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We Almost Lost It All Last Week

Where I live, we are just recovering from some severe cold weather. Apparently, we were colder than the South Pole. The people who tell us about the weather like to tell stories about the weather, but in the middle of the cold spell, we nearly lost everything we have at home, possibly including our lives. This really happened. Last Sunday, we had a stay at home day. I like to go to church, but I had vehicle problems in the cold, and it seemed wise to stay safe at home. We had a boring day, but when we thought about going out, we just looked out the window and changed out minds. Late in the day, I asked my wife if she wanted to take a break and go out, and we were thinking about it. That’s when we heard the noise. I thought I heard the sound of a vehicle backing up outside. You probably know how a back-up alarm beeps many times. This alarm beeped too many times. It almost seemed like someone …

Obeying the 'do not enter' signs

I was talking with a friend at a Christmas party last year, and we both recognized our need for healthy boundaries and wished we had understood this principle sooner as we could have avoided some unpleasant experiences. Healthy boundaries are vital because they help keep us on track with the important things in our lives. We both agreed at times, we had given more attention to the needs of others than we did to our families and personal needs. And out of my friend’s mouth came the final answer that I needed to secure everything I had been learning about boundaries.  She said maybe this is what ‘entering the narrow gate’ means because the Bible talks about how easy it is to take the broad path and how hard or difficult it is to take the narrow path: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it.” Matthew 7: 12 -13 I sincerely believe the path to life is choosing …

The new violent enemy of the Evangelical church: Radical feminists

In the past we could hold different opinions. If you didn’t agree with someone, you would agree to disagree. But that is rapidly changing. Increasingly, we see a world where radical groups are resorting to violence in an effort to intimidate those who don’t hold similar opinions into silence. Shortly after Christmas, an Evangelical church in Tübingen, Germany was attacked resulting in damage estimated at 40,000 Euros ($45,000US). The vandals set fire to the congregation’s mini-bus parked on the street in front of the church and as well spray painted the church building. Attacks on churches are definitely on the increase, but what was unusual about this one was the source of the attack. According to the National Catholic Register, a radical group of feminists, who called themselves the “Feminist Autonomous Cell” (FAC) claimed in a post on line that they were behind the vandalism. In their diatribe, the group said it attacked the church because of its “anti-feminist” views and its pro-life stand. Then a few days later, the same group claimed it was …

Did the 'Revealer of secrets', expose Jeopardy's botched attempt to cut a question?

The popular TV quiz, show, Jeopardy, was first created in 1964 by Mel Griffin and has gone through several renditions and the current format being broadcast today, currently hosted by Alex Trebek, was created by Sony in 1984. Its unique format provides answers and then requires competing contestants to phrase the question. However, its episode that ran on Friday, January 10, 2020, caused quite a controversy. Under a category called “Where is the church?,” the contestants were then posed with the answer: “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity.” The Church of Nativity claims to be on the very site that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Show host Alex Trebek specifically noted the contestants had to give the current country. In response to this answer, one of the Jeopardy contestants quickly answered “What is Palestine?” When Trebek revealed that answer was incorrect, another contestant quickly answered “What is Israel?” and was awarded the right answer. But the answer and resulting question was hugely controversial. Though it is not a country, Palestine does …

The One Thing

Curly Washburn told Mitch Robbins that the secret of life is to find one thing. He didn’t elaborate but as the movie and its sequel roll on Mitch figures it out. Find the one thing that makes you happy and stick to it. Is this advice from an old movie, City Slickers, good advice? According to the world it us sound and solid. You can’t please everyone so you got to please yourself is more than just lyrics from the song, Garden Party, by John Fogerty.  It is an anthem of the modern world.  What if I told you that both these bits of advice parallel the Holy Word of God? They don’t point us in the right direction but they have the same idea of focus and intent to walk our own path in a world telling us who we are  Jesus told us that all the prophets and laws in the Bible can be summed in a simple two sentence statement and that we are to focus on that. Although Curly wasn’t that far …

Is the American Eagle in the Bible?

