anti-fishing), animal rights and more.

Oddly enough, a few days ago I was talking with someone who was very passionate about animal rights, specifically opossum rights. … Okay, I’ve got to admit that was a new one for me.

On a more somber note, today there are a lot of people who are passionate and even violent about some prickly social issues. And many are very passionate about the political positions and platforms that are intractably connected to all those social issues.

That’s a lot of passion, a lot of emotion! And the chances are very good that you are passionate about some issues too.

So maybe the more important question is: Are you passionate about the right things?

Are you passionate about the right things?

While there is nothing wrong with strong feelings about sports, art, animals or other endeavors in life, there are some things that are more important and that deserve more of our attention than others.

Are we overlooking something infinitely more important that most people miss, yet that we should be passionate about?

“Zeal for Your house”

In the Bible we read an account of when Jesus Christ went up to the temple. He saw people who were doing business, changing money, selling animals to be sacrificed and so forth.

Not only were they doing business on holy ground, but very likely they weren’t being honest and were taking advantage of those who came to the temple to worship and offer sacrifices.

We read in John 2:15-16 that Jesus made a whip of rope, flipped over the money changers’ tables and with zeal drove them all out of the temple! In verse 17 it says, “Then His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.’” The English Standard Version puts it, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Jesus loved people. He was compassionate toward those who were hurting and in need of healing and comfort, and He taught them continually the things that would really make a difference in their lives. He had a passion for people and for serving.

But He was most passionate about the things of God—the standards, values and principles of the great Creator God!

John Gill’s commentary on the Bible points out that Christ’s regard for His Father’s house “was typical of the church of God; and such his concern for his honour, ordinances, and worship, that when he saw the merchandise that was carried on in the temple, his zeal, which was a true and hearty affection for God, … was stirred up in him, and to such a degree that it was like a consuming fire.”

Have we chosen to be passionate about what is really the most important? The standards, values and principles of God stand in stark contrast to those of this present world, which is focused on self-serving interests, immorality and blatant sinfulness. In fact, it is the Kingdom He will bring when He returns that is the only hope for mankind—and He is immensely passionate for that Kingdom!

What about us? How passionate are we for the standards, values and principles of God? Have we chosen to be passionate about what is really the most important?

Enthusiastic about doing good things

Consider the words of the apostle Paul in Titus 2:11-14, as it is translated in God’s Word translation:

After all, God’s saving kindness has appeared for the benefit of all people. It trains us to avoid ungodly lives filled with worldly desires so that we can live self-controlled, moral, and godly lives in this present world.

“At the same time we can expect what we hope for—the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to set us free from every sin and to cleanse us so that we can be his special people who are enthusiastic about doing good things.”

Battling distractions

Most of us want to have that passion, that zeal, that “fire in the belly” for the things of God. But with all the distractions swirling around us, with all the challenges and turmoil in the world, it can be easy for us to lose our focus and allow our greatest level of passion to be given to something else.

We need to make sure we are firmly connected to the Word of God. We must read and study it daily. With prayer and periodic fasting, we should ask God for the passion we need to have as His people. And we can ask Him for the guidance we need to negotiate these challenging times.

If we are immersed in the Word of God, it is harder for other issues to steal all our time and energy!

I am sure we are all passionate about various things. But are we right now passionate about the most important thing? Do we have a Patrick Henry–level of passion for a new Kingdom, the Kingdom of God?”   From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/christian-living/what-are-you-passionate-about/

Learn more in our article “Seek First the Kingdom of God.””

Do you know why you were born?

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Halloween's Dark Roots

“In recent years eye-opening materials have been published about the questionable background of Halloween.

In recent years eye-opening materials have been published about the questionable background of Halloween. Consider these excerpts:

"Halloween-a holiday that mixes generic religious beliefs with ancient folk customs-is supposed to be fun. But for many conservative Christians, it has become a dark and spiritually dangerous celebration ... Many are boycotting the bats, witches, goblins and ghouls that symbolize the holiday because they consider such things to be lures in the satanic struggle for human souls ...

