Signs of the Times (8/4/14)

Study Says 1 in 200 Churchgoers in Homosexual Relationships

A new poll claims that one in 200 churchgoers are involved in a homosexual relationship. The survey was conducted by Christian Research for Christian Today. 1,401 practicing Christians over the age of 16 were polled online. According to the study, 0.6 percent of respondents indicated that they were involved in a relationship with a person of the same sex. Other findings from the study include the following: 60% of respondents indicated that they were married; 5.8% said they were divorced; 6.5% said they were remarried following a divorce; two-thirds of respondents said that Christians should not cohabitate before marriage.

  • With less than 1% homosexual, this study refutes gay agenda claims of much higher percentages within the Christian community

Canadians Protest Persecution of Christians by ISIS in Iraq

Hundreds of Iraqi Canadian Christians gathered in Toronto Sunday calling for the government to stand up against the persecution Christians in Mosul have faced since terrorist group ISIS began its occupation on June 10th. Many said they had fled Iraq years ago in fear and are now worried about their loved ones back home. Protesters said that news from friends in Iraq is devastating, with tales of people being forced to leave with nothing but the clothes on their back and some young women being kidnapped by ISIS. Since conquering the northern cities of Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has become one of the most feared jihadist organizations, seeking to create an Islamic state in eastern Syria and northern Iraq based on Sharia law. After taking Mosul, the group gave Christians three options: convert, pay a hefty tax or be killed.

House Passes Immigration Bill, But Senate Recesses

The House late Friday revived and approved a Republican-authored border crisis bill after GOP leaders hurriedly resolved an internal battle that scuttled the vote a day earlier – but with the Senate on recess and the House soon to follow, there’s little chance of any bill reaching President Obama’s desk until the fall. The House legislation was approved on a 223-189 vote. The new version of the bill adds additional funding for the National Guard and includes policy changes meant to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children surging across the southern border. In the absence of any legislation that all sides can agree on, the president threatened to act on his own to address immigration challenges during the five-week recess.

Immigrants from 75 Countries Illegally Crossed into U.S.

A leaked intelligence analysis from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reveals the exact numbers of illegal immigrants entering and attempting to enter the U.S. from more than 75 different countries, reports Breitbart.com. Among the significant revelations are that individuals from nations currently suffering from the world’s largest Ebola outbreak have been caught attempting to sneak across the porous U.S. border into the interior of the United States. At least 71 individuals from the three nations affected by the current Ebola outbreak have either turned themselves in or been caught attempting to illegally enter the U.S. by U.S. authorities between January 2014 and July 2014. As of July 20, 2014, 1,443 individuals from China were caught sneaking across the porous U.S. border this year alone, with another 1,803 individuals either turning themselves in to U.S. authorities at official ports of entry, or being caught attempting to illegally enter at the ports of entry. This comes amid a massive crackdown by Chinese authorities of Islamic terrorists in the Communist nation.

Toxins in Toledo Water Supply

The mayor of Toledo, Ohio, lifted the ban on drinking city tap water Monday, saying tests showed the water is once again clear of toxins. About 400,000 people were without drinkable tap water for a second day Sunday. City officials had issued an urgent notice to residents to not drink or use the city’s tap water after harmful levels of algae-related toxins were discovered at one of the city’s water treatment plants. Some Toledo suburbs along with areas of southwestern Michigan were also affected by the water ban. Chemists had two sample readings for microcystin in excess of the recommended “Do Not Drink” 1 micro-gram per liter standard. The water could lead to a series of health complications, including “abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea numbness or dizziness. Attempting to boil and drink the water would only worsen those health effects because it would “increase the concentration of the toxins. Officials said the toxin was likely from Lake Erie algae.

Economic News

After years of bitter court battles with creditors, Argentina defaulted on its debt last week. Argentina is not the only country that has struggled, or even failed, to pay its debt in recent years. Based on ratings from Moody’s Investors Service, there arean other 10 countries at risk of default. They span the globe, ranging from Greece and Ukraine in Europe, to Pakistan in Asia, to Ecuador, Venezuela, and Belize in the Americas. Other countries listed are Egypt, Cuba, Cypress, and Jamaica.

The U.S. coal industry, already struggling against low natural gas prices and federal regulations, is now facing cheap foreign competition that’s boosting the nation’s imports and cutting its exports. After plunging from their peak in 2007, U.S. coal imports have reversed course. They’ve jumped 57% in the first five months of this year compared with the same period in 2013. Of the 2.4 million tons imported in this year’s first quarter, two-thirds came from Colombia and nearly one-fourth from Indonesia. Despite the long distances involved, it often costs less to ship coal from a foreign port to a U.S. port than to move it by rail within the U.S.

After years of sending call center jobs to India, the Philippines, Mexico and other countries, companies are bringing them back to the U.S. An estimated 5 million Americans are now employed in call centers. About 180,000 call center jobs were created nationally in 2012 and 2013.The trend, industry watchers said, is driven by changes in technology, rising overseas labor costs — and customers demanding better service. Companies began sending call center jobs overseas years ago because they sought to reduce labor costs. Many companies found that customers were unhappy with the service from overseas call centers.