One thing I know about Bible prophecy, messages about the future, is that we don’t know much. People who claim to know exactly what will happen, and when, are fakes. We are told by Jesus: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) and one sign of the end of this time is history will be ‘experts’ identifying the second coming of Jesus ‘here He is.’ We are told to ignore them. (Matthew 24:23-24) So, I don’t want to be a false prophet, but this is an interesting question: Is the U.S.A. in Bible prophecy? Does that nation have a role in the end of this time in history? Some things are clear. The nation of Israel did not exist a few decades ago, and it does now. That was promised in the Bible; Israel would be restored. Also, the modern nation of Israel is usually a close ally of the U.S., and has been protected by its ally, …

Turning over the tables in your heart

“You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 The Bible tells us that the truth will set us free and for some a radical transformation can take place, as they are instantaneously delivered from addictions and unhealthy lifestyles upon putting their faith in Christ. Then there is the rest of us, who for whatever reason, don’t see a similar thing happening. Sometimes this is because we haven’t fully faced up to the truth about ourselves. This verse suggests there may be unpleasant things that we need to find out about ourselves before we can change. Over the past five years, I have developed a checklist made up of three questions that I ask myself every so often to expose the truth: Am I playing the victim card? Am I blaming someone else for my failure? Do I need to forgive someone? Why do I ask myself these three questions? The reason is that I am the only one ultimately responsible for my well-being. I can’t change what other people …

Why is Montana's Glacier National Park changing its signs?

There is strange thing happening in Glacier National Park, located in Montana, USA, they have already replaced some signs and are planning to change others. It is not that changing or even removing signs is unique in itself, as that probably happens on a semi regular basis in the park, but what is strange, is the reason why. Because of the hysteria built up around man-made Global Warming, the park had been told by the US Geological Survey that its glaciers, the very reason for the park’s existence, would disappear by 2020. The signs dutifully put up by park officials about ten years ago warned visitors its glaciers will have all melted away by this year. Basically, they were saying in our social media driven climate, get one last selfie before they melt away. Well in 2019, it was very apparent due to increased snowfall that the glaciers would not be gone in 2020. You will see the full irony in the increased snowfall in Dr. Viner’s quote at the end of this article. Uncharacteristically, …

God is still in the dream business

I recently read an interesting, but three-year old, article on Mike Lindell. You may not know him, but he is the owner of MyPillow, a business he started in 2004 that manufactures a poly-foam pillows. According to MyPillow’s website, the pillows are made up of interlocking fill that adjusts to your sleeping position and it has been very successful and many testify that the pillow has changed their lives. Now the article, The Preposterous Success Story of America’s Pillow King, was written in 2017, so it is a bit dated. The company, based in Chaska, Minnesota, had sold over 26 million pillows and employs about 1,500 people with annual sales of around $260 million at that time. But what really caught my attention is where Lindell got the idea for his unique pillow. The byline for the article reads: Former drug addict Mike Lindell’s multiillion-dollar idea came to him in a dream. The Preposterous Success Story of America’s Pillow King by Josh Dean According to Lindell, he got the idea for the pillow in a …

Learning Womenese

It pays to be bi-lingual. I was born into a family that spoke both German and English. However, I was only taught to speak English. However, as a man, I think and speak Manian. And believe it or not, I also think and speak Womenese, the international language of women. I can think like a woman, if I have to, and I can understand their language and customs enough to get by and have even translated for other men on several occasions. This is not to say that women are better than men or that men are better than women. This is (political incorrectness warning) to say that men and women are different. We look different, we feel different, we think different, and we even talk different. That is how God made us. This difference is a wonderful thing that human pride and the forces of darkness have exploited and turned into conflict. And this is why we need people who at least understand both the conceptual language of women and the literal language of …

Can You Talk To A Criminal?

