February, 2011 Archives

28
Feb

Why did God choose Israel?

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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Flag of Israel with the Mediterranean sea in the background, in Rishon LeZion

Flag of Israel stands high in Rishon LeZion beach Photo by Zachi Evenor via Flickr

As you are reading today’s essay, I’m on my way to Israel to lead another study tour in the Holy Land.  Traveling in this remarkable country is one of the highlights of my work.  For a ministry which seeks to promote moral and spiritual renewal, there is no more effective strategy than taking people to the land of Jesus.  I’ll be writing essays each morning from our travels, but needed to post Monday’s devotional while we’re traveling.

Let’s begin our conversation this week with the question: Why did God choose Israel?  Read the rest of this entry »

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25
Feb

Remembering the Alamo

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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The Alamo in San Antonio

The front of the Alamo taken on my BlackBerry, February 25, 2011

I’m in San Antonio for a meeting tonight.  Janet and I came to this amazing place on our honeymoon more than 30 years ago; every time I’m back the beauty and history of the city impresses me.

Janet knows that whenever we come here I must visit the Alamo.  I guess it’s a ritual required of all native Texans.  I still remember my first visit to the “Shrine of Texas Liberty.”  I was in Junior High and had just studied the Texas Revolution when we came here.  The thought of some 250 Texians (as they were called) fighting to the death in defending our freedom was deeply moving.  Every time I see the Alamo I think again of their sacrifice with great gratitude. Read the rest of this entry »

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25
Feb

Terrorism in Texas

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Khalid Ali Aldawsari booking photo (mug shot) from Lubbock County Sheriff Department

Khalid Ali Aldawsari booking photo from Lubbock County Sheriff Department

Yesterday terrorism came home.  A Saudi-born college student named Khalid Aldawsari was arrested in Lubbock, Texas on charges he plotted to build and detonate bombs inside the United States.  Reuters is reporting that targets for his alleged plot included former President George W. Bush‘s home in Dallas, 12 reservoirs and dams in Colorado and California, nuclear power plants, New York City, and a Dallas night club.  If he had succeeded, my city would have joined the growing list of terror victims. Read the rest of this entry »

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24
Feb

Cellphones and your brain

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: USA Today

A recent study has demonstrated that the radiation waves which are emitted from cell phones are linked with increased activity in the part of the brain closest to the antenna. There is no evidence to suggest conclusively that this increased activity is either positive or negative, but the part of the brain stimulated most is associated with functions like emotion, sense of smell, memory, eating, and aggression.

Humans cannot control outcomes and can seldom predict them, a fact which the unrest in the Arab world is proving.  The good news is that the omniscient Lord of the universe is our Father.  His plans for us are “good, pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).  Whatever your fears about the future, you can give them to him today in the assurance that you are in his hand (John 10:28).  The safest place in all the world to be is the center of the will of God.

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24
Feb

The rise of Iran

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at Columbia University September 24, 2007

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at Columbia. Photo by Daniella Zalcman via Flickr

“Iran is the big winner here.”  So states a Middle East adviser to the U.S. government, assessing the revolution sweeping the Arab world.  Today’s New York Times quotes the official and explains his reasoning.

For decades, the trio of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia worked to contain Iran’s expansionism in the region.  Now Egypt’s president has been deposed and Jordan’s governmental leaders have been replaced.  Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has been ailing; upon returning to his country he announced a $10 billion increase in welfare spending to head off protests in his nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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23
Feb

The mustard seed conspiracy

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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mustard seeds in cupped hands by Molly Tomlinson, Photoclave

Photo by Molly Tomlinson via Flickr

The Arab world has never seen anything like this.  Today’s BBC reports that more officials in Libya’s government have resigned as Muammar Gaddafi vows to “die a martyr.”  Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal tells us that Iranian warships have sailed through Egypt’s Suez Canal for the first time since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, an apparent attempt to extend Iranian authority in the wake of the pro-democracy movement which has shaken the region. Read the rest of this entry »

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22
Feb

A girl named Facebook

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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a man during the 2011 Egyptian protests carrying a card saying "Facebook, #jan25, The Egyptian Social Network" illustrating the vital role played by social networks in initiating the uprising.

Credit: Essam Sharaf

An Egyptian man has named his daughter Facebook Jamal Ibrahim, to honor the social networking site for its role in the January 25 revolution.  This morning’s Time website reports that her friend count is already climbing.

In another strange use of technology, the “Drive Me Crazy” app is now available for the iPhone.  Janet heard a report last night on our local news about it.  You voice-record the license plate of a bad driver; the app then uses GPS to pinpoint the person’s location.  Now you can record a voice message about the driver for everyone to hear.  Law enforcement won’t respond to your accusation, however, and critics point out the irony of using an app while driving to report bad drivers. Read the rest of this entry »

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21
Feb

Watson and the Arab revolution

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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A female protester touches blood stains on the grass of the Pearl Square in Bahraini capital of Manama February 19, 2011

A female protester touches blood stains on the grass of the Pearl Square in Bahraini capital of Manama Credit: Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

What do IBM’s Watson supercomputer and the revolution sweeping the Arab world have in common?

As you know, last week Jeopardy! staged a match between its two greatest champions and Watson.  The computer defeated the humans decisively.  The losers received $300,000 and $200,000 for second and third place; they intend to donate half of their winnings to charity.  Watson won $1 million, all of which it plans to give away, as the computer doesn’t really need a bank account. Read the rest of this entry »

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18
Feb

The Muslim Brotherhood and the future of the Middle East

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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Hassan al-Banna was assassinated in 1949 but his writings influenced a new cadre of Muslim Brotherhood members

Hassan al-Banna was assassinated in 1949 but his writings influenced a new cadre of Muslim Brotherhood members. Credit: Al-Jazeera English

Conflict continues in Egypt.  A week after Hosni Mubarak left office, some are beginning to question the military’s willingness to adopt economic and political reforms.  Today’s New York Times profiles a populace which is increasingly concerned for the future of the revolution they sparked. Read the rest of this entry »

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17
Feb

Libya, the Muslim Brotherhood and Plato

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Protests in Arab League countries in 2010 and 2011

Protests in Arab League countries in 2010 and 2011. Click on the map to see the color-coded legend. Credit: Wikipedia

From Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen to Bahrain, a pro-democracy movement is sweeping the Middle East.  The newest country making headlines is Libya, where strongman Muammar Gaddafi has ruled for more than 40 years.  Reuters reports that riots have broken out on city streets and protesters are calling for a “day of anger” today.

Meanwhile, demonstrations continue in the island nation of Bahrain, where police have marched on sleeping activists.  According to today’s New York Times, two people were killed in the mayhem as the country descends further into chaos. Read the rest of this entry »

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