[by Dean Smith] The fight between Manny Pacquiao, 36, and Floyd Mayweather, 38, on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas has been billed the fight of the century. Whether it will end that way or not, the ticket prices are certainly there. Though tickets were initially priced between $1,500 to $7,500, in the secondary market they rapidly escalated in value. Some tickets on the main floor of the MGM Grand were listed at $50,000 each. The median ticket price on SeatGeek was over $10,500 compared to just $3,290 for last year’s NFL Super Bowl tickets. This makes it the most expensive sporting event ever. Boxing fans have been calling for a fight between Pacquiao (57-5-2) and Mayweather (47-0) to settle who is the undisputed best fighter in the world. Pacquiao now holds the position as the best pound-for-pound fighter and Mayweather is listed as second and was the former number one pound-for-pound fighter. But many are unaware of Pacquiao’s faith in Christ. Manny is from the Philippines. Oddly he was born in the same …
[by Earl Blacklock ] As a young man, Walter Judd attended a youth conference in Lincoln, Nebraska. He remembered little about the conference except the story of the rich young ruler. He saw in the story a choice – to put a Cause before himself, or to be a quitter. He went home and announced to his parents that he had chosen to be a medical missionary. In 1925, after graduating from medical school, Judd went to a mission hospital in China, 12 days inland. After a succession of 46 malarial attacks, he was forced to return to the United States in 1931. What he had seen in China convinced Judd that Japan was preparing for war, and that the U.S. would inevitably be embroiled in it. He tried to convince anyone who would listen that American trade was helping Japan arm. No one took his warnings seriously.
[by Dean Smith] In a recent report, the US Geological Survey (USGS) warns the chances of a great earthquake in California has increased by nearly 50%. Based on their analysis of geological faults, the USGS states the chances of a “great” earthquake of 8.0 or greater in the next 30 years has increased from 4.7% to 7%. Tom Jordan, Director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, states that the pressure on the tectonic plates that make up the San Andreas Fault is building increasing the likelihood of a massive quake. It is likened to increasing pressure on a spring that will at one point be released. Aside from a great earthquake, there is a 99% chance of an earthquake of 6.7 or higher over the next 30 years.
[by Sandy McIntosh] The Middle East is in turmoil. That’s not news, but western Christians may believe they are targets of a new religious crusade, as the persecuted enemies of Islam. There is some violence against western Christians by Muslims, but we are not a prime target. Muslim Arab and Jewish Israeli rivalry is also becoming an old story. New forces are emerging, “Great Satan” U.S.A. and the Israeli Zionists are not the only concern now. In 2013, in a suburb of Cairo Egypt, a mob of thousands of Muslims attacked a worship service in a house. They set the house on fire, dragged four men into the street, and beat them to death while the police watched and did nothing.
[by Dean Smith] In the book of Genesis, there is a word found in two verses that gives them an odd connection. When you look at the verses in their English translation you don’t immediately see this strange relationship. It has a bit of a cultural twist that we in the west miss. 8 The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. (Genesis 21:8 NASV) 10 Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master’s in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. (Genesis 24:10 NASV) The Hebrew word for camel — ‘gamal’ shows up in both these verses.
[by Dean Smith] An article in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, reports on work by researchers from Tel Aviv University transcribing messages written on shards of pottery. The shards are believed to be 2,500 years old. They found an ominous message written on one piece of broken pottery from the ancient city of Lachish that confirms the book of Jeremiah. God called the prophet/priest Jeremiah to warn Judah of its impending fall to the massive Babylonian army if the Jews under King Jehoiakim did not repent and turn back to God. Jerusalem fell to Babylon, but wasn’t destroyed and instead Judah was forced to pay tribute to the Babylonian empire.
