Monday, May 20, 2019

Trump vows to ‘end’ Iran if it threatens US again




Trump vows to ‘end’ Iran if it threatens US again

President Trump threatened to destroy Iran in a tweet sent in the wake of reports that a rocket was fired into Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone less than a mile away from the US Embassy.

“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!,” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon.

It’s unclear exactly what promoted Trump’s posting, but news outlets reported explosions in Iraq’s capital and that a rocket launcher was discovered in eastern Baghdad, an area that is home to Iranian-backed Shiite militias.

Roads leading into the Green Zone were briefly closed and no casualties were reported.

Amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran there have been concerns that Iraq, where Iranian forces and about 5,000 American troops are stationed, could become entangled in the standoff.

A Saudi Arabian diplomat said his country doesn’t want to go to war with Iran but but will defend itself after two Saudi oil tankers were targeted by acts of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates last week.

No group has claimed responsibility for the sabotage but US officials in reports signaled that Iran encouraged Iraq-based Iranian militants to carry it out.

Riyadh also accused Tehran of being behind a drone attack on two oil pumping stations in the Kingdom, which Yemen’s Iranian-aligned Houthi group claimed responsibility for.

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that… but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Abel al-Jubeir told reporters.

The top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country’s elite fighting force, echoed the same sentiments through state media on Sunday.

“Iran is not looking for any type of war, but it is fully prepared to defend itself,” said Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami.

Tensions have been heightened between Washington and Tehran after reports said Iran was planning to carry out attacks on American troops and ships in the region.

Earlier this month, the White House sent warships and bombers into the Persian Gulf to counter any threats from Iran and evacuated non-emergency personnel from Iraq.

The US Navy said the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea over the weekend in a show the US military’s “lethality and agility to respond to threat” and to protect US interests.

Trump has employed such bluster before including when he was negotiating with North Korea to ditch its nuclear weapons program.

Responding to reports that North Korea had succeeded in attaching nuclear warheads to ballistic missiles, Trump warned leader Kim Jong-un not to threaten the US.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump told reporters in August 2017. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

With Post wire services

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Rabbi: Earthquake in Israel is Birthpang of Messiah

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 16, 2019 , 1:42 pm

Who removeth the mountains, and they know it not, when He overturneth them in His anger. Who shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.” Job 9:5 (The Israel Bible™)



A minor earthquake in Israel on Wednesday went largely unnoticed, but a rabbi who is an expert in end-of-days clues hidden in numerology re-interpreted the data, noting they indicate a truly earthshaking change is about to be revealed: the birth of the Messiah.

An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter Scale gently shook the country. At around 8:00 pm, the earthquake began, with its epicenter approximately 150 miles off the Mediterranean coast between the northern cities of Haifa and Hadera, according to the Geophysical Institute.

This was the first serious earthquake felt in the Holy Land since January when a 3.6 magnitude tremor was felt in the north of the country. Israel is seismically active, located along the Syrian-African fault line, which runs along the Israel-Jordan border, part of the Great Rift Valley that runs from eastern Lebanon to Mozambique.

Experts estimate that a major earthquake is statistically due to strike Israel every 80-100 years. The last major earthquake to hit the region was in July 1927; with the epicenter in the northern part of the Dead Sea. Several cities were severely damaged and close to 300 people were killed.

In recorded history, the Jordan Valley experienced major earthquakes in the years 746 and 1033. Scientists are more concerned about southern Israel which they estimate gets hit by a significant earthquake greater than magnitude 6 every 500 years, with a wide margin of error. The southern section hasn’t been active since 1212, over 800 years ago.

An article in Haaretz in February gave the following estimates:

“Once every 1,000 years, Israel is shaken by a quake bad enough to leave 70,000 people homeless and could kill several thousand. And once every 2,500 years, we can expect a quake that leaves 200,000 homeless and could kill at least 7,000 people, estimate the statisticians.”

Similarly, a 2016 report by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Home-Front Readiness Subcommittee found that if Israel were to be struck by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, an estimated 7,000 people would be killed, another 8,600 injured and 377,000 left homeless. In addition, the country could face damage of up to NIS 200 billion.

Though clearly traumatic, Massive earthquakes in Israel are prophesied to accompany the multinational Gog and Magog conflict that will signal the end of times.

On that day, when Gog sets foot on the soil of Yisrael—declares Hashem—My raging anger shall flare up.For I have decreed in My indignation and in My blazing wrath: On that day, a terrible earthquake shall befall the land of Yisrael. The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that move on the ground, and every human being on earth shall quake before Me. Mountains shall be overthrown, cliffs shall topple, and every wall shall crumble to the ground. Ezekiel 38:18-20

Rabbi Yekutiel Fish, an expert in Jewish mysticism who blogs in Hebrew under the title ‘Sod Chashmal,’ pointed to several details in yesterday’s quake that indicated it had end-of-days significance.

“The epicenter was almost 250 kilometers off the Israeli coast,” Rabbi Fish said to Breaking Israel News. The rabbi noted that as the Mediterranean tremors continue, they may move out to sea. “This distance hints at the 270 days of gestation before birth. The gematria (Hebrew numerology) of הריון (pregnancy) is 271, the completion of the 270 days of gestation and the beginning of the birth process. It was located off the coast of Hadera, which is Heder (the room) of ‘Yah’ (God). The sages refer to the womb as the ‘room of God.’ The quake measured 4.4 on the Richter scale which is equal to the gematria of ‘dam’ (blood), which is 44.”

Rabbi Fish explained the meaning behind these mystic connections.

“The blood begins when the pregnancy ends and the birth begins,” Rabbi Fish said. “The quake was in the ocean which symbolizes the womb.”

“The earthquake on Wednesday marked the end of the waiting period,” Rabbi Fish said. “It was the official day of the beginning of the birth of the Messiah.”

The rabbi noted that the word for mercy is ‘rachamim,’ derived from the word ‘rechem’ (womb).

“This is the final period in which people can do t’shuvah (repentance, literally ‘return,’”) Rabbi Fish said. After this, there will be no mercy because it is the end of the time in the womb, the time we live in rachamim.”

Rabbi Fish noted nature is the aspect of God reflected in His name ‘Elohim’, which refers to God’s attribute of judgment. Natural catastrophes are to appear in the end-of-days to display this aspect of judgment in order that people will repent and return to God.

“The entire world will be judged before the Moshiach (Messiah),” Rabbi Fish told Breaking Israel News. “Nature will change, be less normal, because God will be guiding it in a more direct manner.”

“This will be especially true during the War of Gog and Magog,” he said. “The war will be unique in that it won’t be simply a war between countries. God will play a major role via nature, through natural disasters.”

Rabbi Fish stated that the natural disasters preceding the Messiah will be universal but Israel will be spared the more destructive aspects.

“Even now, we see hugely catastrophic earthquakes, volcanoes, and hurricanes around the world,” Rabbi Fish said. “Here in Israel, the earthquakes are very mild. That is because Israel has the protection of the tzaddikim (righteous), living and dead, revealed and hidden.”

