Month: August 2016

Who do you blame for the storms in your life? Photo: 5oulscape/Flickr/Creative Commons

So what’s really bothering you?

I often deal with my frustration by blaming my husband. He is an easy target. And because he is often conveniently close by, I can throw my personal frustrations at him. Yes, he knows something is wrong but has no idea what.  He is not a mind reader as much as I would like him to be. I have begun to look at my frustrations, anger and resentments as signals that the problem is not with the person I am blaming. Often, we blame our partner for the way we feel about our day or even the past. We cast ourselves as the victim and our partner as the villain. Relationship experts Katie and Gay Hendricks describe it this way: “If you feel you are being wronged  and want things to change in your relationship, BEING THE VICTIM NEVER WORKS!” Denying my emotions and the real reason for my frustration (anger, resentment) by blaming an unsuspecting family member creates a vicious cycle that keeps building up inside until it explodes. Though I feel better blaming …

The Temple Mount Photo: Jordan Pickett/Flickr/Creative Commons

Shocking news: Jewish Sanhedrin appoints a High Priest

Breaking Israel News reports that Israel’s “Nascent Sanhedrin” has just appointed a high priest. His name is Rabbi Baruch Kahane, a prominent Jewish scholar knowledgeable in Jewish sacrifices. The announcement was a bit surprising considering there is no Jewish Temple. But a spokesperson for the ‘Nascent Sanhedrin’ explained that they wanted to have a High Priest in place in case there is a sudden change in policy on the Temple Mount. The ‘Nascent Sanhedrin‘ also called the developing Sanhedrin was set up in Israel in 2004. It is considered a national court of Jewish Law. Over the last 500 years, there have been six failed attempts to establish a Sanhedrin. This is the most successful so far. The major obstacle to constructing a Temple is that the Temple Mount with its Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock is controlled by the Muslims. Because of this, the Israeli government limits Jewish access to the site and forbids prayer on the Temple Mount. When Jews visit they are not allowed to pray including bowing their heads …

Being gay is not in our genes.

Johns Hopkins study concludes there is no gay gene

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University recently released a study stating there was no conclusive evidence of a gene that causes a person to be gay, lesbian or transgender. People are not born with gay affections. This study runs contrary to what some are suggesting in recent years. The report was co-written by Johns Hopkins’ scholar in residence Lawrence Mayer who is also a statistics professor at Arizona State University and Paul McHugh a psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins. Many consider the two men as leading scholars on mental health in America. Mayer has taught at over eight universities including Stanford and Princeton and McHugh served as chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins for 25 years and was also elected to the President’s council on bio ethics. In their report, entitled “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological and Social Sciences” published in The New Atlantis, the two researchers surveyed over 200 studies done on the topic in a variety of fields. They cited studies of identical twins, particularly one conducted in 2010 by a team …

Model of Herod's Temple at the Israel Museum. Photo: Berthold Werner/Wikipedia

What will Israel’s third temple look like?

An interesting article on Breaking Israel News (BIN) recently caught my attention. I have reported previous how some Orthodox Jews in Israel are preparing for the construction of a third Temple – the first one being Solomon’s temple and the second built by King Herod that was in place during Jesus’s day and destroyed in 70 AD. A group of Orthodox based in Israel found the The Temple Institute (TTI) in 1987 to prepare for the construction of a third temple. TTI has already made a number of temple utensils (including a massive altar), ordered architectural drawings for a new temple and even started a school to train priests in how to make sacrifices. Their desire to build a third temple is based in part on an Old Testament prophecy found in Ezekiel. In a vision, God carries the Prophet Ezekiel to a future temple that is not remotely similar to either of the two temples previously constructed (Ezekiel 40). This leads some to conclude that God intends to have a third temple built. However, …

What chains your feet?

