Month: December 2013

Regular marijuana usage causes brain abnormalities and memory loss in teens

According to research out of the U.S., teens who smoke marijuana daily can have brain abnormalities similar to people with schizophrenia. With the push towards legalization of marijuana, researchers from Illinois’ Northwest University wanted a clearer picture of the drug’s impact on a person’s brain.  The results were published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin. This is an important study as marijuana is proving a popular drug among teens. Surveys show 40% of English teens have used marijuana.  In the U.S., it is the most popular drug among young adults.

A&E backs down: Phil Robertson back on ‘Duck Dynasty’

On December 18, 2013, A&E announced it put Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson on “indefinite hiatus” because of statements he made in an interview with CG Magazine. After a massive public backlash, A&E has just announced it is changing its mind and will continue the series in 2014 with Phil Robertson as part of the popular reality show. The controversy erupted in mid December due to an interview Phil had with CG Magazine, where Phil called homosexuality a sin, and using graphic language called it illogical. An A&E representatives had monitored the interview. The backlash was immediate.

A 2009 Christmas eve miracle

On December 24, 2009, Tracy Hermanstorfer, 33, along with her husband Mike, 37, entered Colorado Springs Memorial hospital for the birth of their second child. They also had a son from Tracy’s previous marriage. While being prepped for child-birth, Tracy said she was sleepy and moments later as her shocked husband held her hand, Tracy died. She had a heart attack. The hospital medical team immediately tried to revive Tracy but nothing was working. Her heart stopped beating. She wasn’t breathing. There was no blood pressure, no signs of life. 

Frankincense: A Christmas gift that fights cancer?

When Jesus was born, the Bible records that magi through their study of astronomy realized something significant was happening. Using an ancient Biblical prophecy, God led them to Jesus (Mathew 2:1-8). We are not told how many magi there were or exactly when they showed up, but we do know they came bearing gifts. Though it’s highly doubtful Jesus was born on December 25, it is a good day as any to celebrate the occasion. The Bible focuses on Jesus’ birth much as it does His death and resurrection suggesting God wants Jesus’ birth remembered as well. One of the gifts the magi brought to honour Jesus’ birth was frankincense:

“Journey of Faith” flash mob

On December 18, 2010, singers from Journey of Faith church in Manhattan Beach, CA surprised shoppers at South Bay Galleria in nearby Redondo Beach with a flash mob presentation of Christmas carols. Journey of Faith is over a 100 years old and has strong emphasis on children’s ministry. The church started in 1911, when a group of  believers used a school bus to offer Sunday school classes to children and parents in neighbouring Hermosa, Beach. That ministry proved so popular, it quickly transformed into a full-fledged church.

Did A&E fire Phil Robertson from ‘Duck Dynasty’ over his Christian beliefs?

A&E just fired Phil Robertson because he expressed his opinions on homosexuality. They called it an indefinite hiatus, but I think everyone understands what they really meant. Phil Robertson is the senior patriarch of A&E’s popular ‘Duck Dynasty’ reality show. The program is the most watched reality show in the U.S. ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ recent Christmas program had 9 million viewers. The show is based around Duck Commander, a duck call manufacturer started by Phil and now run by the Robertson family. The Robertson clan are a strong, Christian family with a redneck edge.

Difficult times can be good for you

A study published in the Journal Social Science and Personality Science states people who successfully journey through difficult times can end up enjoying life more than those who don’t. Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada and Barcelona, Spain’s School of Management and its Universitat Pompeu Fabria surveyed 4,986 people to find out how difficult times affected them. First they asked them if they experienced difficult times such as a death in the family or divorce. Those who said yes were then asked if they had emotionally dealt with the difficulty or was it still affecting them? 

Repelling Satan’s mind games!

Have you ever felt your mind was under attack? Have you felt flooded with condemning thoughts or memories of past failure? The Apostle Paul provides insight into a possible source of these thoughts:  “But for one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Cor 2:10, 11 NASV) In this passage, Paul was referring to an incident he addressed in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 5:1-13). It involved a man living with his father’s wife — probably his step mother. 

Studies of identical twins reveal homosexuality is not genetic

According to Dr. Neil Whitehead, studies of identical twins are concluding homosexuality is not genetic.  Dr. Whitehead has a PhD in statistics and biochemistry. There are twin data-bases in a number of nations around the world containing records of thousands of twins. Since identical twins have the same DNA,  geneticists are using these repositories to study the impact of genetics. If same-sex attraction is genetic as some claim, then if one identical twin is homosexual, the other would be born that way as well. However, one of the revelations coming out of these studies is the realization homosexuality is not genetically based. 

