Monday, December 27, 2021

How Much Pagan Is Too Pagan? Commercialized Holidays, Is There an Alternative? Are Acid-Blocking Drugs Safe?


How Much Pagan Is Too Pagan?

Christianity in Progress: How Much Pagan Is Too Pagan?“As Christians, how should we approach an activity, tradition or object that has pagan origins? God’s Word gives us a clear path forward.

Bad news:  That thing you love? It has pagan origins.

Worse news:   Pretty much everything has pagan origins.

What does God expect you to do about it?

“Do not inquire about their gods”

Just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land to claim their inheritance, God gave them a warning:

“When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’

“You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, English Standard Version).

The Promised Land was filled with pagan nations who served false gods, and in the names of those gods, the people had done “every abominable thing that the LORD hates” — up to and including the ritual sacrifice of their own flesh and blood. In no uncertain terms, God was letting the Israelites know that foreign religious practices were utterly incompatible with the worship of the one true God.

Worshipping God means worshipping Him the way He wants us to do it. “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it” (verse 32, ESV).

The problem with Christmas and Easter

That’s why Christians who study passages like these conclude they aren’t supposed to celebrate holidays like Christmas and Easter.

It’s fairly common knowledge that these holidays are built around a smorgasbord of pagan religious customs. The trees, the lights, the rabbits, the eggs—they’re all pagan practices with a new coat of paint.

The argument in favor of these days is almost always that they’ve been repurposed—that, yes, those customs were pagan once, but now they glorify Jesus Christ.

But God does not accept repurposed worship. He does not accept a new coat of paint on “every abominable thing that the LORD hates.” If we worship Him by willfully adopting repurposed pagan customs, He rejects that worship.

If we persist, He rejects us.

Does God hate groves? What about raisin cakes?

But it’s easy to wonder how far that prohibition extends. Historically, God’s people have always been in the minority—which means that just about everything around us could have a pagan origin.

There are two important principles to extract from God’s instruction in Deuteronomy 12:

  1. Do not incorporate pagan customs of worship into your life.
  2. The worship is the problem. The objects involved might not be.

God said, “Do not inquire about their gods,” and “you shall not worship the LORD your God in that way” (verses 30-31, ESV). Those are the boundary lines. God isn’t telling us to throw out everything pagans have ever touched. He’s telling us to throw out their methods of worship. For example:

Pagans often used groves of trees as sacred sites for the worship of their gods, which often included ritual prostitution (Hosea 4:13-14). Does that mean Christians should avoid orchards or never plant trees of their own? No. God gave His people groves (Joshua 24:13). The trees aren’t the problem—the problem is what the pagans were doing among the trees.

Pagans also baked raisin cakes and gave them as offerings to their gods (Hosea 3:1). Should Christians avoid adding raisins to their baked goods? Again, no. There’s nothing spiritually wrong with adding raisins to cakes. There is something wrong with baking a raisin cake as an offering to God. It’s not the way He tells us to worship Him.

Should Christians avoid yoga or not?

But those are ancient examples. Here’s a more modern one:


Yoga is an incredibly contentious topic in Christian circles. It originated in India and plays an important role in Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. Practitioners of these religions believe they can use yoga to expand their consciousness, bring their spiritual energies into alignment, overcome suffering, and attain enlightenment and oneness with the ultimate reality of the universe. Many times, these goals are pursued through various stretches.

These are, without a doubt, pagan spiritual practices that Christians should absolutely avoid.

But what about the stretches themselves? Is stretching a problem? Are yoga stretches something Christians should avoid?

The difference between forbidden and acceptable

It’s the same principle as the groves and the raisin cakes:

God has no problem with you stretching your muscles.

He does have a problem with you doing stretches to try and realign your spiritual energy or tap into a cosmic consciousness.

And there’s the dividing line:

Are you including forms of pagan worship in your life, or aren’t you?

Groves are fine. Raisin cakes are fine. Stretching is fine. We don’t avoid eggs just because they play a role in Easter traditions. We don’t avoid gingerbread just because it’s a common part of Christmas.

(Of course, the Bible tells us to be careful not to “wound” or “defile” our consciences. If we’re uncomfortable with something or feel it will send the wrong message to others, we should stay away from it—see 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14:23.)

What God does have a problem with and, in fact, forbids is taking those individual pieces and using them the way the pagans did. We don’t worship in the groves. We don’t bake the raisin cakes as offerings to God. We don’t stretch to align our chakras. We don’t paint eggs and try to find them during Easter. And we don’t decorate gingerbread houses for Christmas.

God doesn’t tolerate using those pagan symbols to worship Him.

Next time you discover that something in your life has pagan origins, ask yourself: “Does this thing have its roots in a form of worship God forbids? And if so, am I allowing it to have spiritual influence in my own life?”

If the answer is yes, then our only option is to get rid of it. When it comes to worshipping God, even a little pagan is too much pagan.”

(Read more about this subject in our article “History of Wedding Rings.”)


Does it Matter Which Holidays You Celebrate?

Suggestions welcome.   This article was written at a reader’s suggestion. If you’d like to suggest a topic for future editions of “Christianity in Progress,” you can do so anonymously at We look forward to hearing from you!”


Commercialized Holidays, Is There an Alternative?

“We sincerely hope that in the very near future you and your children will learn more about God's Holy Days and begin observing them rather than Halloween and other days of pagan origin that are of no value for teaching spiritual truths.

The claim is now circulating that money spent on observing Halloween is second only to that spent on celebrating Christmas.

Actually, all popular holidays are now commercialized. Money is driving this artificial popularity. Without holiday advertising, retail profits would plummet.

But as it is, lots of people spend lots of money on holidays.

For Halloween, mega-bucks are spent on candy, costumes, carnivals, decorations, booze and extravagant high-tech haunted houses.

MSN Money reports (9/15/09), "Halloween is now, behind Christmas, the second biggest retail holiday in America. Americans are expected to spend over $7 billion this year on costumes, candy, attending parties and much more. Over the past three years, the popularity of Halloween has tripled …"

Of all the holidays in the Western world, Halloween—a holiday that celebrates nothing positive or noble—is having the greatest increase in popularity!

Surge in adult partying and masquerading!

Adult partying on Halloween has been rapidly increasing since the 1980's.

Halloween is now the third biggest adult party day of the year—behind only New Year's Eve and Super Bowl Sunday. Money spent on adult costumes may now be surpassing money spent on children's costumes!

For decades, adult partying on Halloween has been popular among those who actively subscribe to in the gay lifestyle. One participant, in an online article titled "Halloween: The Great Gay Holiday" says "Halloween's appeal to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities … has a lot to do with … our propensity for cross-dressing and gender-bending… and our special capacity to have fun. [We] cherish it…" (posted October 27, 2008, The Bilerico Project).

The origin of Halloween

The ancient Celts regarded November 1 as the start of a new year, also as an annual holiday called Samhain.

October 31 was New Year's Eve! That night was considered the night of the dead, when spirits of the wicked dead were believed to haunt the living. People would leave offerings of food and drink at their front doors to appease the unfriendly ghosts and demons. So the origin of "trick or treat" is the pagan belief that evil spirits had the equivalent of a modern protection racket—"you give food or we break your leg!"

Church leaders adopt pagan practices

To Christianize the pagans Roman Christianity took the easy approach of relabeling pagan days and practices! They reasoned that the converts could continue observing their old ways if they used them to honor the God of the Bible. That is how many pagan days and practices acquired Christian labels!

And it is how the pagan festival Samhain came be relabeled as All Saints Day or All Hallows Day. Thus, the night before became All Hallows Even, later contracted to Hallowe'en — and is now just Halloween. Its purpose was to placate the not-so-hallowed spirits—the demonic or evil spirits. That is why a witch's costume is so popular for Halloween evening.

Does it matter to God?

To those who don't consider what God thinks, the origins of Halloween would probably seem irrelevant. What would matter most to them is, "Is it fun?"

But for those who believe in God's Word it's a different story! The Bible says specifically that God detests pagan religious customs (Galatians 4:8-10).

According to the Bible our ultimate destiny depends on pleasing God. And the only real authority on what pleases God is the Bible.

God's Holy Days rather than unholy holidays

Four of God's festivals that God originally gave Old Testament Israel and were kept by Jesus Christ, Paul and the early Church occur in the fall.

These special festivals that have been observed by God's people down through the ages—including members of the United Church of God—are the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day.

God designated these deeply meaningful days to teach important truths about His great master plan as well as for worshipping and enjoying fellowship and wholesome activities with other likeminded believers.

The Day of Atonement pictures, among other things, the momentous time when Christ will remove the worldwide influence of the real evil spirits — Satan and the demons (Revelation 12:9; 18:2; 20:1-3).

