A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In

August 20, 2014

Ferguson: Judgment vs Truth

     As I watch another night of chaos as the situation in Ferguson, Missouri continues to spiral out of control, I am overcome with a deep sadness for my country and for our spiritual disintegration.  I see so many people giving in to pre-conceived theories; speculation that is being fostered by individuals and elements under the authority of Satan's divisive followers.
     As I watch another night of looting and rioting, the images are disturbing ... people ransacking businesses like wild animals; throwing bricks and firing guns to release their pent-up frustrations and anger.  On the other side, I see police and law enforcement, in riot gear; rushing to surround protestors, weapons drawn.  Is this who we are as a nation?  As God's children?
     Now, we have a rush to convene a Grand Jury, so that ... what?  By providing an indictment, there are hopes that it will satisfy the lust for vengeance ... even before all the evidence can be gathered?  Is that true Justice?  Or is Justice simply a convenient term to disguise the desire to take advantage of an emotional situation, while applying political pressure to calm the violence?
     My fear is that it doesn't matter what the evidence will show; both sides already have made up their minds.  People have made the assumptions that all white cops are bad, and all blacks are rioting and looting.  There will be those who will tell me that I have never been victimized or profiled, so I cannot understand what it feels like to be unfairly judged because of my race.
     But I did experience just such an incident in my early twenties, when I sold my old Chevy Chevelle to a young black woman, whose father was a pastor.  He had answered an ad I placed in the paper, called me and said his daughter would like to purchase the car.  She arrived at my workplace, with money in hand.  After we concluded our transaction and I handed her the title to the car, she launched into a most vicious diatribe against me as a "White *!#".  I was speechless and felt as if I had been physically attacked!  Where did that come from, and what had I ever done to her?
     For days, I tried to mentally understand what had transpired; to figure out why I was singled out.  In the end, all I could devise was that haters hate, that's what they do; oftentimes with no reason or justification.  I had to simply decide that I would not harbor resentment and go on with my life.  I refused to view other black people from my personal experience, or let her hate influence my interaction with other people of her race.
     Yet this kind of hate is what we are seeing in Ferguson, Missouri.  Have each one of these rioters or looters experienced an unfair judgment against them because of their race, or are they choosing to listen to agitators outside this situation, and using it as an excuse to foment violence?  What good can come from the New Black Panthers imposing rallies where they shout, "Who do we want?", with the crowds responding, "Darren Wilson".  They then follow up with a chant of "How do we want him?", and the answer coming back is, "Dead!"
     Do these people want the truth, or do they want a sacrifice?  Do they want the Grand Jury to take a good hard look at ALL the evidence; or do they want a rush to judgment and an indictment based on their emotions?
     So the question becomes, Are we a nation of laws, or not?  If so, then it must be understood that the laws will be obeyed -- and enforced -- or there will be consequences.  When there is inconsistency in how that is accomplished, then the rule of law is eroded and becomes a sham.  We cannot use the Law as a political tool to manipulate the masses.  If we believe that Society needs Laws to protect the lawful and punish the lawless, then we must continue to do what we have established as "right", and in the process to keep serving our fellow man and God.  Because whether the population in Ferguson, Missouri recognizes it or not, God is the true Judge, and He is the One who can reveal the Truth.
    We should not rush to judgment based on emotion or past experiences.   Taking the time to gather all the evidence and interview all the witnesses will be the surest way to a fair trial and determining the truth.  If true Justice is to be met -- for both Michael Brown and Darren Wilson -- we should not rush the process.  A life has been taken, and that is always a tragedy; a waste.  But to magnify that loss by listening to the whispers of Satan (the Man of Lawlessness) as he encourages disorder and mayhem, is to diminish the lives of both men.  We must pray for the peace of Ferguson, Missouri!

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10    "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved."

August 19, 2014

Dangerous Video Games Shape Our Culture

     I have to admit that my exposure to video games has been very limited; Angry Birds and online Scrabble competitions are about the only ones that have captured my imagination.  I'd rather read a book to pass the time and relax my mind.  But according to the facts presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), I'm an anomaly.
     According to the ESA, 58% of Americans play video games.  There are an average of 2 "gamers" in each game-playing household.  The age of game-players is spread pretty evenly across the demographic:  32% are under 18; 32% are 18-35; and 36% are 36 years and up.  And this is where my concern starts to develop.  You see, 40% of video games fall in the "Action, Sports, Strategy, Role-Playing"  and "Persistent Multi-Player Universe" Genres.
     Even though I may be a novice about the whole gaming environment, I know enough to know that these Genres can be violent, sexual, and outside society's norm.  What's more, although they may be rated for "over 18", it is generally accepted that children under that age are often exposed to, and are playing these games.  And it doesn't lessen my concerns when the President and CEO of ESA has this to say:  “No other sector has experienced the same explosive growth as the computer and video game industry. Our creative publishers and talented workforce continue to accelerate advancement and pioneer new products that push boundaries and unlock entertainment experiences. These innovations in turn drive enhanced player connectivity, fuel demand for products, and encourage the progression of an expanding and diversified consumer base.”
     But does any of that sound like it would be good for our culture?  Has technology opened a portal, exposing our society and minds to the unimaginable in aberrant and deviant behavior?  There will be those who say sex and violence in video games has no adverse effects upon behavior.  But then there's  Elliott Rodger, who killed 6 people and injured 13 after leaving a scathing manifesto on his hatred of women.  Breitbart BBC writes, "Rodger didn't kill because the video games made him violent, but the games did help to shape his violent fantasies. They provided a framework through which his online bloodlust turned into real-world slaughter."  Too many video game enthusiasts can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality!
     So now, let me tell you about one particular game that pushes the boundaries into perversion.  Grand Theft Auto (known as GTA in the gaming world) is one of the most popular video games ever developed.  When it arrived on the scene in 1997, it rocked the video game world.  It took "gaming" to a whole new level, one in which "as the player, you could run around, partaking in all manner of criminality, with the intent of rising to the top of the gangster underworld by any grotesque means necessary." It was a game where you could be the bad guy; and you could take part in drugs, prostitution and random violence, all while being anonymous behind that computer screen.
     Advance forward 17 years and Grand Theft Auto V will allow characters in the game to have sex with a prostitute before beating her to death and stealing her money.  How's that for growth and social progress?  Apparently, supporters of this genre feel this is just a natural expansion of the creative development process; the game remains " gratuitously and unapologetically violent."
     But now there appears to be a new element to all this "fun".  Players will be allowed to make "in-game purchases."  They will be able to enhance the game by paying more money to modify the game to meet their own unique cravings; such as letting players ride a UFO, or playing the game while totally submersed under water.  But players will also be able to effect the "virtual reality"of other players... and in some utterly evil ways.
     It seems that players are complaining that these modifications (or mods, as they are known) are forcing their characters to do things they don't want to do.  Some mods such as doing push-ups might seem harmless and uncontroversial.  But remember that it is accepted that under-age kids have been able to access this game.  So imagine that your 12-year old is secretly playing this game over at his best friend's house and his character was attacked by one of these mods.  Let me share with you what one young gamer experienced:   How it initially began is my friend was being taken advantage of in a more remote part of the map, which I was unaware of. I went to his area to find out he was not alone. There was this other user, the user in question, in the area. I have never played with this modder, nor am I friends with him, nor were we in a party. This guy was a total random stranger who just dropped in the free mode session.  Quite literally, I and a couple friends of mine encountered a stranger and we were raped and forced to strip dance in GTA online. It was like a "traumatic life" simulator.
     What kind of sick culture do we live in?  To make matters worse, there are even a few YouTube channels full of videos "showcasing" GTA Online rape.  Sales are expected to go higher than 25,000,000 for this deviant game, whose developers pride themselves on being named by the Guinness Book of Records as the most controversial video game in history.  They are proud that their game is like "a black mirror" set up to reflect society.
     Now, the Entertainment Software Association would like you to think that video games are safe; that parents are involved in approving what games their children play, and are aware at all times what game their child is participating in.  But, Breitbart BBC makes it very clear that since "GTA is an online game that's being modded, players get to rape other real-life players. Some of those other players are very young: GTA is rated 18, but has hundreds of thousands of teen addicts."  And who is doing the modding?  The acts are disturbing, to say the least, but does anyone doubt that, with 36% of video game players over the age of 36, there aren't pedophiles "trolling" these online sites for unsuspecting victims?  As one young player shared, "You cannot kill him and there is nothing you can do about it."
     I am ashamed as to how far we have fallen.  God has been pushed out of nearly every sector of our lives, including socially and politically; and the result has been moral depravity.  Once again Satan has used the rapid advancements in technology to introduce us to new and more vile temptations.  And yet one of our culture's elite -- none other than the senior curator of the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Architecture and Design had this to say, “I consider video games a form of design that is amazingly important today and that is going to become even more important in the future, because it is a way we interact with machines and screens."    We would be much better off interacting with humans in reality, than connecting with machines through fantasy "screen relationships".  Again, I say ... technology is proving to be a means to the destruction of our unique character and spirit, which is "made in the image of God".  Heaven help us to protect our children!

1 Corinthians 15:34    "Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. "

August 18, 2014

"That Will Never Happen..."

     How many times have you heard this phrase uttered, as many of our fellow Americans still refuse to abandon their normalcy biases?  Don't you want to shake them out of their blindness and point out all the ways in which the world is changing?  The ways that they have repeatedly claimed would never transpire?
     For instance, there are the people who refuse to look at the possibility that the U.S. dollar could one day lose its status as the world's reserve currency.  "That will never happen," they say.  "The U.S. is the economic leader of the world.  The dollar is as strong as it's ever been."  Well, I would like to point out that at the beginning of this month, during its annual economic summit, Russia signed a joint cooperation pact with China to begin moving away from the U.S. dollar and promote their own currencies between themselves.
     Combine this news with the fact that Russia just signed a $400 billion, 30-year deal to supply gas to China.  Economic analysts explain how this effects America:  China buying Russian oil exports means the Chinese yuan will be exchanged directly into Russian rubles -- this, in effect, bypasses the U.S. dollar.  And as Russian deals with the U.S. economic sanctions, it is forced to use the ruble for its trade purposes.  This, in effect, changes the ruble from a convertible currency to a reserve currency.  No need for the dollar, there!
     If more major and developing countries begin to conduct their trade in their own currencies, and outside of the U.S. dollar, it doesn't trend well for the strength or value of the dollar.  While the dollar has been strong against foreign currencies in the past, it has also allowed us to borrow great sums of money from fellow nations.  But that has meant rising U.S. debt, and a growing lack of confidence in the solidarity of the dollar.
     While the dollar still remains as the world's reserve currency, there are cracks in the foundation of that position, and the signs of our economic collapse grow more prominent.  But that will never happen, right?
     Another issue to which Americans have been blind is the creation of a Global Caliphate.  "That will never happen," they said.  "You are over-reacting to Islam and its adherents.  It's just a small minority who are radicalized.  No one wants a Caliphate."  Can they still say that?  If the events of recent weeks and months does not wake them up, then they must truly be in a "normalcy coma".  I do not believe that any rational person can deny that a new Caliphate is a distinct possibility.  Radical jihadists from all over the globe are flocking to the call of a sophisticated, social media-savvy, blood-thirsty army of Muslim extremists.  They have made their goals known, and in case anyone is paying attention, they are doing a pretty good job of accomplishing their objectives.
     And in case anyone is unaware, we are directly in their sights.  I've also noticed that ISIS is making inroads in Lebanon, strengthening themselves in Syria, and threatening to launch a campaign in Jordan ... is all this with the ultimate goal of surrounding and attacking Israel?  They have declared themselves a Caliphate; an Islamic state ruled by strict Islamic laws.  From where I sit, they're well on their way to establishing exactly what they proclaim.  But that will never happen, right?
     Finally, Americans cannot foresee that another Holocaust could ever be perpetuated upon the Jews.  "That will never happen," they answer.  "The world would never let that happen.  It was such a horrendous crime against humanity; we have progressed beyond that."  Are they aware of what is going on in Europe and on the streets of our own cities?  Read my post from Friday.  Do they know that Muslim radicals in France, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden; and yes, even Germany, have targeted Jewish citizens and businesses --- just as they did prior to WW II?  Do they know that Jewish schools and institutions are being burned, and people have been killed?  Are they aware that Orthodox Jews in our own country have been shot and killed while on the way to synagogue, or that swastikas are beginning to appear across the landscape of our cities?  Do they know that Jews are beginning to fear for their lives and property, just as they did only 75 short years ago?  The signs are there!  Are we being reckless if we keep insisting, "this will never happen again"?
     As you can see, the world is struggling ... it is struggling for stability; it is struggling to maintain its humanity; and perhaps most importantly, it is struggling against pure Evil. But do we put our futures at risk when we refuse to acknowledge what the world is showing us?  Are we just too darned preoccupied with our own selfish little world that we can't possibly imagine a pole shift?  Because I can tell you that the spiritual forces behind these events are hoping that we will remain preoccupied while they set their plans in motion.  If we will just stay self-absorbed a little longer, events will fall into place and the things we couldn't imagine happening will be impossible to avert.  I imagine if on September 10th, 2001, you had asked a sampling of Americans if planes could be flown into the World Trade Center towers and bring them down, the overwhelming answer would have been "That will never happen...". Have we learned nothing?

1 Peter 5:8    "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."


August 17, 2014

Romans 11:25-27

Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren: a hardening (insensibility) has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in ... The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob. And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins.

    I have noticed the presence of a decidedly negative response whenever I write a post about Israel.  I do not know if the readers are Christians or not, but I am convinced that they read what I write from a marked political perspective.  I assume that their animosity towards Israel stems from their view of the current Gaza war.  To fully understand my point of view, one must look at what I write through the lens of the Bible.
     When I speak of Israel's right to the Land, and their status as God's Chosen people, I do not claim that every decision made by the Israeli government is correct, or that every secular or orthodox Jew has it right.  I cling to the verses I have chosen today.
     Just prior to this passage, the Apostle Paul has been expressing his sorrow at Israel's rejection of their Messiah.  He has made it known that their "Jewishness" does not exempt them from God's discipline; only their acceptance and faith in Jesus Christ [as God's Son who was crucified, buried and rose in triumphant resurrection] can cleanse them of their sins and provide eternal life.
     Paul admits that a hardening and blindness has (temporarily) fallen upon the nation (resulting in their rejection of Jesus) so that we can receive the Gospel message and accept God's gift of salvation. That hardening is still evident today in the modern nation of Israel.  They are still outside the grace of God, but only until that very last Gentile accepts Christ as His Savior -- and God knows who that person is!  
     But those who would condemn Israel for their actions to defend themselves must look to the Bible to see what God has to say about that.  In Genesis 17, He promises the land to the descendants of Isaac (modern Jews/Hebrews), not the descendants of Ishmael (modern Arabs/Palestinians).  The Israelites have been a rebellious people throughout the centuries, and God has disciplined them through captivities and dispersed them throughout the earth.  But He never abandoned His covenant with them.  And Ezekiel 36-37 prophesies of the return of the Israelites and the restoration of the land.
     That is what we have seen, beginning in May, 1948.  And that event is a foretelling of what Paul is describing in these verses of Romans.  The Deliverer (the Messiah) will come from Zion (Israel).  The world is going to come against Israel, once she is returned to the land God gave her.  We are seeing that unfold now.  Israel is surrounded by enemies that want to see her destroyed.  But there will come a day, when a remnant in the nation of Israel will cry out, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" -- when they recognize Jesus as their Messiah -- and Christ will return to defend the apple of God's eye, and "banish all ungodliness from Jacob (who is Israel)".  The remnant in Israel who embraces the Messiah will receive eternal life, just as we Gentiles will.
     So, to understand my position on what is going on in modern-day Israel, one must understand that my Christian faith is the basis for my opinions.  As a believing Gentile, I owe a debt to the Jewish people.  Because of their blindness, I had the opportunity to receive the saving Gospel.  I must stand and support Israel's right to its land. It is a Divine right given to them by God.  If you do not believe the Bible, and only see the Gaza war in terms of a secular world vision, we will never agree on this issue.  I believe that Israel's appointed time to see her Messiah is close at hand.  Until then, I will "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem."

August 16, 2014

Testing The Limits In The Heartland

     The alarming situation in Ferguson, Missouri has so many undertones, it has got us all scrambling for answers ... and the truth.  I must admit that I am very conflicted because I'm confused about what we're being shown by the media ... and why.  I believe that nothing is done by chance.
     There are images of out-of-control looting and rioting, which serves no purpose except for taking advantage of a volatile situation.  There is news coverage of police in full military gear arriving in armored vehicles, shooting rubber bullets and tossing tear gas canisters at citizens.  Photos appear online of cars and stores on fire, and thugs lighting molotov cocktails; clearly these citizens are breaking the law.  And then there are stories of journalists being arrested for attempting to report on all the chaos; the freedom of the press appears to be suppressed by a militarized police force.
     So what are we to think?  Is this going to be another racially-charged circus like the Trayvon Martin incident?  Was this the murder of an innocent victim by an overzealous cop, or was it a justified shooting of a combative robbery suspect?  How do we keep this explosive crisis from being used by different factions for their own purposes?  Like I said, I don't have the answers ... but I fear that the ramifications we could see coming out of Ferguson, Missouri are nothing any of us wants.
     I have to admit that I have nephews who are police officers, and who work in communities adjacent to Ferguson, although none of them are part of the police presence we've seen televised, thank God.  But I know of the dangers that they face each day, and of the lawlessness that is embraced in the surrounding areas.  Unemployment is incredibly high and incentives to escape the economic hopelessness are low.  That's not a good combination for producing law-abiding citizens, nor is it a reason to adopt victimhood.
     On the other hand, I am quite disturbed at the videos I've seen of police in camo and helmets, as if they are waging war against American citizens.  As Senator Rand Paul stated, "The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action…. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement."
     I think we can all agree that police must be given the authority to keep the peace and enforce our laws.  But when the police take on the appearance and role of a military-like agency, then it is only natural that we citizens fear the loss of our constitutionally-guaranteed rights.  And because the news media is always looking for that "juicy" story to boost ratings, nothing gives them more opportunity to fill air time than a racial incident, and we all know that they can distort their coverage to show any narrative they want.  So what's the real story they want us to take away from the non-stop reporting?  (Keep in mind, there's always the possibility we're only seeing what they want us to see).
     But I have two very real concerns regarding this unfortunate situation.  And I think they both point to the heart of the matter.  Number One:  Will true justice be served?  Conflicting stories on the victim have surfaced, and are sure to muddy the legal waters.  Was he innocently walking down the street when he was harassed by a prejudiced police officer, as his companion states?  Or did he fit the description of a robbery suspect at a nearby convenience store, as new crime scene photos seem to suggest?  (That same companion is allegedly an accomplice in that robbery).
     And once again, as in the Trayvon case, the officer (who claims self-defense) supposedly has injuries sustained in the confrontation with the victim.  The police department of Ferguson has handled this affair poorly.  Information has been sporadic and conflicting; thereby, lending an air of suspicion to the whole proceedings.  They haven't helped us feel confident we're getting at the truth.  (Maybe we're not supposed to feel "confident"?  Sorry, my conspiratorial side is on the loose).
     Number Two:  My greatest fear is that this "crisis will not go to waste", and any number of players can use this calamity to their advantage.   The recklessness of the citizenry can be manipulated to give the government cause for instituting martial law.  There are groups such as the Black Panthers that will eagerly use the death of Michael Brown to further their agenda of alienation of the races.  There are politicians and social engineers who will use Ferguson to promote their position that economic disparity and discrimination in the judicial system are reasons to  justify the actions of looters and rioters ... that their "outrage leading to destruction" is a natural reaction, so to speak.
     With this many elements all jockeying to further their "agendas", there will be no winning side.  We all stand to lose.  And if each group is given a little piece of the pie in an effort to appease them, then one more brick crumbles at the foundation of American freedoms and our way of life.  We will all be a little less than we were a week ago.  But then again, (smirk, smirk) maybe that's the plan....

     Latest News:  Out of this chaotic situation steps the calming, professional influence of Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson.  The governor of Missouri was smart enough to hand over the reins of security control to Johnson, and the result was a night of no arrests, no tear gas, and the opportunity for the citizens of Ferguson to exert their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble.
     Captain Johnson did what should have been done from the outset; he listened.  Watching him at a news conference, I couldn't help but think, "This man knows how to communicate with the people.  He knows how the police presence should be represented.  And most of all, he knows how the police and the community need to respect each other."  He removed all the heavy military gear; including gas masks, military armored vehicles with sniper posts, and most specifically, the attitude.  He then walked the streets with the protesters, showing them they had nothing to fear from the police, and that  they needn't destroy their own communities in the effort to express their opinions.
     As I listened to him speak, it was obvious that this man is special.  I could sense that he wants the best for all parties involved and he will tolerate neither lawlessness nor injustice.  Could he be the answer to prayers for non-violence and godly leadership?  Then he quoted Scripture and my soul leaped in response!  Thank you, Lord for sending this compassionate man in the midst of all the Enemy's servants.  Perhaps Evil just got check-mated and Ferguson can begin to heal!

Ephesians 5:11    "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them."

August 15, 2014

Never Again!

     This is the rallying cry of Jews throughout Europe as they see the writing on the wall, and vow to stop the hate crimes against their religion by radical Muslims and supporters of the Left.  And it looks as if they have good reason to be on the defensive.  Israel National News cites a study by the World Zionist Organization that reports "Anti-Semitic attacks have increased by 436% in Europe, 1200% in South America, 600% in South Africa, 800% in Oceania, 127% in the United States, and 100% in Canada."
     These attacks include the burning of Israeli flags worldwide.  Mezuzahs (a parchment inscribed with religious texts and attached in a case to the doorpost of a Jewish house as a sign of faith) are being ripped from homes.  Jewish shops around the world are torched.  And the delegitimization of Israel by pro-Arab sympathizers all serve to undermine the security of hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world.
     But European Jews are living by their pledge to "never again" allow a Holocaust like the one instigated by Nazi Germany.  Throughout Europe, Jewish groups are hiring former, elite Israeli soldiers as security guards for Jewish institutions and synagogues.
     Stephen Brown, writing for David Horowitz's Freedom Center and Front Page Mag, says "Well aware of history, German Jewish associations know the first major step in any planned liquidation of Europe’s Jewish communities, especially of their own, is the destruction of their synagogues. This is what occurred in Germany in November, 1938, and later came to be called ‘Kristallnacht’ (Crystal Night). In one night, Nazi thugs destroyed all the synagogues in Germany and Austria as well as many Jewish businesses, homes, cemeteries and social meeting places. The ‘Kristall’ refers to the debris of broken window glass lying on the ground afterwards from destroyed synagogues and Jewish stores."
     That night over 100 Jews were killed in the ensuing violence.  The Nazi regime held the Jewish community responsible for the physical damage and subsequently imposed a collective fine of $400 million (in 1938 rates); this according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
     History.com further relates that "more than 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to the Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen concentration camps in Germany–camps that were specifically constructed to hold Jews, political prisoners and other perceived enemies of the Nazi state."
     Today, European Jews recognize that Kristallnacht was the night that the harassment of Jews in Germany turned to violence, and that it directly led to the extermination of over 6,000,000 European Jews.  Kristallnacht was a turning point, and they are determined that such evil will happen "never again".
     In his article, Brown writes that, today, "radical, anti-Semitic Islamists have replaced the brown-shirted thugs. And they are becoming just as violent as their predecessors in expressing their anti-Jewish hatred."  France has been the scene of particularly violent hate crimes; with French jihadists attacking Jewish community centers and synagogues; and murdering children at Jewish schools, and killing attendees at Jewish museums.  The anti-Semitic attacks have gotten so bad in France, that Jews are leery of walking to synagogue;  physical and verbal assaults occur daily.
     You know it is getting bad in Europe when a visiting German-Jewish lawyer tells an Israeli parliamentary committee, "Things are happening (in Europe) that we have not seen since 1933."
     So the question is this ... Do the European governments have the courage to fight back against such hatred and evil?  Will they try to appease it or ignore it?  Surely, they remember their history and what such lack of action encouraged! "Harshly denouncing" the actions will not be enough!
     If nothing else, the current and growing anti-Semitism throughout Europe and the world should be a wake-up call to Jews and non-Jews alike.  I believe humanity must not allow such atrocities to happen again.  And I believe that God will not see His chosen people suffer such Evil a second time.  He has restored them to the land; and if the hatred and the violence continues to grow, it won't be long until they cry out, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."
     Just this week, an orthodox Jewish rabbi from New York was shot and killed in Miami, Florida on his way to worship --- this, just days after a swastika was painted on a nearby synagogue.  It's here, people!  Evil is once again targeting Jews and we must all make a personal decision ... will you denounce such hatred?  I do not believe God will let it go unanswered this time.  Come, Lord Jesus!

Psalm 83:1-4    "O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”

August 14, 2014

Recommended Book: Survive The Coming Storm - Ebola Crisis

     It still dominates the headlines ... EBOLA.  Breitbart.com reports that a Spanish missionary priest died of the disease in Madrid this last Tuesday.  They are also reporting that China has quarantined 8 medical workers who had direct contact with ebola patients in Sierra Leone while helping to treat victims of the deadly virus.
     Breitbart is also reporting that there is grave concern in China over the spread of the virus, as it is estimated that 20,000 Chinese citizens are living and working in the three African countries most directly affected by Ebola.  If any of these health workers return to China carrying the virus, the potential spread of the disease among the crowded urban communities of China could potentially result in the deaths of thousands, if not millions.
     Then you have the changing position of the Center for Disease Control, who initially claimed that you had to come in contact with an Ebola patient to contract the disease.  Now, they have amended their statement to "being within 3 feet" of an infected person or "being in the same room" with an infected person can allow for transmission of the disease! They also admit a person who is infected, but not yet showing symptoms, is contagious!
     And finally, Bloomberg News is telling us that "The Ebola drug given to two Americans and a Spanish priest has been sent to treat infected doctors in two West African countries, and the supply of the medicine is now gone, its manufacturer said."  Which raises the serious ethical question ... with a shortage of any kind of medicine to combat the disease, who will receive the few available doses of life-saving drugs?  Will the poor Africans, or will it be dispensed to those with the resources and the money to demand it?
     That brings me to my recommendation .... Ray Gano, the Publisher and Executive Director of the web ministry  Prophezine, which provides a wide variety of spiritual and physical preparedness articles, has published a new book that offers some valuable information and advice on how to protect your family during an Ebola pandemic.
     None of  us wants to think about this happening, but if you are paying close attention, the indications are it is a very real possibility.
     Ray's book, titled Survive The Coming Storm - EBOLA CRISIS (Preparing Now... Before It Is Too Late) is a book you want to have in your possession, if the worst case scenario materializes.
     As Ray points out, the Ebola virus appears to be spreading faster than the efforts to contain it.  Therefore, we would be wise to develop a quarantine plan now, and stock up on the supplies you will need to prevent and/or treat the virus.  And he gives you a concise strategy for accomplishing this for your family.
     He gives you the products and the methods for sterilizing your home, and how to set up a quarantined patient room, if necessary.  He offers advice on how to keep the virus from spreading in your home, and how to safely handle the sanitation issues when caring for an Ebola patient.
     His book also offers valuable advice on supplements and over-the-counter products to boost your immune system and prepare your body to fight off the virus.  He tells you how to prevent, identify and treat dehydration, the primary cause of death in Ebola victims.  And, because it is necessary, there is even a chapter on how to deal with the death of a loved one.
     This book is not designed to frighten you or to cause you to panic ... it is written to help you be prepared to deal with a worldwide pandemic before it happens.  There have already been over 1000 Ebola deaths in Africa, and nearly 2,000 suspected cases, in just over a few short months.  Until this year, the world had recorded 1,640 deaths TOTAL from Ebola since the virus was discovered in 1976... you can see the potential for this to turn into a global disaster.
     That's why the time to add Ray Gano's book to your preparedness collection is NOW!  Don't wait until the epidemic spreads like wildfire to try to gain this information or gather together your supplies.  It will be too late!  You can listen to scientists and doctors, who tell you it is too early; there's no need to panic.  Maybe they're right.  Or you can rest easy at night, knowing that you have given your family a chance, should the worst happen.  This is a valuable resource to have.  Click on the provided link and check it out ... I highly recommend it!

Revelation 11:6    "They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire."


August 13, 2014

Why Didn't We Listen?

     I am a lover of history, and there is no better way to review our nation's past than to read the thoughts and opinions of those men who have held positions of power in our country.  Granted, one must be diligent to read the comments as they were intended and try to discern the truth behind the words.  But as I look at the disintegration of our economy; our status in the world; and the very moral fiber of our society, I see the stark reality of this nation's decline.  So, I thought it might be a good exercise to see if any of our past leaders saw this coming.
     First of all, call it a conspiracy if you want, but the idea of an elite group of leaders controlling the world, is not a new theory.  The idea of the existence of the so-called Illuminati has been around since the founding of our nation.  They are often linked to the Freemason's and shrouded in secrecy.  I am not writing to convince you that they are either fact or fiction.  I simply want you to read the following words of these powerful men and decide for yourselves.
     Secondly, I wish to thank Ross Pittman, of Conscious Life News for his contribution to this post.  I obtained many of these quotes from his cohesive article.  His piece was the answer to the question my mind kept asking, and he saved me a lot of time in tracking all the quotes down.  Now, let's take a look behind the curtain with these great men:
     After having served two long, grueling terms as the first President of the United States, George Washington knew first-hand how difficult it would be to maintain a government with the original intent of the Founding Fathers.  Perhaps he, more than anyone else, could recognize the signs of lust for power.  That's why the remarks in his Farewell Address should have been our first clue.  I find it quite interesting that Washington feels compelled to give us the following warning:  "... it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth [that unity of government is the foundation of our real independence]; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness;".
     In a letter to a friend, Washington also commented about the Illuminati themselves:  "It was not my intention to doubt that, the Doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more truly satisfied of this fact than I am. The idea that I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the Lodges of Free Masons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavoured to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or pernicious principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of seperation). That Individuals of them may… actually had a seperation [sic] of the People from their Government in view, is too evident to be questioned.” 
     One of the single most contentious battles that Washington faced in the development of the new government was the Banking System.  From the founding of this nation, the control of money and the role of the banks was seen as a threat to our existence.  (God, Himself warns of "serving mammon".)  And so it seems that Banks have been at the heart of power and government from the very beginning:

     In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote this in a letter to John Taylor, a philosopher on the theories of government:  “I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” 
     John C. Calhoun, Vice President (1825-1832) and U.S. Senator, said this in a speech given on May 27, 1836:  “A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various powerful interests, combined in one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in banks.” 
     It seems as if this power only increased with the age of the nation.  The 26th President of the U.S., Theodore Roosevelt penned this ominous statement: “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.  To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”
     I am no fan of Woodrow Wilson, yet I am left amazed at the candor he reflects in this commentary: “A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men… [W]e have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.” 
     Getting the picture?  Just 124 years after the first President was sworn into office, our national leader is declaring that our government is utterly corrupt; that "of the people, by the people, and for the people" is obsolete!  We are now 100 years past that declaration.  How much worse must it be?
     In 1932, Congressman Louis T. McFadden delivered this speech to the House of Representatives:  “Mr. Chairman, we have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks. The Federal Reserve Board, a Government board, has cheated the Government of the United States and the people of the United States out of enough money to pay the national debt…Mr. Chairman, when the Federal Reserve act was passed, the people of the United States did not perceive that a world system was being set up here… and that this country was to supply financial power to an international superstate — a superstate controlled by international bankers and international industrialists acting together to enslave the world for their own pleasure.” 
     Even famed aviator Charles Lindbergh denounced the establishment of the Federal Reserve:  "When the President signs this bill, the invisible government of the monetary power will be legalized....the worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency bill."
     In 1954, Senator William Jenner, of Indiana, made this prophetic statement:  “Today the path to total dictatorship in the U.S. can be laid by strictly legal means… We have a well-organized political-action group in this country, determined to destroy our Constitution and establish a one-party state… It operates secretly, silently, continuously to transform our Government… This ruthless power-seeking elite is a disease of our century… This group…is answerable neither to the President, the Congress, nor the courts. It is practically irremovable.” 
     In 1961, President John of Kennedy, author of the Nobel Prize winning book, Profiles in Courage, wrote these alarming words:  “The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings… Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe... For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence ... It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.... Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed.”
     Then in a comment made to a Columbia University class on November 12, 1963, just ten days before his assassination, President Kennedy said, "The high office of the President has been used to foment a plot to destroy the American's freedom, and before I leave office, I must inform the citizens of this plight."  Did this "secret system", this "invisible world government", silence this dissenter?  We will probably never know.  But he hasn't been the last to denounce the powerful Elite.
     During the Iran Contra hearings in 1986, Senator Daniel Inouye went on record with this inflammatory statement:  "There exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself."
     And if you need further proof, these are the actual words of the Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, himself:  "... the Federal Reserve is an independent agency, and that means, basically, that there is no other agency of government which can overrule actions that we take. So long as that is in place and there is no evidence that the administration or the Congress or anybody else is requesting that we do things other than what we think is the appropriate thing, then what the relationships are don’t frankly matter."
     So, there you have it.  From almost the very moment our unique form of government was instituted, there has been a powerful force seeking to destroy our freedom; a freedom that was "endowed to us by our Creator."  Should that really surprise anyone?  If God instituted a new form of government (and I believe His hand was intimately involved) then doesn't it make sense that Satan's move would be to introduce a counterfeit or "secret" shadow government to tempt man's natural greed for money and power?  And it seems as if our nation's leaders have known about it from the first, but were powerless to stop it.
     I know it is a common message today to point out that there is not a political solution to what ails us; that the answer is spiritual.  So, if this world's freedom is truly at the whim of powerful men, then we must seek the power to curb their control over our lives from a higher Source.  That power is available to us, and we don't need to fear the consequences of unholy avarice.  I choose to serve only one Master, and He is greater than any system on this earth.

Psalm 10:3    "For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord."

August 12, 2014

The Numbers Matter

     During the Fall of 2013, the Federal Reserve conducted a survey of 4100 households to gauge their economic and financial well-being.  Newsmax is reporting the statistics, and they are not very encouraging:
•  13% said they were struggling to get by
•  34% reported they were "somewhat worse off" or "much worse off" than before the Great Recession hit in 2008.
•  33% of those who had applied for credit in the previous 12 months said they were turned down or given less than they requested.
•  24% had some type of education debt.
•  31% of people who aren't retired said they had no retirement savings or pension, including 19% of those aged 55 to 64.
•  Almost 50% of adults weren't actively thinking about financial planning for retirement, with 25% saying they had done no planning at all.
•  26% of homeowners said they expected prices in their neighborhood to increase by as much as 5% in the 12 months following the survey period.
     It's not hard to see why there is so much pessimism among American households.  The job market is still lagging far behind the needs of American workers; many are having to settle for part-time jobs when full-time employment is needed and wanted.  Manufacturing is stagnant; and credit card debt is almost a necessity in today's household.
     My family and I recently discussed the sad state of the country's economy and how it is affecting the generations.  If they had worked hard and diligently, the older generations used to look forward to leaving a comfortable inheritance to their children.  But today, with the uncertainty of government programs like Medicare and Social Security, they are not sure if they are going to have to use up their legacy.  Rising property taxes are a real threat for the elderly and retired; they fear losing the one asset that could benefit their children upon their death.  Leaving any kind of financial benefit is no longer taken for granted.
     Then I worry about the younger generation.  New college graduates and the young marrieds just starting their families do not see our future clearly.  They don't have enough experience to see that their economic future will not mimic that of their parents and grandparents.  Everything is going to cost more, and their salaries (if they are lucky enough to gain employment and keep a job) will not meet the demands of rising food costs, insurance, and mortgages.  They will not have the luxury of "security" that we have known in the past.  Everything is changing ... they just don't see it yet.
     Our Education standards are falling; our quality of healthcare is going to take a drastic nosedive; our privacy is disappearing; and our society and culture are in moral decline; and "believing in God" can even be widely divergent in its definition.
      If the signs of a dying culture are the lack of faith, a lack of a moral foundation (relative moralism doesn't count), the breakdown of the family unit, and a general lack of caring for other people --- then I guess we fit the bill.  The end of this republic may ultimately come at the hand of an external enemy, but the genesis of our demise will have been internal.  We simply did not guard what we were given by man or God.  And now we're paying the price; a just penalty, I might add.
     While the numbers don't lie, and I think we are reaping what we have sown, I can't help but believe that victory can still be ours.  I sense an awakening in the souls and minds of people who are forced to take a good, hard look at what's going on outside their personal domains.  How can they not?  The world is going to effect us all.  Whether it is a worldwide pandemic; a terrorist attack; communities overwhelmed with illegal immigrants; water shortages; or a natural disaster; we are all going to eventually have a crisis of faith.
     So it is my prayer each night that this nation will awaken to its need for God; to face our mistakes, our selfishness, and our transgressions, and seek His face as have we done throughout our past.  It is never too late to ask for forgiveness, and He is never too slow to respond when we are sincere in our repentance.  Is it too late?  I don't think so.  Nightly, I remind God that He has a faithful remnant in this country, and I ask for just a little more time to reach one more person for His kingdom.  He knows the exact number of the fullness of His kingdom on earth, and I hope there is still time to reach one or two more.  Lord, help me to add to Your number!

Revelation 7:9     "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb,"

August 11, 2014

Never Underestimate Evil!

     My mind and my soul are in turmoil.  Half a world away, children are beheaded; women are kidnapped, raped and subjected to sexual slavery; and men are being executed and their dead bodies hung on makeshift crucifixes.  The "soldiers" of ISIS have demanded conversion to Islam or death.  Their bold assault in Iraq amounts to a systemic slaughter of "infidels", and ultimate genocide.
     Just yesterday, an Iraqi government minister told Reuters, "Islamic State militants have killed at least 500 members of Iraq's Yazidi minority, burying some alive and taking hundreds of women as slaves."  The Yazidi are a Kurdish-speaking ethnic/religious group that predates Christianity.  Their faith is a combination of early Mesopotamian religions and Persian philosophies, dating back thousands of years.  They believe in a God who created the world, and the central figure of their faith is the Peacock Angel, who some argue shares the same narrative as Satan.  Regardless of the suspicions we Westerners might have about this ancient religion, the fact remains that they are in the path of pure Evil.
     Yet, our media is just now beginning to grasp the depth of this threat.  In reality, they are falling far short of reporting the full scope of ISIS's intent.  While the world is focused on the atrocities in Iraq, ISIS, (or IS -- Islamic State -- as it is now referring to itself), has turned its attention to gaining a foothold in nearby Lebanon.  Israel National News reports that ISIS began its campaign with car bombs and suicide bombers, and is now engaging in a full-on battle with the Lebanese Army.  For now, Hezbollah, the Shia Islamist militant group, has refused to get involved in fighting the Sunni jihadists of ISIS.  That may soon change with the recent ISIS announcement  “that the time had come to implement its plan and announce a vast Islamic emirate, imposing its emirs while sabotaging the Arab world and pushing it into the furnace of ignorance and backwardness in the name of Islam."
     And it's not only the Arab world that they plan on conquering.  Through a sophisticated social media blitz, the group leaves no doubt as to who their future target is .... US!  To show you just how twisted this world has become, terrorist groups now take to Twitter to foment their propaganda and threats.  They post cellphone images of their black flag of jihad with the White House in the background, and messages such as "We are here America, near our target... sooooon", and "We are in your states, we are in your cities, we are in your streets.  We are anywhere".  They make no bones about it ... they vow to one day “raise the flag of Muhammad in the White House.”
     How seriously do Americans take this threat?  How seriously does our government?  They roam the deserts and towns of Iraq in abandoned U.S. Humvees and upload their grisly brutality on social media videos.  The Daily Mail reports they have seized control of the vital Mosul Dam in Northern Iraq, which supplies water and power to millions of Iraqis. There are fears its destruction would unleash a 65-foot wave that could overwhelm Mosul and even cause flooding in Baghdad.  Furthermore, their medieval style of Islam has now been imposed on a portion of Iraq and Syria the size of Great Britain.  And they have no intentions of stopping there!  Even the fearsome Kurdish fighters are fleeing the advance of ISIS, along with 150,000 residents running for their lives.
     Yes, the US and Britain have dropped relief supplies to the Yazidis who are trapped on a mountaintop; and we have dropped strategic bombs in an attempt to stall the "caliphate".  But if we thought the Kurds could defeat the evil that is ISIS by themselves, we are being shown just how much we underestimate this group.  As one Kurdish fighter explained, "‘Everything they have is American – it is all the latest equipment with the big guns, the Humvees."  (And now we are bombing  our own equipment, left behind when we withdrew our troops!  Oh, the irony of it all!)
     I am hard-pressed to see where this all ends.  I believe this is an evil force like the world has not seen since Hitler.  It cannot be placated, and it will not be easily defeated.  Perhaps only God's heavenly army can destroy it; but it must be destroyed.  I urge you to take a look at the video series on the Islamic State by award-winning journalist and filmmaker Medyan Dairieh, who spent 10 days inside the Islamic State for Vice News. He is the first Western journalist to be embedded inside the world's most dangerous terrorist group, documenting its inner workings.
     I don't want to spoil his report, but suffice it to say he saw "a regime of absolute control which imposed its strict sharia laws ... a very organized army .... whose ruthless ambition is to take over the world."  What are we Bible-believing Christians to make of this?  How many of us know what the final book of the Bible, Revelation, tells us?  Sadly, I know of too many denominations who ignore this last book of the Bible, or flat out choose to negate it as "having already occurred".  That philosophy is embraced at great risk!
     We Christians like to think we know the complete story of the Bible ... but too many limit it to the New Testament only and Christ's First Coming, culminating in the glorious rapture of the Saints and His Second Appearance on Earth.  These Believers never look at the warnings issued by Jesus or Paul or Peter, and choose to concentrate on the message of Grace.  But God gave us the entire Bible for a reason!  There's a reason we are told of Satan's fall ... it is because he wants to usurp Yeshua's position at the right hand of God; he wants to dethrone Jesus and crown himself King.  The Old Testament is full of accounts of Satan's plan to accomplish this goal, and he continues into the New Testament; thinking that he has won when Jesus is crucified.  But the Resurrection showed the Devil that he was again defeated.  So do you really think that he is going to give up that easy?  Satan knows God's plan to send His Son back to rescue those He calls His own.  And he is well aware that this time, Jesus is coming to condemn the wicked and that He will finally, and once for all, deliver his [Satan's] final defeat in the lake of fire and sulphur.
     So can Believers envision how much Evil Satan is going to pour out on the earth in his final attempt to win over the inhabitants of the earth and spoil Jesus's victory?  Do they really think it is going to be smooth sailing out of this world?  It hasn't been for centuries of Christians who have been called to "suffer with Christ"!  Why should it be for us?
     Whether ISIS is the culmination of Satan's final evil plan, I cannot say with certainty.  But they sure show signs of his influence and his hatred of Christians and Jews.  I pray that we do not have to face this threat firsthand.  And I pray for the thousands of fellow Christians who are being tested and refuse to renounce our faith.  May they feel the presence of our Lord in this hour of their trials.

1 Peter 3:14    "But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,"