Month: November 2013

The Phoenician woman's unrelenting faith resulted in the deliverance of her daughter. Painting Artist unknown

What does it mean to have Great Faith?

At points throughout the Gospels, Jesus referred to people with “great faith.” One of them was a Phoenician woman. The incident recorded in Mathew 15:21-28 drips with controversy. At the outset, you certainly get the sense when Jesus spoke of her great (megas in the Greek) faith, He was speaking of a woman with huge quantities of faith. But it is no coincidence, this account is strategically situated only 18 verses after Peter’s walk on water where Jesus admonished His Apostle for his ‘little’ faith (Mathew 14:22-32). Matthew purposely contrasted the ‘little’ faith of Peter with the ‘great’ faith of a gentile woman — a humiliating exercise for any self-respecting Jewish man. And this is where it gets interesting, because you can only understand the Phoenician woman’s ‘great’ faith in light of Peter’s ‘ little’ (in the Greek ‘oligos’) faith. In a previous article, I discussed the various meanings of ‘oligos.’ It can refer to a small quantity (James 3:5) or brief as in time (Revelation 12:12). Since Peter actually walked on water, Jesus was not …

Prior to this, the earliest known image of Jesus is one depicting Jesus healing the paralytic dated to 235 AD: Image Wikipedia/Marsyas

The lost coins of Jesus?

Dr. Ronald Stewart, using special imaging equipment, believes coins dated to 33-47 AD depict the life of Jesus. Stewart says the hand-struck coins were part of a popular art form called “Portable Coinage Art”  first introduced by Grecian emperors in 336-300 BC and later popularized by Roman emperors. People of financial means would have sets of coins created to memorialize significant people. These coins would depict notable events of a person’s life in pictorial form starting on one side of the coin and continuing on the other side. 

Why would a new graveyard horrify feminists and infuriate the radical left?

Horrified feminists. Infuriated socialists. And it’s all over a new graveyard in Florence, Italy. Since 1996, the Trespiano graveyard set aside space for babies who died before birth. This included those killed in abortions. But it was all unofficial. In 1990, the government passed a law requiring municipalities to bury all children dying before birth. According to Stefania Saccardia, Florence’s deputy major, since 1996 over 1,000 babies have been buried in this area of the graveyard. In November 2013 — in an overwhelming majority vote (30 for, 4 against with 7 abstaining) — Florence city council changed the status of this area making it an official graveyard for children who died before birth.

Work at the ancient site of Gath revealing evidence of Goliath Photo Gath archaeological dig: Wikipedia/ori~

Was Goliath uncovered at Gath?

When a Philistine army invaded Judah, the Israeli army led by King Saul intercepted the Philistines at Socoh in Judah.  As the two armies faced each other there was the usual chest pounding. The Philistines sent out Goliath to challenge any Israeli soldier to one-on-one combat (1 Samuel 17). Goliath was a “champion” of the Philistines (v 4) and according to the Biblical record stood nearly 9′ 9″ and his body armour weighed 80 kg or about 160 pounds. He was there to intimidate his opponents. It’s what giants do best. Most liberal theologians discount the story of Goliath’s defeat by a young shepherd boy with a sling, as little more than a myth. However, Israeli archaeologist Dr. Aren Maeir — from Tel Aviv Bar-Ilan University — put these notions to rest when he announced finding Goliath in 2005. 

Phil Robertson: “You can only run the ole’ sex, drugs and rock and roll so far.”

“I am Second” — a ministry based in Dallas, Texas — started five years ago. Their vision is producing videos of people’s lives transformed by the Gospel of Christ. In their most recent production (watch it at the end of this post), Duck Dynasty’s Phil and Kay Robertson, their son Jep and grandson Reed share testimonies of how the Holy Spirit turned their lives around. In an interview with Fox411, the film’s producer Scott Mayo says “They have this incredible story about their life and faith, and wanted to tell this story to inspire others… just because they are on TV doesn’t make them perfect.”

Believing God or testing God

Several years ago, the wife of a couple I knew found a lump in her breast. The couple suspected it was breast cancer, but they made the purposeful decision to avoid medical treatment. Instead, they chose to believe God for her healing. They believed and prayed for about a year. The woman’s condition became worse. When the couple finally decided to go for medical help, it was too late. A few months later she was dead. 

Casual sex increases both depression and suicidal thoughts.

Casual sex connected to depression and suicidal thoughts

Researchers at Ohio State University discovered a link between casual sex and poor mental health. This included increased depression and thoughts of suicide.  They interviewed 10,000 students in grades 7 to 12 and then re-interviewed them between the ages of 18 to 26. The research group specifically surveyed them on depression and suicidal thoughts. Of these students, 29% said they participated in casual sex (women 24%, men 33%).

