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Scoffers Waxing Worse and Worse

By Jan Markell
July 9, 2013

 

Scoffing has hit a whole new level but be of good cheer, it means the hour is very late.  

 

If you have perused headlines recently, or watched a TV news hour, you are stunned at what’s going on. I am every morning as I post headlines here. I let them sink in and I shake my head. When has the world been in this much chaos? When have people been this unhappy, confused, addicted, pagan, angry and tuned out?

 

So Hollywood is making the apocalypse a joke in two movies: This is the End and Rapture Palooza. The latter features a scene where Jesus is blown out of the sky as He returns in His Second Coming. It doesn’t get any more outrageous. (What if a movie shot Mohammed or Allah out of the sky?!) And one movie critic states, “Satan, God, and Jesus are ultimately killed, leaving non-believers to live in peace.”

Well, not quite because that’s not the way it will happen. And if “the end” plays out sooner rather than later, the producers of such nonsense will not be laughing for long. 

 

Sadly, it’s not just the pagans doing the mocking and scoffing, however. Many Christians, churches, and even entire denominations have similar attitudes. And while they are hardly as offensive, the end result is similar.

When Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life came in years ago, I was turned off by his scoffing at the Lord’s return and the topic of prophecy. On pages 285-286, he suggested that Jesus said His return was none of our business.  

 

Excuse me. It’s almost one-third of the Bible! Warren suggests that considering it might get in the way of our purpose.

 

Two things define eschatology in the church today: Ignorance or apathy. People will tell you it will all play out as it is predicted but in the meantime, enjoy life. Or church leaders will tell you it is divisive and controversial.  This is just another manner of scoffing. It’s nowhere near as offensive as the above-referenced Hollywood movies, but the result is the same. There is a giant turn-off.

 

We scoff at eschatology (Bible prophecy) by ignoring the warnings that are a part of it. Haven’t you heard: All of the previous warnings have been false alarms so why should we pay attention to any of them now? Jesus will get here when He gets here. Settle down. What’s there to get so excited about? You end-time people are so negative! The sky is always falling for you people. Come on. Beasts coming out of the sea, plagues, famines, hail and an evil man called the Antichrist.  Can we move on to good news? The stock market is doing super well!  Don’t talk to me about bad times and rough sailing ahead!  My 401K has never done better.

 

We scoff with our apathy. Our unbelief. Our doubt. Our skepticism. Our boredom of the topic. Our disgust.  Our prophecy fatigue.  We’ve heard this story over and over since Hal Lindsey made the complicated plain over 40 years ago. No, we aren’t radicals like the producers of the sickening films mentioned who literally glorify the Antichrist and assassinate Jesus Christ in their productions.

 

But we are still scoffers. And we are oh so busy. We are running to and fro and we are trying to keep our ducks in a row and some day when they are all lined up perfectly, we’ll sit down and ponder His return. Maybe happy days will be here again this side of Heaven!  

 

We go to marriage seminars, financial seminars, how to manage kids’ seminars but please spare us from an end-time focus. Boring. Depressing. Scary. We want to go to Heaven some day but maybe not right now!

 

One reviewer says about the This is The End flick, “When the apocalypse literally sets the world on fire, and the good people ascend to heaven while the not-so-good people are destroyed in gruesome fashion, one young star is stunned to learn there really is an afterlife, and a God, and all that.” The movie actually has an “aha moment.” It resonates with some truth although it was likely unintended.

 

But that comment says it all. Some day wicked mankind will realize that what the Bible predicted actually will happen and there will be consequences. There is a surprise ending for the unsuspecting.  

 

Life on earth during the very end-of-days won’t be a series of silly escapades as portrayed in the Rapture Palooza and This is The End movies.  

 

In one of them, the Rapture happened and millions are left to cope with plagues of trash-talking locusts, foul-mouthed crows, rains of blood, and fiery rocks from the sky, all preparations for the return of Jesus. The cast can relish in the fact that the world is a lot less crowded but the fact is, when this day actually transpires, no one left behind will even have a smile on their face.

 

The Bible contains detailed prophecies about the end times we are living in, and there is just no way to fully understand much of what is happening today apart from those prophecies.  From the meltdown in Egypt to the surveillance of Americans who thought they were safe and secure, only an end-of-days scenario can connect the dots and make things make perfect sense.

 

We can scoff at the scoffers and hold our heads high as we look up. We have the most marvelous news known to man. The King is coming and no cannon will shoot Him out of the sky!

 

He’ll be here right on time. It will be in God’s timing and not ours.

Parting thought: I wanted to put a different title for this article in the subject line: What if They Shot Allah Out of the Sky? I chose not to risk a Web site hacking for doing that as that has happened to this ministry numerous times. But I hear very little blow back from Hollywood blowing Jesus out of the sky with a quick clip of him lying next to his dead white horse in Rapture Palooza. 

