Monthly Archives: October 2014

For priest, theft of ‘Last Supper’ tapestry blessed by pope has become new lesson in forgiveness

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To Boo or Not to Boo WHAT CHRISTIANS SHOULD DO WITH HALLOWEEN

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Today is that strange holiday that many of us don’t know what to do with… But next on BreakPoint, a history of Halloween, and what it has to do with Christians.

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John Stonestreet

Every year around this time, the ritual begins anew. The weather cools off, leaves change color and Christians start arguing about Halloween.

And many people love this night. It gives folks an excuse to host parties, kick off the holiday spending season, and it provides economic stimulus for the dental industry. Others use it as an excuse to flirt with things much darker than plastic skeletons and creative jack-o’lanterns. But what is Halloween really about? Is there something spiritual behind all the ghoulishness?

“Halloween is a satanic holiday,” say some. “It’s a celebration of death,” insist others. Back when I was a kid, a series of comic-book style tracts went around claiming that Halloween was really a pagan holiday when medieval Druids used to carry out human sacrifice under a full moon.

I was surprised to learn that even modern pagans who love Halloween admit that this story is mostly made-up. As one self-professed pagan blogger at Patheos writes, “Halloween…feels like a pagan holiday, and it’s been categorized as one for several decades now…I sympathize,” he says, “but claiming that Halloween is ‘100% pagan’ is not a tenable argument.”daily_commentary_10_31_14

The very name “Halloween” means “holy evening”—a throwback to when Catholic Christians prepared for the Feast of All Saints on November 1st.

The history of the spooky costumes is unclear. Some sources say they date back to when Christians would dress up like demons—not for fun, but to disguise themselves from the marauding forces of darkness hoping to crash their celebration of their church’s heroes. Other sources say the costumes were originally about mocking Satan and his minions.

Kirk Cameron, who just finished a film about the history of Christmas, takes that view and is urging us to make the most of Halloween’s origins. How? Well, if you’re a Christian, he says you should be throwing “the biggest Halloween party on your block.” Cameron argues it’s a great way to make fun of the Devil and proclaim Jesus’ victory over sin and death to your neighbors.

Steven Wedgeworth, a pastor writing at the Calvinist International, gives a third perspective. In one of the best overviews out there on Halloween’s history, he concludes that neither story gets it all right. There are definitely echoes of paganism in Halloween, and All Hallows Eve had a major influence, too. But the holiday of today—especially the costumes and trick-or-treating—is a recent invention. Like the commercialized secular Christmas, he writes, Halloween as we know it has more to do with department stores than druids.

Well here’s my take: What Paul wrote in Philippians 4 should guide all our celebrations, no matter the day. Christians should think on “whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable.” It’s hard to imagine that axe-murderer get-ups and sexually provocative costumes pass that test. And we should also consider his teaching on meat sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians 9. Idol worship is always wrong, but eating meat sacrificed to idols is a matter of conscience. If you can’t in good conscience participate in Halloween, there are plenty of other things to celebrate this time of year: Reformation Day, All Saints Day on November 1, the beauty of fall’s changing colors, and as always, the sovereignty of God over everything.

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Now if your family is anything like mine, you’re more likely to find characters from Disney’s “Frozen” than a band of nightmare monsters in your living room. But if you and your kids do enjoy a little spooky stuff, don’t worry. As Paul Pastor writes over at Christianity Today, “monsters point us to God.” “No story worth listening to,” he says, “lacks a villain. And no villain worth fighting lacks monstrosity.”

And there’s no story with more monstrous villains or darker darkness than the story of Scripture. It’s an evil that’s not just “out there,” but it’s in our own hearts. And yet this evil in the world and in our hearts is a defeated evil because of Jesus Christ.

And so, wherever you land on Halloween, don’t fear. Any real evil out there is a defeated foe.

FURTHER READING AND INFORMATION
To Boo or Not to Boo: What Christians Should Do with Halloween
As John said, this verse in Philippians is a great guide for any celebration. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” Philippians 4:8.

RESOURCES
Kirk Cameron on Halloween: ‘Christians Should Have the Biggest Party on the Block’
Emma Koonse | The Christian Post | October 20, 2014

How Monsters Point Us to God
Paul Pastor | Christianity Today | October 30, 2013

Halloween: Its Creation and Recreation
Steven Wedgeworth | The Calvinist International | October 30, 2013

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When you need help ( a thought on the Bible )

