18 Oct 2023
Good evening from Northern England!
Below you see two pictures of Morecambe Bay, in walking distance from our apartment. Our end of the bay is remarkably shallow, though as you make your way out into the Irish Sea, the depth increases to 70m. As the Captain’s Guide puts it, “Morecambe Bay is a treacherous place. The combination of fast tides, quicksands, draining rivers, shifting channels and sheer unpredictability has trapped the unwary for centuries.”
Further, the difference between high and low tides is remarkable (a variation of 10m)! It’s somewhat like the Bay of Fundy—though without Nova Scotia’s swift tidal bore. It also reminds us that our private lives may be concealed at present, but all will be revealed at the last day (Luke 8:17; 12:2).
What Would Jesus Do with Refugees? (Cox)
This week (in England) I spent some time with refugees from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Because of their faith in Christ, they cannot return to their home country. (Islam does not permit conversion; officially to do so is to invite the death penalty.) The following recent post by Malcolm Cox speaks to this major social issue. (Thanks, Malcolm.)
The plight of refugees in our world is desperate. It always has been, but the numbers are staggering today. Focusing on this matter is not a political issue (although we would hope that the answers to the question might influence our politicians). Rather, we are asking how God feels about the vulnerable, and what our response could be. For example, consider Deut 10:18-19: "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt."
We ourselves did not belong in God’s kingdom. Our present citizenship is only because of his great mercy and compassion: “… Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world… Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household” (Eph 2:12). Other relevant Scriptures include: Matt 25:35-36; Lev 19:33–34; Heb 13:1–2; Isa 58:6–7; Luke 10:25–37.
Talking about a topic like this can be overwhelming. It can be hard to find the personal relevance. Here are a few suggestions. KEEP READING
SHROUD OF TURIN: AUTHENTIC? (Habermas)
I’ve always found Gary Habermas, New Testament scholar and expert on the resurrection of Jesus, to be a clear writer and an engaging speaker. He is both accessible and wise—and an encouragement to me in my apologetics ministry.
One area in which he has considerable knowledge is the Shroud of Turin. When I first read the official results of the 1978 examination (back in 1978,
if memory serves), I was not impressed. Further, interpreted John 20:6 as evidence against the shroud’s authenticity. However, through exposure to the considerable evidence Habermas has brought to light, I’ve changed my mind. At the very least, I believe a strong case can be made for the Shroud of Turin being Jesus’ grave clothes.
Listen to the Clear Thinking podcast below if you’d like to understand the weight and significance of the evidence. For more, hear The Mystery Man.
Clear Thinking | Interview with Gary Habermas | Reasons to Believe Podcast — Dr. Gary Habermas discusses evidence for the shroud.
The Mystery Man of the Shroud of Turin — Melissa Cain Travis | Easter Roundtable
NOTE: THE SITUATION IN ISRAEL
Several participants in our February 2024 Israel Biblical Study Tours have written, asking about the plan in light of the recently intensified violence in the region. They are right to be concerned. In fact, Good Morning Atlanta (radio show) just interviewed me on this very topic. That was aired last Friday 5-9am. Tourism is a significant industry and many are looking for guidance: what to think, whether to cancel, what to pray for.
I have spoken with our agents, and of course all Oct-Nov Israel tours are canceled. A senior guide in Israel told me he believes things will probably be calm again sometime in November. If they're still this intense in December, we'll cancel. But it's too early to predict.
Of course if we do cancel the BST, everyone will receive a 100% refund. (Backing out before it's cancelled will afford only a partial refund.) Again, if it's not safe, we aren’t going. It's only been a matter of days since the initial attack. It will be weeks before we know for sure. I’m hopeful. I’ll keep all BST members in the loop. — D.J.
ALL FOR NOW!
Thanks for all your support. Tomorrow I head to the Czech Republic (also called Czechia). I will be heading up a men’s meeting, and teaching on Science & Faith (youth ministry), small groups (leaders), and “The God of the Old Testament” (whole church plus guests).
Your prayers for physical and emotional strength are appreciated. Thanks also for your trust in this ministry.