Hal Lindsey – Hurricane Harvey, the costliest storm in U.S. history
Hal Lindsey – Hurricane Harvey, the costliest storm in U.S. history
September 15th, 2017
Last week, Hurricane Irma slammed into several Caribbean islands with a force that promised unprecedented destruction when it finally hit Florida.
Thank God the possible didn’t happen. Irma made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, not the Category 5+ that it had been while over the Atlantic.
Further, at the last moment, it veered to the west and moved up the less densely populated Gulf coast of Florida rather than the Atlantic coast and the population centers extending north from Miami.
Though still powerful and very destructive, it moved so quickly that it never wreaked the devastation that most forecasters feared.
While Irma was bearing down on Florida, on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico another natural disaster was unfolding. A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck off the southern Pacific coast of Mexico. It was felt up to 1,700 miles away. It caused damage in Mexico City, 700 miles away from the epicenter. Almost 100 died.
Less than 24 hours later, Hurricane Katia made landfall on Mexico’s Gulf coast. Though it weakened to a Category 1, it still did considerable flooding and caused at least two deaths.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose had formed in the eastern Atlantic and was headed toward the Caribbean. Fortunately, it, too, weakened and then veered north into the Atlantic.
And all of this occurred hard on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, the costliest storm in U.S. history.
Lost amid the hurricanes and the strongest earthquake in the last century in Mexico, was the biggest wildfire in the history of the city of Los Angeles.
Just a few hundred miles to the north, San Francisco was experiencing a deadly heatwave with temperatures up to 36 degrees higher than the seasonal normal.
The Associated Press observed, “With four big hurricanes, a powerful earthquake and wildfires, it seems that nature recently has just gone nuts.”
One of the founders of Weather Underground said, “Nature’s gone crazy.”
The Apostle Paul wrote about these days. In Romans 8:22 he said, “The whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” (NASB)
Paul wrote these words in the first century. Creation has been in severe stress ever since sin entered the world. It was already groaning in Paul’s day.
It’s interesting that the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to use the words Jesus used to describe the last of the last days — “the pains of childbirth.” We know from this (and from the characteristics of childbirth labor, that is, the pangs steadily increasing in intensity and frequency as the time for birth nears) that creation’s groaning and travailing will get worse and worse as we near the end of the Age.
The Bible also speaks of other manifestations of this travail: famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and wars and threats of war. All coming faster and with greater intensity as time advances.
Though weather forecasting is an inexact science, I am thankful that modern forecasters are able to save lives by providing warning of the approaching danger. When the great hurricane hit Galveston, Texas, in 1900, about 12,000 people died. Mostly because they were caught by surprise.
But as thankful as I am for the life-saving benefits of modern weather forecasting, Jesus said there are other signs even more important than the weather — the signs of the times.
He said, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16:2-3 NASB)
I believe these are the days the ancient prophets longed for. The signs they foretold are unfolding before our eyes. Yet relatively few Christian leaders are pointing them out to their followers.
Everyone pays attention when the weatherman gives weather warnings. We should give even more urgent heed to God’s warnings for these days.
In 2012, President Barack Obama issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He said that if Assad used chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war, it would mean that he had crossed a so-called “red line.” That would incur a military response from the United States.
The next year, Assad used chemical weapons.
I think Obama intended to respond, but when he sensed reluctance from Congress, he backed down.
So Russian President Vladimir Putin happily stepped in and saved the day for President Obama. He made a deal with Assad to allow Russia to remove Assad’s chemical weapons from Syria to parts unknown.
Obama accepted the opportunity to save face and even reminded the world a couple of years later that, indeed, all of Assad’s weapons had been forfeited. He said, “Assad gave up his chemical weapons. That’s not speculation on our part….”
Well, it may not have been speculation, but it wasn’t true. In fact, Assad used his chemical weapons again just last April.
The United Nations confirmed that fact just this week.
If you recall, though, President Trump didn’t wait six months for U.N. confirmation. Within days, he ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles fired upon a Syrian airbase as warning.
Fast forward to last week. Israel launched an airstrike against a factory inside Syria. Contrary to the usual international brouhaha that usually accompanies an Israeli action against any of its adversaries, the world has been silent.
That’s because everyone knows that Syria was producing chemical weapons at that plant. Apparently, they were also developing precision missiles there.
A former Major General in Israel’s Defense Forces thinks that the lack of response to the strike from Syria and Hezbollah indicates another retaliation is underway. Yaakov Amidror said, “I think the main response will be an acceleration of Iranian efforts to entrench themselves in Syria.”
Recently, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “Everything will be done to prevent the existence of a Shi’ite Corridor from Tehran to Damascus.”
I fear that it’s too little, too late. The corridor exists and it’s already longer than the one Lieberman described.
Hezbollah largely controls Lebanon. Iran controls Hezbollah. Hezbollah is actively fighting in Syria on behalf of Assad. It gets most of its money and all of its high-tech military hardware from Iran.
That means the Shi’ite Corridor already extends from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal noted, “Iran is using Syria’s civil war, and the battle against ISIS, as cause to gain a permanent military foothold in Syria….”
That puts Iran on Israel’s northern border.
Russia used President Obama’s reluctance to act as an invitation to establish a military presence in Syria. And we know that Russia’s war there against ISIS is allowing its military entrenchment in Syria to quietly solidify.
That puts Russia on Israel’s northern border.
2600 years ago, God revealed to the prophet Ezekiel that in the last days, Iran and Russia would be part of a huge assault on Israel. Today, the actors have taken their places on the stage.
Finally, this week I will conclude my discussions of “Law” and “Grace.” I want to share with you what I believe is one of Satan’s cleverest tricks to deceive sincere believers: Legalism.
We must realize that “Law” and “Grace” are completely different systems in themselves. And, they are mutually exclusive.
To mix these principles robs the law of its bona fide terror, and grace of its creative freeness. What does this mean to us in a practical way?
It means that, after receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior, there is nothing we’re required to do to earn God’s favor. Under grace, our acceptance with God is based on the fact that we are IN Christ and God accepts HIM completely. Our acceptance is based solely on Christ’s performance for us.
If we insist on relating to God by the principle of law (legalism), then our acceptance with God is based on our own performance.
And trust me, it is impossible for you to perform to the level that God (the law) requires to earn His acceptance.
That is why I thank God every moment of every day for GRACE!
Please continue to pray for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Katia. Also pray for God’s mercy on the hundreds of thousands who are suffering because of the earthquake in Mexico.
As I said last week, we can help with relief and aid, but only God can bring peace and hope to those in such distress.God Bless,
mail: HLMM, P.O. Box 470470, Tulsa, OK 74147
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