"ITEOTWAWKI(AIFF)"    [ 13 ]   
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Dec 2015
Tracy visited  :-)
I took Ann to the TITANIC exhibit in Vegas
Drove across most of the United States (twice)
Visited D.C. again (also twice) for another design award
Ann & Danielle got to go to Sea World, San Diego
Ann played the Cheshire Cat in her high school play
Jessi got a big ol' harp (thx Philip!)
Danielle and Sophie were able to live with us for a few months while Ben was overseas
Ben even got to visit with us for two weeks during that time; then all three were able to visit again for Christmas!
FLR Day! (11·4·15)
New official STAR WARS!
Oh, and we got to jet on over to Disneyland for Jessi's 19th Bday..!
 2015
~  WHAT A YEAR!  ~
So many excellent things happened this year that could each constitute a blog post on their own accord; see partial list ►. Since the turn of the century, we have never been so blessed and set up for success as we suddenly are Right Now ~ and yes, I credit this all to GOD!  It truly is a wonder, these Sublime Days dawning for our little family, yet we have certainly weathered our share of bad years... I revitalized this website in January 2010 specifically to focus on some of the Good in my life and family while contending with a great deal of stress that I have, to a point, not directly addressed until just recently through this or any public online outlet. Truly dark clouds have overshadowed our world for more than a decade — but they have evaporated as of this past November . .  Gone!!  So this feeling, this ongoing ceaseless sense of Liberation, is a new experience for us, a refreshing turnabout in our fortunes.  :-)

So I find it rather ironic, now that our lives have finally taken a turn for fresh and wonderful new opportunities, how the entire world seems to be going down in flames around us, specifically dragged into the brutal ruthless pit of Islam. This year marked the first time I publically wrote about hot-button political issues: see July, August, September. I don't know how much more of that I will do just because it really gets under my skin... But consider this: in just the course of this past year: Paris and a great number of places endured more Islamic attacks and beheadings, burning people alive (they're such a 'loving' bunch those zany Muslims)... For the first time in U.S. history, our own President openly stood opposed to Israel and took measures to ensure the downfall of Prime Minister Netanyahu (who was re-elected anyway). Unprecedented military conflicts erupted throughout Syria and the Middle East, shaping a war-by-proxy between the United States and Russia ~ just what everyone needs. :-| The historic same-sex marriage ruling in June, the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, world money markets collapsing all around the globe (which, many financial experts believe, signifies the soon demise of the entire world economy)... The Pope addressed Congress and the United Nations for the first time ever like this, officially calling for one-world governance in support of the looming New World Order, tucking most of it under the specter of "global warming" (itself a complete travesty structured to support tax-riddled legislation. Mounting evidence demonstrates we are getting COLDER across the globe ~ look into it, and just for fun, tally up the growing number of scientists disavowing 'global warming' nowadays. International leaders are unifying behind it for all manner of policy-driving reasons, while more and more un-bought scientists are dismissing it completely ~ hmmmmm...) Anti-Christian shootings in Oregon served as a preview for even more Islamic killings inside America's borders. Once-inviting nations are backpedaling as fast as they can now, realizing that ISIS * actually is * invading their countries with terrorist cells, just like they said they would! (Why/how people disregard THE OBVIOUS simply confounds me) European citizens currently arm themselves against a continuing wild influx of masquerading 'refugees' . .. A third intifada has been incited against Israel, while Canada took a national nosedive in their October election. And once again, France was bathed in blood by even more Islamic activists while our President, busy tearing down every last vestige of America's borders and waving in these selfsame groups, described ISIS as "contained."

wow.

:-|

I understand that every calendar year produces its share of political anarchy and international mayhem - I get that. But 2015 seemed to set in motion catastrophic global trends of truly Titanic proportions like we've never seen before... not least of which is this initial-seeming good news: Israel just discovered one of the largest oil deposits ever found (if not the largest ever) located beneath the Golan Heights. — Curious timing, this. — Hostile nations surrounding them have taken a keen interest in this unexpected development, along with Israel's massive natural gas reserves they began extracting offshore in the last couple of years. Many believe this is precisely the 'hook in the jaw' mentioned in the book of Ezekiel which describes a mighty nation from the north (by all accounts: Russia, in an alliance with Iran.. which by the way, is happening right now for the first time ever) invading Israel in the Last Days, all for 'irresistible spoils'...

