[by Wayne Johnston] Passover (Easter to some) is almost upon us again, and it’s time to reflect on God’s great gift for all of Adam’s lost children, Jew and Gentile alike. Old Testament prophecies and New Testament accounts of Christ’s death and atonement on the cross show very clearly who is to blame. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24) All of us – rich, poor, Jew, Gentile, even Rembrandt, and me – we are all the cause of why “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16). We are all guilty of putting Him on the cross so that we can all share in God’s redemption through it and be at peace with God. But how does Rembrandt fit into this?
[by Dean Smith] If you ever wander into the Colorado Desert, Northeast of Niland, California, you will come across a strange place called Salvation Mountain. It testifies of one man’s faith, dream and determination. (Click here to view photos of Salvation Mountain.) After accepting Christ in 1967, Leonard Knight (1931 – 2014) had a dream to build a hot air balloon with the message “God is Love” emblazoned in bold red color on the fabric. After failing to raise enough money to buy one, he decided to sew his own. While working as a truck driver in Quartzite, Arizona in 1984, Leonard tried to fly it, but the balloon wouldn’t hold air. Defeated, he was preparing to move on when he decided to stay an extra week and build a small monument to Christ along the banks of a now dried river bed across the border in California. He grabbed a bag of cement, some paint and set to work. This was the beginning of Salvation Mountain and until his death, Leonard never left.
Take a tour of Salvation Mountain — 21 photos of this curious place in the Colorado desert.
[by Dean Smith] I have always enjoyed Shia LaBeouf as an actor — from his childhood acting career in the TV comedy series “Even Stevens” to his role in “Transformers.” He is a great actor, but his life of late has been troubling. Over the past year or so he has been accused of plagiarism for a short film he produced and even arrested for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct during a New York Broadway show — Cabaret. So, I was a bit surprised to hear he had become a Christian during the filming of his most recent film “Fury,” a World War II epic. In the movie — which also stars Brad Pitt who plays “Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier,” the tank commander — Shia plays “Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan” a member of the tank crew who is a Christian.
Often in Scripture, God teaches us deep spiritual lessons about His kingdom by comparing them to the natural world, sometimes even to the mundane things around us. When Jesus wanted to teach about His kingdom, He talked about lost money, lost sheep, farming, fishing, things that the common person could relate to. Even the Old Testament has such examples of God using common things to teach and extend His kingdom. An example of this is found in Exodus 4:2, where God uses the rod in Moses’ hand to show His power and be a confirmation of who He was. Some time ago I experienced such a thing and I want to encourage others by what God revealed to me, saying, “What is that in your hand?”
Dr. Ronald Stewart, using special imaging equipment, believes coins dated to 33-47 AD depict the life of Jesus. Stewart says the hand-struck coins were part of a popular art form called “Portable Coinage Art” first introduced by Grecian emperors in 336-300 BC and later popularized by Roman emperors. People of financial means would have sets of coins created to memorialize significant people. These coins would depict notable events of a person’s life in pictorial form starting on one side of the coin and continuing on the other side.