Author: Dean Smith

Lauren Daigle singing at Winter Jam in Columbus, Ohio in 2016 Credit: Caleb Cook/Flickr/Creative

Lauren Daigle, a story of God’s calling and anointing?

I was reading an interesting article on the sudden rise of Christian singer Lauren Daigle, 27. If you have watched American Idol over the past few years, you may already have heard of her as she was a participant. Today she has a successful career as a Gospel singer. But in September 2018, Lauren caught many by surprise when her song “Look Up Child” suddenly took off coming in third on the Billboard 200, a secular chart. This put her behind Paul McCartney and Eminem, but ahead of superstars Niki Minaji, Drake and Ariana Grande. Of course her song dominated the Christian Billboard charts, but coming in near the top on a secular chart suggested her Christian-themed music was spilling over into the secular market. In an interview with the Associated Press (AP), Lauren said that one of the goals of her music team has been to “extend the tent pegs.” This is a reference to a verse out of Isaiah, where the prophet gave a word to the barren women to start singing with …

Priscilla Shirer: YouTube capture

Don’t be out of step with the Gospel in terms of race

I was recently struck by the words of Priscilla Shirer, 44. She is a black woman, a motivational speaker, TV host, author, preacher and founder of Going Beyond Ministries. Priscilla recently had her first acting role in the Christian movie War Room playing Elizabeth, the wife of Tony Jordan. Chuck Bernal, the pastor of Lifepoint Church, recently shared a video on Facebook of some profound statements Priscilla made about race, politics and the Christian faith. On the video that has been viewed nearly 7.5 million times, Priscilla said: “I do not describe myself as a black woman because that gives too much power to my blackness. “I don’t want my race to be the describing adjective of who I am as a woman. I am not a black woman. I am a Christian woman who happens to be black. “It’s the job of your adjective to describe the noun of who you are. If there’s gonna be an adjective describing me it’s not gonna be my race, it’s going to be I’m a woman who …

Credit: Wonderland/Flickr/Creative Commons

Over 1.4k have committed to attend a Witchcraft event to hex Brett Kavanaugh and others

According to an event posted on Facebook, nearly 1,400 people have committed to attend a rally in New York City to put a hex on the recent Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. What is perhaps equally disturbing another 13,000 have stated they are interested in the event being sponsored by an occult book store in New York city. The event is scheduled for Saturday, October 20, 2018 in Brooklyn. According to Fox News media personality Tucker Carlson,  the event “will include an optional $10 donation” with part of the proceeds going to “Planned Parenthood, to ‘fund their own human sacrifice rituals.’” Though the event will focus on Brett Kavanaugh, he won’t be the only target as it will also focus on rapists and the patriarchy. But equally concerning is the motivation behind the hexes, the Facebook event page goes on to say that the people attending should bring their rage: “He will be the focal point, but by no means the only target, so bring your rage and and all of the axes you’ve got …

Credit: sarah-ji/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are we vulnerable to satanic attack if we don’t forgive others?

Many years ago, my wife and I had a Christian couple over for supper. After the meal we were sitting around talking. I can’t even remember what we were talking about, but suddenly the man exploded in anger. We all turned to the man in utter shock. You could hear the rage in his voice and see it on is face. He was blustery red. His eyes were wide. His voice was loud. We just looked at him stunned by what was coming out of his mouth. When he started settling down a bit, I asked him why he was so angry. He looked at me and said he didn’t know why. What we were talking about was so nondescript that I can’t even remember what it was about, but something we said triggered a fury deep within the man. A rage was so real, that I still remember it decades later. Though the husband didn’t know why he was so angry, there may have been a good reason for the rage. Jesus made an …

Credit: Ashers Baking Co/Ashersbakingco.com

Supreme court rules in favor of freedom of speech and conscience in England

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court issued a ruling of sanity in favor of an Evangelical couple, Daniel and Amy McArthur, who manage a family owned bakery, Ashers Baking Co. in Northern Ireland. In 2014, Northern Ireland was embroiled in a campaign to legalize gay marriage and a gay activist approached the bakery’s Netwonabbey location to have it create a cake supporting the gay marriage campaign. The activist wanted a photo of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie along with the words “Support Gay Marriage” written on the top of the cake. Though an employee in initially took the order, the McArthurs later turned it down stating that they would not be able to make the cake because of their Christian beliefs. The activists took the case to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland that ruled against the company and ordered them to produce the cake within seven days. The owners refused and have been embroiled in a series of court cases ever since, that finally ended up in the Supreme Court. The Christian Institute of England …

Temple of Bel (Baa)l at Palymira, Syria prior to its destruction by ISIS in 2015 Credit: Egisto Sani/Flickr/Creative Commons

Was it a coincidence? Or was there something sinister behind the arch of Baal recently set up in Washington, DC?

In 2016, the Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA) announced it was producing full-scale (48′ high) replica of the Arch of Baal that it would put on display in cities around the world. Produced with 3-D printers in China, IDA decided to produce a replica after ISIS destroyed the original arch in 2015 that were part of a Baal temple found in Palmyra, Syria. At the end of September, 2018, the Baal arch was set up in the National Mall in Washington, DC in sight of the US capital. Since the arch was actually a gateway to the ancient Baal temple, when news surfaced of its arrival in Washington some Christians were concerned it might give the demonic a unique ability to influence US society. Baal was one of the major ancient deities of the Middle East that was constantly trying to seduce Israel away from Jehovah. He was considered a fertility god and god of the weather and was often portrayed with a thunderbolt in his hand. The Bible is clear that these ancient idols …

A main street in Jerusalem Credit: lab604/Flickr/Creative Commons

Archaeologists find earliest full Hebrew spelling of Jerusalem

Archaeologists have discovered the earliest full inscription of the name Jerusalem dating from the first century BC. Typically most inscriptions use the abbreviated form of Jerusalem “Yerushalem or Shalem” instead of its full name “Yerushalayim.” The shortened versions of Jerusalem are clearly the most popular spellings. Even the Bible prefers abbreviated forms over the full name. Jerusalem is mentioned 660 times in the Old Testament, but only five are the full spelling including 2 Chronicles 25:1, 2 Chronicles 32:9, 2 Chronicles 25:1, Esther 2:6, 1 Chronicles 3:5 and Jeremiah 26:18: 18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, ‘Thus the Lord of hosts has said, “Zion will be plowed as a field, And Jerusalem will become ruins, And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.”’ The inscription discovered during a road construction project was found carved on the foundation support for a column of a Roman building in a village on the outskirts of ancient Jerusalem. …

Thumbs down Credit: m01229/Flickr/Creative Commons

Mi falla hacia un espíritu de profecía

English: My prophetic failure Hace varios años, tuvimos un joven en nuestra iglesia que se estaba moviéndo en lo profético. Profetizaba regularmente durante los servicios de la iglesia e incluso hubo un ministro profético visitante que lo sacó de la congregación y le dio una palabra acerca de su llamado profético. Este Joven estaba usando una vía rápida hacia lo profético. Hasta este punto, sus palabras proféticas eran bastante confusas. No había nada específico o direccional sobre ellas. Eran un tipo de profecías que podrían aplicarse literalmente a cualquiera y a todos. No hay nada de malo con este tipo de palabras, porque a menudo el Espíritu Santo toma la palabra y la resalta a individuos específicos y dice que esta palabra es para ti. El pastor de la iglesia se dirigía a una conferencia. Cuando nos reunimos para ponerle las manos encima, el joven dio un paso adelante con una palabra profética y profetizó que algunas cosas muy específicas iban a sucederle al pastor en estas reuniones. Una en particular, involucró a una persona …

Antarctic Peninsula, Paradise Bay -- tonykliemann/Flickr/Creative Commons

El libro de Job y la edad de hielo

English: The Book of Job and the ice age Los teólogos consideran el Libro de Job como uno de los libros más antiguos de la Biblia. Generalmente se cree que fue escrito durante la época de los primeros patriarcas, poco después del diluvio de Noé. Hay una característica interesante sobre Job. Se refiere a hielo y nieve más que cualquier otro libro en la Biblia. No solo trata el hielo y la nieve, sino que lo hace de una manera mucho más descriptiva: Del sur[a] viene el torbellino, Y del norte[b] el frío. 10 Del soplo de Dios se forma el hielo, Y se congela la extensión de las aguas. (Job 37: 9-10 NBLH) La palabra extensión se traduce en otra versión “aguas anchas” se refiere a cuerpos masivos de hielo. Job describía un mar de hielo. Considerando que Job vivió en el Medio Oriente, ¿de dónde sacó esta idea? Luego arroja otra representación: ¿Del vientre de quién ha salido el hielo? Y la escarcha del cielo, ¿quién la ha dado a luz? 30 El agua se …

Credit: Jelle Goossens/Flickr/Creative Commons

¿Qué significa ser un guerrero de oración?

English version: What does it mean to be a prayer warrior? En el libro de Colosenses, el apóstol Pablo habla de Epafras una persona que viajaba con Pablo. 12 Epafras, que es uno de ustedes, siervo de Jesucristo, les envía saludos, siempre esforzándose intensamente a favor de ustedes en sus oraciones, para que estén firmes, perfectos[a] y completamente seguros[b] en toda la voluntad de Dios. 13 Porque de él soy testigo de que tiene profundo interés[c] por ustedes y por los que están en Laodicea y en Hierápolis. (Col. 4: 12-13 NBLH) En este versículo, Pablo describe a Epafras como procedente de la iglesia de Colosas y dice cómo Epafras estaba “siempre esforzándose intensamente a favor de ustedes en sus oraciones” para los de su propia congregación. Otras versiones de la Biblia traducen un poco diferente, con algunos diciendo que estaba “solícito” en la oración. La palabra traducida “siempre esforzándose intensamente” por la NBLH es la palabra griega “agonizomai.” Thayers Lexicon griego describe la palabra de esta manera: “Para participar en un concurso, contender a la luz de los …

¿Otra confirmación del éxodo de los judíos de Egipto?

English version: Yet another confirmation of the Hebrews 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 …

A tapestry of David playing a harp by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) Credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

¿Por qué no creo que Nitzevet fuera la madre del rey David?

English: Why I don’t believe Nitzevet was King David’s mother Mi artículo, “ El gran secreto oscuro del rey David ”, es fácilmente el artículo más polémico que he escrito en opentheword.org. Incluyendo mis respuestas, han habido más de 70 comentarios (en Inglés y en Español) con muchos desacuerdos en este artículo. Todo gira en torno a una declaración, hecha por David en los Salmos: “Yo nací en iniquidad, Y en pecado me concibió mi madre.” (Salmo 51: 5 NBLH) El punto principal del artículo es que sugiero que cuando el rey David dijo que fue concebido en pecado, debemos interpretar el verso literalmente. Esto significa que David fue concebido en un acto de pecado por su madre que no tiene nombre. En ninguna parte del Antiguo Testamento se menciona la madre de David. Esto es curioso teniendo en cuenta que las madres de muchos de los grandes personajes bíblicos reciben nombres como José (Génesis 35:24) y Moisés (Éxodo 6:20). Ahora muchos Cristianos han interpretado este versículo como simplemente sugiriendo que David estaba diciendo que todos …

The Dead Sea Photo: Daniel Godwin/Flickr/Creative Commons

¿Está cobrando vida la profecía de Ezequiel sobre el Mar Muerto?

English: Is Ezekiel’s prophecy about the Dead Sea coming to life? A 429 metros bajo el nivel del mar, el Mar Muerto es el punto terrestre más bajo de la tierra. Y como su nombre sugiere, debido a su densidad de sal (casi 10 veces más densa que el océano), nada puede vivir en el agua. Esto incluye peces y otra vida acuática. Ni siquiera tiene vida vegetal a lo largo de su costa debido a las capas de sal. El mar, que tiene 50 km de largo, limita con Israel, Palestina y Jordania, es un destino turístico muy popular en el Mediterráneo, y debido a la densidad del agua, la gente flota más que nada en su agua. Debido a sus altas concentraciones de minerales, muchos creen que el agua y lodo tienen cualidades medicinales. Aparentemente, incluso el rey Herodes el Grande tenía un tipo de spa en sus orillas. La Biblia habla sobre el Mar Muerto algunas veces. El primero se encuentra en Génesis 14: 3. Pero quizás una de las referencias más extrañas …

A tapestry of David playing a harp by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) Credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Why I don’t believe Nitzevet was King David’s mother

Español: ¿Por qué no creo que Nitzevet fuera la madre del rey David? My article, King David’s big dark secret, is easily the most controversial article that I have written on opentheword.org. Including my responses, there have been well over 70 comments (English and Spanish) with many disagreeing with the article. It all revolves around a statement, David made in the Psalms: “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5 NASV) The main point of the article is that I suggest when King David said that he was conceived in sin we are to interpret the verse literally. This means David was conceived in an act of sin by  his mother who is unnamed. No where in the Old Testament is David’s mother named. This is curious considering that the mothers of many of the great Biblical characters are named such as Joseph (Genesis 35:24) and Moses (Exodus 6:20). Now many Christians have interpreted this verse as simply suggesting that David was saying we are all born …

Palu Bay in Indonesia Credit: sulteng 022/Flickr/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

The Holy Spirit still speaks today: Christian Indonesian pilot heeded warning

With Christmas only three months away, it’s important to know that 2,000 years later God is still doing the same thing. In the Christmas story we read of three wise men who journeyed to Israel looking for a new king. They showed up at the palace of King Herod to make their inquiries, a logical place to go if you are looking for a king. Herod, a narcissist and megalomaniac, knew nothing about this new king and was immediately concerned. He asked the wise men to come back to the palace after they found the new king. However, after finding Christ, the wise men received a dream warning them not to go back to Herod and they returned to their home country by a different route (Matthew 2:12). God warned them. They listened. At the end of September, the Holy Spirit warned a Christian pilot with Batik Air, an airline flying out of Indonesia, about similar danger. With a population of 261 million people, 10% of the population is Christian and 89% Muslim. On September …

Joseph interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh by Adrien Guignet (1816-1854): Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Does forgiving forget?

I remember years ago, I was selling advertising for a small newspaper. I was walking down the street to a particular business, when a memory of something that had happened years earlier flooded my mind. It was video replay of the incident. Something I saw or heard on that street triggered that memory.  I had about four or five memories that routinely plagued me. I would do something and suddenly there would a flashback of something negative that happened to me years earlier. There were about four or five memories that continually plagued me. But this time I did something different. As I walked down the street I asked God why I was having these memory flashbacks and I felt the Holy Spirit say to me it was happening because I hadn’t forgiven the people involved in the incident. I had thousands of things happen to me as I was growing up and I would not be able to remember them if you paid me, but there were about four or five memories that I …

Israel captive in Egypt by Edward Poynter (1836-1919) Credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Did archaeologists discover ‘more’ evidence of the Exodus along the Jordan River?

Ancient ruins discovered along the Jordan River is the latest evidence that the Biblical account of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt under Moses is true. For decades, Liberal theologians and others have tried to throw doubt on the account that resulted in the birthing of Israel as Moses and Joshua resettled the Hebrews in the Promised Land of Canaan. A group of archaeologists led by David Ben-Shlomo and Ralph K. Hawkins have found evidence of an ancient camp site along the Jordan River near Khirbet el-Mastarah that may be the remains of one of Israel’s early sites before entering the Promised Land. In an interview with the British newspaper, The Express, Ben-Shlomo said: “If they are, this might fit the Biblical story of the Israelites coming from the east of the Jordan River, then crossing the Jordan and entering into the hill country of Israel later.” The ruins were found near Khirbet el-Mastarah generally believed to be the ancient city of Ataroth-addar mentioned in Joshua 16:5. The Archaeologists further stated they found fragments of pottery …

Avril Lavigne in Brasilia, Brazil in May, 2014 Credit: Breno Galtier/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Canadian punk rocker Avril Lavigne surprises with a worship song?

Canadian rock star Avril Lavigne, 34, has surprised everyone with the recent release of a song that some describe as a worship song. Called Head Above Water, this was her first song after taking a five-year break from public life due to her battle with Lyme disease, an infectious debilitating disease commonly spread by ticks. In 2015, she released information that she had been battling Lyme disease since 2014. The disease kept her bed ridden for months. On her website, Avril described how her struggle with the disease led to her most recent hit: “One night, I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die. My mom laid with me in bed and held me,” she said. “I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed ‘God, please help to keep my head above the water.’ In that moment, the song writing of this album began. It was like I tapped into something. It was a very spiritual experience. Lyrics flooded through me from that point on.” …

Photo of Aldi Adilang's boat at moment of rescue near the Island of Guam. Released by the Indonesian Consulate General in Osaka/AP

Some things are more significant than we realize: Indonesian teenager rescued after spending 49 days lost at sea

An interesting story coming out of Indonesia, may have more significance than we realize. With a population of over 260 million people, Indonesia is made up of several islands located north of Australia. The sea and fishing are a major part of life. Muslims make up 87% of its population and about 10% are Christians.  Because of their dominance, in parts of Indonesia, Muslims extremists are actively persecuting Christians. And recently the world was caught up in a story about an Indonesian teenager, Aldi Novel Adilang, 18, who miraculously survived 49 days at sea stuck in a fishing trap. The raft like boat has a hut on it and is moored in the ocean for fishing. It also has a large light that is turned on at night to attract fish. Adilang had worked in such a fishing trap since he was 16. The owner of takes food, water and gas for the generator out to his 50 fishing traps once a week. However because of high winds, Adilang’s raft broke its mooring and started …

Regular church attendance has positive impact on children in their 20s. Photo: Evergreen Church, Evergreen, Colorado, USA Credit: Kent Kanouse/Flickr/Creative Commons

Harvard Study: Church attendance as a child has positive influence on a person in their 20s

According to a study at Harvard University, children who attended church at least once a week while they were growing up reported having better lives in their 20s than those who didn’t. The study conducted by researchers from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health sampled data provided in the Growing Up Today Study that was part of the Nurses’ Health Study II. This study followed children in their early teens for upwards of 14 years. The sampling sizes were not insignificant and ranged in size between 5,700 and 7,500 people. The researchers were trying to find out if “religious involvement” as a child that included church attendance, prayer and meditation had any impact on a person’s physical, emotional and mental well-being later in life. The results published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed the positive influences that faith has on children, years later. Compared to those who didn’t, the study found that children who attended church at least once a week reported in their 20s as being: 18% happier; 30% more likely to …

Lund University, Sweden Credit: Nick Thompson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Swedish neuroscience professor under fire for saying there are biological differences between men and women

Sweden’s renowned neuroscience professor Dr. Germund Hesslow was teaching a class in a course called “Heritage and Environment” at Lund University when a student asked a question about sex, unrelated to the class topic. Hesslow came under attack after he answered the question by stating research shows that there are differences between the female and male sex that are “biologically founded.” In other words, some of the differences between men and women are due to biology and not because of societal expectations and pressures. University of Toronto Psychology professor Jordan Peterson has come under similar criticism for stating that the difference in the pay gap between men and women is not because of discrimination, though that is a small part of it, but due largely to biology and the different interests of men and women. He even cites statistics from Scandinavian countries that show women are clearly more interested in fields related to people such as medicine and teaching, while men focus more on the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Since the STEM …

Television in abandoned home in Detroit, Michigan Credit: Thomas Hawk/Flickr/Creative Commons

Emmy host insults Christians

Hollywood is so out of touch with real life that they can’t even figure out how to build a successful business. But maybe it is just me who is out of touch, but I have never thought it was a successful business model to insult your customers. Take this year’s Emmy Awards, the Oscars for TV equivalent. One of the co-hosts, Michael Che, took the opportunity to seemingly slag Christians and Republicans. According to reports, Che is also a co-host of Saturday Night Live. During one of his Emmy rants, Che said: “My mother is not watching. She said she doesn’t watch white award shows because you guys don’t thank Jesus enough. That’s true. The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads.” The only good thing about this lame excuse for a joke is that there was only a smattering of laughter and applause. Che set this joke up by commenting on the free fall in viewership for the Emmy Awards. There are a number of methods to measure viewership of a …

Beijing, China Credit: Oneris Daniel Rico Garcia/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is China’s ‘social credit’ system setting the stage for the antichrist?

Some experts are warning that other left-leaning governments may soon be tempted to carry out the Chinese government’s “Social Credit” system that came into full effect on May 1, 2018. The plan introduced by Chinese President Jinping will monitor and control those who don’t agree with China’s communistic policies. People will be issued a score based on their political, social and economic activities and this score will affect their ability to do things in China. Some suspect it is simply expanding a “Social Credit” system already developed by a major government-owned online Chinese retailer Alibaba. Alibaba’s financial division, Ant Financial, developed a social credit system called Sesame Credit. While many western businesses have a point system rewarding people based on how much they buy, Sesame Credit includes a strong social aspect in its system where people receive a rating between 350 and 950. The higher the score the better. The benefits of a high Sesame score include having government visa’s fast tracked, renting vehicles without a deposit. People with high Sesame ratings will even receive …

The brothers show their father Jacob the blood soaked clothes of his favourite son Joseph saying he had been killed by a wild animal. Credit: Domenico Fiasella (1589-1669)/Wikipedia

Is an unbroken pattern a sign of unforgiveness?

Several years back while teaching a Bible School class, I told the students that many young people rashly state that they will not be like their parents. The spontaneous laughter that erupted was evidence that many — if they hadn’t already said it — were thinking it. The class took a more sober turn when I added that often people who make these statements are doomed to repeat the error of their parents. It’s not that this phrase has some magical properties that force the errors of one generation onto the next, rather, it is a principle of God’s word. In Mathew 7:1-5, Jesus condemns judging saying that if we see a sliver in our brother’s eye, it indicates there is a log in ours. Jesus calls anyone who judges a hypocrite because they suffer from exactly the same problem. When we judge our parents, it is a subtle indicator that we have exactly the same issues. But judging can also speak of unresolved issues between a child and parent. More importantly, it may also …

Field of sunflowers, Lower Saxony, Germany Credit: Christian Kortum/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study reveals the heart health benefits of optimism

An article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology stated that having a positive outlook on life results in a person having a reduced risk of heart disease. In their study, the research group led by Darwin R. Labarthe, a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, looked at the results of several studies on the impact of a person’s psychological well-being on heart health. They revealed that an optimistic view of life not only positively impacted a person’s heart health, but that optimistic outlook also led to lifestyle choices that physically benefited heart health. This included: A 2017 study that found women who were in the top 25% for highest optimistic ranking had a 38% reduced risk of dying due to heart disease. Several recent studies discovered that people who had a purpose in their life had a reduced risk of stroke. Studies also revealed that people who had the most optimistic outlook on life where less likely to be smokers a year later. Optimistic people were also more likely …

Credit: Thomas Hawk/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘USA Today,’ the Apostle John and the Canadian government provide ominous warnings of the future

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John recorded a vision of the future that God gave him. It wasn’t just any future, it is what lay ahead for believers and the world in the end times leading to second coming of Christ. One of the verses that has caught the attentions of many people who study end times events are John’s references to the mark of the beast that would prevent people from buying and selling: 16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17 NASV) Remember this is a vision that John had of society in the future and he was just recording what he saw. He saw people with a mark …

Dallas skyline Credit: jayRaz/Flickr/Creative Commons

A call to be peacemakers

On Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, Botham Shem Jean, 26, was in his Dallas apartment when Amber Guyger, a police officer just finishing her shift, allegedly walked into what she mistakenly thought was her apartment. She saw Botham and convinced he was an intruder, Guyger pulled her gun and killed him. Botham was a believer. Originally from St Lucia, he attended Harding University, a small Christian college in Arkansas, where he sang with the Good News Singers. After graduating with an accounting degree, Botham went to work for  PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas. He faithfully attended church and served as a youth pastor at Dallas West Church of Christ where he also led worship with what people described as a wonderful baritone voice. But here is the kicker. Botham was also black and because it took police three days to charge Guyger with manslaughter, some have accused the police of protecting her. This past Sunday (Sept. 9, 2018), the church mourned the passing of a favored son. Sammie Berry who serves as pastor of the church Botham attended …

Matagalpa, Nicaragua Credit: Jono Hey/Flickr/Creative Commons

Antichrist Marxism rearing its head in Nicaragua?

Things have taken a dark turn for Christians in Nicaragua being ruled by its Marxist president and former guerilla Daniel Ortega. Though a democracy, Ortega has recently declared Christians “enemies of the state.” With a population of six million people, Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. About half the population is Catholic and another third consider themselves evangelical. There have been growing public protests against Ortega’s regime because of its rampant corruption, growing totalitarianism and gross mismanagement of the economy. The anti-government protestors are calling for Ortega to step down and call an early election. Ortega has taken to violence to oppose the protests and even set up a secret police force who wear masks or hoods to attack those opposing the regime.. Because of the growing crack down on the anti-government protests, the UN sent a commission to Nicaragua to monitor the situation. After the UN issued a report condemning Ortega for his violence, the president ordered the UN out of the country on September 1. Since April this year, about 300 …

Snowy night on Brixton High Street in London, England Credit: A bloke called Jerm/Flickr/Creative Commons

¿Eres un quejambroso/a crónico/a?

English: Are you a Chronic Complainer? Todos hemos escuchado las frases “quejambrosos crónicos” que se usan para las personas que siempre se quejan. Si hace sol, hace demasiado calor afuera. Si está nevando, hace demasiado frío. Si gana su equipo favorito, podría haber jugado mejor. Siempre ven lo negativo y pueden encontrar algo de lo que quejarse en todo lo que hacen. Y estas personas casi obtienen una sensación de plenitud cuando sus quejas tienen cierta legitimidad para ellos. Bueno, según un neurocientífico, hay una razón por la cual los “quejambroso crónicos” actúan de la manera en que lo hacen. El Psicólogo Canadiense Norman Dodge dice que el cerebro tiene una flexibilidad única que se compara con Plastilina. Su término psicológico oficial es “neuroplasticidad”. Esto significa que si practicamos una cierta forma de pensar el tiempo suficiente, se crea un ciclo en nuestro cerebro que afianza este patrón en nuestra mente. Se convierte en una rutina en el camino en la que caemos fácilmente mientras conducimos por la carretera de la vida. Se convierte en …

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil at night Credit: Rafael Defavari/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Spiritual warfare: Attempted assassination of Christian presidential candidate in Brazil

[UPDATED] According to the Brazilian newspaper, O Globo, there was an assassination attempt on a Conservative politician in Brazil. Senator Jair Bolsonaro is campaigning to become the next president of Brazil in an election scheduled for October. With 22% of the support, Bolsonaro is the front-runner. Bolsonaro has taken a very pro family and pro Christian position during the campaign and has openly solicited Christian support. He is also taken a strong stand against the corruption that has rocked the previous Brazilian administration and as well vehemently opposed the violent elements in the communist and left-wing movement in Brazil. Some have referred to Bolsonaro as the Trump of South America because of his strait talk on issues facing Braizil While being carried along by a large crowd during a campaign stop in Mina Gerais earlier this week, a person in the crowd attacked Bolsonaro with a knife. He was quickly carried off by his security detail and police arrested the attacker. Fortunately, Bolsonaro was wearing a bullet proof vest and the knife cut was superficial …

Church in Montbovon, Switzerland Credit: keepps/Flickr/Creative Commons

Stopping the ‘social justice’ creep into the church

A number of evangelicals have recently organized to oppose the growing intrusion of “social justice” into evangelical churches. The group has issued a Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel where they are expressing their concerns about this philosophy that is becoming increasing popular in the secular world and is now making its way into the Christian one. In their statement, they say: “We are deeply concerned that values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality,” declares the statement.” At this point, over 4,500 Christian leaders have signed the petition. I remember a couple of years back during testimony time at the church we were attending, a woman came to the front and expressed how the church needs to become concerned about “social justice” and the unfairness in the world. It seemed so spiritual, but is it? The problem is that this social justice push is trying to reinterpret the Bible. The Bible speaks often of justice, but now where does …

Peter's denial of Christ by Nikolaas Verkolje (1673-1746) Credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Be vigilant and guard your mind against attacks of condemnation

I remember my dad sharing a story from World War II. He worked as a scout for an artillery unit and they had bedded down for the night. They had pulled back from the front line, so were expecting a peaceful night. When they woke the next morning every one of the several men who had been posted to guard the camp during the night was gone. There were no bodies, they had just disappeared. It is suspected that a Nazi commando unit had snuck up on the camp during the night, silently killed the guards and then dragged their bodies away. The sentries were never seen again. He said the fact they disappeared unnerved his unit more than if the Nazis had killed them and left their bodies behind. It is the nature of warfare. A person must never let their guard down and it is no different in spiritual warfare. Peter understood spiritual warfare and he gained that knowledge first hand through his own personal failure. And he used that experience to warn …

Vineyard in Soragna, Italy Credit: Andreas Metz/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have archaeologists discovered the place where Jesus turned water into wine?

The Apostle John records that Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding in Cana. When the bridegroom of wedding that Christ and the disciples were attending ran out of wine, Jesus changed six pots of water into wine. According to an article in the Daily Mail, archaeologists are convinced that they have found the location where this miracle took place and it’s five miles north of the spot traditionally considered the most likely site of the Cana miracle. The new location is called Khirbet Qana and includes a series of tunnels inside a hill and with its addition, there are now four possible Cana sites. So what makes Khirbet Qana special? According to archaeologists, evidence found in the tunnels at Khirbet Qana suggest early pilgrims believed this was the original site of the Cana miracle. Inside the tunnels there are Christian markings that include crosses and the name Lord Jesus carved into the wall indicating early Christians venerated this site. They also found an old stone vessel typically used to store wine and it …

The main mound of the ancient city of Nineveh on the Plains of Nineveh Credit: fredarch/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

The power of forgiveness

When the Islamic extremist group ISIS invaded the Nineveh Plains in North Eastern Iraq over four years ago, the 140,000 Assyrian Christians living there were given three choices convert to Islam, die or flee. The Nineveh Plains are home to the ancient ruins of Nineveh, the city that the prophet Jonah called to repentance. Christians have inhabited this area for 2,000 years and many speak modern Aramaic, a version of the language that many believe Jesus spoke. Tens of thousands of Assyrian Christians fled into neighboring countries where they lived for years as ISIS ravaged their homeland. The Islamic extremists were determined to wipe out any evidence of the Christian faith on the Nineveh plain. ISIS leveled an estimated 13,000 homes of Christians, destroyed 263 Christian churches and obliterated Christian monuments including the tomb of Jonah. Christian cemeteries were also destroyed and purposefully desecrated. ISIS was determined to wipe out the memory of the Christians who had lived on this plain for the past 2,000 years.  But with ISIS routed, four years later Christians are …