[By Earl Blacklock] Out of all the animals in the three-ring circus, none are as beloved as the circus elephant. The sight of the awesome beast, tenderly carrying a flower of a girl on its back, is usually the highlight of a circus performance. Bozo was a master of the circus ring, beloved by families and performers alike. Then its behaviour changed. It became enraged at the slightest provocation, and even went after its keeper with murderous intent. It was clear Bozo was dangerous, and the decision was made to kill it. But this was the circus, in a time different from our own. The manager decided that if the animal had to be killed, it might as well make the circus some additional revenue, so he sold tickets to the execution.
[by Dean Smith] Arutz Sheva — an Israeli news site — reports the Islamic State (which go by a variety of acronyms IS, ISIS, ISIL) has just declared Christians as its number one enemy. This news was broadcast loudly on the most recent cover of the organization’s propaganda magazine called Dabiq. In its fourth edition, the cover of the English version featured a photo-shopped picture of the Black ISIS flag on top of the Egyptian obelisk in the Vatican’s St Peter’s square. The magazine — titled “The Failed Crusade” — compared the West’s efforts to stop IS to the Roman Catholic crusades.
[by Dean Smith] NASA has tracked the ice coverage in the Antarctic since 1979. NASA started tracking the ice bed because it wanted to record the reduced size of the ice cap due to global warming. But despite the continued rhetoric of man-made global warming, there has been a stunning transformation taking place — the Antarctic’s ice bed is growing in size. After years of reduction, the ice cap grew back so quickly, it is now larger than it was in 1979 when NASA started keeping records. It now covers 20 million kilometers (7.8 million square miles) of the Antarctic sea. The record was set on September 19, 2014, during the Antarctic spring.
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26 NASV) In the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel peering into the future saw a day when God would give people new spiritual hearts. This promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2, when God poured out His Holy Spirit on the early church. That move was accompanied by many miraculous healings. But for Jon Funderburg, this promise of a new heart took on a very literal meaning. On February 2, 2006, Jon, 32, went to his doctor in Hot Springs, Arkansas complaining of a flu. With his symptoms worsening and an added complaint of stomach pain, the doctor ordered tests.
Deborah Peters attends university in the US. However, in 2011 she was living in Chibok, Nigeria, the same city where the Muslim extremists group, Boko Haram, kidnapped nearly 300 girls attending a school with the intent of selling them as wives or into sexual slavery. Most of the girls were Christians. At a presentation to the Hudson Institute, Deborah shared her families brutal encounter with Boko Haram.
Boko Haram is a Muslim group in Nigeria that is considered more dangerous than some units of Al Qaida. In the name of God, they have struggled violently with the government of Nigeria since 2011, resulting in many deaths. Recently they raided a girls’ boarding school and kidnapped almost 300 high school girls, mostly Christians. Men with guns forced the girls to leave in the night, and their dormitory was burned. They were taken into the African bush, forced to convert to Islam, and dressed in hijabs. They probably would have been killed if they had refused. The plan was to sell them to Muslim men for about 12 dollars each, as wives. Apparently the intended result was marital bliss, husbands and wives, and later children, in families.
This is the last article in my series on the Hebrew word “paga” — translated intercessor or intercession in the Old Testament. The word is used in many ways and each I believe describe a unique aspect of prayer. In my earlier article I talked about the intercessor as one who negotiates with God. In this article, I want to discuss how intercession is a burden that God wants us to carry. According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, one of the meanings of the word “paga” is “‘to lay, burden’ (Isa 53:6, ‘the Lord has ‘laid’ upon him all our iniquity’).”
Archaeologists from the University of Barcelona (Spain) and the Catalan Egyptology Society believe they located an early painting depicting Jesus. They date the image to somewhere between the 6th and 7th century. The large drawing was found in the remains of the ancient city of Oxyrhynchus in Egypt which was originally located on a ceremonial road that traveled from the Nile river to a Temple of Osiris — the Egyptian god of the underworld. The painting was on a wall in an underground room. Because of the bones and other artifacts found there, the archaeologists believe this was the burial tomb for a number of Christian priests and a writer — based on an ink well and pens also found in the area.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) stated that April 2014 “easily” smashed the record for the most large earthquakes in one month since the Center started recording earthquakes in 1949. The earthquakes started abruptly on April 1, when a major one, 8.2 magnitude, hit Chile. The PTWC considers earthquakes greater than a 6.5 magnitude as large. During the month of April there were 13 major earthquakes. Though smaller earthquakes occur almost on an hourly basis on the earth, a normal month only averages between one and two large earthquakes exceeding 6.5. The PTWC noted that in April five of the earthquakes were greater than 7.8, resulting in tsunami alerts.
I am writing a series of articles on the Hebrew word “paga” commonly translated intercessor or intercession in the Old Testament. It is an unusual word that has a wide-range of meanings and each describes a particular attribute of intercession. In my earlier article, I discussed how “paga” referred to claiming territory for the Kingdom of God. In this post, I want to discuss the word “paga” and its meaning of negotiating with God on behalf of others.