“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10; it is this verse that is inscribed on the Liberty Bell).

I love the movie Braveheart.  When it was first released in 1995, my wife and I went to see it in the theater.  Afterwards, people asked me what I thought.  My standard reply was, “Well, except for the nudity, profanity, and gory violence—it was a great movie.”  And it is.  I do wince still at some scenes.  There are some parts of the movie that I wish were not there.  But all in all, I do love that film.  One reason is that it is about William Wallace, a Scottish national hero.  Being of Scottish descent I love all things Scottish.  (My maternal grandmother was a Crawford; on my father’s side there are Baileys and Fraziers—all transplants from the sod of Alba.)  But there is another reason.  The film portrays a man who was committed to seeing his own people live in freedom, completely delivered from tyranny and oppression.  The movie ends (spoiler alert) with Wallace being drawn and quartered for his war with the English.  As he dies, he cries out one resounding word—“FREEDOM!”  This is a powerful climax to a moving film.

Freedom.  The very word can evoke powerful emotions in anyone’s breast.  There is an innate longing deep within us that yearns to be free.  We abhor the very images of bondage, despotism and slavery.  Chains and shackles are the symbols of cruelty and subjugation.  We hunger for the opposite, for freedom.  We value it so highly that we think it is of greater worth than life itself.  We honor the noble women and men who have given their lives to possess freedom, and to purchase and maintain it for all of us.  Freedom is worth dying for.  It is worth fighting for.  It is worth living for. Continue reading

Who’s That Knocking At Your Door?

It was late afternoon when I arrived at my destination—a quiet, old cemetery on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.  I walked up a small hill to a stone pyramid about six feet high.  Each of the four sides had a carved image of an open book surmounted by a cross and crown.  Nearby was a headstone whose inscription read “Charles T. Russell…  The Laodicean Messenger.”  I had journeyed several hours just to see this grave of a man considered by many to be an end-time prophet of God. Continue reading

What About the Enneagram?

Question:  Someone has asked me about the Enneagram.  What can you tell me about this?  (T. in Virginia)

Answer:  The Enneagram is extremely popular right now.  Use of the Enneagram is found in the business world.  Psychologists use it in analyzing their patients.  New Age cults use it as an instrument for helping people to achieve spiritual enlightenment.  Christians are using it as a tool to understand themselves and others, and to guide them in their prayer life.  The possible uses of the Enneagram seem endless, according to its advocates. Continue reading

An Ordinary Supper

“Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.”
~ Blaise Pascal

One of the foibles of human nature (and tragedies of life) is how we can get used to almost anything.  Even the sacred.  Consider the Passover celebration.  This ceremonial meal celebrates one of the most extraordinary events in the history of not only Israel, but the world—the Exodus of Israel from Egypt.  By command of God, the Children of Israel observed the Passover each spring—the roasted lamb, the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs.  Year after year, the same ritual, the same four questions, the same menu.  All of it so familiar. Continue reading

Group Snapshot: Emin

Emin is a little known cult; however, it is very popular in certain circles.  We first became aware of the group due to its popularity in Israel.  Emin is a mixture of New Age beliefs and practices, and some traditional western occultism.  In addition to Israel, it is to be found in Europe and the U.S.

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