Less than a month after consumers forked out the highest prices for gasoline for a July 4 weekend since 2008, they’ll fill up today at the lowest average Aug. 1 price since 2010 and should pay even less this fall. Price tracker gasbuddy.com says the average cost of regular-graded, unleaded gasoline begins the month at $3.51 a gallon – a 15-cent drop from the $3.66 average on Independence Day. Pump prices are expected to continue sliding into fall, given strong refining output and robust North American crude oil production.

Middle East

A seven-hour “humanitarian” truce between Hamas and Israel appeared to be holding Monday although several similar cease-fire attempts have failed. The partial pause in fighting comes as Israel appears to be winding down its ground operations in Gaza. The “humanitarian window” was agreed upon to allow aid through to Gaza but Israel’s military said the cease-fire would not apply to areas where troops were still operating. The military also said it would respond to any attacks. A cease-fire announced Friday morning unraveled after a few hours following heavy fire in the town of Rafah in southern Gaza. Meanwhile, Israeli media are reporting Monday that there has been an attempted alleged terrorist attack in Jerusalem after a tractor apparently rammed into a city bus. At least one person was killed and several were wounded.

Since the weekend, Israel has been winding down its ground operation that started July 17 to destroy tunnels it says are used by Hamas to carry out attacks. The bulk of Israel’s troops in Gaza have now been pulled out as its mission to destroy Hamas tunnels nears completion, the military said. However, it has kept up its heavy aerial bombardments of Gaza. Early Monday, an Israeli airstrike killed Daniel Mansour, a commander of the Islamic Jihad group, a close ally of Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers. Gaza’s Health Ministry says that since the conflict started on July 8 more than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians. The Israeli military says that at least 60 of its soldiers have been killed in fighting.

Hamas is finding that it has fewer friends in the Arab world these days. The terror group can still count Qatar and Turkey among its allies, but that’s about it. After nearly four weeks of violence in the Gaza Strip, a surprising number of Arab nations have refused to publicly condemn Israel or support Hamas. Policy experts see that silence as an apparent attempt by those countries to distance themselves from radical Islam. Their patience for radical Islam has become so thin that they view Hamas as a bigger evil than even Israel. One CNN commentator calls the silence “unprecedented.” In a recent New York Times article, Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator under several presidents, said Egypt’ Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have so much “loathing and fear” of Hamas that it “outweighs” their disdain for Israel.

Iraq

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took control of Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam on Iraq’s Tigris River, which provides power to the city of Mosul. ISIS — known for killing dozens of people at a time, while carrying out public executions, crucifixions and other acts — has taken over several cities as it seeks to create an Islamic caliphate that encompasses parts of Iraq and Syria. Militants with the Islamic State extremist group on Sunday seized two small towns in northern Iraq after driving out Kurdish security forces, further expanding the territories under their control. The fresh gains by the Sunni extremist militants have forced thousands of residents to flee from the religiously mixed towns of Zumar and Sinjar, toward the northern self-ruled Kurdish region. Thousands of Lebanese civilians and Syrian refugees were also fleeing in packed cars and pickup trucks on Monday from an eastern border town that was overrun by ISIS militants from neighboring Syria.

Police cars have been repainted to say “Islamic police.” Women are forbidden from wearing bright colors and prints. The homes of Shiites and others have signs stating they are property of the Islamic State. And everyone walks in fear amid a new reign of terror. That’s what life is like in Mosul, Tikrit and other cities in northern and western Iraq under the control of Islamic extremists after their lightning-fast military campaign that overwhelmed the Iraqi army in June. The new normal for these residents means daily decrees about attire and raids to root out religious minorities in a campaign to impose strict Islamic rule in cities that tolerated multiple religions for centuries. As many Christians in Mosul have discovered, their only choice is fleeing. The militants are an al-Qaeda splinter group so radical that it was rejected even by al-Qaeda.

Libya

A day of militia fighting over control of the international airport in Libya’s capital killed 22 people, the country’s interim government said Sunday, part of the worsening chaos gripping the country. Libya is seeing its worst violence since the 2011 civil war that toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi, as militias made up of the rebels who overthrew him largely run wild in the country, armed with heavy weaponry that outguns its poorly organized security forces. Saturday’s deaths bring the death toll after weeks of fighting for control of Tripoli’s international airport, as well as Libya’s second-largest city of Benghazi, to 236 people.

Syria

With newer crises to focus on, the media has lately ignored the ongoing strife in Syria. However, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 1,600 deaths in just 10 days in July and counts more than 115,000 people killed since the beginning of the uprising against al-Assad’s regime in March 2011. There are reports of militants crucifying people in public and images smuggled out of Syria that appear to show them raising their victims’ severed heads on poles. How did so many in the international community let the nearly 3½-year struggle in Syria slip from the front of their minds? Al Tompkins from The Poynter Institute journalism school says it could be because there’s a lot going on in the world right now. It’s also difficult for journalists to get into Syria.

Pestilence

An Atlanta hospital received two U.S. aid workers infected with Ebola Saturday. Officials are confident the patients — who represent the first time anyone infected with Ebola has been brought into the country — can be treated without putting the public in danger. Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who were serving in Liberia as medical missionaries when they became ill from the virus, will be treated at a special isolation unit at Emory University Hospital. The hospital is located just down the hill from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is one of only four sites in the USA capable of handling high-risk patients infected with serious, infectious diseases.

Dr. Kent Brantly, the American stricken with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia and brought to the United States for treatment in a special isolation ward was treated with an experimental drug before he returned home, the relief organization for which he works said Sunday evening. ”We praise God for the news that Kent’s condition is improving,” a statement from Samaritan’s Purse said. “We can confirm that Kent was able to receive a dose of the experimental serum prior to leaving Liberia.”

Earthquakes

A “strong” earthquake hit southwest China’s Yunnan Province Sunday afternoon, killing at least 400 many more missing and 1,800 people injured. The China Earthquake Networks Center said the magnitude was 6.5. Electricity was lost. Telecommunication services were affected, making it was hard to reach people in the area. CCTV said the quake was the strongest to hit Yunnan in 14 years. Chinese authorities on Monday dispatched thousands of soldiers to assist local firefighters and other emergency workers in relief efforts in Ludian County, where 12,000 homes were toppled.

Wildfires

As the West continues to deal with a relentless summer fire season, two particular blazes in northern California have firefighters especially worried. The two wildfires started burning within a day of each other in Lassen National Forest, and have combined to char about 102 square miles of land by Sunday night – 63 additional square miles of burned land in just one day. They’re moving into areas of Shasta County that are populated, forcing authorities to put residents in Burney on an evacuation watch after three small nearby communities were forced to evacuate Sunday night. There are at least 14 wildfires currently burning in California. The number of fires led California Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency Saturday. His proclamation said the circumstances and magnitude of the wildfires are beyond the control of any single local government and will require the combined forces of regions to combat.

Siskiyou County, which borders Oregon, also was contending with two major fires, both started by lightning last week. One of them, which began in Oregon, threatened hundreds of structures and charred nearly 58 square miles in both states as of late Sunday, including 14 square miles on the California side. It burned three homes and other structures, and evacuations remained in place for several neighborhoods in both states. In Washington state, a wildfire that started during a lightning storm Saturday night burned several structures. The Snag Canyon fire near Ellensburg had burned nearly 2,000 acres and was prompting evacuation notices. They said residents of about 180 homes in the area had either been urged to evacuate or alerted that they might have to leave quickly if conditions worsen. North of that blaze, firefighters contained another wildfire that started Friday and burned six to eight homes.

Landslides

At least 8 people are dead and unknown number of others trapped after a landslide struck multiple villages in Nepal Sunday. The death toll could skyrocket as the situation progresses. One survivor told the Associated Press that “dozens” of homes in at least two villages were buried beneath the landslide. Worse yet, the mass of earth blocked a river in the area, causing a 2-mile-long lake to form behind the wall of debris. Water levels are slowly rising behind the wall. If the temporary dam were to burst, the water could inundate and destroy other villages in the area causing more loss of life.

Weather

At least one person was killed and thousands were stranded as unusually rich monsoon moisture fueled powerful thunderstorms that slammed the Southwest with torrential rainfall Sunday, leading to flash flooding in several California and Arizona counties. The storms also brought damaging winds in the Phoenix area. A thunderstorm unleashed 3.89 inches of rain in a short period of time on Mount Baldy in the Angeles National Forest Sunday afternoon, unleashing dangerous flash floods and debris flows that trapped many residents. About 1,500 residents of Oak Glen, and another 1,000 residents of Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains were unable to get out because the roads were covered with mud, rock and debris.

Western Arizona was also hard-hit, particularly in the Lake Havasu City area. The National Weather Service said trees were snapped by powerful thunderstorm winds there. Dry washes in the area turned into torrents of floodwater. Strong storms also hit the Phoenix area. In Tempe, the Price Freeway (State Route 101) was closed for a time when a cable fell onto the road. Large trees were knocked over in Tempe. Powerful storms also struck Wickenburg, northwest of Phoenix, causing roof damage in the downtown area. The National Weather Service relayed reports of flash flooding around Kingman, in northwest Arizona, late Sunday evening.

Tropical Storm Bertha emerged from the eastern Dominican Republic early Sunday after whipping Puerto Rico with heavy rains and strong winds that knocked out power in parts of the region. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm was likely to curve to the northeast and move parallel to the U.S. eastern seaboard without hitting the mainland.

July 2014 went down as the record coolest July in many locations from the Great Lakes to the Deep South. Among the cities setting a new record coolest July were: Indianapolis; Decatur, Illinois; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Tupelo, Mississippi; and Vicksburg, Mississippi.

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One Response to “Signs of the Times (8/4/14)”

  1. Alex Dekkers Says:

    We are definitely coming closer to the end of times, with the times being as wicked as in the time of Noah. I consider homosexuality being just as big a sins as all other sins, but choosing to be (because we are created in Gods image, and therefore cannot be born gay) gay and being a Christian …

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