For Greater Glory-A Movie Review

This is a must see movie for Christians because it is a reminder of how fragile our rights as Christians really are. It is not a feel good movie or just a Catholic movie but it does highlight the struggle and suffering the Catholics endured in this fight for freedom to worship God. It is also a story of faith that is well represented on the movie screen.

Allow me to play movie critic for a moment. The acting is good to great with a mix of recognizable faces and newcomers. The scenes and setting help make this true story come to life for us. The movie covers a lot of history and players in the cause of the Cristeros against the Mexican Government. It may not have had a “cast of thousands” but the battle scenes are believable. My wife in preparing to go see the movie commented on the “R-rating” and the available comments from the professional critics and the actual moviegoers. The pros did not like it because of its strong Christian tone while the moviegoers liked it for that very reason. I guess it earned its rating because of violence but TV shows such as “Criminal Minds” and “CSI” are just as bloody. But because children are tortured and martyred in the film taking little ones could be hard. Be sure to stay through the credits as some loose ends are tied up and some interesting facts are presented.

I may not appreciate all of the Catholic themes in the movie but a little research into the laws that prompted the Cristeros actions are very disturbing to me as a Christian. Education of children and control of the Christian Church was the heart of those laws. Those laws that were passed in 1917 sound very much like the Humanist Manifesto and the “stated purpose” of a large educational union in this country. The actions of the Canadian government in our present day society reflect the actions of the Mexican government of 100 years ago that prompted the civil war. For more about the movie go to and a little time researching the Cristeros either before or after watching the movie will help. This and the Tulsa Race Riots are not nightmares that happened somewhere else but these things have taken place within a days drive of Houston.

Be Still and Know God

Waiting, being still what is the difference?

Remember that our modern English words don’t necessary translate nicely with Hebrew words.  Wait and being still are two words/phrases that can have several meanings and depending on your favorite translation of the Bible a verse may read different ways.  Wait can also mean hope so it will help how you view a passage if you look it up in your concordance.  “Being still” also has several meanings so if you find a verse you like check it out and see how it adds to your understanding.

Sometimes the Hebrew word for “still” can also be translated “wait.” That is why the Amplified Bible can be helpful, it will give alternate meanings to words. Anyway here are some different verses and there “be still’s.”

To “Be Still” means to stand one’s ground, confront, to stand before as in: I Samuel 12:16 – Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! (rain at wheat harvest when Israel wanted a king)

Exodus 14:14 – Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.

To “Be Still” means to be still, silent, to rest as in: Psalm 4:4 + 5 – In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.

Habakkuk 2:20 – But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.

Jeremiah 23:18 – 22 Who has listened and heard His word? …. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed My words to My people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.

To “Be Still” means to be quiet, hush or come to silence as in: Nehemiah 8: 10 + 11 – Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength. The Levites calmed all the people, saying, ”Be still for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve.

Zechariah 2:13 – Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from His holy dwelling.

To “Be Still” means to be feeble, weakened, faint as in: Psalm 46:10 – Be still, and know that I AM God.  “Know” is yada it means knowing by observing and reflecting on things or by experiencing it.

In any of its meanings for me to be still is very hard; I try, sometimes I can do it many times I don’t.  For me anyway this is not meditation or musing over a thought this is just standing/sitting still and quite before God.  If you can really reach a time of being still you may find yourself like Oral Roberts in his book The Ultimate Voice (p. 101), “There was no moving of my physical body, only the wild beating of my heart.” 

All verses are NIV.

It is Bad Luck to be Superstitious

Superstitious comes from a Latin phrase “to stand in terror of the deity.”  The Catholic Encyclopedia states that there are four types of superstitions:

  • improper worship of the one true God (indebitus veri Dei cultus);
  • idolatry:
  • divination;
  • vain observances, which include magic and occult arts.

Here are some examples of these things in the Bible.

Numbers 21: 9 Moses made the brazen serpent (Nehushtan) to heal the people who were bitten by the snakes.  It worked once so they kept it and worshiped it instead of the God who was testing their faith.  In 2 Kings, 18: 4 Hezekiah (a good king) broke it into pieces because of the worship of it.  It had worked once so just always do it that way instead of following God.  People want something to see to worship; God wants it done in the spirit.

1 Samuel 4:3 Israel been beaten by the Philistines because the Ark was not in the camp.  There is no mention of them seeking God before the battle as David and Joshua had done, they were using the ark as a good luck piece.  They had put God in a box that was to magically work wonders just by its mere presence.  They acted just like they did in Jericho and they yelled so loud that the earth shook.  Jericho is the only place mentioned that the Ark was involved in a battle.  

1 Samuel 5:5 the presence of God knocked Dagon to the floor and broke off its head and hands on to the threshold of the door.  So the Philistines never stepped on it again as they went through the door.  In Zephaniah 1:9 the Israelites and picked up that habit so that God was going to “punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold.”  Probably the custom of carrying the bride across the threshold of the house roots itself in this superstition. Watching the people of the world instead of following a holy God, you pick up their religious habits.

Jeremiah 44: 17 the Israelites made cakes to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings.  They were convinced that because they stopped doing this they were having bad luck.  “If it works for them we should do it too, and it worked once do it again.”  The concept that food can bring us closer to God is laid to rest in 1 Corinthians 8: 8; so much for eating black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s.

1 Kings 20: 13 Ahab defeats Ben-Hadad and his counselors start guessing why they had been beaten and what they had to do to beat Israel. They decided that the Lord must be a god of the hills so they were going to fight them in the valley next time. Think about coaches who will wear only a certain tie while they coach or they won’t shave if they are winning. Or players who won’t change their socks or at least won’t wash them during the season they are convinced that a thing had something to do with them winning.  Dirty batting helmets or slapping a sign or spot before they go out to a game are also very common acts of luck.

Four leaf clovers, black cats, salt over the shoulder, Friday the Thirteenth or any number of other things that people think are lucky or bad luck.  Some have a natural answer why it happened once like never light three smokes with one match. A soldier did this and the enemy was able to fix the location and shoot him.

Now people also have this in the church, one minister told the story of a church where a person got filled with the Holy Spirit sitting on the piano, the same thing happened the next week.  So, the third week they were trying to get people to sit on the piano to be filled with the Spirit.

How should we act – Fix our eyes on Jesus, He is the author and finisher of our faith.


The Number Thirteen in the Bible

The number thirteen in the Bible heralds that a change is coming. We like to attach all sorts of meanings to numbers, but the truth is that God created numbers for His use (See Genesis 1). Thirteen as used in the Bible is another number that God uses to show His plan for His people.

Numerology is part of studying the Bible; there are certain numbers that have been assigned certain meanings.  Three, seven, six, twelve, eight, and forty are just a few numbers that most Christians will be able to give you as having an important significance in the Bible. Three is a “God” number for the three persons of the Trinity.  Seven represents completeness from the seven days of the week. Six is the number of man this comes from the fact that we were made on the sixth day and the number 666 from the Book of Revelation.  Twelve represents the government as shown by the twelve disciples and the number of the tribes of Israel (the sons of Jacob). Forty is the number of testing or trail as shown in the years spent by Israel in the wilderness and the length of days Jesus was tested after He received the Holy Spirit. Eight is the number of new beginnings given that the eighth day of Creation started a new week.  The number fourteen is also an interesting study if you would like to see mine you may click this address  A study of the number fifteen is available at Cleaning Up to Celebrate.

Unfortunately, people and Christians in particular start to focus on the number instead of the God of the numbers. So we get people with triskaidekaphobia which is the fear of the number thirteen. Beliefs about this number are varied and separating fact from fiction is impossible. Some early ideas on this number and its “significance” to bring bad luck are hinged on the assumption that there were only 13 people at the Last Supper and that Jesus died on a Friday the 13th. (World Book Encyclopedia)

WHY I would like to offer a different look at the number 13 from a Biblical perspective. I already know that this does not fit into most numerological frameworks but I will ask you to follow through with my reasons and then you make up your mind.  I will show that a possible meaning for the number thirteen is the signal for the “start of or the beginning of something new.”  I am not trying to mix this with the number eight in any way.

Examples of Thirteen in the Bible These are a few of the instances that there are thirteen of something and each of these represents the “start of a new thing.”

1. In Genesis 17:25 Ishmael is circumcised at the age of thirteen which is when God made the promise to Abraham; this contrasts with Isaac being circumcised at eight days old.

2. 1 Kings 7:1 Solomon took 13 years to complete his palace.

3. Genesis 14: 4 Sodom rebelled after 13 years of servitude to Chedorlaomer king of Elam (Babylon) and Abraham rescued Lot.  This brought on Melchizedek’s blessing and Abraham’s covenant with God.

4. Esther 3: 12 Haman had orders written on the 13th day of the first month about the 13th day of last month to kill all Jews.  They have to defend themselves and so put an end to the threats of Haman the Agagite, who is an Amalekite, and a new time of freedom for the Jews.

5. Jeremiah starts his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:2).  Josiah had started purifying the land in his 12th year of being a king.  Jeremiah may have been 13 years old when his ministry started.  The term for his age shows a child up to the age of becoming a young man.

6. Joseph was 17 years old when he was taken as a slave. He was 30 when Pharaoh put him in charge of Egypt (13 years). Genesis 37:2 to 41:46.

7. The Children of Israel went around Jericho 13 times before they yelled and the walls fell down.

There are many more “13’s” in the Bible but I hope you get my point about it showing a “new start.”

My personal feeling about thirteen/Friday the 13 and other lucky things is summed up in this: It is bad luck to be superstitious!  ← (This is another post in my blog.)

So I look at it this way.

 Number 13

graphic by Ryan Johanningmeier

King David the Writer

I once heard someone say that David was a yo-yo when he wrote Psalms because one psalm he was up and one psalm he was down.  I was just starting to write and I recognized how silly that statement was because David did not write them all at one time and that he was writing these as a response to the times he was living in and what he was experiencing. To read David’s psalms are to read his struggles and victories of his life, his cries for help and his shouts of praise. Songwriters don’t always write just happy songs or just sad ones. And if you study psalms many of them may have been written for specific reasons (scholars have classified them as to content).

A study of psalms would be incomplete without a reading of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. So I started to place the Psalms in 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles (see Joined) where I thought they might have been written.  Some of the psalms give you clues in the titles; some translations and Bibles don’t always include those.  For the other ones I tried to place myself in the moment or look for other clues.  I know the Chronological Bible does something similar but I have never really looked at their placement because I wanted this to be from a writer’s point of view not a timeline one.

I am sure that if you look at the list you may put some in a different location.  That is fine as these are just my guesses as to where I would have written them.  But I would challenge you to check mine out and then do your own list; the only rule to guide this would be that you must have a reason for its placement.

I am not finished with this yet because some are hard to place but by the end of the year I may have another list to post.  You will need to click on the link that is part of as it is saved in there as a media file.  My original copy is a word document and should be put into a table or in EXCEL but that will be a while in coming.

Have fun and I want to hear your feedback as you place the Psalms where you think they should go!

Click here to see my list.   psalm position