Today is the Memorial of Lady of Lourdes.
From Franciscan Media, The Story of Our Lady of Lourdes
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus. A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: “O Mary conceived without sin.”
During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was “something white in the shape of a girl.” She used the word aquero, a dialect term meaning “this thing.” It was “a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm.” Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (tu), but the polite form (vous). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity.
Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907.
Lourdes has become a place of pilgrimage and healing, but even more of faith. Church authorities have recognized over 60 miraculous cures, although there have probably been many more. To people of faith this is not surprising. It is a continuation of Jesus’ healing miracles—now performed at the intercession of his mother. Some would say that the greater miracles are hidden. Many who visit Lourdes return home with renewed faith and a readiness to serve God in their needy brothers and sisters.
There still may be people who doubt the apparitions of Lourdes. Perhaps the best that can be said to them are the words that introduce the film The Song of Bernadette: “For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.”
Our Lady of Lourdes if the Patron Saint of: Bodily Ills
From my book TRIBULATION by G.R. MILLER
Chapter 4 - The Second Tribulation Angels and Demons: July 2007–March 2011
On June 9, 2009, the kids’ mom had summer custody, yet she was driving them to her parents’ house in Port Arthur, Texas because she was flying to Spain the next day. She told me that her “beau” (who was really her husband) had to go to Spain to deal with probate of his parents’ estate.
In my home in Cypress, there is a nook at the end of the foyer leading into the family room. The picture below is a direct view from the family room. You can’t see her, Our Lady of Lourdes, from the front door because she is hidden (see Rev. 12:5–6). I’d been planning to find a Virgin Mary statue to put there, and I found this one online from marianland.com. I bought a thirty-six-inch Our Lady of Lourdes statue at 4:14 p.m. CST on June 9, 2009.
The phone rang at about six o’clock. It was my ex-wife’s older sister, and she started telling me a sanitized version of my ex-wife and my kids being in an accident. This woman is a physician’s assistant and she was in the ER helping a physician and other assistants, when the kids were brought in. She told me that everything was okay, but then added, “Jesus was in the car with them.” I wondered what she meant.
I didn’t realize how bad it had been until I got to Port Arthur the next day, where they were staying. Seeing your three small kids beaten up is gut wrenching. I asked whether the children would get additional care. Their mom should have cancelled her trip to Spain, but she said that their grandmother (her mom) would take them to the doctor for follow-up. I was shocked that my ex-wife left them.
My ex-wife had turned in front of an oncoming pickup truck and sustained a broadside impact. She was driving a large SUV, which was very fortunate. The vehicle rolled three times and was upside down when it came to a stop. The kids could not all unbuckle themselves; therefore, people at the scene helped them out of the vehicle.
The bottom line is this: On June 9, 2009, I bought the Our Lady of the Lourdes statute at 4:14 p.m., and 53 minutes later, at 5:07 p.m., the SUV was rolling and Jesus Christ was in the car with them. Never doubt the grace and the goodness of Almighty God. Miracles do happen and this was a miracle.
She follows me wherever I go. She gives me WISDOM. She gives me SERENITY.
She saved my children.
- Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the SERENITY
to accept the things I cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things I can;
and WISDOM to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Readings for the Memorial of
Our Lady of Lourdes
From the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Concede, misericors Deus, fragilitati nostrae praesidium, ut, qui immaculatae Dei Genetricis memoriam agimus, intercessionis eius auxilio, a nostris iniquitatibus resurgamus.
Grant us, O merciful God, protection in our weakness,
that we, who keep the Memorial of the Immaculate Mother of God,
may, with the help of her intercession,
rise up from our iniquities.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
FIRST READING Isaiah 66:10-14c
Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her,
all you who love her;
Exult, exult with her,
all you who were mourning over her!
Oh, that you may suck fully
of the milk of her comfort,
That you may nurse with delight
at her abundant breasts!
For thus says the LORD:
Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like
an overflowing torrent.
As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms,
and fondled in her lap;
As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.
When you see this, your heart shall rejoice,
and your bodies flourish like the grass;
The LORD's power shall be known to his servants.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Judith 13:18bcde,19
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth; and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
ALLELUIA See Luke 1:45
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary,
who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled
GOSPEL John 2:1-11
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
"They have no wine."
And Jesus said to her,
"Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come."
His mother said to the servants,
"Do whatever he tells you."
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told them,
"Fill the jars with water."
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
"Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter."
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
(although they who had drawn the water knew),
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
"Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now."
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.
Mt.10:11-20 11Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. 12As you enter a house, wish it peace. 13If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. 14Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. 15Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. 17 But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, 18and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. 19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. 20For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Is.49:25 Thus says the LORD: Yes, captives can be taken from a warrior, and plunder rescued from a tyrant; Those who oppose you I will oppose, and your sons I will save.
"Public Education is a right, guaranteed by Federal Law, not a privilege; however, it appears “people of privilege” have been making serious attempts, and have so far been successful, in denying my son his rights for a Free and Appropriate Public Education in a Least Restrictive Environment. I expect this matter to be investigated and I expect some answers.” - G.R. Miller in a letter to Carmen Fariña - New York City Schools Chancellor
If you haven't read my letter above to Carmen Fariña - New York City Schools Chancellor, please do. It not only typifies the struggles of a single parent raising a person with autism, but it also testifies to the difficulties my son, and I have endured living in the Tri-state area. Most of our challenges come from my previous employment with a fossil fuels energy company in Houston, TX, that I reference in my letter to Ms. Fariña and discuss in my book, TRIBULATION BY G.R. MILLER.
But first, I'd like to describe a typical day in our household.
It’s 6:00 a.m., the iPhone alarm goes off on the mobile computer desk next to the couch and in the next room. Our Siberian Husky, Isaac has already let me know that its time to go out and pee. He’s 12 years old and just like elderly humans; incontinence is creeping in. I rise from the warmth of a sleeping bag on a comfy couch, my bed since we moved into our new home on July 1, 2017. The distinctively pleasing smell of cooking from my neighbors typically floods the hallways of our building, and the heat from their ovens, along with an uninsulated steam pipe in our bathroom, keep the temperatures up in our Kensington, Brooklyn apartment. The dishes are overflowing in the sink, the towels top our woven bathroom hamper and yesterday’s clothes, mainly pants and polos (cold-water wash) are on the kitchen floor across from the washing machine, waiting to be the next load. Fortunately, we are in a newly renovated apartment that’s rent-stabilized. It was a one bedroom that now is a two bedroom, but has a new small washer dryer in-one and small under-sink dishwasher. They are life-savers, but a wash dry cycle for a small load of clothes typically takes about 4 hours. We gave up at least 500 square feet in our move, so my room is storage for my bedroom furniture and boxes. I rent space for the other 100 cubic feet of boxes. My parents passed away in October 2007, and I just couldn't separate myself from my memories of them...I cling to their old yearbooks and boxes of family pictures going back to the 1950’s.
The door to the other bedroom opens, and out walks a 6ft. tall, 19-year-old handsome young man, made in my image. It’s pretty much the same meal preparation every morning: 2 hard-boiled eggs or turkey sausage or turkey bacon. For lunch, two turkey franks (no bun) or Tyson thoroughly cooked Panko Chicken nuggets. He refuses to eat in the school cafeteria of any school. If you’ve had the opportunity to watch the movie “Rain Man” and you have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) you certainly see the similarities. TV shows are scheduled at specific times from the Boomerang, Nickelodeon, Spike, and Syfy networks or on his DVR. Anything related to Charlie Brown must be watched during the holidays. No green vegetables are on his menu, other than pickles and jalapeño peppers. His diet consists of a whole lot of crispy, crunchy fried foods, pizza, turkey franks (with bun, mustard, ketchup, pickles and jalapeños at home), fried turkey breast, the occasional hamburger and Subway sandwiches where he dictates every detail of the preparation to the employee behind the counter. In late September, we attended a street festival in Venice, CA and I was stunned to see him order and devour a BBQ chicken sandwich. Don’t get me wrong, I very much care about my son’s diet and accept that he's very picky, so I’ve learned to prepare Southeast Texas cooking for a picky eater. Investing in a MASTERBUILT Deep Fryer does the trick. This electric monstrosity can wipe out an undersized breaker box and deep fry a 20 lb. turkey for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, COSTCO sells huge containers of soybean oil, so we diet on chicken tenders and fries, fish and fries and the occasional fried turkey and fries. Bottom line is this…my son's as "healthy as a horse," still growing and he keeps a voracious appetite.
My son, John, is My Penance...My Cross I Bear...My Blessing. He humbled me when I most needed to be humbled, and I have to "fight like hell" so he may have some semblance of quality of life as an adult.
John came to live with me in August 2009 after his mom informed me that either I would take him, or she'd put him in a “home.” We had divorced in early 2005, and she remarried two months before the "ultimatum." It appeared the new “hubby" from Queens, NY (who sounds just like Donald Trump and is just as condescending on the phone) didn’t seem the like the echolalia (self-talking) of an 11-year-old child with Autism. John is now “persona-non-grata” in their Katy, TX home.
John is named after his great-great-grandfather, his great X 4 grandfather and his great X 5 grandfather, who arrived on America’s eastern shores as a German Hessian Soldier during the American Revolution. Interestingly enough, my son also possesses the name of the 1980’s fictional "spokesperson" for Donald Trump’s phone calls made to the media.
The journey of an autistic person begins when you the parent see signs that your child is not as their peers. You get the standard “well; boys develop slower than girls.” Finally, you convince his pediatrician that he has significant delay. It’s followed by audiology tests and an EEG. Once hearing and brain abnormalities are ruled out, comes a prescription for further testing at a hospital specializing in neuro-developmental delays. In my son’s case in 2001, he went on a waiting list for approximately one year because of the ever-increasing incidence rate of autism. In 2002, it was 1 in 150 children who were considered to fall somewhere along the autism spectrum. It rose 57% from 2002 to 2009 to 1 in 110. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) reported that approximately 1 in 68 children in the United States had been identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Speech, motor, and cognitive tests began at Texas Children’s Hospital in September of 2002. Finally, they performed an ADOS…the acronym for Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. That confirms your suspicions. You never forget the date that a developmental pediatrician tells you that your child has autism…Sep. 25, 2002. Relatives tell you that “he’ll probably outgrow it,” but you know better. Your parents question why your son is going into “meltdown” when he's hungry or thirsty and can’t tell you. They think its a behavioral problem. The diagnosis is when parenting skills truly “kick in.” You’re either proactive, or you shouldn’t have chosen to be a parent in the first place. In my case, our net worth had just topped $1,000,000. I was considered a “key employee” with an energy company in Houston, and I was on my way out the door for challenging the owner about what federal law considered to be unlawful behavior. I questioned his behavior. Nevertheless, after a terrifying two weeks for my son in the local PPCD (Pre-school Program for Children with Disabilities), I enrolled him in the Westview School, which is a school for high functioning autistic children located on the west side of Houston. It was expensive but certainly worth the money. Early intervention and program development, particularly in “high functioning” cases, are the keys to progress throughout the ASD person's lifespan, with the hope that this person can someday live an independent life or at least a life with minimal supervision. Below is the weblink to the Westview School:
In 2002, we were referred to a social worker at Texas Children’s Hospital, who couldn't provide documentation or resources to assist in dealing with the financial impact of raising an autistic child, who would one day become an autistic adult and still be financially dependent on one or both parents.
The bulk of childhood costs are in special education, medical services, and lost parental income. During adulthood, the highest costs are related to residential care and lack of employment. Previous research (/science/science-news/top-ten-lists/2012/mounting-evidence-critical-need-adult-transition-support), also supported by Autism Speaks, has shown that adults with autism have higher difficulty finding and maintaining employment than do individuals with any other developmental disability.
In 2014, Autism Speaks estimated that the lifetime costs of caring for an autistic person averages between $1.4 million to $2.4 million: $2.4 million when autism involves intellectual disability (ID) and $1.4 million when it does not, and the annual cost to the United States is an estimated $236 billion. An estimated 40 percent of individuals with autism also have an intellectual disability. In my case, John has an IQ that has been measured between 62 and 70. His social maturity, based on teacher feedback and my observations, is at the elementary school level.
Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks associate director for public health research concludes that because autism severity is a main driver of costs across the lifespan, the key to reducing costs may be better access to quality early intervention, “These interventions have been shown to improve functioning and have lasting, long-term benefits with the potential to improve lives while reducing lifetime costs.”
Dr. David Mandell was the senior researcher for the Autism Speaks study and directs the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Mandell focuses on the critical issue which plagues parents of children with ASD. “Having an accurate estimate of the economic cost of autism has great implications for service and system planning. The fight to make high quality services available for individuals with autism has often been a debate about how expensive these services are. My hope is that the results of this study will show that the cost of caring for individuals with autism may be less than the cost of not properly caring for them.”
Lost parental income is of particular concern. “This makes it imperative that we examine how high-quality intervention can help allow parents to stay in the work force,” Dr.Mandell says. “It also suggests we need policies that make the workplace friendlier to families of children with disabilities.” Mandell also emphasizes the implications of the high cost of adult residential care. “The fact that so many adults with autism are living in residential homes may represent a failure of our society to provide options that integrate these individuals into their communities.”
In an accompanying, JAMA Pediatrics editorial, Paul Shattuck and Anne Roux of Drexel University wrote:
“For families, an autism diagnosis can also mean a lifetime of absorbing many of the financial and care-giving burdens associated with the disorder, especially in adulthood when the availability of societal support diminishes. For nearly seven decades, evidence from the Framingham Heart Study and other longitudinal studies has laid the foundation for our contemporary understanding of the epidemiology and treatment of cardiovascular disease. We need a Framingham Study for autism spectrum disorders, especially to track risks and outcomes into middle and later adulthood.”
With research funding (http://science.grants.autismspeaks.org/search/grants/factors-related-young-adult-outcomes-autism-spectrum-disorders) from Autism Speaks, Dr. Shattuck has pursued research into the factors that promote successful outcomes in adolescents and young adults with autism. See his, and Ms. Roux's Autism Speaks blogpost: Costs of Autism: A Call for a New Mindset of Investment and Innovation (/blog/2014/06/10/costs-autism-call-new-mindset-investment-and-innovation).
The problem in 2002 was the lack of data which could project lifetime costs. We now have at least some data, based on 2011 cost estimates. The following data, which is separated for both the United States and the United Kingdom is from the JAMA study.
Table 2: Number of UK and US Children and Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Mean Annual Cost per Individual
Table3: Mean Annual Costs per Capita for Children (0-17 Years of Age) by Level of ID, Disaggregated by Cost Component
Table 4: Mean Annual Costs per Capita for Adults (≥18 Years of Age) by Level of ID, Disaggregated by Cost Component
So if you’re a U.S. resident in 2018, and you have a 3-year-old child who has just been diagnosed with ASD and an Intellectual Disability (ID), the calculations below are based on raising that person until their 21st birthday when they're no longer eligible to receive public education based on the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and are no longer living at home, yet receiving SSI and Medicaid benefits. I developed the below tables by extrapolating the data above at an inflation rate of 3% per year.
“*” Cost assumptions:
3% annual inflation rate.
John was enrolled at the Westview School from November 2002 to May 2009. From the above weblink, Westview's current tuition, which includes educational supplies, books, workbooks, equipment, snacks and field trips, is:
Westview is on a nine-month calendar school year; therefore, tuition per month is approximately:
The last monthly check I wrote to Westview was about $2,600 for Elementary School; therefore, tuition has increased by about 14% over eight years, and that's an annual increase of about 1.7% per year.
Comparing that basis to the above table for ASD Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, and using the criteria as being a Houston resident in 2018 and you have a 3-year-old child who has just been diagnosed with ASD and an Intellectual Disability (ID), you're tuition cost at Westview from diagnosis through Middle School will be approximately $330,000. Your options are limited in Houston if you want to continue private education for your ASD child through high school. Based on what you can find on the internet, three high school programs exist, and only 1 offers services through age 21. Tuition information for these is not available on their websites and is usually needs-based. Therefore, "mainstreaming" your child into public education after middle school, may be your best choice if you're fortunate enough to be located in a school district which offers quality special education services. Also, mainstreaming offers your child the benefit of being exposed to neuro-typical children. The downside to that is your child may be exposed to bullying.