All tangled up

“Let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so easily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us,  and  let us run with patient and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1 AMP) Sin tangles us up and keeps us off course from our purpose. It trips us up and we need to be aware of what it really is and how it affects our life and our purpose. Recently, I got myself all tangled up and without my husband’s help I would have continued to trip over my feet every time I stood up! I was overdoing it when it came to taking care of my parents.  It wasn’t really necessary that I did as much I was. I kept telling myself to slow down and stop running over to see them every other day as they are fine and well taken care of in their present retirement home. But what was driving me to do this. …

Coincidence or alarm bell? A stunning blood moon over Manhattan

On August 24, 2016, the British newspaper The Telegraph published photos of a stunning blood moon that appeared a day earlier over New York skyline. The incredible images were taken by Jennifer Khordi, a semi-professional photographer, from her spot 25 miles away in New Jersey. She described it as one of the “most amazing things I have ever seen.”  Others commented on the photos stating they had seen the same thing. You can see more of Jennifer’s stunning photos taken that night on her Instagram account and Facebook page. Then on that same day, August 24, 2016, websites around world started broadcasting news of a powerful earthquake that hit the province of Riete in the mountainous region of Italy. In a matter of hours the death toll climbed from 38 people to 120 then to 247, with more expected. The town of Amatrice, which is only 100 kms (60 miles) from Rome, was the epicenter of the quake. It was one of three villages severely hit. A tourist town according to Reuters, Amatrice was voted …

Christian freedom...

Mormons, Toyota, and God

Mormons: Mormons, in the heartland in Utah have an interesting problem. Young men are leaving the church in large numbers, but many young women are staying. Traditionally, Mormons marry young, and have large families. They have a belief that childbirth brings a soul from the realm of the unborn into salvation; so being born is like being born again. You can see how young and unmarried men cause a problem when they leave. Why is this happening? My best guess is the leavers follow the reasoning of all young men; they do it because they can. When I was young, Christians in my church were often called fundamentalists, and they liked the name. I once passed a line outside a movie theater, and I’m sure I saw my aunt. We did not make eye contact and I have kept her secret all these years. Christians were not supposed to go to movies, in those days. Another time, in a church library, I found a book with a chapter “Should Christians go Bowling?” I forget the …

Left: A model of the Traditional perception of the Tabernacle of Moses (Bibleplaces.com); Right: Andrew Hoy's depiction of a six story Tabernacle (Diagram Andrew Hoy)

Will the real Tabernacle of Moses please stand up

You are probably familiar with drawings and even full-scale models (seen above on the left) displaying the Tabernacle of Moses. When Moses was given the instructions for the Tabernacle, most envisioned it as a small rectangular tent constructed to house the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 36:8 – 39:43). This tent building served Israel for nearly 400 years, sitting for 300 years at Shiloh, until Solomon constructed the Temple. There was just a brief interlude when David constructed a tabernacle for the Ark of the Covenant (1 Chronicles 15:1). But recently Andrew Hoy, a mechanical engineer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has challenged this traditional notion of what the Tabernacle looked like by suggesting it was instead a larger tent, nearly six stories high. According to Breaking Israel News, Hoy’s journey started when he left the Lutheran church he was attending in America to study Hebrew at a Jewish seminary in Israel. He wanted to learn the original language to better understand the Old Testament. As he looked at the passages describing the Tabernacle, he began to envision something much different from long-held …

Otranto harbour as seen from the castle. Photo: Marco Frattola/Flickr/Creative commons

Ancient beheadings — the Otranto martyrs

Most were shocked by the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians along the shores of the Mediterranean by Islamic extremists in early 2015. But this was not the first time, Muslims beheaded Christians for their faith. Six centuries ago, Muslims beheaded 813 Christian men in Otranto, Italy because they refused to convert to Islam. The Muslim Ottoman Empire had for decades being trying to take Europe and at one point controlled most of Spain. After conquering Constantinople (today called Istanbul, Turkey) in 1453, the Muslims set their sights on Southern Europe and ultimately Rome. Though many want us to focus on how horrid the Christian crusades were, they pale in comparison to he hundreds of battles initiated by the Muslims in their effort to conquer Europe. On July 28, 1480, over 130 Ottoman galleons and ships with 18,000 troops on board sailed into the Otranto harbour, today a quaint village on the southern coast of Italy, population 5,670. The castle that guarded the city in the 1400s still stands today. According to historians Arnaldi and Scirocco, the Muslims, led by Commander …

Galilean Sunset. You can see the Sea of Galilee in the distance. Photo: Dan Zelazo/Flickr/Creative commons

Matthew 9:35 receives its verification

A verse in the Gospel of Matthew has caused lots of problems. I don’t think Matthew gave it a second thought when he added it. He wrote: 35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. (Matthew 9:35 NASV) But those opposed to Christianity have used this verse and other similar ones to discredit and even question Jesus’ ministry. Why? Because Matthew said Jesus had preached in the synagogues in the villages of Galilee and since no synagogues had been found in rural Galilee, it is argued they did not exist and the verse was a complete fabrication. And since it also talked about Jesus healing every type of sickness and disease, this called into question Christ’s ministry. But on August 9, 2016, the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology discovered a small rural synagogue dated to the second temple period confirming they did exist. This is the temple, built by King Herod, that …

