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Archive for the ‘Perplexity’ Category

from Zero Hedge:

The world’s largest reinsurance firm, Munich Re, has stated that Natural Disasters alone have cost the world $160 billion in 2012.

The US accounted for 67% of those total losses, with Hurricane Sandy proving to be single most expensive disaster of the year, costing around $50 billion in total. Munich Re actually noted that, “had it not been for this exceptional storm, losses would have been very low in 2012.”

Hurricane Sandy is the largest hurricane ever on record, and the second most expensive after Hurricane Katrina.

The second most costly natural disaster was the summer-long drought which blighted the Corn Belt across the US Midwest, causing severe crop damage to the sum of $20 billion.

Torsten Jeworrek, a member of the board for Munich Re, said that “the heavy losses caused by weather-related natural catastrophes in the U.S.A. showed that greater loss-prevention efforts are needed.”

Professor Peter Höppe, Head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research unit, said that, “these two catastrophes clearly demonstrate the type of events we can expect to contend with more often in the future.

With no apparent prospect of progress in international climate negotiations like those held recently in Doha, adaptation to such hazards using suitable protective measures is absolutely essential.”

As high as the global losses were in 2012 they were still less than 2011 when the cost hit as high as $400 billion due to major earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and severe floods in Thailand.

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The belief that God used evolution for creation has so many pitfalls it is hard to know where to begin!

First off if God used evolution for the creation of man, how then could God hold man accountable for acting in a depraved manner?

Secondly it would make a mockery of Jesus sacrifice at the cross! Why would God send his son to die on the cross for mankinds sins, when sinful depravity would have been a natural and intended result of God’s creation?

And it goes on!

from Worldview Weekend:

As we start the new year and consider what the ministry of AiG can do (as God blesses) to reclaim biblical authority in America (and other nations), I think of the biblical compromise that still runs rampant in the church. Here is another example:

BioLogos (an organization set up to try to get the church to adopt evolution and millions of years) recently published what I would argue is one of their most disturbing articles yet. Thomas Burnett, the BioLogos Associate Editor, wrote an article titled, “Surveying George Murphy’s Theology of the Cross.” George Murphy is a theistic evolutionist, a former science professor, and a retired minister. He wrote a book titled The Cosmos in the Light of the Cross, from which Burnett draws some of his claims.

Now, Burnett is very quick to dismiss biblical creationists along with atheists, writing, “The trouble with both of these views is that they tend to invoke a completely abstract, philosophical god, not the living God of the Bible.” Wow! So if I take God at His word in Genesis chapters 1–11, that means I’m not looking to the God of the Bible? That clearly doesn’t make sense-but it fits with Burnett’s compromised view of Genesis.

Burnett’s thesis is that God works in unexpected ways-so why couldn’t God have used evolution? And while that is a tired argument, his analogy is really rather shocking. Burnett writes, “If God Himself is willing to die, particularly in such a gruesome way, then perhaps we should at least consider the possibility of God allowing the death of other creatures, too.”

You see, aside from a brief mention at the beginning of the article, Burnett seems to ignore the reality of sin. And yet, Genesis 3 tells us that it was because of Adam’s sin that death, disease, and suffering entered the world. What’s more, sin is why Christ came to die. Where is sin in Burnett’s worldview? He certainly doesn’t place the weight on it that Scripture does when it comes to the origin of death.

What Burnett has done here is drawn a false analogy to make his claim. The death of Christ is unrelated to the supposed millions of years of animal death and suffering that evolutionists propose. He didn’t die on the Cross to fix His own mistake (creating a world full of death and suffering). Such a thing would be absurd because God cannot make mistakes. No, Christ died to correct the problems we brought into this world at the Fall.

While “the whole creation groans” because of Adam’s sin (Romans 8:22), it’s not logical to equate the death of Christ, which rescues those who believe from the eternal consequences of their sin, with an evolutionary viewpoint that implies God called death, disease, and suffering “very good.” It is completely inconsistent to believe in theistic evolution and the Cross of Christ (though, of course, we at AiG affirm that a belief in a young earth is not necessary for salvation-but it is an important authority issue). Since Christ came to die for our sins, and man’s sin is the origin of death, you cannot use the Cross as an analogy for evolution where animals die and have diseases and eat each other before Adam’s sin. This comparison is not only illogical-it is shocking.

In his final attempt to make a case for evolution and millions of years, Burnett claims, “In all honesty, creation through evolution is not what we would expect from God, but Scripture is full of examples in which God acts in unexpected ways. After all, God’s choosing to undergo an agonizing death on a cross is not what we would expect from the all-powerful Creator of the universe, either. In both cases, new life comes about through pain, suffering, and death” (emphasis mine).

