Sunday, September 30, 2012

Major Earthquake in Columbia, how many earthquakes have we had this year so far?

Here is some information regarding earthquakes. The year is not over so we cannot compare this year to previous years...unless we compare the exact same time frame, January 1 to Sept 30, which is what I did.

What did the data reveal? How is the number of earthquakes running so far this year, compared to previous years? How is the number running, compared to annual averages by United States Geological Survey? (USGS gives annual averages from Jan-Dec., so the time frame is not exact but you can get an idea of the running total to see if this year is under, the same as, or over expected number of quakes.)

This first chart is the major magnitudes and the annual number of each magnitude of quake, from Jan 1 to Dec 30 for each year, USGS source.

This next chart is one I generated by using USGS search engine to find total of quakes between January 1-Sept 30. I highlighted in red the years where each magnitude of quake exceeded the annual average by Sept 30.

This chart is straight from USGS (though I cropped off the lesser magnitudes). Click to enlarge.

As for quakes in diverse places, there were two just north of Dallas Texas which rattled windows, and nerves. The magnitude was 3.4 with a 3.1 aftershock.

A 7.3 occurred in Columbia today, which was a very strong one, but so far thankfully no deaths are reported. Here is a news story about it, but the current reporting of the magnitude is 7.1 which is wrong. Initially USGS posted the magnitude of the Colombian quake at 7.4. Then USGS downgraded it to 7.1, and that is where most news reports came in. But then USGS upped the magnitude again to 7.3, where it is currently staying.

The other strong quakes this week were:
6.2 at the Gulf of California
6.4 at Andreanof Islands, Alaska
6.0 Solomon Islands

There have been 167 quakes of small size at or just north of the Virgin Islands. They all range roughly from 2.5 to 3.5 in magnitude.

Jesus said, as a sign of His soon return, "There will be famines and earthquakes in various places." (Matthew 24:7b). Not every quake by itself is an indicator of His soon return. However, the totality of the signs He told us would be present is a better barometer of the times. Israel being in the land existing as its own nation is sign number one, given the focus of God upon Israel as the major eschatological component.

However also included but not limited to the signs on the list are earthquakes, famines, diseases, false teaching, false prophets, and sin rising to levels that make the times absolutely perilous.

God either causes or allows each and every thing to happen on this earth, and if an earthquake has occurred, it is of God and from God, as part of His plan in some way. In other words, He is speaking. Are we listening?

Apostasy and the Remnant Church, part 2

Yesterday I wrote how the remnant church is like a peanut M&M. I think anyone with eyes to see understands that the global body of believers in Jesus Christ is persecuted, surrounded, discriminated against, and generally derided. I think it's obvious that the church in the West has been thoroughly polluted by Gnosticism, Phariseeism, ecumenism, and prosperity gospel. The church, especially in the west, is largely apostate.

This is prophesied. We read in Luke 18:8 that Jesus asked the disciples, "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" He had just finished telling them the parable of the unrighteous judge, and He warned them that at the end the oppressed will get justice, but it won't be on earth. He was speaking of the time of the Tribulation, but we see that apostasy being set up now.

At the last day, there will be faith on the earth in the form of Tribulation saints, but they will be so few in number and there will be so many who don't believe, that realistically speaking the believer's influence will be statistically negligible.

Apostasy will abound in the last days, and that means not only in the tribulation, but now, too. (Matthew 24:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1-3). But what does that apostasy look like? How does it begin?

First, let's look at apostasy in the person who has never believed. How can a life-long unbeliever be an apostate, you say? Because we all know God from the beginning. Any unbeliever, whether they have never believed or they seemed to have believed for a while and fallen away, are apostate.

You see, we all start out on equal footing when we are born. We all have a sin-nature. (Genesis 5:3; Psalms 51:5). And as we grow, we all see the glory of God made manifest in the world through His creation. All.(Romans 1:19). Romans 1 continues by showing us the process of how people end up dead in their sins for all their lives.

First, they deliberately suppress the truth. (Romans 1:19). Then, though they know God, they refuse to give Him honor. As a result, their hearts are darkened. (Romans 1:21). Still needing to honor something greater than themselves, though, they trade giving honor to God for giving honor to idols. (Romans 1:22). That's the end of the mental portion of the process.

If a person has come this far without repenting, then they start dishonoring God with their bodies. (Romans 1:24). The tipping point seems to be the moment when they actively start worshiping nature or idols. If they continue without repentance, then their bodily dishonor deepens and they become homosexuals. (Romans 1:26-27).

At the last, their mind becomes so polluted due to their having suppressed the truth and dishonored God with their bodies, their minds are given over to total debasement. (Romans 1:28.) You notice in the next verse it says they were "filled" with all manner of unrighteousness. The Greek word used here is defined "to make full, to complete". God allows all sins to flood into them and they are capable of anything at that point.

But what about apostates, you ask. I described the unbeliever's process, but an apostate is someone who falls away from the faith, right? Yes and no. Yes they fall away from the faith, but they were never IN the faith to begin with. They were an unbeliever the same as those I described above, they just happened to have made a little foray into the church for a while.

It is important to understand that Jesus will never lose one of His sheep. (John 10:28; John 6:39). Those He brings into the faith will never leave. John wrote:

"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us." (1 John 2:19).

How they leave may take a long time or a short time, but they never were in the faith. They only looked like it on the outside.

An apostate could be someone who came forward at an altar call, who responded to the pastor's plea for "the sinner's prayer" to be answered. Maybe they were even baptized. But after that week you never saw them again. They never came back. That was a false convert, an apostate who fell away.

An apostate could be someone who had served as deacon for thirty years. Who had been a long-time member of a church, dong all the right things, saying all the right things, but slowly began drifting away. Their church attendance became spotty, and they gave up on Wednesday night teaching. Then their absences became longer and longer and when asked about it, they said they needed a break. Eventually you realize, they never did come back. They stopped leading devotionals at home...they quit praying... That is apostate also.

So how does apostasy happen to a person who looked like a believer? The exact same way as Romans describes.

In 2 Peter 3:3 Peter reminds us that we should remember the predictions of the prophets of old, that in the last days, "knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires." The Greek word used here for scoffers implies a false teacher. These mockers will be false teachers, who look like they are in the faith, but they mock and scoff at His coming and at the doctrines surrounding His coming, such as pre-tribulation rapture, literal Millennium Kingdom, or even his second coming at all.

Jude 1:18 says the exact same thing. "They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” Haven't we seen a steady chipping away of the truth of these doctrines? Some even claim that there is no rapture.

But look at this, Peter goes on after reminding them that there will be scoffers, to say in verse 4-5: "They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God," [emphasis mine]

We saw in Romans 1 that the process begins with knowledge of God, even for the overt unbeliever. Of those who claim to be in the faith, and by definition have some familiarity with the bible and the history of our faith, they deliberately overlook the facts that they know. When a person deliberately suppresses the truth, they are on dangerous ground! Whether it is an unbeliever suppressing general revelation of God by His creation or a false believer suppressing biblical fact & history, they purposely suppress. That is the first step for the apostate.

So first the apostate suppresses knowledge. Then they begin to mock and scoff at those in the faith, or aim their ire at who hold to certain doctrines that are evidence of His sovereignty. Then they abandon the faith, either abruptly or slowly.