"Halloween's pagan roots are real, as are those of Christmas and Easter. Santa Claus comes from an ancient woodland spirit honored by pagans, and Easter's non-Christian ancestry is derived from a Germanic fertility goddess, thus the Easter eggs and Easter bunny ... Halloween was called samhain in the pagan world-part harvest festival, partly a day to honor the dead" (Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, Oct. 28, 1993, "Conservative Christians Urge Halloween Alternative").

"The ancient Celtic [Irish, Scottish, Welsh] festival called Samhain is considered by many to be a predecessor of our contemporary Halloween. Samhain was the New Year's Day of the Celts, celebrated on 1 November. It was also a day of the dead, a time when it was believed that the souls of those who had died during the year were allowed access to the land of the dead. It was related to the season: by Samhain, the crops should be harvested and the animals brought in from the distant fields.

"Many traditional beliefs and customs associated with Samhain, most notable that night was the time of the wandering dead, the practice of leaving offerings of food and drink to masked and costumed revelers, and the lighting of bonfires, continued to be practiced on 31 October, known as the Eve of All Saints, the Eve of All Hallows, or Hallow Even. It is the glossing of the name Hallow Even that has given us the name Hallowe'en.

"... The customs associated with Halloween included representations of ghosts and human skeletons-symbols of the dead-and of the devil and other malevolent, evil creatures, such as witches.

"The first week of November is marked in many countries, especially those with a strong Catholic influence, with festivals concerned with death, in a playful but serious way. In Catholic countries we often find some cognate of Halloween associated with All Saints' or All Souls' days.

"... Unlike the American Halloween, in Mexico people build home altars, adorned with religious icons and special breads and other food for the dead. The Day of the Dead incorporates recognition of death as a concept with rituals that remember the deaths of individuals" (Jack Santino, Halloween and Other Festivals of Death and Life, 1994). GN” From: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/halloweens-dark-roots

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2 Corinthians 13:5

(5) Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

  • New King James Version

Unless indeed you are disqualified - Disqualified ("reprobates" in the King James Version, Strong's #1384: adókimos) means, according to Vine's, "not standing the test, rejected." It suggests "unacceptable," "disapproved," "unworthy," "spurious," "worthless," "cast away." This word's meaning is illustrated by the following verses:

Romans 1:28: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased [adókimon] mind, to do those things which are not fitting.

Titus 1:16: They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified [adókimoi] for every good work.

Hebrews 6:7-8: For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected [adókimos] and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

Being disqualified or rejected is the opposite of having Jesus Christ dwell in us; it is being unfit or unworthy of His presence in us. In other words, a disqualified person is cut off from God! This is the worst possible outcome of a Christian's life: to return to a life of sin and have so much pride that he or she rejects salvation and all that comes with it! God's Word clearly shows that it can happen (see Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31)!

Regular self-examination is a proven way to make sure that it does not happen to us!”  From: https://www.theberean.org/index.cfm/main/default/id/6797/ver/NKJV/2-corinthians-13-5.htm    To learn more, see: What Does 'Examine Yourselves' Mean?

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How to Fight Against Cancer | 12 Anti-Angiogenic Foods

The Biblical Nutritionist     152K subscribers

“My mom was diagnosed with cancer and the Doctors said there was nothing they could do. Here’s how we fought cancer and gave her 19 more years of adventure and travel with 12 anti-angiogenic foods! 

Cancer touches so many lives, in this video, I share with you my personal story dealing with cancer. Don’t lose hope. I’m on mission to keep you on mission! I want you to be confident in the kitchen so you can feel confident, understand how your body works and understand how much God loves you!”  YouTube:  https://youtu.be/DxKCZ5UvPhI

Also, Watch my video on the importance of Routine Blood Work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCRiP...

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Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Origin of the Jack-o’-Lantern. Go the Extra Mile. Bleach-Free Pumpkins

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The Origin of the Jack-o’-Lantern

The Origin of the Jack-o’-Lantern“The jack-o’-lantern is now associated with the holiday of Halloween. Where did this mysterious symbol come from? What should we do with that knowledge?

