Month: October 2015

Jesus cleansing the temple by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765)

The problem of the Jewish Messiah and the Temple

As they did in Jesus day, many Orthodox Jews reject Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Even today they still await their Messiah’s coming. In the Old Testament, there were a number of prophecies that spoke of the Messiah and Jesus fulfilled them all including being born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and even riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). But there is one prophecy from the Book of Daniel that is very problematic for the Jews and it involved a prophecy about the Messiah and the Temple. In some ways it explains the love hate relationship Jesus had with the Temple. On one hand Jesus cleansed the Temple by taking a whip and driving out the money changers claiming it was supposed to be a House of prayer (Matthew 21:12-17). But Jesus also prophesied the Temple’s destruction telling His disciples that not even one stone would be left standing on another (Matthew 24:1-2). In the end, it would be Jesus’ public statements about the Temple that got Him into trouble with the ruling class. After Jesus …

What is going on inside school classrooms?

Student alleges Texas teacher required classmates to deny their faith in order to pass assignment

According to an article on Breitbart, a teacher in Katy, Texas provided her seventh grade reading class a disturbing assignment that required them to deny their faith to pass. On Monday, October 26, 2015, the teacher allegedly told the students to answer a poll asking if God was “fact, opinion or myth.” The teacher added that if the students answered anything but “myth” they would score poorly on the assignment. Jordan Wooley is  a straight A student at West Memorial Junior High School. She decided to stand for her faith and take a failing grade for the assignment. When she went home, Jordan told her parents about what had happened in class. Her parents immediately phoned the principal of the school to complain. The principal promised to look into the situation. Jordan and another student decided to take their complaint to the school board that was meeting the same night. However, her friend who went home and cried after the class was unable to join Jordan because she was still upset. Jordan’s mother, Chantel, videoed …

Park Rangers destroying one of 6 Marijuana fields found in North Cascades National Park Complex Photo: Park Ranger/Flickr

Two studies show increased health risks associated with Marijuana usage

As governments race ahead to see who can be the most progressive by legalizing Marijuana use, two more recently released studies are showing the negative risks associated with using Cannabis. Perhaps the biggest problem with the legalization push is the growing perception that it is a safe drug leading many young people to use the drug. According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry by researchers from New York’s Columbia University, the rates of Marijuana substance abuse among Americans has doubled between 2001 and 2013. In their study reported by Reuters, they compared two adult surveys on Marijuana usage involving 40,000 adults in 2001/2002 with a 36,000 adult survey in 2012/2013. Between these two periods they discovered: Marijuana usage doubled. The increase was particularly noticeable among blacks, Hispanics, women, middle age and older people and southerners. Abuse or dependence problems had doubled with three out of 10 people (7 million Americans) reported being diagnosed with an addiction disorder associated with Marijuana usage compared to only 1.5 out 10 in the earlier survey. The increase was …

Marriage is a balancing act Photo: kylesteed/Flickr

Study: Thankfulness is the key to a successful marriage

A survey conducted by researchers with the University of Georgia concluded that thankfulness is a key to success in a marriage relationship. They even suggested that thankfulness will actually protect a marriage from divorce. The researchers gathered this information through a telephone survey of 468 married people. They quizzed them in several areas including financial, feelings of gratitude and communication. They discovered that gratitude or thankfulness was the most important indicator of the quality of the marriage, even exceeding good communication. They found that  during times of marital conflicts involving fighting and other forms of negative communication that expressions of thankfulness can counteract these feelings. Speaking on behalf of the group, Allen Barton, a postdoctoral research associate at the university’s Center for Family Research, said: “It goes to show the power of ‘thank you.’ Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other area, gratitude in a relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes.” The researchers found that financial stress in particular can lead to criticism or nagging which can cause the other …

Canada's parliament building Photo: Onasill~Bill Badzo/Flickr

Does the defeat of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pave the way for a one-world government?

