Tuesday, November 30, 2010

They hate Him without cause

We know that many of the Psalms are prophetic. Psalm 83 lists a particular configuration of nations that attack Israel, and that particular configuration has not occurred yet. In Psalm 22, the crucifixion is depicted. We know that David was not crucified so it must be that Jesus is speaking through David in a prayer that's a  forerunner to the actual event. Psalm 69 is again one of those prayers of Christ speaking through David, in part or in whole. Though Psalm 69 could be easily applied to the Christ-type David, most of it can also applied to Christ speaking those words, especially verses 4, 9, 21, bolded here:

 Here are verses Psalm 69:1-12; 22

Save me, O God,         
For the waters have threatened my life.    
I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold;         
I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me.    
I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched;        
My eyes fail while I wait for my God.    
4. Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head;         
Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies;
What I did not steal, I then have to restore.
O God, it is You who knows my folly,         
And my wrongs are not hidden from You.    
May those who wait for You not be ashamed through me, O Lord GOD of hosts;         
May those who seek You not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel,    
Because for Your sake I have borne reproach;        
Dishonor has covered my face.    
I have become estranged from my brothers         
And an alien to my mother's sons.  
9. For zeal for Your house has consumed me,         
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.   
When I wept in my soul with fasting,         
It became my reproach.    
When I made sackcloth my clothing,         
I became a byword to them.    
Those who sit in the gate talk about me,         
And I am the song of the drunkards.
21. They also gave me gall for my food And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

In Psalm 69 we get a peek at how the Lord was feeling, not just what He was doing or saying as he is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

I was moved to think of Him born in a stable, or a cave, laid as a babe to rest in a trough. His humble beginnings carried out through his life, with the Son of Man having no place to lay His head. And to boot, being scorned by drunkards at the gate, and his own half-brothers not believing Him (John 7:5). Just as Psalm 22 begins with humility and ends in exultation, so does Psalm 69.

Now the cross-reference:

(Psalms 69:4) Those who hate me without a cause Are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, Being my enemies wrongfully; Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it.

(John 15:23-25) "He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, "They hated Me without a cause.'"

Do you hate Him without cause?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Island appears overnight in Pakistan, it's seismic

Island of mud appears near Hingol, shows seismicity

PFF spokesman, Sami Memon told Dawn.com that the fishermen of Ibrahim Hyderi area described the occurrence after returning from Hingol. Fishermen observed white, slippery hot sand erupting from water,  three km away from the beach. Before the upsurge of sludge, fishermen also observed high tides near the coast and several boats were trapped due to the emergence of the island. Memon told Dawn.com that the island is 98 feet beneath the water and 196 feet above the sea level which is a total of 295 feet in height. According to Memon, the fishermen also registered another island 12 years back which plunged into the sea after four months. However, the amateur video of the event clearly showed eruption of white hot liquid sludge on top of the island which is still ongoing. Speaking to Dawn.com, Director of Geolabs at Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP), Asif Nazeer Rana said the area holds three tectonic plates – namely Eurasian, Arabian and Indian plates which are responsible for high seismic activity due to subduction in the Makran area. Rana said that the Chaman Transverse Fault could also be responsible for the sudden rise of the island at Hingol because the fault is extremely active, moving at a rate of four centimeter yearly. The Chaman Fault is the only physical feature of Pakistan which can be seen from space and it was responsible for the horrifying earthquake of 31 May, 1935 in Quetta. Over 30,000 people died in the quake. Rana said that an earthquake of 4.1 magnitude on the Richter scale was also recorded recently in the Chiltan area due to activity of the Chaman Fault and the series of these events need serious attention. – Dawn.com"

This happened before. An island appearing overnight, that is. "New Volcano appears, Wasn't there days ago."

The rapture will occur before the Tribulation

Believers of the Church Age will not go through the Tribulation. This statement is not an opinion. It is decree from God. Anyone who firmly believes the Church will go through the Tribulation is twisting verses. Further, anyone believing the Church will go through the Tribulation has an incomplete understanding of what the Tribulation is all about. Here are the verses:

The Tribulation's purpose is stated in Dan 9:24. God's purpose for the Tribulation is to accomplish 6 things:

Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to:
1. finish transgression,
2. to put an end to sin,
3. to atone for wickedness,
4. to bring in everlasting righteousness,
5. to seal up vision and prophecy and
6. to anoint the most holy.

First, the verse begins by stating it is for "your people," the Jews. Not the church. It is stated for Jerusalem, (and wicked unbelievers by extension). Not the church. The transgression to be finished was the prophesied 490 years of a decree stated in Daniel 9:25:

"So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress."

The starting point of that decree began in Artaxerxes given in 444 b.c. as recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8. It paused at the crucifixion of Jesus. It will resume the last 7 years of this earthly existence, after the rapture. It is a time when the Jews will be dealt with, God picking up the threads of a work begun at the decree of Daniel.

Second, believers in the church age have had our transgressions is already put an end to. We are considered righteous with Him, made perfect, our sins nailed to the cross. (Heb 12:23; Col 2:14). So that takes care of #1 and 2 and 3. Jesus atoned for our wickedness and our repentance clears the judgment against us. Why would Jesus die to make us perfect, we are seen as righteous in His eyes, only to be punished for sins already wiped away? Makes no sense. It makes God contrary and inconsistent, and He is not that!

Third, Paul said we are not appointed for wrath. (1 Thess 5:9). The "wrath" is not that God is really, really mad. It's not an emotion. It is punishment and it is controlled and it has a purpose (see above, again). It has a designated beginning and an end. Rev 6:17 declares that His wrath has begun (with the seals opened) and Rev 15:1 concludes it. The church is seen in Rev 5 in heaven already (singing!), and a  reasonable interpretation of Rev 4 shows our arrival. Revelation is mostly chronological and we arrive in Heaven prior to Rev 6 when the wrath begins.We are not only not appointed for it, but He promises to rescue from it.

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1 Thes. 1:9-10).

Fourth, Paul wrote: "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thess 13-18). The Second Coming shows Jesus returning all the way to earth. But that is not where we meet Him. We meet Him in the air. When? Prior to our return with Him in Rev 19:4.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:1-3).

"For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock." (Psalm 27:5)

The Holy Spirit spent a tremendous amount of energy and words encouraging us to look for Him, telling us we won't be here, and blessing us for longing for His appearing. Therefore, we will not be here. It is not an opinion, it is a promise of GOD! :) You can bank on it, rest on it, and declare His glory through it!

Have a wonderful day and blessings to you!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What effect will the Wikileaks dump have on the end time?

