All posts filed under: Bible

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How to Really Mess up Your Life

There is a country song about “Springtime in Alberta” where a cowboy complains about his moody girl friend. Her moods are just like nasty winter storms that blow in when the weather should stay warm. There is probably truth in that song, on both sides. I never met the woman, but we do have interesting spring weather. This Easter weekend is the coldest since 1940, with wind and snow, but it was nice a few days before. We had another surprise early on Good Friday morning. Someone started pressing all the call buttons for our apartment building and begging for help. I had the job of dressing in warm clothes and going out into the storm at four in the morning, to see if I could help. A muscular young man ran up to me and begged me to phone a cab so he could go home. I phoned the police first, and a taxi drove by as I was talking. I waved, but the cab driver didn’t even slow down. Also, the police never …

The most popular style of olive press used in ancient times. Credit: Sue Cantan/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Olive Press Garden

In Jerusalem, one of the sites considered to be the Garden of Gethsemane mentioned in the gospels is found at the base of the Mount of Olives. This should not surprise us because the word Gethsemane literally means “olive press” which suggests that the garden also housed an olive press to squeeze the oil out of the olives growing on the hill above. Both Mark (Mark 14:32-42) and Mathew (Matthew 26:36-56) refer to it as the garden of Gethsemane, while Luke only describes it as a garden where Jesus prayed. Squeezing the valuable golden oil out of olives was a two-step process. In the first stage, they crushed the olives, including the pits, which they then deposited into a basket. The second step involved exerting pressure on the basket to extract the olive oil that was used as fuel for cooking and lighting. It had also had religious and medicinal usages. There were various types of presses, but the most common version (seen above) involved a long beam or pole with one end lodged into …

Stonemasons in the 1900s Credit: Aussie~mobs/Flickr/Creative Commons

Jesus: A carpenter or stonemason?

I recently read an interesting article about Kathie Lee Gifford, 64, on the release of her latest book The Rock, The Road and The Rabbi. An American talk show host, actress, singer, song writer, comedian and author, Kathie gained her fame co-hosting Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee along with Regis Philbin. Kathie Lee is a committed Christian and is a co-host on NBC’s Today show. The article reported on an interesting statement she made on the life of Christ related to her research for the book: “By studying the original Greek, the original Hebrew and how many myths are out there. I learned that Jesus was not a carpenter, but He was a stonemason because there was nothing but rock in Israel then.” It was a bit of a shock for me. For over 40 years, I thought Jesus was a carpenter and even wrote an article that implied as much. But now Griffith was saying the Lord was probably a stonemason. Now in my defense, the description of Jesus as a carpenter is …

Lecciones de vida de un malvavisco ( dulce de merengue blando )

English version: Life lessons from a marshmallow Esau y Jacob eran los hijos gemelos hermanos de Isaac y Rebeca. Esaú, que era el primogénito, estaba destinado a recibir la herencia que ascendió al doble de la de los otros hijos. Así Esaú recibiría dos tercios de la herencia familiar y Jacob sólo un tercio. Sin embargo, como un hombre joven Esaú cambiaron a su doble porción de la herencia por un plato de lentejas. Después de un día en el campo, Esaú regresó con hambre. Jacob estaba haciendo un guiso. Cuando Esaú pidió a Jacob el guiso, Jacob sólo aceptaria si Esaú le vendia su doble porción de la herencia. 32 “Mira, yo estoy a punto de morir,” le dijo Esaú; “¿de qué me sirve, pues, la primogenitura?” 33 “Júramelo primero,” replicó Jacob. Esaú se lo juró, y vendió su primogenitura a Jacob.” 34 Entonces Jacob dio a Esaú pan y guisado de lentejas. El comió y bebió, se levantó y se fue. Así despreció Esaú su primogenitura. (Génesis 25: 32-34 NBLH) Esaú no estaba …

