His Time Will Come

“When the Word of God is ignored and violated, divine judgment sooner or later is inevitable.”

This is a brief, a very brief quote from Dr. John F. Walvoord’s excellent commentary on the book of Daniel. For the serious student of the Bible, there can be no disputing this very basic fact: the judgment of God upon a world that chooses to defy Him is inevitable. There are no two ways about it. Need a little more proof? How about this?

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment – Hebrews 9:27

The Lord will come, and it will be in His day and in His timing. We cannot rush God, He is never in a hurry, He arrives where He wishes exactly when He wishes, and  His chosen arrival in our lives occurs exactly when it needs to happen. God always shows up. And He always will.  We are all going to die one day and face judgment as individuals, but until that day comes for each and every one of us; are we living in a nation, are we living in a world that will face His judgment? Of course we are. Just look at how our society and culture is moving forward, and as we do so, how far we seem, each day, to drift further away from God’s will and way. On the good days we seem just to drift away; on the bad days we seem as a nation to run in the opposite direction from Him. As if running away works, it doesn’t, just ask Jonah.

If you do not think God punishes a nation, look at Israel in the Old Testament when the nation turned from God, look at the nations that attacked or invaded Israel. None fared well. Even when God used one nation to punish Israel, that nation didn’t make out well in the long run. There is not a good long term record in defying God. And as you read End Times prophecy, you see that the judgment of the nation of Israel is far from over; it is as if the best (by which I mean the worst) is yet to come. And it is not only Israel, but the gentile nations of the earth that face judgment, and all knees will bow before the Lord Jesus Christ.

I always get concerned when people speak of America as if we are God’s chosen. We are not, the nation of Israel is. And look how they were treated when they strayed from God. Not sure the average American wants to deal with that type of treatment. The more God gives a nation, the harder the judgment that seems to come against them. Something about to those who are given much, much is expected comes to mind.

There is an inevitability to God’s pronouncements of judgment, after all, God is God and that is that. I wonder if we are all ready, as individuals and as a nation, for the judgment we will face. And face it we will, for the Bible says it is so.

The only way to not face it is to escape it, for none will fare well in that final judgment. Therefore, the only way to escape it is to trust Jesus as the only way to your salvation, and in doing so avoid final judgment. How would you like to face Jesus? As a child of God before the Bema (2 Corinthians 5:10) or before the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).  A judgment of rewards for service in His body or judgment of damnation for defiance to a Holy and Just God, who through mercy and grace gave you the opportunity to avoid eternity separated from Him?

It is the most exciting time to be a believer in Jesus Christ as Savior. Exciting, because prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes as we see world events continue to align as the Bible said they would prior to His return. Exciting because what is bad is good; for the bad must happen before the ultimate good of His return will occur, this is what the Bible teaches, and this is what we believe.

In Christ and Him alone, we will be able to tolerate whatever is yet to come.  And the wait will be bearable because…

Jesus is coming soon!

 

A church structure, or the Structure of the Church!

Everywhere you turn today you see incredible buildings where people assemble once a week to “worship.” In fact for the past 1800 years or so, men have been building edifices for people to gather in, purportedly to honor God. The civilized world has continually sought to build physical places for God, without scriptural understanding. God doesn’t want a house to “dwell” in, He seeks the hearts of men for His dwelling place. As we continue to study the Church established in the book of Acts, and the formula and pattern established in Acts 2:42, we will look at what God desires of us as compared to man’s actions. The church built by Jesus Christ, established in Biblical Doctrine, has evidence of three more characteristics, Fellowship, Breaking Bread, and Prayer. Doctrine having been covered in a previous article, we will look at Fellowship which I believe is incorrectly practiced and understood in most “churches” today.

In Acts 4:46 we read that the believers worshiped together daily in the Temple, and from “house to house.”  The Church established in the book of Acts met in the homes and the courtyards of homes of the believers in Jesus Christ. This arrangement continued for the first two and a half centuries of the Church’s existence. But, by the latter half of the second century AD, doctrinal error began to enter the Church. The Gnostics and Nicolaitans and other false prophets (warned about by John, Peter, James and Paul) had spread their false doctrines and had also embraced many pagan practices so that many “churches” gradually departed from New Testament Doctrine. Local “churches” became institutionalized by uniting under the direction of regional “bishops” and unscriptural organizations. The simple worship arrangement initiated in Acts was being replaced by ritual, system and practiced religiosity.

In 312AD, Roman Emperor Constantine was said to convert to Christianity (The veracity of this can be debated in another article), and after having done so began the process of organizing the “church” for the benefit of the state. Under this religious system specialized places of worship began to be built which separated the worshipers from the “clergy” in yet another example of unscriptural practice. While Constantine is said to have helped establish and grow the “church,” in reality his introduction of paganism into “Christian” worship, in fact and effect caused the True Church to virtually go underground.

Today, meeting to worship in a building constructed for just such purpose is the norm, however this was not in the original design for the Church. In fact, I believe for several reasons, it is antithetical to the mission of the Church. First of all, it is ludicrous to believe it is right to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions, to construct buildings which are utilized once or twice a week while there are millions of people who have physical and spiritual needs. In order to construct and maintain these places, the financial resources which should be used for missions or church planting are swallowed up by mortgages and salaries which usually display greed and excess rather than love and hope. Spiritual growth is replaced by growing “membership” numbers to feed the financial monster that is the “church.”

Secondly, the mission of the Church is to develop the body by feeding them spiritually. Discipleship is the primary responsibility of the Church as they meet together. Evangelism is supposed to happen continually in our daily lives, and once someone becomes a follower of Christ they are brought into the fellowship of the Church Family to be fed and fortified. This is the example of the early Church in Acts 2:42-47. Building impressive buildings and “programs” to attract men to attend is antithetical to the pattern found in this passage. It has been my experience in ministry that people are hesitant to attend “services” where they feel like they must meet the expectations of the “membership” or fit in to the formality of the practices. Additionally there is a strong perception in these mega churches that they want you to attend to solicit you to “give sacrificially” to their work. People have the thought that “they only want me for my money.”It has also been my experience that people are more willing to attend an informal Bible Study in someone’s home or horse barn than a fancy “church” structure because they do not have to impress anyone.

In much of the undeveloped world this is where you will find the Church meeting today, and actually the house church is God’s ideal for every culture. In contrast to today’s magnificent cathedrals, mega churches, and church campuses, not to mention the institutional “churches”, denominations, para-church organizations, and ministerial associations, the New Testament records no attempt by the Apostles to form an organization of any kind for building the Church of Jesus Christ. God’s unit on earth for transmitting the faith was the local church and the Apostles were content to work within that framework, and to the early Christians the congregation was the divinely ordained unit on earth through which God chose to work. The model Church in Acts is the only unit to which God promised perpetuity.

The “church” has gotten far away from the model in this respect. Fellowship happens when people worship together as family. Church happens when believers are united together is such a way as to care about one another rather than the facility in which they meet. In these Last Days we need to be aware that people need Jesus, the body of Christ needs to grow in the Word together, the Church is Christians obedient to the Word and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Silence In The Church

The Bible teaches that there will be a one-world government during the Tribulation Period (Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:7). It will be led by a blaspheming Satan worshiper that many call the Antichrist (Rev. 13:5-6). His reign will be marked by war and multitudes will perish (Rev. 6:2, 8). The unbelievers who follow him will be caught up in idolatry, murder, sorcery, sexual immorality and theft (Rev. 9:20-21). Those who become believers during the Tribulation Period, including many women and children, will be subjected to the most intense persecution the world has ever known (Rev. 13:16-17).

I know the Word of God must be fulfilled, but it seems to me that a Holy Spirit indwelt church should try to restrain this approaching evil. It seems to me that the church should warn people loud and clear about the dangers of Globalism and its much-desired world government. If Christians are the light of the world, why don’t we shed light on the darkness that is descending upon the earth (Matt. 5:14; Zeph. 1:15-17; I Thess. 5:5)? I know that there are many Spirit-filled light-shedding preachers doing that, but the silence of most of the church is very troubling.

