Month: March 2014

Shouldering Government?

Our age of instant data, micro-dinners and quick fixes too often carries over into our efforts to understand God’s Word, the Bible.  Now, I’ve been guilty of this as well; you don’t understand a verse, so, a quick Hebrew or Greek definition that suits your purpose and presto! – the heavens open, angels sing, and you are now armed with all knowledge and wisdom? No? Sometimes the Hebrew word for “pot” means “pot”, and the Greek word for “hungry” may just mean “hungry”.  What then? Well, you may have to dig a little deeper, spend a little more time (in the Greek “cronos”) and get into the background of a passage.  Bridging the cultural, historical, and geographical gap from our world to that of the Bible passage can produce a rich, vast landscape of texture and color to a seemingly puzzling passage.  Advertisements

Former ‘Two and a Half Men’ star felt like a ‘paid hypocrite’

Looking back, Angus T. Jones, 20, says he regrets the way he handled his criticism of “Two and a Half Men”. “Two and a half men” is a popular CBS TV series that features two brothers Charlie (originally played by Charlie Sheen), Alan (Jon Cryer) and Alan’s son, Jake (Angus T. Jones). Charlie is a bachelor who leads a hedonistic life. When Alan’s wife divorces him, he moves in with Charlie and Jake joins the two brothers on the weekend. In November 2012, Jones came out publicly against the show calling it “filth” and warning people off watching the program. Angus was feeling conflicted. He was in the process of renewing his faith in God and was finding it difficult reconciling this renewed interest with what was happening in the series. 

Paga: The intercessor as a warrior

I have been doing a study on the Hebrew word ‘paga’ translated as intercessor or intercession in the Old Testament. This word has a large range of meanings and each of these help us better understand intercessory prayer. In my previous article, we saw ‘paga’ meant hitting the mark and discussed how God wants to guide the prayer of the intercessor. In this post, I want to look at a third usage of the word ‘paga’ — it means conflict or war. The word is used 15 times in the Old Testament to describe battle. In fact, it became synonymous for “falling upon” people or attacking them. (1 Samuel 22:17, Judges 8:21; Judges 15:12, 2 Samuel 1:15). 

God’s Big Bang at creation?

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 NASV) In an article in the New York Times, radio astronomers state they have found gravitational waves rippling through space that confirms the Big Bang theory. Gravitational waves — like waves that form when you throw a rock in a pool of water — are believed to be ripples in the space-time continuum that formed when the universe was first created. Astronomer John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithonian Center of Astrophysics said his team discovered gravitational waves that Albert Einstein predicted would occur if the Big Bang theory was correct. But perhaps more startling is they detected the starting point of the universe. The universe as we know it, did not always exist. Many thought this would be another attack on the Biblical creation account. In fact, the exact opposite has happened.

What happens when an atheist professor becomes a Christian?

UPDATED JULY 28, 2014: Through federal mediation, the University of North Carolina (UNC) and Dr. Mike Adams have reached an agreement on his winning lawsuit involving discrimination. UNC has agreed to pay Dr. Adams: $615,000 for attorney fees and costs; and $50,000 in back pay. The UNC has further agreed: To pay Dr. Adams an annual salary of $75,000; To use reviewers from outside his department when conducting annual evaluations; and To drop all cases it has against Dr. Adams. UPDATED APRIL 9, 2014: The jury announced its decision today. The University of North Carolina (UNC) must pay Dr. Mike Adams $50,000 and award him a full professorship back to 2007 because the university discriminated against Adams due to his conservative Christian views. Alliance Defending Freedom lead counsel Kevin Theriot said after the announcement: “This is a great day not only for Dr. Adams but for all who value academic freedom. The court’s order reminds universities that they cannot retaliate against those who simply express opinions that some officials do not like.” Read the full …

So what happens next? Putins project of war

The whole world knows that Ukraine has been in turmoil for several months, and recently the Crimea region of Ukraine was occupied and annexed by Russia. Many Ukrainians have criticized other nations, because they have “helped” with only criticism and mild sanctions against Russia. The pattern of aggression from Russia resembles Nazi Germany’s expansion at the beginning of World War II and there is real potential for the crisis to become a serious war. The situation is scary, and some Christians have wondered if this is the beginning of the end and if Vladimir Putin is the Antichrist. So should we be afraid? There are at least two things we should know:

2013 Bible survey reveals Americans are concerned about the rapid changes taking place in society

In 2013, the American Bible Society (ABS) surveyed Americans to find out their views and usage of the Bible. The survey is conducted annually on behalf of ABS by the Barna Group, a major surveying company in the U.S. The survey showed, for example, that one in six people bought a Bible in 2013 and there is an average of 4.4 Bibles per home in America. But there was one result that did more than reveal their thoughts on the Bible, it also showed the profound concerns Americans have about the dramatic changes taking place in their society. Curiously, the survey also suggested this change is occurring at a very rapid pace. 

The telltale signs of a friend

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  Proverbs 27:6 (NKJ) One of my own sayings that I often use is, “I’d rather be hurt by the truth than follow a pleasant lie.”  To me this is essential for surviving in the Kingdom; it should be a no-brainer.  Those who call themselves believers are often referred to as seekers of truth, those who follow the light. If I’m walking in an area of darkness and a brother or sister turns on the light for me, I want to thank them for their faithfulness – as soon as my eyes stop hurting, that is! I’m all for encouraging others – we all need encouragement – but never let that stop us from speaking the truth in love.  Sometimes the truth hurts, but that’s okay; that’s what fellowship is supposed to be about. 

After driving 20 hours, young man asks to be water baptized by ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson

Brian Richards lives in New Jersey and earlier this month he travelled to West Monroe, LA, the home town of the Robertson clan of ‘Duck Dynasty’ fame. It took him 20 hours to make the drive. On arriving, Brian went to White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ (Sunday, March 16, 2014) where the Robertson’s attend church. At the church, he asks to be baptized by the ‘Duck Dynasty’ patriarch, Phil Robertson. 

Swedish mega pastor converts to Catholicism

It has sent shock waves through the Swedish evangelical community. On March 10, 2014, Swedish mega pastor Ulf Ekman announced to the church he founded over 30 years ago that he and his wife were converting to the Roman Catholic faith. Ekman had pastored Word of Life, the largest Evangelical church in Sweden with a membership of 3,300 people, since its start in 1983. In March 2013, he stepped down as head pastor, leading to his recent announcement a year later.

Diversity: The new face of censorship

di·ver·si·ty noun \də-ˈvər-sə-tē, dī-\ : the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc. This is how the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines diversity. It is supposed to allow for all ideas, but in fact the new diversity being thrown about today is having the opposite effect. Lord Neuberger is President of England’s Supreme Court. In a speech to England’s House of Commons, reported in The Telegraph, Neuberger warned about the new level of public censorship rising in England — cleverly disguised as diversity  — which he described as “insidious” attempt to restrict free speech.  He referred to it as “censoriousness.” Lord Neuberger said it is revealing itself particularly in the area of sexuality (homosexuality and gay marriage) where there is an attempt to shut down any discussion on issues of sexuality that some no longer consider acceptable.  

The Quebec government wants to force Christians to teach paganism

In 2008, the Quebec government introduced a compulsory program — Ethics and Religious Culture — requiring schools including Catholic and private Christian/church schools in the province to teach all religions including paganism, Wicca and Christianity. The program also forbids teachers, including those in Christian schools, from presenting their personal views on the material. They must present all religions as “equally valid.” According to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom everyone has the freedom of religion and conscience and can’t be forced to compromise their religious convictions.

Problems with the theory of evolution mount as more soft tissue discovered in fossilized bones

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” — Sherlock Holmes speaking to evolutionists, err… Watson The fossils are supposed to be 130 million years old, but they apparently never received the latest evolutionary memo. I am talking about a massive dinosaur find in China, that some have likened to Jurassic Park because of the incredible amount of fossils discovered. Throw in the fact they are finding soft tissue in the fossils and visions of cloning dinosaurs and yet another Jurassic Park sequel quickly flood your mind. 

The brave new America: Threatening grieving mothers?

There has been a radical change in America over the past few years and perhaps the Devaney cross in many ways symbolizes this transformation. When 19-year-old Anthony Devaney died after being hit by a car while crossing a street in Lake Elsinore, California in May 2012, his grieving mother AnnMarie Devaney wanted to mark the spot by putting up a cross. She and her family erected the cross near where Anthony died in December of the same year. But according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise (RPE), when the Washington D.C.-based, American Humanist Association found out about the cross, they immediately sent the family a demand letter ordering the cross removed because it was on government property — a city right-of-way.

Forgotten History: Bring Your Game

March 6, 1955 is a day in Canadian history that most of us never heard of. In the heart of the cold war, the mighty Soviet Union aimed at world domination in all things, including sports. They invented “amateur” status for hockey players who were paid as military personnel, often as senior officers. These players were trained, fed and groomed in every way to own amateur hockey, thus proving that the Communist system was superior in all things. The system was not fair, but it was clear the Russians owned the world championship. Canada had a simple system, whoever won the Allan Cup national championship, got a trip to Europe for the worlds in Krefeld Germany. Penticton beat Sudbury in a seven game series, one of the best ever, and so a bunch of mill hands from nowhere, the Penticton Vs, crossed the ocean in 1955. 

The miraculous return of a kidnapped child: God’s hand was all over it

As I watched the story unfold in fall 2011, I sensed God’s hand. An expert in the field of child abduction said in his 25 years of experience, he had seen nothing like it. It was unusual as it was miraculous. But it wasn’t until a few days later that it came to light the parents – Paul and Tammy Hebert — were Christians and hours of prayer by them, friends and members of the Baptist church they attended had gone up for the safe return of the abducted child. The Heberts who have eight children also homeschooled. 

Muslims claim ‘Superman’ is a Jewish conspiracy

A Hezbollah TV station based in Lebanon, Al-Manar, recently claimed ‘Superman’ is a Jewish conspiracy. And it’s not just ‘Superman,’ but this applies to all superheroes. According to Israel today, in a report that aired the last week of February 2014, Al-Manar stated Jews created Superman to take “over the world’s greatest power, controlling all aspects of her daily life and harnessing it in service to Jewish interests all over the world.”

Syrian Islamic militants demand Christians become ‘dhimmi’ and pay Jizya — a ‘protection’ tax

A militant Islamic group in Northern Syria, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is demanding Christians living in the region pay a ‘protection tax’ to make sure the militants won’t kill them. The ruling affects the province of Raqqa. Al Raqqa, the provincial capital population 300,000, fell to rebel insurgents in March 2013.  Prior to the Syrian civil war there were 3,000 Christians living in Al Raqqa.  According to reports, ISIS is requiring every wealthy adult Christian male pay a Jizya tax of four golden dinars, middle class males two golden dinars and poor ones, one dinar. Four golden dinars is about $750 US. They can pay the tax over two payments.

Paga: Hitting the mark in intercession

In my previous article on the Hebrew word “paga,” translated intercession in the Old Testament, I discussed one of its primary meanings which is “making contact” with God. This is what differentiates prayer and intercession. While prayer is one way communication — us talking to God, in intercession we make contact with God which leads to Him communicating with us. In the Old Testament, “paga” has many usages which give us different understandings of intercession. In this article, I want to look at the unusual way the word is used in Job 36:32. Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible and would certainly offer one of the earliest meanings of the word. This passage also suffers a horrid chapter break, as the discussion continues into chapter 37: 32 “He covers His hands with the lightning, And commands it to strike (paga) the mark … 2 “Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth. 3 “Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, And His lightning to the ends of the earth. 4 “After it, a …

Paga: The Intercessor

Prayer warriors have written many books on prayer, but this statement was not from any of these writers. It came from the driest of all — The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament . Yet, this quote from an article written by Dr. Victor Hamilton is extremely profound: “An intercessor is one who makes contact with God as opposed to many who simply dabble in prayer.” He made it while discussing the Hebrew word “paga” often translated “intercessor” or “intercession” in the Old Testament. I want to talk about intercession as defined by the word “paga.” It has a wide range of meanings and usages. Each of these shades serve up a fuller understanding of  the word.  

Evangelical Christians under fire in Mexico for not contributing to a Catholic festival

Christian Solidarity Worldwide USA (CSW) is reporting Evangelical Christians are being persecuted because of their refusal to fund a traditional Catholic festival in the village of Union Juarez in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Chiapas is Mexico’s southern-most state. CSW is calling on Mexican authorities to help the Evangelical Christians under pressure in the village. According to CSW, traditional Catholic villagers are demanding each member of the Mount Tabor Evangelical Church in the village give 500 pesos which works out to about $38 US. The members of the Evangelical church refused to pay.

Peter Hitchens: When your famous brother is an ‘atheist’ and you are not

People like me – though still allowed to speak – are allowed on to mainstream national broadcasting only under strict conditions: that we are ‘balanced’ by at least three other people who disagree with us so that our views, actually held by millions, are made to look like an eccentric minority opinion. — Peter Hitchens, May 29, 2011, The Mail on Sunday Peter Hitchens, author and award-winning journalist, is the younger brother of Christopher Hitchens (deceased) a renown atheist. Christopher, an American and a socialist, was a vocal opponent of Christianity till he died of cancer in 2011. For a time, Christopher was even a writer for the International Socialist.  During his career as an author and journalist, Christopher publicly criticized Christianity in particular, but other religions as well. He wrote a book called God is not Great where he stated that religion poisons everything. Curiously, Peter — born on Malta in 1951, son of a career naval officer — started off similar to his brother.