Sunday, January 28, 2024

Valentine's Day What's Wrong With Showing Love? How do I connect with God? Why did God change our diet?


Valentine's Day, What's Wrong With Showing Love?

A bundle of roses.

“Valentine's Day has become a very romantic holiday despite its pagan origins. So what's wrong with celebrating this holiday?


Valentine's Day is all about showing "love," giving a card or flowers or chocolates to a loved one. All of that's good, right? Wrong.

Valentine's Day is big business. According to the National Retail Foundation, Valentine's Day for 2012 added around $17.6 billion to the U.S. economy—making retail spending for this day the second-largest behind Christmas.

For a lot of people it's the holiday to express your love to someone special. According to Kemberly King, a business instructor at South University, young adults ages 25-34 spend the most on Valentine's Day gifts. Interestingly, men will outspend women—almost 2 to 1—with the biggest categories for all spending being restaurants, candy, romantic getaways and flowers.

A quick Web search for the origins of Valentine's Day will give you the basics of the accepted history of the day. A deeper search will acknowledge its pagan origins. The Good News magazine (sister publication of Vertical Thought) has published a variety of articles on both of these aspects of Valentine's Day. While Valentine's Day is the most promoted holiday after Christmas and Easter even among traditional Christian churches, it is definitely not a holiday with true Christian values.

How can "love" be wrong?

There's nothing wrong in showing love to others—after all, isn't that the most valued Christian characteristic? But what's been lost in how we go about it, and how we worship God for that matter, is whether we are actually following what God teaches in the Bible. It's like an automobile manufacturer tells you to put only gasoline in the fuel tank, but then you decide that diesel fuel is just as good! It just won't work.

Here's a quick review of the background of Valentine's Day—before exploring a deeper point about this holiday.

By most accepted historians, Valentine's Day was an adaptation by the Catholic Church of the ancient pagan Roman celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival. The Catholic Church updated and connected it to a "Saint" Valentine sometime late in the third century A.D. (though there is some confusion as to who this person actually was). It really took off commercially as a holiday in the late 1800s, promoted as a day to show your "love" to others—especially romantic love to your special someone.

So what's wrong with that? Here's the problem: Lupercalia was an immoral fertility festival also featuring gluttony and drunkenness. At the end of the festivities young men would draw the name of a young lady from a box and the two were considered a pair (sexually and otherwise) for the coming year.

As a festival Lupercalia was dedicated to the Roman god Pan, recognized as the god of fields, groves and wooded glens—and pictured as having the hindquarters, legs and horns of a goat. This pagan deity was connected to fertility and the season of spring. None of what is connected to the feast of Lupercalia is worthy of a Christian's observance.

But what's wrong with a little paganism?

What about showing love on Valentine's Day if I'm not doing it for pagan reasons? Isn't that okay? No, because the expression of that kind of "love" is still rooted in a former pagan holiday. True Christians must not adopt pagan festivals as holidays, for they are to strive to please God in everything they do.

Even when you think you're innocently observing a holiday like this, you're still advancing the origins and meanings of the day—especially from His perspective, as He certainly knows where it came from. God said not to do this. He told the Israelites entering the pagan land of Canaan:

"When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 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" (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, emphasis added).

When we merge pagan teachings with what God instructs through the Bible, we weaken the truth and violate God's clear command.

God's way is true love

Showing love as God instructs is not wrong—romantic love included. It's a good thing to express your love toward others through a card, flowers, dinner out or any number of other ways. But don't do it under the trappings of a pagan holiday like Valentine's Day! If someone is special to you, then do those things throughout the year rather than waiting until February 14th.

Our worship of God must first and foremost be according to His truth (John 4:24). Carryovers from pagan worship don't honor Him!

God is personified by the characteristic of love (1 John 4:8). Godly love is genuine outgoing concern for others as God would love them—not as a selfish love. Divine love is reflected in keeping God's commandments (1 John 5:3), including the Ten Commandments and instruction like that in Deuteronomy cited above. True Christians desire to faithfully observe God's own Holy Days (see Leviticus 23 for a list of them). Celebrating holidays like Valentine's Day in opposition to God's instruction does not honor or obey Him—no matter how well intentioned or innocent we believe it to be.

It does matter to God how we worship Him. He expects us to understand the difference between what He has declared holy and the profane teachings, customs and traditions masquerading as godly worship (Ezekiel 22:6).

For a more complete review of comparing traditional religious holidays to God's Holy Days, we recommend that you read our Bible study aid Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?”  From:


How do I connect with God?

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.” ~ Proverbs 8:17 

“We must be proactive, we must diligently reach out and seek God in order to find Him.  We need to literally make time to get to know Him because without a deliberate, conscious effort it will probably never happen.

How did you get to know your spouse?  You dated, right?  Did you just wake up one day and find yourself in a relationship?  No!  One of you specifically asked the other to go on a date so you could spend time with each other.  It's the only way to have a relationship with anyone, you must spend time with that person.  We get to know God personally through developing a deep, meaningful relationship by spending time with Him...and the best place to find Him is in His holy word.

Q: Why does it seem so hard to find the time?

A: Work, kids, breakfast, school, dance class, Little League, homework, meals, baths, chores, shopping, our social life…on and on!  These things can all get in the way. So now you must ask yourself, what do I want?  A hectic, chaotic life...or the peace found only in Christ?  We must prioritize our lives to include Him, make our daily reading as habitual as breakfast, and create a new habit.  We have to create a habit of going to our Bible, first thing, as soon as we get up every, single morning.

