Required of Christians: Keep Oneself Unspotted
What should God and His kingdom represent to us? And what do we see in the world we live in today? It is a startling contrast to God’s way and what He intends for us.
The apostle James penned these words: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
King David wrote, “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether” (Psalms 19:8-9).
Psalm 12:6 says, “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”
Trials Are Like a Refiners Fire
God wants the purity of His words to be a part of our lives, and He is refining us. The apostle Peter wrote that the trials we face act as a furnace. The difficulties purify us like when gold or silver is purified and refined in the fire. The trying of our faith is much more precious than gold which will perish (1 Peter 1:7). God is purifying us as the Master Goldsmith, and He is making us into the image of Jesus Christ. He will know when He is done when He has purified us to such a fineness that He sees the face of Christ, His mind and beautiful character.
God and His kingdom represent purity, peace, gentleness, cooperation, forgiving attitudes, fairness and true-blue sincerity. Imagine what type of a world we would have now if everyone lived by just those refreshing values. If we practice these values in our lives, we will have no regrets, because God’s pure ways are always good.
When we contrast God’s ways with this world, it is a sad thing to even think about. We certainly know all people do not go along with the wickedness of this world, but we need to realize they are not, for the most part, running this world. They do not know God fully. Many would agree that the world in general has a morality that is spiraling downward. When some openly speak of mutilating our children and put thoughts in their heads to cause them to doubt their own sexuality, this is complete sickness and moral depravity.
The Washington Examiner ran an article (Biden accuses people who oppose mutilating children of being 'close to sinful', March 14, 2023) citing that U.S. President Joe Biden had called giving puberty blockers to children “gender affirming care.” He also said it was cruel and ‘close to sinful’ to withhold this kind of care. The article went on to say it was a sin not to say promoting hormone treatments to children can lead to the early onset of cancer, tumors and strokes.
One would imagine any thinking person would realize what is being advocated by politicians and others about these gender reassignments for children is wrong. God would never approve of such profound wickedness. This is the world’s way, and when contrasted with God’s pure way, is like comparing light to darkness. We thank God, He has called us out of the insanity of this world and its ways.
Practicing Pure and Undefiled Religion
The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:8-12: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”
The Greek word used for ‘expose’ means to refute or reprove. The reason God’s people should refute such societal ideas is because it is corrupting the lives of so many. We need to give an answer, and protect our own minds from the unclean ideas of this world.
The apostle James said pure religion and undefiled is to visit the fatherless and the widow, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27). Paul implored the Corinthians, who were surrounded by corrupting immoral influences as we are today: “Therefore, ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty’” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
This is my Perspective of these times and this edition of the Prophetic Times follows below:
US Military Intercepts Russian Military Aircraft Near Alaska for Second Time in a Week
May 18, 2023 voanews.com reported:
The U.S. military has confirmed another Russian military aircraft was tracked while operating near the U.S. state of Alaska on Monday, the second such incident in less than a week.
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said that it had ‘detected and tracked’ one Russian military aircraft while it was operating in the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and did not enter U.S. or Canadian sovereign airspace, according to a NORAD press release.
Speaking to VOA on Wednesday, a NORAD official declined to identify the type of Russian military aircraft, adding that U.S. fighter jets did not fly out and intercept the aircraft in this instance. The flight occurred as several planned large-scale military training exercises are underway in and around Alaska.
Consumer Debt Cracks $17 Trillion for First Time Ever
May 18, 2023 thehill.com reported:
The rise in debt was spurred on by a $121 billion climb in mortgage balances in the U.S., bringing total mortgage debt to just over $12 trillion. It was the most substantial growth in any category.
Auto loans increased by $10 billion over last quarter, totaling $1.56 trillion. Student loan debt increased moderately, to $1.6 trillion. Credit card debt remained flat, however, staying at $986 billion.
The rise in household debt comes as federal officials have continued raising interest rates as part of their fight to tame inflation. This month, the Federal Reserve again hiked interest rates by 0.25 percentage points despite fears of a recession, bringing rates to between 5 and 5.25 percent.
Iran justifies seizure of foreign vessels in the Persian Gulf
May 17, 2023 israelnationalnews.com reported:
Iran has justified its recent seizure of two foreign vessels in the Persian Gulf, claiming the seizures were ‘aimed at countering behaviors and actions in violation of international maritime law’, the Xinhua news agency reported.
In a statement responding to US accusations that Iran has been carrying out increased attacks on commercial shipping, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said Iran plays the ‘most effective’ role in ensuring maritime security in regional and international waters and has always been a ‘guarantor’ of the ‘harmless and safe’ passage of ships and vessels across the Strait of Hormuz.
The spokesman condemned the US government for ‘compromising maritime security by breaking maritime law and seizing certain Iranian oil shipments in international waters and high seas.’
