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Scans of the blood found on Shroud of Turin reveal torture

Various images of the Shroud of Turin

Various images of the Shroud of Turin

Early protestant reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) was one of the first to question the Shroud of Turin’s authenticity, that some believe is the burial cloth used to wrap Christ’s body.

Burned into the Shroud is an image of a man with long hair and a beard that is the basis of most modern paintings used to portray Christ today. It is believed the image was created when God miraculously raised Christ from the dead.

Calvin who was not enamoured with the Roman Catholic church used scripture to refute the claim. He pointed to John 20:6-7 where it says there were two pieces of cloth, one for the body and a smaller piece of linen that the disciples wrapped around Christ’s head.

Defending the shroud’s authenticity, some argue that the larger piece could still have covered the full body.

And despite the fact Pope Francis prayed before the cloth in June 2015, the Roman Catholic Church has not made an official declaration on the shroud (14 feet 5 inches by 3 feet 7 inches)  kept at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy.

However, recently researchers from the Institute of Crystallography in Bari, Italy, the Istituto Officina dei Materiali in Trieste, Italy and from the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Padua made some startling claims about the cloth.

Using high-tech electron microscopes and Wide Angle X-Ray Scanning microscopes, their testing of the human blood found on the cloth indicated the person had been tortured.

In an article, “New Biological Evidence from Atomic Resolution Studies on the Turin Shroud” written for the scientific magazine PlosOne, the researchers said the shroud’s blood stains contain large quantities of substances called ferritin and creatinine.

This is not typical of normal blood.

These substances only show up in higher amounts in the blood of people who have experienced serious trauma which would include torture.

Speaking for the group, Glulio Fanti from the University of Padua said:

“Hence, the presence of these biological nanoparticles found during our experiments point to a violent death for the man wrapped in the Turin Shroud.”

Though these tests do not prove conclusively this is the shroud that covered Christ’s body, it fits the description.

Previous tests of the shroud found human blood on the wrists and feet which some believe indicates crucifixion. There are also blood stains on the head and beard that would come from the crown of thorns and the hits on the head by the Roman guards (Mathew 27: 29-30). Blood found on the back could be a result of a scourging (Mathew 27:26).

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Liberated Artisans

Credit: Amber Orenstein/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Amber Orenstein/Flickr/Creative Commons

In a previous article on “Craftsmen in Captivity ” we discussed the many ways in which artists and musicians are taken into captivity. Today, we want to “declare liberty to those  who are bound”. By open acknowledgment and repentance from sin and idols of the heart, one can set forth on a path of freedom for their spirit, soul and body.

The Psalmist recognized the one LORD God, Elohim, as the great deliverer who could literally cause the freed captives to dream and sing.

“When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion
We were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue within singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us,
Whereof we are glad.
Turn again our captivity, O LORD,
as the streams in the south.” (Psalm 126:1- 4)

When Jesus Christ read a scroll written by the prophet Isaiah, he recognized the anointing of the Spirit of the LORD. God gave him authority to proclaim liberty and set the captives free.

“The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound”. (Luke 4:18)

“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”. (Luke 4:21)

Liberty, a Free Gift

God is a creator and designer of things past, present and things to come.  Those involved in the creative realm, walking free of sin and condemnation, can get very close to the heart and mind of Christ.  This spiritual weapon is extremely dangerous to our enemy of our soul who goes around as a “roaring lion” seeking to oppress God’s people.

“Liberty is not man’s own achievement, but a free gift of grace, something which apart from God’s action man does not possess at all.  In its continuance, liberty is a covenant blessing, something which God has promised to maintain as long as His people are faithful.  Liberty does not mean independence of God; it is precisely in God’s service that man finds his perfect freedom.” (From The New Bible Dictionary, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., pg. 733).

Liberty is central to the gospel of the resurrected Jesus. He has instructed his disciples, to preach the gospel of the kingdom, heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and set at liberty those that are bound.

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love;” (Colossians 1:13).

A few summers ago while playing my piano, I was inspired by the Holy Spirit and given a new intimate love song entitled, “Come Away”, based on Solomon of Solomon 2:10. One phrase of the song describes our freedom with the Bridegroom as, “Can’t you see, we are free, free to love each other for eternity”.

Later while playing the same piano and singing in the spirit, various scriptures came to mind, as well as the word ‘libertad’. I knew this wasn’t an English word but felt that if the Holy Spirit was giving it to me, I should just keep singing it.

Later, I discovered the Spanish word for “libertad” means both “liberty” and “freedom”!

Creativity, Part of our Inheritance

“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ”. (Galatians 4:6-7)

Made in the image of God our Creator, every man and woman have some type of creativity within their DNA. It may be an inclination towards design by drawing, colours by painting, sound by music, shaping by sculpturing, words by song or literature, and on and on.

Once an individual accepts the saving resurrection grace of Jesus Christ within their own heart, the Holy Spirit is given as a seal that they are “children of the Most High” and joint heirs of his promise.

Once infused with God’s Spirit, those inclined in the artistic realm, have access to ALL the Father’s creativity.  Freedom in the creative realm is part of our inheritance.

“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21)

Discovering our Talents

Some may say, “I am not very creative, I sing out of tune and I don’t play an instrument.”  But if they search deeply, they will discover at least one talent which if they steward properly, can give manifold increase.

You may question, “How do I know what my talent is?”

First, search within and ask, “What do I like to do?”  Is there a specific activity or craft that peaks your interest?  What talents do you recognize are within your parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles?

Perhaps within your family there is a certain gifting that has been passed down the generations which one only has to nurture and cultivate.  It may be like an over-grown orchard, that one needs to prune the branches and kill the weeds before it will bring good fruit.

In my family lineage, music is prominent on both my father and mother’s side.  Now my father was basically tone deaf, but one of his sister’s had a very good voice. Her daughter and several of her  grandchildren are also singers who cultivated that gift for the enjoyment of many.

My mother was also a singer-pianist, but more of her immediate siblings were players of musical instruments. Those from my maternal side who have developed the gift of musical playing means they are privileged to understand another universal language.

A sister of mine who had no music ability, loved to sew and design clothes. Her two daughters have inherited her gifting. Another sister started working in painting and pottery after the age of 45.

An older brother became more involved in drama and sang his first solo at the age of 59 to the amazement of the entire community who never knew he could sing.

The area of creative writing flows through many of my parent’s offspring.

3-D Development

As noted above, once you uncover your talent, age is not a factor in developing one, five or even ten talents. (Matt. 25:14-30). Great actors like Anthony Quinn and Tony Curtis in the later years of their lives, developed their artistic side and sold many paintings. “Messiah”, the greatest oratorio ever written was composed by Handel in 22 days when he was 56 years old.

The development of creative gifts is a 3-Dimension process and not for the faint-at-heart.

  • Dedication. It takes dedication and submission to study His word and learn His commands.
  • Discipline. One must become a disciple of Jesus Christ, the master craftsman, by sitting at His feet and Hearing His voice.
  • Determination. Living the life of a liberated artist takes determination and is not for the faint hearted.

The LORD is a Holy God and we must be holy to create artistic works which portray His spirit and life. A liberated artist co-operates with the Holy Spirit to design spiritual creative works which bring glory to our Heavenly Father.

“For, brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

 

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Visit Myrna’s website: www.ideationentertainment.ca/

Comedian Jim Carrey preaching the gospel?

Jim Carrey addressing the crowd a Homeboy Industries: YouTube Capture

Jim Carrey addressing the crowd a Homeboy Industries: YouTube Capture

Jim Carrey, 55, is Canadian-born comedian who rose to fame in 1994, when he starred in three movies  Ace Ventura: Pet DetectiveThe Mask and Dumb and Dumber. He received a Golden Globe and Oscar Nomination for his lead role in the The Mask and Dumb and Dumber became a huge commercial success earning $270 million.

Carrey was born in Newmarket, Ontario on January 17, 1962 and was raised Roman Catholic.

According to an article on Christian Today, Carrey was recently invited to speak at Homeboy Industries. It is a youth rehabilitation organization run by Roman Catholic Jesuits who are trying to transform the lives of young men and women caught up in Los Angeles’ gang life.

They educate and train these previously incarcerated gang members. They also give counselling on how to manage their anger and as well a service to remove tattoos.

When he addressed the group, Carrey said:

“You are heroes to me, and I admire you. When you stepped through these doors, you decided to be a part of this family. You’ve made a decision to transcend and to leave darkness behind, and it takes a champion to make that decision.

“And ultimately, I believe that suffering leads to salvation … You’ve made the decision to walk through the gate of forgiveness to grace, just as Christ did on the cross. He suffered terribly and He was broken by it, to the point of doubt and a feeling of absolute abandonment, which all of you have felt. Then there was a decision to be made. And the decision was to look upon the people who were causing that suffering with compassion and with forgiveness, and that’s what opens the gates of Heaven for all of us. I wish that for all of you. I wish that for myself.”

Carrey added:

“We either decide to go through the gate of resentment, which leads to vengeance, which leads to self harm, which leads to harm to others. Or, we go through the gates of forgiveness, which leads to grace.”

But what really intrigued me is at the end, even Carrey was surprised by what he said when he asked the crowd: “Where did that come from?”

Though Carrey veered into areas of questionable theology, nevertheless He was exalting Christ in his message to the former gang members.

Christian Today added that it is uncertain if Jim has become a Christian, but this story reminds me of an incident in the Gospel of Luke. As Jesus was approaching the Mount of Olives, people began crying out:

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord;

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38 NASV)

The pharisees tried to quiet the crowd and when that failed, finally told Jesus to shut them down.

Jesus answered:

“I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” (Luke 19:40 NASV)

It was an interesting response, because Jesus was basically saying if society manages to quiet the Christian voice, then those who are not necessarily even believers, like rocks, will proclaim the Lord’s name.

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UNESCO’s bizarre motions

Hebron Credit: Ronan Shenhav/Flickr/Creative Commons

Hebron Credit: Ronan Shenhav/Flickr/Creative Commons

Earlier this month, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) continued to rewrite history, which according to some is the organization’s favorite pastime.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee declared Israel the “occupier of the Western Wall and Jerusalem’s old city” as part of its annual meeting held in Kraków, Poland July 2 to 12th.

With eight abstaining, the 21-member committee approved the motion in a 10-3 vote on July 3, 2017.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry described the vote as “sad, needless and pathetic.” Such motions do little more than politicize important cultural and religious sites in the Middle East and further enflames already heated tensions.

Predictably the Palestinian Authority jumped on the vote using it as another platform calling for the removal of Israel’s control of Jerusalem, a city that has been a part of Jewish theology and history for thousands of years.

Then a few days later in a secret meeting, the Word Heritage Committee continued its rewrite declaring Hebron and the cave of the Patriarchs as endangered “Palestinian” sites.

Located 32 km south of Jerusalem in area controlled by the Palestinian Authority, Hebron is one of the oldest continually occupied cities in the world. Its connection to the Jews and their faith, traces back to the Old Testament when Abraham purchased a cave to bury his wife Sarah (Genesis 25:9) in the land promised to the patriarch’s descendants.

Though the Jews would not inhabit the Promised Land for another few hundred years, its purchase marked the first ownership of land by a Jew in what would eventually become Israel’s homeland.

According to Jewish tradition Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob and others were buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Hebron’s importance continued after the arrival of the Jews in the Promised Land.

The prophet Samuel anointed David as King of Judah in Hebron (2 Samuel 2:1-4) and later used the city to anoint David king of all of Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-3). And for seven years, David used Hebron as his capital, before eventually moving it to Jerusalem.

The Jewish claim to Jerusalem and Hebron go back thousands of years.

In contrast, the Muslim Quran that lays out an Islamic claim to Jerusalem and Hebron was written by Muhammad between 609 and 632 AD, thousands of years later. Muhammad claims the text for the Quran was recited to him by the Angel Gabriel.

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But We Can’t Afford That

Credit: Harold/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Harold/Flickr/Creative Commons

A few days ago, a young woman who lives near me overdosed on Fentanyl. Her family drove her to a hospital and I think someone did CPR during the ride. She almost died, but the hospital staff were able to save her.

Something bothered me about that story, and then I noticed that they drove her in the family car; they didn’t call an ambulance. I don’t know the family but I guess they can’t afford a five-hundred-dollar ambulance ride every time their addict overdoses.

Transporting critically ill patients in a private vehicle is something we should never do; the ambulance crew might save a life before arriving at the hospital. But that ride has a cost, the whole system costs millions, with dispatchers, EMTs, vehicles and equipment, and sometimes helicopters. And life-threatening problems like drug addiction are becoming epidemics.

And another story; I keep the tickets from McDonald’s coffee cups. Where I live, each cup has a peel-and-stick ticket and a detachable card. Seven tickets will buy one cup of coffee. I don’t need anything free from McDonald’s, but I collect them diligently. We have dumpster divers in my neighborhood, people who search garbage bins for anything of value. When I see one of them, I give them a card for a cup of coffee. They always thank me.

Yesterday a man across the alley gave some cans for recycling to one of the homeless garbage pickers, redeemable for a few dollars, so I walked over and gave the homeless man a coffee ticket. He thanked us both, and I remember clearly that he seemed so normal.

Most of us are not wired to be alone, we need family and friends to help us manage; a church family can be a good thing. I would be in big trouble if I had to manage every part of my life alone.

I am saying this because it is obvious that most poor and homeless people have problems with self management, and this is made worse with drugs and alcohol, mental illness and other health problems, poor sanitation, lack of job skills, and the list can go on. We can easily dismiss them as hopelessly ill. Somehow, the homeless man in the alley fell through the cracks, but he looked like someone’s brother.

On the other side, success is expensive these days. Houses and apartments are amazing compared to the shabby boxes when I was a boy, but they are only for people with good jobs.

A trendy condo complex near me needed stucco repairs, and every owner got a bill for $40,000, and that was not negotiable. Between homeless and shining success is a huge gap and more and more of us survive in that gap.

I was in a small town recently and I drove by a campground. I looked around because I couldn’t imagine tourists camping in that town. Those residents looked like homeless and unemployed people, and the campground is really a shanty town. Cities like Los Angeles have huge numbers of camping homeless people, and the numbers are growing.

Refugees and migrants are flooding into wealthier countries with dreams of a better life, but they are learning that success is not available for everyone in those golden lands.

We are in a crisis, and most of us don’t know it yet. The secular god of this world is disappointing us again.

We used to take these words seriously:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. (Psalm 121)

More and more of us are living in a world where we need God’s help to live. I meet desperate unemployed people often, and I can’t explain how my life has worked. OK, I explain, but they don’t always accept what I say. When I trust God, things work out somehow., and that keeps happening.

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13: 5 and 6)

How far is far enough?

Ritsumazijl, Frise, Netherlands Credit: Hindrik Sijens/Flickr/Creative Commons

Ritsumazijl, Frise, Netherlands Credit: Hindrik Sijens/Flickr/Creative Commons

[by Keith Hazell] “Don’t go too far dear.”  These were frequent words that I heard from Mother when I was growing up. Usually, it was a warning that there was an unmarked perimeter that I should not pass.

However, once on a beach in the UK during the Second World War, the warning was to remind me not to go under the barbed wire onto the sand where land-mines were buried.

Thus to hear such a warning, is to realize that going beyond certain limits where things appear ok, can actually put us in mortal danger.