In a recent article, I wrote about Pres. Obama’s desire to fast track a new trade agreement (treaty) with the Pacific-Rim nations called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This treaty would surrender the sovereignty of the United States, subordinate the United States Constitution to other documents, integrate the politics and economies of about a dozen nations, create a trading block of nations patterned after the EU, fast track the North American Union and be a major step toward world government. I mentioned that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was blocking a vote on the treaty at the request of union leaders who believe the TPP will cause their members to lose jobs to other countries.

Just recently, I read that Hollywood and the Gay Lobby are expressing strong opposition to this treaty. As I understand it, their concern is not the loss of American sovereignty, the destruction of the U.S. Constitution, Satan worship, persecution of believers or anything like that. Their concern is that the list of participants in the TPP includes the tiny nation of Brunei and the fact that the sultan (he is also the Prime Minister) of Brunei recently announced the implementation of Sharia Law.

You see, Sharia Law is anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-women’s rights, etc. Adulterers, rapists and sodomites (homosexuals and lesbians) can be stoned to death. Women who get an abortion can be flogged and women who get pregnant outside of marriage can be jailed. Some can even be beheaded.

I can understand the outcry of union leaders about the TPP because they are rightly concerned about the loss of jobs. I can understand the frantic protestations of Hollywood and the Gay Lobby about the TPP because they are rightly concerned about being flogged, stoned, jailed or beheaded. But I can’t understand the lack of concern in the church. A government worse than Hitler’s is rising, some of the unchurched are complaining, but most of the organized church is totally silent.

Oh, I know some will say the organized church doesn’t know about the TPP because NBC, CBS, PBS and others are not reporting it. True! But since the union leaders, Hollywood and the Gay Lobby knows about the TPP, wouldn’t you think someone in the organized church would know about it? Shouldn’t the organized church oppose the TPP because it will lead to a satanic world government? Shouldn’t the organized church oppose the TPP because it includes a nation that has implemented Sharia Law and that allows for the persecution of Christians, the abuse of women, the kidnapping of children, the destruction of Bibles, anti-Semitism and more?

Could it be that the organized church has been taken over in part by highly educated people with much learning and little knowledge of spiritual matters? Could it be that even though the Holy Spirit revealed this coming wicked world government (Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:7) these highly educated leaders don’t even know what the Bible says on the subject? Could it be that many of them have made themselves willingly ignorant of some things in the Bible and they are not being led by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9)? Could it be that their silence means they are unknowingly aligned with the future goals of the Antichrist? Whatever it is, concerning the TPP, I have found myself aligned with Harry Reid, the labor union leaders, Hollywood and the Gay Lobby. That is a scary thought to me and I sure wish some of the leaders in the organized church would speak up.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net

What The Meek Do Inherit

The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, more important than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the kingdom of their Father. He is willing to wait for that day.

In the meantime, he will have attained a place of soul rest. As he walks on in meekness he will be happy to let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace meekness brings.

Then also he will get deliverance from the burden of pretense. By this I mean not hypocrisy, but the common human desire to put the best foot forward and hide from the world our real inward poverty. For sin has played many evil tricks upon us, and one has been the infusing into us of a false sense of shame. There is hardly a man or woman who dares to be just what he or she is without doctoring up the impression. The fear of being found out gnaws like rodents within their hearts. The man of culture is haunted by the fear that he will someday come upon a man more cultured than himself. The learned man fears to meet a man more learned than he. The rich man sweats under the fear that his clothes or his car or his house will sometime be made to look cheap by comparison with those of another rich man. So-called “society” runs by a motivation not higher than this, and the poorer classes on their level are little better.