Where did the jack-o’-lantern come from?

The childhood of many a person has been haunted by a dark, headless figure on a horse holding a flaming jack-o’-lantern. Washington Irving’s classic horror story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” has intrigued and terrified millions for over 200 years.

Interestingly, Washington Irving never mentioned his dark rider bearing a jack-o’-lantern. The author only referred to a shattered pumpkin found the morning after the main character’s disappearance. Adaptations of Irving’s story since then have made the famous pumpkin into the glowing jack-o’-lantern that we all imagine today. Since that fateful connection, the pumpkin with a sinister grin has become an integral part of Halloween.

But where exactly did the jack-o’-lantern come from, and what made it fit in so well with this haunting story and the holiday of Halloween?

Why carve up pumpkins?

The origin of the jack-o’-lantern goes back several centuries, starting with pagan customs that predated even the term jack-o’-lantern. In the dark woods of Ireland, England and Scotland, the Celts ruled. In their religion, the shortening days of autumn indicated the merging of the spirit world with our physical world. This merging was believed to fully happen on their holiday of Samhain (pronounced sah-win) on the night of Oct. 31.

Because of this terrifying belief, the Celts prepared for this time when they believed the spirits of the dead wandered the earth. They imagined that some of the spirits just wandered around, while others were vengeful spirits.

People were mostly defenseless against these dreaded spirits, except for the use of costumes and root vegetables such as turnips with carved faces. To add to the effect, they were “then illuminated by coal, wooden embers, or candles as a way to ward off evil spirits” (Merriam-Webster.com, “The History of ‘Jack-O’-Lantern’”). Displaying these ghastly vegetables was said to keep the spirits from visiting a person’s property.

English historian Ronald Hutton states that root vegetables were “hollowed out to act as lanterns and often carved with grotesque faces,” in association with Samhain, later known as Halloween, in the Celtic part of the world (The Stations of the Sun, 1996).

Eventually, the Roman Empire took over and “christianized” this pagan festival of Samhain, creating All Saints’ Day Nov. 1, with All Hallows Eve (Halloween) the night before. As Irish celebrants eventually moved to the United States, some of the ancient practices came with them. In the United States, the pumpkin was abundant and quickly became the vegetable of choice for carving.

But why call it a “jack-o’-lantern”?

There are various ideas about where the name “jack-o’-lantern” comes from. Britannica in its article “Why Do We Carve Pumpkins at Halloween?” states that it started with the Irish tale of Stingy Jack, who tricked the devil. When he died, the story goes, the deceitful Jack was not allowed to go to heaven due to the life that he had lived. The devil, however, wouldn’t allow him to enter his domain either.

Jack-o’-lanterns may appear fun now, but they have a very dark past that involved pagan worship and an attempt to keep roaming spirits away. To God, anything associated with any of those pagan customs cannot be tolerated in any way, shape or form.Destined to restlessly roam the earth forever, the spirit of Jack was given a burning ember by Satan. Placing that ember in a carved-out turnip, Jack wandered the countryside with his ghastly lantern. The superstitious Celts believed that mysterious swamp fires, called ignis fatuus, that actually occurred when decaying matter combusted, were evidence Jack’s spirit was roaming nearby. Over time, “Jack of the Lantern” became shortened to “jack-o’-lantern.”

Carved turnips and other vegetables were placed in the window at night to ward off Jack and other unwanted spirits. Naturally, the ghostly tale of Jack of the Lantern came to be associated with Halloween and added to the allure of the dark holiday.

According to History.com, when the Scots and Irish migrated to the United States, they used the abundant pumpkins to ward off evil spirits and celebrate Halloween (“How Jack O’Lanterns Originated in Irish Myth”).

Another, less dramatic, theory for the origin of the name is that a night watchman was generically known as “Jack” (similar to our phrase “John Doe”) and was called a “jack-o’-lantern.” How a night watchman would become associated with the Halloween holiday isn’t clearly explained, so the legend of Stingy Jack seems to be the more likely origin of the term.

What does God think of jack-o’-lanterns?

Many today think that jack-o’-lanterns are cute or fun symbols of a holiday celebrated by many Christians, Halloween. (For more about the origin of Halloween, read “Halloween: Should Christians Celebrate It?”) The symbolism in the minds of some has even changed from one of horror and wandering spirits to one of community, according to National Geographic.

Admittedly, very few will set out jack-o’-lanterns this year hoping to scare off evil spirits. Probably no one will do it in honor of Stingy Jack. Does that mean the symbol has been cleaned up and is okay to use?

Some pagan religions, including Wicca, do still use jack-o’-lanterns for their originally intended purpose.

However, the ultimate question is, What does God think of people using jack-o’-lanterns?

God warns us to avoid spirits or anything associated with them (Leviticus 19:31). He abhors witchcraft and pagan religions, as well as any of the dark arts that delve into an evil spirit world.

God also has strong words to say about mixing His true religion with false and pagan practices: “Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:30-31).

New Call-to-actionJack-o’-lanterns may appear fun now, but they have a very dark past that involved pagan worship and an attempt to keep roaming spirits away. To God, anything associated with any of those pagan customs cannot be tolerated in any way, shape or form.

God knows the origin of the jack-o’-lantern and will not have anything to do with it. What will you do now that you know the origin of the jack-o’-lantern?”  From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/plan-of-salvation/holy-days-vs-holidays/halloween/origin-jack-o-lantern/?

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Matthew 5:41   Go the Extra Mile

(41) And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.

  • New King James Version

“In this passage, Christ addresses the Roman practice of commandeering civilians or their property (mules, horses, oxen, camels, carts, wagons, etc.) to carry the luggage or other burden of military personnel for, in this case, one mile.

Evidently, the practice did not originate with the Romans but with the Persians. As there were no post offices at the time, and in order that royal orders might reach their destination quickly, Cyrus set up a system not unlike our Pony Express. A rider in this service was empowered to take a civilian's horse (usually his best or only horse), if his was worn out or lame. In addition, he could press a boat, cart, or any other vehicle into the king's service.

In recent centuries, this practice, often used to force seamen into the service of another nation's ships, has been called impressment. In America's Revolutionary War period, British ships would often intercept other nations' ships and force any American sailors found on them to work for the Royal Navy. In Roman times, a man could have worked all day, his family waiting for him to come in from his fields, and suddenly, a Roman soldier could order him to carry a heavy load for a mile.

No one likes to be made to do someone else's work. At the very least, we are apt to complain, argue, or simply refuse to be so used. Being compelled to engage in "community service" by law or by might is demeaning and perhaps unjust. But Jesus tells us to take the sting out of the situation by being willing to carry such a burden an extra mile in a cheerful attitude.

In a similar vein, Solomon advises, "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you" (Proverbs 25:21-22). Jesus says something very similar in His subsequent teaching (Matthew 5:44-45). Being struck, sued, or forced to carry a heavy load can bring out the worst in human nature: anger, resentment, outrage, and even violence. But when those who have been called find themselves in difficult and trying circumstances, their attitude must not be belligerent, spiteful, or vengeful, but helpful, willing, and good-natured. "Above and beyond" must be their motto.”

— John O. Reid.  To learn more, see:  Go the Extra Mile  From: https://www.theberean.org/index.cfm/main/default/id/7345/ver/NKJV/matthew-5-41.htm

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Bleach-Free Pumpkins

“People spend a lot of time and effort on their jack-o’-lanterns and want them to last as long as possible, so some use bleach to preserve them and deter animals from snacking on them.

But bleach is dangerous to wildlife.

Squirrels, raccoons, and deer are just a few animals who may nibble on your masterpiece.

A great alternative to bleach is vinegar. Use one part vinegar to 10 parts water to help preserve your pumpkin.”  From:  https://therainforestsite.greatergood.com/clicktogive/ars/home

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