One of the currents going through the church to-day questions the value and purpose of church as we have known it in the past. It is said that the church has no relevance and its meetings are no longer a place where believers can actively and meaningfully interact and express the life of Christ.

There is a legitimate need to get back to a simpler form of Christian Life and to re-discover the lifestyle and benefits of a closer and more intimate community. Not only because of the fact that we live in a disconnected society, but also because the Church has been moving away from the clear principles of Christian Community, and its prime call to evangelism.

We have in fact, been promoting a brand of Christianity that does not carry the authenticity of the Church that is described in the book of Acts.

The antidote we are being told is a total revolution and forsaking of any form of what passes now for church life, and public worship, these being regarded as merely a form which has totally lost its reality and impact.

In the reading of many books and listening to various of those who have made their choice of what some call “Plain Church” or “Organic Church” or “Simple Church”. (These are but three of a multitude of names by which these new expressions of Christian Worship and Community are known.)

I have seen a danger that somehow we may pass certain points without realizing the peril that goes with them.

In the eyes of some, meeting in Starbucks with another individual and talking briefly about a scripture, constitutes “having church” Yet others are equally sure that stopping and leaving your automobile for a few minutes and speaking with a Christian friend also constitutes the expected experience of fellowship.

Both of these are virtuous and good things for Christians to do but surely do not constitute and example true New Testament Church Life.

How far must we go in our search for authenticity in the Christian Life? Is it possible our journey will take us under the wire and into a minefield?

A few years back, when facing the controversy concerning the Florida Outpouring there was a nagging feeling in my own spirit, that in seeking a manifestation of the supernatural many were totally ignoring or not even looking for Scriptural signposts to give them guidance.

As a result millions landed up in a quagmire of disillusionment and despair. Sad to say many young and devout believers saw this as a personal let down and forsook any “usual manifestation of church life”

The outcome of this and other painful events occurring in the lives of leaders of mega Charismatic churches, with terminated marriages and immoral conduct, financial impropriety, and exploitation of members, is that there is an exodus going on from church on Sunday morning in an unprecedented way.

A Second World War movie “A Bridge too far” demonstrates what happens when an armed force goes outside or beyond there intended destination. The result of this incursion was death and destruction on an unprecedented style at the time

In the present atmosphere in the Church in general do we have to be a little more careful in our search for authenticity and relevance so that we don’t find ourselves “beyond the wire” “in a minefield” “without any biblical signposts”?

There was an incidence in Paul’s life when he encountered a major storm on board a ship that looked doomed to sink in the savage winds and waves.

In such circumstances one of the things that they began to do was to unload the vessel of some of its more expensive but less needful cargo. In the midst of this Paul was able to stand up and offer some stability at a time when “valuable things” were being thrown overboard to attempt to save the ship.

We are in a season of savage storm (Paul had pre-knowledge of the storm, as many of us also have known) the concern of the sailors and the captain was the saving of the ship!

Some would have been quite happy to kill the human cargo if it guaranteed the saving of the ship. As in the days of Jonah, when they ship was more important.

Gods cry through Paul was this “You cannot save the ship, but not a soul will be lost”

The prime concern of our day should not be preserving “The ship” being in this context, the church as we have always known it. Our prime concern should be that not a single soul is lost in the process of dealing with change and renewal in our churches.

After Paul’s crew made it ashore, they saw considerable signs and wonders since they were now in a whole different mode than on the ship during the storm.

What a joy for sailors and prisoners alike to discover they still had a purposeful future! Maybe some of us today can rejoice that we are no longer “human cargo” or simply “sailors on the ship” but have a place in God’s Kingdom and destiny still to pursue.

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Copyright Keith Hazell Used by permission

Keith Hazell, now deceased, travelled internationally as a prophet and teaching ministry. For more than 35 years he travelled amongst the nations demonstrating the Prophetic and teaching and raising up new generation prophets.

Gird your loins with truth

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

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

In Ephesians 6:10-17, the Apostle Paul talks about the need for Christians to put on their spiritual armour.

He starts off this passage by stating we need to be strong in the “strength of His might.” Our strength doesn’t rest in our own natural ability, but in how connected we are with God’s strength. The reason for this is because our true enemy is not “flesh and blood” but spiritual: “world forces of this darkness” and “spiritual forces of wickedness.”

This connection with God’s strength to resist the satanic realm lies in our spiritual armour.

Intriguingly, Paul lists the loin armour as the believer’s first piece of equipment, which he likens to ‘truth:’

14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth (Ephesians 6:14 NASV)

The loin armour or girdle was constructed of plating, metal or leather, and fit around the hips protecting the soldier on every side.

Because it was designed to keep the upper body armour in place, it was considered the foundational piece in the Roman armour.

What kind of truth would function as the girdle?

Perhaps the clearest example of what Paul was talking about is seen in Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, where our Lord engaged in hand to hand combat with satan himself.

At the tale-end of a forty-day fast, the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1). Satan, recognizing that  the Lord was weak and tired, moved in for what he believed would be an easy kill.

Satan aggressively challenged Jesus saying (Matthew 4:3), “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

At this point, the devil questioned the very identity of the Lord. If you are the Son of God, the devil screamed, prove it, show me your power.

Then again in v 6, satan challenged Jesus to prove His Sonship by throwing Himself off the temple to see if the angels would catch Him. Obviously, Jesus was being bombarded with these accusations about His Sonship. It was a subtle and strategic move on satan’s part, as he cunningly tried to define the battlefield.

It was a trick that Christians have fallen for throughout the centuries. If you are a Christian, do something, show the world. Satan wants us to define our Christianity by what we do.

But look at Christ’s answer to that challenge. He said (Mathew 4:4), “It is written, man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

What was Christ talking about here?

The answer to that question is simple. When was the last time the Father had spoken to His son and what did God say?

In the Mathew account, the answer is found just four verses earlier. Incredibly it is located in the previous chapter and I have awarded this passage the bronze medal for the third worst chapter-break in the Bible. Because clearly in Mathew’s mind this encounter with satan is directly linked to Jesus’ baptism, which records the last time the Heavenly Father had spoken to His Son.

The chapter break, however, seems to rip apart any possible connection between these two incidents.

As Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended on Him and the Father said:

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17 NASV)

Jesus’ answer was profound. Because at this point, the Lord was saying who I am is not based on what I do, but rather on who God says I am. Satan said prove you are the Son of God by what you do. Jesus answered him, I am the Son of God, because Jehovah said I am.

Satan was desperately trying to get Jesus on the merry-go-round of having to prove who you are by what you do. Once you get on that ride, you never get off. No matter what you do, it’s never good enough.

Even in the Garden of Eden, satan was able to start Eve onto her spiral into sin by having her question God’s word. “Indeed,” satan whispered in her ear, “has God said, you shall not eat from any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1 NASV).

To fight satan, we must choose to believe who God says we are?

You are a child of God (Romans 8:14), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).  This is what the word of God says you are and this is is the foundational piece of the armour of God – and it is firmly in place as we choose to believe the truth of God’s Word.

Doubt this and the loin armour, the foundational piece comes undone, and your amor simply falls away.

Craftsmen in Captivity

Credit: schmuu/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: schmuu/Flickr/Creative Commons

Coveting Works for Gain

History records that craftsmen, artists and musicians have been consistently targeted by their enemies.  They are often taken into captivity since those who carry a Babylonian spirit desire to make merchandise of their creative gifts. Multiple stories of coveting works for gain are documented repeatedly throughout the Bible.

“Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, That he may set his nest on high, That he may be delivered from the power of disaster!” (Habakkuk 2:9)

They Only Want to Worship

Moses was called to bring deliverance to his people the Israelites, who were slaves to Pharaoh (Exodus 5).  Pharaoh became furious when he discovered the Israelites wanted to go into the desert and sacrifice to the most High God.  Ever consider that it was a Jewish workforce who helped build the Egyptian Pyramids?

Today that Egyptian spirit still runs rampant. Have you wondered why anointed musicians and artists who only want to exalt the most high God are targeted in our modern age?  It all has to do with Worship!

Even as the Egyptians didn’t want to lose the productivity of Jews in Moses’ day, so the Egyptian thinking of modern man fears there will be loss of income if worshipers take time to sacrifice.

Babylonian Captivity

King Nebuchadnezzar realized that craftsmen could be useful in the building of Babylon. When it came to taking prisoners of war, craftsmen were considered in the same category as Judah’s army.


“Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths.  None remained except the poorest people of the land”. (II Kings 24:14)

Prophet to the Craftsman

Ezekiel was  taken into captivity at the same time the Babylonians took the craftsman from Jerusalem. Gifted in the areas of music, art and drama  it is probable that the Babylonian Army Captains were unaware the young artist-priest in their midst was actually a prophet called of the LORD.

Ezekiel’s writings begin in Tel-abib at the river Chebar, on a Euphrates canal near Nippur, where archives of a great business house have been discovered.  There Ezekiel was anointed to be a ‘sign’ and ‘prophet’ of the Most High God to the craftsmen held in captivity.

He communicated with song, musical instruments, sculpture, pottery and baked bread in attempt to put God’s warnings across. But when his fellow Jewish craftsmen rejected the word of the LORD, Ezekiel remained mute and used mime to speak prophetically.

The great Apostle Paul as a tentmaker was also a craftsman. “So, because he (Paul) was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers” (Acts 18:3)

Paul too, understood what it was like to abound and abase. “I know how to be abased, and I now how to abound…” (Phil 4:12a).

Modern Day Taskmasters

Artists today face modern day taskmasters and can be kept in captivity in different ways:

  • Debt. It takes deep concentration to remain creative when one is encumbered with debt.“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).
  • Exhaustion. It is hard to be creative when you are exhausted from serving others. Work with the Holy Spirit to find a balance in your life. Learn to enter into HIS rest and let creativity flow from the river of God.“For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10)
  • Mammon. Serving Mammon rather than the Master causes people to take on artistic jobs just to make money. Now there is nothing wrong with earning your livelihood from your craft but if an artist prostitutes their gift, it is a sin.“No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24)
  • Praise of Man. Wanting the praise of man can bring many distractions and we will find ourselves worshiping the creature and not the creator.“..and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man…” (Romans 1:23a)
  • New Age. While ever developing creative works are sometimes erroneously classified as ‘new age’, Christian artists must be alert not to become deceived and influenced by “doctrines of demons” (I Tim. 4:1b).

Guard Your Heart

Artists need to guard their hearts so they do not become enslaved by:

  • Bitterness.  Since most artists are sensitive in nature, there is a tendency to become bitter when misunderstood by those with different giftings.“Looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15)
  • Discontentment. When an artist has given his/her life to Christ, it can be difficult to be ‘content’ when creative doors are slammed shut.“…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:” (Phil 4:11)
  • Envy. It can be difficult to watch other artists succeed in creative ventures when it feels like you’ve been shelved.”For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there”. (James 3:16)
  • Comparisons. Since all gifts are given by our Heavenly Father, it is foolish to compare ones own creative works to that of others.“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves.  But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor. 10:12).

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Visit Myrna’s website: www.ideationentertainment.ca/

Does this find confirm 1 Kings 21:1?

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

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

Dr Norma Franklin made a remarkable discovery in the Jezreel Valley. The valley is located in a large, fertile plain in Northern Israel, just south of Nazareth. It has been an important agricultural area in Israel for centuries.

In 2012, using a LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanner that is able to see beneath the surface of the earth, Franklin discovered several ancient wine presses including one that is now considered the largest wine-press ever found in Israel. This one was actually found on a side of a hill carved into the bedrock and was about 12 metres square (36 feet).

As well, Franklin’s team discovered several (100) bottle-shaped pits that were probably used to store wine.

In addition to discoveries related to the wine industry, the scanner also picked out several olive presses.

Though it was difficult to determine the date of these finds, Franklin said the construction style is similar to those built in 300 BC. This would fall into the era of King Ahab and his wicked wife Queen Jezebel.

So what Biblical significance do these finds have?

These findings confirmed an incident that took place during the reign of King Ahab:

21 Now it came about after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden because it is close beside my house, and I will give you a better vineyard than it in its place; if you like, I will give you the price of it in money.” (1 Kings 21:1-2 NASV)

According to the Biblical account, Naboth owned a vineyard in Jezreel near the palace of King Ahab. The king began to covet this vineyard and tried to swing a deal to buy it.

However, Naboth refused saying this vineyard was the inheritance given by the Lord to his family at the dividing of the promised land and could not give up the Lord’s inheritance.

Ahab went into a big pout over this refusal and when Jezebel found out, she found false witnesses, corrupted the judges and elders, accused Naboth of blasphemy and had him stoned allowing Ahab to seize the vineyard.

In an interview with Breaking Israel News, Franklin stated that though she hasn’t found any evidence of a farmer named Naboth her discovery shows that during Ahab’s reign, Jezreel was a popular area for vineyards.

And the size of the winepress and storage areas suggest it was a hive of economic activity and obviously the better producing vineyards, like Naboth’s, would have been coveted.

However, it is interesting that Ahab wanted to convert Naboth’s vineyard into a vegetable garden.

Of course, this makes a person wonder why he would do that?

Some suggest that Ahab was actually lying about his intentions for the land. The value of the land lay in its ability to produce wine and the fact that Ahab was willing to pay top dollar for it suggests he was hiding his true intentions for the land.

Because the vineyard was located near his palace, Ahab may have wanted the land for a major building project. Of course, he would undoubtedly need more land and if other nearby farmers became aware of this project it would drive up the price of the land all around the palace.

So you lie about your intentions.

Even today major corporations making a play for land try to hide their intentions other sellers will not jack up the price.

39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab and all that he did and the ivory house which he built and all the cities which he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? (1 Kings 22:39 NASV)

Sources:

Cancer healing challenges doctors in Northern Ireland

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

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

In 2004, doctors diagnosed Sharyn Mackay of Newcastle, Co Down in Northern Ireland with a cancerous tumour on her kidney.

Sharyn and her husband William, who at the time was a Methodist pastor, have four children. After taking a biopsy of the cancer, Sharyn’s surgeon from Craigavon Area Hospital sent a sample to specialists at Harvard University because her form of cancer was very rare.

She told the Belfast Telegraph:

“They said it was spindle cell sarcoma which is normally bone cancer. I was one of only 10 known cases where it had become a kidney tumour.”

Sharyn Mackay YouTube capture

Sharyn Mackay YouTube capture

In an interview with Stuart Chalmers posted on YouTube, Sharyn said after hearing about her cancer many people in the four churches her husband pastored started praying for her.

But at that point, Sharyn said her confidence was in the doctors who were treating her.

However, that quickly changed when further tests showed the cancer had spread to her lungs. Her doctor said the cancer was terminal. Since chemotherapy and surgery could not cure it, they were not going to treat her.

They gave her only weeks to live and sent Sharyn home to die.

With this devastating news, Sharyn realized she could not trust medicine to heal her. In the interview with Chalmers, Sharyn said:

“At that point, I began to think about does God heal today and more importantly does He want to heal me.”

Her youngest child was only six at the time and Sharyn desperately wanted to see her children grow up.

She and her husband turned to the Bible to see what it had to say about healing. They focussed particularly on Isaiah 53 where it says that Jesus not only went to the cross to forgive our sins but for our healing as well:

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NASV)

After studying this passage, Sharyn and her husband started believing God for her healing. However, when others in the church heard about the terminal diagnosis, many wondered if she was clinging to a false hope.

