Signs of the Times (4/15/14)

Millennials ‘Talk to God’ but Do Not Identify as ‘Religious’

A new study says that more than half of 18 to 34-year-olds “look to religion,” and about 60 percent say they “talk to God.” The study comes from the Integrated Innovation Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The study asked 2,000 Millennials about their attitudes toward faith and their daily lives. According to the study, only 49 percent of white Millennials said faith is a guide in their daily lives. Fifty one percent of Asian Millennials said faith is a guide compared to 54 percent of Hispanics. Sixty seven percent of African-American Millennials “look to religion” while 78 percent say they “talk to God.” The survey said there was no correlation between the amount of education people have and how they view religion. In February a study from Pew Research said that only 36 percent of Millennials consider themselves “religious.” Of people aged 34 to 49, about 50 percent said they were religious. Fifty five percent of 50 to 68-year-olds and 61 percent of those ages 69 to 86 said they were religious.

  • The end-time ‘falling away’ is well underway (Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first. 2Thessalonians 2:3)

Hitler-Loving Gunman Attacks Jewish Center, Kills Christians

Shouting “Heil Hitler” when arrested, a gunman shot three individuals outside a Jewish community center in Kansas City on Sunday. In what would appear to have been an attack motivated by anti-Semitism on the eve of Passover, a lone gunman opened fire outside a Jewish community center and a nearby retirement community, indiscriminately killing three individuals who were merely visiting the center. Reports indicate that none of the victims were in fact Jewish, but rather Christians who became the unlikely targets of one man’s misdirected, white-supremacist hatred. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) noted that it has been warning for years that acts of anti-Semitism are on the rise around the globe with little being done, especially from a public awareness standpoint, to address the issue through the media. “It’s high time that the mainstream news networks start calling attention to this growing concern before more people are hurt or killed.” The ICEJ also calls upon governments and local authorities to do a better job of condemning and taking action against all acts and expressions of anti-Semitism to curb this worrying trend.

  • End-time persecution and violence against Judeo-Christian targets will continue to increase during this time Jesus calls “the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:8) as Satan whips anti-God fervor into a frenzy

Pope Francis Asks Forgiveness for Sex Abuse Scandal

In his strongest personal remarks yet on the clergy sex abuse scandal, Pope Francis on Friday (April 11) asked forgiveness “for the damage” that abusive priests have inflicted on children and pledged that the Catholic Church “will not take one step backward” in efforts to address the crisis. “I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil that some priests — quite a few in number, though not compared to the total number — and to ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done by sexually abusing children,” Francis said. “The church is aware of this damage,” he said. “It is personal and moral damage, but carried out by men of the church. And we do not want to take one step backward in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, I believe that we have to be very firm. Because you cannot take chances with children!”

IRS to Revise Regulations Limiting Activities of Tax-Exempt Groups

The Internal Revenue Service plans to rewrite proposed regulations limiting the political activities of the same type of tax-exempt groups the agency was accused of targeting after backlash from GOP lawmakers and politically active nonprofit groups. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told USA Today on Monday that the agency will likely “re-propose a redefined rule and ask for more public comment.” He expects the process will take “until the end of the year and beyond” to complete. Koskinen said the revised rule will take into account criticism from conservative groups concerned the regulations will put free speech rights at risk. Under current rules, social welfare organizations may conduct some political work as long as it is not their main activity. The proposed new rules would block such things as running ads that “expressly advocate for a clearly identified political candidate or candidates of a political party.” The rules proposed in November also would limit voter drives and voter registration efforts and distribution of literature. Republicans accused the Obama administration of trying to legalize the targeting of conservative groups.

Economic News

Retail sales rose 1.1% last month, showing consumers were more eager to spend as a harsh winter faded to spring. March’s retail sales growth was the largest since September 2012. February’s retail sales were revised up to a gain of 0.7% from a previously reported 0.3%.Auto sales rose 3.1%. Sales at general merchandise stores rose 1.9%, the highest single-month gain since March 2007.

Lower U.S. gasoline prices kept consumer inflation in check last month, helping offset higher costs for food and clothing. The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in March, after scant 0.1 percent increases the previous two months. Prices have risen just 1.5 percent year over year. That remains well below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target for inflation. Prices at the gas pump tumbled 1.7 percent in March. But food prices jumped 0.4 percent.

The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn’t likely anytime soon. A dwindling number of cattle and growing export demand from countries such as China and Japan have caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to $5.28 a pound in February, up almost a quarter from January and the highest price since 1987.

Tens of thousands of Minnesota workers have big raises coming their way, courtesy of a new minimum wage law that Gov. Mark Dayton signed Monday, which will take the state from one of the nation’s lowest rates to among the highest, increasing the guaranteed wage from $6.15 per hour now in three steps to $9.50 by 2016 and then tie it to inflation. With federal wage legislation stuck in Congress, states are rushing to fill the void. California, Connecticut and Maryland have passed laws pushing their respective wages to $10 or more in coming years, and other states are going well above the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.

Persecution Watch

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said Christianity is now the most persecuted religion around the world, and that Britain should be “unashamed” in standing up against persecution of Christians and other religious groups. “I hope we can do more to raise the profile of the persecution of Christians around the world,” Cameron said in an opening speech at his Easter reception at Downing Street. “It is the case today that our religion is now the most persecuted religion around the world. I think Britain can play a leading role in this.” Foreign Secretary William Hague and Foreign Office Minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi agreed with the prime minister on the need to raise a voice against religious persecution, Cameron said.

Two pastors in southern Bhutan have spent more than a month in jail without being formally charged. Police arrested M.B. Thapa (aka Lobzang) and Tandin Wangyal in Khapdani village in Samtse District on March 5. Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs Damcho Dorji said at a recent press conference that the two pastors were trying to coercively “proselytize” and had not obtained permission to hold a public gathering. The two pastors, who are still awaiting formal charges from the Office of the Attorney General, spoke at a March 4 ground-breaking ceremony for construction of a new house at the invitation of another Christian. Bhutan, a Bhuddist-majority nation of over 700,000 people, transitioned to a constitutional democratic monarchy after a century of absolute monarchy in 2008. Its constitution provides for religious freedom, with Section 4, Article 7 stating that citizens shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It adds that no person “shall be compelled to belong to another faith by means of coercion or inducement.”

Ukraine

Men in the uniforms of Ukraine’s now-defunct riot police occupied police headquarters on Saturday in Donetsk, the eastern city that is one of the flashpoints of a wave of pro-Russia protests, hours after armed men seized local police headquarters and a local branch of the Security Service in a nearby city. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov described the unrest as “Russian aggression.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “expressed strong concern” that the attacks “were orchestrated and synchronized, similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.” Kerry made it clear that if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine’s border, there would be additional consequences.” Ukraine’s president pleaded with the United Nations on Monday to send peacekeeping troops to eastern Ukraine to expel separatist militants from government buildings — a takeover he said is being directed by Russian special operations troops. An “anti-terrorist operation” is under way to drive out pro-Russian forces, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told the country’s Parliament on Tuesday.

  • So far, the ‘consequences’ have been puny and Russia is feeling emboldened by the weak response of the Obama administration

Iraq

A car bomb went off in the restive northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday, killing nine people, while 10 others were killed in clashes there, security officials said Monday. The explosives-laden car targeted a joint security patrol of the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces, police officials told CNN. Five Iraqi soldiers and four members of the Kurdish forces were killed, while another 12 people were injured. Separately, four Iraqi soldiers and six gunmen were killed in clashes between the army and insurgents in two neighborhoods in eastern Mosul. Seven Iraqi soldiers were wounded. The Iraqi army had launched a military operation in eastern Mosul against armed groups ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for the end of April.

Nigeria

A massive explosion ripped through a bus station during the morning rush hour in Nigeria’s capital, killing at least 71 people and wounding 124 in a bombing that marked the bloodiest terrorist attack ever in Abuja. President Goodluck Jonathan, who visited the scene, blamed Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group which operates in the northeast of Nigeria. The group had threatened to attack Nigeria’s capital. The blast destroyed 16 luxury buses and 24 minibuses and cars. The blast left a hole 4 feet deep in the ground of Nyanya Motor Park about 10 miles from the city center. It happened at 6:45 a.m. as people were traveling to work.

Wildfires

A large forest fire raging in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso has killed at least fifteen people and destroyed 2500 homes, officials said Sunday. Thousands of people have been evacuated, including more than 200 female inmates at a prison. Firefighters were having difficulty combating the blaze because of the topography of the city, which is surrounded by dozens of steep hills where most people live. “This is the worst disaster I have seen,” regional governor Ricardo Bravo said. “Now we fear that the fire will spread to the center of the city, which would increase the severity of the emergency.” President Michelle Bachelet has declared the city of 250,000 people a catastrophe zone, which puts the armed forces in charge of maintaining order and evacuating thousands of residents affected by the smoke and flames. Wind hampered firefighters’ ability to create firebreaks, and the blaze had spread to more than 2,000 acres as of Sunday.

Earthquakes

A reported 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Solomon Islands on Sunday morning around 7:14 a.m. local time, according to the United States Geological Survey. Authorities were trying to determine if there was any serious damage or injuries. Government spokesman George Herming said people throughout the Pacific island chain awoke to the strong quake at 7:14 a.m. He said that people on Makira and nearby islands southeast of the capital, Honiara, reported seeing three large waves after the quake. The earthquake’s epicenter was 200 miles southeast of Honiara, the Solomons capital. At least three strong aftershocks were reported after the initial earthquake measuring at 4.9 and above. This follows after heavy rains and severe flooding days earlier left 23 dead and dozens still missing after a slow moving tropical cyclone caused rivers to burst their banks and send a torrent of water rushing downstream into low-lying, highly populated areas.

Weather

Wet snow falling late Monday night into Tuesday shattered Detroit’s long-standing seasonal snowfall record. As of early Tuesday morning, a total of 94.8 inches of snow had been measured in the 2013-14 season at Detroit’s Metro Airport, topping the previous record snowiest season, 93.6 inches set in 1880-81. This is more than double their average seasonal snowfall of 44.1 inches. Earlier this season, several other cities in the Midwest, and one location in the High Plains, also set seasonal snowfall records: Toledo, Ohio: Old record from 1977-78 was 73.1 inches; Peoria, Ill.: Old record from 2010-11 was 52.5 inches; Billings, Mont.: First greater than 100-inch snow season on record dating to 1934.

A storm barreled through Mississippi Gulf Coast communities, damaging or destroying about a dozen RV trailers at one campground, downing trees and power lines and cutting electricity in some areas. The storm blew through the Santa Maria RV Park in Gautier at around 8 p.m. Monday, knocking some trailers off their blocks and overturning or destroying others. Despite the destruction in the park, only two people were injured, neither seriously. The National Weather Service doesn’t think it was a tornado. A severe thunderstorm warning had been in effect in advance of a strong cold front moving into the region.

A rapid shift to less-polluting energy will be needed to avoid catastrophic global warming because global emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases have accelerated to unprecedented levels, the United Nations reported Friday. These emissions — largely from the burning of oil, gas and coal — grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in any of the three previous decades and will need to be slashed 40% to 70% by mid-century and almost entirely by century’s end to keep global temperatures from spiraling out of control, according to a landmark report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC report, striking a particularly urgent one, says countries might even need to enlist controversial technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

  • While extreme weather will worsen during the run-up to the Great Tribulation, this is an end-time phenomena, not human-induced. However, the New World Order folks are using it as an excuse to gain more and more control in order to institute their elitist one-world government

 

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