Okay ... I wrote about this sort of stuff in detail this past summer, so I'm not going into all that again. In fact, that's kind of the point of today's post. I mean, after all the hoopla regarding September and the Blood Moons and the economy (or sky?) falling, we're still here and, speaking for my family, enjoyed a fabulous Christmas full of grand gifts, fun, games, great food and movies this Christmas season.  :-)  Granted, we here in the United States [currently] live in a bubble compared to much of the rest of the world... So where exactly is all the foretold pandemonium and destruction?

Well, depending on where you live, you may be seeing it firsthand now. And if not .. it is coming. Some friends of mine travel on busses in Kenya that are routinely stopped at makeshift checkpoints by Muslims toting guns, who order all the passengers off and demand they quote something from the Quran by heart. Anyone who cannot deliver is shot dead right there on the road side. This is true, it is real, and it's really happening. This same couple described leaving a building in one city and, upon arriving at their home some distance away, switching on the news to learn that that building had just been destroyed in an Islamic terrorist explosion. They missed by minutes another close brush with this self-described 'religion of peace'.

I know... there are those out there who read or hear of such things and simply assume I am speaking from some prejudiced place of ignorance. To those who choose to believe that, please look into it yourself. Do the research as I have done. Read their Quran which explicitly teaches its followers to kill all who will not conform to their beliefs. This philosophy is a basic tenet of their belief system. (One of the best reflections of this I have seen is depicted, surprisingly, in the last half of a 2011 foreign animated film, The Rabbi's Cat, as a tent full of Muslims intimidate their 'guests' to acknowledge that Islam is the better religion than any other..) I am not trying to convince you of all this ~ it speaks for itself. It is foundationally a part of what makes Islam Islam, according to its own teachings. Those who adhere to it and seek to follow the ways of 'the Prophet' engage in terrorism as a vital function of their 'religion'. Any Muslims disavowing such leanings would also likely be killed as heretics by the same Islamic groups because they are evidently NOT following the teachings of Muhammad, et al. Islam is not a religion, not merely some religious cult; it is an aggressive militant political power-machine bent on absolute Totalitarianism. Again, don't take my word for it ~ look into it and find out for yourself.

That is why this poses such a problem: Resolution 569 (Representative Donald Beyer [VA] + 70 others) was introduced in this 114th Congress on December 17, 2015, which seeks to "Criminalize Speaking Against Muslims" (1/1/16) here in America. This is a brief, easy-to-read resolution, maybe 1 page in length, and stands in 100% * VIOLATION * of our constitution's First Amendment:

~     The First Amendment of the United States Constitution     ~
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
 U.S. Constitution


HERE is a nice printable copy of the Constitution from the U.S. Government Publishing Office (16 pgs) — another great resource is the Constitution Center (est.1988).

I admit that, until now, I have never read the Constitution in its entirety, mainly because I have always abided in the solidarity of our law makers. It always seemed like kind of a moot exercise to me, what with dedicated and passionate political guardians standing in defense of our congressional morals. But what happened this summer, and the fact that such a thing as 'Resolution 569' can even be considered a possible piece of U.S. legislation, simply blows my mind. (Not to mention colleges and universities actually thwarting students from handing out free copies of the U.S. Constitution · a blog topic for another day, perhaps · )

Up until now in the good ol' U.S. of A, if you wanted to voice your opinion about, well, anything, you were free to do so. You might make some friends — or lose a few — but Freedom Of Speech is a fundamental right clearly defined in our First Amendment (see BOLD TEXT in the box, above). You don't like Christianity and you want to say so? Fine, go ahead. :-) This is America; you are free to have your say in the public forum without fear of recrimination. Oh, but wait! Now, if you don't like Islam, you may face legal charges for voicing some opposing viewpoint..? ( ? ? ? ) I cannot be the only one to recognize the insane double-standard being forced through a resolution like this . . . and yes, I fully intend to contact whomever I must on Capitol Hill to question its veracity!  You might consider doing the same if this sort of thing also boils your bunnies! I mean, just imagine the * UPROAR * if someone tried to push a resolution through to legally condemn or criminalize speaking against Christianity...!  This is so insane .. .

  North Korea at night (compared to other nations)
 North Korean Nights

But such is the rotting condition of our once great nation. Freedom, Equal Rights, and Free Speech for all, so long as you adhere to the legally-protected politically-correct party line! ~ We have become the cold-war Russia I remember from the 70's and 80's. I learned about the wonky conditions in the U.S.S.R. back then (whose model of Communism eventually led to their national collapse), joking with my friends about the patent absurdity of "political correctness". I also secretly wondered about a society shackled by national policies leading to imprisoning or killing its own citizens for 'stepping out of line'... I thanked God I lived in America — But now we have become that very thing and it's only getting worse with each passing year. The mind-control insanity displayed in the backward, paranoid nation of North Korea demonstrates the brand of 'society' that comes from enforcing such internal national policies, complete with slave labor camps... (oh boy, can't wait!)

Jesus warned that, in the time just before His physical return to earth, things would get this dire. So much more is described in Bible prophecy that is coming to pass right before our eyes, and could * only * have come about NOW given our accelerated acuity in global technology. For example, just a few short years ago, a classroom full of high school students thought RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) chips were an urban myth . .. until I received one in my government I.D. and passed it around the room for them to examine. Then RFID chips began popping up in credit cards and drivers licenses, passports and the like. ~ It's funny what people refuse to believe even when presented with Facts simply because they do not want to feel responsible for the knowledge... An ostrich with its head buried in the sand makes for an easy beheading target, and there are plenty of rage-filled ISIS manimals only too happy to oblige.

"Could Biometric Chips Help Keep ISIS Out of America?" ◄ This (and other means) will be the reasoning behind population centers around the world willingly accepting such implants. Such legislation was passed right here in the U.S. a few years ago, scheduled for mandatory compliance by December, 2017. Such tracking devices never could have existed (and be viably tracked) until now. Think I'm jumping at shadows? Consider this 5:00 minute video in which the good guys behind the "MythBusters" TV show answered someone's query about their attempt to investigate the RFID chip some years ago. In no uncertain terms, the MythBusters team was intimidated from pursuing such studies by U.S. government agencies. Sometime later, MythBusters released a strangely watered-down RFID-related segment to test if an implanted RFID chip might explode if subjected to an MRI scan.  ·  ?  ¿  ?  ¿  ?  ·  This is ridiculous and has * nothing * to do with Actual Concerns about "how hackable, how reliable, how trackable, etcetera" [their words] RFID chips are, let alone other personal-information violations that may result from their implementation. Go online and run a search on this phrase: "MythBusters not allowed to talk about RFID chips" and start looking into this for yourself, if this piques your interest, as my source links from other earlier research efforts are strangely uncooperative now, suddenly non-functioning, or feature destination pages showing that data and certain videos have been removed . . .

I named this post "ITEOTWAWKI·AIFF" because the limited title space on my blog index page would not accommodate "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" (R.E.M.©1987). In truth, I am just no good at preparing for the end of the world! I am not a hoarder, and I trust in God's leadership, guidance, providence, and everything * WAY * more than anything orchestrated by man. (consider Proverbs 10:3, Psalm 37:25, Psalm 111:5, 1 Kings 17:1-6 and many others in the Word) The very things Jesus described heralding His imminent return are happening all around us now, avalanching across daily headlines with such proliferation that tracking and reporting on it all would constitute a full-time job in itself. An unprecedented increase in earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, massive and devastating weather catastrophes.. wars and rumors of wars.. . a rising tide of lethal diseases resistant to all forms of antibiotics and medication... the Gospel message reaching every last corner of the world (thanks in no small part to the Internet)... personal ID tech that really can track your every move, what you buy or sell, where, when, for how much, and to or from whom . . . 100% absolutely photo-realistic CGI developments that can completely emulate a human being now, seeming tailor-made to fulfill Scripture describing how everyone will be required to worship the "image of the beast" . . . I can go on because there is just so much more to consider, but really, there is no need to bother anymore. So much is so readily available online to anyone willing to search any of this out for themselves. I don't have to convince anyone of anything as it is all more self-evident daily now. A word of caution, however: verify your sources. Even as Jesus warned of numerous false prophets popping up in the Last Days (Islam, anyone?) there are those who would deceive whomever they can for profit or mischief. (Consider: 'sincere' does not equal 'correct') KNOW what the Bible really says about these issues and stick to reliable (not necessarily U.S. mainstream) newsfeeds that can be corroborated by numerous other sources. The Bible describes the importance of understanding the times in which you live (1 Chronicles 12:32) and how people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Resolve not to ranked among the masses of uninformed 'sheeple' (a contemporary term, not a Biblical metaphor) because of willful naiveté...