But a small group stood with Sharyn and her husband and chose to pray for her healing. They had heard of miracles in Africa, and though they had not seen one themselves, they believed God could heal someone in Northern Ireland.

In April 2004, Sharyn’s doctor sent her for another scan to get a better idea of how long she had to live.

The night before the scan, Sharyn told the Telegraph that she wrote in her journal, “Thank you God for healing me. I know I will get clear results tomorrow.”

When she consulted the doctor after the scan, Sharyn noticed he had a smile on his face. She was uncertain what to think, because he hadn’t smiled at her for months.

After Sharyn asked when she was going to die, the doctor said he didn’t know, because the cancer had disappeared. He pulled out her x-rays and showed the before and after images.

Sharyn told the Belfast Telegraph:

“Four radiographers studied the scans and none of them could quite believe it. The tumours had gone and I was told to leave the hospital and live a full life. The cancer has never come back and I have never felt better.”

Jesus had completely healed her.

But this miracle was so defying medical science that doctors have tried to explain it by suggesting Sharyn’s immune system had somehow played a role in her spontaneous and miraculous healing.

When this happens, you know a miracle definitely caught their attention.

YouTube interview with Sharyn Mackay, Part 1:

Part 2:

 

Sources:

Surgery cancelled after tumours miraculously healed

Sheffield England, home to a divine healing. Credit: Ben Ponsford/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sheffield England, home to a divine healing. Credit: Ben Ponsford/Flickr/Creative Commons

Ken Gorman of Sheffield, England was scheduled for surgery in early July.

According to an article on Assist News, Ken noticed a lump on his face in May 2013 that was starting to cause him pain. At first, doctors prescribed pain medication, but as the lump continued to grow and the pain with it, doctors eventually sent Ken for an MRI at Rotherham General Hospital in South Yorkshire, England.

That test revealed that part of a main nerve in Ken’s face was now encircled by three tumours. The doctors immediately scheduled surgery in July this year.

However, things took a dramatic turn after Ken and his wife Annie heard about a healing rally being held by evangelist Nathan Morris at Hull City Hall in Hull, England. With Ken’s surgery still weeks away and his pain getting worse, they decided to attend the service.

But there was a problem. Because of limited capacity, the meeting required pre-booking to attend and no tickets were available.

Annie decided to drive her husband to the meeting even though they didn’t have tickets. But after asking for help via Twitter, they were able to track down two tickets in the third row of the healing service.

Ken Gorman, Assist News

Ken Gorman, Assist News

After receiving prayer at the meeting the couple returned home. Within a couple of days they noticed the swelling on Ken’s face was going down. By the tenth day, the swelling and the pain was gone.

But Ken was still scheduled for surgery,

After he phoned the hospital and explained what happened, the hospital postponed the surgery but scheduled an appointment for Ken with the surgeon.

Ken said the surgeon and nurses were speechless when tests showed the three tumours were now gone. Ken was able to testify that Jesus had healed him and had hospital tests to prove it.

It saddens me when I hear of people refusing to go to a doctor because they are believing God for healing.

This past June police charged a Oregon couple in the death of their daughter. Their newly born twin daughter died because they would not take her to hospital after she started having breathing problems shortly after a home birth.

She would eventually die a few hours later. The US News article said the couple attended a church that believed in divine healing and allegedly “shuns traditional medicine.”

I have even had sincere Christians tell me that going to a doctor after prayer shows a lack of faith.

Yet that is exactly what Jesus did when He told one leper to go to that culture’s equivalent of a doctor after prayer for healing:

And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus *said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” (Matthew 8:2-4 NASV)

In fact, Jesus did this several times. We see references to it in other healings (Luke 5:14; Luke 17:14).

In the Old Testament, the priests functioned as doctors determining if people were healed of skin conditions. People who had leprosy were removed from the camp (a form of quarantine). They were only allowed to return after a priest checked them over to make sure they were cleansed of the disease (Leviticus 14:2-5).

Jesus did not consider it a lack of faith to go and encouraged the lepers to do it as a “testimony” to the priests. We need to pray for the sick. But no where does the Bible tell us to shun medicine as an act of faith while doing it.

Sources:

Moving in time with heaven

Credit: Suzy Hazelwood/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Suzy Hazelwood/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Holy Spirit will  give very specific words to me at times – words that I do not normally use in everyday conversation.  I love it when He does this, as it always sends me on a Kingdom treasure hunt.

A week ago, Holy Spirit brought the word RECALIBRATE to me in a dream, and I believe He is revealing to us His work within the Body of Christ at this time. 

To RECALIBRATE means, basically to CALIBRATE AGAIN.  Here are some definitions I’d like to share with you to deepen your understanding:

Calibrate:  to adjust precisely for a particular function; to measure precisely, especially against a standard (merriam-webster.com).

Additionally, here are some definitions of the word RECALIBRATE:

Recalibrate:  to calibrate something again, or differently. (google.ca).  To make small changes to an instrument so that it measures accurately; to change the way you do or think about something (dictionary.cambridge.org).

Many of God’s people are experiencing a season of transition at this time, or are otherwise recognizing that there is a shift in the Spirit.  I believe we are in a time of RECALIBRATION as the Lord aligns us with heaven. 

What do I mean by this??

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew Chapter 6, He instructed them to pray to the Father that His Kingdom would come and that His will would be done on earth, as it is in heaven (v. 10).  What Jesus has taught us to pray is for the Kingdom of our Father to manifest in the earth.  

A few months ago, Holy Spirit had brought the word SYNCHRONIZE to me in another dream.  Here is the definition:

Synchronize – cause to occur or operate at the same time or rate (google.ca).

To cause to go on, move, operate, work, etc., at the same rate and exactly together (dictionary.com).  To cause (things) to agree in time or to make (things) happen at the same time and speed (merriam-webster.com).

Interestingly, the word SYNCHRONIZE has to do with time, and I believe that right now, the Lord is causing a RECALIBRATION in His Body, in order for us to SYNCHRONIZE with heaven. 

I’ve read many prophetic words recently online using the words “align”, or “alignment”, but I absolutely love the word SYNCHRONIZE as it speaks of moving with Him, in time. 

The RECALIBRATION that Holy Spirit is causing within the Body of Christ is an adjustment to the Body (not unlike a person’s natural body perhaps requiring a chiropractic adjustment from time to time) in order to align us – or SYNCHRONIZE us, with His workings in the earth right now! 

He is empowering us to move into the new things that He is doing right now so that we can do the will of our Father in heaven, just as Jesus did!!   

 

Prophetic word delivered at Harvest City in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada on Sunday, July 9, 2017

Is the church actually the continuation of Israel?

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

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

It’s an age-old question. Is the church the continuation of Israel or something completely new that God started after Israel failed to fulfill God’s will? The church under this latter scenario is God’s second choice, an afterthought.

To bring some perspective on this I was intrigued by an article on Breaking Israel News about a sermon recently preached by a famous Hasidic Jewish Rabbi Alon Anava. He was speaking at the 23rd anniversary of the death of another renown orthodox Rabbi, Menachem Schneerson.

In his sermon Anava spoke of the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Though the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, orthodox Jews still believe in a promised Messiah.

In fact, many believe signs suggest that the Jewish Messiah will be revealed very soon.

But Anaya said in order for the Messiah to come, the Jews must first preach the Torah to the gentiles:

“You know what is missing? The nations of the world. Now all we need to do is involve a couple billion people from the other nations to be part of the redemption.”

He then referred to a verse out of Isaiah that showed the nations were to come into Israel as God extended His salvation to gentiles around the world:

He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6 NASV)

Though Anaya was looking at this as a yet unfulfilled future event, has this already happened?

Shortly after the Holy Spirit fell on the Day of Pentecost  (Acts 2) dramatically impacting the early Jewish church, the Holy Spirit fell again on the gentiles.

Peter who was instrumental in this second outpouring was totally shocked that the Holy Spirit would minister to the gentiles in the same way as the Jews.

45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. (Acts 10:45 NASV)

This quickly became a major controversy in the early church. How were they to handle these new gentile converts?

Some believed the gentiles had to become Jews first (get circumcised) before becoming Christians. Others were not so sure.

They held a conference in Jerusalem to discuss what was becoming a very thorny issue. The crowning moment was when James stood up and shared a verse out of Amos.

Quoting this verse James said:

After these things I will return,
And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’
18 Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago. (Acts 15:16-18)

It was at this moment the early church realized that the gentiles coming into the kingdom of God had been prophesied in the Old Testament.

If the promised coming of the gentiles into Israel was being fulfilled in the Church, what does this mean?

Obviously, it meant that Jesus is the Messiah and the church is Israel.

This is why Stephen refers to Israel under Moses as the “church in the wilderness”Acts 7:38 and why Paul refers to the Church as the Israel of God Galatians 6:16.

Sources:

La agonía del rechazo

Despreciado y abandonado por los hombres

English Version: The agony of rejection

Un estudio realizado en 2003 por investigadores de la Universidad de California y publicado en la revista Science reveló rechazo tiene el mismo impacto en el cerebro como el dolor físico.

Los científicos crearon un programa informático que simula una pelota de juego que lanza entre un participante en vivo y dos simulaciones por ordenador.

Los 13 sujetos de prueba (cuatro hombres y nueve mujeres) fueron conectados a una resonancia magnética y se les invita a jugar el juego. Se les dijo a los otros dos jugadores (operados por el ordenador) estaban efectivamente controlada por personas vivas.

La simulación por ordenador involucrado un simple juego de capturas entre los tres jugadores. La resonancia magnética rastreado las respuestas del cerebro durante el juego.

Inicialmente, el equipo siguió el juego, pero cuando el sujeto había atrapó el balón siete veces, el equipo ignora el sujeto vivo y sólo lanzó la pelota hacia atrás y adelante entre las animaciones. Sin embargo, los sujetos de prueba creían que estaban siendo ignoradas deliberadamente por los participantes en el juego en vivo.

A medida que avanzaba el juego en la parte de rechazo, las imágenes por resonancia magnética observaron una mayor actividad en la corteza cingulada anterior del sujeto de prueba (ACC). Esta es el área del cerebro activa cuando una persona se encuentra con el dolor físico.

La exploración también mostró una correlación directa entre el nivel de angustia que sienten los sujetos de prueba y la cantidad de actividad en el ACC.

El CAC dispara una alarma en esencia lo que el cuerpo se alejará de situaciones peligrosas, tales como un quemador caliente. Claramente, el CAC se desencadena campanas de alarma sobre el rechazo de los jugadores estaban experimentando.

Los científicos concluyeron el dolor del rechazo es tan real como el dolor físico.

A partir de este ganamos una mejor comprensión del sufrimiento de Cristo gráficamente retratado en Isaías 53. Además del sufrimiento físico, nos llama la atención referencias al rechazo de Jesús experimentó en los versículos 2 y 3:

Creció delante de El como renuevo tierno[a],
Como raíz de tierra seca.
No tiene aspecto hermoso ni majestad
Para que Lo miremos,
Ni apariencia para que Lo deseemos.
Fue despreciado y desechado de los hombres,
Varón de dolores y experimentado en aflicción[b];
Y como uno de quien los hombres esconden el rostro,
Fue despreciado, y no Lo estimamos. (Isaías 53: 2-3 NBLH)

El rechazo de la niñez

Verso 2 ofrece una perspectiva sobre el rechazo Jesús sufrió en la infancia, que se hace referencia en la frase “Creció en su presencia como vástago tierno.” Sin embargo, la frase “raíz de tierra seca”, agregó puede sugerir una vida de la pobreza – en el otro lado de las vías.

Incluso casa de la infancia de Jesús, Nazaret, tenía un estigma negativo que se le atribuye. Cuando Felipe le dijo a Natanael acerca de Jesús, se pregunta si algo bueno puede salir de Nazaret ( Juan 1:46 ), obviamente, una creencia común de la época. Algunos sugieren que cuando la gente se refiere al Señor como “Jesús de Nazaret”, que pretendían como insulto ( Lucas 18:37 ).

Sin embargo, Isaías ofrece una descripción más clara de la infancia de Jesús, cuando el profeta dice: ‘Él; no hay señorial’ o apariencia ‘que debemos ser atraídos a él.’

En todas las escuelas hay la multitud “fresco” y ciertamente Nazaret no fue diferente. Había algo en los chicos populares que atrajeron a la gente. Puede haber sido su notoriedad en el deporte, su comportamiento fresco, su dinero o su buen aspecto.

Jesús no era parte del grupo de “fresco”. Sospecho Su gran interés en las cosas de Dios, incluso a la edad de 12 años, probablemente como resultado de la burla en lugar de elogios de sus compañeros ( Lucas 2: 39-47 ).

Hebreos 5: 8 resume estos primeros años, cuando dice: “Y aunque era Hijo, aprendió obediencia por lo que padeció.”

Despreciado

En el verso 3, el rechazo siguió a Jesús hasta la edad adulta. Leemos que fue despreciado, que significa “concede poco valor, infravaloración.”

La misma palabra hebrea se usa en Génesis 25:34, donde se nos dice que Esaú despreció su primogenitura y de nuevo en 1 Samuel 17:42, cuando Goliat David despreciado.

En la vida de Jesús hubo subestimación de su potencial. Nadie creyó que llegaría a nada. La gente de Nazaret, donde Jesús creció, se burló de la idea de que Jesús era algo significativo cuando comenzó su ministerio ( Mateo 13: 53-57  ).

Ellos lo etiquetan como un hijo de un carpintero y sus mentes Él nunca llegará a nada más. Algunos incluso fueron ofendidos por su éxito ( Mateo 13:57 ). Se ofendieron porque Jesús no encajaba con la etiqueta de “fracaso” se habían unido a él. En el anuario de la escuela, había otros que se consideren más probabilidades de éxito.

Jesús fue despreciado por las personas que viven en un pueblo despreciado. Él fue el más bajo de lo bajo.

Desechado entre los hombres

En el versículo 3, tenemos la tercera referencia al rechazo. Él fue “desechado entre los hombres”. La palabra difiere de despreciado ya que implica valor bajo o de casta baja. La palabra tiene incluso la idea de ser menos que humanos.

A lo largo de la historia las personas han sido maltratados, porque se pensaba que eran menos que humanos, los Judios y los eslavos bajo el nazismo, los negros en los EE.UU. y los cristianos asirios bajo los turcos.

En su comentario, Keil y Delitzsch que la palabra “hombres” que se utiliza en este verso se traduce con mayor precisión “señores” y creen que esto se refiere al rechazo de Jesús experimentó los líderes de su época.

Jesús fue claramente despreciado por los que tienen autoridad y, a veces sus humillaciones eran menos sutil. Fueron los escribas que acusaron a Jesús de estar poseído por el demonio ( Marcos 3: 22-30 ). En un momento dado, los escribas y fariseos Puede que incluso han inferido Jesús era un bastardo ( Juan 8:41 ). Su acusación ante la multitud estaba claro. ¿Cómo pudo Jesús ser un líder religioso con este tipo de linaje?

Este rechazo se expresa claramente en Marcos 8:31, “Y comenzó a enseñarles que el Hijo del hombre tiene que padecer mucho y ser rechazado por los ancianos, los principales sacerdotes y los escribas, y ser muerto, y después de tres días resucitar.”

