May 24, 2011

Israeli Prime Minister Addresses Congress

A true leader and a man of principle, Binyamin Netanyahu, made the rounds in the USA, giving a speech before Congress and a speech before the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committees). His speech combined the depth of intellect and passion for freedom that is missing from modern day politicians. His truthful assessment is a refreshing voice of reason in the midst of a world of chaos. His leadership and honest defense of freedom sorely represents a good change of pace shall we say from the deception and lies that have been typically coming from the podium in front of congress.

Israeli Prime Minister Addresses Congress with both videos and excerpts from his speech:

Excerpt from CPAN:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Capitol Hill today meeting with members of Congress and delivered an address to a Joint Meeting of Congress.

During his speech to Congress P.M. Netanyahu stated, "As President Obama said, borders will be different than 1967. Israel will not return to 'indefensible' borders." He added "It's absolutely vital that a Palestinian state be demilitarized."

He suggested that Israel is "willing" to advance the negotiations but must "make painful compromises" for peace.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Netanyahu and Congressional Leaders also held a briefing with reporters following the joint meeting.

To members of AIPAC last night, Netanyahu said, "Israel cannot return to the indefensible 1967 line," which President Obama said is the foundation for negotiation.

Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress on Tuesday.

Some Highlights:

"Israel is America's Un-wavering ally"
"You don't need to send troops to Israel, we defend ourselves"
"Israel is not what is WRONG about the middle east, Israel is what is RIGHT about the middle east"
"300 million Arabs in the Middle east--and 1/2 of 1% are living in freedom and democracy and they are all in Israel"

Speech given before the AIPAC on Friday.

Good Summary of his speech from Israeli National News:

Netanyahu in Congress: Jerusalem Must Remain Undivided

Israel is the only country that has guaranteed freedom of all faiths in Jerusalem, which must remain undivided, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Congress Tuesday. In unusually strong language, he told members of Congress that Judea and Samaria are part of the ancient Jewish homeland that our forefathers walked in and that the 650,000 Jews living there "are not ‘occupying’ the region.” He strongly criticized the changed versions of history that are being promoted by others.

Interrupted dozens of times by standing ovations, after minutes-long applause as he entered the chamber, Netanyahu also said that there are 300 million Arabs in the MIddle East, but the only ones who are free are Israeli citizens.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu noted in his opening remarks that the "ground is still shifting” in the Middle East and that the uprisings in the Muslim countries represent people’s demands for liberty.

He thanked the United States for helping Israel reach its defense capabilities despite the “tough” economy. He jokingly said that the United States doesn't have to help build Israel--it is already built. More seriously, he said that the United States doesn't have to send soldiers to defend Israel, because Israel defends itself.

The Prime Minister did not change any of his policies, and put paid to rumors that he was going to announce new concessions. He expressed his policies in down-to-earth and homey language that clearly enthused the legislators. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was on the podium to receive him. U.S. President Barack Obama was on his way back to the United States from a visit to Ireland.

He jokingly noted that Israel is larger than the Delaware, Biden’s home state, and larger than Rhode Island, “but that’s about it.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu remarked that the length of the Washington Beltway is larger than the width of the Israel that the Palestinian Authority demands, which would be only 9 miles, hardly "strategic depth"..

He made it clear that he is willing to agree to borders for a Palestinian Authority country that would place some Jews outside of Israel’s borders, but did not mention that this would be only in settlement blocs and gave the impression of giving up less, rather than more.

Netanyahu also stressed that the borders must be negotiated because Israel “will not return to the indefensible borders of 1967.” He relied on his interpretation of U.S. President Barack Obama’s statement that any future borders of Israel will not be identical with the 1949 Armistice Lines that existed until the Six-Day War in 1967. He repeated his insistence that the Jordan River have an Israeli Army presence, remarking that in the MIddle East, peace depends on the ability to defend oneself.

The president has called for “land swaps,” a concept that Prime Minister Netanyahu did not mention and one which has little chance of getting off the ground because Israeli Arabs have little interest in giving up their freedom and economic security as Israeli citizens.

