Thursday, February 22, 2018

"Guns, God & The Problem Of Evil"

"Evil is real. As long as humans have walked the earth, people have chosen to do evil things," said Dirty Jobs host, Mike Rowe in a facebook post. "This is what happened in Florida. A nineteen-year old man chose to do an evil thing. He planned it. He executed it. He succeeded."

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last week led to 17 deaths and a raging debate on why such things keep happening.

Rowe says that while it's important to figure out the contributing factors in the shootings, such as video games, accessible firearms, single parents, no parents, powerful medications, social media, mental illness, bullying, or anything else we can think of that might have driven the shooter--we shouldn't lose sight of the root cause: Evil.

Billy Graham, who passed away this week, left us the following example of how evil works:
"Satan may be able to put evil thoughts directly into our minds. For example, when Judas turned against Jesus and secretly betrayed Him to His enemies, the Bible says that 'Satan entered Judas'" (Luke 22:3).
"But Judas alone was responsible for what he did; he could not blame Satan for his actions. Driven by greed, he willingly accepted the money he was offered to reveal where Jesus could be found. In other words, Satan only took advantage of his sinful desires. The Bible warns that 'each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed'" (James 1:14).
The bottom line? Politically charged conversations won't stop evil people from doing evil things. The best we can do is make it harder.
"But evil people and impostors will go from bad to worse as they deceive others and are themselves deceived." 2 Timothy 3:13
A wise man once said: "The Bible says that the problem is within us--within our hearts and souls. We are separated from God, and we need to have our souls restored. Something that only God can do."    -- Billy Graham 1918-2018

Billy Graham's Final Column" "By the time you read this, I will be in heaven."

News:

  • The Wall Street Journal: Trump Holds 'Listening' Session For Victims Of School Shooting; pledges to push stricter gun laws, raise age limit from 18 to 21, ban bump stocks, and place armed guards or gun-trained teachers in schools.
  • ABC News: Florida shooter claims he heard voices telling him to carry out massacre.
  • USA Today: Billy Graham to lie in honor in Capitol Rotunda for service to the nation.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

"Russia+Iran+Israel-the U.S. = Urgent Warning: Believers look up/nonbelievers wake up"

News out of the Middle East last week made those of us tracking bible prophecy hold our breath. For a while there, it looked like Ezekiel's prophecy had begun...or possibly even Isaiah 17:1, the destruction of Damascus.

On Saturday (Israel's Sabbath), Iran sent an unmanned aerial vehicle (aka spydrone) into Israeli airspace from a base in Syria.

Israel shot down the drone and launched multiple air strikes on Iran-backed positions in and around Damascus.

Syrian air defense managed to shoot down one of Israel's F-16 fighter jets as it returned from the bombing raid, something that hasn't happened in decades. Oh, and BTW the anti-aircraft missiles that downed the Israeli plane? Russian--though operated by Syria.

Iran and Russia are present in Syria to provide military backing to the Syrian government. Russia is an ally of both Iran and Syria, but also maintains cordial ties with Israel. Based on the Ezekiel 38 prophecy, we believe this "cordial" relationship between Russia and Israel is about to end.

Iran, (the country formerly know as Persia), has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map" for years, but Saturday marked their first ever direct confrontation. Given Russia's close ties to Iran, why wasn't this escalation prevented?

Meanwhile, "a U.S. jet operating in Syria destroyed a Russian-made T-72 battle tank near Al Tabiyeh, Syria on Saturday," the Pentagon confirmed.

The tank was destroyed after Russian mercenary forces fired on a position held by U.S. troops and their Syrian rebel allies earlier last week.

The story has come to light bit by bit, but apparently 500 "pro-regime forces" (meaning--you guessed it--Russians!) fired on special operations troops and attacked a headquarters used by U.S. troops in Deir al-Zor province approximately 5 miles east of the Euphrates River.

The U.S. responded with a furious barrage of air and artillery strikes killing as many as 200 or 300 Russian mercenaries, insisting the attack was unprovoked.

The Russian media version of the story said Russian private contractors and pro-government forces advanced on oil fields in the eastern Deir al-Zor province and were targeted by the United States, claiming the attack was...wait for it..."unprovoked".

