Thursday, April 29, 2010


I’m certain that many of you can identify with difficult family relationships. Maybe sharing my response to the following questions recently posed to me will be helpful to some of, as well.

“What do you do when you realize that you have outgrown certain people in your life and it’s your family? I seriously have absolutely no desire to be around them! I do it out of ‘family responsibility.’ How do you extricate yourself from those negative relationships without feeling guilty! I’m trying to do the whole ‘honor thy mother and father’ thing, but find it very hard most times.”

While I’m comfortable sharing what the Lord has taught me about relationships, I must preface my response with an acknowledgement that I still don’t have this area all figured out and often fail miserably!

As we walk with Jesus
and become increasingly transformed into His image,
we can expect that our approach to life
may be understood as judgment upon and rejection of
family members who aren’t growing along with us.
Even Jesus’ family faced this:

• When Jesus’ family heard about His life-style, “they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind’” [Mark 3:21].

• Jesus’ response? “Who are my mother and brothers? Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” [Mark 3:33].

From an earthly perspective, Jesus’ response doesn’t seem honoring or loving. Yet, we must always use Him as our guide. What kind of relationship did Jesus have with his earthly family?

While the world places a great emphasis on “family responsibility,” I’m not aware of any other Scripture that specifically describes Jesus’ relationship with His earthly siblings and there are very few regarding His relationship with His earthly parents.

Jesus does, however, talk about relationships between believing and unbelieving family members. The inevitable result of Christ’s coming is conflict between them!

“For I have come to turn “a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, … a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” [Matthew 10:35-36].
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death” [Mark 13:12].

I also long for deeper relationships. Yet, I’ve learned that letting go of my vision of them causes me to draw closer to and be more dependent upon Jesus and His vision of family. While this can be very painful, I’m finding that this is exactly what He desires!

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take up His cross and follow me is not worthy of me” [Matthew 10:37-39].

Although I can’t identify any Scriptural guidelines regarding frequency of visits or calls, attending “holiday” celebrations, gift giving, etc., Jesus’ expectations for earthly relationships are obviously different from those of the world;

• When Jesus said, “Follow me” …the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” [Luke 9:59-62].

It seems that being about the Father’s business often makes it impossible and even unnecessary to fulfill the world’s standards!

Keeping all this in mind, let’s consider the Biblical image of honoring our parents and how we are to respond to “negative family relationships” next Thursday.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


Although I was too young to recall, Momma enjoys recounting this story about me:
I was about 4 when I came running into the kitchen excitedly announcing, “Mommy, I want to die!” Shocked by my declaration and bewildered by my excitement about it, she responded, “Bonnie Joann, why on earth would you say a thing like that?” “Well, don’t I have to die in order to be with Jesus,” I questioned. “Weeell, yeees,” she responded hesitantly. “Then, I want to die,” I proclaimed. “Don’t you want to be with Jesus, Mommy? I queried. “Sure, I do,” she replied. “Well, then don’t you want to die?” I continued to question. “Well, I don’t think God is done with me quite yet. There are things He wants for me to do before I die.” Displeased with her answer, I exited the room determinedly exclaiming, “Well, I want to be with Jesus. So, I want to die now!”
Momma stood in silence, bewildered by my lack of fear of death and my intent to be with Jesus.

I have since learned that physical death is not necessary to enjoy the presence of Jesus. Paul warned the Romans [8:13], “If you live in accordance with the natural realm, you are destined to die, but if you put the actions of the body to death by the Spirit, you will live.”

Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow me, that person will have to utterly deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow me. The person who wants to preserve their life will lose it, but whoever lets go of their life for my sake will find it.” [Matthew 16:24-25].

We cannot enjoy the blessings of the Spirit’s presence
we are willing to cease making self
the object of our lives and actions.

“Taking up one’s cross” is a willingness to die to all selfish:
• ambitions to rise above others
• behaviors to get what we want when we want it
• attitudes of caring only for our own interests
• desires to put our personal needs before those of others.

Deny means, “Don’t feed it!” We must starve our prideful nature which is often manifested in addictions: food, work, spending, entertainment, gossiping, lying, people-pleasing, sex and more.

All of these may bring temporary satisfaction. However, “What good will it do someone if they gain the whole world and lose their own life? What will a person give in exchange for their very life?” [Matthew 16:26] Is another evening of masturbation worth forfeiting your eternal life? What about another piece of cake or video game? The only power that temptation has is our longing to say “Yes” to our selfish desires. In doing so, we are saying “No” to Jesus.

Many fear that God wants to “ruin all our fun.” However, it isn’t our enjoyment that He aspires to destroy. He’s determined to demolish our pride.

He desires that we enjoy the freedom true life brings:
• enjoying intimacy with His Body, the Church.
• hearing His voice
• sensing His presence
• seeing Him work in and through us
• having insight into His will and the strength to do it

Saying that we believe in Jesus is not enough. Jesus says, “anyone who does not take up His cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” [Matthew 10:38] Yet, overcoming selfish ambitions is not easy! Where do we find such strength? Jesus set the example for us when He said, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” Desiring the Father’s will more than our own is the only way to enjoy the Whole-Hearted Life which He has prepared for us and … it is the only way to life with Jesus for eternity.

Living for Jesus, wherever I am,
Doing each duty in His holy Name;
Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
Deeming each trial a part of my cross.

O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me.
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne.
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.
- Thomas O. Chisholm

My heart hasn’t changed much since I was four. My greatest desire is still to be with Jesus! Yet … I must pray daily that my prideful, selfish flesh will be crucified in order that I might know Him with my whole heart. Even today, “I want to die now!”


Sunday, April 18, 2010


My mother-in-law used to have a family tree plaque hanging on her dining-room wall. Wood- carved acorns representing each family member hung on its branches. When her son divorced, his ex-wife’s acorn was mischievously placed “on the ground” at the base of the tree. The family jokingly explained, “She fell from the family tree.”

Have you done something that makes you feel as though you aren’t good enough to hang from the same tree as the rest of your family? Maybe you have family members who seem to suck the life from your family tree. More importantly, do you fear that you’ve fallen from the family tree of God?

Growing up, I was so ashamed of my family name that I didn’t want to hang from the same tree! I’ve spent even more years, experiencing shame from my own decisions! Yet, I’ve come to realize that even Jesus’ family tree was “less-than-perfect.” It only requires a peak into His life story to discover that Jesus’ genealogy reveals a lot of “fallen acorns.” Regardless, Jesus doesn’t shake to the ground the worm-infested relatives whom He chose or try to hide them from the world. Instead, He hangs them, even with their rotted imperfections, right where we can all see them!

Why? With all their “damaged fruit,” Jesus wants His people to know that He’s not ashamed of them. He is not bewildered by their actions nor do their family “secrets” trouble Him. In fact, “He is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11).


Thursday, April 8, 2010


The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 2003 reported that nearly one in three U.S. adults have hypertension! While the disease killed more than 50,000 people in the U.S. in 2004, the American Heart Association says high blood pressure is easily detected and usually controllable! Amazingly though,

JAMA reports that among the 23.4 million taking antihypertensive medications,
only 42.9% actually lower their blood pressure to acceptable levels!

According to JAMA’s study, the failure to adequately treat hypertension could generate $1 billion in excess health costs due to complications such as: stroke, heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure and other illnesses. Considering the relationship between Big Pharma and the health care system, this doesn’t surprise me!

Not only are antihypertensive drugs often ineffective, they carry many potential adverse affects: weakness, drowsiness, muscle cramps, depression, confusion, hallucinations, nightmares, sexual disfunction, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased white blood count, electrolyte imbalances, birth defects, seizures, neurological damage, heart failure, liver dysfunction, kidney failure, death! Knowing that, in most cases, hypertension is easily treated without medication, I’d rather get to the root of the problem! Unless I was in immediate danger, I would not take antihypertensive drugs. Even then, I would only agree to short-term use to vie for time to make the necessary life-style changes.

In order to effectively treat hypertension, we need to understand the cause. Blood pressure is a measurement of the force applied to the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. The pressure is determined by the force and amount of blood pumped, and the size and flexibility of the arteries. Circulation becomes sluggish causing the heart to labor as a result of: inactivity, smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption, medications, poor fluid intake, constipation, toxin build-up, stress and obesity. Although chronic kidney, adrenal and thyroid disease can cause hypertension, most often we simply need to increase our blood flow.

What would regime would I follow to accomplish this?

Exercise – at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, five or six days a week. To measure how intensely to exercise subtract your age from 220. Multiply the result by 70 percent. (For example: if you are 30 years old: 220-30=190 X 0.70 = 133. Exercise at a level that keeps the heart beating at 133 beats per minute.)

Water - at least 64 oz. daily (8 – 8 oz. glasses) Water is necessary for our bodies to function properly including: regular bowel movements, flushing toxins and blood circulation.

Environment - Eliminate: Vasoconstrictors – stress, smoking, alcohol and caffeine. Heavy Metals in Anti-acids like Tums, deodorant, home/car air fresheners and dandruff shampoos. Tap water is full of toxins. Filter water using a reverse osmosis system.

Diet – Microwaving and over-cooking destroys nutrients, including Folic Acid and Vitamin B complex, both are necessary for blood pressure control.
Toxin flushing, blood pressure lowering foods include: fresh spinach, cilantro, 6-8 organic/free range eggs weekly, blueberries, Wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, pumpkin seed, walnuts, whole grains, fresh garlic and raw fruits & vegetables. *Flax seed contains Alpha linolenic acid, lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Whole flax seed is difficult to digest whole. Finely grind golden flax seed in a blender. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons daily on cereal, salad, or peanut putter sandwich. Many people tout the results!

Sleep – Toxins are cleaned out of brain cells during sleep! Deep sleep causes the heart rate to drop and lowers blood pressure! Read my article on sleep, 02/11/10 ( )


Ubiquinol CoQH-CF – (form of CoQ10) 100 mg - AM & PM
DHA (Omega 3) - 300 Mg - AM & PM
Vitamin B Complex – B1 (Thiamine) 50 mg, B3 (Niacin) 50 mg, B6 (pyridoxine) 50 mg - AM,
B12 – 500 mcg - AM & PM
Folic Acid (part of B complex) – 400 mcg - AM & PM
Vitamin D – ask your doctor to do a blood test which measures your Vitamin D level. Low levels are often a factor in hypertension. Adjust your intake accordingly.
Alpha Lipoic Acid – 200mg – AM
NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) – 400mg - AM & PM



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Thursday, April 1, 2010


Does Scripture instruct Jesus’ followers to celebrate Easter?” In studying God’s Word, the only reference to Easter which I have found is in Acts 21: 4 (KJV), “And when he [Herod] had apprehended him [Peter], he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.” However, in other translations the word used is not “Easter,” but “Passover.” Baffled by the variance, I continued my search.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia says, "EASTER (Acts 12:4), An anachronistic mistranslation of the Greek ‘pascha’ (‘Passover’), in which the KJV followed such earlier versions as Tyndale and Coverdale. The Acts passage refers to the seven-day Passover festival. It is reasonably certain that the NT contains no reference to …” Easter. (Vol 2, p.6)

Where, then, does “Easter” come from? According to scholars, it has its roots in ancient paganism.

 West Germanic name of a pagan spring festival. (Webster's Dictionary, 1976)
 The pagan festival held to honor Eastre, the goddess of dawn, was called Eastre in Old English. (The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, 1987, p.177)
 Easter is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte. The pagan festival of 'Easter' was quite distinct (from the festival Pasch) and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity. (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p.192)
 ...Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Traditions associated with the festival survive in Easter rabbits and eggs as symbols of fertility. (Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia)
 The scientific terminology for the female hormone, estrogen and the cyclic period of sexual receptivity, estrus is derived from this fertility goddess, Eastre.
 Sabbats in Modern Witchcraft--Spring Equinox--A solar festival, in which the forces of male and female, are in equal balance. The first day of spring, marks the birth of the infant Sun God [Son of Eostre] …. The Christian version of the sabbat is Easter. (The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, 1989, p.289)
 Witches celebrate eight major festivals or sabbats each year. 20 or 21 March, Eostre, the vernal equinox, is a fertility festival. (A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, and Pagans, 1980, p.167)
 They provoked the Lord to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths (Judges 2:13). NIV note: Female deities such as Ashtoreth the beautiful goddess of war and fertility. The worship of the Ashtoreths involved extremely lascivious practices.
 1 Kings 14:24 speaks of ritual prostitution as an important feature of Canaanite fertility religion. The cult of Ishtar - the goddess of fertility, love and war was the most important one in ancient Babylon and became, under various names (Asherah, Venus, Aphrodite, Semiramus, Diana, and Mary in addition to those previously mentioned), the most important in the Near East and Western Asia.

How did this fertility festival become intertwined into the church?

Constantine, the pagan Roman emperor, legalized Christianity in order to reinforce his crumbling empire. He needed the strength demonstrated by those who were willing to die for their beliefs. However, in his quest for unity, he eventually outlawed all religions except Rome’s version of “Christianity.”

Many Jews refused to blend pagan practices into their traditions, including their observance of Passover. To resolve this division, the emperor declared that Passover would be outlawed and Easter would be the official church holiday. He communicated this decision made at the Nicene Council through a letter to all the churches in the empire explaining his reasoning:

“When the question relative to the sacred festival of Easter arose, it was universally thought that it would be convenient that all should keep the feast on one day; was declared particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of all festivals, to follow the custom of the Jews… They do not possess the truth in this Easter question...” - (Found in Eusebius, Vita Const., Lib. Iii., 18-20.)

Consequently, many Jews were executed for refusing to relinquish their traditions and many Christians were martyred for refusing to taint the purity of Christ’s Church by observing the Pagan festival.

In America, Easter was dismissed as a pagan holiday by the Puritans
and did not begin to be widely observed until just after the Civil War.
This year, however, according to a trade report in the
March 10, Chicago Tribune,
American spending is “forecast to reach $13.03 billion,”
an “average of $118.60” per person celebrating Easter!

The Barna Group, recently explored Americans’ definition of the Easter holiday. The results show that while a majority of Americans indicated some type of spiritual connection with Easter, only a minority directly linked Easter to the Christian belief in the resurrection of Christ.

Even while many Christians ignorantly observe pagan Easter practices, Heavy Metal groups are singing about Easter, witches are writing about her, universities are teaching about her, children are reading about her, and Hollywood is producing movies to mock our ignorance.

We might excuse our practices by saying that we are celebrating Jesus in our hearts. However, God warns us not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil [Gen. 2:17]. God’s people must worship in truth [John 4:24]. Yet, rather than studying to show ourselves approved and rightly dividing the Word of God [2 Tim 2:15], we often blindly accept what we’ve been taught and assume to be true.

Are you certain that the source of you beliefs and practices are the Bible—or some other authority?


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.