Seven years and two divorces later, I “mainstreamed” John when he came to live with me. That’s when the real journey began, both for John and me. I was fortunate enough to be living in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, which by word-of-mouth, is the best district in the Houston area to provide a quality special education program. My son was still terribly bullied there, for several weeks while riding the school bus with general education (GE) students. In your Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, make sure you request special education specific transportation if your district provides it. Your child will have a smaller bus with an aide to assist with pickup and drop-off on, and monitoring during transport.
U.S. News and World Report ranks high schools in the above link, but not special education, and a high-quality general education program does not necessarily translate to quality special education, as my son and I found out at Chappaqua Central School District in Chappaqua, NY. We moved to Westchester County in June 2015 when Horace Greeley High School was rated #19 in New York High Schools and #145 in National Rankings With Westchester County's proximity to New York City it offers households with jobs in the city to have the benefit of a public school with the academics of a private school. Their transition services involve vocational (BOCES) programs in Northern and Southern Westchester County which are suitable for both special needs and general education students; however, even though John's Individualized Education Program (IEP) recommended that he receive a vocation training in TV /Radio field, he was placed in Office Skills. Transition services are a requirement of high schools by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), beginning when the special education student reaches the age of 16.
We lived in New Canaan, CT for three years, from 2012 - 2015, and they provided, what I consider an excellent program. New Canaan High School is currently rated #7 in Connecticut High Schools, #76 in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) High Schools and #464 in National Rankings, .
The main criteria you want from a special education program in the public school setting is a low STUDENT to TEACHER RATIO.
Fort Hamilton High School (FHHS), where John was enrolled for the 2016 - 2017 school year, is one of the high schools of NYC Department of Education, District 20 in Brooklyn, NY. It is rated #190 in New York High Schools and #2404 in National Rankings. We moved from Chappaqua to Brooklyn, so I would have better access to New York City, driving for UBER and Lyft, rather than commuting. FHHS is a high school with an enrollment of approximately 4400 students and is a four story building full of classrooms. It can be overwhelming to a special education student, not only in size but also in the curriculum. During the 60 day period of John's evaluations, (which are typically performed when entering a new school) John's general education classes were Algebra, EMT Training (I still can't figure why he was assigned that), English, Health and U.S. History. We would spend hours at night doing homework, causing a reduction in my work hours. Having a B.S. in Civil Engineering, I have a strong math background including college courses in Functions of Coordinate Geometry, Calculus I & 2 and Linear Algebra/Matrix Theory while maintaining an overall 3.5 GPA. I graduated in 1983, and I had to relearn Algebra in 2016. I had to complete all of John's homework and had it not been for the Khan Academy online, both of us would have failed the class.
In New York City, high school special education students are placed in a 15:1 student to teacher class setting with a General Education (GE) curriculum as I noted above. GE classes document performance during the evaluation period; however, students with Intellectual Disabilities, without a Teaching Assistant or Paraprofessional in the classroom, are destined for failure. Once the NYC Dept. Education, specifically the IEP Team determines that the 15:1 setting is not suitable, that student is transferred to what is known as District 75. Below is the web link. His STUDENT to TEACHER ratio in a classroom setting was reduced from 15:1 down to 12:1:1, meaning the new setting would be 12 students to one teacher and adding a paraprofessional.
First, my son was diagnosed with "High Functioning Autism," "Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified" (PDD-NOS) and "Encephalopathy NOS." Encephalopathy is a term that means brain disease, damage, or malfunction. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) combined those diagnoses as "Autism Spectrum Disorder" (ASD). John gains more independence as each year passes. He may never live independently, but he certainly qualifies for living within a community environment with minimal supervision. John "bristles" at any suggestion that he has ASD, specifically the word "Autism," so it's difficult to put him in an education setting of more severe cases of Intellectual Disabilities than his. He wants to be mixed with neuro-typical students, which is not uncommon. The purpose of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). In my opinion, the District 75 setting can be counterintuitive to the purpose of the act. In my son's case, the large school he was assigned to, P373K - The Brooklyn Transition Center, was a blend of both high-function and low-functioning students with an assortment is Intellectual Disabilities. To me, that's not FAPE for high-functioning students who view neuro-typical students as their peers; therefore, it's not "Least Restrictive" but "Overly Restrictive". It's an effort by the largest school district in the United States, by enrollment, to distribute their federal funding for Special Education more to the overall district's benefit than to specific benefits of their Special Education Students; thus, restricting vocational education opportunities for higher-functioning students. That was John's case which I broadly detailed in my open letter to Carmen Fariña, New York City Schools Chancellor.
IDEA Funding requirements are described in 3 below weblinks.
The roadway to caring for an autistic person is fraught with potholes, roadblocks and hairpin curves, not only with education but also with lifetime care planning and disability benefits. Be ready to be taken advantage of, be it the Local Education Agency (LEA), people you hire to fight for your child’s rights (advocacy), develop lifetime care plans or the Social Security Administration. We’ve been through the “ringer” with all 4. Going into a new school district, you’re child needs to be reevaluated. Make sure you get a copy of the evaluations so you can contest the findings using an outside professional if need be. The process typically takes 60 days and based on the assessment; the public school is required by federal law to develop a Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for your child. 4 words: Hire a parent advocate.
Abraham Lincoln once said; “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” The same can be said about a parent, unfamiliar with their disabled child's rights, who tries to best represent that child in an IEP meeting. The deck can be stacked against you, depending on the quality of the school district. IDEA gives the right for you, your child, and at your discretion, "other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate" (parent advocate) to be invited to an IEP meeting. Your child's future into adulthood may very well depend on advocacy.
I've had the blessing of a great advocate while living in Cypress, TX and the horror of a terrible advocate in New York City. The person in Texas cost me $150.00. The New Yorker and the firm she worked for, tried to charge me $750.00. After the IEP Meeting, I refused to pay for the advocate. A parent does not want to take on a school district alone if the district is attempting to diminish your child's rights which are guaranteed by federal law. Couple that with an entirely unqualified U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos (an individual with little public education experience, who didn't realize that IDEA was federal law, rather than discretionary state law, and has promoted private/charter school education over public, regardless of quality), you'll get little or no help from the U.S. Department of Education. On October 2, 2017 (my 57th birthday) Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education eliminated the following 72 guidelines from IDEA by President Trump's Executive Order 13777 signed on February 24, 2017, which requires federal agencies to review all existing regulations; identify those that meet specific review criteria; and make recommendations regarding leaving them as is, or recommending their repeal, replacement, or modification. By my count, they eliminated five guidelines that dealt with Transition Service, Post-Secondary Employment, and Independent Living. Naturally, they removed 7 Obama Administration guidelines, which was real intent of Executive Order 13777
This is the same executive order that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has used to "gut" regulations that protect the clean air and clean water of this country: Like quality education, basic necessities for your family's survival.
I assume, based on the EPA mindset of eliminating these guidelines, it benefits the Local Education Agency (LEA) in an impartial hearing or a lawsuit resulting from a parent challenging their local school district about their student's quality of public education. I recommend networking in your community with parents of special education students, to find qualified advocates. You don't want to be an enemy of the school district, particularly if you're in an affluent community. "Affluent parents" of special needs children will typically place them in a private setting; therefore, your disruptive behavior might carry over to a school board meeting where the "affluent parent" is a board member and may not be sympathetic to your plight. Your natural tendency as a human being should be to protect the disabled. That natural tendency can quickly morph into a "sow Grizzly Bear protecting her cub(s)" when that disabled person is your kid. My journey with John has passed through 4 school districts (one twice) in 3 states, and I have hundreds of emails which reflect my "battle scars." Document everything, mainly from the IEP meetings, but be more professional than emotional. If school teachers and administrators only want to communicate in person or over the phone and there's no other option, memorialize the conversation in an email or letter, to all of the parties involved in the conversation, as soon as possible after the discussion.
As a former whistleblower against a large energy company whose Master Limited Partnership (MLP) is underwritten by the two huge Wall Street banks that I do business with, my reputation proceeds me. I am what's known as a Targeted Individual (TI) in a Gang-Stalking Operation that's been going on since 2002.
In my case, there's been a concerted effort to get me to abandon my son. It's been like driving down a highway with the car ahead of you dumping nails and screws in your path. The Bible refers to this as a "STUMBLING BLOCK". Eventually, they'll delay you from achieving your goal: Giving your disabled child the best life you can. Trust me; you don't want to be a TI with the "living hell" that follows you around. Let the parent advocate be the "bad guy." You both have God on your side.
Matthew 5:6,10 6Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. 10Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
My parents died tragically on October 4, 2007, 2 days after my 47th birthday. Probate was completed on March 30, 2009. The price of oil had dropped into the $30 per barrel range the previous February, and I was laid off in a reduction of force from Chicago Bridge & Iron, a worldwide engineering, and construction company. We were performing the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) for a large refinery in Cartagena, Colombia.
In December 2009, my life began again. God replaced the voids:
He replaced the love of my parents and the need for a woman in my life, with His love.
He replaced the loss of a career with the Faith that I would get through difficult times while serving Him for the next eight years.
In the Letter to the Hebrews 13:5-6, the unknown author writes; 5Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.” 6Thus we may say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper, [and] I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”
My parents added Holographic Codicils to their wills in 2004, establishing a Family Trust and a Special Needs Trust for John. A Holographic Codicil is a document entirely in the handwriting of a testator that makes changes to some but not all aspects of the will and is executed by the testator without statutory formalities, i.e., without the presence and signatures of witnesses.
A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a trust instrument for "special needs" or "supplemental needs" which refers to the requisites for maintaining the beneficiary's health, education, safety and welfare when those needs are not being provided for by any public or private agency, including any state, the United States, or any insurance carrier with insurance policies covering the Beneficiary. If you're the parent of a disabled child and inherit money from the estate of a loved one, I recommend finding an estate lawyer specializing in SNT's and discuss your options. My experience was that large trust companies and investment banks would not establish a trust for less than $500,000, so I set up the two trusts at a smaller Texas trust company at the advice of my estate attorney. I've been through 3 smaller trust companies, two based in Texas and 1 in New York. I believe when investing my money and my children's money to steer clear of equities, mutual funds and ETF's related to fossil fuel energy exploration and production. In Texas, that was problematic since the state is "ruled" by fossil fuel energy exploration and production companies. The first Texas-based trust company resigned in 2012 as corporate co-trustee. I then transferred the trusts to a New York-based trust company who resigned from both trusts as corporate co-trustee in October 2014, and I was finally successful in getting the two trusts transferred to another Texas-based co-trustee in December 2015. The matter had to be adjudicated in a Texas court, and because I had to sign hold-harmless and indemnity agreements with the New York-based trust company to get the trust monies, I won't discuss the matter any further. The moral of the story is find a like-minded estate attorney and trust company.
ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts
Like I wrote above, I've had three corporate c0-trustees since establishing the two trusts. The last co-trustee took over the two trusts in December 2015 and held the trusts until September 2017. During that time, they found and hired two companies supposedly knowledgeable about Lifetime Care Planning and Medicaid benefits whose fees totalled about $2,100, payed for with disbursements for my son's Special Needs Trust. The first person was retained in February of 2016, and I had to threaten them with legal action. In his care planning report, he overstated John's IQ to 70-80, rather than 62-70, which could have disqualified John for disability benefits. He quoted one of John's care providers, saying John had Asperger's Syndrome rather than high-functioning ASD, which would have added to John's possible disqualification of benefits. He grossly overstated the amount in the family trust by a factor of 3.5. He reissued his report without any edits, then after my threat, he issued the report with the edits and abruptly left his company the following Friday. It took eight months from the time we signed the retainer agreement with this guy until we got the final report.
The second person was recommended by an attorney in Texas to the co-trustee as someone who could help expedite Medicaid benefits. She never developed any Medicaid guidance and when I asked her to investigate community residential opportunities in the area, she recommended that John be placed in a facility in Duchess County which specializes in low-functioning ASD individuals who need communicative devices, to express their needs to their care providers and where he could stay until the age of 21.
The 3rd person was recommended by the Transition Linkage Coordinator at John's current high school. I paid him a $500 consulting fee in July 2017 and met with him. He knew John had a Special Needs Trust and advised me that if distributions were being made for John's expenses, that he would be "penalized" by the SSA when calculating John's SSI benefits. When I contacted him this month, and we discussed the difficulties of obtaining SSI benefits, he finally brought up ABLE Accounts.
"The Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act1 (ABLE) Act was signed into law on December 19, 2014, after many years of advocacy and bipartisan work in both the House and Senate. The law allows eligible individuals with disabilities the ability to establish “ABLE accounts'' for qualified beneficiaries that resemble the qualified tuition programs, often called “529 accounts'', that have been established under that section of the tax code since 1996. The new ABLE accounts will allow more individual choice and control over spending on qualified disability expenses and limited investment decisions while protecting eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and other important federal benefits for people with disabilities. Without these accounts, many people with disabilities have very limited avenues to save and allow for further independence."
ABLE accounts and SNT's have the same goals: preserving needs-based benefits for disabled individuals; however, each is unique.
I've been tracking John's cost to our household since Jan. 2016, and it averages about $2,000 per month, of which $650 per month is for his share of our housing. John's grocery/dining expenses are approximately $350 per month. The remaining $1,000 is for his portion of household, clothing, medical, personal care, storage, TV/Phone/Internet and utility costs. I had to provide receipts, utility bills, bank statements and trust statements to the Social Security Administration (SSA) which they use to calculate his monthly benefits. The maximum benefit he can receive is $750 per month, but since funds from his SNT pay for his expenses, his SSI benefit will probably be reduced to "next to nothing." I submitted John's application in July 2017. When we met with them last November and brought the financial information we thought they needed, it wasn't enough. I provided additional info. in December and January and we're still awaiting a benefits determination. In our November meeting, when I asked the SSA representative how their formulas worked when factoring in SNT distributions, his response was "I'm not going to tell you how to 'game the system'." Evidently "gaming the system" is establishing an ABLE Account with funds from the SNT.
Regardless of monies available to set up a Special Needs Trust, start saving right now and do your best to maximize your annual contribution limits, up to $100,000 by the time they reach the age of benefits eligibility. The average return of the S&P 500 stock index for the 10 years ending Dec. 31, 2012 was 7.10 percent. The S&P 500 index mutual funds from Fidelity and Vanguard produced returns of 7.03 and 6.99 percent annually, respectively.
Using a 7% annual return and annual contributions of $14,000, it will take you six years to accumulate $100,000. A 7% yearly return and annual contributions of $7,000, will meet your $100,000 goal by the 11th year of contributions. Using the criteria I discussed above, "if you’re a U.S. resident in 2018, and you have a 3-year-old child who has just been diagnosed with ASD and an Intellectual Disability (ID)", a 7% annual return and annual contributions of $4,000, will meet your $100,000 goal by the time your child is eligible for government benefits at age 18.
FIND QUALIFIED INVESTMENT AND TRUST COMPANIES!!! I can't emphasize that enough.
In 2005, I was terminated by an engineering and construction company, working on a large refinery project for a facility in Minnesota owned by the Koch brothers and the cause for termination was "disengaging from the work." I'm still trying to figure that one out. Probably because I ignored a request by the owner (Koch) representative to provide a detailed analysis of why it was more cost effective to build roadways out of concrete, rather than steel. After 27 years in the fossil fuels energy business, starting as a laborer in 1978, working summers and holidays while studying to get my engineering degree, then working my way up to be a project manager, I was ready for a change. I decided to get my Series 7 and Series 66 licenses to be a registered investment advisor. At age 45 and recently divorced, it was too late in life to succeed with that career path. I moved back into fossil fuels in 2006 and stayed there for the next 3 1/2 years until I was laid off. The point I'm leading up to, even with that investment education and licensing, I would never put myself in a position to make investment decisions on equity or fund selections, other than giving the simple instructions of don't invest in anything related to fossil fuels energy.