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Catholic Church is headed for another sex abuse scandal as #NunsToo speak up

Updated February 16, 2019 8.49pm AEDT

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All eyes will turn to Rome between 21-24 February, when senior church clerics across the world meet to discuss how to handle the widening sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Until recently, this has been focused on the abuse of children. But now Pope Francis has admitted – for the first time – sexual abuse by priests against religious women exists and must be acknowledged.

And Catholic women are speaking out, under the #NunsToo hashtag.

Twenty-five years ago, Irish nun, Maura O'Donohue prepared an extensive report for the Vatican on the abuse of nuns internationally by priests. Her report was based on information supplied by priests, doctors and others, and she had been assured records existed for several of the incidents. But the report was covered up.

In late November, influenced by the success of the #MeToo movement, a group of women theologians convened a meeting – called Voices of Faith – in Rome to share their stories of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of male clerics, and decry the patriarchy of the Catholic hierarchy.

Doris Wagner, a German theologian, recalled her terror as a young woman in a mixed-gender religious order. A superior of the order entered her room one night and raped her. She knew if she were to report this, she would be told it was her fault, so she kept quiet. Years later, she did tell her superior, who did exactly as she feared – she blamed her, and asked if she had used contraceptives.

Wagner said she was later groomed by priest Hermann Geissler. He worked in the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Vatican organisation that deals with complaints of child sexual abuse. This led to a series of sexual assaults in the confessional, which she reported.

Geissler was found to have acted inappropriately but was not removed from his job, despite working on child sex abuse cases. He was publicly outed and resigned only after Wagner disclosed the story at the meeting in Rome last year. But the priest who committed the rape is still ordained and living in a religious community with young women.

Wagner also read from a report that estimated up to 30% of Catholic sisters had been sexually abused and many more are at risk of clerical sexual abuse.



In Australia, reports suggest the number of Catholic women abused by priests vastly outnumber the survivors of child sexual abuse uncovered by the royal commission into the issue. These women and men often came from strict religious families, and had little experience of the world or sexual matters.

As this group finds its voice and begins to speak out, the leadership of the Church will face another crisis of legitimacy and round of public inquiries.

It is clear the sexual abuse of women, children and vulnerable adults has been normalised in Catholic clerical culture. Abuse is exercised at every level of ministry, from parish priest to the most senior clerics. Perpetrators are protected and victims silenced. This is aided by a culture of clerical entitlement and opportunity.

The child sex abuse royal commission’s final report provided ample evidence of this. It states:

Few survivors of child sexual abuse that occurred before the 1990s described receiving any formal response from the relevant Catholic Church authority when they reported the abuse. Instead, they were often disbelieved, ignored or punished, and in some cases were further abused.

Recently, a number of international cases have seen very senior Catholic clerics accused of protecting perpetrators of child sexual abuse. A Philadelphia Grand Jury recently found Church leaders protected more than 300 priest perpetrators. Australia’s royal commission also noted:

… the avoidance of public scandal, the maintenance of the reputation of the Catholic Church and loyalty to priests… largely determined the responses of Catholic Church authorities when allegations of child sexual abuse arose… Complaints of child sexual abuse were not reported to police or other civil authorities…

There are also cases of high-level clerical sexual abusers, including serial offender US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is now being defrocked, and Argentian bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with young seminarians. Pope Francis’ response was to remove Zanchetta from Argentina and promote him to a position of power in the Vatican’s finance office.

Francis has not adequately handled a number of crises. This includes last year, when he defended a Chilean bishop who had covered up cases of child sexual abuse. As US feminist theologian Mary Hunt says, “you can’t make this stuff up”.

Little information has been provided about the agenda for the upcoming, so-called “protection of minors in the Church” meeting in late February. But it’s clear there will be no survivors, lay women or men in attendance – just the bishops, senior Vatican officials and Pope Francis.

This is the cohort who has protected priest perpetrators, covered up hundreds of cases, failed to report criminal activity to the police, blamed victims and promoted the guilty to positions of power. It is clear the answers to this catastrophic problem will not come from Church leaders. Instead, it is victims, survivors, lay people and experts in institutional change that need to be leading the dialogue, and enacting change. And one such group may be the Voices of Faith.

This article previously referred to the group “Voices of Faith” as “Voices of Change”. This has now been fixed.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Christ-like figure appears in clouds over Argentina sparking religious frenzy



THIS amateur photographer’s prayers were answered when she snapped this perfectly-timed picture of what appears to be Jesus Christ with his arms out.

Monica Aramayo was in San Salvador de Jujuy in Argentina when she noticed the holy figure shining through the thick clouds.

The picture which has since gone viral also appeared to show “Jesus” wearing a crown.

Social media user Mariela Romano said: “The Lord will soon come for us all and we should be ready.

While another said: “Thanks for the image that allows us to keep on our path and have a better hope for tomorrow.”

But others were not able to see the illusion in the clouds.

The image has since viral and some have compared it to the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil overlooking the city.

Romina Salinas said: “I personally only see the sun coming through the clouds, but people see what they want to see."

It comes after we revealed a bloke from Kent claims to have seen the face of Jesus in his CURTAINS.


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China’s nuclear option of dumping US bonds would cause absolute chaos in global markets – expert

China’s nuclear option of dumping US bonds would cause absolute chaos in global markets – expert

The ongoing tit-for-tat tariff exchange between China and the US could push Beijing to strike back with the so-called ‘nuclear option’ – dumping its vast holdings of US Treasury bonds.
While the move would be partly self-defeating for China, it would also have devastating consequences for global financial markets, Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Institute for China-America Studies in Washington told RT.

“In that case, there would be absolute chaos in global currency markets, and thereafter in global equity markets,” he said, adding that with regards to interest rates “after significant initial volatility, the effects would be somewhat muted.” The concern though is with financial market sentiment, not specifically interest rates, Gupta said.

China currently owns $1.13 trillion in US Treasuries. That’s a fraction of the total $22 trillion in US debt outstanding but 17.7 percent of the various securities held by foreign governments, according to data from the Treasury and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Beijing has been pulling back from its role in the US bond market, having cut holdings nearly four percent over the past 12 months, but it still takes the top spot among America’s foreign creditors.

Gupta said that even if the trade conflict worsens abysmally, he doesn’t think Beijing will completely stop buying US debt. “There are better avenues for retaliation, such as government-juiced consumer boycotts of US goods. Until China fully internationalizes and hardens its currency, it simply cannot walk away from US debt markets… and doing so would be self-damaging,” he said.

Meanwhile, William L. Anderson, a professor from the College of Business at Frostburg State University believes that “if the anti-Chinese rhetoric from the White House continues, then the Chinese would purchase less US debt, at least in the short run.”

He told RT that American consumers would certainly feel the pinch, noting: “We also have seen a serious crash in the US stock market in large part because of this unnecessary and destructive trade war that has its roots in the Donald Trump administration.”

According to Gupta, foreign purchasers of US debt, including China notably, are important players in the market at a time when “US debt as a percentage of GDP is gradually creeping towards triple digits.”

