Month: August 2013

Zechariah son of Benaiah makes headlines, again

In an ironic play on words, an obscure Biblical figure — Zechariah the son of Benaiah — finds himself in the limelight, again. The name Zechariah means “God remembers,” and because of a recent archaeological discovery we are all remembering this little known man from the annals of Bible history, mentioned once in 2 Chronicles 20:14-15. Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite of the sons of Asaph; and he said, “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. (NASV) From the text, we know he was a levite — of the priestly tribe.  His claim to fame:  He was father of the prophet Jahaziel who gave a prophetic word of victory to King Jehoshaphat on a looming battle with an invading Moabite army. Now 2,700 years later, …

Did a Canadian human rights tribunal just classify atheism as a religion?

ONTARIO, CANADA: The Ontario Human Right Tribunal (OHRT) has just ruled atheists need protection under the human rights legislation like other faiths such as Christianity, Muslims and Buddhists. The Tribunal made this decision in response to a complaint by Rene Chouinard, an atheist, who wanted to distribute a book called “Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children” to children attending schools in the Niagara School Board (NSB). The book treats God as a mythical creature. The NSB has

75% of Americans concerned about country’s increasing secularization

According to a recent Gallup poll, 77% of American believe religion’s influence in society is declining. But when asked if the country would be better off if more Amerians were religious, nearly as many said yes. Gallup has been asking questions on religion’s influence in the U.S. since 1957. This year’s number represents the highest percentage ever of American’s who believe religious influence in America is declining. This year’s percentages nearly reverses the 1957 poll in which 14% believed

What Stormy teaches us about trials, trust, faith and hearing the voice of God

[by Dean Smith] In 2010, Beka and her horse Stormy competed in the “Extreme Cowboy Race,” part of the Equine Affair held annually at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. Over 100,000 people attended the four-day affair. Though dozens of riders apply to compete only 30 are accepted. The event features obstacle courses, timed and judged events. But there was something about Stormy that set him apart from every other horse in that year’s event. Stormy is completely blind. This amazing story in many ways illustrates the believers faith walk with God. But perhaps the greatest lesson we learn is the vital connection between trust and faith. When she was 8-years old, Beka thought her parents were taking her to Dairy Queen to celebrate her birthday, instead they took Beka to a farm and introduced her to Stormy, a three-year old, unbroken horse they had bought for her. Beka said she immediately fell in love with this gangly colt, and despite being bucked off on her first ride attempt, she stubbornly broke the horse and …

Great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin returns to church

Charles Darwin would be turning over in his grave. (If that is where he still is.) The National Catholic Register reports Laura Keynes —  great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin — is now attending the Catholic church. She has even gone a step further and joined Catholic Voices which defends the Catholic church in the media. Laura is not only a direct descendant of Darwin, but also has John Maynard Keynes (a famous economist) as a great-great uncle. Keeping with the family education tradition, Laura has a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford. However, Laura’s return to church clearly breaks with another long-established family tradition rooted 

Man raised from dead by son’s shout, shocks medical staff

OHIO. US: When Melissa found her 37-year-old husband unresponsive at their home in West Carrollton, Ohio on August 5, 2013, she immediately called an ambulance. When the medics arrived, they found Tony Yahle with no heart beat. After several shock treatments, they restarted Tony’s heart and rushed him to the hospital. What followed would “flabbergast” Dr. Raja Nazir a cardiologist with the Kettering Medical Centre. Nazir said “In the last 20 years, I’ve never seen anybody we pronounced dead …. and then for him to come back … I’ve never seen it. I’m calling it a miracle.” After Yahle arrived at the hospital, his heart stopped

A mockery of an ancient Egyptian deliverance?

Just prior to their deliverance from Egypt, God told the Israelites to protect their homes from an avenging angel — that would strike down the first-born of Egypt — by marking the lintels and doorposts of their homes with the red blood from a sacrificial lamb (Exodus 12: 7, 8). This became the basis of the Jewish Passover. Now centuries later, the story is repeating itself in the same country, but with a bizarre twist. According to the Christian Science Monitor, mulsim extremists in parts of Egypt are marking Christian homes and businesses with

Forgiving the Nazi SS

Corrie Ten Boom died April 15, 1983 on the same day she was born 91 years earlier. According to Jewish tradition, a person is considered especially blessed by God when this event occurs. Certainly the nation of Israel considered Corrie blessed when in 1967, it named her “Righteous among the nations” — a special award handed out to individuals who helped Jews escape the holocaust in World War II. Corrie was a Christian and during the war she and her family — who lived in Holland — were involved with the Dutch Resistance fighting the Nazis on their soil. The Ten Boom’s primary activity during those dark years was providing a “hiding place” for Jews trying to escape

