Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's About the Oil--Stupid!

What do Greece, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, Jordan, Iran, Syria and Egypt have in common? They are all in the Mediterranean and they are all in turmoil, with a capital 'T'. What else is in the Mediterranean? You guessed it: Oil.

As part of a co-ordinated campaign of Western sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran to halt their uranium-enrichment program, the European Union decided to impose an oil embargo against Iran. In other words, as of July 1st Iran would no longer have Europe as a customer. Not to be outsmarted, Iran responded by warning European buyers that it might strike first by immediately cutting them off. Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and The Netherlands got the warning; France and the U.K. got the ax.

The price of a barrel of oil hit $108 this week. That brings the price up 94% in 4 years and yet OPEC is thinking about a cut in production because of "a poor economic outlook". Seems like a cut in production will ensure a poor economic outlook--but what do we know?

So what does all the turmoil in the Mediterranean mean to the rest of us? In a best case scenario it means higher prices at the pump ($5.09/gallon in parts of L.A. County as of today, $6.00 in parts of Florida according to CNN) and if it stops there, it will be hard enough. But in all likelihood, it won't stop there. Things could escalate very quickly considering:
  • The Russian/Iranian strategic alliance has grown tighter, something that even 10 years ago seemed impossible. Moscow has warned Israel, in no uncertain terms, it will back Iran should Israel attempt a strike at Iran's nuclear sites.
  • Both Russia and China oppose any U.S. intervention in either Iran or Syria.
  • Russia is backing the Syrian government and providing weapons
  • U.S. is considering doing the same for the Syrian rebels
  • Iran and Syria have become BFFs in their hatred of Zion
  • International revolutions, elections, and deaths are changing the world's political landscape in a dramatically unfavorable way for Israel.
  • The European debt-bomb has yet to be defused (and come to think of it, neither has America's)
All of these issues coalesce into a whole mess of trouble that is certain to hurt people, especially those living in the epicenter. Innocent Muslims and Jews will lose their lives because of ancient hatreds and squabbles over land.

The West, on the other hand, is in danger of losing its way of life. Because, let's face it gang, for us it's all about the oil. Oil plays a critical role in the world and whoever controls the Mediterranean, controls the oil, and everybody knows Oil = Power.

Lastly, we want to urge you to be open-minded enough to check out what God's Word has to say about end-time events. Be like the Bereans: "they received the Word with all readiness of mind, then they searched the Scriptures to see if these things be so" (Acts 17:11). We invite you to challenge this statement by Chuck Missler: "I believe we are being plunged into that period of time about which the Bible has more to say than any other..." He's talking about the time leading up to the Second Coming of Christ. Is it merely coincidence world events are lining up exactly as you'd expect them to if the prophecies are true? Remember God didn't fill the Bible with predictions simply to satisfy our curiosity, He uses them to authenticate His Word. If the prophecies are true, (and 80% of them have already been fulfilled!), we can know Jesus' words in John 3:16 are true: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." The consequences of those words will affect us for all eternity. Don't we owe it to ourselves "to see if these things be so(?)"

  • Europe seals new Greek bailout, but doubts remain
  • Reuters: Coalition of nations to call for Syria ceasefire, aid access
  • 2 American journalists killed in Syria, government refuses to turn over bodies
  • Afghan President demands NATO put Koran-burners on trial. 2 U.S. soldiers killed in protests
  • Israel Today Magazine: IDF gearing up to invade Gaza

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kiss Your Privacy Good-bye!

Last week Congress passed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, which ordered the FAA into a new high-tech era in which satellites will be used to direct air traffic. No big deal, right? After all, it's about time the nation switched from radar over to GPS technology. It will save both time and fuel and allow planes to operate more efficiently, even in bad weather. Fewer planes will be diverted--who could argue with that?

No one, if the bill ended there. But it doesn't.

It requires the FAA to open U.S. skies to unmanned drones.

Widely used in Afghanistan, the drones come in very handy spotting unsuspecting Taliban operatives and using them for target practice. And granted, they've also been used effectively on the U.S. border with Mexico by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. And sure, advocates believe drones will be a huge boon to disaster relief operations, fire fighting and locating missing hikers.

Fine and dandy. But why did Congress okay 30,000 of them (by 2020) to fly over urban areas?

Steve Aftergood, head of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said, "There are serious policy questions on the horizon about privacy and surveillance, by both government agencies and commercial entities." Ya think?

This bill, drafted under the radar (no pun intended) has some troubling implications, especially in the wake of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It doesn't take much imagination to see our country careening down a disturbingly slippery slope right into the jaws of the Beast, mentioned throughout the Scriptures, but especially in the books of Daniel and Revelation. This kind of power and control over the masses could not possibly happen overnight, but pass a few more bills like these and who knows?

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Will 30,000 drones hovering over our heads trample our 4th Amendment rights? Will they add to our security or destroy it? These are questions we all need to be asking. And while we're at it, we might as well kiss our privacy goodbye.

A wise man once said: "The message of the Cross, the Good News that Jesus died to pay for our sins, sounds absurd to those filled with self. But for those willing to humble themselves, it becomes the power that is able to snatch them from death and impart eternal life." "Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against Him (Ephesians 4:17-18).

  • President's campaign launches website,; designed to stop criticism
  • FDIC: 2 more banks go under--9 so far this year
  • Homeland Security tracking online posts and social media (blogs???)
  • Moody's may downgrade world's largest banks
  • Israeli Defense Minister backtracks and denies 'point of no return' status on Iranian nukes
  • U.S, foreclosure rates rise after year-long reprieve

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rumors of War

According to many sources, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing the most important decision of his life--whether to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran. In the last two weeks rumors of impending war have ratcheted up a notch. All the expected questions are being asked:
  • Does Israel have the ability to take out Iran's nuclear sites?
  • Can Israel withstand a counterattack?
  • Will the United States help?
  • Have they exhausted all other possibilities?
Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak said, "Iran is moving closer to a point where it will be too late to destroy their nuclear facilities with a precision air strike." Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton claims, "Israel is coming very close to a decision." Top U.S. officials are also warning that the "calculus" in Tehran has changed and the Iranian regime is now more willing to launch or support terrorist attacks on American soil. Israeli facilities in North America and around the globe have been on high alert since October.

And finally, there is Leon Panetta. For those unfamiliar with Panetta, he is the former CIA Director and current Secretary of Defense. Last week he said, "Israel will strike in April, May, or June."


Why would he announce something like that? Israeli's have a saying: "Those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know." Wouldn't you think the element of surprise might be important in this situation? And shouldn't Leon Panetta, of all people, know that? The administration (White House) has been pressuring Israel not to consider striking. The fact that Panetta is talking openly suggest two possibilities. Either:
  • They're worried and are preparing the nation/world for an impending attack.
  • They're trying to circumvent the situation by making it impossible to accomplish.
There's a third, more frightening possibility Panetta may not have considered: What if Iran decides to strike first?

Maybe it's time to tamp down the rhetoric. Everyone agrees a nuclear Iran is a perilous proposition. To continue to blab about it seem reckless and foolish. The danger of escalation could get out of control. No wonder Psalm 122:6 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem."

Words to the Wise: Trying to understand the Bible without the Holy Spirit is like trying to watch a 3-D movie without wearing the glasses. "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age (Satan) has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them" (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

  • Russia, China veto U.N. resolution calling for Syrian president to step down amid massacre of Syrian citizens
  • Egypt holds 19 Americans hostage; refuses negotiations
  • Death toll rises as deadly riots in Egypt continue
  • U.S. closes embassy in Syria; urges Americans to "Get out now."
  • Hundreds dead after deep freeze settles over Europe
  • One in five Americans now receive government assistance while only 50% pay income tax
  • Demonstrations in Moscow protest Putin rule
  • Iran ramps up military exercises in response to Israel
  • Another Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Power Grab Alert!

The buzz on the internet and talk radio these days is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). While most of us were ringing in the New Year, President Obama was busy signing this bill into law. What was so urgent that he needed to interrupt his Hawaiian vacation (on New Year's Eve, no less) and get this baby signed?

Mmm-m-m-m, guess we should take a look and find out. But before we do, lest anyone mistake this for a partisan attack, be aware that this current bill has its roots in President Bush's PATRIOT Act. Back in 2001, with 9/11 fresh in our minds, the President enacted the PATRIOT Act to protect us from further attacks. Bush-bashers had a field day condemning our loss of freedoms and rightly so. Americans are nothing, if not free. Many saw the bill as a victory--for the terrorists, that is.

Fast forward to New Year's Eve 2011. How much time did you spend watching the news that night? Is it possible Washington was playing one of its favorite tricks, or is it only coincidence unpopular legislation always seems to get pushed through late Friday, during recess, or on holidays, when few of us are paying attention?

Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA, under some legal interpretations, would allow:
  • indefinite detention of U.S. citizens
  • under military authority
  • on suspicion of terrorist acts or sympathies
  • without charge or trial
In other words, this law has the potential of putting people under military detention for as long as the government likes based on suspicion alone. What happened to the American legal system?

Harvard Professor Mark Tushnet says the law is both "unnecessary and dangerous." U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders warned, "The legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial." Others claimed Congress was redefining the entire United States as a battlefield and that "codifying by law the indefinite detention on American soil is a very dangerous step."

To be fair, President Obama says, "I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists...I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret Section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the Laws of War, and all other applicable law."

Well and good. But it begs the question, Mr. President, why sign the bill? Ours is a government of checks and balances, but this bill gives enormous power to the Executive Branch and skews the whole system. Where's the oversight? And why was this bill drafted in secret?

Virginia is the first state to propose a bill, (Virginia House Bill 1160), to nullify the NDAA. Ten other states are considering it. Perhaps it's time to contact our representatives to consider doing the same.

What, you ask, does any of this have to do with Bible prophecy? The end-time scenario cannot possibly happen without a huge erosion of our personal freedoms. Let's not wake up one day to find them gone. At least not without a fight.

Paul the Apostle once said: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:10-13).

  • Nuclear power plant leaks radioactive gas in California
  • AP: U.S. Government's secret "No-Fly" list doubles in last year
  • 81 dolphins beach themselves in Cape Cod
  • Huge fireball soars over Texas
  • Israeli Deputy P.M. says "Iran was working on U.S.-range missile" at site of December 2011 explosion
  • Scientists publish letter in Wall Street Journal stating that CO2 (even at 10 times current levels) is beneficial, not harmful
  • UN & EU promote the eating of insects in anticipation of global food shortages
  • Coldest winter in 100 years freezes much of Europe, 114 dead
  • "Wide is the Gate" conference February 3 & 4 in San Bernardino. (see link at top of page)