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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Houston pastor refuses to bury 93 year old woman who didn't tithe enough. For the last 2 years she had been in nursing homes and a coma

Barbara Day says that a Houston pastor refused to bury her mother

ouston pastor has come under fire for refusing to bury a 93-year-old woman who had been a member of his church for 50 years but had not tithed enough as her death neared.
Barbara Day told KRIV that she was devastated by the way pastor Walter F. Houston treated her when she contacted him about a funeral at Fourth Missionary Baptist Church for her mother, Olivia Blair.
“It was like the last insult in the world, there was nothing else that I could do for my mommy but funeralize her in the church that she loved and worshiped all of her life, even as a little girl,” Day said, explaining that Houston told her that Blair “had not paid her dues, and she had not attended the church in recent years.”
“For the last two years, my mother has been in either a nursing home or she’s been in a hospital,” she pointed out. “And the last few months, she was in a coma!”
Day said that she could not understand why Houston would force her to find another place for the burial after her mother had supported him for so many years, and her stepfather had also been buried at the church.
“There’s no explanation for anybody that has been paying dues for a church that long, for him to make me have to roll my mother’s body around town, and somebody finally picks her up and says, ‘Yeah, we’ll do the best we can,’” Day insisted. “They knew she was ill! They don’t care! All they care about is getting money money money money money!”
“Even retail stores give people more respect than that,” she continued. “I don’t understand why we’ve become so commercialized with religion! What does this have to do with God? Why can’t I give my mother her last wish to be funeralized in a church that she loved so much?”
Tyrone Jacques of PimpPreacher.com, who first reported Day’s story, told KRIV’s Isiah Carey that he “pleaded” with Pastor Houston to change his mind, but he refused. Houston later explained to Carey that Blair was no longer a member of the church because she had not supported it financially in the last 10 years.
Day, however, said that her mother had supported the church up until two years ago, but then she became ill and was unable to attend Fourth Missionary or any church.
“I asked the pastor, I said, ‘Well, why didn’t someone go check on her? Why didn’t someone go reach out to her?’” Jacques recalled. “And his reply to me was it was up to the family to notify him. And the comment that really set us off was, if the family cared so much, why didn’t they at least send a dollar to the church a week to reserve her membership?”
On his website, Jacques noted that he had offered to pay for the funeral, and to have it on a day the church was already closed.
“Sir even though your church is closed on Friday, and I have offered to pay the cost to have this funeral in your church, you’re still refusing to allow this funeral for a member who has been a part of this ministry for 50 years?” he asked Houston.
“Membership has its privileges,” the pastor reportedly replied.
In memory of Day’s mother, PimpPreacher.com is sponsoring the Olivia Blair Project to “focus on the abuses of Tithing and the horrific financial trauma it inflicts on the elderly and those living on fixed incomes.”

Mom Sacrificed Her Life to Save Her Son

She could have chosen a different route that might have saved her own life, but Karisa Bugal made a choice that ultimately saved her unborn son. The 34-year-old Colorado woman died Nov. 4 shortly after giving birth to Declan Jay, after suffering a rare amniotic fluid embolism, KUSA reports.
Doctors had no idea anything was amiss until Declan’s heart rate plummeted while Bugal was in labor, at which point she made an important decision—the one that was best for her son: go for an emergency C-section with anesthesia, which would expedite the birth. A GoFundMe page set up for her family frames her choice as “sacrificing her own body and ultimately her life to save his.” Per the AFE Foundation, 50% of those who die from the condition do so within an hour of symptoms presenting themselves, suggesting “rapid response” is paramount; there’s no known way to reverse AFE, so “the focus of treatment is on managing individual symptoms as they occur.”
"It is important to note," the foundation continues, "that even with the best and most responsive care, some women will simply not respond to life saving measures." This serious type of embolism—which the Mayo Clinic says occurs when amniotic fluid or fetal matter enters the mother’s bloodstream—only happens in 1 to 12 cases for every 100,000 deliveries. "We don’t know how to prevent it. We don’t know how to keep it from happening at all," one of Bugal’s doctors tells KUSA. Right after Declan was born at a healthy 7 pounds, 4 ounces, Bugal managed to ask, "How big is he?" before she was rushed to ICU, the GoFundMe page notes.
Bugal would have celebrated her eighth wedding anniversary with her husband, Wes, on Nov. 5, and her 35th birthday on Nov. 8. Now Wes is left alone with their son and young daughter, Mallory. “How do I explain when he asks where’s mommy?” Wes Bugal asks KUSA.  

