The Star of Bethlehem

Matthew 2:1,2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star at its rising and have come to worship him.” Matthew tells us that after Jesus’ birth, magoi (magicians or astologers?) from the anatolon (east) had seen an astera at its anatole (rising in the east) and came to Jerusalem in order to proskynesai (worship) the one who was born basileus ton Ioudaion (king of […]

How to Find the Innkeeper in the Christmas Story

Luke 2:4-7 So Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered together with Mary, who was legally promised in marriage to him and was pregnant. And it happened that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the […]

How to Ruin Christmas

Strip the nativity Bible narratives of all human traditions that have been added to the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:4-7. Mary did not ride a donkey to Bethlehem. Luke 2:9-15. There is no “innkeeper[a]However, if the house belonged to Joseph, and the guest chamber/κατάλυμα was already full, then Joseph clearly had a host who managed the house and residents while he was away in Nazareth. … Continue reading(and “inn” is a poor translation of the word for an “upper room”). Matthew 2:9-11. The star was capable of standing still above a single house as a supernatural guiding light, not a […]

How to Pray

Prayer is talking to God. Someone told me that they did not pray because they did not know how. If you can talk to me, you can talk to God. Jesus taught how to pray and started by telling his disciples how NOT to pray. Don’t pray because you want to impress other people. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when […]

Should I live however the #*@% I want to live?

Recently, a medical colleague asked me if I thought that vaccination cards were the Mark of the Beast. I knew that this was a reference to Revelation 13:11-18. Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the […]

How to Beat Your Slaves

I have been told that the Bible endorses slavery and that it allows a master to beat a slave nearly to death. This statement did not come from someone who actually reads the Bible beyond a verse out of context from time to time. So I wanted to take a look. I started with the Christian Scriptures (the teachings of Jesus and letters of the Apostles). There are at least five passages that came to light. 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 Ephesians 6:5-9 Colossians 3:22-4:1 Philemon 8-21 1 Peter 2:18-21 These passages are directed toward anyone that is already a slave […]

God loves some of us.

Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. God’s eternal love has specific recipients. The love of God is fundamental to the atonement, John 3:16. James Montgomery Boice differentiates between value and intention in regards to the atonement. The value of Jesus’ death is infinite. The question rather is what is the purpose of Christ’s death, and what He accomplished in it. Did Christ intend to make salvation no more than possible? Or did He actually save those for whom He died? Reformed theology stresses that Jesus actually atoned for […]

How to Face a Jealous God

“If jealousy is a deadly sin, isn’t God sinful, since He is a jealous God?”   Premise One: God is a Jealous God. Nahum 1: 2 tells us, “A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; the LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies.” [a]Scripture quotations are from The New American Standard Bible: 1995 (The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA) This is verified in Exodus 20:5. “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity […]

How to answer, “Religions are myths.”

One of my neighbors recently posted her advice for everyone to live without religion. Here is what she posted: “Religions are myths. Love yourself and be kind. My inspiring thought for today is that we only can judge ourselves. There were no brutal blood sacrifices needed to make you whole. You’re a whole person just as you are. Live in that freeing truth. You are not the chief of sinners, but youve (sic) made mistakes, easily corrected. Live lawfully, kindly, and lovingly. You don’t need a book to tell you right from wrong. You are good. You are worthy. […]

How to Construct a Worldview

While reading Matthew 5:15 it occurred to me that in the same way that a lamp beneath a basket is obscured, that if a person was under a basket he would not clearly see the world outside the basket. He would experience obstructive filtering of external light. [a]While I do not think that this is the intent of this biblical passage, it provided me with a mental picture to serve as an illustration. Only bits and pieces of the outside environment would pass through a woven basket. If you were inside the basket, you may glimpse a bit of […]