Burnett’s claim minimizes a crucial attribute of the Creator-His justice. While we may not have anticipated Christ’s death, burial, and Resurrection as God’s solution to man’s sin problem, it is absolutely “rational,” even though Burnett says otherwise. Since man sinned against the infinitely holy God, man’s action was infinitely evil, and the punishment must fit the crime-eternal separation from God. The Bible consistently shows that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins (Hebrews 10:4); only the blood of a blameless man, who is the infinite God, could remove sin once and for all. This plan of God flawlessly fulfilled the requirements of His perfect justice.

You see, Burnett’s entire argument is based on the idea that God uses suffering to bring new life. But Burnett completely ignores Genesis chapters 1–3 in his article. He doesn’t deal with the Fall or with how death and suffering entered the world. He assumes that they’ve always been here, that nature has always been “red in tooth and claw.” He doesn’t deal with the Fall because he believes in evolution and rejects the Genesis history as true.

Really, to use Christ’s death on the Cross as justification for evolution is a perversion of the real message of the gospel. Romans 5:12–21 makes it clear-Adam’s sin brought death, suffering, and the Curse into the world, including animal suffering (Romans 8:22; Genesis 3). As descendants of Adam, all mankind has been in rebellion against the Creator-we’ve all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And that’s why Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day to provide the free gift of eternal life for all who believe on His name. This is the real message of the Cross, and it goes completely against the evolutionary concept of millions of years of death and suffering before Adam’s sin.

We cannot pick and choose which parts of Scripture to include or ignore, as Burnett seems to have done in this BioLogos article. Genesis 1–3 explains clearly how death, suffering, and disease came about-and evolution is not a part of that picture. These things make sense when taken in light of all of God’s Word-because we can trust the Bible, from the very first verse.

And here is something that is very sad. So many Christian academics applaud BioLogos and then teach such compromise to their students in Christian colleges and seminaries. Be so very careful where you send you kids to college. I urge you to look at the Christian colleges listed at www.creationcolleges.com.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken

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from Got Questions:

The ancient Mayans, in their “Long Count” calendar, had December 21, 2012, as the end of the calendar. This “end” of the Mayan calendar leads to many different interpretations. Some see it as nothing more than a reset, the beginning of a new cycle. Others see it as the date for the end of the world (or at least some type of universal catastrophe). So, what is the Mayan Long Count calendar, and does it have any relation to the end of the world?

The Mayans developed their own calendar (The Long Count) ca. 355 B.C. They were able to use their observations and mathematical prowess to calculate the future movements of stars across the sky. The result was that the Mayans discovered the effect of the earth’s wobbling as it spins on its axis. This wobbling rotation causes the stars’ movements to drift gradually in the sky (an effect called “precession”) in a 5,125-year cycle. The Mayans also discovered that once every cycle the dark band at the center of the Milky Way (called the “Galactic Equator”) intersects the Elliptical (the plane of the sun’s movement across the sky).

During the year of the intersection, the sun reaches its solstice (a brief moment when the sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer) on December 21 for the Northern Hemisphere and June 21 for the Southern Hemisphere. At that time, the solstice occurs at the same moment of the conjunction of the Galactic Equator with the Milky Way. The year this occurs (in relation to our Gregorian calendar) is A.D. 2012, and happened last on August 11, 3114 B.C. With Mayan mythology teaching that the sun is a god and the Milky Way is the gateway to life and death, the Mayans concluded that this intersection in the past must have been the moment of creation. Mayan hieroglyphs seem to indicate that they believed the next intersection (in 2012) would be some sort of end and a new beginning of a cycle.

All the so-called “Mayan prophecies of 2012” are nothing more than wildly speculative extrapolations, based on the yet-uncertain interpretations by scholars of Mayan hieroglyphs. The truth is that, apart from the astrological convergence, there is little indication that the Mayans prophesied anything specific regarding the events in their distant future. The Mayans were not prophets; they were not even able to predict their own cultural extinction. They were great mathematicians and accomplished sky watchers, but they were also a brutally violent tribal people with a primitive understanding of natural phenomena, subscribing to archaic beliefs and the barbaric practices of blood-letting and human sacrifice. They believed, for example, that the blood of human sacrifices powered the sun and gave it life.

There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that would present December 21, 2012, as the end of the world. The Bible nowhere presents the astronomical phenomena the Mayans pointed to as a sign of the end times. It would seem inconsistent of God to allow the Mayans to discover such an amazing truth while keeping the many Old Testament prophets ignorant of the timing of the events. In summary, there is absolutely no biblical evidence that the 2012 Mayan prophecy should be considered a reliable prediction of doomsday.

Also included in the ancient Mayan prediction that December 21, 2012, would be the end of the world are the following theories: our sun is a god; the sun is powered by the blood of human sacrifice; the creation moment occurred at 3114 B.C. (despite all evidence that it happened much earlier); and the visual alignment of stars has some significance for everyday human life. Like every other false religion, the Mayan religion sought to elevate the creation instead of the Creator Himself. The Bible tells us about such false worshipers: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25), and “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). To accept the Mayan 2012 prophecy is also to deny the clear biblical teaching about the end of the world. Jesus told us, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32).

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I believe this will be the most likely outcome due to the rampant GREED of the Banking Industry and Wall Street. The level of debt in the world today is unprecedented and the only way for the world to crawl out from under this debt load is for governments to take over the printing of money and cancel all private debts.

from The Daily Telegraph:

One could slash private debt by 100pc of GDP, boost growth, stabilize prices, and dethrone bankers all at the same time. It could be done cleanly and painlessly, by legislative command, far more quickly than anybody imagined.

The conjuring trick is to replace our system of private bank-created money — roughly 97pc of the money supply — with state-created money. We return to the historical norm, before Charles II placed control of the money supply in private hands with the English Free Coinage Act of 1666.

Specifically, it means an assault on “fractional reserve banking”. If lenders are forced to put up 100pc reserve backing for deposits, they lose the exorbitant privilege of creating money out of thin air.

The nation regains sovereign control over the money supply. There are no more banks runs, and fewer boom-bust credit cycles. Accounting legerdemain will do the rest. That at least is the argument.

Some readers may already have seen the IMF study, by Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof, which came out in August and has begun to acquire a cult following around the world.

Entitled “The Chicago Plan Revisited“, it revives the scheme first put forward by professors Henry Simons and Irving Fisher in 1936 during the ferment of creative thinking in the late Depression.

Irving Fisher thought credit cycles led to an unhealthy concentration of wealth. He saw it with his own eyes in the early 1930s as creditors foreclosed on destitute farmers, seizing their land or buying it for a pittance at the bottom of the cycle.

The farmers found a way of defending themselves in the end. They muscled together at “one dollar auctions”, buying each other’s property back for almost nothing. Any carpet-bagger who tried to bid higher was beaten to a pulp.

Benes and Kumhof argue that credit-cycle trauma – caused by private money creation – dates deep into history and lies at the root of debt jubilees in the ancient religions of Mesopotian and the Middle East.

Harvest cycles led to systemic defaults thousands of years ago, with forfeiture of collateral, and concentration of wealth in the hands of lenders. These episodes were not just caused by weather, as long thought. They were amplified by the effects of credit.

The Athenian leader Solon implemented the first known Chicago Plan/New Deal in 599 BC to relieve farmers in hock to oligarchs enjoying private coinage. He cancelled debts, restituted lands seized by creditors, set floor-prices for commodities (much like Franklin Roosevelt), and consciously flooded the money supply with state-issued “debt-free” coinage.

The Romans sent a delegation to study Solon’s reforms 150 years later and copied the ideas, setting up their own fiat money system under Lex Aternia in 454 BC.

It is a myth – innocently propagated by the great Adam Smith – that money developed as a commodity-based or gold-linked means of exchange. Gold was always highly valued, but that is another story. Metal-lovers often conflate the two issues.

Anthropological studies show that social fiat currencies began with the dawn of time. The Spartans banned gold coins, replacing them with iron disks of little intrinsic value. The early Romans used bronze tablets. Their worth was entirely determined by law – a doctrine made explicit by Aristotle in his Ethics – like the dollar, the euro, or sterling today.

Some argue that Rome began to lose its solidarity spirit when it allowed an oligarchy to develop a private silver-based coinage during the Punic Wars. Money slipped control of the Senate. You could call it Rome’s shadow banking system. Evidence suggests that it became a machine for elite wealth accumulation.

Unchallenged sovereign or Papal control over currencies persisted through the Middle Ages until England broke the mould in 1666. Benes and Kumhof say this was the start of the boom-bust era.

One might equally say that this opened the way to England’s agricultural revolution in the early 18th Century, the industrial revolution soon after, and the greatest economic and technological leap ever seen. But let us not quibble.

The original authors of the Chicago Plan were responding to the Great Depression. They believed it was possible to prevent the social havoc caused by wild swings from boom to bust, and to do so without crimping economic dynamism.

The benign side-effect of their proposals would be a switch from national debt to national surplus, as if by magic. “Because under the Chicago Plan banks have to borrow reserves from the treasury to fully back liabilities, the government acquires a very large asset vis-à-vis banks. Our analysis finds that the government is left with a much lower, in fact negative, net debt burden.”

The IMF paper says total liabilities of the US financial system – including shadow banking – are about 200pc of GDP. The new reserve rule would create a windfall. This would be used for a “potentially a very large, buy-back of private debt”, perhaps 100pc of GDP.

While Washington would issue much more fiat money, this would not be redeemable. It would be an equity of the commonwealth, not debt.

The key of the Chicago Plan was to separate the “monetary and credit functions” of the banking system. “The quantity of money and the quantity of credit would become completely independent of each other.”

Private lenders would no longer be able to create new deposits “ex nihilo”. New bank credit would have to be financed by retained earnings.

“The control of credit growth would become much more straightforward because banks would no longer be able, as they are today, to generate their own funding, deposits, in the act of lending, an extraordinary privilege that is not enjoyed by any other type of business,” says the IMF paper.

“Rather, banks would become what many erroneously believe them to be today, pure intermediaries that depend on obtaining outside funding before being able to lend.”

The US Federal Reserve would take real control over the money supply for the first time, making it easier to manage inflation. It was precisely for this reason that Milton Friedman called for 100pc reserve backing in 1967. Even the great free marketeer implicitly favoured a clamp-down on private money.

The switch would engender a 10pc boost to long-arm economic output. “None of these benefits come at the expense of diminishing the core useful functions of a private financial system.”

Simons and Fisher were flying blind in the 1930s. They lacked the modern instruments needed to crunch the numbers, so the IMF team has now done it for them — using the `DSGE’ stochastic model now de rigueur in high economics, loved and hated in equal measure.

The finding is startling. Simons and Fisher understated their claims. It is perhaps possible to confront the banking plutocracy head without endangering the economy.

Benes and Kumhof make large claims. They leave me baffled, to be honest. Readers who want the technical details can make their own judgement by studying the text here.

The IMF duo have supporters. Professor Richard Werner from Southampton University – who coined the term quantitative easing (QE) in the 1990s — testified to Britain’s Vickers Commission that a switch to state-money would have major welfare gains. He was backed by the campaign group Positive Money and the New Economics Foundation.

The theory also has strong critics. Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research says banks are in a sense already being forced to increase reserves by EU rules, Basel III rules, and gold-plated variants in the UK. The effect has been to choke lending to the private sector.

He argues that is the chief reason why the world economy remains stuck in near-slump, and why central banks are having to cushion the shock with QE.

“If you enacted this plan, it would devastate bank profits and cause a massive deflationary disaster. There would have to do `QE squared’ to offset it,” he said.

The result would be a huge shift in bank balance sheets from private lending to government securities. This happened during World War Two, but that was the anomalous cost of defeating Fascism.

To do this on a permanent basis in peace-time would be to change in the nature of western capitalism. “People wouldn’t be able to get money from banks. There would be huge damage to the efficiency of the economy,” he said.

Arguably, it would smother freedom and enthrone a Leviathan state. It might be even more irksome in the long run than rule by bankers.

Personally, I am a long way from reaching an conclusion in this extraordinary debate. Let it run, and let us all fight until we flush out the arguments.

One thing is sure. The City of London will have great trouble earning its keep if any variant of the Chicago Plan ever gains wide support.

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An excellent article from The Armoury:

Any young man going into the ministry must understand that he must be prepared to address a flock that is, in this present day, influenced by a pantheon of teachers – many of whom they have never met. By itself, this isn’t a bad thing – especially if those teachers are: a). called of God; b). preaching the Gospel; c). exalting Christ and not themselves; d). upholding the authority of Scripture rather than invented doctrines of their own; e). heralding the priority of the local church; and f). ministering the word with a spirit that is devoid of a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes.

In a perfect world, such an external influence would be…perfect.

However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Pastors aren’t perfect; churches aren’t perfect; published books by men and their publishers aren’t perfect. Thus, we find a constant battle within the church to pursue God’s perfect word amidst all such imperfections. For the pastor of a local church, this battle is, firstly, internal and then it is external. It is internal in the sense that, as a preacher, the pastor must endeavor to seek out the preaching of God’s Word without the pollution of his own opinions and preferences. By itself, this is a strong and continual battle. It is external in the sense that there is a constant influence of teachers whose teaching is not at all helpful, whether wholly or partially. Sometimes those problematic influences are absolutely heretical; in most cases they are problematic on a lesser scale – but it is all part of the battle nonetheless. What intensifies this battle is what I would call the industry of Christian media. By this label I am referring to the exploding industry of Christian video, audio, books, conferences, and web-media – a great deal of which is presented with all of the fanfare of modern marketing techniques and salesmanship. It is this perpetual marketing of Christian media that has created a cultural psyche of  keeping up with the Joneses – but with a Christian twist. However, the rule of life and conduct for the Christian is not to keep up with the Joneses per se. Our benchmark is not horizontally defined, but is defined by Christ and His Word – no matter what the Joneses are doing. In the secular realm you can see whole neighborhoods following such a pattern of conformity. One neighbor buys a 60” flat panel TV – the other neighbors see it, want it, come to conclude that they need itand buy one themselves, whether they can afford it or not. Unfortunately, such choices can be dictated by jealousy or materialism (or both) rather than wisdom.

When Christians make spiritual choices, in this manner of keeping up with the masses, it can be quite dangerous. Doing what one’s friends or neighbors are doing is never a justification for doing anything. In this present culture of retail Christianity, I fear that many are determining orthodoxy by what is deemed as vogue among the masses; but this can never be the means by which we evaluate anything. In the worst of all cases, people can come to feel that without that next popular book, conference, or webinar – their sanctification will somehow be incomplete. Though the retail earnings may be good, a spirit of dependency such as this is dangerous since it diminishes the primacy of Scripture and that of the local church. In writing this, I am not at all suggesting that all books, conferences, videos, webinars etc. are inherently bad. There are many profitable resources out there that can be utilized for the glory of God. However, it must also be pointed out that there are many well-marketed resources that are deeply problematic. What is needed is for the believer to be dedicated to Christ with the nobility of those Bereans who “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily” in order to see if what the Apostle Paul taught was in fact true. It is this attitude which says – “I must measure everything by the standard of God’s Word, not by the standard of my neighbors, social popularity, or any mere man” – that Luke calls: “noble minded.” Had these Bereans simply kept up with the popular thinking of their day, they would have gone the way of the Pharisees.

May it never be.

Finally – as a final application of this encouragement and warning, let me suggest the following (and I offer this, not under the presumption that you are not doing so, but as an encouragement to “excel still more” in these principles): the next time you hear an online sermon, read a book, attend a conference, or watch a webinar – 1). Be sure that you measure the contents of what you have been exposed to by the standards of God’s word, not by the habits and preferences of your friend or neighbors; 2). If you are unsure about what you have studied, go and consult the undershepherds of your local church – men whose lives,ministries, homes, and conduct you can see and experience personally; and 3). Throughout everything, pray without ceasing for the Lord’s guidance and leading, as you sort through it all, knowing that it is the Lord whom we serve – not men. There are many in this world who seek to instruct you – just be on guard for your souls as you listen and learn – knowing that it is Christ whom you serve.

As Christian said to those retailers in Vanity Fair: “We buy the truth.” Prov. 23:23.

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Update: Israel tells Egypt to remove tanks from sinai

from Now the End Begins:

“They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from [being] a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.” Psalm 83

ISMAILIA, Egypt – Egypt is preparing to use aircraft and tanks in Sinai for the first time since the 1973 war with Israel in its offensive against terrorists in the border area, security sources said on Monday.

The plans to step up the operation were being finalized by Egypt’s newly appointed Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he made his first visit to Sinai on Monday following the killing of 16 border guards on Aug.5.

Egypt blamed the attack on Islamist terrorists and the conflict is an early test for President Mohamed Morsy – elected in June following the overthrow last year of Hosni Mubarak – to prove he can rein in terrorists on the border with Israel.

“Al-Sisi will supervise the putting together of final plans to strike terrorist elements using aircraft and mobile rocket launchers for the first time since the beginning of the operation,” an Egyptian security source said.

Another security source said the army was planning to attack and besiege al-Halal mountain in central Sinai, using weapons including tanks, where militants were suspected to be hiding.

Disorder has spread in North Sinai, a region with many guns that has felt neglected by the central government, since the overthrow of Mubarak in a popular uprising. Mubarak’s government had worked closely with Israel to keep the region under control and Islamist President Morsy has promised to restore stability.

The 1979 peace treaty between both countries limited military presence in the desert peninsula though in recent years Israel agreed to allow Egypt to deploy more forces there to stem weapons smuggling by Palestinian gunmen and other crimes.

After the border attack this month, Egypt launched a joint army-police operation that has raided militant hideouts, arrested their members and seized weapons.

Israeli officials, who say they are in regular contact with Cairo, have encouraged Egypt to take tough action against the gunmen responsible for the assault and have previously allowed the use of helicopters in the operation.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killing of the border guards but a Sinai-based Islamist terrorist organization, the Salafi Jihadi Group, warned the Egyptian army last week that the crackdown would force it to fight back. Al-Sisi was appointed defense minister last week in a surprise shake-up by Morsy, replacing Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi who served as Mubarak’s defense minister for 20 years.

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from Got Questions:

When tragedy strikes, it is common for people to ask, “What does this mean?” When we witness some disaster or mass murder, there is a natural feeling that what has happened should not have happened. This innate sense of “wrongness” is a clue to meaning in these events. When we look to find meaning in tragedy, we must have the right perspective. We need to approach the question in a way that allows for a coherent answer, and this is only possible through a Christian worldview. Because God instills meaning into every moment and event in history, through Him we can begin to find meaning in suffering. The nature of this world lends itself to tragic events. Fortunately, God speaks to us, so that we can find not only meaning, but salvation and relief from the sufferings of the world.

When studying physical motion, it is crucial to understand perspective. Speed and acceleration are only meaningful in relation to some other object; this object is the reference point. The way in which the reference point moves affects our perception. The same is true in our sense of right and wrong. For concepts of good, bad, right, wrong, or tragedy to be meaningful, they have to be anchored to a reference point that does not change or move. The only valid reference point for these issues is God. The very fact that we consider a mass murder wrong strongly supports the idea of God as the reference point for our sense of good and evil. Without God, even the events we consider the most tragic are no more meaningful than anything else. We have to understand the nature of this world and our relationship to God in order to draw any meaning  at all from the things we see.

God infuses every moment and every event with meaning and gives us confidence that He understands what we are going through. When Jesus instituted communion, He tied the past, present, and future together. 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup (the present), you proclaim the Lord’s death (the past) until He comes (the future).” God’s knowledge of all events means nothing is insignificant to Him. If God knows when a sparrow falls, He certainly knows when we face tragedy (Matthew 10:29-31). In fact, God assured us that we would face trouble in this world (John 16:33) and that He has experienced our struggles personally (Hebrews 2:14-18; Hebrews 4:15).

While we understand that God has sovereign control over all things, it is important to remember that God is not the source of tragedy. The vast majority of human suffering is caused by sin, all too often the sin of other people. For instance, a mass murder is the fault of the murderer disobeying the moral law of God (Exodus 20:13; Romans 1:18-21). When we look to find meaning in such an event, we have to understand why this world is the way it is. The hardship of this world was originally caused by mankind’s sin (Romans 5:12), which is always a matter of choice (1 Corinthians 10:13). While God is perfectly capable of stopping tragedies before they begin, sometimes He chooses not to. While we may not know why, we do know that He is perfect, just, and holy, and so is His will. Also, the suffering we experience in this world does three things. It leads us to seek God, it develops our spiritual strength, and it increases our desire for heaven (Romans 8:18-25; James 1:2-3; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:7).

In the garden of Eden, God spoke to Adam and communicated in clear and direct ways, not in abstract concepts. God speaks to us today in the same way. In some ways, this is the most important meaning to be found in any tragedy. Tragic events demonstrate much of their meaning in the way we react to them. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” This does not mean that God causes tragedy, but that He uses our reaction to tragedy to speak to us. Tragic events remind us not only that we live in an imperfect and fallen world, but that there is a God who loves us and wants something better for us
than the world has to offer.

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2 Chronicles 7:14 :

if my people, who are called by my name, will 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.

from The End of The American Dream:

Have you ever wondered why things have been going so badly for the United States in recent years?  Our economy is falling apart, we have been plagued with heat, drought and endless natural disasters, our cities are absolutely crumbling, we just keep getting involved in even more wars and Americans are more anxious and more overweight than ever before.  So why are so many bad things happening to America?  Why do we lead the world in so many bad categories?  Why does nothing seem to be going right?  Are we under some kind of a curse?  It is almost as if we have entered a “perfect storm” that just keeps getting worse.  In the old days it would seem like something bad would happen to the United States every once in a while, but now massive problems seem to be hitting us in rapid fire fashion.  At this point, many Americans have “crisis fatigue” because our problems never seem to end.  Each new crisis just seems to overlap with all of the other problems that are still going on.  So why is this happening, and what is our country going to look like if our problems continue to multiply at this rate?

The following are some of the bad things that are happening to America right now….

Heat And Drought 

This summer, thousands of new high temperature records have been set all over the country, and weather conditions are much drier than normal in most of the nation.

In fact, the drought that we are experiencing right now is being called the worst drought in more than 50 years.  More than 1,000 counties in the United States have already been declared to be official disaster areas, and there is no end to the drought in sight.

All over America this drought is killing the corn and this is causing the price of corn to soar.  The following is from a recent Financial Post article….

Chicago Board of Trade corn for December delivery has soared 54% since mid-June, reaching a contract high of US$7.78 on Monday and approaching its record price near US$8.

Soybeans for November delivery soared to a new contract high of US$15.97 before slipping back a few cents.

Crop watchers were alarmed that corn rated poor-to-very poor jumped to 38%, versus 30% last week and 11% a year ago.

The record high for the price of corn is just $7.99 a bushel.  Many believe that the price of corn will soon blow well past that price and could eventually reach $10 a bushel.

Unfortunately, there is not much hope on the horizon.  It is being projected that these very hot and very dry conditions will persist well into August.

Wildfires

The extreme heat has also been responsible for an unusual number of wildfires in the western United States this year.  The recent horrific wildfires in Colorado made headlines all over the nation.

Sadly, these wildfires are part of a rising trend.  The truth is that the 6 worst years for wildfires in the United States ever recorded have all happened since the year 2000.

So what is causing this to happen?

What is causing so much of the country to go up in flames?

Tornadoes

Earlier this year, many areas of the heartland of America were absolutely ripped to shreds by very powerful tornadoes.

More tornadoes happen in the United States than anywhere else in the world, and unfortunately we have seen a tremendous amount of tornado activity in this country in recent years.

In 2009, there were 1146 tornadoes in the United States.

In 2010, there were 1282 tornadoes in the United States.

In 2011, there were 1691 tornadoes in the United States.

Overall, 2011 was the worst year for natural disasters in U.S. history.

So where will 2012 rank when everything is all said and done?

Fukushima

Radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster will be affecting Americans for many years to come.

Most Americans do not think much about Fukushima anymore, but the truth is that Fukushima is still putting out a tremendous amount of radiation, and that radiation travels eastward towards us.

A couple of months ago, one reporter discovered that radiation levels in rain falling on Los Angeles were five times above normal.

But we don’t hear about this in the mainstream media, do we?

One recent study concluded that the highest concentration of Fukushima radiation in the Pacific Ocean will eventually be just off the west coast of the United States.

But our “authorities” tell us that there is no reason to be concerned, so most Americans will continue to ignore the incredible tragedy that continues to unfold at Fukushima.

If you are not sure what to think about what is going on at Fukushima, perhaps the following statistic will get your attention….

Recent tests have shown that 36 percent of all children living in the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan have abnormal growths on their thyroid glands.  After the Chernobyl disaster, less than 2 percent of all children living in the area surrounding Chernobyl were found to have abnormal growths on their thyroid glands.

Economic Collapse

The last recession was the worst economic crisis that America has faced since the Great Depression, and our economy has never even come close to recovering from it.

Now we are on the verge of another global financial meltdown that appears likely to be even worse than the last one.

Peter Schiff, the president of Euro Pacific Capital, says that the U.S. economy is headed for a crisis that will make the recession of 2008 and 2009 look like a walk in the park.

So what is going to happen if the economy goes into the toilet and unemployment skyrockets much higher than it is now?

That is frightening to think about.

Poverty Explosion

Even during this “economic recovery”, poverty in America continues to soar.

For example, since Barack Obama has been president the number of Americans on food stamps has risen from 32 million to 46 million.

Overall, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives benefits from the federal government according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  That is an all-time record high.

The Death Of American Cities

The United States once had dozens of great manufacturing cities that were the envy of the entire globe.

Today, many of those cities have degenerated into crime-ridden, drug infested holes.

Things have gotten so bad in Detroit that thousands of homes are literally being torn down in an effort to “make the city safer”….

As the next step in an April deal between financially strapped Detroit and the state of Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder is finalizing a plan to tear down thousands of abandoned houses in a bid to make the city safer.

Detroit has been hard-hit over the past four decades by a steep drop in population, a steadily eroding tax base and crippling budget deficits, resulting in countless barren streets punctuated by vacant lots and burned-out buildings.

Increase In Crime

Have you noticed that crime is on the rise in many of our communities?

The murder rate in Chicago is up 38 percent so far this year, and justifiable homicide rose by 79 percent in Detroit during 2011.

Criminals are getting bolder and are doing things that we have not seen before.

For example, on Saturday night a mob of 300 teens invaded a Wal-Mart in Jacksonville, Florida and went absolutely wild.  They started stealing stuff, breaking stuff and throwing food at each other without any concern for what the security guards would do.

When have we ever seen stuff like this happen in America before?

America already has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the largest total prison population on the entire planet by a very wide margin.

How many more people do we plan to lock up?

Meanwhile, even many Americans that are not considered to be “criminals” are becoming very cold-hearted.  Just check out what happened in Arlington, Virginia recently.  A video surveillance camera captured footage of numerous people walking right past a man that had just been hit by a car and was dying on the sidewalk.  He was lying face down and bleeding and nobody even went up to him to see if he was okay.

If you were in a similar situation, would you stop to help that man?

Gang Violence

All over America gangs are taking over local communities.

According to the FBI, there are now a total of 1.4 million gang members living in America.  Just since 2009, that number has risen by 40 percent.

To get an idea of how deeply Mexican drug cartels have infiltrated our cities, just check out the maps on this article.

As I wrote about the other day, there are only 200 police officers in Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit to go up against an estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city of Chicago right now.

With numbers such as those, it is easy to see how violence in many of our cities could spiral out of control very, very quickly.

War

The United States continues to get pulled into more wars, and the conflicts that we are already involved in never seem to end.

Just today, 22 NATO supply trucks were destroyed in Afghanistan.  The war in Afghanistan has already lasted much longer than World War II did, and there is no end in sight.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama has gotten the U.S. military involved in conflicts in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and a whole bunch of other places.  The following is from a recent Wired article….

The center of the US drone war has shifted to Yemen, where 23 American strikes have killed an estimated 155 people so far this year. But you wouldn’t know about it — or about the cruise missile attacks, or about the US commando teams in Yemen — by reading the report the White House sent to Congress about US military activities around the globe. Instead, there’s only the blandest acknowledgement of “direct action” in Yemen, “against a limited number of [al-Qaida] operatives and senior leaders.”

The report, issued late Friday, is the first time the United States has publicly, officially acknowledged the operations in Yemen and in nearby Somalia that anyone with internet access could’ve told you about years ago. But the report doesn’t just fail to admit the extent of the shadow war that America is waging in the region. It’s borderline legal — at best. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the president to inform Congress about any armed conflicts America is engaged in. Friday’s report isn’t just uninformative about Yemen. It doesn’t even mention the US campaign in Pakistan, even though the Defense Secretary says America is “at war” there.

So what is next? . . . . . . .

Read the full article here.

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from The American Dream:

Global leaders have tried just about everything that they can think of, but the coming global financial catastrophe continues to march steadily toward us.  We have seen “stimulus packages”, quantitative easing, bond buying, interest rate cuts, emergency economic summits, bailout packages for banks, bailout packages for entire nations, “Operation Twist”, unprecedented government intervention in business and massive amounts of new government debt and yet nothing seems to revive the global economy.  In fact, it looks like we are rapidly heading into the second dip of a “double dip recession”.  Unfortunately, many believe that this next dip will be more like a full-blown depression.  All over the world, top economic experts are warning that we are facing an unprecedented crisis of debt and insolvency that will result in a global financial catastrophe.  The eurozone is drowning in debt, the U.S. government is drowning in debt and major banks all over the globe are drowning in debt.  Global authorities have been trying to patch the system together and keep it going, but the incredible damage that all of this debt has done is now becoming apparent to everyone.  The global debt bubble that has fueled prosperity in the western world for the last several decades is getting ready to burst, and when that happens the chaos that will result will be absolutely horrifying.

The following are 19 warnings about a coming global financial catastrophe….

read the full article here.

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“Convergence” its a buzzword used in the Technology industry to describe how many facets of our lives are moving to or “converging” on the internet, it would shock many people to find out how much of our society is now run and managed via the internet, and not just the obvious. It will not be that long until you will not be able to function in society without the internet, and when that happens it will become very easy to control people and one sure fire way to eliminate you from society will be to flip the “kill switch” on your access to the internet. and then . . . .

Revelation 13:16,17:  “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,  and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

from Bloomberg:

Janne Kytömäki, a Finnish software developer, was cruising Google’s (GOOG) Android Market for smartphone apps last year when he noticed something strange. Dozens of best-selling applications suddenly listed the same wrong publisher. It was as if Stephen King’s name had vanished from the covers of his books, replaced by an unknown author. Kytömäki realized the culprit was a piece of malware that was spreading quickly, and he posted his findings online.

Google responded swiftly. It flipped a little-known kill switch, reaching into more than 250,000 infected Android smartphones and forcibly removing the malicious code. “It was sort of unreal, watching something like that unfold,” says Kytömäki, who makes dice simulator apps. Kill switches are a standard part of most smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Google, Apple (AAPL), and Amazon (AMZN) all have the ability to reach into devices to delete illicit content or edit code without users’ permission. It’s a powerful way to stop threats that spread quickly, but it’s also a privacy and security land mine.

With the rollout of the Windows 8 operating system expected later this year, millions of desktop and laptop PCs will get kill switches for the first time. Microsoft (MSFT) hasn’t spoken publicly about its reasons for including this capability in Windows 8 beyond a cryptic warning that it might be compelled to use it for legal or security reasons. The feature was publicized in a widely cited Computerworld article in December when Microsoft posted the terms of use for its new application store, a feature in Windows 8 that will allow users to download software from a Microsoft-controlled portal. Windows smartphones, like those of its competitors, have included kill switches for several years, though software deletion “is a last resort, and it’s uncommon,” says Todd Biggs, director of product management for Windows Phone Marketplace.

Microsoft declined to answer questions about the kill switch in Windows 8 other than to say it will only be able to remove or change applications downloaded through the new app store. Any software loaded from a flash drive, DVD, or directly from the Web will remain outside Microsoft’s control.

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