The vast majority of Jews living beyond the 1949-1967 borders live in greater Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv,” the Prime Minister said in his address. “These areas and other places of historic, strategic and national importance will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel," he asserted.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also buried the issue of “refugees,” meaning the Arabs who either fled Israel in the wars in 1948 and 1967, or their descendants.

"Jews around the world have a right to immigrant to the only Jewish state, and Arabs around the world should have the right to immigrate to a Palestinian state.” he told Congress.

In case anyone doubted his intentions, he added, “This means that the refugee problem will be solved outside the borders of Israel".

Repeating that the obstacle to peace is not the creation of a Palestinian State to which six successive Israeli Prime Ministers agreed, but the Palestinian acceptance of the existence of a Jewish State, Netanyahu called to Abbas to tell Palestinians clearly that Israel has a right to exist. Meanwhile, he said, incitement continues in PA school curricula, squares are named after terrorists and the only reward Israel got for leaving Lebanon and Gaza was 12,000 rockets fired at its children.

"Imagine a siren sounding and giving you 60 seconds to find shelter before a missile strikes. You couldn't live with that. No one can live with that, " he said emphatically, adding, "Israel is not what is wrong in the Middle East. Israel is the only thing that is right in the MIddle East."

May 23, 2011

Why All the Natural Disasters? Where is God in all this?


Why do terrible natural disasters—earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, volcanic eruptions, and disease—occur, and do they come from the hand of God? What kind of God would let such things happen, or be directly involved in them? What kind of control does God have over creation?

The key answer here can be summed up in one word: SIN. Without it, we have a world free of suffering, free of pain, and free of natural disasters. With it, we must deal with its consequences. The reason we question God when disasters strike? Mainly, because we are appealing to a universal law that guides the world, and we want to know why it is broken-and innately assuming that God has let it become broken when it is in fact us that has strayed.

CS Lewis once said, "You cannot tell a crooked line from a straight one." When we cry out for answers, we assume something is wrong, terribly wrong. That feeling is a natural appeal to a universal law that governs the universe.

Another way to tackle the question is the following badger back and forth:

Q: Why is there so much evil in the world?

A: If there is such a thing as evil, there must be such a thing as good.

A2: If there is such a thing as good, there must be something above, namely a moral law, to differentiate between that which is good and evil (The crooked line from the straight line).

A3: If there is a moral law, must there not be a moral law giver? Yet that is what one is trying to disprove and not prove by asking the initial question.

Natural Disasters that destroy people, their lives, and homes were not initially in God's plan for mankind. SIN initiated the flood that wiped out mankind and SIN is what leads to the natural disasters we see today. Whether or not that disaster is an act of judgment of a holy God or a result of nature gone bad is another issue. Regardless, our initial reaction of questioning God is really an acknowledgment that God exists and his will for creation has been violated.

The following Seminary Article may provide some additional answers on the topic.

USA Natural Disasters 2011

The Rumblings continue all over as creation continues to groan and travail in pain (Romans 8:22) in preparation for the birth of the Messiah. The most recent catastrophe to strike the USA has been in the form of the Tornado. The strikes of these Tornado's have been so quick, not even the most modern warning systems have been able to work in time to warn residents.

2011 Natural Disasters:

May 2011: Tornadoes---350 Dead
Midwest Tornadoes and Severe Weather May 2010 An outbreak of tornadoes, hail, and severe thunderstorms occurred across several Midwest states (OK, KS, TX) in mid-May. Oklahoma was hardest hit with more than $1.5 billion in damages. Total losses exceeded $3.0 billion in damages/costs; 350 deaths. Special Report

This list documents the top deadly natural disasters in the USA of all time. The deadliest? The Galveston hurricane of 1900 hitting Texas.

Deadliest Year Ever for Tornadoes in USA:

(Reuters) - The tornado that raked Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday was the deadliest single twister in the United States since 1953, putting 2011 on pace for a possible record year for tornado fatalities, weather experts said on Monday.

