Blogs

The blogs are short articles, almost like a “sermonette” compared to a sermon. They are on a variety of topics, please enjoy.

“I am a worm”

Psalm 22:6 – Its incredible word picture

Psalm 22 is one of the profound Messianic prophecies, fulfilled by Yeshua (Jesus) in so many details, especially while he was being crucified.  Embedded in this breath-taking psalm is verse 6, which is loaded with truth that most of us read right over.  Or we misunderstand its true message.  A dear friend in WA state – Dean – reminded me of this verse and its deeper meaning -- when he remarked on it in a recent email.  What I’m about to write is not unique to me or us, as it has been known for centuries, but I hope it will be so meaningful to you who come to Light on the Rock.  Please pass this blog on to others if you find it rich in meaning.  And be sure to check our other blogs too.

Psalms 22:6-8 -- But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.   All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,  "He trusted in YHVH, let Him rescue Him;  Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!"  (NKJV; the KJV is almost identical).   

            Compare with Matthew 27:42-43.

The last part of that passage is clearly seen in the gospel accounts, but we don’t have a record of Yeshua saying he was but a worm.  He must have FELT that way and in any case, we are to learn something from that prophetic statement.   But it’s far more than that. This “worm” -- based on the original language – was no ordinary worm. 

The typical word for “worm” in Hebrew  was rimmah, meaning a maggot.  But that’s not the worm mentioned here. This worm was tola’at or tola in Hebrew (to-law’, phonetically), Strong’s# 8438.   It was translated 43 times usually as “worm, scarlet, crimson”.  Maybe you’re starting to think and realize this is no ordinary worm.  It was clearly associated with a bright red.  In fact, the word is often translated simply as scarlet or crimson – yes, the same word that is translated “worm” in other verses.  So be sure to learn why.

You are about to be amazed when the fuller picture of this worm is revealed; the “worm” Yeshua said HE was while being crucified on the tree or stake (1 Peter 2:24; Acts 5:30;  Acts 10:39; 13:29). 

Please click on “Continue reading” to get the rest of this amazing story and how this unique worm depicts the central message of the cross and the blessings of the blood of Christ for all of us.

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“But it’s in the Bible”….

(A lesson from Job’s friends)

If it’s in the Bible, is it necessarily a statement from God?  Or should we be extra careful to first find out WHO is speaking and where their inspiration is coming from? Could we be simply reading a quote from someone who may or may not be speaking under divine inspiration?

In other words, is everything we read in the Bible something God says is right?

I ask this question because so often people will quote this or that verse without context – and sometimes the source of the words is not a source we really want. Those words may be in the Bible to make certain points – but the words themselves may not be God speaking. God is writing it. God is giving it to us in his book, but not every sentence is God speaking.

A clear example of this is when the Serpent says to Eve “You will NOT surely die if you eat of the fruit of that tree” (Genesis 3:4-5).   But that is a direct contradiction of what Elohim the Almighty had said to Adam:  “for in the day you eat of it, you will surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).  OK, we all know that statement from Satan the Serpent is not inspired of God and yet it is in the Bible.  Yahweh has it there to show us to be on guard against statements from Satan that come from seemingly harmless sources. 

OK, that example in Genesis is easy to discern.

Remember one time Yeshua even said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan, for you are an offense to me…” (Matthew 16:23).  Peter had just said that Yeshua would not have to die (verses 21-22). Yeshua understood that was a temptation from Satan and so addressed the source of that thought directly – and yet it had been voiced from a top disciple!  So we have to be on guard to realize who is speaking and what is being said.

Let’s step this up a notch now.   How many people quote all kinds of verses from the book of Job without giving much thought about who is the one speaking.  Remember what God himself said to Job’s friends:

Job 42:7-8 “And so it was, after YHVH had spoken these words to Job, that YHVH said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.  8 Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has."

So God directly dismisses the words of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.  Interestingly God does not disparage the words of the youngest friend Elihu. 

Click on “Continue reading” to see how a shadowy figure who appeared to Eliphaz was his inspiration!  And it wasn’t God.

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Can we pray to Yeshua (Jesus)?

Yeshua taught us to pray “Our FATHER in heaven…”.   Does that mean we should limit our prayers to just God the Father? Is it alright to pray to Yeshua (or Jesus) as well?  While we’re at it, let’s ask: how about praying to the spirits of the deceased?  So many pray to Mary, or the apostles, or to a dead pope.  Is that OK? 

Most of the sabbath-keeping COG (Church of God) groups I know pray almost exclusively to God the Father.  Ditto for many Hebraic Roots groups and Messianics – though more of them do also pray to Yeshua.  So the prayers almost always start with “Father in heaven” or “Dear God…”.  My impression is that many of these groups do not, or would not be comfortable addressing their prayers to Jesus or Yeshua. On the other hand, my impression is that most Protestants pray to Jesus most of the time, or so it seems to me – but they also pray to God the Father.  Most prayers in Protestant groups would begin with “Lord…” or “Lord Jesus” or they may say “God” or “Father” as well. Catholics seem to pray often to Mary, who died almost 2000 years ago—and of course they pray to “God” or “Lord” as well. 

So what is right and wrong in this picture? What is “allowed” by scripture, which should be our guiding light in all matters scriptural? 

Click on “Continue reading” to get the scriptural answers.

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Can God’s will for us change?

Understanding God’s will in our livesDoes God’s will for us ever change?  Can He definitely be showing it’s HIS will to be someplace, or do something, or live somewhere – and then change that on us some years later?  Some people say “no – God changes not.  He’s the same today, yesterday and forever” – another way of saying the “God who is, and was and is to come”.  I get that.

But does our great Creator ever change his will for each of us in our daily lives? 

Click on “Continue reading” for the answer.  It might give you a lot to think about.

