Month: January 2017

Morgan Freeman Credit: Nathan Congleton/Flickr/Creative Commons

Morgan Freeman on the Gift of Tongues

The Christian Broadcasting Network published an article on comments actor Morgan Freeman recently made on his encounter with the Gift of Tongues at Newlife Pentecostal Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was part of a documentary series Freeman is doing called “The Story of God.” In a recent episode he describes this charismatic gift as “powerful.” Freeman said: “All around me people have been swept up by an invisible force. And now they speak what they believe is the language of Heaven. I can see on their faces that they are genuinely somewhere else. “Now, whatever it is, they felt that power; they are not the same. Experience changes them, how they see themselves, how they relate to others, how they change their lives. “That was a powerful experience. I could feel the energy in that space. Normal people suddenly transformed by some power and then just suddenly return to normal. But Pentecostals believe they are bringing heaven down to earth.” These are interesting statements as the experience seems to have genuinely impacted Freeman. The …

Songs of deliverance

“The Lord God is my strength – he will make my feet like those of a deer, equipping me to tread on my mountain heights.” (Habakkuk 3:19) Beautiful worship songs have brought God’s voice and presence to me these past few days. The Holy Spirit has entered into these songs and lifted my spirit and carried me to places of deep comfort and peace. I don’t understand why I had a need for assurance this past while, but my restlessness in the night has reflected inner stirrings. Through the lilting and uplifting notes of these songs God spoke, “I love you, you are mine, everything is as it should be, you are enough, you are more than enough” For the past three days, I have woken  in the middle of the night and played these songs over and over.  I have danced in our living room, worshiped and prayed. One night as I danced, I picked up my worship flags and as the flute played, I skipped, danced and floated over mountains, valleys and streams. …

A Divine coincidence?

As a quarterback for the University of Florida Gators, Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 as the best player in college football.  In 2010, the Denver Broncos chose Tim in the first round of the NFL draft. After the Denver Broncos started off the 2011 season with a record of one loss and four wins,  Tebow took over quarterbacking the team leading them to an 8-6 season, the AFC West title and first playoff victory since 2005. But winning isn’t everything in the NFL, because that was the last season Tim started an NFL game. Questions about his throwing ability led to Denver trading him to the New York Jets in 2012 and by 2013 he was basically out of football. But his strong Christian faith was prominent every time he stepped on the field. The son of Baptist missionaries to the Philippines, one of Tebow’s trademarks in college was citing the Bible verse John 3:16 on the eye-black many football players put under their eye to reduce sun glare. During one Gator …

Beware the roaring lion. Credit: chris jd/Flickr/Creative Commons

Beware the roaring lion

In several verses, the Bible warns about the devil’s attack. The Apostle Paul tells us to be wary of the snares of the devil (1 Timothy 3:7), deceiving or seducing spirits (1 Timothy 4:1) and the devils schemes or mind games (2 Corinthians 2:11). But it is the Apostle Peter who urges believers to be on the “alert” for the “roaring lion,” who seeks out those he can devour. 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NASV) It’s interesting how the apostle throws in the term “roaring” to describe the lion. For years, scientists have been puzzled by the unusual affect the lion’s roar has on its prey. When the lion gives a deep, guttural roar, animals — instead of instantly fleeing — are momentarily paralyzed giving the lion a brief opportunity to strike. Researchers have now discovered the reason for this. Along with its roar, the lion utters what is called “infrasound.” This is a …

Ho Chi Minh city (formerly Saigon) Viet Nam. Credit: Colin Key/Flickr/Creative Commons

Original sin

Studies show that the average person lies about 100 times a day. As one writer tactfully noted, this was not talking about you specifically, but the average person. In the study, published in the Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology, University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman recruited 121 pairs of men and women attending classes at the university to take part in the study. They had no idea what it involved at this point. They were then brought together and asked to have conversations with the other participants. Most of them did not know each other. They were unaware that the conversations were being recorded and researchers received the required permission after, before moving to the next stage. The students were then asked to view the video and to pick out the lies — from the most innocent to the most blatant. They found that over 60% of the participants lied within the first ten minutes of their conversation and told an average of 2.92 lies. They found men and women lied the same amount, …