Here are facts and figures about the Joplin tornado and its place in the weather record, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service:

* The Joplin tornado of May 22 was the deadliest U.S. tornado since 1953, with 116 people confirmed dead as of Monday, tying fatalities in a major tornado that hit Flint, Michigan in 1953.

* This is the eighth-deadliest tornado year on record in the United States, with 481 people killed. This year is now on pace for the full year to set a record for tornado fatalities, according to U.S. records.

* April was a record month for the number of U.S. tornadoes, with 875; the previous monthly record was 267, set in 1974, but this was before the advent of technologies like Doppler radar, mobile electronics and the Internet, which all ease tornado tracking and reporting.

* There was an average of 24 minutes between the time a tornado warning was issued for Joplin and the time the tornado hit. This compares to a national average of 14 minutes. Outlooks for severe weather were issued three days in advance.

* The Joplin tornado was an EF-4 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Winds reached 190-198 miles an hour. An EF-4 tornado is capable of causing extreme damage, with well-constructed and whole frame houses leveled; cars and other large objects thrown and small missiles generated. An EF-5 tornado is capable of total destruction.

ABC News Video on the Rise in Frequency of Tornadoes

Some cool pics illustrating the effects of disasters on the US:

Other cool maps can be found at the National Climate Data Center.

Recent World-Wide Natural Disasters:

2011: Japanese Earthquake-----15,000 Dead
9.0 Magnitude earthquake on March 11th in Japan leaves 15,000 people dead. Result is a minor depression as economy contracts 5 percent in 1st quarter of 2011 and with devastation bringing estimates that it could take up to 5 years to rebuild the country.

2010 Haiti Earthquake-----300,000 Dead
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake. The earthquake on 12 January 2010. By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake. The Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. The government of Haiti also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.
2005: Hurricane Katrina USA-----1,800 Dead
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall. At least 1,836 people died in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane; total property damage was estimated at $ 81 billion, nearly triple the damage wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
2004 Southeast Asia Tsunami-----230,000 Dead
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred on December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The resulting tsunami is given various names, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Asian Tsunami, Indonesian Tsunami, and Boxing Day Tsunami. The earthquake was caused by subduction and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high. Indonesia was the hardest hit, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. With a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, it is the third largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. This earthquake had the longest duration of about 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 cm (0.4 inches)and triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska.
2001 Gujarat India Earthquake-----30,000 Dead
The 2001 Gujarat earthquake occurred on January 26, 2001, India's 51st Republic Day. The earthquake reached a magnitude of between 7.6 and 7.7 on the magnitude scale. The quake killed around 20,000 people, injured another 167,000 and destroyed nearly 400,000 homes. It affected 21 districts displaced 600,000 people.
A photo gallery of the worst natural disasters of all time is available to check out.

May 20, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse

With the world falling apart all around us, why not? Zombie Armageddon? Apparently it is a serious threat, at least in the mind of our government officials. Prepare for the Zombie's!

From the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a report on how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

In a blog post, Rear Admiral Ali S Khan, assistant surgeon general and director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, provides a brief history of the zombie and explains the dos and don'ts of coping with the phenomenon, which has morphed from its origins in Haiti and New Orleans voodoo culture – where innocent people were hypnotized by sorcerers – into a recurring movie plot where reanimated corpses serve the undead.

Rear Admiral Ali S Khan

Rear Admiral Khan: Zombie Hunter

The former is not that much of a big deal – those zombies are just like Apple fanbois, which are harmless – but Khan insists that the latter is a cause for concern. "The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen," he says. "In such a scenario, zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder 'How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?'"

Admiral Khan was not at liberty to discuss the secret plans the US government has for nuking zombies as they attack cities, but he did want to make sure we all know what we can do to survive should an Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome break out in our neighborhoods and towns.

