Month: December 2017

Credit: Michael Kappel/Flickr/Creative Commons

How good will you be in 2018?

So how good will you be in 2018? There is not much competition on that side. Yesterday I helped someone; and every detail in this story matters for the conclusion. I have a bad cough, the kind that won’t let me sleep at night, and this morning I drove to the drug store in the Mall, where I don’t usually shop. I don’t know why I chose the mall, and that store. Also, the weather is cold today, – 30 C or – 22 F. I walked out of the wrong door at the Mall, so I had a long walk to my truck, at – 30 with bronchitis. That is a bad combination but I don’t think hard when I’m at the mall. Somehow it all felt right. As I walked, on my right I saw a small old truck, a Ford Ranger, which is usually a poor man’s ride. The driver turned the key and I heard “Click Click Click.” In subarctic weather, that means your battery is low, and that means the …

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The Eve Gene

Have you ever wished that you could travel back through time? Most of us, if not all of us, have daydreamed about just such a thing. Growing up with movies like “Time Tunnel” and “Back to the Future” have fueled our imaginations. Today using genetic science we can get a glimpse of our past by stepping back in time, not through a  mystic portal or modified sports car but through our DNA. There is so much information available through our genetic material, that it should yield a tremendous amount of knowledge about the past. Each one of our cells contains millions and often billions of bits of genetic information. This incredible storehouse of information is now being revealed by what is called “gene sequencing techniques.” It is possible that from this information, we may one day even be able to obtain a good estimate of the date of the Creation. A study of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutation rates is of interest in this respect. A  1997 article in  Nature Genetics 15(4):363-367 stated. “Mitochondrial DNA is …

Chehura desert in Peru Credit: Alma Apatrida/Flickr/Creative Commons

A prophecy about lost treasure

A couple of decades ago, my wife and I were heading down to Peru to adopt our daughter. Just before we set out on our journey that would take a month and half to complete, we were at a small prayer meeting in our church when Brian, a man with a prophetic gifting, prayed and prophesied over us. He saw us taking a big colored doll down for our daughter. But then he gave me a word, which deeply concerned both my wife and I. He said I see you gathering your treasure, and then he held his hands out, spread his fingers and said it will slip away, pouring out between your fingers like sand. I asked Brian what he meant. He had no further revelation and simply told us what he saw. It was a disturbing word. Because we respected the man and his prophetic gift we were concerned that the adoption was going to fall apart. But we believed God had told us to go and decided to continue on our journey. …

Palouse region of Idaho Credit: Charmar/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Christian Terrorists?

Just before Christmas I had a coffee break with a good friend. He is not a Christian, and I am. Somehow religion came into the conversation and he said something I have heard before; words like ‘Sure, there are Muslim terrorists, but there are also violent Christians who persecute us.’ I started to argue, but then I realized, he might be right about Christians. And I will let the Muslims answer for themselves. There are some very violent people in the world who claim to be Christians. About two years ago I drove to Portland Oregon for some training. I could have flown, but I like driving, and because I live in western Canada, I drove to the U.S. border in northern Idaho. I arrived in the evening and it was obvious that I wasn’t driving much further in the darkness. I was hoping for a motel room about an hour down the road but they probably thought I was visiting friends in the area. Usually border agents are friendly with me, but the two …

The Magi visiting Jesus by Flemish painter Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678)

The promise of a ‘King’ born to a virgin?

In the Christmas story recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, the Apostle does a very odd thing. He connects the virgin birth of Jesus with a prophecy given by Isaiah to Ahaz, the king of Judah, 700 years earlier: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23 NASV based on Isaiah 7:14) For many it has been a controversial connection. But it makes sense when we understand what was happening when Isaiah gave this prophecy with what Matthew emphasized in his account of the birth of Christ. In Isaiah 7, the prophet was dealing with a situation that was taking place in Judah. By this time, Israel and Judah had been ripped apart. Israel had fallen into abject idolatry, and Judah was the last remnant of God’s kingdom. In the first two verses, we read that back-slidden Israel and Syria had joined to rage war against Judah intending to remove Ahaz and set up a new …

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Angels among us?

If the Book of Revelation is any indication, as we move into the end times, there will be an increase in angelic activity. Throughout Revelation, we see whole chapters dedicated to angels bringing about the judgements of God (Revelation 7:1; 8:2). However they were not just bringing in judgment, the Apostle John also saw another angel preaching the Gospel in the mid-heaven: 6 And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; (Revelation 14:6 NASV) I am not sure exactly what this means, but at the very least such angelic preaching would make people more responsive to the Gospel. But there is an interesting story on the Christian Broadcasting Network website of a young Jewish woman who became a Christian as a result of angelic activity. Alyce Merritt grew up in a strict Jewish home that rejected Christian beliefs. She didn’t even know that Jesus was a Jew thinking instead he was Catholic or …

Justin Bieber at Telenor Arena in Bærum, Norway in 2016 Credit: NRK P3/Flickr/Creative Commons

Justin Bieber’s faith-inspired Instagram post received over 2.2-million likes

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has 95-million followers on Instagram and recently he shared a message with them on his personal faith in Christ. The 23-year-old pop star took a photo of a white erase board on which he wrote a message with a black marker: “Do you feel you have exausted all options? Do you feel like you’re never good enough? What if I told you that there is a god that’s willing to meet you WHEREVER you’re at! What if I told you that he could take away your pain, shame, guit, and fears #Jesus.” The photo caption read simply “Jesus is changing me from the inside out every day! AND I MISSPELLED GUILT and exhausted.” Despite the typos and as someone pointed out maybe “god” should be capitalized, it was a heartfelt message. I loved the way it was hand written including even the typos because this showed it was real. Over 2.2 million, mostly young people, liked the post and 52 thousand commented. Not all the comments were positive, but the majority …

Antarctic Credit: Maxime/Flickr/Creative Commons

Antarctic tree stump fossils reveal what earth looked like at creation

A recent discovery by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have added another piece to the puzzle of what earth looked like at creation when they discovered several fossilized tree stumps in the Transarcitic Mountains found in the Antarctic. They brought back fragments from 13 different trees that included deciduous, ginkgos (a nut bearing tree common to China) and evergreens. Fossils were first discovered in the Antarctic during the 1910-12 Robert Falcon Scott expedition. Though Scott and his four-man team died during the trip, their remains were discovered and in their notes the group mentioned finding beech-tree like fossils, describing in great detail their different-sized leaves. Since none of the rock samples they collected contained any beech fossils, many evolutionary scientists quickly dismissed the reference because it didn’t fit their world view. Since then, they have not only found tree stumps in the Antarctic, but coal beds and dinosaur bones. Because Antarctic’s climate today is much too cold for trees, this suggests that at one time it was much more moderate. What happened? One suggestion …

Polwarth, England Credit: Hamish Irvine/Flickr/Creative commons

The Critical Mass: How We Can Fail

On Sunday, in church, the pastor told us about people who had been helped in the last year. He told testimonial stories about cancer patients and struggling families. And then he told us about a man who had walked into the church to learn more. He was not a Christian, but he was interested. The pastor talked to him and gave him a book, and a few weeks later the man called to say that he had decided to become a Christian. Now he attends the Sunday services as a new Christian, growing in his faith. The man’s name is Mohammed. We live in interesting times. Now Muslim majority countries are modernizing, and Muslims are migrating to other countries with high levels of personal freedom. That means people can break free from the group, and choose how they want to live. This is becoming a crisis, as some young Muslims identify as atheists. Others, like Mohammed, choose another religion. RELATED: Losing their religion: the hidden crisis of faith among Britain’s young Muslims: The Guardian The …

Marijuana Credit: Alex B/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Scromiting’ caused by a ‘safe’ drug?

With the Canadian government pushing ahead with a nation-wide legalization of marijuana in 2018, the main message behind the push world-wide that it’s a safe drug, is hitting home. After surveying 43,703 young people, the US-based National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that nearly 25% of all teens in America have tried Marijuana. NIDA has conducted a survey on teen drug habits annually since the 1970s and the survey revealed that marijuana usage is also trending upwards, even for those as young as 12. And what is happening in the US typically reflects what is taking place in Canada. The study found that marijuana usage is noticeably higher in states that have legalized recreational marijuana usage, where the safe-drug message is the most pronounced. There is some good news, the survey found that the usage of other drugs has either fallen or remained the same with one exception, along with Cannabis teens are also using more LSD, a hallucinogenic drug. Meanwhile doctors are reporting a significant increase in people arriving at hospital emergency rooms …

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Bent, but not broken

There are people whom I can’t help because they are not able to receive or believe words of encouragement or hope spoken to them. But I was no different. Deep down I didn’t feel that I was worthy of the attention or the possible good that could happen. An underlying root of unbelief grew deep into my heart. Because of fear of what the unearthing might expose, I stubbornly stood in the way and for a long time prevented this root from being pulled up. I felt safe in the damp, dark dirt of the past. I allowed some digging and uprooting but when the tangled roots got close to the surface I shrunk back.  The light revealed too much. The fear of unearthing and acknowledging the past in order to heal can be difficult to handle. There has been too much trauma and any further emotional upheaval in the present is almost unbearable. But God wants to heal our emotional wounds. I so appreciate this verse in Isaiah that helps me take a gracious …

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Satanic counter attacks

One aspect of spiritual warfare that we must be aware of is satanic counter attacks. So often we can see great things happening spiritually and even politically, but suddenly things can take a turn for the worse. There is a reason for this — satanic counter attacks. When Jesus cast  out the evil spirit of the man in the synagogue in Capernaum (Mark 1:21-27) what followed was essentially a revival (Mark 1:28 – 2:15). There were healings — Simon’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31), the leper (Mark 1:40-43) and the paralytic lowered through the roof (Mark 2:1-11). Demons were cast out (Mark 1:32-34). Many became disciples of Christ, including one very prominent tax collector called Matthew (Mark 2:13-14). To explain what was happening, Mark talks about Jesus’s teaching on the strongman: “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.” (Mark 3:27 NASV) When Jesus cast the evil spirit out of the man in the Capernaum synagogue, He had bound …

Snow monkeys Credit: John Barton/Flickr/Creative Commons

Stop monkeying around

Every time you turn on the television, whether it’s a feature film, a kid’s program or a documentary, there is often a reference to evolution in the form of “back when we were monkeys…” So for all of you who still believe that you are the product of King Kong rather than children of the King of Kings, here is some hard data for you. Evolutionary regression 1) Common ancestor (evolutionary adam): This creature is believed to have been a forest dwelling creature from which both man and ape descend: No traces of any such creature have ever been found! 2) Gigantopithicus: This creature was discovered to be nothing more than an extinct ground ape, Richard Leaky famed anthropologist and evolutionist has removed it from the chart leading to man (Time magazine Nov 7, 1977). 3) Ramapithicus: Discovered in India in 1930, it was described as an advanced primate. It  was reconstructed from a 2″ long piece of jawbone, and all physical charactaristics were  artistically detailed and published widely. But his height, posture, length of …

The lighting of the Menorah for Hannukkah. The eighth light is still unlit. Credit: Steven Crawford/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Festival of Lights

We have an odd Jewish festival taking place this month called Hanukkah. Also called Chanukah or Festival of Lights, it’s different because it is not included as one of the seven festivals that the Jews were told to commemorate in the Book of Leviticus. In fact, there is no mention of this feast taking place anywhere in the Jewish Old Testament and from a Biblical perspective the only mention is found in the New Testament, which of course the Jews don’t consider as part of their Scripture. Yet despite this, some suggest Hanukkah is arguably the best known of the Jewish festivals because it typically falls in December coinciding with the Christian Christmas. The festival that follows the Hebrew calendar can start as early as late November to mid December and goes for eight days. This year, it starts December 12 and runs to December 19, 2017 Over the eight-day festival a candle is lit each night on a nine-light menorah. The center candle traditionally serves as the one to light the other eight. Some …

London, England Credit: Xynn Tii/Flickr/Creative Commons

Careers for Christians: Making a Difference

Yesterday I taught a class. One man in the class was well groomed and polite; obviously a company manager. On a break, he told me his business was slow, so he was looking for a job, just a job. He was tired of losing money with his business, so he closed it down and put all his employees out of work. I train truck drivers. That man is at a very low point in his career, and I hope he climbs out and finds more success and satisfaction. If you are wondering, I am not longer a career climber. I am semi-retired and I work as a contractor helping other people with their work, and I really enjoy what I do. In the last few weeks, I learned how to find a satisfying career, and I know this will work for everyone, including you. Lesson 1) I visited my father because about a week ago I think God spoke to me. I am a Christian, and I expect this. The sensation reminded me that my …

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What Christians need today — courage

YouVersion Bible App was created in 2008, since then over 295 million people have downloaded the app for use on their phone, Ipads and computers. According to this year’s stats, so far this year the app is being downloaded 1.4 times every second of the day. In the same time frame, people are also sharing ten verses with friends. But YouVersion also provides the most read verse of the year and in some ways this provides an insight into what believers are facing around the world. Outside of North America, the most read verse is: 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NASV) In America, the most read verse is similar but with a slightly different twist: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NASV) The verses portray how things are changing …

Jacob buying Esau's birthright by Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629) Credit: Wikipedia

Entitled or Loved?

I have always been bothered by the scripture, ‘Jacob have I loved Esau have I hated’ (Malachi 1:2-3/ Romans 9:13). To me that is a really strong statement. After all, how could God hate anyone and yet love the ‘ deceiver’ Jacob? When the twins, Jacob and Esau were born, Jacob was born second, holding onto Esau’s heel. “Afterward his brother came forth, and his hand grasped Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob (supplanter).” (Genesis 25:26 AMP) Through his life Jacob really wanted Esau’s birthright. He knew the value of the birthright and its blessings. I’m sure you know the story. When opportunity presented itself, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a pot of stew. So Jacob the youngest, legally received the birthright, while the bible says Esau despised it (Genesis 25:34). In addition, with the help of his mother Rebekah, Jacob stole the final blessing from his father Isaac, when he was on his deathbed. This blessing was also meant for the eldest son (Genesis 27:27-30). In all honesty, I could never …

Jerusalem, Israel's capital city Credit: Deror avi/Wikipedia

Uproar as America decides to move its embassy to Jerusalem

It has been a very unusual situation. Since Israel was restored as a sovereign nation in 1948, Jerusalem has been its capital city. Yet no foreign embassies are found in Israel’s capital like they typically are with other nations. Instead, the embassies are located in Tel Aviv, 67 kms away. It was a move done to try to appease the Palestinians and hopefully have them sign a peace treaty with Israel. Of course that never happened and will never happen, because how can you appease an enemy that in its own charter calls for the complete annihilation of Israel. In its covenant or charter written in 1998, the terrorist group Hamas which helps control Palestine states: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” With this as one of its stated goals, Hamas is not interested in peace. So when President Trump announced Wednesday morning that he would be moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, the Palestinians were outraged. But they were outraged …

They shall know us by our love

Football is a tough sport, emotions can become heated. Tempers flare. It is a competitive environment. Sometimes we forget it is just a sport and there are more important things in life such as many witnessed during last Monday night’s NFL game (Dec 4, 2017) featuring the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers won 23-20. During Cincinnati’s first offensive series, Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier, 25, was hurt as he was trying to make a tackle. As he lay on the ground, Shazier was pointing to his back and the announcers noted that Shazier’s legs were not moving. There was a lot of concern as medical staff strapped Shazier to a backboard and transported him to a Cincinnati hospital. However, something happened at the end of the game that caught people’s attention. After the game was over, some of the Pittsburgh players knelt to pray for Shazier. They were joined by Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton who held hands with the Steelers’ players as they prayed for their fallen teammate. Andy Dalton, 30, the starting …

¿Tenía Jesús barba?

English: Did Jesus have a beard? ¡Nuestra respuesta inmediata a la pregunta que plantea el título es SÍ! Sin embargo, un plato de vidrio del siglo IV muestra una cosa muy singular: Muestra a Jesús sin barba. El descubrimiento se considera una de las primeras representaciones de Jesús. Fue encontrado por arqueólogos en Andalucía, España. Formaron parte del proyecto FORVM MMX excavando en el sitio de un edificio religioso en el antiguo pueblo de Cástulo, fechado alrededor del año 350 D.C. El plato de vidrio probablemente contenía pan para la Eucaristía. La imagen grabada en el vidrio también era diferente en otros aspectos. El artista retrata a Jesús con el pelo corto y rizado y con una toga. En la foto al lado de Jesús están los apóstoles Pedro y Pablo, que también están sin barba. Los tres tienen halos sobre su cabeza. No tenemos idea de si esta representación se basó en imágenes aún más antiguas de Jesús, pero obviamente la gente de esta era aceptó a un Jesús sin barba como realidad. Sudario …

Credit: Marcin Bajer/Flickr/Creative Commons

La intersección

English: The Intersection Hace unas semanas, en una reunión de oración semanal, tuve una palabra profética para un joven. Después de compartir la vision que había recibido con el, recorde que tenía que aplicarla a mi propia vida. Comencé a orar por la dirección de su vida e inmediatamente Dios me dio esta “película” – vision- para él. Lo vi en su vehículo parando en una señal de alto en una intersección donde tenía dos o tres opciones para su destino. ¿Qué dirección debería el tomar? Luego ví la decison que Dios quería que el tomara. Lo vi estacionarse al costado del camino, poner algunas canciones de alabanza y comenzar a adorar a Dios. Él debía hacer declaraciones sobre quién y qué es Dios: Él es el Señor, Él lo sabe todo y El es más grande que todas nuestras circunstancias. Él sabe lo que necesitamos y cómo llegar allí. Lo que pasó después no fue lo que esperaba. Cuando la alabanza  y las declaraciones subieron como vapor al cielo, entonces  comenzó a llover. Toda …

Cómo interactúa el reino espiritual con nuestro mundo físico

English: How the spiritual realm interacts interacts with the physical world Estaba cortando el césped en nuestro patio trasero, cuando un recuerdo apareció en mi mente de una cosa estúpida que había hecho años atras. Antes ya le había pedido a Dios que me perdonara, pero aquí estaba de nuevo viva y me condenandome. ¿De dónde vienen estos pensamientos? Para una visión más clara, necesitamos estudiar un incidente que ocurrió a lo largo de las orillas del río Tigris en el antiguo reino de Persia alrededor de 600 a.c. : Cómo interactúa el mundo espiritual con el mundo físico El libro de Daniel proporciona una visión cautivadora sobre la interacción entre el reino espiritual y el físico. En el capítulo 10, un Ángel de Dios fue enviado a Daniel en respuesta a una oración que había hecho en los versículos 1 – 3. Cuando el ángel llegó, Daniel – junto con algunos otros israelitas se relajaba a lo largo de las orillas del río Tigris. La visita angelical provocó una visión a través de la …

Sao Paulo, Brazil Credit: Leandro Centomo/Flickr/Public Domain

Espíritus territoriales: guerras fronterizas en Brasil

English: Territorial Spirits: Border wars in Brazil He estado mirando cómo espiritus diabolicos territoriales tratan de controlar países e incluso regiones dentro de un país como una provincia / estado o incluso una ciudad. En los días de Jesús, Poncio Pilato fue el quinto prefecto de Palestina, una región que hoy constituye gran parte del moderno Israel. A su vez, Palestina se dividió en tres distritos gobernados por un Tetrarca: Samaria, Galilea e Ituraea. En mi artículo anterior, estudié una liberación que tuvo lugar en una sinagoga en Capernaum, un importante centro administrativo en el Distrito de Galilea controlado por el Tetrarca Herodes Antipas, el hijo de Herodes el Grande. Después de arrojar un espíritu malvado a un hombre en una sinagoga de Capernaum, Marcos dice que el hombre fuerte o el espíritu maligno que controlaba esa área fue derribado (Marcos 3: 22-27). Después de eso, Marcos registra lo que siguió rápidamente (Marcos 1:28 – 2:15). Hubo sanidades (Marcos 1: 40-43; Marcos 2: 1-11), muchos demonios fueron expulsados ​​(Marcos 1: 32-34) y varias personas salvadas (Marcos …

Palm Trees in Israel Credit: fabcom/flickr/Creative Commons

Ancient gates of Solomon discovered at Biblical Tamar Park?

According to Breaking Israel News, a group working in Biblical Tamar Park have found what they believe are the gates to an ancient fortress built by King Solomon. The 55-acre, Biblical Tamar Park in Southern Israel is considered one of the most unusual archaeological sites in Israel. Because of its fresh spring waters, it was a popular spot in this desert climate. The word “Tamar” means “Palm Trees” that grew in the area because of the springs. It was also an important stop for camel caravans along the major trading route known as the Silk Road as they journeyed into the far east. They have found evidence of Phoenicians, Canaanite and Arabs who also inhabited the area at various times through the centuries. But most importantly, the site has an archaeological record of the Hebrews through all their historical periods dating back to Abraham, through the Mosaic era, into the formation of Israel and then through the Roman and Christian periods to modern times. In Numbers, we read that Israelis camped at a placed called …

Credit: atsitra/Flickr/Creative Commons

Careers for Christians: Good Without God

Everyone needs to eat, and make the payments to the bank, and that is a problem. In modern times we have careers with long-term plans. In Bible times they had slaves, and kings, and warriors. So how do we live today? What is a career for a Christian? The Bible tells us to work, and to work hard, and this is a curse we can’t escape from: “By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made.” (Genesis 3:19). I don’t see an exciting career in those words. If you follow the news, some fabulous careers are coming apart and collapsing these days. 2017 is the great year of the scandal, and in the news, that usually means sex crimes by powerful people. We can easily miss the other allegations of dirty politics, espionage, terrorism, and financial fraud; and I’m sure I missed something. We live in an information age when there are no safe secrets, and the wave of scandals is …

Credit: Thomas Guignard/Flickr/Creative Commons

The real problem in the black community: We’ve allowed women to “marry the government”

Actor Denzel Washington stepped on a few toes recently when he said that black people need to quit blaming the system for the high rates of incarceration among black men. He made the statement at the première of his most recent movie, “Roman J. Israel, Esq,” where he plays a young lawyer fighting the system. Denzel said: “It starts at the home. It starts at home. It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure. So you know I can’t blame the system. It’s unfortunate, that we make it such easy work for them.” In an earlier interview with Reuters, Denzel, who grew up in a Christian home with a father who was a pastor, said that people are not “born a criminal.” He had friends who started going down a certain path at ages 13 or 14 and while he stopped, his friends continued and today many are in prison. It was the same message being shared by another Black …

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Heightened spiritual warfare in the 21st century?

Dr Karl Payne serves as pastor of Leadership Development and Christian Education at Antioch Bible Church in Seattle, Washington. He was also the former chaplain of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. But he is also gaining recognition as a an expert on spiritual warfare and recently wrote a book entitled Spiritual Warfare: Demonization, and Deliverance. Payne believes that Christians and the church are entering a time of heightened battle with demonic forces. He says whether we believe it or not, the spiritual battle is as real today as we see in the Gospels. But he is also convinced that the spiritual forces attacking Christians will become more blatant. In an interview with WND.com, Payne said: “The growing fascination North Americans and Europeans seem to have with horror movies, spiritism, supernaturalism, the occult and Satanism is softening up the sense and consciences of the people watching and involving themselves in this nonsense. It’s helping them to function as predators or prey when Satan begins his ultimate reign over planet earth through his coming Antichrist and false prophet.” …