 


   •     HOPE     •   

Ah, but all is not doom and gloom for those who trust in the Lord! — There is Hope · · and LOTS of it!  :-D  All throughout the Bible, the most frequent command He gives for His followers is the opposite of burdensome: “Do not be afraid!” ~ But with the world going so completely off the rails, how can anyone honestly live this way?  Ha!  Because the most frequent promise He gives to those who fear Him [ie, those who honor God] in truth and spirit [ie, genuinely, not pretentiously] is this: “I will never leave you nor forsake you; I will be with you always!” This is no empty expression - no fluffy words spilled across Bible pages just to fill up space. No, this is a Real Message from the One and Only Real GOD, Who deeply loves ALL whom He created (but will not abide those who disregard our Creator ~ think about it: He has every right). He can legitimately make such claims and promises due to the fulfilled work of His Son, Jesus Christ, dying on the Cross in our stead. (Do the words It is finished ring a bell? - see John 19:28-30) · Our heavenly Father forsook His Son, Jesus, on the cross as He suffered God's full wrath and punishment for sin in our place (the whole purpose of Christ's mission: atoning for all who will believe and receive His sacrifice, in trade for something so simple as our repentance and belief) These very points make passages like this ring with soul-galvanizing tenacity:

   
 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding.
      In all your ways acknowledge Him,
      and He will direct your paths!
  —  Proverbs 3:5-6   

How then shall we live? God imbues us with His power, His love, faith to believe and to act, and even a certain level of authority in expanding His kingdom here on earth (see Matthew 28:18-20). But He doesn't just push us out the door with bounteous expectations; He actually equips us for such good works! While other Scriptures go into other details about it, I have always found this particular passage inspiring for its conclusive synopsis of this oft-ignored quality woven into fabric of the lives of those who walk with Him:

  His divine power * has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness! Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
  Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
  So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

—  2 Peter 1:3-11, 3:8-14 * What is this 'power'? It is described in Ephesians 1:17-21    
   
 
For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power, and love, and self-control.
—  2 Timothy 1:7
   

A couple of things to understand in context of this passage: [1] God will lay bare this earth and all who live in it, but not simply to destroy it all and be done with it; no, rather He will create a new heaven and a new earth (see Isaiah 65:17 & Revelation 21:1-4), and [2] we do not (can not) generate the excellent and effectual character attributes listed above in and of ourselves; it is beyond our fallen means to live so fruitfully and perfectly... but as we pray for and receive God's express power into our spirits and lives by abiding in Christ (see John 15:1-17), THAT is how the Lord will work these things in and through us, not only in our own lives and homes, but throughout the world as we move in it! (Sharp contrast between Christianity and Islam: Christianity teaches to LOVE everyone [even one's enemies] inviting them to come know the Lord, eternal life [REAL life] and freedom. Islam teaches to KILL all who will not submit to their ways. Period.)

For the record, Jesus did not come into this world to establish some sort of 'religion'; rather, He came to bridge the gap of broken relationship between mankind and God, and through His ultimate obedience and service, became the means by which ALL may find eternal life and joy in knowing the One True God. As if to clarify, even James (the half-brother of Jesus here on earth) addressed this by saying:

   
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless
is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress
and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
  —  James 1:27

He did not teach His followers to dig in, build bunkers, and arm themselves during eras of conflict. Whether experiencing blessing or want, we are called to look after those who are in more desperate need around us, offering hospitality to our neighbors, and blessings to all, specifically believers (namely, the church)...

 
Rescue those being led away to death;
  hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
  does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
  Will he not repay everyone according to
  what they have done?
—  Proverbs 24:11-12   

I have heard it said that our life is God's gift to us, but what we do with our life is our gift back to Him.  :-)  (This life is also sort of an investment with Eternal Rewards, but that's an different topic entirely — see Matthew 6:19-21 & Matthew 13:44-46). God also offers us countless opportunities for inspiration and expects us to do something meaningful with the talents, drive, and imagination He instills within each of us. Speaking for myself and my family, we have some pretty Massive Plans for 2016, looking forward to this year more than any other that any of us can recall! The Question is not WHAT will we do, but how we may honor God and fulfill these Biblical calls to excellence (among others) as highlighted within His Word. THAT is the most exciting aspect of all of this!