Have archaeologists discovered the remains of one of the first Messianic congregations. Photo Alter from Magdala synagogue Wikipedia/Hanay

First Messianic synagogue discovered?

Archaeologists with the Israeli Antiquity Authority say they may have discovered remnants of one of the first Messianic Jewish congregations in Israel. Messianic Jews believe Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. Messianic Jews made up the congregations of the early church who wrestled with incorporating Jesus’ teachings into their Jewish faith (Acts 15:1-12). Archaeologists discovered the remarkably well-preserved synagogue on the outskirts of the ancient city of Magdala also called Migdal. This is the community where Mary Magdalene was from. 

patti-IfeltlikeIDIED

“I felt like I died” — Patti’s heart-rendering testimony about her abortion

When the pro abortion movement launched its “1-in-3” campaign calling on women to share their happy memories on abortion, Virtue Media knew it needed to counter this message. The stats showed many women who abort a baby will suffer depression and even substance abuse as a result. The abortion movement will use the pro-choice testimonies in celebrations planned for 32 states. They based the “1-in-3” campaign name on their belief a third of women will have an abortion in their lifetime. At the end of October 2013, Virtue Media released six ads featuring heart-rending testimonies of women and their abortion experience. In this ad, we hear Patti’s testimony about her abortion at age 16. Though it happened years earlier, her grief is still real today.

Scottish activists pressure government to force sex ed on Christian schools

In its news release, the Scottish Secular Society (SSS) said it strongly opposed the government’s decision to allow Christian parents and faith schools to exempt themselves from the Scotland’s new sex ed program. Called Relationships, Sexual Health and Parent Hood Education, the program is still in its draft form and a provision —  the “conscience clause” — allows parents to exempt their children and schools from participating due to faith. The SSS is demanding the removal of the “conscience clause.” The organization believes the government should compel all parents and students to take part in the program, whether they want to or not. 

Mark of the beast, a cross-country race and November 11th

When Codie Thacker received her bib with the number she would represent in the race, it  sickened her. Her coach, Gina Croley, aware of Codie’s Christian faith, knew immediately there was trouble. Codie attends Whitley County High School in Williamsburg, KY. She was racing in a regional cross-country race — the winner would move on to the state championship. The number Codie received — 666 — represented the Mark of the Beast or Antichrist mentioned in the Book of Revelation. 

If you had faith the size of a Mulberry tree, you could say to this mustard seed be cast into the sea, and it would obey you. Photo Mustard Seed. There are many varieties of Mustard and seeds vary in size. The seed in Jesus name was probably even smaller than this Mustard seed.

A strange answer to the disciples’ plea for more faith

[by Dean Smith] One day, the disciples asked Jesus to “increase their faith” (Luke 17:5).  They wanted to know the tantalizing secret behind Christ’s success. The disciples had followed Jesus for a several months and saw Him do an endless array of miracles and deliverances. In comparison, they looked at their own meagre exploits and concluded that Jesus was a man with great quantities of faith to perform such tremendous miracles. To the disciples it was a very simple formula: “More Faith = More Miracles.” 

How did an atheist end up as president of the student union at a Christian College? Photo Northwestern Christian University: Google Earth

The great pretenders: Look who is infiltrating the church

It shouldn’t surprise us. The Apostle Paul warned this would happen a couple of centuries earlier. The Apostle Paul was on his way to Jerusalem and in what was his last good-bye to the elders of Ephesus, Paul charged them to watch for wolves who would try to infiltrate the church (Acts 20:17-38). Jesus made the same warning, though He was a bit more descriptive describing them as wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing (Mathew 7:15a NASV) Wolves disguised as sheep. It is not something believers in the West understand. But Christians in communist and muslim countries are always on their guard as governments and religious extremists purposefully try to infiltrate churches with their agents. These are the wolves being referred to by Jesus and Paul.

Oh God, we cry out for Your mercy

Oh God, we cry out for Your Mercy. Oh God, we cry out for Your Grace. Oh God, we cry out set us free. Oh God, we cry out once again. I never heard of Kim Walker, but I love this song.  She is singing with her worship group the “Jesus Culture Band.” Kim resides in Redding, CA with her husband Skyler and son Wyatt. She is a recording artist and worship leader at Bethel Church in Redding. I came across this song on tworiversblog.com, the official blog for Two Rivers, a new church work in Binghamton, New York. It is an interesting blog, check it out.  

Just in case you haven’t seen “God’s Not Dead” trailer

According to Jeremy Carlson with Lifeway films, the trailer for God’s Not Dead is the most watched trailer on Facebook this year — having racked up 6.5 million views. This is in addition to its 1.4 million likes and nearly 800,000 shares. The Christian movie stars Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Andromeda, Soul Surfer), Shane Harper (Good Luck Charlie, High School Musical 2) and even has guest appearances by a couple of my favourites — Willie and Kory Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. The movie follows Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) in his first year in college. One of his courses is a philosophy class taught by the notorious Dr. Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson is renowned for his outrageous antics and dictatorial role in class. 

Messianic Jews are persecuted in Israel. Photo Dome of the Rock and Western Wall in Jerusalem: Wikipedia/Golasso

Young Messianic Jew’s tax evasion causes a stir in Israel

Israeli custom officer Yigal Malka was so shocked by the telephone call, he contacted a major Israeli newspaper — Yedoit Aharonot — about what happened. At the end of October 2013, a young Messianic girl bought a Samsung Galaxy S4 cellphone while travelling in India. Messianic Jews believe Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and include Jesus and the New Testament in their Jewish faith. There are about 20,000 Messianic Jews and 150 congregations in Israel. When the young woman returned to Israel via the Jordan River border crossing, she failed to declare her purchase. In Israel all purchases made outside the country are taxable. These purchases must be declared at the border and taxes paid. 

An image of Jesus healing the woman with the issue of blood from the Roman Catacombs 4 AD. Wikipedia {PD Art}

Where do healing and miracles come from?

The dramatic healing of a dwarf in a church in England teaches an important truth about healing. Jesus said His disciples would perform more miracles than He did during His brief ministry. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12 NASV) Though these miracles would come through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49), believers are the instruments through which this healing power flows. An article in the Daily Mail reporting on a miraculous healing in England demonstrates this principle at work. 

What Britney Spears teaches us about parenting and planting seeds

In a Twitter question and answer to promote her latest CD “Britney Jean,” pop star Britney Spears caused a stir when asked what her favourite book was. Britney tweeted “Anything by Max Lucado.” Lucado is a preacher and prolific Christian writer. He ministers at Oak Hill Church in San Antonio, Texas and has written 100 books including “You’ll get through this.” Britney’s choice of Lucado proved controversial among Britney’s gay followers as Lucado publicly opposed gay marriage. Though her interest in Lucado seems surprising, it shouldn’t. Britney comes from a Christian home.

Does Holland’s blood-red water forewarn of end time events?

The water in a canal in Nootdorp, Holland turned blood red and it left some residents wondering about its symbolism. The Book of Revelation speaks of cataclysmic events that will mark the Second Coming of Christ. The Apostle John’s end times visions prophesied that oceans and rivers would turn blood red: The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died. Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. (Revelation 16:3-4 NASV) An earlier verse in chapter 8 verse 8 says up to a third of the oceans will be affected. This implies not all the water will turn red, but obviously a significant amount and certainly enough to catch everyone’s attention. In perhaps a precursor to this end time event, there are stories of water turning blood red in different parts of the world. The latest was in Nootdorp, Holland. 

Paul's miraculous healing from a back injury enabled him to enter triathlons. Photo: Ironman competitors enter the water. Wikipeida/Jkrabbe

Ironman triathlete tells of his incredible healing and being “slain in the Spirit”

Paul Hickman believed Christianity was for “weak-minded” people. He considered it little more than a “crutch.” But Paul, 61, had a problem. Major back surgery decades years earlier left him in excruciating pain. To deal with the pain, he took 20 pain killers daily, but it had little effect. He even attempted suicide in a failed attempt to escape the incessant torment. In an interview with Inspire Magazine, Paul tells tells of a miraculous healing that changed his life. Paul was invited to a Christian sports dinner by former professional soccer player Mick Mellow who along with Linvoy Primus, another former soccer pro, operate a program called Faith and Football. At the dinner, event speaker Bob Maine invited people who needed healing to come forward for prayer. 

Bodian Castle is one big optical illusion. Photo: alh1/Foter/CC -BY-ND

A Mighty Fortress is our God — our wedding song

A unique rendition of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God, my favourite hymn, sung by Brian Doerksen. My wife basically planned our wedding many years ago. I only wanted one thing. I wanted her to come down the aisle with this song. I know this is not a traditional wedding song, but it was a powerful entrance. Brian Doerksen is a song writer and worship leader based in Abbotsford, B.C., Canada.