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    Free Essay
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    Christmas season versus holiday season

     

    In the United States, the month of December is the Christmas Season, not the Holiday Season. To the best of my knowledge there is only one holiday in December recognized by our government. December 25 was made a legal holiday in order to celebrate the birth of Christ. There are no other legal holidays during the month of December. Chanukah, Hannukah, or Hanukah is a celebration and, some say, a Jewish Holiday but it is not a legal holiday. Kwanza is a celebration and not a legal holiday. Christmas Eve is not a day and New Years Eve is not a day. We don't call the month of May, the Holiday Season, even though that's when Memorial Day is celebrated. On Martin Luther King Day we don't have holiday parades, we have Martin Luther King Day parades. We don't say happy holiday on the Fourth Of July, we say Happy Independence day or Happy Fourth Of July. Why then, do some people insist that we say happy holiday and holiday season when we are celebrating Christmas? I'll tell you why. It is because the organized religion of atheism (Yes atheism, is an organized religion, it is a religion of non belief.) is waging war against Christianity as the first battle in a war against all other religions. If they can defeat Christianity in this country of Christians, then they can defeat all religions that believe in a God or higher power. I am a Christian. I don't, however, know for sure, if Christ is the son of God or if he was a teacher or what. I do know, that I believe in the teachings ascribed to him. I do know, that even though we are humans and therefore can not and do not always follow all of those teachings, that if we all tried to live by those teachings of love and kindness, the whole world would be a better place. I also know that, I want Christ to be the Son of God because then it would mean that God did and does care about us and that there may very well be a Heaven. I disagree with the director of special projects for the American Family Association when he says, "Christmas is not a holiday" and that calling Christmas a holiday "devalues our nation's most holy day." Christmas is a holiday. In fact, I consider Christmas and the Fourth Of July to be this country's two most important and happiest holidays. The Fourth Of July celebrates the birth of our nation and Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ. Workers are given Christmas Day off with pay, school children are given several days off for Christmas vacation. Offices hold Christmas parties. Families get together, listen to Christmas music, stuff themselves with food and give each other gifts. Marines collect "Toys For Tots". The Salvation Army puts out it's kettles and collects money which is used to help needy people all year long. Many family members who have been feuding all year round get together and forgive each other. Christmas is a holiday of love and forgiveness. Christmas is a holiday that everyone, not just Christians, should celebrate. Almost no one denies that Christ did exist at one time. The controversy is, whether or not he is the son of God. Putting that controversy aside, Christ preached or taught "peace on earth and goodwill towards men". If people bemoan the fact that John Lennon died because he was a fighter for peace, how can they not celebrate the fact that Christ was born? Christ was arguably the original teacher of peace, forgiveness and goodness. He lived and died promoting peace. He not only promoted peace, he lived peace. He not only taught forgiveness, he lived forgiveness. Christ set an example that has lived for over two thousand years. If Martin Luther King can have a holiday, if Presidents, Veterans, labor and others can have their own holidays, why shouldn't Christ have a holiday. A note to other religions: You should support Christmas. If you allow the atheists to kill off Christmas, it could be your religion that they go after next. There is a war being fought today. I'm not talking about the war in Iraq. I'm talking about the war against religion being brought by atheists and certain hard line fanatics on the far left. Right now, they are winning the war because religious groups are not fighting back in a cohesive manner. If religious groups don't help each other, someday they will all cease to exist and the United States will become another Soviet Union. Taking away our right to participate in religion and to celebrate our religion is a first step in taking away our other freedoms. One of the main reasons that the United States was able to become so great is that, contrary to what the atheists and some others tell you, we are not a secular country. Our whole method of government and our laws come in large part from our forefathers religious beliefs. It may not seem so, but I am not agaisnt all atheists. They have a right to believe in non belief and I support that right. I am just against the activists that are trying to force their non beliefs down my throat. I am willing to leave them alone if they are willing to leave me and mine alone. The problem is that they won't leave us alone. They don't want to allow us to believe as we wish. They want us to believe as they do. They don't believe in Christmas so they want to take Christmas away from us. One final note to all you major retailers who want to sell me gifts for me to give as Christmas presents, if you won't acknowledge the Christmas Season in your advertising and in your stores, then don't expect me to shop in your stores. If you insist in saying holiday season and happy holidays instead of Christmas Season and Merry Christmas, then I will insist in not dealing with you. For the time being, at least, you are free to do as you wish and I'm free do as I wish. My wish is to boycott you, not only during the Christmas Season but for a long time to come. Heck, I'm still boycotting everything French and I've been boycotting Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine since the Vietnam War.

         
    Church fathers and creationism

     

    One of the many things that I observe in the debate between young-earth and old-earth creationists, is the constant appeal to the works of past theologians. People are constantly appealing to this church father, or that medieval theologian, in the hopes that they will justify their belief in an old or young earth. Old-earth creationists have pointed to Justin Martyr, Origin, Augustine, and others from the first four centuries after Christ, as believing in an old earth. At the same time, young-earth creationists have defended these past Christians as believing in a young-earth. Both cases look strong, leading me to believe that these men were seeking the truth, and may not have reached a conclusion. Why Does it Matter? Why do people seek out the beliefs of Christian that have gone before us? A Christian who is struggling with these issues may need the support, so that they can make up their minds one-way or the other. Or, a person may simply be trying to be as thorough as possible before committing to a choice. People today have been conditioned to fully research their beliefs. This is good. But in many cases, I get the distinct impression that people will not commit to a belief, unless they can find a crutch to lean on…fellow Christians, past and present, who believe the same thing. We must move beyond this “crutch” mentality, and decide issues for ourselves. Be Decisive! But there eventually comes a time when the believer must make a choice of their own. How important is this search for support from the Christians that have gone before us? Not important at all. In the end, we must rely upon our own conclusions, based on the evidence that we have. In fact, with advances in science, and new archeological discoveries, we are in a better position to decide this issue than any of the church fathers that have gone before us. Geology as a science did not really get going until the 1800’s, therefore none of this scientific data was available to these past theologians. What would Justin Martyr have decided, if he had the evidence we have today? I’m not saying to ignore the church leaders of the past, but I am saying that we have much more evidence than they ever had, and can reach our own conclusions. Don’t be afraid to come to your own conclusions about creation and the Bible. I have concluded that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. If you believe that the earth was created in six 24-hour days, great! Hold fast to that belief. If you have evidence and believe that the days of creation are each 3.76 seconds each, great! Conclusion Each of us has the evidence in the Bible and God’s creation. We don’t need to appeal to the theologians of the past to support our belief…they didn’t have the same evidence that we have, due to scientific and archaeological discoveries…why then are we seeking to trust in their views which were based on limited evidence? You have the evidence yourself, and it’s up to you to come to your own conclusions.