“Little Drummer Boy” as it should be played — on a drum

In 2011, 16 year-old Winnipeg high school student Sean Quigley produced this unique arrangement of the traditional Christmas carol Little Drummer Boy. Sean not only sang, but he also played all the instruments, directed and edited the video. Winnipeg is located in the province of Manitoba in Canada. The YouTube video went viral and now has over 2.8 million views. The Winnipeg Free Press did an interview with Sean, then 18, in December 2013.  A lot has changed and not much has changed. What hasn’t changed is Sean still wears shorts in the middle of winter. Sean said he only owns one pair of long pants. What has changed is that He graduated from High School and started his own band  — Bold as Lions. The name comes from Proverbs 28:1: The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion. (NASV) Sean is also engaged to fellow band member Karli Gerbrandt. In the interview, Sean spoke of his faith: We want to be a light in the darkness in the music …

Jesus ranked the most significant person in world history

Two computer scientists, Professor Steven Skiena of Stony Brook University in New York and Charles Ward used quantitative analysis to decide who the most significant people were in world history. They studied thousands of historical figures to determine which person’s opinions had the most impact on world affairs. Using an algorithm similar to Google’s ranking system and “other data sources,” they ranked the various historical figures by importance as referenced in the English version of Wikipedia — an online encyclopedia. Their analysis concluded that Jesus Christ was the world’s most influential person. 

Brain scans shows forgiving others helps restore good mental health

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Mathew 6:12 NASV) Forgiving was a key tenet of Jesus’ teaching. For years, people treated it as purely a religious exercise, but now therapists and psychologists are understanding its importance and have embraced forgiveness as a vital counseling tool. This led researchers in England to take a closer look at forgiveness from a scientific perspective. They found evidence forgiving others may be a key to restoring good mental health. 

The Kirsten Powers story: Jesus still does Damascus road interventions

In an account reminiscent of the Apostle Paul’s Damascus road experience, Foxnews Democrat commentator Kirsten Powers tells of her life-changing encounter with Jesus in an interview with Christianity Today. Powers, who worked for the Clinton administration from 1992 to 1998, said her religious views “wavered between atheism and agnosticism.” Politics was her religion and liberalism her theology. But that all changed in 2006 on a trip to Taiwan. Kirsten said, “I woke up in what felt like a strange cross between a dream and reality. Jesus came to me and said, ‘Here I am.’”

Extraordinary dinosaur find challenges evolution

Dinosaur bones from the Hell Creek formation in Montana cause a huge problem for evolutionists. Those digging at the site actually found fossilized dinosaur bones with soft tissue inside them (blood, blood vessels, cartilage). How could there be soft tissue in bones reportedly millions of years old? In 2004, palaeontologists uncovered a large T. Rex thigh bone (supposedly 69 million years old) at the Montana dig. They broke the bone for transport, revealing what looked like un-fossilized soft tissue. 

“The More” by Downhere

This is one of my favourite songs from the Christian band — Downhere. The band’s lead singer Marc Martel caused a controversy when he won the role as lead singer in Queen’s tribute band organized by the remaining members of Queen in 2011. Called the Queen Extravaganza, people submitted Youtube videos performing for the band position they wanted to fill and people voted. Throughout his singing career, people often told Marc Martel how much he sounded like Freddie Mercury, the deceased lead singer of Queen.

Dabbling along the edges of sin

Loran Nordgren – a senior lecturer on management at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill – with his team of researchers released a study on how to escape greed and lust. The key is to avoid temptation. Though written from a secular perspective, Nordgren’s message proclaims Biblical truth. In the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon warns about the adulteress: 

New strain of HIV: More aggressive and more dangerous

Researchers at Lund University’s Clinical Virology, based in Sweden, say they have identified a new species of HIV. It is much more virulent and aggressive than previous strains of HIV and can lead to full-blown AIDs in just five years, earlier than any other strain. According to the researchers there are about 60 strains of “epidemic” HIV in the world. The researchers stated the new species of HIV called A3/02 originated in West Africa and to this point has not spread out.

Study shows prayer strengthens your self-control

In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, German psychologists Malte Friese and Michaela Wanke state prayer helps an individual with self-control. The two researchers said, “a brief period of prayer buffered the self-control depletion effect.” They added, “These results are consistent with and contribute to a growing body of work attesting to the beneficial effects of praying on self-control.” 

Belief in God helps people with anxiety and depression

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. (Psalm 56:3 NASV) A study by researchers at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, USA concluded belief in God significantly helped people with psychiatric illnesses. McLean hospital is a psychiatric affiliate with Harvard Medical School. The researchers followed 159 patients at the Behavioral Health Partial Hospital Program who were there for various psychiatric illnesses including anxiety and depression.