If China partially exits the US bond market, Washington will have to find new buyers for its debt. That will require higher interest rates, which in turn will have negative implications for the US economy, said Gupta, adding however that “one must also maintain perspective.”

He explained that US Treasury markets are deep and liquid, and China’s exit, at a time when interest rates are already near decades-long lows, will only cause a modest spike in rates. “As the primary reserve currency issuer in the international monetary system, the US government will be able to finance its medium-term borrowing needs without significantly hurting the domestic economy. But it would certainly not be painless.”

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War


The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln last week in the Persian Gulf. As a precaution, the Pentagon has moved an aircraft carrier and more naval firepower to the gulf region. Credit Credit U.S. Navy, via Associated Press

By Eric Schmitt and Julian E. Barnes
May 13, 2019

WASHINGTON — At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.

The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. They do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said.

The development reflects the influence of Mr. Bolton, one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.

It is highly uncertain whether Mr. Trump, who has sought to disentangle the United States from Afghanistan and Syria, ultimately would send so many American forces back to the Middle East.

It is also unclear whether the president has been briefed on the number of troops or other details in the plans. On Monday, asked about if he was seeking regime change in Iran, Mr. Trump said: “We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake.”

There are sharp divisions in the administration over how to respond to Iran at a time when tensions are rising about Iran’s nuclear policy and its intentions in the Middle East.

Some senior American officials said the plans, even at a very preliminary stage, show how dangerous the threat from Iran has become. Others, who are urging a diplomatic resolution to the current tensions, said it amounts to a scare tactic to warn Iran against new aggressions.

European allies who met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said that they worry that tensions between Washington and Tehran could boil over, possibly inadvertently.

More than a half-dozen American national security officials who have been briefed on details of the updated plans agreed to discuss them with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity. Spokesmen for Mr. Shanahan and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declined to comment.

The size of the force involved has shocked some who have been briefed on them. The 120,000 troops would approach the size of the American force that invaded Iraq in 2003.

Deploying such a robust air, land and naval force would give Tehran more targets to strike, and potentially more reason to do so, risking entangling the United States in a drawn out conflict. It also would reverse years of retrenching by the American military in the Middle East that began with President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2011.

But two of the American national security officials said Mr. Trump’s announced draw down in December of American forces in Syria, and the diminished naval presence in the region, appear to have emboldened some leaders in Tehran and convinced the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that the United States has no appetite for a fight with Iran.

Several oil tankers were reportedly attacked or sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, raising fears that shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf could become flash points. “It’s going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens,” Mr. Trump said on Monday, asked about the episode.

Emirati officials are investigating the apparent sabotage, and American officials suspect that Iran was involved. Several officials cautioned, however, that there is not yet any definitive evidence linking Iran or its proxies to the reported attacks. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman called it a “regretful incident,” according to a state news agency.

In Brussels, Mr. Pompeo met with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, cosignatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, as well as with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. He did not speak to the media, but the European officials said they had urged restraint upon Washington, fearing accidental escalation that could lead to conflict with Iran.

“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side,” said Jeremy Hunt, the British foreign secretary.

The Iranian government has not threatened violence recently, but last week, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would walk away from parts of the 2015 nuclear deal it reached with world powers. Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement a year ago, but European nations have urged Iran to stick with the deal and ignore Mr. Trump’s provocations.

The high-level review of the Pentagon’s plans was presented during a meeting about broader Iran policy. It was held days after what the Trump administration described, without evidence, as new intelligence indicating that Iran was mobilizing proxy groups in Iraq and Syria to attack American forces.

As a precaution, the Pentagon has moved an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers, a Patriot missile interceptor battery and more naval firepower to the gulf region.

At last week’s meeting, Mr. Shanahan gave an overview of the Pentagon’s planning, then turned to General Dunford to detail various force options, officials said. The uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or months to complete.

Among those attending Thursday’s meeting were Mr. Shanahan; Mr. Bolton; General Dunford; Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director; and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.

“The president has been clear, the United States does not seek military conflict with Iran, and he is open to talks with Iranian leadership,” Garrett Marquis, a National Security Council spokesman, said Monday in an email. “However, Iran’s default option for 40 years has been violence, and we are ready to defend U.S. personnel and interests in the region.”

The reduction of forces in the Middle East in recent years has been propelled by a new focus on China, Russia and a so-called Great Powers competition. The most recent National Defense Strategy — released before Mr. Bolton joined the Trump administration — concluded that while the Middle East remains important, and Iran is a threat to American allies, the United States must do more to ensure a rising China does not upend the world order.

As recently as late April, an American intelligence analysis indicated that Iran had no short-term desire to provoke a conflict. But new intelligence reports, including intercepts, imagery and other information, have since indicated that Iran was building up its proxy forces’ readiness to fight and was preparing them to attack American forces in the region.

The new intelligence reports surfaced on the afternoon of May 3, Mr. Shanahan told Congress last week. On May 5, Mr. Bolton announced the first of new deployments to the Persian Gulf, including bombers and an aircraft carrier.

It is not clear to American intelligence officials what changed Iran’s posture. But intelligence and Defense Department officials said American sanctions have been working better than originally expected, proving far more crippling to the Iranian economy — especially after a clampdown on all oil exports that was announced last month.

Also in April, the State Department designated the Revolutionary Guards a foreign terrorist organization over objections from Pentagon and intelligence officials who feared reprisals from the Iranian military.

While much of the new intelligence appears to have focused on Iran readying its proxy forces, officials said they believed the most likely cause of a conflict will follow a provocative act, or outright attack, by the Revolutionary Guards’ navy. The Guards’ fleet of small boats has a history of approaching American Navy ships at high speed. Revolutionary Guards commanders have precarious control over their ill-disciplined naval forces.

Part of the updated planning appears to focus on what military action the United States might take if Iran resumes its nuclear fuel production, which has been frozen under the 2015 agreement. It would be difficult for the Trump administration to make a case that the United States was under imminent nuclear peril; Iran shipped 97 percent of its fuel out of the country in 2016, and currently does not have enough to make a bomb.

That could change if Iran resumes enriching uranium. But it would take a year or more to build up a significant quantity of material, and longer to fashion it into a weapon. That would allow, at least in theory, plenty of time for the United States to develop a response — like a further cutoff of oil revenues, covert action or military strikes.

The previous version of the Pentagon’s war plan included a classified subset code-named Nitro Zeus, a cyberoperation that called for unplugging Iran’s major cities, it power grid and its military.

The idea was to use cyberweapons to paralyze Iran in the opening hours of any conflict, in hopes that it would obviate the need to drop any bombs or conduct a traditional attack. That plan required extensive presence inside Iran’s networks — called “implants” or “beacons” — that would pave the way for injecting destabilizing malware into Iranian systems.

Two officials said those plans have been constantly updated in recent years.

But even a cyberattack, without dropping bombs, carries significant risk. Iran has built up a major corps of its own, one that successfully attacked financial markets in 2012, a casino in Las Vegas and a range of military targets. American intelligence officials told Congress in January that Iranian hackers are now considered sophisticated operators who are increasingly capable of striking United States targets.

Since Mr. Bolton became national security adviser in April 2018, he has intensified the Trump administration’s policy of isolating and pressuring Iran. The animus against Iran’s leaders dates back at least to his days as an official in the George W. Bush administration. Later, as a private citizen, Mr. Bolton called for military strikes on Iran, as well as regime change.

The newly updated plans were not the first time during the Trump administration that Mr. Bolton has sought military options to strike Iran.

This year, Defense Department and senior American officials said Mr. Bolton sought similar guidance from the Pentagon last year, after Iranian-backed militants fired three mortars or rockets into an empty lot on the grounds of the United States Embassy in Baghdad in September.

In response to Mr. Bolton’s request, which alarmed Jim Mattis, then the defense secretary, the Pentagon offered some general options, including a cross-border airstrike on an Iranian military facility that would have been mostly symbolic.

But Mr. Mattis and other military leaders adamantly opposed retaliation for the Baghdad attack, successfully arguing that it was insignificant.

Edward Wong and David E. Sanger contributed reporting from Washington, and Steven Erlanger from Brussels.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Raise A Hallelujah - Bethel Music



Lyrics:

Verse 1
I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, Heaven comes to fight for me

Chorus
I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive

Verse 2
I raise a hallelujah, with everything inside of me
I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee
I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery
I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me

Bridge
Sing a little louder
In the presence of my enemies
Sing a little louder
Louder than the unbelief
Sing a little louder
My weapon is a melody
Sing a little louder
Heaven comes to fight for me

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Russian Evangelicals Penalized Most Under Anti-Evangelism Law

The tight restrictions on minority faiths have increasingly gotten Protestants in trouble and continue to raise concerns over religious freedom.

KATE SHELLNUTT MAY 07, 2019 9:28 AM

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Following Russia’s ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses, evangelical Protestants have become the most-punished group under the country’s controversial “anti-missionary” laws.

More than half of all cases of alleged violations last year were against evangelicals. Of the 159 individuals and organizations prosecuted for demonstrating their faith in public, 50 were Pentecostals and 39 were Baptists, according to analysis by Forum 18, a news service covering religious freedom issues in Russia and surrounding countries.

So far this year, Russian authorities interrupted a Baptist worship service in April and charged its 71-year-old pastor with illegal missionary activity. In January, two Baptists were punished for discussing their faith at a bus stop.

The 2016 Yarovaya laws ban Russians from inviting outsiders to join their faith, even online or in their own homes, unless they have a government permit through a registered religious organization, and even then they can only evangelize in designated churches and religious sites.

Evangelicals in the former Soviet country say that even as many Christians outside the state-affiliated Russian Orthodox Church heed the restrictions, violators are more likely to face punishment when charged by authorities. The fines start at 5,000 rubles for individuals (~$75) and at least 50,000 rubles ($750) for organizations.

“Believers are afraid to carry the Word of God to the masses, because they fear fines,” Pentecostal Union lawyer Vladimir Ozolin told Forum 18. “As ever, law enforcement agencies assume that any church activity is missionary activity, which is certainly not true.”

For some Protestant Christians, the rules have turned into a no-win situation: Even displaying the full name of their organization to comply with one provision of the law has been interpreted as a violation of another. Last year, a Baptist pastor in the Perm region was found guilty for hanging a sign reading, “House of Prayer of the International Council of Churches of Evangelical Christian-Baptists, worship service every Sunday from 10am,” Forum 18 wrote.

“The placement … suggests that [the defendant] carries out missionary activity aimed at disseminating information about the beliefs of [the church] among other persons who are not members,” the verdict concluded. (The vast majority of Protestant congregations worship on property designated for residential use since laws restrict churches’ ability to lease or buy land for themselves.)

Russia ended up issuing a clarifying ruling last March after churches were being penalized for distributing basic information to their own flocks. The Constitutional Court decided that notices about services, ceremonies, or events only violate the anti-missionary laws if they indicate missionary activity will be a “defining feature” of the gathering.

But evangelicals still haven’t been able to avoid the penalties. Last month, authorities appeared in the middle of a Sunday worship service near Novorossiisk, along the coast of the Black Sea. According to reports, the choir stopped singing “Jesus Is My Lighthouse” as the pastor, Yury Korniyenko, disputed with officials. Two days later, he received a summons alleging illegal missionary activity.

Yevgeny Kokora, an elder in the 50-person congregation, told Radio Free Europe that they had started receiving weekly calls from investigators demanding summaries of Korniyenko’s sermons and reports of attendance. Meanwhile, their neighbors in Novorossiisk also suffered under the recent crackdown. In March, authorities tore down an “unauthorized” Pentecostal meeting house, banned the Seventh-day Adventists gathering, and deported two Mormon missionaries back to the US.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) annual report, released last week, also called out Russia’s continued violations, writing, “Religious and other communities can be financially blacklisted or liquidated, and individuals can be subjected to criminal prosecution for social media posts that are arbitrarily determined to offend the religious sensibilities of others.”

Russia made its way onto the USCIRF list for the first time in 2017, largely due to the evangelism restrictions enacted the year before.

US ambassador to Russia John Huntsman referred to the state of religious freedom in Russia as “very difficult and very troubling.”

“We’re not only seeing religious organizations shut down, we’re seeing individual members punished for their religious beliefs, which goes against everything we in the United States and a whole lot of other countries in this world stand for,” he said in a recent interview.

Earlier in the year in Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, a pair of Baptists were punished for sharing Christian materials at a bus stop. Sergei Roshchin and Valery Turkin were charged in January for not having authorization from a religious group to conduct missionary activity, but they insisted that they were merely sharing their personal beliefs. Their case failed in court and on appeal, with the judge ruling that they had invited others to a service.

According to Forum 18, Russia is increasingly prosecuting individuals for not having religious authorization, even if they do belong to an official religious group to begin with. “This is a particular problem for both independent Baptists and Council of Churches Baptists. The latter refuse on principle to seek any kind of state registration,” the site reported.

Overall, more than 56 organizations and 103 individuals were prosecuted for violations of Russia’s anti-missionary laws last year, fewer than the year before only because Jehovah’s Witnesses had been banned as an “extremist group” and are no longer publicly active in the country.

May
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Friday, May 10, 2019

Japan earthquake: Scientists warn of an IMMINENT megaquake to strike Hokkaido

JAPAN’S second-largest island is seeing terrifying levels of seismological activity identical to those monitored before the devastating 2011 earthquake struck which claimed 18,000 lives, an expert on tsunamis has warned.

By ALICE SCARSI
PUBLISHED: 13:48, Thu, May 9, 2019 | UPDATED: 14:01, Thu, May 9, 2019

japan earthquake news hokkaido earthquake 2011 tohoku earthquake fukushima

A megaquake in the eastern side of Hokkaido island is overdue and could strike at any time, a series of studies have shown. Masanobu Shishikura, an expert on so-called tsunami deposits who heads a group of researchers at the Government-affiliated National Institute of Advanced Industrial Service and Technology, said: “Eastern Hokkaido is in a situation resembling the Tohoku region before the Great East Japan Earthquake. We should be fully prepared.” The Great East Japan Earthquake is the name Japanese people often use to refer to the earthquake which struck off the Pacific coast of Tohoku in 2011, killing approximately 18,000 people.

The tsunami which followed the quake also triggered the failure of the cooling system at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which raised the radiation inside the plants to up to 1,000 times normal levels and the ones outside the plant to up to 8 times normal levels.

Mr Shushikura’s warning comes after experts in the country gathered data indicating a powerful earthquake could happen soon near Hokkaido.

Japan’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion, an expert panel within the science ministry, noted in December 2017 the Kuril Trench was experiencing a series of activities similar to the one seen in 2011.

The trench is a topographic depression of the sea floor running northeast of Hokkaido to the south of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia.

Experts have cited movements of the earth’s crust on the coast of Hokkaido among the signs that the next big earthquake is on the way.

Scientists say this signals a high likelihood of a magnitude 8.8 or larger earthquake striking in the near future.

The last big tremor in the area struck in the first half of the 17th century.

The average interval between megaquakes has been estimated to be between 340 and 380 years, according to a study of tsunami deposits - making the trench overdue for a huge quake.

The central Government’s Central Disaster Management Council is now reviewing its projected damage assessments for powerful earthquakes along the Kuril Trench and the Japan Trench to the south.

The Hokkaido local Government will then be expected to update its anti-disaster measures according to the actions taken by the Council.

Kazuro Hirahara, professor emeritus at Kyoto University, said that while it’s still very difficult to know when and if an unusually big earthquake will strike, it is much better for experts to voice their worries to allow people and Governments taking actions before it’s too late.

japan earthquake news hokkaido earthquake 2011 tohoku earthquake fukushima

He said: “We should convey to the public our sense of alarm.”

Ritsuko Matsuura, who heads the analysis division of the public-interest entity Association for the Development of Earthquake Prediction, expressed a similar opinion during a meeting of the Government’s Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction.

She said: “You should go as far as possible to do thorough research.

“You cannot say that you have actually identified signs only after the event occurs.” 


Express
The Daily Express is a daily national middle-market tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom. It is the flagship of Express Newspapers, a subsidiary of Northern & Shell. It was first published as a broadsheet in 1900 by Sir Arthur Pearson. Its sister paper, the Sunday Express, was launched in 1918.


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Vatican Will Open Secret Archives of Nazi-Era Pope Accused of Ignoring Holocaust

03-05-2019 Emily Jones

Pope Pius XII on balcony at St Peter's Basilica in April 1955 (AP video screenshot)
Pope Pius XII on balcony at St Peter's Basilica in April 1955 (AP video screenshot)

Pope Francis announced on Monday that he will open up the Vatican archives on Pope Pius XII, a World-War-II-era pope who has been criticized for allegedly staying silent while the Nazi's executed millions of Jews.

Declaring that "the church isn't afraid of history," Francis said Pope Pius' records will be open to researchers beginning March 2, 2020. The Vatican usually waits 70 years after a pope dies to open up their archives, but the church has been under pressure to open Pius' while Holocaust survivors are still alive.

Francis defended Pius' legacy, saying it has been treated with "some prejudice and exaggeration" but also included "moments of grave difficulties, tormented decisions of human and Christian prudence, that to some could appear as reticence."

Jewish groups have been calling for full access to the archives for decades and welcomed the move.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem supported the decision to open the archives and said it expects "researchers will be granted full access to all the documents stored in the archives."

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) also commended the decision.

"It is particularly important that experts from the leading Holocaust memorial institutes in Israel and the US objectively evaluate as best as possible the historical record of that most terrible of times, to acknowledge both the failures as well as the valiant efforts made during the period of the Shoah [Holocaust] ," said Rabbi David Rosen, the AJC's International Director of Interreligious Affairs.

The Rabbi also called Francis' decision "enormously important to Catholic-Jewish relations."

Israel's ministry of foreign affairs expressed hope that the Vatican would truly grant "free access to all relevant archives."

The opening of the archives is interpreted as part of the effort to decide if Pius should be declared a saint, a decision that is undoubtedly controversial.

His critics accuse him of not doing enough to combat the Nazi regime. Pius did not publicly speak out against the deportation of Roman Jews to Auschwitz and did not sign a declaration in December 1942 condemning Nazi Germany’s murder of European Jews.

Pius' defenders argue that some convents and other religious institutes in Italy hid Jews from the Nazis.

Many hope the opening of Pius' archives will settle the debate on his Legacy.

Monsignor Sergio Pagano, who is in charge of the Vatican Secret Archive, said on Monday that thousands of files, letters, and other material will be made available.

Pagano wrote in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano Monday that the archives "spoke, speak, and, I hope, will speak to researchers and to historians of an almost superhuman work of Christian humanism" amid mid-20th-century events "that seemed determine to annihilate the very notion of human civilization."

Pope Rejects 'Excessive Demand for Sovereignty', Pushes Idea of Global Authority

05-06-2019 Benjamin Gill and Steve Warren

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Pope Francis is pushing for steps toward global authority that supersedes the rights of individual countries, all with the goal of pursuing "the common good" on issues like climate change and immigration.

"When a supranational common good is clearly identified, it is necessary to have a special authority legally and concordantly constituted capable of facilitating its implementation. We think of the great contemporary challenges of climate change, new forms of slavery and peace," he told members of the Pontifical Academy.

They met last week at the Vatican to discuss the topic of: "Nation, State, Nation-State."

While addressing the conference, Francis rebuked the trend of nationalism among individual countries and the many tensions that "come from an excessive demand for sovereignty on the part of States."

However, the pope defended patriotism as a good thing. But he warned it can become perverted when "it involves the exclusion and hatred of others when it becomes a conflictual nationalism that builds walls, indeed even racism or anti-Semitism,"  according to Breitbart.com.

Francis also implied national sovereignty becomes twisted when countries do not have a welcoming attitude toward migrants.

"The Church observes with concern the reemergence, in many parts of the world, of currents that are aggressive towards foreigners, especially immigrants, as well as a growing nationalism that neglects the common good," he told the conference.

This, in turn, "threatens to jeopardize consolidated forms of international cooperation, undermines the aims of international organizations as a space for dialogue and meeting for all countries in a spirit of mutual respect, and hinders the attainment of the sustainable development goals approved unanimously by the United Nations," the Pope said.

The Pope also said individual countries can no longer look out for their own people by themselves due to globalization.

"The nation-state is no longer able to procure the common good of its populations alone. The common good has become global and nations must associate for their own benefit," Francis said.

The Pope also pushed the idea of supranational entities to the conference.  A supranational union is defined as a type of multinational political union where negotiated power is delegated to an authority by governments of member states.  The term is sometimes used to describe the European Union, according to Wikipedia.

For instance, a group of nations could "strengthen their cooperation by connecting certain functions and services to intergovernmental institutions that manage their common interests," he said.

"When a supranational common good is clearly identified, it is necessary to have a special authority that is legally and concordantly constituted and capable of facilitating its implementation," the Pope concluded.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Never Build a Ministry on One Man's Swag

J. Lee Grady

GettyImages-swag-celebrity-pastor

John the Baptist said he was not worthy to untie Jesus' lowly sandals. But in today's hyper-cool, megachurch culture, a preacher's footwear has become very pricey.

So pricey, in fact, that a new Instagram account called preachersnsneakers went viral last month and now has 154,000 followers. The social media account does nothing except offer photos of famous preachers' expensive and colorful footwear—including a pair of red Air Yeezy 2s worn by South Carolina pastor John Gray. His shoes retail for $5,611.

Some people have complained about the Instagram site, claiming that its founder, an anonymous guy named "Tyler," is hurting the church. But he says he's simply holding up a mirror and asking Christians if our leaders should be known for their lavish tastes in clothes.

There's really nothing new about this. In the 1980s, televangelists were criticized for their three-piece suits and pricey Italian leather dress shoes—yet we know their followers gave them enough money to buy them private jets. Today, the suits and leather shoes are out of date, but the price tag on the designer sneakers is the same.

In today's vocabulary, it's called swag. It basically means stylish confidence, and it comes from the word "swagger."

Like the televangelist of the old days, the celebrity preacher of today may still be on television—or he may have his own YouTube channel. But his look has been totally updated. His hairstyle is hip, he has a few days' stubble on his face and his ministry has an app for your smartphone.

And apparently his on-stage wardrobe must now include a pair of $1,000 Air Jordans.

I'm not against hair gel, stubble or the latest designer athletic shoes. I enjoy some of these preachers' podcasts. And, in their defense, some of these men received their fancy footwear as gifts from wealthy donors.

But I am concerned about the swag factor. Technology and youthful trendiness can breed pride if we're not careful. And pride is still pride, whether it is clothed in yesterday's neon polyester or today's jeans.

As ministry platforms grow larger, the potential for bigger egos grows more dangerous. Let's all take the humility test. We need less swag and more brokenness in the pulpit. Let's remember these basic biblical principles as we choose who to follow:

Christians should never worship preachers. Paul rebuked the people of Lystra when they called him and his companion Barnabas gods. Paul told the people: "We are also men of the same nature as you" (Acts 14:15b, NASB). True ministers of God will not allow their followers to place them on pedestals. Paul knew his proper role was to take the lowest seat, as a bondservant of Christ Jesus (see Phil. 1:1). He also knew that ministers must never allow flattery or adoration to inflate their egos.
Preachers must know who they are and who they aren't. When people spread a rumor that John the Baptist was the Messiah, he corrected them and said: "I am not the Christ. ... He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:28, 30, MEV). Even some of the most gifted Christian communicators can be seduced by the power of technology—and by the roar of a crowd—so that they actually believe they are in an elite category. No! We are nothing and He is everything. We must get out of the way so people can see Jesus!

Leaders who have not crucified the lust for self-promotion can become infatuated with the big and the sensational. They can build big churches with bigger projection screens, yet their character cannot sustain the pressure of spiritual warfare that inevitably comes. An out-of-control ego becomes a monster.

Author Henry Blackaby said it this way: "Nothing is more pathetic than having a small character in a big assignment. Many of us don't want to give attention to our character; we just want the big assignment from God."

Ministry is best accomplished with a team, not a celebrity. Paul laid the foundations of the church in the Gentile world, but he always shared the spotlight with Timothy, Silas, Barnabas, Titus, Phoebe, Priscilla and other co-workers—who suffered in prison with him and faithfully preached alongside him. He didn't try to be five places at once; he trained people to take his place. And nobody on the team had swag!
It is becoming popular for large churches to open satellite campuses that offer video sermons from the same preacher. If this strategy is effectively reaching more converts, that's great. If preachers can do that and stay humble, keep it up. But let's be careful that we are not building ministry on one man's charisma.

Our ultimate goal should be for a whole new generation of people to be trained and empowered to serve, not for one man to build a show around his gift. And certainly not around his expensive Air Jordans.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Leading New Testament Scholar Reveals How to Recognize False Apostles

Author's note: This is a guest column by my friend, Craig Keener, one of the world's leading New Testament scholars.

Related imageAs I speak in various countries, there is increasing concern about "apostles" who compete with each other in rival miracle claims, followings and income. They view apostleship as a high-status and lucrative office to which they may be promoted if successful in lower roles. The complaint is not about using the title "apostle" simply for overseers, the way some churches use "bishop" or "superintendent." The complaint is about those who demand special recognition.

I do not deny the importance of genuine apostleship. Biblically, it is among the gifts that Christ's church needs to bring us to maturity (Eph 4:11-13). Although the Twelve Apostles are no longer with us, Paul clearly uses the term "apostle" more broadly than that (Rom 11:13, 16:7; 1 Cor. 15:5-7; Gal 1:19; 1 Thess. 2:6). He probably applies it to those involved in cutting-edge, sacrificial, groundbreaking evangelism that lays foundations in new spheres (see Rom. 15:20).

Yet Paul, an apostle, denounced false apostles (2 Cor. 11:13). Jesus commended an ancient church for testing those who claim to be apostles and calling out those who were false (Rev. 2:2). Similarly, Jeremiah, a true prophet, denounced false prophecy, clearly dissociating the true from the false. "'For what has straw to do with grain?' declares the Lord" (Jer. 23:28, NIV).

What are some criteria that can help us distinguish true from false apostles?

First, false apostles seek their own honor. They promote themselves more than Jesus. Paul's rivals in Corinth boasted in themselves (2 Cor. 10:17-18, 11:12), and indeed were flashier speakers than Paul (11:6). Yet Paul warns that these "super-apostles" (11:5) are false apostles (11:13), servants of Satan (11:14-15).

Paul also warned church elders that some of them would "arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:30; see Mark 3:19). That they draw disciples after themselves, rather than after the Lord Jesus, reveals their deadly error. Jesus warns against seeking titles for ourselves (Matt 23:7-11); the truly greatest must be the servant (Mark 9:35; 10:43). Although true apostles are first in role (1 Cor 12:28), they appear last in terms of worldly status (4:9). As Rolland and Heidi Baker put it, "Our desired direction is always lower still. The apostle is in the lowest position of all."

It is true that we live in a world dominated by marketing. In most capitalist countries with freedom of religion, the religious "market" favors those with adequate promotion. It is right for true teachers to promote God's message that they bring, especially when needed to counter false teaching. At the same time, "we are not peddlers of God's word like so many" (2 Cor 2:17, NRSV); "we don't proclaim ourselves, but instead Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus's sake" (4:5; cf. 1 Pet 5:3). True apostles serve Christ and his people, not seek to dominate them. As Randy Clark says, "Biblical apostleship focuses on serving rather than ruling. Jesus said the greatest of all would be the servant of all."

Second, false apostles exploit the flock. In the Bible, some leaders were in it just for the money (Mic. 3:11), exploiting God's people for greed and forgetting the Lord who bought us (2 Pet. 2:1-3). God's servants must be different (2 Cor. 2:17, 1 Thess. 2:5).

In the late first or early second century, an early Christian writing called the Didache urges discernment of true and false apostles, adding: "if he asks for money, he's a false prophet" (Did. 11.6). Of course, funds are necessary; Paul raised money for the church in Jerusalem and welcomed support for his mission (Rom. 15:24, 2 Cor 10:15). But the Didache's criterion here seems to be an emergency response to a setting in which pretend apostles were taking advantage of God's people. God will punish those who exploit people (Ezek. 34:2-4, 10; Matt 24:45-51).

Some false ministers avoid even the hardship of saying something unpopular. In Jeremiah's day, false prophets comforted Israel with what they wanted to hear instead of confronting their sin (Jer. 6:14, 8:11). They assumed that because other prophets said it, it must be true (Jer. 23:30). Paul also warns about people following whoever tells them just what they want to hear (see 2 Tim 4:3-4).

Finally, true apostles sacrifice for Christ. This often involves suffering for God's purposes (Matt. 10:2, 9-11, 16-39; Mark 6:8-9; Luke 9:3-4; 10:3-4; 11:49; 1 Cor. 4:9-13; 2 Tim. 1:11-12; Rev. 18:20). Although true apostles have signs (Matt. 10:8, Mark 6:7, 2 Cor 12:12), sometimes even false preachers have those (Ex. 7:11, Matt 7:22-23). When Paul wants to distinguish himself from the rival, false apostles trying to sway his converts in Corinth, Paul appeals to his sacrifices and sufferings for the gospel (2 Cor. 11:23-33). Paul had broken new ground, sacrificially reaching the Corinthians for Christ. His rivals, instead of evangelizing new ground or laying new foundations, tried to lure away his converts after themselves (2 Cor. 10:12-16; see Rom 15:20).

True apostles, like true prophets, evangelists and pastor-teachers, are gifts to Christ's body to equip all members of the body for their ministries (Eph. 4:11-13). They must honor the body's head, Christ, with whom each member of the body has a direct connection (Eph. 4:15-16). By speaking Christ's true message, apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor-teachers must nurture the body to maturity so that believers are protected against false teachings (Eph. 4:13-14).

In sum, true apostles are sacrificial servants for Christ's body. Those who believe they fill this role today must serve Christ's body sacrificially. Sometimes this sacrifice must include protecting Christ's flock from false apostles.

Craig Keener is professor of biblical studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and the best-selling author of more than 25 books. His most recent book is Not Afraid of the Antichrist: Why We Don't Believe in a Pretribulation Rapture, co-authored with Michael L. Brown.

Prophecy: The Lord Is Getting Ready to Reconstruct Much of His House!

AMANDA SHIFLETT

Image result for foundation construction

Although I have shared this particular word several times since the original post in January of 2018, I felt led to share it again, and to focus on a different portion than I normally have. Although this word speaks of many earthquakes and volcanoes happening (which we have seen much), it also speaks of what that will symbolize prophetically.

The Lord showed me there would be some great deconstruction and then a "reconstruction" of much of His church. Some would be taken down to studs and some down to the foundation before they would be rebuilt according to His kingdom blueprints. In light of much of what we have been seeing in a lot of areas lately, I felt the Lord wanted me to highlight this word once again. We can never forget, everything He does for and to His church is ultimately for her good. May the master architect do what is necessary to reconstruct according to His plans!

Excerpt From Word, January 2018:
Many things not built on His rule and His kingdom, but on the kingdoms of man and on their thoughts and plans, will be brought down. This will happen in His church more than any other mountain, although it will happen in many other spheres of influence.
The Lord is getting ready to begin a reconstruction of much of His house! He will take many structures down to the studs, and others down to the foundation, before He begins to build again. Some things have been tolerated by the Lord for some time, but they were not His plan, and they are no longer serving His purpose, and some never did. Some were the traditions of men, and although many were fine and good in their own way, some were not, and they have become a stumbling block to His ultimate purpose for His ekklesia. These things will need to be brought down, as they are hindering the flow of His Spirit. If they are not brought down by leadership, the Lord Himself will deal with them and bring them down.
It is time for His Spirit to flow freely once again. If He has to tear everything down, and start again with just the foundation, then He will. Other structures within the kingdom are faulty even down to the foundation, and they will be completely brought to the ground.The plumbline of the Lord will be released in His house, and everything that does not line up with His structure and His purposes will be brought down or reconstructed by Him.
Many churches and ministries will falter, and some even fall apart this year and over the next several years, but this is not for utter destruction, but simply so He can rebuild according to His plans. For those who must go through this .. .do not get discouraged if you are one of these. Do not give up hope or vision.
The Lord is shaking everything out into the open, that it may be dealt with, and that His purposes may be revealed in and through His church. There are some things that have been compromised, but He is giving an opportunity for those things to be corrected, reconstructed properly and set in place according to His blueprints. Only those who will not surrender to His will and His reconstruction will be brought to ruin, but that is never His purpose. His purpose is for reconstruction and restoring, if they will repent, surrender and allow Him to do the work in them and their ministries.
Now is the time for the shaking and rebuilding that has begun to come to a pinnacle. He is doing a new thing, and His new wine cannot be contained in old wineskins, so we must embrace all that the Lord has purposed to do in this new era! Your kingdom come; Your will be done, Lord!" 
Amanda Shiflett is the founder of Prophetic Reformer and co-founder of Kingdom Life Ministries along with her husband, Darin. She is a prophetic minister who heard the Lord's call from a very young age. She is a heralding voice of truth, holiness and purity within the prophetic and calls others to stand in a place of no compromise in their callings. She longs to see reformation come to the prophetic movement, as well as the other parts of the fivefold within the body of Christ. Along with her calling as a prophetess, Amanda also flows in a powerful worship and healing anointing and is a gifted teacher and writer as well. Darin and Amanda live in North Texas.



Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Myth of Generosity by Frank Viola

Image result for give money church offering

In the business world, entrepreneurs constantly teach people to be generous BECAUSE that’s the way to increase sales.

Mantras like “give, give, give, give, give, and once you’ve given 15 times, then ask and people will feel so blessed by your generosity that they will be generous toward you and buy your product or write a positive review about it.”

Not a few Christian teachers have passed this same idea on.

There is a problem, however.

Beyond the selfish motive that’s often involved (giving in order to get), the problem is that very few people – I’m speaking of Christians and Christian leaders – reciprocate when someone is generous to them.

Many (if not most) Christians and Christian leaders are takers. They have Ph.Ds in taking, but earn an F in giving back.

I won’t rehearse examples, for there are so many.

What’s even more disturbing about this is that generosity and reciprocation is better understood and practiced by non-Christians.

Recently, I was listening to a well-known secular podcaster (we’ll call him George) who interviewed another well-known personality (we’ll call him Tom) earlier this year on his show.

A month later, Tom reciprocated and had George on his show. This sort of mutual generosity is very common among non-believers.

You’d think it would be common among Christian leaders, who should be leading the way in generosity and reciprocation, but it’s not.

In fact, this kind of mutual blessing is exotically rare among Christian leaders today (I previously wrote about why here).

What’s my point?

The point is NOT to stop being generous.

The point is to learn how to LOSE and do it without becoming bitter.

That’s right.

LOSE. And LOSE again.

Those who have joined the Insurgence understand that when Jesus talked about “losing your life,” He wasn’t restricting that statement to physical death.

He was talking about living a lifestyle of losing, laying your life down, letting go, surrendering, and bearing the cross in daily life (= dying to self).

God will honor your generosity. But it will rarely come through the actions of those to whom you’ve been generous.

We have a generous God living in us. So be generous – especially toward those who are unable to reciprocate.

And always be armed with an attitude of losing.

Friday, April 26, 2019

In a scene ripped from the pages of my latest novels, leaders of Russia & North Korea meet in Vladivostok to forge anti-American alliance. Here’s the latest.

KimJongUn-Putin



(Jerusalem, Israel) — North Korea’s “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Un arrived yesterday in the far-Eastern Russian city of Vladivostok to hold his first-ever summit with Russian Czar Vladimir Putin, having made the lengthy journey onboard a bulletproof train.

The reason for the meeting: to forge a far closer ties between Moscow and Pyongyang, complicate U.S. efforts to bring about peace between North and South Korea, and ostensibly for Putin to persuade his colleague to “denuclearize.” The prospects of these two powers drawing closer should be worrisome to anyone paying attention to Putin’s efforts in recent years to build a far broader and more aggressive anti-American and anti-Western front.

What struck me in particular was that the headlines of the last 24 hours seem ripped right out of the pages of The Kremlin Conspiracy and The Persian Gamble, in which a Russian-North Korean military and political alliance plays a central role.

Consider the following excerpt from Kremlin:

It quickly became apparent where they were heading—Vladivostok, site of Russia’s largest naval base, located on the Sea of Japan at the extreme southeastern corner of the Russian Empire.

Defense Minister Petrovsky explained that he had ordered his staff to arrange the trip on the premise that he would be conducting a surprise inspection of the submarine fleet that constituted the bulk of Russia’s ability to project power into the Pacific. Petrovsky would, in fact, do just that, accompanied by Zakharov. But the real purpose of the trip was something entirely different.

Once in Vladivostok, Russian President Alexander Luganov, FSB Chief Nimkov, and senior advisor Oleg Kraskin would be driven to a secret military facility where they would have dinner with the reclusive leader of North Korea, who would be arriving by train.

“Why by train?” Luganov asked.

“He is petrified of flying, Your Excellency.”

“How far is that journey?”

“Almost five hundred miles.”

Oleg stopped writing for a moment and looked at Petrovsky. Five hundred miles by train? he wondered, though he said nothing….

Oleg could have written a book about the absolutely bizarre eccentricities of the North Korean dictator he observed during the two-hour meeting between the two leaders, from what he wore to what he ate to how he expressed himself. But what truly disturbed Oleg was how close Luganov seemed to be to this madman. Oleg had never participated in—much less created a transcript of—a single call between the two leaders. Yet the evidence suggested the two men had spoken dozens of times over the past few years. They clearly had a history together, and they were using a personal shorthand to build their framework for an entirely new bilateral relationship.

At first, none of it computed. On the plane, Petrovsky had advised Luganov on ways to persuade the North Koreans to end their nuclear weapons program and enter into a new round of six-party peace talks with South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Luganov had acted as if he fully agreed with his defense minister. But once Petrovsky left the room, it became obvious that defusing the North Korean threat was not Luganov’s objective at all.

As Oleg took notes during the meeting between the two heads of state, it was clear that Luganov was trying to clandestinely flip Pyongyang’s allegiance from Beijing to Moscow. In so doing, he seemed willing to help Pyongyang become a regional powerhouse ready and able to intimidate and even dominate Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, and everyone else in the Pacific Rim. To accomplish this, Luganov offered to cancel North Korea’s $11 billion debt to Russia and provide some $2 billion in new Russian grain shipments. That’s why, Luganov said, he’d persuaded five oligarchs to be prepared to invest upward of $25 billion in developing North Korean natural resources like coal and iron ore over the next decade. That was also why Luganov was offering Moscow’s technical assistance with helping Pyongyang build ballistic missiles capable not only of carrying nuclear warheads but of reaching the continental United States.

Luganov’s chilling offers were immediately accepted, but there was more to the conspiracy the two leaders were concocting. They agreed that to throw the West—as well as Beijing—off the scent, Russia would publicly and forcefully condemn Pyongyang’s ongoing nuclear weapons tests. They even wrote the press release together. What’s more, they agreed that Russia’s Foreign Ministry would actively support additional economic sanctions against North Korea at the U.N. Security Council meeting later that month.

It would all be a show. The “Guiding Star” couldn’t have made himself more clear that he eagerly sought to be the Pacific arm of a “rising new Russian Empire.” He agreed to fully share the results of North Korea’s ICBM testing with scientists from Tehran in order to help the Islamic Republic of Iran become the Middle Eastern arm of the new Russian Empire. Then, in the final minutes of their time together, the two men lowered their voices and somewhat cryptically agreed to be helpful to each other on “additional projects of mutual concern.” Oleg wasn’t sure what they meant. Nor was he certain he wanted to know. But he dutifully wrote down every word he heard through the official translator and kept his mouth shut….


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Iran is facing the worst locust attack in the past 40 years: Biblical invasion threatens crops and food security




A locust outbreak in the Arabian peninsula has been spreading to Iran, threatening crops and food security in large areas of the coastal province of Hormozgan, an official said. Director of a department at Horkozgan’s agricultural organization told Tasnim that Iran is facing the worst locust attack in the past 40 years.

iran locust plague, locust plague video, iran locust plague video, iran locust plague april 2019

Officials said several swarms of locusts have come from the Arabian peninsula to Iran over the last 10 weeks, some of which have penetrated into farmlands of the province as far as 200 kilometers from the coast.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in February that a locust outbreak in Sudan and Eritrea was spreading rapidly along both sides of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The FAO also noted that good rains have allowed generations of locust breeding since October 2018, leading to a substantial increase in locust populations and the formation of highly mobile swarms.

The UN agency had also highlighted the control measures in Iran after at least one swarm arrived on the southern coast at the end of January.

Adult locust swarms can fly up to 150 km a day with the wind and adult insects can consume roughly their own weight in fresh food per day.

A very small swarm eats as much in one day as about 35,000 people, posing a devastating threat to crops and food security.



The desert locust is potentially the most dangerous of the locust pests because of the ability of swarms to fly rapidly across great distances.

Plagues of desert locusts have threatened agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for centuries. The livelihood of at least one-tenth of the world’s human population can be affected by this voracious insect. In 1961, desert locusts attacked agricultural lands in Iran and damaged nearly 2.5 million hectares of farms across the country.

Recently, Iran was hit by the largest flood disaster in 15 years, killing at least 80 people so far.

Maybe, next there will be some frogs?