-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)

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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.

14 Feb

Nehemiah XXVI

Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors,
and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,
That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace,
 over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.
(Neh 7:1-2)

The wall now completed Nehemiah went about setting up new kinds of watchmen. According to the ways of those days, the doorkeepers were there to keep watch over the house of God. They were also there to open and close the gates at the appointed times. They were, if we had to give a modern day analogy, the Security Guards or Night Watchmen. They apparently were a kind of trained security force and may have even had some kind of guild, as some have opined (Ezra and Nehemiah - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, H.E. Ryle, D.D.). These were probably also Temple Porters who had to do some temporary duty to watch over the city and the new gates that were just built.  Ryle also says that he thinks that these watchmen were disciplined and organized and could be relied upon to follow orders and be loyal to Nehemiah. The Levites (of the Temple) were apparently among the number of those who could be trusted. Again, it appears that these men were tasked not just with overseeing their jobs in the Temple, but also doing double duty along the city walls.

If we go back to the books of Chronicles, we can see that those who did this job were listed (1 Chr 9:17-19, 1 Chr 26:12-19). What Nehemiah was doing was making sure that he had some countermeasures in place against those who had been his enemies and had so ruthlessly opposed the rebuilding of the walls. He was appointing responsible guardians over the city. Those people whom he could trust. He trusted his brother and another man who also feared the Lord. His brothers name was Hanani. and Hananiah was the other. Hananiah who was the ruler of the place. The word for palace is this one.

Of foreign origin; a castle or palace: - palace.

In short this was a very important person and was almost certainly in the service of the Persian Emperor. He probably also had a company of troops at his disposal.

This is not unheard of, appointing relatives in such an important religious office. Think of Moses and Aaron. The Lord seemed to approve of this in that he used Aaron as Moses' mouthpiece. I think of how our new President appears to want to place some family members in key positions in his administration (this section was written just as Trump was naming is cabinet in Jan of 2017 - ed). At first one balks at such an idea, I know I would, did and have. But at the same time, when dealing in dangerous and uncertain situations (like being President), one wants to be surrounded by people they can trust, implicitly. This I think is what Nehemiah was doing. He knew he had enemies and needed to trust those tasked with watching over the security of the city.

And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot;
 and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them:
and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch,
and every one to be over against his house. Now the city was large and great:
 but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.
(Neh 7:3-4)

Here Nehemiah sets down a rather unusual order for the gatekeepers/watchmen. He tells them to not open up the gates of the city until the sun is hot, or rather the heat of the day, when the sun is high up in the sky. This is not the normal time to open up the gates. Usually they were opened up at Sunrise. Why was this order given? This was probably a way to forestall any effort to have men sneak into the city while many of its inhabitants were still asleep and then create mischief or attempt to overthrow it. Hence, the gates would not be opened up until every one was up out of bed and moving about the city. Even so, the watchmen were to remain at their posts, even while the doors are closed. Shut and bolt the doors and keep a good look out until it started to get hot, would probably be a way this could be paraphrased.

Nehemiah I must point out learned his lesson well. He once before did not take proper heed to security arrangements and was nearly undone because of it. This mighty man of God was not going to be caught unawares again, he was going to take every reasonable precaution to protect the wall, the city and its inhabitants from malicious actors. I think one important key was having the ruler of the castle on his side. It made things politically far less uncertain than they would have been had he been without it.

In verse four Nehemiah lays out one of the 'tactical' problems he faced. This was a large city in area and needed to be defended. But the problem was population. There just were not that many people who lived in it and had returned from the exile. This presented a security problem and this may be why it is mentioned here after the instructions for the watchmen. Moreover there were no or few houses built. It is hard to say what the people were sleeping in and what kinds of makeshift accommodations they may have put together.  In short, the city's circumference was a large one, but the problem was that most of it lay waste.  I will post in closing to this section, what Matthew Henry says about this passage. As it may have some rather interesting bearing on why the Priests were set up as watchmen. It may have been as much about the physical security of the city as it was the Spiritual security as well. You be the judge if Mr. Henry was correct.

He gave orders about the shutting of the gates and the guarding of the walls, Neh_7:3, Neh_7:4. See here,

1. What the present state of Jerusalem was.

The city, in compass, was large and great. The walls enclosed the same ground as formerly; but much of it lay waste, for the houses were not built, few at least in comparison with what had been; so that Nehemiah walled the city in faith, and with an eye to that promise of the replenishing of it which God had lately made by the prophet, Zec_8:3, etc.

Though the people were now few, he believed they would be multiplied, and therefore built the walls so as to make room for them; had he not depended upon this he might have thought walls without a city as great a reproach as a city without walls.

2. What was the care of Nehemiah for it.

He ordered the rulers of the city themselves,
(1.) To stand by, and see the city-gates shut up and barred every night; for in vain had they a wall if they were careless of their gates.
(2.) To take care that they should not be opened in the morning till they could see that all was clear and quiet.
(3.) To set sentinels upon the walls, or elsewhere, at convenient distances, who should, in case of the approach of the enemy, give timely notice to the city of the danger; and, as it came to their turn to watch, they must post themselves over against their own houses, because of them, it might be presumed, they would be in a particular manner careful.

The public safety depends upon every one's particular care to guard himself and his own family against sin, that common enemy. It is every one's interest to watch, but many understand not their own interest; it is therefore incumbent upon magistrates to appoint watches. And as this people had lately found God with them in their building (else they would have built in vain), so now that the wall was built, no doubt, they were made sensible that except the Lord kept the city the watchman waked but in vain, Psa_127:1.
- Matthew Henry

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

12 Feb

Shifting Poles

A Speculative Look

This map shows the location of the north magnetic pole (white star)
and the magnetic declination (contour interval 2 degrees) at the beginning of 2019.
Courtesy of NOAA NCEI/CIRES.

NPR has a story on this phenomenon here, should you be interested. The map above is from NOAA's official release. Simply put the poles moved at about 55 kilometers last year, a rate much faster than before.  Scientists are not sure why and we must always ask the question of who is funding studies, particularly when the blame is (or will likely be) put on human activity and certainly some will. But other explanations are probably better. We know that the poles do shift and have done so before. This paper talks about it. Pole reversals may become the narrative of the day to combat 'global warming' but the reality is that shifting poles are a regular phenomenon, when speaking of 'epochal' geological events. How bad will this shifting be? I don't know. Some see major problems ahead, others (like me) don't think it is going to be nearly that bad... as long as it is just magnetic poles we are talking about.

The real question to me is more about the actual rotational north pole (the axis), rather than the magnetic. On this subject there is a lot of... well... 'deafening silence' from scientific papers. Magnetic lots of data;  rotational pole shift - very little. There is a little blog of a lady who was clearly talking to some 'clued in' people who gave her some heady info. She is now doing her best to determine if and how much an axis shift has occurred. Now a shift in the rotational North Pole will bring significant weather changes... kind of like what we are beginning to see these days. Even now they can predict the rate of Desertification in Africa.

Now please, understand I am no scientists or even a hobbyist along these lines. I don't know the answer to these questions and have to rely on others whose work I believe to be honest and sincere, as opposed to bought and paid for. But I do not think a rotational shift and a magnetic shift are totally unrelated. In other words, the magnetic shift may be moving along a fast clip but a rotational polar shift may be slower but could also follow. For those of you wanting to know how recent weather has stacked up with the past, NOAA has this page that can help. There are many different reasons that our climate can change. Solar activity (which saw some very unusual activity a few years ago) temperature changes in the sea, due to underwater vulcanism... lots of reasons.

There was a guy who wrote a book a long time ago called Earth in Upheaval. I have old paperback copy of it here. His theories were all the rage back then and you can read some excerpts of it here. I think many of you will find this of interest as well. This may be a bit off the beaten track, but it is also interesting. I have a lot of stuff on this subject and find it most interesting. But let us be clear, a significant shift in the rotational axis (as opposed to the magnetic axis) will bring in a major shift in weather. Icecaps will melt, green fertile parts of the planet will turn in to deserts, and vice versa. Now what would happen if the planet suddenly stopped rotating? Now there is one for you. Remember Joshua (Josh 10:12ff)?

My point here is not to give you a bunch of speculation because right now, no one really knows the answer to these questions, though I strongly suspect that the phenomenon of the earth's rotational axis shift is known by the world's governments and scientists and they have a kind of 'gag order' to keep it quiet. If the progression is slow, there is not much to worry about, but if it is sudden then our world and weather is going to be going through chaos.

Let us all keep in mind that the prophets warned of old of a polar shift that would have devastating effect on the planet.

 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee,
O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass,
 that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit;
and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken
 in the snare: for the windows from on high are open,
and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down,
the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.
 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be
removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be
heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.  And it shall come
 to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the
high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.
 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit,
and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited
 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the
LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem,
and before his ancients gloriously.
(Isaiah 24:17-23 [KJV])

The real cause for this coming cataclysm is mentioned for us. It's not greenhouse gases or oil drilling; it's not niburu or climate change denial. It is because of the transgressions (sins) of the people. Sin is going to bring on these cataclysmic changes.

9 Feb

Nigeria Middle Belt Report

Attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani Militants Increase Sharply in 2018
02/06/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Bloodshed in 2018 spiked dramatically in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, with the heaviest attacks taking place in Plateau State. ACLED reported that approximately 1,930 brutal deaths were attributed to Fulani militants in 2018 alone, nearly six times the death toll caused by the notorious terrorist group Boko Haram. This was a sharp increase over the 1,900 total people killed in 2017 by both Boko Haram, which was the main perpetrator, and Fulani militants.

Due to ethnic tensions, religious differences, and a lack of economic resources, Fulani attacks against defenseless farmers in largely Christian areas claimed many lives and displaced tens of thousands. The Global Terrorism Index reported, “At its core, the herder-farmer violence occurring in Nigeria revolves around the economic plight resulting from the worsening drought and land degradation in Nigeria’s northern regions. The livelihood of Nigeria’s Fulani population is threatened as desertification of their land pushes them south.” This, however, does not account for the dozens of villages that were completely razed and the more than 30 churches that were destroyed in Plateau State alone, as reported by Rev. Dacholom Datiri, president of the Church of Christ in Nigeria.

Despite these violent attacks, there have been no major attempts by the Nigerian government to hold the Fulani accountable or disarm them. Both of these steps must happen if this violence is to be stopped. The Middle Belt conflict should be a cause of great concern for President Buhari and all interested in Nigeria’s growth and stability.

Below are the largest attacks that took place in 2018.
  1. April 23, 2018: Fulani militants attack in Benue State, killing 19 worshippers.
  2. June 23, 2018: Fulani militants attack in Plateau State, killing approximately 238.
  3. July 10, 2018: Fulani militants attack in Adamawa and Taraba States, killing 50.
According to Global Terrorism Index’s 2018 ranking, Nigeria remains the third ‘Most Terrorized Country’ for the fourth consecutive year, making the Fulani militants and Boko Haram top-tier threats to Nigeria and its Christian population. Boko Haram and Fulani militants have claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions more in recent years. The Nigerian government and the rest of the world must remember and pray for those affected by the deadly violence taking place in the Middle Belt. - International Christian Concern

Kidnapped Pastor Killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Pastor Is Survived by Wife and Three Young Children

02/05/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on February 1, Pastor Tun Nu, who was kidnapped at gunpoint in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on January 19, has died. According to Gospel for Asia (GFA), the mission organization Pastor Tun is a part of, the 41-year-old pastor was killed along with several others who had been kidnapped by a rebel army in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, an area affected by the Rohingya conflict. He leaves behind his wife, three young children, and a church of more than 50 believers.

During the nearly two weeks that Pastor Tun was missing, the local police and government forces were unable to locate him. A local pastor also recently told ICC that no one knew Pastor Tun’s whereabouts, and they received little help in searching for him. His comment expressing little hope for the pastor became a painful reality days later... Continues At International Christian Concern

Persecution In India Rising At Alarming Rate

Worthy News reports.

Iran: 2018 An Unprecedented Year Of Persecution

Christian News neports.

North Korean Christians Keep Faith In Underground Churches

This is a very interesting report by a secular news agency's (South China Morning Post) look at how the underground Church in North Korea operates and what it means to be a Christian in such a country.

There are other reports around the web (from EU news source s -  no links in anticipation of forthcoming EU news and copyright directives) that say that persecution against Christians is increasing.

Brothers and sisters, its rough out there for Christians in many parts of the world.

India: Deny Jesus Or Die!!

This story is put out  by a group that focuses on persecution in India (persectionrelief.org) . This story is about a mob who threatened Sunday worshipers in a small village and vandalized the place.

Hindu Extremists Pressure Convert to File False Charge against Pastor in India, Sources Say

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – A pastor is facing criminal charges in northern India even though the complainant later denied allegations against the church leader of luring him to convert, sources said.

Police in Rupaidiha village, Uttar Pradesh state on Jan. 28 arrested 40-year-old pastor Dharmendra Singh on a charge of “alluring to convert” and two related charges – outraging religious feelings and promoting enmity. He was released on bail on Jan. 31.

Pastor Singh denied all charges against him, saying members of the Hindu extremist Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal fabricated a story and pressured a new Christian, Ramesh Gautam, to file a false complaint against him.
Gautam said in court on Jan. 30 that the allegations were false, the pastor said.
“He witnessed that his faith is his own choice and nobody has forced him or his family to believe in Jesus,” Pastor Singh told Morning Star News. “‘We have not converted by allurement but have become worshippers of Jesus,’ said Ramesh in the courtroom.”

Pastor Singh leads a church in Nepalganj, Nepal, where he resides just across the India-Nepal border, but he regularly visits the Indian village of Rupaidiha, Bahraich District, to lead the new fellowship there where Gautam worships. - Continues At Morning Star News

Tides Turn Against Indonesian Christians

This is a story about the rising tide of Islamism in the country and what it means for Christians.

China's Efforts To Rewrite Bible

The Daily Signal looks at Xi's efforts to change the Bible to make it more 'Chinese' and to make sure the Church does not pose any threat to the Communist Party.
Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in China. The above story is from the Daily Signal (Heritage Foundation).

Mr. Six (Xi) over there in China is a key enemy of the gospel message today. But he is being very, very careful how he attacks the Church.

7 Feb

Nehemiah XXV

So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul,
in fifty and two days.
(Neh 6:15)
So now we see the result of Nehemiah's tenacity, faith and courage. Nehemiah did not give up, he did not shirk and he did not whine. He stuck to it. Last week I listened to CSPAN radio and they had a group of female venture capitalists on and they talked about a lot of things. One of the things they were asked was what quality did they see was the most important for a successful business. Now from the impression I got listening to them, they had all suffered many professional defeats and setbacks. They said 'tenacity' was the one trait that they saw as being the most important. The willingness to stick to it, don't quit, don't get discouraged and to keep on pushing.

Apparently they were looking for that trait in leaders whom they were going to invest in. They mentioned other qualities and traits as well, but this was the one that they said was most important for success. Yes, you are going to make mistakes, yes you are going to kick yourself a few times and even fall flat on your face. They key is to get up, brush yourself off, and keep on working - no "pity party's". Nehemiah made mistakes, His biggest? He did not set watchmen up before the work began and it was only some credible rumors of an attack that got him to think seriously about the physical security of the work and workmen. The result of his hard work and tenacity can be seen in the above verse. They completed the wall in 52 days. Some scholars think the time may have been considerably longer, like 2 years and 52 days, but their evidence is not convincing. Among these commentators is the notable Josephus. K&D makes this interesting comment

For we must in this case consider,
1st, the necessity for hastening the work repeatedly pointed out by Nehemiah;
2nd, the zeal and relatively very large number of builders - the whole community, both the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Jericho, Tekoa, Gibeon, Mizpah, etc. having combined their efforts;
3rd, that the kind of exertion demanded by such laborious work and unintermitted watchfulness as are described Neh 4, though it might be continued for fifty-two days, could scarcely endure during a longer period; and
lastly, the amount of the work itself, which must not be regarded as the rebuilding of the whole wall, but only as the restoration of those portions that had been destroyed, the repair of the breaches (Neh_1:3; Neh_2:13; Neh_6:1), and of the ruined gates, - a large portion of wall and at least one gate having remained uninjured.). -

To this must be added that the material, so far as stone was concerned, was close at hand, stone needing for the most part to be merely brought out of the ruins; besides which, materials of all kind might have been collected and prepared beforehand. It is, moreover, incorrect to compute the extent of this fortified wall by the extent of the wall of modern Jerusalem. - K&D

I would add this as well. There appeared to be a large number of people who were involved and this made the completion time so short. I think we can couple that with the fact that the people were clearly well motivated to get it done. The following factors in Nehemiah's character also played very important roles as well.
1. He was a praying man (in faith and obedience - prayer without these two things are almost always useless)
2. He was a wise man, wise to the ways of the world
3. He had faith in his God
4. He was not going to be intimidated by this foes and by their stratagems
5. He was tenacious, he would not be dissuaded from his task

And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof,
and all the heathen that were about us saw these things,
they were much cast down in their own eyes:
for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.
(Neh 6:16)

When those round about had heard about how the wall was completed, despite all of the traps and tricks laid for them. Their enemies were downcast because the work was finally completed despite their interference. Their countenance fell -  they were not 'happy campers' about this turn of events. The Jews were back and were putting things in order and those foreign elements who had moved into Jerusalem saw this as an ominous turn of events. They were both sad and discouraged by this.

When God moves on behalf of his people, the devils children will be sad and confounded. This has always been the history of the people of God. The expression 'countenance fell' is somewhat related to what happened with Cain, when his offering to God was not accepted.

But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth,
and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth?
and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?
and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire,
and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother:
and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother,
 and slew him.

(Gen 4:5-8)

As we see in the above passage this leads not to just sadness, but can also lead to a violent form of jealousy that results on maliciousness and even murder. When God gives us favor brothers, expect to garner a large and powerful host of enemies!

Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah,
and the letters of Tobiah came unto them. For there were many in Judah sworn unto him,
 because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan
 had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.
Also they reported his good deeds before me,
and uttered my words to him.
And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.

(Neh 6:17-19)

This little comment mentioned by Nehemiah seems to not fit in this place, but nevertheless it is of great importance because it shows the political landscape of the times. Tobiah was connected by marriage to two powerful noble families. These were apparently powerful families of their times though little is known about them from Biblical sources. Shechinah is mentioned in Ezra 2:5. Then there was the Priestly connection. Jechohnan married one of the daughters of Zerubabbel's son's. We talked about him in the book of Zechariah. So we these were important political and social connections lined up with Nehemiah's nemesis, Tobiah. Clearly Tobiah had a large part of the nobility and key parts of the priesthood on his side. The passage seems to indicate  that this was on ongoing activity -  a kind of campaign that was meant to instill fear into Nehemiah. What is meant by 'his good deeds' is not wholly clear. But it seems to indicate that they were all praising Tobiah and how wonderful he was to one another, thus solidifying the political cohesion of the anti-Nehemiah faction. Others think that the phrase 'his good deeds' is a play on words on Tobiah's name.

ṭôbı̂yâh  ṭôbı̂yâhû
to-bee-yaw', to-bee-yaw'-hoo
From H2896 and H3050; goodness of Jehovah; Tobijah, the name of three Israelites and of one Samaritan: - Tobiah, Tobijah.
From H2895; good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adverb (well): - beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, X fair (word), (be in) favour, fine, glad, good (deed, -lier, liest, -ly, -ness, -s), graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, liketh (best), loving, merry, X most, pleasant, + pleaseth, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare, (be) well ([-favoured]).

The passage seems a bit obscure to one who is one who is not versed in Hebrew grammar, but the letters may also have been written to try and convince Nehemiah that Tobaiah's intentions were good. Nehemiah's experience  taught him otherwise. What was in these letters exactly is not indicated, but they probably also contained vital intelligence to Tobiah, on the progress of the work and everything he did and the goings on in the workplace. But others seem to think that many of the Nobles were trying to heal the the differences between the two camps. But clearly the intention of some of these letters was to discourage and frighten Nehemiah from completing his task.

We will continue on with Nehemiah as the Lord gives grace!!

5 Feb

Forsaking This World

We are in this world, but not of it. This at times is a hard lesson for us to remember and sometimes, life has a tendency to throw this lesson in our faces when we true  believers least expect it or want to be reminded of it.

Many of you here have seen a distinct moral decline and growing outright degeneracy of America and her people. Indeed this rising decadence can be seen throughout the western world. We in the west, like the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah, don't know just how depraved so many of us have become. I note that in Sodom, it was not just young adults who were assembled to gang rape the very messengers of God, but also the very young and the old. They all showed up to engage in forced intercourse (a gang rape) of God's holy messengers.

The 'crowd' had its own morality. It had its own moral compass that pointed straight to damnation.This is the compass that our world is increasingly operating from. It's not just illicit sex, rape and other perversions but also the greed, the drug abuse (this kind of usage by the tens of millions in the US alone), the hate, the industrial scale murders in the form of abortion and wars. Our nation and yes our world is one that more and more harbors around pleasures, illusions (drugs/games/movies) and death. This is the world and the the ways of the children of this world behave. They live for these things and their lives reflect it. We are not to be like the children of this world.

 And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
 and perfect, will of God.
(Romans 12:2 [KJV])
This world has its own ways of doing things. God has commanded us to do things another. The word above for 'conformed' is one that means to fashion oneself after or to form. This is the Strong's word.

from 4862 and a derivative of 4976; to fashion alike, i.e. conform to the same pattern (figuratively):--conform to, fashion self according to. see GREEK for 4862 see GREEK for 4976

The ways, fashions and fads of this world are not for us. We are of a different breed, if...  IF you have truly been born of God and by the Spirit have entered into the Kingdom of God. If this is you, then God is calling you out (Church - ekklesia (G1577)  to something wholly different than the passing fancy's, follies and yes, wickedness that is part of this world. We are wholly different and if we are holy, we are set apart for and by God for his use.

This is why we will never mix well with this world. It is like mixing oil and vinegar. The two may be in the same bottle, but they don't mix. God has called us out of this world and its wickedness.

Many of you are having real hard time with family. I got a gut wrenching email from a reader last week that laid out some very tragic and heart breaking news about her family. I know many others of you are also having trouble with them. I know I have. I know how hard it can be. While I cannot tell any of you what you should do in your situations, I can tell you some of the things I have done with those former friends and former family members who are nothing but trouble and are determined to remain so. Mind you, I am not talking about being cruel or heartless to someone with a problem, growing pains and those temporary periods of social dysfunction that many of us go through in life. No I am talking about a consistent pattern of disrespect for you as a person, contempt for your God and your religion, hate, a dangerous pattern of living (drug abuse that brings on violent spells, criminal behavior) and other things that need to be corrected before any further contact can be had.

This is what I have done and it works wonders for me.

1. Pray for the person. Get before God and pray for them. You may not get an answer that you are hoping for, but that does not mean that prayer cannot help. Pray for, rather than against that person.

2. Disengage. This is important. A person must know that their behavior -  any behavior has consequences, good or bad - and if mockery of you, a consistent hostile attitude towards you or a pattern of dangerous behavior is going to remain theirs, your best bet is to withdraw from them. Don't go near them and don't let them near you until they show a consistent change in their behavior.

For many of you this is the hardest. We get attached to people. It is better to attach yourself to God and let such people work out their own problems. Also keep in mind that these days, particularly with drug abuse, the laws are written in such a way as that if drugs are found in your home, even if you are not the one using them, it can open you up to a whole world of legal hurt. Don't be the one to have to pay for another fool's folly.

3. Press on! Don't belabor, weep or whine about the problems of others. Don't get yourself stressed or saddened out over it. Don't dwell on it. Unless you are dealing with kids, we must allow adults to make their own decisions and prosper or be punished for them. Don't look back, don't be unkind but rather, put your hand to the task that you have at hand and don't let someone else's bad attitude, stupid decisions and foolish behavior hinder your walk and the work you have at hand.

Again, this may not work for you and your situations. But for me, it works. I have learned not to get too attached to people. I have too many knife wounds in by back and far too many tales of serious slander and backbiting have come my way by those whom I once trusted to get too close to anyone, particularly I hate to say it, my own countrymen. My experiences both overseas and here make me leery of the shallow, superficiality and often two-faced nature of most of the Americans I have had the grave misfortune to know. The bad behavior of the people a sign of the spirit of this age that has particularly manifest itself  in America.

The good man is perished out of the earth:
and there is none upright among men:
they all lie in wait for blood;
they hunt every man his brother with a net.
That they may do evil with both hands earnestly,
the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward;
and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire:
 so they wrap it up. The best of them is as a brier:
the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge:
the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh;
now shall be their perplexity.Trust ye not in a friend,
put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors
 of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.
For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter
 riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law
against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are
the men of his own house. Therefore I will look unto the LORD;
I will wait for the God of my salvation:
 my God will hear me.
(Micah 7:2-7 [KJV])

So shall it be in the last days, brothers. These are dangerous times brothers and the sting of the serpent will be felt by many from their own close friends, associates and family.

Take heed.

This world? We are in it but not of it. What saith the scriptures? Here are some passages that may be helpful to you all.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of
the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome,
the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
(II Peter 2:20 [KJV])

And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world, and men
loved darkness rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.
 (John 3:19 [KJV])

 And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
 and perfect, will of God.For I say, through the grace
 given unto me, to every man that is among you,
not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think;
 but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to
every man the measure of faith.
(Romans 12:2-3 [KJV])

 Let no man deceive himself.
If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world,
let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
 For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise,
that they are vain.
(I Corinthians 3:18-20 [KJV])

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the
 minds of them which believe not, lest the light of
 the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God,
should shine unto them.
(II Corinthians 4:4 [KJV])

 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course
of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air,
the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times
past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the
 flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath,
even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy,
for his great love wherewith he loved us,
(Ephesians 2:2-4 [KJV])

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.
(Ephesians 6:12 [KJV])

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were
great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world
are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ;
and he shall reign for ever and ever.
(Revelation of John 11:15 [KJV])

May God keep all of you who love, honor and obey the Lord Jesus Christ and remember the words of our Lord about this world.

 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
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 15:18-21 [KJV])


2 Feb


Every so often I get an email that asks me the question about getting out of Babylon. I usually goes like when should be leave it and how do we know when that happens. Here is what I wrote to a reader recently who asked.

It is always nice to hear from fellow students of Bible Prophecy.

Babylon is a subject that I have covered quite a bit here on the site.

That the place we are to come out of, by my reading is a city - a city of Major economic activity.

A city not necessarily a nation. See

Rev 16:19

Seven times it is referred to as a city.

When do we come out?  When the call goes forth. There is a voice from heaven. I think (my own view) is that God will put a strong unction in each of his own to get out when the time comes. It won't be guesswork and we won't have to wonder. We will know what we have to do to obey.

Brother Mark

Note: This week, I will be posting more stories that are usually reserved for Insiders.

1 Feb

Germany To Try And Save INF Treaty

Tass news agency reports on this. The US will pullout of the treaty. And this leaves Germany and Europe more vulnerable to nuclear weapons. In layman's terms, intermediate range missiles are those missiles that could be launched by Russia and hit Europe but did not have sufficient range to hit the US, and vice versa.

The INF Treaty eliminated all nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers (310–620 mi) (short-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (620–3,420 mi) (intermediate-range). The treaty did not cover sea-launched missiles.[3] By May 1991, 2,692 missiles were eliminated, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.[4]

On 20 October 2018, citing Russian non-compliance, US President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing the US from the treaty.[5] Numerous prominent nuclear arms control experts, including George Shultz, Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn, urged Trump to preserve the treaty.[6] Russian president Vladimir Putin announced on 20 November 2018 that the Kremlin was prepared to discuss INF with Washington but would "retaliate" if the United States withdrew.[7] On 1 February 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. was suspending the treaty.[8]  - Wikipedia

The Arms Control Association has an informative paper here.

This was no shock to me. Bolton, who now is the key voice on matters of National Security does not like international treaties or organizations much. He has threatened the ICC and now this.

One cannot help but wonder how Kim over there in North Korea looks at this. We say we want a treaty with them, but are we likely to tear it up the moment they de-nuclearize? How can you trust a nation of, I will say it 'treaty breakers'? We broke our agreement with Iran, the INF who in their right mind would sign an agreement with us expecting us to keep it?

President Trump has undermined American credibility perhaps to an irreparable degree. It was precisely our ability to make agreements, build international legal frameworks and build coalitions that made us so powerful.

Now, no one will fully trust us or our agreements again.

Yes, there have been widely reported stories that the Russians violated the agreement with a new missile. Weather or not that missile really violated the agreement is not known to me. What I can say with some degree of certainty is that Russia knew that Bolton and Co. were looking for an excuse to tear up the treaty, so 'proving' that fact or anything at all along these lines to the Americans was a waste of time. A new excuse would have only been created. Nor were they going to open up one of their latest missiles for inspection to the Americans. We sure would not let the Russians do it to our latest missiles. So the debate was a non-starter. Both knew Washington's assertions could not be disproved without jeopardizing Russian military secrets.

The CRS has a backgrounder on the controversy.

U.S. and Russian officials met in Geneva on January 15, 2019, in what seems to be one last attempt to reach an agreement. According to press reports, Russian diplomats proposed that Russia display the 9M729 missile and demonstrate that it could not fly to INF range, while the United States, in exchange, could demonstrate that the MK-41 launchers in Romania could not be converted to launch INF-range cruise missiles. The United States rejected this proposal and indicated that the only acceptable solution would be for Russia to destroy the missile, its launchers, and its supporting infrastructure.

Andrea Thompson, the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, noted that an inspection of the missile would not allow the United States to “confirm the distance that missile can travel,” and that the “verifiable destruction of the non-compliant system” was the only way for Russia “to return to compliance in a manner that we can confirm.” While Russian officials indicated they were willing to continue the talks, Thompson also noted that there were no plans for additional meetings, and, if Russia did not agree to eliminate the missile, the United States would suspend its participation in the treaty and submit a formal notice of withdrawal on February 2, 2019. - CRS
More here on that US system from another Point of View.

Who is really to blame? I think there is plenty to go around but Bolton I think was looking for an excuse and now has what he wants.

Thus the hawks got what they wanted, a torn up treaty and no restraints to build and field a whole new generation of nuclear weapons...

...as though this is what the world needs right about now.

Border Watch

Another Tunnel Found At Mexican Border (MSN)
Border Agents Sieze $4.7 Mln In Fentanyl And Meth (UPI)
It is important to note something about the Fentanyl epidemic that is not going to be discussed much. First that this epidemic has strong and undeniable tracks back to nations who mean to do the US harm. Their goal is far less about money making that it is about destroy and killing as much of America as they can. This seizure, according to news reports is enough to kill (mark that word) 50 million people.

Granted the profit motive still is an important one in this trade, but so are other strategic considerations. More here and here and here.

We must not oversimplify this, but to ignore the aspect of unrestricted and unconventional warfare (war that goes far beyond tanks and guns) is to miss part of the root cause of the problem.

Fentanyl Was Hidden in Truckload of Mexican Produce (LAT)
DOD To Send Thousands More Troops To Border (NPR)
One Ranchers Reason For Support Of Wall (Marketplace.org)
Border Patrol Captures 'Secret Shoes' Dope Smugglers (KRQE)
Border Patrol Assists Locals Who Help Vulnerable Migrants (Santa Fe New Mexican)
One Persons Personal Experience With The US Border (The Hill)
Notes from a Trip to Mexico and back by plane and rent-a-car
2018 National Drug Threat Assessment (DOJ)
Border Wall Costs Could Balloon (UPI)
World's Apart: Trump And Pelosi On Border Wall (KTVB/AP)
Coyote's Services Are Not Exclusive To Mexican Border (KTXS)
Hundreds Of Migrants Dropped Off Just South Of Az. Border (Fox40)
They surrendered to the Border Patrol.
Officers Arrest Woman, Nearly $1 Million Seized Along Texas Border (Dallas News)
Officers searched the vehicle and found cash stashed in bundles.
200 Pounds Of Pot Seized At Mexican Border (Patch)
Mexico's Drug War (CFR)
The CFR looks at the war and the cartels operating in Mexico.
Have Terrorists Crossed Our Border? (CIS.org)
Hey... you want the facts? Not the political spin? You want to know about this issue or do you want to be spun by liars and dis-informants into a hell of anger induced confusion? All over the net you see stories that Trump is wrong on this issue and off his nut. But as you all don't need me to tell you, a lot of money is being spent to stoke up the emotion, hate and anger and the best way to do that is with fake news, false reports, lopsided reporting and other foolishness that Major PR firms are very good at... when a 5-7 figure check has been written.

Both sides do it and both sides should be blamed. Turning down the emotion and dealing with the available evidence (rather than permeated narratives) is the best way forward for all.
Report: Some Migrants Are Being Force Fed By US Officials (The Week)
Convicted Murderer Caught At US Border (KVOA)
Mexico's Neutrality In The Venezuelan Crisis (ICG)
Mexican Fuel Theft Crackdown Puts Gov't On Defensive (Yahoo/Reuters)
Mexico To No Longer Import US Crude (Frontier Post)
Mexico: Explosives Found Outside Refinery (AP/Yahoo)

31 Jan

Economic Tidbits

Political Reality Vs. Economic Reality
An informative, if a bit tongue in cheek look at the issues of the day, particularly with China. It also looks at some of the past economic proposals that are popular on the Campaign Trail 
Economic Mobility In The US
An excellent Presentation by Deutche Bank on the subject. It looks at all the major factors and does so without a lot of high sounding techno-econ babble. Just some great charts with a little comment. This story is by Oak Tree Capital.
The Death Of The Healthcare Market
Healthcare and economics? Healthcare is a massive trillion dollar industry in America. Ignore it and you ignore a key driver of the US economy. TheGrumpy Economist carries the original story.
A Stable Dollar
At the end of the day, the Fed's main task is a stable dollar. This paper looks at monetary policy along those lines. By Russell Redenbaugh & James Juliano
Existing Homesales Plummeted In Dec.
Because of the Shutdown? Meanwhile, New home prices sank. Mfi Miami reports on existing Home sales.

Are We Headed For Another Shutdown?
The Fiscal Times looks at where we are at.

Tax Refund? Maybe Not

China Meltdown-  Is It Here?
Human Events reports. China has got troubles, they are trying to paper them over, but they are real.
NSA Analysts Reportedly Work For The UAE
They may have have been spying on journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports. More here.

One has to wonder what kind of dirt we are up to in secret and how much of the trouble in our world has our hands on it.

Judge Won't Unseal Assange Indictment

In 'circular reasoning' decision she cites that there is no evidence that there is such an indictment. What does this mean? Either there is no indictment or the fact that any indictment that does exist may very well be classified. I have no clue and in this case - I frankly, don't want one! This case is very political and has some very serious undertones.

Everyone is worried about Mr. Assange and his role in the so called 'Russiagate' affair.

Is Someone Stalking Your Kids?

According to this, some devices are tracking kids real time, with little control over the databases.

Fed Capitulates: Stocks Jump

Interest rate rises are put on hold and the markets cheer. Asia times article is above and focuses on the effect in Asia, Wolf Street has their take here

My view is real simple. The Fed is in a quandary - we are in uncharted territory - very much so. So far, they have been able to manage the crisis of 2008 with great adeptness, but the Fed still has a lot of work to do (with QE unwind more here.)

No one really has a strong sense of what needs to be done because this kind of crisis (and solution) never occurred before,  so caution is the word. Perhaps he has come to the point where (philosophically) he realizes that when you are not sure what to do, doing nothing is not always the worst choice.

It would not look good if they messed this up.

Kazakhstan: Religious Prosecutions

(Forum 18) In 162 known administrative prosecutions in 2018, 146 individuals, religious communities, charities and companies were punished for worship meetings, offering religious literature and pictures (including online), sharing or teaching faith, posting material online, praying in mosques, allowing a parent to bring a child to meetings, or inadequate security measures. - Continues at Forum18


Note: I have been going through the book of Job with updates once a week. Job is one of the most well known books of the Bible and his story is known throughout the ages and the world, Christian and non-Christian alike. His is the problem of suffering and why we have to. The debate between Job and his three friends looks at the issue with depth, given its antiquity and honesty. 

I have gotten so much out of going back through the old testament books and prophets. Job was always one of my favorites.

 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
 Dominion and fear are with him,
he maketh peace in his high places.
 Is there any number of his armies?
and upon whom doth not his light arise?
(Job 25:1-3 [KJV])
We left off last time and Job was letting his friends have it. He made it plain that the things they were saying, just did not line up with reality. No, the wicked are not always punished in this life, despite their consistent protestations. Job challenges them and asks them to prove their point and make him out a liar. Bildad now continues his response to Job. It is brief and decidedly not on point.

He praises God and acknowledges God's light and power. He praises God's ability to make peace. Bildad appears to be making a slightly different point here. That God is powerful and righteous and we have no right to question him or his ways, as Job appears to be trying to do. As John Gill notes, his response seem to  be avoiding the basic controversy - he is delicately changing the subject to one of God's majesty and power, something he is sure about. He avoids Job's question. Why? We don't know, but it may be that Bildad has considered Job's words and wonders if perhaps he has a point. The difference between the two viewpoints are not as great as it may seem. Job contends that the wicked do indeed get theirs the end, but that in this life it is not always so. The others say that God punishes the wicked in this life. Yet this key point is the one of contention as this is how Job's current situation looks - like he is being judged by God.

 How then can man be justified with God?
 or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not;
yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.
 How much less man, that is a worm?
 and the son of man, which is a worm?
(Job 25:4-6 [KJV])

Bildad then, I think gently rebukes job, for he at times appear to be trying to justify himself before God. Bildad correctly rebukes Job, Who can do this? Who can be justified and righteous in the eyes of God? No one can. God see's the impurity of all things, even in the heavens. No one can claim the right to be justified in God's eyes.

Bildad then compares mankind to a worm -  something that comes up out of the earth (dirt) and lives on it and then dies and becomes part of it again. We are nothing compared to the heavenly bodies that while wondrous, God does not see even them as being pure. Any self justification on Job's part is sheer folly. The word for worm is actually maggot.

to-law' and (feminine) towleoah
or towla ath {to-lah'-ath}; or tolaiath {to-lah'-ath}; from 3216; a maggot (as voracious); specifically (often with ellipsis of 8144) the crimson-grub, but used only (in this connection) of the color from it, and cloths dyed therewith:--crimson, scarlet, worm. see HEBREW for 03216 see HEBREW for 08144

Bildad shows considerable wisdom here, he avoids the key issue and focuses in on a troubling trend he see's in Job's reasoning. That somehow he can stand before his maker and justify himself.

This is the folly of self righteousness. It is a serious problem in the life of any Godly person. We must never fall for it. Certainly I am not accusing Job of being Pharisaical, but at the same time, when any of us tries to justify ourselves and our own 'righteousness' we are on a slippery slope to a bad spiritual end. Christ had no use for the Pharisee's, who were righteous and holy... but only in their own eyes. We must always remind ourselves from whence we are fallen and that any righteousness that we have that is recognized by God comes from our faith and obedience to the one whom he has sent for our salvation, Jesus Christ. When we do some good, do something that is sacrificial, we tend to get puffed up. We must never do that. But remember that we are all just miserable servants of our Lord.

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done
all those things which are commanded you, say,
We are unprofitable servants: we have done that
which was our duty to do.
(Luke 17:10 [KJV])

We will look at Job's response next week, God willing.

30 Jan

US Spy Chiefs Break With Trump On Threats

The Big Boys of Intel give a briefing that undercuts the President's view on many issues. So what is this all about? Well, the Al Jazeera story (above link) is good but you will find many other stories on it from your major news outlets.

I will tell you what I see as it is has always been the way of things. These intel chiefs will inflate and yes, even create threats. Don't get me wrong, this is as much to do about integrity as it does about the key issue these men face as they sit in the top chair of their respective agencies. It's about money and budgeting - it's about how much money Congress is going to allocate to them. Notice that these new threats are blown up like a balloon right in front of the Senate and those who control the money that flows to their respective agencies. You don't get money by saying the threats are receding or gone, but by scaring folks half to death with new ones - visions of ISIS terrorists blowing up a kindergarten, Russians nuking the super bowl and other threats that could spring out of 'Pandora's Box'. The underlying idea is that if they don't get the money requested, then the budgetary allocators will be to blame for the evil that happens.

Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that testimony like this is more of a political game than an intelligence one. No one really wants Trump to pull out of Syria except a lot of American troops who have been there and think the mission sucks and the American people, many of whom voted for Mr. Trump. So I see this is also a swipe at the President on this front because many in the Defense and Intel Establishment want to stay in Syria forever, and that is no figure of speech.

There are many reasons for that view and I won't belabor them here. Suffice it today that staying satisfies two major unspoken goals of our military and security establishment - the expansion of US military influence (empire) and money - money that flows into the military and its contractors when large numbers of US troops are on the ground. Another branch of empire is cut off and another spigot of money gets cut off with American troop withdrawals.

Mind you this is not meant to slam or denigrate these intelligence professionals. They have to go up there and do the 'Potomac Two Step', hold out their hats and hope someone throws some money in it. They need it to run their respective agencies. It's 'shake-a-cup' time at the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee.

For those of you interested, the Intel community released its strategy and it can be found here. I think many of you will find it rather interesting. This too will be of interest to many of you.

But still their warnings are most important to listen to and while some of the threats they outline can be taken with a grain of salt, others I think need to be taken a little more seriously.
You can read Coats Opening statements here.

This is a dangerous world, far more dangerous that most Americans are aware of, as they head off to their opiod wonder world of pain-free living and vote their sexual preference rather than on some of the harsh realities this nation and world are facing. We never hear about the trillions in debts America has piled up when election time rolls around, we just hear about 'homophobia'; we don't hear about how China has stolen so many of our secrets that they can build stealth jets and field them faster than we can... based on the tech America developed, no -  we hear people calling each other 'racist' or 'sexist' over a remark or incidents that may or may not have even happened.

I feel for those responsible folks up there on the Hill who have to deal in the real world but have to placate 'Opiod Ollie' and 'Mary Meth-head' on the campaign trail who couldn't point to Syria on a map even if you gave them 5-10 tries.

Forgive me if I am harsh on so many Americans. But a people so ignorant and who demand to remain stubbornly so, cannot hope to keep the freedoms and security that we all now enjoy. The debate in this country has to be elevated beyond the latest foolishness to something more intelligent, informed and enlightened. A Nation of doped out, sex addicts who think movies are more important than real life and who get their news from Facebook cannot hope to deal with the kinds of threats we as a nation now face.

Maduro's 20 Tonnes of Gold

When you see one of these engineered revolutions like this take place, the money/wealth is always what you want to keep your eye on. When the coup plotters hit Ukraine, reports make pretty clear that they stole the gold first. So where is this gold going? Who knows. Britain has 'seized' the gold from Venezuela it had stored there.  The gold and with Venezuela - the oil (the world largest proven reserves) - those are what has got the US so interested in the 'human rights' situation there. In the meantime, her oil exploration and production have declined.

Source: EIA


   Data and map can be found here.

When one looks at these colored revolutions more along the lines of a massive looting operation to install a US puppet rather than any real concern for human rights or democracy - our foreign policy becomes clear as the swastika over the Reich's Chancellery in the Third Reich.

I hate to sound so harsh and cynical because I know many in DC really do want to do right by the people of Venezuela as it limps towards economic and political disaster. My point is a different one. The people in DC who are making the key decisions in secret don't give rats behind about the people of Venezuela. They want her wealth and will do what it takes to get it.

I have no idea where the Gold is, but Maduro may have moved it out of the country out of fear that what happened in Ukraine and its gold could happen to Venezuela and its gold.

Let us all pray for Venezuela and yes, Maduro. We are enjoined to pray for leaders and demonized though he may be, many still support the people's revolution he has so pitifully represented.

Venezuela's demise has as much to do with his dreadful mismanagement as it does with a carefully contrived crisis that was created when the price of oil sank like a rock a few years ago. Oil revenues for the country dried up (as it did for Russia, and Iran as well... hint hint) and they all started to have many predicable (and gleefully anticipated by some) economic problems as a result.

Let's pray for Venezuela and for peace, stability and a just system that keeps the thieves of any variety from absconding with the county's wealth.

Let us also let Americans remember this -  what goes around can indeed come around...

...despise not prophesyings...

Will Mexico Go The Way Of Venezuela?

A look at events in Mexico, like those severe gas shortages. Lots of issues down there you don't hear much about.

Google's New Censorship Trend: Why And Who Is Behind It?

Yes, a new wave of censorship is hitting the web and most of your major social networking sites are combating what they call 'fake news' (unapproved of narratives) by taking stuff down. Sometimes there is considerable justification - other times not. Strategic Culture carries the story above.

Censorship is the new trend. The powers that be all over the world are doing all they can to find a legal way of shutting down the internet or rather voices they want silenced. The most extreme examples are China and North Korea, but the west has jumped on the same bandwagon just not as much in an 'in your face' fashion.

I imagine there is considerable pressure on Social Networking platforms to comply with the political whims of the new Censors (in Congress and their party mechanisms) if they don't want to be regulated out of business.

Many of my readers wonder why I went private and my posts now are no longer public. This is one (but only one) reason why. There are many ways to censor people and sites like mine they did indeed try to shut down, hack and when that did not work they tried to censor me by attempting to jail me and yes, doing me physical harm. This stuff happens right here in the good old USA, they do it in a way that they hope no one ever discovers (covertly). Ever seen a blog that you really like suddenly disappear with no explanation? That happens when the blogger is suddenly found dead and no one updates the site.

That is the more extreme form of censorship out there. Then there is this kind of thing with some of our Social Networking sites whose actions more and more start to move in the direction Xi's friendly army  of Censors. They do much more in China than censor - like torture and send you to labor/re-education camp.

Consider how far some were willing to bend over to please Xi...

Most of you are not going to accept this but there are dark, very dark forces in this country who hold considerable power who hate the rights our system gives us. The right to be heard in court, to speak freely, to travel freely - they are determined to make those freedoms a thing of the past. Some of them have sat in Congress, the Senate and have top positions in our security apparatus and even in the White House.

Freedoms not jealously guarded are freedoms suddenly lost.

Defense Watch

The Trump Doctrine: Breaking With The Past

Israel And Germany Do Drones

DOD To Audit Yemen Fuel Disbursements

Trump's NATO Funding Talk Yields Real Results $$$

US Navy Balks At More Missile Defense

Church Watch

The Orthodox Church: Russian and Ukrainian

A scholarly look at the recent schism between the two churches and why it is important, not just for the Church, but for the whole region.

10 Famous Chinese Christians Who Died in 2018

Chinese Christians? The Church, despite the persecution there is growing steadily and may soon, if it has not already overtake the US as the country with the most Christians. More here on China and Christianity.

World Refugee Council Calls To Overhaul System

This may not deal directly with the Church, but Christians are indeed very active in the whole aid and refugee resettlement system.

Grieving Christians Baffled by Muslim Fulani Herdsmen Aggression in Nigeria

Mega-Church Pastor Shoots Self

This is so tragic, but many pastors are just plain overworked. They don't know how to delegate and pastor burnout is a major problem in American Christendom. This piece does not cite burn out but a mental health issue as the underlying cause for his problems.

Christian Man Kidnapped In Sinai

Islamic militants suspected.

We Will Teach You A Lesson: Extremest Persecution Of Christians

The monthly update on persecution around the world done by the Gatestone Institute and Raymond Ibrahim.

Kurdish Leaders Discusses Return Of Christians To Nineveh

Hungary Assists Persecuted Christians In Syria

Price of Forever Stamps Rises To 55 Cents

Yes, its true. Here is the reason why.

James Watson And Scientific Racism

This is a very interesting read from Wired on DNA, scientists and how one Black doctor (a computational scientist) has dealt with some insidious and dangerous forms of racism. This is an interesting read for many reasons. Blacks inferior based on DNA? Here is how one guy has had to deal with this and why this subject is a matter of concern.

Count Dracula Does Obamacare

This is so sad. A new chain of clinics has opened up that offers blood transfusions of the blood of young people to those who can pay. The link is from Futurism.

No word yet if this will be covered in your Obamacare premiums.

This is the sign of a society that is sicker than it realizes.

29 Jan

War And Prophecy Watch

From time to time I get questions about where we are on God's prophetic timetable. What to expect next. Having been both a student of the world, its wars, problems and political systems as well as being a strong student of Bible prophecy for most of my adult life and having the patience and maturity to know that we must wait on God for all things and not rush him I am often asked questions like this.

Yet I often hesitate to answer those questions, but have indeed been told on numerous occasions that there are not that many folks who have both my background and natural abilities make me one of those few who can do this intelligently. This is hardly a mark of pride. I frankly would rather not be known as such a person and have indeed nearly rebelled against the God of heaven for putting me in this often thankless job.

But God's hand was very heavy upon me to make sure I did this job and continue to do it to the best of my ability. Ordinarily I would not even attempt to answer such a question on this side of the password wall (public site). But events today, I think demand a minor update on this subject particularly with regards to the subject of war and warfare. But as time permits I will not stop there. If I don't put a great many links in this update today, that is not my usual MO. I usually try my best to place good links with good information into these, but today there is a lot to cover and I want to hit many of the main points without spending half the morning hunting for and double checking copyrights and re-posting policies on 20-30 sites.

First and foremost I think we need to understand that right now the world is on a major arms race. It's the Russians, Americans, Chinese, Indians and other nations as well who are arming, re-arming armaments updating and getting ready for a conflict all know is coming. The Russian have a new underwater drone, the Americans just tested a new low yield nuke. Western Mercenaries are looking to move into Syria. China has made it plain it is deadly serious about re-taking Taiwan and every few days or so, Israel runs some kind of armed 'kinetic' sortie into Syria To top it all off, the nations who are top arms buyers may surprise many of you. 

That is just a very, very few of the hotspots around the world. War and armaments -  if you are not watching these things in our world, you are not watching. The political theater in DC is often one of the greatest distractions to truly watching and understanding the times. I say this because most of those up there in DC don't know what is going on in the world. They really don't. They don't get briefed by the Intelligence community and they don't get good analysis on the day to day events in our world. As we saw recently over the whole Khashoggi affair, they have to fight just to get the 'dumbed down' briefing on which they have to make key decision on and even then, only a few get the information. 

The CRS does as good a job as can be expected but they are hamstrung - with a purpose. But that is another story. No, one thing I leaned when I was doing what I was doing way  back when is that Congressmen are the worst 'mushrooms' on the planet. They don't know what is going on by design. So if you think you can listen to the political debate and think you understand the real issues in our world - you will be lead by a mushroom and will eventually sit under its shade - let by a someone who is fed by manure and sit under the darkness his petals give you. I am not being deliberately condescending of Congressmen - only their unwillingness to demand better information, better depth and timeliness on many of the events in our world.

The world is preparing for a war or rather -  many wars. There are many drivers. One is the future need for resources to feed ever growing numbers of people and their ever growing economic expectations. This is a major driver. It is a 'go in and take what you want with force' kind of mentality - create a situation -  blow stuff up and steal what you can under the cover of the columns of smoke. Other nations are learning this kind of behavior from us so be aware, the world top powers will use their military forces to get what they need or want should they need or want it bad enough.

The trends in global demographics will create situations in many parts of the world where obtaining critical resources will be imperative while others will do all in their power to hinder them from getting it. This is the world we are rapidly moving into. One aspect of this trend is the phenomenon referred to as the resource curse. It's a common problem of nations who suddenly find themselves resource wealthy and find that those resources rather than bringing prosperity, bring crime, corruption, wars and death while the rich powers squabble over who gets them. But those squabbles won't be just about oil, coltan and gold that will be fought over, but food, water and basic energy.

Megatrend 4: Growing Food, Water, and Energy Nexus

Demand for food, water, and energy will grow by approximately 35, 40, and 50 percent respectively owing to an increase in the global population and the consumption patterns of an expanding middle class. Climate change will worsen the outlook for the availability of these critical resources. Climate change analysis suggests that the severity of existing weather patterns will intensify, with wet areas getting wetter and dry and arid areas becoming more so. Much of the decline in precipitation will occur in the Middle East and northern Africa as well as western Central Asia, southern Europe, southern Africa, and the US Southwest. - DNI/NIC - Global Trends 2030
This is right out of the US intelligence community. They see it - others see it and have seen it for some time. More people, more needs and those who have will want more and those who have not will want more too. Those who don't get what they need will either move (migration) or begin to fight to get it (violent non-state actors).

This is a trend that is coming. There is no way around it unless the elite begin to implement a global de-population program - a subject that I have talked about before, but won't belabor today. These things are coming, like a freight train right at our future. There are some voices of hope out there that believe these problems can be solved I say, given the caliber of leaders who are in power today such solutions are little more than a pipe dream.

But the other major factor driving all of this war talk, armament programs, new 'wonder weapons' being developed and deployed? It is a simple principle that I think many miss.


For nation shall rise against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom:
and there shall be famines, and pestilences,
and earthquakes, in divers places.
 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted,
and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated
of all nations for my name’s sake.
 And then shall many be offended,
and shall betray one another, and shall
hate one another. And many false prophets
shall rise, and shall deceive many.
(Matthew 24:7-11 [KJV])

The rise of nationalism particularly of the highly militaristic variety (as we see in places like North Korea, Russia and the US) is something that we all should be watching closely. It's symptoms? National pride based very much if not exclusively upon the military. its armaments industry and conquest. War and the military become one of the, if not the most important centralizing principles of the nation state - go back and study the Nazi's where the military and the whole security apparatus was within the state.

We call this the Military Industrial Complex today, but what we have today is nothing more than a variation of the exact same theme of Hitlers Germany. The security system, the military and the banks are the real power in this nation. Granted we still have one major check on power in our elections but those have become increasingly divisive and tragicomic today.  It isn't very effective check on these powerful forces, given the growing hostility and ignorance (and fake news and false narratives) of those who are unfortunately allowed to vote. This new model of government where the military and security apparatus is both evident in east and the west and it has given rise to the kinds of virulent nationalism we have seen in places like China under Xi. Russia under Putin and America under Trump, Turkey under Erdogan as well as India under Modi. The world and its key military powers are growing increasingly nationalistic and are preparing to protect their interests and take needed resources by military force.

This is in my view is going to be an established trend, not a temporary aberration. There are those who wanted to bring about a system of global governance where National tendencies would be submerged into a global system of governance run by an un-elected elite, but the world has rejected this. That vision I don't think is going to return, at least not until a final 'Beast' system is thrust upon the globe. I note an interesting passage in scripture that I think is important to this idea.

And they worshipped the dragon which gave
 power unto the beast: and they worshipped
the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast?
who is able to make war with him?
(Revelation of John 13:4 [KJV])

Then there is the growing hostility to Christians. Did not our Lord tell us this would be so? Yet people whine about why the Lord is taking so long. It's real simple. His agenda is not yours or my agenda. He is God we are his servants if we choose to serve him. If not, we are and will remain his enemy.

God is doing is utmost to save souls, not damn them. This is why the call of salvation is still going forth by men and women who carry the gospel message if not by direct evangelism, then by living godly humble life for all the world to see. Persecution? Brothers we have only begun to see it. We in the west have not yet really seen it, though some in Europe have only begun to taste a bit of it. Real persecution will indeed come to the US. When it comes it is likely to take many American church-goers by surprise. They will not be ready for its assault and the many different facets of life it will take when it happens. The rise of satanism, atheism and other 'isms' out there that are openly hostile to Christians - they are organizing and they mean to take political power.  They don't particularly like Church people. But when God lays out his plagues on earth in the final hour, devil worship will be prominent, just like it is becoming today. Mankind will take upon himself one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make - he will try and take advantage of God's mercy and forbearance.

And the rest of the men which were not killed
by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver,
 and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see,
 nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders,
nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication,
nor of their thefts.
(Rev.9:20-21 [KJV])

God's mercy is to get men to repent. But conversely it also allows God to make sure that those whom he is forced to damn, fully deserve it. God is going to give mankind all the rope he needs to hang and them damn himself with should he choose not to repent. This is why the plagues come - one last ditch effort to get man to change his ways. As we read for the most part, he won't. He will continue to lie, kill and steal. Mankind will fully demonstrate that his love is not for the light, but for evil.

And this is the condemnation,
 that light is come into the world,
 and men loved darkness rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.
(John 3:19 [KJV])

So to those of you who are in a rush that the 'day of the Lord' arrives - take a step back and consider what awaits us (see Amos 5:18) and the world in general as we move closer to that day. The world is going to be awash in every vice and crime, every form of evil will be praised and Godly men and women will be persecuted, hunted down and killed. Do you want to look at a foretaste of what life will be like in those days? Go back and look at how the so called 'Islamic State' behaved. Look at the beheadings, the burnings, the slavery the wanton violence. Men, once they jettison the God of heaven will make up their own gods in their own image and the image that will come to the fore will be one that fully displays the character of mankind in those days. Blasphemy will be one key foundation of that system and praise of a new god whose key job will be to mock the God of heaven  (see Rev 13).

But many of you want people like me to set dates. I don't do that because you know what? I don't know. I'd be a liar if I told you otherwise. I have many faults but lying is not among them, though I have often been falsely accused of it. I do my best to be as honest with God, others and myself as possible. So don't ask me about dates - I don't know.

But one thing I think that must have more time and 'scope' to spread across the globe is technology. It's got to hit the whole Globe. Audio visual transmission must be global and it must be total. We are nearly there, but not quite. This is why little trends like the prevalence of cell phones in places like Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America are trends to watch, in my view.

Now some of you are going to ask me how I come up with a 'theory' like that? Why is this so important prophetically you may ask? Let me answer that question because many centuries ago, scholars had to be totally in the dark about how some prophecies would be fulfilled. Here it is.

 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues
and nations shall see their dead bodies
three days and an half, and shall not suffer
their dead bodies to be put in graves.
And they that dwell upon the earth shall
rejoice over them, and make merry,
and shall send gifts one to another;
because these two prophets tormented
them that dwelt on the earth. And after
 three days and an half the Spirit of life
from God entered into them, and they
stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon
 them which saw them.

(Revelation of John 11:9-11 [KJV])

It is interesting to read how ancient commentators try and 'hedge' their comments on this passage. How can so many people see these bodies in just three days? Well, today it is possible. With the advent of the internet we can see things immediately. I can imagine that the murder of these two prophets (the two Witnesses) will be a 'viral video' and the world will throw a party when they are murdered. But their job was to warn the world of its sins and try and save it. The world does not want to be saved - it wants to do evil.

