Author: Dean Smith

Members of the extreme right, Neo-Nazis and New Confederates gathering for the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 10 and 11, 2017. Credit: Anthony Crider/Wikipedia

Black pastor baptizes former neo-Nazi and member of the Klu Klux Klan after he converts to Christ

Just over a year ago, Ken Parker was at the Unite the Right rally held August 11 to 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Parker, a neo-Nazi, was there along with other members of the extreme right including neo-confederates and the Klu Klux Klan to stand up for whites and protest the pulling down of Confederate statues in that city. Parker was wearing a black shirt with a stylized SS on the collar signifying his involvement with the neo-Nazi group. They fully expected trouble.  And when people showed up countering their protest, the rally quickly turned violent resulting in the death of one person and the injury of 19 others when a member of the extreme right drove his car into a crowd of counter protestors. Parker had originally been a member of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), a group he joined in 2012. He even had a robe with holes cut out for the eyes and by the time he left Parker had risen to the position of grand dragon. He left the KKK because …

Credit: Chris Chabot/Flickr/Creative Commons

Abortion increases the risk of mental health issues for women

Many years ago, my wife and I were involved with a young lady who had separated from her husband who was involved with another woman. It had been a difficult time. The husband was also abusive and the police had gotten involved. However, as she was separating she didn’t realize she was pregnant and when that came to light, everyone in her life including family, friends and even the police counseled her to get an abortion, which she did. She wasn’t a Christian and now living thousands of miles away from her family, she was still haunted by the abortion and treated the abortion date like an ugly birthday. She was depressed and struggling because of the abortion. This is the one side of abortion that the activists don’t like telling anyone about, namely the emotional trauma associated with abortion that can follow a woman through out her life. According to Liberty Counsel (LC), a recent study in the British Journal of Psychiatryy concluded that there are several mental health issues associated with abortion. The …

The Dead Leaf butterfly with its colorful wing display that perfectly mimics a dead leaf when closed. Credit: Left image Public Domain/Right image quartl/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Transformed!

I remember as a boy living in Shellbrook, a small Saskatchewan town, walking down the main street when a butterfly fluttered in front of me. Almost instantly it was set upon by a sparrow. What followed was an aero-acrobatic display. Though the sparrow was clearly faster, the butterfly was incredibly elusive. It swooped up and down to avoid captures. Sharp turns left, then right. Darting in every direction as the bird repeatedly dove in to catch it. And the sparrow was always a second too late, biting at air as the butterfly made another erratic move with a brain barely as large as a dot on an “i.” Then just as suddenly as it started, it was over. The bird broke off its unsuccessful chase and landed at the top of the one-story building I was walking by. I could see its beak open, as it breathed heavily trying to catch its breath. The butterfly continued its flight as if nothing had happened. It is interesting display because the butterfly has two sets of wings. …

The modern Upper Room in Jerusalem Credit: Catholic Church England and Wales/© Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk/Flickr/Creative Commons

Where was the Upper Room?

The Upper Room is probably most famous as the spot where the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples recorded in Acts 2. From there, they spread out into the streets of Jerusalem and lit the place on fire. But it served as more than that. Some believe that the disciples may have actually used the Upper Room as living quarters while they were in Jerusalem: 13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. (Acts 1:13 NASV) The Greek word “katameno” means to abide, live and remain which is how the Apostle Paul used the word when he told the Corinthians that he is thinking of living in Corinth for the winter (1 Corinthians 16:6). When the Holy Spirit fell, it is said that the sound of rushing wind filled the “whole house” (Acts 2:1-2). The Greek …

Protests in Iran Credit: Javad Saharban/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christian pastor arrested in Iran as protests rage through the country

