All posts filed under: Bible

Priscilla Shirer: YouTube capture

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

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

Credit: Wonderland/Flickr/Creative Commons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thumbs down Credit: m01229/Flickr/Creative Commons

Mi falla hacia un espíritu de profecía

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

Don't allow storms to rule your life. Photo credit: Bill Collison/Flickr/Creative Commons

Lo que significa arrojar tu pan sobre el agua

English: What it means to cast your bread upon the water El verano pasado, planeé una caminata con amigos alrededor de un hermoso lago en el centro de nuestra ciudad. En un momento de nuestro viaje, nos detuvimos en un pequeño lugar tranquilo a lo largo del borde, tomamos nuestras migas de pan y las arrojamos al agua y las vimos alejarse flotando. Estábamos cumpliendo simbólicamente las palabras que el Rey Salomón escribió: Echa tu pan sobre las aguas, Que después de[a] muchos días lo hallarás. 2 Reparte tu porción con siete, o aun con ocho, Porque no sabes qué mal puede venir sobre la tierra. (Eclesiastés 11: 1-2 NBLH) Los comentaristas creen que Salomón se refería a los barcos que enviaba llenos de bienes para comerciar con otras naciones y que regresarían llenos de tesoros. Durante su viaje encontrarían vientos dominantes, tormentas masivas con olas que se estrellarían sobre sus pequeños cascos de madera. Pero lucharían a través de ella.. Se habrían ido por días, incluso semanas, y cuando regresaron a casa estaban cargados de valiosas …

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

El libro de Job y la edad de hielo

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

Credit: Jelle Goossens/Flickr/Creative Commons

¿Qué significa ser un guerrero de oración?

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

¿Otra confirmación del éxodo de los judíos de Egipto?

English version: Yet another confirmation of the Hebrews exodus out of Egypt Cuando usted lee sobre la liberación de Israel de Egipto en el Libro del Éxodo, la Biblia registra el país sufriendo diez plagas significativas o juicios antes de que el faraón egipcio finalmente permitiera que los judíos se fueran. Las plagas fueron catastróficas y algunos han sugerido que algo de esta magnitud debería ser mencionado en los registros egipcios. Y de hecho hay. Primero tenemos el papiro Leiden I 344 en exhibición en el Museo Nacional Holandés de Antigüedades en Leiden, Holanda. Presenta las plagas del Éxodo desde una perspectiva egipcia. Se refiere a seis de las plagas incluyendo el agua que se convierte en sangre y una oscuridad masiva en la tierra. Sin embargo, todavía hay otro artefacto que apoya la cuenta de Éxodo. Las piedras rotas de la estela fueron descubiertas entre 1947 y 1951. Una estela es una losa vertical de roca utilizada para recordar o conmemorar acontecimientos significativos en la historia de una nación. En su artículo, Prueba Para …

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

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

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

Fire near Santee, CA during the 1980s. Credit: Rick Bolin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apocalypse 5: The Final Occupation

This is about the end of the book that is at the end of the Bible. It’s the last installment in a series of articles on the book of Revelation, at the end of the Bible. Revelation is a future description of the end of this age in history. Christians are supposed to read this book, but too many of us are satisfied with a few pictures like 666 (chapter 13 and verse 18) and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (chapter 6), and Armageddon, the great final battle (chapter 16 and verse 16). The pictures are interesting, but we are told to read the whole book: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (1:3) We are supposed to make sense of this book, and to understand where we are in history. So, think about something that makes you angry, or someone who has that effect. Now calm down …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does forgiving forget?

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

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations

Over the years my friend Linda and I have walked and prayed around and through the park that is planted in the center of our city. Yesterday, we sat and prayed at one of our favorite spots. The leaves were just starting to turn color and fall to the ground. And we were drawn to the passage in the Book of Revelation: 2 … On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2 NIV) We contemplated the meaning of this verse as we have many times over the years. And like many scholars have noted, the interpretation can be unclear concerning this day and age. Many times this scripture would surface as we prayed for our nation. With the leaves falling all around, we began to pray once again that the leaves of the tree (Christ the tree of life) and we His people (the leaves) would receive …

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

Is an unbroken pattern a sign of unforgiveness?