Parents Give Away $100K to Deserving Family to Honor Daughter

A California couple who survived every parent’s worst nightmare — in April, they awoke to discover their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Savannah “Savvy” had passed away in her crib from SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Children) — have honored her memory by giving another little girl a gift of $100,000. 
Savannah’s parents Larry and Carrie Carroll (who, at the time, were 8-and-a-half months pregnant with their third child) raised the money through the campaign Savannah’s Stolen Moment, which they launched on the online fundraising site Fundly. “When Savvy was alive, we made a point to create spontaneous memories with her — a surprise cookie, a trip to the playground — and we’d refer to these experiences as ‘Stolen Moments,’” Carroll, a writer, tells Yahoo Parenting. “We wanted to find a girl who resembled Savannah and give her a ‘Stolen Moment.’” The Carrolls determined that $10,000 would pay for a “Stolen Moment” of the girl’s choice (“It could be a trip to Paris or a expensive birthday party — whatever she wants,” says Larry) and the remaining amount would be directed toward her college education fund. 
The Carrolls didn’t have a destination in mind — they planned to hop on a plane to “somewhere” in the country, sit in cafes, parks, or the zoo, and observe parents with their little girls. Their only goal was to find a loving family who doesn’t have the funds to provide the experience.  
After seven months of fundraising, the Carrolls acquired more than $96,000 and on Sunday, they, along with their 6-year-old son Jack and 6-month-old son Dash, boarded a plane to Savannah, Georgia to find a lucky family. “We chose Savannah because it was not only the name of our daughter, it’s somewhere I had always wanted to take her,” says Larry. On Monday morning, the family woke up and visited parks, restaurants, and museums searching for the right family. “Along the way, we kept seeing signs that said, ‘I love Savannah,” and it felt like Savvy was with us,” says Larry.  
In the late afternoon it began to rain and having still not found a family to approach, the Carrolls decided to visit Jumping Jacks, an indoor recreation center, a 30-minute drive away. “I felt as though something was guiding us in that direction,” he says. It was there that Jack met a 4-year-old girl named Isabella who was celebrating her brother’s birthday. “Isabella just walked up to Jack and said, ‘Let’s play,’” says Larry. After two hours passed, the kids were still playing, and the Carrolls decided to chat with Isabella’s mother, Sarah Williams. “We both knew that this was our family because Isabella was such a sweet little girl, just like Savannah,” says Larry. “We told Sarah about Savannah and made our offer.” 

Williams, 34, a single mother of five, was initially shocked by the gesture. “I didn’t believe it,” Williams, who works for a nonprofit that offers companions to senior citizens, tells Yahoo Parenting. “They told me about their daughter and how much Isabella resembled her, and we all started crying,” she says. Williams adds, “Whenever we ask Isabella what she wants to be when she grows up, she says, ‘I want to go to college — twice!’ This money will help her achieve her goals.”
On Monday night, the two families celebrated with dinner at Applebee’s. As for Isabella’s “Stolen Moment,” it will be “somewhere with water” so Williams and her family will plan a trip to a tropical island in the upcoming months. 
The Carrolls will also launch an annual fundraiser in Savannah’s name, which people can follow through the family’s Facebook andTwitter pages. “Every April — the month Savannah died — we’ll start fundraising and every November right before Thanksgiving, we’ll find another family,” says Larry. “That’s how we’ll keep our daughter alive.”

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Restaurant fires teen for requesting time off for cancer treatment

A 19-year-old delivery driver diagnosed with cancer claims he was fired from his job at a suburban Chicago restaurant when he informed his employer he needed to take six weeks off work for surgery.

Jonathan Larson was diagnosed with cancer of the brain and spine. He has had several rounds of radiation and now needs back surgery, he said. 

The surgery would require him to take time off of his job as a delivery driver at Naperville’s Rosebud Restaurant. Larson claims that when he told his boss about his upcoming procedure and said he could be back in six weeks, he was let go.
“[My manager] said, ‘No, by that time I’ll already have another driver hired. Just leave, I have to make some phone calls,” Larsen said. “I’m really disappointed and saddened by it. It’s not something I can help.” 