Confessions of a Bible thief

It took 42 years, but a stolen Bible was finally returned to Holy Trinity Church in Hastings, England. The Bible’s arrival — from Germany — was expected. A couple weeks earlier, Simon Scott, the church’s treasurer had received an anonymous letter explaining how and why a 200 year-old Bible had been stolen from the church in 1971. In a letter reported in the Hastings Observer, the person writes: “It may be astonishing to you to receive a letter from one whom you do not know. More than ever to receive a parcel which contains an old Bible. In 1971 I was just married and went with my wife to Hastings to upgrade our English knowledge for a better start in our occupations. The English lesson we had were in some rather

Duck Dynasty star kicked out of Trump hotel for vagrancy

New York: The Robertson family of the popular Duck Dynasty reality show were in New York recently to promote the show’s upcoming fourth season.  A&E had put the family up in the luxurious Trump International Hotel. While at the hotel, Jase Robertson asked a staff member for directions to a washroom. Told to follow, Jase was led outside the hotel. The staffer pointed down the street and wished him good luck. I loved the attitude of Jase, who — along with most of the male members of the family — sports a full blown beard. In an interview with Live, Jase laughed off the incident saying he was a victim of “facial profiling” as the staffer undoubtedly thought he was a homeless man. The fact Jase was also wearing camouflage pants probably didn’t help. This isn’t the first time this has happened. On a previous visit to New York, someone put money in Willie’s coffee cup. Read the full story here: Duck Dynasty star kicked out of Trump Hotel   Related: Duck Dynasty on faith, family …

Crosses overlooking Matera, Italy. Credit: Hugh Bell/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is mocking Christians ultimately an act of cowardice?

On August 9, 2013, Greg Gutfiled of the O’Reily Factor interviewed Washington Post contributing editor Cathy Areu on the establishment’s double standard on how it treats Christians and Muslims. Earlier that week, Atheist Richard Dawkins tweeted: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though. “ There was an immediate backlash from people offended by the tweet. Celebrities, fellow atheists, liberals and Muslims alike condemned Dawkins’ tweet accusing him of racism for

Want to stop smoking, go to church

A Gallup survey conducted in 2012 shows a strong connection between smoking and church attendance. Gallup referred to the connection as “linear” meaning the more often a person attended church the less likely they were to smoke. Of the 353,571 people surveyed, Gallup found if they attended church at least once a week only 12% smoked. If they attended “almost every week” 14% of them smoked. Those who attended church once a month, 22% smoked.  This trend continued

U.S. judge orders couple to change name of child from “Messiah” to “Martin”

United States: Tennessee Judge Lu Ann Ballew has ordered a couple to change the name of their son from “Messiah” to “Martin.” In making the ruling, the judge stated “Messiah” is a title, not a name, and only one person has earned that title. “That one person is Jesus Christ,” said Judge Ballew. The judge added the name may cause the child stress later in life. The couple were initially in court because of a conflict over the child’s last name. According to the AP article, “Messiah” was ranked in the top four “fastest-rising” names for babies in 2012.   Read:  There’s only one Messiah, says judge as she orders parents to change infant’s name

It’s nice to be salty again

In Mathew 5:13, Jesus calls His disciples “the salt of the earth.” Salt was a valuable product in early Israel. Among other things it was used as a food preservative — an important benefit in a culture lacking refrigeration. Salt was also used to increase the flavour of food. In many ways, Christians play a similar role in culture — acting as a preservative. The moral decline of a nation is often a prelude to national collapse. A few grains of salt not only has the ability to enhance the flavour of food, but even a culture. However over the past few decades, salt’s sheen was tarnished as

Painting of King David by Gerrit van Honthorst (1590 - 1656)

King David’s big, dark secret

[by Dean Smith] There was a big, dark secret in David’s life that few people are aware of. It’s not that David tried to keep it secret, but many of us simply fail to connect the dots. When we study David’s life, there are a number of Biblical passages that at first read seem quite puzzling. One such passage is 1 Samuel 16:1-13. God had just rejected Saul as king of Israel and commissioned the prophet Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jessee of Bethlehem as the next king (v 1). Samuel approached the elders of Bethlehem and arranged the meeting. Once Jessee and his sons had gathered, Samuel quickly realized none of the boys standing before him was the one God had chosen. Puzzled, Samuel asked if there were any other sons and was told the youngest, David, was attending the flock. Samuel ordered David brought before him and anointed the young shepherd boy as the next king of Israel. I was always curious as to why David was not initially included. Traditionally, …

Kenyan lawyer trying to launch lawsuit against Israel over death of Jesus

Kenyan lawyer Dola Indidis wants to sue both the State of Israel and the Italian government over the miscarriage of justice that occurred at  Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. Dola works as a lawyer in Kenya and once served as a Kenyan Judiciary spokesman. Tiberius, who was the Roman Emperor at the time, King Herod (King of Judea), unnamed Jewish elders and Pontius Pilate (Roman Prefect of Judea) are also named in the suit. Dola is quoted in a Jerusalem Post article accusing Pontius Pilate of “judicial misconduct, abuse of office, bias and prejudice.”  The lawyer also says the information used to convict Jesus was flawed. Though Jesus’ trial took place 2,000 years earlier, Dola believes both Italy and Israel are still in some sense culpable. Dola first took his case before a Kenyan court in 2007, but the court refused to hear the case stating it lacked jurisdiction, He recently decided to petition the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Though it is very doubtful the court will hear his case, Dola noted the Roman Catholic church …

Was car crash victim rescued by an angel?

Missouri, U.S.: On Sunday, August 4, 2013, a young woman was trapped in a car crash in Center, MO. Rescuers were struggling to cut her free from her Mercedes, as their equipment was unable to cut through. The woman then told rescuers she wanted to pray. Suddenly a Catholic priest appeared out of nowhere. He stepped in, briefly prayed for the woman and then pulled back.  One rescue worker said he felt an overwhelming sense of peace she would be alright. Minutes later, more equipment arrived and the rescuers were able to cut her out. When the rescue workers turned to thank the Priest, he was no where to be seen. Curiously, the police had blocked the road a quarter mile up on both sides. Read: Did an angel save this car-crash victim? Update:

Famous Jewish Rabbi codes Jesus as the Messiah

When Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri died in January 2006 over 200,000 people lined the streets of Jerusalem to watch his funeral procession. He was one of the most famous rabbis in Israel at the time. Born around 1900 his age was estimated to be between 106 and 108 at his passing. Shortly before his death, Kaduri did something very mysterious. He wrote a message on a piece of paper, sealed it, and told his followers they must wait until a year after his death before opening it. The note, he said, would reveal the name of the Jewish Messiah. And on top of that, the old Rabbi told his supporters the message was written in code. Incredibly, when the letter was opened in February 2007, Kaduri declared Jesus Christ

Church vandalized with satanic symbols

U.S.: This past weekend (August 3, 2013), a Brethren Church in Danville, Virginia was vandalized with three satanic symbols and two words oddly written in Latin. The symbols included an inverted cross and pentagram and the Latin words, when translated, read ‘hail satan.’ Danville is a small community and people were shocked something like this would happen there.  Read the full story: Historic Danville church vandalized It may only be a coincidence, but a similar thing happened during protests this past July at the Texas legislature, as the state government was passing the toughest pro-life legislation in the U.S.  Pro-abortion protestors opposing the legislation could be heard chanting “hail satan” as a pro-life speaker addressed a group opposing abortion.

Surprise, the Bible is Norway’s top selling book

NORWAY: It’s shocking to many, but in 2012, the Bible was the number one selling book in Norway and continues to do well in 2013. Norway is considered one of the world’s most secular nations. It has a population of 5 million people and only about 50,000 people (1%) regularly attend church. In 2011, Norway’s Bible Society (NBS) released a new version of the Bible called The Scriptures, replacing a version introduced 33 years earlier. Written in Norwegian, The Scriptures is more readable and accurate than the old. People are still trying to understand why The Scriptures suddenly became so popular in this very secular nation?  Last year,  it sold nearly 160,000 copies surpassing even 50 Shades of Grey. Some attribute the Bible’s success to a slick advertising campaign geared to the youth, while a NBS spokesman wondered if increased immigration may have in an odd way played a role. Many new immigrants are arriving with strong religious beliefs and this may have sparked renewed interest among Norwegians in their own religion. Curiously, another significant spiritual event took place in …

Gay couple wants court to force Church of England to marry them

ENGLAND: A homosexual couple in England want the courts to force the Church of England to marry them. On July 17, 2013, legislation allowing gay marriage in England was formally passed. The law is expected to come into effect in 2014. There was a provision in the bill automatically exempting Churches from performing such marriages. Churches need to officially opt-in if they want to perform gay marriages. Many churches,

New Head of Anglican church “Speaks in Tongues”

On March 21, 2013, Justin Welby – 57 – was appointed the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury replacing Rowan Williams as head of the 77-million strong Anglican church. In an interview with Charles Moore of the Daily Telegraph, Justin who is an evangelical, admitted he spoke in tongues. Tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit first manifested on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:2-4). Today, it is part of the spiritual life of those in pentecostal churches and the charismatic movement. Describing his experience, the Archbishop said, “It’s just a routine part of spiritual discipline – you choose to speak and you speak a language that you don’t know. It just comes.” The Archbishop became a Christian while attending Trinity College. He even remembered the day — October 12, 1975.  He was praying with a Christian friend when he felt “a clear sense of something changing, a presence of something that had not been there before in my life.”  Up to this point, the Archbishop said was “vaguely” aware of God. He was so embarrassed …