The truth? Ezekiel 38 details a Russian-led coalition (including Iran and other Muslim nations) that orchestrates a surprise attack against Israel. Some speculate the reason for Russia's involvement will be to capture Israel's recently discovered massive natural gas and oils supplies (the same reason Russia wants the Balkans). For the first time in history every major player mentioned in Ezekiel's prophecy are amassed militarily on the Syrian /Israeli border. The prophecy does not mention the U.S. Hmmmm...can't help but wonder why.

JD Farag connects the prophetic dots in his short, but comprehensive prophecy update--a must-see to get us up to speed on future events. You don't want to miss this one.

A wise man once said: "Iran's calculated escalation of threat, and its ambition to project its power and dominance, places all of the people of the region--from Yemen to Lebanon at risk. The U.S. calls for an end to Iranian behavior that threatens peace and stability." -- Heather Nauert, U.S. State Department
Then He instructed me, "Do not seal up the prophetic words you have written, for the time is near" Revelation 22:10.
News:

  • The Times of Israel: Russian official: "If Iran attacks Israel, we'll stand with Israel; the U.S. and Russia will be on Israel's side" --Russian Ambassador to Israel, Leonid Frolov
  • Breitbart: Israel's 'Deep State' Targets Netanyahu With Bogus Charges; shows remarkable similarities with the Special Counsel probe against Trump.
  • The Jerusalem Post: Israel Defense Minister: "Iran declared war on us long ago, Tehran wants to "erase" Israel

Thursday, February 8, 2018

"Happiness is a Choice"

As a reporter for The New York Times, John Leland spent a year hanging out with a small group of seniors 85 and up detailing their lives for a series of articles.

Those articles morphed into his latest best seller, Happiness Is A Choice You Make, a book everyone seems to want. Why? Apparently, those old folks have a secret the rest of us need: How to be happy.

"One of the paradoxes of old age is that for all the idealization of youth, people are actually happier when they get older," Leland said.

Wait...what?

According to Leland, studies show 80-year olds are more content that those in their 20s. "Older people see a short time in front of them so they will concentrate on things that are pleasing to them in the moment."

The bottom line according to Leland? You can learn from those who have been around the block a few times and recognize that happiness is a choice you make.

Hugh Whelchel of Theology 101, gives the Biblical definition of true happiness: "In the Old Testament, the word ashre means "well-being", "flourishing", and "happiness". This word is most often translated into English as "blessed".

Ashre is used throughout the Psalms and Proverbs to describe the happy state of those who live wisely according to God's design.

The same formula for ashre is used in the New Testament with the word makarios, the Greek equivalent of ashre.

In Matthew, the Beatitudes could easily read: "Blessed/Happy/Flourishing are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10).

Thus, ashre/makarios is making an appeal to true happiness and flourishing through obedience within the gracious covenant God has given to His people.

A wise man once said: "Here is the irony: the less you're concerned about your happiness and the more you're concerned about Him (God), the happier you get. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." -- Tim Keller, Christian scholar
"Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what He requires of you, and He will provide you with all those other things" (Matthew 6:33).
News:
  • DEBKAfile: New Iranian weaponized drone deployed in Syria "equipped with smart-bomb warheads".
  • The Washington Free Beacon: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Defends Plan To Deploy Small Nuclear Arms; new weapons needed to counter Russia and China, he said.
  • The New York Times: World Braces For Shocks As Era Of Easy Money Ends 


Thursday, February 1, 2018

"New Study: BFF Brains Light Up The Same"

"Scientists long ago understood that 'birds of a feather flock together,'" said Carolyn Parkinson, director of the Computational Social Neuroscience Lab at UCLA. And apparently, they were right.

According to a study released Tuesday, close friends have more in common than they realize: Their brains.

That's right folks, you and your BFF really do think alike.

"Our results suggest that friends process the world around them in exceptionally similar ways," said Parkinson. "You can predict who people are friends with just by looking at how their brains respond."

The study included 42 volunteers connected to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) viewing short video clips of news reports, music videos, comedy skits, and documentaries, while researchers watched neural activity in their brains. The findings? Close friends have "eerily comparable neural responses to life experiences." And as an extra added attraction, their brains light up in all the same places making them a natural match. Link: Best Friends' Brains Light Up The Same

"The closer the relationship, the more alike the neural patterns in parts of the brain governing emotional response, high-level reasoning, and the capacity to focus one's attention," the authors of the study said. And conversely, "the relationships we forge with individuals who are clearly different from us--not of our 'tribe'--tend to be practical, task-oriented and short-lived, research has shown." In other words, if you want to "know yourself" take a good, long look at your friends.

A wise man once said: "As a Christian, you should avoid anything that would compromise your relationship with Jesus. That includes entering into a relationship, business deal, or any other association that would tempt you to lower your standards or discredit your integrity. When you team up with someone who does not love and fear the Lord, that relationship can dramatically weaken you spiritually." -- Greg Laurie, Harvest Christian Fellowship
"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." Proverbs 13:20
News:

  • The New York Times: Oprah Winfrey Drops Russell Simmons From Spiritual Advice Book After Multiple Women Accused Him Of Sexual Misconduct
  • Associated Press: Leading Islamic Scholar In Custody Amid Rape Claims In Paris
  • WND: FBI Says Explosive FISA Surveillance Memo 'Accurate'; Dems did everything they could to hide info from American people



Thursday, January 25, 2018

"Slaughter Bots & The Robopocalypse"

What do the U.S., China, Russia, and Israel have in common? If you said they're all (except the U.S.) mentioned in Bible prophecy--you'd be correct, but wait...there's more.

These nations (among others) are busy "exploring" a terrifying technology known as Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) in what is effectively a new arms race.

What's a Lethal Autonomous Weapons System you ask?

Dubbed "slaughter bots" by detractors, these sophisticated computerized micro-robots are defined by the U.S. Department of Defense as weapons "once activated, that select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator."

Sounds efficient--but image, if you will, thousands of tiny insect-like swarms of killer drones introduced into a conflict between nations. Buzzing like a horde of vicious bees, these drones are unrelentless and lethal, designed to overwhelm an adversary autonomously, and without risk, making nuclear warfare obsolete.

Now imagine mass quantities of these micro-robots on the black market or in the hands of terrorists giving the anonymous user the power to kill thousands or millions of people.

Can't imagine such a thing? You don't have to--just click here to watch a 7 minute dramatization of "Slaughterbots" in horrific action.

A wise man once said: "Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare. Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. Those can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora's box is opened, it will be hard to close. We therefore implore the High Contracting Parties to find a way to protect us all from these dangers." -- Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, Inc.
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."  Ephesians 5:15
News:

  • The Washington Post: Doomsday Clock moved to 2 minutes to 'midnight', the symbolic hour of the apocalypse; "looming threats of nuclear war and climate change," cited.
  • DEBKAfile: "U.S. will never let Iran acquire a nuclear weapon," says U.S. V.P. Mike Pence.
  • Reuters: Russia probes software used by U.S. government; puts U.S. computer networks in jeopardy. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"How To Get Your Prayers Answered"

So what do atheists do in response to personal crisis or tragedy? The same thing most Christians do--they pray.

That's right, folks, one in four non-believers pray despite not believing in God, according to a recent poll conducted by ComRes, a UK polling firm.

While this survey was taken in the UK, U.S.-based Pew Poll had similar results when it came to peoples prayer habits. It seems the majority of us like to multi-task, calling on God while:

  • cooking --20%
  • exercising--12%
  • doing household chores--20%
Popular prayer topics include:
  • family--71%
  • thanking God--42%
  • healing--40%
  • friends--40%
The sad thing? Less than half of those who prayed believe God actually hears their prayers.

The truth?

God hears everything: the good, the bad and the ugly--including our prayers.

CBN writer Linda J. Gilden insists , "God hears your prayer. He delights when we come to Him and ask Him to help us. He wants to give us the things we need. Sometimes the answers we get to prayer aren't what we want or expect or they take longer than we think they should."

Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you stay joined to Me and My words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted. My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great joy to My Father." John 15:5-8

Here's how evangelist Greg Laurie unpacks this message:
  1. A Disciple Stays Close To The Master. You sink your roots deep into your relationship with Jesus, allowing Him to fill every part of your life. If you maintain this unbroken fellowship with God, a changed lifestyle will result.
  2. A Disciple Is Fruitful. Just as a branch can only be fruitful when attached to the vine, we can only be productive when we draw our strength from Jesus.
  3. A Disciple Obeys The Master. A clear sign that you are Christ's disciple is your obedience to the principles and guidelines found in His Word, the Bible.
  4. A Disciple Loves Others. This may mean placing someone else's needs before your own.
If our prayers seem to go unanswered, maybe we should "poll" ourselves to see if we are true disciples. When we want what God wants, our prayers are always answered.

A wise man once said: "Studying the Bible is important to every Christian's spiritual growth. Without Bible study, Christians cannot know and understand God's commands and truth." -- Greg Laurie, pastor/evangelist
"I have told you this so you will be filled with My joy." John 15:11
News:

  • The Hill: Poll: Oprah outperforms many top Dems in hypothetical election against Trump.
  • Pew Research Center: 75% say it is never acceptable for a news organization to favor one political party over others when reporting the news.
  • Facttank: Just 50% of U.S, adults get news from television, down from 57% in 2016. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Fire and Fury: Is Trump a Crazy-Man Child or Crazy Like a Wolff?"

According to Michael Wolff's best-selling new book Fire and Fury, the leader of the free world is an overgrown lunatic man-child who never wanted the job in the first place.

Apparently, there is chaos in the White House. And if you were hoping Trump was going to Make America Great Again, you can just fuggetaboutit--he's "crazy", says Wolff.

Or...is Wolff the crazy one? After all, he published his book as non-fiction, even though in the introduction Wolff says that many of the accounts "are in conflict with one another" and may be "badly untrue," according to The Hill.com.

hmmm...is Wolff crazy or is it the publishers? Both made a ton of money...so maybe it's the people who paid them the money to buy a book the writer admitted was fiction but was published as fact...hmmm...

One thing is sure, it isn't Trump. Crazy man-children rarely accomplish so much in one year.

In an article for Brietbart, John Nolte said of Wolff's book:
"...gives off the unmistakably stale aroma of last season's fake news. If we are to believe Wolff, the Trump White House is a hive of toxic dysfunction and chaos, primarily due to the fact that President Trump is a mentally unstable, illiterate man-child with no impulse control, no sense of direction, no purpose (other than self-aggrandizement), and lacks the intellect required to grasp the policy he has no interest in."
Notle contends there is just one "yuge" problem:
"A mentally unsound man-child overseeing an administration crippled by anarchy will not see a record number of his appellate judges confirmed, will not oversee the successful passage of the most important tax reform in 30 years, will not annihilate ISIS without adding a single boot on the ground.
"In just 365 days, Trump has turned around a stagnant economy, exploded the number of manufacturing jobs, seen black and Hispanic unemployment drop to record lows, opened up two oil pipelines (and all kinds of exploration), enjoyed victory after victory in the Supreme Court in pursuit of his immigration priorities, negotiated a $250 billion trade deal with China, brought North Korea to the negotiating table from a position of strength, expertly managed the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, untangled us from stupid deals known as TPP and the Paris Climate Accord, and a whole lot more."
Are these the achievements of a crazy man? If so then Donald Trump is crazy like a Wolff--Michael Wolff, the guy who made lots of money selling a book he said wasn't true.

A wise man once said: "A half-truth is even more dangerous than a lie. A lie, you can detect at some stage but half a truth is sure to mislead you for long." --Anurag Shourie, Half A Shadow

"...in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money...; they will slander others and have no self-control; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good" --2 Timothy 3:1,3.
News:

  • CBS This Morning: Wolff Admits: Didn't Interview Any WH Cabinet Officials For Anti-Trump Book; meanwhile book flies off shelves with publisher rushing to print 1M copies.
  • The Washington Times: S.Korean president credits Trump for talks with N.Korea.
  • Fox News Channel: Walmart credits Trump tax cuts for pay hikes; 66% say U.S. economy 'excellent'.