All posts filed under: Bible

Are religious people stupid?

You may have heard the arguments, psychologists have done many studies, and they have found that atheists are more intelligent than religious people. Here is a quote from an article linked here: “the research found that atheists performed better overall than the religious participants even when demographic factors like age and education were taken into consideration. Agnostics mostly placed between atheists and believers on all tasks.” READ: Atheists are more intelligent than religious people, finds study How does that make you feel? One question is; does religion make people stupid, or do stupid people choose religion? I’m writing as a Christian; I believe in the God who made this world, and I believe that Jesus made the way for us to find God. Does that make me stupid? Recently, I explained what I believe to a young relative of mine, and his answer was something like “How can an intelligent person believe that?”  I still have a good relationship with my relative, but the experience taught me some important lessons. When believers are accused of …

Disturbing reaction to Jeremiah Johnson’s apology on Trump prophecy

UPDATED: On Jan 20, 2021, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. This was in complete contradiction to dozens of prophecies given in 2020 and earlier, that Donald Trump would win a second term as U.S. president. And I have to confess I was sucked into this prophecy vortex. (For the record, I believe in prophecy and I have received some very specific prophecies that came to pass.) However, when their prophecies about Donald Trump winning the Nov 3, 2020 election failed, citing election fraud, several doubled down and stretching out their prophecies stating that it would all turn around by the end of November. When that didn’t happen they prophesied it would be straightened up in December and when that didn’t happen, they pointed to the electoral college vote on Jan 6, 2021 and said Trump’s victory would be sorted by then. Other than a riot on Capitol Hill, it didn’t come to pass. But then they pressed ahead stating that God would pull out a miracle in the …

2021: Do we have a future now?

A few minutes ago, I got a surprise. I went for a walk, and the winter ice is slippery, so I was doing my careful penguin slide-walk. You have to live in a place with cold winters to know what that means. A neighbour came by, walking in the same way. We said the usual “Hello, how are you?,” and he was very happy to know that I was doing well. We walked together for a while, and he told me how concerned he was about our personal freedom. You probably know someone like him, and maybe you agree with him. Conspiracy people. He told me about a place that has a curfew, where millions of people are not allowed out at night, and this is supposed to keep us safe from the COVID virus. My neighbour bought extra groceries because he isn’t vaccinated. Apparently, he has been praying for me. I did not know that he had any religious beliefs, but he is very concerned about our future. I hear words like his in …

Have archaeologists discovered the dance floor on which John the Baptist was condemned to death?

According to a report on Live Science, archaeologists claimed to have found the very dance floor on which John the Baptist was condemned to death. In the Gospels, we are told the story behind John the Baptist’s execution at the hands of Herod of Antipas. The prophet had been actively condemning the marriage of Herod Antipas to a woman named Herodias. She was the wife of Herod’s half-brother Philip, who Herod actually stole while visiting Philip. Though the Romans were known for their notoriously low moral standards, even they were disgusted by Herod’s actions. Because of John’s constant condemnation of the marriage, Herod finally had John arrested. “But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him about Herodias, his brother’s wife, and about all the evil things Herod had done, added this to everything else—he locked John up in prison,” (Luke 3:19-20). It was apparent by this action, that the Baptist’s words were having an impact on people’s opinion of this marriage, and Herod wanted John stopped. But Herod was hesitant about having John executed, because …

It was legal until God said ‘No’

An interesting thing happened to Howard Kirby who lives in Ovid, Michigan. In 2019, he bought an old couch for $70 from a Habitat for Humanity Restore. After he had brought the couch home and set it up in his man-cave, it didn’t take long for his family to notice that the foot cushion was exceptionally hard. For several months, Kirby just put up with it, but finally his daughter-in-law couldn’t take it any longer and in January 2020, she cut it open to find out what was going on. Inside, she discovered a box stuffed with $43,170 in cash. It was a miracle. It was enough to pay off the mortgage on Kirby’s home and a lawyer even told Kirby that the money was legally his. But in an interview with MLive.com, Kirby said that God had a different opinion on the matter. “The Holy Spirit just came over me and said, ‘No, that’s really not yours.’” After God spoke to Kirby, he found out through the store who had donated the couch and …

Are micro churches, the church of the future?