We sincerely hope that in the very near future you and your children will learn more about God's Holy Days and begin observing them rather than Halloween and other days of pagan origin that are of no value for teaching spiritual truths.

To get started in that learning process, simply request, download or read online our free, highly informative booklets: Holiday or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? and Is There Really a Devil?”               From:


Are Acid-Blocking Drugs Safe?

Do the benefits outweigh the risks for acid-blocker drugs (proton pump inhibitors like Nexium/Prilosec/Prevacid)? What about baking soda?

See video at:

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Dyspepsia is the medical term for upset stomach. After eating, your stomach may hurt, or you feel bloated, nauseous, overly full, belching. “Despite the high prevalence of the disorder, there are no approved treatments for” it in the Western world. This leads people to seek out alternatives like baking soda, which the manufacturer promotes for use for “upset stomach.”

The problem is that “[i]t contains sodium bicarbonate and [therefore] has the potential for significant toxicity when ingested in excessive amounts,” potentially resulting “in serious electrolyte and acid/base imbalances.”

The labels were modified in 1990 to include the warning, “Do not administer to children under age 5,” because of reports of “seizure and respiratory depression.” Even just “a pinch” may be too much for an infant, and even just a few large spoonfuls could be fatal in a child.

Another new addition is the “stomach warning,” stressing the importance of not taking the product “when overly full with food or drink.” Why not? Well, if you’re familiar with scholastic science fair volcanoes, they’re baking soda and vinegar, right? Baking soda and acid, like what’s in your stomach. “This warning was added at the request of the [FDA] because of multiple case reports of spontaneous gastric rupture,” where people’s stomachs burst.

But, exploding stomachs aside, even just sticking to the suggested dose may still cause adverse effects. So, baking soda cannot be recommended, especially in “young children, pregnant women, alcoholics, and those who are on diuretics”—common blood pressure medications sometimes referred to as water pills.

What about acid-blocking drugs like Nexium or Prilosec? They work better than sugar pills, but not by much—helping 31% of dyspepsia sufferers, compared to 26% helped by placebo. In other words, 5% better than nothing. These so-called proton pump inhibitors “have…been extremely lucrative for the pharmaceutical industry,” raking in billions a year, but now that we have these massive computerized databases of patients, we can start to evaluate some of their “possible long term adverse effects.” For example: possible increased pneumonia, bone fractures, intestinal infections, heart disease, kidney failure, “and even all-cause mortality.” “The latest concern [to surface] has been the association between [the use of these drugs] and [the] risk of dementia.”

The problem with all these studies just showing associations, though, is that you can’t prove cause and effect. Maybe taking the drugs didn’t make people sick. Maybe being sick made people take the drugs. So, maybe it’s not that these drugs are the cause of these infections, fractures, death, and dementia; it’s just that they may instead be a marker for being sicker. But, there are potential mechanisms by which these drugs could have some of these effects. For example, here’s the death data. The longer people are exposed to these drugs, the higher their apparent risk of dying prematurely. But, like how could suppressing acid production in the stomach increase mortality, which is mostly like heart disease? Well, suppressing acid isn’t the only thing these drugs do. They may also cause a reduction in nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that makes the open-sesame molecule that helps keep our arteries healthy.

In terms of dementia, a key event in the development of Alzheimer’s disease is the accumulation of these plaques of a sticky protein called amyloid beta. And if you just stick Alzheimer’s-like cells in a petri dish, and drip on increasing levels of the drug Prevacid, the cells start churning out more amyloid. And the same thing with Prilosec or Losec, Protonix, and Nexium.

Now, just because something happens in a petri dish or mouse model doesn’t mean it happens in a person. But, most studies to date have found this link between dementia risk with the use of these drugs—including the largest such study to date, involving tens of thousands of patients, that concluded that avoiding the chronic use of these drugs “may [help] prevent the development of dementia.” Though an alternative explanation of the link is aluminum exposure, which itself may play a role in dementia. So, maybe those using acid-blocking drugs have heartburn or something, and so are also using more aluminum-containing antacids, and that’s actually the real culprit? We still don’t know.

What we do know is that there’s “an almost cultish faith in [stomach] acid suppression” as some kind of medical panacea, which “has led to progressive escalation of…dosage and potency” of these drugs, all the while “mounting evidence” suggests these drugs may cause a variety of “adverse effects” and are “overprescribed.”