One thing we are not ready for, in Christian churches, is criminals. Recently, someone pulled out a gun in a church in Texas and started shooting. We all probably know that someone in the church had a gun and shot the shooter almost immediately. The highly skilled church member, with a gun, saved many lives. In most churches that I know, a criminal shooter could kill many people, and escape from the church. I have never seen a retired law enforcement professional with a loaded gun, in church, except in videos from that church in Texas. I have lived in a small town, and church leaders told me that petty criminals travel from town to town and go to every church they can find. They demand money because they are poor and need help, they claim. Usually they have a story about travelling on the highway, and needing money for gas. They get “gas” money from every church, and move on to the next town, and repeat. Some of them make a good living. Looking …

Time to quit reliving the past

The start of a New Year is usually a time we look ahead at things we want to achieve. This year is particularly significant because it is also the start of a new decade. But studies show that 92% of us fail to achieve our New Year’s resolutions, and I believe it is because we are going about it all wrong. In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul talks about an important key to achieving future goals in life: “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13 First understand it is a process. Success won’t happen immediately. Paul was considered by many to be the greatest apostle of the early church, yet despite all he achieved, Paul said that he hadn’t fully attained everything God had for him. We are on a journey. There will be good days and …

As in the Days of Noah: Three warnings from the church shooting in Texas

There might be three things that we can take away from the violent church shooting that took place at the West Freeway Church of Christ, in White Settlement, Texas on Sunday, December 29, 2019. A transient walked into the church during the service and opened fire killing one person and critically injuring another, before being killed by the church’s armed security guard. It was a disturbing act of violence, but is part of a trend of violent attacks against churches in recent years: June 2015: A man walks into a Bible study of Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston with a gun killing nine. September 2017: One person was killed and seven people wounded after a gunman started shooting at a church in Nashville, Tennessee. November 2017: 26 people were killed, and 20 wounded, when a gunman opened fire at a church service at the First Baptist Church in Sunderland Springs, Texas So what exactly is going on? As in the Days of Noah Jesus warned in his description of the end times, that in …

Palestinian leader claims Jesus is first Islamic martyr

According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the day before Christmas, one of Palestine’s senior leaders, Tawfiq Tirawi, who is also a member of the Fatah Central Committee, made an interesting comment on Facebook. He referred to Jesus as the first Islamic martyr: “This is blessed Christmas, The birthday of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, the first Palestinian and the first Shahid (Islamic Martyr).” Tawfiq Tirawi Facebook page, Dec 24, 2019 The word “shahid” refers to a person who has died for his Islamic beliefs and as a reward will receive 72 virgins in heaven. Of course the Quran was not written until six centuries after Christ died when an angel gave it to Muhammad between 609 AD and 632 AD. Nevertheless, Islam retroactively claims Jesus as their own Islamic prophet and teacher. Islam also claims the Old Testament Jewish prophets, such as Moses and Isaiah, were Islamic. As demonstrated by Tirawi’s tweet, some Muslims have even taken to celebrating Christmas. In fact, Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas declared Christmas as a Palestinian holiday, and it is even …

Forgive and Love

Forgiveness is a tough thing. It is like it has a mind of its own.  There are even times in which we can say we forgive someone and actually believe we did forgive them only to find ourselves angry at them and replaying the hurt over and over again. There are people who seem to forgive every offense. On the other end of the forgiveness spectrum are people who never forgive. They remember every hurt and wear their anger as armor to protect them from further hurts. The first group allow themselves to be trampled upon and the second group do the trampling. There are many formulas written about forgiveness including steps to forgiveness, rituals to help us forgive, and even face to face meetings set up with the ones who hurt us. Most of these are external and miss what the Bible says. Forgiveness is based on the greatest commands of Jesus. Commands that sum up all the laws and prophets of the Old Testament. Jesus said, “Love your God with all your mind, …

Embrace your journey

Sadly, for many years I believed that my purpose was tied into some far off destination that was going to drop into my lap someday. And, I stumbled over my wondering and worrying about what my purpose was and what my goals should be to help me accomplish whatever my purpose was. Even though I was married, had a family and worked part-time, I somehow excluded all this from being part of my purpose in life. Therefore discovering my purpose in life was on hold. It had to be on hold because I did not have the time nor energy to pursue anything else.  My hands were quite full. Then I made the fatal mistake of comparing myself to other women, who worked, had families and were in leadership roles in their community and accomplishing great things while successfully raising their kids and supporting their husbands. As former US President Teddy Roosevelt once quipped,  “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparing myself to these women caused me to stumble over what was right in front …

37 | The other Christmas story

A few days before Christmas, and my wife and I were out doing my most favorite past-time at Christmas, returning an item we had bought a few days earlier when we saw a brightly decorated yard that not only included an inflatable Santa and reindeer but also a six-foot inflatable red and green dragon. When did dragons become a Christmas decoration? Well believe it or not there is a dragon in one of the Christmas stories recorded in the Bible. It is just not a story we often recite a Christmas.

We're Fantastic!

I recently did a Google search on fantasy. You probably will not be surprised that the overwhelming majority of web posts have to do with sexual fantasies. There are other fantasies that are way more subtle and way less guilt ridden than these. There are two types of fantasies in which we take part. These are not daydreaming which are usually short-lived imaginations about people or events. The purpose of daydreams is to escape momentarily from our lives and allow ourselves to visit the land of what-if. Fantasies tend to be either forward-looking or backwards reaching. In them we rehearse what could be and what was. They are either negative or positive and often include fulfillment of goals or visions of potential disasters. An example of a negative fantasy is rehearsing past mistakes. When your fantasy has much to do with the phrase, “I should have…”, chances are you are replaying a past event. Your mistake could be real or perceived. This fantasy reminds you that either you were wrong or you were wronged. Emotionally …

What is Happening in India?

We should all know about the riots and demonstrations that are happening in India. At this time, more than twenty people have been killed, property has been damaged, and the reputation of the nation is at risk. The problem is a kind of civil war between religious groups, Hindus and Muslims. I am writing about this as a Christian, and I don’t want to take sides. I hope the people involved can find a solution for their disagreements. India and Pakistan have a history of violence between Hindus and Muslims, and millions have died. RELATED: Death toll in India citizenship law protests climbs to 23: CBC Father Raymond de Souza: Is India abandoning secularism to exclude Muslims?: National Post In the most recent violence, the Government of the nation has been accused of discrimination against Muslims. The party that governs India is composed of Hindu nationalists, and the troubles can be seen as a religious argument. The Government has passed a bill to give citizenship to refugees who escape from three neighboring countries. Those neighboring …

It’s up to you, not them

Christmas is often the time of year when unhealthy feelings towards others are exposed and maybe it’s the pressure of the season that makes these ‘triggers’ more volatile. Lately I have been developing clear principles to follow when ‘I am offended.’ How to forgive and keeping myself in the mindset of ‘forgiveness’ often eludes me.  For me, it has to be simple, as my mind grasps concepts best when they are easy to remember.  First, I needed to get a grip on my ‘trigger’ moments when I find myself suddenly engulfed in waves of emotions that carry me to places where I don’t want to go. Fundamentally, forgiving is a choice we make to step forward and away from the feelings that hold us hostage to the unhealthy energies of anger, bitterness, resentment and offense.  One key principle that has helped me immensely this past week has been allowing myself to feel the emotions and acknowledge each one as they roll around in my life. It doesn’t do us any good to stifle what we …

Why do people hate themselves?