Excerpted from A. W. Tozer -The Pursuit of God (1948)

Words of grace for Strength:

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

The world looks at the meek person as a fool, yet one who is meek in the Lord is strong and wise in God’s eyes, and has achieved a level of peace and inner calmness that is lost to, and frankly incomprehensible, to the world at large; because the world confuses meekness with weakness. Matthew 5:5 has Jesus proclaiming the blessedness of the meek and their inheritance of the earth. Imagine the freedom of placing all of our cares and concerns at the feet of our Lord, and caring only to hear from Him one day “Well done, good and faithful servant” Matthew 25:21. Imagine the freedom of being able to ignore the taunts and jeers, the “tsk, tsk, tsking” of neighbors and colleagues, of even possibly family and friends, knowing your strength, security and salvation is sealed in the Lord. What power, what freedom! And you can well imagine how agitated it will make those lovers of the world to see and know you have rejected their value structure, you believe worthless what the world holds dear and is willing to pay the greatest price to get, the turning from and defiance of a Holy God. We will inherit the earth one day as we rule with Him at His Second Coming, but for now our inheritance is that the earth is powerless in its hold on us, if we are in Christ.

Meekness is power and strength under control; it is living a disciplined life under the control of the Holy Spirit. Our example is our Lord Jesus, He who has at His fingertips the ability to create worlds and destroy worlds, because He as the Son of Man is still the Son of God, and therefore is; Very God. When we read the passages which describe the torturous beatings and scourging He endured during the trial before His crucifixion, when we read of the scorn and cursing He endured, and then read how after all of this He is compelled to carry His own cross up the Via Dolorosa to Calvary, and then we read how they nailed Him to that cross, and hung Him there between heaven and earth to die.  Nowhere in the Scripture is it recorded that He begged for relief, nowhere in the Scripture is it recorded that He cried out declaring His guiltlessness, nowhere in the Scripture is it recorded that He showed any weakness, but throughout the entire time of His trial and crucifixion He was the perfect example of meekness. Jesus Christ who possessed all of the power in heaven and earth subjugated all of it to the will of His Father. Meekness is not weakness, but instead is subjugating our will to the will of our Father in heaven in the understanding that any power or strength that we may have come solely from Him, and that He in our meekness will enable us to endure anything, all things, for the cause of Christ; because we are in Christ.

We of the True Church, His Remnant Church, have that meekness at our command and at our fingertips if we just allow the Lord to work in our lives through His will. If we will enjoy and use that portion of the inheritance already realized, as we await the glorious inheritance to come, we can exemplify Christ like meekness. We will need that meekness as we move forward in a troubled world which is spinning more out of control daily. We will need it to face the onslaught of persecution that is coming our way. It may seem ironic that the very thing that will get us through those times, meekness in the Lord, is the very thing that may attract the attention and attack from a sinful and defiant world. It is not irony; it is God at work in us. For as He told His disciples; “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 and again He said; “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.”  John 15:18-20

Friends in these Last Days we need to not only understand meekness, but to be examples of it, and we need to remember these words the Holy Spirit gave to Peter; “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17

Knowing that in displaying meekness, the strength and power given to us by Jesus Christ will enable us to endure whatever may be in store for us, until He comes for us. Patiently living disciplined obedient lives, we find no reason to be anxious because…

Jesus is Coming Soon!

Signs of the Times: Our Financial and Economic Slide Continues

This post will have no deadlines, no time-frames, and no predictions of what will happen when, at least I will try to stay away from that sort of talk. There, that probably drove most of the readers away, so only those truly interested will be reading from here on.  With that being said, there is much going on that can have an impact on the US economy, in the shorter term as well as the longer run.

Russia and China – let’s face it, neither likes the US, and haven’t for some time. It seems our allies and/or enemies have tolerated us, but that degree of tolerance, and the willingness to do so, is diminishing. In recent weeks, Russia and China have engaged in some international trade that has all the appearances of leaving the US out of the picture. Russia, the world’s largest producer of natural gas, and China, quickly moving toward status as the world’s largest economy, have signed a deal by which Russia will provide gas over 30 years in a deal worth around 400 billion dollars in value. This is an ironic way to speak on valuing the deal, as both countries are also setting up to settle their international trade in their own currencies, cutting the US Dollar out as the settlement currency. We have already talked about the financial and economic impact of such moves in earlier posts. If you read the recent post on worldwide famine here, you know that an economic disruption in the US could trigger food insecurity across the US. On the world scene, players like Russia and China are finding the United States less relevant (and certainly less feared and/or tolerated), this could begin to equate to domestic shifts that seemed impossible just a few years ago. Surprised? I am a bit surprised at the rapidity, but I have read the book of Revelation in the Bible, this does seem to line up with a role for the US in End Times Prophecy. Go look for our role there (Spoiler alert: you will not find one).

Domestic US – look at what is going on here, a brief scan will suffice:

  • We are becoming increasing brutal to our homeless population, and those down on their luck. US cities are passing laws making it illegal to feed the homeless, shutting down ministries that attempt to do so, and bulldozing the temporary living space (“tent cities”) these unfortunates dwell in trying to cope.
  • Businesses are closing in rates faster than new businesses are being created. That smells like more and more recessionary activity within our economy. Some economists expect the US economy to be in a depression for the next five years, a bad one. (OK, one predictive statement crept in, sorry). Corporate profits and retail sales volumes seem to be dropping as well. Sears is closing stores and those who follow the company and retail industry are talking about  Sears  survival. Sears?
  • In 1 of 5 American families, no one is employed. Household debt continues to rise. People are buying things they cannot afford, and it isn’t things they don’t need, it is necessities that are being purchased.
  • During the decade of the 1990’s, twice as many mothers were employed full time than there were mothers who received Food Stamps, today more mothers receive Food Stamps than the number of mothers who have any kind of employment.
  • US industrial production is dropping and manufacturing jobs keep disappearing. You know the type of jobs where things get built and sold, where value is created and wealth is accumulated.
  • Western banks are showing revenue declines. George Soros is thought to be unloading his portfolio of bank stocks.
  • Home ownership rates are dropping, real estate sales declining, unsold home inventories building. There are lots of homes for sale and fewer buyers.
  • There are more people living on social security disability in the US than there are people in Greece.

I could go on, but you see the picture, which is not only not pretty, it is getting downright ugly. There is no American dream, no promises of prosperity we can hold on to, the slide continues, improvement does not seem to be appearing on the horizon.

For the Christian, it is not a surprise but a sober reminder of the truth of the Word of God and the need to turn to Him in obedience. We cannot solve our problems, we are proving that daily. In these difficult times, which grow harder daily, it is only through steadfast faith that one can make it through without losing one’s temper or sanity; one’s mercy and compassion for others; one’s desire to help other believers and pray for and evangelize those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as we do.

Is there good news in all this? Stay faithful, stay obedient, wait eagerly, possibly anxiously. Because…

Jesus is coming soon!

The Church and Sound Doctrine!

Continuing our teaching on the Church built by Jesus Christ, we examine examples of what are considered by most to be representative of the “church” in the world today. Comparing them to the True Church formula, pattern, and appearance (meeting place), we will examine their effect in the world and affect on their members. In doing so I believe we will gain a better understanding of the concept of His Remnant Church, which consists of the faithful believers remaining true to the Doctrine of the Church built by Jesus Christ.

In order to compare these “churches” to the Church, let’s look again at Acts 2:42. As the Church these early believers, followers of Jesus Christ, continued steadfastly in four areas; the Apostles Doctrine, Fellowship, the Breaking of Bread, and Prayer. In Acts 2:43-47 we find some things which resulted from their obedience to Christ in following His divine plan; there was a new respect for the authority of God, the Holy Spirit was active, there was unity in the body, everyone’s needs were met, they worshiped together continually (from house to house), they were thankful and shared meals together in fellowship and praise, and the result was that the body grew.

Are these things evident in the “church” today? Are the four areas the early Church “continued steadfastly” in still being continued in the same way today? In our next few posts we will look at each one in turn and evaluate how the “church” today measures up.