WikiLeaks 'nothing short of a political meltdown for US foreign policy' - Der Spiegel

"The United States was catapulted into a worldwide diplomatic crisis today, with the leaking to the Guardian and other international media of more than 250,000 classified cables from its embassies, many sent as recently as February this year. At the start of a series of daily extracts from the US embassy cables - many of which are designated "secret" – the Guardian can disclose that Arab leaders are privately urging an air strike on Iran and that US officials have been instructed to spy on the UN's leadership. These two revelations alone would be likely to reverberate around the world. But the secret dispatches which were obtained by WikiLeaks, the whistlebowers' website, also reveal Washington's evaluation of many other highly sensitive international issues." Read more from The Guardian

Some of the revelations include:

Iran is fortifying its arsenal with the aid of North Korea - NYT

Arms deliveries to militants: Cables describe the United States’ failing struggle to prevent Syria from supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has amassed a huge stockpile since its 2006 war with Israel. One week after President Bashar al-Assad promised a top State Department official that he would not send “new” arms to Hezbollah, the United States complained that it had information that Syria was providing increasingly sophisticated weapons to the group.- NYT

US embassy cables: US fails to dissuade Turkey from Iran 'meddling' - The Guardian

Iran is fortifying its arsenal with the aid of North Korea - NYT

Saudi willingness to see nuclear weapons deployed in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) as a deterrent to Iran. - Wikileaks

Wikileaks docs show Turkey helped al-Qaeda - Jerusalem Post

What does all this mean for the end time? We know that conflict in the Middle East is front and center at the end of the end time and in the Tribulation. At some point, a war prophesied in Psalm 83 occurs where Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and miscellaneous enemy groups (potentially Hezbollah and Hamas) attack Israel. Isaiah 17:1 depicts Damascus (Syria) totally destroyed. And of course, Gog-Magog battle takes place, by the end of which all the nations know it was GOD who protected Israel from the surprise attack by Russia, Iran, and Turkey.

The nations have been gridlocked for so long over matters of national security maybe the lid being blown off will prompt some action. Iran is obviously making nukes, but they deny it, and their plausible denials have allowed the cover to stay on. Turkey's shift in alliance from the west to the Muslim nations is obvious, but their protestations and insistence on inclusion in Western channels allowed the cover to stay on. Syria's obvious military build-up behind the UN's coattails has allowed plausible deniability to reign- until the Wikileaks cover blew them all sky high.

Perhaps this will be the catalyst for action to be taken. Perhaps this is what it will take for Israel to say, we wait no more for fickle and lying "allies". Perhaps this is what it will take for the US to fall, in credibility, foreign policy, and be forever marginalized at the edges of the grownup table. It certainly has destabilized the US.

I am not intelligent enough in foreign affairs to determine what effect these documents will cause. And after all, fewer than 300 of almost 3 million have been yet published. But the above allegations alone are incendiary. I believe the most incendiary is the Saudi plea to allow a nuclear deployment to Iran's ambitions. This will have an effect. What exactly that will be, only God knows. In the meantime, come, Lord Jesus!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Will the church be on earth during wars? Will we experience wartime hardship?

We know that the first judgments in the Tribulation (the Church is gone) are the Seals. The Second Seal is the Red Horse and its rider takes peace from the earth. But the warnings of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse also remind us that one of the birth pang signs is also war, and not just between nations but kingdoms against kingdoms. Will we, the Church experience the effects of war? Will war occur on our soil prior to the Rapture?

We have experienced war since the moment Jesus ascended, as part of the prophesied birth pangs. In one sense, the Church is already experiencing wartime hardship. Any Christian in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Israel, or much of Africa is living in a time when war touches their lives directly. But with the ramping up of the conflict between North Korea and South Korea, with the US and China being dragged in as powerful allies, it is a timely question. There was a mystery missile shot just 35 miles from the western shores of the US this month, which also spooked many. In our secret heart of hearts, we have visions of mushroom clouds over LA, NY, Kansas... Or Sydney or London. Will wartime hardship touch the Christians in other places and locations? Let's take a look.

Matthew 24:6: "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end."
Mark 13:8a: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom."
Luke 21:11- "There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven."

In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus spoke of what will happen in direct response to the Disciples' questions about the end of the age and the signs indicating it. In the first verse of His answer in Mt 24:2 He told of something that will happen in a few years hence, though the Disciples were not aware of the timing. The Temple was going to be destroyed in 70AD. Then He spoke of signs of the end of the age in verses 4-8. Verse 9 begins a shift to the time of the Tribulation. Jesus says: "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name." The rest of the Discourse relates only to the Jews and the Time of Jacob's Trouble as they term it, or as we term it, The Tribulation.

We know that the first judgments in the Tribulation (the Church is gone) are the Seals. The Second Seal is the Red Horse and its rider takes peace from the earth. But the warnings of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse also remind us that one of the birth pang signs is also war, and not just against nations but kingdoms against kingdoms.

The number of military conflicts have risen dramatically as the end nears. In one of John MacArthur's sermons on this subject (the end days) he cited statistics at the Encyclopedia of Wars, and I placed those numbers into a spreadsheet and turned it into a graph showing the number of military conflicts over the last 3000 years. No one on the planet since Jesus uttered His warning sign has been immune from wars, conflicts, battles, and uprisings. You can view that post by clicking here. The graph is below:

Though numbers of wars have been rising and rumors of wars are constant nowadays, I believe that the difference between our living through military conflicts now and those in the Tribulation will be markedly different. Why? The bible tells us. The verse in Revelation states: "When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword." (Rev 6:4)

Please notice several things about that Tribulation verse. First, peace is taken from the earth. There is no peace, anywhere! Imagine living in a constant state of conflict. Even in your home, you feel no peace. Riots, wars, conflict, fights, any flavor of the opposite of peace you want to think of, will be the state of things, all the time. Now, even in the end time prior to the Tribulation, we can find peace. Rumors of wars are unsettling, but they are not the scale and breadth that they will be as soon as we leave and the Seal is opened.

Sword is the Lord's metaphor for war, or actually, judgment. The root word in the verse in Rev 6:4 is megas, meaning exceeding, great, large; and machaira, meaning figuratively, war, judicial punishment -- sword. So, second, the verse takes careful note of the size of the sword. The Lord gave unto men a sword in other verses throughout the bible, as in Ezekiel 21:14; Ez 32:20; Jer 50:36; etc. Look up sword in the bible, and then look up large sword (or great sword, mighty sword). The sword of war is never described in any of the verses I could find, as mighty, (except in one verse in Isaiah 27:1, The Deliverance of Israel, which is the Lord's own sword.) In other words, the wars and rumors of wars now are normal business, but the Tribulation wars will be devastating.

See what happens in the Fourth Seal: When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come." I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth." The verse tells us a quarter of the earth's population dies, partly from results of war (sword).

Ultimately, I interpret the verses in Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 to say though there will be conflict both prior to the Trib and afterwards, the conflict in the Tribulation will be horrendous while the conflicts in the end of the age will be manageable. Will the US experience a nuclear holocaust, or even en electro-magnetic pulse wiping out all electronics? Maybe, I can't predict the future, but I believe the church all over the world will experience normal conflict prior to leaving, but not horrendous hardship from nukes and direct attacks. That would be judgment, and we are not to be judged.

That is not to say that the normal course of war is anything to take lightly. It's terrible. Ask any war widow. Ask anyone who lives in the line of fire, whose home is blown up and who has lost their nation, being a refugee. But the terrible times of the wars depicted in the Tribulation will be so much worse.

When Jesus said that there will be nations rising against nations, and kingdoms against kingdoms, it sounds quaint and old-timey to hear the word "kingdom." Monarchies seem outdated and bygone. But there are kingdoms in the world today, many with ruling and active kings (or queens). UK's full name is really The Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The full name of other nations reveal many kingdoms. Others on the earth today include the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Kingdom of Denmark. Kingdom of Bahrain. Kingdom of Belgium. Kingdom of Bhutan.  Kingdom of Cambodia. Kingdom of Lesotho. Kingdom of Morocco. Kingdom of the Netherlands. Kingdom of Norway. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Kingdom of Spain. Kingdom of Swaziland. Kingdom of Sweden. Kingdom of Thailand. Kingdom of Tonga.

Kingdom of Tonga

Isn't it strange to think that in the Tribulation, no where will be peaceful, including the far-off, remote and tiny place of Tonga. How many travel posters tout places like Tonga as the quintessential peaceful place, perfect to escape to? Pictures sch as the one above are emblematic of peace and tranquility. But when Jesus tells John that "peace will be taken from the earth", that means that nowhere on earth will you find peace. Nowhere. At all.

As for the current conflict in the China Sea, time will tell how that may or may not blossom into a hot conflict narrow in scope or worldwide in impact. We won't have long to wait. The joint US-SKorean military exercises are due to begin on Sunday and NKorea has vowed retaliation of we do. Here are a series of recent news headlines illustrating the progression of the conflict that has evolved over the last four days:

Boston Globe: South Korea's Defense Minister Resigns
South Korea's defense minister resigned Thursday, two days after an artillery attack by North Korea killed four people on small island near their disputed frontier.  The move came as President Lee Myung-bak vowed to send more troops to the island and as residents tried to salvage belongings from its blackened wreckage. Pyongyang warned of additional attacks if provoked.

Korean Times: NK fired fuel-air shells on Yeonpyeong
North Korea used a new type of artillery shell capable of penetrating concrete walls and causing fires in Tuesday’s deadly shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in the West Sea, military investigators said Thursday.  The “special shell” similar to a thermobaric weapon, known as a fuel-air bomb, is believed to have been deployed since 1985, they said. A team of investigators has recovered some 20 duds that landed on the island for analysis.

BBC News: N Korea warns war drills take region to 'brink of war'
North Korea has warned that impending joint military exercises by the South and the US are pushing the region to "the brink of war".  A group of naval ships, led by a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier, is heading to the Yellow Sea to take part in the drills, due to begin on Sunday.  At least four South Koreans died on Tuesday when the North shelled the Southern island of Yeonpyeong.

Korea's Yonhap News: N. Korea says it is 'ready to annihilate' S. Korea's stronghold North Korea said Friday it is "ready to annihilate" South Korea's stronghold if its sovereignty is violated even a bit, raising already high tension after the two countries exchanged artillery barrages earlier this week, Yonhap reported. "We will show a firm and merciless example to whichever provoker encroaches on our dignity and sovereignty," the North's Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said in a statement released by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Japan Broadcasting Corporation: Japan increasing air patrols
Japan currently deploys five EP3 aircraft at its Iwakuni Base in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan.  The aircraft routinely patrol the skies over Japan and surrounding areas, monitoring North Korea's military activities, such as a ballistic missile launches.  The Defense Ministry appears to be increasing the number of EP3 flights to be on the alert for further possible military actions by the North.

UK Independent: Expats recalled as North Korea prepares for war
A mass exodus of North Korean workers from the Far East of Russia is under way, according to reports coming out of the region. As the two Koreas edged towards the brink of war this week, it appears that the workers in Russia have been called back to aid potential military operations.

China's Xinhua News: Chinese FM discusses Korean Peninsula issue with Russian, Japanese counterparts on phone
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Saturday discussed the latest situation on the Korean Peninsula in phone calls with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and Japanese foreign minister Seiji Maehara. He said all parties should work together to help cool the situation as soon as possible and effectively ensure no repeat of such conflict. Meanwhile, the Chinese minister expressed the hope that concerned parties would take a reasonable and pragmatic approach to actively create favorable conditions for resuming the six-party talks.

Hankyoreh (Korea's Independent Newspaper): Joint drills will be far from NLL, military reports
Joint South Korea-U.S. drills with the USS George Washington in the West Sea will be held from Sunday to Wednesday. North Korea has promised retaliation if both countries hold the drills in the West Sea. South Korea and the United States have stated that the drills are routine and defensive in nature, but with the drills being held in the middle of the West Sea for the first time, they strongly take on the character of a show of force against North Korea.

Stock Analyst: SKorea may elevate NKorea to main enemy status
Meanwhile, an unidentified South Korean official told Yonhap Saturday Seoul was mulling over whether to designate North Korea as its "main enemy" when the Defense Ministry publishes its next biannual defense white paper. The South now considers North Korea "an immediate and direct threat" to its national security.

The world holds its breath as it teeters on the brink of war.

Wikileaks dump imminent: US-Israel relationship may be forever changed

Julian Assange is a whistleblower activist who started a website called WikiLeaks. Somehow he obtains confidential, sensitive documents and he publishes them online. Sometimes this is good, in the case of exposing torture, assassination, and corruption. He has been awarded for this. Assange says that Wikileaks has released more classified documents than the rest of the world press combined: "That's not something I say as a way of saying how successful we are - rather, that shows you the parlous state of the rest of the media. How is it that a team of five people has managed to release to the public more suppressed information, at that level, than the rest of the world press combined? It's disgraceful." (source)

Before working with the website, he was a physics and mathematics student, hacker, and computer programmer. Then Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006. He has come to widespread public attention for his recent role in the release of classified material documenting the involvement of the United States in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Then the world got word that he is about to release 2.7 million documents detailing conversations conducted confidentially regarding the US and Israel, probably this weekend.

Time Mag: WikiLeaks: could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act"
AFP French News Agency: US warns Israel of WikiLeaks release
Washington has warned its ally Israel of potential embarrassment from the expected release of US diplomatic cables on whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, an Israeli newspaper said on Thursday. A senior Israeli official, quoted in Haaretz, said it has been informed that WikiLeaks plans to release hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, some of which could include confidential reports from the US embassy in Tel Aviv. "The Americans said they view the leak very seriously," he told the paper, on condition of anonymity.

Haaretz: Israel, U.S. tense as WikiLeaks set to release classified bilateral communiques
"Sources in Washington said the documents would be coming out soon, perhaps even today. And it is not only Israel being warned about US documents. The US Ambassador in London made a special visit also..."

UK Daily Mail: U.S. warns Britain over new WikiLeaks revelations that will 'expose corruption between allies'
"David Cameron was warned last night by America that damaging secrets of the ‘special relationship’ are about to be laid bare. The U.S. ambassador to London made an unprecedented personal visit to Downing Street to warn that whistleblower website WikiLeaks is about to publish secret assessments of what Washington really thinks of Britain. The website is on the verge of revealing almost 3million documents, including thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables sent to Washington from the American embassy in London. In total, around 2.7 million confidential messages between the U.S. government and its embassies around the world are to be released. The U.S. State Department warned that the leaks would damage relationships around the world. Spokesman P J Crowley said: ‘These revelations are harmful to the U.S. and our interests. They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.’"

