Author: Dean Smith

Is water baptism intended to break down the racial divide?

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

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

How I have been praying for North Korea

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

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

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

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

Tirncomalee Bay, Sri Lanka Credit: Kondephy/Wikipedia

Fasting to increase your authority and power

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

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

The prophet Joel warned of columns of smoke

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

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

God continues to move in astounding ways among Muslims

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

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

Pulling down the strongman in Germany’s Black Forest

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

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

Australia warns of a nasty flu season

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

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

Have archaeologists found the grave of Santa Claus?

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

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

Prophetic marker: A spirit of violence?

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

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

Understanding your authority and power

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

Credit: Diana K/Flickr/Creative Commons

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

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

Credit: Lucy Lang/Flickr/Creative Commons

Neither do I condemn you

In an article for Foxnews, Angel Hatfield shared a powerful story on forgiveness. Hatfield, who serves as executive producer for a movie “Because of Gracia” grew up in a Christian home. In fact, her father pastored a church. As she left her teen years, Hatfield became rebellious: “I skated in sin believing the big lie that there was more pleasure to be found in this world than in God.” Hatfield became pregnant and after hiding her pregnancy for five months, she finally decided to come clean with her father on what had happened. She was expecting her father to react and judge her for what she had done. Instead, he hung his head and when he finally spoke, her dad expressed his disappointment for what had happened but then he added: “And you have made poor choices which now have consequences. It won’t be easy — and there will be struggles and a hard path ahead of you. But I love you — and now I figure I have been given more to love.” Then …

The complexity of a simple little multi-winged dragonfly that can reach speeds of 60 miles an hour (97 km) Credit: Wayne Hodgkinson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Cracks in the evolutionary foundation

In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul makes a very audacious statement. He says in the end people will be without excuse about their belief in God because of creation. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20 NASV) It is interesting because I have run into Christians who are having doubts about their faith because of the theory of evolution. At times, it has caused them to question the Bible and God However, aside from the massive gaps in the fossil record that don’t show the gradual evolution of life, science has never explained how living, breathing and consuming life first sprang from non organic material. These gaps are a huge problem. In an article published in Evolution, the late Oklahoma University paleontologist David B. Kitts wrote there are “some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the most notorious of which is the presence of ‘gaps’ in the …

Brooke Simpson Blind audition Credit: Youtube Caputer/The Voice

Church youth leader wows ‘The Voice’

It was a four-chair turn for church youth leader Brooke Simpson on ‘The Voice’ as she sang a song by Demi Lovato called Stone Cold. Entering is sixteenth season, the winner of ‘The Voice’ receive $100,000 and a recording deal. Simpson is a graduate of Lee University, a Church of God University based in Cleveland Indiana. She works for Potential church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In a YouTube video uploaded earlier this year, Brooke said that she and her husband Ray started a program called ‘Youth in Revolt’ encouraging youth to live as rebels for God in a society that is increasing becoming anti-Christian. Before she was done all four coaches were standing applauding her performance. Pop Singer Miley Cyrus said “You know you’re good because I am a little speechless and that never happens.” Adam Levine called her “one in a million.” I find it more than a coincidence that Simpson is following in the footsteps of another Lee graduate Jordan Smith who won ‘The Voice’ in 2016. All four judges turned their chairs …

Credit: timoni west/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study reveals a major reason for child poverty: Divorce

An article in the National Post came to the stunning conclusion that one of the big reasons for child poverty in Canada is not capitalism run amuck or the one percent hording all the money, the real reason is divorce. In his article Surprise! Child poverty in Canada comes from divorce, not capitalism, William Watson dived into the finances of Canadian families provided by Statistics Canada, a government-run organization. According to the Statistics Canada, there are 1.2 million kids living in poverty. They define poverty as children living in families that earn less than half of Canada’s median income which for a mixed-sex couple is $87,688. Statistics Canada showed in 2015, the number of children under the age of five living in poverty was 17.8%.  For children between the ages of six to 15, 17% were living in poverty. But as you delve further into the statistics another disturbing trend begins to emerge. Single families are by far the biggest group where children live in poverty. Of course, not all single parent families are the …

(Left to Right) Chris Pratt Credit: Mingle Media TV/Wikipedia; Justin Bieber Credit: Lou Stejskal/Wikipedia; Kourteny Kardashian credit: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

What do Chris Pratt, Justin Bieber and Kourteny Kardashian have in common?

For many they are household names. All three have fame and money in movies, singing and TV respectively. Chris Pratt, 38, is a movie star with leading roles in Guardians of the Galaxy and one of my favorites Jurassic World that earned $1.6 billion world wide. He is also starring in the soon to be released Avengers: Infinity War Canadian born Justin Bieber, 23, is one of the most popular pop singers in the world. He has 102 million followers on Twitter, nearly 92 million followers on Instagram. and his Facebook page has close to 79 million likes. TV reality star Kourteny Kardashian, 38, stars in Keeping Up with the Kardashians — one of the longest running reality shows in the US. She and her sisters have also started successful clothing and perfume lines. And though fame is certainly one common denominator, according to the Daily Mail, they have one more thing in common, all three were recently seen attending the same church service at Hillsong in Los Angeles. Originating in Australia, Hillsong is renown …

Asteroid collision artist's representation Credit: NASA/Wikipedia

Oh no, not again — prediction made world will end September 23

Up to this week, I had never heard of Jason Meade. But over the last couple weeks he has certainly gotten his 15 minutes of fame when under the banner of a Christian numerologist he claimed that the countdown for the world’s end will start tomorrow — September 23, 2017. Several secular media outlets have picked up the story including Foxnews and the Washington Post. Unfortunately, when Meade’s prediction doesn’t come true tomorrow, it will be another stab in the back for Christians. I know Meade is wrong, because the Bible says he is wrong. Jesus speaking to his disciples about the end-times said: 36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Matthew 24:36 NASV) The Lord says very clearly that we will not know the day when Jesus will return. What does this mean? Well I could guess the day. I could pick a date out of a hat and predict Christ will return on say February 18, 2034 and …

The Philippines Credit: Patrick Del Rosario/Flickr/Creative Commons

Territorial Spirits: Defining the spiritual characteristic of the area

I have been doing a study on territorial spirits, revealing that satan has structured his kingdom putting evil spirits over countries, provinces or states and even cities within that country. And in order to spiritually plunder territory for God, Jesus taught that we must first bind the strong man, the satanic spirit over the area (Mark 3:22-27). As I discussed in my earlier articles, Pontius Pilate ruled Palestine, the equivalent of modern-day Israel. In turn Palestine was broken up into three states or provinces ruled by a Tetrarch. The Tetrarch Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great who ruled Palestine at Jesus’ birth, headed the District of Galilee. When Jesus delivered the man of an evil spirit in the synagogue in Capernaum, the Lord dealt with the demonic strong man of that region and God moved mightily with salvations, healings and deliverances (Mark 1:28 – 2:15).. However, in the neighboring province of Samaria the strongman had not been dealt with. And when Jesus visited Nazareth, we are told that Jesus could only do a few …

Groom, Texas Credit: maciek/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Persecution of American Christians up 133% between 2001 and 2016

A report recently released by First Liberty Institute (FLI) entitled “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America” outlines the growing number of attacks on religious liberty in America. Founded in 1972, First Liberty Institute fights for religious liberty in the US through advocacy and litigation by providing pro-bono legal defense to those being persecuted or discriminated against for their faith. According to the organization’s report, the number attacks on Christians jumped by 15% between 2015 and 2016. Since FLI started tracking attacks on religious liberty in 2001, the number has increased by 133% over the following five years. In 2011, FLI reported 600 attacks on religious liberty and by 2016 the number had reached 1,400. FLI’s CEO Kelly Shackelford noted that the cases they cited are just the ones that were published. She described them as just the “tip of the iceberg” as many cases of faith persecution and discrimination are simply not reported. This is not even referring to the number of attacks on Christians that now routinely take place in the …

People in Pyongyang, North Korea watching Kim Jong-un on a TV broadcast in 2015. Credit: Uwe Brodrecht/Wikipedia

Pray that God will bring down North Korea’s strongman

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 NASV) In his classic passage on spiritual warfare, Paul says a Christian’s battle is not against flesh and blood but rather rulers and powers that rule in darkness and the heavenly places. One of the world’s flesh and blood strongmen is North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, 33. His brutal treatment of North Koreans including purging his own family, have made him one of the most evil despots on earth. But as we look at territorial spirits that rule over countries, we know their primary goal is to control political leaders. Strongmen like Kim Jong-un are being propped up and manipulated by satanic forces. His brutality is a reflection of satanic origins. That is the real force controlling North Korea. Kim Jong-un rules through fear and intimidation and is threatening the world with nuclear attacks and for the second time recently fired …

Swan Quarter, North Carolina Credit: Ingrid Lemme/Wikipedia

Moved by the Hand of God

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) We live in a fallen world where sin and natural disasters run rampant. This was not the world God intended for us, but it is the one man chose. People ask how could God allow this to happen, my answer it is the life we wanted. Though the world is no longer good, there is a promise in Romans that God will work things together for good in difficult times for those called by God. Perhaps this story out of a hurricane that hit North Carolina in 1876 involving the Providence Methodist Church in Swan Quarter best illustrates this verse. Today, it still has as its motto: “Moved by the Hand of God.” The story vetted by Snopes started two years earlier in 1874 when the congregation wanted to build a church on land owned by a man named Samuel Slader. The land was high …

Tampa Bay filled with water Credit: tarobot/Flickr/Creative Commons

Did hurricane Irma confirm Exodus 14:21?

Tampa Bay’s bay is normally filled with ocean and fish, but on Sunday morning, September 10, 2017, some residents of Tampa were seen walking out into the bay. It was so dry people weren’t even sinking into the mud. It is a result of a rare phenomena called a bulge that can occur in the eye of a hurricane. The low pressure in the center essentially acts as a suction sucking up the water and along with its winds converging into the center, the water begins to pile up at the core of the hurricane. This results in dry land in areas around the storm. And  it didn’t just happen in Tampa Bay, a similar event took place in the Bahamas where water was essentially sucked away exposing miles of beach once covered with water. Bahamas-based Twitter user, @Kaydi_K, reported:  “‘I am in disbelief right now… This is Long Island, Bahamas and the ocean water is missing!!! That’s as far as they see #HurricaneIrma”. Washington Post meteorologist Angela Fitz explained what happened this way: “In …

Credit: Michael Mazzamuto/Flickr/Creative Commons

Foot prints in the sand disrupting evolutionary theory

The discovery of human footprints embedded in sedimentary rock on the island of Crete a couple of weeks back is causing major problems for those promoting evolutionary theory. Somebody was basically taking a leisurely walk on a beach that later hardened into rock. According to those who have studied the 50 feet of tracks, these footprints basically match today’s human foot print with a large big toe and the ball found on the heel. Both of which are not found in apes that have distinctly different feet. But here is the problem. Based on the fossils discovered in nearby sediment, evolutionists believe the human footprints are 5.7 million years old. This is disrupting the theory that man evolved from apes somewhere in Africa. As the National Post noted the discovery suggests “human ancestors may have existed in Crete at the same time as they evolved in Africa.” Of course, Crete is closer to the Biblical origins of humanity, the Middle East. The discovery also has humans existing with much older animals, again this is not …

The Sea of Galilee, Israel Credit: Cajetan Barretto/Flickr/Creative Commons

Territorial Spirits: The bay of pigs

In my series on Territorial spirits, I have been talking about the hierarchical structure in the demonic realm where satan has put evil spirits over countries and even provinces or states within a country and I suspect cities as well. In his classic explanation of spiritual warfare, Mark says to plunder a house you must first bind the spiritual strongman (Mark 3:22-27). As we explained earlier, the region of Palestine ruled by Pontius Pilate was broken up into three provinces or states ruled by a Tetrarch. Having just dealt with the ruling evil spirit in Capernaum (the Tetrarch of Herod), the next encounter with a territorial spirit takes place in Mark 5: 1-20 in a region called the Gerasenes. In a very unusual way, this second encounter shows the demonic’s connection to territory on earth. The story actually starts a few verses earlier. The disciples were on the shore of the sea of Galilee, when Jesus said “Let us go over to the other side” (Mark 4:35). By crossing over, the disciples had actually entered …

Photo from Hurricane Harvey, August 30, 2017 Credit: John Chandler/Flickr/Creative Commons

US solar eclipse: Sign or coincidence? You decide

The total eclipse of the sun that cut a swath across the US on August 21, 2017 from Oregon to South Carolina has certainly garnered more than its share of attention in recent weeks with some wondering if it was a sign from God. The Bible often connects solar eclipses with end times events (Amos 8:9). In the book of Genesis, we are told that the heavens were created to be a sign to people. God would speak to us through solar events: 14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; (Genesis 1:14 NASV) However, eclipses are not an unusual phenomena. They happen regularly. However, the US has not seen a similar total eclipse fully crossing the country for 99 years. Are all eclipses a sign? Probably not. But to suggest none of them are is equally wrong. If this eclipse was God speaking to America, what has happened …

Li River, China Credit: Charlie fong/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

China forbids children from attending church

According to reports coming out of China, several provinces have stepped up their persecution of the Church by prohibiting children from attending religious services. Recently, over 100 churches in the Chinese province of Zhejiang received notice that minors can no longer attend any type of religious activity including church and summer camps. In some jurisdictions, parents were required to sign papers saying their children will not be attending religious services. Officials threatened parents with legal action if they disobeyed. This is not the first time Zhejiang officials had taken a hard-line against Christians. In late 2015, officials ordered the removal of all crosses on government-run churches. When Christians protested, some were arrested and several churches destroyed. Related: Chinese Officials Tear Down More Christian Crosses, Beat Protesters: Breitbart It is uncertain how widespread this recent edict is, but Amnesty International reported receiving news on this prohibition from around the country. In Hunan province, politicians stated they will be investigating both government-run churches (both Catholic and protestant) and the underground churches to make sure they are not …

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

Territorial Spirits: Border wars in Brazil

I have been looking at how demonic territorial spirits try to control countries and even regions within a country such as a province/state or even a city. In Jesus’ day, Pontius Pilate was the fifth prefect of Palestine, a region that today makes up much of modern Israel. In turn, Palestine was divided into three districts ruled by a Tetrarch — Samaria, Galilee and Ituraea. In my previous article, I looked at a deliverance that took place in a synagogue in Capernaum a  major administrative center in the District of Galilee controlled by the Tetrarch Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. After casting an evil spirit out of a man in a Capernaum synagogue, Mark says that the strong man or evil spirit controlling that area was pulled down (Mark 3:22-27). After that happened, Mark records what quickly followed (Mark 1:28 – 2:15). There were healings (Mark 1:40-43; Mark 2:1-11), many demons being cast out (Mark 1:32-34) and several people saved (Mark 2:13-14) including Matthew who served as a tax collector for Herod. …

Modern day Corinth Credit: Qweasdqwe/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

The Aedile: Erastus of Corinth

Though the Apostle Paul mentions him twice and Luke once, we don’t know that much about Erastus. But still we know more about him than most of the associates that ministered with Paul. 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. (Acts 19:22 NASV) 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. (2 Timothy 4:20 NASV) 23 Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother. (Romans 16:23 NASV) It was clear from the passage in Acts that Erastus joined Paul on some of his missionary journeys. The passage in 2 Timothy tells us that he was based in Corinth, but the Romans verse provides the most tantalizing clue when Paul says he was a city treasurer (Greek oikonomos which means administrative supervisor, steward, treasurer or manager). Since Paul wrote the book of Romans while at Corinth, and this along with Luke stating Erastus remained  at …

Qom, Iran where many of the youth are turning to Christ. Credit: Graeme Wood/Flickr/Creative Commons

Muslim cleric warns of explosive growth of Christianity among Iranian youth

Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, confirmed what many are reporting that there has been an extraordinary number of Iranians coming to Christ. The agency, that monitors Iranian news, said the confirmation came in an unusual way. It reported that an Islamic cleric in the Iranian city of Qom publicly warned about the spread of Christianity in that city particularly among the youth. Qom is one of the most Islamic cities in Iran and if there are concerns about the growth of Christianity in that environment, then what is happening in  the rest of the nation? Ayatollah Alavi Boroujerdi, who works at an Islamic seminary in Qom, stated, “accurate reports indicate that the youth are becoming Christians in Qom and attending house churches.” It was even reported that the son of an Islamic cleric based in Qom became a Christian. According to Mohabat News, this is not the first time an Islamic cleric in Iran warned of Christianity’s growing influence in that country. A year earlier, another Ayatollah, Makarem Shirazi based in Mashhad, said that …

Watch Gospel music ring out at Hurricane Harvey rescue shelter

Gospel singer Victoria White and others entertained people taking shelter from Hurricane Harvey in the Lone Star Convention and Expo Center in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston. The song was videoed by volunteer Joni Villemez-Commeaux. White works as an admission counselor at Sam Houston State University. She was ministering with Outreach Missions who was raising support for the victims of Harvey. White’s powerful voice emanated in the hall as others joined the singing. So far the video posted on Facebook has been viewed over 12 million times. The death toll for the storm is now nearing 40 and includes the rescue of 13,000 people trapped by the rapidly rising waters that hit Houston and area. Sources: Lifting spirits: Texas woman breaks out into incredible gospel performance inside Hurricane Harvey shelter: Daily Mail Watch: Spontaneous Gospel singing fills Harvey evacuation shelter: Breitbart

Ahvaz, Iran Credit: HOSSEIN MTP/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

129F (53.7C) — setting a heat record in Iran

I may have to eat my words, a quaint way of saying I was wrong. In a post a few months back, I was talking about some hot weather the earth experienced this past June, when locations in both the US and England were experiencing near record temperatures. I found it interesting because in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John saw extreme heat as one of the judgments that God would pour in the earth in the end times: 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) In my earlier post, Turning up the Heat, I noted that though it was extremely hot in these areas of the world in June, they were not temperatures records and because of that I stated: “I do not believe the …

Louis Farrakhan at a press conference in Iran. Credit: Tasnim News Agency/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Has Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan become a Christian?

Christian Post (CP) recently reported on a curious video posted to Youtube last week by Louis Farrakhan, the former leader of the Nation of Islam. It suggests the controversial leader may have become a Christian. Farrakhan, 87, gave up leadership of the 50,000 Black Muslim group in 2006 due to ill-health. He was suffering the after effects of prostate cancer. William Fard started the Nation of Islam in 1934 and during the 1970s it had upwards of two million members. The organization holds to the tenants of Islam and believers that Allah is the only god. Some believe Fard was the Muslim Mahdi, the Islamic equivalent of a messiah. Farrakhan became involved with the Nation of Islam after a brief career as a professional musician. In the mid-70s, he even served as a Sunni Muslim Imam for about three years. As early as 2015, a video shows Farrakhan talking about Jesus as the Redeemer though at the time he said Jesus was a Muslim. However, in the video posted recently Farrakhan seems to have a …

Bodian Castle, East Sussex, England Credit: Antony McCallum/Wikipedia

Territorial Spirits: Plundering the strongman’s house

In our series on Territorial spirits, we are discussing how satan has a hierarchical structure in the satanic realm and has put evil spirits over countries (Daniel 10:13) and I suspect provinces or states within those countries and even over major cities. These evil spirits often align themselves with natural political divisions as they seek to influence the political agenda throughout the nation. Both Mark (Mark 1:21-27) and Luke (Luke 4:31-37) talked about Jesus delivering a man of an evil spirit in a synagogue in Capernaum, a major administrative center for the District of Galilee, a state within Palestine. It was an unusual encounter because it was only one of a handful of times that an evil spirit spoke to Christ during a deliverance. I suspect this ability to speak represented its power in the demonic realm. I am also convinced that evil spirits represent higher ranking fallen angels while demons represent the foot soldiers. But the word demon is also a generic term that describes the satanic realm, much in the same way the …

Washington DC Credit: Jason OX4/Flickr/Creative Commons

¿Cómo el espíritu de Jezabel capta una nación

English Version: How the Spirit of Jezebel captures a nation Al principio de su visión de los últimos tiempos registrados en el libro de Apocalipsis, el apóstol Juan proporciona mensajes a siete iglesias de Asia -Ephesus, Esmirna, Pérgamo, Tiatira, Sardis, Filadelfia y Laodicea. Sabemos iglesias existían en estas ciudades durante los días de Juan y en cierto modo parece que está frente a situaciones que tienen lugar cuando escribió este libro mientras desterrado en la isla de Patmos. Pero el Libro de la Revelación era una visión profética del tiempo del fin – de los acontecimientos futuros que culminarían en el regreso de Cristo. Debido a esto, muchos creen que las advertencias que Juan envió a las siete iglesias también son proféticos y revelan los ataques demoníacos las iglesias de los últimos tiempos se enfrentarán. Uno de ellos consiste en un ataque por el Espíritu de Jezabel. En el capítulo dos, Juan describe una situación que tiene lugar en la iglesia de Tiatira que implica una mujer llamada Jezabel. 20 Pero tengo esto contra ti: que …