Interesting times. 

jesusblazeofglory

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5428

The Pastor Who Wasn’t There – Jim Fletcher

I visited a mega-church this morning. By definition, it’s a church that has a vested interest in developing and maintaining groupthink. By that I mean, the Rick Warren model of demanding consensus. The pastor—who addressed the congregation via video—is part of a large denomination that has traditionally been “conservative.”

That is changing.

It was disconcerting watching the pastor from a satellite location, but that isn’t the point of today’s discussion. The point is that the type of consensus-building running rampant through evangelical churches today bodes ill for Israel.

To give you an idea just how choreographed and monolithic the Purpose Driven model is in our churches today, you might find it interesting that the pastor whose church I attended (but he didn’t) highly recommended a new book by Thom Rainer, who is CEO of LifeWay, the Southern Baptist curriculum resource. The book, I Am a Church Member, outlines how a congregant should behave in the modern American church.

Dissension, what some of us might call checks and balances, is not only strongly discouraged—it is in effect outlawed. Rainer makes the point that “unity” is the end goal. If you question the Purpose Driven model (as my friend Noah Hutchings explained to me, after receiving hundreds of letters from the “dissenters” who were shown the door) you will eventually be asked to leave the church.

Rainer’s pastor friend, helping him market the book, told the congregation that the following Sunday, they’d all receive a copy of the book, due to a generous donor. He also said (I thought somewhat chillingly) that the entire staff not only was required to read it, but discuss at the Monday meeting.

What does this have to do with the price of bagels in Tel Aviv?

Just that the entire leadership culture of the American evangelical community is moving away from supporting Israel. Stories like the one I’m relating here are part of the problem.

Before the service, I stopped by the church’s bookstore, a LifeWay store, of course. There I found books by Rick Warren, N.T. Wright, John Ortberg, John Piper, Bill Hybels, and Steven Furtick.

Warren is no friend of Israel—though he might protest that; doublespeak is another skillset required of mega-leaders today—John Ortberg speaks at Christ at the Checkpoint; John Piper tweets bizarre messages, such as when he asked Who is a Jew?; Hybels and his wife, Lynne, are solidly in the Palestinian narrative camp; and young Mr. Furtick, while not overtly anti-Israel, has chosen to carve-out his own ministry niche by, among other things, appropriating OT stories about the Israelites (Joshua, Elisha) and turning them into his own Christian self-help messages…books included.

There is a culture in mega-churches. The culture is set by the senior pastor of course. The senior pastors of this country are in turn influenced by Warren, Hybels, and a handful of other change agents who are transforming the American church into a syncretic hotbed of left-wing ideology. Think I’m too alarmist, or just plain crazy? Keep this blog post handy and let’s compare notes in 2018. Seriously.

Look, are there sincere people doing good things in mega-churches? Of course there are. There are also good, sincere pastors who have a heart for people and for advancing the Gospel, which is their job.

But on the whole, churches like the one I visited help market an ideology and philosophy demanded by Warren, Andy Stanley, and a few of their friends. By the way, and this is mentioned merely to put flesh on the skeleton of this story, outside this particular church there are Boze speakers planted in the manicured lawn. Inside, in the lobbies, are new “Giving Kiosks.” I find all this loathsome.

I also object to the weak “support” for Israel from pastors like this. He goes on “Holy Land” tours, visits Christian sites, then comes home and allows his bookstore to be stocked with titles from N.T. Wright & Friends.

He then has the audacity to say from the pulpit that the church rigidly proclaims biblical truth. Not when you carry books by Leonard Sweet, Erwin McManus, and Bill Hybels.

Add to this fact my recent experience trying to get Dr. Russell Moore to comment on his support or lack of support for Israel, and one begins to get the picture. Moore, newly installed president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has been described in an article at WorldView Weekend as having less-than-stellar feelings for Israel. When I asked him to elaborate, his assistant told me he declined.

The Big-Tent philosophy demanded by the mega-church monster naturally puts a damper on pro Israel support, because a huge congregation that necessarily has to keep the cash flowing in cannot afford to offend United Methodists, Lutherans, non-denominationals, etc., who find their way to that particular locale. There are too many coming from other denominations that dislike Israel and Jews to risk strong support for Israel.

An additional failure is the almost complete lack of teaching of Bible prophecy in these churches. To their great, eternal shame, they rigidly avoid it (except to throw a sop to the oldest generations). One will not see a prophecy speaker address the youth, or student ministries. Why? Believe it or not, primarily because Rick Warren denigrates it and directly tells thousands of pastors not to bother with teaching prophecy!

Let me be clear: the failure of American churches to teach the specialness of the Jews, and to reveal through teaching predictive prophecy the power and majesty of the living God…is killing American Christianity. There are still large churches that teach well, and many small ones that do. But the trend is toward decline and finally, whimpering extinction. This is the opposite of the grand view of the future church presented by Rick Warren.

The Boze speaker startled me at first, stuck there in the sod. The giving kiosk reeked of naked greed. The pastor was literally somewhere else.

So what we have at this level is a pastor who really isn’t there for the flock. This includes teaching them the truth about biblical history, the whole counsel of God, and the gigantic story of Israel in our day.

I see the endgame in view.

couuntry church

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5426

MOVE OVER JESUS: NEW ‘SAVIOR OF HUMANITY’

At this turbulent time in history when many people are looking for answers to their problems, a brand-new TV campaign calling the Islamic prophet Muhammad the “savior of humanity” is about to saturate the airwaves of Australia.

“Tens of thousands” of dollars have reportedly been raised by the Muslim community to fund a series of 30-second commercials to begin airing on the country’s biggest networks starting July 9.

The ads are produced by My Peace, an Australian group looking to build bridges between the Muslim community and other citizens of the land Down Under.

The prime-time spots will air over the course of several months, and feature famous historical figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and George Bernard Shaw praising the virtues of Muhammad.

“This is a response to misinformation. Not many (Australians) are aware of who the prophet is and why we regard him so highly and so emotionally,” My Peace founder Diaa Mohamed told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

“The commercials will be animated with voiceovers and will have quotes on the screen.

“Muhammad is the most influential man in history and the commercials will show what scholars and historians have said about him.”

Gandhi said the prophet “holds undisputed sway over the hearts of millions” and Shaw called him the “savior of humanity.”

My Peace is even selling tickets for those interested in attending the public premiere of the commercials.

This isn’t the first time the group has aired television ads to promote Islam.

Last year, it launched a campaign titled, “I’m Muslim and proud,” featuring a collage of photos of and audio quotes from individual Muslim “sponsors,” with comments including:

  • “I believe in Muhammad.”
  • “He was a prophet of God … like Noah, Moses and Jesus.”
  • “The same God as Jews and Christians.”
  • “The prophet Muhammad shunned racism … and mixed with everyone on equal terms.”
  • “The prophet Muhammad believed in the future builds on mutual respect.”

At the time, Diaa Mohamed said, “We hope this campaign enables the wider community to see us in a new light, to see that our values are closely matched and though our beliefs are different it doesn’t make us incompatible with the Australian way of life. We hope to energize the Muslim community with positive images so they see themselves as proud members of Australian society.”

“It’s the voice of the silent majority,” he claimed.

In the past five years, the number of Muslims in Australia has rocketed, soaring 40 percent to 476,291.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5424

THE PERILS OF WATERED-DOWN CHRISTIANITY

Exclusive: Greg Laurie notes, ‘you can’t have your own Bible. You can’t edit God’

Published: 15 hours ago

 

Greg Laurie

Today there are a lot of people living a watered-down version of Christianity. What concerns me is that many of these people who are running around and saying they are Christians do not have lifestyles that back it up.

Here is what Jesus says: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15–16 NLT) A more literal translation of the word “spit” would be vomit.

I remember a time when my wife and I and our son went to a fast food restaurant and ordered some fries. When we got them, they were wilted and lukewarm.

My wife said, “These fries are not hot.”

We were running late, and I told her, “Cathe, we don’t have enough time to wait for more fries.”

“But they are not hot. Ask them to make us some hot fries.”

I didn’t want to ask, but I did. And so they brought out hot fries. Sure enough, they were a whole lot better. Who wants a lukewarm French fry? It is wilted from grease, dead to the world.

In the same way, God doesn’t want our lukewarm, half-baked, wannabe Christianity. He wants the real thing from us.

It would make more sense if Jesus had said, “I would rather you be hot or lukewarm. At least lukewarm is closer to hot.” But that is not what he said. Lukewarm is a worse condition than hot or cold. In other words, it is better to be on fire, fully passionate and serving Christ or totally cold and spiritually dead, not even believing in God, than to be lukewarm.

At least someone who is cold and spiritually dead may one day come to his senses, recognize his need for God, and come to Christ. The lukewarm person, on the other hand, has enough religion to satisfy himself. He may say, “I believe in Jesus. I read the Bible occasionally. I am OK with the man upstairs.” But what he is settling for is a watered-down version of what real Christianity is.

We can come to church and say, “I love the Lord,” and “Isn’t God good?” And then we can go outside the church and blatantly contradict what the Bible says by the way that we live. We need to get back to what real worship is and how God wants it to be done.

God created us to worship Him. He made us to glorify him. But there is a right and a wrong way to worship.

