Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The incomparable riches of His grace

What are these incomparable riches of God's grace?

First, Christ Jesus.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-7).

As we are saved, we step from dead flesh to life eternal. From enemy sinner to forgiven friend. From object of wrath to recipient of grace.

He is GREAT!!

He manifested Himself as man, servant, no less, so that He could live a life full of the same temptations we experience, can you imagine that? "Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted." (Hebrews 2:18)


As our High Priest, when we confess to Him, He understands! Thoroughly, bodily, intimately. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15).


Another example of the incomparable riches of His grace is "The Promise of the Holy Spirit" --"On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:37-39).

We are given the grace of Spirit within us and as a result have eternal security of our salvation all the days of our life. Incomparable grace!

"He set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Corinthians 1:22)

What is to come is MORE GRACE!!

When you think of Jesus and what He has done for us and continues to do, don't you just get weak in the knees? Doesn't your heart faint with love? He saved us so that He could shower us with His grace. "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." (1 Peter 5:10) He is the God of all grace, and He chose to shower us with the riches of that incomparable grace.

Don't forget to remind each other of these things. Encourage one another. Repeat your testimonies. Share verses, laugh with joy at our Great Savior, who is of all Grace. All is well because Christ Jesus has risen and dwells in His heaven. All of us in Him are testimonies of His grace, and that is all joy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Blackbirds invade Kentucky Town; Mass stranding of dolphins, seals

Remember the Aflockalpyse at the beginning of 2011 and 2012? Where large swarms of birds inexplicably dropped dead in several towns? Well, LaGrange KY has had an influx of birds, but they're not dying. They just keep coming, and coming and coming...

Birds Invade Town: La Grange, Ky. Swarmed By Black Birds
"Residents in a Kentucky town are saying "Get the flock out of here" to thousands of black birds that fill the sky each night.At dusk, the birds take flight in La Grange, Ky., and create what some locals describe as a "cloud of birds," according to TV station WAVE. The birds nest down in a wooded area for the night and depart each morning in a huge pack, reports said. Fine-feathered friends, they're not. Residents complain that they're constantly cleaning up after the avian arrivistes, who started showing up last November in the community northeast of Louisville. Nearly everyone has heard their town compared to Alfred Hitchcock's classic film "The Birds." The birds' unexplained presence has allegedly coincided with a surge in respiratory ailments, according to one woman who spoke with WAVE."

Dolphins are latest mammal deaths in New England
"Whether they got lost, sick or swam astray chasing food, 77 dolphins that beached on Cape Cod in recent weeks have died, the second time in three months New England has seen a mass of marine mammal deaths.Now, scientists are trying to figure out why.They're also researching whether there's any connection to a die-off this fall of 162 harbor seals, whose carcasses were found between northern Massachusetts and Maine.Scientists later determined the seal deaths were linked to an influenza virus similar to one found in birds but never before seen in seals..."

Poor things!

In the bible, God created man and creatures to co-habit. He blessed the animals. He said for us to have dominion over them. (Gen 1:28-30). We were all vegetarians and there was no killing. Beasts did not kill us and we did not kill beasts. God blessed it all.

However after the Fall, things changed. God cursed the ground and the food and told Adam that he would have to toil for it. He clothed them of skins, the first time animals had been killed for man's need and use. (Genesis 2:21). After Cain and Abel were born, we see that they knew to sacrifice animals in blood to pay homage to God. (Gen 4:4) After the flood, God put the fear of man into beasts and Noah was told that all the animals, birds and fish were now food for man. (Gen 9:2-3).

But in Revelation 6:8 we see that the fear and dread of man seems to be gone from animals as they kill man in the plague of beasts that cause widespread death on the earth (along with war, famine and disease). Animals have been getting more brazen over the last year or so. They have been acting in unusual ways. Perhaps as the Lord lifts His restraining hand they are becoming more and more ready for the day when the fear and dread of man is lifted completely.

I can't wait for the day when all will be restored! We will cohabit with animals in gentle fashion again. Nature will not groan under the curse. Isaiah 11:6-9-

"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Arctic Snowy Owl irruption, even in Hawaii!

I had prepared an essay looking into the biblical symbolism of clouds. I was looking forward to it. Eventually, at His timing, I will finish it.

But today something shook me up. It shook me hard. I mean, literally, physically, when I read it I began to shake and cry and tremble and hyperventilate. I don't get these feelings often, thankfully. It could mean nothing. Maybe I'm just getting a cold. Maybe not.

Let me preface this by saying that I personally believe that America has been under judgment since 9/11. Whether you believe that particular start date is not a matter of worthwhile debate, because the unalterable fact is that America will be judged, and should be judged and is even being judged now.

Judgment cometh.

Why am I so sure of this? God never changes. He is wrathful against individuals, groups, and nations that abandon Him! He forsook individuals, (Samson, Saul). He abandons groups, (Pharisees), judging them unworthy and henceforth unable to turn to Him for salvation. The Judge's hammer had come down. He judges nations.

Last March I wrote a blog entry called "Has America's point of not return been reached?" meaning, had the moment come when our national sins had reached a point when our prayers were no longer reaching His ears? (Jeremiah 7:16-20). I believed then that the moment had come. All that was left was the judgment. And what I read today shook me as a powerful portent if the imminence of that sure judgment.

News articles are reporting something that is extraordinary. You know that I often post articles that show the strange activities of animals. Well, this one has the experts stumped. It is an extreme puzzle, for sure, in their words:

"Arctic snowy owls soar south in rare mass move"
"Bird enthusiasts are reporting rising numbers of snowy owls from the Arctic winging into the lower 48 states this winter in a mass southern migration that a leading owl researcher called "unbelievable." Thousands of the snow-white birds, which stand 2 feet tall with 5-foot wingspans, have been spotted from coast to coast, feeding in farmlands in Idaho, roosting on rooftops in Montana, gliding over golf courses in Missouri and soaring over shorelines in Massachusetts. A certain number of the iconic owls fly south from their Arctic breeding grounds each winter but rarely do so many venture so far away even amid large-scale, periodic southern migrations known as irruptions. "What we're seeing now — it's unbelievable," said Denver Holt, head of the Owl Research Institute in Montana."This is the most significant wildlife event in decades," added Holt, who has studied snowy owls in their Arctic tundra ecosystem for two decades."

Catch that language from officials who have never seen this happen. 'Unbelievable', 'significant'. Later in the article they say is it a 'phenomenon', a 'surge' and a 'mystery of nature.'

In this article from the NY Times, they report,

"Bird-Watchers Revel in Unusual Spike in Snowy Owl Sightings"
"But this year, the numbers are unusually high, said Denver Holt, director of the Owl Research Institute in Charlo, Mont. “There are so many across the country, everywhere, by the thousands,” Mr. Holt said. “It’s unbelievable. They are being seen from Boston, to the Great Lakes, the Ohio River Valley, Kansas, Vancouver and Seattle. “One showed up at the airport in Hawaii, and they shot it,” he added in astonishment. “It’s the first ever in Hawaii and they shot it!”"

Get that: an Arctic Snowy Owl, in Hawaii. The NY Times article continues:

"The irruption started in late fall and is expected to end by March or April. In few places are people as excited as in Kansas and Missouri, where snowy owls are exceedingly rare. Ninety have shown up in Kansas this winter and 40 in Missouri. Until this year, the highest number counted in Missouri had been eight. “It’s a massive movement,” said Mark Robbins, the ornithology collection manager at the University of Kansas. “I recognized pretty quickly that when things started happening early this was a pretty big invasion."

For Missouri, that is a 400% increase in sightings. In Kansas, ornithologist Mark B. Robbins at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute said "We might go a lifetime without seeing this magnitude."

Are you getting the idea that these birds are doing something completely unusual? I wanted to show you the ornithologists' own language and their absolute astonishment at this avian phenomenon. It IS a bona fide mysterious event. But that is not what shook me up. Yes, it's unusual, and interesting. The thing that slayed me was something from the bible. Now comes the spiritual application.

Notice the language they used to describe the mass influx of owls to America: irruption. An irruption is 'act of rushing; act of breaking in; intrusion, raid; sudden increase.' There are two things to consider here. One is that a biblical irruption is foretold. Same language. In the Scofield commentary on the verse from Matthew 7:22 where the people say 'Lord, Lord did we not cast out demons in your name?' Scofield does a little sidetrack in explaining about demons. He says, "One of the awful features of the apocalyptic judgments in which this age will end is an irruption of demons out the abyss. Rev 9:1-11." An irruption of demons is foretold to occur when the pit is opened and they fly out in such numbers the smoke of their coming covered the sky and darkened the sun. There will be a bursting in, a rapid and sudden increase of demons. In the bible, owls are a harbinger of desolation.

Secondly, owls are a potent symbol in the bible. They are mentioned frequently, and always in reference to a nation that has been judged, and who is laid waste. (Except for the listing of them in Leviticus as a non-clean food). Owls are unclean birds in the bible, and their appearance is always a reference to waste places. One example is Isaiah 34:11. The chapter begins with the title "God's wrath against nations".

"But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it; And He will stretch over it the line of desolation And the plumb line of emptiness."

Of that verse, Barnes Notes says, "The owl also and the raven - Well known birds that occupy deserts, and old ruins of houses or towns. The image here is that of desolation and ruin; and the sense is, that the land would be reduced to a waste that would not be inhabited by man, but would be given up to wild animals." And unclean animals at that.

The chapter goes on with more references to owls: "But pelican and hedgehog And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it; And He will stretch over it the line of desolation And the plumb line of emptiness." (Isaiah 34:13)

"There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate." (Isaiah 34:15)

In America there be gathered the owl ... and soon thereafter the plumb line of emptiness?

Now I don't want to focus too much on my reaction upon reading this today. Sometimes I get these reactions in a travailing kind of prayer and mourning from the Lord, but that is my own reaction and my own private ministry. I don't want to focus too entirely on the fact of a mystery of the gathering owls into America. It is good to be mindful of the weirdness of events, it is good to be mindful of the biblical symbolism, but those alone do not make a doctrine such as what I am saying, which is that "America's judgment is near."

The best thing to do is to turn to a more sure word, as 2 Peter 1:19 says, "And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." Peter says, look to what the Word says.

The bible says that any nation that abandons God will be judged. The bible shows that any nation that forsakes His ways and turns to idols will be judged. Any nation that is haughty, is wasteful of the bounty given by God, is greedy, fails to look after the oppressed, who robs and steals embezzles and cheats, will be judged. It has happened to nations in the past and it is foretold to happen in the future. I could cite biblical references galore. Just read any of the major and minor prophets. Joel. Nahum. Habakkuk. Hosea. Zechariah. Obadiah. Jonah. It is a sure word. Therefore since America has done all those things, America will be judged. The question is when.

Sodom was judged for its rampant immorality which included homosexuality, and so it shall be for America. Look at Romans 1:18-32. When God forsakes a nation, when He abandons them, He departs from them and leaves them open to the devices of sin, of the enemy, of the natural and unnatural consequences of our abandonment of Him. Romans 1:18-32 shows this progressive abandonment and hence the progressive judgment. It first begins with immorality. Then it deepens to debauchery, a nation driven almost insane by perverted lusts. Finally He gives them over to depraved mind, meaning they can't even think straight. They cannot think of what is good, it cannot and does not enter their mind.

Proverbs 1:24-31 is one example of how our Holy God will refuse to even listen. "Because I called and you refused, I stretched out My hand and no one paid attention and you neglected all My counsel and did not want My reproof, I will even laugh at your calamity. I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you, then they will call on Me but I will not answer. They will seek Me diligently but they shall not find Me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would not accept My counsel, they spurned all My reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices."

When God forsakes a nation, when He abandons them, He departs from them and leaves them open to the devices of sin, of the enemy, of the natural and unnatural consequences of our abandonment of Him. Romans 1:18-32 shows this progressive abandonment and hence the progressive judgment. America will eat the fruit of our own way. It is a serious, serious thing to be left alone by God.

In Psalm 102 the prayer of the afflicted man, it is said, "I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins."
The Barnes Notes commentary explains: "I am like an owl of the desert - The owl is a well-known bird which dwells in solitudes and old ruins, and which becomes, alike by its seeking such places of abode, by its appearance, and by its doleful cry, the very emblem of desolation."

Will America become the very emblem of desolation? Is it soon upon us? Is it at the very doors? Is that why America is not mentioned in prophecy? As the owl screeches in the dark all over America this night, from Hawaii to Massachusetts, perhaps it becomes America's dirge.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

An encouragement

I greet you all with a kiss of peace, and with good news that He loves us and is waiting to call us, His bride, home to Him soon. He is preparing the place in which we will dwell for all eternity, untainted by sin at last. We will gaze at one another through the spotless lens of the Holy One who redeemed us to Himself, and we will love Him and each other perfectly. His light will shine upon us untainted by clouds, pure as the blazing Light that shines supreme, transcendent, unmatched, our eyes shining as the reflection of His matchless glory. Angels will sing praises to Him and we will join in, love glowing out among all creation in glory, as only He can be! Why He chooses to share Himself with us, I will never know, but that knowledge and fact only makes me love Him all the more. He saved a wretch like me, and changed me from creature to daughter of God!

I sincerely hope you all are well. If you are not, then I hope that good news of what awaits us revives you, that we have the perfect assurance of the incomparable riches of His grace. O, His grace is sufficient for me, and if I feel this overwhelmed with it now, what will it be like when I get there??!! Think on that brethren. Beloved, these things are true, these things are noble, these things are just, these things are pure, these things are lovely, these things are of good report, there is virtue and they is praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Phil 4:8-9 paraphrased)

Update on LeRoy NY Tourette's outbreak: more victims, including an adult, new town involved too

On January 20, 2012 I reported that a strange thing was occurring in upstate NY at the town of LeRoy. A dozen girls had suddenly taken sick with Tourette's-like symptoms. The girls began twitching, having seizures, and manifesting other strange tics and body movements. Medical causes have been hard to find. The school and town tested public buildings for environmental reasons and came up empty. The girls say that though "severe stress" has been touted as a possible cause, that they are not stressed, and doctors, stumped, proclaimed that it is likely a conversion disorder, otherwise known as mass hysteria or mass psychogenic illness.

In that blog entry I said that a spiritual reason didn't seem to have been explored, and while not knowing the state of their belief in Jesus, that it could be a demon infestation.

The news says: "The mystery illness surfaced several months ago when 12 girls who had been attending the Le Roy high school began to display tics and involuntary verbal outbursts. Both the state and the local school district did extensive testing of the school grounds to see if there might be any signs of an infectious disease or some toxin the girls might have come in contact with. All those tests came back negative." (source)

The diagnosis of mass hysteria is so unusual (these days, but remember Salem Witch mass hysteria in 1682?), that NINDS organization is now involved in the case.

"The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NINDS, is currently conducting research on conversion disorders and is running a clinical trial to investigate uncontrollable shaking in people who have no known underlying brain or medical disorder." (source)

Well, here is an update:

The first update is that the famous environmental lawyer Erin Brokovich (yes, that Julia Roberts movie Erin Brokovich) has gotten involved and is attempting to see if there is an underlying environmental cause, So far she has found that thirty years ago a chemical accident from a train derailment spilled some toxic chemicals into the ground. However, that was thirty years ago and the train accident was near but not so near the school and the neighborhood where the girls live. Unfortunately, of the original girls who have come down with this, their symptoms are worsening.

Secondly and more ominous is now it seems that more teens have come down sick. Other kids, including one boy, have now began manifesting the same symptoms. Worse news is that they are not all in LeRoy but are from other towns in NY. New outbreaks are occurring in places like Corinth NY, 250 miles to the west of LeRoy.

"Mystery illness gaining national attention"
"The number is now more than two dozen girls, all with Tourettes like symptoms, including twitching, jerking and vocal ticks. As our health reporter Marcie Fraser reports, the case spans New York State and is gaining national attention."

The article above notes that the girl in Corinth who came down with symptoms stopped to eat dinner in LeRoy after an away game, but the same article notes that she began manifesting symptoms in May 2011 and didn't stop to eat dinner in LeRoy until July, eight weeks later. "The NYS Department of Health has released this statement, saying in part, “DOH reviewed both the epidemiology and the clinical evaluations and found no evidence of environmental or infection as the cause of the girls’ illness.."

Number of students with Tourette's symptoms grows
"The number of students across New York State -- from Genesee County to Saratoga County -- who have now come down with Tourette syndrome symptoms continues to grow. The figure now stands at 17. In addition, for the first time, it's not just girls who have been affected. A boy from western New York has become the latest victim. The number of students from Le Roy High School in Genesee County who have now been confirmed with conversion disorder is 15 -- 14 of them girls and now one boy. It is not clear at this time if there's a connection to the two teenage girls from Corinth in Saratoga County who have displayed similar tics and involuntary movements."

Lori Brownwell is one of the LeRoy girls who first came down with the mystery illness. She has been making videos to chronicle the changes in her life. Her YouTube channel is here.

On that channel in her latest video, Miss Brownwell makes note that a new person in LeRoy is starting to show symptoms, a "very reputable adult female and it is quite a shocker..."

I want to say something and I am eager for it not to be misunderstood. I have no idea of the spiritual condition of the girls. But here is what the bible says:

If a person is not in Christ, they are in satan. (Matthew 12:30). Satan is god of this world, blinding the minds of those who are not in Jesus (2 Cor 4:4) and he and his minions attack, delude, harass, scheme, and fight against all who are on it and even struggle against the obedient angels, too.

"Satan and his demons now look to destroy and deceive all those who follow and worship God (1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15). The demons are described as evil spirits (Matthew 10:1), unclean spirits (Mark 1:27), and angels of Satan (Revelation 12:9). Satan and his demons deceive the world (2 Corinthians 4:4), attack Christians (2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter 5:8), and combat the holy angels (Revelation 12:4-9). Demons are spiritual beings, but they can appear in physical forms (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). The demons/fallen angels are enemies of God, but they are defeated enemies. Greater is He who is in us, than those who are in the world (1 John 4:4)." (source, GotQuestions).

Remember this set of verses in Matthew?

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” (Mt 12:43-45)

That explanation, given by Jesus, tells us a lot about how demons operate. First, demons are active. Second, they go in and out of people. They seek dry places (waste places, fitting for them.) Also if we remember Jesus is the Living Water then it stands to reason that demons would always thirst and be dry, restlessly seeking that which they thirst for but never will acknowledge. Third, the verses tell us that if a person is only outwardly clean and after vain attempts to remain clean in his own strength that the demon will soon come back in force to re-occupy the person. Only that which is of Jesus can truly repel a demon, because it only Jesus who has the victory.

I applaud the LeRoy officials for looking into most of the possible causes of the unfortunate distress affecting so many families in this area. They've looked into medical, neurological, psychological and environmental causes. I have not found one article that has considered spiritual causes. Believers in Jesus know that satan is active and strong, restless and endlessly seeking that whom he may devour. A spiritual cause is worth looking into!

In Mexico they have been having problems with demons for a while, so much so that in 2010 a new chapel dedicated to performing exorcisms opened up in the district of Queretaro! The Catholic Church there said at that time they had about ten cases per month and that the phenomenon was on the rise.

In this recent news article, Huffington Post obtained photos from modern day exorcisms in Mexico City.

From a spiritual standpoint it needs to be said that though ninety percent of Mexicans are Roman Catholic, it is not a true religion. It teaches things contrary to the bible and any person who adheres to those precepts is not saved, including the priests performing the exorcisms. However from a cultural standpoint it is useful to note that where there is not true faith, demonic occurrences are on the rise.

Please pray for the girls, families, and new victims of this outbreak in NY, whatever it is. Pray that the local pastors would have discernment and have courage to propose that there may be a spiritual source for this. At the very least, if the issue is raised it may be that it can be excluded from the list of possible catalysts. And if not then it may lead to a blessed event of salvation of afflicted souls.

Friday, January 27, 2012

News: "Divers find large, unexplained object at bottom of Baltic Sea"

Now, this is pretty interesting. And it isn't even from a conspiracy or UFO site, either, lol--

"A team of salvage divers has discovered an unexplained object resting at the bottom of the Baltic Sea near Sweden. "This thing turned up. My first reaction was to tell the guys that we have a UFO here on the bottom," said Peter Lindberg, the leader of the amateur treasure hunters. Sonar readings show that the mysterious object is about 60 meters across, or, about the size of a jumbo jet. And it's not alone. Nearby on the sea floor is another, smaller object with a similar shape. Even more fascinating, both objects have "drag marks" behind them on the sea floor, stretching back more than 400 feet." ...

"Well, it could just be another shipwreck. Or, mud. But Lindberg says the ship theory doesn't really hold up because of the unusually large size of the objects. "Of course it would be something from another ship but it's quite big," he told CNN. Lindberg notes that some observers have speculated that the objects may be Russian warships built around the end of the 1800's. However, Lindberg points out that not only were those ships much smaller, they were not patrolling the Baltic during that era. The Baltic Sea is a literal treasure trove for salvage teams and a "shipwreck laboratory" for researchers. The sea's low salinity levels help preserve objects that sink to the bottom."

The size and distinctive shape of the two objects are generating some peculiar theories, the video explains. In any case, the marine archaeologists plan to return to the Baltic Sea and make a dive when it calms a little, probably in May.

The history of he earth is so interesting. What has gone before? What treasures are hidden? The mysteries of the 10,000 year old Gobekli Tepe site, Bimini Road, Giant's Causeway, the interior of the Pyramid at Giza, Machu Picchu, Nazco Lines, Easter Island, what happened to the Anasazi ... there are so many mysteries! What was man doing? What was satan doing? Will we find out when we get there? Will we care?

So many creative ways to die: the story of George Millet and the ink eraser

Iowahawk put an interesting link up yesterday on Twitter. It was to photo of a gravestone in New York City upon which was engraved the story of how the person died.

Here is the photo:

George Millet was a fifteen year old boy who had just begun working at the Department of Applications of Metropolitan Life Insurance in New York City two months before. By all accounts, he was a diligent, shy, pleasant boy whom the office stenographer ladies liked. On the day after Valentine's Day 1909 he admitted that it was his 15th birthday. The young ladies teased him and said that when the work day ended they would chase him to give him his birthday kisses. Millet said they should not do that.

The ladies would have been smart to heed his words. When the time came to chase him, several of the ladies did catch George and planted the birthday kisses upon him. In an attempt to run away from the next kissing office mate, George tripped and fell. Unfortunately the ink eraser he carried in his pocket as part of his office regalia pierced his artery near the heart and he died shortly after.

The story was pretty big news, being unusual method of death, the suddenness of it, and the tender youth of the likable boy. The NY Newspapers carried reports, as well as newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Papers today even take note of it. Below are photos of ink erasers from that part of the century. Here is a pdf of the NY Times account. I love the language.

"Stabbed to death in office frolic"... "stabbed as a result of skylarking at the office"... The Trenton True American's headline "Boy meets death while running away from kisses of a pretty girl". The Gettysburg Times' headline was "Killed while escaping kissers: While eluding girls lad fell upon ink eraser".

Death can come evilly; from a shank in prison, at the hands of a murderer, a violent domestic situation...or it can come innocently. Playful romps do not normally result in nearly instant, bloody death, but they can and they do. In 2006 Crocodile hunter Steve Irwin was doing what he did every day, observing or filming marine wildlife when he was instantly killed by a stingray's barb to the heart.

Life is short. You've heard that. It was short for George Millet. He didn't think he could or would die in an office job at an insurance company. But he did. The bible tells us, "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”" (James 4:13-15).

It is unwise to put off plans to reconcile to Jesus. It is foolish to think you will be granted a tomorrow. Your life is but a breath and then evaporates. One breath separates you from life on earth and eternity at your final destination. Job 7:7, Psalm 39:5, Psalm 78:39, Psalm 144:4, Proverbs 27:1, Isaiah 2:22 ALL remind us that life is a breath and then it is gone. The Isaiah verse reads, "Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils." What does God hold? Eternity. He holds your life. He holds your future. Put your trust in HIM. You may not have a tomorrow. George didn't.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Strange noises in the sky: hums, booms, and other apocalyptic escapades

People have been asking on different blog entries if I am going to address the current spate of sky rumbles/sky quakes/ mysterious booms as they are variously known. I don't have much to say about them, and I can't really relate them to the bible because the bible does not specifically address them as a warning sign.

The noises are usually a low pitched hum that veritably drives the residents crazy, or a boom from the sky that people liken to a sonic boom. When they occur, the authorities receive dozens to hundreds of phone calls asking if there had been an earthquake. In most cases, the boom is not related to a military activity nor aeronautic exercise, not to a quake, and not to drilling or explosives. These things are checked out and the usual explanation is usually absent, leaving residents to wonder what is the cause of the noise. That's why they are termed mysterious.

I did mention the latest one at Costa Rica, here. I also mentioned the hum at Windsor Ontario, Canada when it occurred, here, and also linked to one of the most persistent hums that is actually plaguing a village at the UK, here.

The Costa Rica boom was pretty startling to many. I'd written: "Last week one happened in Costa Rica that the entire nation heard. When I saw the news come across the alternative news sites, I was startled by how penetrating the hum seemed to have been, and how utterly startled the whole country was. After a day or so, the regular, mainstream news sites and newspapers started carrying news of the strange boom."

Ironically, this very month there was a mysterious boom in the county where I live. "Still no explanation for mysterious booms in Madison County."
"Two weeks after loud explosions shook homes and caused a lockdown at the Madison County Jail, authorities are still puzzled about what caused the booming sounds that sparked a flurry of 911 calls to the county’s emergency officials. Almost a dozen calls came into the county’s 911 center shortly before 8 p.m. Jan. 3. The calls came from a wide swath of the county, from east of Danielsville to Colbert, according to Camp.“We found a sort of pattern developed — a pattern of numerous booms — not of it occurring in one particular place. It was heard at different locations and it even shook buildings. The fire department and sheriff’s office rode around and couldn’t find any damage,” he said. During his investigation, Camp ... called the University of Georgia’s geology department, which has seismic sensors in the area. There was no evidence of earthquakes in Madison County at the time the explosions were heard, Camp said. One of the explosive sounds was heard near the Madison County Jail. Sheriff Kip Thomas said the facility was placed on lockdown because no one knew what was happening. “There’s no explanation,” he said."

That's how it goes. A BOOM! And then after investigation, no explanation.

As for the hums, they also are eerie. I suspect many of those have a legitimate explanation, or are hoaxes. But I am particularly intrigued by this one in Alberta Canada because it is official men working for the government who are obviously startled by the sound and recorded it on their equipment. I always lend more credence to a strange phenomenon if it is discussed by or acknowledged by authorities. As a matter of fact, the Malaysia Ministry seeks recordings on the sky noises to collect data. The article is excerpted as follows:

"The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry wants to collect audio recordings of the purported strange noises in the sky heard by residents of Kota Samarahan, Sarawak. In a Sinar Harian report, Deputy Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusuf said the ministry was collecting as much "evidence" as possible on the bizarre happening so it could submit its report to the National Space Agency (Angkasa) for further investigation. "This incident is no laughing matter. We hope those who have audio or video recordings of the noises can come forward so we can investigate," said Fadillah, adding that any evidence can be sent to the Petrajaya parliamentary service centre in Jalan Astana, Kuching. Residents of Kota Samarahan claimed to have heard noises resembling "loud snorings" in the wee hours of Jan 11 and Jan 12, triggering speculations and apocalyptic theories among the fascinated."

Huffington Post reported on the strange sky noises thus, and it pretty much sums up how I feel about them:

"UPDATE: The strange sounds phenomenon continues to spread, with videos popping up from Canada and around the world featuring similar noises. The weird sounds have allegedly been recorded in a number of cities, including Winnipeg, Chicago and Glasgow. While many viewers are intrigued, others are equally skeptical about the strange sounds. Is this the latest Internet meme? The Huffington Post Canada first spotted a video recorded in an Alberta forest featuring bizarre sounds on Jan. 16. The video – which was originally uploaded on Jan. 13 – has already received more than 1.2 million views."

Someone with an interest in the issue created an interactive google map and a list with links to videos and recordings of all the sounds to date that have been reported, updated from when the strange noises seemed to ramp up to global consciousness in summer 2011 through January 21, 2012 with 82 reports already. The map  is here. I tested the site through Norton and it is safe.

When HuffPo posted the original youtube vid of the Alberta forest noise, there were many comments, of course, with the range of mockers, serious thinkers and everything in between. This comment in particular comment caught my eye: "Sounds like hell opening up”.

That is my opinion exactly. In the Costa Rica strange boom essay I concluded this way:

"When I read that the volcano began its newest eruption I thought of the strange hum in that same nation. I thought of the veil, and all the activity that is going on behind it. The principalities, powers, and dominions are fighting furiously for control of the earth. The demonic powers know the bible's outcome but their evil is that they refuse to believe it. So they fight. God sends angels to do His bidding, and ultimately, we know that God is sovereign and will prevail. The conclusion is foregone. But the activity behind our realm of hearing and seeing is furious and ongoing. What is that hum? I do not know. But it was heard by many, and as God lifts His protective hand from the world perhaps the earth's people will be hearing more."

Weigh in with your theory, by all means.

The Lord is coming soon

The Lord is coming soon. He will call His bride (the believers) up to Him. After that He will begin judgment on the remaining unbelieving world.

The Lord is coming soon.

“Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4)

In Noah's day, they didn't believe they would be held individually accountable to a Holy God for their sins and were doing and thinking evil continually. (Gen 6:5-7). The LORD prepared judgment, and told Noah to build the ark because He was going to wipe out mankind. He said He would do it, and He did it.

How long did the world have to prepare? "When Noah is first mentioned in Genesis 5:32, he is 500 years old. When Noah enters the ark, he is 600 years old. The time it took to build the ark would depend on how much time had passed between Genesis 5:32 and the time that God commanded Noah to build the ark (Genesis 6:14-21). At the absolute most, it took 100 years." (source). Knowing God's patience and longsuffering, (Numbers 14:18) we can surmise that the Lord used Noah's righteous life among all who lived at the time (Genesis 6:9) as an example. We can surmise that the ark building activity itself was an example, too. Just as Christians today are an example to the ungodly. "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20)

We can think of the conversations at Noah's place that went a little something like this:

Artist-Attributed to Francesco Bassano
Building year 1:
Noah! What are you doing?
Building a boat because the LORD is angry at the sin in the world and will destroy it.
HA HA HA Noah, you're nuts. Everyone's going to heaven, didn't you know that? Love wins.

Building year 25:
Noah! Are you still building that thing?
Yes. The LORD is patient but righteous and He will judge sin and sinners.
HA HA HA Noah, there is no God! He would have shown up by now. Think for yourself!

Building year 75:
Noah! You should be ashamed. Your whole family is involved with this thing now.
Yes, we follow the LORD. The LORD is angry with sinners and will judge the world. Repent.
DORÉ, Gustave
HA HA HA I'm fine, I'm a good person. YOU'RE the one who's nuts. Come to the market with us, get your mind off this ark thing.

"First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires." (2 Peter 3:3)

Building Year 99 and 360 days:
Noah! Aren't you tired of that by now? Give it up, man. Come to Joe and Pete's wedding. There's free booze.
The LORD is holy and wants all to be righteous. Repent.
HA HA HA No wonder no one wants to be around you, Noah, you're so intolerant.

100 years after the command to build the ark: DEATH

I say the Lord is coming soon. I do not think it is early in the call to repent. I do not think it is in the middle of the time set aside for His longsuffering to call sinners to His bosom. I do not think it is late in the Age of Grace. I think it is VERY LATE.

BOURGEOIS, Léon Pierre Urbain
One of the times in one of the years, one of the months the mockers who mocked and the scoffers who scoffed mocked once too often, and scoffed once too many, and the Day came.

"For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Mt 24:38-39)

The Lord is coming soon. It won't be 100 years from now. It could be tomorrow. Are you ready?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Human slavery is more prevalent today than it ever has been in history

Revelation 18 speaks of the day when Economic Babylon is finally vanquished. What a day that will be! Though the Tribulation will be a time of great upheaval and supernatural disasters, there will be an economy and there will be people buying and selling. Revelation 13 makes the point that no one without the Mark of the Beast can buy or sell. Revelation 18 lists numerous cargoes that the merchants lament when Babylon is destroyed. Revelation 18:15 notes that "the merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her..." So there will be trade, economy, and wealth.

Note the consumer items that are being lamented when economic Babylon is destroyed- they are all luxuries. Note particularly the last item:

“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore— cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves." (Rev 18:11-13).

Many people have thought throughout the twentieth century that the slavery being lamented must be a metaphor. It must mean, they thought, "It's not really slavery, is it? I mean, slavery is so passe."

In the twenty-first century we also believe that slavery is a thing of the past. As a matter of fact, non-believers who mock the bible as being 'outdated' and irrelevant to today's society often point to this verse about future slavery and mock Christians who believe the bible word for word.

But it does mean slaves. The verse even defines it by saying humans. In no matter what translation you read it, it means people as slaves being sold.

Does slavery exist today? It certainly does. You will be shocked to read that slavery is more prevalent today than it ever has been in all of history. The figures in the link are 2008 numbers, before the current economic crash began. Not doubt the numbers are higher now. The article states, "According to research carried out by the organization Free the Slaves, more people are enslaved worldwide than ever before. In its 400 years, the transatlantic slave trade is estimated to have shipped up to 12 million Africans to various colonies in the West. Free the Slaves estimates that the number of people in slavery today is at least 27 million. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center suggests that three out of four slavery victims are women and that half of all modern-day slaves are children. ‘Countless other’ people are in other forms of servitude which are not legally classified as slavery, according to the Anti-Slavery Society, described ambiguously by some as ‘unfree labour’."

Other terms used to describe slavery, thus disguising it from society, "are chattel slavery (the traditional meaning of slavery), bonded labor, trafficking, forced labor, and forced marriage, amongst others." In a different article, this one in Forbes this week, are also "“trafficked,” “sexually exploited,” “commercially sexually exploited,” “prostitute."

In 2011 it was reported that Slave traders made $32 billion last year alone, and sold 2.2 million children into slavery. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has said, "Human trafficking has recently been described as “the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world” and the one that brings in the most money after drugs and weapons.

Slavery is real, people, and growing more real every day. Read how Michael Snyder put it today on his Economic Collapse blog:

"When the sun goes down every night, America becomes a very frightening place. There are communities all over the country where drug dealing, human trafficking and gang violence have gotten so out of control that authorities don't really know what to do about it. In America tonight, thousands of meth heads will break into homes as they desperately search for enough money for another hit. In America tonight, thousands of children will be sold for sex at truck stops and on street corners. In America tonight, millions of criminal predators will be searching for a new victim. From the top levels of the federal government all the way down to the most depraved criminals on the street, America is rotting. Once upon a time our tremendous affluence masked the moral decay that was happening in this nation, but now that the economy is falling apart the damage to the fabric of our society is being revealed. We have become a nation of addicts, junkies, thrill seekers and predators. When we finally see the U.S. economy fully collapse, millions of desperate, angry and depraved monsters will take out their sick frustrations on all the rest of us."

The Detroit Free Press reported this week on today's slavery issue.

• Human trafficking is a $32-billion industry worldwide.
• Up to 2 million people are trafficked worldwide every year. Of those, 15,000-18,000 are in the U.S.
• Eight in 10 human trafficking cases involve the sex industry; the others involve labor trafficking.
• In 2010, 2,515 human trafficking cases were under investigation in the U.S.
• Eighty-three percent of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases in the U.S. in 2010 were American citizens, though 67% of labor trafficking victims were unlawful immigrants and 28% were legal immigrants.
• The National Human Trafficking Resource Center hot line gets 1,000 calls a month about suspected trafficking victims.
• Call volumes have more than doubled in recent years, from 5,700 calls in 2008 to nearly 12,000 in 2011. Hot line calls coming from Michigan also have doubled in recent years, from 87 in 2009 to 173 in 2011.
• Twenty-seven states, including Michigan, have their own human trafficking laws.

