"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth."
Upon The Earth
Greetings! As the new year begins it is evident that we are going to have to be more dependent on Jesus as time marches on. Do not believe the false prophets of peace who claim we have crossed the Jordan, have suffered enough, and are once again marching into the promised land of unbridled prosperity. "For when they shall say, peace and security; then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as the pains upon her that is with child, and they shall not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
Of paramount importance is the neccessity of our maintaining a close personal relationship with Jesus and continued faith in His Word in the days of deceit in which we are presently living. We do not want to be washed away by the lies and deceit which the enemy of our souls is currently inundating the world.
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Matthew 7:24-28)
Looking at the spiritual sky and physical sky, unless the Lord intervenes to stop or slow things down, we could soon be in for a real torrent of rain.
We hope the articles, videos, photos, and music below are a blessing to all who visit this site. Don't forget we have an entire study section which includes the Book of Daniel, the Book of Revelations, etc. to help you understand what the future holds. There are also a number of letters by David Berg covering a wide range of subjects.
Economic Policy Journal
Robert Rubin: All Hell Could Break Loose Because of the Huge Government Debt
The ultimate insider, Robert Rubin, who is a former secretary of the Treasury (1995 - 99) and now serves as co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a fellow of the Harvard Corporation, in a Newseek opinion piece had this to say:
The United States faces projected 10-year federal budget deficits that seriously threaten its bond market, exchange rate, economy, and the economic future of every American worker and family. Those risks are exacerbated by the context of those deficits: a low household-savings rate, even after recent increases; large funding requirements for federal debt maturities every year; heavy overweighting of dollar-denominated assets in foreign portfolios; worsened fiscal prospects in the decades after the current 10-year budget period; and competing claims for capital to fund deficits in other countries.
The conventional concern here is that private investment will be crowded out, which would result in a reduction of productivity, competitiveness, and growth. In addition, the very early 1990s showed that unsound fiscal conditions can have a symbolic effect that broadly undermines business and consumer confidence. But finally, and far more dangerously, our bond and currency markets could react with severe distress to fears about imbalances in the supply and demand for capital in the years ahead or about the possibilities of inflation. Those effects have been averted so far by a number of factors: large inflows of capital from abroad into Treasury securities; concerns about other major currencies; the low level of private demand for capital; and the psychological state of the market. But this cannot continue indefinitely, and change can occur with great force--and unpredictable timing.
Of course, he is correct. However, this isn't the first time an insider has warned about the debt. Obama, himself, has done so.
What I am waiting for is the other foot to drop, i.e., what solutions will be proposed to resolve the debt situation. I doubt it will be any serious attempt at cutting back government spending. It will more than likely, in a panic state, be a dramatic hike in taxes, including possibly a national sales tax or VAT.
America's armed militia on the rise
Extremist "patriot" groups and other armed militias have undergone a dramatic resurgence in America, their numbers more than doubling in the past year amid growing Right-wing fears over expanding federal power and gun control.
By Tom Leonard in New York -
Published 31 Dec 2009
Such groups - a mix of libertarians, gun rights advocates and survivalists - appeared to be in terminal decline before the election of Barack Obama, according to monitoring bodies.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre, which tracks extremist organisations, says it has so far counted more than 300 patriot groups this year, at least double last year's total of 150. The real total will be much higher as many groups do not go out of their way to publicise their existence.
A similar wave of anti-government groups, some of whose members dress in camouflage gear and conduct military training at weekends, sprung up during the Clinton administration.
However, SPLC researchers said there was a new race factor reflecting President Obama's ethnicity and immigration fears.
The groups themselves reject accusations of racism but agree that many members are deeply worried about gun control, are angered by the federal economic rescue packages, and are dismayed by government interference in areas such as health care. They voice frustration at what they perceive as America's international decline.
Tensions are running high and some fear major bloodshed springing from a minor event. A law enforcement official told the SPLC that "all that's lacking is a spark".
One of the new patriot groups is called Oath Keepers. Its members, like those in other groups, look for guidance from America's Founding Fathers.
Formed last spring, Oath Keepers' members - limited to current or former servicemen and police - swear to obey the US constitution rather than politicians.