Iran seized the Marshall Islands-flagged Advantage Sweet on April 27 as it traveled in the Gulf of Oman. Six days later, it seized a second ship, the Niovi, a Panama-flagged tanker as it left a dry dock in Dubai.
AFRL conducts Swarm technology demonstration
May 17, 2023 spacewar.com reported:
The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, conducted a demonstration, April 5, 2023, of its high-power microwave counter drone weapon, the Tactical High-power Operational Responder, or THOR, as it engaged a swarm of multiple targets at the Chestnut Test Site, Kirtland Air Force Base.
‘The THOR team flew numerous drones at the THOR system to simulate a real-world swarm attack,’ said Adrian Lucero, THOR program manager at AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate.
‘THOR has never been tested against these types of drones before, but this did not stop the system from dropping the targets out of the sky with its non-kinetic, speed-of-light High-Power Microwave, or HPM pulses,’ he said…
‘THOR was exceptionally effective at disabling the swarm with its wide beam, high peak powers and fast-moving gimbal to track and disable the targets,’ said Lucero.
China courts Central Asia as Russia’s influence wanes
May 16, 2023 spacewar.com reported:
China is renewing its push for massive infrastructure projects in Central Asia as Beijing aims to fill the vacuum left in former Soviet states by Russia, which is ensnared in a widening net of Western sanctions over the Ukraine war.
Central Asia has become key to China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, a defining geopolitical project for President Xi Jinping.
Around 150 countries have received Chinese funds to build roads, ports, railways or hydroelectric dams.
Beijing says trade with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan reached $70 billion in 2022 and expanded 22 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023.
Analysts say Russia’s war in Ukraine has further shifted the dynamic in Beijing’s favour — leading many in the region to question their long-standing ties with Moscow and seek economic, diplomatic and strategic assurances elsewhere.
‘After the Russian aggression in Ukraine, the Central Asian republics started to fear for their sovereignty,’ Ayjaz Wani, a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in Mumbai, told AFP.
US Says Iran, Russia Are Expanding Military Ties
May 16, 2023 voanews.com reported:
The United States said Monday there are signs that Russia and Iran are expanding their military cooperation. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters that Iran ‘remains Russia’s top military backer, and Iran has already provided Russia with artillery and tank rounds for use in Ukraine.’
Patel said that since August, ‘Iran has provided Russia with more than 400 UAVs, primarily of the Shahed variety, and Russia has expended most of these UAVs using them to target Ukrainian critical infrastructure inside Ukraine.’
‘The deepening of this cooperation is a threat and a danger to not just Ukraine; it’s a threat and a danger to Russia’s neighbors, Iran’s neighbors, and the international community broadly,’ Patel told reporters.
Palestinians prefer Russia, China to mediate with Israel, don’t trust US
May 15, 2023 ynetnews.com reported:
A new survey published on Monday showed that Palestinians prefer Russia and China as potential peace mediators with Israel, while the U.S. is seen as the least favorable option.
The majority of respondents to the survey, conducted this month by YouGov at the request of Arab News, said that they would like Moscow to be a potential peace broker. In the meantime, 80% pointed to China – which has strengthened its position in the region after mediating the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement in March.
Later in April, Beijing offered to facilitate peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians amid tensions in Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan. The third possible option, according to the survey, is the European Union.
Meanwhile, nearly 60% of respondents said they did not trust the U.S. to mediate negotiations, with 86% claiming that Washington has significant influence over Jerusalem.
Russia says UK long-range missiles for Kyiv ‘extremely hostile’ act
May 15, 2023 spacewar.com reported:
Russia said Friday a decision by the UK to deliver Storm Shadow long-range missiles to Ukraine was an extremely hostile move.
By announcing it would deliver the air-launched deep-strike weapon, Britain became the first country to provide longer-range armament to Kyiv.
Storm Shadow is a highly capable long-range missile system that has been utilized by British and French forces in various military operations, including deployments in the Gulf, Iraq, and Libya. It is a precision-guided, air-launched missile designed for deep-strike missions against high-value targets.
Developed by the European defense consortium MBDA, Storm Shadow, also known as SCALP EG (Systeme de Croisiere Autonome a Longue Portee, Emploi General), possesses advanced features and capabilities. It is designed to operate in extreme conditions and can be deployed from a range of aircraft, including fighter jets and strategic bombers.
With a range of approximately 560 kilometers (350 miles), the missile provides a significant reach and can strike targets with great precision. It incorporates advanced navigation systems, including inertial navigation, global positioning system (GPS), and terrain reference navigation, ensuring accurate and reliable targeting.
Storm Shadow’s warhead is capable of delivering a substantial explosive payload, making it effective against a wide range of targets, including bunkers, command and control centers, and hardened structures. The missile’s stealth characteristics, low observability, and ability to fly at very low altitudes contribute to its effectiveness in penetrating enemy air defenses.