All posts filed under: z77

Column of smoke associated with volcanic erutpion on Iceland in 2010: Credit: Arni Frioriksson/Wikipedia

The prophet Joel warned of columns of smoke

In the prophet Joel’s vision of the end times, he saw columns of smoke towering into the sky. “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. 31 “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. (Joel 2:30-31 NASV) Though some have interpreted this as a reference to catastrophic events being brought on by such things as earthquakes. Others are not so sure. They suggest the columns that Joel saw are more likely volcanic eruptions that are often characterized by large columns of smoke pouring into the sky. This resulting smoke can be so severe, it can even disrupt air traffic as the ash can damage jet engines. The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland resulted in the cancellation of 95,000 air flights across Europe, stranding millions of people. Read more: Air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption If the smoke is severe enough, it can also darken skies and this was noted …

God is moving in Iran. Tehran, Iran in the winter 2006 Credit: Siamax/Wikipedia

God continues to move in astounding ways among Muslims

In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Mike Ansari the director of Mohabat TV said the growth of the underground church in Iran is defying all odds. Over the last several years, the Iranian government has been cracking down on the Christians forcing many underground into the house church movement. Despite the persecution and some say because of it the Iranian underground church has become one of the fastest growing Christian movements in the world. As evidence, the Mohabat released edited photos of 20 Iranians being secretly water baptized inside Iran. Ansari told CBN, some of those believers had been waiting years for the opportunity to be baptized. Mohabat TV started in 2006 and is broadcasting the Gospel in the Farsi language into Iran 24 hours a day. They estimate that last year 20% of Iranians (16 million people) viewed at least one of their gospel programs either on their cell phone or satellite TV. He added that many of the younger Iranians are becoming increasingly disillusioned about what is happening in their country. …

Schiltach in the Black Forest of Germany Credit: Harke/Wikipedia

Pulling down the strongman in Germany’s Black Forest

Christians need a major shift in perspective. It seems many have taken up a defensive position, holding out until Jesus returns. We need to standup, shake off our fears and refocus, because God wants us to take up our battering rams and go to war. There is a verse in Matthew that for years I misinterpreted. When I first read it, for some reason I believed that the church was under siege and that somehow Christians needed to hang on until the end. But in fact it said the exact opposite. God intends the Kingdom of God to be the aggressor and taking the battle to the enemy. In Mathew 16:18 (NKJ), Jesus said to Peter, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The Greek word for Hades, ‘hadou’, refers to what we know as hell. The place of torment (Luke 16:23). And the gates guarding hell would not be able to hold up against …

Sydney, Austrailia's harbour Credit: Pablo Fernandez/Flickr/Creative Commons

Australia warns of a nasty flu season

If reports coming out of Australia are correct, this year’s flu season in the Northern Hemisphere could be particularly nasty. Of course, Australia is just finishing off its winter when the flu bug becomes the most prominent, and we in the north are just entering our winter season. A report on an Australian news site says this year was particularly bad with a record-setting 172,247 reported cases of the flu. Australia’s immunization Coalition (IC) states this is 156% higher than the number reported last year at the same time. IC suspects that this year’s estimate is undoubtedly low because the health system is under such stress they are behind in their reporting. It is uncertain what the final count will be. Doctors are also describing the flu as a “super strain” meaning it is more potent than what they had seen in the past. The elderly and very young are particularly vulnerable. So far doctors have recorded 288 deaths due to the flu, but again this is probably low. They advise people to get the …

Feast of Saint Nicholas being celebrated in Firbourg, Switzerland on December 6, 2009 Credit: Chlempi/Wikipedia

Have archaeologists found the grave of Santa Claus?

A recent statement by Turkish archaeologists may throw a damper on this year’s Christmas celebration. They are claiming to have found the last remains of Santa Claus. While working on an old church in Demre located in Southern Turkey, an electronic survey revealed an opening in the ground beneath the church that probably holds the remains of Saint Nicholas. He is a fourth century bishop on which our modern Santa Claus is based. An initial look beneath the church floor revealed an undamaged shrine. Saint Nicholas was the Bishop of Mrya. The name of the city was later changed to Demre. According to tradition, he would secretly give gifts to children often by putting money in their shoes. Bishop Nicholas was imprisoned and tortured during the reign of Diocletian but lived long enough to see the Christian emperor Constantine come to power and was then released. When Saint Nicholas died on December 6, 343 AD (December 19 on the Julian calendar) he was buried at his church. Demre even has a museum dedicated to this saint. …

Violence breaks out during Catalonia's vote for independence on October 1, 2017 Credit: Beverly Yuen Thompson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Prophetic marker: A spirit of violence?

As we study the Bible’s ancient account of Noah leading up to the flood we read that it was a wicked time. But there is one verse that sticks out: 11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. (Genesis 6:11 NASV) The earth was filled with violence. In fact, the Bible refers to the violence the permeated Noah’s day a couple of times. The Hebrew word for violence is ‘hamas’ and refers to violent acts and the same word is used to describe a mass murder recorded in the book of Judges when a brother murdered 70 of his siblings (Judges 9:24). For one to murder his brothers there must be a raging hatred. But ‘hamas’ encompasses all levels of violence words, intimidation and oppression. It was a violent world in Noah’s day. But the Bible adds one more key descriptor, it says the world was “full” of violence. The Hebrew word ‘timmale’ is not a complicated word. It means simply to “contain as much as …

Edmonton Credit: Dave Sutherland/Flickr/Creative Commons

The terror attack on my street

On Saturday night I had trouble sleeping because of the flickering lights. Red meant police with no sirens, and no color was the helicopter searching for someone. I wasn’t concerned, but I stayed inside. I learned later that a man, possibly police, was digging in a garbage bin nearby, and shining a light on passing cars. The morning news said something about a driver who hit a police officer, and a small truck that flipped over, both close to my home. I drove to church on Sunday and saw a police car parked near our home. At church, I couldn’t get in because of a big celebration that filled the parking lot, so I went to another place. In the new church, the preacher kept telling us that God was going to do great things; we only had to trust. I didn’t disagree, but I didn’t see anything big. In the afternoon I went for a walk and many police officers were searching my neighbourhood. A news crew tried to get a man-in-the-street interview from …

Police car in Stockholm, Sweden Credit: Armando G Alonso/Flickr/Creative Commons

Understanding your authority and power

9 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. (Luke 9:1-2 NASV) We read in the Gospels that Jesus gave His disciples authority and power. So what does it mean to have authority and power? The simplest definition is that authority means a person has the right to do something, and power means they have the ability to do it. Perhaps the best example of how this functions is seen in the role of police in our society. A policeman has the authority to make an arrest. It’s an authority that has been given to him by the government. When he sees someone breaking the law, a police officer doesn’t have to phone the governor or premier to get permission to arrest the individual, he or she has the right or authority to do it. And though only one person, an officer is empowered by tens of thousands of …

Credit: Diana K/Flickr/Creative Commons

So who designed the first pocket — man, the sea otter or God?

So who invented human pockets? The English word “pocket” comes from an old French word “poque” that is literally translated bag. In the 16th and 17th century, people did not have pockets in their clothing, instead men and women had bags that they attached to the outside of their clothing or hung on a piece of rope around their waist. Inside they would put items such as money, jewellery and handkerchiefs. However, as these outside pockets increasingly became a target for thieves, by the 17th century, people started cutting slits in their pants and even dresses and inserting these “poques” inside the slits. They flattened them to remove its purse like bulge and began sewing them on the cloth to help keep them in place. This became the first pocket as we know it. By the 18th century clothing was being manufactured with pockets including pants, jackets, vests and shirts. They even had pockets for specific purposes. They designed pockets to hold tickets and others to hold the “pocket-watch.” Pockets were designed and created for …

Credit: Lucy Lang/Flickr/Creative Commons

Neither do I condemn you

In an article for Foxnews, Angel Hatfield shared a powerful story on forgiveness. Hatfield, who serves as executive producer for a movie “Because of Gracia” grew up in a Christian home. In fact, her father pastored a church. As she left her teen years, Hatfield became rebellious: “I skated in sin believing the big lie that there was more pleasure to be found in this world than in God.” Hatfield became pregnant and after hiding her pregnancy for five months, she finally decided to come clean with her father on what had happened. She was expecting her father to react and judge her for what she had done. Instead, he hung his head and when he finally spoke, her dad expressed his disappointment for what had happened but then he added: “And you have made poor choices which now have consequences. It won’t be easy — and there will be struggles and a hard path ahead of you. But I love you — and now I figure I have been given more to love.” Then …