Month: September 2014

How Do You Behave Towards Unbelievers?

Colossians 4:5-6 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col. 4:5-6(NIV)

How do you behave with and toward unbelievers? Do you like them? Do you hate them? Do you tolerate them? Are you concerned about their salvation? Do you act like them when you aren’t in Christian company? Do you snub them if they aren’t holy? Some Christians think that being kind to unbelievers is like throwing pearls before swine. Then there are Christians who stand on street corners, in malls, and in front of abortion clinics to witness to unbelievers. Others just don’t care one way or another. Where do you fit in? Do you share your faith using hugs or headlocks? Honey or a hammer? Or do you even share your faith at all?

Today I received this message
[Online Person] “Christ never even existed because there are no historians who mention Jesus – this is not surprising since all religions are fake. Go ahead and try to prove me wrong I want to laugh as you try to prove your fairy tale religion go ahead find a historian that mentions Jesus”

Response: Dear truth seeker, here is the information you were looking for; I am giving you just one of the historians

Tacitus the Roman historian and senator. Tacitus referred to Christ, his execution by Pontius Pilate and the existence of early Christians in Rome in his final work, Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44. Scholars generally consider Tacitus’s reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate to be both authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source. Eddy and Boyd state that it is now “firmly established” that Tacitus provides a non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus.

Dear believer, do not shy away from hard questions but rather follow this verse from 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”

Your Time IS Your Life

Many things in this world aren’t equal… As I thought about inequality, a list sprung up in my mind:

1. Wage inequality

2. Homelessness

3. Child poverty

4. Health insurance

5. Racial discrimination and Racial gaps in education

6. Incarceration

7. Gender inequality (and we can go on and on) …

Even though all these inequalities are real, God has given everyone the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In order to make time for what we truly want.

Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can invest your time to make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.
Because it is not enough to just say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing time in them. Words alone are worthless. But true love, shows itself in action.

Jesus spoke about this investment of time and treasure in Matthew 6:19-21. Jesus said,

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

That is why Jesus says in Matthew 16:26, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet they lose their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

So I asked myself, what am I investing my time in?

What about you? are you investing your time in everlasting treasures or are you investing your time in things that perish with time?

Dark Matter, Quantum Entanglement and The Theory Of Everything…

Many years ago Hawking [(and most theoretical physicists claimed that the discovery of the Higgs Boson) a.k.a. – god particle ] would lead to ” The Theory of Everything“.

These men were instantly turned into gods – because they claimed that they would be able to understand completely AND explain completely the vast mysteries of the universe.

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Well guess what? The Origin of the Universe remains a mystery, no one, and I mean NO ONE, has a clue as to what happened or how it happened or why it happened. All known Laws of Physics be they Quantum or Classical breakdown at 10 to the minus 43 seconds After the Big Bang [3 Planck Times ].

No one has any clue as to what such a Singularity could have been or how dense . No one knows what becomes of matter once drawn into a Black Hole, nor what THAT singularity is.

No one can explain Quantum Entanglement.

No one has any idea of why the Galaxies are running away at the ever increasing speeds, the farther they are the faster.

Because no one has found any answers, many scientist INFER, that it must be Dark Matter.

Dark Matter? you can ask what is it really? Well… no one knows what it may be (even though many people will try to use big words to explain it — no one knows what it is and those who claim to know are liars), and by the way, no one has detected it… we simply have no explanation. Dark Matter is pure speculation. In fact the discovery of the Higgs Boson created more questions than it answered… which in my opinion is a good thing!

Job 38:4-5 God ask’s a question to those who think they know — “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know!

Truth of the matter is, we DON’T KNOW and everything — from the genesis of this universe to time all remain a total mystery for us, subject to wild human mathematical speculation and imagination. It is our task however, to seek answers and it is this sense of wonder that leads most scientists (and truth seekers) to an enlightenment that there IS in fact a Superior Being – der Alte, the Old One, as Einstein affectionately called the Deity – a Superior Intelligence, the Lord of all Creation and Natural Law.

A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.”

After reading this… Now you all know as much as Hawking.

What’s really going on, in the going on’s of our daily life?

 

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While reading the book of Esther: I quickly discovered that (in this book) God never shows up… when compared to the other books of the Old Testament (His name is never mentioned). The entire narrative is filled with what I like to call “God shaped holes”. This is where you come to place in the story where you expect Gods name to be present… but it’s not. The reason why He (God) is not mentioned is because of the narrative style used in the book — I believe that the author is trying to teaching us or show us (in a different way) how God is at work when His name is not forefront and when He is apparently unseen.

In the other books of the Bible we can clearly see God’s hand in history i.e. the crossing of the Red sea, the fall of the wall of Jericho and many other dramatic instances when God intervenes

Yet for most of us in today’s post-modern world… most of us haven’t had a personal “crossing of the sea” in our lives, most of us have never experienced the “burning bush”… in reality, most of us are just going to class, or work, dropping off the kids… most of us are just sending emails or on facebook, most of us are on the train or bus, most of us are just trying to stay alive…

However, in that humdrum of our daily life activities … we are forced to do exactly what the Book of Esther ask’s us to do: We are forced to ask ourselves… “what’s really going on, in the going on’s of our daily life.”

So when you read the book of Esther you say, “what’s going on?” and at the very heart of your meditation you will realize that God’s providence (His divine guidance or care) is actively at work in these seemingly ordinary, mundane everyday things in life.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning beautifully writes about this insight in the “Seventh Book” of her epic poem Aurora Leigh (1856):

Earth is crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware….

burning-bush

The book of Esther is crammed with heaven, because it is crammed with Gods providence (God’s divine guidance and care).The hand of God is seen only by the faithful few in the mundane and ordinary circumstances of life. In the book of Esther, God’s  providence has linked together a course of events as simple and as natural as the mind can conceive yet as surprising as a bold romance.

When we read this book we can see and understand the fact that this world, our lives… everything around us is crammed with heaven; and more encouraging is that God’s providence is upon us, His divine guidance and care will sustain us.

Book-of-Esther-Feast-of-Purim

Esophageal Motility Disorders

A 57 year old man with a 30 year history of smoking presents with a difficulty of swallowing solid foods such as steak. This has been going on for 5 months now and it has progressed to where he is having difficulty swallowing liquids. The patient states that he has decreased appetite and a 9 lb weight loss in the past 3 months.  The patient denies reflux symptoms, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. Which is the likely cause of his symptoms?

  1. A. Peptic strictures
  2. Shatzki ring
  3. Zenkers diverticulum
  4. Achalasia
  5. Adenocarcinoma
  6. Squamous cell carcinoma
  7. Diffuse esophageal sphincter
  8. Hiatal Hernia
  9. Candida esophagitis

 

Achalasia: is a rare disease caused by the loss of ganglion cells within the esophageal myenteric plexus. The usual presenting age of the patient is between 25 and 60 years old. 

  • We know that excitatory (cholinergic) ganglionic neurons are variably affected and inhibitory (nitric oxide) ganglionic neurons are necessarily involved. 
    • What this means is that these affected ganglionic neurons mediate deglutitive lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxation and peristalsis. The absence leads to impaired deglutitive LES relaxation and absent peristalsis. 
    • There is increasing evidence suggesting that the ultimate cause of ganglion cell degeneration in achalasia is an autoimmune process attributable to latent infection with human herpes simplex virus combined with genetic susceptibility. 

Clinical manifestations include: dysphagia, regurgitation, chest, pain and weight loss. Most patients report solid and liquid food dysphagia. Regurgitation occurs when food, fluid, and secretions are retained in the dilated esophagus. Patients with advanced achalasia are at risk for bronchitis, pneumonia, or lung abscess from chronic regurgitation and aspiration (especially those with a history of alcohol abuse (EtOH), or any state of altered mental status. Chest pain is frequent early in the course of achalasia, and is thought to be from esophageal spasm not (DES). 

Achalasia is diagnosed with barium swallow x-ray and/or esophageal manometry, endoscopy has a relatively minor role other than ruling out pseudoachalsia. The barium swallow will give the classic “bird’s beak” like appearance due to the tapering of the LES. 

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Therapy: the only durable therapies for achalasia are pneumatic dilation and Heller myotomy. Pneumatic dilation, with a reported efficacy of 37-98% is an endoscopic technique using non-compliant, cylindrical balloon dilator positioned across the LES and inflated to a diameter of 3-4 cm. The major complication, however, is perforation (with a reported incidence of 1-5%). The most common surgical procedure for achalasia is laparoscopic Heller myotomy. 

If left untreated achalasia, esophageal dilation predisposes to stasis esophagitis. Prolonged stasis is likely the explanation for the association between achalasia and esophageal squamous cell cancer. 

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