Mount Ranier Photo: .aditya./Flickr/Creative Commons

Every senior needs a mountain

One of the powerful statements in the Old Testament were the words Caleb uttered as he entered the promised land under Joshua. This was the second time he had been at the edge of the land of milk and honey. The first had been under Moses, when Caleb and Joshua were among 12 men chosen to spy out the land God promised Israel. While the other spies returned with tales of giants and impenetrable walled cities, Caleb and Joshua believed they could take the land with God’s help. But the doubters won the day and Israel wandered around the desert for over 40 years until all the “negative Nellies” had died off. As Israel was poised to enter the land a second time, Caleb, now age 84, reminded Joshua of the land God had promised Caleb and his family saying: 12 Now therefore give me this mountain… (Joshua 14:12 KJV) Ever since he first spied out the land, Caleb had a vision, a sense of purpose, a goal – that this hill country would one day …

Oakland Protest Photo: Jaegar Moore/Flickr/Creative Commons

White Privilege Christians

I was offended recently by a newspaper article from a local feminist Rosemary Westwood. She talked about white Christians like me and our privilege, and how we need to adjust our thinking, as we are “forced to listen.” White Christian culture is declining and losing influence, and people are resentful as they lose their position. There is a popular idea that Christianity is the religion of white privilege, and it will die, as the surrounding support system erodes and gives way to something new. A news video shows a race riot on Milwaukee with people stopping traffic and “beating all the white people.” I am offended but Rosemary Westwood is correct. I’m offended because most of the people I know are not privileged, we have to work for everything, and we always settle for less. I think that makes us working class, and most people do not want to be us. We have to make our own luck and build our own success, and then we have to pay our taxes, and the mortgage. All …

Palmdale, California Photo: Jamesb01/Wikipedia

California school backs down in a battle for religious freedom with a seven-year old

A young student who is referred to as ‘C’ is a grade one student at Desert Rose Elementary School in Palmdale, California. Last school term, the school that is part of the Palmdale School District called in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office because C, who is only seven-years old, was distributing Bible verses and stories written out on paper with his classmates. The problems surfaced last spring, when C’s mother, Christine Zavala routinely included Bible verses and encouraging notes while packing her son’s lunch. C who enjoyed the notes began to share them with his fellow classmates. Afters some of the students requested notes of their own, Christine included verses and even some Bible stories for the other children. The Santa Monica Observer (SMO) wrote that the problems surfaced when in April one of the students told the class teacher about the stories stating “this is the most beautiful story I’ve ever seen.” Now aware of what was going on, the teacher stepped in and told C he was not allowed to share these …

Church (Igesia de Mauque) in the Andean Mountains of Chile. Photo: Pablo Necochea/Flickr/Creative Commons

Church under attack in Chile

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), since December 2015, arsonists have burned 16 churches to the ground in the provinces of Araucania and Bio-Bio, Chile. The latest church destroyed was San Andres Chapel, which unknown assailants torched on August 9, 2016. Most of the attacks occurred at night while the buildings were empty, but not all of them. A June 9th attack took a more sinister twist when masked men entered the church during an evening service at Senor Evangelical Church in Temuco, Araucania. The armed men ordered the people out before burning the church to the ground. Then in the middle of June when fire fighters and police responded to another church fire set in the middle of the night, they came under gun-fire from unknown assailants. The shooters injured one police officer. The attacks are quite puzzling as Chile has no real history of church attacks as nearly 90% of Chileans consider themselves Christian, either Catholic or protestant. Fires were set at both evangelical and Catholic churches. Though it is uncertain who the …

Photo: Nick Kenrick/Flickr/Creative Commons

Evidence of Noah’s flood found in China?

In nearly every culture in the world, there are a stories from their ancient past of a massive flood that wiped out the world — from Eskimos in the Northern Arctic to aborigines in Australia. According to an article in the Washington Post, the Chinese have a story of a flood that covered their mountains and hills. Ancient Chinese emperor Yao wrote: “The flood is pouring forth destruction. Boundless and overwhelming, it over tops hills and mountains. Rising and ever rising, it threatens the very heavens.” Compare his account to how Genesis describes Noah’s flood: 18 The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. (Genesis 7:18-19 NASV) Recently archaeologists uncovered evidence of a massive flood that hit China about 4,000 years ago. This included the remains of small children trapped by the waters. Their dating would put it in the time frame of the …

Lee University Campus choir singing on a Delta Flight.

