Mark and Luke

I never really thought about this before, but who were Mark and Luke since they weren’t one of the disciples?

Thank you for your question.

Mark’s full name was John Mark (Acts 12:12). His Christian life was influenced by his mother, Mary, as well as by his cousin, Barnabas, who took him with Paul on Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13:5). Halfway through this journey, Mark returned home (Acts 13:13). His departure caused Paul to not want to take him on his second missionary trip, and this caused Paul and Barnabas to part company (Acts 15:39). Instead, Barnabas set sail with Mark for the island of Cyprus. In later years however, Paul also commended Mark’s efforts in the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).

Luke was a doctor, and one of Paul’s closest companions and fellow laborers (Colossians 4:14, Philemon 24, and 2 Timothy 4:11). Luke is also widely believed to be the author of the book of Acts as well.

I hope this helps.



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What Does Kingdom Mean in the Bible?

When the Bible Speaks of a Worldly or a Heavenly Kingdom – What is Kingdom?

Thank you for your question. It’s a tough one, because there are many different views of what the “kingdom” means in the scriptures. I adhere to a dispensational view, which is best described by Lewis Sperry Chafer, as follows:

1) The Kingdom of God – All intelligence creatures in heaven or on earth who are willingly subject to God.

2) The Kingdom of Heaven – Any sort of empire that God may have on earth at a given time:

– Theocratic – Such as the nation of Israel had in Old Testament times

– Covenanted – This then became the nation hope of Israel.

– Predicted – Bible prophecy anticipates a glorious kingdom for Israel on the earth.

– Announced – The ministries of John the Baptist, Christ, and the Apostles announced the kingdom for the nation of Israel, but it was rejected.

– Postponed – As a result, the earthly kingdom was postponed until Christ returns (Second Advent).

– Mystery – The present state of Christendom are a mystery form of the kingdom (Matthew 13:11).

– Realized – The kingdom of heaven will finally come to realization during the end times, at the time of the millennium–the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth.



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What was the Acid Test for Different Scripture being Added to the Bible?

Basically, the acid test for different Scripture being added to the Bible consisted of 15 criteria:

1) Quotations: A major argument for verifying the authenticity of scripture through the years has involved examining which books were quoted by the canonical books.  For example, some will argue that since none of the books of the Apocrypha are quoted in our Bible, then that serves as proof that they do not belong in our Bible.

2) Literature: Another closely related argument says that we need to study what other non-canonical literature claims about the Canon.  For example, the famous Jewish historian, Josephus, claims that the real Old Testament is the 22-book Jewish Old Testament like our 39-book Old Testament. This argument gains credibility because of the testimony of men who lived so close to Old Testament times.

3) Divine Inspiration: Some scholars believe that no other books claim to be divinely inspired as they believe the Old Testament does, by 2 Timothy 3:16.

4) Prophets: Scripture can only be recorded through the divine revelation from God.  Since there were no prophets during the period of the Apocrypha, how could it be divinely inspired?

5) Errors: Many scholars have rejected the Apocrypha on the basis of the errors and contradictions found within it. In some cases, scholars have reason to believe that some of the moral and spiritual discrepancies are false doctrine rather than translation errors.  Some even cite what they call absurdities, or passages that are completely silly, and in no way could belong in the Bible.

6) Style: Scholars also feel that they can identify canonical books by their style.

7) Apostolic Authority: The most important criterion for the books of the New Testament was Apostolic Authority. This meant that a canonical book had to have been written by someone with the Gift of Apostle. This was sometimes difficult to verify because some of the books did not identify within themselves who the author was, and others were believed to be forgeries.

8) Read in the churches: Another important test included verifying that each book had been read in the first century churches.  Obviously, this restriction also makes it necessary that the books were completed before the end of the first century.

9) Quoted by leaders: The books had to have been quoted by early church leaders of the first century, in their writings. This is closely associated with 2) under Old Testament.

10) Rule of Faith: The New Testament books had to be consistent with the Rule of Faith, or what the Apostles had orally taught.

11) The Holy Spirit: As proof of divine revelation, the church fathers had to be convinced that each book was written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

12) Agreement: There had to be general agreement of the church fathers that each book was canonical.

13) Quotations: The books were given credibility when they were proven to have quoted other canonical books, as well as when other books quoted them as being scripture. This is again like 1) and 2) under Old Testament.

14) Claim Divine Inspiration: Church fathers said that each book had to claim divine inspiration, like 3) under Old Testament.

15) Edification: The books had to edify the church.

For more details, please see the following articles on my website:

I hope this helps.



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Gratitude is the Key to Prayer

I recently received a secular e-mail that said:

Take a moment to reflect on your day… What are three things you feel grateful for?
List them out:


Regular practice of gratitude correlates with significant changes in the body’s biochemistry. Researchers have found that consistent practice produces major health benefits, including up to a 23% reduction in cortisol, a stress hormone associated with several health issues. Additionally, gratitude practice provides an opportunity to stay present in the moment and appreciate what we have rather than focus on what we don’t. This steady practice affords us the ability to avoid undesirable attitudes such as envy, anger, or judgment; and instead focus on more positive feelings and emotions.  

Then on that same day, I read Philippians 4:6 that talks tells us to prayer with thanksgiving. Somehow, my days at work immediately got much better, and I’m making it day by day.

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Liberals Sob Over Children Separated from Parents

Liberal politicians and news commentators are taking the spotlight and shining it on children separated from their parents–illegal immigrants–at the US / Mexico border. They’re crying and asking, “How could we do such a thing?”

Yet, where do they stand on abortion, when children are killed AND separated from their parents–3,000 each day in the U. S.?

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Pray for the Supreme Court

There’s much speculation that one or more Supreme Court justices may retire soon. Although retirements are rare, this would be the time of year for it. Did you know that in recent years, six Supreme Court justices have retired during the last week of June (between June 23rd and June 29th)? Prime candidates are: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, age 85; Anthony Kennedy, age 81; and, Stephen Breyer, age 79.

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Jewish Food Guidelines

Question from a reader:  

Hello, I am a Christian “messianic”/ “Hebrew roots” type of guy. I am curious about how you can use Peter’s vision to say that all food is clean and ok to eat even when YHVH told us that certain things are not food — such as pork. Can you biblically explain this to me? Thank you, shalom!

Yes, I believe that Peter’s vision in Acts 10 was even more startling to him than it is to you and me. When God said, “Get up Peter, kill and eat” even the unclean animals, Peter’s Jewish heritage immediately made him kick back against this idea. His trained conscience would have never let him eat what was prohibited by the Levitical law. However, the whole point of this vision was to illustrate the new covenant. Christ had fulfilled the law, even the strict Jewish ceremonial laws, and Peter needed a very graphic illustration in order to re-train his mind (Romans 12:1-2) through a transition from law to grace (Romans 6:14).

While still under the law, Christ had commissioned the disciples not to go to Gentiles, but to go to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6). However, now, under grace, he was being told to go to the Gentiles, as Christ commanded in the Great commission (Matthew 28:19-20). On the cross, Christ had broken down the wall (Ephesians 2:14-18) between Jews and Gentiles.

Now, this passage uses symbolism to illustrate the transition from law to grace. However, it does not invalidate the truths buried in the Mosaic Law. Remember that Christ fulfilled the law, but he did not invalidate it. The physical truths of the law are just as alive as they ever were. I believe that we would do ourselves a favor by continuing to adhere, in a physical way, to the dietary laws of the Old Testament. For more information on this, please see my article entitled Pork.



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Charles Krauthammer’s Take on Trump

A different take on Donald Trump: (a non-political agenda)

Trump Is Not A Liberal or Conservative, He’s a “Pragmatist.” (Definition: A pragmatist is someone who is practical and focused on reaching a goal. A pragmatist usually has a straightforward, matter-of-fact approach and doesn’t let emotion distract him or her.)

We recently enjoyed a belated holiday dinner with friends at the home of other friends. The dinner conversation varied from discussions about antique glass and china to theology and politics. At one point, reference was made to Donald Trump being a conservative, to which I responded that Trump is not a conservative. I said that I neither view nor do I believe Trump views himself as a conservative. I stated it was my opinion that Trump is a pragmatist. He sees a problem and understands it must be fixed. He doesn’t see the problem as liberal or conservative, he sees it only as a problem. That is a quality
that should be admired and applauded, not condemned. But I get ahead of myself.

Viewing problems from a Liberal perspective has resulted in the creation of more problems, more entitlement programs, more victims, more government, more political correctness, and more attacks on the working class in all economic strata.

Viewing things according to the so-called Republican conservative perspective has brought continued spending and globalism to the detriment of American interests and well being, denial of what the real problems are, Weak, ineffective, milquetoast, leadership that amounts to Barney Fife Deputy Sheriff, appeasement oriented and afraid of its own shadow. In brief, it has brought liberal ideology with a pachyderm as a mascot juxtaposed to the ass of the Democrat Party.

Immigration isn’t a Republican problem, it isn’t a Liberal problem, it is a problem that threatens the very fabric and infrastructure of America. It demands a pragmatic approach not an approach that is intended to appease one group or another.

The impending collapse of the economy wasn’t a Liberal or Conservative problem, it is an American problem. That said, until it is viewed as a problem that demands a common sense approach to resolution, it will never be fixed because the Democrats and Republicans know only one way to fix things and the longevity of their impracticality has proven to have no lasting effect. Successful businessmen like Donald Trump find ways to make things work, they do not promise to accommodate.

Trump uniquely understands that China’s manipulation of currency is not a Republican problem or a Democrat problem. It is a problem that threatens our financial stability and he understands the proper balance needed to fix it. Here again, successful businessmen, like Trump, who have weathered the changing tides of economic reality understand what is necessary to make business work, and they, unlike both sides of the political aisle, know that if something doesn’t work, you don’t continue trying to make it work hoping that at some point it will.

As a pragmatist, Donald Trump hasn’t made wild pie-in-the-sky promises of a cell phone in every pocket, free college tuition, and a $15 hour minimum wage for working the drive-through at Carl’s Hamburgers.

I argue that America needs pragmatists because pragmatists see a problem and find ways to fix them. They do not see a problem and compound it by creating more problems.

You may not like Donald Trump, but I suspect that the reason some people do not like him is because:

(1) He is antithetical to the “good old boy” method of brokering backroom deals that fatten the coffers of politicians;
(2) They are unaccustomed to hearing a president speak who is unencumbered by the financial shackles of those who he owes vis-a-vis donations;
(3) He is someone who is free of idiomatic political ideology;
(4) He says what he is thinking, is unapologetic for his outspoken thoughts, speaks very straightforward using everyday language that can be understood by all (and is offensive to some who dislike him anyway) making him a great communicator, for the most part, does what he says he will do and;
(5) He is someone who understands that it takes more than hollow promises and political correctness to make America great again.

Listening to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders talk about fixing America is like listening to two lunatics trying to “out crazy” one another. Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Marco Rubio are owned lock, stock, and barrel by the bankers, corporations, and big dollar donors funding their campaigns. Bush can deny it, but common sense tells anyone willing to face facts is that people don’t give tens of millions without expecting something in return.

We have had Democrats and Republican ideologues and what has it brought us? Are we better off today or worse off? Has it happened overnight or has it been a steady decline brought on by both parties?

I submit that a pragmatist is just what America needs right now. People are quick to confuse and despise confidence as arrogance, but that is common among those who have never accomplished anything in their lives (or politicians who never really solved a problem, because it’s better to still have an “issue(s) to be solved,” so re-elect me to solve it, (which never happens) and those who have always played it safe (again, all politicians) not willing to risk failure, to try and achieve success).

Donald Trump put his total financial empire at risk in running for president and certainly did not need or possibly even want the job; that says it all. He wants success for the U.S. and her citizens because he loves his country.

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Planned Parenthood, Sexual Abuse, and Abortion

Congressman Ralph Abraham, R-Lousiana, and other members of Congress are calling for an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s failure to report the suspected sexual abuse of minors in their care. A recent study by Live Action revealed that Planned Parenthood failed to report cases such as these:

– In Washington in 2014, George Savanah repeatedly raped and impregnated his daughter, and took her to Planned Parenthood to have each pregnancy terminated while she was 14, 16 and 17 years old.

– In Colorado in 2012, Timothy David Smith forced his stepdaughter to have an abortion after he impregnated her when she was 13 years old. Planned Parenthood not only performed the abortion but also sent her home with her abuser.

It seems that Planned Parenthood prioritizes abortion over concerns of sexual abuse. By sending the victim back home with the abuser after the abortion, they’re enabling the abuse so that they can do more abortions.

Oh, and you’ll have trouble finding this story on any network or cable news channel. You’ll probably have to go to religious-based, or pro-life news.

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Jesus’s Siblings

Question from a reader: 

Did Christ have any actual brothers or sisters? James is sometimes referred to as His half-brother. What and where are the facts?

Thank you for your question. There is no agreement among Bible scholars on this. Some claim that the Bible teaches that Mary (Christ’s mother) gave birth to no other children, based upon the fact that the Bible doesn’t tell us about her giving birth to others. However, I believe that this is a weak argument.

Others cite those like James, claiming that he was a half-brother to Christ, since he was the son of Mary (Christ’s mother) and Joseph. This is what I tend to believe, although it’s difficult to prove, because names like “Mary,” “Joseph,” and “James” are such common names.



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