Ted’s Remarks About Stuff
April thru June, 2011

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June 30, 2011

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today that the US would have contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood as part of America’s dialogue with the parties competing in the upcoming Egyptian elections.

Clinton Admits We Are Now Reaching
Out to the Muslim Brotherhood

Many members of Congress have criticized any outreach by US officials to the Muslim Brotherhood, threatening to cut off American aid should the party become part of the Egyptian government.  Israeli officials also have expressed concern about any American openness to talking with the organization, of which Hamas is an off-shoot.

June 26, 2011

We all get spam email.  Sometimes it is a scam or worse.  I have a good spam detection program that funnels the majority of such emails into a spam folder.  Occasionally, though, some of it ends up in my emailbox.

Even if email looks like it has come from a legitimate source, we still should be cautious and verify its authenticity, especially when the email contains one or more hyperlinks.  Click here to see an example in an email that I received today.

June 23, 2011

Dutch Parliamentarian Geert WildersDutch politician Geert Wilders has been acquitted of inciting hatred against Muslims.  His trial has been going on since Jan. 20, 2010.

Dutch populist Geert Wilders
acquitted of hate speech

Mr. Wilders became a controversial figure in Europe following the release of his film, Fitna, released in March 2008.  Presumably, he will continue to warn the West about the dangers of radical Islam.

June 21, 2011

Seasonal Variations in the Earth's OrientationThe summer solstice in the northern hemisphere (or winter solstice in the southern hemisphere) began at 17:16 UTC today.  At that time, the earth’s north pole was oriented more directly toward the sun than at any other time of the year.

3D Heliospheric Animated ModelsAnother thing that happened today, beginning at 04:12 UTC, was that a coronal mass ejection (CME) was expelled from the surface of the sun and directly toward the earth.  The energy from the CME is supposed to reach the earth sometime on June 24.

This sounds alarming, but it probably isn’t, since it was a relatively small discharge.  The most that it probably will cause is an increased appearance of aurora borealis near the poles, but there also could be electrical disruptions in various places.  We’ll see.

View some cool animated 3D heliospheric models of this CME.  The white dot is the sun, and the yellow dot is the earth.

June 19, 2011

One of the Ten Commandments reads this way:

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 5:16)

On this Father’s Day, for those whose fathers are living (mine is not), do something to honor your earthly father or even your heavently Father.  Do it even if, for some reason, you are estranged or alienated from him/Him.

All things happen for a purpose and a reason.  Sometimes it is up to those who have been disrespected or disregarded to attempt to make things right.  Doing this, even with a dad with whom you have not had a good relationship for years or decades, actually may cause you to live longer than you otherwise would, according to the Fifth Commandment.

June 16, 2011

Many people tend to agree with me about a lot of things, after reading my explanations.  Some of them disagree with me, though, about idea that all things that have happened, are happening, and will happen have been predetermined by God to happen.

However, many who agree with that concept tend to doubt my suggestion that even our free will choices have been predestined.  Here is one email from someone in that boat of skeptics, along with my response to it:

It’s OK that people disagree with me about this.  I understand that it is a difficult notion to accept that our decisions and our actions have been predetermined by God for us to make and to take; nevertheless, I do feel pretty strongly about it.  As of yet, no one has been able to convince me otherwise by showing me compelling evidence to the contrary in the Bible.

June 15, 2011

Full Moon UneclipsedThere was a total eclipse of the moon tonight, viewable in most of the world.  It could not be seen in the USA, though, where I am located.

I went ahead and took a photo of the full moon, which always has been a fascinating sight to me.  The repeating cycles of the moon remind me of cycles in human history, cycles in prophecy, and cycles of solar and geological events.

Although you may not have seen this eclipse, you can see photos I took of the lunar eclipses on Feb. 20, 2008, and on Dec. 21, 2010, if you want to.

June 12, 2011

Today is the Christian celebration of Pentecost, exactly seven weeks following Resurrection Day (Easter).  At the first Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), Jesus’ disciples were filled, supernaturally, with the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) and spoke in other "tongues."  Other God-fearing Jews, who had gathered there from many other nations, heard these men declaring the wonders of God in their own languages (2:5,6,11).

The first Pentecost corresponded to the Jewish celebration of Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks.  On this day, a firstfruits of the wheat harvest was offered to God.  Most calendars usually list Shavuot a few days before Pentecost (this year, June 7 & 8), due to the way the fifty days are added from Passover week.

I believe the fifty-day calculation is made erroneously by most, as explained in this email response:

On the day of Pentecost, Jews “from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5) had returned to Jerusalem (following the commandment of Deuteronomy 16:16), indicating that they already had been widely dispersed among the nations by that time.  Today the dispersion is even greater.

After Pentecost, the apostles performed many wonders and miraculous signs (Acts 2:43).  They were the “firstfruits” of all who would receive some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Anyone who is filled by the Spirit of God can receive some of these gifts from God as well.  Each of us is nothing, but God can make something out of nothing with the Power of His Holy Spirit.

June 10, 2011

Most of you are experienced computer and internet users.  But for those who are “newbies” to all of this, it is a good idea to understand some common terms, which are explained here (it may take a minute for the page to load):

The Internet and How It Works!

I found that on the back of a cereal box.  So I cut it out, scanned it, and uploaded it.

June 7, 2011

King David of Israel assigned the task of building the first temple of God to his son, Solomon, who became the next king (1 Chronicles 28:20—29:1).  After all of the gold, silver, bronze, iron, and precious stones had been contributed by the Israelites to build the temple (29:6-9), David rejoiced greatly and spoke a fervent prayer to God:

David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.  Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.  In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.  Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13)
To read the entire prayer (1 Chronicles 29:10-20), go here:

David’s Prayer

If some of our leaders would pray this prayer publicly, as David did, maybe we would not be in as much of an economic mess as the one in which we presently find ourselves.

June 4, 2011

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted the ban on public prayer at a high school graduation in Texas.

Federal Court Lifts Ban on Public Prayer at
Texas High School Graduation After Uproar

Good.  That is exactly what should have happened.  Now Angela can say what she wants to say about God and even pray, if she wants to.  And those who don’t like it can cover their ears or leave—or even kneel and “face Mecca,” which Judge Biery said would be permitted on the third page of his court order.  Read more about all of this in my entry yesterday, June 3.

June 3, 2011

In recent emails, I was asked the following questions by two different people:

Pertaining to the first question, Jesus’ next appearance, in the clouds, will come unexpectedly and as a “thief in the night” only for those who do not trust and believe in Him, not for those who do.  As for the second question, the “first resurrection” will not be merely a one-time occurrence but, rather, will consist of multiple resurrections and/or catching-away events.

U.S. District Judge Fred BieryIn other news, a U.S. federal judge, Fred Biery, has ruled that a high school graduation in Texas tomorrow, June 4, cannot contain any public prayer, even if led by students or anyone else speaking.  In a court order (read it here), he also has banned the use of specific words and phrases such as “invocation,” “benediction,” “prayer,” “amen,” and “in [a diety’s name] we pray” from the ceremony.  Furthermore, he ordered that his ruling would be “enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed.”

Angela Hildenbrand, Valedictorian of Medina Valley High School in Castroville, TexasIn a press conference at the Alamo in San Antonio, Angela Hildenbrand, valedictorian of her graduating class, stated, “After all that I’ve been taught about the freedoms of speech, expression and religion in our country, I am disappointed that my liberties are being infringed upon by this court’s ruling to censor my speech.”

A lawsuit has been filed, in Miss Hildenbrand’s behalf, with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in an attempt to overturn Judge Biery’s ruling.  The Liberty Institute is appealling Judge Biery’s ruling, with the clear support of Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott.

An argument has been made by the opposing attorney in this case, Don Flanary, that “government cannot force religion upon its citizens.”  In this particular situation, I feel that this argument is utterly preposterous and absurd.  By no means is public prayer by a student at school, including in any official ceremony, an infringement of the establishment clause of the The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (read it yourself).

If you have not read through the entry I made yesterday, June 2, you might want to do that.  I differentiate between the Angela Hildenbrand case and the case of the men reading from the Bible to people in public.  I do feel that there is/was a violation of personal rights and freedom of speech in both cases; but in my opinion, that is where the similarity ends.

I see distinct differences here.  In her desire to express to her family, fellow classmates, teachers, and other acquaintances her faith and love for her Savior, Miss Hildenbrand is not looking for a confrontation or an altercation with anyone.  On the other hand, the man reading from the Bible in the video picked one of the most provocative, accusatory passages in the Bible to read to a group of complete strangers.  It seemed clear to me that he was “looking for a fight” or, at the very least, welcomed one.  Personally, I have a problem when anyone, including a Christian, does this.

In any case, I hope that Angela Hildenbrand is able to say whatever she had planned to say in her graduation speech tomorrow—without getting arrested and incarcerated for saying it.  It will be interesting to see how the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules.

June 2, 2011

Video Still #1While listening to Christian radio in my car this afternoon, I heard about something that happened four months ago today.  According to the story, some members of Calvary Chapel church in Hemet, CA, observed that a line of people would form outside the local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) each weekday morning.  Three men from the church decided to take advantage of the opportunity to “relay the Gospel message” to these people.

Video Still #2On the morning of February 2, these three men, which included two pastors, went to the DMV.  They stood about 20 to 30 feet away from the line of people about 50 minutes before the DMV opened its doors for business.  One of them began reading a passage from the Bible dealing specifically with the wrath of God against godless and wicked mankind, beginning at (Romans 1:18).

Video Still #3In a bit, a security guard came over and asked the men to leave.  They refused, so the security guard walked away and called the police.  Awhile later, a patrolman from the CHP (California Highway Patrol) drove up.  He proceeded to take the Bible away from the man reading it, handcuff him, place him under arrest, and seat the man in his patrol car.  Not long after that, the other two men, one of whom was another pastor, were arrested as well.

The three men have been charged with violating California Penal Code 602.1, subdivision (b).  A lawsuit has been filed against the CHP for freedom of speech violation, unlawful arrest, and false imprisonment.

Initially, while listening to this account on the radio, I was appalled at how the free-speech rights of the three Christians had been violated (since, a little later, the other two men also were arrested).  So I went to my computer and found an online video of the incident, which is here:

Man arrested for reading Bible in public!
Freedom of speech violation

It is interesting that when the security guard suggested that they go somewhere else, the response of the man reading the Bible was, “Sir, I’m gonna keep reading.  You need to do what you’re gonna do.”  Read that last sentence again.  Not only does this sound like a direct confrontation, it sounds like he expected, and in fact wanted, to get arrested.  If so, he did not go there to witness to people about the love of Jesus; he went there to get arrested so he could become a “victim” and a “martyr” and make a public “statement” with a lawsuit claiming his rights were violated (which, indeed, I feel that they were).

I have to say that I’ve always respected people like Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham), who takes every opportunity he can to state John 3:16 and other positive messages about God/Jesus.  He does not spew out “fire and brimstone” and “wrath of God” reprimands when he is interviewed on radio or TV, nor does he make declarations to regular, unsuspecting people in public who are involved in their own thoughts and activities.

In fact, he has a ministry, Samaritan’s Purse, that goes out into the world and meets the needs of the poor and downtrodden, particularly in third-world countries.  By doing this, he and his team are more likely to win people to Christ than are those who thrust themselves into the personal spaces of people in public places, condemning them as sinners and assuring them that they are going to hell if they do not repent.

Incendiary, inflammatory words are offensive to most people.  I feel that such messages are much less likely to result in converts to Christianity than gentle, temperate messages about the love and grace of God.  The latter is what common, ordinary people heard from the mouth of Jesus.  His “lectures” of condemnation and criticism were reserved for self-righteous, hypocritical religious leaders, such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who proclaimed the “laws” of their own oral traditions while failing to adhere to many of the written Torah Laws commanded by God, yet insisting that others do so.

There are appropriate places, such as in church, to tell people that the wrath of God is going to be poured out upon godless, wicked, sinful people, which it will be.  But, typically, that kind of talk is not going to bring the average person to church, nor to a saving knowledge and acceptance of God.  Rather, a calm and peaceable invitation, even one in a pro-Jesus tract that can be handed to someone, is much more likely to do so, in my opinion.

While some individuals may need a coarse, abrasive, jarring message to convict them of their sins and urge them to do something about it, I am convinced that most people are not in that boat.  I also feel that Christians who suddenly gush forth aggressive, provocative speeches in public places give Christianity, in general, a bad name.  In fact, this very well may be one type of activity that eventually will lead to severe persecution in America against Christians.

May 31, 2011

I hadn’t had lasagna in awhile and was wanting some.  Eating out is too expensive, which is why I rarely do it.  Store-bought lasagna has too many additives and preservatives, plus I like my own homemade lasagna more.  So I made two of them, which will last at least a couple of weeks.

10-second slideshow

A couple of friends tried it and thought that it rated a “10”; admittedly, so did I. 

May 30, 2011

Today, Memorial Day, we in the USA honor those who serve and have served in the military and who have defended this country and its allies.  Many have lost their lives, while others have been severely injured in this praiseworthy endeavor.

People are fighting wars all over the world, and there will be more to come (Matthew 24:6).  But there is one war in which everyone is engaged, and it is spiritual in nature.  We battle “against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

Jesus is our Commander in this war.  In fact, He even has given up His life as a fallen General.  However, He was resurrected from the dead and continues the leadership of His army of believing soldiers in this present age.

In the song “The Battle Hymm of the Republic,” which often is sung on Memorial Day, someone will be “trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.”  According to Revelation 14:14-20, the One who will do this is the Son of Man, and that is Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus Christ).

We are in the midst of a war, and we know how it ends.  Those who believe in Jesus and who steadfastly follow Him are on the winning side.  Therefore, today, Jesus is the One we should remember and esteem above all others.  He, alone, is worthy of the highest tribute.

May 27, 2011

May 24, 2011

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in front of the U.S. Congress today.  Although I have heard him make many outstanding speeches in the past, today’s 47-minute speech might be at the top of the list for me.  If you did not see the speech, consider watching it here:

Netanyahu: Borders Must Reflect
"Dramatic" Changes From 1967

I have included my favorite quotations from the speech here:  Quotations by Benjamin Netanyahu Before the U.S. Congress  I have had great respect for Mr. Netanyahu for decades.  Israel is extremely fortunate to have this man as its leader.  If there were a way that he could run for the presidency of the United States, I probably would campaign for him.

May 22, 2011

Today was a very active and fun day.  My friend, his brother, and I attended Sunday school and church at Solid Rock Baptist Church.  The teachings were excellent.

After church, we all took the train (round trip fare of only $5.40) over the Delaware River into Philadelphia.  We walked to Penn’s End, where there was an Israel 63 Festival sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.  There was no charge to enter.  We walked around there for a few hours and had a blast.

On the way back to the train, we stopped by the National Constitution Center.  That was an interesting place.

45-second slideshow

After we got back to New Jersey, we returned to the Solid Rock Baptist Church for their evening service.  What a great experience that was.  The Rochesters, a southern gospel music group, performed (as they had at the morning service).  They were outstanding.

Then one of musicians gave a very powerful message, “Path of Life,” on enduring times of tribulation in life.  It was one of the best messages I’ve ever heard at church or anywhere else.  Overall, it has been a greatly rewarding and worthwhile day, which I will not forget.

May 21, 2011

Harold Camping has been claiming, for quite some time, that the end of the world is almost here.  He has asserted that the Rapture would take place tonight, after which God’s judgment upon the earth would begin.  According to Camping, that judgment will last for five months, and then the world will end on October 21, 2011.

I have not endorsed ANY of this all along.  Personally, I think it just gives Christians a bad name.  Now that he has been proven wrong, there will be an attempt to label all believers as “kooks” by many of those who hate Christians.  It is irrelevant to me what Harold Camping and his duped followers believe.  What I do not like is the bad name they give to other Christians.  Some of the reasons why I have disagreed all along with Harold Camping’s extreme end-time views can be found in my July 2, 2010 entry.

My friend (whom I’m visiting in south Jersey) and I took a fun nature walk today.  After having rained for several days, this afternoon there were blue skies and some great clouds.

30-second slideshow

The high today was 80°.  Basically, it was a perfect day for a walk through the woods.

May 20, 2011

My friend and I drove and walked around part of Philadelphia today.  It was sprinkling part of the time, and we didn’t have umbrellas, but it still was very enjoyable.

30-second slideshow

The photos I took were just quick snapshots.  Some of them were through car windows with rain droplets on them.  None of the shots are great, but the memories will be.

The best part was attending Congregation Beth Yeshua tonight, which was the beginning of our Sabbath.  The group Kol Simcha performed, and their music was outstanding.  It was a great praise and worship session.  I actually bought one of their CDs (which I rarely ever do) and hope to listen to it soon.

Barack Obama glaring at Benjamin NetanyahuIn other news, Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu sat together in the White House today and spoke publicly for 15 minutes:

Obama, Netanyahu Meet Amid
Discord Over 1967 Borders

The main thing that caught my attention was how Obama turned and stared at Netanyahu the entire time.  A side camera caught Obama’s look, which was more like stern glare than anything else.  It certainly was not the face that Obama puts on when facing the American public.  Here is a video analysis of Obama’s facial expression:

Could there be a more suitable face than this that would belong to the False Prophet (Revelation 13:11-17)?  The only thing it needs is a pair of horns on top of it.

May 17, 2011

Full Moon Over the East CoastIsrael MapI flew to Philadelphia today to hang out with a friend and his brother in New Jersey for a week.  It was the first time I had been in Philly since 1986, when I was here for two weeks taking a course to get licensed to prescribe therapeutic drugs.

The last leg of my trip was from Tampa and up the east coast.  I was thinking I might not be able to see the full moon tonight, since it was stormy and cloudy in many places.  Then I remembered that planes fly above the clouds. 

My friend has a cool map of Israel that he brought back from there a couple of years ago.  Interestingly, New Jersey (24,216 square km or 9,350 sq mi) is not much larger than Israel (20,700 square kilometers or 7,992 sq mi).

May 15, 2011

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuOn three of Israel’s borders today, there was some of the deadliest violence that there had been in years.  This included borders with Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza.

Israel-Palestinian violence erupts on three borders

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud BarakIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Nakba Day protests were not about the 1967 borders.  He said that they were about “undermining the very existence of Israel.”  He added that Israel is determined to defend itself and its sovereignty.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel Defense Forces soldiers succeeded in defending Israel’s sovereignty when Palestinian refugee demonstrators breached the border with Syria and attempted to cross the border with Lebanon.  He also warned that Israel will have to deal with more complex incidents in the future than those that occurred today.

May 14, 2011

Morganza Floodway in Louisiana OpenedA very snowy winter and heavy spring rains have caused rivers from the Dakotas to Ohio to flood.  This has contributed to near-record crests on the lower Mississippi River.

Like a tidal wave in slow motion, the high crest has been moving down the Mississippi River.  Thousands of people have had to evacuate, as their homes, fields, and properties have been complete flooded.  It is a calamity of epic proportions, adversely affecting several states.

Today, the Morganza Floodway in Louisiana was opened to divert water from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya basin.  This was done to spare the cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans from catastrophic flooding.  Unfortunately, thousands of people in Cajun country will be flooded out.

Morganza Floodway opens to divert Mississippi River
away from Baton Rouge, New Orleans

The massive flooding along hundreds of miles of the mighty Mississippi River will last for weeks, if not months.  Recovery will take much, much longer.  Pray for all of those whose lives have been devasted due to this colossal disaster.

May 10, 2011

After King Saul greatly disappointed God, then God sought out a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).  David was that mighty but humble man, and he succeeded Saul as King of Israel.

A friend of mine has written a paper about King David and the Psalms: King David, Author of the Psalms.  I think it is excellent.

May 8, 2011

Happy Mother’s Day.  Here’s a joke for you moms.  An elementary school teacher, getting ready to teach her students about magnetism, held up a magnet in front of the class.

She asked, “What word has six letters, starts with the letter ‘M’ and picks up things?”  Of course, she was looking for “MAGNET.”

Little Jimmy waved his hand and said, “I know, I know!”  When the teacher called on him, Jimmy answered, “my MOTHER!”

I visited with my sister in the mountains, and we had a fun celebration.  Later I went on a nice hike.

30-second slideshow

My mom has been gone for just over 9 years.  I thank God for her frequently.  I often wonder how she put up with me. 

May 5, 2011

Be Right Back
(BRB = “Be Right Back”)
Today is the National Day of Prayer.  During the noon hour, I attended a prayer session at City Hall.  People from various churches in the area went up to the front and prayed for specific things nationally, statewide, and locally.

Here are some of the things that were prayed for:

  • our world, especially those who are less fortunate than we are and who have undergone tragedy, calamity, and disaster
  • the U.S. President, Vice President, Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court, and other federal officials
  • our state’s Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and other state officials
  • our city’s mayor city manager, councilmembers, and other city officials
  • our children and families
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

I hope that you have prayed to God today, mainly for others in the world around you. 

May 1, 2011

Osama bin Laden, dead at age 54President Obama announced tonight that Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan.  He was killed during a firefight with U.S. troops of Navy Seal Team 6, who then took custody of his bloody body.  He will be buried at sea.  Good riddance.

Obama announces Osama bin Laden killed by U.S.