Human trafficking, slavery, exists and will only get worse. The lament from the merchants at the destruction of economic Babylon isn't mourning the loss of lives. They are mourning the loss of slaves they got rich on and the loss of opportunity to keep selling people as slaves.

How can they be so depraved? It is because we have steadily been reducing the value of a human life. We murder mass quantities of children in the womb as a matter of convenience. We teach and preach that we come from monkeys, therefore we're only animals after all. We refuse to admit Jesus into our schools or public life, therefore generations of people don't know we are made in His image.

As for the reality of slavery, the first and most important kind of slavery is slavery to sin. Paul in Romans 7:14 says "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin." We are slaves to sin from birth.  You see in the verses showing how much a going economic concern slavery will be and how depraved the slave merchants are, how deep they are in their sin. They will have traveled far down the sin-road. Nothing will be beyond them, not even a fellow human's being's enslavement. However, the Lord came to us from heaven, manifested Himself to us so that we no longer need to be slaves to sin and all the brutality it entails.

"For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." (Hebrews 9:24-26). How glorious! He came to us, Himself!! He died as the sacrifice to satisfy the wrath of God and God's necessary justice. Jesus took the criminal penalty for us.

If you repent of your sins, you don't need to remain a slave to your sins and you won't need to worry about becoming an actual slave. You won't be here during the Tribulation. You will be resting peacefully with Jesus where amazing grace abounds for all eternity. Praise Him!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Solar storms lighting up the skies

A second sunburst this week will affect earth. A coronal mass ejection left the sun on January 19 arrived at earth on January 22. It was a M3 class flare. The Spaceweather.com explanation of the diferent levels of flares, "X-class flares are big; they are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth's polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. Compared to X- and M-class events, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth." Each category ranges from 1-9. So an M3 is medium sized but on the lower end of the intensity scale.

"The coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 22nd. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the impact strongly compressed Earth's magnetic field and briefly exposed satellites in geosynchronous orbit to solar wind plasma. Shifting lines of magnetic force induced strong ground currents in Norway and sparked bright auroras over the upper reaches of North America." (source)

It isn't an angel but it reminds me of one! How pretty!

An M3 is a good size but an even bigger ejection occurred a few days later. A M9, on the threshold of the largest kind of flare, was ejected. "This morning, Jan. 23rd around 0359 UT, big sunspot 1402 erupted, producing a long-duration M9-class solar flare. The explosion's M9-ranking puts it on the threshold of being an X-flare, the most powerful kind. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare's extreme ultraviolet flash:"

Discovery.com put it like this:
"You may not know it, but there's an epic magnetic battle between the sun and Earth raging over our heads. On Friday, the sun hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) at our planet that sparked a strong geomagnetic storm and beautiful aurorae at high latitudes on Sunday. Late last night (EST), the sun unleashed yet another CME... and it's heading our way. A particularly angry-looking sunspot (1402) on the solar surface erupted with a strong, long-duration M9-class flare Sunday night at around 11 p.m. EST. "M" stands for "medium," but the explosive energy was just shy of an X-class solar flare -- the strongest kind of flare the sun can produce. Now that yet another CME is approaching, even more spectacular auroral activity can be expected for the next few nights. We are currently undergoing the largest solar radiation storm since 2005."

It is such a big storm, that NASA advised rerouting jets. "As a rare precaution, polar flights on Earth are expected to be re-routed, Kathy Sullivan, deputy administrator of NOAA, said today at a Meteorological Society meeting in New Orleans, La., according to Space.com."

The sun is getting active. As it does, keep looking up. "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." (Luke 21:25.)

"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Mark 13:28-31)

More ships from US, UK, France deployed to Gulf

Syria's dictator Assad was called by the Arab League to step down. He refused. The pressure is rising. The violence is increasing. In other news from the Middle East,

US aircraft carriers to deliver 'direct message to Iran'
"In an apparent show of strength, Washington is deploying a second carrier strike group in the Gulf. US officials also confirmed their commitment to maintaining a global fleet of 11 aircraft carriers despite budget pressure to cut the fleet's size. ... Panetta added that the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is on course for the Persian Gulf – and will steam through the Strait of Hormuz in a direct message to Iran, AP reports."

According to the Navy website as of January 20, 2012, the excerpt below show the following carriers and groups' deployment. The Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain in the Red Sea.

Navy status as of January 20, 2012

The European Union decided to implement oil sanctions against Iran over the next few months. The EU will also sanction the Iran Central Bank and to ban all trade in diamonds, gold and other precious metals with the bank and other public bodies.

In retaliation, Iran threatened, again, to close the Strait of Hormuz. The strait is a natural chokepoint though which a third of all global oil is exported by ship.

In retaliation,  British, French ships join US carrier in Strait of Hormuz, "Earlier, Britain's Ministry of Defence said a British Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll and a French vessel had joined the carrier group to sail through the strategic waterway."

Oh, boy, they are really piling up over there.

But wait, there's more! In addition to Argyll, the "HMS Westminster left Portsmouth for a seven-month deployment east of Suez, passing hundreds of relatives who waved off loved ones from the Round Tower."

The areas in the world prophesied to be highly active in the last days are now in the news on a constant and center-stage basis. The battles to come, as described in Psalm 83, Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39 are nearly here. The amount of world attention, diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, and war materiel being drawn into the exact sphere where the launching pad for the Tribulation will occur is absolutely amazing. It is all happening right before our eyes. The Epicenter is like a magnet and the rest are iron shavings being drawn inexorably toward the final confrontation.

It is not a confrontation with each other, but penultimately, they are being drawn into a confrontation with their own sin, and ultimately it will be  a confrontation with Jesus.

It is all happening right before our eyes. Look at it! Then look up, for our Redemption does not seem to be far off.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Asleep on the watch"

"Somebody please wake the watchmen! I would rather have sadness and grief with much tears, bringing us to repentance, than to continue to see the churches being infiltrated and assimilated by New Age Occultism, false teaching, heresies, philosophies of men and doctrines of demons as the watchmen sleep." (source)

Another good article on the biblical explanation of what a watchman does from the Old Testament and New Testament, here.

It's 2012 and homosexuality is still a sin

Culture and Godliness are anathema. We do not belong to the world. "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. (John 15:19). What God wants for His people and what the World wants for its people are distinct opposites. Just remember the scene from the Garden in Genesis 2 between the serpent, Eve, and Adam. So as we approach the end, we are reminded of Jesus' words about the state of the culture at the time He calls an end to sin and He intervenes personally and visibly. These are known as the Days of Noah and the Days of Lot:

"Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man." Luke 17:26

The Days of Noah were described in Genesis 6:5: "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time."

Jesus also went on in Luke to say that despite the wickedness people would still be doing normal things and thinking these were normal times, just as those in Sodom did when Lot was called out if the city by the angel. "People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building." Luke 17:27-28.

As for Days of Lot, you remember that Lot hailed from Sodom, a most wicked city. That city was destroyed because of its sins, homosexuality being chief. Homosexuality is a judgment upon a progressively disobedient culture. (Romans 1:18-26 describes the effects of unbelief and its consequences)

Matthew 10:15 reminds us that the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah are still to come. " tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." The cities themselves have been erased from earthly physicality but their sins have not been dealt with. They will be. And this is a reminder that they serve as an example to any nation who promotes, tolerates, accepts homosexuality (and any sin) to the degree that those two cities did. (Jude 1:7- "In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire."). In other words, Sodom is gone but not forgotten by God. And Sodom is gone but should not be forgotten by us.

Please keep those verses in mind as you read the following news excerpts from this week...

Why gay people make the best parents
"But research on families headed by gays and lesbians doesn't back up these dire assertions. In fact, in some ways, gay parents may bring talents to the table that straight parents don't. Gay parents "tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because they chose to be parents," said Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts who researches gay and lesbian parenting. Gays and lesbians rarely become parents by accident, compared with an almost 50 percent accidental pregnancy rate among heterosexuals, Goldberg said. "That translates to greater commitment on average and more involvement." And while research indicates that kids of gay parents show few differences in achievement, mental health, social functioning and other measures, these kids may have the advantage of open-mindedness, tolerance and role models for equitable relationships, according to some research. Not only that, but gays and lesbians are likely to provide homes for difficult-to-place children in the foster system, studies show."

Indiana unveils its first license plate for gay youths
"Indiana’s first specialty license plate that benefits gay causes is now available for purchase. Bureau of Motor Vehicles spokesman Graig Lubsen said the Indiana Youth Group plate has been available since Dec. 28. The plate bears a logo with hands in rainbow colors reaching up. Some $25 from sales of each $40 plate goes to the group serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. The Indianapolis-based organization operates an activity center, helps develop Gay Straight Alliances in high schools and assists communities in forming youth services. The group serves about 1,400 youths and young adults ages 12 to 21, The Indianapolis Star reports in a Wednesday story. She said Indiana is the second state in the nation with a specialty plate benefiting gay youths. Maryland was the first, she said."

Gay marriage gaining momentum in WA Legislature
"The last time same-sex marriage was debated in the Washington state Legislature, lawmakers voted to ban it. Fourteen years later, the issue is before the Legislature once again after a multiyear effort that has incrementally increased rights to gay and lesbian couples in the state. And this time around, it looks like Washington could very well become the seventh state plus the District of Columbia to legalize same-sex marriage."

Rumor of the day: Obama to endorse gay marriage in State of the Union Address this week
White House won't rule it out
"White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Friday he wouldn’t rule “in or out” the possibility of President Obama endorsing same-sex marriage in the upcoming State of the Union address. Carney made the remarks on whether Obama would announce support for marriage equality during the State of the Union address, which is set to take place Tuesday before a joint session of Congress, in response to a question from the Washington Blade."

I've said before that governmental promotion of homosexuality will bring judgment upon the nation.

Whenever the Bible mentions marriage, it is between a male and a female. The first mention of marriage is in Genesis 2:22-24 shows the God-ordained model for marriage:

"The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."

In passages that contain instructions regarding marriage, such as 1 Corinthians 7:2-16 and Ephesians 5:23-33, the Bible clearly identifies marriage as being between a man and a woman. Biblically speaking, marriage is the lifetime union of a man and a woman, primarily for the purpose of building a family and providing a stable environment for that family. (more here).

That we are seeing such acceptance of homosexuality, transgenderism, lesbianism, and perverted lifestyles, is not just a symptom of the state of our culture, it is a judgment.

God in His mercy will forgive any penitent person when they appeal to God. If you are in a lifestyle that you know deep down is harming you, failing to bring fulfillment, and you want out, then throw yourself on the mercy of Jesus, who forgave your sins at the cross. He will forgive, then He will send the Spirit to help you resist the devil, and the devil will flee from you. (James 4:7).

If you are in one of these lifestyles and you do NOT feel it is harming you, if you think it IS bringing you fulfillment, then I submit that you are in deep danger of missing out on the universe's greatest blessing, the blessing that comes after repentance and forgiveness by Jesus, His bringing you into the very family of God. Stop now and pray to Him before your heart becomes even more hardened to the soft influence of conscience, which is the Spirit telling you Jesus is near. Because once He gives you over to your desires, that's it. (Romans 1:24)

If you are in a family where you are devastated to have a beloved family member involved in one of these lifestyles, then keep praying, pray! Jesus is bigger than any sin, and He hears the prayers of the righteous.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More Costa Concordia observations

It is now more than one week after the terrible shipwreck of the Italian passenger cruise liner Costa Concordia off the Tuscan coast. The tragedy has captured the world, as shipwrecks always do. I'm sorrowful for the families of the victims who are still missing and those who are dead. I am sad for the wrecked lives of those who are related to the Captain, and I'm sad for the captain himself. I wrote last week about the bravado he displayed in using the cruise ship as a personal yacht and maneuvering close to the shore for a personal reason. I'd thought about Paul's admonition to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 that in the last days certain emotional conditions would be driving humanity; selfishness, greed, disobedience, hatred, brutality, etc. The captain's behavior certainly illustrates several of the prophesied those conditions, and moreover, how the conditions of those who exhibit them affect all of us.

The UK Guardian has a retrospective piece called "An All-purpose symbol for our times" that is poetic at times and its tone the appropriate level of melancholy. In part, they wrote:

"A giant white ship lies on its side in the glittering Tyrr- henian Sea, the hi-tech wedding cake of its once-towering superstructure now food for thought and shellfish as it forms a man-made reef close to the dwarfed land. The wreck of the Costa Concordia is a grave to a still uncertain number of people, yet it is also a metaphor. Where other transport accidents might be discussed with muted horror and careful respect, a shipwreck brings out far more primitive and irrepressible responses."

"When you look at pictures of the fated ship, from the shore, or the air, or even from space, the size of it is staggering – seeing these cruise ships sailing in and out of Venice recently, it was astonishing how their towering decks loomed above churches and dwarfed palaces. But as with any maritime disaster, the shell of the ship is also a mystery, concealing stories of horror and courage.It is impossible not to imagine the invisible world inside, flooded cabins, inverted restaurants, corridors become watery tombs. The imagination of disaster fills in the unseen details. Nothing grips the imagination like a tragedy at sea. George Orwell was a child when the Titanic sank. As an adult he wrote decades afterwards that it meant more to him at that age than any single piece of news from the first world war, which broke out two years later. He remembered how every detail in the newspapers of the Titanic's sinking and the terrible struggles of the survivors haunted his young mind. Above all, he recollected imagining the last moment when the ship stood completely vertically in the water before plummeting into the depths, and the people still on board hung from railings high above the water."
One by one: Infra-red footage shows passengers of the Costa Concordia queuing up (on the right) and then slipping down one-by-one (on the left) the belly of the ship via a rope. Source
"The giant cruise ships of today reflect our own society just as exactly as the Titanic reflected the world of 1912. The moral questions that hover over exactly what happened on the Costa Concordia inevitably resonate far wider than the incident itself."

I agree. Though The Guardian remarked on the symbolism the global media is making about the shipwreck mirrored against the economic times, I'd like to make that observation balanced against our moral times. Courage, duty, man against creation, life, death all are part of the moral discussion and is relevant against what Paul prophesied in 2 Timothy 3. Cruise liners are called "floating pleasure palaces" for a reason. They are designed with an intent to offer the maximum relaxing, hedonistic, pleasure-filled time of carnality that anyone can indulge in. It is the most carnal vacation, practically, that anyone can experience on earth. Thus, part of the discussion is hedonism, and how God views it. (James 1:13-14; Gal 5:16-17)

Ecclesiastes is a book that reveals the depression & melancholy that invariably results from seeking happiness in worldly things. Just about every form of worldly pleasure is explored by the writer in the pages of that wise book, and none of it gives him a sense of meaning. For those who embark on a cruise with a hope that this vacation, this indulgence, will give long lasting satisfaction, will be sorely disappointed.

I am NOT saying that the shipwreck was a judgment of God. Ship happens. I am NOT saying that taking a cruise means a person is unGodly or wanton. For many people it is a safe, affordable way to take a vacation, simple as that. But it could be ungodly and wanton, and for many it is. For even more people, that is the point of the experience. For those people, you might as well call the ship a ship of sin, because any temptation can be found within the ship's halls. Everything about a cruise ship is designed with an intent to satisfy the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. (1 John 2:16). Gambling, drinking, sexual indulgence, gluttony, adultery, fornication, immodesty, carnal entertainment ... the list goes on. The News program 20/20 did a spot Friday night of the Costa, and also the cruise ship industry in general. I was shocked but not surprised to see video depicting the worst effects of sinful man in the cruise ship hallways, as drunkards stagger, vomit, fornicate, fight. The number of brawls amazed me, as the cruise industry admitted that free-flowing alcohol with no moral restraints inherent in such cruises invariably leads to more frequent brawling than the industry likes to admit.

Again, a cruise is and can be a wonderful thing. If you have gone on one and had a great time, then I am really happy for you. But they are also a carnal thing and even if you are steady in your moral compass you know you will be trapped on board a floating pleasure palace where others' decisions to succumb to temptations will affect you. As it did to those on Costa Concordia when the captain, in the company of a young woman not his wife, ordered dinner with her an hour after the ship had hit the rocks and some passengers were only minutes away from dying.

Incoming CME, 'assassinate Obama' brouhaha, good sermons, another Costa Concordia body

It is a rainy, eerily humid, storm-filled day here in north Georgia. We are under a tornado watch, which is unusual for January. The thunder is rumbling and it is dark out.

I am writing the weekly prophecy newsletter and brewing another pot of coffee. While I prepare, I often listen to a sermon or two. Today I am enjoying Don Green's series. He began it last week, and its four sermons will explore some of the basics. He said that while it is important to acquire new knowledge of the truths contained in the bible, it is also important to go back to the basics. Don Green is one of the pastors who preach at Grace Community Church, John MacArthur's church. The segments are under the umbrella of Grace Life Pulpit, being smaller bible study groups than the church-wide preaching MacArthur does on Sunday mornings at the regular gathering. Phil Johnson and Don Green alternate at the pulpit. Pastor green's four sermons are titled:
  • Who is God?
  • Who are you?
  • What is sin?
  • What is salvation?
The first two are up on the website, here. I recommend them heartily. If you need a jolt to be reminded of Who God is, please listen to Pastor Green's sermon. It is a blessing.

We are enduring thunderstorms and are under a tornado watch. This weather certainly is strange for January. But then again, all of the nation has endured strange weather. Anchorage, Alaska is laboring under the heaviest snowfall ever. Snow, ice and wind have grounded Alaska Airlines. Yet there has been little snow up until now in what they are calling an oddly warm winter. But that came to a halt in the lower forty as Seattle got hammered this week in a record-setting storm and those same storm winds are fueling the wildfires in Reno Nevada. The storm is also marching across the Midwest as Chicago deploys all its plows.

The Costa Concordia shipwreck continues to captivate the world. Just today, the 12th body was found. Sadly, it was a woman wearing a lifejacket on the fourth floor corridor evacuation point. It is haunting to think of those who obeyed directions to return to cabins, or who believed the lie for the first hour that all was under control. Worse, imagine being that women, waiting for rescue that never came. Last night marked the first week anniversary. Now the world's attention is turning to the legal ramifications as the officials amass evidence about the captain's behavior and the victims amass evidence for lawsuits. Christian Science Monitor has a retrospective article, "Costa Concordia wreck: What we know a week later."

Professor Erik Klemetti has a blog entry on "Observing Volcanoes around the world" with photos and links to volcano observatories' webcams. The Hawaii Volcano Observatory is celebrating its 100th year. Pretty cool.

We are awaiting the incoming Coronal Mass Ejection that was launched off the sun two days ago. A moderately strong M3 ejection, it is stated to be arriving today, sparking a geomagnetic storm. Certainly there will be gorgeous auroras at the poles. Cell phones will be affected. It is supposed to arrive about 5:30PM Eastern time.

The Publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times suggested this week that Israel's thought-process for protecting their people from a nuclear Iran may indeed include, or should include, assassinating Obama. Publisher Andrew Adler "argues that there are essentially only three options available to Israel: 1. attack Hezbollah and Hamas; 2. order the destruction of Iran's nuclear facilities at all costs; 3. assassinate Obama. Yes, you read "three" correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence. Think about it. If I have thought of this Tom Clancy-type scenario, don't you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel's most inner circles? Another way of putting "three" in perspective goes something like this: How far would you go to save a nation comprised of seven million lives ... Jews, Christians and Arabs alike? You have got to believe, like I do, that all options are on the table."

Though this opinion piece is not available online at the AJT, you can read the entire document as an uploaded .pdf here at Gawker

This stance caused an uproar. Adler has since made an apology for the piece.

From reading the Adler piece, I think he was trying to say that one wonders why it is an option by Israel to allegedly murder successive Iranian nuclear scientists but that they would not consider assassinating a high-level enemy on the other side of the ocean. That Adler was saying if Israeli officials authorize that moral crossing of the line in one way, why not another? That in truth, would it not ever, ever cross the mind of a nation's highest level officials to consider it an option to employ in the protection of their 7 million people?

Time Magazine wrote about the latest Iranian nuclear scientist's assassination, "after an assassin in a passing motorcycle attached a magnetized explosive to the side of his Peugeot 405. "Yeah, one more," a senior Israeli official said with a smile. "I don't feel sad for him." Wednesday's attack followed the pattern of previous operations planned by Mossad and carried out over the past two years by Iranians trained and paid by Israel's spy agency, according to intelligence sources."

Now, though Time Magazine is considered a mainstream, credible media outlet, they did not name the 'Israeli Official' nor did they name the 'intelligence sources'. Additionally, they simply made a statement that the assassinations were carried out "obviously" by the Israel spy organization Mossad. Those are not facts. Those are conjectures. Alternately, Adler was also conjecturing as to the thought process of Israeli officials. How far would they go in this covert-almost-overt war? was the point of his article. It is stated by Adler to be a Kobayashi Maru moment. This is a famous no-win test from Star Trek, in that as Star Fleet cadets are being tested in an unsolvable problem, Kirk redefined the problem and thus found a solution. Someone experiencing a Kobayashi Maru can be said to be between a rock and a hard place. No matter what you think of Adler's piece, Israel is certainly between a rock and a hard place.

"On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves." (Zechariah 12:3)

I hope you have a wonderful day, doing His will as we await His blessed coming.

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 ...