Ocultó su cara

El último rechazo se observó en la última mitad del versículo 3, donde dice “Y como uno de quien los hombres ocultaron su rostro.” Significa exactamente lo que dice.

Hemos sido todo en situaciones en las que el comportamiento de una persona nos avergonzado. Lo sentimos mucho por ellos e incluso pueden sentirse incómodos a su alrededor.

Jesús tenía un estigma similar conectado a él. En Marcos 3:21 , miembros de su familia extendida trataron de detener a creer que Jesús había perdido la razón. Al final, probablemente fuera de la vergüenza y la presión de sus amigos, su madre y sus hermanos llegaron a Jesús, queriendo entrar en razón a él (vv 31-35).

A veces, los hermanos de Jesús eran tan avergonzado cuando se detuvo por visitar, trataron de estafar a Cristo en salir con el pretexto de que necesitaba estar a cabo la realización de milagros ( Juan 7: 3-5 ). Cuando usted entiende que no creían en Él ( 5 V ), es obvio que estaban diciendo esto de una manera burlona.

Al final, la muerte de Cristo en la cruz fue en última instancia, un acto de rechazo. En la víspera de la Pascua, los romanos liberados tradicionalmente un prisionero judío. Cuando Pilato ofreció a la multitud la opción de Jesús o Barrabás, que clamaban por Barrabás, un asesino conocido (Mateo 27:16).

El rechazo es una de las experiencias emocionales más hirientes y humillantes que podemos pasar. Sin embargo, Jesús vino a sanar de las heridas profundas unidos al rechazo.

El primer paso en el proceso de curación se encuentra en las palabras de Jesús en la cruz: “Señor perdónalos; porque no saben lo que hacen”(Lucas 23:34).

Del mismo modo debemos perdonar a los que nos rechazó.

Fuente:

Sanar nuestro rechazo

"Nambia

English Version: Healing our rejection

Usando una resonancia magnética, los investigadores universitarios descubrieron que el dolor emocional asociado con el rechazo es tan real como el dolor físico.

En 2011, el grupo liderado por el profesor asociado de la Universidad de Michigan, Ethan Kross, estudió a 40 personas que recientemente habían pasado por una ruptura romántica en los seis meses anteriores. Todos los participantes elegidos mencionaron haber sentido sentimientos intensos de rechazo debido al final de la relación.

Las 40 personas fueron sometidas a dos pruebas relacionadas con el dolor emocional que sentían por el rechazo y el otro dolor físico real.

En la primera prueba, los sujetos del estudio vieron una imagen de su ex y se les pidió que pensaran en la ruptura. En la segunda etapa, los dispositivos térmicos se unieron a sus brazos que crearon calor el equivalente de café caliente.

Cuando las 40 personas pasaron por estas y otras pruebas comparativas, los investigadores monitorearon su actividad cerebral usando MRIs.

Los investigadores descubrieron que los sentimientos de rechazo provocaban actividad neuronal en la misma área del cerebro donde la gente sentía dolor físico. En otras palabras, la angustia emocional es tan real como el dolor físico.

Hablando en nombre del grupo, Kross dijo:

“Descubrimos que poderosamente inducen sentimientos de rechazo social que activan regiones del cerebro que están involucradas en sensaciones de dolor físico”.

Experimentamos el rechazo de muchas maneras y éstos pueden tener un impacto serio en nuestro bienestar. Podría ser el trauma emocional asociado con el divorcio o simplemente ser pasado por alto para una promoción.

Podría ser el rechazo de compañeros de trabajo o compañeros de clase de la escuela o incluso creyendo que sus padres favorecieron a otro hermano sobre usted. El rechazo podría ser décadas de edad, pero todavía puede tener un asimiento en usted.

Y Dios está muy preocupado por sanarnos del dolor emocional asociado con estos episodios de rechazo.

En Mateo leemos:

16 Y al atardecer, Le trajeron muchos endemoniados; y expulsó a los espíritus con Su palabra, y sanó a todos los que estaban enfermos, 17 para que se cumpliera lo que fue dicho por medio del profeta Isaías cuando dijo: “El tomo nuestras flaquezas y llevo[a] nuestras enfermedades.” (Mateo 8:16-17 NBLH)

Es un verso inusual porque el versículo separa dos tipos de enfermedades “enfermedades” y “enfermedades”. La palabra griega para enfermedades ‘nosous’ es la palabra típicamente usada para describir enfermedad o enfermedad.

Sin embargo, la “enfermedad” (astheneia griega) describe algo diferente. Se refiere a las “debilidades” y puede describir las debilidades asociadas con una discapacidad física (Lucas 13: 11-12), pero la palabra también se refiere a la timidez, la falta de confianza o el miedo en situaciones sociales.

El apóstol Pablo usó la palabra para describir su temor – inseguridad o falta de confianza – acerca de su visita a la iglesia de Corinto:

Estuve entre ustedes con debilidad y con temor y mucho temblor, y mi mensaje (mi palabra) y mi predicación no fueron con palabras persuasivas de sabiduría, sino con demostración del Espíritu y de poder, (1 Corintios 2: 3-4 NBLH)

¿Por qué estaban allí esos temores? Simplemente el apóstol temía el rechazo.

Note cómo dice en Mateo que Jesús tomó nuestras debilidades. La palabra significa recibir o quitar y para que esto suceda, tenemos que dar nuestra debilidad a Cristo.

Cómo hacemos esto?

Les damos a Jesús perdonando a los que nos rechazaron.

Fuente:

How strong is God’s love for you?

Credit: LJ Mears/Flickr/Creative Commons

God’s love is as powerful as lightning. Credit: LJ Mears/Flickr/Creative Commons

What picture would help us grasp the magnitude of this love?

There is a verse in the Song of Solomon that describes the love between the bride and bridegroom — a picture of the love relationship between Jesus and His Church, the people of God.

“Set me like a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as hard and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame (the very flame of the Lord)! (Song of Solomon 8:6)

It provides several metaphors revealing God’s unquenchable love for us: the seal, death, fire and jealousy.

The Seal

In Biblical times, the seal was a stamp of ownership and authenticity put on an object.

In the Song of Solomon, the Shulamite woman is asking her lover to put this stamp of ownership on her heart so she can be completely and only his.

Brown’s Bible Commentary describes it this way:

“She was ‘leaning’ on Him, that is, her arm in His arm her head on his bosom, so she prays now that before they part, her impression may be engraven both on His heart and his arm.”

This was symbolic of the seal he either wore around his neck with a cord that had her likeness on it or the ring seal worn on his finger. They were a continual reminder of his love and ownership of her.

Jesus has placed his stamp/seal of ownership on us.  We are on his heart and in his sight always!

As strong as death

The second metaphor was death. No one is able to escape the grasp of death, nothing can stop it from happening, so similarly we cannot escape the grasp of God’s love.

God’s love is spoken of as cruel, unyielding and hard, like the grave that will not let go of those whom it holds.

Nothing can escape the powerful and supernatural hold of His love on our lives.

It’s a tenacious, unbreakable love!

As powerful as the storm

In this verse, God’s love is also said to be like ‘ flashes of fire, a most vehement flame’ referring to the flame of the Lord (Hebrew: shalhebheth yah).  This flame is cherished by God towards His Church/His people. It is a flame of supernatural power that is nurtured and  continually rekindled by God.

God’s love is likened to the fury of a storm. The lightning and thunder represent His voice and the demonstration of His attentive love for us.

A jealous love

The bridegroom’s love for his bride was a jealous, protective kind of love.

Jealous love is zealous, relentless and protective against anything that would come between the bride and bridegroom (Christ and his Church/His people).

We may go through the waters of trials, testing and even persecutions in this life but we are reassured that these waves cannot quench God’s love for His people.

This is our greatest challenge as a Christian:  to fully understand the tenacious and unwavering love God has for us.

“Who shall  separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? (Romans 8:35)

Ducks weren’t created to act this way

Mallard ducks Credit: Laura Gooch/Flickr/Creative Commons

Mallard ducks Credit: Laura Gooch/Flickr/Creative Commons

My wife and I were driving down a road in Northern Saskatchewan a few days ago when I noticed a kerfuffle on the highway in front of us involving several birds, one of which was a crow.

They were obviously fighting.

As our vehicle approached, the crow suddenly took off with the other birds in pursuit. In the crow’s beak I could see another bird struggling to get free. I suspect it was a chick of the birds now chasing the crow.

The crow had probably dropped the chick on the road and had swooped down to grab it again.

I have no idea how this all ended as the birds disappeared over the ditch and into the forest that crowded the highway. But I suspect it did not go well for the chick.

It reminded me of another story reported by the BBC. It was based on a report by Zoologist Silviu Petrovan of the University of Cambridge who was researching behaviour of mallard ducks on a lake in Romania.

It was a typical day in mallard land on July 17, 2016. The ducks including adults and young were swimming in the water and occasionally bobbing for bugs and vegetation or foraging on land.

But that dramatically changed when an adult female appeared out of the tall grass along the shore with a young wagtail in her beak. Wagtails are small colourful songbirds that usually live near water. They constantly wag their tail feathers hence the name.

She proceeded into the water and dunked the wagtail several times under the surface. When younger mallards zoned in on the adult female attempting to grab the wagtail, she chased them off.

The adult female struggled as she swallowed the wagtail whole. Because of how quickly this happened, Petrovan noted that it was obviously not the first time the mallard had done this.

Later when another small species of bird, a young redstart, landed in the water after being flushed off land by mallards along the shore, it was pursued by up to five young ducks. They repeatedly attacked the black redstart and it eventually disappeared under the water. Petrovan presumed a duck consumed it as well.

It appears the mallards lacking enough protein from their natural food sources were resorting to more drastic measures to survive. They became carnivores.

This was not how God wanted the world to function.

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet saw a future world, much different than what we experience today:

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them. (Isaiah 11:6 NASV)

God did not create animals to prey on each other. But these stories show what happens in the animal kingdom in desperate times.

When man fell into sin, God not only cursed man, He cursed the earth as well:

Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; (Genesis 3:17b-18a NASV)

Life would become a struggle, there would be drought, famine, cold and heat.

This would not only affect man, but according to Paul all creation. As man struggled to survive so would animals and many permanently resorted to other forms of nutrition when things became difficult.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (Romans 8:20-22 NASV)

Sources:

Help, I can’t get promoted!

Credit: Alpha/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Alpha/Flickr/Creative Commons

For part of my career I worked in a large university. I also trained to be a Christian minister but jobs were just not available in churches, so I taught in a university. I was promoted to be the coordinator of the department, like a vice-principal in a school for adults.

This promotion was a surprise to me, and I was supposed to be interim; our Director was going to quit and someone had to hold things together until the new Director arrived. When he finally came, he needed people like me, so he extended my tenure as coordinator.

That’s when my friends started hating me and senior managers started looking at me as a liability instead of an asset. They needed to save money and I was a cost, and my friends wanted my job.

On the success side, I schemed and politicked my way into a large window office, in a place where most of us worked in cubicles, with no outside light. I am ashamed to tell you that now. God never instructed me to be taller by standing on other people.

Looking back, I don’t understand me. I became a driven workaholic and I proved to everyone that I could not be replaced. After several years of “success” I was called to a meeting and accused of things I had not done, and fired.

It was easy to prove my innocence, and I appealed and got my job back, but the lawyer for the staff association advised me to take a buyout and leave. I left with the money and three people were hired to replace me, and in time they were all fired.

I found a new job with some good people and stayed there for more years.

The university Dean who signed off when I and the others were fired was later fired herself. I was one of the people called in to testify as someone built a case to fire a tenured Dean. In a university, that is impossible, but they did it.

Now I don’t understand why I did any of that.

I made about as much money as a long-haul truck driver, or a welder and I had no peace. I don’t feel good about the part of my life when I was promoted, and I have a heavy feeling in my stomach as I write this.

The aggressive career climbing attitude in the world is completely wrong. Career ladders are an invention to keep us in low-paying jobs, and a lot of experts agree on that: The invention of the career ladder.

Now I remember that I made a radical decision to follow Jesus, and I turned away from the things that made me miserable. It makes no sense that I would later use the same tools to make other people unhappy, in my climb to the top. Following Jesus is a radical decision.

Centuries ago, one of the best careers was Tax Collector; with lots of money and status.

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.” (Matthew 9: 9) Note that Matthew wrote about himself.

If anyone wants my advice, I now recommend several vocational skill sets, like a lawyer-accountant, or like Paul in the Bible, the tent maker and preacher. If you lose the ability to make a living in one way, go to one of the others; vocational training is everywhere. Find your satisfaction in the good things God has given you, like family and friends. And find God and do good things for that corporation, like Matthew.

If you are searching for success, I hope that you will find a good life, and some career success, but there is no future in lying to ourselves about career climbing.

I knew the rules when I was promoted, and they are still clear:

… having the same attitude, sharing the same love, being united in spirit, and keeping one purpose in mind. Do not act out of selfish ambition or conceit, but with humility think of others as being better than yourselves. Do not be concerned about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others. (Philippians 2: 2 to 4)

Your helmet of salvation

Roman helmet Credit: Paul Morriss/Flickr/Creative Commons

Roman helmet Credit: Paul Morriss/Flickr/Creative Commons

In Apostle Paul’s description of the spiritual armor that Christians need to wear found in Ephesians 6:10-17, he refers to the helmet of salvation.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17 NASV)

It is generally believed that Paul wrote Ephesians around 62 AD as he sat in a Roman jail waiting his execution. His Roman guards were undoubtedly the models for this passage.

The Roman helmet was made of leather and usually covered with brass. Many times it was crowned with a plume or some type of ornament. The purpose of the helmet was to protect the head from blows from a war club or sword.

Obviously, believers are required to wear such protection because Satan, like soldiers of old, went for the head for the telling blow. But he doesn’t attack it physically, rather he attacks us mentally.

As Paul sat in his dark jail can you imagine the thoughts that were running through his mind. Had he made a huge mistake going to Rome? There would be darts of fear on what was going to happen to him. Satan was undoubtedly bombarding Paul with thoughts that God had abandoned him.

Paul’s mind was under siege with doubts and questions.

In Romans 12:1,2, the Apostle Paul addresses this issue of our mind but in a slightly different way. He says that believers are “transformed by the renewing of our mind.”

That word transformed is the Greek word “metamorphou.” It is the word from which the English word metamorphosis was derived. This word was chosen because it most aptly describes the process of transformation when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

First the caterpillar spins a cocoon and then in this safety of this container, the insect dissolves and the mixture of enzymes reform into a new creature – a butterfly. The two insects are so different they can no longer eat the same thing because its digestive system has completely changed.

Paul says that the Christian is to undergo the same transformation. Unfortunately, we can’t spend a few days in a cocoon, we go through this transformation on the job.

But Paul does tell us that radical transformation takes place as our mind is ‘renewed.’ This happens as we choose to believe what God says about us in His Word, instead of the way we have thought about ourselves, over for years.

We have to change the way we think.

For years, I hated myself. I called myself an idiot and often said it out loud when I did something dumb or stupid.

But is this what God says about us? No.

God says we are his adopted children, a royal priesthood, the righteous child of God.
Consequently, we must willfully choose to believe our new identity in Christ. This may be one of the most difficult things you ever do.

So often, these feelings we have about ourselves are like crutches that we have used over the years to support and define our identity. Sometimes, this former way of thinking is so extreme that it feels good when we brow beat ourselves.