England's Parliament Building Credit: Jim Nix/Flickr/Creative Commons

In the midst of trials and tribulation lies a ‘Great Opportunity’

Interesting days in England and it probably  indicates what the so-called progressive left eventually wants to see happen in North America. A new law is being debated in England’s House of Commons and if passed, the government’s revised Policing and Crime Bill will see the penalty for a “racially or religiously aggravated offense” increased from its current seven-year imprisonment to 14 years. Since the revised law implies that a person could be thrown in jail for simply offending someone, during the debate UKIP Member of Parliament Lord Pearson asked the following question of the government: “Could such an offense be caused by a Christian preaching the supreme divinity of Christ and thereby denying the supremacy of Muhammad? Would various assembled Muslims be free to regard that as a religiously aggravated offense under this section?” He wanted to know if a person could be thrown in jail for simply stating their belief Jesus is Lord? As an opposition party, UKIP led the charge in England’s decision to leave the European Union. Rather than saying there was …

Credit: Antonio Ponte/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sex addiction is real

Dr. Stefanie Carnes is president of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP). She recently came out against those in the therapy community who do not believe people can be sex addicts. IITAP provides materials and support for those working in the addiction community. She pointed to several studies that show sex addiction is a very real problem. In particular, she cited the recent research of Ji-Woo Seok and Jin-Hun Sohn at Chungnam National University in South Korea. The two work at the university’s brain research institute. Their findings confirmed what earlier studies have shown — sex addiction is real for both men and women. In their study, Seok and Sohn found that people with a sex addiction share many similarities to those with alcohol and drug addictions. Like other addicts, those with a sex addiction spend an inordinate amount of time searching for pornography to satisfy their craving. Sex addicts have the same level of sexual desire as the normal population, but similar to other addictions have a higher degree of wanting …

Huli Wigmen tribesmen, Papau, New Guinea Credit: Didrik Johnck/Flickr/Creative Commons

The ten-foot angel said “I am not going to let you kill her”

It was February 24, 2009, when Canadian missionary Sue Ambrose heard the sound of someone running up behind her. She turned and saw a madman coming at her with an upraised machete. She remembers screaming “No” and the crazed man yelling “Yeah, you” then the blade deflected off her skull, chipping bone, and slicing off skin and hair. Stunned Sue fell to the ground, but continued to fight back. When the man thrust the large knife into her hip, she grabbed the blade to stop him from striking her again severing several tendons in her hand. From Salmon Arm, BC, Sue and her husband Mark serve as Wycliffe missionaries in Papua, New Guinea. She was returning to the missionary compound after buying food at the local market for the students at the Bible and literacy school where she and her husband minister. She used these walks as a time of meditative prayer and that morning she was contemplating a verse she had spoken to people about that morning: “Whoever desires to save his life will …

Credit: shutter-fotos.com/Flickr/Creative Commons

But Satan hindered us

It was a cold winter night in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada as my wife, then fiancé, and I drove a lonely highway to visit my parents. We had started late afternoon for the six-hour drive. Other than a car following behind us, there wasn’t much traffic. But two flickering lights off in the dark distance warned of an approaching vehicle. As the car got closer, it suddenly veered into our lane. Panicked my wife who was driving wrenched the steering wheel to the right and our car plunged into the ditch. We hit the ditch at full speed and the deep snow gripped our front wheels and our car rolled. Not sideways, but end over end — back over front. Suddenly my wife and I were hanging upside down in our car. I remember fumbling with the keys and turning off the vehicle. We released our seat belts and collapsed on the ceiling of the car. Other than being in total shock about what had just happened, we were unhurt. But the deep snow, that had …