This is one of the Lord's last ditch attempts to get man to repent.

Humanity is having none of it.

Then comes the final 42 month 10 king/False prophet system. That will come one day and it will do its level best to compel men to worship it and exclude economically any who do not and then take to killing them. This too is in our future. Many of us will be heading off to the chopping block... there is no easy or nice way to put it so I say it clearly and directly - they are going to chop off our heads for not taking mark of economic and spiritual submission to this new system.

 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them,
and judgment was given unto them:
and I saw the souls of them that were
beheaded for the witness of Jesus,
 and for the word of God, and which
had not worshipped the beast, neither his image,
 neither had received his mark upon their foreheads,
 or in their hands; and they lived and reigned
with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of
the dead lived not again until the thousand years
were finished. This is the first resurrection.
 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in
the first resurrection: on such the second death
 hath no power, but they shall be priests of God
 and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
(Rev 20:4-6 [KJV])

 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. And he causeth all,
 both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,
 to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that
had the mark, or the name of the beast,
 or the number of his name.
(Rev 13:15-17 [KJV])

Tech - Practically Speaking

You know, I often get a rash of crap from folks because I don't have a smart phone. I don't. I am not going to get one either. I have learned the hard way how this system uses the data they collect on us. They abuse it and use it for reasons that people would never expect. They do it because criminals have their hands all over our Surveillance system. There are ways they can get data on you, legally or illegally and particularly through carefully arranged and meticulously guarded loopholes in laws and procedures.

Look, I wrote on this a few weeks ago and I know this too, other loopholes are out there that are being used not just by 'bounty hunters' but by those with an agenda. Want to go after Blacks and Jews? Want to find out where they are at any given time and mess with them or worse? Don't like what that Black man is writing on his blog? There are ways insiders can do this without the need for cops, warrants, judges and all that legal red tape. Pay your money to the right people and you can make sure your enemies are set up, beaten up or even dead before sunset and no one will know who did it or why. They tried some dastardly crap on me that was waaaay outside the law.

Why? They don't like intelligent Black folks and they don't like (real) Christians.

That Smartphone? It's going to land a lot of Minsters, Pastors, on fire Christians, Deacons and Priests in a whole lot of trouble they never thought possible. Why? Because as I keep tell you here and few listen - that Smartphone is a surveillance device FIRST FIRST - everything else it can do is designed for one purpose alone - to get you to be dependent on it and keep it with you 24-7. They can turn on your camera and microphone remotely and you will never know about it. They can follow you in traffic and listen in while you are in a corporate board meeting. Go to your favorite search engine and see for yourself, use words like microphone turn on remotely.  You will get the encyclopedia as results. Look at it like this - this system it is not being run by God. This tech? The devil is all over it. Do you really want to trust him with some of the most intimate details of your life? If you answer yes and you serve the Lord,  you may be about to experience one of the rudest awakenings in your soon to be shortened life.

So tech I see as a big one. An economic mark? Brothers we are not far from that one at all. Drones? Brothers, I see those right there in our Bible.  I see the devil and his minions getting control of an army of technological drones so strange no one could ever really believe it in the olden days until we have begun to see the rise of drones. autonomous weapons and non-lethal autonomous weapons, (see Revelation 9:3ff). An insect like system of drones with a centralized control (hive - see Rev 9:11). They are already on this here in the US. The Russians and Chinese? If they aren't now they will be soon.

Brothers, things are heading exactly the way God said they would and just like God said it would be, few would mark it. Few would believe. The more prophecy lands on our front page, the more people turn towards evil.

So dear brothers and sisters. To those of you who asked me about where we are at prophetically keep these things in mind. God is patient with mankind and we must develop patience as well. God wants as many saved as possible. He is not itching to condemn the world, but earnestly wants to save as many as he can.

For God sent not his Son into the world
to condemn the world; but that the world
 through him might be saved.
 (John 3:17 [KJV])

What is best for us all is to keep watch on the times but keep our eyes on the tasks that God has given us to do. Did not Christ say occupy till I come? Yes he did. Let the Preacher preach, the evangelist evangelize, the mother raise her kids, the car repairman repair cars and remember that God demands faithfulness and honesty in all of our doings, be they important or not so important; spiritual or mundane.

So let none of you sit on 'pins and needles' waiting for the Lord to return. There are still some things that must happen first.

 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 37:7-11 [KJV])

May God bless all who love our Lord Jesus Christ and await his return.


28 Jan

Pax Africana?

A look at those trying to influence Africa, this paper looks at states in the Middle East and their influence on Africa.

Africa is a key battleground mostly because it is resource rich and those with considerable capital are looking to exploit those resources. We have heard much about how the US and China are moving in - this article is another part of the African security and economic story.

Africa (and nations more involved there) is a major story 'edited' out of our newspapers.

More here.

Emocracy: American Democracy Is Doomed

The Globe and Mail looks at how America's democracy has transformed itself into an emocracy - a people ruled by emotions rather than informed majorities.

Americans (of all parties, races and religious backgrounds) must get hold of their own thoughts and emotions and not let clever propagandists control them for us.

Queen Speaks On Brexit: Enough Is Enough!

The Queen finally breaks silence. Well, she can only speak to the nation officially with the consent of her ministers. The Portland Press Herald reports above.

But it is starting to look like a no deal Brexit is coming. Everyone is predicting an economic catastrophe for the UK. I don't think so, some disruptions at first, certainly. But problems will get ironed out eventually. There has been a lot of scaremongering... by those who want to have the UK sign a bad deal. But others who have been part of the day-to-day negotiations are not so sure things are going to be that bad.

CBO's Outlook

While out at Safeway this AM I got a chance to listen to a bit of CSPAN on the budget and the CBO's presentation on our deficits. You an find it archived here. Unsustainable. People who do the numbers tell us and no one listens. They just want to keep spending money and the American people would not have it any other way. You can read the report the video is based on here.

   Source: CBO

The end of our economy? No, not yet. Our fiscal managers have been very adept at managing all of this debt so far. But with rising deficits and rising interest payments, these things get harder over time.  As long as foreigners continue to fund our deficits, we can continue on in our 'debtors paradise'. But we have had a series of weak debt auctions (weak demand). This is an issue to watch. To go into these deficits we have to have people willing to lend to us (buy Treasuries) at a rate  we can afford, not sell them.

No, there is no crisis now, but trends seen the past couple of years could man trouble down the line, despite what the economic spin-meisters will tell us. Weak demand for our debt (what we use to pay for our government when tax revenues are not enough - read deficit) is going to be a yellow light and later a red one down the line.

We borrow too much money and lack the fiscal and political discipline to live within our means.

Debts are not bad in and of themselves. It is often a great way to finance projects and investments. But when a person has to resort to paying his daily bills on more and more debt, he is on a road to the poor house - no two ways about it.

It's when a debtors paradise turns into a debtors prison.

Another Brick In The Border Wall

Well, there are those of you who wish me to talk about Trump's latest move with the wall. So today, I will spend a few moments on it before we move on to other issues that face out world and planet.

The Senate, House and President have agreed to a temporary funding bill (through Feb 15th) that will pay Federal employee's while both sides engage in 'good faith' negotiations on Trumps border wall. I won't bore you with links on the details on it, the stories are plentiful on the web.

So what prompted Trump to switch gears and do this temporary bill? It's a mystery to a lot of bloggers and even the great many left and right spin machines seem to be somewhat in a quandary. I don't think it is such big mystery. I will give you my one-and-half cents, for what it is worth.

I think many rank and file Republican Senators have been getting an earful from their home states. They take those calls and do the constituent work and have a staff (or contractors) who do the footwork for them in their home districts. I can only imagine that at first there were a few expressions of discontent, but now that the shutdown has lasted over a month and many folks are not getting paid, the issue is much more desperate for many now as landlords are starting to issue eviction notices, car loan companies have issued default notices and mortgage holders are also having trouble making their payments. There has to be considerable pressure on the Hill over this shutdown at this point in time. I suspect that some GOPers are prepared to seriously break ranks with Senate Leadership and the President. We have already seen a bit of this. I expect that Sen McConnell can only hold his troops in line for a  little while longer. That is one reason. The other is that frankly the government and its critical services are indeed slowly grinding to a halt. When  only half of those IRS employees who are supposed to report to work, don't and tax season starts today (28th), there is a problem and one that cannot be papered over. What about air Traffic Controllers. The fact is there is a serious problem on that front.

Trump is getting all the blame, but there is plenty to go around on both sides. Much of our media has often tilted left and as a result the left's side gets told, while activities on the border that would cause a President to desire much better border security gets drowned out or unreported. Trump's policies are having a positive effect, though you would never know it reading media reports from the left. Some weird stuff is going on down there. Also keep in mind that for every seizure and arrest, there are even more cases where the drugs reach their destination and if you don't believe me, just look at the drug usages statistics here in the US. Heroin, Meth and Coke. Much of these drugs comes to the US from the border. No, not all - but a sizeable portion of it.

One way to look at this border debate is the money and lobbying power behind each side of it. Those who have every reason to keep the borders open have more money and lobbying power than those who want a secure border. Those cartels and trafficking networks have serious money and they have launderers who are very good at making money from a major coke deal look like it came from one of America's most venerated charities.  Keep that in mind during this debate.

So my guesstimate is this - Trump is going to negotiate one last time on this with the Democrats, but if they balk,  another shutdown could occur and then the National Emergency could be called. This will be hindered in the courts for some time unless the President gets a stay from Scotus or an expedited hearing - and he might. If I were advising him I will tell him he has three reasons to call an emergency. One is Drug Trafficking, the other is human trafficking the other is a humanitarian crisis. I would declare one for one year, another for the second and the third for the third year as the laws only allow him to declare such an emergency for a single year at a time. But I would not do this without some kind of serious move towards showing those who come in legally some very positive consideration. Increase numbers of legal migrants from Latin America, expedite their claims for entry and a green  card. Don't be cold hearted (and give your enemies political ammunition for their verbal assault weapons) and allow those middle of the road Republican representatives to take something back to their home districts as a positive step for both sides and take away the narrative from the left that you hate migrants. Let more in legally. On the Campaign trail you can use this as an issue when they attack you... and they will. You can tout a successful policy of increased Legal migration from Lain America coupled with increased border security.

Let the media spin themselves dizzy. When the elections come around the party can claim a victory on  both fronts and if well handled can be plus, because the way I see it, the Democrats don't have anything to stand on and have been and will continue to hunt for wedge issues and harness that 'primitive anger' at Trump to propel them to victory in 2020 when they really have no policy or platform other than the foundational principle of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Can The DOD Build A Wall? - CRS Legal Sidebar

Declare the emergency, get your lawyers ready for a pitched battle on multiple fronts and take no prisoners in court. Get the data from FinCen on the money laundering networks that gets money from the cartels and to the law firms fighting you in court,  as well as the elected officials who are taking that money. Use the full power of the Presidency to protect the nation from those who are destroying it using drugs and destroying lives of immigrants in the form of trafficking (sex and otherwise) and slavery and even murder.  If you can't use FinCen to protect the nation from such people, there is no use in collecting the intelligence on them anyway. I can think of no better use for the information. Get the corrupt out of our legislative bodies and out of our courts as its officers. Go full 'Donald Trump' on those networks who try and sound humanitarian and good on the border while work for those who shackle a child to a bed to be used as a sex toy for profit and enslave a mother to work as domestic who must pay 'protection money' to the trafficker or her child may wind up with being sold off to a brothel in retaliation. These traffickers are NO GOOD - don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The problem is real and can be quantified.

In closing, don't get fixated on a wall. Find out the best technological method for physically inhibiting the flow of illegals over our borders. Get it done, the country needs this.  The media  (the large corporations who make the editorial decisions at the major news outlets) may not want us to see that this is needed but that is only because you, Donald Trump proposed it. Whatever you propose they are going to be hostile to, so your best bet is to ignore the major media, they don't speak for the people - if they did and were right about anything, Hillary would be sitting where you are now.

She isn't. You are. Listen to them and your fate will be just like hers when November 2020 rolls around.

I know many of you would like me to carry the common narrative in the Media. I cannot do that. I have to call things as I see them and we need to fix what is broken along our border. We don't need a cosmetic response (drones and sensors don't stop people from entering) but an effective one.  I will be the first to say that there are more than a few things I don't like about this President, but this is one thing that needs to be fixed and he is the kind of guy who has the moxy to go in and fix it. President Trump is constitutionally empowered to and by law compelled to secure this country - it is his primary job - even if the people don't understand or want to understand the threat or the reasons why and would rather be carried away by foolishness that satisfies partisan anger, rather than the security of the country

Afghanistan: Massacres And Talks

Map Copyright: Wikipedia/Shahid Paravz

(South Asian Terrorism Portal) On January 21, 2019, the Taliban attacked a National Directorate of Security (NDS) compound in Maidan Wardak province, Afghanistan. More than 100 were killed in the attack in which the Taliban used a captured Humvee truck filled with explosives to drive into the compound, followed by suicide bombers.

Geographically one of the central provinces, Wardak borders Kabul and is not far from the national capital. In terms of violence perpetrated by the Taliban, Wardak is one of the numerous attacks on security and police outposts since the beginning of 2019. So, Wardak is, nevertheless, significant, first, as an overview of the attacks, since January 1, 2019, reveals a pattern. Wardak is part of an escalating series of attacks led by the Taliban in the central, southern and eastern provinces, particularly in the Faryab, Balkh, Badghis, Kandahar, Jowzjan and Helmand provinces. Faryab and Kandahar have already witnessed more than ten attacks this year, followed by six attacks in Balkh, four in Badghis, three in Jowzjan and two in Helmand (data till January 27, 2019).

Second, the Wardak massacre is a part of targeted and coordinated attacks on security and police outposts and security compounds, by the Taliban. For the Taliban, Wardak was a specific target with well-specified objectives. The Taliban has been struggling to capture these outposts as well as to capture weapons and kidnap members of the security forces. The weapons used by the Taliban to strengthen its own armoury, and the explosive-laden Humvee is a case in point, having been captured in an earlier attack.

Third, and most importantly, the Wardak incident should be seen as part of the Taliban's military strategy in negotiating with the US. For the last few months, the US has sought to initiate a dialogue with the Taliban. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Envoy, has been entrusted with the task to politically engage with the Taliban. Trump's recent announcement on the reduction of troops in Afghanistan was likely a behind the scenes part of this engagement.  - Continues At The South Asian Terrorism Portal Site

Comment: Trump has pulled out of Syria. What should be done about Afghanistan? Here the question may not be as easy. We have a significant investment there of time and lives, yet the goals and vision of any realistic 'victory' or success is had not been clearly stated. We cannot defeat the Taliban, not without a long war with overwhelming force for many years. But we tried that and it did not work (Remember Obama's surges?). This kind of warfare is something the US is not very good at. This is not a slam at the men and women who serve or have served there, but rather it is an admission of the deep historic, economic and tribal difficulties that would beset a purely military solution. There just isn't one. The Generals may disagree, but they have been trying since October of 2001 with few tangible results.

Way back when this site first started I wrote about Afghanistan and the war on terror, seeing it for a massive move to abscond with a few hundred billion out of our treasury (and Trust Funds) to hand over to the DOD and its contractors. This in essence is what has happened. We got nothing in return but coffins filled with Americans and an Afghanistan that is at least as bad as it was back in 2001.

Humanitarian Watch

What Is Next In Venezuela? (and other stories)
This is one to watch, not just because of the drama between the US and Maduro (with some Russian help) but because what we are watching is a slow motion state failure. A nation state that is on its way to failure. Note the refugees, lack of medical care, medicines and other critical services that are slowly going away as the nation slowly implodes. This is a dress rehearsal for other countries as well that are rich in resources and have the classing battle between the west (and her banks and corporations) against the working people who want some of the profits and control to remain with them. This can happen elsewhere - look at Brazil and the new leader they just put in. No it is not there yet, not by a long shot but it could head that way as can many others.

Philippines Bombing: 27 Dead At Sunday Mass

This is a part of the country that is plagued with Abu Sayyaf Militants, also known as the Islamic State, Philippines Province. .

24 Jan

Nehemiah Part XXIV

And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem,
saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king
according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.
 Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest,
but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.For they all made us afraid,
 saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done.
Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
(Neh 6:7-9)

In the last section we had Nehemiah's enemies spreading a very dangerous rumor that the reason the wall was being rebuilt was because Nehemiah wanted to rebel against the King and set himself up as ruler. Again, these were serious charges and Kings who dwell far away from their provinces tend to take rumors of rebellion with a high degree of urgency and seriousness. So this was not a little problem. Yet Nehemiah handles himself with care and without fear. Seeing through these rather simple minded plans he merely refutes them saying that these accusations are nothing more than the result of a malicious and overactive imagination. He flatly denies these trumped up accusations.

In short, what Sanballat was trying to do was to create some artificial 'leverage' to use against Nehemiah in order to get him to negotiate on building the wall, perhaps to get him to stop. That leverage being the threat to tell the King he was plotting rebellion. In today's language, Nehemiah told him to 'go take a hike'.

Verse Nine is probably not translated very well in the AV (KJV). Here is how the Cambridge Bible Commentary On Nehemiah and Ezra has to say about it.

9. For they all made us afraid} R.V. For they all would have made us afraid.

The participle in the original does not convey more than that the attempt was made. It does not assert, as the A.V. rendering, that the attempt succeeded. By ' they all Nehemiah refers ' to the enemies mentioned in ver. i. The present verse is his comment upon the whole episode. saying} i.e. amongst themselves and in their own minds. Their hands shall be weakened} For this expression cf fob iv. 3 ; Isai. XXXV. 3 ; Jer. xxxviii. 4 ; 2 Chr. xv. 7. Cf. fearfulhearts and ' faint hands' (Ecclus. ii. 12); 'hands that hang down' (Heb. xii. 12). Now therefore, O God, strengthen, &c.] R.V.

But now, God, strengthen. Marg. * Or, I will strengthen my hands' The adversative . 'but' is required, since the clause is Nehemiah's reply to his enemies' machinations, which are summarized in the previous sentence. The construction in the Hebrew creates a difficulty in the translation. The words 'O God' are not in the original : the verb strengthen may ' ' ' either be the imperative or the infinitive. -
Cambridge Bible Commentary On Nehemiah and Ezra (Source Here - page 222)

Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel,
who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple,
 and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea,
in the night will they come to slay thee.
(Neh 6:10)

This is a rather sad episode. A man who was the son of one of the Priests in Jerusalem called Nehemiah in to speak to him and give him counsel that he should run and hide in the Temple. He warns that they were going to kill him and this was clearly his 'solution' to the problem. So who this man? His name is Shemaiah and he may have been the son of a priest and billed himself as a prophet but was actually on the payroll of Sanballat. Let us keep in mind that fleeing into the Temple was not a very pious act, let alone a rather cowardly one for a governor.  As Adam Clarke put it in his commentary, it was meant to discourage and  disgrace him in the eyes of those who were working on the Wall. But Shemaiah may have been a person Nehemiah listened to, but clearly in this instance, did not trust. We are not told why he went to his Shemiah's house.
Clearly his intention was to undermine Nehemiah's authority among the workers by running and hiding in the Temple based upon this rumor mongers word.  So here we have a highly questionable prophet whose words would seriously hinder the work. Nehemiah had his hands full and knew he had some powerful enemies who were not going to stop trying to take him down and stop the work of God. This false prophet was using the spirit of fear so that Nehemiah would show a yellow streak, and such a streak could not be found in this mighty man of God. But the way this passage and the next one are worded, it appears that at first Nehemiah took him to be a prophet, or at least someone to listen to. Here is how K&D comments on the passage.

 “Let us go together to the house of God,” etc., that he was neither imprisoned in his house, nor prevented by any physical cause from leaving home. Hence it follows that he had shut himself in his house, to intimate to Nehemiah that also he felt his life in danger through the machinations of his enemies, and that he was thus dissimulating in order the more easily to induce him to agree to his proposal, that they should together escape the snares laid for them by fleeing to the temple. In this case, it may be uncertain whether Shemaiah had shut himself up, feigning that the enemies of Judah were seeking his life also, as the prophet of Jahve; or whether by this action he was symbolically announcing what God charged him to make known to Nehemiah. Either view is possible; while the circumstance that Nehemiah in Neh_6:12 calls his advice to flee into the temple a נבוּאה against him, and that it was quite in character with the proceedings of such false prophets to enforce their words by symbolical signs (comp. 1Ki_22:11), favours the former. The going into the house of God is more closely defined by ההיכל אל־תּוך, within the holy place; for they (the enemies) will come to slay thee, and indeed this night will they come to slay thee.” He seeks to corroborate his warning as a special revelation from God, by making it appear that God had not only made known to him the design of the enemies, but also the precise time at which they intended to carry it into execution. -  K & D  Commentary
This man is pretending a prophetic gift. How often do we see this today? Brothers, if you only knew!! I often get people wondering why I don't link to or praise this or that so called prophet or man of God. Often it's because I know a few things about them - that they are not what the devil wants them to appear to be. So I shun them and will continue to. But sometimes it's not always easy to tell if someone is really bearing the message of God or his really working for his enemies. Let me tell you, when it comes to the real of Prophecy and prophets or even teachers and preachers, you are either working for one or the other. There is no middle ground. This is why we must be extremely careful of those who have 'words from the Lord' and observe most carefully who is putting gold and silver into their pockets and run a long pole over the top of their heads to make sure no one infernal is pulling their strings.

I think this point is also noteworthy in his passage - the phrase 'shut up' is an interesting one and has a specific connotation with regards to the Temple. Again, let me quote from the Cambridge commentary on this one.
Dangers from within : False Prophets (10 — 14).

10. Afterward I came] R.V. And I went. There is no note of time expressed. Shemaiah the son of Delaiah] Not otherwise known apparently a ; priest and a prophet. The name Delaiah occurs in i Chron. xxiv. i8 as that of the three-and-twentieth priestly house. Mehetabeel] R.V. Mehetabel. who was shut up] Concerning the meaning, of this obscure phrase there is much variety of opinion. (LXX. koX avrbs ffuvexo/Mevos. Vulg. secreto. )

(a) According to one view, he was 'shut up' in the sense that he was prevented by ceremonial pollution from mixing in the society of his countrymen or from approaching the Temple. Cf Jer. xxxiii. i, xxxvi. 5. Accepting this interpretation, we see in his proposal to Nehemiah the extremity of his alarms real or feigned.

{b) According to another view, the expression is metaphorical, and denotes that he was a 'prisoner,' in the sense of being 'possessed by* the prophetic spirit.

 - Cambridge Bible Commentary On Nehemiah and Ezra (Source Here - page 224)

And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am,
would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.

(Neh 6:11)

Does this passage deserve further comment. Hardly. Nehemiah was made of sterner stuff than to go and run and hide in the Temple and perhaps concocting some lie to tell the people as to why he was in there. In fact, some commentators based upon the language seem to think that what the prophet was really doing was trying to get Nehemiah to profane the Temple by going in where only the Levites could go. No, he was not going to do that. That was totally out of character for him. But the entire suggestion to him by this false prophet was so incredulous that Nehemiah had to start wondering what this guy was thinking. "Me Run? Hardly!"

And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced
this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin,
 and that they might have matter for an evil report,
that they might reproach me.
(Neh 6:12-13)

Now it all dawns in Nehemiah that he should not be listening to this guy and that his enemies were laying a snare for him. They wanted him to run and hide rather than do what he had been doing, standing at his post and building that wall. Could you imagine what it would have done to the band of workers to find out Nehemiah had run and hid in the temple? Fear was not entering into his heart, despite the evil machinations of this false prophet. Moreover, Nehemiah knew that if he gave into his enemies in such a cowardly move as the prophet suggested, it would be a sin. Why? Fear is not faith and faith is not fear. The only thing faith teaches us to fear is God.

<A Psalm of David.>
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes,
came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear:
though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
(Psa 27:1-3)

This is the mindset any man of God who is to be successful in his work must have. Not that any of us is perfect, not that any of us has any right to be called the children of God, not that we are worthy to be his servants. No, but that we have FAITH in God, stand in him, obey his voice and to not fear the onslaught of the devil who often slithers into the souls of false prophets, friends and even family.

Nehemiah's attitude?  Had the Lord told him to stop building? Were all the tools he needed to do the work at hand? Why let a little thing like the devils lie cause him to go and run into the temple like a frightened mouse! There was work to be done!

My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.
(Neh 6:14)

Here Nehemiah, the servant of the Lord speaks to his God that he might remember the works of those who came against him. He mentions two people we are already familiar with, but them mentions another we have not met yet, a false prophetess name Noadiah. What this does is put this episode in a little perspective. Clearly there were other incidents that we are not being told and Noadiahs named being mentioned probably relates to some these. But there were other false prophets out there speaking evil of God's servants and trying to instill fear in those who were doing the work. This looks like the same pattern of spiritual waywardness that infected Israel back before the exile. Here is how the great K &D sums this up.

- In Neh_6:14 Nehemiah concludes his account of the stratagems of his enemies, with the wish that God would think upon them according to their works. In expressing it, he names, besides Tobiah and Sanballat, the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who, like Shemaiah, would have put him in fear: whence we perceive, 1st, that the case related (Neh_6:10-13) is given as only one of the chief events of the kind (מיראים, like Neh_6:9, Neh_6:19); and 2nd, that false prophets were again busy in the congregation, as in the period preceding the captivity, and seeking to seduce the people from hearkening to the voice of the true prophets of God, who preached repentance and conversation as the conditions of prosperity. -  K&D
What do false prophets do? They lie and try and draw you away from God and the work he calls us to do. They entice men to rebellion against God, with feigned words that they are speaking for the Lord. Here they were trying to goad him to stop working and run and hide. This is the bane of false prophets. We have seen them all through the OT.

I sent not these prophets,
yet they ran:
I didn't speak to them,
yet they prophesied.

But if they had stood in my council,
then had they caused my people to hear my words,

and had turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their doings.

(Jer 23:21-22)

Before and after the exile, not much really changed, other than this time, God had a dedicated group of people led by a godly man who was going to do what God called him to do, despite the opposition of the "devils lobby".

We will continue on with Nehemiah before long, God willing. No promises for next week.\

Grace and peace to you all!!

Brother Mark
22 Jan

Church Watch

Pastor Resigns, Admits Paying For Sex And Other Sins
A sad story, but I suspect not uncommon. Pastors need to be aware that there is a powerful  faction within the 'deep state' who spend a lot of federal money to set up and catch pastors, embarrass them, etc. They have many different reasons for it, but one is that so that the gay/sexual hedonism agenda can march forward. Others want to see Islam reign supreme in America and others just don't have anything better to do. Sometimes they work (illegally) with nations who are hostile to Christians to bring down pastors and Christian leaders.

Some they try and turn into intelligence assets (though they are not really supposed to do that), others they just want to destroy. Moreover, if they want you bad enough, they will manufacture the evidence to smear you if they think they can get away with it. They often can.

So pastors, beware. I am not making this up and this is not a joke, many of these people are tried and true intelligence officials who use the tools they use on foreign targets (blackmail, threats, etc) in order to silence the message of the Gospel here in the US.

Beware, these people are well trained and can find out more about you than you know about yourself.

Young Christians Forsake Church During Collage
Churches To Observe Prayer For Christian Unity
Pastor Removed  For Sign On Homosexuality
The sad part is that the reason he left was because they feared many of the small congregation would leave if he stayed.
Anglican Bishop Removed For Not Performing Gay Weddings
Lifeway Stores To Reduce Number Of Stores
The Christian bookseller is suffering from what many other 'Brick and Mortar' stores are facing.
More Millennials Are Pro-life
House Keeps Pro-LGBT Chaplain
Blasphemous Image Of 'McJesus' Has Arab Christians Irate
Image Of Christ As 'Superhero' In DC Comics
These days blasphemy, mockery and denigration against Christ is 'in'. We see it more and more. We should not be frightened nor afraid of this. This is a key sign of the times (2Tim 3:2) brothers. It is going to get so bad that blasphemy against God and those who dwell in heaven will be the foundation of the new global religion.

Don't believe me?

 And they worshipped the dragon
which gave power unto the beast:
and they worshipped the beast, saying,
Who is like unto the beast?
who is able to make war with him?
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. And it was
given unto him to make war with the saints,
and to overcome them: and power was given him
over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him,
whose names are not written in the book of life of the
 Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
If any man have an ear,
let him hear.
(Revelation of John 13:4-9 [KJV])

We are seeing these days a great falling away from the fundamentals of the faith in Christ, not just by rank and file Christians but by Church leaders as well. As they preach these spiritually dead sermons, devoid of Biblical Truth. Yet I know there are still a few who preach biblical truth with courage and conviction. Yet for those who don't, the pews empty out and Church revenue streams dry up. Meanwhile the devil and his servants are emboldened by a Church that is increasingly weak, divided and has little to no spiritual power.

Thus we see more and more satanists, blasphemers and other workers of darkness come out of the closet. But this is part of a trend that will envelop the whole world. Blasphemy will be, as we see in the above passage, a key part of the coming Global religion.

So don't let any of us get confused or downcast over these trends. Both the apostasy of the Church and the rise a blasphemous religious system were foretold, long ago. So were times of raging persecution, as we are seeing today.

We should not be shocked when Bible prophecy comes to pass and only a few mark it. Victory will not come when we elect a President we like, or the right Pope sits on the throne, but when we give a good account of ourselves before Christ, bearing true and faithful witness to the gospel and loving not our lives unto death (Rev 12:11).

I find that too many Christians don't understand their Bibles and what awaits us all in Christ in the days ahead. They want Jesus to come back, but don't understand the fire we true believers have to go through first - FIRST.

Ye are the salt of the earth:
but if the salt have lost his savour,
wherewith shall it be salted?
it is thenceforth good for nothing,
but to be cast out, and to be trodden under
 foot of men.
(Matthew 5:13 [KJV])
Yes, we true Christians are indeed the salt of the earth. That is what we are, or rather are supposed to be. Salt was used in the days before refrigeration to keep food from decay. In like manner we are the salt of the earth, we are here to slow the decay of the world. But as the passage above notes, when it is no longer 'salty' it isn't good for anything, but rather is fit only to be thrown out. This is sadly the trajectory of many of the world's Christian denominations - salt without saltiness on its way to the spiritual trash heap. The Church needs to get back to the basics of the Christian faith and worry far less about being politically correct and socially acceptable with a spiritually lost world.

Guam Catholic Church Enters Bankruptcy Over Sex Abuse

Child Drag Queens and Sexualizing Kids
The times and the seasons brothers are staring those who are born into the body of Christ, right in the face. What is happening to this country and our world that these kinds of things happen? What kind of person uses a child in such a way to make a political/sexual statement?

What kind of school system does this? Instead of reading, writing and arithmetic we get drag queens and transgenderism in textbooks. Our school system is a mess. But it is as it has always been, when a people kick God out, his enemies move in.

Where is all this money going to come from to pay for these teachers? No one wants to deal with it. It's not like the state hasn't got enough problems fiscally (more here). I am not against teachers getting a fair wage. I think in principle that is good and necessary. It's a shame that a football or basketball player makes considerably more that a teacher. The teachers job is much more important, provided they stick to teaching and leave out the 'indoctrination' - sexual or otherwise.

My point is a simple one. What are they teaching in schools that deserves all this money? What kind of curriculum? Am I sending my kid to be educated or brainwashed... for $73k/year, per teacher... with benefits?

How To Become Free? Stop Partnering With Darkness
This is a hopeful little piece that should help some of you who are a little down. Partnering with darkness takes many forms, not just the ones that are mentioned here.

A Generation Of Vipers: A Debauched Society

Irish Doctors Refuse To Perform Abortions
A matter of conscience.

Happy MLK Day!!
21 Jan

MLK's Speeches And The Issue of Copyright

Why don't you read/see more of Dr. Kings speeches? The issue of who owns the copyrights has been a major issue as the above link from the Constitution Center testifies.

I think it sad, particularly in a time like today, when his words of love, peace and hope are so desperately needed.
17 Jan

Nehemiah XXIII

Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian,
and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall,
and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time
I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem
sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one
of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.
And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that
I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it,
 and come down to you?
(Neh 6:1-3)

Once again the two enemies of God's work make their appearance, Sanballat and Tobiah. Nehemiah is not shy about identifying these two and the crowd they represented as his enemies. This little factoid is missing from many commentaries, but I see it clearly. Nehemiah was not some naive dove in the woods. He knew as a governor in a contentious province as well as being a returning Jew... he was going to have enemies. There was no two ways about it. He had to deal with his enemies as such and trust with enemies is almost always a fatal mistake.

It was not a mistake Nehemiah was going to make. Nehemiah & Co. were doing a good job not just of building the wall, but also of sealing the breaches that were in it. In other words, the wall was a strong one, though he admits that there was no gate built yet and thus the city was not yet completely fortified. These two enemies of Nehemiah and the work of God
were on their way to another tactic to thwart God's purposes. First they tried violence (Neh 4:7ff) and that did not work. Now they are trying something new. Some kind of trick. They were  going to lure him for a talk on the Plain of Ono. This was a town of Benjamin. Here is what Eaton's says about the place.

A town of Benjamin, in the “plain of Ono” (1Ch_8:12; Ezr_2:33); now Kefr 'Ana, 5 miles north of Lydda, and about 30 miles north-west of Jerusalem. Not succeeding in their attempts to deter Nehemiah from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, Sanballat and Tobiah resorted to stratagem, and pretending to wish a conference with him, they invited him to meet them at Ono. Four times they made the request, and every time Nehemiah refused to come. Their object was to take him prisoner. -  Eaton's Bible Dictionary.

While Eaton's view on this is probably correct. The exact location is not certain. Here is what K&D says about the place.

To make their proposal appear impartial, they leave the appointment of the place in the valley of Ono to Nehemiah. Ono seems, according to 1Ch_8:12, to have been situate in the neighbourhood of Lod (Lydda), and is therefore identified by Van de Velde (Mem. p. 337) and Bertheau with Kefr Ana (Arab. kfr ‛ânâ) or Kefr Anna, one and three-quarter leagues north of Ludd. But no certain information concerning the position of the place can be obtained from 1Ch_8:12; and Roediger (in the Hallische Lit. Zeitung, 1842, No. 71, p. 665) is more correct, in accordance both with the orthography and the sense, in comparing it with Beit Unia (Arab. byt ûniya), north-west of Jerusalem, not far from Beitin (Bethel); comp. Rob. Pal. ii. p. 351. The circumstance that the plain of Ono was, according to the present verse, somewhere between Jerusalem and Samaria, which suits Beit Unia, but not Kefr Ana (comp. Arnold in Herzog's Realenc. xii. p. 759), is also in favour of the latter view. “But they thought to do me harm.” Probably they wanted to make him a prisoner, perhaps even to assassinate him.  - K &D Commentary

Nehemiah was not going to fall for any trap laid by these two and the last part of verse two shows us he understands their malicious intentions. He responds to their treacherous plans with a diplomatic response, which is remarkable in what it does not say. It does not contain an accusation, he did not rail against his foes, he merely points out that he's busy and that he does not have time for them, since he was undertaking a great work. Having been witness to many exchanges while serving as the Kings cupbearer, he clearly understood the art of diplomacy, which often is not at all unlike Poker -  never let the other guy see your hand. He did not tell them he knew what they were planning. But there was a deeper stratagem that Nehemiah's enemies were plotting and it reveals itself in the following passages.

Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with
an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen,
and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause
thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.
And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying,
There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words.
 Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.
(Neh 6:4-7)

They were most insistent. They wanted to meet with Nehemiah and tried on four separate occasions to have a private meeting with him. Nehemiah each time gave the same answer that amounted to, 'I'm too busy'. But the fifth try was considerably different.

This time, Sanballat sent his own servant with the message and one that was delivered by hand. This time a new stratagem was now being concocted, one that if spread around would make the King very leery of his once trusted cupbearer.

It's amazing what a rumor and a bit of 'verbal poison' spit in someones ear can do. In short, they were accusing Nehemiah of planning a rebellion and this is what they were accusing him of -  he was building this big wall that was now well fortified against an attack so he could make himself king. The messenger was merely passing along what he says was the popular rumor or 'conspiracy theory' and relaying it to Nehemiah. Moreover they accused him of having a group of appointed 'rent-a-prophets' that would help proclaim him king.

These were serious accusations and even Sanballat knew that he needed to have a one on one discussion with the Kings appointed Representative on this one, and this appears to be what this meeting was about. Such an accusation in a letter that was sent by a personal messenger had to be responded to. Here the servant cites a person by the name of Gashmu who was certainly the same person we met in Chapter two (verse 19) who has aligned with Sanballat and Tobias as being one of those who had heard the rumor. 

But this passage is rather interesting in how the customs are observed and not observed in the form of this particular letter. Stay with me here, this is rather interesting in the deep contempt they showed Nehemiah, the kings servant. Here is how the JFB commentary puts this - check it out.

Then sent Sanballat his servant . . . the fifth time with an open letter in his hand --In Western Asia, letters, after being rolled up like a map, are flattened to the breadth of an inch; and instead of being sealed, they are pasted at the ends. In Eastern Asia, the Persians make up their letters in the form of a roll about six inches long, and a bit of paper is fastened round it with gum, and sealed with an impression of ink, which resembles our printers' ink, but it is not so thick. Letters were, and are still, sent to persons of distinction in a bag or purse, and even to equals they are enclosed--the tie being made with a colored ribbon. But to inferiors, or persons who are to be treated contemptuously, the letters were sent open--that is, not enclosed in a bag. Nehemiah, accustomed to the punctillious ceremonial of the Persian court, would at once notice the want of the usual formality and know that it was from designed disrespect.

The strain of the letter was equally insolent. It was to this effect: The fortifications with which he was so busy were intended to strengthen his position in the view of a meditated revolt: he had engaged prophets to incite the people to enter into his design and support his claim to be their native king; and, to stop the circulation of such reports, which would soon reach the court, he was earnestly besought to come to the wished-for conference. Nehemiah, strong in the consciousness of his own integrity, and penetrating the purpose of this shallow artifice, replied that there were no rumors of the kind described, that the idea of a revolt and the stimulating addresses of hired demagogues were stories of the writer's own invention, and that he declined now, as formerly, to leave his work. - JFB Commentary.

Little things like this often tend to get missed when just reading the text. But thank God there are so many wonderful commentaries out there that we can get a better understanding of some of the underlying nuances of these events and some historical and cultural context.

We will move on with this study in Nehemiah soon. But before I go, may I encourage you all to become a Bible Scholar? The internet has some great tools and I am not just talking about your favorite Bible site. There is a veritable wealth of old  books that have been scanned into Archive.org of old Bible commentaries, dictionaries, books,, etc. Just head on over and type in your desired word 'Nehemiah Bible' etc and you will find many books in different forms to download free and most are in the public domain. Today, I downloaded a few Bible Dictionaries.

The resources are there, if you take the time to look. Use free resources while they are free. You never know when that gift will be taken a way or be forced to go pay.

15 Jan

Can Trump Get The DOD To Build A Wall?

As many legal experts have said, it would be on shaky legal grounds, but yes, he probably has the power. This piece from the CRS looks at the whole issue.

The National Emergencies Act

(CRS) The Supreme Court has explained that the President’s authority “must stem either from an act of Congress or from the Constitution itself.” Because Article II of the Constitution contains no provision granting the Executive general emergency powers, the President generally must rely upon authority conferred by Congress to act beyond his ordinary Article II authorities. However, Congress has traditionally supplied the President with robust powers to act in times of crisis. By 1973, Congress had enacted over 470 statutes granting the President special authorities upon the declaration of a “national emergency,” but had imposed no substantive or procedural limitations on either the President’s discretion to declare an emergency or the duration of such emergencies.

After a Special Committee of the Senate concluded in a 1973 report that the President’s crisis powers “confer[red] enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal constitutional process,” Congress enacted the NEA in 1976 to pare back the President’s emergency authorities. Specifically, the NEA established a framework for presidential declarations of national emergencies intended to provide enhanced congressional oversight and prevent emergency declarations from continuing in perpetuity. To accomplish these goals, the NEA terminated all then-existing presidentially declared emergencies. The Act also established procedures for future declarations of national emergencies, requiring the President to:
  • specify which statutory emergency authorities he intends to invoke upon a declaration of a national emergency (in contrast with the pre-NEA regime, under which the declaration of an emergency operated as an invocation of all of the President’s emergency authorities);
  • publish the proclamation of a national emergency in the Federal Register and transmit it to Congress;
  • maintain records and transmit to Congress all rules and regulations promulgated to carry out such authorities; and
  • provide an accounting of expenditures directly attributable to the exercise of such authorities for every six-month period following the declaration.
The NEA further provides that national emergencies terminate (1) automatically after one year unless the President publishes a notice of renewal in the Federal Register, (2) upon a presidential declaration ending a national emergency, or (3) if Congress enacts a joint resolution terminating the emergency (which would likely require the votes of two-thirds majorities in each house of Congress to override a presidential veto)... continues here.

Grisly Gang Battle Leaves 21 Dead Along US Border
The above link as a graphic picture of the result of the battle. This was right along the US border. Here is a map of the city.

China, Fentyal And Mexican Drug Cartels

If you want to look at just one of the threats coming from south of the border, look no further than this. This is a big one and one that has been and is being facilitated by those whose main aim is 'open  borders'. The same folks who are sinking money into the DNC's coffers.

No one wants to fix this (except the President) because as we have seen in the past, when these drug cartels launder money into a political campaign, they generally get what they want.

Members Of Mexican Sex Trafficking Ring Arrested

FYI: The UN has released its 2018 human trafficking report today, and shines a light on a problem that is part of many people's daily reality: Slavery -  sexual and otherwise.

Eminent Domain On The Border

Those on the border who own land and may have to give it up for the wall, are preparing for a fight.

Trump Claims Mexico Will Pay For Wall 'Indirectly'
Migrants Raped Along The Way: CBS Deletes 'Fact Check' Of Trump's Statements
Mexican President Unveils Plan For Border In Tijuana Speech...
...Mexicans Will Have No Reason To Cross Into US
A Dozen People On Terror Watch-list Entered US From Southern Border
How Opiods Get To Philly And Why A Border Wall Will Not Stop It
Border Officers Sue Trump

Now can we name any elitists who are pushing for things like Open Borders? Yes we can. Here is one. You will find this document of great interest as well. This global migration impetus is being driven and assisted by others who have their own motivations for it and one key reason for some is to undermine the Nation State.  They tried at first to do this with various treaties, many of them Free Trade Agreements that would undermine and eliminate national sovereignty and place a lot of power in international institutions. That has not worked out that well. At least not as well as they wanted.

Now they are trying a different tactic, that being a direct assault... an attack if you will directly on the borders of nations. Only they are not using tanks and troops, but migrants - their target is threefold, the money (give money to immigrants who come here illegally), the ballot (extend voting rights to illegal immigrants) and the laws (reduce the rights of citizens and elevate the rights of non-citizens) and lastly of course the culture. This is a clever and so far, fairly successful tactic, but the backlash in Europe and increasingly here in the US has been significant.

Q: What defines a Nation State?
A: Its borders

But this whole nation-state undermining policy is being pushed by elements within the Democratic party. Has been for some time. This looks to be why men like Schumer have been against Trump's wall. Granted, its appears to be a largely a symbolic protection of our borders, but one that demonstrates resolve to stem the flow, not of immigrants, but of ILLEGAL immigrants.

There is a pretty clear money trail for those who are curious (more here).  Now,  perhaps you can better understand why DNC leaders said Trump is not going to get his wall.

The President understands all of this quite well and knows who his enemies are. That is why he is threatening to close the Southern Border if there is no Wall.

So dear readers, this shutdown may last longer than many think because the real issues behind this shutdown go to the fundamental question of if America is to survive or be undermined by elitists who are using migrants like tank shells, and children as landmines in the arena of public opinion to undermine the Nation State, its laws, traditions and yes, the money you have in your bank accounts, your jobs and the money you think you have coming to you from Uncle Sam. When millions of migrants flow into a place, they cost money, want rights, jobs, to be represented, get benefits....

Laugh if you wish, but these elitists are looking for one thing. Power and money and will use any method they can to get what they have longed for for a long time. Weak to non-existent nations states and an all powerful system of Global governing institutions in which they hold the levers of power.

But other actors use this whole border weakness issue as a way to bring in dissension and division into the nation (de-stabilization) and have been able to use these migrant caravans and the drama surrounding them to paralyze the government and shut it down.

Our enemies are far, far smarter than the average American. They see things in a long range, strategic light whereas for most Americans, if they did not hear it on MSNBC or Fox, they refuse to accept it as being even a remote possibility. Their minds have been poisoned by partisanship and hate, anger and all manner of negative emotions have taken the place of rational thought.

As the weeks pass, keep these things in mind and remember this, regardless of how this issue plays out this time, this is just one round in bout that is likely to be last many long years into the future as those with money seek to change the way the world operates and do it in their favor.

Many of you may think I am wholeheartedly in favor of the wall. Actually I am lukewarm on the issue. I am in favor of any effective border control method that stops 95% of illegal immigration, but coupled with a generous program of legal immigration that is reasonable, merciful, fair and helps us keep tabs on the guests who come here and makes sure that bad actors are removed before they do harm to us.

10 Jan

Nehemiah XXII

Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house,
and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out,
 and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD.
And the people did according to this promise.
(Neh 5:13)

This was a symbolic action that Nehemiah took in the presence of many witnesses, to let them know how the Lord would deal with them if they did not keep their word. While most commentators see Nehemiah as merely a lay person who was given a divine task.Yet there are times, like this one when his ministry is more in keeping with that of a prophet. The lap referred to was the lap of his garment, where often things were carried about in. Nehemiah lets them know what will happen if they do not keep their promise. The people in the congregation could not be happier at this move to protect them from their oppressors, who were sadly, their own countrymen. "Finally!" I am sure many of them were saying to themselves, "justice has come to town!"

After years of oppression and legalized injustice, the people were clearly overjoyed that a man had finally come to town who took a sincere interest in their welfare.

Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah,
from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king,
that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor.
But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people,
and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver;
yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I,
because of the fear of God. Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall,
neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.
(Neh 5:14-16)

Here Nehemiah continues on before the throng as to his own  behavior since he became governor. He has been totally unselfish. Unlike those before him, he did not use his position to oppress the people so that he could live large. The passage indicated that there were certain luxuries that were due him by virtue of his position as Governor, but Nehemiah refuses to take them. This is rather fascinating. Today, we see how those who get power use it to enrich themselves often after already being filthy rich.

Nehemiah says these things by way of contrast to the way the nobles in Jerusalem were behaving, perhaps to a  certain degree to shame them into proper behavior. Again, Nehemiah leads by example. They may be greedy victimizers, but Nehemiah was not. His life and work would reflect the God he served. Nehemiah describes how the system works in that in the past, the luxuries that were enjoyed by past governors came from ('were chargeable') to the people. Given the burden of the people he saw when he first arrived and the years of labor and the troubles he saw, Nehemiah understood that taking more would have laid an undue burden on those least able to afford it. They probably would only have had to mortgage their homes and farms even more to pay the governors tax. He shows both his own unselfishness, his concern for the ordinary person and lets that be a witness to his character and the God he served.  This whole attitude is very similar to St. Paul's when he spoke of this in the book of 2Cor (11:9).

In verse sixteen he goes on to let them know that while he was breaking sweat on that wall, sleeping with a shovel in one hand and a sword in the other, he could have gone in and taken advantage of some distressed landowner and bought some land. He did not do that. He had every opportunity to make himself rich by taking advantage of his rights and the common wrongs being committed and he did not do it. Nehemiah was indeed a rather remarkable man.

Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers,
beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.
Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep;
also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine:
yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor,
 because the bondage was heavy upon this people.

Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that
 I have done for this people.

(Neh 5:17-19)
But the character of Nehemiah shows forth even more. This passage shows something remarkable about this man. Ordinarily people tend to skip over these kinds of passages but it is really quite telling. I will pass on here what K&D commentary says about it.

But this was not all; for Nehemiah had also fed a considerable number of persons at his table, at his own expense. “And the Jews, both one hundred and fifty rulers, and the men who came to us from the nations round about us, were at my table,” i.e., were my guests. The hundred and fifty rulers, comp. Neh_2:16, were the heads of the different houses of Judah collectively. These were always guests at Nehemiah's table, as were also such Jews as dwelt among the surrounding nations, when they came to Jerusalem. K&D Commentary

JFB has this to say that is worthy of note.
In the East it has been always customary to calculate the expense of a king's or grandee's establishment, not by the amount of money disbursed, but by the quantity of provisions consumed (see 1Ki_4:22; 1Ki_18:19; Ecc_5:11). - JFB Commentary

All of this commentators generally agree was coming out of Nehemiah's own pocket. Where the money was coming from we can only speculate, but being the emperors cup-bearer on a special mission from the King probably did give him his own tidy income which he happily disbursed to those around him.

In the above passage we note not just the opulence of the table he had prepared. But who was present. They were broken down into three basic catagories.

  • The Jews (probably heads of important Jewish Houses)
  • The Rulers (Administrative officers)
  • Those that came about from the Heathen (probably not foreigners, but those who were had been in Jerusalem for some time and lived with the heathen). 
Nehemiah lays out all of the good things he had at his table. I note that wine is found in abundance. The passage implies that they drank it every 10 days. They probably drank water on every other day. I only bring this up because I know some of my readers think drinking any alcohol is sinful. The Bible does not teach that, but it does warn against drunkenness and being addicted to it. Many passages in scripture speak of wine in a way that clearly shows it is not forbidden.

Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
(Neh 5:19)

Nehemiah's prayer is a simple one, a direct one, that God will remember his work, sacrifices and dedication to the Lord has his people. Nehemiah was not seeking recompense from the people but from his God. He did not want man's wages, he wanted God's reward. Nehemiah's name has been recorded here for posterity and is a partaker in the eternal inheritance of those who love and serve the Lord. Nehemiah was truly a man of remarkable integrity and faith.

We we will continue our look at Nehemiah soon, God willing!

8 Jan

GPS Navigation Systems

Food for thought for the new year.

Today we are going to talk about, not Global Positioning Systems but rather, God Positioning Systems and how to navigate ourselves in these times of rough seas, high winds and dangerous waters.

There are times when we seem to be going along nicely with few troubles and cares and suddenly life throws us for a loop. Suddenly our world is seemingly upended. I know the feeling and I think many of you do as well.

When we get dependent too much on the things of this world, our families, paychecks, titles, good looks, money in the bank, etc, God will often move us out of our comfort zones in order to get us to be more dependent on him. Yes, God wants us to depend on him for the things we need, not man. Yes, God uses human institutions and no, there is nothing wrong with those things, except when they begin to take the place of God in our hearts.

God is the source of all things as he is the creator and sustainer of all things created. We need to be dependent on the creator not the mechanism he uses to keep us and guide us. This is the key for all of us and will keep us in times of doubt and confusion when God institutes change, redirection or even a test into our lives. We can get complacent and begin to fall into a routine and become dependent on the wrong things.

I think Christ gave us a splendid example of this in the Gospels. The disciples were heading to the other side of the sea and things suddenly went bad. The was a great storm so much so that the boats were filled with water. The storm was bad enough that the disciples asked Christ if he even cared if they died in it. Yet Christ was right there all along, seemingly completely unconcerned about their plight.  The Lord was sound asleep in the back of the boat!

And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:
and they awake him, and say unto him,
Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose,
and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,
Peace, be still. And the wind ceased,
 and there was a great calm. And he said unto them,
 Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another,
What manner of man is this, that even the wind
and the sea obey him?
(Mar 4:38-41)

Why did the Lord do this? Well, who can say for sure, but two things stick out. First was that the Lord wanted to show his power to the disciples and the only way to do that was to give them a demonstration as to who he really was one who could command the sea and storms. The second I have always thought was to get the disciples to look to him in the midst of troubles. Here is how Matthew Henry put this passage.

He had a pillow there, such a one as a fisherman's ship would furnish him with. And he slept, to try the faith of his disciples and to stir up prayer: upon the trial, their faith appeared weak, and their prayers strong. Note, Sometimes when the church is in a storm, Christ seems as if he were asleep, unconcerned in the troubles of his people, and regardless of their prayers, and doth not presently appear for their relief. Verily he is a God that hideth himself, Isa_45:15. But as, when he tarries, he doth not tarry (Hab_2:3), so when he sleeps he doth not sleep; the keeper of Israel doth not so much as slumber (Psa_121:3, Psa_121:4); he slept, but his heart was awake, as the spouse, Son_5:2.

His disciples encouraged themselves with their having his presence, and thought it the best way to improve that, and appeal to that, and ply the oar of prayer rather than their other oars. Their confidence lay in this, that they had their Master with them; and the ship that has Christ in it, though it may be tossed, cannot sink; the bush that has God in it, though it may burn, shall not consume. 
- Matthew Henry
Yes, the Holy Spirit put this in our Bibles for a reason and those reasons are several. We today, must face many storms and the Church right now is having one very difficult time. Weather it be in Egypt, Iran, China, Pakistan or India, the Church is very much under attack.

Even in the West, biblical Christianity is also under attack, not just by violent fanatics or even governments who view Christians as undesirable, but also by men and women who sit in authority within the Church administration who know not God, nor desires that anyone else should know him, being servants of another master. This is going to be the most difficult and dangerous assault we Christians are going to have to confront, the apostasy and treachery of other Christians, even those in authority.

I got an email from a reader this weekend and he kindly gave me permission to repost it, I won't do that but tell you it was about the saga of that Church I wrote about a few weeks ago who broke off from the main denomination over the issue of homosexuality. In the pastors last letter he reminds his flock of the faith of Mary when the Angel came to her and Mary replied that she was the Lord servant (Luke 1:38). How would the Church be if it has this kind of faith, the Pastor asked? But as it was with the Children of Israel, so it is with the our times. Idolatry has set in. The pastor of that Church laid out the age old truth about idols of any time and variety. They promise freedom and deliver bondage. The idols of our time are myriad and one of the most dangerous I see is one that the world is embracing more and more - that there are many paths to God. Christ was emphatic otherwise. If there were many paths to God, he would not needed to have send his son to  suffer horribly and die for our sins and transgressions.

Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.
 (John 14:6 [KJV])

It's a lie that there are many ways to God and one that serves the interests of the prince of darkness, whose servants have laid out the satanic golden rule 'do as thou wilt', which more and more is appealing to many peoples in the western world. So it is in our world today. The devil is busy and working in places where it does him the most spiritual advantage, he is working on Church leadership.

As 2019 rolls in and many of you are going to be without regular jobs, income and other things that you have become accustomed to, learn to lean on God. He knows all these things already. He may appear to be asleep, but nothing catches him off guard and nothing is too difficult for him to solve. Nothing. So don't be downcast, find out what God does want you to do and do that.

This may be a time of Godly repositioning and in order to know where God wants us to be we have to turn our receivers to the God Positioning System.

In the olden days, it was not always easy to tell where one was on the open sea. There were no markers on the ocean, no mountains no signposts and at times, it is like that with us. But the ancient mariners could always count on the North Star to guide them. We as Christians must also learn to navigate by the light of Jesus Christ. We cannot always see in the dark and these days are ever darkening, but we can lift up our eyes to our redeemer and gain guidance from him even as the old sailors got guidance from the North Star.

Do you feel adrift? Not knowing where you are going? Get into your prayer closet, ask God where you are to go and what you are to do and be obedient to his words and guidance. He knows what is ahead for the world, we do not. If it's time to pull up roots and move, he will tell you. If he tells you to stay put, do that. If it's time for a new Job, he will guide you. Are you preparing for Marriage, get before the Lord. Is your spouse about to pull up stakes on you? Get before God about it. He knows the end from the beginning and is never caught by surprise.

I have to tell you I was going to move. In fact, for me right now, financially it would probably be best to move into cheaper home. But you know what? God has told me to remain here for the time being and charged me not to move. There is a reason for it, but I could not begin to understand what that reason is. What I can tell you is this - what may make sense to our natural minds could mean disaster for us if we follow that, rather than the guidance, direction and even pleadings of the Lord.

So get before God before you take a new job, leave an old one, put your home up for sale or buy a new one. Find out what God wants you to do and pray for him to guide you every step of the way.

May God keep all of you who serve Christ Jesus in 2019.

3 Jan

Christmas Persecution Watch

Today, I think it meet we look at how Christians have had to deal with Christmas this year. For we in the west, it's a time of rest relaxation and joy, it other places, its a time of fear, persecution and even violence.
Burma: Six Christians Injured in Stoning Of Christmas Service
Iran: Spike in Arrests of Christians During Holidays
Iran: Q&A On Crackdown On Christians
Iraq: Grand Mufti Forbids Christmas
Sunni cleric Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Sumaidaie issued a fatwa against Christmas which prohibits Muslims from participating in the celebrations “of the cross” and congratulating Christians during the Christmas season. The fatwa also includes a prohibition against the New Year’s celebration, which is often mistakenly assumed to be an official Christian holiday. - ICC
Iraq: Cabinet Declares Christmas A Holiday
India: Christians Hospitalized After Attack
Laos: Christians Detained for 'Illegal' Christmas Service
Nigeria: Seven Christians Slain Day After Christmas
UK Foreign Sec. Commissions Review On Christian Persecution
Let us pray for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their witness in Christ.
2 Jan

Nehemiah Part XI

And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.
Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers,
and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother.
And I set a great assembly against them.
(Neh 5:6-7)

When we left off last time, the Jews who were living in and around Nehemiah's camp and Jerusalem proper had made a serious complaint about the debts they had to repay in order to survive. They were going hungry because they were forced to mortgage their farms and homes in order to pay taxes and eat. They were being oppressed and that even by their own countrymen. It was not enough they had to suffer under the invaders, but now they had to deal with with the local loan sharks who were driving them into poverty and even slavery (Neh 5:5).

After hearing these reports, Nehemiah was very angry. For the most part, these appear to be common people, what they would call serfs in the middle ages. To me, it looks like those with power had found a legal way to push the people into poverty and slavery and then make off with their farms and land. This would make any righteous man angry. You know, this is the kind of thing that caused a serious clash in ancient Rome as well. The wealthy land owners found a legal way to steal the land from the ordinary people. This was a major sore subject in Rome and was the underlying cause of the civil wars. I bring this up to show you that these are the kinds of issues that if not nipped in the bud at an early stage can lead to significant disharmony and even instability. Even today, the issue of land reform, debt and even slavery are not unknown to us.

Then Nehemiah began to consult with himself. He had to think about this one - how was he going to deal with it? Another way to render the this first section of verse seven is like this - “And my heart took counsel upon it..." He thought about it and came up with a plan of action. Then he speaks to the nobles who were perpetrating this terrible injustice on their countrymen, accusing them of exacting usury, a serious offense in Mosaic Law. That law would be in a way similar to our Constitution. Moses' Law was the foundation of Jewish law and Nehemiah upbraids them accordingly. Then he called a great assembly against them. It seems to me as the passage is ordered that Nehemiah may have rebuked them privately first and then did so publicly. This was not a time for a secret, private rebuke, Nehemiah was clearly a just man and wanted the poor to know just what he thought about their practice. Sometimes a public rebuke and public embarrassment is needed.

And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews,
which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren?
or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace,
and found nothing to answer.
(Neh 5:8)

I think we need to be mindful about usury in ancient Israel under the Mosaic law. Usury was not just exorbitant interest, but it was interest of any kind. It was forbidden loan money at interest. What does the word actually mean?

Usury -  neshek, from a root "to devour." (See LOAN.) Any interest was forbidden to be exacted from an Israelite brother, but was permitted from a foreigner (Exo_22:25; Lev_25:35-38; Deu_23:19-20). Israel was originally not a mercantile people, and the law aimed at an equal diffusion of wealth, not at enriching some while others were poor. - Fausset's Bible Dictionary

That is a rather interesting take, is it not? Debt interest is a devourer and this is what the rich were doing to the poor in ancient Israel. Nehemiah shows them the error of their ways and in a round about way accuses them of being an enemy of their own people. The passage is pretty self explanatory, but here is how the JFB Commentary sums it up though it anticipates following verses.

Having summoned a public assembly, he denounced their conduct in terms of just severity. He contrasted it with his own in redeeming with his money some of the Jewish exiles who, through debt or otherwise, had lost their personal liberty in Babylon. He urged the rich creditors not only to abandon their illegal and oppressive system of usury, but to restore the fields and vineyards of the poor, so that a remedy might be put to an evil the introduction of which had led to much actual disorder, and the continuance of which would inevitably prove ruinous to the newly restored colony, by violating the fundamental principles of the Hebrew constitution. The remonstrance was effectual. The conscience of the usurious oppressors could not resist the touching and powerful appeal. - JFB

In short, they were publicly shamed for this practice, probably the only real tool Nehemiah had against them. They not only took usury, but they also sold their brothers off as slaves, forbidden under Mosaic law (Lev 25:42) But this tactic was most effective, they were left speechless.

Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?
(Neh 5:9)
Here Nehemiah exhorts the nobles to walk in the law and fear of God and here is where I think a key spiritual turning point happens. Nehemiah did not want to return to the errors of the past and the shame it brought Israel. Consequently, he reminds them of the law and how they should honor God and how he brought all of this reproach upon them for their past rebellions. Nehemiah appeals to them on two levels, what they should not do and what they should start doing. Stop usury, and begin to fear the Lord. Keep in mind that it was the nobles he was addressing; the leaders and pillars of the community. If they began to act in a way contrary to God, the whole society would begin its long decent into rebellion. Nehemiah was wise to put a stop to this early on. Sin and rebellion are like a cancer - the patient has a better chance at survival if it's caught early.

I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn:
I pray you, let us leave off this usury.
(Neh 5:10)

Nehemiah uses another method of appeal to the nobles. He uses the 'lead by example' mode of leadership. He tells them that he will lend money to his brethren and will not charge interest.

Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards,
their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money,
and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them. Then said they,
 We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest.
Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them,
that they should do according to this promise.
(Neh 5:11-12)

Here Nehemiah tells them what he expects of them. He is isn't just talking about not taking interest in the future. No, he wants the problem that has now presented itself solved, that being the serious complaint of the people. He wants them to being to restore the land to the people and not only that, he wanted them to restore the 1% interest they charged the people for their produce.

Note that Nehemiah says, he wants this done today. He is not talking about like people do today, making promises today and then not carrying them out, or finding a way to weasel out of their promises. Nehemiah had been in the kings court too long to fall for that one! "No sir, Ya'll gonna take care of this one today!!"

To make sure they keep their word the priests were called in to witness them taking an oath to that effect. No more usury, and yes, they will restore the land to the people... and oh..., by the way I just happened to have brought along some Priests to witness your promise to return this property. Nehemiah was covering all of the political and legal bases. There would be no sudden outbreak of 'forked tongue fever' or 'I don't recall syndrome'  among the nobles after the meeting broke up. Having the priests witness the oath was kind of like signing a contract today. Both have legal validity.

We will get on with the next section of Nehemiah next week, God willing!!

23 Dec
The Following was written on Dec 4th for insiders, before the Senate vote on the matter. .

Trump's Strategic Problem

Well, Yesterday US Senators were briefed about the Khashoggi killing by the CIA director, who was just a few days ago, prevented from doing so. Trump clearly was worried about the perceptions of a cover up and that this would sway many Senators to vote in favor of the pending Yemen war bill. The mood in the Senate right now is to give the President a stern rebuke for his protection of what the world more and more understands is this murder and murderer.

The CIA brief left no doubt in anyone's mind among those Senators who got the briefing. Some did not get to hear the CIA director and one of those is Rand Paul. This is not surprising and frankly, Sen. Paul's concerns are mine as well. Elected Representatives should be given a lot more access to critical intelligence than they are currently given. Granted, there are legitimate concerns about the spread of classified data to 'unauthorized' persons. Many of the ways that this intelligence is collected could be compromised by those who don't follow the laws and rules dealing with Classified intel. It's a genuine concern because once a source or method of collection is compromised, so goes and so does any and all future intelligence from that method or source. So while I hear Mr. Paul's grievances, I also say that it is very important, in fact in 99 cases out of a 100 imperative that those sources and methods be protected. The danger is that an elected Rep wanting to make a political point in the media begins to rattle on about classified info, either not thinking about the damage he is doing in the process or knowing the damage and thinks his personal-political point is more important. In short, Mr. Paul's grievances are real, but the other side of the problem cannot be ignored either.

Yet the real issue in my view is that this is how the 'deep state' controls Congress and congressional votes. Most of the time when they withhold critical data, it has nothing to do with sources and methods, it's politics that is an affront to the very informed democratic processes that are a foundation of our Constitutional Republic. It's why I have and will continue to say that the Deep State as it is currently organized is a greater threat to our Republic than the foreign nations they are supposed to be protecting us from. It's their insane budgets and spending, loopy covert ops and foolish weapons programs and the illegal targeting of law abiding Americans.  I say this because some truly bad people have risen pretty high up in the so called 'deep state' and many view our democratic processes, the Constitution and even a free people as a 'national security threat'. I kid you not.

As an important aside, I think this needs to be said. The deep state is not some deep dark conspiracy, but is perhaps better described as nothing more than formal and informal networks of like minded people who implement policies or impede them independent of elected officials. It consists of civil servants, intelligence officials, political hacks, Law Enforcement, contractors and others who know the system and how to bring a policy to a screeching halt or implement their own policies completely outside of our Democratic processes. On some occasions, these things are nothing more than crimes. They know who is looking (surveillance), for what, where and how much money is being spent here or there and how to get away with some pretty heinous crimes, when it suits them or if they believe that it is in the best interest of the country. They know the levers to push, who to get to push them, how hard to push them and when... and most importantly to never, EVER get caught.

However, we should keep this in mind - the deep state has also been described as the 'steady state', and those that do are mostly correct The Deep State has ways of rooting out traitors and corruption, dealing with stupidity and dangerous people when the laws cannot or will not. So don't look at the Deep State as being all bad, it fact, much of it is good. The problem is when it gets out of control and out of control it got under recent Presidents. The other problem is when really bad people get hold of those hidden mechanisms of power for the purpose of doing harm to the nation. This is where we should have the most concern, when such 'bad actors' in power start going after the good guys (via set ups and untraceable murders) so that the bad guys can run wild and screw up the country.

Look at it this way, when a top level person in our government (like a Supreme Court Justice, a Top Senator on key committee's or even a Secretary of State) who has serious political power has turned on the nation and become a threat to the security of the nation, it is nearly impossible to dislodge that person from power using the ordinary tools of power (charges and a trial). This is where in the past some elements of the deep state came in. Keep that in mind in the future when you hear about the so called 'deep state' and what I mean when I use the term. I am not so much talking about a cabal, but networking - networking that in times of crisis, can be of great value and importance. So don't let anyone fool you with talk of some deep dark conspiracy of the deep state and that they control the world or fool you with the other extreme view, that the Deep State does not exist. Neither view is correct.

... back to the Khasoggi affair

These are important questions that are not being talked about in this moment of important Senatorial Decision making. But The Khashoggi affair, we are going to talk about it today but from a different angle than most are talking about it. It's the Strategic problem that now confronts the Trump administration.

There has been considerable moral indignation over the murder of the Washington Post journalist. That outrage is a good thing, God forbid we come to a time when it's OK to hack up journalists in the Embassy's of our supposed allies and no one marks it. Thankfully the US Senate, while corrupt, has not completely lost its soul and recognizes that something substantial must be done to dissuade any more 'Mad Princes' from hacking up any more journalists.

Related: MbS Reportedly Scrambles Military Amid Coup Fears

But in the unlikely event that the Senate votes to curtail the war and sanction the Saudi's with reduced or no more weapons sales, what will be the end result of it? I say unlikely because any such measure has to also pass the House and a Presidential signature. Right now there is no Veto proof majority and this may have been what the President was trying to forestall by allowing Haspel to brief select Senators, not so much the sway the vote, but in not raising the ire of the Senate so that an override of the almost certain Presidential Veto became more likely.

For argument's sake, let's say that somehow the bill passes, and a VETO is overridden and there are no more weapons sales to the Saudi's and no more US support to the war. Let's say that this is what happens some time in February-April after all the political games and tricks are played. What happens next?

First of all the Saudi's are dependent on the US not for just fighter refueling (recently discontinued), but also for logistical support as well as Intelligence support in the current Yemen conflict. Other open source news stories have US special ops troops in the region doing God knows what. An end to that support would leave the coalition pretty much on their own and the Saudi's... lets face it, are having one very difficult time of it in Yemen.  Without the US support it needs and has relied upon, it would only do worse. The Saudi's may have state of the art weapons, but the problem is the inability to use their hardware in a way that brings in a mission success. They are using 'caveman' tactics in a 21st century war.  In short, on the battlefield, they are incompetent. One problem I think is that the Saudi's being a closed society that bases princely bloodlines and loyalty to the king above military prowess has led to a situation where all the wrong people are sitting in the cockpit and doing the operational planning and the ones who should be fighting and coming up with a coherent battle strategy wind up in some Saudi dungeon because someone else 'connected' want their Job. Granted there is little open source literature on internal Saudi Military promotion system.

The result of this kind of favoritism within a system where bloodlines play such a key role has been probably best described as a theater of incompetence and war crimes that has rightly got the world pretty upset. They don't know what they are doing and probably wouldn't know what to do with a victory even if they won one, and they won't. The Saudi's if they are smart (don't take that for granted) will begin to look with a critical eye their high price tag military and their strategic objectives in the region. Right how the leadership of the Kingdom is obsessed, with Iran and Shi'ism. This ultimately is what this war is about. Yes, it's about spheres of influence and regional power, but at the base of all of it is the warning houses of Islam and who controls the region, the energy supplies and the energy supply routes (Pipelines)

Rather than taking a more neutral and conciliatory stance in the region and taking the role of an honest broker between these two warring houses, the US has clearly taken sides not just diplomatically, but strategically and militarily as well. The US is fighting for Sunni Islam and the dominance of that religious system over the Middle East. By extension, she is fighting against Shia Islam and any influence that religious system has over the region. The US has chosen sides and thus has forfeited her traditional role of peace broker and reliable middle man. This has left a vacuum... one that is being or at least trying to be filled by...

The Russians

The Russians now are looking to become that new power broker in the Middle East.  They never until recently saw the Middle East as a primary zone of influence. But that changed. This piece looks at what caused that change and what it may mean. In short the Russians are trying to move into that role now that America can no longer or is unwilling to play in the region. Her long standing obsession with Iran and her hostility to Shi'ite influence has destroyed that for America.

But it's not just a future important diplomatic role that the Russians will play in the future as, unlike America, she has burned no bridges between herself and Iran or Saudi Arabia, as America has done with Iran. This puts her in a powerful position as a go between when problems arise that effect Iran and the powerful Gulf States (Sunni).

But what will give the US real pause is the thing that makes the wheels of Washington spin, that being arms sales. Billions of dollars are at stake and be assured, major defense contractors are concerned about a future embargo and what that will do for business. They have a lot of leverage on the Hill, but so far, it does not seem to have deeply effected the Senate's mood. But there is another concern that is more strategic.

One is that the Saudi's will begin to look to buy their arms from others. The Russians have some excellent armaments and are busy selling arms around the world. It's a great source of hard currency for the country. This is particularly needed in light of the sanctions that the west keeps levying on Russia for crimes real and imaginary. So Russia is doing the same thing that brings America lots of hard currency into the nation, it's selling arms. Those of you wanting a good look at the arms industry and whose on top, Wikipedia has a great entry here, largely based on data from SIPRI. More on a general and up to date global view here.

Now here is where we need to understand another aspect of the conflict going on in the world. It's as much about military armaments, hot conflicts and treaties as it is about economics. If the US were to suddenly cut off the spigot of arms to the Saudis' where do you think they will turn? They will turn to the Chinese and the Russians as each now are producing very good armaments at very reasonable prices. Mind you, Russian weapons many of them in the past have had some serious maintenance issues. It is not clear if this is still the case and if the Saudi's want to become dependent on Moscow for its weapons systems. This is always the issue with arms sales, its service and maintenance of those weapons systems. How long does a fighter engine last? How will it be replaced when the life span is over? For how much, etc.?

But try and understand a wise Presidents conundrum. Do you cut the Saudi's off and then enrich the Russians and Chinese with those Saudi billions? Granted the question is not quite that simple as the Saudi's are dependent on the US for other kinds of support for those weapons systems they already possess.

So it is not such an easy decision. If the Saudi's were to begin purchasing Russian weapons, integrating those systems with the US technology they already possess may not be as easy as it seems. And let's face it, so far Saudi military competence is one key question everyone is asking now. Do they posses the technological competence for such an integration? I doubt it.

My view is that American policy in the region has been muscular, but not intelligent. It's been direct, but not circumspect; Machiavellian and devoid of those things that made America the great power she once was. It's not so much about individual policy decisions are what are giving the US so many issues now in the Middle East, but an over all vision-less, power hungry slant that has been too long a foundation of our policies. Rather than deal with Iranians (and Syrians) as human beings and fellow citizens of planet earth, the US has treated them as though they crawled out of a sewer and have no rights to anything except global contempt, sanctions and their governments to be overthrown.

Mind you, Iran has many problems many issues with Human Rights and many issues dealing with Terrorism. But you know what? The Saudi's have problems along those lines at least as bad as the Iranians. The moral outrage at Iran by the US is of a politically convenient variety.  As long as the US continues to run interference for Saudi War Crimes in order to advance Sunni Islam at the expense of Iran and Shia concerns, her policy in the region will be permanently chained to those whose moral compass points straight to a dungeon, a torture chamber and a headman's axe.

That is not what American policy should be about.

Poverty Is Often Not Laziness - A Look At The Working Poor In America

This is a look not just at how many people with jobs have to live, but also how they are treated in an America that worships wealth far more than it does God.

These are tragic stories on the dollars and cents of living a growing number of Americans must face.

The Mercury News Reports

Disease/Bio Watch

A House of Healing: One Doctor's War... Against a War
It Isn't Crazy To Conduct An Ebola Test In A War Zone
This is about the outbreak in the Congo and the political situation is making things worse.
Maryland Adenovirus Kills Student, Sickens 21 Others
Bird Flu Hits Iranian Poultry
Given the tense political situation between the US, KSA, Iran and Israel a biological attack cannot be ruled out.
Florida Restaurant Get Sick From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Improper ventilation is the suspected cause.
18 Die of Measles In Philippines
Measles Cases Increase By 30% Globally Since '16
Chinese Creator Of Gene Edited Babies Missing
Hepatitis E Outbreak In Central African Republic
Hepatitis A Outbreak In Florida
HPV Vaccine Linked To Sterility
This is not news to most of you here, many studies in the past have shown the same thing. The vaccine looks more like a stealth population control vaccine than anything that prevents diseases.
HPV Vaccine And Infertility: A Strong Association
An interesting article that shows you some official stats on female infertility.
Iceland reports norovirus outbreak linked to oysters

22 Dec

America Watch


The Creepy Side Of Amazon
You don't want to miss this one. Amazon will soon be surveilling entire neighborhoods...
Alabama Police Dept.: Crime Due To Nation Turning From God

And it is so true. But as usual, those who speak truth get lambasted, as this article describes.

But God has not left us without a witness and even here the cops are trying their best to get the nation back on track.

You can often tell how effective you are for God by the opposition you get from others.

Mathis Resignation Letter (pdf)

I cannot say this was a complete surprise. I, as did many others thought it could happen. Trump's policies are seen by many as too cozy with strongmen and dictators. The reported arms deal with Turkey, the Syrian withdrawal and the Afghan withdrawal which is under active consideration are probably too much for him and others who see America as the world's policeman and imperial watchdog.

The President has taken a bull by the horns now that his attempt to win a second term has begun and I think he is trying remember why he got elected in the first place, his base and the issues that are important to them. One is the wall, on which he caved in to the DC establishment the first two years in office.

Now I think we are going to see a little more of the fighter in Trump on the Border and our wars. Remember Trump talked a lot about getting out of Afghanistan and reduce our foreign wars when running. This much I think he knows, people elected him because he was a maverick and a guy who would turn DC upside down - they were tired of the same old, same old and wanted change. So far, he has not used those 'Trumpian traits' to deal with the issues of those who voted for him. If he can channel his energies to keeping those promises and less in tweeting about porn stars, he may have a decent chance at re-election.

The Afghan Drawdown? It appears to have already been ordered and this was probably at least part of what sent Mathis packing. It isn't a total withdrawal, right now about half will be on their way back home. Frankly I don't see either move as being particularly bad. Yes, the imperialists in DC will go into a panic, but the reality is that we have no real plan to win or reason for being in either place. ISIS is mostly (but not totally defeated) and the Taliban, they were there before we went in in 2001 and are there now as we move into 2019 and will be there well into the 2020's whatever we do. Trump is correct, yes there are downsides to leaving. But the upside is better. We can bring American troops home and prepare for a war that may really be a genuine threat to the US and stop swatting flies with a sledgehammer all over the planet, which is too often what these military misadventures turn out to be; an expensive exercise in hubris, violence and corruption.

Afghanistan itself has so many problems on this front...

Afghanistan and the December Review: Making the Right Judgments

How America Corrupted Afghanistan

War contracting was such a problem that Congress had to get involved. This is how the Afghanistan Special IG got started (SIGAR). You can read the original report by congress that lays out the issues. Some of the hearings can be found here.

Since that time, I have taken trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, where I have seen with my own eyes the lack of planning, inadequate oversight, and sheer waste in our contingency contracting operations. I can tell a number of anecdotal stories about my visits to both Iraq and Afghanistan on contracting oversight trips. But I particularly remember the time when I asked a general in Kuwait, where a lot of the contracting work was done, ‘‘how did this happen? How did this get so out of control?’’

 This was near the end of my trip, when I had spent time in Baghdad looking at the Logistics Civics Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract and other contracts. This general was very candid with me. He said, ‘‘I wanted three kinds of ice cream in the mess hall yesterday, and I didn’t care what it cost.’’ I think we owe the taxpayers better than that. I think even though that is anecdotal, the CWC’s report shows that it was, in fact, factually correct. That there were literally billions and billions and billions—and I could keep saying this, getting all the way to $60 billion—that potentially went up in smoke through waste, fraud, and abuse.

The CWC has been tireless in its examination of the flaws in our wartime contracting policies and practices. Over the last 3-plus years, the CWC has held 25 hearings, traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan at least 15 times, and interviewed hundreds of military and civilian Federal employees, contractor employees, and contracting experts. From - S. HRG. 112–298 THE FINAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON WARTIME CONTRACTING IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
The good news is again, the SIGAR was created. You can find their latest quarterly report here.

This may seem off point, but I don't think it is. You see, these wars cost money. A lot of money. You want to get a good idea of how much? The Balance has a piece here that breaks down some of the official numbers.

To the numerically challenged, they hear these number bantered about and they don't get it... that this is real money that has to be spent. There are a lot of people out there like that, I know some of them. They can't balance their own checkbook and depend on others to manage their finances because they are challenged in this regard. They don't understand money and moreover, they don't want to understand it. Why not?  Because understanding it means discipline. It means saying no to something you want. It means controlling your inner six-year-old and counting your money before you spend it. This is a lack of discipline that is reflected in millions of Americans across the country and sadly, also in our lawmakers and Federal Budgeters. We throw money at problems hoping it alone will fix them. It won't. In fact in Afghanistan, it probably made matters considerably worse.

But in the overall scheme of things, Washington is just going to have to reign in spending. The imperial wing in the US establishment has too long had their way and they are not dealing in realities, but rather in the hocus-pocus that has kept the US fiscally afloat but only on mountains of debt... debt that makes the dollar. When that goes, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down on us all, including and especially the empire they so jealously guard, with IOUs they get to spend and we, the people have to pay back.

No, it is no coincidence that all of this is happening during budget negotiations. Our defense spending is off the charts and much of that money has been burned up in fraud, waste and abuse. I think the President wants to refocus some of that money into arms and systems that can fight the new rising adversaries, namely Russia and China. Higher defense budgets are just not doable, not with the fiscal mess we are in today. So shifting the money we do have makes more sense and something has to go. If I read the President right, he has decided that military misadventures are what need to go and go they shall. It's time to bring the troops home and deal with other far more pressing strategic issues, both domestic and military.

Isn't it ironic that after eight years of Obama and we got wars without end, more wars and destabilization but under Trump and his new GOP, we are finally starting to see a couple of steps back from 'imperial dementia' that has plagued DC for far, far too long?

Trump needs to look to his base and go back and keep those promises he made. The Wall is one, wars are another.

Yes, I and others think this is probably the right decision.

California Crime Rate Moves Up, But Still At Historic Lows

The 10 Safest Cities In The US

Cop Says He Wasn't Trying To Be Racist With Comments About Black Athletes

US Judge Orders Castration So Inmate Can Be "Jailed As Female"
   Welcome to 21st century America.

Illinois AG: Still Hundreds Of Priests Who Molest Unidentified
   Many see this as a political move, rather than a legal one.

Author Calls On Men Of God To Stand Up
   There are wimps and there are men. The two terms are mutually exclusive.  There are overgrown babies in a man's body and men. Again, the two terms are mutually exclusive.

But I think this needs to be said. Being man does not mean being an obnoxious, or being an as$hole. I have seen way too much of that in my time. People who get in your face and give you their ignorant and unsolicited opinion about something they don't know anything about, thinking they are taking a stand and 'being a man'.  That is not 'manning up', that is merely just being a jerk.

What does the Bible say about it? Here is an interesting little link

Connecticut Sues Perdue Pharma Over Opiod Crisis

Opiod Plagued Philly's Attempt To Go After Big Pharma Stalled

House Issues Report On W. Virginia Opiod Dumping, Fingers DEA (pdf)
The opioid epidemic is the worst drug crisis in America’s history. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 351,000 lives have been lost to opioid overdoses since 1999, with no signs of abating. Far more people die from the misuse of opioids in the United States each year than from road traffic accidents or violence. Public health officials are alarmed that the opioid problem has helped drive a decline in U.S. life expectancy at a time when life expectancy is improving in many places around the world.

As part of its legislative responsibilities to help protect public health, the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the 115th Congress intensified efforts to understand how the nation got to a crisis point with the opioid epidemic, and to find solutions to address this problem. In early 2017, the Committee became interested in allegations of “opioid-dumping,” a term to describe inordinate volumes of opioids shipped by wholesale drug distributors to pharmacies located in rural communities, such as those in West Virginia. These allegations were highlighted in reports by the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia and the Washington Post.

 In May 2017, the Committee opened a bipartisan investigation into the allegations. From press reports and this investigation, the Committee learned of opioid shipments in West Virginia that shocked the conscience:
 • Over 10 years, 20.8 million opioids were shipped to pharmacies in the town of Williamson, home to approximately 3,000 people.

• Another nearly 9 million opioids were distributed in just two years to a single pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia, population 406.

• Between 2007 and 2012, drug distributors shipped more than 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia.
These troubling examples raised serious questions about compliance with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), administered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In undertaking this investigation, the Committee sought an in-depth, unprecedented look into what happened that led to inordinate shipments of opioids to small, rural pharmacies in southwestern West Virginia, part of the epicenter of the nation’s opioid epidemic and the state with the highest drug overdose death rate in the country. This examination was intended to review evidence, mostly documents, from the three largest wholesale drug distributors in the U.S. as well as those from two other regional distributors that were significant suppliers to West Virginia pharmacies. The companies whose distribution was reviewed are AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., Cardinal Health, Inc., H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Co., McKesson Corp., and Miami-Luken, Inc. The investigation also included review of some internal documents from the DEA. From this review, the Committee sought to determine the effectiveness of DEA enforcement and to evaluate the extent that distributors implemented controls to prevent diversion of opioids. This investigation is a start to establish some accountability and understanding about the epidemic, but this inquiry is only a look at a piece of the overall puzzle. There are other actors involved in the epidemic including manufacturers, pharmacies, physicians, and drug traffickers.

This report presents case studies of opioid distribution to southwestern West Virginia pharmacies over the last decade. The findings from these individual case studies are not necessarily generalizable of the conduct of the distributors more broadly. However, the case studies—taken altogether with the sheer number of opioids sent to these small towns—raise sufficient concerns as to whether these companies fulfilled their legal obligations to prevent drug diversion. - Red Flags and Warning Signs Ignored: Opioid Distribution and Enforcement Concerns in West Virginia

20 Dec

Nehemiah X

And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people,
The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another.
In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us:
our God shall fight for us.
(Neh 4:19-20)

We left off last time with Nehemiah taking serious precautions against a clearly indicated attack on the work and all of those engaged in it. We have seen that they set up a watch and began to arm the workmen as a direct result of the threat. Nehemiah was putting into place his warning plan and it was made ensure that if there was danger, everyone who was working and or watching could assemble in a per-arranged place. The sounding of the Trumpet would be the alarm. This clearly was a necessary step, for as Nehemiah makes plain, the work was quite extensive an area. This was not like a guy standing on the wall of a fort in the old west, no these walls surrounded a large part of the city. So it was necessary that when the alarm was sounded, everyone who heard it and could react according to instructions. If they heard the trumpet along the eastern section, they were to rally there, if in the north, then go there. This appears to be the meaning of the passage. The Trumpet warning sound was the method employed to deal with the threat that was greater by virtue of the size and scope of the work.

Once again Nehemiah credits God for the defense, he clearly wanted all to know that God would fight with them should trouble arise and that they should neither fear nor be afraid.

So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears
from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.
Likewise at the same time said I unto the people,
 Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem,
 that in the night they may be a guard to us,
 and labour on the day.

(Neh 4:21-22)

Once significant opposition revealed itself and Nehemiah took those precautions, it appears that there was a new dedication to the work. Less whining, less excuses and more dedication - armed dedication. They worked hard. From sun up to sun down. Indeed the passage indicates that they also slept at the construction site to make sure nothing happened at night. This is how a dedicated Godly man or woman stands in adversity. They don't 'fold' and they don't run or cower. They consider their foe and his aim, they consider their own job and they consider the God that they serve and continue to do as they are commanded... even more so if possible when faced with this kind of opposition. Nehemiah would not let the opposition be a hindrance to the work, he would maintain his faith and do the work of God. The word for servant here in verse 22 is one that probably had the connotation of a young boy who was charged with carrying building materials to the workman and probably holding his weapon at hand throughout the day.
From H5287; (concretely) a boy (as active), from the age of infancy to adolescence; by implication a servant; also (by interchange of sex), a girl (of similar latitude in age): - babe, boy, child, damsel [from the margin], lad, servant, young (man).

The lodging arrangements of the workmen is indicated here. It may be that many of them slept outside of the walls at night and thus could fall victim to their enemies. This move by Nehemiah may have been designed to forestall such a tragic eventuality. They could not afford to lose anyone due to this kind of violent intrigue.

What Nehemiah created here was siege mentality. Today, that has a kind of negative connotation, but when you are surrounded by foes and you have people under your charge that you are responsible for, there is nothing wrong and everything right about making prudent and effective defensive preparations. Interestingly the Cambridge commentary has this aside for the last verse.
and labour on the day] R.V. and may labour in the day. Literally ‘and in the day a labour.’ Those who were compelled to lodge within the walls would not be able to elude their employers and officers. They would be better under control for the systematic work needful for the building. They could not wander far from the city. Work could be recommenced in the early morning without delay; whether engaged on the walls or in other ways, all were thus placed under surveillance. - Cambridge Bible For Schools And Colleges

So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants,
 nor the men of the guard which followed me,
none of us put off our clothes, saving that every
one put them off for washing.

(Neh 4:23)

Nehemiah here shows us the clear dedication that he has his team had to completing the task at hand. They worked incessantly and did not even stop to change clothes. But this is another passage whose text appears to have been corrupted over time. Both the K & D commentary and the Cambridge go to considerable lengths to describe the passages latter portion which is where the textual problem  lies. I will not get into the linguistics as I am not a Hebrew scholar.

And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their
brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters,
are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live.
Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards,
and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. There were also that said,
We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.
Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children:
and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants,
and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already:
neither is it in our power to redeem them;
for other men have our lands and vineyards.
(Neh 5:1-5)

Here it looks like Nehemiah had to deal with a significant amount of internal dissent among his countrymen because of some of the economic hardship and oppression that was taking place. Note that the passage says that there was a great cry (Heb; shriek - H6818). It came from the people and their wives and it was not against Tobiah and Sanballat, but against their own fellow Jews. The complaints fall into three categories

1) They were hungry they wanted their sons and daughters to receive corn. This appears to be a group who owned no property.

2) Those who owned land had it mortgaged and consequently they had to service the debt. K&D has this to say about this passage.
Others, who were indeed possessed of fields, vineyards, and houses, had been obliged to mortgage them, and could now reap nothing from them. עָרַב, to give as a pledge, to mortgage. The use of the participle denotes the continuance of the transaction, and is not to be rendered, 'We must mortgage our fields to procure corn; but, We have been obliged to mortgage them, and we desire to receive corn for our hunger, because of the dearth'. For (1) the context shows that the act of mortgaging had already taken place, and was still continuing in force... We desire that corn may be furnished us, because of the dearth; not, that we may not be obliged to mortgage our lands, but because they are already mortgaged. בָּרָעָב, too, does not necessarily presuppose a scarcity in consequence of a failure of crops or other circumstances, but only declares that they who had been obliged to pledge their fields were suffering from hunger.  - K &D
3) The last group borrowed money to pay taxes and clearly because of the food situation, pledged crops as part of some kind of repayment plan.
There was clearly a food shortage, a famine and people were hungry. The predicament they were in as a result of the famine, the taxes and other issues only added to their frustration. Let us make this clear, this was no minor economic inconvenience - the 'wolf was at the door' and he was howling pretty loudly. Verse five really puts their hardship in a clearer perspective. Things were so bad that they had to sell their sons and daughters into slavery. They did not have the money or the power to redeem them. The key word here is our brethren and what this seems to indicate is that it was other Jews who were oppressing them. The Jewish law did allow this practice, but with some clear stipulations, (see Deut 15:7ff and Lev 25:39ff).

Simply put, their fields no longer really belonged to them as they were pledged to others for debts and whatever crops were grown went to 'Squeeze 'em Dry Debt Collectors, LLC', if I had to use a modern day similitude.

They were at the end of their financial rope and moreover, they were hungry as a result.

We will get to Nehemiah's reaction to this complaint in the next section!!

18 Dec

Blessings And Cursing

 Now the LORD had said unto Abram,
Get thee out of thy country, and from
thy kindred, and from thy father’s house,
unto a land that I will shew thee:
 And I will make of thee a great nation,
and I will bless thee, and make thy name great;
and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them
that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee:
and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
(Genesis 12:1-3 [KJV])

Abraham (Abram) had a special calling and a special blessing. That blessing was that he would bless those that blessed Abraham as well as cure those that cursed him. The condition was that he had to leave Ur of the Chaldees (Gen 11:28) and go to a place where God would show him. In other words, he did not know where the Lord would lead him. But he had to obey and obey he did. This was stepping out in faith in God's promise and direction.

This is how he got this divine blessing. If you want God's blessing you have to obey God's word. When he gives you a job to do, a task to perform, a ministry to engage in, don't expect to arrive in your new job on a red carpet and in a Rolls Royce. Don't expect everyone to support and bless you for doing as God commands. Often it is just the opposite. With Abram, it was a literal journey he had to embark on and as we go through the book of Genesis we find that even Abram had to fight some wars
(Gen 14) and deal with setbacks. Serving God means that God will be with you in the battles that must be fought in order to keep your charge and your faithfulness to God.

In nearly 19 years of service here at this site (and with my own near open rebellion at continuing it) I have learned many a lesson that I hope I can pass on to some of you. What I can tell you is that God made a promise to me as he made to Abraham, that he would bless those who bless me, and curse those who curse me. He was clear about it and his words were no metaphor. He has set me up here for a reason. It has been hard, at times nearly impossible, yet God has been with me and kept me and this site going. Despite all the heckling from other so called 'Christians', the false accusations, the hate, the set ups, the break ins, the inept attempts and doing me physical harm, God kept me, in the natural I should be dead or in jail. In the spiritual I was never harmed nor in any real danger.

I write these things to all of you by way of encouragement. Strong encouragement. God is real and if you are his and are doing what he has commanded you to do, he will be with you. Where he may send you may not make the slightest sense to you in the natural. What is happening to you may not make the slightest sense in the natural, but God has a plan that supersedes the natural.  I never would have thought that the Lord would have me writing like this for so long. Never! I would never would have conceived of such a ministry could exist 30 years ago. To touch the world from my own home office?! I would have considered a person who said that as being mad, unless it was by Radio. God saw it and started moving me back in the right direction because he had a job for me, one I would never have understood even if he explained to me back in the late 80's, early 90's.

Abraham had to travel a long way to fulfill God's purpose for him and in those days, travel by Caravan could be dangerous. Let us remember the episode where his wife was captured. It would have been easy for him to complain to God and get all upset about what happened and to start blaming God for what happened and turning the caravan around and head right back to Ur.

He did not, rather he got his wife back, but not without a rebuke for his lack of honesty (Genesis 12:18). But in this ordeal the Lord protected him and put all manner of trouble on Pharaoh over Abraham's wife
(Gen 12:17). When God put a seal of protection over someone, it is very strong and no man can break it. I never forget the Chariots that protected Elijah. Those who are in God's service are under God's protection. Only when God so ordains can the devil harm his servants. Often he allows it just to seal up the sins of those who are God's enemies. It's the foam in the cup of their abominations that makes their judgment and punishment sure, making sure they have no excuse. Consider the Two Witnesses when they come onto the scene and their powerful ministry. They walk the earth and warn the world but not just with words, but also with a powerful ministry of signs and wonders. How does God protect them?

 And I will give power unto my two witnesses,
and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred
and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks
standing before the God of the earth. And if any
man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth,
and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them,
he must in this manner be killed.
(Revelation of John 11:3-5 [KJV])

This will be a powerful ministry and one of great importance in those days. But look at the power God gives them. Their words will be as fire and will slay their enemies. Who says that God's truth cannot be a potent weapon in the hands of his anointed? It can be and is and these two men, when they appear will be a witness to the all and warn the world of its sin and of God's  coming Judgment. They will prepare the way for the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Another instance of the power of God's word in the hands of his anointed for ill at those who rebel? Think about the effect of Peters words in Acts in the incident of Ananias And Sapphira.

But Abraham, despite all the troubles he had to face, God gave him another blessing, another promise and one that we as Christians should always hold onto.

After these things the word of the LORD
came unto Abram in a vision, saying,
Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield,
and thy exceeding great reward.
(Genesis 15:1 [KJV])

God is his reward and he is our inheritance. God was looking out for Abraham. He was protecting him all the way. He may not have always seen how, but God was with him. God was his defense, his shield.

Have you placed your trust fully in God, walked with him and done has he has asked you to do? Are you a little confused at how things are going for you? How do you think Abraham felt when his wife was taken from him? How do you think he felt when Lot was taken away captive? How do you think he felt not having a child? This walk of ours brothers and sisters, it is no bed of roses. Those that preach otherwise have never known God or his ways.

We as part of the seed of promise are blessed. We are part of that great Abrahamic promise and this is by virtue of our faith in God, our persistence in walking with him and our endurance to the end.

I don't want to focus too much on curses, but it was indeed a curse that is also part of that blessing upon Abraham. Let it never be said that God cannot and will not curse people, places and things. There are plenty of places in scripture where God has done just that. I need not recount them here. Suffice it to say that divine curses are real. Yet God wants to emphasis his blessings and his goodness, not his anger and wrath. It's why I am not going to spend too much time on the subject of curses - save for two places. The first is where the Lord tells is of one key and final curse that shall befall the lost souls,

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand,
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels:
(Matthew 25:41 [KJV])

The lost shall join the angelic host of rebels into an everlasting fire. It's one I think will be ever present for all the redeemed to see as a witness to the price of rebellion against God, should any angel or redeemed man in the distant future wish to stir up another rebellion against the Most High. They can have Michael or one of the other angels take them on a tour and they can see and hear for themselves the price of any such rebellious undertaking.

There is one other category of people that need to be relayed to you as being especially cursed. It's those who pervert the simplicity of the Gospel Message and teach another one. It is not a subject that the Lord takes lightly.

 But though we, or an angel from heaven,
preach any other gospel unto you than that
which we have preached unto you,
let him be accursed. As we said before,
 so say I now again, If any man preach
any other gospel unto you than
that ye have received,
let him be accursed.
(Galatians 1:8-9 [KJV])

Let those of us who know our God and have walked with him ponder these passages and remember this - with God is both blessings and cursing.

Let us all pause and consider that God gives us all a choice, every man and woman to choose that which he will receive at the hand of the Lord.

Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God,
which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not
obey the commandments of the LORD your God,
but turn aside out of the way which I command
you this day, to go after other gods,
which ye have not known.
(Deuteronomy 11:26-28 [KJV])

Major Guangzhou House Church Shut Down by Authorities

Raid Takes Place as Part of Crackdown on Influential Churches Across China
12/17/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on the morning of December 15, more than 100 police and government officials raided a children’s Bible class at Guangzhou’s Rongguili Church.

They registered the names of the students, interrogated their parents and staff, confiscated their cell phones, and copied contact information from the church’s computers to prevent members from documenting and reporting the raid.

According to South China Morning Post, officials from the education and religious affairs departments stayed until 8:00 p.m. and confiscated church property, including more than 4,000 books. Entry and exit points for the roads leading to the church have been cordoned off by police.

When the worshippers went to their church the next day for Sunday service, more than 30 police officers were present to prevent members from entering. A notice issued by the Yuexiu Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau shows that the church is now disbanded and Christians should instead worship at other state-sanctioned churches nearby.

Rongguili Church was founded by the late Lin Xiangao, an iconic leader in the Chinese house church known for his resistance against the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Thousands attend the church every week and it is widely seen as the beacon of faith in southern China.

This incident makes Rongguili Church the third victim in the latest clampdown on influential house churches in China, following Beijing’s Zion Church and Sichuan’s Autumn Rain Covenant Church.

Father Francis Liu shared the church’s prayer request on Twitter. The church asked people to “pray for the Lord's mercy on the copied file as it contains personal information of preachers and other churches. May God bless them as local authorities have already taken turns to visit the home of one of the listed.”

A house church member in Beijing who has closely followed the latest crackdown against house churches told ICC, “It seems like the government has been deliberately targeting several influential house churches in China… What might be the reason behind their action at this particular moment we don’t know, but God knows! May God’s will be done.” - International Christian Concern

State Dept. Adds Russia To Religious Freedom "Watch List'

(US State Dept.) On November 28, 2018, I designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated ”systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom.” I also placed Comoros, Russia, and Uzbekistan on a Special Watch List for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.” Finally, I designated al-Nusra Front, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa'ida, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Khorasan, and the Taliban as Entities of Particular Concern.

In far too many places across the globe, individuals continue to face harassment, arrests, or even death for simply living their lives in accordance with their beliefs. The United States will not stand by as spectators in the face of such oppression. Protecting and promoting international religious freedom is a top foreign policy priority of the Trump Administration. In July, I hosted the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, which brought together some 85 likeminded governments and more than 400 civil society organizations to harness global attention and motivate forceful action to advance respect for the human right of religious freedom. - State Dept.

BELARUS: Fined for singing, offering religious literature

(Forum 18) Police stopped a Baptist husband and wife from singing and offering Christian literature outside Lepel's market. "We were detained like criminals and brought to the police station," Andrei Fokin complained. A court fined the couple one month's average wages each. Bailiffs are seeking to confiscate property and ban him from driving. - Forum18

A growing and troubling trend of religious repression is taking place behind the old 'iron curtain'.

14 Dec

China Expanding Persecution Of Religious People, Says US Ambassador

Radio Free Asia carries the reaction of the US State Dept. over the story below.

This is a growing pattern of persecution undertaken by Xi to communize China and turn back the clock to the days of Mao.

Arrested Sichuan House Church Members Criminally Charged

Chinese Church Leaders Charged with Various Crimes
12/14/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that after more than 100 members were arrested during the December 9 crackdown on Sichuan’s Autumn Rain Covenant Church in China, several detained leaders have been criminally charged.

Both Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong have been detained for allegedly inciting subversion of state power, a crime that can result in imprisonment of five years, but up to 15 years in extreme cases. Wang has not yet been allowed to meet with lawyers or family members. Jiang was issued “residential surveillance at a designated location,” where she could be held for as long as six months in facilities commonly known as secret prisons, subject to torture and abuse.

Elder Li Yingqiang who was responsible for posting updates and prayer requests online for the church, has been detained for allegedly picking a quarrel and inciting trouble on the internet. Additionally, deacon Ge Yingfeng and Lu Jinheng were detained for alleged illegal operations, according to South China Morning Post.

In the meantime, more than 50 seminary students from the church were sent to a “re-education camp.” However, they were released and sent home, accompanied by local officials after praying and worshipping for more than 48 hours under surveillance.

The church’s Facebook page was last updated on December 10 with prayer requests. Due to security concerns, the official prayer request updates are now shared through other social media channels to prevent local police from targeting more members.

In spite of the turmoil, many members continue to gather in homes for their weekly small groups. Videos and photos shared by Brent Pinkall on Facebook demonstrate the perseverance of these Christians as they sing praises and read the Bible together.

Although still under house arrest, Pastor Jin Tianming of Beijing’s heavily persecuted Shouwang church issued a statement in support of Pastor Wang Yi and Autumn Rain Covenant Church. He said, “When I read Pastor Wang Yi's statement on his faith [issued 48 hours after his arrest], my heart was touched. I will say honestly in the Lord, his stance with respect to the church-state relations, is also my stance.”

He continued to call on Christians to "lift up our hands for Pastor Wang Yi and remember Autumn Rain Covenant Church [in prayers]!"

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “While trumped up charges against Christians can land them in prison, the faith they live out will never be extinguished by the evil schemes of the communist government. We are closely following the plight and pleas of these Chinese Christians and will continue to raise awareness in order for the international community to rally behind them.” 

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org
About ICC
International Christian Concern is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on human rights, religious freedom and assisting the persecuted Christian Church around the world. 

Media Contact
Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator
E-mail: press@persecution.org 
Phone: (301)-859-3842

International Christian Concern
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You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org.
13 Dec

Nehemiah IX

Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places,
 I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears,
and their bows. And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers,
 and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord,
which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters,
your wives, and your houses.
(Neh 4:13-14)

Upon hearing the consistent report coming into Nehemiah's group of builders that there would be serious efforts to not only disrupt the work but do so by violence, Nehemiah had to come up with a plan. He armed the people with the weapons of the day, swords, spears and bows. This was a no nonsense threat and Nehemiah, took a no-nonsense approach in response. There were whole families in his care and the passage seems to indicate that everyone who was capable, carried some kind of weapon. K &D makes it clear however, that the underlying text of verse 13 is near untranslatable, but they have done their best. I do not want to digress here, but I do want to make it plain that it is not 100% clear just what the meaning of verse 13 is.  I won't bore you with the linguistics -  the passage is difficult and the meaning while probably correctly gives us the gist of what is meant by the author, may be missing some critical element.

Nehemiah was a man who was an incredible leader, quite underrated I think in the Biblical hall of fame. He was threatened on all sides, had a near impossible task to complete, began to have some discouraged souls in his midst but sill kept on pushing ahead with the task that God had given him to do. In Verse fourteen, he gives the Jews a much needed pep-talk so that they are not overcome with fear or dread at the plots of Tobiah and Sanballat. He reminds them who they are working for, the Lord and that they need to remember that God knows how to protect his people. He also reminds them that their are their families to think of. These 'terrorists' (if I can call Tobiah and Sanballat and their band that) probably would not stop at just killing the men, but would almost certainly kill the women and children who were with them as well. Nehemiah did what every real man of God does when facing significant opposition. He does does what I like the to call the three F's...

He casts out Fear from his heart and mind.
He puts is Faith in God.
Then he Faces his problems head on.
These things Nehemiah did and enjoined those around him to to the same. The key here was Nehemiah reminded them where their strength was and whose protecting hand they were under. When I get down and discouraged, when troubles beset me and my enemies gang up on me, I always go back to the Psalms. David's like was full of events and troubles that made him set them down to song.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 
(Psalms 23:4, KJV)

A Psalm of David.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh,
 they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me,
in this will I be confident.
(Psa 27:1-3)

May all of us, in times of opposition remember our God, keep to the path he has told us to walk on and he will be with us in and through our tribulations.

And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us,
and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall,
every one unto his work. And it came to pass from that time forth,
that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them
 held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons;
 and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.  They which builded on the wall,
 and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands
wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
(Neh 4:15-17)

Nehemiah was warned in time to avert a disaster and the surprise factor in the plans of Nehemiah's enemies now removed, their plans now came to nothing. This allowed them to get right back to work, rebuilding the wall. Everyone got back to work, but with one important distinction. This time, they did the work while armed. It was clear to the leaders and the workers that threat against them was a serious one, a life threatening one and they were taking no chances. I suspect that what Nehemiah as doing was two fold. First he wanted to be sure than any future surprise attack would be met with force. Second,  I think he realized that if his enemies saw how they were armed and ready, that show of force would make them think twice about any further mischief. Nehemiah understood the need for a sound defensive plan so he had rotating shifts one shift worked while the other stood guard and vice versa. For those of you who were wondering, the word for habergeons is a kind of ancient chainmail or corset or harness.

shiryôn  shiryân  shiryâh  shiryônâh
(shir) -yone', -yawn', -yaw', -yo-naw'
From H8281 in the original sense of turning; a corslet (as if twisted): - breastplate, coat of mail, habergeon, harness. See H5030.

What the passage here from verse 7 to the end of the chapter describes Nehemiah's use of watchmen, in this case, armed watchmen. Being a watchman is a key job, just as important as one who fights. He is job is to be the eyes of any body of people under threat. He has to stand at his post even when it's boring and there is nothing to see but a flock of birds or a deer feeding in the woods, he must stand watch and give the alarm when trouble is on its way. This may have been one of Nehemiah's initial failings. I note that others had to come to him and warn him of the rather extreme danger he was in. He appears to have been unprepared for it, but after the reports, he got prepared very quickly. Then only after he saw the real threat level, he took appropriate measures. Perhaps I am over analyzing the passage, but I tend to think not. Before the threat no one had arms; after, everyone had them.

For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded.
 And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.
(Neh 4:18)

This is one passage my mother quoted to me once long ago. Why it comes to mind I don't know for I cannot fully recall the context. But she understood the need to fight when our lives are at risk. And they were all at risk. The trumpet of course was the trumpet of warning. The word here is Shophar.

shôphâr  shôphâr
sho-far', sho-far'
From H8231 in the original sense of incising; a cornet (as giving a clear sound) or curved horn: - cornet, trumpet.

Nehemiah was taking no chances, he was fully prepared for trouble and was not about to be caught unawares again.

Here I want to lift just a bit from the JFB commentary on this passage. They seem to give us a brief portrait of Nehemiah that I think is instructive on how he reacted to this threat and a testament to the character of this man of God. Forgive me if this is a bit long, but I think this may help us understand him as we continue to move through this book.
The plot being discovered, Nehemiah adopted the most energetic measures for ensuring the common safety, as well as the uninterrupted building of the walls. Hitherto the governor, for the sake of dispatch, had set all his attendants and guards on the work - now half of them were withdrawn to be constantly in arms. The workmen labored with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other; and as, in so large a circuit, they were far removed from each other, Nehemiah (who was night and day on the spot, and, by his pious exhortations and example, animated the minds of his people) kept a trumpeter by his side, so that, on any intelligence of a surprise being brought to him, an alarm might be immediately sounded, and assistance rendered to the most distant detachment of their brethren.

By these vigilant precautions, the counsels of the enemy were defeated, and the work was carried on apace. God, when He has important public work to do, never fails to raise up instruments for accomplishing it, and in the person of Nehemiah, who, to great natural acuteness and energy added fervent piety and heroic devotion, He provided a leader, whose high qualities fitted him for the demands of the crisis. Nehemiah’s vigilance anticipated every difficulty, his prudent measures defeated every obstruction, and with astonishing rapidity this Jerusalem was made again “a city fortified.” -
Jamieson, Fausset And Brown Commentary

I tend to think those years serving the King and often hearing the reports that came to the emperor from afar by his governors and generals by virtue of his position in the kings court, taught him some basics of political and even military strategy.

We will continue this most interesting book God willing, next week!!

12 Dec

Hate Watch

Avowed Neo-Nazi Gets Several Lifetimes In Jail For Murder

Man Arrested For Allegedly Plotting Synagogue Massacre

Neighbors Describe Arrest Of Another Alleged Ohio Terror Plotter

Nazi Themed Posters Found At NY University

Police Probe Assault On DJ By Alleged 'Skinhead' Group

Revenge Vowed Over Conviction Of Heyer's Murderer

Neo-Nazi Group Calls For Assassination Of Prince Harry Over Interracial Marriage

Hate Goes Mainstream With Miami Proud Boys

There is a lot of hate out there brothers and sisters... a lot of it. Hate, crazy and doped up Americans just seems to be more and more the new normal.

Young Men Of Color Join Right Wing Groups

Nothing could explain to Black America just the kinds of perils it is in than a piece like this piece from the Daily Beast. All of these young people from these different racial groups are ganging up on the Black man and blaming them for crime and their circumstances.

I just don't think Black folks get just the kinds of danger it is heading into. Social currents are moving ever further away from seeing Black Americans as victims but more as perpetrators and problems.

It is rather scary as I watch the whole Affirmative Action thing with this President and they clearly want to move against Blacks in this realm but keep the protections in place for women. But Affirmative Action has not helped the Black man.

For a long time I have been a kind of voice in the wilderness on these issues, warning that Black America and better get its collective act together, or a cold, cold wind will blow. That our departure from God and his principles that has been replaced with social cues that often come from the enemies of Black folks, those cues have done a number on Black America, from crime and prison stats, kids out of wedlock stats, education stats, public assistance stats we are at or near the bottom... consistently.

I have warned that many of the leaders of Black America are nothing more than 'Operation Chaos' stooges. Misleaders who were sent to mislead Black America right into funk we are in right now. Go and read about how they subverted the Woman's Rights movement in that piece I linked to What you don't think they haven't been doing that to Black Folks?

No, brothers I see big trouble ahead for Black Americans and their failure to deal with pressing issues in their own communities with answers that make sense and work, rather than slogans to elect a Democrat who won't do anything for them when they get into office anyway. The problem is a lack of courage in Black folks to call out these things, they are often too afraid, too cowardly of being seen as not in step with the rest of Black American culture.

My view is simple, we can fix these problems or our enemies will fix them for us and their solutions will not be ones that will be particularly pleasant for Black folks. These racists, far rightists are growing in power and stature globally. We had better be prepared for it with something more effective than the excuses of terminal victimologists whose rants have grown tiresome in the ears of many.

Yes, brothers I see a cold, cold wind blowing on a Black America who has forsaken the God who freed them from the slavery so many have already returned to.

The old slogans, blame games, refusal to take responsibility; the excuses, and whole 'victimology' of Black America has to be replaced with something more active, positive, constructive or what happened before...

... can happen again.

I am a realist, and right now that is what Black America needs. I confess, I am not that person, I don't think Black America's problems are solvable - not with the spiritual, cultural and psychological state Black America is currently in. Nor do I think anything but a major jolt of collective suffering will awaken the current culture. I am a realist enough to know a lost cause when I see one.

But we do need a realist who is not afraid to tackle issues that are negatively effecting Black America. A person who can identify the causes that emanate both from within and without of Black America. We don't need another pep talk or feel good session or one that praises the failures of the past as some kind of success story. More successes like some of the ones we praise and will all be wearing chains before long. Most Black folks still don't get it. They don't seem to want to deal in realities.

We must deal realistically with our problems or a new reality will descend upon us.

The folks on the far right fringes of America and the world who are now joining hands right now don't mean to bring Black folks anything but trouble.

11 Dec

Antisemitism And Today

One of the more troubling trends I see in our times today is the rise of antisemitic opinion. More and more as I hit the net and read various political and even religious views on the issues of our time, I am struck often shocked by the rabid antisemitism that is out there. The irrational hatred of the Jewish people and the rights of the Jewish people to have the same thing other people's have - their own homeland and nation. There is a deep, ancient and hard to understand hatred of the Jewish people that did not die with the Holocaust and Hitler, but seems to be getting new life on the digital highway of the internet.

These days, I cringe when I hear usually intelligent voices who espouse liberty and freedom go on their antisemitic rants. I literally cringe. For me, it is most disturbing, but not without historical precedent. We saw the same ideas begin to formulate long before Hitler rose to power in Germany. He could not have risen to power if the antisemitic 'groundwork' had already been laid in Germany. But the kinds of antisemitism that came to the fore in the early 20th century had both German and even French origins.

Joseph Arthur de Gobineau (14 July 1816 – 13 October 1882) was a French aristocrat who is best known today for helping to legitimise racism by use of scientific racist theory and "racial demography" and for his developing the theory of the Aryan master race. Known to his contemporaries as a novelist, diplomat and travel writer, Gobineau was an elitist who, in the immediate aftermath of the Revolutions of 1848, wrote a 1400-page book, An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races, in which he claimed that aristocrats were superior to commoners and that they possessed more Aryan genetic traits because of less interbreeding with inferior races (Alpines and Mediterraneans).

Gobineau's writings were quickly praised by white supremacist, pro-slavery Americans like Josiah C. Nott and Henry Hotze, who translated his book into English but omitted around 1000 pages of the original book, including those parts that negatively described Americans as a racially mixed population. Gobineau's writings were also influential on prominent anti-Semites such as Richard Wagner, Wagner's son-in-law Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the Romanian politician professor A. C. Cuza, and leaders of the Nazi Party, who later edited and re-published his work.- Wikipedia

Antisemitism was in many circles, in fashion among the powerful and rich and this is key - the educated, the opinion makers of the day. Those who had a lot of learning bought into these racial and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. But just as it was then we are seeing many of the same things today. The hate, the crazy idea's and the madness are all repeating themselves in many of the same ways. We have all heard of the BDS movement (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) in the world today against Israel. It's a global boycott campaign aimed at the Jews in Israel. Boycotts of Jewish interests is nothing new. They did it in Nazi Germany. Here is a transcript of a radio broadcast that took place during Hitlers reign that called for just such a boycott.

No brothers, this is a variation on the same antisemitic theme of yesteryear and thankfully, I am not the only one who see's it (this link is particularly good).

Brothers, I am a very careful observer of these things and am a bit of a student of the Third Reich and Nazism. I may not hold classes at Harvard or Yale, but I have taken a tremendous amount of time reading and learning about that dark chapter in history because I know despite what people say, it can happen again. The saddest part that I see today is the lack of historical understanding and knowledge that is out there, the pop-culture history that people believe about the Nazi's, it too often turns the events into a silly caricature, a comic strip or even a joke. They don't seem to care or often seem to want to know about what the Nazi's really did to Jews and just about anyone that did not agree with them. They made you a slave, conducted horrific medical experiments on you and then gassed you... millions of people, men, women and yes children.

This is why we need to understand a few things. First that this mindset is a long running one. It goes back centuries. Second, it always finds a few adherents with deep pockets who have their own agenda and reasons for promulgating these racial theories that target the Jews. In the Middle Ages, it was often to rid themselves of debts that rich noblemen and kings had accumulated, because about the only trade that was allowed for Jews to engage in back in those days was money lending. It was those debts that was the source of many problems for Jews living in the Middle Ages.

Stairs of Death: Source Wikipedia
It was the German need for labor during the Second World war that caused many to become slaves in the German war industry. The Nazi's had a policy of 'extermination by labor'. They literally worked people to death.

The image to the right are the stairs of death at Mauthausen Concentration Camp, The practice of using slave labor was widespread in Nazi Germany. Here is a list of the companies that used it. Some are still household names.

My point here is not to go over history but to make this most important and often ignored point. Racist views like Antisemitism and the anti-Black racism of the deep south have their root in economics. Money was a key driver for these racist views. In the middle ages it was debt, in the Nazi era it was slave labor for their armaments  factories and in the Deep South it was slave labor for agriculture. Once the financial need is identified, an 'intellectual justification' can be created to institute and continue the economic exploitation. Hence obtuse racial theories have been put forward by crackpot scientists who use their fancy degree's and high sounding titles to justify the economic exploitation of millions.

It all boils down to money and how the rich and powerful are able to put forward a lie that make some rich. But antisemitism, unlike Black slavery in the Deep South took on a form that went far beyond economics. It took a life of its own and later became a policy of total extermination of Jews.

Today, antisemitism is real and it is a growing cancer in our world. It is particularly so in Europe. In Germany where one would think Hitler and the Holocaust would have permanently cured them of such views, it is once again taking root.

In Germany we have seen the rise of many new forms of antisemitism. This is something I pointed out to readers some time ago back even before the first boats of immigrants who were arriving in Europe was making news. It was happening, but no one would cover the story at first. Then later when people started asking a lot of questions, they started covering it.

I said back then that what would happen would be a rise in antisemitism as millions of Muslims flooded Europe, many of whom hold decidedly antisemitic views. I also said that it would give rise to a new far right and give them all the political ammunition they needed to rise to power. We have seen these two trends take root years later. I was considered a 'nut job' for pointing it out and even some readers here got on my case about what I said. Yet look at Europe now.

Why Is Anti-Semitism Returning to Germany?
Antisemitism In Germany
The rise of the far right and the infusion of so many immigrants who are decidedly culturally different was a mixture that could only produce the kinds of political chaos and dark trends of hate and even violence that we see today. What Merkel did with her ill conceived policy was to pour nitro and glycerine into a bottle, shake it up and dared it not to explode.

But now that we are in an explosive situation, where rising hate and intolerance, antisemitism and far right parties are gaining political ground.

Where does that leave the Jews and Israel, for despite the careful moves by some to de-link antisemitism and anti-Israelism, the linkage is clear on one key and pivotal point - each are predominantly Jewish and in the lexicon of hate, both are objects of the most vile and disgusting propaganda. If they are eventually successful in de-linking the two, it will only be temporary because the hate that is behind antisemitism is a deep, dark spirit that is not reasonable; it is relentless in its violence, hatred and evil.

It's prophetic significance cannot be ignored. We see the imgary of antisemitism all through bible prophecy, particularly in the last days where the women who gives birth to the Messiah and how it is the devil himself who is behind her persecution.

 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth,
he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle,
 that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place,
where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time,
from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of
 his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he
might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the
earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth,
and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of
his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman,
and went to make war with the remnant of her seed,
which keep the commandments of God, and have
the testimony of Jesus Christ.
(Rev 12:13-17 [KJV])

Here we see the real source of antisemitism, it's the devil. We also see that in the last days, the spirit of antisemitism will only get worse.

I have often wondered about the 'flood' that the devil uses against the woman (clearly a type of Israel). I don't know but would surmise that since the origin of the flood is from the mouth of the dragon and it is with the mouth that his lies are uttered, I suspect that it may be a flood of lies and propaganda that will be used to help destroy Israel and the Jews.

One thing I can tell you is this  - and most people don't believe it because they are a victim of it - propaganda works  - it works remarkably well. There are those who see it and those who don't and in our times only a select few can really see it. If you really want to see it and better understand it take some time and a few bucks, and read this book. If you do, you will never forget it. Who controls you, your convictions, your attitudes, your loves and hates? How do they do it and why can't most people recognize it and how others are using these things to a desired end - theirs not ours.

This is why antisemitism worked so well in Nazi Germany; there was a clear, concise and devilishly effective campaign of propaganda that, over several years had people believing the most foul lies and foolishness about the Jews. How? Propaganda works. Oh, sure these days we have more adept and less emotionally charged and far more politically acceptable names for propaganda - Public Relations, political or social advertising, lobbying, etc. But it amounts to the same thing. The imposition of social and political ideas onto the masses that serves the interests of the propagandist. So when the flood comes out of the devils mouth, I don't think what will be coming out of it will be literal water, but a flood of propaganda and falsehoods that may one day be able to remove the Jews off of their homeland.

No brothers and sisters, I am troubled by the constant barrage of antisemitism in our world today and the way so many usually intelligent minds are seduced by it.

But hate is growing in America as well. We have problems, lots of them and not just with antisemitism.

The FBI released its hate crimes stats for 2017 this week and you can find the report here.

Below are a couple of charts I created from the raw data.

Data source FBI Hate Crimes Report for 2017

In closing let me make this clear. Hate of any kind has no place in the heart or mind of a Christian. Christ told us to love others, even those who hate us. Love is the word for Christians, not hate. Not any kind of hate.

Let none of us begin to be seduced by the words of the antisemitic propagandist, who will do his best to use good, well meaning people who posses a lack of history to create a tidal wave of hatred for the Jewish people.

They are busy today and I suspect will get even busier as the years pass.

6 Dec

Nehemiah Part VIII

But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians,
and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem
were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,
And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem,
and to hinder it.

(Neh 4:7-8)

In verse six we left off and after the mocking words of Nehemiah's detractors, of which Sanballat and Tobiah were chief. the Jews nevertheless pretty much ignored their words and kept on working on rebuilding the walls. But this passage also mentions the Arabians, The Ammonites and the Ashdodites as well. They too were not pleased at all over the rebuilding of the walls. The Arabians... Gill thinks that Geshem (Neh 2:19) was probably the leader of this faction. Tobiah appears to be the leader of the Ammonite faction, and as far as the Ashdodites, let's remember that this was part of Philistia - but Sanballat appears to be a Moabite. These factions all came together to work against the work God had called Nehemiah to accomplish. As you can see, Nehemiah, one a slave and cupbearer to the king now had his work cut out for him and as my Mother used to say, 'God does not hand out easy jobs'.  There were breaches in the walls and the work to repair them earned them the powerful anger of the heathen who now dwelt in the land. I think one of the keys here is how the JFB commentary puts this episode. I will quote from it here, but it anticipates passages forthcoming.

But ... when Sanballat ... heard that the walls ... were made up, and ... the breaches ... stopped — The rapid progress of the fortifications, despite all their predictions to the contrary, goaded the Samaritans to frenzy. So they, dreading danger from the growing greatness of the Jews, formed a conspiracy to surprise them, demolish their works, and disperse or intimidate the builders - JFB Commentary
The key here is that now, the opposition has gone beyond just words, the devil is taking action against God's people. They hatched a conspiracy (a criminal act committed by two or more people) to undermine the work that God and the Emperor had ordained. They hatched a plan to fight the work of God so as to hinder it. How did Nehemiah respond? Did he quit? Whine? Run and hide? No, he had a Godly response to the demonic opposition.

Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God,
and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
(Neh 4:9)

Nehemiah did what any Godly man will do when faced with significant opposition. He gets down on his knee's and prays and then he takes action. Both are required brothers and sisters. Prayer and then action based upon what the situation and what God would want you to do or has directed you to do. Sometimes it's just to wait upon the Lord. Here, because there was danger of violence, Nehemiah took defensive precautions and set men on watch both in the daytime and at night. Why? the passage makes it plain, because of the threat to the workmen. 

But all of this begs the question why? Why was there such opposition? Some of you may have had a problem with me ascribing the opposition Nehemiah faced to the devil, but that is exactly how I see it. There was no reason, for it. The Jews as far as we saw lived at peace with their neighbors. So what were the reasons? We are not given much insight here but perhaps they were afraid that their own little political and economic fiefdoms would be under threat. One could cry some kind of ethnic hatred, but it appears that many Jewish residents were not all too pleased with the work as well. They all probably had different interests in opposing the work. The Ammonites, had theirs, the Moabites theirs, etc and they only had one thing in common, their opposition to the the Kings edict, Nehemiah and the work of God.

And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed,
and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.
(Neh 4:10)

Sadly, the opposition, the coordinated and determined opposition was beginning to have an effect. Judah, the chief tribe of Israel begins to waver.

In the face of the growing opposition, some of the workers began to focus in on the obstacles rather than God. The two obstacles cited were that the workers were tired and that there was too much trash and rubble to clean up. This after Nehemiah had taken significant steps to protect the workers and the work.  Opposition to any work that God has called a person do is to be expected. There is no way around it. What matters is how we react that that opposition. Here the some of the workers reacted badly. Nehemiah had faith.

  And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see,
till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease. 
And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came,
they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto
us they will be upon you.
(Nehemiah 4:11-12 [KJVA])

These words also had an effect. They were doing all of this hard work and the reward they got was death threats from those about them. In this dear brothers, you can determine just how important your work is. How much effort is the devil putting in to stopping your task? Who are your new found enemies? What lengths will they go to hinder your work? Many people look at these things are serious problems, but if we look at it strategically we can see that in reality they are a strong confirmation as to the importance of our task. In today's vernacular, the enemies were saying, "Let's sneak up on them and we can kill them all before they knew what hit 'em..That'll show 'em to rebuild that wall!!.

Verse 12 presents a slight problem in translation. The passage as it is rendered in the KJV is not easy to comprehend. The sense seems to be that all the people round about were getting ready to come against them. Here is how Adam Clarke opines on this verse.

Verse 12. From all places whence ye shall return unto us] This verse is extremely difficult. Our translators have supplied the words, they will be upon you, which have nothing correspondent in the Hebrew. The Septuagint have given a good sense, αναβαινουσιν εκπαντωντωντοπωνεφημας, They come up from all places against us. The sense appears to be this: the Jews which dwelt among the Samaritans, they sojourned, and told him the designs of his enemies against him: therefore, he set people with their swords, spears, and bows, to defend the walls. It is probable that instead of  tashubu, "ye shall return," we should read chashebu, "they designed or meditated." This word is very similar to the other, and makes the sense very clear. "The Jews who dwelt among them told us frequently, from all places, what they designed against us." For this reading Houbigant, Michaelis and Dath� contend. But this various reading is not found in any MS., and is not countenanced by any of the versions. - Adam Clarke
I am not a Hebrew scholar and have to rely totally on notes provided by others. I think the notes that K&D has on this passage are also instructive.

When, therefore, the Jews who dwelt near them, i.e., in the neighbourhood of the adversaries, and heard their words, came to Jerusalem, “and said to us ten times (i.e., again and again), that from all places ye must return to us, then I placed,” etc. Jews came from all places to Jerusalem, and summoned those who were building there to return home, for adversaries were surrounding the community on all sides: Sanballat and the Samaritans on the north, the Ammonites on the east, the Arabians on the south, and the Philistines (Ashdodites) on the west. אֲשֶׁר before תָּשׁוּבוּ introduces their address, instead of כִּי; being thus used, e.g., before longer speeches, 1Sa_15:20; 2Sa_1:4; and for כִּי generally, throughout the later books, in conformity to Aramaean usage. “Return to us” (עַל שׁוּב, as in 2Ch_30:9, for אֶל שׁוּב), said the Jews who came from all quarters to Jerusalem to their fellow-townsmen, who from Jericho, Gibeon, and Tekoa (comp. Neh_3:2-3, Neh_3:5, Neh_3:7) were working on the wall of Jerusalem. These words express their fear lest those who were left at home, especially the defenceless women, children, and aged men, should be left without protection against the attacks of enemies, if their able-bodied men remained any longer in Jerusalem to take part in the building of the wall. - K&D Commentay
With all of these evil reports being made and some of the people beginning to lose heart, how did Nehemiah respond?

 We will look at that issue in the next section, God willing!!

4 Dec

Facebook Has A Black People Problem Says Former Manager

I don't think its just a Facebook problem, but a general problem in Silicon Valley as a whole (more here). It's a problem I have talked about at length before. It is a problem of that nexus that keeps Black people 'in their place', as the racists like to say - the Black-DNC Nexus is a big part of Black Americans, key and fundamental problem.

Look, who do these Silicon Valley firms donate to? It's not Donald Trump or the GOP, it's the Democrats. They worked hard to elect Clinton. This is where the DNC gets a lot of its money. Black folks? The DNC know Black folks are going to vote Democrat even if the party bulldozes their old, cripple grandmothers home, flips them the bird and tells them to go back to Africa... large swaths of Black folks will still run to the polls and vote Democrat.

This is why the party doesn't do anything for Black folks, why should they?

Once they steal your mind, stealing your vote is pretty easy.

Now If I were advising the President here is what I would tell him.

Mr. President, the Democrats are weak here. In key districts you are going to need that 10-15% that traditionally go to the Democrats or you may be a one-term wonder. Here is what you should do. You like tax breaks. I do too, they are great so let's offer a massive incentive tax break to companies to move their industries, warehouses, offices and other high employment centers into cities that are suffering from the traditional economic challenges that beset Black America. Hit Baltimore, Chicago, places where there is a high ratio of unemployed Young Black Men. Get them working with decent paying jobs with decent benefits. But make sure of one thing.... make sure that these cities are not allowed to zone out the brothers so that the others move in displacing those you want to help. It may be a bit of a legal challenge, but here is my suggestion, Make the tax break dependent on X percent being young people who have lived in the area at lest 5 years. This way those who move in after the jobs come and some communities are 'de-negrofied' (better known as Gentrification more here) the employment of the new 'move ins' does NOT count towards percentage needed for the tax break. A majority of those employed must be indigenous, not transplants - that will get you past the racial legal barriers some will throw up to stop helping these communities.

What will that do? It will make a lot of Black folks, a lot of overworked, tired and harangued Black mothers grateful... very grateful that their kids have a chance at a legitimate income and not get sucked down into the gangs that are so busy in many of these communities.

No, you are not going to win over all or even most, but in key states you may get that 10-15% swing from traditional democrat to the GOP to win a state.

Now is the time to think about this Mr. President not later. Don't let some of the 'Closet Klansmen' in the GOP talk you out of this - many of them never wanted to see you in the White House anyway and would love to see you gone in 2020.

The Democrats are not going to help  - they have no intentions of it and more importantly, no incentive to, but you have an incentive...

...votes in 2020.

To you Black Americans out there wondering why I say these things and wonder why I don't hate Trump like so many Black folks on the political left, the answer is real simple.

I care more about helping Americans, Black,White and Latino than I do the brand name of the party that keeps the people down.

It really is just that simple.

3 Dec

Thinking The Unthinkable Part II:

This is the second part of the nuclear war article I did back on 11 October 2016.

What to do?
Brothers, if you are in a major population center in the US, there really is not much you can do to protect yourself from a full scale nuclear attack. If you live near a subway, getting underground as quickly as possible BEFORE the attack could keep you alive. There major killers during and after a such an attack will be...

The Blast - anyone within the blast radius who is not underground or in a hardened facility is going to burned to a cinder and at ground zero, if you are close enough, not even your bones will survive.

Winds - Those one outer edges of the blast zone will be hit by massive winds at very high speeds which will also be very hot. This wind is caused by the initial shock wave from the blast and can be several hundred kph.. Again, there is little you can do if you are at or close to ground zero, for many they will die within seconds. others will take longer to die as a result of severe thermal burns and extensive exposure to various kinds of radiation.

The Radiation - While a significant amount of radiation is release during the blast (thermal and Ionizing) residual radiation will also be a problem, but some of the effects will not show up immediately. While many will only get very sick from it, many others will eventually die from its effects. For those of you curious, the EPA has a section on its site dedicated to Radiation protection and it can be found here.

The Social Aftermath. - This is one aspect that is often neglected but after such an attack, there is likely to be no electricity or running water, no one in authority, no police, etc. There is likely to be limited or no medical help, there is likely to be only very limited communication and probably mass comms will be conducted via Radio. Cell phones and internet access will probably very limited or non-existent for weeks, perhaps months. This leads us to the YOYO principle. That being You're On Your Own, until help or the authorities get control of the situation. This is not going to happen right away.

The good news is that apparently within the government someone is asking the right questions. The GAO just did a report on Land Mobile Radio's that are to be used in an emergency situation. The GAO did the report because of the reliance on Land Mobile Radio's by Federal agencies in the event of an emergency.

There have been some reforms of these communications and this was done mostly as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The DHS was required by law to improve first responder communications in the event of an emergency. Many of you may not be interested in that document, but it is a rather interesting look at the various federal agencies communications needs in time of emergency.

But we must assume that many of the repeater and transponder towers will not be operational after a nuclear attack and thus, only certain kinds of hand held, long range independent radio communications will be available until replacement/mobile repeaters (if such exist) can be deployed to handle the referred to emergency communications.

In any event, the first few days after a detonation will be rather scary as there will in key effected areas extremely limited to non-existent federal/authority interaction with the surviving population. FEMA, which manages these things makes this clear in its key assumptions after a Nuclear Attack

Source: FEMA

For those of you interested, the GAO also did a report on nuclear response a couple of years ago, it can be found here. In it you will find that as of 2013 many cities had no plans to deal with a 'dirty bomb' scenario.

Another much older document can be found here.

Some of you may find this document of interest dealing with actions to be taken by authorities. Food, water and the administering of Potassium Iodide (KI) are briefly covered. KI is important to take just before radiological exposure because the substance will flood ones thyroid and prevent one of the most common reasons people die from radiation.


I wanted to touch on these issues because I think they are important. You can survive a nuclear attack if you are not in the immediate blast area can find shelter and know what to do and what not to do.

Keep in mind that right now, Russia and the US are locked in a very dangerous strategic battle and each side is arming to the teeth... and nuclear weapons treaties that once helped keep tensions low are going to be jettisoned (i.e., INF Treaty). In this conflict, Nukes are no longer unthinkable and military leaders on both sides are dusting off their nuclear strike plans and developing new weapons to deliver them.

Many of you never understood why I was so adamant about our actions in Ukraine. One key reason is because of what we have unleashed when we took that geopolitical 'dump' on Russia's doorstep. At this point in time, neither side can afford to back down. So this arms race and other happenings in the world this site covers (for insiders) goes unreported to the masses who are not allowed to 'get it', having been fed a steady diet of foolishness and disinformation. No, we are not going to see a war tomorrow, but trends in place today will only mean one thing - a major war is coming but until the nukes are launched, the ongoing war will never be contextualized for ordinary people.

When it comes? Well, one thing I do is always try and have a few days of staple food and most importantly water on hand at all times. A couple of gallons of water stored away can be a true life saver if ever attacked and the water is cut off or contaminated. I just use the plastic bottles from fruit juices for storage, keep them in a cupboard and change the water every couple of months. It may seem silly, but what are millions of people going to be looking for after the first 48 hours of an attack? The first thing is water, the second is food. Such preparations don't cost a dime.

But we Christians, must learn to listen carefully to our God. I am of the opinion that nothing like this will touch those of us who really trust God. He will move us out of the danger area (or tell us to move!) before such a disaster happens. This is what he did with Lot and this is what he commands his people in the last days with regards to coming out of Babylon.

God can and will protect us and brothers, this is not written to instill fear and get you to buy survival gear. I refuse to give into scaremongering. Rather it is written to keep all of you aware of what time it is and some of the deeper issues that revolve around these most destructive weapons. We Christians must be more concerned about making God our refuge and protection that relying on man. We who love and trust our God, he will watch over us and guide our paths.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide
under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD,
He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler,
and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers,
 and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness;
nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
(Psa 91:1-6)

That last passage almost seems to portend some new kind of destruction that comes from warfare as the arrows and pestilence usually accompany war. God will be with us even in the most dangerous of circumstances.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand;
but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold
and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD,
which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee,
neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels
charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands,
 lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:
the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him:
 I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me,
 and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
(Psa 91:7-16)

God will deliver us brothers, if...  IF we humbly trust in him and obey his voice.

I don't worry about a nuclear attack. I think one will happen and I think it will be devastating, but I think that the saints who are loved by God and obey his voice will be mightily protected sometimes miraculously by a God who has all things by the power of his might and who watches over those who humbly trust in and obey him.

So dear readers, don't let this message cause you to fear or dread. God is watching over all of his sheep. I did not say the unrepentant, violent and rebellious world. I said his sheep.

 My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me:
 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
 neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
(John 10:27-28 [KJV])

But woe to the wicked man and those who refuse to repent, do right or listen to the pleadings of God's servants, whom he will send to warn us of our national waywardness.

What about such men whom God will send? They will not be what you are looking for, they will almost certainly be humble, unusual people who are down to earth yet who are truly Godly people who will deliver a message that no one will want to hear. They will be hated, scorned, mocked persecuted lambasted, humiliated and embarrassed for the Lord's sake


I am reminded of a prophet whose words were so spot on they were scary... very scary. He has since gone off the rails... way off, but when he was 'on' - he had some powerful words for God's people. He predicted a new currency and a coming economic turmoil and that the dollar would fall... very, very significantly. He also spoke clearly about a day of accountability for the nation, a nation that once honored God and sought him in prayer and did no longer. God will weigh the nation in the balances and we will be found wanting. And the Lord would deal with America accordingly.

He also saw a time of turmoil with immigration, and a time when we would need a travel permit to cross state lines. He wrote that in the waning days of the Clinton Administration.

Our nation is slowly slipping into a spiritual no man's land. American's have taken the bounty that God - the God of the Bible that our forebears prayed to - for granted at best and shown him open contempt at worse.

Yet God has been most patient with us and shown us considerable forbearance. But when he lowers the boom on us, the lives of every American will change and change significantly and for most Americans they will change for the worse. The 'golden age' of America will be over as the Lord puts us through a trial so that we as a nation can consider our ways and our doings.

Now I don't expect many people to believe that. They will mock the Lord and those whom he has sent to warn the nation of its sins and crimes. The devil will even send false prophets and fake Christian personalities to threaten his real servants about 'dropping a word' against America, as happened to Amos.

Then Amaziah the priest of Beth–el sent to Jeroboam
 king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against
 thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is
 not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos saith,
 Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall
surely be led away captive out of their own land.
Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee
away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread,
and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more
at Beth–el: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s
court.Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was
no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an
herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD
took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me,
 Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. Now therefore hear
thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not
against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house
of Isaac. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall
be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters
shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line;
 and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall
 surely go into captivity forth of his land.
(Amos 7:10-17 [KJV])

Amos was accused of treachery because he spoke in the name of the Lord. He was told to issue no more 'unpatriotic' prophesies. But the Lord had a word for those who so speak against those whom he has sent and who operate in the office of a prophet and/or genuine representative of the Lord.

This was one of the reasons some had personal grudges against me and this site an why they did all they could to set me up and put me in Jail - and here is the thing - I make NO CLAIM TO BEING A PROPHET.  They didn't like what I was saying about America and that we as a nation needed to change our ways. I kid you not, one time, one CIA person told me that the CIA was 'god'. Folks, these are the kinds of wackos you have working inside the most sensitive places in our government. The things I say are because I care about the country and those who live in it.

The devils who run those people got hold of them and they spent considerable time and money to screw me over, as they have other men of God who have spoken forcefully about our national sins. I had a whole slew of 'deep state' folks who 'wanted a piece' of me and they spared little expense ($$$) in making their attempt. Make no mistake, other men of God have had similar issues, some however bow before the gods of the deep state and tailor their sermons and prophecies accordingly. Others come to more violent ends.

I will never bow before these modern day Baal's.

I say this to warn all of you of this - when the Lord sends a prophet or man of God to warn the nation, be discerning but hold your peace unless you hear clear error. God will move against those who move against his prophets.

30 Nov

No, It's Not Paranoia, They Really Are Watching You

See for yourself.

War Watch

Pompeo Floats Iran War

'The Hill reports that there is concern over Iranian arms being delivered to 'hostile groups' in Yemen. Yet somehow there is no threat of war when others in the same region arm Al Qaeda.

Pentagon's Accounting Fraud Exposed
An excellent piece by The Nation. It tells you all you really need to know about why our planes cost so much and cannot do the things they are advertised for, our newest ships are so discombobulated that the engines conk out and had to be towed in after it was commissioned, lunatic programs and weapons systems being built that no one will ever use. Is it any wonder we can't win any wars? No one is going to fix this - the criminal elements within the deep state will make sure that anyone who starts to have success gets deep-sixed... permanently. There are billions of dollars at stake and much of that money goes into a labyrinth of secret programs for which the money just disappears.

The piece above is especially interesting because of the heavily redacted IG Report done late last year on this subject regarding the Navy. It can be found here.

FYI, the DOD does have extensive reporting on audits and other things here.

Trump's Foreign Policy Strikes Again
The American Conservative Reports. It's throw up America  and her interests in defense Of Saudi Arabia and her war crimes. That is the Trump foreign policy in a nutshell. If there is no ceasefire in Yemen, you can blame Donald Trump, who seems to think that bowing before dictators and living in the same world with them are one in the same. It isn't.

The Real Saudi Arabia
It's a chamber of horrors for anyone who is not a bobble head in he kingdom. Women's rights activists are no exception. The above is from the Huffington Post. Torture, arbitrary imprisonment, 'death from imprisonment' these are common in KSA, President Trumps 'new best friend'.

Wikipedia has expanded its once heavily sanitized HR entry on KSA and human rights, and it may be worthy of your attention. It seems to be much more detailed than in the past, when a lot of political pressure was brought to bear on some of these kinds of sites on many key issues in the world.

Remember that the references on the bottom are almost always very valuable.

This site as well, it's not well known. It used to be called "Sauduction" but has changed its name. The original owners of it, if I remember correctly started having issues and had to take it down. Somehow someone got the data and reposted it.  Read at your own risk!!

Israel Conducts Three Waves Of Strikes Over Damascus

Debka gives us the latest.

Ukraine Warns Of War With Russia
This is merely another story on the events reported on here over the past few days, the link above is from Channel News Asia. Things are heating up and the UK has sent a warship (The HMS Echo) into the Black Sea to 'observe'. Germany has offered to mediate the crisis.

Meanwhile, Russia is preparing to permanently deploy her deadly S-400 AD system. But lets be fair, the US has militarizing there for some time now.

Khashoggi, the Hudaydah Offensive and Prospects for Peace in Yemen
(Jamestown Foundation) Saudi Arabia’s dubious military tactics in Yemen have long been underreported and have drawn surprisingly little scorn from international leaders. The death of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, however, has led many Western nations to reevaluate their relationship with the Kingdom and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. - Jamestown Foundation/Terrorism Monitor

Kushner Pushed To Inflate Saudi Arms Sales, Say Sources
This is not surprising as some stories posted around the net said that he went to the kingdom with reams of classified NSA intercepts and shared them with the prince. We have seen stories of the Israeli's selling the Saudi's spyware that was used to kill dissidents and journalists. ABC News reports.

It looks to me like some kind of foreign intelligence service has got control of this administration... and it's not the Russians.

Saudi Royals Begin To Turn On MbS
There seems to be a desire for change, except from the White House. The link is from Reuters.

The American War Complex
The American Conservative looks at the War Machine, the transformation of our military into a money conduit, the revolving door and the reasons why when we fight the next war, we are likely to get beat.
Hundreds Of Bodies Exhumed In Raqqa
Looks to be civilians and IS militants. So far, according to the story 500 bodies have been exhumed. Fox News has the story.

Russia Deploys Its Avangard Glide Vehicle – the Unmatched Leader in Hypersonic Technology
(Strategic Culture) The boost-glide weapon can fly at speeds of over Mach 20 or about 15,300 miles per hour (four miles per second). It could reach Washington in 15 minutes even if launched from Russia. There is no way to intercept it, as it moves in a cloud of plasma "like a meteorite."  The weapon is distinctive for its ability to withstand extreme heat during the final phase of its trajectory thanks to its heat-resistant titanium casing. Its in-flight temperature reaches 1,600-2,000° Celsius.

Taliban Kidnaps 25 Travelers

Russia Strikes Rebels After Alleged Gas Attack

Suspected IS Gunmen Kill 6 In S. Libya

Turkey Brief
Erdogan is moving to expand his power in Turkey and N. Syria.

29 Nov

Nehemiah VII

But it came to pass that, when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall,
he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.
And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said,
What are these feeble Jews doing? will they fortify themselves?
will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day?
will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish,
seeing they are burned?
(Neh 4:1-2)

Once again we come across the man named Sanballat and here again, he takes to mocking the work that God has called Nehemiah to do. Brothers again, this is the devils MO and Sanballat was working for the devil, but like most who work for him, they don't even know it. They get filled with a spirit of mockery and arrogance and a harassing spirit as well. Brothers I know this spirit well and I can tell each and every one of you who are serving God as best you can, that sooner or later, people around you whom you trust but usually know not the Lord will catch that demonic spirit. It starts with casting doubt, and then takes to mockery and then to outright hatred. I have experienced this spirit more than once in the past and I will tell you, I have developed a good sixth-sense about such people. Discerning spirits is a powerful gift for any minister and I exhort all of you to develop such a tool and ask God that he give you this gift.

But let us be clear, we are not talking about being a nitpicker or a judgemental person, no I am talking about the ability to discern a turncoat, a mocker or a Judas in your midst and to be able to effectively counter and remove this demonic stronghold from your ministry. Sanballat's anger was great and the passage makes this clear.The word indignation here is this one in Hebrew.

A primitive root; to trouble; by implication to grieve, rage, be indignant: - be angry, be grieved, take indignation, provoke (to anger, unto wrath), have sorrow, vex, be wroth.

In the natural we see that he had a hatred for the Jews and this work. But in the spiritual what do I see? I see the devil who could claim one of this many demonic victories when the Lord was forced to move against his own people because of their provocation against God (the sins and abominations before the exile). Satan wanted to maintain his 'victory' for as long as he could and never again wanted to see the Walls of Jerusalem rebuilt and the Jews dwelling in security. So if I had to paraphrase this, the devil got one of his imps to stand on his dung heap and preach the devil's message of hatred, anger and doubt so the 'satanic interest' could be served - stifle God's purpose.

I think it also noteworthy that this Sanballat appears to be somehow connected with the Army that was in the area. Note he speaks to his brethren and the Army (vs. 2). He mocked because he saw how broken down things were and ridiculed any efforts to rebuild it. Note that in Chapter three, the workers had been assigned to various tasks and a great many had already begun the work. It was once the work and workmen actually began to do the work of God IN FAITH that the devil starts preaching his sermon hoping to bring in hatred for the Jews and doubt and discouragement among the builders.

 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said,
Even that which they are building, if a fox go up,
he shall break down their stone wall.

(Neh 4:3)

Naturally, the other key person the devil was using as adversary to this work now chimes in, with his own words of mockery implying it was so poorly built that it could not support the weight of a small animal. I see in this passage an early from of Anti-semitism, its the same spirit we see today. The Jews returned to their homeland and every demon in hell is hot with rage and he is stirring up all of the enemies of the Jews. The devil did it then and he is doing it today.

Last weekend, I watched a movie I had not seen in many years, it starred Paul Newman and it was called 'Exodus' and I honestly did not remember just how good that movie was. It was about the return of the Jews to Palestine after the Holocaust and the struggles they had to endure.  I mention this here because in the book of Nehemiah, I see many parallels to Israel returning after the Babylonian captivity and after the holocaust. In the book of Nehemiah, we saw Sanballat and Tobiah, but in the movie (and in real life) the enemies were men like the Grand Mufti and the Nazi's who escaped prosecution and were stirring up the rabble against the Jews.

We should note here that Tobiah, though being an Ammonite was married to a Jewish woman of some influence. Here is what Smiths Dictionary says about him.

But Tobiah, though a slave, Neh 2:10; Neh 2:19 — unless, this is a title of opprobrium — and an Ammonite, found means to ally himself with a priestly family, and his son, Johanan, married the daughter of Meshullam, the son of Berechiah. Neh 6:18. He himself was the son-in-law of Shechaniah, the son of Arah, Neh 6:17, and these family relations created for him, a strong faction among the Jews. - Smith Bible Dictionary

Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn back their reproach upon their own head,
and give them up for a spoil in a land of captivity; and cover not their iniquity,
and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee; for they have provoked
thee to anger before the builders.
(Neh 4:4-5)

Nehemiah's response was the response we should all have when we come across such opposition. We should get down on our knees and pray to the Lord. Now in those days, imprecatory prayers were allowed. Today, such prayers while not specifically forbidden are not the what is called for by Christians but some Apostles in their place of authority did issue such imprecatory pronouncements (See Acts Chapter 5). We are rather commanded to pray for our enemies. I know this, when I have prayed for my enemies, God got their full and undivided attention, often bringing on them things I would never have prayed for. But it was done, not to judge, but to rebuke and chasten in the hopes that they repent. God will move brothers if we pray according to his will. He knows just how to work things out. This is why I highly DO NOT recommend imprecatory prayers against others, even our enemies.

Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor,
and hate thine enemy: but I say unto you, Love your enemies,
and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your
Father who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good,
 and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.
(Mat 5:43-45)

While Nehemiah's prayer was not a christian prayer, it was in full keeping with the old Jewish law. I think one thing we can gather from that passage was the nature of the sin committed. It was severe. When men try and fight God as these two men were, they are asking for more trouble then they are prepared for. But let me make this careful distinction to those of you who are in ministry. Loving your enemies does not mean trusting them. Forgiving those who have betrayed you does not mean restoring them to a place of trust. Why not? Let me put it to you this way. Let's say you let your neighbor's teen babysits your daughter and you found out she was sexually molesting your child. Is it your Christian duty to forgive her? As hard as it may be, it is required, from your heart.

But is it your Christian duty to let her babysit your child again? Of course not! And any parent who did that could be as guilty as the person who molested your child, knowing what they were inclined to do. If you are in a postilion of ministry, it is your duty to get rid of the Judas's in your midst and keep them away. A good shepherd keeps the wolves at bay. Like the parent mentioned above, you have a responsibility not just to yourself but to others and letting a known Judas in your midst is asking for very serious trouble, even the destruction of your ministry.

This was my nearly fatal mistake. I trusted a Judas and should never had done it. But God, in his goodness and mercy protected me from my own stupidity! I humbly thank you my Lord and my God... Amen!

So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together
unto half the height thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
(Neh 4:6)

Despite hearing the words from the devils sermon, preached by Tobiah and Sanballat, the people did not get discouraged, but continued on with the work and built the wall. The wall seems to be the main target here of the rage of these two men of Belial and since Sanballat was talking to the army, they may have seen some kind of threat in the rebuilding of the wall. I think they wanted to keep the Jews weak and subjugated and the way to do that was to make them defenseless. I also think it likely they saw the wall as a threat not so much to the Kingdom, but their own petty power structures that they had at the time. They appear to have been running things or had a powerful hand in it and now, here comes Nehemiah with an edict from the King and they were really angry about it.

We will continue Nehemiah next week, God willing!!

26 Nov

Blowback: Nazi's In Ukraine Train Others For War In America

The Mint Press gives us a look at this phenomenon.
After a wave of racist violence across America that culminated in the massacre of twelve Jewish worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the revelation that violent white supremacists have been traveling abroad for training and ideological indoctrination with a well-armed neo-Nazi militia should cause extreme alarm.

Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly — chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home. But U.S. law enforcement has done nothing so far to restrict the flow of right-wing American extremists to Azov’s bases. - The Mint Press

This is so sad and so tragic and yet it was something I told people about years ago and was mocked for it.

Yes, its true and it is not like no one could figure this out when the US government started training and arming these groups. They knew, they were told this would happen and now look at the evil fruit our policies have engendered.

This is fairly detailed look at Ukrainian Fascists with pictures, names and even a affidavit by an undercover FBI Special agent filed in a California Court.

You know, who started his whole crazy policy of aiding and abetting Nazi-ism in the Ukraine? It was the policy of Barak Obama, America's first African American President. The same President who during his 8 years in office never once spoke up about the violence in Black Communities and never once lifted a finger to help. But when these fascists and racists needed arms and training, Barak Obama was there for them and no one in America save a few astute folks knew it or wanted to know it. I spoke about it at length on numerous occasions. I wrote long updates, posted links and videos but people preferred to watch Football.

I tried my best to alert folks, they as usual just did not listen. "Who cares what that religious lunatic says?" I could almost hear their thoughts. They did not want to. Now this stuff will certainly come back and haunt those very people who so mindlessly and callously voted for him and didn't care who that vote would ultimately hurt.

I think many will be shocked to find out who it ultimately does hurt.

Have we seen any Black Church shootings... any Synagogue shootings of late? If someone in power doesn't pull their head out of the south end of their spine, we are going to have an epidemic of those kinds of racist attacks. Allowing these Neo-Nazi groups to go to Ukraine and get this training, whose idea is that?

It's the devil's and those who follow him - Black or White. 

But let me say this. There are those who work in our intelligence agencies and military who are very amendable to these racist views and they know all the loopholes in the laws and surveillance system to make sure that their 'chosen ones' can get the training and are set up real nice right here in the US for purposes that they will use later... completely outside of any government control, oversight or knowledge. Congress will be totally without a clue when we start having these kinds of killings and bombings on a daily basis. Racist intelligence officials working with sympathetic people in LE will drag their feet in any investigations and then do nothing when the recommendations are made to fix this. Our leaders must not allow that to happen. Nip this in the bud... NOW.

Look, I know some of these deep state people who have dealt with these Nazi's since that coup. So I am not just guessing... our American offiials (getting a Federal Paycheck) have their hands all over this.

This was a morally bankrupt policy then and God is my witness I warned folks about it. Nazi's are all over the Ukrainian government. Mind you, let me make this clear - many ordinary Ukrainians, they have no truck with these groups, they are scared of them and don't like them, but they are all over the government, military and the country's National Security establishment, an establishment the US continually sends, money, armaments and trainers to, including under the direction of President Trump, whose own association with White Nationalist's cannot be ignored.

The evil seeds we plant... Americans don't know and it too many cases, they don't want to know, not if you can't slap the right partisan or in the case of Obama, racial label on them. Have you ever heard of Black Nazi's?  Don't let skin color fool you, events seem to indicate that some have.

We are a nation who has sown a crop of sin and we will reap a tornado of destruction because of it, unless we repent. How many of these prophets in these you tube video's are calling for repentance? Now... how many tailor their message for partisanship? I make no claim to any prophetic anointing, I am a watchman and blogger, nothing else. But God has given me this rather unusual but powerful ministry to shine a light where it needs to be shown, and say what needs to be said, particularly when other Christians are too cowardly to, and put a more 'informational' and Biblical spin to the days events rather than the usual paid for partisan claptrap, lies, fake news and disinformation that permeates the internet, social media and cable news and 501(c)3 religious establishments that go by the name of Christian.

God will not acquit a nation, people or Church so ready to do evil and a people who work so very, very hard to bury their heads in the sand not to see it or even wickedly try and justify it.

This companion piece looks at the issue of belief
and delves a but into Nazi-ism and I think those of you who know the Lord will get a lot out of it. It's called, And They Beleived Not.

I write this in the hopes that a few Americans will awaken. I don't think it possible as a whole and I think some groups in this country are beyond hopeless on this front. I can remember having a conversation with one individual on Obama and I was giving her some straight dope on him and you know what they said? "I don't want to hear that, I like my delusions." They simply did not want to hear the truth, they wanted to be lied to!! But that is where the heads of a lot of Americans are today. They don't want to hear the truth or anything close to it, they have found a comfortable delusion and will hold on to it come hell or high water.
Such people have made lies their refuge.

 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death,
 and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing
scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us:
for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood
have we hid ourselves:
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD,
Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone,
a precious corner stone, a sure foundation:
he that believeth shall not make haste.
Judgment also
will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet:
and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the
 waters shall overflow the hiding place.
And your covenant
with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement
with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall
pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.

(Isaiah 28:15-18 [KJV])

I also will choose their delusions,
and will bring their fears upon them;
 because when I called, none did answer;
when I spake, they did not hear:
but they did evil before mine eyes,
and chose that in which I delighted not.
(Isaiah 66:4 [KJV])
Deceit is everywhere and in America today, the potion of politics, economics, war, propaganda and vice all mix together to make a potent spiritual intoxicant that will kill those who drink too much of it.

Brainwashing? They will have you so crazy you'll be voting for a Black President who arms Nazi's and thinking that supporting him is 'The New Black' and have you wondering why your people stay at the bottom of every major economic and social statistic. Why?

They love their delusions and wouldn't have it any other way.

23 Nov

"A Pure Genocide": Extremist Persecution of Christians, June 2018

The Gatestone Institute does another one of its most excellent updates on persecution around the world.

Nigeria, Morocco, Bosnia, Indonesia, Pakistan and a host of other nations are covered in it.

Mexican Bishops Set Up Team To Protect Kids

The Mexican Church as not had the problems others have had but are still putting in safeguards to make sure. The Boston Pilot Reports.

Kachin Christians Persecuted in Myanmar

This piece looks at a group of Christians who have been badly mistreated yet have gotten very little media coverage. This piece if from a local paper called the Goshen News.

Catholic Church Is Throwing Chinese Christians To The Lions

This piece from LifeSite News looks at Pope Francis' agreement with China and what it will mean to the Church in China and her Christians.

These are sad times for the Church... and not just Catholics, but to be expected when the three C's control Church leadership - capitulation, corruption and compromise.

Christian Children Face the Dark Realities of Persecution

The ICC looks at the travails of Egypt's Christian kids.

Venice Illuminated Red For Persecuted Christians

To raise awareness of this pressing global issue. The Boston Pilot Reports.

Manila To Also Have "Red Wednesday"

Again to raise awareness of Persecuted Christians. The Manila Bulletin reports.

Sen. Paul Wants Pakistan Aid Cut Over Asia Bibi

The ICC shes light on what is still a major issue in the country, but she has been moved from jail to a 'secure facility'.

Hard-Line Sikhs, Hindus Persecute Christians in Northern India

HYDERABAD, India (Morning Star News) – Villagers hostile toward Christians in northern India falsely accused a pastor of an illicit relationship with a woman and, in another village, burned a church building, sources said.

As people throughout the country on Nov. 7 prepared to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, neighbors alerted pastor Satpal Masih that his Pentecostal church building in Giddi village, Gurdaspur District in Punjab state, was ablaze. - Continues at Morning Star News

20 Nov

Thinking The Unthinkable - Part I

Note: Rather than updating this, I will leave this in its original form. It was written back on Oct 11th, 2016 just a month before the Presidential election. It is meant to be both informative and useful. Part II should be up in a couple off weeks with a 'what to do' section. Keep in mind that Obama was still President when this was written and much has changed since then.

Blessings to all of my readers here.

Today, we are going to do just what the title says. We are going to think about the unthinkable. We are going to talk a bit about the possibility, or rather probability of some kind of nuclear war. Perhaps not a full scale one, but one where tactical or strategic nuclear weapons are released, on the commands of a nuclear power (non-accidental release) in times of international hostility.

Today, relations between Russia and the United states are at their lowest point since the cold war. In the view of many Russia watchers, they are worse. I don't quite share that view, but given the current trajectory of US policy and the mindset of those making it, I expect relations to deteriorate very significantly during the next four years of a Clinton Administration, should she win the White House. Right now, it appears that the establishment (left and right) is pulling out all the stops to make that happen. We will talk more about some contested election scenarios soon, but not today.

Consequently, I see that a war with Russia as pretty much inevitable. Where and when exactly no one can say with any degree of certainty. There are many hotpots and key underlying issues all throughout the world -  the situation with the unstable leadership of North Korea, the situation in the China Sea, the situation in Syria and Iraq, and while today, it may not be on our front pages, the thrust for natural resources now taking place throughout Africa and of course, one of the key drivers in the current conflict is the future direction and military alliance 'tilt' that Europe takes over the next decade and its effect on both the security posture and energy markets (Russia supplies the EU with much of its energy). These underlying issues are just some key drivers in the ongoing conflict between the two nuclear powers.

Nuclear weapons are nothing to speak or deal with lightly. They are enormously deadly and as almost all of you know, just one can kill millions if released with the right mega-tonnage, the place and at the right time (like during Rush hour over a major city).

Russia's Topol-M (Wikipedia)
Nuclear weapons strategy is one aspect that we all need to consider. The first is MAD or Mutually Assured Destruction. This was a key facet of Nuclear policy for many years, where each side knew that if one side released their weapons, the other side would release theirs and both sides would be assured total and complete destruction. Nations would try and ensure that their weapons systems (rather than population centers) were survivable during a nuclear strike so that retaliation was possible. Some weapons systems were placed in bunkers others were placed on mobile platforms. The Russians for example have resurrected their rail based nuclear systems. Russia has gone ahead with this plan, according to media reports, but others see problems with such a plan.

The reality? Putin is probably looking for the hugest degree of redundancy he can  get for the money and a rail based system, as crazy as it may sound, would indeed bolster that redundancy. A potpourri of media articles on this subject can be found here (recommended!). It is not clear if these new Trains will be carrying the new MIRV version of the Missile, the RS-24. For those of you who don't know what MIRV is, it is a single missile that can carry many different missiles that can be targeted independently. Once the missile gets to a certain point in it's flight path, the 'baby missiles' come out and target multiple cities/facilities, thus if say the Russians launch 10 MIRV'D missiles on the US and her anti-Ballistic missile systems can take out 8 of them, two missiles will still hit the US  or rather,  the two missiles that may carry 20 'baby missiles' that will still hit their targets. This is the idea of survivability and redundancy in action. If there is a first strike against your forces, you want to make sure you have the ability to strike back, making the other guy think twice about striking you in the first place.

MIRV (US Minuteman) Flight Path (public domain)

But this is just one aspect of one part of its nuclear policy. We should talk for a moment about the nuclear triad. For those of you who may not know, the nuclear triad refers to the three basic methods of delivering Nuclear weapons to a target. These are land systems (missiles), Air based systems (Nuclear bombers) and Sea Based systems (nuclear armed submarines, not to be confused with those that use nuclear power for propulsion).

This diagram gives you the basics of the nuclear triad. This document goes into unclassified detail regarding the ongoing review of America's nuclear deterrent, the why's wherefores and talks about the pluses and minuses of each leg, again all at the unclassified level. We are not going to get into the intricacies if each leg and its strengths and weaknesses and each does posses both. For those of you who ever saw the movie, Crimson Tide, will remember some of the issues dramatized in that movie and the rolling text at the end of that movie that dealt with the real world and dramatized in the court martial scene with Jason Robards playing the admiral.

Yet even today, while there is considerable tension between both Russia and the US, arms control is not totally dead. Here is an important snippet from the major review of nuclear weapons done by the US back in 2010.

The next step in this process is to replace the now-expired 1991 START I Treaty with another verifiable agreement, New START. An early task for the NPR was to develop U.S. positions for the New START negotiations and to consider how U.S. forces could be structured in light of the reductions required by the new agreement. The NPR reached the following conclusions:
  •  Stable deterrence can be maintained while reducing U.S. strategic delivery vehicles – inter- continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and nuclear-capable heavy bombers – by approximately 50 percent from the START I level, and reducing accountable strategic warheads by approximately 30 percent from the Moscow Treaty level.
  • Building on NPR analysis, the United States agreed with Russia to New START limits of 1,550 accountable strategic warheads, 700 deployed strategic delivery vehicles, and a combined limit of 800 deployed and non-deployed strategic launchers.
  • The U.S. nuclear Triad of ICBMs, SLBMs, and nuclear-capable heavy bombers will be maintained under New START.
  • All U.S. ICBMs will be “de-MIRVed” to a single warhead each to increase stability.
  • Contributions by non-nuclear systems to U.S. regional deterrence and reassurance goals will be preserved by avoiding limitations on missile defenses and preserving options for using heavy bombers and long-range missile systems in conventional roles.
Maximizing Presidential decision time. The NPR concluded that the current alert posture of U.S. strategic forces – with heavy bombers off full-time alert, nearly all ICBMs on alert, and a significant number of SSBNs at sea at any given time – should be maintained for the present. It also concluded that efforts should continue to diminish further the possibility of nuclear launches resulting from accidents, unauthorized actions, or misperceptions and to maximize the time available to the President to consider whether to authorize the use of nuclear weapons. Key steps include:

  • Continuing the practice of “open-ocean targeting” of all ICBMs and SLBMs so that, in the highly unlikely event of an unauthorized or accidental launch, the missile would land in the open ocean, and asking Russia to re-confirm its commitment to this practice.
  • Further strengthening the U.S. command and control system to maximize Presidential decision time in a nuclear crisis.
  • Exploring new modes of ICBM basing that enhance survivability and further reduce any incentives for prompt launch.
The above document can be found here.

Clearly the DOD and others are looking at ways of protecting the US and its allies, reducing the number of weapons on high alert, reducing the need for such weapons and eventually (hopefully) eliminating such weapons all together.

But let us keep in mind that this document was written back in 2010 and political tensions between Russia and the US has increased significantly since then. Additionally it is now stated US policy to modernize and upgrade US nuclear weapons with a proposed $1 Trillion upgrade.

The exact nature of this upgrade of course will be and will almost certainly remain classified for decades to come and this is understandable. But two of the key takaways from that document and of course the shifting geopolitical landscape is the fear of nuclear terrorism. That some non-state actor or state actor using a non-state actor as a proxy is able to detonate a nuclear weapon against the US or its vital interests. Let me take just one more snippet from the 2010 NPR.
The Threat of Nuclear Proliferation and Nuclear Terrorism The most immediate and extreme threat today is nuclear terrorism. Al Qaeda and their extremist allies are seeking nuclear weapons. We must assume they would use such weapons if they managed to obtain them. Although terrorist groups are currently believed to lack the resources to produce weapons-usable nuclear material themselves, the vulnerability to theft or seizure of vast stocks of such nuclear materials around the world, and the availability of sensitive equipment and technologies in the nuclear black market, create a serious risk that terrorists may acquire what they need to build a nuclear weapon.

To date, the international community has made progress toward achieving a global “lock down” f nuclear weapons, materials, and associated technology, but much more work needs to be done. n addition, the United States and the international community have improving but currently insufficient capabilities to detect, interdict, and defeat efforts to covertly deliver nuclear materials r weapons—and if an attack occurs, to respond to minimize casualties and economic impact as well as to attribute the source of the attack and take strong action. - 2010 NPR
This indeed is a potent threat and one that can no longer be ignored. Terrorists, particularly Islamic terrorists many of whom are hellbent on attacking America would not hesitate to use such weapons, even in a suicide attack. This has to be one of the more perplexing problems our military and intelligence leaders face today, to forestall such an attack. Such an attack need not be the actual detonation of a nuclear weapon, but could take the form of the the use of a dirty bomb - a regular bomb or dispersal weapon meant to spread nuclear radiation/waste over a large area. Death would not be instantaneous, it would be a slow death for those who were exposed to a lethal dose of radiation and probably long term debilitating illness for those who survive but were exposed to high levels of it.

Indeed the review noted above was undertaken in order to address what was described as a new security environment. Reviewing our posture has been ongoing for some time, as far back as the early 2000's under President Bush. For those of you who want a really good look at this review, the FAS has one here you may all find of interest.

Our posture is important, but looking at the posture of others is also important. First of all, we Americans especially her populace, but increasingly those in key analytical circles are incapable of looking at what others view as a strategic threat. We Americans tend to look at the threat to us, but don't look at how the world views the threat to them -  not with American eyes, but with Russian, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Israeli or even North Korean eyes. This is a critical failing in that other nations react to what they perceive to be a threat to them. At times, it is clear that our policy makers do know just what others view as a threat and then go out of their way to provoke others to hostile action as a result. This was the case with the deployment of the anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe by the US, ostensibly to counter an Iranian missile strike, but viewed (correctly) by Moscow as threat to their nuclear arsenal and their ability to react/respond to an American nuclear first strike.

Despite the fine sounding words in the 2010 NPR and their desire to reduce nuclear hostilities as implied clearly throughout the document, the US decided it wanted to provoke Russia and her nuclear security with this lucrative hair brained scheme directed at a threat which was mostly illusory. Iran had no such desire to hit Europe, rather she eventually would love to export more of her energy to EU markets. Good business sense says you don't kill your customers... they tend to stop buying your goods while they are busy being dead.

What does this mean?

Well dear readers, this is written so that we as Christians may begin to start thinking the unthinkable. Russia has run a number of military drills and those drills included the training of her nuclear forces as well as responding in a civil defense fashion to such an attack. Russia knows that the next war with the west will employ such weapons. How do I see such a scenario happening.

I hate to envision such a dark future, but will do so only in the broadest terms.

If NATO (under US leadership and concomitant threats to EU member nations to go along) were to begin a massive deployment of troops into Eastern Europe along with what is seen (not by the US but by the Russians) as military hardware that is potentially offensive in nature, the Russians, as the US did during the Cuban Missile Crisis,m
 would probably adopted a very hard line stance. Keep in mind that Russia is a large nation. Geographically speaking it is massive, there is no larger nation on earth and as such it must be defended. Russian defense posture will entail military moves to preempt/counter any potentially aggressive moves along her frontiers. In short, Russia would react. She would make it plain diplomatically that such a deployment was unacceptable try and diffuse the situation diplomatically, but if she saw this would not work, she would strike and do so hard and fast. The risks here for Russia are real enough as she does not want to be viewed in Europe as an aggressor, but at the same time, she is not going to be threatened with large amounts of hostile troops along her border. She would do whatever it took to remove the offending troops and weapons systems.

It should be noted that Russia's entire economy during the times of the Soviet Union was built around its military and the ability of its economy to rapidly transform itself for war production in the event of hostilities. Russian history taught the Russians the need for constant vigilance in this realm. It should also be noted that that kind of economic structuring contributed significantly to the collapse of the Soviet Union. It should be noted that Russian observers (Schlykov ) believe that much of the basic features of the old Soviet System remained in place after the fall of the Soviet Empire (see If War Comes Tomorrow How Russia prepares for Possible Armed Aggression - RUSI).

That reaction would probably include the use of tactical nuclear weapons, if a conventional strike is unlikely to convince the offenders of the threat they posed. Such a move would not be taken irresponsibly nor foolishly, but in full keeping with what Russia views (key phrase) as a threat to her existence. Nuclear weapons are there just for that occasion. It is why the US has them. When there is an existential threat to the US, America, despite high sounding words and flowery sounding optimism, will use nuclear weapons to counter such a threat.
America having only two nations who border her does not have to worry much about hundreds of thousands of troops massed along our bombers with hostile fighters, bombers and stealth aircraft, tanks and special operations troops prodding and poking at us 24/7 as the Russians do. The problem is that when she reacts to these military deployments and 'exercises' along her border, the world then demonizes Russia and calls her 'aggressive'.

This is not to say that at times Russia cannot be aggressive, she can. But Russia knows this - she has not the resources for any kind of 'invasion' of Europe (or the UK). Russian troops are not going to come barreling over the border in waves of tanks and aircraft. It would serve no real long term purpose. She could not hold such territory if she did. This is one of the reasons the Russians did not remain in Georgia after the brief but geopolitical shocking invasion of that nation years ago. She knows it's one thing to attack a nation to remove a threat, quite another to remain and try and 'hold' a nation where you are not welcome. The Russians being fast learners know better than to try that. Americans still have not fully learned that lesson and the fiasco in Iraq (and our return) shows a rather severe learning disability in this realm. 
In short, the hysteria over Russia is mostly one that is being manufactured out of defense contractors who are being paid not to see the real threat so that a false one can be concocted so that billions can be spent modernizing our arsenal based partially on faulty assumptions of Russia's intentions.

But continued prodding and provoking of Russia will one day lead to a situation where they feel forced to demonstrate to a world who will continue to poke and prod Russia, just how seriously she takes these provocations and the release of just one single tactical nuclear weapon on an offending NATO facility, after months of diplomatic wrangling would send the message home in a way that even the most slow witted American military leader could understand.

Such a scenario I think is more likely to occur. That or some kind of attack on a US friendly nation in response to an attack on a Russian friendly nation (Syria) that rapidly escalates.

All that said, we must not ignore that China has also moved to place its small nuclear arsenal on hair trigger alert, something it had not done before. The global environment clearly demonstrated by the postures of the major nuclear powers, is getting much more dangerous.

...this will continue with a 'what to do in case of an attack' section in the near future, God willing!!

16 Nov

A Badge Of Shame: The Way We Treat Our Veterans

Antiwar.com looks at how many of America's veterans are treated. Suicide among vets and a VA that has a myriad or problems and in the opinion of many, broken are some of the issues talked about in this important piece. This piece also looks at how some see that the country has been engaged in a war on our veterans... in named government operations.

Operations that begun right after Obama took office.

This has been the problem in far too many cases - You serve honorably make many sacrifices for the country and they turn right around and screw you for the 'crime' of having done so.

This is not to say there are not some problems out there with violent vets. There clearly are as we saw the other day in the shooting in California. These things cannot be ignored, but at the same time I have seen first hand out this government treats peaceful, non-violent veterans who exercise the right to live and speak freely many gave their life's blood to protect - they get screwed by government bureaucrats who don't have anything better to do than find creative ways of silencing those veterans who speak truth to power, offer an opinion, a countervailing narrative or just want to gripe.

Too many vets get attacked by the enemy on the battlefield only to come home to get screwed by their own country.

We as a nation can do better than that and if this country wants to recruit a better crop of soldiers, airmen and seaman, then it needs to take stock of these things. What kind of message are we sending to our young people with our maltreatment of veterans? I will tell you what I see - smart people see this and the way vets who come back get messed over, mistreated, can't get care, help or even a job. Such young people who see this they will avoid military service. The dumb ones will run to it the first 'cool looking' recruiting advert they see on the TV. Hence the considerable personnel issues we are now having in all branches of the military.
Understanding the steady and troubling decline in the average intelligence of Marine Corps officers

How the Military Recruits when 70% of Americans Can’t Serve

Goal of 80,000 Recruits Won't Be Met, Army Secretary Says

You aren’t wrong: Our military officers actually seem to be getting stoopider

There are a lot of stories and studies out there on this and even some in government that will probably never see the light of day. We've got problems and one of the biggest I see is that military service these days is looked down upon more and more because of the way those who once served get treated. Who wants to be subject to federal investigations and surveillance just because you served... honorably? If I were young today, I would not serve. And yes, I am a Veteran and glad I served but am also glad I left when I did.

This is not your grandfathers military.  

Today? I just could not recommend military service to any family member, at least not the ones I liked (!). I would not openly discourage it, but warn them what awaits them when they get out  - "If ISIS don't get you, Uncle Sam will!"

Folks I have had family members show me hostility and open contempt for my years of service to the country.

It's not that I am down on such service, it's that these days any benefits that they promise you are outweighed by the intangible negatives that will haunt you all of your life... all for the hard work and many sacrifices you made for the country.

My word to the Defense Department and the President is this. You want better recruits? A better military? Then show the nation that those who have served in the past get some respect and are given the very same rights that they fought for on the battlefield; give those who need medical care what they need, otherwise the only people who will be drawn into service 10-20 years from now are those who are not fit for anything in the civilian world... except maybe jail.

I say these things not to denigrate our service members or even our decision makers who have some tough decisions to make and difficult choices in a highly charged political environment. I believe that our country needs a strong, highly skilled military. For that you need good and smart folks. There is only one way to attract that kind of person. Treat them right and let the nation see that you treat them right during and after their service. No one is going to serve in the military merely for the privilege of getting screwed and even mocked when they come home.

That is one of the best investments in future military personnel this country can make, doing our past and present service members right - clearly, publicly and in a verifiable fashion so when a young person asks his buddy or Uncle Bob if he should join, he can say without hesitation that they should.

A nation that refuses to honor and respect those who served, does not deserve the protection of a highly skilled, professional and successful military... and you know what?...

...They're not going to get it.


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