All posts filed under: Main

Trees spring to life. Credit: hoho_simon/Flickr/Creative Commons

Unwrapping guilt and shame

I remember feeling numb and barely able to move at times as I began to take responsibility for some of my harsh experiences in past years. Whoever else I had been blaming for my problems was no longer the issue. I had to be real and heal. Denial that I could have possibly played a part or even been responsible for some of my  experiences kept me in the dark. Denial does that. It could include denial about our part in a relationship gone wrong, a breakdown in family relationships or a situation turned bad at work. Facing the facts and focusing on the role we may have played is the first step to turning things around in our lives. When we remove denial and start owning up (being real, and honest) about some things that have not gone particularly well, we begin to move from death to life. The scales  fall from our eyes as we take responsibility (even if it was just a small part). But once we have accepted our role, we …

Southwest Airline jet Credit: David デビッド Deitering/Flickr/Creative Commons

Born again with ‘Nerves of steel’, ‘hero’ pilot Tammie Jo Shults successfully landed stricken Southwest jet

Commercial pilot Tammie Jo Shults, 56, is credited with safely landing a Boeing 737 on Tuesday, April 17, after its engine exploded resulting in shrapnel shattering a window, de-pressurizing the cabin and damaging the jet’s wing and fuselage. It resulted in one death and another seven injured. The woman who died was being sucked out of the plane, but several passengers bravely fought to keep her inside. She died later in hospital. UPDATE: USA Today wrote a story on the stetson-wearing cowboy, Tim McGinty, who along with firefighter Andrew Needum risked their lives to pull the woman back into the plane. In the interview, Tim’s wife Kristin said, “My husband loves God and believes our purpose here is to love fiercely and to serve others. Some heroes wear capes, but mine wears a cowboy hat.” Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 was on a regularly scheduled trip from New York’s La Guardia Airport to Dallas Texas, when Shults was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Shults’s journey to the pilot chair with Southwest Airlines was not an …

Chinese Christian tourists displaying the Israeli flag on the Temple Mount on April 11, 2018

Israeli flag displayed on the Temple Mount for the first time in over 50 years

It hasn’t happened for over 50 years, but an Israeli flag was proudly displayed on the Temple Mount on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The only significant difference is that it wasn’t Jews holding the flag, but a group of Chinese Christian tourists. Though, the Temple Mount is the former home of the Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, and is located in Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, the Muslims basically control the Temple Mount that features the Muslim Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. They even have their own Jordanian Islamic security that works with Israeli police to enforce order on the Mount. For the most part, the Muslims have successfully prevented Jews from praying on the Temple Mount and even displaying symbols of the Jewish religion or Israeli nationalism such as the Israeli flag. The last time an Israeli flag appeared on the Temple Mount was shortly after the 1967 six-day war, when Israel captured East Jerusalem where the Temple Mount is located. The Israelis flew their flag …

Line up outside a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Credit: Student Association/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘The New Yorker’ magazine writes about Chick-fil-A’s ‘creepy pervasive Christian traditionalism’

According to Technomic, a restaurant consultancy firm, based on current growth, it expects the popular American restaurant, Chick-fil-A, to become the third largest fast food chain in the US, behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks. Chick-fil-A was founded in 1946 by a S. Truett Cathy (1921-2014). He was a Baptist, taught Sunday School for nearly 50 years, and calls the Bible his guide-book for life. His family has continued its Christian tradition and to this day still closes Sunday so its employees can go to church if they want. It even cites Bible verses on its cups. His family’s support of traditional marriage has driven the left wild and resulted in restaurants being protested. But it had absolutely no effect on its popularity. In terms of 2017 sales, the chain ranked eighth behind Subway, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts and of course McDonald’s and Star Bucks. However it is quickly closing the gap. What is also impressive is that despite only being open six days a week, a Chick-fil-A franchise averages annual sales of …