I know it’s a bizarre headline, but I am not the one suggesting it. The statement was made by England’s Lord Christopher Monckton. He believes the recent electoral defeat of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper could pave the way for a one-world government. Now before you jump to the conclusion that Monckton is some type of flake, I would like to tell you a bit more about this English Lord. Monckton is the Third Viscount of Benchley. He currently serves as a policy adviser to the Science and Public Policy Institute. Over the years, he has served as an adviser to English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and in 1986 advised Thatcher to investigate the influence of CO2 on earth temperatures. This led Thatcher to set up the Hadley Centre for Forecasting. Monckton has since changed his mind about man’s influence on Global Warming and spends his time exposing the error that man is influencing global temperatures. He is an expert on Global Warming and has been called four times to testify on the issue before …

Burnaby, British Columbia Photo: Derek K. Miller/Flickr

Top American physicist comes out: He doesn’t believe in man-made global warming

Though theoretical Physicist Freeman Dyson is a strong supporter of Barack Obama, he disagrees with the U.S. President in one fundamental area — Dyson does not believe in man-made global warming. Dyson stated this while Obama is on the campaign trail pushing governments to approve a global warming treaty at this year’s climate conference to be held in Paris November 30 – December 11, 2015. Dyson used to believe in man-made Global warming and was one of the first scientists to begin studying it 25 years ago when he worked for Oak Ridge National Laboratory. But after years of research he no longer does. Dyson is a prolific author writing several books and scientific papers on a variety of issues. He has also received many awards for his work. He just did an interview with The Register after writing a foreword for a recently published scientific paper. In the interview he states that while he is 100% behind Obama, the Republicans are 100% right to question man-made global warming. The paper that Dyson wrote the …

A miracle in a Florida ER

How Dr. Chauncey Crandall raised a man from the dead in the ER

Dr. Chauncey Crandall is a cardiologist based in Palm Beach, Florida. He also is a Christian and believes in the healing power of God which was dramatically displayed on October 20, 2006. At the time, Dr. Crandall was working at the Palm Beach Gardens Hospital when auto mechanic Jeff Markin, then 53,  came to the emergency room (ER) at the hospital. He had been on his way to work and wasn’t feeling good. His boss convinced him to go to the hospital. Markin had just entered the ER when he collapsed to the floor due to a massive heart attack. His heart had stopped beating. ER staff frantically worked on Markin for 40 minutes trying to resuscitate him. Towards the end, they called in Crandall, but there was nothing that could be done. Staff had shocked Markin’s heart several times without success. When Crandally arrived, another attempt was made with the defibrillator, but Markin’s heart monitor continued to display the ominous flat line. Markin’s fingers and mouth were already turning black. Dr. Crandall declared the …

Orthodox Jews praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Nico_/Flickr

VICTORY: Palestinian Authority drops resolution to have UN declare Jerusalem’s Western Wall a Muslim holy site

UPDATE: It is now being reported that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has withdrawn its resolution that the UN designate the Western Wall a Muslim holy site.  It is being called a rare victory for Israel at the UN. Apparently the public backlash against this claim forced the Palestinian group to change its mind. The organization still wants the UN to designate Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs as Muslim sites. Israel said it will continue to aggressively fight these ludicrous claims. The Palestinian Authority put forward a motion via UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to have the UN declare Jerusalem’s Western Wall a Muslim religious site earlier this week. It was expected to go to a vote on October 21, 2015. PA claims it is part of an old wall surrounding the al-Aqsa mosque built on the Temple Mount. The Jews have prayed at the Western Wall for centuries believing it is the last remains of the outer wall of the Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans …

Looking into North Korea from on the bridge in Tumen City China. Photo: Wikipedia/Prince Roy

