Interesting Bits

01/18/2018 11:06

So Doom and Gloom won't Happen

Earth's surface will almost certainly not warm up four or five degrees Celsius by 2100, according to a study released Wednesday which, if correct, voids worst-case UN climate change predictions.

A revised calculation of how greenhouse gases drive up the planet's temperature reduces the range of possible end-of-century outcomes by more than half, researchers said in the report, published in the journal Nature.

Our study all but rules out very low and very high climate sensitivities," said lead author Peter Cox, a professor at the University of Exeter.

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01/18/2018 7:09

Who wants lousy toys from a lousy film?

The warning signs for the toy industry started last year when “Cars 3” -- considered a surefire success -- proved lackluster for licensees like Mattel Inc.

  Now toymakers’ big bets on movie tie-ins look downright bleak. Playthings based on the “Star Wars” saga -- the franchise that kicked off the whole phenomenon four decades ago -- were down in 2017 despite a new film, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” in December during the all-important holiday-shopping season.
 

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01/18/2018 7:03

Economically, Red States are Roaring

Today, the often-disdained red states have the wind at their back, while in blue America, the economy seems to be slowing, as industries and people move to lower-cost, lower-regulation states. Seven of the top 10 states in terms of population growth last year were deep red; overall, the South has become home to the better part of economic dynamism in the country, with Texas and Florida alone accounting for one-third of all U.S. growth since 2010. Some analysts suggest that the new tax law, which works against high-income earners in high-tax states, will accelerate these trends further.

The most recent employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics  confirm these trends. Texas, as it has for the last few decades, is generating jobs at a higher rate than more populous California, lauded by the mainstream media as the premier anti-Trump economy. In November, the largest job increases—around 0.4 percent—occurred in three pro-Trump states: Iowa, South Carolina, and Texas. At the same time, the biggest drops in unemployment have occurred in the South, led by Alabama, where the rate fell by over 2.5 percent, followed by Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia. The BEA reports that the GDP of Texas, the linchpin of red America, over the past year is growing almost three times as fast as California and five times as fast as New York. Utah, Michigan, and Wisconsin also grew faster than California.

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01/18/2018 6:52

Trump's Promises Are Being Fulfilled

By every measure of personal and national prosperity, the nation is better off than it was one year ago. The Trump administration has overseen a renewed respect for citizenship. Gone is the lofty sounding rhetoric of globalism that led to unwinnable foreign wars and open borders. Back is talk of what we can do together as Americans.

...You’d hardly know of his accomplishments by watching cable news, which continue indulging its perverse obsession with Russian conspiracy theories, West Wing intrigue and the president’s Twitter feed. It’s exhausting — and also largely beside the point.

Also conspicuous were the dogs that didn’t bark. These are the predictions of imminent calamity certain to accompany a Trump presidency that have, happily, failed to materialize. For one, nuclear war did not break out, despite this being one of the Trump detractors’ favorite predictions. Nor did the president sell the country down the river to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he didn’t ignore court orders, didn’t shut down the free press, and didn’t fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

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01/17/2018 8:28

Movie Theater Attendance Hits 24-Year Low,

While annual box office revenue stayed above $11 billion for the third consecutive year, revenue over the summer season plummeted to 18-year lows. Historic lows were also reached for Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. The 2017 box office was a case of bookends, as the struggling summer sat in between industry record highs for March and September that were powered by family films like “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Boss Baby” as well as adult blockbusters like “Logan” and “It.”

 Attendance has been on a downward trend since 2005, though small rebounds were seen in 2012 and 2015. A similar rebound is expected in 2018, with heavily anticipated films like “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” expected to provide a more robust summer.

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01/17/2018 2:00

Three Cheers For NASCAR FANS

A new Zogby Analytics survey has promising news for the White House, revealing that President Trump now has a 46 percent approval rating among likely voters — just short of a majority. But Mr. Trump’s biggest fans can be found among some familiar demographics, suggesting that many heartland voters still stand behind him.

“The president’s job approval rating is very strong among certain groups,” the analysis said.

It found Mr. Trump has a 64 percent approval rating among NASCAR fans — the highest percentage in the survey. It also found that 58 percent of Walmart shoppers give him the thumbs-up. Fifty-two percent of homeowners and even 57 percent of voters who have recently lost their jobs offer a positive review of the president.

Trump’s numbers are also up among groups he has recently had trouble with, including union voters (48 percent approval), voters living in small cities (47 percent approval) and voters earning $75,000-$100,000 annually (57 percent approval), the analysis said.

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01/17/2018 12:47

Some More Great Economic News

 

Apple CEO Tim Cook (R) and Apple chief design officer Jonathan Ive (L) look at the new Apple iPhone X during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus on September 12, 2017 in Cupertino, California.
Apple to create 20,000 jobs over the next 5 years  1 Hour Ago | 01:21

Apple on Wednesday made a slew of announcements about its investment in and contribution to the U.S. economy in part because of the new tax law.

The headline from Apple is that it will make a $350 billion "contribution" to the U.S. economy over the next five years, although it's unclear exactly how the company came to that number.

 The company also promised to create 20,000 new jobs and open a new campus.

It said it expects to pay about $38 billion in taxes for the horde of cash it plans to bring back to the United States. This implies it will repatriate virtually all of its $250 billion in overseas cash.

Apple also said it will spend over $30 billion in capital expenditures over the next five years. About $10 billion in capital expenditures will be investments in U.S. data centers, the company said.

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01/17/2018 11:18

None of Us Are Surprised Either

Ann Curry said in her first TV interview since leaving NBC in 2015 that she would have been surprised if anyone at the "Today" show didn't know about her former co-host Matt Lauer's pervy behavior with women, adding that there was a culture of sexual harassment at the peacock network.

"I can tell you that I am not surprised by the allegations," Curry told the "CBS This Morning" hosts on Wednesday morning regarding the harassment and assault claims against Lauer.

Curry was then pressured to talk about whether others at NBC and "Today" knew about Lauer's alleged behavior at the time.

"I think it would be surprising if someone said they didn't see that," an uncomfortable Curry said. She added, "I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed."

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01/17/2018 7:55

Why Does God "allows" Evil in the world? He Doesn't. We Do

      There are a number of questions that have puzzled mankind, and the Body of Christ, for many years. Why do bad things have to good people? Why is evil allowed to roam the Earth. And since 1945, the question that has haunted theologians is, “If there is a kind and loving God, why was there a Holocaust?”

      Which is a very good question. It has been asked by almost every, if not every, unbeliever. Many people are atheists today because, to them, the Holocaust was proof that there is no God, at least not a kind and loving God.

       The Holocaust question has also probably been asked by every believer, except those who perhaps have just shut their minds to it because they don’t want to deal with it. The response by members in the Body of Christ has usually been “I don’t know.” That’s better than trying to answer it using human reasoning, or worse yet, religious tradition. But the end times, saying ‘I don’t know’ is not good enough. There is revelation being released in the church that will answer the most difficult theological question of the 20th and now the 21st century.

         The answer to that question is where we find all the answers – the Word of God. It doesn’t come thorough human reasoning or religious tradition.

     The key – and the answer to the Holocaust question - is in the Lord’s Prayer.

      First we need to remember the line of Psalm 103:19:  The Lord has established his throne in heaven and His Kingdom rules over all.” His throne is in heaven but His Kingdom rules over all.  This is spiritual law. Spiritual law, as we are going to find out, is as immutable – more immutable – than natural law. The law of gravity is an example of natural law. It works. Get on the wrong side of it, and  it’s dangerous.

      This Kingdom is vitally important and it is mentioned prominently in the most important prayer in the New Testament, the Lord’s Prayer.

    Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have. It can change the lives of people and change the destiny of nations. In Luke 11:2,disciples are asking Jesus how to most effectively use the most powerful weapon we have. So the revelation of his prayer will be crucial to the Body of Christ.

      In 1980, things did not look good for theUnited States. Inflation was 12 percent, unemployment was 10 percent plus, interest rates were 20 percent. We looked weak domestically and internationally. The Soviet Union had moved into Africa and Central America. In 1979 Lord showed Kenneth Hagin a vision of American cities burning, on fire. It was similar to the riots in the sixties where many cities went up in flames. The Lord said ‘This is what the enemy has planned for theUnited States. If my people pray, I can defeat it and turn it.”  His people prayed. In 10 years, the economy was sound and the Soviet Union was in ashes.

 

   Prayer is the most powerful force on both sides of the supernatural line – both the divine and the demonic.  Evangelist and teacher C. Peter Wagner was on a plane one time and he observed another passenger who looked very studious, even pious. When the plane landed, he went over and said ‘You looked so dedicated. Are you a minister?’ Give him credit for honesty, the man said, “No, I’m a Satanist. I’ve been praying for the destruction of churches in the northeast.” That was some time ago, but looking at the northeast, the man had some success in his prayers. Let’s hope we do as good in redeeming the region.

       There’s another story about when Benny Hinn had his church inOrlando. One of members got a Satanist saved. He had attended satanic sessions around and in Orlando and the Satanists  were praying to destroy Hinn’s ministry. In one session, the devil himself materialized.  His order to the coven about Benny Hinn was “Pray he doesn’t plead the blood so much.”  Pray he doesn’t plea the blood so much. Another example that prayer is vital on both sides of the spiritual line     

       In Matthew 6:10, the  apostles came to Jesus and basically asked, “What is the most effective way to use the most powerful weapon we have.”

        So Jesus’ answer and the revelation of it will be crucial to the Body of Christ. This is at Matthew 6:10. Jesus begins with praise to the Father

      “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”

      Then he says, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done. On Earth, as it is in heaven.”

           The prayer tells us that when His Kingdom comes, His will can also be done and fulfilled on the Earth. But if His Kingdom does not come, then His will is not done. When His Kingdom is prevented or hindered from coming, His perfect will can’t be completed.

     So for the Father’s dream to become real, for His Will to be done on the Earth, His Kingdom must first come.  Does this mean nothing much good will happen until Jesus comes back and establishes his reign? No. We have to understand the scriptural meaning of Kingdom, which is a bit different than the secular meaning.

       We tend to think of  a kingdom as a geographic piece of ground. We have the King James Bible. King James was  real person, he was King of England.Englandwas his kingdom. A specific piece of ground.  

       But the Biblical definition of Kingdom is not mere territory.

      In Matthew 12:25. Jesus has driven out some demons and he is accused of doing so via Beelzebub. He says nonsense. “If Satan drives out Satan, then how can his kingdom stand?

      “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then theKingdomofGodhas come upon you.”

         So theKingdomofGodis not primarily real estate. It is the manifestation of the power and glory of the Spirit of God, That’s theKingdomofGod, and the Kingdom rules over all. Rules over demons and sickness and anything that’s not of the Kingdom. Since theKingdomofGodrules over all, sickness or disease or depression is eliminated and demons are driven out.  Also notice that Jesus mentions another kingdom. The kingdom of darkness or Satan’s Kingdom. He tells you that Satan has a kingdom too.

    

      Later in Luke 10:9, He sends out his disciples and tells them heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” Tell them, theKingdomofHeavenis near.”

            In the second case, why did theKingdomofGodonly get close to them? It only got near to them. It did not come upon them.

     And as dramatic as that was – healing the sick, raising the dead, driving out demons, that was not the fulfillment of God’s perfect will.  The Kingdom only got near to them. 

        There is a rather significant difference in being near you and coming upon you. If we are out in the parking lot and there is a heavy rain across the road, it is near us. If it moves swiftly and drenches us before we get inside, it has come upon us

        

     Think about that for a minute as we go to Acts 19:13. This scene, although at first glance very different, has some bearing on the topic. “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves  to call the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” The seven brothers were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest.  And they said to a demon-possessed man.    “We exorcise you in the name  of Jesus who Paul preaches.”

      Th end of the story is dramatic. The man beats the stuffings out of the seven and sends them running for their lives.  A casual reading of this story is going to give you the wrong impression of these seven brothers.  In fact, in this situation, they look like the three stooges, or the seven stooges as the case may be.

       Actually, these brothers were very intelligent, well educated, compassionate, and were very courageous men. They were intelligent, courageous men who made a mistake.

       The Holy Spirit wants us to know they were sons of a Jewish chief, or high priest.   The sons of the high priests were bound to be  educated men. High priests put a high priority on education. They would have been trained in spiritual law, the Torah and Jewish traditions and customs

      The scripture says these were Jewish exorcists. What are exorcists? They cast demons out of people. Scripture doesn’t say they claimed to be exorcists or pretended to be exorcists, it states they were exorcists. Some translations say they were Jews who went around driving demons out of people. How did they do that? You will notice the name of Jesus did not work for them.

     If you don’t have the name of Jesus, as the incident in Acts shows, trying to cast out demons is a dangerous activity. Yet they went ahead, which should tell us they had compassion. They were trying to help folks. So how did they cast out demons  without the name of Jesus?

      They know how to use spiritual law.  The scriptures tell us that there is Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus and the Law of sin and death. But theKingdomofGodalso works by spiritual law. The Kingdom has dominion over all.  The brothers  knew the laws of what we might call the occult. Through rituals or incantations they knew how to use those laws to cast out demons.

           Benny Hinn tells a story about a family experiencing depression and oppression. There was a picture of a Native American in the house. Benny went the house and realized the picture was somehow connected to the occult. He told the family to get rid of it. After they did, they used the  name of Jesus to cast out the depression and oppression. But when they took that picture into their house, they were in effect giving Satan the right to attack them. With that picture in the house, according to spiritual law, the demons had a right to be there, They had to close that door legally and they did.

      TheKingdomofGodalso operates on spiritual laws. You need the power, which the Holy Spirit has, and the authority, to establish the Kingdom

      Spiritual law is the reason the seven brothers could not use the name of Jesus with any power. God obviously wanted that man delivered. He didn’t want to see anyone under the control of the devil. But the brothers had no legal right to the name of Jesus. It’s possible the demon spoke to them on the basis of that authority. He knew about Paul and Jesus. Since these were exorcists and had worked in the area for a while, chances are he knew who they were. But he was speaking from a position of authority, “Who are you? You have no legal right to cast me out.”

     The Holy Spirit could not – not would not, but could not – back up their request to deliver the man because they had no legal authority to use the name of Jesus,

      Christians, thankfully, do have the legal right to use the name of Jesus.

      This brings us back to theKingdomofGod. Who has authority in a Kingdom, and why did the apostles – even in producing great signs and wonders – tell the people thekingdomofGodwas near them, it had not come upon them yet.

        Who has authority in a Kingdom?    In theKingdomofGod, it’s a King. You need to be a King to legally established the Kingdom of God.

         Revelation 1:6 says  For He has made us Kings and Priests. Made us kings to serve in the Kingdom. Some translations say He has made us a Kingdom.  If we are kings then our job is to establish theKingdomofGod, and the Kingdom rules over all.

      

    How do we serve him as Kings. By doing his will on the Earth. By bringing the Kingdom to the Earth. By establishing His Kingdom because without the Kingdom, His will can’t be done.  Whenever Revelation 1:6 is said in church, the implication is God did it simply because it’s a nice thing to do.  Maybe but it was also a very pragmatic and practical decision.

     For His Will to be done on Earth, God needed to establish the His Kingdom and to establish His Kingdom, he had to have kings.

    

    Don’t be sin conscious. That has run through the church for hundreds of years.  If we had been taught Kingdom consciousness, we never would have heard the phrase “I’m an old sinner, save by grace.” If you are sin conscious it will hinder you from establishing the Kingdom, and that’s your primary job.

    

     Back to the Holocaust question.  Jesus has told us there are two kingdoms. If theKingdomofGodis established, then the Earth will be changed and transformed to look more like heaven. If Satan’s Kingdom is established, then Satan’s will is going to be done and the Earth will look more and more like Hell.Germany, 1943.  What has always been one of Satan’s primary goals – the extermination of the Jews. When Satan established his kingdom inGermany, then Satan’s will was done and Jews began to be killed.

     Was God in control inGermanyduring World War II? No, His Kingdom wasn’t established. Satan’s kingdom was established.

     It has been preached that God allowed the Jews to be killed because He was ticked off that they hadn’t accepted Jesus. Or simply allowed them to die for some nebulous reason. Both teachings are appalling. And blasphemous. It puts God and Jesus on a par with the devil.

     God didn’t interfere because His Kingdom had not been established, so His will could not be done.

 

     

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01/17/2018 7:15

Now We Know Why There Was a "Minnesota Miracle'

 Vikings Quarterback Case Keenum said throwing the game-winning pass in the last few seconds of Sunday's championship game against the New Orleans Saints was only the third best moment in his life. 

Keenum's first best moment was finding Jesus. The second was marrying his wife. 

“That was the third best moment of my life, behind giving my life to Jesus Christ and marrying my wife,” said Keenum about his game-winning throw that is being called the “Minnesota Miracle” in a postgame interview. 

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01/17/2018 7:00

Report: Islamic Oppression Fuels Two-Thirds of the Worst Persecution Against Christians

The Islamic State (ISIS) may be on the run in the Middle East, but Islamic oppression continues to fuel persecution of Christians across the world.

Open Doors USA released its 2018 World Watch List this month, and out of the 50 worst countries for Christian persecution, "Islamic Oppression" inspires persecution in 33. Worse, it drives oppression in eight of the eleven countries where Christians face "extreme" persecution, according to the list.

North Korea's Communist regime may be the worst state for persecuting Christians for the 16th consecutive year, but the main story in Christian persecution is Islamic oppression.

The Open Doors report listed three "major trends" in Christian persecution, and Islamic oppression ranked number one. "Islamic oppression is one of the most widely recognized sources of persecution for Christians in the world today—and it continues to spread—aiming to bring many parts of the world under Sharia law," the report stated. "The movement, which often results in Islamic militancy and persecution of Christians, is expanding in Asia (Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia) and Africa (Egypt, Nigeria, Somalia)."

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01/16/2018 6:38

Evidently, Facebook DOESN'T Have Standards

A Facebook group wanting to “burn...alive” a U.S. Christian pro-family activist who takes bold stances against feminism, political correctness, and the LGBT lobby "doesn't go against...Community Standards,” according to Facebook.

Conservative blogger Elizabeth Johnston, also known as “The Activist Mommy,” took umbrage when she found a Facebook group called “I will find The Activist Mommy and burn whoever runs it alive.” The Activist Mommy's common sense and bucking of political correctness have gained her large online audiences. Her social media accounts have been targeted for censorship by Facebook and Twitter

Johnston first reported the group to Facebook for “harassment” and then encouraged others to flag it.  

Facebook responded to Johnston, saying that the group didn’t “go against one of [Facebook’s] specific community standards.”

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George L. Duncan
George L. Duncan