         
    Cleaning headstones

     

    Over a period headstones and memorials can get dirty, one of the most common causes being hard water, which leaves a lime scale deposit. This is especially visible on polish granite. But by cleaning the headstone or memorials on a regular basis will not only prolong the life of the stone but also ensure the stone is in good condition. A dirty headstone may look dull or faded, and by following a specific process you can renew the shine. The first stage before you start cleaning is to determine what the headstone is made of, the most common being granite, limestone, marble or bronze. Each material will require a different cleaning process and cleaning liquid or agent. Limestone, Sandstone and Marble Headstones These headstones are made of soft stone; therefore you will need to be gentle when cleaning. Use water with non-ionic soaps or detergents applied with a natural bristled brush. Do not use a wire brush, acid cleaners or household cleaners as this may cause permanent damage. Granite Headstones Follow the guidelines as above when cleaning granite headstones. Due to granite's durability, it is all right to use a more aggressive scrubbing. On polished granite calcium build-up from hard water can cause a dull faded appearance. To remove this use a heavy duty non metallic scouring pad, check before using it is suitable for granite. Bronze Headstones As most Bronze headstones usually consist of a bronze plaque which is mounted to a base usually made of granite or concrete and lay flat at lawn level. Therefore you may need to apply one of the above techniques to clean the stone surround plus also cleaning the bronze. As bronze is furnished with a factory applied lacquer coating to seal and preserve the original appearance, maintenance is important as over a period of time this finish will eventually deteriorate. Proper care will preserve the finish and prevent the need for restoration.

         
    Commands with promise

     

    The Scriptures contain many commandments with a promise attached for The Abrahamic Seed Group. These promises are fulfilled for us when and if we perform the commandment. Here’s a case in point where a commandment with promise was given to The Abrahamic Seed Group. Exod 20:12 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. (KJV) Paul also reminds us of this same commandment with promise. Eph 6:1-3 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (KJV) In other words, if we honor and obey our father and mother, all the above promises will be realized by us members of Abraham’s seed, whether Jew or Gentile Christian. 1. It will be well with us. 2. We may live long on the earth. Is there anyone reading this who wants to have things go well for him/her and live long upon the earth? Then take heed to this commandment with promise. Search your Bible. You will find many, many commandments with promise for The Abrahamic Seed Group. Here’s another one that pertains to our healing. James 5:14-15 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (KJV) Anointing with oil brings healing when done right. Notice above! The sick one must call for the elders of the church for it to be done right. They cannot just go into someone’s sick room with oil in hand and expect to see a healing. On the other hand, when the sick one follows the Scripture above to the letter and calls for the elders to anoint him/her with oil accompanied by prayer, then healing follows. Failure to follow the directions shuts it all down so that no healing follows. This is another “command with promise.” Now we see a command with promise that affects your financial health. You see, every need we will ever have, God has a command with promise to care for it. 2 Cor 9:6-7 6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (KJV) Verse seven above raises an interesting question. What is this, “as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give…” Purposeth what? The truth that giving is the equivalent to sowing seed gives us the answer here. We sow farm land with as much seed as we need to harvest. In other words, fifty acres of farm land properly sown can be expected to yield the full fifty acre harvest. The farmer will sow with the “purpose” of reaping a full fifty acre harvest. Christians can expect the same in the realm of sowing seed into our Lord’s work. Purpose how much return you need as a financial harvest and sow accordingly. Plant you “full fifty acres” as it were and you will reap what you sow. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give. Three commands with promise. Do these commands and the promises begin to activate.

         
    Commemoration of rev dr martin luther king jr one man s demons

     

    Watching the celebration of the life and legacy of the beloved, late and sorely missed Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday 21 January 2008, I was struck not only by the tributes to Dr King and his long suffering family, but also the acclaim of Governor Mike Huckabee, Republican, by former U. S. President Bill Clinton, Democrat. Especially in light of Bill Clinton's public melt downs concerning Hillary Clinton presidential opponents in recent days, I thought his public acknowledgement of Mike Huckabee as "a good man" was most gracious. President Bill Clinton was swift to point out, however, that he and Huckabee did not agree on much politically. There is a deeper brotherhood between the two men as both were raised in the bastion of the Southern Baptist religion. In full disclosure, the Tennessee Mountain Man obviously springs from the same well. I am glad to see that Mike Huckabee claims not to be mad at any body about it which is probably more than Bill Clinton and the Computer Man can say. Having that little tid bit out of the way... no...no it is not out of the way. It is never, it can never be out of the way. Growing up in certain religious circles combined with the assault of the real world scars one for life. It leaves many without the ability to accept any compliment or enjoy any aspects of life as an adult. For instance, yours truly missed several remarks of the President immediately following the words "good man", as forcing it's way into my consciousness like a roaring train at full throttle was, "there is none good, no not one". Why couldn't I just accept what he had said? As the camera panned to Governor Huckabee who nodded his head in acknowledgement and appreciation of the President's remark, my sick mind raced to "he has just received his eternal reward". Of course we were warned to never be judgmental because, says the Holy Bible, with what judgment you judge you shall be judged. At the same time a saint with a dress to the floor and sleeves to the hands, wearing absolutely no make up and sporting a big bun on top of her head stands looking down her nose at everyone else while she trashes the girl next door and the preacher to anyone who will listen. Since those days I have visited many Christian denomination and several non-denominational churches. I was, at the time, the youngest ever licensed minister of the Southern Baptist Association at the tender age of 12. Like Governor Mike Huckabee, I am an ordained Minister (non-denominational) of The Gospel... the Good News. I have served as a Chaplain in drug and alcohol recovery centers and half way houses, and I am still haunted by the promise of John 3:16 accompanied by the churches fervor to get everyone "saved" while over whelming them with the thought that no one is going to heaven except the speaker. Dr King was a Southern Baptist Minister and co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, but he probably would not have understood what I am talking about here. I have been a co-pastor in a predominantly African American Church and have been a traveling revivalist/evangelist with a Black Minister, and it has been my observation that black people enjoy life and their walk with God more than guilt ridden white folk do. Maybe blacks understand God in a way white people can't. Maybe they trust God to be their righteousness while white folk try to work out their own righteousness. Or, maybe they simply find and trust a loving, healing, forgiving and restoring God that white men find self contradictory, bi-polar, and judgmental slipping around trying to catch you doing something wrong so He can warp you over the head with whatever is handy. I remember one elderly pastor who addressing the congregation one Sunday morning said, "I know you, and I know you didn't get righteous nor did you get holy... you just got old". Another preacher said, "some of you are so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly use". Now that I am a senior citizen and a product of the First Self Righteous Church I understand both comments, and both are right. But, where is Paul Harvey and the rest of the story when you need them? Live right, you are told, dare not do anything that is fun and do not enjoy yourself as you are already going to hell. Don't blow it... don't make it worse. But, oh by the way, notice how fat we preachers are? While we don't believe a word the Roman Catholic Church has to say and the practice of their priests is nothing short of blasphemy and hypocrisy, we, in effect, give you special dispensation to practice gluttony and to commit suicide on the installment plan with a spoon and a fork, but... use only grape juice in Holy Communion for strong drink is a sin. Don't screw up on Saturday and show up at church on Sunday..... God will be looking for you! This is, after all, the place where the High Priest was killed in the Holy of Holies and where Ananias and Sapphira died under the judgment of Saint Peter. When Jesus taught, God is a loving Father and said for us to "fear not", why do those professing to speak for Him in these days seek to maintain power and control through fear? By the way, why is it a sin for the congregation to have filthy lucre while the preacher is wealthy and flaunts it? Want to be like Jesus and practice the life of Dr King? Let the preacher sell all he has, give it to the homeless, and join his brother under the bridge eating only what he can get at the soup kitchen so he too can say, "the son of man hath no where to lay his head". What?!!! Give up the satin sheets, the fancy cars, the well heeled friends, the well placed contacts, and the big house in the 'burbs'? Don't hold your breath.

         
    Communication between god and us

     

    We all need a proper and clear line of communication. If there is any misunderstanding due to lack of effective communication, it can easily lead to chaos. Our mighty industrial world would grind to a halt. Every military campaign would flounder. Love and fellowship between human beings would be non-existent. Yet, seldom do we realize that our spiritual life also needs clear and proper lines of communication between God and us. We all think about God only when we have problems that cannot solve. At that moment, we begin to pray and ask for his passion. It is then, and only then, that man digs deeply within the recesses of his heart and brings out the little red telephone. A "hotline" to God is immediately established and the wires turn red hot with the man's pleadings for his Creator's help. Sad to say, as soon as the problems and troubles recede, man folds up the little red telephone and puts it back into its secret hiding place. Once more, God is forgotten - until the next crisis looms up in the man's life! Mankind needs to understand that if we maintain continuous, clear, and proper, lines of communication with God, we would hardly need to dig out that little red telephone. Mankind needs to understand that regular and clear communication between God and man would defuse the problems in our lives, even before they reach crisis stage. Of all his wonderful creations, God has given man the freedom of choice. So, God waits for man to exercise this freedom of choice and initiate communications with him. And every Christian home has the very instrument needed for this purpose. This amazing device, that has withstood the test of time, is the Bible. When we open the Bible, we are dialing God's number. And God is always at the other end of the line with a loving "Hello"! This is the only number that will not give you a busy signal, or put you "on hold". God is right there for us, ready with solutions to our problems. Indeed, he speaks to us personally in the pages of the Bible. When we are burdened with life's problems, Jesus encourages us, saying, "Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads and I will give you rest." (Mt.11:28). When we are afraid and fearful, God gives us the courage to say, "In God I trust, and I will not be afraid." (Ps.56:11). When we are sad and lonely, Jesus cheers us up, assuring us, "I will be with you always...." (Mt.28:20). The Bible is the Word of God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, who loves us more than we can ever imagine, who wants to walk through each day with us until we arrive at perfect union with him in heaven. So, why don't you pick up the Bible and dial God's number today? He is waiting eagerly with a spiritual "Hello", and a solution to your every problem.

         
    Communion is not just juice and crackers

     

    What is Communion? We do know that it originated from the night Jesus and his disciples were at the Last Supper, the night before Jesus is crucified: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 23For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come When we are receiving the juice and crackers at church, it’s important to know what communion really is. We are remembering Jesus and giving thanks for our redemption. At the same time we are also embracing the common bond that we share with fellow believers. But the Bible also warns us of participating in communion without knowing Jesus and what this holy tradition really is about: 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. Some Churches have communion on a weekly basis and announce it at the end of the service. In their announcement, they don’t even say to the congregation “If you are a believer and have given your life to the Lord, receive your communion. “ They really need to convey this message to their congregation each time that they have communion. There might be new comers there or young children that may not understand what communion really means, that will participate. Remember to not take the real meaning of communion lightly. Rejoice in the Lord and the precious blood he shed on the cross for our sins. And if you have Christ in your heart, then gladly participate in the wonderful holy tradition from the Last Supper called communion.