Don't invest aggressively or believe this incredible stock market rise is sustainable. Donald Trump may tout the market performance is all his doing, but he'll quickly look to blame someone else when the market corrects itself and history says it eventually will. His tax reform will continue to help the markets, because large corporations are repatriating their overseas dollars to the U.S., but don't expect wages to rise. His "America First" philosophy will eventually become detrimental to market performance, particularly if he gets us into a war. Regardless of your politics or your ideology, as the parent of an ASD child know that DONALD TRUMP IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. He wants to diminish your health insurance and the Republicans will probably cut Medicaid to enhance spending elsewhere, like building a "war machine". Trump's only claim to fame within the ASD community is when he attempted to resurrect the idea that MMR vaccines cause autism based on a 1998 report by Dr. Andrew Wakefield which was thoroughly debunked by 2010. Trump's epiphany happened during his presidential campaign, I assume to get support from the ASD community.
Like I said above, find people you can trust to help you and your child
From the ABLE National Resource Center web-link above are the short versions and long versions of the ABLE Summaries from the ARC of the United States.
Below are web-links to the IRS regulations and guidelines for ABLE accounts.
Below is the latest state by state status of ABLE program implementation.
Malachi 2:16 For I hate divorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel.
2 Words: Stay Married.
There is a myth that the divorce rate of parents with an ASD child is 80%. From the link below, Researchers from Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University found no evidence of that. The database was from almost 78,000 parents, 913 of whom had a child with autism, and included families from across the United States. The data profoundly showed that parents of autistic children divorced as often as parents of neuro-typical children. In this study, about two-thirds of the children lived with their two biological or adoptive parents and severity of a child's autism symptoms did not affect the likelihood on the success or failure of the marriage.
Dr. B.H. Freedman said; "While there are indeed stressors in parenting a child with autism, it doesn't necessarily result in the family breaking up more often than would occur in another family," and added, it's important for healthcare professionals to provide these families with support and training to handle the stresses they do face.
I can tell you from experience, somedays it can be overwhelming. Every weekday has the same issues of getting John ready for school; although, as he's matured, they've diminished in behavior severity over time, . As a single parent, the loss of income can be "crushing," unless you work from home.
One last piece of advice: Do your very best to never yell at your ASD child, regardless if they are 3 or 23 because rest assured; they will more than likely go into "meltdown" mode.
A 1926 real estate classified ad in the Chicago Tribune was the first to use the phrase "Location, Location, Location." My first wife used the same phrase when I bought a house in Katy, TX in 2003, which ended up being unscathed by Hurricane Harvey.
If you're a transient parent(s) with a special needs child who will soon become an adult, I suggest you locate to a state with Medicaid expansion and stay there if your employment prospects are stable and you want to be near your child, into adulthood.
From the above link: "One of the most significant changes under the Affordable Care Act is that – beginning on January 1, 2014 – states can choose whether to expand their Medicaid programs to low-income adults, many of which have never been eligible for coverage before. The Medicaid program is a state-administered health insurance program for low-income families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities, among others. Although the Medicaid program is operated by the states, the federal government funds a portion of Medicaid costs and establishes guidelines for the program. States can decide how to design their Medicaid program so programs may differ in each state. For example, each state’s Medicaid program tends to have a different name. Before the Affordable Care Act, most states did not offer Medicaid coverage to adults, particularly those without children. The law allowed states to expand Medicaid coverage to most adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. To assist states in expanding coverage, the costs of covering this population will be fully funded by the federal government in most states through 2016. Following a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, states can choose whether to expand Medicaid eligibility to this new population or maintain their traditional eligibility criteria. Nearly all United States citizens under age 65 with incomes up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) will be eligible for Medicaid in states that choose to expand their program." In 2020 and beyond, the government will cover 90% of the cost of Medicaid Expansion.
This was the benefit of moving away from Texas and settling in the Tri-State area. In Texas, community residential opportunities and employment opportunities for adults with autism are very limited. Minimum wage is $7.25 per hour which is the current federal minimum wage that hasn't changed since July 2009. On a 40 hour per week, basis, that's $15,080 annually. Medicaid eligibility in Texas is available for the aged, blind, disabled and parents with dependent children with household incomes up to 18% of FPL. The 2017 FPL for 1 Person in Household was $12,060. 2.6 million people in 18 states are in the "coverage gap" of Medicaid expansion. More than a quarter of them are in Texas.
Texas is second largest state economy, after California ranked #1. It produces $1.59 trillion of economic output. From Forbes Best States for Business Texas boasts:
And to top it all off, the chairwoman of the former employer I blew the whistle on is a former co-worker of Gov. Greg Abbott, while they were both attorneys at the same law firm. New York City, our current domicile is known as the "Financial Capital of the World". It hosts 2 huge investment banks who underwrite the master limited partnership (MLP) of the former employer I blew the whistle on.
New York State
Below is the cover letter for a 2 inch thick 3-ring binder of diagnostic information that I provided to OPWDD on November 20, 2017. The next day, they responded with a letter requesting additional adaptive behavior testing using the Vineland-II or ABAS assessments. The question is, why did they need additional proof that John has ASD when the evidence was so overwhelming. It included six years of medical reports from Texas Children's Hospital, where John was diagnosed in 2002 and continued to receive treatment until 2008. Even Dr. Howard Reyer, OPWDD's Brooklyn Eligibility Coordinator, had written an email to me on July 26, 2017, stating; "What would also be gold is submission of the report from Texas Children's when the diagnosis was first made." Vineland-II private testing would cost $500 so during the week of December 4, 2017, I contacted the Transition Linkage Coordinator for my son's school, to determine if the school could perform the Vineland-II testing. She said that the school's psychologist could perform the Teacher Assessment but not the Parent Assessment. I didn't quite understand what she was referring to. She then began asking me about John's life skills at home: Can he dress himself? Can he cook for himself? Can he clean himself?, etc. I answered her questions accurately. The psychologist contacted me the same week and emailed me a consent form on December 8th to conduct the testing, which I returned to him on December 11th by email. The email included the letter from Dr. Reyer to me. I thought I made it clear to all of the parties addressed in the email to "ensure that the testing and assessments you provide satisfy their (OPWDD's) request,"i.e., that the Vineland-II Assessment would be administered in accordance with any instructions provided by the producer of the assessments. The school psychologist interviewed John and his teacher, on December 12th. There was no input from me, John's primary caregiver since August 2009. The Vineland-II Adaptive Behavior Scales assessment is conducted "in order to determine the level of an individual's adaptive behavior, [with] someone who is familiar with that individual, such as a parent or caregiver, [by describing] his activities. Those activities are then compared to those of other people the same age to determine which areas are average, above average, or in need of special help." I received the results on December 15, 2017.
The report was issued in 2 parts:
1. The Psychological Update Report including John's Vineland-II - Adaptive Behavior Scales - Teacher Rating Form
2. Addendum to the Psychological Update, which is a Childhood Autism Rating Scale II (CARS II) Assessment even though I didn't request additional testing beyond the Vineland-II Assessment. He again conducted the assessment without parental input. The school's psychologist concluded that "John's symptoms fell within the Minimal to No Symptoms Range of the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Evidently, the school's psychologist felt compelled to verify John's diagnosis of ASD. I could have provided him the same information below that I offered OPWDD. In my opinion, it was his duty to request and review that information as a Best Practice, since John's diagnosis at Texas Children's Hospital was based on an Autism Diagnosis Observation Schedule (ADOS), which is one of the best assessment methods for determining Autism Spectrum Disorder. All of the testing reports were useless both as far as John's diagnosis and his adaptive behavior. It appeared that the consent form I signed was used to create an "avenue" of producing incomplete Vineland II assessments, as well as using an inappropriate Childhood Autism Rating Scale as the sole means of making his determination that John has Minimal to No Symptoms Range of the Autism Spectrum Disorder. The school's psychologist went to great lengths to diminish my son's disability while delaying his benefits. His actions were unprofessional, and I can only assume that his motives were despicable. He knowingly violated the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act, (IDEA), Sec. 300.304 Evaluation procedures,
(b) Conduct of evaluation. In conducting the evaluation, the public agency must-
(1) Use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about the child, including information provided by the parent, that may assist in determining-
(i) Whether the child is a child with a disability under §300.8; and
(c) Other evaluation procedures. Each public agency must ensure that-
(1) Assessments and other evaluation materials used to assess a child under this part-
(iii) Are used for the purposes for which the assessments or measures are valid and reliable;
(iv) Are administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel; and
(v) Are administered in accordance with any instructions provided by the producer of the assessments.
I had no choice other than to contact a private company, YAI, and pay $500 from John's SNT to have the testing performed on January 16th. I got the results last week which confirm John has ASD. The bottom line is, the New York City Dept. of Education cost us $500 and delayed his OPWDD eligibility review by 6 weeks.
California, hopefully our future domicile, now calls itself a "sanctuary state". The name is based on the war between evil and good...A war waged by the Trump administration against anyone who believes that caring for immigrants, who one day want to become U.S. citizens, is "good". My parents taught me at an early age that caring for immigrants is "good". I published a blog about it (below) in July 2013.
For both New York and California, the Medicaid Eligibility threshold is $16,643 (138% of FPL) BECAUSE THEY CHOSE MEDICAID EXPANSION
28 STATES WITH ABLE PROGRAMS THAT ARE NOW OPEN:
+STATE RESIDENTS ONLY
STATES WITH MEDICAID EXPANSION
STATES WITHOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION
District of Columbia*
Oregon* and +
22 STATES WITH ABLE BILL SIGNED:
STATES WITH MEDICAID EXPANSION
STATES WITHOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION
1 STATE NOT ADOPTING MEDICAID EXPANSION w/ NO ABLE BILL OPEN OR SIGNED
I was blessed with two divine gifts in 2009. 1) The ability to see the calamity that St. John saw while imprisoned in a cave on the Island of Patmos, Greece. 2) The love and mercy of God that get's me through each day as I climb further up a mountain to its pinnacle where sits a white flag waving in the wind and inscribed on the flag is the word "INDEPENDENCE." If you're a single parent with an ASD child, you continue that journey every day. "Base camp" was the medical facility where your child was diagnosed. You walked outside, probably with tears in your eyes, and saw the High Sierras in front of you, terrified of what lied ahead on an 18 - 19 year journey getting your child through school. Based on my life experiences, I can help people make that journey possible. I want to finish my journey helping people who are enduring or will endure the same Tribulations that I have. I want to establish a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting families of ASD children in Los Angeles County. There will be no fees charged to these families nor will contributions to the organization be accepted from anyone who could benefit financially from our work; i.e., recommending a particular service or business. The business will initially be web-based with national and local information to guide a parent(s) through the process of raising a child with ASD. It will be updated as information changes and as new information becomes available. There will be a blog posting where parents in the community can exchange information. Once established, we'll decide if we want to expand the web-based service to other large counties, or expand it by providing more personalized services, particularly life planning.
Just as I proposed in writing my book God's Fury, I'm looking for a partner. The partner who would be the benefactor, but also gain the satisfaction that comes from doing "God's Work." I'm looking for a partner with who's an activist, can empathize, and is not afraid of "getting their clothes dirty" for a righteous cause. I'm looking for a "fighter". I'm not looking for a partner who feels the need to be subject, submissive or subordinate to a man. Feminism is certainly a plus.
I'd like to establish a three year work contract, with the partner's right to renew. Between this venture (and supplementing my income driving rideshare, if need be), I need to make about $120,000 annually, not including federal and state taxes. Until I speak with an accountant in California, I won't know what the tax burden is on such a non-profit.
Some will read above and think the title should be changed to "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me" but that's not the case at all. I want people to understand what it takes to raise a high-functioning autistic child into an adult, regardless of the STUMBLING BLOCKS. It's not all Tribulation if you put your heart and soul into it, rather gratifying to see your child gradually gaining independence. While I can't stop the ideology of some whose lives are dedicated to persecuting people while using rumor and innuendo (STUMBLING BLOCKS) a means of compensation, I can choose to live around like-minded people: A like-minded governor, 2 like-minded senators, and 1 like-minded congressman from California's 33rd congressional district.
Scriptural usage of "STUMBLING BLOCKS":
Leviticus 19:13-16 13You shall not exploit your neighbor. You shall not commit robbery. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your laborer. 14You shall not insult the deaf, or put a STUMBLING BLOCK in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the LORD. 15You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your neighbor justly. 16You shall not go about spreading slander among your people; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the LORD.
Ben Sira 31:5-7 5The lover of gold will not be free from sin; whoever pursues money will be led astray by it. 6Many have come to ruin for the sake of gold, yet destruction lay before their very eyes; 7It is a STUMBLING BLOCK for fools; any simpleton will be ensnared by it.
Romans 14:13 Then let us no longer judge one another, but rather resolve never to put a STUMBLING BLOCK or hindrance in the way of a brother.
Revelation 2:12-14 To Pergamum. 12“To the angel of the church in Pergamum, write this: “‘The one with the sharp two-edged sword says this: 13“I know that you live where Satan’s throne is, and yet you hold fast to my name and have not denied your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was martyred among you, where Satan lives. 14 Yet I have a few things against you. You have some people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who instructed Balak to put a STUMBLING BLOCK before the Israelites: to eat food sacrificed to idols and to play THE HARLOT.
Just as 2 parents fled from Bethlehem to Egypt for the safety of their son, I must too relocate from the "Financial Capital of the World" to a "Sanctuary State" for the safety of mine.
A Theologian is defined as person who engages or is an expert in theology. I'll call myself a theologian. Merriam-Webster defines a Prophet as a member of some religions (such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) who delivers messages that are believed to have come from God. The Bible also calls them Oracles. I'm no expert at anything, but as a theologian, I do see things others don't see with regard to Scripture's relevance to modern events. John the Baptist was a prophet who foretold the coming of Christ, just as Isaiah had done in Chapter 53, some time during the 7th or 8th century BCE. John quoted Isaiah 40:3; A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the WASTELAND a highway for our God! Relevance at the time of writing was the return of the Hebrews back to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon. Relevance of the day is a President Donald J. Trump first turning our country, and subsequently our planet into a WASTELAND.
From The Hill article link below: Donald Trump can't negotiate climate change away
"Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has vowed to “cancel” [the Paris Climate Accord] it if he’s elected president. That fits his pattern of reckless threats to walk away from U.S. commitments worldwide but it’s not in our national interest any more than his loose talk about breaking U.S. promises to defend our NATO allies or make good on the national debt.
Turning our back on the United Nations agreement inked last December in Paris would put official U.S. policy at odds with basic science, world opinion and the more than 6 in 10 Americans who expect real climate action from our government.
It would hurt our coastal communities, heartland ranches, wildlife, waters and farms. And it would set us back a generation in a fight for our future we can’t afford to lose."
In the Catholic Epistles, St. John refers to "deadly sin", which some confuse as violating the 5th commandment, You Shall Not Kill. The Catholic Church believes you can be absolved of mortal sin through through the Sacrament of Penance. With regard to mortal sin, Mr. Trump seems to have no regard for human life be it with with his immigration and deportation policies and his views on climate change.
From the New American Bible footnotes in 1Jn, Ch.5; "Deadly sin (literally, “sin unto death”), probably refers to apostasy or activities brought on under the antichrist; cf. Mk 3:29; Heb 6:4–6; 10:26–31. Even in the latter case, however, prayer, while not enjoined, is not forbidden. The letter concludes with a summary of the themes of the letter (1 Jn 5:18–20). There is a sharp antithesis between the children of God and those belonging to the world and to the evil one. The Son reveals the God of truth; Christians dwell in the true God, in his Son, and have eternal life. The final verse (1 Jn 5:21) voices a perennial warning about idols, any type of rival to God."
21Children, be on your guard against idols.