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What makes the New Commandment “New”?

John 13:34-35

  

Yeshua gave his disciples – including all of us – a “new” commandment.  Many of you know it.  But what made it “new”? 

The answer has everything to do with the Passover season.

John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

OK, so what’s so new about that?  A very similar commandment is given in Leviticus, and in fact part of that verse is what Yeshua summarized as the “second greatest commandment.”  (The first and greatest came from Deuteronomy 6:4 – to love Yahweh with all our heart, soul and strength”.  And here is where Yeshua got the 2nd greatest commandment, and on these 2 commands hang the entire Law and Prophets! See Mark 12:28-31

Here is the 2nd greatest command, worded similarly to John 13:34.

Leviticus 19:18

“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am YHVH”.

Later on, Yah tells Israel they are not to have any difference in justice and service between Gentiles and Israelites; all are to be treated the same.  Imagine if we would really practice this.

Leviticus 19:34

The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am YHVH your God”.

Then throughout the book of John’s gospel, and even in John’s epistle, the command to love one another is repeated over and over – sometimes with other points added to it. 

Back to my question:  since Lev 19:18 says we are to love one another as ourselves – what made Yeshua’s statement “a new commandment”? 

Click on “Continue reading” to find out what made our Savior’s statement new. 

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Would you wash Judas Iscariot’s feet?

Imagine going to your Passover service where there is a foot washing – and imagine with me for a second that you’ve all been paired up with the person you’ll be washing feet with.  And … imagine now… to your surprise, you’ve been paired up with the infamous Judas Iscariot, who sold and betrayed the son of God.  You have to wash his feet. 

How are you feeling right now? Will you lovingly and humbly wash Judas’ feet?  If not, why not? 

At his last Passover until the kingdom of God, Yeshua (Jesus) washed even Judas’ feet.  I’ve actually heard ministers deny this. But why? It’s so clear in Scripture that He did! And what does that mean to us today?  It’s definitely worth thinking about and learning from.

We get so focused on who’s “in” or who’s “out” of our particular fellowship and who we think has no business in there, that we forget this point.  Judas was the Greek form of his name. His Hebrew name was Yehudah or we would say Judah in English.  Judas represented how the Word came to His own tribe, Judah – “He came to His own, and His own did not receive him” (John 1:11).  They couldn’t have, because they didn’t recognize him or know who He was.  Several scriptures make that clear, so don’t be too hard on the Jews for rejecting him. You might be interested in my sermon (May 16, 2015) about why Jews find it so hard to accept Yeshua as the promised Messiah. There are reasons – and it will help you be more understanding of them.  

http://www.lightontherock.org/index.php/message/why-jews-reject-yeshua-jesus

Anyway, did you realize the Son of God washed his betrayer’s feet?  Let’s pick it up in the only gospel account that details the foot washing – John 13.  Surely the Son of God would have “picked up” the spirit of Satan working in Judas before the foot washing and afterwards.

John 13:2-4

“And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself”

– And then the details are given about the foot washing ordinance.

Right after washing all twelve disciples’ feet, the next thing Yeshua had on his mind was the presence of His betrayer (verses 18-19, 21-22).  He even quotes directly from Psalm 41:9 – stating that He was fulfilling the topic of Psalm 41.

Psalms 41:9

“Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted,

Who ate my bread,

Has lifted up his heel against me.”

Of course we know Yeshua handed a piece of Passover bread to Judas to identify him as the betrayer to a select few of the apostles.  Peter had asked John to ask Christ who would betray him.   

Note something else too:  the other disciples used the term “Lord” when asking Yeshua if they were going to be the betrayer (Matthew 26:22).  “Lord, is it I?”  But when Judas asked, he went with the lesser term “rabbi” (Teacher)—verse 25:  “Then Judas, who was betraying him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”  He said to him, “You have said it.”  

Click on “Continue reading” to learn what happens next and how all this applies to us.

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A NEW HEART, coming alive – by DAY 18

Its significance to Passover, Wavesheaf and the resurrection

  

As you all know, I’m pro-life. So are our God and Father and our Savior.  Yeshua came that we might have LIFE.  There’s a culture of death in much of the world today, and that is not of God.  This sermon is designed for THOUGHT – whether you keep Passover in March as some are doing, or in April, as most will do this year (2016).  Your decision is between you and your Maker and the most important thing of all is that we know we have a Savior who died on Passover day – and then had an empty tomb by the “first of the weeks” as it should be, and it was also the first of the week (what society calls Sunday, unfortunately).

I’ve noticed billboards here in FL that are targeted at young pregnant moms-to-be by having a picture of a fetus and the billboard that kindly says: by day 18 I have a beating heart”.  SO this new life in the mom’s womb is a new life with its own heartbeat by day 18.

That got me thinking.  Could this day 18 have any significance to the Passover death and then the resurrection of our Savior?  As I drove along the interstate, I started counting the days when Christ died and was resurrected and it was astonishing. I think it’s worth repeating to you.

I’ve written a blog before about how the holydays seem to coincide with the development of a pregnancy, a new life, if you will.  As we come to Passover season, I hope this gives some pause for thought.  I admit I’m not sure if there is a strong correlation, but I couldn’t help but wonder when I saw the bill board.  Let me know what you think! Or am I all wet in this blog? 

Day 14 of the Hebrew first month Abib (or Aviv) is Passover day.  ON this day, at 3 pm, the Lamb of God -- Yeshua – shed his life blood for you and me.  He was buried at the end of that day. He was put into the tomb (or “heart of the earth”) at the very end of Passover day as the sun was setting.  Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were rushing to have the burial/entombment done before the sun set and before the holyday of Passover week would begin. The Preparation Day for the “HIGH day”, an “annual sabbath” or holyday (not the regular weekly sabbath) was about to start (John 19:31, 42). 

Remember Hebrew days begin at sundown.  

Yeshua himself said that the one proof or sign that he was whom he said he was: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  (Matthew 12:40).

Click on “Continue Reading” to discover how the thought-provoking billboard in Florida has a connection or similarity with Christ’s resurrection! 

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Handling 2016’s Passover calendar issues

“What should I do?  Which expert should I follow?”  I’m hearing this question a lot lately, especially THIS year. 

You may or may not have heard of the huge recent decision by many who do not follow the rabbinic calendar to keep the Passover and Days of Unleavens (or Unleavened Bread) a whole month earlyTherefore, this year, many are planning to keep Passover day on March 24, and most of those will keep the bread/wine Passover service the evening of March 23.  And the first holyday of Unleavened Bread for these folks will be Friday, March 25.  Those on the rabbinic calendar will be keeping those days near the end of April on the appointed days.

This year, this discussion about keeping it a month earlier than the rest has nothing to do with the Equinox.  So don’t jump to that conclusion. It’s a different issue this year.

You know perhaps already about the debate that has raged for decades between the rabbinic orthodox Jewish calendar that most Jews follow, and most Church of God groups follow – and the one that goes by visual sighting of the new moon in Jerusalem.  Usually the latter group ends up keeping the holydays one or two days later than the first group.  But this year, there’s a whole MONTH difference between some of these groups.

What happened? Why the change?  In this blog I hope to simplify what’s happening and what your role is and how to help you feel about your decision

It boils down to this.  The first month was originally called the month of Abib (or Aviv) by God himself.  Nisan was the new Babylonian name they accepted years later.  If you check the context and find that Yahweh is the one speaking, you’ll see that HE himself calls it “the month of Abib”  (on your own time read Exodus 23:14-15;  Ex. 34:17-18;  Deut 16:1 –and notice if you go back, that it is Yahweh who is speaking). 

 When they Jews came back from Babylon, they had renamed some of the months by the pagan Babylonian names including the first month – to Nisan. And there’s the great new name Tammuz (ever hear of that name?), and so on.  But it was originally called Abib in the Bible.  

Abib refers to a stage in the first grains to be harvested – the lowly barley.  The first of the firstfruits of barley pictured the Messiah who would be raised (waved) to heaven to be “accepted in our behalf” (just as Christ did for us), as Leviticus 23:9-11.  Then the real barley harvest could begin.

Those who are keeping the Passover a month early will also be remembering Wavesheaf day on March 27, which coincidentally is also Easter Sunday, for whatever that is worth.  The fact that the first month is called Abib points to that stage of barley harvest when the barley is green but at a certain stage of being able to be harvested, dried and then eventually milled into very fine flour. I’m keeping the discussion basic.  There are many websites that go into far more depth. 

MY point is to figure out what to do about it and how to deal with one another because of all these differences of viewpoint.

Now – why are some keeping the Passover in March instead of April?  Click on “Continue reading” to get the overview and what you need to do about it. 

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“Do this in remembrance of ME”

Luke 22:19

  

Passover will be here soon.  In my last blog I wrote about “What are you focusing on as we come to Passover and the self-examination prior to it.” I hope you’ve read that.  Today let’s kick it up a notch. I consider this blog one of the most important ones I’ve written.

I want to bring to the forefront a concept that seems to be lost on some.  It seems at Passover – uh, among those who keep it – that there’s a strong focus and recounting on how it pictured Israel coming out of Egypt. I’ve done that too and will continue to with some changes that make all the difference!   And indeed in the book of Exodus Israel is commanded to review what happened in Egypt at each year’s Passover season.

But where is our FOCUS in 2016?  Where should it be today?  On Egypt, the death of the firstborn, and coming out of Egypt?  Or is there more, much more now that we have that they didn’t have back then?  You won't hear this message in many circles today – sadly.

Let’s remember that all of what happened in the book of Exodus pointed to Someone and something!  The Passover Lamb pictured Someone.  The blood of the Passover lamb pictured Someone’s blood.  So did the death of the firstborn. The lintel and doorpost of the Israelite homes also depicted something.  And so did the Exodus and crossing the Red Sea.

We’re in the New Covenant now.  When we conduct a Passover nowadays, should the thrust of our conversation and the bulk of the time we spend in our sermons and our sermonettes all be on the Old Testament story of coming out of Egypt – or is there something and Someone far grander now?  Where should our TIME and our mental focus be spent today? 

Here’s what I’m getting at…. Please click on “Continue reading” to get the whole story of where our thrust should be today and to be sure your focus is right.

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Where’s your focus pre-Passover?

Passover will be here before we know it. Prior to Passover, we are told in 2 Cor. 13:5 to examine ourselves, to see whether we are in the faith.  This verse and teaching has led to much depression, frankly – as so many look inwardly at themselves, and then see all kinds of no-growth, or sin that still exists in their lives and then they feel so unworthy of taking the Passover.  And we know what it says in 1 Corinthians 11 – that we must beware lest we take the Passover unworthily or in an unworthy manner. 

So I have a question for us all this season, this year:  as you examine yourself, where do you focus? On yourself, or elsewhere? Is the examination intended to depress – or refocus our attention and focus?  So let’s read the context and the verse after 2 Cor. 13:5 and I think we’ll feel and see a different energy from this passage. I pray many of you will find encouragement and inspiration from this blog to see a positive outcome of growth and fruit at the end of all this.

But first, let me remind you that 1 Corinthians 11:27 – that says we must take the Passover in a worthy manner – also says this in the next verse:

1 Corinthians 11:27-28

“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.”  

The thrust is – TAKE the Passover. But examine yourself first.  But as you examine yourself, you’re looking to Christ and realize HE is your salvation.  You don’t examine yourself and then decide NOT to take the Passover. That’s NOT the thrust of scripture. But of course neither are we to come to Passover all nonchalant and without a lot of forethought. 

He goes on to say in verses 29-32 that even if we are judged by the Lord, it’s for our good, it’s for chastening, “that we may not be condemned with the world.”  You see the point of all this?  It’s to get us to wake up but also to understand GOD has made a commitment to us to see us through to the end. He who began a good work in you will FINISH that work –Philippians 1:6.  No one will be lost from the Master’s hand.  Remember Christ is called the “Finisher” of our faith, not just the author or beginner of it (Hebrews 12:2). 

So what’s the key to having the right mindset for Passover?  ON what are you focusing?  Where is your focus?  Click on “Continue reading” to see the key. 

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Do it now – while you can

How suddenly our lives can be turned upside down.  We’re aware of the big stuff:  A fatal car accident. A heart attack out of nowhere.  A stroke.  Even suicide.  Our own lives were smashed hard this week with news of a death of a beloved young man in the expanded family.  Someone I knew  - but didn’t really know well, but his untimely death has left me feeling very numb.

Sometimes our lives can be turned around for good – or for disaster – sometimes simply because you, or someone, does something, or says something.  Our words and actions can heal or destroy. I’ve certainly done my share of both. No doubt we all have.

Think of the loved ones you have in your family.  Then broaden it out to your friends and neighbors.  Is there anything  you can say or do to each one that just might turn their day around?  We all know how words can make or break a day—or even a life.

The other day I took the time to tell one of the back-office ladies at our firm how much we all appreciated her behind-the-scenes work. My note was detailed.  She immediately emailed me back stating how touching that was.  My little off-the-cuff note made her day.  It brightened her week.  She had no idea so many of us felt that way, as I had stated.  That note, which took me probably three minutes to write, could have changed her life.

On the other hand, with my lips and tongue I have also wounded fragile hearts at times in my life. I don’t want to do that anymore.  “Let your words be seasoned with grace”, the Apostle Paul was inspired to write.

How many suicides might be averted if someone, anyone, would have taken the time to call and say, “Hey, I was just thinking about you and…” – take it from there.  When you’re down and depressed, to have a loving and friendly unexpected call from someone could save your life. “Wow, someone actually cares.  Someone actually thought of me”.

I really feel too many of us are getting away from the knack of just being there, being a friend. The hand on the shoulder when times are rough. Just listening – face to face.  And telling someone how nice they are, or how something they did or said has changed lives. It’s especially wonderful when we can trace the nice things someone has said or done to their relationship with Christ.

Click on “Continue reading” to learn about a little note I’m so glad I wrote to my dad.

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Are you “a member of your church” or…?

Are you instead “in Christ”?
 

When you talk with people, sooner or later they might mention the church they belong to. And others describe certain ones as being “a church member” or a “parishioner”.  So people say “I’m a church member of …” or “I’m an Anglican” or “I’m a Catholic” and “I belong to the (denomination) church”.   Some denominations even give you membership cards – and in one case I know, you even have to display that membership card to get into the building where they worship.  Of course you have to be a member of that denomination or you’re not getting in.  I find that appalling.

I gave a recent sermon about being a new creation in Christ, based on 2 Cor. 5:17

What’s the problem with saying you’re a “church member”? Are some groups focusing too much on church membership in their fellowship, their group, their church? 

Click on “Continue reading” to see a better and more Biblical way.

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Finding the topics you need on this site

I suspect many who visit this site have no idea of how many sermons and blogs we have available on this site. Be watching for much, much more new material and updated material we’ll be launching in the next 2-3 months especially. Passover is coming up and so use the helpful materials we do have. Certainly a lot is happening out there and we need to address some prophecy topics also.

Question: would any of you wish to volunteer to help me with research, scriptures, ideas, formulating topics? I could use the help. If you’re willing, I’d give you a topic I’m starting and just ask if you could piece together some thoughts of your own (hopefully led by God’s Spirit) that we could use in a full-fledged blog or sermon. Perhaps we’ll use portions of what you send in. Or – maybe not. I reserve the right as editor to edit, accept or reject submitted work – or use it later. Don’t be offended if I don’t publish yours right away – if ever. You know what? Most of what I myself write, for my own website, gets rejected or postponed. By me!   Seriously.

And I MUST mention how much we appreciate our webmaster and designer Scott Doucet and his wife, who have poured hundreds of hours into this website. Couldn’t do it without them!

But anyway, there’s a lot of material on here. You could be missing the topics and sermons you would love to hear but just didn’t know we had them on this site! Three MAIN ways to search for topics:

  • Use the “search by year” feature you’ll find on the home page in that gray bar that says “Filter media by”.   Go to the year option and just go back to 2004, 2005 and so on -- and read the titles of the sermons way back there. Pick one you wish to hear or read, and bingo – you’re there. Some of my favorite sermons were some of the first ones. Spiritual material is timeless. There’s no “use by” date on them, or shelf-life date! By searching by year, you will see topics you may not have even thought of looking into in the first place.
  • On the Home page, click on “Messages and Transcript Series”, click on one of general topics listed there and a whole host of sermons under that topic will flip down for your enjoyment and edification.   We do need to update this with sermons from last summer onwards, but there’s still a lot there.
  • Use the SEARCH bar

We have blogs on hundreds of topics, so just scroll through the blogs for a few minutes to digest some of the issues we have tackled.

Do you have topics you’d like us to cover? Let me know. I won’t bug you if you write, email or call me. Neither will I ask you for any money. (On the other hand, I sure have appreciated the handful of people who from time to time have donated to help us stay online and to help support 25 orphans and their adoptive pastor-father and adoptive mom in Kenya. I do share financial needs with those 4-5 special souls.)

So don’t be afraid to email or write me or call me with topics you’d like to see us address. Besides that, I’m human too, and appreciate hearing from those of you who occasionally share an encouraging word. I know people from over 50 countries come on this website each month, and we have thousands of “unique persons” who come, and many thousands and thousands of hits each month. We’re tiny – just really a 2 person work (Scott and myself) but we also know we’re impacting some lives here and there. Thank you for coming here and I’m glad we’ve been of some help to some of you. I’d love to hear from some of you around the world. So often when I’ve been tempted to quit working this website, I get an email from someone I’ve never heard of somewhere in the world –and they encourage me to keep going. Maybe its God’s way of telling me that most people will never say a word, but the work we’re doing is doing some good to a soul here and there.

With Passover coming up, start looking for sermons given from Feb-March-April in previous years and see what you find. We’ll have some more material coming soon. We’ll also re-do some of the sermons from 2004 to the present from time to time. I’m also going to TRY to shorten the messages to 45-50 minutes going forward. I realize people’s attention span is not so great anymore.

So thank you for visiting us. If you’re praying for me and our website and our work we do -- - thank you so much. Your prayers make a lot of difference.

Please tell your friends about our website if it has blessed you. And pray for Yahweh – our dear Abba Father in heaven and our Savior Yeshua – to inspire us and lead us. We need all the help he can give us! Thank you for your prayers.

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Are you a modern-day Jonah?

Pray for your country to repent.

I’ve written and spoken on this before and it bears repeating: DON’T be a modern day “Jonah”.   I think unwittingly that many of us can – at least at times—be a Jonah out there.

Sometimes we have such a strong sense that God has had it with this present evil world and is SO ready bring to send back our King of Kings—that we can end up being like Jonah. What’s that mean? It means sometimes I see some believers ready to almost wish for God to just blast this planet in his righteous anger and of course wipe out all unbelievers in the process. Have you ever thought like that, honestly? If so, that’s just like Jonah felt towards Nineveh.

Jonah preached a “warning message” to the ancient wicked Assyrian huge city-state of Nineveh, in modern day Iraq. He assured them that their doom and their last days on earth were imminent due to their monstrous sins. But he really didn’t want -- or expect – such sinful people to repent. Neither did he ever suppose they could. God had spoken, and in 40 days he expected to personally witness a divinely originated destruction of the city perhaps similar to what happened to Sodom and the 5 cities of the plain.

Just as Jonah had specific things to say to Nineveh, you and I know there are very dire prophecies for the last days before Christ’s return.

But is it too late for our people, our nation or even other Gentile nations, to repent? If enough righteous people could be found in the land, might we see Yahweh willing to change the course of prophecy? After all, even for Sodom, had there been but 10 righteous people, Yah said he would spare that wicked city full of every vice imaginable, way beyond what we normally think of Sodom. The story is told in Genesis 18. But please also read Ezekiel 16:48-50 for a more complete list of Sodom’s sins. It went way beyond sodomy. It included pride, idleness, not caring for the poor, haughtiness and committing all kinds of abominations. Sounds just like today, right?

But even with just 10 righteous, Sodom would have been spared. Just ten. I think Abraham – who was petitioning God (even if indirectly) for Sodom – thought Lot and his family would easily add up to the ten people he needed (Lot, his wife, 2 unmarried daughters, three other married daughters and their husbands). And we haven’t even started with any of Lot’s servants and shepherds. In other words, just as God wouldn’t require the entire city of Sodom to repent to spare the city, we wouldn’t need the entire nation to become righteous for God to possibly change the course of HIS own prophecies. God will do what God will do. God had spoken about Nineveh and yet—GOD changed his mind!   We know our great God is a merciful Being who does not delight in the death even of the wicked. So don’t assume He can’t change his mind again. God will do what God will do. And he reserves the right to change what He was going to do when people – righteous or wicked – change, as you shall see.

Jonah chapter 4 tells the story of how in Nineveh’s case, apparently the vast majority, maybe everyone, fasted and turned from their evil way to such a degree that God did in fact change His mind.

As far as I can tell, those people didn’t have God’s instruction or teaching, or any of Yah’s scriptures. And apparently Jonah was in no mood to teach or help these same people whose descendants would come years later and brutally carry off the House of Israel into captivity (the Assyrian conquest of 721-718 BC). So how much changing could these people of Nineveh actually do? But apparently they changed enough, and their heart and intent changed enough, that Yahweh did not wipe them out at that time.

SO what did Jonah do – and what did he omit doing – that marked his style? These are written down for OUR admonition. Could you and I be doing “a Jonah” right now, today? Beware how we view the people of this world – if your view makes you a “Jonah”.

Please click on “Continue reading” to be sure you’re not a Jonah. Discover the hallmarks of a modern-day Jonah.

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Don’t miss that wonderful word!

Satan kept it out.

 

There’s one wonderful word about the Son of God – and you, also as a Son or Daughter of God – that Satan would like to purge from your consciousness.  Do you know what that word is?  There are probably lots of words he wants us to never think about, but this one is extra special. 

Don’t you often wonder how our Holy, holy, holy Father can love us after all the times and ways we fall short and outright sin from time to time?  If you’re like me, though I’ve preached often on his grace, mercy and forgiveness and acceptance back upon repentance – it still comes up, doesn’t it, that we simply fall short of his glory. 

When Yeshua (Jesus) was about to start his earthly ministry, he was baptized – immersed -- in the Jordan River by John.  Biblical baptism is by immersion of the whole body – not just having a few droplets of water sprinkled on you.  Anyway, as Yeshua came up out of the water, he heard a voice.  Do you remember what He heard:  “This is my BELOVED son, in whom I am WELL pleased” (Matthew 3:17). 