The COVID lockdowns has caused some church leaders to take a second look at their church structures. Typically, most churches have meetings on Sunday morning in a larger building with one main pastor/teacher leading the service. But the lockdowns are challenging that structure as governments are fining, and in some instances even threatening jail time, if churches continue meeting on Sunday morning. With the lockdowns continuing into 2021, and in some instances with harsher restrictions that 2020, some churches are adapting. There is a new trend emerging called micro churches involving smaller gatherings of between 10 and 40 people. They typically meet in homes or a neutral setting such as coffee shops, and they are fully functioning churches. Many larger congregations already utilize house churches that meet during the week in addition to the main Sunday morning service. These additional meetings are often poorly attended, because if busy, people typically cut out the house church meeting since it is not considered the “church’s main service.” But some are wondering if these smaller groups should be …

The World keeps on Churning

Churning is not a word that most of us in daily conversation. When’s the last time you heard this: “Hey, Bob. What’s you got churning?” And that famous old song, Proud Mary encourages the “big wheel to keep on turning and Proud Mary to keep on burning” as the old paddlewheel travels down the river. It doesn’t say keep on churning. What is churning anyway? According to the Cambridge dictionary, churning means to move something, especially a liquid, with great force. Dairy farmers know it also means mixing milk until it becomes butter. If your stomach is churning, you feel nauseated or ill. Churning means to work up or to agitate. Did you know it is also used on the Bible? Nehemiah, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Habakkuk, and Jude all mention it. Perhaps the one that is most well-known is from Proverbs 30:33. “For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” Churning is not fun and it can be frightening to watch. When we …

Our History and Our Future: What scary things will happen in 2021?

Our History and Our Future: What scary things will happen in 2021? This is a history lesson. I am writing this on January 1, and everyone I know is worried about this new year 2021. What is going to happen? Should we worry? I might have an answer, and I found this answer in my closet yesterday. Our history is our future. We haven’t changed. Recently, I was reading something, and I saw two words that reminded me of something: “Nikolsk Ussurisk.” That led me to a search of my closet, and I found those words again. This is the story, from the beginning, including the parts where I guess what probably happened. I have a tiny French New Testament, published by the American Bible Society, in 1910, and probably printed in the U.S. It’s in excellent condition, and probably no one ever read it, including me. A few words are penned inside: “French” to tell English speakers that it’s a French Bible, and some faint handwriting “Franz [something] Nikolsk Ussurisk [something] 7/VII 1920. That’s …

Communist China: Jailed for doing God’s will?

On Dec. 28, 2020, China’s despotic communist regime sentenced a young woman, Zhang Zhan, 37, to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” in the communist regime. Zhan, a former lawyer, was working as a citizen journalist when she went to Wuhan, China in February 2020 to report on the COVID-19 pandemic that had broken out in the city. She shared videos showing empty streets and packed hospitals to reveal the full extent of the crisis that was taking place. In some of her videos, she criticized the communist regime’s attempts to silence whistleblowers and as well its harsh lock down that included welding the doors of people’s home shut and sealing their windows with metal bars so they couldn’t escape. In one of her last videos Zhan reported “The government’s way of managing this city has just been intimidation and threats. This is truly the tragedy of this country.” Shortly after this, Zhan was arrested. Many believe the severity of Zhan’s sentence reveals the regimes desire to stamp out any dissenting …

The importance of the word ‘in’

Sometimes we completely underestimate the importance of some of the smallest words in the English vocabulary. Today, I want to talk about the simple two-letter word ‘in’ and more specifically how it is used when the Apostle Paul tells us: 18 In [èv] everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASV) Notice in this verse, that Paul did not say to be thankful ‘for’ all things but rather to be thankful ‘in’ all things. The Greek word for ‘in’ is the equally short word ‘èv’ and means simply to be inside, into, or in and when used in the sense of time “during.” Simply, the Apostle Paul was encouraging believers that no matter what circumstance we are in, we need to be giving thanks, literally finding things to be thankful for. In a sense we are offering up sacrifices of thanksgiving, because in some situations it is the last thing we want to do, and being thankful requires a sacrifice of our mind, will and …

