Compass Point and Daily Links

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Compass Point

It is midsummer and there seems to be a lag in the news right now. No big event or crisis has erupted. You can tell this by the headlines on the internet...there are none. Right now the biggest anticipation is for the twin release of the latest Harry Potter movie and book. I'll save my comment for that phenomena for tomorrow.

 Years ago I gave some talks called "Life on the Front Porch". I used the example of the front porch of Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel with its long veranda and many large rocking chairs. This spot is perfect for whiling away an hour on a summer afternoon with a glass of tea while watching a storm move across the Straits of Mackinac. Somewhere in this scene time seems suspended, hanging softly on the passing wind.

I used this picture to illustrate something about prophecy and God's plan. Too often when we study prophecy we get caught up in the speculative aspects of "when will Chhrist return" or " are the two witnesses of Revelation".  Granted, these are the some high points that are among the most interesting parts of the subject. But everyone who gets too specific on these and other points always end up looking like, well, a false prophet.

When you look at the flow of events in the Bible, from creation forward to today, you see a lot of high points such as, Abraham's time, the Exodus, David and Solomon, and the time of Christ and the apostles. But these events are separated by at times hundreds of years when nothing seems to happening.

But something is happening in those "in between years". Everyday life is is going on. People are "marrying and giving in marriage". Babies are born and families grow. People rejoice and mourn within the normal cycles of life and death. Life goes on and sometimes it is no more exciting than sitting on a front porch and watching the hours slip by.

But that's ok. God did not determine that we would always be hyped up in "alert mode". Prophecy is not to used that way. Prophecy is a compass that helps us see our world for what it is, from God's point of view. We can understand the high points history and know that God is guiding the world to a point where He will completeley take over with His Kingdom.

Until then we are to follow Christ's instruction, "Do business till I come". (Luke 19:13).  Enjoy the life we are given and make the most of it within the framework of God's way of life. Solomon had some things to say about this. I'll save that for another post.

Bin Laden Dead?

Stratfor (sub req) is speculating that Osama bin Laden is probably "gone for good" after analyzing the latest video release from al Qaeda. Here is their comment:

A new al Qaeda tape is circulating; a sort of montage honoring the "fallen martyrs" of the Afghan war. Within the tape is a 50-second clip of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden discussing his thoughts on the subject.

The tape was first released July 14, but now news commentators aplenty are citing the video as proof of al Qaeda's strength in general, and of bin Laden's vitality in particular. However, judging from the camera angle, the clothing and what appears in the video's background, the tape is more than five years old and was filmed on the same reel used to assemble a video released in May 2002.

That means it has been more than a year since al Qaeda released any evidence indicating bin Laden is still alive, and roughly five years since the apex leadership of al Qaeda has been conclusively linked to any attack outside the Middle East or South Asia.

We certainly understand al Qaeda's effort to make its leader loom large; there are few organizations whose need to do something spectacular outweighs that of al Qaeda, and there is arguably no one who needs to prove he is a player more than bin Laden does. But barring a secret plan that, for some as-yet-undisclosed reason, necessitates hiding in Pakistani caves for years, bin Laden is either dead or incapacitated to the point that he cannot speak -- or his condition is such that his handlers prefer he does not.

This brief goes on to say that all the talk in Iraq this week tends to the positive as often in the Middle East such talks can be a harbinger of a peace settlement rather than a prelude to war. We hope that is the case.

Europe Learns to Stop Fearing Germans

Gideon Rachman in today's Financial Times talks about Poland's fear of a resurgent Germany and Russia in European politics. Poland was quiet vocal about past German atrocities in the recent EU meetings, something that is usally impolite in EU circles.

However, this article reminds us that the driving force behind the Treaty of Rome, which launched the drive to European unity, was to contain Germany within an economic pact that would channel its historic energy.

Perhaps that lesson is what is being forgotten as that generation dies off. Poland today is alone in voicing fears of what renewed German influence could mean for the balance of power in Europe.

History and Bible prophecy show that there is more than outward geopolitics that drive the course of nations. There is also an unseen spiritual dimension that should not be ignored.

National Intelligence Estimate Due Today

A new Natinal Intelligence Estimate is due out today and reportedly it will say  that al Qaeda has generally increased its strength and is stepping up efforts to infiltrate the United States.

Another concern, according to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's comments last week, is Europe, which has become a key battleground in the war on terror. The NIE is expected to show that al Qaeda is more determined than ever to get its operatives in the United States from Europe.

Last month, a group of foreign-born doctors with suspected ties to al Qaeda allegedly attempted to detonate car bombs in London, England, and drove an explosives-laden vehicle into an airport terminal in Glasgow, Scotland. No one was killed, and British authorities believe they have arrested the key members of a terrorist cell.

Chertoff said the attempted attacks, combined with previous successful attacks in Madrid, Spain, and London, have "given us some cause for concern."