Tag Archives: Bible

1/1/2019: Looking ahead with a focus on Bible prophecy

2019 and Bible prophecy

 

The number one sign of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the convergence of all the signs He told us to look for.

Jesus said, “When you see all these things take place, look up! Your salvation draws near” (Luke 21:28).

What are the things Jesus and the prophets said to look for?

Israel back in the land (Jeremiah 23:7-8)  (Fulfilled in 1948.)

The Jewish people back in control of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24)  (Fulfilled in 1967.)

The Gospel being preached to the whole world (Matthew 24:14)  (Fulfilled with the advent of the Internet.)

Because we see these signs today, we can be confident we live in the season of His return.

But Jesus cited other signs too. So did the prophets. Those signs are perfectly apparent as well. As 2019 now dawns before us, what are the most important prophetic trends we see? Below is a list of what are likely the top five.

 

1) The Rise of the Gog / Magog Alliance
2018 saw a continuation of the developing alliance between Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Russia and Iran have grown closer and closer since the mid-1990s. Their joint occupation of Syria in the aftermath of the Syrian civil war has only brought further cooperation. Yet, as recently as 2015, Turkey looked like an adversary of both nations.
In November of that year, Turkey shot down a Russian jet that strayed into its airspace. Far from allies, the two nations looked more like they were on the verge of war than friendship. But things have since changed. Turkish President Erdogan has consolidated his grip on power. He now antagonizes the United States while making friendly visits with Vladimir Putin.
Pursuing its own interests, Turkey is now a major player in the Syrian conflict. Along with Russia and Iran, they’ve effectively carved Syria into various spheres of influence. The result is a once unlikely alliance formed on Israel’s northern border. These are the very same nations Ezekiel said would invade Israel from the north in “the latter days” (Ezekiel 38:8).

Iran has been belligerent toward Israel for decades. Now, Russia and Turkey are too. Russia blames Israel for a September 17 incident that led to Syrian forces downing a Russian spy plane. In May, Turkey told Israeli ambassador Eitan Naeh to leave the country. Since then, more Israeli officials have left Turkey, and the Turkish consul general has been expelled from Israel. Israeli relations with all three countries are suffering a clear downtrend.

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  The Gog-Magog War against Israel described in Ezekiel ch. 38 and 39 requires that five nations participate in coming against Israel. Three of the five are now on Israel’s northern border, in the country of Syria.

 

2) The Continued Rise of Artificial Intelligence
This year featured a number of news stories on massive advances made in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). One example was China’s Yitu Technologies, a company at the forefront of AI development. Yitu created a technology called Dragonfly.
Dragonfly can search and analyze billions of photographs and locate a single person in a matter of seconds. Connected to cameras in the Shanghai Metro, it identified over 500 “criminals” in a three-month period. It’s so powerful it can recognize people wearing disguises. And it can identify people using pictures that are more than 30 years old.
In the near future, technologies like Dragonfly will be commonplace. Large tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple seem willing to give into China’s demands. Despite Google’s mission statement to “do no evil,” several media outlets report they’ve been working on a search engine to comply with the Chinese government’s strict surveillance and censorship demands. Similarly, Facebook reportedly built a censorship tool in an effort to appease the Chinese government and gain access to its one billion Internet users.
As advanced technology spreads, it will become impossible for individual citizens to stand up to oppressive governments, especially if those governments are aided by large multinational corporations.

Just think of the power AI gives the Chinese government. As Dragonfly connects to every camera in China, no one will be able to hide. While this is good for catching criminals, not every person sought by the Chinese government is a criminal. Chinese dissidents, political activists, ethnic minorities, Christians, and other “enemies of the state” will have nowhere to hide. And it’s quite unlikely China will be the only state to take advantage of this technology. In one form or another, every nation on earth is already making use of AI.

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Always remember, however, that Artificial Intelligence will never be a match for plain old carefully developed stupidity.

 

3) An Increase in High Magnitude Earthquakes
Jesus said several signs will increase like birth pains before He returns (Matthew 24:8). This means those signs will increase in frequency and intensity before the Second Coming. One of the signs Jesus cited is earthquakes (Matthew 24:7).  We’ve seen a marked increase in the frequency of high intensity earthquakes over the past two decades.