Credit: Erwin/Flickr/Creative Commons

My Courageous Heart

This year, 2017, I choose to embrace my courageous heart. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1;9 NIV) I must admit, though, many times, ‘my courageous heart’ just wants to run and hide. Often, when I start doubting myself and my abilities, I reach for my little book of affirmations — my brightly, colored Peacock book — where I have written statements and declarations that I want to make my own. At times, when I find myself battling self-doubt, I have woken up in the middle of the night, sat down on the couch  and opened this little book of truth to reaffirm God’s love,  intentions and perceptions of me. Every time I do this, I come out on the other side with a clarity and deep knowing that God is with me and has not changed His mind on anything concerning my life. My favourite affirmation at the moment is: …

Fortified bridge of the town of Besalu, Spain Credit: Mariluz Rodriguez/Flickr/Creative Commons

Evangelical church growing in Spain and France

Reading reports out of Europe, you get the impression that the Christian church is not doing well. And though it’s true the Roman Catholic and liberal churches are in decline pretty much like they are around the world, the Evangelical church is doing fine. A recent report by the Spanish Government says the Evangelical church is on the upswing in Spain. According to the Religious Plurality report released by the country’s Justice ministry, as of December 31, 2016 there are 3,910 Evangelical churches in Spain, up from 3,769 in 2015, an increase of 141. In other words, last year a new Evangelical church opened in that country every two and a half days. These numbers only included registered churches and do not include unregistered house churches or Bible study/prayer groups. The report added that the Evangelical church is also the fastest growing religion in Spain. Religion analyst Maximo Alvarez who described the increase as a “great upturn,” said the growth has been most pronounced since 2000. With 46 million people, there is still a need …

Crosses overlooking Matera, Italy. Credit: Hugh Bell/Flickr/Creative Commons

Religion Doesn’t Work Anymore

In 2015, Muslim pilgrims in Mecca were caught in a human stampede and thousands were killed. The Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca, is a requirement for all Muslims. A devout Muslim should do the Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once. Now, squeezing millions into a small place in the desert, for a few days, and keeping things traditional, is becoming impossible. When things go wrong with the Hajj, thousands die in the stampedes and governments almost go to war. Now the lunar cycle for setting the date has come to the hot desert summer, and it will stay on the summer for a decade. Management of the Hajj has become a crisis. Believers must go, but it’s so hard. I remember when I was in High School, my church told me to “win my friends for Christ.” I looked at my school friends and I didn’t see any way to make that happen. At church we had music with a piano and organ, and a strict Sunday schedule, and so much more. We had a …

Credit: Steve Braund/Flickr/Creative Commons

Fearfully and wonderfully made: Appendix redeemed, we do need it

A favorite tactic of some to prove evolution is to point to what they call vestigial organs in the human body. According to this theory, vestigial organs evolved in our ancient history, but have no real purpose today. They are left over relics from our evolutionary past. One of the prime examples of a vestigial organ is the appendix that is routinely cut out when it becomes infected because doctors see no real use for it. However, a group of researchers at Midwestern University Arizona Hospital in Glendale, Arizona have concluded the appendix actually serves a very important function in the human body. Because of the large amount of lymphatic tissue in the appendix, they said it is a production center for beneficial “gut bacteria” necessary for good health. Good gut bacteria serves several important functions including helping the body absorb fiber and nutrients. It  also plays a vital role in the body’s immune system and some bacteria even supply a form of beneficial hormones. Contrary to what scientists have believed for decades, our body …

A new star appearing in the sky in 2020. Credit: wienotfilms/Flickr/Creative Commons

Orthodox Jews look to the formation of a new star as a sign of the coming Messiah

Though Orthodox Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah, they are still looking for a Messiah and an upcoming celestial event has excited some orthodox Jews because they believe it is a sign of the Messiah’s imminent arrival. A celestial event called a Nova involving the collision of two stars will soon be taking place. According to Larry Molnar, a professor of Astronomy at Calvin College in Michigan, this collision will be so bright that for six months it will be visible to the human eye on earth. In 2013, Molnar and one of his students noticed that two stars in the Cygnus Constellation were getting brighter. They realized their orbits were shrinking and they were now on a collision course. Based on earlier observations, Molnar expects the two will collide sometime in 2022. Breaking Israel News (BIN) cited an explanation of the event that Molnar provided in a video: “[The collision] will release as much energy as the sun releases in its entire lifetime … When the two finally collide, it will create a new …

Credit: Josh & Karen Tanenbarum/Flickr/Creative Commons

Baby Sinners?

A study by Dr. Vasudevi Reddy, of the Psychology Department at the University of Portsmouth, showed babies learn to lie before they learn to speak.  Her conclusions were reported in the April 2007 edition of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Dr. Reddy stated that lying started as early as six months. She says through trial and error, babies gain a better understanding in what situations lies work best and by seven months many infants are skilled in the art of deceit. Reddy’s conclusion flies in the face of many behavioral psychologists who — convinced of man’s eternal goodness — don’t believe children start lying until they are four years of age or older, when their brains are more developed. (By this age some argue lying is a learned behavior not an innate one.) But others, mostly parents, have had nagging suspicions that their sweet, innocent child had a dark side. In the course of her research, Reddy studied 50 children and did extensive interviews with their parents. Through this process, Reddy identified a …

Artist's rendering of an asteroid. Credit: Nasa/JPL-caltech/Wikipedia

Another near asteroid miss, missed again

It is becoming almost a regular occurrence — announcements by those looking into space for dangerous asteroids — that they had missed another near miss. Now to be fair, the asteroid called 2017 AG13 was only half the size of the asteroids the Catalina Sky Survey is looking for. It is an organization partially funded by NASA to scour the skies with NEOCam, an infra-red telescope, looking for potentially dangerous asteroids. They only had 24 hours notice on this one that passed by earth on Saturday, January 7, 2017. But half the size meant this asteroid was 25 meters to 35 meters tall — ten stories — and according to reports it was traveling at 16 kms a second (9.9 miles per second). A near miss in astronomical terms meant that it was 126,461 miles out, passing halfway between earth and the moon. Of course, any asteroids intersecting our planet’s trajectory are always a concern because of the potential for the earth’s gravity to pull them in. The asteroid that exploded high in the atmosphere …

The Bell tower of the Sand covered church sticking out of the ground near Skagen, Denmark Credit: Myrna Petersen

The Buried Church

On a recent trip to my ancestor’s homeland, a visitation to an old church buried in the sand gave some insight as to the way we build our faith, will have a lasting impression in how future generations view the church. The Sand-Covered Church (Danish: Den Tilsandede Kirke, also translated as The Buried Church) is the name of a late 14th-century Danish church dedicated to Saint Lawrence of Rome. Built between 1355 and 1387, the red brick church was 45 meters long and the tower was 22 meters tall. Between 1600 and 1800, desertification or sanding-over of land occurred in the North Jutland coastal areas near the now artistic tourist town of Skagen, Denmark. Desertification destroyed the fields and buried a village near Skagen. By the close of the 18th century the drafting sands had reached the Saint Lawrence of Rome Church. Each time before a service was held, the parishioners had to dig out the entrance. The struggle to keep the church free of sand lasted until 1795, when it was abandoned and front …

Credit: Michael Mazzamuto/Flickr/Creative Commons

But the Lord directs our steps

Twenty years ago, my husband Dean and I were pastoring a satellite church plant in Hong Kong on an island called Discovery Bay. We had gathered a diverse group of people in one of our house churches — a good mix of new and established believers. People were coming to the Lord and being filled with the Holy Spirit. But within this group, there were also some very established missionaries. They had ministered in Hong Kong for several years, and were without a house church so they joined our small group. They were faithful servants of the Lord, but did not believe in the moving of the Holy Spirit. They saw the Holy Spirit as only “the Comforter,” and they often disagreed with the way Dean and I ministered. There is a verse in Ecclesiastes that warns evil times can suddenly fall upon us: 12 Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil …

Learning a lesson on grace at Tim Hortons Credit: buck82/Flickr/Creative Commons

The day God schooled me

I was at a Tim Horton’s drive thru, a popular coffee and doughnut shop in Canada. Our coffee maker died (may it RIP) and I needed my caffeine fix. That’s when I saw a person in a white car in the drive-thru lane beside me. He had his window rolled down and was smoking a cigarette. As a Cystic Fibrosis mama, that is a trigger for me. My daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) at 23 days old. The disease affects the body’s ability to produce sodium chloride, as a result a person’s mucous is very thick. This causes many problems, most seriously lung failure and the struggle to keep a healthy weight as it affects a person’s ability to absorb nutrients. This means hours spent each day ensuring my daughter takes her many medications including the ones given by mask and her nightly tube feedings. I also need to perform physiotherapy on her multiple times in a day to loosen the mucous in her lungs to delay the progression of this terminal disease. In …

Called to be a superhero with flaws?

My Prophetic Journey Part 15: The Last Word

[This is part of a series of articles on the ministry of the prophet and gift of prophecy.] God desires an army of broken and weak supermen and women to change the world. In II Corinthians 12:7-10 we read about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Verse 9 says, “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” In many ways – pedigree, education and position – Paul was a heavy-weight, a “superman” if you will. But it was Paul’s thorn, his weakness, that drove him closer to God. Being used by God in the prophetic, or in any gift, is not about our greatness, but His grace. Several years ago God gave me a disturbing vision of myself. He showed me a before and after picture of me as a vessel. The first picture was what looked like an empty tin can with a number of nails and nasty looking screws sticking into it from the outside. God told me, this was you. The next …

Sun appearing over the India Ocean Credit: Nasa/Flickr

Mathematics professor predicts chaos in the next decade — a sign of the times?

Peter Turchin is a mathematics professor at the University of Connecticut. One of his projects is using mathematics to determine what lies ahead for the world’s future. And if he is right, it does not look good. Based on his mathematical model, Turchin is predicting a time of economic and political chaos in the the next decade – 2020s. For his predictions, Turchin used a branch of mathematics he developed called cliodynamics. According to Wikipedia, this looks upon history as just another branch of science and describes it as “the mathematical modeling of historical processes.” Basically, Turchin developed a mathematical algorithm to analyze past historical events and then used it to predict future events. Apparently, the model successfully predicted the political instability that the world is going through at the moment, but his calculations show that it won’t peak until the next decade, around 2025, and could result in the collapse of society. It will be caused by a number of events including the declining wealth of people and families that will put them under …

Dog sledding on Greenland, where the ice and snow is returning. Credit: Baron Reznik/Flickr/Creative Commons

Arctic ice cap roaring back

According to an article in the Daily Caller, the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) is reporting Greenland’s ice sheet is returning with a vengeance. The agency added that since January 1, 2017, Greenland’s ice sheet gained 8 gigatons of snow and ice. It noted the ice has been increasing since October. This increase is far above the normal rates seen this time of year, and DMI stated it is one of the highest growth rates in recent years. DMI has been monitoring the size of Greenland’s ice sheets for 24 years. Over the summer, those promoting man-made Global warming  trumpeted the arctic’s shrinking ice cap as evidence of man-made global warming. Of course, it always melts during the summer, but the melt this past year was aided by a strong El Nino effect that warmed the 2015-2016 winter. Once every three to five years, an El Nino occurs that results in warm waters — that should be pooling around Indonesia and the Philippines — moving eastward and settling along the coast of South America. Depending on …

Nepal Credit: Roberto Saltori/Flickr/Creative Commons

Nepal court sentenced Christians to prison for ‘withcraft’

A court in Nepal has found four Christians guilty of ‘witchcraft’ and ‘violence’ and sentenced them to five years imprisonment. According to World Watch Monitor, the crime the Christians committed was ministering to Seti Pariyar who had been sent to a prayer meeting in June last year by her father-in-law who thought Seti might be possessed by demons. Seti, who struggled with some type of mental illness, attended the prayer meeting, but left early fleeing into a nearby forest. After the prayer meeting ended, members of the church found Seti screaming in the forest and self harming. After praying for her, the group took the woman to her home. A few weeks later, a local businessman shared the incident with the local media who wrote a story on what took place at the church. When news of this came to light, a local resident filed a complaint with the police on the incident, who arrested five Christians and accused them of trying to convert Seti to Christianity. They also accused them of practicing ‘witchcraft’ and …

Artists portrayal of Nero's persecution of Christians by Heinrich von Siemiradzki (1843-1902): Wikipedia

How Tacitus’ contradiction of the Biblical record actually confirms the Bible

Roman senator and orator Tacitus (55AD-118AD) is considered one of the great ancient historians. He wrote a number of books, and in his last work entitled Annals he had a couple of paragraphs about Jesus and the Christians. Though small, these two citations pack a wallop because they provide various confirmations about the Biblical account and even one contradiction that actually proves the Bible’s accuracy of events. Tacitus was providing a brief history about the Roman Emperor Nero (37AD – 67AD) and because of this felt compelled to give an explanation about Christians and Christ as they played a role in the Great Fire of Rome (July 18-23 64 AD). Many Romans believed Nero purposefully set the fire as part of his grandiose plan to rebuild Rome. To deflect the blame, Tacitus said Nero accused Christians of arson: [neither] human effort nor the emperor’s generosity nor the placating of the gods ended the scandalous belief that the fire had been ordered [by Nero]. Therefore, to put down the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits and punished …

Protestors Credit: washingtonydc/Flickr/Creative Commons

We Need More Sin in 2017?

We have a lot of complaining in the world. I wanted to give you a link to someone whining about something on video, but I can’t. This is a Christian blog and they all swear like angry sailors. Maybe try words like “millennial” or “Trump” or “Brexit” or “safe space” or “immigration” with a search engine. I’m sure you get the picture. You might see a video of a violently angry complainer, or maybe someone with an equally angry response. And I warned you about the swearing. I don’t remember people acting like this ten years ago; the world has changed. Now a democratic election is close to a civil war and people seem to hate their neighbors who vote for the other side. Arguments are loud and emotional and we win if we drown out the other side, or maybe insult them into silent shame, or steal their election signs. It’s a cage match between the Deplorables and the Snowflakes. Here’s a problem; we don’t have enough sin. We have loud emotional arguments, on …

Michael the Arch Angel battling Satan by Luca Giordano (1632-1705): Wikipedia

My Prophetic Journey Part 14: The Angel and the demon

[This is part of a series of articles on the ministry of the prophet and gift of prophecy.] As we journey in the prophetic, we are involved in the supernatural realm, and our perceptions can help or hinder us. Fear is something that can definitely hinder. Even as a young Christian I was oppressed with fear, including a fear of the devil.   Somewhere in my family’s past there was a very dark shadow.   As I got older I still had an unhealthy fear of the enemy. Several years ago my wife and I prayed for a friend who had a number of issues in her life. I got a vision while praying for her. I saw a demon sitting on top of a well. God revealed that she had a Christian inheritance in her family, but the enemy was doing all he could to keep her from accessing that godly well. I have only ever had one vision of a demon and this was it. This demon was a small stupid looking imp, and my …

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Credit: Wikipedia/Michael-David Bradford

Coincidence or is this the reason why membership in the Southern Baptist church shrunk?

On May 13, 2016, the missionary arm of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) announced that it will now allow its missionaries to speak in tongues privately. This ended a policy initiated in November 2005, when the board said it would no longer accept missionaries who spoke in tongues. Originally the board allowed missionaries to speak in tongues in their personal prayer life, but forbid any public expression. On its application form one of the first questions asked was if the person spoke in tongues. The question will remain but will not impact a person’s ability to work as a missionary with SBC. The Southern Baptist church, the largest protestant denomination in North America, believes the gift of tongues, also called glossolalia, ended with the age of the apostles and is no longer valid today. Then the very next year, 2006, in a nearly unanimous vote (36-1) trustees of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary announced they will no longer allow anyone to promote speaking in tongues on campus and will not hire any person who knowingly …