When the Holy Spirit tries to change the way we think, it can be very fearful time as God rips away our security blankets.

I vividly remember the deep struggle that I went through to change my thinking process. One incident, in particular, jumps out.

At that time I was working on a magazine, and one particular issue ended up with a typo on the cover. You can put up with a typo just about anywhere else but there.

When someone pointed out the mistake, the overwhelming urge came on me, as it had so often in the past, to call myself stupid and an idiot.

Yes, I had made a dumb mistake, but that didn’t make me stupid. However, that wasn’t good enough, quickly I was overwhelmed by an urge to punish myself for what I had done. I desperately wanted to tell myself how stupid I was.

At that moment I faced one of the greatest struggles in my life. I desperately wanted to turn on myself as I had done for nearly thirty years. But the Holy Spirit was there as well. He came along side me and urged me to confess who I was in Christ. I have never been so fearful in all my life, because God was changing my identity.

The Holy Spirit wanted me to put on the helmet of salvation.

I remember sitting in my car in the work parking lot, wrestling with the overwhelming urges and thoughts flooding into my mind. Finally after what seemed like hours, I refused to punish myself in this matter and instead I confessed who I really was in Christ.

That day something broke in my life. This is not to say that I never struggled with these same feelings after that day, but this was a watershed moment as I started the transforming process choosing to conform myself to the image God has of me.

The helmet is there to save us from ourselves and the lies of Satan as we choose to believe what God says about us.

Coat of Many Colors

Jacob's sons show their father Joseph's cloak telling their father Joseph was killed by a wild animal Credit: Wikipedia Painting by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)

Jacob’s sons show their father Joseph’s cloak along with the story Joseph was killed by a wild animal. Credit: Wikipedia, Painting by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)

We live in a world that often obsesses about the latest fashion trend.  Models and actors display top designers’ latest creations in magazines, fashion shows, movies, television and other multi-media venues. A culture of image-making has emerged causing a mass identity crisis for youth and adults alike.

How tragic it is when an individual is shunned because of the clothes they are wearing, yet this happens multiple times a day.

While most of our garments are bought on a rack at a local shop, the mass production of clothing is a more recent phenomena.  At one time, all clothing was made by hand and tailored to fit an individual’s frame.

Sewing and designing clothes was a skill passed down from generation to generation. Mothers were concerned that their children wore garments suited to their local climate and lovingly designed clothes which fit the environment.

Proverbs 31 gives a detailed description of a virtuous woman who is known by her many good deeds and creative works.  This includes making garments for her household and her community. Her fashion statement is as one being clothed in ‘strength and honor’ who designs garments for her whole household as well, articles which can be sold in the open marketplace.

“She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. .. She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants” (Proverbs 31: 21, 24).

The First Clothing Designer

When the first man Adam and his wife Eve disobeyed God’s word, they tried to cover up their sin by sewing together some leaves. Basically, one could say that they grabbed the first thing they saw, fig leaves, and pulled them together to hide their shame.

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” (Genesis 3:7).

Our glorious God had a better and more adequate design in mind.  He who had designed mankind and all creation  knew that fig leaves would be totally inadequate for the natural elements outside the Garden of Eden. In His grace and mercy, our Heavenly Father looked after his household and presented Adam and Eve with new longer and warmer garments.

“Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).

What a prophetic picture of our God’s loving kindness in clothing us with the garments of salvation and covering us with His robe (tunic) of righteousness (see Isaiah 61:10).

Hand-made with Love

Like the deeds of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, the act of the Almighty God in tailoring new clothes for His children is a statement of love.  This is no ‘off-the-rack’ rag made in mass quantities but one that uniquely made to fit the child. When a garment is designed with ‘love’ in mind, all who observe it will recognize its’ handcrafted beauty.

The handiwork of Hannah in making her son Samuel, a new coat every year is another prophetic picture of our Heavenly Father’s care for us. As seasons change and we grow into that ‘new man in Christ’, He loving provides us with new garments when we have outgrown the old.

“Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice” (I Samuel 2: 18).

Coat of Many Colors

The Biblical story of Joseph and his ‘coat of many colors’ is so highly recognized that artists have for many generations recreated this event through paintings, children’s story-books, movies and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical,”Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”.

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age.  Also he made him a tunic of many colors.  But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.  Now Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.” (Genesis 37:3-5).

This scripture indicates that Israel (Jacob), expressed his great love for his favorite son Joseph by making him a ‘coat of many colors’.  This unique gift was made by a Father who clearly chose  the design, the colors and the time to present it to the son. Presented at the time Joseph was only a teenager this definitely made a ‘statement’ to his older brothers.

Even country-singer Dolly Parton penned a “Coat of Many Colors” song which told of a mother’s love in making a coat from rags for her daughter.  This song won multiple music awards and was re-recorded by several top entertainers. Perhaps it was the message of a parent’s love which touched the human soul and made it a popular tune in many nations.

A Coat For Royalty

The Hebrew translation for coat of many colors is ‘kethoneth passim’. Kethoneth’ means a tunic or coat. ‘Passim’ can be translated as colorful, fine woolen, embroidered, with pictures or striped.

It can also mean that the garment was full-length and long sleeved.  ‘Kethoneth passim’ was a royal garment which was meant to symbolize Joseph’s stature.  Israel’s (Jacob’s) intent was that Joseph should take Reuben’s place as the leader of his brothers and receive the double blessing of the first-born.

In II Samuel, the thirteenth chapter, we are given the story behind the rape of Princess Tamara, one of King David’s daughters. Immediately after the incident, she went mourning the loss of her virginity and “tore her robe of many colors”.

“Now she had on a robe of many colors, for the King’s virgin daughters wore such apparel.  And his servant put her out and bolted the door behind her.  Then Tamara put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly” (II Samuel 13: 18-19).

Psalm 45 is often depicted as a song of love from the Messiah. The Bride of Christ is depicted as one as royalty dressed in glorious raiment.

“The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; Her clothing is woven with gold.  She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors” (Psalm 45: 13-14a NKJV).

Designed for Diversity

Joseph’s ‘coat of many colors’ indicates a diversity of many things over many facets which is an anointing of multiplication.  It is not coincidental that Joseph received this coat after showing obedience to his father, nor that he received prophetic dreams which had implications for the nations.

Today there are people like Joseph who have been received an anointing of increase and have been prepared to preserve life.  These are the faithful ones who have learned obedience through the things they have suffered.  Like Joseph, they will be used by God in this generation to transfer great storehouses of power and wealth.

______________________
Visit Myrna’s website: www.ideationentertainment.ca/

 

Is the world building for a revival?

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

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

Amid news of the Chinese government’s crack down on Christianity, reports are also circulating of the remarkable growth taking place in the Chinese church. Of course, with the government being so tight-lipped it is impossible to verify the accuracy of these accounts.

It is also difficult to know how many Christians there are in China. In 2010, the Chinese government officially said it had 23 million Christians. However, that only included those attending the legally sanctioned church — the one run by the Communist government.

When you include the underground church, the numbers would obviously be higher.  A 2010 survey conducted by Dr. Yanga Fenggang of Purdue University put the total number of Christians closer to 33 million (30 million protestants, 3 million Catholics).

However based on a 2011 survey,  Pew Forum estimated the number of Christians at 67 million. If this number is right, the underground church is nearly twice as large as the officially sanctioned church.

Curiously, a recent Global Trends (GT) survey of 23 countries in September-October 2016 uncovered evidence that may confirm the larger number.

In its survey, GT asked a number of questions including asking people their response to the following spiritual statement:

“I am interested in having a more spiritual dimension in my daily life.”

In China, 84% of the people surveyed said they were interested in more spirituality in their life. This in a country obsessed with pounding atheism down the throats of its people.

Though this response does not imply that these people are necessarily Christian, it nevertheless reveals a deep spiritual hunger in that country.

The following list breaks down people’s’ openness to more spirituality in their life (by selected country):

  • Indonesia 84% (open to more spirituality)
  • South Africa 84%
  • Peru 80%
  • India 79%
  • Brazil 75%
  • Mexico 74%
  • Turkey 71%
  • US 67%
  • Argentina 65%
  • Canada 51%
  • Japan 28% (the lowest)

GT also asked people to respond to the following statement:

“My religion/faith is very important to me.”

Note that they asked if it was “very” important.

Overall Global Trends said that there has been a growth in the number of people who consider their faith important to them. In 2016, 53% of the people said their faith was very important, up from 45% when asked the same question in 2014. This is a significant increase in just two years.

Remarkably this growth even showed up in most of the 11 European countries that were surveyed — Turkey, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Great Britain, France and Spain.

European nations are typically the most secularized countries in the world.  But only Belgium did not show an increase. European countries where over 50% of the people said their faith was important to them included Italy, Russia, Poland and Turkey.

When asked if faith was important:

  • Turkey 77% said yes (up over 2014)
  • Poland 60% said yes (up over 2014)
  • Russia 58% said yes (up over 2014)
  • Italy 52% said yes (up over 2014)
  • Germany 38% said yes (up over 2014)
  • Spain 33% said yes (up over 2014)
  • France 30% said yes (up over 2014)
  • England 30% said yes (up over 2014)
  • Sweden 29% said yes (up over 2014)
  • Belgium 27% said yes (down over 2014)

As we study the end times, there are verses suggesting in the midst of the trials that will envelope the world many will also turn to Christ:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; (Revelation 7:9 NASV)

Sources:

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

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

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

A recent study has stunned the liberal world of sex education. When England announced it would cut funding to its sex education classes in 2010, activists and Liberals alike warned there would be a dramatic rise in unwanted pregnancies as a result.

However a recent study conducted by researchers David Paton (Nottingham University Business School) and Liam Wright (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield) said the exact opposite happened.

Teen pregnancies actually dropped after the cuts.

In their study reported in the Journal of Health Economics, the two researchers looked at the statistics of 149 municipalities between 2009 and 2014.

They discovered during this period where there were cuts to sex education that overall teen pregnancies dropped 42.6% and are now down to levels last seen in 1969.

Ironically, they also noted the biggest decreases took place in municipalities with the highest cuts.

The two stated in their report:

“Contrary to predictions made at the time of the cuts, panel data estimates show that expenditure cuts are associated with a small reductions in teen pregnancy rates.”

During the 1990s, Liberal activists in England hounded governments that sex education classes in schools would lower teen pregnancy rates. However, after implementation pregnancy rates actually skyrocketed in England and by 1999 the country had the highest teen pregnancy rates in all of Europe.

But the UK was not the only place that saw teen pregnancy rates fall when governments cut back sex education classes. The same thing took place in the US.

A similar study found that counties in Texas that cut funding to Planned Parenthood (PPH) operations that provide sex education classes for Texas schools (often starting in kindergarten) also saw their teen pregnancy rates drop dramatically.

The funding cuts resulted in the closing of PPH operations that are heavily dependent on government subsidies. Similar to England, the funding reductions started in 1999 and by 2006, 17 PPH facilities had been closed in the counties where the cuts took place.

According to statistics provided by Texas Department of State Health Services, in 1996, before the funding cuts, those counties had 43 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged 13-17. By 2010, which was two years after the last PPH facility was shuttered, there were only 24.1 pregnancies per 1,000 girls.

Those opposing early sex education have long argued these classes actually puts pressure and the expectation on young, emotionally immature teenagers to have sex. This results in increased rates of teen pregnancy and the statistics seem to back up these claims.

Sources:

The elevator ride

Guatemala City Credit: Carlos Reis/Flickr/Creative Commons

Guatemala City Credit: Carlos Reis/Flickr/Creative Commons

We were on an elevator at the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala City heading up to the fifth floor to pick up the visa that would allow us to bring our adopted son home to Canada.

We were passing the fourth floor when the elevator lurched and began to jerk downward. Our one year old son, who was in my arms, began to cry.

Then it stopped. We were stranded halfway between the 3rd and 4th floor.

The frantic pressing of buttons did not produce any movement. Our lawyer, a Christian woman, began to confidently and loudly pray in tongues.  We waited holding our breath. After what seemed like hours, but was only a few minutes, the elevator began to inch upwards to the fourth floor.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then there was another lurch. The elevator stopped and we began rapidly descending down. We watched the numbers flickering by as we passed the main floor to the basement.

It seemed we were descending much faster than we should be.

Just before we hit the basement floor the cables caught and the elevator started to slow down and stopped with another jolt.  The door opened, we were five feet feet above the ground level.  Our lawyer continued to pray in tongues until the elevator touched the basement floor.

We quickly exited the elevator into the darkened basement and decided it would be best to walk up to the fifth floor.

There were so many moments throughout the adoption process that kept us holding our breath. One moment things were full steam ahead and the next everything jolted to a stop.

We were kept waiting months for the final approval of the adoption. The Guatemalan paperwork had been completed, and the hold up was now at the Canadian embassy where the papers sat on someone’s desk.

During this period a close friend on a mission trip to Guatemala visited the orphanage and had a picture taken of him holding our son in his arms.

He told us not to lose hope and that things would work out. Seeing this picture when we felt that all was lost gave us renewed hope .

A month later we got a call from Guatemala telling us the paper work was done and we could fly down to pick up our son. At the end of the conversation, the person asked  my husband who he knew in the Canadian government.

We learned later that a co-worker of my husband’s with a personal connection had contacted Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs explaining our situation. The Minister’s office called the embassy asking them to take care of the matter immediately.

We were on our way!

We have so many memories and reminders of God’s faithfulness and interventions during this time.

My husband driving a small truck with just the two of us through Guatemala City to the orphanage that lay 30 miles outside the city.

Warnings to be watchful for bandits with guns along the way and not to drive after 5 o’clock ran through our minds.

The city and traffic was overwhelming.

Unbelievably, we found the turn-off to the orphanage 30 miles out and we were led into a room where all the children were worshipping with their eyes closed and hands raised.

It was an incredible sight.  The sincerity on their faces and their worshipful actions touched us deeply.

Then our one year old son was brought to us in the arms of his loving care givers.

Five days of bonding and wandering around the orphanage and interaction with the children was incredible.  I could see the longing in their eyes and that they wished they were being adopted, but sadly many could not be.

Our last day came and we said our good-byes to the loving group of men, woman and children who lived and served there.

We got into the truck with our son fast asleep between us. I remember how we looked at each other as we drove so grateful and happy that this was our son. We could hardly believe it.

There were many highs and lows during this whole process right from the beginning. Like the elevator one minute were moving forward and then events that would give us a jolt and set us back.

It was an adventure of faith we had not anticipated.

“This is what the Lord says – he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick” (Isaiah 43:16 -17)

Through the obstacles and difficult moments God made a way again and again eliminating obstacles and extinguishing our unbelief. The Lord used people and connections we didn’t know we needed to snuff out the problems we faced.

¿Otra confirmación del éxodo de los judíos de Egipto?

¿Más pruebas arqueológicas del Éxodo? Imagen Estatua de Moisés, Washington Park, Albany, Nueva York por Petedz / IW / CC BY-NC-SA

English version: Yet another confirmation of the Jews exodus out of Egypt

Cuando usted lee sobre la liberación de Israel de Egipto en el Libro del Éxodo, la Biblia registra el país sufriendo diez plagas significativas o juicios antes de que el faraón egipcio finalmente permitiera que los judíos se fueran. Las plagas fueron catastróficas y algunos han sugerido que algo de esta magnitud debería ser mencionado en los registros egipcios.

Y de hecho hay. Primero tenemos el papiro Leiden I 344 en exhibición en el Museo Nacional Holandés de Antigüedades en Leiden, Holanda. Presenta las plagas del Éxodo desde una perspectiva egipcia. Se refiere a seis de las plagas incluyendo el agua que se convierte en sangre y una oscuridad masiva en la tierra.

Sin embargo, todavía hay otro artefacto que apoya la cuenta de Éxodo. Las piedras rotas de la estela fueron descubiertas entre 1947 y 1951. Una estela es una losa vertical de roca utilizada para recordar o conmemorar acontecimientos significativos en la historia de una nación.

En su artículo, Prueba para el éxodo bíblico, Simcha Jacobavici escribe que esta estela de 1,8 metros fue descubierta en el Templo de Karnak ubicado en la antigua ciudad de Tebas. Los jeroglíficos de la losa fueron traducidos recientemente por dos profesores del Instituto Oriental de la Universidad de Chicago – Robert Ritner y Nadine Moeller.

Lo que encontraron fue interesante. Dijeron que la losa se refirió a una oscuridad masiva que ocurrió en el Alto y el Bajo Egipto durante el reinado del faraón Ahmosis. Era tan inusual que merecía su propia estela que marcaba el evento.

La oscuridad fue la novena plaga mencionada en el Libro del Éxodo:

21 Entonces el Señor dijo a Moisés: “Extiende tu mano hacia el cielo, para que haya tinieblas sobre la tierra de Egipto, tinieblas tales que puedan tocarse.” 22 Extendió Moisés su mano hacia el cielo, y hubo densas tinieblas en toda la tierra de Egipto por tres días. 23 No se veían unos a otros, nadie se levantó de su lugar por tres días, pero todos los Israelitas tenían luz en sus moradas. (Éxodo 10: 21-23 NBLH)

Observe cómo la oscuridad se describe como siendo tan gruesa que podría sentirse. Duró tres días y era tan oscuro que la gente no podía verse. Pero hubo una interesante excepción: los israelíes tenían luz en sus viviendas. Esto implicaba que los egipcios no lo hicieron.

Ahora de vuelta a la Estela.

Después de traducir los jeroglíficos, los autores dijeron que la Estela describió un período de oscuridad en Egipto, que era tan intenso que era imposible incluso ver personas de pie a tu lado. También dijo que la oscuridad era tan pesada que los egipcios no pudieron encender las antorchas. Ritner y Moeller decían: “no se podrían encender las antorchas en las dos tierras”.

La Estela difiere de la cuenta bíblica en que registra la oscuridad que dura siete días. El registro bíblico dice que una espesa oscuridad duró tres días durante los cuales nadie dejó sus hogares, pero puede haber habido un levantamiento gradual después del tercer día.

La Estela también se refiere a una tormenta masiva que afectó a Egipto que conectó con la oscuridad. La Estela observa que la tormenta fue tan severa que inundó los templos, literalmente los lavó. La muerte estaba por todas partes. Los cuerpos flotaban por el Nilo y agregaba que cada hogar estaba afectado por la muerte.

Esto puede ser referencias a dos de las otras plagas que afectaron a Egipto. En particular, el séptimo y el décimo sugieren que la Estela agrupó estos incidentes separados.

La séptima plaga involucró una lluvia de granizo y lluvia que mató a muchos.

23 Moisés extendió su vara hacia el cielo, y el Señor envió truenos y granizo, y cayó fuego sobre la tierra. El Señor hizo llover granizo sobre la tierra de Egipto. (Éxodo 9:23 NBLH)

La décima plaga, en la que Dios mató a los muertos el primogénito de Egipto, afirma específicamente que cada hogar estaba afectado:

29 Y a la medianoche, el Señor hirió a todo primogénito en la tierra de Egipto, desde el primogénito de Faraón que se sentaba sobre su trono, hasta el primogénito del cautivo que estaba en la cárcel, y todo primogénito del ganado. 30 Faraón se levantó en la noche, él con todos sus siervos y todos los Egipcios. Y se oyó un gran clamor en Egipto, porque no había hogar donde no hubiera alguien muerto. (Éxodo 12: 29-30 NBLH).

Pero quizás la declaración más significativa sobre la Estela es quién culpa por la catástrofe. La Estela habla de un “Dios” (singular) que era más poderoso que cualquiera de los dioses egipcios como la causa.

Y esta fue exactamente la intención de las plagas. Cuando Faraón se negó primero a permitir que los judíos se fueran, Moisés le advirtió:

10 “Mañana,” respondió Faraón. Entonces Moisés dijo: “Sea conforme a tu palabra para que sepas que no hay nadie como el Señor nuestro Dios. (Éxodo 8:10 NBLH)

¿Quién era el faraón Ahmosis?

El faraón Ahmosis era un faraón interesante. Fue él quien expulsó a los temidos Hyksos de Egipto, devolviendo el control a los egipcios. Los hicsos eran una tribu semítica, primos de los judíos, que habían conquistado Egipto alrededor de 1900 – 1800 AC. Tomaron el control del alto Egipto, llevando a la mayoría de los egipcios a la mitad inferior.

El papiro de Leiden que he mencionado anteriormente también dice que las plagas ocurrieron durante la época de los Hyksos.

Creo que el libro de Génesis provee evidencia clara de que José subió al poder durante el período de Hyksos. Siendo semíticos, ambos grupos compartían una lengua y una cultura similares que ayudaron a la aceptación de José. Por esta misma razón, los gobernantes de Hyksos permitieron que la familia de José se estableciera en Egipto, donde los judíos crecieron y prosperaron (Génesis 47:11).

En Éxodo 1: 8, leemos que un nuevo rey vino a Egipto, que no conocía a José. Éste era el Faraón Ahmose que expulsó a los Hicsos del Alto Egipto. Observe cómo dice, el nuevo rey subyugó a los judíos porque temía que se unieran al enemigo egipcio (los hicsos) si intentaban retomar a Egipto. Ahmose vio a los dos grupos étnicos – judíos y Hyksos – como aliados.

10  Procedamos, pues, astutamente con él, no sea que se multiplique y en caso de guerra[a], se una también con los que nos odian y pelee contra nosotros y se vaya[b] del país.” “(Éxodo 1: 8, 10 NBLH)

Ahmose oprimió a los judíos. Durante este tiempo, Dios levantó a Moisés para liberar a Israel. Desde el ascenso de Moisés al poder involucrado un número de años, sospecho que el Faraón del Éxodo no era Ahmose, sino más bien su hijo Amenhotep I. Es completamente posible Ahmose estaba todavía vivo, pero muy mayor y que Amenhotep yo era básicamente el hombre en Y el que Moisés trató.

El registro arqueológico dice que Amenhotep I murió sin hijos, su hijo había muerto como un bebé. Éxodo 12:29 registra que el primogénito del faraón fue asesinado.

Conclusión

Esta estela se conoce desde hace décadas. La conexión con las plagas bíblicas era obvia, pero los secularistas lo ignoraron como algo más que una metáfora de una inundación masiva que tuvo lugar en Egipto. Los cristianos lo ignoraron porque no encajaba con el tradicional que era el Faraón del Éxodo – Ramsés que vivió unos 300 años más tarde.

En su informe, los dos profesores creen que la estela retrata con precisión los acontecimientos que tuvieron lugar en Egipto – no fue una metáfora. Al quitar a Dios de la ecuación, atribuyen la oscuridad a una erupción volcánica masiva que tuvo lugar en la isla mediterránea de Thera. Sin embargo, aunque presentaron evidencia los dos eventos – el reinado de Ahmos y la erupción volcánica – sucedieron al mismo tiempo, la mayoría cree que están separados por cientos de años.

Tolerating Muslims

Credit: Andrea Volpini/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Andrea Volpini/Flickr/Creative Commons

Last Sunday, as I drove to church, I noticed police cars on the road ahead, with flashing lights. It looked like a big accident or a crime scene, but when I got to the site I saw people coming out of the Islamic Center.

Muslims celebrate Eid, at the end of the fasting time of Ramadan, and the police were managing traffic and providing security. With crowds of people and busy parking lots at an Islamic center, the police were being careful.

So, are we supposed to tolerate those people? They were mostly new immigrants and most wore ethnic costumes from the old country. And they certainly have values that are different from mine.

So, should we tolerate them? No, certainly not.

I am a Christian and I follow the example of someone who loved us so much He died for us. Barely tolerating my neighbor is wrong for me.

What I give out must be in the higher levels of kindness, at least; God’s love is the language of Christians. This is not even a discussion, the Bible is blunt and clear “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4: 8)

The world is such a terrible place that “tolerance” is the highest level of good behavior with Politically Correct thinking. I am a good man if I barely tolerate other people. Even the Bible moderates our love in this world “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

So, what about the elephant in the room, Islamic extremism and terrorism? The news is filled with stories of people who blow things up, crash airplanes into buildings and you can add to the list. And when it happens someone yells “Allahu Akbar.”

The problem is so extreme that experts have statistics “In 2015 four Islamic extremist groups were responsible for 74% of all deaths from terrorism.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_terrorism)

We can’t ignore that, and we can’t tolerate it. There are security experts and many Muslims who need to wrestle with that problem. And there is something else we need to know; every religion everywhere isolates its members from the outside world. Usually that means a conference, or a monastery, or a Bible college; but there is a sinister side to this.

Some leaders will try to make the world reject their followers. You can probably think of some Christian group that has a dress code or antisocial behavior, and you probably leave them alone. That is what you are supposed to do.

I am convinced that Muslims extremists want us to hate Muslims. They want to keep us away from their members.

Ignore that advice.

God is love, and God has great spiritual power, and God lives in every Christian. That is what I believe. If I hate them, God will have to go around me and find some other way to bless them.

I had some training in Las Vegas a few months ago. Picture a large conference room with round tables and a large video screen. One of my table mates was a man named Mohamed, and one morning I said “Hey Mohamed!” I remember a look of fear on his face as he hunched over, and then I said “Good morning, how are you doing?” Other people at the table joined in and asked about his wife and kids, and if he had phoned home last night. We do that to keep each other out of trouble in Vegas.

Mohamed sat up straight and smiled. His relief was easy to see; he knew we didn’t hate him.

Let me recommend a question you should ask a Muslim. The question is “Coffee or tea?” and you could follow with “Do you want a doughnut with that?” Feel free to modify the words to fit your lifestyle but don’t lose the love.

The words of Jesus have not faded:

“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 7 and 8)

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

Credit: kairoinfo4u/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: kairoinfo4u/Flickr/Creative Commons

It has always been a bit of a mystery as to the origin of the Egyptians. But based on history and DNA sampling of modern Egyptians most concluded that they came from Northern Africa.

However, this contradicts the Bible that declared that Egyptians descended from Mizraim, one of the son’s of Ham. The term Mizraim is actually translated Egypt by some translations (Genesis 10:6):

The sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. (Genesis 10:6 NASV)

The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. (Genesis 10:6 ESV)

It was Ham’s eldest Cush and his descendants who went on to settle what today is modern Africa.  We see a possible reference to their darker skin in the Prophet Jeremiah’s rhetorical question: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin?” (Jeremiah 13:23).  The Hebrew word translated Ethiopian is “kusi,” a Cushite.

But with the modern Egyptian DNA suggesting an African origin, it left the impression that the Bible was wrong.

However, that recently changed when geneticists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI) did DNA testing of ancient Egyptian mummies to determine their origin.

Because of Egypt’s hot weather and ancient Egyptian embalming practices, DNA testing of mummy skin and tissue has proved challenging. However, led by Johannes Kraus, MPI was able to derive 90 DNA samples after testing skull bones of 151 mummies dated from 1388 BCE to 426 CE.

They were stunned by what they found. According to Krause, these ancient Egyptians “have almost zero sub-Saharan African Ancestry.”

Ancient Egyptians were very much different from their modern counterparts.

Based on the DNA, Krause said ancient Egyptians were more closely related to east Asians and Europeans than to modern Egyptians. This would fit the Biblical description on the origins of the ancient Egyptians.

Krause suspects that the modern Egyptians gained their Sub-African DNA sometime after the Romans came to power.

Sources:

Turning up the heat

Credit: Vincent Van den Storme/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Vincent Van den Storme/Flickr/Creative Commons

The recent heat waves being experienced in the America Southwest and England may have an odd connection to a passage in the book of Revelation:

The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9 NASV)

This past week Arizona experienced some very hot weather, but it did not break the 122 degree heat record set in that US state on June 26, 1990. Nevertheless for three consecutive days (June 19-21), Phoenix, Arizona broke or equaled heat records for their city with temperatures of 118F, 119F and 116F respectively.

The high temperatures that reached into areas of California resulted in the National Weather Service issuing a warning about “heat-related illnesses.”

In the United Kingdom, they are experiencing some of the hottest weather in 40 years. Heathrow reached 34.5C (94F) this past week. But it was still below the 35.6C temperature set in Southhampton on June 27, 1976.

But this recent spat of hot weather has caught the media’s attention.

The English newspaper, The Guardian, reported on a study published in Nature Climate Change that stated nearly a third of the world’s population has the potential to be hit by “deadly heat waves.” The report published by researchers from the University of Hawaii added that the number of people affected by this heat could increase to 48% by the end of  the century.

These heat waves are being blamed on rising CO2 emissions. The Guardian writes:

“Nearly a third of the world’s population is now exposed to climatic conditions that produce deadly heatwaves, as the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere makes it ‘almost inevitable’ that vast areas of the planet will face rising fatalities from high temperatures, new research has found.”

But this is where it gets interesting. In his vision of the end time, the Apostle John said there was a different cause for the high temperatures. He saw an angel pouring a vial on the sun causing it to increase its heat and scorch the earth.

It was also clearly a judgment from God and John adds that despite the heat, people did not repent.

And today, we have a better understanding of why. Because, those in the media and government are blaming this heat on man-made global warming. Human activity is causing it, not the sun and from their perspective certainly not God.

I do not believe the recent heatwaves are the temperatures that John saw in his vision. It was hotter twenty years ago in Arizona and hotter 40 years ago in England.

I suspect the heat blast that John envisioned will shatter all records.

This scorching will take place at some future time. And in fact, for the past 20 years there has been no global warming. The temperature increase has stalled for now, despite record amounts of CO2 being poured into the atmosphere each year. This seems to sever any connection between CO2 and temperature.

Nevertheless, the stage is set to blame the heat on CO2 and man’s activity and because of this people will not respond.

Basically most in the media have chosen to ignore the 400 reports written over the past four years stating there is a direct link between global warming and sun activity.

But the impact of the heat John saw scorching the earth could be deadly.

The study reported in Nature Climate Change also looked at the deaths associated with heat exposure over the last couple decades. It cited the 20,000 people who died during the 2003 heat wave that hit Europe in 2003, the 10,000 who died during the 2010 heat wave in Moscow and the 700 that died during Chicago’s 1995 heat wave.

High humidity was a major cause of these increased fatalities. If the humidity is high, sweat that is used to cool the body will not evaporate resulting in a build up of heat inside the body. This results in heat toxicity that the report described as a “sunburn on the inside of your body.”

Sources:

You are who God says you are

How God sees us. Credit: Jeremy Brooks/Creative Commons

How God sees us. Credit: Jeremy Brooks/Creative Commons

[by Céline Giguère] Despite the turmoil in my life, this morning I woke up happy and praising God that I was alive and able to still serve Him.

I was content to be loved by my heavenly Father (daddy) while sipping my coffee and watching my favorite program on TV.

I caught the tail-end of a testimony of a young lady, who did not believe that she would succeed in life. Yet, after becoming a Christian, she graduated from Harvard and is now working toward a doctorate in Theology.

Like many before, her purpose in life was to declare that God did not exist. People like Frank Morrison (lawyer) and C. S. Lewis (philosopher and writer) and Voltaire (philosopher and writer) did not believe in God.

Among these, only the latter did not turn to God.  But on his death-bed, Voltaire admitted that he could not disprove God’s existence.

But for the woman, it was the understanding of how God saw her that broke and brought her to a place of rest and transformation in her soul.

Just like Gideon who met the angel at the wine-press as he worked in the middle of the night because he feared the enemies invading Israel. When the angel called this farmer to fight the invaders, Gideon tried to excuse himself because he was from a small Hebrew tribe, adding that his clan was the smallest of the tribe.  He was fearful of making any ripples in his life or his family or his clan.

Gideon did not believe his life was significant and that God had a purpose for him.

The angel paid no heed to what Gideon said about himself, instead the angel called him a mighty warrior of God.

“The angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, o valiant warrior:’ (Judges 6:12)

God declares who we are.  We have no say in the matter because it is the truth.

When we become born again, we are a new creature, with title deeds, power, and authority by and through His name over the physical and spiritual realms.

When we approach God as our Father, our soul responds wholeheartedly to His love and the words of encouragement that affirm His calling and purpose for our lives.

For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

We do not need to impress God, only do the works the Lord has prepared us to do.  We must look past our natural ability and be filled with God’s power and authority to accomplish them.

We are powerful beyond measure through Christ!

When we see ourselves the same way God sees us, we are free to pursue Him with abandonment and be transformed into the new creation He purposed for us from the beginning of time.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Not a mouse but a roaring lion is called to come out from your life. Not fearful, but steadfast in His love.  Just like Christ who walked this Earth in peace and yet was powerful and full of the Spirit.

The 20-year global warming pause?

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

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

A recent paper written by climate scientist Benjamin Santer has caused a stir among those entrenched in the man-made global warming camp and those who are not. In his paper published on Nature Geoscience, Santer, who believed in man-made global warming , stated that there has been no global warming for the past 18 years.

This is nothing short of heresy among global warming activists.

For several years skeptics have pointed out that satellite records reveal there has been no warming on earth for nearly two decades. If CO2 is the cause of global warming, this warming should not have stopped because the world continues to pour record amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

This pause suggests other natural forces must be affecting climate temperature.

Global warming activists were predictably outraged and those in skeptic camp shocked when Santer’s paper came out.

One climate scientist Roger A Pielke Sr tweeted “Wow!” when he read the news.

Santer, along with Carl Mears, manage the Remote Sensing satellite temperature data set. But in his paper not only did Santer agree that global warming has stopped, he even took a shot at the sacred cow of man-made global warmists — computer modelling.

Using computer software, global warming activists provide simulations predicting all the horrible things that will happen if we don’t reign in CO2 emissions. These scare tactics have been effectively used to convince politicians to reduce carbon emissions either through taxation or regulation.

But in his paper, Santer pointed out that in the face of rising CO2 emissions the computer models were wrong in predicting earth temperatures. If they made a mistake on this basic connection, what else are these computer simulations getting wrong?

In an earlier blog post written in 2016, Santer and Mears had actually criticized those who said there was a pause in Global warming. Today, Santer is basically retracting that statement and admitting there is a pause — global temperatures are not rising and have not risen for 18 years.

Does this mean Santer has become a skeptic, probably not, but he is at least accepting the facts.

Though activists want people to believe all climate scientists agree there is a man-made cause to global warming. This is simply not the case.

Everyone generally agrees that the world has gone through a warming phase, what they disagree on is the cause: is it man-made CO2 or natural?

Since 2014, over 400 papers have been written by climate scientists about the strong link between global temperatures and sun activity and some are even attributing the global warming pause to reduced sun spots.

In 2014, there were 93 papers written on this sun-temperature link. That increased to 133 papers in 2016 and so far this year, 80 papers have already been written supporting the connection between global temperatures and sun activity.

Sources:

 

 

A prayer walk

A month ago a few ladies from our Church gathered at Government House Gardens here in Regina, Saskatchewan for a prayer walk.

We usually gather once a month at a park, historical site or Government building to pray for our city, country and nation.

This year we decided to produce a video about our walk to show you what we do. It is our first video and it is not perfect. It is dark in spots and at other points our videoing could be better, but we hope to improve as we create more videos for our YouTube channel — Bashful & Bold.

It was a bright, sunny day. The flowers and bushes were just beginning to bloom.

We started to walk when we noticed a fragrance in the air and were drawn to the Cherry Blossom trees with their full pink blooms at the end of the lane.

We were reminded of the verse in  2 Corinthians about the aroma of Christ and prayed into this verse that the fragrance of Christ in us as believers would be pleasant and that people would be drawn to Christ through us.

15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; (2 Corinthians 2:15 NASV)

We walked along the pathways to a small garden with bright red tulips just beginning to bloom. The tulips reminded us of the blood of Christ shed for the sins of the world. We prayed that people would acknowledge the sacrifice of Christ and turn from their ways to Christ and salvation and that times of refreshing would come to our land (Acts 3:19-20).

We continued our walk around the beautiful grounds and were drawn to a peculiar looking shrub. It had dried fruit on top of bare thorny branches that stemmed from green foliage and tiny white blooms at the base.

This plant spoke to us how dry and unfruitful we can feel in the physical and natural realm at times and that the Holy Spirit can regenerate our spirit and produce fruit/flowers.

We moved on to the side of the building were the Maple Leaf Tulips were planted.  These tulips were designed for Canada’s 150th celebration.

The design on the tulips reminded us of the verse in Ezekiel 36:26 “I will remove the heart of stone and make it into a heart of flesh.” We prayed into this verse as well.

We didn’t know what to expect on our prayer walk.  Our intent was to pray and we were inspired by the beauty and works of God’s creation around us.

We walked and prayed around the grounds for about an hour.  Then, afterwards when we were done, per our custom we headed out to the nearest coffee shop.

Beware columns of smoke

The plume from the 2010 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Credit: Gunnlaugur por Briem/Flickr/Creative Commons

The plume from the 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Credit: Gunnlaugur por Briem/Flickr/Creative Commons

Last week was a bit worrying for those living in and around Yellowstone Park. Last Thursday, the area experienced a 4.4 earthquake. Earthquakes of that size can be felt, but rarely cause damage.

But it wasn’t the earthquake that caused concern, rather it was the 295 other earthquakes that took place in that region during that seven-day period — 60 on Friday alone (June 16, 2017).

We know Biblically that a rise in earth quakes will mark the end times, something that even Jesus referred to (Luke 21:11).

Though many are downplaying the danger associated with these earthquakes, others are not so sure. They are not so concerned about the earthquakes, as smaller earthquakes can be beneficial releasing pressure and helping prevent a larger quake.

But what is concerning is that a flurry of earthquakes could be sign of a bigger problem if they are occurring around a known volcano. It could be a warning of a looming volcanic eruption.

As magma builds beneath the surface, the resulting pressure can often cause smaller earthquakes.

This puts a different perspective on these 296 earthquakes, because Yellowstone sits on one of the world’s three known mega volcanoes – the other two being Mount Vesuvius in Italy and one near Mexico City.

If any of these super volcanoes exploded, the damage would be unprecedented and the resulting loss of life could number in the hundreds of thousands.

The mega volcano beneath Yellowstone is also larger than previously thought and its caldera is estimated to be the size of Mount Everest. If it ever went off, magma would rain down on people hundreds of miles away. Some say the ash could be upwards of ten feet thick for a 1,000 mile radius.

Though not widely publicized some believe a verse directed towards the end times actually warns of massive volcanic eruptions. I have read this verse for decades and never saw the connection:

“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)

Joel talks about columns of smoke that are iconic images of volcanoes. Notice also how the prophet refers to columns (plural). There will be more than one.

The 2010 volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland had an ash plume that was 9 km high. It disrupted air traffic as far away as Europe for about a week.

Joel also mentions the sun turning to darkness and this is another description that fits a volcanic explosion. When Mount Helena exploded in 1980, there was a haze over our community for several weeks after and we lived 1200 miles away. That eruption resulted in 57 deaths and it was nowhere near the size of a mega volcano.

When Indonesia’s Mount Tambora exploded in 1815, it killed an estimated 92,000 people. Based on descriptions from that time, its column of smoke was probably 43 kms high.

The ash associated with Tambora darkened the sun and affected crops for the next few years. In a report on volcanoes, Extreme Geohazards: Reducing the Disaster Risk and Increasing Resilience, the European Science Foundation described Tambora’s impact:

“[It] heavily impacted the harvest and led to famines and epidemics in several areas of the planet: the year 1816, following Tambora’s eruption, is recalled as ‘the year without summer,’ and generated abnormal temperatures in China, Europe and North America.”

In Luke 21:11, Jesus speaks of earthquakes, famines and disease associated with the end times. Could this be referring to the impact  of volcanoes?

In an interview with Fox News, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku said if the mega volcano beneath Yellowstone park erupted, it would “rip the guts out of the USA.” He went on to add that such an explosion is “overdue.”

Sources:

 

It All Begins with a Story

Credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Bible is a collection of 66 Books containing hundreds of stories.  It starts with, “In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1), and ends with John’s vision of Jesus declaring, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13).

These biblical stories record the history of mankind from Adam to Abraham and the birth of the nation of Israel.  It gives a chronicle of Israel from generation to generation.  It tells us of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, unto the early years of the church age.

The Bible contains prophesies, some fulfilled within the context of the entire Bible, some fulfilled the past 2,000 years since the New testament writings.  Still others of these Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled today and some will be fulfilled in the future.

More copies of the Bible has been sold or freely distributed than any other book in the world.  It is recognized world-wise as the greatest Book ever written.  It is the message of the God of the universe to the people of the earth.

Historically, stories have been preserved in various ways including:

  1. Story-Telling, where the Elders of a community verbally passed on their tales to the next generation.
  2. Cave Drawings, where the artists of the day used imagery in their drawings to relate and preserve stories of their era.
  3. Clay or Brick Tablets, where writers of the day preserved their history in language form

In order to fulfill our calling as creative artists pointing the world to Jesus, acts of worship and sacrifice unto the Lord are the necessary requirements.  As a believer truly submits oneself to the will of the Heavenly Father, the divine  nature in the spiritual realm will be released.

For new creative works to be anointed from on high, an artist must co-labor with Christ and willingly be used as a tool in the Master’s hand. It is only when an artist lays down his talents and puts his ego to death, that the Holy Spirit can resurrect them in a new bodily form.

Story-telling

In his first writing, the Apostle John immediately identified Jesus as the Word that has been since the Beginning.  The Apostle John connects the Beginning with the Word, with Life and with Light..

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name:
Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes   after me is preferred before me, for He was before me'”. (The Gospel of John 1:1-15).

Like John, the Baptist, we are to bear witness to the light and prefer Him before ourselves. We are to prefer Him above ourselves realizing He is the creative Word which brings life, light, glory, grace and truth.

The Apostle John continued the theme of Jesus Christ being the Word of life from the beginning of time and as one full of  joy and light (c.f. I John 1:1-7).

The definition of the “Word” used in the above scriptures is taken from the Greek word ‘Logos’ which translated means “something said”.  These implies Jesus Christ is the Word spoken by our Father God to create light and life.

It is interesting to note both Word and Light are used in the same scriptural context since both are wave vibrations in the scientific realm.  We can conclude that since the Word spoken creates sound-waves and the Light shining creates similar waves, that Jesus Christ is the fulness of all light and sound.

Therefore, those artists, writers and musicians who willingly submit their talents to the Lordship of Christ, can expect to create new works of magnificent proportions as they tap into His eternal creative powers.

Parables

Jesus spoke in Parables. A Parable is a placing of one thing beside another with a view to comparison.  The hearer must catch the analogy if he is to be instructed. This takes a three-fold process of  hearing and seeing to receive understanding.

“All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35).

According to Matthew’s recorded account, Jesus himself quoted from Psalm 78 and identified himself as one who would speak things which had been kept secret since the beginning of time.

Proverb

In the heading of the canonical Book of Proverbs, the general term ‘Proverbs’ is made to include, “A proverb mashal, and a figure (or, an interpretation, melitsah) the words (singular Dabhar) of the wise, and their dark sayings (or, riddles).

The ‘Proverb’ is either:

  1. A saying current among the people as in I Samuel 10:12, “…Therefore it became a proverb; “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
  2. A proverb of the ancients , “… says Wickedness proceeds from the wicked” (I Samuel 24:13)
  3. A sentence of ethical wisdom composed by the order of wise men..

Dark sayings

Dark Sayings is in short an allegorical sentence requiring interpretation.

“To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings”. (Proverbs 1:6).

Psalm 78 tells us a story of God’s provision and His wonderful works which are to be passed down from generation to generation.

“I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the   LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he has done” (78:2-4).

Both Prophets and Psalmist avail themselves to dark sayings. The Psalmist receives  dark sayings and sets them to music. To the prophet, the Word of the LORD  in  the form of a vision.

In the first chapter of Jeremiah, the Prophet has visions of the almond tree and a boiling pot.  The LORD gives him the interpretation in the form of a simile.  In Amos 7, the Prophet sees a plumbline.

To the perfect Prophet of the type of Moses, the revelation comes direct in the shape of the naked truth without the mediation of figures of speech or obscure utterances. Numbers 2: 6-8 tells us that the LORD speaks face to face with Moses.

In the same way, the Apostle Paul distinguished between the childish manner of speaking of things spiritual and the natural man.  “For now we see through a glass, (or in a mirror, in a riddle) darkly; but then face to face,”(I Cor. 13:12a).

Psalmists and Prophets were often instructed to document the dark sayings which came to them.  Jeremiah was told to write in a book (Jeremiah 30:2) and Habakkuk was told to write the vision (Hab. 2:2).

We have a responsibility to study the Word of God as contained in the Bible, communicate it’s stories to the next generation and prayerfully watch as His story unfolds with prophecies fulfilled.  For those gifted in writing, earnestly pursue your calling and allow the Holy Spirit to impart the mysteries of the kingdom.

______________________
Visit Myrna’s website: www.ideationentertainment.ca/

Under the wing of a prophet — schools of the prophets

St. George Monastery (Orthodox Church) was constructed at a cave thought to be the place where the Prophet Elijah hid after fleeing Jezebel. Credit: Catholic Church of England/Flickr/Creative Commons

St. George’s Monastery (Orthodox Church) was constructed at a cave thought to be the place where the Prophet Elijah hid after fleeing Jezebel. Credit: Catholic Church of England/Flickr/Creative Commons

A few years back, a person who functions in the prophetic told me how he moved into that ministry. A prophet was speaking at the church he attended and gave a prophetic word to the man stating he was called to the ministry of a prophet.

This senior prophet had also been invited to minister at another church in the same city, so he asked the young man to tag along.