We will begin with the Apostles Doctrine:
Simply put the apostle’s doctrine is those things which they were either taught by Jesus Christ Himself, or had revealed to them by His Holy Spirit. During the days recorded in the book of Acts, these doctrines were of course predominantly given to the Church orally. Since the close of the first century, we have the infallible Word of God which the Holy Spirit breathed into the writers of the New Testament Scripture. Peter testified of this in 2 Peter 1:16-21 and in fact in 2 Peter 1:2&3 he wrote that; “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,” which knowledge is that given to us in the written Word of God. The Apostle Paul encouraged both Timothy (2 Timothy 4:2) and Titus (Titus 2:1) to Preach or Speak the Word (Sound Doctrine).

Doctrine therefore is found within the Scripture, the Holy Spirit breathed Word of God. And from the time the Apostle John completed recording The Revelation of Jesus Christ in 95 A.D., there has been no additional Scripture given by God. However, Paul warned Timothy that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” 2 Timothy 4:3&4. He had also warned Timothy that men would “depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” 1 Timothy 4:1-3.

Unfortunately today we are living in the day which Paul anticipated. Today many “churches” are led by men whose only goals are self-promotion and the accumulation of wealth, others have become institutionalized through an un-biblical structure of priesthood and catechism or are following denominational instruction and dogma, all of which supplant the Word of God with writings, edicts, and creeds written by men. Many of these who identify themselves as “men of God” claim “new” inspiration or that they have received a “fresh” prophetic word from God. These so-called “preachers” are at best charlatans, with most actually fitting into the category of false prophets.

These are able to deceive their followers because most “church members” are woefully ignorant of the Word of God. If they do have a relationship with Jesus Christ, they are certainly not following the example of the Bereans who “searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11) to verify whether or not what they are being taught is biblical. This puts them in the position of those described in Ephesians 4:14 as being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting…” Christians must be people of the Book, willing to take responsibility for themselves and their relationship to Jesus Christ. In these Last Days, deception will only continue to grow as Satan’s influence compromises the teaching of the Word of God, turning the hearts and minds of men away from Sound Doctrine, to the humanistic, socialistic, narcissistic doctrine of demons.

The Church built by Jesus Christ is one which stands on the Sound Doctrine delivered to us through the Word of God, and only through the Word of God. Again, I implore you to examine your heart, and the place in which you worship, the “church” which you attend. Be Bereans, be people of the Book, study the Word of God, ask the Holy Spirit to help you prove through it, what is Truth and what is false. Do not be followers of men, follow God through His Son Jesus Christ. Because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

to be continued…

Troublesome Times… is a Worldwide Famine Approaching?

In chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew we find Christ’s Olivet discourse. It is Jesus teaching His disciples about Things to Come, the Last Days, and the End Times of the tribulation. In Matthew 24:4-8 He is describing things which will take place during the church age preceding the End Times described by Christ as “the beginning of sorrows.” This is comparatively descriptive of labor pains experienced by a woman in childbirth, an ever-increasing in intensity series of events which will culminate during the End Times at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. There are several kinds of world-changing crises described in this passage; such as war, earthquakes, pestilence, and famine.

In today’s update I’d like to concentrate on famine.

Within this subject I think we find a couple of areas of concern. First of all, famine is a direct result of the inability to produce food to be consumed, and secondly it can be the result of the inability to procure food to be consumed. Let us explore these areas of concern a little further.

1. First, some of the reasons restricting food production:

  • the weather
    • not enough moisture or
    • too much moisture
    • extreme temperature
  • availability of seed stock
  • manpower
  • economics

2. Second, procurement issues:

  • economics
  • availability
  • location
  • transportation

Having established a framework for the examination of the subject of famine, I began to research news articles, weather reports, and crop reports, from various sources and governments to establish a baseline for a discussion of the subject. What I have come up with, is at the least disconcerting, and is quite possibly, truly a cause for alarm.

