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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

April 2004

The Madrid Terror Attack

As this is being written, al Qaeda agents are suspected of perpetrating a horrific bombing attack on people in commuter trains in Madrid, Spain.

MADRID, March 16 -- In the first frantic hours after coordinated bomb blasts ripped through several packed commuter trains Thursday morning, the government of outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar undertook an intense campaign to convince the Spanish public and world opinion-makers that the Basque separatist group ETA had carried out the attacks, which killed 201 people and wounded more than 1,500. . . .

The first bomb went off at 7:39 a.m., on a jam-packed commuter train at the Atocha station in central Madrid. By 7:42, 10 bombs had exploded -- seven at Atocha, two at nearby El Pozo station and one at Santa Eugenia. Although the initial figures put the death toll at about 20, authorities knew the number would rise dramatically and that this would be the worst terrorist attack in Spanish history. ("Spain Campaigned to Pin Blame on ETA," www.washingtonpost.com, Mar. 16, 2004)

Voter anger at the government management of the news following the attack has led to their defeat in the election. Apparently the attack was timed to influence the election.

Inspired Commentary

The times seem to be becoming more perilous, especially for those living and working in large cities. The Apostle Paul commented:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (2 Tim. 3:1-3).

Obesity Deaths Climbing in the USA

The Associated Press reported recently on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Americans are sitting around and eating themselves to death, with obesity closing in on tobacco as the nation's No. 1 underlying preventable killer.

A poor diet and physical inactivity caused 400,000 deaths in 2000, a 33 percent jump over 1990, said a study released Tuesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco-related deaths in the same period climbed by less than 9 percent and the gap between the two narrowed substantially.

The researchers analyzed data from 2000 for the leading causes of death and for those preventable factors known to contribute to them. Like tobacco, obesity and inactivity increase the risks for the top three killers: heart disease, cancer and such cerebrovascular ailments as strokes. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle also strongly increase the risk of diabetes, the sixth leading cause of death. . ("Fatness Kills: Obesity Nears Tobacco as Top Preventable Cause of Early Death," Associated Press, March 9, 2004)

It appears that many Americans have trouble with relative prosperity.

Inspired Commentary

An ancient sage observed:

For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags (Prov. 23:21).

It appears the poverty might be related to medical bills. There is also a moral aspect involved which suggests a moral solution. A Bible passage in Deuteronomy gives an example of rebelliousness and drunkenness associated with gluttony. This passage is probably suggesting that an inner change in the person is the ultimate solution to the indulgence problem:

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear (Deut. 21:18-21).

Passion Film and Faith

Mel Gibson's file, "The Passion of the Christ," is currently stirring the Christian world and creating box-office income records. The governor of Connecticut predicted the film would lead to an "explosion of faith."

Back to Connecticut: Governor John G. Rowland gave Christian testimony on Sunday to an "explosion of faith". He claims that the nation is undergoing this faith impact, particularly because of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."

According to the Associated Press release on February 29, Roman Catholic Rowland said: "It is unbelievable. It is breathtaking. It shakes you to the core of your soul. But it is the Gospel, and people need to recognize and realize that we need to reach out to faith.

"We need to reach out to each other and, most importantly, we need to reach out to the power above us. I think there is an explosion of faith taking place in our country. And it is an explosion of faith because evil is everywhere." ("An Explosion of Faith: Connecticut Governor ," www.MichNews.com, March 2, 2004)

Inspired Commentary

Anyone who has made a resolution to change something after a close call knows that experiencing an emotional experience and living a changed life are not necessarily in a cause-effect relationship despite promises or intentions to change. Whether "The Passion of the Christ" produces the exuberant result predicted is yet to be seen.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James 1:22-25).

In the days just before Jesus comes, we understand, however, that there will be a false revival of religiosity that will lead to persecution of those who are not in harmony with that movement.

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. ... And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Rev. 13:11, 15).

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