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I have some news and a secret to share with you today. You ready to hear the secret. Here it is men and women are different. That is right they are different. Here is an example a husband and his wife along perhaps with their children are trying to find an address or even a motel while on a trip. They are having trouble finding it. The wife suggests they stop and ask somebody for help. The husband says no I can find it.
Hi: I’m Billy David Dickson with a thought on the Bible and a thought on what to do when you need help.
You know the way men are when they are trying to find an address is also a way some followers of Christ are when they are facing a problem and just don’t know what to do.
So what should you do when you need help. Lets look at Matthew 7:7 from the Bible which reads…7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
The first thing we should do when we have a need is to ask God. So often we go to God last when we have a need instead of making God a first resource. I recall years ago I was a worker on a junior high retreat. I told the kids in my cabin it was bed time. They did not quiet down you know junior higher a listen right and when nothing else was working including possible punishments I said lets pray. After that the kids were quiet. God like a good father wants to meet the needs of his children. When you have a need it can help you grow in your relationship with the Lord. Do you have a time set aside everyday that you spend with the Lord.
Then when we have a need we need to seek out God’s will. It could be a reason God has not answer the prayer the way we want him to is he is trying to teach us something. You might want a certain job but God might want you to do a different job for awhile. You might want to be married but God might want you to be single for awhile. You might want to go on the mission field but God wants to prepare you for it.
Next when you have a need you need to look for open doors. If you need a job besides asking the Lord to give you one and asking him what he wants to teach you you need to knock on some doors, read the wants adds in your local newspaper. You may need to send out some resumes. Somebody once said when we have a need we need to pray as it all depended on God and work as if it all depended on us.
That is a thought on the Bible
Until next time,
I’m Billy David Dickson

Billy David Dickson All Rights Reserved, 2014
This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Billy or read more commentary on current issues at https://billydteacher.wordpress.com/.

Dad helping to clean up his son ( Bible principal for children )

Hi boys and girls Uncle Billy here. Do you always have a good attitude and say things that are encouraging or do you sometimes have a bad attitude and use words which may put others down. I think at times kids and adults both struggle with having a good attitude. In today’s Bible principal story we are going to hear about a young boy who had an attitude problem which his parents dealt with. Here it is.
“Time to get ready for school boys. Drew and Zacky come down for breakfast,” Mrs. Green yelled.
“Time to get up big brother,” Zacky said as he shook his brother.
“Boy you are so much trouble at times,” Drew lectured his little brother.
“Sorry I just don’t want you to be late in getting some of mom’s good cooking or be late in getting to school,” Zacky explained.
“I guess it is just because you are a little dumb 4th grader that you enjoy school. When you get to be a big kid in 5th grade like me you will see that school isn’t always fun.”
Both boys then got dressed and headed downstairs to have some breakfast.
“Mom what is for breakfast?” Zacky asked.
“Ham and eggs,” she answered.
“I love hams and eggs,” Zack replied.
“Not ham and eggs again. I am sick of them,” Drew spoke up.
“Now Drew your mom works hard to cook you boys and me a nice breakfast every morning,” lectured Mr. Green.
“Whatever,” Drew said under his breath.
Drew knew if he wanted to be able to sit in his seat at school without needing a pillow he had better not say that out loud so his dad could hear him.
( Listen to the rest of this Bible principal story. )

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Billy David Dickson All Rights Reserved, 2014
This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Billy or read more commentary on current issues at https://billydteacher.wordpress.com/.

Houston drops controversial pastor subpoenas

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Reject churches who reject God

A Methodist pastor who was disciplined after he officiated at the wedding of his gay son will be allowed to remain an ordained minister.
The Judicial Council of the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination ruled on Monday that a Pennsylvania church jury was wrong to defrock Frank Schaefer last year after he refused to promise that he would never perform another same-sex wedding.
Since his church trial, Schaefer has become a gay rights activist, galvanizing other Methodists who support full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church.
Following his hearing before the Judicial Council on Wednesday, Schaefer said he had no regrets for his actions.
( Billy’s thoughts – So let me get this a Pastor refuses to follow the teachings of the Bible and the book of discipline his church follows but gets to keep his job. Don’t you think it might be time for those of us who are submitted to the Lordship of God’s word to leave churches who leaders don’t follow God’s word. How can they call him Lord and not do what he says. Read the rest of the above story right here. )

Dog trained in prison offers solace for girl with disabilities

LINCOLN — Torn McGrath can’t change the past. Not the robbery that ended with a murder. Not the life sentence he is now serving. Not the fact that his home for almost 30 years has been a prison. • He can’t do much about the present. And his future behind bars is fairly well set. • But the 49-year-old inmate discovered he had the ability to alter the path for someone else — most recently, a 7-year-old girl from Maine named Delia.
( The rest of the above story is here. )

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Plan: Respond to Ebola crisis, but don’t panic

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Mormons undergarment not key issue….

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or read it below.

Don’t you think when dealing with other world views we should deal with the main things.
The Mormon church is addressing the mystery which has for along time surrounded undergarments worn by faithful Mormons with a new video.
The four-minute video on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ website compares the white, two-piece cotton “temple garments” to holy clothes worn in other religious faiths such as a Catholic nun’s habit or a Muslim skullcap.

The latest video dispels the notion that Latter-day Saints believe temple garments have special protective powers, a stereotype encouraged on the Internet and in popular culture by those who refer to the religious clothing as “magical Mormon underwear.”

“These words are not only inaccurate but also offensive to members,” the video says. “There is nothing magical about temple garments, and church members ask for the same degree of respect that would be afforded to any other faith by people of goodwill.”

While this is an interesting topic it should not be our focus when dealing with the Mormon Church and it’s members.

We should focus on issues like..

Who is Jesus: was he born because God the father had sexual relations with the virgin Marry as Mormons believe.

Is the Bible the word of God and can it be trusted in all matters or do we need to add to it with the Book of Mormon.

Are we saved by grace through faith in Christ or as the Mormon Church teaches must we do some kind of good works.

The truth is the Mormon Sect is not Christian but a cult. Their main doctrines go against what the word of God teaches.

What do you think.

Until next time,

I’m Billy David Dickson

Billy David Dickson All Rights Reserved, 2014
This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Billy or read more commentary on current issues at https://billydteacher.wordpress.com/.

Fear Not

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powerful radio commentary on why us who are followers of Jesus should not be fearful or read the commentary below.

The craziness in our world should drive us to our knees, but not to fear. And that’s an order from our Captain. Stay tuned to BreakPoint.

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On a recent broadcast, Shepard Smith of Fox News took to task what he called the “hysterical voices” that are spreading fear and panic over Ebola in the United States.

After telling viewers that “You should have no concerns about Ebola at all. None. I promise,” he added, “Fear not. Do not listen to the hysterical voices on the radio and the television or read the fear-provoking words online. The people who say and write hysterical things are being very irresponsible.”

“Fear not.” Now whether he was aware that he was quoting scripture or not, that’s what he was doing. God and His messengers uttered those words to God’s people at least eighty times in the Bible. In fact, by some estimates, “fear not” and variations such as “be not afraid” are the most often-repeated commands in all of Scripture.

That’s fitting because it also might be the most transgressed-against command, especially in modern life.

We all know the expression “sex sells.” But it’s also true that fear sells, especially among the middle-aged and the elderly. If you can stand it, try watching an afternoon worth of commercials and take note of how many of them appeal to fear and anxiety that we have over, well, everything: our health, our family’s future, our finances, and, especially in the run-up to the November elections, our national security, special interest groups and our very way of life.

And it isn’t only the ads: The reason for what Smith called the “hysterical voices” is that television networks and other media outlets know that fear and panic are good for business.

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t things in the world today to be concerned about—of course there are. Besides Ebola, we’ve got ISIS and the collapse of order in the Middle East, home-grown terrorism, the decay of decency, growing restrictions on religious liberty—and for some, simply putting food on the table.

But make no mistake, the media know that a frightened audience is one that will stay tuned-in for every scrap or morsel of news, no matter how fragmentary or out-of-context it might be.

I wish I could say that Christians are immune to this kind of fear and are innocent of the sin of fear-mongering. But we’re not. In fact, let me be honest with you: While we would never intentionally stoke fear among our listeners, one of the hardest things we do at BreakPoint is attempt to strike a balance between telling folks the unvarnished truth about the challenges that Christians face and avoiding giving them a reason to be fearful and to despair.

And on behalf of Eric and all of our team, at any of those times that we’ve failed to strike that balance, we apologize to you and we repent before God.

As Christians, we ought to know better than to fear, because we know how the story of the world—and our story—ends. It’s an ending beautifully summed up by Thomas Howard in his book, “Christ the Tiger.” In which he reminds us that our Lord announces that he “[makes] all things new” and does “what cannot be done.”

Here’s a passage from Howard’s book:

God “[restores] the years that the locusts and worms have eaten . . . the years you have drooped away upon your crutches and in your wheel-chair . . . the symphonies and operas which your deaf ears have never heard, and the snowy massif your blind eyes have never seen, and the freedom lost to you through plunder and the identity lost to you because of calumny and the failure of justice. . .”

And, in an awe-inspiring act of grace, God restores “the good which [our] own foolish mistakes have cheated [us] of.”

How do we know this is true? Because He raised his only-begotten Son from the dead. He destroyed sin and death, and in so doing, demonstrated, to quote Howard again, “the Love of which all other loves speak, the Love which is joy and beauty, and which you have sought in a thousand streets and for which you have wept and clawed your pillow.”

This is the Good News that not only overcomes fear, but for those who have heard it, it renders fear absurd.

One of the greatest gifts we can offer an increasingly-fearful world is to be hopeful, to proclaim the good news, and more importantly, to live as if it were true.

So, brothers and sisters, fear not. He has risen. Indeed.