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Praying The News

News Briefs for March 20, 2023

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)

Praise Reports: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

“Let Us Worship” and Turning Point USA Faith are two faith-based movements with a heart for worship, prayer and revival. They have partnered with each other and are making their way around the nation to the various state Capitols, as well as Washington DC to inspire others in prayer for revival. “[This is] our most ambitions and historic revival tour yet,” they said via their website, where they also encourage others to, “Join us in powerful worship, prayer, and hear the bold call for the Church to rise for this historic moment we were literally born for! We believe this is a season for revival for our nation…and we want you to be a part of it!” The weekend of 3/11-12, they made their stop at the nation’s capital.

The box-office sensation Jesus Revolution includes scenes of mass baptisms that required plenty of behind-the-scenes preparation and a multitude of extras. Incredibly, though, the scenes sparked real-life baptisms and salvations, too. Co-director Andy Erwin and producer Kevin Downes reveal in a new video that the cast and crew members spontaneously chose to get baptized on location. Downes said decisions for Christ were made on set during the filming of the baptisms. Jonathan Roumie, who portrays Frisbee and was Jesus in The Chosen, baptized people behind the scenes. “He said, ‘Man, this is real.’ He’s like, ‘I’m baptizing just like Greg Laurie taught me,'” Erwin said. Laurie, too, baptized people on set.

In 1971, the Supreme Court issued a divorce decree in the case of Lemon v. Kurtzman — thus separating America from our Judeo-Christian history. Cited more than 7,000 times since, the “Lemon test” was used to eradicate religious speech, symbols, displays, and performances from the public square. Crosses, Menorahs, Stars of David, Nativity scenes, Ten Commandments, and more were wiped out. But the Lemon test was destroyed one and for all following Liberty Counsel’s 2022 landmark 9-0 Supreme Court win in Shurtleff v. City of Boston over the display of a Christian flag, and their amicus brief for Coach Kennedy who was fired because of praying at a high school football game. Now, crosses, nativities, religious displays, and Ten Commandments monuments can once more be raised in the public square. And prayers can no longer be silenced.

  • But some state and local government bodies still think they can discriminate against Christians and Christianity. So Liberty Counsel is headed back to court as more of these state discriminatory practices continue. Please keep Liberty Counsel in prayer, and perhaps donate to them here.

The anti-Great Reset, pro-farmer BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB) movement appears to have won even more seats in the Dutch senate than expected, with the globalist coalition government losing heavily. The BoerBurgerBeweging (Farmer-Citizen Movement) was founded to represent the interests of Dutch farmers facing severe difficulties or being closed down altogether as a result of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s efforts to implement European Union-mandated curbs on the use of nitrogen fertilizers, in order to serve the bloc’s climate change green agenda. As the results of the election become clearer, it now appears to scale of the Farmer-Citizen Movement’s success was greater than polls initially suggested, with it being due to claim 17 seats in the Senate and become by far the largest party there.

The state of Utah will ban all abortion facilities from the state by requiring abortionists to meet the same quality standards as hospitals, a step abortion facilities call a backdoor ban on elective abortions. Utah Governor Spencer Cox (R) signed H.B. 467, introduced by Majority Assistant Whip Rep. Karianne Lisonbee (R-Clearfield), on Wednesday. The law prevents new abortion facilities from obtaining a license as of May 2, and bans abortions inside stand-alone abortion facilities beginning the first day of 2024. The law mandates all abortions take place inside hospitals, or stand-alone facilities that have the “quality to provide the same degree of safety as … a general hospital licensed by the department.”

They may never have a week named in their honor or a flag flown outside a federal building, but formerly transgender people switching back to their original sex are becoming increasingly impossible to ignore, reports the Washington Times. Known as detransitioners, they appeared at rallies over the weekend in Los Angeles, St. Louis and Sacramento to mark the third annual Detrans Awareness Day, offering support for those seeking to reverse the transition process and rarely heard warnings about gender-transition health care. The group Our Duty held a screening afterward for the 2023 film “Affirmation Generation: The Lies of the Transgender Medicine,” which followed last year’s documentary, “The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters.” Where the movement may ultimately have its biggest impact is in the courts. Among the speakers was 18-year-old Chloe Brockman, also known as Chloe Cole, who sued Kaiser Permanente last month for medical negligence for treating her as a minor without “proper informed consent.”

New World Order – One-World Government: It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:7-8) The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. (Daniel 7:23)

A fully digital, cashless society will be the underpinnings of the coming one-world government, which will enable complete control over everyone’s money. The Federal Reserve last Wednesday announced a July launch of its FedNow service, which will enable all U.S. banks to offer instant payments 24/7, and will constitute the infrastructure of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) by linking each banking node directly to the Federal Reserve, according to financial experts. FedNow “will enable all the banks — any bank in the United States, not just the big ones — to offer instantly available funds in real-time payments to their customers”, explained Fed Chair Jerome Powell before the House Financial Services Committee on March 8.

  • The sudden and rapid collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank has been labeled the first “Twitter-fueled bank failure” in history. Customers withdrew $42 billion in a single day last week from Silicon Valley Bank, leaving the bank with a $1 billion negative cash balance, the company said in a regulatory filing. The staggering withdrawals unfolded at a speed enabled by digital banking and were likely fueled in part by viral panic spreading on social media platforms and, reportedly, in private chat groups.

Politics: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:1-2)

The Treasury Department dealt a massive blow to President Biden and agreed to finally hand over suspicious activity reports on Hunter Biden and the Biden family’s foreign business deals to the GOP. The House Oversight Committee James Cormer R-Ky. said:  “After two months of dragging their feet, the Treasury Department is finally providing us with access to the suspicious activity reports for the Biden family and their associates’ business transactions. Bank records obtained by the Committee show that John Robinson Walker, a Biden family associate, used his company to transfer over $1.3 million to Biden family members and companies from 2015 to 2017. The records also reveal that less than two months after Vice President Joe Biden left public office, a Chinese company wired $3 million to Robinson Walker, LLC, after which the company wired $1,065,000 to a company in Abu Dhabi associated with James Gilliar, a business partner of Hunter Biden.

  • Biden family members and companies then received incremental payments over a period of approximately three months. The recipients included Hallie Biden, companies associated with Hunter Biden and James Biden, and an unknown bank account identified as “Biden.” Hallie Biden is the widow of Beau Biden, who was the son of U.S. President Joe Biden. Hallie was married to Beau Biden, who was the Attorney General of Delaware, until his death in 2015 due to brain cancer. After Beau’s death, Hallie began a romantic relationship with Joe Biden’s other son, Hunter Biden

The governor of New York has gone back to court seeking permission to detain citizens of her state in quarantine camps – without notice, without rights and for as long as some state-chosen health officials say is needed. The fight arose during COVID-19, when state officials decided they would adopt a new rule giving the state exactly that power. A lawsuit ensued, and the result was that the detention plan was ruled unconstitutional. Gov. Kathy Hochul, through Attorney General Letitia James, now has appealed the court’s rejection of her “Isolation and Quarantine Procedures” scheme.

A young Dutch political party seeking to push back on the government’s climate agenda achieved a stunning victory Wednesday as it won the most seats for a single party in the Dutch Senate. The Farmer-Citizen Movement Party, known as BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB) in Dutch, built its victory on the back of protests against the government’s environmental policies, which aim to slash nitrogen emissions by dramatically cutting back on livestock numbers and buying out thousands of farms. Nitrate and ammonia pollution significantly impacts biodiversity, particularly air and water quality, the government claims as its justification for putting many farmers out of business.

Many had hoped that Nigeria’s presidential elections on February 25 would be an opportunity for the nation to make a new start, including beginning to tackle the Islamist violence suffered by Nigerian believers. Instead, in the weeks following the elections – which opened still further the Christian-Muslim divide in Nigerian society – the nation remains mired in controversy. There appears no realistic path towards restoring peace and overcoming Islamist extremism. Indeed, more than 70 people were killed in Christian-majority areas of Benue and southern Kaduna states in the last two weeks – and these represent just some of those who have lost their lives in anti-Christian attacks since election day, reports Barnabas Aid. “We must continue to pray that the Lord will raise up political leaders with wisdom and a desire for justice who can lead the nation to a better future, and that the Church will continue to speak the truth in love and bear Gospel witness to those desperately searching for hope. Above all, pray that the Lord will sustain the faith of His people in Nigeria as they endure such trying and difficult times.”

Civic/Religious Freedom: Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

In February, the U.S. Department of Education announced its intention to rescind the “Free Inquiry Rule,” established in 2020 by then Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. According to the rule, universities that receive federal funding cannot deny any right, benefit, or privilege to student organizations simply because they are religious in nature. The common-sense rule was designed to fix the increasingly common practice of campus authorities unjustly pressuring and discriminating against religious student groups. For example, during the 2014-15 academic year, the California State University system withdrew recognition from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship because it required its leaders to hold Christian beliefs. According to a Christian Legal Society fact sheet, similar incidents occurred at the University of Arizona, University of Northern Colorado, the University of Florida, University of Georgia, Boise State University, University of Illinois, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, and others. One religious organization with multiple chapters was also forced to seek legal counsel regarding its presence at 16 different public colleges and universities in the last four years.

In a decision that jangled the nerves of some elected officials, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last week reaffirmed a basic liberty established by the founding fathers: the right to be rude at public meetings. The ruling sent waves of consternation across the state, where many local select board and school committee members have emerged battle-scarred from the coronavirus pandemic and its fierce disputes over masks, vaccines and remote learning. Stemming from a lawsuit filed against the town of Southborough, Mass., by a resident who said selectmen had silenced her unlawfully, the decision pushed back against attempts to mandate good manners.

The “Freedom at Work” survey, which polled around 3,000 employed U.S. adults last fall, showed that nearly three out of five respondents said it was “likely or somewhat likely” that “respectfully expressing religious or political viewpoints would” result in “negative consequences at work.” One-quarter of respondents said they knew someone who suffered negative consequences for “respectfully expressing their religious and political viewpoints.”

Apparently, the U.K. has decided to shift its loyalties from courageously defying tyranny in the 20th century to embracing it in the 21st. noted Breakpoint. Last week, a “conservative”-led British Parliament made George Orwell’s fictional accounts of “thought crime” a reality. After establishing censorship zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales, the MPs voted 299-116 to continue criminalizing even silent prayer in the vicinity of such clinics. As a lawyer for the U.K.’s Alliance Defending Freedom put it, “Today’s vote marks a watershed moment for fundamental rights and freedoms in our country. Parliament had an opportunity to reject the criminalization of free thought, which is an absolute right, and embrace individual liberty for all. Instead, Parliament chose to endorse censorship and criminalize peaceful activities such as silent prayer and consensual conversation.”

Censorship: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18)

The internet watchdog Stanford Internet Observatory launched a wide-scale effort during the pandemic to scrub social media platforms of disfavored COVID-related views regardless of whether the posts were true, according to the latest installment of the “Twitter Files.” Internal emails unveiled on Friday by journalist Matt Taibbi show how the Stanford Internet Observatory’s Virality Project coordinated with several other academic institutions and government-funded non-profits to conduct a massive operation monitoring vaccine disinformation and shaping platform policy to rid the web of views that went against the liberal mainstream. Taibbi said Twitter was one of six social media platforms that partnered with the Virality Project to monitor COVID-related posts during the pandemic.

A group of drag queens and activists dressed in black and white showed up on Friday at the Fayetteville Public Library in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to protest actor-writer Kirk Cameron’s story time event for families and children, according to book publisher Brave Books, whose staff were present at the reading. The drag queens blocked the views of some families and children and distracted others from the book reading and remarks from the stage. Los Angeles-based Cameron, an outspoken Christian who has been traveling across the country to public libraries to share messages of faith, family and country at children’s book readings and the singing of patriotic songs, told Fox News Digital in exclusive comments on Saturday morning that he found the disruptions disturbing. “The small group of protesters, which included some grown men wearing silly makeup, dressed in skirts and heels, pretending to be women, listened to the reading of a kids’ book about God’s view of gender called, ‘Elephants Are Not Birds,'” he said

On March 9, a Federalist Society event at Stanford Law School featuring U.S. Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan was disrupted and shouted down for an extended period by dozens of transgender activists and other hecklers, causing the event to end at least 40 minutes earlier than planned. Law professors and free speech advocates are expressing concern over the incident, calling it the latest egregious example of an ongoing assault on academic freedom and free speech occurring at college campuses around the country. Duncan, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, has been a target of left-wing activists and congressional Democrats since his nomination by former President Trump in 2017 because of his work defending religious liberty.

  • Duncan requested that an administrator of the university come to restore order. Tirien Steinbach, an associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion then entered the room, and instead of restoring order and freedom of speech, commandeered the podium, and began what seemed to be a prepared six-minute speech, accusing Duncan of “disenfranchising … people, families, and communities.”

Persecution: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

Gunmen suspected to be bandits killed the son of a village pastor and abducted his wife, along with three others, in an attack in Nigeria’s Kaduna State on Friday, 3/10. The Nigerian government continues to be criticized for its inability to curb the rising spate of killings in the region. The attack took place on Friday morning, 3/10, in Karimbu-Kahugu community in Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria’s Daily Post reported. The bandits went straight to the pastor’s house during the raid and shot his son when he resisted them, reported Peter Mukaddas, Vice Chairman of the Kahugu National Development Associations. The attackers then took the pastor’s wife and three others hostage.

Nigeria has become a hotbed of mistreatment and extermination of religious minorities, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins warned on Tuesday. “Observers of the situation in Nigeria have noted how northern Nigeria has become a frontier for Islamic extremist groups, warlords and violence under the watch of the country’s outgoing president, Muhammadu Buhari,” Perkins said on “Washington Watch.”  Perkins cited an Open Doors USA report that revealed in 2020, 5,621 Christians worldwide were killed for their faith. He continued, “90% of these killings occurred in Nigeria,” citing a January 17th release by the organization. Yet the U.S. State Department is ignoring these reports, he insisted.

Abortion: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. (Jeremiah 1:5)

Wyoming Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill on Friday that criminalizes the sale and prescription of abortion pills. SF 0109, which is being dubbed the “first of its kind,” makes it a felony to prescribe, sell or use “any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion.” Violators face up to six months in prison and a $9,000 fine. The bill includes an exception for contraceptive agents “administered before conception or before pregnancy,” the “treatment of a natural miscarriage according to currently accepted medical guidelines” and “Treatment necessary to preserve the woman from an imminent peril that substantially endangers her life or health.” It defines “imminent peril” as “only a physical condition and shall not include any psychological or emotional conditions.”

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, many Republican-controlled state legislatures have begun to push for expanded protections for mothers and children in low-income households, particularly in areas where abortion is now illegal or severely restricted. An analysis by FiveThirtyEight shows that at least six of the 14 states where abortion is completely or almost entirely illegal have enacted or are considering various measures that would increase support for pregnant women, mothers or young children. Seven other Republican-controlled states with less restrictive abortion laws are also considering similar measures. Among the bunch: the Republican-controlled Mississippi state legislature passed Senate Bill 2212, with the lower chamber passing the bill last week. The bill awaits a signature from Republican Gov. Tate Reeves. The measure would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for new mothers from 60 days to a year. Meanwhile, Wyoming Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed House Bill 4 last week, extending Medicaid coverage for postpartum mothers from 90 days to 12 months.

Pestilence (Covid and other diseases): For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7)

President Joe Biden on Monday signed legislation ordering the declassification of information related to the origins of COVID-19, a mystery that has divided the eight U.S. government agencies investigating the source. The bill, which sailed through the House and Senate without opposition, requires the director of national intelligence to release the information within 90 days. The government can, however, withhold intelligence to protect how it was collected. Some agencies say it was a lab leak and others say it was naturally caused.

  • An international team of virus experts said last Thursday that they had found genetic data from a market in Wuhan, China, linking the coronavirus with raccoon dogs for sale there, adding evidence to the case that the worst pandemic in a century could have been ignited by an infected animal that was being dealt through the illegal wildlife trade. The genetic data was drawn from swabs taken from in and around the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market starting in January 2020, shortly after the Chinese authorities had shut down the market because of suspicions that it was linked to the outbreak of a new virus. By then, the animals had been cleared out, but researchers swabbed walls, floors, metal cages and carts.

COVID-19 could have been the result of risky experiments at a laboratory in China, Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged in an interview over the weekend. “A lab leak could be that someone was out in the wild maybe looking for different types of viruses in bats, got infected, went into a lab, and was being studied in a lab, and then came out of the lab,” said Fauci, the former director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). “The other possibility is someone takes a virus from the environment that doesn’t actually spread very well in humans, and manipulates it a bit, and accidentally it escapes or accidentally infects someone and then you get an outbreak.”

  • Fauci, speaking on CNN, claimed that he’s “kept an open mind” as to the origin of COVID-19. However, he was involved in a paper that alleged in early 2020 that said SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, was “not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus,” and cited the paper from the White House when asserting the virus had a natural origin.

Americans infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus are less likely to report long-covid symptoms than those who had covid-19 earlier in the pandemic, according to the largest-ever study of people suffering from lingering effects from the virus. One in 12 patients infected with covid-19 during the first wave of the pandemic — from early 2020 to late spring 2021 — suffered persistent symptoms, according to the analysis of nearly 5 million U.S. covid patients conducted by The Washington Post and research partners. By comparison, one in 16 people with omicron received medical care for symptoms associated with long covid within several months of being infected. Women and older adults are also more prone to report continuing issues. Overall, about 14 million U.S. residents who survived covid-19 continue to struggle with long-lasting effects that often alter their lives.

The number of new U.S. Covid-19 cases over the past two weeks is down 18% as of 3/18, while hospitalizations are down 15% and deaths down 35%. Test positivity has also fallen quite sharply in the past two weeks. This is a promising sign that the declines in other areas are unlikely to change course in the immediate future. However, case counts vary widely by state. Delaware cases are up 88% over the past two weeks, Florida is up 75%, Nevada up 42% and Arizona up 40%. Meanwhile, cases have fallen in South Carolina by 63% with Alabama down 49%, Minnesota down 46% and Mississippi down 44%.

Vaccines – Harbinger of the Mark of the Beast: He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

Germany’s Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach, who once claimed that COVID-19 vaccination is free of side effects, admitted last week that he was wrong, saying adverse reactions occur at a rate of one in 10,000 doses and can cause “severe disabilities.” Lauterbach’s remark on vaccine adverse events came after a German TV network played a segment of several Germans who’ve been seriously injured after getting the shot, including a 17-year-old gymnast who previously competed in the German Artistic Gymnastics Championships before she was hospitalized for more than one year shortly after receiving the second dose of the BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Violence/Murder: When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)

After being released from jail just one week earlier for a family assault an Alaska teen, Malachi Maxon, shot four family members, including two young children. First responders found the two deceased children and the aunt died at the hospital. Two other children were also at the home at the time of the shooting and a 6-years-old as spared because of defective bullets. Maxon was later arrested when state troopers pulled over the stolen vehicle. He tried to escape custody and attempted to take a trooper’s holster but was subdued.

  • Once again, dangerous felons are being released from jail to prey on innocent victims.

Tragedy: In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Prosecutors will determine whether any adults will face charges after an unsupervised 3-year-old accidentally shot and killed her 4-year-old sister at their home in Houston, authorities said. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez called the Sunday shooting a “very preventable” situation. “It seems like another tragic story of a child getting access to a firearm and hurting someone else,” Gonzalez said at a news conference. The shooting occurred around 8 p.m. Sunday inside a Houston apartment where the two young children lived with their parents. Five adults and the 3- and 4-year-old sisters were there around the time of the shooting.

Protests: Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Former President Donald Trump said he expects to be arrested Tuesday in connection with an investigation conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and is calling for protests ahead of his possible indictment. Trump is under investigation for a $130,000 payment he made just before the 2016 election to silence adult film star Stormy Daniels about an earlier affair. But testimony from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who arranged for the payment and already has been convicted and served prison time, could help bring the first criminal charges in history against a former president, notes the USA Today.

The National Guard was deployed in Minneapolis in response to riots and looting following the death of a Black homicide suspect who shot himself in the Nicollet Mall as officers closed in. Governor Tim Walz said he was calling in the Minnesota National Guard. TV footage shows people looting from a Saks OFF 5th store, a British pub engulfed in flames, and broken windows that left shattered glass all over sidewalks. Minnesota Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell reported fireworks being set off and the sound of gunshots. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrendondo quell the rumors on social media about an unidentified Black man’s death being a police shooting and released video surveillance footage that captured the incident and confirming the police account of what happened but that didn’t stop the protests. Arradondo said, “This is not an officer-related incident.”

President Emmanuel Macron, apparently short of parliamentary support for his contentious proposal to increase the retirement age by two years, has rammed the legislation through without a vote, Protesters disrupted traffic in Paris Friday as angry critics, political opponents and labor unions around France blasted President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to force a bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 through parliament without a vote. Opposition parties were expected to start procedures later Friday for a no-confidence vote on the government led by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. The vote would likely take place early next week. In the meantime, at least 310 people have been detained across France for rioting, 258 in Paris, for starting fires and refusing to disassemble. Macron narrowly won a no-confidence vote on Monday.

Gun Control: When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. (Luke 11:21-22,ESV)

Payment processors announced in September that they planned to use a new merchant code to categorize sales at gun shops. Two dozen Republican state attorneys general threatened VISA and Mastercard with legal action if the program went forward. Several state legislatures have also proposed legislation to prohibit the tracking of gun shop sales. After the huge outcry of opposition, Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc., and Discover Inc., have put those plans on hold.

Military: Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. (Psalm 144:1-2)

According to military analysts, the Army’s new branding campaign, presented on Wednesday, 3/8, avoids the social justice and diversity themes it has employed recently in order to reverse a record decline in recruiting. Military leaders are worried that the acceptance of ‘woke’ identity politics by the service might have alienated conservative families, who have traditionally functioned as the military’s main recruitment base, and compounded the service’s recruiting troubles in fiscal year 2022. Experts in military readiness stated that the years-long rebranding effort, which aims to highlight the Army’s history of defense and innovation and encourage soldiers to push their boundaries, might help the Army accomplish its lofty recruiting targets for 2023.

Law Enforcement: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

Much of the nation’s public defense practice for the poor remains plagued by inadequate funding, short staffing and staggering caseloads as Justice Department officials urged a renewed commitment to the long-standing promise of a more equitable criminal justice system. Sixty years after the landmark Supreme Court ruling that provided legal representation to poor defendants accused of serious crimes, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta described a system in “crisis.” Speaking to the National Legal Aid & Defender Association Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland also acknowledged the daunting challenges facing the public defense system. “I know that public defense remains drastically underfunded,” Garland said. “I know that public defender offices are experiencing serious recruitment and retention problems that only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • For example, in Ohio, the state’s stock of contract attorneys also has declined significantly since 2014, from about 1,000 to 560 now. 

Lawlessness: For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (2Thessalonians 2;7)

  • As God’s hand of restraint is gradually lifting, spirits of lawlessness are stirring up lawlessness which will increase all the more as the end-times ramp up.

Los Angeles residents are steering clear of riding public transportation as open drug use, violence and fatal overdoses skyrocket, recent reports find. “We don’t even see any business people anymore. We don’t see anybody going to Universal. It’s just people who have no other choice [than] to ride the system, homeless people and drug users,” one unidentified train operator told the Los Angeles Times. Serious crimes such as aggravated assault, murder and rape on LA’s trains and buses increased by 24% last year when compared to 2021, while other less serious crimes increased by 14%, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. 

About 2.5 tons of natural uranium stored in a site in war-torn Libya are missing, the United Nations nuclear watchdog said Thursday, raising safety and proliferation concerns. Natural uranium can’t immediately be used for energy production or bomb fuel, as the enrichment process typically requires the metal to be converted into a gas, then later spun in centrifuges to reach the levels needed. However, each ton of natural uranium — if obtained by a group with the technological means and resources — can be refined to 5.6 kilograms (12 pounds) of weapons-grade material over time, experts say. That makes finding the missing metal important for nonproliferation experts.

Fraud: “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? (Acts 13:10)

The co-owner of a startup COVID testing company is believed to have scammed the U.S. government out of as much as $83 million in federal funding, the Department of Justice said in an indictment. Zishan Alvi, a 44-year-old who co-owned Laboratory Elite in Chicago, and others at the company created a plan to cheat the government into giving them reimbursements for COVID tests that were ultimately never performed or used. Under the Health Resources and Services Administration, federal funding was administered to provide COVID-19 tests for individuals without insurance. Alvi’s company would allegedly scam the service by either never performing these COVID tests or charging customers additional fees for tests, despite them being federally funded.

Big Tech: But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. (Daniel 12:4)

The U.S. government has told China-based ByteDance to sell the blockbuster TikTok app or face a national ban, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Western powers, including the European Union and the United States, have been taking an increasingly tough approach to the app, citing fears user data could be used or abused by Chinese officials. Concern about Chinese spying ramped up earlier this year after a Chinese spy balloon was shot down in U.S. airspace.

Science: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so the are without excuse… who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. (Romans 1:20,25)

Nearly four months after OpenAI stunned the tech industry with ChatGPT, the company is releasing its next-generation version of the technology that powers the viral chatbot tool. In a blog post on Tuesday, OpenAI unveiled GPT-4, which the company says is capable of performing well on a range of standardized tests and is also less likely to “go off the guardrails” with its responses, as some users have previously experienced. OpenAI said the updated technology passed a simulated law school bar exam with a score around the top 10% of test takers; by contrast, the prior version, GPT-3.5, scored around the bottom 10%. GPT-4 can also read, analyze or generate up to 25,000 words of text, and write code in all major programming languages.

  • Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant lost the Artificial Intelligence race because they were hampered by clunky design and miscalculations, leaving room for chatbots to rise outside the Big Three (Apple, Microsoft and Google).

Racism/Discrimination: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

Anti-Black African videos have gone viral in Tunisia and have brought to the forefront a racism problem in the country that has coincided with an influx of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa who use Tunisia as a transit point to Europe. Some of the social media posts, shared in Arabic, English and French, have portrayed the migrants as invaders, criminals and rapists who seek to displace Tunisians. Many refer to the debunked but widely shared claim that there are 2 million sub-Saharan Africans in the country of 12 million. The sudden rise in public expressions of racism occurred in the weeks after Tunisian President Kais Saied delivered a widely criticized tirade about undocumented migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Tunisia, like other North African countries, is predominantly Arabic.

Health Care:  Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored? (Jeremiah 8:22)

Two of the largest manufacturers of insulin have drastically cut their prices. However, Sanofi, which produces widely prescribed Lantus, is the last holdout among three companies that produce 90% of the world’s insulin market by value. Earlier this week, Novo Nordisk followed Eli Lilly Co.’s plans to slash U.S. prices by up to 75% and 70%, respectively.

Health: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22) Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3John 1:2)

Maternal death rates in the U.S. surged by nearly 40% during the second year of the pandemic, widening disparities as Black women again faced alarmingly high, disproportionate rates, a new federal analysis shows. In 2021, there were about 33 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births – a 38% increase from the year before, according to the report released Thursday from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The United States’ maternal death rate continues to be higher than other wealthy, developed countries, and the new data shows a roughly 60% increase in overall rates in 2021 from 2019, the year before the start of the pandemic. Black women again saw the highest rates at almost 70 deaths per 100,000 births, up from about 55 in 2020. White women’s rates also saw concerning increase, jumping from 19 to 26.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2021. Hispanic women’s rates surged from about 18 to 28 deaths per 100,000.

  • Most maternal deaths are preventable if mothers are receiving adequate health care.

Troubling new research finds that rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are continuing to increase in children and young adults. Asian or Pacific Islander, Black and Hispanic children had higher rates, the study found. “In our 17-year analysis, we found that the incidence of type 1 diabetes increased by 2% per year, and the incidence of type 2 diabetes increased by 5.3% per year,” Wagenknecht said Lynne Wagenknecht, a professor and director of public health sciences at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

  • The article didn’t speculate as to why this is happening, but it’s probably poor diet and lack of exercise.

A Pentagon study has found high rates of cancer among military pilots and for the first time has shown that ground crews who fuel, maintain and launch those aircraft are also getting sick. The data had long been sought by retired military aviators who have raised alarms for years about the number of air and ground crew members they knew who had cancer. They were told that earlier military studies had found they were not at greater risk than the general U.S. population. In its yearlong study of almost 900,000 service members who flew on or worked on military aircraft between 1992 and 2017, the Pentagon found that air crew members had an 87% higher rate of melanoma and a 39% higher rate of thyroid cancer, while men had a 16% higher rate of prostate cancer and women a 16% higher rate of breast cancer. Overall, the air crews had a 24% higher rate of cancer of all types.

Several recent studies demonstrate vitamin D can significantly lower your cancer risk, both in terms of preventing cancer and in the treatment of cancer, reports Dr. Joseph Mercola in the Epoch Times. A vitamin D level of 60 ng/mL (150 nmol/L) or higher is recommended if you want to protect against cancer. An easy and cost-effective way of measuring your vitamin D level is to order GrassrootsHealth’s vitamin D testing kit. Once you know your current vitamin D level, use the GrassrootsHealth vitamin D calculator 21 to determine how much vitamin D you might need to reach your target level. To optimize vitamin D absorption and utilization, be sure to take your vitamin D with vitamin K2 and magnesium.

Drugs: And they did not repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries [Greek: pharmakeia, i.e. pharmacy, drugs].

Two submarines filled with cocaine were discovered in two different oceans. These vessels were discovered and seized by officials this week in Europe and South America. The Colombian Navy said in a statement last week that it interdicted a semi-submersible in the Pacific Ocean that was about 50 feet long and contained almost 3 tons of cocaine. Officials valued the drugs at $87 million. There were two people on the craft who were experiencing serious health conditions due to toxic fumes. Two other people were found dead on board. And then on Tuesday, Spain’s Civil Guard took possession of a submarine off the coast of the northwestern region of Galicia. It was about the same size as the one found by Colombia’s Navy in the Pacific, but this one was empty when authorities seized it from the bottom of the ocean floor. Officials say it may have carried cocaine too. Spanish authorities seized a similar vessel with three tons of cocaine on it in 2019.

Education: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

The Florida teachers union and other groups are suing the state education department, saying the way it interpreted a new law about school library books goes further than the law intended, leading to censorship and book bans. A Florida law passed last year requires more transparency about what materials schools use to teach students. The new law requires districts to catalog every book on their shelves and create a formal review process for complaints. Some parents have asked for certain books to be removed from schools because of the new law. “This legislation aims to preserve the rights of parents to make decisions about what materials their children are exposed to in school,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at the time. But the union and advocacy groups say the state regulation oversteps the intent of the law by pulling classroom libraries into its umbrella.

America’s teens now have the lowest IQs in nearly a hundred years. Campus Reform noted this past Wednesday that the problem is not limited to young people. Recent research reveals that, for the first time in over a century, the average IQ of Americans is falling. The study published in the May-June 2023 issue of Intelligence reveals that 18- to 22-year-olds experienced the biggest drop in intellectual abilities. Starting in 1932, average IQ scores improved by around three to five points every decade. In other words, younger generations are anticipated to have a higher IQ than the preceding generation. Now, however, the reverse is happening. The study showed an overall fall in IQ scores between 2006 and 2018.

The Washington Stand, a publication of the Family Research Council, reports that Biden’s proposed $6.9 trillion budget, “would have the hand of the government rock the cradle by creating a federally regulated, universal pre-K program for children as young as three.” “Altogether, President Biden would spend more than half-a-trillion dollars over the next 10 years to allow all American preschoolers to spend their formative years in a taxpayer-funded day care program.”

  • A smokescreen for indoctrinating our children into the religion of secular humanism.

Family:  Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12) But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1Timothy 5:8)

In Illinois last year, approximately 278,000 Black children lived in a home without a father, compared with 40% of Hispanic children and 23% of White children, according to America’s First Policy Institute. Several years ago, former President Obama also spotlighted the nation’s fatherlessness dilemma, telling a Chicago church congregation that “a child raised without a father is five times more likely to be poor and commit crimes, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and twenty times more likely to end up behind bars.” Fatherlessness — not racism — is the biggest problem facing the Black community, say many Black leaders.

Sexual Immorality: Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. (1Corinthians 6:18) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality. (1Thessalonians 4:3)

All across America, marriage, sexuality and relationships are on the steady decline among young people. According to a new Pew Research study, 63% percent of men aged 18 to 29 report being single. That means the number of single young men is nearly twice that of single young women, indicating a large breakdown in the social, romantic and sexual lives of American men. According to a survey of 6,034 adults, 53% of adults ages 18-29 have found someone to date through an app or site. However, new Census data shows that the U.S. marriage rate hit an all-time low in 2019. For every 1,000 unmarried adults, only 33 got married. This number was 35 a decade ago in 2010 and much higher at 86% in 1970. While there are several potential culprits causing this relationship breakdown, nothing has done more damage to the dating landscape than dating apps, social media and pornography, all of which emphasize carnal gratification over relationship.

Gender Confusion: Male and female He created them. (Genesis 5:2)

  • Gender confusion is being promoted because it undermines God’s ordained family structure, giving secular government more control over people, particularly our youth.

A Kansas bill banning transgender athletes from girls’ and women’s sports was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly for the third year in a row Friday, setting up a hotly contested fight in the Republican-controlled Legislature to override her. Kansas Republicans made Kelly’s vetoes a major issue in multiple television attack ads when she ran for reelection last year, winning narrowly. The governor said in her veto message that the bill would harm students’ mental health and hurt the state’s efforts to recruit businesses. Kelly also said lawmakers should leave the issue to the state association set up decades ago to run student activities in middle and high schools.

In a recent video that has gone viral on social media, Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan (D) discusses an executive order that Governor Tim Walz (D) signed last week reaffirming the legality of gender transition treatments, including for children. In the clip, the lieutenant governor says, “When our children tell us who they are, it is our job as grown-ups to listen and to believe them. That’s what it means to be a good parent.”

  • No, being a good parent is leading and guiding children, not following them or catering to their childish, misguided desires.

The Catholic University of Notre Dame plans to host an event on March 23 titled “Queer Holiness: An Experiential Christian Anthropology” even though Catholic Church teaching labels homosexuality as a sin. The event, which will feature Anglican priest and author the Rev. Charles Bell, is being promoted by the university’s Gender Studies program. Bell wrote the 2022 book Queer Holiness: The Gift of LGBTQI People to the Church. “For millennia institutional churches have told LGBTQI people what God expects them to be and how to act. In parts of the church, LGBTQI people remain the subject of hostile questions, rather than being embraced as equal children of God,” reads the event’s description. “Charlie Bell faces these issues head on. His thesis is simple—to reject the overwhelming scientific and experiential knowledge about LGBTQI people is no longer valid.”

  • “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Corinthians 2:14)

More than 5,000 schools across the nation allow teachers to hide a child’s decision to identify as a member of the opposite sex from the child’s parents. The parental exclusion policy – which is heavily advocated by LGBT lobbying groups and applies to more than 3.2 million children nationally – has already resulted in the sexual trafficking of at least one young girl, reports the Washington Stand. A total of 5,904 schools in 168 school districts nationwide allow, or require, teachers to conceal children’s transgender “social transition” — in which children change their name or preferred pronouns, or begin using the locker rooms of the opposite sex — from their parents.

Florida new rule that prohibits the use of puberty blockers, hormone therapies, or surgeries to treat gender dysphoria for minors under the age of 18 is now in effect. This measure has been met with criticism and concern from many, including President Biden, who described the rule as “close to sinful” and “cruel.” Despite this, Republican lawmakers in Florida are pushing forward with plans to further restrict “gender-affirming care” for minors. Governor Ron DeSantis defended the rule, stating that it is not “sinful” to prohibit the “mutilation of minors.”

Letitia James, who is currently serving as the Attorney General of the State of New York, invited children to a “Drag Story Hour.” The advertisement boasts, “Join Attorney General Letitia James, Drag Storytellers, and city and state elected leaders for a Drag Story Hour Read-A-Thon.” “Families with children are welcome!” “The event consists of four drag story hours. You are welcome to attend one story hour or multiple.” Last Friday, James tweeted out “My office is proud to host a Drag Story House read-a-thon- on Sunday.”

  • This is state-sponsored recognition of the secular-humanism religion.

“My heart says that the way I feel most myself is to go by the name ‘Fred.’ That’s because I’m nonbinary and Fred is the name that fits me best. And I also use ‘they’ and ‘them,’ because calling me a she or a he doesn’t feel right to me.” This is how a nonbinary character “comes out” on a recent episode of Ridley Jones, a Netflix cartoon for two to four-year-olds.

  • Getting to our children as early in their lives as possible is a key strategy of secular-humanism religious fanatics to undermine God’s ordained social order.

Immigration: He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

Homeland Security does not have “operational control” of the border, the top Border Patrol agent told Congress Wednesday, contradicting the words of his boss, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Chief Raul Ortiz was prodded on the issue at a hearing in Pharr, Texas, by Rep. Mark Green, who asked bluntly if he had operational control. “No sir,” Chief Ortiz responded. Mr. Green, Tennessee Republican and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, then played a video of Mr. Mayorkas answering the same question in previous testimony and saying “yes, we do.” “It’s either ignorance, which is unacceptable, or it’s lying,” Mr. Green said.

Homeland Security nabbed 154,998 illegal immigrants coming across the southwestern border in February, or about the same as January. The numbers are still among the worst months on record, but are slightly better than February 2022. And the reported captures are significantly better than most of last year, when authorities encountered more than 200,000 people each month from March through December. Troy Miller, acting commissioner at Customs and Border Protection, said they’ve worked to siphon people who would previously have jumped the border into signing up for appointments to apply to come in a more regular manner — though still without legal status — using a new phone app. “The app cuts out the smugglers and decreases migrant exploitation,” Mr. Miller said.

A standoff between almost a thousand migrants and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in riot gear Sunday afternoon blocked the Paso Del Norte international bridge connecting El Paso and the Mexican border city Juárez. About 1:30 p.m. on March 12, the border protection agency’s Mobile Field Force, a riot control team, was deployed when the large group of migrants rushed the Paso Del Norte bridge. The migrants attempted to make a mass entry and overwhelm security, the agency said. By 5:30 p.m., most of the crowd had returned to Mexico, but the bridge remained closed to vehicle traffic. Crowds of migrants had been gathering at the Mexican foot of the bridge since the morning before the tidal wave of people ran to the border at the top of the bridge and tried to rush across.

Law enforcement officers in Zavala County, Texas, report a serious uptick in organized migrant smuggling activity on county roads and highways in recent weeks. In just five days last week, Zavala County Sheriff’s Office deputies interdicted 23 separate smuggling ventures attempting to move migrants through the county to reach the interior of the United States. The small law enforcement department in this county located just 30 miles from the Rio Grande border with Mexico stopped six vehicles found to contain migrants on one single day. The vehicle stops often involve high-speed pursuits, stolen vehicles, property damage, and according to local law enforcement officials most concerning, the frequent presence of loaded weapons within reach of the human smugglers. The smuggling attempts involved more than 100 suspected migrants, some of whom managed to escape arrest by running from pursuing deputies onto private ranches.

Democratic New York City councilman Robert Holden said the migrants should “should stay in Mexico,” and noted that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Manhattan is “booked for the next 10 years.” Because of this, Holden said, asylum applications cannot be processed, so migrants are unable to work. In the meantime, migrants are receiving “shelter, they’re getting food, clothing, and they’re getting cell phones,” the Democrat said. “I don’t like the governor’s approach, and I don’t like Biden’s approach. It’s wrong for the United States and certainly wrong for New York City,” said Holden.

Food Supplies: Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness. (2Corinthians 9:10)

The price of olive oil is rising because of the drought and heat wave in Europe last summer that has drastically reduced the olive oil harvest. Production was down 50% in Spain and 37% in Italy. Prices here in the U.S. for olive oil are expected to increase by 30% to 50%.

Water Supplies: Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14)

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is no longer mandating emergency restrictions on water use for over 7 million people after winter storms boosted water supplies, the district said in a news release. The restriction had been put in place in June 2022 and allowed residents only one day per week of outdoor watering for portions of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties. The summer prior, California saw the most severe drought in its 126-year record-keeping history, and the state’s reservoirs hit critically low levels. But more recently, California has been hit this winter by eleven separate “atmospheric rivers,” the term for long, narrow bands of moisture that can carry saturated air thousands of miles like a fire hose.

Energy Supplies: He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. (Isaiah 44:14-15)

The Biden administration on Monday, 3/13, approved the controversial Willow oil project, clearing the way for one of the largest new oil and gas developments in Alaska in 20 years despite fierce opposition from environmental activists. The move came as Biden also signaled sweeping future action to bar offshore drilling on 2.8 million acres in the Arctic Ocean in an appeal to critics who said the president jeopardized his climate legacy. The $8 billion Willow project, planned by Houston-based petroleum company ConocoPhillips, marks a shift in the Biden administration’s handling of fossil fuel projects after previously approving few without congressional or court intervention.

  • The Willow project is targeted for land within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, an approximately 23-million-acre area on the Beaufort Sea, about 200 miles west of the existing oilfields at Prudhoe Bay. 

Homeowners and businesses across the country have seen their gas bills go wild—and the turbulence isn’t going to calm down anytime soon, reports the Wall Street Journal. “Last year was the most volatile on record for natural gas, boosting the cost to heat homes, generate electricity and manufacture economic building blocks such as fertilizer and steel. Prices in 2022 whipsawed from unseasonable lows to shale-era highs and back again. Benchmark gas futures, which determine what millions of Americans pay for heat and electricity, swung by at least 7% on 44 days last year, the most since at least the early 1990s, when gas markets were deregulated and the modern trading era began. The wild ride has continued this year, with12 daily moves of 7% or greater. On many days, traders find it difficult to determine why prices move so sharply.

Federal Budget/Taxes:  He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Luke 20:25)

President Joe Biden revealed the third budget of his presidency on 3/10, proposing to spend $6.8 trillion and raise taxes by approximately $5 trillion. Despite being promoted as a deficit-reducing plan, the White House forecasts trillions in budget shortfalls over the next decade. According to the administration’s projections (pdf), the U.S. government would record $17.055 trillion in federal deficits by 2023. This includes a $1.8646 gap in the fiscal year 2024 budget, representing 6.8 percent of GDP. The White House estimates that the federal government would accumulate $10.21 trillion in interest payments. Federal debt held by the public is expected to soar beyond $43.6 trillion in 2023, accounting for more than 102 percent of the GDP. The national debt would also climb above $50 trillion, raising the debt-to-GDP ratio to 127.6 percent.

  • This budget will never pass the Republican-controlled Senate and is the opening salvo in an arduous negotiating process that make incidentally trigger a federal debt default if the debt limit is not raised soon, the Republicans’ ace-in-the-hole.

Welfare: “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.” (Deut.  15:7-8)

A one-time payment of $5 million to each eligible Black resident is among recommendations unanimously accepted by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors as part of a draft plan by a panel proposing reparations. The move Tuesday was an intermediate step, with a final report that includes board feedback due in June, the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee said, and the board is set to meet again on the issue in September.

Many municipalities across the United States have proposed various reparations initiatives, and some are now looking to use COVID-19 relief funds to pay for them. Proponents of the reparations programs argue that the money can be used to reduce disparities when it comes to housing and wealth gaps. For example, Providence, Rhode Island, has already dedicated $10 million in pandemic relief toward creating the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission to address “racial equity” and Shelby County, Tennessee, will vote Tuesday on whether to spend $5 million in pandemic relief money to study the possibility of a longer-term reparations program.

Insurance: Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright. (Psalm 20:7-8)

Insurers have slashed Hurricane Ian payouts far below damage estimates, documents and insiders reveal. After Hurricane Ian, Florida insurance companies have been aggressively seeking to limit payouts by altering the work of licensed adjusters trained to assess damaged homes, according to a Washington Post investigation. As a result, homeowners are left footing most of the bill for repairs.

Work: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

Meta (Facebook, Instagram) CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted the success of in-person engineers over remote workers, making his points in a memo Tuesday. An internal data analysis “shows that engineers earlier in their career perform better on average when they work in-person with teammates at least three days a week,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. Remote work exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Meta determinedly adopted the model. During the past few years Meta employees have enjoyed near-universal freedom in where they can work, something mirrored in the rest of the tech industry. The company has also focused on its Metaverse projects and significantly reduced its office space. The Tuesday memo where Mr. Zuckerberg praised the performances of in-person engineers also contained the bombshell announcement of 10,000 more layoffs. Meta had already fired 11,000 employees in November. At its peak last year, Meta had 87,000 full-time employees.

Business: Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. (Proverbs 16:8)

Who runs corporate America? White men do. Women are outnumbered 5 to 1 in senior leadership, according to a USA TODAY analysis of named executive officers at the nation’s 100 top publicly traded companies. These corporate leaders are the CEO, the chief financial officer and other people who serve in a handful of top-paid roles.  Men are 83% of the 533 named executive officers in S&P 100 corporations. Women of color are outnumbered by men 26 to 1 in the S&P leadership ranks, a gap five times wider than the disparity for white women.

Amazon on Monday 3/20 announced plans to cut another 9,000 positions, its second round of mass layoffs in recent months. The company will be targeting roles in its cloud computing unit, human resources division, advertising and Twitch, according to a letter to employees from CEO Andy Jassy.

Tyson Foods is closing two facilities that employ more than 1,600 people in an effort to streamline its U.S. poultry business. The company said Tuesday it plans to close its processing, broiler and hatching operations in Glen Allen, Virginia, and a plant in Van Buren, Arkansas. Tyson said the closures will help it better use all available capacity at remaining plants. The Arkansas-based company said it will work with its 692 employees in Glen Allen and its 969 employees in Van Buren to apply for open positions at other plants.

Banking: “Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.” (Matthew 25:27)

Fears that another interest rate hike will hasten more bank failures will loom over the Federal Reserve’s meeting this week after a new study found that 186 banks are at risk of the same sort of collapse as happened to Silicon Valley Bank. “The recent declines in bank asset values very significantly increased the fragility of the U.S. banking system to uninsured depositor runs,” wrote economists at the Social Science Research Network. “Our calculations suggest these banks are certainly at a potential risk of a run, absent other government intervention or recapitalization.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Sunday said it had joined with the Bank of Canada, Bank of England, Bank of Japan, European Central Bank, and Swiss National Bank in a coordinated action to enhance the provision of liquidity through the standing U.S. dollar swap line arrangements. “To improve the swap lines’ effectiveness in providing U.S. dollar funding, the central banks currently offering U.S. dollar operations have agreed to increase the frequency of seven-day maturity operations from weekly to daily,” the Fed said in a statement issued alongside announcements from the other five central banks.

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank is the second-biggest bank failure in U.S. history and the worst since the financial crisis of 2008. The bank’s CEO, Greg Becker, got ahead of the storm, selling $3.6 million in the company’s stock before it failed, so it looks like he’ll be okay despite many other folks not being able to get their money. Turns out, other top executives did too, reports the Republican Daily. Before the collapse, other SVB also executives sold shares. Gregory Becker, CEO, sold 11% on Feb 27, 2023. Michael Zucker, Counsel, 19% on Feb 5. Daniel Beck, CFO, 32% on Feb 27. Michelle Draper, CMO, 25% on Feb 1.

  • Silicon Valley Bank’s risky practices were on the Federal Reserve’s radar for more than a year, and the Fed repeatedly warned the bank that it had problems, according to the New York Times. In 2021, a Fed review of the growing bank found serious weaknesses in how it was handling key risks. Supervisors at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco flagged that the firm was doing a bad job of ensuring that it would have enough easy-to-tap cash on hand in the event of trouble.
  • Silicon Valley Bank was heavily involved in green energy and ‘woke’ ideals. A newly published report by the conservative Claremont Institute revealed that SVB gave over $70 million dollars to Black Lives Matter as well as to other woke causes. Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus zeroed in on this during an appearance on Fox News with host Neil Cavuto: “I feel bad for all of these people that lost all their money in this woke bank. You know, it was more distressing to hear that the bank officials sold off their stock before this happened. It’s depressing to me. Who knows whether the Justice Department would go after them? They’re a woke company, so I guess not. And they’ll probably get away with it,” Marcus said.
  • SVB Financial Group said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to seek buyers for its assets, one week after its former division Silicon Valley Bank was taken over by regulators. On March 9, depositors tried to withdraw $42 billion in one day as fears spread that the bank was on shaky financial ground.
  • The Democratic National Committee and President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign will return political donations tied to Silicon Valley Bank in the aftermath of the bank’s collapse. Biden’s presidential campaign and PACs received at least $11,900 from SVB executives, according to records from the Federal Election Commission. The Democratic National Committee received at least $32,250.

When Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, then-chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced a banking bill that included easing requirements for some midsize banks more than five years ago, advocacy groups were quick to sound the alarm. Among the provisions advocacy groups and many Democratic lawmakers worried about was one that would dramatically reduce the number of banks that were subject to the stringent Dodd-Frank Act instituted in the aftermath of the Great Recession. That law was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2010 to prevent the excessive risk-taking that led to the financial crisis. Still, Crapo’s bill also became law and that provision, which raised the asset threshold for enhanced regulatory standards from $50 billion to $250 billion – thus leaving out banks that until then would have been operating under the Dodd-Frank rules ” – is being blamed by advocacy groups for the failure of two banks over the weekend, reports the USA Today.

  • Now lawmakers are considering repealing this law, or at least returning to the regulatory standard of $250 billion.

A second bank failed on Friday, 3/10, following the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank earlier that week. U.S. regulators on Sunday announced they were intervening to close Signature Bank, marking the second U.S. bank to fail and the third-largest bank failure in U.S. history. The bank has been placed into receivership under the Fed’s emergency lending authority, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The NY-based Signature Bank held more than $110 billion in assets and some of the biggest stakes among banks in the nation in the cryptocurrency industry.

  • The stunning collapse of two banks in the span of three days prompted President Biden on Monday morning to reassure Americans than the U.S. banking industry was safe, saying that customers’ deposits will “be there when you need them… No losses will be borne by the taxpayers,” Mr. Biden said Monday. “Let me repeat that. No losses will be borne by the taxpayers.” The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures deposits up to $250,000, but many of the companies and wealthy people who used the bank — known for its relationships with technology startups and venture capital — had more than that amount in their account. Yellen told lawmakers Thursday that the nation’s banking system “remains sound” and that Americans shouldn’t worry about their deposits.

Less than a week after the sudden collapse of a trio of smaller banks dented the confidence of depositors across the country, a group of 11 banks reached a $30 billion deal to prop up another lender caught in the turmoil. First Republic Bank, which has been at the center of the crisis engulfing a sliver of the banking industry, will receive a huge injection of deposits from other lenders in a bid to stave off a collapse, the banks said on Thursday.

Following the biggest bank failure since the financial crisis of 2008, Moody’s Investor Service has downgraded its rating of the U.S. banking system in the latest sign that President Biden’s Monday morning attempt to assuage concerns did nothing to change financial realities. Moody’s — one of three major rating entities — downgraded its outlook for the U.S. banking system from “stable” to “negative” on Tuesday morning “to reflect the rapid deterioration in the operating environment. In addition to downgrading the entire banking system, Moody’s also issued warnings for several individual banks “with substantial unrealized securities losses and with non-retail and uninsured US depositors” that “may still be more sensitive to depositor competition or ultimate flight” and end up “with adverse effects on funding, liquidity, earnings and capital.”

UBS has agreed to buy Credit Suisse, its beleaguered  rival, the Swiss government said on Sunday, in a hastily arranged deal meant to shore up the global financial sector after a week of turmoil. Swiss government leaders and regulators said that the deal was the most effective way of reassuring investors after Credit Suisse’s shares tumbled following the implosion of Silicon Valley Bank earlier this month. To help support UBS, the Swiss National Bank agreed to lend up to 100 billion Swiss francs, or $108.8 billion. And Finma, the Swiss financial regulator, said it would temporarily suspend some regulations to help UBS digest its chief competitor.

Investments: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:20) Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2Corinthians 9:6)

President Joe Biden issued his first veto Monday after Congress voted to block a Labor Department rule allowing retirement plans to weigh the long-term impacts of social factors and climate change on investments — a move Republicans say is a “woke” policy that hurts retirees’ pockets. “I just signed this veto because the legislation passed by the Congress would put at risk retirement savings of individuals across the country,” Biden said in a video posted to Twitter. Senate Republicans, along with two Democrats, voted on the measure March 1, needing only a simple majority for it to pass.

Economy – Depression/Shortages: When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)

Inflation eased for an eighth straight month in February as a slowing rise in food costs offset a bump in gasoline prices and another spike in rent. But price increases rose sharply again on a monthly basis, fueling concerns that a steady pullback in inflation at the end of last year has stalled. Consumer prices increased 6% from a year earlier, down from 6.4% in January and a 40-year high of 9.1% in June, according to the Labor Department’s consumer price index. That marked the smallest annual gain since September 2021. On a monthly basis, though, prices advanced 0.4% following a 0.5% increase in January. Previously, monthly cost increases had slid to 0.1% to 0.2%.

Mortgage rates dropped this week in the wake of several bank failures, reversing course after rising half a percentage point over the past month. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.60% in the week ending March 16, down from 6.73% the week before, according to data from Freddie Mac released Thursday. A year ago, the 30-year fixed-rate was 4.16%. After hitting a 2022 high of 7.08% in November, rates had been trending down. However, they started climbing again in February until these bank failures introduced uncertainty into the markets.

In 2016, our national debt was $19.6 trillion or about 105% of gross domestic product (GDP), which is the total amount of goods and services sold in America. But by 2021, that debt had grown to $29.6 trillion, which is about 124% of our GDP. In December 2021, Congress raised the debt ceiling to 31.4 trillion, but the Biden administration blew past that in January and is now $31.6 trillion in debt. “To put this into perspective, if you spent 1 million dollars every day since Jesus was born, you still couldn’t have spent even 1 trillion dollars … and now our nation is more than 31 trillion dollars in debt!” notes Mat Staver, CEO of Liberty Counsel.

  • Members of Congress are wrestling now with whether to raise the debt ceiling. The Biden $6.8 trillion budget would require substantially increasing the debt limit. The Republican-led House is demanding spending cuts. A government shutdown may be looming.

U.S. home building jumped higher in February, turning around after five consecutive months of falling. Housing starts, a measure of new home construction, rose by 9.8% in February from January. But that’s still down 18.4% from a year ago, according to data released Thursday by the Census Bureau. Starts in January rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.450 million, up from the revised January estimate of 1.321 million.

Renters might just be getting some relief as February marked the ninth consecutive month in which rent growth slowed. Last month, the median U.S. asking rent rose by a mere 1.7% to $1,937, according to the latest data from Redfin. This marked the “smallest increase in nearly two years and the lowest level in a year,” the technology-powered real estate agency reported. Rents are up 16.5% from a year ago, the data showed.

Israel: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. (Psalm 122:6)

Israeli and Palestinian officials were holding talks in Egypt on Sunday ‘to restore calm’ after a surge in deadly violence in the occupied West Bank, Egypt’s foreign ministry said. The meeting, which follows similar talks last month in Jordan where both sides pledged to prevent more violence, comes amid concerns of a feared escalation during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan starting in the coming week. The meeting is aimed at ‘supporting dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to put a stop to unilateral actions and escalation and break the cycle of violence’, Egypt’s foreign ministry added. Officials from Egypt, Jordan and the United States were attending the meeting in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh.

On March 12, a number of armed men fired at a Special Forces Golani Reconnaissance Unit patrol that was in a military position near the Jit intersection in Samaria. The Golani force, which the IDF said was carrying out a “proactive” activity in the area, responded by shooting at the armed men. The IDF said three terrorists were neutralized during the exchange of fire and another turned himself in and was arrested. No injuries were reported among the Israeli security personnel involved in the gun battle.

Two American-Israelis were injured in a point-blank shooting incident Sunday afternoon near the Palestinian village of Hawara, Samaria. A terrorist opened fire at a passing Israeli vehicle carrying a family of five and fled the scene. Israeli security forces scanning the area of ​​the incident found a Carlo submachine gun – the kind manufactured in Palestinian-administered areas – that was left at the scene.

Middle East: When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (Luke 21:20-22)

In a groundbreaking ruling, an official Islamic legislative body based in the Arab world declared a ‘fatwa,’ or a legal opinion, against the Islamist militant group Hamas Thursday, calling its treatment of millions of Palestinians living under its rule in the Gaza Strip ‘inhumane’ and urging the terrorist organization and its followers to immediately give up arms, sit down and make peace. The unprecedented declaration, published by the Islamic Fatwa Council, a non-government body of Shiite, Sunni and Sufi clerics headquartered in the Iraqi spiritual capital of Najaf, states that Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, ‘bears responsibility for its own reign of corruption and terror against Palestinian civilians within Gaza’ and deems “it prohibited to pray for, join, support, finance or fight on behalf of Hamas.”

Wars & Rumors of Wars:  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (Matthew 24:6-7a)

Russia/Ukraine: On Friday, 3/17, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of war crimes in Ukraine. The court’s warrant accuses Putin of involvement in the unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. “There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes … for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others …  and for his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission, and who were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility,” the ICC said in a statement. Ukraine has already arrested and convicted some Russian soldiers, all of them low-ranking, for war crimes in Ukraine.

Military aid provided by the United States and its NATO allies to Ukraine is being found in the hands of Iranians, according to a new CNN report. “Russia has been capturing some of the US and NATO-provided weapons and equipment left on the battlefield in Ukraine and sending them to Iran, where the US believes Tehran will try to reverse-engineer the systems,” four sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

A Russian warplane on Tuesday dumped fuel on a U.S. surveillance drone over the Black Sea, and then collided purposely into it and forcing it down in international waters. The U.S. European Command called the Russian forces’ conduct “unsafe and unprofessional.” Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a ”reckless, environmentally unsound” manner.

Poland says it will send Ukraine fighter jets, becoming the first NATO country to provide the long-sought warplanes. Poland is set to send the first Soviet-made MiG-29s in the coming days, Polish President, Andrzej Duda said at a news conference Thursday. Western governments had thus far declined to send fighter jets out of concern over escalating tensions between NATO and Russia.

China/Russia/Iran: Naval forces from China, Iran and Russia — all countries at varying degrees of odds with the United States — are staging joint drills in the Gulf of Oman this week, China’s Defense Ministry has announced. Other countries are also taking part in the “Security Bond-2023” exercises, the ministry said Tuesday without giving details. Iran, Pakistan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates all have coastline along the waterbody lying at the mouth of the strategic Persian Gulf. “This exercise will help deepen practical cooperation between the participating countries’ navies … and inject positive energy into regional peace and stability,” the ministry statement said.

  • This end-time alliance was prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39, especially Russia (Magog = prince of Rosh, Russia) and Iran (Persia), while China (the dragon) is the army from the east (rising of the sun) involved in the final battle marking the end of the world. (Revelation 16:12)

The anti-Israel UN Security Council on Friday discussed IDF strikes in Syria at the behest of Russia, in the latest indication of growing tension between Moscow and Jerusalem. The hearing comes on the heels of a sale of defensive military equipment to Kyiv for the first time since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Channel 13 news reported. The Russian representative at the hearing said that “the violent attacks by Israel affect the entire region and must stop. Israel’s unilateral actions affect the entire region.” Russia is set to hold the presidency of the UN Security Council in April as part of the planned rotation of the seat. Israel has been cautious about taking sides in the Ukraine war, and is one of the only western democracies to share strong ties with both Russia and Ukraine.

Terrorism: My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me… But You, O God,  shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You. (Psalm 55:4-5.23)

Two jihadist groups have for weeks been engaged in deadly clashes in their northeast Nigeria strongholds according to security sources and residents, who said hundreds of fighters had died. Boko Haram militants have been fighting government troops for almost 14 years in a bid to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region. But they have also been fighting against rival jihadists from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group, who emerged in 2016. Clashes initially started over ideological differences, with ISWAP objecting to Boko Haram’s indiscriminate killings of Muslims.

Environment: 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 the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26)

Authorities from the Bay Area in San Francisco have decided to ban the use of natural gas-fired water heaters and furnaces, citing pollution and health concerns. The Bay Area’s Air District Board of Directors made amendments to certain regulations to eliminate nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from residential and commercial natural gas furnaces and water heaters by mandating that new appliances comply with zero-emission standards. “The rule amendments would apply only to new appliances and do not mandate the immediate change out of existing appliances, nor will they apply to appliances used for cooking, such as gas stoves,” according to a March 15 press release.

A blob of stinky seaweed twice the width of the United States is heading toward Florida’s coast, also threatening the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The 5000-mile-wide blob seaweed bloom is much larger than previous ones and threatens to despoil the ecosystems and beaches in its path through the Atlantic ocean. Scientists are worried about the environmental and health impacts to come. Scientists warn that it could pile up on beaches five-to-six feet deep. This brown sargassum seaweed, a form of algae, floats in island-like masses and never attaches to the seafloor. “It’s a whole new thing,” says Brian Lapointe, Research Professor at Florida Atlantic University, unlike any seen before, so it is difficult to predict what the outcome might be in months to come.

For the second time in four years, a devastating disaster has struck the fish population of an Australian river. Current estimates of the fish kill in the Darling River near the 500-person town of Menindee in New South Wales reach as high as a million dead fish. Thousands of fish died in the same area in 2019 due to massive algae bloom.

Earthquakes: And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7b) I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. (Revelation 6:12)

An earthquake that hit southern Ecuador has caused at least 15 deaths across two countries. Over 100 people are reportedly injured. Ecuadorian and Peruvian authorities worked on Sunday to address the damage caused by the strong earthquake that shook the region on March 18. The 6.8 magnitude quake struck the Ecuadorian coastal province of Guayas at midday on Saturday, with residents reporting shaking in much of the country as well as in Peru’s northern border towns.

End-Time Weather Will Continue to Grow More Severe: (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate in a Northern California community after a levee broke last Saturday amid yet another round of heavy rainfall to impact the Golden State, officials said. The levee on the Pajaro River broke about three miles east of Pajaro, near the city of Watsonville, adding that the river’s levee failed at around midnight. Photos and aerial video footage showed homes, businesses, schools, and cars flooded with several feet of water. Daily rainfall records were shattered Tuesday, 3/14, in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. Some cities endured hurricane-force winds. Top wind gusts of 97 mph were measured at Santa Clara County’s Loma Prieta, 93 mph at Alameda County’s Mines Tower and 74 mph at San Francisco Airport. Across the state, more than 181,000 customers had no electricity midday Wednesday.

A w​inter storm dumped heavy snow on parts of the Northeast Tuesday, 3/14,, which had serious travel impacts and knocked out power to tens of thousands. Interstate 93 was temporarily closed in both directions in Londonderry, New Hampshire, after electrical wires fell into the roadway. The number of homes and businesses without power has jumped to more than 284,000 Tuesday afternoon. Two-day totals exceeded three feet in several areas. Twenty-four hour snowfall was measured at 28 inches in both Wilmington, Vermont and Windsor Massachusetts. At least 2 feet fell in parts of northern New York and the Catskill Mountains. At least 2 feet fell in parts of northern New York and the Catskill Mountains.

A total of 677 inches of snow – that’s 56 feet and 5 inches – has fallen at the Central Snow Laboratory, a University of California, Berkeley field research station located at Donner Pass in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. The total as of 3/19, surpassed a 30-year record held back in 1983. And more is on the way.

More than 380 people have died in Malawi and Mozambique since Cyclone Freddy made a second landfall in southern Africa. The storm lashed into Mozambique’s port city of Quelimane on Saturday, triggering landslides and flooding and bringing down homes. Authorities expect the death toll to rise as rescue efforts continue. Malawi, which accounted for more than 320 deaths, is also in the middle of a deadly cholera outbreak. More than 22,000 people have been displaced by the tropical storm, according to Radio Mozambique.

This news brief contributed by Pastor John Jacobsen, author of a number of exciting Christian fiction novels about the End Times (see and  You can contact him on Facebook or purchase his books at at: