Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Special Series: Part Three: What's so special about the End Times anyway and what are "these things"? (Continued)

As promised, here is the continuing piece of Part Three. I split them up so that they weren’t so long this time, unlike the last time. So, if you’re ready to dig in again to the signs of the end times, let get started.

As always, the information contained herein comes from the Bible and from such websites and scholars as the Omega Letter, Olive Tree Views and Hal Lindsey. There are many other great websites such as Rapture Ready and others.
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Nic’s Notes:

Excerpted from Matthew 24 and Luke 21

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, pestilences (disease), and earthquakes in various and diverse places and fearful events and great signs from heaven. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.

"So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

"I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.


Think about that for a moment. Think about the words that Jesus said.

"There will be famines, pestilences (disease), and earthquakes in various and diverse places and fearful events and great signs from heaven. All these are the beginning of birth pains."

"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken."


Let’s take a look at the things that have happened in the past couple of months.

• Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Stan and the fact that this season will most likely get to the Greek alphabet when they run out of names for hurricanes this year - something which has never happened before
• The resulting flooding from the Hurricanes and the massive destruction and loss of life in the US and Central America
• Excessive heat in several areas much later in the season than normal (I know it was over 105 for several days here in Austin at the end of September and beginning of October)
• Earthquakes in North Carolina (of all places!) and several in California starting in August of this year
• Earthquakes in Israel and Guatemala this past week and the devastating one in Pakistan that happened over the weekend killing an estimated 30,000 people – the earthquake in Pakistan had a unprecedented 23 aftershocks with 13 of those being classified as major earthquakes ranging from 5.5 to 6.3. (In 2000, there were 22,256 recorded earthquakes worldwide. That number has steadily increased to 31,199 earthquakes in 2004. that’s almost an increase of 10,000 over 4 years)
• Massive flooding in New Hampshire happening right now unlike anything they’ve seen in over 25 years, resulting in possible failure of all dams in the area if any more rain falls, which it is very much going to as more rain is forecasted for the area – 3-5 more days worth.
• Massive flooding in northern New Jersey – happened this weekend
• Temperatures that were in the unseasonable 90’s in Denver at the end of last week and now they are being blanketed by what is forecasted to be up to 20 inches of snow in a freak early snow storm
• The avian flu crossing borders from Thailand into Turkey and Romania increasing the threat of a worldwide pandemic. The 1918 flu pandemic was an avian flu that crossed species, killing millions worldwide. In the US alone, there is a worst-case sequence of events" scenario being planned for in which 1.9 million Americans will die and nearly 9 million will be hospitalized with costs exceeding $450 billion. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said at a briefing Friday that the administration's flu plan would be released soon. And he emphasized the chances are low that the virus now killing birds in Asia will become a global epidemic affecting humans. "It may be a while longer, but pandemic will likely occur in the future," Leavitt said.
• The most active period of solar activity that has ever been seen resulting in satellite outages, etc. We are supposed to be in the “off season” right now, and yet instead of subsiding, solar activity has actually increased

Not to mention the unbelievable loss of life last December with the most massive earthquake that rocked the earth so hard that time literally stood still for 3 milliseconds and moved the Island of Sumatra over 100 feet and resulted in several hundred thousand deaths in the Asian region from a gigantic tsunami. Resulting waves from the earthquake and tsunami caused problems as far away as Africa.

I don’t know about you, but I would say that all of these events accurately describe events from Matthew 24 and Luke 21: earthquakes, disease, the roaring and tossing of the seas, signs in the sun...

To put it in better perspective, here is a briefing from the Omega Letter that was dated September 12, 2005.

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Sunspot Activity Threatens New Disruptions

An ongoing series of seven major solar flares, including two on Saturday, could disrupt communications on Earth and generate colorful sky shows for people at high northern latitudes for the next several days.

Already satellites have been affected. Even more serious effects are possible this week. The latest round of activity is being spawned by a large 'sunspot' named Sunspot 798.

A 'sunspot' is a cooler and darker region of pent-up magnetic activity. When a sunspot releases its stored up energy, it 'overflows' like a bottle of shaken up champagne.

Until now, the sunspot activity has been on the other side of the sun, and is just now rotating into view. That means that previous flares were directed sideways, rather than directly at Planet Earth.

In coming days, say scientists, the sunspots will be pointed right at us, and will begin to interfere with communication signals like cell phones, satellites and radio waves.

It takes about eight minutes from the time of a solar flare until the radiation begins to bathe the earth. If the magnetic field of a storm is oriented opposite to our planet's protective magnetic field, gaps are created and radiation leaks to the planet's surface, potentially threatening astronauts aboard the International Space Station, sometimes shorting out satellites, and even causing terrestrial power grids to trip.

Solar activity is at "very high levels," according to NOAA's Space Environment Center (SEC).

The SEC has reported that agencies have experienced problems with fluctuations in their electric power systems due to the severe levels of geomagnetic activity.

Spacecraft operations, high-frequency communications, and navigation systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation of satellites "are also experiencing impacts due to the strong to severe solar activity."

There have been seven major flares in recent days, including a tremendous X-17 eruption Wednesday. An event Friday evening was an X-6. On Saturday, an X-1 and an X-2 erupted. Even an X-1 can cause severe disruptions.

The largest flare in modern times was recorded in November 2003 and was estimated to be an X-40. It, too, was on the limb of the Sun and so its full impact was not felt on Earth.

That flare was part of an unprecedented series of 10 major flares within two weeks; at least one Earth-orbiting satellite was disabled and one instrument aboard a Mars-orbiting craft was knocked offline.

This week's series is the most impressive since then.

Each storm is different, and often solar activity goes unnoticed on Earth, depending on whether a storm hits us square or makes a glancing blow and what the magnetic orientation is.

If enough storms erupt, the odds go up that there will be effects here. And the likelihood of Earth taking one directly on the chin goes up with each passing day as the sunspot takes aim.

The Sun is currently at a low point in its 11-year cycle of activity. Astronomers have been observing and charting changes in solar activity since 1610 and been charting changes in the sun's magnetic field every 11 years since 1755.

The peaks in these cycles are called "solar maximum" periods.

Solar flares, one type of "space weather" associated with solar maximums, release tremendous amounts of energy, equivalent to a million hundred-megaton nuclear explosions. The result is a barrage of charged particles hurling toward Earth.

During the last maximum in 1989, a power surge triggered by solar energy damaged transformers of the Hydro-Quebec power system, leaving 6 million people in Canada and the northeast United States without power for more than nine hours. The event also knocked satellites out of orbit and disrupted radio communications.

The current 11-year cycle, the 23rd to have been measured by modern scientists, is called Solar Cycle #23.

Assessment:

Solar Cycle #23 is an unprecedented historical anomaly. A solar activity chart located at http://www.sec.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/ graphs the upper predicted thresholds and the lower predicted thresholds of solar activity based on previous cycles.

Predicted thresholds ranged between 25 and 40 sunspot incidents. By the midpoint in 2000, the number of solar events peaked about 400% above normal.

Note from the chart that from mid-1994 through mid-1998 -- during the last solar MAXIMUM -- sunspot activity was minimal, with almost no activity at all through 1997.

The solar maximum period peaked in 2000, but instead of subsiding, double-peaked again in 2002.
Sunspots are the most visible sign of those complex magnetic fields -- but not the only one. Another sign is solar radio emissions, which come from hot gas trapped in magnetic loops.

"The radio Sun is even brighter now than it was in 2000, David Hathaway, a solar physicist at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, said in an interview on NASA's website. By the radio standard, this second peak is larger than the first, noted NASA.

What is particularly fascinating is what is emerging as a pattern of unusual solar activity, dating to about 1948, as noted by the American Institute of Physics in its bulletin number 658 published in 2003 by Phillip F. Schewe, Ben Stein, and James Riordon.

They noted; "In the case of sunspots, the direct counting goes back to Galileo's time, around 1610. But earlier sunspot activity can be deduced from beryllium-10 traces in Greenland and Antarctic ice cores."

Using this approach, scientists at the University of Oulu in Finland and the Max Planck Institute in Katlenburg-Lindau in Germany have reconstructed the sunspot count back to the year 850.

They reached the stunning conclusion that, over the whole 1150 year record available, the sun has been most magnetically active (greatest number of sunspots) over the past six decades than at anytime in more than a thousand years.

Why is this important? Taken together with other signs from nature, one gets the image of a planet in upheaval.

The Asian tsunami was triggered by an undersea earthquake of such force that it shook the whole planet like a tuning fork, tipping it slightly on its axis and making microscopic changes in the fabric of time. The island of Sumatra was moved hundreds of yards from its original position by the quake.

Environmental scientists are warning of both catastrophic global warming and the approach of a new Ice Age.

Everything from man-made greenhouse gases to changes in the earth's magnetic field to cow flatulence is being blamed for the rapidly changing environment, but the only thing everybody can agree on is that the environment is rapidly changing.

Nine of the past eleven Atlantic hurricane seasons have been above normal, both in frequency and intensity of the storms.

This year's Hurricane Katrina was the 4th most powerful storm to ever strike the United States and arguably was the single most destructive storm in history. It is the only storm on record to kill a major US city.

The last ten years have also been among the most destructive periods for flooding, world-wide, in history. Flooding has claimed thousands of lives and billions of dollars in property from the Mississippi Valley to Bangladesh and all points in between.

More disasters – natural and non-natural – were reported for 2000 than in any year over the last decade. Natural disasters killed a reported 665,598 people from 1991-2000.

On average, natural disasters -- not man-made ones -- accounted for 88 per cent of all deaths from disasters over the last decade, say statisticians.

While the number of geophysical disasters has remained fairly steady, the number of hydro-meteorological disasters since 1996 has more than doubled.

During the past decade over 90 per cent of those killed by natural disasters lost their lives in hydro-meteorological events such as droughts, windstorms and floods.

While earthquakes accounted for 30 per cent of estimated damage, they killed just 9 per cent of all those killed by natural disasters. \Meanwhile, famine killed 42 per cent, but accounted for just 4 per cent of damage, over the past decade, according to figures provided by the Red Cross.

The Munich Insurance Group reported on its website that "in 1999 at least 70,000 people were killed by natural catastrophes and perhaps even as many as 100,000." It notes somberly, "this is the highest figure since 1991. . . Earthquakes in August and November claimed more than 20,000 lives in Turkey. Cyclone 05 B, which raged in the Bay of Bengal at the end of October, killed as many as 30,000 in Orissa (India). The death toll in Venezuela probably exceeded 30,000 as a result of debris avalanches and mudslides following torrential rain."

Taken together, as noted, we have a picture of a planet in flux, drifting in a solar system in flux, with attending catastrophes like earthquakes, famines, wars, pestilences and flooding on an unprecedented scale.

Most are part of a cycle that is traceable back to the late 1940's.

Let's take another look at the Olivet Discourse with new eyes, from a new perspective, and armed with this new information, to see how it stacks up.

Two thousand years ago, "as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, His disciples came unto Him 'privately'," say the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13), with Mark's Gospel identifying Peter, James, John and Andrew as being among His questioners.

Before moving on take note of two things;

First, Jesus was speaking with His closest confidantes. Secondly, they were not Christians, but Jews. The Church had not yet been born at Pentecost. The perspective, therefore, is that of Israel, specifically, the view from the Mount of Olives.

Jesus spoke of "wars and commotions" wherein; "Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." (Luke 21:9-11)

From our various vantage points around the globe, we HEAR of ethnic wars, but Israel has spent its entire existence fighting exactly that. 'Ethnic' wars against Arabs in general, together with specific wars against literal Arab kingdoms.

Jesus said that, "BEFORE all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for My Name's sake." (Luke 21:12)

Israel's rebirth was a direct result of the Nazi Holocaust during which Jews were exterminated in their millions as 'Christ-killers' by largely Catholic Europe.

The prophetic pattern outlined for the last days then shifts from man-made disasters to natural disasters;
"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring."

Weigh the Lord's prophecy to the scientific warnings of shifting weather patterns, increased flooding, sunspots, unprecedented hurricane activity, and the literally billions of dollars being spent to study the existential threats facing the planet, from a coming global Ice Age to the possibility of a catastrophic meteor strike.

"Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (Luke 21:26)

Think this through. Has there ever been a time -- in all recorded history -- when that statement has been more generally true than the present generation?

Was there ever a time in all recorded history when so MANY people were aware of the threat as there are now?

Think of some time -- in all recorded history -- when it would be accurate to describe the planetary mood as one in which 'men's hearts' could be described as 'failing them for fear' -- not as a result of some temporary man-made event, such as World War II, but out of fear of 'what is coming ON THE EARTH" -- as a direct result of 'the powers of heaven [being] shaken' in such a direct and obvious way?