May 19, 2011

President calls for dividing up Israel and return to 1967 Borders

The Map of the borders Pre-1967:

Graphic From Causes of 1967 War

It has never been a wise decision to come out against Israel.

Genesis 12:3-- "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse"

Yet America now ventures down the path of God's judgment as the President has come out against the freedom of Israel to exist in a land of hatred for their very existence. Israel is surrounded by enemies as an Islamic Caliphate is forming all around them. Israel needs our prayer and support, not our dictates that they relinquish their right to defend themselves.

From the most recent news reports:

WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) — President Barack Obama is endorsing the Palestinians’ demand for their future state to be based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war, in a move that will likely infuriate Israel. Israel says the borders of a Palestinian state have to be determined through negotiations.

In a speech outlining U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa, Obama on Thursday sided with the Palestinians’ opening position a day ahead of a visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is vehemently opposed to referring to the 1967 borders.

“So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel,” Obama’s prepared remarks said. “The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state. ”

Until Thursday, the U.S. position had been that the Palestinian goal of a state based on the 1967 borders, with agreed land swaps, should be reconciled with Israel’s desire for a secure Jewish state through negotiations.

In addition, a strong word from Joel (the Book of the Bible and the Author of this piece Joel Rosenberg).

Do not divide the Land of Israel — In my message about the final chapter of the Book of Joel, I explained the warning to the nations that the Lord gives. I focused in particular on Joel 3:2 (which is 4:2 in the Hebrew Bible) in which the Lord says, “I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.” The Bible is very clear: the Lord is going to judge all the nations for dividing up the Land of Israel. Let the United Nations and the United States and the European Union and the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government itself be warned. What appears like wisdom to the world — carving up the State of Israel like a Thanksgiving turkey — is direct disobediance to the Word of God and will trigger the most severe divine judgment. This is a hard truth for many to hear and to hold, particularly for Palestinian Arabs and others in the epicenter. But we do Israel’s Arab friends and enemies no favors by denying, obfuscating or trying to explain away the clear teaching of the Lord found in the Scriptures. We must teach the truth. We must do so gently and lovingly, but we must also be clear and firm.

May 9, 2011

Who is God and Magog?

Consider this post Joel Rosenberg's Blog: This about covers it.

Over the next few days, I’ll share with you some of my notes. Today, let’s start by defining who “Gog” and “Magog” are, when this prophecy will take place, and what countries will be participating in the coalition against Israel:

