The Mystery of Iniquity

The Mystery of Iniquity
Vol: 117 Issue: 18 Saturday, June 18, 2011

“Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold”  – Jesus Christ, Matthew 24:12

During his World Apology Tour, Obama visited Mexico on April 16, 2009 (when Operation Fast and Furious was just getting started.  More on that later). While there, he blamed America for Mexican drug violence;

“This war is being waged with guns purchased not here but in the United States . . . more than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that lay in our shared border.”

Obama joins many other U.S. and Mexican officials — from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Mexican ambassador to the U.S. — who have cited versions of the 90 percent figure in arguing for greater U.S. intervention. For his part, Obama has pledged to commit more money and resources to stem the flow of guns south of the border.

Understand this story in terms of time and context. 

The time is four months into the Obama administration —  when Obama was still fending off charges he was “born in a manger” and anybody that questioned his policy agenda was a racist.

The context is one in which Obama issued talking points to his cabinet members to cite that 90% statistic at every opportunity, especially when discussing gun control restrictions and ways around the Second Amendment.

In its 2009 article, Politifact notes that the ATF strongly supported the statistic that suggested lax US gun control laws were responsible for Mexico’s bloodbath:

“ATF officials challenge the suggestion that Mexico only sends them guns they suspect are from the United States. In fact, the ATF found about a quarter of the 90 percent were made in other countries and then taken illegally from the United States into Mexico.”  

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held hearings this past week on “Operation Gunwalker” also known as “Operation Fast and Furious” and “Operation Gunrunner.”

At least, it did the best it could with what it had – the White House is still blocking access to key documents, according to committee chairman Darrel Issa [R-Ca]. 

After months of being stonewalled by Attorney General Eric Holder, in March, Issa’s committee issued a subpoena demanding Holder surrender documents related to the ATF’s “Operation Fast and Furious.”

Holder ordered the DoJ not to comply, citing its own pending criminal investigations, prompting Rep. Issa to write Holder directly to clarify any misconceptions:

“Let me be clear: we are not conducting a concurrent investigation with the Department of Justice, but rather an independent investigation of the Department of Justice – specifically, of allegations that the reckless and inappropriate decisions of Department officials have created a serious public safety hazard.”

That certainly seemed clear enough to me.  But it wasn’t clear enough for Eric Holder, who ordered ATF Director Melson to sit tight.  That is pretty much where it sits right now. Stonewalled in Congress.

Meanwhile on Monday, a trio of Senate Democrats, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, cited this same 90% figure while calling for tougher firearms laws. 

“Congress has been virtually moribund while powerful Mexican drug trafficking organizations continue to gain unfettered access to military-style firearms coming from the United States,” Feinstein complained.

Feinstein, together with Chuck Schumer of New York and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, are calling for the reinstatement of an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and “better enforcement” of a ban on the import of military-style weapons.

“This report confirms what many of us already know to be true. … It is still too easy for Mexican drug lords to get their hands on deadly military-grade weapons within our borders,” Schumer said. “We need to redouble our efforts to keep violent firearms out of the hands of these traffickers.”

Noted CNN in its editorial background coverage of the story:

Mexico has been critical of what it sees as lax U.S. efforts at blocking guns from ending up in the wrong hands.

“It is clear that the availability of high-powered guns in the United States for Mexican criminals is hurting bilateral security,” Mexican National Security spokesman Alejandro Poire told CNN in February. “We would hope to see an overwhelming response from the United States government to prevent these guns from getting into Mexico.”

In a 2010 speech to the U.S. Congress, Mexican President Felipe Calderon called for action similar to what the U.S. senators propose.

“If you don’t regulate the sale of arms in the right way, nothing guarantees that the criminals won’t have access to these,” Calderon said. “There are more than 7,000 gun stores along the border with Mexico where anyone can buy. I ask Congress to help us and understand how important it is to have strong laws to avoid arming the criminals.”

It would seem (to me) that the best way to accomplish that would be for the ATF to stop selling guns to them.

Assessment:

It seems that over roughly a three year period, ATF agents have been pressuring US gun dealers, mostly along the Arizona-Mexico border, to sell thousands of semi-automatic weapons to ‘straw buyers,’ in this case, Mexican nationals. 

(It is illegal for US gun dealers to sell guns to non-citizen resident aliens or to foreign nationals.)

Here is a background summary:

On December 14, 2010, a special unit of the U.S. Border Patrol came across a group of heavily armed suspects near Rio Rico, Arizona. The Border Patrol team identified themselves as law enforcement officers, at which point the armed men opened fire.

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed during the battle. One of the suspects was captured, and two semiautomatic rifles recovered at the scene were identified as being part of an ongoing ATF sting operation.

On Tuesday, Rep Darrell Issa’s committee released a fifty-one page pdf report based on testimony from ATF field agents. To this point, the ATF continues to stonewall, as does both the Department of Justice and the White House.

The report’s findings, if true, are shocking beyond belief.  Among them:

  • ATF agents instructed U.S. gun dealers to proceed with questionable and illegal sales of firearms to suspected gunrunners.
  • The ATF allowed or even assisted in those guns crossing the U.S. border into Mexico to “boost the numbers” of American civilian market firearms seized in Mexico and thereby provide the justification for more firearm restrictions on American citizens and more power and money for ATF.
  • They intentionally kept Mexican authorities in the dark about the operation.
  • At least one agent was cautioned that if he didn’t stop complaining about the dangerous nature of the operation, he would find himself out of a job, and lucky to be working in a prison.
  • Senior ATF personnel including Acting Director Ken Melson, and senior Department of Justice officials at least up to an assistant attorney general, were well aware of and supported the operation.
  • Department of Justice officials hid behind semantics to lie and deny that they allowed guns to be walked across the border.
  • The more than 2,000 weapons that the Obama Justice Department allowed to be delivered to Mexican narco-terrorist cartels are thought to have been used in the shooting of an estimated 150 Mexican law enforcement officers and soldiers battling the cartels.
  • The US Justice Department has therefore KNOWINGLY supplied enough weaponry to equip ten infantry companies or two full battalions of violent drug dealers.

There has been an ongoing war between the Obama administration and the NRA, Congress and Constitutionalists over the intended scope of the Second Amendment. 

Having lost a critical battle in the Supreme Court, the administration shifted its attention from the Supreme Court to the Court of Public Opinion, where it has a better chance of stacking the deck.

The Issa panel makes it clear that Operation Fast and Furious was well-known at the highest levels of the ATF and DoJ, and it is therefore inconceivable that it wasn’t supported by Eric Holder.  It wasn’t an ongoing ATF legacy operation — it didn’t begin until after Obama took office. 

The White House has clearly been using Operation Fast and Furious to support its efforts in swaying the Court of Public Opinion its way. The fact that the effort has cost hundreds of lives is only now coming to light. 

At the same time that Issa’s committee is investigating what Obama knew and when he knew it, the whole Congress is considering what to do about the illegal wars that Obama has started in Libya and Yemen.

Three years into Obama’s administration, if it has a single, recurring theme, it is that of lawlessness.

From ACORN’s involvement in his election to the crooked GM deals to the Obamacare waivers exempting Obama’s cronies to the uncounted billions that magically vanished from TARP on the way to the bank, everything about Obama is crooked.

He lies so much that it only makes headlines when he gets caught in a “truthhood” — like when he admitted the shovel-ready jobs he used to sell TARP was a lie.

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth [katecho: withhold, restrain] will let, until He be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming:” (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8)

The word translated ‘iniquity’ by the KJV translators is anomia which means “lawlessness.”  Paul calls it a “mystery” (musterion)  — a Divine secret being revealed for the first time. 

The “secret” isn’t lawlessness – the secret is that the Restrainer of lawlessness will be taken out of the way before that “Wicked” (anomos: Lawless One) can be revealed.  

In the coming days, watch as the two sides rise to do verbal combat over whether or not selling guns to drug lords in order to influence US public opinion is legal – for there WILL be debate. 

Why? The katecho is still restraining unrestricted anomia until it is time for the anomos to be revealed. For now. 

Meanwhile, as this story heats up (and it will) observe its defenders.  Note their arguments and don’t lose sight of what they are actually defending.

It really is a mystery at work.

The Eyewitness Factor

The Eyewitness Factor
Vol: 117 Issue: 17 Friday, June 17, 2011

Suppose that somebody released a new book attributing a slew of miracles – including the ability to raise the dead – to the late Ronald Reagan.  Continuing on, let’s also suppose that the book attributed divine qualities to Ronald Reagan, including the power to forgive sins.

Not only does the book claim that Reagan possessed these Divine attributes, but also that he lived a life of perfect sinlessness.  (For the sake of my point, just suppose such a book would get published.)

In truth, Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest presidents in American history and one of the giants of the 20th century.  His wisdom led to the end of the Cold War – he was one of the most quotable presidents ever. 

But my fake book, despite Reagan’s actual greatness, would never make it to the newsstands, let alone spawn a new religion. Why?  Too many living witnesses to the actual Ronald Reagan. 

If Reagan raised a dead guy, I’d know about it.  If Reagan healed the sick, I’d know.  If he walked on water, I’d know.  If he claimed he had the power to forgive sins, I’d know about it.

It wouldn’t matter how persuasive the writer or how air-tight his story.  I was there, so to speak.  I wouldn’t even have to look anything up.I’d know the Reagan book was full of lies.   

The Gospel according to Mark is believed by most scholars to be the earliest of the Gospels to be published in Jerusalem, somewhere between AD 45 and AD 60 – between fifteen and thirty years after the events they describe.

“And again He entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that He was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and He preached the word unto them. And they come unto Him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where He was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.” (Mark 2:4)

Let’s set the stage here.  Jesus is in Capernaum, where He is so well known that He packs the house.  The synagogue in Capernaum is big – I’ve seen the ruins.  There must have been hundreds in there.

In any case, four guys show up in carrying a fifth guy on a stretcher. They can’t get in through the crowd so they break through the roof and, in full view of the crowd, lowered his stretcher down, presumably with a rope.  

Mark says that first, before anything else, He forgave the sick man his sins, which would have as big an impact within Israel as it would here if Reagan had done the same thing.  Everybody would be talking about it.

Then, after setting tongues to wagging by forgiving his sins, the Lord tells him to get up and walk.

“And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” (Mark 2:11)

Back to our supposed book about Reagan.  Suppose it contained a similar story about Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office.  Would you believe it?  Of course not. 

You were there during the Reagan administration and if something like that happened you would know about it.

And even if you weren’t, you know somebody that was alive during the Reagan administration and they’d tell you it was baloney.

Ronald Reagan took office in January, 1981, just over thirty years ago.  That’s an even longer interval than between the Resurrection and Mark’s Gospel. 

Assessment:

Jewish society in the 1st century AD was among the most literate in the world.  Jewish history was carefully documented – many Jews could trace their genealogy all the way back to Adam.

When the Gospel of Mark was introduced, it was introduced first to the society best-equipped to refute it.

Jerusalem was a small, tightly-knit community in which almost everybody knew everybody else and most were inter-related.  Given the intimacy of their society and its level of literacy, the Gospel of Mark should have been received the way our supposed book on Ronald Reagan would be.

Thirty years after the events, there would still be plenty of eyewitnesses to the life and times of Jesus.  If the events described in the Gospel of Mark were not true, then Christianity could not have taken hold.

It is a matter of historical fact that as early as AD 60 Christians were being rounded up by the Romans and given the choice of denying Christ or embracing an incomprehensible cruel death, like being mauled to death by wild animals. 

They chose death.

There are NO surviving records from the first century denying the events described in the Gospel of Mark – not even from those that had the most to gain by such a denial.  Both the Jews and the Romans sought to stamp out Christianity by persecuting Christians. 

Don’t you think it odd that they didn’t try to deny that the events occurred? That would seem to be the simplest way to put a stop to all this nonsense.  But THAT never occurred to the authorities of the time.

That is what makes Christianity unique among all religions. For it to exist, Jesus had to be a real Person Who did real things in front of real people.  If it turned out that Buddha was really a compilation of ancient thinkers, it would have little effect on Buddhism itself. 

Buddhism could exist without a literal Buddha.  It is what Buddhism teaches that is important, not its founder. And while Islam’s founder is the key element to that religion, both the Koran and Islamic Law were written and developed by followers of Mohammed after his death.

But the details of the life and death of Jesus Christ are critical to Christianity.  If Jesus did not live, then He did not die on the Cross to pay the penalty due for your sins.

“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (1st Corinthians 15:17)

If He was not condemned by Pilate — despite Pilate’s own proclamation of His innocence — then He was condemned for cause, and could not die for your sins, since He would have had His own account to settle.

If He were not raised from the dead (after three days in the grave – and later seen by more than five hundred witnesses) then death and the grave have not been defeated, and we remain dead in our sins.

Christianity is unique in that it isn’t based on what Jesus taught, but Who He is and what He did. The Bible doesn’t say, ‘obey the teachings of Jesus and be saved’.  It doesn’t say we are saved by His teachings, but rather, we are saved by Who He is.

There is nothing we can add in our mortal bodies that can augment or improve upon the price paid for our salvation. At best we can only make minor, temporary improvements to our conduct.

But we can no more save our own souls through our own actions than we can make ourselves younger by exercising. Recognition of this reality is unique to Christianity.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)

Look at the elements: For BY GRACE are ye saved — through FAITH — and THAT not of yourselves — it is a GIFT of God.

It is so simple that most people can’t explain it, and even if they can, even more can’t accept it without further complicating it.

God grants the ‘grace’ (an unmerited, undeserved gift) through faith that is ‘not of yourselves’ but is rather a gift of God.

Christianity must be true.  Logic demands it.

Analysis: The Alice in Wonderland Defense

Analysis: The Alice in Wonderland Defense
Vol: 117 Issue: 16 Thursday, June 16, 2011

The War Powers Act of 1973 was intended to put a check on presidential powers to commit US forces to an armed conflict without first consulting Congress. Under the Constitution, the power to make war is divided between the Congress and the Executive.

Following World War II the United States found itself locked in long periods of intense conflict in places like Korea and Vietnam.  During the Nixon administration, Congressional Democrats used the unpopularity of the Vietnam War to push the Act through both Houses.

When it got to his desk, Nixon vetoed it and sent it back to Congress.  By a two-thirds vote in each House, Congress overrode the veto and the War Powers Act became law.  The War Powers Act gives the president sixty days in which to either petition Congress for a declaration of war or withdraw US troops.

Before committing US forces, President Barack Obama consulted with — and obtained approval from — the United Nations and the Arab League.

Obama did not consult the US Congress before committing US forces to combat.  On May 20, 2011 the United States marked sixty days since combat operations began against Libya. 

Obama told the Congress that since the US transferred leadership to NATO and since there were no US troops on the ground, Congressional authorization wasn’t necessary.  Obama argued that, as president, he could initiate “intervention” on his own authority.

Libya, he argued, was different because of its nature, scope and duration.  In other words, it wasn’t a war, although the administration stopped short of calling it what it actually is — presidential adventurism of the exact sort that prompted the passage of the War Powers Act in the first place.

Jack L. Goldsmith, who led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration, said the Obama theory would set a precedent expanding future presidents’ unauthorized war-making powers, especially given the rise of remote-controlled combat technology.

“The administration’s theory implies that the president can wage war with drones and all manner of offshore missiles without having to bother with the War Powers Resolution’s time limits,” Mr. Goldsmith said.

On June 3 the Congress officially rebuked Obama. On Monday, Speaker of the House John Boehner sent a letter to the President telling him he was in violation of the War Powers Act. 

On Wednesday ten lawmakers, led by Dennis Kucinich [D-Oh] filed a lawsuit, asking the third branch of government to rein in the Executive by ordering Obama to pull out of Libya because Congress didn’t authorize it.

In March, while on vacation in South America, President Obama ordered US involvement in Libya, following consultations with the Arab League and the UN.

Nine days later and while speaking from another country, the President had still not consulted with Congress when he brought it to the people:

“When our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act,” the president said.

Obama  made the case that Khadafy was a ruthless ruler, who vowed “no mercy” on his own protesting countrymen.”

“We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi – a city nearly the size of Charlotte – could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world. It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen.”

There were but two problems with Obama’s reasoning.  The first is that America’s national interests were not at stake, even peripherally. That was a lie.

Secondly, if saving foreign civilians from slaughter by dictators is in our national interest, why haven’t we gone after President Bashar Assad of Syria? We have a much greater national interest in Syria, where Assad is actively seeking nukes, than we do in Libya, which surrendered its nuclear program in 2003.

On February 20, when Obama first involved the US in Libya, he argued that it was because Khadafy was ‘massacring” civilians, after reports of nearly 100 deaths in two weeks of protest.

At last count, Assad had killed almost two thousand unarmed civilian protestors by firing live ammunition into crowds from helicopter gunships or using snipers to pick people off out of the crowd.

Not only has Obama not threatened the use of force in Syria, the administration has made a strenuous effort to look the other way, in much the same way Obama tried not to notice Iran’s brutalization of its own protestors in 2009.

So now that the Speaker of the House has demanded that the Obama White House justify its war in Libya, the White House must either withdraw from Libya or request Congressional authorization.

The Congress never anticipated Obama trotting out the Alice in Wonderland defense . . .

“War? There’s a war in Libya?”

Assessment:

Let me get something out of the way early on.  I have no objection to the removal of Muammar Khadafy – I welcome the prospect of a new Libyan leader whose name is only spelled one way.

But the White House is openly lying when it comes to Libya.  In 2003, George Bush was accused of lying about Iraq’s WMD program even though it was impossible for Bush to know the truth until we got to Baghdad.

The charge stuck, and George Bush was forever branded a liar.  Worldwide protests ensued; everybody learned a new English term, “No Blood for Oil” and morphing George Bush into Adolf Hitler became so commonplace that the real Bush started to look odd without his mustache.

Obama is actually lying, since he does know better. The war in Libya has probably the weakest justification ever presented by an American president.

No US interests are at stake. For reasons nobody has articulated, Obama apparently deems Libyan civilians superior to Syrian civilians, which is why Khadafy killing hundreds of Libyans is grounds for war — but Assad massacring thousands of Syrians is not.

Moammar Khadfy is an evil guy who deserves to be removed from the planet.  But removing Khadafy is not part of our official mission.  What exactly, is our official mission?   Nobody really knows, including the administration.

“The White House strongly denied that regime change is part of its mission after a statement earlier in the day characterized the goal there as “installing a democratic system.”

But according to the Secretary of State, that isn’t our mission at all, since installing a democratic system means first removing the system in place.

“Clinton said the United Nations resolution authorizing force against Gadhafi was broad, but included nothing “about getting rid of anybody.”

The democratic system the White House hopes to install and the State Department doesn’t must needs be installed by the rebel forces NATO is fighting to defend while refusing to acknowledge. 

The White House just announced that Obama has authorized some $25,000,000.00 in non-lethal aid and $53,000,000.00 in humanitarian aid to Libyan rebel forces. 

This on top of the fact that America is now paying out just over nine million dollars a day supporting the Libyan rebels — and  we haven’t a clue who they are.

Despite financially backing the opposition, the White House says questions about who exactly the rebels are and their long-term objectives are keeping the U.S. from recognizing the Council as the legitimate Libyan government.”

Here is what we do know, for sure.  Many of the rebel groups are openly and vocally members of al-Qaeda.  And there are whole detachments of rebels who claim loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood. 

PLUS, this is either War #3 or War #4 depending on where you count from. (America is also involved in Yemen’s civil war and yes, we have boots on the ground there and no, the Congress hasn’t authorized it.)

And so now, to the Big Question.

Where are all the antiwarriors now? Did they all move to Canada?  Where is Code Pink?  Where is Cindy Sheehan?  Where are all the scary signs?  Where’s the passion? Where are the pictures of  the bombed-out monuments to American imperialism? 

During the Bush years, antiwar protests were measured by the tens of thousands who attended, up to the end of 2008.  After Obama was elected, most of the antiwarriors apparently decided they weren’t against war, after all. 

On October 7, 2009, an antiwar protest in Chicago marking the start of our seventh year in Afghanistan only drew 107 protestors. In Obama’s home town!  

It is important to remember that since Obama ramped up the Afghanistan war, American fatalities there have been increasing steadily. But you won’t hear statistics like that from the antiwar crowd — not anymore.

During the Bush years, Nancy Pelosi vigorously opposed funding both Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that Obama is in office, Pelosi likes war. She voted to increase troops for Afghanistan. She has kept silent about Libya and Yemen, leaving the protests to more principled members.

The hypocrisy of the Left is beyond stunning.  It never had anything to do with principles. Never, ever.  For the antiwar leaders, it had everything to do with politics. The rank and file protestors proved themselves, as we said back then, to be nothing more than useful idiots of the Marxist Left.

Now that the Marxist Left is controlling the White House, the useful idiots are more useful as pro-war cheerleaders. 

Paul is the Apostle to the Gentile West. (Acts 9:15, Acts 18:6 Acts 22:21)  Timothy was chosen by Paul to help grow the Church. 

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul employed an unusual choice of words to preface his prophecy concerning the last days of the Church Age, saying, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly . . .”

That word, “expressly” (rhetos) carries with it a special sense of urgency – this is something that the Holy Spirit specifically wanted us to see.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

Like Code Pink.  Like Nancy Pelosi.  Like George Soros.  Like Barack Obama.  And like those that follow them. And unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

Where is America in prophecy?  We find her pictured in 1st Timothy 4 — and again in  2nd Timothy 3. But also, praise the Lord, we also find her in 1st Thessalonians 4:16-18.

“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.”

The Maunder Minimum

The Maunder Minimum
Vol: 117 Issue: 15 Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The “Maunder Minimum” is the name given to the period of solar inactivity that occurred between 1645 and 1710.  Some of the first telescopic observations of the sun had already been made by Galileo in 1611; by 1645 astronomers were well acquainted with the phenomenon they called ‘sunspots’.

Today we know that the number of sunspots rises and falls roughly every eleven years into “minimum” and “maximum” solar phases, but that wasn’t discovered until almost two hundred years after Galileo by a German astronomer, Henrich Schwabe in 1843.

Part of the reason for the lag is the “Maunder Minimum.”  For 70 years, sunspot activity was almost non-existent.  During one thirty-year period within the Maunder Minimum, astronomers observed roughly fifty sunspots, compared with 40,000 – 50,000 sunspots during a typical thirty year solar cycle.

In 1640 not a single sunspot was observed; in 1650, 3; 1670, 0; 1680, 1.  The coldest winter in 500 years occurred in 1709, right in the middle of the Maunder Minimum.

Anecdotal stories about the Winter of 1709 sound more like something lifted from the legend of Paul Bunyan than historical fact.  It was said to be so cold that year that sailors froze to death aboard ships.

Trees exploded from the cold. Fish froze solid in rivers while major bodies of water like the Baltic Sea froze solid.  Bread froze so hard it took an axe to cut it.

Words froze in mid-air; when the spring thaw came, people were deafened by all the noise. (Ok, that one really was lifted from the Legend of Paul Bunyan.)

The Maunder Minimum coincided with the coldest part of the Little Ice Age that began in the middle of the 15th century and lasted until well into the 19th.  NASA notes three particularly cold intervals; one beginning around 1650, a second around 1770 and the last around 1850.

The Year 1816 was known across Europe as the Year Without A Summer.  Science has long noted the relationship between solar activity and periods of warming or cooling. During the 20th century the sun was unusually active, peaking in the 1950s and the late 1980s. 

Dean Pensell of NASA, says that, “since the Space Age began in the 1950s, solar activity has been generally high. Five of the ten most intense solar cycles on record have occurred in the last 50 years.”

Interestingly, the coldest winter on record occurred during the Maunder Minimum — in the middle of a “Little Ice Age” which also corresponded with a period of low solar activity. And the warmest winter on record occurred during a period of intense solar activity.

When the sun comes out, it warms the earth.  When it hides behind a thick cloud cover, or when it is on the other side of the earth (here, we call that ‘night’) it gets colder.  Sunspots

But global warming True Believers deny any relationship between an overheating climate and the sun. Why do you think that is?  

This photo shows a solar eruption – a sun spot – the earth is superimposed to give a sense proportion. If global warming is the sun’s fault, then there isn’t much we can do here on earth to fix it. 

That’s why the True Believers totally discount the sun as a cause of global warming – to them, it is an issue of faith. 

Since the turn of the 20th century, sunspot activity had all but disappeared, together with evidence of global warming.

But Hillary Clinton said in a speech just last year: “The science is unambiguous, and the logic that flows from it is inescapable: climate change is a clear and present danger to our world that demands immediate attention.”  

Global warming has morphed from a debate into a cause and from a cause into a kind of religion dividing ‘true believers’ from ‘heretics.’ 

Assessment:

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26)

Solar activity dropped to zero in 2007, just about the same time that Al Gore learned just how inconvenient the truth can be.

When the sun is active, the solar system (including Earth) gets warmer.  When the sun is inactive, it gets cooler.  An inconvenient truth.

Although the preponderance of evidence suggests that the sun is responsible for global warming, the preponderance of evidence also suggests that marriage was intended for a man and a woman.

It might be obvious, but that won’t make any difference.  People will believe what they want to believe, not necessarily what is true.

According to a report dated June 14, 2011 at Space.com although we are now in an unusually active and powerful solar maximum period;

“unusual solar readings, including fading sunspots and weakening magnetic activity near the poles, could be indications that our sun is preparing to be less active in the coming years.

The results of three separate studies seem to show that even as the current sunspot cycle swells toward the solar maximum, the sun could be heading into a more-dormant period, with activity during the next 11-year sunspot cycle greatly reduced or even eliminated.”

Frank Hill, associate director of the National Solar Observatory’s Solar Synoptic Network told a news briefing yesterday that “the solar cycle may be going into a hiatius.”

“The studies looked at a missing jet stream in the solar interior, fading sunspots on the sun’s visible surface, and changes in the corona and near the poles.”

Right now, the sun is in the middle of Cycle 24, and is due to reach a maximum in 2013.  The next cycle would be expected to start in around 2020.  Instead, we may be heading into a ‘grand minimum’ similar to the Maunder period.

The National Solar Observatory (NSO) says that, based on 13 years of observations, sunspots are weakening.  There have been fewer during the present cycle – and, if the trend continues, there may be none at all in the next.

Meanwhile, NSO observations of the jet streams circling the sun, whose strength tends to correlate with solar activity, has shown that activity is near-non-existent.  Were the next solar cycle to proceed as usual, they would have appeared two or three years ago.

Finally, the sun’s corona, or upper atmosphere, is also failing to show changes associated with the usual solar cycles.  Normally, scientists would expect to see magnetic features in the corona moving north and south in a phenomenon known as ‘the rush to the poles’.

“This is highly unusual and unexpected,” Hill said. “But the fact that three completely different views of the sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”

According to NASA’s astro-forecasts, the current solar maximum is likely to unleash a series of massive solar storms, peaking sometime in late 2012 or early 2013, after which, solar inactivity is expected to collapse completely, bringing on another period of global cooling.

A storm last week (June 7) was so powerful that had it hit earth head on, it could well have fried the global electrical grid.  A powerful enough solar flare hitting the earth head-on would mimic the effect of an EMP pulse on our electrical grid.

Forecasters say that the worst is yet to come.  In a worst-case scenario, the world would be instantly plunged into technological darkness that could cause a global blackout that could take years to repair.

In summary, then, the earth is due for a massive strike from a solar flare sometime in the next two years, followed by a collapse of solar activity that portends a period of intense global cooling.  So just about the time we’ll need heat the most, we’ll be back to burning whatever we can find to heat our homes.

Until we run out of things to burn. 

Isn’t the timing of all this interesting?  First, we’re not really sure global warming was either global, or actually warmer.  (Warmer than what?)  

Second, the cooling trend corresponded with the last solar minimum, now about to expire.

Third, NASA predicts that the current solar maximum will peak sometime around 2012 with what could be a massive burst of solar radiation that could plunge us into darkness, just in time for us to enter a little Ice Age.

The world’s scientists are so confused that the consensus opinion on global warming and solar activity that there is no consensus opinion, but they are so alarmed that they insist on doing something, even if we don’t know what effect that “something” might have.

All they know for sure is that things are getting pretty scary out there in outer space– and that it is coming our way.  

“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken,” the Lord said.

These are exactly the conditions forecast 2000 years ago for a single generation, somewhere in time. The generation of whom the Lord was speaking when He said;

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. . . .This generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:28,32)

Meanwhile I’d keep some sunblock stored away in the pocket of your parka.   Just in case.

The Palin Emails

The Palin Emails
Vol: 117 Issue: 14 Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The media has had five days to pore over the prodigious stack of emails released by the State of Alaska covering the governor’s office correspondence while Sarah Palin was in office.  They had hoped to find evidence to support the caricature they had constructed of her during the ’08 campaign.

Indeed, so desperate was the liberal media that they made it into something of a contest. The New York Times challenged its readers to help “identify interesting and newsworthy emails, people, and events that we may want to highlight.” 

“Interesting and newsworthy” would not be like the time that Sarah Palin took on the oil industry on behalf of Alaska – and won.  “Interesting and newsworthy” to the New York Times would be evidence that Sarah Palin committed a crime. 

The Washington Post found itself in the same boat as the New York Times – desperate for dirt on Palin but unable to find any on their own.  Like the New York Times, the Washington Post asked its readers to help. 

Like the New York Times, the Post came up empty.  

So did all the other newspapers already committed to the destruction of Sarah Palin; the BBC, the UK Guardian, the LA Times, Mother Jones and MSNBC, just to name a few.   

The New York Times published a piece about the feeding frenzy, even as it led the charge.

After five days of review by uncounted tens of thousands of readers who submitted more than 2,800 annotations, the Times ended up publishing exactly. . . eight.

If there was a ‘gotcha’ in there anywhere, I couldn’t find it.  I did find many of the reader comments ummm, interesting.

Bob from New York City writes, “I don’t remember the NYTimes asking the public to go through Senator Obama’s emails to find newsworthy materials.”

More to the point was Marty from Hill Valley, CA: “I don’t recall you soliciting help from people to review the 2,000 page healthcare bill…nor did you do it yourselves.”

But “Crazywater” summed it up for me with this observation from the Tarheel State:

“This is pathetic and quite creepy.”

The number one criticism raised by Palin’s critics was that she said she prayed over Alaska’s budget and asked God for guidance.

National Journal included Palin’s prayer for God’s guidance on the Alaska’s budget in what it featured as the top 10 “revelations” from her emails Sunday. “I have been praying for wisdom on this … God will have to show me what to do on the people’s budget because I don’t yet know the right path … He will show me though,” Palin was quoted as saying in an email.

The Associated Press also found Palin’s prayer worth a special mention while portraying her in a negative light. “At least once, she prayed for strength,” the newswire exclaimed. “Other times, she fired off messages to her aides, most fierce when the subject was defending her record or her family.”

To offer my own favorite quote from the Palin emails, “Unflippinbelievable!”

Assessment:

This is easily among the most astonishing things I’ve seen to date.  America continues to conform itself to the outline prophesied by the Apostle Paul in his letters to Timothy.  

“Speaking lies in hypocrisy and having their conscience seared with a hot iron,” Paul says, writing of the final days of Church Age society.

The issue at hand isn’t Sarah Palin.  Rather, it is the spittle-spewing, teeth-grinding, blood-curdlingly hateful reaction that Sarah Palin evokes from the media and the Far Left. 

That is what I want you to see — but I want you to see it in context.

In 1996 Sarah Palin was elected mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. The population of Wasilla as of 2010 was 7,831.  Elected the youngest-ever governor of Alaska in 2006, her administration was so successful at cutting waste and corruption that only one year later, she was tapped as John McCain’s running mate.

There is no real explanation for Sarah Palin. She shouldn’t be where she is.  Sarah Palin wasn’t the first woman to occupy the second slot on a losing presidential ticket. 

Geraldine Ferraro broke the VP glass ceiling three decades ago and Ferraro was both politically experienced and extremely well-connected.  But Geraldine Ferraro, on her best day, never came anywhere close to Sarah Palin.  

Sarah Palin is too young and too inexperienced to be this hugely successful or to attract this kind of blind, white-hot hatred.  Yet she does. Why?

Sarah Palin is a private citizen who served barely twelve years in state and local politics, is not in office now, has never held national office, and who has all but written herself off as a candidate for 2012.

From the Palin emails and the reaction to them, that hatred seems to primarily be rooted in her very public reliance on God. If she weren’t such a vocal and fundamental Christian, she would probably have gone back to Wasilla (pop 7,831) vanishing quietly into the Alaskan wilderness.

Sarah Palin evidently frustrates the mainstream media, unwilling to accept that Palin could possibly be that squeaky clean, despite having been one of the most carefully-vetted candidates for national office in the history of the Republic.

I’m not saying that Sarah Palin is sinless, doctrinally pure, saintly, brilliant or any of that.  I confess that personally, I find her folksy charm a bit annoying.  It isn’t really about Sarah Palin. 

The worst thing the media can say about Sarah Palin as revealed in her emails is that she is ‘too trusting’ in God.  And for the ideologues of the Left and the media that serves them, that’s the worst thing possible.

It isn’t Sarah Palin that the media hates – she is just the visible representative.  She is what she is because of her faith – it is her faith that is the object of the media’s fury.  It is her faith that made her a national media target.

If they can bring down Sarah Palin, then her faith goes down with her. 

“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good . . . “

If politicians were countries, Sarah Palin would be Israel.   

A Guarantee Demands a Guarantor

A Guarantee Demands a Guarantor
Vol: 117 Issue: 13 Monday, June 13, 2011

Texas Governor Rick Perry called for his fellow governors across the country to join him in a day of prayer and fasting “on behalf of our troubled nation” in August.  From the reaction to his invitation, one would think Perry had asked them to join a coven of witches to cast prosperity spells together.

One would think that Christians were some kind of dangerous, militant minority whose basic statement of faith posed a direct threat to national security.   (Except that representatives of the religion that fits that description are sought-after guests at White House dinners.)

The Washington Post wondered aloud if Governor Perry’s call to prayer is Constitutional before concluding that it probably is, but ought not to be.  The AP speculated that Perry’s call to prayer is nothing more than a cynical effort to raise his public stature in advance of making a presidential declaration.

Crazies across the country find some kind of violation of the First Amendment in Perry’s call for a day of prayer — because Perry is a Christian and therefore, despite the invitation being open to all faiths, Perry is advancing Christianity over other religions.

If Perry wasn’t himself a Christian, he wouldn’t be open to the charge of favoring Christianity.  Following that line of reasoning, the only people qualified to lead a prayer service in America are unbelievers.

The entire argument that the Constitution mandates a separation of church and state is found not in the Constitution, but in a letter from Thomas Jefferson written to the Danbury Baptists Association in 1802. In it, he wrote:

“…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

That quote, taken out of context, has been subjected to more analysis and interpretative flights of fancy than has the original text of the First Amendment itself, which says simply that:

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion nor prohibit the free exercise thereof.” 

The First Amendment, as written, calls for freedom of religion.  Jefferson’s letter, as interpreted, calls for freedom from religion.  So Jefferson’s single letter carries greater weight among secularists than does the actual First Amendment.

To make Jefferson’s letter authoritative, Jefferson must himself have a record of advocacy for freedom from religion.  But apart from that single letter in 1802 written to address a specific question in a specific case, Jefferson’s real attitude was better expressed in an 1808 opinion in which he said:

“Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it.”

There have been 136 national calls to prayer and fasting or thanksgiving by sitting Presidents of the United States since 1789.  Every president since Truman has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.

(Interesting historical factoid:  33 of 44 Presidents signed National Day of Prayer proclamations.  Four of those that did not — died in office.)

Since 1775 there have been some 914 state and federal calls to according to the National Day of Prayer’s website.

In any case, Rick Perry is a state governor, not the Congress.  In 1983 the Supreme Court reaffirmed the rights of states to open legislative sessions with prayer.  

Nonetheless, Perry’s call to prayer has drawn out all the crazies across the country who want to shut down the event – get this — in the name of tolerance.  Honest. 

In their eyes, tolerance is when they shut down ideas that they can’t tolerate.

The ever-reliable Barry Lynn of “Americans United for Separation of Church and State” attacked the government’s involvement in a scheduled prayer event, which Lynn compared to a “fundamentalist Christian revival service.”

The fact that Perry’s invitation was made publicly, and in that public invitation, Governor Perry invited participation by people of all faiths is irrelevant to Barry Lynn and his pals. 

They have already decided what they will tolerate in the name of tolerance and what is intolerable.

“With all due respect, Gov. Perry, I must remind you that you were elected chief executive of the state of Texas – not its chief pastor. What you are proposing is not an inclusive event that welcomes all people,” wrote Lynn.

What kind of prayer service should a fundamentalist Christian attend?  An Islamic prayer service?  A Jewish prayer service?  A Mormon prayer service?  It is ridiculousWhat kind of thinking demands freedom of religion on the condition it’s a religion you DON’T believe in?

This is what passes for freedom of religion in America in 2011.  The only other governor that so far has dared to say he’ll attend is Sam Brownback of Kansas. 

He’s a Catholic — so as long as the event isn’t Catholic, he can go.

Assessment:

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  

Governor Perry’s call to prayer and fasting is undoubtedly rooted in this promise given by God to the Israelites under King Solomon some three thousand years ago.  But it was a conditional promise. . .

“But if ye turn away, and forsake My statutes and My commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of My land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for My Name, will I cast out of My sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.” (2 Chronicles 7:14,19-20)

I used to try and imagine what the Tribulation would look like.  I’m not the only one; there have been books and movies and short stories and sermons and entire ministries all focused on the topic of the end times and the coming Tribulation Period.

I was never quite able to picture a world in which being a Christian was a bad thing or that Christians could ever find themselves facing the kind of persecution described in the pages of the Revelation.

But as we get closer to the time appointed, the shadows of what is to come loom large on the horizon.  The picture is starting to come into focus.

If ever there were a time when a people called by the Lord’s Name needed to humble themselves and pray, it is this time and this people.  No nation in the history of time has been more blessed by Divine Providence than the nation defined by its reliance on the Divine.

The Declaration of Independence, written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, was a formal explanation to King George explaining why Congress had voted in favor of declaring independence from Great Britain.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Look closely at our most basic rights.  Note that they are all under attack from our own government.  The “right to life” has become a political slogan used to distinguish them from pro-abortion forces masquerading as protecting the “right to choose” – provided the choice is abortion.

One of the biggest grudges Liberal America has with Sarah Palin was that she refused to abort her youngest baby when they learned he would be born with Down’s Syndrome.  Because she chose to not to kill her baby, one of the criticisms regularly thrown her way was “Palin Refused to Choose.”

In their view, Trig Palin’s right to life is secondary to a woman’s right to choose. 

Governor Rick Perry’s liberty to call other governors to join him in a day of prayer is under attack as “intolerant” of other religions — despite his invitation for other religions to attend.  

The counter argument is that other religions won’t feel free to attend — because Christians are intolerant and so therefore Christians should be excluded.

The liberty of the majority is thus curtailed by the will of the vocal minority.  

The “pursuit of happiness” was always understood as the unfettered pursuit of financial independence and is the basis of American capitalism. 

Money can’t buy happiness, but it helps, as the saying goes.  It has been my experience that people with homes, jobs and bank accounts are generally happier than homeless people looking for work and eating from dumpsters.

According to the White House, your right to the pursuit of happiness (wealth) is limited by your social responsibility to those, who the government determines are “less fortunate” – equating hard work with dumb luck. 

Hence, there comes a time when “you’ve earned enough money” and it becomes the government’s job to take it from you in the name of social justice.

In 1798, John Adams wrote to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Massachusetts Militia:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

While not all the founding fathers were evangelical or born again Christians, they acknowledged the truthfulness of the Bible and the authority of the Creator over His creation.  They applied these concepts to the legislative process, the judicial system, and standards for life.

Now look back up to the Declaration.  Those individual rights, all of which are under direct government attack, are supposedly guaranteed.  But the guarantee is only as good as one’s faith in the Guarantor.

It’s a fairly straightforward understanding that seems to elude almost everyone today except guys like Barry Lynn, who understand the equation as perfectly today as did John Adams back in 1798.

If God isn’t real, then neither is your independence.  

By Their Fruits . . .

By Their Fruits . . .
Vol: 117 Issue: 11 Saturday, June 11, 2011

I saw Ann Coulter on one of the news programs plugging her new book, “Demonic.”  Full disclosure: I haven’t read it yet, but I did read this excerpt at the Daily Caller.

Coulter’s book is primarily about the tactics employed by progressive Democrats and so I found the title particularly intriguing.  Without having read beyond the title and even before having read the posted excerpt, I’m already asking myself; how it can be that obvious?

What I mean to say is, although it is obvious to me.  It’s different when something like that gets said out loud in the public arena.  