The UK Daily Mail says, "U.S. diplomats face being kicked out of countries in backlash ... Corrupt politicians expected to be named and shamed."

As the dump became imminent, it simply became obvious the US was running around in damage control mode. "Wikileaks document dump has United States working damage control to stem potential embarrassment".
"The U.S. is already in damage-control mode ahead of the latest classified documents expected to be released by whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with the leaders of several countries, warning her counterparts of what the documents may contain, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.  There is speculation that the documents will reveal sensitive and embarrassing details of American diplomacy with foreign countries, The Associated Press reports."

Besides Britain and India, the US has warned the governments of Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Israel, Iraq, China, Turkey, Russia and Iceland in advance of the release. On this already tense earth, the situation between US and UK, and US and Israel will be stirred immeasurably by whatever the world reads in those documents. Though bombs may be going off in the Koreas, there is another bomb ticking and about to explode when WikiLeaks documents hit the internet. Like this one: "Did Turkey help al-Qaeda in Iraq?"
"According to the London-based daily al-Hayat, the WikiLeaks release includes documents showing Turkey has helped al-Qaeda in Iraq, reports Reuters."

That would make Turkey unquestioningly an enemy. The Gog-Magog battle of Ezekiel 38-39 shows Turkey siding with Iran and Russian in attacking Israel. Unmasking Turkey's real stance may spur that battle along.

The UK is taking the importance of the leaks so seriously that all the news media outlets in the UK have just now received a DA-notice. A DA-Notice or Defence Advisory Notice (called a Defence Notice or D-Notice until 1993) is an official request to news editors not to publish or broadcast items on specified subjects for reasons of national security. The system is still in use in Britain. As of 2008 there are five standing DA-Notices. On 25 November 2010, the Government issued a DA-Notice (types 1 and 5) in relation to sensitive documents expected to be imminently released on the website WikiLeaks.

DA-Notice 01: Military Operations, Plans Capabilities
DA-Notice 02: Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Weapons and Equipment
DA-Notice 03: Ciphers and Secure Communications
DA-Notice 04: Sensitive Installations and Home Addresses
DA-Notice 05: United Kingdom Security Intelligence Special Services

State Department Spokesman PJ Crowley said, "These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests," Crowley said. "They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world." MORE tension than there already is? Hard to imagine.

And we wait, holding our breath to see which flames get fanned. And where they get fanned to.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Enduring sound doctrine in the days of tickling ears

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires..." (2 Timothy 4:3)

Do you notice that word "endure"? The verse does not say "they will not like sound doctrine..." It does not say "they will not enjoy sound doctrine..." It doesn't even say "they will not accept sound doctrine." It uses the word endure. When you endure something, you writhe. You wish you were not there in the midst of it. If anyone has ever undergone physical therapy, you know that you have to endure it but if you could you would shoot out of the gym so fast you'd be like a speeding bullet. If anyone has ever had to get a root canal, you know that you endure it. You do not seek it, you do not like it, and if you could, you go away from it.

That is the process by which lukewarm Christians, fake Christians, and unholy pastors feel about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. To be sure, the true Gospel of the Risen Savior is full of warm fuzzies. He loves us. He prospers us. He sends angels to us. But the True Gospel is also full of truth, the unpalatable truth that the iniquitous lawless cannot endure: we are sinners. Rejection of the remedy for your sin means you will spend eternity in torment, apart from God. That there is nothing good in us. That we are fallen, craven, and deserve judgment. No, they will not endure that. So they don't.

Instead they seek teachers to tempt us with what the devil has always tempted us with, and tempted Jesus too: health, wealth, fame. They may find it in some "preachers" and in some "churches", but it is for a season. Most do not find prosperity in health, wealth and fame. The only ones becoming famous and rich are the false pastors who urge the hapless and desperate to send money.

In his new series, "Toxic Television: Unmasking the Prosperity Gospel part 1" bible teacher John MacArthur spends a few minutes below of his one-hour sermon (linked above) explaining why Joel Osteen is false, dangerous, and unholy. He also spends time explaining why the Trinity Broadcast Network is also false, dangerous and unholy. MacArthur says, Osteen "is a quasi-pantheist where Jesus is a footnote that satisfies his critics and deceives his followers." As for Osteen's book, MacArthur says 'Your Best Life Now', the title, is a dead giveaway. The only way you can have your best life now is if you're going to hell."

Toxic Television: Unmasking the Prosperity Gospel part 1

A watered down gospel removes the book-end to the love parts that they seek. That other book-end is judgment. They will not endure sound teaching that His holiness involves love but it also includes righteous judgment.

"I have sworn by Myself,
         The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
         And will not turn back,
         That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.
“They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.’
         Men will come to Him,
         And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. (Isaiah 45:23-24)

A watered down gospel that removes the other book-end from truth is less filling but it tastes great. The bible shows us that the True Gospel tastes great, and also the watered down false Gospel tastes great. In the verses telling us of Ezekiel's commission,

"Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth." (Ez 3:1-3).

The true word absorbed by submissive believers is sweet. But it is also sometimes accompanied by a bitterness felt by even the most beloved of followers, even the most obedient of disciples. Sometimes the true word is hard to hear and bitter even for believers, because it reveals to us the true state of our sinfulness and the fate of those who refuse His hand, those mockers and scorners whom we mourn over-

"I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour." (Rev 10:10) The only way to endure the knowledge of judgment that is coming is to rest on His truth and His promises. Those who do not rest in that truth, bitter as it sometimes is, do not endure it. Not only have they stopped asking the Spirit for wisdom, but they simply stop ingesting the sweet Words of the LORD and they flee away, being unstable in all they do.

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:5-8)

But we do endure! Paul said to in 2 Tim 2:3, 10. Peter said to in 1 Peter 2:20. The writer in Hebrews 12:7 advised us to endure. Endure what? Hardship. Beatings. Wrongdoing. Life. Hardship. Persecution. And there are those today who cannot sit still in a chair or a pew and 'endure' the Word of the Living God who loves them. They seek tickling instead. They are gaining the world only to lose their lives forever.

If you seek sound doctrine but have had a hard time finding it, I encourage you to enjoy the teachers I have been enjoying. John MacArthur is strong, loving, and firm in preaching and teaching all of the Gospel. His doctrine is sound because it comes verse by verse from the Living Word. His website is Grace to You, or gty.org. There, you can read essays and transcripts if you do not have a fast connection, or click on audio or  video to listen or watch.

Steve Hadley of Harvest Family Fellowship is another who teaches the bible and is unapologetic but loving about presenting sound doctrine. Steve's recent message on 11/21/10 called Judgment Day is a devastatingly honest and convicting message that all need to hear. Click here for the list of messages, including the one titled Judgment Day.

Has solid preaching become an endurance test for you? Or are the hard but truthful words uplifting to you and filling in every way? If you have recently changed churches because the pastor is "a little too bible thumping for my taste", or have drifted away from regular worship lately because the sermons are too long, too convicting, or demand endurance on the part of your deceitful heart, then ask yourself if you are really just trying to accumulate a teacher in accordance with your own desires, and are wanting your ears tickled with a less filling but great tasting sermon. If so, you may be at risk.

Why at risk? Because we all live forever in eternity in one of two places. The day will come when the eternity you are beginning will either not have the word endure associated with it, which is heaven, or it will have the word endure associated with it. You may try to avoid enduring a convicting sermon from a ticklish teacher today, but the end result will be that you will have to endure an eternity separated from Him in torment. O, faithful one, let it not be so!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

About Thanksgiving. I'm reminded of the hymn, "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow." My thankfulness stems from the root of it all: my salvation. I'm thankful Jesus came, taught, died and rose again for pardon of my sins. I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit's ministry to guide me on all straight paths in His Light. I'm thankful for Father God Who made us in His image....and did not wipe us all out in the Flood. I'm thankful that He sends the angels to protect me. Am I thankful for friends? For turkey? For my job? Absolutely. But the gratitude for secular things pale in comparison to the center of the universe: GOD, and the fact that He resides in me through His grace and mercy. From that One Truth, all other blessings flow.

The most important question you can ask yourself at Thanksgiving, is "Am I thankful I'm saved?"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One retired Grandpa against the US Justice System

In this day and age, heroes are few and far between. William M. Windsor is one. A retired, Atlanta GA grandfather, he has had enough of judicial abuse. He is now challenging the Supreme Court of the United States on three points:

The Questions Presented to The Supreme Court by Grandfather Windsor are:

1. Will The Supreme Court declare that the Constitution and its amendments may be voided by federal judges?
2. Should federal judges be stopped from committing illegal and corrupt acts to obstruct justice and inflict bias on litigants?
3. Will The Supreme Court be afraid to disclose the corruption in the federal courts?

"These questions are presented in three separate Petitions for Writ of Mandamus filed with The United States Supreme Court the first week of November 2010 (appeal numbers to-be-assigned)."

"Windsor has been involved in legal action in the federal courts in Atlanta since 2006. Windsor was named a defendant in a lawsuit (1:06-CV-0714-ODE) in which Christopher Glynn of Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls, swore under oath that Windsor did a variety of things including the crimes of theft and bribery. Windsor stated under oath that Christopher Glynn made it all up and lied about absolutely everything that he swore. Windsor then obtained deposition testimony from Glynn and the other managers of the Maid of the Mist boat ride in Niagara Falls, and they admitted, under oath, that charges against Windsor were not true."

"Despite this undeniable proof, federal Judge Orinda D. Evans declared that the grandfather of three should not have fought the lawsuit, and she forced him to pay over $400,000 in legal fees. Windsor appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, but federal judges Dubina, Hull, and Fay rubber-stamped Judge Evans' ruling. Windsor then took his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court where the justices said the appeal was not worthy of their consideration (cert denied)."

"Windsor believes that the federal courts and nine federal judges violated the Constitution, the Due Process Clause, and the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution."

"Windsor says: "I have discovered that, at least in Atlanta, Georgia, the federal courts operate like a police state in which the judges are all-powerful, committing criminal acts from their benches and violating the Constitutional rights of parties who have the misfortune of appearing in their courts."

"Windsor has now tossed the hot potato right square in the laps of the justices of the Supreme Court. By filing mandamus petitions rather than an appeal, The Supreme Court is forced to deal with Windsor's allegations of corruption in the federal courts."

"Grandfather Windsor hopes for the best but fears for the worst: "I hope The Supreme Court is decent, honest, and cares about the Constitution and the citizens of the United States. However, I am sorry to say that at this point, I suspect the corruption goes all the way to the top. My charges have been totally ignored by the United States Attorney's Office, the FBI, and Congress. I have said to The Supreme Court that the issues can all be boiled down to one question: Is The United States Supreme Court prepared to stop the federal judges in Atlanta, Georgia from functioning like common criminals?"

"Windsor says: "If The Supreme Court fails to act against these federal judges, the citizens of the United States need to know that there is not a shred of decency, honesty, or Constitutional rights in our federal courts. Corruption has consumed the federal court system, and we now live in a police state. Judges are free to do absolutely anything they want. Our laws are meaningless. Your life savings can be stolen by a federal judge, and they have no risk in violating every law in the books."

"The Supreme Court may render its decision before the end of the year. It's one retired grandpa against the United States government."

For more information, see www.LawlessAmerica.com. SOURCE William M. Windsor. On November 23 from 5 to 6 pm EST, Windsor will be interviewed on Katherine Albrecht's nationally-syndicated radio program.  Hear it at www.katherinealbrecht.com.

Otters stalk walkers in FL, bite their ankles, attack a dog


In Rev 6:8 Jesus opens the Fourth Seal and the Horseman on a pale horse rides. "And I looked and behold a pale horse and his name that sat on him was Death and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth to kill with sword and with hunger and with death and with the beasts of the earth." (the Greek word for "pale" is Chloros, pale, a sickly green as in bleach. It is where we get our word 'Chlorophyll,' Chloros being green and phyllon being "leaf". This horseman is allowed to unleash death in the four severe plagues of the Lord, including death by wild beasts.

I know I've been posting a lot lately on this one, but it's fascinating. Remember Jaws, the shark movie that came out in 1975? Its success sparked a national debate on the psychological terrors of being hunted by animals, speaking to our darkest fears. We are so used to being at the top of the food chain, we cannot cope with suddenly being thrust to the bottom, and being hunted ourselves. Imagine the psychological trauma that would cause if occurring on a widespread basis, as it will be in the Plague of Animals. The success of the movie Jaws was not in depicting the attacks themselves, few as they were and hardly shown. It was the music, speaking to the psychological fear of what lurks.

I've reported recently of bats attacking 3500 Peruvian villagers, NYC Staten Island dwellers battling turkeys, foxes and raccoons that enter homes and attack children, 6000 feral camels terrorizing Australian outback villages, a bull that killed a British rambler, a Swedish woman walking her dog on a road was trampled by an elk, fishers in Boston streets, Mountain lions have been sighted at the Denver Bus terminal and a Los Angeles community is gating their community against coyotes that attack in broad daylight, the monkeys who refuse to leave a vineyard in So Africa and hurl objects at people and who enter homes with impunity....the list goes on.

Most scientists who look into this conclude that habitation pressure has caused the conflict. As humans encroach into what was previously animal territory, they attack either to defend their resources or to get our food. Undoubtedly much of this is a cause of the noticeable worldwide animal attacks, that, plus stupid behavior such as unsafe camping practices or baiting them unnecessarily is at the root of some of these attacks. However, in many of these stories, the unusual behavior of the animal is noted, and not because it is rabid. Animals don't usually enter homes, or attack sleeping people who pose no threat...

Here we have aggressive otters attacking people in Boca Raton FL. Authorities are searching for an aggressive otter that attacked two people and a dog near Boca Raton.  An alert was issued Monday by the Animal Care & Control and the Palm Beach County Health Department for the possibly rabid otter. A dog was attacked on Thursday, while two people were attacked Sunday morning. The community where the attacks occurred has several bodies of water where the otter - a species indigenous to Florida - could have come from. Animal control is trying to catch the animal with traps baited with tuna fish. Fliers are also being distributed in the neighborhoods.  In March, another otter attacked and wounded an elderly man in Venice along Florida's Gulf coast."

Another article states that the otter attacked two people separately as they walked on a sidewalk. In addition, a Golden Retriever as attacked by an otter as the dog lay inside a screened-in porch!

Kashmir is Northern India-

Greater Kashmir: Altaf concerned, directs urgent steps to prevent loss of lives
In Kashmir, 56 die, 638 hurt in wild attacks. Concerned over the frequent attacks on humans by wild animals, minister for forests and ecology Mian Altaf Ahmad on Monday said the government is initiating more steps to strengthen the Wild Life department with latest technology and equipment for the protection of human lives. Altaf told the meeting of the officers, which he convened, to discuss threadbare the man-animal conflict.

Whittlesea-Eden Park is southern Australia in Victoria State

Whittlesea Leader: Dog attacks sheep in Eden Park
N Eden Park couple have been left shaken by a dog attack that led to the death of their pet sheep and goat.  Garry Hicks and his wife Belinda Lagane, heard an “unfamiliar” bark about 6.45pm on Friday, November 12, and Mr Hicks went outside to check what was happening. The sheep was found with its throat torn out and caught in a paddock fence, while the goat was attacked twice and its ears bitten off. “My next door neighbour, who has lived here for more than 30 years, said he has never heard of any animal attacks like this in the whole time they have been here.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association noted earlier this year about animal attacks, particularly analyzing the Yellowstone increase in Grizzly attacks on humans and the Orca whale who killed its trainer. Fischer said "God makes it clear in Scripture that deaths of people and livestock at the hands of savage beasts is a sign that the land is under a curse. The tragic thing here is that we are bringing this curse upon ourselves.” Fischer said these things are occurring because it's part of the "ongoing failure of the West to take counsel on practical matters from the Scripture." [Fischer unfortunately does not include the scriptures he uses for his basis, but I think we can agree in premise where he is going with this...] Mother Jones magazine and Right Wing Watch blog promptly mocked Fischer for his views:
"As the director of issues analysis at the American Family Association, Bryan Fischer has issued some rather interesting "analysis" over the past year. He has said that Muslims should be banned from serving in the military; that a whale at Sea World should have been stoned to death for killing its trainer; that inbreeding makes Muslims stupid and violent; and that gay sex is a form of domestic terrorism. So naturally, he has been invited to speak to a huge gathering of conservative political activists this weekend, alongside such GOP luminaries as Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)."
It is that legitimacy that drives the liberals crazy. That fundamental Christians are not marginalized (or stoned ourselves) makes them nuts. Later in the article, they say so:
By sharing a stage with Fischer, public figures like Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Mike Pence, Bob McDonnell, and Michele Bachmann don’t necessarily endorse Fischer’s shameless anti-Muslim and anti-gay propaganda—but they do acknowledge its credibility.
I understand that for secular people, acknowledging some of the more seemingly outlandish plagues and prophesied events to come are hard to understand, let alone accept as credible. But the root of it is that God is always credible. He isn't bound by what man deems as the limits of science and reality. He created the world, and He created the animals within them. All of creation is under His control. He used ravens to bring food to Elijah (1 Kings 17:4). He sent quail to the Wandering Jews in the desert (Ex 16:13). He sent all of the animals two by two into the Ark. (Gen 6:20). He put the fear and dread of man into the animals, and He will release the fear and dread of man to kill us, then make them peaceable again. (Gen 9:2; Rev 6:8; Isaiah 11:6-9). He will cause severe plagues to kill a quarter of the world's population, prophesied to begin in the early part of the Tribulation.

He gives us a choice. We can prefer man's carnality and sinfulness, or we can repent of our sins and ask the only One from Whom it is possible to receive forgiveness to cleanse us. Jesus died for our sins, becoming sin Himself for a moment in order to pay the price God demands for lawlessness. He is holding out to you a get out of jail free card. TAKE IT! The time of deciding is closing in, and our Redemption draweth nigh.

Russia, China quit dollar

The China People's Daily published a major announcement yesterday late afternoon: China and Russia agreed to quit using the dollar for bilateral trade. Bilateral Trade Agreements are between on two nations at a time. They are fairly easy to negotiate, and give those two nations favored trading status between each other. I waited until today to find a source other than the State Newspaper of China, and the financial news markets are rife with articles about this important event in world trade and economy. I don't know all the implications of this, but it can't be good --

China, Russia quit dollar on bilateral trade
China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday in St. Petersburg Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies "About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies," Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg.

The Russian ruble already trading on the Chinese exchange, and China's yuan trade in Moscow is expected to begin in early December. Which is only a week away. The bilateral trade between the two countries is estimated to reach above $50 billion by the end of 2010, according to the Russian government. A major chunk of the trade is transacted in US dollars currently. So again...this cannot be good.

I wonder how this will affect the next biggest economies, the up-and-coming economic powerhouses, India and Brazil.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NKorea fires on SKorea in fierce artillery attack; jets scrambled

Closed-circuit television images broadcast on Korean television show the impacts of several artillery shells fired by North Korea Tuesday afternoon.
N. Korea fires artillery towards S. Korean island, official says 
North Korea on Tuesday fired several rounds of artillery towards South Korean waters and an island near the tense west sea border, the South's military said. The North's artillery shells fell at 2:34 p.m. in the South's waters off the island of Yeonpyeong, some of them landing directly on the island, said Col. Lee Bung-woo, spokesman at the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff. The South's military responded with its artillery firing.
Island #3 is the one NK fired upon
"North Korea fired scores of artillery shells at a South Korean island on Tuesday, killing two soldiers, in one of the heaviest attacks on its neighbor since the Korean War ended in 1953.  North Korea shells South in fiercest barrage in decades:  The barrage -- the South fired back and sent a fighter jet to the area -- was close to a disputed maritime border on the west of the divided peninsula and the scene of deadly clashes in the past. South Korea was conducting military drills in the area at the time but said it had not been firing at the North. The attack came as the reclusive North, and its ally China, presses regional powers to return to negotiations on its nuclear weapons program and revelations at the weekend Pyongyang is fast developing another source of material to make atomic bombs."

Still is from S Korean news footage
AF chief Schwartz: Latest North Korea "provocation" means that the US government should discuss reintroduction of nukes to Korean peninsula. However, "The United States says it is not moving additional military power into South Korea following artillery attack by North Korea." Obama said it is "too soon to tell." I really would like to know what the Pentagon recommended, though.

Other nations are spooked by the sudden attack. "Indonesia has expressed deep concern over the armed clash between North Korea and South Korea on Yeonpyeong island that has claimed lives. The term "WWIII" has come up more than once this morning from many quarters on various forums. It is indicative of the tensions we feel these days. As Bonnie Tyler said in her 80's song, "We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks."

The Goodness of the Lord

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?" (Ps 27:1)

There's nothing like the Psalms for comfort. I first met the Lord as Light, and I gravitate to all the metaphors of Him as Light. Though to be sure, He IS the Light, and not just metaphorically on this side of earth. He will soon literally provide the only illumination: "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." (Rev 21:23)

In Psalm 27, David's unwavering confidence in the LORD in times of trouble or fear is a good example to us today. I awoke this morning to news that heavy fighting in occurring at the border of North and South Korea, and this on the heels of unexpected and unwelcome news this week that NK has an advanced nuke facility. Jesus told us that the run-up to the Tribulation would be fraught with wars and rumors of wars, and nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom. (Mt 24:6-7). These signs are even prior to the Second Seal judgment being unleashed which will take peace from the earth. (Rev 6:3-4)

I awoke to unwelcome news that food inflation is practically runaway. I didn't make this headline up from Yahoo Finance or rewrite it: "Why You Should Be "Extremely Scared" by China's Food Price Inflation". In the US, food stamp usage has climbed 60% since 2007. And this is even prior to the unleashing of the Third Seal Judgment which depicts food inflation (and currency devaluing) (Rev 6:5-6). There is plenty of news to worry about, I post enough of it here and on my emailed prophecy newsletter. But I do not worry.

"For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock." (Ps 27:5). We will be hidden in His tabernacle, when the Day of Trouble arises, we will be with Him in heaven. David was possibly referring to the incident in 2 Ki. 11:3 when Athaliah killed all the members of the royal family but Joash was hidden for six years. Even if the mention is David's literal recollection of how the LORD protects His own, it also has a future meaning. We will be in His tabernacle when the Day of Trouble comes. The Tribulation as it is known to Gentiles is known as The Time of Jacob's Trouble to the Jews, in Jeremiah 30:7. "Alas! for that Day is Great, so that none is like it: it is even the Time of Jacob's Trouble, but he shall be Saved out of it."

I do not worry.

"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." (Ps 27:13-14).

I am confident. I'm confident of His promises that we are not reserved for wrath (1 Thess 5:9) but are cleansed and righteous in His eyes. (Heb 10:14). I see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, in His creation:

I see the goodness of the Lord in the quiet companionship of men:

I see the goodness of the Lord in one helping a child:

I see the goodness of the Lord in His warnings to us, because through them, sometimes repentance comes, and salvation:

He is my Light! And because I am in His Light, I can see where I am going. He responds to our cry, "Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path." Walk in His ways, and you will see the path made straight. You will be lifted up on the Day of Trouble. You will be above and away from your enemies, including that old enemy: sin. The news is dire and the world is ending, yet "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." He soon comes!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Flash mob sings Hallelujah chorus at Food Court

The Shadow Scholar speaks: term paper mills are flourishing

You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ” (Mark 10:19)

Jesus was speaking to the Rich Young Man who had fallen at Jesus feet and had asked "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" The answer in short is to have faith in Jesus' work on the cross, and repent of your sins, including cheating, lying, and defrauding. However, today's ethical climate is one rife with cheating, lying, and defrauding. Here is one example: cheating in the education business.
Above photo from an actual Academic Writing Service ad
The Chronicle Review of Higher education received a query from and then executed an extensive email interview with someone only named The Shadow Scholar. The Chronicle opened their article thus: "Ed Dante is a pseudonym for a writer who lives on the East Coast. Through a literary agent, he approached The Chronicle wanting to tell the story of how he makes a living writing papers for a custom-essay company and to describe the extent of student cheating he has observed. In the course of editing his article, The Chronicle reviewed correspondence Dante had with clients and some of the papers he had been paid to write."

The Shadow Scholar "Ed Dante" wrote: "I work at an online company that generates tens of thousands of dollars a month by creating original essays based on specific instructions provided by cheating students. I've worked there full time since 2004. On any day of the academic year, I am working on upward of 20 assignments. In the midst of this great recession, business is booming. At busy times, during midterms and finals, my company's staff of roughly 50 writers is not large enough to satisfy the demands of students who will pay for our work and claim it as their own. ... I will make roughly $66,000 this year. Not a king's ransom, but higher than what many actual educators are paid. ... Of course, I know you are aware that cheating occurs. But you have no idea how deeply this kind of cheating penetrates the academic system, much less how to stop it. Last summer The New York Times reported that 61 percent of undergraduates have admitted to some form of cheating on assignments and exams. ... [P]art of my job is to be whatever my clients want me to be. I say yes when I am asked if I have a Ph.D. in sociology. I say yes when I am asked if I have professional training in industrial/organizational psychology. I say yes when asked if I have ever designed a perpetual-motion-powered time machine and documented my efforts in a peer-reviewed journal."

This industry of hiring others to complete your work and passing it off as your own, is not limited to higher education. A recent roman a clef titled "Schooled" was written by a NYC upper crust teacher/tutor named Anisha Lakhani. Until 2006 Anisha Lakhani taught English at the Dalton School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where she also chaired the Middle School English Department. Ms. Lakhani received both her B.A. and her M.A. degrees from Columbia University. In other words she walked the walk and she knew the ropes. In 2006 she quit to write her book, fictionalized, but thinly. The Amazon.com summary states:

Schooled "takes yet another peek into the gilded lives of Manhattan's ├╝ber-rich. Schooled is about recent Ivy League graduate Anna Taggert, who lands her dream job teaching at Langdon Hall School, an oh-so-exclusive Upper East Side private school (Ms. Lakhani taught English at Dalton). Anna is disturbed to find out that the majority of her students get by through the use of expensive private tutors—who basically do the work for them—until she's lured into taking advantage of the lucrative benefits herself."

In the higher education cheating mill article, The Shadow Scholar said not only that he made his money by defrauding colleges and universities, but that eventually he realized that he had to become a liar himself in order to lure and retain clients, by presenting himself with credentials that he had not earned. He rationalized this by saying at least his work environment was not a cubicle, and that he made decent money.

In the Schooled novel, the author was tempted beyond her ability and unable to withstand the money lure, and eventually succumbed to writing papers for clients herself. She knew it was wrong, but she did it anyway, rationalizing all the way. The interesting thing about this book is the incremental way the author showed her sliding further and further into the evil pit of the sin of defrauding.

As for the educational system, in The Shadow Scholar article, he includes snippets of correspondence with his clients. "did u get the sorce I send please where you are now? Desprit to pass spring projict."" "where u are can you get my messages? Please I pay a lot and dont have ao to faile I strated to get very worry."

Note, that this correspondence is from a college business student in which English is her first language.

Paul wrote that in the last days "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Timothy 3:1-7)
Always learning, yet never able to come to knowledge of the truth. In one regard, these students are always in the cycle of learning yet never end up knowing anything - because they refuse to be ethical and mentally apply themselves. In other regard, they are always seeking the truth but in failing to acknowledge Jesus, will not find it.

The students who cheat and the tutors/ writers who defraud are part of a vicious cycle of end time sinful behavior. Their lives are not profitable for the Kingdom. They pile up treasure but are losing their lives.

And on a personal note, if you have recently been wondering why America is becoming a nation of childish know-nothings, whiners, and lazy butts, now you know.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Devil attack at Trinidad & Tobago, follow up

On November 16 I reported (HERE) that an incident had occurred in an elementary school the previous week, in Trinidad & Tobago. Seventeen girls from the upper grades seemed to become suddenly demon-possessed. They exhibited behaviors such as the Gadarene demoniac had, and were en masse rushed to the hospital. Please read at the link for the initial story and background. But the first reporting is never the whole story. Stories unfold, as new details emerge. And new details have emerged as this incident becomes more fully known.

Here is one follow up to the original story-

Pupils collapse; parents want exorcist
"More than two dozen secondary school pupils were being treated at hospital last night, after they collapsed in their classrooms. And their parents are convinced that the teenagers, all girls, are possessed by demons and are pleading for an exorcist to intervene. The pupils were taken to the San Fernando General Hospital and Princes Town District Hospital but medical experts were unable to say what caused their children to scream and then collapse. "The children came in here, screaming. They shouting that a fireman running them down and they running around the wards. We are trying do simple tests, like blood pressure readings, and the machines are going crazy. I don't know what is happening," a nurse said."

Hmmm. The school was in a panic. When transported to the hospital, the hospital went crazy. The machines used to test the girls were going crazy. Empirical data. However, psychiatrists are not convinced:

Mass hysteria, not demon attack, say mental health experts
"Mental health experts have dismissed claims of supernatural activity at the Moruga Secondary School where pupils reported being "attacked" by an unseen force yesterday and on Wednesday. Psychiatrist Dr Hari Maharajh said the "demon attack" appeared to be a case of mass hysteria. A similar opinion was given by consultant psychiatrist at the St Ann's Mental Hospital Dr Iqbal Ghany."

That prompted a reader to send a letter stating his opinion:

Hysteria or demons, Trinidad and Tobago wants to know
"Many faiths (Christianity, Islam and others) teach as doctrine the existence of unseen beings, albeit by differing names (ie jinn in Islam, spirits in Christianity). What is disappointing but not surprising, however, is that some intellectuals (self-proclaimed or degree-qualified, it doesn’t really matter) in our society seek to explain these strange occurrences from a psychological/scientific perspective. Their idea is what cannot be proven through the basic human senses cannot exist. There’s no denial this may be the case sometimes, but when there’s overwhelming opposing factors, one has to think twice. Qualified psychiatrists are dismissing the event as merely episodes of hysteria and copycat behaviour (psychological illnesses, not demons). We ask however, how will they explain to the many eyewitnesses (students, teachers, even MTS security guards) who saw unimaginable feats of strength (confirmed report), gravity defying leaps, speech in tongues and suicidal whispers (reported by a victim)?"

Which in turn prompted another reader to send in his opinion:

Demon possession? get real, people
"The report of female students at a high school in south Trinidad simultaneously stricken by a mysterious illness, which had them fainting and flailing on the ground screaming, is rightfully a cause of great concern and fright for many. Given that T&T is a land ruled by the organised superstition we call religion, there is now the typical talk of demon possession, pagan devilry and spiritual forces at work in the school. Similar events like this have been recorded throughout history but it is only now they can be observed and scrutinised with the light of science and reason..."

People who believe and people who do not believe will go on back and forth ad nauseum. However, in researching the follow-up, one sentence in one of the articles alerted me to the true status of this incident. It convinced me it is a true case of demonic possession. Aside from the men in authority at the school observing that the girls were not faking and called EMTs, aside from the hospital workers trained to observe symptoms and deciding how to act accordingly, aside from the fact that the machines were "going crazy", there is something embedded in the statement one parent made that prompted me to search further:

It turns out that Hindu Pandit Bramdeo Maharaj, former president of the Inter-Religious Organisation, had conducted a Hindu celebration at the class. One parent believes the demons were released during the Divali pooja (Hindu prayer) at the school. "I think the man (pundit) did something wrong and released bad spirits. I think the spirits are looking for souls, but I know what to do and they not getting my child," he said." His daughter, age 16, was being treated at the San Fernando General Hospital. "She is conscious and looks good. I heard that she had to be strapped down because she was uncontrollable. [italics mine].

Divali, or Diwali, is short for Deepawali, a pagan Hindi festival celebrating false deities. A pandit is a scholar, a teacher, particularly one skilled in Sanskrit and Hindu law, religion, music or philosophy. The English loan word pundit is derived from it. The background to the festival is that Narakasura, a demon, ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. Under his rule, the villagers suffered much hardship as the demon tortured the people and kidnapped the women to be imprisoned in his palace. Seeing his wickedness, Lord Khrishna set out to destroy the demon and the day Narakasura died was celebrated as Deepavali, the triumph of good over evil. Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama, along with Sita and Lakshman, from his fourteen-year-long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers.

The class was doing a pooja (puja) which is the act of showing reverence to a god, a spirit, or another aspect of the divine through invocations, prayers, songs, and rituals. An essential part of puja for the Hindu devotee is making a spiritual connection with the divine. Most often that contact is facilitated through an object. Shortly afterward the prayer, the girl called her father and mentioned that the classmates were "acting strangely." When the father called his daughter back a little later, he was told she had been or was being transported to the hospital.

So! All becomes clear! We know that there is NO "connection with the divine" aside from walking in faith with the One True God. If people were making connections with the divine, invoking gods, or otherwise worshiping something other than Lord Christ, they were in fact consorting with demons.

If you ask a demon to come, he will. They seek lives. In the story from Mark, many of them possessed the man from Gesara. He lived in torment for years as the demons wrought havoc and violence with impunity. It got so bad that no one would even pass that way any more. When Jesus arrived, the demons begged Him not to send them from the area, but instead, at least, allow them to inhabit a body, any body, such as begging to be sent into the herd of pigs nearby. They want lives, as the parent said, and this is true. Satan comes to steal and destroy.

MARK 1:39 – “And He went through all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and expelling the demons."

If you are a Christian reading this who disbelieves that demonic possession can occur today, ask yourself why you disbelieve. Prior to the bible's recording of Jesus expelling demons, no record exists of such expelling. That is because ONLY JESUS has that power. Then Jesus came and He demonstrated His power over them by casting them from bodies and locations. In Matthew 10:7-8 He gave the Apostles the power to cast out demons, again as a sign of who He is and that His power has now come to earth. (For the record, I believe only the Apostles had the power to expel demons, a sign that expired upon their death. My interpretation.) We are repeatedly told in the bible that the kingdom of satan is on the earth and its near environs (Eph 2:2; Job 1:7; Mt 4:8-9). Demons exist and they want you. Inviting them in through false gods is one easy way to enter. "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26). The are aware, have intent, and will return, if your house is not filled with the Holy Spirit!

Those girls need prayer. They would not have been entered if they had been filled with the Spirit. Pray that they are convicted of their deeds (worshiping false gods for one) and that they will allow the Spirit of the One True God to fill their house, so that no spirit may ever enter again!

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 ...