U.S. Navy Seal Team 6In his announcement, Obama said that “bin Laden was not a Muslim leader.”  He reiterated that “the United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam.”  Huh???  The fact is, there is a violent, radical Islamic movement that has declared war on the United States.  In any case, you can watch Obama’s announcement here (unfortunately, after a 30-second advertisement):

President Obama: U.S. has killed Osama bin Laden

As a result of this news, there are celebrations taking place throughout the USA.  I am concerned, though, that there will be an escalation of terrorist attacks worldwide due to the killing of bin Laden, perhaps even in the USA.  Also, if I were in Israel, I would be very nervous right now as well, especially since there have been calls, for weeks, by radical Islamic groups to attack Israel on May 14 or 15—the 63rd anniversary of its becoming a nation again in 1948.

Apr. 30, 2011

In a recent email, someone asked me the following about God:

I think he asked me that after having read my commentary, Was Jesus God?  He may have been questioning God’s multiple nature, as many do, being skeptical that God would need another attribute or facet of Himself with whom to co-exist.

This is a belief that Jehovah’s Witnesses reject.  This same disbelief also is prevalent throughout Islam, which adamantly insists that Allah would never have a son (Maryam: 35), nor that Allah is part of a Trinity (al-Mâ´idah: 73).  Thus, the notion that Jesus could possibly be the Son of God is utter blasphemy to Muslims.

On the other hand, I believe not only that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God, but also that the Trinity of God is composed of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This belief is reflected in My Beliefs and Faith.

Apr. 29, 2011

This was the wedding day of Prince William and Catharine Middleton, who now are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.



45-second slideshow

The photos aren’t too clear.  Since I was not invited to the event, I had to resort to snapping shots on a non-high-definition TV screen.  If you did not see the wedding, you can watch The Royal Wedding Ceremony at Westminster Abbey online.

Admittedly, I was not anticipating the wedding with much excitement, as were most of the people in Great Britain, since such extravagant and lavish affairs do not “electrify” me.  However, I have to say that I was very impressed with how well-organized and regimented everything turned out.

Also, I enjoyed being reminded, by the priest, of how this high-profile wedding signified “the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and His Church.”  Furthermore, we all should give pause to think about a brief phrase stated by another priest—that, before God, we all will “answer at the dreadful Day of Judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed.”  That should be a very sobering thought to those who believe it, as I do.

Something that I liked, in particular, was the reading of Romans 12:1,2,9-18, from the English Standard Version of the Bible, by James Middleton (view it here).  He is the brother of the bride.

There was only thing that created a question mark in my mind.  I wondered if any of the royals considered that this is the 66th anniversary of the marriage of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun (April 29, 1945), a day before they committed suicide.  Yikes. 

Apr. 28, 2011

The following quote was translated into English from an article appearing in the Czech Republic as published in the Prager Zeitung today:

The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting an inexperienced man like him with the Presidency.  It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama Presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their President.  The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America.  Blaming the Prince of the Fools should not blind anyone to the vast Confederacy of Fools that made him their prince.  The Republic can survive a Barack Obama.  It is less likely to survive the multitude of idiots such as those who made him their President.
I absolutely agree with every word of that.

Apr. 27, 2011

Demolished neighborhood in Birmingham, AlabamaToday, the southeast USA experienced one of the worst tornado assaults on record.  With well over 350 deaths, it is the deadliest outbreak since 1925 when tornadoes killed 747 people in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.

The path of one monster tornado, measuring F5 (the highest level) on the Fujita scale, extended from Mississippi, through Alabama, and into Georgia.  It did some of the most extensive damage ever seen by a tornado anywhere, especially in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama.

Monster Alabama Tornado
Spawned by Rare "Perfect Storm"

I have several cousins in the Birmingham area.  Fortunately, none of them were harmed nor their properties damaged.  But I’m still praying for the thousands of people who lost everything.

There are reports of numerous people just wandering around their devastated neighborhoods, in complete shock and with nowhere to go.  It is heartbreaking to think about that.  May the Lord help them.

Apr. 24, 2011

Happy Resurrection Day = Feast of Firstfruits (some of you call it “Easter”).

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25,26)

But Christ indeed has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22,23)

But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. (Isaiah 26:19)

The resurrection and catching away, for most believers, will take place at the main Rapture.  Come soon, Lord Jesus!

Apr. 22, 2011

This is “Good Friday.”  Traditionally, this is a celebration, by most Catholics and Protestants, of the day on which Jesus was crucified and died.  I do not believe that Friday was the correct day, though, since I believe the crucifixion occurred on “Good Thursday.”

Tonight, I went to a church Passover Seder.  It was very much like the Jewish Seder that I attended on Apr. 19 except, of course, that Jesus—the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29,36)—was the main focus tonight.

20-second slideshow

On the Passover plate in the first photo are the following:

  • roasted lamb shank bone (zeroa): substitutes for the lamb, which has not been sacrificed and eaten since the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.
  • roasted egg (beitzah): symbol of mourning over the destruction of the Second Temple
  • parsley (karpas): dipped in the salt water (tears) to represent the pain felt by the Israelite slaves in Egypt
  • salt water: represents the tears shed by the Israelites while in captivity
  • horseradish (maror): bitter herbs symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of the slavery which the Israelites endured in Egypt
  • sweet mixture of apples and nuts (charoset): represents the mortar used by the Israelite slaves to makes the bricks used to build the storehouses of Egypt

Note the candied eggs in some of the photos.  These never would be present at a Jewish Seder, since they are symbols of Easter.  Personally, I do not like the name “Easter,” since it was taken from the name of an ancient pagan goddess, Ishtar or Eostre.  I prefer to call it “Resurrection Day.”

It is interesting how Jews celebrate Passover on the correct night but do not realize that Jesus is the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins.  On the other hand, many Christians who understand that Jesus was the Lamb of God do not even make the connection between Jesus’ crucifixion day and Passover.  Both groups are missing important pieces of the overal picture.

Many Christians who do understand the parallels between Jesus and the Passover lamb typically celebrate the Passover on “Good Friday” night.  At least, I’ve never been to a church’s Passover observance that took place on Passover night (which is the Feast of Unleavened Bread), unless it was a Messianic congregation or unless Passover took place on a Friday night.

Sometimes “Good Friday” and “Easter Sunday” (which, actually, is the Feast of Firstfruits) don’t even take place on the calendar during the week of Passover, which is incongruous to me.  When that is the case, I will not attend a church “Passover Seder” because it really has nothing to do with Passover.

Apr. 19, 2011

Fruit and VegetablesTonight I attended a Jewish Passover Seder.  This was the correct night to observe the Passover, since the night after the slaughtering of the lambs was when ancient Israel celebrated it.

Everybody at tonight’s Seder was asked to take food, none of which could be leavened and all of which had to be kosher.  Grains such as wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye are exempt.  Some even exclude rice and corn.  To be safe, I took a fruit tray and a vegetable tray.

A handout that was passed out during the Seder read as follows:

The Passover Symbols

Pesach: This is the shank bone of a lamb.  It represents the paschal sacrifice made by our ancestors.  By symbolically offering a part of what we hold dear, we recognize the true nature of sacrifice.  How much we have sacrificed to achieve freedom!

Matzah (or Matzo): This is the unleavened bread.  It is, at the same time, the bread of affliction and a symbol of freedom.  It also is fragile.  The slightest pressure and it can crumble into hundreds of tiny pieces, irretrievably lost.  Freedom also is fragile.  Without care and nurturing, we can witness freedom crumbling before our very eyes.  As this matzah is whole, so may we be.

Maror: This is the bitter herb.  What more appropriate symbol can we have in a time of renewed anti-Semitism and hatred toward others?  Our struggle is far from over.  May we, and all people, one day be able to wash away the taste of maror with the joy of freedom.

I like the idea of one day being able to wash away the taste of bitterness with the joy of freedom.  Of course, that only can occur after the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus), returns.

Apr. 18, 2011

Holy Communion or Lord's SupperPassover is tomorrow, so we celebrated the Lord’s Supper tonight.  Jesus knew that He would be crucified the next day and in the grave the next night.  Therefore, He had to celebrate the Passover one night earlier than the night that most Jews did.

Some have questioned whether or not roasted lamb was eaten by Jesus and His disciples.  I believe that it was not.  Jesus Himself was the ultimate Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7b), and the presence of any other lamb at that supper would have distracted from Him and from what He was about to do.

Also, according to God’s original commandment to Moses, the Passover lambs could not be slain until late in the day on the 14th of the month (of Aviv or Nisan):

Take care of [the lambs] until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. (Exodus 12:6)

Passover Full MoonThus, the lambs were not slain for the Passover feast until mid-afternoon the next day, after which time they could be prepared for the Passover feast the following night.  Instead of eating lamb at the Last Supper, the disciples figuratively consumed Jesus’ body and blood (unleavened bread and wine).  More details can be found in my Passover and crucifixion on Thursday section.

Incidentally, I have heard it suggested that the darkness that came over all the land from the sixth hour to the ninth hour while Jesus was on the cross (Matthew 27:45) was due to a solar eclipse.  This was impossible, of course, since Passover always falls on a full moon, but it takes a new moon to cause a solar ecplipse.

The darkness was caused by God, supernaturally, because the Son of God was hanging on the cross, suffering for our sins and transgressions.  That is why it was Good Thursday—good because all who would believe in His once-for-all sacrifice, and subsequent resurrection three days later, will experience eternal life.

Apr. 16, 2011

A group in Iran called “The Conductors of the Coming” has produced a video, which was released near the end of March.  The video is called “The Coming is Upon Us.”

The video describes how recent unrest in the Middle East may be a prelude to the coming of the Twelfth Imam or Muhammad al-Mahdi.  This is the messianic figure who, according to Islamic scriptures, will lead Islamic armies to victory over all non-Muslims in the last days.

You can watch a short video, by the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), describing how this video was obtained by a former CIA double agent, who was a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.  The target audience for the 28½-minute Iranian video is Muslims in the Middle East and throughout the world.

The Coming is Upon Us

Several of the nations that I mentioned in my Apr. 2 entry are also referenced in this video.

Apr. 15, 2011

Today is “tax day” in the USA.  Well, this year, that’s not really true.  In the District of Columbia, it is “Emancipation Day.”  Well, not really.  That actually is tomorrow, but they are celebrating it today.

So because D.C. is observing a holiday today, that postpones “tax day” for the rest of the states until Monday, April 18.  Therefore, those of you owing taxes have a few extra days before you have to put your checks in the mail.

At least something good came out of D.C.  That’s pretty rare. 

Apr. 11, 2011

Chickenfoot GameSomeone emailed me with a question about the Chickenfoot dominoes game.  He said when he and his friends play the game that “the dominoes are too close to one another to form all 3 chicken toes on the new chicken foot.”

I told him I’ve never had this problem, although the dominoes do get close to each other and sometimes have to be shifted or rearranged a bit.  I sent him a photo of a Chickenfoot hand and suggested that he send me a representative photo of what he is talking about, since “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

I rarely ever play Chickenfoot, but friends and I do from time to time.  In case you’ve never played it, it’s pretty fun.  Personally, I prefer my Train Wreck! dice game.  It has more features and options, which I like in a game.

Apr. 5, 2011

Passover is two weeks away.  Recently, I received a very lengthy but interesting email from a Messianic Jewish group in The Netherlands.  They had a concern about their children’s partipation in the Passover Seder meal:

I really did not feel fully qualified to answer the email, which I noted in my response.

Apr. 2, 2011

There continue to be more indications of a “peace deal” involving Israel and the Palestinians to happen this Fall.  The most common consensus seems to be September (see my Feb. 15 entry).  Even Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, stated last month, “We are facing a diplomatic-political tsunami that the majority of the public is unaware of and that will peak in September.”

In Israel, Time for Peace Offer May Run Out

Let’s see now...there have been protests, many of them violent, in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, Syria, and other places.  And all of these places are Islamic.  It still seems to me that the Islamic world is polarizing into moderate and radical groups (see my Mar. 27 entry).

Increasingly, Israel is being caught in the middle of all the madness.  For about a week, there have been rockets launched by Palestinians into Israel, and Israel has retaliated.  There is no friend of Israel in the region.  Eventually, there will be no friend of Israel in the world.

If everything continues to heat up, Israel may feel that it has no recourse other than to enter into a momentous agreement, in an attempt to appease its enemies.  Unfortunately, I feel that this may be a dreadful “covenant with death” (Isaiah 28:15-19).

Apr. 1, 2011

Board of EducationIt’s April Fool’s Day.  I have been reading the book of Proverbs for several days, and there are numerous references to “fools” in this book.  Often, it states that a “rod” should be applied to the backs of fools.

Whenever I see the word “rod,” I am reminded of my friend’s “Board of Education” (to the right).  We refer to it simply as the “BOE.”  So keep that in mind when you see “rod” in these verses:

  • A fool's talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them. (Proverbs 14:3)
  • Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:14)
  • A whip for the horse, a halter for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools! (Proverbs 26:3)

The great King David (father of King Solomon, who wrote Proverbs) wrote, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1)  I hope there are none reading this who have discounted the existence of God.  Otherwise, this could be your day! 

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