Picture a hot air balloon anchored to the ground. Those who are in the basket are those who are solidly in the faith. They are being sanctified, going higher and higher by God's process of Spirit-filled consecrating. Sanctification means we are becoming more Christlike every day.

Some people are around the basket, tying ropes and filling the balloon. They are easy to spot as people who will never get into the basket and allow the Spirit to lift them higher and higher. They are hangers-on, doing works that look Godly in form but they have no solidity. Some people hang on to the basket, even as it rises. Some hang on for a long time. But the further a person goes in sanctification, and the higher the Spirit takes them, the harder it is for the apostate to hang on. Eventually they drop off. They drop off because they were never IN the basket of faith. The hand of Jesus was never holding them (otherwise they never would have fallen away!)


Though it is painful to see our church swamped with apostates, flooded with ungodliness, and surrounded by false doctrines, it is part of the process! The apostasy we see now is a mini-version of what will happen at the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ. At the end of the Millennium Jesus will allow satan out of the abyss for a short while. Satan will gather the nations and like the sand of the sea they will march against the beloved city. (Revelation 20:7-9).

How can this be, you wonder!? The people will have lived for a long, peaceful life, on earth when Jesus made everything perfect, and there was no war nor high degree of sin, because Jesus ruled with a rod of iron. How could satan gather rebellious ones so fast, and so many of them, too! It will have been be a pure theocracy for a thousand years!

Because those people will have been born during the millennium with a sin nature, and the last rebellion is to weed them out. For hundreds of years of their lives, they looked the part, they acted the part, they said all the right things on the outside, but Jesus knew their heart was not inclined towards Him.

Satan's drawing out of them is an opportunity to give them one last chance to decide for him or against Him. Satan was the magnet that drew out the apostates.

This apostasy is a weeding out, too. Though we may feel surrounded at times by encroachment of false teachers, false pastors who strike the sheep, mockers and scoffers even sitting next to us in the pew, the fact that "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons" (1 Timothy 4:1), means these things must be so.

Don't worry, peanuts! At the rapture, the brittle candy exterior will be cracked, the chocolate confection melted away, and the peanuts who had been the core of the church will burst out and up. We'll be brushed off, cleaned up, and forever will be in the presence of Jesus! We'll be shot out of all that sickening sweetness like a cannonball!

As we strive toward the goal, the balloon is rising higher and higher in our process of sanctification, those who are just hanging on are exposed, and they fall away.

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Remnant Church is like a peanut M&M...

Part 2 of Apostasy and the Remnant Church here

Tucker Whitaker wrote an interesting piece this week called "The Rise of the Remnant Church" He wrote-

"The mainstream and denominational churches, the seeker friendly, emergent, and prosperity churches are far from what God envisioned them to be. Entire denominations and religious movements today operate without the Holy Spirit. They are spiritually bankrupt without the presence of Jesus, showing no evidence of spiritual gifts or fruit. They practice a form of godliness devoid of power or conviction which gives no hope of eternal salvation. They are comfortable with the world and are more social and political than spiritual. They appease sin, teach spiritual tolerance and diversity, and deny the authority of the Bible, while casting away all teaching about repentance, heaven, hell, and judgment. They have abandoned Biblical Prophecy for modern relevancy and Replacement Theology believing all prophecy is already fulfilled or that it is all allegory or at very worst that God has abandoned His covenant relationship and promises to His chosen people Israel. By making any or all of these unbiblical claims they prove their own ignorance of scripture and prophetic truth. They prove the very prophecy they deny."

The remnant church is the small core in the middle of all that. Mr Whitaker wrote,

"I believe He is calling out a Holy Remnant Church, dedicated to Jesus Christ and focused on doing His work during these last days. I believe God is raising up a church that is committed to Him and His cause who are a holy remnant, a group of people who are steadfast and sure of their God. Perhaps the Lord Jesus Christ is calling His Remnant Church to Himself at the end of this age to worship and teach in simplicity and doctrinal purity. Perhaps the desire to be obedient to the Word and to understand Bible Prophecy and to fulfill the great commission and the great commandment has birthed an early church understanding of what it truly means to follow Christ. Perhaps God is preparing a people to stand and hold forth truth in a world where people and “churches” are consumed with materialism, prosperity, self-centered pursuits and desires, and tolerance for those things that are unbiblical. Perhaps a time of final testing for the true church and Israel is upon us, a time for the Remnant Church to “Stand” for Christ. Whatever the ultimate reason, folks are coming out, and almost immediately they understand the need to adapt to this new and extraordinary environment where the Sufficiency of Christ is taught, that Christ alone is indeed all they need."

Mr Whitaker reminds us that no matter how feeble the Lord's church may seem, He always preserves a remnant of it throughout the darkest of times. He said that even in the Tribulation there will be 144,000 sealed believers powerfully evangelizing the world, Two Prophetic Witnesses warning the world, and a host of Tribulation believers who will witness unto martyrdom. All this I agree with.

The main point of his articles (part 1 and part 2) is that the remnant church will rise so powerfully that the gates of hell will be shook. He said that 'God is calling out a remnant church', and I do not agree with that. I think that the church has always been called by God but the call is being ignored and suppressed in these last days. In addition, I believe that those who do answer some kind of call, are increasingly responding to false calls and are false converts. The church that remains is a remnant but it is holding on amid the increase in candy coated preaching and missional confection. Thus, I do not agree with Mr Whitaker's ultimate premise that a remnant church will rise, though I do agree that the true church IS a remnant in these days. His articles are very interesting nonetheless.

When I read of the small core huddling at the center of churches surrounded by carnality as Mr Whitaker wrote about, I think of two things. First I think of Paul Washer's description of American churches. In his sermon "The Great Sin of the American Pastor" he said,

"Now I want to tell you the great sin of the American pastor, and this has gotten me in a lot of trouble, but it’s true. This small group of converted people in that local church, all they want is Jesus and all they want to do is the right thing. They want purity, they want truth, they want Christ. But, the pastor, in order to keep this larger group of unconverted people, he caters to them. So while he is feeding these carnal men and women with carnal things, he is letting the sheep of God starve to death and he is going to stand before God one day in judgment."

It is a vivid picture of sheep huddled together in the middle pews bleating for real food as goats swirl around the church ransacking everything in sight.

The other picture I get in my mind of the remnant church besides Mr Whitaker's and Mr Washer's, is of a peanut M&M.

There is an exterior thin veneer of cohesion, ("ecumenical tolerance") covering a thick layer of chocolate candy, (false church) which melts away if pressed too hard. Inside all that sickeningly sweet, cloying confection, is a hard core of believers standing on the blessedly sure foundation of Christ. But that core is so small that a thin covering of eye-catching neon candy coating and a thicker layer of chocolate hides it very well. And the pile of M&Ms overall is growing as churches explode in falsity and where the real believer is so hidden as to be invisible,or at least, overlooked. The form of godliness without power is like candy- it's food, filling without being nourishing. There are calories, but they do nothing for the body.

A worldly spirit makes apostates. "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia." (2 Timothy 4:10). More in the next blog entry on the process of apostasy.

Do you feel like you are part of a remnant church? I do. The church may look bedraggled on the outside, but His true Bride is unbesmirched, glowing, and pure. It may be small, but it has the power of He who overcame the world within it, sustaining it, and holding it. And that is a beautiful thing indeed.

