Archive for August, 2021

Signs of the Times Update: August 28, 2021

August 28, 2021

Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way. (Jude 1:14-15)

Terrorism: My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me… But You, O God,  shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You. (Psalm 55:4-5.23)

The Pentagon warned the Biden Administration about the potential for a terrorist attack at the Kabul Airport. Concerns about security around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul had increased based on “a very specific threat stream” from ISIS-K about planned attacks against crowds outside the airport, a U.S. defense official has told CNN earlier this week. The U.S. believes ISIS-K, which is a sworn enemy of the Taliban, wants to create mayhem at the airport and has intelligence streams suggesting it is capable and planning to carry out multiple attacks, according to the official. And so they did.

  • As warned above, an explosion at Kabul airport killed over 170 people Thursday morning. A Taliban official told Reuters News that the initial explosion came from a suspected suicide bomb and killed 13 U.S. service members. Many others were wounded. Officials say at least 95 Afghans were killed, though the true toll could be higher. Morgues are at capacity and officials say many bodies are still unclaimed because the victims’ relatives are in distant provinces. ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • President Biden, addressing the nation after the ISIS-K terrorist attack, said, “We will hunt you down and make you pay.” Biden also vowed to continue the operation to evacuate Americans and Afghan partners.
  • The Pentagon said Saturday that a drone strike in Afghanistan killed two ‘high-profile planners and facilitators of ISIS-K and wounded one other member. The drone hit a vehicle carrying an ISIS-K target who was believed to be planning future attacks.
  • The outrage over the American deaths Thursday was compounded by news that the U.S. gave the Taliban the names of Americans and Afghan allies it wanted to evacuate, what some called handing the Taliban a “kill list.” Military officials warned Biden that another attack is probably before the evacuations are complete.
  • ISIS-K has been operating in Afghanistan since 2015. The Pentagon said that “thousands” of ISIS Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) prisoners were freed by the Taliban during their takeover of Afghanistan in the days leading up to the bombing near the Kabul airport, which killed 13 U.S. service members Thursday. ISIS-K was founded by several hundred disillusioned Pakistani Taliban fighters. It attracted other extremists, including members of the who believed the militant group had become too moderate and peaceful. 
  • General Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, says American forces are on the alert for more attacks, potentially including rocket attacks on the airport, reports Reuters. McKenzie says some intelligence has been shared with the Taliban and he believes “some attacks have been thwarted by them.”

More than 200 former Guantanamo Bay inmates returned to terrorism following their release, according to a declassified Office of National Intelligence report. The declassified NI report, dated Dec. 18, 2020, said 229 former Guantanamo prisoners had returned to acts of terrorism and killing Americans since being released. The NI report said that 151, or 66%, of the former Gitmo inmates remained at large. Forty-one of the former Guantanamo Bay inmates were believed to have died, and another 37 were in foreign custody.

Wars & Rumors of Wars: And you will hear ofwars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; forall these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.Fornation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (Matthew 24:6-7a)

More than 21,000 people were evacuated from the Kabul airport in total, per a White House official on Wednesday: 37 U.S. military flights carried 12,700 evacuees; and 57 coalition flights carried 8,900 people. That brings the total to 58,700 evacuated since Aug. 14, and 63,900 people evacuated since the end of July.

  • More than 300 Americans were evacuated from Kabul in the past 24 hours, Army Maj. Gen. William “Hank” Taylor, Joint Staff deputy director for regional operations, said Friday. About 5,100 US citizens have been evacuated to date, he said. He added: “89 flights total yesterday out of Kabul totaling 12,500 evacuees now safely out of Afghanistan in a 24-hour period.”
  • U.S. officials have been in touch with some 500 Americans still seeking to leave Afghanistan, and were “aggressively reaching out” to 1,000 more, “multiple times a day through multiple channels,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.
  • U.S. troops have not rescued any Americans in Afghanistan outside of Kabul as of Wednesday. Only three rescue missions have been conducted by American soldiers since the Taliban took over the country, according to military officials. But all three took place within Kabul.

President Biden has decided not to extend the Aug. 31 deadline to remove all American troops from Afghanistan, caving in to the threat of Taliban reprisals. The development comes shortly after a Taliban spokesperson – following a meeting between leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and CIA Director William Burns in Kabul — said there will be “no extensions” to the Biden administration’s Aug. 31 date. 

The Defense Department last Sunday ordered U.S. airlines to contribute planes for use in evacuating Afghan refugees. The 18 aircraft will transport evacuees to and from military bases in Germany, Qatar and Bahrain, the Wall Street Journal reports. They will not go into Kabul. So far, military C-17 cargo planes have been used to take civilians out of the Kabul airport. These planes aren’t designed for passengers and don’t work well for long trips; they don’t carry food, or have enough restrooms or even seats. In some cases, more than 400 people have packed together on the floors of the C-17.

Persecution: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

Dr. Rex Rogers, North American President of the Middle East media ministry SAT-7, says, “We’re hearing from reliable sources that the Taliban demand people’s phones, and if they find a downloaded Bible on your device, they will kill you immediately.” Open Doors ranked Afghanistan as the second-most dangerous country in the world for Christians even before the Taliban took control. Now a pastor who built churches in Afghanistan is warning that the Taliban will “exterminate” the church there. A pastor in the US who works with Afghan refugees reports: “Young Christian girls are being pursued by the Taliban. The Taliban just raided the home of another church leader and confiscated his Bibles and literature.” A member of the UK Parliament warns that “there are 228 missionaries in Afghanistan currently under sentence of death.”

  • A Christian ministry that has worked for years in Afghanistan has confirmed that the Taliban is going door to door in a hunt for Christians to be executed. The Frontier Alliance International ministry revealed in a statement that the atrocities are confirmed by first-hand ground reports.
  • Run Ministries reports, “The Taliban has targeted at least 428 villages where underground Christians live. They’ve notified the village leaders that they are coming to find the Jesus followers. If that happens the girls will very likely be abused and raped, the boys kidnapped for jihad and any adult who resists will be murdered.”

Immigration: He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

With thousands of Afghan refugees expected to arrive to the U.S., the State Department must facilitate their resettlement across the country as some critics raise concerns over homeland security and the swift vetting process. The Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia will serve as a “temporary layover location” until the refugees, many of whom are children, can be transported to either Fort Bliss, Texas, or Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. Afghans arriving in the United States after fleeing the Taliban are being vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Expo Center, the only entry point for evacuees so far. Eligible Afghans are being offered the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and State Department translators are on site to assist.

  • Airbnb has pledged to provide free housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees. CEO Brian Chesky said Tuesday that the program would begin immediately, and that Airbnb would pay for the stays.

Hundreds of migrant children are languishing at emergency shelters established by the Biden administration as the border crisis continues. More than 700 children were in the government’s unlicensed emergency facilities in mid-July for more than three weeks. The sites were established under the Biden administration in March, and are still being used despite being set up to serve as a temporary answer amid the crisis.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a court order requiring the Biden administration to reinstate a Trump-era immigration move known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. The policy, implemented by former President Donald Trump, requires asylum seekers at the southern border to stay in Mexico while they await hearings in U.S. courtrooms to determine their eligibility and status.  Three of the court’s more liberal justices – Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer – would have accepted the application for a stay.

The Falling Away: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. (1Timothy 4:1) Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13)

A new study found that more than 60 percent of born-again Christians in America between 18 and 39 years of age believe that people can receive salvation through Buddha, Muhammad or Jesus. The “Religious Views & Practices Survey” from Probe Ministries said there is a “striking decline” in evangelical religious beliefs and practices over the last decade. The study also said there was a drop in “basic biblical worldview” and in belief in the accuracy of the Bible, salvation and Jesus being sinless, The Christian Post reports. That number in 2020 was 16 percent, compared to 47 percent in 2010.

  • The great end-time falling away is well underway. No one can take your salvation from you, but you can give it away, and many are doing so now.

New World Order – One-World Government: It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:7-8) The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. (Daniel 7:23)

In a bid to improve vaccination rates, local authorities in China are punishing entire families if one member refuses to receive jabs against the coronavirus. Officials from several counties and cities governments said they will stop giving pensions and medical aid to the unvaccinated. Authorities will also bar unvaccinated individuals from visiting schools, workplaces, or other areas outside their homes, such as shops, banks, and libraries. Moreover, related family members, even the vaccinated, could suffer. In two provinces, children cannot return to school if parents fail to provide proof that the entire two generations in a family received jabs.

New Zealand’s government on Monday said it will extend a strict nationwide lockdown until at least Friday as it tries to extinguish a growing coronavirus outbreak. The news came as health authorities reported 35 new local infections of the fast-spreading delta variant, the highest number of daily COVID-19 cases in New Zealand since April last year. First discovered last week, the outbreak has grown to 107 cases. But health authorities say they’ve found links among most of those cases, giving them hope they can quash the outbreak.

Australia has announced it will be constructing ‘regional quarantine facilities’ to house Covid victims as a containment strategy. The first will be at Wellcamp Airport near Toowoomba. “As we contend with the dangerous Delta variant, we need fit-for-purpose quarantine facilities. That’s why we’ve taken decisive action to build this new 1000-bed, dedicated facility,” tweeted Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

  • These detention centers are the next phase in using Covid as an excuse to mandate masks and vaccinations. The plague of new variants is not going to end, so you can be sure that similar detention centers will be sprouting up worldwide over the next couple of years. First they will be used to house Covid patients, then those who refuse to be vaccinated will join them as well as any who oppose such draconian measures.

The Demise of America: The first was like a lion (Britain), and had eagle’s wings (America). I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. (Daniel 7:4)

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority is allowing evictions to resume across the US, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. The court’s action late Thursday ends protections for roughly 3.5 million people who said they faced eviction in the next two months, according to Census Bureau data from early August. The court said in an unsigned opinion that the CDC, which reimposed the moratorium Aug. 3, lacked the authority to do so under federal law without explicit congressional authorization.

  • The evictions ban should have never been instituted. But now that it has been in force for over a year, it has masked the economic disruption that will soon hit the economy and create a surge in homelessness.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $3.5 trillion budget plan, and now aims to vote on the infrastructure package by late September. The bill opens the door for lawmakers to begin work on a proposal that would make sweeping changes to health-care, education and tax policies, as President Biden has proposed. The vote also includes a commitment to tackle infrastructure reform by Sept. 27, part of a deal to assuage moderate Democrats who had threatened to block the budget measure. All 212 Republicans voted against the package and all 220 Democrats voted for it.

About 89% of federal rental assistance approved by Congress remains unspent. The Treasury Department on Wednesday released updated payout figures that show states and cities distributed $1.7 billion to landlords and renters in July, a modest increase from the $1.5 billion distributed in June. All told, states and cities spent $5.2 billion out of $46.5 billion in rental relief authorized from COVID-19 rescue packages since December – $4.7 billion of which has gone directly to households and the rest toward administrative costs.

One of the most important features of March’s American Rescue Plan was an expansion of the Child Tax Credit. For years, the credit maxed out at $2,000 per child for children 16 and under. The credit was also only partially refundable. Now, the credit works very differently. For one thing, its value has increased so it’s worth up to $3,600 per child under the age of 6 and up to $3,000 for children aged 6 to 17. The credit is now also fully re-fundable, so anyone who claims it can get its full value even if there’s no tax liability at hand. Furthermore, the Child Tax Credit will be paid out differently this year. Half of the credit is coming in the form of monthly installments, and the other half will be paid as a lump sum in 2022.

  • With the economy artificially propped up by all the various stimulus payments, the true underlying chaos is masked, giving the false impression that the economy is recovering. Remove the props, and the house of cards will implode. Keep the props going by printing money out of thin air, and the economy will be crushed by the heavy debt load. Either way, an eventual inflationary depression is coming.

Abortion: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. (Jeremiah 1:5)

Crosswalk writes, “What does God think about children? His word calls them “a heritage from the Lᴏʀᴅ” (Psalm 127:3). Jesus said of them, “To such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). In Jeremiah 32, the Lord grieves that his people “built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech” (v. 35), a reference to child sacrifice. God calls this horrific practice an “abomination,” from the Hebrew word toebah describing something that is “detestable,” “loathsome,” or “horrifying.” If abortion advocates in the Congress have their way, taxpayer funds will soon be paying for such a toebah in America.”

Pestilence (Covid and other diseases): For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And  there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7)

As of Saturday, the 7-day average of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. increased to 155,365, up from 145,913 a week ago, a 6.5% increase, with Friday’s total reaching 192,720, according to government data. Over the past two weeks, the total is up by 21%. Deaths, however, increased by 95% over the past two weeks. Deaths lag cases by 10-14 days and are just now catching up with the early surge of new cases. Hospitalizations are up 28%.

  • More than 90,000 coronavirus patients were in hospitals nationwide, more than in any previous surge except last winter’s peak.
  • Much of the South is contending with its most serious outbreak of the pandemic. In Florida, the average number of deaths announced per day is higher now than at any other point in the pandemic. Kentucky has more coronavirus patients in its hospitals than ever before.

People who have previously recovered from COVID-19 have been observed to have better protection against the Delta variant of the coronavirus compared to those who received the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine, according to a study from Israel. “This analysis demonstrated that natural immunity affords longer-lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease, and hospitalization due to the Delta variant,” researchers from Maccabi Healthcare and Tel Aviv University said.

  • However, disturbing news from Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC: “We are seeing concerning evidence of waning vaccine effectiveness over time and against the Delta variant… Reports from our international colleagues, including Israel, suggest increased risk of severe disease amongst those vaccinated early.”

After a year of virtual school, students and parents alike were excited for the return of in-person learning. But just as quickly as the new school year started, many children were sent back home after a slew of COVID-19 outbreaks forced them into quarantine. In Florida, school districts around the state, including in Jacksonville’s Duval County, are closing schools as cases rise. New Orleans School District saw 299 active COVID-19 cases and more than 3,000 students and staff in quarantine. A Mississippi public health official said about 20,000 students across the state are in quarantine. 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that all PreK-12 public school teachers and staff, all higher-education personnel and students, and health care workers in a variety of settings must be vaccinated against Covid-19 by September 5 or face regular testing requirements.

The Mississippi State Department of Health issued an alert on Friday ordering any coronavirus-positive individuals to isolate for at least 10 days or face up to a 5-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $5,000. The isolation order comes amid surging COVID-19 cases in Mississippi, as the 7-day average for new cases in the state reached 4,316 on Friday, nearly double the highest point during the second wave in January.

  • Mississippi now has at least 2,000 fewer nurses than it did at the beginning of the year, according to the Mississippi Hospital Association’s Center for Quality & Workforce due to Covid and burnout.

Vaccines – Harbinger of the Mark of the Beast: He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

  • The vaccines are not the Mark of the Beast, much as polio, measles, tetanus shots are not either. The Mark must be on the hand and/or forehead and will be required to buy and sell. However, the vaccines are a precursor in that they prepare the masses to follow government orders when the true Mark comes.

The average number of vaccine doses administered per day has increased steadily throughout the month, from roughly 816,000 shots on August 1 to more than 878,000 on August 27. About 61% of the total U.S. population have received at least one dose, while 52% are fully vaccinated.

  • However this data includes the under-12 population, who are not eligible. Of the eligible population, 61% are fully vaccinated. For those 65 and older, 82% have been fully vaccinated.

The FDA granted full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine Monday. The licensing of the first coronavirus vaccine will have wide-reaching effects, experts predicted, including a sharp increase in vaccine mandates imposed by employers and universities and possibly a rise in inoculations among those who had been reluctant to receive shots of an “experimental” product. The approval triggered the military making the shot mandatory, John Kirby, the Department of Defense’s spokesman, told reporters in Washington.

  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Tuesday said the company believes a COVID-19 vaccine-resistant variant will likely one day emerge, though the company has a system in place to turn around a variant-specific jab within three months.
  • Children under 12 should not yet receive COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as regulators await data on safety, efficacy and dosing.

Booster doses of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine generated a big spike in antibodies, the frontline immune system defenses against infection, the company reported Wednesday. People who received a booster six to eight months after their initial J&J shots saw antibodies increase nine-fold higher than 28 days after the first shot, Johnson & Johnson said. The data comes from two Phase 2 studies conducted in the United States and Europe, the company said in a statement.

  • J&J said it was in discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, European Medicines Agency, World Health Organization and other health authorities about the need for offering a booster dose of the Janssen vaccine.

CDC data indicates 62.5% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 73.1% receiving at least one dose. While federal health officials look to rollout COVID-19 booster shots among most Americans come September, pending FDA review, the head of the World Health Organization on Monday called for a two-month moratorium on administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines as a means of reducing global vaccine inequality and preventing the emergence of new coronavirus variants.

U.S. military department heads were ordered Tuesday to “immediately” start getting their troops vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19, two days after the first COVID-19 vaccine received federal approval. A timeline was not laid out in the memo, but Austin directed a rapid pace, telling the secretaries to “impose ambitious timelines for implementation.” So far, 24% of the active force have chosen not to be vaccinated, while another 8% haver received a single-dose.

President Joe Biden said on Aug. 23 that U.S. companies should impose vaccination requirements. “Today I’m calling on more companies in the private sector to step up with vaccine requirements that will reach millions more people. If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that,” Biden said. “Require it. Do what I did last month. Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements.”

Companies have started applying surcharges to the health care premiums of unvaccinated workers. Delta Airlines announced a $200-per-month health-insurance surcharge charge for workers who refuse to get vaccinated.