         
    Compatibility or synergy astrology

     

    These can be determined by comparing a companion's horoscope with your own natal chart. In doing a comparison, first notice whether your companion has a predominance of planets in one of the elements, more than four planets in one element. In general, people are more likely to be compatible with each other when their natal planets fall into compatible elements. The compatible elements are fire with air, earth with water. That means if you have a predominance of natal planets in the fire signs, you are more likely to have a compatible relationship with someone who has a predominance of natal planets in the air signs. If your companion's planets are mostly in the earth signs, you can expect assorted difficulties depending on which elements are involved. It is also important to note how many of your planets are in the cardinal, fixed, and mutable signs; and where your companion's planets are. A predominance of planets in one quality (i. e., five or more planets in a cardinal, fixed, or mutable sign) tells you how someone is likely to act in a relationship. Now it is important to note to see how your and your companion's planets are distributed among the masculine and feminine signs. Most people have an even balance of five-to-five, or six-to-four, between masculine or feminine. If you and your companion each have the normal ratios of planets, you should have no trouble getting along with each other. You can work things out even when one of you has a gender ration of seven-to-three while the other has a four-to-six ratio. If there is a difference of one or two planets in masculine (or feminine) signs between you and your companion you should have no trouble in establishing a compatible relationship. If there is a difference of three planets, you can still work things out. However, if there are more than three planets between you and your companion, in one gender, you will both have to work very hard to maintain a relationship. The reason is that the dominantly masculine person's aggressive behavior will threaten and harass the reserved, security-motivated feminine person. If both people are dominated by the same gender (either masculine or feminine), they share the same viewpoint and approach to life. Initially, this can give them a strong feeling of compatibility. However, they will soon feel a need for the kind of stimulation that comes from defending mildly different points of view. They will have to turn to someone else to meet that need.

         
    Competency in counseling

     

    There is no shortage of advice-givers in today’s society. Actually, it seems no matter where you turn, you hear someone giving advice or counsel on one issue or another. Frequently it’s hard to try and avoid those wanting to give advice. To prove my point, simply express to others a dilemma you have, and watch folks stumble over themselves to give their opinion. Some counsel you hear is good, little is from a biblical worldview, and much counsel is simply bad and ungodly. With that in mind, who are capable to provide counsel or give advice? Are Christians competent to counsel people with problems? What actually constitutes competency? What are the qualifications for a counselor? Biblical counselors frequently quote Romans 15:14 to support the position that Christians possess adequate ability (competency) to counsel: “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” Colossians 3:16 is considered the comparable verse to Romans 15:14, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,….” Continuing in Romans, Paul makes the case for boldness: Romans 15:15, “I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me.” Each of these verses contains the necessary characteristics or prerequisites required of a competent counselor. Counselors are to be, “full of goodness,” “complete in knowledge,” the word of Christ should dwell in them richly, they should be full of wisdom, and they should speak boldly. First, counselors should be full of goodness. This is not goodness that is natural within us, but is from the Spirit of God whose fruit is goodness, Galatians 5:22. Being full of goodness denotes an abundance of grace consisting of benevolence, humaneness, and an understanding to fellow Christians in the spirit of Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” Second, counselors should be complete in knowledge. This is spiritual knowledge relating to: 1. God, His nature and perfections, His mind and will, 2. Christ and the work of redemption, 3. The Holy Spirit and how He operates, 4. The Gospel knowledge necessary to salvation. If a counselor is to have an understanding of the biblical issues relating to human nature and behavior, the study of the scriptures will be fundamental to his or her qualifications and effectiveness. It would be paradoxical for someone to say they counsel biblically, yet lack the wherewithal or inclination to provide biblical explanations to issues and problems. 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Third, the word of Christ should dwell richly in the counselor. The counselor should understand the scriptures, especially those which speak of Christ and testify of Him, teach pardon by His blood, justification by faith, and salvation. He must know the Bible thoroughly and how to use it practically. I would seriously question the motives and presuppositions of a biblical counselor who lacked the willingness or desire to study and learn the doctrines central to the work of a true biblical counselor. If a counselor believes “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” Psalm 119:105, how can that truth be applied without having more than a Sunday school knowledge and understanding of God’s word? How can the counselor provide the lamp and light if he doesn’t know its whereabouts? Richly implies he should not only possess the word, but it should have a significant place in the counselor’s life. The counselor should be engaged in frequent reading, hearing, and meditation on the word. Next, the counselor should possess wisdom. James Strong defines wisdom as “devout and proper prudence in relations with men including the skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth.” The counselor must learn how to discover the facts about the problems to which he must find biblical solutions. Psalm 111:10 states where one should start in obtaining wisdom, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.” Finally, the counselor should speak with boldness. He should reprove, advise, and exhort without dread or fear. 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.” Having stated the biblical prerequisites for what constitutes a competent counselor, what then constitutes an incompetent counselor? One might assume it would be just the antithesis of what I just stated. However, since all Christians possess the key competent attributes in some degree (albeit many in extremely small amounts), there is more to what constitutes incompetency. The strength of biblical counseling begins with its presuppositions. In other words, it accepts on faith that God exists and the Bible is true, and understands the implications of adhering to it. What are some of the key presuppositions in biblical counseling? To start, counseling issues are theological issues because our life is lived before God. That is the exact opposite of psychology’s main presupposition of there is no God. If there is one single difference that makes the two counseling models stand out, it’s the fact that one acknowledges God and the other does not. Also, the heart drives behavior and all counseling issues are heart issues. This establishes that all behavior is righteous or unrighteous, not healthy or unhealthy; and certainly not the psychological heresy “feelings are neither good nor bad, they just exist.” Furthermore, one’s view on the nature of man is critical in understanding behavior and offering biblical solutions. If man is depraved and his behavior is the result of sin, the biblical counselor can offer solutions, hope, and a cure. If there is no sin, reductionism becomes the presupposition and all behavior is reduced to chemical imbalances, diseases or other ambiguous impulses. Doctors David Tyler and Kurt Grady explore this further in their book, “Deceptive Diagnosis: When Sin is Called Sickness.” Dr. Dr. Ed Bulkley comments from the forward of the book are most appropriate: “The church has a growing tendency to pathologize every form of spiritual discomfort…, instead of seeking God's definitions and explanations of human behavior, more and more pastors, elders, and congregations are accepting a secular world-view which is based on humanistic psychology rather than the Bible. The result is an increasingly weakened Church, no longer certain of its message, mission and calling.”

         
    Confession it s time to take out the garbage

     

    None of us wants to look inward at ourselves and see the bad things we have stored up. We like to believe that we are good people. We convince ourselves that because we do not commit criminal acts that we are good people. We also say things like, " I'm not perfect, I make mistakes". What's wrong with us? We convince ourselves that we are good, yet on the other hand we are bad too. So have we convinced ourselves that we are blameless for our actions? Do we figure we are not bad because we're not in jail? We like to think that since we are not perfect that it's ok to continue living the way we do. We all know that the flesh is corupt. All the flesh thinks about is itself. It doesn't want anything to do with the soul or the spirit (our intellect). The carnal mind is going to keep on telling us lies as long as it can get what it wants. And as long as the flesh is dominate over our spiritual side, we will keep on deceiving ourselves. The flesh is mans downfall, it wants what the world has to offer, not what God has to offer. As long as we obey the flesh we will be bent towards the world, not walking upright like God created us. To receive what God has to offer one needs to start by denying ones self and that is like death to the flesh. So in a carnal, fleshly way we pursue sensual pleasures, or things that gratify our appetites. Problem is that something is missing: "God". You could go to church all week, volunteer, study your bible, etc., etc., but as long as your flesh is dominate you have no life in Christ. Mark 8:34 - 37. Who do you worship, God or the world and the things that belong to it? You can't have both. Although many people think they can. One of the problems is, is that as long as we can't see any wrong in what we are doing than it must be ok, right? Wrong. We are completely blind to these things because we are still carnal. We have not awakened the soul and spirit yet. The only way to awaken our spiritual side is by denying ourselves and following Jesus to the tomb (this is not the baptism of water. The water baptism is a baptism that is a pledge made to God from a good conscience. After we die in Christ we then can be reborn to our true spiritual selves. This is the spiritual revolution that begins to take place. The flesh doesn't understand what's going on. The light of faith is darkness to the flesh. The flesh no longer has control of its normal faculties. This is where the battle begins. In order to help reach this point we need to look inward. We need to acknowledge our sins. 1John 1:8,9 'If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity'. In order to acknowledge our sins we need to turn to Jesus for His help. Remember, we need to first deny ourselves, which means we need to want to give up our old ways of living, all of it, a nd pick up our cross. We will need it to nail the flesh upon it. Jesus is the way, follow Him. This is what He meant when He said,' The road is long and narrow and few find it'. It's not a matter of finding it, it's right in front of you. You need to be willing to get on this road at all costs, no matter what tests and trials come up. It's not a road for the lazy ones or the ones of the world. It's for people who want to be known as a child of God. If you can turn your eyes inward and with all sincerity and honesty and willingness to clean yourself up, Jesus will be there to help you. He will even bring forth the sins you forgot. It is a deep and serious cleansing. The sins we remember and the ones shown to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we need to write them down. You can put them in categories like: greed, lusts, sloth, impatience, anger, resentments, envy, gluttony and jealousy. It's going to take some time to do this, so don't rush it. It's a wonderful learning experience as well. After you have written all this down, you need to take it someone who is experienced in this type of confession. So that you two can talk about what you have written and pray together for your forgiveness. In James 5:16 it says, ' So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another and this will cure you'. No denying this scripture. I've been in alot of different churches and I don't know why they don't teach this. Could be because we're lacking in spiritual teachers and preachers. Too many taught by man and not by the Lord. Also this is not a subject that would tickle people's ears. I'm going to give you a testimony if I may of my experience of this type of confession. I'm only telling this to show you truth in the scriptures of the importance of a true, all out confession and to glorify God bless His heart and soul. When I learned of this type of confession and decided to do it because I was willing to do anything and everything in my walk with Jesus to grow spiritually and learn to do what's right in the eyes of God. When I took all my papers that I had written all my sins on to a minister that was familiar with this type of confession, we talked about everything and he even asked questions about things he didn't see on the papers. Then we prayed. After we were done, I felt so renewed and pure inside I cannot even begin to explain how beautiful it was. When I left, I ran into some people I knew and they asked me what was going on. I said," What do you mean?". They said that I had this glow about me. I told them what I had just done. I could see in their faces that they were just in awe by seeing this radiance of light glowing from my body. From my head to my toes I was in such a wonderful state of overwhelming...I'm sorry but I just can't find the words to describe it. I don't think there are any. This is what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is about, I know that for sure. After your confession there is one more thing for you to do. Make amends to the people you have resentments towards and people you have hurt and done wrong to. If you would like a suggestion on how to find out who would be a good person to do a confession with please e-mail me. May God Bless You Dearly.

         
    Confessions from a biblical counselor

     

