Woman gets miracle, escapes death in New Zealand / questioning resurrection

A 30-year-old German tourist was walking along a trail next to Woolshed Creek in New Zealand with her husband on Wednesday, April 16, when she slipped into the rushing waters and was swept away around 4 pm local time. Authorities in the Mid-Canterbury park raised an alarm shortly afterwards to gather a search party.

Since she had been swept away in the area known as the Impassable Gorge, the search party did not have any hope of finding her alive, and assumed the search would be a recovery of her body instead of a rescue. During the search that used a helicopter as well as people on foot, they found several items in deep pools in the gorge area, such as a pack, that they believed belong to her.

Nearly four hours into their search, the authorities were dumbfounded when the woman showed up at the car park in the area, having somehow managed to not only get out of the rushing stream, but to also make it back on her own to the car park by walking. At the time the local constable shared the good news of her miraculous rescue, no exam by a doctor had been done but Constable Mike Jackson said she appeared to be without any serious injuries. He estimated she had been taken 2-3 km (approx. 1.2-1.9 miles) by the stream, which also has a waterfall, though it isn’t clear if she encountered it.

Her survival defied science (the laws of physics among other things) and proves once again that we live in a world where miracles happen. Since miracles happen, it’s not at all a stretch to believe a Supreme Being more powerful than this physical world, including death, really exists. Which brings me to another news story. Apparently there are some “religious” people calling themselves Christians who are saying Christ’s resurrection was not meant to be taken literally, but is merely allegorical, according to a Washington Post article today.

The WaPo claims that accepting a real physical resurrection is “[t]he struggle [that] keeps some Christians from fully embracing the holiday [Easter].” Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong (retired) states in the article, “I don’t think the Resurrection has anything to do with physical resuscitation. I think it means the life of Jesus was raised back into the life of God, not into the life of this world, and that it was out of this that his [spiritual] presence was manifested to certain witnesses.” This guy is proof that attending seminary won’t help you if you don’t know Jesus personally.

1 Corinthians 15 explains in detail that in order for both physical and spiritual death to be defeated, which was brought on by Adam, then Jesus would have to be raised bodily from the dead. Hebrews 6 also tells us the physical resurrection of the dead is a basic tenet of Christ’s teachings. Are people like this Episcopal Bishop really Christians? It seems to me if someone really follows Christ, they would cling to his and his apostles’ teachings, which clearly state there is a bodily resurrection.

Sources:

Erin Tasker. Miraculous escape for woman swept away. New Zealand Herald. Thursday, April 17, 2014.

Kimberly Winston. Can you question the Resurrection and still be a Christian? WashingtonPost.com. Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

Harry A. Gaylord

Barna Group/American Bible Society survey shows negative Bible beliefs, behaviors

Bible American flagMillennials (18-29 year-olds) are less likely to consider the Bible sacred, less likely to view the Bible as providing meaning and purpose to life, and are more likely not to read the Bible than their older fellow Americans, according to a new survey released by the Barna Group on behalf of the American Bible Society. These negative trends among Millennials are driving down the overall view in America of the Bible. Respect for the Bible among those 30+ years old is also trending downward.

The survey also highlights the following statistics:

  • 88% of American homes have a Bible with the average number of Bibles per household at 4.7. But only 37% of Americans read it at least once per week.
  • 19% of Americans see the Bible as the actual words of God having no factual errors and they read it at least 4 times a week. 19% are skeptical that the Bible is anything more than another book of men’s teachings or see it in a completely negative light.
  • 19% of Millennials believe there’s no such thing as sacred literature while only 13% of those 30+ believe no sacred literature exists.
  • Only 30% of Millennials think the Bible doesn’t have enough influence in society while 50% of the rest of the population thinks this.
  • While only 26% of non-Millenials never read the Bible, 39% of Millennials never read it.

This reveals a lot and the following are some conclusions I’ve reached that, in my opinion, are probably tied to this trend:

  • Many of the Millennials who take to the Internet and spread their skepticism about the Bible aren’t too familiar with it to begin with and what they say should be questioned.
  • The skeptical things they may say over the Internet about the Bible are probably based on what others have told them and not what they have found out for themselves by reading the Bible on their own.
  • The feeling of most Americans that things are getting worse in America directly correlates to the downward trend in Bible reading and belief in what it says.
  • More and more Americans don’t see certain sins that are clearly called sin in the Bible as being wrong–e.g. special rights for homosexuals (including “gay marriage”), drug abuse (including legalization), and envy (think socialism masked behind liberalism/progressivism)–which augments moral decay in America.
  • As the importance of the Bible trends downward, so does the United States’ global standing in education, trade, and our drop in the rankings of nations to start a business in.
  • A rise in despising the Bible coincides with a rise in anti-Semitism and hatred of Christians.

You can check out the Barna Group’s cool infographics and the full survey at:

American Bible Society/Barna Group. State of the Bible 2014. Americanbiblesociety.org.

But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season… Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. Jeremiah 5:23-25

Harry A. Gaylord

 

 

What a bird reminded me about thunderstorms

I woke up early recently due to a very loud thunderstorm rumbling through my area. It upset me that I lost a couple of hours of sleep because of all the lightning flashing and the loud claps of thunder which occurred every few minutes. But a robin in a nearby tree outside my bedroom served as a reminder to me that I should look past the storm itself and look forward to what was on the other side of it.

RobinThe robin was just happily chirping its heart out in the midst of all the lightning, thunder, and rain. Why? Because it was excited about what was just ahead for it because of that storm. It was happy that a feast of earthworms was on the way that would provide nourishment which in turn would help it get through the day and possibly feed its family. God used that robin to remind me that although thunderstorms of life can bring setbacks, disappointments, loss, and grief, he can work it out for my good if I keep in mind he’s right there with me in the midst of it to see me through to the other side of it.

It took me back to the story in Acts when Paul had been arrested and was on a ship headed to Rome for his trial (Acts 27). They ran into severe weather along the way, but Paul was encouraged that everything would turn out fine when he was visited by an angel one night who promised that if everyone stayed aboard the ship, no one would die. Everyone made it to shore safely after they suffered the loss of the ship and the cargo aboard it and their survival gave witness that God is real and keeps his word and gave Paul the opportunity to preach the gospel to the natives on the island of Malta (Melita) (Acts 28) who also witnessed a miracle when a poisonous serpent bit Paul but he didn’t get sick or die.

Additionally, I came across this devotional that highlights how believers in Jesus should handle storms that come their way– “How to Find Truth in the Midst of Turbulent Feelings” by Whitney Hopler.

   

Harry A. Gaylord

Is the name “Jehovah” pagan?

idolatryIf you’ve read any of my comments on this blog recently, you know a commenter attacked my use of the name “Jehovah” to refer to God. He said it was of pagan origin and that I should use “Yahweh” instead. His comment was not the first one made to me to that effect. My response was the following:

‘“Jehovah” is the actual pronunciation. Maybe you’re confused because the Watchtower Society has hijacked the name. But according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., 1910-1911 in vol. 15, pages 311-314, Jews had used Jehovah (Yehovah) as the name & pronunciation for God centuries before the Christian era. This is verified by the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge of 1912 in vol. VI on page 117 and vol. XII on page 470. Even the early church has been documented as having used that name & pronunciation. The Hebrew letter “jod” before the modern era was pronounced as the English j or soft g when transliterated from the Hebrew. “Yahweh” was made the spelling & pronunciation by Jew-hating Germans when they spread the false claim that the God of the Jews was the same as the pagan Babylonian & Canaanite deity “Yaho.” German scholars in the 19th century like Genebrardus, Driver, and Delitzsch helped spread this lie worldwide to justify their anti-semitism until everyone, including Jews, adopted it. To verify this, just look at how the Hebrew words for Jerusalem and Joshua are pronounced which have the same Hebrew letter combinations at the beginning of the words.’

Although that information is true, I failed to search the scriptures thoroughly enough to draw the conclusion that “Yahweh” may still be valid, especially since I have used both “Jehovah” and “Yahweh” interchangeably plenty of times. A lot of confusion is churned up about one name being correct over the other and it is a clever tactic most likely designed by the author of confusion to get us to make much ado about nothing. One important fact I overlooked from the Bible is one of Satan’s habits as expressed in two scriptures:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  Isaiah 14:14

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Mark 13:6

Satan sometimes uses God’s names and applies them to his false gods, meaning by default he deceptively places the names on himself. This is why we see names such as “El” or “Yaho” showing up in various pagan pantheons. It’s also why New Agers often refer to “ascended masters” as having reached “Christ-consciousness,” having accessed the “Christ” within themselves that they falsely believe everyone has. This is why pagan sources should be questioned when it comes to determining the authenticity of religious practices and the Bible should be seen as the ultimate truth.

When this is taken into account, we see that many variants of God’s names show up in the scriptures, often in the names of the Hebrews. Here’s a sample:

And also by the hand of the prophet Jehu [Yehuw' pronounced yā-hoo' in Hebrew, 'Jehovah is He'] the son of Hanani came the word of the Lord against Baasha, and against his house, even for all the evil that he did in the sight of the Lord … 1 Kings 16:7

  And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah [Yĕhovah (yeh·hō·vä')] was I not known to them. Exodus 6:3

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name Jah [Yahh], and rejoice before him. Psalm 68:4

Jehoshaphat [Yĕhowshaphat (yeh·hō·shä·fät'), "Jehovah has judged"]

Jehoahaz [Yĕhow'achaz (yeh·hō·ä·khäz'), "Jehovah has seized"]

Elijah ['Eliyah (ā·lē·yä'), "my God is Jehovah" or "Yah(u) is God"]

Adonijah ['Adoniyah (ad·ō·nē·yä'), "my lord is Jehovah"]

Isaiah [Yĕsha`yah (yesh·ah·yä'), "Jehovah has saved"]

Jeremiah [Yirmĕyah (yir·meh·yä'), "whom Jehovah has appointed"]

It looks to me like God doesn’t mind being called Jehovah, Jah, Yah, or Yahweh. So maybe it’s time to throw all such arguments out, especially since the reliable, God-preserved, Masoretic text that is the foundation of the English Old Testament agrees with all of them.

Harry A. Gaylord

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) sparks rise in fraud

electronic medical recordsSo far, every concern predicted about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is coming true–the higher premiums, people not being able to keep their original plans, etc. Now we can add another prediction coming to fruition–a rise in incidents of fraud in the form of medical identity theft. This could be attributed to new databases being built to comply with the law and confusion surrounding it. The thieves are probably taking advantage of the possibility that all the i’s may not have been dotted, nor all the t’s crossed in the rush to get the new systems ready. Last year 1.84 million people had their lives negatively affected by medical identity thieves who have doubled their hack attacks on health care providers since 2010, according to Daily Finance, who reported on this growing problem today.

These online criminals are on the hunt for free healthcare, which places not only bank accounts and credit cards at risk, but one’s health as well. When they steal someone’s identity and visit a medical facility under that stolen identity, the victim may not only end up being charged for a procedure or exam they never had, but the medical information from the thief goes into the victim’s medical records. This could cause life-threatening situations if the victim has to go into surgery and is given the wrong type of blood or is given the wrong prescription based on the thief’s ailment. On average, victims have ended up with $22,000 in medical charges because of this crime and it has taken over a year for them to clean up their credit history, fight the medical charges, and clear their medical records. Some thieves have even used stolen medical information to file fraudulent tax returns.

Several companies in the healthcare field and organizations concerned about this trend have formed the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance to fight this fraud. However, the Daily Finance obtained some helpful advice from the Federal Trade Commission on what steps to take to avoid being a victim or what to do if you become one. For instance, they suggest checking your credit report at least once a year, shredding all medical documents you don’t need, and paying attention to all charges appearing on all medical bills. For more information, consult the article and it’s helpful links.

Source:

Annalisa Kraft-Lender. Medical Identity Theft: The Fraud That Can Kill You. DailyFinance.com. March 31st, 2014

 

Copycats and counterfeits are never as good as the original, so why be one?

Law-abiding people hate it when they pay good money to buy a luxury item with a good name on it only to find out later that it’s a fake and they’ve been duped. Worse yet is if they believe the money in their possession is real and they attempt to use it only to discover it’s fake money that is useless to purchase what they need or their heart desires. Then they inadvertently find themselves at the wrong end of a confrontation with law enforcement.

counterfeitTwo men in the Atlanta area were sentenced to federal prison today for their part in an international counterfeiting ring that distributed over $1 million dollars in counterfeit U.S. money. Stacy P. Smith got three years in prison while his partner in crime Heath J. Kellogg was sentenced to 12 years after they both pleaded guilty to the counterfeiting charges they faced. Their funny money was used to take advantage of ordinary citizens, churches, family businesses, retail stores, and banks. Four other people involved in the counterfeit ring received lesser sentences several months ago.

If you ever had the displeasure of dealing with a fake, you know the following:

  1. As I said above, they pretend to have the value of the original but their phoniness makes them less valuable or worthless.
  2. They pretend to have the power of the original, but are really not as powerful or are altogether powerless.
  3. They are presented as having the same outward beauty of the original, but further examination of their contents and attributes reveals they are less beautiful or just plain ugly.

You would think that since most people hate material counterfeits, they would be inclined to despise spiritual counterfeits also, but such is not the case. Most of the world has fallen for the various tricks of the master copycat and counterfeiter named Lucifer, aka Satan. He has set up a vast network of spiritual knock-offs internationally that makes billions in cash and destroys billions of souls by doing the three things listed above. His network even goes so far as claiming the Bible is a knock-off of his copycat, counterfeit network of pagan religions. And those caught up in his network don’t seem to mind that they are deceived as they in turn deceive others.

But thanks be to God that he is the Original to beat all originals and that he has his own international and universal team making a positive impact that robs the counterfeiter of victims. Each person on God’s team who has been called into a relationship with the Father through his Son Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit is an original themselves. Did you know that? Although you as a Christian have the same spiritual gifts, calling, fruit of the spirit, and ministry that countless other Christians have had before you and have along with your presently, you are such an original that no other Christian can display all of those God-given benefits in the way you can. That’s why each one of us is so important to God’s operations and there is no need for any of us to try to be a copycat to any other Christian or being.

Satan and his God-mimicking copycats and counterfeits (including Lucifer’s lying signs and wonders-blunders) ultimately are no match for God as the Original or any originals God makes for his glory.

“…the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12:21, 27

Harry A. Gaylord

Self(ie)-obsession leads kid to attempted suicide

Narcissistic self-obsession in our society continues to display itself in unusual ways thanks to technologies like smartphones and social media. Danny Bowman, a 19-yr-old in the UK, is one of the latest examples. He became so obsessed with himself that taking selfies took over his life. Bowman’s habit got so severe that he would take up to 200 photos of himself per day and post them on social media websites waiting anxiously for feedback from friends and strangers. He eventually dropped out of school at 16, became a recluse, acquired an eating disorder in an attempt to get the perfect body (after negative feedback on his looks from people on the Internet), and when things got to the point where he felt it was impossible for him to take the absolute perfect selfie he tried to kill himself with an overdose of prescription meds in December 2012.

Fortunately for Bowman, his mother found him and got him help before it was too late. He spent time at a clinic to get psychiatric help and now works with a charity to reach young people about being aware of mental health issues their generation faces. Various psychiatrists weighing in on Bowman’s issues and those of other young people when it comes to this selfie & social media obsession claim that it is a mental illness and not vanity. I’m of the opinion that they’re calling it a mental illness so they can keep themselves and their colleagues in business, not to mention that the whole psychiatric field is based on the false idea that we as humans are basically good and that there is no such thing as sin.

It’s great that Bowman is doing well and is telling his story to talk shows and other venues, but could it be that this is just a band-aid placed on a larger problem? At the heart of his problem, just like the rest of us, is our sin nature as human beings. The only cure for that is a relationship with Jesus Christ our Creator. So I pray that when his interviews and media popularity draw to a close and he returns to his private life after his 15 minutes of fame that he will come to the realization that there is a spiritual truth beyond what the psychiatrists surrounding him have told him.

His is a story that shows us that the road of vanity and self-obsession is a road that leads to destructive behavior. A healthy relationship with the Lord Jesus is what gives us real, everlasting purpose in life because he helps us realize we are fearfully and wonderfully made by him. The Lord Jesus by his Holy Spirit prompts us to take our focus off our circumstances when the enemy tries to keep us imprisoned in some way, so that like Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail, we can focus on glorifying God which encourages the Lord to shake our enemies to their very foundations and brings our deliverance. An intimate relationship with the Lord can help us cling to the reality that when no one around us likes us and everyone is trying to kill us with their words, we can be like David who encouraged himself in the Lord, then received a clear word from God on how to handle his dire situation (1 Samuel 30:6-9).

Harry A. Gaylord

U.S. Senate ready to pass bill protecting journalists but bloggers excluded

media microphonesThe U.S. Senate has mustered up enough bipartisan votes to pass a new media shield bill into law. The measure was crafted after huge concerns were raised when the DOJ secretly confiscated records from the Associated Press and James Rosen of Fox News under the guise of investigating leaks of classified information. Many Americans have considered the DOJ’s actions a blatant violation of the First Amendment which says the following:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. [emphasis mine]

While the bill is crafted to protect “journalists” who write exposés from revealing their confidential sources, it leaves non-journalists out in the cold. Senators who crafted the bill made sure it applies to only employees of traditional and online media organizations who distribute news or information, including “newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service,
news agency, news website, mobile application or other news or information service (whether distributed digitally or otherwise); news program, magazine or other periodical, whether in print, electronic or other format; or thorough television or radio broadcast … or motion picture for public showing.” Additionally, a federal judge would be free to determine if someone is an entity that should be covered by the impending law.

However, someone like Julian Assange or Glenn Greenwald, who published Edward Snowden’s leaks, would probably not be protected. Anyone posting to social media, whether it’s a blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. would definitely not have protection under this proposed law.

One possible reason for the narrowly-defined class of those covered is that the majority of media outlets are under the control of the NWO and the Senators are just looking out for their own because they know they won’t have much to worry about from them. Blogger Rick Moran thinks it’s “[b]ecause anyone can expose wrongdoing by the rich and powerful if they have an internet connection and a confidential source and that’s just too scary for the powers that be.” He goes on to note that ‘[i]t’s ridiculous to think that just because someone doesn’t get paid to be a “journalist” that this somehow makes them less a legitimate purveyor of news than some MSM hack. This bill is all about controlling the flow of information and managing the sorts of people who are privileged enough to be protected.’

Sources:

Donna Cassata. Schumer: Senate Has Votes for Media Shield Law. Associated Press. March 21, 2014.

Rick Moran. Media shield law moves forward in Senate – Without bloggers. Americanthinker.com. March 22, 2014.

Harry A. Gaylord

Hating Israel is a futile exercise (if you’re saved, thank a Jew)

I thank God for the Jews. If it weren’t for them having an active part in God’s plan, especially in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews, I would be lost forever. They were the ones who wrote down God’s word and were used by God to preserve it so I could learn about him and the awesome things he has done, both in the Old Testament and New Testament. This is why I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and will never turn against Israel even if the whole world does in my lifetime.

But much of the world doesn’t feel that way–to their own detriment. The mainstream media, government leaders, some church leaders, and others are trying to paint Israel as public enemy #1 on the world stage by making many false claims against Israel. Among those false claims is the revisionist history that says Israel stole their land from the Palestinians and are occupiers. Another false claim is that God no longer has any dealings or covenants in play with any people who call themselves Israel. Therefore, anyone who calls themselves “Israel” is an impostor. People say these things against Israel because they (1) don’t know their world history ; (2) don’t know Bible prophecy ; or (3) couldn’t care less about either (1) or (2).

  

Nevertheless, God’s words and promises toward his disobedient people called Israel are based on an irrevocable, unconditional covenant going all the way back to Abraham. A covenant he has confirmed with Israel throughout the centuries regarding both their spiritual and physical state. One of the most secure words regarding God’s everlasting love for Israel is found in Jeremiah 33–

24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the Lord hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.

25 Thus saith the Lord; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;

26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

The words from verse 24 sound exactly like what the anti-Israel factions are saying today. Jews/Israelis are sinners like the rest of us and should be criticized when they do wrong, but much of the criticism aimed at them is anti-Semitic in nature. If you wish to enlighten yourself on the legitimacy of Israel, the two videos (approx. 25 min. each) from Hal Lindsey here give accurate accounts that are intentionally hidden from today’s media.

  

Harry A. Gaylord

Nowhere to run, nothing to hide

eye through keyholeAlthough there are many Americans who hate that the NSA is snooping on them, there are many Americans who don’t seem to care. Citizens who are nonplussed and indifferent about it often use the “I-have-nothing-to-hide” excuse for their attitude. But if things progress the way they have been with the government expanding its snooping capabilities while in front of the media they give false promises about reforming their practices, the indifferent may eventually find themselves in a world of hurt. Especially since the “I-have-nothing-to-hide” excuse is never an excuse for the government to violate the Fourth Amendment.

The Bill of Rights were established to protect us from rogue, power-hungry agents and agencies who may want to abuse their power and skirt proper procedures for their own gain at the expense of someone who is law-abiding. Even if we have nothing to hide, there are certain things which are just nobody’s business but our own and we have the right to keep it our own business. When we claim we have nothing to hide, we are giving the control freaks power over our person to make the decision for us as to whether we have something to hide and we leave ourselves open to trumped-up charges.

For instance, a police officer in the Milwaukee area was recently charged with misconduct. This was due to an incident in 2009 when he falsely arrested a woman who was working as a stripper. Her line of work may have been immoral although legal, but the officer falsely claimed he had an arrest warrant on her then did an illegal search of her property and falsely claimed he found traces of cocaine in her belongings. When he took her to the police station, he took improper photos of her that weren’t consistent with mug shots, failed to fingerprint her, and slipped his personal number to her before she was carted off to jail on his trumped-up charges. She ended up unable to post bail on those false charges and spent 52 days in jail because of it. It is only years later that the whole incident will be brought to trial. Yet, the young lady had nothing to hide.

surveillance_warningThen there’s the case of Marcus Jeter of New Jersey who was pulled over on a highway by police officers who were looking for someone to bully. When Jeter saw the cops, he immediately pulled over and put his hands up, but the officers falsely charged him with resisting, assault, and a whole host of other trumped-up charges. Jeter explained everything that happened and how the police brutalized him, but not even his attorney believed him until a police surveillance video surfaced proving Jeter’s innocence and the officers’ misconduct. All charges were dropped against Jeter, and now the cops are answering for their crimes. While Jeter was being watched and investigated, the real guilty parties were roaming freely when Jeter had nothing to hide.

Let’s look at this from a Biblical perspective. What if the wise men had decided they had nothing to hide when it came to the location of the Christ child in spite of God’s dream? What if chief captain Claudius Lysias decided he had nothing to hide from the Sanhedrin about their request to interrogate Paul as a pretext for their assassination plot against the apostle (Acts 23:12-22)? These incidents show us today that since crooked people are often in places of power, it’s in our best interest to keep them in the dark about some things.

Harry A. Gaylord

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