More than 200 University of Virginia students who didn’t comply with the school’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement have been disenrolled ahead of the fall semester. The students were disenrolled after “receiving multiple reminders via email, text, phone calls, calls to parents that they were out of compliance,” Coy said. They can re-enroll if they comply with the vaccine requirement or file an exemption by Wednesday. About 96.6 percent of students have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Violence/Murder: When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)

Authorities believe one gunman killed three people and wounded another person during a spree of shootings and arsons in eastern Washington state on Wednesday, the AP reports. A suspect was believed to have been found dead later after police fired on a vehicle. KEPR reports that police were called about several fires and a shooting shortly before 4am in Finley, Washington.

A Colorado tourist enjoying a meal with his wife and 1-year-old son in Miami Beach, Florida, was shot and killed Tuesday, with a video showing the murderer dancing on his body after the horrifying incident. Police arrested Tamarius David of Norcross, Georgia, charging him with second-degree murder with a weapon and attempted murder for shooting at and missing another man in the area just moments earlier. An arrest report says David was “high on mushrooms which made him feel empowered,” and that he “randomly chose” to shoot Wakefield.

A man in New York City was stabbed in the face and abdomen during a caught-on-camera broad daylight attack by an apparent stranger. The 25-year-old victim was standing on the sidewalk along Hegeman Avenue in Brooklyn at about 5:20 p.m. Saturday when a man wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt attacked him with a sharp object which was caught on video. Police are now searching for the attacker who fled the area.

  • Random violence has been increasing as Satan’s evil spirits stir up the vulnerable population.

Education: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Tumbling test scores reveal how much learning was not absorbed by students driven to virtual schooling when their classrooms were closed overnight, often staying shut for over a year. By the spring of 2021, reading scores were between 3 and 6 percentile points lower. And median math achievement dropped 8-12 percentile points compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to an analysis by NWEA, a research-based, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide.

Lawlessness: For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (2Thessalonians 2;7)

  • As God’s hand of restraint is gradually lifting, spirits of lawlessness are stirring up lawlessness which will increase all the more as the end-times ramp up.

Portland’s mayor and police commissioner on Monday defended the city’s strategy dealing with events that led to brawls and people exchanging gunfire on city streets. Members of the right-wing Proud Boys and far-left Antifa gathered in Oregon’s largest city over the weekend and violence broke out. The events culminated with at least two people exchanging gunshots on a city street, though no gunshot wounds were reported. The violence unfolded after Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said officers would not intervene, saying that to do so would make the situation worse.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that since 2021 began, there have been 3,988 reports of unruly passengers, 2,928 of those involving people who wouldn’t mask up as required on planes. The agency says the increase in unruly reports has been dramatic and that they will adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward unruliness. So far this year, 132 unruly passengers have been penalized.

Protests: Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials, Reuters reported. Though federal officials have arrested more than 570 alleged participants, the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump,

A campaign event for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was canceled over safety concerns after angry coronavirus protesters rallied against the liberal leader. “I need freedom,” read one sign held by a protester in Bolton, Ontario, on Friday. The event was first postponed by two hours on Friday, and was eventually canceled over security concerns due to the rowdy crowd.

Praise Report: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

A Virginia school board this week defied a new state requirement and voted down a proposal that would have forced schools to allow students to use the restroom and locker room they wish. The Newport News School Board opposed the proposal in a 5-1 vote Tuesday after hearing from both sides, according to the Daily Press newspaper. When the law violates the Constitution, then it’s a bad law,” said School Board Chairman Douglas Brown.“ The proposal, he added, infringes on the “rights of parents.” 

Gender Confusion: Male and female He created them. (Genesis 5:2)

  • Gender confusion is being promoted because it undermines God’s ordained family structure, giving secular government more control over people, particularly our youth.

In the midst of the isolation that ensued due to COVID-19 quarantines and school lockdowns, some parents have described how a new “social contagion” crept quietly into homes to infect and transform their children. It was given a name in a 2018 study: rapid-onset gender dysphoria. Now, parents are sounding the alarm. In September 2020, January Littlejohn of Tallahassee, Florida, was shocked when her 13-year-old daughter inadvertently revealed a secret. School officials wanted to know which bathroom she preferred to use “as a result of her requested name change.” More shocking was her discovery of a plan devised during a private meeting held with her daughter and school officials without her knowledge or consent.

“She was so flippant about it,” Littlejohn told The Epoch Times, “and what I’ve come to understand is these kids claiming transgender identities out of the blue have no idea of the scope or scale of what they are saying, things they are asking for in terms of hormones and surgery. It’s like they’re asking to get a nose ring or their hair dyed or a piece of clothing they know their parents are going to reject. In many ways, this has become a new source of teenage rebellion, but the long-term consequences are much more severe.”

“The schools have moved past the position of affirming and are now encouraging and celebrating,” Littlejohn, a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida, said, adding that adopted school policies regarding transgender students “reinforces the confusion they may be experiencing and affirms in their adolescent brain that they were born the wrong gender. Schools are also creating a huge wedge between gender-confused children and their parents,” she added. “Further, by excluding parents, other mental health issues that often times accompany a transgender identity, such as depression and anxiety, may go unchecked and unresolved.”

Election Integrity: He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become knownThe integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. (Proverbs 10:9,11:3)

In the November 2020 general election, whose chaotic results have been vigorously disputed, almost 15 million mail-in ballots went unaccounted for, according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation which describes itself as “the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly to election integrity,” existing “to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections.” “These figures detail how the 2020 push to mail voting needs to be a one-year experiment,” the PLF said.

House Democrats voted Tuesday to revive federal oversight of state voting-rights laws that had been weakened by recent Supreme Court decisions, but the measure faces an uncertain future against Republican opposition in the Senate. The House voted 219-212 along straight party lines to approve the legislation named for the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a civil-rights icon. The bill aims to restore Justice Department review of changes in election law in states with a history of discrimination.

Economy – Depression/Shortages: When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell offered his clearest signal yet that the Fed could soon start scaling back its sprawling bond-buying program if the economy remains strongly on track, according to remarks delivered Friday. Powell said that while the delta variant of the coronavirus poses risks in the near term, “the prospects are good” for continued progress in the labor market.

The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, the so-called core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, vaulted in the 12 months through July to levels not seen in 30 years. The Commerce Department said in a release Friday that core PCE rose 3.6 percent over the year in July, matching last month’s level, which was an increase from 3.5 percent in May and 3.1 percent in April. The last time the core PCE inflation gauge saw a similar year-over-year increase was in July 1991.

The vast network of ports, container vessels and trucking companies that moves goods around the world is badly tangled, and the cost of shipping is skyrocketing. More than 18 months into the pandemic, the disruption to global supply chains is getting worse, spurring shortages of consumer products and making it more expensive for companies to ship goods where they’re needed. Companies such as Adidas, Crocs and Hasbro are already warning of disruptions as they prepare for the crucial year-end holiday period.

As a result of the severe drought and heat wave in the high plains states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska), many crops planted this spring are wilting. Some 63% of the U.S. spring wheat crop is in poor or very poor condition, versus 6% at this time last year, according to Agriculture Department data. The poor weather has caused the USDA to scale back its expectations for U.S. crop production in 2021—which, in turn, is causing domestic inventories to dwindle which will eventually show up as empty shelves in grocery stores.

  • There have been reports that the U.S. government is paying farmers to destroy their crops, further adding to the coming food shortages. However, further research is required to confirm these anecdotal reports.

About 4 in 10 investors have taken on debt to invest, including 80% of Gen Zers and 60% of millennials, according to a recent survey from personal finance site MagnifyMoney. “Anyone who takes out loans, debt or margin to access a volatile asset class makes me shiver a bit ,” said Matt Hougan, chief investment officer of Bitwise Asset Management, the largest crypto index fund manager globally. “You can get into a lot of trouble financially.”

About 89% of federal rental assistance approved by Congress remains unspent. The Treasury Department on Wednesday released updated payout figures that show states and cities distributed $1.7 billion to landlords and renters in July, a modest increase from the $1.5 billion distributed in June. All told, states and cities spent $5.2 billion out of $46.5 billion in rental relief authorized from COVID-19 rescue packages since December – $4.7 billion of which has gone directly to households and the rest toward administrative costs. 

One of the most important features of March’s American Rescue Plan was an expansion of the Child Tax Credit. For years, the credit maxed out at $2,000 per child for children 16 and under. The credit was also only partially refundable. Now, the credit works very differently. For one thing, its value has increased so it’s worth up to $3,600 per child under the age of 6 and up to $3,000 for children aged 6 to 17. The credit is now also fully refundable, so anyone who claims it can get its full value even if there’s no tax liability at hand. Furthermore, the Child Tax Credit will be paid out differently this year. Half of the credit is coming in the form of monthly installments, and the other half will be paid as a lump sum in 2022.

  • With the economy artificially propped up by all the various stimulus payments, the true underlying chaos is masked, giving the false impression that the economy is recovering. Remove the props, and the house of cards will implode. Keep the props coming by printing money and the economy will be crushed by the heavy debt load. Either way, an eventual inflationary depression is coming.

Israel: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. (Psalm 122:6)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said no to a return to the Iran nuclear deal, no to a Palestinian state, but yes to a more conciliatory relationship with Israel’s strongest ally in an interview with the New York Times published Wednesday. Just one day ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, Bennett said that he was coming to Washington with a “new, strategic vision on Iran,” the report said. “What we need to do, and what we are doing, is forming a regional coalition of reasonable Arab countries, together with us, that will fend off and block this expansion and this desire for [Iranian] domination,” he said. Israel has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and normalized relations last year with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan through the Abraham Accords. Although Saudi Arabia has not yet signed on, Israel is widely considered to have quiet ties with Iran’s strongest opponent in the region.

Middle East: When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (Luke 21:20-22)

Incendiary balloons launched by Gaza terrorists sparked nine fires in southern Israel on Monday as firefighters battled blazes in the Sdot Negev and Eshkol region throughout the day. “The audacity of the terror groups to renew the terrorism of balloons and to burn our fields must be rooted out today. If it is not stopped today, we will find ourselves… [again] putting out fires and crying that our harvests have gone up in smoke,” said Gilad Yarkoni, the mayor of the Eshkol region, in a statement. “I expect the government to act immediately to send a clear and unequivocal message to these terrorist organizations that they ought not continue with this despicable terrorism,” Yarkoni added.

The Israeli Air Force (AIF) attacked several sites in central and northern Gaza used for storing and manufacturing weapons on Saturday night, following mass riots along the Gaza border fence on that lead to an Israeli soldier being critically injured. A Palestinian terrorist shot an IDF soldier from point-blank range during the riots. “We will settle the account with those who harm our fighters and the citizens of Israel,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday.

Iran has doubled its presence along Israel’s northern border with Syria, according to a report from a Turkish thinktank released last week. Despite a 2018 agreement to reduce Iranian-backed operatives and affiliated militia in southern Syria’s Golan Heights, signed by Russia, Jordan, Israel, and the U.S., Iran has instead cemented its presence in the area, the report says. Iranian-backed and Hezbollah-affiliated military installations more than doubled, growing from 40 to 88, in the past two years.

Wildfires: The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:7)

There are currently 28 large wildfires (over 100 acres) burning in Northern California with 18 more in Southern California. Another 33 large wildfires are burning in the northwest (Washington and Oregon) with 27 in Idaho and Montana.

A massive wildfire grew closer to iconic Lake Tahoe Thursday, spurring the first evacuation warnings for those inside the Tahoe basin and recommendations that tourists wanting to visit the area should stay home. The Caldor Fire has grown to more than 139,000 acres on a trek that also destroyed the small town of Grizzly Flats. It was 12% contained Thursday evening. At least 461 homes have been destroyed and another 17,000 structures were at risk since the blaze started Aug. 14.

End-Time Weather Will Continue to Grow More Severe: (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

Hurricane Ida is expected to rapidly strengthen before pummeling Louisiana on Sunday, forcing evacuations in New Orleans and the surrounding coastal region on the eve of the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. On Saturday, Ida was moving away from Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico, where it is expected to intensify over the next 24 to 36 hours into a Category 3 or 4 hurricane prior to landfall across the Louisiana coast on Sunday afternoon or evening. The hurricane could span about 150 miles east and west from the storm’s center.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s “State of the Climate in 2020” report sounded the alarm on record-high average sea levels globally and the highest-ever annual increase in the concentrations of methane in the atmosphere, a “potent greenhouse gas”.

At least 18 people were killed and three are still unaccounted for after flooding from torrential rainfall trapped residents in their homes, closed highways and prompted multiple water rescues across western Tennessee Saturday. At least 100 structures have been destroyed. “People are trapped in their homes and have no way to get out. Water is up to their necks. It is catastrophic, the worst kind of situation,” Krissy Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Nashville, said.

  • Search-and-rescue efforts remained underway Tuesday in the town of Waverly and throughout Humphreys County, where around 17 inches of record-shattering rain fell, according to reports from the National Weather Service.

Not much rain this past week for the western states still struggling through the megadrought. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows western states still at approximately the same levels of drought, with 84% in the severe to exceptional level of ongoing drought. Utah remains at 100% severe to exceptional and Oregon held at 99%, while California, and Nevada remain at 95%. However, Arizona and New Mexico stayed around 55%, down from 95% three months ago after a better than average monsoon season. Washington remained at 59%, up from 25% three months ago while Idaho remained at 88%, up from 13% three months ago.

The slow and sprawling storm system named Henri drenched much of the inland Northeast with rain Monday, hampering cleanup efforts, and threatening further flooding in areas with ground already saturated from a wet summer. Rains from the storm, which spared coastal areas of New York and New England major damage when its center made landfall Sunday in Rhode Island as a tropical storm, deluged areas from New Hampshire to New York City and down to New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

  • The lights were mostly back on Tuesday in Rhode Island and Connecticut, and floodwaters had receded from New Jersey and New York as tropical storm Henri drifted out to sea. The storm had hovered over the Northeast, slamming some areas with up to 10 inches of rain. It left behind a wide swath of mud, debris and devastation. The total damage and economic loss from Henri was probably $8 billion to $12 billion, according to AccuWeather CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers. Central New Jersey was among the areas hardest hit, as rainwater rushed through streets like rivers. In nearby Jamesburg, the Four Boys ice cream stand was overrun by 4 feet of water. Three inches of mud were left behind. High winds were the culprit in Rhode Island as Henri slammed ashore with 60-mph winds and gusts approaching 70 mph. The majority of the issues stemmed from tree limbs falling on power lines.

Signs of the Times Update: August 21,2021

August 21, 2021

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-21)

Praise Reports: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

The streets of Kiev filled with songs of praise and thanks as roughly 200,000 people gathered to celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. “Many traveled from all four provinces there just to be a part of that celebration, to thank God for the freedom to worship, to thank God for the freedom to preach the Gospel in their country, and to celebrate God’s faithfulness,” Sergey Rakhuba with Mission Eurasia told Mission Network News. The gathering came after Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko signed an order recognizing the anniversary of the Reformation.

Persecution: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

Eric Watt of Run Ministries reports about his teams on the ground in Afghanistan: “I’ve been communicating back and forth with teams desperately trying to serve faithful Jesus followers as they attempt to survive the gauntlet and leave the country from the Kabul Airport. Husbands and wives have been separated, many were caught in a stampede, and most were turned back because they were given the wrong form. In the rural parts of the country, it is worse. Reports are flooding in of the Taliban threatening and persecuting those with Bibles; taking children from their parents and destroying villages that refuse their allegiance to their evil regime. We need Angels from heaven to guide and direct our teams as we move people to safety. Please ask EVERY member of your inner circle to pray along with us for Jesus to blind the eyes of the enemy and protect His followers across Afghanistan.”

Abortion: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. (Jeremiah 1:5)

A federal appeals court in New Orleans has upheld a Texas law outlawing “dismemberment abortions” commonly used to end second-trimester pregnancies. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Wednesday reversed previous court rulings that blocked the pro-life law. Some court watchers say the case may ultimately end up before the US Supreme Court. The 2017 law, which passed the Texas Legislature with bipartisan support has never been enforced because of legal challenges. It prohibits the use of forceps to tear the unborn baby apart limb from limb to remove from the mother’s womb without first using an injected drug or a suction procedure to ensure the child is dead. A three-judge panel from the federal court blocked enforcement of the law last year. But Texas sought and was granted a rehearing by the full court. A majority among the 14 appellate judges who heard arguments in January sided with Texas

Civic/Religious Freedom: Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Hobby Lobby violated an Illinois anti-discrimination law when it prohibited a biological male employee who identifies as female from using the women’s restroom. The unanimous decision by a three-judge state appeals court panel upheld a ruling by the state’s Human Rights Commission, which had fined Hobby Lobby $220,000 and ruled the company violated the Illinois Human Rights Act when its East Aurora, Ill., store prohibited Meggan Sommerville – a transgender woman – from using the women’s restroom. The store instead allowed Sommerville to use a unisex restroom. The $220,000 judgment was to cover Sommerville’s emotional distress and attorney’s fees.

Doctrine of Demons: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. (1Timothy 4:2)

One August evening, hundreds of people used a Sharpie pen to write their greatest desire on a single bay leaf. Then, they lit the bay leaf on fire, letting the ashes fall into a bowl. This ritual, meant to manifest people’s goals into their lives, is one of many that has been circulating on social media app TikTok in recent weeks. Videos of rituals, spells, healing crystals, Tarot card readings and astrology predictions rack up millions of likes, while drawing in untold numbers of curious viewers. The TikTok community in which such rituals thrive goes by many names: “WitchTok,” “SpiritualTikTok,” “AstrologyTikTok.” These names are a shorthand of sorts, as the practices shared among followers originate from a multitude of religions, philosophies or cultural backgrounds. As a whole, they are united by a fascination with the unknown, and the unknowable.

Censorship: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18)

Twitter’s standards were called into question on Sunday after users pointed out that a key Taliban spokesman has been using the platform to give updates about the group’s advances within the Afghanistan while former President Trump’s account remains permanently suspended.

Pestilence (Covid and other diseases): For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And  there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7)

The seven-day average number of new Covid-19 cases per day has increased to 143,827 from 11,333 on June 20. The peak of 259,616 cases/day occurred on January 8 of this year. Over the past 14 days, new cases/day are up 44%, hospitalizations up 53% and deaths up 108%.

Breakthrough infections are occurring more frequently than previously reported. “Recent data makes clear that protection against mild and moderate disease has decreased over time,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during a Wednesday briefing. “This is likely due to both waning immunity and the strength of the widespread delta variant.” However, in San Diego County, the nation’s fifth-most populous, vaccinated people have a rate of infection about nine times less than the unvaccinated – and a rate of hospitalization that’s 35 times less.

  • In Israel’s COVID-19 wards, nearly 60 percent of the country’s 514 patients hospitalized with severe or critical symptoms are fully vaccinated, according to an Aug. 16 report.
  • Three senators — Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Angus King (I-Maine) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) — announced separately Thursday they tested positive for COVID-19. All three have been fully vaccinated.

Alabama ran out of intensive-care unit beds Wednesday, according to hospital officials who say they’re entering “uncharted territory” as the delta variant rips through states with poor COVID-19 vaccination rates. Patients will be admitted to the hospital but might have to wait in emergency room areas or be transferred to other facilities as needed. The state is the first to run out of ICU beds but isn’t alone in its plight. Neighboring Mississippi set up two field hospitals within the last week, while parts of Texas built overflow tents at their hospitals.

Louisiana has seen an “astronomical” number of Covid-19 cases during the latest surge, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards, as infections are increasing particularly among younger populations. “I can tell you that for the last couple of days, 28% of all the new cases that we’re reporting are in children zero to 17,” he said on Friday.

Two months ago 150 nurses and other hospital workers at Houston Methodist Hospital were fired for refusing to receive one of the COVID vaccines. Now, the hospital is one of several in the area experiencing a severe shortage of medical personnel as media report local hospitals have reached a “breaking point” because of a flood of COVID-19 cases.

More than 20,000 students in Mississippi—about 4.5% of the state’s public-school population—were quarantined over the last two weeks due to coronavirus exposures. Almost 6,000 students in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks, and two have died since late July, according to Mississippi state health department data. A total of 803 schools reported 4,521 positive cases among students within the past week.

New Mexico is reinstating a statewide mask mandate for all public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) announced on Tuesday. The new rule, issued by Acting Health Secretary David R. Scrase, applies to everyone in the state aged 2 and older. Masks have to be worn in all indoor public settings—except when eating or drinking, according to a statement issued by the governor’s office.

Mask mandates are back in effect at America’s national parks. The National Park Service issued a directive Sunday that immediately requires visitors, employees and contractors to wear a mask inside all NPS buildings and in “crowded outdoor spaces,” regardless of vaccination status. “Visitors to national parks are coming from locations across the country, if not across the world. Because of this, and recognizing that the majority of the United States is currently in substantial or high-transmission categories, we are implementing a service-wide mask requirement to ensure our staff and visitors’ safety,” NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge said in a statement.

The NYPD will discipline unvaccinated cops who don’t mask up while on the job — regardless of their being indoors or outdoors — as city officials try to prevent a surge of serious coronavirus cases in response to the highly infectious Delta variant.

Alaska Internal Medicine and Pediatrics is dropping all patients who do not get the experimental COVID shots. Other doctors and medical practices have also adopted the policy of not treating unvaccinated patients.

New Zealand’s 5 million people began a strict lockdown Tuesday that will last at least three days after finding one case of coronavirus. Auckland, where the infected man lives, and Coromandel, where he had visited, face at least seven days of lockdown. Schools and almost all workplaces closed. When people leave home, they are encouraged to wear a mask pending a possible mask mandate that could come soon. The virus outbreak spread Wednesday from the largest city of Auckland to the capital Wellington. Health authorities said Friday that three people in Wellington who recently visited Auckland had tested positive, raising the total to 31.

  • The single COVID-19 infection that caused New Zealand to lockdown has now ballooned. Victoria State, recorded 55 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Friday. Of the new locally acquired cases, 49 are linked to known outbreaks and 25 have been in isolation during their infectious period. Victoria’s sixth COVID-19 lockdown has been extended in Melbourne until at least September 2 and a night curfew has been imposed.

Vaccines – Harbinger of the Mark of the Beast: He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

Washington state is now requiring that all teachers and school staff be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment—marking the strictest school vaccine mandate in the United States.

As was reported by the Daily Expose in the United Kingdom and Red State in the United States, Australia’s Brad Hazzard, the Minister for Health and Medical Research, has told parents in a press conference that 24,000 Australian children will be sent to a stadium to get the Covid-19 vaccine, and parents will not allowed to be present. Hazzard insisted to parents that their children would be “well looked after.”

A vast majority of U.S. residents live in an area with high Covid-19 transmission, but hospitalization and death rates are significantly higher in states with the lowest vaccination rates. In the 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates, fewer than 41% of their residents have been fully vaccinated. In the 10 states with the highest vaccination rates, more than 58% of their residents have been inoculated against coronavirus.

  • Hospitalization rates in those bottom 10 states are nearly four times higher, and death rates are more than 5.5 times higher than in the top 10 states, according to an analysis of federal data.

U.S. health officials Wednesday recommended all Americans get COVID-19 booster shots to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and evidence that the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling. The plan, as outlined by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top authorities, calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The doses could begin the week of Sept. 20. Health officials said people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also probably need extra shots. But they said they are awaiting more data and have yet to work out the details.

A trio of new studies, published Wednesday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly science digest found vaccine effectiveness against infection declined as the delta variant became widespread in the United States. Protection against hospitalizations, meanwhile, remained strong. A growing number of studies, in the United States as well as Israel, Britain and Qatar, indicate vaccine effectiveness against infection has eroded somewhat.

  • According to the Israeli study, Israel has about the highest level of vaccination for COVID-19 in the world, with 78% of those 12 and older fully vaccinated. “Yet the country is now logging one of the world’s highest infection rates, with nearly 650 new cases daily per million people. More than half are fully vaccinated people, underscoring the extraordinary transmissibility of the Delta variant and stoking concerns that the benefits of vaccination ebb over time,”

Teens have a far greater risk of heart inflammation from COVID-19 than from the vaccines that protect against it, new research shows. Lead author Mendel Singer, vice chair for education at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, tells parents their research shows “the safer choice is vaccination” over risking heart inflammation from contracting the coronavirus. The study of over 13,000 children ages 12-17 showed girls had a risk 21 times and boys nearly six times as likely to suffer inflammation from COVID-19 than from two doses of the mRNA vaccines.

The federal government will direct all nursing homes to require vaccination for staffers or face loss of Medicare and Medicaid funds. The use of the federal government’s regulatory powers and threat of withholding money is an escalation by the Biden administration as it tries to get more Americans vaccinated amid the delta variant surge.

Students at Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University will be fined up to $2,275 and lose internet access if they fail to comply with the university’s COVID-19 vaccination policies. The private liberal arts college in New Haven County announced the new penalties on Aug. 16 in an email sent to some 600 students who haven’t yet provided proof of COVID-19 vaccination or requested an exemption.

After filing a lawsuit arguing he obtained “natural immunity” from COVID-19 after being infected with the novel coronavirus, George Mason University granted a professor a medical exemption from its COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Lawyers for Todd Zywicki, a law professor at the Fairfax, Virginia, university, announced the agreement Tuesday

Violence/Murder: When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)

At least five people have been killed and 42 others were injured in shootings across Chicago last weekend. Polic said nine teenagers and two young girls — were shot in the city from Saturday afternoon into Sunday. The girls were sitting in a parked vehicle when someone opened fire. A 7-year-old was shot in the chest and died.

Surveillance/Police State: So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. (Luke 20:20)

China’s escalating crackdown on the country’s once-mighty technology sector shows no signs of abating. “Once the privacy law comes into effect in November … China’s regulatory regime for tech will be one of the strictest of any major economy,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics. “That’s a remarkable shift from just a year or so ago when the opposite was true.” The stocks of once high-flying Chinese tech companies are falling precipitously.

Critical Race Theory: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

Arkansas state attorney general has issued a warning that critical race theory – that ideology that essentially concludes whites are oppressors and blacks are victims – violates federal law and his own state’s constitution. “Any effort to take account of race in a way that differently accords benefits or opportunities or creates a hostile environment in an educational institution is almost certainly unlawful under the Equal Protection Clause and Title VI,” wrote Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Protests: Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Antifa thugs clashed with anti-mask protesters outside Los Angeles City Hall last Saturday afternoon resulting in multiple injuries. “Brutal right-wing vs antifa brawl breaks out at anti-mask protest in Los Angeles,” journalist Andy Ngo tweeted Saturday along with a video from videographer Sean Carmitchel who was at the scene. “One of the antifa who charges in to fight gets pummeled to the ground. A woman trying to help him gets hit on the head. The antifa end up retreating.” At one point, Carmitchel tweeted that a man had been stabbed which he says was confirmed by the LAPD. Carmitchel documented several more skirmishes and police officers ultimately got involved to separate the two crowds. 

Immigration: He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

In a decision Friday night, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked a judge’s order calling for the reinstatement of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” immigration policy following a halt by President Biden. Justice Samuel Alito issued a temporary stay that will be in effect until Tuesday night so he and the other Supreme Court justices can review the filings submitted in connection with the case.

A federal judge on Thursday shot down the Biden administration’s attempt to place limits on which illegal immigrants can be arrested and deported, saying the policy ran contrary to the law and the Department of Homeland Security failed to justify why it was a good idea. Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee to the bench in Texas, issued a national injunction resetting the immigration enforcement playing field back to where it was before President Biden took office. He said immigration law says the government “shall” detain and try to deport certain categories of illegal immigrants, and the new Biden limits, issued in a series of guidance memos from Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, defy that congressional order.

The Biden administration unveiled a proposal Wednesday to speed up decisions on asylum claims by giving Department of Homeland Security officers the power to grant asylum to those at the border — including illegal immigrants — without having to go through an immigration court. The new proposed rules would also give Homeland Security the power to “catch and release” people who ask for asylum when “detention is unavailable or impracticable.” Officials described the changes as a way to get more certainty into the asylum system, so those who have valid claims can get a quick ruling and get on with their lives. But analysts said shifting the initial decisions from judges to Homeland Security officers is a backdoor way to get more applications approved.

Economy – Depression/Shortages: When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)

President Joe Biden’s administration won’t seek to reinstate enhanced weekly $300 unemployment benefits set to expire on Sept. 6 and is instead urging states and cities that want to continue the extra payments to use their share of COVID-19 rescue funds.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Tuesday forgave another $5.8 billion in student debt, announcing the department is forgiving the loans of more than 323 borrowers who have total and permanent disabilities. The Biden administration had already canceled about $3 billion in student loans. Cardona also canceled $1.5 billion in debt for nearly 92,000 borrowers who had been defrauded by for-profit colleges.

As if the pandemic hasn’t been hard enough on retirees, those living on low to moderate incomes have been hit with the one-two financial punch of rising inflation and low interest rates. Those senior citizens found themselves paying more for essentials, while earning next to nothing on their savings. And Social Security checks also rose far less in 2021 ($29/month on average) than current inflation. The Senior Citizens League found that the vast majority (86%) said their expenses this year grew by more than $20 a month, with 40% saying they’d grown by more than $100/month.

Americans shopped less than expected last month as the Delta variant swept across the country, fueling concerns that the pandemic might once again weigh on consumer spending and the economic recovery. Sales declined by 1.1% in July adjusted for seasonal swings, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.

The Biden administration has approved the largest increase to food assistance benefits in the SNAP program in its history. Average monthly benefits will rise by 25 percent, or an additional $36, under the new permanent rules, intended to target a surge of food insecurity during the pandemic. Anti-hunger advocates have long argued that SNAP funding is out of touch with the economic realities of working families and the infusion of cash better reflects the modern cost of a basic diet.

As the coronavirus continues to fill hospitals, the Biden administration will continue to fully reimburse states for some COVID-19 emergency response costs through the end of the year. The covered services include emergency medical care, vaccinations and housing at-risk populations such as the homeless.

Online companies fusing tech and financing (fintech) became major players in the government’s Paycheck Protection Program in the past year. A new academic analysis suggests they also fueled billions in fraudulent loans. The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin released a report Tuesday analyzing the $780 billion lending program that boosted the burgeoning “fintech” market, which replaced traditional banking relationships with apps and algorithms. Overall, the report identified more than 1.8 million loans with indications of potential fraud by borrowers, representing about $76 billion – nearly 10% of the total loaned in the COVID-19 business assistance program. About $21 billion came through the new online lenders.

The average monthly new-vehicle payment is well over $600. But when you add maintenance, insurance and fuel costs, the average new-car buyer is paying nearly $10,000 a year for their vehicle, according to a new AAA study.

U.S. antitrust officials on Thursday refiled their monopoly lawsuit against Facebook Inc., seeking to salvage the landmark case that a judge threw out in June. The Federal Trade Commission filed the new complaint in federal court in Washington, alleging that Facebook violated antitrust laws by buying Instagram and WhatsApp in order to eliminate them as competitors.

Israel: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. (Psalm 122:6)

Israel’s largest forest fire in a decade was almost certainly caused by arson, according to NASA satellite images. The NASA images indicate that three fires in distant locations erupted at the same time — on Sunday at 3:00 PM. Police are using triangulation technology to determine if and where any smartphones were in those areas when the fires broke out.

Middle East: When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (Luke 21:20-22)

Gaza-based terrorists launched a rocket at southern Israel on Monday in mid-day, setting off alarms at several locations surrounding the Strip. An Iron Dome defense system intercepted the rocket above the city of Sderot. No injuries or damage were reported. The Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attack, stating that it was a response to Israel’s “crimes in Jenin,” an incident on Sunday night in which IDF forces arrested a terrorist and killed another four in a gun battle in the city. This rocket attack is the first from Gaza since May.

Wars & Rumors of Wars: And you will hear ofwars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; forall these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7Fornation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (Matthew 24:6-7a)

All gates at Hamid Karzai International Airport were closed Saturday because of a backup at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. Most U.S. military evacuation planes fly from Kabul to Qatar and the inability to handle more evacuees there is causing a ripple effect. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul warned Americans on Saturday not to travel to the airport without “individual instructions from a U.S. government representative” because of potential security threats outside the gates.

  • Just Friday, President Biden said that he knew of no trouble for Americans to get to the airport, and, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin contradicted Biden Friday saying that the Pentagon has been made aware of Taliban fighters harassing and beating Americans attempting to flee Afghanistan

Afghanistan War’s legacy – 20 years, $2.3 Trillion, 2,442 American soldiers killed: It’s easy to forget the past toll that the war in Afghanistan has cost with today’s focus on getting people out of the country. Here are the numbers: Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops deployed. At least $2.26 trillion spent.  2,443 American service members have died in operations Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel. More than 3,800 U.S. contractors and Defense Department civilians have been killed. At least 47,000 Afghan citizens, and about 66,000 Afghan military and police members, died, as well as 1,144 allied troops. Even more staggering are the numbers of American warriors who returned home with injuries both seen and unseen. Over 30,000 active duty personnel and war veterans of post-9/11 conflicts are estimated to have died by suicide—four times the number that died in combat.

Biden/Blinken were warned that Afghanistan would rapidly deteriorate into the catastrophe currently evolving: A group of U.S. diplomats wrote a classified cable to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in mid-July warning that swift action needed to be taken because they believed the situation in Afghanistan could rapidly deteriorate and they feared a catastrophe. They laid out how the department should act quickly to process and evacuate Afghans who had assisted the United States and get them out of the country quickly. The diplomats decided to send the dissent memo because they felt previous warnings and recommendations they had made were being ignored and labeled alarmist, two State Department officials told CNN.

U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan until all American civilians are out, even if it’s past the Aug. 31 deadline, Biden said Wednesday. “If there are American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out,” President Biden in an interview with ABC News. Estimates place the number of Americans in Afghanistan between 11,000 and 15,000. About 11,000 Americans remain in Afghanistan, the White House said Tuesday. U.S. officials are urging Americans to travel to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, if they’re not there already, to fly out of the country. Taliban fighters were positioned outside the airport, but the terrorist group “have informed us that they are prepared to provide the safe passage of civilians to the airport, and we intend to hold them to that commitment,” U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul said Wednesday the federal government and military cannot ensure the safe passage to the Kabul airport.

  • Evacuations from Afghanistan are continuing on Friday, with the White House reporting overnight that about 9,000 people have been taken out of the country since last Saturday. On Thursday alone, about 3,000 people were evacuated by military transport planes. That includes 350 U.S. citizens, family members, special immigrant visa applicants and their families and other vulnerable Afghans.

The Taliban are “awash with cash… from trafficking drugs and other illicit activity, ranging from extortion rackets to timber trafficking, artisanal mining, kidnapping schemes, for almost two decades now.” says Gretchen Peters, executive director of the Center on Illicit Networks and Transnational Organized Crime.

  • The Taliban now control Afghanistan, but they don’t have access to the central bank’s currency reserves, and the Biden administration aims to keep it the way. Ajmal Ahmady, Afghanistan’s central bank chief, fled the country on Sunday. He tells the Wall Street Journal that almost all of the bank’s $9 billion in reserves is held overseas, and with the US blocking access, “the amount accessible to the Taliban is almost 0.1%.”

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that a “fair amount” of U.S. weaponry had fallen into the hands of the Taliban since the hardline Islamic militant group’s rapid takeover Afghanistan in recent days. During a White House press briefing, Sullivan was ask what will happen with the billions of dollars in equipment, including guns, ammunition, helicopters, and more, given to the Afghanistan government in the two decades before its collapse. “We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone,” the Biden adviser answered briefly. “But certainly, a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban, and, obviously, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.”

  • Photos have circulated of Taliban members holding American M-4 carbines and M-16 rifles rather than AK-47s or AKMs. Other images and videos showed the Taliban surrounding U.S. Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft. On Wednesday, several GOP senators demanded the Department of Defense provide full accounting over the weapons and equipment that were captured by the Taliban.

As the Taliban tighten their grip on Afghanistan, women are especially fearful. Nazira Karimi, an Afghan journalist, said, “I left from the Taliban like 20 years ago. Now we go back to the first step again,” she said, recalling a time, prior to 2001, when the Taliban forced females to wear burqas, barred them from school, and carried out public executions and stonings. However, on Tuesday, the Taliban said women would retain the right to education and should join the militants’ government, dubbed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. “The Islamic Emirate doesn’t want women to be victims,” a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission said. “They should be in government structure according to Shariah law.” The Taliban also declared amnesty for Afghan government officials.

The Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan is stoking renewed fear of a resurgence in terrorism from al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups. Al-Qaeda has long pledged allegiance to the Taliban, which provided sanctuary to the terror group before and after the 9/11 attacks. In the two decades since then, al-Qaeda’s structure has become more decentralized. However, the group has retained close ties with the Taliban, raising the prospect that it will once again be offered a safe haven on Afghan soil to plot and launch attacks against western targets.

The Taliban leader who reportedly helped orchestrate the group’s takeover of Afghanistan was released by former President Barack Obama from Gitmo in exchange for former U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014. The U.S. released five Taliban leaders, known as the “Taliban Five,” that year in exchange for the Taliban releasing Bergdahl, who was captured after he deserted his post in Afghanistan. The Taliban Five were then flown to Qatar and are the only Guantanamo Bay “forever prisoners” to be released without the parole board’s approval.

Afghanistan is one of the poorest nations in the world. But in 2010, U.S. military officials and geologists revealed that the country, which lies at the crossroads of Central and South Asia, was sitting on mineral deposits worth nearly $1 trillion that could dramatically transform its economic prospects. Supplies of minerals such as iron, copper and gold are scattered across provinces. There are also rare earth minerals and, perhaps most importantly, what could be one of the world’s biggest deposits of lithium — an essential but scarce component in rechargeable batteries and other technologies.

As the Taliban overtook Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, thousands of Afghans surged onto the tarmac of the airport and desperately climbed onto the planes. The videos are unbearable to watch. In one, people desperate to flee Afghanistan cling to the side of a US Air Force plane as it tries to take off. One video clip posted to social media by the Afghan Asvaka News agency shows people falling to their deaths from the C-17 U.S. aircraft. They fell off onto the tarmac, streets and even onto houses in the sheer desperate panic.

Wildfires: The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:7)

Millions of acres of national forest in Northern California are being closed because of dangerous fire conditions that already have sent a score of blazes raging through the area and destroyed hundreds of homes. The U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday that beginning on Aug. 22 it will close nine national forests from near Lake Tahoe at the Nevada border on the east all the way west to Six Rivers National Forest, which stretches north to the Oregon border. “The hope is with the additional resources and personnel on scene, we can really start to build that box around this fire and start the containment,” said Keith Wade of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

  • With much of California experiencing “exceptional” drought, the highest intensity, according the U.S. Drought Monitor, large fires in northern California could burn into early December, said Anthony Scardina, deputy regional forester for the Forest Service.

Thousands of people have been evacuated as the Caldor wildfire ignited over the weekend in Northern California tripled in size within a day and almost leveled a small town, officials said. The Caldor fire “exploded in size Monday night,” the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services tweeted Tuesday. The Caldor fire has devastated the community of Grizzly Flats, located about 65 miles east of Sacramento. Many structures have been destroyed and many others are threatened, officials said. The fire burned at least one elementary school in the Pioneer Union School District, one community church, and one post office. The Caldor Fire grew 24 times its size in two days, forcing another 10,000 residents to evacuate. Fueled by wind and dry conditions, the fire burning in El Dorado County swelled to 62,586 acres.

Earthquakes: And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7b) I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. (Revelation 6:12)

Around 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children, have been impacted by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake which struck southwestern Haiti last Saturday morning, according to UNICEF. Hospitals in Haiti are overwhelmed as rescue efforts continue. Officials say nearly 10,000 people were hurt in last weekend’s earthquake and nearly 2,000 have died. Search and rescue efforts are being hampered by a lack of resources and by heavy rains, which have caused mudslides that blocked roads in the region. Tropical Storm Grace, which hit the same region late Monday ” further disrupted access to water, shelter, and other basic services,” UNICEF said in a statement Tuesday.

Earthquakes have been wreaking havoc in Haiti since at least the 18th century, when the city of Port-au-Prince was destroyed twice in 19 years. Saturday’s powerful quake killed at least 1,300 and injured thousands more. Eleven years earlier a temblor killed tens of thousands of people, if not hundreds of thousands. Haiti sits near the intersection of two tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s crust. Earthquakes can occur when those plates move against each other and create friction. Haiti is also densely populated. Plus, many of its buildings are designed to withstand hurricanes — not earthquakes.

  • It doesn’t help that Haiti is the voodoo capital of the world.

Environment: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)

ConocoPhillips’s Willow project on the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, slated to produce more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day, won approval from the Trump administration and was defended by Biden officials. But U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason, an Obama appointee, threw out key permits for it on the grounds that federal officials failed to adequately analyze the project’s climate impact and other possible development plans and didn’t specify how polar bears would be protected. The ruling marked a major win for environmental and Alaska Native groups, and a setback for proponents of oil drilling on public land.

End-Time Weather Will Continue to Grow More Severe: (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

Rain fell at Greenland’s summit over the weekend—the first time in recorded history that precipitation came in the form of rain rather than snow. The amount of ice mass lost on Sunday was seven times the daily average for this time of year. Weather events once considered abnormal have been occurring with increasing frequency over the past decade, says the National Science Foundation.

The governor of Massachusetts has activated the National Guard and a state of emergency has been declared in Connecticut as Tropical Storm Henri cuts a path northward toward the upper Atlantic coast with impacts possible from New York to Maine. Henri is tracking toward a likely landfall at near hurricane strength in southern New England on Sunday and could affect other coastal areas in the region. Hurricane warnings were issued Friday evening for parts of Long Island and Connecticut. A tropical storm watch was posted for New York City as well as storm surge watches for surrounding areas.

Tropical Depression Fred unleashed heavy rain and a number of tornadoes from Georgia to the Carolinas on Tuesday. Tens of thousands of customers were without power from Florida to North Carolina. At least two tornadoes were reported in Georgia and three in North Carolina. Fred made landfall in the Florida Panhandle at Cape San Blas on Monday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. Four people died in the flooding in North Carolina and several people are still missing as of Thursday morning.

A week of rain in the western U.S. reduced the proportion in severe to extreme drought from just 87.9% to 84.79%, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Arizona saw the biggest drop from 83% to 56%. Utah remained the same at 100%. California got little rain and they increased from 95.07% to 95.5%, while Oregon increased from 96.1% to 98.7% and North Dakota increased from 96.2% to 99.8%. All the other western states remained about the same.

The federal government on Monday declared the first water shortage on the Colorado River, announcing mandatory cutbacks next year that will bring major reductions for Arizona farmers and reduce the water allotments of Nevada and Mexico. The declaration of a shortage by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been expected for months and was triggered by the spiraling decline of Lake Mead, which stores water used by Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico. The reservoir near Las Vegas has fallen to its lowest levels since Hoover Dam was built in the 1930s and is still dropping after years of chronic overuse and drought. It now stands at just 35% of full capacity.

  • The water cuts will be the largest to date on the Colorado River, shrinking the flow of water through the 336-mile Central Arizona Project Canal, which for more than three decades has supplied Arizona’s growing desert cites and vast stretches of farmlands. Farmers in part of central Arizona will face major cutbacks in water deliveries next year as a result of the shortage declaration, and they’re preparing for the supplies to be shut off in 2023. The reductions will force growers in Pinal County to leave some fields dry and unplanted, and the state is providing money to help local irrigation districts drill wells to pump more groundwater.

Signs of the Times: August 14, 2021

August 14, 2021

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Praise Reports:

One of Tennessee’s largest public school districts has received a $1.8 million gift this month from a non-profit organization as reimbursement for teaching Bible history elective classes to more than 4,500 students for the 2020-21 academic year. The monetary gift from Bible in the Schools to Hamilton County Schools in Chattanooga is part of a unique partnership that allows the district to teach viewpoint-neutral Bible courses examining Scripture from a historical, non-sectarian perspective.

A federal court in Texas has blocked a controversial Biden administration policy known as the Transgender Mandate, which would force religious doctors and hospitals to perform gender transition procedures on their patients—including children—even when the procedures can be medically harmful. The case of Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra was brought by a religious hospital, an association of more than 20,000 healthcare professionals, and nine states, and it is now the second court ruling blocking the administration from enforcing the policy. In his decision on Monday, Judge Reed O’Connor of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Wichita Falls Division granted a permanent injunction to the Christian plaintiffs “to be exempt from the government’s requirement to perform abortions and gender-transition procedures.”

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday lifted New York state’s ban on residential evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, handing a victory to a group of small landlords that challenged a moratorium that had been slated to expire on Aug. 31. The justices granted an emergency request by the landlords to lift the ban on eviction proceedings while litigation over the dispute continues. The nine-member court’s three liberal justices dissented from the decision. A lower court in June rejected landlords’ argument that the moratorium violated their rights to due process of law and free speech under the U.S. Constitution.

  • Some landlords in the state still could face another barrier. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Aug. 3 issued a new 60-day federal moratorium on residential evictions to combat the spread of COVID-19, focused on jurisdictions with high infection rates, which a federal judge upheld Friday.

Following a shocking attack by Antifa on Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski and others attending a prayer gathering he was holding in Portland last Saturday, the Northwest city once again saw a meeting between darkness and light. But this time, worshippers of Jesus “didn’t back down” as Let Us Worship movement leader, Sean Feucht reported. Some 5,000 people or more showed up to worship the Lord in the very place where antifa members had terrorized the Canadian pastor’s group the night before, throwing some of their sound equipment in the nearby Willamette River, and spraying them with mace. Sean Feucht posted on social media: “Members of Antifa showed up in Portland last night to threaten, harass, bully and intimidate us. A mom and her baby were tear gassed. Antifa stood 10 feet from me as we lifted our voices in praise, but we didn’t back down. We kept worshipping and God moved powerfully!” “One member of Antifa who came to disrupt our service was SAVED giving his life to Jesus! It’s a time for a BOLD & BELIEVING Church! God has not given us a Spirit of fear but of POWER & GRACE! The Church is on the move and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it!” said Feucht.

Thanks to the vote of a single Democratic senator, a federal law prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion may survive. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) joined with 49 Republican senators on Tuesday to pass an amendment prohibiting federal dollars from being used for abortions, potentially keeping the Hyde Amendment in effect. The Amendment has had bipartisan support since the 1970s. Democrats had stripped the Amendment out of the Senate’s $3.5 trillion budget resolution.. but Sen. Manchin’s efforts kept it alive for now.

Despite localized ‘defund the police’ efforts, the U.S. Senate is overwhelmingly in favor of expanding police departments in the U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s proposal to hire 100,000 police officers across the country has received rare bipartisan support in the Senate. The Missouri Republican’s amendment passed by a 95-3 vote Wednesday, signaling a willingness from both parties to expand policing. The measure would send grants to local municipalities to hire more law enforcement officers as the country faces a rise in violent crime and a rash of officers quitting the force.

U.S. Census Data Released: And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered… Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. (Luke 2:1,4-5)

Overall, the U.S. population grew by just 7.4 percent during the previous decade, which is the second slowest growth on record. The population grew to 331.4 million in 2020 from roughly 308.7 million in 2010. Only the decade spanning the 1930s—when the Great Depression occurred—had a slower growth rate. As suburbs and cities continued to grow, rural population decreased substantially during the decade. About 86% of the country’s population lives in metro areas. The data show that New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix are the five largest cities in the United States.

  • The 2020 census results also show that the total white population in the United States shrank for the first time in U.S. history, according to data released by the Census Bureau on Aug. 12. The overall proportion of the white population fell to 57.8 percent in 2020 from 63.7 percent a decade prior. There were also significant increases among people who identify as multiracial, Hispanic, and Asian, which will drive much of the population growth throughout this decade. People who identify as multiracial increased by 276 percent, to 33.8 million in 2020 from 9 million in 2010. The largest gains were among Hispanics, who now make up 18.7 percent of the population. In California, Hispanics became the largest racial or ethnic group, growing to 39.4 percent from 37.6 percent over the previous decade, while the white population dipped to 34.7 percent from 40.1 percent.

The Demise of America: The first was like a lion (Britain), and had eagle’s wings (America). I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. (Daniel 7:4)

Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, wrote that, a study of the world’s great civilizations noted that every nation has an average cycle of about 200 years. The study looked at various nations that came into prominence and then disappeared into obscurity. Each one of these nations went through the same sequence. They went from spiritual faith to great courage, from great courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, and from dependency into bondage again. “Where do you think America is today?” he asks.

  • Most Americans think that somehow the government will figure it all out and make everything turn out okay, surrendering their rights to increasingly authoritarian oversight. All the money that our federal government is throwing at our problems is being printed out of thin air, vastly increasing an already bloated debt load which taxpayers are ultimately responsible for paying. America will collapse from within unless enough people follow God’s instructions in 2Chronicles 7:14 – “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Prospects right now don’t look good.

A new Fox News poll showed that more Democrats favor socialism over capitalism, in a sharp reversal from just a year and a half ago. The poll, taken between Aug. 7-10, showed that 59% of registered Democratic voters who participated had a positive view of socialism, compared to just 49% who felt that way about capitalism. In February 2020, when the question was last asked, 50% of Democrats who participated said they had a favorable view of capitalism, with just 40% saying the same about socialism. Of the Republicans polled, 67% viewed capitalism favorably, while only 8% had a favorable view of socialism.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the infrastructure bill after a group of Democrats and Republicans rallied to assemble a deal. The roughly $1.2 trillion package, which has President Biden’s support, must still pass the House of Representatives before becoming law. Senators voted 69-30 to approve the package. A group of 19 Senate Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined the entire Democratic caucus in voting for the bill negotiated over several months. The legislation calls for $550 billion in new spending. Among the major investments in the bipartisan package are $110 billion for roads and bridges, $39 billion for public transit and $66 billion for railways. It also contains $55 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure as well as billions for airports, ports, broadband internet and electric vehicle charging stations.

  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) said Monday that the infrastructure bill is “a gateway to socialism” that Democrats are using to “pave the way” for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ $3.5 trillion spending bill. “In my opinion, it’s not enough about infrastructure… It’s a down payment on the Green New Deal.” Blackburn also called it “unbelievable that 9% of this bill goes to actual infrastructure.” Republican Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Todd Young of Indiana voted against the bill, citing concerns about the national debt and Democrats’ plan to take up a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package after the infrastructure vote.
  • One way that this bill is designed increase government control is by tracking your milage for a new highway tax where you get taxes on the amount that you drive, according to former President Trump.

Democrats pushed a $3.5 trillion spending bill for bolstering family services, health, and environment programs through the Senate early Wednesday, advancing President Biden’s expansive vision for reshaping federal priorities just hours after handing him a companion triumph on a hefty infrastructure package. Lawmakers approved Democrats’ budget resolution on a party-line 50-49 vote, a crucial step for a president and party set on training the government’s fiscal might on assisting families, creating jobs and fighting climate change. Higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations would pay for much of it. House leaders announced their chamber will return from summer recess in two weeks to vote on the fiscal blueprint, which contemplates disbursing the $3.5 trillion over the next decade. However, the House lawmakers found themselves grappling with how to overcome their own divisions and transform the blueprint into law.

  • Democrats have dubbed the $3.5 trillion package “human infrastructure” in hopes of making it an easier sell to voters. In reality, however, the legislation amounts to a wish list of liberal priorities, including new climate-change regulations and amnesty for illegal immigrants. 

Civic/Religious Freedom: Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

A religious liberty organization and a group of parents are challenging a new Connecticut law that requires children to be vaccinated to attend public or private schools despite religious objections or exemptions. The parents, who are Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Muslim, say their children should be able to have religious exemptions from vaccinations in the state. They cite potential ingredients in vaccines that run afoul of their faiths — like fetal parts and pork, which is used to form a gelatin in one of the coronavirus vaccines.

The Rev. James Altman, a Wisconsin priest who was removed from the ministry after telling Catholics to reject the pro-abortion Democratic Party, just donated $100,000 to help other “canceled” priests. Altman was removed from his church in early July after Bishop William Callahan accused him of being “divisive and ineffective.” At the time, Altman said he obtained a canon lawyer to challenge the bishop’s actions. His supporters raised about $700,000 to help him. The Rev. John Lovell, co-founder of the Coalition for Canceled Priests, thanked Altman for his donation and his “unwavering support of canceled and warehoused priests.”

Persecution: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

The advance of the Taliban in Afghanistan (see Wars & Rumors of Wars below) is having a devastating impact on Christians, as described in a letter from Run Ministries: Today is a very hard day for me and all of RUN Ministries. We’ve received news that the Taliban has taken the lives of several of our leadership team in Afghanistan. For the past 20 years I worked closely with these Jesus warriors. They risked everything for the Gospel, and I am privileged to have called them my friends… What we are now seeing unfold in Afghanistan is a tragedy on so many levels. The Taliban are systematically going village to village in rural areas demanding allegiance to Islam and their violent rule. Those who do not comply are brutalized, beaten, killed and worse. Some Christians have boldly proclaimed the truth of the Gospel in the face of this and were murdered in broad daylight to send fear throughout the entire village. Husbands and sons murdered, women and children tortured, abused and sold.”

Many Muslims in Iran are coming to Christ – praise God. They meet together in “house churches,” worshipping the Lord in Farsi, the national language of Iran. But persecution is forcing them out of the country in huge numbers. According to the United Nations, more than 14% of Iranian refugees are Christians. “The average life of a house church in Iran is six months to a year,” said an Iranian Christian convert to Barnabas Aid this week, indicating how quickly pressure and persecution force out the new believers. Many converts are arrested and held for a few days, in some cases months or even years. Sometimes they are released only on condition they sign a document promising never to meet with other Christians again. Psychologically exhausted by constant arrests and releases, many converts have left Iran. It seems as though it is the Iranian government’s intention to frighten the Christians into leaving the country. Sometimes officials have openly (but unofficially) suggested converts leave.

A prominent Nigerian church leader has called for urgent government action to prevent the “genocide” of the Irigwe people in the Bassa local government area of Plateau State. The Irigwe, an ethnic group in Nigeria’s Middle Belt with a sizeable Christian population, have been under increased attack by Fulani militants for the past two weeks. “We call on the state and federal governments to intervene, and prevail on the Nigerian Army and all security agencies to stop this genocide,” said Pastor Stephen Baba Panya, president of the Evangelical Church Winning All.

A Pro-life Billboard in rural Texas was recently taken down one day after it was put up because the landowner received death threats. Abolish Abortion Texas (AATX), a group of pro-life Christians, had designed the billboard featuring the phrase “62 million and counting,” followed by the website “IgnoreRoe.com.” No graphic imagery of abortions was included. The day after it went up, the sign was removed after the landowner received “complaints” and “death threats,” which “forced the advertising company to remove” it. Jon Speed, the fund coordinator of the pro-life campaign, noted in a press release that the matter demonstrated “how intolerant Texas has become.”

Pestilence (Covid and other diseases): For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And  there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7)

Since July 1, there’s been a 700% increase in the week-over-week average of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., according to the CDC. The U.S. was at a low point in new cases in late June, with an average of about 10,000 a day. Today the 7-day average is about 128,000 a day, up 66% over the past two weeks.

  • Covid deaths are up 116% over the past two weeks.

More than 98% of U.S. residents now live in an area where there is a “high” or “substantial” risk of Covid-19 community transmission, up from 19% of residents only a month ago. The latest figures from the CDC show an alarming rise in the number of counties that are considered at high risk of community transmission. On Monday, 2,361 counties in the United States were listed in the “high” tier, a stark increase from 457 counties in the same tier at the beginning of July.

  • 93% of new Covid-19 cases in Yavapai County, Arizona, were not vaccinated.
  • Eight states, many of which have lagged the national average for vaccinations, account for 51% of all hospitalized Covid-19 patients in the U.S. – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas

Hospitals around the nation are once again overwhelmed by the amount of COVID-19 patients. Texas hospitals tallied more than 10,000 coronavirus patients for the first time since early February. In Florida, all three hospital systems in one county are over capacity and are continuing to deal with a strong surge in patients. And hospital admissions have tripled in the last month among children 17 and younger.

A little more than two out of every three people who have mild or moderate cases of COVID-19 will go on to develop long-term symptoms. That’s the troubling takeaway from a University of Arizona Health Sciences’ study. The CoVHORT study has followed Arizonans who had COVID-19 since May 2020, as well as those who have not been infected. Among participants who tested positive for COVID-19, nearly 69% still had least one symptom after 30 days, and the rate rose to 77% after 60 days. Those with long COVID tended to be less educated, to have seasonal allergies and pre-existing health conditions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Aug. 12 that he is launching a Rapid Response Team to dispense monoclonal antibodies to tackle Florida’s rising number of COVID-19 cases and reduce serious symptoms, preventing the potential for hospital overcrowding. “Clear benefits to this early treatment is keeping people out of the hospital and reducing mortality,” he said. A study released in April showed Regeneron’s antibody cocktail helped people recover faster after falling ill, and when given in the early stages, could prevent people from becoming sick with the virus. Monoclonal antibody treatment received federal emergency use authorization around the same time as the vaccines were being approved. The “focus rightfully was on vaccines at the time.” He said he felt that it was important to utilize this treatment alongside vaccines, and it is “the most effective yet for people who are already infected.”

The number of children contracting COVID-19 is increasing rapidly and children’s hospitals are filling up with young patients not eligible for the vaccine now being used against the virus. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging the FDA to quickly expand authorization of COVID-19 vaccines to younger age groups, citing rising cases due to the fast spreading delta variant and risk of poor outcomes following infection. “We absolutely are seeing increases in number of cases,” said Dr. Lee Savio Beers, president of the AAP, citing a near doubling in pediatric COVID-19 cases in past two weeks.

  • In Palm Beach County, Florida, students returned to school Tuesday—and by Thursday, at least 440 of them were in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 or being exposed to an infected person.

Businesses large and small, from McDonald’s and Home Depot to local yoga studios, are reinstituting mask mandates as coronavirus cases rise. Bars, gyms and restaurants across the country are requiring vaccines to get inside. Next month, New York City will start requiring vaccinations to enter restaurants, gyms and theaters. After lifting mask recommendations for fully vaccinated people in May, the CDC reversed course in late July, recommending masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated people in areas of higher transmission. The shifting guidance has caused confusion over which rules to enforce and how. Walmart and Target, for instance, recently began requiring masks for employees – but not customers – in areas where virus transmission rates are high. McDonald’s is requiring masks for both employees and customers.

While the COVID-19 pandemic thrust the National Institutes of Health and directors Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins into the spotlight, the agency focused very little of its budget on the crisis. Just a fraction of NIH’s $42 billion budget for 2020 was spent on clinical research on COVID-19, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University. A total of 5.7% was spent on COVID-19 research while subjects such as Alzheimer’s disease, aging and behavioral and social sciences received considerably more funding.

International

New Zealand has managed to contain COVID-19, and it would like to keep it that way. On Thursday, the government announced the island nation’s borders will stay closed to those who aren’t residents or citizens for the rest of the year. Starting in the first quarter of 2022, the country will gradually start to reopen to travel. At that point, New Zealand’s vaccine rollout (which is starting to pick up speed after a slow start) will be complete, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Starting in October, the country will try out a new system in which some business travelers returning home can quarantine at their homes rather than in military-run hotels; New Zealand plans to use a similar system next year for fully vaccinated travelers arriving from medium-risk countries.

Australia’s capital will go into lockdown for a week starting Thursday after a single case of COVID-19 was detected and the virus was found in wastewater. Canberra joins Sydney, Melbourne, and several cities in New South Wales state that are locked down due to the delta variant. Canberra residents can only leave home for essential reasons from 5pm on Thursday, general retail stores will be closed, and hospitality venues will only to able to sell takeout. A Canberra resident, a man aged in his 20s, had been infectious in Canberra since Sunday and tested positive on Thursday. Three more cases, all contacts of the man, were detected later. In Sydney, some 580 military personnel are helping police enforce lockdown regulations and authorities are considering calling in reinforcements.

  • Australia is becoming an authoritarian police state – a model for what’s to come.

Non-Covid Pestilence

The global total of people living with dementia will rise nearly three-fold by 2050, researchers say. Cases are projected to increase from an estimated 57.4 million in 2019 to an estimated 152.8 million in 2050, driven mainly by population growth and aging. By 2050, 16% the world’s population will be people over 65. That compares with 8% in 2010, according to the U.S. National Institute on Aging. The researchers said the largest increases in dementia are expected to occur in eastern sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. While positive trends in education access worldwide are expected to result in 6.2 million fewer dementia cases by 2050, smoking, excess weight and high blood sugar are predicted to boost cases by 6.8 million.

A new study found that the number of alcoholic hepatitis patients who received liver transplants more than tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, published in JAMA Network Open, was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. They analyzed data of adults who were on the national liver transplant waiting list between March 1, 2018 and February 28, 2021. Liver transplants for acute alcohol-associated hepatitis increased a whopping 268.5% compared with the expected number of transplants, and there was a 325% increase in the people waiting for liver transplants with this same alcohol-linked condition.

Vaccines – Harbinger of the Mark of the Beast: He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

  • The vaccine and vaccine passports are not yet the Mark of the Beast because it’s not a mark on the right hand or forehead and people can still buy and sell. However, it is a precursor for the eventual Mark to come.

Vaccine Mandates

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday declined to block Indiana University’s controversial vaccine mandate. The high court judge has jurisdiction over the appeals court involved in the case and made the decision without referring the matter to the full court. It’s the first time SCOTUS justices have been asked to get involved with a vaccine mandate as such mandates are increasingly being put in place, and Barrett’s decision indicates similar mandates could be legally enforceable.

  • Justice Barrett is a conservative recently appointed by former President Trump, so that does not bode well for opposition to vaccine mandates.

The city of San Francisco will not allow the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated to participate in most indoor events and will not accept a negative Covid-19 test result as a replacement for getting the shot. Set to go into effect Aug. 20, the order will require proof of full vaccination at restaurants, bars, gyms, and entertainment and sporting venues. Employees will be given an additional two months to get vaccinated “to preserve jobs while giving time for compliance.” Children under 12, who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, are exempted.

  • Chicago public schools board announced that all teachers and staff must be vaccinated.

Another Texas judge on Friday blocked Gov. Greg Abbott’s order banning local governments and schools from issuing mask mandates. Travis County Judge Andy Brown, who signed Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s mask mandate, on Friday said in a statement that Abbott’s executive order “is overreaching and limits the ability of local elected officials and health authorities to serve their constituents.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Thursday said that it will require all of its frontline health care workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to agency Secretary Xavier Becerra. HHS is now the third federal agency to require its employees to receive the vaccine, joining the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.

The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15. “I will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon” licensure by the Food and Drug Administration “whichever comes first,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says in the memo to troops, warning them to prepare for the requirement.

A worker who does not comply with a company’s policy to get vaccinated is generally ineligible for unemployment benefits, experts say. Employees should not refuse vaccination relying on the assumption that they will be able to collect unemployment Private companies are free to set conditions of employment as long as they do not violate existing state and federal laws, legal experts say. And there is no federal law prohibiting companies from requiring vaccines.

Some employers are starting to tack on a $20 to $50 monthly surcharge to their unvaccinated workers, according to a health benefits consultant group. At least 20 employers are giving consideration to adding health coverage surcharges for the unvaccinated as a way to drive up vaccination rates in their workforce.

  • What happened to the war cry of Democratic liberal women? “My body, my choice” they declare. Apparently, though, it only applies to murdering babies, but it doesn’t apply to getting dangerous experimental vaccination shots.
  • The number of job openings posted on the Indeed hiring platform stipulating COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of employment has risen sharply in recent weeks, popping up in sectors with little interpersonal contact, according to the company’s research arm.

California became first state to require teachers and school staff to be vaccinated or submit to regular coronavirus testing. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) cited the surging delta variant and the need to keep schools open in imposing the statewide vaccine requirement for school staff.

Amid a bevy of COVID-19 vaccine mandates being handed down by governments and businesses, there has been an explosion of fabricated vaccination cards. Forged vaccine cards that claim to be issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been proliferating on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other online marketplaces. an Instagram account with the username “vaccinationcards” sells laminated COVID-19 vaccination cards for $25 each. A user on the messaging app, Telegram, offers “COVID-19 Vaccine Cards Certificates,” for as much as $200 apiece.

More Vaccine News

A new study by the Mayo Clinic found the Pfizer vaccine was only 42% effective against infection in July in the clinic’s home state of Minnesota, when the Delta variant became dominant. In January, Pfizer’s vaccine was 76% effective against infection. But with the spread of the Delta variant in July, its effectiveness dropped to 42% during that month. The Moderna vaccine was 86% effective against infection over the January-to-July study period. But the vaccines’ effectiveness against infection dropped to 76% July.

  • Pfizer and BioNTech issued a statement saying they “expect to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval.

As the United States struggles with the delta variant of the novel coronavirus, a new study finds that vaccines are ineffective against the lambda mutation that is ravaging parts of South America. Researchers in Japan pointed out that the lambda variant, which first surfaced in Peru about a year ago, surged in Chile in the spring despite a high vaccination rate. Currently, the lambda variant comprises only one-tenth of 1% of the cases in the U.S. so far.

White House COVID-19 advisor Anthony Fauci said that it is “likely” that people will need a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. Fauci further added that “inevitably, there will be a time when we’ll have to give boosts to the general population.” The remarks come as Fauci, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, and other officials have said the Delta COVID-19 variant can be transmitted among vaccinated people, creating confusion about whether vaccination is an effective means of dealing with the pandemic.

Regulators took steps Thursday to shore up the defenses of millions of vulnerable Americans against the coronavirus, authorizing extra doses of two widely used vaccines for some people with weakened immune systems. The action by the Food and Drug Administration means that additional shots could be available as soon as this weekend for patients who have received organ transplants or have certain types of cancer or other illnesses. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, is expected to accept Friday’s recommendation from the panel of independent experts, paving the way for millions of moderately or severely immunocompromised people to get a booster shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines as soon as this weekend.

Health experts say that those who have already had Covid-19 and recovered can get it again. The antibodies from natural infection may provide some protection against the virus, but evidence shows nothing protects against COVID-19 better than vaccines, they say. They advise people who have recovered from COVID-19 to get vaccinated to reduce their risk of reinfection, which will prevent transmission and suppress the opportunity for more variants – like the highly contagious delta – to emerge.

Pregnant women should get the coronavirus vaccine, the CDC says, after finding no increased risk of miscarriage among the vaccinated. With vaccination rates low among pregnant women, the new guidance officially moves the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention off its previous neutral stance on whether immunization is safe for them.

Violence/Murder: When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)

The crazed killer who gunned down five people, including a young girl, in the U.K.’s deadliest mass shooting in more than a decade said he was an American-born, virgin “Incel” and compared himself to “The Terminator.” Jake Davison, 22-year-old, was identified Friday as the gun-obsessed man behind Thursday’s bloodbath in Plymouth that a local MP decried as “unspeakably awful.” He is believed to have first shot dead his mother at their family home, before running out and killing a 5-year-old girl, her dad and two others before turning the gun on himself. “Incel,” is a movement of men who claim they feel unfairly denied sex by women or girls.

Dozens of shooting incidents across Chicago over last weekend left 13 people dead and 73 injured, police said Monday. In the period beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at midnight Sunday, the Chicago Police Department recorded 54 shooting incidents. Two Chicago Police Department officers were shot as they conducted a traffic stop Saturday night, one fatally. The officers were shot at during the traffic stop and at least one returned fire; the other officer was also shot and is in critical condition, and one of the three suspects in the car was wounded. All three are in custody. Police say none of them have an extensive criminal history, but the alleged shooter does have a robbery record.

A shooting at a homeless camp in Portland early Tuesday left at least two people dead and several others wounded. Portland police already are investigating two other homicides that happened over the past several days. The two dead Tuesday raises the total homicide count in Portland so far this year to 58. That compares to the 54 all last year. In the last six weeks alone, Portland’s Enhanced Community Safety Team recorded an average of 30 shooting incidents per week. As of Monday, there had been approximately 732 shooting incidents so far in 2021, with about 237 people injured by gunfire.

A New Jersey inmate who was freed early because of the COVID-19 pandemic has been charged with murdering a teenager just two days after his release. Jerry Crawford, 25, was serving time for burglary when he was let out on “public health emergency credits” to parole supervision. He has since been charged with the murder of Davion Scarbrough, 18, who was gunned down in Bridgeton  just two days after Crawford got out of South Woods State Prison.

Lawlessness: For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (2Thessalonians 2;7)

  • As God’s hand of restraint is gradually lifting, spirits of lawlessness are stirring up lawlessness which will increase all the more as the end-times ramp up.

A Chicago alderman said that city officials do not give enough support to police, following the fatal shooting of Chicago officer Ella French. “It’s an utter failure in the judicial system,” Democratic 19th Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea O’Shea said. “We see thousands of criminals released. When I talk to police officers on the street, I hear repeatedly they feel that leadership in the city, people in the city, do not support them.” O’Shea added that the number of police officers in the city has fallen by 1,000 compared to a couple years ago, citing retirements and a diminished number of people going to the police academy. “We’re a lawless city right now,” O’Shea said.

Accenture, the global consulting firm, has been hit by the LockBit ransomware gang, according to the cybercriminal group’s website. Accenture’s encrypted files will be published by the group on the dark web on Wednesday unless the company pays the ransom of $5 million. LockBit, like many other ransomware gangs, leases its malicious software to third-party criminal affiliates who then receive a cut of ransoms in exchange for planting the code onto victim networks.

Racism/Division: Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all,but rather division.For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. (Luke 12:51-52) Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. (Matthew 10:34) And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another… And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will growcold. (Matthew 24:10,12)

Attacks on the Asian American community have not slowed down so far in 2021, despite increased national attention and political action against anti-Asian hate, a new report released on Thursday finds. There were upwards of 9,000 anti-Asian hate incident reports from March 19, 2020, to June 31, 2021, reported Stop AAPI Hate (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders). The report said that 4,548 of the attacks occurred in 2020 and 4,533 occurred in 2021. Verbal harassment and deliberate avoidance of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up the majority of hate incidents, followed by physical assaults and being coughed at or spat on, the report found. A majority of the victims of the reported hate incidents were women. 

Critical Race Theory: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

When it comes to legal battles over Critical Race Theory (CRT), teachers’ unions are not merely willing to defend themselves from lawsuits, they’re filing them as well. On Monday, Nicole Solas, a Rhode Island mom whose daughter will be going into kindergarten, was sued by chapters of the National Education Association (NEA) for submitting multiple requests to find out what her daughter was learning when it comes to lesson plans on concepts such as transgenderism and Critical Race Theory. The National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) and NEA South Kingstown filed a complaint in Rhode Island Superior Court to prohibit the disclosure of the requested records and “protect teachers’ privacy rights” when it comes to records for which Solas was requesting access.

  • The public school system is trying to take complete control over our children without parental involvement at all, from CRT to gender identity, becoming secular humanism indoctrination centers.

Protests: Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Pro-life advocates were arrested Thursday for peacefully protesting against taxpayer-funded abortions on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The protest was in support of the Hyde Amendment which has banned federal tax dollars from paying for abortions since 1980. President Biden and Democrat leaders in Congress are trying to get rid of the long-standing amendment and force taxpayers to fund abortions.

About 800 protesters gathered on the grounds outside the Michigan State Capitol on the afternoon of Aug. 6 to rally against government mandates for vaccinations and masks. In a call for residents to push back against the government’s increasingly intrusive health policies and to protect Americans’ rights during the pandemic, Tammy Clark, executive director of the conservative group Stand Up Michigan, encouraged the crowd to let their voices be heard through nonviolent civil disobedience.

Police arrested an Antifa activist Tuesday after he allegedly pushed a female police officer who was protecting pro-life advocates at a rally outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Salem, Oregon. Antifa has specifically targeted The Church at Planned Parenthood, a pro-life ministry that holds worship services outside Planned Parenthood abortion facilities to pray and call for an end to the killing of unborn babies.

Gender Confusion: Male and female He created them. (Genesis 5:2)

  • Gender confusion is being promoted because it undermines God’s ordained family structure, giving secular government more control over people, particularly our youth.

A Virginia school board voted Wednesday to expand the rights of transgender students, including access and inclusion in school facilities and groups. The Loudoun County School Board voted 7-2 on a policy that allows transgender student-athletes to play on teams that align on their gender identity and to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity. It also requires teachers and staff to call students by their chosen names and pronouns. The district is 35 miles away from Washington D.C. and was following Virginia law in reviewing anti-harassment guidelines. 

Mass Delusions: The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie. (2Thessalonians 2:9-11)

The Minneapolis Democratic Party chair came under fire Tuesday for praising last year’s torching of the Third Precinct police headquarters as an “act of pure righteousness.” Devin Hogan, who heads the Minneapolis Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, extolled the rioters and blamed law enforcement in an Aug. 2 op-ed for the precinct’s destruction at the hands of rioters on May 28, 2020, three days after the death of George Floyd in police custody. “Like it or not, setting the Third Precinct on fire was a genuine revolutionary moment. An act of pure righteousness to open new worlds of understanding,” Mr. Hogan said in Southside Pride. “The people declared themselves ungovernable and unilaterally took their power back. The largest international human rights movement in modern history had begun. The youth of Minneapolis carried all of this. The cops started it.”

  • Utter lunacy. Delusions have gone mainstream – on both sides of the political spectrum.

Election Integrity: He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become knownThe integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. (Proverbs 10:9,11:3)

The Texas state Senate passed a Republican-backed voting integrity measure Thursday after a Texas Democrat ended her 15-hour filibuster. Just minutes after Sen. Carol Alvarado put down the microphone, the Senate passed the measure 18-11. However, the bill is still being stalled since Democrats continue to stay away from the state House of Representatives in a standoff that has now entered the 32nd day since they fled to D.C.

  • How come the same people who are okay with vaccine passports are not okay with voters have to present a photo ID?

Immigration: He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

More than 200,000 migrants were encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border in July, the highest in almost two decades, according to statistics released by Customs and Border Protection. Customs and Border Patrol officials encountered 212,672 people at the U.S.-Mexico border last month, up from 188,829 in June. The Biden administration has undone many of former President Trump’s immigration policies but has kept Title 42, a policy that allows border agents to expel undocumented migrants to prevent the spread of  COVID-19 in holding facilities.

A federal judge on Friday said the Biden administration must resume a policy that sees asylum seekers wait in Mexico for their claims to be heard. The Department of Homeland Security “failed to consider several critical factors” before axing the Trump era “Remain in Mexico” policy, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, found. That included ignoring how the program was beginning to lead to some immigrants with asylum claims that lacked merit voluntarily returning home, he wrote in a 53-page ruling.

The European Union has seen a dramatic increase in illegal migration at its external borders in recent months, with a 59% increase over 2020 so far. Overall, there have been 82,000 illegal crossings in the first seven months of 2021. A number of EU states are nervous about the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, fearing another wave of migrants like the 2015 flood of Syrian refugees.

Economy – Depression/Shortages: When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)

Prices rose by 5.4 percent in July compared with a year ago, the same as in June – the highest since 2008.. Policymakers at the Federal Reserve and in the Biden administration have been grappling with how long — and how high — inflation could climb as the economy rebounds. “The annual rate of inflation has seemingly peaked, but the details show a broadening out of price pressures,” said ING Chief International Economist James Knightley. “This indicates inflation is likely to be more persistent and pervasive than predicted by the Federal Reserve.”

Producer price inflation, which measures the prices U.S. producers receive for their goods and services, rose 7.8% over the 12 months ended in July. That was more than economists had expected and marked a new record high. Stripping out more volatile components, such as food, energy and trade services, inflation still rose sharply in July.

U.S. consumer sentiment fell sharply in early August, with the University of Michigan confidence survey plunging to depths not seen in a decade as Americans expressed worry about personal finances, unemployment, and inflation. The survey, released on Aug. 13, showed that the consumer sentiment index plunged from July’s reading of 81.2 down to 70.2, hitting a level not seen since 2011. The 13 percent slide was one the sharpest in in the past 50 years.

America had a record 10.1 million jobs available in June, as businesses struggled to hire enough staff to support the full reopening of the economy. This mismatch between worker demand and supply has been a defining characteristic of the pandemic recovery. Hiring is strong across most industries, as businesses are still rebuilding the capacity lost during last year’s lockdowns. Professional and business services, retail, hotels and restaurants added the most job openings.

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, 3.87 million workers quit their jobs in June, which is close to the record set this past April of 3.99 million. Many companies are boosting salaries in order to recruit workers. This has resulted in workers taking advantage of the strong demand for labor by quitting their old jobs in search of better opportunities.

A federal judge on Friday allowed the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium to remain in place, the latest development in what has been a protracted and politically charged fight with the housing industry amid the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled in favor of the Biden administration because of a higher court’s decision keeping the moratorium in place. A ruling in June by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which the Supreme Court did not reverse, is binding, Friedrich wrote.

Although the eviction ban is back on, it doesn’t apply to everyone: just those in areas with the highest risk for COVID transmission. In other parts of the country, landlords are free to evict nonpaying tenants as usual. Still, it’s not the only option landlords have. The government has devoted billions to the Emergency Rental Assistance program, which offers funds to struggling tenants across the country. Funds can be used toward back rent, future rent and overdue utilities. Both tenants and landlords can apply. Much of this fund has gone unused.

  • The Justice Department is urging state chief justices to find creative ways to curb a wave of tenant evictions as lawsuits are piling up against President Biden‘s order to keep a modified ban in effect.

Overall payroll compensation is now lower than it was in December 2019, when adjusted for inflation, according to an analysis by Jason Furman, an economics professor at Harvard University. The Employment Cost Index — which measures wages and salaries, along with health, retirement and other benefits — fell in the last quarter and is 2% below its pre-pandemic trend, when taking inflation into account.

So-called ‘ghost kitchens’ that prepare food for delivery only with no dine-in or take-out are on the rise as a result of the pandemic. Wendy’s plans to open 700 delivery-only kitchens by 2025 to meet the growing demand from people who want their fast food brought to them.

International

The economy of Lebanon is seeing a once-in-a-lifetime collapse amid hyperinflation and outages, according to a report from the World Bank. The country is dealing with hyperinflation, and is seeing one of the worst three economic depressions globally since the mid-1800s. Lebanon’s GDP plummeted from about $55 billion in 2018 to an estimated $33 billion in 2020. The economic collapse could reduce the country into a failed state, experts have warned, “heading toward the unknown,” noted the Wall Street Journal.”

Israel: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. (Psalm 122:6)

President Joe Biden appointed progressive Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, raising protests from American Jews. Critics, including her own congregants, accuse Kleinbaum of abusing her pulpit at New York’s Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s largest LGBTQ congregation, to repeatedly demonize Israel.

In June, Isaac Herzog became Israel’s 11th president after 119 Members of Knesset cast their ballots, 87 of them in his favor. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris congratulated Israel’s new Head of State and expressed the Biden Administration’s commitment to the Jewish state’s security as well as to a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs. Herzog commended the Biden Administration’s choice of Emory Professor Deborah Lipstadt as America’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

Middle East: When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (Luke 21:20-22)

“In every crisis that develops in the Middle East – we can point to the involvement of Iran or its proxies,” Bahrain’s undersecretary for political affairs Abdullah bin Ahmad al Khalifa said on Sunday during his third visit to Israel. Later, speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, al Khalifa heavily criticized the 2015 deal with Iran. “We were hoping that the deal would open a new page in the region but the exact opposite happened: it fueled crises in the Middle East, increased the number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe, and led to hate and increased extremism in many parts of the Middle East,” he said. Commenting on the relations with Israel, al Khalifa said, “Bahrain will support any initiative that will build new bridges and expand the Abraham Accords, which manifest values that we all share,” referring to the accords established by the former Trump administration.

Freshly inaugurated Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi hosted the leaders of various terror groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad during his first day in office Friday, assuring Iran’s continued support for groups seeking the destruction of Israel. Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, a guest of honor at the event, was singled out for praise by Raisi, and he told the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad that, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has no doubt in supporting Palestine, and we will always defend the rights of these oppressed people.”

  • Raisi’s heavy emphasis on Iran’s support for Palestinian terror groups and Hezbollah comes as thousands of Iranians suffer from water shortages in Khuzestan province. The water crisis has sparked unrest, with hundreds protesting in the streets and at least eight demonstrators killed by Iranian security forces.

Wars & Rumors of Wars: And you will hear ofwars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; forall these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7Fornation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (Matthew 24:6-7a)

On Saturday, the Taliban captured a large, heavily defended city in northern Afghanistan in a major setback for the government, and the insurgents are approaching the capital Kabul less than three weeks before the U.S. hopes to complete its troop withdrawal. Less than a week ago, the Taliban seized their first provincial capital since the withdrawal of U.S. troops began. On Friday, they seized their 18th (out of 34), raising their flag in the city of Ghazni, just 80 miles southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. The Pentagon now believes Kabul could fall to the Islamic militants within 30 to 90 days. In June they predicted it could happen six months after the U.S. withdrawal. Pentagon officials have declined to say whether U.S. air support for Afghan forces will end as planned on Aug. 31.

  • President Biden said this week that he does not plan to change the U.S. withdrawal plan. However, the Defense Department is bracing for a Taliban assault on Kabul, within weeks that could put American diplomatic personnel in jeopardy. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul urged American citizens to leave Afghanistan “immediately” amid the rapid Taliban gains in the country. The U.S. is considering relocating its embassy to the Kabul airport amid the deteriorating security situation. About 3,000 American troops will be deployed to Kabul to facilitate the evacuation of some U.S. Embassy personnel in Kabul, a senior U.S. Department of State official confirmed on Thursday.

President Biden is dispatching his special envoy for the Horn of Africa to Ethiopia as a war in the rebellious Tigray region escalates, creating a humanitarian crisis that has already left thousands dead. The Ethiopian government and the Tigray’s People Liberation Front (TPLF) have been at war since September. Amnesty International reported Thursday that dozens of women in the Tigray region of Ethiopia have detailed shocking sexual assaults by Ethiopian soldiers. More than 1,200 sexual violence cases were documented by health centers in Tigray between February and April, Amnesty International said. But the actual number is likely much higher because most of the health care facilities in the Tigray region have been looted or destroyed.

China is building a third missile field that will hold more than 100 new DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, The Washington Times has learned. Construction of a silo array for DF-41s was identified from satellite imagery by U.S. intelligence agencies in the past several weeks and appears equal in size to two other new Chinese missile fields recently identified, according to Pentagon officials familiar with intelligence reports on the strategic development. Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said Thursday the first two missile fields being built are part of an “explosive” expansion of nuclear forces by China.

Wildfires: The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:7)

The scope of destruction in Northern California’s Dixie Fire continues to grow more grim as assessment crews reach more areas. As of Wednesday morning, 1,045 buildings have been destroyed’ That includes homes, businesses and anything else in the path of the blaze that’s been burning for more than three weeks in and around Butte and Plumas counties. More than 15,000 are still in the fire’s path. The fire was 30% contained Wednesday morning, up from 25% the day before. It has burned more than 782 square miles, making it the largest individual fire on record in California.

A criminal justice professor has been charged in federal court with setting a series of forest fires in Northern California with the intent of endanger firefighters. Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, was arrested Saturday and charged with setting multiple fires in Lassen National Forest and Shasta Trinity National Forest late last month. “Where Maynard went, fires started. Not just once, but over and over again,” the government said in a court memorandum arguing for Maynard to be denied bail. He has lectured at several colleges in the state, including Sonoma State University and Santa Clara University. Maynard was found by an investigator at the scene of a wildfire on the western slope of Mt. Shasta, later designated the Cascade Fire. A witness said Maynard had been there since the previous day and seemed “very angry” after his car got stuck. At one point, Maynard pulled out a large knife, the witness said, and appeared mentally unstable. The witnesses described him as “mumbling a lot and having bipolar-like behavior.”

Hundreds of firefighters from across Europe and the Middle East worked alongside Greek colleagues in rugged terrain Wednesday to contain flareups of the huge wildfires that ravaged Greece’s forests for a week, destroying homes and forcing evacuations. The fires broke out last week as Greece had just experienced its worst and most protracted heatwave since 1987, leaving its forests tinder-dry. Other nearby nations such as Turkey and Italy also faced similar searing temperatures and quickly spreading fires, while Spain and Portugal were on alert for wildfires amid a heatwave forecast to last through Monday. At the other end of the Mediterranean, in Algeria, wildfires have killed 65 people.

A Russian aircraft deployed to Turkey to fight wildfires crashed on Saturday, killing all eight people on board, officials said. Turkey is one of many countries around the Mediterranean Sea that has battled devastating wildfires as the region experiences a relentless heat wave. At least eight people have been killed in the fires in Turkey, while more than 30 have died in floods in the northern provinces near the Black Sea in recent days.

Earthquakes & Volcanoes: And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7b) I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. (Revelation 6:12)

Haiti was struck Saturday morning by 7.2-magnitude earthquake. The massive quake leveled dwellings in the southwest regions of the country, shaking buildings from the Dominican Republic to Jamaica. Initial reports suggested damage near the epicenter, 7.4 miles northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud, where the temblor struck at 8:29 a.m. The reported magnitude from the U.S. Geological Survey was greater than the catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the island nation in 2010, resulting in more than 220,000 casualties. Mass casualties are expected from this more powerful quake.

Three active volcanoes in Alaska are drawing the attention of officials. The Alaska Volcano Observatory this week upgraded the threat level for the Pavlof Volcano from yellow to orange, meaning “an eruption is underway that poses limited hazards,” The Hill reported. The volcano, located at the far end of the Alaska Peninsula, almost 600 miles southwest of Anchorage, is emitting low levels of ash. The other two active volcanoes are the Great Sitkin Volcano and the uninhabited island of Semisopochnoi, both located in the Aleutian Islands. Great Sitkin has been very active lately. “Effusion of lava at the active vent on Great Sikin volcano has characterized activity over the past week,” the USGS reported.

End-Time Weather Will Continue to Grow More Severe: (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

Forecasters are warning Americans to prepare for an intense heatwave this week that is building over parts of the United States, with several states approaching, or hitting the triple-digit high temperatures. “It’s going to be a real oppressive week with dangerous heat and hot conditions,” the National Weather Service said. “Excessive heat watches are up across much of the Pacific Northwest,” it added. “Meanwhile, heat advisories are in effect for a good part of the south-central U.S. and parts of western New York state.”

Hundreds of thousands of Midwest residents and businesses were left without power again Thursday morning following another wave of damaging thunderstorms that passed through the region. Heavy rainfall brought flooding to parts of Michigan, shutting down some Detroit-area freeways and roads, including portions of interstates 94 and 696. Nearby, at least two twisters touched down in the west-central and northeast parts of Wisconsin Wednesday. Utility poles were broken and transformers were damaged in northwestern Indiana after the day’s storms.

Sicily reached 48.8 degrees Celsius (119.85 Fahrenheit) Wednesday, in what may be a record high temperature for all of Europe. The World Meteorological Organization must still confirm the temperature, which would break the previous record of 48 degrees Celsius set in Athens in 1977. Europe is sweltering under a dangerous heatwave, with dozens dead and huge wildfires raging.

A landslide Sunday in India’s Sangla Valley destroyed cars and smashed an iron bridge which collapsed in mere seconds after taking a direct hit from a massive boulder.. Nine Tourists died when their vehicle was also pounded by a huge boulder.

July was Earth’s hottest month ever recorded, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Extreme heat plagued the Northern Hemisphere in particular. Asia experienced its hottest July on record, while Europe experienced its second-hottest. On Monday, a grim report was released from a landmark UN study about the state of the planet. The 3,000-plus page assessment of the climate concludes that while things are bad now—witness the extreme weather unfolding around the globe—they are certain to get worse in the coming decade. However, the authors say it’s possible to stave off the most dire scenarios, essentially a planet unrecognizable from the one we know today, though only if nations take immediate steps to start reining in greenhouse gas emissions.

Signs of the Times Update: August 7, 2021

August 7, 2021

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2) Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins. (Proverbs 10:12)

Praise Reports: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Victoria Petersen, a former foster child who is now a foster mom herself, was recently crowned Mrs. Universe. In a post on Facebook, Petersen shared photos of the event as she gave glory to God for winning the pageant. “Glory be to God forever and ever,” she wrote. In a Students for Life video in 2020, Petersen revealed that she was conceived out of abuse and thanked her mother for choosing life instead of aborting her. ‘My mom heroically and bravely chose not to eliminate the potential sufferer — me — and because of her choices, I am now a woman who spends her time passionately advocating to eliminate the suffering of those in the womb and in foster care,” she said.

Allyson Felix, a U.S. athlete dedicated to supporting mothers and children, just set an Olympic record as the most decorated female track athlete in history with her eleventh metal, a gold in the 4×400 relay. Earlier this summer, the 35-year-old pro-life athlete established a fund to help Olympic athletes with childcare expenses. Many pro-life advocates have praised Felix for advocating for athletes who are mothers, noting how frequently female athletes face pressure to abort their unborn babies. Felix has spoken candidly about the struggle to come back from a difficult pregnancy that led to an emergency C-section and put the lives of both her and her baby in jeopardy. Female athletes often face intense pressure to choose between their unborn babies and their careers. U.S. Olympic hurdler Brianna McNeal, a Christian, recently admitted that she felt “shaken” and “traumatized after having an abortion” to further her career.

New World Order – One-World Government: It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:7-8) The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. (Daniel 7:23)

The World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on booster shots of coronavirus vaccines through at least September as poorer countries struggle to access the shots, even for high-risk populations such as health-care workers and the elderly. “We cannot and we should not accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a Wednesday news conference. He said the world is not on track to meet the health organization’s previously stated goal of 10 percent vaccination coverage in every country by the end of September.

The Demise of America: The first was like a lion (Britain), and had eagle’s wings (America). I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. (Daniel 7:4)

At the direction of President Joe Biden and in defiance of a recent Supreme Court ruling, the Centers for Disease Control issued an illegal 60-day eviction moratorium Tuesday evening. “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is issuing a new order temporarily halting evictions in counties with heightened levels of community transmission in order to respond to recent, unexpected developments in the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the rise of the Delta variant,” the CDC said. “A landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any county or U.S. territory while the county or territory is experiencing substantial or high levels of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”

  • The new 60-day CDC eviction moratorium carries steep criminal penalties for individual landlords who break the law: a $100k fine and 1 year in jail if eviction doesn’t result in death; up to a $250k fine and 1 year in jail if evicted person dies.
  • It is unclear where Biden and the CDC think they have the authority to enforce a “law” Congress did not pass. Congress, which is controlled by Democrats, had two months to come up with a solution after the Supreme Court determined the moratorium – issued through the executive branch – is unconstitutional. 

Franklin County, Ohio, is taking a stand against President Biden’s recent directive to issue a 60-day eviction moratorium extension. In a statement released on Thursday, Franklin County Municipal Court Administrative and Presiding Judge Ted Barrows said the county will not comply, citing an appeals court ruling last month. Franklin County is not alone on this issue. Wednesday, Toledo Housing Court Judge Joseph Howe told the Toledo Blade that his court would abide by the appeals court decision and not honor the moratorium, either. On Thursday, the Hamilton County Municipal Court followed suit, with judges voting to not comply with the new moratorium.

  • A North Carolina landlord says he is out $24,000 in unpaid rent from tenants, while one renter bought three boats over the course of the eviction moratorium. Buddy Shoup, who owns 35 properties across the state, said that he has been forced to maintain the properties and hemorrhage costs while the federal government slowly dribbles out rental assistance, of which only 7% has been doled out to renters in need. The money “was used, they went and bought brand new boats, but I mean, you know in a time of crisis like what we’ve been through, you’re evidently getting money from somewhere, but it’s not getting to me,” said Shoup.

Persecution: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

A resurgent Taliban has taken control of huge swaths of Afghanistan, imposing a particularly harsh form of sharia (Islamic law) and  forcing women and girls to marry Taliban fighters. The Taliban gains are a result of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan –  95% of U.S. troops have already left the country  and the remainder will have departed by the end of the month. The Islamist group has already started to re-introduce the repressive laws it enforced while in power between 1996 and 2001, with disturbing consequences for many in Afghanistan, especially Christians.

“Christians are being hunted and killed because they say we are infidels,” declared Pastor Adamu Musa after a group of small villages in Maingo, Plateau state, Nigeria, was attacked by gunmen last weekend, during the night of July 31 – August 1. Seven people were killed and several others injured, including Pastor Adamu himself, who sustained a gunshot wound. An estimated 275 buildings were burned down in the predominantly Christian area.

Civic/Religious Freedom: Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

On Tuesday, a Canadian church was ordered to pay $85,000 in fines after the church was held in contempt of court for a second time. pel, a Waterloo-based church, was sentenced for holding a worship service in April in violation of provincial COVID-19 restrictions on in-person gatherings. In May, a Canadian judge ordered officials to lock down the church, which has since held its services outdoors. The recent fines come months after the church was fined $83,000 for holding a service on January 24 along with $45,000 in legal fees. At the time, the church violated restrictions imposed by the Reopening Ontario Act, which limited in-person indoor or outdoor services to 10 people. “It’s unlikely that we can appeal,” Pastor Reaume said. “So we’ll have to pay up. When this is all added up, we’re gonna owe a lot of money. But Jesus is worth it.”

California, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington state intend to require masks for all students and teachers regardless of vaccination status. At the other end of the spectrum, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah have banned mask requirements in public schools. Educators have had to contend with strong resistance to masks from some parents and political leaders. Some consider mask rules an intrusion on parents’ authority to make decisions about their children’s health.

In certain parts of Australia the government has actually deployed the Australian military to enforce the lockdown, Sydney being one of them. This comes after the tight restrictions and lockdowns that have been put in place with the recent rise in numbers of Covid-19 cases.

Censorship: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18)

After Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted last week that the administration has given Facebook a list of accounts to ban for spreading misinformation about the Covid vaccine, she has now doubled down saying that people who circulate such materials online should be banned from not just one but all social media platforms. The Biden Administration wants Big Tech to ban stories and people they do not approve of from social media. “You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others for providing misinformation out there,” Psaki told the press last Friday.

Abortion: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. (Jeremiah 1:5)

A federal circuit court on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of a Tennessee law that requires doctors to provide pregnant women seeking an abortion with materials about the safety of the procedure and have them wait two days before performing the procedure.

The University of Pittsburgh may have inadvertently provided more evidence this week that aborted babies are being born alive and left to die so that their organs may be used for scientific research, according to the Center for Medical Progress. Earlier this week, Judicial Watch and the Center for Medical Progress exposed evidence of babies being born alive in abortions and other disturbing practices in documents they obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On Wednesday, a University of Pittsburgh spokesperson defended its practices in an interview with Fox News. However, the Center for Medical Progress said the university’s statements confirm that aborted babies’ hearts still are beating while their kidneys are harvested for scientific research.

Pestilence (Covid and other diseases): For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And  there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7)

As of Saturday, 8/7, the 14-day average of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. increased by 113% to 106,723 per day, while deaths per day increased by 88% to 497/day. This fourth wave of COVID-19 is threatening to overwhelm U.S. hospitals in regions where large swaths of unvaccinated people provide little resistance to the highly contagious delta variant. 

  • Nowhere is the strain more apparent than Florida, which reached a new peak Tuesday of 11,515 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Hospitals in Jacksonville and Orlando last week crashed through their pandemic peaks, and hospitals in Miami-Dade County are at or approaching record coronavirus hospitalizations this week. Florida has the second-highest rate of new cases per capita after Louisiana. Children’s hospitals and staff are “overwhelmed,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert.
  • On Friday Arizona reported 2,826 new COVID-19 cases and 42 new known, the highest since early March. There were 1,309 patients hospitalized across Arizona for known or suspected COVID-19 as of Thursday, also the most since the start of March.

Doctors and nurses in Missouri, where the delta virus variant has been causing COVID-19 cases to soar, are seeing patients who are younger and seem to be worsening faster than ever before. New hospital admissions for COVID per 100,000 people more than tripled in Missouri between early June and the end of last week. The relative increase was biggest among those in their 40s — nearly 400% — with smaller but still significant percentage rises among people in their 60s and older.

The state of Florida leads the nation in the number of adults and children admitted into the hospital with confirmed cases of Covid-19. On Wednesday, at least 2,065 adults and 47 children were admitted with Covid-19 into Florida hospitals since the previous day. Texas trailed behind Florida in second place with at least 1,318 adults and 40 pediatric Covid-19 hospitalization admissions. Florida also leads the nation in the total number of children hospitalized with confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 140 children hospitalized in Texas. 

  • The CDC reported this week that more than 90% of the COVID-19 cases in the U.S. — and more than 95% of hospitalizations and deaths — are among unvaccinated people.

The Delta variant sweeping the nation is not only more contagious than previous mutations, but it is also triggering different symptoms. In fact, there is one signature symptom that appears to be the new face of COVID-19. At the beginning of the pandemic, experts noted that cough, shortness of breath, and loss of taste and smell were the predominant complaints for those infected with the virus. But things have changed with Delta. Recent studies conducted in the U.K. by Kings College London as part of the COVID Symptom Study examined the new symptoms manifested by three groups of people who contracted the disease. One group was not vaccinated, the second was fully vaccinated and the third study group was partially vaccinated. Headaches remained the number one symptom in all three groups infected with the Delta variant, which is the most prevalent in the U.K. Runny noses were the second most common symptom reported, followed by sneezing, particularly among the vaccinated.

  • “If you have been vaccinated and start sneezing a lot without an explanation, you should get a COVID test, especially if you are living or working around people who are at greater risk from the disease,” said the researchers.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a monoclonal antibody cocktail as a measure to prevent infection in some groups of people who were exposed to the coronavirus. REGEN-COV is a treatment consisting of jointly administered casirivimab and imdevimab. While the product remains authorized for treating confirmed COVID-19 patients over age 12 who are at high risk of severe illness, the agency said the drug combo can now be given to high-risk groups as a preventive measure after exposure to the disease.

The Swedish government’s decision to keep the country operating with minimum disruption received immense backlash from COVID extremists across the spectrum during the early days of the pandemic. Schools and businesses remained open. Tourists were (and still are) welcomed. Masks weren’t even recommended — let alone required. How did Sweden’s policies fare against nations like the U.S. which had much stricter policies? After nearly a year and a half of the pandemic, Sweden is doing much better than most of its European counterparts — and better than the U.S. in many statistical categories. The data show that Sweden experienced a lower increase in mortality rates than Europe and the U.S.

Queensland’s top health official has warned grandparents “don’t go anywhere near your grandkids” as Australia continues to struggle with its highly controversial ‘zero COVID’ policy which has necessitated endless lockdowns and sparked rising protests.

Vaccines – Harbinger of the Mark of the Beast: He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

On Thursday, the White House touted progress in vaccinations, noting that over the past 24 hours, the U.S. recorded more than 864,000 vaccinations, the highest daily rate since July 3. “Already, we’re seeing momentum in vaccination requirements across the country, businesses know vaccinations are a way to keep their workers and customers safe and to keep their doors open,” White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said.

  • Covid is the excuse, legitimate or not, for establishing a more authoritarian government leading toward the mark of the beast: And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:9-10)

Analysis of recent swab tests in England suggests that double-vaccinated people are three times less likely to test positive for COVID-19 than unvaccinated people, the UK government has said. Still, 44 percent of infections occurred in fully vaccinated people.

More employers are mandating Covid-19 vaccines for their workers as the Delta variant surges across the United States. But one step in the process could slow down the rollout of such requirements: negotiations with labor unions representing employees. Meat producer Tyson Foods said Tuesday that it will require all of its more than 120,000 workers to be vaccinated by November 1. Three unvaccinated CNN employees who showed up to work have been fired. The network requires employees who are working in the office or in the field in contact with colleagues to be fully vaccinated for the coronavirus.

  • But the mandate is subject to discussions with unions representing around one-third of Tyson’s hourly workers. Meanwhile, Disney has said it has started discussing vaccine mandates with the unions representing its workers.

New York City has been gung-ho about implementing the most tyrannical and oppressive policies. People must provide proof that they are vaccinated in order to participate in indoor dining, go to the gym, or various shows. “This is a miraculous place, literally filled with wonders,” de Blasio said of the city. “If you’re vaccinated, that’s gonna open up to you, you can open the door. If you’re unvaccinated you will not be able to participate in many things. It’s time for people to see vaccination as necessary to living a good, full, and healthy life.”

  • Just as New York City restauranteurs thought they could perhaps see their way out of crushing COVID-19 restrictions and back to “normalcy,” the city’s government dealt out another blow—restaurants will now have to check customers for proof of vaccination or themselves face fines. In response, restaurant owners seem to have flocked to one of two positions. Some support the rule as long as it prevents more lockdowns, while others reject it as an unreasonable imposition on their already vulnerable operations.

With the Delta variant surging, vaccine holdouts in coronavirus hot spots including Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri have begun turning out for shots. More than 4.7 million Americans have rolled up their sleeves in the past two weeks, as misgivings about the shots based on ideology, apathy or fear have taken a back seat to the desire to protect themselves and their loved ones.

  • The number one reason for people choosing not to be vaccinated is the belief that the risks from getting the vaccine are worse than getting Covid.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has said he believes it is likely that a COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 will be given emergency use authorization during the next school year. COVID-19 vaccines are currently not available for children under the age of 12 in the United States. However, Pfizer said in a statement in June that it was beginning to test its mRNA vaccine in a larger group of children under age 12 using a lower dose.

  • As the pandemic upended life in the United States, more than one million children who had been expected to enroll in local public schools did not show up, either in person or online. The missing students were concentrated in the younger grades, with the steepest drop in kindergarten — more than 340,000 students, according to government data. Many of them were the most vulnerable: 5-year-olds in low-income neighborhoods.

Violence/Murder: When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)

A new report reveals that far more people died in Washington, D.C., in July at the hands of others than from COVID-19. There were nearly three times as many homicides as there were COVID deaths at a time when the city continues to face a surge of violent crime. Among the latest murders was the killing of a teacher and father of four who was shot on Saturday night. Kervin Sanches, 31, died in a double shooting that left another man wounded.

At least two people were wounded by gunfire Friday night outside Coors Field in Denver, not long after MLB’s Colorado Rockies defeated the Miami Marlins 14-2, reports said. Both victims were taken to a hospital and no suspect was immediately apprehended. The gunfire followed a July 17 shooting outside Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., home of the Washington Nationals. It also came amid growing concern about increasing shootings and other violence in cities across the U.S.

Japanese police said Saturday they arrested a man who stabbed 10 passengers on a commuter train in Tokyo hours earlier, in what Japanese media reported to be a random burst of violence.

Lawlessness: For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (2Thessalonians 2;7)

  • As God’s hand of restraint is gradually lifting, spirits of lawlessness are stirring up lawlessness which will increase all the more as the end-times ramp up.

In a memo delivered to all sheriff personnel Tuesday, Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht, a Democrat, explained that the conditions surrounding the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle are unsafe. Prosecutors said a court employee was sexually assaulted by a homeless man in a women’s bathroom not far from the sheriff’s offices in the building. The offices are near a homeless camp in City Hall Park, which has been the scene of violent attacks in recent months. And for years, employees have accused the city of failing to respond to the regular complaints of attacks. “Effective immediately,” the sheriff wrote, “due to the unsafe environment around the courthouse, administration, parking garage, and corrections facilities, and concerns from labor unions, we are returning to 100 percent remote telework for professional staff members who do not routinely interact with the public.”

Surveillance State: So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. (Luke 20:20)

Interest in homeschooling has surged over the last year, as lockdowns, face mask mandates and social distancing – combined with teachers’ unions efforts to keep school closed – have damaged the public school offerings. And it’s not just in America. In the United Kingdom, more than 40,000 students were formally removed from public schools from September 2020 to April 2021, almost double the average from previous years. And that has alarmed UK lawmakers to the degree that members of Parliament now are demanding a “national registry” of all students school outside the system to remove an “unacceptable level of opaqueness.”

  • The coming authoritarian one-world government will not tolerate “opaqueness” and will construct a registry to monitor everything about every individual much like China has already implemented.

Apple announced Thursday is it planning to scan all iPhones in the United States for child abuse imagery, raising alarm among security experts who said the plan could allow the firm to surveil tens of millions of personal devices for unrelated reasons. The Cupertino-based tech giant said the system will utilize breakthrough cryptography technology and artificial intelligence to find child abuse material when it is stored in iCloud Photos

Protests: Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Australian and German authorities launched harsh crackdowns on anti-lockdown demonstrations last weekend, amid rising global protests against coronavirus restrictions. Police in Sydney arrested eight people and issued more than 250 fines on Saturday in an effort to deter further rallies after thousands poured into the city two weeks ago to protest stay-at-home orders. Around 1,000 police officers and 300 military troops were deployed to detain anyone caught violating the radical lockdown measures in place in Greater Sydney, which include bans on “non-essential” activities and travel beyond 6 miles of one’s home. Police set up checkpoints throughout Sydney, checking over 70,000 vehicles for violations of government-mandated travel limits. Police also shut down train stations, and threatened rideshare and taxi companies with fines of up to $500,000 for driving people into Sydney’s central business district between 9 am and 3 pm. Individuals faced up to $100,000 for violating the rideshare ban. As of Sunday, the death toll from the current COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales is just 14, and Australia has registered only 920 virus deaths since the beginning of last year, far lower than most other countries.

  • A similarly brutal response to anti-lockdown protests took place in Berlin, where several thousand gathered last weekend in defiance of a court order. Berlin had approved an LGBT “pride” parade with over 35,000 people two weeks earlier, but cancelled the event However, at least 5,000 still turned out across the city on Sunday in spite of the ban, and were met with more than 2,000 officers who detained almost 600 people. Police used pepper spray and physical violence to break up the mostly peaceful protests and could be seen assaulting older women and children.

Gender Confusion: Male and female He created them. (Genesis 5:2)

  • Gender confusion is being promoted because it undermines God’s ordained family structure, giving secular government more control over people, particularly our youth.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has launched a campaign to eradicate the male or female designations on birth certificates. “Assigning sex using binary variables in the public portion of the birth certificate fails to recognize the medical spectrum of gender identity,” claimed Willie Underwood II, who wrote Board Report 15 for the AMA. The report claims “there is no clear standard for defining sex designation” on those legal documents. “Designating sex on birth certificates as male or female suggests that sex is simple and binary,” the report said. But there are individuals with “intersex variations,” and others who “identify as transgender.”

The Family Policy Alliance team found nearly 100 pending bills in Congress containing the term “gender identity.” Democratic leadership realizes that the full Equality Act doesn’t have enough support. Now, Democratic leadership has employed their backup plan: force through the tenets of the Equality Act piece-by-piece. In many ways, this is even more dangerous because there are so many bills to keep track of that touch nearly every area of law. For instance, just this week, the House passed the Appropriations Bill for the Departments of Labor, Health, and Education that includes Equality Act language. Specifically, this language could punish or deny federal grants to faith-based child welfare providers that hold Biblical beliefs about marriage and biological sex.

Election Integrity: He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become knownThe integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. (Proverbs 10:9,11:3)

Democrats claim voter ID laws are discriminatory, racist, and a form of voter suppression, but those arguments don’t hold up when looking at a new Rasmussen survey on the topic. According to the poll, which was published Wednesday, an overwhelming majority of voters—74 percent—support voter ID requirements. Importantly, minority voters, the ones Democrats claim are most affected by the laws, are strongly supportive. Among the most interesting result is that 72% of black likely voters support photo voter IDs. In addition, 79% of those who attended high school but didn’t graduate, and 78% of those earning less than $30,000 per year support photo ID. Even a plurality of Democrats (61%) do so as well.

Immigration: He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

With the number of migrants coming across the border continuing to surge, the Biden administration is reportedly preparing to vaccinate migrants coming into U.S. custody — amid continued fears of a risk of COVID-19 spreading between migrants, law enforcement and the American public.

Illegal border crossings from Mexico are at the highest levels in more than two decades, and health officials are struggling with soaring numbers of coronavirus infections among migrants. Until now, only a limited number of migrants in detention facilities have been offered vaccines. Under a new plan, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered to migrants taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection soon after crossing the border.

  • More than 800 unaccompanied migrant children were apprehended in a single day this week, as the numbers of migrants coming to the southern border continue to surge with no sign of slowing down despite the heat of the summer months.

The Texas border city of McAllen on Wednesday announced it is setting up temporary emergency shelters in response to what it describes as a “rapidly escalating” surge in migrants flooding across the border — and warning that the numbers are triggering a crisis in the city. “Despite the City of McAllen and its community partners’ best efforts, the sheer number of immigrants being released into the city has become a crisis: a crisis the City of McAllen did not create and has proactively tried to avoid for seven years,” the city said in a statement. Mayor Villalobos said Thursday that the city is at a “breaking point.”

The Biden administration has started flying migrants removed under Title 42 health protections deep into the Mexican interior amid fears over not just rising border numbers, but also an increase in COVID-19 cases related to the delta variant. The administration has continued to expel single adults and some migrant families using the Title 42 order initially introduced during the Trump administration which allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants, who are often quickly turned away at the border, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, amid high rates of recidivism – migrants making multiple efforts to cross into the U.S. – and the higher transmissibility of COVID-19 due to the delta variant – the Department of Homeland Security said it has started to fly expelled migrants into Mexico itself.

Economy – Depression/Shortages: When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)

Senators have voted to overcome the filibuster to end the debate on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill bu a 67-27 margin. A vote on amendments is to come and the Senate could potentially to pass the bill Saturday and send it to the House. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a first part of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure agenda. It would inject $550 billion of new spending over the next five years on roads, bridges, waterworks, broadband and other projects to virtually every corner of the nation. An analysis of the bill from the Congressional Budget Office drew concerns, particularly from Republicans. It concluded that the legislation would increase deficits by about $256 billion over the next decade.

America’s private employers in July added 943,000 jobs—a proxy for new hires—in a sign that the U.S. economy enjoyed a solid burst of job growth as the labor market recovery continues. This topped the 850,000 jobs U.S. employers added in June. While the resurgence in COVID-19 infections poses a risk to economic recovery, there’s no sign yet of any significant impact. Job growth was substantially lower in states with low vaccination rates.

Millions of open jobs are going unfilled, despite high levels of unemployment. The unemployment rate is still 5.4%, compared to 3.5% in February 2020 before the pandemic arrived. The latest U.S. jobs report, released Friday, revealed that 8.7 million people were unemployed in July, while another 6.5 million people weren’t in the labor force but wanted jobs. “It’s a really unusual situation to have the ratio of vacancies to unemployed be this high,” Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell told reporters last month.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday argued that President Biden’s sweeping $4 trillion economic plan is crucial to ensuring the U.S. maintains its status as the world’s top economic superpower. During a speech in Atlanta, Yellen credited “bold fiscal policy” for the economy’s faster-than-expected recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. But she said the federal government needs to do more to address long-standing structural issues plaguing the economy, such as declining labor force participation, income inequality, the racial gap and the threat of climate change, calling on lawmakers to approve both the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, as well as partisan $3.5 trillion spending plan.

Federal, State and local governments have never been so deep in debt, we are in the midst of the greatest corporate debt binge of all time, and U.S. consumers are certainly doing their part.  A surge in credit card spending and home purchases caused U.S. household debt to increase by $313 billion, or 2.1%, in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That’s the largest dollar increase since 2007. Overall, U.S. consumers are now $15 trillion in debt – that’s about $115,000 per U.S. household

Mortgage debt is rising particularly quickly.  Housing prices have been going through the roof recently, and this has created a buying frenzy on a scale that we haven’t seen since just before the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2008. Mortgage debt, the single biggest contributor to overall household debt, rose $282 billion to $10.44 trillion. A whopping 44% of the outstanding balances were originated over the past year, accounting for both new mortgages and refinancings.

  • The crushing debt load, already too high, will eventually bring the U.S. and global economy crashing down.

An Arkansas judge on Thursday ordered the state to resume paying the $300 supplemental federal pandemic jobless benefit that the state’s governor blamed for fueling a hiring crunch and decided to end early. The plaintiffs—five Arkansas residents—sued Governor Hutchinson and the Arkansas Director of Workforce Services, arguing they lacked the authority to end the state’s participation in the federal program ahead of its scheduled termination date in September. The judge agreed, arguing in the order that such decisions would normally be the subject of legislation from the Arkansas state legislature.

The Arkansas ruling came on the same day that an Ohio judge rejected a similar bid to reinstate the $300 pandemic jobless benefit. In the Ohio ruling,  Judge Michael J. Holbrook said that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine acted within his authority when he opted out of the federal program. “The court is aware of, and sympathetic to, the thousands of Ohioans without work and in desperate need of any assistance available,” Holbrook wrote, but “the court simply cannot legislate from the bench and overlook the clear terms” of Ohio law.

The Biden Administration extended the pause on student loan payments. The Education Department said it will extend the suspension of federal student loan payments through Jan. 31. The moratorium was set to expire on Sept. 30, but congressional Democrats had urged the Biden administration to push back the date as the coronavirus pandemic has left many Americans struggling to regain their financial footing.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday calling for half of new car sales to be electric vehicles powered by batteries and fuel cells or plug-in hybrids by 2030 on Thursday. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department are set to propose new requirements on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency for cars, SUVs and pickup trucks through model year 2026.

Gas prices have surged to a new seven-year high. For the week of Aug. 2, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose by a little over two cents compared to the prior week to $3.159. On average, motorists are paying 15 cents more to fill up since the beginning of May.

  • Coffee bean prices are soaring, as a drought has caused a lack of supply for the first time in decades.

Israel: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. (Psalm 122:6)

U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and five other Democrats have called for the U.S .Treasury to stop granting tax exemptions to American charitable organizations active in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. In a recent letter sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the group expressed their “extreme concern that US charities are funding and providing direct support to Israeli organizations that are working to expand and perpetuate Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise in violation of international law, including supporting the dispossession and forced displacement of Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods… We are concerned that these policies violate US obligations under international law, as well as federal tax law,” the letter read.

  • End-time persecution of Israel will continue to worsen over the next few years.

Florida, Maryland and Illinois are reexamining their relationship with the ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, as well as its parent company, Unilever, after the company announced last month that it will no longer sell its products in what the company deemed “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” which includes the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem. Those states, and more than 30 others, have laws against the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign. The state of Florida notified Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream, on Tuesday that it has 90 days to cease its “boycott of Israel” or face a ban on contracts and investments with the Sunshine State. Unilever, an international conglomerate, is based in London.

  • Ben & Jerry’s franchisees operating 30 stores across the country are asking the ice cream maker to “re-examine and withdraw” its decision to stop selling products in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “Those who feel so strongly about Israel that they want to boycott it or some part of the territory it administers are free to do so. They cannot, however, do that at our expense,” the franchisees wrote in their letter to Ben & Jerry’s executives

Middle East: When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (Luke 21:20-22)

Ebrahim Raisi, an ultraconservative cleric and protege of Iran’s supreme leader, became the country’s president Tuesday as a new security crisis swirls in the vital shipping routes of the Persian Gulf and doubts build over the survival of the troubled 2015 nuclear deal. Raisi, 60, will begin his tenure after he’s officially confirmed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a televised ceremony, ending the eight-year rule of Hassan Rouhani, a more moderate figure who saw his ambition to build ties with the West flounder.

Wars & Rumors of Wars: And you will hear ofwars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; forall these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7Fornation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (Matthew 24:6-7a)

The United States, Britain and Israel on Sunday all accused Iran of carrying out a drone attack last week on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea that killed two people on board, raising fears of an escalating maritime war in the Middle East, as Tehran denied responsibility for the strike. American and Israeli officials had previously said that Thursday’s attack on the Liberian-flagged Mercer Street bore the hallmarks of an operation by Iran, which has been accused of deploying attack drones in the past. The Mercer Street is managed by Zodiac Maritime, a London-based company owned by an Israeli billionaire.

Israel confirmed that three rockets were launched toward Israeli territory from Lebanon Wednesday, with two landing in open fields near Kiryat Shemona and one causing a massive fire that destroyed large swathes of farmland. The IDF responded shortly after by attacking the sites where the rockets were launched from in Lebanon with artillery fire and continued to target sites associated with terrorist activity near the border throughout the day. Thursday’s strike marked the first time Israeli fighter jets have carried out attacks in southern Lebanon since 2014. While no group has officially taken responsibility for the rocket launches, it’s believed that Hezbollah is behind the attack. They have launched more than 12 rockets towards Israeli territory since May 2021.

Taliban fighters have taken control of the capital city of Nimruz province in western Afghanistan, according to the deputy governor. Rohullah Gul Khairzad said the city “has fallen” to the Taliban. The development comes as the group has ramped up its military offensive across the country, pushing into major cities and increasing pressure on long fragile provincial capitals elsewhere following the withdrawal of American troops.

Wildfires: The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:7)

A wind-driven wildfire tore through a northern California mountain town, leaving much of the downtown in ashes and crews braced for another explosive run of flames in the midst of dangerous weather. The Dixie Fire, swollen by bone-dry vegetation and 40mph gusts, raged through the northern Sierra Nevada town of Greenville Wednesday evening. . The town, which dates to California’s Gold Rush era, has some buildings more than a century old. As the fire’s north and eastern sides exploded, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office issued a Facebook posting warning the town’s approximately 800 residents: “You are in imminent danger and you MUST leave now!” A damage map from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shows about 100 buildings destroyed in Greenville and the surrounding area. There were no immediate reports of injuries or death but eight people are unaccounted for. The fire is the third -largest ver recorded in California. In all, the blaze has burned more than 698 square miles and was 21% contained as of Saturday morning.

Earthquakes: And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7b) I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. (Revelation 6:12)

Several earthquakes struck along the California-Nevada state line Thursday afternoon. According to the United States Geological Survey, the first temblor was a magnitude 6.0 and hit south of Lake Tahoe in Alpine County. It was followed by dozens of aftershocks, at least a half-dozen of which were magnitude 4.0 or greater. People as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, and even Las Vegas reported feeling the quakes. Miles of U.S. 395, a major Sierra route, were briefly closed by rockslides and authorities say some cars were struck but there weren’t any injuries. Large boulders littered the highway in several places.

Environment: Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died.. (Luke 21:25-26)

  • The mountain of fire is yet to come, but the earth is already seeing increasing devastation as a precursor for the annihilation of much of the earth. Fortunately, Jesus will come a bring forth a New Earth (Rev. 21)

The annual Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” – a region of oxygen-depleted water off the Louisiana and Texas coasts that’s harmful to sea life – is larger-than-average this summer, federal scientists from NOAA announced in a report released Tuesday. The zone this year is about 6,334 square miles, an area slightly larger than the state of Connecticut. A dead zone occurs at the bottom of a body of water when there isn’t enough oxygen in the water to support marine life. Also known as hypoxia, it’s created by nutrient runoff, mostly from over-application of fertilizer on agricultural fields during the spring.

Florida’s east coast Manatee population died at a record rate this past winter. Nearly one in five manatees living along Florida’s Atlantic coast died this winter, according to a new report from the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The deaths are being blamed on starvation. Seagrass – the manatee’s preferred food source – has been killed off in recent years by algae blooms, poor water quality and other environmental issues.

An open letter to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation signed by nearly 500 faith leaders across Africa and organized and sent by the Southern African Faith Communities’ Institute (SAFCEI) emphasizes that the Foundation’s support for an industrial agriculture approach reliant on monocropping and intensive toxic chemical inputs while displacing smallholder farmers will be disastrous for the continent.

End-Time Weather Will Continue to Grow More Severe: (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

The megadrought in the western U.S. continues, although rain in the southwest has somewhat abated the drought there, but it has intensified in the northwest. Overall, 88% of the West is in severe to extreme drought, up from 86% last week and 71% three months ago. Utah remains at 100% in severe to exceptional drought, while California and Nevada remain at 95%.

  • However, New Mexico is down to  67% from 99% three months ago while Arizona is down to 83% from 95% and Colorado declined to 30% from 52%.
  • In the northwest, Oregon is up to 96% from 65% three months ago and Washington is up to 55% from 19%. Likewise, Idaho is up to 87% from 10% and Montana is up to 99% from 34%. Wyoming is up to 61% from 45% and North Dakota is up to 98% from 93% while South Dakota is up to 70% from 35%.
  • Drought-stricken California on Thursday shut down one of its largest hydroelectric plants for the first time in its history due to incredibly low water levels that aren’t enough to power it. Now, farmers in the state – one of America’s most important agricultural regions – are being told by regulators that they can no longer take water out of major rivers and streams.

Two years of extreme drought have turned large stretches of northern Mexico into a boneyard. Between starvation and ranchers forced to prematurely sell or slaughter their livestock, officials say the number of cattle in Sonora has dropped from 1.1 million to about 635,000.

More than 100 people were rescued Friday after being stranded overnight when mudslides shut down a portion of Interstate 70 in Colorado. No one was hurt, but two motorists walked to safety after their cars were destroyed by rocky debris. About 10 debris piles were blocking portions of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon after rain on Thursday caused rocks and mud to wash through the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar area. Mud, rocks and trees were 10 to 12 feet deep in some places and in other areas debris was scattered for 200 yards. Twenty-nine motorists sheltered overnight in the tunnel at Hanging Lake, near the town of Glenwood Springs about 150 miles west of Denver. Another 79 people were stuck along the highway.

Amid a deadly summer of flooding in different parts of the world, scientists have found the number of people at risk to extreme flooding has grown significantly in the past two decades. In Germany, severe flooding claimed the lives of at least 173 people. In Nigeria, Lagos Island experienced one of its worst floods in recent years, submerging cars and houses. And, earlier this week, officials announced that the death toll from China’s July floods had climbed to 302 — more than triple the previous estimate.