The Magdalene Affair

July 22 was the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene. At church on Sunday, the sermon focused the congregation’s attention on the Magdalene pointing out that the name Mary was a very common name back in the day and that modern edited versions of Scripture reveal there were at least 7 different women named Mary. 

I forgive the Ministers for playing it safe, for not taking the risk to support what I know and believe about Mary Magdalene.  Modern scholarship has diminished Mary Magdalene’s role as the Bride of the Gospel.  Up until Vatican II, the view in the Roman Catholic Church and the prevalent belief in Protestant Churches was that Mary Magdalene was the Woman who anointed Jesus with her Alabaster Jar. What many Protestants contested was the fact that the Roman Catholic view used her anointing image to tarnish Mary Magdalene’s image by saying she was a sinner, a whore who was forgiven for her heart of gold.

It matters little for many people that calling Mary Magdalene a whore is no worse than calling Jesus a Jew, a Judean, or a demon possessed Samaritan. There are worse epithets. Think about Judas. Judas is called the betrayer, like Rahab. Rahab was a prostitute in old Jericho who betrayed her people by letting Joshua stay the night at her house. This made it possible for his armed men to scale the walls of Jericho under the cover of darkness to bring a mighty victory to God’s Hebrew people.  Rahab let the enemy into her heart and into her home and country as did Judas.   

Many, if not most Christians today, want to play it safe. They do not want to pick up their Cross, let Jesus wrap them with the Teacher’s help in the fine linen sheets of scripture and place them inside the very womb of life, wrapped and protected by a magnanimous Rock (Matthew 27:58).  

Most people would not understand what I just said.

Most Christians want to see the Political Jesus, the one who lived and died as heroes live and die. They take the Crucifixion and burial of Jesus as the actual historical account of how the authorities condemned Jesus as a blasphemous traitor and executed as all Roman criminals were executed.

Many Christians believe Jesus was nailed to an ordinary cross made of lumber. They think like Simon did, as men, as people, not as God (Matthew 16:24). Their minds are on the concerns of the people. They want justice and they want to denounce all evil doing. They want law and order and they want the woman they love to be treated with dignity and respect. People want to worship a conquering hero, someone who goes into battle for them and brings them the victory. If their hero sacrifices his life for them and dies nobly all the better. They will remember him and honour his memory and teach others to “fight” and die for them and future generations.

Most Christians honour Jesus in this way, claiming he is no dead hero. He died and rose again, proving he was God. And most will argue, he did not stick around. He ate with people, proving he was alive and then having proved that fact, he ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51), with the assurance that he would return one day (Acts 1:11).

Most people stop at the Ascension, thinking this ends Jesus’ earthly ministry. This is where they will say. “See Jesus doesn’t live forever on earth and neither will we. When we die we will discard our bodies, ascend into space as vaporous spirit and live with Jesus in space, forever as a vaporous cloud. Here on earth, it is our memories and our contributions to life that live on.”

Stop! Look and Listen. Hear the blessed assurance of Acts 1:11. In the same way you saw Jesus go, you will see Jesus return.  Open your eyes and your heart.  See how Jesus soothes, comforts and protects his cherished bride with the help of teachers like Nicodemus.  

People who are biblically alert might be quick to say. Linda I see where you are going with this. It is Joseph who lovingly, craves, or begs Pilate for the body of Jesus who is battered and bruised and whose wedding garment is removed, torn to bits and given to 7 others by demons, by people who are playing it safe or know not what they are doing. It is Joseph of Arimathea with the help of Nicodemus who anoints, wraps and carries the bloody and bruised body of Jesus in fine linen to a new cavern he has purchased for her, his Bride, as God did for Jerusalem when she became of age (Matthew 27:58; Ezekiel 16:9-10).   

People will say Joseph of Arimathea is not Jesus. They will say. How could he be? You must be off the mark Linda. Joseph was the earthly Father of Jesus and his Mother was Mary.

Others will say it was Simon the Cyrene who carried the Cross of Jesus (Mark 15:21). He was the Father of some red-haired person and some person called Alexander. So How could Simon be the Father of Jesus? If Simon was a Cyrenaic, wouldn’t that make Joseph the Father of Jesus black?  

What has all this got to do with Mary Magdalene?

The Bride is the female Jesus who was crucified with Christ, her Bridegroom (Galatians 2:20).  For two thousand years, Mary Magdalene was celebrated as the Bride. What is keeping you from realizing this? Are demons, patriarchal language, politics, worldly concerns for border security, or peace and justice, climate change, or the enigmatic beliefs of others?

Stand up and realize the Resurrection. Humanity is created in the image and eternal loving and living likeness of God. Every living person on this planet has a mother and a father. Loving parents, loving teachers, and loving neighbours from all walks of life teach us how to love and protect one another, not lifeless idols. Sometimes the concerns of our neighbours and the concerns of our hearts blind us to the Truth. Nothing, not even the grave, can separate us from the Love of God that is physical and protects us by living and dwelling with us forever (Romans 8:38).   

Mary Magdalene is the Bride, the Godly Mother of the Gospel. Her Godly Groom is Simon, the Christ she stumbled upon with the love and help of Jesus Nicodemus (John 3:1-21). She is not an X-rated enigma. Children need to see her as the Rabbi who loved much. They need to forgive and redeem her inordinate love affair with Israel’s Teacher who made straight the highway, to empower sinners to turn back to God and honour their Mother and their Father.

This is Good News. Not Fake News. Jesus the Rabboni did not steal Christ’s body as many have thought. Christ’s body belongs to the Bride. The Rabboni is the Friend of the Groom who ascends, stands up with his head held high and his arms stretched out, rejoicing at the sound of the Bridegroom’s voice, saying I do! (John 3:29; John 20:15-17).

The Ascension does not end Jesus’ earthly ministry. The Ascension is the beginning!

Star of Wonder

Every year on the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Christians celebrate Epiphany. Epiphany is when the Magi see a wondrous star in the east. This star brings these prestigious travellers to the city of David, where they see Jesus and present Jesus with gifts fit for a king (Matthew 2:2).

Many people have often wondered about that star. How could a star suddenly appear in the sky and cause prestigious wise people to travel to a far-off land? Was the star a comet? Was the star a revelation of divine wisdom? Or a rising new star for them to respect?

In 2015, I presented an eco-justice paper at the Orthodox Academy of Crete. The title of my paper was Mathematics and the New Jerusalem. In this paper, I revealed how as a homemaker, with merely a high school education, I discovered how the ancient biblical writers were well aware of sophisticated mathematics.  Astonishingly, I discovered and make known in that paper how they embedded the circumference of the planet into the sacred stories. I do so with the help of the Star of David and the Christmas Star. 

The City of David…Jerusalem…the City of Peace
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

So what? 

What difference does it make whether the Magi saw an actual star in the sky or discovered the circumference of the planet as I did? 

The fact is the magi saw a revelation they believed was divine. It astonished them. It filled them with awe. It caused them to suddenly see how awesome and mighty God is.  It took them on a journey outside of their comfort zone bearing gifts. The Star they saw led them to a place where they saw God’s wondrous gift of Eternal Love newly born. It inspired them and gave them the hope, that no matter what, God was with them forever.  The Star and the Journey brought them to where they saw for themselves, God’s promise of Eternal Love and Life was true.

However, law abiding citizens were demanding justice and peace on their terms. They were asking. How can God’s gift of Eternal Love and Life inspire shepherds and stable help who do menial work for little or no reward? What little they make gets gobbled up by taxes and living expenses.

As the Christian story unfolds after the Visit of the Magi…Christians can read about the problems the early church encountered as they tried to work for peace and justice.

About 12 years after the Magi’s visit, Mary and Joseph lose sight of Jesus. To their wonder and surprise, they find Jesus sitting at the feet of Rabbis teaching them, in what Jesus says is “Daddy’s” domain.

Well most of you readers know the story. Or think you do? It is a rich, complex story. As more and more people join the band of followers working for peace headed up by Jesus the Good Teacher and the Woman called Mary Magdalene, things go awry (Luke 8:2). Everyone has a version of the truth. Some people say Mary Magdalene is not the Woman who anointed Jesus the Good Teacher. Others sully her reputation, claiming she is a prostitute, possessed by demons. Nobody cares a fig about Joseph or arithmetic and everyone is calling for Jesus Barabbas the resistance leader and insurrectionist to be set free (Matthew 27:16).

So dear readers. There is more to the story. Read some of my other posts. If you want to read some of my more academic papers, you can download them from my website. If you like what you read, be sure to give me a like. Or share my posts with your friends.





Is Rudolof the Red-Haired, Ariel Gazelle Mary Magdalene?

