For now Europe remains restless—And the tensions between Russia and the 44 million Ukrainians reminds us that Europe can quickly become violent.
Russia is a major supplier of natural gas, not only to Ukraine, but also to Europe, with the largest pipeline for that gas running through Ukraine itself. Recent history has shown Russia is willing to use the iron fist of energy to achieve its political aims. Russia’s armed intervention in the Crimea tells us of President Putin’s brutal determination to get his way in Ukraine. The unfolding economic crisis in Europe is a key reasons why Russia feels confident right now. Europeans already pay too much for energy—they do not want their gas bills to go even higher.
EU-28 (the 28 countries that make up the member countries in the European Union) do not want to see Russia shut down the pipelines in the Ukraine. 35% to 40% of the total natural-gas imports to the EU comes from Russia, and half of that imported gas flows through Ukraine’s pipelines.
In other words, the EU is addicted to Russian natural gas. How addicted? The four largest economies (by GDP) import much of their natural gas from Russia:
1. Germany—36% from Russia
2. United Kingdom—25% from Russia
3. France—15% from Russia
4. Italy—27% from Russia
Germany is Russia’s largest customer in Europe for natural gas, Europe is just too vulnerable because of its heavy dependence on Russian energy. It is also important that Russia maintains a good relationship with its primary customers — Poland Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. So Russia will be careful not to offend its top trading partners.
Russia’s Gazprom (energy company), controlling almost a fifth of the world’s gas reserves, supplies more than half of Ukraine’s, and about 35% of Europe’s gas annually. So don’t expect Europe to react too strongly against Russia…this is what Mark Grant (Financial analyst) wrote this morning (sarcastic, but perceptive):
The European Union is meeting now to decide on sanctions for Russia. Many leaders have made quite strong statements about this issue. I can only shake my head in wonder. The Germans are calling for refusing to ship bratwurst for one week. France wants to exclude any shipments of Mouton Rothschild for ten days while Greece is considering shutting down the Mykonos hotel discounts for seventy-two hours. Man, these Europeans are tough.
Russia’s strategy involves the creation of deep buffers to the West, while it manipulates its neighbors, creating a new regional balance of power in Europe that gives it the buffers it is so determind to have. Russia will not allow the Ukraine to slide over to the European Union (politically). Russia needs the Ukraine as a buffer and agricultural ally, also it is a key nexus for its gas exports. Did you know the Ukraine produces more grain than any other nation with the exception of the United States.
Wars and rumors of wars continues (Matthew 24:6)—Nation shall rise against nation—verse 7.
Sexual decadence and financial corruption is overwhelming the Catholic Church.
The greatest battle the Pope has to fight is the mounting rage concerning sexual abuse by clergy spreading to more than 25 countries. In America this has inflicted enormous financial damage. Various sexual-abuse cases have cost the American church over $3 billion so far. Thousands of claims for damages following sexual-abuse cases, have led to a liquidity crisis— the church pays over $1m per victim, according to legal resources.
In a stunning move to clean up corruption within the Roman Curia (the administrative machine of the Roman Church) Pope Francis announced the creation of a single authority to handle all business, administrative and personnel management at the ‘Holy See’. Financial scandals, including financial impropriety at the Vatican Bank have stained the Roman Catholic Church’s reputation among believers and non-Catholics over the past twenty years.
The new Secretariat for the Economy will oversee the Vatican’s annual budget, seek counsel from financial professionals for advice, and launch surprise internal audits. Heading the secretariat is Australian Cardinal George Pell, the archbishop of Sydney. Pell is a member of a group of eight handpicked cardinals whom Francis is using to reform the Vatican leadership structure.
The Catholic Church is very wealthy, but much of its wealth is tied up in property, art and precious objects. There is a real problem concerning cash flow.
From the Economist Magazine [Aug 18th 2012]:
The Economist estimates that annual spending by the church and entities owned by the church was around $170 billion in 2010 (the church does not release such figures). We think 57% of this goes on health-care networks, followed by 28% on colleges, with parish and diocesan day-to-day operations accounting for just 6% and national charitable activities just 2.7% (see chart). In total, Catholic institutions employ over 1m people, reckons Fred Gluck, a former McKinsey managing partner and co-founder of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, a lay organisation seeking to improve the way the church is run. For purposes of secular comparison, in 2010 General Electric’s revenue was $150 billion and Walmart employed roughly 2m people.
Prophecy tells us the great false church is branded in Revelation as a faithless harlot (prostitute). “And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation:17:5). Her secular relationships reach into the highest political and social circles in national governments and the business world: “The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury” (Revelation:18:3). God remembers her foul activities, knowing that “her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (verse 5).
For California, 2013 was the driest year since the State started measuring rainfall in 1849. The effects of the drought are so severe, that they can even be seen from space.
“We are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years,” B. Lynn Ingram, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, told The New York Times. The drought will impact 25 million people including farmers who control over 1 million acres of prime farmland. Also keep in mind, California gets 15 percent of its electricity from hydropower; the drought has brought water levels to unprecedented low levels.
We should not be ignorant of the ways in which God works. God often withholds rains upon a people who continue to sin against Him. Is the prolonged lack of rain in California just blind coincidence or is God angry with us as a people?
Drought—followed by famine—is one of the consequences for national disobedience. Our national sins do not go unnoticed by God. God makes this clear to Solomon and the same applies today since God has not changed (Malachi 3:6).
Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 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 (2 Chronicles 7:12-13).
Rain in due season is a blessing from God, but lack of rain can definitely be a sign of God’s punishment.
Most prolific growing area in the world in trouble…
California’s massive Central Valley, which is a composite of two valleys: the San Joaquin to the south and Sacramento to the north, is about 450 miles long, from Bakersfield up to Redding, and is 64 miles at its widest. Earth’s most prolific valley contains the world’s largest expanse of Class 1 soil, some of the most productive soil in the world.
It is predicted that half a million acres of San Joaquin Valley farmland will lie unused during the upcoming growing season. According to Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska, two-thirds of California is suffering extreme drought.
California’s Central Valley produces more than 250 crops. Grapes, raisins, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, asparagus, peaches, oranges, hay, alfalfa, walnuts, pistachios, and almonds—the list is almost endless. The J.G. Boswell Company operates the largest single cotton farm in the world in Kings County California– covering over 40,000 acres. The area around Stockton, California produces most of the nations asparagus crop, and the Fresno area produces most of the country’s raisins.
With no end in sight to California’s drought, farmers in the San Joaquin Valley fear federal officials could seize water in the San Luis Reservoir intended for their crops.
The Fresno Bee reports that dropping reservoir levels across the state are leading to struggles over water set aside via the Central Valley Project, a federally-run network of reservoirs, pumping plants and canals. If the drought continues we could very possibly see ‘water wars’ in California.
California has embraced its share of sin over the past decades, and it is only getting worse. California is first state to order Gay history to be taught in school… Do you think I am exaggerating when I say California leads America in its drive toward embracing moral decay? Note at what is happening in the public schools in California. In 2012 Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 48 a new measure that mandates teaching gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual individuals as role models — to public school children in government schools. Mandates. Meaning: teachers HAVE to teach children about sodomite relationships. The bill was sponsored by Senator Mark Leno, an openly homosexual lawmaker — Democrat.
Under SB 48, “textbooks, teachers and school boards will be forced to promote homosexuality, same-sex ‘marriage,’ bisexuality, transsexuality, sex change operations, and cross dressing as positive role models.”
The gay agenda is thriving in California and law SB 48 allows a tiny minority of people to impose their sexual perverse lifestyle models on all school children, starting in Kindergarten. Those of Gomorrah are pressing their agenda in California schools using the cloak of teaching, “anti-bullying” or, “diversity.” And parents who oppose Sodomite education in the schools where their children attend, are branded as bigots and haters (homophobes).
A few years ago the State Judicial power embraced sodomite marriages. Gay rights advocates mounted a vigorous groundbreaking legal challenge to a decision by California voters in 2008 who voted in support of Proposition 8 that bans same-sex marriage. The majority of Californians were against same-sex marriage but were overruled by a Judge who ignored the majority decision of the voters. Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist wrote this at the time:
The decision by a single, openly gay federal judge to strike down the will of 7 million Californians, tradition dating back millennia (not to mention biblical commands, which the judge decided, in his capacity as a false god, to also invalidate) is judicial vigilantism equal to Roe v. Wade. [...]
Most great powers unravel from within before invading armies (or in America’s case, terrorists) conquer them. A preacher might develop a good sermon on how nations fare when they mock God.
No less a theological thinker than Abraham Lincoln concluded that our Civil War might have been God’s judgment for America’s tolerance of slavery. If that were so, why should “the Almighty,” as Lincoln frequently referred to God, stay His hand in the face of our celebration of same-sex marriage?
America’s Abortion Capital
It is an old cliché, but it is true “as California goes, so goes the nation.” California aborts more children than any other state by far, earning the epithet as the nation’s Abortion Capital. There are a stupefying 512 abortion clinics/providers in the state, towering above New York State’s 225 abortion providers.
Leave it to California to expand the number of people who may perform an abortion. As states across the U.S. enact new laws restricting abortion, California lawmakers are on the verge of passing legislation that could greatly expand access to the procedure by allowing nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and certified nurse midwives to perform first-trimester abortions.
58% of women having abortions are in their 20s; 61% have one or more children; 85% are unmarried. (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sfaa/new_york.html)
California leads the world in the production of Pornography
The United States produces more than 80% of the world’s pornography and mainly created in the Los Angeles county area. More pornographic movies are filmed in the Los Angeles or the San Fernando Valley area of California than anywhere else in the world. About 6,000 adult films are shot each year. The San Fernando Valley Porn industry generates 10,000 to 15,000 jobs annually and had $4 billion in annual sales.
Certainly God will punish us for our sexual promiscuity (Jeremiah 5:9).
But God guarantees if we obey Him we will be blessed with rain in due season: “If you walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely” (Leviticus 26:3-5).
The European Union (EU) is angry with the lack of progress with peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and is threatening to take economic action against Israeli business if the talks fail. Clearly Europe is moving to isolate Israel economically over its Palestinian policies. President Obama also sees Israel as the stubborn party most to blame for lack of progress with regards to creating a Palestinian State.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in recent weeks that Israel will be bombarded with a Washington-led full court press campaign, “on steroids” if renewed negotiations with the PA fails to bear the fruits America demands.
EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen, says that the EU wants to expand its cooperation with Israel. But he asserted if Israel keeps building settlements and peace talks collapse, “what will transpire is a situation in which Israel will find itself increasingly isolated” on the economic landscape. Faaborg-Andersen said the EU considers Israeli settlements built on lands claimed by the Palestinians as illegal– an obstacle to peace.
Europe is Israel’s Biggest Trading Partner (Asia being a close 2nd)
A growing number of European businesses and pension funds have begun to drop investments or limit trade with Israeli firms involved in the West Bank settlements.
Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid warns that if Europe boycotts Israeli business the result could be crippling:
The Israeli economy will retreat, every Israeli citizen will be hit directly in his pocket, the cost of living will rise, budgets for education, health welfare and security will be cut, and many international markets will be closed to us. 33% of Israeli trade is with the European Union. If there is no political settlement and we enter a scenario where our economy drops 20% in exports to the EU, the impact on the GDP would be 11 billion shekels annually, and 9,800 employees will be laid off immediately.
The Israeli Finance Minister went on to say that…“We must recognize that if the talks fail — and the world will believe they failed because of us — there will be a price, and it’s best we know what that price is.” Lapid stressed that, “Today Israel is more exposed economically than it’s exposed from a security perspective,” he added, “The security debate makes us forget occasionally the fact that our military is not a goal, it is a tool. It’s a tool that is meant to allow us to reach an agreement that will strengthen Israel’s economy and guarantee its future as a Jewish state.”
Hurting Israeli Business
The European Union recently moved to block investments in Israeli companies that are linked to work that is taking place in the Israeli settlements (land obtained by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967). The Israeli settlements are viewed by the European Union as an illegal land grab by Israel, a direct violation of the rights of Palestinians—meaning that Israel is stealing land and building homes on that land belonging to Palestinians.
530,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967. The 2.6 million Palestinians living in the so-called occupied territories want an in dependent nation in those lands (with a capital in Jerusalem), demanding that Israel’s settlement building program is a road block to any peace agreement with Israel.
Another blow to the Israeli business community came recently when the Norwegian Minister of Finance dropped Israeli companies Danya Cebus and Africa Israel Investments from the government’s $800 billion oil fund—the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund. The decision was based upon Israel’s refusal to stop building settlements in the so-called “Palestinian territories”.
The Dutch investment firm PGGM, one of the 20 largest pension asset managers globally, has recently withdrew investment from five Israeli banks because they are involved in financing the construction of Jewish settlements in the so called “occupied territories”.
Future Palestinian State
Israel’s 1967 frontier, before it captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, is the likely scale for drawing the border of a future Palestine, included would be land swaps that would allow Israel to keep some of the settlements it has built on occupied lands. The Palestinians, in turn, would have to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
The bottom line is that Europe is more involved in the Middle East than most people realize. Europe has clout simply because the 505 million Europeans that are part of the European Union buy billions of dollars of Israeli goods and services. If the EU chooses to strangle its investment and goods purchases involving Israel there is no doubt that this will hurt the Israeli economy. Israel especially looks to America for sophisticated war equipment that includes fighter jets. America can use this as a leverage to force Israel to give land for peace in a settlement with the Palestinian leadership.
Don’t underestimate Europe as an economic power! In the future Europe will once again become a military power. Prophecy reveals that Europe will be motivated to move troops into the Middle East. This will not happen next month or next year, but it will happen in the not too distant future.
An end-time king of the North spoken of in Daniel 11 beginning in verse 40, will appear as the ruler of the end-time, European-centered superpower, the same one called the beast in Revelation 17. It will retaliate when attacked by the king of the South and roll into the Middle East and take control of Israel—this is yet in the future:
Notice what it says: “At the time of the end the king of the South(Islamic led power) shall attack him; and the king of the North (European Dictator) shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.”
The 41st Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision is this week. In a 7-2 ruling on January 22, 1973, the justices declared laws prohibiting abortion violated a woman’s constitutional right to privacy. They also asserted states could regulate abortion procedures in the interest of a woman’s health.
Since that dark day in 1973, there have been an estimated: 57 million abortions in the United States. Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com informs us of the death toll. “If you run the math on those terrible figures, the numbers are absolutely chilling”:
1.382 million abortions every year
115,167 abortions every month
26,577 abortions every week
3,786 abortions every day
157 abortions every hour
2.6 abortions every minute
The Bible regards the unborn as having personality. In Galatians, Paul speaks of himself as a person while still in his mother’s womb, (compare Jeremiah 1:5 for the same accent)
The Gospel of Luke ascribes personality to the fetus within Elizabeth:
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit… As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (1:41, 44).
Also, read Exodus 23:7: “Have nothing to do with a false charge, and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.”
Will not God punish our “Christian” nation for such brutality—a people who have such a callous attitude toward the unborn child!