Saturday, February 27, 2010

Groundhog Day

Can hibernating creatures be used to predict the end of winter?  Absolutely!  Hibernating creatures such as the groundhog sleep throughout winter, and do not wake up until winter is over.  Somehow they have an internal body clock that allows them to sleep all winter long, and wake up in spring.  The groundhog is no exception to this, and is one of the hibernating animals used to predict when winter will end.

In the U.S, groundhog day is celebrated on February 2, which is a little over six weeks before the astronomical beginning of spring.  Astronomically, spring occurs on the vernal equinox, which usually falls on March 20 or 21.  February 2, which is groundhog day, therefore falls approximately six weeks before the vernal equinox.  So, if you wake up a groundhog on February 2, there is going to be six more weeks of winter, whether he sees his shadow or not.  Here is where it gets tricky.  The arrival of spring, using groundhogs is based upon using local weather patterns to predict the arrival of early spring or late winter.  For example, even though spring oficially starts with the vernal equinox, local weather patterns can 'shorten' or 'prolong' winter.  We can have an unseasonably cold spring, and thus 'prolong' winter, or an unseasonably warm winter, and thus 'shorten' winter.  If the groundhog is awakened on a day when it is cloudy, it will  not go back to sleep, because cloudy weather indicates the arrival of spring weatherwise.  If however he is awakened on a sunny day and sees his shadow, he will go back to sleep, because cold, sunny days are indicative of winter.  Here is a great article by wikipedia about Groundhog day traditions.

It is amazing how God in His wisdom has given to us all of nature for our enlightenment.   If we make it our business to really study nature, and the laws that govern it, then we will see God's hand working in the world He has given to us.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

An Appeal to Married Couples From the Lord

But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband.  But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife (1 Corinthians 7:10-11, NLT).

I write this post with tears in my eyes, because I have lived this from personal experience.  The Lord has been good to me over the years in helping me get through a divorce, and I am a stronger person today because of it.  One book which has helped me a great deal is Divorce:God's Will? by Stephen Gola.  I pray that my personal experience with separation and eventually divorce will inspire and encourage Christians who are going through this right now.

Christendom is plagued with married couples separating and living single lives while still married.  It is not uncommon to find in churches men and women who are in fact married, living separate lives with separate households and lifestyles.  All this is done under the mistaken belief that as long as they do not divorce, it is okay.  How we have deceived ourselves!  God is highly displeased with this type of living arrangement, and it is a great sin upon those who commit this.  I can understand in situations where there is spousal abuse or infidelity, but to leave just for selfish reasons or because you cannot get along, is not a good enough reason to separate.  If both of you are truly Christians, then selfishness must be laid aside, and the Biblical model for marriage needs to be adhered to, which is based  upon love in all it's forms - phileo, agapao, eros, and agape.  How can you say you love God when you do not even love your husband or wife?  If a person says that they love God and do not love their husband or wife, they have belied the faith, and the truth is not in him/her, for God is love, and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God (1 John 4:7-8).

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters (1 John 4:20-21, NLT).

God hates separation.  He says, For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously (Malachi 2:16).  He wants married couples to live as one, not separated.  This is counted as treachery in the sight of God, and He is not pleased with these kinds of living arrangements.

Look, the reality of life is this:  People get married and sometimes they find out they cannot get along.  All efforts should be made however to make the relationship work.  If however it is impossible for the relationship to work, such as in abusive relationships, infidelity, neglect, and so on, then one should do the right thing and free the other party from the marriage - so they can be free to love again.  Staying married and starting another relationship (while living singly/separated) is not the way to go.  Jesus calls that adultery.

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery (Matthew 19:9).

Staying married and not allowing for reconciliation is also wrong.  You are condemning the other party to a life of singleness because of your refusal to reconcile or free the other person from the marriage.  That's what Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 7:11, But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him.  The one who forsakes the marital home must live singly because he/she is still married, even though they have left the home, or must try to 'patch things up' with their spouse.  If however you are both unable to 'patch things up' because of hardness of heart, then one should not be held captive in a loveless marriage where God does not reside, but be given the freedom to love again.

Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned (1 Corinthians 7:27-28).

God's appeal to married couples is therefore this:  Submit yourselves to each other in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21), and practice the love which is of God.  Do not follow after the worldly customs of love for selfish reasons, but practice the love which is of God.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT).

That is the type of love I strive for, by the grace of God.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Men of the Bible and the Black Women They Loved

In recognition of Valentine's day and Black History Month, this post will be about Biblical men who fell in love with black women.

Joseph and Asenath (Genesis 41:45)
After Joseph interpreted Pharoah's dream, Pharoah gave Asenath, the daughter of the Egyptian priest  Potipherah, as wife.  It was the union of Joseph and Asenath that produced the two sons of Joseph - Ephraim and Manesseh.  Both Ephraim and Manasseh were fully accepted into the nation of Israel, and were the patriarchs of two of the twelve tribes of Israel - the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.

Moses and Tharbis (Antiquities of the Jews 2.10.252-3; Numbers 12:1)
You may be unfamiliar with the name of this woman, but she was Moses first wife, before Zipporah.  When Moses was a prince in Egypt, according to Josephus, he waged war against the Ethiopians.  Tharbis was the daughter of the Ethiopian king, and when she saw Moses, she fell in love with him.  They both got married, and consummated the marriage while in Ethiopia.

Solomon and Shulamite (Song of Solomon 6:13)
The whole book of the Song of Solomon is dedicated to the love between Solomon and his wife, whom is called Shulamite in chapter 6:13.  This Shulamite describes herself as "black but comely" (Song of Solomon 1:5).  She was black and beautiful, and very much so! Read all the loving descriptions of her in this book of Songs.  According to 1 Kings 3:1 and Song of Solomon 7:1, Shulamite was an Egyptian princess.

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chronicles 9:1-12)
Contrary to popular belief, Sheba was NOT located in Arabia.  Sheba was located in Ethiopia!  It was the name of the royal city of Ethiopia at least since the time of Moses (Antiquities of the Jews 2.10.253).
Ethiopian historians has it that when the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon, they had sexual relations!  This union produced a son, who was the progenitor of the present royal family of Ethiopia, to this day.

David and Bathsheba?(2 Samuel 11)
No one is really sure of Bathsheba's race.  She was the daughter of Eliam, who was a Gilonite, and they lived in Israel (vs. 3).  She was also married to Uriah the Hittite, who was a Canaanite(vs. 3).  Since it was against the law for a daughter of Israel to marry a Canaanite, and since many Canaanites lived in Israel, one can safely assume that Bathsheba was Canaanite.  This however is a big assumption, because the fact is that many of the Israelites were indeed breaking the law and marrying Canaanites.  In addition, there is no historical evidence which I can find that shows that Canaanites were black people, although they were descendants of Ham.  All the ancient drawings which I have seen, including a carving from the ceremonial cane of king Tut, shows a Canaanite having white skin.  This does not mean they were Caucasian, it just means they were a white-skinned race, in much the same way Chinese and Japanese are considered white-skinned.

Jesus Christ
Finally, we cannot forget Jesus Christ - the Son of God.  Although not a mere man, He did come to earth as a man, to live among men for a time.  He is the ultimate Lover.  He loves ALL WOMEN, whether they are black, white, red, yellow, or whatever race or ethnicity they may be.  He is our eternal Bridegroom, with the church as His bride.  In a marriage, the husband represents Christ, and the wife represents the church.  It is because of His of love, self-sacrifice, and caring, all women can look to Him as their ultimate Husband.  Women of all races can safely say of Christ:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee (Song of Solomon 1:2-3).


Monday, February 8, 2010

Jesus - The God of Love

Just in time for Valentines!  My favorite movie of all time is Jesus Christ Superstar (2000 version), starring Glenn Carter as Jesus.  In the movie, one of my favorite scenes is where Jesus and Mary Magdalene are having an intimate moment, in the clip "Everything's Alright,"  which is based loosely on John 12:1-8 and Matthew 26: 6-13.   Now, my question is this:  What is the real truth behind the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene?  Were they in love with each other?  Were they married?  Were they an 'item'?

Also, John said that it was Mary of Bethany that anointed Jesus' feet.  So is Mary of Bethany the same Mary Magdalene or are they two different persons?  Any thoughts?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Our Prayers for Haiti are Working!

Due to the earthquake disaster in Haiti, the IMF plans to cancel Haiti's debt.  Please read full article here.

Thank you all for praying, and continue to pray for healing and restoration of all things good.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Prayer for the People of Haiti

And, finally, here is a prayer that has been offered for all people from Rabbi Naomi Levy, the author of To Begin Again and Talking to God (a pdf of this prayer is available for download at:

Prayer for the People of Haiti  by Rabbi Naomi Levy :

We pray for Haiti.
Our hearts are breaking, God.
The human mind cannot grasp the enormity of the loss.
The cries echo through the universe.
Innocent blood is calling us
To rise up from our heartbreak and act.
We pray for Haiti.

Help us, God,
To understand that destruction can come in a moment
But healing may take a lifetime.
Teach us perseverance, teach us dedication.
We pray for Haiti.

God of the weak, God of the broken-hearted,
God of the living, God of the dead,
Send healing to Haiti.
Send hope to the children who are lost and alone,
Send strength and resilience to the wounded,
And comfort to the grieving.
Fill the leaders of Haiti with the wisdom to raise their country up.
Fill relief workers with resolve.
Bless the doctors and nurses with the power
And the skill to save as many lives as possible.
Open their eyes, steady their hands.
We pray for Haiti.

Bless us, God,
Work through us.
Remind us that every one of us is filled with the power to heal.
Do not let the passage of time lead us to indifference.
Open our hearts, open our hands.
We pray for Haiti.

Let all nations unite as one in a time of reconstruction and repair.
Raise up the people of Haiti, God, out of helplessness and despair.
Teach them to believe
That cities shall be rebuilt on their ruins
That the cries of the children will soon return to laughter.
Be with them, God, watch over them.
And gather the souls of the dead
Whose homes and schools became their graves
Into Your eternal shelter,
Let them find peace in Your presence, God.
We pray for Haiti.


Prayer reprinted from blog by Anne Dilenschneider of Huffington Post.