A spokesperson for Rosebud Restaurants said they could not comment on specific personnel matters “due to employee and human resources confidentiality standards.”
“For more than thirty-six years Rosebud has been successful through the hard work of our employees,” the statement read. “We are thoroughly investigating this matter to determine if our processes and protocols were appropriately followed. Rosebud proudly serves the Chicagoland community and considers it our mission to treat all employees fairly.”
Larson said he feels “disrespected and demeaned” because of his diagnosis.

“I would love an apology,” he said. “It would go a long way to make me feel better about the situation.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

10 Transformational and Spiritual Aphorisms

Throughout the ages, there have been many who have transcended the domain of the ego and had gotten a taste of those delicious higher states of consciousness. Rather than keep their experiential knowledge and wisdom about the higher aspects of existence to themselves, they spread the word to others, be it through spoken word, written works, or other methods. Thanks to the sages, spiritual teachers, and every-day people who had an enlightening experience, we can ignite the light of expanded awareness concerning the higher aspects of the human experience and of existence itself from such people. There are an untold amount of such spiritual aphorisms to be enjoyed by our higher selves so we will take a look at 10 such aphorisms. May these timeless words nourish your mind and soul.

Aphorism 1
A human being is a part of a whole, called by us a universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest … a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
-Albert Einstein

Aphorism 2
“Life is what you make it,” this is very true.
Find beauty and magic in all things,
and the Love that sees you through.
When you look at the world where you live,
seek not your gain, but what you can give.
When a man is poor, and hungers, and thirsts,
serve not yourself til you serve this man first.
When a man is down and seeks shelter from cold, give him shelter.
You’ll receive blessings untold.
Live by the Golden Rule:
Do unto others as you’d have done unto you.
And always remember:
When you destroy, you destroy a part of you, too.
Life is what you make of it!
-Unknown

Aphorism 3
We may liken truth to a mountain, and the various interpretations of that truth to different paths leading up to the summit. Many people are traveling along all of these paths and every one, while he is at the bottom, thinks his path is the only one; he sees only a small part of the mountain, and may therefore be justified in crying to his brothers, “You are wrong! Come over to my path; this is the only one that leads to the top.” But as all these people progress upward, they will see that the paths converge at the top and that they are all one in the ultimate.
-Max Heindel, The Rosicrucian Fellowship

Aphorism 4
Do not believe anything
because it is said by an authority,
or if it is said to come from angels,
or from Gods,
or from an inspired source.
Believe it only if you have explored it
in your own heart
and mind and body
and found it to be true.
Work out your own path,
through diligence.
-Gautama Buddha

Aphorism 5
When you find the way
Others will find you
Passing by on the road
They will be drawn to your door
The way that cannot be heard
will be reflected in your voice
The way that cannot be seen
Will be reflected in your eyes-Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Aphorism 6

How people see the world is often a reflection of how they see themselves. If they think that the world is just a cesspool of lies and deceit, then they themselves may be full of lies and deceit. Watch out for those people who are always telling you just how corrupt the rest of the world is. As the saying goes, “It takes one to know one.”
-David J. Lieberman, Never be Lied to Again

Aphorism 7

Ego is a structure that is erected by a neurotic individual who is a member of a neurotic culture against the facts of the matter. And culture, which we put on like an overcoat, is the collectivized consensus about what sort of neurotic behaviors are acceptable.
-Terence McKenna


Aphorism 8

All the forms of Life in the Universe may be looked upon as being manifestations of the One and Universal Principle of Life in various forms; the whole of the Cosmos, being a product of the Universal Mind, may be regarded as universal, absolute consciousness becoming relative in separate forms. The universal consciousness of the Universal Mind forms spiritual centres of consciousness in living beings, whereby each being may feel and know its surroundings; and as the kind of living beings expands, their consciousness and power of sensation and perception expand with it; for all their powers belong to the mind. and not to the body: the latter without the mind is merely a form without life.
-Franz Hartmann

Aphorism 9
Since time without beginning, the nature of Awakened Mind and Emptiness has consisted of the same, absolute non-duality of no birth or death, no existence or non-existence, no purity or impurity, no movement or stillness, no young or old, no inside or outside, no shape and form, no sound and color. Neither striving nor searching, one should not use intellect to understand nor words to express Awakened Mind. One should not think that it is a place or things, name or form. One should not think that it is a place or things, name or form. Only then is it realized that all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and sentient beings possess the same natural state of great Nirvana.
-Huang Po

Aphorism 10

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.

