June 2017

Here you’ll see a picture of Masada, and the sunrise over the Dead Sea along with a map to show you our route. In the picture with the fortress in the Red Sea we could see 34 countries Israel, Egypt, Jordan and  Saudi Arabia .

Also a picture of our crew in front of the “Welcome to Egypt” sign. driving through Egypt we were stopped by security every few miles. They are on the lookout for ISIS and other radical groups.

You’ll also see our crew with all of her camels laying on the ground resting just before we get to Sinai (ha ha). We arrived at Saint Catherine’s monastery and arrived at our hotel which is a one star hotel. There are only a few hotels way out here in the middle of nowhere and all of them are one star hotels.

It is pretty rustic out here in the wilderness. My wife sat on the toilet and mosquitoes flew out from underneath.  Last time we are here at Mount Sinai we woke up with mosquito bite welts all over her body. We brought some spray this time and hope it will help. She’s a saint!

Tomorrow we leave at 4 AM on camels for the long trek to the top of Sinai. Camels take us 2/3 of the way and then we have to scramble up rocks the rest of the way. But we want to present the full and honest story of Elijah and Elisha. It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it :-)  Read 1 Kings 19:8-15.

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Fathers can be gentle and warm but they can also be tough and severe at times. I remember every spanking I received from my father—and I always deserved it. His hand was so large and so was its impact upon me (no pun intended). It always redirected my behavior and brought about a commitment to avoid such punishment in the future.

But because my father loved me and gave his time and affection to us kids I was able to accept the discipline of love upon my backside. I always had more respect for my father at that moment that at any other time. He loved me enough to be tough and demanding. He loved me enough to cause short-term pain to instill long-term character.

Love should not be confused with simply being nice. Though love often includes being nice, “niceness” is certainly not a synonym of real love. Love is often tough and can initially be perceived as hard or insensitive. A new church in the far off land of Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey, heard some of Paul’s harshest words and threat of discipline, and rightfully so, for he was their father in the faith.

He speaks sternly to his children but he speaks even stronger to their enemies. He speaks with a righteous anger and exasperation to the Judaizers who intended to upset the applecart and ruin the souls of his children. Thus Paul stepped in as a protective loving father and he stepped in with both feet.

But let’s set the stage first. Galatia was located in modern Turkey and Paul wrote to them between ad 48 and 54 (the exact location and date has been a matter of intense debate, outside the scope of the this article). Paul traveled north from Israel into this land and preached the gospel of grace to Jews and Gentiles alike. The Galatians received the word from Paul “as an angel of God” (Gal 4:14).

But, after receiving the good news from Paul they began listening to others from Jerusalem who confused them with heresy. Heresy is an unpopular word today—politically incorrect—but it has been an essential word throughout the history of the Church. The word originally meant a “choice or self-willed opinion” and then was used to describe an unorthodox teaching, one that was wrong and damaging which usually ended up by causing a division. There were heretics who came to the Galatians saying Paul was wrong and only presented a partial truth.

To understand the great frustrations and drama swirling around this vulnerable new church in Galatia, one must first understand a pinnacle chapter in the Acts of the Apostles(Acts 15). The issue was one of race and religion. It was one of divided societies and the requirement of the New Covenant to integrate previously separate societies. The Jew and Gentile had to become one in Christ. But how? Some of the Jewish converts said that to become a Christian the uncircumcised pagan had to first become a Jewish. They said “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved”.

For the whole article, click here.

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Holy Father – is he Holy?

by Steve Ray on June 29, 2017

A young man stood up at my conference in the Philippines a while ago and parroted (yelled out) the Fundamentalist mantra: “The Pope is a sinner like everyone else; why do you call him ‘HOLY Father’?”

I leaned into the microphone and said to the young man in front of 2,000 people, “You should really read your Bible more carefully and do your homework before you stand up and embarrass yourself in front of 2,000 people.” I then explained why we call the Pope our Holy Father.

There are several meanings for the word “holy” and that is what the young man did not understand. If holy simply means without sin, it is hard to see why “things” are called holy. For example, the HOLY OF HOLIES is a place. Is it called holy because it has not sinned?

And what about HOLY GROUND? God told Moses to remove his sandals — he was standing on HOLY GROUND. I guess that means that this dirt had not sinned but the dirt in the next gully had sinnned. HUH?

The word HOLY in Hebrew is kodesh and means apartness, holiness, sacredness, consecration, separateness. Holiness can mean without sin. It can also means dedicated or set apart for God.

So, is the Pope holy in the sense of being completely sinless? Of course not. But the Pope is set apart for God in a special way as the HOLY Father, the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter.

Bottom line, he is the HOLY FATHER and this fits perfectly with the Bible.

So much for a dumb challenge at a conference.

PS Remember that even WE are called holy. Paul considered all of us saints (literally “holy ones” with a small “s”). He writes,

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints (literally: “holy ones”) who are in the whole of Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:1-2).

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The shooting started, help!

June 28, 2017

We encountered the Israeli military with an arsenal of AR-15’s two days ago, but thankfully that’s not the kind of shooting I’m talking about. We’re shooting with HD cameras out in the hot, hot desert of the Middle East for the next release of a Footprints of God film, the 9th in the series. On this adventure, Elijah […]

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Palestinian West Bank filming Elisha’s Tomb and Elijah’s Pronouncement at Ahab’s Palace

June 28, 2017

We had to drive into the Palestinian West Bank to go to Sebaste in Samaria. We arrived at the mosque which is built over the tombs of Elisha and John the Baptist. This is a pretty tense area right now and there were signs warning us to not go in but we had to get […]

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St. Paul did not Write to Us!

June 28, 2017

When arguments about salvation arise between Catholics and Protestants, the Bibles are usually opened to Galatians and Romans. Are we saved by faith alone or are works involved? Protestants quickly accuse Catholics of teaching a salvation based on works and Catholics quickly point out that Protestants have swung the pendulum too far in the other […]

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Pastor Bob “Preaches the Word” (Discussing A Sermon on Baptism)

June 27, 2017

Pastor Bob Preaches The Word (or does he?) By Steve Ray Josh left Sunday services full of excitement, anxious to discuss Pastor Bob’s sermon with his sister Jennifer who had recently converted to the Catholic Church. The pastor had explained how salvation was by “faith alone” and not by rituals and works. He was anxious […]

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Shooting in Jordan Valley and Jericho – Exciting Day!

June 26, 2017

Busy day today in Jericho, the Jordan Valley and the birthplace of Elisha the prophet (Abel-Mahola). We were in a restricted military zone, with landmine signs and electric fences. Got all our filming just in time before the military pulled in and surrounded us with five vehicles and told us to leave with M-16s all […]

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2 Corinthians: St. Paul Bears His Soul

June 26, 2017

(In this article I emphasize Paul and his apostolic calling along with the actual letter. In 1 Corinthians I emphasized the city of Corinth, the immorality and the actual letter.) The water was cold and his legs were numb. His skin was wrinkled after the many hours of bobbing in the waves desperately clinging to […]

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EWTN and Reporter Pentin on Bishops Asking Pope for Meeting to Clarify “Amoris Laetitia”

June 25, 2017

Why is the Pope refusing to respond to Cardinal Raymond Burke and three other cardinals to clarify whether Amoris Laetitia is intended to allow divorced and civilly remarried to participate in the sacraments?

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1 Corinthians: Standing Firm in a Pagan Culture

June 25, 2017

(In this article I emphasize the city of Corinth, the immorality and the actual letter; in the next article on 2 Corinthians I will emphasize Paul and his apostolic calling along with the actual letter.) It was a wicked city. The sandals from travelers of every country in the Empire trudged over its cobblestone streets. […]

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Alcohol, Mary, & Miracles — Hard Verses with Steve Ray, John 2:1-12

June 24, 2017

Last week Marcus Grodi invited me to Coming Home Network to record a new episode of EWTN’s “The Journey Home” which will be aired the 1st week of Febrary. We also recorded a segment of Deep in Scripture. We discussed John 2, Alcohol, Mary and Miracles (audio below). Check out the Coming Home Networks website […]

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Meet St. Paul as he Writes to the Romans; A Brief Study to Make it Easy

June 23, 2017

I love St. Paul and love to write about him and his epistles. I also enjoyed traveling through six countries filming his life story and theology. St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans is often seen as impossible to understand except by theologians — and most skip right over this masterpiece. With hopes that you will […]

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Does John 3:16 Teach “Faith Alone”? (Link fixed)

June 22, 2017

 My mother asked me, “How would you like fifty cents?” I quickly responded, “I would like it very much.” What a silly question to ask an seven year old. Of course I would like fifty cents. Fifty cents was a lot of money when I was a little boy. My mother continued, “Here is a […]

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Acts of the Apostles: The Birth of the Catholic Church

June 21, 2017

Being seasick is terrible. I experienced it earlier this year while fishing all night on the Sea of Galilee. Fishermen and travelers in the first century were often nauseated while bobbing up and down on the seas of the Roman Empire. St. Paul’s most faithful of friends was writing the life of Christ and the […]

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Up to my Butt in the Muddy Jordan!

June 20, 2017

Today we finished up our filming in Jordan and tomorrow we drive across the border into Israel. Here is a 57 second clip of me in the muddy Jordan River.

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