-And the LORD answered me, and said,
             Write the vision,and make it plain upon tables,
                    that he may run that readeth it. 
                   - (Hab 2:2)


在 這樣的世代裏

那 鴻書﹕神懲 罰報應的概述

你 所獲的禮品伴隨的代價太高

神為什麼 要 求信 心

pdf 七個教會

scrollProphetic Page


An Open Letter To Black Lives Matter:
How to avoid being ensnared in the ongoing Federal operation 'Ni&&er Catcher' and 'Black Snare', run out of the US intelligence community and certain sections of Law Enforcement. These operations do exist, though naturally not with those pejorative titles. They are not legal, nor are they officially recognized but key people in high positions run these operations that specifically target Black Americans and certain White Americans who seek justice, truth and use their rights to bring these things back to our once great nation. The impetus comes from the US Intelligence community - LE does the footwork. This is what they did to so many civil rights leaders back in the 60's and 70's. They have honed their skills for the technology of the 21st century.

pdfIran Nukes And Regional Staility

The Harvest

An Open Letter To Senator Mikulski And The Senate Select Committee On Intelligence


Ezekiel and the Spirit of Stubbornness/The Sardis Syndrome

Christ, Family and Persecution

When The Bottom Falls Out Of Your Boat

NSA Spying:
The Future, Black Madness and the Prophetic imperative.

How God Measures Us
He does it very differently that the world does.

Trends In Africa
A quick look at some troubling trends in Africa

Brothel Politics, The Church and First Things
Recent trends in the nation, including Obamacare are indicative of something much deeper that is wrong with America

While I Was Away...
A word about my month long hiatus

Shutdown Note:
A look at how the criminally insane 'pay' their bills.

Times And Seasons (09-13)
 Faith and patriotism in the last days... and what kind of fruit is  Christ going to find on your tree?

7 Churches Of  Revelation
Light for seeing, ears for hearing. Most commentaries on these chapters miss this most important point.

The Devil, Catholics And Internet Protestants
Catholic bashing is a foundational stone of so much of todays internet Christians faith. Is this really a pastime God approves of, especially when the Catholics are doing their best to reform?

Unwise Faith
- It is most unwise to place your faith in the wrong things.
Obadiah: Divine Geopolitics
- Is the Lord concerned about geopolitics?

The Assyrian
- Damascus and the Assyrian in Bible Prophecy

End Time Personal Notes
- Just some notes to true believers as to things to watch for on a personal level and consider in these times.

 - What I See...

A quick look (15 pages) at some trends I see and don't see. Trends in the economy, trends in 'people control' and spiritual matters

 - Collision Course

Each and every passing day,

we who know Christ can see our nation is on a collision course with God. On a number of fronts the nation has just decided to set its face against the God who blessed us and move its spiritual foundations towards the spiritual foes of both God and man.

      - Prison Labor Industry

      Slave labor cleverly



 - 3 Short Commentaries


Entitled Not Afraid, Tough Decisions and Job's Sufferings. God will take care of his people. Just make sure brothers when its our time to pass over our own spiritual 'river Jordan', that we make our deaths count for something, that being Christ. If we are to die as Christians for the gospel and the word of our testimony (Rev 19:10, 12:17, 12:11), let us rejoice because we have a long and honorable heritage of those who went before us.

 -  Lamentations Are Coming 


I think we as Christians need to keep in mind and prepare our souls for what is really coming. Mr. Leal has done a good job of laying out that a time of great sorrow will sweep America.

 -  The Curse 


When a nation decides to put the stamp of approval on those things God hates, it invites a curse. And be certain of this, without some real soul searching repentance, a curse is what is going to hit us. America has enjoyed prosperity like no other nation on earth. Military power like no other nation on earth. Good will and diplomatic strength like no other nation on earth. Why? We as a nation respected ...

 -  I Have A Dream Vs. I Have A Drone 


I think it should be noted that while some people will say they find something 'highly offensive' when they do not really mean it, I want to make clear that I really do mean it, it is personally highly offensive to compare Dr. King and President Obama. If a person wants to worship Obama and idolize him, that is their business, not mine. But before anyone attempts to cast dispersions on Dr. King by ...

 -  Mali: Africa Must Take The Lead 


This crisis in Mali... first off, this is not just 'another war'. This is a very serious and potent threat to African continental security.

 -  The Holiday Season 


Christmas has been a matter of some controversy for a number of reasons. First off, one of the few things we can be certain of about Christmas is that Christ was not born on December 25th, or anywhere near it. When was Christ Born? We do not know, though some scholars have said that it was more likely an event that occurred in the Fall, though the evidence for this is rather scant. What we do know ...

 -  There Is A Generation... 


What does it mean to live in our times, having been touched by God's spirit and understanding what God requires of us? It means that we are going to have a hard time fitting in with the current generation. This is the way it should be, since we are of a very different heritage. The scriptures talk about times like ours and what kinds of people will inhabit the earth just before Christ returns. We ...

  The Way Back 


For many of my readers, the way back to God is the road you are on. Many of you have fallen away and for whatever reason, personal tragedy, hard times or just a dissatisfaction with worldly 'satanic' living that did not make you nearly as happy as you thought it would. I find it interesting that so many people here in America have just about everything and yet are totally miserable. I am struck by ...

 - What's Expected Of Son's And Heir's 


What should we as Christians should be doing in these times? As these days grow darker and increasingly rejects Christ and genuine Christianity, we who wish to get into the kingdom must know what God wants us to do. What does God expect of us, we who are determined no matter what comes, to get into God's kingdom and avoid his holy wrath, which I bear witness, is coming to this world and will usher ...

 - In The Kingdom Of The Blind 


Today, it is extremely important that we know what is happening in our world, particularly from a prophetic standpoint. Why? The return of Christ is our blessed hope. God spoke clearly and insistently that we are to be watching and ready for our Lords return. Yet as I speak to Christians, I just don't see any level of spiritual discernment in their lives or minds Mind you there are always some exceptions ...

 - We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Broadcast To Bring You... 


But when it comes to the times and seasons and understanding them, Christians I know as well are floundering. They are often confused and unsure about what to believe. They listen to their pastors, read the news, but more and more are seriously questioning both. This is a good thing at least as a first step, but often leads to confusion, depression and can lead to apostasy. Why? Because such Christians ...

 - Culling The World's Population 


Yes, there is a plan afoot to reduce the human population. Most of the plan is hidden in plain sight.

 -  Political, Economic And Spiritual Review (Summer 2012) 


Fifty-three pages that looks at several issues facing our world today. From the economic crisis to food and eugenics to Syria as well a look at what a Mitt Romney Presidency may look like.

 -  Judge Not! 


...Lest ye be judged.

 - The Blessings Of Obedience 


Has the devil fooled you into thinking you can be saved and not obey the Lord?

  From Another World 


Christians, real ones that is, must conduct themselves as though they are from another world. A real Christian, is not of this world but of the Kingdom of God and his Christ.


-  From The North 


A prophetic look at the Arctic. The Arctic you ask? Yes the Actic and how it may relate to Babylon's fall.

Other Resources
(most are in PDF format)

Select Congressional Committee Investigating Illegal Practices In The Abortion Industry

Congressional Report On STOPPING TERROR FINANCE:

Congress Faced with Critical Acquisition Decisions

Defense Business Board Outlines Savings Of $125 Bln Annually

Iran: Ministry Of Intelligence And Internal Security - LOC

Global Trends 2030 - NIE

High Unemployment And GDP - CRS

Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress

DOJ Lethal Force Justification Against US Citizens

Global Trends 2030

US Vulnerabilities To Money Laundering, Drugs And Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History
- US Senate

Intelligence Committee Report On Huawei

Major Arms Transfers - CRS

The Crisis In Mali - CRS

The Crisis In Syria - CRS

 Posse Comitatus - CRS

Iran: Nuclear Intentions And Capabilities

Official Japanese Diet Report On Fukushima

State Department Report On Religious Persecution

State Department Report On Religious Persecution (Constitutional Review for OIC) - 2012

US-China Policy Issues - CRS

US Naval Modifications For China's Rise - CRS

UAE: US Policy Issues - CRS

Senate Report On Counterfeit Parts In DOD Supply Chain

2012 Annual Report To Congress On Chinese Military - DOD

Water Security - CIA/NIC

Syria's Phase Of Radicalization - ICG

Oil Imports And Exports - CRS

Pivot To The Pacific - CRS

Challenges To EU's Energy Security - CRS

Official US Military Report On Nazi Germany's IG Farben- DOD

Chinese Naval Modernization - CRS

Isreal's Possible strike On Iran - CRS

Iran Policy Concerns - CRS

Food Aid To NK - CRS

Aid To Pakistan

(Senate Hearing)

DOD Missing Trillions

(official audit)

GAO's Audit of the FED Report


Chinese Naval Modernization - CRS

Human Rights In China - CRS

US-China Trade Issues - CRS

US-China Miliary Contacts - CRS

US- Taiwan Arms Sales - CRS

China's Currency: Analysis Of Issues - CRS

The Debt Limit ∓mp; Gov't Operations - CRS

China's Acquisition of US Technology - Congress

Secret Law And the Threat To Democracy - Senate Judiciary Comm.

OSS/CIA Images Of Auschwitz During the War

Nuclear Terror In The US - FEMA

More Resources

Links I Like
From all over the Christian spectrum!

Last Days Of The Age
The Endtime Pilgrim
The First Trumpet
The Last Trumpet

Spirit Daily

(Catholic... great news links)

Orthodox Today
(A look at today from an Orthodox Perspective)
The Assyrian News Agency
(A look at events in Iraq)
The Barnabas Fund
China Aid
(A look at events inside China, from a Christian Perspective)
Gay Christian Movement Watch
(A hard-hitting blog talking about the growing sin of Homosexuality inside the Church)
Independent Catholic News
Jihad Watch
(Not Christian, but gets into important trends in the Islamic world)
Compass Direct
(Persecution news)

Babylon Today

Mark's Audio Page


Last Updated
  20 May 2019

This Site has become a PRIVATE Site

99% of all future commentary are now private.

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he shall come in his own glory,
and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
(Luk 9:26)

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.
In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged.
And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air
– however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”
 ― Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be moved.
(Psa 16:8)


Mark can be reached here.

20 May

If I had the President's Ear

(This was written on the 13th of May for insiders.)
One thing I would tell the President is that at this point in time, neither covert action nor direct military action nor even the long, time consuming efforts at diplomatic isolation and sanctions are likely to end the Maduro regime and even if it did, the country would not be governable for many years as internal strife, economic degradation and political instability would rack the nation for years to come. I would advise him to begin to consider an exit plan for these dark methods and begin actually ending them after one key thing has been done. That being the appointment of a special ambassador/envoy to negotiate with both the Maduro Regime, Colombia, Brazil, Guyana (border state) Russia and China. This ambassador should have broad powers to negotiate a numerous issues that effect the stability of Venezuela and to come to a peaceful, mutually acceptable resolution to the crisis within the Latin American nation. This special ambassador should have the following qualifications.

1) He should be an 'elder statesman' who knows Latin America understands the intricacies of American policy desires (stated and unstated) and be connected up enough with key elements within US establishment to sound out ideas as well as navigate domestic political minefields in order to bring about such a solution.

2) This person must not be a young novice looking to make political bones for a diplomatic resume. Nor should he be any kind of person who has political ambitions for the future. An older statesmen who perhaps could be called out of retirement and who will go back to it when his task is done would be the best kind of choice. Nor should this person be too intimately connected with America's oil or banking conglomerates or political parties. He must be relentless and determined in his quest for an agreement and not let personal political ambitions cloud his judgment.

3) This person should report administratively to the Secretary of State, but have a clear 'line of sight' communications with the President should he need or desire it. In other words, State Dept protocol and carefully laid administrative roadblocks set by State officials should not stop the envoy from communicating his findings, thoughts and possible proposals directly (face to face) with the President.

This person should begin looking at the problem in a holistic way, rather than just the singular obsession that has so far gripped Washington, that being the removal of Maduro. Rather than obsessing about him, the envoy would be empowered to look at and discuss ways of reducing drug cartel influence in the country, bringing in Ai and other key issues. This can be accomplished, but not without help.

For example. America would like to see the flow of Drugs coming from and through Venezuela stopped. But with the sanctions now on, this has become a key and important source of revenue for the country. Moreover, the more sanctions bite, the more reliant they will become on it. One way that might be considered is to talk to those nations on whom the Venezuelans are reliant - The Russians. Tell them that if they can pressure Maduro to curtail significantly the drug trafficking, Washington will relax sanctions. Make the Russians partially responsible for interdiction efforts and the success and failure thereof. If possible, let there be some coordination between US interdiction efforts and Russian. Russian pressure on Maduro will mean a great deal and would be a big first step in reducing the trade - he needs them.

Key inducements should be laid out to both the Russians and Americans in terms of long term investment and stakes, though minor, in Venezuela's oil industry leaving the nation of Venezuela with by far the lions share. This would ensure that there is a strong profit motive on both sides to keep the industry stable. If one nation has all the contracts and investment, the other is likely to sabotage it. If both have equal, stakes, each side has a vested interest in keeping things stable an profitable.

Elections? These should happen, perhaps on an accelerated basis. The key here is not to rush new ones, but to make sure the next ones are free and fair and that foul play is minimized to a degree where it's impact is insignificant. No more of these sore loser so-called 'opposition' leaders who haven't the guts to run for office, but sure know how to whine loud and often about the results of elections they were too cowardly to run in.

What is needed is a hand that is skilled diplomatically, creative, flexible, not afraid of 10 failures before he gets a single key success, is not afraid of incendiary political remarks made by US leaders trying to make points for the Presidential elections in the US and knows how to select a few key team members who know how to keep their mouths closed to leaders on the Hill and elsewhere as to what is going on in the talks.

I realize many of you would rather hear more Bible and Bible prophecy, but the truth is, we Christians, those of us who wish to be known as the Children of God, must be peacemakers.

I seek peace and have no desire to see any more man made pain and suffering on any people, anywhere. War - any kind of war is one of the worst human tragedies.

Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God.
 (Matthew 5:9 [KJVA])

16 May

Nehemiah XXXIII

Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven,
 and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments:
And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts,
 statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:
(Neh 9:13-14)
When we left off last time, the priests were praying at a solemn festival that followed after the celebration/observance of the feast of Tabernacles. The priests were praying before the Lord and giving remembrance for the times in the past when God protected, preserved and guided his people. First they went over their deliverance from Egypt. The above verse follows on the history of Israel with God's appearance on Mt. Sinai when the Lord spoke from heaven and gave them the law. God's appearance to Moses (his reluctant, but most effective servant). God used him mightily and this was part of the history that the priests wanted to bring to remembrance, that and the selfsame law that was given to Moses was what they reiterated to them during the previous festival.

Yes, the Lord gave his people right judgments and true laws to help guide their daily affairs and living. The theme of true judgment runs through the Bible and another person who was around at that time, Zechariah talks of it.

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment,
and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
(Zec 7:9)

Jesus Christ as well gave true judgments

And yet if I judge, my judgment is true:
for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
Joh 8:16) 

Yes, this prayer was, I think as much as prayer of remembrance before God to honor him, but as it was a witness to the people who were assembled as to what God had done in the past for them and what he expects of them today. I think we should note something here that K&D commentary points out, if only by implication. That in this section, God followed the miraculous with his expectations. He did miracles, but wanted them to walk in his ways.

The laws were a benefit to the people and the Sabbath? Well, while today Christians don't celebrate it, we must remember that it was a day of rest. No work -  relax, give thanks and cease with ones labor. It was a benefit to the people, just like just laws, fairly executed are to any people. Israel had a distinct advantage because their law came right directly from the hand of God. For those of you who love the law of the Lord, you will find that the longest Psalm in the Bible, 119 talks about it. In each and every verse (except a couple) we find the word, commandment, testimonies, judgments statutes, ways or word.

And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest
forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them
that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.
(Neh 9:15)

Here, this prayer of remembrance made them aware of God's provision. Once again, emphasizing the miraculous. God's purpose in order for it to be fulfilled had to include his people having enough to eat and drink. God's purpose, being made plain the last stanza of the verse, to go and possess the land he had sworn to give them. God's actions always have a reason. His provision to men like Elijah who was fed by ravens, to Elisha, who was fed by a widow - God will provide to those he has set apart for his purposes.

Are you walking in God's ways? Doing all he commanded you to do to the best of your ability? Then God will be with you. Israel had need of this reminding (via prayer) so that they could understand just who they serve and what kind of God it was their heritage was part and parcel of.

I will break this section off today as the tone of the prayer changes in the following passages and deserves a separate section.

God willing, we will continue the next section next week!

14 May


Brothers and Sisters, it's that time again. There are some interesting reports out there and we are going to link to a few of them. The first step of avoiding the deceptions of our time is to be armed with as much good and solid information as possible rather than spin and propaganda. Not facts carefully arranged to lead us to a false conclusion, but as much good, hard information as we can get our hands on.

Call it an effective 'vaccination' against disinformation. I should add this as well. The worst possible place to get your facts checked are at fact checking sites and those stories that claim to be 'checking facts'. It is usually (though not always) just political spin framed as a 'fact check'.

But the key reason fake news is so prevalent in America today is because people love fake news. They love lies that prop up the candidates; they love and will spread a lie if they think it will get them elected. This is why our political system is so dysfunctional. I hear a lot of blame on the politicians, but if flatulence, hyperbole, fake news and outright lies are such a key part of our political system, its because despite what Americans say, they love to have it so.

They are more than willing to use these tools to elect their own candidate. The only outrage that is felt is when the 'the other party' uses the exact same methods. So while the Congress tries to strain a subatomic particle out of the Mueller report to 'get' something on Trump, the Post Office is slowly going broke and they won't to anything about it. We are running $22 Trillion in deficits and Congress' only solution is to borrow more... much more. Why?

People don't respond to fixing the Post Office or fiscal responsibility, they respond to scandal, sex affairs (with our without porn stars) - crimes, real or imagined - a false story, a rumor, and of course 'free stuff' - anything but the boring business of everyday government. Things like paying for goods and services that the government provides. That's boring and 'uninteresting' and such issues won't get a man or woman elected to Congress - raving about the Russians controlling the President will.

These reports for the most part are 'official' government documents, well researched, free of partisanship and full of informative background that will help keep a wise person from spinning themselves into partisan madness with fake news foolishness.

Iran Nuclear Program Status
Is Iran Capable of Building Nuclear Weapons?

(CRS) The United States has assessed that Tehran possesses the technological and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons. But Iran has not yet mastered all of the necessary technologies for building such weapons. Whether Iran has a viable design for a nuclear weapon is unclear. A National Intelligence Estimate made public in 2007 assessed that Tehran “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003. The estimate, however, also assessed that Tehran is “keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons” and that any decision to end a nuclear weapons program is “inherently reversible.” U.S. intelligence officials have reaffirmed this judgment on several occasions. - CRS

Congressional Subpoena's And Executive Privilege
(CRS) Congress currently employs an ad hoc combination of methods to combat non-compliance with subpoenas. The two predominant methods rely on the authority and participation of another branch of government. First, the criminal contempt statute permits a single house of Congress to certify a contempt citation to the executive branch for the criminal prosecution of an individual who has willfully refused to comply with a committee subpoena.11 Once the contempt citation is received, any later prosecution lies within the control of the executive branch.12 Second, Congress may try to enforce a subpoena by seeking a civil judgment declaring that the recipient is legally obligated to comply.13 This process of civil enforcement relies on the help of the courts to enforce congressional demands.

Congress has only rarely resorted to either criminal contempt or civil enforcement to combat non- compliance with subpoenas.14 In most circumstances involving the executive branch, committees... - CRS

Congressional Testimony By PostMaster General
(Congressional Testimony of Mrs. Brennan) "When I last came before this Committee in 2017, I described the serious, but solvable, challenges facing the Postal Service, and the urgent need for legislative and regulatory postal reform. Since that time, our financial condition has only worsened.

Total mail volume has dropped from 154 billion pieces in 2016 to 146 billion in 2018, a 5 percent decrease overall. First-Class Mail, our most profitable product, has fared much worse, dropping by 7.4 percent. Although our package business continues to grow, it has become increasingly competitive and the growth rate is half what it was, dropping from 13.7 percent in 2016 to 6.8 percent in 2018, compared to the prior year. In quarter one of 2019, the rate of package volume growth dropped even further, to 5.4 percent. These combined factors are deepening our financial challenges.

In 2018, we posted a net loss of $3.9 billion — the 12th consecutive annual net loss we have incurred. These losses are occurring despite aggressive Postal Service management actions to right-size our organization, amounting to $13.4 billion in annual savings. These losses have forced us to default on legally-mandated retiree health benefits (RHB) prefunding payments since 2012 and additional pension prefunding payments due to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in 2017 and 2018. These actions will be addressed in more detail later in my testimony. The most significant point I can highlight today is the increasing need for urgent action. Had reform legislation been enacted two years ago, we estimate that we would have earned an additional $1 billion in revenue from a modest one-time price increase and saved between $5 billion and $6 billion in RHB costs." - Congressional Testimony

2019 Social Security Trustee Report

(Social Security Trustee's) Under the Trustees’ intermediate assumptions, Social Security’s total cost is projected to be less than its total income in 2019 and higher than its total income in 2020 and all later years. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010. For 2019, program cost is projected to be less than total income by about $1 billion and exceed non-interest income by about $81 billion. - From The Social Security Trustee Report

Final Report On Consumer Bankruptcies By The American Bankruptcy Institute
This is a very long report, but one that is rather informative as it is written by and was made in consultation with bankruptcy professionals. One big issue in the news today is Student Debt. This paper looks at that and many, many other issues.

This report I linked to a few days ago is also on point.
Medicare For All: CBO Chimes In
(CBO) Establishing a single-payer system would be a major undertaking that would involve substantial changes in the sources and extent of coverage, provider payment rates, and financing methods of health care in the United States. This report does not address all of the issues that the complex task of designing, implementing, and transitioning to a single-payer system would entail, nor does it analyze the budgetary effects of any specific bill or proposal.

About 29 million people under age 65 were uninsured in an average month in 2018, according to estimates by CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation. Although a single-payer system could substantially reduce the number of people who lack insurance, the change in the number of people who are uninsured would depend on the system’s design. For example, some people (such as noncitizens who are not lawfully present in the United States) might not be eligible for coverage under a single-payer system and thus might be uninsured. This report uses the term “universal coverage” to characterize systems in which virtually all people in an eligible population have health insurance...

...Currently, national health care spending—which totaled $3.5 trillion in 2017—is financed through a mix of public and private sources, with private sources such as businesses and households contributing just under half that amount and public sources contributing the rest (in direct spending as well as through forgone revenues from tax subsidies). Shifting such a large amount of expenditures from private to public sources would significantly increase government spending and require substantial additional government resources. The amount of those additional resources would depend on the system’s design and on the choice of whether or not to increase budget deficits. Total national health care spending under a single-payer system might be higher or lower than under the current system depending on the key features of the new system, such as the services covered, the provider payment rates, and patient cost-sharing requirements. - CBO

F-35 JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER Action Needed to Improve Reliability and Prepare for Modernization Efforts - GAO
(GAO) While the construct for the F-35 supply chain was intended to ease the logistical burden on and provide economies of scale for the military services and international partners, we have previously reported that the F-35 program faces affordability, reliability, and sustainment challenges. For instance, in 2014, we reported that annual F-35 operating and support costs were estimated to be considerably higher than the combined annual costs of several legacy aircraft, and that while DOD had begun some cost-savings efforts and had established sustainment affordability targets, DOD did not use the military services’ budgets to set these targets.

In 2016, we found that DOD faced risks that could affect the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS)—a complex system supporting operations, mission planning, supply-chain management, maintenance, and other processes. 6 In 2017, we reported that DOD was experiencing sustainment challenges that were reducing warfighter readiness, including delays of 6 years in standing up repair capabilities for F-35 parts at its depots and significant spare parts shortages that were preventing the F-35 fleet from flying about 20 percent of the time. 7 We recommended that DOD develop affordability constraints linked to the military services’ budgets, develop a plan to address ALIS risks, and revise its sustainment plans, among other things. The department generally concurred with our recommendations, and has taken some actions in response. In particular, in 2018, DOD established affordability constraints based on the military services’ future budget projections. These new affordability constraints will require DOD to reduce F-35 sustainment costs per aircraft per year by 43 percent for the Air Force, 24 percent for the Marine Corps, and 5 percent for the Navy. 8 See the Related GAO Products page at the end of this report for a list of previous F-35 products. - GAO

The Budgetary and Acquisition reforms referred to? How are they going.

Here is a transcript of recent hearings.

China Military Power 2019: DOD

(DOD) Key Takeaways

* In 2018, China’s leaders continued to advance an ambitious agenda of military modernization while pursuing economic growth and improving technological strength.
* China’s leaders increasingly see the United States as adopting a more confrontational approach in an attempt to contain China’s rise.
* Recognizing that programs such as “Made in China 2025” and the “One Belt, One Road” Initiative (OBOR) have sparked concerns about China’s intentions, China’s leaders have softened their rhetoric when promoting these programs without altering the programs’ fundamental strategic goals.

China’s overall strategy in 2018 advanced initiatives presented during President Xi Jinping’s address to the 19th Party Congress, which detailed the progress China has made toward realizing its national objective of achieving the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Senior Chinese leaders have described the October 2017 Party Congress report as “not only the program of action of the Communist Party of China, but also the most authoritative textbook for understanding China.”

Issued every five years to assess China’s development, the report contains lines of effort for addressing politics, economics, culture, social affairs, the environment, national defense, national unification, foreign affairs, and Party building, all of which have broader security, domestic, and external components. The 2018 government work report presented at the National People’s Congress (NPC), which aligns Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chinese government lines of effort, reemphasized many of the Party Congress report’s key themes. In 2018, the CCP Central Committee and the NPC also approved major reforms of Party and government institutions in support of these lines of effort. - Annual Report To China On China's Military Power

China’s Pursuit of Space Power Status and Implications for the United States
(US China Economic And Security Review Commission) - China seeks to become an international leader in space, or what it terms a “space power in all respects.” In this role, Beijing aspires to lead international space-related innovation and exploration and establish an advanced system of infrastructure to serve its space sector. China has suffered some setbacks on projects crucial for the progression of program milestones, such as its heavy-lift launch vehicle program, and still lags behind the United States in its human spaceflight and space station program. Nevertheless, China’s space program is a source of national pride, and its consistent high level of political support and funding ensures progress toward establishing itself as a space power. In 2003, China joined the United States and Russia as a member of the exclusive group of countries to have conducted human spaceflight, and since then it has nearly completed a new, rival global navigation satellite system (GNSS)—set for completion in 2020  —and demonstrated its willingness to undertake high-risk, high-reward missions, as reflected by its historic landing on the moon’s far side in 2019. China is likely to achieve future milestones in areas where it is lagging behind international standards on shorter timetables than when the United States accomplished similar missions.

This report examines China’s space goals and national space strategy; its progress toward those goals, including an examination of China’s progress in its advanced launch vehicle, long-term crewed space station, and lunar exploration programs; and the primary entities involved in setting and implementing its space policy. Finally, the report assesses the implications of China’s space program for the United States and its continued leadership in space...

...Beijing consistently invests high levels of funding and political will to its space program, which has driven its steady progress in achieving important milestones.  This support, along with a focus on improving and standardizing the quality of manufactured components, has helped create a mature space program whose development was previously constrained by poor infrastructure and less advanced technology. Compared to the U.S. space program, China’s program is also more connected to the “levers of power,” meaning its goals more often draw support from top leaders and are interconnected with the overall priorities of China’s industrial and foreign policies.  China’s deliberate and comprehensive approach to its space program gives it opportunities to derive important economic, political, and diplomatic benefits, including domestic legitimacy, international prestige, and access to tasking information and observational data derived by international clients using its space platforms. For example, China’s Beidou GNSS is a vital component in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as part of the Digital Silk Road. According to one high-ranking government official overseeing information technology policy, the Digital Silk Road will help establish “a community of common destiny in cyberspace,” invoking a slogan Beijing uses to describe a revised global order more accommodating to its political and economic system. - China’s Pursuit of Space Power Status and Implications for the United States

The Eclipse Of US Military Tech Superiority
ISN/CSS/ETCH takes an interesting non-American look at trends that are leading to a decline in the technological edge the west has long enjoyed. ETH Zurich Reports.

CFIUS Reform: Foreign Investment National Security Reviews
(CRS) Some Members of Congress, the Trump Administration, and some U.S. businesses have raised concerns over the risks to continued U.S. technological leadership to support national defense and economic security due to growing foreign direct investment (FDI), primarily by Chinese firms, in U.S. high-tech companies. On August 13, 2018, President Trump signed into law new rules governing foreign investment national security reviews. Known as the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) of 2018 (Title XVII, P.L. 115-232), the legislation amends the current process for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) (under P.L. 110-49) to review, on behalf of the President, the national security implications of FDI in the United States. - Congressional Research Service

Afghanistan: Background and U.S. Policy In Brief
(CRS) In August 2017, President Trump announced what he termed a new South Asia strategy in a nationally-televised address. Many Afghan and U.S. observers interpreted the speech and the policies it promised (expanded targeting authorities for U.S. forces, greater pressure on Pakistan, a modest increase in the number of U.S. and international troops) as a sign of renewed U.S. commitment.

However, after less than a year of continued military stalemate, the Trump Administration in July 2018 reportedly ordered the start of direct talks with the Taliban that did not include the Afghan government. This represented a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy, which had previously been to support an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” peace process.

In September 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appointed former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad to the newly-created post of Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation; Khalilzad has since met several times with Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar (where the group maintains a political office). He has also had consultations with the Afghan, Pakistani, and other regional governments. - CRS

Venezuela: Economic Sanctions As Collective Punishment (CEPR)
A look at what sanctions are doing to the country and people of Venezuela.

Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for People Under Age 65: 2019 to 2029 - CBO

Images sourced to CBO

Audit Of The FBI's Investigation Of Cyber Victims Notification Process - DOJ-IG
Notifying victims can mitigate the damage these criminals can do. This audit shows some of the problems with the program and where it is broken.

Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter (Polar Icebreaker) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
(CRS) The Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter (PSC) program is a program to acquire three new heavy polar icebreakers, to be followed years from now by the acquisition of up to three new medium polar icebreakers. On April 23, 2019, the Coast Guard-Navy Integrated Program Office for the PSC program awarded a $745.9 million fixed-price, incentive-firm contract for the detail design and construction (DD&C) of the first PSC to VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, MS, a shipyard owned by Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineering. VT Halter was the leader of one of three industry teams that competed for the DD&C contract. The first PSC is scheduled to begin construction in 2021 and be delivered in 2024, though the DD&C contract includes financial incentives for earlier delivery...

...The operational U.S. polar icebreaking fleet currently consists of one heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Star, and one medium polar icebreaker, Healy. In addition to Polar Star, the Coast Guard has a second heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Sea. Polar Sea, however, suffered an engine casualty in June 2010 and has been nonoperational since then. Polar Star and Polar Sea entered service in 1976 and 1978, respectively, and are now well beyond their originally intended 30-year service lives. The Coast Guard is using Polar Sea as a source of spare parts for keeping Polar Star operational. - CRS

Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and U.S. Relations
(CRS) The U.S. State Department welcomed opposition figure Felix Tshisekedi’s victory in DRC’s December 2018 presidential election, applauding the Congolese people “for their insistence on a peaceful and democratic transfer of power.” Election day was indeed largely peaceful, and alternate scenarios that outgoing President Joseph Kabila might have preferred (e.g., his own reelection or the election of his chosen successor, former Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary) ultimately did not materialize. Many Congolese reacted positively to the results.

Whether the election was “democratic” is debatable, however, as is the degree to which Tshisekedi’s presidency represents a “transfer of power.” Former President Kabila—whose decision to cling to power past the end of his two constitutionally permitted terms in 2016 sparked a national political crisis and widespread protests—appears poised to retain significant political influence. Kabila, who first assumed the presidency in 2000, now holds the title of “Senator-for-Life,” while his Common Front for Congo (FCC) coalition won sweeping majorities in parliament and provincial assemblies, and in subsequent indirect elections for the Senate and provincial governors. Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) won very few sub-national contests, and it has agreed to form a coalition government with the FCC. These factors, along with evidence that a more hardline opposition figure won more votes than Tshisekedi, have led many observers to speculate that the official election results reflected a power-sharing deal between Tshisekedi and Kabila (see “Politics”). - CRS

Iran: Internal Politics and U.S. Policy and Options
(CRS) Some experts attribute the acrimony that has characterized U.S.-Iran relations since the Islamic revolution to the structure of Iran’s regime. Although there are some elected leadership posts and diversity of opinion, Iran’s constitution—adopted in public referenda in 1980 and again in 1989—reserves paramount decisionmaking authority for a “Supreme Leader” (known in Iran as “Leader of the Revolution”). The President and the Majles (unicameral parliament) are directly elected, and since 2013, there have been elections for municipal councils that set local development priorities and select mayors. Even within the unelected institutions, factional disputes between those who insist on ideological purity and those considered more pragmatic are evident. In part because of the preponderant political power of the clerics and the security services, the regime has faced repeated periodic unrest from minorities, intellectuals, students, labor groups, the poor, women, and members of Iran’s minority groups. (Iran’s demographics are depicted in a text box below.)

Ukraine Elects A New President
(CRS) Despite his outsider status, Zelensky did not campaign as a nationalist or populist. On the contrary, Zelensky is a native Russian-speaking Ukrainian, reportedly of Jewish origin, who asserts that he is a firm patriot and supports closer relations with the West. Zelensky is from Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, north of Crimea, which observers feared might become another flashpoint of conflict in 2014. The election results suggest that issues of national and linguistic identity mattered less than many expected. Zelensky demonstrated a broad appeal, coming in first in all but one of Ukraine’s regions.

Some believed that Zelensky would attract primarily Russian-speaking southern and eastern Ukrainians who reject the alleged corruption and pro-Russian sentiments of many of their traditional elites but who have felt marginalized in Ukrainian politics since 2014. The scale of his victory was especially striking considering that elections could not be held in Russian-occupied Crimea and several districts in eastern Ukraine that the government does not control. This reduced the size of the electorate more likely to support native Russian-speaking candidates. - CRS

9 May

India: Pastor And 75 Year Old Sisters Beaten

The author notes that this seems to happen when there is fasting and prayer.

The devil hates it when we pray, fast and come together to make supplication to our God. Persecution Relief reports.

Persecution Of Christians At Near Genocidal Levels

A report on the recent findings of the UK's foreign office. The Clarion Project reports.

25 Christians Killed by Boko Haram in Door-to-Door Attacks

Another report of a hideous attack by Islamic militants.

Algeria: Two Upcoming Court Cases

(ME Concern) On 16 May there will be a hearing in the case against the owner of land being used by a church in the Kabylie province of Bejaia. He has been charged with allowing unauthorized worship on his land, violating a 2006 Ordinance that regulates non-Muslim worship...

...Since the church was sealed by the police on 16 October 2018 it has been meeting in a tent erected on the property. The owner of the tent  was summoned several times by the authorities, and asked to dismantle it, but the church has continued to meet...

...Several churches have since received written orders to cease all activities. A number were closed by authorities because they did not have a license, most recently in July 2018. Three of those closed churches have since been allowed to re-open...

Algerian Christians urge us to pray that:

a. church leaders would know the Lord's peace, wisdom and guidance in the face of continued pressures
b. that both the churches in Azaghar and in Makouoda will be permitted to continue to worship and all churches ordered to close would soon be permitted to re-open.
c. the authorities will end their systematic campaign against Christians and other non-Muslim communities
d. those responsible for the closure orders to know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus
Middle East Concern

URL for this prayer request: https://meconcern.org/2019/04/30/algeria-two-upcoming-court-cases/

Darkness Descends On Gomorrah

A look at Sodom, Gomorrah, trends in societies of the past and the present from a Catholic perspective. Crisis Magazine carries the story.

The thing of it is, the closer we come to Sodom, the blinder the people become, the more recalcitrant in their sins and the less willing they are to admit they have gone astray. Was it not the residents of Sodom who reviled Lot and did not like him 'judging' their abominable behavior (Gen 19:19). 'Judge not' so says the most recalcitrant sinner as they justify their own sins and try and embarrass Christians whose job it is to warn.

Well, it is true we are not to judge. Warn yes, judge no. But in Sodom's case, the judge was at the very doors and the residents of Sodom didn't have a clue.

Brothers let us always know what time it is. God's mercy is still here, God is still saving souls, but sin is beginning to reach that crescendo where he will move and not in a way that is positive to the unrepentant.

Three Christians Killed In Nigerian Attack

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Suspected Muslim Fulani herdsmen ambushed and killed a 26-year-old Catholic on Thursday (May 2) in north-central Nigeria and two other Christians in the same manner on April 27, sources said.
After a herdsmen assault in March 2018 that left 27 Christians dead in the predominantly Christian community of Dong village north of Jos, assailants on Thursday (May 2) killed David Musa, 26, at 5:25 p.m., said Nuhu Ako, 42-year-old Christian youth leader at the area’s St. Monica’s Catholic Church. - Story Continues At Morning Star News

In other Nigerian persecution news, a pastor has been kidnapped with other Church members while delivering aid.

Former MLB Manager Says Christ Is The Answer To Child Sex Trafficking

This story is most timely as allegations of this are now being made against the NXIVM Group.

This is a guy who is working hard against this evil and realizes this is a spiritual battle.

This is truly an ugly side of American society and let us pray and give thanks that we have leaders who are fighting this and are not ashamed of Jesus Christ!!

But you know what? We can think Law Enforcement is the answer and on some level, at least theoretically it is. But the reality? Brothers it is really quite different as this link (sent to me from a reader) makes plain.

Brothers, this nation more and more is like Sodom. It really is, most folks just don't see it, don't want to see it about ourselves but large parts of America are already there...

... and proud of it.

Pastor Shoots Self Family Dies In Suspicious Fire, Say Investigators

This is so sad. The whole family is gone.

One has to wonder how someone who knew God could do such a thing, if indeed he did it.

This is such a horrible tragedy.

Who Are Today's Church 'Outcasts'

A real good question asked by the author.

6 May

Venezuela Watch

Democracy Now Interviews Venezuelans On Coup
An interesting and informative interview. What will the NSC decide? Will the military have a plan? DNow always has some great interviews.

0% Of Elite Commentators Oppose Regime Change
Why? I will tell you though none of you will believe it. Elite opinion is managed and commanded by the American deep state.

US Looks To Armed Intervention
It is not off the table and I think some elements within the oil and empire sectors of the American government are looking to do just that.

What will it look like? A long slog that even if they can get rid of Maduro, it will send the country and probably the region into a major conflict with concomitant humanitarian undertones.

Will the Russians stand for it? I don't think so. I think they have made it abundantly clear that they too are keeping their options open and a nuclear response, should things escalate beyond a proxy war - is not off the table. Too much is at stake and the Russians are not going let the US go in an steal the oil. A direct military intervention in Venezuela will mean a war -  a long one and one that the US is frankly unlikely to 'win'.

Our military has too many problems  - deep and systemic problems and a long war in Latin America will not bode well in the long run. We are already bogged down in Afghanistan in a long and disastrous misadventure and still have troops in Syria as well as Africa. Our military needs a breather from all of these wars that only those with the most limited of intelligence can actually believe can be 'won' . Then you have to pay for it. Thankfully I can count - this form of expertize seems lost on both parties up in DC when it comes to budgeting. Trump needs to get some sane people around him and deal in realities; not arrogance and folly, which is what Bolton and Pompeo seem to be grounded in. The world of American unilateralism is coming to and end and that end is only being accelerated by policies put forward by men like that.

Venezuela: Economic Sanctions As Collective Punishment (CEPR)

Brothers, there is just something, I will say it, sick and deranged about a nation that has to tell such lies to justify its violent misadventures.

But lies are the devils forte and those who love the devil love to tell lies.

Why is American failing here?

1) Her policy is evil - it is based on nothing but lies and the lust for plunder and contempt for the will, clearly expressed in the Venezuelan people last year in open and free, though not squeaky clean, elections. But no one's elections are squeaky clean and the folly of the 2016 US Presidential election told us all that. This new upstart did not even put his name on the ballot, yet somehow thinks he has the right to be President because the Trump administration says so.

2) God is beginning to deal with the USA and its behavior in the world. She has suffered defeat after defeat and created chaos, homelessness and death for peoples wherever she extends who once benevolent, but now increasingly malevolent hand.

3) Many within her security services, the smart and good folks have left. They want nothing to do with what this nation is becoming. So now those who implement these policies are of a decidedly inferior moral, intellectual and utilitarian stamp. Hence the consistent pattern of failure of efforts to use the devils methods (lies, destabilization, military coup's, US deep state instigated 'uprisings') to overthrow yet another democratically elected government.

4) She has become wholly corrupt. Money dictates policy in DC. It used to be guided by vision - a vision of democracy and spreading it and real freedom and I can think of fewer more important freedoms than allowing people to vote for whom they want - even and especially if their choices don't meet with Washington's approval. And this ultimately is what this trouble is all about - Venezuela chose Maduro as well as Chavez before him and the US National Security state does not like the choice, so they are going to force another 'choice' on them.

But Since Obama, America's primary goal has been to overturn governments, including stable democracies (like Syria) and turn them into a wasteland where only terrorists and criminals can flourish. Look at what the US and NATO have done to Libya, though clearly that was not a democracy. But what was once a stable nation is now a war zone.

I am reminded of the song by U2 'Bullet the Blue Sky' and its anti-war message directed specifically at America and her war machine. While the bombs are dropping and the explosions are going off outside the singer describes the bombs blowing up outside and the chaos as America.

Its not raining, or snowing outside ...no, it's America.

Brothers, I am shocked at what our nation has descended to and the things we do to others. I truly am. I am aghast at the lust for violence that America (both parties) seem addicted to and I cannot sit silent and say it is OK - it's only those Latino's. Would America contemplate military action against White Swedes or Danes? No, but she is quick to pull this kind of evil, including heavy arms at Arabs, Afghans, Latino's and Africans.

Something dark and demonic has control of this and the last administration and it clearly has strong influence over our military, intelligence and diplomatic policies.

America is playing with fire and there will be a hell to pay and that hell may be much sooner than any of us may know. We have been sticking to the Russians for some time now and I cannot help but think the Russian's patience is wearing thin, even as her military arsenal becomes more and more potent.

We Americans would be wise to consider that the world does not belong to America. No one has appointed the USA 'god' and we must learn to live at peace with others or be ready to go to war and stay at war with the whole world; a world that is already rapidly tiring of American antics, violence and unilateralism. Will America listen? No, Wisdom has been banished from the councils of power and folly and violence now serve as chief ministers of state.

I say, seek peace, talk. dialogue and let the people's of the earth decide how best to govern themselves. We have no right to preach anything to anyone, not with the kinds of poverty, homelessness, violence, police brutality, prisons stats, drug abuse, sexual perversions, hate, suicides, bribery and political corruption that rack our own nation.

Doctor... heal thyself!!!

I say these things hoping that a wiser, more peaceful yet strong America can emerge from the kinds of misadventures that have plagued our foreign policy since The Supreme Court opened up the floodgates of money into our political system with its Citizens United ruling.

If our policies don't make sense and seem designed to weaken Americans influence in the world, undermine the place she has held since the end of WWII has brought our once great nation into derision in so many parts of the world, one must ask themselves who would benefit from such obviously stupid policies - who would want to destroy the good will the US once possessed the world over and turn what we once were into the exact opposite - a nation who holds democracy in contempt and is willing to use military force to overthrow it whenever and wherever the votes don't go the way they want.

Who would benefit from a policy like that?

This nation that once honored God is now a nation that is going out of his way to show him considerable disrespect.

Know this - God will not stay where he is not welcome and if our leaders think the devil is going to bring them peace and property -  well, they have another 'think' coming. A think many Americans may not live long enough to benefit from.

 The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth:
the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
Higgaion. Selah. 
The wicked shall be turned into hell,
and all the nations that forget God.
(Psalms 9:16-17 [KJVA])

Let me make this plain as well. This is not written to either defend nor oppose Maduro. I do not live in Venezuela, nor have I even visited the country. I, nor very few Americans, really have a good handle on what the people down there really want or what is best for them. I am not arrogant enough to try and do that. This is why I say, let the people who must live under the government decide what Government rules over them. This is what this country at one time was once really all about  - spreading real democracy where the people vote and choose their leaders, not the new US lexicon of democracy - vote the way we say or we will put our puppets in anyway by whatever means necessary.

Three Strikes: US Regime Change Hopes Fizzle Again

2 May

Nehemiah XXXII

Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven,
the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein,
 the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all;
and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. Thou art the LORD the God,
who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees,
and gavest him the name of Abraham; And foundest his heart faithful before thee,
and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites,
the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites.
to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous:
(Neh 9:6-8)

In the last section, as the people were assembled for this solemn assembly which took place after the Feast of Tabernacles, the Priests and Levites who were in charge of this occasion then moved on to praying to and extolling the God of heaven. They told the congregation to stand up and prase God! Remember, this gathering was not a festive celebration, but one where Israel wore sackcloth and poured dirt over their heads (9:1). This was a time to remember their history, their forbears as well as the sins of their fathers and acknowledging God's love and constancy to them. We do not know which person actually spoke these words to the congregation. The passage is not clear, Jeshua (Joshua) was surely one of the more prominent ones and may have been the speaker, but since all are mentioned it is more likely that each spoke part of the prayer and then another carried on.

The first section of the prayer is an invocation of God's power. His power in making all things weather it be in the heavens or on earth. Even those creatures in the sea are given mention as the priests extol the power and greatness of the Lord. The priest makes clear that it is not just God that created all things, but it is he that sustains them. Yes, despite the pseudo-scientific drivel we hear about 'no God' in our reprobate 'modern' world, he even sustains them and their vain and often just plain wicked imaginations. God is still on the Throne and it is he that has made all things by the might of his power.

Verse six tells is that the heavenly host worships God. This is one of the lesser known aspects I think of the book of revelation, the times that there is worship, silence, prayers and praise in heaven by his angels and saints. That is one of the few books were we get a glimpse of what things are like in Heaven. God is the center of all things. It's only down here on earth that is now separated from God that people forget and otherwise show contempt for him. Yet God continues to show mercy. All other gods are the figment of the imaginations of others, tools used by powerful men to dupe and control their populations or part of the fallen host of angels who rebelled against God and now want to steal his worship. The Lord, he alone is God!

Then begins a prayerful remembrance of their history. The first section starts off with Abram when God called him and before God changed his name. He was called out of Post-flood Chaldea (Babylon). He was told to get up and go by the Lord to a place that he would be shown, and by FAITH, he got up and went. By this single act of faith, the nation of Israel was conceived.

The priest then recounts Abraham's faithfulness before God. Abraham and the promises made to him are recounted. All the land that were already occupied by others was promised to him. This was a mighty promise. I don't think we realize just who mighty it was. What God was offering Abraham something that was impossible in his eyes, something Abraham could not accomplish on his own, but one he knew God could do in his own good time. This was FAITH in action  - faith and obedience. God spoke made a promise and he believed.

The prayer makes clear that God made a promise, Abraham obeyed and God was righteous and kept his solemn word. He will do that with those whom he loves and those who put their trust in him fully. The Lord was Abraham's rock and steady foundation.

  I have set the LORD always before me:
because he is at my right hand,

I shall not be moved.
(Psa 16:8)

Abraham set God always before him and he was not moved. No man could stand before him all the days of his life, for God was with him. The same could be said of Joshua and Moses. They were God's true servants. Abraham won the title, 'the Friend of God' (2Chr 20:7, James, 2:23). If there is any title that we should all covet, that should be it. Not pastor, not prophet, not priest, not President. No, it should be the true friend of God.

Ye are my friends,
if ye do whatsoever I command you.

(Joh 15:14)

How did Abraham win this special relationship? By obeying God's command to leave Ur of the Chaldees. That took gumption. To get up and go where God would tell you, now knowing where it would be? That kind of courage and faith is a very rare thing these days.

God made a promise to him after his obedience and it was only as a result of his obedience that Israel was there today. The Lord performs his promises, for good or ill.

 And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest
their cry by the Red sea; And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh,
and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest
that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name,
 as it is this day. And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that
they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their
 persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.
 Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night
 by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go.
(Neh 9:9-12)

This prayer, which recounts key parts of Israel's history now shifts to after the time of their captivity in Egypt. Their cry goes up before God. God, in his wisdom had his own agenda in not freeing them right away. He was going to show Pharaoh and all the priests, wizards and magicians in his court, just who the real God was. God showed signs and wonders and all of Egypt would remember whom the God of Israel was. All of the plagues and disasters that befell that nation because of one stubborn, arrogant ruler as a testimony to his power. It was a lesson that Egypt did not forget. The fame and fear of the Lord spread throughout the land.

God moved the ruler of Egypt out of the way, as well as the very sea itself to make way for Israel and the fulfillment of his promise to Abraham. God knows, see's and understands all things. Nothing NOTHING is too difficult for the Lord. He knows how to motivate Kings and shift the very laws of nature to fulfill his purpose! God provided light for his people and showed them the path he had set before them.

This prayer was important, for many reasons. I think the priesthood was doing all it could to impress upon the people that the very central part of their identity as a people was their connection with the God of Abraham, Moses, Issac and the rest of the fathers. During this assembly it was imperative that they understood just who their God was for later, in the next chapter, there is going to be a rededication of the covenant So this historical prayer serves a two fold purpose. To give honor and praise to God but also to bring the people to remembrance as to what they own to God.

Let us keep this in mind -  the people were clearly ignorant of the law as we saw in the preceding chapters. The priests had to explain it to the people. The ignorance of the law was so profound that the history of their people may not have been as well known as we today might assume. Recounting it and letting the people know it as they extol their God was very much in keeping the purpose of this occasion. To repent and renounce their former transgressions against God.

We will continue the next section of Nehemiah next week, God willing!
29 Apr

America's Budget: Where Are We Now?

Yes, its time to take a look at the slow motion sinking of the fiscal titanic once again.

The long-term fiscal projections indicate that the government’s debt-to-GDP ratio will rise from 78 percent in 2018 to 530 percent over the 75-year projection period, and will continue to rise thereafter, if current policy is kept in place. The projections in this Financial Report show that current policy is not sustainable. These projections assume that current policy will continue indefinitely, and are, therefore, neither forecasts nor predictions. Nevertheless, policy changes must be enacted so that financial outcomes will be different than those projected.

The primary deficit is the difference between non-interest spending and receipts. As a ratio relative to gross domestic product (GDP), (the primary deficit-to-GDP ratio), it is useful for gauging long-term fiscal sustainability. This ratio spiked from 2009 through 2012 due to the financial crisis of 2008-09, the ensuing severe recession, and increased spending and temporary tax reductions enacted to stimulate the economy and support recovery. As the economic recovery took hold, the primary deficit-to-GDP ratio fell, averaging 1.9 percent from 2013-2018. The ratio is projected to rise to 2.9 percent in 2019 and then shrink slightly through 2024 as the economy grows. After 2024, increased spending for Social Security and health programs is projected to result in increasing primary deficits that peak in 2039 at 4.1 percent. This is due to the continued retirement of the baby boom generation and increases in health care costs. After 2039, the ratio gradually decreases to 2.5 percent in 2093 as the aging of the population slows. The primary deficit projections, along with those for interest rates and GDP, determine the debt-to-GDP ratio projections.

Rather than repeat what much of you already know, I will just give you a link to the actual report here.

Overall nothing has changed and it is impossible to get elected and stay elected without continuing to push the nation into fiscal insolvency.

What Saith The Lord?

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard,
and wonder marvellously:
for I will work a work in your days,
which ye will not believe,
though it be told you.
(Hab 1:5)

As promised, we will look today for a bit at the book of Habakkuk, a book I think is one of the more relevant for our most troubled times. It is the work of a prophet who was honest with God in his prayer and got back a direct response from him.

In our times I think we should look more on many of the so-called 'minor prophets' who looked at things going on around them and had a message directly from the Lord about them. The worship of pagan gods, child sacrifice, terrible injustice, cruelty to the poor and the powerless, the corruption of the king and nobles - the prophets saw these things and consequently wrote and spoke about them in the name of the Lord. Sometimes God would come to the prophet and command him to speak.

I should here probably mention that we know nothing about the prophet Habakkuk himself. He gives no information about himself. Some think he was the son of the Shunammite woman that Elisha raised from the dead (2King 4:16) because of his name. We really cannot know. What we do know about him was that he was deeply troubled by the evils he saw going around him.

What is rather interesting is that at the beginning (verse 5) Habakkuk chides his audience for their lack of faith among the heathen. God was going to tell them something that was going to come to pass, but they would not believe it. This is usually the way of prophecy - true prophet utters something from the Lord and people refuse to believe it. But a false one rises up, tickles a few ears and people flock to hear them. The real prophet is persecuted, the false one loved; the true prophet reviled, the false one honored. But God has a sure word that often takes a long time to come to pass, but once it does it cannot be halted.

Yea, since the day was I am he;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand:
I will work, and who can hinder it?
(Isa 43:13 - ASV)

There is no other God. There are fallen spirits who may try and impersonate him and some have considerable power to deceive, but no one can stop the Lord from doing whatever it is he has in mind. In the last days, the Lord will cast a snare upon the earth and none shall escape.

But take heed to yourselves, lest haply your
hearts be overcharged with surfeiting,
and drunkenness, and cares of this life,
and that day come on you suddenly as a snare:
for so shall it come upon all them that dwell
on the face of all the earth.
(Luk 21:34-35)

Here Christ gives us another sure word of prophecy about how we should be living and why. What he has planned for a world that will have gone deep into the paths of darkness and sin will have reached a crescendo. So in this respect we can understand a key facet of God's prophetic system. He will send prophets and he will warn the people. Yet the people are disinclined to believe it.

For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans,
that bitter and hasty nation,
that march through the breadth of the earth,
to possess dwelling-places that are not theirs.
They are terrible and dreadful;
their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves.
Their horses also are swifter than leopards,
 and are more fierce than the evening wolves;
and their horsemen press proudly on:
yea, their horsemen come from far;
they fly as an eagle that hasteth to devour.
They come all of them for violence;
the set of their faces is forwards;
and they gather captives as the sand.
Yea, he scoffeth at kings, and princes
are a derision unto him; he derideth every stronghold;
 for he heapeth up dust, and taketh it.
Then shall he sweep by as a wind,
 and shall pass over, and be guilty,
 even he whose might is his god.
(Hab 1:6-11)

After the Lord warns that no one would believe this prophecy among the heathen, he gives the word. The Chaldeans were coming. A dreadful, war like people who were well known for their exceptional military skill. God is laying out to the prophet how he is going to deal with the wickedness of which he complained to the Lord about.

A nation of 'hot heads' (bitter and hasty nation) was coming. A people who seem eternally angry. Ever heard of a nation like that? A people who is always angry about something and use violence to appease their anger? This is the kind of description that Habakkuk is giving the Chaldeans (Babylonians). People were afraid of them and they are a self-righteous lot. They justify themselves; they are a law unto themselves and no one can judge them. In some ways, this reminds me of how the US is now treating the International Criminal Court. They have threatened the Judges won't grant them Visa's and even gone so far as to imply they will arrest them. All they do is investigate serious crimes involving human rights. This is the kind of arrogance I think the prophet is talking about - they put themselves on a level with God and will not be judged by others. It is a characteristic of satanic government - (see Dan 11:36; 2Thess 2:4). They get arrogant and don't think anyone has the right to judge them.

The prophet goes on to describe their military prowess and how their key goal is violence and to devour. This is a horrible army he describes.

This army is fierce enough that even looking at them causes men to fear. This appears to be the meaning of Verse 9, though others have differing views on the passage. Here is how Gill puts it.

their faces shall sup up as the east wind: their countenances will appear so stern and fierce, that their very looks will so frighten, as to cause men to sink and die through terror; just as herbs and plants shrivel up and wither away, when blasted by a nipping east wind. So the Targum, "the reception or look of their faces is like to a vehement east wind.'' - Gill

What is meant by captivity like the sand is that there will be so many prisoners that counting them will be like counting the sand. These are those who will be led away captive.

Verse 10 tells us just how powerful he is. To them, Kings and rulers are a joke. They laugh at them! When there is a stronghold (a fortified military position - see H4013), they laugh and make jokes about them (deride - see H7832).

The phrase to heap dust and take it seems to be a reference to a battle tactic used back in those days. When Nebuchadnezzar took Tyre they built a massive mound to take the city, which was known for its impregnability because it was an Island. When they got done heaping up mud and sand, it was a peninsula and the army could cross.

Verse 11 presents a couple of problems in translation. Some versions render the first part 'shall change his mind', others 'shall pass by'. Being no Hebrew scholar, I have to listen to those who know the language, both translations appear possible to me and both have a strong prophetic sense. My view is that he comes and does his campaign in Tyre and then once it is done, he decides to move on to other military targets that he may not have originally intended. Since he had so many victories, he gets puffed up an imputes his victories to his god.

In this passage, we get a glimpse of his arrogance even at the God of Israel. In the book of Daniel, after he took Jerusalem, he made a golden image and tried to force people to worship it. It is not an overreach to think that the god that Nebuchadnezzar imputed his victories to was indeed himself (see Dan 4:30)

In closing this section today, I want to impress this upon all of you. The news these days... I know I do a lot of it (for insiders) , but there comes a time when we need to step back and not listen to the AP, UPI, Fox, DW or news organizations, but to find out what God has to say about our times.

Habakkuk's interrogative to God at first was an expression of frustration and exasperation, "O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! The prophet is expressing frustration with God's apparent inaction. We who know the times and keep an eye on events, we know what it is like to watch crazy things going on and see apparent inaction on the part of God. The wickedness just grows and grows and no one stops it. We seem powerless. We hear the solutions being proposed - often self centered ones - by leaders and pundits and we come to a place where Habakkuk was, 'why do I have to keep looking at all of this wickedness Lord?' is the question, if I may paraphrase it. But the Lord gives his answer.

We have ours as well in the prophetic word of God in the Old Testament, the books of the Apostles in the New Testament, the Olivet discourse and the book of Revelation. We have our answer. We must not however be like the heathen and be among those who after the vision is told them, refuse to believe.

We shall continue our look at Habakkuk in good order, perhaps in a couple of weeks.

May God's grace, peace, love and protecting hand be upon you all both now and forever more!

25 Apr

Persecution Watch
Five Christians, Including One American, Arrested in Nepal Under Anti-Conversion Law

Religious Freedom for Minorities
 Continues to Deteriorate in Nepal

04/24/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that five Christians, including an American citizen and an Indian citizen, were arrested by authorities in Nepal and charged with attempted proselytization. The arrests come as religious freedom in Nepal continues to deteriorate under the country’s controversial anti-conversion law that was enacted in August 2018.

According to local reports, the five Christians were arrested on April 23 in Nepal’s Dang District. Among those arrested were Pastor Dilli Ram Paudel, General Secretary of the Nepal Christian Society; Gaurav Srivastava, an Indian citizen; and Leanna Ciquanda, an American citizen. - Story continues at the ICC website

Egypt: Church Closed After Attack
CAIRO, Egypt (Morning Star News) – A Coptic church in Upper Egypt is closed after a throng of angry Muslims attacked it this month, beating a priest and another Copt as more than 200 fearful children who had gathered for Bible lessons looked on, according to advocacy groups.
One of the injured Copts, Asaad Bakheet Rezek, told a Coptic TV (CTV) that a Muslim about 17 years old beat one of the priests with a club as security forces led him from the Anba Karas Church building in Naga al-Ghafir, Sohag Governorate in southern Egypt. - Story Continues at Morning Star News

Sri Lankan Bombers Slowly Being Uncovered
Asia times reports that some of the names of those involved have been discovered.

Tucker Carlson: Leaders Think Christians Are The Problem
This is a look at how leaders are creating a narrative about Christians and why they see us as a problem.

Well, take heart brothers, the devil see's us as a problem as well. That is good news!! I mean, who wants to be best buddies with satan... particularly knowing where he and those who follow him are going to wind up? I sure don't. So if the devil is attacking Christians, that only shows us what time it is and lets us know we are having an effect on his kingdom to the degree he's got to do something about it. Raising up as many ignorant, violent, nare-do-wells to steal kill and destroy as he can; this has always been his MO. Make no mistake, those who do these things don't know whose agenda they are following, but that is the nature of the devil - deceit... and he is very, very good at it.

Nevertheless, we are commanded to pray for, not against our persecutors. Many of them are not that smart and they really don't know anything about Christians or Christianity other than what some terrorist cell leader has told them.

The world is in the devil's clutches and the world cannot see it, save that God gives them light to see it.

Let us always keep in mind that in many places Christians must worship in secret or be arrested, beaten, imprisoned or even killed. How did Christ put it in the Gospel of John?

 "...yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you
will think that he doeth God service.
- (John 16:2b)

Christless Christianity, Secularism And The Christian Decline
This interesting little piece does not deal directly with persecution, but does look at some issues that surround it.
23 Apr


Today, I wanted to step back from news items and look at a things from a more prophetic perspective. There has been a lot of shifting in our world and perhaps it is time to look at some of it.

I got an email from a reader this weekend and he passed on what his pastor preached on Sunday - he wrote on Habakkuk. The prophet whose quotation I have had on this site since its inception.

I like Habakkuk, always have. I was deeply moved by a radio show years ago that talked about Habakkuk. The presenter talked about the Habakkuk oil wars. This was in the run up to the Second Gulf War. Since that war, which in my view was politically 'justified' by 9-11, the world has changed most significantly. Few things changed the world's  unipolar power more than the fall of the twin towers and how elements within the establishment rushed to exploit that tragedy to do all manner evil of things I need not recount here.

Since then, the Middle East has seen several wars, tumults, revolutions terrorist 'governments' (ISIS) and the over all result is that the US, thinking it would be the dominant power in that part of the world after implemented its violent policies, has lost a lot of the clout that it once possessed.

I say these things because I see the world shifting as it must to accommodate the coming man of sin, the antichrist who will set up a new system of governance with himself as 'god' and all men will be compelled to worship at his altar or be killed.

Habakkuk's vision went so.

 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. 
O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!
even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! 
Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?
for spoiling and violence are before me:
and there are that raise up strife and contention. 
Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment
doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass
about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
(Habakkuk 1:1-4 [KJVA])

The prophet prayed. Yes, he sought the face of God about gross injustice and iniquity he witnessed. His prayer seems a bit irreverent. In fact it is not. It is honest. God honors respectful, yet honest prayer. What is burdening you? What is on your heart? It may seem trivial, it may seem big, but God wants to know about it.

Here the prophet lets the Lord know just how upset he was about the rampant injustice that he saw. I think many of us know exactly how he feels. I know I do as I see so many men sit in jail for crimes they never committed, shot dead over a busted tail light, bombed into oblivion by a fighter bomber for reasons they don't understand or  have some family defrauded out of their homes and have a President protect the banks from prosecution for their crimes.

We see injustice, cry out to God and often it seems like he does not hear us. That he does not see the troubles down here and that we are alone in our deep concern for it. Well this is where Habakkuk was at. He was praying and was very upset about it and the way the Lord seemed unconcerned about it all.

I don't think there is anyone here at Watson's Web who has not been there at one time or another.

But God did hear Habakkuk.

Yes he did and then he begins to tell him that he has something planned and reveals his secret to his prophet.

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard,
and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days,
which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
 (Habakkuk 1:5 [KJVA])

God see's it all.

Brothers, Habakkuk's prophecy is for today. I have done a couple of pieces on this wonderful book of prophecy but never a full study. I may soon begin one as I think it meet and timely, particularly as we look at events in our world in general and the middle east in particular. There is a shifting taking place and it is I see an Israel more and more isolated, with even its western allies turning on her - anti-Semitism so bad in some quarters it cannot be condemned by elected representatives and large parts of the world now embracing censorship, authoritarianism and even mass concentration camps.  This coupled with a war on the Saints (Christian persecution from many different groups in many different countries) should give us all pause as to the times we are living in.

God has a plan and that plan is one that will be accomplished on his, not our timetable.

God's prophetic word is something we must always remember as we live in these wicked and tumultuous times.

Fret not thyself brother over the wicked man who seems to be prospering in his wickedness.

  Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be
thou envious against the workers of iniquity.   
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
and wither as the green herb.  Trust in the LORD, and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee
the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the LORD;
trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light,
and thy judgment as the noonday.   
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:
fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way,
 because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:
fret not thyself
in any wise to do evil.
  For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD,
they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while,
and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt
diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. 
But the meek shall inherit the earth;
and shall delight themselves
in the abundance of peace. 
(Psalms 37:1-11)

Thanks to the reader who passed on the Habakkuk passage to me this weekend.

The private side of Watson's Web look at these issues for mature and grounded believers. I am strictly forbidden to cast the pearls of this site out for the masses any longer. But FYI, for the time being, I am not taking any new members.

I give you all solemn warning. Trouble is coming. The economy may be humming along nicely - the America's lukewarm Christians may be enjoying the fun and sun and have ceased to watch, as they were commanded to do, but the truth is - our Lord promised that when he comes, when tribulation comes when the stuff hits the proverbial fan, it is going to catch the masses of lukewarm and fake Christians as a total shock, they will neither be ready nor prepared. Most will just fall away and others will turn on the faithful. This is one reason why I had to  go private brothers, I had some Judas' taking my material and handing it directly over to the devil and his imps.

So I exhort you all who claim Christ as Savior to be awake, spiritually sober, mentally alert and to rightly divide God's word and to withdraw from these phony pastors who can pack in the crowds with false doctrines and foolishness that may pay for his mortgage and his brand new BMW, but can only lead their hearers into hell fire.

Let the reader beware.

21 Apr

(This was written a couple of years ago. I re-post it here for the edification and encouragement of those who know and love our Lord Jesus Christ and who may be going through serious trials and troubles.

God's Protection

Today, we are going to take a break from the news (and there is an awful lot of it) to talk about getting God's protection in the months and years ahead. Our God, as opposed to the god of this world, but rather Our God has told those who love and obey him that this world will undergo great tribulation. A horrible period of trial, travails,  disasters, suffering and yes, death. While many scholars like to give the time frame as a specific time period - 42 months, 7 years, etc. the truth is this tribulation is likely to simply grow upon the world as it continues to reach peak population, peak resource usage, peak wickedness and peak folly. Then yes, the greatest part of that tribulation will probably last that final 42 months that the beast and false prophet are allowed to reign upon the earth. In short this paper will try and look at how to obtain God's protection in the times ahead. I write this to keep you in faith not fear. Too many bloggers and internet Christians are feeding on a diet of constant fear-mongering. We must focus on God and what he can and will do for us if we obey his voice.

I think that the first thing that needs to be stated is that if anyone thinks God's protection means that trouble, tribulation or even persecution will not touch us, then that person has another 'think' coming to them. There will be no way around some of these things. Being here will make us at least partially vulnerable to the trials and tribulations of the world around us. So before we begin, what do I mean about God's protection?

I mean God's ability to keep us and our souls unto the day of Salvation without putting upon us more than we are able to bear. That God, in his wisdom and love will keep us, strengthen us, guide us into the kingdom of heaven and from the wiles, traps and works of the devil so that they will not prevent us from entering into the kingdom with great shouts of joy and thanksgiving; something that the hordes of hell are working overtime in preventing.

This is the key, it's not in avoiding trouble and suffering. These things are a given for all the sons of men and tribulation (troubles, ordeals) are part of what Christ promised his sheep. There is no way around it if you belong to Christ.

But some are destined to different trials than others and thankfully, God knows just what we can bear.

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
(Rev 3:7-10)

This was one of the highly favored and un-rebuked Churches within the seven that existed in Asia during the time of John. Christ noted their works and that they had kept to Christ's word. In other words, they were obedient to him. They did as he commanded. It was for this reason the Lord made the promise that he would keep them from the hour of temptation, trial.

This is a very important promise and one of the key conditionalities that grant us a high level of divine protection. I must warn you, that it is not a guarantee of a trouble free life or one without persecution. If we notice in the same seven Churches section in Revelation, we get another sense for those who are praised by our Lord and were obedient to him. Yet their fate before going to glory was quite different.

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
(Rev 2:8-11)

Here the faithfulness of the Lord's people would not protect them from serious tribulation. Even though they were faithful and obedient, yet and still they had to undergo a serious trial. They had to go into prison and suffer for ten days. The implication here was that their imprisonment would precede their execution/death. The commandment was that they should be faithful even to death and then they would be blessed with the crown of life.

The key here I think is in the very last section of this letter to Smyrna and one that most Christians take for granted. That our salvation is less to do with our comfort, pleasures, careers, marriages down here on earth but making certain that we do not wind up being hurt by the second death. This is and was the entire basic purpose of our salvation, to be saved from that horrible fate that shall befall all of the unredeemed and fallen sons of men. Christ came to save us from that fate and those who obey his word will not be hurt by it. Recognizing what God has promised us and what he has NOT promised us will help us to avoid a lot of confusion and unbelief in the face of fiery trials.

I think a look at what one of the old testament saints and one who was greatly beloved of God had to go through is a perfect example. With Daniel, it was both both his faith in God and as the passage shows almost certainly a great deal of political jealousy by his fellow administrators that got him into serious trouble. This is a rather long passage but I will post it all in the hopes you read it and get a feel for what was going on in the Royal court which like all centers of power is full of intrigue, maneuverings and backstabbings.

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
(Dan 6:1-15)

The long and short of this is that the King was reorganizing the kingdom's administration in a very significant way. Because Daniel had shown himself to be exceptionally wise and as the passage says, had an 'excellent spirit' in him. Daniel had arisen to one of the top positions. The passage seems to indicate that Daniel was really the first man in the kingdom, after Darius.

Daniel was doing a great job, an excellent one and they could not find anything against this man of God. Yet his enemies went into their secret chambers and plotted to take Daniel down. They were going to use Daniel's devotion and his worship of God against him.

Now keep in mind the not so subtle implications of the accusations brought against Daniel who was favored by the king more than these malcontents. So they hatched a plot. They hatched one that they knew would ensnare Daniel who was devoted to his God. What happened to Daniel here was not happenstance, it was a concerted effort to destroy him by conspirators who were jealous of him. Moreover, Daniel understood the plot and made a point as soon as the decree was signed, to go into his chambers and pray like he always had. They did not like this 'foreigner' with so much influence with the King.

The king was trapped. He unwisely signed this law he did not realize was designed to take down his right hand man and after he signed it, he realized when all of Daniel's enemies stood before the King pointing the finger at Daniel, that they had undermined the King's prerogatives and brought division and contention into his court. The king however was clearly on Daniel's side and while he was forced to comply with this evil law he was tricked into signing, he wished Daniel well even while he was forced to place him in the lion's den.

The King then prayed and fasted for Daniel.

God's love for his servant as well as the King's prayers served him well. The lions suddenly became allergic to Daniel and did not molest him. Well, we all know the rest of the story - Daniel's enemies had to lie in the very same pit that they had dug for Daniel and did not live long enough to learn a lesson from their mistake.

The lesson here is this. Daniel had done everything right and was greatly respected. But his high place earned him the hatred of the "jealous Nellie's" in the court. As a result of their plot they got Daniel into the lions den but it availed them nothing in the long run. God protected Daniel and had someone else who was looking out for him, namely the King. Daniel was tried but was strongly protected by this God during the trial.

I don't think I need to recount the ordeal that Shadrach Meshach and Abednego endured. They too refused to give up the worship of their God and as a result were placed into a fiery furnace. Yet their God did something amazing... they were protected right within the fire! Here once again, the trial and persecution that was endured was a direct result of their worship of God. In both this instance and with Daniel's ordeal in the lion's den, the worship of God was the key issue. God's true servants will not bow down before idols and they will always continue to worship God. Let's take a look at this passage in Daniel chapter Three.

Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.
(Dan 3:14-30)

This passage, is a type for we Christians who shall be alive when the Mark of the Beast occurs. There is

The worship of an image.

The threat of death of one does not worship the image

The number Six Six and Six are encoded in the whole ceremony of idolic worship.

Let's take a quick look at the Image and it's dimensions.

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
(Dan 3:1)

The image was 60 cubits in height and was 6 cubits wide. Then we have six instruments mentioned (three times within the passage - 666  - see Dan 3:5, 3:7, 3:15) to be sounded at the time of worship.

This is a clear type of what is coming for all of us who are alive when the 42 month antichrist system comes into power. Note that not a single one of God's servants was harmed, no matter how hot the king made the furnace. Those who were stoking it got burned, but not the servants of the Lord. They went into the fire, but were not harmed. Did not our Lord promise something very similar in the last days before his coming?

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
In your patience possess ye your souls.
(Luk 21:17-19)

We are not to fear those who kill the body and this was the lesson that Daniel and the three Hebrew administrators learned. They feared God above all. Above the fires, the lions, the plotting court, even the king. They feared the Lord and in so doing and keeping true faith with God, they were saved through (not from) their ordeals.

The key I think here for all of us to remember is this. God is sovereign. He has destined some of us to die in prison (Smyrna) others to live out our lives in quiet service, others to stand before Kings and rulers to bear witness, still others to be martyred. There is no set rulebook for avoiding trials and tribulations. The key is to ensure that we are in God's will. Being in God's will does not mean a perfect set of circumstances.

Think on Daniel for a moment. Were his circumstances perfect? Hardly! He was brought a slave to the a foreign court and while most Biblical scholars don't like to bring this up, Daniel may very well have been a eunuch as that was common practice in those days for slaves who worked around royalty. Like Nehemiah we have no record of his wife or children, only their lifelong service to the Babylonian King. Each prayed earnestly for the restoration of their people to their homeland. No, Daniel was not in what he saw as an ideal situation. But Daniel was in God's will and was in a place that God could use him. The same with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The same with Christ, Paul, Peter and the rest.

God knows all and knows the end from the beginning. He knows where we are and we must know what he expects from us and then do it. That is how we get God's protection for whatever circumstances we are facing.

I write this today for those of you who may be in situations that you never thought you would be facing, betrayed by your friends, countrymen family and stuck out in some kind of exile that you must now face.

FEAR NOT! God is with you and has a job for you to do. I offer this Godly advice to you.

Stop with the pity party - stop weeping and whining. Get up, stand up like a man and do whatever it is God commands you to do. The key for you... all of you is that faith not fear; obedience, not excuses are the path to life and God's divine guidance, favor and protection.

May God grant all who read this the wisdom, faith and fortitude to go wheresoever the Holy Spirit leads you and do so in holiness, righteousness and faith!

Brother Mark

18 Apr

Nehemiah XXXI

Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the
 children of Israel were assembled with fasting,
 and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.
And the seed of Israel separated themselves from
all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins,
and the iniquities of their fathers.
(Neh 9:1-2)

This passage marks a change in the tone of the feast. Before it was a festival and people enjoyed themselves. Now it was different. This time they were gathered with fasting and sackcloth, these are as you know the garments of mourning and repentance. Gill says this about the timing of this gathering.

Now in the twenty fourth day of this month,.... The seventh month, the month Tisri or September, two days after the feast of tabernacles was ended:

the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them; which were all outward tokens of mourning and humiliation, see Joe_1:8 which they could not show during the festival; but that being over, they return to it, see Neh 8:9. - Gill

So the feast of Tabernacles was over but now the Children of Israel had to come before the Lord and confess their sins and unrighteousness. If we remember from earlier there was great sorrow over their sins when the law was read, but the leaders exhorted the people to enjoy the food and drink during the festival and not be sad. Now that the feast was over, they could go back and deal with the acknowledgement and renouncement of their sins in a collective and public fashion. It really took a public reading of the law and the priests doing their best to get people to understand it and doing so at the beginning of the festival to have had this remarkable effect on the people. Now they made a public show of their contrition with the symbols of those days, the sackcloth, putting dirt on their heads.

On some level, Israel's basic problem was that the Priests were not doing their job. The prophets of old scolded them on their laxity and behavior. Many of the Priests appear to have been running criminal rackets. They offered up polluted sacrifices (Mal 1:6ff) and as we know in our Lord's time, there were nothing more than blind guides who faithfully led their followers into hell fire. The leaders bore significant responsibility for the state of Israel, for clearly there was remarkable ignorance about the law and what the Lord required. There are other passages in the prophets that talk about the priests and leaders of Israel, some of them can be found here.

But this was a new spirit that was overtaking the people. Now, when leaders called them to a solemn assembly in the name of their God, the people came. They came and acknowledge and confessed their national level sins.

Moreover, they also separated themselves from the foreigners in their midst and and confessed their sins. This was important because these were national level sins. These were the crimes of Israel, not of those who dwelt among them. As a consequence, they were not invited. This may have also been a requirement of Ezra who was not happy about how the so many even in the priesthood had taken foreign wives, in contravention to the law.

So as a result, they were pointedly left out of these solemn proceedings. It is important to note that this passage does not mention divorcing from foreign wives. This appears to only be a separation for this particular gathering. Matthew Henry seems to think that this separation from foreign wives had already taken place earlier under Ezra. The relevant passage can be found in Ezra Chapter 10. I will pass on Mr. Henry's comment and then part of the passage in Ezra. It's rather long, but goes to show just how serious he viewed the matter and just how widespread it was, even in the Priesthood.
Ezra had separated them from their strange wives some years before, but they had relapsed into the same sin, and had either made marriages or at least made friendships with them, and contracted such an intimacy as was a snare to them. But now they separated themselves from the strange children as well as from the strange wives. Those that intend by prayers and covenants to join themselves to God must separate themselves from sin and sinners; for what communion hath light with darkness? - Matthew Henry
Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests,
the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they
should do according to this word. And they sware.
Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God,
and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib:
and when he came thither, he did eat no bread,
nor drink water: for he mourned because of the
transgression of them that had been carried away.
And they made proclamation throughout Judah and
Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity,
that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem;
And that whosoever would not come within three days,
according to the counsel of the princes and the elders,
all his substance should be forfeited, and himself
separated from the congregation of those
that had been carried away. Then all the men of
Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together
 unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month,
on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat
in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter,
and for the great rain. And Ezra the priest stood up,
 and said unto them, Ye have transgressed,
and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel.
Now therefore make confession unto the LORD
God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate
yourselves from the people of the land, and from
the strange wives. Then all the congregation answered
and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do.
But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain,
and we are not able to stand without, neither is this a
work of one day or two: for we are many that have
transgressed in this thing. Let now our rulers of all
the congregation stand, and let all them which have
taken strange wives in our cities come at appointed times,
and with them the elders of every city, and the judges
thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter
be turned from us. Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and
Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were employed about this matter:
and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite helped them.
And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest,
with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their
fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated,
and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to
examine the matter. And they made an end with all
the men that had taken strange wives by the first day
of the first month. And among the sons of the priests
there were found that had taken strange wives: namely,
of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren;
Maaseiah, and Eliezer, and Jarib, and Gedaliah.
And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives;
and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass.
 And of the sons of Immer; Hanani, and Zebadiah.
And of the sons of Harim; Maaseiah, and Elijah,
and Shemaiah, and Jehiel, and Uzziah. And of the sons of Pashur; Elioenai,
Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethaneel, Jozabad, and Elasah.
Also of the Levites; Jozabad, and Shimei,
and Kelaiah, (the same is Kelita,) Pethahiah,
Judah, and Eliezer. Of the singers also; Eliashib:
and of the porters; Shallum, and Telem, and Uri.
Moreover of Israel: of the sons of Parosh; Ramiah,
 and Jeziah, and Malchiah, and Miamin, and Eleazar,
and Malchijah, and Benaiah. And of the sons of Elam;
Mattaniah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, and Abdi, and Jeremoth, and Eliah.
And of the sons of Zattu; Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, and Jeremoth, and Zabad,
and Aziza. Of the sons also of Bebai; Jehohanan,
Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai. And of the sons of Bani;
Meshullam, Malluch, and Adaiah, Jashub, and Sheal,
and Ramoth. And of the sons of Pahathmoab; Adna,
and Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezaleel,
 and Binnui, and Manasseh. And of the sons of Harim;
Eliezer, Ishijah, Malchiah, Shemaiah, Shimeon,
Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah. Of the sons of Hashum;
 Mattenai, Mattathah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh,
 and Shimei. Of the sons of Bani; Maadai, Amram, and Uel,
Benaiah, Bedeiah, Chelluh, Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib,
 Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasau, And Bani, and Binnui,
Shimei, And Shelemiah, and Nathan, and Adaiah,
Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, Azareel, and Shelemiah,
Shemariah, Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. Of the sons of Nebo;
Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jadau, and Joel, Benaiah.
All these had taken strange wives: and some of them
had wives by whom they had children.
(Ezr 10:5-44)

What is not clear is if the passage in Nehemiah is referring to some new backsliding that took place after Ezra's reforms, or was just a formal separation because of this gathering. Another possbility could be that this refers only to the offspring of those previously discarded unions who remained with their fathers. What is clear is this most important point. If the Priests are not doing the will of God and are in rebellion, they will be of no use to Israel's future spiritual health.

My reading of the passage is not clear as to exactly what was meant, other than Israel was going to separate from the foreigners for at least this occasion.
And they stood up in their place,
and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God
one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed,
and worshipped the LORD their God.
(Neh 9:3)

Once the people were assembled and had the right mindset, the one of repentance and humility, they listened to the law. Then they worshiped the Lord. This all taking place within a space of probably just a few hours - the house of Israel - alone.

Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites, Jeshua,
and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani,
and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice unto the
LORD their God. Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel,
Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah,
and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the LORD
your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name,
which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
(Neh 9:4-5)

I highlighted the names of those who were leading the people in worship in both passages (here and in Ezra) to show that all had to acknowledge their sins and crimes, priest, elder and lay person. There was no arrogant finger pointing. All had sinned and all had to repent. Here they stood upon that scaffold/pulpit we talked about earlier and cried out to the Lord. This was no silent prayer in a closet, this was a shout before all to make sure all heard of their repentance and grief and having sinned against God.

But after the acknowledgement of their national sins, the penitent rise up not to play or head on over to the local temple of Baal as in the olden days, but to bless the Lord and give him glory and praise!!

We will look at the prayer they prayed in the next section on Nehemiah.

God be with you all as you serve Christ!

Brother Mark

16 Apr

Hindu Radicals Burn Thousands Of Bibles

This is the new trend in India and Modi, who is part of the political arm of Hindu Radicalism cannot escape some of the blame. Faithwire reports above.

But this is nothing new as shocking as this is, this is not so unusual in India today where these radicals hold sway. For those of you who want some background on just what is going on in India on this front, the US government issues a report every year on countries. Here is the one on India and just how Hindu-Nationalism is effecting the whole political landscape of the country.

CBN also carries the story.

Christian Refugee's Need A Place To Live: Time For America To Step Up

A look at Christian Asylum seekers and the Trump Administration. More here from a less Trump sympathetic viewpoint.

Persecution And Hope: Christians In The Middle East

This is a look at what has been happening in several countries in the Middle East. How far have things come since ISIS? This piece looks at this and other issues. The Epoch Times Reports.

Converted Imam Faces Islamic Wrath For Coming To Christ

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Sheikh Hassan Podo, a 28-year-old imam in Kerekerene village in eastern Uganda, missed mosque prayers for three consecutive weeks and was seen entering a church building around noon on March 16.

He had kept his faith in Christ a secret for three weeks. The young Muslim who saw Podo enter the church building in Katira Sub-County, Budaka District, went straight to Podo’s parents and brothers to report him.

When Podo arrived at the house that evening, his family interrogated him about where he had spent the better part of the day.

“Without my completing answering them, my brothers immediately began surrounding me, with sticks,” Podo told Morning Star News. “It was difficult to escape. They began shouting, beating and insulting me as an ‘infidel’ and enemy of the Islamic religion.”

His wife and two children managed to escape to the home of a nearby Christian neighbor, he said. - MorningStar News

Note: One can only wonder about a religion that has to use violence and threats to keep its adherents. Like a bad marriage, the only way a bad man can keep his good wife is to beat and threaten her into staying. Or worse, the mentality of some of the sicker minds out there believe that if they can't have the person, no one can.

This is how I see radical Islam. Clearly Islam was not giving this man the spiritual satisfaction he was seeking and now he is willing to face threats and violence to keep his faith in Christ.

But this has always been the way of false religions, many Christian denominations included. They have to use tricks, force, violence even murder to keep people in their religious systems.

Any system that has to resort to these kinds of things should be viewed as false - whatever name it gives itself.

It's the lie that needs the barrels of a gun pointed at a person to enforce its will.

The truth can stand on its own.

Pakistan: Forced Adductions, Conversions And Marriages Afflict Christian Girls

Religious minority communities across Pakistan have expressed renewed concern following reports of increasing abductions and forced conversions to Islam. According to reports, eight teenage girls belonging to the Hindu community and four Christians were kidnapped, forcefully converted to Islam, and married off to Muslim men in different parts of Sindh and Punjab in just the first three months of 2019. - continues at Persecution.org

Christian Churches Vandalized, Defected Upon In Europe

Yes, the march of anti-Christ is not just in India, China, North Korea Pakistan and Nigeria, but is also being felt in Central Europe as well, though authorities do their best to try and hide these things. Gatestone Institute reports.

Brothers, these are dangerous times. Moreover they are highly deceptive times. The spirit of Antichrist is very much here, but few mark it. The lost cannot see it. Even the Churches are blind to much of it as they try and pray up a new car, yacht and private jet.

I want to stress this because it is of the greatest spiritual importance. When the man of sin comes onto the scene, the whole world will be deceived by him. He is already slowly pouring out his 'deception drug' upon the world, but the world cannot see it (see Rev 12:9, 13:14; 16:14). This thing is going to scoop up everyone, save those whom the Lord calls out of this wicked world to be his. The small flock of those who truly belong to God, they will see these things.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them:
because greater is he that is in you,
than he that is in the world. They are of the world:
 therefore speak they of the world and the world heareth them.
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us;
 he that is not of God heareth not us.
Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God;
and every one that loveth is born of God,
and knoweth God.
(I John 4:4-7 [KJVA])

Brothers, I say these things because of the times. Many Christians are listening to false shepherds, many others are asleep. Still others are floundering because they are being bombarded with the images of this world - its violent, twisted and heavily sexualized culture, its selfishness and more and more the kinds of hate that is being energized by dark forces on the internet.

We who know our God know this -  it is only going to get worse and that we must let our light shine anyway. The light of Jesus Christ, his marvelous gospel, love, hope faith and truth. We who love our Lord - we are children of light and because men love darkness more than the light, they will seek to put that light out. Hence the plague of Christian persecution that now envelopes so much of the world. The devil and his imps (witting and unwitting) are doing the will of their father, doing their best to put out the light - the only light that can save man from his sins. We know this, the devil knows this as well, but the world does not.

Let us beware of the times brothers and not fall asleep at the wheel, just as our spiritual road becomes a winding road on a steep hill with a long drop to the bottom that awaits us if we get off the road.

Lets pay attention and not go to sleep at the wheel!

China Offers Bribes To Those Who Rat Out Christians

Again, as mentioned in a recent update Marxisim (Communism) is one of the powerful strongholds we need to be fully aware of. It did not die with the Berlin Wall came down. The spirit of Marxism is alive and well and living on planet earth.

11 Apr

Religion Watch

There has been a lot going on in the realm of religion, not just Christianity that we should all be aware of. Today, I want to take a look at some of these issues.

China Continues To Impose Communist Control Over Religion

The Jamestown Foundation looks at recent meeting by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and what it means for religious believers in China.

This year, a primary propaganda theme emerging from the CPPCC was the need to “persist in the Party’s leadership over religion [and] persist in advancing the Sinicization of our country’s religions” (jianchi dang dui zongjiao gongzuo de lingdao, chixu tuijin woguo zongjiao Zhongguohua / 坚持党对宗教工作的领导,持续推进我国宗教中国化). [1] The theme is not a new one, and dates back at least to 2016, when CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping gave a speech advocating a “socialism with Chinese characteristics theory of religion” (Zhongguo tese shehui zhuyi zongjiao lilun, 中国特色社会主义宗教理论) (Xinhua, April 23 2016). The theme has since grown more prominent in official discourse, and in the lead-up to this year’s convening of the “Two Sessions,” official media indicated that “Sinicization” of religion would be an important topic to be discussed by the CPPCC (Renmin Zhengxie Bao, January 10). - Jamestown China Brief (by John Dotson)

Brunei Institutes Full Sharia Law

Adultery and homosexuality are now punishable by death by stoning. The backlash from celebrities and the LBGTQ community is significant. I look for considerable and quiet pressure to be brought to bear on this small country from the left leaning political wing within the US that have pushed the gay agenda here and globally. It will be most interesting to see how the KSA or the Gulf sheikdoms deal with this - if they support Brunei or try and quietly pressure the King to back off.

Keep in mind that the moneyed Gulf interests and the LBGTQ/Hollywood crowd worked together tirelessly together to prevent a Trump Presidency - though the Saudi's as we see, had little to fear. There was a powerful 'twin pillars' of political power in the country who have really pushed to eradicate America's Christian foundation. It remains to be seen if they team up a again in 2020 for the same reasons. I am not so sure they will. Trump has given the Saudi's just about everything they could wish for. He has been MBS's magic genie. He rubs his Trump lamp and gets his wish.

Qatar and the UAE... their reaction to this? It remains to be seen. They will probably leave this one alone.

Let me state this clearly lest my comments be deliberately misconstrued, as has happened before. I am not in favor of these draconian laws against anyone in these times and in this present Church age of God's grace. Nor should any Christian. We should be pushing to end such laws because, God believe it or not, loves gay people and adulterers and wants to see them repent. Each and every Christian who has known Christ understands that we were sinners once too before coming to the cross. If you execute every sinner, no one would be left!

Killing them in a fit of moral outrage is very much the wrong approach.

Russia Raids Homes Of Jehovah's Witnesses
(Forum18) Armed Russian FSB security service officers raided six Jehovah's Witness homes around Yalta, seizing religious literature. Artem Gerasimov faces "extremism"-related criminal charges with a maximum ten year jail term, the second Crimean Jehovah's Witness to face such charges. - Continues at Forum18

Somalia Unrest, Crisis Fuels Persecution
The Mission News Network looks at the situation in Somalia and why it is contributing to the persecution of Christians there. The situation in Somalia is pretty tragic.

UK: Radical Muslims Welcome, Persecuted Christians Need Not Apply
This piece by the Gatestone institute looks at how Britain's immigration policy has shifted against Christians. The UK was once a strong bastion of Christianity. For centuries it was a steadfastly Christian nation. It is no longer, it is being seduced away from it. The blessings that was once on Britain I think are going to be soon withdrawn and I think the spirit of conflict and confusion that now mark the whole Brexit mess is a sign of things to come for this once proud and venerable nation. The immigration numbers are startling and are included in the above link only .2% of immigrants from Syria are Christian. No, the decimal point is not a typo.

The Graham Staines Story’ a grim reminder of horrors of religious persecution
This is about a dramatization of the story of an Australian missionary who was murdered and how Hindu fundamentalists are against the release of the movie. India is one of the places where hate crimes are the worst and are often protected by the police and the state. Persecution Relief reports.

Religious Freedom In Malaysia Under Microscope
International Reports on religious freedom in this nation are highlighted.

Those Chick-fil-A Bans
I note that weather it is in the secular US, the Islamic world, in Hindu India or Communist China, Christians are always the ones or one of the key ones under fire. Why? The world, those who belong to this age and this world (and its prince) will hate us - it is a promise of our Lord just as sure as salvation to those who endure to the end.

You will not get one without the other.

 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own:
but because ye are not of the world,
but I have chosen you out of the world,
 therefore the world hateth you.
Remember the word that I said unto you,
The servant is not greater than his lord.
If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;
 if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
  But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake,
because they know not him that sent me.
(John 15:19-21 [KJVA])
9 Apr

The Christchurch Shooting.

This was a horrible tragedy and I do ask all of you to pray for the loved ones of the victims of this horrible tragedy.

Second I want to stress to all of you that the movement to ban firearms in the hands of the general population and make it a sole prerogative of those who are part of the state or are ultra rich is a real movement. It is not just a move being made by those inside America, but by those who have the power to move their agenda all over the planet, including America. Who gets the blame after the tragedy is part of this devilish game. We have heard many things about the man charged with the killings, that he praised Communist China, that he was a extreme left wing eco-extremist, that he flashed a white power sign. Everyone now has a a reason to hate and to go what I will call 'corpse surfing' upon the victims of this horrible tragedy and ride the waves of emotion and tragedy to achieve some political end. We have heard many people call for gun control here every time there is such a tragedy. Before the first body hits the ground and the cops arrive at the scene, people are screaming for gun control. But there is an aspect to this that folks don't know.

Powerful people who work with elitists and have deep connections to US and other foreign intelligence services can and do set things like this up. We have had such set ups here in the US before. It is rather dangerous to talk intelligently about these things so I have to be careful here. But suffice it to say that many of these people work on the fringes of this world, do the bidding of the rich and powerful. They may take a paycheck from Uncle Sam, but they were turned long ago. Some of these very wealth elitists are in realty Intelligence officers working undercover. They have their deep state connections (call them informal and illegal crime networks) and can carry out their own policies using their jobs and connections in Government to do these things. They know that if you want to take guns away from the general population you have to kill a lot of people in a series of 'crazy man' shootings that takes the global headlines for several days. Then politicians will have little choice but to take those guns away. You see, you cannot take the guns away from people who know the deal, you have to get masses of them to scream to come and take them, create a series of situations where they think it imperative to come and take them. This appears to be the strategy. Even Now New Zealand is considering new gun restrictions. That did not take long did it? A few days and new bills and new laws are being considered. It works like clockwork.
Now let me make this perfectly clear. I have no idea if the man arrested was working alone, was being guided by others, if this was part of some kind of plan as described above or not or even if he is really guilty. I really do not know. I can only tell you that some of the gun tragedies in the USA have indeed been set ups. Not all, not most but some. The wicked irony of these kinds of attacks is that once one has grabbed the headlines, 20 more mentally unstable people with some whacked out agenda will try to copycat them. This too is all factored into the equation by those who plan these things. They know and hope for more copycat attacks and can tailor the message after the attack to spark 'ideas' in the minds of those they hope can be used to further their anti-gun narrative.
Let me make this clear, there is considerable power behind the move to ban guns in the hands of ordinary law abiding people and Americans. They have money, power and many have come right out and stated their anti-constitutional agenda and to me, this is the supreme irony. Here they are supposed to be protecting the Constitution and some take an oath to that effect and then work tirelessly to undermine it.
I think one of the more troubling factors to this current tragedy is the extreme censorship going on. I got two emails from a reader who lives down there and he made it very clear about the censorship, I really did not take what he was saying to heart until I started moving about the web on the issue. Censorship? Did I not tell you it was coming just a few weeks ago? Yes, I did. here. Well, as  I said then and repeat now, it is only going to get worse. I figure the only way I will be able to stay online in the future is to continue to keep the best most informative posts private for a select group of wide awake Christians. The other so called Christian sites? Most of them have been turned by or were actually created by 'the deep state' (yes, really). These are straw men 'Christian' sites who can be used against trusting Christians at the proper time, the others that are any good will soon go by the wayside, one way or another - some people will be paid a paycheck to make sure that happens - through threats, blackmail, set-ups, imprisonment or death. The truth must be killed and the devil has is army out there to try and make it happen.

I think what must be understood by many of you is that many in power hate America. They hate our freedoms and they hate what this country stands for. They plan on using their power inside of these often un-investigatable intelligence agencies to destroy the country and turn it over to its enemies. They work on multiple fronts to destroy the nation from within. They provide the false narratives that keep the left and right at each other throats. They provide the false flag incidents to inflame passions and get things like Gun control rolling, they shut down investigations into things like drug cartels because they are helping the cartels destroy America's youth, by helping to bring that junk into the country. Guns? Same thing. They bring them into neighborhoods of people of color in the hopes that young people of color will kill each other off. In each and every instance, they are having remarkable success. Why doesn't someone do something about it? Who? The oversight committee's up there? They are not going to do anything. Some of them are being blackmailed to play bobble head on their committee's on which they sit, others are being bought off. Yes, the surveillance state has been used far too often, not to protect us from China or Russia, but to protect the 'deep state' from democratic oversight and criminal prosecution.

In this, wiser souls should be thankful - that finally something has happened to seriously investigate some of these people. Love this President or hate him, he appears at least to be willing to take on this beast that past Presidents were too weak or cowardly to oppose, but often rather fell in line and took orders from them, rather than direct them as their office required. The last President who took a swipe at this beast literally got his brains blown out. His name was JFK. This is why we should continue to lift up this President in prayer, whatever you may personally think of him or his policies. The guys who hate him- many have no love for you, me or this country.

But the censorship? I have to tell you, it is very troubling and one has to wonder what is in that video that they are threatening people with 10-14 years in jail for having it? Is there evidence that it was a false flag? That he had a lot of help? Something about this just seems a bit odd. The extreme censorship that now coming out in the west? Such a thing would have been unheard of years ago.

Censorship is hardly a trait just of Russia and China. New Zealand and the UK are at it as well. You have to wonder if they are taking advice or even orders from Xi over there in China who has considerable leverage on the trade and economy front today and would like nothing better than to see the UK and NZ adopt a more Chinese approach to the press. You don't like what people are saying? Lock 'em up!! Such is the new press freedom under XI, and slowly emerging under May and Arden and other western democracies.
But why are some in the elite so worried about guns? Why are they obsessed with the issue? I will tell you, but it is not a reason that will resonate with many of you until the elite pull the stops out and institute the darker parts of their plans, many years from now. The reason why they want to take guns away from people is for the exact same reasons that the founders of America put that right in Constitution. Guns in the hands of the people is the final check on tyranny. When the Nazi's knew what they were going to do to Jews and dissenters (labor and death camps) and knew it would be resisted, they took the guns away first. This is what this is all about. Those who think they are doing 'good' by getting rid of those 'evil guns' they are often well meaning dupes. They are not bad people, just historically ignorant and politically naive. Who in their right mind wants to see another gun related tragedy? Certainly not me. But these anti-gun people can be exceptionally useful to the plans of the elitists, who really do have a plan and really have every intention of carrying that plan out. They never stop, never give up and never get discouraged.
One aspect of this that needs to be made clear is that this is part of the population control agenda. Population control goes far beyond just abortion and sterilization. It goes to how you control the population that are already here and living. How do you do that with an ever growing number of people, many of whom are taking drugs and are of highly questionable mental stability. How do you control political and social movements that will run counter-elite? Counter global governance? Take yourself out of yourself and try and think like a reprobate billionaire or a degenerate elitist whose only gods are money and power?
When you come to understand these things, what is happening in the news, the false flags, set ups and other PR stunts (that often are violent and take lives, but advance an important narrative) for a political agenda - things become much, much clearer.

Finally I do not own guns. I have never owned one and have no plans to ever own one. I don't like them. But I do understand why the founders of the greatest political experiment in human history put that right into our constitution. That experiment is known as America and those things that made us great are slowly dying before our eyes in a nation awash in political hate, divisiveness, drugs - legal and illegal - violence sloth/lazinness and a horrible epidemic of political correctness.

If we really want to end many of these gun tragedies, one of the first places to start is the over-use of anti-depressants on which many of these crazy shooters were on with then went berserk. Read the side effects of them and see for yourself  - they include suicidal thoughts, violence, homicide, emotional numbness. The British Medical Journal has an interesting piece on it, so do many non-US official government and non-governmental agencies. The US Drug makers are making a ton of cash off of these drugs and it has become a key revenue stream for some. This is big business and the narrative will invariably go where the money is, here in the US.

What I do not want to do is take away from this horrible tragedy and its human dimension nor take away from the deep sorrow that the families of these victims are feeling. My point is something different. There are those out there who don't care about the victims of these shootings. Never have and never will. They care about the agenda and if more innocent folks gotta go, then go they will.

These people have a plan and so far, its working perfectly.

4 Apr

Nehemiah, Part XXX

And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people,
 the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.
And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses,
 that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:
And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying,
Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches,
 and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.
(Neh 8:13-15)

This passage shows that the Children of Israel after the return from the exile were not mere hearers of the word of God, but now they were also going to be doers of it. They heard the law and were given ample tools to understand it. Once having done so, they were spurred to action. First they got together again on the following day, and once again rose to hear the law of the Lord. Again, we see the person of great stature Ezra very much involved. The first purpose of this second meeting was to again, continue to gain understanding of the Mosaic Law. Here it is the chief of the families who were in Jerusalem at the time, they were the leaders and were doing what they could to understand what it was that the Lord required of him and their Houses. Remember this was a rededication. 

What is rather striking and something that the Cambridge commentary makes plain is that this reading of the law may have been very necessary because the people were probably truly ignorant as to what was in the Law and what was expected of them. This is something that I recently touched on. They had no way of really knowing the law as it was entrusted to the Priests. They had no internet or other methods of relaying the info so, it is quite likely that for the most part, both the nobility and the lay people were really quite ignorant of the Law and its requirements.

Upon this reflecting on the law, we see that the Children of Israel then realized that this was a feast time and that they were instructed on what to do. This was the feast of Booths/Tabernacles.

Feminine of H5520; a hut or lair: - booth, cottage, covert, pavilion, tabernacle, tent.

The admonition and commandment is rather short in the book of Deuteronomy, so I will quote the passage here.

Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days,
after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast,
 thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant,
and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.
 Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place
which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee
in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.
 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God
in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread,
and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles:
and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the
LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
(Deu 16:13-17)

This was a feast and one where they were to celebrate. Not just Israel, but also the stranger who dwelt among them. Once these the resettled community leaders understood what was expected of them, the complied, right away. They published a commandment throughout the area to let them know what they should do. Go out, gather branches and live in these tents. "as it is written".

 So the people went forth,and brought them, and made themselves booths,
every one upon the roof of his house,
and in their courts, and in the courts of the
house of God, and in the street of the water gate,
and in the street of the
gate of Ephraim. And all the congregation of them that
come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths:

for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so.
And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day,
he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days;
 and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
(Neh 8:15-18)

Once the commandment was heard and acknowledged, the people obeyed. They did not mock, rebel or make excuses. They did as they were bid. They went out and obeyed the commandment of the Lord, the Law and the elders. I find this very heartwarming. Once they knew what to do, they did it. They were creative about where they put the booths. They put them on the roof's they put them in the courtyards. The words here that is translated Courts and Courts of the house of God are these respectively.

From H2690 in its original sense; a yard (as enclosed by a fence); also a hamlet (as similarly surrounded with walls): - court, tower, village.

Probably from H1129 abbreviated; a house (in the greatest variation of applications, especially family, etc.): - court, daughter, door, + dungeon, family, + forth of, X great as would contain, hangings. home[born], [winter]house (-hold), inside(-ward), palace, place, + prison, + steward, + tablet, temple, web, + within (-out).

From the passage, I just get the impression this the scene had all of these booths/tents lined up along all of the important parts of the city, right alongside the streets in a kind of ramshackeled way. When the children asked their parents, 'Why do we all have to live in tents, Mommy'. The parents would answer, "because of the Lord who took us out of Egypt made us to dwell in tents as we waited upon his promise of our own homeland, where we live now." It was not supposed to be pretty or comfortable. It was to remind them.

The feast of Tabernacles is one of the fall feasts of Israel, it is considered an agricultural/harvest festival. However it also had a strong connotation of reminding Israel of the time they dwelt in the wilderness under Moses. It was a potent reminder of the migration from Egypt to the promised land and how their forefathers lived. It was fitting that such a celebration should take place now, that they had returned to that land after 70 years of chastisement. It was good to remember just who gave them the land, how hard it was for their forebears to get it and who ultimately would decide if they were to stay and why.

The impression I get here is that they were putting them up everywhere of importance, where they dwelt and did community business. If you have a home you put one in your yard, or even in your living room or basement. If they had a strong roof, they put it there and naturally, they put it in the courtyard of the temple. They were going to celebrate this feast and do so with joy and enthusiasm.

Again, this is such a stark and remarkable contrast to how Israel behaved before the exile. Back in those days, most would rather head on over to the sex temple of Astarte or bake cakes to the same (Jer 7:18), than celebrate this solemn feast to the Lord, who brought them out of Egypt.

The last couple of passages are quite remarkable. It states that not since Joshua was running things way back in the day, did Israel celebrate this festival. What this tells me is that the Levites were not particularly faithful in making sure that the feasts of the Lord were kept. Ezra took this marvelous opportunity to make sure the people heard and understood the law. Each and every day there was a public reading of it during this festival. This is one occasion that they took the law seriously and observed this feast exactly the way the Lord had commanded.

What I find interesting is what is not mentioned. Clearly there was this long power struggle that had taken place between Nehemiah and Tobias. There seems to have been some kind of controversy over who was really the High Priest. But here, despite the political and religious controversies of the day, it does appear that all sides, including the Tobias faction were present and respectful during this celebration.

It probably took a person of the stature of Ezra to bring the factions together and a thorough reading of the law to get them all to understand that in many ways, they were still failing God in their obligations to him.

We will continue this series in Nehemiah next week, God willing!!

2 Apr

Job Part LV

Intermission Of Reflection

Note: For the past several months I have been going through the book of Job for insiders. This piece was an 'intermission' from the verse by verse commentary on this most wonderful and interesting book.

So far in the book of Job we have seen how Job and his friends have attempted to explain Job's condition and in so doing, look upon the whole panorama of God's interaction with man as they try and ascertain how God moves for or against a person; whom he blesses and whom he chastises. Both sides have powerful arguments but only of we see things in the natural realm, which is what these patriarchal figures were confined to.

They had only their limited experiences in the secular world from which to draw their conclusions, though Job at times reaches out in faith to an understanding that for just a moment or two here and there transcends these limitations. We who read the book millennia later understand just how wrong they all are as to why Job was suffering. As today with many of the theological, political and social debates in our times, we see both in the world and in the Church, the masses almost always get it wrong and begin arguing, not from knowledge, wisdom or experience, but often from their own self interest. We see this to some degree in the  book of Job as each man tries to justify himself in the eyes of others and display his wisdom to his peers.

But in the New Testament age, we have  a much better understanding of the subject. In Job's case, his trail had nothing to do with his behavior except that he was so righteous and pleasing to God that he became a key the enemy of Satan, who was determined to 'take him down'. Once he got the Lord's OK, the devil raised up his servants in the patriarchal age's 'criminal underworld' (the Sabeans, Chaldeans etc (Job 1:15-17) to harass Job to the near point of, but not quite to the point of death.

This was a trial of Job's faith, to determine why he served God. Did he do it as Satan accused him, because God made him rich or because he loved the Lord? The subtle accusation of Satan was that God was 'buying' his servants and that they really did not love or honor him, but did it just for money and earthly blessings.

So Job was tested to silence the accuser who stands up even now and accuses the brethren -  that would be you and me, dear brothers and sisters. But one day those accusations will end. This will be around the day of our Salvation.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent,
called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:
 he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast
out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven,
Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom
of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser
 of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God
 day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
 and by the word of their testimony; and they
loved not their lives unto the death.
(Rev 12:9-11)

This is one reason for many of our trails, the devil is up there rattling off a charge sheet before God that is as long as his arm trying to get us into trouble with the Lord. Almost all of them are false charges, rumor, innuendo, etc. But he is desperate to get us into a situation where our faith is tested in the hopes we fail that test.

This is the ultimate lesson we find in the book of Job. But these trials have a tendency to strengthen and mature our faith... if we pass them. Our faith is the target of the devil and it has to be tried, even as it was tried in the fires of affliction as was that of Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego had to face a fiery trial.

That the trial of your faith, being much more
precious than of gold that perisheth,
though it be tried with fire, might be found unto
praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though
now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with
joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the
end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
(1Pe 1:7-9)

The reward of our faith is life eternal and a place in heaven with a God who loves us, very much. So this is about our faith, the key ingredient that we must have in our own hearts if we are to get into the Kingdom. Job expresses such a faith many times in his trial, though he probably had little or no real cognizance of the importance of faith in God in the overall scheme of things at least not theologically, though he expresses it so clearly in certain passages.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:
but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
He also shall be my salvation:
for an hypocrite shall not come before him.
(Job 13:15-16)

Here Job sums up the kind of faith that saves souls, that come what may, whatever anyone may throw at us, no matter how dark things look, even if it should appear that God is ready to kill us, we must maintain our trust in God. This is a hard thing for many to comprehend, particularly in today's prosperity gospel and other false doctrines being peddled about modern Christendom. The first bit of serious adversity and too many Christians go into a tailspin, run to the medicine cabinet for an anti-depressant or to a shrink for therapy. The real issue is in many cases such Christians have been fed a pack of lies on the gospel by a pastor who is more interested in the person's checkbook that their spiritual health; the impression and 'look' a person brings to the congregations image, rather than the bringing of that soul into real union with Jesus Christ.

Throughout the book of Job, his detractors are constantly looking at a man's deeds and works (what can be seen by man) as the way to tell how a man will fare in this life - be blessed or cursed. But the whole spiritual side of the problem is not explored to any significant degree except in the opening chapters. Yet it was Job's sincere search for truth and is willingness to deal in the harsher realities that his own observations showed him, that makes his case so interesting.

Job was not trying to sound spiritual or making the standard politically correct arguments on suffering - that the wicked always suffer and the righteous are always rewarded and the argument of his friends that if you are suffering Job, you need to confess and repent of your wickedness, which must be very great... look at you!. Such a view may sound good, but it did not reflect any reality that Job was familiar with.

Yet we as servants of Jesus Christ have a much better understanding of the doctrine of suffering. It is not just to try our faith. Sometimes we suffer because we are being persecuted. To stand with Christ we have to be deal with the slings and arrows of God's enemies. We are his and precious to him and because of that, the devil and his servants will attack us. This is another reason for suffering. Those who bear a message that God wants delivered as well must suffer. Look at what happened to Jeremiah.

Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into
the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech,
 that was in the court of the prison:
 and they let down Jeremiah with cords.
And in the dungeon there was no water,
 but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.
(Jer 38:6)

What was Jeremiah's 'crime'? He did as the Lord commanded him and prophesied to the children of Israel. This was why he was persecuted and suffered. It was not because he was sinful, but because he was obedient and this is the sticking point that many of today's Christians don't get. Even though the Lord warns them time and again about suffering, taking up the cross, denying oneself, etc,  too many think that only applies to the pastor or the evangelist, the famous person or one in authority. They don't often internalize that it is meant for them as well. That if they are going to get into the Kingdom, they are going to have to take up their cross daily and follow wherever the Lord leads them. This too is evidence of our sonship.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God.
(Rom 8:14)

God may lead us to places that we in our flesh may not like. What... do you think Christ wanted to go to the Cross? How long he wrestled in the Garden over his coming trial!. Many of us have to go through such trials. Many saints fail these tests and some fall back into their old patterns of living, never to return to the fold. Trials are just that -  they are tests - some pass, others fail. Those who pass move on in Christ, those who fail may have to take a re-test, or they quit or are flunked out which is often manifested by or is the direct result of rebellion.

But we are of much better stock than to be chronic failures in our walk. We who are older and wiser, know the value of our faith, the power of our God and the need for God to mold us into the kinds of men and women who are of use to God as his servants. This means many things, trails, new responsibilities, hard work, study of the word, relocation, redirection and that one thing that many of us just don't want in our lives - suffering.

Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken
in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering
 affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them
 happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job,
 and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful,
and of tender mercy.
(Jas 5:10-11)

But there is one other reason for suffering that needs to be discussed. That is when we do something we should not. When we sin, break laws, do something we should not. Often that means suffering. Did you sleep around on your wife, she found out and now she is suing you for divorce and taking the kids? Yes, that is suffering, particularly when you hardly see your kids anymore and your paycheck (after alimony, child support and legal fees) can barely afford a bag of breadcrumbs. But who's fault is that? Who is to blame? Don't lash out at your ex-wife, your kids, the Judge, your mistress or your lawyer. If you are in a world of hurt now, you can go look in the mirror and discover with crystal clarity the exact cause of your problem.

As often as not, we suffer because we have done something wrong, sinned, or gambled on a situation and lost (like take a hit in the market and lose your shirt when the Lord did not tell you to put your money in the market, but rather, told you to help the poor).

In short, we have made our bed and just don't want to lie in it.

So, I take this little intermission from the text of Job to just get a short look at the doctrine of suffering from a New Testament perspective.

This much I know. There are many trials and tribulations that await the Church in the days ahead. Some of these are corrective in nature - a loving God doing his best to bring the Church in line with his will. And much of it will be in the nature of a spiritual attack by the forces of darkness, who will make every satanic attempt to extinguish the light of the Gospel of Christ, bring division, suffering, discredit and find any way he can to discourage God's people and bring shame on the gospel.

So let us all prepare our hearts accordingly when things start to get rough for us here in the west.

Let us be prepared to serve our God in whatever state we are in and do so humbly, joyfully, faithfully and with a determined resolution.

29 Mar

Even As International Pressure Mounts, China Ramps Up Religious Persecution

The report is out of the Daily Wire. It includes this link to OpenDoors that shows how China is now paying people to report Christians.

You may find this of interest on China's persecution as well.

More here on how China just banned a House Church.

Christian Clergy among Those Caught in Wave of Kidnappings in Nigeria

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – A Protestant pastor and a Catholic priest in two different states in north-central Nigeria were kidnapped by gunmen on Monday (March 25), sources said.

Amid a nationwide wave of kidnappings including last week’s discovery of the body of another abducted Catholic priest in southern Nigeria, the Rev. Emmanuel Haruna of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) was kidnapped at gunpoint outside his home on church premises in Gidan Ausa, Nasarawa state.

“He was making a phone call by his house when some men shot into the air and took him away,” the Rev. Romanus Ebenwokodi, ECWA spokesman, told Morning Star News. “Please pray for his safety and release.” - Story Continues At Morning Star News

Bill Calling For End To Christian Persecution Fails In Idaho

Kind of sad really. The reasons for it not passing are (if as stated) understandable, if not laudable. Legislators need to consider all religions.

How Hindu Extremists Are Shutting Down Christian Churches

This is a very informative piece that shows you the new tactics being used to persecute Christians.

Democrats Seek To Pass 'Equality Act'

This is a troubling bill that shows you where the Democratic party is at and why they are very unlikely to win the White House in 2020. I think there were many reasons they did not win in 2016. The economy in many states, but I think the far tilt towards the far left and the gay agenda turned a lot of folks off. There are a lot more pressing issues in the country and Obama and many in the party seemed far too obsessed with homosexuality while many ordinary working folks were losing their jobs, seeing their health insurance rates rise and their coverage shrink, watching their loved ones get hooked on Fentanyl, etc. The top people in the DNC were and are just out of touch with a large part of voting America. They did not realize it until the results for the election of 2016 were counted. Frankly, many are still in shock and worse, in denial.

The gay agenda is a real one. Remember how violent and intolerant the mob was in Sodom as they attacked Lot.

There is a dark spirit behind this movement.

The passage of this bill is not a major imminent threat. So do not panic. Still this is one to watch. A little history of the bill can be found here.

Insurance: What You Post And What You Pay

    This is a piece that shows you how your postings can effect your insurance rates.

The Floods Cometh...

More flooding is being predicted for the US.

Yemen Watch

Yemen: An Anniversary Lost In The Sands Of War (Crosscurrents)

Death From Above (Al Jazeera)

UK Involved in Yemen War (AntiWar)

UK More Likely To Halt Yemen Arms Exports Than US (Sputnik News)

Saudi Strikes in Yemen Kill Seven (The Libertarian Institute)

UK Foreign Office To Look Into UK's Alleged Training Of Child Soldiers
This is a sick war run by sick people. Child soldiers are very prevalent in this war and the fact that but the US and UK are helping the Saudi's continue this slaughter shows a depth of evil in both governments that seems to be endemic to 21st Century Western Morality and why much of the world is slowly drifting away from it. Iran's PressTV reports. I am not exonerating the other side in this war. Each has done considerable evil to the other side, the innocent and the children. But it is time for the Saudi's, the UAE, the US and UK to put in their grown-up pants (if they can find them) and act like responsible nations rather than the terrorists they say they want to defeat.

Drama In Congress Over Yemen Bill
This is mostly politics and will have little real effect on anything even if it passes, and it won't. The power behind the throne in both parties want the war to continue to please the Saudi's and Israeli's, despite what they may say in public. The Hill reports.

Water: State News Agency Talks About It

Why is it important? Because of Cholera, which looks to make a comeback. This story is out of the Official Yemen news agency.

Saudi Arabia Is Losing The War In Yemen
The American Conservative looks at the war and what it has meant to Yemen as well as the Saudi's and the UAE.

Yemen Hospital Strike Under Investigation
This story out of the UN also has more about the recent cholera outbreak

28 Mar

Nehemiah Part XXIX

And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose;
and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah,
 and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael,
and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
(Neh 8:4)

Ezra, a man highly respected by his people is given the honor and responsibility to dedicate the building of the wall and to read the law before the people on this holy day. This was a solemn moment. The people had built him a pulpit made of wood. Now the word pulpit today makes on think of a small wooden booth that a pastor stands in or behind as he speaks to his parish or congregation. That does not really convey the sense here. This appears to have been some kind of stage or tower that Ezra and the others stood upon. The Hebrew word is

migdâl  migdâlâh
mig-dawl', mig-daw-law'
From H1431; a tower (from its size or height); by analogy a rostrum; figuratively a (pyramidal) bed of flowers: - castle, flower, pulpit, tower.

The passage lists six priests on his right hand and seven on his left. There appears to be a discrepancy in the number of Priests that stood with Ezra. The Book of 1Esdras inserts an 'Azariah' between Anaiah and Uriah. Also, Esdras Omits the last person listed Meshullam. These omissions on the surface seem inconsequential, but they may show a deeper issue. Of note on this occasion, the Chief Priest is not mentioned. This may have been because of some power struggle over priestly authority. Reading the law to the people may have been seen the same way printing the Bible was during the days of  Wycliffe and Tyndale. It was frowned upon and seen as an affront to Priestly authority. It was probably not the custom in the past to read the law to the people and this move may have been seen as a departure from custom. I also note in Esdras that Ezra (Esdras) is listed as the Chief Priest (1Esdras 9:39). I don't want at all to put the book of  1Esdras on the same level as Nehemiah. The book as a lot of issues on a number of levels that I won't delve into. But I think it meet to see who is listed and who is not and perhaps why not. It should be noted that some of Joshua's (the High Priest) relatives had intermarried. So we cannot be certain as to why Joshua was not doing this job that Ezra was doing. I suspect that the reformation of the Priesthood was probably at issue, but that is just my guess.

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people;
(for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it,
 all the people stood up. And Ezra blessed Jehovah, the great God:
and all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with the lifting up of their hands:
and they bowed their heads, and worshipped Jehovah with their faces to the ground.
(Neh 8:5-6)

The people here show proper reverence for God and stand up as Ezra reads from the law. We note here again that this pulpit was probably some kind of tower or ramp for he was standing above everyone. These all had to be priests who read the law for this was the order of things told to Israel in Leviticus. They read the law and then in deep reverence for the God who had so severely chastised them said, Amen and bowed their heads to the ground in worship.

Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai,
Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites,
 caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
And they read in the book, in the law of God, distinctly;
and they gave the sense, so that they understood the reading.
(Neh 8:7-8)

Then the Levies and Priests expounded the law to the people. It does not say if they just offered explanations, re-read passages or had a kind of question and answer session. This task of making the people understand may have been that each priest took a group and began to expound on it to them. The world distinctly (vs. 8) translated from the Hebrew is this one.
A primitive root; to separate, literally (to disperse) or figuratively (to specify); also (by implication) to wound: - scatter, declare, distinctly, shew, sting.

I get the sense here that they really spent the better part of the day going over the law to the people, got into groups and had a priest who would explain things to them. But I admit, I may be reading a little too much into the passage. The key was that the Priests were not just doing some perfunctory job, they were really trying to get the people to understand the law of the Lord, not just reciting it.

And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe,
 and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people,
This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep.
For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet,
 and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared:
for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry;
for the joy of the LORD is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people,
 saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.
And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions,
and to make great mirth, because they had understood the
words that were declared unto them.
(Neh 8:9-12)

The reading of the law caused the people to cry. For whatever reason hearing and understanding the law made caused them to weep. Well, it is not hard to understand why. Once they heard sections of the law, they were convicted in their sins and knew how badly the rebelled against the Lord  before and even now, after all the trouble they suffered, still were not in compliance with the Law. Once they realized that they were deeply saddened by their sinfulness. Here is now K & D puts it.

Undoubtedly it consisted of certain sections of Deuteronomy and other parts of the Torah, which were adapted to convict the people of their sin in transgressing the commands of the Lord, and of the punishments to which they had thus exposed themselves. They were so moved thereby that they mourned and wept. This induced Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Levites, who had been applying what was read to the hearts of their hearers, to encourage them. - Commentary

Yes, understanding the law had a deep and moving effect on hearers. But the leaders wanted to make it plain, this was not a day for fasting and mourning. No, rather it was a day of feasting and celebration and this was not the time for tears. This was a celebration and one of thankfulness to God who watched over Israel even in their rebellion and for being with those who worked on the wall with him. This was a time to celebrate God, his goodness and protection as well as his constancy to his people.

This was a feast, you don't cry at a feast. They were supposed to have a good time. God loves to see his people enjoying themselves. There is a time for solemnity and a time for weeping. But there is also a time for celebration, laughing and enjoying each other's company. This was one of them. "No long faces, wipe those tears, come on over to the feast tent because we have some of the best grub for you all to enjoy". That would be the way I would paraphrase the thought here.

This was a festive occasion, but one that was preceded with great solemnity before the God of Israel, whom the people had sinned greatly against. The people heard the message, and by their reaction, understood it completely. Now it was time to have some fun.

"The Joy of the Lord is your strength", this was the exhortation that they had for the people. Don't be sad, go and have a party and enjoy the day in the Lord!

We will continue on with Nehemiah next week, God willing!!

24 Mar

Economy Watch

Today I will be looking at the economy. We have hears a lot of talk about how great it is and on paper, it does not look bad at all. But what needs to be stressed is the phrase 'on paper'. Right now, the unemployment rate is now at officially historic lows. But again, I want to stress that word officially because the number of people who are eligible to work and are not working (but not officially counted as being unemployed) continues to be a big problem. Let's look at the official data on employment. For most of us it's employment, there is where the rubber meets the road, either you have job or you don't. Either it pays you well or it does not. All the rest is for the most part interesting to understand, but does not effect us directly.

Both the unemployment rate, at 4.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 6.5 million, edged up in January. The impact of the partial federal government shutdown contributed to the uptick in these measures. Among the unemployed, the number who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 175,000. This figure includes furloughed federal employees who were classified as unemployed on temporary layoff under the definitions used in the household survey. (See tables A-1 and A-11. For information about annual population adjustments to the household survey estimates, see the note at the end of this release and tables B and C. For more information on the classification of workers affected by the partial federal government shutdown, see the box note at the end of this news release.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics increased to 4.9 percent in January. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), adult women (3.6 percent), teenagers (12.9 percent), Whites (3.5 percent), Blacks (6.8 percent), and Asians (3.1 percent) showed little change over the month. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

 In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.3 million and accounted for 19.3 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

 The labor force participation rate, at 63.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.7 percent, changed little over the month; both measures were up by 0.5 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

 The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by about one-half million to 5.1 million in January. Nearly all of this increase occurred in the private sector and may reflect the impact of the partial federal government shutdown. (Persons employed part time for economic reasons would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.) (See table A-8.) - BLS
But there are other more honest measures of employment in the country. The Fed makes broad assumptions on those who are not in the labor pool . But let's take a look at some other folks who dig deep, past the usual 'GovSpeak' on the issue of employment.

Here is a piece here from the site The State Of Working America. The EPI has a piece here on missing workers. This too may be of some use to you who want to look into this issue. We have talked about this before, but wanted to impress on  you all that while I will often quote from the official government reports on employment I see them as being significantly lopsided in favor of 'talking up' the economy and giving a positive view of things (thus spurring confidence and investment)  rather than giving us as accurate a reflection of what is going on in it.

Another issue is simply income, particularly in places where the price for everything is high.

Like Frisco. Right now according to Rent Jungle the average rent is upwards of $3700 a month. This is where some of the real structural problems in the economy are. That is a lot of money, just for rent. What is the real effect of this - not the economic statistics effect but the down on the street effect?  A Homeless crisis so bad that some in the UN wants to make it into a Human rights Crisis. Here is a piece from the SFgate on the issue. The SF Chronicle has a piece here on the problem.

Homelessness is not just a problem in the Bay area. Look at the LA area. They too have got serious problems as outlined here in an article out of the Hollywood Reporter. How about NYC? You can get some data on the situation there on this site that advocates for those who are homeless. Take a minute or two and read the bullet statements. You'll get an idea of the situation.

The economy on paper looks good. Things are indeed humming along, but there are problems in our economy that are making life for many very difficult, even for those that are working full time.  Even some of them are homeless. Health insurance costs and rent are two of the most glaring issues. So for many of you here who have heard me say that the Trump economy is doing well and wondered what I mean, let me explain briefly. On paper, the basic stats that those who 'have' use to measure the economy are looking pretty good, even in spite of an (almost) trade war with China. The numbers passed around by economists say things are good, and for the most part for the 'haves' in this country - they are. But for the have-not's and the have-little's, things are not so rosy. I wanted to preface a look at the establishment data with this aside.

First of all everyone is concerned about a market and economic slowdown. The Bank for International Settlements always has a great take on things -  what I will call the 'Mount Olympus' of the Banking world view of things - a vantage point from that fabled mount was where the gods dwelt in Greek mythology.  Well the 'gods' of Central banking dwell in Basel, Switzerland. Here is a snippet from their most recent quarterly report.

As 2018 drew to a close, international markets were rattled by growth worries and a renewed focus on policy uncertainty, triggering a flight to safety. Equities fell and corporate spreads widened across the globe. Sovereign yields dropped and curves flattened slightly as term premia slid. Amid a generalised repricing, US assets were hit particularly hard. In contrast, emerging market economies (EMEs) were relatively stable even as China continued to slow. In a sign of tightening financing conditions, high-yield corporate bond funds experienced large outflows, and low- rated loan and bond issuance contracted. - BIS Quarterly Report, March 2019
This is the BIS's non-political take on things. Me? I have suspected that much of the market turmoil we saw in late 2018 was part of a coordinated economic/political campaign to undermine Trump and put Democrats in charge of both Houses. We heard many in the entertainment industry appear to wish and hope for just such a recession to oust Trump. Hollywood, the entertainment industry, the Clinton's and others who hail from the political left -  many of them have powerful friends on Wall Street. So my view is that much of the uncertainty we saw was of more of a political, rather than an economic based downturn. Other than the trade war with China and China's slowdown, I really saw no concrete reason for the turmoil we saw, just a sudden turn of 'sentiment' which if expressed from the right quarters in the right reports that reaches the right ears can drive markets up or down.

Now, having said that, I do not mean to imply that there are not some issues lurking out there. There are. There always are. Today is no different and the biggest problem out there is debt. As mentioned in the snippet above, this time the BIS is concerned about corporate debt (bonds). Purchasing in the US continued to do well.  Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLO's)? That market saw a lot of problems, according to the BIS (page 5). It may have been this factor along with a couple of others that caused the Fed Chair to back off on his plan to raise interest rates to a more 'wait and see' approach.

The BIS always tracks some very interesting phenomenon that can only be observed from the dizzying heights of the Central Bankers marble floored office and his gold embossed desk. One issue is where lending is now taking place after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. The BIS noted that foreign bank sourced credit has fallen significantly since 2008. The rest of the report is quite informative and good, but is highly technical and probably not germane to today's update.

I think today, what I want to spend some time talking about is this -  bad economic habits. These habits show forth not just in economic statistics but also in the lives of everyday people. What is that trait, that pattern of behavior that if not corrected always leads to a crisis or financial disaster? It is overspending and a failure to live within ones means.

City Journal has a piece here that is entitled 'Overspent' and it talks about this phenomenon at the State Level. It is the pattern of behavior that is found in a great many state houses. They spend far more than they take in by borrowing. They borrow to do public works, pay for new social programs and pay higher wages. We naturally have seen the same thing at the Federal level. Indeed a recent Pew Poll showed that Americans are not as concerned with the national debt as they once were. This is an important psychological shift because if this is the perception of the populace, then the political system will soon follow. I think this is a key problem with the whole 'Medicare for All' debate. It sounds great and to those who can't manage their own finances, are behind in their rent, behind on their car note and other payments. Their voting patterns reflect their own behavior. In short, financial irresponsibility is more and more becoming the norm. Young people in particular for many -  they still are feeding at mama's breast.
Map: States With Most Adults Living With Parents
Yes, I know it's tough out there for young people. I won't for a second say it is not. And this is the point. Things are rough and tough but these young people often are not acquainted with the harsher fiscal realities of living. Why should they be? Many don't pay rent, they don't pay an electric or gas bill; they don't have a grocery bill - mommy probably also pays for their gasoline. Mommy often pays for it all. They develop a psychological trait I will call MOWPIS 'MOmmy Will Pay for It Syndrome'. They Mope around the house and mommy pays for it all.

Millions of young Americans seem to have also developed this complex and when it comes to voting, it becomes 'Government will pay for it'. Not themselves, not their hard work, not their own ingenuity but someone else has to pick up the tab for what they need or want. Such people don't understand debt because to take on debt you have to have a need that goes beyond your own, personal fiscal resources and be able to successfully manage that debt. They are addicted to that eternal financial 'breast' that offers its milk for free without any real need to make key and important financial decisions, pay down debt while trying to get by day to day. These hard financial lessons are understood by those who are on their own in a real fashion. To those who are not, these things are merely an abstraction.

These basic fundamentals are lost on an increasing number of these adult 'breast milk addicts' and if you think the analogy of a baby sucking her mama's breast is not a good one, take the tit away and see how ugly and nasty they whine and act - for many, it could be worse behavior than that of a 3 month old.

Irresponsibility is now slowly creating a political nitch for itself. Fiscal ignorance, a lobby and economic illiteracy, seats in the House of Representatives. This is the danger and one I see no signs of abating. As this generation begins to scream for more from the mothers milk of Washington breasts, the government will in some ways, be forced to provide it. And dealing with the truly loopy, dangerous and ignorant proposals that will certainly come forward, it will continue to push our fiscal situation into a place where their won't be anything for anyone in this country but a huge bill we will all have to pay. This will happen when the word that no one wants to use becomes the reality - its called 'default' and for the US a default means disaster in anyone's book, particularly for the US who depends on a constant stream of borrowing just to keep the government's doors open. This chart may help.

Source: CBO

But such is the nature of a nation that seems more and more to be losing its soul. Responsibility, and common sense, to a generation of people who are more into movies, drugs, bizarre sexuality and video games. Financial skills are things that they never develop nor see the need to - as long as mommy is there. Reality is something someone else has to deal in, not themselves, as they drop another anti-depressant tablet in their mouths.

A great many factors now are converging on the nation weather its the greed of our drug makers as they flood cities with Opioids, the irresponsibility of a growing number of Americans when it comes to money, the sexual licentiousness and perversions and the growing open hostility to a God who has shown the nation considerable love, mercy, prosperity and leeway. We are on a trajectory to destruction. Self-destruction if you will. If you think I am off my rocker you will want to read this piece on the record numbers of suicides in this country. More here.

This tells us, or should that something is drastically wrong with the country and a great many of the people who run to the polls every couple of years.

A people who are lost in a world of unreality, a life in a world where mommy pays their bills, can't face harsh realities and need drugs to cope and turn to suicide when things get tough - it's not a people that is capable of governing itself. A nation with a growing number of emotional basket cases and financial breast feeders can only produce a pitiful future for us all.

21 Mar

Methodist Church: A Great Separation Is Coming

According to this article, the Church has stiffened its rules disallowing the LBGT agenda on marriage and homosexuality.

What is interesting is that the pro-gay Churches are not talking about leaving. The Christian Post reports. Perhaps they think they can get more votes to shift the vote later.

But the support for that agenda is very strong and I think a separation will be coming before long.

As Christ said, there will come a time when the wheat shall be driven from the tares. There are those who do and obey the will of God and those who do not.

To me this all tells me that the day of the harvest may not be far off as these things and this debate is taking place all over what calls itself Christendom.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying,
The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man
which sowed good seed in his field: But while
 men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among
 the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade
was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then
 appeared the tares also. So the servants of the
householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst
not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence
then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy
 hath done this. The servants said unto him,
Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the
tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest:
and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,
Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them
in bundles to burn them:
 but gather the wheat into my barn.
(Matthew 13:24-30 [KJV])

Let us remember that the signs of our Lord's coming will only seen and understood by those who are diligently awaiting it and watching.

China Human Rights Sit Rep

The State Dept. has released a new report on conditions in  China.

They are not good. Not good at all. under Xi, things seem to be going backwards to the days of Mao. Human Rights now are nothing more than an abstraction that can be unilaterally dissolved by the powerful Politburo, or by local officials who want to kiss up to those higher ups in the party. 

Critics are silenced, even if out of the country. Your court case may get 'erased' in the system.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the paramount authority. CCP members hold almost all top government and security apparatus positions. Ultimate authority rests with the CCP Central Committee’s 25-member Political Bureau (Politburo) and its seven-member Standing Committee. Xi Jinping continued to hold the three most powerful positions as CCP general secretary, state president, and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Civilian authorities maintained control of security forces.

During the year the government significantly intensified its campaign of mass detention of members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang). Authorities were reported to have arbitrarily detained 800,000 to possibly more than two million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims in internment camps designed to erase religious and ethnic identities. Government officials claimed the camps were needed to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism. International media, human rights organizations, and former detainees reported security officials in the camps abused, tortured, and killed some detainees.

Human rights issues included arbitrary or unlawful killings by the government; forced disappearances by the government; torture by the government; arbitrary detention by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention conditions; political prisoners; arbitrary interference with privacy; physical attacks on and criminal prosecution of journalists, lawyers, writers, bloggers, dissidents, petitioners, and others as well as their family members; censorship and site blocking; interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including overly restrictive laws that apply to foreign and domestic nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); severe restrictions of religious freedom; significant restrictions on freedom of movement (for travel within the country and overseas); refoulement of asylum seekers to North Korea, where they have a well- founded fear of persecution; the inability of citizens to choose their government; corruption; a coercive birth-limitation policy that in some cases included sterilization or abortions; trafficking in persons; and severe restrictions on labor rights, including a ban on workers organizing or joining unions of their own choosing. Official repression of the freedoms of speech, religion, movement, association, and assembly of Tibetans in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas and of Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang worsened and was more severe than in other areas of the country.

Authorities prosecuted a number of abuses of power through the court system, particularly with regard to corruption, but in most cases the CCP first investigated and punished officials using opaque internal party disciplinary procedures. The CCP continued to dominate the judiciary and controlled the appointment of all judges and in certain cases directly dictated the court’s ruling. Authorities harassed, detained, and arrested citizens who promoted independent efforts to combat abuses of power. - US State Department (or here)

State Sponsored Persecution

This is what we are seeing in places like China and in other nations that are part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This organization, as has  been covered here - their member nations have all begun campaigns to varying degree's to silence religious voices that these states want silenced. Let's take a look at Tajikistan.

(Forum18) Police in Tajikistan continue to raid groups of Jehovah's Witnesses meeting together for worship, with interrogations being carried out for between 20 minutes and 14 hours. During the interrogations police have forced people to sign statements that they were not tortured, yet some detainees have been tortured. Contrary to the United Nations (UN) Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Tajikistan has neither arrested officials suspected of torture, nor put them on criminal trial. - Forum18

The stories are numerous. You can read about what the US Commission on International religious freedom has to say about Kyrgystan here.

Xi and the SCO have made anti-terrorism and anti-extremism a key facet of the organization. Keep in mind that their definition of extremism is not the same everyone else. With religion, it more and more looks to be shaping up to be 'no religion except state religion' in these nations. The State wants full control of all religious activities and those that don't comply are fined, jailed or tortured. This has been a strong and troubling pattern. Russia as well has hit out particularly at the Jehovah's Witnesses.

USCIRF has a report on the situation in Russia here.

Now brothers, I say these things because they are wrong. I may not be a Muslim or a Jehovah's Witness, but I firmly believe that everyone should be able to believe or not believe as he or she chooses. I am not the least bit interested in seeing those whose faith I do not share mistreated, persecuted or killed. There has been too much of that. It only gives these forces the political and legal means to come after traditional Christians later once they have honed their legal and political skills. So if I speak out about this, it is not by way of spiritual compromise or political correctness. It is only right to do so and also there is enlightened self-interest too - if they can do it to an Imam, they can do it to a Priest or Pastor.

I need not recount what China is doing to Muslims. That whole part of the world is changing.

Well... let us move on to Africa. We hard about the violence in parts of Nigeria, Boko Haram, the pastoral conflict (cattle rustling, etc) and other violence. The CFR has a tracker on events in the country here. The US commission on  Religious Freedom has a report here that was done in Feb of this year. It is quite interesting. We may not hear about the atrocities going on there much, but they occur regularly.

Then there are the blasphemy laws. This is a real problem in the world today in some places. We hear about cases in Pakistan, but did you know that Canada has new 'laws' on it. It only protects Islam.

  • Blasphemy laws are astonishingly widespread. Seventy-one countries, spread out across many regions, maintain such statutes.
  • Every one of these blasphemy statutes deviates from at least one internationally recognized human rights principle. Most of these laws fail to respect fully the human right of freedom of expression.
  • All five nations with blasphemy laws that deviate the most from international human rights principles maintain an official state religion.
  • Most blasphemy laws studied were vaguely worded, as many failed to specify intent as part of the violation. The vast majority carried unduly harsh penalties for violators.
  • Most blasphemy laws were embedded in the criminal codes and 86 percent of states with blasphemy laws prescribed imprisonment for convicted offenders. Some blasphemy statutes even imposed the death penalty. - USCIRF

Map Of Nations With Blasphemy Laws

Let us keep in mind that in Iran believing in Jesus Christ is considered an insult to Islam. So we see the real issue behind the push for blasphemy laws in many places - it is to use those laws to jail those who are not Muslims. If you are not a Muslim and accept the tenants Islam, you are a guilty of blasphemy and can be jailed. This may not be the way the laws are written, but it is how they are being applied in places like Iran.

These laws have been used in many places against many people. We have all heard  about the case of Asia Bibi (Pakistan).

The USCRIF has a report on these laws here (from which the above map was sourced). Iran is the country of the most concern, according to the report. It is followed by Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Qatar and Egypt.

For those of you atheists out there, all this applies to you as well. Those who don't think the issue of religious freedom does not apply to them should do a little reading. Here is part of a law in Iran.

Press Law

 Article 6

The print media are permitted to publish news items except in cases when they violate Islamic principles and codes and public rights as outlined in this chapter:

1. Publishing atheistic articles or issues which are prejudicial to Islamic codes, or, promoting subjects which might damage the foundation of the Islamic Republic;
2. Propagating obscene and religiously forbidden acts and publishing indecent pictures and issues which violate public decency;
3. Propagating luxury and extravagance; - cited from USCRIF report

The law goes on and there are more on the books. So let no one tell you religious freedom issues is just for Christians. Those issues are for everyone - the religious and the non-religious alike.

Now lets turn to an issue in our news today, North Korea. We saw that the recent summit was not conclusive. I have also noted that President Trump has not talked much about the truly abysmal human rights situation there in his talks.
Religious Freedom Conditions

Denuclearization discussions often overshadow North Korea’s myriad human rights abuses, including religious freedom violations, even though these fundamental rights are profoundly suppressed. Moreover, given North Korea’s extremely closed nature, information about current religious freedom conditions and the number of religious followers is difficult to obtain and verify. Although little updated information is available for 2018, there are no known developments to indicate that conditions have improved during the year. The following represents a sample of the most recent verified information on religious freedom conditions in North Korea.
  • ƒƒIn a 2017 survey conducted by the South Korean nongovernmental organization Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB), more than 99 percent of 11,805 North Korean defectors surveyed claimed there was no religious freedom in North Korea. ƒƒ
  • In 2017, the most current data available, NKDB documented 1,304 violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief in North Korea. The abuses included 119 killings, 87 disappearances, and 770 detentions. ƒƒ
  • Due to a policy of collective punishment for practicing a religion, the families of those imprisoned because of their faith are often detained as well, regardless of their own beliefs. - USCRIF Report On North Korea (Nov 2018) -

I am loath to recount some of the truly horrific things that go on in those camps, but plenty of reporting is available.

Source: Wikipedia/UN

More detailed info on those camps here.

Here is a very interesting take on the recent Trump-Kim Summit.

Conclusion. Let us all continue to pray about these issues. Our brethren in Christ in many places are under tremendous pressure. Some from the State, others from violent extremists, still others from dark workmen who only work in the shadows of the covert world. Let us pray that we can continue to live, pray, worship and preach the gospel in peace in all parts of the world.

19 Mar

Today's Post

May God's guiding hand  be upon all of you who are in Christ!

Thanks to those who have been praying for me. The simple fact is, all this writing is very taxing. It is a lot harder than it looks and believe me, I get plenty tired some days.

The real issue is that I am starting to get a slight case of writers block and that is a very serious problem because... well, I just can't write. The ideas don't flow and you just have a difficult time of it. I can sit at the screen for 20 minutes and barely write a couple of sentences. When that happens I have to step back. It has been happening quite a bit the past few days.

If you scroll down this page (rather, the private site where almost all of my writing is done these days) and the older updates, you can see how much writing I do. It is a lot and a lot of hard work and research goes behind it. So if you can continue to lift me up in prayer (because I need it) both to get over this dread disease of writers and for my protection I would appreciate it. I have enemies and they truly hate me.

So I beg you all to bear that in mind as this year moves on. The fact that our DHS is now surveilling journalists is not a good thing, whatever the reason. I posted the recent CPB leak on the program yesterday. How many other journalists are being tracked and monitored under different programs is not clear, but given the way this President has protected The Saudi's after the murder of Khasoggi, this alone should tell us what he thinks about a free press. Not much.

Because this site has been read by some of the most powerful men in the world and because it has made a significant impact, I have some powerful enemies. I cannot stress that enough and if they can find an excuse to hound and harass me again, the minions of hell will do so once again... just because they can.

But I will press on, fear not. I just need your support and prayers.

These are very dangerous times. The spiritual decay of the nation is deep and real yet, is only seen by a few of us. Let us all remember to whom we belong and not go along with the social and moral cues in our society. Christ has called us out of this world in the hopes that we can be accounted worthy and obtain the Resurrection of the dead (the first Resurrection - let the reader know the difference). We must learn to adopt God's pattern of behavior and never turn back from it. So as we look at the events of our times and the growing divide that we have with those around us, the world in general and even the so-called Church, let us draw encouragement from our God who warned us of times just such as these. Difficult, deceptive surrounded by treacherous men and women, who love only themselves -  people who blaspheme and who will betray others as well as their own family and country (See 2Tim 3:2ff). These are the kinds of people we more and more will come in contact with. They may smile up in your face and pretend to be polite, nice and well mannered, but behind that smile lies the soul of a serpent, waiting to strike. So be on your guard - not paranoid, not cold but on your guard. Why?

 Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil,
as a roaring lion, walketh about,
seeking whom he may devour:
 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing
 that the same afflictions are accomplished in
 your brethren that are in the world.
(I Peter 5:8-9 [KJV])

This is why. Your enemy is not those people who come against you, at least not ultimately. Your enemy is the one who can subvert those people into his service to attack you. Satan is your enemy and will be forever more. Thankfully God has a place for him at the end of this age and we need not be bothered with him after the millennium reign.

For people like me, Bloggers, watchmen and prophets as well as truth telling pastors in our nation - we are in the devils crosshairs. Why? Because the devil hates truth. He hates it with a perfect hatred because it is lies, false narratives, deceitful communications, slander and every false work that give him power. He uses the power to concoct and foist new deceptions upon our world to amalgamate power. I am sure many of you remember some passages on the antichrist and the characteristics of his system. If you recall, one of them was the ability to destroy the truth or as the KJV phrased it 'cast down truth to the ground'.

 And an host was given him against the
 daily sacrifice by reason of transgression,
 and it cast down the truth to the ground;
and it practised, and prospered. Then I
heard one saint speaking, and another
saint said unto that certain saint which spake,
How long shall be the vision concerning
 the daily sacrifice, and the transgression
of desolation, to give both the sanctuary
 and the host to be trodden under foot?
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand
 and three hundred days; then shall
the sanctuary be cleansed.
(Daniel 8:12-14 [KJV])

Yes, this prophecy did in many ways refer to Antiochus. But it has another fulfillment in the future. What is my authority for this? Jesus Christ who warned us about the abomination that maketh desolate - exhorting us to understand (Matt 24:15). This too seemed to be again partially fulfilled with Titus came into Jerusalem, in 70AD. But the end times will see something very similar, I think and it is likely to transpire in Jerusalem. When the man of sin will stand in the Holy Place and proclaim himself God. You all remember...

 Let no man deceive you by any means:
 for that day shall not come, except there
 come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed,
 the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth
 himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped;
 so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God,
shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not,
that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
 And now ye know what withholdeth that he
might be revealed in his time. For the mystery
of iniquity doth already work: only he who now
letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed,
 whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth,
 and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan
 with all power and signs and lying wonders,
 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness
in them that perish; because they received not the
 love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion,
 that they should believe a lie: That they all might be
 damned who believed not the truth, but had
pleasure in unrighteousness.
(2Thess 2:3-12 [KJV])

We all know this passage and I wanted to show you the spirit behind this coming man of sin and Antiochous.

As you know Antiochus is called Epiphanes. This word means to manifest of to appear as God - as when God appears to his servants. When God appeared to Moses, it this was an epiphany. Antiochous thought he was god in the flesh (Jupiter). Like most delusional madmen, they take on these ideas and then try and push their mental illness onto others. Caligula did the same thing. He got Roman Senators to worship him and often dressed up as Greek gods. Caligula was indeed quite mad, but this madness can often be found in those who have too much power. It tends to derange the mind in men of lesser character. When madness steps in, the devil is right behind it.

My point here is that Antiochus thought he was God. So this coming man of sin will also think he is God and Paul above identifies the spirit behind the coming man of sin and that of the old one, that being Satan. This is satanic government at its height and that is what is coming upon the earth.

How is this accomplished. With deceitfulness and unrighteousness. Here is what Strong's says about those two words.

from 538; delusion:--deceit(-ful, -fulness), deceivableness(-ving). see GREEK for 538

from 94; (legal) injustice (properly, the quality, by implication, the act); morally, wrongfulness (of character, life or act):--iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong. see GREEK for 94

This is how he rises - in deceit and as I pointed out before, in order for that to happen the truth must be cast down to the ground. The same basic methodology will be used again as was used before. So if today we see a prevalence of lying, fake news, carefully contrived presentations of information to lend support to false narratives it is because Satan relies on these things to accomplish his will. This is why truth tellers are demonized, attacked and even killed today.

You see, this goes not just into the spiritual realm, but also the political and the economic as well. The deceiver may be a spiritual being, but the effect of his work deeply effect the temporal world.

So let us all keep our eyes open and our minds clear and learn to identify the devils methods. It will help us not to be deceived by a exceptionally cunning deception that will descend upon the whole world. One so powerful that if it were possible, it would deceive the very elect.

Let me put it to you this way - if you don't think you can be fooled, you are well on your way to being so.

So let us all be on our guard - seriously on our guard as 'the system' slowly destroys its enemies where ever they are to be found.

18 Mar

One Day At A Time!

This is how we have to move forward folks, one day at a time. As I look at events here everyday I could be truly frightened by the things that I see coming on the earth. From a new army of killer  robots, to frightening new diseases being developed to genetically modified (and enhanced) humans, we are heading very much into uncharted territory.

Indeed the Russian President has said what I think all major capitals know, that who ever can perfect AI technology will 'rule the world'. AI, I believe is something that our Bible predicted when it said that the system of the False Prophet was able to give life to the beast and this system would bring in the Mark of the Beast.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast,
 that the image of the beast should both speak,
 and cause that as many as would not worship
the image of the beast should be killed.
Rev  13:15 [KJV])

Look at the things going on in our world is enough to cause any sane person considerable concern. As much because of some of the technology being built and created, but more so about the kinds of people who will be empowered to use it. This is what is really scary. If the people running this planet were of a significantly higher caliber, perhaps I would not be as concerned for the future as I am today and yes I am concerned.

But we cannot and MUST NOT let fear reign in our hearts. We cannot let these things get us down and trouble us. Mankind is on a trajectory towards his own destruction. We cannot change that. What we can do is draw wisdom and guidance from our creator who loves us and watches over those of us who have truly put our faith (not mental belief) in him and his words. We must take our walk, yes even our life one day at at time.

Brothers, we do not know what tomorrow will bring. This lesson is especially hard for a person like me. Why? Because I am person who makes preparations for tomorrow. I like to plan ahead, get things done today instead of waiting until the last minute. I am proactive rather than reactive. So living one day at a time for me often takes effort.

Another thing that too many of us do is to get a little high minded about what we think will happen tomorrow. Some think they are going to finally get that great job, that their retirement is going to let them live very comfortably. We have seen how many who planned along those lines have been bitterly disappointed when their Pension fund reduced their payouts or that Job they were hoping for went to a guy in the New HQ - in Hong Kong.

Boast not thyself of to morrow;
 for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
(Prov 27:1)
These things happen and thus we should in many ways try and live in the moment. To not take tomorrow for granted. Tomorrow will come for almost all of us, but won't for some. And one day, all of our tomorrows will cease in this world. Now here is the question - what kind of record did you leave behind?

One that has the constant search for wealth, money, power and social position as what you were all about. The constant grasping for more of what this world has to offer, the people you messed over, lied to, screwed over in your search to get to the top of the dungheap of some corporate or government ladder? Is this what your life will bear witness to? Will a line of people bear witness against you whom you stabbed in the back to get to the top? Or a group of the poor, forgotten and downdrodden who remembered all the kindness and love you showed them, asking nothing in return, bear witness in your favor?

If we are to make plans for tomorrow, let us make plans for the time when we must stand and give account to the Lord for the deeds done in the body. To make sure our lives are pleasing to him to whom we must give account and to use the time we have today wisely for our tomorrow is not a forgone conclusion.

Brothers, the hour is late and many believers are becoming lukewarm and are falling away. The Churches more and more are preaching unsound doctrine or outright error. They do this in order to get more people in their congregations or in order to please men (rather than God) and keep a steady revenue stream. So let us never forget the commandments and admonitions of our God. Let us all remember that one day, no matter how high we rise in the eyes of the world, no matter how much money we make, no matter how sexy we are - we must give account to a God who is no respecter of persons and cannot be bribed.

Slow and steady wins this race for it is a race of endurance, not a sprint.

But he that shall endure unto the end,
the same shall be saved.
(Matt 24:13 [KJV])

14 Mar

Nehemiah Part XXVIII

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was
before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the
 law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought
 the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear
with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
(Neh 8:1-2)

This is the public reading of the law. Nehemiah was taking pains to remind the people who their God was and what he expected of them. The same kind of assembly is mentioned in Ezra chapter three, however that assembly was to restore the altar. This was occasion was to re-read the Mosaic law before all the people.

This all took place on the first day of the Seventh month. This is the beginning of the fall feasts of Israel and is the Feast of Trumpets.

Image Source: End Time Pilgrim

This reading was done by Ezra, the scribe at the water gate. It is difficult to determine exactly where this gate was located. I will give you just a bit here from K&D as it comments on Ezra chapter Three.

The water-gate towards the east, judging from Neh_12:37, lay beyond the south-eastern corner of the temple area. Bertheau, reasoning upon the view that the open space of the house of God, where Ezra spoke to the assembled people (Ezr_10:9), is identical with the open place before the water-gate mentioned Neh_8:1, Neh_8:3, Neh_8:16, places it on the east side of the temple area, near where the golden gate (Rab er Rahme) now stands. This identity, however, cannot be proved; and even if it could, it would by no means follow that this open space lay on the east side of the temple area. - K&D

While the KJV renders the word 'into the street' other versions use 'into the broad place'. It's not clear if this was a literal street of just some large place or courtyard that could fit the multitude of people. The word in question is this one from Strong's.
rekh-obe' or rchowb {rekh-obe'};
from 7337; a width, i.e. (concretely) avenue or area:--broad place (way), street. See also 1050. see HEBREW for 07337 see HEBREW for 01050
What this appears to be is just a continuation of the religious reforms we saw back in the later part of Chapter seven. Remember when Nehemiah wanted proof of Levitical heritage and credentials of the Priesthood? What is rather interesting here is that the reading of the Law was not some order given by Nehemiah and his faction and or even the Priesthood. Rather, it was requested by the people themselves. Why? Seventy years of exile, seeing your cities lie in ruins and significant maltreatment of you, your wives and children by others can do wondrous things for your spiritual outlook. You begin to take God, his commandments and exhortations with far more seriousness, than when the wine vats are full, lots of food in the cupboard, the people are partying and sacrificing their kids to Baal and there is no rebuke for it, just more milk and honey in the land the the Lord had given them.

When God finally was compelled to severely chastise and judge his people and they had to deal with 70 years of sorrow and humiliation, their attitude changed. Now, instead of laughing and mocking the words of the Lord and his servants, they eagerly wanted to hear it. Ezra was still around to make it happen.

I think it important that we look at Ezra for just a moment, though God willing, we will go through that book when I complete this commentary on Nehemiah. It is noteworthy that after all of the political intrigue and bickering, the plots and the attempts at sabotage, that this is the first time a person with the stature of Ezra is mentioned. This silence is significant.  Moreover as we remember, the elite of those days had severely repressed the poor and Nehemiah had to step in and correct these grievous sins. Again, no mention of Ezra. The Bible does not tell us why he is not mentioned, nor do we know on what side Ezra stood in the feud between Nehemiah and the Tobias faction. But it does not seem likely he sided with Tobais as there was intermarriage there, something he had decried. There have been many theories offered on this. I will give you a couple.

First, some think that after he did his best to bring in some of his reforms, he returned to Babylon for an extended period of time and consequently was either not present during the building or was still somewhat disconnected from the political/religious happenings. It was a period, according to commentators of about 12 years in between.

Another theory is that Ezra remained in Jerusalem but when he saw that his reforms were not taking root (especially on the intermarriage of the Priesthood), he became discouraged and ceased to play a major role in the political/religious life of the returnee's but Nehemiah's work and reforms changed that.

Another theory (my own) is that Ezra did not want to take sides in the political battle until he saw that Nehemiah was serious about the kinds of religious reforms he knew the people needed. Building a wall was great, but were you really going to dedicate your work and the people's future to the LORD? I note that Ezra did not appear until after the reforms of chapter 7 are completed. It may have been a condition for his appearing at this feast/assembly.

And he read therein before the street that was before
the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women,
and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were
attentive unto the book of the law.
(Neh 8:3)

So Ezra the scribe, after facing some failures, finally begins to see many of the reforms that he had tried to bring in before.  I think it important that I make this point. Ezra's attempt to stop marriage with the heathen was a key spiritual issue for Israel. These ungodly relationships would turn the heart of the people away from their God. I offer King Solomon as a perfect example of this. He had all those wives and eventually, he turned from hearing the Lord. Here is what Ezra prayed many years before Nehemiah came onto the scene.

Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying,
The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated
themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations,
 even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites,
the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons:
 so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands:
 yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.
And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked
off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.
Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the
God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away;
and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.

(Ezr 9:1-4)

Do you know that the New Testament gives us many of the same admonitions? First that we are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (2Cor 6:14). This is not just inadvisable, it's sin. The same goes with the institution of Marriage. The Church and Israel both have a solemn obligation not to get too close to the world and the lost. Yes, we must deal with them on a day to day basis, but there are strong admonitions against getting too close. Intermarriage was one of those things. It was one of the reasons Israel fell into such disfavor with God in the first place. The point here is that bad relationships, ungodly relationships are a serious threat to the spiritual health of the Godly. Ezra saw this and hence his prayer.

The people who attended Nehemiah assembly had the right attitude. This was not some kind of 'oh God, do we have to listen to this' kind of attitude that people had. They eagerly wanted to hear the Law. We need to keep this in mind. The Law was kept by the priests. There were no bookstores that carried copies of it nor internet sites that had commentary of it. Things were written by hand. The scribes had to painstakingly write the law down on parchment. So hearing the law like this was an event. Most people had probably never heard all of it before. Now they did and had it read by someone that men respected. This is a sea change in attitude from before the Exile.

One of the biggest impediments that people have to hearing truth and doing right is their attitude. Many people as soon as they hear the gospel have all of these negative images of Christians and the Church and immediately start to turn off. For Israel, years in the PS school system changed that. I don't mean 'Public School' system, but rather the Pain and Suffering school system. The class? Attitude adjustment, 101.

We will continue on with Nehemiah next week, God permitting!

12 Mar

Fulani Militants Kill Over 20 in Nigeria with Machetes and Gunfire

Attacks Resume in Benue State Despite Anti-Open Grazing Law
03/11/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on the morning of March 4, 2019, Fulani militants attacked Tse-Tema Dula, Tse-Ugor, and Tse-Jabu villages of Mbacohon area in Gwer West Local Council area of Benue State. According to ICC’s local sources, 23 people were killed. Confirming the attacks, Reuben, a member of the Gwer West legislative council, said, “It was bad. They killed over 20 people. Some were killed by gunshots and some by machete hacks!” While speaking of the aftermath for those who survived, Reuben lamented, “The displaced persons are scattered all over, some in Naka, the Local Government headquarters.”

Three days after the village attacks, the militants again launched another attack at Tse-Ikyo Mke, Mbapupur community in the same Local Council area. This time, three people were killed.  Commenting on this attack, a local pastor named Reverend Ajoh shared, “Even today, they attacked. One of my members came to report that his father was killed, and another member said his son-in-law was also killed.” All three of the victims, Stephen Uper, Kwaghkunda Ngyeegh, and Denis Iorundu, were married with children.

The communities in Benue State are predominantly agrarian. The farming communities have suffered several years of violent confrontation by nomadic herdsmen who prefer open-grazing cattle breeding, a practice that has resulted in instances of destruction of farmland. As an approach to a solution, the state government enacted legislation providing for ranching instead of open-grazing, which took effect on May 22, 2017. Shortly after this law was implemented, attacks worsened for several months, culminating in more than 70 people being killed in early January 2018.

The law has caused some of the herdsmen to claim that it was deliberately aimed at upturning their generational lifestyle and culture of nomadic cattle breeding, as well as a deliberate attempt to expel them from the state and deny them their constitutional right of freedom of movement. However, Taraba State, which shares a boundary with Benue, has also instituted a similar law, given the years of violence between the Christian farmers and Fulani militants.

Until this incident, the situation had been relatively calm in Benue State for almost a year, and the majority of citizens were hopeful that the peace could be sustained. But with the resurgence of attacks, some local community leaders now believe that the Fulani militants likely refrained from confrontation to allow for a peaceful presidential election, having shown support for their kinsman President Buhari. According to a local source, “Before the presidential election, they moved away, but they are now returning in their hundreds. They don’t like the current governor, and don’t want him to return, so they would want to disrupt the state elections. Buhari has not been happy with him because he refused to cede land for ‘cattle colonies.’”

A senior aide in the Palace of the Tor Tiv, the paramount ruler over the Tiv tribe, confirmed the attacks, saying, “Recently, they (herdsmen’s militia) resumed attacking simultaneously in three areas now that their man has won the presidential election.” He added, “Some are still missing in the bush and the search is ongoing.” He further disclosed that security reinforcements have been sent to the affected areas. Expressing faith for divine intervention, Pastor Ajoh said, “The Church in Benue is praying and we know that our God will never disappoint us!” - Persecution.org

India: Christians Turned Out Of Houses Of Worship

HYDERABAD, India (Morning Star News) – Churches in Tamil Nadu, India that had never experienced opposition now find Hindu extremists forcing them out of their places of worship, sources said.

In one case Hindu extremists called praying women prostitutes and threatened to kill them; in another case near Chennai, the state capital, police went door-to-door with a radical Hindu telling people not to meet for worship; in a third case, the owner of the property where the church meets ordered them to vacate after opponents set a fire inside. - Continues at MorningStarNews

Are Few Saved?

A Catholic view, or rather views throughout the ages. The link comes from a site called Mystics Of The Church.

I get a lot of crap for saying but say it I will - Hell is a place and real people go there every single day.

Not one singly solitary soul who arrives there really believed in its existence. If they did and knew what it was all about they would do all in their power to never get sent there. I think many of you have heard testimonies of those souls who went and God was gracious to call back to warn us all. There have been many, some very credible, others not so much.

But the vast majority who wind up there were warned. In the Church age, folks have been warned. People for the most part know about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I post this Catholic link because I want to show you that the Catholics understand this - though many modern Protestants often soft peddle the doctrine. (I will make no comment on the doctrine of purgatory other than to say I think it is a theological misunderstanding of the Judgement seat of Christ).

Hell was never meant for mankind. It was made for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41), those celestial beings who rebelled against God. But man can choose to go there by choosing to follow after the ways of those fallen beings into rebellion against God.

Christ Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross gives every man, woman and child the chance to break free of the bonds of that sin and rebellion and come back into full fellowship with God, who truly loves us all.


It is not a joke and it is not a metaphor but an eternal spiritual reality that every man woman and child will one day believe in whether he wants to or not because whether the soul be in heaven or in hell - they will know about hell.

9 Mar

Judging God

One of the most supreme acts of blasphemy I think there is, is trying to judge God, how he does things and why. It is kind of like a single-celled creature in a test tube trying to pass judgment on Einstein. Such a creature is hardly even capable of thought, let alone sound judgment.

I say this because I can remember a conversation I had a long time ago with a dark figure who passed Judgment on God when he said that he was wrong to use other nations to judge America. That we were righteous and other nations were evil and therefore only an 'evil God' would allow others to judge America. Those were not this persons exact words, but that was the gist of his argument. To him all righteousness began and ended with America and her form of government... and how dare God judge us!

This is one key failing I think that Job had in his argument - at times, he comes perilously close to accusing God of being unjust and unrighteous because of the way he saw that he was being treated. We must never, ever adopt such an attitude. We don't have all the facts (Job did not) and we, when we attempt to Judge God or take a negative attitude about what he is doing, we are like a blind man trying to explain the ever moving images on a TV. It isn't possible. He can't see.

Neither can we unless God gives us light to see.

I got a link from a reader today, it's one I saw several days ago and may have even linked to. It was about women -  these new kinds of women in the Pulpit in Western Christianity. Here is the link. These are the kinds of people who are preaching and teaching in the pulpit? Is it any wonder American Christianity is in such a state?!

The first problem with women preachers is this. They are in abject rebellion against God.

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp
 authority over the man, but to be in silence.
 (I Timothy 2:12 [KJVA])

 Let your women keep silence in the churches:
for it is not permitted unto them to speak;
but they are commanded to be under obedience,
 as also saith the law.  And if they will learn any thing,
let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame
 for women to speak in the church. What?
came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
  If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual,
let him acknowledge that the things that
 I write unto you are the commandments
 of the Lord.
(I Corinthians 14:34-37 [KJVA])

It's right there in scripture. Why are women preaching today? For the same reason that Eve ate of the tree of good and evil. They did their own reasoning and decided that they knew better than God.

And when the woman saw that the tree was
 good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes,
 and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took
of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her
 husband with her; and he did eat.
(Genesis 3:6 [KJVA])

She said to herself - God was wrong, the serpent was right -  that food looks good to me, why should I obey the Lord? Then she rebelled. The same thing is happening in pulpits across America. Women pastors say, God is wrong, the serpent is right, I know as much as any man preacher!

You know what it is? These women don't accept God's word. But it goes right back to the original sin. Eve did not accept God's word either. What was it that Satan said to her?

"Yeah, hath God said..." (Gen 3:1a)

Then they get up there and rebel... and teach others to rebel as well. Remember Jezebel? Both old and new Testament.

We humans can be some arrogant creatures and our arrogance stems from our wickedness and departure from God. Rather than humbly obeying God and his commandments too many people are out to show God wrong; that they know best.

Brothers and sisters. I say this not to denigrate women, because if you want my own personal opinion, women could be great pastors as good as any man... if God allowed them to be so. But once a woman steps into that pulpit as a preacher or teacher she is no longer a preacher of God, but a deceiver  - first of herself and second of those who heed her. I am not wise enough to know why God forbids women in the Pulpit, but I am wise enough to obey God, even and especially if those commandments don't necessarily make sense to me.

Did it make sense that God only choose Levites to minster in his temple? That was his choice and it was his to make as to whose ministrations he would accept in his temple. Again, God has his way of doing things. If you want to get into the kingdom of Heaven and escape damnation, you had better line up your life with God.

But let me make this clear. Women can be evangelists. They can be prophets, they can teach Sunday school and yes, they can Blog. There are many things women can do. But there are some things that God has forbidden them and I think it goes right back to the original sin. He is going to test women on this point one more time - "...listen to the Lord or listen to the serpent" is I think the message he is sending.

I hope my women readers here are not offended in this. But God has is way of doing things and mankind, his. We must choose which way we are going to do things.

I will do my best to do as God bids and it is my sincerest hope all of you do as well.

6 Mar

NYT, WHO Gang Up On Anti-Vaxxers

This is a growing movement and clearly it is having an effect on people. The above link out of the NYT looks at how the establishment see it. Note that there is no 'authorship' in the article and is ascribed to the Board. How safe are vaccines? Are they all dangerous? Some? Any? This is not a question I feel the least bit competent to answer. But I will say this, there is an enormous amount of money being spent by those who sell vaccines to get or even force people to take them.

More here

And here.

Vaccines are a very contentious issue. Frankly I think both sides of the argument have a lot to say for themselves. Vaccines have indeed saved countless lives (think Polio). In many places in the developing world, they can indeed continue to do much good. That is not to say that things like Autism and other unfortunate effects of vaccines are not real, I think they are and are being downplayed by an industry that is motivated by two factors. First, the Genuine need and desire to help others and prevent the spread of disease and second by a very lucrative revenue stream - particularly if they can get state governments to buy millions of doses of vaccines in 'forced' vaccination programs. This creates a permanent state-sponsored revenue stream.

But my concern with vaccines are different. We have seen use of vaccines to bring in compulsory sterilization and always on of people of color. While the UN and others have gone into PR overdrive, many African leaders and doctors have made it clear that someone is putting things in Vaccines that are sterilizing Africans. Its not just Africans. forces (or secret) sterilizations are reserved for non-whites.

This has been a long pattern, not a conspiracy theory despite what industry 'professionals' may say - or rather, get paid to say.  Do you see any Black faces here?

This is the danger I see with vaccines. The way they could potentially be covertly used for programs that the elite will never tell us. A quiet subcontract to a company that is being secretly funded by those with a radical de-population agenda; a multi-billionaire with radical views on race and population control who pays people to look the other way while they run an experiment. These things happen. The Ebola outbreak we had a few years ago was one of those experiments, contracted out of a US company. Indications (with admittedly little proof that can be shared) was that the purpose of the outbreak was not to kill as many as possible, but to scare the world and then test and later market a cure that had already been developed at considerable profit. A cure that, by the way was not used as officials quietly found out what was going on and decided not to reward the company. Just so you know, these contracts are lucrative. This is an industry -  their job is to make money.

I probably should spend more time on this subject today as it is an important one, but many sites have beat this subject to death often with spin that is more 'scary' than circumspect.

I think the key to understand is that both sides of this debate have very important points to make, but one issue that officials are loath to deal with are those with a lot of money or political influence who know how to insert themselves into the Aid and Medical systems to make money at any cost, including the lives of others or who have their own agenda as to who should live, die or be experimented upon.

This is why we have to be wary, but not paranoid about Vaccines. They can do a lot of good, but even more harm in the hands of the wrong people.

Yet today, I see a narrative being created by the powerful men in this country for a reason that is not yet clear. Perhaps they see a bioweapon being unleashed on the nation and want to make sure they can forestall/combat  it. This is a very serious threat.  Yes, some of America's geopolitical rivals have very potent bioweapons and indeed have used them on the US before, though usually targeting agriculture (in order to conduct economic warfare. covertly).  I think this is probably one key driver behind the tactics we are seeing today against those who have concerns about vaccines.

Another reason may be that BigPharma is concerned about their profits now as people now are talking more about generic drugs and them having to start to answer pointed questions about such things on the Hill. Perhaps now they want to find a new revenue streams.  Forced vaccinations at a few dollars a pop? Do that to a few million people a few times a year and you can offset any losses you may have from other sources.

I can tell you there is money and power behind silencing one side of the debate. Censorship? We have seen this too. It is happening right now. Some don't want debate, they want only one side of the issue discussed. Censorship on such a critical issue? Where is that coming from? I can tell you that many of today's big names in drugs are direct descendants of Nazi Germany's IG Farben.

You can read about the mergers that happened later here.

For the most part I just don't think you are dealing with nice people who are telling us to trust to inject us with things we don't understand.

Then there is the science - everyone cites some scientific study that 'proves' something.  I know, many of you have read the recent news.

Major Study 'Confirms' No Autism Link To Measles Vaccine

So the big major papers are saying. The research was done over a long period of time. Time Magazine reports in the link above.

Like all science, its like the major media. Bias's often spring from the pocketbook. Find out who is paying the bills and one can predict with alarming accuracy any slant or results.

The actual study can be found here. It was partially funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. This company attended the World Vaccine Congress and is involved in vaccine production.

Forgive me, but this just looks to me too much like the fox investigating the hen house. 

I am not saying that there is a link to Autisim or any disease or serious medical condition. I don't know. But if there is one, I don't expect anyone who identified it to stay in business for very long.

Overall I have to be fair to policy makers. Their considerable concern with anti-Vaxxers and it is a real one and cannot be understated. In many places where there are epidemics we have seen people refuse vaccines because of concerns over these very issues. In an area where there is an epidemic, this is a very serious concern to those who have to deal with an outbreak. So the debate is more complex that either side wants to make out. Vaccines have indeed saved countless lives in the past. From Polio to Measles they can do a lot of good if done correctly. But when these big companies get involved their job is less about public health but to use a guilt trip over public health to rake in the billions or other dark forces who have another agenda, to test something new on poor Black Africans who have no resources to fight back legally when they sterilize them to reduce the population of Africans.

Look this is not any kind of conspiracy theory - if you think I am off, go and read this and check out the video.

So lets get real. Those who are pushing these Vaccines are making a mint. They see those who are asking pointed questions as being a threat to their business model. So they demonize them call them 'conspiracy theorists' when in fact the record shows that there is no theory involved - many powerful folks have come right out and said what they want to do - reduce the population. How do you accomplish that?

I will let you figure that one out.

4 Mar

The Power Of Prayer

We Christians make a fatal mistake when we don't take our prayer life seriously. Prayer is when we communicate with God. When we talk to him and do so on his terms, he will listen to us. Yes, he really will. One of the biggest problems with prayer and the prayer life of many is that they won't come to God on his terms, but want to approach him on theirs. Such a man will never get anywhere with God. James laid out this principle clearly in his epistle. Here, James lays out how one can receive wisdom from the Lord.

 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.
For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea
driven with the wind and tossed.
 For let not that man think that he shall
receive any thing of the Lord.
(James 1:6-7 [KJV])

This is one key to getting an answer from God - faith. Not mental belief, but faith - an issue I have talked about before. You want an answer from God? You have to believe that he is and will reward you for your diligent efforts to interact with him. But most of you know that. Another? Humility - particularly spiritual humility (coupled with a repentant attitude) will open doors in the corridors of heaven (see Luke 18:13). These are two key traits for successful prayer, a person who has faith and has spiritually prepared himself to interact with God. A self righteous unbeliever has little chance of being heard, whereas a spiritually humble person who has the faith even of a mustard seed, will gain the ear of God and will certainly receive some kind of answer from the Lord.

God hears those souls whose hearts are broken and who rend their hearts before him. How many of you remember the story of Hannah and how she was derided by others because she could not bear a son. Back in those days, not having children was a sign of considerable social embarrassment. She endured the taunts of others for years because she was barren.
So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh,
and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon
a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.
And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD,
and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said,
O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction
of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget
 thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid
a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD
all the days of his life, and there shall
no razor come upon his head.
(I Samuel 1:9-11 [KJV])

Hannah lifted up her voice to the Lord and not only that, as the passage said she wept sore. She poured out her heart before the God of heaven. She eventually got the answer she sought in the person of Samuel, one of the greatest prophets/judges of the Old Testament. But she had to go through sorrow first. I often think (my own opinion) was that God wanted Hannah to have a child always, but wanted her to know who had given it her and thus raise up the child correctly so that God could use the child of her womb to his purposes and glory.

Thus God was waiting for her to come to him and dedicate the child to his service. Yes, there are times God withholds things from us so that we come to him and before we obtain them, make sure that we use them wisely and remember who it was that gave such things to us. God has his agenda and we have ours, we must line up our lives with God's agenda (will) and in Hannah's case, I think this may have been what was happening and why God had shut up her womb.

This is why this other key point in successful prayer is so important. We must pray according to God's will, not ours. This is what trips up a lot of folks. God is not a genie. He is not our slave, and he is not a celestial waiter, waiting to take our orders and serve us our desires on a silver platter. No, the reverse is the case. We are to serve him and that word service often gets lost in the translation in today's 'touchy-feely' gospel.

But God does hear prayer and particularly the prayers of those whom he see's as being his and righteous. Mind you, not self righteous, but those whom he declares righteous and has set his love upon, who honor and serve him in spirit and in truth.  The effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).

Answered Prayers

Well, we have gotten a lot of results here at this site when we all set our hearts to pray for each other.

 [This section removed as it listed specific instances of answered prayers of readers and has been removed from this public page - MSW]

Yes, God does answer prayers when we bring our supplications to him in faith. Praise his Holy name!! We get a a lot of answered prayers here from Jobs, to healing, to family situations. We pray here at this site and get answers from the Lord, for the The effectual Prayer of a Righteous Person availeth much!

I did want to pass this on as well as one reader made plain and asked me to pass on to you.

Consider all options when looking for work. One reader here wanted me to exhort you all be open to moving for work. This reader laid out a situation with a relative graduated and had to move from one state to another and found work. She said that if God is calling you to move, you should do so. I say also that if God calls you to move, you should do so. Get before God, get into your prayer closet and seek God's face.

In order for Abraham to fulfill his mission with God, he had to move. In order for me to fulfill mine, I had to move. You may get a rash of harsh and evil words spoken when you do God's will whatever his will may be, but do it nonetheless. I had to endure it, one day most of you will too. Get before God on moving for work - he may be calling you to another location for reasons that are not wholly clear to you now and has little to do with employment. Those reasons will only materialize when you do as he commands. Sometimes, God moves you because he wants to move you away from situations, people or even events that are to come. Coming out of Babylon will indeed require moving for those who live there.

When I moved to Maryland 23 years ago, I did not understand why. I really did not. But now that I have served God for many years online I have much better sense as to why. My mother hit on some of it years ago. Suffice it to say, if I had remained in California, I would have had to deal with family issues that would have been exceptionally distracting. Some of my family and particularly 'friends' have treated me pretty shabbily because I did not fit the plastic mold they had for me, I wasn't smokin', drinking and screwing every chick who wanted to leap in bed- wasn't trying to get the biggest car, the biggest house, the finest wife and many cute mistresses and have people who only liked be because I had money worship at my feet.  I wasn't 'cool' and frankly never wanted to be. I have always felt that those who feel they must fit in with fleeting social cues are superficial, lack character and lack an inner 'anchor'. They tend to be fair weather friends and often turn into foul weather enemies.

They never understood me and never wanted to. I was not the kind of person they wanted to show off to their friends and was often treated like the 'black sheep'. But that was good for me. It taught me early on that many relationships in this world just gotta go and that includes some family. Christ warned us of this in the gospels on several occasions. That we have to forsake all or at least be willing to and that was not a figure of speech. Family was very much included in those things that may have to go (Matt 19:29).

One reader here wrote me about a month ago about some serious family issues they were dealing with. They were indeed very serious. But in these times of crazy Americans, anti-depressant addicted, opioid addicted and often mentally unstable people, family problems are just going to be par for the course. We must prepare ourselves for family members who are going to flip out and become dangerous to us. The side effects of some of those anti-depressants may be worse than the 'disease' of feeling a little low. They can include suicidal thoughts and turning you literally into a maniac.

My point here is an important one. God's guidance on these issues is essential and prayer is the way we communicate with God. God sometimes has to protect us from relationships he knows we want to keep and he knows that we need to cut loose of before they do us serious physical, emotional or spiritual harm. One of the key aspects of holiness is separation.

 Wherefore come out from among them,
and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch
 not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be
my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
(II Corinthians 6:17-18 [KJV])

We must come out and be separate. Living and walking in the light is going to make us 'persona-non-grata' in a great many places, including some family gatherings. We just are not going to be welcome.

Don't be offended nor bitter. Don't be dismayed or confused about it and if I may offer one little tidbit of personal (not spiritual) advice, let me offer it here as it may prove useful to you in the future.

Never go anywhere that you are not nor don't feel 100% welcome. Don't burden family with your presence if some of your family members don't want you there. Don't bless such a table with the blessing of one of God's true servants if you are not welcome. Don't be angry, do your best not to be hurt, but mark it for future reference and never go where you are not 100% welcome.

Don't burden the home of another with the presence of a saint if a saint's presence is not wanted. If they would rather have a drunken fornicator who deals pot on the side present at such a function than you, take a hint... you probably should not be there anyway.

You must represent God in all you do and oftentimes we may not understand why some family start to treat us badly - often it is because the devil has been working on them. Take such recognition of your faith and their desire to be away from you as a badge of honor, not as a sign of shame. There is something fundamentally different about you and your walk and those who walk in darkness don't want that light around them.

I exhort you all to toughen up, develop thick skin and learn to take the slights and even hatred others will have of you, not as a sign of shame but of evidence that your life is shining in a way that those who know not God, don't like. How do you think those believers in China are dealing with the stuff they have to go through - they go to a prayer meeting and get arrested! Being arrested may be shameful or seem so in the eyes of the world, but it is not in God's eyes not when you are there because of your faith in God. YOUR FAITH IS GOING TO COST YOU. Sometimes your job, sometimes you may do time, sometimes your marriage, sometimes your friends and sometimes your family. YOUR FAITH IS GOING TO COST YOU.  So count the cost and when you come to that 'toll booth' along faith's highway, make payment joyfully as such toll booths are also signposts you are on the right road.

So brothers and sisters, pray... really pray and go wherever it is that God leads you. Do this and God will surly be with you as you go, even as he was with Abraham, when he pulled up stakes and left Ur of the Chaldees to a place that God did not even tell him.

Have faith, fear not and one thing I believe that should be also said here is this. Even within the Church there is a separation taking place. Those who follow the commandments of God (as revealed in the Bible) and those who make light of them, dismiss them or teach others to rebel against them. This separation has been going on for some time and it is intensifying. I have a reader here (a former pastor) whose Church Separated from a major denomination over false teachings and apostasy. So in these dangerous times, I exhort you all to pray,  pray regularly and pray in the spirit that God may guide and keep you in these deceptive and dangerous times.

In Christ,

Brother Mark

28 Feb


I am sorry about those two pdf reports on Abortion and the bad links. That happens from time to time when I cut and paste from the private pages on to this one and I don't pay attention to detail! Forgive the oversight.

Here are the reports.

Health Care Funding: Federal Obligations to and Expenditures by Selected Organizations Involved in Health-Related Activities, Fiscal Years 2013–2015

Senate Investigative Report On Planned Parenthood and 'Baby Parts' (very large 60MB)

27 Feb

Times And Seasons

God richly bless all of you in Christ in these strange and difficult times.

Our times are full of strange events many of which have great prophetic significance. Some of the bigger and most important ones are happening daily but are not marked by people, even Christians as having any particular prophetic significance. 

The first is something all readers here are aware of, that issue is that of rising persecution of Christians. It's one that I know many of you here constantly pray over and I certainly hope you continue to. Another major issue is the rise of wickedness and the growing indifference to and even glorification of evil. I am often shocked at the kinds of crimes we see today. The shootings, the drug abuse, the gangland violence and the gluttony. Yes, today, they call such things 'eating disorders' but in essence, its nothing more than gluttony given a political correct term that is carefully designed not to assign personal responsibility for ones choices.

Yet too many Americans, they don't produce anything, don't do anything, but rather expect to have it all. Some get downright belligerent and demand 'their share' in a pie they had no part in creating.

I often think on how hard it was for those people who built this nation up from the ground up, the hard work, the sacrifices and often unrewarded work - the sweat, the blood and toil... and then I look at many in this rising generation of Americans who think somehow they have a right to the fruit of someone else's labor by virtue of them being born. I am often struck by the haughtiness, the selfishness the sense of 'entitlement' and the violence that has struck the land, not just America but so much of this troubled planet. How did Paul sum this up.

 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous,
boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers,
 false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that
are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than
lovers of God;
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:
 from such turn away.
For of this sort are they which
creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins,
 led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never
able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

(II Timothy 3:1-7 [KJV])

I listen to our political leaders, I watch and listen to Americans, even the music that people listen to and I hear nothing but a search for sex, pleasure, material possessions and that ancient god that many men and women have long worshiped at its altar. I call it the god of 'more'. They want more of whatever they have -  they want more, bigger, better; the latest and the greatest, the biggest and the baddest. More and more are driven by a constant desire for that path to what they think is their personal 'nirvana'... more. When we hear the political debate what is the constant focus? The economy. It's money and the 'gods of the land of more' that are worshiped in the land.

Look at the other problems with America's pleasure seeking. The drug problem. I have talked at length about the opiod crisis, but it is hardly the only problem. We still have other serious drug problems in the country. What are people doing? Why?  I will tell you. They want to escape from reality. A reality that for many means working hard and making sacrifices today for tomorrow -  this is no longer considered an option. They don't want to deal with reality so they turn to drugs.

They turn to drugs  because it provides release from the harsh realities on our twisted world. It is a problem all over the country. What is one of the biggest new markets in technology today? I will tell you - virtual reality. It's people who for various reasons want to escape from the real world and create one that is to their liking. There is a lot of money being invested in it because designers know that people are looking for ways to escape reality. We have I think more and more raised a generation of snowflakes;  wimps and emotional basket cases that dwell inside the body of an adult.

But in our times the rise of satanism and many other religious systems that have less rigorous and non-demanding codes of morality are also making their headway into America's consciousness. I look for more of this as America breaks its link with Biblical Christianity - the religion that made this country into the richest, most powerful and for a long time, the most envied nation on earth. Now we are exchanging the God of the Bible for the gods of those nations where poverty and repression have for a long time, reigned supreme. Nation's that people in those places want to escape from in order to come and live here.

It has been a slow process, but America is indeed in the process of changing its gods.

The adherents to these new gods think that industrial scale murder in the form of abortion is OK. They do not mark that God will indeed compel every man and women to give account of every deed, every thought and every intent of their heart at the great day of Judgment. Deep inside, every man woman and child knows that there is a God. it is ingrained into our DNA. Don't believe me? Atheists are often the first ones to cry out 'Oh God' when faced with sudden danger or sitting in foxhole.

These are times of increasing moral relativism and open sin. Right and wrong, good and evil are being blurred in the ever-search for pleasure, power and wealth in our world. The rise of selfishness, evil and even outright satanism are very important signs of our times.

But I think another troubling sign of our times is the rise of all of this technology. The rise of new discoveries that can even 'edit' a baby's DNA into what someone wants it to be. We saw in China where this was done. But be assured of this - things have come much further than they are telling us.

Our world has many troubles. One of the biggest is that men often cannot live at peace with his brother. All over the world conflict and war, death and atrocities take place, many of them go unreported to us... until someone digs up a mass grave. Man can build ships that go to the moon, but cannot feed his brother, he can create new forms of DNA altered babies but lets those not altered die by the thousands in human manufactured famines. The world more and more is demonstrating what I will call 'progressional evil'. There is progress to be sure, but that progress is more and more being used for evil purposes. Yes, it is always advertised as good, but secretly it is being used for evil. Where do you think this human gene editing will used? I will tell you the very first goal of governments with this tech. I will be to create new genetically modified soldiers, that link by the way is quite interesting and shows you where they will ultimately take this.

Yes, I suspect that an entirely new race of humans will be created that will be genetically superior to us -  'Homo Superior', if you will. Hitlers dream of supermen will indeed be a realty out of the scientific laboratory.

So let us all keep our eyes on events in our times. No, the antichrist system has not fully arrived yet. We have yet to see the 10 kings (who have no kingdom at first) destroy the harlot and then later bring in their 42 month final beast-antichrist system. That is because I think many things must transpire first. One of the most important is the continued rise of evil and rebellion against God to the point that men will willingly accept what the false prophet is preaching. What is he preaching? Blasphemy.

 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking
great things and blasphemies; and power was given
unto him to continue forty and two months.
 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God,
to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle,
and them that dwell in heaven.
(Rev13:5-6 [KJV])

The world is not quite ready for this yet. Further 'satanic preparations' must be made before such a sermon is widely accepted. Yet the world is  indeed moving in such a direction. There will be great mockery and blasphemy one day and it will be specifically directed at the God of the Bible. One thing that I can assure you will be preached from the devils pulpit will be along the lines that the Apostle Peter warned us about.
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since
the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were
from the beginning of the creation.
For this they willingly
 are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old,
and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed
with water, perished:
But the heavens and the earth,
which are now, by the same word are kept in store,
reserved unto fire against the day of judgment
and perdition of ungodly men.
But, beloved, be not
ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord
 as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise,
as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering
to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,
but that all should come to repentance.

(II Peter 3:4-9 [KJV])
Jesus took too long will be the cry. Did you know that one major Christian leader in the world today cites this and when he did, no longer believed the Gospel? Yet he was leading a major Christian denomination. Yes, brothers the hour is late.

So let us all strengthen our souls, steel our hearts for the things that will come. Let us spend some time in the prayer closet not just for our own personal desires, but that God will raise up voices and prophets, pastors and other leaders who will stand up, not so much for the institutional Church, not for man made institutions, but for Jesus Christ and the simplicity of the Gospel. God knows we need men who have received that special anointing from God to come forward.

May God bless and keep all of you who love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

26 Feb

When The Next Recession Comes

... and come it will, we should all be prepared for what it could mean for us all. Right now, according to our leaders and key economists who set policy, things are going along well, quite nicely in fact. They can cite various numbers and statistics that tell us that the economy is doing well. They cite employment numbers that are statistically speaking, at near record lows. They cite different statistics that show us the wonders of America style capitalism.

I think the last government shutdown was a wake up call to a lot of folks. Why? Because as many experienced first hand, they are just a couple of paychecks from living on the street, and that is no figure of speech. People... a great many people live paycheck to paycheck or close to it, they will be hit hardest and the fastest in a recession. You know the saddest part in my mind is that often there is absolutely no warning when a person is about to lose their jobs. None. They go into work one morning like any other morning and you know what? The employee card that they swipe to get in does not work. They try it again and it still does not work. Then they call to the office and someone comes down with a check and some forms to sign.

Then they realize that they are now unemployed.

I have heard this tale many-a-time. I am sure some of you have as well. We will be hearing it some more when the next recession hits us.

Now what I don't want to say or give anyone the impression that I think a recession is right around the corner. I don't think it is. We will probably go through a period of slow growth, but not a recession yet. Perhaps not for while, much to the chagrin of those who are hoping for one to oust the President. But I see no recession soon, neither do others. My point is a different one.

What are people going to do when it does occur? How hard will it hurt the ordinary guy? The key I want to impress on you is that you are not going to hear how bad things are for a great many people in the media. They rarely talk about it in those terms. It was only when the votes were counted in 2016 and those who felt economically marginalized rose up and replaced the taxers, spenders and free traders who taxed, spent and 'free-traded' millions of Americans out of their formerly good paying jobs. The Media did not report it - the vote tally did.

Moreover what will drive the next recession? I cannot tell you. A prolonged trade war with China will certainly be a contributing factor. Or China just going itself going into a deep recession, pulling the US down with it - a real possibility. Then there are those ordinary cyclical factors that always effect large economies like Americas also will play a role. But one thing that will make things hard for all of us is if we have some kind of debt based banking crisis, or worse a government debt crisis that forces the Fed to use extreme measures to keep the government open or the economy from imploding. Again, I am not predicting this in the near term, but I think it likely in the medium to long term. In fact, it is a mathematical certainty. They have not yet found a way to repeal the laws of mathematics. It is just a matter of what factors push us over the fiscal cliff (the debt/deficit). Barring tough choices no one in Congress or the White House will ever make (and stay in office) this is just about a forgone conclusion. In fact, if there is any poison pill in the Trump economic model it is that it speeds up the trajectory towards American fiscal failure as it continues to heap more and more debt on the nation at a faster rate, debt that is serviced with yet more debt.

But this kind of fiscal insolvency could be overtaken by other factors. One is a major war between the great powers, Russia, China India and the US. Such a hot war, while not imminent is indeed a growing possibility as all sides become more intransigent, continue to arm and move to defend their interests. Such a war over a nation like say, Venezuela while not a probability is not totally outside of the realm of possibility.

But another factor, I think will be one that precludes the kind of fiscal meltdown that our nation is now on a mathematical trajectory on, that being that the God of heaven begins to hold the nation to account for its sins and crimes. Yes, the God of all things, begins to look at a different set of 'account books' of America and see a massive deficit -  a 'righteousness deficit' and a horrible 'wickedness surplus'.

I think of the issue of late term abortions (this link appears to have all the facts correct) is one major issue. This appears to be a growing issue that is being pushed around the country by the political left and yes, those who make money off of abortions. It's big business and it is powerfully politically protected and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Let's take a look at some non-partisan data on this subject - The Government Accountability Office, which has access to data and filings that are not available to the public.

According to data provided by HHS, the department obligated about $19.6 billion to three of the four organizations: FQHCs, IPPF, and PPFA. 12 HHS obligations to FQHCs made up most of the obligations, totaling about $19.5 billion. About 70 percent of HHS’s obligations to FQHCs were provided through 10 HHS programs, and HRSA provided the majority of obligations across all three fiscal years—approximately $11 billion. In addition to FQHCs, the department obligated about $90 million to PPFA and about $2 million to IPPF across the three fiscal years, with the HHS Office of the Secretary providing the majority of the funding for family planning services grants. USAID reported obligating about $76 million to two of the four organizations—IPPF and MSI— from fiscal years 2013 through 2015. 13 These were obligations that the department made to IPPF and MSI through four health-related program areas—family planning and reproductive health, human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome, maternal and child health, and tuberculosis.

Text and Charts Source GAO

Those of you wanting some more gruesome examples of how the economics of this works can read another extensive report out of the government done a couple of years ago. It can be found here. It includes how baby parts are sold on the open market.

But the news is not all bad, abortion appears to be trending downwards. Still, one cannot help but wonder why now this push for later term abortions.

But America's sins don't end with Abortion, there are the wars. The horrible wars the ones we never hear about or hear very little about. How much do you know about America's military operations in Somalia? Not much? Don't feel bad. Neither does Congress. But we are busy there and as we have discovered, in many places in Africa hardly anyone knew about. War. That has long been America's primary export - war and arms. How long before God calls us to account  for the millions of people killed, maimed and made homeless by America's penchant for creating new death machines and then using them on the poorest and most vulnerable? How long before he takes us to account for our sins of  pharmakeia (Drug abuse see Rev 9:21; 18:23) how long before he takes us to account for the pervasiveness of our sexual perversions and our growing animosity towards God himself?

So brothers, I suspect that before America goes fiscally bankrupt she will become morally and spiritually bankrupt and then will God raise up enemies to destroy the nation. I suspect this is one reason why God has had a kind of protecting hand on Russia. Why she continues to rise and become strong. If America does not repent, God may indeed use the Russians to take us down. Understand -  I in no way relish or desire such a thing, rather that the nation known as America repents and remembers that it is from God that we owe the blessings that are still very much upon our land and that we as a nation begin once more to honor him with deeds of righteousness, rather than with the vices of hate, violence and wantonness of every stripe.

Mind you, there are a great many men and women who have not forgotten God. They still have maintained their faith and still others who may not know God, but know right from wrong and still choose right. So I don't see God's judging hand falling upon America right away, rather the trend lines are moving in the wrong direction.

It is my hope that all of us prepare for the worst while working for and hoping for the best. That if possible, you save money for a rainy day, get before God about financial moves and residential ones as well. That you really seek God in all of your dealings and thus obtain both his favor and his guidance.

 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication
 with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 [KJVA])

22 Feb

Climate Change: Some Inconvenient Truths

Indeed very inconvenient. I do hope you get a chance to read this and digest its information its from the Jewish Policy Center. Why?

Too many people are carrying a narrative that may or may not even be true. Scientists looking for that grant money from billionaires who are pushing the Climate Change agenda are shrieking about the end of the world -  if we 'don't do something' about Global warming. Too many non-scientists are shrieking as well, because they read an article or saw a video (or movie) that scared them -  a film that was probably produced by a movie company that knows how to play with emotions... as any good filmmaker can do.

The reality? It is not what everyone believes. It rarely is. What everyone believes is very often what those with money have paid others to get them to believe and those pushing this agenda have got serious cash. They have an agenda as well to change the world, literally and radically using Climate Change is the impetus. How do you get a scientific consensus to be readily accepted by the masses? It's easy. You buy one and keep buying it.

But as the article above points out, Science on this subject is far less sure than the propagandists tell us. We really don't know how much the change we are seeing is man made or cyclical or has other causes. For those of you eternally opinionated people, it is not a sign of ignorance to say "I don't know". If you really don't know, it is often a sign of wisdom to use those words. Don't say you know if you don't and don't make up facts to support your own ignorance. There is just too much of that today (fake news).

What else could be causing the climate to change? How about a shifting Polar axis?. The poles are indeed shifting, though the causes for it no one can say for sure. But the billionaires have already found a way to blame global warming on it, rather than acknowledging that shifting poles would indeed shift weather patterns and the earths climate, they cite melting ice caps and don't acknowledge any other cause. This is called propaganda and it is all over the climate non-debate. BTW, the earths poles have always wobbled. The phenomenon is called 'Chandlers Wobble'.

The simple fact is we don't know enough about the causes of Climate Change to jump to conclusions that these well advertised and scare-us-half-to-death studies and news stories conclude. These are often ready made studies with the conclusions made long before the first piece of data is gathered...conclusions they had better reach if they ever want to get paid for the study or see money for more. But every once in a while a rather than jumps to conclusions.

So let the wiser among us be far more suspect of headlines that hit all the major news-wires that tell us of a cataclysm that will end all life on earth if we don't make drastic and radical changes in the way our world is governed and who makes key economic decisions that effect is all. Yes, the climate is changing, yes, mankind's activity has played a part, but how much is due to him and how much is due to other factors outside of our control is the question that propagandists want to evade and even lie about.

The truth at this time is not knowable but the false narrative is indeed spreadable.

Let's keep that in mind as we hear the non-debate about what really is causing Climate Change.

21 Feb

Nehemiah Part XXVII

And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers,
and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register
of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein,
These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those
that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away,
and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city;

Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this; The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two. The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two. The children of Arah, six hundred fifty and two. The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand and eight hundred and eighteen. The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty and five. The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore. The children of Binnui, six hundred forty and eight. The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and eight. The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty and two. The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven. The children of Bigvai, two thousand threescore and seven. The children of Adin, six hundred fifty and five. The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight. The children of Hashum, three hundred twenty and eight. The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and four. The children of Hariph, an hundred and twelve. The children of Gibeon, ninety and five. The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, an hundred fourscore and eight. The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight. The men of Bethazmaveth, forty and two. The men of Kirjathjearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty and three. The men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty and one. The men of Michmas, an hundred and twenty and two. The men of Bethel and Ai, an hundred twenty and three. The men of the other Nebo, fifty and two. The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty. The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five. The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and one. The children of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty. The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three. The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two. The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven. The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen. The Levites: the children of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, and of the children of Hodevah, seventy and four. The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred forty and eight. The porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, an hundred thirty and eight. The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hashupha, the children of Tabbaoth, The children of Keros, the children of Sia, the children of Padon, The children of Lebana, the children of Hagaba, the children of Shalmai, The children of Hanan, the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, The children of Reaiah, the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, The children of Gazzam, the children of Uzza, the children of Phaseah, The children of Besai, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephishesim, The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur, The children of Bazlith, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha, The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Tamah, The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha. The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Perida, The children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel, The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Amon. All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety and two. And these were they which went up also from Telmelah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they could not shew their father's house, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel. The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred forty and two. And of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai, which took one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to wife, and was called after their name. These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim. The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women. Their horses, seven hundred thirty and six: their mules, two hundred forty and five: Their camels, four hundred thirty and five: six thousand seven hundred and twenty asses. And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work. The Tirshatha gave to the treasure a thousand drams of gold, fifty basons, five hundred and thirty priests' garments. And some of the chief of the fathers gave to the treasure of the work twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand and two hundred pound of silver. And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand pound of silver, and threescore and seven priests' garments. So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.

(Neh 7:5-73 - KJV)

This was an historic occasion and Nehemiah wanted it recorded for posterity some of the people who were an integral part of this piece of Jewish/Israelite history. Nehemiah was indeed listening to his God and his God was telling him to get a record of a geneology, the family names of those present. Clearly he wanted all of this set down for posterity.  So he went and did his research on who was already in Jerusalem. This genealogy appears to have come from the very first group who arrived many years before. Nehemiah wanted to give account of who returned from the Babylonian exile, by name and number.

This appears to be the first wave of returning exiles as outlined in Ezra chapter 2. Don't worry, I will spare you any long winded, meandering commentary on the gemology!

K&D when commenting on Ezra chapter two though K&D makes a couple of points that are relevant. First is that they appear to have returned to the respective cities of their fathers (Ezra 2:1). They also think that all the ancient connections and landmarks may have been removed as a result of the captivity and the destruction. According to Mathew Henry the genealogies match up with the exception of the singers.

I confess, for the most part genealogies bore me. But if one digs a bit, interesting little asides can be found. I will only mention a couple. First Tobiah is mentioned towards the end (vs. 62). Few commentaries spend much time on this long genealogy but I note that Tobiah and his family are mentioned but commentators are clear that his name being mentioned their previous geneology was not known or recoreded. Here is what Gill Says about it.
The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, and the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two. These, though their immediate parents were known, yet by their being mentioned here, it seems as if they could not carry their genealogy further, and make it clearly appear what was the house of their fathers, or what their family. - Gill

The Cambridege Bible (notes on Ezra 2:60) notes that this geneology may have been used by some to establish a place a 'claim' amoung the free born Israelites. This may have been one reason why he had such animosity against Nehemiah - here was this politically connected upstart showing him up! We need to also keep this in mind before we are too hard on guys like Tobaiah and his house. Only very small number of Jews who could return to Jerusalem actually did. Estimates are as low as 2%. Many were quite content enjoying the pleasures of Babylon and had no intention or reason to go back. Those who did had a lot of courage and perhaps the same kind of spirit the early Pioneers and Pilgrims had when they left all to follow their dreams and faith, got into their wagons, mules and horses and went to Jerusalem, the city of their fathers. Tobiah may not have been an Israelite proper, but he was there and did intermarry with them. So those names are recorded for a reason. These were the new 'founding fathers' of post exilic Israel.

Also of significant note was that many of the chief of the fathers gave a lot of money into the Treasury. We read about this in verse 71. Twenty thousand drams of gold and two thousand pounds of silver. That would be about 1250 Ounces of Gold, if I do my calculations right. At today's bid price of $1179 per ounce that would be about $1,473,750 and that was just the gold. Keep in mind that today's prices are artificially suppressed by Central banks. They did not have those back in Nehemiah's day.

So the fathers now had a real financial stake in the success of this new project, home, city and nation -  this rebuilt Jerusalem. Here God records all of this for posterity's sake. Things become different when people expend serious work and money on something. They take personal 'ownership' in the success of the endeavor and this is what I think we are seeing here.

Another interesting aside in these genealogies is that some of the Priests were not able to continue on as Priests. Clearly Nehemiah wanted to be a stickler as to who could serve according to the law. This is mentioned rather in passing, but I think maybe we should look a bit into this. Lets go to the book of 1st Esdras who makes an historical record for those times. These apocrypha books are not considered scripture by most of today's Christians. I am not going to vouch for this book's spiritual authority, but rather use it here as an historical source. But before I do, let's take a look at a the man named  Barzillai. This is from the ISBE and I have highlighted the relevant portion.

bar-zil´ā̇-ı̄, bar-zil´ı̄ (בּרזלּי, bārzillay; Βερζελλί, Berzellı́, “man of iron” (BDB, but compare Cheyne, Encyclopedia Biblica)):
(1) A Gileadite of Rogelim who brought provisions to David and his army to Mahanaim, in their flight from Absalom (2Sa_17:27-29). When David was returning to Jerusalem after Absalom's defeat, Barzillai conducted him over Jordan, but being an old man of 80 years of age, he declined David's invitation to come to live in the capital, and sent instead his son Chimham (2Sa_19:31-39). David before his death charged Solomon to “show kindness unto the sons of Barzillai.” (1Ki_2:7). Cheyne in Encyclopedia Biblica, without giving any reason, differentiates this Barzillai from Barzillai the Gileadite (Ezr_2:61 = Neh_7:63). See (2) below.

(2) The father of a family of priests who in Ezra's time, after the return of the exiles, could not trace their genealogy. “Therefore were they deemed polluted and put from the priesthood.” This Barzillai had taken “a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite,” and had adopted his wife's family name (Ezr_2:61, Ezr_2:62 = Neh_7:63, Neh_7:64). His original name is given as Jaddus (the King James Version Addus) (1 Esdras 5:38). (See ZORZELLEUS; the Revised Version, margin “Phaezeldaeus.”)
(3) Barzillai the Meholathite, whose son Adriel was married to Saul's daughter, either Michal (2Sa_21:8) or Merab (1Sa_18:19). - ISBE

So lets take a look at Jaddus

Let me quote the passage here from Esdras.
The sons of Hagia, the sons of Pharacareth, the sons of Sabi, the sons of Sarothie, the sons of Masias, the sons of Gar, the sons of Addus, the sons of Suba, the sons of Apherra, the sons of Barodis, the sons of Sabat, the sons of Allom.  All the ministers of the temple, and the sons of the servants of Solomon, were three hundred seventy and two.  These came up from Thermeleth and Thelersas, Charaathalar leading them, and Aalar;  Neither could they shew their families, nor their stock, how they were of Israel: the sons of Ladan, the son of Ban, the sons of Necodan, six hundred fifty and two.  And of the priests that usurped the office of the priesthood, and were not found: the sons of Obdia, the sons of Accoz, the sons of Addus, who married Augia one of the daughters of Barzelus, and was named after his name.  And when the description of the kindred of these men was sought in the register, and was not found, they were removed from executing the office of the priesthood:  For unto them said Nehemias and Atharias, that they should not be partakers of the holy things, till there arose up an high priest clothed with doctrine and truth.
(I Esdras 5:34-40 [KJVA])

(FYI - Accoz is Koz or rather Hakkoz [H6976]). Those listed could not prove their lineage to serve in the Priesthood based upon the records at hand. This does not necessarily mean that they were totally disqualified, only that Nehemiah had no proof of their Levitical lineage. As a consequence, they were removed from serving.

This has to have been an religious earthquake at the time for these men were serving as Priests for many years. Now Nehemiah shows up and says,  "You say you are Priests? prove it!" Now I like to read between the lines and I will give you my own humble views here. I think that Nehemiah wanted most of all to please God.  I also think he also probably saw that many of the Priests were not on his side when he rebuilt the wall. The priesthood was probably pretty firmly connected with the political order of the Pre-Nehemiah era. This I think may have been an opportunity for him to root out any continued religious opposition to the work at hand and this is what may be the backstory here is. but that is pure conjecture. Now the family of Koz and perhaps the rest of them did apper to have eventually proved their lineage at a later date. Koz being the family name of a decedent of Aaron.

We will get to Chapter eight next week, God willing!!

19 Feb


The Obamacare decision had a significant impact on America  - one on its political system, the other on its economy. Many on the left support it and continue to do so... that is until they get raked over the coals when they find out that the insurance they thought they had, they didn't. The horror stories are out there. Two key ones - People who are paying a lot more in premiums for a lot less in coverage and those who are paying for coverage and still wind up with bills into the tens of thousands of dollars after care.

The whole system in my and in many others opinion has become one big money making scam - instead of extracting tumors and gall stones, it extracts C-notes and thousand dollar bills. When 'Dr. Soprano' gets done with his wallet extraction surgery, you won't have so much as a bed pan to you-know-what in.

This is a massive system in this country

Data source: CMS.gov

Today's expenditures for the system is $3.4 Trillion per year. (original link)

You read that correctly, that is how much money flows through our system and don't think the unscrupulous and fraudsters are not busy trying to suck as much money from it as it can. They are very busy and don't think the DOJ is not busy trying to catch them.

The Department of Justice obtained more than $2.8 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio and Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division announced today.  Recoveries since 1986, when Congress substantially strengthened the civil False Claims Act, now total more than $59 billion.

“Every year, the submission of false claims to the government cheats the American taxpayer out of billions of dollars,” said Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Panuccio. “In some cases, unscrupulous actors undermine federal healthcare programs or circumvent safeguards meant to protect the public health.  In other instances, deceitful contractors overcharge our military or sell faulty equipment to our law enforcement agencies.  Such fraud will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice.  The nearly three billion dollars recovered by the Civil Division represents the Department’s continued commitment to fighting fraudsters and cheats on behalf of the American taxpayer.”- DOJ

Look I am not going to give you a lot of links and horror stories today, they are out there and you don't have to go just to conservative sites to find them. Head on out to some of those senior blogs and sites; hit where young adults hang out on on the web, you'll find them.

The End Of Obamacare?

Let's us assume that Trump can end Obamacare, it will be very difficult as many in his own party are getting their 'palms greased' to keep the system as expensive and exploitative as possible. But lets say that he can do it. What then?

Chaos. Simple chaos will ensure for many as the whole system will lose a lot of money flowing into it from the Feds. Insurance companies will be in a quandary and many will be most confused and those on the political left will be angry -  even though they too have seen their premiums rise and rise significantly since Obamacare came into being.

But in my view a temporary period of chaos without a federal solution would not be a bad thing. I see Washington's interference in the Health Care system as being wholly unhealthy (PI). It has driven up costs costs and the money winds up in the pockets of key Washington firms that lobby Congress and the White house hard... very hard. This is why our system is so expensive and takes so much money out of the economy that could be put to much better use.

Amazon gets a lot of heat for the Retail Apocalypse, but I think that part of the problem is that ordinary people just don't have the disposable income to shop at your traditional bricks and mortar stores. I said this would be a result when Obamacare first was being debated. That folks would simply have less money to spend and that would hurt retailers. No, I don't blame all or even most retails woe's on the price of medical care, but I also cannot reasonably conclude it has not had an noticeable impact either. You take money out of someones take home pay and they simply have less to spend - period.

But dig below the employment numbers in this nation and we see a troubling tale. Tales of Americans who do not have full time work, but work part-time or as contractors. They have to, they are the only jobs available even and particularly for young people with college degrees and who have to pay back student loans. With these jobs, they are often only created so that the employer does not have to pay all manner of insurance and taxes that they would have to pay with a full time employee, These taxes, insurance and other costs are key drivers keeping people in low end, contracting and temp jobs. Obamacare in particular laid a heavy burden on employers, who because of the new requirement, cut the hours of part time employees. I say these things not to get into the Obamacare pro or con narrative, but to show you that policy decisions like this have a real effect on real people. Unemployment insurance, and other kinds of taxes that the federal government and states levy on businesses... that money comes from somewhere and often it just has to come out of the number of employee's hired or the number of hours they work. So when we hear this talk about low unemployment remember that many of those supposedly employed people are temps, contractors and part-timers who are not making that much money.

This is a trend we have been seeing for some time now, and Obamacare was just one factor in a trend of bad economic policy decisions that are keeping people in low paying jobs. The result. As we saw recently in a study done by Deutche Bank, economic mobility in the country is near to non-existant. This leads to income inequality. One of the solutions being proposed around the country is raising the mandatory minimum wage. It sounds great on the surface, but one must always remember that many small and medium sized businesses, they don't make a lot of money. They are not 'raking in the millions'. They have a modest profit in some months and may lose money in other months. An employer who has to pay his employees more and who is not doing well, he simply is not going to have any choice, he is going to have to let someone go in order to pay the higher wages, or hire them back as a part timer.  Perhaps he will hire two and then not have to pay all those insurance premiums on those new employees. We have seen many papers and studies on this, the rise of the temp or 'gig' economy. One key factor cited in professional journals is the desire  by employers to avoid those taxes and fee's insurance premiums that go with hiring a full time employee.

In my view the trillions annually our  system sucks our of our economy would be perhaps somewhat justifiable, if our mortality rates were really so very much better than the rest of the world, justifying our massive health costs, but they aren't - look at infant mortality. Our system is not the best, it's just the most corrupt and expensive. They have merely found a way to monetize our personal and national health. The American health care system more and more in my view, has become a national wealth transference system.

This view is probably not shared by most of you and that is fine. Get socked with $20,000 bill for a medical procedure you thought you were covered for and I can assure you, your opinion will shift immediately into agreement... and these things really do happen. The system is expensive and in my view, rotten.

So if Obamacare went and there was nothing put in its place what could be done? How? How can the nation provide affordable - I mean really affordable care to its citizens? Now let me make this clear when I say affordable, I am not so much talking about a system where the actual cost of care is merely shifted onto government. That simply is not working. That costs a lot of money and as the Baby Boomers retire, it is going to cost even more as they go on Medicare.

Source CBO

Many Americans think there is a magic potion to pay for all of this. They really think that somehow 'they' can fix this without 'them' having to pay for it - that somehow some magic wand can be waved, some star chart can be cast, some magic lamp can be rubbed and the money to pay for all of this will appear. Like the fool at the Carnival who gets taken in by some professional trickster... there is a sucker born every minute and those who believe such side-show antics can solve this problem, fall clearly into this category. We have heard many Presidential hopefuls talk about Medicare for all, and a Single Payer system. It sounds great until you do that forbidden act, the secret sin that no politicians in American should ever do in public. What is that? Count how much what you just proposed will cost.

How do I know this is where Americans are at that they are being suckered? One look at the political debate, the blogs, the sites of those who scream to protect Obamacare but don't look at the costs, the numbers and how the country or even ordinary working people will be able to pay for all of this 10- 20 years from now. They get whipped up into a partisan emotional furor and fail to do one simple thing - count. Those costs just have to come down, no two ways about it.

That is how Americans are when they think they can have their cake and get someone else to pay for it - they are the sucker at the carnival; and this brings us to the crux of the matter.

The system itself is too expensive, I am not talking about premiums but the actual cost of all those services and procedures that get charged to the insurance company and to the patient. The nation needs to focus in on those costs and a serious Obamacare crisis could address this. How?

Again, get as much of the Medical system out of District of Corruption as possible. One solution would be to block grant 'X' amount of dollars to each individual state and let each state handle medical care and insurance in the way that it see's fit and best. Different regions have different needs and different economic means, different demographics and a different political make up. If the States were given significantly more leeway to administer their own systems, with significantly relaxed regulatory frameworks we could see a major change for the better. If we could allow states to use more generics, create new low cost hostels (but clean and safe) for in patient care, roaming medical vans for certain medical services in poorer communities, a cap on premiums doctors have to pay for Malpractice insurance - These are things that will put us on firmer economic footing. Folks there are ways to fix this, but the first step in fixing a problem is identifying some of its causes and one of the biggest causes of our medical expense problem is Washington and the money that gets poured into it.
AMA Lobbying Money

Medical Supplies Lobbying

Health Overall Lobbing
So yes, I am not just making thus up or reciting some Facebook or Twitter rumor or conspiracy theory hatched out of some atrophied mind. These are the facts - the dollars and cents and political facts and these are the reasons why Medical care in this country is so very, very expensive -  those paying the campaign bills are going to make sure it stays that way because all that money is heading their way... to the tune of 3.4 Trillion dollars a year. 

If state governments could get considerably more control over their own respective health care systems, different states could try different methodologies to make sure that (truly) affordable care can be had by all. Yes, it will be trial and error, yes there will be mistakes, but in 10 years time, we could indeed have a less expensive and more effective health care system that serves all Americans at a price point they can reasonably afford.

Well that's enough for this morning... I hope I have not bored any of you...

God bless and keep each and everyone of you in Christ!

Brother Mark


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