Monday, February 28, 2011

Hating sin, loving Jesus

I totally get Paul's lament in Romans 7:15: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Every day I ask the Lord for opportunities to obey. For the most part I do, but sometimes I don't. I hate that. I love Jesus and I want to make a Kingdom difference, but when He presents something I still balk sometimes. As Paul said, " don't understand what I do..."

So Saturday the Spirit said clearly that our church and its people are under attack. I've noticed this more lately. The more a Christian steps out, the more the adversary will attack. We are told in these times to expect such attacks. (Ephesians 6:10-18). I was to do my part by prayer walking the church property perimeter before services this Sunday and every Sunday. I thought, hmmm, OK. But when Sunday dawned I started talking myself out of it. I gave all the fleshly excuses, shoes, chest pains, weather, etc, and even convinced myself that wasn't really what I heard Him say anyway.

Then at church Sunday service He made it evident that there was a lot going on. During the opening hymn singing, a lady spontaneously went forward to the altar to pray. Then more people. When the hymn finished, the Pastor's wife got up and said that she can't go two feet in the hallway before someone comes to her beseeching for prayers. There are a lot of serious illnesses, heartaches, and tremendous difficulties facing our families, she said. Everyone is hurting. She said we were obviously under attack.

After the lady had come forward, the Pastor's wife spoke, she asked the church to pray. About a hundred people came forward and swamped the altar and prayed. I felt terrible I failed to do my part in what the Holy Spirit prompted me to do. I took that opportunity to scoot out the front and do the prayer walk the Spirit has asked me to do.

I don't have any illusions that I could have prevented any attacks, or that my failure to obey meant things would come crashing down, lol, no delusions of grandeur here. I mean simply that He had asked me to do something, something EASY and ORDINARY: pray and walk, and even at that I still disobeyed! Why do I do that? Why?? I realized that by not obeying I wasn't hurting myself but as Pastor said, we are all one body. When one part doesn't work then something else will be impacted or not impacted. That is why I was so upset with myself. My resistance to being used meant that perhaps someone else was not helped.

I am so, so, so sick of sin, in other people of course- isn't it easier to hate sin in others? lol, but I truly hate it worse in myself. I hate my sin!!! I'm convinced that the bible's promises of entering His rest (Hebrews 4:1) do not mean rest from labors. We will be doing a lot of work on New Earth and New Jerusalem. I am convinced the verse means rest from our struggles with sin. In our glorified bodies in a sinless world, we will no longer have to guard every thought, control the tongue, fail, confess, obey, and repeat the fleshly cycle. It's tiring. I can't wait for rest. I really can't.

The best part thought is that He is so present in the world, and so active and alive in us. He is so gracious to accept my repentance, and to bless me afterwards with a peace that He knows my heart (and loves me anyway.) I love Him so much. We have the truest God and the Best God possible. I don't know why everyone doesn't follow Him.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Comet Elenin is coming

Comet Elenin Update HERE
There is a dust-up about Comet Elenin between the Government science sites and the conspiracy fringe sites that I think is pretty interesting. As always, the truth lays somewhere in between.

On NASA's Ask an Astrobiologist site, there is a pretty cranky disclaimer at the very top:
"Special Note: Ask an Astrobiologist has received more than 5000 questions about Nibiru and Doomsday 2012, with more than 400 answers posted. Please read a summary of the answers that have already been posted, view a video on these topics, use the search feature and read the FAQ’s before submitting questions on these topics."

LOL. Five thousand questions is a lot of questions on the same topic. Obviously it is of concern to the populace. As the end approaches, the lost and the unaware have increasingly turned their interests to events that are depicted in the bible. Though these people deny the bible as the source of truth, they perpetuate the events in their mind, cultures, and discussions through conspiracies and pseudoscience. They refer to Mother Shipton or Nostradamus as originators of these prophesies and quote them as gospel. Planet X or Nibiru is one of these events. How much of what they say about Planet X is true and how much of it is bunk?

The Nibiru collision is a conspiracy-predicted disastrous encounter between the Earth and a large planetary object planet or asteroid, in either a collision or a near-miss in which certain people believe will take place soon. Believers in this doomsday event usually refer to this object as Planet X or Nibiru. According to Wikipedia, "the idea that a planet-sized object could possibly collide with or pass by Earth in the near future is not supported by any scientific evidence and has been rejected as pseudoscience by astronomers and planetary scientists." However, a large comet was just discovered in late December by Leonid Elenin, an amateur Russian sky watcher, and Comet Elenin as it is now called will zoom between the sun and the earth by fall 2011. Why Wikipedia states so matter of factly that a planet sized object will never pass close to earth is a mystery, because obviously, the appearance of this comet- which was unknown to science before a few months ago- exists and is now classified as a PHO (potentially hazardous object.) The surprise appearance of the comet and its imminent near-passage to our planet has gotten the conspiracy theorists all riled up!

In Babylonian astronomy, Nibiru is a term of the highest point of the ecliptic, i.e. the point of summer solstice, and its associated constellation. Did you notice that the planets, constellations, moons, and most of technology are all named after the demonic/pagan realms? Wouldn't it be nice to have a planet's moon named, say, after Moses? Alas, I digress.

Back on Ask an Astrobiologist, a person recently questioned about Comet Elenin:

"Question:  I've recently heard about the discovery of comet Elenin, which is scheduled to come close to earth around October-November 2011 – Is it possible it will be an extinction level event? AND Comet Elenin: How close to earth will it get? And can we expect it to cause any damage? AND I have read that Russian scientists are now predicting that asteroid Apophis will impact the Earth April 13 2036 causing terrible damage. I understand that the Russians are planning a mission to stop the asteroid."

Some people even say that the amateur skywatcher Leonid Elenin's name is really code for ELE-nin, or extinction level event. See what I mean about the conspiracies?

"ANSWER: Both Comet Elenin and Asteroid Apophis are real, but these concerns about collisions are without foundation. Unfortunately there are a few popular websites that are known for suggesting multiple catastrophes, including popularizing the 2012 hoax. Two that show up in any search for “Comet Elenin” are godlikeproductions and abovetopsecret, both of which predict either a very close pass by Earth or a collision. If instead you consult dependable websites like wikipedia and skyandtelescope you will find that Comet Elenin will come nowhere near the Earth. At its closest (on 10 September 2011) it will be more than 25 million km from our planet."

Astro-scientists measure celestial distances in our orbit by AU's, or astronomical units. Initially, Comet Elenin was predicted to pass earth 25 AU's away from earth. That distance was narrowed to .15 AUs, the 25 million km the Astrobiologist mentioned. How far is .15 AUs in real people distances? 13 million miles. The sun is 92 million miles away. Seems that the guys at abovetopsecret and godlikeproductions were right when they said "very close pass by earth"! Elenin's debris trail could be rather large so for the people on earth on September when Elenin arrives, it could well be a very bad day. On the other hand, the miss distance could be comfortable and simply put on a good show for backyard astronomers.

My point here is two fold. The Astrobiologist said that people should not depend on conspiracy sites like abovetopsecret for their information, but dependable sites like Wikipedia. Wikipedia? Really?? I about choked on my corn flakes when I read that. Wikipedia is just as liberally biased as any site, so biased, that Conservapedia, an English-language wiki project written from an American conservative Christian point of view was created to present more accurate information than Wikipedia.

But relying on government sites for information is just as fraught with error, bias, and lies. The United States Geological Survey has repeatedly stated that earthquakes are not on the increase, despite their own data telling the opposite story. And do we really think NASA would alert the populace if a planet-sized asteroid was going to crash into earth in September? Of course not. Are the Government's unemployment statistics accurate and presented clearly? No. The data is manipulated. John Williams started Shadowstats to present the same data that the government does and calculates it the way the government used to, before things got so bad the government started hiding data. And when was the last time anything really helpful came out of the White House site? The [new] Press Secretary simply refuses to answer any questions these days.

Out of desperation, many people do turn to conspiracy sites, because the information is naked and unfiltered by corporate mainstream media.

The popular blog Death By A Thousand Paper Cuts published a list of the top 80 alternative news-gathering sites on the net. Abovetopsecret and godlikeproductions- the two sites that the Astrobiologist chided us for reading, were in the top five.

 What does that tell you. The very fact he mentioned the conspiracy sites lets us know that citizen-led journalism is often-times truer than government or corporation-led news media, and likely really getting on the government's nerves. Of course, you have to wade through profanity, stupidity, and real conspiracies like reptilians living inside us to get to any nuggets, but many times citizens feel they have to wade through just as much when reading White House-released unemployment statistics or economic news.

My second point is that there is increasingly a difficulty in learning the truth, apart from the bible. There is no need to read conspiracy sites about the Illuminati that want to take over the would to reform it into a New World Order. That is a real event that is described in Chapter 13 of Revelation. There is no need to sift through conspiracies about Nibiru/Planet X because that is described in Revelation 8. There is no need to turn to murky quatrains in Nostradamus to learn about extinction level events that the government is secretly preparing for. The Great Flood was an Extinction Level Event. The Tribulation will be another Extinction Level Event. Three out of four Jews will die in the Tribulation. 2/3 to 3/4 of all earth's population will die in the Tribulation. All the oceans will die. All the rivers will die. All the islands will die. All the mountains will crumble. That is really an extinction level event! You do not need to read conspiracy sites or read between the lines in Corporate or Government media. It's all there in the bible. And that's one book where you can count on the information being true and reliable 1000%, forever!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The most incredible solar flare I ever saw

It was just shown on SOHO/NASA. It just occurred so the only thing I know for sure is that is not earth-directed. Its size is unknown, but it looks to my layman's eyes like it could be an X-class (largest). I'll eagerly await's report tomorrow. For all the people who think they will be able to stand and defy God, all's I'll say is really? REALLY? Just look at it. O, the Lord is mighty!

Horrified mom finds crocodile in living room after flood

Hey, mom! Can I keep him?

"SAO PAULO - After floodwaters receded from her home, a Brazilian woman was shocked to find a most unwelcome house guest: a 5-foot (1.5-meter) alligator lying tamely in the living room as her 3-year-old son petted the reptile's head. The animal apparently was washed inside by the high water Monday night, said Luiz Claudio Farias, a captain of firefighters in the north-central city of Parauapebas. When the woman went to clean up the following day, she saw the boy playing with something behind the couch, Farias said. It turned out to be a gator. "She snatched the boy away and called us," he said. Farias said it was lucky the reptile apparently wasn't in the mood for a meal: "If he was hungry, he could have seriously hurt or even killed the boy." Firefighters trapped the alligator and took it to a nearby environmental preserve, where they set it free. "Cities in this region were built very near rivers and the rain forests, which is why it is not uncommon to see animals like alligators and snakes entering people's houses," Farias said. He declined to identify the woman or her son."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Large crack in the earth at Peru

Large crack opens in the earth in Southern Peru
"The sudden appearance early in the morning of an enormous crack, measuring 100 meters wide and three kilometers long, caused confusion among residents of the Huacullani district in the Chucuito province, department of Puno. The exact cause of the crack in the earth still unknown. Peru’s geophysical institute ruled out the occurrence of an earthquake in the region, but what is clear is that the ground opened up and large blocks of earth can be observed scattered throughout the area. The event, recorded Wednesday morning, caused the collapse of one house located in the rural community of Llorohoco. Four people managed to escape, but the youngest in the family, five-year-old Jean Carlos Vilcanqui Acero, is missing. Geological engineers from the regional committee for civil defense have arrived in the area to investigate the phenomenon and determine its causes, said Javier Pampamallco, Puno’s civil defense chief."

I've been reporting on sinkholes and earth cracks (and here and here) and the earth unzipping for some time now. The sinkholes in Florida are becoming so prevalent they are voting on whether to eliminate sinkhole coverage completely. There is a biblical model for earth cracks in the past and in the Tribulation to come.

Korah's rebellion comes to mind. "As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, "The earth is going to swallow us too!"" (Numbers 16:32).

And in case a person would say "Oh, that was the OLD Testament, and it doesn't count anymore..." Jude 1:5-13 reminds us that the specific example of Korah is an example of what WILL happen to the ungodly. Revelation 12:16 may show us a picture of a similar event: "But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth". Gill's Exposition says "and the earth opened her mouth; as it did when it swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Numbers 16:30; to which history this may have some respect."

Isaiah 24:19 says that "The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken." In the end, the earth cracks up. Isaiah 24 shows the same judgments in Revelation 6. The earth opens its mouth...and swallows what is above. The sinkhole and earth cracking incidents that are happening in the world lately are good examples of reminding us that the LORD is in control of the earth.

By the end of the Tribulation, the earth is devastated. Almost three-quarters of the entire population are dead. The geo-physical form of the surface of the earth is unrecognizable. The Tribulation's onset is close. That we are also seeing onset symptoms described in both Isaiah and Revelation manifesting themselves is not surprising.

Israel has put up with a lot lately. How much more will she take?

I wonder how much they will take?

From Hezbollah:
"Two Grad rockets were fired at Be'er Sheva on Wednesday evening. One of the rockets hit a house in a residential neighborhood. There were no injuries. This was the first time since Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 that Be'er Sheva was targeted by militants firing rockets from the Gaza Strip. ... In recent days there had been an unusual escalation in the Gaza Strip. It began with an explosive device being detonated in the northern Strip and mortars fired at the Sha'ar HaNegev communities. The attack was directed at an IDF patrol that was carrying out a routine search in the area for Palestinian improvised explosive devices." It is a serious and deliberate provocation.

From Iran:
"Two Iranian warships sailed from the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean on Tuesday, the first such trip in at least three decades, eliciting Israeli charges that Tehran is seeking to dominate the Middle East. ... In sending warships to the Mediterranean now, Iran was asserting itself as a regional power and testing whether Egypt's new rulers will stick to the pro–Western line of the Mubarak government. Some said the voyage also signals that Iran is ready to come to the aid of regional allies, including Syria and Iranian proxies Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon." Israel has said that Iran's action is a serious provocation.

From Lebanon:
"Prime Minister-designate "Najib Miqati is expected to hold a "very important meeting" with a high-ranking March 14 official on Friday, An Nahar newspaper reported. The cabinet's structure and "identity" would be decided after Friday's meeting in the aftermath of days of consultations with several March 14 members, the daily said." Rumor is, the March 14 coalition will refuse to take part in a Miqati-led cabinet, therefore paving the way for a Hezbollah-controlled government. This has not happened yet, but if it does, Israel will be beside herself with anger.

From Syria:
"Israeli intelligence agencies are aware of additional Syrian nuclear facilities, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday, amid reports that Syria was harboring a uranium conversion reactor near the town of Marj as-Sultan, about 15 km. east of Damascus." Israel destroyed a Syrian reactor in 2007, just weeks before it went online. They will not put up with another one, especially not now.

Isaiah prophesied in chapter 17 verse 1 that Damascus will be destroyed, "It will be ruinous heap, never to be rebuilt nor inhabited. "An oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins." Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, at 6000 years old. It has been attacked, partially abandoned, and ruined at times, but never uninhabited. Therefore this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled.

Psalm 83 is an intercessory prayer over a battle that has not occurred. We know this from history, because the exact lineup of participants has never formed to attack Israel in the way described in the prayer. Therefore this particular battle is yet to come. At some point in the near future, I believe, Israel's near neighbors will attack her. Additionally, the Psalm write was Asaph, who was a seer (2 Chronicles 29:30), and seers had prophetic abilities. More on Psalm 83 can be found here, by Bill Salus: "Does Psalm 83 set the stage for Ezekiel 38?"
[Ed note: the only difference I have with this list is that I believe beth-Togarmah  is Armenia, which if you look at a map, is essentially eastern Turkey.]

The Battle of Gog and Magog as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is also a battle that has not occurred. It shows a coalition of Israel's enemies attacking the nation in a deadly surprise attack, nearly decimating Israel in a deadly surprise attack. It is only God's direct intervention that saves Israel and as a result, Israel knows her God has saved her and she acknowledges His Holy name. (Ez 38:23; 39:7)

Scholars think it goes down like this: Isaiah 17:1 and Psalm 83 occur before Gog Magog battle takes place, and Israel is completely victorious in both those battles. She is so resoundingly the victor, that Israel relaxes her guard. Israel is therefore militarily surprised by the Gog/Magog coalition- almost to her eternal destruction. The abutting nations that attack Israel in Psalm 83 do not participate in the Gog/Magog battle, and they would if they could. Israel's victory seems to have wiped out the will or the ability of the Psalm 83 confederation from militarily posing a threat to Israel, and therefore she thinks the fighting is over. Not so. The nations that attack in the Gog/Magog battle are further neighbors, such as Iran, Russia, Turkey and Armenia, and northern African nations. It is thought that Israel's victory allows her to mentally relax her guard, as prophesied by Ezekiel 38:11b "a quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates". Israel is certainly NOT dwelling securely now.

The set up for the Gog-Magog battle is almost concluded, with all the prophesied participants (Listed above) renewing or forming hard alliances with each other, and militarily moving into position, as Iran showed the world this week by traveling through the Suez Canal and is now patrolling waters of Israel. Israel won't let another nuke reactor stand. They already destroyed one in Iraq in the late 1980s, and the one in Syria in 2007. They won't stand for Iran's warships carrying Hezbollah war-materiel to the terrorist group, who is plotting this minute to become the majority government in Lebanon. They won't stand for it. The question isn't what they will do, because Isaiah and Psalm 83 tell us. The only question is when.

Political humor in Lebanon

From Now Lebanon blog
All black humor aside, Lebanon is experiencing a terrible fuel crisis:

Lebanon Daily Star: "Rony Rizk pulls up at an empty gas station Thursday and begs station workers to give him just LL5,000 of gasoline. His gas tank was nearly empty when he learned that fuel importers had decided to stop supplying gas stations earlier in the day. The gas station attendant ruefully shakes his head. The station had run out of gasoline at 6 p.m., after cars lined up along much of the length of the Charles Helou highway in order to reach the station. A heated dispute between caretaker Finance Minister Rayya Hassan and caretaker Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil triggered the severe fuel shortages Wednesday. Fuel importers have said Bassil’s failure to update gas prices has cost them over $50,000 a day, and they have subsequently decided to halt supplies as a way of pressuring Bassil to release new prices. But some of the disgruntled drivers who lined up at gas stations Wednesday say they have no idea why the country is suddenly out of gas. “I don’t know what’s happened to cause this. All I know is that we’re running out of fuel, and that’s why I’m here,” says Tony Matar, an assistant manager at Hawa Chicken, who had been waiting in a queue at the Medco gas station near Gemmayzeh for nearly half an hour."

Compounding the problem, "Jordan cuts off electricity supply to Lebanon": "Jordanian authorities have suspended power supply to Lebanon due to the disruption of regional gas pipelines, according to a statement issued Tuesday by Lebanon’s state-run power company, Electricity du Liban."

Remember, Lebanon's government fell in January, caused by Hezbollah cabinet ministers resigning en masse. Their action started the spate of unrest spreading throughout the region. Ever since the Lebanese cabinet fell, the Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati has been working to knit together another coalition government. Political maneuvering is in high gear, as one of the most powerful blocs, the March 14 bloc, is rumored to imminently announce its decision not to participate in a Mikati cabinet. This paves the way for a one-sided, Hizbollah-dominated cabinet.

As the world eyes Libya, Egypt, and Israel remember to keep one eye on Lebanon. The kind of Cabinet they produce may be the last straw for Israel...and the region.

Being a slave of Christ

I heard an interesting sermon from John MacArthur this week. It got me thinking. It was about being slaves of Christ. You can read, listen to, or download this sermon here. He said that a believer's true position in Christ has been diluted by the translators' choice of the word servant and bond-servant for the Greek word doulos. They have consistently translated the word doulos which means slave, as servant. Doesn't that change the flavor of service to the Lord? Being a servant indicates that we can and do serve Him at our own will and pleasure, and slave means we submit our will to an alien will and then the matter is out of our hands.

The bible is clear in its description that believers are slaves, not servants.  In every case where the word doulos is used it means slave, and the New Testament uses it 130 times. We are not servants of Christ, we're his slaves. Even emphasizing the point in using the word minister, in 1 Corinthians 4:1 Paul said they were ministers of Christ but the Greek word is under-rower. The Roman trireme had three levels and the slaves chained to the oars at the lowest level were under-rowers.

Now, that notion is unpalatable in this "you can do anything" liberated free culture. It is anathema to the promotion of Christianity as a free-ing religion. It is certainly revolting to this generation of ego-driven self-gratification seekers in the secular world. But it is what it is.

The forehead
I am reading the bible through and I notice that a well-known phenomenon that will happen at the end of days also happened from the beginning. In the end, Revelation tells us the antichrist will place a mark on the hand or forehead of all who worship him. (Rev 13:15-17). The mark allows people to buy and sell, but its reason for being is not the economy, it is a mark of allegiance and worship of the beast. That the mark allows a person to also participate in the economy is a by-product of its placement on the person.

Jesus also sends an angel to place a mark on the forehead of His 144,000 who evangelize the world. (Rev 7:3-4).

Who brands his slaves? The master. Who puts a mark of ownership on his slaves? The master. Jesus is the ultimate Master and we are His ultimate slaves. That He puts a mark on us should not be surprising. We happily read language in the bible that says 'we are His'. But when you look at the Greek word for 'His' it really means slave, and that's when people balk. Did you know that ancient Romans marked runaway slaves on the forehead with the letters FUG (for fugitivus)? The notion of marking ownership of those who belong to Him was shown in the bible to have happened from the beginning. And here comes the use of the word forehead again.

In Exodus 28:36-38 we see the LORD instructing Aaron to order a gold plate made, "You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD."

Deuteronomy 6:7-9 "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." The symbols mentioned here are phylacteries, a set of small cubic leather boxes painted black, containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, with leather straps dyed black on one side, and worn by observant Jews during weekday morning prayers. They were in use by the third century BC.

In the bible, forehead is used a lot to show identification with God (or with the antichrist.) We think of forehead as the exterior part of the face above the eyes and under the hairline. But in the bible forehead was used also to indicate what was inside the head. Wayne Blank explains it well. The Bible doesn't just use the term "forehead" to describe what is physically foremost inside the head, as not just a bodily location, but also what is consciously a heart condition, much more like the term "heart and mind" is used today.

In Ezekiel 9:4: "The LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst." A mark - literally, "Tau," the name of the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The old form of the letter was that of a cross.
Summary of our true position
A slave was exclusively owned by one master. He was expected to demonstrate complete and constant obedience and availability to that master. He was subject to one alien will (because no man can be a slave to two masters) and was completely dependent on his master for everything. All discipline and reward came from that master. Are you uncomfortable with this lifestyle? Well, did you ever pray,  "not my will but thine be done"? (Luke 11:1-2; Mt 26:42). Do you love the book of John, reading it well and recommending it heartily? It says in John 5:30 "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." There are many other examples of Jesus reiterating that His will not be done but the Father who sent Him, and as an example to His children to do the same. Yes, we are His children, we are His beloved, we are His bride, all nice, but we are also His slaves.

We use that term so casually today. Teenagers sneer, "What am I, your slave?" We say we slave away at the sale mines. We are slaves to things, like "I'm a slave cream. We slaved over a hot stove all day. But when we read of our true position in Christ, slave, we balk. "No, not me", you think.

But we will be slaves to Him throughout all of eternity: Revelation 22:1-4: "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads."

May His will be done.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Lord is coming soon, says...everyone

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Israel's rabbis, and Christian ministers are all saying that the prophesied battle of Gog and Magog will occur soon that the Lord's arrival on earth is imminent. I find it very interesting that the leaders of the three major religions in the world all feel a similar spiritual burden- that end time prophesies are about to be fulfilled. Let's see who is saying what, but first, delve into some biblical background for context.

The End Time, End Times, or End of Days is a time period described in the eschatological writings of the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). In Christianity, the End Times are depicted as a time of tribulation that precedes the Second Coming of the Christian saviour who is Jesus who will then usher in the fullness of the Kingdom of God and bring an end to suffering and evil after smiting the rebellious ones (non-believers). In Islam, Yawm al-Qiyāmah "the Day of Resurrection" or Yawm ad-Din "the Day of Judgment" is Allah's final assessment of humanity. It is preceded by the end of the world. In Judaism the term "End of Days" is taken from the Tanakh, Numbers 24:4, as a reference to the Messianic era and the Jewish belief in the coming of Mashiach and the World to Come. (Summarized by Wikipedia).

In the Gog Magog prophecy of a battle to come described in Ezekiel 38-39, Ezekiel said that Persia, Libya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Turkey Russia and Armenia will surprise attack Israel. It reads: "Persia, Cush (the upper Nile region) and Put (Libya) will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer (Turkey) with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah (Armenia) from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you." (Ez 38:5). They are almost successful in their attack. However, at the very last second when all seems lost, God rescues Israel, visibly and demonstrably. All will know who and how Israel was rescued and it is this demonstration of divine intervention which pulls Israel back into covenant relationship with God. "I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’ " (Ez 38:22-23)

By the end of the battle Israel will be back in old covenant, ‘I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of." (Ez 39:7-8). Because of Israel's recognition of God as the God of their Old Covenant (Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob), it means that by the end of the battle the church is gone, because we represent the new covenant. The last 7 years remaining for the old covenant to be fulfilled will resume. (Daniel 9:25, and see below).

The prophesied seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety years to accomplish what the LORD wanted to do with Israel are divided into three distinct periods, to each of which particular events are assigned. The three periods are: -
I. Seven weeks, that is, forty-nine years.
II.-Sixty-two weeks, that is, four hundred and thirty-four years.
III. One week, that is, seven years. It is this last 7 years of concern to us now.

The Shias also believe that the world will end after a 7-year turmoil, that there will be deceiver, that Jesus will return to help the Mahdi as his deputy to force all to convert to Islam. The Shia Muslim end time scenario is exactly the same as Christianity's, except the exact opposite. Think of their doctrines as being a photographic negative to the picture of Christianity. So, here is what Iran's leader said today (Iran = Persia) and note how closely it relates to this upcoming Gog-Magog battle:

US, Israel will soon exit Middle East: Ahmadinejad
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that a new Middle East is being created which would be free of the United States and Israel, as he backed the Arab uprisings but warned Egyptians to be watchful of America's "friendly face." "We will soon see a new Middle East materialising without America and the Zionist regime and there will be no room for world arrogance (the West) in it," Ahmadinejad told the cheering crowds who gathered despite the cold and cloudy weather.

In his fiery style, Ahmadinejad, showed his messianic beliefs on Friday, saying the world was witnessing a revolution managed by Imam Mahdi, the 12th Shiite imam who disappeared as a five-year-old in the 10th century and who Shiites believe would return on the judgment day. "The final move has begun. We are in the middle of a world revolution managed by this dear (12th Imam). A great awakening is unfolding. One can witness the hand of Imam in managing it," said Ahmadinejad. "Come and take away the Zionist regime which is the source of all crimes... take it away and liberate the region. Free the region and give it to the people and take this regime, which is the child of Satan (the United States), out."

The Gog Magog battle is a foray of the Muslim coalition to do just that- an attempt to wipe Israel from the earth. That two Iranian warships were allowed through the Suez Canal after 32 years to patrol waters in the Med off Israel is no accident. That missiles are being fired into Gaza as we speak for the first time since the Gaza war is also no accident. The war is coming. Ahmadinejad is right.

Israel's rabbis say the same thing.

Prominent rabbis from the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox sector have offered their own curious interpretations for the upheaval that is spreading through the Middle East, stating that the events are a clear proof that a higher power is at work. "Recently it appears that there is a powerful effort to destroy and agitate the world of the Torah, through various attempts to prosecute kollels and yeshiva students," Steinman said. "When you try to agitate the world of the Torah, God agitates the world." Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, an unconventional Lithuanian leader who is believed to have mystic powers, offered a different explanation. "It is evident that many unnatural things are happening," he said. "People have come to me and said that it's 'Gog and Magog'. We cannot know. But it's probable that any unrest that God creates shows that the Messiah is coming, and that we must begin to prepare for it and become stronger."

And finally, Christian leaders also say that the end is nigh and the battle of Gog-Magog is coming. Joel C. Rosenberg commented on the Ynet article above,

"On this, I agree with Rabbi Kanievsky – the War of Gog and Magog is approaching, the Messiah is coming, and we must be prepared and become stronger spiritually as the Lord’s return draws near. That said, I suspect the Rabbi and I disagree on the Messiah’s identity. That’s a good discussion to engage, particularly now. The Hebrew prophets told us the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Ephratah, would minister to the people living darkness in the region of Galilee, would teach in parables, would do miracles, would suffer and die as a guilt offering for our sins, and then would rise again and His body would not see decay in the grave. What’s more, in Daniel chapter 9 we learn that the Messiah will come, atone for our sins, and be “cut off” before the Second Temple is destroyed and Jerusalem is crushed by the Romans. That means if the Messiah didn’t come before 70 A.D., He is never going to come. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that our Messiah has come, and that He is coming back, possibly sooner that we realize. Today, we are seeing the type of “uprisings” and “lawlessness” that the Lord Jesus warned in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 would precede His return. What’s more, I believe we are steadily approaching what the Hebrew Prophets called the “Day of the Lord,” the tumultuous events that will lead us right into what Jeremiah called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), what Jesus Christ called the “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21), and what the Apostle John described in horrific detail in the Book of Revelation."

Another prominent Christian leader, Pastor John Hagee also commented this week on the military buildup in the Middle east and the Libyan participation as a precursor to the set up for the Gog Magog battle.

With the globe's most scholarly and well-versed religious leaders all saying that the tribulation time of judgment and Jesus' return to the earth is imminent, you pay attention. You know what else? Since the rapture precedes the Tribulation, it must be REALLY imminent. Keep looking up!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The new normal is definitely NOT normal

Here are just a few things that constitute the new normal. All of the links are from this year, with only one or two exceptions.

1. Massive migrating animal deaths taking place all over the globe (link)
2. Major super storms taking place (link) (link)
3. Magnetic pole migration that have been going on since 2004 (link)
4. Irregular weather causing food shortages (link)
5. Increased volcano eruptions (link)
6. Increased earthquakes (link)
7. The wobble in the earth's rotation getting worse (link)
8. Sunrise coming 2 days early in Greenland (link)
9. Yellowstone ground bulging from active magma swells (link)
10. Planet X/Comet Elenin calculated to pass only a few million miles from earth (link)
11. FEMA buying food and supplies for a New Madrid Fault Catastrophe (link)
12. Severe winter weather (link)
13. Airports closing down to remark their runways over magnetic pole migration. (link)
14. Rogue tides from rising oceans (link)
15. Increased solar radiation (link)
16. Increased sink hole activity and large cracks forming (link) (link)
17. Animal behavioral changes (link)
18. Leaky magnetic field (link)
19. Mega solar flare activity (link)
20. Climategate (link)

This list could go on and on. I didn't even mention the economy, politics, or wars. But speaking of wars, here is an excellent video from Pastor John Hagee, on Libya. It was uploaded today and contains extremely current information. In three minutes, he shows from the bible exactly how close we are to Gog-Magog battle. And if the Gog-Magog battle is that close, the rapture is even closer. That last part was my opinion. Don't miss this video!

101 ways to help your pastor

From the blog The Working Pastor, permission received to re-post his wonderful list. These times are so hard, the needs are so great, the worries are at a fever pitch, the time is so near, and your pastor is in the center of it all. Please help him! A good shepherd is like gold these days. We all depend on him, and if we can do even a few of these ways to help him, surely it will result in help to many.

101 Ways To Help Your Pastor

In Prayer By Praying...

-1 For his safety as he travels about.
-2 For his good health - physically.
-3 For his wife.
-4 For his children.
-5 For his personal financial needs.
-6 For his emotional needs - depression, etc.
-7 For his spiritual needs - grace, peace, mercy.
-8 For his personal walk with God - spiritual growth.
-9 For his besetting sins and character flaws.
-10 For his witness - to be faithful to it.
-11 For his witness - boldness.
-12 For power/unction of Holy Ghost on his life and ministry.
-13 For his effectiveness as a leader.
-14 For his effectiveness as a husband.
-15 For his effectiveness as a father.
-16 For him to have many open doors of ministry.
-17 For his open doors to be prolonged and sustained.
-18 That he would be delivered from unreasonable people.
-19 That he would be delivered from wicked people.
-20 That he would be delivered from ensnaring people.

When You Are In Public...

-21 By always promoting his good qualities.
-22 By never involving yourself in gossip about him.
-23 By highlighting the helpful lessons and messages which he has preached recently.
-24 By treating him with highest respect.
-25 By defending him when criticized in a Christ-like way.

When You Are At Church...

-26 By seeking ways to be more involved in church activities.
-27 By seeking ways to possibly take the leadership roles in activities. BE AVAILABLE!
-28 By being faithful to all the public worship services unless Providentially hindered.
-29 By being on time.
-30 By being polite to others.
-31 By keeping church politics to a minimum.
-32 By being willing to give your seat up to others; including visitors.
-33 By picking up any trash on the floors and in the churchyard. Also by straightening things up that are out of place.
-34 By keeping restrooms looking neat and clean.
-35 By turning lights off.

When Your Church Has Business Meetings...

-36 By attending each meeting.
-37 By having a co-operative spirit.
-38 By agreeing to disagree agreeably.
-39 By only offering helpful suggestions.
-40 By not carrying grudges to or from a meeting.

With Church Problems...

-41 By not being one.
-42 By not trying to think FOR the pastor.
-43 By not jumping the gun and thinking the pastor is not doing anything about a particular situation that means a lot to you.
-44 By staying out of the way unless directly involved.
-45 By not gossiping about problems with other church members.
-46 By praying for wisdom to be given to pastor on how to handle the problem(s) at hand.
-47 By praying for the individuals/groups involved to do what is right.

With Enlisting More Laborers...

-48 By being one.
-49 By training others to take your place... if you hold a position.
-50 By praying for more laborers.

When Approaching Him...

-51 By speaking to pastor in the way you want to be spoken to.
-52 By not assuming pastor has been made aware of your specific need or circumstance.
-53 By not demanding an answer to anything.
-54 By not putting him into a corner with no way to come out.
-55 By keeping your questions and problems till after the worship service.
-56 By waiting until there is nobody around for privacy.
-57 By trying to speak with pastor initially in a public area, and not in the office first. - testimony

As A Deacon...

-58 By making visits for him.
-59 By shielding him from unnecessary nonsense.
-60 By praying for him.
-61 By never seeking to undermine in any form or fashion.
-62 By speaking positively of him; especially when around those who are disgruntled.
-63 By being on the lookout for potential issues and ready to help.


-64 By helping to provide a livable wage as a church member.
-65 By supporting a yearly raise.
-66 By paying (church) for his gas. - visits, etc.
-67 By providing (church) a retirement package.
-68 By covering health insurance for him and family. (church)
-69 By giving him a love gift at Christmas.
-70 By giving him a birthday present.
-71 By providing a monthly library fund for the purchase of new books. This helps him when developing a series and other studies.

By Being friendly...

-72 Seeking to have him and family over for dinner.
-73 Enjoying recreational activities with him and his family.
-74 Even when you are in a disagreement him.

By Promoting His Ministry...

-75 In an ad in the paper at your own expense.
-76 On the radio in an advertisement, etc.
-77 On facebook. - Fanpage of church/pastor
-78 On twitter.
-79 Giving away CD's cassette tapes, and DVD's of his messages to your friends and co-workers.
-80 When sending emails to your friends and acquaintances.

In Sharing The Gospel Of Jesus Christ...

-81 By participating in door to door soul-winning.
-82 By participating in a neighborhood literature distribution campaign.
-83 By helping at tract tables at flea markets and fairs.
-84 By having unsaved friends over for a party and inviting your pastor over to witness to them.
-85 By helping a group who goes street preaching.
-86 By helping in a jail ministry.
-87 By helping in an addiction ministry like Reformers Unanimous.

While He Is Preaching...

-88 By paying attention.
-89 By not talking. This can distract others from hearing the message.
-91 Try to keep babies quiet. Though unwanted, it is sometimes best to take small babies to a nursery area.
-92 Smile! Sour looks can be discouraging.
-93 Shout "AMEN!" when God speaks to your heart about something the preacher says. This will encourage your pastor while he is preaching.

Behind The Scenes...

-94 By encouraging others to encourage the pastor.
-95 By sending an anonymous gift of a favorite snack, etc
-96 By helping to organize a "Pastor's Appreciation Day" for him.
-97 By taking care of known projects that he has around his home.
-98 By doing something special for his children.

With His Vehicle...

-99 By being sure his oil is changed regularly.
-100 By providing new tires when necessary.
-101 By possibly helping with a car payment.

Bottom Line...

This list is the tip of the iceberg when it come to ideas to help your pastor. If you have thought of something not mentioned, then please leave it in the comment section below. Thanks for your participation! Be sure to promote this list widely, from The Working Pastor.

Florida churches open doors to allow Muslim worship

This was an article on Fox News last Friday. It's excerpted, the rest can be read by clicking on the headline. Discussion below.

Churches Open Doors to Muslim Worship
"They see it as their Christian duty. But others disagree, saying it extends the hand of fellowship where it was never intended to go. Two Protestant churches are taking some heat from critics for opening their church buildings to Muslims needing places to worship because their own facilities were either too small, or under construction. Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tenn., let members of the Memphis Islamic Center hold Ramadan prayers there last September. And Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Va., allows the Islamic Circle of North America to hold regular Friday prayers in their building while their new mosque is being built. Diane Bechtol of Aldersgate says this is something Christians are called to do: Be neighborly and develop relationships - even those who don't share your beliefs.

"I think it's a tenet of our Christian faith, and that is that we extend hospitality to the stranger,” said Bechtol. “We are a congregation that wants to be helpful to people and if we are asked to help a neighbor in need, that's what we do." The U.S. Christian community is divided over whether or not to allow Muslims to use their churches as prayer space -- something that two Protestant churches have already done. The U.S. Christian community is divided over whether or not to allow Muslims to use their churches as prayer space -- something that two Protestant churches have already done. But Dr. Alex McFarland, a Christian theologian and radio talk show host, charged these churches “have crossed the line from respect and tolerance, to ... affirmation and endorsement. "We as the church are called to show love, we're called to help. But to let a building simultaneously be used for the activities of a mosque and also the activities of Jesus Christ, it's just incompatible. And I think it's one more example of political correctness and hyper-tolerance gone awry."

What do you think? Do you think, say, if a hurricane decimated the Church, that the Muslims who are the beneficiaries of this hospitality would return the favor and allow the Christians to hold services in their mosque? What is church for, anyway? Got Questions has an answer: here-

"Acts 2:42 could be considered a purpose statement for the church: “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” According to this verse, the purposes/activities of the church should be 1) teaching biblical doctrine, 2) providing a place of fellowship for believers, 3) observing the Lord’s supper, and 4) praying."

To that end, the church is the Body, not a building. It is the local place where believers in a certain area congregate to accomplish worship, prayer, breaking of bread, and teaching, but the church itself are the people who make up the Body.

However, though non-believers are welcome to come in and worship alongside believers, I do not believe it is appropriate for non-believers to come in and actively worship another god. If the Lord's Supper is too holy for non-believers to participate in then I have to believe the church grounds are ordained holy unto the Lord too. As He told Moses at the burning bush, (Exodus 3:5), "take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."

1 Corinthians 3:17 says: "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." The Greek word used here (phtheiró) for destroy also means 'corrupt.' The idea is, "If any man by his doctrines or precepts shall pursue such a course as tends to destroy the church, God shall severely punish him" says Barnes' notes on the bible. If the church place of worship and congregation (the building) is established under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit and its purpose is dedicated to promote the Gospel, then allowing people to worship their god and to promote their false doctrines which, by the way, say that all non-Muslims should be killed for being an infidel, then that use is inconsistent with the purposes of the church building. Otherwise the building is just a building. And if the building is just a building, where does it stop? As Mike Huckabee says in this interview, then why not open it up to be rented as an adult movie theatre on weekends?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Terrible quake in Christchurch New Zealand

A shallow quake, especially one that lasts a long time, will cause a tremendous amount of damage. This one did. It was a 6.6 by NZ standards, a 6.3 according to USGS, but it was only 4 feet deep and reverberated for over a minute. A shallow, long lasting quake such as this would have caused more damage than last year's 7.3.

A twitter commenter said "Watching TV3 live - apocalyptic...lots of car horns, sirens, confused people and the Cathedral has no top". This videographer said "It's terrifying."

This was the first photo posted on Twitpic:

Radio New Zealand reported widespread damage to the city centre, with a church on Durham St collapsed and concrete lifted by up to a metre. A Newstalk ZB reporter in Christchurch said liquefaction was spewing out of the ground at St Albans High School. School kids had to be removed from the fields with liquefaction also spewing from the tennis courts.

Unrest in the Middle East: map

On Joel C. Rosenberg's site this morning. Light and dark pink are nations with unrest since January. Don't forget to include Lebanon, too small to really see. Please be sure to visit his link to read a summary of the current unrest ... It is excellent.

Why I don't think an EMP or CME is in our near future

"SPACE WEATHER IN A GADGET-DRIVEN WORLD: Authorities in Washington DC caused a stir over the weekend when they announced at the annual AAAS meeting that high-tech modern society is increasingly vulnerable to solar storms. "The last time we had a maximum in the solar cycle, the world was a very different place," noted NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco. "Cell phones are now ubiquitous [and we] rely on them for so many different things." Others noted a myriad of GPS-dependent technologies that could be brought down by a strong solar flare. This is old news to many readers of Nevertheless, the web is abuzz with reports from the meeting."

source credit
It's true, the web is abuzz. My earlier posts on the X-class flare that was ejected from the sun and headed our way spiked my page views tremendously. There is a lot of interest in spaceweather, solar flares, Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) Electro-magnetic pulses (EMP), with concordant dire predictions of being thrown back into the stone age after we get zapped by a flare, and resulting bands of roaming marauders stealing your last can of Spam. All that is possible, of course, but at least for the near future, I don't believe it will happen. Here's why:

In Revelation 11:9 it is stated, "For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial." This verse refers to the two witnesses whom Jesus sends to prophesy in the street of Jerusalem, and whom the antichrist hates. When their testimony is finished, the antichrist is allowed to overpower them and they are killed. Rather than bury them, the bodies lay in the streets while the world celebrates their death, even sending gifts in joy that they are gone. It is during this three day period that every person in the world looks upon them. It doesn't seem that the news can get around quickly enough to every people, tribe, language, and nation unless satellites or other electronic form of mass media is in place.

In Revelation 13:16-17, there is described a global economy in which ALL people and ALL purchases can be tracked. If you don't have this mark on your hand or forehead, you cannot buy nor sell. I don't know what it will look like, some have proposed a kind of chip embedded in our bodies or a bar code planted on our heads, but it will be a trackable device able to immediately detect whether you can participate in the economy. It is likely, then, that is won't be a surface tattoo, because that can be counterfeited. Most probably it will be an electronic something or other that relies on satellite, electricity or some other kind of network or grid that will tell the people at the point of purchase whether you are a yea or a nay.

So if a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) or electromagnetic pulse (EMP) does occur that wipes out the grid, we are told that it would take years to build it back up. We are also told that it takes time to launch more satellites which support television, radio, and GPS. While the Tribulation does include many supernatural wonders from the sun (Rev 16:8; 9:2; 8:12; 6:12) it does not seem that a mass electrical failure would be part of the proceedings.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Has Gaddafi fled Libya? (UPDATED)

UPDATE: We know that Gaddafi has fled Tripoli and diplomatic sources say there are indications he is on his way to Venezuela. Witnesses say that two fighter jets have suddenly landed at Malta and other are reports saying the pilots are asking for asylum.

The disciples asked the Lord what would be the signs of the end of the age. Jesus answered in a long and explicit discourse, the longest He gave on any topic (The Sermon on the Mount in Mt 5 is about equal in length). He answered not in parables but in clear language describing a generation that would see these things come to pass. (Mt 24:33-34). One of those events are that "nation will rise against nation." To our ears in 2011, nation means country. But the Greek word here is 'ethnos'. Strong's Concordance says it means "people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture; nation(s), usually referring to unbelieving Gentiles (non-Jews). In other words, races.

Source credit
In Tripoli, Libya, we read tonight, "Clashes between anti-government protesters and Gaddafi supporters escalate as army unit 'defects' in Benghazi." Snipers are shooting at mourners killed in the protests. Violence has erupted in five major cities in Libya, not to mention Yemen, Morocco, and Bahrain. There are wild unsourced reports that Gaddafi has fled Libya for Venezuela. People are taking to the streets, brother against brother, race against race. Though these are the times just prior to the tribulation (and I believe just barely prior) they are not part of the Tribulation yet. But we can see that the 'nation against nation' prophecy is nearing fulfillment. Not to worry. even as Daniel said in 2:20-22,

   “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
   wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
   he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
   and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
   he knows what lies in darkness,
   and light dwells with him.

Man-eating elephants and tigers terrorize village in India (updated a bit)

ABC News is reporting an "alarming" development in a village in India.

"Humans aren't natural prey for elephants and tigers, but in the Sundarban islands of West Bengal, India, an alarming number of people have been attacked -- even eaten -- by these wild beasts. In one part of the country, there have been reports of elephants going on a rampage, trampling homes and killing around 200 people in the past year. In one bizarre case, this typically plant-eating animal reportedly ate a human. In another part of the country, tigers, who have developed an appetite for human flesh, reportedly killed 14 people in one village alone last year. "Tigers generally aren't man eaters," said Dave Salmoni. "It's anomaly when an animal decides to start eating people."

If it is an anomaly when carnivorous tigers eat people, it is surely an anomaly when herbivorous elephants do! "These villagers are also unable to protect themselves because as Hindus, they worship elephants and can't kill them. However, Salmoni said that local wildlife officials were granted special permission to take out one particularly violent female elephant that reportedly killed 17 people."

Incidents like these are usually explained by scientists as an animals' response to habitat pressure, a fight for space. And they well could be. Although an elephant eating 17 people is a stretch. Scientists note that the animals in this village are changing their culture and behavior. "As food becomes scarcer, Salmoni explained, these large animals might turn on humans because they are easy prey. A place like the Sundarban, that's happened," Salmoni explained. "They're creating a culture of man-eating where moms are teaching cubs, people are easy prey."

The bible depicts a time when people WILL be hunted. "Fourth Seal: Widespread Death on Earth- When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth." (Rev 6:7-8)

What strikes me about this incident apart from the others I've reported on, is that the animals are not responding to a one-time pressure of habitat. It is becoming generational. Mom tigers are teaching cubs to hunt humans. Once human prey becomes established as a generational pattern, it changes everything.

In the beginning, all animals were vegetarians. But after the Fall, Adam, Eve, satan, and the earth were cursed. (Gen 3:17) The curse got worse and worse until the thoughts were of evil in men's hearts continually (Gen 6:5) and decided to wipe all but 8 people from the earth and start over. (Gen 6:7). And so it goes, until Jesus comes again and again wipes out sin, but this time (almost) for good. (Rev 20:7-10). The curse and man's sins affect the earth and its creatures, (Rom 8:19-22) creatures who are waiting eagerly for redemption. Between now and then, things will degrade until the fourth seal is unleashed and the fear and dread of man that God had put into animals after the flood is (Gen 9:2) removed and we, as the scientist said, become their easy prey.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

On joy

Someone told me the other day that she enjoyed my bright happy smile and my vivacious attitude. I replied that though I did have my issues and my problems, I choose joy. I do not focus on my problems. She was surprised, saying that one would never know by looking at me that I ever felt sad or down. I said that my problems will pass away but the light of Jesus will never pass away. I want people to see His Light, not my problems.

To that end, I work at making sure that I refocus my attitude each day. Some days I need to refocus it hour by hour, and some days moment by moment. It is work to choose to rely on joy and not wallow in personal problems. But what do you want people to see? Your problems written on your face, body, and posture? Or His light despite your problems? If we rely on Him, then really rely on Him. Don't worry about the medical report, you will get a glorified body. Don't worry about the scarce cupboard, He will provide. Don't worry about the job, He will send one. Don't worry about anything. He says:

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:25).
“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

He says all that and more. Let people see your light, for He that is within us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Your problems will pass away, but He will never pass away, so He should be the focus.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Earthquake...western Florida??

Well, Jesus said there would be earthquakes in diverse places...This one is just south of Mobile Alabama. By the way, the quakes are still occurring in Arkansas. There have been thirty in the last 48 hours.

USGS data. Seismicity for the northern part of the state is common, being part of the New Madrid Seismic Zone. But I have to been able to find where seismic activity occurs in the southern part.

Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise at Myrtle Beach SC
With all the focus on the sun lately, it reminded me of how much we love the sun, how much we rely on it. Older civilizations worshiped the sun, even some civilizations nowadays worship it. The sun should not be an object of worship but it is an object that inspires awe. But with all that, we still take it for granted.

I've had the privilege of seeing the Aurora Borealis display twice. Once was a short display in Maine. I was driving home late at night after a class in Portland. I was on a long stretch of road and I could see up ahead that there was a strange red in the sky, even though it was long past sunset. I pulled over at a wide span in the breakdown lane and got out of the car. I was treated to a wonderful display of the lights, in reds and blues. It looked like a curtain waving.

On the other occasion, I was on an ice-breaking ferry in Labrador. It was in the middle of the night, but we were about to enter a port so everyone was up and awake. A French-Canadian gentleman became excited and pointed to the low horizon, gesticulating and urging his girlfriend to look. After a moment or two, the sky popped. A cracking sizzled in my ears and a gorgeous curtain of greens lit up the sky. I was wowed, awed, and amazed at the colors, but especially the sounds. It sounded like a harp was being played that had strings of electricity. The lights are ethereal, and I felt privileged to see the results of the solar flare's effect on earth.I mean, it's not every day you get to see ions light up.
Sunrise at Miami's Government Cut, on the way to the Bahamas

People love the sun so much, and its appearance and disappearance each day is always a source of anticipation, relief, and joy. Sunrises and sunsets are eagerly watched and remarked on. Sunsets are cause for parties in Key West, Naples Florida and other locations where there is warmth, beaches, and coolers. For I while I lived on a yacht, sailing to the Bahamas. While I was on watch at the 3-5am stint, sailing through the dark ocean waters, there is never such relief and happiness when the the first few rays of the sun poke above the horizon. The last night watch before dawn always seemed the longest. When the sun bursts over the waves and the first light emerges it seems the same thing is happening in my heart, waves of joy illuminate it and I feel light and happy.

A little-known solar effect at sunset is the "Green Flash." It is fairly rare. At least, it only lasts a second or two so it is hard to see and so it's rarely caught. I caught it when I was living in Florida for the winter. At sunset, and atmospheric conditions are just right, as the sun goes beneath the horizon, a green light shoots out from under the sun's disk to the right and to the left, and then the entire sun is gone as well as the flash. I saw it, my husband saw it, and another guy on the beach saw it. We were so excited to have seen this rare solar phenomenon. It is kind of like finding a unicorn, fabled and mythologized, but the flash actually does happen. The other folks on the beach didn't believe us, and accused us of drinking. But we had not taken any drink of any kind. It looked like deep green emeralds shooting out.

"Green flashes come in two common forms, succinctly described by James Prescott Joule in a letter to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society in 1869. First, he noted that “at the moment of the departure of the sun below the horizon, the last glimpse is coloured bluish green.” This “last glimpse” flash is associated with the inferior mirage, familiar on asphalt roads on sunny days. It is best seen from a few meters above sea level..."

The recent solar storm with ejected flare has caused a bit of consternation among scientists, aware lay people, and conspiracy theorists. However, damage from a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is no conspiracy- they happen and they will continue to happen. They will also continue to affect earth. muses on the possibilities in an aptly headlined article: Catastrophe Looming? The Risks of Rising Solar Storm Activity":
"The sun let loose its most powerful eruption in more than four years Monday night (Feb. 14), disrupting radio communications in China and generating concern around the world. But it could have been a lot worse, experts say. Despite its strength, Monday's solar storm was a baby compared to several previous blasts, and it provides just a hint of what the sun is capable of. A true monster storm has the potential to wreak havoc on a global scale, knocking out communications systems, endangering satellites and astronauts and causing perhaps trillions of dollars in damages. The sun's activity cycle is ramping up, so more storms will likely be coming our way over the next few years. The sun has grown more active over the last several months after rousing from a quiet period in its 11-year weather cycle last year."

"But Earth has been walloped by monster solar storms before. One of the most powerful hit us in 1859, a blast that Rutledge estimates may have been 30 times more powerful than Monday's event, though it's tough to put hard numbers on such comparisons. The 1859 storm shorted out telegraph wires, causing fires in North America and Europe, and spawned spectacular auroras — the light shows visible near Earth's poles — bright enough to read by, according to some accounts. If the 1859 storm occurred these days, it would likely have devastating impacts, since our electrical and communications infrastructures are so much more developed. A recent report by the U.S National Academy of Sciences found that such a severe storm could cause up to $2 trillion in initial damages by crippling communications on Earth and fueling chaos around the world."
Sunset at Naples Florida
We love the sun. We take endless photos of sunrises and sunsets. We admire its strength and bemoan its winter weakness. We languish under its warmth and rejoice under its light. We are awestruck at its auroral displays and marvel at its mirages. But one day, the sun will not be there.

"I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place." This is an event described in Revelation 6:12-14. Almost a year ago, I wrote about my idea as to the events that could cause the sun to go dark as a sackcloth. You can read it here.
Sunset at Lubec, Maine
This is a terrible event that happens early on in the Tribulation. The seal judgments are the first set of 7 among 21 judgments. The 7 Trumpet Judgments and then finally the 7 Bowl Judgments come after the Seal Judgments. Imagine, the sun not giving its light! Imagine the terror, the clockwork rising and setting as we have always known them, GONE. Just darkness covering the land. It will happen, but...

YOU can be in the light, the Light of Jesus and the glory of heaven. If you feel sincerely bad about your sins, then ask Jesus to forgive them. He will do it. He died on the cross so that He would be the sacrifice, satisfying God's justice for sin. You can live forever under His eternal pardon, or you can see for yourself what it really means to be in the dark.

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 ...