- The @YouVersion Bible App has a permanent spot on my home screen. Read, watch, listen, and share…all in a free app: bible.com/app 11 hours ago
- Do I really want to buy software, no mabber how accessible, when the author’s web site won’t work with a major screen reader? #a11y 13 hours ago
- He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be saved. bible.us/90/pro.28.26.l… 14 hours ago
- So much more here – Is Snowden a Patriot or a Traitor? — The Patriot Post patriotpost.us/editions/18668 3 days ago
- This makes me really glad we sponsor a child through Compassion International. It works! tinyurl.com/lfzdmta 4 days ago
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I’ve only recently come to understand that ham on Easter is a well-established tradition. It wasn’t so in our family, and not I suppose with the people we knew. Maybe it just never came up. Having had a particularly good ham at church yesterday, I thought I would do a little research.
The answers I found were varied. Those disinclined to credit religion with anything say that it was simply coincidence. Pigs were slaughtered at about that time and there was no way to preserve the meat, so they ate it. Those who are particularly critical of Christianity or who see racism under every rock claim it was a slap in the face of Jews, who do not eat port and who celebrate Passover at roughly the same time. The anti-pagan crusaders among us add it to the list of things we shouldn’t do because of their pagan origins. Heres the sanest article I found, much of which makes sense to me.
That the word Easter has pagan origin is really not in dispute. It is also well known that the Catholic Church adjusted celebration of “Christian” events to coincide with pagan festivals. The author of the article I linked to make good points about worshiping God in the ways which He has set out. I will be giving that more thought, but I will not condemn my brothers and sisters who genuinely worship the Lord on these days or who use the term Easter. I choose generally not to. The term is too closely tied to the worship of a pagan fertility goddess going back beyond the time of Israel’s nationhood and serving as a snare for them, diverting them from the worship of the one true God, Yahweh.
As for ham, what I thought I might find but didn’t was symbolism related to unclean foods and the acceptance of the Gentile. Jesus Himself pronounced all foods clean (Mark 7:18-19.) The Lord would then use this as a symbol for the acceptance of the Gentile in the vision He gave to Peter just before they came calling at the place where he was staying (Acts 10.) Peter went with them, preached the Gospel, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. So eating ham on Resurrection Sunday might be seen as a celebration of our acceptance into the family of God. That’s definitely how I will think of it from now on.
We’ve all heard that, or something like it. It probably came from your mom as she watched you swinging from that tree or flying down the street on your bike with your hands proudly waving in the air. Maybe she demanded that you stop immediately. Sometimes parents can be a little too protective, but we grow to understand the motivation. When you got older, the messages may have become more complex, but the underlying meaning was still the same. “Don’t eat too much candy.” “Don’t forget your homework.” “Be home before midnight.” “Stay away from that boy/girl.” Our parents did what they could to help us grow up to be whole and well-adjusted adults and to keep us from the many perils of life in this world until we made it there. Despite their best efforts, some of us don’t quite make it.
I suspect that only one child in the history of humanity accepted His parents’ rules without complaint. We don’t like rules. We don’t like anything that keeps us from having what we want when we want it. Often we rebel and do as we please anyway. When we were children, our parents responded to this rebellion with some form of punishment. In this case the consequence of our action is contrived, but with good reason. If we do not learn that our actions have consequences as children, we will learn it as adults and they will be much more severe. Examine our prison population if you need proof. A majority of the offenders there lacked strong discipline at home.
Why did our parents treat us this way? In most cases, they were not exercising power for its own sake. They did not take pleasure in causing us pain. They did what they did because they loved us. All of the rules, admonishments, lectures, and punishments were intended to shape and protect us. They were saying, “I love you. I want the best for you. Don’t hurt yourself.” Most of us figure that out at some point in our lives. We come to understand that love doesn’t require unrestrained indulgence.
This letter is written to all of us, but in particular to you who for whatever reason may have kept your distance from God or “religion.” Or, maybe you just aren’t comfortable with everything that’s in the Bible. For the purposes of this post I’m going to assume at least an acknowledgement that God exists and has a part in human affairs.
It is no mere accident of language that God defines Himself as our Father. He gives us (though regrettably not including me) children so that we can understand that aspect of His love for us. He sets boundaries for us and gives us instruction to protect and nurture us because He loves us. If you’ve ever read the first few books of the Bible, you saw a whole lot of rules. They are there to help us understand our relationship to a holy God and our abject need for His redemption, but many of them also served to protect His people. In an era when no one could have known about the unseen pathogens that spread sickness and disease, God provided detailed instructions regarding clean and unclean that kept the people as safe as possible. All of the rules were motivated by love.
Though Jesus has made a new and better way (Rom 5:8-9) and we know that salvation cannot be earned (Eph. 28,) He has given us instructions that are for our own good. The ultimate tragedy is to refuse the gift that Jesus offers in Himself. Miss that and nothing else really matters. Yet it remains true that following the principles of living that He laid out for us in the Bible will keep us from much harm. This is the ache that is in my heart when I see people making poor choices. When we share the Gospel message, one of the verses commonly referenced is Romans 6:23, which says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We speak of the final damnation in Hell, but one need not look so far to see the truth in this passage. Most of us will experience the consequences of our sin while we yet live on this earth. This is often true even after we have repented and been forgiven. We may be spared the ultimate consequence, but some things are going to happen just that’s because the way things work. Unless God in his mercy intervenes, we will not be spared earthly repercussions.
Oh loved ones, I wish I could call you by name, but that would not be appropriate here. Choose life! Enough suffering comes to us just because we live in a fallen world. Please do not add to your misery by choosing short term pleasures that will bring you long term pain. Study God’s word and live by it. He makes no promise of freedom from suffering in this life. In fact if you are truly devoted you may find that too brings you grief, but the reward is eternal! Do not turn away from the One who loves you with everything He has. I would see you truly live and not die. In my own poor way I love you, but His love will never fail.
This is one of those articles it was hard to pick a quote from because there’s so much worth repeating. The author approaches from another angle what I’ve said here before. Our problems did not begin when Obama was elected, else we would not have elected him. Our problems began in our own hearts when we turned as a nation from Yahweh and His principles. Nothing short of repentance will redeem us now.
Barack Obama is only one man. A bad man, yes, but he is a symptom more than a cause. Without millions of fawning Americans, he would just be a community agitator, vainly preaching Alinsky principles from a soapbox. Of course, he is a symptom that exacerbates the underlying problem, and symptomatic treatment — to ease immediate pain and hardship — is certainly in order. But it is only the worst of physicians who focuses only on symptoms while ignoring the cancer eating away at the patient’s midst.
It amazes me that intelligent people embrace the idea that truth is a subjective concept. If you are one of those people, I would like to engage you directly. The modern trend is to compartmentalize religious belief, reducing its relevance to the realities of life. Yet most of us acknowledge God in some form. I’m not going to try to address atheism here. That requires a different treatment as a staunch atheist believes he knows the truth. I would speak to you who consider faith a personal matter with no absolutes. I freely admit that I hope to convince you that there is only one source of truth and ultimately that is the God described by the Christian Bible. However, that isn’t the main thrust of this entry. For now, I just want you to think about your beliefs logically.
When we speak of faith in religious terms it somehow becomes less substantial, yet even the Bible uses words such as substance and evidence to describe what faith is. It is no less real for being intangible. We put our faith in things and in people every day. Why should our faith in God be any different? In fact it should be the strongest faith we have, because He will never fail us. That’s not to say that He won’t disappoint us from time to time because being God he doesn’t always do what we think He should, but He has in mind the best for us that we usually cannot see. Yes, I’m now speaking out of my own faith. I wish I could say it does not waiver, but it often does. However, my certainty that truth remains is not shaken. It is faith in my ability to understand it that is really in question.
We have faith because we believe something to be true. It may be as simple as the certainty that the chair upon which you are about to sit will hold you up or as abstract as the trust you put in a person you believe to be of good character. It is when what we believe to be true turns out to be false that our faith is shaken.
How then can truth be relative? How can what is true and what is false vary from person to person? Would we apply this idea to any other area of our lives? If I may borrow a somewhat clichéd example, let’s say I believe the earth is flat. That works for me. It gives me comfort because if it’s flat and I stay away from the edge I can never fall off. It makes me happy to believe that. Is it true? What if I lack the means to prove that the earth is in fact round? Is it flat because I can’t prove it is round with the tools at my disposal?
Some things are admittedly a bit harder to prove, but let’s start by establishing that truth exists whether or not we know what it is. Without that basis, all other argument is worthless. If something is so just because I believe it and it doesn’t have to be so for anyone else, what is the point of discussion? In fact the very idea of relative truth is unsupportable because the idea itself cannot be deemed true. It’s a comforting illusion because it frees us from responsibility, but try that in a court of law.