Book of Life

It is customary for essayists and journalists to write a year-end review or to make predictions for the new year. 2020 was a year that was difficult for many people. But how bad was it really? One year saw a flood that destroyed the entire world except for Noah and his family and the animals on the ark. Now that was a bad year. Other years saw wars and disasters, genocide and infanticide. And these things are still going on today. They are underreported since COVID is what sells this year. Wars still happen. Hurricanes, droughts, floods, volcanoes still happen. Whole peoples are being targeted and executed. And of course, we legally kill more babies now than at any other time in history. Every day people are being murdered. Children are being raped. People are being attacked. These are bad things. The kind of things that used to be reported. The kind of things that go on every single day. And then there are the good things. Babies are being born. People get married. Lives …

Low Temperature Religion: Is a Muslim Christmas possible?

There are stories this Christmas of Muslims putting up Christmas trees and putting gifts under them. I have read at least two of these stories in the news. The Muslims, in the stories, are immigrants living in places where most people celebrate Christmas. This seems strange; the holiday is Christ-mass, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Until now, Muslims never celebrated Christmas; they had their own special events on the calendar. From the descriptions, it looks like some Muslims chose to celebrate a cultural Christmas, with a decorated tree and presents, and maybe some thoughts about a jolly fat man coming down the chimney. There were probably no herald angels on the tops of the trees, and probably no manger scene with a baby Jesus. They were having fun, and enjoying the season. It’s easy for me to understand, and smile, and I am sure some strict conservative Muslims do not approve. These events happened in places where Muslims were immigrants, and a minority in the population. READ: I’m Muslim and didn’t celebrate Christmas …

Did Balaam prophesy about the Star of Bethlehem?

Balaam was an interesting Old Testament character. He was some type of diviner, perhaps soothsayer or sorcerer, whom King Balak of Moab hired to curse Israel before an upcoming battle. During the several prophecies that Balaam delivered, there was one that many believe referred to the star that showed up announcing Christ’s birth. Now obviously Balaam had a reputation as a seer, for Balak to be willing to purchase his services. And Balaam’s international fame was confirmed by Dutch archaeologists who found a text written about Balaam on a plastered wall dated to around 1200 BC in the ancient town of Deir Alla located in Jordan. The text was actually written by the Canaanites and spoke Balaam, son of Beor three times in the first four lines, exactly as the Bible describes him (Numbers 22:5). In this inscription, Balaam is referred to as a seer of the gods indicating he was well known and revered among the gentiles. The text also provides several of Balaam’s curses that suggests this was his specialty and apparently, these …

What is Melchizedek’s Temple Zero?

If you haven’t heard yet, you will learn soon about ‘Temple Zero’ in the city of Jerusalem. Long ago, the city of Jerusalem was named ‘Salem’ and it had a king Melchizedek. That king was a priest of the same God that the Jews and Christians worship, and we are told that Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation respected him and gave him some generous gifts. Now, some people claim that ‘Temple Zero’ has been found, in Jerusalem, and tourists can see it. READ: Temple Zero in Zion | Melchizedek’s Anointed Standing Stone in Jerusalem We can be cynical. This discovery may boost the local tourist industry, and someone will probably charge admission, if you want to see an old piece of stone. We can also know that a stone in Jerusalem probably marks a place where the God of the Bible was worshipped, and the people who worshipped there were not Jewish. The Israelite or Jewish people came much later and built a temple on a hill at Jerusalem, and rebuilt it twice. …

The power of the ‘Okay, fine, whatever’ prayer

As Christians, we often have an attitude about prayer similar to an anesthesiologist who said ‘Okay, fine, whatever,’ when one of America’s leading surgeons facing the cancellation of a surgery said he wanted to pray for a patient. At times, we treat prayer as more of an afterthought, something we should do as Christians, but sometimes treat like an inconvenience. But, CBN tells the interesting story of the power of a short “Okay, fine, whatever” prayer had in a person’s life, both physically and spiritually. Duke University’s Doctor Michael Haglund, one of the America’s leading cervical surgeons, was facing the cancellation of a surgery after the anesthesiologist reported that he could not put the man to sleep as his blood pressure was dangerously high at 220/120. He recommended cancelling the surgery. However, Doctor Haglund replied that before that happened, he wanted to pray for his patient. The anesthesiologist responded with “Okay, fine, whatever.” And in the operating room, with the patient wide awake, Dr. Haglund uttered a simple prayer and in a few seconds the …

Radical Disruption: Your life is about to change.

How are you doing this year? Did you see all these changes coming, in 2020? I didn’t. It’s clear to all of us that things are still changing. Everyone I know does not like the restrictions with the COVID pandemic, and we wonder when things will be normal again. That will be never. Disruption to our lives, and the cost of coping with COVID restrictions is forcing businesses, employers, to close; and they might never re-open. The world has changed forever. READ: Covid-19 will permanently change the world’s economy So, what does that mean to us? What happens when my life changes, and keeps changing? What will happen to you? This is not an abstract economic theory, this is a permanent change to the way we live, and it has already happened. Soon we will see and feel the effects. I work at a job that I really enjoy, and in a few days it will all be over. I can’t tell you what it is until the work has stopped because I work under …

Healing the racial divide: A black and white congregation merge

An interesting thing happened in Salisbury, North Carolina when two churches decided to merge. Now, there is nothing particularly unusual about churches merging, because I was even part one several years back. But this was a bit different because it involved the merging of a black church pastored by a young black man, Derek Hawkins, and a predominantly white mega church pastored by Jay Stewart. And in the light of the racial divisions appearing in America’s social fabric, this may have more significance than we realize as both pastors felt they were led by the Holy Spirit to do this. In an interview with the Christian Post (CP), Hawkins said the first step to the unlikely merger started in 2014, when he took his daughter to have her hair done and came across a sign for a downtown extension of Stewart’s mega church, The Refuge. This led to Derek attending a service and eventually asking the older middle-aged Stewart to take on a mentoring role as Derek was preparing to pastor a church in nearby …

Are You Human Clutter?

There are times in which we find our lives busy and cluttered. During those times, my desk looks like a bomb went off and my office is so jammed with donations and ministry material that I can barely open the door. While busyness and clutter go hand in hand, there are different kinds of clutter? Some clutter is comprised of the things we need. It is necessary stuff that just needs to be organized. There is another category of clutter that is stuff we don’t need but we want. This stuff needs to be either discarded or put in a place that is not taking up the area of the things we need. The third pile of clutter includes the things we neither want or need. This stuff just needs to be shoveled into the debris pile and out of the house. As difficult as it is to deal with these categories of clutter, there are even worse types of clutter. Clutter that we almost always avoid dealing with. Human clutter! There are people in …

The Covid Crisis: Are you ready for the virtual God?

We are living in strange times, and this is a very strange year. I don’t want to criticize the authorities who must make hard choices, but some restrictions are strange. Where I live, the government and the medical authorities are being cautious with social restrictions. We are mostly warned to be careful, and given good advice. I haven’t heard about fines or arrests for breaking the rules. My work, for the government, is high-risk, and I have a generous supply of spray cleaner and hand disinfectant. I also have training on how to use the cleaners and stay safe. A neighbor goes to a church near us and they are probably still refusing to wear masks in their services. No one is talking about this in the news, my neighbor told me when I met him in the back alley. Do you believe in God? If you are a believer, what tells you to believe? What are the signals that you need? Do you attend a church or a temple, a mosque or a synagogue, …

While more North Koreans report seeing a Bible, problems in South Korea

Despite the extreme persecution of Christians in North Korea, more people in the Hermit Kingdom are reporting they have seen a Bible. Each year, the North Korean Human Rights Center (KNHR) publishes a report on religious persecution in that communist regime considered to be the worst in the world. NKHR gathers its information by interviewing people who have managed to defect from North Korea. In a recent White Paper, the organization reported that the number of people who reported seeing a Bible in North Korea has steadily risen by 4% annually over the past 20 years. Prior to 2000, the organization said only 16 defectors had reported seeing Scripture while in that communist country. However, that number has grown to 559 since that time. This is all the more remarkable considering it is illegal to own a Bible and being found with one will result in a person being sent to one of the country’s infamous prison camps, from which they never return. The persecution of Christians in North Korea significantly increased in 2014, when …

What About God?

My first sermon was in an established downtown church. I think there was probably close to two hundred people. My sermon was titled, The Family that Forgot God. This was back in 1984 I believe. Thirty-six years have passed and the world has changed so drastically since then. The division and hatred weren’t so strong then. We argued fiercely about politics, religion, and human rights but we didn’t burn down neighborhoods or attack each other. I don’t even think we cancelled anyone back then. We may have hated but we put up with each other. And somethings are still the same. Back in the Eighties, we had a recession. Interest rates skyrocketed. People lost their jobs and their homes. Society in North America became even more divided especially between the rich and the not so rich.   The biggest thing that is the same is our need for God. God never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” In a world in which change is rapid and destructive, …

Have you found your four-hour work week?

Last night we went out to get some chores done, and I almost had a life-changing event. Something almost happened, and if it had, I probably would not be writing this; I would be in some state of anguish. I was driving home in the dark, on a freeway. Here is some advice from me; limit conversations while you drive and watch the road ahead. That’s what saved me. I also give God credit for watching over me. In the darkness, on the freeway, I thought I saw something dark in front of me. All conversation stopped, and I saw a man walking in a traffic lane, with his back to the traffic. I guess he was trying to commit suicide, and probably under the influence of something. Somehow, I was able to slow and swerve, and I missed him. We called the police as soon as we could, but I haven’t heard if they found anyone. Imagine your vehicle badly damaged, and a dead body lying on a freeway at night. That did not …

Using strip clubs to be as wise as serpents?

When Jesus was sending out His disciples to preach the Gospel, the Lord gave them some very strange advice, He said: 16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16 ESV) Many struggle to interpret what Jesus meant by this. Biblically, the serpent was portrayed as crafty and deceptive when it tempted Adam and Eve to fall into sin. Meanwhile, the dove was considered clean, a picture of innocence and the Holy Spirit. So how do these two conflicting metaphors work together? I think the glue that brings them together is that the disciples were being sent out as sheep among wolves. The church has enemies. We need to understand how this enemy works and be as crafty when it comes to dealing with them. But this craftiness needs to be balanced with the innocence of doves meaning we can’t use this craftiness to take personal advantage of others. A couple recent stories may portray this balance at work. As …

Do you see apples or do you see pies?

I was reading an interesting story on Charisma News about an interview with Barry Maracle, a pastor, author and prophet, who is convinced that God has a purpose for your life. Maracle shared a story about his Native American grandfather who was a pastor with the Assemblies of God. His grandfather would bring out a white board and put a small apple seed on it and ask his students what they saw. Immediately they all focussed their attention on the board. But gradually their eyes would shift to the tiny apple seed, and they would describe it. As his grandfather pushed them on what else they saw, some would speak of the giant tree that would spring from that tiny seed. But for his grandfather, even this wasn’t enough, they needed to see beyond that. “My grandpa would say, ‘No, you see bakeries.’ ‘You see apple pie.’ ‘You see everything that produces after its own kind,” said Maracle. Like that tree, we all have a greater purpose in life beyond growing and living. And for …

My new favourite spiritual warfare song

We have weapons to pull down spiritual strongholds: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJ) And in the days of King Jehoshaphat: 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord,For His mercy endures forever.” 22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. (2 Chronicles 20:21-23 NKJ)

False Prophets

The anointing falls where it may. It is from the Lord God and it is not controlled by men. It is not at the whim of any man that the Holy Spirit decides when he will release the gifts of God. Some preachers make good money deceiving others by claiming the Holy Spirit is here or there or that if you are close enough to God, you will be specially anointed. One man even is trying to sell prayer cloths he claims are anointed. I’ve been to many different styles of services including some genuine times in which people were healed. I have also been to some in which we were told to prepare to receive healing or in which we were told miracles were going to happen. I find these types of claims disturbing. There is no doubt that God performs miracles and there is no doubt that God heals. I am a happy recipient of both. What I find offensive is the idea that the Holy Spirit listens to man’s will. Any person …

Orthorexia Nervosa: Do you have a food religion?

Are you a Vegan, or a Keto Carnivore, or maybe a high-fat, low-carb foody? Are you into fasting, or apple cider vinegar, or PSMF (Protein-Sparing Modified Fast), or the Paleo Diet, or is your diet Perfectly Balanced? I might have missed a few options. In our COVID 19 pandemic there are new ideas. Are you getting enough vitamin D? After decades of fast food and other unhealthy eating, we have a pandemic of health problems, often called metabolic syndrome, and often leading to permanent diabetes. This is happening in the wealthiest parts of the world, where we have an abundance of food at low prices. It seems that we make bad choices, when we have the power to choose. Here is my version of the “Bratman Test,” a method to test if you have Orthorexia Nervosa, or maybe a food religion: Does your healthy diet interfere with relationships and your social life? Do you feel guilty if you eat food not approved for your diet, and do you judge others who break your rules? Does …

A Third Jewish Temple, Yea or Nay?

There have been two temples in Israel’s history. The first built by King Solomon, was destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians and a second one built by Ezra when King Cyrus and Darius allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem from their Babylonian. This second Temple underwent major renovations by King Herod and it was the temple that Jesus visited. That second Temple was obliterated by the Romans in 70 AD and since then Orthodox Jews believe that God wants a third Temple built based on prophecies in Ezekiel that spoke of a temple that did not fit the descriptions of the previous two temples (Ezekiel 40-42). According to Israel365 news, an orthodox Jewish news site, many orthodox Jews are convinced a third temple must be built. They also believe that it will be much larger than the first two because it needs to make room for arrival of the gentiles who will be part of the temple worship (Isaiah 2:2-3). Israel365 writes: The details of the prophecy related to the building of the …

Grace Community Church vindicated after false accusation

While photographs have emerged of California’s Democrat Governor, Gavin Newsom, flaunting his state’s COVID regulations at a recent party, Grace Community Church was falsely accused of causing a COVID outbreak when three members of its 7,000 member congregation caught the virus. According to CBN, this resulted in the church facing additional outbreak restrictions from the city’s health department. As part of its lockdown, California has limited church attendance to 25% of capacity to a maximum of 100. However, the mega church, pastored by John MacArthur, chose to remain open and has fought several court cases as government officials trying to force its submission to the state’s COVID-1984 restrictions. But things took a turn at the end of October, when an article in the Los Angeles Times, entitled, Coronavirus outbreak strikes L.A. megachurch that defied public health orders, accused the church of having a COVID outbreak when three members caught COVID, because of the church’s refusal to obey the lockdown orders. Yes, they described it as an outbreak when just three people caught the virus. However, …

Making A List

Do you ever list things? Many people make grocery lists or lists of supplies for a project or school. The other day I made a list of things that give me a headache. I don’t know why I did this but it was an eye opener. Go ahead and try it. Even mentally I bet there is a pretty long and growing list of things that give you a headache. Some of our lists will probably be very similar, while others may not have anything the same on them. But it is unlikely that any two lists will be an exact match. Some of the items on my list are American politics, government corruption, racism, abortion, poor treatment of indigenous people, and closed churches and open bars. I don’t have to explain my list and you don’t have to explain yours. If we did, it will be an essay and not a list. And I know of at least one person that would argue with me on almost every item anyway. How do lists help? …

My Father Died: Where do I go from here?

I don’t like to write about personal things here, but this was a shock to me. I got a message from my sister that Dad was failing, in his nursing home, and we needed to say goodbye. That was Sunday, and he lasted until Monday afternoon. I am waiting for the funeral to start as I write this, If you are wondering, I’m doing well. Dad was 95 and he lived a good life. He finally died from old age, and not from any accident or illness. In this pandemic year, when everyone seems to be angry about politics, my Dad reminded me that I have a personal life. Dad gave us a stable family and a heritage to be proud of. When I was a boy, we visited the home farm and Dad pointed at a local cemetery and said” Simon Fraser is buried there.” The huge city of Vancouver is on the Fraser River, and in the suburbs is Simon Fraser University. That famous man was a neighbor near the family farm, on …

Fighting for religious freedom: Are Christians verging on becoming second class citizens?

Samuel Alito, 70, was appointed to the US Supreme Court in 2007 under US President George Bush. He is considered an originalist when it comes to the US Constitution, meaning he interprets it as it was intended by the original writers, not by what a person wants it to mean. On Thursday, he was delivering a speech online for the Federalist Society and warned that Christians are verging on becoming second class citizens: “[There are] emerging trends in the assessment of individual rights. This is especially evident with respect to religious liberty. It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters , religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.” He added that the COVID-1984 is simply exposing this underlying sentiment and is being used to restrict religious freedom. As an example, Alito referred specifically to what happened in Nevada where Alito said the government “blatantly discriminated against houses of worship.” The state government placed heavy COVID restrictions on Houses of Worship while not doing the same for Casinos that in practice function very …

Are you called to be an encourager?

A study by the American Heart Association (AHA) revealed that the spirituality helped people who experienced a stroke in recovering from their affliction. The study involved 200 people from Italy who had experienced a stroke with mild to moderate symptoms. The researchers used a survey developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to determine the individuals level of spirituality as well as physical and psychological well-being. But this survey had an interesting twist. Not only were the people who had the stroke asked the questions, but so were the people who provided the care. According to AHA, one of the biggest problems encountered by stroke survivors and caregivers is depression and this can negatively impact a person’s recovery. The survey found that stroke survivors who showed the highest levels of spirituality also reported the highest levels of physical improvement and as well psychological well-being. Faith and hope made a difference. But the same also held true for the caregivers. Those who reported the highest levels of spirituality showed the least amount of depression symptoms. The …

How a prophetic word changed Gemma Hunt’s life

Gemma Hunt, 36, is not well known on this side of the ocean, but in Britain she has gained a significant media presence as a children TV presenter on BBC. It was a career sparked by a prophetic word she received as a teenager. She currently is the lead presenter on CBeebies’ Swashbuckle, a pirate theme BBC game show targeted at two to seven-year-olds and also on the BBC’s program Songs of Praise. Since she was hired by BBC in 2002, Hunt has not been shy about her faith in Christ. She was raised in a Christian home and attended a local Baptist church, but admits she was a bit of rebel. In an interview with Premier Christianity, Hunt said that changed while attending Hill House, a Christian summer camp, where she made a decision for Christ at the age 11. But it was while attending a summer camp five years later, that she received a prophetic word that would set the course for her life. She was 16 and attending a Christian camp called …

‘Let my people go’

When God was ready to deliver Israel out of Egypt, He gave these instructions to Moses: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” (Exodus 9:1 NIV) What we often miss in this passage is that God uses people in the fight for freedom. And several churches in California are facing similar battles as different levels of government are using legal means to try to stop churches from holding worship services during the COVID lockdowns. And churches and pastors are standing up to them. Perhaps the most ludicrous involved a $1,000 fine levied against Lady of Angels Catholic Church based in Arcadia, CA, after 11 people were caught leaving the 500-seat building after a time of prayer. The church was actually fined $500 for allegedly breaking COVID regulations and $500 for not allowing an inspector to enter the building. On the other side of the fine spectrum, Calvary Chapel …