From 1900 to 1950, the world only registered six 8.0 magnitude earthquakes. Since 2010, we’ve had ten. Earlier this year, more than 70 earthquakes hit the Pacific Ring of Fire in a 48-hour period. The earth is preparing for the King’s return!

4) Continued European Union Volatility
In a June 23, 2016 referendum, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (EU). The media labeled this British exit from the EU “Brexit.” Many predicted an immediate collapse of the EU. They said further exits would likely follow. Yet 2 1/2 years later, the EU is still together and the UK hasn’t left. This should come as no surprise.

Over two thousand years ago, the prophet Daniel described the initial stages of the Antichrist’s global empire. He described it as an alliance of weak and strong nations (Daniel 2:42). He said it would be a divided alliance, loosely held together (Daniel 2:41).
This is what we see today with the EU. Since its inception, the EU has been an odd collection of governments, economies, currencies, and military forces. EU nations include some of the world’s largest and smallest economies. These same nations have some of the world’s largest and smallest militaries. From the Schuman Declaration in 1950 to the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007, the rise of the EU has been marked by a struggle to agree on important issues.

These include arguments over a single currency (the United Kingdom and Denmark opted out), disagreements over how to handle debt crises (the Greek bailouts), and disputes over open borders (the Syrian refugee crisis). Each step along the way, the EU struggled to survive. Yet it HAS survived.  If the EU is the forerunner to the empire the prophet Daniel described, then it will continue to survive. And its power will grow until it envelops the whole world.

5) The Love of Many Grows Cold
The Bible says that in the end times “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). “People will be lovers of themselves and their money. They’ll be “boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They’ll consider nothing sacred. They’ll be unloving and unforgiving — slanderers with no self-control. They’ll be cruel and hate what is good. They’ll betray their friends, be reckless, prideful, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. They’ll act religious, but reject the power that could make them godly” (2 Timothy 3:2-5).

While you can find examples of evil in every generation, ours features some of the most vile behavior since the days of Noah, when the thoughts of people were nothing but “continuous evil” (Genesis 6:5).
2018 featured a number of examples. In February, Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and school staffers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It was the deadliest mass shooting of the year in the U.S., and it made national headlines. But not every story of evil makes headlines. Also in February, a woman in Schenectady, New York got upset after an argument and threw her baby at a New York State trooper. She was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and endangering the welfare of a child.
She wasn’t alone. It was a year where the love of many grew cold for their own children. For example, in August, authorities arrested Chris Watts for killing his pregnant wife, Shanan, and their two daughters, ages 3 and 4. Then, he threw his wife in a shallow grave and stuffed his daughters’ bodies in vats of oil. It’s hard to imagine anything more evil than this!

These are just a few news stories from the past year.  Unfortunately, they are not isolated incidents.  Stories of aberrant and criminal behavior have become so commonplace that most of them aren’t reported in the media anymore. Instead, we hear statistics about the number of rapes, murders, and assaults year to date, and whether or not this year is worse than the last. The world today is saturated with violence — just as in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37).

What to Look for in 2019

Look for increasing cooperation between Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Look for a strengthening EU, even as the alliance remains volatile. Watch for a continued increase in AI capability. Look for the continuing degeneration of society, with a continuing increase in evil as the basis for that degeneration. And don’t be surprised if we have one or more 8.0 magnitude earthquakes. All of these things and more will probably mark 2019 as a year to remember.
Above all, the #1 thing you should look for is the return of our Savior. As we enter the new year, all the signs are screaming, “Jesus is coming VERY SOON!”
[From an article published by PROPHECY NEWS WATCH]
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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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People all over the world know something about God…but He wants us to know Him personally

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

The Apostle Paul expressed nearly the same thought when he wrote of Jesus, “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.”  (Philippians 3:10)

Why settle for knowing something about God, when you can know Him deeply and personally?  Especially when He wants us to know Him?

God gave us the wonderful book called the Holy Bible for this exact purpose, to enable us to come to know Him.  In other words, we can know God by knowing Jesus, and we can know Jesus by knowing the Bible.  It’s really that simple!

There is a passage in the book of John, chapter 14; Jesus is conversing with his disciples.  Jesus says to Thomas, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”  Philip apparently misunderstands what Jesus means, for he says to Jesus in response, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”  Jesus replies to Philip, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

That is a verse worth remembering:  “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”  If you want to know what God is really like, just get to know Jesus.