In John’s gospel, we find an overview given by Jesus on the purpose and objective of worship as he converses with a woman at a well in Samaria. This woman had been married and divorced five times and was living with a man at the time. Here was someone who obviously was looking for her Prince Charming to fill the void in her life, but she hadn’t found him. And as Jesus began to share the truth with her about how she could know the living God, she became a little bit uncomfortable. So she tried to change the subject:

“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming – indeed it’s here now – when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” (John 4:19–23)

With these words, Jesus indicated the fundamental elements of true worship: in spirit and in truth. Notice also that Jesus said, “The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.”

Right now, God Almighty is searching for someone who will fulfill their purpose for existence and glorify and praise His name. He wants to pour out His blessing into their lives.

True worship is not about having a great voice or talent; it is about having your heart in the right place. That is what God is interested in more than anything else. God looks on the heart when we worship. And he wants us to worship in spirit and in truth.

Let’s change the order of those words for a moment. If you are going to worship God, you have to first worship him in truth. The God we worship must be the true God and not a god of our creation. Jesus was saying this to point out that the Samaritan woman’s view of God was wrong: You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews.

In the same way people today will pick and choose things from the Bible they like and reject what they don’t like. But you can’t have your own Bible. You can’t edit God. You can try to remake God in your image, but when it is all said and done, you are not worshiping God; you are worshiping you.

There is only one way to know God, and there is only one way to worship God. That one way is through Jesus Christ – and Jesus Christ alone.

false-prophet

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5421

The State of America

Please take the time to read all three of these disturbing articles that show us the spiritual state of America. One story is of Samuel Adams removing the words endowed by our Creator” from their TV commercial reciting the Declaration of Independence. The second article describes pro abortion activists in Texas shouting Hail Satan to try to drown out an anti abortion speaker. This is a wake up call for this nation. The third article describes how Islamic terrorists may be behind the Arizona fires.

Pray for our nation!

Beer ad dumps God from Declaration of Independence

Drinkers boycott: American revolutionary ‘would be disgusted by this’

Published: 16 hours ago

 

Chelsea Schilling

In Samuel Adams’ July 4 commercial, a bartender asks, “Why name a beer after Samuel Adams?”

He adds, “Because Samuel Adams signed the Declaration of Independence. He believed there was a better way to live.”

Then the man recites the Declaration of Independence – but he omits “endowed by their Creator” from the segment.

“All men are created equal,” he states. “They are endowed with certain unalienable rights: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

He finishes the beer spot with, “Smooth, flavorful. We bow to no kings. Samuel Adams Boston Lager, declare your independence.”

But when Samuel Adams was asked why it omitted the Creator from its ad, the beer maker defended its decision and said it is prohibited from mentioning God in its advertising.

“The Beer Institute Advertising Code says, ‘Beer advertising and marketing materials should not include religion or religious themes.’ We agree with that and try to adhere to these guidelines,” Samuel Adams said in a statement to “Fox & Friends.”

“While we do understand your objection to the omission of the phrase ‘by our creator’ in other circumstances (after all, they occur in the Declaration of Independence which Samuel Adams signed and helped author) we believe it would be outside our industry guidelines to invoke those religious words in a beer commercial.”

The brewer’s removal of the Creator from the text of the founding document is reminiscent of President Obama’s 2011 speech omitting God from the Declaration of Independence:

Adams – a brewer and organizer of the Boston Tea Party – unabashedly cited biblical arguments in support of American independence.

In 1776, while the Declaration of Independence was being signed, Adams declared: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”

In September 1777, Adams told Congress, “numerous have been the manifestations of God’s providence in sustaining us. In the gloomy period of adversity, we have had ‘our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.’”

‘Creepier’ pro-abortion ‘Satan’ video emerges

Witnesses startled by protesters ‘chanting it in unison’

Published: 15 hours ago

Drew Zahn

A new, “creepier” video of pro-abortion protesters in Texas chanting “Hail Satan” has emerged, squashing rumors it was a single woman’s song.

Abortion activists opposing the 20-week abortion ban bill in Austin, Texas, drew national attention earlier this week for chanting “Hail Satan” while pro-life advocates sang “Amazing Grace.”

Yet only a single woman can actually be seen saying “Hail Satan” in the now infamous video.

An additional video of the event posted on a blog site run by Adam Cahm, however, reveals the chant taken up in unison by several voices, an effect Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com called far “creepier.”

The first of the voices can be heard at about the 3:35 mark of the following video, a portion of the speech delivered by a pro-life advocate identified only as “Ashley.” By the 5:15 mark, however, the droning chant of several voices can be heard clearly:

Cahm explained after the first released video that abortion activists “have been doing this all day, this is just the first time we caught it on video.”

After the second release, Cahm added, “Well guess what, it turns out we have video of the original incident.”