Credit: Minnesota DOT/Flickr/Creative Commons

Death on the Bus

Recently, a truck collided with a bus filled with passengers, mostly young hockey players, in Saskatchewan. The most recent count is 16 dead, and many crippled for life. I don’t want to comment on a case that is being investigated by the police, but I have strong opinions about this. Many of the victims were young men from my area, and also, I train professional drivers. It is possible that I have met and worked with at least one of the drivers, with the bus or the truck. RELATED: Humboldt bus crash cause unknown as new details on truck and bus driving companies emerge To be clear, I am not a part of this tragedy, and I am not trying to take any of the glory for myself. There are a few degrees of separation for me. Many families are truly grieving because they have lost promising young men. Some of those families live near me and they deserve our sympathy. The funerals started Friday. I know what may have happened, but I will let …

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California Credit: Mikel Agirregabiria/Flickr/Creative Commons

Has one of the Menendez brothers, convicted of the brutal murder of his parents, found God?

The Menendez brothers, Lyle, 50 (born January 10, 1968) and Erik, 47 (born November 27, 1970), were sentenced to consecutive, double-life sentences for the brutal murder of their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, in their Beverly Hill mansion in 1989. The court trials of the two, then 21 and 18, riveted the nation. However, it appears that one of them has since become a Christian. In an interview with ABC, the brother’s aunt, Marta Cano, said that the younger brother Erik became a Christian in prison and is now leading a Bible study with other inmates. Erik even asked his aunt, who is also a Christian, to send him religious material for the study. In the interview, Cano stated “he was really making sure that the prisoners knew that there is a God that loves us. That was marvelous to me because he never got that at home.” At the time of the murders, the two boys alleged they had been sexually, physically and psychologically abused for years by their pedophile father. Their mother was …

Humbolt's main street Credit: Monique Vezina/Wikipedia

Where was God? The Humboldt Bronco tragedy

They did not know they were going to be the latest news and that it would send waves of shock and sorrow across the nation. The Humboldt Broncos, a hockey team in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League consisting of 16 to 20-year-old players, were headed to a play off game in the northern town of  Nipawin, in Saskatchewan, Canada. Their team bus t-boned a semi-trailer crossing highway 35 killing 16 of the 29 people on board — 10 players and 5 team personnel including the head coach and the bus driver. The Humboldt players had all dyed their hair blonde which made it difficult to identify them. Tragically because the players were so badly hurt, two were misidentified. It would take a couple of days for one family to find out that a son they had thought died was actually alive, and for another family to sadly learn their son was dead. How heart breaking this must have been. What were the players thinking as they traveled on the bus?  The bus was quiet recalls …

Justin Bieber in concert at the Telenor Arena in Oslo, Norway in 2013. Credit: NRK P3/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sources say Justin Bieber planning to release faith-inspired album in 2019

It has been an interesting April on the celebrity front. On Easter Sunday, pop star Katy Perry posted the following message to her 69 million Instagram followers: “My brokenness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness.” Then earlier this week, Monday, April 9, 2018, Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber spontaneously sang a Christian worship song for his 98 million Instagram followers. It was a song called “Reckless Love” written by Bethel music leader Corey Asbury: “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God. Oh, it chases me down, fights till I’m found” At the latest count, Justin has 98.5 million Instagram followers putting him on the list of the ten most followed people on the popular social media site. Leading the pack is another celebrity believer, Selena Gomez, with 133 million followers. And when I visited Justin’s Instagram page, there was a message to check out this song on YouTube: But recent reports are suggesting that Justin is planning to become even more vocal about how Jesus transformed the pop star’s life. The British newspaper The …

Credit: Maciej Ciupa/Flickr/Creative Commons

Trumpet sounds over Hawaii?

According to a report on PJ Media, people in Hawaii are hearing sounds in the heavens that for some sound a lot like trumpets. The latest video was recorded on April 4, 2018 (watch below). It is uncertain what the source of these mysterious sounds are. Some are offering natural explanations such as methane explosions or earthquakes deep underground. They could also be caused by tidal waves or shifting sand dunes or even atmospheric conditions. Others have offered up grinding of tectonic plates as a possible explanation, while some believe they may be a result of of yet unknown human activity. In recent years, there have been many videos posted on YouTube about trumpet-like sounds being heard around the world. You have to be careful when watching these videos because clearly some are hoaxes, spawned by those that are legitimate. One of the seemingly legitimate ones involved a video recorded in Terrace, British Columbia, Canada on August 29, 2013: In the end there are probably natural explanations for these sounds. But in the Book of …

George Washington University's Foggy Bottom campus Credit: another believer/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

University calls for Christians to repent of their ‘privilege’

Founded in 1821, the main campus of George Washington University (GWU) is found just a few blocks from the White house in Washington, DC. Its main campus is located in Foggy Bottom, an area largely owned by GWU where it serves as the landlord for such tenants as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. GWU’s motto is Deus Nobis Fiducia (God is our trust) or at least once was. There have been radical changes at the university and now when you click on its website you are welcomed with: “No matter what subject we pursue, we’ve all come here to change the course of history.” Though these words sound noble, when we understand them in the light of the cultural Marxism that has gripped many universities, they take on a more ominous tone. Where GWU once believed “God is our trust,” and make no mistake this is a reference to the Christian God, the campus recently held a workshop to strip people of their “Christian privilege.” The seminar held on Thursday, April 5, …

Katy Perry Credit: ONU Brazil/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Katy Perry’s heart softening towards God?

American pop star Katy Perry posted an interesting Christian message to her 69 million Instagram followers on Easter Sunday. She also works as a judge on the new American Idol show. She not only highlighted her Jesus tattoo, that she has had for years, with special lighting, Katy also added the words: “My brokenness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness.” As some may know, Katy has a Christian background. Her parents, Maurice and Mary (née Perry) Hudson, are Pentecostal pastors. Katy’s birth name was Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. As a girl, she even spoke in tongues after being filled with the Holy Spirit and with her natural singing ability Katy sang gospel in church.  She hoped to move full-time into gospel music but that ultimately transformed into secular. Below is a Gospel song that Katy Perry (then Katy Hudson), sang on the Christian broadcast network, TBN, in 2002: The relationship with her parents has been strained as she rejected her parent’s faith. In 2008, she wrote a song, I Kissed a Girl, that topped the pop chart …

Beijing, China on a smoggy day Credit: Jesse Varnier/Flickr/Creative Commons

Jesus Meets “The Great Firewall of China”

Very recently, the government of China has restricted the sale of Christian Bibles online, to its own citizens. The Communist government of China wants to control rapidly growing religions, including Christianity and Islam, although the Islamic Koran is still available online. Religion was supposed to die in China, after the Communists came to power in 1949, but recently there are signs that Chinese people are becoming more religious, and the major religions are surging in popularity. Also, China is becoming a world leader in online marketing, or e-commerce. The growth in online sales is also surging in China, and this is a very recent trend. RELATED: China’s e-commerce explosion. What can we learn? In this mix, Bible sales have suddenly been restricted. RELATED: China bans Bible sales: New York Times Bibles are still available from church book stores, but not online. Strangely, China produces millions of Bibles for export, in many languages, including Chinese. There are no restrictions on this business. So, what does the restriction of Bible sales mean for Christians? Probably not much. …

Credit: Kerri Lee Smith/Flickr/Creative Commons

Cultivating thanksgiving

Yesterday started out well but then in the afternoon I had a couple of hours of frustration when something didn’t go the way I wanted. I ended up taking two hours to complete a task that should have taken 10 minutes. But me, computers and technology don’t always see eye to eye. I quickly fell into a slump and was starting to get depressed. I was surprised how quickly things had taken a turn for the worse. I knew I needed to pull myself out of this slump and real quick. The Apostle Paul tells us to: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) All circumstances, describe good and bad and in the midst of bad we are to give thanks. Paul was right, because according to writer J.D. Roth, studies show that roughly 10% of our happiness is determined by our circumstances and 40% of our happiness comes from “intentional activity” which involves what we think and do. Knowing what will …

Cuba Credit: Nick Kenrick/Flickr/Creative Commons

The struggle for religious freedom in Cuba

Though still a communist nation, in 1992, the Cuba government reclassified itself as a secular nation under its constitution instead of an atheistic one. At the same time, it also partially lifted restrictions on religion and since then Christianity has seen remarkable growth in that country. The country’s current ruler, Raul Castro, the brother of Fidel who died in November 2016, actually attended a Jesuit school before the 1959 Communist revolution. He has been in charge in Cuba since 2011. Under his rule, the Catholic church has retained some favor with the government and in 2014, Cuba allowed a Catholic church in Santiago to construct a new building. It was the first church built in Cuba since the 1959 Communist revolution. The government has also declared Christmas and Good Friday as national holidays. In 2015, President Raul met with Pope Francis and after his meeting commented that he was seriously thinking of going back to church. When reporters laughed, Raul stated, “I’m serious.” But there still remains a tension between the government and Christians. In …

Why did Facebook ban an ad for a Catholic university?

UPDATED: Facebook has been under fire recently for both the free wheeling way it deals with its poster’s personal information and what some consider its blatant attack on free speech and conservative and Christian viewpoints on its social media website. In an article in the British newspaper, The Guardian, a former Facebook employee alleges the social media giant used software algorithms to restrict the number of conservative news articles that appeared in its “trending news” sidebar. Such a move would impact the number of people viewing articles from conservative news sites. Facebook is one of the most dominant social media platforms in the world reporting 2.2 billion active users in January 2018. Founder Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2004 as a way to connect students attending Harvard University where he was a student. It was initially limited to Harvard students, but after half the school’s population signed up, Zuckerberg quickly realized there was more of a market for the platform. After bringing in others to work on the site, they initially added other universities and …

Lake Naivashu in Kenya's rift valley, a new continent in the making? Credit: Angela Sevin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Another great split?

Scientists are reporting on the formation of a massive crack in Africa that may result in the continent splitting in half. They don’t believe it will happen in our lifetime, but expect it could happen at some point in the far future. According to an article in the Daily Mail, the lithosphere made up of the earth’s outer crust and upper mantle has tectonic plates floating underneath. Post Doctoral researcher Lucia Perez Diaz, who works with the Fault Dynamics Research Group,  says these plates can rupture creating a rift that results in a separate tectonic plate that would essentially create a new continent. They believe that such a rift is starting to occur in south-western Kenya. The crack is now 3,000 kms long and extends from the Gulf of Aden in the North to Zimbabwe in the South. This crack even resulted in the collapse of a stretch of the Nairobi-Narok highway. Diaz described the large crack’s appearance as “sudden.” If this crack continues to move southward, it would essentially spit the African tectonic plate …

Trebes, France Credit: Didier Descouens/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

A willing sacrifice

An attack on a French supermarket on Friday, March 23, 2018, revealed the stark contrast between Christians and Muslim extremists. An ISIS radicalized Moroccan-born man, Radouane Lakdim, 25, stormed a grocery store in Trèbes and took hostages in an effort to have Salah Abdeslam released. He was the sole survivor of a group of terrorists responsible for an attack in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people. Prior to his arrival at the Super U grocery store, Ladkim had fired on a car in the neighboring town of Carcassonne killing the passenger and wounding the driver. He stole the vehicle and then drove to a police barracks and shot at police officers jogging nearby severely injuring one. From there he proceeded to the grocery store in Trèbes where he took hostages. In the end, Lakdim murdered his three hostages before being killed by police. One of those hostages was a French policeman Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrane, 44, second in charge with the responding police gendarme, as they are called in France. When the police cornered …

Credit: Magdalen_A_T/Flickr/Creative Commons

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 …

Credit: Ron Adams/Flickr/Creative Commons

Reach for your thread of hope

God’s faithfulness has been my lifeline through  the desperate times when it seemed that there was no hope in sight and nothing to reach for. But at the last moment when my faith was at its lowest and my desperation at its peak, a  very thin thread of hope would appear dangling in thin air, barely visible . This was the case of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s garment – it was her last thread of hope. Mark said she had suffered at the hands of physicians for years (Mark 5:26) and the fringe of Jesus’s cloak was her lifeline. “20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21 for she was saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I will get well.’” (Matthew 9: 20-21) There is a thread of hope hanging from the hem of Christ’s robe just for you. Desperation and fear often brought me low, but it also positioned me to …

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 …

Alice Cooper performing at Alexandra Palace in London, England 2011 Credit: Kimon Froussios/Flickr/Creative Commons

Alice Cooper, ‘shock’ rock star and Christian

If there was anyone who I thought would never become a Christian, rock star Alice Cooper, 70, would have been on that list. Yet 40 years ago Cooper got a wake-up call when after bingeing on alcohol he started throwing up blood. During his heyday that featured such mega hits as “Schools out,” he was known as the “Godfather of Shock Rock.” His stage shows took on horror show themes including fake blood, guillotines, electric chairs, snakes and tortured baby dolls. But today Cooper publicly states he has embraced Christ and is preparing to play the role of Herod in NBC’s live version of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. In an interview with New York Daily’s Confidential, Cooper recalled his decision to become a Christian. He came from a Christian background, his grandfather was an evangelist and his dad a pastor and after leaving home, Cooper fled Christianity. But he was drinking buddies with other famous rock stars of the day such as Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison of the Doors both who died at …

Credit: Landahlauts/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christians need to toughen up

It is one of the earliest references to Christianity from non Biblical sources. It involves graffiti on an ancient wall in Rome that was part of a home that originally belonged to the notorious Roman emperor Caligula. It was drawn sometime between the first and second century. Carved by soldiers in the Roman army, it involves an image of a man with a donkey’s head hanging on a cross. There is a Roman soldier standing at the side with a hand raised that is explained by the words written in Greek beneath:  “Alexamenos worships [his] God.” According to Christian apologist Tertullian (160 to 225 AD), depicting Jesus as a donkey was a popular way of insulting Christians at that time. He wrote of  a man living in Carthage who had an image of a Christian with ears and hooves of a donkey. In today’s equivalent of an editorial cartoon, it had the words: “The God of the Christians begotten of an ass” written beneath. And lately in North America we starting to see anti Christian …

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 …

Vancouver, BC Credit: Jerry Meaden/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Persecuted Christians of British Columbia

A young woman in Vancouver British Columbia applied for a job and received a reply: “… we are not a Christian organization, and most of us actually see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition and way of life.” and “‘God bless’ is very offensive to me and yet another sign of your attempts to impose your religious views on me. I do not want to be blessed by some guy… who has been the very reason for the most horrendous abuses and human rights violations in the history of the human race.” There were other offensive statements, and she did not get the job, so she sued. I think she won 8500 dollars. RELATED: Trinity Western grad ‘attacked’ for being Christian in job rejection: CBC The young woman applied as a recent graduate of Trinity Western University, a private Christian school in BC, and the employers reacted when they learned that. But wait, there’s more: “Maybe the Trinity leadership would be better suited for a Putin’s Russia or any other like his regarding the …

What I find so annoying about Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax

Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, is implementing a carbon tax that will increase the price to heat our homes, turn on our lights and run our cars. Yet Canada only produces 1.6% of the CO2 emissions in the world. Even if we completely closed down the country, it would have absolutely no impact on global temperatures. It is all just a symbolic act. I recently produced a video on some things I find annoying about Trudeau’s carbon tax. Yes, I make a couple of comments about my wife in this video. We have been married for nearly 40 years and everyone who knows us feel absolutely sorry for her. Most think she should be officially declared a saint for having put up with me for nearly four decades.

Do you love yourself? Credit: chandrika221/Flickr/Creative Commons

Forgiving yourself is not just about you

For many of us, our biggest forgiveness issue may be forgiving ourselves. From blowing your budget, stealing, lying or cheating on a spouse or perhaps you were in a war where people died because of you. Whatever it was the awfulness of it sinks you with guilt and shame. God may forgive you, but can you forgive yourself? According to Dr. Luskin, Director of Stanford University’s Forgiveness Project, the biggest obstacle to self-forgiveness is the tendency we have to wallow in our guilt. He says: “It’s not just that we feel bad because we know we’ve done wrong, Everybody does that. But some of us actually draw those bad feelings around ourselves like a blanket, cover our heads, and refuse to stop the wailing. He states, that it is a crazy form of penance. We curl up in a ball and say, Hey, Look how bad I feel! See how I’m suffering! I’m pitiful! I’m pathetic! I can’t be punished any more than this; it wouldn’t be fair!” Instead of taking responsibility for what we’ve …

The Muslim Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Credit: Patrick McKay/Flickr/Creative Commons

Why did Israel’s Sanhedrin ask the Arab world to help build the third Jewish Temple?

Breaking Israel News recently reported on a letter written by Israel’s nascent Sanhedrin asking the Arab world to join in building the third Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The court sent its request in English, Hebrew and Arabic. The nascent Sanhedrin is a Jewish court made up of 71 elders. A similar court has historically provided spiritual and sometimes political guidance to Israel through out its history. It was the Sanhedrin that asked the Romans to crucify Christ. So why did they ask the Muslims for help? Certainly expediency is one of the reasons. Orthodox Jews believe that God wants them to rebuild the Temple. However, the Temple Mount is now controlled by the Jordanian government and under the current political arrangement, Orthodox Jews would probably need Jordan’s permission to build. It is traditionally believed that the Muslims built the Dome of the Rock on the location of the second Jewish Temple the Romans destroyed in 70 AD. I don’t think the Jews believe Muslims would be willing to destroy the Dome of the Rock, Islam’s …

Peter Ruben's (1577-1640) painting of the women at the tomb. Perhaps fitting of her reputation as a prostitute, Ruben's had Mary of Magdalene wearing a red dress.

Taking a second look at Mary Magdalene’s tattered reputation

It was during a sermon preached by Pope Gregory 1, in 591 AD, that Mary Magdalene’s reputation was publicly scandalized for the first time and she never full recovered. In his homily, Pope Gregory said that Mary Magdalene had been a prostitute. And it is a view that stuck. He based this conclusion on a couple of things. First according to the Gospels, Mary had seven demons cast out of her (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2). Pope Gregory suggested these seven demons involved seven capital sins that included lust. Gregory then added the unnamed sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50, who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume, was none other than Mary of Magdalene. It was generally believed by everyone’s reaction that the immoral woman was probably a prostitute, but even that can’t be certain. But nevertheless, Gregory concluded: She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. What did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices? It is …

Iceland Credit: Lovepro/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study says a pagan poem and volcanic eruption resulted in the Vikings turning to Christ

According to a report in the journal Climate Change, a volcanic eruption and an ancient pagan poem convinced the Vikings to embrace Christianity. The mass conversion of the Vikings to Christ took place around 1100 AD and according to the researchers from the University of Cambridge two events in the 10th century played a role in this decision. Using ice cores, they said Iceland’s Eldgjjá volcano erupted between 939 AD and 940 AD. At this point the Vikings were creating settlements on the island. It involved a prolonged lava eruption that spread over a year. It also resulted in a tremendous amount of ash pouring into the atmosphere blocking the sun causing very cool summers and extremely cold winters. The ash not only affected the climate of Iceland, but reached into North America and Northern Europe, the traditional home of the Vikings. This resulted in droughts, animal stock dying off and increased mortality. The second thing that attributed to the conversion was an apocalyptic Viking poem called Völuspá written around the same time. In English, …

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 …

London, England Credit: Carlos Torres/Flickr/Creative Commons

Lauren Southern, Right Wing Extremist, Expelled from Britain

Recently, a young woman from Canada, Lauren Southern, was expelled from Britain, and sent across the channel to Calais France, where she was detained briefly by French authorities. This is an odd story. I’m Canadian, and I can’t think of any time when a Canadian was banned from Britain. My family identifies as Scottish and I would be highly offended if I was expelled from Scotland. “Southern” sounds English to me and she probably feels the sting of being expelled from England. And then there is the picture. Lauren Southern is a pretty young woman with long blonde hair, and the pictures posted with the story look professional. A picture tells a thousand words, and her image argues against the words. She just doesn’t look like a bad person. Also, she was accused of being a racist for criticizing a religion, which is technically impossible. Religion is a choice that we can change any time, and not a race that we are assigned at birth. RELATED: Right-wing journalist Lauren Southern denied entry to UK, purportedly …

Rural church in Iceland

Financially support opentheWord through Makersupport

If you are interested in making a donation to support the ministry of opentheword.org, we have set up a page at Makersupport.com/opentheword. Donations can be as small as $1US. Makersupport.com is a website dedicated to helping various creators such as writers, video producers, musicians and artists to raise money to support their craft. You can make a onetime donation or even set up a monthly donation.  Any help, no matter how big or small, will be appreciated. On average about 90% of the money donated through Makersupport goes to the creator with the remaining 10% going to administration/credit card fees. Jesus had people who supported His group disciples financially. Luke lists three by name, Mary Magdalene, Joanna (the wife of a manager who worked for King Herod) and Susanna. 8 Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven …

Credit: Piers Canadas/Flickr/Creative Commons

From Victim to Victor

Refusing to forgive others keeps me in a victim mentality (poor me) state of mind. The victim mentality places the responsibility for my choices and actions on someone else and has become a stumbling block that many in this day are falling over. We see it every day in the news particularly the anger and blame directed towards others that deflects personal responsibility for one’s happiness.  This victim mentality is ripping our society apart. Feminists are blaming the “patriarchy” (code word for men) for their imagined oppression. It is always someone else’s fault. Yet, there are women from horrific backgrounds who have gone on to lead very successful lives, somehow men did not hold them back. The victim mentality prevents us from reaching our full potential. It is a stumbling block made up of blame, anger and reliving your victim story over and over again until it takes on a life of its own. It can take over your life and locks us into a limitation that we have unknowingly placed on ourselves. By holding …

Cannabis Credit: Pitscher/Flickr/Creative Commons

The hidden costs of marijuana legalization?

Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said his government expects to have legislation passed this summer legalizing marijuana. According to Lifesite News, in its current form, Bill C-45 would allow children as young as 12 years old to not only have five grams of Marijuana (10 joints) but to even share it with their friends. Anyone over the age of 17 will be allowed to purchase any amount of marijuana that they want and to even grow four plants in their home, but does limit how much they can share in public to 30 grams (60 Joints). Of course, we all know how mature teens are and none of them will be taking it to school. Fortunately, it looks like more responsible provincial governments may toughen the rules in their respective provinces. This is all happening despite several studies that show marijuana is particularly dangerous for teens whose brains are still developing. In a study released in 2015, researchers at the Psychiatry Institute at London, England’s King’s College blame Marijuana for 25% of the …

Christian foster couple vindicated: Easter Bunny denial is not wrong Canadian court rules

Derek and Frances Baars are a Christian couple who now live in Edmonton, AB, Canada. In 2016, the couple, who attend a Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, lived in Hamilton, Ontario and were fostering two girls, aged three and four. They ran into problems with the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton (CAS), the organization responsible for fostering, when the Baars refused to tell the two girls that the Easter Bunny was real. Though they did not believe they should lie to the children in their care, the Baars nevertheless organized an Easter egg hunt for the two girls and had them dress up for the occasion. The Baars were completely upfront about their beliefs. When they first applied to be foster parents, they told CAS that they would not lie about the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, and that was obviously fine at the time. In a dramatic conclusion, CAS gave the family one day’s notice before callously yanking the two girls from the home. CAS also ruled the Baars would no longer be …