Saturday, February 27, 2010

Raw video of the Chile quake

I post this for a reason. It is a Chilean security camera focused on a gate. The shaking evident as the earthquake in Chile today ramps up, you see just how violent an 8.8 magnitude quake can be.

"And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty." (Revelation 16:18) Revelation describes an earthquake to come that will be so strong that it will exceed every other earthquake that has ever happened. It will be so strong that it fells all the cities of the earth. It will be so strong that every island disappears, likely covered because of the resulting tsunami.

The earthquake that Revelation describes is bigger than the one that hapened today. The strongest earthquake ever recorded occurred in 1960. It was a 9.5 magnitude that struck Chile. It hit off the coast, causing tsunamis over 60 feet high, that traveled as far as Hawaii, Japan, and New Zealand, killing 4,000-5,000 and leaving over 2,000,000 people homeless. The earthquake that Revelation describes will be even BIGGER than the 9.5.

If you are not saved by grace and blood of Jesus, then you may well survive until the end of the Tribulation when this prophesied earthquake hits. I ask you to ponder the violent shaking seen in the video of the 8.8 that occurred last night in Chile, then ponder also if you want to be on the earth when an earthquake occurs that will make the violent shaking in that video seem like a placid pond in comparison. If you do not want to be around, and you have been feeling a little tug in your heart, then that it the Holy Spirit convicting you of your sins. Sins are things you do that are wrong and disrespect God, like lying, stealing, rotten thoughts, anger, and a host of other things. Anyone who has unforgiven sin in their heart cannot be near to God and will forever be banished from His presence upon death, to a place commonly referred to as hell.

But a remedy is available for you. No, you cannot stop sinning, it is in our nature, and only one man has ever lived who never sinned- Jesus. But you can ask Jesus the Spotless One to forgive you of your sins. If you genuinely feel guilt and sorrow over your past actions, and desire to live a more pleasing life to Loving God, then ask Him to forgive you. He will. Then He will send the Holy Spirit to help you resist sin in the future.

I hope the earthquake's shaking has shaken your very soul and that you accept His offer of forgiveness before it is too late for you or too late in time. For there will be a moment in tine when God, who knows your heart, will see that it is too hardened to accept mercy and will give you over to sin's consequences. (Rom 1:26; Zech 7:11-12)

Every day a new tragedy happens

It's really excruciating to go to bed now. I know that my sweet slumber will refresh me, but upon awakening each day there seems to be a new and worse tragedy happening than had occurred on the day before. Friday there was a terrible snowstorm/rainstorm that affected over a million New Englanders. They soon were suffering in the cold and the dark with no power as hurricane force winds lashed their homes.

There was also a 7.0 earthquake in Japan near the Ryuku Islands. A tsunami warning was issued. As with any earthquake, there is always fear and panic, especially because of aftershocks. The tsunami warning also added to the fear and uncertainty because beaches were evacuated.

I went to bed and awoke to the news that an 8.8 earthquake had occurred in Chile and that tsunami warning again had been issued. All of the Pacific and all of Asia braced for impact. That's an entire continent. There are reports of 71/2 foot tall tsunami waves hitting now. Tsunami alerts are out for the whole of the Pacific basin, which means about a quarter of the earth's population is under risk. Nations cry in anguish at the roaring and the tossing of the seas.(Luke 21:25)

New tragedies are happening every day. Moreover, their scale is increasing. The frequency of record-breaking snowstorms hammering the eastern US has risen to once-in-a-while to one-a-week. Each one was bigger than the last. Each has a more colorful title than the last: such as "Snowmageddon", and "Snowicane"... The earthquakes in Japan and Chile were massive but also, the aftershocks of the Chile quake were all each as big as massive quakes in themselves. One measured 6.9. And of course, there's Haiti and the tragedy that recently occurred there.

Here is an interactive graph showing an increase in earthquakes over the last century. Its data ends in 2006 so I wonder what it would look like if information from 2006-now had been included! When the data is arrayed like it is on this graph it is quite startling to see the increase. (Source USGS) (Left, a girl sobs in anguish in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake)

A person queried me on one of my earthquake blog entries on exactly where does it say in the bible that there will be an increase in earthquakes as a sign of the end times. The scriptures do not specifically say there will be an increase in earthquakes in literal language but it does say so in a metaphor. Here is Jesus' statement in Mark 13:8 - "For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs." Jesus never used a metaphor for no reason, and He was making a picture here for the disciples.

Birth pangs, or labor pains, are defined as "One of the repetitive pains occurring in childbirth. Often used in the plural. Also: Difficulty or turmoil associated with a development or transition." Synonyms are: contraction, throes, struggle, sweat, travail. Birth pangs are an event that is unstoppable, increase in intensity and frequency, and result in a new creation. During the duration of the labor, the mother is in throes, sweats, and travails. When it is over there is peace, and rest.

What we have been witnessing is exactly the pangs that Jesus warned us would come and that He told us to watch for. He said so in Mark 13:37, "What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'"" and if you have obeyed that command you have seen that the birth pangs are increasing.

God is fully in control and He has always sent weather to show His wrath, or to shake up the people, or to render judgment. He sends snow: Job 37:6 "For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth..." and indeed there was snow in the United States this week. He sends hail. Psalm 105:32: "He gave them hail for rain..."  and indeed there was hail in Egypt this week that caused chaos and killed 4 people. He sends earthquakes. Isaiah 29:6 "Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire."  And all the symptoms the Lord said would occur, including signs from heaven and fearful events, are occurring.

Emotionally, it's so hard to watch, though. On the one hand, to see the LORD'S power is fearful and awesome. To watch His promises unfold is a blessing, hard as these particular promises are to endure. But also with the increase in intensity and frequency of birth pangs comes heartache and tragedy for people. People we know and love are travailing. People we do not know are weeping in grief. Children lose parents, parents lose children. The unsaved are at increased risk of their fate: eternal separation from God! The terrible times Paul said would come are indeed here. For me, it is a most terrible time knowing that as each end time event occurs, many more unsaved are sent to their eternal destiny. The loss of so many unsaved is a heartache beyond comprehension. I know that for the Lord it is even worse, for “God is not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3). Unfortunately we know that many still choose to go on the broad way, to their destruction.

Far from the secular view that many have of the Christian, that we are so secure in our eternal destiny (we are) that we feel morally superior to those who must endure the consequences of their choice to reject Jesus (we don't). Quite the opposite. Claiming His promise of eternal security is so simple, and so available, it deepens our sadness and grief for the lost each time a tragedy like this occurs, because it is so unnecessary. Terrible times indeed.

Christian, please continue praying. Stay strong, appealing to the Holy Spirit to stand us upright. Now is not the time to quail, cower, or quit. "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world," The world needs the light of Jesus now more than ever. Be that light, in prayer and in love.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Man's house burns, Jesus picture doesn't

A man's house burned down, but his picture of Jesus didn't. Miracle! Otherwise, forensic firefighters would have to explain why all the other combustible things in the room burned, including other pictures, but this paper remained intact inside of 1000 degrees. LOL, Jesus is amazing. "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Mt 28:20

Jesus Picture Is The Only Wall Hanging To Survive Fire
Greensboro, NC -- The day after Raymond Kennedy's home burned down he says a firefighter pulled him inside what use to be his living room and told him to look around. Kennedy's first response was, "I looked around and said, 'Everything is destroyed.' and he said, 'Look at that picture of Jesus'."