England’s Daily Mail reported on a disturbing trend among young people in England uncovered by researchers from the University of Warwick. And if it is happening in England, I suspect the same trends are taking place in North America. According to a survey of 19,000 teens aged 14 years old, the research team led by Dr Dimitra Hartas discovered that over 15% had intentionally hurt themselves in 2018. Also called self harm, it refers to the secretive practice of people directly injuring themselves. This can be done by hitting, scratching, burning and arguably the most common method, cutting. Equally concerning is that girls accounted for nearly 75% of those instances of self harm. Their research also revealed there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people conducting self harm over the last 20 years. Their study, reported in the Research Papers in Education, revealed that the number of people aged 16 to 74 who intentionally hurt themselves has nearly tripled between 2000 and 2014, from 2.4% of the population to 6.4% in 2014. …

Who were the Magi?

One of the tough questions surrounding the story of Jesus’ birth revolves around the magi. Who were they? Well looking at the Biblical account of their arrival only recorded in Matthew, we can determine several things: First we don’t know how many there were. The plural version of this word is used in Matthew, so we know there was more than one. Though they brought three expensive gifts — gold, myrrh and frankincense — it doesn’t mean there were three of them. Some believe this involved a larger group, as many as 12. For sure, they would have been travelling in a caravan for protection. Secondly, they were important enough that King Herod eventually requested a meeting with them. Their gifts express wealth or political connections and probably both. In fact, we read that Herod and all of Jerusalem was troubled by what they had to say about the new king (Matthew 2:3). In other words, Herod respected their opinion enough to be very concerned. We know that thee magi did not arrive at the …

How God paved the way for a marriage with a prophetic vision

I read an interesting story by Joshua Rogers of the unusual circumstance that led to him getting engaged to his wife Raquel. Joshua is a believer and a regular contributor on Fox News. He believes in God. He believes in marriage. This story reveals God’s divine and prophetic intervention that prepared the way for this event. When Joshua approached his future father-in-law, Charlie, to ask for permission, Joshua said there was initially lots of resistance. Joshua and Raquel had only been going out for three months and this would result in red flags for any parent. Joshua said the two talked in circles, with Charlie expressing his concerns and Joshua trying to answer them. And after a conversation that lasted about 90 minutes, Charlie said that he wasn’t really comfortable with Joshua’s plans, not that he was opposed to them getting married, just not right now. Charlie described his resistance as a yellow light. But in a matter of a few seconds, everything dramatically changed when Charlie asked when Roger was planning to ask Raquel …

Deceived!

Spiritual warfare uses trust to deceive. Subtle deception is the direction our culture is taking. A direction that will deceive even the most faithful if one is not careful. This whole deceit thing could be solved with one single question: Who knows more, man or God? The answer is obvious. Then we ought to trust in God and only believe Him, right? So why don’t we? Spiritual warfare is not just us as individuals being attacked and harassed by unclean and evil spirits. Sure we get tempted to lie, cheat, and steal among other things. And yes, the voice of the evil one is louder than the whisper of God or our own consciousness. I personally have gotten my butt kicked a few times by these things. There is a wider spiritual war happening at the same time. The war for our trust. And this is where mass deceit is possible. Remember the saying; “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”? This is true because the squeaks gets our attention. Let’s bring that into the spiritual …

Impeachment, Brexit and Armageddon

It’s impossible to miss the two endless arguments about impeaching the President of the United States and removing Britain from the European Union, Brexit. The impeachment argument has continued for months and Brexit for years. Armageddon is a popular cultural concept of a final battle that will bring an end to human history. Are they all related somehow? In the Bible, there is a persistent reference to a final battle that is prophesied to come. We are told that the nations of the world will attack Israel, to completely destroy it and God will defend Israel. The combined armies will assemble in the valley or plain of Megiddo, a wide space in northern Israel, Hor Megiddo in Hebrew. Megiddo is a town and our word ‘Armageddon’ is from the Hebrew name of the flat space nearby. “Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It …

The 'Act' of Forgiveness

How do we forgive? I seem to have forgotten because this past week I was triggered twice and found myself engulfed by emotions that had not been there 30 seconds before the incidents.  And, I struggled by first reacting and then instinctively trying to push the thoughts out of my mind. I knew I needed to forgive and wanted to forgive but the angry thoughts swirled in my mind and the more I tried to get rid of them, the more they kept resurfacing. It was out of control, and I was not handling things well as I spouted off to my husband how I felt. I thought I knew better and also believed I could handle these unexpected triggers. But obviously, I was wrong. I immediately recognized that my emotions had a hold on me and were pulling me into an unhealthy state of mind. I asked myself, who was in charge at this moment? Well, it obviously wasn’t me. The Bible talks about our need to forgive, because our Heavenly Father knows that …

The importance of finding God's purpose for your life

Viktor Frankl, who died in 1997 at the age of 92, was a holocaust survivor. He and his wife along with his parents and other Jewish family members were sent to Nazi concentration camps in 1942. Frankl, who even endured Auschwitz, was the only member of his family to survive the holocaust. After the war, he developed a form of therapy called logotherapy that was based on his time in the concentration camp. He along with others were able to mentally and physically survive their concentration camp experience by finding a purpose and meaning in the midst of the horror. In fact, he even wrote a book on this entitled “Man’s Search for Meaning” based on his concentration camp experience. He believed that within people there is an instinctive desire for meaning. We all need a purpose for our life and people attain happiness when they find that sense of meaning. He went on to suggest that many forms of mental illnesses such as depression can be attributed to this lack of meaning because without …

Was anti-Semitism behind the Jersey City attack?

It was described as a battle scene involving hundreds of shots being fired in a two-hour gun-battle between police and two suspects barricaded inside a Kosher market in Jersey City. Six people were killed including, the alleged suspects, a police officer and three people inside the Kosher store that serves a large Jewish population in Jersey City. The confrontation started at a nearby cemetery, when a police officer went to the scene as part of an investigation of a murder a few days earlier. The two suspects shot the officer, killing him, and then fled the scene in a U-haul van and drove to the KC Kosher Supermarket and open fired on the Jewish store. According to reports, two police officers near the market engaged the two individuals who then ran inside the store, set up barricades and started firing back. After a two-hour stand-off, the police stormed the market with an armored vehicle and killed the two suspects. Inside they also found the bodies of three Jewish people, who had apparently been killed by …

Joseph and Mary traveling to Egypt by Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427) Credit: jean louis mazieres/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Jewishness of Christianity

Two recent articles speak to a divide, that exists in some parts of Christianity. The first involves the Mayor of the Norwegian town of Strand, Irene Heng Lauvsnes, who asked the Klippen Pentecostal Church to take down the star of David that was on display as part of its Christmas celebration in a local municipal park. The church has held ceremonies in the park for years and traditionally used the Star of David to symbolize the star that informed the magi of the birth of Christ. But this year, the mayor asked the church take it down because the Star of David symbolized the state of Israel and the Jews, and apparently some were offended. Writing for the Dagen Daily, editor Vebjorn Selbekk noted: “Municipal Christmas bureaucrats obviously do not want a Jewish or Israeli mark on their Christmas. Then we almost have to remind them of some key facts about why we celebrate Christmas at all. [Christmas] is marked by the fact that a Jewish boy was born to a Jewish mother in a …

I'm Offended!

What do we do when one of our deepest held beliefs offend another person’s deepest held belief? In the world viewpoint we used to just go to war. Some cultures still do. Most just compromise their values in order not to offend. It is easier to give up truth than stand firm. In Canada, we have a government that legislates such things and tells us we are to compromise our faith and beliefs to accommodate others. The second problem is even deeper. When we are forced to compromise our values, we erode our belief system and eventually our world view is taunted as wrong and even criminal. Then what happens is we start believing these lies and the truth of Christianity is no longer perceived as truth. We compromise our faith and allow the world to determine what is right and wrong. Unfortunately, the world is a fallen place infested by sin. Quite simply, the world does not know the truth. How do we then hold to the truth without offending others? We can not. …