First of all let me say that I am not a proponent of the hyperbole of climate change, either “Global Warming” or a coming “Ice Age,” as the catalyst for the events I’m about to describe. In fact, I believe that since the Genesis flood, the Earth’s weather has maintained a cyclical ebb and flow established by God. And, while I believe it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the creation within which God has placed us, I do not believe man has the capability to permanently destroy God’s creation, and that the Scripture teaches that He alone will accomplish this in preparation for eternity future. That having been said, within the framework of God’s dealings with man, there are many instances throughout Scripture where weather, climate, and geography have been used by God to affect change in mankind. I believe that is what we’re beginning to see again today, as we are clearly living in the prophetic Last Days.

Worldwide production of protein, fruits and vegetables, and grains are increasingly falling behind demand. In some parts of the world these have been destroyed by extreme cold temperatures, while in others it has been either flood or drought which has affected production. During the last two winters in the US, China, and Russia, livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, etc.) numbering in the tens of thousands have been lost due to blizzard and extreme cold; while in Africa, Australia, and parts of Asia thousands have been lost due to drought. Production of fruits and vegetables worldwide in 2014 is expected to be reduced by as much as 35% to 40% due to the effect of weather on the climate, in comparison to 2012 and 2013. Meanwhile, worldwide grain production in 2014 is expected to be affected in the same percentage range, again mostly related to the weather, although political and military conflict will be responsible in some areas to a lesser degree. All of this will result in higher food prices worldwide in 2014, in food shortages in some countries, and famine will begin or continue to grow more widespread in others.

Currently there are protein and vegetable shortages in Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Thailand, Indonesia, as well as Eastern Europe and 90% of Africa. Food Grain Shortages continue to grow in the Middle East, Africa, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and the rest of Southeast Asia, Russia and in Eastern Europe. Sociologists tell us that there is a direct correlation between food prices and shortages, and civil unrest. These shortages have already resulted in food riots in Venezuela, Thailand, Cameroon, Mali, Libya, and other African nations since the beginning of 2014. The cost and availability of food has been the common denominator in each of these situations, and food riots have been at the root of political and social change throughout history. We can only expect this discontent to continue to grow throughout 2014 and beyond. The simple fact is that the world’s increasing population and demand for food has outstripped its capability (for a number of reasons which I will not go into in this article) for production of same.

Here in the United States nearly 50% of the country is experiencing severe drought. Much of California has been in drought conditions for the past three years. And in fact, 100% of the state of California (where upwards of 85% of the fruits and vegetables consumed in this country, and made available for export are produced), is experiencing extreme drought, with nearly one-third of the state experiencing exceptional drought. Exceptional drought is defined as a condition which will alter the area’s ability for production over an extended period, possibly even years. Because of the lack of water for proper crop production, estimates are that as much as one-third of California’s tillable acreage will remain unplanted in 2014. This will result in as much as a 35% to 40% reduction in vegetable and fruit crop production. Currently, wildfires (which have started much earlier than normal and are being fed by vegetation left dry from prolonged drought) are raging over much of Southern California, driven by Santa Anna winds. Weather forecasters are expecting these conditions to only worsen as California, the Southwest, and Midwest are facing an El Niño weather system over the next 12 to 24 months.

As much as 50% of the state of Texas is also suffering from severe drought with approximately 50% of that area being labeled as extreme. These severe drought conditions extend northward from west Texas through western Oklahoma, eastern Colorado, and western Kansas. Late winter freezes coupled with early extreme spring temperatures and the lack of moisture damaged or destroyed much of this region’s winter wheat crop. It is estimated that there may be as much as a 30% to 35% loss in grain production throughout the Midwest and Southwest because of these drought conditions.

While drought in the US is concentrated in California and the Plains states; Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Appalachian region in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee are also experiencing abnormal dryness. There are approximately 90 communities in Texas and approximately 60 communities in California who reportedly have less than a 60 day supply of drinking water available to them as of the 15th of May. Unless you live out West, you may not realize the seriousness of the drought conditions and the potential for dust bowl conditions, such as were experienced during the 1930’s, to return.

