Signs of the Times Update: June 27, 2022

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5

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)

Friday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions that decriminalized abortion in all 50 states, and resulted in the deaths of over 63 million children in the womb. The vote was 6-3 in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. “For the first time in nearly 50 years, Roe is no longer the law of the land. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority.”

  • A great injustice has been corrected, and that gives us new hope for our nation and a reason to rejoice,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Half the states will now become abortion free and millions of innocent lives will be spared from the barbaric practice of abortion.” Thirteen states have “trigger bans” in place to criminalize abortion now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Several other states are likely to enact similar laws.
  • Alveda King, a niece of Martin Luther King Jr., has been a prominent leader in the pro-life movement for decades, maintains that the new civil rights movement is for the right to life of the unborn. King thanked God for the court’s decision Friday in Dobbs v. Mississippi as an affirmation of a 50-year struggle to persuade the nation that life in the womb is sacred.

The Supreme Court ruled last Wednesday that Maine cannot prohibit parents from using a state tuition program to send their children to religious private schools. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, finding that “a State violates the Free Exercise Clause when it excludes religious observers from otherwise available public benefits.” First Liberty, the largest legal organization in the US dedicated exclusively to defending religious liberty, brought the case with the Institute for Justice. In response to the ruling, First Liberty President, CEO, and Chief Counsel Kelly Shackelford wrote, “We are thrilled that the Court affirmed once again that religious discrimination will not be tolerated in this country. Parents in Maine, and all over the country, can now choose the best education for their kids without fearing retribution from the government. This is a great day for religious liberty in America.”

A high-school football coach fired by his district for his brief, solitary prayers following his team’s football games has won his free speech fight at the U.S. Supreme Court. Coach Joe Kennedy’s case to the high court charged that Bremerton was “hostile” to his faith and prayers, which happened after the field had cleared after the end of games. Kennedy had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the school’s punishment and decisions by lower courts. The 6-3 ruling saw the six conservative Justices voting for the coach while the three liberal Justices voted against him. The court’s majority held, “The Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect an individual engaging in a personal religious observance from government reprisal: The Constitution neither mandates nor permits the government to suppress such religious expression.”

  • “The Supreme Court has become the most pro-religion it’s been since at least the 1950s, and it appears to include the six most pro-religion justices since at least World War II,” notes the New York Times. “Since John Roberts became chief justice in 2005, the court has ruled in favor of religious organizations in orally argued cases 83 percent of the time. That is far more than any court in the past seven decades — all of which were led by chief justices who, like Roberts, were appointed by Republican presidents.”

New York Judge Ralph Porzio ruled on Monday that New York City’s extension of voting rights to non-U.S. citizens violated the New York Constitution, the state’s election law, and the Municipal Home Rule Law. As the order from Judge Porzio explains, the “New York State Constitution expressly establishes voting qualifications for local elections” and is “defined as a right of ‘citizens.'” A bill creating the new class of non-citizen voters — potentially numbering as many as 900,000 new voters in New York City municipal elections — was passed by the New York City Council in December 2021, but not vetoed or signed by former Mayor Bill de Blasio. After 30 days without action from de Blasio, the bill was considered adopted under the council’s rules.

Hollywood was stunned when the can’t-miss blockbuster “Lightyear” sputtered in its opening weekend at the box office, but not conservatives, who blamed the animated film’s failure to launch on Disney’s ongoing lurch to the left. The Disney-Pixar feature failed to dislodge Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion” from the No. 1 box office slot after grossing $51 million in its domestic debut, well below projections for the spinoff of the hugely popular “Toy Story” franchise. Entertainment analysts attributed the lackluster showing to factors such as the movie’s “confusing premise” (Variety) and competition from the Disney+ streaming service (Deadline), while those on the right described the film as the latest casualty of corporate wokeness.

Five British men held by the Taliban have been released, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office said in a statement Monday. The men were arrested nearly six months ago on charges of “violating Afghan law and the Afghan people’s traditions,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, tweeted. Mujahid did not provide any further details on the charges against the men or their time in detention. Arrests of foreigners by the Taliban began late last year and continued for months as its leadership cracked down on activists and journalists accused of working in the country without proper documentation. “An understanding was reached following a series of meetings between the British government and Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” Mujahid said.

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

Abortion “trigger” bans on the books in at least 13 states all across the country — from Alabama to Wisconsin — have automatically gone into effect with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision. In Alabama, the state’s three abortion centers ceased performing abortions, even as women sat in their waiting rooms—some of whom had traveled from as far away as Texas for the procedure. Planned Parenthood Great Plains—which services Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas—also announced it was shutting down access to abortion services. In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an end to the procedure. West Virginia’s only abortion center began placing calls to scheduled patients letting them know their appointments were canceled.

  • According to Operation Rescue, 40 abortion facilities have halted abortions or are no longer scheduling appointments at all since Friday. And more are scheduled to follow suit by July 24, when statutory 30-day enactment delays of abortion restrictions or bans have been fulfilled. In some states where laws are unclear, such as Arizona and Wisconsin, abortion providers have ceased offering procedures as a precaution to avoid criminal liability.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a grave warning to pro-life Catholic churches and pregnancy centers, instructing them to prepare for a “Night of Rage” by pro-abortion activists who have been pledging “extreme violence” on the evening of the long-awaited Dobbs decision. “This is the most coordinated & aggressive domestic terrorism in our nation today. All because extremists are angry that they may not get to kill children in the womb, on demand, without limit,” tweeted pro-life organization Live Action’s founder Lila Rose. She called out President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as mainstream media groups, for the Democratic leadership’s “virtual silence” on the matter.

Nearly twice as many evangelical Protestants (63%) oppose legal abortion compared to mainline Protestants (33%), according to the most recent survey of abortion views by faith performed by Pew Research Center. Three-quarter of Jehovah’s Witnesses and nearly as many Mormons (70%) say abortion should be illegal. In contrast, 83% of American Jews and 55% of American Muslims say abortion should be legal. American Catholics are largely split, with 56% supportive of legal abortion and 42% opposed, a 2019 Pew Research Center survey found. Overall, about 49% of Americans said abortion should be “legal and accessible,” according to a USA TODAY/Ipsos poll published in April.

Abortion Protests

Vandals targeted a pro-life center in Lynchburg, Virginia, with threatening graffiti and broken windows. “If abortion ain’t safe, you ain’t safe,” red graffiti states on an entrance area of the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center, photos posted by local police show. Authorities are investigating a fire that was set at a pregnancy center in Longmont, Colorado, early Saturday morning as arson, police said. The building sustained “fire and heavy smoke damage.” Officials also said the front of the building was vandalized with black spray paint. “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you,” a spray-painted message near the front entrance reads “If abortion isn’t safe, you aren’t safe.”

The head of a Portland family and pregnancy support center said Monday that the nonprofit was mistakenly targeted and damaged by protesters angry over the Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v. Wade. Mother and Child Education Center executive director Maura White said that the organization is not “anti-abortion,” as protesters believed. “The violence was horrible,” said White. White said despite having insurance, the organization is likely going to be left to pay for the damages, which totaled more than $10,000.

Law enforcement officers in Phoenix, Arizona used tear gas to break up a sizable group of protesters outside the state’s Senate building following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade. The situation escalated into a “hostage” situation as lawmakers were instructed not to exit the building. The Republican Caucus of the State Senate later called the protest an attempted “insurrection.” Law enforcement officers then deployed tear gas to disperse the crowds and regain control of the building.

The Vermont Statehouse is another one of several buildings hit with vandalism and pro-abortion threatening messaging across the country following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Montpelier Police Department released a photo Saturday showing graffiti at the front entrance of the Vermont State House reading: “If abortions aren’t safe, you aren’t either” – the calling card of the pro-abortion militant group known as Jane’s Revenge.

An historic Catholic Church in West Virginia burned to the ground this weekend, and police are now investigating the incident as arson. St. Colman Catholic Church was already a smoldering ruin when firefighters from the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the scene Sunday morning. The church was built in 1878 and was declared an official historical site in 1984. The alleged attack comes as Catholic Churches across the U.S. and in Canada have faced a spate of vandalism and arson attacks in recent years. Some say the arsonists are motivated by the Catholic positions on abortion, marriage and contraception.

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 27-nation European Union mustered a unanimous vote Thursday granting Ukraine candidate status in its bid to join the bloc. Ukraine had applied for membership a few days after Russia invaded its borders, and the EU fast-tracked its candidacy. Joining the bloc, though, is a process that can take years to complete. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Ukraine was now on the path to membership: She said its electoral system is fair, its schools are well developed, and its economy was strong before the war. The EU also gave Moldova, a small country on Ukraine’s border, candidate status Thursday.

When talking to reporters Thursday, President Biden said his administration needs more funding for not just COVID-19 vaccines, but to plan for another pandemic. “We do need more money,” Biden told reporters on Tuesday afternoon. “We don’t just need more money for vaccines for children eventually. We need more money to plan for the second pandemic. There’s gonna be another pandemic.” He did not elaborate.

  • Do the globalist elites already have another pandemic (pestilence) lined up to further clobber the world into submission?

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)

According to Pew Research, only 2% of Americans trust the federal government to do what is right “just about always.” Another 19% trust the government “most of the time.” That’s a total of just 21% who trust the government to some degree. In 1958, by contrast, about three-quarters (75%) of Americans trusted the federal government to do the right thing almost always or most of the time.

Churches are closing at a record pace in the U.S. as less than 50% of Americans are saying they are members of a church. Many churches have closed in recent years due to fewer and fewer Americans opting for membership. Small-town churches have been particularly hard hit by the trend, having previously served as the cultural center of small communities that have since declined or been consolidated into larger metropolitan areas in recent years. “You can’t have a church with eight people,” said a pastor who recently closed his church.

  • Yes, eight people can have a church – a home-based church which doesn’t have to pay high real-estate costs for a separate building. The home church movement will grow over the next few years as government becomes more intrusive into what the 501c3 tax-exempt churches can or cannot preach.

Politics: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:1-2)

President Biden does not favor expanding the Supreme Court and hasn’t changed his stance on eliminating the filibuster, the White House said Saturday, throwing cold water on steps some liberal Democrats have called for in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling stripping the nationwide right to abortion. However, President Biden “is going to continue to find solutions” to ensure abortion rights, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Saturday, though she declined to offer details on potential executive actions the administration is weighing to do so.

A political shift is taking hold across the U.S. as tens of thousands of suburban swing voters who helped fuel the Democratic Party’s gains in recent years are becoming Republicans. More than 1 million voters across 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the last year, according to voter registration data analyzed by The Associated Press. This phenomenon is playing out in virtually every region of the country — Democratic and Republican states along with cities and small towns — in the period since President Joe Biden replaced former President Donald Trump.

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)

EU states may only gather the airline passenger data strictly necessary to combat serious crime and terrorism, Europe’s top court said on Tuesday, and banned the use of machine learning to harvest the data. The Passenger Name Record Directive (PNR), adopted in 2016, allows police and justice officials to access passenger data on flights to and from the EU to combat serious crimes and maintain security in the 27-country bloc. Rights groups however said data retention even by law enforcement and other authorities is an invasive and unjustified encroachment on fundamental rights to privacy and data protection. In 2017, Belgium’s Human Rights League (LDH) and other rights groups challenged the PNR at a Belgian court, saying it allows the collection of too much data and could lead to mass surveillance, discrimination and profiling.

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)

Islamist militants raided a Christian village in Memba, Nampula province, northern Mozambique on June 17, beheading one resident. The raid by terrorists linked to Islamic State (IS – also known as ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) is the first in recent years in Nampula province. IS has also claimed responsibility for the “beheading of several Christians” in raids across Nangade, Cabo Delgado province, to the north of Nampula.

Gunmen attacked two churches in the Kajuru community of northern Kaduna state on Sunday, killing three and kidnapping thirty-six. They are demanding more than $242,000 in ransom. The armed men targeted worshippers at a Catholic and a Baptist church. A spokesperson for the community’s Southern Kaduna People’s Union said the region has paid kidnappers more than $9 million annually in ransom payments since 2020. The Kaduna attack came two days after Christians in southwest Ondo state buried some 22 people killed during worship at a Catholic church.

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)

New cases of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. declined slightly over the past two weeks, from about 106,801/day to almost 102,8180/day, a decrease of 3.8%. However, hospitalizations were up 7% to 31,650 hospitalized as of 6/26, and deaths were up 5% to 348/day. Hospitalizations and deaths lag cases, so these numbers may reflect the earlier peak. In the Northeast and Midwest, known cases have been declining for weeks. In the South and West, however, cases are increasing. Cases in Mississippi have more than doubled since the start of the month.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reportedly admitted to a senior European politician that the virus that causes COVID-19 most likely came out of a Wuhan lab. The Daily Mail reports that Tedros made the admission citing a catastrophic lab accident. The disclosure comes on the heels of a WHO investigative report that was published earlier this month, concluding that the pandemic may have started at a Wuhan lab and that Chinese authorities have been blocking access to crucial data. At the same time, Jeffrey Sachs, leader of the Lancet Commission on COVID-19, now says that he is convinced that the pandemic started in a lab and that SARS-CoV-2 was created with the aid of U.S. biotechnology.

Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 appear to escape antibody responses among both people who had previous Covid-19 infection and those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted, according to new data from researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, of Harvard Medical School. The levels of neutralizing antibodies that a previous infection or vaccinations elicit are several times lower against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants compared with the original coronavirus, according to the new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday. “We observed 3-fold reductions of neutralizing antibody titers induced by vaccination and infection against BA4 and BA5 compared with BA1 and BA2, which are already substantially lower than the original COVID-19 variants,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, an author of the report.

Cases of monkeypox are increasing across the U.S., and as health officials maintain the threat to the general population is low, efforts to vaccinate those at risk have begun. In the U.S., there have been more than 200 cases of monkeypox reported in 25 states as of Friday, 6/24, the CDC says. Since May 2022, there have been more than 4,100 confirmed cases of monkeypox reported – and one death – in 47 countries across Europe and South America. Earlier this week, the Biden administration began shipping monkeypox tests to commercial laboratories including Aegis Science, Labcorp, and Quest Diagnostics to expand testing capabilities. The disease, which is rare, typically starts with flu-like symptoms including fever before muscle aches, chills and fatigue. It can progress to include a rash, often on the face and genitals.

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)

Having two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine has been linked with negative protection against symptomatic infection with the disease, scientists say, while a previous infection without vaccination offers around 50 percent immunity, according to a study analyzing the Omicron wave in Qatar. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 15, examined the Omicron wave in Qatar that occurred from around December 2021 to February 2022, comparing vaccination rates and immunity among more than 100,000 Omicron infected and non-infected individuals. The study found that individuals who received two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine but had no previous infection exhibited ‘negative immunity’ against both BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron subvariants, indicating a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than the average person.

Pfizer announced Saturday that tweaking its COVID-19 vaccine to better target the omicron variant is safe and works — just days before regulators debate whether to offer Americans updated booster shots this fall. The first vaccines targeted the original coronavirus strain and their effectiveness against infection dropped markedly when the super-contagious omicron mutant emerged. Now with omicron’s even more transmissible relatives spreading widely, the Food and Drug Administration is considering ordering a recipe change for the vaccines made by both Pfizer and rival Moderna in hopes that modified boosters could better protect against another COVID-19 surge expected this fall and winter.

  • It seems unlikely that vaccines can keep up with the rapidly mutating variants, which appear to be less virulent, relegating the risk of infection probably no greater than the flu. And the flu shots often missed the mark in what flu variant they target, sometimes rendering the shots less than 50% effective.

Roughly 60,000 Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers remained unvaccinated a week before the deadline to bring soldiers into compliance with the military-wide vaccine mandate. Those soldiers have until Thursday to receive the vaccine, seek an exemption or face discipline that could include removal from the service. The Army has struggled more than other branch to get reserve members vaccinated, despite having a deadline seven months later than any other division of the military.

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 gunman opened fire in Oslo’s night-life district early Saturday, killing two people and leaving more than 20 wounded in what Norwegian security service called an “Islamist terror act” during the capital’s annual Pride festival. Investigators said the suspect, identified as a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen originally from Iran, was arrested after opening fire at three locations in downtown Oslo.

Gunmen killed two Jesuit priests inside a church in Cerocahui, Chihuahua, on Monday. The Society of Jesus in a statement said Revs. Javier Campos, 79, and Joaquin Mora, 80, were trying to protect a man who sought refuge in the church from a local crime boss. Both priests were known for their social work and advocating for social services in the indigenous Raramuri communities where they served for decades. The Catholic religious order called for justice and asked the attacker to return the priests’ bodies.

Gun Control: When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. (Luke 11:21-22,ESV)

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York law that requires state residents to have “proper cause” to carry a concealed handgun, a decision that could make it easier for millions of Americans to arm themselves in public as the nation is reeling from a string of mass shootings. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion for a 6-3 majority. The case was among the most closely watched this term on a docket full of culture war issues such as abortion, religious freedom and climate change. The decision had the potential to shift the landscape on Second Amendment rights at a time when Americans remain divided over access to guns.

  • President Biden called on Americans “to make their voices heard on gun safety” following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling. Biden said he is “deeply disappointed” by the ruling which is viewed as a major victory for gun rights advocates.

The Senate on Thursday easily approved a bipartisan gun violence bill that seemed unthinkable just a month ago, clearing the way for final congressional approval of what will be lawmakers’ most far-reaching response in decades to the nation’s run of brutal mass shootings. The AP reports the $13 billion measure would toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders, and help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people judged dangerous. On Friday, the House passed the bill and sent it on to President Biden who signed it into law Saturday.

A New York Times guest essay argued that American gun culture has been made all the more fanatical because of its ties to Christianity. It also claimed that Christianity makes mass shootings more possible. Author Peter Manseau, a religious author, wrote in his Thursday piece, “But many of our fellow citizens don’t just own guns, they believe in them. They believe the stories told about guns’ power, their necessity, their righteousness.” Manseau theorized that this is what has happened at the intersection of American Christianity and the Second Amendment. The author attempted to poke a hole in the narrative offered by many religious, Second Amendment supporters, that the problem with mass shootings in America “is not guns, it’s hearts without God.” 

  • Christianity will become more and more reviled and ridiculed as society becomes more and more ‘progressive’ and the end-times get closer and closer to Jesus’ return.

A Florida woman shot and killed a man after he broke into her bedroom while she was asleep and attacked her Tuesday morning, authorities said. The woman called 911 around 8:45 a.m. from inside her Clearwater home in the 1600 block of Flagler Drive as she struggled against the intruder, Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter told reporters. Slaughter said the dispatcher heard the scuffle before the woman was able to grab her lawfully purchased gun and fire at least one shot, FOX13 Tampa reported.

Law Enforcement: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

Hundreds of prosecutors in New York City are quitting the district attorneys’ offices amid left-wing criminal justice reforms. Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s office this year has hemorrhaged 65 assistant district attorneys, which is about 12% of the staff. Bragg released a memo on his third day in office, ordering prosecutors not to seek prison sentences for a number of crimes and to downgrade charges – including for robberies and commercial burglaries. Manhattan’s situation mirrors that of Brooklyn, where 67 prosecutors — approximately 13% — have resigned from DA Eric Gonzalez’s office as of June 17, with three more leaving last Thursday alone, according to the New York Post. In 2020, 84 resigned, and 94 left office in 2021. Fifty-nine prosecutors have quit in the Bronx beginning this year through May.

LGBTQ people are three times likelier to be incarcerated than the general population and more than twice as likely to be arrested compared to straight people. Rates are even higher among LGBTQ people of color and those with disabilities, according to the findings of a comprehensive national report released Friday. The report, commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation, cites a number of reasons for the disparities, including family rejection of LGBTQ youth, general bias and discrimination and the economic difficulties propagated as a result.

  • It might also be due to the instability of leading a lifestyle out of sync with God’s laws. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:8)

Texas Public Safety chief Col. Steve McCraw testified Tuesday that there were enough officers on the scene of the shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24 to storm the school three minutes after the shooter entered. McCraw outlined a lack of communication, poor preparation, and bad decision-making. “The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” McCraw said. But just hours later, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin slammed the DPS’s lack of transparency and accused its director, Col. Steven McCraw, of intentionally minimizing his agency’s mistakes.

  • NBC News reported that Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin told the city council Tuesday that the Robb Elementary School will be demolished. “You can never ask a child to go back or a teacher to go back in that school ever,” Mr. McLaughlin said at the meeting.

Cyber Security: He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. (Psalm 40:2)

The Department of Homeland Security recently warned that the threat from foreign terrorist organizations and cyberthreat from adversaries like Russia, including election interference, will likely increase in 2022 according to an intelligence analysis obtained by ABC News.

A hacker or hackers stole approximately $100 million worth of cryptocurrency from Horizon, a block-chain bridge, in the latest heist. The developers of Horizon, Harmony, tweeted Wednesday night that the theft occurred in the morning and they are working with “national authorities and forensic specialists to identify the culprit and retrieve the stolen funds.”

Racism/Discrimination: 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)

A new survey from the Anti-Defamation League says people are still reporting alarmingly high rates of hate and violence on the world’s most popular online hangouts. Nearly two-thirds of women, people of color, Jews and others from marginalized communities report experiencing harassment on social media because of their identity, according to the survey, LGBTQ+ respondents were more likely than any other group surveyed to experience harassment: 66% versus an average of 38%. Asian Americans reported a dramatic increase in harassment, from 21% in 2021 to 39% in 2022, mirroring the rise in anti-Asian hate incidents offline. Jewish respondents were more likely – 37% compared to 14% – to attribute harassment to their religious identity. Women were more than twice as likely to report ever experiencing sexual harassment online as men.

A GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) study found that 70% of LGBTQ Americans surveyed said discrimination toward the community has increased within the last two years — in the workplace, on social media, in public accommodations and even within the family. That marks an 11% increase from last year and a 24% jump from 2020.

  • Jesus says that unconditional agapao love is required of Christians, for God first and then for all other human beings whether we approve of them or not. He even says we have to love our enemies. (Matthew 5:44) It is a sin to discriminate or attack any other person.
  • If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (1John 4:20)
  • My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. (James 2:1)

Health: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22) Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3John 1:2)

About 28% of Americans say insomnia is taking a toll on their daily lives, and about 64% say they take sleep aids to help them fall asleep or stay asleep. Of the nearly two in three taking sleep aids, 23% use prescription medications, 27% use melatonin and 20% use marijuana or CBD (cannabidiol). About 37% said their use of sleep aids had increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Chronic insomnia is a dangerous public health problem,” said Jennifer Martin, a licensed clinical psychologist and president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. When left untreated, chronic insomnia can lead to a range of long-term health issues, including depression, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes and more, and can impact nearly every aspect of your life,” Martin said.

Balancing on one foot for ten seconds is a good indicator of life expectancy. You’re twice as likely to die in the next ten years if you’re not able to balance on one foot for 10 seconds, says a peer-reviewed study by Brazilian researchers published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. If you are younger than 70 years, you are expected (as the majority of those at that age) to successfully complete the 10 seconds, says the report. “For those older than 70 years of age, if you complete it, you are in better static balance status than your age-peers.”

Drugs: And they did not repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries [Greek: pharmakeia, i.e. pharmacy, drugs].

The FDA ordered Juul e-cigarettes off the market in the most dramatic effort yet to crack down on youth vaping. The Food and Drug Administration denied Juul’s applications to continue selling e-cigarette devices and pre-filled cartridges in menthol and tobacco flavors. Use of the products by youths had sparked concerns among regulators and activists. In 2020, the FDA prohibited sales of sweet and fruity e-cigarette pods, which Juul had already stopped selling. A federal court in D.C. granted the e-cigarette company’s request to temporarily pause the Food and Drug Administration’s ban on Juul products issued Thursday, which Juul characterized as “extraordinary and unlawful” in its lawsuit. 

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)

The Arizona Legislature just passed the largest school voucher program in the nation, a move that opens the door for all Arizona students to use public funding to finance private school. An expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Account vouchers means that all students who reside in the state and could enroll in a public school are eligible to get public funding to pay for private school tuition, online curriculums or tutors. Fewer than 12,000 students currently receive vouchers. The voucher expansion comes after a legislative agreement that promised $1 billion in new money for K-12 education in next year’s budget.

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)

An Alabama church’s Scripture-inspired sign about the sin of pride sparked a backlash among some who thought it had targeted LGBT Pride Month. The church marquee sign in front of Wares Ferry Road Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., read “God detests pride,” an apparent reference to multiple verses in the Bible on the subject. Proverbs 8:13, for example, reads, “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance.” Similarly, Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” The sign, though, led to a brief demonstration by a lesbian couple and a news story by the local CBS affiliate. The pause gives the court until at least July 12 to assess the FDA’s claim that the company didn’t include enough information about its health risks in its application. 

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 University of California San Francisco (UCSF) children’s hospital is offering puberty blockers and sex hormones to patients as young as age 3, making the claim that all treatments are “fully reversible.” UCSF’s Child and Adolescent Gender Center “offers comprehensive medical and psychological care, as well as advocacy and legal support, to transgender, nonbinary and gender-expansive kids,” according to its website. “We bring together experts from within as well as outside UCSF to promote gender health and support positive outcomes for children and adolescents exploring gender identity and expression.”

  • Despite the center claiming treatments are fully reversible, UCSF’s Transgender Care page admits that care for children categorized as “transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth” lacks solid evidence in some facets and even “lends itself to controversy among professionals.”

Transgender and non-binary footballers (soccer players in the U.S.) can now decide themselves whether to play for a men’s or women’s team instead of being bound by personal identification data, the German Football Association said on Thursday. At its core this ruling says that players with a personal (gender) status that is ‘diverse’ or ‘no reference’ and players who change their gender can take their own decision whether they will be issued an eligibility to play for a men’s or women’s team.

  • This will decimate women’s football (soccer) if more transgender men declare for the women’s teams.

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)

The latest Biden administration data show that in May, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released 95,318 migrants who had been encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border. That brought the total of southern border migrant releases under the Biden administration to 1,049,532, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) said. Add to that total the number of “got-aways” — migrants who eluded capture or did not turn themselves in to Border Patrol — and unaccompanied minors, and that total comes to 1,946,252 migrants that crossed over the southern border and into the U.S. under Biden “None of them had visas or other permission to do so — they just came right in, often with DHS or ORR [Office of Refugee Resettlement] metaphorically holding the door,” CIS resident fellow in law and policy Andrew Arthur wrote.

Energy Supplies: He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. (Isaiah 44:14-15)

President Biden on Wednesday proposed a three-month suspension of the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal tax on gasoline and the 24-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel. He will also urge states to pause their gas taxes, many of which are higher than the federal rate. However, Democrats on Capitol Hill are revolting over the proposal which requires Congressional approval to temporarily suspend the federal tax that drivers pay at the gasoline pump. The opposition from many within the president’s own party, including congressional leaders, offered a reality check to the White House that there are no easy solutions to lowering fuel costs and shielding themselves from criticism ahead of the midterm elections. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said it was a “well-intentioned but ill-conceived policy.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, has previously characterized the idea as a public relations stunt.

Gov. Andy Beshear took action Thursday to combat any signs of price gouging at the pump, touting it as a consumer protection measure amid sky-high gas prices straining Kentuckians’ budgets. The Democrat governor signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in response to gas prices hovering close to $5 per gallon. His action activated Kentucky’s price gouging laws. Kentucky consumers can now report suspected price gouging at the pump to state Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office.

Business: Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. (Proverbs 16:8)

After the Supreme Court ruled on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, corporate giants from a range of industries pledged to provide support and financial assistance for employees — and, in some cases, their dependents — seeking abortions. People seeking abortions could soon be forced to travel across state lines to access the procedure, adding to the cost of an already often expensive healthcare service. Companies such as Citigroup (C), Salesforce (CRM) and Match Group (MTCH) first promised financial support to employees seeking abortions in affected states. Many more followed suit on Friday, including Microsoft, Apple, Yelp, Meta (Facebook, Instagram), Disney, Netflix, Levi Straus, Warner Bros., Comcast-NBC, JPMorgan Chase, Nike, Starbucks, Kroger, Goldman Sachs and Alaska Airlines.

The richest person in Illinois announced Thursday he’s moving his hedge fund firm’s headquarters from Chicago to Miami, Florida, because crime in the Windy City is far too high. Griffin has provided more than $600 million in gifts to educational, cultural, medical, and civic organizations in Chicago over the years, his spokesman, Zia Ahmed, told the Wall Street Journal.

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 officials predicted last week that unemployment would begin creeping up by the end of the year, but that inflation would remain elevated at 5.2 percent. The Fed is trying to bring inflation back under control by raising interest rates, which sets off an economy-cooling chain reaction. Higher interest rates increase the cost of business borrowing, which slows growth and translates into less hiring. As the job market weakens, paycheck growth slows, which further tamps down buying. The challenge for many working families is that their wages might slow down before price increases do. That means that consumer buying power is likely to erode, after several months in which wage growth has already failed to keep up with rising prices.

  • At the same time, rising rates have unsettled markets and prompted stock prices to plummet, chipping away at many household nest eggs. Higher mortgage costs are slowing the housing market and could lower home values, further cutting into wealth, because for many families real estate makes up a big chunk of net worth.
  • When investors get their quarterly 401(k) statements in the next few weeks they’ll be hit with some bad news. The S&P 500, the broadest measure of U.S. stocks, is down 21%, the Nasdaq nearly 30% and the Dow 16% so far this year, and Americans are seeing the value of their retirement accounts decline. Retirement plans have collectively lost upwards of $3 trillion since the beginning of January.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.81% in the week ending June 23, edging up from 5.78% the week before, according to Freddie Mac. This time last year, rates averaged 3.02%, and the last time rates were this high was in the winter of 2008.

U.S. consumer confidence tanked in early June, reaching the lowest level ever recorded as soaring inflation batters Americans’ budgets and fuels concerns for the economy at large. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index released Friday shows the index plunged to 50 this month, a 14.4% drop from May and the lowest reading since the survey began in the late 1970s.

Pending home sales unexpectedly broke a six-month streak of declines in May, climbing 0.7%. However, Contract signings fell 13.6% compared to May 2021. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting a monthly decline of 3.7%. On a regional basis, contract signings jumped 15.4% month over month in the Northeast, increased 0.2% month over month in the South, fell 1.7% month over month in the Midwest and contracted 5% in the Midwest.

When consumers receive their homeowner and auto insurance renewal contracts this year, they’re likely to find their rates have risen significantly.  Analysts estimate the average increase will range between high single-digit to low double-digit percentages. A couple of things are combining to push homeowners’ insurance rates higher, including the rise in extreme climate events over the past five years and inflation, which has soared to a 40-year high, substantially raising the cost of home building and remodeling. Auto insurance rates are also rising due to more road trips instead of flying and the higher costs of repair labor and parts.

Many people who eat out, particularly in cities with high tourist volume, are leaving smaller tips, servers and bartenders told USA TODAY. Diners say that’s because the price of a meal has gone up so much that they can’t afford the usual tip. And that’s making it even more difficult for restaurant workers to cope with inflation. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers late Sunday announced a budget deal that will provide “inflation relief” payments of $200 to $350 per person for most state residents. Persons earning less than $75,000 per year would receive $350 as part of tax refunds in the $17 billion agreement while couples making less than $150,000 who file jointly are eligible for $700. Families in those categories with a dependent can qualify for another $350, meaning some families could see up to $1,050. Millions of California tax filers are expected to see payments through direct deposit or debit cards by October.

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

The U.S. Senate on Thursday morning voted not to advance the Biden administration’s nominee to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Brazil to a full vote, less than a day after the Washington Free Beacon reported on the candidate’s past antisemitic remarks. Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, a longtime diplomat and Democratic Party insider, was shot down by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a party-line vote of 11-11.

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)

Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago, CNN reported Monday, 6/27. Moscow failed to pay about $100 million in interest on two bonds during a 30-day grace period that expired Sunday, the White House said the default showed the power of Western sanctions imposed on Russia since it invaded Ukraine. Russia denied it was in default, saying the payments had been made, in dollars and euros, on May 27 and the money was stuck with Euroclear, a settlement house based in Belgium.

Russia launched 60 missiles into Ukraine over the weekend in a barrage that killed many civilians and destroyed and damaged apartment buildings. Russian missiles struck a residential building and the compound of a kindergarten in central Kyiv on Sunday, killing one person and wounding five more, officials said, as Moscow stepped up its air strikes on Ukraine for a second day. Russia’s defense ministry said it had used high-precision weapons to strike Ukrainian army training centers in the regions of Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, and Lviv. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Group of Seven countries holding a three-day summit in Germany to impose further sanctions on Moscow and to provide more powerful weapons.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday that Russian airstrikes have hit a crowded mall where there were more than a thousand civilians, leaving a number of victims “impossible to imagine.”

Ukrainian forces will have to be withdrawn from Severodonetsk, which had been the largest city in the Luhansk region still under partial Ukrainian control, according to regional governor Serhiy Haidai. The outcome is a symbolic and territorial victory for Moscow. The Kremlin has long signaled that it would try to capture the entire Donbas region, which includes Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk.

Ukrainian forces claimed late Tuesday they launched airstrike attacks on Snake Island in the Black Sea that resulted in “significant losses” to Russian forces. The New York Times reported the military said it destroyed a Russian air defense system as well as vehicles on the island. Meanwhile, the Russian defense ministry said on its Telegram channel that Ukraine made “another crazy attempt” to reclaim the island and that Russia had undermined the attack and “destroyed all enemy weapons” aimed at the island.

  • It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on in the war, but one thing is abundantly clear. Even if Russia eventually is able to claim the Donbas region, it is a massive failure for its vaunted military that it couldn’t get the job done in a few weeks, not the four months and counting that have already transpired.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said his country is ready for some form of retaliation by Russia after it banned the transit of certain goods subject to European Union sanctions across its territory and into the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. He said he does not believe Russia will challenge Lithuania militarily because his country is a NATO member. Nauseda defended the decision to block the passage of some goods, saying they’re implementing what was decided on a European Union level.

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)

At least 200 people died in a weekend attack in Ehtiopia’s Oromia region. The attack targeted mostly members of the Amhara ethnic group as ethnic tensions continue to flare in the country. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission linked the violence to fighting between government forces and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebel group. OLA has denied the allegations. Ethiopia’s ethnic tensions are rooted in historical grievances and political unrest. The country is facing a humanitarian crisis triggered by the war between the federal government and Tigrayan rebels.

Two people died and 21 were wounded early on Saturday in what police called an “act of Islamist terrorism”. The shootings were in and near the London Pub, a popular LGBTQ+ venue, the Herr Nilsen jazz club and another pub. Norway’s prime minister told the BBC the suspect was questioned in May, but was not deemed a threat at the time. Eyewitnesses said the suspect took out a gun from his bag and started firing, forcing terrified people to either throw themselves to the ground or flee. The attacker was arrested by police officers – who were helped by bystanders – minutes later. Two weapons were retrieved at the crime scene by police, one of them a fully automatic gun. The authorities later said the suspect was a Norwegian national. Oslo’s annual gay Pride parade was due to be held on Saturday, and was formally cancelled on police advice.

Famine:Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. (Ezekiel 14:13)

Russia has repeatedly targeted key bridges for grain and sunflower exports and bombarded Ukrainian ports. About 20 tons of grain are sitting in Ukraine without a safe means of export. Farmers are concerned they will not have enough storage space to keep harvesting. Russian missiles hit the Canadian agribusiness Viterra and U.S. grain trader Bunge Ltd. in Ukraine on Wednesday morning.

Droughts in the Great Plains and heavy rain in Minnesota and the Dakotas have slowed the production of wheat this year. Fertilizer costs have spiked as a result of the war. And the farming calendar presents another problem: Seventy percent of wheat in the U.S comes from a winter harvest – planted in the fall but not harvested until the spring, putting it off track with the immediate crisis in Ukraine.

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)

A powerful earthquake struck a rural, mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday, killing more than 1,000 people and injuring 1,500 more, according to a state-run news agency. Officials warned that the already grim toll would likely rise. Information remained scarce on the magnitude 6.1 temblor near the Pakistani border, but quakes of that strength can cause severe damage in an area where homes and other buildings are poorly constructed and landslides are common. Rescuers rushed to the area by helicopter, but the response is likely to be complicated since many international aid agencies left Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of the country last year and the chaotic withdrawal of the US military from the longest war in its history.

  • A second quake shortly afterward further shook the area and probably will cause deaths and injuries to increase.

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)

Rain and humidity in the southwest have enabled firefighters to gain control over the large fires that had been burning primarily in Arizona and New Mexico.

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)

Houston is asking its more than 2 million residents to conserve water amidst moderate to severe drought conditions. The Texas city activated a plan on Tuesday calling for “Stage One” conservation measures following the drop in rainfall and higher-than-normal temperatures. “During the past month, the City of Houston has had record-setting high temperatures above 90 degrees and a significant decrease in rainfall,” Houston Public Works said.

Intense droughts and poor planning have reverted one of Mexico’s most prosperous cities into a water-scarce area. Monterrey began restricting water access back in March as the three reservoirs supplying the city started to dry up, and the city stopped water services Tuesday. The shutdown could last weeks. According to the North American Drought Monitor, almost 60 percent of all of Mexico is also suffering from some level of drought.

The first storm of the 2022 hurricane season caused dozens of collapses in Havana, Cuba, and damaged homes that were already in poor condition, highlighting one of Cuba’s main social problems: a shortage of quality housing.

Temps in Japan usually hover below 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the month of June, but a heat wave that’s descended upon Tokyo and surrounding areas has led the government to plead with 37 million residents to switch off their lights to avoid power outages. The BBC reports that the “lights out” initiative is happening from 3pm to 6pm local time on Monday, when people are expected to turn off any lights they don’t need, though they’re advised to keep the AC running if they have to so that they don’t get overheated.

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