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IT'S TIME TO DISCERN THE TIMES AND SEASONS

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At this present time, there is so much activity occurring in the spiritual, political, and economic realms that I often feel like I am trying to catch my breath keeping up with where things have been and where they are going! Often, when certain events transpire in the world, the body of Christ is somewhat apprehensive to discern the full impact of the event. For example, is a major earthquake an attack from Satan, a natural event, the earth in travail, or an act of Godís judgment? When the tsunami struck, the same questions were asked. Was this tidal wave of mass destruction a Satanic attack, a natural disaster, or an act of Godís disfavor?

In our present society, there is a tendency to avoid any form of controversy for fear of offending another person's beliefs. This fear of being politically correct without comments tends to water down the truth of a particular situation. Sometimes it is very difficult to know who or what is the cause of any major disaster. At times events are blamed on Satan when he was nowhere near the event. Most of the secular world would say that a natural disaster is just that Ė a natural disaster. Others point out that the "whole world is in travail" and the shaking of the planet is a result of the natural birth pains process.

To say something that cost the lives of thousands of people is an action of the creator for the sins of his creation, is almost blasphemy to the secularist. The same question arises: "How could a loving and caring God kill his own creation?" Why don't we instead ask, "How could a loving creation kill each other?" No child is a born killer; they become killers. Or we could ask, "How could Godís creation worship idols of stone and wood, burn incense to false Gods, and shed the blood of truly righteous men and women?" If we see what mankind has done to his own kind, then we would not question the creator sending disaster to get the attention of an unbelieving world. There is and there will be much debate on this subject. We must always search the scriptures to determine how we discern the times in which we live. We will do this.

PDATE FROM INSIDE ISRAEL

Once again, the liberal minds in America who were convinced that the war in Iraq was a complete waste have egg on their face. When millions of Iraqis voted in the election and as the government began to form, something strange began to happen in Lebanon. A huge explosion in a newly rebuilt part of the city and the death of a pro-democracy candidate brought hundreds of thousands of protestors to the street, demanding the Syrian military withdraw from Lebanon. Thousands waved Lebanese flags as Christian and Muslims together marched to the drumbeat of freedom. It was an amazing moment to see the common people in the nation rise up against a major terrorist government. Those in politics who decipher such events say it was the result of a new wave of democracy coming to the Middle East.

Some believe that if events continue in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, and beyond, that George Bushís legacy may be the man who helped bring democracy to the Middle East in the same manner that Reagan helped initiate the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Time will tell if this scenario is possible.

In another unique scenario, our tour group was in Israel prior to the death of Yassir Arafat. During our tour, I observed that there was a different feeling among many of the Israelis and Palestinians. There seemed to be a flicker of hope that someone, somewhere would help settle this internal conflict between the Palestinians and the Jews. Actually, if one will examine history, the two groups have gotten along quite well, before the Islamic fanatics gained access to weapons and bombs. Since 1967, there was always a conflict brewing somewhere in the country. However, the rise of the P.L.O., Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups has increased the hatred between the two groups.

During the past several months, there has been a sharp decline in attacks against the Jews living in Israel. Remember, this is only a temporary thing and many Muslims and others still want death to the Jews and their removal from Israel. At some point, someone needs to tell these folks that the Jews and Israel are NOT going anywhere. They are in the land to stay and all of the terror and fighting in the world will not change that. It is best to learn to get along and let the Almighty work out all of the details.

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