Another result of the ongoing drought in the US is; because of the shortage of water to produce grass and grain for livestock, the number of cattle in the United States has been in decline for the past seven years and is the lowest it has been since 1951. Cattlemen and dairymen both have reduced the size of their herds by selling off everything of a marketable age and culling deeply into their numbers of reproducing females. While this initially caused beef prices to moderate somewhat, it has now resulted in what will be an ever-increasing rise in the cost of beef for the consumer, until conditions favorable to increased herd numbers returns (typically 6 to 9 years of production are needed to increase herd size). Over the past year, the price of ground beef is up 5.9 % while other cuts have experienced increases as much as 9.5%. We can only expect these prices to continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

While we are on the subject of meat, last month meat prices across the board rose at a faster pace than at any time during the past 10 years. Drought, while a factor, is not the only thing driving higher meat prices. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus has spread into at least 30 states and killed approximately 7 to 8 million pigs. At this time there is no known vaccination to combat this disease and until one is developed there is a possibility that as much is one half of the pork industry will be affected. The price of bacon has already risen by 13.1%, while ham and other cuts are rising by similar percentages. Projections are that U.S. pork production could be down by more than 10 % this year, and overall pork prices will be up 20 % or more by the end of 2014.

Fish and seafood protein prices have also recently risen due to drought, environment and disease. Drought conditions have affected fish farms in several states with Texas being the hardest hit because of the lack of water. Seafood production from commercial fishing has been affected in the Pacific because of rising concerns over contamination resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. And the price of shrimp is up due to a disease known as “early mortality syndrome” which has affected farmed shrimp production in Southeast Asia. While overall fish protein prices have risen by about 9.5% in the past 12 months, shrimp prices have risen by 61% (no, that is not a typo).

As prices for shrimp, pork and beef have risen, many consumers have turned to poultry for more of their protein purchases. However, the price of poultry is rising rapidly as well. In fact, the price of chicken breasts has risen by 12.4% over the past 12 months, and whole turkey prices have risen by approximately 8%. Unfortunately, this could just be the very beginning of the meat and protein crisis in the United States.

It is estimated that the US has a four-week supply of nonperishable foods stockpiled for distribution at any one point in time. However any interruption to that distribution system could have disastrous effects. This has been alarmingly in evidence in just the past 12 to 24 months in the aftermath of tornadoes, hurricanes, and snowstorms. It is estimated that Great Britain and the European Union have only a two-week stockpile.

The growing concern over the cost and availability of food in the United States has coined a new research term; Food Insecurity. A recent report estimates that nearly 50 million Americans are food insecure as a result of declining incomes, job loss, and lack of availability. Approximately 16 million of those affected are children under the age of 16. As this nation’s true effective unemployment numbers hover between 20% and 23% of the population, and millions of Americans are now dependent on food stamps, increasingly the price of food is outstripping the ability of many to pay for it. Rising food prices, not to mention a rising overall cost of living, has become an overwhelming concern for many families who at best are living paycheck to paycheck. Tens of millions of people in this country are struggling to feed themselves. In light of this, even the slightest economic shock in this country could have devastating repercussions on many families.

Will rapidly rising food prices and the possibility of food shortages cause civil unrest in the United States? While it may not happen tomorrow, it is a very real possibility in the not-too-distant future. Because of this possibility or even eventuality, I believe it is important (especially for Christians) to begin stockpiling food (if you haven’t already) to feed your own family, and begin gardening (if you haven’t already). Many of us can remember, or have been told, that our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents knew the wisdom of having a well-stocked food pantry and a well-organized garden plot. It would behoove us to learn from their example.

As Christians, as a part of the True Church, we have a responsibility to do what we can to protect ourselves and provide for one another. As difficult as times might get, we can find comfort in the words of the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” And in Jesus’s words in Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Nevertheless, it is quite possible that life is going to become much more difficult in the days ahead, especially for followers of Jesus Christ. Until He comes to rapture His Church we need to be prepared to endure hardship, remembering always that;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome