Posted in ISIS, peace, satan, terror

"All schools shut down in Augusta County, Virginia, over Islam homework", plus goings-on in Missouri

UPDATE: Another unexploded ordnance was found in another National Forest, this time, in Spokane WA. The following is from Spokane News, December 18-

Fairchild Air Force Base main gate, highway 2 briefly closed due to unexploded ordnance brought to base visitor center
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. – At approximately 4 p.m. base security personnel closed the main gate while Washington State Troopers later closed a small section of U.S. Highway 2 outside Fairchild AFB. A cordon was established when a civilian brought a live 60mm mortar round into the base visitor center in an apparent attempt to safely turn the ordnance over to Air Force officials. The 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team safely removed the device from the main gate area and the gate and highway were reopened to traffic at 4:50 p.m. The mortar round was reportedly discovered by a local resident while he was hunting two hours away from base. The incident is currently under investigation.

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News today, excerpt from CNN

When the world geography class at Riverheads High School in Staunton rolled around to the subject of major world religions, homework on Islam asked students to copy religious calligraphy.

It read:

“Here is the shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, written in Arabic. In the space below, try copying it by hand. This should give you an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy.”

The illustrative classical Arabic phrase was the basic statement in Islam. It translated to: “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah.”

When students took it home, it was like a spark hitting a powder keg. … Calls and emails flooded the school. Some of them demanded the teacher be fired for assigning it. … The county school system reacted. It removed the shahada from world religion instruction. “A different, non-religious sample of Arabic calligraphy will be used in the future,” it said.

Of course it was an attempt to indoctrinate students. Of ALL the Quran or Hadiths one could have asked the students to copy “as an example of calligraphy”, the workbook the teacher said she took it from had THAT particular sentence. If we translated this news story into one that said the exact same things but used a Christian example, it would go like this:

Here is the Isaiah 45:5 verse, the Biblical statement of faith, written in Hebrew, and the 1 Timothy 2:5 verse, written in Greek. In the space below, try copying it by hand. This should give you an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy.”

The illustrative classical Hebrew phrase was the basic statement in Christianity. It translated to: “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; and the Greek verse reads, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”

Imagine the outcry. Read the rest of the article linked above for the security part and why the School Administrators felt the need to close all their schools for the day.

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For no particular reason, I’ll post this next graph. It struck me. From Marketwatch:

Just because the news media focuses more on a topic, doesn’t mean it is happening more. But in the case of terrorism, your eyes may not be deceiving you. New research produced by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland has identified a big surge in mass terror attacks. The chart here doesn’t take into account the Paris or Mali terror attacks, or indeed any that have occurred this year. [2015] (There were 11 in the first half of [2015].) The terror group that claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, Islamic State, is also the leading perpetrator of all attacks between 2000 and 2014, accounting for 12% of the total.

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Did you know there are a series of highly suspicious and unusual events occurring in Mid-Missouri?

In and around December 10, 2015 we learned that there was a spate of suspicious bulk cell phone buys in the wee hours of the morning at various Wal-Marts. Some men of Middle Eastern aspect attempted to purchase 20 or 60 or more cell phones at a time. Cell phones of this type make tracing calls very difficult, and cell phones also are used to detonate bombs. The FBI is looking into to it.

Number of reports of mass cell phone buys grows in Missouri

We also learned that week that there was a mysterious spate of propane tank thefts in the same area. In and around December 11, 2015, we read of the thefts.

Dozens of propane tanks stolen from three different Missouri locations

KANSAS CITY, MO – Many are on edge after several law enforcement agencies notified the FBI about bulk purchases of cell phones at Missouri Walmarts. Now, another incident has some worried about terrorism. A large number of propane tanks have been stolen from several locations near Kansas City.  WDAF-TV reports that a BP gas station in Lee’s Summit had 18-20 tanks stolen from outside cages last month. A CVS reported the same crime on the same night. Two weeks later another CVS in Independence was hit and 28 tanks were stolen from that location. 

Then we learn about the man in the woods. The Conservative Tribune reports,

A viral picture of a strange man walking in the woods in Missouri — combined with a number of suspicious cell phone purchases elsewhere in the state — have many believing the two may be connected to a possible terror plot. According to KFVS-TV, residents have described odd encounters with the man, who was caught on a trail cam in Madison County, Missouri.

From what I understand, the area is rural, the entry to the national forest at that location is remote, no car was found, he was not dressed for hiking or camping, and he disappeared. Which is interesting, because of this next news item from, you guessed it, Missouri. This is from October 2015.

Explosives in Mark Twain National Forest created 2 large craters

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. -Pulaski County sheriff’s department investigators are trying to find who left explosives in the Mark Twain National Forest in. A hunter found them early Saturday. More from KY3-

The hunter is an Army combat engineer from Fort Leonard Wood. He recognized his discovery as explosives and immediately reported it to the sheriff’s department. “The first shock went off just like ba-boom! Rocked my house. And then about another 15 seconds later baboom! It was even worse than the first one, rattled the windows and stuff in my house,” said Eugene Davis, who lives near the discovery.

On Missouri 17, south of Waynesville just inside the national forest, there’s a little dirt path used by hunters and campers. In a clearing just a few hundred feet from the highway, a hunter found a box containing a significant amount of explosives. A bomb squad from Fort Wood used a robot and found commercial explosives and decided it could not be moved and had to be detonated there. The sheriff’s office warned neighbors in the area and, about 15 minutes later, two large explosions rattled windows in the area and left two craters each about two feet across. Leaves were blown off trees and the explosion set a small brush fire that was quickly put out by firefighters.

Apparently the explosives are the kind “that cannot be purchased easily.” Officials are not saying if they were homemade bombs or IEDs.

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Next up, we have this stupidity. I mean, really.

We have an adversary. He is the devil, satan, that old dragon. (1 Peter 5:8)
He has schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
He is relentless, for his hatred drives him. This hatred was demonstrated at the time he entered Judas (the only human alive that the Bible records satan himself possessing) all to betray Jesus. (Luke 22:3-6).
He steals, kills, and destroys. (John 10:10)
He knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12) and thus strives to do everything possible to continue his rebellion against God (Isaiah 14:13-154) by attempting to destroy humanity’s relationship with God (remember, humans were created in God’s image. Angels weren’t).

So it should not surprise us that satan is using God’s enemies to work his will of evil and chaos and terror. We love Muslims individually as sinners in need of the Light of salvation. However we’re rightly suspicious of Islamic terror groups who have sworn our national death and are engaged in persistent, confirmed and credible attempts to fulfill their threat. Perhaps God will use the Islamic State as a hammer of judgment against America, as He used the Assyrians and the Egyptians and the Babylonians against the Israelites in their time of punishment for rebellion.

Share the Gospel – it is the only hope for most of the earth’s inhabitants. And be prepared to see acts of terror even more heinous than the ones we have seen since 9/11 and San Bernardino etc. We are not surprised that satan is alive and well and at work. But we have the mind of Christ, His promises through His word, His son’s atoning work and intercession in heaven as our priest, and the Holy Spirit to sustain and energize us in His holy work, even if (when) things get grievous in our nation.

Though the spirit of the age is at war with us Christians, and the pagans of this age war with us Americans, we have peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27).

Posted in jerusalem, news, peace, psalm

Unrest in Jerusalem: a month of terror attacks takes its toll

Pixabay photo

Jerusalem and Israel proper is the location where our Holy God has put His name (2 Chronicles 6:6) and set up His people. (Zechariah 2:12).

As a result, the world hates the holy city. The world hates His people. The world hates the tiny nation. Yet God has said that those who harm Zion touch God Himself. (Zechariah 2:8).

But the God-hating world doesn’t care about what God has said. The sinful world hates Sinless God and ignores His warnings…and touches Israel anyway.

Of late there has been an increase in violence in Jerusalem. Usually when I write about any terror attacks in that holy land it means that the Palestinians are lobbing rockets their way. This time is different. The terror attacks are personal and one-on-one: car rammings and stabbings. Here is a report from Tel Aviv by AFP News

As violence grips Jerusalem and other cities, a climate of suspicion has threatened even the most basic interactions between Jews and Israeli Arabs, not to mention Palestinians. Israeli authorities have long sought to stress the diverse nature of their society, with Israeli Arabs and Jews living together. But while some cities are relatively integrated, on the whole the two communities live parallel existences. Arab Israelis account for some 17.5 percent of Israel’s population. A series of gun, knife and car-ramming attacks against Jews as well as ongoing clashes between security forces and Palestinian protesters has worsened mutual mistrust. In the streets of Jerusalem and other cities, Israelis are frightened by random knife attacks, 

See this live-listing from the IDF blog (Israel Defense Force)

The latest cycle of Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians began on September 14th, and has been ongoing. This violence includes unruly riots, shootings, stabbings, car rammings, hurled IED’s and rock attacks that are taking place throughout the country.
The IDF and its troops continue to work tirelessly with its partners in the Defense Establishment to protect themselves and ensure security for Israel’s civilians, in accordance with government directives. 

Terror attacks by the numbers: 

41 Stabbings
4 Shootings
5 Car Rammings 

For real-time updates, follow our Twitter account:@IDFSpokesperson 

October 23
7:15 A.M. – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack near Gush Etzion. Assailant shot on site.

October 22
8:00 A.M. – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Beit Shemesh. Assailant shot on site. 

October 21
9:00 P.M. – Five IDF soldiers injured in car ramming attack near Bethlehem. Assailant shot on site.
3:30 P.M. – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack near Jerusalem. Assailant shot on site.
6:20 A.M. – Attempted stabbing attack in Israeli community near Nablus. Assailant shot on site. 

October 20
9:50 P.M. – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack in Hebron. Two assailants shot on site.
4:30 P.M. – IDF soldier and Israeli civilian injured in car ramming attack at Gush Etzion Junction. Assailant then attempted to stab the wounded but was shot on site.
11:15 A.M. – IDF officer injured in stabbing attack during violent riot near Hebron. Assailant shot on site. 

And so on…

As Mr Abbas, the Palestinian Authority President commented at the outset of this latest surge of violence.

Mr. Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, said the following on Palestinian television on Sept. 16: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”

CBN posted this a few minutes ago:

Israel Ramps Up Security at Rachel’s Tomb amid Terror Surge

JERUSALEM, Israel — Thousands of Jewish worshippers gathered at Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem Friday and many more are expected throughout the weekend to mark the anniversary of the biblical matriarch’s death. Israeli authorities will deploy hundreds of extra police and security forces to the site in view of the surge in attacks by Palestinian terrorists. The rise in attacks began on the eve of the Jewish New Year and continued throughout the fall holidays and afterward.

As I said at the beginning of this essay, the world hates Israel and Jewish people because God has set His name upon them. So why, if God loves His people as the Bible claims, does the LORD allow terror and evil to befall His people so often, these people who are the apple of His eye? Because of His promises. Not only did He promise them Land, and His presence among them as ruler, and exaltation, and being set apart and dwelling in safety, He also promised punishment if they failed to worship Him as He commanded. Therefore, the LORD is allowing this violence as part of His ongoing promise of punishment of His people for rejecting His Son, Jesus, the promised Messiah, for their rebelliousness and their faithlessness.

This punishment will continue until it reaches its full expression in the Tribulation. The Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7, FMI go here) is about Daniel’s people as it is stated in the Book of Daniel in 9:24.

The Tribulation has nothing to do with the Church. It has everything to do with the pagan world’s rebelliousness in pursuing sin and not God, (Isaiah 24). It will be a time when God will purge the earth of wicked people. It also has everything to do with Israel.

As evil and dark as the Great Tribulation will be, it will also be a time of glorious salvation. (Revelation 7, especially Revelation 7:9). Many will come to redemption, and all Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:26-27, Isaiah 45:17).

We are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. When we pray for that peace, we are really praying for the Lord’s return and the end of all hostilities against His people in His land, forever. The hostilities will continue to occur until that Day, the Day of the LORD.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.” (Psalm 122:6).

We pray for His holy city, for the prosperity of a city whose very name means peace. In so praying we are also praying for the holy Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem. As Gill’s Exposition states of the Psalm 122:6 verse,

for Jerusalem, not merely literally considered; though as that was the metropolis of the nation, and many of them the psalmist addresses were inhabitants of it, it became them to seek and pray for the peace of it, their own peace being concerned in it; see Jeremiah 29:7; but for the spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem, the church of God, and for the peace of it; that Christ, the Man, the Peace, the Peacemaker

The minds of the Jerusalemites are darkened in understanding about Who Jesus is. The minds of the Palestianians are darkened in understanding about who Allah is. Rather than hate them, because they are not our enemies, we love them in their ignorance and pray for deliverance; deliverance of the city, of the Land, of the people.

The LORD will set the Day in which He will protect His people with His own hand. (Ezekiel 38:17-23). At the final battle called Armageddon, human rule is destroyed forever. (Daniel 2:44). Israel

Pray for the peace that will bring war, and pray for the war that will being peace. Love Jerusalem and share our goods with the poor of that most high city.

For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. (Romans 15:26-27).

Posted in peace

Never forget how deeply without hope the lost are

During this current Ebola outbreak, an NBC cameraman contracted the disease.

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)

About two weeks before his diagnosis, Mukpo wrote how he felt about the crisis on Facebook: “man oh man i have seen some bad things in the last two weeks of my life. how unpredictable and fraught with danger life can be. how in some parts of the world, basic levels of help and assistance that we take for granted completely don’t exist for many people. the raw coldness of deprivation and the potential for true darkness that exists in the human experience. i hope that humanity can figure out how we can take care of each other and our world. simple, soft aspiration for all my brothers and sisters on this earth who suffer the elements and the cold. may we all be free, loved, and tended to…”

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 1:13)

Mankind who is without Jesus, grieves. They don’t know why, but they mourn and grieve and have an internal black hole in their heart.

the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)

We see how the world acts and we are troubled by it and we mourn too, but at least we know why it is the way it is. We know why brother is against brother and the love has gone cold. We know that it will end. The lost do not know this, and they cry out in inconsolable darkness, as Mr Mukpo did.

Jesus is the solution for every single problem in the universe. He came

“to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:79)

Peace from this desolate distress the lost feel and must endure. Peace from this endless seeking and stumbling in the dark.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Posted in Coast Guard, futile thinking, jesus, peace, reza baluchi

Coast Guard rescues man in Atlantic Ocean trying to “run” to Bermuda in an inflatable bubble

I’m posting this because I think it’s extremely odd and weirdly amazing. Here is the story:

He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. (Job 9:8)

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COAST GUARD RESCUES MAN FROM HYDRO BUBBLE EAST OF ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA.

The Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber arrives on scene off the coast of Miami to respond to a report of a man aboard an inflatable hydro bubble who was disoriented asking for directions to Bermuda Oct. 1, 2014. The man was later rescued on Oct. 4, 2014, after he activated his personal indicating radio beacon upon suffering from exhaustion. U.S. Coast Guard photo

An MH-60 aircrew with Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater assists a man they medically evacuated east of St. Augustine, Florida, Oct. 4, 2014. The man was rescued after suffering from exhaustion from an inflatable hydro bubble while enroute to Bermuda. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

MIAMI — A man was rescued from his hydro pod bubble 70 nautical miles east of St. Augustine, Florida, by a Coast Guard search-and-rescue crew from Air Station Clearwater Saturday morning.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 7th District command center received a report of Reza Baluchi, a U.S. citizen, floating in an inflatable bubble Wednesday. Baluchi was reportedly disoriented and asking for directions to Bermuda. The Coast Guard Cutter Webber arrived on scene, conveyed the dangers of his voyage and requested Baluchi terminate his trip due to the lack of supplies on board to sustain him.

On board, Baluchi had protein bars, bottled water, a GPS and a satellite phone.

After he refused to leave his vessel, the watchstanders continued to monitor his movements until he activated his Personal Locating Beacon (PLB) Saturday morning. Coast Guard HC-130 airplane and MH-60 helicopter crews out of Air Station Clearwater, Florida, were dispatched to Baluchi’s position along with the Maersk Montana, a vessel registered with the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER).

Once the aircrews arrived on scene, a rescue swimmer from the Jayhawk crew safely hoisted Baluchi from his inflatable raft into the helicopter. The MH-60 crew transported Baluchi to Air Station Clearwater where emergency medical services evaluated him. There were no reports of any injuries.

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The man planned this. He had forethought. He purchased the bubble, bought GPS, bottled water and protein bars. His goal was admirable, wanting to get to the other side. However, his efforts were so far short of the mark that it causes one to both laugh hysterically and mourn his massive inability.

His thinking just wasn’t right. It was very wrong. He woke up one say saying, “I can do this!” But reality showed him he could not.

Kind of like our efforts to overcome sin, without Jesus. Kind of like our plans, no matter how carefully thought out or earnest, will ultimately fail in the face of the utter reality that there exists a great gulf, over which we may not come. Reza’s great gulf was the Atlantic Ocean.

Ours is our sin.

The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile. (Psalm 94:11)

For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. (Ecclesiastes 2:21)

We cannot outrun our sin, we cannot dispense with our sin. It will hinder us in all our efforts to reach the other side. We need someone FROM the other side, holy and perfect, to cauterize our sin from us, burn it out and clean us. The someone of course is Jesus. Bless His holy name.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, (Ephesians 2:14)

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More about the man Reza Baluchi, who is actually quite interesting. He escaped Iran on the bicycling team (after imprisonment and torture, and other hardships. “I was tired of having no freedom.”) Here are a few links to his story. I encourage you to read about him. He has run around the perimeter of the US once and across it twice. He has biked around the world. He planned to run up Everest. He has traveled the world for peace. The bubble was another of his efforts to bring attention to the need for world peace. Again, it is an admirable effort, and I do not believe any layperson has done more in constant and persistent effort in this goal, but it is for naught. One cannot have peace without Jesus. The world needs Jesus. It makes Mr Baluchi’s story doubly sad.

Iranian ‘Running Man’ spreads message of peace (essay)

Run Around The World with Reza Baluchi (2009 video)
I would like to introduce you to one of the most amazing athletes of our time, Reza Baluchi. He has run over 100,000 miles in the past 22 years and last year ran 11,720 miles in 202 days non-stop! He is about to embark upon an epic adventure in September of 2009. He will be the first man to run to every country in the world! Why? Check out http://www.runwithreza.org

Posted in end time, gaza, hamas, ISIS, jerusalem, peace

Quick update on Gaza/Isis

Life in Israel today:

Warning sirens have sounded over 4,000 times in Israel over 45 days of fighting with the Gaza Strip.

Israelis take cover as siren sounds warning
of incoming rockets near the Gaza border. Photo by Reuters. Source

Joel C. Rosenberg writes of the war in Gaza against Israel. (Biography source). This is yesterday’s update.

War with Gaza Day #46, by Joel C. Rosenberg
(Jerusalem, Israel) — The last 48 hours have seen a dramatic surge of violence here in Israel, and horrific atrocities throughout the epicenter. At the moment it is 2:15 in the morning here, the beginning of Day #46.

Here is the latest:

–Hamas and its allies have fired more than 320 rockets at Israel since Tuesday night when it broke its 11th ceasefire agreement.
–This represents one of the largest surges of violence in the past 46 days.
–Why such a ferocious barrage by Hamas? Because the Shin Bet and IDF just scored an enormous intelligence and operational coup — IDF airstrikes killed three very senior Hamas military commanders.

There is much more at the link.

Bomb Fired From Gaza Kills Israeli Child, Netanyahu Vows Tough Response

In new violence, a 4-year-old Israeli boy was killed by Palestinian rocket fire, while four Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, vowed a tough response to the killing. In all, more than 2,000 Palestinians and 68 people on the Israeli side have died.

Source

A four-year-old Israeli boy was killed by a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon. The boy, named late Friday as Daniel Tragerman, was at home with his parents and siblings at Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the Sha’ar Hanegev Region, close to the border with Gaza, when the attack took place.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! (Psalm 122:6)

Why Should we pray for the peace of Jerusalem?

God tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem in Psalm 122:6-9: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’ For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.” From this passage, we see that praying for peace and good to come to God’s holy city benefits those who pray. God promised blessings on those who bless Israel and curses on those who curse her (Genesis 12:3), and since Jerusalem is depicted as the center of Jewish life, it follows that those who pray for her peace and security will be granted peace themselves.

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is most appropriate for a city whose name literally means “peaceful” and which is the residence of the God of peace. The phrase “peace be upon Israel” is found also at the end of Psalm 125:5 and 128:6, indicating that it was a common farewell blessing. Further, Jerusalem will be the scene of Christ’s return (Acts 1:11; Zechariah 14:4), and at that time He will establish permanent peace with its walls. All Christians should be eagerly awaiting His return and praying for the time when the Prince of Peace will reign in Jerusalem.

Jesus also said that we should be peacemakers, which would include praying for peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). And we are commanded to do our best to live at peace with others. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). So, God wants us to seek peace among all people, and that would include praying for peace in Jerusalem, especially because of its special place in His heart.

America is not escaping the terrorists’ notice. While Hamas is busy fighting Israel in Gaza, ISIS has made threats against the US on our soil. Joel Rosenberg again

  • Increasingly, U.S. officials see ISIS preparing to attack Americans directly in the homeland.
  • “ISIS today represents a direct and growing threat to the United States,” reports National Journal.

To conclude, a biblical perspective by Joel Rosenberg,

At the same time, let’s maintain a Biblical perspective on all that’s happening. Bible prophecy warns us that such terrible things are going to happen in the last days before the return of Christ. Indeed, they are signs that the return of Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom is getting closer. Therefore, as we study the Scriptures, let us not lose heart. Rather, let us be motivated to love our neighbors, and love our enemies, and care for the persecuted church in the Middle East and around the world. We may not have the power on our own to stop such evil. But we can help our brothers and sisters to stand firm in the Lord, and be to brave in sharing the Gospel and to show compassion to the helpless, and to be true lights in the darkness.

Posted in Felix, peace, Sunday martyr moment

Sunday Martyr Moment: the Overseer of the church at Rome, Felix

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. According to this summary from Christian Book Summaries,

Writing in the mid-1500s, John Foxe was living in the midst of intense religious persecution at the hands of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. In graphic detail, he offers accounts of Christians being martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ, describing how God gave them extraordinary courage and stamina to endure unthinkable torture.

From the same link, the book’s purpose was fourfold:

  • Showcase the courage of true believers who have willingly taken a stand for Jesus Christ throughout the ages, even if it meant death,
  • Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith,
  • Expose the ruthlessness of religious and political leaders as they sought to suppress those with differing beliefs,
  • Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of the people.

Text from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

We left off with the conclusion of the eighth persecution under Emperor Valerian. Here we begin The Ninth Persecution Under Aurelian, A.D. 274.

From the modern language version of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, it is stated that “Historians know Aurelian as the Roman Emperor who held the barbarians in check beyond the Rhine River and regained Britain, Gaul, Spain, Syria, and Egypt for the Empire. Christans know him as just another barbarian and persecutor of the Church of Jesus Christ.”

The overseer of the church at Rome, Felix, was the first martyr during Aurelian’s reign. Felix was beheaded in AD 274. Agapetus, a young gentleman, who sold his estate, and gave the money to the poor, was seized as a Christian, tortured, and then beheaded at Praeneste, a city within a day’s journey of Rome.

These are the only martyrs left upon record during this reign, as it was soon put to a stop by the emperor’s being murdered by his own domestics, at Byzantium. Aurelian was succeeded by Tacitus, who was followed by Probus, as the latter was by Carus: this emperor being killed by a thunder storm, his sons, Carnious and Numerian, succeeded him, and during all these reigns the Church had peace.
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The Christian rarely has peace on this earth. Even while the Apostles were laying the foundation of the church, spiritual war erupted in the heavenlies and satan sent his minions to lob weapons of false doctrines and false teachers to enter the church and sow tares. Spiritual war is continuous and we are never at real peace.

Though when our church and its doctrines are being attacked in the heavenlies by false prophets, AND we are being attacked in the earthly realm by bodily threats, harm, and death, it is a wonder that the church remains alive at all.

Thank the Lord that He is the Overseer of the Church at Earth and in Heaven! He is powerful enough that the gates of hell will never prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18).

It is only by His power and His Spirit that we have true, inner, spiritual peace, being reconciled to God once again. When Jesus comes in His glory, then all the saints will also have the peace that eludes us on earth, freedom from sin’s effects, and freedom to proclaim His name without persecution. I can’t wait for that day.

Posted in gog magog, hitler, iran, Obama, peace, safety

Drudge evokes Chamberlain’s "Peace for our time"; Obama and precursor to holocaust?

Today’s Drudge web page has a brilliant evocation of the WWII historic moment by Neville Chamberlain.

Obama has returned from Geneva Switzerland claiming to have been a party to brokering a deal to a nuclear deal between Iran and six Western powers. Iran wants nukes, so they can obliterate Israel, and wipe them from the map. (Psalm 83:4). Israel doesn’t want Iran to have nukes because they don’t want to be obliterated. Israel lost and six Western powers signed a pact to allow Iran to effectively continue making nukes. The powers who signed it were the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: U.S., UK, France, Russia and China, plus Germany — and of course Iran. That’s the nutshell.

[Israel leaders Denounce Geneva Accord; The US defends it]

Let’s take a look back through history so we can see the parallels and treacheries of appeasement, and perhaps why Drudge presented us with this picture. I believe we are wading in deep prophetic waters today. Drudge’s deliberate evocation of the dramatic moment of appeasing Hitler prior to the eruption of WWII may indeed be more prescient than he knows:

He named the photo ‘onc.jpg’ which I assume is short for ‘Obama Neville Chamberlain’. Here is the historic photo of Neville Chamberlain, left, which I put next to Drudge’s Obama photo manipulation.

So what does it mean?

In September 1938, Neville Chamberlain was Britain’s Prime Minister. Here is the historical background to the September 1938 Munich Agreement in which Chamberlain famously returned from brokering an agreement with Hitler and said “We have peace for our time.” The following is from War History Online:

——————-begin War History Online——————-

The nation of Czechoslovakia, created in 1919, had amongst its diverse ethnic groups 3.5 million Germans living on the Czech-German border, the Sudetenland. When the Czechoslovakian president, Eduard Benes, visited Hitler in Germany he was subjected to one of Hitler’s harangues about oppression and the Sudeten German’s right to self-determination. Hitler wanted to use the Sudetenland as a pretext to invade Czechoslovakia despite his generals cautioning him against the idea.

From left to right: Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano,
before signing the Munich Agreement, which gave the Sudetenland
to Germany. Wikipedia pic

Czechoslovakia: the “last major problem”

On September 15, 1938, Neville Chamberlain (pictured), Britain’s Prime Minister since May 1937, visited Hitler at his home in Berchtesgaden and listened as Hitler proclaimed that Czechoslovakia was the “last major problem to be solved”. Despite his generals’ advice and nervousness, Hitler threatened war unless the Czech and British governments accepted his demands that the Sudetenland be peacefully incorporated into the Reich.

Chamberlain was not unsympathetic. Like many British politicians before him, he felt that the post-WWI treaty signed at Versailles had been unnecessarily unjust against Germany and the French’s determination to impose the Treaty to the letter overly harsh. Furthermore, a strong Germany, the British felt, would act as a useful buffer against the Soviet Union. Therefore, Chamberlain listened to Hitler and purposefully pursued a policy of appeasement.

When Chamberlain relayed Hitler’s demands to Benes, the Czechoslovakian president knew he had no choice. Neither Britain nor France would come to his rescue, despite their alliances, and his country could not face going to war single-handedly against the might of Germany. Reluctantly, Benes agreed to Hitler’s demands.

Chamberlain returned to Hitler, satisfied that, through his diplomacy, he had averted a war. But Hitler was now demanding more, namely the right to the immediate occupation of the Sudetenland.

Chamberlain was again prepared to accept these new demands but his government was not. A stalemate had been reached. Europe seemed on the brink of war until the unlikely figure of Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, stepped in as mediator and suggested a meeting between himself, Hitler, Chamberlain and the French Prime Minister, Edouard Daladier. The Czechoslovakian government was not invited.

——————-end War History Online——————-

The Zionist leadership in the British Mandate of Palestine wrote in February 1938 that according to “a very reliable private source—one which can be traced back to the highest echelons of the SS leadership,” there was “an intention to carry out a genuine and dramatic pogrom in Germany on a large scale in the near future.” source
Wikipedia notes of Chamberlain’s premature statement,

It is primarily remembered for its ironic value: less than a year after the agreement, following continued aggression from Germany and its invasion of Poland, Europe was plunged into World War II.

The Holocaust Encyclopedia recounts the dramatic days prior to the eruption of war in Europe and Hitler’s abandonment of one agreement and pact after another:

Britain and France essentially acquiesced to Germany’s rearmament (1935-1937), remilitarization of the Rhineland (1936), and annexation of Austria (March 1938). In September 1938, after signing away the Czech border regions, known as the Sudetenland, to Germany at the Munich conference, British and French leaders pressured France’s ally, Czechoslovakia, to yield to Germany’s demand for the incorporation of those regions. Despite Anglo-French guarantees of the integrity of rump Czechoslovakia, the Germans dismembered the Czechoslovak state in March 1939 in violation of the Munich agreement. Britain and France responded by guaranteeing the integrity of the Polish state. Hitler responded by negotiating a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union in the summer of 1939. The German-Soviet Pact of August 1939, which stated that Poland was to be partitioned between the two powers, enabled Germany to attack Poland without the fear of Soviet intervention. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland.”

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
cheerfully greeted by Adolf Hitler
at the beginning of a meeting on 24 Sept 1938,
where Hitler demanded annexation of Czech
border areas without delay

WWII had begun. Appeasing Hitler did not work. The entire world was thrown into one of the worst wars in history and the near genocide of the Jewish population in Germany.

Just as the bible shows us pictures and types of Christs (Jonah, Mt 12:39-40, or Adam, Rom 5:14) the bible also shows us pictures and types of antichrists (Antiochus, for example). If Hitler was also a picture of the antichrist, and the Holocaust was a picture of the genocide to come in the Tribulation, then what parallels do we see today with what is happening between the US, France, Germany, Britain and Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia?

Many.

Let’s start with what we know and work backward. The bible is truth and we know what we know from it because it is the word of God. Iran and Russia et al will attack Israel. (Ezekiel 38:4-6, 8). We know that there will be a final antichrist who will embody sin fully and completely. (2 Thessalonians 2:3). We know he will go after the Jews and Israel in the worst genocide there shall ever be, or will be again. He will also go after the Christians. (Revelation 12:13-17). We know sometime in the future, people will be clamoring for peace but while they are saying it, sudden destruction will come upon them. (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Kind of like Chamberlain saying we have peace for our time and then sudden destruction came anyway.

Did appeasing Hitler work? No. Will appeasing Iran work? No, the bible shows that Iran is a satanic regime hell-bent on world domination on behalf of their Allah, who is satan. Their hatred of Jews and of the nation Israel (and thus their hatred of God) knows no bounds and will not be stopped. The bible shows this. The LORD will use Iran as a judgment on His people Israel and so that the nations will know that God is alive in the world and holy, and is defending His people (Ezekiel 38:16).

The parallels of the Iran appeasement and the Germany appeasement have many similarities. One difference is that the Gog-Magog war will not break out until Israel believes itself secure. (Ezekiel 38:8). However, the convergence of so many prophetic indicators from a variety of prophetic spheres can’t be denied. [Falklands quake largest ever recorded]

Whether this is the moment, or that will be the moment we don’t know. (Matthew 25:13). But the similarities between history’s appeasing one antichrist type who hated Jews and started a holocaust, and today’s appeasing another antichrist type who hates Jews and will start a holocaust, are seen in the dramatic photo that Drudge, either knowingly or unknowingly, presented us today. Read this Wikipedia overview of Hitler’s Third Reich and think of the similarities to the coming Antichrist regime:

Nazi Germany and the Third Reich are common names for Germany during the period from 1933 to 1945, when its government was controlled by Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers’ Party, commonly known as the Nazi Party. Under Hitler’s rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the state. Nazi Germany ceased to exist after the Allied Forces defeated the Wehrmacht in May 1945, thus ending World War II in Europe.

After Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933, the Nazi Party began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate their power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany when the powers and offices of the Chancellery and Presidency were merged. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer (leader) of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitler’s hands, and his word was above all laws.

Keep praying, the Lord our God will propel His events forward until His will is accomplished. But at all moments, He works good on behalf of all those who love Him, no matter the world’s circumstances and events.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.

It is exciting to watch His prophetic word come alive and to think we may be seeing the beginnings of his final prophecies come to pass. It is just as exciting to see His providential outworking in our lives day to day. Either way, and both ways, it’s all good. The Lord our God is Holy, His son is Faithful and His Spirit is ministering to us right now. As Christians we are extremely blessed, because we have the great treasure of Jesus, and we have the opportunity for wisdom in knowing the bible through the Spirit’s illumination. This means we can pray for the people and events that are shaping our world today. And who knows, tomorrow our world may be in heaven.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For further reading

Israeli author: “I think this deal makes an Israeli strike inevitable.”

The Futile Search for a Secular Savior

Understanding Gog and Magog

The Coming Man of Sin, part 1

Posted in encouragement, peace

Jesus left us with the gift of Peace

God is love. God is Justice. God is holiness. God is unwavering. God is mercy. Think of the quality of Jesus as being peace, and offering peace as He left us in person.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Not man-made peace which doesn’t last. That kind of peace is fleeting, as when someone offers you a raise, or pays your debt, or after a refreshing nap, or when a project is completed or a meal is good. That kind of peace is surface, shallow peace.

That kind of peace can be disrupted by mundane and ridiculous things. A car horn, a baby’s cry, a shove in line, traffic, a missed deadline. Peace that is man-made can also be taken away by man.

The peace that Jesus gives us is a permanent peace. It drenches every molecule of us with its truth and comfort. As Charles Spurgeon wrote in his sermon on the John 14:27 verse, titled, Spiritual Peace,

The donation, the blessed legacy which our Lord has here left, is his peace.”… There is a peace of God which reigns in our hearts through Jesus Christ, by which we are bound in closest ties of unity and concord to every other child of God whom we may meet with in our pilgrimage here below.”

Our peace then, is God’s own child, and God-like is its character. His Spirit is its sire, and it is like its Father. It is “my peace,” saith Christ! not man’s peace; but the unruffled, calm, the profound peace of the Eternal Son of God. Oh, if we had but this one thing within our bosoms, this divine peace, a Christian were a glorious thing indeed; and even now kings and mighty men of this world are as nothing when once compared with the Christian; for he wears a jewel in his bosom which all the world could not buy, a jewel fashioned from old eternity and ordained by sovereign grace to be the high boon, the right royal inheritance of the chosen sons of God.

Posted in peace, tribulation, war

Old fashioned wars using the Millo and siege ramps, and future wars using EMP genades and nuclear bombs

I am reading through 1 Kings and in chapter 9 and then chapter 11 and a mysterious thing called “the Millo” is mentioned. Here are two verses which mention the Millo, though certainly not the only verses in the only books of the Old Testament which mention this structure.

“And this is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon drafted to build the house of the Lord and his own house and the Millo and the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer” (1 Kings 9:15)

“And this was the reason why he lifted up his hand against the king. Solomon built the Millo, and closed up the breach of the city of David his father.” (1 Kings 11:27)

Other times the Millo is mentioned (and it is always the Millo) are 2 Samuel 5:9, 1 Chronicles 11:8 and 2 Chronicles 32:5.

The context of the mentions is always in a militaristic context, so the Millo seems to be something like a wall or a fortress, or a defense structure of some kind. It is not THE wall, because the Millo is mentioned separately from the wall in the 1 Kings 9 verse. This article abstract from Biblical Archaeology Society explains:

Scholars’ Corner: Has Jerusalem’s Millo Been Found?
One of the puzzles British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon solved during her Jerusalem excavations of 1961–1967 was the meaning of the untranslatable Biblical word Millo. Or did she? On the steep eastern slope of the city of David (or Ophel), the site of the original city of Jerusalem south of the Temple Mount, Kenyon uncovered tier upon tier of architectural terracing buried beneath an avalanche of stone and debris. Kenyon identified this terracing, which had supported buildings of the city located on the slope, as the Millo of the Bible: “And David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. And David built the city round about from the Millo inward” (2 Samuel 5:9). The Millo is also mentioned in 1 Kings 9:15, 24; 11:27; 1 Chronicles 11:8 and in 2 Chronicles 32:5. Etymologically, Millo is related to a root meaning “filling,” and here there was filling aplenty. Moreover, we know from the Bible that the Millo was located in Jerusalem and had to be repaired from time to time.”

Here is a photo from Jerusalem 101 website which shows the wall Kenyon uncovered which they believe was part of the Millo mentioned in the Old Testament.

source

Interesting, isn’t it?!

I really enjoy the military aspects of the bible. The battle strategies, the terms for weapons and defense. I did a blog essay on bucklers once. You know, the verse where it says “Take up the shield and buckler”? (Psalm 35:2)

The Millo is pretty interesting to me. The siege ramp is also interesting. There is one mentioned in 2 Samuel 20:15, where it is a literal method of attack.

“And all the men who were with Joab came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah. They cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart, and they were battering the wall to throw it down.”

And in Job 19:12, where Job meant it as a metaphorical attack: “His troops come on together; they have cast up their siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent.”

A siege ramp is where the opposing army of the besieged city constructs a huge earthen ramp against which they batter the walls, hoist armaments to lob at the interior of the city and scramble upward and over the walls to penetrate the besieged fortification. My description makes it sound a lot easier to construct and use a siege ramp than it was. Here is a description and illustration from Wikipedia

“In his Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War), Caesar describes how at the Battle of Alesia the Roman legions created two huge fortified walls around the city. The inner circumvallation, 10 miles (16 km), held in Vercingetorix’s forces, while the outer contravallation kept relief from reaching them. The Romans held the ground in between the two walls. The besieged Gauls, facing starvation, eventually surrendered after their relief force met defeat against Caesar’s auxiliary cavalry. The Sicarii Zealots who defended Masada in AD 73 were defeated by the Roman legions who built a ramp 100 m high up to the fortress’s west wall.”

And here is the ramp the Romans built at Masada, again Wikimedia Commons photo

I think about the battles to come in the last days and into the Tribulation. Albert Einstein was often quoted as saying “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Einstein was born in 1879 and died in 1955. He certainly saw a great change in military capabilities within his lifetime. For example, he would have been a young man reading newspaper reports about the Spanish-American war of 1898. Both the regular cavalry and the volunteer cavalry, and Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders used smokeless ammunition. In later battles, national guard and other mobilized militia used black powder Civil War era rifles. That was the big military-technological advance back then.

By the time Einstein died, he had seen men split the atom and use an atomic bomb to end WWII. The first hydrogen bomb test occurred three years before Einstein died. No wonder he was musing about what military & technological advances would be unleashed in the future.

One side-effect of a thermo-nuclear blast is the electro-magnetic pulse emitted along with the regular pulses and shock waves of the blast. Except people are now catching wise to the fact that you don’t need the nuclear part to render your enemy dead in their tracks. You can send any civilization back to the stone age with one pulse over the central part of their land mass and all life as they knew it would come to a dead stop in seconds.

And now people are catching wise to the fact that instead of mass blasts, you can target this EMP specifically to smaller ranges, as in use of an EMP grenade to stop a tank.

Here is an excerpt from a story from 2009 at The Register, a tech publication:

Contradicting previous reports, a US Army electronic-warfare colonel has apparently confirmed the existence of working non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) ordnance – apparently so portable that it is even available in hand-grenade size. The revelation came at a blogger roundtable (press conference) held in order to introduce the US Army’s new electronic-warfare specialist career field.

An electro-pulse will short out any and all electronic circuits within range. This means phones, computers, vehicles, buses, and anything else that relies on an electronic chip. So that means pretty much everything.

I was watching a Discovery program called Future Weapons, about what happens when an EMP blast hits a car. (the link goes to a 3 minute clip showing a small remote-controlled helicopter being hit with an EMP and then a car). I use the term ‘blast’ but you don’t see anything nor hear anything. There is no light, no sound and no blast. Your car just stops. Simple. It doesn’t affect people at all…until you starve to death. Then you’re affected.

So Einstein was pretty much right, in my opinion. The next war could indeed be nuclear and the one after that, back to Stone Age fighting. The descriptions in Zechariah 14:12 seem to indicate the biological effects upon a person who is at ground zero of a nuclear blast. And the bio-hazard clean up described in Ezekiel 39 also seem to indicate that a nuclear war had occurred. The number of dead, also seem to indicate such a technologically advanced battle. The level of mutually assured destruction in the next war may well guarantee that the war after that may very likely be conducted as a Stone Age tribe used to.

So that begs the question of when the bible records the last days battles such as the Gog Magog battle of Ezekiel 38: “army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords” it may be that the Prophet recording God’s words was using language he understood and we understand to this day to describe a sophisticated war using artillery that was out of range of his comprehension. Or it could be a literal recording of such a war being conducted- with actual horses and shields and bucklers and not tanks and rocket launchers and planes.

I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud here. But it does make me wonder if the old time siege ramps and shields and bucklers and horses and swords will be used in the last wars of the Tribulation. Revelation 14:20 records the following-

“And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.”

Blood Flowing from the Great Winepress of God’s Wrath,
Nicolas de Bataille, 14th century Apocalypse Tapestries

The winepress is the winepress of God’s wrath but the blood is very real. The verse is telling the result of the battle at Armageddon when the Lord returns and smites His enemies. 1600 stadia is 20 miles. I wonder why the horse’s bridles is used as a vertical measure here. Goliath was said to be 6 cubits high. Cubits was usually used to measure height, with span or handbreadth for smaller vertical measures. Maybe it’s because actual horses are used at the battle of Armageddon?

With all the talk of Israel and Iran, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the window closing to when Iran will finally have made a bomb (and you know they will use it if they got it), I just wonder if the last technologically advanced war will be happening soon and then those who remain on the earth will be back to using sticks and stones (and the Millo and siege ramps and horses and bows and arrows) as Einstein predicted.

We know that the LORD our God is in charge of it all, and He never loses. He ordains everything and nothing is a surprise to Him.

I am an enlisted soldier in God’s army (2 Timothy 2:3-4). The Preacher said in Ecclesiastes 3:8 that there is “A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.”

As long as sin in in the world, there will be war. But for all those in Jesus, He is the giver of peace. No longer am I at war with God who is Holy, my sin-nature rebelling against His statutes. I am at peace, being reconciled to Jesus my precious savior.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Posted in creation, peace

"Now the Lord himself of peace give you peace always by all means"

The other evening I was standing at the edge of the hayfield, and the blue cornflowers gave a wonderful tinge that mirrored the sky, and the burnt sienna hay tips rustled in the breeze, showing where the wind had been. The birds swooped over the field looking for insects and I thought, how peaceful, how peaceful. This is my life, and it is wonderful.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Sometimes that feeling of incredible peace comes over me, at odd times and apropos of nothing. Does that happen to you? I just want to sink to my knees into a caramel soft feeling of peace that flows through my body and mind and heart and outside around me too. That’s what happened as I stood there looking at the wind.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

I saw the wind where it had been and I did not know where it was going. I do not know where I am going, nor you, and we don’t know what He has in store for us tomorrow, but it will be good.