[by Dean Smith] Dutch University Professor Olivier Marie and Ulf Zolitz of IZA recently released a study on the impact of marijuana usage at Holland’s Maastricht University. They discovered that students with easy access to marijuana had lower grades than those that didn’t. Holland legalized marijuana in 1976. Since people are only allowed to possess small quantities of the drug, this led to the rise of Cannabis cafes, where people could buy and partake. Holland has a 5 ounce possession limit compared to Colorado which allows over five times that amount. In 2011, Maastricht University introduced a curious law on campus where it only allowed Dutch, Belgian and German nationals to buy cannabis at the campus’ 13 cafes that sell the drug. It put the provision in place due to growing concerns about drug tourism.
[by Dean Smith] An American judge has recently given two chimpanzees the same rights as humans. The two chimps are part of a research lab in Stony Brook University in New York state. The Nonhuman Rights Project (NRP) took the lab to court in challenging its detention of the two primates. On April 20, 2015, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe issued a writ of habeaus corpus demanding representatives of the lab come before her court and answer the accusation the chimps are “unlawfully detained.” The hearing is tentatively booked for May 6, 2015. This is the first time any animal has received such a ruling.
[by Earl Blacklock] Japan will long be remembered as the perpetrator of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, followed by years of astonishing cruelty against those it conquered. This made them beyond redemption in the minds of most Americans. An associate of Dulles once called the behavior of the Japanese during the war “unforgiveable”. Dulles’ response? “Christ teaches us that nothing is unforgivable.” John Foster Dulles was born into a devout Christian home, a pastor’s family, in 1888. His grandfather, John Foster, was part of the team that negotiated an end to the Sino-Japanese war in 1895, and served as Secretary of State. His parents wanted him to follow his father into ministry, but his grandfather had other ideas.
[by Dean Smith] It is a strange irony. While on one hand atheists claim they can’t believe in God because there is no scientific evidence to prove His existence, yet polls show the majority of atheists believe in aliens even though there is no scientific evidence to prove their existence. Oh sure, there are YouTube videos of people claiming aliens abducted them for experimentation, but that is hardly evidence. In fact, in a documentary produced by the Discovery Channel, famed atheist and physicist Stephen Hawking expressed concern about an advanced alien society plundering earth’s resources along the Hollywood theme of War of the Worlds or Independence Day. Well, Hawking and other like-minded atheists needn’t worry, Penn State just released its analysis of 100,000 galaxies probed by NASA’s Wise space observatory. They were looking for evidence of advanced alien civilizations and found none.
George Pickering, 59, was desperate. His adult son George Jr, 27, was lying in a coma at the Tomball Medical Regional Center in Tomball, Texas. He had suffered a series of strokes and the doctors told George his son was brain-dead and they were planning to take him off life support. Pickering, who is remarried, did not have medical power of attorney in the situation. And oh yeah, the hospital was interested in harvesting his son’s organs. But desperate people do desperate things. On January 10, 2015, with gun in hand George walked into the intensive care ward where his son was under care and ordered the medical staff out of the room. In an interview with The Blaze, Pickering said he had a very simple plan, he and his son were going to die together. The police were immediately phoned and a SWAT team dispatched to the center. Before they even arrived, Pickering’s other son had taken the gun away from his dad. And over the next four hours, Pickering and the police were …
[by Dean Smith] A recent international survey by WIN/Gallup International (WGI) found that England is now one of the least religious countries in the world where only 30% of respondents said they were religious. WGI asked 64,000 people in 65 nations to rank their religious beliefs according to three statements: “A religious person,” “not a religious person” and ” a convicted atheist.” It did not break down the faith according to beliefs. Britain now joins China where only 7% considered themselves religious, Japan at 13%, Sweden 19%, Holland 26% and the Czech Republic 27% as among the least religious countries in the world.
[by Dean Smith – updated April 18, 2015] Italian police are reporting that Muslims on board a refugee boat crossing the North Mediterranean Sea from Libya threw 12 Christians off the boat. The 12 were murdered simply because they were Christians. The rubber boat held 105 people when it left Libya on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Somewhere along their journey Muslims on board became aware of the Christians. The Muslims were from Senegal, Ivory Coast and Mali. [Since we posted this story, there have been more revelations on what happened on board the raft carrying the 105 refugees. Apparently, the rubber boat started leaking and people began praying. The Muslims on board became enraged when they heard a boy praying to God instead of allah. Screaming allah is great they threw the boy overboard. When other Christians tried to help the boy, the Muslims turned on them as well.] The murdered Christians were from Ghana and Nigeria and were likely fleeing the escalating Muslim violence against Christians in those countries.
[by Dean Smith] According to a report by Dianna Theodora Kenny of various musical genres, Gospel singers have the safest and best lives. Kenny is a professor of Psychology and Music at Australia’s University of Sydney. In her study, reported in The Telegraph, Kenny tracked the deaths of 12,665 musicians between 1950 and June 2014. The singers represented 14 different musical genres including gospel, rap, country, rock, metal, punk and pop. She broke their cause of death into basic categories — the top five being accidental, suicide, homicide, heart and cancer.
[by Dean Smith] According to a report in the Daily Mail, Annabel Wilson Beam, 12, of Texas was playing with her two sisters on a hollowed out Cottonwood tree in December 2011, when she fell 30′ down inside the tree. Trapped at the bottom, emergency crews were called in to pull her out. Falling in and out of consciousness, Annabel then 9 was rushed by helicopter to nearby Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth Texas. After her arrival, MRI scans showed wounds consistent with head trauma (she had apparently hit her head three times on the way down), but other than a few bumps and bruises they could find nothing wrong with her. Annabel was eventually released. One doctor quipped: “I guess someone up there was looking out for her.” That in itself was a miracle. However, after Annabel was sent home, things started getting a bit bizarre. Annabel told her parents, Kevin and Christy Beam, that while unconscious she went to heaven and sat on Jesus’ lap. Annabel described Jesus as having dark skin, …
[by Dean Smith] In her article, The First Ache, published in the New York Times in 2008, Annie Paul reveals how doctors have discovered preemie babies as young as 20 weeks and possibly earlier experience pain in the womb. In 1983, Kanwaljeet Anand was working for a neonatal intensive care unit at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England. Part of his job involved caring for premature infants who had just gone through surgery. He noticed when these babies returned from their operations, they had weak pulses, grey skin, shallow breathing and it took hours to get their vital signs stabilized.
[by Earl Blacklock] For many of us, the knowledge that we have saved a life would embolden us and encourage us for life. Imagine saving dozens of lives. Or hundreds. Or thousands. Or tens of thousands. Now imagine being personally responsible for saving millions of lives. One man, Dr. Robert Hingson, did just that.
[by Dean Smith] A brutal murder which took place on April 28, 2014 was one of the most disturbing in England that year. It caught the media and public’s attention like no other. Ann Maguire, 61, a school teacher at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds, England was teaching a Spanish class at the school. It was supposed to be her last year as she was looking forward to retirement in the fall. She bent down for a moment to talk to one of the students in the class.
New York Times Columnist Frank Bruni recently wrote an article stating Christian churches (including Evangelical and Roman Catholic) need to change their views and start embracing gays. He even suggests Christians should be forced to change their opinion on homosexuality. The article was sparked over failed efforts by Indiana to bring in religious freedom laws in that state. In his April 3, 2015 article entitled, Bigotry, the Bible and Lessons from Indiana, Bruni referred to a number of Church denominations that have already changed their minds on homosexuality and are performing same-sex marriages. He referred to them as “prominent denominations” but they are prominent in name only. What Bruni failed to mention is since these churches changed their views, their membership numbers have plummeted.
[by Sandy McIntosh] For 30 years or more, from at least 1968 to 1998, Northern Ireland experienced “the Troubles.” I remember when the evening news always had two stories, violence in the Middle East, and violence in Ireland. For Christians like me, it was astounding that people who identified as Christian were so devoted to killing each other, in Ireland. All Christians were disgraced by the violence in Ireland. The city of Glasgow, in Scotland, is known as the toughest and meanest industrial city in Britain, not a good place for a coward, or an argument. During “the Troubles” my friend Sandy traveled from Glasgow, with a friend, to see what was happening in Northern Ireland. Two tough guys from Glasgow got off the boat in Belfast, looked around briefly, and went right back to Glasgow. They didn’t feel safe.
[by Dean Smith] Even though there is no Jewish Temple today, at one point there were actually two temples in operation at the same time and it caused some conflict. In the late 1800s, ancient papyri showed up in Middle East antiquity markets that intrigued archaeologists. Written in Aramaic, the Jewish documents referred to a temple, but incredibly not the temple in Jerusalem, but a second one built hundreds of miles away in Egypt. Archaeologists finally tracked it down to Elephantine Island on the Nile River. Egypt’s dry climate slows papyri deterioration and further work at the temple site uncovered dozens more papyri including divorce documents, legal documents and letters.
According to reports in London’s Daily Mirror, Islamic State fighters (ISIS) are losing a battle to a pesky, miniscule enemy — a sand fly. The ISIS fighters are being plagued with a flesh-eating disease that can cause sores all over a person’s body. Called Leishmaniasis, it is spread by biting sand flies which pass on a parasite that causes the infection. Left untreated it can result in death. It is estimated between 20,000 to 50,000 people die each year from the disease. In addition to large gaping wounds, Leishmaniasis can cause a fever and enlarged liver and spleen. It can also make a person anemic.
[by Earl Blacklock] Dr. William Osler was a Canadian doctor who profoundly influenced the practice of medicine. To be a doctor was not, however, his first career choice. William intended to follow his father into the ministry, even entering seminary with that intent. After a year, however, William decided to study at McGill Medical School. After graduating, Osler continued his studies in Europe. In London, he became the first to identify the clumps that form in blood after it is drawn from the body. He correctly concluded that the clumps, now known as blood platelets, had a role to play in clotting. The acclaim that accompanied his discovery prompted McGill to call its former student home as a professor of physiology.
[by Dean Smith] The Catholic tradition of Easter has diluted the connection between Jesus’ crucifixion and Jewish Passover and its annual sacrifice of a lamb. Even renaming it “Easter” disconnects it with the most important sacrifice on the Jewish calendar. During Passover, each family bought an unblemished lamb (called the Paschal lamb) to the temple as part of their sacrifice. It was sacrificed in the outer court, the blood collected by the priests, and parts of the animal sacrificed. Later that evening the family would eat what was left of the lamb in the Passover feast called Seder. The connection and Catholic diluting starts at Christ’s birth. We read in Luke 2:8-20, about shepherds out in the fields watching their sheep, when an angel appears announcing the birth of Israel’s savior. Why did an angel announce the birth of Christ to a group of shepherds and no one else?
[by Wayne Johnston] Passover (Easter to some) is almost upon us again, and it’s time to reflect on God’s great gift for all of Adam’s lost children, Jew and Gentile alike. Old Testament prophecies and New Testament accounts of Christ’s death and atonement on the cross show very clearly who is to blame. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24) All of us – rich, poor, Jew, Gentile, even Rembrandt, and me – we are all the cause of why “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16). We are all guilty of putting Him on the cross so that we can all share in God’s redemption through it and be at peace with God. But how does Rembrandt fit into this?
[by Dean Smith] Ten years ago, Caleb Bislow was watching TV at his then home in Denver, Colorado when God spoke to him. It wasn’t through a TV program, but a commercial advertizing that rocker Bob Zombie would be having a concert at Red Rock Stadium. Caleb sensed the Holy Spirit telling him to attend that concert. Bob Zombie, whose real name is Robert Cummings, is a grunge rocker, with a Gothic, vampire edge. He was a founding member of the group called the White Zombies popular in the 1990s. Bob Zombie left the group in 1999 and went out on his own producing such albums as Hellbilly. He has since moved into films releasing titles with names of House of a Thousand corpses and Devil Rejects. It gives you some idea what Bob Zombie concerts are all about. After praying, Caleb believed he was still supposed to attend. He was a bit confused as to why, but was able to convince two friends to join him. However, they weren’t interested in paying for the …