The Mespotamia Valley where Abraham and Sarah lived before God called them on their journey of faith: Credit: Hassan Janall U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Wikipedia

La fe a través de la duda: contrato de matrimonio de 4.000 años de antigüedad confirma la historia de Ismael

English: Faith through doubt: 4,000 year old marriage contract confirms story of Ishmael Aunque el patriarca Abraham y su esposa Sara terminaron en el “Salón de la Fama de la Fe” (Hebreos 11: 8-11), sus vidas estuvieron lejos de ser una muestra perfecta de fe. Dios le había prometido a Abraham y su esposa Sara un hijo del cual vendría una gran nación (Génesis 17). Aunque se aferraron a esta promesa, hubo momentos en que dudaron de Dios y tomaron el asunto en sus propias manos. Uno de estos momentos involucró a Agar, la sierva personal de Sara: 16 Sara, mujer de Abram, no le había dado a luz hijo alguno. Pero ella tenía una sierva Egipcia que se llamaba Agar. 2 Entonces Sara dijo a Abram: “Mira, el Señorme ha impedido tener hijos. Llevate, te ruego, a mi sierva; quizá por medio de ella yo tenga hijos.” Y Abraham escuchó la voz de Sara.(Génesis 16: 1-2 NBLH) Sara le dijo a Abraham que embarazara a su esclava, quien serviría como sustituta y tendría un hijo que …

Lo que el diablo ve

English: What the devil sees En el libro de Zacarías, el profeta transmite una serie de visiones que dan breves vislumbres en el reino espiritual. Sin embargo, hay uno que hace más que eso. No solo arranca el velo que cubre el reino espiritual, también muestra cómo los ángeles y los demonios ven a las personas en el mundo natural. Nos ven de manera diferente. En el capítulo 3: 1, el profeta Zacarías muestra  a Josué, que era el sumo sacerdote en Jerusalén, de pie ante el Ángel del Señor. Zacarías también observó a Satanás de pie junto a la mano derecha de Josué pronunciando una cantidad de acusaciones contra el Sumo Sacerdote.  Josué probablemente realizaba algún tipo de sacrificio o trabajo asociado con sus deberes sacerdotales. Nadie, en el ámbito terrenal habría visto al Ángel de Dios o a Satanás de pie junto a la mano derecha del Sumo Sacerdote. Era solo otro día en el templo, pero todo el infierno se estaba desatando en el reino espiritual. Y Josué estaba vestido de vestiduras …

“I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning." Jesus (Luke 10:18) Photo: Matt/Flickr/Creative Commons

La verdadera historia detrás de la primera Navidad

English: The real story  behind the first Christmas Noche silenciosa Santa noche, todo está en calma todo es brillante… Cuando Franz Xaver Gruber y Joseph Mohr de Austria escribieron el famoso villancico Silent Night en 1818, pintaron una imagen tranquila e idílica de la Navidad. Junto con muchos villancicos de Navidad retrató el nacimiento de Jesús tal como lo vemos en Lucas 2: 1-20 y Mateo 1: 18-2: 23 – Pastores en el campo, Ángeles cantando, un bebé en pañales, un pesebre, ovejas y bueyes. La Mujer, el Dragón y el Niño 12 Una gran señal apareció en el cielo: una mujer vestida del sol, con[a] la luna debajo de sus pies, y una corona de doce estrellas sobre su cabeza. 2 Estaba encinta, y gritaba por los dolores del parto y el sufrimiento de dar a luz. 3 Entonces apareció otra señal en el cielo: Un gran dragón rojo que tenía siete cabezas y diez cuernos, y sobre sus cabezas había siete diademas (coronas). 4 Su cola arrastró la tercera parte de las estrellas del cielo y las …

North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada Credit: tungilik/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