Stewart Rhodes, the founder, told The Daily Telegraph that the situation was a "potential powder keg".
He said: "The one thing that would probably lead [groups] to armed resistance is if the government did try to confiscate weapons, but that was what finally led to fighting in the American Revolution".
Mike Vanderboegh, a former militia leader and founder of a vociferous gun rights group called the Three Percenters, pointed to a huge increase in sales of ammunition, many of it to new gun owners.
"This is far larger than Obama. It speaks to an existential fear of societal collapse," he said.
He said group members were looking for "practical self-defence", whether from "predatory government or street-level crime".
If the government carried out "another Waco" - the 1993 storming of a cult's Texas ranch, in which 76 occupants died - "you'd see a reaction bloody beyond belief", he added.
Heidi Beirich, a co-author of the SPLC's militia research, said the groups were characterised by "a lot of conspiracy mongering, gun nuttery and fear of a new world order that they think is controlling the US".
Conservatives have accused the SPLC and other monitoring groups of exaggerating the threat posed by such groups, although a Department of Homeland Security report in April voiced fears about rising extremism.
Mr Rhodes said his group's internet forum had 11,000 members. Its 10-point oath includes pledges not to disarm fellow Americans or force citizens into "any form of detention camps".
Mr Rhodes said: "I don't want to take it for granted that the destruction of the republic can't happen here." He said he had also attacked encroaching federal power under the Bush administration, adding: "They're refusing to acknowledge the fundamental American libertarian streak that says, 'We don't care who's in power, we don't like the expansion of executive power.'"
Jonathan White, a former police officer and academic who advises both the FBI and government on terrorism, said he was less worried by the threat from the organised patriot groups than from "lone wolf" individuals who would tend to dismiss militias as "a joke".
Richard Poplawski, a Pittsburgh man who shot dead three police officers in April, complained to friends that the government was infringing gun rights.
Year of industrial unrest looms as public sector braces for spending cuts
Threat of strike ballots over modernisation and pay further strains relations between unions and management
Caroline Davies, Tim Webb and Neil Roberts
31 December 2009
Postal workers on a picket line before industrial action was suspended for talks to pick up in the new year. Photograph: Graham Turner
Britain is ushering in the new year with the threat of widespread unrest as civil servants, tube drivers and rail workers are poised to ballot on strike action.
After a year of factory occupations, indefinite walkouts, postal misery and the debacle of the strike ballot by 12,000 British Airways cabin crew, there is a sense of heightening industrial militancy.
Now, relations between unions and management look likely to be further tested. The Public and Commercial Services union is set to ballot its 270,000 members this month, threatening disruption at jobcentres, revenue and customs, immigration, the coastguard and other bodies in a dispute over redundancy terms.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport workers is threatening to ballot 10,000 London Underground workers over pay. It is also locked in dispute with Network Rail over the future of 1,500 track maintenance jobs. The union has ordered a ballot in the new year for industrial action over compulsory redundancies. General secretary Bob Crow said job cuts were "a reckless gamble with rail safety which would create the perfect conditions for another Hatfield, Paddington, Potters Bar or Grayrigg disaster."
Meanwhile, 121,000 postal workers, who called off Christmas walkouts but whose strike mandate remains live, are continuing talks with Royal Mail over modernisation plans. As the year progresses, however, experts predict it will be the public sector that bears the jobs brunt.
"We ain't seen nothing yet in terms of the depth of public spending savings that need to be achieved," said John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI. "I think the period of maximum pain, in terms of public spending reduction, is still some way off. If there was a change in government, then changes in public spending are not going to happen immediately. And the current government is clearly nailing its flag to the mast of not cutting in a way that would put recovery at risk.
So the moment of maximum peril probably isn't 2010. It is rather more 2011. I think we'll see the biggest challenges with industrial relations at the point when public sector jobs are challenged."
He said there were differences between private sector culture, where many workplaces were not unionised and there was cooperative spirit over short-time working and pay freezes, and the public sector where "the response to a challenge tends to become adversarial".