Lee University choral group wows Delta flight with an impromptu hymn

A choral group from Lee University were recently on a Delta flight and entertained the people with an amazing rendition of “I Love you Lord.” As the jet waited on the tarmac, hearing they were a choir, a flight attendant asked them to sing a song. The group that was heading on a mission trip to the British Virgin Islands gladly agreed. A person captured the song on video and posted to a Facebook page for the university’s choirs. Lee University started in 1918 as a Bible school with 12 students and one teacher. Today, it is a liberal arts college with nearly 5,000 students and a 120 acre campus. Based in Cleveland, TN, it is operated by the Church of God and is famous for its music program that includes a number of singing groups. The video that is now going viral has sparked many comments. One of my favorites speaks of the storied history of the school. It was written by a man who now pastors a Church of God  in Chesapeake, Virginia: Rodney Vickers: That’s my old choir. To think, I’m old enough to …

Market Church in Wiesbaden, Germany. Photo: Kay Gaensler/Flickr/Creative Commons

Muslim refugees in Germany threaten ‘impure’ Christians

According to an article on Breitbart, Christians in Germany’s migrant housing are being forced to hide their faith due to intimidation and death threats by Muslims. At a recent Frankfurt news conference, Mahin Mousapour said that Christians purposefully hide their crosses and Bibles to avoid hate attacks by Muslims. Mousapour is from Iran. A former Muslim, she became a Christian over 25 years ago  and now pastors Persian Father House, an Evangelical Free church in Frankfurt. Fearing reprisal, refugees tell people in their complex that they are only visiting friends when attending her church. Ms Mousapour was joined at the news conference by politician Erika Steinbach who serves as a member of the Bundestag. It is a German equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives or Canada and England’s House of Commons. Mousapour said Muslims tell Christians that they are “impure as a dog” adding: “Toys of Christian children are being destroyed. Christian asylum seekers are told to not only wash their dishes after eating, but also they must clean the entire kitchen as it would otherwise be ‘unclean’.” …

A photo of a Gilgal site revealing its distinctive sandal shape. Photo: Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

A Gilgal site to become a garbage dump for Palestine?

Breaking Israel News is reporting the Palestinian Authority has contracted a foreign company to handle its garbage. The concern is that the proposed location for a new garbage dump is just a couple hundred meters away from an important archaeological site called Gilgal. The move could potentially damage or even destroy the site near Rimonium overlooking the Jordan valley. No excavation has been done at this site. What is unusual about the site is its unique sandal-shaped design. It is one of five similar styled sites found in Israel. And they can be large. One of them called el-‘Unuq is the size of two football fields (228 feet wide and 816 feet long). The Israelis created them shortly after they entered the Promised Land under Joshua. They were all called Gilgals and marked by large stone walls in the shape of the foot or sandal. Scattered throughout Israel they initially served as spiritual and government centers. At one of the Gilgal sites near Gibeath-haaraloth, Israel circumcised its men after leaving Egypt and held their first …

Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio De Janerio Photo: Artyominc/Wikipedia

Bad Idea: Keep the Jews off the Bus

A story has recently come from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Lebanese participants blocked Israeli Jews from getting on a bus. Lebanese athletes were already on the bus and they refused to share. The Lebanese team in these Olympic games will always be remembered as the people who kept the Jews off the bus, and that will overshadow anything else they do. It’s all about a brief conversation at the door of a bus. This is one of those issues that will never go away. In our times, stories are recorded and published, and the interesting ones stay with us forever. Nothing can be done in a corner anymore because informal news comes from cameras in cell phones, and it travels quickly to the whole world, through venues like Twitter and You Tube. For official journalism, this incident happened at the Olympics, while the whole world was watching. The popular saying is ”all eyes are on Brazil.” The Olympics always attract large numbers of news reporters who desperately need something to write about. …

A home in the suburbs for the Liver Fluke. Photo: MTSOfan/Flickr/Creative Commons

It’s no fluke!