How the 1948 North Battleford revival impacted the church

Canada has been home to two significant revivals in the past 100 years the more recent being the Toronto Blessing that started in January 1994 and a revival that hit North Battleford, Saskatchewan in 1948. The latter was a bit different from the other revivals that hit North America in the 20th century. The Azusa street revival that set the stage for the modern-day Pentecostal movement started in 1906 in Los Angeles. Both Toronto and Los Angeles were major urban centers of their day and as a result impacted significant numbers of people. But North Battleford was different. Located in an obscure province in Canada and at the time an equally obscure town in the northern part of that province. It was not easy place to visit. To get there you headed to the middle of nowhere. Once you get arrived, you then traveled 200 miles north. Nevertheless, it had a profound impact on modern charismatic Christianity. With this being the 70th anniversary of the revival, many prophetic voices believe something significant is going to …

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Kindness and Human Evolution

I was travelling on the weekend, and I learned a hard lesson about air travel. It is so easy to be bumped these days. My flight to another city was bumped to an earlier time, and I was able to deal with that. But I didn’t know if I could get home on time. I walked up to the airline counter and a young woman told me I was supposed to confirm my flight online. If not, I would be charged ten dollars, or possibly not get on the plane. I did not know that, and she told me to take out my phone, log onto the free airport Internet and click “yes” on their website. I had some trouble logging on, and she just told me to just check in, and they would waive the ten-dollar fee. I should have asked for her name and sent a commendation to her boss. What she did was simple kindness; she did not have to help me. Kind acts like that send a powerful message. I knew …

Photo: Sierra Leone -- 37% of the women of Sierra Leone are involved in a polygamous marriage. Credit: Lindsay Stark/Wikipedia

The social problems caused by polygamy

According to an article in the National Post, last July two men from Bountiful, British Columbia, Canada were found guilty of polygamy. Both were members of an offshoot of the Mormon church called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Winston Blackmore was found guilty of having 24 wives and James Oler, five. Both appealed their case arguing it infringed on their religious freedom. They recently lost their appeal and will soon be sentenced. I was glad the government acted on this case, because polygamy can cause serious social problems and unrest in a country, and it is not just for the women involved in these marriages. Though historical Christianized societies do not allow polygamy, other religions and cultures do. I was recently reading an article on Sierra Leone and came across this interesting fact published by Sierra Leone, Demographics and Health Survey 2008 that stated 37% of Sierra Leone women are involved in a polygamous marriage. RELATED: Polygamy in Sierra Leone: Wikipedia Sierra Leone has a population of just over 7.1 …

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem Credit: David Ortmann/Flickr/Creative Commons

Did God want King David to build a temple?

In his sermon that ultimately led to his martyrdom, Stephen knew he was speaking to a hostile crowd, and just before his death he called into question the construction of the temple: 46 David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48 However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: (Acts 7:46-48 NASV) Stephen said the Temple was made of human hands and it was not where God dwells. Was Stephen referring to the fact, that the Temple in Jesus’s day was paid for and constructed by the reprobate King Herod? Or was Stephen talking about the fact the Ark of the Covenant on which the presence of God dwelt had disappeared centuries earlier and the Holy of Holies in Herod’s temple was empty? Or was he talking about something else? There were three religious structures that ancient Israel built to house the …

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Who were the imprisoned spirits?

In what some consider to be one of the most puzzling passages in the Bible, the Apostle Peter talks about how between His death and resurrection, Jesus preached to the spirits that were imprisoned in the days of Noah. 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. (1 Peter 3:18-20 NASV) It is a difficult passage to understand. Some believe it refers to Christ preaching to the souls of those who died during the Noahic flood. Certainly this is a plausible explanation. Others believe it refers to Noah preaching to the people while he …

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What does it mean to be a prayer warrior?