100 Bible Verses about Self-worth

Philippians 4:13 

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Hebrews 13:5  

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Proverbs 15:1  

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Philippians 4:8-9 

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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Psalm 139:13-15  

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Proverbs 28:6  

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

Proverbs 19:11   

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 20:22 

Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.

Proverbs 16:28 

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Matthew 22:34-40  

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.

Matthew 5:43-48  

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Isaiah 5:21  

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!

Leviticus 19:18  

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

James 1:19-20  

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

John 3:17  

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Proverbs 26:12  

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

James 4:11-12  

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Romans 12:17-21  

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:2  

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 3:23  

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Matthew 5:5-9  

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Leviticus 25:35-38  

“If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.

James 4:1  

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?

James 2:14-24  

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Hebrews 13:18  

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.

Luke 16:13  

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Luke 6:38  

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Hebrews 13:1-3  

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

Colossians 3:9  

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

Colossians 3:7-8  

In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Ephesians 4:32  

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 2:10  

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Galatians 6:7-8  

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Ephesians 4:31-32  

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Romans 15:13  

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Luke 21:1-4  

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Luke 7:36-50  

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

Mark 11:25  

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Mark 10:51  

And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”

Matthew 5:7  

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Matthew 5:3  

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

James 2:12-13  

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Hebrews 13:1  

Let brotherly love continue.

Matthew 4:8-10  

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”

Proverbs 10:9  

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

Exodus 20:16  

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Genesis 1:27  

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

James 2:8  

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.

James 1:26  

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

Philippians 2:3  

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Galatians 6:4 

But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.

Romans 12:4-8  

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

John 13:34-35  

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Luke 12:33  

Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.

Luke 12:6-7  

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 3:12-14  

Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

Isaiah 43:26  

Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right.

Leviticus 19:35-36  

“You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

Leviticus 19:9-10  

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

1 Peter 3:9 

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

James 2:1  

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

James 1:22-27  

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

Hebrews 13:15-16  

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

2 Timothy 3:2  

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

Colossians 3:12-14  

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:8 

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Colossians 3:5  

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:5-10  

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

Colossians 3:1 

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Philippians 3:18-19  

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

Philippians 2:2  

Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Philippians 2:2-8  

Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

Ephesians 5:1-7  

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Ephesians 4:26  

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

Ephesians 4:25  

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Ephesians 4:1-6  

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Galatians 6:1-3  

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Galatians 5:19-21  

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:16-26 

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,

1 Corinthians 13:5  

Or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

Romans 15:1-2 

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

Romans 14:10-12  

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Romans 14:1  

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.

Romans 13:11-14  

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Romans 13:8-10  

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 12:6-8  

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:3  

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Romans 12:1  

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 2:21-24  

You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Romans 2:1-4  

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Acts 20:35  

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Acts 14:11-15  

And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

Acts 14:1  

Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed.

John 2:9-11 

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

John 1:8  

He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

John 1:5-7  

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.

Luke 20:46-47  

“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Luke 18:9-14  

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

Luke 17:10  

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

Luke 17:3-4  

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”    

The Lord Is My Strength

Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

2 Samuel 22:33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
Psalms 18:1 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

Psalms 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalms 22:19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

Psalms 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Psalms 28:8 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.

Psalms 31:1 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.

Psalms 31:4 Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.

Psalms 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

Psalms 43:1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
2 For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalms 62:7 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

Psalms 73:26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Psalms 81:1 Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

Psalms 118:14 The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

Psalms 140:7 O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.

Psalms 144:1 Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.

Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

Isaiah 49:5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

Jeremiah 16:19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.

Habakkuk 3:19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Is this proof Jesus married and had two sons? Ancient manuscript said to be 'lost gospel' with a sensational twist

Did Jesus Christ marry Mary Magdalene and have children with her? Surely, you’re thinking, that’s the kind of sensationalist mumbo-jumbo you find only in the pages of fiction.
In fact, The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s 2003 best-selling thriller, was hinged on that very premise: a secret bloodline had sprung from the union between Jesus and Mary.

