An Amazing Fact: The world's smallest known vertebrate fish, the pygmy goby, is found on coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean, and is only about a quarter of an inch long when full grown. The Latin name of this fish, Nanus comes from a word meaning "dwarf." You can understand why the pygmy goby babies can only be seen with a magnifying glass when they first hatch from their teeny, tiny eggs!
I suppose few people would choose to be dwarfed. It seems that every little school-age child dreams of growing up to be big and strong. Likewise, each individual who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour desires to grow to become a strong, tall Christian. Unfortunately, however, many people have a dwarfed experience with God. They're Christian pygmies, as it were. In fact, some churches contain so many spiritual pygmies that the occasional "normal" Christian, who is growing daily in his religious experience, is looked upon as something of an oddity!
An Amazing Fact: Between 1768 and 1775, the famous British explorer James Cook and his crew made two voyages around the world. Cook and his companions charted much of the South Pacific using nothing more than a sextant and a simple compass for navigation!
It's amazing to me how the ancient explorers knew their location based only on the sun, moon, and stars. The Bible contains a dramatic story of a ship lost at sea during a severe storm. For 14 gray days and black nights, the apostle Paul and some sea mates were beaten by the wind and drenched with the driving rain and angry waves. However, the main cause of the sailors' utter discouragement was that they had no heavenly bodies to guide them. They were oblivious to their location. "And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away." Acts 27:20. In the same way that it was imperative for the ancient sailors to have a view of the sun by day or stars by night in order to chart their location and measure their progress, modern men and women also need guiding lights.
An Amazing Fact: A man stopped at the bar in the Los Angeles airport to "relax" for a few minutes before catching his plane. Then, realizing he had lost track of time, the man raced out of the bar and quickly asked directions for the departing gate to Oakland. After hurrying through a maze of terminals, he handed the flight attendant his ticket and scurried onto the plane just as it was about to depart. After storing his briefcase, the weary traveler slumped into his seat and drifted off to sleep. When he awoke two hours later and examined his watch, the man wondered why the one-hour flight was taking so long. To his horror, he discovered that instead of boarding the plane for Oakland, Calif., he was on his way to Auckland, New Zealand! Because someone had confused Auckland with Oakland, that man had to endure a 22-hour round-trip flight.
An Amazing Fact: The European cuckoo bird is known as a "brood parasite." The female lays her eggs in the nests of other smaller birds, like the reed warbler. In turn, they unwittingly incubate, feed, and raise the young impostors-usually at the expense of their own genuine offspring!
The devil has successfully planted a dangerous lie in Christian theology, and it has been unwittingly hatched, adopted, and nurtured by most evangelical churches. Today, millions of people the world over who are interested in Bible prophecy have their eyes fixed upon Jerusalem. Christians are constantly speculating about the modern state of Israel, a rebuilt Jewish temple, and a Middle East Armageddon. These subjects are being discussed in magazines, on videos, in books, on the radio, from the pulpit, in seminaries, on the Internet, and at Bible prophecy conferences.
eed, and raise...
We were both born and raised in Poland, studied theology, and became ministers. We both left our fatherland and lived and worked in other countries. He went to Italy; I sojourned across the Alps into neighboring Switzerland. Eventually both of us would come to Canada (in the same year, 1989) and live in southern Ontario within an hour's drive of each other.
We were both sent on similar missions to the same town in Western Manitoba. He came to Brandon in 1994, and I arrived in the summer of 1995. Our assignments were to revive our churches in this second-largest city in the province of Manitoba. The attendance in my church had dwindled down to seven. In his, only one couple remained. Both churches were about to experience unprecedented growth. But that's where the similarities end, because he was a Catholic priest and I am a Protestant pastor. We were literally two Poles, poles apart.
An Amazing Fact: "Road Rage" is a term that defines an alarming new phenomenon in North America. Angry motorists shoot and kill or deliberately crash their cars into drivers whom they feel have performed some inconsiderate maneuver. This growing problem is so real that the Automobile Association of America is running a series of TV adds to teach drivers how to keep their cool and avoid becoming a victim.
A young mother began studying the Scriptures and believing the Bible truth. Her live-in boyfriend was infuriated because she insisted that they either get married or separate. One evening as she was nailing a copy of the Ten Commandments up on the wall, he suddenly became so enraged that he grabbed the hammer out of her hand and began to bludgeon her with it. When he thought he had killed her, he then went into the next room and killed their 10-month-old baby.
An Amazing Fact: When a hawk is attacked by crows or kingbirds, instead of waging a counterattack, it will circle higher and higher until it is soaring above the altitude range of its tormentors.
During the Gulf War, Iraqi soldiers were forced to make what was later called "the mother of all surrenders." However, it was not because the troops were poorly armed. In fact, the Iraqis had many highly sophisticated weapons that had been purchased from the former U.S.S.R. Their problem was that the soldiers had never been properly trained to use the weapons in battle, so they finally threw their hands in the air and surrendered.
In the same way, many Christians are frequently overcome by temptation because they have never been taught to use God's resources to fight the enemy. The Bible says, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Psalm 119:11. The Word of God is the most commonly neglected resource in resisting the clamoring of the lower nature. Discovering how to resist evil temptation through claiming the power of God in Scripture has been one of the most valuable things I have learned since becoming a Christian.
An Amazing Fact: In order to draw attention to world peace, in 1973 Patrice Tamao of the Dominican Republic allowed himself to be crucified as thousands watched on TV. Tamao had three six-inch stainless steel nails driven through his hands and feet and intended to stay on the cross for 48 hours. However, after 20 hours he requested to be taken down because he had developed an infection.
Jesus told His disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23. Later the apostle Paul repeated this theme. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.
From the time of Christ's sacrifice to the present, many have sought to show their devotion to Jesus, secure their own forgiveness, or make some public statement by actually having themselves crucified.
The Bible is a book depicting countless battles. From Genesis to Revelation, its pages reveal that there are both physical and spiritual wars raging. Physical wars have dominated history from the time Cain killed his brother Abel right down to the present day. This should not surprise us, for Jesus predicted, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. ... For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." Matthew 24:6, 7.
However, the primary focus of the Scriptures is the story of the ongoing conflict between Christ and Satan. We are told in Revelation that what began as a cosmic war in heaven will soon end in Armageddon. In this showdown between the forces of good and the powers of evil, light and truth is under constant attack from deception and darkness.
Of all the analogies used in God's Word to describe the church, the one that is most vivid and inspiring is the symbol of the human body. In the New Testament, the church is repeatedly described as the body of Christ. "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."1 Corinthians 12:27. Perhaps this is because it is made up of so many diverse parts that work together in harmony as one unit. Or perhaps it is because the same God who created our physical bodies also designed the church.
Yet for some reason it is becoming more and more common for Christians to amputate themselves from the body of Christ.