  1. The Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel lived in Babylon (Iraq) more than 2,500 years ago and the Lord gave him a vision of events that would take place in the future.
  2. Ezekiel 38:16 specifically tells us these events will take place in the “last days” — that is in the End Times before the Messiah comes to set up His kingdom on earth.
  3. Ezekiel chapters 36 and 37 set the stage for the “War of Gog and Magog” by describing that Israel will be reborn as a country in the last days, the Jewish people will come back to the Holy Land from exile all over the world, the Jewish people will rebuild the ancient ruins and make the deserts bloom again. These things have all happened, and this suggests we are getting closer to the fulfillment of the next set of prophecies.
  4. Ezekiel 38:2 tells us that the war will be led be someone known as “Gog.” This is not a personal name. We’re not looking for someone named David Gog. Or Ahmed Gog. Or Dmitri Gog. Rather, “Gog” is a title, like a “Pharoah” or a “Czar.” Through the prophecy, this Gog is described as a military leader, a political leader, and a coalition builder. In Ezekiel 38:10 he is described as developing an “evil plan,” we know this is an evil man, a tyrant.
  5. The Hebrew prophet gives us more clues. This “Gog” is going to be from the “land of Magog.” One has to do some historical detective work to determine what Magog is, but it is possible. Flavius Josephus, the first century Roman historian, wrote in his famous book, The Antiquities of the Jews, that the people of Magog are the people whom the Greeks called “Scythians.” This is a critical clue because we know from history that the Scythians were a people group that migrated from the Middle East northward and settled north of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the region we know today as Russia and the former Soviet Republics.
  6. There are other interesting clues, as well. Ezekiel 38:15 says that Gog “will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north.” Ezekiel 39:2 says Gog will come “from the remotest parts of the north” and come “against the mountains of Israel.” The country that is farthest to the north in relation to Israel is Russia.
  7. Thus, we can determine that a Russian dictator will build a diplomatic and military coalition to surround and attack the State of Israel in the End Times.
  8. The question then is what other countries will be part of the coalition?
  9. In Ezekiel 38:5, we learn that the first ally Russia will have is “Persia.” Until 1935, of course, Persia was the legal name of the country we know today as Iran. So we know that Russia and Iran will build an alliance in the last days to attack Israel.
  10. Ezekiel tells us that another country in the alliance will be what many English Bible translate as “Ethiopia.” The Hebrew word, however, is “Cush” and Cush is the upper Nile region that we now know as Sudan. While the current state of Ethiopia may also be involved in the war, the focus is really Sudan, which today, of course, is a radical Islamic Sunni state closely allied with Iran and Russia and deeply anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.
  11. Next, Ezekiel says a nation called “Put” will be part of the alliance. Josephus identifies “Put” as “ancient Lybios” — the territory that today we call Libya and Algeria. Interestingly, both countries today are deeply hostile to Israel and closely allied with Russia.
  12. The next country mentioned is “Gomer.” When one does the historical detective work, one learns that Gomer is what we now call Turkey. For much of the past 80 years, it didn’t make sense that Turkey would turn against Israel. Why? Because Turkey was a NATO ally, and a friend of Israel, the U.S. and the European Union. But in the last few years, the Turkish government has swung dramatically away from the West, towards Russia and Iran, and become deeply hostile towards the State of Israel.
  13. The next country Ezekiel mentions is “Beth Togarmah.” This is the Turkic-speaking peoples that spread out from Turkey across the Causasus, and across Central Asia. We can’t be certain precisely which modern nation states from this area will join the anti-Israel alliance, because these are almost all Muslim countries with close links to Russia and Iran.
  14. Interestingly, Egypt is not mentioned by Ezekiel as part of the Russian-Iranian alliance against Israel. This is interesting because Egypt has been such an historic enemy of Israel and the Jewish people. That said, perhaps Egypt’s non-involvement in the War of Gog and Magog could be explained by the peace treaty Egypt signed with Israel in 1979. This treaty is now in danger of unraveling, but at least for the near term Egypt is still unlikely to be in a position to strategically threaten Israel.
  15. Iraq — whether under its biblical names of Babel, Babylon, Babylonia, Shinar, or Mesopotamia — isn’t mentioned in the prophecy either, yet it, too, is an historic enemy of Israel. Still, given the liberation of Iraq in 2003, the subsequent violence, and the rebuilding now going on, Iraq is not likely to be a threat to Israel in the near term.
  16. Syria and Lebanon are not mentioned by named in the prophecy either. However, Ezekiel tells us repeatedly that the main military force that will be coming against Israel will be coming from the north, which means they will be coming through Lebanon and Syria.

May 7, 2011

Men of Faith

Quotes from four humble men of faith who gave it all for the one that gave it all for them.

Jim Elliot:
"He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"
Eric Liddell:
"Complete Surrender"
William Borden:
"No Reserve. No Retreat. No Regrets"
Charles Studd:
"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him."

  • Jim Elliot left all to serve Christ in Ecuador only to die as a Martyr at age 29.
  • Eric Liddell gave up fame and fortune in England after winning the gold in the 1924 Olympics to serve the Lord in China. Eric died at age 43 in a Japanese prison camp.
  • William Borden was set to inherit millions from his father who owned one of the largest food products companies in America in 1900. Instead, Borden at the age of 25 gave it all up, including his degree at Yale and left to spread the love of Christ to the people of Egypt. He died en route.
  • Finally, Charles Studd, an Englishman who inherited $145,000 (Aprox $3,500,000 in 2011 dollars) gave it all away at the age of 25 and sailed off to China with $5 and lived in poverty the rest of his life, sharing Christ with those in China and Africa. His work in Africa sparked a world wide evangelical crusade & part of the money he gave away went to DL Moody, who used it to start the Moody Bible Institute.
These incredible men gave up their lives in honor of the man they came to call their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We're living forever--meaning our time on earth is 0 Time when we compare it to eternity. These men gave it all. They sacrificed. They changed lives for eternity. Reading these testimony's places climbing the corporate ladder a little further down the list of priorities and makes me shed a tear when I consider just how un-worthy I am compared to these men.

For detailed reads of their biography:

Jim Elliot Biography

Eric Liddell Biography

William Borden Biography

Charles Studd Biography

Other famous men's bio's such as D.L. Moody can be found here

Comic Relief

Ocean of Tumult

The most recent Japan Earthquake has left the Pacific Ocean roaring.

"Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling."

Psalm 46:2-3

We all watched as the Japanese tsunami swept cars, machinery, and houses into the ocean this past March, but it took a couple scientists obsessed with the ocean’s currents to ask: Where is all of that stuff going to end up?

Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner at the University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center have developed computer models that predict the debris’ path. Maximenko is the scientist whose models accurately predicted where three of the world’s five great ocean garbage patches would be found, so the guy understands how the ocean’s currents carry around our crap.

Turns out the tsunami debris is going to move in a plume eastward across the Pacific Ocean. As anyone who’s ever crossed it can attest, the Pacific is really, really big, so it will take a full two years for this parade of disaster detritus to dump onto the Hawaiian Islands. In three years it reaches the West Coast of the U.S., where it’s predicted to barrage beaches from Baja to Alaska. And then things get even stranger. Whatever doesn’t wash up on land will then drift back west and eventually join up with the infamous North Pacific Garbage Patch, one of the world ocean’s more popular gathering places for the junk humans throw into rivers, onto beaches, and off fishing and cruise ships.

After milling about here for a couple of years and gradually breaking down into bits that no longer resemble houses and cars, it will head out for one final hurrah and wash up on the beaches and reefs of Hawaii again five years from now. And that secondary blast of trash will be worse than the first, even if the garbage will be more degraded at that point.

It’s quite a voyage, and one that will add plenty of debris to the world’s floating dumps that already cause plenty of trouble for sea life, fishing and cargo boats, and those random crazy people who try to do things like paddling across the Pacific.

The largest plume of debris is reportedly 69 miles long and covers nearly a square mile, according to the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, which has been tracking the trash. NOAA is also tracking the flow of refuse via satellite. Unfortunately just tracking the mess isn’t quite good enough, though a study by Oregon State University’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences sadly suggests that cleaning up all the plastic in the ocean would be difficult, introduce hundreds of times more carbon into the climate than polycarbonate it could possibly remove, and would likely endanger microorganisms in the process. What about recovering any larger debris dispersed from Japan? It’s still in the thinking stages, but was a topic of discussion at the International Marine Debris Conference in Hawaii, where Maximenko and Hafner presented their findings.

In the mean time, there’s another problem on land in Japan, beyond that nuclear issue. The tsunami and earthquake resulted in 24 million metric tons of debris, which represents roughly half of Japan’s annual trash output.

May 6, 2011

Is God glad Osama is Dead?

From John Piper's Desiring God Blog, a good summary on the emotional side of God and how God views vengeance and the death of the unrighteous.


God’s emotions are complex—like yours, only a million times more. Right now, your emotions about bin Laden are not simple, i.e. not single. There are several, and they intermingle. That is a good thing. You are God-like.

In response to Osama bin Laden’s death, quite a few tweets and blogs have cited the biblical truth that “God does not delight in the death of the wicked.” That is true.

It is also true that God does delight in the death of the wicked. There are things about every death that God approves in themselves and things about every death that God disapproves in themselves.

Is God Double-Minded?

This is not double talk. All thoughtful people make such distinctions. For example, if my daughter asks me if I like a movie, I might say yes or no to the same movie. Why? Because a movie can be assessed for its 1) acting, 2) plot, 3) cinematography, 4) nudity, 5) profanity, 6) suspense, 7) complexity, 8) faithfulness to the source, 9) reverence for God, 10) accurate picture of human nature, etc., etc., etc.

So my answer is almost always “yes, in some ways, and no in other ways.” But sometimes I will simply say yes, and sometimes no, because of extenuating circumstances.

Here is why I say God approves and disapproves the death of Osama bin Laden:

In one sense, human death is not God’s pleasure:

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? . . . For I do not pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live. (Ezekiel 18:23, 32).

In another sense, the death and judgment of the unrepentant is God’s pleasure:

Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. (Ezekiel 5:13]

[Wisdom calls out:] Because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you. (Proverbs 1:25–26)

Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her! (Revelation 18:20)

As the Lord took delight in doing you good . . . so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. (Deuteronomy 28:63)

We should not cancel out any of these passages but think our way through to how they can all be true.

God is Not Malicious or Bloodthirsty

My suggestion is that the death and misery of the unrepentant is in and of itself not a pleasure to God. God is not a sadist. He is not malicious or bloodthirsty. The death and suffering considered for itself alone is not his delight.

Rather, when a rebellious, wicked, unbelieving person is judged, what God has pleasure in is the exaltation of truth and righteousness, and the vindication of his own honor and glory. (For further discussion of God’s heart in judgment see the section in The Pleasures of God called “How Is God Like George Washington?”, pp. 147–149.)

When Moses warns Israel that the Lord will take pleasure in bringing ruin upon them and destroying them if they do not repent (Deuteronomy 28:63), he means that those who have rebelled against the Lord and moved beyond repentance will not be able to gloat that they have made the Almighty miserable.

God is not defeated in the triumphs of his righteous judgment. Quite the contrary. Moses says that when they are judged they will unwittingly provide an occasion for God to rejoice in the demonstration of his justice and his power and the infinite worth of his glory (see also Romans 9:22–23).

A Warning

Let this be a warning to us: God is not mocked. He is not trapped or cornered or coerced. Even on the way to Calvary he had legions of angels at his disposal: “No one takes my life from me; I lay it down of my own accord”—of his own good pleasure, for the joy that was set before him.

At the one point in the history of the universe where God looked trapped, he was in charge, doing precisely what he pleased—dying to justify the ungodly like you and me.

(Adapted from The Pleasures of God, pp. 66-74.)

May 3, 2011

What is Armageddon all about?

The Kings of the East have been prophesied to march upon the valley of Megiddo to clash in the final and most epic battle of all time, otherwise known as the battle of Armageddon. But why here of all places on earth? and why the battle in the first place, what's it about?

In one word: Oil

Read Daniel 11:24, a passage speaking on the future antichrist:
"He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest (or fattest) places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time."
  • The word Richest or Fattest comes from the root of the word Oil.
  • The word Province translates as the word Medina.
From this passage it becomes clear that the Antichrist will come and rule from a place where oil is from, ie the Middle-East, so Megeddo for starters is close in proximity to where he will rule. The word Medina could be referring to the Median desert or even the city of Medina, Saudi Arabia where the founder of Islam Mohammad is buried.

The Antichrist will be controlling the oil. Therefore, for some reason or another, the Kings of the East will be forced to march toward the middle east--they need the oil! As they march, they will cross the Euphrates river which scriptures states will dry up in the latter days, and then eventually meet up to fight against the Antichrist's army in the Valley of Megiddo.

So why the battle of Armageddon? The battle--a necessary fight to secure most important resource on earth that is in short supply and tightly controlled by the world leader. Thus, the Kings of the East march their million man army west eventually meeting near the Antichrist's headquarters, Jerusalem.

Author and Preacher Perry Stone presents a great video on the topic: Armageddon Video
The part on Megiddo and the Battle of Armageddon is near the half way mark.