As the construction of our ministry's headquarters progressed from stage to stage, I enjoyed walking through the halls and the rooms to see the progress. Of course, you had to look past a lot of mess and clutter, and you had to use your imagination to see what it eventually would look like. But the point at which I really start to realize what God is doing is when I climbed this little ladder to the catwalk that encircles the building above all the rooms below. Before the ceiling goes in, you can just walk along that catwalk and get the big picture of how far things have really progressed and the scope of what God is doing there. There's a view from up there that really provides an exciting perspective - much more inspiring than when you're just standing in one of the rooms down below.
Over the last few years we have watched closely as the European Union has emerged as a growing world power. Europe's economy has grown steadily and can boast of a GDP larger than the United States'. The EU now encompasses more than 460 million people, stretching from the Mediterranean to the Arctic. Next year it will expand its borders east all the way to the Black Sea.
The foundations of this powerful alliance were laid in the aftermath of World War II, when much of Europe lay in ruins. In order to prevent another bloody war, steps were taken to unite the nations of Europe politically and economically. In 1951 six countries (Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands) signed the Treaty of Paris - which created the European Coal and Steel Community. In March 1957 these same six nations signed the Treaties of Rome, which created the European Atomic Energy Community and the European Economic Community. These three multinational organizations were collectively referred to as the European Community. The six original members were then joined by the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark in 1973, Greece in 1981, and Spain and Portugal in 1986.
In June 1993, a milestone treaty was signed in the city of Maastricht, Netherlands that made the Treaty of Rome obsolete. The Maastricht treaty established the basis for a common currency, a common judiciary, a common foreign policy, and a common military. So by the time Austria, Finland and Sweden joined in 1995, the European Community had transformed itself into the European Union.
In 2004, two years after the launch of euro banknotes and coins, the EU welcomed 10 new member states, bringing the total number of members to 25. Bulgaria and Romania have signed accession treaties and are set to join the EU next year. Meanwhile, Turkey, Croatia, Macedonia, and several of the Balkan states have also petitioned for membership.
While the borders of Europe expand, the battle over the new constitutional treaty continues. The current draft of the European Union Constitution is an enormous document (474 pages in the English version) that is supposed to streamline the government. All 25 nations were supposed to ratify the document before next month's deadline. However both the French and the Dutch have voted to reject the constitution.
The defeat of the constitution, particularly in France, catapulted the European Union into crisis mode. The French rejection has left many wondering what will happen next. Although Europe's politicians have been hesitant to admit it publicly, it is clear that the European constitutional treaty is dead in the water. So what happens next? The consensus seems to be that French and Dutch voters have done little more than simply delay the inevitable. Efforts are already being made to resuscitate the constitution - several of Europe's leaders have suggested implementing the changes by drafting a treaty that could be approved by national parliaments, effectively sidestepping around unpredictable national referendums.
The Rise of the Euro
Despite some setbacks, the European Union continues to grow both politically and economically. The value of the euro has risen steadily since entering circulation in 2002. Today the euro is challenging the dollar's position as the world's reserve currency, a privileged status that has been held by the dollar ever since the Bretton Woods agreement over 60 years ago. It has been suggested by some that the European Union may be the revived Roman Empire. Thus it is interesting to note that the introduction of the Euro is the first time since the days of Caesar and the Roman Empire that Europe has had a common currency, others have tried, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte, but none were successful.
At present, approximately two thirds of world trade is conducted in dollars and two thirds of central banks' currency reserves are held in the American currency - which remains the sole currency used by international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund. This confers on the US a major economic advantage: the ability to run a trade deficit year after year. US always spends more than it earns, whereas the rest of the world always earns more than it spends. A rapid move away from the dollar towards the euro could have a disastrous effect on the US economy.
The strength of the dollar is closely related to the fact that oil, the most important commodity traded in the world, is priced in US currency. The majority of countries that are oil importers have to buy their oil in dollars, which forces them to keep most of their foreign currency in dollars. However that could change.
In recent years the movement toward buying and selling oil in euros has been gaining momentum. Both the Iranian and Russian parliaments have recently discussed adopting the euro for oil sales. Russia has already entered into negotiations with Germany over the establishment of an exchange to sell oil futures in euros. Furthermore, statistics recently published by the oil cartel OPEC show that Russia has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer of oil. Meanwhile, Iran has proposed the establishment of an international commodity exchange for the express purpose of trading oil, petrochemicals and gas in various non-dollar currencies, including euros.
It would seem that the European Union is positioning itself to surpass the United States as the dominant world power. We will continue to observe with anticipation the historic developments taking place in Europe. There are still many obstacles the European Union must face on the road to solidarity, but in the eyes of some they have already accomplished the impossible. The once impenetrable wall between east and west, communist and free, is now gone, and in its place is a growing economic and political force.
NIGERIA Muslim Rioters Destroy 18 Churches - VOMsources/persecution.com Nearly 5,000 Christians were displaced and six were injured on September 20th, when Muslim rioters destroyed at least 18 churches, 20 Christian homes, and 40 Christian shops in Dutse, Jigawa state. After a Muslim young man made several unsuccessful advances on a female Christian, he angrily reacted by calling her a "fake Christian" who follows a "useless Jesus." She responded by telling the boy he followed "a useless prophet." Furious, the boy raised an alarm through the town, proclaiming a Christian lady blasphemed Muhammad. She was taken to the local police station and kept in custody to diffuse the potentially volatile situation. Pray this precious child will rest in her omnipotent Father's protection. Romans 12:17-18
INDIA Congregation Attacked for Second Time - VOMsources/persecution.com For the second time in three weeks, Pastor Vijayakumar's congregation of 30, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, was attacked on September 10th. Reappearing after their first violent attack on August 20th, a militant Hindu mob stormed the prayer and worship service. The frightened congregation continued to worship, even though the militants threatened there would be a blood bath the following Sunday if they persisted in worshipping Jesus Christ. Pray for God's protection on His people and the militant Hindus who sit in darkness will be brought into the glorious light of His kingdom. Psalm 36:9
INDONESIA Muslim Mob Reduces Church to Ashes - VOM sources/persecution.com Infuriated by reports that Christians were scheduling revival meetings at the Indonesia Evangelical Mission Church in Aceh province, a militant Islamic mob set the worship center ablaze on September 1st. Local Muslims from the town of Siompi, which was the first in Indonesia to implement Shariah law, reduced the building to ashes in an attempt to wipe out those in their province not bowing down to Allah.. Church members have moved their worship services to a local house, as they refuse to buckle under Muslim attacks. Give thanks to God for these Christians who are remaining faithful to Jesus. Psalm 33:20-22
PAKISTAN Teenage Christian Jailed on False Charges - VOMsources/persecution.com A young Pakistani Christian was jailed last week on suspicion of ripping book pages containing Quranic verses. He appealed to Punjabi police because the sole evidence against Shahid Masih, 17, was the testimony of a Muslim man already accused of the same crime. If convicted, Masih will serve a life sentence. Pray God will open the eyes of the authorities to the truth of Masih's innocence and he will be released. 2 Timothy 4:17, 18
INDIA Muslim Militants in India Attack Christian Missionary School - Compass Direct Recently a mob of around 250 Muslim militants attacked the Good Shepherd Mission School in Kashmir state, destroying the boundary wall and damaging the school building and equipment. A national newspaper has named the Dutch missionary director, Fr. Borst, as one of a handful of people encouraging Muslims to convert to Christianity, and officials have attempted to expel him from India. Pray Fr. Borst and the students will rest in God's peace and His assurance for the future of the school.Matthew 6:34
GLOBAL VOM's Bibles Unbound project Pray those who receive Bibles will read them and want to know more about Jesus Christ. Pray they will find Christian fellowship and their lives will bear much fruit. Luke 8:15
The following was seen on a sign at a local Octoberfest event.
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Another False Messiah… Dr. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda
Now comes another false messiah, Dr. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, proclaiming himself as “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords”. Sadly, this man is turning many people to his teachings. You can learn more about this false messiah at www.cegenglish.com.
People are hungry for a spiritual renewal around the world, and many are falling victim to charismatic speakers like this man, who preys primarily on the uneducated and uninformed, although the deception presented by this leader has also captured the attentions of many wealthy and influential business professionals, who are lavishing this false messiah with homes, businesses, cars, watches, and cash.
He says “sin no longer exits” and there is “no such thing as the devil”. He also claims “prayer is a waste of time” and the teachings of all other religious leaders are “a lie”. He is preaching a message of “freedom to indulge” so there is no condemnation. If you murder someone, you are guilty of a crime (according to the laws of the land); however, you have not sinned, as there is no longer any sin in the world…so God sees you perfect.
He is targeting primarily Hispanics in South America, Central America, Mexico, and the United States…but is also expanding into Canada and other parts of the world with his “own gospel”. He is a 60-year old former heroin addict and convict, a divorced father of four, born in Puerto Rico, who now lives in South Florida with his second wife. From a warehouse in Doral, he runs “God’s Government on Earth” from his church. He claims he will be president of the world in the largest government earth has ever seen.
This is a dangerous man, and those who follow him are being deceived. This pastor has launched a protest movement against other religions/denominations, and many of these have become violent of late. This is nothing more than a cult, and one that is causing great harm to the followers, who are being exploited for the personal gain of the leader.
CBS, NBC, Fox News, and International Media have covered the rise of this false messiah:
CBS Story http://cbs4.com/topstories/local_story_254163721.html
His name is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda; his followers call him everything from apostle to Dad, or simply Jesus Christ Man. De Jesus Miranda himself believes he’s the living incarnation of “Jesus Christ Man,” “the second coming of Christ.”
A follower of his believes “he is God, he is God.” She also lavishes him with money and gifts.
"I don’t have one Rolex,” de Jesus Miranda said, “I have 3 because they want to give it to me. It's like that woman that came to Jesus with the expensive perfume and put it on his feet. He didn’t reject it, so when someone gives me a watch or a gift, I receive it. I like them too, they're nice."
This self-proclaimed Son of God is a 60 year old former heroin addict and convict. The divorced father of 4 was born in Puerto Rico and now lives in South Florida with his second wife.
From a warehouse in Doral, near Miami, he presides over the "Creciendo en Gracia" or Growing in Grace Ministry which he also calls “God's Government On Earth.
As any other head of state, he is protected by a security detail that mimics the U.S. Secret Service.
In an interview with the self-proclaimed Messiah, CBS4’s Ileana Varela asked de Jesus if he was able to do some of the things Jesus Christ did like performing miracles, healing the sick and walking on water.
De Jesus said not necessarily. “My life is my church and what I’m doing worldwide,” he said.
What De Jesus is doing at more than 300 centers in Central and South America, Cuba and the U.S. is preaching a message of "freedom to indulge" because according to this modern messiah, there is no sin, no devil and no hell to pay.
De Jesus says, “It doesn’t exist. The devil was destroyed two thousand years ago."
It is music to the ears of his followers, mostly Hispanic men and women who believe they are God's chosen people, predestined for salvation no matter what they do on earth. They also believe all other faiths are false and must be destroyed, from Catholics to Baptists and Jehovah’s witnesses.
His followers have organized marches at which they destroy religious books and symbols. They also have a campaign aimed at disrupting other religious gatherings, sometimes with violent consequences.
“What disturbs me is that he fits into the typical mold of a cult leader, total complete submission to his authority," FIU Religion professor, Daniel Alvarez said.
Alvarez has a Masters Degree in Theology from Harvard Divinity School, and is among those who fear "Creciendo en Gracia" has the makings of a destructive cult.
“He destroyed my family,” said former member Regina Albarracin, who left the church about 5 years ago. Her husband soon followed but their son Alvaro remained to become one of the ministry's biggest financial backers, donating more than $1 million to the church.
Alvaro is not alone; many others have set up businesses in de Jesus' name that pour cash into the ministry.
"I know were going to be running the whole world,” de Jesus said.
A web entrepreneur and self made millionaire, Alvaro Albarracin left his wife and children for the man he calls Jesus. He has since remarried to another church member and rarely speaks to his parents who insist he's been brainwashed by the man "they" certainly don't call Jesus.
His mother, Regina Albarracin said, "You think he's Jesus Christ? No he’s the devil. You think he's the devil? Yes that's him."
Regina Albarracin is afraid for her son's soul, and Professor Alvarez says she should be. Most of these movements, he says, self destruct sooner or later.
"Lots of broken lives, lot of spiritual and emotional and psychological debris that will be strew on the path of the gentleman,” Alvarez said, “and the fallout will be inestimable for the lives of these people who get caught up in this kind of movement.”
Unfazed by the criticism, de Jesus continues to plan for the role he believes he is destined to play on the world's stage. “I will be president of the biggest government that this earth has experienced," promised de Jesus.
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