Sunday, July 31, 2011

Debt limit: a manufactured crisis

Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog wrote a piece this week called: "Stress!" He asked:

"Has anyone else noticed that the level of stress in this country appears to be extremely high right now? Today, it seems like our federal government, our state governments and most American families live in a constant state of crisis. Everywhere you look there are major problems. Right now everyone is stressed out because of the "debt ceiling deadline". Earlier this year everyone was freaked out about the possibility of a "government shutdown". If by some miracle Barack Obama and the Republicans are able to reach a deal in the next few days that will not help the national stress level for long. Another gut-wrenching "national crisis" will almost certainly come along very quickly."

Gut-wrenching is right. While most of the common people may not understand exactly all the nuances and ramifications of the debt-ceiling limit's various amendments, we know that it is big disaster. The event itself is a disaster and also the Fed's, Congress's, President's, and Corporation's behavior around it is a disaster too.

But at the same time I'm surprised. It isn't like no one knew it was coming. It's been an issue for decades that we spend more than we take in. It's been an issue for months as we knew the annual deadline was looming. And yet at the last minute there is all this scurrying and hoopla and shouting and furor. It's like 2008, when Lehman Brothers fell and the economic crash began. Senator John McCain suspended his presidential campaign and flew back to Washington. News coverage was intense. Politicians scurried and ran and wrangled and it sure was a spectacle. In between then and now, there have been similar spectacles of our government officials running around trying to solve this problem or that one.

As with anything grandiose and major, the people who are affected by it suffer. The American citizens are vicariously subjected to the politicians' stress as we watch our future unfold.

Prolonged stress has effects. The American people have been intensely stressed for three years now. The pinball effect of careening from one crisis to another wearies the mind, heart, psyche. It cannot be sustained for long. The ever more intense cycles of crisis tire us out mentally, physically, emotionally, and we long for peace. We begin saying 'peace and safety! peace and safety!' We'll do almost anything to stop the downward cycle of crisis management.

Many of the symptoms the people enduring the fallout from the governmental stress and crises are similar to those who live with a drug addict or an alcoholic. From

They deny the truth: "Family and friends devote a lot of time and energy to hide the alcoholic's problems. An important part of this behaviour is to express apologies to employers, fellow-workers, friends, other family members and relatives for bad behaviour."

There are a lot of people denying the economic truth right now. The NY Times had an article today that essentially stated maybe a credit downgrade wouldn't be so bad after all.

Acting out: "Most of the close friends and relatives of persons with serious alcohol problems get into this kind of behaviour. "Acting out" is a psychological term for the impulsive, immature and sometimes irresponsible behaviour that a person uses in order to handle internal emotional stress. To drink together with the alcoholic can be one example. In later stages, the hostility that the conflict causes may begin to express itself in more negative activities, such as loud quarrels and physical attacks."

We see a lot of hostility in the country right now. "Road rage" seems almost a quaint term in the face of the horrific shootings last week in the US.

They demand improvement: "Most people that live with an addictive person try to change the person or try to at least get him/her to improve. They can often struggle with this for months, years, or their entire life because of the belief that "everything will be all right if I only could get him or her to quit drinking". Unfortunately, the result is often that both become losers. The harder you try to change people with alcohol problems, the more they will fight your attempts. The alcoholic becomes furious because of all the nagging, and a common behaviour is to decide to drink even more."

Congressional phone lines are lit up and the faxes are falling in Senate offices like snowflakes in a Montana blizzard. I don't think there is anyone who doesn't demand improvement. But they say, 'everything will be all right this time if we just vote a different bunch in there.'

They become isolated: "As early as a few months after the arise of a serious addiction, the isolation from friends, family and society gradually takes over, although it can take years before you understand what is happening to you and your alcoholic friend. As the alcoholic's problems increase, the contact with neighbours and relatives instinctively decreases in order to avoid shame and embarrassment."

After Obama went on his apology tour in 2009, America has become increasingly isolated. Europe is dealing with their own problems. Creditor China becomes antagonized by our failures, and South America turns to the Middle East for ties and alliances.

They give up: "When they have lived together with a chronic alcoholic for a few years, most people get depressed. Their life has become a permanent burden with few, or none, moments of authentic joy and comfort. Apathy, aversion, physical pain and chronic fatigue may be the bodily expressions in this process."

And it is at that point, when they seek a solution, any solution, from anyone. The antichrist will step in and offer one. Tired, depressed, apathetic, not just America, but the world will say "Yes! At last, peace and safety!"

What does living in prolonged stress do to our body? These are signs and symptoms of stress overload. They can be viewed personally, individually, and also as signs and symptoms that our nation exhibits:

Prolonged stress affects us. Living in a crisis mode is very bad for us. When I look to the following prophetic verse, I believe it may be interpreted three ways.

"But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase."'

It could mean literally that people will go to and fro as busy people do, and/or widespread travel. We all know that life is more hectic, fast, rushed. In that fast pace, a close walk with the Lord often drops down on our priority list, so this satisfies satan. As knowledge increases, like science, people believe they do not need God any more.

It could mean that people do back and forth in their doctrine. For a long time it was understood that the rapture would occur before the Tribulation, now people go back and forth on that. "Yes it is! No it isn't!" like a tennis match. For a long time people understood that hell is real and eternal, but now people go back and forth on that. Individuals also switch their position. For a long time John Stott believed in hell biblically. Then he became an annihilationist. Then he swayed from that a bit. (source). He went back and forth.

Thirdly, it could mean  going back and forth in solving problems, as we have seen incessantly since the latest crisis began in 2008. Here, I also remember the prophetic verse from Luke 21:25:

"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea." The sea being the roaring multitudes, ever restless and clamoring for peace, and a way out from their distress. The same metaphor of the sea being restless multitudes is used in Isaiah 8:7-8 and Rev 18:15. (Commentary here). So in the time that is referred to here- Tribulation- people will be roaring and tossing. Though the Tribulation has not begun, in these waning last days of the Church Age, we saw the Arab Spring, and now with each successive crisis in America, the multitudes grow more weary, distressed, and roaring, going back and forth, to and fro in stress.

I don't think I'm overstating things by referring to the effects stress has upon us individually and nationally. We see it in the outward behavior of people every day. Shootings over a wrong McDonald's order. Flash mobs robbing stores and vandalizing at will. Fistfights over cutting in movie line.

We are all affected by the national stress and current crises, whether we endure them directly or not. It's like living with an alcoholic. I don't think it is too overwrought to use the metaphor again, in referring to Revelation's Mystery Babylon the Mother of Prostitutes,

"She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. ... "I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus."

Share the peace of Jesus in all you say and do. As the days get more stressful it gets harder for us to do that, I know. But we have to. The rubber is hitting the road. Our peace in the midst of roaring seas, clamorous multitudes, stressed populations, will be the Light, a beacon for all to come who are weary. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

South Korea: 11 inches of rain in one day triggers massive landslides

The Debt limit fight in our nation's capitol is all-consuming and claiming our entire attention right now. As a matter of fact, I have several South American Spanish language channels on my television lineup and the other night they devoted quite a bit of time to our issue, with Spanish-language reporters present and filming first-person in Congress, and interviewing Congressmen afterwards, with the interviews translated into Spanish. The debt limit fight is claiming many nations' attention right now. The debt limit fight has global repercussions, and I plan another blog entry later to discuss the effects of such political crises.

But meanwhile, there have been terrible rains, storms, and landslides in South Korea. Chinese media reports, "62 killed in South Korea Flood"

"South Korea is struggling to cope after the worst rainfall in decades triggered landslides and flooding. Residents in the worst affected areas are worried and scared as the disaster claimed 62 lives with 9 still missing. ... The national weather agency says Seoul received more than 300 millimeters of rain on Wednesday (11.8 inches), the largest single-day in July since records began in 1907. And the downpour had left more than 11 thousand people homeless and flooded 978 hectares of farmland across the country."

Below is a video taken from inside a moving vehicle on a highway looking outward through the windshield at the road ahead at the moment that a landslide occurred, sweeping cars and trucks into the woods.

As I said, our debt limit fight is important, but please always remember to pray for the people in the world who are rendered homeless, hungry, or grief-stricken because of the continual natural disasters affecting so many...Those without Jesus must be petrified at what is happening to the world. Those who are Christians must need encouragement to persevere in the faith. Both groups need our prayers.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

About that volcanic activity in California...was DutchSinse right?

I'd reported a few days ago about a dust-up between a citizen scientist called DutchSinse who said he had discovered volcanic venting at extinct/dormant/inactive volcanic craters in southern and central California. The USGS had felt compelled to issue a press release denying that the anonymous videographer's claim (but not that data existed showing something, only that he had interpreted it wrong.) In that exchange between the Government Agency and the anonymous videographer (a ludicrous event to begin with) the USGS had gone on record July 29 stating:

"USGS volcanologists evaluating the situation find nothing to indicate that the NEXRAD feature results from volcanic activity. Satellite images from the same period DO NOT SHOW the steam or ash clouds that accompany volcanic activity..." .

So...there's a situation? Anyway...

The point of the essay was to discuss the difficulty in the average citizen to find truth in media reports and to trust what the government is telling us, a condition that exists in parallel form in the church with the warnings about false teachers, false doctrines and false prophesies. The stress of the average person in attempting to sort out what is undeniably increasingly horrific news just at the time when trust in media is failing most is getting to stratospheric levels. I was tickled to read that as Obama took the debt ceiling debate to twitter, he lost 40,000 followers. People are plainly disgusted.

So who to trust? Well, DutchSinse came back with two interesting videos. One was a clip showing MORE plumes of what he called venting, and right along the line of extinct/dormant volcanic craters in the Mono-Inyo chain. USGS says this about the volcanic chain-

"The Long Valley Caldera is only one part of a large volcanic system in eastern California that also includes the Mono-Inyo Craters volcanic chain. This chain extends from Mammoth Mountain at the southwest rim of the caldera northward 25 miles to Mono Lake. Eruptions along this chain began 400,000 years ago, and Mammoth Mountain itself was formed by a series of eruptions ending 50,000 years ago. The volcanic system is still active. Scientists have determined that eruptions occurred in both the Inyo Craters and Mono Craters parts of the volcanic chain as recently as 600 years ago and that small eruptions occurred in Mono Lake sometime between the mid-1700's and mid-1800's."

In successive videos, he reported 6 vents in all. That, along with recent earthquake activity in the same area reaching magnitude 6.0 caused him to conclude that the extinct/dormant volcanoes were waking up. Not such an outlandish assessment as one might think, ever since the extinct chain that had never erupted in Eritrea woke up one day and killed 32 people. (Nabro). By the way that situation also had citizen reporters and amateur scientists alerting the world that the eruption had occurred. They were initially marginalized because Nabro had never erupted, but they knew what they knew and they persisted. Within days they were proven right.

The second interesting video is one where a second USGS press release denies their earlier denials. Or something. These things get tangled up if you don't follow them in detailed fashion, but the USGS release states "Satellite images from the same period do not show the steam or ash clouds that accompany volcanic activity, and there is no seismicity in the vicinity indicative of volcanic unrest/eruption." But DutchSinse shows that there is quake activity in the vicinity and that the satellites do show vent-cloud activity. Now, maybe the quake activity in the vicinity isn't the right kind of quake activity, but there was seismicity, a 6.0 quake was recorded, and there were clouds. I looked at the radar and I looked at the quake, the dustup continues.

Below, NASA Pisgah Crater photo

Remember in 1997 two volcano movies came out at the same time, Volcano and Dante's Peak? At the time I thought it was ridiculous to make a movie about such an unrealistic disaster as Volcano had in setting the disaster in LA with eruptions and all. But is is not unrealistic. There are active volcanoes in the Long Valley area.

This trailer is from Volcano and has the campy tagline "The Coast is Toast" and featured tough-guy Tommy Lee Jones.

Dante's Peak was considered the more sober and scientific movie of the two and featured tough-girl Linda Hamilton. I've digressed. To the issue at hand- The back and forth between the government agency and the anonymous citizen will likely continue. But we can all rest assured that this information from the California Seismic Safety Commission is true:

"Volcanoes: More than 500 volcanic vents have been identified in the State of California. At least 76 of these vents have erupted, some repeatedly, during the last 10,000 years. Sooner or later, volcanoes in California will erupt again, and they could have serious impacts on your health and safety. -- Miller, C. Dan, 1989, Potential Hazards from Future Volcanic Eruptions in California: USGS Bulletin 1847, 17p."

My money is on "sooner."

Friday, July 29, 2011

A comment on miracles

Today's people want miracles. They want fabulous signs and wonders, and flock to places where they think God is performing them. I happen to believe that once the scriptures were closed that the signs and miracles all but ceased. God used the signs and wonders through His designated apostles (the 12 plus Paul) to authenticate the performer of those miracles as being from God. Acts 2:22 says, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” 2 Corinthians 12:12 says, “The things that mark an apostle—signs, wonders and miracles—were done among you with great perseverance”. Hebrews 2:4 says of the Gospel, “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.”

Once the canon was set, once the apostles were dead, the signs ceased, because we now had the miracle of God revealed in His closed Word. In my opinion that is why we don't see the large swathe of validated miracles and signs occurring today.

I'd like to make a distinction about the Tribulation. During that 7-year judgment period, there will be signs, wonders, and miracles. Many will be false (Matthew 24:23-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). Some of them will be true: (Revelation 11:1-6; Revelation 14:6-9). The very judgments themselves will be miracles, in that the laws of physics will be set aside and magnificent but deadly miracles will occur such as oceans turning to blood and 100 pound hailstones, and a sun that goes dark.

But between the period of the close of the canon and the death of the original apostles, and the tribulation, showy miracles have all but ended. In His wisdom here and there the Lord may certainly perform a sign in His sovereign will. In Mark 8:12 Jesus signed deeply and asked of the people, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it." He was saying that their belief rested in the show and not in faith. It is like that today.

Back to the clamor for miracles. In the ever-questioning God's authority, emergent church, counter-reformation, 'God spoke to me' generation, they want a show. They desire a sign that will confirm the faith. But I remind us all, we overlook the miracles every day! There are so many. But they are getting lost in the clamor.

What about the miracle of a sinner repenting and coming to faith? It is the greatest act of a Holy God to draw a sinner to Himself for cleansing in redemption and forgiveness. It never fails to make me cry to see someone set aside the old man and ask Jesus to take over their life. It is a miracle of the Holy Spirit, since no man can make that decision for himself, being completely craven. (John 6:44). What about an adulterous marriage restored through faith and love? It is a miracle, because they chose God as their foundation and not their lusts. What about a teen or youth involved in cults, or cutting, or depressed and suicidal, brought to joy in the Lord after prayer and tearful prayers of the family and church? What about the birth of a child? Each child, formed by the Lord Himself. (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13). What about answered prayer? A miracle that we have a God who listens to His people, though he is so High and we are so low. He listens and responds to us. A miracle. These are miracles. I praise the Lord for them all.

The quiet miracles from the Holy Spirit's work are daily occurring around us. Take some time to thank Him for them. They are just as powerful, if not a more powerful witness to His everlasting love in this deeply fallen world.

What is "deception by investment"?

We are told that in the last days, deceivers will come. They will carry false doctrines, false teachings, and they will want to follow their own lusts instead of sound doctrine. This web page has a list of all the verses in the bible that speak to false doctrine. This web page lists all the warnings about false prophets (which are teachers, too).

In some cases, it is easy to tell who is false. Todd Bentley down in Lakeland FL was easy to spot as false for Christians - but still deceived a great many. People assume he got all those tattoos before he came to the Lord but he got them after, most of them in 2006, just two years before he hit the big time with his (false) 'revival'. That was one clue that was pretty easy to track and confirm. Hitting old ladies during boisterous healing sessions was another.

Other false teachers we're warned about, like in 2 Timothy 3:5, have a form of godliness but deny its power ... those teachers are harder to spot. When I was a brand-new Christian and had not yet begun attending church, I watched Joel Osteen quite frequently. It took me a while to realize that I was always still hungry. His preaching sounded good but left me empty. I referred to my bible after his half hour speeches but soon came to realize that he often used the verses out of context or twisted them to give us hope for an earthly success gained in our own strength. I understood after a time that he was teaching that Jesus is our gumball machine, throw Him a crumb of a quarter and he'll pop out a parking space on cue. I began to have grave reservations.

When asked by Larry King if Jesus is the only way to heaven and if Muslims, for example, would go to hell, Osteen first denied then equivocated. I had my final answer. That process took me about two years, from 2004-2006. It was slow, but it happened surely because I was also in the Word, checking what I was hearing with what the Holy Spirit has revealed to us in the only place where there is absolute truth: the bible.

I was a babe in the faith then, still on milk, but the Word is so transparent and so sure that relying on it brought me clarity as to Osteen's teaching. (Hebrews 5:12; 1 Cor 3:2). I credit the Holy Spirit with it all. He is our teacher, (John 14:6). He molds character (Gal 5:22-23). If we submit to His teaching and allow Him to mold us, soon we will see through His lens more and more and not the craven lens that is our sinful flesh.

But because we ARE flesh, it gets tangled in everything. We can't separate the flesh from who we are but continual submission and obedience regenerates us and we grow in His Christlikeness. Occasionally you have to take a look at a spot or blemish inside yourself. It's hard to excise embedded fleshly lies from spiritual glorious truths. Jesus said in Mark 9:43- "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire..." Excising the flesh where it has fallen prey to sin or where lies are embedded within is sometimes a violently difficult process.

Sometimes someone will come up to you and say "So and so may be a false teacher bringing false doctrines." You get angry, because you like that teacher. The first reaction will always be fleshly. Translation: emotional. People's reactions will range from peeved to furious. When my friend and I were talking about false teachers and she asked me about Joyce Meyer, I said I believed Mrs. Meyer teaches a different gospel and therefore is false. She agreed. She wasn't angry because she had already come to the same conclusion I had and therefore no anger flared up. But when I said I had concerns about Beth Moore, she got ticked because she had not come to that conclusion. Challenging Beth Moore as a teacher was also challenging my friend as a student. That anger arises because of something called "deception by investment".

Deception by investment as defined by Glenn Chatfield is here, "When one learns their favorite teacher is a false teacher, they continue with the deception because they’ve invested so much of their life in them. They’d rather continue in deception than admit they were deceived." And the term is used again, here at his blog The Watchman's Bagpipes.

When we invest time, energy, even money in a teacher or a ministry and then some bubbling reservations or charges are raised, our fleshly response is to dismiss them out of hand. But that's exactly when the lie firms its grip. Look at it as a morning glory.

I had a morning glory on the left side of my door for about a year. Boy, that thing grew fast! It soon wound around the wrought iron plant stand and up over the awning. The flowers looked so pretty in the morning when they bloomed! But then my landlord said that he had to excavate that area and was going to pave it over. I had to get rid of the wrought iron stand and the flowers.

I'd never dealt with morning glory flowers before. I was amazed at how firmly they were entrenched! I thought I could just pull them down but no way. I thought I could just use a knife to cut them away but nope, that didn't work either. I had to use scissors and personally excise each strand. It took hours. Each vine was stronger than it looked.

A year later, on the right side of my door, I spotted some more morning glories! Look at the bottom of the photo below. I really can't tell where the root is, or which stalk is the main one. Just suddenly one day there was a clump.

 In the photo below, we can see how tightly wound the vine is to the thing which it claims, in this case, an old cable wire.

Left unattended, there will be shoots sprouting off to go in other directions to claim other things to cling to.

This how false teaching is. It emerges from whence you least expect. You're surprised by it. Its root or origin is often difficult to determine. If left unattended, it winds among your flesh tighter and tighter. It gets harder and harder to excise. And left unattended for a long time, this happens:

How long did it take for that tree to grow into and up over the metal fence? It took decades, but the end result was that there was no way to remove the fence from the tree without killing the tree. They had become one flesh.

Here is my practical advice when hearing a charge of false teaching, either about yourself, or about another favored teachers you've invested in: be ready for the flesh to rebel. It will flare up like this match:

Your feelings will be towering, monumental, roaring. They will flare up! But don't let that be your response. It is only a fleshly reaction. Instead, what happens to a match? It burns out quickly. Let the emotions about the charge of false teaching leveled on your favorite teacher dissipate. If you don't allow them to lead you, they will dissipate. Then begin the work the Holy Spirit wants to lead you into. He will either confirm or deny the charge, but allowing yourself to let the anger drive you means you are allowing the morning glory vine access to a tighter grip. And we have seen what happens when we allow the flesh to lead us into failure to explore truth: a dead tree.

"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." (Mt 7:19) But the Lord is merciful. If you are far along in refusing to believe this teacher or that teacher is false because you have invested so much into him or her, if you do begin the examination process by repenting and pleading to be led into truth, this is what happens:

"And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land." (Is 6:13)

"God sends Isaiah to foretell the ruin of his people. Many hear the sound of God's word, but do not feel the power of it. God sometimes, in righteous judgment, gives men up to blindness of mind, because they will not receive the truth in the love of it. But no humble inquirer after Christ, need to fear this awful doom, which is a spiritual judgment on those who will still hold fast their sins. Let every one pray for the enlightening of the Holy Spirit, that he may perceive how precious are the Divine mercies, by which alone we are secured against this dreadful danger. Yet the Lord would preserve a remnant, like the tenth, holy to him. And blessed be God, he still preserves his church; however professors or visible churches may be lopped off as unfruitful, the holy seed will shoot forth, from whom all the numerous branches of righteousness shall arise." (Matthew Henry commentary).

Be careful out there, brethren. Don't let the morning glory vine choke off truth through its fleshly grip but instead, let His pure glory lead you into truth. Even if you have to cut off your hand to do it.

US drought: "Desperation the only thing growing"

This is Cimmarron National Grassland, Kansas. Not much grass. The Grassland director explains that it is already drier than the driest of the Dust Bowl years.
Video here, explaining what is going on. The Cimmaron Grassland Director there is saying that there has been only 2.99 inches of moisture in the last 10 months, when the normal amount is 19 inches. The topsoil has blown away, and the grasses that remain have exposed roots. When the tender roots are exposed to constant blasting of wind and sand, they die. Compounding the issue has been fire. On Mother's day there was a fire in the Grasslands that incinerated 15,000 acres, and could not be controlled due to 50 mph winds.

This report says that the Dust Bowl may be returning.

"Desperation is the only thing growing"
Since last September — 10 months ago — Morton County near Elkhart has received 2.99 inches of moisture. The normal average rainfall for that corner of Kansas is about 19 inches. There was no dryland wheat harvested in the county this year; more than three-quarters of the county’s acres are dryland. Farmers are selling cow-calf operations in record numbers because there is not enough feed. Newborn calves, less than a day old, are on the auction block.
Roads have been closed due to drifting sand, blocking access to gas and oil wells and causing some companies to shut the wells down temporarily. “I’d describe this drought as very bleak,” said Morton County agricultural extension agent Tim Jones. “You can’t do anything. It is hot, dry and windy. We are at a complete standstill."

"Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a drought disaster declaration for 49 Kansas counties, nearly half the state."

Blogger BayouRenaissanceMan has these two photos of the Kansas grasslands showing before and after:

He ended his blog entry with a plea for those who are so inclined, to pray for rain. I second that.

USDA Drought monitor for July 26, 2011:

We reel from one disaster to another, the flooding in the nation's midsection was and still is monstrous, while just a few hundred miles to the west there is no water. Heat sears the east, while the west shivers in record cold. Crops are dying in many drought-ridden states and the deepening of the tragedy is now having impacts on next year's cycle. The Dust Bowl cycle is also returning. Naysayers claim that there has always been a cycle of drought and lushness, and that is true, but the Dust Bowl was man made due to mismanagement of the land, and after a certain tipping point there was no recovery. The issue today may or may not be man's mismanagement but surely the things the Lord has said will come to pass. Those things include famine and drought. During the Tribulation, the Two Witnesses sent by God will prophesy for three and a half years and will be given power:

"These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire." (Rev 11:6). So the naysayers who claim this is just part of a cycle and that we will return to normal soon are wrong. It will only get worse.

Worse, that is, for unbelievers who choose to deny Jesus and thus ultimately choose to remain on earth when the worst of the worst will hit. This is nothing now. During the Tribulation people will be longing for these days when at least sometimes it rained. Believers will be raptured from the earth to be with the Living Water, who is Jesus. We will be refreshed with life everlasting! Why will we receive these blessings? Because Jesus willingly came to earth to die in propitiation for our sins. He accepted the wrath of God as judgment for sinful man, replacing us whose punishment is deserved, with Himself, who deserved none. Since your sins have been punished already all you need to do is accept that His work on the cross was your punishment for your sins, and ask Him to forgive them. The punishment has been rendered but so has the forgiveness! You have to claim it though.

I bet if someone gave you a lottery ticket you'd put it in your wallet. You may forget about it. But perhaps your friend comes up to you to share the good news, saying, 'Hey, I was watching the TV and the lottery number they gave was the one on your ticket! You won!" I am sure you would take the ticket out out, check it, and hurry right down to the lottery office to claim your reward. You might even get a speeding ticket, you rush so fast to get that money! But instead, in rejecting Jesus, it is like you say, 'oh, yeah, I won a billion dollars' and you go, 'maybe I'll claim it later. Or not. Ho hum.' Yet the treasure that He offers, the treasure that He IS, is so much more than a billion dollars. Money rots away, it decreases in value, but the treasure of everlasting life with Jesus never rots away. It is priceless because it is infinite. Why don't people claim THAT Good News?

Stay parched and thirsty if you want, but I sipped the living water and not only am I refreshed right now, in these dark days, but I am looking forward to everlasting refreshment with Him, in New Jerusalem! You can as well.

Pray for our brothers and sisters in the drought states, they are suffering. Thankfully, that suffering will end when the rapture comes. But for those who remain behind, it will be a very thirsty time indeed.

"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near." (Is 55:6)

"“Behold, the days come, says the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst...” (Amos 8:11-13 KJV)."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Drought in the US midsection, as Ogallala Aquifer recedes

Is this a sad photo, or what?

It's one thing to read about the American drought but quite another to see it. And I can't imagine those living it. This one is out of Pratt Kansas. Pratt is about 75 miles west of Wichita in south central Kansas. The Pratt Tribune has the story:

"Pratt, KS -- Crops are dying, grass is not growing and now the situation is so bad people need to start watering their trees. Some trees in Pratt and out in the country are starting to lose their leaves now while others leaves have brown tips or are turning brown altogether, said Mark Ploger, Pratt County Extension Agent.

“It’s not disease it’s just heat and lack of moisture,” Ploger said. All plants are suffering. The grass is not growing in pastures, feed is growing but is stunted and all the dry land crops are suffering to a point that no dry land corn will be harvested in the area this year. Many farmers have already put their dry land corn into silage but it’s so dry they have to wet the corn down as it goes into the silo to start the silage process."

"The situation has gotten so bad in southwest Kansas that irrigation systems can no longer keep up with an entire circle and are now concentrating on watering just half a circle in a windshield wiper fashion, Ploger said. Insurance companies have loosened their requirements to allow farmers to take this step. The state Department of Agriculture has released CRP acres in several counties, including Pratt, so cattle will have something to eat. The fall planting season for wheat could also be in jeopardy if the area doesn’t get rain soon. Farmers can dust in the wheat crop but the farmers in southwest Kansas know that can have serious consequences without rain to get the crop up. Ranchers are also picking up the pace in weaning calves because the fall feed crop has no moisture and will not produce enough to feed the cattle all through winter."

The rest of the article is at the link. Here is a NASA satellite picture of the crop circles from 2001. The circles are one-mile in diameter.

The NASA article explains, "Resembling a work of modern art, variegated green crop circles cover what was once shortgrass prairie in southwestern Kansas. The most common crops in this region—Finney County—are corn, wheat, and sorghum." This image was captured "on June 24, 2001, accounting for the varying shades of green and yellow. Healthy, growing crops are green. Corn would be growing into leafy stalks by late June. Sorghum, which resembles corn, grows more slowly and would be much smaller and therefore, possibly paler. Wheat is a brilliant gold as harvest occurs in June. Fields of brown have been recently harvested and plowed under or lie fallow for the year."

"Farmers in this region have adopted a more efficient irrigation method, central pivot irrigation. Central pivot irrigation draws water out of a single well in the center of the field. Long pipes perched on wheels rotate around the pivot, showering the crops with water. Because the water falls directly on the crops instead of being shot into the air as occurs with traditional sprinklers, less water is lost to evaporation and more goes to nourishing the growing plants. Central pivot irrigation also creates perfectly circular fields, as seen in this image. The fields shown here are 800 and 1,600 meters (0.5 and 1 mile) in diameter."

"Like crops throughout large sections of the U.S. Midwest, these crops are partly fed by water from the Ogallala Aquifer, a giant layer of underground water. One of the largest underground repositories in the world, the Ogallala Aquifer lies under about 450,000 square kilometers of the Great Plains—an area that includes parts of eight U.S. states."

Now, the Ogallala Aquifer is something to be concerned about. "The Ogallala Aquifer is the main source of water for all uses in the Western third of the state. Counties located above the Ogallala Aquifer account for roughly 2/3 of the state’s agricultural economic value." (source). The Aquifer is drying up. FAST.

Kansas studies dwindling Ogallala Aquifer
"COLBY, Kan.-- When Rodger Funk began farming in parched western Kansas, the conventional wisdom was that water for irrigation came from an underground river and that it was inexhaustible. He heard that over and over again from his neighbors."

"They were wrong."

"Funk realized that in the late 1950s, when he and other farmers in the Garden City area met with geological researchers who had been studying the Ogallala Aquifer. “They announced the water was finite. It was geological water that had been put down a long time ago, and when it was gone, it was gone,” Funk recalled. “That was total news … but it started changing my life. I realized that we were not going to be pumping this water forever and ever.”

The High Plains Aquifer, more commonly known as the Ogallala Aquifer, lies under some 174,000 square miles in parts of eight states: South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. And it is drying up. The Kansas Governor held a summit this week to discuss the situation. In the article about the summit, it was stated,

"For years, the Kansas Geological Survey and the state’s Division of Water Resources have measured water levels in 1,400 wells in the aquifer. The rate of decline had been lessening since the 1960s, but that changed after 2000, when another drought cycle hit western Kansas and farmers began pumping more water out of the aquifer. In southwest Kansas, where the drought has been particularly bad, well tests in January showed the water level in some parts of the aquifer had dropped more than 5 feet in a year, said Brownlie Wilson of the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas. The aquifer generally recharges only about half an inch a year. “If you see conditions like that year after year, it won’t come back in your lifetime,” Wilson said.

So no rain, no aquifer recharge, no crops, no food. No water, no topsoil, wind...equals, what? This again: Dustbowl.

What does the bible say about conditions in the tribulation? It will take a day's pay to buy a loaf of bread. Hyperinflation? Scarcity? Scarcity for sure, Rev. 6:5-6. Famine, too, Rev 6:8, Mt. 24:7. I believe we are seeing the conditions deepening dramatically that will emerge in horrendous fashion after the rapture.

But conditions for born-again believers will dramatically get much better! We will never thirst again, having the Living water to drink from. Did you know that at the Second Coming the earth's geologic configuration will change? In Jerusalem, a new river will emerge as the Mount of Olives is split. This is described in The River of Life: Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47:1-12. You can read about it here and see a map of what it will look like. The river's flow begins at the Temple. It literally is a river and it literally is life from Jesus.

The river begins shallowly, gathers force and deepens, emptying into the Dead Sea, which will no longer be dead but contain teeming fish life. Fishermen will spread their nets along the sea banks to dry them from their hauls. Trees will line the river, giving fruit every month. The land itself will be revived from this water, and become lush with vegetation.

Jesus is the giver of life in every way. This earth is dying but those who are in Him live forever. Come, partake of the water of life that is a risen Jesus. Believe He died for you and your sins. Claim his redemptive work as our savior and your Lord by asking forgiveness of your sins. You will be walking along river banks of clear, pure water, in perfect joy, saved by Him who loves you so. Make the trade from the dusty drying aquifer that no longer supports life as it should, and submerge yourself under His living water that gives life forever.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The world is all shook up

Here are a couple of nuggets for you. I did not come up with these. Smarter people than I posed the question and brought the thought forward. The first is from a Q&A at Jack Kelley's site Grace Thru Faith regarding the first line in Psalm 83. The second is a thought from Joel Rosenberg.

Jack Kelley:
"Q. Psalm 83:3 says “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.” The word “they” refers to the Arab confederates, and “thy people” refers to the nation of Israel. Who are the “hidden ones?” Could this be the raptured Church? If so, it would be a pretty strong hint that the Church is raptured before the battle of Psalm 83 takes place. What do you think?"

[Isaiah 26:20 states: "Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by."

"A. Since Psalm 83 and the rapture are not connected, there’s no reason why we have to be here when it happens. The phrase translated “hidden ones” in Psalm 83:3 means exactly that in Hebrew. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that in Isaiah 26:20 a group of God’s people is told to hide themselves in advance of God’s wrath. Since this instruction immediately follows a resurrection in verse 19 it can’t be referring to believing Jews, whose resurrection takes place after the Great Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-2). I believe Isaiah was referring to the Church and that Isaiah 26:19-21 is the source for Paul’s teaching on the rapture in 1 Thes. 4:15-17. (If so this would lend more support to the view that he taught a pre-trib rapture to the Thessalonians.) If Psalm 83:3 and Isaiah 26:20 refer to the same group of hidden ones, then you might just be correct in saying it’s another hint as to the sequence of End Times events."

This morning Joel C. Rosenberg wrote about shaking the nations. "The LORD is shaking the nations physically, spiritually, financially; Why? And how should we respond?"

It is a good essay outlining what, in his view, the nation-shaking is (Greece, US, Iran, Israel, Arab Nations etc). Then the verse from Haggai is presented:

"The Lord said through the ancient Hebrew Prophet Haggai that the nations would be shaken in the future. “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations….I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations.” (Haggai 2:6, 7, 21, 22)"

"In the New Testament, the Lord reinforced that theme. “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven’….Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:25-29)"

I appeal to one and all to be engaged in an acceptable service with reverence and awe. It IS the way we show gratitude to a Holy God all the things He has done for us. And that though the nations are shaken, our faith will remain upon the Rock that is the Eternal Savior.

The Kind of Worship God desires

I've posted recently about the shallow state of the Christian worship these days, and did a lot of posting about Beth Moore. That means that in the last week I've immersed in watching, listening, reading and attending events that are shallow in their worship (at best) and are blasphemous because of their casual approach to worship and the Holiness of a God we should fear (at worst). I needed a spiritual shower. So I listened this morning to John MacArthur's third part of the series called "The Kind of Worship God Desires." You can go here for a transcript or to download it. The first minute and a half is introduction and the last 4 minutes is an interview. The preaching itself is about 22 minutes. I urge you to take the time to listen/watch. You will be blessed. Then take a peek below as to the kind of  worship some engage in today. The contrast is startling. And that is the point.

After an April snowstorm, one Christian author wrote of intimacy with God through play. "I heard the voice of God speak to my heart: "Come and play." I love that He said "Come." Not "Go." "Come." That meant He was already there. I also love how I could tell by the sweet tone of His silent voice whispering to my spirit that He was smiling. You know, you can tell that kind of thing in the voices of those you really know."

He had a silent voice, but it whispered. Neat trick. More than that, the writer could detect the tone of voice from the silence: smiling. Even neater trick. Best of all, the writer was on such familiar terms with God that His tone of voice could be detected. If you know Him well enough, you can tell that kind of thing, la di da.

The story continued, "I built a snowman. I used grapes for eyes, and a half-moon shaped sesame snack for the mouth. I didn't make a nose. I have enough for the both of us. He's wearing my hat and scarf, and I rather hope he doesn't get them wet. I let him borrow them because I was coming back inside. I laughed with God. He laughed with me."

Wow, cool! God is really just an avuncular cheerleader who builds snowmen. He isn't really the HOLY God whose courts shake with praise and smoke billows out, He is just a guy who hangs out on a sunny day finding sesame snacks to use for snowmen mouth with women who need a break from work.

I love my God because He is Holy. I love Jesus, even thinking of the moment on the Mount of Transfiguration where He revealed His glory and the three apostles with Him fell down terrified. (Mt 17:1-9). I love to think of Him first and foremost this way because it is a continual reminder of our position. Sinner. Yes, mercifully we're forgiven. Yes, mercifully the sins are forgotten. But mercy was needed because of His holiness. See, we're back to the most important attribute of God. It was stated three times in the Isaiah 6:3 scene in heaven, and "The Hebrews usually expressed the superlative degree by the repetition of a word." This means it is a supreme attribute.

This is the Jesus we worship today:
"Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death." (Revelation 1:12-18)

Hallelujah! I prefer this Jesus to the snowman making one. Don't you? The snowman making God who laughs and plays seems too much like us and not enough like who He really is.

The pastor at Window to the Word wrote in the piece Coming Face to Face with God,

“I had a pastor who is a pastor of a pretty far-out kind of charismatic church. We were having lunch one day and he said, ‘I want to tell you something, I don't know how you'll deal with this,’ he said, ‘but sometimes when I'm shaving in the morning Jesus comes in the bathroom, puts His arm around me and talks to me.’ I said, ‘You mean Jesus, the real Jesus appears in a way you can see Him actual...’ ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Do you believe that?’ I said, ‘No, I don't believe that. But what distresses me is I believe you believe that. I just have one question, do you keep shaving because if you keep shaving, my friend, it wasn't Jesus.’"

"What happens when a person comes face-to-face with God? Does he casually “keep shaving” and say something like, “So, what’s going, on Big Guy? Hey, high five!” Is that what happens when we come face-to-face with God? Or is what happens in Luke 5:8 more accurate? When Peter recognizes who Jesus is he says, “"Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"

Blessed are those who are forgiven, who will be able to hear His voice without exploding! Who will be able to see Him as He is without falling dead! He is a holy and a merciful God, and it is Him to whom I cling.

Pisgah Crater volcanic activity: DutchSinse vs. USGS and the rumble in the desert

I mentioned yesterday about the fight for truth in the secular world. I'd stated that the people know there is stuff going on, but the people who have access to the data or are otherwise in official capacities speak to the opposite of what we see and know. Or they deny completely what is going on, or they simply lie.

I've said a few times and shared the statements that the United States Geological Survey has said that there is no increase in earthquakes, then I used their data to show the opposite, earthquakes are regularly exceeding the USGS annual average. The same is true for volcanic activity. The US Government officials say we are in an economic recovery, or that TAARP has worked, when we can all see the economic outlook worsening by the day. Economist John Williams has made a career of showing the true economic data as compared to the information given to us by the General Accounting Office. I don't think that I'll get any argument that the value of the information being presented by official channels these days are usually tainted. It is wise to be skeptical in this day and age of any and all secular information we're given. Search these things out for yourself and be a wary and critical consumer of information.

But when you do search you get a mishmash. Who to trust?  Some people are simply crackpots. At the very least, most of us don't know how to correctly interpret a monetary chart, radar, or scientific data. That's why we leave it to the experts. Yet at the same time it was citizen journalists who spotted the Nabro eruption, revealed the false data in Climategate, and this week, made a claim of a volcanic venting in Southern California that even prompted a response by the USGS.

There is a YouTube man named DutchSinse who regularly posts information concerning weather, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. I've listened to him and I find that his approach is careful, measured, and best of all, he shows how he arrives at his conclusions. He doesn't make outrageous claims but instead puts forth conclusions reasonably based on what he sees from the data. This week he posted three videos showing data to support his claim that there has been volcanic venting at an ancient volcano in the southern California desert, Pisgah.

Pisgah Crater is located between Barstow and Needles CA about 2.5 miles from I-40. It borders the Mojave National Preserve. The Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program says the crater and attendant lava beds are from the Holocene Era which according to secular scientists is a geologic era that began about 11,000 years ago and continues to this day. Its last known eruption is unknown.

In his first two of videos from Sunday July 24 he shows a Nexrad radar of the area with what looks to be a stationary plume of moisture emerging from ground level and hovering for hours before dissipating. He mused that it was volcanic venting.

The next day on the 25th of July DutchSinse posted another video showing the same thing. Dutch moved his audience through his thought process and showed us step by step how and why he had come to the conclusion the volcano was venting. He sent the video and his findings to the USGS. In response, the USGS issued a press release denying that was what was going on.

What I found interesting about the press release was that they didn't deny something was going on, they simply stated that Dutch had misinterpreted that data. Here is the press release:

"BARSTOW • A YouTube user who claimed to have discovered a volcanic eruption in the Mojave Desert over the weekend was mistaken, U.S. Geological Survey officials said Monday. A YouTube video posted Saturday evening displayed radar images and Google Earth maps as a narrator described what he believed to be evidence of a volcanic eruption over Pisgah Crater, a young volcanic cylinder cone between Barstow and Needles about 2.5 miles south of Interstate 40. “There was no indication of a volcanic eruption on that date and time, and nor is there one brewing today,” USGS spokeswoman Clarice Ransom said.Dr. John Eichelberger, program coordinator of volcano hazards for USGS, said the video didn’t appear to be a hoax, but rather a misinterpretation of the data."

Now, I find this fascinating for many reasons. Dutch has a Youtube channel and a website complete with blog, images, and video. But his name is nowhere to be found. So a United States Government Agency found it necessary to respond to the information from an anonymous guy putting out a few videos. I find that extraordinary. It is telling that citizen journalists have made such an impact that the official channels of information react knee-jerk with immediate denials.

Equally interesting is that the USGS referred to data but only said it was not interpreted correctly. However the USGS failed to interpret it for us. They did not tell us what it meant. They admitted there was data, and that there is an interpretation to be made. What it is though, the USGS stopped short of revealing. And therein lay the problem: in any information vacuum, people will fill it in with their own ideas. In some cases like DutchSinse, they will come to reasonable conclusions. In others they will be off the wall.

The next day, by the way, Dutch posted a third video showing what he interpreted to be venting for the third day in a row. It was then that he said he felt 100% certain that what we were seeing is volcanic activity near the Mojave, notwithstanding the USGS denial of his interpretation (but not his data).

People are clamoring for truth to make sense of what is happening all around us. Context and solid information helps us feel less anxious. Recall the Fireside Chats from President Roosevelt during the Depression. Those chats either contained authoritative information or were simply Presidential encouragement to help the people through a dark time- the Depression. We needed to know the officials were "on it", were "with us", and we were united in our goal to get through it with unity and dignity. We don't get that any more. All we get from the people in charge are denials and lies.

As to the immediate point, whether Pisgah is about to erupt or not, I don't know. Dutch made a good point when he said it was not military, it wasn't cloud cover, nor was it a brush fire. It was moisture in the hottest part of the desert, stationary to that location, and from the ground. Brush fires move. Clouds move. This didn't. If it wasn't venting, what was it? It is not far-fetched to wonder if the volcano will erupt at some point, I mean, Nabro in Eritrea recently did, and that was a volcano that had never erupted. Again, that was an event spotted by amateur radar and satellite aficionados. Chaiten in Chile erupted fairly suddenly, and that volcano had not erupted in 9500 years. From the bible we know that the earth will act in increasingly aberrant ways with earthquakes, super-hail, volcanic eruptions, and more. (Rev 6. I believe that the Revelation verse noting the sun went black as sackcloth is from volcanic ash blanketing the sun's rays. More here.)

Now to the main point. The end time will be rife with falsity, the bible tells us. In terms of the Gospel, there will be false doctrines, false teachers, false prophets, liars, and seducers. (2 Peter 2; 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 3:8). In the secular world we are told that men will be boasters, slanderers, lovers of themselves, traitors- all conditions that at their root have a lie at the center. (2 Tim 3:1-5). In other words, in both the secular and the Christian world, the truth will be harder and harder to find. As the world veers inexorably toward falsity, it will culminate during the Tribulation with "THE Lie". (2 Thess 2:11). Though the lie is not defined in the Thessalonians verses, many people (myself included) believe this to be the lie that the man who appears in the Tribulation is Messiah. They did not receive Jesus when He came, and but they will accept another. (John 5:43). Truth will be increasingly hard to find until the Tribulation when lies will be ALL that people will find.

As a Christian I urge one and all to be deep into your bible. We have to cling to Jesus and walk closely with Him to avoid being prey to religious fads, false doctrines, and wolves in sheep's clothing. Jesus is the only truth and as he revealed Himself to us in His word we must take it to heart and seriously study. We, being flesh, will and do often fall prey to lies. The flesh wants to believe lies but the Holy Spirit in us wants to regenerate us into His likeness. (Titus 3:5). An active prayer life, a close walk with Him and daily dying to flesh will go a long way to the Holy Spirit to grow us to righteousness and glory.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Elenin is almost here...but so is Jesus

The posts I publish that I hope will get a lot of traffic, don't, and the posts I put up about the weird stuff always gets a lot of traffic. The all-time top traffic-getter was the February 4 post about the "Ghost Horse of Tahrir Square on MSNBC", with 22,254 views. Coming in a close second is the "Comet Elenin is Coming" post that same month, with almost 20,000 views.

I'd posted information about Comet Elenin, hoping to cut through the hysteria with some facts. I'd presented information from NASA's 'Ask an Astrobiologist' site, and analyzed it. I also made the main point that the reason for the Elenin hysteria these days is that people are increasingly having a hard time finding truth in the news, and in frustration with their elected officials and their main stream media, are turning in droves to the fringe sites for information. It is increasingly hard to trust the people we used to depend on to tell that the facts, and anger is rising. Frustration leads to hysteria and soon we have a skittish population running to and fro to catch the wisps of the latest fact-filled conspiracy or conspiracy-laden facts, however you want to look at it.

That is because, like Isaiah's day, we live in a time soon there will be "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20). These are the days when the sins are rampant. Increasingly there is no distinction of morality and religion. People prefer evil to good and we see this played out every day when some news organization is revealed to have plagiarized or made stuff up, some financial organization is revealed to have been horrendously greedy, some politician is revealed to have been perverse and immoral. The religious prefer erroneous and fake doctrines to the true; the people prefer evil to a righteous course of conduct.

The only truth is the bible, then, now, and forever. You can trust it.

Now add to that that even since February, the spiritual pressure has risen to almost unbearable levels. Even the most atheistic person feels something about to happen. What we're feeling are the effects of the increase of sins. The sins are piling up to heaven, (Rev 18:3-5) weighing us down, pressing in on us. In 2 Timothy 3:1-6, Paul describes the Godlessness in the last days and mentions there will be silly women laden with sins, falling prey to the ones who have a form of godliness but deny its power. "Laden" is the word to focus on here. Just like the sins piling up to heaven, laden indicates that sin has a weight to it, a weight of guilt, a weight of a seared conscience. Isaiah 24:20 prophesies the day at the end of time when the earth is so heavy with sin it reels like a drunkard, and cracks and falls.

Of course, sin doesn't have a real weight, it's a metaphor, but you get the idea. When a kid has done something wrong, their face is downcast, their shoulders are slumped, they walk like they have a ball and chain on the end of their ankle. You ask "What's the matter?" and they mutter, "Nothing" but every fiber of their being says otherwise. We're all familiar with the phrase, "You look like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders." THAT'S what we're feeling now. Sins, guilt, the effects of sin, pervasive evil that is called good, all weigh heavily. The world is spiritually spooked, feeling the pressure of the last stages of pregnancy, the heft and weight of the portentous moment when the labor pains begin and the awful pressure will be released.

Is it any wonder that unsaved people are hysterical about Elenin? They feel something is coming, and Elenin is just as good a thing to focus on as any. Hey, it kind of fits with prophesies, right? The Mayan doomsday prophecy of December 21, 2012, Nostradamus's prophesies about destruction and comets, even Revelation with the celestial bodies falling out of the sky. Maybe there is something TO all this prophetic stuff, they wonder. There is, but their mistake is equating any prophecy with the Bible's prophesies. The world's prophesies are wrong, only the bible is right. So is there an Elenin-like thing in Revelation or another prophetic book?

Let's look at what people are saying about Comet Elenin, first. Has the hysteria died since last February? Have NASA and other's efforts to dispel the frenzy been effective? Not really. Consider this humorous intro from The Economic Voice:

"It’s always nice to come across a subject on the Internet that evokes such difference in opinion. And Comet Elenin is one of those topics. The debate over Comet Elenin is polarised between two opposing views, with an almost infinite number of variations in between. On the one hand comes the official view that Comet Elenin is an obscure loosely packed dirty snowball of as much interest to the general public as a small broken snail shell beside a railway track is to the occupants of the speeding express train passing by. At the other end is the opinion that Elenin is an artificial comet camouflaging a fleet of galactic battle cruisers full of hideous aliens equipped with straws and the aching desire to suck our brains from our skulls via our collective left nostrils."

Hilarious! The article continues:

"The trouble is that there are many end time prophecies such as the Mayan calendar and the Bible Revelations that seem to fit in with the timing of this visitor from the deepest regions of space. There is also the Comet’s name, Elenin. Some claim it was given this name as short for such things as ‘Extinction Level Event 9’. Then there are the theories of alignment causing the Earth’s poles to shift and earthquakes to rend our planet. Or Elenin’s magnetic field will somehow throw the Earth out of orbit despite it having no magnetic field to speak of. There are also concerns about the comet tail ‘engulfing’ the earth, even though it’s only one notch above an absolute vacuum."

He's right, that is a problem that there are so many prophesies describing nearly the same thing. People who are not saved don't know what to believe, and will latch on to something that comes close to the truth but isn't the truth. And then there's Planet X/Nibiru, and other impending celestial disaster the conspiracy theorists have whipped themselves into a frenzy over. This information is from Fox News this week:

Believers in Mysterious Planet Nibiru, Comet Elenin Await Earth's End
"The waxing obsession with the planet Nibiru, which conspiracy theorists say is a planet swinging in from the outskirts of our solar system that is going to crash into Earth and wipe out humanity in 2012 — or, in some opinions, 2011 — shows that an astonishing number of people "are watching YouTube videos and visiting slick websites with nothing in their skeptical toolkit," in the words of David Morrison, a planetary astronomer at NASA Ames Research Center and senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Morrison estimates that there are 2 million websites discussing the impending Nibiru-Earth collision. He receives, on average, five email inquiries about Nibiru every day. "At least a once a week I get a message from a young person — as young as 11 — who says they are ill and/or contemplating suicide because of the coming doomsday," Morrison told Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to What's the origin of this mass panic about Nibiru, which astronomers say doesn't exist?"

Good question. It's from Nancy Lieder, who claims she "has the ability to receive messages through an implant in her brain from aliens in the Zeta Reticuli star system." She is being used by aliens to warn of the impending disaster of planetary collision that was supposed to have happened in 2003, and when it didn't was changed to the more secularly accepted false doom date of 2012. Did you catch that above from the NASA guy? Millions are watching YouTube videos on the subject, the astrophysicist receives a hundred inquiries a month, and gets dozens of suicidal emails from people worried about the disaster. That is so sad.

I'll show you one more article about a Doctor in Cape Girardeau, MO. He is getting bombarded with emails and personal visits from people who want to know more about survival in the Ozark Mountains when Planet X-Nibiru-Elenin arrives. He's getting them because there is a chat room where the leader of the survivalist movement claims to know the Doc and is alleged to have said the Doctor is leading a team to the caves when the planet comes into view. Look at the link, the doctor looks like a really annoyed milquetoast and says he doesn't know the survivalist chat room guy, and has no plans to move to a cave any time soon. Yet he is harassed daily. People are bonkers with expectation!

Here is a link to facts about Comet Elenin. if you're interested in the scientists' point of view. If you trust it.

I have no clue about Comet Elenin and its supposed effect on the earth. I have no clue about Nibiru or Tyche or Planet X. I do know about the bible. And the really sad thing is that people are whipped in a frenzy about things that ARE GOING TO HAPPEN. They do not have to check the NASA site. They don't have to follow misguided survivalist leaders in chat rooms. They don't have to listen to Nancy Lieder in her Zeta Talk show. They can read Revelation.

Because if the feeling of impending doom is pervasive, that is because it is real. The Sun will go dark. (Joel 2:31; Mt 24:29; Acts 2:20; Rev 6:12; Is 13:10; Ez 32:7; Joel 3:15). Men WILL hide in the caves. (Rev 6:15). Tremendous earthquakes will happen. (Zech 14:4; Ez 38:20; Micah 1:4; Rev 11:13 & etc). The unsaved feel the weight of the sins piling up, they feel the spiritual darkening, they glimpse eternity ahead. But they are not saved by the blood of Jesus so they do not know what to do to escape. They glimpse rightly but conclude wrongly.

The feeling of imminence of a 'something about to happen' is judgment. Judgment is not a popular concept these days. It is not even a popular doctrine within the church among people who should know better. Judgment reminds us that there is a Higher Authority. We are not our own authority. We have free will, but we will have to answer to Him for the choices we've made. Christians won't be judged because at salvation our sins were forgiven (Col.2:13-14), but we will be held accountable for the things we did for Him after salvation, and the things of no use to Jesus will be burned up. (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 4:5). Unsaved people will have to answer to Him for rejecting His pardon and willfully rebelling against him. (Mt 25:31-46). The things coming on the earth will be real, not a conspiracy. Those who believed in Elenin chose poorly. Those who believed in Zeta Talk chose poorly. Choose wisely. Choose the only truth there is: Jesus, Holy and Wrathful, judging mankind.

I hear so often these days that God would never judge us, for God is love. Yes, God is love. Is that all God is? Are your parents only love? Or do they also delight in you? Punish you? Teach you? Chastise you? If our parents punished us because they loved us then God is the perfect embodiment of both love and justice as well as all His other attributes.

I am not going to say prepare for Elenin, prepare for Nibiru, prepare for Planet X. I am going to say Prepare for the Lord. Either you will meet Him as His friend, in which case you will be protected from all these things; or you will meet Him as His enemy, in which case all these things will be poured out on you. I know what the logical choice is. Do you?

Would you like to make a reservation?

If you've had the opportunity to go to a fancy restaurant, the kind where orange isn't a color scheme and the chairs aren't plastic, then you know that there is a method of securing a table called "Making a reservation." It's pretty easy. You pick up the phone at some point prior to the scheduled evening and you speak to the reservations host. You tell him or her when you want to come, and what time. They acknowledge your request and set that table aside for you at the designated time.

Between the time of making the reservation and the evening's arrival, you may talk about it with your special one by exchanging anticipatory pleasantries such as, "I'm looking forward to that night out away from the kids," Or mentioning practicalities like, "Did you call the sitter?"

As the time nears for your special evening out, you engage in other activities that enhance the fact that this night is different than all the others. If you are a man, you may shave and groom yourself. You may dress in a suit and put on a tie. If you are a woman you wear dress set aside for special occasions, take extra care with your hair and makeup, and may even wear jewelry you don't usually put on such as Grandmother's brooch or the gold chain your husband bought you last anniversary.

Finally the night arrives and you pull up to the restaurant. Sometimes if it is a really fancy place, there are valets in red vests there to take your car and relieve you of even that mundane duty of parking it. As you walk in, the atmosphere is calm, serene, pleasant. The podium is strategically placed by the interior door to the dining room and you approach the Maitre'D with expectation. He may say,

"Do you have a reservation?"

And happily, you say "Yes, Smith party of two, for 8:00 please."

He says, "Just one moment, please," and consulting his book, he confirms your name written in it. At that point, the Maitre'D escorts you to a table set aside for you from the moment you called to make the reservation. And as you sit down your pleasurable evening finally begins.

Ahhh, like wedding days and graduation events, after so much anticipation, the night is over all so quickly. The champagne has been drunk. The Clams Casino have been eaten. The candles are melted and the fire has died. It's over, but perhaps a nice memory had been created.

It feels special to be escorted by the tuxedoed Maitre'D and truth be known, you might have sashayed just a little. As he pulls the chair out for you, you feel catered to, special. I remember when I went to Italy I learned that you can call the Uffizi Gallery ahead of time and reserve the time you want to come visit the museum. When you get there, you walk alongside the hundreds in line, right up to the red velvet ropes, and speak your name to the docent. He checks his book and confirms your name is in there, and he un-hitches the rope and lets you in. All the people waiting in line wonder who you are to get such treatment! And it does feel like you're a VIP for a moment.

There is a better reservation for you, if you want it.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5)

You could have a seat reserved for you at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (Rev 17:7-10). Your reservation for participation in this glorious, long anticipated event could be secured, with your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. (Rev 13:8). If we feel special being escorted to our seats by the Maitre'D at a restaurant here on earth, imagine the joy of being escorted to your seat to partake in the consummation of all the long betrothal period of the church and the Savior! Being seated at the most important VIP table of all. Here, the candles never die. The Living Water sparkles and never dries up, it flows eternally. The joy of being included never fades. And to attend this special event, you only need make a reservation.

If you believe you are a sinner, doing, saying or thinking wrong things, then you know you are a lawbreaker against God. He is the judge who delivers the sentence to all who break the law by engaging in sin. It is willful rebellion against Him. But He sent His son to take the punishment for the world's sins, and He died on the cross as that punishment. God's wrath was delivered into Jesus and through Jesus, satisfying the sentence for rebellion against God.

If you recognize that your sins are separating you from Jesus, that the velvet rope will eternally bar your entry to the blessed place, then you need to call upon Jesus to forgive your sins. He will do that. Your name is already printed on the reservation card, the moment you repent and seek forgiveness, your seat is secured at the table. Immediately, you can begin to anticipate your inheritance which the verse says is "imperishable and undefiled." It will not fade away, as everything on this earth eventually fades, even memories of a pleasant evening. It is reserved in heaven for you. There will be no mix-up with the Maitre'D, there will be no delay at getting your seat. Make your reservation now, appeal to Jesus for forgiveness of your sins. He already took the penalty and all that is left is to enjoy the fellowship and communion with Him, by Him, and through Him. He will refresh you by regenerating you into His likeness. He will help you squash the sinful old man in you and make you into a new creature. You will be sealed with the inheritance of the Holy Spirit as the deposit of what is coming. (Eph 1:14). You DO become a VIP to Jesus, a protected and cherished one.

Would you like to make a reservation for this event? Repent, pray, and look to Jesus as Lord and Savior. The table is being set now. I hope to see your name on the card by your seat.

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 ...