By starting my day off with praise (thanking Him for everything), worship (praying and conversing), and study (reading His Word) my day will always go smoother.  This is the thing that motivates me the most, the knowledge that my entire day will go better if I do this one little thing.

I’m just too busy…

BHave you prayed about it?ut, you might ask, how can I possibly fit one more thing into my already crazy schedule?  You need to start earlier.  Start out by getting up just ten minutes earlier and go directly to your Bible.  No-one is up, it's quiet, and it's just you and God…He will do the rest.  Talk to Him, ask Him to help you…He will.

After you do this for a while you can gradually increase your time.  How long is less important than being consistent every single day.  I try to spend an hour, I call it my power hour!  It’s the most important hour of my day.  This is when I get juiced up with the energy I need to get though the day.

Here's how I start every day.  I get up, go to the living room, sit down on my couch and I pray.  I tell Him I'm sorry for messing up and how grateful I am for another day.  I then tell Him everything that's troubling me.  So often we complain to everyone about all our problems but forget to talk to God about them.

"And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” ~ Matthew 21:22  bible read me

I then ask Him to guide me through my Bible reading and impress me with the things I need to know today.  I then sing a praise song or two, either one of my favorites or I just Google "praise songs" on YouTube and then sing along while I get a cup of coffee and start my day.

Why you ask, is it so important for me to have this daily devotion time every morning?  Why can't I just pray when I need something or when I have the time?  Ask yourself this one little question to find that answer.  How long would I stay married if I approached my relationship with my spouse in the same manner...  just called him/her when I needed something, or had some time to kill?

We must make our relationship with God our number one priority if we truly want to get closer to Him.  He surely made us His biggest priority.  Just think about what He gave up, how He suffered and died to have us with Him forever.

Make your life easier...

mornings are betterI'm gonna be honest here, some days I'm beat, I don't even feel like getting out of bed, let alone doing this devotional time.  And ya know what…these are the days that I need it the worst.  So I lay in bed and I pray.  I pray for the will to get up and do this.  I ask for the desire to just put one foot in front of the other to make it to the living room.  I then ask for Him to take the lead and help me through.  And He always does just that....and moreover, He's happy to do it.  What parent wouldn't be happy to help their child?

“And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.” ~ Jeremiah 29:13

Now that you know how to find God, how can you grow closer to Him?”



Why did God change our diet?

“And the woman said to the serpent, we may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, you shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” ~Genesis 3:2-3

“When you read the above verse, not much has changed. We are still listening to lies, and we are still defying Creator God with our disobedience. How sad is that?

So, why did God change our diet? He didn’t change our diet, per se, but rather added to it as was necessary due to our sin condition. God originally made our bodies to eat specific fruits (in the Garden of Eden). Then, He added vegetables (at the fall of man when Adam & Eve were kicked out of Eden). And finally, He added “clean meats” only after the flood because there were no vegetables or fruits available to eat.

But irregardless of what God has specifically created for us to eat, people still want what they want, they still want what God has told them not to eat! Just like Adam and Eve, they want what God has forbidden!

Shoud we eat a greasy hamburger?People want their fat-filled hotdogs and sausages, ham and cheese, bacon and eggs! They don’t want to hear what the Bible says, nope! However, if we choose to eat these unclean foods; things God has not made for food, we will eventually get sick. We really need to see the big picture here. We need to understand that certain creatures were created solely as environmental filters. If we eat these creatures, we are ingesting the toxins that are in the animals that God created as toxin filters.

Why would God make certain animals, and then tell us not to eat them? Let’s start with the bottom dwellers of the oceans for example. God made these creatures, not for food, but to filter the toxins out of the water. Clams and oysters, for example, filter the micro- contaminants from the water. Shrimp and crabs, lobsters and snails, as well as all the other things that live on the ocean floor, are there for clean up duty. They exist to eat the dead and decaying materials that sink to the bottom of the sea and to filter out the micro-contaminants as well.

Do you want to eat a water filter?What exactly do you really know about these sea creatures? They are bottom dwellers, they troll the bottom of the seabed sustaining themselves on fish waste, as well as dead stuff that sinks to the seafloor. And if all that isn't enough to make you want to stop eating shrimp and crabs, how about the scientific fact that because they are water filters, they are literally chock-full of toxins! And, if that still isn't enough to make you want to give up consuming these nasty little things, how about the fact that God clearly tells us not to eat any environmental filters?

Think of it this way, would we deliberately suck on a pool or aquarium filter? Of course not! Wouldn’t we also have an objection to not wanting to eat a rat or a mouse? Absolutely! But for whatever reason, we’re fine with eating other animals that are equally unclean.

God gives us a very specific list of do’s and dont's when it comes to foods, but we've been conditioned through generations of compromise to be okay with eating these unclean and unhealthy foods. We think we've somehow found a way to overrule God’s perfect plan for us. Crazy, huh?  We need to heed God's dietary commandments for our own good health, and learn how to eat clean!

What are clean and unclean meats…?

These dietary rules can be found in Genesis, Leviticus & Deuteronomy, but are mentioned throughout the Bible. According to the Bible, clean meat is defined as the meat of every animal that has a split, or cloven hoof in two, and chews the cud. Examples of clean meat include the ox (cattle), buffalo, sheep, goat, deer, gazelle, antelope and mountain sheep, just to name a few.

God gave us a long list of what to eat and, and, more importantly, what not to eat! God clearly tells us not to eat swine, in fact, He compares eating pork to eating rats and mice! And yet we continue to eat bacon, ham, sausage and so on. Would we ever eat a rat or a mouse? Of course not! God clearly tells us not to eat these things because they are scavengers, as are pigs as well. Also, they do not have sweat glands which makes them even more toxic because they are incapable of expressing toxins from their bodies.

Seeing God’s word play-out in the Bible is a great way to understand why He did certain things. And even more amazing, is how somethings happened  before God ever mentioned them as laws.

For example, let’s take the story of Noah’s ark. How many of each animal did he take into the ark? Two? That's only partially correct. Genesis 7:2 tells us that God instructed him to take seven of each "clean" animal into the ark, revealing that the distinction between clean and unclean animals actually predates the dietary laws that God gave Moses on Mount Sinai, by centuries. These examples clearly show us that God knew all along what would and wouldn’t be acceptable for us to eat, as well as the fact that He would be adding to our diet. And more importantly, is the fact that the science surrounding these toxins never changes, nor does the law of God!

​“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified.”   ~Romans 2:12-13

​Q: Are you ready to eat as God specifies?”  From:


Sunday, January 21, 2024

Should You Keep Valentine’s Day? 5 Reasons NOT to Celebrate Valentine's Day. How Much Added Sugar Is Too Much?


Should You Keep Valentine’s Day?

Should You Keep Valentine’s Day?“On Feb. 14, couples around the world will express their love through Valentine’s Day gifts. But many deeply devoted Christian couples will not. Should you?

I recently returned from a pastoral trip visiting congregations of the Church of God in Ghana. Since I returned to the United States, it seems like every time I turn on a radio (mostly when I’m in the car) or see ads in the newspaper or on TV, I’m encouraged to buy flowers, candy, “unique gifts” or even a brand-new car for “someone special” for Valentine’s Day.

I have not observed Valentine’s Day for over 40 years. Why do my wife and I, as well as thousands of Christians around the world, choose not to observe this seemingly innocent, romantic holiday?

Pagan origins

The details surrounding the origins of Valentine’s Day can be a bit muddy, but without a doubt it originated in pagan festivals focused on fertility rites. Most authoritative historical sources will cite the pagan Roman festival of Lupercalia as the genesis of the modern celebration. That three-day celebration was focused on purification, fertility and “love” (read that as sexual lust) among the young, single Roman population.

Most authoritative historical sources will cite the pagan Roman festival of Lupercalia as the genesis of the modern celebration. After sacrifices had been made (apparently both goats and dogs figured prominently in these sacrifices), bachelors would draw the names of young single women from an urn, and then they would be paired together for a year. In some cases these pairings would result in marriage, but not always. As Clyde Kilough, editor of Discern magazine, states on a Life, Hope & Truth video commentary, “The pagans knew how to mix a lot of illicit sex into their religious celebrations.”

Sometime before A.D. 500, the Catholic Pope Gelasius I “Christianized” the celebration by transforming it from a celebration of pagan fertility into a focus on a “Christian” saint. Valentine was the one chosen to be so honored (apparently, there were multiple Catholic saints with that name).

However, the “Christianized” celebration retained its focus on “love” and sex, including images of Cupid, the Roman god of love. Cupid was originally depicted to have sharpened his arrows of love on a grindstone whetted with the blood of an infant. That repulsive imagery was gradually replaced with a more commercially suitable image of a cute, pudgy baby during the 1800s.

To learn more about the origins of Valentine’s Day, read “Valentine’s Day Is Pagan? So What?

Should Christians keep Valentine’s Day today?

Fast-forward to today. While many people generally understand the pagan origins of this celebration, they really don’t see a problem with keeping it as a day to send romantic gifts to their significant other. After all, it is a “harmless” holiday all about love, romance and sweetness toward that someone special in your life; how could that possibly be wrong?

The answer comes from some rather straightforward warnings in the Scriptures:

“Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 8:19). To be clear, participating in Valentine’s Day is involving ourselves in the ancient worship practices of “other gods”—not the true God.

God doesn’t want His people adding pagan practices from other religions:

“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. … Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:30-32).

Some may want to argue that Valentine’s Day isn’t really that religious anymore, so these scriptures don’t apply. But that argument ignores the clear origins and the ancient focus on illicit sexual activity that was part of this practice. The fact that some may not consider it to be the same today does not remove the pagan origins that bring the practice down to us today. Nor does it change how the true God views these things.

Happy couples do not need to give gifts on Valentine’s Day to show their love for each other. Read our blog “3 Romantic Alternatives to Valentine’s Day” to learn more.”  From:


5 Reasons NOT to Celebrate Valentine's Day

Transcript of video at:

“Here's five tongue-in-cheek reasons not to celebrate Valentine's Day. But can you find another?

[Steve Myers] “Here's a little tongue-in-cheek discussion on 5 reasons not to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Number one: Flowers make you sneeze and they don't last very long.

Number two: Pink does not make you look thinner.

In fact, number three: Pink's a girly color that makes men feel wimpy.

Number four: Chocolate makes you fat.

Number five: Valentine's Day is just commercialism by the greeting card companies to make millions of dollars.

Are those any reasons that you shouldn't celebrate Valentine's Day? There is a more important reason, but it comes back to realizing what is life all about. What is romance after all because Valentine's Day is supposed to focus on romance? And we often think of the flowers and the candy and the meals out and all those kinds of things.

But you know what? Romance is sometimes vacuuming the house.  Romance is sometimes, yeah, cleaning the toilet or maybe changing a diaper or two or maybe making his favorite dessert. That's what real romance comes down to so much of the time, real life. And sometimes we get fooled by taking one day and trying to make something huge out of it when in reality love is a daily thing. It's something that we show every single day of our life.

Christ Himself said that whatever we want men to do to us, we should do to them. And it should be something that's on going, not just a onetime thing.

It reminded me of a passage that's over in Ecclesiastes in Ecclesiastes 9:9. Ecclesiastes 9:9 says, "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life, which He's given you under the sun." So it's all our days not just one day.

And so you could probably come up with a longer list of reasons not to celebrate Valentine's Day, but you know they're not all humorous. There is another reason.

You know that many of the world's holidays are focused and come from roots of paganism. That's where they're rooted. Valentine's Day is no different, named after a Catholic saint. It's rooted in paganism. Maybe that's a question you could ask yourself. What does God think about Valentine's Day?

Check it out a little bit. Look at what Deuteronomy 12 has to say about it. Check it out. Do a little bit of research. You may be very surprised what you find. In fact, you'll probably add one more big reason not to celebrate Valentine's Day.”  From:


How Much Added Sugar Is Too Much?

Transcript of video at:

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.

“Are table sugar and high fructose corn syrup just empty calories or can they be actively harmful?

In 1776—at the time of the American Revolution—Americans consumed about 4 lbs of sugar per person each year. By 1850, this had risen to 20 lbs, and by 1994, to 120 lbs, and now we’re closer to 160. Half of that is fructose, taking up about 10% of our diet. This is not from eating apples, but rather the fact that we’re each guzzling the equivalent of 16-oz soft drink every day; that’s about 50 gallons a year.

Even researchers paid by the likes of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and The Coca- Cola Company, acknowledge that sugar is empty calories, containing no essential micronutrients, and therefore if we’re trying to reduce calorie intake, reducing sugar consumption is obviously the place to start.

Concern has been raised, though, that sugar calories may be worst than just empty. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the fructose added to foods and beverages in the form of table sugar and high fructose corn syrup in large enough amounts can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and other chronic diseases.

Fructose hones in like a laser beam on the liver, and like alcohol, fructose can increase the fat in the liver, increasing the risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is one of the most remarkable medical developments over the past 3 decades—the emergence of fatty liver inflammation as a public health problem here and around the globe.

These may not be messages that the sugar industry or beverage makers want to hear. In response, the director-general of the industry front group World Sugar Research Organization, replied “Overconsumption of anything is harmful, including of water and air.” Yes, the overconsumption of sugar compared to breathing too much.

As one author expressed, I suppose it is natural for the vast and powerful sugar interests to seek to protect themselves, since sugar takes up the single greater percentage of our daily caloric intake.

The American Heart Association is trying to change that. Under their new sugar guidelines, most American women should consume no more than 100 calories per day from added sugars, and most American men should eat or drink no more than 150. That means one can of soda could take us over the top for the day. The new draft guidelines from the World Health Organization suggests we could benefit from restricting added sugars to under 5% of calories. That’s about 6 spoonfuls of added sugar. I don’t know why they don’t just recommend zero as optimal, but you can get a sense of how radical their proposal is given that this is how many we consume right now.”  From:


Monday, January 15, 2024

The New Covenant: What Is New About It? Don’t Think Christ Came to Destroy the Law. The Truth About Animal By-Products in Pet Food.


The New Covenant: What Is New About It?

The New Covenant“What was the problem with the Old Covenant, and what really changed with the New Covenant? What does the Bible say is new about the New Covenant?

Throughout history, God has made various covenants, or agreements, with human beings. These covenants lay out the terms of the relationship God wants to have with humanity. Two of the key covenants recorded in the Bible are:

  1. The covenant God made with ancient Israel at Mount Sinai, also referred to as the “Old Covenant.”
  2. The “New Covenant,” which was inaugurated by Jesus Christ, and which is the covenant that is in force for spiritual Israel, the Church.

Scripture states that the New Covenant is making the Old Covenant obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). But what does that mean? Did God create an entirely different set of terms for this new agreement? Just what is “new” about the New Covenant?

This article highlights four key changes from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. Although these four items do not encompass every difference, they illustrate the fundamental distinction between the two agreements.

A change of the sacrificial law

The Bible states that sinners earn the death penalty (Romans 6:23). Forgiveness of those sins requires blood to be shed to satisfy that penalty (Hebrews 9:22). Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites sacrificed animals as sin offerings, shedding the blood of those creatures as God commanded.

However, animal sacrifices were insufficient as substitutes for human beings. The sacrifices did not truly cleanse the Israelites from their wrongdoing, “for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).

Since animal sacrifices could not blot out sins, why did God require them under the Old Covenant? Because those sacrifices reminded Israel of their sins and pictured the time when removal of the death penalty would truly become possible! God never intended for those sacrifices to be in force permanently! He had a plan in place “from the foundation of the world” to have Jesus Christ make the ultimate sacrifice (Revelation 13:8).

Christ’s sacrifice of Himself made it possible to take “away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Because He is God, and human beings were created through Him (Colossians 1:16), His life is worth immeasurably more than all other human lives throughout history. Thus, His sacrifice was more than sufficient as total payment for the death penalty we have earned because of sin.

When Christ instituted the New Covenant with His shed blood (Luke 22:20), He made it possible for us to be truly cleansed from sin (Hebrews 9:13-14; 1 John 1:7). The result was that animal sacrifices were no longer required as symbols, because Christ was the ultimate fulfillment of that symbolism. We accept Christ’s sacrifice at baptism. Although we must still repent each time we sin in the future, Christ’s sacrifice is applied upon our repentance—no further sacrifices for our sins are needed (Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:12).

A change of the priesthood

Under the Old Covenant, priests came from the family of Aaron in the tribe of Levi. The high priest was required to offer a sacrifice for the Israelites’ sins each year on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29-34). He alone was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place (the innermost room) in the tabernacle and to approach the mercy seat—which represented the throne of God.

The Israelites all deserved the death penalty for their sins, and so the high priest’s responsibility was to make intercession for them. Since he was also “subject to weakness,” he understood how easy it was to sin, and he could show compassion for the people (Hebrews 5:1-4).

However, as we saw, the shed blood came from animal sacrifices under this physical system. Thus the priests under the Old Covenant were not able to truly make people right with God, and a change was necessary (Hebrews 7:11-12).

That change came with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for all humanity, which fulfilled the symbolism of the yearly sin offering on the Day of Atonement. But Christ also filled the role of the high priest by offering Himself. He continues to serve as our High Priest, interceding on our behalf (Hebrews 7:23-28).

Under the New Covenant, Christ does not serve in a physical tabernacle (Hebrews 9:11). Instead, He performs His duties as High Priest in “the true tabernacle” (Hebrews 8:1-2). Today the Church is “the household of God” and “a holy temple” (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Members of the Church are able to draw near to the true mercy seat—the throne of God—as they develop a close and meaningful relationship with the Father. This is made possible because of Christ’s sacrifice and His continuing role as our High Priest (Hebrews 10:19-22).

Due to the change from the Levitical priesthood and the physical tabernacle, the rituals associated with the tabernacle and temple under the Old Covenant are no longer required—including various types of food and drink offerings, as well as ceremonial washings. These physical rituals were only “imposed until the time of reformation” (Hebrews 9:8-10)—which Jesus Christ ushered in with the New Covenant.

Under the New Covenant, God’s people now have a High Priest in Jesus Christ who intercedes for them continually. Since Christ lived as a human being, He understands our weaknesses, can help us when we are tempted, and can show us compassion when we sin. We can therefore be confident in seeking forgiveness when we repent (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16).

A change of the heart

God gave Israel His eternal laws that define sin—with the 10 Commandments serving as the core of Israel’s responsibility under the Old Covenant (Exodus 34:27-28; Deuteronomy 4:13). However, there was one key problem with this arrangement: Although God’s law was, and is, perfect (Psalm 19:7), the people were not.

God knew in advance that the Israelites were missing something very important. They did not have the necessary heart to be truly obedient to Him (Deuteronomy 5:23-29). The Israelites agreed to obey God because of external motivation. They were afraid of punishment from God (Exodus 20:18-21), but that type of external motivation does not guarantee right behavior! Unless a person is internally convicted to do what is right, it can become far too easy to choose to do what is wrong instead.

Ancient Israel sadly fell into this trap and repeatedly disobeyed God throughout history, despite the fact that they suffered punishment as a result. Time and time again, the Israelites broke the covenant they made with God, illustrating a key flaw in the covenant. The flaw was not with the laws they agreed to obey, but rather with the people themselves (Hebrews 8:7-8)!

The Israelites did not have a heart to truly know God because the time was not yet right for God to give them that heart (Deuteronomy 29:4). But even without a right heart, it was still possible for the Israelites to respond to the correction God gave them when they made wrong choices. Unfortunately, they failed to adjust their behavior in the long run. However, their example provides a powerful lesson to us of how easy it is to sin (1 Corinthians 10:11-12).

Under the New Covenant, God’s people have the opportunity to receive a heart to obey Him. In the Old Testament, God announced that the time would come when His people would have His laws internalized and written on their hearts—when they would truly be able to know Him (Jeremiah 31:31-34; see “What Is the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31?”).

When God’s Spirit was made widely available on the Day of Pentecost, that goal became possible. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians become able to think like God (1 Corinthians 2:11, 16). God’s mind—reflected in His law of love—can now be internalized within His people.

A change of promises

Under the Old Covenant, Israel agreed to obey God; and in return, God agreed to treat Israel as “a special treasure” (Exodus 19:5-6). He promised Israel specific blessings, including rain at the appropriate time; victory in battle; freedom from sickness; a fear of Israel among other nations; and such tremendous prosperity that Israel would lend to other nations, not borrow (Leviticus 26:3-13; Deuteronomy 7:12-15; 28:1-14).

These promises were all incredible. But they were also all limited to this physical existence! There was no opportunity under the Old Covenant for the nation of Israel to receive access to the gift of eternal life. Thus, the Israelites could only enjoy the blessings of the Old Covenant during their life span on this earth.

Why was eternal life not offered under the Old Covenant? Because Jesus Christ had not yet come to this earth as humanity’s Savior, and “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Christ’s sacrifice provided a way for humans who had not lived perfectly (all of us!) to avoid the death penalty. Forgiveness was a key requirement so that human beings could “receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15)—eternal life (Titus 3:7).

Another necessary missing component is the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ called it “the Helper” (John 16:7), a “Promise” from God that He gave on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4).

As covered earlier, the Holy Spirit enables God’s laws to be written on our hearts. But beyond that, the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to be “heirs of God,” so that we can “be glorified together” with Christ (Romans 8:16-17). God’s Spirit serves as a guarantee, or down payment, on our promised inheritance of eternal life in God’s family (Ephesians 1:13-14).

The Holy Spirit was made available to a select few of God’s servants who lived prior to Christ’s inauguration of the New Covenant (1 Peter 1:10-11). However, the vast majority of the Israelites did not have access to that Spirit, and thus did not have access to eternal life. But God intended from the beginning for all human beings to have that opportunity (Titus 1:2)—His purpose is to bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10), expanding His family.

Access to salvation under the New Covenant makes this “a better covenant” than the covenant at Mount Sinai, because the New Covenant “was established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). Ultimately, all human beings throughout history will have an opportunity for eternal life as part of the New Covenant. Those who become part of God’s family will dwell with Him forever, and there will be no more death (Revelation 21:1-4).

The New Covenant amplifies the terms of the Old Covenant

This article has not covered every difference between the Old and New Covenants. However, the changes we have examined illustrate a consistent trend: Contrary to the belief of many, the New Covenant does not abolish all the terms of the Old Covenant!

Both covenants include provisions for a sacrifice for sin, a priesthood serving in a tabernacle, obedience to God’s laws, and promised blessings from God. However, in each case, the changes in the New Covenant amplify the terms of the Old Covenant!

Under the Old Covenant, God presented the Israelites with two options and told them to “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). God offers that same choice today to those whom He calls into the New Covenant. What makes the New Covenant “new” is that it is a far better agreement than the one entered into at Mount Sinai.

Ultimately all humanity will have the opportunity to be part of the New Covenant. But if God is calling you toIt's Not Too Late to Change Your Life. Download Free Booklet be part of that covenant now by helping you to understand His truth, you have a decision to make. Will you choose life—eternal life? The choice is up to you.

For further study on this topic, read the article “Biblical Covenants.”



Don’t Think Christ Came to Destroy the Law

Matthew 5:17-19

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

(Listen to the "Verse by Verse" episode covering this scripture.)

“Some misunderstand Jesus Christ’s mission, feeling He did away with the teachings of the Old Testament and replaced them with new teachings. But Christ made clear that His teachings were a continuation of the teachings He inspired to be a part of the Holy Scriptures.

It was the One who became Jesus Christ who thundered the 10 Commandments from Mount Sinai and spoke to Moses (1 Corinthians 10:4; see “Jesus in the Old Testament?”).

What does it mean to “fulfill” the law? The Greek word translated “fulfill” is pleroo, which means “to make full, to fill to the full” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

Jesus Christ continued in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7) to expand the meaning of God’s law, to show its spiritual intent. By doing this, He gave fuller understanding and magnified and exalted the law (Isaiah 42:21). He in no way destroyed or annulled it.

In Matthew 5:19 Jesus clearly tells His followers to obey even what someone might consider “one of the least of these commandments.”

The essence of the New Covenant is not a change in the commandments, but the fact that they can be written on our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit dwelling in Christians (Hebrews 10:16). This allows us to internalize and fully obey God in a way ancient Israel never could.”

For more about God’s commandments, see “The 10 Commandments for Today” and download our free booklet God’s 10 Commandments: Still Relevant Today.: 



The Truth About Animal By-Products in Pet Food

Animal By-Products | Chickens Awaiting Slaughter

“Animal by-products — what could be more controversial to dog food shoppers than animal by-products?

These common pet food ingredients are loathed by many. Yet they’re accepted… and even revered… by others.

Fans claim animal by-products are nutritionally no different than any other type of meat. And they blame the ingredients’ noted unpopularity on the unsavory mental image they invoke.

Something supporters like to refer to as “the yuck factor”.2

Critics, on the other hand, insist these ingredients are nothing more than inedible waste of inferior nutritional value.

What Are Animal By-Products?

Animal by-products are what’s left of a slaughtered animal after the skeletal muscle meat intended for human consumption has been removed.

Or according to the USDA3

“Animal by-products include all parts of a live animal that are not part of the dressed carcass.”

These processing leftovers (known as offal) include those parts of an animal which have been “rejected for human use and can be expected to be processed into animal feed”.4

For example…

  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Heads
  • Blood
  • Brains
  • Spleen
  • Kidneys
  • Stomachs
  • Intestines

Giblets (livers, hearts, gizzards and necks) as well as other organs can still be sold as edible meats as they are… or used as ingredients to make hot dogs, bologna and sausage.

Unfit for Human Consumption… OK for Dog Food?

Animal by-products classified as “inedible” and “unfit for human consumption” can still be sold for use in pet food.5

Some inedible waste can be used to produce wet or dry pet food as it is, soon after slaughter…

While other rejected waste can be rendered into meat or poultry meal products.

In any case, keep in mind…

What makes some by-products fit for human consumption (and others not) isn’t always a matter of what they are…

But also, how they’re handled after slaughter.

For example…

By-products that are not refrigerated immediately after slaughter but stored for hours in a hot offal trailer cannot be sold for human consumption…

But they can still be legally used for making pet food.

Turning Inedible Waste into Pet Food

On the other hand…

Rejected waste such as dead farm and zoo animals that have been declared unfit for human consumption can first be rendered into meal ingredients…

And then be used to make pet food.

What Is Rendering?

Rendering is a process similar to making stew… except that the stew is intentionally over-cooked.

With rendering, the idea is to start with a stew of by-products and cook away the water.

Then, skim away the fat and bake the residue.

What you end up with is a concentrated protein powder known as by-product meal.

Feed-Grade vs Pet-Food-Grade

In the specific cases of chicken and poultry, there are 2 grades of by-product meals…

  • Feed grade by-product meal
  • Pet food grade by-product meal

In an important 2003 study6, pet food grade by-product meal was compared to feed grade by-product meal.

The result?

Pet food grade by-product meal was found to be…

  • Higher in protein7
  • Lower in ash
  • More digestible8
  • More consistent9

Bottom line?

All things considered, pet food grade by-product meals are superior to feed grade by-product meals.

Unfortunately, without contacting the manufacturer, there’s no way to know which type of by-product meal is in any dog food.

The 2 Ways to Describe Animal By-Product Meals

Based upon the source of their raw materials, there are two ways to identify by-product meals.

  • Named by-product meals
  • Generic (anonymous) by-product meals

Named by-product meals have one thing in common. They all clearly identify the source species of the by-products that was used to make the meal.

So, on a pet food label…

You’ll find named by-product ingredients like…

  • Chicken by-product meal
  • Turkey by-product meal
  • Poultry by-product meal
  • Beef by-product meal

And although named by-product meals may not be considered the highest quality ingredients, they can be considered acceptable.

The One Type of Animal By-Product You Must Avoid

On the other hand…

Generic by-product meals are different. They do not identify the source of the meat.

Instead, they use vague and non-specific names like…

  • Meat meal
  • Meat and bone meal
  • Meat by-product meal
  • Animal by-product meal

What’s more…

Generic meat meals can also contain

  • Road kill
  • Dead zoo animals
  • Dead on arrival poultry
  • Diseased and dying livestock
  • Euthanized dogs and cats (unlikely today, but still possible)

Because you can never know the source of the meat used to make generic by-product meals, purchase of pet food products containing anonymous names should be avoided.

Nutritional Differences… Real or Imagined?

When comparing animal by-product meals with their “regular” meal counterparts, the differences can be nutritionally insignificant.

For example, in the case of rendered ingredients, the digestibility, biological value and amino acid content of both poultry and poultry by-product meals are nearly identical.10

So, if there’s little nutritional difference between the two, why then do some companies use meat by-products… while others don’t?

The Real Reason Dog Food Companies Use Animal By-Products

There’s one glaring and indisputable reason animal by-products remain so popular with some manufacturers… and not others.

Animal by-products are simply cheaper… notably cheaper than most any other comparable meat product. They’re used for making dog food because they save money. Not because they’re more nutritious.

Why is this important to a pet food shopper?

Although finding animal by-products in a recipe doesn’t guarantee you’ve discovered a good or a bad dog food, their presence must always be considered a reliable clue the food is made with cheaper ingredients.

The Bottom Line

With the sole exception of precisely identified organ meats, two rules will help you navigate the confusing world of meat-based dog food ingredients.

  1. Never pay top dollar for any dog food that lists animal by-products near the top of its ingredients list.
  2. Never buy any dog food containing generic animal by-products sourced from materials a manufacturer fails to clearly identify.”    



Wednesday, January 3, 2024

The Roots and Fruits of New Year’s Eve. God’s Festivals as Shadows of Things to Come. The Fruit Whose Juice Is Healthier


The Roots and Fruits of New Year’s Eve

The Roots and Fruits of New Year’s Eve“Some of the customs may seem crazy or quaint, but what are the real origins and results of the New Year’s holiday?

I admit it. I have been up at midnight on New Year’s Eve a few times. Not celebrating exactly. In fact, most of those times I was part of a volunteer security force on the campus where I went to college—which happened to be along the Rose Parade route in Pasadena, California.

Our job was to be alert to criminals, vandals and even people camping out along the parade route and searching for anything they could burn to keep warm. You might be surprised that it gets fairly cool in January in Southern California. Of course, it is much warmer there than in New York’s Times Square (where it averages 33.7 degrees Fahrenheit at midnight) and other northern gathering places where people count down to the new Roman year.

It makes you wonder: How did New Year’s Eve come to be celebrated in the winter and at midnight? Blame it on the ancient Romans.

Julius Caesar, the calendar fixer

Many ancient societies began their new year in the spring. But by the time of Julius Caesar, the Roman calendar was off. Way off. To get the calendar to line up with the seasons, Caesar had to add 90 days! explains, “Over the centuries, the calendar fell out of sync with the sun, and in 46 B.C. the emperor Julius Caesar decided to solve the problem by consulting with the most prominent astronomers and mathematicians of his time. He introduced the Julian calendar, which closely resembles the more modern Gregorian calendar that most countries around the world use today.

“As part of his reform, Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Romans celebrated by offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts with one another, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending raucous parties.” also notes that New Year’s is associated with the winter solstice and is “an ancient holiday with deep spiritual roots. … Ancient Romans celebrated with six days of carousing that would probably be familiar to us today.”

Customs and superstitions

From its ancient origins, a wide variety of traditions and superstitions have developed around the world. Here is just a sampling.

“In Ecuador, people make dummies, stuffed with straw, to represent the events [and people, such as politicians and pop culture icons] of the past year. These ‘[año] viejo’ effigies are burned at midnight, thus symbolically getting rid of the past” ( Some even try to jump through the flames 12 times! describes another jumping tradition: “Many Danish people celebrate the New Year by jumping off chairs at the stroke of midnight. Leaping is said to banish bad luck and bring good fortune into the new year. They also traditionally throw plates at neighbors’ doors to symbolize their friendship. The person with the most broken plates is said to have the most friends.”

On, Maria Fe Martinez describes another Latin American New Year’s tradition: “If you want to have a very lucky year, you have to wear yellow underwear. And if you want to have a very passionate year, you wear red underwear. …

“And you can get them all over town. Like, if you’re driving in your car, you’re going to see a street vendor selling yellow underwear, which is hilarious. Right after Christmas, they show up.”

The International Business Times reports that 44 percent of Americans say they will kiss someone at midnight. But why?

According to, “Puckering up at the stroke of midnight is a venerable tradition with ancient roots. Many cultures considered the transition from the warm to the cold seasons to be an intensely vulnerable time, when evil spirits could run amok, Aveni [author of The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays] said.

“Many of our traditions, including kissing, originally come from the English tradition of ‘saining,’ or offering blessing or protection, during the period of Yuletide, Aveni said. (Yuletide was originally a pre-Christian Germanic festival that eventually became synonymous with Christmastide in Europe.)”

New Year’s crime rates

In addition to its pagan roots, the fruits of this holiday are not good. For example, according to, “the holidays are the busiest time of year for the bail bond industry.” Why?

“• Increased alcohol consumption. … Driving under the influence is the leading cause for New Year’s Eve arrests. …

“• Increased emotions. Some people are very unhappy during the holidays. Domestic violence often increases during the holiday season as well as self-inflicted wounds. Consumption of alcohol also increases violent acts.”

What does the Bible say?

The Bible gives its own list of meaningful annual celebrations, but Jan. 1 is not on the list. It’s definitely not God’s new year; He set the first month of the year to begin in what we call March or April. The Bible gives its own list of meaningful annual celebrations, but Jan. 1 is not on the list. It’s definitely not God’s new year; He set the first month of the year to begin in what we call March or April (Exodus 12:2; Deuteronomy 16:1). And the Bible warns against getting ensnared by customs that are based on pagan religions. We are not to ask, “How did these nations serve their gods? I will do likewise” (Deuteronomy 12:30).

Superstitions and customs that may seem quaint or harmless to most people today can be repulsive to God who knows their roots and their fruits.

Playing with paganism isn’t cute—it is corrosive to our relationship with the true God. When God calls Himself a jealous God,” it’s actually a sign of His love and desire for the best for us (Deuteronomy 6:14-15).

And consider the apostle Peter’s call to avoid sinful celebrations where there is “lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:3). Peter acknowledged that our friends may think it strange we no longer party with them, but in the end we must answer to God.

For all these reasons, celebrating the pagan holiday of New Year’s Eve is not pleasing to God.”

From Holidays to Holy Days. Download Free BookletLearn more about what God says in our free booklet From Holidays to Holy Days: God’s Plan for You 



God’s Festivals as Shadows of Things to Come

Colossians 2:16-17

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

“In essence, Christians were still enjoying the biblical festivals with eating and drinking, and apparently were being judged by those who believed in philosophies of self-denial. Paul mentions these ascetic ideas later in the chapter: “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle” (Colossians 2:21).

Some think that when Paul said the festivals are “a shadow of things to come,” it was a put-down. They think Paul was saying the festivals were not important.

But another way to look at these shadows is to see that they help us picture the objects of which they are shadows. For example, the Passover clearly represents the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and foreshadowed that event. Pentecost foreshadowed the coming of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the New Testament Church.

In the same way, the four fall festivals foreshadow events that have not yet taken place. Learn more about these important events in God’s plan of salvation in our free booklet From Holidays to Holy Days: God’s Plan for You.”   From:

Listen to the "Verse by Verse" episode covering this scripture at: God’s Festivals as Shadows of Things to Come (

(This passage is explained in detail in “Colossians 2:16-17: Did Paul Warn Christians Against Keeping God’s Law?” We encourage you to study that explanation to clear up several misconceptions about this passage.)


The Fruit Whose Juice Is Healthier

Transcript of video at:

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 veganmontreal.

“Can you name a fruit whose processed juice is healthier than just eating the fruit itself?

Here’s the VCEAC of fruits, and their juice. The black bars are the fruit; the white bars are the juice. VCEAC stands for vitamin C equivalent antioxidant capacity.

So, for example, even though apples don’t actually contain 150mg of vitamin C itself, they have other antioxidants that add up to the equivalent of that much antioxidant power. As you can see, across the board, as you go from fruit to juice, the antioxidant capacity is slashed. In fact, the only reason the grape juice was even that high is because it happened to have extra vitamin C added to it—so it kind of cheated.

But wait a second; what is this? A fruit’s juice that has significantly more antioxidants, and even greater phytonutrient availability? And the answer is: tomato juice. About twice the antioxidant power of tomatoes, and five times the phytonutrient lycopene.

And no, it was not a trick question. You may use it as a vegetable, but it is a fruit, because it’s got seeds. Don’t tell that to the Supreme Court, though, who, having nothing better to do, ruled in 1893 that tomatoes were vegetables—though they were only a batch of Justices away from those who ruled Mr. Scott was not a citizen, so I wouldn’t listen to them.

Arkansas decided to have it both ways, declaring tomatoes both the official state fruit, and the official state vegetable.”  From: