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April 01, 2000
by Doug Batchelor
An Amazing Fact: Gordius was a Greek peasant who became king of Phrygia simply because he was the first man to drive into town after an oracle had commanded his countrymen to "select as ruler the first person who would drive into the public square in a wagon." In gratitude, Gordius dedicated his wagon to the god Zeus and securely tied the tongue of the wagon in the temple grove with a thick, strong rope. The knot was so intricately entwined that no one could undo it. Many tried, but all failed. A prophet said that whoever succeeded in untying the difficult knot would become the ruler of all Asia. Hearing this, young Alexander the Great attempted to untie the complex Gordian knot but was also unsuccessful, so he drew his sword and cut it through with a single stroke. Alexander of course went on to become the ruler of Asia and beyond. The expression "to cut the Gordian knot" is now used for resolving a difficult problem by a quick and decisive action.
March 01, 2000
By Doug Batchelor
An Amazing Fact: In Asia lives a remarkable little spider that has its home under the water. This water spider spins a tiny web in the shape of a bell and attaches it to stems of water weeds and plants just below the pond surface. All spiders must breathe air, so the water spider takes its air along like a skin diver. On the surface she traps tiny bubbles in the hairs of her body, then hurries home and releases them under her web. The spider makes many trips to bring air bubbles back for her home. The waterproof web becomes inflated with trapped air and makes a perfect diving bell where she lives, eats, and lays her eggs. If the air is used up, the spider surfaces to breathe and collect more fresh bubbles for her home below. Living below, and yet breathing the air from above, this little spider is constantly surrounded by water, yet remains perfectly dry!
February 01, 2000
by Steven Winn, David Boatwright & Doug Batchelor An Amazing Fact: Eidetic (memory is rare in man and is cause for awe and admiration. Eidetic memory, also called photographic memory, is marked by an extraordinarily detailed and vivid recall of visual images with the ability to re-project and thus "visually" recall material. One man with this gift, Mehmed Ali Halici of Ankara, Turkey, recited 6,666 verses of the Koran from memory in six hours without a mistake. Six Koran scholars monitored the recitation.
Experts have proven that one of the most successful methods of memorization is through picture association. The Lord uses this teaching technique because He knows that humans are extremely visual creatures. This is one of the main reasons Jesus taught with parables.
December 01, 1999
by Joe Crews
An Amazing Fact! Houdini, born Erich Weiss on March 24, 1874, is perhaps America's most famous magician and escape artist. While visiting a psychiatrist friend in Nova Scotia in 1896, Houdini saw his first strait jacket. Instead of shock, he was inspired to create an act around escaping from it. And Houdini didn't just escape from a strait jacket-he did it hanging upside down from his ankles, suspended yards above the ground.
Houdini then expanded his act to escape not only from any handcuffs offered, but also from most any location suggested. Houdini escaped from jail cells, handcuffed bridge jumps, padlocked crates thrown into rivers, locked canvas mailbags-even a giant paper bag, without making a single tear in it. Possibly his most memorable escapes were the stage illusions he made famous, including the Water Torture Cell, the Milk Can Escape, and Buried Alive.
November 01, 1999
by Doug Batchelor and David Boatwright An Amazing Fact: When King Humbert of Italy came to the throne, Naples was on the verge of insurrection against the monarchy. Politicians were urging violent measures to force the stubborn city into submission, but King Humbert would not allow this. Then there was a sudden outbreak of cholera and the dreaded disease raged with deadly fury in the city of Naples. Ignoring the warnings of his advisors, the young king, moved with devotion and love for even his disloyal subjects, left the palace and went alone through the crowded hospitals of Naples, ministering to his subjects with his own royal hand. Many suffering people breathed prayers of gratitude to this young medical servant, not knowing it was the very king they had spurned.
September 01, 1999
by David Boatwright & Doug Batchelor
An Amazing Fact: One hour of sleep deprivation increases the number of highway accidents by eight percent and an hour of extra sleep decreases them by eight percent! It's true-it happens twice a year during the daylight savings time adjustments. Your efficiency driving after you have been awake for 18 hours is about the same as driving after drinking two alcoholic drinks. When you have been awake for 24 hours, your driving efficiency deteriorates to the equivalent of driving under the influence of four to six drinks! Optimum performance comes with nine hours of sleep each night.
The Scriptures also teach that spiritual and physical rest is so essential for man's happiness that God set aside a holy day for that purpose during Creation and then commanded the human race to "remember" it (Exodus 20:8-11).
The Sabbath truth has come under a special attack in recent years because the devil knows that all love relationships are nurtured in the environment of quality time.
August 01, 1999
by John Bradshaw
An Amazing Fact: On the Big Island of Hawaii rest the ancient ruins of Pu`uhonua: "A vast enclosure whose stone walls were 20 feet thick at the base and 15 or 20 feet high; an oblong square, 1,040 feet one way, and a fraction under 700 the other," wrote Mark Twain in his July 1866 "Letters from Hawaii." When a native Hawaiian broke a "kapu," a sacred Hawaiian law, the offender was automatically sentenced to death unless he or she could flee to the City of Refuge where the "Big Kahuna," or high priest, lived. Once inside the walls he or she was safe and protected from judgment. Later, the Big Kahuna would perform a rite of purification, declare forgiveness and innocence, and set the person free to begin a new life.
Early this century, a young Norwegian immigrant stood, heart pounding, on Ellis Island gazing in awe at the young Manhattan skyline taking shape across the harbor. New York City represented to him the chance for something that until now had been unattainable. A better life, greater opportunities, new possibilities, and a new start lay just beyond the shimmering stretch of blue water, a vision of loveliness to him and multiplied thousands before him. Surely this city would be a sanctuary, a haven, a city of refuge.
July 01, 1999
by Doug Batchelor
The fall of 1999 promises to reveal a kaleidoscope of human behavior. Millions of people are apprehensive regarding the Y2K, or "Millennial Bug," situation. Most people already know that because of a serious date programming problem, many computer experts are anticipating varying degrees of computer system freezes and malfunctions between Sept. 9, 1999, and Feb. 28, 2000.
Some sensational speakers predict that this will trigger a global chain reaction shutting down critical systems of power, water, and communications, leading to an accelerating vortex of panic. Some are selling bushels of books and tapes recommending the stockpiling of dried foods, water, gas, generators, and even guns and ammunition. Anticipating a bank run, others are suggesting that before Sept. 9, people should withdraw enough cash to last at least a couple of months (because the date 9/9/99 may trigger a shutdown code for some older computers.) To prepare for the possible demand, Federal Reserve System Chairman Alan Greenspan has ordered the Fed to print an additional 50 billion dollars in cash.
The approaching new millennium also brings a hypersensitivity to the origin and future of the human race. With the tremendous exponential changes of the last century, people cannot even imagine what the next decade will bring. Everyone seems more aware of the volatility of the age.
June 01, 1999
by Doug Batchelor & Steven Winn
They were watching. They watched him roll over as the early morning sun peeked over the horizon and brightened his bedroom. They watched as he climbed out of bed and prepared for the day. They watched him as he led the household in worship, ate his simple breakfast, and as he gave instructions to his chief steward. They watched as he donned his outer robe and strode out to the pasture where his 7,000 sheep were grazing. They heard him compliment his shepherds on their fine work, and they heard him tell them about the new field he just purchased. They saw him make the trip to the stalls where his 3,000 camels stayed. They watched as he paid the camel caretakers bonuses for their months of faithful service. They watched as he completed his daily activities, and as he sat at the evening meal. They watched as he knelt by the family altar to pray for his children.
Job-A Faithful Servant
Every time Job spoke a word of kindness, they beamed with heavenly smiles. Every earnest prayer he prayed for his children brought a tender twinkle to their celestial faces.
April 01, 1999
by Gary Gibbs
An Amazing Fact: There are more than 376 million Visas and MasterCards in circulation. This is up 80 percent from a few years ago when the average family had only two credit cards and $2,340 in outstanding balances. Today they have an average of four cards and owe nearly $4,880. Altogether, American consumers have racked up $480 billion dollars in debt with these little two- by three-inch pieces of plastic, and that figure grows at a 13 percent annual rate.
We are a nation drowning in red ink. Plans for the large government budget surplus seem to be the focus of recent political attention, but soaring consumer debt is seldom discussed. Within the past few years it has increased 39 percent and now exceeds $1 trillion. "When you carry this much debt it's scary," says consumer spending expert Madelyn Hochstein in a recent newspaper article, "Black-hole Borrowing, Consumer Debt Surging; Nation's Economy at Risk." The article goes on to warn that, "This could be a time bomb for the U.S. economy and its banks."
March 01, 1999
By Pastor Doug Batchelor and Kim Kjaer
An Amazing Fact: Science tells us that light is constituted of three primary rays, or groups of wavelengths. Clearly distinct from each other, none of them without the others could be light. Each ray has its own separate function. The first originates, the second illuminates, and the third consummates. The first ray, often called invisible light, is neither seen nor felt. The second is both seen and felt. The third is not seen but is felt as heat.
Like light, our “One God” is revealed in the three distinct persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (1 John 5:7 NKJV).
February 01, 1999
by Joe Crews
Nazareth of Galilee was situated in one of the loveliest physical settings in all of Palestine. Nestled amid the natural beauty of rolling hills and lush, fruitful vineyards, it would seem to be the perfect place for the Son of God to manifest His sinless life. There, at His mother's knee, Jesus could be exposed to the holy influences of the book of nature as well as the inspired writings of patriarchs and prophets.
But things are not always what they seem to be, and this was especially true of Nazareth. History adds a sad footnote about the hometown of Jesus, the carpenter son of Mary. It was distinguished by its depravity and evil reputation. All over the Near East it had become a byword for sin and iniquity.
No wonder Nathaniel responded as he did when Philip urged him to get acquainted with Jesus of Nazareth. "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46). You see, Nathaniel was well acquainted with the ill-repute of that particular little Galilean town, and he could not in his wildest imagination associate it with the expected Messiah.
January 01, 1999
by Doug Batchelor and Karen Lifshey
An Amazing Fact: In 1967 the city of Long Beach, Calif., bought the Queen Mary from Cunard Lines. Since then $63 million has been spent on its conversion into a tourist spot with a museum, shops, restaurants, and a hotel. Now many in the city of Long Beach look upon the giant ship, docked on the ocean front, as a floating white elephant, and voices are calling for the doughty old liner to be scrapped. With no possibility of sailing the seas, they claim the Queen Mary serves as false advertising; a ship filled with activity that never leaves port.
How to Choose a Church?
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24, 25).
December 01, 1998
by Doug Batchelor
An Amazing Fact: Bumble bees were originally called "humble bees" because they are generally good natured and very rarely sting. The young children of the early English settlers struggled to say "humble bees," and often called them "bumble bees" instead. Because of the awkward, clumsy movements of the adult bees, the new name stuck.
Bumble bees are among the few insects that can control their body temperature. In cold weather, queens and workers can shiver their flight muscles to warm themselves. Their large size and heat-conserving hairy coats also help them stay warm, allowing them to work in colder climates and lower temperatures than most other insects..
November 01, 1998
by Lowell Hargreaves
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!
October 01, 1998
by Doug Batchelor
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.
September 01, 1998
by Doug Batchelor
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.
August 01, 1998
by Steve Wohlberg and Doug Batchelor
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...
July 01, 1998
by Slawomir Malarek
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.
June 01, 1998
by Doug Batchelor
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.
May 01, 1998
by Brian McMahon
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.
April 01, 1998
by Doug Batchelor
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.
March 01, 1998
by Doug Batchelor
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.
February 01, 1998
by Pastor Doug BatchelorAn Amazing Fact:
Every square inch of human skin consists of 19 million cells, 60 hairs, 90 oil glands, 19 feet of blood vessels, 625 sweat glands, and 19,000 sensory cells that can transmit information at more than 200 miles an hour.
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.
January 01, 1998
by Doug Batchelor
An Amazing Fact: The Empire State Building in New York City, which was completed in 1931, was known for many years as the tallest building in the world. It is 1,250 feet tall and boasts 102 stories of office space. Several structures in the United States and in Asia now surpass the Empire State Building in height, yet many of the records that were set during its construction have never been broken. For example, because the building was made of prefabricated blocks, it was completed in less than two years. In fact, one 14-floor section was erected in less than a week!
The first time the word "kingdom" is mentioned in the Bible is in connection with Babel (Genesis 10:8-10). The founder of this ancient city was Nimrod, a man whose very name means "we shall rebel." Throughout the Scriptures, Babel-which is also the Hebrew word for "Babylon"-becomes a symbol of rebellion to God.
Cleansing the Sanctuary, Pt. 2