OK, OK, we can accept Yeshua certainly could be the beloved son because he always perfectly did His Father’s will.  But table that for a second and just remember that was the complete sentence – that he was a beloved son and well pleasing to his heavenly Father.

Right after that he headed to the wilderness to be tested by the Devil (which means “Accuser”).  That’s in Matthew 4. 

After fasting 40 days and nights, Yeshua was famished.  Satan (“Adversary”) comes to him and sneers “IF you are the son of God, command these stones to become bread” (Matthew 4:1-3). 

Not only did he try to put doubt into our Master’s mind by starting the question with “if”—but he left something out.  Click on “Continue reading” to discover that missing word and how it relates to you and me and the doubts we sometimes have.

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Would you like to be “SAINT”?

Here’s how!

Steps have been taken in the Roman Catholic Church to make Mother Teresa a saint.  I’m not Catholic, but she IS widely regarded as a wonderful lady who did a lot of good in her work with the poor and orphans.  There are over 10,000 recognized “saints” in the Roman church.  There are patron saints for just about everything – including patron saints for the internet, for travelers, even of patron saint of dysentery.  It almost gets ridiculous.

Now, how would YOU like to be saint?  You might be in for a surprise… so keep reading.  Do you think YOU could ever be a saint?  Don’t laugh. What if I said you already are a saint in God’s eyes?  Really. Maybe your family and friends would never call you “Saint So-and-so”, but maybe you are in God’s eyes. Don’t forget that the Messiah himself said it’s hard even for a true prophet to be honored and respected in his own country and among his or her own family, friends and those who know him or her (Matthew 13:57). 

Let’s start with the traditional way one becomes a recognized saint in the Catholic Church  and then compare that to what Scripture says. You might be amazed. 

In the Roman church, there are protocols and steps required before a man or woman can be recognized as a “saint” – so the idea that an everyday man or woman, maybe that even you or I could be a saint, sounds farfetched to many.  In the Roman church, the process has evolved quite a bit.  In the past, even well-known saint’s lives were sometimes based on legend and folklore.  In 13th century rural France, when St. Guinefort saved his master’s baby from snakebite, he was made a saint.  St Guinefort was a dog.  Well, they’ve stopped venerating dogs and folk heroes now, I think. 

The process of becoming a saint has become a bit easier in the Roman church, so on May 12, 2013 for example, the Catholic Church recognized another 802 saints.  Eight hundred of them were residents of a city in southern Italy who were killed for refusing to convert to Islam when their town was besieged by the Ottoman Turks in 1480. 

The usual process to sainthood involves several steps. This is just a quick overview.

  • Normally one has to wait at least 5 years after the potential saint’s death.  Then that potential saint’s pastor submits a proposal to the bishop.
  • Once the person is accepted by the bishop for consideration, he/she is called “a servant of God”.
  • Then the Vatican has to determine this “Servant of God’ has lived a life of heroic virtue, at which point that person is labeled “Venerable”.  They define “heroic virtue” as someone who makes a continuous effort to be better than they were before;  they are seen as someone growing in holiness.
  • It’s best if at least one miracle can be attributed to the Venerable candidate.  This person’s cause is presented to the Pope who determines if he/she is worthy of being called BLESSED.  This step is also called the Beatification.  We’re almost there….
  • If they can find another miracle, this Blessed person’s case comes once more to the Pope for judgment. If the Pope is convinced the evidence is real – the canonization process is started and – if all goes as hoped for – we have another “saint”. 
  • In the Roman church, someone – a human – has to nominate you.  But no, God the Father himself chooses you to become one of his saints (John 6:44) and among His firstfruits. 

There’s more – that has to do with the body and the blood of the dead candidate for sainthood.  And normally, the person will have had to live a very morally clean and holy life.  I would be surprised if people who had once been “low lifes” and then changed  -- would be venerated or allowed to be official saints.  

But now - - where in the Bible can these steps – and more – be found?  Where in God’s word do we have the “rules” for sainthood that sound like what I’ve just described?  You won’t be able to find anything like this in scripture. 

Are YOU a saint?  Can you become one?  Click on “continue reading” to the right, to see what Scripture has to say about this.

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Are brighter days ahead for believers?

Where is your focus?

There’s a lot to be serious about, even scared about, even terrorized about – in recent news. A lot.  And we know that sometime in the near future we will be in the midst of the “worst time of trouble the world has ever seen”.  So maybe the title of this blog seems silly to some of you.  I hope not.  It could be one of the most important reads you do all year. 

Matthew 24:21-22
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.”

When we look at the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, of modern day ISIS butchery and torture, of the slave camps of Nazi Germany against so many millions of Jews, Poles, gypsies, and so many others… what’s coming ahead is far, far worse. And we’re here in these end times. 

We have terrorism on the rise – all around the world. I receive news updates that describe in horrifying detail what is happening to innocent people.  Children and young girls are being sold into slavery.  Others are buried alive in front of their parents.  Unspeakable horror is going on in so much of the world.  On top of all that, we see immorality, vice, demonism, interest in the occult, violence, falsehood, disrespect, murders and thefts – often all done in the name of what is good.  Evil has been released in a way we’ve never seen before in our lifetime. 

If that’s not enough, we see more and more wars plus rumors of even more wars about to begin.  Our national leaders seem incapable of reversing the careening decline of everything good – and in fact they often seem to be leading the world into ever more debauchery, violence and evil.  Even the weather seems to be upset. Floods over here and drought over there. Hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, droughts and famines, earthquakes of giant proportions – and the list is endless.

So what’s there to feel “bright” about?

Pastors and teachers of the Word – and of prophecy – can cause a result in God’s children that we don’t really want. We should not be leaving ourselves or others with a feeling of doom and gloom as we speak of the years ahead.  If I left it with what I’ve just written, I myself would be guilty of that very thing. But we must not leave it with the doom and gloom whose crescendo is becoming ever louder for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.  We must look beyond the horrors still ahead of us. Yes, there is a brighter tomorrow.

I myself will speak more and more about what is starting to happen and will continue to grow ever worse as prophecies are fulfilled in rapid succession in the next decade or two.  But again, a good teacher also will keep us focused on the end game, on the how the story ends. 

What I find so concerning is that so many of God’s children seem more interested in the latest Star Wars movie, or the latest hit song or new gadget or awesome app for their I-phone than they are in the things of God. I hope you’re not one of those.   It’s like they’re in la-la land, unaware of how the stage is being set for the final scenes in this horror show called “the last days”. 

But in all of the bad news out there, what is it that we must never ever forget?  THAT is what will keep our faith, hope and love alive. It is the key to getting through the tough times coming very, very soon.  And remember, for millions, the “tough times” are already here.  We had relatively few people killed in San Bernardino and the whole nation – rightfully – fell into shock.  More were blown away in Paris, and Beirut and other cities around the world. 

But don’t forget, mass killings and bombings like that happen with shocking regularity in places like Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and so many other countries. “Over there” it’s not uncommon to hear of a marketplace being bombed or attacked and dozens and dozens blown apart.  Those are also real people with real families.  And then it happens again a few days later in the same country, and then again and again and again. 

So “the tough times” are already here for much of the world. We here in America and the western world will see more of these horrific scenes happening in our own neighborhood in the days and years to come. Partly because it’s prophesied to happen – and partly due to our own country’s crazy political decisions and inaction on things that really matter.

WHAT is the key that we must never forget in all of this? What will keep us upbeat and sane and hopeful?  What and where are the “bright days ahead” that I speak of?

            Click on “Continue reading” to get the answer.

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Can we really put Christ back into Christmas?

Would Christ want that? Would YOU really want that?  

During this time of the year it is not unusual to see Facebook postings urging us all to put Christ back into Christmas, and to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy holidays”. We’re reminded that “Jesus is the reason for the season”. I’m sure you’ve seen those.

I love my Savior. I love the story of his birth that is given in two of the gospel accounts, though two other gospels don’t mention his birth at all. Were you aware of that? But what I don’t like, and will have no part in, is proclaiming our Savior’s birth and Christmas are synonymous. They’re not. Nor is this just a little thing. Either Christ always was in Christmas or he wasn’t. If he wasn’t, then associating a pagan-originated celebration with our holy Savior – is simply a lie. And remember: Christ said to worship in spirit and TRUTH.

Any of you who have come to our website for any length of time know we have proven that our Savior was born in the autumn, certainly nowhere near December 25. We also know beyond any doubt that Dec 25 was a well-established day of celebrating the returning sun after the winter solstice. In fact many religions celebrated it also as the day of birth of their own pagan god – but not the son of God. That’s for sure. Just do your own searches. Start with a Google search of “Pagan origins of Christmas” and see what you find.

I’ve discussed these things in previous sermons. Just write “Christmas” into the search bar of this site and my teachings and blogs will pop up.

The truth is, Yeshua’s (Jesus’) actual birth had nothing to do with Saturnalia or Christmas celebrations. Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly when it is, though we know it was in the Fall. Some identify it with the Feast of Trumpets or the Feast of Tabernacles – both falling in our Sept-October. I have a sermon about the true story of the Messiah’s birth. And a blog about the likely SPOT where he was born. The links to those are listed at the end of this blog.

Our Savior, Yeshua the Messiah, or you probably call him by his Greek name Jesus Christ, was never in the pagan winter Saturnalia celebrations. And of course he wouldn’t be. Of course he would hate associating his name with that. Our God condemns pagan holidays and commands his children to have nothing to do with them. It is not OK to paste God’s name on to those pagan-rooted celebrations. In fact, as we’ll see, Yah can get angry at that.

So how does God see it?

Deuteronomy 12:1-4

"These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which YHVH God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.”

Deuteronomy 12:29-32

"When YHVH your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

"Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”

Deuteronomy 18:9

“When you come into the land which YHVH your Elohim (God) is giving you, you shall NOT learn to follow the abominations of those nations.

Here, Yahweh describes an idol, but it can also sure sound like a Christmas tree.

Jeremiah 10:2-4

Thus says YHVH:

"Do NOT learn the way of the Gentiles;

Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,

For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.

For the customs of the peoples are futile;

For one cuts a tree from the forest,

The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.

They decorate it with silver and gold;

They fasten it with nails and hammers

So that it will not topple.

So what do our “Christian” nations do? We label the days of the week and the months of the year and the names of the planets after pagan gods and goddesses! And then we copied their pagan celebrations, put God’s name on them and pronounced them Christian!

Folks, Yah really does despise having HIS holy name be attached to the Saturnalia, cloaked now in “Christian” garb. It makes it WORSE to put his holy name on to pagan celebrations and revelries he tells us to have nothing to do with – regardless of how beautiful the songs are (and they do have lovely melodies), no matter how colorful and beautiful the Christmas trees are, regardless if we’re singing songs to HIM – in a pagan-based celebrations – it all just becomes more repulsive to our King. I assure you of that. God says he hates it.

Do you remember the story of the gold calf in the Wilderness (see Exodus 32)? Aaron, brother of Moses and High Priest of Israel, made that awful sinful conclusion of thinking if he could just put God’s name on to a pagan worship celebration, maybe doing so would make it alright. It doesn’t. It didn’t. Aaron almost lost his life over it and in fact 3,000 people did die due to the gold calf sin.

Click on “Continue reading” to read what it says in Exodus 32 and why we CANNOT put Christ “back” into Christmas.

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When GOD is mocked…. Look out!

In the aftermath of the San Bernardino Islamic terrorist attack, some called for prayers for those families who had suffered a death or a wounded family member. I hope you yourself spent some time praying for their healing/ comfort and ability to move on.   My wife and I lost an infant son 33 years ago this month, and I can only imagine how painful it must be to lose an adult young son or daughter – or husband or wife. It would have to be worse than what we went through, which was incredibly painful also.

But no sooner had Republicans like Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, tweeted out their prayers were with the victims and families when a liberal NY newspaper – the Daily News -- headlined: “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS”.

It’s a sad, sad day when people who call on God are mocked by the press and the liberal left. This country was indeed founded on the Bible. Our dollar bill has stamped on it “In God we trust.”   References to God and his word abound all over our public buildings, and one by one, groups who hate God or anything to do with God are doing all in their power to make this country an ever more godless nation. At the forefront of this effort are the liberal media and groups like “Freedom from Religion Foundation.”

Wake up, America. Don’t sit back idly by. Resist those who wish to make you part of a godless nation. I know, I know – prophecy says the whole world is headed downhill fast in the final years before Christ’s return. But I still think God would be pleased to see that some of us don’t just slide merrily down the godless slope without some resistance.

We certainly have gone downhill rapidly. I feel we become more nationally impotent in direct relation to the degree we boot God out of our classrooms, our public life, our universities, our congress and Supreme Court – and pass laws or legal decisions that go against everything we read in God’s word. For example, we know how evil Roe v Wade has been as violence of the worst kind is perpetrated against millions of innocent, defenseless unborn babies. Maybe you’re feeling it yourself: it’s not even shocking anymore to hear or talk about unborn babies being killed or ripped out of their mother’s womb – by the hundreds of thousands each year in the USA alone!

Prayer has been kicked out of the classroom. Prayer and believing in God is mocked in universities.

But what about it? To those of you who come to this site, nothing beats communing with a very real Creator. And DO pray for the victims and their families. I believe Yah is moved when he sees his children moved by the violence and terrorism around us. That’s the whole lesson of Ezekiel 9. Yahweh actually orders a mark of protection put on those who “sigh and cry for the abominations in the land.” We MUST feel the hurt others are going through and lift them up in prayer to God.

Prayer in fact leads us to our biggest source of protection, comfort, peace… and yes, it works. Never doubt it. The days are coming when we could witness thousands falling on one side but we are spared – because there is a living God. See Psalm 91 to understand what I’m talking about. On the other hand, if God decides to let us die or suffer, we true believers will do so without slipping in our faith in Him.

As for the editors and writers of Daily News? God is not mocked. Though he is very merciful, there are instances in the scriptures where God intervened mightily against those mocking him. One example was when Assyrian King Sennacherib proclaimed, as he was attacking Judah, how he had destroyed all the nations who stood up to him and that their gods were useless -- and Israel’s God would also be useless. But then --WHAM! God struck him in a huge way. You can read the story in 2 Kings 18 and 19. Note especially 2 Kings 18:28-35 and note the words of the Assyrian spokesman Rabshakeh. Verses 34 -35—“Where are the gods of” – this and that place, and he mocks Hezekiah and the Jews relying on Yahweh.

Well, Hezekiah prays – yes, prays – and receives a response through Isaiah the prophet – but not before he got another threatening letter from the Assyrians.

Click on “Continue reading” to the right to see what Judah’s king does, and what God does in response.

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Watch ye therefore….” but WHAT are we to watch?

Mark 13:35

For many years, many have been taught – as many scriptures were quoted to support this notion – that we are to “watch” so that we’re not caught off guard by the coming of our King.  Our King  and Lord says to watch, as he is coming as a thief in the night – unexpectedly.  So many have assumed this meant we must watch the news by the hour – especially events in the Middle East – and to know what’s going on “out there”, and be up on all the ins and outs of world politics.  Certainly Yeshua (Jesus) himself said “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies…” – and other events – that those in Jerusalem will have to flee without hesitation (Luke 21:20-24).  So yes, there is some degree of watching the news that is included in the “watch ye therefore” commands

But is watching the news -- world events -- the main meaning behind the many verses reminding us to “watch”?  Let me ask you this:  even if we spent every waking minute watching the news, do any of us really believe that we’re discovering what’s really happening behind closed doors, or – is the news in fact being manipulated much of the time so we hear what “newsmakers” want us to hear? 

Some of you believe you’re “watching” and staying abreast of world events by watching Fox News, or OneAmerica Network, CNN, or Drudge, or listening to Rush Limbaugh, or Jones or listening to endless radio talk shows.  I contend that is NOT the main intent of the admonition to “watch”. 

I submit to you that many dark and deep discussions are going on that never get reported! So even if you and I were to spend our lives “watching the news”, we will miss the most important and most secretive BIG news going on.  

So what did Yeshua (Jesus) mean when he told us to WATCH? 

There are several Greek words used that are all translated into our one English word “watch”.  For example, sometimes the word refers to one of the four Roman “watches”– or time periods – in the night (Jews had 3 “watches” in a night) – Mark 13:35.  Other times it meant to stay awake. The Greek word agrupneo, according to Vine’s, referred to someone wide awake and focused intently on something – as in Mark 13:33—“take heed, watch (agrupneo) and pray…”  Be focused intently on the imminence of our Lord’s return.  In Ephesians 6:18 the same word is actually translated “stay alert” in some versions.   The KJV says “watching therefore with all perseverance”. 

Ephesians 6:18 NKJV
“With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert (agrupneo) in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”

So we’re seeing the focus of that Greek word is telling us not to get distracted – but to keep a focus on active prayer and praying, “stay alert in this with all perseverance…” 

So how are we doing so far?  Surely we can admit we can pray more in a focused way.

There’s so much more about Greek words translated “watch”.  Click on Continue Reading to the right to learn about the MAIN word used and what it teaches us.

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