Winter of Discontent comparisons, likening the wave of militancy to that of the late 70s and early 80s, are not an approriate analogy, according to Ed Sweeney, chairman of the conciliation service Acas.
Union membership stands at about 7m, half that of the 1980s, though three-fifths of public sector jobs are unionised. Manufacturing has declined, and with it union muscle. Indeed, Acas saw a small decrease last year in the number of disputes.
But the size of disputes and the numbers involved, has increased. Acas sees the public sector as the likely flashpoint. "We are getting ready for ... potential for job losses, pay freezes and the impact that has on the temperature of employer/employee relations," said Sweeney.
Last year, wildcat strikes on construction and industrial sites were sparked by the hiring of foreign labour at the Lindsey oil refinery. In October workers rejected an offer from employers which they said did not stop them being undercut by cheaper - and often more skilled - foreign workers.
Dougie Rooney, energy national officer for the union Unite, said: "The problem of foreign labour has not been completely sorted. It's all about jobs, training and opportunities. Pay comes second. People want security and steady earnings."
With some £200bn of investment required to build energy infrastructure such as nuclear reactors and wind farms by 2020, the issue of foreign labour is unlikely to go away. In the pre-budget report this month, the Government announced more funding for training and internships, particularly for hi-tech manufacturers. But Rooney said that more needed to be done, and soon, to make sure that British workers have the right skills to benefit from new infrastructure projects.
Efrat rabbi retracts praise for 'Rabbi Jesus' over Orthodox ire
By Raphael Ahren
Defending himself from scathing criticism for a video in which he refers to Jesus as "a model rabbi," a well-respected Anglo rabbi said this week that while his terminology was "inappropriate," the poorly edited video mauled his message. The current incident is the second time this year that Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the New York-born Orthodox rabbi of Efrat, had to clarify a controversial statement regarding Jewish-Christian relations.
In the video, Riskin says he has been "truly fascinated by the personality of Jesus, whom certainly to myself I have always referred to as Rabbi Jesus" ever since taking a university course about the gospels. "Because I think he is indeed a model rabbi in many counts and he lived the life of a Jewish rabbi in Israel in a very critical time in our history. And I have constantly come back to the study of his personality and his teachings, which are very strongly rooted in Talmudic teachings."
Several Orthodox Jewish Web sites reported about the 5-minute video. Calling it "shocking," the U.S.-based Yeshiva World News wrote that, while "according to a growing number of followers Rabbi Riskin has adopted a controversial position on Christianity - this latest video will prove to be the 'straw that broke the camel's back' according to many, and time will dictate the ramifications of this highly irregular documented statement of this highly respected rabbi's views on 'J[esus].'" Some readers commented online that Riskin's statements do not contradict Jewish theology and are in line with a revisionist view of Jesus. Others accused him of "heresy" and "demanded he be "be stripped of his clergy status at once, and banned from his community."
Back in June, Riskin was criticized for a video circulated by the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, in which he is heard saying that "it is critical that we resurrect God in this generation." After some Web sites suggested the video espoused heretical views, Riskin "immediately retracted the word 'resurrect,'" according to the Israel National News Web site. The rabbi admitted "it was definitely the wrong choice of words," the site reported. "I do recall, however, explaining afterwards - and this part was not shown on the video - that we have to rescue G-d."
In response to the current outrage, Riskin issued a statement Wednesday saying the video was "edited carelessly and posted on YouTube by an organization that omitted a significant part of my message." He explained, "The fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity, which I always emphasize in my talks with Christian groups, were completely absent from the edited version."
Riskin says that a segment was edited out of the film during which he "made specific reference to the fact that Jews can never accept Jesus as the Messiah" and that he "regret[s]" putting himself in a position where his words could be manipulated.
His "Rabbi Jesus" comment referred to the historical Jesus - who was not a "Christian" but a committed Jew, Riskin added, apparently alluding to the theory that Jesus' legacy was later falsified by the Apostle Paul. He referred to the historical personage as a "Rabbi Jesus" to illustrate that point, he said. "While I refer to Jesus poetically as 'Rabbi' Jesus, he was not a rabbi in the classical sense of the term. It was used only to explain to a Christian audience the Jewish Jesus, and in hindsight, the term was an inappropriate one to use."
