Month: October 2017

A school in Madagascar Credit: lemurbaby/Wikipedia

‘Something different’ about this Bubonic plague says health official

It always concerns me when health experts use phrases like “something different” and “health officials couldn’t explain it.” These were the words expressed by a World Health Organization (WHO) official describing a recent outbreak of the Bubonic plague on the island nation of Madagascar. Located off the southeastern coast of Africa, it has a population of 25 million. Also referred to as the Black Death, the Bubonic plague gained its fame when it ravaged Europe during the 1300s and 1400s killing 75 million to 100 million people, decimating a third of the population. The outbreak on Madagascar was not so serious. It infected 1,300 people killing 125. But nevertheless it was over double the number who normally catch the plague on the island nation each year. The Bubonic plague is a very serious bacterial infection that results in death upwards of 60% of the time if untreated. Its symptoms include headache, fever, stomach pains and chills. But it’s best known for the painful swelling of the lymph nodes that can break open resulting in bleeding. …

Montreal student riot May 19, 2012 Credit: scottmontreal/Flickr

Are you ready for when “It Begins Nov 4?”

I am writing this a few days before the big day. It is always interesting to remember the time before it all happened. Apparently this is a time we will forget because big things will happen on November 4. Some radical groups, mostly in the U.S. have committed themselves to a violent uprising on one day. The promise is a threat to anyone who thinks differently than them. Some opponents think this promise is only bait, to make any opposers look bad and to get them arrested when they try to stop the uprising. “Take To The Streets And Public Squares in cities and towns across the country continuing day after day and night after night—not stopping—until our DEMAND is met” RELATED: November 4 the day it begins Are you ready? I don’t know what will actually happen, maybe some angry demonstrations, but I am not worried about the action, I am afraid of the reaction. The police know more about this than us, and they have been getting ready for weeks. My high school …

The Milky Way viewed from Chile. Credit: Bruno Gilli/ESO/Wikipedia

CERN scientist admits universe should not exist

A physicist with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, recently admitted in an interview with Newsweek that the universe is defying the laws of physics. CERN physicist Christian Smorra said, “The universe should not exactly exist.” With an annual budget of $1.24 billion, CERN, located in Switzerland, has a particle accelerator deep underground. They use this 17-mile long circular accelerator to have particles traveling at nearly the speed of light collide. They have also been trying to find an imbalance between matter and antimatter. Since the matter and antimatter annihilate each other on contact, such an imbalance would be necessary for the universe to exist. According to the Big Bang Theory the universe originally existed in pure energy the size of a thimble (literally the size of a thimble), this exploded in a “one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second” to create all the matter that makes up the universe today. However, if there was an equal amount of matter and antimatter, the universe should have self annihilated back into …

Painting of Nero's torches also referred to as Christian candlesticks by Henruk Siemiradzki (1843-1902) /Wikipedia

The fiery trials of North Korea described as a ‘life of hell’

In an interview with Fox News, Choi Kwanghyuk said he had never heard of underground churches until he managed to flee North Korea and its brutal dictator Kim Jung-un. After his escape, Choi was granted asylum in the US in 2013 and now lives in Los Angeles. While in North Korea, Choi was a member of  the country’s underground church. Though on paper, North Korea says religion is legal in the country, in reality the only god they are allowed to worship is its president Kim Jung-un. Choi who lived in North Korea’s cold North Hamgyon province told Fox News there were nine members in their church and they were very reluctant to share their faith for fear of being found out because it would result in imprisonment and probably death. Choi added that they had one Bible that they shared between them and they often held church services in a hole that they had dug in the ground as a storage place for kimchi, a spicy pickled cabbage that is considered a national food in …

Credit: Alex Pang/Flickr/Creative Commons

Human ‘being’ or human ‘doer’

A few weeks ago my husband and daughter noticed that I was tired and sleeping more than usual. Immediately, I became angry and defensively opened my calendar to recount every thing I had done over the past two weeks that justified my tiredness. My husband said to me, “it’s not about how much you have done or are doing.  Maybe, you need to go to the doctor and make sure it’s not your heart.  Your mother has heart disease.” His concern for my health interrupted my rant and how much I had done (with proof written in my calendar). I thanked him for caring enough to say something.  He was not questioning my ‘doer’ abilities but was genuinely concerned about my health. I was later moved to tears when I realized my Heavenly Father tries in the same way to push aside my “doing mindset” and convince me that “I am enough.” God loves and accepts us just the way we are. There is nothing we can do to prove ourselves to our Heavenly Father. …

Considered to be the location of the Garden Gethsemane located at the foot of Mount Olives in Jerusalem where Jesus sweated blood Credit: tango7174/Wikipedia

Italian woman sweats blood confirming Luke 22:44

The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently published an article on the case of a 21-year-old Italian woman who has been bleeding blood from her face and hands. Italian doctors reported that over the past three years the woman has gone through episodes were she spontaneously bled blood without any breakage in the skin. According to their report the episodes would last up to five minutes. Though they occurred at any time from sleep to periods of exercise, doctors noted the bleeding intensified when she was under emotional stress. Embarrassed by her condition, the young woman was becoming a loner refusing to leave her home. After ruling out chromhidrosis, a condition that causes discolored sweat, doctors diagnosed the young woman with a rare condition called hematohidrosis – ‘blood sweat’, when people actually sweat blood. Some believe it’s caused by rupturing capillaries near the sweat glands. This can happen during times of extreme fear or stress. An Indian health journal reported ‘blood sweat’ in cases of people about to be executed and even cited an incident that …

London, England subway Credit: Nige Harris/Flickr/Creative Commons

Should we take #MeToo seriously?

A few years ago I had to travel on the rapid transit for my work. On a busy day I walked to a subway station because I had to get some paper work in another part of the city. I remember a small crowd on the platform waiting for the train and I stayed higher up on the stairs to see the train when it came. And then something caught my attention. A young woman, probably a teenager kept pulling down her shirt, to expose one shoulder. A few steps from her was a young man, who I guessed was her boyfriend. He watched over her closely, and I began to realize that she was a prostitute and he was her pimp. They had brought their business onto the public transit system. If you are wondering, they didn’t seem to get any business. In any city, the public transit crowd is short on cash and the couple’s “business model” was never going to work, but I was really shaken. We all see the world in …

Painting by Peter Fendi (1796-1842) Credit: Web Gallery of Art: Wikipedia

Healing the brokenhearted

According to an article in the Daily Mail, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have concluded that three traumatic events have the potential to cause heart disease in postmenopausal women. The group led by Dr. Rebecca Thurston presented their findings to the 2017 North American Menopause Society annual meeting held in Philadelphia Oct 11-14. In their study, Thurston and her group were trying to determine if psychological factors had an impact on a woman’s heart. They conducted an indepth survey with 272 women asking the typical questions such as their exercise, smoking and eating habits. But they then went further and asked the women how many traumatic events they had in their lives. This included a wide-range of things such as the the death of a child or spouse, physical assault and experiencing some type of natural disaster. Based on this survey, they concluded that if women experienced just three traumatic events it had the potential to cause heart disease. It showed that these events negatively affected the inner lining of a woman’s blood vessels …

Salvation Mountain, Colorado Credit: slworking2/Flickr/Creative Commons

How are we to respond?

In mid-October, a small Presbyterian church in Mayesville, South Carolina was vandalized with Satanic graffiti that included crosses drawn upside down, pentagrams and  the word “Satan.” There were over 20 pieces of graffiti spray painted on Salem Black River Presbyterian Church and two of its other buildings. One door was also broken open but nothing was stolen from the church. It was simple act of malicious vandalism. But the church had security cameras and caught video of four people vandalizing the church with the satanic imagery. After police distributed images captured from the video, people began to call in names of the suspects.  The Sumter County Sheriff’s department discovered that all four allegedly involved in the vandalism were from the nearby Shaw Air Force Base. The sheriff’s office have charged four people, Kayla Eilerman, Daveion Green, Clayre Savage and Brandon Munoz, with vandalism, trespass and conspiracy. Meanwhile in Canada, this past August, Trinity Baptist Church located in Burlington, Ontario was set on fire. The fire destroyed the old part of its building, but the fire …

Artist rendering of ninth planet hovering on the outer edge of our solar system. The bright light in the centre portrays Neptune orbiting the sun Credit: ESO/Tom Ruen/Nagualdesign -- NASA

NASA discovers evidence of a ninth massive planet in our solar system

There have been some Christians and others predicting the end of the world through a collision between Earth and a mystery planet lurking in our solar system called Nibiru. In mid-September, Jason Meade who claims to be a Christian numerologist stated the countdown for this collision started on September 23, 2017. He certainly received his 15-minutes of fame with media around the world picking up his story. People have been talking about Nibiru since the 1990s and similarly predicting the world’s catastrophic end. I even stated in my post on Meade’s prediction that if this planet existed astronomers would have noticed it through its effects on the trajectory of other planets and celestial objects. I was a bit rash in my judgement because a couple of weeks later, October 4, 2017, NASA released a statement that it had found irrefutable evidence a ninth planet exits in our solar system. It even suggested that this mystery planet was ten times larger than earth. Coincidentally, those promoting Nibiru also state its massive. NASA claims that it has not been …

Photo from South Dakota 1936 during the drought that hit North America during the 1930s. Credit: United Stated Department of Agriculture/Wikipedia

A different kind of famine?

With the Canadian government planning to legalize recreational marijuana effective July 1, 2018, Bill C-45 that is working its way through parliament includes a provision that could have disturbing ramifications for young people. Though the bill sets a minimum age of 18 for a person to legally buy marijuana, the curious provision allows young people between the ages of 12 to 18, to possess under five grams of marijuana without being criminally charged. This is the equivalent of a 12-year-old walking the streets with shot of whiskey in his or her pocket without any consequences. The biggest problem is the message the government is sending young teens through such a provision. It leaves the impression that marijuana is a safe drug, which is the mantra activists use to push governments to legalize Cannabis in the first place. There have been many voices responding to the Canadian government’s decision to legalize including the prestigious Canadian Medical Association Journal that condemned the decision in a recent editorial. As governments around the world legalize recreational marijuana, concerned medical researchers are releasing a staggering …

Mirror glasses at a restaurant in Budapest, Hungary Credit: Elekes Andor/Wikipedia

Judgements: A mirror into your heart

What your think about others reveals a lot about yourself.  Catching yourself in judgement is a first step to bringing wholeness into your life. There is a message behind our complaints, judgements and frustrations with others. Judgement is almost always a projection. Often it’s not about them, it’s all about you. We end up projecting our brokenness or an unhealed part of our lives upon someone else. Catching yourself judging others is the first step to healing your emotional wounds. Notice every time you react to what someone has said or done because this is really a message to you, about you. On the surface scenarios that bother you seem to have nothing to do with you.  But if you are having a reaction to what someone has said or done, know this, it’s about you! This is tough stuff! Our personal criticisms and frustrations about others many times mirror exactly how we secretly feel about ourselves. But it is so much easier to point the finger at someone else and not own up to the fact …

Philadelphia Eagles football stadium, 2013 Credit: Matt Hecht/Flickr/Public Domain

Is water baptism intended to break down the racial divide?

Marcus Johnson, 23, was an undrafted free agent when he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016. He was injured early in his professional tryout and missed most of the training camp. He was waived, but then added to the Eagle’s 2016 practice roster. Johnson played for the Texas Longhorns in college. His stats were not outstanding. But this year, he impressed enough to make the Eagles’s 53-man roster. Just before the Eagles’s game against the Carolina Panthers on October 12, 2017, a game the Eagles won 38-23, Johnson sent out a photo and a tweet of him being baptized at the hotel pool where the team was staying. Johnson’s caption for the photo read: “First time being Baptized! Corporate Worship is a beautiful thing!! Cleansed and Reborn in Jesus name!! #Wholeheartedly.” CBS reported on Johnson’s water baptism and commented on the photo that showed several players gathered around the pool holding hands as the wide receiver was baptized. The teammates with their heads bowed seemed to be praying. This gathering included black and whites. CBS identified …

The people of North Korea need a real reason to celebrate. Credit: Roman Harak/Wikipedia

How I have been praying for North Korea

For the past couple of weeks I have been praying that God would bring down the spiritual strong man presently controlling North Korea. I believe it is this evil principality that is propping up the regime of the country’s current brutal dictator Kim Jung-un. And I am not alone, Christians around the world are praying for North Korea. So how have I been praying? I have been asking God to send a band of Godly angels to bring down North Korea’s spiritual strongman. As we study Israel’s miraculous exodus out of Egypt we often miss the angelic involvement in that deliverance. The Psalmist writes that God sent in a band of “destroying” angels into Egypt whose job was to battle and even defeat the satanic stronghold in place at that time. He sent upon them His burning anger, Fury and indignation and trouble, A band of destroying angels. (Psalm 78:49 NASV) We also read how an angel led Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 14:19). Angels played a key role in Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. In …

Credit: Caleb George/Wikipedia

Vegas and Hollywood: the truth

On the evening of October 1, 2017, a man named Stephen Paddock used a gun to kill and injure spectators at a country music concert in Las Vegas. You probably know something about the story, but have you noticed all the comments and conspiracy theories that have spun off from the incident; the story about the story? It’s interesting because Mr Paddock is such a mystery. We don’t know why he shot those people except that he made a decision. His background story gives us no clues, so we are free to make our own judgments. That’s useful for some people. Related: 2017 Las Vegas shooting A few days later, on October 5, the New York Times published an article about Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in the Hollywood movie industry. He has been accused of gross misconduct with young women who were trying to make careers in movies and television. At this time, it is fair to say the accusations have been denied, and any accusations are only alleged; but that …

Forgiving others is like an onion with many layers. Credit: Marco Verch/Wikipedial

Abortion survivor tells her story of forgiving her mother, father and even her grandmother

On August 24, 1977, Melissa Ohden’s mother, 19, went to Saint Luke’s hospital in Sioux City, Iowa for the first step in her saline abortion that takes five days to complete. She was eight months pregnant and on August 29, 1977 she delivered her child. Her mother, who worked as an educational nurse at the hospital and was in the room as the abortion took place, had coerced her daughter into having the abortion. But unknown to her mother, Melissa was born alive and the staff left her to die in a pile of medical waste. But a while later when another nurse entered the room she heard a faint whimpering and rustling and discovered Melissa still alive. The nurse rushed Melissa to emergency and after a three-month stint in the hospital she was adopted by a Catholic family, Ron and Linda Ohden, who lived in Sioux Falls. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Melissa, 40, shared her incredible story of forgiveness as she spent 17 years trying to track down her parents. Initially …

Tirncomalee Bay, Sri Lanka Credit: Kondephy/Wikipedia

Fasting to increase your authority and power

In her book Stories from the Front Line, Jane Rumph tells of the story of a spiritual breakthrough that took place in Sri Lanka, an island country located off the South East coast of India. Formerly known as Ceylon, the country today has a population of 21 million people. In August 1972, Evangelist Chris Daniel was holding a week-long, evangelistic rally in Sri Lanka’s coastal city Trincomalee when he experienced a powerful move of God . Assisting him was Ranjit DeSilva, the President of the Lanka Bible College and 25 students from the college. In the early stages of the crusade, approximately 8,000 Tamil Hindus were attending the meetings and a few hundred people received Christ each night. During the day, Ranjit routinely prayed and fasted as he knew this spiritual exercise gave him authority over the demonic realm. However, it was the Wednesday night rally that became the catalyst for the fire that would sweep the city. The meeting roared to life when a woman angrily charged the podium loudly screaming and cursing God …

Column of smoke associated with volcanic erutpion on Iceland in 2010: Credit: Arni Frioriksson/Wikipedia

The prophet Joel warned of columns of smoke

In the prophet Joel’s vision of the end times, he saw columns of smoke towering into the sky. “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. 31 “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. (Joel 2:30-31 NASV) Though some have interpreted this as a reference to catastrophic events being brought on by such things as earthquakes. Others are not so sure. They suggest the columns that Joel saw are more likely volcanic eruptions that are often characterized by large columns of smoke pouring into the sky. This resulting smoke can be so severe, it can even disrupt air traffic as the ash can damage jet engines. The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland resulted in the cancellation of 95,000 air flights across Europe, stranding millions of people. Read more: Air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption If the smoke is severe enough, it can also darken skies and this was noted …

God is moving in Iran. Tehran, Iran in the winter 2006 Credit: Siamax/Wikipedia

God continues to move in astounding ways among Muslims

In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Mike Ansari the director of Mohabat TV said the growth of the underground church in Iran is defying all odds. Over the last several years, the Iranian government has been cracking down on the Christians forcing many underground into the house church movement. Despite the persecution and some say because of it the Iranian underground church has become one of the fastest growing Christian movements in the world. As evidence, the Mohabat released edited photos of 20 Iranians being secretly water baptized inside Iran. Ansari told CBN, some of those believers had been waiting years for the opportunity to be baptized. Mohabat TV started in 2006 and is broadcasting the Gospel in the Farsi language into Iran 24 hours a day. They estimate that last year 20% of Iranians (16 million people) viewed at least one of their gospel programs either on their cell phone or satellite TV. He added that many of the younger Iranians are becoming increasingly disillusioned about what is happening in their country. …

Schiltach in the Black Forest of Germany Credit: Harke/Wikipedia

Pulling down the strongman in Germany’s Black Forest

Christians need a major shift in perspective. It seems many have taken up a defensive position, holding out until Jesus returns. We need to standup, shake off our fears and refocus, because God wants us to take up our battering rams and go to war. There is a verse in Matthew that for years I misinterpreted. When I first read it, for some reason I believed that the church was under siege and that somehow Christians needed to hang on until the end. But in fact it said the exact opposite. God intends the Kingdom of God to be the aggressor and taking the battle to the enemy. In Mathew 16:18 (NKJ), Jesus said to Peter, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The Greek word for Hades, ‘hadou’, refers to what we know as hell. The place of torment (Luke 16:23). And the gates guarding hell would not be able to hold up against …

Sydney, Austrailia's harbour Credit: Pablo Fernandez/Flickr/Creative Commons

Australia warns of a nasty flu season

If reports coming out of Australia are correct, this year’s flu season in the Northern Hemisphere could be particularly nasty. Of course, Australia is just finishing off its winter when the flu bug becomes the most prominent, and we in the north are just entering our winter season. A report on an Australian news site says this year was particularly bad with a record-setting 172,247 reported cases of the flu. Australia’s immunization Coalition (IC) states this is 156% higher than the number reported last year at the same time. IC suspects that this year’s estimate is undoubtedly low because the health system is under such stress they are behind in their reporting. It is uncertain what the final count will be. Doctors are also describing the flu as a “super strain” meaning it is more potent than what they had seen in the past. The elderly and very young are particularly vulnerable. So far doctors have recorded 288 deaths due to the flu, but again this is probably low. They advise people to get the …

Feast of Saint Nicholas being celebrated in Firbourg, Switzerland on December 6, 2009 Credit: Chlempi/Wikipedia

Have archaeologists found the grave of Santa Claus?

A recent statement by Turkish archaeologists may throw a damper on this year’s Christmas celebration. They are claiming to have found the last remains of Santa Claus. While working on an old church in Demre located in Southern Turkey, an electronic survey revealed an opening in the ground beneath the church that probably holds the remains of Saint Nicholas. He is a fourth century bishop on which our modern Santa Claus is based. An initial look beneath the church floor revealed an undamaged shrine. Saint Nicholas was the Bishop of Mrya. The name of the city was later changed to Demre. According to tradition, he would secretly give gifts to children often by putting money in their shoes. Bishop Nicholas was imprisoned and tortured during the reign of Diocletian but lived long enough to see the Christian emperor Constantine come to power and was then released. When Saint Nicholas died on December 6, 343 AD (December 19 on the Julian calendar) he was buried at his church. Demre even has a museum dedicated to this saint. …

Violence breaks out during Catalonia's vote for independence on October 1, 2017 Credit: Beverly Yuen Thompson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Prophetic marker: A spirit of violence?

As we study the Bible’s ancient account of Noah leading up to the flood we read that it was a wicked time. But there is one verse that sticks out: 11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. (Genesis 6:11 NASV) The earth was filled with violence. In fact, the Bible refers to the violence the permeated Noah’s day a couple of times. The Hebrew word for violence is ‘hamas’ and refers to violent acts and the same word is used to describe a mass murder recorded in the book of Judges when a brother murdered 70 of his siblings (Judges 9:24). For one to murder his brothers there must be a raging hatred. But ‘hamas’ encompasses all levels of violence words, intimidation and oppression. It was a violent world in Noah’s day. But the Bible adds one more key descriptor, it says the world was “full” of violence. The Hebrew word ‘timmale’ is not a complicated word. It means simply to “contain as much as …

Edmonton Credit: Dave Sutherland/Flickr/Creative Commons

The terror attack on my street

On Saturday night I had trouble sleeping because of the flickering lights. Red meant police with no sirens, and no color was the helicopter searching for someone. I wasn’t concerned, but I stayed inside. I learned later that a man, possibly police, was digging in a garbage bin nearby, and shining a light on passing cars. The morning news said something about a driver who hit a police officer, and a small truck that flipped over, both close to my home. I drove to church on Sunday and saw a police car parked near our home. At church, I couldn’t get in because of a big celebration that filled the parking lot, so I went to another place. In the new church, the preacher kept telling us that God was going to do great things; we only had to trust. I didn’t disagree, but I didn’t see anything big. In the afternoon I went for a walk and many police officers were searching my neighbourhood. A news crew tried to get a man-in-the-street interview from …

Police car in Stockholm, Sweden Credit: Armando G Alonso/Flickr/Creative Commons

Understanding your authority and power

9 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. (Luke 9:1-2 NASV) We read in the Gospels that Jesus gave His disciples authority and power. So what does it mean to have authority and power? The simplest definition is that authority means a person has the right to do something, and power means they have the ability to do it. Perhaps the best example of how this functions is seen in the role of police in our society. A policeman has the authority to make an arrest. It’s an authority that has been given to him by the government. When he sees someone breaking the law, a police officer doesn’t have to phone the governor or premier to get permission to arrest the individual, he or she has the right or authority to do it. And though only one person, an officer is empowered by tens of thousands of …

Credit: Diana K/Flickr/Creative Commons

So who designed the first pocket — man, the sea otter or God?

So who invented human pockets? The English word “pocket” comes from an old French word “poque” that is literally translated bag. In the 16th and 17th century, people did not have pockets in their clothing, instead men and women had bags that they attached to the outside of their clothing or hung on a piece of rope around their waist. Inside they would put items such as money, jewellery and handkerchiefs. However, as these outside pockets increasingly became a target for thieves, by the 17th century, people started cutting slits in their pants and even dresses and inserting these “poques” inside the slits. They flattened them to remove its purse like bulge and began sewing them on the cloth to help keep them in place. This became the first pocket as we know it. By the 18th century clothing was being manufactured with pockets including pants, jackets, vests and shirts. They even had pockets for specific purposes. They designed pockets to hold tickets and others to hold the “pocket-watch.” Pockets were designed and created for …