Saturday, May 29, 2010

Author's Corner: "Barriers" by Mid Stutsman

Mid Stutsman is a writer of poetry, stories, an author of books and an artist who does cover art, portraits and still life. She recovered from a path of self-destruction through the love, forgiveness and mercy of the Lord.

“When God turned my life around, my desire to create returned, and I've been blessed over and above my expectations! Now, I write to glorify the Lord and reveal His Truth to as many as I can.”

Although Mid and I are only “Internet friends,” we have so much in common. We’ve both participated in Theatre Arts and love movie versions of Jane Austen books. But most of all, we share the love of our Ultimate Friend—Jesus Christ—and we both have a heart for Israel and the Jewish people.

We’ve each written a book on the topic of relating Christians, Jews and Israel. Mine, a non-fiction (see right hand column, What Every Christian Should Know about the Jewish People) and Mid’s, Barriers, a suspense fiction.

Barriers is a controversial suspense/love story set in Israel. It follows a woman, Anne, who makes “Aliyah” (a journey back) to the Promised Land. The sequence of events weaves Arab, Jewish, and Christian characters and concerns into a compelling novel. It will impact your view of Jewish people and Arabs, and change your perspective on the conflict in the Middle East.

All the while, throughout the book, Mid gently conveys the elements of faith in God and His promise to those who believe in Him.

Never before has there been such a great need for Christians to understand Israel, the feelings of the Jewish people, and the spiritual battle in the Middle East. Mid does a great job explaining these issues at one of her websites, The Israel Connection: Understanding Israel in the context of these last days/God's End Times economy. You will find:
  • News and truths about Israel
  • Exploring Islam
  • Unveiling Israel/MidEast Prophecies
Mid has 12 children (two more in Heaven) and 10 grandchildren! She lives with her husband, Fred, in Indiana. Her full astonishing story, plus a myriad of her poetry, ponderings and posts can be found at Mids’ Point, where she often puts out little gems of thought like this: 
“When it comes to Love, there is only One who is an expert...the rest of us are just learning.”

Barriers is available through WestBow Press or can currently be purchased at, where you can have a peek inside, and other online booksellers.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Da Vinci Probe: What did Da Vinci really know about the Last Supper?

What makes everyone think Leonardo Da Vinci uncovered some big Christian secret?

Author Dan Brown's blockbuster 2003 book, The Da Vinci Code, followed by the movie and all its sequels and franchises, seems to have ignited this particular firestorm.

Speculation began circulating in both secular and theological circles, all the way to the Vatican:
-Did Leonardo Da Vinci write an encrypted code on his famous Vitruvian Man?
-Was Mary Magdalene married to Jesus?
-Is there really a Holy Grail?

Seven years later, even Christian magazines are still asking questions like, “Why weren’t there women in Da Vinci’s Last Supper painting?” (Light & Life Magazine, March/April 2010, pp. 10-11).

I’d like some answers from you, Mr. Da Vinci…may I call you Leo?

How is it that you lived from 1452 to 1519—over 14 centuries after Jesus—yet you have all the secrets of his ministry that not even his contemporaries revealed, and the prophets weren't inspired by God to write?

Surely, a Renaissance man like yourself was able to construct a Time Machine. Did you travel back and do the portrait of Jesus at the Last Supper, hiding at least one woman in the background, as some say?

What about those who claim you purposefully left women out of the picture?

Before we ask why DaVinci left women out of his painting, we could ask why they were left out of the Bible's Last Supper accounts, when women are mentioned in many other New Testament scriptures.

All four disciples who wrote the gospels stated that women were the first to see Jesus’ empty tomb (Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:9-10; Luke 24:8-11; John 20:10-18). John speaks of the Samaritan woman at the well to whom Jesus offers “living water” (John 4:7-42), and the woman whom Jesus saved from punishment for adultery (John 8:3-11).

Matthew 14:21 mentions women as being present, outside of the 5,000-man count at the five loaves and fish miracle. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, are mentioned in Luke 10:38-41 and John 11:1-40.

Throughout the book of Acts and his later writings, the apostle Paul mentions by name many women who helped spread the gospel. In 2 Timothy 1:5, he credits Timothy’s mother and grandmother for raising the young disciple.

So why, then, would women be left out of the Last Supper? And why would Da Vinci leave them out of his painting?

Simple answers to these questions:
A Boston Museum of Science website  devoted to Da Vinci’s works quotes the artist:
         The most praiseworthy form of painting is the one that most
         resembles what it imitates.

I doubt Da Vinci, having said this, would have put brush to canvas for The Last Supper without first reading Biblical accounts of its occurrence. Therefore, he imitated what he saw in scripture.

He didn’t add women for one simple reason…they weren’t there. And I'd venture to say, he wouldn't think Jesus was ever married, either.

Christians believe that what’s in the Bible was divinely inspired by God through the hands of man, and God knew what books would be canonized.

The New Testament’s writers knew their stories would seem unbelievable and questionable. Luke 1:1-2 states:
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been  fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses.

And 2 Peter 1:16 says:
    We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Why should Christians stick with what the Bible says?
As Christians, we learn to trust the Lord with all our heart rather than leaning on our own human understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Our faith grows through hearing and reading the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

In other words, the greatest faith in knowing that Jesus was who He said He was, and that things went down exactly as they appear in the Bible, comes from believing the book itself...not through the speculations of man.

The people who write these modern-day things can't prove what they're saying; neither have they yet proven the Bible is false.

This article originally appeared here at The Underground Online Magazine, by the author of this 20-20 blog, Sheryl Young.

Photo: Da Vinci's The Last Supper, grid reproduction, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Personhood Amendments proceed across the U.S.

Mississippi is the most recent state to join 13 others in pursuing a “Personhood Amendment.”

A press release by Personhood Mississippi states they already have enough votes to put their measure on the 2011 election ballot as an Amendment to the Mississippi Constitution.

What is a Personhood Amendment?
“Personhood” amendments are pro-life measures being proposed at state level legislatures. The goal is to recognize, within the States’ Constitutions, that every unborn child has the same inherent rights, dignity and value as every living human from the beginning of their biological development.

Another aspect being pursued in some states is to assure dignity and human rights to every physically or mentally disabled or elderly person; to prevent the notion of involuntary euthanasia.

The “Personhood Movement” is an official nationwide pro-life movement. The website clarifies that Personhood Amendments can also be called Human Life Amendments.

A list of the 14 states that have already constructed and/or proposed Personhood Amendments, and where they are in the process, can be seen here at Personhood.Net – a subsidiary of the Georgia Right to Life Committee. Georgia was the first state with such a proposal in 2007. It hasn’t resulted in being placed on a voters’ ballot.

Approximately 26 other states are taking action to draft similar wording.

Additionally, there are ongoing attempts to get enough petition signatures to file a Federal Personhood Amendment to the United States Constitution. 

Psalm 139:13: "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.” (KJV)

This report originally appeared at The Underground Online Christian Magazine, where Ms. Young also reported on Florida’s Personhood Amendment movement.

Photo: Fetal sonogram, wikimedia commons. Relese granted for any purpose.
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

National Day of Prayer carries on

The National Day of Prayer, taking place for 2010 on May 6, was established by the United States Congress in 1952. It was assigned its permanent position of the first Thursday in May in 1988.

"In God We Trust" is still imprinted on our U.S. money. That doesn't seem to matter to some activist judges who are willing to do atheist groups' bidding:

On April 15, 2010, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb handed down a controversial ruling  that establishing a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. She said it “goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context.”

Crabb’s own statement invalidates her point of unconstitutionality:
The National Day of Prayer encourages people, it doesn’t mandate prayer. It isn’t illegal not to pray. It is a voluntary activity. Nobody will go to jail for not participating.

Although this day is seen by the media and non-religious public as a forceful “Christian thing,” the Official site of the National Day of Prayer Task Force  sites a verse from the Old Testament which can apply to both Christians and Jewish people: "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him" (Nahum 1:7).

Additionally, there is nothing nationwide demanding that any certain God be prayed to. Anyone, anywhere can use this day to lift extra prayers to their God. 

Justice Department, President Obama will challenge Judge Crabb’s ruling:

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Justice Department will appeal the ruling, with President Obama as the chief defendant.

On April 30, President Obama also issued the annual White House Proclamation for the National Day of Prayer, although he won’t personally host an event.

The fact that the President will not host a National Day of Prayer event is very offensive to people of biblical faith. In an effort "not to offend" atheists and others, he is instead offending the bulk of the country who do believe in God.

Photo credit: Photo of U.S. Currency showing "In God We Trust" is the work of the United States government, not under copyright. It is in public domain.

Want to know what the Constitution really says about freedom of religion in the First Amendment? Check out this book: 

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