Thursday, January 31, 2008
The Third Seal--Famine
5 When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come " I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.
6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine."
I'm beginning to wonder what is going on in both the US Economy as well as the Global Economy.
Within the US the stock market has dropped and then bounced up and down in the Month of January. The fed is dropping the interest rate in an unusually aggressive way.
Commodities are becoming more expensive as well. I could go on and on. Please feel free to post any comments, stories, or other facts that point to possible examples of this prophecy coming to pass.
I believe that every event we encounter as humans is to remind us to have faith in the Father for his provision, faith in His Son for our salvation and allow the Holy Spirit to counsel us in how to act and respond. Through all these situations I believe we are to give glory to God for His righteousness and perfect plan to reveal Himself to His creation. Unfortunately in our humanness we don't always listen when things are going well, it is usually in our times of need, even more so in our darkest hours that God is where we turn.
While I don't have it figured out, not even close, it is interesting to watch. I'd like to encourage all believers to be the light in the darkness during these uncertain times. Let's remember and acknowledge that those who are not saved are going to be experiencing some very powerful emotions, mainly fear, as these economic uncertainties continue to play out. Lets seize the opportunity to be a witness for Christ and be ready to share our faith in love and sincerity.
I'll close with this scripture from Mathew;
Salt and Light
13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
To steal a phrase from one of my favorite bands, Third Day....
Keep on Shining!
In His grace, Mike
Friday, January 25, 2008
I came across a couple of interesting articles recently and when read together I think we can get some pretty good insight as to what is going on in the Middle East peace negotiations. The first one was published yesterday and talks about how Javier Solana is frustrated with the fact that both parties are not really acting like they are very serious about peace. Israel has a blockade against the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and Hamas keeps firing rockets at Israel. The message from Solana was obvious, stop with your petty squabbling and get back to work towards fulfilling your commitments you made at Annapolis.
When I first read this yesterday, I wondered if this had any chance of working. Can Solana simply make a few phone calls and make a few interesting quotes to a newspaper reporter and get real results? I know Solana has some serious political clout but, still I was a little more than skeptical.
Then I read another article this morning that answered my question immediately. Both sides have miraculously agreed to comply with the requests of Javier Solana. They then renewed their commitment to the peace process and announced that they hope to have a final peace deal in place before US Presidential elections in November.
What was I thinking?
Solana: Gaza blockade should be eased and Hamas has to stop rocket attacks
Updated: 24/Jan/2008 23:46
BRUSSELS (EJP)---The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana has called "urgently" for the blockade on the Gaza Strip to be eased in order to allow humanitarian aid to reach the Palestinian people.
In a phone conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, Solana said that the EU was deeply concerned at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.
The EU top diplomat also said that Hamas had “to stop the rocket attacks across the border which endanger the lives of innocent civilians in Israel.”
Solana added that the EU would continue to follow the situation in Gaza and on the Gaza border very closely and that he would keep in contact with the Palestinian President as well as other leaders in the region, including the Arabe League Secretary-General, Amr Moussa.
The European Union urged the parties to the Middle East peace talks "to do their utmost to meet the commitments they made at the Annapolis Conference" and "to advance on the path to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that was set out in Annapolis."
Israeli, Palestinian leaders renew commitments to peace
DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and Palestinian leaders reaffirmed here Thursday their commitments to the Annapolis peace process, with Israel urging the Palestinians to do more to rein in extremists, and the Palestinian side demanding easing of closure of the Gaza Strip.
"Both sides are convinced that war is not the choice" Israeli President Shimon Peres told a session at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. "We have got a partner of peace in the Palestinians."
"The majority of the Palestinians are sincerely in favor of peace. We trust them full-heartedly. They are sincerely trying to achieve peace (with Israel) as soon as possible," Peres told the session under the theme of "Mideast: after Annapolis, after Paris" chaired by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the envoy of the Mideast Quartet.
Peres said the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is now on two tracks: to solve the conflict, and negotiate the peace.
Peres said the next 10 months are crucial for the peace talks, adding the hopes of a truce peace are "greater today."
Israel and the Palestinians hope to finalize the peace talks before the U.S. presidential elections in November this year.
The five-day Davos annual event, which opened Wednesday, has provided a good opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to talk face to face.
Participants to Thursday's session also included Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
"We cannot afford a failure, we need success," said Livni.
To achieve peace, both sides must make reconciliation and compromises, she said, adding that two states for two peoples is the only way out for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meanwhile, she urged the PA to rein in extremists who are undermining the peace process, "we cannot afford an extremists' state."
In his turn, Fayyad renewed the PA's commitments to the peace process, saying "we are determined to stay on the course."
While stressing that the Palestinians took seriously Israel's security concerns, he also urged Israel to further ease the closure on the Gaza Strip, where the situation on the ground was "very dangerous." The closure by Israel had led to misery for the Palestinians, he said.
