Monthly Archives: December 2017

Mormon Baptisms of Holocaust Victims Draw Ire

Mormons are posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims as well as grandparents of public figures like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg, despite church rules intended to restrict the ceremonies to a member’s ancestors, according to a researcher who has spent two decades monitoring the church’s massive genealogical database.

The discoveries made by former Mormon Helen Radkey and shared with The Associated Press likely will bring new scrutiny to a deeply misunderstood practice that has become a sensitive issue for the church. The church, in a statement, acknowledged the ceremonies violated its policy and said they would be invalidated, while also noting its created safeguards in recent years to improve compliance.

Proxy baptisms are tied to a core church teaching that families spend eternity together, but the baptisms do not automatically convert dead people to Mormonism. Under church teachings, the rituals provide the deceased a choice in the afterlife to accept or reject the offer of baptism.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only major religion that baptizes the dead, and the ritual has contributed to struggles by the faith to combat the mischaracterization of its beliefs.

 

The church’s stance on family and the afterlife is behind a massive collection of genealogical records the Utah-based church compiles from around the world and makes available to the public through its website http://www.familysearch.org . Proxy baptisms are recorded in a password-protected part of the database accessible only to church members.

( More ) 

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A 2018 Resolution that every Follower of Jesus should have says Cal Thomas

IT’S NEW YEAR RESOLUTION TIME.

 

         FOR THE SERIOUS FOLLOWER OF JESUS OF NAZARETH, LET’S RESOLVE TO PLACE LESS EMPHASIS ON THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD AND MORE ON THE KINGDOM AND KING NOT OF THIS WORLD?

         HERE’S A RESOLUTION ALL OF US SHOULD ATTEMPT TO KEEP: IN 2018, I WILL BECOME MORE OBEDIENT TO THE COMMANDS OF JESUS.

( Billy’s thoughts – The above is part of a radio commentary Cal Thomas did today. Read the whole column here or listen to the audio.)

Farmers and Suicide ( pray for those in that field of work )

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If I were to ask you which professions have high suicide rates, you would probably mention military veterans suffering from PTSD. In their latest report, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have found that the suicide rate for young male military veterans is higher than previously thought. But they found that it is lower in some states than the suicide rate for farmers.

The high suicide rate for farmers is only just now beginning to get media attention. Some mental health experts are saying that we probably need some sort of federally funded prevention resources similar to what is provided to veterans.

Mike Rosman is a psychologist who has been studying this issue for decades and has an appreciation for the stresses on farmers since he is also an Iowa farmer. Writing in the journal Behavioral Healthcare he reminds us that, “Farming has always been a stressful occupation because many of the factors that affect agricultural production are largely beyond the control of the producers.”

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Nebraska Christmas card sent back since 1941 ( forget email )

DANNEBROG, Neb. (AP) — For three quarters of a century, the same Christmas card featuring a Scottish man in a kilt has made its way through the mail either to or from a Nebraska woman.

The Kearney Hub reports that it began in 1941, when Lois Margaret Frandsen of Dannebrog sent the card to her cousin and life-long friend Janice “Neicie” Hansen, who was living with her husband at a Washington State military base at the time.

In 1942, Hansen sent it back to Frandsen. The next year, Frandsen sent it back to Hansen.

 

And so it has gone, every year since the early days of World War II, despite Hansen’s death in 2009. Her daughter is now the recipient.

 

“Why did I keep sending it?” Frandsen, 94, asked. “We had a heck of a lot of fun together. That card traveled a lot of miles. I would keep it in the China hutch so it wouldn’t get lost.”

( Read the rest of this Story.)

Plan, prepare, and change in 2018

Listen to a commentary about the New Year.

Finding peace during the holidays

Listen to a short radio program.

On Thursday December 14th, R.C. Sproul met his Savior, Jesus Christ

On Thursday December 14th, R.C. Sproul met his Savior, Jesus Christ, face to face. My own pilgrimage as a theologian cannot be traced without the indelible influence of R.C. Sproul. He was one of the great defenders of historic Christianity of our times. It is fair to say that R.C….

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BreakPoint: The True Beauty of Women “I Will Do It for You, Baby

 

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You won’t believe what one lingerie company is doing to show what makes a woman truly beautiful. I’ve got a great story for you. Get a hankie.

When it comes to lingerie companies, we’ve gotten used to some pretty graphic ads. You know the kind I mean: ones that feature impossibly perfect, airbrushed models wearing frilly and revealing underwear.