How overprescribed? “[T]he rate of inappropriate use of these drugs” is about half. Half the people on the drugs shouldn’t even be on them. “These rates are…worrying, because they mean that [these drugs] are prescribed for” things they shouldn’t even be prescribed for, meaning there aren’t even proven benefits to outweigh the risks."  From Video at:


Monday, December 20, 2021

Christmas Is Not a Christian Holiday. Keeping Family When You Don't Keep Christmas. Honor God, Don't Keep Christmas. Why These Doctors Don't Recommend Dairy.




Four Reasons Christmas Is Not a Christian Holiday

“Millions around the world celebrate Christmas every year. But is Christmas Christian? Read on to learn why Christmas is not a Christian holiday.

As millions of people around the world decorate trees, wrap and give gifts, and tell their children the story of Santa Claus—a fundamental question must be answered. Is Christmas really “Christian”?

Because of the attention paid to the story of Christ’s birth and the carols celebrating the baby Jesus, many may be shocked at this time of year to hear a Christian say:

“I don’t celebrate Christmas because it is not Christian to do so.”

There are people who object to Christmas because of its association with Christianity (some call this “the war on Christmas”). But it is not just non-Christians who object to Christmas. Many Christians do as well (including the author of this post!).

Why would a Christian—someone who strongly believes that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior—make a conscious decision to reject Christmas?”

Continue Reading


Keeping Family When You Don't Keep Christmas

An old box of family photos.“What do you do when your relationship with God seems to collide with your relationship with your family?

Let’s be honest—saying no to Christmas feels like saying no to family, right? All of the intellectual knowledge about the true origins of Christmas doesn’t keep your heart from breaking when someone asks, “Don’t you want to be with your family?”

What do you do when your relationship with God seems to collide with your relationship with your family? Tell your family you’re giving up Christmas, and you’ll find out rather quickly.

Four years ago this Thanksgiving, I decided to stop keeping Christmas. I’d bought airline tickets months before to go home for the holidays, so I went. As best as I could, I tried not to acknowledge Christmas while still honoring everyone around me who was celebrating it. No one knew how to act, including me. It was awkward for all of us. When I was told that I didn't have to come home for Christmas the following year, it was both a relief and a punch in the gut.

Why does it sometimes feel wrong to say no to Christmas, even though you know you should? For many people, Christmas traditions are wrapped up in family. It’s often the family’s largest and most-anticipated gathering. Let’s be honest—saying no to Christmas feels like saying no to family, right? All of the intellectual knowledge about the true origins of Christmas doesn’t keep your heart from breaking when someone asks, “Don’t you want to be with your family?”

Learn more about the Feast days, and you'll see how very much family is on God's mind.

I couldn’t put it into words at the time, but the root of my struggle was, “How do I maintain relationship with my family and be true to my beliefs?” It is possible, and it doesn’t involve Christmas.

There are two points to consider. One, family relationships are about more than just a single day. And two, God has a bigger plan for family than you may realize.

How do you build a relationship with your family outside of trees, tinsel, and presents? Some people join their extended family for lunch or dinner and leave before gifts and other Christmas traditions, and that works well for them. I live many hours away from my family, so dropping in for dinner is not really practical. Since long-distance visits are usually for a few days at a time, I don't spend Christmas with my family. It's more respectful to them, so that they can observe the practices they enjoy without awkwardness, and I'm not caught in the middle of practices that I don’t want to keep. Instead, I spend that time with my Church family, because, frankly, it can be very lonely to un-keep Christmas all by yourself.

Throughout the year, I make a point to spend time with my family at other opportunities that are meaningful to all of us: Thanksgiving, birthdays, a summer family gathering, and other special events such as graduations and weddings. I make an effort to see them more often than before so they don't feel I'm pulling away from them. It's Christmas I've rejected, not them. You can keep the commandment to honor your parents and not keep their desire for Christmas.

You should be able to answer why you are choosing not to keep Christmas. My answer is, "God has spelled out His holidays in the Bible and how to keep them, so now I keep those instead."

God’s holidays, His holy festivals as described in Leviticus 23, illustrate the greatest story ever told—a story that features Jesus in the starring role. But His birth is only a small part of that story. Christmas misses most of the action and the dramatic conclusion. God has created special opportunities for you and your family to celebrate together throughout the year and remember the incredible story He is telling.

Learn more about the Feast days, and you'll see how very much family is on God's mind. God is all about family, and His days reveal more about the plan of salvation for all mankind than Christmas traditions ever could. Man’s holidays are a poor substitute for what God has in mind for you and your family: to be part of His family, together.