On an outside wall of the home, right next to the front door hung a paper picture of Jesus Christ. The frame was covered in soot, the glass covering the picture was covered in soot and broken away, but the picture remained intact. Kennedy was shocked when he finally noticed it, "It was extraordinary to me. I mean, I got cold chills on the back of my neck. I was just like, 'I cannot believe that picture did not burn.'." Kennedy said he was surprised because all the other photos burned behind the glass before it broke away, "Doesn't make any sense. A piece of paper in over 1000 degree heat would just disentegrate. All the other ones did. All the other pictures in here, there is nothing left."

He's not the only one in awe. Once word spread through his neighborhood, people started stopping by to check it out. "There would be ten people walking around and I was like 'What are they doing around the house?'. I come up and they were like, 'You need to call someone about the picture of Jesus in the living room. We've walked through your house and everything is completely destroyed. For you to have a picture hanging right beside it that's completely destroyed, but Jesus is not - that is really special. Jesus was looking over yall'."

Kennedy is convinced it's not a coincidence, "When we get another place we're going to hang it just so we can look at it and know that we was taken care of."
WFMY News 2

Video at link. Stills below




Thursday, February 25, 2010

The king of damp rag countenance

I listened to an interesting speech (harangue) from Nigel Farage, UK Independent Party. He was speaking at the European Union Parliament building in Brussels yesterday and he had quite a lot to say about the EU's new President, Herman Van Rompuy, pictured left. Mr Farage is getting press because of the following statement in his minute-and-a-half long speech:

“I don't want to be rude but, really, you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk,” Mr Farage said to Mr Van Rompuy." That sentence is getting all the quoting, and the personal insults by Mr Farage levered against Mr Van Rompuy are getting the attention. However that was not the most interesting part. I transcribed the part most pertinent to prophecy followers below:

Mr Farage said: "We were told that when we had a President we’d see a giant global political figure. The man would be the political leader for 500 million people. The man that would represent all of us on the world stage. The man whose job who was so important, that of course you’re paid more than President Obama. And I’m afraid all we got was you. ... The question that I want to ask is who are you? I never heard of you. No one in Europe has ever heard of you. Who voted for you? I know that democracy isn’t popular with you. What mechanism do the peoples of Europe have to remove you? Is this European democracy? ... I sense though that you’re competent, capable, and dangerous. I have no doubt that it is your intention to be the quiet assassin of European democracy and of the European nation states. You appear to have a loathing for the very concept of the existence of nation states."

This is extremely pertinent to the Tribulation times when the antichrist will rise and rule the world. Now, the bible is clear, we will not know who the antichrist is until he is revealed as per Matthew 24:14-16 so there is no use speculating on who he is and whether Mr Van Rompuy is him or not. "Secondly, Mr Van Rompuy is likely not a candidate for antichrist because the scriptures say that the antichrist will have fierce countenance and emit amazing charisma, two things Mr Farage noted were lacking in Mr Rompuy.

However, ponder this. All insults aside, Mr Farage was bellowing against the installation of a man who is crafty, skilled at intrigue, hates democracy, and represents 500 million people. Farage was wondering how a man could be put over half a billion people whom no one really knows, who came out of nowhere, from undiscovered quarters and a nothing country. He was raging against the decision-making process that allowed a crafty unknown to take the world stage as supposed savior on the global political scene.

Nigel Farage's tirade of insults against the President of the EU was not just immature vitriol you're reading in the news today. Farage was railing against the installation of a man who represents half a billion people, hates democracy, is skilled and crafty at intrigue, came out of nowhere, whom no one really knows, and wasn't voted in. This is exactly how the antichrist comes to power.

For all those people who mock the scriptures describing the antichrist, what the scriptures describe has happened. It will happen again. And the next time will be for real. Keep looking up! Our redemption draweth nigh.

Here's the speech -

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Snowcane" NY and "snowcane" Europe

Two storms are forming; one for northern US they are calling an "atmospheric monster" -

Northeast braces for superstorm Friday
"The same storm that brought a gentle snowfall across Texas on Tuesday will reach the Northeast in the form of an atmospheric monster with damaging winds, blinding snow, torrential rain, huge waves and flooding."

And another for Western Europe they are calling a "meteorological bomb" -

Europe braces for destructive winter storm
A large but disorganized extratropical storm located over the middle-Atlantic Ocean is expected to move rapidly eastwards towards Spain over the next two days. As the storm approaches Spain on Friday, it is expected to tap into a cold polar airmass to its north and rapidly intensify into a meteorological "bomb"--a mighty winter cyclone with hurricane force winds. Though sea surface temperatures off the coast of Spain are about 1°C below average, the waters of 12 - 16°C will provide plenty of moisture and energy to the powerful storm, which may end up rivaling last year's Winter Storm Klaus in intensity. ... It is expected to "come ashore over Ireland Sunday morning with a pressure of 956 mb. This is a central pressure typically found in Category 2 hurricanes! ... Even so, this weekend's storm has the potential to be a multi-billion dollar weather disaster for Europe."

Luke 21:10 - Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven."

Two superstorms at the same time that are not hurricanes but have the power of hurricanes. A potential of multi-billion dollar damage. Coming on the heels of "Snowmageddon 1" and "Snowmageddon 2". Hmmm... Jesus Christ told us that natural disasters would be one of the signs announcing His return to this earth. Keep looking up! The birth pangs certainly are increasing!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Aliens are out there, we just can't comprehend them

This caught my eye in the news media, UPI/ Daily Telegraph -

Aliens are out there, we just can't comprehend them
LONDON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The British queen's astronomer says extraterrestrial aliens "could be staring us in the face" in a form we are simply unable to recognize. Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society science group and astronomer to Queen Elizabeth II, said after hosting the national science academy's first conference extraterrestrial life in London that humans might not be able to recognize aliens even if they were looking right at them, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday. "They could be staring us in the face and we just don't recognize them," he said. "The problem is that we're looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology. "I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can't conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can't understand quantum theory, it could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains," Rees said.

Mr Rees is right. There are aliens out there (extra-terrestrial life) and we can't comprehend them. There is life that lives off-planet. Angels, demons, and other angels that are so strangely described, we cannot comprehend them. Here is one example, "Then I looked, and behold, a likeness as the appearance of a man. And this was their appearance: they had human form. Each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight and their feet were like a calf's hoof, and they gleamed like burnished bronze." (Ez 8:2)

"Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude." (Dan 10:5-6)

Uh, I think I would be unable to recognize that. Even if it was staring me in the face.

Or these aliens, even stranger and incomprehensible, "Under their wings on their four sides were human hands. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, their wings touched one another; their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight forward. As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above; each had two touching another being, and two covering their bodies."

"The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was like sparkling beryl, and all four of them had the same form, their appearance and workmanship being as if one wheel were within another. Whenever they moved, they moved in any of their four directions without turning as they moved. As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about."

Mr. Rees is correct when he says: "I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can't conceive." I just read that passage above from Ezekiel 10 and I can't conceive of what they look like. A gyroscope rimmed with eyes, that floats? Reading Ezekiel 1 and 10's descriptions of those off-planet dwellers, it is beyond the capacity of my brain to try and comprehend it.

God created life forms that don't live on this planet, the very definition of aliens. However, the tragedy is, in the search for extra-terrestrial life, so many people fail to think of God's "aliens." Compared to His creativity in forming life forms, we are like chimps, unable to understand. It is a tragedy every time a news article reports something about aliens and the point of the article comes so close to the truth...but misses it. Their dwelling place, their form, and their function are so far above us as quantum theory is above a chimp is also accurate.

Do you see how cunningly satan has perverted the truth? Add a little manure to the notion of God's off-planet dwellers and you have green ET's instead of the glorious truth.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

One example of a satan counterfeit

We know that satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). He is a counterfeiter, never having created anything himself, but only copying and perverting all God has made. Satan promotes a counterfeit gospel. (2 Cor. 11:3,4), institutes counterfeit ministers (2 Cor. 11:13-15), presents counterfeit doctrine (2 Tim. 4:1, Gal 1:6-7), even has a counterfeit communion table (1 Cor. 10:19-21), has a counterfeit power of lying signs, wonders and miracles (2 Thess. 2:8-10), even promotes a counterfeit messiah (2 Thess. 2:3,4).

Here is another example from Deuteronomy 6:7-8 (NASB) of something satan later copies. God said to His people:
"You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead."

Left, man with phylactery on head and tefillin on arm.

Satan is such a liar he copies God's instructions on how to remember Him. In so doing, perverts God's original intent to a corrupt one:

"All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. Rev 13:16 - And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead," Rev 13:8

Our loving God gave us the grace to follow Him. I sincerely pray you have praised Him for that grace. The best way to see through counterfeit gospels, gods, doctrines, and commandments, are to know the real ones through and through. Read the Bible each day, practice memorizing scriptures. Pray deeply in your walk with the Lord, not just quickie hello prayers or "I want" prayers seeking His hands. Seek His face. You will possess the REAL Spirit, sealed inside you, to take, not the fake mark that leads to destruction in the Lake of Fire.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Atheist billboard "vandalized"

Atheist billboard vandalized
"SACRAMENTO, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A billboard near Sacramento promoting atheism was vandalized by someone depicting atheists as lost, one of the billboard's sponsor said. The billboard -- one of several posted in the Sacramento area -- originally read: "Are you good without God? Millions are." Someone spray-painted the words "also lost?" beneath "millions are," CBS13 reported Tuesday. Rachael Harrington of the Sacramento Area Coalition of Reason -- which paid to have the billboards put up -- said the ads are intended to let atheists and agnostics know they are not alone, the TV station said."

" "This shows loud and clear just how necessary our message is, because prejudice against people who don't believe in a god remains very real in America," Harrington said. The organization has asked Clear Channel, the company that owns the billboard, to file a police report. The company offered to replace the sign free of charge, Harrington told the TV station." [photo source: KCRA]

Religious identification in US according to Barna, 1.6% of the American population calls themselves atheist. But they are making noise, aren't they? The bible foretells of the state of things in the latter days, and it isn't good. Many who do profess fall away from the faith, and others who are not Christian turn to other religions. According to the respected Barna research, "88% of American adults say that "my religious faith is very important in my life" but at the same time "71% say they are “more likely to develop my religious beliefs on my own, rather than to accept an entire set of beliefs that a particular church teaches." Thanks to satan's influence, men now think they are their own gods. ("That they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts." Jude 1:18). Jesus says in Luke 18:8 - "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"

There are many groups these days who represent a small minority, who are making a lot of noise for their size. Abortion rights activists, homosexual activists, alternative marriage activists, separation of church and state activists (ACLU), atheist activists. These people work hard for their beliefs. They spend money, give time, speak loudly, travel from place to place proclaiming their message. They invest their own personal energy into these causes, sometimes their entire lifetime. In any other case their diligence would be admirable.

Richard Dawkins comes to mind. The British atheist has spent a lifetime speaking on behalf of satan. ("He who is not with Me is against Me." Mt 12:30). He has spent enormous amounts of money in the atheist cause. He opened a summer camp for children to groom atheists ( "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble." Luke 17:2), he has written books, presented documentaries, in effect, spending decades of energy speaking against the existence of God. [Image AFP/Getty Image]

Sylvia Rae Rivera (born a man) was the "Rosa Parks of the modern transgender and homosexual movement." After the Stonewall gay riots of 1969 she and a few others founded the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. S/he promoted the drag queen culture all her/his life. Even after battling substance abuse, recovering from a suicide attempt, and living with liver cancer, at the end of his/her life s/he renewed her political activity, giving many speeches concerning the Stonewall Riots and the necessity for unity among transgender people to fight for their historic legacy as people in the forefront of the LGBT movement. She traveled to Italy for the Millennium March in 2000 where she was acclaimed as the Mother of all gay people. She died of liver cancer in 2002. H/she fought for gay rights from 1969 to his death in 2002. ("In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." Romans 1:27) A misspent life.

Jacob M. Appel is an American bio-ethicist who is a pro-abortion spokesman. Appel has argued in favor of abortion rights, assisted suicide (not only for the terminally ill, but also for those suffering from long-term mental illness), and fertility treatment for homosexuals. He is founder of the campaign "It's Time for an Abortion Pride Movement." Appel is quoted as saying "I dream of the day when women are not afraid to walk the streets with pins reading, "I had an abortion and it was the right decision," and when station wagons bear bumper-stickers announcing, "Thank me for having an abortion when I wasn't ready to be a parent." ("But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother's womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased." Galatians 1:15)

The Dawkins's, Riveras, and Appels if the world are fighting for evil. They do not know it.  I am as human as any person. I do get riled up when Elton John says that Jesus was gay. I do get upset at the thought of millions of babies destroyed. I am sickened when confronted with people who traverse gender lines and bespeak unnatural lusts. As God lifts His restraining hand on the world in this time until the rapture, we will be confronted with all that and worse. But Jude 1:22-23 says "And have mercy on some, who are doubting;
save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh." The question is, how does one do that in the practicality? Here's one way:

All those folks who fought for the evils the bible defines, will come face to face with Sovereign Glory and immediately know that they completely wasted their life. They will know within a blink of an eye that their efforts were depraved and destructive. They will comprehend that the time, energy, money, dedication to causes were completely wrong. Even if they repent and spend a lifetime in glory (Pray for that!) they will have to account for all their words and actions. Their work that they so treasured here on earth, will be burned before their eyes. For the ones who do not repent, they will mourn in spiritual pain at the feet of Jesus and His throne, keen over their fruitless empty life. And then, eternity for them will begin in hell, never to end. How can one not have mercy on those? Even when their angry words are flung at us personally? Even when their speeches inflame and hurt? Even when their actions maim and kill the soul of many? Mercy! As the person who wrote on the atheist billboard tried to show. Mercy! Millions might be good without God" but they are also lost. Those are the ones upon whom the most mercy should be heaped.

Friday, February 19, 2010

We are a Christian Nation

At the beginning of each session of the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest court in the highest land on earth, the marshal of the Court (Court Crier) announces: "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United States and this Honorable Court!"

Just thought you'd like to know...

The cross in public life

The Wayside Cross is a huge tradition in Canada and Europe, where it has abounded for over a thousand years. "In Quebec, and Europe, a wayside cross marks a place where the members of a community gather to meet and pray, and often commemorates an important moment in their communal history." Charles Bourget reports that there are 3000 wayside shrines dotting the countryside in Quebec, however, many of them are falling into disrepair because the tradition is waning. I wrote yesterday about the fate of one American Wayside Cross in East Greenwich RI.

Below, a wayside cross in Europe
In America, the tradition never really caught on. They are seen occasionally, especially in central rural Wisconsin. Wayside crosses dot the landscape there. In Bedford NY, one was erected in 1936 and it was hoped that the sight of it would invite the prayers of the passersby. In 1922 East Greenwich, it was hoped by "those who placed this beautiful memorial to an exemplary life feel that it will indeed be a light by the way and a guide post to Heaven." By and large wayside crosses are not seen much and those that do exist are under increasing challenge.

The point of the cross in public life is that it would point the way to Jesus. That upon seeing it, thoughts of Him and the Good News would ruminate in the mind, and through the strength of the Holy Spirit, those thoughts would germinate. For people seeing such displays, who have already heard the Good News, perhaps its sight would loosen the bonds around the heartstrings and their conviction would grow, as in the allegorical depiction of Christian at the Wayside Cross.

A wayside cross was a pivotal point in the very famous book Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, published in 1678 and has remained on the 'bestseller list' ever since, never having been out of print. The passage is below:

"He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending, and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do, till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more. Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said, with a merry heart, 'He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death.' Then he stood still awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks. Now, as he stood looking and weeping, behold three Shining Ones came to him and saluted him with Peace be unto thee. So the first said to him, Thy sins be forgiven thee;"

It is amazing that the sight of the cross should ease a person's burdens, but it does, for the person who is ready to receive grace. For every individual on the planet, there comes that critical moment, upon which the eye falls to the cross and a decision is made either aye or nay. The cross to the unsaved does make one's soul burn, satan would have it so. But in the process of that the soul-singe the cross is emblazoned on the mind and heart and soul, thereafter to linger as a brand. It stays there, to rankle. Opponents of Christ do not want that rankle, and therefore strive to remove the cross from all areas of life except homes and churches. The right to display the cross in public life is waning. One cannot even wear a cross around one's neck in Britain, anymore.

British Airways check-in worker Nadia Eweida has lost her appeal against a previous court ruling upholding the airline’s decision to ban her from wearing a cross necklace with her uniform at work. Ms Eweida was dismissed without pay in 2006 when she refused to cover up her cross necklace behind her neck scarf. She argued before the Employment Tribunal in 2008 that she should be allowed to wear her necklace because Muslim and Hindu employees were permitted to wear headscarves and turbans but the Tribunal ruled in favour of BA. Lord Justice Sedley upheld the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s November 2008 ruling determining that the airline’s ban did not constitute religious discrimination.

Christian nurse removed from frontline duty for wearing cross necklace
A Christian nurse was taken off frontline duties after she refused to take off a necklace bearing a cross. Shirley Chaplin said she believed The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital was trying to prevent her from expressing religious beliefs. But the trust said the policy had nothing to do with the crucifix specifically, and was motivated by health and safety concerns about patients grabbing necklaces. Mrs Chaplin, 54, from Exeter, said: 'For about 30 years I have worked in the NHS and nursed patients day and night and on no occasion has my cross caused me or anyone else any injury - and to my knowledge, no patient has ever complained about me wearing it. The Trust said necklaces of all kinds were banned but admitted there may have been 'lapses'.

That's Europe, you say. It could not happen in America. Sure it can. This month in Missouri, FedEx suspended a worker on grounds that her cross violated a dress code against wearing of personal insignias.

The public crosses I saw during the course of my life affected me and were sure steppingstones on my path to the Lord. I mentioned the initial event that started me thinking about the public life of the cross in yesterday's post, the RI Wayside Cross that stood at the intersection of my street. I saw that cross a lot growing up. Each time I did, I exhibited varying amounts of offense at varying times until I moved far away to a godless state and never no more was troubled by public displays of the cross.

The public crosses that stand alongside roads, hang round our necks as jewelry, appear on cars and trucks and shipgoing vessels, all penetrate the web of dark sin in which the the unsaved labor. If we see through a glass darkly, they see not at all, and the cross is the only light that can and will penetrate that darkness.

Brother and Sister, if you own a cross as a tie clip or jewelry, wear it. If you should be of a mind, erect one at the edge of your lawn. Do not let the Christian cross become a fading symbol here in the United States. "There was a time in Pakistan when it was common to see cross pendants around the necks of people on the streets. But now, that sight has been reduced to a rare glimpse in Karachi’s Bohri Bazaar, only when Christmas is around the corner. The decreasing visibility of the cross here underscores the challenges the Christian community is facing."

The visibility of the cross is decreasing in America too. Don't let it. The cross was a public declaration that God's righteousness was satisfied. (Romans 3:24-25; Hebrews 9:15). We should be no less public. In doing so, He is lifted up.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Here we go: Elton John says Jesus was gay

JESUS was GAY - according to the gospel of SIR ELTON JOHN.

The singer makes his controversial claim about the Lord in a new US interview that will enrage America's bible belt. Elton, 62, declares as he pours out his heart to a magazine: "I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems."

more at link, in which Elton discusses his domestic happiness with his current homosexual partner.

Paul warned us that in the last days men would be unholy blasphemers:

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;" 2 Timothy 3:2-4.

Elton was right about one thing. It will enrage the bible belt. It already has made me upset. Here is how I deal with it: "And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh." (Jude 1:22-23)

The Wayside Cross of East Greenwich RI

East Greenwich, Rhode Island is an old New England town, founded in 1677. Many of the original colonial homes are still standing and inhabited, and the town is quaint beyond belief. It is also my home town.

I grew up near the corner of four streets intersecting, where a charming cemetery is located on one corner. A brook runs through the cemetery, and a beautiful stone bridge serves as the entry to it. I used to play there frequently, as the property abutted our home and the hills are perfect for bike-riding, the brook contained tadpoles, and the leafy quietude were a huge draw for this shy child.

In the middle of the crossroads of this intersection was a Wayside Cross. It stood on a triangular island and the redwood crucifix with little roof had nailed to it a little plaque. The cross was put up in 1922, and its construction was noted in the St. Andrews Cross newsletter of October 1922; They wrote:

"THE first wayside cross to be erected in Rhode Island, if not in New England, was recently set up on a triangular piece of ground in East Greenwich. This cross is in memory of Dr. James H. Eldredge, a life-long resident of East Greenwich and at one time president of the Town Council. It is the gift of his granddaughters, one of whom is Mrs. Henry M. Saville, wife of the Rev. H. M. Saville, rector of St. Mary's Church, East Providence. The cross was formally presented to the town by the Rev. Mr. Saville, and Bishop Perry conducted a simple ceremony of dedication in the presence of about one hundred people, including twenty-five school children of the nearby district school, who are pledged to watch the cross and see that no harm comes to it. Members of St. Luke's choir led in the singing of several hymns, the Rev. J. M. Hunter leading in the Lord's Prayer. The cross was accepted by the president of the Town Council. The inscription on the cross reads: 'In Memory of James Henry Eldredge, Physician, Lover of God and Man, Who for fifty years traveled these roads to visit the sick and suffering. Died February 20, 1891.' Since its erection, hundreds passing have stopped to observe the cross and to read the inscription, and those who placed this beautiful memorial to an exemplary life feel that it will indeed be a light by the way and a guide post to Heaven." (photo from 1922 newsletter)

What a charming notation! But just who was this Dr. Eldredge?

"Doctor Eldredge was one of the original members of the Rhode Island Medical Society, always took a deep interest in its welfare and was its president from 1834 to 1837. He was an honorary member of the Connecticut Medical Society, and in 1835 received the degree of M. D. from Yale College. He died on the 15th of September, 1888, when he had but just completed his fifty-fourth year, and is buried in St. Luke's Cemetery, to which place his remains were removed after being first interred in the burying ground on the old Baptist Meeting House hill. Doctor Eldredge was chosen vice-president of the Rhode Island Medical Society in 1856, and held that office for two years. In 1858 he was made president, and held that office for two years, and during those years was ex officio trustee of the Fiske fund. Since this time he has been a member of the board of censors of the above named society. Doctor Eldredge has been a member of the school committee of his town for more than forty years, for twenty years as clerk, and for about the same time chairman of the board. In the spring of 1886 he was elected a member of the town council, and in 1887-8 he represented his town in the general assembly as senator." He was also founder of the Town Library and served as Town Librarian for a year.

He served for over half a century in his profession in East Greenwich, without losing a day from sickness until the end when he himself became ill, and only on the rarest occasions was absent from his post of duty. He once delivered three babies in one day, and at another time, Dr. Eldredge crossed the dangerously frozen Narragansett Bay to aid a patient on Prudence Island.

One of the local elementary schools is named after him, I attended as a child.  I can think of no more diligent of a man in service to his profession nor his town in the way that Dr. Eldredge did. It was right and good that the donation was made to honor him as a good man of by the erection of a Wayside Cross. In 1922, a Wayside Cross was something to be proud of. Ceremonies were held when they were erected, and volunteers lovingly and diligently maintained them.

That was then.

Growing up, before I left the town in 1978 for college, my atheist father used to complain about that cross. He hated driving past it. He railed and groused and gritted his teeth. More than once I heard him mention it, and not in glowing terms either. He used to say it had no place on town property. Well, someone else felt that way too, because during the week of November 28, 1986, Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island affiliate of the ACLU, wrote to Town Manager Robert T. Tempest that the ACLU had received a complaint about the Wayside Cross, which sits on public land on the island at Middle and Cedar. Brown asked the town to move the crucifix to private land on behalf of Peter A. Marks of Middle Rd., who had lived in the town for just about a year. Thus began a fight that lasted two years, made national headlines, and caused a good young man to be arrested.

Marks wanted the cross to come down. "I find it offensive" Marks said. He avoided driving past it because of his conviction that it made non-Christians feel unwelcome. Very public legal wrangling ensued. This wrangling so upset teenager Laurence Moulton, that he sawed the cross off at the base and hid it, hoping to defuse the controversy. The climate between the religious and the ACLU in RI was already heightened by an enormous recent lawsuit when in a very famous case, the ACLU sued the city of Pawtucket for having a Christmas creche. The case challenging the legality of holiday decorations on town property made it to the Supreme Court of the United States. The ACLU lost that suit but undaunted, again picked up the banner of separation of church and state a year later with the East Greenwich Wayside Cross issue. The controversy immediately re-ignited, having not yet died down from the Supreme Court creche suit. This bickering bothered young Mr. Moulton tremendously, and in his teenager-addled brain, he thought if he sawed off the cross that would settle the issue. He was eventually sentenced to one year probation.

Why am I writing all this? I'm old and nostalgic. I was googling around google street view to look at photos of my old town. I spent a long time doing this. It is a beautiful town and not much has changed. I started thinking of that cross, nearly across from my driveway, and how it was a historic landmark for me and an emotional one too. As a kid, when I saw it I knew I was almost home.

My childhood was atheist dominated with overtones of apathy and occasional spurts of Unitarianism. I really had no religious upbringing and that state of affairs continued into college and young adulthood. I lived in RI for 17 years, and then Maine for 30 years, both states in the bottom ten for citizens NOT going to church. In Maine, only 27% of adults attend church weekly or nearly weekly, a dismal statistic surpassed only by two other states, both neighbors of Maine: NH and VT. For 44 years I lived in an environmental desert of atheism and agnosticism and indifference. How, may I just please ask HOW, does an adult in middle age suddenly claim Jesus as savior?

His grace, that's how. He sent the Holy Spirit to convict me, and my unhardened heart allowed the conviction. Now I mourn for that just-remembered cross (actually a crucifix) and I'm offended that a person could and would go to such lengths to remove a blessed wayside station of comfort, a place of historical value, a spot loved by a whole town. But increasingly for the Christian, there is no remedy for our offense. It is deemed frivolous and no-account, dead wrong, and we are marginalized for wanting to retain the right to display our faith in public.

These arguments about separation of church and state hurt us: just ask young Mr Moulton who was tormented by adult wrangling over-the-top over-reaching on the part of those who want to wipe the entire nation and earth of any Christian display. In 1922 the Wayside Crucifix was a place where it was hoped that many would be comforted, its construction a moment of celebration. In 1988 it was a point of state-wide controversy and bitter anger. In 2010 is the noble wayside station at the junction of Cedar Ave and Kenyon and Middle Roads even remembered? Such is our prophesied trajectory away from Our Lord.

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Cor 1:18)

Part two tomorrow

On Epic Beard Man, Ambassadors and fights

There's a viral video going around that shows an older white-bearded man arguing with and punching a black man on a bus. The internet public is generally siding with Epic Beard Man, as he has come to be known. The video of the argument and fight was shot by a passenger with a cell phone. People feel that Epic Beard Man (EBM) had every right to push back against the black kid who they believe was harassing him. People love an underdog and they love that the older man won this fight. There are lots of laudatory comments for Epic Beard Man; that he is standing up for himself, that no black punk kid will push us around anymore, etc..

Notice that EBM is wearing a shirt announcing 'I AM a mother-er.' And also note that he starts the argument by racially insulting a black kid. Note that both appear to be under the influence of either drink or drugs or both. Nonetheless, Epic Beard Man is a hero to the internet-surfing world today, getting his 15 minutes of fame for breaking a kid's nose, striking a blow for elderly, for public transit passengers, standing up for whites, resisting punk harassment. Whatever.

Now, people often expect an altercation such as this at the street level. Unexpected is the fight that occurred this week in the vaunted hallways of highest echelons, diplomatic offices where Nations' Presidents roam.

"US Ambassador to Doha LeBaron was stopped by Turkish Ambassador Tanlay when he attempted to cut an Erdoğan-Clinton meeting short. Both ambassadors were at each others’ throats when officials had to separate them. Rising tension, which escalated when the US Ambassador to Doha Joseph LeBaron overstepped the line by making certain statements, made its mark on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan's trip to Qatar. When a meeting scheduled for 20 minutes between Prime Minister Erdoğan and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went on for an hour, the Ambassador to Doha Joseph LeBaron wanted to disrupt the meeting to alert Clinton. LeBaron was then warned by Turkish officials, however when he continued to insist, he was intercepted by Erdoğan's foreign policy advisor Ambassador Fuat Tanlay. Tanlay warned LeBaron, stating; “The meeting is ongoing, you can not go inside.”

"When US Ambassador LeBaron stated; “This meeting has to end. The meeting with the Qatar Sheikh is more important,” Ambassador Tanlay lost his patience. Tanlay reacted harshly by stating, “You are not the one to decide how important we are. You can not insult my country. That is not your place.” Both diplomats then proceeded to grab each other by the neck and had to be separated by officials. Supposedly, after they were separated, the US ambassador proceeded to kick the doors in anger."

Ambassadors are unofficial representatives of a nation, appointed to bring goodwill. Ambassadors are ministers of the highest rank, with plenipotentiary authority to represent their head of state. And there was the US Ambassador, representing you and me, with his hands around the Turkish Ambassador's neck and the Turkish Ambassador with his hands around the American Ambassador's neck, and both hanging on so hard it was difficult to separate them. And once they were, like a kid, the US Ambassador kicks the door on his way out.

If you view the Epic Beard Man video, in your mind, replace the two Ambassadors in the ruckus and see if that doesn't seem the same to you. The settings change, but the anger under the surface is rising and men are unable to control it. EBM and Black Dude on the bus fought about who was tougher. US Ambassador and Turkish Ambassador fought about who was more important. Same diff.

What is going on?

The world is getting less restrained, as Paul said it would. "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God." (2 Tim 3:1-4) Rather than being an aberration, fighting is the answer of first resort, from the lowest echelons to the highest. What will happen when the Restrainer is taken out of the way? Do you really want to be here? Do you really think that stocking up, having a garden, and bugging out to a mountainous cabin will save you, that you can ride it out? When Ambassadors clutch each others' necks and fights erupt for no reason and men in Miss. drive into the convenience store because the pump isn't turned on, and the Restrainer is here now, what will it be like then?

We know what it will be like. "For then there will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen again." (Mt 24:21) To be absent from those days all one needs to do is pray to Jesus to forgive your sins. Claim His gift of salvation, and you will be spared the tribulation of horrors. He is peace everlasting, and to be where no sin reigns is joy everlasting!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Temple Mount Faithful calls for world to stand with Israel

An urgent call to stand with Israel's Temple Mount Faithful in their quest to re-build the Temple.

An Urgent Call From Gershon Salomon, Chairman of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement, to All the Nations and to Everyone in the World:

"The pressures on Israel at this time that are coming from the East and the West indicate that the end-time war of the nations against the G‑d and people of Israel, which was prophesied by the prophets of Israel to be the ultimate judgment upon the nations, is behind the door."

more here

Crystal Caves in Mexico remind of New Jerusalem

Christians who diligently focus on worship, study, encouragement, and ministry are doing the right thing. But Paul eagerly looked forward to his crowns and to the rewards awaiting him. He often encouraged his brethren with news of the future rewards and glory. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8). We are made a promise, "Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded." (2 Chronicles 15:7) It is right and also good to look forward to what the Lord has prepared for us, including rewards, for they are also His handiwork.

In 2000, miners accidentally broke through to a heretofore unknown chamber. It contained the most magnificent crystals ever seen anywhere on earth, absolutely stunning the geologists. Some of the crystals had grown to be 60 feet high. The place is called the Cave of Crystals and it is in Naica, Mexico. Because the chamber is exceedingly hot and humid and humans are overcome with the bad air within minutes, and also to preserve the display, the cave is closed to visitors except under strict circumstances. "This year, BBC Two sent Professor Iain Stewart into the cave, and he "got a rare glimpse of the subterranean spectacle while filming for the new BBC series "How the Earth Made Us." If you ignore the show title and focus on the cave, you will be blessed. The trailer is only 1:20 minutes.

Now, Christian, capture the wonder and amazement of the beauty of these magnificent and translucent crystals and translate that to a tiny window of the beauty of the gems and crystals that are awaiting us in New Jerusalem!

The New Jerusalem
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband." (Rev 21:1-2)

"The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl." (v. 18-19)

"The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass." (v. 21)

"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp." (v. 22-23)

Oh, the tremendous beauty that is awaiting us with our Lord! His creativity is unparalleled. That He will share this beauty with us is amazing in itself, but that He is creating it for us, to dwell with him, is enough to bring me to my knees. When you watch this video of the gorgeous crystals, think of the street of gold in New Jerusalem, think of His light and His glory illuminating the entire city, the world, the universe. Think on this: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:3). The place He is preparing is so much more beautiful than the Crystal Cave at Naica, the mind cannot conceive its artistry.

Will YOU be there? You will be if you ask Him forgiveness of your sins and make Him the Lord and Savior of your life. Understand that sin cannot enter into the heavenly realms and that you, if you have sin in you, will be excluded from this glory. But if you repent of it and ask Him to forgive, you will be walking the street of gold with all the other forgiven sinners in eternity.

Christian, the Crystal Cave at Naica is not what awaits. What He is preparing for us is even better. Can our eyes take it in? Can our hearts remain beating or explode with joy at His grace and generosity? When you feel tired, when satan whispers 'it's not worth it' or 'why bother', think on New Jerusalem's beauty that the Lord took care to make for us, and persevere.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A word of encouragement

Fellow Christians, as the Church Age draws to a close, the anger, mocking and scoffing grows. On internet chat boards, forums, blogs, and e-mails, the unsaved rail and rebel in unloving and unforgiving manner. In real life, they mock and sneer, scorning our beliefs. Oppression, ridicule and persecution grows. Even witnessing to family members can be heart-breaking, as the most polite response is usually simply a deafening silence and at worst, rifts grow.

All this can bring a Christian down. It can cause one to despair and stumble, as we wonder if the tears that Jesus wipes from our face will be falling in grief because our loved ones are absent in glory.

Remember, Jesus knows this would be the circumstance in the end of days. He inspired Jude to write these words, as comforting to the church then as to us now:

A call to persevere

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:17-25)

Witness in love, pray for the lost, and persevere dear Brother and Sister. For He is able to keep us from falling, He is the most Worthy One to whom we shall be presented in due time and in great joy. Until then, "to others show mercy."

Here a nuke, there a nuke, everywhere a nuke nuke

After a decades-long cessation in the news from the words nuclear, preemptive, nuke, and strike, those words are back in print. Worse, their reappearance conveys hardened military philosophy, discussion, and perhaps use. Knowing prophecy and its revealing that nuclear strikes (likely) occur in the Tribulation, nuclear as a concept-only will remain moot for not much longer. I wrote this week that I believe the bible foretells nuclear exchanges during the Tribulation. One-Fourth of all humans will die within three and a half years. That is over 2 BILLION people. We also know that the Gog-Magog war Russia and Iran are major aggressors. That these countries are both in the news this week with the word "nuclear" attached to them is no surprise. Heavy hearted, nonetheless I offer the following news excerpts:

Russia unveils new nuclear doctrine
"Lowering the threshhold for the use of nuclear weapons, Russia has said it reserves the right to hit back with nukes in case of an aggression, in a new doctrine which may be a veiled warning to China and rising NATO powers."

U.S. Should Embrace Using Nukes for Nuclear Threat Only, Experts Say
"Perry argued that nonproliferation and disarmament efforts have "stalled or even reversed" in the last decade, noting that Russia and China today are said to be building new nuclear weapons. "North Korea has gone nuclear and Iran is following close in its footsteps," according to Perry. If those countries develop their own arsenals "I believe we will cross over a nuclear tipping point, greatly increasing the danger of a nuclear catastrophe in the world," he said."

The End of Obama’s Vision of a Nuke Free World
"Perhaps the most telling indicator of failed nonproliferation policy on the part of the Obama administration is the fact that there has been no progress on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program."

Clinton: Iran Nuke Could Trigger Nuclear Arms Race in Middle East
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that if Iran acquires a nuclear bomb it could trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which would create "dangerous" problems in the region."

I believe the aforementioned tipping point has been reached. The US and other nations underestimate the fervor with which the current Iranian Administration believe that it is their duty to start a war so that the world can be expunged of sinners and thus herald the final Mahdi's arrival. They believe this Mahdi or Twelfth Imam is the ultimate savior of humankind and is the final Imam of the Twelve Imams over the ages. They believe that this final or Twelfth Imam cannot appear until the war begins. Ahmadinejad has stated before that he feels he is the appointed one to start that war to cause the the Twelfth Imam to arrive. He and the Iranian Clerics including the Supreme Leader Khomeini are firm on this. And there is no motivator like religious fervor, for better or worse. These leaders' harsh words and actions certainly bear out their intent to create a nuclear materiel. For them in their mindset, having materiel without using it is no good to a country intent on bringing their savior to earth through horrific war. They will use it, they have said so over and over.

It is to earth's peril that on this point at least, we fail to take them at their word.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What Greece's economic woes may lead to

Is Europe at a crossroads? And one fork of that crossroad perhaps leading to the antichrist and mark of the beast?

Greece's debt load is staggering the rest of Europe. The Grecian domino is about to topple Span and Portugal as well. Europe has one currency and this is a problem not only of currency, but of sovereignty.  The Wall Street Journal called it "A Crisis of Sovereignty as well as Debt" stating "The European Union is in need of a new economic strategy. The veracity of that statement might seem indisputable, as various EU countries, led by Greece, struggle to avoid being crushed by their accumulated debts."

Debt is always crushing to a nation, as evidenced by America's inclusion on a list of nations of sovereign default risks  but "The Greek budget crisis is a symptom of imbalances that will lead to the breakup of the euro region, according to Societe Generale SA strategist Albert Edwards, and Harvard University Professor Martin Feldstein said monetary union “isn’t working” in its current form." That is because there is one European currency yet there are 27 different philosophies managing that one currency. What one nation does within the coalition may be more socialist and the next country may be more capitalist yet there is only the euro bearing the burden of these widely divergent policies, debts, and expenditures.

Joe Wiesenthal for Business Insider was even more blunt, saying "Europe's Choice: Dismantle The Euro, Or Cede All National Sovereignty To Brussels" "As the early euro-skeptics warned, coordinating a single monetary authority across nations with their own political systems and economic objectives wouldn't work. The founders of the euro actually knew this, but they they thought they could cheat by imposing deficit limits on each country, which were stipulated in the Maastricht Treaty. ... So that leaves Europe with two real solutions: 1. Breakup. 2. Turn Brussels into a seat of real centralized authority that mandates uniformity of economic policy across Euroland."

What those two choices add up to is a very interesting possibility of a major shakeup. Either the European coalition falls apart, its 27 nations divorce and perhaps leading to the 10-nation prophesied coalition of the antichrist regime in Daniel 7:7-8, or each nation cedes its sovereignty to Brussels and centralizes around its currency, leading to the mark of the beast as prophesied in Rev 13:16-17. Hmmm, choices choices.

A major centralized financial regulatory body was created last year. It is headed by one man, Mario Draghi of Italy. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) is a new regulator based on an enlarged vision of the once advisory Financial Stability Forum. Where it once offered guidance, it now institutes rules. This new FSB includes all G20 countries, Spain and the European Commission.

Last month, the FSB, charged by the G20 to coordinate national regulation in response to the financial crisis, welcomed U.S. proposals to limit banks' size and trading activities. Major European economies have offered support for President Barack Obama's plan, which could rewrite the world financial order..."

Default in Greece could spread across globe
"Since the epicenter of the latest financial crisis lies in Greece, it's appropriate that the root issue is theoretical: Can a vast region comprising 12 disparate nations achieve economic prosperity with a common currency - but not a common government? This is not the kind of philosophical conundrum that caused Socrates to reach for the hemlock. But it could still be poison for the world economy."

IMF waits in the wings as Greek domino teeters 
"If the European Union can't quell concerns over Greece's debt burden, the International Monetary Fund may have to step in, whether or not its help is welcome."

A Monetary agency forcing a nation to succumb to an economic plan? Revelation 13 tells of a re-written world financial order. It will happen. Maybe now or later, but it will happen.

The Hindu Business Line wrote today, "the G-20 emphasis on modernising the IMF's governance process is a welcome step which should improve its credibility, legitimacy and effectiveness. The G-20 can provide the necessary political support for implementation of policies which need a coordinated effort at the global level."

A 'coordinated effort at a global level' ... again, a prophesied event. 'Cede sovereignty' ... 'One currency' ... the prophetic clock is ticking and there is movement afoot for massive change in our financial and geo-political world order. But you knew that. It's in the bible.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A follow-up to essay "It's open season on humans"

Two days ago I wrote about the increase in shootings, and that Paul's perilous times seems to include an open season on humans. An addendum to that essay is below.

Two Hurt In Richmond Church Shooting
RICHMOND, Calif. (CBS13)

"A shooting at a Richmond church has left two teenagers wounded, according to authorities. KCBS radio in San Francisco is reporting that three suspects entered the New Gethsemane Church on Roosevelt Avenue while about 100 people were inside and opened fire."

Pray ceaselessly for peace!And pray for His soon return.

Scientists Find 'Spirituality' Center of Brain

I came to the Lord on December 3, 2003. There were many reasons for my accepting the Truth, but one of them was a long-time curiosity with how the world got started and a dissatisfaction with the secular answer of evolution, Big Bang and simple chance. During this time of my peak curiosity, I was fortunate to be able to travel the world for ten years. I saw many sunsets, the majestic Alps, active volcanoes, the Northern Lights, myriad exotic animals, the ocean at peace and in turmoil, and I would think, 'there HAS to be more to it than a Bang...this is all so beautiful and delicately complex.' In this, the scripture in Romans 1:20 comes into play, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" Eventually, I clearly saw, and I understood. More important, I believed.

I had another question too, for example, why does every culture in the world worship something? I'd learned in my twenties that every culture that ever existed worshiped something greater than themselves in some way, from the beginning of recorded time to this moment. Why is that, I'd wonder, and why is is that of all the animals on earth, that none others ever attained that transcendence of self, and looked up to a God?

Could it be...because God designed it that way?

In 2001 scientists began to delve into that question with more advanced technology. The brain is SO complex, that it still remains a mystery to them today, but is being better understood bit by bit.

Tracing the Synapses of Our Spirituality
What creates that transcendental feeling of being one with the universe? It could be the decreased activity in the brain's parietal lobe, which helps regulate the sense of self and physical orientation, research suggests.

In 2008 another study focused on the parietal lobe further, separating that part of the brain into synapses that define 'me' and 'not-me':

Spirituality Spot Found in Brain
The area in question — the right parietal lobe — is responsible for defining "Me," said researcher Brick Johnstone of Missouri University. It generates self-criticism, he said, and guides us through physical and social terrains by constantly updating our self-knowledge: my hand, my cocktail, my witty conversation skills, my new love interest ...People with less active Me-Definers are more likely to lead spiritual lives, reports the study in the current issue of the journal Zygon.

Now, "spirituality" is not Jesus, the blood and the cross, but it is progress. By 2010 scientists were studying the brain interior itself again rather than external behavioral impulses, responses, and self-reporting. They found in brain-damaged patients that some areas in the brain lead to a greater spirituality.

Scientists Find 'Spirituality' Center of Brain
Scientists have identified areas of the brain that, when damaged, lead to greater spirituality. The findings hint at the roots of spiritual and religious attitudes, the researchers say. Previous neuroimaging studies had linked activity within a large network in the brain that connects the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortexes with spiritual experiences, "but information on the causative link between such a network and spirituality is lacking," explains lead study author, Urgesi said.

The fact of the matter is, whether a person believes in God or not, "For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." (2 Corinthians 5:4) All of Ecclesiastes reminds us that life without God is empty and vain. Every person ever created has the opportunity to see the world and His invisible attributes within. Every person has the opportunity to seek the fulfillment of that empty place inside us where we groan and discover what it is we groan for. The Lord made us with sinews and blood and DNA and a place in our brains (it seems) where the seat of heavenly longing waits for the Holy Spirit to connect with it and AWAKE our soul unto Jesus. The key is receptivity. Will you harden your heart to the questions that arise in you? Will you push out of your mind the unanswerable that is before your eyes? Or will you accept the Holy Spirit's conviction and seek until blessed belief overwhelms you with love and grace?

Though the brain research into the parietal lobe is intellectual and "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1) it is still a matter of pondering the miracle that we are spiritual beings. If we evolved, why is that spirituality absent from 100% of the rest of the animal kingdom? Could it be because "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them"? (Gen 1:27)

I urge all of us to ponder these things. His creation has His signature on it. His formation of humans has in us implanted longing for His Magnificent self. If you have ever looked at the beauty of the world and wondered Who made it, or felt within yourself a longing and unfulfillment, a seeking for something more, it is the Spirit knocking on the door of your heart ready to reveal the kingdom to you. If you only believe, and ask. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)

[Hardwired for God, another essay I wrote exploring this subject, is here]

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's open season on humans

Forget deer season, the moose lottery, and duck hunting. There's a new season, and it's humans who are now the hunted.

Shootings are increasing and their randomness, lack of motive, or trivial motives are growing more shocking daily. We have:

Professors shooting colleagues
According to a faculty member, the professor had applied for tenure, been turned down, and appealed the decision. She learned on Friday that she had been denied once again. Officials said the dead were all biology professors, G. K. Podila, the department’s chairman; Maria Ragland Davis; and Adriel D. Johnson Sr. Two other biology professors, Luis Rogelio Cruz-Vera and Joseph G. Leahy, as well as a professor’s assistant, Stephanie Monticciolo, are at Huntsville Hospital in conditions ranging from stable to critical. The shooting came just a week after a middle school student near Huntsville shot and killed a classmate.

Elementary Teachers shooting Administrators
A fourth grade teacher at Inskip Elementary School (TN) is charged Wednesday with the shootings of the principal and assistant principal at the school. Foster entered the office at Inskip Elementary School and lured the victims, Elisa Luna and Amy Brace, into the principal's office," the police complaint states. "(Foster) then shot victim Elisa luna multiple times at close range...and shot victim Amy Brace multiple times at close range..."

Restaurant-goers shooting patrons
Police say a man opened fire inside a Gresham (OR) restaurant, killing one person and wounding two other before killing himself.

Children shooting parents
A 12–year old Iowa boy is charged with killing his stepfather and injuring his half sister. Neighbor and good family friend, Candy Burmeister, describes the Peek family as, "salt of the earth." She says the parents raised their children with strong morals and kindness. Police are trying to piece together what led to the shooting.

Teens shooting children
Richmond (CA) police have arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of shooting a toddler riding in a car with her father. Sgt. Bisa French says the shooter did not know the girl or her father when he shot into the moving car while on foot.

Clients attacking their hairdresser
An Athens (GA) woman attacked another woman Tuesday morning because she was upset over how the victim styled her hair, Athens-Clarke police said. ... The victim tried to call police, but Fleming ripped a cell phone from a rope around the victim's neck and drove away, police said.

Paul wrote in no uncertain terms to Timothy about the state of affairs in the last days. He said they would be "perilous." (KJV)  "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

When I read these verses I think of national peril, such as America is in now being an ever-growing economic and military target, but I also think of individual peril. It's perilous for individuals to simply go about their daily business. It's perilous to drive an ice cream truck, go to a restaurant, have a faculty meeting, teach in a school. It's perilous to cut hair, to dwell in your home, to ride in a car with your baby.

Making the days even more perilous than the shootings' penetration into daily lives are the reasons for the shootings. Being denied tenure? Not liking your haircut? Not responding quickly enough during an armed robbery? Trivial reasons, as if any reason could ever justify a shooting. Selfish and ungodly. As moral people we seek answers and reasons. Though we do not condone a shooting we can understand self-defense in extreme situations, or simply the heartbreak of true psychological madness. But in the shootings highlighted above, the reasons make the times perilous, because they are trivial and selfish, just as Paul said men would be. Worse, are the many shootings that have no motive. People simply show up somewhere and begin shooting randomly. Note that the list of shootings are not scraped together over a period of years, they all occurred in the last week. Tragically, it was easy to find examples simply by googling the search term "shooting" under the news search and thousands of results popped up.

Notice the ages of the shooters. More and more often they are teens. In one of the news stories above, a 12-year-old boy killed his step-father. Children shooting parents is simply unthinkable. Paul mentions disobedience to parents in the verses above and there is no greater disobedience to parents than killing them or their siblings.

Satan is the god of this age and surely he hates humans as much as he hates God. Attacking us through our minds is his primary way he subverts any incipient Godliness and bring to the fore the appearance of godliness as described by Paul in the verses above. Since this is only a form of godliness it is false and easily crumbles when the sinful thoughts are not taken captive. James 1:14-15 says, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin.”

It is not only perilous times because of bodily danger, but perilous because of our sinful natures to begin with, and satan's war against humanity is increasing. Failure to take captive all sinful thoughts immediately lends a person vulnerable to satan's wiles. People with corrupt motives creep in and for the people who are outside of Christ, I cannot even imagine how difficult it is to withstand the onslaught of deception and corruption. It is open season and every human is at risk. If you have not asked Jesus to forgive your sins, do so and do not delay. If you are truly sorry for the bad things you have done, thought, or said, ask Jesus to forgive them. Make Him the Lord and Savior of your life. If you are saved, you are not immune to being hunted either. Satan hates the Godly even more than the godless, and it is incumbent upon every Christian to persevere daily in the diligence of seeking His face. Doing so brightens His light inside us, and in these perilous times, what better antidote than being the Light of Jesus shining into the eyes of those who dwell in dark places? It is a gift to be bright for Him, because the unsaved are "the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." (MAT 4:16)

Prata's Place / Graceful Garlands: Gradual Growth

My title comes from Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland ...