What Nehemiah Did and How You Can Do Anything: Chapter 5 and conclusion, Locate the North Star. [by Sandy McIntosh] Today we have ISIS, a militant group that has kidnapped and sold young women as slaves, beheaded Egyptian Christians with knives, and burned a Jordanian pilot with gasoline, in a cage. The group strives with great energy, but success eludes them. We also have Vladimir Putin in Russia who lost controlling influence over Ukraine when its corrupt government collapsed. He responded by occupying Ukrainian Crimea, resulting in the devastation of that region’s economy. Crimea was followed by the subversive invasion of eastern Ukraine. Affected areas of Ukraine are now in ruins and the population is growing desperate. Success also eludes Mr Putin, in spite of his great efforts.
[by Earl Blacklock] In November of 1951, Captain John Paladino was a fighter pilot, flying an F-86 Sabre jet fighter over North Korea. He was flying home from an air attack on enemy railroads when the unthinkable happened. At 32,000 feet, Captain Paladino’s oxygen equipment failed, and he passed out, unconscious. “The first I knew I was in trouble was when the instruments went hazy. That’s all I remember”, Paladino recalled. Flying with the stricken pilot were friends Jack Miller and Wood McArthur. They watched with concern as they saw Paladino take a sharp drop to the left. After dropping a few thousand feet, Paladino’s plane went through the sound barrier, then suddenly pitched up into a climb.
[by Dean Smith] I won’t pretend to understand anything these guys are talking about, but I am always fascinated when scientists talk of Quantum mechanics. In a recent study, a scientist has suggested that contrary to our personal experience time runs both forward and backwards. Our experience with time is that it goes from the past to present to future and only the past and present can affect the future. However, professor Kater Murch from Washington University has been looking at quantum mechanics and discovered that time in the quantum world seems to run both ways. And by doing so, the future has the ability to change the past. As odd as this sounds, I sometimes wonder if these strange theories may help us understand some puzzling statements made by Jesus in the Gospels. But before we get to those verses, let me explain a bit more about Murch’s theory.
[by Wayne Johnston] Now that Christmas is behind us for this year, I would like to write about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Lots has been written over the years of her great attributes, her holiness and purity of spirit; many songs have been written, paintings painted, and her statues fill churches all over the world, signaling her out as the “highly favoured one” of God (Luke 1:28). Can you imagine how you would feel if God sent Gabriel to you one night to announce that in God’s eyes you are a “highly favoured one”? Would you look for your statues in churches alongside Mary’s?
[by Barb Smith] For the past two years, I have been on a journey seeking answers for my damaged emotions which, I believe, also affected my physical well-being. I realize now, my greatest struggles have come from my fear of rejection stemming from insecurities about myself, my appearance and my relationships. I couldn’t say “no” to anything or anyone because I was trying to please people. I spiritualized my actions thinking I was denying myself and making sacrifices. It felt biblical.
[by Dean Smith] This past January, it was broadcast that 2014 was the warmest year on record. As I recently wrote, a major English newspaper, The Telegraph, reported there was some re-jigging of the original temperature data that resulted in 2014 winning the award for the hottest year. One area in South America showed some of the highest temperatures. However, when others fact checked the original temperature data they found something strange. Between 1950 and 2011, the original temperature data from rural weather stations in Paraguay showed temperature had dropped 1 degree C. However, once this temperature data was adjusted, the temperature data instead showed a 1.5 degree Centigrade increase.
Bordered by Cambodia, China, Vietnam and Thailand, Laos is a landlocked, communist country in Southeast Asia. Officially called Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Transparency International labelled Laos as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Last year, the government charged five church leaders with practicing medicine without a license because they prayed for a sick woman. Morning Star News is reporting on a legal decision that came down February 12, 2015, the five Christians were each fined US$62 and sentenced to nine months in jail. The group must also pay the family of the deceased woman US$2,448 for emotional distress and funeral costs.
[by Dean Smith] If you are looking for films with a bit of death and gore, you may find exactly what you want in the cartoons set aside for your children. According to a report released in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) this past December, children’s cartoons and movies are full of death often surpassing levels found in adult dramas. The research team, led by Ian Colman, associate professor of epidemiology at Canada’s University of Ottawa, used a “Kaplan-Meler survival analysis” to compare when the first death occurred in a group of top 135 grossing movies — 45 considered children’s entertainment and 90 adult-themed.
[by Dean Smith] In an earlier post, I discussed Jesus’ parable on prayer. It involved a woman’s run-in with a corrupt judge (Luke 18:2-8). It was an interesting passage as the Greek words portrayed intercession as little more than a street fight. As Jesus wraps up this teaching, He clearly wants to separate our Heavenly Father from the character of the Judge and says: “Now will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry [boao] to Him day and night, and will he delay long over them.” (v 7 NASV) Where the judge was selling justice to the highest bidder, God wants to bring justice to those who cry out for help. Where corrupt judges delay justice as a subtle hint money is needed to open doors, God wants to answer quickly.
[by Dean Smith] For now I will call it a coincidence, but this past Wednesday, Israel announced the finding of a huge cache of gold coins by amateur divers off the coast of Caesarea. At first they thought the coins were fake because they were in such good condition. But the divers turned them over to a specialist for examination who discovered these were actually gold coins dated to the 10th and 11th century. But here is where it gets interesting, the coins were part of a Muslim caliphate that ruled North Africa during the tenth century. A caliphate is an Islamic state ruled by a political/religious leader called a caliph with either spiritual or hereditary connections to the prophet Muhammad. A Caliph’s power is absolute and the state is under Sharia law.
[by Dean Smith] We all struggle for answered prayer. Sometimes we wonder if God even heard us. When we look at the Gospels, Jesus used a variety of parables to teach on prayer. One found in Luke 18:2-8 — involves a widow who was taken advantage of by an unscrupulous person and went before a judge seeking legal help. We are told the judge did not fear God and did not respect man (v 2). It was a simple way of saying he was corrupt. Justice was for sale in this town.
Phil Robertson, the family patriarch of A&E’s popular reality show, Duck Dynasty, will be receiving the “Citizens United/Breitbart.com” award for free speech later this month. This is the second year the award has been handed out. Called the “Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award,” it will be given to Phil Robertson at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to be held in National Harbor, Maryland, February 25-28, 2015. Phil is the founder of Duck Commander, a Duck call manufacturer, on which the Duck Dynasty show is based.
[by Dean Smith] Researchers from the Psychiatry Institute at London, England’s King’s College say Marijuana is to blame for 25% of the new mental disorders affecting young people today. This includes delusions, hallucinations and hearing voices, symptoms often associated with bipolar and schizophrenia. They blame the problem on the new super-charged Marijuana, called skunk, which is much more powerful than other, often older strains, of Cannabis. In their study reported in the Mail Online, the group says young people need to be warned “about the risks of high-potency cannabis amid a world-wide trend towards relaxing drug laws.”
Cuban Doctors have discovered a more lethal form of HIV in some patients on that island nation. Normally, it takes anywhere from five to 10 years for HIV to develop into full-blown AIDs. An individual’s health usually plays a role in how quickly that happens. However, this new form of HIV is making the transition in three years and the individual’s health does not seem to be a factor.
[by Earl Blacklock] When Canadian bush pilot Robert Gauchie left Cambridge Bay on February 2, 1967, he had every reason to be confident he would arrive in Yellowknife, less than six hours away, by late afternoon. He flew a single-engine Beaver, built to be both rugged and reliable. He had every kind of communication and navigational aid available. Just over two hours later, Gauchie encountered a driving snowstorm. When he attempted to set up an instrument course, he discovered two crucial instruments – his turn-and-bank indicator and his artificial horizon – were not working. Descending quickly, he flew by sight until he spotted a stretch of clear ice. There he set his craft down.
[by Dean Smith] A video released on the Twitter account of a website used by the Islamic State (IS) purports to show the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians. The same website has shown verified beheadings of westerners. According to the video producers, the execution took place in Tripoli Province, Libya by a group claiming association with IS. On the video, armed IS members march a group dressed in orange down to a beach near Tripoli, Libya’s capital city. Before their execution, one IS member says:
According to two reports released by the Family Research Council, (FRC) by age 17, 83% of Black children are living in broken homes. By the same age, 46% of white children are no longer living with both biological parents. Over the last 60 years, the problem has steadily worsened with an increasing number of children being affected by broken families. Between 1950 and 2012, the number of black teens aged 15 to 17, who lived in a family made up of both biological parents had declined by 21%. For white children, the decrease was 13%.
[by Dean Smith] While the Bible provides a first-hand account of the crucifixion of Christ, some have discredited the story as being little more than fabrication. However, the discovery of a crucified man in a tomb outside of Jerusalem in 1968 tossed cold water on these opinions. The discovery was made by Jewish archaeologist Vassilios Tzaferis. He found the bones of a crucified man in an ossuary or burial box in a tomb. After death, bodies were wrapped in cloth and laid out on shelves in the tomb. After decomposition, family members transferred the bones to an ossuary — small boxes (16 inches to 28 inches long). The name on this box was “Yehohanan son of Hagakol.” He was a 25 to 30-year-old man and based on the tomb contents from a wealthy family.
A study on Marijuana usage published in the Journal of Affective Disorders concluded there is a “significant link” between Cannabis usage and having delusions, aggressive behavior, hearing voices, hyperactivity and sleeping disorders — all symptoms of bipolar. In the study, lead researcher Dr. Steven Marwaha was particularly concerned about the impact the drug had on adolescents adding that “Cannabis is the most prevalent drug used by under-18s.”
[by Earl Blacklock] Elyesa Bazna was the butler for the British Ambassador to Turkey in the final years of World War II. He was also the highest paid spy in history – at least on paper. Bazna is known to history as Cicero, his German code name. He approached the German embassy in Ankara with an offer they couldn’t refuse – an opportunity to regularly see the contents of British Ambassador Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen’s home safe. The Ambassador was careless about following procedure, regularly bringing sensitive documents home. He was unaware that his trusted valet had made a copy of the key to his safe, and was regularly rifling it for secrets.
[by Dean Smith] In January, news was broadcast around the world that 2014 was the warmest year on record. In fact, the stats for those promoting this opinion showed there was only a 38% chance this prediction was right, and a 62% chance it was wrong. But in a matter of days 38% became a 100% fact. However, some in the media began to notice the discrepancy and published their concerns about the prediction. Now a major English newspaper, The Telegraph, is reporting another bizarre twist in the claim 2014 was the hottest year on record.
[by Dean Smith] I am sure the Christian parents of mega-pop star Katy Perry have struggled as they watched their daughter climb the heights of stardom while seemingly walking away from her faith. Katy’s parents, Keith and Mary Hudson, are Pentecostal pastors now based in Santa Barbara, CA. They minister through the US preaching the Gospel. Katy grew up in a Christian home, attended a Christian school and for a time even sang Gospel music. But as her popularity grew, she walked away from her faith. In a 2013 interview with a woman’s magazine, Marie Claire, Katy stated she no longer “believes in an old man sitting on a throne” and certainly her lifestyle would back up that statement. But things are never as cut and dried as they seem and this applies to all children of Christian parents.
What Nehemiah Did and How You Can Do Anything: Chapter 4, Analyze and Manage Risk [by Sandy McIntosh] Nehemiah was the great project manager of the Bible. We are told to live by faith, and that is what he did. The repair-Jerusalem project was not possible, and he was the wrong person for the job, but he did it anyway. He was highly motivated, he clearly defined the need, he measured carefully, and then he met the enemies who wanted to kill him.
[by Dean Smith] Kim Kardashian, 34, is an American TV celebrity most famous for her reality TV show Keeping up with the Kardashians. It was rumored she was the highest paid reality star at the time. She has since branched out to other TV programs, movies and the retail and fashion industry. Her father, Robert Kardashian, is a 3rd generation American-Armenian and most famous for his role in helping defend former NFL star OJ Simpson in his notorious murder trial in 1995. Research by the Daily Mail has recently uncovered a strange story of how a prophetic word by a 11-year-old boy saved Kim’s family on her father’s side from the Armenian genocide.
[by Dean Smith] Attending emergency physician, Dr Jeremy Garrett, called it a ‘bonafide miracle.’ On Martin Luther Day (January 19, 2015), John Smith, 14, along with two friends were out on the frozen waters of Missouri’s Lake Saint Louise when the three fell through the ice. According to KDSK TV, by the time rescuers from the St. Louis Fire Department arrived, one of the two friends had dragged himself out and the other was hanging on to the ice. John, however, could not be seen. After being under water for about 15 minutes, rescuers found John and dragged him out. With no pulse, paramedics performed CPR as they rushed the boy to the hospital but believed there was little hope of recovery.
The Chinese government has just announced the release of Julia Garratt from custody. She and her husband Kevin Garratt were arrested by Chinese authorities on August 4, 2014 and charged with espionage. I discussed this in detail in an earlier post. People who knew the Garratts were dumbfounded by the accusation. Most believe it was no coincidence the Chinese government arrested the Garratts days after the Canadian government accused the Chinese of hacking into a government agency — the National Research Council of Canada — to steal vital economic and technological data.
Tony (Anthony) Greve had it all. He played guitar for a popular alternative-rock band Pop Evil which he had joined in 2007. The band had four top ten singles, and Anthony was a rock star with all its trappings. But in the midst of Pop Evil’s growing popularity, Anthony struggled with depression. The more popular the band became, the deeper his depression. In an article on Charisma, Anthony described it this way:
[by Dean Smith] After the unfortunate shooting of Terrance Walker, 21, by a police officer, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke went on Fox News to explain the situation. He was responding to criticism by a local chapter of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) that described the incident as a “shoot first, ask questions later” killing of another young black man. Police allege Walker had a gun and was stalking his girlfriend. A pastor, officiating a wedding, called police when Walker showed up outside the church.
[by Dean Smith] This past Christmas, Paul Carrol, 51, and his wife Margaret, 60, were playing with a Ouija Board in their home in Consett, County Durham, England when according to their testimony a “bad spirit” possessed their dog. Paul then killed the dog. He hacked the dog’s body apart and stuffed it down a drain in their backyard. It was later uncovered by a utility crew sent in to unplug the line. The remains were turned over to the police. According to the Northern Echo, Paul has since pled guilty to causing “unnecessary suffering” to an animal.
[by Earl Blacklock] Leprosy is a chronic bacterial infection which causes disfiguring skin lesions, blindness, and absorption of bones and cartilage. Formally known as Hansen’s disease, leprosy is only mildly communicable. Nevertheless, over a period spanning thousands of years, it has been a disease that has meant fear, rejection, and personal terror. Since its first diagnosis in the United States, thousands of people contracted the disease. Those diagnosed with the disease suffered shame and sorrow. Starting in 1921, public health authorities in the United States sent patients diagnosed with leprosy to the Public Health Service Center in Carville, Louisiana for isolation and treatment. Mail to the outside could only be sent by a staff member, after sterilization.
What Nehemiah Did and How You Can Do Anything: Chapter 3, Measure [by Sandy McIntosh] You can do great things, and riding a donkey is an important step. Nehemiah is a famous Bible character who never led a victorious army or performed amazing miracles. He worked hard with his best skill set, and trusted God to multiply the results. We can all do that. And we should. For the things that we build we need project common sense, something Nehemiah had. The greatness of this builder really stood out on the night he rode the donkey.
[by Dean Smith] Stan Mitchell, 46, says he is being moved along by a Divine wind, others suspect the movement is coming from his proverbial slide down a slippery slope. Mitchell is pastor of GracePointe Church in Franklin, Tennessee and though he considers himself an Evangelical others question that claim. The church recently announced that homosexuals and others “living in sin” will now be able to serve in leadership positions in the church. He added the church will also marry homosexual couples.