Month: July 2017

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The Lost Art of Story Telling

For thousands of years, the Elders of a people have verbally passed true life stories down to their children.  This was a major way for history to be recorded before the time when individuals began to record events on writing materials. Today, with the invention of the printing press and the explosion of digital technology, communication is transferred, more often through electronic means than from the voice of a loving father. This makes one question, ‘Who’s voice are your children hearing?” Story Telling is an Elder’s Duty The Israelites understood it was their responsibility to pass true stories from one generation to another.  In fact, they recognized it was the way the Lord God would make His ways and acts known to the nations. Even within the Song of Moses, this reality was communicated to the congregation. “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations.  Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:” (Deuteronomy 32:7). Not only was the Song of Moses sung to the …

Recent archaeological work being done at the West Bank Shiloh site: Credit: Vimeo Video screen capture/Tim Velasco

Hints of Shiloh’s location?

Archaeologists have uncovered some interesting artifacts at what is believed to be the ancient Israeli site of Shiloh located in the West Bank. After entering the Promised Land under Joshua, the Israelis eventually set up the Tabernacle of Moses at Shiloh around 1400 BC (Joshua 18:1). It stood here for 369 years. The site in the West Bank is considered one of four possible locations of Shiloh. Inside the tabernacle, a large colourful tent, was the gold-plated Ark of the Covenant on which the Presence of God sat leading to the Tabernacle being called the “dwelling place of God” (Exodus 25:8-9). A large Jewish community eventually built up around the most important religious site in Israel during this period. The Tabernacle sat within a larger fenced-off compound where the altar stood on which the Jewish priests made sacrifices on behalf of Israel. There are some indications from ancient non-Biblical Jewish writings that the tent and the walls of the compound originally made of cloth and skins for easy transportation around the wilderness were eventually replaced …

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Rock of Ages

These past two weeks, my husband and I spent time with his dad who was in a hospice dying of cancer. Along with other family members, we took turns spending the night with him. We didn’t want him to be alone. For years he had been the rock of his  family and now he needed us. When it was my turn, I prayed for him during the night when I got up to check on him. During the day, I often bent over him as he lay in his hospital bed and told him that he was safe under the shelter of Christ the rock and that living water was springing up in him to eternal life. Many times, I would put my hand firmly on his shoulders, squeeze them and say to him, do you you feel the grip I have on your shoulders?  Then he would nod or blink and I would tell him: “Jesus has a hold on you and He’s not letting go. He is  your rock and the  anchor of …

Model of the Tabernacle of Moses in Timna Park, Israel. Credit: Ruk7/Wikipedia

Grab Hold

In the Old Testament there is a piece of furniture in the outer court of the Tabernacle of Moses called the bronze altar. On it were four bronze horns. All worshipers had access to the altar, even fugitives could cling to the horns of the altar if they were seeking asylum (Exodus 21:13-14). There was a time when Solomon was to be the rightful King of Israel, but his brother Abonijah had the grand idea that he would be King. Their father, David, found out and proclaimed Solomon King, which made Abonijah fear for his life. He ran to the place of worship, grabbed the horns of altar and begged for mercy which he received that day.                                                            Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. (1 Kings 1:50 NLT) I am sure there …

The Cassia plant source of one of the ingredients of the Holy anointing oil. Source: sylvan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Holy Anointing Oil

[by Helene Rudolph] Exodus 30:23-33 sets forth the instructions given by God to Moses concerning the making of the Holy Anointing Oil, which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Vessels were set apart unto God for sacred purposes, by anointing them with oil. With the mixture mentioned in this passage, Priests, Prophets and Kings were also consecrated for service to God, during the Old Covenant days.  (See I Sam. 10: 1- 6). “Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.” (I Sam. 16:13) The Recipe There were four fragrant ingredients added to the extra virgin olive oil namely myrrh, cinnamon, sweet cane (calamus) and cassia, to compound this oil.  Each of these fragrances carries a unique symbolic. Put together this oil carries a powerful message in and of itself.  The Holy anointing oil’s message speaks of sacrificial living, about walking righteously and upright according to God’s righteous standards and about judgments in humility. A Warning “And you …

Jesus walking on water by Amedee Varin (1818-1863): Wikipedia

Que realmente hundió al Apostol Pedro?

English version:What really sunk Peter? En Mateo 14, leemos el relato del intento fallido del apóstol Pedro para caminar sobre el agua. Después de que Jesús sacó a Pedro  fuera del agua, el Señor dijo: “Hombre de poca fe, ¿ Porqué dudaste ? ” Muchos creen que Pedro falló simplemente porque necesitaba “más” fe. Pero era este el caso? ¿Pedro necesitaba más fe? o era su otra cosa más la que Pedro tenia que trabajar? ¿Qué significa ‘oligopistos’? La fe fue una de las mas importantes enseñanzas de Cristo. Era tan importante, que Jesús usó una palabra inusual – “oligopistos” , palabra traducida comúnmente como “poca fe”  para describir la fe de los discípulos (Mateo 06:30; 08:26; 14:31; 16: 8 y Lucas 12:28) Esta es una palabra inusual, debido a su rareza ninguno de los otros autores del Nuevo Testamento – que no se refiera  a la palabra de Jesús – utiliza ” oligopistos”  en sus escritos y, sorprendentemente, la palabra no se encuentra en ninguna literatura griega de este período. Oligopistos combina dos palabras griegas, oligonucleótidos y pistis. Pistis …

Various images of the Shroud of Turin

Scans of the blood found on Shroud of Turin reveal torture

Early protestant reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) was one of the first to question the Shroud of Turin’s authenticity, that some believe is the burial cloth used to wrap Christ’s body. Burned into the Shroud is an image of a man with long hair and a beard that is the basis of most modern paintings used to portray Christ today. It is believed the image was created when God miraculously raised Christ from the dead. Calvin who was not enamoured with the Roman Catholic church used scripture to refute the claim. He pointed to John 20:6-7 where it says there were two pieces of cloth, one for the body and a smaller piece of linen that the disciples wrapped around Christ’s head. Defending the shroud’s authenticity, some argue that the larger piece could still have covered the full body. And despite the fact Pope Francis prayed before the cloth in June 2015, the Roman Catholic Church has not made an official declaration on the shroud (14 feet 5 inches by 3 feet 7 inches)  kept at the Cathedral of …

Credit: Amber Orenstein/Flickr/Creative Commons

Liberated Artisans

In a previous article on “Craftsmen in Captivity ” we discussed the many ways in which artists and musicians are taken into captivity. Today, we want to “declare liberty to those  who are bound”. By open acknowledgment and repentance from sin and idols of the heart, one can set forth on a path of freedom for their spirit, soul and body. The Psalmist recognized the one LORD God, Elohim, as the great deliverer who could literally cause the freed captives to dream and sing. “When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue within singing. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, Whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.” (Psalm 126:1- 4) When Jesus Christ read a scroll written by the prophet Isaiah, he recognized the anointing of the Spirit of the LORD. God gave …

Jim Carrey addressing the crowd a Homeboy Industries: YouTube Capture

Comedian Jim Carrey preaching the gospel?

Jim Carrey, 55, is Canadian-born comedian who rose to fame in 1994, when he starred in three movies  Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. He received a Golden Globe and Oscar Nomination for his lead role in the The Mask and Dumb and Dumber became a huge commercial success earning $270 million. Carrey was born in Newmarket, Ontario on January 17, 1962 and was raised Roman Catholic. According to an article on Christian Today, Carrey was recently invited to speak at Homeboy Industries. It is a youth rehabilitation organization run by Roman Catholic Jesuits who are trying to transform the lives of young men and women caught up in Los Angeles’ gang life. They educate and train these previously incarcerated gang members. They also give counselling on how to manage their anger and as well a service to remove tattoos. When he addressed the group, Carrey said: “You are heroes to me, and I admire you. When you stepped through these doors, you decided to be a part of this family. You’ve made a …

Hebron Credit: Ronan Shenhav/Flickr/Creative Commons

UNESCO’s bizarre motions

Earlier this month, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) continued to rewrite history, which according to some is the organization’s favorite pastime. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee declared Israel the “occupier of the Western Wall and Jerusalem’s old city” as part of its annual meeting held in Kraków, Poland July 2 to 12th. With eight abstaining, the 21-member committee approved the motion in a 10-3 vote on July 3, 2017. Israel’s Foreign Ministry described the vote as “sad, needless and pathetic.” Such motions do little more than politicize important cultural and religious sites in the Middle East and further enflames already heated tensions. Predictably the Palestinian Authority jumped on the vote using it as another platform calling for the removal of Israel’s control of Jerusalem, a city that has been a part of Jewish theology and history for thousands of years. Then a few days later in a secret meeting, the Word Heritage Committee continued its rewrite declaring Hebron and the cave of the Patriarchs as endangered “Palestinian” sites. Located 32 km south of Jerusalem …

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But We Can’t Afford That

A few days ago, a young woman who lives near me overdosed on Fentanyl. Her family drove her to a hospital and I think someone did CPR during the ride. She almost died, but the hospital staff were able to save her. Something bothered me about that story, and then I noticed that they drove her in the family car; they didn’t call an ambulance. I don’t know the family but I guess they can’t afford a five-hundred-dollar ambulance ride every time their addict overdoses. Transporting critically ill patients in a private vehicle is something we should never do; the ambulance crew might save a life before arriving at the hospital. But that ride has a cost, the whole system costs millions, with dispatchers, EMTs, vehicles and equipment, and sometimes helicopters. And life-threatening problems like drug addiction are becoming epidemics. And another story; I keep the tickets from McDonald’s coffee cups. Where I live, each cup has a peel-and-stick ticket and a detachable card. Seven tickets will buy one cup of coffee. I don’t need …

Ritsumazijl, Frise, Netherlands Credit: Hindrik Sijens/Flickr/Creative Commons

How far is far enough?

[by Keith Hazell] “Don’t go too far dear.”  These were frequent words that I heard from Mother when I was growing up. Usually, it was a warning that there was an unmarked perimeter that I should not pass. However, once on a beach in the UK during the Second World War, the warning was to remind me not to go under the barbed wire onto the sand where land-mines were buried. Thus to hear such a warning, is to realize that going beyond certain limits where things appear ok, can actually put us in mortal danger. One of the currents going through the church to-day questions the value and purpose of church as we have known it in the past. It is said that the church has no relevance and its meetings are no longer a place where believers can actively and meaningfully interact and express the life of Christ. There is a legitimate need to get back to a simpler form of Christian Life and to re-discover the lifestyle and benefits of a closer …

Roman Centurions enactment Credit: Mike Bishop/Flickr/Creative Commons

Gird your loins with truth

In Ephesians 6:10-17, the Apostle Paul talks about the need for Christians to put on their spiritual armour. He starts off this passage by stating we need to be strong in the “strength of His might.” Our strength doesn’t rest in our own natural ability, but in how connected we are with God’s strength. The reason for this is because our true enemy is not “flesh and blood” but spiritual: “world forces of this darkness” and “spiritual forces of wickedness.” This connection with God’s strength to resist the satanic realm lies in our spiritual armour. Intriguingly, Paul lists the loin armour as the believer’s first piece of equipment, which he likens to ‘truth:’ 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth (Ephesians 6:14 NASV) The loin armour or girdle was constructed of plating, metal or leather, and fit around the hips protecting the soldier on every side. Because it was designed to keep the upper body armour in place, it was considered the foundational piece in the Roman armour. What kind of truth would function as the girdle? …

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Craftsmen in Captivity

Coveting Works for Gain History records that craftsmen, artists and musicians have been consistently targeted by their enemies.  They are often taken into captivity since those who carry a Babylonian spirit desire to make merchandise of their creative gifts. Multiple stories of coveting works for gain are documented repeatedly throughout the Bible. “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, That he may set his nest on high, That he may be delivered from the power of disaster!” (Habakkuk 2:9) They Only Want to Worship Moses was called to bring deliverance to his people the Israelites, who were slaves to Pharaoh (Exodus 5).  Pharaoh became furious when he discovered the Israelites wanted to go into the desert and sacrifice to the most High God.  Ever consider that it was a Jewish workforce who helped build the Egyptian Pyramids? Today that Egyptian spirit still runs rampant. Have you wondered why anointed musicians and artists who only want to exalt the most high God are targeted in our modern age?  It all has to do …

Jezreel Valley in Israel. Credit: vad_levin/Flickr/Creative Commons.jpg

Does this find confirm 1 Kings 21:1?

Dr Norma Franklin made a remarkable discovery in the Jezreel Valley. The valley is located in a large, fertile plain in Northern Israel, just south of Nazareth. It has been an important agricultural area in Israel for centuries. In 2012, using a LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanner that is able to see beneath the surface of the earth, Franklin discovered several ancient wine presses including one that is now considered the largest wine-press ever found in Israel. This one was actually found on a side of a hill carved into the bedrock and was about 12 metres square (36 feet). As well, Franklin’s team discovered several (100) bottle-shaped pits that were probably used to store wine. In addition to discoveries related to the wine industry, the scanner also picked out several olive presses. Though it was difficult to determine the date of these finds, Franklin said the construction style is similar to those built in 300 BC. This would fall into the era of King Ahab and his wicked wife Queen Jezebel. So what Biblical …

Newcastle, Northern Ireland, home to another verified miracle. Photo: Newcastle harbour. Credit: Phil Rogers Flickr/Creative Commons

Cancer healing challenges doctors in Northern Ireland

In 2004, doctors diagnosed Sharyn Mackay of Newcastle, Co Down in Northern Ireland with a cancerous tumour on her kidney. Sharyn and her husband William, who at the time was a Methodist pastor, have four children. After taking a biopsy of the cancer, Sharyn’s surgeon from Craigavon Area Hospital sent a sample to specialists at Harvard University because her form of cancer was very rare. She told the Belfast Telegraph: “They said it was spindle cell sarcoma which is normally bone cancer. I was one of only 10 known cases where it had become a kidney tumour.” In an interview with Stuart Chalmers posted on YouTube, Sharyn said after hearing about her cancer many people in the four churches her husband pastored started praying for her. But at that point, Sharyn said her confidence was in the doctors who were treating her. However, that quickly changed when further tests showed the cancer had spread to her lungs. Her doctor said the cancer was terminal. Since chemotherapy and surgery could not cure it, they were not going …

Surgery cancelled after tumours miraculously healed

Ken Gorman of Sheffield, England was scheduled for surgery in early July. According to an article on Assist News, Ken noticed a lump on his face in May 2013 that was starting to cause him pain. At first, doctors prescribed pain medication, but as the lump continued to grow and the pain with it, doctors eventually sent Ken for an MRI at Rotherham General Hospital in South Yorkshire, England. That test revealed that part of a main nerve in Ken’s face was now encircled by three tumours. The doctors immediately scheduled surgery in July this year. However, things took a dramatic turn after Ken and his wife Annie heard about a healing rally being held by evangelist Nathan Morris at Hull City Hall in Hull, England. With Ken’s surgery still weeks away and his pain getting worse, they decided to attend the service. But there was a problem. Because of limited capacity, the meeting required pre-booking to attend and no tickets were available. Annie decided to drive her husband to the meeting even though they didn’t …

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Moving in time with heaven

The Holy Spirit will  give very specific words to me at times – words that I do not normally use in everyday conversation.  I love it when He does this, as it always sends me on a Kingdom treasure hunt. A week ago, Holy Spirit brought the word RECALIBRATE to me in a dream, and I believe He is revealing to us His work within the Body of Christ at this time.  To RECALIBRATE means, basically to CALIBRATE AGAIN.  Here are some definitions I’d like to share with you to deepen your understanding: Calibrate:  to adjust precisely for a particular function; to measure precisely, especially against a standard (merriam-webster.com). Additionally, here are some definitions of the word RECALIBRATE: Recalibrate:  to calibrate something again, or differently. (google.ca).  To make small changes to an instrument so that it measures accurately; to change the way you do or think about something (dictionary.cambridge.org). Many of God’s people are experiencing a season of transition at this time, or are otherwise recognizing that there is a shift in the Spirit.  I …

Wailing Wall in Jerusalem Credit: Fernando+Merced/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is the church actually the continuation of Israel?

It’s an age-old question. Is the church the continuation of Israel or something completely new that God started after Israel failed to fulfill God’s will? The church under this latter scenario is God’s second choice, an afterthought. To bring some perspective on this I was intrigued by an article on Breaking Israel News about a sermon recently preached by a famous Hasidic Jewish Rabbi Alon Anava. He was speaking at the 23rd anniversary of the death of another renown orthodox Rabbi, Menachem Schneerson. In his sermon Anava spoke of the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Though the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, orthodox Jews still believe in a promised Messiah. In fact, many believe signs suggest that the Jewish Messiah will be revealed very soon. But Anaya said in order for the Messiah to come, the Jews must first preach the Torah to the gentiles: “You know what is missing? The nations of the world. Now all we need to do is involve a couple billion people from the other nations to be part of the redemption.” …

Judas betrays Jesus by Caravaggio (1571-1610)

La agonía del rechazo

English Version: The agony of rejection Un estudio realizado en 2003 por investigadores de la Universidad de California y publicado en la revista Science reveló rechazo tiene el mismo impacto en el cerebro como el dolor físico. Los científicos crearon un programa informático que simula una pelota de juego que lanza entre un participante en vivo y dos simulaciones por ordenador. Los 13 sujetos de prueba (cuatro hombres y nueve mujeres) fueron conectados a una resonancia magnética y se les invita a jugar el juego. Se les dijo a los otros dos jugadores (operados por el ordenador) estaban efectivamente controlada por personas vivas. La simulación por ordenador involucrado un simple juego de capturas entre los tres jugadores. La resonancia magnética rastreado las respuestas del cerebro durante el juego. Inicialmente, el equipo siguió el juego, pero cuando el sujeto había atrapó el balón siete veces, el equipo ignora el sujeto vivo y sólo lanzó la pelota hacia atrás y adelante entre las animaciones. Sin embargo, los sujetos de prueba creían que estaban siendo ignoradas deliberadamente por …

Nambia desert Credit: John Adams/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sanar nuestro rechazo

English Version: Healing our rejection Usando una resonancia magnética, los investigadores universitarios descubrieron que el dolor emocional asociado con el rechazo es tan real como el dolor físico. En 2011, el grupo liderado por el profesor asociado de la Universidad de Michigan, Ethan Kross, estudió a 40 personas que recientemente habían pasado por una ruptura romántica en los seis meses anteriores. Todos los participantes elegidos mencionaron haber sentido sentimientos intensos de rechazo debido al final de la relación. Las 40 personas fueron sometidas a dos pruebas relacionadas con el dolor emocional que sentían por el rechazo y el otro dolor físico real. En la primera prueba, los sujetos del estudio vieron una imagen de su ex y se les pidió que pensaran en la ruptura. En la segunda etapa, los dispositivos térmicos se unieron a sus brazos que crearon calor el equivalente de café caliente. Cuando las 40 personas pasaron por estas y otras pruebas comparativas, los investigadores monitorearon su actividad cerebral usando MRIs. Los investigadores descubrieron que los sentimientos de rechazo provocaban actividad neuronal …

Credit: LJ Mears/Flickr/Creative Commons

How strong is God’s love for you?

What picture would help us grasp the magnitude of this love? There is a verse in the Song of Solomon that describes the love between the bride and bridegroom — a picture of the love relationship between Jesus and His Church, the people of God. “Set me like a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as hard and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame (the very flame of the Lord)! (Song of Solomon 8:6) It provides several metaphors revealing God’s unquenchable love for us: the seal, death, fire and jealousy. The Seal In Biblical times, the seal was a stamp of ownership and authenticity put on an object. In the Song of Solomon, the Shulamite woman is asking her lover to put this stamp of ownership on her heart so she can be completely and only his. Brown’s Bible Commentary describes it this way: “She was ‘leaning’ on Him, that is, her …

Mallard ducks Credit: Laura Gooch/Flickr/Creative Commons

Ducks weren’t created to act this way

My wife and I were driving down a road in Northern Saskatchewan a few days ago when I noticed a kerfuffle on the highway in front of us involving several birds, one of which was a crow. They were obviously fighting. As our vehicle approached, the crow suddenly took off with the other birds in pursuit. In the crow’s beak I could see another bird struggling to get free. I suspect it was a chick of the birds now chasing the crow. The crow had probably dropped the chick on the road and had swooped down to grab it again. I have no idea how this all ended as the birds disappeared over the ditch and into the forest that crowded the highway. But I suspect it did not go well for the chick. It reminded me of another story reported by the BBC. It was based on a report by Zoologist Silviu Petrovan of the University of Cambridge who was researching behaviour of mallard ducks on a lake in Romania. It was a typical …

Credit: Alpha/Flickr/Creative Commons

Help, I can’t get promoted!

For part of my career I worked in a large university. I also trained to be a Christian minister but jobs were just not available in churches, so I taught in a university. I was promoted to be the coordinator of the department, like a vice-principal in a school for adults. This promotion was a surprise to me, and I was supposed to be interim; our Director was going to quit and someone had to hold things together until the new Director arrived. When he finally came, he needed people like me, so he extended my tenure as coordinator. That’s when my friends started hating me and senior managers started looking at me as a liability instead of an asset. They needed to save money and I was a cost, and my friends wanted my job. On the success side, I schemed and politicked my way into a large window office, in a place where most of us worked in cubicles, with no outside light. I am ashamed to tell you that now. God never …

Roman helmet Credit: Paul Morriss/Flickr/Creative Commons

Your helmet of salvation

In Apostle Paul’s description of the spiritual armor that Christians need to wear found in Ephesians 6:10-17, he refers to the helmet of salvation. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17 NASV) It is generally believed that Paul wrote Ephesians around 62 AD as he sat in a Roman jail waiting his execution. His Roman guards were undoubtedly the models for this passage. The Roman helmet was made of leather and usually covered with brass. Many times it was crowned with a plume or some type of ornament. The purpose of the helmet was to protect the head from blows from a war club or sword. Obviously, believers are required to wear such protection because Satan, like soldiers of old, went for the head for the telling blow. But he doesn’t attack it physically, rather he attacks us mentally. As Paul sat in his dark jail can you imagine the thoughts that were running through his mind. Had he made a huge …

Jacob's sons show their father Joseph's cloak telling their father Joseph was killed by a wild animal Credit: Wikipedia Painting by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)

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 …