In the book of Colossians, the Apostle Paul talks about Epaphras a person who was now traveling with Paul. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. (Colossians 4:12-13 NASV) In this verse, Paul describes Epaphras as being from the Colossae church and tells how Epaphras was “wrestling in prayer” for those in his home congregation. Other Bible versions translate it a bit differently, with some saying he was “laboring fervently” in prayer. The word translated “wrestling” by the NIV is the Greek word “agonizomai.” Thayers Greek Lexicon describes the word this way: “to enter a contest, contend in the light of gymnastic games. To contend with adversaries, fight.” The word “agonizomai” is derived from another Greek word “agone,” that referred to the gathering of the Greeks at …

Taylor James from "Samson" YouTube Capture

Is the Nazirite vow for today?

I read an interesting interview with actor Taylor James, a Christian, who plays the role of Samson in the full-feature movie “Samson” released earlier this month. In an interview with “Pure Talk,” Taylor talked about a vision he had a few years earlier that actually prepared him for the lead role in the movie. Taylor said: “I had a vision as an actor and a person a few years ago to grow my hair and to maintain a certain physical appearance. It was my guiding light.” After this vision, another Christian provided further revelation on what lay ahead for Taylor.  The person added that at some point Taylor would be returning home to South Africa and leading “his people.” Taylor had actually been born in South Africa and lived there for six years. When the role of Samson came up, Taylor auditioned for the lead role and was surprised when reading the script that much of the movie would be shot in South Africa. Then, when he noticed the movie’s subtitle “A man who leads …

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Is God Real? or Donuts in the Snow

So, is God real? If yes, why is there suffering in this world? Why doesn’t God fix our problems, if He loves us? This is an old argument, and I learned the answer a few days ago. Here is some background. Right now, where I live in Canada, we are in “Roll up the Rim to Win” season at Tim Hortons. Timmies is a cultural thing here, we all go there for coffee or tea and conversations. We also eat too many donuts there. In season, we roll up the rims of our paper cups and learn what we have won. I usually win a chance to play again; they are very kind when they say “no.” When I win a free donut I tear off that statement from the rim, and keep the ticket. One thing I really don’t need is a free donut and I can think of something worse, two free donuts. I had two winning tickets that I carried with me like a guilty pleasure. I do contract work, and some …

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What does it mean the meek will inherit the earth?

What did Jesus mean when He said the meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5)? Depending on what dictionary you use, the English word meek leaves different impressions — gentle, submissive, compliant, spineless, humble and maybe even a bit cowardly. But is this what Jesus meant? I am not sure meek is the right English translation for the Greek word “praus” used in this verse which is how the King James translated it. HELPS word studies describes “praus” this way: 4236 praótēs– properly, temperate, displaying the right blend of force and reserve (gentleness). 4236 /praótēs (“strength in gentleness”) avoids unnecessary harshness, yet without compromising or being too slow to use necessary force. The word depicts a person with power, but one who knows when to use it and when not to. It also describes a person who “avoids unnecessary harshness.” But “praus” does not portray a person who is weak or cowardly. Though the word can be translated “gentle” it is not in the sense that we imagine. The word was used to describe war …

There are no racial barriers in God’s church

I don’t think we fully appreciate the significance of what happened when the Holy Spirit fell upon a group of gentiles as Peter was preaching in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:44-48). It took a vision for Peter, where God declared a number of animals clean, and an angelic visit for Cornelius to get these two groups together. After the Holy Spirit fell, it caused such a controversy in the early church they called a meeting to figure out what do to with the hundreds of gentiles becoming Christians. But a few Bible verses and even archaeology provide a hint of what a radical change this was for the early church that was initially made up of solely Jews. In 1871 a stone slab from the Jewish Temple that existed in Jesus day was discovered by archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau. On the slab written in Greek was: “No foreigner is allowed to enter the courtyard and enclosure surrounding the temple. Whoever is caught will be responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue.” Greek was …

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Christians and Human Sacrifice

Don’t be fooled by my extreme title, Christians don’t drag some poor victim to the top of a pyramid and lay him on an altar; we are more subtle. Picture a group of children who got caught doing something wrong. The most important thing to report to the adults is ‘who takes the blame for this one.’ If we can heap the blame on someone else, we are free and clear. Our sacrificial victim is more like a scape goat. Among adults, this blame shifting can damage one person’s reputation, and it can damage families and churches. The destruction can last a life time. In my family, I am ashamed to admit, I fell for this a few months ago. My Dad is very old, and Mom is gone, so we are all concerned about our old father. A few months ago we learned that something wrong had been done with Dad’s money, maybe. I easily believed what I was told and I started to panic. I can remember at least one phone call that …

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Does the Bible speak of ‘social justice’?

“Social justice” is a favorite term of the left, and recently I have been finding the phrase creeping its way into Evangelical Churches. The concept is defined this way: Justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. “individuality gives way to the struggle for social justice” “Social justice” involves a redistribution of wealth and notice in the last line that the rights of the individual are set aside in favor of the rights of the collective or group. This is nothing more than cultural Marxism pervading our society similar to the political Marxism found in the old Soviet Union or Maoist China. “Social justice” is made up of an adjective “social” and the noun “justice.” By definition an adjective is added to a noun to either “modify or describe it.” Since one of the intents of an adjective is to “modify” or change, it can literally be used to redefine a word. So when you add the adjective “social” to “justice,” you no longer have justice, but some form of …

Even the doctor called it a miracle

In an incredible testimony reported by CBN, teenager Juan Spence was tagging along in a car ride with a friend on May 22, 2017. His parents pastor a church in Williamsburg, VA. The road was wet, the friend was speeding and Juan did not have his seat belt on. The car spun out of control, hitting a post causing it to tumble. When Juan was thrown out of the vehicle through the sun roof, the car landed on his head. Suffering traumatic brain injury, he was rushed to the nearby MCV Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. When he arrived, the doctors were forced to cut away a part of Juan’s brain to release the pressure. When officials contacted Juan’s mother, Elizabeth, about the accident, she immediately began praying for her son. Not knowing the full extend of the injury, the Holy Spirit told her, “He shall live and not die.” Juan’s father Alex had also received a similar word from God that his son would survive. When his parents arrived at the hospital, the doctors said …

Mototaxi on the border of Bolivia and Peru. Credit: Tobias Mayr/Flickr/Creative Commons

Whose law will we obey?

Believers in Bolivia may soon be facing a difficult decision. According to a report on Evangelical Focus, the left-leaning Bolivian government of President Evo Morales recently passed a law that could make it illegal for Christians to share their faith. Article 88.11 of Bolivia’s penal code reads: “Whoever recruits, transports, deprives of freedom or host people with the aim of recruiting them to take part in armed conflicts or religious or worship organizations will be penalized five to 12 years of imprisonment.” The way it’s worded, the law suggests that recruiting (sharing your faith) with another person could be considered illegal. Transporting a person to church or even to a religious camp could also be interpreted as an illegal act warranting jail time. The law also equates sharing the Christian faith with armed rebellion. Because of its vague wording, many are concerned Morales could use the law to clamp down on evangelicals. Bolivia has a population of about 11 million of which 78% are considered Roman Catholic, 19% (two million) Protestants and 3% non religious. …

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Six Sigma and Jesus

If you are a Christian, are you also on the shelf? And is it comfortable? I am writing this in January, which is a good time to think about the new year we are in and about an hour ago I saw something that made me sad. I was waiting for a friend at a Tim Hortons and a young family came in; mother, father and two little boys. They were ragged and poor, but polite to everyone. Their order was a large coffee, probably for the parents to share, and a very small box of Timbits donut holes. That was their family break time. I guess they were probably Christians, and I know people come to Alberta, where I live, to find work. One nickname for this province is “tomorrow’s country” and I see struggling start-ups all the time. My parents did that. Today, I wish I had moved faster to buy cookies for the kids in that little family, but they walked away too fast into the cold and the snow, probably back …

Selena Gomez Credit: Mikey Hennessy/Wikipedia

What does it mean to be a child of God?

I was reading an interesting testimony given by pop star and actress Selena Gomez, 25, at a Hillsong conference recently held in Los Angeles, California in 2017. She shared her testimony in the form of a letter to herself. She spoke of the day that she finally understood God’s love for her and realized she was a child of God. “On your 23rd birthday, Jesus will become real to you. More than a nightly prayer, more than the strength of your friends, more than the name in a devotional, He will become real. “Selena, you are enough! Not because you’ve tried hard, not because you have loved hard or put on your best face. Not because you have been given a large platform and not because others tell you ‘you are enough,’” she declared. “You are enough because you are a child of God who has been pursued from the very beginning. You are enough because His grace has saved you and covered you.” From her testimony, Selena seems to have grasped that she is …

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How good will you be in 2018?

So how good will you be in 2018? There is not much competition on that side. Yesterday I helped someone; and every detail in this story matters for the conclusion. I have a bad cough, the kind that won’t let me sleep at night, and this morning I drove to the drug store in the Mall, where I don’t usually shop. I don’t know why I chose the mall, and that store. Also, the weather is cold today, – 30 C or – 22 F. I walked out of the wrong door at the Mall, so I had a long walk to my truck, at – 30 with bronchitis. That is a bad combination but I don’t think hard when I’m at the mall. Somehow it all felt right. As I walked, on my right I saw a small old truck, a Ford Ranger, which is usually a poor man’s ride. The driver turned the key and I heard “Click Click Click.” In subarctic weather, that means your battery is low, and that means the …

Chehura desert in Peru Credit: Alma Apatrida/Flickr/Creative Commons

A prophecy about lost treasure

A couple of decades ago, my wife and I were heading down to Peru to adopt our daughter. Just before we set out on our journey that would take a month and half to complete, we were at a small prayer meeting in our church when Brian, a man with a prophetic gifting, prayed and prophesied over us. He saw us taking a big colored doll down for our daughter. But then he gave me a word, which deeply concerned both my wife and I. He said I see you gathering your treasure, and then he held his hands out, spread his fingers and said it will slip away, pouring out between your fingers like sand. I asked Brian what he meant. He had no further revelation and simply told us what he saw. It was a disturbing word. Because we respected the man and his prophetic gift we were concerned that the adoption was going to fall apart. But we believed God had told us to go and decided to continue on our journey. …

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Angels among us?

If the Book of Revelation is any indication, as we move into the end times, there will be an increase in angelic activity. Throughout Revelation, we see whole chapters dedicated to angels bringing about the judgements of God (Revelation 7:1; 8:2). However they were not just bringing in judgment, the Apostle John also saw another angel preaching the Gospel in the mid-heaven: 6 And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; (Revelation 14:6 NASV) I am not sure exactly what this means, but at the very least such angelic preaching would make people more responsive to the Gospel. But there is an interesting story on the Christian Broadcasting Network website of a young Jewish woman who became a Christian as a result of angelic activity. Alyce Merritt grew up in a strict Jewish home that rejected Christian beliefs. She didn’t even know that Jesus was a Jew thinking instead he was Catholic or …

Polwarth, England Credit: Hamish Irvine/Flickr/Creative commons

The Critical Mass: How We Can Fail

On Sunday, in church, the pastor told us about people who had been helped in the last year. He told testimonial stories about cancer patients and struggling families. And then he told us about a man who had walked into the church to learn more. He was not a Christian, but he was interested. The pastor talked to him and gave him a book, and a few weeks later the man called to say that he had decided to become a Christian. Now he attends the Sunday services as a new Christian, growing in his faith. The man’s name is Mohammed. We live in interesting times. Now Muslim majority countries are modernizing, and Muslims are migrating to other countries with high levels of personal freedom. That means people can break free from the group, and choose how they want to live. This is becoming a crisis, as some young Muslims identify as atheists. Others, like Mohammed, choose another religion. RELATED: Losing their religion: the hidden crisis of faith among Britain’s young Muslims: The Guardian The …

