Author: Dean Smith

Northern Arctic Credit: Chase Dekker/Flickr/Creative Commons

Ice problems north and south

English explorer Pen Hadow was planning to sail from Alaska to the North Pole this year to reveal the impact that man-made global warming has had on reducing ice in Canada’s arctic. In an article in the UK Times, a representative for the group said: “The secondary objective is to sail as far north as the sea ice safely allows us, possibly even to the North Pole.” However, this expedition made up of two sail boats was forced to cancel its trip because of excessive ice surrounding the North Pole. According to the director of America’s National Snow and Ice Data Center (ANSIDC), Professor Mark Serreze, a person could only reach the North Pole with an ice breaker, because it “was still surrounded by nearly 800 miles of solid packed ice as of last week.” ANSIDC reported that this year’s ice bank was the fifth lowest level of ice concentration in the arctic recorded by satellite images. If you read between the lines it shows the ice cap was much lower several times in the …

Do not judge. Credit: skambalu/Flickr/Creative Commons

Does this study confirm Matthew 7:1-3?

A study by psychologists at the University of Plymouth in England uncovered an interesting trait in humanity which confirm words that Jesus spoke 2,000 years ago. In the study reported in Scientific American, Sophia Harvey, Simone Schall and Jennifer Benton found that people who considered themselves morally unclean were more apt to judge others as being wrong than those who didn’t feel unclean. In the study, the researchers had people do a number of activities such as watch brief films where people did something wrong such as lying when they created a resume. They also had them watch disturbing segments from movies and then after read “moral vignettes.” An important part of the study was trying to induce a sense of cleanness in the test subjects and they did this by having half of them wash their hands before responding to what they had seen or read. They asked them to wash under the pretense that they would not dirty the room being used by staff. Even in the Old Testament, ritual cleansing was a …

Karachi, Pakistan Credit: Benny Lin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Marilyn Hickey, a Pakistani anomaly

As we read about Christians being persecuted in Muslim countries, a weird anomaly keeps popping up — American televangelist Marilyn Hickey. Aged 86, last November during a eight-day tour she preached the gospel in Karachi, Pakistan before crowds totaling nearly one million people. She did it freely with no resistance from the government or threats from Muslim extremists. According to reports she is known as the ‘mom of Pakistan” and for some reason has even been accepted by imams in the Muslim Pakistani community. The terrorists basically ignore her because she is an old woman. Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, with 201 million people it is the sixth most populated country in the world. It was formed in 1947 as a home for Muslims living in India and nearly 95% of the country is Muslim. In its revised 1973 constitution, the country declared Islam its state religion and all laws must be in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah. At this point, the country has not implemented Sharia law, however polls indicate …

Manila, Philippines Credit: Patrick Del Rosario/Flickr/Creative Commons

Territorial Spirits: The strange case of Clarita Villaneuva

In the early 1950s, the Lester Sumrall (1913-1996), an American evangelist, sensed God prompting him to go to the Philippines on an evangelistic mission. He was impressed by the Holy Spirit that God would move in a powerful way while he was there. During the early days of his ministry attendance was low. At times, the only ones that showed up were Sumrall’s family members and servant girls. After he decided to build a church, Sumrall experienced some growth largely through transfers from other churches, hardly the powerful evangelistic thrust that he anticipated. But that would change almost over night. While he was there the local media broadcast a story of the perplexing phenomena surrounding a new inmate in the Bilibid prison in Manila. In his book, Bitten by the Devil, Sumrall told the strange story of Clarita Villaneuva. The front page headline of the May 13, 1953 edition of the Manila Chronicle read, “Police Medics Probe Case of Girl Bitten by Devils.”  The convict’s name was Clarita Villaneuva. According to reports, some mysterious creature …

Black mustard growing as a weed along the banks of a river in Germany. Credit: anro0002/Wikipedia

The Kingdom of God is like a weed?

Three of the Gospels, Mark, Luke and Matthew, record Jesus comparing the Kingdom of God to a mustard plant: 31 He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32 NASV) Because of the reference to the size of the plant, it appears that Jesus was talking about the Black Mustard that can grow upwards to 10′ tall (and even higher under ideal conditions) from the smallest of seeds (1 mm in size) used for crops and herbs. Similar to today, the ancients valued the ground-up mustard seed as a seasoning (condiment) for meat and for its oil. The leaves are also edible and used in stews and salads. But what was Jesus referring too when He compared the Kingdom of …

King David made Mykytiuk’s list. Fresco of King David bring the ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem by Johann Baptist Wenzel-bergl Credit: Wolfgang Sauber/Wikipedia

53 Bible personalities make the list, more to come

Purdue University Libraries associate professor Lawrence Mykytiuk recently released a report in Biblical Archaeological Review outlining 53 people mentioned by name in the Bible verified by archaeology. His work is part of a growing trend among academics giving more credence to the historical accuracy of Scripture. Mykytiuk’s interest in the Bible’s historical accuracy started in 1992 as he was doing graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was then he stumbled upon a clay insignia of a servant of King Hezekiah, verifying that Hezekiah was a real King in Israeli history. The proof of Hezekiah’s existence has continued to roll in. In 2015, archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar discovered another seal bearing Hezekiah’s name while excavating in Jerusalem. Though Jewish, Mazar is not religious, but admitted on several occasions that she excavated with a shovel in one hand and a Bible in the other. Mykytiuk also points out that it is not just Jewish archaeological sites that  are providing evidence. Israel’s ancient enemies also confirm many of these people existed. He pointed to an ancient …

Credit: @Doug88888/Flickr/Creative Commons

Territorial Spirits: According to the Angels

I remember an interesting discussion in seminary many, many years ago. We were discussing the Book of Daniel, when we reached the passage on how the prophet Daniel sensing a time of conflict was brewing began to pray and fast for thirty days seeking an answer from God (Daniel 10:1). God dispatched an angel with the answer to Daniel’s prayer. When the angel finally shows up, the angel says the “Prince of Persia” had thrown up road blocks hindering the delivery of the message for three weeks, but Michael the Arch angel was sent to help and the two broke through to deliver the message. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:13 NASV) After delivering it, the angel said he was returning to fight the Prince of Persia and Prince of Greece (Daniel 10:20-21). When I mentioned the Prince of Persia was a demonic angel …

Realizó un milagro Biblia demostrar su valía?

English version: Did a Bible miracle prove itself? La Biblia es un libro de milagros. Pero hay un milagro que se destaca de la multitud. No está en la lista de cualquiera de los diez milagros de la Biblia. Algunos incluso lo han llamado una sanación fallado. Pero sostengo que es uno de los grandes milagros de la Biblia, porque esta curiosa la curación realidad demuestra ser verdad. Pero antes de estudiar esta cuenta, tenemos que mirar a una intrigante historia contada por el Dr. Oliver Sacks. El Dr. Sacks es profesor de neurología y psiquiatría en  Centro Médico de la Universidad de Columbia en Nueva York. En su libro, Un antropólogo en Marte, le dice a la intrigante historia de un hombre que recibió la vista después de casi una vida de ceguera. En 1991, Sacks recibió una llamada de un ministro retirado sobre el prometido de su hija Virgilio que fue diagnosticado como un muchacho joven con retinitis pigmentosa. Es una enfermedad hereditaria que destruye la retina causando ceguera permanente. Este diagnóstico fue agravado por cataratas tan gruesas, retina de …

Phoenician woman's unrelenting faith resulted in her daughter's deliverance. Painting: Author unknown

¿Qué significa tener gran fe?

English version: What does it mean to have great faith? En los puntos a lo largo de los Evangelios, Jesús se refirió a las personas con “gran fe”. Uno de ellos era una mujer fenicia. El incidente registrado en Mateo 15: 21-28  gotea de controversia. Al principio, que sin duda tiene la sensación cuando Jesús habló de sus grandes megas (en griego) fe, Él estaba hablando de una mujer con enormes cantidades de fe. Pero no es casualidad, esta cuenta está estratégicamente situado a sólo 18 versos después del paseo de Pedro en el agua donde Jesús advirtió a Su Enviado por su ‘pequeño’ fe ( Mateo 14: 22-32 ). Mateo contrasta deliberadamente el ‘pequeño’ fe de Pedro con el ‘gran’ fe de una mujer gentil – un ejercicio humillante para cualquier hombre judío que se precie. Y aquí es donde se pone interesante, porque sólo se puede entender ‘gran’ fe de la mujer fenicia a la luz de ‘pequeño’ (en ‘oligos’ el griego) La fe de Pedro. En un artículo anterior , hablé de los diversos significados de ‘oligos’. Puede referirse a …

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

Cuidado con el león rugiente

English version: Beware the roaring lion En varios versos, la Biblia advierte sobre el ataque del diablo. El apóstol Pablo nos dice que debemos tener cuidado con las trampas del diablo (1 Timoteo 3: 7 ), engañar o seducir a los espíritus ( 1 Timoteo 4: 1 ) y los esquemas de diablos o juegos de la mente ( 2 Corintios 2:11 ). Pero es el apóstol Pedro, que insta a los creyentes a estar en el “alerta” para el “león rugiente”, que busca a los que puede devorar. Sean de espíritu sobrio, estén alerta. Su adversario, el diablo, anda al acechocomo león rugiente, buscando a quien devorar. (1 Peter 5: 8 NBLH) Es interesante ver cómo el apóstol lanza en el término “rugido” para describir el león. Durante años, los científicos se han sorprendido por la inusual afectar el rugido del león tiene sobre su presa. Cuando el león da un rugido gutural profundo, los animales – en lugar de al instante huyendo – están paralizados momentáneamente dando el león una breve oportunidad para atacar. Ahora, los investigadores han descubierto la razón …

Ruins of Capernaum Credit: Stewart Cutler/Flickr/Creative Commons

Jesús posee una casa en Capernaum?

English Version: Did Jesus own a home in Capernaum? Muchos tienen la impresión de que Jesús fue un predicador itinerante, viajando de un lugar a otro en torno a Galilea predicando el Evangelio. Sin embargo, hay un indicio de que desde el principio Jesús tenía su propia casa. En Marcos 2, tenemos el relato de Jesús de estar en una casa en Capernaum. Así que muchas personas se habían reunido de que un grupo de hombres se vieron obligados a cortar un agujero en el techo para bajar su amigo paralítico a Jesús para la curación. Pero note lo que Mark dice en el versículo 1: Cuando Jesús entró de nuevo en Capernaúm varios días después, se oyó que estaba en casa. 2 Y se reunieron muchos, tanto que ya no había lugar ni aun a la puerta; y El les explicaba la palabra.. (NBLH) Se habla de esta casa de ser el hogar de Jesús. Por el tamaño de la multitud era obvio que Jesús fue un poco de una celebridad en la ciudad. Este verso también sugiere que no era …

Mustard Credit: yaxchibonam/Flickr/Creative Commons

Una extraña respuesta a la petición de los discípulos más fe

English version: A strange answer to the disciples’ plea for more faith Un día, los discípulos le preguntaron a Jesús “aumentar su fe” (Lucas 17: 5). Querían saber el secreto detrás del éxito tentadora de Cristo. Los discípulos habían seguido a Jesús durante varios meses y lo vi hacer un sinfín de milagros y liberaciones. En comparación, se miraron sus propios escasos explota y llegaron a la conclusión de que Jesús era un hombre con grandes cantidades de fe para llevar a cabo tales tremendos milagros. Para los discípulos que era una fórmula muy simple: “más fe = más señales”.  Entonces, ¿cómo respondió Jesús a esta pregunta? El Señor dijo a los discípulos si tuvieran fe del tamaño de una morera, se podría decir que esta semilla de mostaza ser echado en el mar y que obedecería. No, esto no es un error tipográfico. Es cierto que esto no es exactamente lo que dijo Jesús, pero esto es lo que los discípulos esperaban que decir. Ellos estaban esperando alguna enseñanza sobre las grandes cosas que pudieran llevar a …

Dennis Prager speaking at CPAC 2016 in National Harbor, Maryland Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia

Political left calls for a boycott of conservative music?

Dennis Prager is a conservative columnist, author, talk-show host (nationally syndicated) and speaker based in California. The Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra (SMSO) recently invited Prager to be a guest conductor for a benefit program to be held August 16 at the Walt Disney Concert Halls, in Santa Monica California. Many consider it one of the premium venues in the country. Prager has studied classical music for decades and has been a guest conductor for several orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Pasadena Lyric Opera. Prager, an orthodox Jew, will be conducting one composition —  Hayden’s Symphony No 51. During past performances, Prager liked to show how the music is put together and often breaks down the symphony section by section to let people see what instruments are playing. Now it is important to understand that Prager will not be speaking at the event, only conducting. Nevertheless three members of the SMSO were so appalled that a conservative person would be conducting the orchestra, that a month ago they wrote a letter calling for …

Derek Carr at 2016 Pro Bowl Credit e OrimO/Flickr/Creative Commons

God still speaks today: Amazing testimony of NFL quarterback Derek Carr

A few months ago, NFL quarterback Derek Carr along with his brother were speaking at a church when God told him that someone in the service was planning to commit suicide Carr, 26, plays for the Oakland Raiders. He was drafted in the second round of the NFL draft in 2014 after attending Fresno State. In his three-year career, he has been selected twice to play in the pro bowl. According to Wikipedia, in June this year Carr signed a contract with the Raiders making him the highest paid player in NFL history. Carr’s older brother, David, is a former NFL quarterback. In an article posted on WND.com, Carr had just finished speaking when God gave him this revelation of someone wanting to kill himself. In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Carr said: “As clear as day, the Holy Spirit tells me, ‘Someone here is going to commit suicide unless you say something.’” Carr said he didn’t know what to do as the pastor had just given an altar call for those …

Canadian World War II cemetery in Holland. Dad left behind friends in Holland as he helped liberate the Netherlands from the Nazi occupation. Credit: VAC | ACC/Flickr/Creative Commons

Goodbye dad

I have not cried more than I did during the several days as we (my sister and our families) sat vigil as my dad, Ray, slowly died from cancer. A World War II vet, he was two months short of 97 years old. He served as an advanced scout for the Canadian military, meaning he travelled behind enemy lines looking for the German troops. As a young boy, I loved to listen to his war stories. Though 97 he was still living independently in the same retirement home where my mom was under care. My dad died a few days after they celebrated their 71st anniversary. Doctor’s had diagnosed him with colon cancer  two years earlier, and after surgery believed they had caught everything. Dad was a tough guy. Two years earlier at 92 he had open heart surgery to replace a valve. He was supposed to be in the hospital for a week, but they let him out early because he had recovered so fast. Meanwhile, people 40 years younger were still in the …

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

Hints of Shiloh’s location?

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

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

Lo que realmente hundido Peter?

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

Various images of the Shroud of Turin

Scans of the blood found on Shroud of Turin reveal torture

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

Jim Carrey addressing the crowd a Homeboy Industries: YouTube Capture

Comedian Jim Carrey preaching the gospel?

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

Hebron Credit: Ronan Shenhav/Flickr/Creative Commons

UNESCO’s bizarre motions

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

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

Gird your loins with truth

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

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

Does this find confirm 1 Kings 21:1?

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

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

Cancer healing challenges doctors in Northern Ireland

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

Surgery cancelled after tumours miraculously healed

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

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

Is the church actually the continuation of Israel?

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

Judas betrays Jesus by Caravaggio (1571-1610)

La agonía del rechazo

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

Nambia desert Credit: John Adams/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sanar nuestro rechazo

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

Mallard ducks Credit: Laura Gooch/Flickr/Creative Commons

Ducks weren’t created to act this way

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

Roman helmet Credit: Paul Morriss/Flickr/Creative Commons

Your helmet of salvation

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

Hall of Supreme Harmony, Beijing, China Credit: See-ming Lee/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is the world building for a revival?

Amid news of the Chinese government’s crack down on Christianity, reports are also circulating of the remarkable growth taking place in the Chinese church. Of course, with the government being so tight-lipped it is impossible to verify the accuracy of these accounts. It is also difficult to know how many Christians there are in China. In 2010, the Chinese government officially said it had 23 million Christians. However, that only included those attending the legally sanctioned church — the one run by the Communist government. When you include the underground church, the numbers would obviously be higher.  A 2010 survey conducted by Dr. Yanga Fenggang of Purdue University put the total number of Christians closer to 33 million (30 million protestants, 3 million Catholics). However based on a 2011 survey,  Pew Forum estimated the number of Christians at 67 million. If this number is right, the underground church is nearly twice as large as the officially sanctioned church. Curiously, a recent Global Trends (GT) survey of 23 countries in September-October 2016 uncovered evidence that may …

England's Big Ben at dawn Credit: Chris Goldberg/Flickr/Creative Commons

Cuts to sex education classes in England results in fewer teen pregnancies

A recent study has stunned the liberal world of sex education. When England announced it would cut funding to its sex education classes in 2010, activists and Liberals alike warned there would be a dramatic rise in unwanted pregnancies as a result. However a recent study conducted by researchers David Paton (Nottingham University Business School) and Liam Wright (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield) said the exact opposite happened. Teen pregnancies actually dropped after the cuts. In their study reported in the Journal of Health Economics, the two researchers looked at the statistics of 149 municipalities between 2009 and 2014. They discovered during this period where there were cuts to sex education that overall teen pregnancies dropped 42.6% and are now down to levels last seen in 1969. Ironically, they also noted the biggest decreases took place in municipalities with the highest cuts. The two stated in their report: “Contrary to predictions made at the time of the cuts, panel data estimates show that expenditure cuts are associated with a small reductions …

¿Otra confirmación del éxodo de los judíos de Egipto?

English version: Yet another confirmation of the Jews exodus out of Egypt Cuando usted lee sobre la liberación de Israel de Egipto en el Libro del Éxodo, la Biblia registra el país sufriendo diez plagas significativas o juicios antes de que el faraón egipcio finalmente permitiera que los judíos se fueran. Las plagas fueron catastróficas y algunos han sugerido que algo de esta magnitud debería ser mencionado en los registros egipcios. Y de hecho hay. Primero tenemos el papiro Leiden I 344 en exhibición en el Museo Nacional Holandés de Antigüedades en Leiden, Holanda. Presenta las plagas del Éxodo desde una perspectiva egipcia. Se refiere a seis de las plagas incluyendo el agua que se convierte en sangre y una oscuridad masiva en la tierra. Sin embargo, todavía hay otro artefacto que apoya la cuenta de Éxodo. Las piedras rotas de la estela fueron descubiertas entre 1947 y 1951. Una estela es una losa vertical de roca utilizada para recordar o conmemorar acontecimientos significativos en la historia de una nación. En su artículo, Prueba para …

Credit: kairoinfo4u/Flickr/Creative Commons

Where did the Egyptians come from: Does the Bible get it right again?

It has always been a bit of a mystery as to the origin of the Egyptians. But based on history and DNA sampling of modern Egyptians most concluded that they came from Northern Africa. However, this contradicts the Bible that declared that Egyptians descended from Mizraim, one of the son’s of Ham. The term Mizraim is actually translated Egypt by some translations (Genesis 10:6): 6 The sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. (Genesis 10:6 NASV) 6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. (Genesis 10:6 ESV) It was Ham’s eldest Cush and his descendants who went on to settle what today is modern Africa.  We see a possible reference to their darker skin in the Prophet Jeremiah’s rhetorical question: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin?” (Jeremiah 13:23).  The Hebrew word translated Ethiopian is “kusi,” a Cushite. But with the modern Egyptian DNA suggesting an African origin, it left the impression that the Bible was wrong. However, that recently changed when geneticists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of …

Credit: Vincent Van den Storme/Flickr/Creative Commons

Turning up the heat

The recent heat waves being experienced in the America Southwest and England may have an odd connection to a passage in the book of Revelation: 8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. 9 Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9 NASV) This past week Arizona experienced some very hot weather, but it did not break the 122 degree heat record set in that US state on June 26, 1990. Nevertheless for three consecutive days (June 19-21), Phoenix, Arizona broke or equaled heat records for their city with temperatures of 118F, 119F and 116F respectively. The high temperatures that reached into areas of California resulted in the National Weather Service issuing a warning about “heat-related illnesses.” In the United Kingdom, they are experiencing some of the hottest weather in 40 years. Heathrow reached 34.5C (94F) this past …

What else could cause global warming? Credit: CipherN/Flickr/Creative Commons

The 20-year global warming pause?

A recent paper written by climate scientist Benjamin Santer has caused a stir among those entrenched in the man-made global warming camp and those who are not. In his paper published on Nature Geoscience, Santer, who believed in man-made global warming , stated that there has been no global warming for the past 18 years. This is nothing short of heresy among global warming activists. For several years skeptics have pointed out that satellite records reveal there has been no warming on earth for nearly two decades. If CO2 is the cause of global warming, this warming should not have stopped because the world continues to pour record amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. This pause suggests other natural forces must be affecting climate temperature. Global warming activists were predictably outraged and those in skeptic camp shocked when Santer’s paper came out. One climate scientist Roger A Pielke Sr tweeted “Wow!” when he read the news. Santer, along with Carl Mears, manage the Remote Sensing satellite temperature data set. But in his paper …