As WND has reported, the white-hot battle over late-term abortion procedures in the state moved into overdrive the past few weeks, with Democrats killing a pro-life plan by Texas Republicans in a special session of the legislature with a late filibuster aided by a raucous mob that would not allow representatives to record their vote by the legal deadline of midnight.

Gov. Rick Perry, vowing his state would not succumb to mob rule, called another special session immediately to address the proposed abortion limits, which is now under way.

The effort comes only weeks after the graphic images of babies who were killed by now-convicted abortionist Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia were seared into the nation’s conscience. Gosnell was convicted of using a scissors to snip the spinal columns of babies born alive to cause their “demise.”

Texas has a similar case. Abortionist Doug Karpen allegedly used his bare hands to twist off the heads of infants born alive.

State authorities called for a full investigation into Karpen after Life Dynamics released a video with accusations from three women who worked for the Houston-based abortionist.

The interview featuring Deborah Edge, Krystal Rodriguez and Gigi Aguilar provided proof, Life Dynamics said, that “the lofty rhetoric of ‘choice’ may insulate those who work in the political and public relations arena, but the day-to-day reality for those who provide those ‘choices’ is to deal with the corpses and parts of corpses they pull out of their customers’ bodies.”

Mark Crutcher, the founder of Life Dynamics, said, “While the pro-life movement claims that abortion takes the life of a living human being, nobody on earth knows that better than the people who work at abortion clinics.”

Said Edge: “I thought, well, it’s an abortion you know, that’s what he does, but I wasn’t aware that it was illegal. … Most of the time we would see him where the fetus would come completely out and of course, the fetus would still be alive.

“He does a lot of huge abortions. A lot of the times, we would bring the big fetus[es] that were over age, we would re-open the bag and just look at it and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so big!’”

Life Dynamics said: “Simply put, this is abortion!”

The release of the video came just as Gosnell, who was convicted in Philadelphia of first-degree murder, was sentenced to multiple life terms in prison. He avoided the death penalty by agreeing not to appeal.

“During Gosnell’s trial,” Crutcher said, “it became clear that organizations like Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and others within the pro-choice community were fully aware of what Gosnell was doing. But they kept quiet because this was a rock they did not want the public looking under. What they knew, and wanted to keep hidden, was that everything being done at this abortion clinic was within the standard operating procedures for every other abortion clinic in the country. So they, and their lapdogs in the media, started whistling past the graveyard.”

It was into that atmosphere that Republicans in Texas sought to enact protections for unborn babies and their mothers. Those included banning abortion after 20 weeks gestation, requiring that abortionists have backup emergency help for patients who might take a turn for the worse and requiring that they not leave patients during various procedures.

But abortion promoters have gone to extreme lengths to prevent the protections from being adopted.

Said Jonathan Nessmith, president of Houston Young Republicans: “This kind of behavior would never be tolerated in the reverse by the Democrats. When Congressman Joe Wilson uttered the words, ‘You lie!’ during the 2009 State of the Union, Democrats responded with platitudes about ‘parliamentary procedure’ and ‘civility.’ Where are these voices now, when an orange-clad mob disrupts the business of democracy? Disrupting the democratic process is not the way we do things in Texas. Let’s get rid of the double standard.”

Political correspondent Bob Price of the blogger site Texas GOP Vote spoke with WND. Price was a witness to the events this week and last.

Price called the staged demonstrations “unprecedented in the Texas capital,” saying that in all his years covering the state legislature, he had “never heard of an official meeting of the Senate being disrupted to the point where a voted could not be conducted.”

Price was particularly shocked at the use of the term “blood-sucking parasite” to refer to an unborn fetus in response to pro-life testimony of individuals who have survived abortions. Price claims the numerous protestors were yelling these words.

The efforts went so far as to recruit children to carry signs such as “Every child a wanted child.” Another was much more graphic: “If I wanted the government in my womb, I would f*** a senator!”

Jihadists claim credit for Arizona fires

‘Our hands don’t just reach America, but also strike it’

Published: 14 hours ago

 

Drew Zahn

A Palestinian jihadist group, Masada al Mujahideen, has claimed credit for starting the ongoing Arizona wildfire that has killed 19 firefighters, according to a report from The Long War Journal’s David Barnett.

The Long War Journal is a project of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, whose leadership council includes among others former CIA Director R. James Woolsey Jr. and Former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

According to the report, the SITE Intelligence Group obtained and translated from a jihadist Internet forum a statement titled “Masada al-Mujahideen Fulfilled its Promise and Attacked America Again After the Expiration of the Period with Fires that Achieved Historic Results.”

The statement boasted of the deaths of the 19 firefighters and claimed, “We had previously announced an unconventional war against the occupation state of Israel, and then we escalated this war to reach its main supporter, America, so that it receives a major share of it, which will destroy their flora and fauna, with permission from Allah and then with our hands.”

The statement further said that the group targeted the United States “in order to make it clear and to make it known we can reach it when we warn it, and to make it certain that our hands don’t just reach it, but also strike it.”

The Arizona fire killed 19 of 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew, the greatest loss of life for firefighters in a wildfire since 1933 and the deadliest day for U.S. firefighters since the 9/11 when 340 died.

“Just as we remembered the brave men who ran into the twin towers,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said, “we will also remember the men of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.”

Thus far, however, ABC News reports authorities believe the Arizona wildfire began with a lightning strike in Yarnell, Ariz., about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix, before spreading to roughly 6,000 acres amid triple-digit temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions.

As WND reported, authorities have said a similarly deadly fire that struck Colorado last month was not the result of any “lightning strike.”

“One thing that my investigators have given me the authority to state is that they have all but ruled out natural causes as the cause of this fire,” said Colorado’s El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. “I can’t really go any further on that, but I can say we are pretty confident it was not, for instance, a lightning strike.”

One expert on Islamic terrorism believes the wildfire that ravaged the outskirts of Colorado Springs, killing two people and destroying more than 500 homes, should be examined by terror investigators, if for no other reason because of the history of threats from al-Qaida and others to burn America’s forests.

At the American Center for Democracy, noted terror funding expert Rachel Ehrenfeld wrote that Bill Scott, a senior fellow at ACD, warned about terrorist fires last July, speaking at the briefing on Capital Hill.

“An expert on aerial firefighting, he presented a sobering analysis of the devastating (2012) Waldo Canyon Fire [in Colorado], pointing out that the striking rise [in] Western U.S. wildfires may be caused by elements other than nature,” Ehrenfeld wrote. “He noted that in spring 2012, al-Qaida’s English-language online magazine, Inspire, published an article called ‘It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb,’ which featured instructions on how to build an incendiary bomb to light forests on fire.”

She explained that Russia’s security chief, Aleksandr Bortnikov, also has warned, “Al-Qaida was complicit in recent forest fires in Europe” as part of terrorism’s “strategy of a thousand cuts.”

“Since then, more fatwas advocating that ‘fire is a cheap, easy and effective tool for economic warfare’ have been issued,” Ehrenfeld wrote. “They’ve included detailed instructions for constructing remote-controlled ‘ember bombs, and how to set fires without leaving a trace.’”

Israel’s forests also have been targeted, she noted.

“While many of the fires that have scorched millions of acres and destroyed thousands of homes in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and other states have been identified as arson, none has been publicly attributed to criminal or terrorist groups, despite the presence of Mexican gangs and [a] large number of other illegals in our Western states,” she said.

Mother Jones reported Don Smurthwaite, a Bureau of Land Management spokesman, “downplayed” Ehrenfeld’s ideas, “but he didn’t dismiss the notion outright.”

“We don’t have any hard evidence that any wildfires in the U.S. were started by terrorists in recent years,” he told the publication. “But is it a possibility? Certainly.”

He noted the last confirmed weaponized wildfires were in World War II, when the Japanese sent incendiary balloons across the Pacific.

However, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported al-Qaida was advising would-be terrorists how best to burn America.

The terror group’s magazine included pictures, diagrams and explanations on how to start fires to obtain the most damage.

CBN analyst Erick Stakelbeck said the extreme detail provides reason for concern. The information, he said, is “all designed to cause the maximum amount of carnage and death.”

CBN noted that in the U.S., more houses are built in the countryside than in the cities and cited a Montana fire chief who said the prospect of a wildfire terrorist attack was not farfetched.

WND also reported websites run by jihadis made claims of arson in a number of California wildfires.

WND reported in 2004 that an Arabic-language jihadi website also posted a message purporting to be “al-Qaida’s plan of economic attack” on the U.S. that including proposals to turn the nation’s forests into raging infernos.

The National Terror Alert Response Center report said: “We are NOT implying that the California fires are an act of terrorism; however, the threat of pyro-terrorist attacks pose a significant risk to the U.S. and the fires in California and Greece earlier this year should be a wake-up call.”

Even in 2003, an FBI memo warned that national forests in the West could be the next target for terror by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.

The memo, obtained by the Arizona Republic, warned law enforcement that a senior al-Qaida detainee told interrogators he planned to spark multiple, catastrophic wildfires simultaneously in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming to strike a blow to the U.S. economy.

WND also reported documents recovered from a remote area along the Pakistan border revealed that bin Laden wanted al-Qaida to launch a “global fireball” by lighting forest fires in Europe, the United States, Australia and South America.

The documents, uncovered during an operation led by the British intelligence service MI6, were described by experts in that agency as “the most worrying [plot] that the world is facing.”

a flag

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5418

WILL THIS BE THE FIRST TIME THE WORLD SEES THE ARK OF COVENANT?

A very British problem of a leaky church roof could be about to give the world the chance to glimpse the legendary Ark of the Covenant.

That’s because the claimed home of the iconic relic – a small chapel in Ethiopia – has sprung a leak and so the Ark could now be on the move.

The Ark – which The Bible says holds God’s Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai – is said to have been kept in Aksum, in the Chapel of the Tablet, adjacent to St Mary of Zion Church, since the 1960s.

According to the Old Testament, it was first kept in the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem for centuries until a Babylonian invasion in the 6th century BC.

 

Leaking roof: The Chapel of the Tablet in Ethiopia that holds the Ten Commandments and has the water damage. The St Mary of Zion church, that originally held the tablet, can be seen in the foreground

Since then it’s been the goal of many adventurers and archaeologists to find it. Most-famously, but also fictitiously, Indiana Jones was shown in the 1981 Steven Spielberg film Raiders of the Lost Ark.

There has also been a long-running claim from the Orthodox Christians of Ethiopia that they have had the Ark for centuries, and since the 1960s it has apparently been kept in the chapel.

This small and curiously-styled building is surrounded by spiked iron railings, and situated between two churches, the old and new, of St Mary of Zion in central Aksum.

No one has been allowed to see the holy object, described in scripture as being made from acacia wood, plated with gold and topped with two golden angels, except one solitary elderly monk, who must watch over the Ark for the remainder of his life, and is never allowed to leave the chapel grounds.

But now the chapel – which was designed by the Ethiopian leader Emperor Hailie Selassie – has had to be covered in a tarpaulin to stop rain getting in.

The water damage could mean the Ark will be moved for the first time in decades giving religious worshippers and adventurers alike a chance to see it.

British photographer Tim Makins, 54, who is a travel photographer for publications like Lonely Planet, discovered the church had sprung a leak whilst travelling through Ethiopia last September.

He believes the moving of the Ark could be one of the best ways to discover if there’s any truth in the claims of the East African state.

Tim said: ‘During my most recent visit to the church, I was surprised to see some ground adjacent to the ”Chapel of the Tablet” being cleared and levelled by workmen, and some quantities of building stone being assembled nearby.

‘Asking around, I managed to discover that a new temporary chapel is due to be built, and the Ark is to be moved into it while the original chapel is repaired.

‘It seems that the builders of the 1960s were not as careful as the builders of centuries past, and the roof of the chapel has developed some serious leaks that now need comprehensive repair work.

‘To protect the Ark, a tarpaulin now covers the roof of the chapel but this is just a temporary measure.

‘To renovate the building thoroughly, the roof must be stripped back to the bare bones and so a replacement chapel is to be built next door providing a temporary home for it.’

Tim said the construction of the new temporary chapel would take about three months according to workers and religious figures at the site, though he suspects that it will probably take much longer.

He added: ‘When the work is finished, the Ark of the Covenant will be carried to its new resting place.’

‘That this can be done by the one person allowed to see it is unlikely, as The Bible describes the size of the Ark as 2.5 cubits in length, 1.5 in breadth, and 1.5 in height.

‘Cubits in today’s measurements translate to about 1.31 metres x 0.79m x 0.79m and it is normally carried on two long wooden poles.

‘If it really is this size, and still contains the two stone tablets that list God’s Ten Commandments, then the elderly monk will no doubt need some help to transport it.’

ark

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5356

THE LATTER RAIN

  THE LATTER RAIN

by David Wilkerson | June 28, 2013

[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]

 

 

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Zechariah 12:10 refers to the promised latter rain that will precede the final harvest. The Lord is waiting patiently until His last rain is outpoured because it will produce the final harvest!

In the early part of this century, a Pentecostal movement began in Canada called the “Latter Rain Movement.” It lasted perhaps forty or fifty years. Today, only a few “Latter Rain” churches remain. Yet those who were involved in that movement were convinced they were experiencing the Spirit’s great, final outpouring. Many said, “This is it!” But the movement dissipated. And other such movements have come and gone also. Why? Because they were not focused on the harvest!

Many so-called Holy Ghost movements vanished quickly because they were man-centered—focusing on gifts, blessings, self-improvement, happiness. Dancing, laughing, roaring, or any other manifestation attributed to the Holy Ghost is all flesh unless it produces a broken heart for the lost and unsaved. If it is truly of the Spirit, it will result in a hunger and inclination to reach a lost and dying world!

Jesus tied the harvest to lost souls when He said, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38).

Any true outpouring of the Holy Spirit will focus on this prayer of Jesus. And the few revivals documented as genuine all were blessed with great harvests of souls. There is no true revival without a great ingathering of lost souls!

Consider what happened as a result of Joel 2:28. At Pentecost, 3,000 people were saved in one day and souls were added daily afterward. These believers then were thrust out into all the world to witness Christ to the lost.

“Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest” (Isaiah 32:15). Isaiah is saying here, “When the Holy Ghost comes, He produces fruit for the harvest. Lost souls are won in abundance!”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5354

Saudi King issues decree changing days of weekend in kingdom

Saudi Arabia’s King   Abdullah issued a decree changing the country’s weekend from Thursday and   Friday, to Friday and Saturday, aligning itself with other Gulf countries and   Israel.

The change went into effect last week and allows for an extra day of trading   with world markets.

Some religious clerics criticized the change calling it an “imitation of   Jews” and Westernization, according to a report by the Saudi news channel Al   Arabiya on Saturday.

Sheikh Saleh Fawzan, a senior cleric in the Kingdom, said the change would   “invoke Allah’s wrath” because it was an imitation from Christians and Jews.   Fawzan’s supporters launched a campaign on Twitter against the change.

However, another senior cleric and a member of Saudi Arabia’s highest   religious committees, Sheikh Abdullah bin Solayman al-Menee, stated that the   change did not contradict Islamic law, according to the report.

Now all Gulf Cooperation Council countries share five working days, a move   that may lead to an economic boon.

Fadi Al Said, senior fund manager at ING Investment Management in Dubai, told   Bloomberg News that this was a step towards opening up the countries stock   market to foreign investors.

“Investors can read between the lines and see this as another step towards   opening up the market,” he said. “It’s not official, but this is one of the   things Saudi needed to do to open the markets for foreign investors.”

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5336

National Cathedral Rings Bells to Cheer Gay Marriage

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The National Cathedral is pealing its church bells, along with some other Washington churches, to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decisions on gay marriage.

Cathedral spokesman Richard Weinberg said the bells rang at noon Wednesday for 45 minutes to an hour. Bells also rang at other Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Unitarian and other Christian churches.

The cathedral scheduled a prayer service for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families Wednesday at 7 p.m. to celebrate the ruling.

In a statement, the cathedral’s dean, the Rev. Gary Hall, says the church is ringing its bells “to celebrate the extension of federal marriage equality to all the same-sex couples modeling God’s love in lifelong covenants.”

Hall says the ruling should serve as a call for Christians to embrace religious marriage equality.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5331

Iran secretly building in Port Sudan military supply base for Syria, Hizballah

A logistics base for handling tanks, missile systems, self-propelled artillery and other heavy weaponry bound for Syria and Hizballah is secretly under construction in a section of Port Sudan which Omar al Bashir has leased to Tehran, debkafile reports exclusively from its military sources.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards engineers in civilian dress are overseeing the hundreds of Sudanese workmen laboring flat out to build Iran’s second Red Sea base after Assab in southern Eritrea.
As a safeguard against an Israeli strike, the new Iranian facility abuts directly on Port Sudan’s oil exporting installations, through which South Sudan, Israel’s ally, exports its oil, the new republic’s only source of revenue which also pays for its purchases of Israeli arms.

To give the military port a civilian aspect and suggest that Iranian warships no longer visit the port, Tehran has switched to commercial cargo vessels and oil tankers for delivering weapons for its Syrian and Hizballah allies through Port Sudan.

Still, Western intelligence sources watching the work are certain that the new Iranian facility is a military port in every sense of the word. It is similar to the Russian naval base built at the Syrian port of Tartus, except for being twice as large and capable of accommodating Iran’s largest war ships as well as submarines. Tehran is taking advantage of the strong military and intelligence ties it has developed with Sudan’s ruler Bashir for streamlining the weapons supply route to its embattled allies.
The Iranian section of the port has a fence with watchtowers and will soon acquire air defense systems. It is guarded by Revolutionary Guards sentries wearing civilian clothes and Sudanese soldiers.
The new facility will enable Iran to transfer larger shipments of heavier weapons than the air corridor used until now to drop military equipment for the Syrian and Hizballah armies. The light and medium hardware will continue to be delivered by air, but the sea route for the heavy stuff will be cut in half by the large weapons depot the Iranians are building at the Sudanese Red Sea port.
This will make it possible to ship items to their destination from the Red Sea through Suez and on to the Mediterranean to meet needs arising urgently from war crises in Syria or potential conflicts with Israel.
Neither the US, Egypt or Israel has so far interfered with Iranian arms freighters navigating the Suez Canal on their way to Syria and the Lebanese Hizballah.

The Israeli Air Force has in the past struck four weapons convoys or targets in the Port Sudan area – two each in 2009 and in 2012.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5324