With regard to legitimate defense, the Catholic Catechism addresses legitimate defense in Par. 2265; Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life. Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. To this end, those holding legitimate authority have the right to repel by armed force aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their charge. In this case, Legitimate Defense does not apply to a President Trump's policies of immigration and deportation and his views on protecting oil and coal jobs by denying climate change.
The Snake written by Oscar Brown and read by Donald J. Trump, regarding ostracizing Syrian refugees.
The Good Samaritan illustrated by Domenico Fetti and spoken by Jesus Christ, regarding loving your neighbor as yourself.
Lk. 10:25-28 The Greatest Commandment. 25 There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” 27He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
Lk. 10:29-37 Parable of the Good Samaritan. 29But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 32Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 33But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. 34He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ 36Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” 37He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Donald Trump's favorite scripture is an eye for an eye, yet Christ said in Mt. 5:38-48 Teaching about Retaliation. 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. 40If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. 41Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. 42Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. Love of Enemies. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Look at the people that Donald J. Trump fears the most ... people of faith and through their faith can see through the lie.
From HillaryClinton.com, a litany of hatred, stupidity and deception from Donald Trump's mouth:
So what would be President Trump's solution to a nationwide press who so disdains him? In the case of New York City (less the the New York Post or Fox News), I assume Russian "hoods" would be sent to "kneecap" or "whack" whichever brave soul decided to wake up that day and write negative remarks about out country's "executive". But how far does censorship go? Mike Pence is the governor of the state which is home to the largest self-publishing company in the world, Author Solutions. It just so happens that the PR you pay for as a client of Author Solutions comes from the Bohlsen Group who also represent Mike Pence. This whole "Trump Movement" looks more and more like a swastika every time I see it:
On October 14, 2016, Donald and Melania Trump visited St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan. St. Patrick's Cathedral is God's House of Prayer that I choose to attend every Sunday either in person, via streaming video or through Sirius Satellite Radio. We call it "America's Parish Church". Notice the pure hate in this man's eyes in the above picture and then read the following Scripture:
Dan. 7:25 He shall speak against the Most High and wear down the holy ones of the Most High, intending to change the feast days and the law.* They shall be handed over to him for a time, two times, and half a time.
* [7:25] The reference is to the persecution of Antiochus IV and specifically to the disruption of the Temple cult (1 Mc 1:41–64). A time, two times, and half a time: an indefinite, evil period of time. Probably here, three and a half years, which becomes the standard period of tribulation in apocalyptic literature (Rev 11:2; 13:5 [in months]; 11:3 [in days]; and cf. 12:14). As seven is the Jewish “perfect” number, half of it signifies great imperfection. Actually, the Temple was desecrated for three years (1 Mc 4:52–54). The duration of the persecution was a little longer, since it was already under way before the Temple was desecrated.
Dan. 8:13-27 13I heard a holy one speaking, and another said to whichever one it was that spoke, “How long shall the events of this vision last concerning the daily sacrifice, the desolating sin,* the giving over of the sanctuary and the host for trampling?” 14He answered him, “For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be set right.” 15While I, Daniel, sought the meaning of the vision I had seen, one who looked like a man stood before me, 16and on the Ulai I heard a human voice that cried out, “Gabriel,* explain the vision to this man.” 17When he came near where I was standing, I fell prostrate in terror. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision refers to the end time.”* 18As he spoke to me, I fell forward unconscious; he touched me and made me stand up. 19“I will show you,” he said, “what is to happen in the last days of wrath; for it is for the appointed time of the end. 20“The two-horned ram you saw represents the kings of the Medes and Persians.* 21The he-goat is the king of the Greeks, and the great horn on its forehead is the first king. 22The four that rose in its place when it was shattered are four kingdoms that will issue from his nation, but without his strength. 23“At the end of their reign, when sinners have reached their measure, There shall arise a king, impudent, and skilled in intrigue. 24He shall be strong and powerful, bring about fearful ruin, and succeed in his undertaking. He shall destroy powerful peoples; 25his cunning shall be against the holy ones, his treacherous conduct shall succeed. He shall be proud of heart and destroy many by stealth. But when he rises against the Prince of princes, he shall be broken without a hand being raised. 26As for the vision of the evenings and the mornings, what was spoken is true. But you, keep this vision secret: it is for the distant future.” 27I, Daniel, was weak and ill for some days; then I arose and took care of the king’s affairs. But the vision left me desolate, without understanding.
* [8:1–27] This vision continues images of the preceding one, and develops it in more detail. As explained in vv. 20–22 the two-horned ram represents the combined kingdom of the Medes and Persians, destroyed by Alexander’s Hellenistic empire originating in the west. Once again the author is interested only in the Seleucid dynasty, which emerged from the dissolution of Alexander’s empire after his death in 323 B.C.
* [8:13] The desolating sin: the Hebrew contains a wordplay (shomem) on the name Baal Shamem (“lord of the heavens,” identified by some as the Greek Zeus Olympios). The reference is to some object with which Antiochus profaned the Temple of Jerusalem (2 Mc 6:2), most probably a pagan altar.
* [8:16] The angel Gabriel is mentioned here for the first time in the Bible. There is wordplay in the preceding verse on geber, “manlike figure.”
* [8:17] The end time: the time when God sits in judgment on the wicked (v. 19).
* [8:20] The Medes and Persians: the Medes had been allies of the Babylonians in destroying the Assyrian empire (late seventh century B.C.), and Cyrus the Persian defeated the Medes en route to conquering the Babylonians. The Book of Daniel, however, treats the Medes and Persians as a dual kingdom; cf. also 5:28; 6:9; and note on 6:1.
Dan. 12:1-12 The Resurrection 1“At that time there shall arise Michael,a the great prince, guardian of your people; It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since the nation began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book.* 2Many of those who sleep* in the dust of the earth shall awake; Some to everlasting life, others to reproach and everlasting disgrace. 3But those with insight shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, And those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars* forever. 4“As for you, Daniel, keep secret the message and seal the book until the end time; many shall wander aimlessly and evil shall increase.” 5I, Daniel, looked and saw two others, one standing on either bank of the river. 6One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was upstream, “How long shall it be to the end of these appalling things?” 7The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, lifted his hands to heaven; and I heard him swear by him who lives forever that it should be for a time, two times, and half a time;* and that, when the power of the destroyer of the holy people was brought to an end, all these things should end. 8I heard, but I did not understand; so I asked, “My lord, what follows this?” 9“Go, Daniel,” he said, “because the words are to be kept secret and sealed until the end time. 10Many shall be refined, purified, and tested, but the wicked shall prove wicked; the wicked shall have no understanding, but those with insight shall. 11* From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the desolating abomination is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12Blessed are they who have patience and persevere for the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. 13Go, take your rest, you shall rise for your reward at the end of days.”
* [12:1] Written in the book: cf. 10:21.
* [12:2] Many of those who sleep: Daniel does not envisage the universal resurrection as later developed. Two groups are distinguished, one that rises to eternal life, the other to reproach and disgrace. Then “those with insight” (11:33–35) are singled out for special honor.
* [12:3] Like the stars: like the heavenly host, or angels. Cf. Mt 22:30.
* [12:7] A time, two times, and half a time: see note on 7:25.
* [12:11] The specific numbers of days given in vv. 11–12 represent attempts to calculate the precise duration of the three and a half years. Most probably, when the first date (1,290 days) passed, the author attempted another calculation. Another, earlier calculation is preserved in 8:14. It is noteworthy, however, that the contradictory numbers were allowed to stand in the text; this is a reminder that it is not possible to calculate a precise date for God’s judgment; cf. Mk 13:32.
Mt. 24:15-28, 36 The Great Tribulation.* 15 “When you see the desolating abomination* spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then those in Judea must flee* to the mountains, 17* a person on the housetop must not go down to get things out of his house, 18a person in the field must not return to get his cloak. 19Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days. 20* Pray that your flight not be in winter or on the sabbath, 21* for at that time there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will be. 22And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect they will be shortened. 23j If anyone says to you then, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect. 25Behold, I have told it to you beforehand. 26So if they say to you, ‘He is in the desert,’ do not go out there; if they say, ‘He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.* 27 For just as lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
The Unknown Day and Hour.* 36p “But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son,* but the Father alone.
* [24:15] The desolating abomination: in 167 B.C. the Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated the temple by setting up in it a statue of Zeus Olympios (see 1 Mc 1:54). That event is referred to in Dn 12:11 LXX as the “desolating abomination” (NAB “horrible abomination”) and the same Greek term is used here; cf. also Dn 9:27; 11:31. Although the desecration had taken place before Daniel was written, it is presented there as a future event, and Matthew sees that “prophecy” fulfilled in the desecration of the temple by the Romans. In the holy place: the temple; more precise than Mark’s where he should not (Mk 13:14). Let the reader understand: this parenthetical remark, taken from Mk 13:14 invites the reader to realize the meaning of Daniel’s “prophecy.”
* [24:16] The tradition that the Christians of Jerusalem fled from that city to Pella, a city of Transjordan, at the time of the First Jewish Revolt is found in Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History, 3, 5, 3), who attributes the flight to “a certain oracle given by revelation before the war.” The tradition is not improbable but the Matthean command, derived from its Marcan source, is vague in respect to the place of flight (to the mountains), although some scholars see it as applicable to the flight to Pella.
* [24:17–19] Haste is essential, and the journey will be particularly difficult for women who are burdened with unborn or infant children.
* [24:20] On the sabbath: this addition to in winter (cf. Mk 13:18) has been understood as an indication that Matthew was addressed to a church still observing the Mosaic law of sabbath rest and the scribal limitations upon the length of journeys that might lawfully be made on that day. That interpretation conflicts with Matthew’s view on sabbath observance (cf. Mt 12:1–14). The meaning of the addition may be that those undertaking on the sabbath a journey such as the one here ordered would be offending the sensibilities of law-observant Jews and would incur their hostility.
* [24:21] For the unparalleled distress of that time, see Dn 12:1.
* [24:36–44] The statement of Mt 24:34 is now counterbalanced by one that declares that the exact time of the parousia is known only to the Father (Mt 24:36), and the disciples are warned to be always ready for it. This section is drawn from Mark and Q (cf. Lk 17:26–27, 34–35; 12:39–40).
* [24:36] Many textual witnesses omit nor the Son, which follows Mk 13:32. Since its omission can be explained by reluctance to attribute this ignorance to the Son, the reading that includes it is probably original.
2Ptr.3:8-10 8* But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years* and a thousand years like one day. 9The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,* and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.
* [3:8–10] The scoffers’ objection (2 Pt 3:4) is refuted also by showing that delay of the Lord’s second coming is not a failure to fulfill his word but rather a sign of his patience: God is giving time for repentance before the final judgment (cf. Wis 11:23–26; Ez 18:23; 33:11).
* [3:8] Cf. Ps 90:4.
* [3:10] Like a thief: Mt 24:43; 1 Thes 5:2; Rev 3:3. Will be found out: cf. 1 Cor 3:13–15. Some few versions read, as the sense may demand, “will not be found out”; many manuscripts read “will be burned up”; there are further variants in other manuscripts, versions, and Fathers. Total destruction is assumed (2 Pt 3:11).
From the below WSJ Article:
Conservative Christian Support for Donald Trump Tested by Candidate’s Lewd Comments
"Mr. Trump has thus far enjoyed strong support from evangelical Christians. He won the evangelical vote during the Republican primaries, according to exit polls, and a July survey from the Pew Research Center for Religion and Public Life found 78% of white evangelical Protestants backed Mr. Trump, a higher percentage than supported Mitt Romney four years ago."
Today (11-6-16), FBI Director James Comey wrote a letter to 16 members of Congress saying; "Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,"
So I need the white evangelical Protestants out there to reread 2Thes.2:1-12 Christ and the Lawless One, and decide if they believe the "truths" of the FBI or the lies of Donald J. Trump.
One of my favorite movies is from the John le Carré's spy novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, particularly the scene where the hero, George Smiley castigates a British minister for BELIEVING A LIE (in this case Operation Witchcraft) hatched by the Russians to gain access to both British and U.S. Intelligence. The minister says "Witchcraft's intelligence is genuine...It's been gold." Smiley's reply is "it's just enough glitter amongst the chicken feed".
If Trump's supporters thinks he brings them gold dust, they're merely seeing glitter in his chicken-feed.
Ciao and my God save our great Republic from Donald J. Trump
Part 1 - The Story of Abilemech and how history repeats itself.
Donald Trump's last desperate attack is to create a diversion from his fate.
The truth is, the outcome of this election and the fate of Donald Trump was embedded in the earth, moon and stars 4.5 billion years ago and in the Words of the 7th Book of Old Testament, written near the beginning of the 10th century before Christ.
After Secretary Clinton made the "deplorables" remark about half of Donald Trump's supporters on Sept. 9th, out of curiosity, I decided to do a word search for "deplorables" in the New American Bible, Kindle Version. There is ONLY one instance, which is contained in the Introduction to the Book of Judges and it reads as follows:
The main part of the book (3:7–16:31) consists of a series of stories about thirteen leaders whose careers are described in greater or lesser detail. The exploits of six of these—Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson—are related at length, and all are shown to have delivered Israel from oppression or danger. They are customarily called “major judges,” whereas the other six—Shamgar, Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon—who appear only in brief notices, are designated “minor judges.” The thirteenth, Abimelech, is included in neither group, since his story is essentially a continuation of that of Gideon and his career is presented as deplorable, a cautionary tale of royal ambition.
Abimelech, the son of judge Gideon, is primarily discussed in Judges, Chapters 8 & 9. Wikipedia writes; His name can best be interpreted "my father is king”, claiming the inherited right to rule; also a common name of the Philistine kings. According to the Bible, he was an unprincipled, ambitious ruler, often engaged in war with his own subjects …. [SOUND FAMILIAR?]
Abimelech was actually the son of Gideon and his maidservant. Gideon had many concubines and thus fathered 70 sons. When Gideon died and was buried in the tomb of his father, the Israelites again prostituted themselves to Baals, making Baal-berith  their god.
Abimelech went to his mother’s kin in Shechem, and convinced them that it would be better that one man rule over them than seventy men, since he was their kin. (Woe be to you Republican Party). They acquiesced and gave him seventy pieces of silver from their treasury in the temple with which Abimelech hired “worthless men and outlaws as his followers”. He then went to his father’s house in Ophrah, and killed his seventy brothers. Then all the lords of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together and made Abimelech king, but Abimelech was cursed by his youngest and only surviving brother, Jotham.
When Abimelech had ruled Israel for three years, God put an evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem, and the lords of Shechem broke faith with the house of Abimelech. This was to repay the violence done to the seventy sons of Gideon and to avenge their blood upon their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and upon the lords of Shechem, who encouraged him to kill his brothers. Prompted by an attemped overtrow by Gaal, son of Ebeb, Abimelech then went after the lords of Shechem, killed their people and burned the lords to death in a temple crypt of El-berith. Abimelech proceeded to Thebez, encamped, and captured it.
Abimelech met his demise attacking a strong tower in the middle of the city, where all of the men and women and all the lords of the city fled to take refuge on the roof of the tower. Abimelech came up to the tower and fought against it. When he came close to the entrance of the tower to set it on fire, A CERTAIN WOMAN cast the upper part of a millstone down on Abimelech’s head, and it fractured his skull. He immediately called his armor-bearer and said to him, “Draw your sword and put me to death so they will not say about me, ‘A woman killed him.’”So his attendant ran him through and he died. When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they all left for their homes. Thus did God repay the evil that Abimelech had done to his father in killing his seventy brothers. God also brought all the wickedness of the people of Shechem back on their heads: Those deceived by Abimelech and who put him into to power. An Old Testament parallel to a New Testament Pauline Epistle, 2Thessalonians 2:1-12.
Moral to this story and 2Thessalonians 2:1-12: If you perpetuate THE LIE, the result will be "death" (rendering powerless) by a woman using the tool of a Miller.
 Baal-berith: a divine epithet meaning “lord of the covenant.” The same deity is called El-berith, “god of the covenant,” in Judges 9:46. In Rabbinical literature, Baal-berith is identical to Baal-zebub, lord of the flies, who is also discussed the 2 Books of Kings and later as Beelzebul, a prince of demons in the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke. From the Esoteric Codex: Demonology 1, Baal Berith was the chief secretary of Hell, head of its public archives, and the demon who tempted men to blasphemy and murder.When seated among the princes of Hell, he was usually seen as a pontiff. He tells things of the past, present and future with true answers; he can also turn all metals into gold, give dignities to men and confirm them. He was also quite a voluble sort: according to the Admirable History written by Father in 1612, Baal Berith once possessed a nun in Aix-en-Provence. In the process of the exorcism, Baal Berith volunteered not only his own name and the names of all the other demons possessing her, but the names of the saints who would be most effective in opposing them.
Truth is, everyone in those rallies … everyone in their hearts and their words and their deeds who condemn those that Trump JUDGES as inferior are deplorable and those who support such ideals are greater than 50% of his following but we as Christians have to keep our hearts open to their conversion but never to their ideals. I’m guiltier than Sec. Clinton of shunning these people and I have to keep reminding myself that even though they continue to believe the lie we must continue to give them the opportunities to SEE THE TRUTH.
Part 2 - Judith 16:22
The Book of Judith relates the story of God’s deliverance of the Jewish people. This was accomplished “by the hand of a female”—a constant motif (cf. 8:33; 9:9, 10; 12:4; 13:4, 14, 15; 15:10; 16:5) meant to recall the “hand” of God in the Exodus narrative (cf. Ex 15:6).
I've been working on my 2nd book, God's Fury. It's now a 78 slide Power Point outline. I'm "arm-twisting" this journalist friend of mine to co-write the book with me. She can write and she can interview very well. I'm "humanizing" this book and planning on us interviewing people intertwined into the "triad" of the recurring themes in the Book of Revelation: Seven, Babylon and God's Fury. I'm about to start invoking "Mission from God" to get her participation.
The 16:22 connection. I missed this originally. You can check out my blog http://www.tribulation7.com/blog/my-24th-blog-the-tetrad-of-6th-seals-messages-from-god that I wrote on 9/18/15. When I wrote it, I did learn that Ursa Minor, where the Little Dipper resides, is referred to as “Little Bear”. When I started making the 6th seal connections and attacking the Evangelicals for their Holy War desire in John Hagee’s 4 Blood Moons, I was looking for lunar eclipses with the closest major earthquake in time. I didn’t realize there had been a 7.6M event 16 hours & 22 min. before the 7.4M event in the Solomon Islands. I didn’t catch it until about 2 weeks ago. Maybe God didn’t want to tell me the future:
A powerful magnitude 7.6 Earthquake occurred on Apr. 12, 2014, 93km SSE of Kirakira, Solomon Islands @ 4:14 p.m.. EST. 16Hours and 22 min. later, another powerful magnitude 7.4 Earthquake occurred on Apr. 13, 2014, 111km S of Kirakira, Solomon Islands @ 8:36 a.m. EST. So we look for every Ch. 16, v. 22 in the Books of the Bible, because 16:22 is this particular APPOINTED TIME.
Ex.16:22 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers for each person. When all the leaders of the community came and reported this to Mosesnow!” [6th Seal, 2nd Coming]
Lev. 16:22 The goat will carry off all their iniquities to an isolated region. When the goat is dispatched into the wilderness, [Symbolically, carrying away the sins of the Israelites. See Mt. 25:31-46 Judgement of the Nations and reference to goats as sinners]
Num. 16:22 But they fell prostrate and exclaimed, “O God, God of the spirits of all living creatures, if one man sins will you be angry with the whole community?” [God’s destruction for the sins of Israelites]
Dt. 16:22 nor shall you erect a sacred pillar, such as the LORD, your God, hates. [Warning against idolatry].
Jgs 16:22 But the hair of his head began to grow as soon as it was shaved. [Even though he was seduced by Delilah and lost his sight, Samson was able to regain his strength.]
1Sam.16:22 Saul sent Jesse the message, “Let David stay in my service, for he meets with my approval.” [Saul, King of the Israelites basically selects his successor.]
2Sam. 16:22 So a tent was pitched on the roof for Absalom, and Absalom went to his father’s concubines in view of all Israel. [Absalom was the 3rd son of David who would become King of the Israelites]
1Kgs. 16:22 The partisans of Omri prevailed over those of Tibni, son of Ginath. Tibni died and Omri became king. [This describes the civil war of Israel after the death of Zimri, King of Judah, who became king of Israel for seven days in the twenty-seventh year of Asa. Tibni supposedly is a nickname for “man of straw”.]
1Chr. 16:22 “Do not touch my anointed, to my prophets do no harm.” [David’s directives to the Levites].
Jdt. 16:22 Many wished to marry her, but she gave herself to no man all the days of her life from the time her husband, Manasseh, died and was gathered to his people. [The Book of Judith relates the story of God’s deliverance of the Jewish people which was accomplished “by the hand of a female”. A woman who was always faithful to her husband.]
1Mc. 16:22 On hearing this, John was utterly astounded. When the men came to kill him, he seized them and put them to death, for he knew that they sought to kill him.
Jb. 16:22 For my years are numbered, and I go the road of no return.
Prv. 16:22 Good sense is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly is the training of fools. [Folly - a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, esp. a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.]
Wis. 16:22 Yet snow and ice* withstood fire and were not melted, so that they might know that their enemies’ fruits Were consumed by a fire that blazed in the hail and flashed lightning in the rain. [In this case, ice is metaphorically used to mean “manna” or food of Hebrews when journeying through the desert for 40 years. God’s wrath to the unjust. Fire from Heaven: A recurring punishment throughout the Bible.]
Sir. 16:22 Who tells him about just deeds? What can I expect for doing my duty?” [The thoughts of the senseless. God’s punishment of sinners. One child who does God’s will is a greater blessing than many sinful offspring for history and experience show that God punishes sin. God judges everyone according to their deeds; no one can hide from God or escape retribution at his hand.]
Ez. 16:22 In all your abominations and prostitutions you did not remember the days of your youth when you were stark naked, struggling in your blood.
Mt. 16:22 Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” [Peter’s refusal to accept Jesus’ predicted suffering and death is seen as a satanic attempt to deflect Jesus from his God-appointed course, and the disciple is addressed in terms that recall Jesus’ dismissal of the devil in the temptation account.]
Lk. 16:22 When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. [The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. A recurring theme in the Bible is the humble (in this case the “poor man”) will be exalted and the exalted (in this case the “rich man”) will be humbled.]
Jn. 16:22 So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. [Jesus discusses His death and resurrection.]
Acts 16:22 The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. [The persecution of St. Paul and his followers for their belief in Christ. They were jailed after the beating but then were liberated by an earthquake.]
Rom. 16:22 I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord. [Tertius of Iconium was a scribe for St. Paul.]
1Cor. 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed.* Marana tha. [Accursed: literally, “anathema.” This expression (cf. 1 Cor 12:3) is a formula for exclusion from the community; it may imply here a call to self-examination before celebration of the Eucharist, in preparation for the Lord’s coming and judgment (cf. 1 Cor 11:17–34). Marana tha: an Aramaic expression, probably used in the early Christian liturgy. As understood here (“O Lord, come!”), it is a prayer for the early return of Christ. If the Aramaic words are divided differently (Maran atha, “Our Lord has come”), it becomes a credal declaration. The former interpretation is supported by what appears to be a Greek equivalent of this acclamation in Rev 22:20 “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
6th Seal, 2nd Coming
Separating the goats from the sheep.
Civil War where the "straw man" loses.
Deliverance by the "hand of a female" who has always been faithful to her husband.
Donald J. Trump’s legacy. The fool and the folly.
Faith will conquer the fires of hell.
God judges everyone according to their deeds; no one can hide from God or escape retribution at his hand.
Jesus dismissal of Satan.
A recurring theme in the Bible is the humble will be exalted and the exalted will be humbled.
God will save the righteous from evil.
Maybe the Appointed Time is near?
For "Little Bear" - Jesus said in the Beatitudes (Mt.5:11) Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.
Sweetheart, you deserve a medal.
I'm a numbers guy. Not currency, just signs. It has to do with the fact that I'm an engineer. I was born at 11:10 a.m. on Sunday, October 2nd, 1960 A.D. (Anno Domini which is Latin for the Year of Our Lord) and October 2nd, 5721 A.M. (Anno Mundi which is Latin for "in the year of the world) corresponding to dating the earth based on the Hebrew Masoretic Text and Old Testament genealogy. Basically, the Jews believe that earth was created 3,761 years before Christ and each year on Rosh Hashanah, Jews calculate the new year as 3,761 + Anno Domini. This week, Rosh Hashanah begins at 18:37 (sundown) on Sunday, October 2nd and the year will be 5777. Shabbat Shuvah refers to the Shabbat that occurs during the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Only one Shabbat can occur between these dates. This Shabbat is named after the first word of the Haftarah (Hosea 14:2-10) and literally means "Return!" Shabbat Shuva begins at 18:29 (sundown) on Fri, 07 October 2016.
I was born to a father named Raymond, who was a carpenter and to a beautiful mother named Virginia (nicknamed “Gina”, which was pronounced “Jenna”). The venue of this “Blessed Event” was in the maternity ward of a hospital named after The Patron Saint of the Universal Church, “Prudent Guardian of the Holy Family, and Protector of God’s Holy Church”, Saint Joseph.
I started going to the Catholic Church regularly on Christmas Eve, 2009 and I try to attend Mass every Sunday since moving to Brooklyn, either at a Parish that I've found near our home or via online streaming at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan. My oldest son attends Mass with me. St. Patrick's is "America's Parish Church" and has 2 of the best homilists in America: Msgr. Robert T. Ritchie and Timothy Cardinal Dolan. I tune in every Sunday "to get a message" after the first two readings and the Gospel reading, and I think about that message all week until the following Sunday. It was for "the message" that I decided to buy a 1960 Roman Missal on-line. I even bought 2 just to make sure they were no discrepancies between. (Call me "Doubting Thomas").
I was truly moved.
In the case of these readings, there wasn't a Pauline Epistle, only the 1st (Old Testament) and Gospel but enough to get 2 sound messages which read as follows in the New American Bible:
Exodus 23:20-23 Reward of Fidelity. 20See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared. 21Be attentive to him and obey him. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority is within him.* 22If you obey him and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. 23My angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites; and I will wipe them out.
*In this case, "My authority is within him": literally means, “My name is within him.”
The Gospel According to St. Matthew 18:1-10
The Greatest in the Kingdom. 1At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child over, placed it in their midst, 3 and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
Temptations to Sin. 6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 8 If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into fiery Gehenna.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep. 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
Now watch this commercial and reread the Scripture above.
So now we come to next Sunday, October 2, 2016 A.D., 5777 A.M. The 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Rosh Hashanah begins. A new year. A "day [of] shouting/blasting", sometimes translated as the Feast of Trumpets. What will the message be? For Catholics, it will be based on the first two readings and the Gospel:
Reading 1 from the Prophetic Book of Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4
Habakkuk’s First Complaint
1:2-3 2How long, O LORD, must I cry for help and you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” and you do not intervene? 3Why do you let me see iniquity? why do you simply gaze at evil? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife and discord.
2:2-4 2Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision; Make it plain upon tablets, so that the one who reads it may run. 3For the vision is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. 4See, the rash have no integrity; but the just one who is righteous because of faith shall live.*
* [2:4] The just one who is righteous because of faith shall live: the faithful survive the impending doom because they trust in God’s justice and wait patiently for God to carry it out. Several New Testament passages cite these words (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; cf. Heb 10:38) to confirm the teaching that people receive justification and supernatural life through faith in Christ.
Reading 2 from St. Paul's 2nd Letter to Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
The Gifts Timothy Has Received. 6For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. 7For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. 8So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. 13Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard this rich trust with the help of the holy Spirit that dwells within us.
The Gospel According to St. Luke 17:5-10
Saying of Faith. 5And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” 6The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to [this] mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Attitude of a Servant. 7“Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? 8Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? 9Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? 10So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”
Now watch this clip from FRONTLINE -the Night President Obama Took On Donald Trump | The Choice 2016 |, particularly Trump surrogate Omarosa Manigault saying; "Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”
2Thes.2:8-12 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord [Jesus] will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, 9the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, 10and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. 11Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, 12that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned.
And now ask yourself how will Donald Trump handle world leaders who criticize him?
Here are some of the things Donald Trump has said about nuclear weapons:
Trump said he might use nuclear weapons and questioned why we would make them if we wouldn’t use them.
Trump said he was open to nuking Europe because it’s a “big place”
Trump said that “you want to be unpredictable” with nuclear weapons
Trump reiterated that it was important to be “unpredictable” with nuclear weapons
Trump said he wasn’t that worried about more countries getting nukes since “it’s not like, gee whiz, nobody has them”
Trump had no idea what the “nuclear triad” was
Trump started talking about nuclear weapons in Pakistan and made no sense at all
Trump said he’d be OK with a nuclear arms race in Asia
The time he said it didn’t matter if Saudi Arabia acquired nuclear weapons because “it’s going to happen anyway”
Mr. Trump, you would be better served "bowing out" rather than waiting for any true Christian, Jew or Muslim to bow down before you. We're With the Almighty God and I'm Also With Her.
I'll be looking for a sign on Sunday. Hopefully from a Guardian Angel or 3.
Dan. 8:15-19 15While I, Daniel, sought the meaning of the vision I had seen, one who looked like a man stood before me, 16and on the Ulai I heard a human voice that cried out, “Gabriel, explain the vision to this man.” 17When he came near where I was standing, I fell prostrate in terror. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision refers to the end time.”* 18As he spoke to me, I fell forward unconscious; he touched me and made me stand up. 19“I will show you,” he said, “what is to happen in the last days of wrath; for it is for the appointed time of the end.
* [8:17] The end time: the time when God sits in judgment on the wicked (v. 19).
Tb. 5:10-11 Tobiah went out to summon him, saying, “Young man, my father is calling for you.” When Raphael** entered the house, Tobit greeted him first. He replied, “Joyful greetings to you!” Tobit answered, “What joy is left for me? Here I am, a blind man who cannot see the light of heaven, but must remain in darkness, like the dead who no longer see the light! Though alive, I am among the dead. I can hear people’s voices, but I do not see them.” The young man said, “Take courage! God’s healing is near; so take courage!” Tobit then said: “My son Tobiah wants to go to Media. Can you go with him to show him the way? I will pay you your wages, brother.” He answered: “Yes, I will go with him, and I know all the routes. I have often traveled to Media and crossed all its plains so I know well the mountains and all its roads.”
* [3:8] Asmodeus: in Persian aeshma daeva, “demon of wrath,” adopted into Aramaic with the sense of “the Destroyer.” It will be subdued (8:3) by Raphael (v. 17), whose name means “God has healed.”
* [12:12] Raphael is one of the seven Angels of the Presence, specially designated intercessors who present prayers to God. Angelology was developing in this period. The names of two other of these seven angels are given in the Bible: Gabriel (Dn 8:16; 9:21; Lk 1:19, 26) and Michael (Dn 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev 12:7). See 1 Enoch for the names of the rest.
Dan. 12:1 1“At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since the nation began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book.*
* [10:21] The book of truth: a heavenly book in which future events are already recorded; cf. 7:10; 12:1.
1942 - 2016
In Heaven this morning sits the Almighty God, the All-Knowing One, having light conversation and brunch with a Catholic and a Jew. The Jew is a storyteller and the Catholic is a teacher. The meal is the "bread of eternal life" and "life-giving water". It's an outdoor restaurant with a beautiful polished mahogany table in a what looks like a never-ending garden of bright green, interspersed with wildflowers of every color. The scenery resembles a Michelangelo painting ... the paint still wet. On every horizon is a high wall. The wall is constructed of jasper, and its foundations are decorated with every precious stone. The wall's gates are pearls, each of the gates made from a single pearl and throughout the garden, the roads are pure gold, transparent as glass. The wall is not one of segregation, rather one of welcoming for those who wish to enter and stay. The maitre d at the restaurant is named Peter. He welcomes each new patron with a sign of peace and a simple menu. A man named Paul, a convincing server, walks from table to table taking orders, extolling the health benefits of the bread and water meal. After each meal, a latino busboy named Jesus cleanses each table and washes the patrons' feet before they leave the restaurant and spend the rest of the day strolling through the bright garden. In this world, there is no sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God provides it light.
While sitting at God's table, The Catholic and the Jew begin telling Him the story of a great champion, not just of physical prowess, but also of mental and spiritual greatness. Much like when Christ disguised Himself to Cleopas to hear a description of His own life story while walking down a road toward a village called Emmaus, God listens intently to the story about the man whom He's known from before his birth, while patiently awaiting his arrival. The true story of this champion was not of the accomplishments of one man, rather the trinity of love between 3. One without the other 2 may very well have lived in obscurity, but the 3 together taught the world about the love of fellow man, love of family, humor in conflict, the righteousness of objecting to racism and war and Faith in God, even when they participated in a sport considered so brutal.
The respect between the 3 was immeasurable and many times comical. The Jew once remarked about the Catholic, "If I had a son who wanted to be a fighter and I couldn't talk him out of it, the only man I would let train him [would be the Catholic]". The Catholic and the "Champion" never had a written contract, only a handshake. The Jew, a loquacious attorney and grandson of a Rabbi, once remarked that the "Champion" was being truculent. His intended target responded with; “Whatever truculent means, if that’s good, I’m that.”
The conversation at the table is interrupted by a booming knock at one of the gates. A voice shouts "The Champ is Here and I'm Home". Peter answers the knock and invites him in, and through the gate walks a Muslim man: The "Champion" described to God by the Catholic and the Jew. The smile on his face and the white robe he's wearing brighten the sky. This robe too says "Everlast". No longer is his appearance marred by years of physical punishment. His youth beams. His eyes twinkle like the stars. He introduces himself to the All-Knowing One, then tearfully hugs the Catholic and the Jew. God wipes away their tears, because there is no more death or mourning, wailing or pain.
The waiter named Paul sits down and tells the Muslim man of their commonality while they were on earth ... they were both fighters for the greatness of God. Paul borrows the book from the All-Knowing One, and and opens it to the 1st letter he (Paul) wrote to the people of Corinth. It's titled "All Things to All”.
Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win over those under the law. To those outside the law I became like one outside the law—though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ—to win over those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it. Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
This Muslim tells of not fighting for perishable crowns but for the dignity of all men. Because of his country's inequality, he discarded in a river a perishable crown in the form of a gold medal he received standing on the top tier of an olympic podium. He was a champion for all people. In a 1996 CBS 60 Minutes News interview with the champion, it tells the tale of this Muslim who spends time signing several hundred autographs for free, even though he suffers from the debilitating effects of Parkinson's syndrome. When asked about it afterwards, he whispers; "I'm just trying to get to Heaven." His wife remarks that "he feels that everything he did prior to now was to prepare him for where he is now in life. He is very much more a spiritual being. He is very aware of his time here on Earth. And he has sort of planned the rest of his life to do things so that he is assured a place in heaven."
In the Book of Revelation God says; I bring with me the recompense [reward or repayment] I will give to each according to his deeds.
In the 2nd Book of the Quran, Al-Baqara, it says; Truly those who do evil and are surrounded by their sins will be the inhabitants of the Fire, there to remain, while those who believe and do good deeds will be the inhabitants of the Garden, there to remain.
Champ, may you rest in peace in the loving arms of the Almighty God in the Garden of Heaven.
The real message of the this champion's death is not about the loss of one great man nor the losses of 3 great men, rather its the love that God instilled in them for each other, regardless of their differences in life and in Faith. Christ said the greatest commandment is; “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The Jew - "The Storyteller"
The Catholic - "The Teacher"
The Muslim - "The Champion"
This blog is dedicated to Monsignor Robert T. Ritchie of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Midtown Manhattan. Without your Homily this morning inspired by the Gospel Lk.7:11-17, I would not have had the inspiration to write this blog. You will always be my favorite Homilist. God Bless You.
The title of this blog describes my staples for Sunday driving rideshare in New York City. We try to attend the weekly 10:15 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, be it in person or live streaming, sitting in front of my MacBook Pro. Scripture after Scripture, Homily after Homily tells us that life is a test. Its a test on whether we are worthy to achieve glory in Heaven, based on our deeds, or doomed to spending 1,000 years in a coffin, waiting on the judgment of the dead.
I'm now registered to drive Uber, Lyft, Gett and Via rideshare services. I like Lyft the best: Good to drivers and good to riders mainly because of and caring about the "employees" and clients.
On March 13, 2016, after Sunday Mass, I was driving rideshare for Uber with my son John riding "shotgun". Picking up a ride at about 3:00 that afternoon, I saw a rider walking toward my car and when she saw my son in the passenger seat, I could see the rage in her eyes. She reported me and my son to Uber and they deactivated my account at about 7:30 that evening with the following message:
This is Leah from Uber support. I'm writing in regarding a trip you made last March 13, 2016 at 3:15pm EST. The pickup location on the trip page was at 227 E 30th St, New York and the destination was at 99 Washington St, New York.
I received a feedback regarding this trip about another person who was with you while you were on a trip with the passenger. Can you please provide more information about what happened on this trip?
Please know that while we look into the reported issue, your account is temporarily on hold. I appreciate your immediate attention to this matter and I’ll look out for your reply.
I replied to them that my son John is disabled and has Autism. He’s extremely kind and well-behaved. I work 6 - 7 days per week driving for Lyft and Uber; therefore I get to spend very little time with my son. I have to hire a baby sitter for a disabled young man who is 17 y.o. and that I can not leave alone at home.
They replied that I signed an agreement prohibiting me from allowing other riders being in my car, even though I'm not an "employee", rather a "private contractor". They reactivated my account 4 days later and I haven't driven for Uber since. By cheating me out of $2,500.00 in November wages and not making a simple concession so I could spend time with my son, while making them 28% percent of my fares, that was their test.
Lev.19:13 You shall not exploit your neighbor. You shall not commit robbery. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your laborer.
Jas. 5:1-6 Warning to the Rich. 1Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. 2Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, 3your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. 4Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. 6You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.
Now driving Lyft exclusively, I posted the following note behind the headrest of the front passenger seat:
John rode with me the past Sunday ... no complaints. That was their test.
Several weeks ago I had a woman rider traveling from Manhattan to Queens. She had a bit of difficulty entering the back seat and let me know that she had prosthetic leg. She was headed to her health club. Before getting to the Queens - Midtown Tunnel, as many times you do, we encountered the homeless at an intersection. It was an African-American man who was confined to a wheelchair and was missing a portion of his right leg, below the knee. I commented that I tried to keep single dollars in my wallet at all times to help homeless people, and I felt guilty that I had run out of money that day. Her response was that he too could get prosthesis and his reluctance to do so was just to obtain sympathy. She went on that when she encountered the homeless, particularly in the subway, that she would help them financially, but not before they would perform a little song or a little dance for her. It had nothing to do with ethnicity, since she too was African-American. I kept my mouth shut but wondered how can you humiliate someone who is so destitute and probably suffers from mental illness. She took the last "sand grain" of dignity from these homeless people to satisfy her own little "twisted" Off-Broadway play. That was her test.
Lev.19:14 You shall not insult the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the LORD.
Wis.2:10-11 10Let us oppress the righteous poor; let us neither spare the widow nor revere the aged for hair grown white with time. 11But let our strength be our norm of righteousness; for weakness proves itself useless.
Yesterday, I had an elderly Romanian man accompanied by his wife, and I believe, his 2 young-adult grandchildren. In broken English, the fellow brought up the subject of Warren Buffet and how he came from very limited means to be a multibillionaire ... what we know as a "self-made man". I commented that Mr. Buffet, along with Bill and Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg and other billionaires were participating in the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Further, there was also the Robinwood Foundation, who's single objective is to end poverty in New York City, and does a great job (God's work) to help the needy. Seth Myers, as emcee of one their fund-raising events, referred to their members as "the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent". My never-changing commentary is that no one should suffer from poverty with all of the money in this world. The elderly Romanian's generalized reply: When the homeless are given the opportunity to work (he used the example of mowing grass) they refuse. My response was that many of homeless suffer from mental illness and lack of education. Even if they could muster up the motivation and physical strength of pushing a lawnmower, chances are they wouldn't know how it worked and would be a hazard to themselves.
I told him that I have a form of mental illness known as Depression and that it can diminish a person's ability for self-motivation and self-help, yet God chose me to have it. With medication and prayer, I do a pretty good job controlling it and at least I can still drive a car and push a lawnmower. I'm blessed.
So where are the likes of Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey (Trumps favorite vice-president candidate) in all of this "God's-work" billionaire philanthropy? Nowhere to be found. This is their test.
1John3:17 If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him?
1Tim6:17-19 Right Use of Wealth. 17Tell the rich in the present age not to be proud and not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth but rather on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. 18Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, 19thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life.
We Catholics are still in the Easter season. Last Sunday, John and I attended the 5th Sunday of Easter service. I don't know if it was self-pity or anger but I began asking how a "just God" could put me through difficulties of the past 13 years:
Leaving a job I loved after 12 years, because I stood up for righteousness. Then having to endure the torment that followed because I dared to question the billionaire that I caught breaking the law.
Major depression and a failed suicide attempt.
Losing 2 marriages. The first was "my-bad", the second was her's.
Losing 2 loving parents to a murder-suicide, 2 days after my 47th birthday. No one knows why. I can only speculate.
A string of short term engineering jobs in the fossil fuel business sectors, ending in a layoff in 2009, when the price of oil plummeted. In hindsight, that was a blessing. I spent 25 years building the "beasts" which are killing our planet. I'll spend the rest of my life righting my wrong.
Becoming the primary custodial parent of an autistic son who can't take care of himself and greatly limits my ability to get a well-paying job. That was a bigger blessing. I've been humbled. I have faith in God that He won't forsake me. And my son is my hero.
I knew better than to question the Lord and now I'm sorry that I did. It's all His grand plan. If He thought I couldn't carry those Crosses, He wouldn't pile them on my back.
From the Gospel According to St. John, when Jesus and the Apostles passed a man born blind the Apostles asked "Who sinned, this man or his parents?" Jesus said neither, "it is so the works of God might be seen through him". Jesus then healed the man's sight. Has the Lord made me suffer as an example of endurance? So I will reach out to God?
What awaits me? ... My reward? After 7 years of celibacy and no relationships, the love of a simple, witty, beautiful, humble and wise-beyond-her-years woman who I know is out there, but I've yet to meet? Someone who accepts me, my children and the Crosses I bear. I've had my heart broken twice by Jennifer's, so maybe 3's the charm on first names. After meeting and falling in love, then devoting much of our lives to saving the planet that God gave us, and helping those who need it most. Our reward? Hopefully eternal life in Heaven.
As St. Paul said in the block of Scripture known as "All Things to All" 1Cor9:19-27 19 Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win over those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became like one outside the law—though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ—to win over those outside the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. 23All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it. 24 Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. 25Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. 26Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. 27No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
It's my test. Pray that I pass it.
What is an Evangelical?
I define Evangelical from the word Evangelists who were the 4 who preached the Gospel or Good News of the life of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection.
St. Mark, St. Luke, St. Matthew and St. John, symbolically in the Book of Revelation, are the four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back. The first creature resembled a lion (noblest), the second was like a calf (strongest), the third had a face like that of a human being (wisest), and the fourth looked like an eagle (swiftest) in flight. The common theme is the "Good News", salvation and eternal life.
St. Patrick's Cathedral, "America's Parish Church" has memorialized the 4 Evangelists with stained glass. And thus the segue into the subject of Evangelicals and how they relate to the Book of Revelation.
The Church of Sardis:
Revelation 3:1-6 To Sardis. 1“To the angel of the church in Sardis, write this: “‘The one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says this: “I know your works, that YOU HAVE THE REPUTATION OF BEING ALIVE, BUT YOU ARE DEAD. 2BE WATCHFUL AND STRENGTHEN WHAT IS LEFT, WHICH IS GOING TO DIE, FOR I HAVE NOT FOUND YOUR WORKS COMPLETE IN THE SIGHT OF MY GOD. 3Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you. 4However, you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. 5“‘“The victor will thus be dressed in white, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father and of his angels.6“‘“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
From my book Tribulation by G.R. Miller, I discuss my opinion of how the Evangelical community deals with political pressure from both parties but predominately from the far right. Excerpts are as follows:
The Church in Sardis are denominational offshoots of the four first branches of the Protestant Reformation. These churches and their further denominational offshoots include, but are not limited to Puritans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, United Church of Christ, Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, Pentecostals, Swiss Brethren, Mennonites, Amish, Hutterites, Quakers, and Moravian Brethren. Several of these churches, at one time or another, have been defined as “Evangelical Christians.”
“The reputation of being alive, but you are dead”: You’ve gone from your pulpits and your pews being alive with the Word of God, to now dead with the words of politicians, both Republicans and Democrats. You’ve gone from being revivalists to politicos. You challenge the very laws that prohibit you from endorsing candidates, being political action committees or lobbyists, while maintaining your 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
If I want a political message on the Sabbath, I’ll watch the Sunday morning talk shows, but I will not seek it in a House of Prayer. These are the reasons I left the Baptist church. Many have left and have gone on to nondenominational churches to get away from politics and get back to the Word of God.
Liberty University advertises itself as an accredited EVANGELICAL liberal arts institution with 16 colleges and schools, including a law school, medical school, and school of divinity.
Is Liberty University an EVANGELICAL institution? ... No. It's the Church of Sardis of modern day. Why? Because Jerry Falwell Jr. has supported Donald Trump for President of the United States of America and Jerry Falwell Jr. and by doing that, does not satisfy the EVANGELICAL requisites CAPITALIZED above:
This is what Falwell said to the Washington Post regarding, "Some theologians believe that Jesus would call on Christians to put down their weapons in the face of violence." Falwell referenced the story from the gospels of Jesus chasing money changers out of the temple with a whip. Falwell quoted; “Jesus said ‘Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,’ and part of that was to go to war, protecting whatever nation was under control of the king,” “I wouldn’t agree with any interpretation of Scripture that was used to say that a man or a woman shouldn’t protect their families.”
The story of the Cleansing of the Temple (Mark11:15-19) is quite different than the story of Paying Taxes to the Emperor (Matthew 22:15-22)
Mark.11:15-19 Cleansing of the Temple. 15They came to Jerusalem,e and on entering the temple area he began to drive out those selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 16He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area. 17Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written: ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples’? But you have made it a den of thieves.” 18The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it and were seeking a way to put him to death, yet they feared him because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19When evening came, they went out of the city. Where in this Scripture does it talk about "protecting whatever nation was under control of the king,” ? If anything, the Evangelical community has allowed the Right wing politicians and the NRA Masters to turn the church into a "Den of Thieves" by preaching this hateful rhetoric.
Matthew 22:15-22 Paying Taxes to the Emperor. 15 Then the Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap him in speech. 16They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. 17 Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” 18Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. 20He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” 21* They replied, “Caesar’s.”* At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” 22When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away.
The USCCB says that means;
* [22:21] Caesar’s: the emperor Tiberius (A.D. 14–37). Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar: those who willingly use the coin that is Caesar’s should repay him in kind. The answer avoids taking sides in the question of the lawfulness of the tax. To God what belongs to God: Jesus raises the debate to a new level. Those who have hypocritically asked about tax in respect to its relation to the law of God should be concerned rather with repaying God with the good deeds that are his due; cf. Mt 21:41, 43.
I don't think asking the students to get gun permits for the sake of targeting Muslims qualifies as "GOOD DEEDS". I don't think what Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr., Rev. Franklin Graham, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott, and other right wingnuts are doing trying to "gin up" a "holy war" with Islam qualifies as GOOD DEEDS!!!
Is Donald Trump an Evangelical? ... Absolutely not! Donald Trump is a DECEIVER! ... A DECEIVING POWER SENT BY GOD!
Biblically and moreover apocalyptically, he's best described as follows:
Revelation 6:7-8 7When he broke open the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature cry out, “Come forward.” 8I looked, and there was a pale green* horse. Its rider was named DEATH, AND HADES ACCOMPANIED HIM. THEY were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and plague, and by means of the beasts of the earth.
* Pale green in this case is a symbol of death and decay.
2Thessalonians 2:1-12 Christ and the Lawless One. 1We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, 2not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand. 3Let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one doomed to perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god— 5do you not recall that while I was still with you I told you these things? 6And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. But the one who restrains is to do so only for the present, until he is removed from the scene. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord [Jesus] will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, 9the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, 10and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. 11THEREFORE, GOD IS SENDING THEM A DECEIVING POWER SO THAT THEY MAY BELIEVE THE LIE, 12THAT ALL WHO HAVE NOT BELIEVED THE TRUTH BUT HAVE APPROVED WRONGDOING MAY BE CONDEMNED.
It's Judgement Day for you and your followers Mr. Trump and thanks to one of my favorite journalists, Rachel Maddow, she's compiled a litany of your anti-christian remarks and behavior:
Regarding your comments against Pope Francis for his remarks against your "wall" and immigrants at our southern border, I respond with the following Scripture from both the Old Testament and New Testament:
Exodus 23:9 9You shall not oppress a resident alien; you well know how it feels to be an alien, since you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 22:20-23 20You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt. 21You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. 22If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely listen to their cry. 23My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.
Leviticus 19:33 – 34 33When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one. 34You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the LORD, am your God.
1John3:17 If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him?
Matthew 25:31-46 The Judgment of the Nations. 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, 32 and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46l And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Mt. 6:24 God and Money. 24 No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Mt. 16:18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
Pope Francis didn't judge your heart, but God and the Lamb eventually will, and right now they see a lot of darkness in there. Catholics and Protestants worship the same God and His Son. Protestants are mere branches and denominational offshoots from Catholicism and your rhetoric is designed to deceive and divide. Remember what Christ said and Pres. Lincoln referred to in Mark 3:24-30: 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. 27But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. 28Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. 29But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” 30For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Regarding Trump's disdain for Muslims:
Genesis 16:10-12 10I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s angel, “that they will be too many to count.” 11Then the LORD’s angel said to her: “You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael,* For the LORD has heeded your affliction.
* [16:11] Ishmael: in Hebrew the name means “God has heard.” It is the same Hebrew verb that is translated “heeded” in the next clause. In other ancient Near Eastern texts, the name commemorated the divine answer to the parents’ prayer to have a child, but here it is broadened to mean that God has “heard” Hagar’s plight. In vv. 13–14, the verb “to see” is similarly broadened to describe God’s special care for those in need.
Genesis 17:20 Now as for Ishmael, I will heed you: I hereby bless him. I will make him fertile and will multiply him exceedingly. He will become the father of twelve chieftains, and I will make of him a great nation.
Genesis 21:12-13,17-21 12But God said to Abraham: Do not be distressed about the boy or about your slave woman. Obey Sarah, no matter what she asks of you; for it is through Isaac that descendants will bear your name. 13As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, since he too is your offspring. 17God heard the boy’s voice, and God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not fear; God has heard the boy’s voice in this plight of his. 18Get up, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.” 19Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink. 20God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert bowman. 21He lived in the wilderness of Paran. His mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
* [21:13] I will make a nation of him also: Ishmael’s descendants are named in 25:12–18.
Genesis 25:12-18 Descendants of Ishmael. 12 These are the descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s slave, bore to Abraham. 13 These are the names of Ishmael’s sons, listed in the order of their birth: Ishmael’s firstborn Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16These are the sons of Ishmael, their names by their villages and encampments; twelve chieftains of as many tribal groups. 17The span of Ishmael’s life was one hundred and thirty-seven years. After he had breathed his last and died, he was gathered to his people. 18The Ishmaelites ranged from Havilah, by Shur, which is on the border of Egypt, all the way to Asshur; and they pitched camp* alongside their various kindred.
* [25:18] Pitched camp: lit., “fell”; the same Hebrew verb is used in Jgs 7:12 in regard to the hostile encampment of desert tribes. The present passage shows the fulfillment of the prediction contained in Gn 16:12.
What Trump supporters don't realize is that he's figuratively "cut from same cloth" as ISIL. He's cut from the same cloth as Adolph Hitler. He relies on hate and fear to project his message: In his case to divide the world to create his vision of racial purity and in ISIL's case to divide the world to create their vision of racial purity. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable people caught in the middle of this are peaceful Muslims. And that's the desired end game. Trump, his supporters and evangelicals such as Rev. Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. want a holy war against Muslims and carry that on to any immigrant that they deem undesirable. ISIL wants a holy war against anyone who disagrees with their ideology of being the chosen to establish the caliphate. In ISIL's case they deem the caliphate to encompass the Levant which is Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, and Cyprus. Will hatred and fear win and as a result of Trump's rhetoric, people will long for that great war at Megiddo in which Judeo-Christians, as they interpret Revelation 16:12-16, will battle Islam:
Revelation 16:12-16 12The sixth angel emptied his bowl on the great river Euphrates. Its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the East. 13I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet. 14These were demonic spirits who performed signs. They went out to the kings of the whole world to assemble them for the battle on the great day of God the almighty. 15(“Behold, I am coming like a thief.”* Blessed is the one who watches and keeps his clothes ready, so that he may not go naked and people see him exposed.) 16They then assembled the kings in the place that is named Armageddon* in Hebrew.
* [16:16] Armageddon: in Hebrew, this means “Mountain of Megiddo.” Since Megiddo was the scene of many decisive battles in antiquity (Jgs 5:19–20; 2 Kgs 9:27; 2 Chr 35:20–24), the town became the symbol of the final disastrous rout of the forces of evil.
Trump, his supporters, and others who discriminate against Muslims are all false prophets guided by Satan.
* [14:10–11] The wine of God’s fury: image taken from Is 51:17; Jer 25:15–16; 49:12; 51:7; Ez 23:31–34. Eternal punishment in the fiery pool of burning sulfur (or “fire and brimstone”; cf. Gn 19:24) is also reserved for the Devil, the beast, and the false prophet (Rev 19:20; 20:10; 21:8).
In the 14th book Surat Ibrahim (Abraham) of the Quran, it addresses ISIL's abhorrent behavior from Satan vs the peaceful behavior from God for the vast majority of Muslims.
14:22-23. "22.When everything has been decided, Satan will say, 'God gave you a true promise. I too made promises but they were false ones: I had no power over you except to call you, and you responded to my call, so do not blame me; blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I reject the way you associated me with God before.' A bitter torment awaits such wrongdoers,23. but those who believed and did good deeds will be brought into Gardens graced with flowing streams, there to remain with their Lord's permission: their greeting there is 'Peace’.
Matthew 12:26 And if Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself; how, then, will his kingdom stand?
Luke 11:18 And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
Mark 3:26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him.
Peace and goodness will ultimately prevail:
1John4:20-21 20If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Isaiah 2:2-5 Zion, the Royal City of God 2 In days to come, The mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it. 3Many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and set terms for many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another,nor shall they train for war again. 5 House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
Let's look at 4 of the other current hot-button issues in this country and relate them to Scripture.
1) Degrading Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare and trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act
Leviticus 19:14 You shall not insult the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the LORD
* [19:14] In Dt 27:18 a curse falls on the head of the one who misleads the blind.
Leviticus 19:32 32Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the old, and fear your God. I am the LORD.
Wisdom 2:10-20 10Let us oppress the righteous poor; let us neither spare the widow nor revere the aged for hair grown white with time. 11But let our strength be our norm of righteousness; for weakness proves itself useless. 12* Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, because he is annoying to us; he opposes our actions, Reproaches us for transgressions of the law* and charges us with violations of our training.13He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the LORD. 14To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us, 15Because his life is not like that of others, and different are his ways. 16He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the righteous and boasts that God is his Father. 17Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him in the end. 18For if the righteous one is the son of God, God will help him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. 19With violence and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. 20Let us condemn him to a shameful death;for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
* [2:1–20] In this speech the wicked deny survival after death and indeed invite death by their evil deeds.
* [2:12–5:23] From 2:12 to 5:23 the author draws heavily on Is 52–62, setting forth his teaching in a series of characters or types taken from Isaiah and embellished with additional details from other texts. The description of the “righteous one” in 2:12–20 seems to undergird the New Testament passion narrative.
* [2:12] Law: the law of Moses; “training” has the same meaning.
1Timothy 6:17-19 Right Use of Wealth.* 17Tell the rich in the present age not to be proud and not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth but rather on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. 18Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, 19thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life.
* [6:17–19] Timothy is directed to instruct the rich, advising them to make good use of their wealth by aiding the poor.
2) Not increasing the minimum wage
Leviticus 19:13You shall not exploit your neighbor. You shall not commit robbery. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your laborer.
James 5:1-6 Warning to the Rich.* 1Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. 2Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, 3your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. 4Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. 6You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one;f he offers you no resistance.*
* [5:1–6] Continuing with the theme of the transitory character of life on earth, the author points out the impending ruin of the godless. He denounces the unjust rich, whose victims cry to heaven for judgment on their exploiters (Jas 5:4–6). The decay and corrosion of the costly garments and metals, which symbolize wealth, prove them worthless and portend the destruction of their possessors (Jas 5:2–3).
* [5:6] The author does not have in mind any specific crime in his readers’ communities but rather echoes the Old Testament theme of the harsh oppression of the righteous poor (see Prv 1:11; Wis 2:10, 12, 20)
3)Progressive Tax System
Luke 21:1-4 The Poor Widow’s Contribution.* 1 When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury 2and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. 3He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; 4for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
* [21:1–4] The widow is another example of the poor ones in this gospel whose detachment from material possessions and dependence on God leads to their blessedness (Lk 6:20). Her simple offering provides a striking contrast to the pride and pretentiousness of the scribes denounced in the preceding section (Lk 20:45–47). The story is taken from Mk 12:41–44.
4)Denying climate change.
Deuteronomy 29:21-28 Punishment for Idolatry. 21 Future generations, your descendants who will rise up after you, as well as the foreigners who will come here from distant lands, when they see the calamities of this land and the ills the LORD has inflicted upon it— 22all its soil burned out by sulphur and salt, unsown and unfruitful, without a blade of grass, like the catastrophe of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his furious wrath— 23l they and all the nations will ask, “Why has the LORD dealt thus with this land? Why this great outburst of wrath?” 24And they will say, “Because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, which he had made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, 25and they went and served other gods and bowed down to them, gods whom they did not know and whom he had not apportioned to them. 26 So the anger of the LORD flared up against this land and brought on it every curse written in this book. 27The LORD uprooted them from their soil in anger, fury, and great wrath, and cast them out into another land, as they are today.” 28The hidden things* belong to the LORD our God, but the revealed things are for us and for our children forever, to observe all the words of this law.
* [29:28] The hidden things: probably the events of the future. The revealed things: the covenant and its provisions, including the sanctions of blessing and curse. This aphorism may mean: leave “hidden things” to God; what matters is to keep the law.
Isaiah prophecied that man would greatly suffer from his own reluctance to practice good stewardship of the earth. You can find this in Isaiah 24:1-23 entitled Judgment upon the World and the Lord’s Enthronement on Mount Zion http://www.usccb.org/bible/isaiah/24.
The first 6 verses read: 1See! The LORD is about to empty the earth and lay it waste; he will twist its surface, and scatter its inhabitants: 2People and priest shall fare alike: servant and master, Maid and mistress, buyer and seller, Lender and borrower, creditor and debtor. 3The earth shall be utterly laid waste, utterly stripped, for the LORD has decreed this word. 4The earth mourns and fades, the world languishes and fades; both heaven and earth languish. 5The earth is polluted because of its inhabitants, for they have transgressed laws, violated statutes, broken the ancient covenant.* 6Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants pay for their guilt; Therefore they who dwell on earth have dwindled, and only a few are left.
* [24:5] Ancient covenant: God’s commandments to all humankind (cf. Gn 9:4–6). The Noahic Covenant.
That's the Scriptural basis of Pope Francis comment; “Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us!"
Sweetheart, you were right: “If Donald Trump becomes president, that will be the end of the world”. This blog is dedicated to you.
From the New American Bible - The Official Bible of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Revelation 6:12-13 12* Then I watched while he broke open the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; the sun turned as black as dark sackcloth* and the whole moon became like blood."e" 13The stars in the sky fell to the earth like unripe figs* shaken loose from the tree in a strong wind.
* [6:12] Dark sackcloth: for mourning, sackcloth was made from the skin of a black goat.
* [6:13] Unripe figs: literally, “summer (or winter) fruit.”
"e" Joel 3:4 The sun will darken, the moon turn blood-red, Before the day of the LORD arrives, that great and terrible day."b"
"b" Joel 2:10 Before them the earth trembles; the heavens shake; Sun and moon are darkened, and the stars withhold their brightness.
Regardless of what the so-called prophets say, we are in the midst of the Tribulation. You can read my first book "TRIBULATION by G.R. MILLER" and my next book, "GOD'S FURY". You can view my illustrations with descriptions at: http://www.tribulation7.com/illustrations.html.
And you can view my posts on Twitter (@tribulation7) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GRMillerTribulation).
The 3 synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) below describe the moments immediately after the Tribulation, leading to the Rapture. The Rapture, which prefaces the First Judgement, is described throughout the New Testament, particularly in Mt.24:40-41, Lk.17:34-35, 2Cor12:2, 1Thes4:17, Rev.12:5, & Rev.20:4-6. From the Latin verb rapiemur, has come the idea of “the rapture,” when believers will be transported away from the woes of the world; this construction combines this verse with Mt 24:40–41 // Lk 17:34–35 and passages from the Book of Revelation in a scheme of millennial dispensationalism.
Mt.24:29-30 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Mk.13:24-26 24“But in those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26* And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, 27and then he will send out the angels and gather [his] elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
* [13:26] Son of Man…with great power and glory: Jesus cites this text from Dn 7:13 in his response to the high priest, Are you the Messiah? (Mk 14:61). In Ex 34:5; Lv 16:2; and Nm 11:25 the clouds indicate the presence of the divinity. Thus in his role of Son of Man, Jesus is a heavenly being who will come in power and glory.
Lk.21:25-28 The Coming of the Son of Man. 25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
The Book of Revelation describes the events during the Tribulation leading up to the Rapture: The 7 Seals (Chapters 6 and 8), the 7 Trumpets (Chapters 8-9, 11), the Angel with the Small Scroll and the 7 Thunders (Chapter 10), the Two Witnesses (Chapter 11), the First and Second Beasts (Chapters 13 and 17), the 7 Bowls and Plagues (Chapters 15 and 16), The Destruction of Babylon and Pagan Nations and The Harvest of the Earth (Chapters 14, 17 - 19).
The 6th Seal, described in Revelation 6:12-13 above, has occurred 4 times since 2010:
A meteor shower is last event of the 6th Seal Tetrad are the "stars in the sky falling to the earth like unripe figs".
The Draconid Meteor Shower, whose peak times will probably be on the evenings of October 8 and 9. On a celestial chart this shower originates from the northern constellation Draco the Dragon which borders both Ursa Major (Great Bear) and Ursa Minor (Little Bear), while wrapping around Ursa Minor. A prominent group of seven stars in the constellation Ursa Major, known as the Big Dipper, contain the pointing stars that indicate the direction to Polaris, the North Star. In Ursa Minor, the tail of the constellation may also be seen as the handle of a ladle, hence the name Little Dipper.
The origin and history of the Draconid meteors?
This annual meteor shower results when the Earth in its orbit crosses the orbital path of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Debris left behind by this comet collides with the Earth’s upper atmosphere, to burn up as Draconid meteors.
This comet has an orbital period of about 6.6 years. It’s about 6 times more distant at its farthest point from the sun than at its nearest point. At aphelion – its most distant point – it’s farther out than the planet Jupiter. At perihelion – its closest point to the sun – it’s about the Earth’s distance from the sun. 
Relevant Scripture to the constellations above?
Rev.12:1-18 The Woman and the Dragon. 1* A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman* clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.* 3Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon,* with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. 4Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.* Her child was caught up to God and his throne. 6The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days.* 7* Then war broke out in heaven; Michael* and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, 8but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,* who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. 10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser* of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night. 11They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death. 12Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them. But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time.” 13When the dragon saw that it had been thrown down to the earth, it pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle,* so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of for a year, two years, and a half-year. 15The serpent,* however, spewed a torrent of water out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with the current. 16But the earth helped the woman and opened its mouth and swallowed the flood that the dragon spewed out of its mouth. 17Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.* 18It took its position* on the sand of the sea.
The origin of the Draconid meteors, coming from Draco the Dragon, is Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner which has an orbital period of about 6.6 years. It’s about 6 times more distant at its farthest point from the sun than at its nearest point.
Rev. 13:1-8, 18 The First Beast.* 1Then I saw a beast come out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads; on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads blasphemous name[s]. 2The beast I saw was like a leopard, but it had feet like a bear’s, and its mouth was like the mouth of a lion.* To it the dragon gave its own power and throne, along with great authority. 3I saw that one of its heads seemed to have been mortally wounded, but this mortal wound was healed.* Fascinated, the whole world followed after the beast. 4They worshiped the dragon because it gave its authority to the beast; they also worshiped the beast* and said, “Who can compare with the beast or who can fight against it?” 5* The beast was given a mouth uttering proud boasts and blasphemies, and it was given authority to act for forty-two months.* 6It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling and those who dwell in heaven. 7It was also allowed to wage war against the holy ones and conquer them, and it was granted authority over every tribe, people, tongue, and nation. 8All the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, all whose names were not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life, which belongs to the Lamb who was slain. 18* Wisdom is needed here; one who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six.
Rev.1:1-3 1The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must happen soon. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2who gives witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw. 3Blessed is the one* who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.
The Seven Stars in His Right Hand [Little Dipper]
Rev.1:9-20 The First Vision.* 9I, John, your brother, who share with you the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus, found myself on the island called Patmos* because I proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus. 10I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day* and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, 11which said, “Write on a scroll* what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” 12* Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands 13and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man,* wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest. 14The hair of his head was as white as white wool or as snow,* and his eyes were like a fiery flame. 15His feet were like polished brass refined in a furnace,* and his voice was like the sound of rushing water. 16In his right hand he held seven stars.* A sharp two-edged sword came out of his mouth, and his face shone like the sun at its brightest. 17When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead.* He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, 18the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.* 19Write down, therefore, what you have seen, and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.* 20This is the secret meaning* of the seven stars you saw in my right hand, and of the seven gold lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
The Life Giving Waters [Big Dipper and Little Dipper]
Rev.21:5-8 5The one who sat on the throne* said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.” 6He said to me, “They are accomplished.* I [am] the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. 7The victor* will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son. 8But as for cowards,* the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Rev.22:1-5, 10-21 1Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water,* sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of its street. On either side of the river grew the tree of life* that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations. 3Nothing accursed will be found there anymore. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4They will look upon his face,* and his name will be on their foreheads. 5Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever. 10Then he said to me, “Do not seal up the prophetic words of this book, for the appointed time* is near. 11Let the wicked still act wickedly, and the filthy still be filthy. The righteous must still do right, and the holy still be holy.” 12“Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”* 14Blessed are they who wash their robes so as to have the right to the tree of life and enter the city* through its gates. 15Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the unchaste, the murderers, the idol-worshipers, and all who love and practice deceit. 16“I, Jesus, sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the root and offspring of David,* the bright morning star.” 17The Spirit and the bride* say, “Come.” Let the hearer say, “Come.” Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water. 18I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19and if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city described in this book. 20* The one who gives this testimony says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! 21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.
The 3 other 6th Seal Tetrads have occurred in the last 5 years:
On March 20, 2015, there was a Total Solar Eclipse in the Faroe Islands and Svalbard (Norway), and a Partial Solar Eclipse in Europe, northern and eastern Asia and northern and western Africa. The eclipse started at 02:41 EST and ended at 06:41 EST.
On March 29, 2015 at 18:48 EST A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 rocked the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea. It was followed by a 5.7-magnitude aftershock and a 1.5-foot-high tsunami.
On April 4th at 06:16 EST, the shortest lunar eclipse (blood moon) of the 21st Century occurred. It lasted just four minutes and forty-three seconds (Chapter 4, Verse 43) completing at 06:20 EST.
Luke 4:43 But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.”
John 4:43 *After the two days, he left there for Galilee.
The Lyrids Meteor Shower were from April 16th to 25th 2015.
On April 25, 2015 at 2:11:26 AM EST, powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck Nepal killing more than 8,000 people across a swath of four countries as the violently shaking earth collapsed houses, leveled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest. It was followed by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake again in Nepal on May 12, 2015.
A powerful magnitude 7.4 Earthquake occurred on Apr. 13, 2014, 111km S of Kirakira, Solomon Islands @ 8:36 a.m. EST.
A lunar eclipse (blood moon) occurred on April 15, 2014 at 3:46 a.m. EST, 43 hours,10 min (Ch.43, Verse 10) after the earthquake.
Gen.43:10 Had we not delayed, we could have been there and back twice by now!”
Sir.43:10 By the LORD’s command the moon keeps its appointed place, and does not fade as the stars keep watch.
Is.43:10 You are my witnesses*—oracle of the LORD— my servant whom I have chosen To know and believe in me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, and after me there shall be none.
Ez.43:10 As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel so they are ashamed for their sins. Let them measure its layout.
An annular solar eclipse occurred on Apr. 29, 2014 with its peak at 1:00 a.m. EST.
A Lyrid Meteor Shower took place between April 16th and 25th.
A powerful magnitude 6.5 Earthquake occurred in Iran on Dec. 20, 2010 @ 1:41p.m. EST.
A lunar eclipse (Blood Moon) occurred on Dec. 21, 2010 @ 2:41 a.m. EST, exactly 13 hrs. (Rev.1:3) after the 6.5 Earthquake.
Rev. 1:3 Blessed is the one* who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near
A Geminid Meteor Shower occurred on Dec. 13, 2010. An Ursids Meteor Shower occurred on Dec. 21, 2010.
A partial solar eclipse occurred on Jan. 4, 2011 with its peak at 3:50 a.m. EST.
All of my statements and illustrations above are supported by Scripture.
And now comes Pastor John Hagee.
If you read My 15th Blog – The Apocalyptic Moons of Blood, you were introduced to Pastor Hagee. He is author of the bestselling book Four Blood Moons and is the senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, a non-denominational megachurch with more than 20,000 active members. In his 2005 book Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World, Hagee interprets the Bible to predict that Russia and the Islamic states will invade Israel and will be destroyed by God. This will cause the antichrist, the head of the European Union, to create a confrontation over Israel between China and the West.
I wrote this 24th Blog as a voice of reason and sanity to contradict Hagee's "greed-ploy" contention that the 4th in a series of lunar eclipses (Blood Moons since 2014 Passover) on Sep. 27th and 28th will culminate in an apocalyptic war in the Middle East. Just as former V.P. Dick Cheney was a war profiteer (and should have been tried as a war criminal in the Hague), Pastor Hagee is a "strife profiteer" and the majority of Republicans in Congress are "hell-bent" on destroying an international nuclear non-proliferation agreement with Iran. Hagee's comment regarding the non-proliferation agreement: "I have said it many times and I say it again: the day America turns its back on Israel will be the day God turns his back on America, and the day we validate this Iran nuclear deal as signed, sealed and delivered, will be the day we stick our finger in the eye of God."
That's heresy! Read James 3:16-18, 4:1-3 below. None of these war mongers would be willing to stand at the back of a C-130 and watch the flag-draped coffins roll off. They are cowards, all.
ISIL and other Islamic State terror organizations are the true threats in the war between good vs evil. ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Levant is defined as Cyprus, Egypt, ISRAEL, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Syria, and Turkey.
While the right wing politicians in the U.S. say their motivation is protecting Israel, inductive reasoning based on their radical beliefs and greed says they also want to drive up the price of oil with a war against Iran, rather than letting the Iranians increase oil sales on the world market, as sanctions are lifted. (Remember Operation Iraqi Freedom, Dick Cheney and Halliburton.)
Here are what the descendants of Abraham think about greed:
It says in both the Bible and the Torah, Numbers 11:33-34:
33But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it could be chewed, the LORD’s wrath flared up against the people, and the LORD struck them with a very great plague. 34So that place was named Kibroth-hattaavah,* because it was there that the greedy people were buried.
* [11:34] Kibroth-hattaavah: means “graves of greed.”
It says in the Quran سورة البقرة , Al-Baqara (The Cow), Chapter #2, Verse #96:
Thou wilt indeed find them, of all people, most greedy of life,-even more than the idolaters: Each one of them wishes He could be given a life of a thousand years: But the grant of such life will not save him from (due) punishment. For Allah sees well all that they do.
Without a peaceful resolution, Iran would continue its nuclear weapons program. Hardliners from lawmakers in the U.S., Iran and Israel begin to beat the drums of war. The depressed price of oil and embargoes on Iranian oil exports would further cripple the Iranian economy. A preemptive strike against Iran could destroy its command and control structure; thereby paving a way for ISIL to enter sovereign Iran and turn it into a killing field against Shia Muslims and a breeding ground for the next generation of Jihadists. A generation requiring winning the hearts and minds of young people and teaching them peace, rather than terror. Not always an easy task in the midst of chaos.
We’ve seen so many images of ISIL destroying Iraqi (Babylonian) and Syrian (Assyrian) antiquities that it appears they want to destroy any record of early civilization in Iraq, Iran and the Levant, i.e. Biblical history.
The Quran سورة البقرة , Al-Baqara, (The Cow) Chapter #2 reads as follows: v.47 Children of Israel, remember how I blessed you and favoured you over other people.
In the 14th book Surat Ibrahim (Abraham) of the Quran, it addresses ISIL's abhorrent behavior from Satan vs the peaceful behavior from God for the vast majority of Muslims: 14:22-23. "22.When everything has been decided, Satan will say, 'God gave you a true promise. I too made promises but they were false ones: I had no power over you except to call you, and you responded to my call, so do not blame me; blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I reject the way you associated me with God before.' A bitter torment awaits such wrongdoers,23. but those who believed and did good deeds will be brought into Gardens graced with flowing streams, there to remain with their Lord's permission: their greeting there is 'Peace’.
The Book of Psalms reads as follows:
Psalm 98:1-3 Coming of God. A psalm. I Sing a new song to the LORD, for he has done marvelous deeds. His right hand and holy arm have won the victory.* 2The LORD has made his victory known; has revealed his triumph in the sight of the nations, 3He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness toward the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
The theme we need is coexistence between the nations:
In the Book of Isaiah 2:4 He [God] shall judge between the nations, and set terms for many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.
In 2007, Hagee stated that he does not believe in global warming, and he also said that he sees the Kyoto Protocol as a conspiracy aimed at manipulating the U.S. economy. He has condemned the Evangelical Climate Initiative, an initiative “signed by 86 evangelical leaders acknowledging the seriousness of global warming and pledging to press for legislation to limit carbon dioxide emissions. I wonder if Pastor Hagee knows that his beloved state of Israel is a participant in the Kyoto Protocol or if Hagee is discounting our sins from Isaiah Ch. 24 which are resulting in climate change. Is Hagee open-minded enough, based on the descriptions in Rev.8:8-9 (the 2nd Trumpet – Deepwater Horizon Disaster) and Rev. 16:8-9 (the 4th Bowl – Climate Change/Global Warming) to see that these respective events have occurred or are occurring as we speak...evidently not.
Rather than relying on the above Scripture quoted by me, Pastor Hagee has decided to "roll back the clock" to the Book of Genesis and attempt to build a puzzle of Old Testament Scripture, intertwining Creation with the Prophet Joel, all with the intent of initiating a war in the Middle East. The Book of Genesis is NOT a prophetic book of the Bible and Hagee appears to cherry-pick the Book of Joel squelching verse 2:10 (see above), which lists events similar to the 6th Seal. In Gen.1:14 it says; Then God said: Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the seasons, the days and the years. Hagee says God is using the sun, moon and stars to send signals to mankind. For God's sake, the Almighty is discussing creation, not prophesy. Just as Christ questioned Mosaic Law in a transition from the Old Testament (Mosaic and Priestly Covenants) to the Gospels and Epistles (New Covenant), Old Testament prophesy (good examples are Daniel and Isaiah) is enhanced and updated by the New Testament, particularly The Book of Revelation. You must have a a "great earthquake", a solar eclipse and a meteor shower in conjunction with a lunar eclipse (Blood Moon) to satisfy the 6th Seal and symbolize the coming of the great day of the wrath from God and the Lamb (Rev.6:17). As it says in Rev. 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19and if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city described in this book. Pastor Hagee has officially been "put on notice".
If the top 10 publicly traded oil companies are collectively the 1st Beast in Revelation Chapter 13, then Hagee and others (clergy, politicians, companies and their minions) who deny the Book of Revelation, particularly Climate Change, are collectively the 2nd Beast, also known as the False Prophet, so we must use logic and reasoning to Test the Spirits to determine motive in what they say:
1Jn4:1-6 Testing the Spirits.* 1Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, 3and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus* does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. 4You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. 6We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.
 The Christian Science Monitor: Blood Moon Doomsday Prophesy: The Science Behind The Hype by Olivia Lowenberg, Staff. Sep. 1, 2015.
Total Lunar Eclipse 2015 Sep - NASA (http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEplot/LEplot2001/LE2015Sep28T.pdf)
 EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2015. By Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd in TONIGHT | ASTRONOMY ESSENTIALS | SPACE. Sep 07, 2015 (http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/earthskys-meteor-shower-guide)
Rev.4:7 The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a face like that of a human being, and the fourth looked like an eagle* in flight.
* [4:7] Lion…calf…human being…eagle: these symbolize, respectively, what is noblest, strongest, wisest, and swiftest in creation. Calf: traditionally translated “ox,” the Greek word refers to a heifer or young bull. Since the second century, these four creatures have been used as symbols of the evangelists Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John, respectively.
I've been sitting under this stained glass in St. Patrick's Cathedral for 4 years and never really noticed its true meaning. St. John was the "Beloved Apostle", the Evangelist and the Seer of the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. He was the last apostle to die. In Rev.4:7, the Eagle refers to St. John and it's the reason he's referred to as the Eagle of Patmos in some writings. The other 3 Evangelists: St. Mark (Lion), St. Luke (Calf) and St. Matthew (Man) are the photos above St. John.
Sep. 20, 2015 - Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
12 Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, because he is annoying to us; he opposes our actions, Reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. 17Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him in the end. 18For if the righteous one is the son of God, God will help him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. 19With violence and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. 20Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
2nd Reading James 3:16-18, 4:1-3
16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. 17But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. 18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.
Causes of Division. 1Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? 2You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. 3You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Gospel According to St. Mark: Mark 30:37
The Second Prediction of the Passion. 30 They left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. 31He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.” 32But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.
The Greatest in the Kingdom. 33They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. 35Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” 36Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, 37“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
From today's readings:
“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” - Jesus in this case is referring to St. Peter. The Vicar of Christ is coming to the United States and I'd rather welcome him in Spanish!!! Papa Francisco, Bienvenidos a Estados Unidos! La gracia de Jesucristo sea con todas las personas!!!
Author G.R. Miller, utilizing his engineering and project management experiences in the fossil fuels energy sectors and guidance from God, takes a pragmatic approach of part preterism, part symbolism and part literalism in decoding the Revelation of Jesus Christ. He exhibits a Climate Change connection through scripture, commentary and illustrations.