I wanna go home...don't worry be happy

I listened to these sweet songs last night, after an exceptionally hard day and a rough and tumble week. The list shows a progression of thought I underwent, and likely many of you also. I can't linger or wallow in pity or stay down licking my wounds. I have to rely on the Lord to brush me off and then I go on my way.

"I'm worried."
"Don't worry- be happy. In your life, expect some trouble. When you worry you make it double."
[Petulantly] "I want to go home."
"I wanna to go home."
"I wanna to go home."
"Oh well, Every little thing gonna be all right."

I'm a Worried Man

Don't Worry Be Happy

I Wanna Go Home

Take me Home Country Roads

Day O (Daylight Come Me Wanna Go Home)

Every Little Thing Gonna Be All Right (Don't Worry)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Overworked Americans are a hazard

I read with interest Michael T. Snyder's piece a few days ago "Americans are literally being worked to death." Here is a snippet--

"Are you constantly tired and do you feel incredibly stressed almost all the time? Well, that means that there is a really good chance that you are a typical American worker. Even though our incomes are going down, Americans are spending more time at work than ever before. In fact, U.S. workers spend more time at work than anyone else in the world. But it was not always this way. Back in 1970, the average work week for an American worker was about 35 hours. Today, it is up to 46 hours. But there are other major economies around the globe that are doing just fine without burning their workers out. For example, the average American worker spends 378 more hours working per year than the average German worker does."

"Sadly, for many Americans work is not even finished once they leave the office. According to one recent survey, the average American worker spends an extra seven hours per week on work tasks such as checking emails and answering phone calls after normal work hours have finished. Other Americans are juggling two or three jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. Americans are busier than ever and work is often pushing the other areas of our lives on to the back burner. What this also means is that "family vacations" are becoming increasingly rare in the United States. In fact, Americans spend less days on vacation than anyone else in the industrialized world. While some would applaud our "work ethic", the truth is that the fact that we are being overworked is having some very serious consequences. In fact, as you will see below, Americans are literally being worked to death."

For the first time in a while I'm only working 40 hours per week. It is still stressful though, because of a reduction in our staff numbers. So we were told we have to work smarter and stretch. This means we are all taking on more duties, and working in a more rushed fashion than ever before to complete an ever-growing list of tasks during those 8 hours. Add to that a growing bureaucratic regulations that must be attended to and the list of things to accomplish during the day gets quite long.

Many Americans are working two and three jobs, and still, pay has gone down and our money buys less. The treadmill is outpacing us.
I lived on a sailboat for two years. I was a live-aboard cruiser. I learned so many valuable lessons during that time. We didn't have radar or GPS or self-steering. Me and my husband stood watches through the night in shifts, did our own navigation by old fashioned ways, and when we anchored, (no marina for us) we rowed to shore in a dinghy.

We had some rules though. We understood that with fatigue, comes mistakes. On a sailboat, mistakes could cost us our lives. We respected what our bodies were telling us and we didn't try to stretch things. We never made a passage that took more than 48 hours, knowing that our bodies would not adjust well to a prolonged two-hour on, two hour sleep rotation very well. When we're tired, we can't think as clearly.

Above is a still from the Bob Ballard-NatGeo show Alien Deep, episode "Wrecks of the abyss." The team was looking for ancient wrecks and their radar showed a hit. They deployed the submersible, and as it approached the radar bump, the crew gasped (and me too) as the camera panned over the deep sea bottom to show a modern yacht, fully intact, resting gently upright, sails still deployed. It was the S/V Miranda out of Heidelberg. Now it is forever sailing the eternal deep, its fate a mystery. My husband and I knew that even in calm weather, one instant of inattention or mistaken decision-making could yield a fate like this for us, too. We were careful and tried not to allow fatigue to set in.

Fatigued driving is akin to drunk driving, it affects our brain so much. "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says over 55,000 accidents happen each year due to fatigued driving, and they say most of those could be prevented just by getting a good night's sleep." (source)

When you're exhausted you cannot think, react, calculate, decide or do many other cognitive functions as well as when you're fresh. Add to the normal exhaustion that most parents feel, an extra job or two and you've got a fatigue permeating society that affects overall performance.

Let's say that you're on the road and you encounter a tired cop, a weary EMT, a fatigued transit conductor, a tired delivery driver, an exhausted bus driver. When people in jobs that affect others are tired, they make mistakes. Their mistakes affect others. They may have a harder time handling tension, stress, anger, or irritations that normally would not affect them.

It is one invisible way that society comes apart: depressed economy leads to overwork leads to fatigue that leads to mistakes that turn violent or deadly. It is one of the threads that stresses a society and overwork and fatigue pulls the thread apart from the seams. We're all feeling that stress and societal disintegration. We can't see fatigue, but we see its effects in reduced productivity and high exhaustion rates. Mistakes soon appear, then more and then even more. A wrongly filled out prescription, stepping on the gas instead of the brake, inattentive crossing guard... Think about it. Think about the number of people you depend on each day to make decisions that directly and indirectly affect you and your family. They may be in fact working three jobs and operating on 3 hours' sleep.

When the Tribulation arrives, people left behind will encounter an already angry, discontent fatigued population ever vying for resources that are becoming scarcer by the day. It will get ugly fast.

I know it is hard now for many of you. But Jesus knows the importance of rest. When He sent the Apostles out on mission, and they returned to report to Jesus of their labors,

"And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves." (Mark 6:31-32).

"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:1-2)

Our permanent rest is coming soon. Until then, I entreat in as loving a fashion as I can for us all to make wise decisions for yourself and your family that will allow you all some down time, as well as quiet time to worship Him. I hope you all have a good, and restful, weekend.

Isa is NOT Jesus!

Today the President of Iran, Mr Ahmadinejad, said the following--

Iranian President Ahmadinejad Tells UN Jesus Christ and 'Ultimate Savior' Are Coming
"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered his address before the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, saying that the return of Jesus Christ was soon to come, along with the Islamic end-time figure the 12th Imam. "God Almighty has promised us a man of kindness, a man who loves people and loves absolute justice, a man who is a perfect human being and is named Imam Al-Mahdi, a man who will come in the company of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) and the righteous," Ahmadinejad said, according to a transcript by PolicyMic. According to Shi'a Muslim beliefs, which the Iranian president subscribes to, Jesus of Nazareth will return to Earth along with the above-mentioned Imam, and they together will solve many of the world's problems."

Of course we know that unbelievers are fools. (Psalms 14:1; Titus 3:3; Ecclesiastes 2:14...). They are deceived and walking in darkness. Of course they would be fooled by empty talk.

But too many believers are fooled too. They see famous people mentioning Jesus and they believe that we "share" a faith. Islam's Allah is NOT the God of Abraham. And the Muslim "Jesus" is NOT the Jesus who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If you are a Christian, get that notion out of your head right now.

The "Jesus" (Isa, or Īsā in Arabic) is NOT Jesus. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Rick Warren say 'Isa' they don't mean our precious Jesus. They mean a man who Muslims teach was a prophet but not God. A man they claim was a sinner and not perfect. A man who never died on the cross to atone for sins, but was lifted up to heaven directly without dying. A man who is prophesied to return with final Imam (whom they teach is perfect), and kill all the Christians. A man who will break the cross. A man who will renounce his tie to Christianity. A man who will live during the Muslim version of the Millennial Kingdom, marry, have children and die a natural death.

At the 2008 Obama inauguration when Rick Warren prayed in the name of Isa, that is who he prayed to. Warren may as well have said "I pray in the name of Baal". When Ahmadinejad says 'Jesus is coming', THAT Jesus bears no relation to God in the flesh who died for the sins of the world. Ahmadinejad's Jesus, or Isa, is satan. Rick Warren's Jesus/Isa is satan. Ahmadinejad may as well be referring to Lucifer when he claims Jesus.

Do not be fooled, or Jesus will call YOU foolish to your face.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Come up here!"

Though the rapture verses do not state explicitly, I think implicitly we can surmise that when Jesus calls to His bride at the rapture He will say "Come up here!"

One of the rapture verses states, "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first." (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

I believe the 'loud command' will be 'Come up here!" Why? Because...

In Revelation 4:1, Jesus said it when He called to John, "After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

In Revelation 11:12, the Lord commands His two witnesses who had lain dead in the street of Jerusalem for three and a half days to "come up here!"

"Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them."

How exciting it will be when Jesus calls with the voice of an archangel and a trumpet and many waters (in other words, LOUD!) "Come up here!"

Transcending gravity, hurtling through space in a glorified perfect body, we WILL come up there, and we will meet our Groom.

"It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night." (Like 9:38)

Earth's tectonic plates are breaking up

Sumatran quakes in April were part of tectonic plate breakup
The article I linked to there opens with noting the earth shows up a shattering surpise now and then: "Such was the case on April 11 when two massive earthquakes erupted beneath the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, far from the usual danger zones. Now scientists say the seafloor ruptures are part of a long suspected, yet never before observed, event: the slow-motion splitting of a vast tectonic plate. "It was jaw-dropping," said Thorne Lay, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz. "It was like nothing we'd ever seen." At first, Lay wondered whether the computer code he used to analyze earthquakes was wrong. Eventually, he and other scientists realized that they had documented the breakup of the Indo-Australian plate into two pieces... Scientists say the 8.7 main shock broke four faults. The quake lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds — most last just seconds — and was followed by a second main shock, of magnitude 8.2, two hours later."

The earth is cracking up, eh? This is interesting in light of bible prophecy.

God uses earthquakes to warn and to judge. He has done this in the past and will again in the future. Regarding future judgment, He said many things about coming earthquakes and seismic shifts at the end of the age.

In a specific answer to the Apostles who had asked what will be the signs of the end of the age, Jesus said one of the signs will feature "earthquakes in various places." (Matthew 24:7b). Earthquakes, plural. In my opinion, 'diverse' places does not only mean surface location. It also means deep-focus quakes too. Let's take a brief side-trip before I get to the earthquake prophecy to take a look at one of the ways Jesus may have meant "diverese places."

There are quakes that happen that are so deep that scientists say earthquakes should not even be able to happen at that depth at all, but they do. "Shallow earthquakes are between 0 and 70 km deep; intermediate earthquakes, 70 - 300 km deep; and deep earthquakes, 300 - 700 km deep." (USGS source)

"Geophysicists are really not certain what causes the very deep quakes, because at 640 kilometers rocks are so hot that they flow rather than snap under geological stresses. The more common, shallow earthquakes are generally created when rocks snap and fracture." (source).

Here is a chart I made just for the heck of it. I looked up quakes for the last 30 years that according to USGS would be the deep quakes, 300-800 km below the surface. I found something interesting. There was a steady number of 250-400 deep-focus quakes on average from 1981 -1995. Then abruptly the number of deep focus quakes roughly doubled, to 800 or more per year. For several years, the deep, impossible-to-happen quakes exceeded four digits! Then just as strangely, the number of deep-focus quakes dropped startlingly in one year from 1380 quakes to 291!! The deep quakes seem to be stabilizing back at the low numbers seen in the early 1980s. Click graph to enlarge. Data from USGS

One of the prophesied mega-quakes is mentioned in Revelation 11:13. The LORD resurrects the Two Witnesses who had been lying in the street of Jerusalem for three and a half days, saying "Come up here!", and at that very hour "a great earthquake occurred and a tenth of the city fell". The Greek word for great earthquake in this verse is megas seismos, or mega-quake. Another great quake prophesied to occur is described in Revelation 16:19- "And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake." It is the great quake where every island flees away and every mountain crumbles. (verse 20).

The Old Testament prophets speak of a time when a great quake precedes the Lord's coming. "The LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire." (Isaiah 29:6).

The earth's end is prophesied to be melted in fire, (2 Peter 3:10) but not before splitting apart at the seams and cracking up. And it is this which made me think of the news item at the top:

"The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken." (Isaiah 24:19).

It seems to me that a mega-quake shakes the earth, and it splits apart. It also seems to me that the process has begun.

Please repent of your sins and believe the Gospel. The Gospel is

“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Gospel literally means Good News, and the good news is that if you repent and believe you will not have to endure God's wrath. That IS good news! Further, you will be safely tucked away in heaven when His wrath cracks apart the earth and melts it. Do not delay, He is coming soon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Did you know that Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount? And other news

An Op-Ed piece in the Israeli National News (Arutz Sheva) newspaper today just tore me up. I've been reading over the years of the incremental chipping away at Israel's right to her holy and historic sites. Today there was an Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed) lamenting this sad fact.

Has Israel Lost the Temple Mount Race?
Op-ed:Olympic races don't mean a thing, but the race for the control the Temple Mount is one that we must win. By Giulio Meotti
"A Palestinian flag is now flying on the Temple Mount, the most holy site on earth, where the First and Second Temples stood and the Holy of Holies was. Piece after piece of Eretz Israel is becoming a symbol of Arab nationalistic achievements. Several months ago, the Palestinian Rehabilitation Committee raised the UNESCO flag next to the Palestinian flag in front of Hevron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs. A Palestinian flag on the Temple Mount not only makes the Jewish people psychologically weaker, it looks as though Islam won the race in climbing to the top of the most sacred mountain. It’s an implicit recognition of Muslim hegemony."

He's right.

Then I read this about a young man:

Youth Arrested for Prostrating Self on Temple Mount
"A 21-year-old resident of the Judean Jewish community of Kiryat Arba was detained for questioning, Tuesday morning, after he prostrated himself on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The action violates guidelines for non-Muslim visitors to the holy site, who are not allowed to do anything that resembles praying."

There are rules that no one may stop walking on the Mount, or fold hands or whisper or bow. Once, a woman was arrested for putting her head on a bench. You cannot bring a bible. You cannot bring anything with Hebrew lettering on it, even a newspaper. If you break some of these rules you will be summarily arrested. Others, you will be detained and your item confiscated. Sad!! It will be so great when all believers are in the presence of Holy God and we can pray all we want.

The Lebanon Daily Star is usually pretty interesting. I read Arutz Sheva and the Jerusalem Post, the Jordan Times, and Turkey's Hurriyet News to get my dose of news from epicenter mainstream sources, and whatever the King of the dictator in power at the moment has allowed into print. The Lebanon Daily Star has an interesting feature: Photos of the Day. They offer a different perspective than the similar feature at the Boston Globe does. For example, here is one of yesterday's photos:

An Afghan man stands near the window of a tea house in downtown Kabul. AFP PHOTO/ Roberto SCHMIDT

Or this one from today

A riotpoliceman reacts after he was hit by a petrol bomb thrown by protesters during a nationwide general strike in Athens. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The Greek and Spain economic situation is terrible. People are dumpster diving in Spain in increasing numbers just to find some food so they can stay alive.

Spain Recoils, as Its Hungry Forage Trash Bins for a Next Meal
"On a recent evening, a hip-looking young woman was sorting through a stack of crates outside a fruit and vegetable store here in the working-class neighborhood of Vallecas as it shut down for the night. Getty Images The European Union (EU) flag, left, flies alongside the Spanish national flag. At first glance, she looked as if she might be a store employee. But no. The young woman was looking through the day’s trash for her next meal. Already, she had found a dozen aging potatoes she deemed edible and loaded them onto a luggage cart parked nearby. “When you don’t have enough money,” she said, declining to give her name, “this is what there is.”

It is a gripping, sobering, and heartbreaking article. This is so especially because the real hunger hasn't even started yet. (Revelation 6:6; Matthew 24:7)

Also in the Daily Star is this news article:

Tehran unveils drone capable of reaching Israel
"Iranian military leaders gave details Tuesday of a new long-range drone and test-fired four anti-ship missiles in a prelude to upcoming naval war games planned in an apparent response to U.S.-led warship drills in the Persian Gulf. The show of Iranian military readiness and its latest tool – a domestically made drone capable of reaching Israel and most of the Middle East..."

Hmmm. This bodes ill. Today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised an appropriate response to Iran Prime Minister Ahmadinejad's speech a the UN where as usual he promised to wipe Israel from the map.

Netanyahu promises fitting response
"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu left hours after the end of Yom Kippur Wednesday night for New York to address the United Nations where he pledged to give a fitting response to Iran's desire to "sentence us to death." In an unusual letter to the Israeli public before leaving for the US, Netanyahu wrote that history showed that those who desired to wipe the Jewish people "off the map" failed, while the Jewish people persevered and overcame all obstacles. Netanyahu – referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech to the UN on Wednesday – said that while "we prayed to be inscribed in the Book of Life, a platform was given to a dictatorial regime in Iran that strives, at every opportunity, to sentence us to death."

Poetic words. History shows that Netanyahu is right. The bible as history book shows time and again that when God wants Israel to be an immovable rock, He makes Israel an immovable rock. (Zechariah 12:3).

Turkey used to be fairly secular. Over the past ten years or so it has turned into a Muslim state. Now, there are complaints that high school children are being forced to attend imam hatip schools. These are schools which focus not only on secular curriculum but teach conservative Islam theology. If you want to be an Imam you graduate from one of these schools. They call them Muslim preacher schools.

Students forced to enroll in religious schools in Istanbul
"Students living in Istanbul's European-side district of Sultangazi who failed to earn good enough marks to enter the advanced Anatolian High School system or a vocational school have been enrolled in the religious imam-hatip schools without their knowledge, daily Hürriyet reported. Nearly 3,000 students were prevented from enrolling the Anatolian and vocational schools following the entrance tests, and most of those were subsequently enrolled in religious imam-hatip schools against their wishes."

Parents are quoted as saying their child had checked off vocational school but the child wound up in the religious school instead, despite there being plenty of openings and the preference being having been made clear.

Meanwhile in Jordan there is concern that there is not enough Arabic content on the internet.

Gov’t to form council on Arabic web content’
"The government said on Wednesday that it will establish a consultative council to increase Arabic content on the Internet. The council will include representatives of the public sector, private content development companies, academia, publishers, lenders and investment funds, a source at the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology said. “Our objective is to help look into ways to increase Arabic content to serve Internet users not only in Jordan but across the Arab world,” the source told The Jordan Times."

People are nuts. The smallest thing will set them off. In NYC, two businessmen fight over a taxi. The scuffle began on the street with chest bumping and shoving, then one guy raced to the taxi with the other guy close on his heels, then the two shoved their way into the open passenger door, with one man briefly putting the other in a chokehold. One man entered the cab victorious and the other slammed the door very hard as the taxi prepared to speed away.

The newscaster said that though people argue over cabs all the time in the big city, you don't often see this:

I can't imagine how difficult it is living in proximity to many millions of people who are off their rockers in sin and haven't been saved. With sin rising the way it is a city would be the last place I would want to spend any time at all.

Though tragedy finds us here in the country, too. Sadly a few weeks ago, in a nearby county, a student took his own life at school. It shocked us all that a youth would end his life, (he died a day later in hospital) and in such a public and dramatic way, too. Now I read another story today of a youth killing himself in a public school. This one was in Oklahoma. And he was 13 years old.

Police: Student shoots self at Stillwater school
"STILLWATER, Okla. — A 13-year-old student shot and killed himself in a hallway at an Oklahoma junior high school before classes began Wednesday, police said, terrifying teenagers who feared a gunman was on the loose."

Oh, our precious babies!!

So the end will be soon but not yet. Maybe tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. Soon- for believers will be taken out of the way before the Tribulation begins. (Isaiah 26:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Revelation 3:10). But not yet.

"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet." (Matthew 24:6.)

Have you ever considered that one evidence of the Holy Spirit's work in regeneration is the very fact we look forward to the final ‘regeneration’ at the end of the age? (Matt. 19:28). "By His resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ became the ‘firstborn among many brethren.’ In the new birth, we are born again into the family of God, and the new light of the world to come begins to irradiate our lives. We yet live in ‘this present evil world’ (Gal. 1:4), but we live the life of the world to come because it has already come in the indwelling presence of God’s Spirit, the Spirit of God’s new and proper Man, Jesus Christ. The Spirit’s indwelling, renewing presence imparts a new direction, even trajectory, to our lives." [more here]

Pastor Steve Lawson preached on the signs of the end of the age in a sermon called "Get Ready!" He said toward the end of his portion on the signs themselves,

"There will be forerunners who will announce His coming. And they are one of the signs that are mentioned throughout the entirety of this chapter. And Jesus says, 'When you see these signs being fulfilled, we are to recognize and know that He is near, right at the door. The picture here is of Christ, arising from His throne in heaven, and approaching a door that would lead from heaven to the earth...He has arisen from His throne and His hand is on the door, ready to open the door and burst upon the stage of human history. Jesus says 'when you see these signs increasing as leaves on a tree do suddenly appear on a tree in spring and grow and increasing fashion, when you see these signs growing in fullness, know that the judge is standing right at the door....Is it wrong to look at world events and try to estimate where we are in God's prophetic calendar? The answer is no. Or He would never have told us what are these signs to look for. It would be a total denial of what Jesus said to not have one hand on the bible looking into the scripture and the other eye looking around at the world to see what is going on."

So keep looking up, He is right at the door!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blasphemy is on everyone's lips

It seems that everywhere these past days I read a news story which now affords Muhammad a respect and title he had not been given before. We see more and more often in the newspapers and in media the Muslim man named Muhammad called 'The Prophet Muhammad' and not simply Muhammad. They even use a capital P. Entertainment Weekly referred to Muhammad this way. National Public Radio referred to Muhammad this way. The NY Times referred to Muhammad this way. And many others. Obama referred to Muhammad that way just today at the UN. (But 'Jesus Christ' was all our Savior got for a title from Obama, not Messiah Jesus or Savior Jesus or even Prophet Jesus. Only 'Jesus Christ').

Nowadays when Muhammad is referred to in print or video news items, increasingly he is accorded that elevated status and title.

I believe this is significant. (Jude 1:18; 2 Peter 3:3). It signals a shift away from Christ and toward Islam, which is really a prophesied shift away from the true religion toward a coming false one. At the end of the end, there will be a one world religion, and that religion will be worship of the antichrist (really, satan-worship). (Revelation 13:3-4). Worldwide hatred of anything having to do with Jesus will be the order of the day. (Revelation 13:7-8).

Also significant, is the global push for about instituting some kind of restriction of speech about Islam and specifically Muhammad. On Friday, September 21st I'd posted a news blurb about the Muslim call for a global blasphemy law. I'd mentioned that the Muslim nations had successively made that call at each session of the UN but it never had gotten anywhere. The motion had always died. But it has revived with a bang.

If you think for a moment how ridiculous this is and how obviously it betrays Muslim intention to dominate the world. How can a religion pass a law? How would they enforce it? Can a person mot a Muslim even blaspheme a person or object in which they do not believe? Sharia is their goal. Sharia is the moral code and religious law of Islam, governing every aspect of a Muslim's life & is based on the Koran).

Here is one news blurb about the global blasphemy law from today-

Muslim-led nations seek global ban on insults of Muhammad
"As the U.N. General Assembly convenes this week in New York, several leaders of mostly Muslim nations are suggesting that the world body consider sanctions on blasphemy, amid widespread protests against an amateur movie that denigrates Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will focus at least part of his remarks on the film when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday."

It's one thing for people of another religion to lobby for certain rights to the UN, which has no sovereignty over the United States (for now) but it is quite another for citizens OF the United States INSIDE the United states to lobby for the same.

Leaders of Kansas City Muslim group petition Obama to limit free speech of American citizens
"The leadership of the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City have launched an online petition campaign for President Obama to back a bill to limit the free speech of American citizens they deem offensive."

Back at the UN, "Blasphemy campaign threatens to derail UN"
"The demand for limits on anti-Islamic expression is coming from leading Islamic groups such as the Organisation for Islamic Co-operation, and leaders as diverse as the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Egyptian President, Mohammed Mursi, and the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

Hmmm. Interesting leaders it is coming from...Iran-Turkey will form an alliance to attack Israel in the Gog-Magog war of Ezekiel 37-38, and Egypt will participate in the Psalm 83 war against Israel. (I believe the Hagrites referred to in Psalm 83 are Egyptians. Hagar was Egyptian and she got an Egyptian wife for her son Ishmael from Egypt (Gen 21:21).

With all this blasphemy talk on everyone's lips, I could not help but remember the prophecies in Revelation 12 and Daniel 7 & 11. In Revelation 13 the antichrist is given a great mouth to boast blasphemies against God. In Revelation 13:5-6 blasphemy is written three times. In Revelation 13:1 he is also called a blasphemer. Daniel 11:36 prophesies that he will say unheard-of things against the God of gods! Thessalonians 2:4 says he will oppose God and exalt himself and proclaim himself to be God! Blasphemy defines this coming Man of Sin! Blasphemy saturates every moment of the Tribulation!

How is all this significant? I'm not sure of the big picture yet. I feel that this global blasphemy push and the elevated name in print are something though. In one sense, it is significant because it shows how global the ummah really is. Ummah is an Arabic word for nation or community, and of course it means nation or community of Muslims. They truly see themselves as a global community of peoples, not just a local coalition of peoples. That is what Ummah means. Why else would Muslims in Sydney march against a movie made by a US resident and shown in Egypt?

As a matter of fact two days ago the Prime Minister of Pakistan called for the Ummah to unite.

"Time for Muslim Ummah to unite; seek permanent solution to end Blasphemous acts: PM'
Responding to the uprising against the Youtube video about Muhammad ("Innocence of Muslims) the PM said, "Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said the Muslim Ummah needs to stand united and seek a permanent solution to ban hate speech that sows seeds of discord."

He noted the 'blasphemy' also. The word blasphemy is on everyone's lips today but it was on Jesus's 2000 years ago. The Tribulation will be characterized by true blasphemy, against the one true God.

Christian blasphemy is defined at CARM as "speaking evil of God or denying Him some good which we should attribute to Him.  It could also be understood to be acting in any impious, mocking or contemptuous way toward any member of the Trinity.1 The word blasphemy comes from the Greek word, blasphemia, meaning "curse" or "vilifying." 2 Blasphemy arises out of pride (Psalm 73:9,11), hatred (Psalm 74:18), injustice (Isaiah 52:5), etc.  Christ was often mistakenly accused of blasphemy by Jewish leaders (John 10:30-33)."

Muslim blasphemy is defined as "Blasphemy in Islam is any irreverent behavior toward holy personages, religious artifacts, customs, and beliefs that Muslims revere. The Quran and the hadith do not speak about blasphemy. Jurists created the offence, and they made it part of Sharia. Where Sharia pertains, the penalties for blasphemy can include fines, imprisonment, flogging, amputation, hanging, or beheading. Muslim clerics may call for the punishment of an alleged blasphemer by issuing a fatwā."

One thing all this blasphemy talk is doing is heightening the lost people's sensitivity for holy and unholy speech. We are beyond politically correct or incorrect speech. Now the global conversation is all about holy or unholy speech. The blasphemy talk also frames debates in religious terms.

Here is what the bible says about the coming blasphemy, the real blasphemy!

"And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name." (Revelation 13:1)

"And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns." (Revelation 17:3)

"But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth." (Colossians 3:8)

I think the blasphemy talk emerging worldwide is important. We are heading toward a dark time when blasphemy against a non-existent god via a pedophile false prophet will likely protected speech but blasphemy against a Sinless and Holy God will be ripe on everyone's lips. And watch for how people from this day forward refer to Muhammad, either verbally in news stories or in print. It's no longer Muhammad but The Prophet Muhammad. The wicked are addicted to blasphemy:

"Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name." (Psalm 74:1)

May the Holy God of Israel and He who is the Light of the World come soon!

Yom Kippur begins today

At around noon EST, the highest holy holiday in Israel begins, Yom Kippur.

"Also known as Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im ("Days of Awe").

"Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei. According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person's fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to "seal" the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven by God."

Source- Wikipedia.

Further Resources:

Judaism 101: Yom Kippur
Jewish Virtual Library: Yom Kippur's importance

News for Yom Kippur:

Yom Kippur: 64% fast, 46% pray
"Public consensus over Day of Atonement continues: Even those who don't mark day in traditional manner devote it to 'quality time' with themselves or their family; only 0.5% of Israelis plan to travel"

Opinion piece: Jerusalem Post: "Time for Atonement"

Gnosticism infiltrating the highest holy day for Jews, too:

Manayunk congregation's Yom Kippur service will take a nontraditional, meditational turn

I feel the Yom Kippur holy day is a time for high alert. Remember, 39 years ago, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on this holiday. Be in prayer for the Jewish people, and the lost Muslims too...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lightning hits SUV as it is driving

This is one lucky driver. A driver of the SUV is apparently OK after a lightning bolt hit his vehicle directly. It happened so suddenly!

Our very lives on earth could be over that quickly! Or, the rapture could happen that fast! Look at these verses at supernatural things that happened suddenly:

"But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing." (Isaiah 47:11)

"While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

At the Mount of Transfiguration-
"And suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them conversing with Him." (Matthew 17:3)

"Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying," (Luke 2:13)

"When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the eunuch didn't see him any more, for he went on his way rejoicing." (Acts 8:39)

"And passing through the first ward and the second, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. This opened to them of itself; and, going out, they passed on through one of the streets, and then suddenly the angel left him." (Acts 12:10)

"And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." (Matthew 8:3)

When God purposes to do something it happens suddenly.

Babylon fell in one night. (Daniel 5:30-31)

In modern times, "less than five years after Gorbachev took power, the Soviet imperium in central and Eastern Europe had fallen apart, followed by the Soviet Union itself in 1991. If ever an empire fell off a cliff -- rather than gently declining -- it was the one founded by Lenin." ("Complexity and Collapse: Empires on the Edge of Chaos" by Niall Ferguson.)

And what of the United States? Could a lightning bolt hit us and we collapse just as suddenly as the former empires? Some say that the US has been in collapse for four years and that all it would take is one tiny push to get us over the edge. Ferguson goes on in his 2010 piece to say:

"If empires are complex systems that sooner or later succumb to sudden and catastrophic malfunctions, rather than cycling sedately from Arcadia to Apogee to Armageddon, what are the implications for the United States today? First, debating the stages of decline may be a waste of time -- it is a precipitous and unexpected fall that should most concern policymakers and citizens. Second, most imperial falls are associated with fiscal crises. All the above cases were marked by sharp imbalances between revenues and expenditures, as well as difficulties with financing public debt. Alarm bells should therefore be ringing very loudly..."

And Mr Ferguson wrote that two years ago, in 2010.

He continues with a reminder

"that empires do not in fact appear, rise, reign, decline, and fall according to some recurrent and predictable life cycle. It is historians who retrospectively portray the process of imperial dissolution as slow-acting, with multiple overdetermining causes. Rather, empires behave like all complex adaptive systems. They function in apparent equilibrium for some unknowable period. And then, quite abruptly, they collapse. To return to the terminology of Thomas Cole, the painter of The Course of Empire, the shift from consummation to destruction and then to desolation is not cyclical. It is sudden."

That series of paintings by Thomas Cole is called The Course of Empire. The five-part series of paintings were completed by Cole during the years 1833-36. Wiki explains, "It is notable in part for reflecting popular American sentiments of the times, when many saw pastoralism as the ideal phase of human civilization, fearing that empire would lead to gluttony and inevitable decay." I gotta say, they were right. The paintings are truly remarkable in the way they illustrate the lightning bolt suddenness and chaos of collapse. The are titled: "The Savage State", "The Pastoral State", "The Consummation of Empire", "Destruction", "Desolation."

Jesus said people would be going about a normal life and caught unaware of the sudden changes. "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth." (Luke 21:34-35).

Suddenly as that lightning bolt! Are you ready?

In through the door of justification, out the door of glorification. What's in between?

We enter the door to the Kingdom over the threshold of "Justification." Justification is-

" justify is to declare righteous, to make one right with God. Justification is God’s declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous, based on Christ’s righteousness being imputed to the accounts of those who receive Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Though justification as a principle is found throughout Scripture, the main passage describing justification in relation to believers is Romans 3:21-26: “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

"We are justified, declared righteous, at the moment of our salvation. Justification does not make us righteous, but rather pronounces us righteous."

It is all about justice. The Lord declares us pardoned and free from the penalty of our sins, and therefore justified. Justice has been served- not because of anything we did, but because of Jesus taking on the penalty from God for all the world's sins.That's a lot of wrath, and Jesus took it.

At the moment of justification God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell inside us.

God justifies.

When we exit this life we are glorified. Glorification is "the future and final work of God upon Christians, where he transforms our mortal physical bodies to the eternal physical bodies in which we will dwell forever.  1 Cor. 15:42-44..." (source). God removes all sin from us and changes our sin-nature to a perfect nature. It is a change in body and soul. More here.

God glorifies.

In between the moment of justification (pronounced righteous and free from the penalty for sin) and glorification (the removal of sin from our soul and the creation of a new eternal body) is sanctification.

Sanctification "means to be set apart for a holy use. God has set us apart for the purpose of sanctification not impurity (1 Thess. 4:7), and being such we are called to do good works (Eph. 2:10). Sanctification follows justification. In justification our sins are completely forgiven in Christ. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. True sanctification is impossible apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross because only after our sins are forgiven can we begin to lead a holy life." (source)

"Sanctification also refers to the practical experience of this separation unto God, being the effect of obedience to the Word of God in one’s life, and is to be pursued by the believer earnestly (1 Peter 1:15; Hebrews 12:14)."

This is the one part of the process where we have input. The Holy Spirit is in charge of the process, but we don't lay down and let sanctification drip on us and absorb it by osmosis. The reason sanctification is messy and hard is because we participate in it.

Think of the book "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan. Christian walked, wandered, got back on track, slept, was vigorous, was inattentive, was took a while to get there, and his walk wasn't straight all the time. At times it was even circular.

Even Paul said found it difficult to walk the straight arrow of sanctification at times. "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." (Romans 7:15).

We do not do anything about our own justification. That is a declaration from God based on the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. We can't do anything about glorification, because it is the Creator who makes us our new bodies. But sanctification... we engage with the Spirit in the process.

The bible says we are to pursue sanctification earnestly. In the practical, this means, do we pray ceaselessly? Do we walk closely with Jesus? Do we repent to Him of our sins? Do we study diligently? The more we put in, the more we are sanctified.

The Bema seat award ceremony will reveal to us the fruits of our participation in the sanctification process. (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-10; Rev. 3:11-12.) From the time we walked through the door and were justified and to the end at the rapture when we're glorified, how much of what we did for Jesus as the Spirit sanctified us was motivated by love for Him, and how much of was motivated by love for our own selves? How much did we do and how much more could we have done if we had been more vigorous for Him? Will you have moved away from the door of justification and toward the other door? Or are you still hovering at the entry, not doing much and not allowing the Spirit to set you apart for good works? All will be revealed.

The more we participate in the sanctification process by praying, walking, submitting, and working, the more we will be rewarded.

So that's justification, sanctification and glorification. Search these things out to see if they are true! :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Obama's message to Israel- I'm not listening

Obama finds the world too noisy. Like a defiant child with fingers in his ears, he goes LA LA LA to Israel as Israel says 'the world will change when Iran gets the bomb...'

Tonight on the news magazine program 60 Minutes, Obama said

"When it comes to our national security decisions -- any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out -- any noise that's out there," Obama says, according to AFP.

Isn't that special. Our strongest ally in the most hostile part of the world is...noise. But will that classy and professional "I'm not listening" approach work when Iran bombs US?

Iranian general threatens pre-emptive strike against Israel, attacks on US bases
"In circumstances in which [the Israelis] have prepared everything for an attack, it is possible that we will make a pre-emptive attack,” he said, according to a translation posted on the website of the Egyptian daily, Al-Ahram.  He added that Iran would also attack US bases in the region, saying that the ensuing military engagement would “turn into World War III."
Pray to God that we can bear four more months of Obama or four more years- whatever God's plan is. Pray for our troops on bases in harm's way. Pray for the world, especially if Iran gets the bomb. And I think they will. Pray for the rapture!

Simple praise moment

Colorfully gorgeous fall morning! God's creation testifies to His glory! (Romans 1:20)

I got the idea from Chris Rosebrough. (website) Thank you brother for the simple praise to the Lord! Ripple effect, pay it forward!

Back to Basics: Who is Satan?

Satan is real.

He was God's covering cherub, the highest of the high, and the most beautiful. (Ezekiel 28:14-17). This means he is an angel and therefore a created being under God's sovereignty. The eternal clash between good and evil is not one of equal opposites, but one of rebellion of a created being against an uncreated, holy God. (Isaiah 14:13-14)

We hear satan's actual voice three times in the bible. Once in Genesis 3:1-5 when he is talking with Eve in the Garden of Eden. There, he insinuated to Eve that God is not good enough to her by not letting her have all the fruit of the Garden. The second time we hear him speak, it's in heaven to God about Job. (Job 1:7-11). There, he told God that God was being too good to Job. The third time is when satan tempts Jesus. (Luke 4:1-12). In that scene, he used several the schemes in his arsenal (temptation of the body, temptation of power, temptation of testing God) and when he failed, he went away until another opportune time. (Luke 4:13).

These scenes tell us that satan has many schemes in his bag of tricks, he is not hesitant to use them against people, or Jesus or even GOD, and that he never quits.

Satan is mentioned in the Gospels twenty-nine times. And twenty-five of those times, Jesus is the one talking about Satan. Satan is mentioned in seven Old Testament books and every New Testament book.

Satan is a real person. He is not allegory, a metaphor or a figment. If you believe he is an allegory or figment or just an evil force, then you destroy the integrity and truthfulness of every NT book, each Gospel, a quarter of the Old Testament, and the character of Jesus. It is not possible to disbelieve satan is real but also believe the rest of the bible is truthful, historical, prophetic, and the word of God.

Satan is not in hell. He is not the ruler of hell. So where is he? He is roaming up and down upon the earth. (Job 1:7, Job 2:2; 1 Peter 5:8). Satan is the prince of the air. (Ephesians 2:2). Satan is in heaven accusing the brethren. (Revelation 12:10; Job 1:6). God has granted limited and temporary sovereignty to satan, for he is the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4). From this we see that satan has been granted much latitude by God on earth, the air and in heaven.

Satan is busy! He is accusing the brethren, roaming the earth, fighting the holy angels, sowing tares among the wheat, polluting the doctrine. He is wreaking devastation and destruction. (John 10:10). And much more!

What is satan's destiny? When satan rebelled in the primordial past, God prepared hell for satan and his angels. (Matthew 25:41). There will be no offer to repent and no opportunity to come to salvation. The devil and his angels' futures are fixed. (John 16:11). Meanwhile, God uses their evil for His good and glory.

During the time since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, satan has been allowed latitude in each of the three spheres of earth, air and heaven. However, midway through the Tribulation, he will be thrown out of heaven and access will no longer be granted to him or his angels. Perhaps satan thought he would be able to go on like this forever. God's patience is longsuffering, but it does have an end, and satan gets tossed. He and his angels will be furious and will wreak that fury on the population of the earth. Woe to them! (Revelation 12:7-17).

At the conclusion of the Tribulation, satan will be thrown into the abyss and locked up for 1000 years. When 1000 years is over, he will be let out for a little while to foment one last, short, rebellion. (Revelation 20:3; 8). After that time he will be thrown into the lake of fire, the place prepared for him in the primordial past. His angels will be thrown there too, (Revelation 20:10) along with every person who followed him. (Revelation 20:15).

To all the precious brethren, fighting and strong or struggling and weak: he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. We need not fear satan, but we do need to appreciate his capabilities and thus rely on the Holy Spirit more than ever. And to the lost: make no mistake, satan is real.

Rob Bell casts aspersions on the Holy Word. In his infamous book, "Love Wins", Bell wrote about hell and by definition, satan,

"‘A staggering number of people have been taught that a few select Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.’ "

Oh, woe to those who disbelieve Jesus's words about future judgment for sin and His word to John in Revelation about the Book of Life. If your name is not written in it, you will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to be tormented forever.

Mr Bell believes love wins: and he is right, it does. Look at the cross! God's love of humanity- expressed through Jesus-  triumphed over evil and sin and death! (Colossians 2:13-15). However, Mr Bell believes love and holiness are mutually exclusive. They are not. Holiness wins too. (John 9:39). All one needs to do is look at the lake of fire- the place prepared for the devil and his angels, and all those who follow satan. (Matthew 12:30-32). Unless you believe in Jesus, you are actually following satan by default. When you die, you will follow satan right into the Lake of Fire.

Now for some encouragement to the brethren:

"Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

"Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out." (John 12:31).

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Thanks be to God for Jesus!

Those are a few facts about satan. As always, read the word for yourselves to see if these things are true.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Petra By Night" - from The Jordan Times

The Jordan Times:
In Petra, visitors find more than one way to explore a world wonder
by Muath Freij |
Sep 22, 2012 | 22:59 Updated: Sep 22, 2012 | 22:59

‘Petra by night’ is one of many different ways tourists can see the archaeological wonder in a different light (Photo by Muath Freij)

PETRA — On donkeys, on foot, by day or by night, Petra offers many perspectives from which to observe its archaeological treasures and natural beauty.  Speaking to The Jordan Times on a recent visit to the Kingdom’s most famous tourist attraction, visitors from around the world all had different stories to tell about what struck them most about their experience there. 

For Paul Scanlon, an Australian who was visiting Petra for the first time with his wife, the most memorable moment was riding a donkey up and down the steep, rocky mountains to get to the monastery."Riding the donkeys to go to the monastery was scary and exciting at the same time," he told The Jordan Times.  His wife Kathryn, on the other hand, said seeing Petra at night was the highlight of her visit. 

"It was so beautiful to go through the Siq, which was lit up with candles,” she said.  “What I liked most was the bedouins singing and playing flutes and other traditional instruments. Also, it was really beautiful and generous that the bedouins served us tea, which was really delicious and wonderful." 

Her husband agreed, adding that the quiet, peaceful atmosphere of Petra by night was something to behold.  Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, the entrance to one of the new seven wonders of the world is open to tourists after dark for a special programme called “Petra by night”. 

Visitors walk through the Siq, their path lit by rows of candles, to the treasury for a candlelit concert of folk tunes played on traditional instruments by bedouins from the area. 

After the performance, a bedouin tells stories about the culture and folklore of the Nabataeans, the people who built the ancient city and passed some of their heritage on to those who live in the area today.  For some visitors, learning about the history of the city and its significance is an important part of the Petra experience. 

Claudgia Bertinato, a tourist from Brazil, decided to hire a guide to show her around the city.  Although hiring a guide was a bit expensive, she said, it was well worth the price. "I preferred to get a guide because I wanted to learn more about Petra and its history. Also I did not research Petra before coming, so I wanted the guide to clarify more about it. My guide was really helpful and he even took photos of me," she told The Jordan Times while walking with her guide. 

Bertinato added that she preferred to walk throughout her tour of the city, rather than taking the horse-drawn carts and donkey rides on offer, because she wanted to go at her own pace and see every detail.  "When you go fast or use a carriage, you miss things. I did not want to miss any sight in this beautiful city.”

--------------------end article----------------
Petra is more than a world wonder, it is a place God intends to use, as scholars conjecture based on biblical evidence, to hide His people while the Tribulation is going on.

Just imagine when this glorious, ancient city place will be lit by candles by a million or so Jews who have fled there at the Holy Spirit's urging and the word of Jesus, (Mark 13:14) who will then be supernaturally nurtured by God throughout the remaining three and a half years of the Tribulation! (Revelation 12:6, Revelation 12:14-16).

Prata's Place / Graceful Garlands: Gradual Growth

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