If you can, please email me, as I cannot. Now read the next verse, in the Lord's Own Words, and connect the dots.

First we have the climactic upheaval, followed by fears of existential threats from terrestrial and extraterrestrial threats.

Jesus laid out the scenario in chronological order, and historical hindsight enables us to track the progression, from its convergence point in history with the rebirth of Israel to the present.

(That is where we sit on the future/historical curve at this moment.)

"And THEN shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Luke 21:27) First, the natural upheaval, and THEN, the Lord's visible Return.

(That puts His invisible return in the air for the Church even closer)

Jesus then turns His attention from future events to explain, in context, what it all means, from the perspective of the generation that would witness all these things . . .

"And when these things BEGIN TO COME TO PASS, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28)

Finally, we have the Lord's ironclad promise: "Verily I say unto you, THIS generation shall NOT PASS AWAY, till ALL be fulfilled." (Luke 21:32)
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And here's another from Hal Lindsey:

Signs From the Heavens

Katrina is also an object lesson on how dangerously close to the edge of the cliff our economy actually functions. This week’s Category 4 storm damaged or disrupted about a quarter of America's oil refining capacity. As a result, it may require the release of part of America’s Strategic Oil Reserve to help stabilize prices and prevent another crippling oil shortage. And science is now beginning to make some disturbing discoveries.

These discoveries at least partially explain why the weather is going berserk. But these scientific findings also reveal the possibility of even greater catastrophic threats than those posed by a precarious oil supply and a fragile global economy. 2005 is shaping up as the hottest summer on record, beating the two previous records set in 2003 and 2002.

In 2002, the United Nations predicted that winters were warming so quickly that winter sports would die out in Europe's lower-level ski resorts. Many Swiss glaciers are showing dramatic retreats.

Italian scientists estimate that their own country’s glaciers are now 20-percent smaller than they were in1987. The ten hottest years on record have all now occurred since 1990. But since the century turned – just four years ago, it seems the whole solar system has been undergoing an upheaval.

For example, scientists have been monitoring the solar cycles since 1755. A pattern of 11-year cycles of sunspot activity emerges from the detailed records of the 21 sunspot cycles observed since 1755. They are comprised of 11 years of maximum solar activity followed by 11 years of minimal solar activity.

In 2003, in the midst of a solar minimum, an unusually powerful series of solar storms erupted that took scientists by surprise. Also in 2003, a global warming study conducted by NASA determined that the sun is getting both hotter and brighter.

In the NASA report, Doctor Richard Wilson concluded, “Historical records of solar activity indicate that solar radiation has been increasing since the late 19th century. If a trend, comparable to the one found in this study, persisted throughout the 20th century it would have provided a significant component of the global warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to have occurred over the past 100 years.” Now we know that those sun trends did continue.

The global sea level has already risen by four to eight inches in the past century. Scientists’ best estimate is that sea level will rise by an additional 19 inches by the year 2100, and perhaps by as much as 37 inches. Also, a report this year in The New York Times concluded that the Earth is perhaps 150 years into the collapse of its magnetic field. The report concludes, “The field’s strength has waned 10 to 15 percent, and the deterioration has accelerated of late, increasing debate over whether it portends a reversal of the lines of magnetic force that normally envelop the Earth.”

The Earth’s magnetic field helps shield the globe from solar winds and storms of deadly particles. A weak field could let solar storms pummel the atmosphere with enough radiation to destroy significant amounts of the ozone that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet light.

Ultraviolet radiation – the short, invisible rays from the sun – can harm some life forms, depress crop yields, and raise cancer rates, causing skin cancer and cataracts in humans.

When climatologists are not warning of impending ecological disaster, astronomers take the podium to warn of the threat of a catastrophic asteroid strike upon the earth. They contend that a major asteroid strike somewhere in the earth’s oceans would cause a tsunami that would make last’s year’s Asian tsunami look like a minor ocean ripple in comparison.

So what does all of this mean? I believe that Jesus Christ predicted these very things as a sign of His soon coming.

I have written for decades about the “Birth pains” the Lord Jesus predicted would increase in frequency and intensity in Matthew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21:

• Religious deception and turn to the occult
• Wars and rumors of wars
• Nation against nation (international upheaval)
• Ethnic group against ethnic group
• Great earthquakes
• Famines
• Plagues

But one of the ‘birth pains’ has not been really clear. Jesus predicted, “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26 NKJ)

There is a cause and effect relation between the first and second clause. I am going to translate this literally from the Greek text. “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars” – then the second clause, “and on the earth, distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves.”

The distress and perplexity of the nations caused by the violent roaring of the sea and the waves are the result of the signs in the sun, moon and stars. This indicates that violent storms upon the sea would be caused by “the signs in the sun, moon and stars.”

The scientific statistics quoted above show that global warming is primarily caused by what is happening in the sun and moon. Man’s use of fossil fuels contributed in a minor way, but the primary cause is from the unusual increase in solar storms.

The signs from the stars have to do with the scientific discovery of meteors that threaten to catastrophically collide with the earth.

What I quoted above clearly shows that the global climate is changing because of the increase in the mean temperature of the earth. This temperature change increases at a greater rate along the equatorial areas of the oceans, dramatically raising the heat of the water. And it is the oceans’ temperature that is the generator of greater and greater storms.

There is no question that Hurricanes and typhoons are increasing in frequency and power. Here we are at only the first of September and we are already at the letter “K” in named storms. That is a rare phenomenon.

Hurricane Katrina has just destroyed one of our largest and most important seaport cities. It also virtually destroyed Gulfport, Biloxi and many other smaller cities. It killed untold thousands of people. It has caused misery, suffering and distress on a level never before experienced in the Unites States. And the worst of the calamity is not yet known.

Jesus warned that these storms roaring in from the sea would cause “men’s hearts to fail them because of what is coming upon the earth.” He also warned that “the very powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

If this is the time on God’s prophetic clock that I believe it is, ‘Katrina’ is just the beginning of even worse super storms in the future. Not to mention the coming of more catastrophic earthquakes, tsunamis and diseases that result from the conditions these bring.

I believe that the Lord Jesus is very near is His coming for all true believers to snatch us out of this world in the ‘twinkling of an eye’. As He promised, He will instantaneously transform us from mortal to immortal and take us to be with Him.

If you are a believer, it is time to make your life count for Christ as never before. There is no time to waste in frivolities that do not count for eternity.

If you are not sure that you are a believer, tell God that you are a sinner. Ask Christ to come into your life and give you the pardon for all your sins that He purchased for you by dying under the penalty of your sins.

The hour is late. Do not put off a decision that could cost you eternity under God’s judgment.

Pray now and change your eternal destiny.
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By this time, your mind should be starting to whirl with the possibilities that the Bible is correct and true and that Bible prophecy is accurate. How else can all of these unexplained weather patterns be explained? Scientists and meteorologists are starting to use words like “unprecedented”, “unexplained”, “never before seen”, “unparalleled”, “record” and so forth and so on. If scientists are scrambling to have a logical, reasonable explanation for these events and are falling short and still refuse to acknowledge that just maybe there is a God and that His words are Truth and that this time is happening just as predicted in Bible prophecy, then their pride is certainly blinding them. Thomas Dolby said it very well in the song “Weird Science” – “blinded me with science”. So many people stoutly refuse to even acknowledge the possibility that there is a God in this world b/c that just might mean that maybe the very God they have turned their back on is trying to get the world's attention and tell us that the end really is near. It’s not just a bunch of pop prophecy or pop theology. These things were predicted in the Bible as many as 2,500 years ago and are now coming to fruition. It’s not too late to trust in Jesus as your Savior, but the time is rapidly running out. If you think that God is a forgiving person and will forgive everything you’ve done in your life without you asking for that forgiveness and genuinely repenting of your sins and accepting Jesus into your life, then you are sadly mistaken. If you want to take a simple test to see if you are a "good enough" person to go to heaven on your own, then click here. Don’t wait until it’s too late, your eternity is in your hands.

Next: Special Series: Part Four: What's so special about this generation anyway? (what is this generation and are we it?)

3 comments:

Epiphany said...

awesome...I'm going to have to re-read these again in the morning, to really absorb it.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Great post; it will be worth reading again.

Michael Manning said...

Wow, Nic! That was some post!! Wouldn't it be nice if all cultures could have mutual respect? Hope Peace in the Middle East comes soon too! You have a good heart!!