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

Storm near Garden City, Kansas, US Credit: Dave Sills/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apocalypse 1: The Boring Part

Is it possible for people call themselves Christians to fail? Can we be wrong? That’s not a serious question, and the answer is yes. The famous Pentecostal television preacher Jim Bakker went to prison. RELATED: Jim Bakker And the Roman Catholic Church is trying to recover from the scandal of sex abuse by priests. RELATED: Child sexual abuse and the Catholic Church: What you need to know Sometimes we fail, and our failure has two sides; if we do something wrong, we are prevented from doing good things. Damage control to recover from our failures doesn’t leave room for all the good that we should be doing in this world. I think that is a good starting point to understand the Apocalypse. Everyone should read the book of Revelation. In the Christian Bible, it’s the last book, and one that we often talk about. What we seldom do is read the whole book. For me, that is the best starting point to understand the last book in the Bible. “Revelation” gives us images like the …

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

¿Eres un quejambroso/a crónico/a?

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

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

Be vigilant and guard your mind against attacks of condemnation

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

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

The power of forgiveness

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

Wine at Saint-Laurent-d'Agny, Rhone-Alpes, France Credit: mll/Flickr/Creative Commons

Be not drunk with wine, but instead be drunk in the Spirit?

When the Holy Spirit fell upon the Toronto Airport Vineyard church in 1994, people at the church my wife and I were attending went to Toronto to see first hand what was going on. They returned with a deposit of the Holy Spirit and God began to move in a profound way in our church similar to what was happening in Toronto. It was an usual time. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, people manifested all sorts of strange behavior. There were fits of uncontrollable laughter and crying. People were being slain in the spirit and falling to the ground. Others were experiencing travailing in the spirit and literally groaning when they felt birth pangs as the Holy Spirit prayed through them (Romans 8:26). I experienced that myself and physically felt contractions inside me. Sometimes they came so rapidly and intensely that I couldn’t stand. During this time one of the strangest things that happened is that every time I watched the Sound of Music, the true story of the Von Trapp’s family escape …

A church on the island of Barra that is part of the Outer Hebrides located off the coast of Scotland. Credit: A J/Flickr/Creative Commons

The first Christian?

Though the term Christian is used today to describe those who believe in Jesus, it was never a term used by believers in the early church to describe themselves. According to Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, the disciples of Christ were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26), which today is located in modern Turkey. With a population back then of a half a million people, it is often considered the “cradle of Christianity.” Emboldened by the martyrdom of Stephen, the Jews began to aggressively persecute the followers of Christ. The disciples fled Jerusalem and a number went to Antioch and began preaching that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah both to the Jews and the Greeks (Acts 11: 19-20). Luke made an unusual statement, “a large number who believed turned to the Lord,” (Acts 11:21) which seems to imply that thought many believed Jesus was the Messiah, not all became disciples. Though the term Christian (Greek Christianos) was first used in Antioch, the term is only found in two other verses (Acts 26:28, …

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

Are you a chronic complainer?

Español: ¿Eres un quejambroso/a crónico/a? We have all heard the phrases “chronic complainer” or “Debbie Downer” used for people who always complain. If it’s sunny, it is too hot outside. If it’s snowing, it’s too cold. If their favorite team wins, it could have played better. They always see the negative and can find something to complain about in everything they do. And these people almost get a sense of fulfillment when their complaints have some legitimacy to them. Well, according to one neuro-scientist, there is a reason “chronic complainers” act the way they do. Canadian Psychologist Norman Dodge says the brain has a unique pliability to it that he compares to Play-Doh. Its official psychological term is “neuroplasticity.” This means if we practice a certain way of thinking long enough, it creates a loop in our brain that entrenches this pattern into our mind. It becomes a rut in the road that we easily fall into as we drive down the highway of life. It becomes a pattern or way of thinking that taints all …

The Dead Leaf butterfly with its colorful wing display that perfectly mimics a dead leaf when closed. Credit: Left image Public Domain/Right image quartl/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Transformed!

I remember as a boy living in Shellbrook, a small Saskatchewan town, walking down the main street when a butterfly fluttered in front of me. Almost instantly it was set upon by a sparrow. What followed was an aero-acrobatic display. Though the sparrow was clearly faster, the butterfly was incredibly elusive. It swooped up and down to avoid captures. Sharp turns left, then right. Darting in every direction as the bird repeatedly dove in to catch it. And the sparrow was always a second too late, biting at air as the butterfly made another erratic move with a brain barely as large as a dot on an “i.” Then just as suddenly as it started, it was over. The bird broke off its unsuccessful chase and landed at the top of the one-story building I was walking by. I could see its beak open, as it breathed heavily trying to catch its breath. The butterfly continued its flight as if nothing had happened. It is interesting display because the butterfly has two sets of wings. …

Fog in Tronheim, Norway Credit: Ksenia Novikova/Flickr/Creative Commons

Why does God test us?

One re-occurring theme in the Bible is that from time to time God tests believers.  Tests have some similarity with trials, but differ in one important respect. Tests are initiated by God, while trials are not. Trials are simply blatant attacks against Christians. But as we will see in the life of Peter, some tests can have a demonic origin. So why does God test us? Paul writes: 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV) There are three key words in this verse: approved, entrusted and tests and they are all connected.  God wants to entrust us with more responsibility, but He needs to know how we are going to respond. So God tests our hearts, often through difficult situations, to see how we respond. Are we going to give up? Are we going to back away when the going gets tough? A life of faith is a struggle. …

Building a nest. Credit: Jill Bazeley/Flickr/Creative Commons

When it’s time to stop praying and start doing

In his letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul told the church to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). He encouraged us to be perpetually in a spirit of prayer. But did you know there are also times when God wants us to stop praying and start moving. Shortly after Pharaoh let Israel leave Egypt, he hardened his heart one more time and sent his army to bring the Jews back into captivity. When Moses heard reports the Egyptian army was in pursuit, he cried out to God for deliverance. It is what every sane Christian should do in times of distress. But suddenly God commands Moses to stop praying and start moving: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.’” (Exodus 14:15 NASV) There comes a time when God wants us to quit praying and start doing. Prayer is absolutely vital for Christians, but sometimes prayer becomes an excuse not to do it. Sometimes prayer is just another way to procrastinate, …

Grocery Store Credit: Province of British Columbia/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Religious people have more self-control when it comes to shopping

According to a study by three researchers from university business schools,  Didem Kurt, Boston University, J. Jeffrey Inman, University of Pittsburgh and Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School, religious people not only spend less than non-religious but they are also less likely to make impulse purchases. The study that involved looking at the results of five earlier studies on spending habits also included the group’s own research. In their study, the three researchers put 800 people through a variety of “hypothetical” shopping scenarios and as well tests to evaluate how strong their religious beliefs were. What they discovered is that an incremental increase in religious belief resulted in a 5% decrease in spending and impulsive buying. This confirmed results from a survey of spending by 2,400 people in 10 states in 2011 and 2012, conducted by Point of Purchase Advertising International. It showed that people living in more religious counties not only spent less money on groceries than people living in less religious counties, but also had “fewer impulse purchases.” There are undoubtedly a variety of …

Thumbs down Credit: m01229/Flickr/Creative Commons

My prophetic failure

Español: Mi falla hacia un espíritu de profecía Several years ago, we had a young man in our church moving in the prophetic. He prophesied regularly during church services and even had a visiting prophetic minister pull him out of the congregation and give a word about his prophetic calling. He was on the fast track to the prophetic. Up to this point his prophetic words were fairly innocuous. There was nothing specific about them or directional. They were God loves you type of prophesies that could literally apply to anyone and everyone. There is nothing wrong with these type of words, because often the Holy Spirit will grab the word and highlight it to specific individuals and say this word is for you. And then it happened. The pastor of the church was heading to a conference. As we gathered around to lay hands on him, the young man stepped up with a prophetic word and prophesied some very specific things were going to happen to the pastor at these meetings. One in particular, …

