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eNews For The Week Of July 29, 2008


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In This Week’s Issue

In The News

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Articles and Commentary

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In The News

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Massachusetts House Approves Out-of-State Gay Marriage

July 29, 2008

Out-of-state gay couples should soon be allowed to marry in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts House voted 118-35 Tuesday to repeal a law that bans couples from marrying in the state if the unions would not be legal in their own states. The Senate voted in favor of repealing the law earlier this month and Governor Deval Patrick has said he will also approve it.

FOX News

Home prices Fell at Record Pace in May

July 29, 2008

Prices of US single-family homes plunged at a record pace in May, prices fell nearly 16 percent. A new report shows US consumer confidence remains near a 16-year low.

Reuters

In Turkey, Bombs and Court Case Fuel Tensions

July 29, 2008

Turkey's top court convened Monday to decide whether the country's popular ruling party must be banned on charges that it is steering the secular nation toward Islamic rule. Meanwhile, two terrorist bombings left 17 people dead, five of them children with 150 people injured.

WSJ

RFID Becoming More Common

July 29, 2008

Radio Frequency Identification Devices are becoming more widespread. A Rhode Island school plans to electronically track the movements of students using Radio Frequency Identification Devices. In 2007, about 200 Alzheimers patients were implanted with non-GPS RFID chips. Meanwhile, IBM recently applied for a patent regarding a system that would not only place RFIDs on all clothing items, but also track those items of clothing on a global scale.

AFP

IDF Starts Using New Laser System

July 29, 2008

Alongside production of the Iron Dome interceptor, Israel's leading developer of arms related technology is also in the midst of developing a solid-based laser system that is believed to be the future in short-range missile interception. A prototype of the model is already used by the IDF Southern Command to detonate explosive devices planted alongside the border fence.

Jerusalem Post


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Articles And Commentary

Radical Islam in Southeast Asia

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"But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." - Luke 6:27-28

When most Westerners think about Muslims, often the image that comes to mind is that of an Arab. However most don't realize that only about 15 percent of Muslims are Arab. There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims in the world today, the majority of which actually live in Asia. Asia is home to the four nations with the largest Muslim populations: Indonesia, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In fact, approximately 60 percent of all Muslims live in Asia. In the July 15 issue of the eNews we profiled the rise of Radical Islam in China. Today we are going to examine spread of Islam in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia is home to almost one-third of the world's Muslims, making Islam its most widely practiced religion. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world; almost 90 percent of its people are Islamic. Islam is also the official religion of Malaysia and Brunei.

In recent years Islam has been undergoing a revival in Southeast Asia. It is a growing social and political force in the region. In Indonesia, for example, the political fallout from the Asian financial crisis of 1997 opened the door for Islamic leaders to rise in power. The enforcement of Sharia, Islamic religious law, has also become more widespread.

The spread of Islamic terrorism has also become a serious concern. Militant Islamic groups, some with links to al-Qaeda, have operated in the region for quite some time. However in recent years the violence seems to have grown more intense. One such group, called Jemaah Islamiyah, is known to have close ties to al-Qaeda. Many of its members have even received training in Afghanistan. Jemaah Islamiyah is responsible for multiple bombings, most directed at Western targets. On October 12, 2002, the second anniversary of the attack on the USS Cole, Jemaah Islamiyah orchestrated a bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali. The massive car bomb killed more than 200 people and left at least 300 others injured. Most of the victims were Westerners on vacation at the popular tourist destination, about half were Australians. The goal of Jemaah Islamiyah is to create an independent Islamic state incorporating Indonesia, Malaysia, the southern Philippines, Singapore and Brunei.

Islam is by some estimates the world's fastest growing religion. Today Muslims make up about 20 percent of the world's population. Meanwhile, Christians make up about 30 percent of the population. If current trends continue, however, the world could be 25 percent Christian and 30 percent Muslim by the year 2025.

Radical Islam is becoming an increasingly volatile catalyst in today's international scene. The problem is not confined to a few hot spots in the Middle East. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism is a global phenomenon. To learn more about this topic, click on the links below.

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Prophecy 20/20: Seeing Things More Clearly

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"For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
- Revelation 22:18-19

Bible prophecy suffers as much from its enthusiasts as it does from its detractors. Too often, prophetic studies suffer from inadequate scholarship, fanciful conjectures, and contrived conclusions. With all of the different viewpoints floating around out there, it is essential to begin with a firm foundation. In order to get a clear understanding of Biblical prophecy, we must first examine its origin and purpose.

The Bible itself claims to be the Word of God; it is His message to mankind. The Bible says that "all scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16)." Therefore the prophecies recorded in Scripture are not mere inventions of mankind. In 2 Peter 1:20-21 it says "...no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

Perhaps the chief purpose of prophecy is to authenticate the Bible's supernatural origin (although that is not its sole purpose). Because God exists outside our space-time domain, He is able to see, in effect, the beginning and the end of our time domain simultaneously. Consequently, the Bible proves that its message is of extra-dimensional origin through predictive prophecy (i.e. by writing history in advance). In Isaiah 42:9, God declares, "Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them."

However Bible prophecy is more than simply a glimpse of what may lie ahead; it is an overview of God's complete plan for mankind. By the reckoning of some, the Scriptures include 8,362 verses containing 1,817 predictions concerning more than 700 different matters. Of these, there are more than 300 prophecies dealing with the coming Messiah. The odds of one person fulfilling just eight of those prophecies is equivalent to covering the state of Texas with silver dollars two feet deep, marking just one of the silver dollars, mixing them up in such a way that the marked coin could be anywhere, and then reaching back in at random and drawing out that one marked silver dollar. Obviously, that would be pretty unlikely! Even more astonishing is the fact that Jesus fulfilled, not just eight, but all of the hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah.

At Koinonia House, our goal is to create, develop, and distribute materials to stimulate, encourage, and facilitate serious study of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. It seems that more and more Christians today are unable to articulate an intellectual basis for why they believe what they believe is true. The average American owns three copies of the Bible, but doesn't read any of them. Even those who attend church regularly do not take the time to study the Bible on their own. Biblical illiteracy is perhaps the primary reason why many Christians do not share their faith and why most are ill-equipped to defend it.

Chuck Missler's book Prophecy 20/20 is a great resource for those who want to better understand where we are on God's timetable. Prophecy 20/20 examines Biblical prophecy past, present, and future. It discusses the nature of prophecy, the Biblical track record, assesses our current geopolitical situation, and clearly explains what the Bible says will happen in the last days. Another study we highly recommend, especially for those who may be new to Bible prophecy, is Prophecy 101. This four hour audio/video series has been designed to give you an overview of Biblical prophecy and makes a wonderful introduction to a study of books like Daniel, Isaiah, or Revelation.

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Indymac and the Global Credit Crisis

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Earlier this month California mortgage lender Indymac was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (more commonly know as the FDIC). Media reports showed worried Indymac customers waiting in line for hours outside the failed bank. Because the bank was insured by the FDIC, customers with deposits under 100,000 dollars will get their money back. Customers with larger accounts, however, may take heavy losses. It is estimated that Indymac will cost the FDIC between 4 and 8 billion dollars.

Indymac is the second-largest bank to fail in the FDIC's 75-year history. The bank's stock, which was valued at about 25 dollars per share one year ago, has dropped to about 10 cents per share. Indymac's failure is widely attributed to its risky investments and questionable lending practices. The bank routinely gave mortgages to customers with poor credit, and in some cases to customers without properly documented income.

Indymac is the most recent casualty in a nationwide credit and housing crisis in which about one out of every 100 mortgages are expected to end in foreclosure. The mortgage disaster has taken a toll on the entire financial sector. Indymac is actually the seventh bank to fail since last summer. In the aftermath of the FDIC's seizure of Indymac, stocks in nearly all of the nation's banks dropped due to fears that more banks could fail in the coming year. Washington Mutual, the largest U.S. savings and loan, saw its stock dip 35 percent. Many commentators have pointed out that our current predicament isn't as bad as the savings and loan crisis of the late 80's and early 90's. During the S&L crisis over 1,000 banks and financial institutions failed (prompting a 125 billion dollar government bailout). However Indymac is much bigger than most of the institutions that crashed during the S&L scandal and experts say more banks could fail in the coming year.

The subprime mortgage mess has become a full-blown global credit crisis. The International Monetary Fund estimates that financial losses could add up to as much as 1 trillion dollars. So far banks and securities firms have posted about 230 billion dollars in losses.

The Big Question


So how does this affect us? How are we to respond to uncertain economic times? The Bible says that God uses money, not only to provide for our basic needs, but also to establish daily dependence on Him and to cause us to trust Him. He also uses money to build our faith, to teach us patience, and to illustrate His power. Money is a tool that is used to bring us closer to God.

Take a minute and examine your heart. Are you letting fear and uncertainty keep you from trusting God? Or are you depending on our Heavenly Father to provide for your needs? Are you being a good steward of what God has given to you to use? Are you experiencing His blessings in your daily life? In times of trouble and uncertainty we can take comfort in His promises. Turn to the Scriptures for guidance. The Bible holds the answers to life's most difficult questions, and the key to understanding the times in which we live.

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Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in these articles, enews and linked websites are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views held by Koinonia House. Koinonia House is providing this information as a resource to individuals who are interested in current news and events that may have an impact on Christian Life and Biblical trends. Koinonia House is not responsible for any information contained in these articles that may be inaccurate, or does not present an unbiased or complete perspective. Koinonia House disavows any obligation to correct or update the information contained in these articles.

PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise expressly stated, pricing and offers mentioned in these articles are only valid for up to 30 days from initial publication date and may be subject to change.


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