He didn’t throw the young man into prophetic with the old sink or swim attitude. As the prophet ministered, he told the young man to sit, listen and try to discern a word for the people being prophesied over.

Later the prophet asked young man if he received words similar to what the prophet gave when he ministered to the people.

The young man said yes. This was the Holy Spirit training him to have confidence in the ministry God had given him.

I think the prophet Amos referred to this when he said: “The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8 NASV)

When Amos prophesied he was simply repeating what he heard from God. But note the interesting phrase at the end “Who can but prophesy?”

When God speaks from the spiritual realm the prophets will often hear the same message. Some may give it, some may not. If the word is for a particular person, the other prophets ministering  will often hear a similar word.

If God’s message has a broader perspective like a nation or the Christian body as a whole, a broader group of prophets will pick up it.

They will not have exactly the same wording, because it is filtered through their mind and emotions, but the message is the same. When you hear noted prophets from different regions of the country speaking a similar word, believers should take note.

A friend of mine ministers in presbytery. (This is when a group of prophets minister over people at a church.) When he started out, due to his nervousness, he allowed the other prophets to go first.

That quickly changed as he watched these prophets “stealing his word” and forcing him to come up with a different prophetic message. He now volunteers to go first, so those following are left in that predicament.

The school of the prophets

This mentoring process was standard practice in the Old Testament. We know that the prophet Elijah mentored Elisha (1 Kings 19:19-20). Some believe Elisha had a greater prophetic ministry than his mentor because of his double-portion anointing (2 Kings 2:9).

But there were also schools of the prophets. These were groups led by a senior prophet and consisted of people desiring training in the prophetic ministry and gifting.

We see schools or companies of prophets mentioned three times (1 Samuel 19:18-25; 2 Kings 2 and 2 Kings 4:38-44).

The first group, led by the Prophet Samuel, displayed a characteristic common to these schools. Because of the presence of a senior prophet there is a spirit of prophecy over the group that makes it easy for everyone in attendance to prophecy:

20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied. (1 Samuel 19:20 NASV)

This may also have been what Amos was referring to when he said, “Who can but prophesy.” When King Saul encountered this school, we are told that Saul fell under this prophetic anointing and began to prophesy (1 Samuel 19:23-24).

Saul’s encounter became a bit of a proverb in Israel — “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (verse 24). As we understand Saul’s spiritual downfall, I think the proverb meant if Saul can prophesy, then anyone can prophesy in these settings.

But just because people could prophesy in these group sessions, it did not necessarily mean that everyone in this group was called to a be a prophet or even had the gift of prophecy.

The big test was if these people could still prophecy when they were away from the prophetic schools?

The second reference found in 2 Kings 2, tells the story of several schools of prophets associated with Elijah. These prophetic schools were certainly maturing as we see one school delivering a message to Elisha that Elijah would soon be taken away from him (verse 3). A similar word came out of a second prophetic company working out of the city of Jericho (verse 5).

Though these schools were under Elijah, other prophets had sufficiently developed and were apparently leading their own groups.

These were probably not the only groups. In 1 Kings 19:14-18, Elijah under attack from Jezebel had fled to the wilderness and hid in a cave. When he complained that he was the only prophet in Israel who had not bowed his knee to Baal, God said here were 7,000 others who had not.

This large number suggests there were probably dozens of prophetic schools scattered throughout Israel.

My wife and I have been involved with two prophetic schools in different cities where people learned how to prophesy. At the first school we were involved in, people would literally travel hundreds of miles to get practiced on.

The church we now attend also has a school of the prophets and they also practice prophesying and sometimes it’s not on people directly. One of things they have done in the past is write a person’s name (often famous) on a piece of paper and lay it face down on the chair.

They then have people give words about that person without knowing who it is. At the end, they then turn the paper over and let everyone judge for themselves if they hit the mark or not.

We have lots of thoughts that come into our mind, but the words that the Holy Spirit gives are a different shade and we need to separate those from our regular brain chatter. These practice sessions help do that.

It also reveals if we have a prophetic gifting or not.

 

¿Un antiguo papiro habla de las plagas del Éxodo desde una perspectiva egipcia?

La salida de Israel de Egipto durante el éxodo por David Roberts 1828 / Wikipedia

Hay un antiguo papiro egipcio que algunos creen dice de las plagas que Dios envió a Egipto durante la liberación de Israel de esa tierra bajo Moisés.

Curiosamente, el antiguo documento no ha captado la atención de muchos cristianos simplemente porque no encaja en su calendario de quien fue el Faraón del Éxodo en realidad. La mayoría cree que el Éxodo ocurrió bajo Tutmosis III o Ramsés II, pero este documento lo pone mucho antes que estos faraones.

Pero encaja perfectamente con mi teoría de cuándo tuvo lugar el Éxodo y creo que este papiro, escrito desde la perspectiva egipcia, describe los días caóticos y las plagas asociadas con la liberación de Israel.

El documento oficialmente llamado Leiden I 344 está en exhibición en el Museo Nacional Holandés de Antigüedades en Leiden, Holanda. Fue descubierto en 1828, pero no fue traducido hasta 1909, cuando el profesor Alan Gardner descubrió que era un lamento hablando de un momento muy caótico en la historia de Egipto. Lo tituló Las Admoniciones de un Sabio Egipcio de un Papiro Hieratic.

Hablaba de desastres, muerte, fenómenos naturales misteriosos y hambre. Y extrañamente se dirigió a una transferencia masiva de riqueza de la muy rica de la sociedad egipcia a los más pobres.

Fue escrito por un hombre llamado Ipuwer que era un testigo real de lo que pasó. Mezcla lo histórico con los acontecimientos actuales y advirtió a los gobernantes actuales de Egipto de la retribución divina, como ocurrió antes, si abusaban de su poder.

Datación del papiro de Ipuwer

El papiro de Ipuwer (IP) está fechado en el período del Nuevo Reino de Egipto (siglos XVI al XI aC). En realidad es una copia de un papiro escrito años antes.

La mayoría cree que se refiere al período en que los hicsos conquistaron y controlaron la mitad norte de Egipto como el documento habla de la invasión de los asiáticos (alrededor del siglo 18 aC).

Al igual que Israel, los hicsos eran semitas. Creo que fue durante el reinado de Hyksos que José fue vendido como esclavo en Egipto.

Puesto que eran primos – lenguaje y cultura similares – explica por qué José pudo ascender a segundo en el mando en Egipto. Hay algunas referencias interesantes en Génesis que muestran claramente que los hicsos estaban a cargo cuando José estaba allí. Para una discusión más completa lea mi artículo: El misterio de la guardia egipcia.

Sospecho que los egipcios consideraban que los hicsos y los israelitas eran básicamente el mismo grupo de personas.

Cuando los egipcios fueron finalmente capaces de expulsar a los Hyksos, los israelíes permanecieron. La Biblia dice que había un nuevo rey en Egipto que no conocía a José. Con los egipcios ahora de nuevo en control, el Faraón se volvió contra los israelíes temiendo que se unirían con los hicsos, si trataban de retomar a Egipto (Éxodo 1: 8-10).

El faraón egipcio que retomó Egipto fue Amhose I (alrededor de 1500 AC). Sin embargo, debido a los varios años que pasaron (Moisés creciendo en Egipto, saliendo y volviendo), el éxodo de los israelíes no tuvo lugar bajo Amhose, pero su hijo Amenhotep I. El registro arqueológico muestra que aunque Amenhotep I murió sin hijos, Tuvo un hijo que murió como un niño (Éxodo 12: 30-32).

Hay una serie de elementos en el papiro Ipuwer que se refiere a la plaga de Éxodo. Utilicé una traducción proporcionada por el rabino Mordechai Becher de OHR Somayach una escuela judía de la Biblia.

Río de sangre (Primera plaga)

  1. Biblia: Éxodo 7:20 se refiere a Dios convirtiendo el agua del río Nilo en sangre y los egipcios siendo incapaces de beber el agua y obligados a cavar pozos en busca de agua limpia (Éxodo 7:24)
  2. Papiro Ipuwer: “El río es sangre. Los hombres se encojan de la prueba – los seres humanos, y sed de agua. “(Ipuwer 2:10)

Animales enfermos (Quinta plaga)

  1. Biblia: Éxodo 9:3 registra que Dios hirió al ganado ya todos los animales de Egipto con una enfermedad.
  2. Papiro Ipuwer: “Todos los animales, sus corazones lloran. Gato de ganado … “(Ipuwer 5: 5). Entonces en 9: 2-3 se lee, “He aquí, el ganado se pierde, y no hay quien los recoja”.

Plaga humana (Sexta plaga)

  1. Biblia: Dios juzgó a Egipto con un hervor infeccioso que estalló en heridas abiertas. No sólo golpeó a la gente, sino también a los animales (Éxodo 9: 8-9).
  2. Papiro de Ipuwer: “La peste está en toda la tierra. La sangre está en todas partes “(IP 2: 5-6).

Granizo granizo y tormenta de truenos (Séptima plaga)

  1. Biblia: Una gran tormenta de granizo destruyó las hierbas (Éxodo 9: 24-25) y las cosechas de lino y cebada que estaban cerca de la cosecha (Éxodo 9: 31-32)
  2. Papiro de Ipuwer: Habla de fracaso de la cosecha que afectó los ingresos egipcios. “Baja Egipto llora … Todo el palacio está sin sus ingresos. A ella pertenecen el trigo y la cebada, los gansos y los peces “(IP 10: 3-6). También lee: “Por cierto, el grano ha perecido por todos lados” (IP 6: 3). También compara el cansancio de la tierra con el “corte de lino”, que sucedería con una tormenta de granizo masiva (IP 5:12).

Relámpago y fuego:

  1. Biblia: asociada con esta tormenta masiva fue un rayo que rodó por el suelo. El fuego fue mezclado con el granizo (Éxodo 9: 23-24).
  2. Papiro de Ipuwer: Habla del daño debido al fuego. “Por lo demás, las puertas, las columnas y las paredes son consumidas por el fuego” (IP 2:10).

Oscuridad sobre la tierra (Nona plaga)

  1. Biblia: Éxodo 10:22 dice que una gran oscuridad cubrió la tierra por tres días.
  2. Papiro de Ipuwer: “La tierra está sin luz” (IP 9:11)

Muerte del primogénito (Décima plaga)

  1. Biblia: La última plaga involucró el asesinato de los primogénitos de toda familia, incluyendo el Faraón (Éxodo 12: 29-30). La Biblia dice que se oyó un gran clamor en todo Egipto (Éxodo 12:30).
  2. Papiro de Ipuwer: “Porque los hijos de los príncipes se estrellan contra las murallas” (IP 4: 3, 5: 6) “Porque los hijos de príncipes son arrojados por las calles” (IP 6:12). “El que pone a su hermano en la tierra está en todas partes” (IP 2:13) y “Gime por la tierra, mezclado con lamentos” (IP 3:14).

Otras referencias únicas

A pesar de la conexión obvia con las plagas de Egipto, el papiro se refiere a otros dos incidentes que en mi opinión sellan el trato.

Dice:

Y el ángel del Señor se le apareció en una llama de fuego, en medio de una[a] zarza. Al fijarse Moisés, vio que la zarza ardía en fuego, pero la zarza no se consumía. (Éxodo 3: 2 NBLH)

Esto habla de una transferencia masiva de riqueza de la más rica de la sociedad egipcia a los más pobres – los esclavos. Esto es exactamente lo que dice la Biblia:

35 Los Israelitas hicieron según las instrucciones (las palabras) de Moisés, pues pidieron a los Egipcios objetos de plata, objetos de oro y ropa. 36 Y el Señor hizo que el pueblo se ganara el favor[a] de los Egipcios, que les concedieron lo que pedían. Así despojaron a los Egipcios. (Éxodo 12: 35-36 NBLH)

Este tipo de evento fue tan único e inexplicable. ¿Qué eventos cataclísmicos harían que los ricos abandonaran su riqueza y la dieran a los esclavos?

Pero hay otra referencia en el papiro que aborda un segundo evento único para este tiempo. Cuando Israel salió de Egipto, la Biblia dice que Dios los guió con una columna de humo de día y una columna de fuego por la noche (Éxodo 13:21).

El papiro de Ipuwer habla de este incidente pero desde una perspectiva ligeramente diferente.

“He aquí, el fuego ha montado en lo alto. Su ardor se dispara contra los enemigos de la tierra “(7: 1)

Aunque lo hicieron como un ataque contra sus enemigos, está muy claro que un fuego imponente estaba asociado con la partida de Israel.

Leer más en esta serie:

Fuente:

Crédito de la foto: Khalid Almasoud / Foter / CC BY-NC

Pop star Katy Perry reconciling with her Christian parents: Is God next?

Katy Perry in concert in 2011. Credit: tempusfugate/Flickr/Creative Commons

Mega pop star Katy Perry, 33, made some interesting statements in her interview with Dr. Siri Singh, on Viceland’s program The Therapist that aired the weekend of June 10, 2017.

According to the Christian Post (CP), in the interview Katy talked about the pressures involved with being the pop star Katy Perry instead of who she really was Katherine Hudson. She expressed a desire of being her “authentic self.”

But what I also found interesting is Katy’s discussion about God and her parents.

Katy’s parents, Maurice and Mary (née Perry) Hudson, are Pentecostal pastors. As a child Katy accepted Christ. She was even filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. As a teenager, she sang gospel music and initially tried to make a career singing gospel.

But today as one of the world’s top pop stars, for the most part Katy has rejected her parent’s Christian faith.

But I saw signs in the interview that there is potential for things to change.

First Katy talked about having suicidal thoughts after breaking up with her husband Russel Brand. She credited “God’s grace” for helping her navigate this difficult time. A song she wrote in 2013, entitled “By the Grace of God,” explained God’s intervention in that dark hour.

But equally as important, Katy talked about how she and her parents are now in therapy to restore their broken relationship. She blamed her parents for being too restrictive and overly protective:

“I didn’t really hear them and I’m trying to listen for that more and hold a space and have compassion for them and love them in an authentic way because it wasn’t always easy because we have very different view points. Now we agree to disagree in a loving space.”

This reconciliation may be a critical step if Katy is to come back to God.

In Genesis 1:27, we read:

27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

This verse tells us God created man in the image and likeness of God. Likeness refers to sharing similar attributes and emotions that enables us to have a relationship with God.

But the word image (Hebrew ‘tselem’) means representative and it was  the same word used repeatedly in the Old Testament to describe idols (Isaiah 40:19).

So what does this mean?

I think it suggests that humans, not idols made of stone or wood, were intended to be the idols who represented God.

But who are we to represent God too? If we are all made in the image of God, it would be fruitless to represent God’s image to each other.

I suspect as adults we are intended to represent God to our children. As children interacted with their parents, they would gain an understanding of who God was. This would be a natural bridge leading them into a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father.

However sin entered the world horribly marring this idol that God created to represent Him.

All parents, Christians included, are imperfect representations of our perfect Father. We sin, make mistakes, and in the process skewer our children’s perception of God.

I firmly believe a healthy reconciliation between Katy and her parents may be a vital first step in Katy’s journey back to God. Though they are agreeing to disagree at this point, barriers are breaking down. CP wrote in a separate interview with RuPaul earlier this year, Katy admitted that she regularly prays to God.

It’s easy to judge Katy for her current lifestyle, but it may be more beneficial if we prayed for her instead.

Sources: