Author: smcintos

Riots and Demonstrations: Is this the end?

The whole world knows about demonstrations that turn into riots in the U.S. where violent people own the streets. With a video camera on every cell phone, and the Internet to broadcast stories to us all, there are no secrets. So, is this the end of the world? Is the book of Revelation happening? These riots may be a rehearsal, but the pattern was predicted. It all starts with a white horse: “I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest” (Revelation 6:2). A Sheriff in Florida showed the next phase, the red horse. The easy targets are not so easy, and people push back. That is how the end will come. READ: Florida Sheriff advises local residents to shoot rioters that invade personal property

Good News in a Pandemic

Sometimes people just act out what they are. A group of Christians noticed that people were hungry in their community, so they organized a food distribution program. The Corona virus pandemic is scaring us all, and it keeps us isolated from our neighbors. Those Christians acted out and gave food to the neighbors, because those neighbors were hungry. I don’t know them but I guess it just seemed like simple math. People like this deserve our respect. The true Christian Church is not a charity, it’s a home for recovering sinners. When we get a new life from God, with a new perspective, good things just naturally happen. READ: Local church feeds 200 people impacted by pandemic

When We Don’t Believe in God Anymore

You might have heard about a Christian rock singer named Jon Steingard, who has told us all that he doesn’t believe in God anymore. Mr Steingard was the frontman of Christian rock group Hawk Nelson. Now he has decided to leave the group and start another career. He will probably work as a secular entertainer. Jon Steingard is the son of a pastor, and it is probably fair to say he was raised to believe. He moved from a Christian home, where church was the center of his life, to Christian entertainment, where he had to be turned on for Jesus every time he walked onto a stage. Now he says that he is not an atheist. He doesn’t have a problem with God existing, he just doesn’t believe. The crisis is in him. This is a big story with the secular media because many people in that industry don’t want us to believe. They like to tell us about someone they describe as a devout Christian, who doesn’t believe anymore. So, what should we …

Good News for a Persecuted Christian

What does it cost to be a Christian? A pastor in Myanmar, also known as Burma, was kidnapped by an armed rebel group, and after a year had passed with no news, most people assumed he was dead. More than a year after his capture, the pastor was returned to his family. He had been captured with another man, and the article does not mention what happened to him. Possibly that second man paid with his life for being a follower of Jesus. These two good men, our brothers, are an example to us all. We were told by Jesus “Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14: 33) READ: Myanmar pastor presumed dead returns home more than a year later

Did you know you have been blessed?

We all know how bad the news is, these days. Sometimes a blessing comes from a curse. Some Christians decided to give a blessing to us all, and they made an interesting video. Their words may change how we feel, and if God puts good things into us, they will come out in many ways. The Spirit that made these people sing can make us all do good, and great things. I think this is a good motivation for us all, and it’s one small piece of good news, when bad news gets all the air time. In these stressful times, God bless you! READ: WATCH: Canadian churches sing Blessing over Canada during COVID-19

When Good People Leave Us

I think we all missed this story, and it deserves to be remembered. Joyce Lin was a missionary pilot in Indonesia, on the west side of the island of New Guinea. That place is dangerous for pilots, and unfortunately her plane crashed and she died. This was a good woman, who died while she was delivering relief supplies to remote sites, in the Corona virus pandemic. Her family, in the U.S. could not attend her funeral, and this was a sad ending to a good life. There are Christians who live out what they believe, and we should remember them. READ: Pandemic restrictions mean family cannot attend Joyce Lin funeral

Anoint that virus away?

We are told in the Bible, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Yes, but faith in what? We can easily put our faith in a church, or a dynamic leader. Most dangerous cults divert us in that way. In England, a Christian pastor told people to trust God for safety from the Coronavirus, and I think Christians everywhere agree with that. That pastor is under investigation because he took his faith advice further. He said “it is by faith you can be saved from the virus” and then it is alleged he offered anointing oil and red yarn as “a divine plague protection kit.” His price was ninety-one pounds, more than a hundred dollars, and he promised positive results. Faith can be a dangerous slippery slope if we lose sight of our father in Heaven. READ: Coronavirus: London church investigated over ‘protection’ oil

Muslims and the modern world; the struggle is fierce

In Turkey, with an Islamic government, there is a common saying “Go to Holland.” These words are spoken to anyone who identifies as gay, or something similar. The government openly rejects its own citizens, if they identify with one of those sexual orientations. They are told to move to another country. As a Christian, I’m sure neither side wants my opinion, which is that they all need to find Jesus. I believe there are powerful forces in this world, and they can be bitter enemies. We are witnessing cultural civil wars where no one wants to understand, or forgive, or persuade. It’s worth asking ourselves the question; When I meet people who disagree with me, how do I treat them? READ: “Go to Holland” the new anti-gay slur trending in Turkey

Famous Jehovah’s Witnesses

If you are not a Jehovah’s Witness, you probably don’t think about them too often. When I was a boy, some of my closest friends belonged to Witness families. Did you know Dwight Eisenhower, the famous General and President, was raised as a Witness? Today, when we watch entertainers, including actors and athletes, we often see people who do, or did, belong to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I once attended a secret support-group meeting for former members, and they told stories about the control and discipline in the community. Maybe those qualities became self-discipline and helped with some career choices. READ: Famous Jehovah’s witnesses – from Serena Williams to Prince and Michael Jackson

Jail time for praying about a virus

So, how are you coping with the lockdown for the Corona virus or COVID-19? Whatever name we give to the virus, the effect is the same. A virus can make us sick, and possibly kill us, and spread to others. We know that. The other effect, is to destroy society. Have you noticed the list of corporations that are now in bankruptcy? This morning I heard about Hertz, the company that rents cars. We may not think about them unless we work for them, but did you ever imagine a world where so many big corporate names would disappear? The world is changing around us, in this pandemic. Some of the changes are made by us. The pandemic itself is terrible in some places, or just a temporary disruption, depending on how people managed the crisis. History will judge us all. One other problem, is the blame aimed at people who break the rules. I live in a place where the restrictions are not too extreme. If I don’t like the line ups when I …

The end for Little Richard

You have probably heard the music of Little Richard on the radio. He was a talented man who created impossible success: His fans loved him and his music, and recently, he died at the age of 87. He had a remarkable life, well lived, but there is one more thing; Little Richard was filmed at the end of his life, making his last public appearance. I think there is a lesson from this good man, for us all. He lived well, and he ended well:

Do you put God in a box?

“If we let God out of the box, what do you suppose we will discover?” How often to we think? We are encouraged, in this message, to throw the box away. We are good at discovering what we already believe, and find what we expect to find. The true God is not my invention, I am His creation. There is more for me to learn.

The face of Jesus on a guitar or a piece of chicken

Someone looked at a guitar in a shop, and they saw something like a human face in the wood grain pattern. Since the face seemed to have a beard, they decided it must be the face of Jesus. READ: Jesus found on a Washburn guitar Someone else saw something like Jesus, at least a man with a beard, in a piece of chicken he was about to eat. The man and his wife believe this must mean something, and they saved the piece of chicken in the fridge. I think it’s more important for people to see Jesus in you or me. That’s a message that can really speak.

What is God telling us in the pandemic?

“Two-thirds of U.S. residents who believe in God see the pandemic as a divine message urging us to change our lifestyles.” I think God is always trying to speak to us, but now we have a global pandemic. What message are you receiving? Is your life changing? READ: American believers see coronavirus as sign from God to change ways Some people see a divine message about the virus, in hailstones: READ: Coronavirus-shaped hailstones ‘are a message from God to stay at home’ A message from God is a good thing, but the answer makes all the difference.

Religion in the Alley: What are you resisting?

A few years ago, I did something that was wrong, maybe. I will tell you the story, and you decide. We had moved to the place where we live now, and I like to go for walks, so I travelled through the new streets and alleys. In our alley, I met a young man, who always seemed to be in the same place, and he always spoke to me. This was strange because he seemed strong and healthy, and the economy was good. He should have been at work, unless he was a drug dealer, and he was working. In the language of the seventies, he was into something. I knew he was going to ask me for something, and I was ready. When he got too fake-friendly and aggressive, I told him how I found Jesus, and how that worked for me. That is the truth, I did find Jesus, and that does work for me. The other guy wanted to pull me into something, and I didn’t need his thing. The guy looked …

News from the South Pacific: The brothers and sisters that we might miss

It’s not all about us. There are many cultures and languages in the world, and Christians have many brothers and sisters, in many places. The way we think and act is not the only right way. One overlooked region is the South Pacific. People in those regions think and speak, and sing, about what matters to them. It is interesting to learn how our brothers and sisters tell us about the most important things. I hope we are open-minded enough to appreciate them.

The Spiritual Life of Turkey

For a generation, Turkey has been governed by conservative Muslims, who want to revive the old religion. For decades before that, the nation was officially secular and religion was excluded from government. That changed about twenty years ago. The return-to-religion plan has been very successful, except for one thing; teenagers don’t like it. In time, children grow to be adults, and soon the new generation will be the majority. That new generation has a very different culture from official government policy. The generation raised to be pious in the old religion has its own ideas. READ: Turks Examine Their Muslim Devotion After Poll Says Faith Could Be Waning

The New Climate Religion

Climate activists have strong ideas about how the world will end, if we don’t change our ways. They also have new ideas for people to learn, and documents that they use to support their arguments. In theology, that is eschatology (end times), catechism (beliefs), and scriptures (respected writings). That means a belief system about the Earth’s climate is becoming a religion, something to believe in by faith. The old saying is “Man is incurably religious.” READ: The Religion of Climatism

No God in Antarctica?

An old Sailor’s proverb is; south of the fortieth parallel there is no law, and south of the fiftieth there is no God. Only a few people live on the icy continent of Antarctica, south of the fortieth parallel, and the whole economy is scientific research. That tiny population, living in temporary dormitories, is one place where I wouldn’t expect to find people worshipping God. Maybe it’s a surprise, but people always reach out to God, on any continent. The worship of God in Antarctica is a picture of people anywhere. READ: God in a cold climate

Happiness in Azerbaijan, a good lesson for us all

Can you find Azerbaijan on a map? It’s east of Turkey and north-west of Iran, or the Internet will show you. It’s a small country with more than ninety-nine percent Muslim and the remainder are Armenians who identify as Christians, so Christians are a tiny minority in the general population. We might expect stress and fear among that Christian minority, but some of them have a reason to be happy. They show that happiness or joy comes from God, and not from the surrounding circumstances. We should learn from them.

What it costs to be happy

Something happened in our terrible virus pandemic, and it made some people happy. A grandmother survived and recovered from a virus infection. It’s good to see the smiles and the relief on peoples faces when they talk about this. Their happiness came from the simplest thing and it they didn’t need to be rich and famous. I call this the goodness of God, for ordinary people, and it’s a good lesson in happiness.

How good are you, really?

Your mother told you to be good, and so did your father. It turns out, goodness, also known as virtue, is complicated. A skilled teacher can tell us how to be good, but then we have to make the decisions and act on what we know. The Bible says we are without excuse and it is clear that we can know the right thing. But, knowing is the easy part. Human history shows that we have problems with doing. My way to find God was to ask for help with doing. I wanted to be more than educated, but the knowledge was a good start. READ: Virtue Ethics

Israel and Egypt: The future does not look good

While the whole world is focusing on the Coronavirus Pandemic, there is other news. Some interesting things are happening in the world, and there are lessons that we could miss. As I write this, Muslims are in their month of Ramadan which according to the information I have runs this year from April 23 to May 23. About 1.8 billion people are counted as Muslim, and this year’s Ramadan is complicated with the restrictions of a pandemic lock down. A few years ago, I worked as a trainer for a bus company, and that meant I drove a school bus when a driver phoned in sick; and someone always phoned in. One morning I drove some children for a bilingual Arabic-English program, so they were from immigrant families from the Middle East. I heard two little girls talking behind me, about ‘those people’ which meant people like me. One little girl said “and they don’t have Ramadan!” They both seemed shocked by this information. That was a lesson for me; these people take their beliefs …

You are being watched, and no secret is safe

One consequence of the Coronavirus Pandemic is increased surveillance over people. In the name of public safety, we are being watched closely. The government in this story is in the state of Israel. The reporters don’t like Israel, and they are probably saying that resistance to that government won’t be easy now. The lesson for us all is that our lives can be watched and recorded. We are only safe if good people, in honest governments, choose to treat us fairly. The power to oppress us is available now and only human kindness can save us; or the power of God to protect us. READ: ‘Slippery slope’: Israel draws flak over coronavirus surveillance

Cherry blossoms in spring, and terrible people

We should do the right thing, and we should not do the wrong thing. That is true, but human nature doesn’t always agree. People can do things that are just plain wrong, for no logical reason. Jesus told us about that; clear instructions are good, but people need to be changed on the inside. In Toronto, a city locked down for the Coronavirus Pandemic, the blossoming cherry trees are restricted for safe viewing; and climbing into them around midnight, to drink beer, is wrong. It’s also not too bright to do that in front of the security cameras. The human race needs reformation. READ: High Park Cherry Blossom Webcam capture people climbing trees in the middle of the night

Pentecostals: Feeling the pressure in Belarus

Belarus is a Russian-speaking country located between Poland and Russia. Like any county in that part of Europe, it has an interesting history, including wars and invasions. The majority identify with Slavic Orthodox churches, and recently the government restricted Pentecostal Christians. The instructions are clear ‘Do not pray in tongues! Only pray in Russian!’ I’m not sure how the authorities will enforce this, and it’s not clear why they need this rule. People who pray in Pentecostal churches are usually harmless. Where I live, they are a good influence in the community. READ: Crack Down on Pentecostals in Belarus

The new world that we can’t see

Iran is often in the news. That country was one of the first outside of China to have an outbreak of the Coronavirus, and we all heard the stories. Other news about Iran is often hidden, but many things are happening in that nation. Reports are coming from Iran that changes have already happened in that society, on a huge scale. Recently, top government leaders have begun to admit that people are changing in their society. When the government secrecy is removed, I think the world will be surprised by the new Iran. READ: Iranian official: mass conversions ‘are happening right under our eyes’

World changes that we never imagined: Indonesia

One hundred and thirty million is a huge number. That is one estimate of the people in Indonesia who will make a radical change in their lives in the next decade. This is only one estimate, but change is coming to one of the largest countries in the world. This is a news story that is mostly ignored, but the world is changing around us. Change is uncomfortable for powerful people, but humans always think and act, and we should know that changes are coming. READ: Millions Secretly ‘Turn To Christ’ In Indonesia

Religious Arguments: When you are just not good enough

I’m a Christian and I know what that means. I know, but most of the world seems to know what I should be. Whatever you believe, other people will try to make you into what they want you to be. You might hear ‘You people should …’ They have a preferred image for people like you and you are wrong if you don’t do follow the program. Unmarried marriage counsellors don’t play the game, but they do make the rules. When I was a student in a university, I took a course from a professor that we all liked. He was an excellent teacher, and we all enjoyed learning with him. He also talked openly about his connections with a church, and my family went to a church; I thought we had something in common. One day I had an appointment in his office, and after we finished talking about my assignment, I told him that my family went to … church. I expected a smile, at least. I still remember that severe look on …

North Korea: Hidden news from a secret place

The news is not always the whole story. Many things are happening in the world that are not reported. Some stories might be considered uninteresting, or some information might be hidden from us by people who want to protect themselves. News from North Korea is rare. South Korea has many active Christians, and they are very concerned about the other half of their nation. The efforts to communicate with North Koreans about spiritual things, are mostly secret. The Communist government in the north is officially Atheist, and violently opposed to any spiritual message that comes across the border. READ: How are Bibles getting into North Korea?