Do you want to start observing God's Feast days? Start by learning how Christians observe the biblical festivals.
Read "A Guide to God's Holy Days".

The first year is the hardest, but you’ll find a groove that works. You are not alone. While your journey is uniquely yours, there are many people who walk with you, all sorting out how to keep family without keeping Christmas.”   From:


Honor God, Don't Keep Christmas

Honor God, Don't Keep Christmas

Wikimedia Commons/Malene Thyssen

“Honor God, Don't Keep Christmas

For several years after becoming aware of the pagan associations, I still thought it was okay to keep Christmas. My intentions were good. I wanted to honor Christ. But is having good intentions good enough?

After studying Scripture, I came to realize that celebrating a day rooted in ancient paganism, no matter how pure my intentions were, was an insult to God.

One of my favorite scriptures is Deuteronomy 12:32. “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32).

Also consider two other scriptures. “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2). “Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6).

In Jeremiah, God tells us not to learn the customs of others. He calls them “worthless.” “Do not learn the ways of the nations…for the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.  They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter” (Jeremiah 10:1-4, New International Version).

Man made Christmas, not God.  Let’s honor God by not associating ourselves with Christmas.”  From:


Why These Doctors Don't Recommend Dairy | The Exam Room

Short  version:

“Convinced that you need to drink milk to build strong bones or meet protein needs? In a new episode of The Exam Room, doctors and dietitians debunk popular milk myths and explain why they don't recommend dairy products to their patients.”  YouTube:

Long version:  What the Dairy Industry Doesn't Want You to Know 



Sunday, December 12, 2021

When Light Penetrates the Darkness. A Christmas Tree or Not? The Art of Selling Slow Poisons.


When Light Penetrates the Darkness

“This is what penetrates the darkness of this season of the year.

I edited an article recently about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), where people fight depression due to the change in seasons. It is a widespread problem. Fortunately, there are work-arounds to help us cope. In the ancient world, at this time of year it grew very dark. There was no electricity. The shortened days were cold. Bonfires were lit to penetrate the darkness and give warmth. The work-around then was to develop religious rites to worship the sun and other elements.

The significance of this winter solstice event was to become the foundation for today’s Christmas celebration. Notice this quote from a history of this festival:

"The time of the winter solstice has always been an important season in the mythology of all peoples. The sun, the giver of life, is at its lowest ebb. It is [the] shortest daylight of the year; the promise of spring is buried in cold and snow. It is the time when the forces of chaos that stand against the return of light and life must once again be defeated by the gods. At the low point of the solstice, the people must help the gods through imitative magic and religious ceremonies. The sun begins to return in triumph. The days lengthen and, though winter remains, spring is once again conceivable. For all people, it is a time of great festivity" (Gerard and Patricia Del Re, The Christmas Almanac, 1979, page 15).

This cosmic battle between forces is found throughout Christmas origins from culture to culture. Notice this:

“Although Christmas had been officially established in Rome by the fourth century, later another pagan celebration greatly influenced the many Christmas customs practiced today. That festival was the Teutonic feast of Yule (from the Norse word for ‘wheel,’ signifying the cycle of the year). It was also known as the Twelve Nights, being celebrated from Dec. 25 to Jan. 6.

“This festival was based on the supposed mythological warfare between the forces of nature—specifically winter (called the ice giant), which signified death, vs. the sun god, representing life. The winter solstice marked the turning point: Up until then the ice giant was at his zenith of power; after that the sun god began to prevail.

"As Christianity spread to northern Europe, it met with the observance of another pagan festival held in December in honour of the sun. This time it was the Yule-feast of the Norsemen, which lasted for twelve days. During this time log-fires were burnt to assist the revival of the sun. Shrines and other sacred places were decorated with such greenery as holly, ivy, and bay, and it was an occasion for feasting and drinking” (L.W. Cowie and John Selwyn Gummer, The Christian Calendar, 1974, page 22).

Scripture tells us there is spiritual warfare occurring beyond what we can see. There is nothing mythological about this. These entrenched pagan customs endured for centuries across the ancient world. The Christian faith that grew out of the original Church founded by Christ and the apostles encountered this culture, and instead of conquering, it was conquered and overwhelmed by the lure of this intoxicating brew of sight, sound and sensuality. All this is at the heart of what we see around us today. Pull back all the commercial trappings of this season, remove the veneer of Christian religion, and at the core of the season is still darkness, cold and evil cosmic forces vying for control of the heart of man—seeking to control the destiny of the world.