According to reports, Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has once again been arrested by authorities. Plain clothed agents with Iran’s secret police arrived at Yousef’s home on July 22 and were trying to break down the door. When Yousef’s son opened the door to find out what was going on, he was immediately tasered and thrown to the floor. The Iranian agents then tasered pastor Yousef and brutally beat him in front of his family before arresting him and taking him away. The family found out later that the government transferred Yousef to the country’s notorious Evin Prison renown for its brutal treatment of religious and political prisoners. This isn’t the first time the Iranian secret police had arrested Yousef. In 2009, police arrested him for questioning school authorities on why his Christian children were being taught the Koran. Though the Iranian constitution guarantees religious freedom, the current government of Iran routinely ignores the law. At that time, the police charged Yousef with “apostasy,” as it is illegal in Iran for a Muslim to convert to …

US Supreme Court, Washington, DC Credit: Matthew Buckley/Flickr/Creative Commons

Today marks the anniversary of the remarkable water baptism of ‘Jane Roe’

August 8, 2018 marks the 23rd anniversary of the water baptism of Norma McCorvey in a Garland, Texas swimming pool.  She was baptized by an Evangelical minister Philip (Flip) Benham who today leads a pro-life organization called Operation Save America. For those who don’t know, Norma McCorvey was the woman involved in Roe vs Wade, the infamous 1973 Supreme Court case that ruled it was illegal to criminalize abortion, opening the door for unimpeded abortions across the US. She came from a rough family. Her mother was an alcoholic and her father abandoned the family. In 1969, Norma McCorvey, who was living in Dallas, Texas, was 21 years old and pregnant with her third child. She wanted an abortion which was illegal. Her friends recommended that she claim the pregnancy was due to rape, one of the rare exceptions that many states allowed for abortion. However, since she had not filed a police report that was ruled out. McCorvey was eventually told about two lawyers who were willing to take on her case. Using the …

Harvest Crusade Billboard that was pulled down: Credit CBN

Harvest Crusade forced to take down billboards in California

Pastor Greg Laurie revealed some disturbing news about several billboards that he was forced to take down earlier this month advertising his SoCal Harvest evangelistic meeting to be held in Anaheim’s Angel stadium between August 17 to 19. With a seating capacity of 45,000 people, Greg Laurie has held his Harvest Crusades at the facility since 1990. The evangelistic meetings draws between 90,000 to 100,000 people and typically result in nearly 10,000 people becoming Christians. To promote the August crusade, Harvest Crusade booked several billboards with a real estate company called Irvine Company. The billboards contracted by Laurie were at a popular mall called Fashion Island in Orange County. The billboards featured Greg Laurie preaching and holding a Bible up in his right hand along with the dates and location of the crusade. According to Todd Starnes, a columnist with Fox News, a representative with the Irvine Company contacted Harvest Crusade stating the company had received several complaints about the billboard and even one “serious threat.” There were no crosses on the billboard and there …

Fog in Tronheim, Norway Credit: Ksenia Novikova/Flickr/Creative Commons

Why does God test us?

One re-occurring theme in the Bible is that from time to time God tests believers.  Tests have some similarity with trials, but differ in one important respect. Tests are initiated by God, while trials are not. Trials are simply blatant attacks against Christians. But as we will see in the life of Peter, some tests can have a demonic origin. So why does God test us? Paul writes: 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV) There are three key words in this verse: approved, entrusted and tests and they are all connected.  God wants to entrust us with more responsibility, but He needs to know how we are going to respond. So God tests our hearts, often through difficult situations, to see how we respond. Are we going to give up? Are we going to back away when the going gets tough? A life of faith is a struggle. …

Building a nest. Credit: Jill Bazeley/Flickr/Creative Commons

When it’s time to stop praying and start doing

In his letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul told the church to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). He encouraged us to be perpetually in a spirit of prayer. But did you know there are also times when God wants us to stop praying and start moving. Shortly after Pharaoh let Israel leave Egypt, he hardened his heart one more time and sent his army to bring the Jews back into captivity. When Moses heard reports the Egyptian army was in pursuit, he cried out to God for deliverance. It is what every sane Christian should do in times of distress. But suddenly God commands Moses to stop praying and start moving: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.’” (Exodus 14:15 NASV) There comes a time when God wants us to quit praying and start doing. Prayer is absolutely vital for Christians, but sometimes prayer becomes an excuse not to do it. Sometimes prayer is just another way to procrastinate, …

Katie Lee Gifford Credit: United States Department of Interior/Wikipedia and Howard Stern Credit: Bill Norton/Wikipedia

The strange case of Kathie Lee Gifford and Howard Stern

In Matthew 5: 38-43, Jesus taught us how to deal with our enemies. It was strange advice. Christ said if a man hits you on the cheek, let him hit the other cheek and if a man takes your shirt then offer him your coat. It was the exact opposite of how we would want to react in these type of situations. So what was the purpose of this? I believe one of the things that Jesus was telling us is that we need to take the initiative, be proactive, in situations where we could be offended. God is calling us to make the peace. And this is exactly the situation that Kathie Lee Gifford found herself in with Howard Stern. Kathie, 64, is a singer, song writer, actress and co-host of NBC’s Today show. She is also an outspoken Christian. Howard Stern, 64, is a radio and television personality and is best known for the Howard Stern Show and has earned the reputation as a “shock jock.” On an episode of the Today show earlier …

Chick-fil-a restaurant Credit: raymondclarkeimages/Flickr/Creative Commons

Chick-fil-A announces controversial arrival in Toronto

Chick-fil-A is one of the fastest growing fast-food franchises in the US. So it is not surprising that the chain announced it will be opening a store in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, in 2019. It hopes to have upwards of 20 franchises set up in the Greater Toronto Area by 2024. Chick-fil-A’s arrival in Toronto is proving controversial as those on the left unleash their outrage. The left has a problem with Chick-fil-A because: It’s privately owned by the Christians (the Cathy family). The restaurant has Bible verses printed on its cups; It’s owned by Christians who believe in traditional Christian values on marriage; and are not afraid to express these views. In a 2012 interview with the Baptist Press, Chick-fil-A Ceo Dan Cathy said: “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,” Casey said. “We operate as a family business … our restaurants are …

Dennis Quaid singing Credit: allenmock/Flickr/Creative Commons

Dennis Quaid says renewing his faith in Christ includes forgiving himself

Dennis Quaid, 64, has been another of my favorite Hollywood actors. I didn’t know he was a Christian and was surprised to see him in the Christian movie, I Can Only Imagine where he plays the role of Arthur Millard, the abusive father of Bart Millard, the lead singer for the Gospel group Mercy Me. Millard is best known for the Christian hit song “I Can Only Imagine” that was birthed in the difficult reconciliation that took place between Bart and his father. The movie has been a tremendous success with a budget of only $7 million it has earned over $84 million since its release. Quaid has starred in several movies including the Parent Trap, The Rookie and the Soul Surfer. He is playing Ronald Reagan in the upcoming biopic on the famed US president. Quaid is also a musician and is actually the lead singer in a band call the Sharks. And when asked to join the movie, I Can Only Imagine, Quaid told them about a Gospel song he had started writing …

Crandell Police singing "God's Not Dead" Credit: Pure Flix/Facebook page capture

Crandall, TX police officers facing opposition as they lip sync for God

Over the past several weeks, cops from police stations across American have been lip syncing popular songs and posting them to Facebook. Referred to as the lip sync challenge the videos are proving quite popular and include songs by such stars as Bruno Mars. However, things took a nasty turn, when officers from the Police Department in Crandall, Texas uploaded their song. The problem was they lip synced a gospel song called “God’s Not Dead” popularized by the Gospel group Newsboys. The song is also feature on Pure Flix’s movie God’s Not Dead. Crandall, TX is small town of 2,900 people and Dean Winter, Crandell’s chief of police, is not shy about his faith. The song is proving popular on Facebook having been viewed over eight million times and it has been recently uploaded to other social media platforms including YouTube. But the video also caught the attention of a group of activist atheists called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) who sent a letter demanding the song be taken down accusing the group of …

Grocery Store Credit: Province of British Columbia/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Religious people have more self-control when it comes to shopping

According to a study by three researchers from university business schools,  Didem Kurt, Boston University, J. Jeffrey Inman, University of Pittsburgh and Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School, religious people not only spend less than non-religious but they are also less likely to make impulse purchases. The study that involved looking at the results of five earlier studies on spending habits also included the group’s own research. In their study, the three researchers put 800 people through a variety of “hypothetical” shopping scenarios and as well tests to evaluate how strong their religious beliefs were. What they discovered is that an incremental increase in religious belief resulted in a 5% decrease in spending and impulsive buying. This confirmed results from a survey of spending by 2,400 people in 10 states in 2011 and 2012, conducted by Point of Purchase Advertising International. It showed that people living in more religious counties not only spent less money on groceries than people living in less religious counties, but also had “fewer impulse purchases.” There are undoubtedly a variety of …

Gibraltar Crossing near the city of Tarshis Credit: Cubanito, Wikipedia

Did an ancient Babylonian priest refer to Jonah?

Though known primarily for his confrontation with a whale, Jonah was a well-known prophet in Israel and is referenced several times (Judges 16:23-24; 1 Samuel 5:1-7; 1 Chronicles 10:8-12; 2 Kings 14:25). But of course it’s his story of calling the city of Nineveh to repentance that he is most known for. When Jonah refused to obey God’s call and took passage on a ship heading towards Tarshish near the Strait of Gibraltar on the coast of Spain, God stirred up a storm to get Jonah’s attention. After the sailors threw Jonah overboard, he was swallowed by a Grey whale (my vote but far from certain) and after a three days was coughed up on a beach undoubtedly along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. From there Jonah headed far inland to Nineveh that was then part of the nation of Assyria and delivered a message of repentance. Led by the king, the city responded and repented. Some have suggested, the king may have been impacted by Jonah’s whale story, because one of the …

William Maillis, 11, being interviewed by HCHC Media Credit: HCHC Media/YouTube capture

11-year-old genius and college graduate wants to use science to prove existence of God

Though he is only 11 years old, William Maillis graduated from Florida’s St. Petersburg College on July 21, 2018 with an Associate in Arts degree. Officially classified a genius at age five, William was using complete sentences at 7 months. He was adding and subtracting by two. By the age of three he knew the alphabet in multiple languages and had mastered Algebra by the age of four after his older brother briefly introduced the mathematical concept to him in the backseat of the car while the family was on a drive. His father Peter Maillis serves as a priest at the Saints Raphael, Nicholas & Irene Hellenic Orthodox Church based in Palm Harbor, Florida. To keep him entertained, his parents put magnetic letters and numbers on the family fridge which as a child he organized into mathematical equations. Though he graduated from high school when he was just nine, the biggest challenge the teachers had through high school was keeping him engaged and focused because he so quickly mastered the material. So during high …

Thumbs down Credit: m01229/Flickr/Creative Commons

My prophetic failure

Several years ago, we had a young man in our church moving in the prophetic. He prophesied regularly during church services and even had a visiting prophetic minister pull him out of the congregation and give a word about his prophetic calling. He was on the fast track to the prophetic. Up to this point his prophetic words were fairly innocuous. There was nothing specific about them or directional. They were God loves you type of prophesies that could literally apply to anyone and everyone. There is nothing wrong with these type of words, because often the Holy Spirit will grab the word and highlight it to specific individuals and say this word is for you. And then it happened. The pastor of the church was heading to a conference. As we gathered around to lay hands on him, the young man stepped up with a prophetic word and prophesied some very specific things were going to happen to the pastor at these meetings. One in particular, involved a person at the conference coming to …

Katy Perry in her 2018 Witness tour Credit: Giorgio Erriquez/Flickr/Creative Commons

In an interview with ‘Vogue Australia’ Katy Perry says she never left God

In a recent cover interview with Vogue Australia, pop sensation Katy Perry had more to say about her Christian faith. Katy’s parents, Keith and Mary Hudson, are both Pentecostal evangelists, and as their talented daughter became involved in music, Katy sang gospel and even released a gospel album. However, as she moved into secular music, Katy seemed to walk away from her faith. She admitted in the interview that her mother was praying that her daughter would come back to God. In response Katy said that she never “left Him, I was just a little bit secular. I was more materialistic and more career driven.” Now in her 30s, Katy said there are changes taking place in her life stating “it’s more about spirituality and heart wholeness.” And we have seen hints of this spirituality popping through on social media as Katy shared Christian messages on Instagram Over Easter, she shared an Instagram post of a rainbow over her Jesus tattoo with the words: ”My brokeness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness” written beneath the image. …

I vote Grey whale: The story of Jonah

A group of archaeologists digging at a Roman fish factory plant located near the Straights of Gibraltar made a discovery that may answer the question on what swallowed Jonah. The salting factories first showed up around 400 BC. Many are familiar with the story of the disobedient prophet who God wanted to send to Nineveh to call the city to repentance. Jonah, who obviously hated this enemy, refused to go fearing they would repent and God would spare them judgement. So to escape his calling, Jonah booked a boat to Tarshish, that oddly enough most Biblical scholars believe was located on the coast of Spain near the Straights of Gibraltar. In an effort to catch Jonah’s attention, God stirred up a large storm that the sailors believed was divine in origin. After Jonah fessed up, the sailors threw him overboard and the prophet was swallowed up by a large fish or sea creature that eventually vomited up the prophet along the shore near Nineveh, where he successfully called the city to repentance. So what did …

Ilulissat, Greenland Credit: Baron Reznik/Flickr/Creative Commons

Global warming taking a vacation this summer in parts of the Arctic

Though we are still getting the usual rhetoric about how man-made climate change is destroying the earth unless we act immediately, we are not hearing about the unusual climatic conditions affecting parts of the Arctic this year. There is a reason for that. This summer has been a been a particularly cold one in Greenland and it doesn’t fit the man-made global warming narrative that the ice is melting and will result in rising ocean levels unless we immediately do something to reduce CO2 emissions. But not only is the cold weather disrupting the narrative of the climate-change activists and politicians, the cold weather is also having a profound impact on shore birds that nest along Greenland’s coastline each summer. According to Scientific American, typically by June the snow has receded in Greenland allowing shore birds to nest and raise their young in July. However, this year has been cold and the ice and snow has continued into the summer preventing shore birds from finding food and nesting spots. In an interview with Scientific American, …

Main street of Valletta, Malta Credit: Neil Howard/Flickr/Creative Commons

Will angelic activity pave the way for the greatest revival in world history?

There are several strange verses in the Book of Revelation, but one found in chapter 14 has always caught my attention. In the midst of the end-times judgements hitting the earth and increased persecution of Christians, the Apostle John saw an angel flying in the mid heavens preaching the Gospel. 6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, 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) The angel would preach this message to every nation, every tribe and tongue. No one would be exempt. So what would be the purpose of an angel preaching the Gospel in the mid heavens? I suspect that this message being spoken from the invisible spiritual realm would in some way impact those living in the natural. Why else would God have an angel do this? I have written on this in the past, but we have an interesting account involving the prophet Daniel’s encounter with a Godly angel while sitting along …

Credit: National Park Service, Alaska Region/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Give me that mountain’: Living life with Caleb’s attitude

According to King Solomon how a person thinks, determines how he lives life. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7a NKJV) But there is an important caveat in this verse, because Solomon adds how a man “thinks in his heart,” so it is to him. This is a step beyond thinking, we need to believe it. Jesus said if we say to this mountain be cast in the sea (Mark 11:23), and do not doubt in our heart, it will be done. It is not enough to think it, we need to believe it. Faith and belief make the difference. Researchers at the University of Seoul in South Korea found out there may be a direct connection between what older people believed to how they actually felt. What they believed in their later years directly impacted how they lived their life. According to the Daily Mail, the research team asked 68 people between the ages of 59 to 84 if they felt older, younger or the same as their real …

Jesus healing the blind man by El Greco (1541-1614) Credit: Wikipedia

Barbara Snyder’s healing from MS shocked doctors

In his book, The Case for Miracles, evangelist Lee Strobel cites the miraculous healing of Barbara Snyder that took place nearly 30 years ago. Strobel, 66, is a former investigative journalist with the Chicago Tribune. He became a Christian in 1981 shortly after he decided to investigate Jesus and the Christian faith after his wife became a Christian. After his conversion, Lee worked briefly as a pastor before moving into an apologetic’s ministry focusing on writing and video productions. In his most recent book, Strobel decided to look at miracles. Though he believed the Biblical stories of Christ’s miracles, Strobel was less convinced miracles were happening today. However, after analyzing several miracles Strobel is convinced they are. One miracle in particular stands out. It involves Barbara Snyder and took place nearly 30 years ago. The Mayo Clinic had diagnosed Barbara with multiple sclerosis. Despite several operations and treatments, Barbara continued to deteriorate to the point that she was put into respite with doctor’s orders not to resuscitate. By this point, she was almost blind and …

Credit: Orlando Castro/Flickr/Creative Commons

The ‘set times’ of refreshing?

CBN is reporting on a revival that has broken out in Greeneville, Tennessee, a small town in the Northern part of the state with a population of just over 15,000 people. It started on April 15, 2018 at the Greystone Freewill Baptist church. The church had invited Evangelist D.R. Harrison to speak at a week-long revival meeting. By the third week, it was standing room only at the church. The pastor was becoming concerned because more people were wanting to attend than there was room in the church. As they were praying for direction, a North Carolina man stepped forward donating a large 80 foot by 140 foot tent that could seat up to 1,500 people. With this extra room the revival has continued unabated for three months with people attending from several states and a variety of denomination backgrounds. In an interview with CBN, Harrison reported that not only is God moving in power restoring lives and marriages, but people are also getting saved with over 230 people accepting Christ so far during the …

Volcano erupting on Iceland in 2010. Credit: Dagga Billa/Flickr/Creative Commons

Should the US be worried about volcanoes?

If recent media reports are correct, Americans should be increasingly concerned about volcanoes. Earlier this month, two major North American volcanoes suddenly became active resulting in two governments issuing “Yellow Alerts.” The Mexican government issued a “Yellow Alert” for the country’s Mt. Popocatepetl and the American government issued a similar yellow alert for Alaska’s Great Sitkin. According to the US Geological Survey, there are six levels of alert for active volcanoes: Green: Describes volcanoes with minor levels of activity such as steam and small earthquakes, but are not considered a threat to erupt. Yellow: This designation is for volcanoes that have experienced elevated signs of activity. Explosions have increased from low to moderate. There is a threat of ash falling near the volcano and even the possibility of limited lava flows. Orange Watch: This indicates there is an increased risk of an explosion. Though the time frame is uncertain. Orange Warning: At this level a volcanic eruption is imminent or a minor eruption is already underway. This would result in lava flows and ash production …

Fulani herdsmen Credit: John Mauremootoo/Flickr/Creative Commons

218 Christians massacred in Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen

Over the June 21-22, 2018 weekend, Fulani herdsmen massacred 218 Christians in Nigeria’s northern Plateau state in coordinated attacks on 11 villages. This is the third worst massacre of Christians by Fulani tribesmen behind the slaughter of 500 Christians in March 2010 in Plateau State and 300 in February 2016 in Benue State. This recent spate of violence is both puzzling and concerning. The Fulani herdsmen are nomadic or semi-nomadic tribesmen that travel through several countries such as Nigeria, Niger, Senegal with their cattle herds. They provide the bulk of the meat in Nigeria. Though the Fulani tribesman are Muslim they have worked peaceably side by side Christians farmers for decades. But that changed in recent years, and some are convinced that Muslim extremism, Boko Haram in particular, has radicalized many in this tribal group. Despite Nigeria being made up of 51% Christians and 45% Muslim, the Muslims are concentrated in the Northern and a middle part of Nigeria where they make up the majority of the population. However, the Plateau State where many of …

Credit: Clint Vigil/Flickr/Creative Commons

Marriage is good for heart health, divorce bad

It’s not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18 NASV) And shortly after uttering those words, God created Eve as a help mate for Adam and through this we have the first marriage. Men and women were intended to live together and help each other not only in life matters but apparently it also has spin-off health benefits for our hearts. The Daily Mail reports a study by researchers at Keele University in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England and Royal Stoke Hospital cardiology department at Stoke-on-Trent, England concluded that being married brings significant heart health benefits. They came to this conclusion after analyzing data from 34 studies between 1963 and 2015 involving two million people between the ages of 42 and 77. The researchers noted that about 80% of heart disease could be attributed to physical factors such as high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased age, bad habits such as smoking and even a person’s sex as men tend to have a higher risk of heart disease. However, there is still that 20% of risk factors that can’t …

Hillsong Worship Service at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia Credit: Michael Chan/Flickr/Creative Commons

What does it mean God is enthroned in (or inhabits) our praises?

It is a question I have wondered about for years. Does God really need our worship? Or is it that we need to worship God, meaning it’s for our benefit? I think it is the latter and there is a verse that provides a hint to why we need to worship God. The Psalmist writes: Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3 NASV) This verse tells us that God is enthroned in our praises. Other translations state that God “inhabits” the praise of His people. The Hebrew word “ysb” translated “enthroned” by the New American Standard Bible means to sit and remain sitting, to inhabit and to dwell. It implies the idea of ownership and control. We see the word used as Abraham and Lot dwelt (ysb) in the land (Genesis 13:6, 7, 12) and because of their growing size they were in conflict because both were trying to inhabit and control the same land and there was only room for one. But “ysb” also means …

Did God give a prophetic vision to guide Tua Tagovailoa?

People describe Alabama Crimson Tide’s comeback victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in the National Football Championship on January 8, 2018 as nothing short of miraculous. Alabama was losing 13-0 at halftime and the coach pulled the team’s starting QB and threw in rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa, 19, who led the team to an overtime 26-23 victory. After the huge win, Tagovailoa, a Spirit-filled Christian, ran into the crowd to pray with his family and when asked in interviews after the game how he remained so calm in the NCAA’s biggest game of the year, Tagovailoa said he spoke in tongues. But now more is coming out about how the gifts of the Holy Spirit played an even bigger role in a game watched by 28.4 million people. Tagovailoa played high school football in Ewa Beach, Hawaii where he attended Message of Peace church pastored by his uncle and aunt, Tuli and Sai Amosa. While waiting offers to play college football, Tua’s mother Diane shared a prophetic word that Tagovailoa received about Tua’s future. But it …

Chris Pratt at the San Diego Comic Con in 2016 Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/Creative Commons

Chris Pratt’s nine rules for life?

At this year’s MTV Movie and TV Awards held on Monday, June 18, 2018, actor Chris Pratt won the “Generations” award handed out to actors who have displayed their unique personality in a variety of roles. Pratt, 38, has starred in several major hit movies including the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic Park and its sequels. While receiving this year’s award, Pratt took the opportunity to present his nine rules for life ranging from how to properly use the bathroom facilities while at a friend’s place to feeding  a dog medicine (hide it in a piece of hamburger.) But scattered within these nine pieces of wisdom, Pratt provided some spiritual advice to the next generation as the MTV crowd is typically millennials and younger. In earlier interviews, Pratt recounted when he became a Christian a man gave Chris a prophetic word that he would become famous. A short time later while working as a waiter in a Hawaii restaurant, Pratt served a movie director and in a matter of days was flying to California …

Redcliffe City Church worship service at the beach Credit: Leonard J Matthews/Flickr/Creative Commons

Restoring the Tabernacle of David worship in the Church

I have written articles in the past about the Tabernacle that David set up in Jerusalem to house the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 16:17). This tabernacle or tent existed for less than 40 years and was taken down shortly after the Ark of the covenant was transferred from David’s tabernacle to Solomon’s temple. 31 Now these are those whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of the Lord, after the ark rested there. 32 They ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem; and they [a]served in their office according to their order. (1 Chronicles 6: 31-32 NASV) It needs to be pointed out that God did not want David or his son to build a temple, God preferred to stay in the Tabernacle of David. But because of its brief existence, it seems that David’s Tabernacle played a minor role in Israel’s religious life. But that isn’t true. The Book of Psalms, one of the most …

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Study shows that religious people live longer

According to the Daily Mail, a study undertaken by researchers from Ohio State University in the US concluded that religious people live on average four years longer than atheists or non religious. The results of their study were published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science Journal. The group of psychology researchers came to this conclusion after studying the obituaries of over 1,000 people. This included 505 recorded n the Des Moines Register in Iowa in January and February 2012. The study led by doctoral student Laura Wallace concluded that church goers outlived non-religious people by 9.45 years. However, once they factored out other elements that can contribute to longer life including marriage and gender, that difference shrunk to 6.48 years. A second study of 1,096 obituaries published in 42 cites between August 2010 and August 2011 showed religious people lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those who weren’t. Once gender and marital status were factored out that difference dropped to 3.82 years. The researchers said there were several factors that may contribute …

Malaysia Credit: Juha Riissanen/Flickr/Creative Commons

Oops, that wasn’t supposed to happen: genetic study unravels evolutionary theory

A study produced by two geneticists Mark Stoeckle from New York’s Rockefeller University and David Thaler from Switzerland’s University of Baler concluded that 90% of animals came into existence at the same time as humans and relatively recently. This conclusion seriously challenges the theory of evolution that requires millions of years for animals to slowly evolve, with man being the climax of the evolutionary cycle. In their study published in the Human Evolution journal, the two geneticists examined the “DNA barcodes” of 100,000 species of animals stored in GenBank, a genetic data base operated by the American government. Based on this study, the two concluded that animals appeared at the same time as humans about 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. Though there may be some dispute on the dating, their study nevertheless confirms the Biblical account that says humans and animals were created at the same time on the fifth day. In an interview with Christian Headlines, Ken Ham founder of the creationist organization Answers in Genesis suggested the age numbers were inflated by evolutionary …

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If you want to know God’s will, start moving

Many of us can struggle trying to decide what God wants us to do. It is clear from Scripture that God has a purpose for each of us. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote: 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ (Jeremiah 29:11 NASV) God has a plan for each of us. He has a future destiny laid out for you. But knowing God’s purpose for our lives can be a struggle and many times we find ourselves sitting and doing nothing waiting for a messenger from heaven to hand deliver our instructions. I think that is a mistake. If you want to know God’s will for your life, get out of your chair and start moving. This is exactly the advice that King Solomon gave: The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NASV) We are told that we can make our plans, but God directs our …

Where is Mt. Sinai?

We don’t know for sure where Mt Sinai is located. The mountain, also called Horeb (Deuteronomy 4:10), was the location where Moses received the Ten Commandments. It’s traditionally believed that Mt. Sinai is Jebel Musa located in Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula. Jews held this belief as early as 100 AD and people were making pilgrimages to the site. Christians accepted this and several monasteries were later built near the mountain. However, in an interview with WND, Pastor Joel Richardson is bucking the trend by suggesting Mt Sinai is actually located in Saudi Arabia. He believes a mountain called Jabal al-Lawz is actually Mt Sinai. In fact, the Apostle Paul describes Mt Sinai as being in Arabia, but it is uncertain what he meant by Arabia. At that time, this vague description could have easily included the Sinai Peninsula: 25 Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. (Galatians 4:25 NASV) After personally visiting Jabal al-Lawz, Richardson gave several reasons why he …