World Watch Today

MAKING A BETTER YOU

Have you heard people talking about their New Year’s Resolutions? News programs, talk shows, entertainment programs of all sorts are now focusing on what we need to do to make 2012 a better year for ourselves. The idea seems to be we all need personal improvement, and now’s the time to get started. An awful lot of what we hear has to do with starting diet programs, getting our finances under control, or even, stopping smoking. But what’s really needed?

No one can deny 2011 had a lot of trouble erupting throughout it. We suffered from all the economic woes, saw horrid weather knock down large portions of towns and cities, wept over ghastly crimes, and suffered the angry, finger-pointing rhetoric of those seeking the presidency. We are plagued by our own self-caused problems, most of which have nothing to do with our physical appearance or the size of our bank accounts. The problems we suffer, for the most part, have to do with our personal and national character deficit.

What brought on all the economic woes we can’t seem to escape? Has anyone seen the movie, Margin Call? Remember how our financial institutions traded in mortgages that were worthless? Even selling them to our neighbors abroad just to “unload” them? What was the driving engine behind all that? Japan got it right when the Mayor of Tokyo, following their devastating earthquake and tsunami, stated they were being punished for their greed. Greed, in his mind, had over swept their nation, and now a horrible tsunami was over sweeping Japan.

It was greed that was also blamed for the economic disaster of 2008. Our national greed in overspending along with all the devil-may-care financial mishandlings by our financial institutions brought on the horrible economic problems that have nearly brought down the U.S. economy and is currently undermining the Euro as well. Overspending on any level is a critical error, citizens and governments alike. The most fundamental rule we all should live by is the need to have enough in our bank accounts to pay our bills. But that tiny bit of wisdom has escaped our national leaders and much of our citizenry, and here we are today, nationally broke – No, not broke, bankrupt.

On a recent trip to southern California I made a stop at a shopping mall, the South Coast Plaza. The shops in this mall, I was told, are numbered among the most expensive shops in America, and I would agree. Walking through them I felt I had stepped off a plane and landed in Geneva. The surprise for me was that even though Christmas had passed, mobs of people were shopping these stores. Later, on the news, I learned credit shopping was making a strong comeback because people have gotten tired of holding back on spending. It sounded to me like another greed cycle is starting up – big time.

So back to the buzz about making New Year’s Resolutions. A friend mentioned to me today that she has seen a huge influx of people at her gym since Christmas. She laughed, however, when she said it because her experience had proven to her the wave of newcomers will thin out quickly, and it won’t be long before she no longer has to stand in line to use any of the gym’s equipment. That kind of resolve for self-improvement, she noted, never lasts long. Nevertheless, maybe we should begin to think more deeply about our problems and how we can have a better year. Maybe avoiding the greed cycle is one important thing to think about.

Here is a suggestion that might just give you a better year in 2012. Rather than focusing on quick fixes, try making longer-lasting changes in how you approach life. Examine the rules you live by and make a concerted effort to especially examine your character, the part of you that drives everything else you do. You may find some big flaws, like greed, that you need to work on.

If you lack guidance, I suggest you open your Bible and take a long hard look at the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20. When you think about it, every evil we suffer from could be avoided, just by following those simple to understand, yet extremely powerful principles. And one other thing, instead of making temporary resolutions, start making it a habit to periodically examine yourself throughout the year. Work at becoming a better you all year long.

S. O’Malley

Iran's Contempt for President Obama

Iran’s threat to close the Straits of Hormuz as America imposes an embargo on Iranian oil exports is being widely characterized by the American media as a sign of desperation on the part of the Iranians. But this most likely is a misread. Many leaders in Israel view Iran’s threats as a sign of contempt for President Obama, and for American power weakness under his leadership.

America’s rivals smell weakness. The Middle East is not the only part of the world where American irresolution is being felt. From North Africa to Europe, from Latin America to Asia, Washington’s compulsion to endlessly “talk” with belligerent nations is viewed by many as a confirmation that the United States is an old, tired giant who has had his day.

To date, President Obama’s foreign policy failures have yet to sink into the awareness of the average American. The average American citizen is not very interested in international affairs. Much of the rest of the world views us as a sunset power—a power in decline. The behavior of the U.S. over last 3 years confirm that conclusion.

Bible prophecy shows a coming time of trial for America, Great Britain and other English-speaking nations who have received great material blessings. The Bible foretold America’s destiny thousands of years ago. The United States was to become the world’s greatest single nation in history; the British Empire and her overseas possessions were to become a multitude of nations.

The Bible tells us that God would give great wealth and prosperity to the two peoples, the descendants of the biblical patriarch Joseph. Through them great abundance would pass on to much of the world as Joseph’s descendants were prophesied to be, in the “last days,” a “fruitful bough” (Genesis 49:1; 22-26), exporting goods, money and skill around the globe. No nations have been as generous in their giving over the past 200 years as Britain and America, especially America. America and Britain were also destined to endure the hostility and attacks of others (verses 23-24). Truly, America and Britain have fulfilled end-time prophecies! To learn more, order or download our booklet: The United States and Britain in Prophecy (check out our order Tab at the top of our website).

Steven LeBlanc

Iran Threatens the United States

Tensions are rising between Iran and the United States. Iran is threatening to close the world’s most strategic choke point—the Strait of Hormuz. 20 percent of the world’s total crude oil is shipped through the Strait. Iran’s first vice-president warned that the shipment of crude oil which flows through the crucial Strait, will be halted if foreign sanctions are imposed on its oil exports. Iranian Vice President Mohammd-Reza Rahimi said that, “if Western countries sanctioned Iranian oil, then Iran would not allow one drop of oil to cross the Strait of Hormuz”.

Much of the oil exported from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Kuwait and Iraq – including nearly all the liquefied natural gas from lead exporter Qatar – must advance through a 4-mile (6.4 km) wide shipping channel within the Strait.

The U.S. Navy said it would not accept any Iranian disruption of the free flow of goods through Hormuz. Iran condemned the statement by the U.S. Revolutionary Guard deputy chief Hossein Salami said that the U.S. “was in no position to tell Iran what to do”.

America is sending a message to Iran that a price is to be paid for Iran’s provocative war games on display in the Strait. The Obama administration announced a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia on Thursday, saying it has agreed to sell f-15 fighter jets to the Saudis valued at $30 billion dollars. Saudi Arabia is a longtime rival of Iran, with relations deteriorating further last fall after the US halted, what it said was an Iranian-backed plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

A recent Jerusalem Post article says Israel is preparing for an impending conflict in the Middle East. “Israel is moving forward with plans to hold the largest-ever missile defense exercise in its history this spring amid Iranian efforts to obtain nuclear weapons,” Yaakov Katz wrote in the Post. Lieutenant General Frank Gorenc, commander of the US’s Third Air Force based in Germany, visited Israel to finalize plans for the upcoming drill, there is talk of deploying several thousand American soldiers in Israel.

Bible prophecy reveals that Europe is becoming more powerful. Eventually a charismatic leader will emerge in Europe, he will take particular interest in Israel and the Middle East. Cunning and appealing, he will also be empowered by evil, an evil that can persuade world leaders and Rome (see Revelation 13; Daniel 8:23-25; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan will inspire increasing hostility aimed at Israel and the United States.

Steven LeBlanc

America's Love Affair with Meth

America’s insatiable hunger for drugs has given birth to a very addictive and destructive substance known as Meth. The U.N. World Drug Report calls meth the most abused hard drug on earth, and the world’s 28 million meth addicts equals the combined number for cocaine and heroin users. America alone has 1.5 million users, and the number is rising. California is the world’s largest meth-producing “nation”. California is by some estimates, producing more meth than the next five biggest producer states in the U.S. combined.

Methamphetamine has the ability to addict a user like no drug before. Compared to other stimulants such as cocaine, which produces feelings of euphoria for a few minutes when ingested, Meth gives a user feelings of euphoria for literally hours. When taken by mouth, snorted, injected or smoked it produces intense pleasure by releasing the brains reward chemical dopamine. This intense pleasure keeps Meth users coming back for more.

Americans are given over to addictions of one kind or another. The Prophet Isaiah condemns the nation that is given over to substance abuse, whether that substance is alcohol, or drugs like Meth, or other addictions such as gambling or video games. Isaiah 5:11 speaks to our people today: What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk. Americans love their drugs…alcohol, cocaine, meth marijuana etc. We are paying a terrible price for our addictions.

Israel Clashes with European Union

Israel clashed with the European Union for their harsh criticism of the Jewish state at the UN Security meeting this past week. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman lashed out stating that the European Union was in danger of making itself irrelevant as far as the peace process is concerned.

“If European powers continue to focus exaggerated attention on Israel, a law-abiding and democratic nation, instead of real flash points like Syria and Egypt, they are bound to lose their credibility and make themselves irrelevant,” read the Foreign Ministry statement.

Israel’s temper flared based upon a statement released by the four European members of the Security Council – France, Britain, Germany and Portugal. These nations condemned Jewish building in Judea, Samaria.

The Europeans asserted that recent Israeli plans to build additional buildings in existing Jewish “settlements” in Jewish neighborhoods on the eastern side of Jerusalem “send a devastating message” and must be reversed. “All settlement activity, including in east Jerusalem, must cease immediately,” insisted France, Britain, Germany and Portugal.

The Europeans demand that both sides present proposals to the European Union, United States, UN and Russia. The Quartet would then sift those proposals and provide a roadmap for peace.

European leaders mostly side with Arab demands and adopt Arab sympathies; the Palestinians are happy with the new direction taken by the EU, and have already submitted a “peace” proposal to the European Union. Israel refuses to include the EU in the negotiation process because Europe leans heavily toward the Palestinian viewpoint.

For years Palestinians terrorists, many of them backed by the Palestinian leadership, have attacked and killed Israeli Jews. European leaders respond to Palestinian terror attacks by condemning violence in general, and calling on both sides to “show restraint.” Palestinians are seldom condemned by Europe for their aggression.

Prophecy tells us a time will come when a European power moves into Israel, “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him. And the king of the north [European Beast power] shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots and with horsemen and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land [Israel], and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape out of his hand: even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon (Daniel 11:40-43).

That time is not come, but clearly, Europe is taking a more intense interest in Middle East politics and sees itself as taking on the role of peacemaker. America is a declining power. A European power will fill the leadership vacuum left by the United States. This will not happened immediately, but in time, Europe will take a very active role in Middle East politics.

Steven LeBlanc

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