Teenage boy told to ‘look for a cross’ to escape the North Korean gulag

An article in the English newspaper, The Guardian, tells the story of a young man, Joseph Kim, 25, who escaped from North Korea because of the help of the church in  China. As a young man living in communist North Korea, he had never heard of the church or Christianity. His religion was believing in the mystical powers of North Korea’s deluded supreme leader, Kim Il-sung. But growing up in North Korea, all Kim knew was poverty and famine and when as a boy he plotted to escape the gulag that had imprisoned his mother and resulted in the death of his father, he was told by a friend that if he ever got to China the church would assist him and even give him money. Kim had no idea what his friend was talking about. It was the first time he had heard of Christ or the church. When Kim asked why they would help, the friend said, “because they’re Christians.” In 2006, at the age of 16, Kim decided to escape North Korea. …

(Left) Metal with Bible page fused on it: Photo Jin Lee National September 11 Memorial Museum (Right) Twin Towers in flames Flickr/Michael Foran

Powerful words of forgiveness from a Red Letter edition of the Bible

Anger is such a powerful emotion. But nothing drives this emotion more than paying someone back for a wrong they committed against you. Though most of us never act out on this, how many have thought and even plotted revenge in our minds? Or am I the only person who has ever done this? There was a powerful story that came out of 9-11 when New York’s Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001. Six months later, as people were cleaning up the mess, a fireman found a piece of metal with paper fused to it. I have no idea how this can happen without burning the paper but there it was paper melted to metal. Not just any paper, it was a page from the Bible and not just any Bible, it was a King James red-letter edition with Jesus’ words are all in red — for emphasis. It was not just any page, but a page from Jesus’ sermon on the mount found in the Gospel of Matthew and front and center …

Tailor at work in Kathmandu, Nepal Photo: wonderlane/Flickr

Coat of Many Colors

We live in a world that often obsesses about the latest fashion trend.  Models and actors display top designers’ latest creations in magazines, fashion shows, movies, television and other multi-media venues. A culture of image-making has emerged causing a mass identity crisis for youth and adults alike. How tragic it is when an individual is shunned because of the clothes they are wearing, yet this happens multiple times a day.

While most of our garments are bought on a rack at a local shop, the mass production of clothing is a more recent phenomena.  At one time, all clothing was made by hand and tailored to fit an individual’s frame. Sewing and designing clothes was a skill passed down from generation to generation. Mothers were concerned that their children wore garments suited to their local climate and lovingly designed clothes which fit the environment.

 Proverbs 31 gives a detailed description of a virtuous woman who is known by her many good deeds and creative works.  This includes making garments for her household and her community. Her …

Despite there brutal treatment of Christians, ISIS terrorists are turning to Christ because of dreams. Photo Video Capture/ABC News

Another Muslim Jihadist becomes a Christian because of a dream

Gospel Herald is reporting another conversion of an ISIS militant because of a dream. The report came via the Christian Aid Mission (CAM) who provides aid to indigenous groups in various countries around the world. The ministry was providing help to a refugee family in Amman, Jordan. When a jihadist fighter of the family heard his relatives were receiving help from Christians, he decided to visit and deal with the “unclean pigs.” When he arrived, the man actually went to a Christian meeting intending to slaughter the CAM missionaries. However, for some unknown reason he was unable to follow through with his plan. According to director of CAM for the Middle East, that night the jihadist had a dream where Jesus appeared to him. The next day he showed up at their ministry stating: “I came to kill you, but last night I saw Jesus, I want to know what you are teaching — who is this one who held me up from killing you.” The missionaries shared the Gospel with the terrorist and he …

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by John Martin (1789-1854)

Has the ancient Biblical city of Sodom been found?

An archaeological team with New Mexico’s Trinity Southwest University believe they have found the lost city of Sodom mentioned in the Book of Genesis. The city along with Gomorrah was destroyed when God poured down fire and brimstone from the sky. The archaeological team began excavation at the site in 2005 and discovered a huge ancient city dating between 3500 BC to 2350 BC. The city was discovered North East of the Dead sea and described as being on a well-watered plain which fits the Biblical description of the city’s location. In an interview with Popular Archaeology, lead archaeologist Steven Collins said: “Tall el-Hamman seemed to match every Sodom criterion demanded by the text. Theorizing, on the basis of the Sodom texts, that Sodom was the largest of the Kikkar (the Jordan Disk or well-watered plain’ in the Biblical text) cities east of Jordan, I concluded that if one wanted to find Sodom, then one should look for the largest city on the eastern Kikkar that existed during the Bronze Age at the time of …

RIGHT: Roll of fossilized barbwire Photo Creation.com | LEFT: Photo Choo Yut Shing/Flickr

New species of dinosaur discovered — Barbersaurus

We often hear news of paleontologists discovering the fossilized remains of a new, yet unheard of, dinosaur. According to their reports, it will typically be tens of millions of years old. Unfortunately, it has been ingrained into our minds that if it’s a fossil it must be millions of years old. That’s because most people don’t realize fossilization can take place in just a few years. We know this because of the discovery of a new dinosaur species — Barbersaurus. Discovered in Australia, it is a bit odd-looking — actually it looks like a heavy hula hoop. It was smaller than your typical dinosaur, weighing only 165 pounds or 75 kg. It is difficult to nail down its age, but a best guess is somewhere between 45 and 95 years old. It was discovered by a young Australian girl, 11-year-old Amy Lewis. Her parents, Col and Jo Lewis, owned a trailer park near Australia’s Eighty Mile Beach located  on the Northwest coast of Australia. This fossilized object was none other than a roll of barbwire …

Mormon Row -- a collection of historic Mormon homes, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, US Photo: Hans Watson/Flickr

A Lesson from Mormon Missionaries

While we were busy, the world moved. Religion as we knew it is passing away. One example of this shift is the LDS Mormon experience with missionaries. A recent article from Salt Lake City stated that Mormons have increased the number of young missionaries, but the number of new converts has not increased much. 44% more missionaries, have only produced 4% more converts. In corporate thinking, that is a failed return on investment. The unknown statistic is how many members are dropping out. It is possible that the LDS church is shrinking, as it loses more than it gains. There are large organizations for ExMos, ex Mormons who work aggressively to convince others to leave, and drop out rates are high. I believe the same trends are true for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I have no reliable statistics. I was once invited to a covert meeting of JW drop outs, conducted like a typical twelve step program. I am sure that many evangelical groups are shrinking in the same way. Drop-outs outnumber new converts, for …

What is pure religion? Photo: josulivan-59/Flickr

Pure Religion?

Even a cultural neophyte can spot major world religions by their outward forms, ceremonies and liturgies. A group of Buddhist monks in yellow robes and shaved heads or a yogi with a long beard sitting cross-legged on a cushion while meditating are easily identifiable. Even within the Christian faith one can easily spot the difference between Roman Catholics and Protestants. The style of cross used will indicate whether it is Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. So what’s my point? First, as a disclaimer, I am not making a judgment on any particular religion, the point I am making is that the world’s main religions are easily identifiable by their external forms and ceremonies. Within Christianity this is also true, whether Catholic or Protestant. But as followers of Christ, what should our public liturgy and forms look like? Should they be similar to any other world religion? Is it the shape of our cross or our robes that are important?  Old hymns, no hymns, or rock and roll for Jesus – does it matter that much? …

Being gay is not in our genes.

Study of identical twins shows homosexuality is not genetic

For the past several years, some have claimed same-sex leanings are genetic. This means people have no control over their desires and can’t change. However there has been one major problem with this theory namely identical twins. Identical twins have the same genetic make up, so if one twin was gay the other should automatically be gay as well, if it is based on genes. However, this is not the case and it was confirmed again in a recent study conducted by the University of California (UCLA). In this study, researchers looked at the the genetic make up of 27 identical twins where at least one twin was gay and ten sets where both were gay. The researchers concluded that environment, not genetics, determined if a person was gay or not. While we have our basic genes that determine our make up, there is another molecular layer of information called “epigenetics” that influences how we live. This layer has the ability to affect our genes. It is described as “molecular switches” that they believe turn …

Clara Gantt's car in the front yard of the church after the flood Photo: Video Capture WIS TV

Saved by a cross in the South Carolina floods

A strange story has emerged from the flooding that hit South and North Carolina last weekend. The torrential rains which started Thursday, October 1, 2015 and didn’t start abating until the following Monday dropped an estimated 11 trillion gallons of water on the two states — about 1.2 million gallons per person. Parts of Charleston, South Carolina received 25 inches of rain, but it was still two inches short of the 27 inches that drenched nearby Mount Pleasant, SC.  The damage is estimated at over $1 billion dollars. News reports are now suggesting the flooding wasn’t as unprecedented as first thought calling it a one in 10 year event. Tragically at least 16 people were killed as result of the flood. It would have been more except for the strange and miraculous escape by Clara Gantt and her son-in-law Travis Catchings of Blythewood, South Carolina. Clara was on her way home late at night so she could attend Three Rivers Baptist church when her car was caught up in the raging waters from nearby Lake …

Baptismal service in Iran Photo: Elam Ministries elam.com

The strange Christian anomaly

ANOMALY: something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected. There is a strange anomaly that occurs when Christians are persecuted — the Church goes through an incredible growth spurt. We can see it happening in the Middle East. Last week, Elam Ministries reported that there have been large numbers of Iranians turning to Christ and is expecting over 450 water baptisms this fall. Elam reported that over 240 Iranians were recently baptized in two services and another 16 in a smaller service. A fourth baptism is scheduled where it anticipates another 200 Iranians will be baptized. Elam Ministries was started by Christian Iranians in 1990. Based in England, its mission is to strengthen and equip the Church in Iran. It conservatively estimates there are over 360,000 believers in Iran with most attending house churches. It has reported a remarkable growth in the Church since the 1979 Islāmic revolution. The larger Iranian baptismal services are often day long events including a common meal, prayer, worship, preaching and communion. Those being baptized tend to wear …

Market place in Aleppo, Syria Photo: Flickr/alejooo

Was the recent beheading of Syrian Christians by ISIS predicted in the Book of Revelation?

Christian Aid Mission (CAM) is reporting the killing of 12 Christians by ISIS near Aleppo, Syria. ISIS crucified four of the group and beheaded eight. CAM provides help to ministries and Christian groups in this troubled area of the world. As I read of this account , I again wondered if the beheading of these Christians is actually a fulfillment of the Book of Revelation that is the written record of an end-times vision received by the Apostle John about the apocalyptic events that would occur before the Second Coming of Jesus. Towards the end of his book, John sees a special reward given to two groups who had suffered through the extreme persecution seen in his vision: Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on …

Ynys Llanddwyn Lighthouse, Newborough, Wales, England Photo: Alex Brown/Flickr

A psychiatrist’s encounter with demon possession

In an article published in the New Oxford Review, Dr. Richard Gallagher — an associate professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College — said a woman he worked with displayed overt signs of demon possession including levitation and paranormal acts. Julia, a pseudonym, was a former Catholic and first went to a Catholic priest seeking help believing she was being attacked by demons. From there she was referred to an official Catholic exorcist, who after a thorough examination, brought in Dr. Gallagher to examine Julia’s mental condition. Based on a number of sessions with Julia, Gallagher determined she was demon possessed. Gallagher states her actions were not only witnessed by himself and other fellow “mental health professionals,” but also by nurses, priests, lay people and nuns. Gallagher says most psychiatrists and doctors are not open to demon possession, despite frequent encounters with patients claiming they are under demonic attack. As a result, most in his profession routinely miss instances of genuine demonic possession. Written from a Catholic perspective, Gallagher provides insight on possession from …

I saw Satan falling like lightening -- Jesus Luke 10:18 Photo: Lucas Marcomini/Flickr

Do you believe in the satanic realm?

In 2009, the Barna Group surveyed 1,900 people who self-described themselves as Christians to find out their beliefs on a variety of Christian subjects. Self-described Christians can include any number of people, some who are not necessarily Biblical born-again Christians. In an oddly stunning contrast, they found out that while nearly 80% of them believed in God only 41% actually believed in satan’s existence. 59% of the people surveyed “strongly or somewhat believed” that satan was only a symbol of evil — that he does not really exist. A 2005 Baylor Religion survey had similar results, as they studied the views of born-again Christians. When asked if they believed demons existed, 66.2% of respondents said they did. But of this group only 43.6% were absolutely convinced of the devil’s existence. 22.6% said demons probably existed and this combined with the 33.8% who did not believe demons existed at all, showing that over 55% of Bible-believing Christians are uncertain about the reality of the satanic realm. Should these results concern us? The Bible describes satan as …

Portland, Oregon Photo Roger/Flickr

Why is Oregon turning into a dangerous place for Christians?

It is s strange question, but one that needs to be asked. In 2013 a lesbian couple approached Sweetcakes by Melissa, a bakery owned by a Christian couple Aaron and Melissa Klein, to make a cake for their wedding. Though the Kleins had made cakes for gays in the past, they were reluctant to create one for gay wedding because of their Christian beliefs. The lesbians complained to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and in 2015 its commissioner Brad Avakian ruled that the Klein’s must pay a fine of $135,000 for refusing to make a $200 cake. Many are calling the fine an abuse of power, with the punishment grossly exceeding the crime. The Kleins are refusing to pay and are wanting their day in court before a real judge. But as weird as it sounds, even though they were forced to close their business in part due to threats, the Oregon couple got off lucky, because they escaped with their lives after standing up for their beliefs. Reports are now coming in …

ISIS force YouTube Capture

Journalist embedded with ISIS says they want nuclear weapons for religious cleansing

In his newly released book, Ten Days in the Islāmic State, German journalist Jurgen Todenhofer, 75, reports on his disturbing 10-day encounter with ISIS terrorists. Using Skype, Todenhofer was able to negotiate his visit that involved stays in two Islamic State controlled cities — Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. He was babysat at times by none other than British terrorist Jihad John who gained his notoriety through beheading videos. Todenhofer added that those videos were purposefully done to intimidate and spread fear. It is believed ISIS allowed Todenhofer to embed with the group because he opposed the US invasion of Iraq. The journalist didn’t really trust ISIS and admitted preparing a will before joining the group because they had previously beheaded journalists. One of the most disturbing things that Todenhofer had to say is that ISIS’s goal is to use atomic weapons to create a “nuclear tsunami” that will result in the largest religious cleansing the world has ever seen. He says the west is “drastically underestimating the power of ISIS.” According to the journalist, …

Justin Bieber in concert. Photo: Joe Bielawa/Flickr

Pop star Justin Bieber ‘comes out’ about his faith in an interview with ‘Complex Magazine’

In a recent interview with Complex Magazine, Canadian pop star Justin Bieber had some interesting things to say about Jesus, Christianity and the Church. There have been reports over the past several months that Justin is making a serious attempt to straighten out his life — and a big part of it has been his return to Christianity. Justin comes from a Christian home and has a praying mom. This past spring, the mega pop star was even seen attending a music worship conference put on by Australia’s Hillsong, but it was noted he wore a controversial Marilyn Manson t-shirt one day. Though some question the sincerity of Justin’s faith, it is becoming increasingly clear that he is serious and it is changing his life. For a while it seemed he was getting in trouble with the law almost weekly from drag racing while intoxicated with an expired driver’s license in Florida to accusations of assault in Canada, but more recently Justin’s biggest controversies center on his faith in Christ. In his interview with Complex …