It’s like I’ve said in the past concerning Glenn Beck and some of the stuff that he has presented on his programs: if it is all true, where is the outcry? And if it is not all true, where is the corrected record?

Now we have Ann Coulter publishing a book primarily about the politics of the Left under the title, “Demonic.” I have been noting the growing similarities between the agenda and platform of the Democrats and social conditions described by the Apostle Paul to Timothy for years as a literal fulfillment of Bible prophecy:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

But I’m used to being marginalized to the fringes; it comes with the territory.  Even most Christians don’t want to hear about Bible prophecy. 

Like Glenn Beck, Coulter is analyzing the same things without the benefit (or liability) of a lifetime devoted to the literary equivalent of a guy wearing a sandwich board and proclaiming, “Repent! The End is Near!”

Her conclusions about the driving forces motivating the Far Left are not that much different than Beck’s – Beck ascribes it to evil, Coulter describes it as demonic.  Bible prophecy describes it as the spirit of antichrist.

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 John 2:18)

Beck is leaving his Fox program (amid rumors he was forced out) at the peak of his popularity; his media “footprint” says he reaches some thirty million people per day.  Ann Coulter’s books usually make the New York Times best-seller lists on the day the book is released – and sometimes even before that.

So here we have two hugely prominent and controversial secular commentators analyzing current events from a secular perspective with each arriving at the same conclusion:

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)

Assessment:

Beck and Coulter see a demonic cabal of liberal politicians, tycoons, journalists and media empires working together to bring about a new world order by deception, misdirection, slander and lies.  

So do I, but I am influenced by my faith in the Bible and my belief that this is the generation that will see the return of Christ.

But we are all working towards different agendas.  Beck’s agenda is to expose the conspiracy to bring down the United States and the West.  Coulter’s agenda is to expose the methods and tactics of the Democrats.

My agenda is to demonstrate from current events that Bible prophecy is true, and therefore, so too is the Bible’s promise of redemption to “whosoever will.

Despite the differing agendas, perspectives and areas of expertise, we all end up at more or less the same place – face to face with the spirit of antichrist.  

This morning’s big headline on Drudge was “Pelosi: Wiener Can Stay”.  Beside it was a link to a story under the headline: “Dem Rep’s messages to 17-year-old girl draw police attention”.  

Below that are the stories detailing the deliberate and systematic effort by the same cabal to destroy Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is not, to this point, a declared candidate for any office. She is a private citizen. 

Anthony Weiner, the internet pervert and serial liar who attempted to smear someone else to protect his own sin can stay in Congress, no problem, says the leader of the House Democrats. 

But conservative evangelical Christian Sarah Palin must be destroyed. At all costs.

The State of Alaska just released printouts of all of Sarah Palin’s emails during her tenure as Governor.  The liberal media pounced, sifting through more than twenty-four thousand emails hoping to find some dirt on her.

The New York Times, Washington Post and UK Guardian have even enlisted the public’s help in scouring them for incriminating comments.  So far, they’ve been disappointed – as this reprinted snippet from the Left’s Politico shows – it is a bitter pill to swallow.

“The emails from her governorship released Friday brought back the memory of a long-lost Palin: the popular, charismatic, competent woman of the people.

This was the vice presidential candidate John McCain’s team thought they were getting, before her darker tendencies – defensiveness, thin skin, grudge-keeping – hardened into tics. Together with the newly released, pro-Palin documentary “The Undefeated,” which focuses on her rise to the spotlight, the emails are reminders of a sympathetic figure who was not yet the brittle, divisive caricature Palin has now become.”

See? The emails reveal that there used to be a good Sarah, a reminder of who she was before the caricature of herself that she has become.  In their bitterness, they found a way to invoke scandal while decrying the lack of ‘there’ they found there.

“If critics were hoping to see Palin revealed as a hypocrite, they’re out of luck; her private statements are in line with her public ones when it comes to issues like Troopergate, the ethics scandal in which she was accused of abusing her authority to punish her sister’s ex-husband.”

To fill in the blanks the piece left out, “Troopergate” proved to be a false accusation.  The UK Guardian led its story with the most scandalous bit of email to emerge yet: “Palin asked God for Budget Guidance.

The point is that the emails were released in an effort to destroy Palin. The Far Left media is even asking the public to help find some evidence they can use to assassinate her character.

The goal is to destroy her personally in order to prevent her candidacy.  Their hatred is so palpable, I believe that if they could kill her, they probably would.

Why? First and foremost, because she is a Christian.  Everything else is secondary.

“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”  (1 John 4:3

Getting It

Getting It
Vol: 117 Issue: 10 Friday, June 10, 2011

I cannot recall a time when I ever truly disbelieved in God.  Reaching way back into the dim recesses, I thought of God as my “Big Friend” – I remember talking to Him from my earliest memories. As I grew older, I put God away, but I don’t think I ever doubted He was real.

That doesn’t mean that I was saved back then – far from it. I could never convince myself that God wasn’t real, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try.  I just did what human beings have done since the Fall:

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8)

Adam and Eve believed in God – heck, they used to walk with Him in the cool of the evening, according to the rabbinical sages. And in a sense, so did I. As a boy pretending to “drive” my little red wagon, I was never alone – I always had him to talk to.

When I would be afraid at night, I would talk with Him until I fell asleep. I didn’t know His Name – to me He was just ‘God’ but in my innocence, I walked with Him and He walked with me.  

I don’t know why my earliest memories are so clear; I suspect it is because I lost my mother when I was ten.  Because of that, those memories are the ones I most cherish – they are the ones I pull out most often. 

But many of them as clear to me today as they ever were.  By the time I was ten, I had already followed Adam and Eve’s example of hiding from God, but I remember relying heavily on the knowledge that she was still alive in Heaven forevermore.

I counted on God to take care of her, so it wasn’t as if I didn’t believe He existed.  But I wasn’t saved.  And by then, I needed saving – I was well past the age of accountability, knowing right from wrong and doing wrong, eyes wide open.

I couldn’t face God anymore, so I learned to put Him out of my mind, except in times of danger, when I might invoke His Name – but I really didn’t know Him – that little boy was all grown up.  I put Him on the same mental shelf as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, knowing full well He didn’t belong there.

I’d been educated in a Catholic school and figured that I knew what it took to be saved and it seemed to me to be both way too hard and absolutely no fun.

I had a lot of sinning to do and I really didn’t want Him watching.   

By the time I actually heard the Gospel for the first time, I was about twenty-six and about the only part of the Bible that seem to apply to me was Job 20:11-14:

“His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust. Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth: Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him.”    

There’s more, but you get the idea.  As I said, I knew that God is, but I hid from Him because I had a lot of sinning planned and didn’t want Him to get in the way.   But sin has a way of taking you further than you want to go and keeping you there longer than you wanted to stay.

It starts out sweetness to the mouth, but “the gall of asps” inside.   Full to the brim with asp gall, I heard the Gospel one Wednesday night at a little one room church, but I didn’t go up at the altar call. 

I couldn’t – too much asp gall. But I couldn’t put the message out of my mind the way I usually did.  That night, the enemy overplayed his hand.  I woke up in my bedroom, which was cold as ice.

My breath frosted as I breathed and I sensed a malevolent presence in the room. It was terrifying.  Maybe it was a dream. I don’t know.  But they had given me a little pocket New Testament that night at church which I had put on the nightstand unopened and unread after coming home.

I reached over and as I touched it, I felt a comforting Presence. I put the New Testament under my pillow and went to sleep.  Next morning, when I realized what had happened, I hit my knees and turned my life over to Jesus.

I was right.  It was hard.  But I had met the Enemy that night, and having met the Enemy, I knew whose side I wanted to be on.   Everybody told me about their transformation when they got saved. 

I wanted to be transformed, too!

I quit smoking, drinking and swearing.  I guarded my thoughts 24 hours a day.  I went to church every time the doors were open, hung out only with Christians, studied the Bible and prayed constantly.

It was exhausting!  It lasted for three, maybe four months – a period of ongoing, constant battle — me against myself.   I wanted to be good, but it was just so hard . . .

I was cleaning my car when I found a cigarette under the seat.  I looked at it, was about to toss it, but I lighted it instead. 

Next morning, when I woke up, there were my cigarettes on the nightstand and a half-bottle of Jack Daniels in the kitchen, and memories of the night before that still haunt me to this day.

What in the world happened? I was a saved Christian! How could I have let something like this overtake me? I was ashamed.

I was so ashamed I stopped going to church.  I was too ashamed to read my Bible.  As was my habit, I hid from God and went right back into the lifestyle I lived before I got saved.  

I wanted to be transformed — and so I was. 

Assessment:

Months turned into years and I never cracked a Bible, spent any time in prayer . . . I made new friends,  I lived more or less the same life I had always lived before Christ.  I felt an emptiness, but with a little effort, I could work around the void.

People who knew me peripherally said I was backslidden; those that knew me well concluded that I had never been saved at all.  I sometimes wondered, myself. 

“Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1st Corinthians 1:8)

If turning one’s life and will over to Christ, asking Him to save me from my sins and trusting that He is able to preserve me blameless isn’t enough, then maybe they were right. 

One thing I was sure of, though. If trusting in Jesus wasn’t enough, I was done for. So why even try?

Hebrews 6:6 seems to concur, saying that having been once saved and then fallen away, it is impossible to renew me to repentance. There seems no way to get to anywhere from here.  

I was saved, but fell right back into sin and stayed there for years before the Lord picked me back up and restored me to fellowship. 

Let’s recap. But open up a Bible to Romans Chapter seven and follow along as we do.  I was guiltless, once.  Then I learned the difference between right and wrong and knew I was a sinner.   (Romans 7:9)

Then I heard the Gospel given to men that they might have life and have it more abundantly. I eagerly embraced it, but found it impossible to live up to.  Soon, that which I expected to bring me life, seemed to serve primarily as confirmation of my doom (Romans 7:10

What happened?  I expected to be transformed into a sinless Christian.  My expectations let me down, I felt deceived and it practically killed my Christian witness.  (Romans 7:11

Was that the reason why I suddenly (and seemingly permanently) bolted from the faith?  Was it because Jesus expected me to be transformed into someone holy and righteous and good? (Romans 7:12

Was what is good to others all around me in church made into death for me?   All around me were other happy, fresh-faced Christians – but the harder I tried to be like them, the more miserable it made me until I just threw up my hands in despair.  (Romans 7:13)

I know the Bible says I was transformed spiritually, but I felt just as carnal as I ever was. (Romans 7:14)

For awhile, I just ignored it, because I wanted to be good, but no matter what, I just kept going back to the same old habits.  (Romans 7:15)

It isn’t that I didn’t know I was a sinner before – that’s why I turned my life over to Christ in the first place.  But the sinner part didn’t go away – I knew what I thought I should do, but I just couldn’t find it in myself to do it.

The harder I tried, the bigger I fell. (Romans 7:18-22)

I was in a constant state of war with myself, like the cartoon of the guy with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other – my mind wanting to go one way, with my body going the other.

I was in a truly wretched state! (Romans 19-24) I was trusting in my ability, not in His faithfulness. 

All of us Christians find ourselves in similarly wretched states at one time or another.  Not everybody’s “wretched state” is the same – some of us are bigger gluttons for punishment than others – but we’ve all struggled with our worthiness and the efficacy of our salvation.

If you followed along in Romans you saw that there was nothing about my own Christian struggles that are unique – the Apostle Paul outlined them point by point some twenty centuries before I had them.

I had a totally different column in mind when I sat down this morning, so I can only assume that there is someone in our fellowship that is really struggling with this issue. 

The Lord is a real Person, and as a unique and real Person, His relationship with each of us is unique and personal.  WE are unique – our struggles are not.  It is important to understand the difference. 

You may be where I am now, or you may be where I was where I started, or somewhere in the middle. No matter where you are, you probably feel that you have let God down. I know that is how I felt. 

But one day, I “got” it.  I really was saved by grace through faith, and that not of myself. It was a gift from God. The harder I tried to make it of myself, the worse it got — until I had been practically convinced by well-meaning friends that I had lost my salvation.

And based on where I was at that moment, that’s exactly how it looked to me, too. 

What is the point to all this?  We’re living in the last days.  The world isn’t what it seems and the enemy is moving among us, doing what he can to dis-empower us as preachers of the gospel and thereby prolong his time.

The first place he goes for is a head shot –– if the enemy can convince us we’re lost, then in terms of our military effectiveness in battle, we might as well be. That’s why Paul advises that we wear the ‘helmet of salvation’ before going into battle.

There are trials and tribulations and struggles in this life – and as the hours count down, the enemy attacks are only intensifying.  You may suffer a few setbacks, you may even get knocked out of the battle for a bit. 

You may think you’re worthless, but that is only because you can’t see the whole battlefield.  Know this. The Lord Jesus saved you for a reason.  He isn’t through with you yet.

The battle rages on.  Stand strong. 

Desperate Measures Call For Desperate Times

Desperate Measures Call For Desperate Times
Vol: 117 Issue: 9 Thursday, June 9, 2011

Iran’s underground facility at Fordo was first revealed by President Obama during a joint press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and UK PM Gordon Brown in 2009.

Fordo is an underground facility located near the military facilities that ring Shia’s ‘holy city’ of Qom. Qom is where the well from which the Mahdi is to emerge after a centuries long period of ‘occultation’ at which time he will lead the conquest of the infidel world at the head of a world-wide Islamic army.

The Fordo facility is built into the side of a mountain and is heavily protected by air defense missile batteries and so is all but invulnerable to an air strike.  In fact, it was its defenses that first attracted attention to the site.

President Obama was still feeling pretty cocky in 2009 – flanked by the two world leaders and standing before the global press corps, he gave Tehran two weeks to open the facility to the IAEA for inspection and to report their plans for the site.

If not, Obama warned Ahmadinejad, Iran would face the combined fury of the US/UK/France alliance. Ahmadinejad, who in 2009 was still gauging Obama’s strength as a leader, responded with an invitation for IAEA inspectors to come on down.

A month later, they reported back to headquarters in Vienna that they found nothing incriminating.  Ahmandinejad allowed two more inspections.  The inspectors reported the same results. There were no centrifuges, no nuclear materials, nothing incriminating.

The facility was there, as were the air defenses, but the inspectors were evidently satisfied with Iran’s explanation they were there to protect Qom and the other military sites surrounding it.  

Although there were some suggestions that Tehran may have somehow concealed what was really going on were swirling about, the president was satisfied – in 2009 — that Iran wouldn’t dare risk his ire.  But that was almost three years ago. 

During the Bush administration years, Ahmadinejad would only push the US up to a point before backing down.  Ahmadinejad calculated that the Bush administration didn’t have the domestic support to take him on – but at first, he stayed careful not to push too hard.  

Ahmadinejad has since had three years to watch Obama and has concluded that as long as Obama is in office, Iran has nothing to worry about from either the US or any of its allies.

On Monday, President Ahmadinejad announced that Iran’s nuclear program was proceeding full steam ahead in response to a letter sent him from the IAEA “expressing concerns” about the program. 

“I have said before that Iran’s nuclear train has no brakes and no reverse gear,” he boasted. He also claimed that he had “reliable intelligence” that Washington is trying to sabotage Pakistan’s nuclear facilities to prolong the US’s military presence in the region.

On Tuesday, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had deployed its submarine fleet to the Red Sea where the US Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain.

“Iran’s submarines, which include three long-serving Russian-built vessels and four smaller, home-produced ones delivered to the Iranian navy last year, have, until last month, operated only in the shallow waters of the Arabian Gulf. The Fars news agency quoted an unnamed government official saying the submarines were accompanied into the Red Sea by warships of the Iranian navy’s 14th fleet.”

On Wednesday, Iran’s vice president and atomic chief Fereydoon Abbasi Davani said Iran’s uranium enrichment work would be transferred from Natanz to Fordo this summer.   

The announcement was intended to demonstrate to the folks back home that Ahmadinejad was clever enough to trick Obama as well the IAEA. Secondarily, it was to send a signal to Obama that Iran is tired of his empty threats.

Assessment:

The Obama administration is not going to do anything about Iran except wait until Iran detonates its first nuke, at which time it can claim it can’t do anything about Iran because it is a nuclear power.

In a nutshell, that is what happens when foreign policy is dictated by domestic political partisanship. It is usually what happens when politicians put their own personal fortunes ahead of what is best for the country.   

But Obama seems to be above doing what is best for himself, unless it also works for his agenda. 

Which, in every case where there is a choice, seems to favor the option that is worst for the country even when it doesn’t help him politically.  

  • Have an energy crisis? 
    • Ban all domestic oil exploration, especially in the Gulf.
    • Increase energy taxes
    • Impose crippling environmental restrictions
    • Instruct the EPA not to consider economic impact when formulating government environmental restrictions.
  • Have a jobs crisis? 
    • Increase the number of hiring restrictions on employers.
    • Make hiring more expensive by imposing new minimum standards.
    • Require all employers to either pay a $2000 fine or supply government-mandated health care packages for each new hire.
  • Have a budget deficit crisis?
    • Increase taxes on the domestic operations of international corporations until it becomes cheaper to manufacture elsewhere.
    • Increase taxes on individuals and small businesses until they can’t afford to hire landscapers, plumbers, roofers, impose crippling reporting requirements and curtail returns on private investment.
    • Increase the number of Treasury Bills available and then start buying your own debt.
  •  Having a military crisis as a consequence of attempting to fight a two-front war?
    • Open up a third front in Libya and possibly a fourth front in Yemen.
    • Repeal any and all restrictions on gays serving in the military.
    • Announce a date-certain withdrawal date of all troops to the enemy.
    • Immediately release all intelligence obtained from the raid on bin-Laden to obtain maximum political advantage back home by keeping the administration’s only major success on the front burners at any cost.

I could go on — no doubt so could you.  But that should be enough to make the point.

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll came out this week that indicates than half the country (48%) believes that we are standing on the brink of a second Great Depression and that we will slide over that abyss by this time next year.   

Half the country! Even more amazing to me is the other half (48%) that say they approve of the way he is handling his job.  

(They must be the half that not only still have jobs but have seen massive wage increases – bankers, union members and government workers.)

One of the central themes of the last days – indeed, the one that the antichrist will find the most useful – is the general sense of despair the Bible warns of. 

Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and so forth.

The antichrist, when he arrives on the scene, makes his pitch to a world on the brink of self-destruction, a world desperate for answers, a world facing economic, military and social catastrophes on every side.

But desperate measures call for desperate times, so to speak. Things aren’t quite desperate enough, yet. Obama is here to fix all that. 

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)

When Chickens Come Home to Roost. . .

When Chickens Come Home to Roost. . .
Vol: 117 Issue: 8 Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A report in USA Today opened with the curiously-worded statement that US federal government’s financial condition “deteriorated rapidly” last year. One wonders how much room exists between “rapid deterioration” and “collapse.”

USA Today conducted its own audit of the federal government to see how it matched up with the numbers the government is telling us.  Social spending commitments are called unfunded liabilities and the government doesn’t include them in calculating government debt.

“Corporations would be required to count these new liabilities when they are taken on — and report a big loss to shareholders. Unlike businesses, however, Congress postpones recording spending commitments until it writes a check.”

It is because of similar “congressional bookkeeping” that most of Enron’s top executives either have or will die in federal prison.  But not only does the government “cook the books” they cheerfully admit it. 

Almost every financial news program, when discussing government bookkeeping, presents two sets of numbers; “here’s our debt, and here’s our debt with unfunded liabilities included.”

We hear it so often that I don’t think it registers anymore what is actually being said because we’ve gotten so used to hearing it. 

On this page is our true debt, but over here is a smaller, more soothing number. Look over here. .  . look over here . . . look over here. . .

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!  I am the great and powerful Oz!”

USA Today’s audit of our actual debt is $61.6 trillion dollars.  I needed a figure to contrast that against so you can see it for what it is.  So I looked up the world’s Gross Domestic Product to use as a benchmark. It is $54.5 trillion dollars! 

You know how when you were a kid you used to dream you had all the money in the world?  Well, in a way, your dream has come true – that’s almost how much you’re on the hook for.

The unfunded liabilities part of the debt is Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other entitlements that will soon be upside-down.   That’s because our demographics are upside-down.

“Between 2010 and 2050, Europe’s population will actually decline,” says Carl Haub, senior demographer at the non-profit Population Reference Bureau. “In most developed countries, raising the birth rate is a national priority.”

The worry is less about size than population imbalance: More elderly people who need social support but fewer young people who work and help a nation’s economy thrive.

“That’s the critical issue,” Haub says. “There will be an unprecedented number of people who will be the old old. That’s more people to be cared for but fewer people to fill jobs.”

I read through the article several times looking for an explanation for the population imbalance.  Although they danced all around it, they never even mentioned the most obvious reason why there aren’t enough workers to sustain America’s unfunded liabilities.

The USA is facing a wave of elderly as the oldest of 77 million Baby Boomers turn 65 this year, but a robust birth rate bolstered by high immigration is offsetting the impact.”

The $61.6 trillion in unfunded obligations amounts to $527,000 per household. That’s more than five times what Americans have borrowed for everything else — mortgages, car loans and other debt. It reflects the challenge as the number of retirees soars over the next 20 years and seniors try to collect on those spending promises.

“The (federal) debt only tells us what the government owes to the public. It doesn’t take into account what’s owed to seniors, veterans and retired employees,” says accountant Sheila Weinberg, founder of the Institute for Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-based group that advocates better financial reporting. “Without accurate accounting, we can’t make good decisions.”

Seldom does anybody even try to explore why the numbers are upside down.  In the event anyone does take a stab at it, they blame systemic waste or unanticipated longevity (darned seniors!) or they note (in passing) that there are fewer workers per retiree than was anticipated back in 1933 — but that’s where the explanation trails off. . .

I did some digging and found some statistics that they might find helpful in figuring out cause and effect.  The average American male is 36.8 years old. The average American female is 38.1.  

That’s kind of old, really. In the Middle East and North Africa, the median age is around thirty.

The median age in Islamic countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia is around twenty, in the Catholic countries of Latin America, around 25.  

America is up there with Canada and European countries like the UK, Norway, France, the Ukraine and Russia, all between 36 and 39.

The countries with the oldest average populations include Germany, Japan and Italy.  

Hmmm. Since the median age in the West is the late thirties, let’s set the WayBack Machine to thirty-eight years ago and see if we can find a clue and perhaps nail it.  

This is the year 2011. Minus 38 years equals the year 1973. That would be the place to begin looking.  In 1973. 1973 was the year that the Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

Funny that nobody ever draws a connection between the population imbalance and legalized abortion. 

Well, funny isn’t exactly the right word.

Assessment:

According to statistics furnished by the US National Right to Life between 1973 and 2010 America has aborted at least fifty-two million, eight thousand, six hundred sixty-five potential American workers. 

That is the minimalist estimate – the abortion industry’s ‘second set of books.’ In reporting its statistics, NRL notes that;

“CDC researchers have admitted it probably undercounts the total number of abortions because reporting laws vary from state to state and some abortionists probably do not report or under-report the abortions they perform.”

That is why there are “more people to be cared for and fewer people to fill their jobs” as Captain Obvious over at the Population Reference Bureau helpfully explained to theUSA Today reporter.Abortions by country

Add in the children that they will never have and it is no stretch to conclude that the American population is short about one hundred million workers that should be somewhere between graduating from college and those in their working prime right now.

Note the countries marked in blue on the attached map and compare them to the countries with the oldest average populations listed above.  But the map isn’t a map denoting the oldest populations.  It is a map of those nations where abortion is legal on demand. 

Although unintended, it is also a map of the countries whose economies are the most upside down. (Australia, where abortion is heavily restricted by state, has not coincidentally largely avoided the global financial crisis.)

The arguments favoring abortion are specious. The argument most often used is actually the weakest;  “When does life begin? At what point does a fetus become a human being?”

I am not quite sure which I find the more amazing — that anybody would ask the question or that anybody else would have trouble answering it.

Q. At what point in the gestation process does a fetus become a human being?  A. At that point in the process when it can’t become anything else except a human being.  

See? It’s not even a real question.  It’s just a word game, and not a particularly clever one, at that.

There is no point from the moment of fertilization forward where abortion is not the taking of a human life. I find it no coincidence that the Bible addresses the progressive liberal agenda, point by point, as the seven things God hates the most.  That’s because God is the one ‘thing’ that liberals hate the most.

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

America has too many grandparents and not enough grandchildren.  This is not that complicated. (Not even for liberals — that’s why they avoid the topic like it was a church).

To paraphrase the president’s spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s economic troubles are the direct result of thirty-eight years’ worth of liberal America’s domination of the domestic agenda. America’s chickens have come home to roost.

You can tell from all the guano emanating from Washington.