Author: smcintos

Credit: NASA Johnson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Watch our world as it changes

Social Media, including You Tube and Facebook, and many more new offerings, is a big part of life today. For most of us, it’s a huge part of life. The Internet has changed the world everywhere. I remember bulky computers on desk tops, and now we have phones in our pockets. I also remember life before the Internet, when phones had dials, and we talked on them; we only talked on them. We live in a time when old things pass away quickly, and new things emerge and dominate the world. God has promised to shake this world, and it’s easy to see how that could happen. We can’t keep what we have. “Now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken; that is, created things.” (Hebrews 12: 26 and 27)

The nerd rapture: Are we in a religious revolution?

One rule about religion is that things change when communication changes. The first Christians spoke and wrote on scrolls. Things changed with bound books, and then printing presses, which produced the Protestant Reformation. Radio, and television, and now the Internet have radically changed human communication, and we can expect big changes in the way people find God. Some people call this the nerd rapture. We are connected by the Web, and this year we are isolated by a virus pandemic. Expect changes. In the time of scrolls and preachers, Jesus told His followers to communicate: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16: 15 and 16) That is easier to do that now, than any time in history. The speaker on the TEDx video predicts a religious revolution based on communication. He mixes in his own advice, but he is correct with his basic prediction.

Beirut: What is God doing?

Right now, we are in this year 2020, and this is the year when the world changes. We all know about a virus from China, and violent demonstrations in the streets. Life has changed in a big way. And then we had an explosion in Beirut Lebanon. At this time, more than a hundred are confirmed dead, and searchers are still looking for bodies. Apparently, a ship filled with Ammonium Nitrate was abandoned in Beirut harbor a few years ago. High nitrogen fertilizer, if that was the product, is very dangerous. I have worked in transportation safety, and that fertilizer mixed with petroleum, is as explosive as dynamite. It was used by terrorists to blow up a government building in Oklahoma City, and do you know the meaning of TNT? That powerful explosive is Tri-Nitro Toluene. Toluene is petroleum, and nitrogen is in products like fertilizer. Beirut was just waiting for the explosion, and it was like an atomic bomb without the radiation. READ: Beirut explosion: Angry protesters storm government ministries Lebanon is in the …

Does religion put us at risk?

Jesus spoke to a conservative religious woman, a Samaritan, and told her “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4: 23). He warned that change was coming on them. As the world struggles with the COVID pandemic, many religious groups resist health restrictions and regulations. Conservative groups that live with rituals and traditions find it hard to adapt; people who have lived their own way for centuries are not interested in changing now. This is not only true for Christian groups, the major center of infections in Israel is one Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. READ: Israel’s ultra-Orthodox communities ‘ignoring’ COVID-19 rules In Canada, Hutterite colonies have high rates of infection. These people practice their conservative religion in communes, and they love their lifestyle. I often meet Hutterites, Russian Old Believers, and Mennonites through my work, and I find them friendly and likeable, but they don’t like to change their ways. READ: Canadian Hutterite colonies struggle with coronavirus outbreaks

Orthodox Rituals in a Changing World: How do believers cope?

What we do might have to change, for health reasons. Belief is important to any Christian, but many struggle to adapt their practices. Eastern Orthodox Christians have many rituals, practices that are sacred to them, but they also have a health emergency. This new world can bring us all back to the starting place; “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) We might laugh as the priest in a country area, but he is trying to keep his faith in challenging times. On a larger scale, many churches are struggling to adapt to a world-changing crisis.

Baptismal service in Iran Photo: Elam Ministries

Something Good From a Pandemic

We might have missed the news, but the COVID pandemic has produced a strange effect in Iran. The nation is an Islamic Republic governed by conservative Shiite Muslims, but millions of people are moving to Christianity. This is a scenario that generates religious persecution; the government is strict and it does not like this change. Iran has also suffered from the pandemic after receiving the virus early from China. To protect people from the virus, many prisoners have been released, including many persecuted Christians. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans 8: 35) READ: Iran Releases a Third of Christian Prisoners Due to Coronavirus Concerns

Are you ready for the 2020 COVID famine?

It’s impossible to miss the virus pandemic that has spread around the world. I remember hearing the first rumours about a virus in China, in February of this year. Those rumours quickly became a fact and the disease spread to every place in the world. We all know this. Did you know this is qualifies as a biblical famine? Our reaction is now as dangerous as the disease. People will suffer from a virus infection, and some will die. Also, our social controls to resist the disease have disrupted the world economy. Now, more people will die from the remedy than from the disease. We are really hurting ourselves: READ: Coronavirus-linked malnutrition is killing 10,000 more children a month, UN warns When we think of a famine on a biblical scale, we always imagine a lack of food. That is partly true, but in ancient times, food was the economy. Everyone worked on a farm and lived by the food they produced, except for a few who lived in a village, close to the farm …

Whatever happened to the Age of Aquarius?

Do you remember the song with these words “It is the dawning of the age of Aquarius”? I wasn’t supposed to like that song, in my religious family, but for me it was easy listening, and I liked the optimism. Also, it’s a Hippy New-Age hymn, and I had friends who were Hippies. The lyrics are mostly about the positions of the planets and stars, and it’s based on Astrology, which is really a religion, and I am a Christian. The Bible is clear, wisdom comes from God who made the stars, and not from the created objects, like Jupiter in the seventh house. We are not supposed to get direction for our lives from mediums; “anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 10: 10 to 12) God can give us what we need. Maybe the singers were mediums and astrologers, …

The Solution to Racism: Maybe God knows something.

One word is the modern translation of the Bible word “sin.” The new word is “racism” In the Bible, one word “sin” describes anything wrong that people might do. We have ten commandments, and many other warnings, and the offence is always against God. If we hurt other people, we are offending the God who made them, and loves them. There are many ways to hurt other people. The hyper concern for racism makes one offence really matter, while other things might get overlooked. For example, it’s possible to be extreme and violent if the other person can be accused of racism. The U.S. Air Force Academy had a strong reaction to crude racist messages on their campus, and then investigators learned that one of the victims wrote the messages. The incident might be described as a stunt, but the possibility of racism required a severe correction. READ: Air Force Academy Prep School: Black cadet admitted to writing racist remarks on dorm doors I believe our concern for racism is in part based on the …

Chile: A Bible Lesson from a Newspaper

The country of Chile, in South America, has a problem with the COVID 19 Coronavirus, like every country in the world. One concern is for Christians who claim that they are protected by God, and they don’t need to take precautions. That is also happening in other countries. Strangely, for a secular newspaper, the Santiago Times, gave a Bible lesson to Christians, to show why they should take precautions. Someone knows the Bible well, the examples are well-chosen and the lesson is easy to follow. It seems strange when the press tries to help, instead of the usual angry partisan hysteria. They didn’t blame, they just gave their best advice. “The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.” (Psalm 37:30) READ: Protect Yourself! Don’t Test God!

Turkey and COVID 19; Blaming the Christians.

In the country of Turkey, there are reports of attacks on Christians because some many people blame minorities for the COVID 19 pandemic. Christians are a minority in Turkey where most people identify as Muslim, and the government has a strong Islamic agenda. About half of the Turkish population strongly supports the government, and some protesters have pulled down crosses on churches. One protester was caught trying to burn down a church in Istanbul and he told the police that he blamed the Christians for COVID 19. There is another side to this story; a Christian broadcaster SAT-7 TURK, has been working to support Christians in Turkey for about five years, with television broadcasts. In the virus pandemic, they are receiving more questions about Christianity, from Turkish people, than at any time in their history. Not all of the attention is negative. God told us “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” (Romans 10:20) READ: Turkey: Attacks on churches spike as …

Those annoying Baby Boomers and God

Did you know you belong to a generational prison? Experts have tracked the characteristics of each generation, and sometimes assigned a letter of the alphabet to each one. The ones we live with now are Boomers, and then generations X, Y, and Z. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and they are very numerous, in western countries. X is from 1965 to 1981; Y is the Millennials, also known as the me-me-me generation, from 1982 to 1994; and Z from 1995 to 2010. READ: From the baby boomer to the post-millennial generations: 50 years of change Baby Boomers generally annoy Millennials, or so we are told, and there is a popular insult “OK Boomer.” There are some problems with this description; we are each one person and not a generation. We can make our own choices about life, and many people don’t fit the profile. Some people are poor, even homeless, and many are immigrants from places where the dynamics are different. When we make one group all the same, we create a …

The Abortion Conspiracy

This is an election year in the United States, and history is being remembered that most of us forgot. Planned Parenthood is an organization that promotes access to abortions, and offers abortions in many clinics. In this year of “Black Lives Matter” the history of the founder Margaret Sanger has been remembered. She advocated for eugenics, guided evolution through population control, and she was quoted “We must make this country into a garden of children instead of a disorderly back lot overrun with human weeds.” Apparently the founder spoke to a women’s group of the Klu Klux Klan, in 1926, and there is suspicion about her advocating for more access to abortions and birth control, in black communities. This history has been revived by Kanye West, a black rapper and a Christian, who said Planned Parenthood has “been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work.” This is an explosive debate, and we can expect to hear more arguments. The issue is reported: READ: Kanye West’s Planned Parenthood fight revives rift between …

Is it OK to be angry?

It is so easy to be angry these days. Why did those people in China, whoever they are, let that virus into the world? Why did we manage the spreading infection so badly? Why are those people burning businesses and tearing down statues? Why did that other driver just cut me off on the freeway? ,,, It is always easy to find a fault in someone, and that makes anger a good thing. We know the offenders deserve it. Strangely, Christians are not told, in the Bible, that they should never be angry. The direction is “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26) So, don’t do anything wrong while you are angry, and finish it before the end of the day. Control the damage and the duration. Medical science has discovered one important reason why anger needs to be limited; it will make us sick. We think our anger is a force to use against other people, but it is mostly harmful …

Atheists: No God, or No Christians?

Richard Dawkins is a scholar of evolution science and one of the best known promoters of Atheism. He admits that he is strongly opposed to Christianity, and progressive leftists support him in this. He is an intelligent man, and highly respected as a scholar, and his dislike for Christianity is expressed in many hurtful comments. When he attacks Christians, people either don’t care, or they cheer him on. Apparently Christians are a fair target for prejudice and abuse, in progressive society. But now Richard Dawkins is being attacked by the same people who used to support him. He decided to be fair, and to also criticize other religions that believe in God. Since he claims to be an atheist, a ‘no God’ believer, that is fair. When Richard Dawkins criticized Islam in the same way he commonly attacked Christians and their beliefs, he was labelled a bigot, and at least one major event was cancelled where he was the speaker. This creates an obvious question; Is militant Atheism a rejection of the concept of God, …

How much money do you need?

“Money can’t buy happiness.” We have been told this since at least 1750. It is probably true that money can’t buy happiness, but money does generate unhappiness when it goes away. So, how much money do you need? What will make you happy? 95 thousand U.S. dollars. Researchers studied income and happiness, and they now have an answer: an income of $95,000 USD per year will give you “life satisfaction” and $60,000 to $75,000 USD per year will give “emotional well-being.” Now you know. The research is too simple, in my opinion. I know places where that money would make you the richest person in town, and there are other places where you couldn’t afford to buy a house. The researchers could probably explain and modify their findings, and it is interesting that they studied money and happiness, and they have a scientific answer. READ: Experts say there’s an ideal income for happiness — here are three ways you can reach it But is there a spiritual answer? I am writing this as a Christian, …

Blasphemy Against Jesus in India

A group of Roman Catholics has applied India’s blasphemy laws against a man who describes himself as a rational atheist. A Catholic group has a statue of Jesus, and apparently the statue weeps. Water drips down the face of the Jesus statue, and people have described this as tears. They have begun drinking the “tear” water because they believe it has healing properties. Weeping Jesus statues have been reported in many parts of the world, and they usually become pilgrimage sites for Catholics. The group in India is offended because an atheist has examined the statue, and according to him, the “tears” are leaking sewage. He believes people should not put the liquid in their mouths. The Catholic group that owns the statue is offended, and they see the atheist’s claims as an attack on their religion. They have enforced religious blasphemy laws and the atheist might be sent to prison. To avoid legal problems, the investigating critic has moved far away to Finland, where he can’t be charged. He can be exonerated in India …

Following Jesus in Saudi Arabia?

Something strange just happened in Saudi Arabia, the home of Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. Saudi Arabia could be described as the heartland of Islam, and it also has the highest infection rate for COVID 19 in its region. The Governor of Asir Province, which is in the south west of the country, has encouraged people to have faith as they confront the deadly disease.

The Worst Year Ever

2020 is the most frustrating year that I can remember. It all started with a pandemic from China, and a lockdown of everyone, everywhere, and then violent demonstrations in big cities. Things are starting to look biblical, and medieval, and now there are rumours that a huge dam in China is under stress, with two hundred million people at risk downstream.

Boomer, Doomers, and Systemic Racism

In history, when armies fought on a battlefield, each side had a flag. A flag is only a piece of cloth with colors, but it is a symbol of something one side loves, and the other side hates. We have flags today, made with words: Systemic Racism, Defund the Police, Black Lives Matter, Hey Boomer. These slogans are used to rally people on one side of a struggle, and to make the other side hostile and angry. There is not much analysis, mostly just angry emotions. In the demonstrations, the flag words are written on signs and shouted. The news is also full of stories about violent demonstrations and ruined careers, when famous and privileged people offend someone with their words. These are dangerous times and it is dangerous to have an opinion different from a flag. I often visit a town called Killam, and I have a standard bad joke, “On Friday I’m going to Killam.” It sounds funny to some people. I was not there on the day, but people in the area …

Burning Cities: Why are we doing this?

There is an old saying, “People who believe nothing will believe anything.” A man named G.K. Chesterton said that or something similar, and I know it is true. We all believe, we are incurably religious, and if we don’t have truth, we will attach our belief to something false. If life has no meaning, we will find a purpose; and some purposes are bad for us. When I was a boy, my family went to church. Every adult in my life was strict, and apparently, following their rules was the way to God. I didn’t always believe them, but I learned early that it was important not to get caught. I grew up in the days of beatings, and at school the principal had a regulation strap issued by the school board. I only got one regulation punishment, around the age of eight, and that was enough for me. I didn’t want more of that pain, so I carefully stayed out of trouble, and avoided anyone who could punish me. My parents were also generous …

Is there an African cure for COVID 19?

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, and a large island near the east coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean. It is the home of exotic plants and animals, and most of the world has missed the news that it is the source of a drug to fight the COVID 19 coronavirus. The Artemisia plant, from Madagascar, is the source of medication to treat Malaria. SOURCE: Aremisia (genus) The President of the nation is now promoting Artemisia extract as a treatment for the COVID 19 virus, and it is being exported to Africa, where it is emerging as a preferred treatment. There are many personal testimonials, and researchers are investigating. I believe something out there will stop this virus pandemic, and the end may come quickly. God knows if a plant from Madagascar will make a difference. “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” (Psalm 24:1)

A song about the Coronavirus: Let’s hear every voice

In the politics of this year, 2020, there seems to be a fierce fight for the real estate in front of the cameras. Radicals are burning things, and raging in the streets, and they get all the attention. Everyone has an opinion, but most voices will never be heard. That is strange because the radicals in the streets want some lives to matter; except for those lives that don’t matter to them. I am a Christian, but not a Roman Catholic, and my church does not have a statue of Jesus. Also, I confess that I listen to country music and nuns singing in a flower garden is just not my style. Their song is catchy, it will stay in your brain, and I agree with their message; we need to trust God. Also, if they sincerely believe in Jesus, they are my sisters. So, I recommend to you, some voices that you will not hear in the news. They are just not radical and violent enough. God bless them.

When Our ‘gods’ Fail

I don’t like bad news, and I don’t like spreading it, but here is a problem. When the world locked down to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus spread, other things were ignored. The solution became a problem. In British Columbia, in Canada, overdoses from drugs rapidly increased, and many people died. Many more people died from drugs than from the virus. Illegal drugs are an old problem, but during the lock down attention went to a virus from China, and other things were ignored. When those dangerous things were ignored, they did not go away. READ: B.C. records highest ever number of opioid deaths in May The most dangerous drug is probably Fentanyl. This is a medication that can be made in a lab, without harvesting plants like cocaine or opium poppies. The labs can be close to us, so there is no need for smuggling routes around the world. We have probably all seen an episode of “Breaking Bad” where the lab was in a motor home. The problem with problems is that …

Jesus Corona scores the first goal, in the opening game.

Did you hear what happened at a soccer game in Portugal? The league restarted, in the corona virus crisis, and in the opening game, a player named Jesus Corona scored the first goal. In some parts of the world, soccer fans are amazed. They’re having fun with this piece of information. READ: A soccer player named Corona scored the first goal for a Portuguese club on its return to action after coronavirus lockdown No, I don’t think this is a miracle, but maybe God has a sense of humor. I do believe that God’s people need to find some joy in their lives. The story about Jesus Corona should make us smile, but there is something called the joy of the Lord. That should make us want to dance, in any circumstances, and that includes the things we are living through right now. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5: 17 and 18) It’s good to be reminded.

Hey, do you need a job?

2020 has been interesting, so far. “Interesting.” First we had a pandemic and a lockdown, and then we had violence in the streets, and who know what will happen next. In this mix of terrible news, many of us have lost our jobs. We hope the economy will restart, and maybe we will all get back to a normal life, but I have friends who are suffering from unemployment. For them, the other bad things are just in the news. We were told: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10: 29 and 30) If we believe God, can we believe for employment and healthy finances, in this crazy year of 2020?

Conforming to the New Cults

Do we all know what a controlling cult is? Why do people drink the cool aid? I have been interested in this problem for many years. READ: Why do people join cults? – Janja Lalich The social stress in this year 2020 is breeding some dangerous movements. I’m not criticizing what people believe; the method is a problem by itself. Recently, the Mayor of Minneapolis was put under intense pressure to conform, and he did not agree. Dr. Seuss told us: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” And the Bible tells us: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.” (Romans 12:2) That’s not as easy as it sounds.

Are you spiritual but not religious?

I have friends who like to say they aren’t religious, they are spiritual. The problem is, I know them too well. Sometimes they are just deflecting a question about their choices in life. And I have friends who are religious, and sometimes I don’t see them being spiritual. I am not the judge, but some things seem obvious. Maybe they are deflecting too. There is a simple truth in these words; ‘God help me!’ That is spiritual and religious. We need to find our Father.

Let’s have a loud argument!

We all know that the U.S., and a large part of the world in other countries, is having a loud argument. Most of the language that I hear are emotional, and it easily brings angry answers. That’s the motive behind simple slogans like “Defund the police!” and the rapid spread of rage in the streets. Your anger is requested. There is no debate, we are being baited, tempted and provoked. We have an enemy seeking to devour us, and a mindless angry response that causes real destruction is the goal. God must keep us a thoughtful and careful with our words. The words directed against Satan are “The Lord rebuke you.” (Jude 1:9) Amen to that. READ: Terry Gavin: American was born in violent protest: But it’s just wrong now

The Year 2020 and God: Maybe this is a good thing.

Can you remember Christmas of 2019, and the start of this new year, 2020? Those were innocent times. Where I live, the economy was struggling, but we were hoping for better things. There were rumours about a virus infection in China, but we had heard that one before. 2020 looked good, in January. In February, those rumors from China started to become scary, and we bought some extra groceries. In March, the economy started shutting down, and people started dying from the virus. Some nursing homes got the infection in our area, and some residents died. And people got sent home from work. I remember the day, Friday March 20, when I went to work and people looked at me like I had climbed out of a tree. I missed the announcement, and they told me to go home. And then we had April and May, with bickering and panic about jobs and virus infections. In June, a video circulated with a police officer in Minneapolis kneeling on a man’s neck, until the man died, …

People talking about God, in the strangest places

It’s easy to think that the famous people in the news, in front of the cameras, are important. I believe that God is important, and ordinary people are called to do His work. The world doesn’t pay attention to the large population that travels in their work, they don’t qualify as important, but they are with us, and I believe God cares. Did you know there are Christians who work for God in truck stops. Drivers who are passing through have chaplains who they can talk to. The work is not glamorous and it doesn’t make anyone famous, in this world. In a Bible story, “they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them, and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” (Acts 14: 27) We don’t where another door might open.

Religions: Who has the money?

Any time you want to offend people and start an argument, talk about religion and money. Tithing, or regular giving is also a good spark. I believe that giving regularly leads us to manage all of our money carefully; counting is accounting. But who has the most money? Atheists and Agnostics are near the top, and among religions, Jews, Hindus, and Episcopalians (Anglicans). Mormons are average, Jehovah’s Witnesses are below, and historically black groups are poor. Managing what we have, much or little, is a project for everyone, and it’s a lesson some haven’t learned. Jesus told us about a disorganized man “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.” (Luke 14:30) READ: You’ll Be Surprised at Which Religions Have the Most Members with $100K+ Incomes

The Other Truth About Jesus: The Cost

What does it cost any of us be a Christian? I might get some sneers and some people might leave me and look for a new friend, but that is a small price. I’m sure you can relate. There are places where people lose everything to follow Jesus. The Hmong people of Southeast Asia do not have their own country. They are a minority wherever they live, and many are Christians. Their home region is governed by Communists who don’t like religion, and Hmong Christians can be persecuted for believing. Some have been killed, others have been sent to prison. We should know about this reality, and about these faithful Christians.

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