You know, I think that maybe I am writing from a place of such enthusiastic in part because of a message from last weekend's service at our church. Just in this past month, I seem to have acquired a new level of peace and trust I don’t think I have ever really quite ‘grokked’ before, you know?  This weekend’s service seemed to quicken this conviction in my spirit like never before. The intro (not included below for © reasons, I think) shows a man going through the melancholy routine of taking their now 'old' undecorated Christmas tree to a dumpster as the holidays are ending. The narrative depressingly describes how the decorations are all put away now, the fanfare and fun is over, and life is returning to its normal routines... bills to be paid, kids need a visit to the dentist, car needs repairs.. etcetera . .. “It’s almost as if it didn’t happen,” says the narrator, likening this moment that has passed to the birth of Christ and His time here on earth. The man suddenly locates a single little manger-type decoration still affixed to a bough. As he returns to his vehicle, he drapes this little reminder over his rear-view mirror as the concludes with this thought: “But it DID happen, and that makes all the difference..”  Then our pastor gave this message:

 

 "What is the Gospel" (plus service notes) from Desert Breeze Community Church
 
Like never before, I am jumping into this next year with "eyes of faith" firmly fixed on my Lord and His loving, sovereign, trustworthy care for me and my family!  I am * SO * STOKED * to see what He will do in us, with us, for us, and through us this year! Not because we have earned or deserved preferential treatment in any sense, but because that is His heart's intention toward ALL who call upon His name! (See Zephaniah 3:17 for starters!) Every stitch of this hinges on developing our relationship with Him, which I am so eager to foster more than ever before! I share this not to boast ( as if ) but rather to point everyone who may read this to look to HIM for the same experiences! As pastor Ray says in this message, "TRUST is accepting what God sends into your life whether you understand it or not." ◄ That is a HUGE Truth — and it is profoundly liberating!
 
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your
gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious
about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace
of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
—  Philippians 4:4-7     

The entire course of human history seems to be taking a turn for profound changes and incalculable significance right now as 2015 gives way to 2016. Global chaos looms like never before, all while a one-world economy, leading governments, and technology coalesce in a manner never before possible ~ all in service of the dawning of the very real 'New World Order'. The advent of the Biblical "Last Days" appears to be literally unfolding around us right now in real-time, from the Middle-East to every 'Main Street' in America. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15). With 2016, I intend not to research and report on all of these findings, as they become more and more self-evident with each passing sunrise and sunset. Instead, I will choose to simply get on with the business of living for as long as I can manage, as effectively as I may for God's kingdom and the betterment of those whose life I may be honored to touch, watching over my growing family every step of the way and assisting all those whom we may, “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing...” (2 Corinthians 6:10; and check out 2 Corinthians 4:7-11) Jesus Himself said, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28). God promises to guide, protect, and provide for those who trust in Him, all in accordance with His will and purposes, keeping us in His peace along the way.  :-D  I have seen Him move like this in my own life, experiencing His presence and direct involvement in more ways than I could ever hope to list! And I have seen the same sort of (uncountable!) occurrences in the lives of His children both locally and abroad. So with all of this in mind, I will conclude this post with a short list of my most frequented sources useful in gauging the pulse of world events as they pertain to Bible prophecy:

 
  WEB SITE / RESOURCE Updated VALUE
 1 "Bible Prophecy Update" Daily  A collection of significant world news (updated daily)
 2 "Charisma News" Daily  Same as above, but updated throughout the day . . .
 3 "The Drudge Report" Daily  Daily newsfeed of a wide gamut of pre-mainstream news
 4 "Mid-East Prophecy Update" Weekly The most consistent and reliable Bible-based reflections
on the Signs of our Times — my favorite weekly report!
 5 "Christian News Headlines" Weekly Offers some more investigative contemporary news feeds
 6 "Lisa Haven" Weekly Heavy on conspiracy and paranoia but consistently way
ahead
of mainstream news in reporting real-world events
 7 "The Superior Word" Weekly Weekly multi-source report of eschatology-related news
 8 "Pastor Paul Begley" Periodic If you can endure his trademark shouts "WHAAAT!?" and
"ARE YOU SERIOUS!?" he provides a somewhat panicky
(but newsy) angle of Biblical signs seen in current events
 9 "The Hal Lindsey Report" Periodic Big-picture political overview of momentous world events
 * "Ain't It Cool News" ~ All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!  :-)
 
 
As a father has compassion on his children, so
the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.
—  Psalm 103:13
 
 
  The Lord declares:
“Those who honor me I will honor...”
            —  1 Samuel 2:30
 
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