Did you know that Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer –the littlest reindeer with the antlers and the bright red nose is FEMALE…even though she has a male name.?  If you don’t believe me…check out http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/wildlife/6487154/Rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer-is-a-female.html

Poor Rudolf the other reindeers laughed and called her names like he and maybe even Dorcas or Dork for short.  Then one foggy night Santa, being all tarnished with soot came to say…Rudolf…with your nose so bright…will you guide my sleigh tonight?

The Christmas tales told to children allow some adults to glean bits of divine truth that reveal how the gifts of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love come into the world.

All is quiet not a creature is stirring…no one is speaking up. I wonder why? Why does Santa come down the chimney? Why does he come down from heaven…from the night sky through such a narrow opening?  Why does old Saint Nick come under the cover of darkness?  Why is “he” wearing a scarlet suit?

Two Scriptures that may shine like a bright red clue for you are:

John 3: 1-2

John 20: 16  

Many kids have heard, if they’re naughty they’ll get the gift of coal and if they’re nice they’ll get Candy…hard rock candy shaped like a shepherd’s crook. People from Crete may get that one. Did you know that Crete was once called “Candy” by Brits? And did you know Cretans were one of the first Christians to welcome the Holy Spirit and her tongues of fire? (Acts 2: 1-12) http://sundayteacher.com/vcmedia/2414/2414925.pdf

But why coal? Why would Old Nico, Mr. Noddy, give naughty kids a block of coal in their stockings? Why would naughty kids who run around the city stealing to keep warm, need a lump of coal?

Did you know that there was a Father called Simon who carried the Cross of Jesus? Mark 15:21 Many Christians believed he was black because he was called the Cyrene. Cyrene was a city in Northern Africa.  In addition, Cyrenaics were sensual hedonists. So, today many simply say there is no proof that Simon was black or a hedonist. And some even ask.  What difference would it make anyway?

Well if Simon is the Black Rock that was rejected, what does that make Simon? Sshh…not a creature was stirring not even a wee biddy didymous.

Did you know that Dorcas is the Greek translation of the Aramaic name Tabitha meaning “gazelle”? A Dorcas gazelle is also known as an ariel gazelle, a little deer with horns and a reddish brown, a rufus coloured coat. (The Latin word rufus means red haired one)…mmm Disney’s Ariel the little mermaid has red hair too!

Dorcas gazelle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dorcasgazellemarwell.jpg

Did you know that Simon (who Jesus called Peter and Satan) raised Dorcas from the dead?  You can read about this in Acts 9:36-42; John 1:42 and Matthew 16:23).

As you can see, much can be gleaned from thinking about Old St. Nick letting Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer lead the way, one Foggy Christmas Eve.

May your Christmas be Merry and Bright!

 

 

The Lid on the Story: Jesus and Nicodemus

The Story of Jesus and Nicodemus (John 3: 1-21) can trap the unsuspecting Christian reader and leave him or her in darkness. It represents the Truth the Church is afraid to proclaim or cannot proclaim because of those who insist Jesus was a celibate “straight” male. Under the cover of darkness, Jesus and the Teacher met alone. The Sunday School or Sunday Club version says the Teacher’s love for Jesus was platonic.

The Sunday School version puts a lid on the story. The Teacher’s love for Jesus is more than platonic and this should be “good news”. This Johannine story is linked to the Rich Person and the “Good” Teacher story of Mark’s Gospel chapter 10:17. Do not let others dissuade you. Believe me. These texts are linked and they are also linked to the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19: 1-10.  Jesus the “good” Teacher and member of the Assembly looks at Jesus with eyes of love and desire and asks to stay, to spend the night with the person people know is a tax collector…a Vogt, a wealthy property owner entitled to collect taxes and rents, an advocate for the Romans (Luke 19:6).

In the public eye, Nicodemus remains stoic and platonic as a teacher and rabbi of the ruling council and Jesus remains male. To suggest that Nicodemus had any sexual desire for a male Jesus would not only be blasphemous, it would be heretical. It would not advance the messianic and Johannine belief that Christ was the one who belongs to the Bridegroom (John 3:29).

The Truth is, alone with Jesus, Israel’s Teacher acts upon his love and desire. Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit responds, supposing Israel’s Teacher is Jesus the Christ. Later Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit confronts the Teacher in the Garden of the Tombs. There the Gordian Knot of confusion disappears. As the Truth dawns, Mary Magdalene’s Image and Relationship to Jesus becomes apparent. Jesus the Rabboni is not her Lord, the Christ the Everlasting Father. He is the Son of David and Jesus the Wonderful Counsellor is the Vogt…the promised Advocate, the bitterly treated and maligned Magdalene accused of blasphemy for saying she was The Light…the Magda Elaine of the World, the ADVOCATE  (John 8:12 and John 15:26).

In the Christian tradition, the 6 weeks leading up to Easter are called the Season of Lent.

The Sunday marked the second Sunday of Lent, the Minister at my home church told the children a story before they left the sanctuary for Sunday Club. This story featured a box. Inside the box was a word that no one was allowed to say or sing during Lent. This being the second Sunday of Lent, the Minister was not going to say the word and asked if anybody thought they knew the word. The Minister of Music embellished the story. Every time the Minister opened the box a crack, the other Minister would make a sound on the organ that reminded people of the word they weren’t supposed to hear or sing in the Church until Easter. This children’s sermon has been told every Lent for the past several years. And so, this year a youngster just couldn’t help but reveal the word.

The Scripture reading for the second Sunday of Lent this year was John 3: 1-17.  The adult sermon reflected the Minister’s interpretation of the story of Nicodemus and Jesus without any allusion to any ardent feelings that Jesus and Nicodemus, the platonic Teacher and Council Member had for each other. Rather, the Minister simply told the story as if Nicodemus was in the dark with the rest of the Council and Jesus’ disciples as to the reorientation his life would take once he openly admitted his love for Jesus.

From the perspective of the Minister, Nicodemus was boxed in like many of us because he didn’t want to upset the balance of power. The Minister projected Jesus as a scruffy fellow, some sort of country bumpkin, alluding to Simon the Cyrene, the man who carried the Cross of Jesus (Mark 15:21).

In his box, the Minister dared not even suggest Jesus was a slender young redhead richly dressed filling Nicodemus’ eyes with desire.

I must admit I was losing my patience with the Minister’s sermon, thinking. “What is wrong. Why can’t people see the Truth?” Nicodemus is the Victory of the people.  He is Jesus the Teacher that comes back at the end of the story to talk with the Red-haired Woman “face to face” in the Garden where the Teacher has a cave, a platonic academy dedicated to peace and eco-justice, situated overlooking two burial grounds.  Then just as my patience was at its thinnest, the Minister tells a story about when he was boy.

As I listened, I was struck by the coincidence of the Minister’s story and the story of Nicodemus.

As a boy, the Minister would run away from his parents and hide under blankets and things. One day he hid in the cedar chest where the blankets were stored. But unbeknownst to him, his elder brother was watching and saw a chance to assert his power. Knowing his brother was in the chest, the elder brother sat on the chest. The more the younger brother tried to push up the lid or reveal his whereabouts, the more he couldn’t. His cries were muffled under the blankets. The more he struggled and the more he tried to make a sound and failed, the more frightened he became. Finally, the elder brother stood up and he was able to open the chest.

With this story told by the Minister standing outside the pulpit, from the middle aisle, a flash of insight came to me. The Rock sealing the Teacher’s tomb, holds the balance of power. Until the scruffy don from the country who carried the Cross of Jesus, stands up bald headed and clean shaven ready to fulfill his role as the Bridegroom and Don (Mark 15:21), the Teacher is trapped in his platonic cave. The Teacher, like the youngster in the Minister’s Lenten story is trapped. He cannot come out and embrace the Light as her brother and be born again. And neither can the Madonna and their followers. They must wait and put their trust in the Lord, their Don. And the Good News is…he rises every EASTER and brings the wine.

New Jerusalem is the Conclusion of the Bible

The key point here is: “Eventually our mortal body will be redeemed; at that time our whole being will be in the new creation.”

Carbon is the building block of life. When Jesus says to Simon, you are my Rock and on this Rock I will build my church, Jesus is saying, Simon you are like a piece of coal. You are black and combustible. Your smokey breath will create a thick pall of mystery and cause me and my children and followers to think you are incapable of sustaining a divine relationship with us. People will call you Satan or Beelzebub by Jove. Until the end of this age, many people will think you are an old gas giant who is full of hot air and incapable of creating and sustaining life here on this planet. Many will think you are a stinky body and irredeemable.

However as the story of Lazarus testifies…Simon your stinky body must be redeemed. It cannot be left buried. Simon you are the Father of the Church, the foundation stone and the capstone, the “Head” of the corner. Digging up coal, which is almost pure carbon, creates dust and bad fumes. Likewise, Simon your body and your past must be dug up even if it creates a stink (John 11:39). Simon your body and its history must come out in the open and your love for humanity and the Woman Jesus called Mary must be clearly seen.

Simon’s body was and is created in the eternal image and likeness of God the Father. Simon’s body must not be buried forever and kept in the dark underground beneath a stone unable to react to Jesus’ eternal energy saying…light there be light as he said at the very beginning of this world…before the Sun was created (Genesis 1:3) on the 4th day.

Scientists have found a way to burn coal with tree branches to create hydrogen and they have found a way to redeem and capture the carbon dioxide (C02)and other green house gas emissions produced with the combustion and transform what everyone thinks is bad into useful building and household products such as tables and chairs and even food. https://lindavogtturner.ca/blogs-%26-posts-1/f/eco-colonialism-or-redemption-and-innovation .

Some may criticize those who think they can make useful material out of C02 and say the burning of Coal and fossil fuel is like the Man who won’t commit to his bride or the Woman who won’t stop playing the part of the adulterer. They need to clean up their act because as long as Coal is burning Coal is belching out C02…and no longer pure carbon. https://www.cnet.com/news/the-carbon-age-dark-element-brighter-future/

However NASA says C02 can be turned into fuel https://technology.nasa.gov/patent/TOP2-160

So as humanity moves into the Carbon Age, the Church has a very important word of scripture to stand upon. For “I know that my Redeemer lives, and in the end He will stand upon the earth.”

New Jerusalem - the Consummation

The Bible begins with God’s creation. Due to Satan’s rebellion, the creation soon became old, separated from God. God foretold, in the Old Testament, what He would do to bring forth the new creation. And in the New Testament God in Christ brought forth a new creation.

The New Jerusalem is the ultimate consummation of God’s new creation work. This consummation is a mingling of the processed, consummated Triune God with the redeemed, regenerated, transformed, conformed, and glorified tripartite man. The mingling of divinity with humanity is the church. This is the intrinsic view of the church as the Body of Christ, which consummates in the New Jerusalem, and this is the consummation of the entire Bible. The entire Bible consummates in this mingling, which is signified by the New Jerusalem.*

We have been regenerated into the new creation by being born of the Spirit in our human spirit (John…

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The Divine Dispensing for Eternity.

The key point here is this: “Jesus Christ redeemed us by His death. That re-opened the way to the tree of life and the water of life.”

As Christians we need to see and understand this death. When a male person leaves his father and his mother and gives himself freely to a female person, the male person leaves his old life and trusts that he will find new life with his Bride and their offspring. As scripture says. the 2 become 1 flesh.

“In Jewish society, the family, rather than the individual, constitutes the smallest nucleus. …The family therefore begins on the day of the wedding.” “for some people, the wedding day is similar to Yom Kippur….the bride and groom are purified of past mistakes and brought together under the marriage canopy, as pure as newborn babies.” (Symbols of Judaism, Marc-Alain Ouaknin p.106) Under the canopy, the two finances drink from the cup and then the Bridegroom slips a ring on the Bride’s finger and recites an appropriate sentence… standing with the Rabbi.(Symbols of Judaism, Marc-Alain Ouaknin p.106)

Popular Easter dramas paint a different death for Jesus. However, for Christians to understand why Jesus says I am the LIGHT (John 8:12), the lamp stand, the almond branch of the Temple and the True Vine, and why Jesus would say clinging to the identity of the Almond Branch, the Nazareth, (Jeremiah 1:11) “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Christians must know who Christ is.

In Isaiah, Christ is the Everlasting Father. In John 3: 28-9, Rabboni John, says. “You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but am sent ahead of Him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom stands and listens for him, and is overjoyed to hear the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.”

Although Rabboni John did not actually hear the bridegroom’s voice repeat his vows until the ascension, he recognized him immediately as Nathaniel (the gift of God) in John 1:49. And Nathaniel called him Rabbi and declared him the Son of God and the King of Israel.

Indeed the TRIUNE GOD created Mankind in their image and everlasting likeness, male and female. Christians also need to remember…Rabboni John would all ready have been married. “It is an obligation stated in the Torah to marry and bring children into the world.” (Symbols of Judaism p.106). Understanding who Jesus is makes a difference and when Christians witness and proclaim Jesus Christ crucified and risen with the Rabboni and his beloved wife Martha, the fourfold harmony that existed in the beginning is restored!

New Jerusalem - the Consummation

New Jerusalem is a city of resurrection life. The divine light, the river of water of life, and the fruits of the tree of life are the eternal life supply in New Jerusalem.

The uncreated light, the river of water of life, and the tree of life are all for the divine dispensing to maintain the New Jerusalem, to supply the necessities of the holy city, and to sustain the divine building for eternity. The light shines to dispense, the river flows to dispense, and the tree grows to dispense. The light, the river, and the tree are for dispensing the very substance, element, and essence of the Triune God into our being.*

The Triune God created man in His image so that man could express God. However, man in himself cannot do this. Man needs God’s life to express God. So God put the created man in…

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The Ecumenical Affair

The Ecumenical Affair is a story that takes place as representatives of the world’s Christian Churches assemble. As the word “Affair” suggests, two people find themselves together in an upper room after sundown.

Many people inside the Church are familiar with the story of Nicodemus and how he met with Jesus under the cover of darkness..after sundown.

Nicodemus was the Teacher of Israel and a member of the council. He was a trusted teacher. Why did he risk his reputation by meeting with Jesus alone, after sundown? Did he loose his head?

The Ecumenical Affair is a mirror story. It mirrors the story of Nicodemus and Jesus to reveal the Woman Jesus called Mary. The Nicodemus Story is followed by the Story known as the Woman of “Sum Maria.” For those who know Latin, she is the Woman Jesus who stands with other bitterly treated women saying “I am Maria.” For the Greeks she is the Photini, the Light of John’s Gospel.

The Mystery of the Trinity is like a tangled code, a cryptogram or a combination of interwoven symbolic characters. Without the Woman Jesus called Mary, there would be no Holy Spirit, no Vesica Piscis. There would be no tangled web, no big reveal, no crucifixion, and no resurrection.

The Woman in The Ecumenical Affair knows this. So she heads out to the 6th Assembly of the World Council of Churches. There she meets the Greek who like Nicodemus is the “Orthodox” Teacher, the one the counsel members consider to be their plumb line. He is the one the counsel members turn to when issues arise concerning scriptural interpretation. However, the Woman is the one the rabble of the assembly easily recognize and identify as the Woman Jesus. As the story unfolds, the tension mounts. The Woman knows she’s in an adulterous trap. The Greek knows he is not the Light, nor the Christ. He knows the Bride belongs to the Bridegroom and the Woman knows that that the man whom she’s married is not the Bridegroom, the Gift of God waiting for her.

Hidden in the silence that quilts The Ecumenical Affair is the word blasphemy. Has the Woman blasphemed? Has the Greek? Have I? What do you think?

Purchase a copy and go and tell.

Did Mr. Scrooge and the Grinch steal your Christmas?

As the Christmas Story goes, three wise men some say were priests, others say were kings others say were astrologers bring gifts to the newly birthed Jesus 12 days before. Did Mr. Scrooge and the Grinch steal your Christmas and keep you standing outside in the dark and cold looking in? It is hard to celebrate Christmas when the story doesn’t bring you food, warm clothing and safe cozy lodgings. My wish for all my readers this year, is that they find the love of Jesus and nurture it as they would a brand new baby.

Linda Vogt Turner-Author, Faith Based Speaker:

Did Mr. Scrooge and the Grinch steal your Christmas?

Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch are laughable characters. Death is not. Death comes to countless numbers of people every year at Christmas. So does unemployment or the loss of one’s home. Many people watched TV movies hoping for the promise of sugar plums and gifts and making it home in time to reconnect with family. Many were disappointed. They just couldn’t see any hope. Christmas came…and God didn’t wow them with a miracle.

Where is the hope of Christmas when death or some personal let down comes like a Scrooge or a Grinch? Can the Christmas Story bring hope to those facing hard times?

As the Christian Story goes, Mary is pregnant with a miracle—an immaculate conception. Should the authorities find out about Mary and Joseph, they and Mary’s gift could be killed. Miraculously they escape the death grip of the…

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The Lid on the Story: Jesus and Nicodemus

Linda Vogt Turner-Author, Faith Based Speaker:

The Story of Jesus and Nicodemus (John 3: 1-21) can trap the unsuspecting Christian reader and leave him or her in darkness. It represents the Truth the Church is afraid to proclaim or cannot proclaim because of those who insist Jesus was a celibate “straight” male. Under the cover of darkness, Jesus and the Teacher met alone. The Sunday School or Sunday Club version says the Teacher’s love for Jesus was platonic.

The Sunday School version puts a lid on the story. The Teacher’s love for Jesus is more than platonic and this should be “good news”. This Johannine story is linked to the Rich Person and the “Good” Teacher story of Mark’s Gospel chapter 10:17. Do not let others dissuade you. Believe me. These texts are linked and they are also linked to the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19: 1-10. Jesus the “good” Teacher and member of the…

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Home Improvement

Ken Weliever and his wife Norma Jean recently took a trip to Jerusalem. They are blessed and Ken’s blog posts are a blessing to many of his readers. Ken’s blogs from Jerusalem brought Jerusalem to me and others who are not so blessed to be able to travel abroad.

Walking on water, travelling across oceans and rivers is extremely difficult for people who are not financially independent or funded by foundations. It is easy for funded people travelling in the boat with Jesus to say…where’s your faith? You Ken do it.

This week Ken Weliever’s blog brought Home Improvement to my attention. https://thepreachersword.com/

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ken and his wife Norma Jean spent the weekend in South River Ontario where Ken presented a sermon series on Home Improvement to a Brethren congregation.

Here are snippets from Ken’s post:

Regarding our homes, it’s very easy to see how our spouse could improve. Or our children. Or our parents. But what about us? American businessman Bo Bennett once quipped, “Spend some time this weekend on home improvement; improve your attitude toward your family.” How can I be more loving? More patient? More responsible? And less irritable? Less demanding? Less self-absorbed?

I often hear people criticize local churches. Every attendee is an expert on how the church can improve. We critique the preacher. The song leader. The announcer. The Bible class teacher. And the men leading prayer and those serving the Lord’s supper. We evaluate the friendliness and hospitality of the brethren and the way visitors are received.

But what about you and me? Are we adding value to the local church? Are we doing our best? Serving? Teaching? Encouraging? Edifying? Using our talents? Extending hospitality? Speaking to others? Fervently worshiping? And joyfully engaging in fellowship?

The areas of improvement are obvious to us when observing the lives of other Christians, but less apparent in our own lives. To modernize the quote of Robert Burns, “Oh, the gift that God could give us, to see ourselves as others see us.” But even more importantly would that we pray the prayer of David, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart” (Ps 26:2).

In order to improve, we must see ourselves as God sees us. We must believe we can improve. Truly desire to improve. Identify those areas in which we can improve. And then make a conscious choice to set in motion a plan for improvement.

The Bible says, “Examine yourselves” (2 Cor 13:5). Are we growing spiritually? Increasing in knowledge? Developing deeper faith? And demonstrating the fruit of the spirit in our lives? Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. And self-control.

The Bible command “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18) is not optional. And it implies that we can improve.

The Bible says that 12-year-old Jesus when home to Nazareth and was subject to Joseph and Mary and “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Lk 2:52). If the Son of Man in His human state could grow and improve, surely that says you and I can and must follow His example to improve our lives.

After reading Ken’s post, I reached out for the LIKE button and clicked it. Then I thought. How can I add value to what Ken said?

The image of 12-year old Jesus getting lost suddenly occurred to me. To check out the facts, I looked up the passage Ken quoted from Luke 2:52. Just before this passage, Joseph and Mary lost sight of Jesus.

Here’s the comment I added to what Ken said.

The twelve-year old Jesus was subject to Joseph and Mary. And then one day Jesus appeared to be lost. They couldn’t find him. They may have criticized each other…for losing sight of such a precious gift. Scripture says they retraced their steps and found Jesus teaching in Jerusalem.

WOW! Imagine their joy when they discovered the gift given to them to raise up. So, they asked: Why have you done this to us? [Disappear and not tell us where you were going or ask us for permission?]

Jesus simply answered his Mother and his Father with 2 more questions. And they did not understand the statement He was making to them. Then he went down to Nazareth and was subject to them. But [And] Mary treasured up all these things in her heart. Imagine her joy when a friend simply reminded her of the 2 questions Jesus asked his Mother and his Father.

These Two questions Jesus asked bring Wisdom and Stature to Jesus’ body still today. Why are you looking for Me? Did you not know I had to be in my Father’s house?

Think about Jesus’ questions. Who is Jesus’ Father? Why isn’t Jesus’ Father standing behind him or sitting beside him or across the room in Church, in the Temple?

Mothers and wives can improve their relationships at home. Me too. We can start by [inviting and] encouraging our husbands and our Bridegrooms (or special friends) to attend Church with us and God’s children.

Later I thought…well that is a place to start. Discussing the sermons and the issues brought up in Church (even if they do not attend with you) can strengthen and improve one’s self and one’s family ties. Conflicts and disagreements are bound to occur. This is where humility comes in with a big dose of love for the one with whom you disagree. If they are not taking your side and getting behind you. Ask yourself why? Likely, the answer to that question is where the growth and home improvement will happen.

With this post, I am thanking Ken Weliever and his wife Norma Jean for reminding me of what Jesus said to his Mother and his Father when they had lost sight of Him.

Did Mr. Scrooge and the Grinch steal your Christmas?

Did Mr. Scrooge and the Grinch steal your Christmas?

Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch are laughable characters.  Death is not. Death comes to countless numbers of people every year at Christmas. So does unemployment or the loss of one’s home. Many people watched TV movies hoping for the promise of sugar plums and gifts and making it home in time to reconnect with family. Many were disappointed. They just couldn’t see any hope. Christmas came…and God didn’t wow them with a miracle.

Where is the hope of Christmas when death or some personal let down comes like a Scrooge or a Grinch? Can the Christmas Story bring hope to those facing hard times?

As the Christian Story goes, Mary is pregnant with a miracle—an immaculate conception.  Should the authorities find out about Mary and Joseph, they and Mary’s gift could be killed. Miraculously they escape the death grip of the lawful governor and his assassins and they arrive in the Inn. There, they are faced with another moment of near death. The Inn has no room for a woman about to give birth to what Joseph names as Jesus and the Heavenly Messenger claims is “God Emanuel”. The Innkeeper and his wife put them up in an adjacent Barn.

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Nothing can separate us from God’s Eternal Love conceived in the Woman called Mary and presented in the Inn with her betrothed.  (Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com}

Still today, lawfully accredited authorities threaten Mary and Joseph and the Holy Family that they began that night the Innkeeper and his wife made room for them. There is simply no unbiased historical evidence to support Mary’s conception that the birth and rebirth of Jesus brings people Eternal Life.

Like the cold-hearted, Ebenezer Scrooge and the mean-spirited Grinch, the cold hard factual truth comes in the form of death, war, earthquake or some horrible tragedy to tell people flat out. There is no miraculous birth of Emanuel.  Eternal Life is an illusion, fake news. The Madonna’s new born Don is fiction. He’s not Eternal. Only God is.  When people die, they leave this earth and it hurts like hell to say goodbye to them. God has Eternal Life. People in earthly form do not.

Many Christians have lost the hope of ever seeing their loved ones again in this world. Not wanting to completely abandon their faith, they cling to the hope that one day they will see their loved one on the other side in spirit form, without a body. The “other side” being that place where righteous people go when they die to live in spirit form with God.

Atheists on the other hand are adamant. When people die, they die. Their hearts stop beating and their organs shut down. It is the end of the game. Sometimes people can have a near death experience that gives them the illusion of floating over their bodies or seeing Jesus.  That’s as good as it gets. There is no God.

Despite all this negative evidence, many Christians believe in the miracle of ETERNAL LOVE that Joseph and Mary brought to the Inn that dark “starry” night. They are not fooled for a moment. Joseph and Mary are their proof.  It was God’s plan that Mary and Joseph should fall in love and marry. The miracle is. They who had lived and died countless times, found each other at a moment in history when the priestly family of God needed a wake-up call.  As their love for each other grew and became more visible to the Innkeeper and his wife and the shepherds and the angels, people began to celebrate the news. The Don loves the Madonna and their Eternal Love is a Gift from God.  They together with the Innkeeper, his wife, et.al present Emanuel to the World. This is truly a wondrous gift that ushers in a whole new era. Death is fake news.

Oh-oh. Wait a minute. If death is fake news. Why should people try to make peace with each other, with their families and with their neighbours or with their enemies?  Sure, Christmas is about Love. It is also about, Peace and the hope for Justice.

The Christmas story takes place in winter. In winter, the road to the Inn gets muddy and full of cattle dung. Many days and nights are dark. There are times when the couple could have given up and simply allowed themselves and their love to die without pressing on toward the Inn.  Yet, they trusted God and what God was doing in their lives and so did the Innkeeper, his wife and the visitors who came to listen and watch as Mary presented her gift.

Christmas is about being cold and hungry and frightened and slipping and sliding and almost giving up because it is a time when death is very real and near. Yet, Mary and Joseph pressed on toward the Inn.  Getting to the Inn was God’s plan.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

May the gift of Emanuel bless you and give you hope for the New Year.  

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Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com