2018's off to a rough start in California

USA - California evokes images of sunny beaches, majestic mountains, Hollywood celebs, coastal highways and all variations of good times. But lately, the Golden State has elicited visions of a different kind - houses buried in mud, scorched hillsides and flu-stricken hospital patients.

Californians have dealt with all that and more in these first, whirlwind days of 2018. Pretty much every day so far, the state has made headlines for one calamity or the other. The rainy season had a horrendous start in Southern California, where heavy rains this week triggered deadly mudslides that killed at least 17 people. Raging rivers of mud and debris rushed down hillsides in Santa Barbara County, wiping out or burying homes down below.

Rescuers are digging through mud, downed trees and power lines, wrecked cars and even boulders searching for survivors. Some were plucked off their rooftop by helicopters while mud surged through their home. At least eight people remain missing. Mudslides aren't anything new in California, but they were made much worse when the rains that spawned them dislodged vegetation in areas charred by wildfires.

Protective brush on hillsides, which would usually be able to soak up floodwater, was consumed by fire, leaving little to no vegetation to prevent mudslides and debris flow.

Wildfires were an absolute menace in California last year. Blazes took 39 lives and torched 199,000 acres in the wine country fires in Northern California in October. The Thomas Fire - the 282,000-acre monster blaze that burned an area the size of Dallas and Miami combined - is still burning, listed at 92% contained by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It's the largest fire in state history.

The flu season has slammed California so far. There have been 27 flu-related deaths of patients younger than 65, more than normally seen during this point of the season. "Usually, at this time of year, we have reported in the neighborhood of three or four deaths in people under age 65," said Dr James Watt, chief of the Division of Communicable Disease Control at the state Department of Public Health. California is one of 26 states that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified as having "high" flu activity.

Quakes and California go hand in hand, and the state's first big temblor came four days into the new year. A magnitude 4.4 quake jolted the Bay Area in the early morning hours a week ago near Berkeley. It woke people up from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz. It didn't seem to do much damage beyond some broken dishes and windows, but it forced delays on area commuter trains so that inspectors could check the tracks.

Thankfully there weren't any deaths or major damage, but it drove home another fact of life for Californians: The threat of the "next big one" may be right around the corner.

Our comment

As 2018 begins, the earth is shaking. Volcanoes and earthquakes are in the news almost daily. Along with rising world political tension and the threat of wars, we are being warned by the financial experts that the world economic system could collapse.

It’s interesting that the meeting in Davos, Switzerland (23-26 January 2018), where world leaders of all fields meet to discuss world problems has as its banner this year: “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. We are living in a “Fractured World” - and the experts have few if any answers! Even the earth itself is “fractured”!

Are we entering a time of the “perfect storm” - when civilisation itself is under threat? Remember the prophecy in Matthew 24, and read it carefully!

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6)

So first – we hear of wars and threats of war… and then it happens!

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes [including volcanoes, hurricanes, tsunamis etc], in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:7-8)

Is this where we are right now?

Are we about to witness a perfect storm in which a confluence of factors will absolutely cripple society and bring about changes that most of us would not even dare to imagine right now?

It appears we need to begin daring to imagine!

Check out the following website for up to date news on earthquakes: http://ds.iris.edu/seismon/

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Today we find the Church of God in a “wilderness of religious confusion!”

The confusion is not merely around the Church – within the religions of the world outside – but WITHIN the very heart of The True Church itself!

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Listen to Me, You who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My Law: …I have put My words in your mouth, I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, “you are My people” (Isaiah 51:7,16)