To know Him is to know that He was not compelled to go to Jerusalem to be crucified, but that He willingly walked into the city knowing precisely what awaited Him.

To know Him is to know that He wants not ritual but relationship with us.

To know Him is to know that “with God all things are possible.”  (Matthew 19:26)  It’s never too late to start the conversation leading to salvation and eternal life.

To know Him is to know that He truly came “to seek and save the lost.”

To know Him is to realize that Jesus wants us to finally admit that we need Him and His strength in getting through this life.  We need the clear picture of Him hanging on the cross though innocent, while we are the ones guilty of the sin  He carries.  We should look for Him at the low points in life, not when we think we’re at a peak.

To know Him is to ultimately understand the truth of how God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

To know Him is to know that He didn’t come to make good people better, but to make dying people truly alive for the first time.

To know Him is to know there is absolutely no possible way to repay Him for His sacrifice on our behalf, other than simply to accept it gratefully.

To know Him is to know He always knows where we are, who we are, and what we are going through, even if it feels like no one else knows us at all.

 

(Take a few minutes to visit WHOFIRST.COM and read the amazing story about Millie. Click on the menu link “Amazing True Stories.”)

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART: Heaven by the Back Door

Editor’s Note:  If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that our constant goal is to bring you newsworthy information from many different sources. Our focus is always the USA first, and then the rest of the world…not for any other reason than that we happen to live and work in the USA.  Today, however, as we do occasionally, we’d like to use as a source of content something that’s Straight From The Heart.

 

Let’s assume for the purposes of today’s post this one thing: God is real.

Will you grant us that liberty?  Regardless of your own current faith status, just bear with us and assume today that God is real.  That means we also have to assume, by default, that the Bible is a book of truth.  Cover to cover.  It also means we have to assume that hell is real, because hell is spoken of very often in the Bible.  And if hell is real, then a chief devil named Satan and a myriad of demons are also real.  Okay?  Can we make those assumptions as we start this blog today?

Most people who enter Heaven enter by the front door.  Somewhere along life’s path they meet the Savior, they learn about Him from the pages of the Bible, and they decide they want to follow Him from this life to the promised eternal life.

We have long been convinced, however, that Heaven also has a back door.  We’re also convinced that it really doesn’t matter which door you use to enter Heaven.  The point is to get there and enter in.  You’re invited no matter which door you use.  If the Bible is true (as per our governing assumptions), and if our promised eternal life is going to be as wonderful as the Bible says it is (the Bible says it’s going to be more wonderful than we can possibly imagine!), then we can use the front door or the back door to get there, but we must GET THERE!  Heaven is not to be missed!

For our purposes today, let’s describe Heaven’s back door as any entrance other than its front door, the one described above.

Do you believe hell exists?  (Don’t forget that we are assuming it does.)  Or let’s back up a step and ask this question instead:  DO YOU BELIEVE EVIL EXISTS?

Do you think hell exists? It does.

It’s completely impossible NOT to believe in evil.  We see it around us at a level today that has not been apparent in this world before, ever.  We will go so far as to say that the level of evil in the world today is so great as to be obviously inspired.  Inspired by evil’s source, the chief evilist named Satan.

ISIS is evil.  Islam is a religion inspired by the devil himself.  Radical Islam would just as soon behead you as talk to you.  Sooner, in fact.  ISIS has absolutely no reverence for life, only death.  Islam promises dozens of virgins to the men who reach the afterlife.  What does it promise Islamic women?  Absolutely nothing but a continuation of the servitude they endure on earth.

Life in the USA is becoming more saturated with evil continually.  We used to be a kind people, citizens who would not hesitate to do something nice for our friends, neighbors, and family.  Today we seem to think only of ourselves.  We go through life today totally self-absorbed, staring at our little cellphone screens as if there is nothing quite so interesting anywhere else on the planet.  We don’t talk much anymore, just text.  Hate to be the one to break this to you, but Heaven won’t have any cellphones.  Not one.  They won’t be needed.  In Heaven we’ll communicate so easily, so effortlessly that we’ll be amazed by what we never were able to do on earth.  Heaven is all about relationships.  The  level of communication between Heaven’s residents, and God and its residents, will absolutely amaze us and thrill us.  Eternally.

When we’re not on our cellphones here today, what are we doing?  Watching TV.  Going online.  Focusing on self.  We turn on the TV to get another download of probably fake news.  We watch our politicians and athletes and CEOs try to avoid the spotlight of another indiscretion or disrespectful exhibition of selfishness.  We watch another sitcom in which the situations are contrived, the laughs are at our own expense, and the characters have no character.

Does it not seem to you, at least once in a while, that stupidity today is truly epidemic?  Late night TV is the bottom of the barrel in the world of entertainment.  Stephen Colbert is the most popular and probably the dumbest way to end the day that we have ever seen.  He can do nothing but trash our president; in his mind there is nothing so funny as the guy in the White House.  Colbert to us looks dumber each time he tries to tell us, over and over again, that we got it all wrong in the last election.  Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is making Colbert look like the idiot he is for his obsessive nastiness and mindless drivel on the same subject night after night.  (If Hillary ever gets terminally tired of Bubba, she and Colbert would make a great pair.)  Hell to us would be endlessly watching late-night TV and its parade of self-absorbed guests.

Hollywood keeps giving us more evil entertainment.  Its movies and TV shows are all of the same genre.  Murder, rape, and mayhem.  We know from watching the latest Harvey Weinstein mayhem edition that Hollywood lives what its own product promotes.  Hollywood has no morals, no respect for anything but self.  Do whatever you want.  Harvey Weinstein got away with it for years because although everyone knew what kind of selfish monster he was, no one wanted to go on record as one who was willing to speak out against him and his lifestyle of taking advantage of others.

Speaking of monsters, we have another one today in North Korea.  Kim takes advantage of his entire citizenry in order to further his aims of what?  World domination?  Give us a break.  North Koreans suffer, starve, and die so Kim can direct his country’s assets toward missiles and military gear.  Another small-minded guy with nothing to offer the world but more pain and evil.

We apologize to you if this seems like a rant.  It’s meant to seem more like a series of observations.  Our point is to help you understand that you can see Biblical reality all around you today.  If the only way you can see it is in the level of evil in the world around you, that’s okay…that’s just as valid as seeing the good, or the truth, or the fulfilled prophecies.  To live in today’s world and see nothing but its physical reality is a hard way to live.  For a lot of people the physical reality of the creation around them is what pointed them to God in the first place, but even those people are a comparatively small number.  If nothing gets you going in the morning except your alarm clock, we truly feel sorry for you.

LIVING FOR THE LINE, NOT THE DOT

Life on earth is a dot.  It begins.  It ends.  It’s unbelievably brief.

Living for the line...
Life in Heaven is an unending line extending from that dot.

It’s not only unending, it’s joyful.  Life in Heaven will be suffused, saturated with joy.  The Bible says Jesus endured the cross “for the joy that was set before Him.”  (Hebrews 12:2)  Our Savior, the Son of God, willingly submitted to the most gruesome, ghastly form of death that the mind of man ever devised.  He did it for you, in the hope you would accept the eternal salvation His death, and His resurrection, provides.

At the very least you owe it to yourself and to Him to investigate that magnificent gift.  Spend a little time in your Bible and learn more about this man who was willing (and able) to give us such an unbelievable gift.  (If you don’t have a Bible, call 1.800.800.0171 to request one.  Or send an email to freebible@usa1usa.com.  It will be our gift to you.)

Your eternity is guaranteed.  But that eternity will either wonderful or woeful.  The only way to make your eternity wonderful is to accept the gift and embrace the Giver.  That is very easy to do when you KNOW the Giver.  All you need to do is to learn about Him from the superb and divine book called the Word of God, the Bible.

Most people expend more effort planning a one-week vacation than they do planning for their eternity.

Don’t miss a wonderful eternity just to have a good time on a short vacation.

Stop living for the dot, and start living for the line.

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

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The markets will line up for you today’s rare commodities. Probably the rarest is TRUTH.

Truth is an extremely rare commodity.

In this age of fake news, dishonest and lying politicians who

refuse to put country above personal gain, and corporations

focused only on the bottom line rather than principles, you

must insist on TRUTH in all your dealings. But first you

must FIND the truth. There is a source of truth which

has stood the test of time. One source. Only one.

We can easily help you verify the above statement.

When you have questions, we have answers.  We’d like to show you that God is real, Jesus is who He claimed to be, and the Holy Spirit can become the most indispensable source of knowledge and strength you will ever encounter in your entire earthly life.

We hope you have an inquiring, honest mind.  (Honest of mind does not mean we won’t welcome skeptics and doubters. We most certainly will, and always have.)

Remember, though…because God is real, hell is real too.

There is still time to choose your eternity…but not a lot of time.

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

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What are you sticking with in today’s investment marketplace?

norm-al-170811

 

We’re sticking with gold God.  Here’s why…

First and foremost, gold might look pretty good down here, but God has so much of the stuff He paves heaven’s roads with it.

And don’t ever forget…no matter how much of it you manage to accumulate, you won’t be taking ANY of it with you when you leave Planet Earth.  The closest you’ll ever come is to take some of what you manage to collect, and send it on ahead.  [By donating it to God’s work here.  Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  …If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  (Matthew 6:21, 19:21)]  Not only does God keep track of what we give and where we give, He also keeps track of HOW we give.  “God loves a cheerful giver,” remember?

Don’t be a hoarder, be a helper.  God only asks us for ten percent, you know.  Most of us give more than that as a tip for good restaurant table service.

Once you get used to spreading your money around a bit, doing a little good here, a little good there, you’ll enjoy the feeling so much you’ll start trying to live on less and give more away. (It has happened to many others, we promise you.)

If you happen to be among those who are still skeptical about the whole “God thing” and not really convinced that God is really there, or that the Bible is really true, please let us pose one question to you: How do you explain all the prophecies in the Bible which have come true in centuries past?  (Never mind the prophecies which we will see coming true in years ahead.)

Here is how God explains those prophecies: “I am God, and there is no other.  I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.’  When I have spoken it, I will bring it to pass.  When I purpose it, I will also do it.  My salvation shall not delay.”  (from Isaiah ch. 46)

If God knows history in advance and can tell us in advance how something is going to turn out, which He has done many, many times in the Bible (and there is no other foundational book for any other religion which can demonstrate this), does this not give God the edge in being able to convince us He is real?  Jesus even said to one of His disciples, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”  (John 14:9)  In other words, “if you want to know what God is like, just get to know Me.”

THAT is an invitation you should accept!

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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On our own, we’ll never be good enough to get into heaven. So how do we get there?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”              Matthew 11:28-30

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Never forget that Jesus was able to say “my burden is light” when He knew that Calvary awaited Him just a little further down the road.

 

Read your Bible every day. Pray. Don’t yell at the kids. Tithe 10 percent. No slang. No swag. No purple streaks in teens’ hair.

Do you ever feel suffocated by the things you need to do in order to be a “good person”?

The Pharisees loved to invent new rules and condemn people for not living up to their impossibly strict standards. In fact, they called their religion a yoke, which is a harness for restraining oxen and keeping them under control.

These holier-than-thou types bragged about their holiness, how many rules they followed, and how they made their yokes (and ours) even heavier.

 But then…

Then Jesus came and changed everything! He rescued those who had tried and failed to be “good people.” He said it was impossible to earn God’s love; instead, we should focus on faith and accepting God’s grace. God accepts us as we are. He’s not sitting in heaven with a checklist, shaking His head at us and waiting for us to get it together. He only wants us to avoid deliberate sinfulness and stay faithful to Him, obeying Him.  Remember, Jesus said “If you love Me, obey my commandments.”  His yoke is easy and light. When obeying Him comes from our love for Him and what He has done for us, following in His footsteps is almost effortless.

Today, don’t get depressed or overwhelmed by the things you should be doing. Think of what Jesus Christ has already done, and rest in His assurance by exercising your faith.

The eternal life that Jesus died to provide for us is going to be so spectacular and magnificent that while we are still in this life, we cannot even imagine what its eternal continuation is going to be like.

“Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”                 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

[From a daily devotional published on SARAHPALIN.com]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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This is God speaking…”Truth has perished from among you.”

My people have forgotten Me days without number.

 

They have polluted the land with their wickedness, yet they refuse to be ashamed.  They have not known Me, therefore they have no understanding.  They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.  How shall I pardon these people for this?  Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?

 

You have a defiant and rebellious heart; your sins have withheld good from you.  Do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; I will not hear.   You are a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord your God, nor receive correction.  Truth has perished from among you.  This people proceeds from evil to evil, and they do not know Me, says the Lord.  They weary themselves to willfully commit perverse evil.

 

[From the Bible,  Jeremiah ch. 2 – 9.  Written ~600 years BC.]

 

As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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