Those desiring to live the authentic, radical Christianity of the Bible must pull away from this false form of worship. More than that, we must recognize the power of the dark forces arrayed against us. We combat this with the truth of God. We are strengthened by the love of God. This is what penetrates the darkness of this season of the year.

Read this chapter, “Christmas: The Untold Story,” from our booklet, Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?


Jeremiah 10: A Christmas Tree or Not?

Transcript of YouTube:

[Darris McNeely] “The question has come in from a Beyond Today viewer regarding Jeremiah chapter 10 and what it says about bringing a tree in and decorating it with gold and silver, and whether or not that is talking about a Christmas tree.

[Steve Myers] It says some interesting things when you actually read what it says there in Jeremiah chapter 10. And it starts out I think in an amazing way in verse 2 by saying, and this is God talking, "Thus says the Lord, 'Do not learn the way of the Gentiles.'" Some versions say heathens. And then He goes on to say, "The customs of the peoples are useless. They're futile. One cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with an axe. They decorate it with silver and gold. They fasten it with nails, hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright like a palm tree. They cannot speak" (Jeremiah 10:2-5). So what exactly is it talking about? Some of those things, especially if you look at the holiday decorations start to sound pretty familiar.

[Darris McNeely] Matches up pretty closely, doesn't it, to what might, what is a Christmas tree and what Christmas decorations of gold and tinsel on a tree that's been cut down from the woods, at least in the traditional way, brought into a home, set up, and around which gifts are spread. It is very, very plain, and matches up with this. Now, some commentators on Jeremiah chapter 10 say that this is talking about a form of idolatry where a tree is cut, but then it is cut into a totem or an idol from that, and the axe is actually a skilled artisan carver that makes this into something different from and therefore cannot be applied to the idea of a modern Christmas tree.

But I think that the fact that Jeremiah here is talking about avoiding the practices of the heathen that then become idolatry and a part of worship that replaces something that is truthful was something that is wrong and pagan in place of God. I think that it still refer to what is being described here.

[Steve Myers] Absolutely applies in the sense that if you look into some of the practices of the pagans during this day, they did worship trees. They worshipped all kinds of things. They had a god for just about everything you could imagine. So when you look at the trees, especially at this time of the year, they're looking at the life that a green tree would bring. And that was a common practice back in that day as well.

[Darris McNeely] Yeah, they were cut. They were used in the middle of the winter time because they supposedly didn't die, still had life in them, and to represent the life that people wanted to gather around at this time of year in the darkest part of the winter. Those trees were a part of the practice of the ancient world, and yes they did migrate into other parts of the world including Northern Europe from which our modern customs in the United States and the Western world regarding a Christmas tree eventually were adopted. And yet they were still connected with pagan ideas and worship that did migrate from the exact part of the world Jeremiah is talking about where anciently green trees, evergreen trees, were even used in the winter time as a part of this type of worship.

[Steve Myers] And I think that's such an important point. Can you adopt a pagan principle? Can you adopt something from the Gentiles or heathens, those that don't know the true God, and somehow try to use that to honor God? Well, He says right here don't learn that way. Do not do that. That is not a way to honor God by adopting some other practice, and try to call it Christian. He says that's unacceptable. You can't do it.

[Darris McNeely] And so you're left with the question: does it really matter? And the answer is it does matter. And truth does matter and our worship and our relationship with God, we should worship Him in spirit and in truth and not according to the ways that are adopted from heathenism or paganism. That's what the scripture says. It does matter.”  From:


The Art of Selling Slow PoisonsThe 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.



Saturday, December 4, 2021

Can Christians Still Suffer Depression? Men Will Be Lovers Of Money! Should We All Take Aspirin To Prevent Heart Disease?


Can One Be a Christian and Still Suffer Depression?

A young man walking in a foggy forest.“No Christian is immune from depression. Is there anything we can do when anxiety, worry or depression threaten to engulf us?

Sebastian Pichler/Unsplash

Climbing out of depression can be likened to trying to climb out of a slippery pit. We can set off with good intentions and then slide back in. It's a long journey, but we must keep at it with God's help.

Clinical depression is a serious illness, with various physical, mental and social symptoms, which can incapacitate people. The levels of certain chemicals in the brain can contribute to the problem. Those suffering from severe or chronic depression should seek specialized counseling and medical guidance in addition to applying the biblical tools mentioned in this response.

Do not become discouraged if you cannot overcome depression or worry all at once. As the apostle Peter wrote, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" 

Depression, in more everyday terminology, usually refers to periods of unusual sadness, of prolonged fear or worry, or of feeling overwhelmed by stress or distress. The immediate response is often to forget past successes, to feel hopeless, vulnerable and to want to quit. No Christian is immune.

On occasion even some of the great men in the Bible suffered from depression. After a string of miracles and a long, close relationship with God, the prophet Elijah became prey to depression when Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him.

Elijah was tired following a long period of stress, and this probably exacerbated his sense of discouragement and hopelessness. Nonetheless, God did not want him to remain in this condition. In a quiet, compassionate way, God explained to Elijah what he could not see in his irrational state—that he was not alone and that God would continue to support him in the work he had to do. Read about Elijah's recovery in 1 Kings 19:1-18.

The book of Proverbs has much to say on depression and worry and offers useful guidance (see Proverbs 12:25; Proverbs 13:12; Proverbs 15:13; Proverbs 18:14). In Luke 12:22-31, Jesus Christ explained the futility of worry, a trait that often leads to depression. In verse 28 He highlighted one aspect of the problem when He referred to His disciples as "you of little faith."

For a Christian, depression (again, the more typical variety, not the physiological malady) sometimes may be an outgrowth of lack of faith in God. It would be easier for Christians if, following water baptism and the laying on of hands for the receipt of the Holy Spirit, we could all be immediately filled with faith, love and patience. But it doesn't happen that way. Instead, God expects us to develop these characteristics through experiences and even trials, just as we learn obedience to His law.

Christians should not remain in a depressive state. As God dealt with Elijah in the Old Testament, so He deals with Christians today through Jesus Christ. By His own suffering while here on earth, Jesus learned compassion for His people (Hebrews 4:14-16). He knows that we are weak and prone to fears, doubts and worry that can lead to depression. But He is always there to help when we are overburdened and promises to give us rest (Matthew 11:28-30).

In practical terms, is there anything we can do when anxiety, worry or depression threaten to engulf us? There is, but it takes mental effort and it often means noticing potential problems before they take hold.

The apostle Paul instructs us to be "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). When a fearful thought or a worry first enters your head, pray to God and ask Him for His help to dispel it. Do not give it either time or space to implant itself in your mind. This may be easier said than done at first, but with God's help, it does begin to work.

Prayer is a vital way of drawing close to God—as is the study of Scripture. Indeed, the Bible and its promises will help us to build faith. Paul pointed out that faith comes through hearing God's Word (Romans 10:17).

Paul also admonishes us, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things" (Philippians 4:8).

As Christians, we should be familiar with the promises God has made to us. Remember the great love the Father and Jesus Christ have shown us by providing a way by which we can be rescued from our sins. Meditating on these things can bring us comfort in times of sorrow. Read scriptures such as John 3:16-17; Luke 12:32; Romans 8:18-39 and Revelation 21:1-7.

Try actively imagining what the coming 1,000-year reign of Christ will be like, or the New Jerusalem in the eternal age beyond. Scriptures such as Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 35:1-10 and Revelation 21-22 may help here. You could even imagine yourself being there. However, we should never lose sight of present reality.

Always ask God the Father and Jesus Christ for their help. But also tap into the support of other Christians. Having someone whom you can phone, e-mail or text can be a valuable help. Maybe a friend could contact you from time to time, just to let you know you are not alone.

If you have Sabbath services in your area, go along and meet people. Get involved in something that does not add further stress or anxiety, but that improves your life. Physical activities such as jogging, walking, ballroom dancing, swimming and team sports can all help. Another huge help is to get involved in helping others. Doing so can help get our minds off of our own problems as we focus on serving others.

Do not become discouraged if you cannot overcome depression or worry all at once. As the apostle Peter wrote, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).

Climbing out of depression can be likened to trying to climb out of a slippery pit. We can set off with good intentions and then slide back in. It's a long journey, but we must keep at it with God's help. Christians are those growing to be like Christ, and we all still have much to learn.”   From: From:


Men Will Be Lovers Of Money!          How true!

2 Timothy 3:1-5

(1) But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: (2) For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, (4) traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”        New King James Version

“Self-centeredness will produce the crisis at the close of this age. Its evils will reach a climax that can be compared to the time just before the Flood or to Sodom and Gomorrah. Self-centeredness, everyone having his own perception of beauty and pursuing it to the nth degree, is the driving force behind the perilous time of the end. It will be a time that fits the description in Judges 21:25 when "everyone did what was right in his own eyes." During the period of the judges no one could provide central leadership because people said, "This is what I believe; this is what I'm going to follow."

So it will be at the end. People will abuse one another to possess the things they hold to be beautiful, like money or power. "[Men will be] . . . lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good" (II Timothy 3:2-3).

The concept of "men will be lovers of themselves" (verse 2) continues in verse 5: "Having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" Verse 7 identifies them further: these people are "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

Within God's warning of what it will be like at the end, He lists the traits that Christians must fight against when self-centeredness reaches its peak. But the Laodicean does not resist as he should, and that is his problem! Though converted, he has an attitude of self-centeredness, strong enough that his mind is diverted from more important spiritual concerns!”        From:


Should We All Take Aspirin To Prevent Heart Disease? 

The benefits of taking a daily aspirin must be weighed against the risk of internal bleeding.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin, has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory painkiller in the form of willow tree bark extract, which Hippocrates used to treat fever and to alleviate pain during childbirth. It became trademarked as a drug in 1899, and remains, to this day, probably “the most commonly used drug in the world.” One of the reasons it remains so popular, despite the fact that we have better painkillers now, is that it also acts as a blood thinner. Millions of people now “take aspirin on a daily basis to treat or prevent [heart] disease.”

It all started back in 1953, with the publication of this landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine: “Length of Life and Cause of Death in Rheumatoid Arthritis.” The paper started out with the sentence: “It has often been said that the way to live a long life is to acquire rheumatism.” They found fewer deaths than expected from accidents—which could be explained by the fact that people with arthritis probably aren’t out, you know, going skiing—but, also, significantly fewer deaths from heart attacks. Maybe, it was all the aspirin they were taking for their joints that was thinning their blood, and preventing clots forming in their coronary arteries, in their heart. And so, in the 1960s, there were calls to study whether aspirin would help those at risk for blood clots. And, in the 1970s, we got our wish—studies suggesting regular aspirin intake protects against heart attacks.

Today, the official recommendation is that low-dose aspirin is recommended for all patients with heart disease. But, in the general population, for those without a known history of heart disease or stroke, daily aspirin is only recommended when the heart disease benefits outweigh the risks of bleeding.

The bleeding complications associated with aspirin use may be considered “an underestimated hazard in clinical [medical] practice.” For those who’ve already had a heart attack, the risk/benefit analysis is clear. If you took 10,000 patients, daily low-dose aspirin use “would be expected to prevent approximately 250 major vascular events”—such as heart attacks, strokes, or, the most major event of all, death. But, that same aspirin would be expected to cause approximately 40 major extracranial bleeding events—meaning bleeding so bad you have to be hospitalized.

“Thus, the net benefit of aspirin for secondary prevention”—meaning like preventing your second heart attack—”would substantially exceed the bleeding hazard. For [every] 6 major vascular events prevented, [only about] 1 major bleeding event would occur.” So, “the value of aspirin for secondary prevention is not disputed.”

But, if you instead took 10,000 patients who had never had a heart attack or stroke—yet—and tried to use aspirin to prevent clots in the first place (so-called primary prevention), daily low-dose aspirin would only be expected to prevent seven major vascular events, at the cost of causing a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding within the brain), along with three other major bleeding events.

So then, the benefits are only like two to one, which is a little too close for comfort—which is why the new European guidelines do not recommend aspirin for the general population, especially given the additional risk of aspirin causing smaller bleeds within the brain as well.

If only there were a safe, simple, side effect-free solution. And, there is. Ornish and Esselstyn proved that even advanced crippling heart disease could not only just be prevented and treated, but reversed, with a plant-based diet, centered around grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, with nuts and seeds treated as condiments—and no oils, dairy, meat, poultry, or fish.

Bill Castelli, long-time director of the longest running epidemiological study in the world—the famous Framingham Heart Study—was once “asked what he would do to reverse the [coronary artery disease] epidemic if he were omnipotent. His answer? ‘Have the public eat the diet…described by Dr. T. Colin Campbell.” In other words, he told PBS, if Americans ate healthy enough, “the whole [heart disease epidemic] would disappear.” Though, Esselstyn clarifies, we’re not just talking about vegetarianism. “This new paradigm” of heart disease reversal means “exclusively plant-based nutrition.””