But the other day I came across the most amazing lingerie ad I’ve ever seen. No, I was not reading a Victoria’s Secret catalog. I was watching an online ad created by the Thailand branch of Wacoal, a Japan-based lingerie company. It was part of a three-part series called “Beauty Inside.” And it magnificently depicts the true value of women.

The first ad opens with a married couple sitting nervously in their doctor’s office, holding hands. “After trying so hard for many years, she finally got pregnant,” the husband says. But today they’re getting some bad news.

“I know it’s hard,” the doctor says sympathetically. “But please make a decision as soon as possible.”

The couple, clearly stunned, drive home, hold one another, and cry.

“On that day at the hospital,” the husband relates, “the doctor told us that she’s got cancer. She has only two choices. First, she might be cured if she took chemotherapy. But that may cause our child a disability. Or we might lose our baby. The alternative is to keep our child. But she might have to fight the cancer alone, without any remedy.”

The woman cries as her husband holds her. The next morning, she gets up and walks to the living room, where the baby’s crib is still sitting on its box. She runs her fingers along the crib and makes a decision: “I will do it for you, baby.”

The mother begins putting the crib together and plays with a stuffed animal, anticipating her child’s birth. Now she is back in the hospital, in labor. When her doctor holds up her healthy baby, she cries with joy. After cuddling and kissing her child, the mother hands him to her husband. She smiles at her little family as a nurse takes her down the hall and into the chemotherapy room.

These ads—which are both profoundly pro-women and pro-life—have become a global phenomenon. Millions of people have watched them online. Clearly they’ve hit a nerve—and I think I know why.

First, most lingerie ads focus on women’s bodies, suggesting that a woman’s appearance is the most important thing about her. But these ads challenge young women to value themselves in other ways: To celebrate strength and sacrifice, courage and compassion.

They’re teaching women something else, as well: that a worthwhile man will value them, not based on outer beauty, which is fleeting, but on inner beauty, which is based on character. And when life throws them a curve ball—such as cancer during a pregnancy—a strong man will help his wife through it.

Finally, I believe modern young women may be getting tired of being encouraged to take the easy way out when they run into a problem—such as a problem pregnancy. Women are, I think, moved by the idea that self-sacrifice is noble, and can be the source of great joy.

It’s hard to watch this ad without crying, especially when you find out it was based on a true story. Whether it meant to or not, the Wacoal company gives us a perfect illustration of 1 Corinthians 13:7: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I hope you’ll watch these ads, and share them with your friends, sisters, and daughters. Their positive messages will help cancel out the hundreds of negative ones that bombard young women every day.

And you just might consider buying the woman in your life some lingerie, not from Victoria’s Secret, but from the company that teaches that the value of women is in the nobility of their character.

 

(This commentary originally aired March 2, 2017.)

 

The Beauty of Women: I Will Do It for You, Baby

As Eric highlights, the true value of a woman is not found in appearance but in integrity of character. To see this demonstrated in the arts, watch the Wacoal “My Beautiful Woman” ad series. We’ve included the links below.

 

Find a BreakPoint radio station in your area–Click here.


Things You May Not Know About Christmas

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Bringing Christmas to North Korea

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North Korea (MNN)– To many North Koreans, Christmas is a completely foreign concept. But with the help of Alpha Relief, an initiative of Global Advance, the holiday may open doors for sharing the Gospel with North Korean migrant workers who are laboring in other countries.

In North Korea, Christmas in its truest sense, is basically forbidden, says Ben Gabriel, Alpha Relief’s director at Global Advance.

Gabriel explains that Kim Jong Un’s grandmother was born on Christmas Eve, so their government has refocused the attention of the holiday to celebrate her and her birth, rather than the birth of Christ.

“On paper, North Korea says there is religious freedom and they have a state-sanctioned Christian church,” Gabriel says. “But really, any open expression of Christianity, Christmas included, is punishable. They do punishments by a three-generation system, going after both your parents and your children if you are caught doing anything that the state is not a fan of.”

Gabriel says that people who truly believe in and celebrate Christmas must do so in secret.

 

“I’ve heard stories of going out into the forest to worship and celebrate together,” he says, adding that there is an underground church in the country. “It is a bit difficult to get real good reliable data on how widespread this is, but there are hidden, secret meetings of believers who worship in private and might pass each other on the street with a slight nod of the head or whatever they do to at least try to maintain some sense of community.”

( Read more. )