    My views of counseling when I became a Christian back in the late 1960’s was the same as everyone else, i. e., if you need help, you get out the yellow pages of the telephone book, look up a counselor and make an appointment. Little or no regard was given to the type of counseling or the counselor’s credentials. It wasn’t until the early 1970’s when I was introduced to Jay Adams that I begin to see that there was a great distinction between counseling and honest to goodness biblical counseling. In 1986 I enrolled in Liberty University’s School of Lifelong Learning to complete my degree program via a genuine Christian school. I remember how excited I was when I opened my first set of materials and tapes and sat down to take Psychology 101. Soon thereafter I remember my heart sank as the instructor began to teach Freud, Skinner, & Rogers under the guise, “All truth is God’s truth.” I felt betrayed as all Liberty could offer me was baptized humanism. Liberty University was operating from a faulty presupposition, i. e., all truth is God’s truth. They failed to understand “truth” that doesn't pass examination by scripture isn’t truth. Liberty doomed themselves when their leaders attempted to accommodate the secular world’s theories thereby producing a “theistic psychology.” The success or failure of biblical counseling begins with its presuppositions. Cornelius Van Til defined presuppositionalism as “an insistence on an ultimate category of thought or a conceptual framework which one must assume in order to make a sensible interpretation of reality.” In other words, it accepts on faith that God exists and the Bible is true, and understands the implications of adhering to it. What are some of the key presuppositions in biblical counseling? To start, counseling issues are theological issues because our life is lived before God. That is the antithesis of psychology’s main presupposition of there is no God. If there is one single difference that makes the two models stand out it’s the fact that one acknowledges God and the other does not. Also, the heart drives behavior and all counseling issues are heart issues. This establishes that all behavior is righteous or unrighteous, not healthy or unhealthy; and certainly not the psychological heresy “feelings are neither good nor bad, they just exist.” Furthermore, one’s view on the nature of man is critical in understanding behavior and offering biblical solutions. If man is depraved and his behavior is the result of sin, the biblical counselor can offer solutions, hope, and a cure. If there is no sin, reductionism becomes the presupposition and all behavior is reduced to chemical imbalances, diseases or other ambiguous impulses. Biblical counseling teaches man's heart is at the center of his feelings and behavior. Jeremiah 17:9-10, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." The heart affects the body because of the union between the heart and the body. This is referred to as duplexity, a union of material and immaterial; hence the origin of psychosomatic illnesses. The body may also affect the heart by imposing restrictions on the heart (Matthew 26:41). Sin, of course, has affected us all with some degree of abnormality. Fundamental to understand man’s behavior is the construct of habit. Habit is simply a pattern of behavior acquired through frequent repetition. God has blessed us all with the capability for habit. Habits can be both learned and unlearned behavior. Consequently, sinful habit patterns are easily developed because man is a habitual sinner. Breaking sinful habits can only be accomplished by using the put-off/put-on dynamic. The counselee must replace sinful habits with Godly behavior. Some sinful habits can become a consuming lifestyle for people. Some of the following sinful habit patterns are common in counselees: 1. Grief: Grief can sometimes immobilize a counselee to where they are unable to function normally. I Samuel 15:35-16:1 gives a good example of a godly man being overcome with grief: “And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel. And the Lord said unto Samuel, how long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go….” Teaching the counselee to not live by feelings is important to someone suffering from prolong grief. A simple put-on of go and do is often required. 2. Depression: People who frequently experience trials in life will encounter depression. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed,” II Corinthians 4:8-9. It’s important to distinguish between presentation, performance, and preconditioning problems when dealing with depression. You need to pay close attention to what the person has been doing instead of how they are feeling. Everyone will occasionally feel “down,” so it’s imperative for the counselor not to be led astray. 3. ADD/ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a widely diagnosed illness that has no basis in science. It’s simply a subjective diagnosis using empirical observations of bad behavior. Obedience is the core issue regarding ADD/ADHD and it’s important to label the counselee’s behavior using biblical terminology. Making a list of sinful practices, replacing them with godly ones coupled with accountability is helpful with this kind of person. 4. Fear: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a repetitive thought pattern that has its roots in fear. Fear is an emotion given to us by God for us to experience in anticipation of some specific pain or danger. Godly fear keeps us safe from danger. However, becoming afraid or feeling anxious about a situation where there is no danger is sin. Ungodly fear may take many forms in a counselee’s life and is always self-oriented and suspicious. Replacing fear with love, having the counselee focus on doing the loving thing, plus breaking the victim mentality, helps the person overcome the practice of irrational fear. Using the biblical doctrine and practice of forgiveness is instrumental to effective counseling in many cases. Frequently counselees harbor deep-seated bitterness and refuse to follow the scriptural process to obtain or grant forgiveness. Romans 12:18-19, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord." Jay Adams in "A Theology of Christian Counseling" said man’s greatest need is forgiveness, and he could not think of a more important subject for counselors to understand. Indeed, he spent nearly 50 pages discussing the subject; far more than any other topic. Cultivating a forgiving attitude in counselees is vitally important in freeing them from guilt and bitterness. Adams speaks of the heart forgiveness Paul has in II Timothy 4:16, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” Jesus spoke of it in Mark 11:15, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Stephen demonstrated it in Acts 7:60, “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” This was an excellent example of the words of Jesus in Luke 6:28, “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” Teaching counselees the concept of heart forgiveness helps the offended party turn the matter over to God according to Romans 12:19. This is especially important when reconciliation between the offended parties is not possible. It’s important for the biblical counselor to understand that truth and godliness are hand-in-hand and it’s not possible to divorce the two. Consequently, biblical counselors must become theologians if their goal is to have counselees please God.

         
    Creation science issues fossil footprints

     

    In an article by Leonard Brand and James Florence, titled Stratigraphic Distribution of Vertebrate Fossil Footprints Compared with Body Fossils (Footnote 1), the authors do a fascinating study of fossil footprint sites, and correlate them with the distribution of actual fossils. Fossil footprints are not true fossils, and are more correctly identified by the term "trace fossil." True fossils are the actual remains of the animal. In their comparison, they show that the quantity of bird and mammal fossils correlate with the number of trace fossils. In other words, where you see a large quantity of fossils in the rock record, you have a corresponding number of trace fossil footprints. However, when comparing reptile, amphibian, and dinosaur trace fossils, they do not correspond to the number of actual fossils in the rock record. They equate this to the fact that during the first part of the flood (the Triassic sediments) the dinosaurs were more active, and during the later part of the flood (upper Jurassic and Cretaceous sediments) there were very few live amphibians or reptiles to produce footprints, except for the large dinosaurs. (This is contrasted with the young earth creationist book, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, in which all the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous sediments are all “late flood.”) Rebuttal There are several problems with this theory. As any paleontologist knows, fossils are a hit and miss scenario. We consider ourselves lucky when we find a dinosaur fossil. However, we have found many mass dinosaur graves in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, which skews the data. Conditions were right for the mass burial of these bones by fluvial, river systems (not ocean systems, or global Flood related). We may yet discover unknown trackways, or great abundances of Triassic fossils which makes the correlation closer. We are lucky to have found the trackways that we have, and I'm certain there are many more we can't see because they are covered by other rock layers. Second, and more importantly, if the Flood model is to be believed, ALL the dinosaurs had to be killed during the first 40 days of the flood. At day 40, when the rain stopped, the water was at its deepest. Why then do we have footprint trackways in multiple rock strata, on top of each other? By the time the second, higher layer was deposited, all the dinosaurs should have been dead...then who was making these tracks? It is evident from Stratigraphy, that you can't lay down all the rock layers in the world during the 370+ days of Noah's Flood. In many instances, you have fossil trackways, in a lacustrine system, covered by other sediments, then another trackway in a later lacustrine system. This would require fluctuating sea levels during the flood, but during the flood, the waters rose for 40 days, then they receded for 330 days...no fluctuation. Third, the authors propose the Triassic sediments were deposited during the early flood. Look at the leading Flood model proposed by the Institute for Creation Research, in their book Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe. They claim the rocks of the Grand Canyon were deposited early in the Flood, and the rocks above this point, which show up north of the Canyon, were deposited during the receding of the floodwaters (Figure 4.1 of the book). These “receding” rock layers included the Triassic layers. Genesis 7:24 states the waters were at their maximum for 150 days. All the rocks which contain dinosaur fossils and footprints were deposited in this receding phase of the Flood, more than 150 days after the Flood started. Genesis 7:21-23 states that all living flesh died during the first 150-day prevailing period of the flood. How then are dinosaurs making footprints, during the receding phase of the flood! God SAID in Genesis 7:21-23 that they were dead! The fact that we even have footprints is conclusive proof that the Flood did not create all these rock layers. Finally, the authors left out a key piece of information, that being the paleoenvironment. Were the environments of the time conducive to making footprints? You would have to consider this in order for their study to be conclusive. Conclusion The authors conclude "that the footprint data make a very natural fit with a global flood model." Actually, the global flood model fails to adequately explain the existence of trackways in late-flood sediments. I admit that this is dependent upon which “flood model” you believe in. FOOTNOTES: 1 Stratigraphic Distribution of Vertebrate Fossil Footprints Compared with Body Fossils ( grisda. org/origins/09067.htm)

         
    Creation scientist

     

    What is a young-earth “creation scientist?” Is there such a thing. Organizations such as Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research claim that their scientists are true scientists. They list a long list of scientists from the past who were creationists. Do these lists of scientists prove that creation science is true "science?" Let’s look at the definition of the scientific method. Dictionary Definition What is a scientist? A scientist uses “scientific methods” to examine things. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the scientific method is “…the collection of data through observation and if possible experiment, the formulation of hypothesis, and the testing and confirmation of the hypothesis formulated.” Note the scientist FIRST collects data, and then formulates the hypothesis. However, young-earth scientists do not operate by the above dictionary definition. They have reached the conclusion (hypothesis) that the earth is young FIRST, before they collect scientific data from the rocks. Only then do they try to match the scientific data to their pre-conceived age of the earth. Since young earth creation scientists do not comply with the scientific method, they cannot rightly be called scientists, and at best should be referred to as “theorists.” Therefore, to call someone a “Creation Scientist” is to put a title on them that they do not deserve, because they do not use the scientific method. What About their Scientific Credentials? In many cases, these so-called creation scientists have made valuable contributions in their scientific field of study, and due credit should be given to them. Many of the important discoveries of the last century have been made by scientists who were Christians. Does this mean we should blindly trust them when it comes to their statements on creation? When these scientists use science properly, conducting experiments and then reaching conclusions, then we can trust their results. However, when it comes to creation science, these same scientists abandon the "scientific method." They reach the conclusion that the earth is young before examining the evidence. It is like they are in a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde scenario...on the one side, they properly handle science, but on the other, they totally butcher the scientific method. Because of this two-faced approach to science, we cannot trust them when it comes to their conclusions about creation. Their pre-conceived bias towards a young earth leads these educated men to completely abandon the scientific method. On the one hand, they are rational, reliable scientists, but on the other hand, they are biased, irrational men trying to prove their own agenda. How Can They Believe? Despite all the evidence to the contrary, these men and women actually believe in a young earth. This is despite the fact that many practicing young earth creation scientists have PhD's. While most of these people seem to be very smart, it proves that they are so presupposed towards their young earth, that they are blind to the truth of science. It is like standing in front of a moving train, and saying, "The train isn't real." Another reason they blindly abandon science is because of tradition. They were taught that the earth is young by their parents and by pastors and teachers. "The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!" This is the operating rule that they follow, and "If it is good enough for Dad, it is good enough for me." They believe by faith that the earth is young, because saints of the past did so. However, basing our belief on the beliefs of our ancestors is not proper stewardship of the evidences we have been given (see Church Fathers on the Answers In Creation website). Will They Ever Be Convinced? When young earth creation scientists find something that is contrary to their belief, they proclaim, "There is an explanation...we must research this to find it." There is NO FINAL ARGUMENT that can overcome their objections...they will ALWAYS delay and say that there must be an answer. This can be seen in the words of Jonathan Sarfati of Answers in Genesis. He states, "We should remember, if confronted with other ‘unanswerable’ challenges to the biblical world view, that even if we don’t have all the answers, God does. And He, in His good time, may raise up godly scientists to discover them." (Footnote 1). Using this approach, they refuse to accept evidences for an old earth. Using this cop-out, they can ignore the train coming down the tracks, saying it isn't real. It need not be this way! Young earth creation scientists ignore the possibility that they can believe in an old earth, and at the same time they can believe in salvation, the inerrant word, and the accuracy of the Genesis account of creation over millions of years. Who Should We Trust? Because creation scientists do not use proper scientific methods, and willfully ignore solid scientific evidence, you are on shaky ground when you accept their conclusions without first examining it from a scientific viewpoint. If you can't completely trust young earth creation scientists, then who should you trust? When it comes to “creation science,” one should look for Christians who objectively look at the evidences before coming to “age” conclusions. There are many good Christian scientists out there in the church who are old earth creationists. Of course, whether you listen to young or old earth scientists, you should always investigate their claims. What About Me? Numerous people have claimed that I am not a scientist, and that I seriously misrepresent the young-earth scientist's viewpoints. First, I do not claim to be a scientist...and second, I'm merely quoting the young earth work and comparing it to accepted science theory. Something is seriously wrong, if I, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Geology, and a person who has not worked in the scientific field, can find so many errors in the works of supposed PhD’s. I am not misrepresenting the young-earth theorists…I am only stating the obvious errors they have made. It is obvious that they misrepresent good science in favor of their presupposed conclusion about the age of the earth. You may ask, Why even bring this up? Why point out the errors in young earth creationism? There are two main reasons. First, for old-earth creationists, you must know where your audience is coming from in order to reason with them. Second, if young earth creationism is not true, and is based upon flawed science, then the truth that the earth is old must be proclaimed. In proclaiming the truth, I realize some young earth creationists will be offended, and will be very defensive. My apologies up front if I offend anyone...that is not the intent. In the end, however, the truth must be stated, and sometimes the truth hurts. What Should Christians Do? As Christians, we should all pray for the creation debate within the church. As long as the untrue theory of young earth creationism is being spread, the church will suffer, and will continue to be mocked by those outside the church who see the young earth position for what it is. It can all end with the acceptance of old earth belief, and we can start reaching the world for Christ, armed with the truth of creation. Conclusion The bottom line…it is hard to understand how anyone can cling to something that is false, despite all the evidence to the contrary. If you are seeking advice in a scientific field, don't listen only to the young earth scientists...also don't listen only to the old earth scientists. Examine the facts and decide for yourself. Finally, consider this possibility. Suppose that we did not have Genesis or the Bible. When examining the rocks and stars, is it possible that any modern scientist without the Bible could claim scientifically that the earth was only 6,000 years old? Such a conclusion is not supported by the evidence and is not possible. God said in Romans 1:20 that the things of creation are "plainly understood." When scientists examine creation, it plainly states that it is billions of years old. Footnote 1: answersingenesis. org/docs/4109.asp This article comes from the Answers In Creation website ( answersincreation. org). The source article is located at answersincreation. org/scientist. htm.

         
    Crosses and other religious symbols

     

    : Many people use crosses and other religious symbols to demonstrate their beliefs. The use of the cross as a religious symbol predates Christianity by many years. Early religious crosses were found in Scandinavia, where they were symbols of the god Thor. In Babylon, a cross adorned with a crescent moon symbolized a moon god, while a sun god was represented by an Assyrian cross that demonstrated the four directions the sun shines by its corners. Both earthly and celestial states are shown in Hindu crosses. The ankh is a cross topped with a loop that was used in early Egyptian religions. It was associated with Maat, the Egyptian goddess of truth. The ankh can be seen in jewelry today and is still a symbol displayed by many people. Since ancient times in Europe, the representation of a human figure on a cross has been seen. This was originally a pagan symbol related to crop fertility, but was later seen in Christian crucifixes. The first use of a cross in Christianity is believed to be on a mid-5th century Vatican sarcophagus. Today both plain religious crosses and crucifixes are symbols with great meaning to those with Christian beliefs as they represent the manner in which Jesus Christ died. Crosses can be made of many different materials, including precious metals. They are often worn on chains around the neck as jewelry. They can also be displayed in the home in the form of wall plaques or statues. When you meet someone who is wearing or displaying a cross, you will know they treasure their Christianity. Other Christian religious symbols While the cross may be the most popular symbol of Christianity, there are other well-known Christian religious symbols. One that is often seen is the fish. Normally shown as a simple outline, it was originally a pagan symbol representing the Mother Goddess. Other ancient cultures, including the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Romans, the Scandinavians and the Greeks also used the fish to represent gods in their religions. The fish symbol was acknowledged in Christianity by the requirement of eating fish on Friday, a practice that was ended fairly recently. This tradition may have arisen from the early Greek worship of the fish goddess, Aphrodite Salacia. Her followers ate fish on Friday, her sacred day. Another source of the former Christian fish eating practice may have been the Scandinavian goddess Freya. Her name is the source of the present day name for the sixth day of the week, Friday and fish was eaten in her honor. Images of angels and saints are other significant Christian religious symbols. These symbols can be seen in paintings, sculptures and jewelry. Many people believe that angels and saints can have a positive influence on different aspects of their lives and may pray to them for assistance.

         
    Customs for yom kippur and the day of atonement

     

    The day before Yom Kippur, known as Erev Yom Kippur, is considered by all who celebrate it to be a quasi-festival day. As a festival, there are many traditions and customs which Jews practice. These customs are: To seek forgiveness and atone for any sins that they have committed against another. a. Visit or call family, friends, and any other they may have wronged to ask for forgiveness. Gossip about another would be something forgiveness would be asked for. b. Return stolen items. To give increased charity. Jews believe that increasing their charity will help to repeal evil decrees against them. Feasts are common on this day before fasting. The Kaparot ceremony, which is a very old and mystical custom. It was designed to make those participating feel that their lives are at stake. The symbolism of the ceremony includes sins crying out for atonement, good deeds being remembered, and charity and repentance saving all from sins. In its previous forms, a white chicken was used in the ceremony, but most communities today have substituted a white cloth for the foul. On this day before the holiday, a ritual bath is normally taken. The act of the mikvah (ritual bath) is said to symbolize a person’s rebirth. Men universally follow this tradition, while women have different customs concerning the mikvah. Confession, called the Viduy, is recited at the afternoon service, which is called mincha. This is found in the silent Amidah. Most wear white on Yom Kippur, as it symbolizes the angels and spiritual purity. Jewish men wear a kitel, which is a garment worn when married and when buried. Many of these customs are followed by Jews, even those that do not practice their faith on a regular basis. Yom Kippur and the quasi-festival the day before are quite important to those following the Jewish faith. Some say Yom Kippur is the most important of all the Jewish holidays. It is not uncommon for Jews to have large celebrations on Erev Yom Kippur.

         
     
         
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