But now the authors of a new book, The Lost Gospel, claim to have unearthed evidence of a manuscript which tells the story of Jesus’s two sons and his marriage to Mary, one of his closest followers, who was at his crucifixion, burial and the discovery of his empty tomb.  
Of course, there have been various discoveries of ‘new’ gospels over the years and allegations about a romantic relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene have persisted for centuries.

Indeed, they have frequently been explored in popular culture. For example, in the Fifties, the book The Last Temptation Of Christ suggested that the pair married after Jesus was taken down from the cross. Martin Scorsese turned the idea into a film of the same name in 1988.
However, this new book focuses on a story to be found in a manuscript dating back to 570 AD and written in Syriac — a Middle Eastern literary language used between the 4th and 8th centuries and related to Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. 
Written on vellum — treated animal skin — it had been in the archives of the British Library for about 20 years, where it was put after the British Museum had originally bought it in 1847 from a dealer who said he had obtained it from the ancient St Macarius Monastery in Egypt.
For the past 160 years, the document has been studied by a few scholars but has been considered pretty unremarkable.

But then Simcha Jacobovici, an Israeli-Canadian film-maker, and Barrie Wilson, a professor of religious studies in Toronto, took a look. After six years of study, they are convinced they’ve uncovered a missing fifth gospel — to add to the four gospels, which tell the story of the life of Christ and are said to have been written by the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in the 1st century AD. 

If true, this would make it the greatest revelation into the life of Jesus in nearly 2,000 years. Jacobovici claims the manuscript, which is 29 chapters long, is a 6th century copy of another 1st-century gospel and casts parts of the Bible in a very different light.
Later this week, he will present his findings at a conference hosted by the British Library.
Like the fictional The Da Vinci Code, which had its hero scouring works of art for secret, religious messages, the document is in code. According to Jacobovici and Wilson, it tells of Jesus’s marriage through the story of the Old Testament character Joseph and his wife Aseneth.

Jacobovici decided to look more deeply into Joseph and Aseneth, when he compared their story with other Old Testament tales.
In order to test the British Library documents, the researchers used hi-tech digital imaging to photograph them 13 times. They then got the manuscript translated for the first time from Syriac into English.
There have been other, later, versions of the Joseph and Aseneth story, written in Latin and Greek, which have been preserved in monasteries. But by returning to the ancient Syriac, Wilson and Jacobovici say it was possible to read the text as it was intended and to decode the hidden story.
Central to their claim is that Joseph was actually Jesus — and that Aseneth was actually Mary Magdalene.
The new translation, according to Jacobovici and Wilson, records that the Pharaoh of Egypt officiated at the wedding between the couple, saying to Aseneth: ‘Blessed are you by the Lord God of Joseph, because he is the first-born of God, and you will be called the Daughter of God Most High and the bride of Joseph now and for ever.’ 




After a seven-day wedding feast, the text is said to read: ‘Joseph had intercourse with Aseneth . . . And Aseneth conceived from Joseph and gave birth to Manasseh and his brother Ephraim in Joseph’s house.’
And so, could centuries of Christian teaching be wrong and that Jesus was a husband and father?
There are many, many more pieces of the jigsaw to be put together before this can be proved conclusively.
The theory is based on the claims that this ‘lost’ gospel and the ‘encrypted’ story of Jesus’s marriage was the work of a group of persecuted Christians. It apparently disappeared from public view around 325 AD.
It was at the time that the then Roman emperor Constantine — the first Christian emperor — was said to have ordered all other gospels to be destroyed, leaving only Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to tell Jesus’s story because their version fitted with Constantine’s view of Christianity.

‘Since then, people have found bits and pieces of those other [destroyed] gospels,’ says Jacobovici. ‘They usually come up through the antiquities market and they’re attacked as forgeries. Or they’re just a few lines.’
But the British Library manuscript, he says, ‘is a full-blown gospel’.
He and his colleague Wilson point to several clues that they say give away its true meaning. Principally, the story about Joseph has little connection with other Old Testament stories about a man who is best-known for the tale of his murderous brothers, which inspired the popular musical Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
What’s more, Joseph is often seen in early Syriac Christianity as a symbol of Jesus. The manuscript calls Joseph — like Jesus — the son of God. 

At one point in the British Library manuscript, an angel-like figure marks a piece of honeycomb in blood with the sign of the cross. When Aseneth — purportedly the Mary Magdalene figure — eats a piece of honeycomb, the angel tells her: ‘So now you have eaten the bread of life and drunk the cup of life.’
The parallels with Christian Holy Communion, according to Jacobovici, means that this is a ‘Christian text’.
The document is also preceded by a covering letter, written in the 6th century by the man who translated the document from its original Greek into Syriac.
It says the document has an ‘inner meaning’ about ‘our Lord, our God, the Word’.
But just at the point when it seems as if the text’s hidden inner meaning is about to be disclosed, there is a big tear in the manuscript — suggesting someone deliberately censored the revelation that was to follow.
‘There is a cut across the page, right through a line of Syriac writing,’ Jacobovici and Wilson say. ‘This indicates that the section is missing, not because of deterioration but because of censorship.’
While some academics agree that it is possible that others gospels — recounting Jesus’s marriage — may have existed but since been lost, others are adamant that the idea is a complete nonsense.
History is littered with such debates. 

In 1213, for example, a chronicle recorded that the inhabitants of B├ęziers, in southern France, had been burned alive four years earlier for ‘their scandalous assertion that Mary Magdalene and Christ were lovers’. A different story — that Mary was a prostitute — was proposed by scholars who merged her identity with the unnamed sinner who anoints Jesus’s feet in Luke’s gospel. However, this interpretation has almost universally been discounted.
Just two years ago, Harvard professor Karen L. King declared that she’d found a papyrus fragment — thought to be from Egypt — called The Gospel Of Jesus’s Wife. In it, there were four words, written in Coptic (an Egyptian language), saying: ‘Jesus said to them, “My wife . . .” ’

Jacobovici believes that his ‘lost gospel’ supports Professor King’s studies.
He is also convinced the story of Jesus’s marriage is already incorporated into four gospels in the New Testament.
He says: ‘Jesus is called a “rabbi” in the gospels. And a rabbi, to this day, in order to have a congregation and a ministry, has to be married. If he’s going to lead a congregation, he’s got to be a model for that congregation. In the first century, you reach manhood — you get married.’

And therefore, he insists, there can be ‘no question’ that, even in the established gospels, Jesus must have a wife. 

To emphasise his belief that Mary of Magdalene was Jesus’s wife, he describes her decision to visit his body on the Sunday after the Crucifixion. ‘The gospels told us why she went there — to wash and anoint his body. She’s just a follower and yet she’s going to unwrap his naked body? Women do not wash rabbis or male bodies. Only males do it — unless you are the man’s wife.’

Equally intriguingly, Jacobovici and Wilson claim there was a plot to kill Jesus by a love rival 13 years before the Crucifixion.
They say that the manuscript says the Pharaoh’s son wanted to marry Aseneth and planned to kill Joseph and their children, but was foiled by Joseph’s brothers. Jacobovici identifies the man as Roman emperor Tiberius’s adopted son Germanicus, who was in Galilee when Jesus was there.
This rewriting of the greatest story ever told has, understandably, led the publisher to compare the book by Jacobovici and Wilson to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the ancient Biblical papyri found in caves in the West Bank which contain passages from the Old Testament.

‘If you look at the cumulative evidence for Jesus’s marriage, it’s getting overwhelming,’ says Jacobovici. ‘This new discovery is probably the most important piece.
‘Its provenance is known, sitting in the British Library all these years. It’s not crazy to say it’s a copy of a work from the first century — many scholars say it is. And it’s not nuts to say it’s Christian — as many scholars have said.’
Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Christian historians are not convinced.
Typical is Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the history of the church at Oxford University. He says the ‘lost gospel’ claims sound ‘like the deepest bilge’, adding: ‘I’m very surprised that the British Library gives these authors houseroom.’

As for the British Library itself, staff have refused to endorse the new book.
Undaunted, Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson insist: ‘The only way there is no evidence is if you keep ignoring the evidence.’
But they still have a huge amount of convincing to do — particularly to the Church of England which naturally scoffs at the claims, dismissing them as closer to popular fiction and sharing more with The Da Vinci Code than the historical records of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
The Lost Gospel by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson is published on Wednesday by Pegasus Books. To buy the book for £16.19 — 10 per cent off the usual price — plus free P&P, go to www.mailbookshop.co.uk Offer ends on November 25. The Lost Gospel will also be part of a documentary shown on the Science Channel in December.