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Satanic counter attacks

One aspect of spiritual warfare that we must be aware of is satanic counter attacks. So often we can see great things happening spiritually and even politically, but suddenly things can take a turn for the worse. There is a reason for this — satanic counter attacks. When Jesus cast  out the evil spirit of the man in the synagogue in Capernaum (Mark 1:21-27) what followed was essentially a revival (Mark 1:28 – 2:15). There were healings — Simon’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31), the leper (Mark 1:40-43) and the paralytic lowered through the roof (Mark 2:1-11). Demons were cast out (Mark 1:32-34). Many became disciples of Christ, including one very prominent tax collector called Matthew (Mark 2:13-14). To explain what was happening, Mark talks about Jesus’s teaching on the strongman: “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.” (Mark 3:27 NASV) When Jesus cast the evil spirit out of the man in the Capernaum synagogue, He had bound …

The lighting of the Menorah for Hannukkah. The eighth light is still unlit. Credit: Steven Crawford/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Festival of Lights

We have an odd Jewish festival taking place this month called Hanukkah. Also called Chanukah or Festival of Lights, it’s different because it is not included as one of the seven festivals that the Jews were told to commemorate in the Book of Leviticus. In fact, there is no mention of this feast taking place anywhere in the Jewish Old Testament and from a Biblical perspective the only mention is found in the New Testament, which of course the Jews don’t consider as part of their Scripture. Yet despite this, some suggest Hanukkah is arguably the best known of the Jewish festivals because it typically falls in December coinciding with the Christian Christmas. The festival that follows the Hebrew calendar can start as early as late November to mid December and goes for eight days. This year, it starts December 12 and runs to December 19, 2017 Over the eight-day festival a candle is lit each night on a nine-light menorah. The center candle traditionally serves as the one to light the other eight. Some …

London, England Credit: Xynn Tii/Flickr/Creative Commons

Careers for Christians: Making a Difference

Yesterday I taught a class. One man in the class was well groomed and polite; obviously a company manager. On a break, he told me his business was slow, so he was looking for a job, just a job. He was tired of losing money with his business, so he closed it down and put all his employees out of work. I train truck drivers. That man is at a very low point in his career, and I hope he climbs out and finds more success and satisfaction. If you are wondering, I am not longer a career climber. I am semi-retired and I work as a contractor helping other people with their work, and I really enjoy what I do. In the last few weeks, I learned how to find a satisfying career, and I know this will work for everyone, including you. Lesson 1) I visited my father because about a week ago I think God spoke to me. I am a Christian, and I expect this. The sensation reminded me that my …

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What Christians need today — courage

YouVersion Bible App was created in 2008, since then over 295 million people have downloaded the app for use on their phone, Ipads and computers. According to this year’s stats, so far this year the app is being downloaded 1.4 times every second of the day. In the same time frame, people are also sharing ten verses with friends. But YouVersion also provides the most read verse of the year and in some ways this provides an insight into what believers are facing around the world. Outside of North America, the most read verse is: 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NASV) In America, the most read verse is similar but with a slightly different twist: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NASV) The verses portray how things are changing …

¿Tenía Jesús barba?

English: Did Jesus have a beard? ¡Nuestra respuesta inmediata a la pregunta que plantea el título es SÍ! Sin embargo, un plato de vidrio del siglo IV muestra una cosa muy singular: Muestra a Jesús sin barba. El descubrimiento se considera una de las primeras representaciones de Jesús. Fue encontrado por arqueólogos en Andalucía, España. Formaron parte del proyecto FORVM MMX excavando en el sitio de un edificio religioso en el antiguo pueblo de Cástulo, fechado alrededor del año 350 D.C. El plato de vidrio probablemente contenía pan para la Eucaristía. La imagen grabada en el vidrio también era diferente en otros aspectos. El artista retrata a Jesús con el pelo corto y rizado y con una toga. En la foto al lado de Jesús están los apóstoles Pedro y Pablo, que también están sin barba. Los tres tienen halos sobre su cabeza. No tenemos idea de si esta representación se basó en imágenes aún más antiguas de Jesús, pero obviamente la gente de esta era aceptó a un Jesús sin barba como realidad. Sudario …

Credit: Marcin Bajer/Flickr/Creative Commons

La intersección

English: The Intersection Hace unas semanas, en una reunión de oración semanal, tuve una palabra profética para un joven. Después de compartir la vision que había recibido con el, recorde que tenía que aplicarla a mi propia vida. Comencé a orar por la dirección de su vida e inmediatamente Dios me dio esta “película” – vision- para él. Lo vi en su vehículo parando en una señal de alto en una intersección donde tenía dos o tres opciones para su destino. ¿Qué dirección debería el tomar? Luego ví la decison que Dios quería que el tomara. Lo vi estacionarse al costado del camino, poner algunas canciones de alabanza y comenzar a adorar a Dios. Él debía hacer declaraciones sobre quién y qué es Dios: Él es el Señor, Él lo sabe todo y El es más grande que todas nuestras circunstancias. Él sabe lo que necesitamos y cómo llegar allí. Lo que pasó después no fue lo que esperaba. Cuando la alabanza  y las declaraciones subieron como vapor al cielo, entonces  comenzó a llover. Toda …

Cómo interactúa el reino espiritual con nuestro mundo físico

English: How the spiritual realm interacts interacts with the physical world Estaba cortando el césped en nuestro patio trasero, cuando un recuerdo apareció en mi mente de una cosa estúpida que había hecho años atras. Antes ya le había pedido a Dios que me perdonara, pero aquí estaba de nuevo viva y me condenandome. ¿De dónde vienen estos pensamientos? Para una visión más clara, necesitamos estudiar un incidente que ocurrió a lo largo de las orillas del río Tigris en el antiguo reino de Persia alrededor de 600 a.c. : Cómo interactúa el mundo espiritual con el mundo físico El libro de Daniel proporciona una visión cautivadora sobre la interacción entre el reino espiritual y el físico. En el capítulo 10, un Ángel de Dios fue enviado a Daniel en respuesta a una oración que había hecho en los versículos 1 – 3. Cuando el ángel llegó, Daniel – junto con algunos otros israelitas se relajaba a lo largo de las orillas del río Tigris. La visita angelical provocó una visión a través de la …

Sao Paulo, Brazil Credit: Leandro Centomo/Flickr/Public Domain

Espíritus territoriales: guerras fronterizas en Brasil

English: Territorial Spirits: Border wars in Brazil He estado mirando cómo espiritus diabolicos territoriales tratan de controlar países e incluso regiones dentro de un país como una provincia / estado o incluso una ciudad. En los días de Jesús, Poncio Pilato fue el quinto prefecto de Palestina, una región que hoy constituye gran parte del moderno Israel. A su vez, Palestina se dividió en tres distritos gobernados por un Tetrarca: Samaria, Galilea e Ituraea. En mi artículo anterior, estudié una liberación que tuvo lugar en una sinagoga en Capernaum, un importante centro administrativo en el Distrito de Galilea controlado por el Tetrarca Herodes Antipas, el hijo de Herodes el Grande. Después de arrojar un espíritu malvado a un hombre en una sinagoga de Capernaum, Marcos dice que el hombre fuerte o el espíritu maligno que controlaba esa área fue derribado (Marcos 3: 22-27). Después de eso, Marcos registra lo que siguió rápidamente (Marcos 1:28 – 2:15). Hubo sanidades (Marcos 1: 40-43; Marcos 2: 1-11), muchos demonios fueron expulsados ​​(Marcos 1: 32-34) y varias personas salvadas (Marcos …