Compared to the United States, Canada is relatively peaceful when it comes to gun violence. However, this week, that tranquil feeling was shattered when a gunman opened fire at the National War Memorial in the capital city of Ottawa, killing one soldier. The gunman then entered the Parliament building a short distance away, firing his weapon repeatedly, going right past the room where the prime minister was speaking to lawmakers.
Two days earlier, another man, a convert to Islam who had recently become radicalized, ran over two Canadian soldiers with his car. One of them later died.
These events seem to have jolted Canadians out of their sense of security as terrorists struck at the very symbols of that security — the nation’s armed forces and the center of the government.
America, of course, is no stranger to such events. Just on Thursday, a man attacked four New York City police officers with a hatchet. On Friday, in Sacramento, CA, a man went on a shooting and carjacking spree that left two sheriff’s deputies dead. In recent years, we have also seen multiple shootings at U.S. military facilities — at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C., twice at Fort Hood in Texas, at Marine Corp Base Quantico in Virginia, and at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. It seems as though the very ones tasked with providing security for us are coming under attack themselves. Continue Reading…
As you know, an outbreak of Ebola is currently spreading around the globe. Over 8,000 infections have been confirmed, and over 4,000 of those infected have died. While the overwhelming majority of the cases are in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, more infections or suspected infections are popping up in other countries including Spain, the United States, Germany, and Australia.
Doctors and health organizations around the world are scrambling to find a solution to the epidemic. So far, the search to find a medicine that will successfully treat and heal someone infected with Ebola has been futile. However, there is one method of treatment that has been successful in healing Ebola victims — and that is a blood transfusion from someone who has already recovered from the deadly virus.
One of the first Ebola victims to be treated in the United States was Dr. Kent Brantly, a medical missionary who contracted the virus while working with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia. Before he returned to America, he received a blood transfusion from a 14-year-old Liberian boy who had been cured of Ebola. A few days after Brantly began treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, he was declared virus free.
In the weeks that followed his recovery, Dr. Brantly donated his blood to three other Americans who had contracted Ebola. One of them has already recovered, and the other two are expected to recover as well. Doctors and researchers are now looking into how the success of blood transfusions from Ebola survivors can be parlayed into a wide-spread solution for the Ebola epidemic.
Here is the reason a blood transfusion works so well against Ebola: Plasma is a component of blood that contains virus-fighting proteins called antibodies. According to Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, When confronted with a virus, the immune system creates antibodies to specifically target that virus, kill it and keep it from coming back. Once a person has antibodies, they stay in their blood for life. If the Ebola antibodies found in an Ebola survivor’s blood can be imported into struggling Ebola patient’s body, those antibodies can theoretically help the patient’s immune system fight off the deadly virus. “What those antibodies do is bind to the virus. They find the virus and bind to it and prevent it from multiplying further.” So far, it appears as though a blood transfusion is the only effective and proven way to save people infected with Ebola.
When I read Dr. Schaffner’s explanation, I was reminded of an old hymn titled, “There is Power in the Blood.” Of course, that hymn is not talking about how a survivor’s blood can help save a victim of a disease. Rather, it is talking about how the blood of Jesus Christ is powerful enough to cleanse us from our sins and give us eternal life. Continue Reading…
Have you ever missed a sports game because you were so busy that you didn’t have time to sit down and watch it? Well, afterwards you may have found out who won and watched the highlight reel on television. The highlights are a great way to get filled in on what went down on the football field, basketball court, or baseball diamond.
Today, I want to share with you the highlights from a great event that was over 4,000 years in the making. This event is the story of redemption which shows us how God worked in the earth to save sinful mankind and draw us back into a relationship with Himself. It won’t take us long. Here are the highlights.
1. Man sinned. The Bible says in Romans 5:12, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” The first humans, Adam and Eve, sinned by disobeying God, and all humans descended from them have sinned. Death is the result of our sin — both physical death which causes our bodies to decay and eventually be put in the grave, and spiritual death which causes us to be separated from God.
2. God sent His Son into the world. Because God loved us and did not want us to be separated from Him forever, He put in motion a plan to reconcile us to Himself. The first step in this plan was to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to Earth. First John 4:9 states, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world…” Continue Reading…
A week ago, one of the most anticipated weddings in recent memory took place. Actor George Clooney, who was quoted as saying that he would never get married again over 20 years ago, tied the knot with British-Lebanese lawyer and activist, Amal Alamuddin. The beautiful wedding ceremony took place in the ‘floating city’ of Venice.
Despite all of the negative things that happen in the world, there are two things mankind gets great joy out of — the birth of a child and the marriage of a man and a woman. The union of two people in a marriage ceremony is an amazing and touching experience. People spend lots of money and often go into debt to pull off the perfect wedding.
God even uses the act of marriage to represent one of the greatest future events in the history of the world — the final reunion of Himself with His creation. Mankind was separated from God when our ancestors, Adam and Eve, decided to disobey God in the Garden of Eden. At that point, God put in place a plan to remove the barrier of sin and imperfection between Himself and His creation. This plan will culminate in a majestic wedding ceremony in heaven. This ceremony is often called the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb.”
Listen to how the Bible describes this event in Revelation 19:7-9: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to [God]: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And [the angel] saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
I mentioned already that the “marriage” spoken of here is the reunion of God with His creation. But, perhaps, you still have some questions such as: Why is it called the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb”? Who is the Lamb? And who is getting “married” to the Lamb? Continue Reading…
In American football, when the team that has the ball wants to run down the clock at the end of the game in order to preserve a lead or win, the offense will implement a play called taking a knee. After the ball is snapped, the quarterback will immediately drop to one knee, ending the play. Usually, the opposing team does not tackle the members of the offense as they have already resigned themselves to the outcome of the game. There is no need in trying to challenge the inevitable.
In life, sometimes, we are faced with situations where we have to choose whether to resign ourselves to an outcome that appears all but certain or to try and change the outcome. Perhaps you have heard of people who have been faced with choosing between allowing a loved one to continue living in a vegetative state and taking that person off of life support. That is a very difficult and heart-rending decision to have to make.
However, there are other situations in which we really do not have a choice — situations in which the score has been settled, the game is over, the time on the clock has run out — and all we can do is take a knee. One of those things is death. Throughout history, man has searched for some way to escape death. Ancient Indian and Chinese cultures sought the elixir of life. Explorers came to the New World searching for the fountain of youth. Some people have agreed to allow their bodies to be frozen when they die in the hopes that scientists are able to find a way to restart their life processes sometime in the future. Others are using modern technology and research to find a way to prolong their lives in a bid to avoid death. Continue Reading…