In response to a sustained and intense barrage of rocket fire, Israel blocked Gaza and stopped all shipments except emergency supplies last week.
Experts have warned that the Annapolis peace process could implode if something was not done quickly to address the Gazans' plight.
Tens of thousands of Gazans have rushed into Egypt to search for food and supplies since Hamas militants blew 15 holes in a security fence separating the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Wednesday.
Officials from the United Nations have called for an end to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. The 15-member U.N. Security Council is to meet Thursday to discuss a draft statement urging an end to Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip and to rocket firing into the Jewish state from the strip.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
So, while Jesus is carrying His cross to the hill where he was to be curcified he stops and says the following to a few women who were sobbing over what they were witnessing.....
Luke 22: 28-31
28But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
29"For behold, the days are coming when they will say, '(W)Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'
30"Then they will begin TO (X)SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, 'FALL ON US,' AND TO THE HILLS, 'COVER US.'
31"For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
So, clearly Christ was prophesying about difficult times to come on the earth. His point was that if humans act this way while the Son of God is walking among them and teaching, loving, healing and fulfilling so many prophecies how bad will it be when the Messiah's physically leaves the earth? When I look at prophecy I immediately ask, has this prophecy been fulfilled as of today.
With this specific prophetic word spoken by Christ I have begun to think that maybe it was a condition of the earth Christ was preparing believers for that would start soon after his resurrection and continue until the events of Revelation are complete.
On a personal note I remember being a young adult (early 90's) and hearing people around me question if children should be brought into this world as they were astonished at the evil acts being committed around the world and the general deterioration of society. Well, I chose to have kids and haven't regretted it for one minute. Now, one thing that constantly amazes me is how quickly things are happening in the arena of politics on the world stage. So, how does this prophecy relate to today?
Thursday, January 17, 2008
So it has been about 2 weeks since I finished the Ezekiel Option and my heart is still stirring.
After reading this book I found myself thinking more and more of believers around the world who are being persecuted and oppressed. In October of 2007 I had the privilege to go to Kenya and Tanzania with my Church on a Medical Missions trip. It was an awesome experience that helped this American see a glimpse of how big this world is and how many believers are serving our Lord Jesus in some very challenging situations.
As I imagine you have read or herd, Kenya recently has experienced a chaotic violence where innocent people are being killed, harmed and ran out of their homes as an angry response to a complicated and questionable Presidential Vote. No doubt this just one area of the globe where we see violence, chaos and injustices.
I love Mathew 24 as it is Christ teaching us about how to recognize the "end times" and preparing us for what to expect.
Signs of Christ's Return
6"You will be hearing of (H)wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.
8"(K)But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
10"At that time many will (N)fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.
11"Many (O)false prophets will arise and will mislead many.
12"Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.
13"(P)But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
God is definitely moving in my heart to remember believers around the world in prayer. It is clear we are not to live in fear for these things must take place. My heart leads me to pray for believers around the world that they will be strong in their faith and in their witness to the world.
Monday, January 14, 2008
If you have been following the news this past week then you know President Bush has been in Israel and the Mid-East. He is pushing very hard for Israel and the Palestinians to start serious negotiations towards a comprehensive peace plan. He is pushing both sides towards a peace agreement so it can be reached before he leaves office in January of 2009.
Well, soon after Bush departed Israel this news story that is posted below broke. It appears that discussion over the core issues, which include The Temple Mount, right of return, security and the City of Jerusalem itself are all now being negotiated. Much work still needs to be done, but this news should catch our attention. For it is just more evidence that the return of Christ gets closer every day.
Here is the news story and link.
Negotiations Over 'Core Issues' Begin
by Gil Ronen
(IsraelNN.com) PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced Sunday that Israel and the PA would begin negotiations over the "core issues" of the conflict, including Jerusalem, on Monday. The talks will be held between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and PA negotiator Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala).
Official sources in Jerusalem confirmed the report.
Abbas said the talks would revolve around six issues: "Jerusalem, the settlements, the Palestinian refugees, borders, security and water sources." He added: "If we reach agreement on these issues, you could say we have an agreement."
The announcement places the political spotlight on Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), who has said he would leave the government if the "core issues" come up for discussion between Israel and the PA. Two of Lieberman's faction members, Tourism Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich and MK Yisrael Hasson, have already been quoted as
saying that Yisrael Beiteinu would have to leave the coalition.
Lieberman will meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Monday and request "clarifications" regading the "core issues." Analysts said that if he does not leave the government this week, he may do so if and when a decision is reached to raze the "illegal outpost" of Migron, which Olmert has said he intends to tear down.
Sources Near Olmert: Lieberman Will Stay
Sources close to Prime Minister Olmert, meanwhile, told the press they do not expect Lieberman to bolt the government. "Lieberman has no reason to leave the coalition at this time, because one cannot know how the negotiations will end, and they may well fail," the sources said.
MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) called upon Lieberman and Shas leader Eli Yishai on Sunday to "wake up at the last moment" and leave the coalition immediately.
Erdan said, "This is Lieberman and Yishai's last chance to show leadership, to make good on their promises and to defend the Israeli people from the going-out-of-business sale that Olmert is conducting for the State of Israel, just to prepare the ground for the final report of the Winograd Commission on the failed conduct of the [Second Lebanon] war."
"Lieberman and Yishai will no longer be able to hide behind the euphemism 'core issues' when everyone understands that these are concessions in Jerusalem, the destruction of communities and the return of 'Palestinian refugees,'" Erdan added.
The U.S. Roadmap to Peace, which Israel agreed to use as a blueprint for negotiations, called for a total cessation of terrorism emanating from PA territories prior to discussions about interim or permanent borders for a PA state.
PM Olmert said last week that the Israeli negotiation team would deal with all of the "core issues" and will not hesitate to make decisions that involve "painful compromises."
Saturday, January 12, 2008
So has the 70th week started? Well, the truth of the matter is I don't know for sure, but the evidence that suggests it might have started is quite compelling.
If you're familiar at all with Bible Prophecy then you are aware that there are 70 weeks which have been decreed for the nation of Israel in the book of Daniel. 69 weeks have already occurred and we are waiting for the final week, the 70th week. At the end of the 70th week Christ will return and we will enter the Millennial Reign. Here is a quick reference.
"Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.
"So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
"Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
"And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."
We know from vs 27 that the 70th week will start with the Anti-Christ making a 7 year firm covenant which will include the nation of Israel and the many. Once this agreement is started it will be approximately one week (or 7 years) until Christ returns.
We also know from vs 26 that the Anti-Christ will come from the people of the prince who destroy the city and sanctuary. This occurred in 70AD when the Roman Empire destroyed the Jewish Temple and the City of Jerusalem. So the AC will come from the Revived Roman Empire.
This is where it gets interesting, there is a current 7 year agreement between the EU and the nation of Israel. This agreement also includes many other nations. This agreement is called the European Neighborhood Policy or ENP. You can go to their website here.
This agreement started January 1st, 2007 and lasts for 7 years. It has a midterm review in 2010. The interesting part is that the ENP confirms an already existing agreement. This agreement is called the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership/Barcelona Process also known as Euromed. You can read about it here. http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/euromed/
This agreement was made in 1995 and it did not meet expectations. So, the ENP was drafted to strengthen and refine the Barcelona Process. The interesting part is that both agreements were authored by the same individual. His name is Javier Solana. He is currently the EU High Representative for Common Foreign Security Policy and is the front runner for the new position of Foreign Minister that was created under the Reform Treaty. The Reform Treaty will unite all of Europe under one system of government and truly revive the Roman Empire. You can read about this here. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/16/wbrussels116.xml
This new position of Foreign Minister will start once the Reform Treaty goes into effect on January 1st, 2009. The new position of Foreign Minister will be by far the most powerful position of office in the entire EU.
There is much more evidence to suggest that we may have entered the final week, including the number 666 being associated with Javier Solana multiple times. There is also a current push for peace in the Middle East which began with the kickoff of this process at the Annapolis Peace Conference in December 2007.
So are we in the 70th week? Again I don't know, if we are then a couple of things need to happen between now and the middle of 2010. We know from verse 27 above that in the middle of the 70th week the AC will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering. This means these things first have to begin in order for them to be stopped. We know that the Jewish Temple has not been rebuilt and sacrifices have not begun. Until this happens we are in a state of the unknown. If these things fail to happen all bets are off.
I also think, that by reading other prophetic passages of scripture there appears to be a strong indication there will be a period of false peace before the middle of the week. This is why I am watching the Middle East peace process very closely. President Bush and many of the worlds leaders are pushing for a comprehensive peace agreement buy the beginning of 2009 or before bush leaves office.
So, keep checking this blog as Mike and I will try to keep you updated with all the current news, and keep looking up.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
So, I just finished reading the Ezekiel Option, a fictional book using the prophecies found in Ezekieal 38 and 39 (the Gog Magaog War) as a backdrop to an action/adventure story. I really enjoyed it.
I think my big take away was perspective on all of the Christians living in conditions where they are persecuted.
I loved a section late in the book where the author, Joel, writes about a fictional town that is visited by Angels and the Gospel is presented to them via these visions or interactions with Angels. It definitely opened my mind to all the ways God can use to spread the Good News.
The end was a bit drawn out... I knew what to expect from the standpoint of what God was going to do to the Nations who were staging a war against Israel. To be fair, the earthquake surprised me but as far as tying up the end of the story it seemed to take too long.
Next up is "In His Image", by James Beauseigneur. Maybe if I commit myself to posting updates on my progress I will be more diligent about reading regularly.
Friday, January 4, 2008
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