Credit: Amout Wurst/Flickr/Creative Commons

Migrants, Border Jumpers, Refugees, and Us

I saw something the other day, and it shocked me. This is not new for me, but I don’t like to be reminded that I am correct. We think we are good people, but reality can tell a different story. I have a volunteer contract with a famous Christian charity. I won’t name them and I won’t report what happened inside their building, to keep confidentiality, but they are famous everywhere for helping the poorest and most desperate. My job is to teach their staff how to write administrative reports, which fits some of my skill set. Two days ago, I reported for a tutorial session at a location in the inner city, and I was shocked. Outside, in the alley I saw several African people. Later, when I drove home, I saw more of them wandering the streets in our poorest neighborhood. My impression was that they were desperate and unhappy and they were begging for help from organized charities. The inner city is also called skid row, or the slums, and it is …

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England Credit: Jim/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Treasure Chest of Strength

Lately I have been thinking about what real strength is. Of course one of the first scriptures that came to my mind was Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Berean Study Bible) I know Strongs’s concordance 1743, defines this strength as empower, enable (increase in) strength, to be (make) strong. However, this only made me wonder more about this word ‘strength’. Around this time, I had a vivid impression of a treasure chest with the word ‘STRENGTH’ written on it. I saw this chest was full of many things such as; God’s love, freedom, acceptance, healing and identity. Whatever I happened to need was inside. Not to be found in this ‘treasure chest’ were negative things like unworthiness, rejection, bitterness, or self-hate. Nothing was there which would take away my strength in Christ. So then, I CAN do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Whatever I need is in the treasure chest of strength. I just have to grab hold of the truth provided. What is …

Vancouver sunrise Credit: Ted McGrath/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apostles and Prophets Part 3: The Apostolic Explosion

[by Keith Hazell] This is the third in a series on the Apostolic Ministry, a ministry being restored today for building the Kingdom of God. In this article, Keith Hazell deals with problems that hinder apostolic team ministry. Click here and here for the previous articles. “Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.  (Acts 15:37-41 NIV) While this passage is not about Apostles and Prophets it does help to illustrate that relationships between senior members are not always smooth and harmonious. Paul seemed to have a knack for problems with other leaders and we have to confess that they were real problems and that …

Credit: Sydney Daoust/Flickr/Creative Commons

Oh, you are such a loser!

A new buzz word in pop psychology is “vulnerable.” There is some good advice out there, and this idea can be good for us. If I looked at you and said “loser!” I would be rude, and you would take that as an insult. We learned that in elementary school. So, “loser!” I just called you a loser, and you can say the same to me. If we are not losers, we are failures. Every Christian should know the words in the Bible “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) That is the bedrock of our Christian faith. Jesus made it right, after we made it wrong. A few days ago, I had a meeting with an old friend. We talked about business and we also had time to catch up on our personal stories, like old friends. This man is a Christian, my brother in Christ, and he described himself as …

Credit: National Park Service, Alaska Region/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Give me that mountain’: Living life with Caleb’s attitude

According to King Solomon how a person thinks, determines how he lives life. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7a NKJV) But there is an important caveat in this verse, because Solomon adds how a man “thinks in his heart,” so it is to him. This is a step beyond thinking, we need to believe it. Jesus said if we say to this mountain be cast in the sea (Mark 11:23), and do not doubt in our heart, it will be done. It is not enough to think it, we need to believe it. Faith and belief make the difference. Researchers at the University of Seoul in South Korea found out there may be a direct connection between what older people believed to how they actually felt. What they believed in their later years directly impacted how they lived their life. According to the Daily Mail, the research team asked 68 people between the ages of 59 to 84 if they felt older, younger or the same as their real …

Mural on the ceiling of Santa Prassede Church, Rome Credit: Jean Louis Mazieres/Flickr/Creative Commons

Apostles and prophets Part 2: Working together in teams

[by Keith Hazell] When I was a young man of 18 and living in England I received a letter in the name of the Queen of England telling me to report for two years of service in the British Military. This was an irresistible request, backed up by the full power of the state. From some points of view this was the worst two years of my life, yet on reflection I learned many lessons in that two years that have stood me well in my life and ministry. We were verbally and sometimes, physically assaulted by drill sergeants who spent their time making us learn how to follow instructions so that we would know how to move together and not simply to respond to our own instincts. One particularly windy day as we marched across the square in the face of a strong wind, our sergeant who was way behind gave an order. Due to the wind, this order was lost to all but those nearest to him and we landed up going in …