Several years ago, my son and I were watching  a TV program about the complex life cycle of the small liver fluke. The design behind its life cycle leaves your head shaking and begs the question how on earth did this evolve. Of course, it didn’t. It’s simply another sign of God’s creation. The small liver fluke is a parasite common to North America, Europe and Asia. Where do we begin?. The zombie ant Perhaps one of the most unusual influences of this microscopic parasite is its effect on ants. The ants eat the cercaria of the fluke which is essentially the fluke in its adolescent stage. Well, they don’t really want to eat it, however the temptation is so great. But we will get to that in a moment. Once ingested one or two cercaria — call them the pilot and co-pilot — make their way from the ant’s stomach to its brain. Once there, they burrow into the ant’s brain and take control. At this point, the ant enters into what can only be described as a zombie-like …

The Muslim Qur'an written several centuries after the Bible states that Jesus never died on the cross. Photo: Katrine Kaarsemaker/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Jesus the slave of Allah?

ISIS puts out quarterly Arabic magazine called Dabiq. Also available in English, in its  latest issue ISIS reveals the stark contrast that Muslims have in their concept of God with Christians. In its publication entitled “Break the Cross,” ISIS tells the world that Jesus is “the slave of Allah.” It was part of the overall theme of the magazine attacking Christianity and particularly our concept of Jesus. The Muslim Qur’an speaks a lot about Jesus and even Jesus’ mother Mary has more verses dedicated to her than the prophet Muhammad. According to the Qur’an, Jesus is considered a prophet of Allah (Surah 2:136) and one who performed miracles including raising the dead and healing the sick (Surah 3:49). Many Muslims look upon Jesus as the healing prophet. Muslims do not believe Jesus is God or even the Son of God (Surah 19:88-92) because in their thinking the latter meant God had sex with Mary. Of course, the Bible does not say that. The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus supernaturally and even Mary was shocked by her …

When it isn't eating nuts and berries, this Finch transforms into a vampire. Photo: Vampire Finch/Peter Wilton/Wikipedia

Why animals became carnivores: Vampire finches

In my earlier post, I wrote on Dr. Joel Berger’s study that showed a prey’s natural fear of predators is not instinctive but rather a learned behaviour. If there are no carnivores around, the animals had little fear of predators compared to those existing in areas with many natural enemies. The prophet Isaiah spoke of a day when the lion would lie with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6-9). The lamb would have no fear of the lion because it eats vegetation. Since Isaiah saw this as part of the new heaven and new earth (Isaiah 65: 17, 25), many have concluded that at creation, animals were not created as carnivores.  It was also a learned behaviour. So what happened to change the natural order of life as God intended it? The Apostle Paul explains it this way: “For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly, 
but because of Him who subjected it in hope
That the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that …

The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks (1780-1849)

Study reveals the nature of animals as God created them

A report released by Dr. Joel Berger of the Wildlife Conversation Society says the fear of predators is not a natural instinct in animals. It is a learned behavior. This revelation is a bit of a shock for many evolutionists who believe the fear of predators is a naturally evolving instinct that enabled species to survive. Berger came to this conclusion after studying the relationship between prey and predator in 19 ecosystems in Russia, Greenland, Canada and the US. He focused specifically on elk, moose, bison and caribou and their natural predators wolves, tigers and bears. He compared systems where predators existed with those where they didn’t. He noticed that prey-animals only feared predators, if they regularly encountered them.  Once the predators were removed, prey animals lost a fear of their natural enemies. In his study, Berger played sound recordings of predators around test animals that had no predators in their area and compared their reactions to similar species that regularly encountered predators in their surroundings. Berger said “elk in the mountains of Siberia — who …

Did John see this creature pouring out of the abyss in the Book of Revelation. Photo: Youtube Capture/The Watchers/L.A. Marzulli

A creature from the abyss?

The discovery of an odd-looking whale on the beach of  a small cove in Alaska in July is now confirmed to be an unknown, and yet unnamed, species of a black beak whale. Beak whales are normally light. Reports of similar looking whales off the coast of Japan in 2013 are thought to be from the same species. Its reclusive behaviour and dark colour allowed it to escape notice until recently. But it is not the only odd-looking animal found. Another one discovered in Mexico a few years back may even have apocalyptic overtones. A 13-year-old Mexican boy discovered the tiny creäture (seen above) dead by side of the road when the car he was in pulled over so the boy could relieve himself. It is bizarre looking with an almost human like face. Complete with wings, some believe it has an appearance of a locust. The creature was eventually handed over to a Mexican investigative journalist Jaime Maussan who turned it over to a laboratory for examination where it was x-rayed revealing a skeleton. DNA tests at that time could not …