Pictured: The amazing wall of ice that makes Britain look more like Narnia
By Daily Mail Reporter -
02nd January 2010
The big freeze has sparked chaos and treacherous conditions for millions of Britons since it set in over the festive season.
But it has also produced some incredible wintry scenes more akin to the pages of C.S. Lewis's classic Narnia books.
This amazing wall of ice in Teesdale, County Durham, has left walkers venturing out across the fields for some fresh air stunned.
Towering: A walker admires a giant wall of icicles in Teesdale, Cumbria
Icicles cling from the overhanging shrubbery and stretch around 15ft to the floor into freezing water below.
One walker reached out a hand to touch the thick icy shards which dangle down like vast stalactites, with the sheet of ice stretching far above her.
Others shrouded in woolly hats, scarves and coats positioned themselves a few yards away to get the full effect, and made sure to capture the image on their cameras.
Two weeks of heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures have left much of the North of England and Scotland looking like a winter wonderland.
Wrapped up warm: People swathed in scarves and gloves admire the icicle wall
Ski resorts in Scotland are enjoying one of their best ever seasons thanks to the sustained snow, with thousands visiting their slopes over the holiday.
Forecasters have warned that the big freeze is set to continue for the first half of January after what was the coldest December in more than a decade.
They warn temperatures could plunge as low as -15C in some parts of Scotland and northern England over the next few days.
Polar Bear: I come in peace....Unbelievable
Norbert Rosing's striking images of a wild polar bear coming upon tethered sled dogs in the wilds of Canada's Hudson Bay. The photographer was sure that he was going to see the end of his dogs when the polar bear wandered in.
It's hard to believe that this polar bear only needed to hug someone!
The Polar Bear returned every night that week to play with the dogs.
Getting Up After You've Been Knocked Down
by Tim Stafford, FaithInTheWorkplace, January 2010
A friend of mine--I'll call him Jack--got knocked down, run over, and ground into the dirt by everything the world could throw at him. It started when he injured his back while operating heavy equipment. That led to a series of health problems that have kept him out of work for most of the last ten years. He is in constant pain, and doctors can't figure out how to help him.
The pain is bad enough, but the reality of living off his wife's income, unable to work, is worse. It hurts his pride.
Then there's the frustration that Jack's friends transmit to him. Get sick for a month, and people will fall all over themselves trying to help. Get sick for a year, and the line thins out considerably. Get sick for ten years, and you'll find that people get impatient. How could you be so thoughtless?
What I admire about Jack is this: he keeps coming back. Sometimes he gets a hangdog look on his face, like he's sick of himself being sick, embarrassed to show up in public. I find it painful to look at him when he's like that. But just when I think he's gone under, he starts smiling again, cracks a joke, talks about a new doctor he's going to try, and he's back on his feet again.
You knock him down, he gets back up.
I'm thankful I don't face Jack's difficulties. We all get knocked down, though. At work, for example. We put our performance on the line, and it gets evaluated--sometimes brutally. Maybe worse, we get ignored. We get knocked down. We have to get up on our feet again.
When you're down, you can't always talk yourself into standing up straight again. A pep talk doesn't do it. What do you need? You need a friend to believe in you when you can't believe in yourself.
You also need integrity. Integrity means you act the same whether you are down or up. It means you see something greater and stronger than the troubles of the day. Integrity is deep water running underneath the bouncing rapids of the surface.
Integrity means living by principles, the same principles in all seasons.
Integrity stems from a vision of what is worth living for. It is precisely why Paul encouraged the Philippians to focus their thoughts on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy" (4:8). Pondering such thoughts--the Bible is full of them--draws you to integrity, and gives you the strength to get up on your feet again.
It has been said that victory is getting up one more time than falling down. So, if we are down, it is just a matter of getting up one more time, and if we know Jesus, and have a close relationship with Him, we have a great advantage for the Bible says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)
As far as having the encouragement of a friend in times of trouble, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 states; "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow."
So, Lord help us to seek help when we need it, and to be a help to those in need.
Until next week...
"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."