Friday, November 17, 2017

War

Iraqi army takes Islamic State's last stronghold, Rawa - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The Iraqi army said Friday it's retaken the town of Rawa, the last Islamic State stronghold in the country.[...]  With support from local militias and airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition, forces entered Rawa Friday to little resistance, Iraqi commanders said. Friday afternoon the Iraqi army announced it had 'liberated Rawa completely.' [...] The Islamic State, which controlled one-third of Iraqi territory three years ago, is now reduced to a small part of Syria as its primary domain. It used to have Mosul, Fallujah and Tikrit as Iraqi strongholds."

Comment: The end of the Islamic State is near. One question, when all of the fighting is over in Syria, will all the foreign fighters peacefully depart? 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gospel Preached to All Nations

Museum of the Bible, built by Hobby Lobby owner, opens in DC - AP
The AP reports: "The $500 million museum includes pieces from the family’s collection from the Dead Sea Scrolls, towering bronze gates inscribed with text from the Gutenberg Bible and a soundscape of the 10 plagues, enhanced by smog and a glowing red light to symbolize the Nile turned to blood. It is an ambitious attempt to appeal simultaneously to people of deep faith and no faith, and to stand out amid the impressive constellation of museums in Washington. The Bible exhibits are so extensive that administrators say it would take days to see everything."

Comment: This is an excellent article to point out to your liberal friends who scoff at the idea of media bias. Sure, we all accept there is bias in news media platforms, after all, no one watches MSNBC and expects a conservative slant or watches Fox News and expects a liberal slant or tunes in to CNN and expects to hear good things about President Trump. We have become accustomed to biased news presented on television. But bias in the legacy news media is often harder to pin down and that's especially true when it comes to what they used to call the "newswire" services, outlets like the Associated Press and Routers news services. These kinds of services come closest to old school "just the facts" reporting. Yet, when you look closely there are examples of embedded cultural bias like the well documented bias educated Eastern liberals have towards organized religion.

Like a lawyer deposing a witness we are first given the facts of the case, a new museum has opened, but then the credibility of the witness is slowly attacked so that in the end, you start to suspect their motives. There is something fishy going on here.

So, this is where we are in America in the 21st Century. We live in a time when a wealthy celebrity (not naming names) can use his fortune to support a newfangled religion like Scientology but if a Christian entrepreneur uses his fortune to support his Christian faith it's presented as something sketchy. If you read between the lines of this article closely you see that the facts are presented clearly, that this is a privately funded museum that is going to great pains to present a book and not proselytize, that's clear, but the adept reader will note the underlying assumption that if they did attempt to do that it would somehow be bad. 

Here we are in the West, what was once quaintly called Christendom, and it's as if the reporter has discovered a new religion that is being pushed on the people by an eccentric millionaire and she is doing a public service by warning us of this strange and possibly dangerous religion. Don't be hoodwinked by the snake-oil salesman, the reporter seems to caution, there is definitely some scary religious evangelism going on here. Beware!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Rumors of War - Persia - Doomed Damascus

Israel fears Syria buffer will put Iran close to frontier - AP
The AP reports: "The official map included in a preliminary agreement that seeks to establish buffer zones in southwest Syria indicates that Iran-backed forces could deploy within several miles (kilometers) of the Israeli frontier — setting the stage for potential conflict between the bitter enemies. [...] Israeli leaders have repeatedly warned that they oppose a permanent military presence by Iran or its allies in postwar Syria. Officials have pushed for assurances from the international community that any Iranian-backed forces remain far from Israel’s border."

Comment: It's my understanding that Netanyahu went to Russia to tell Putin that a permanent Iranian presence in Syria was an Israeli red line. I think most observers understand that for Israel, a red line means action will be taken if the line is crossed.  This is a situation with great prophetic importance and deserves careful attention. 

Earthquakes

Quake in South Korea left 1,500 homeless, dozens injured - AP
The AP reports: "A 5.4 magnitude earthquake that was South Korea’s second-strongest in decades damaged infrastructure, injured dozens of people and left about 1,500 homeless, officials said Thursday. No deaths have been reported since the quake rattled the southeastern coastal region around the port city of Pohang on Wednesday afternoon. As of Thursday morning, 1,536 people had been forced to evacuate their homes and 57 people were injured, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said in a statement."

Comment: The ring of fire seems to be getting very active lately.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wickedness Increases

Gunman targets people at random in California town, kills 4 - AP
AP reports: "A gunman driving stolen vehicles and choosing his targets at random opened fire 'without provocation' in a tiny, rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing four people and wounding at least 10 others, including a student at an elementary school, before police shot him dead, authorities said."

Comment: Now that wicked people know that they can simply take out their rage and anger upon the world with random violence, no place is safe. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Rumors of War - Persia - Doomed Damascus

Iran building permanent military base in Syria - claim - BBC News
BBC News reports: "Iran is establishing a permanent military base inside Syria, a Western intelligence source has told the BBC. The Iranian military is said to have established a compound at a site used by the Syrian army outside El-Kiswah, 14 km (8 miles) south of Damascus. The report comes amid growing tensions over Iranian influence in Syria and across the region. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned that Iran wanted to establish itself militarily in Syria. 'Israel will not let that happen,' he said."

Comment: The proxy war currently ongoing between Saudi Arabia and Iran is one thing, and not to minimize it, but the prospect of getting Israel involved in fighting Iranian forces in Syria is like a prophetic tripwire. Things could happen very quickly. This is a situation that deserves careful attention. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Earthquake

Powerful earthquake on Iran-Iraq border kills more than 140 - AP
AP reports: "A powerful earthquake shook the Iran-Iraq border late Sunday, killing more than 140 people and injuring 860 in the mountainous region of Iran alone, state media there said. The Baghdad government did not immediately give word on damage or casualties in that country. The 7.3-magnitude quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at a depth of 23.2 kilometers (14.4 miles), a shallow depth that can have broader damage. Magnitude 7 earthquakes on their own are capable of widespread, heavy damage. The quake was felt as far west as the Mediterranean coast."

Comment: This is a very large earthquake, it's fortunate that it did not hit a major metropolitan area or the loss of life would have been much higher.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Persecution

British Kidnapped Missionary Dies, 3 Others Released by Armed Gang in Nigeria - Christian Post
The Christian Post reports: "A British Christian missionary has reportedly died while being held captive for three weeks in Nigeria by kidnappers. Three other missionaries held hostage were allowed to go free. The Telegraph reported on Monday that David Donovan, his wife, Shirley, and Alanna Carson have been flown back home to Britain after they were released by an armed gang in Nigeria's southern Delta region where they were held. The survivors are mourning their colleague, 57-year-old Ian Squire, who died while in captivity."

Comment: This is a tragic ending to this kidnapping story we noted a few weeks ago. Please join me in praying for the family and friends of Ian Squire and giving thanks for the safe return of his three fellow missionaries.

Rumors of War - Persia

Israel says downed Syrian spy drone over Golan Heights - Reuters
Reuters reports: "Israel shot down a Syrian spy drone over the Golan Heights on Saturday, the Israeli military said. [...] Israel fears an eventual Assad victory could leave Iran with a permanent garrison in Syria, extending a threat posed from neighboring Lebanon by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and has been lobbying Russia and the United States for reassurances that Iranian and Hezbollah forces will not be allowed to deploy near its border or set up bases within Syria."

Comment:  More evidence for those who fear an eventual confrontation between Israel and Russia and Iran in and around Syria.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Famine

Rebel-held Sanaa braces for 'famine' as blockade tightens - AFP
AFP and Yahoo News report: "Residents of Yemen's rebel-held capital said Thursday rising food and fuel prices were making life increasingly difficult because of a Saudi-led blockade that the UN warned could bring the world's worst famine in decades."

Comment: I know some will argue that this is not a true famine. This is a man-made famine caused by war. But, whether famine is caused by climate, crop failure or from war, do we really think that starving people care about the distinction? Throughout most of recorded history war, famine and pestilence have gone hand in hand.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Rumors of War - Persia

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait warn citizens to leave Lebanon immediately - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The foreign ministries of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are warning their citizens in Lebanon to leave the country as soon as possible. [...] Kuwait's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a similar measure later in the day. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait also advised their citizens against traveling to Lebanon. Bahrain issued a similar warning on Sunday, urging its citizens to 'exercise caution' in leaving Lebanon. The warnings come amid rising tensions in the Middle East."

Comment: It does appear the the Saudi vs. Iran proxy war may become hot in Lebanon. Israel remains cautiously on the sidelines for now. Stay tuned.