A Philadelphia woman who was rescued from sex trafficking spoke out about her former life of drug addiction and prostitution in a new video the FBI posted Wednesday.
The woman, identified only as Ali, had spent five years on the streets, where she quickly became addicted to heroin and fully dependent on her sex traffickers for drugs and money, officials said. She escaped with the help of law enforcement, although it’s unclear when.
“They have that control over you,” Ali said of her sex traffickers, who physically abused her. “I felt obligated to do certain things with them in order for them to keep providing for me . . . I was willing to sacrifice enduring that because without that person I thought I had nothing.”
Ali, who has a master’s degree, said she left her stable home for the notoriously violent streets of Kensington after she tried heroin and became addicted. “It’s honestly like a war zone,” she said of the neighborhood. “Most of what goes on there is drugs, prostitution and violence. It’s crazy when I think about it now because it’s no way for a person to live.”
William Johnson, a deputy sheriff with the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office, arrested Ali after her family asked authorities for help finding her. When that happened, Ali said she was scared but also relieved because she “knew that it was over.” “I knew that the way that I was living and my days on the streets and years of living that way was ending,” she said. “I don’t think I would have made it off of the streets alive had I continued to stay out there.”
Ali now works at a treatment center helping others fight their addictions, according to the FBI. It’s unclear how old she was when she was rescued.
The agency posted Ali’s story as it announced it had recently rescued 84 children, including a 3-month-old girl, and arrested 120 alleged traffickers, following a nationwide crackdown on child sex trafficking.
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U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees in the Washington area and Philadelphia were unable to access some agency computer networks on Tuesday, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
It was not immediately clear how widespread the issue was or how significantly it affected daily functions at DHS, a large government agency whose responsibilities include immigration services, border security and cyber defense.
Employees began experiencing problems logging into networks at 5 a.m. ET on Tuesday due to a problem related to domain controllers, or servers that process authentication requests, and personal identity verification (PIV) cards used by federal workers and contractors to access certain information systems, one source said.
At least four DHS buildings in the Washington area were affected, the source said, including locations used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, but some employees were able to access systems through a virtual private network.
The source characterized the issue as one stemming from relatively benign information technology missteps and a failure to ensure network redundancy. There was no evidence of foul play, the source said, adding that it appeared DHS’s domain controller credentials had expired on Monday when offices were closed for the federal Presidents Day holiday.
Another source said it was unclear if PIV cards were connected to network issues. DHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
President Donald Trump vowed to make cyber security a priority during his administration, following an election marred by hacks of Democratic Party emails that U.S. intelligence agencies concluded were carried out by Russia in order to help Trump, a Republican, win. At a White House event last month he said he would “hold my Cabinet secretaries and agency heads accountable, totally accountable, for the cyber security of their organizations.”
(TWO MONTHS AGO MY 33 YR OLD NEPHEW DIED FROM THIS IN SCRANTON SO THIS STORY HAS PERSONAL MEANING TO ME)
JAN 9 2017, 11:08 AM ET
Wilkes-Barre Faces Heroin Scourge Turning It Into ‘the Most Unhappy Place in America’
‘Dropping Like Flies’: Heroin Epidemic Takes Hold of PA County 7:36
For William Lisman, the longtime Luzerne County coroner, the first sign of the coming plague appeared in the hills of northeastern Pennsylvania in November 2015.
A 27-year-old woman from one of the mountain towns surrounding Wilkes-Barre was found dead in her family home.
Lisman suspected a drug overdose. She was young. She had been healthy. There were no obvious signs of trauma. And heroin abuse had been on the rise in recent years.
“When a person dies of an overdose, the lungs fill with fluid,” he said. “The victims essentially drown in their own fluids.”
Because autopsies are expensive and time-consuming, many coroners faced with cases like these do toxicological tests designed to pick up traces of known drugs to determine the cause of death. But the first test Lisman administered came back negative. So did the second.
So Lisman listed the cause of death as undetermined.
Several days later, a 34-year-old man was found dead in a sleeping bag in the nearby city of Hazleton.
Once again, Lisman suspected a fatal drug overdose. Once again, the tox tests came back negative. And once again, he listed the cause of death as undetermined.
“I remember when it started because it was budget time and they were about to cut my budget,” he said, with a wry chuckle. “At that point the doctor I had been consulting with (about these two cases) told me, ‘Bill, there is something going on here’.”
Like many coroners in smaller counties, Lisman is not a doctor. But he knows about death. A third-generation Wilkes-Barre resident, he and his family ran a funeral home that buried several generations of city residents. He reached out to fellow coroners in neighboring counties to see if they had similar cases.
They had. And the answer was fentanyl, a powerful painkiller the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says is 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin, packs 50 to 100 times more punch than morphine, and can be manufactured easily by illegal drug mills. This was the same drug that killed Prince last April.
“I started hearing about fentanyl and how drug dealers were cutting heroin with it,” he said.
Lisman said he had the toxicological tests “tweaked” to detect the presence of fentanyl and “after that, the drug overdoses here skyrocketed.”
Facing a crisis, Lisman called the local newspaper, The Times Leader, last May and sounded the alarm.
“I knew I wasn’t going to stop people from using, but I wanted people to know what they were using,” he said. “This stuff can kill them.”
And it has.
The deadly math in Wilkes-Barre
Last year there were 137 fatal drug overdoses — more than half of them the result of heroin laced with fentanyl — in a county of just 318,000 people.
That death rate is four times higher than New York City.
“Twenty years ago, we might have 12 deaths we determined to be drug deaths,” Lisman said. “This year we are on track for 150 deaths…By our standards, it’s off the charts.”
There have been so many fatal drug overdoses that Lisman, who uses an examination room in the basement of a local hospital to do autopsies, said he has had to “finagle space to put all the bodies.”
“I have only room for two in my cooler,” he said. “There’s room for just 10 more in the hospital’s other cooler.”
The victims reflect the demographics of the county — they’re mostly white, often lower to middle-income, Lisman said.
“Age wise, we are across the spectrum, from 20’s to the 70’s,” he said. “We see everyone from the guy in the flophouse to the hard-working guys or gals who find relief in drugs.”
Also, while heroin users in the past relied on needles, “the vast majority now is being snorted,” said Lisman. “A user doesn’t have to go through the process of injecting now. It makes it easier to use.”
A big part of the reason Wilkes-Barre is grappling with a drug problem, Lisman said, is because this city of 41,000 is just a two-hour drive from Philadelphia and from New York City. Interstates 80 and 81 converge just south of the city.
A packet of heroin that sells for $5 in the Bronx can fetch double that in Wilkes-Barre, Lisman said. And if it’s cut with fentanyl, the profit quadruples along with the danger to the users.
“Heroin definitely has its hold on this area,” said Cathy Ryzner, a certified recovery specialist at the Wyoming Valley Alcohol & Drug Services in Wilkes-Barre. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Every time you look in the newspaper and you see somebody died young and at home, you know. You know.”
Christopher Emmett buried his 23-year-old son, Christopher Jr., in August, although in his case it was due to a lethal mixture of morphine and codeine.
“Every time I hear of somebody dying it’s always with the fentanyl mixed with it, it’s never somebody that just did heroin and died from doing heroin,” he said.
From boom town to boarded-up storefronts
The plague hit Wilkes-Barre as the proud county seat on the Susquehanna River was struggling to reverse decades of decay.
Once a thriving city of 80,000, Wilkes-Barre was built by coal and manufacturing barons who erected stately homes and public edifices like the stunning Luzerne County Court House and the 14-story Luzerne National Bank Building in Public Square. Thousands of Italian, Polish and Irish immigrants poured into the city to work in the mines and toil in the garment factories.
But the city lost half its population when the anthracite coal mines died in the 1950s and the good manufacturing jobs began vanishing. And in 1972, Hurricane Agnes delivered a body blow to the local economy when it flooded downtown with nine feet of water.
After that, Wilkes-Barre became a city of abandoned buildings and boarded-up store fronts as the remaining residents struggled to find their footing in an economy where the main employers were now government agencies, the local colleges and hospitals.
The recession in 2008 hit Wilkes-Barre — long a Democratic bastion — hard. And when Barack Obama was running for president, hopeful residents voted for him in droves and did so again when he ran for reelection in 2012. But while the rest of the country rebounded, this Rust Belt city and the rest of the county, including Vice President Joe Biden’s hometown of Scranton, were slow to recover.
Many jobs returned, but not many were the good-paying kind that could support a middle-class life. And those who opted to stay in Wilkes-Barre became disappointed and resentful.
“They want the jobs they had before, not the jobs that are available now,” said Kathy Bozinski , the marketing and communications chief at the United Way of Wyoming Valley. “A lot of good things happened during the Obama Administration, but a lot of the things the folks here were hoping for just didn’t happen.”
In November, Luzerne County voted for Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton, handing the Republican a narrow but shocking victory that helped propel him to the White House.
“I hate to use the cliché, but there are a lot of angry white guys in the region who 20 years ago were making decent money ,” Bozinski said. “Now they are struggling to pay the mortgage and have a good life. There is a lot of frustration.”
Mary Wallace, who is Lisman’s office administrator, said for many people leaving Wilkes-Barre for a better life somewhere else is not an option.
“It’s hard for people who have been here for generations, whose families are buried here, to pick up and move even if they might be better off somewhere else,” she said. “This is their home.”
The most unhappy place in the United States
Two years ago, a pair of researchers — one from Harvard, the other from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada — concluded that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area was the most unhappy place in the U.S.
They reached their conclusion after wading through the results of telephone polls conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2005 and 2009, including answers to the question, “How satisfied are you with your life?”
Lisman, whose four grown children did not return to the Wilkes-Barre after finishing college, agreed that they live in a depressed community.
“We have a lot of people who are unhappy with life,” he said. “People using drugs are looking to escape.”
For Lisman, the heroin plague “is a symptom of the way people here feel and have felt for years.”
“I don’t have an answer for opiate addiction,” he said, his smile fading fast. “The pain and suffering that it has caused is unbelievable. It is eating away at the core of society.”
Cathy Ryzner, a certified recovery specialist at Wyoming Valley Alcohol & Drug Services, said the people she sees are dealing with a host of demons beyond the economic, everything from sexual abuse and broken homes to being raised in households where drinking and drug-taking runs rampant. She’s seen people who get hooked on prescription drugs make the move to heroin.
“But I can’t just blame the doctors,” she said. “It’s a little bit of economics, little bit of hardship, little bit of being raised like that.”
Drugs like heroin, she said, “makes all your problems melt away.”
“It masks any kind of hurt, any kind of feeling…after three days of doing opiates you are addicted,” she said. “You don’t even know you’re getting caught up.”
And Ryzner would know. She was a drug addict for three decades and has been clean for 10 years.
Death by drug overdose “just not natural”
It was against this backdrop that the heroin plague hit the region.
Coroner Lisman, whose dad was once the mayor of Wilkes-Barre, said that at first he made a point of personally going to the scenes when a suspected fatal overdose was reported. No more.
“Now it’s become so routine,” said Lisman, who has gone back to dispatching his deputies to do the grim work of taking the bodies to the morgue.
But Lisman says he is very much aware of what this plague is doing to his hometown and admits it has left him shaken.
“I was raised in an apartment above a funeral home….death never scared me,” he said.
What bothers him, he said, is the resignation he has seen in the victims’ families ones who react “almost with relief.”
“It bothers me that somebody’s life could reach a point that death could be a positive thing,” he said.
This from a man who has comforted thousands of people over the years whose loved ones died of natural causes, sometimes after enduring years of pain.
“Death by drug overdose is different,” he said. “That’s just not natural.”
One case in particular still haunts him. The police had gotten a 911 call and arrived to find a young couple in their 30s dead in bed from “a hot load of heroin while their 5-year-old son was watching TV and eating Cheerios,” Lisman said. “He knew enough to call the police for help.”
Death behind closed doors
The heroin plague in Wilkes-Barre is largely hidden with death taking drug abusers behind closed doors.
“You don’t see junkies on the street,” said Bozinski, who was previously an Emmy Award-winning TV and radio reporter. “This happens behind closed doors. In bedrooms and basements.”
But the effects ripple across the city and touch everyone.
“Everywhere you go you hear, ‘Did you see the story about that one in the paper? Was that another drug overdose?” said Wallace. “That’s what everyone here is talking about.”
The toll is not just psychic. Crime is up, police report, especially petty thefts and break-ins by drug abusers looking for money to score a fix. And the dealers are almost always out-of-towners.
“They’re not racist,” Bozinski said of Wilkes-Barre’s residents. “Yes, some white guys blame people from outside for bringing drugs here. But there’s also the acknowledgement that there is a market for it here.”
“We’re behind the times,” said 42-year-old Paul Smith, who was born and raised in the city — and who buried his former partner Jeremy three weeks earlier after he died of a heroin overdose. “A lot of the problems that were happening in other places are now happening here.”
Sitting in a local bar called Hun’s Café 99 and nursing a beer and a basket of chicken wings , Smith said Jeremy didn’t know what he was dealing with when he started snorting heroin.
“It’s been a very hard thing,” he said. “I spent a lot of time helping him to get clean. It was a very hard reality. And it was very hard to find services to help him.”
Smith said people in Wilkes-Barre turn to drugs because they are already depressed about their lives, depressed that they have to work two or three jobs to get by.
“That’s why people went for Trump,” said Smith, who runs a limo service, owns real estate — and admits to voting for the Manhattan mogul as well. “People are so sick of other people doing better.”
Sitting beside Smith was 28-year-old John Sabatelli. He agreed that it was ignorance of dangerous new variety of heroin that was fueling the crisis. He recalled being surprised when he discovered that a couple at the warehouse where he works was getting high on heroin in the bathroom.
“It’s surprising in that you don’t know who is going to do it,” he said.
Grieving dad Christopher Emmett said drugs have got a death grip on his community. He said his doomed son started smoking pot at age 13 and quickly graduated to harder drugs. He said Christopher Jr. was in and out of rehab – and so were most of his friends.
“It is really an epidemic,” Emmett said. “We went to 14 funerals of my son’s friends who died of addiction in just one year. They’re dropping like flies, every day.”
Emmett’s wife, Patricia, burst into tears at the thought of spending Christmas without her son. And as she cried, her boy’s ashes sat in an urn on a shelf in the living room.
“There ain’t no Christmas,” she said, bitterly.
A proud town fights on
Wilkes-Barre may be down now but it is far from defeated. In Public Square, new restaurants like Franklin’s have opened to serve the young professionals who have moved downtown to live in loft apartments in some of the vintage buildings.
Older establishments like the Café Toscana were bustling with diners on a Tuesday night. And so was the brand new Chick-fil-A, which is located on the first floor of dorm that King’s College built right on the square in an attempt to make students part of the city’s revival.
Just outside downtown loomed the rotting hulks of long-abandoned factories. But higher up in the hills, Christmas lights twinkled on many of the modest-but-clearly kept up homes and the streets bustled with families going about the business of everyday life.
Over at the ornate county courthouse, which dates back to 1909 and which was built at a time when the future of Wilkes-Barre seemed bright, a chorus of fourth graders from a school across the river in Larksville filed into the central hall to perform a medley of Christmas carols.
Watching them was the grandmother of one of the 11-year-old, a chubby, brown-haired boy with untied gym shoes. His face creased into an angelic smile when he spotted his grandma.
“I am scared for him,” said the grandmother, who declined to give her name. “I have family that got hooked on drugs. I don’t want that to happen to him.”
Asked why the area has been so ravaged by drugs, she shook her head. “I don’t know, maybe because they’re so easy to get,” she said.
The children’s music teacher, Joseph James, said so far his kids “are completely sheltered” from the heroin crisis unfolding around them.
“I hope it stays that way,” he said.
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Today in this article I would like to discuss the third chapter of the Book of Revelation, to discuss the words written so that we can understand their meanings. Chapter #3 is a lot like chapter #2 was in that it is directed at three particular Churches back at the end of the first century A.D.. In the last chapter of this Book, #22 in verse #10 the Lord told the Apostle John “Do not seal the sayings of the Prophecy’s of this book: for the time is at hand.” There are those who teach in today’s Churches that this Book is not meant to be understood, that it is just a bunch of signs and symbols. I grew up in a Church which taught this, yet such a belief is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ who dictated the contents of this Book to the Apostle John. Some of the teachings within this Book do go contrary to the teachings of the Church I grew up in, I wondered even back then if this is the reason they wanted to keep this a ‘closed’ book. This Book is like all books in the sense that you must slowly read it if you are to have any hope of understanding it. Yet, at least in my own personal opinion, I believe that a person needs to read all of the other 65 Books of the Bible first before you can grasp the understanding of some of the issues written here in the Bibles last Book. The Book of Revelation has 404 verses in it, of those 404 verses 278 contain references to the Old Testament. True understanding of the Scriptures of God are given to people through the eyes and heart of the Holy Spirit. If a person reads God’s Scriptures through ‘the eyes of the flesh’ there is very little chance that the person will understand what the Holy Spirit is actually saying.
After this third chapter ‘the Church’ will not be mentioned anymore here in this Book, the reason is that after this time ‘The Church” will no longer be here on the Earth, it will be in Heaven. Now I would like to get into these last three Churches of the seven the Lord was addressing in chapter number two, then we will be done talking about these seven Churches. These three Churches that this chapter are revolved around were located in Asia-Minor, they were located in Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Sardis is located in modern-day Greece, the other two are in modern-day Turkey. First let’s look at what The Lord had to say to the Church in Sardis. The Lord told John “To the Angel of the Church in Sardis write; these things saith He that has the Seven Spirits of God and the Seven Stars. I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are really dead.” “Be watchful and strengthen the things you still have that are about to die. For I have not found your works complete before God.” “Remember therefore how that you received and heard, hold fast to that, and repent. For if you do not pay attention, I will come unto you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I come unto you.” “There are a few among you even there in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in White: for they are worthy.” “He that overcomes this world shall be clothed in White Raiment; and I will not blot out their name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His Angels.” “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.”
Friends there is no great mystery what The Lord is saying to the people at the Church in Sardis, nor in what He is telling us. The Lord in this letter is pointing out these folks good and their bad points. On the things that they are doing that are good and pleasing to Him, He tells them to continue in these ways. Yet on the things they are doing which are displeasing to Him, He tells them to stop doing those things, to correct their ways. Now here is the ‘kicker’ to those who believe in the fallacy of “once saved always saved.” Chapter three verse number five where The Lord said “and I will not blot out their name out of the Book of Life.” After we die and go before God at our judgement our names must be in ‘The Book of Life”, or we will be cast into Hell at that time. This verse makes it rather plain that one’s name can be removed from this Book. Please do not fall for the Demonic teaching of once saved always saved, it simply is not true, that teaching is not the teaching of God.
Let’s move onto the second Church, the one in Philadelphia that is in modern-day Turkey. The Lord said “To the Angel of the Church in Philadelphia write; these things says He that is Holy, He that is True, He that has the Key of David. He that opens and no man can shut, He that shuts and no man can open.” “I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it. For you have a little power and have obeyed My Word and you have not denied My Name.” “Behold, I will make them of the Synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not, for they do lie. Behold I will make them come and worship before your feet, then they will realize that I have loved you.” “Because you have kept the word of my patients, I will also keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall which shall come upon the whole world. To try them which dwell upon the Earth.” “Behold, I shall come quickly. Hold fast to that which you have so that no man can take your Crown.” “To he that overcomes I will make him a Pillar in the Temple of God. He shall no more go out, and I shall write upon him the name of God, and the name of the City of God which is the New Jerusalem which shall come down out of Heaven from God and I will write upon him My new name for him.” “He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.”
Philadelphia did not receive the rebuke that almost all of the other Churches received because God was pleased with the work that they were doing. Philadelphia was a Church that wasn’t just attending a once a week service then sitting on their hands the rest of the week doing nothing to help save those that were living their lives around them, they were getting God’s Word out, outside of the Church walls. Yet if you will notice The Lord did warn them about becoming lazy, complacent in their work for Him. Just as with the other Churches we are shown the fact that we can ‘lose’ our Crown if we are not careful. Remember God’s teachings, there is no such thing as once saved always saved!
Now let’s go onto the seventh of the Seven Churches on the Lord’s list here at the beginning of the Book of Revelation, this last Church is the one that was at Laodicea. “To the Angel of the Church in Laodicea write; these things saith the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the beginning of the Creation of God. “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I wish that you were one or the other.” “So then because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” “Because you say you are rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing, you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” “I advise you to buy from Me gold that is tried in the fire so that you may be rich and clothed in White Raiment so that you may be clothed so that the shame of your nakedness does not appear, and anoint your eyes with eye salve so that you might see.” “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefor and repent.” “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him and he with Me.” “To him that overcomes this world I will grant him to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father in His Throne.” “He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.”
My friends, is there really anything that is written in this letter that is too difficult to understand? The Church at Laodicea had become large and filled with people who were wealthy and they felt safe in their size and their wealth. You know, if there was no such thing as a ‘God’, if all that humans did was live and die and then, there was nothing, this loving the dollar thing might actually be of some value. But, there is a God, and that God is not a person’s bank account. Even if we are a person who goes to Church every week and call ourselves a Christian, if we do not do ‘the works’ of Jesus, we are nothing but lukewarm water. ‘Christians’ who live their lives like this are really nothing but dead men/women walking and they are to blind and self-absorbed to know that they are walking on a plank above an active volcano. These Churches are teaching what I call “feel good religion.” To many Churches here in America have become businesses first, if Preachers teaches things that are uncomfortable to the people sitting in the pews many of those people will quit going to that Church and when this happens the money they were putting in the ‘offering plate’ leaves with them. To many Churches ‘Leaders’ are afraid to teach messages that are uncomfortable to ‘the flock’ for this reason. I have a question for every one of us, which do we fear more, a reduction in our income, or the wrath of God? The Lord’s Church (His Bride) must be a House of Worship and a House of Prayer first for it to be a God-fearing and God-loving Church/Bride.
I am going to close this article tonight with the words that are inscribed on the wall of a Church in Lübeck Germany. It is only 13 sentences but I think it is an excellent way to close this article tonight. My question to you is, what do you think of them?
Thus Speaks Christ our Lord to us:
You call Me Master, but you do not obey Me.
You call Me Light, but you do not see Me.
You call Me The Way, but you do not walk with Me.
You call Me Life, but you do not choose Me.
You call Me Wise, but you do not follow Me.
You call Me Fair, but you do not love Me.
You call Me Rich, but you do not ask of Me.
You call Me Eternal, but you do not seek Me.
You call Me Noble, but you do not serve Me.
You call Me Gracious, but you do not trust Me.
You call Me Mighty, but you do not honor Me.
You call Me Just, but you do not fear Me.
If I condemn you, do not blame Me!
Lukewarm Christians turn away would be Christians by how they live their lives. When we say we are Christians but we walk after the ways of the Devil these would be Christians see this and they turn away from Christianity. These lukewarm actions cost more than just your own Soul to be condemned, it costs the Souls of those around us who see our ‘works’ and flee from the teachings of God because of our evil ways.
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Chapter #2 is all about the message the Lord Jesus gave to his Apostle John about seven of the Churches that were in Asia-Minor at that time. There were many Churches at that time but God chose these seven in which to give direct messages to. This chapter touches on all seven of the Church’s but it concentrates mostly on just four of them, the other three will be covered more in chapter #3. One thing that all people need to understand is that ‘The Church’ is the ‘Bride of Christ’ that He will be coming back to get. Like any ‘Bride’ the Groom wants His Bride to be as pure and faithful as possible, the ‘Church’ for Jesus is no different. In the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation the Church is mentioned 19 times yet in chapters 4 through 20 the Church is not mentioned at all. The reason for this is that after chapter #3 the Church leaves this physical Earth. Chapters 4-20 covers issues of what is yet to be. Jesus in His messages to these seven Churches were direct in their meanings and in their messages to these late first century Churches. O, by the way, if you are able to afford the trip, the ruins of these seven Churches still exist today if you wish to go check them out.
With how the Lord addressed each of these Churches it gives us a snapshot of the condition of each of their congregations at the time. All Churches are made up of human beings and just like human beings each Church then and today, have their own personalities, their own little quirks about them. This is one huge reason why it is so important for a Church to have Holy Spirit led Leaders within the Church family. If the head is a snake it will poison the body and consume all that was good about it. This is true of a family, a business, a Country, or of a Church. First I would like to discuss the Church that was at Philadelphia. The Lord was addressing this one Church yet it is obvious that He was addressing not just the Church at Philadelphia, He was addressing these other six Churches as well. What was also obvious is that He was addressing every Church Congregation every where, then and now. Remember, every Congregation just like any other family is made up of individuals, so the Lord was also talking directly to me, and to you. You see, all Churches must be in lockstep with each other in that there is only one Lord, one God, one Church (Bride), and one Head of The Church (one Groom) and that is Jesus The Christ who bought us with His own blood. If you will notice, there are seven addresses given to these seven Churches and within them is given the seven periods of the Church’s history. For those who are unaware of it ‘The Church’ began on the Day of Pentecost after the Lord had risen and ascended back to His Throne in Heaven. This day is when ‘The Kingdom, The Comforter’ which was the Holy Spirit was given to the twelve Apostles of Christ.
The Lord starts off His address to each of the Churches with the saying “I know your works”. With most of the Churches He congratulates the Congregation and then gives a condemnation to them. Yet, for two of the Congregations He did not give a condemnation, these two Churches were the ones at Philadelphia and Smyrna. The reasons for this are rather simple, Philadelphia was a missionary Church and Smyrna was a martyr Church as both of these Churches were effectively getting out the Word of God in their areas. Another thing to notice is the fact that He gave no congratulation to the Congregation at Laodicea, He only gave them a condemnation. The reason for this is that this Church, this Congregation had fallen away from the teachings of God that it had been founded upon. Each of the seven messages to the seven Churches all ended with the same warning “He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says.”
Within chapter #2 you will find the Lord’s messages to the first four Churches. In verses (1-7) you find the Lord’s message to the Church that was at Ephesus, in verses (8-11) this message is to the Church at Smyrna, in verses (12-17) the message is to the Church at Pergamos. The last of this chapter is to the Church at Thyatira, verses (18-29). The Lord’s messages to the other three Churches, Philadelphia, Sardis, and Laodicea, you will find in Chapter #3. If you would, please consider the Lord’s four messages to these first four Churches. Now remember, these messages are to the Apostle John at the direction of The Lord Jesus. “Unto the Angel of the Church of Ephesus write these things that the Lord has to say to them.” ” I know your works and your labor and your patience. I know how you can not tolerate them which are evil, and how you have tested them which say they are Apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. also how you have borne burdens and have been persistent, and for my Name sake you have labored and have not become weak. Never the less I have something against you, because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen and repent and practice your first works, or else I will come unto you quickly and will remove your candlestick out of its place, unless you repent. But there is one thing which you hate, that is the deeds of make-believe Christians, which I also hate. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches. To him that overcomes this world I will give to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the presence of God.” You see my friends, there is such a thing as falling away from the truth of God, and there is no such thing as ‘once saved always saved.”
Now the message from Jesus to the Church at Smyrna. “To the Angel of the Church in Smyrna write; these things the Lord has to say to you, He which is the first and the last, which was dead and is alive.” “I know your works and your tribulation (time of great affliction) and your poverty (but you are rich). I know the blasphemy of those which say they are Jews and are not. But are of the Synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which you shall suffer. Behold, the Devil will cast some of you into prison that you may be tested and you shall have tribulation. But if you are faithful until death I will give you a Crown of Life. “He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches, he that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.” Again my friends, the Lord says plainly that we must remain faithful unto death. These ‘Churches’ of today who are not teaching this, are not teaching the message that God Himself has given to all of us, they are not, teaching God’s word!
Now let’s study the message that God gave to the Church that was at Pergamos. “To the Angel of the Church in Pergamos write, these things says He which has the sharp sword with two edges. I know your works and where you live, I even know where Satan’s seat is. I know that you hold fast to My name, and that you have not abandoned My faith, even in those days when Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you. Because among you there are those that hold to the doctrine of Balaam who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel. To eat things which had been sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. You also have among you those that follow the teachings of make-believe Christians which is something I hate. Repent, or else I will come unto you quickly and will fight against you with the sword of My mouth. He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit has to say to the Churches. To him that overcomes this world I will give them to eat of the hidden manna, and will give them a White Stone. And in the Stone a new Name written. Which no man will recognize except for he that receives it.” My friends, again and again, we must remain faithful through our deaths. Also, in these verses we are being told very plainly that it does matter what the Churches, the Preachers, are teaching the Congregation. It is very important for the people to know exactly what “The Truth” is and the best way to do this is to separate out a little bit of our day each day to study the Bible and for prayer. It is also the absolute duty of the Congregation to insist that the Church Leadership is teaching the true messages of God to the Congregation, it does matter what is being taught from the pulpit.
I am going to finish off this article tonight with the message that the Lord gave to the Church at Thyatira. “Unto the Angel of the Church at Thyatira write. These things says the Son of God who has His eyes like unto a flame of fire and His feet are like fine brass. I know your works and charity and service and faith and your patience. But I still have a few things against you because you allow that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a Prophetess, to teach and to mislead my Servants to commit fornication and to eat things which have been sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent of her fornication but she did not repent. Behold, I will cast her into a bed and those that promote pagan religious ideas with her into great troubles, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her offspring with death and all the Churches will realize that I am He which judges the wills and the hearts. And I will give unto everyone according to your works (deeds). But unto you I say and unto the rest in Thyatira and for those who do not practice pagan doctrine and have not experienced the depths of Satan as they speak; I will put upon you no other burden. But the faith and doctrine which you already have, hold firmly until I come. He that overcomes and maintains my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the Nations. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.”
As you can easily see The Lord has many things to say to the Churches then and to the Churches now. Just as The Lord had a lot to say to the individuals then, He said a lot to each of us now. The Lord has made it so very plain that we must all remain faithful unto our own death, a Church or a person that teaches otherwise is not teaching the Word nor the Will of God. Anyone who teaches something so ridiculous as you can sprinkle a little water on an infant and that this baby, this person is now saved is just that, ridiculous. Think about this for a moment please, Hitler’s Mom was a Catholic, so there is a real good chance that Hitler was “saved” as an infant. So, then he grew up to be the monster that he was, but that was okay for him, he was still saved. Really folks? We are not saved by our works, our deeds, it is the Grace of God we are saved by. But God has laid down His “to do list” for all of us. We must walk after the heart and the face of The Lord everyday of our lives. He knows we will all have days that we will stumble but God knows each of our hearts, He will judge us by that, the condition of our hearts and our efforts. Okay, that is all for this evening, I hope this breakdown was of some help to you. Hopefully I will be able to get to chapter #3 tomorrow. For now, good night and God bless.
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The Book of Revelation is the Book that explains the end! The end? Yes, this Book explains the end of the Earth as we all know it, and it explains the end of the human race here on this planet as we know it. Revelation is a Book of prophesy about how our world will end. This Book, this Letter, was written by the Apostle John who was a Roman prisoner on the Isle of Patmos in the eastern Mediterranean in approximately the year 95 A.D.. This Book is the Revelation of the Son of God the Father Jehovah, our Lord Jesus the Christ. The material came from an Angel of Jesus Christ at the direction of Jesus and Jesus is the main character within its pages.
The style of the writing, the consistency show quite well that this Book was written by one person. John received this Apocalyptic information through direct words, signs and visions. Some folks wish to argue that this is not the writing of John the Apostle because the writing style is different from the other four Books that he wrote in the New Testament. This argument is (in my opinion, silly) the reason I say this is that John was a prisoner on a small island so it is quite logical that he did not have a Scribe to take down his words to write it for him. Like the other New Testament Books Revelation was written in the Greek Language which would not have been John’s first language, and with no Scribe, his Greek was not as fluid as in his other Books. Some people try to discredit this Book out of ignorance or the hate of Christianity or of God in general, there are also those who are simply Demonically evil who do not want us humans to understand God’s warnings to us. Friends, remember that the Demons, including Satan Himself have already been judged and they know that when this system is completed, they will be cast straightway into the fires of Hell and they want every single one of us humans to be there with them, for them to torture for ever and ever. Of all of the Books in the Bible this is the one Book that the Devil and His followers hate the most. Think about this for a moment, Revelation is like the last script of a movie or a play, if you want to find out how the play ends, read ‘The Ending.’ Folks, the ‘Ending’ is laid out for all of us humans in this Book. Friends, for any human who is not a follower of and a person who puts their faith and love in Jesus Christ, our ‘second death’ is shown to us quite plainly in this Book. The end of times here on this planet are going to be horrific for those who are non believers, I pray that you will not be one of them.
This Book is the Revelation that God the Father gave to His Son who was/is ‘The Christ’ for an Angel to give to the servants of Jesus Christ so that His servants would know the things that will come to pass here on the Earth. This Angel of God gave this information to the last surviving Apostle, John, for John to circulate amongst the Church. To John’s credit he did bear witness as he was instructed to do. As instructed John wrote this ‘Letter’ to the seven Churches of Asia-minor (modern-day Turkey). Jesus is spoken of as He which was, He which is, and He which is to come. You see, Jesus is the faithful witness of His Father that no human has ever seen (His Face). Friends, Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice whose blood washed away the sins of the human race making it possible for us to be clean in the presence of God. For a moment please think about verse number seven, “behold Jesus will come in the clouds and every eye shall see Him, they also which pierced Him, all the people’s of the Earth shall wail because of Him.” At the Second Advent of Jesus think how horrible a sight it will be for all the people of the Earth who have turned their back on Him. Think how horrific this event will be to those who spat on, whipped and mocked Him, and how much more so for those who drove the nails into Him. Jesus will be returning with His Holy Angels in the clouds and everyone will see Him, and every knee will bow before Him.
John was in prayer and meditation when he heard a great voice behind him say, v:3 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (v:11) “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, what you are seeing write in a book and send it to the Churches which are in Asia. Unto Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Now, if you would, place yourself in John’s spot. When John turned around to see whose voice it was that was speaking to him, he saw seven Golden Candlesticks. In the midst of the seven Golden Candlesticks stood a man who looked a lot like Jesus. The man was clothed down to his feet and wrapped around his waist was a Golden Girdle. His head and His hair were white like wool which was as white as snow. His eyes were like the flame of a fire. His feet were like that of a fine Brass as it glowed in a furnace. His voice was like unto the sound of many waters.
The Lord had in His right hand Seven Stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword. The Lord’s appearance was like unto the shining of the Sun in its strength. When John saw Him he fell at His feet as if he were dead. Now I admit that I also love the Lord with all my heart, mind and Soul but I think that there is a good chance that my heart would have stopped if I had turned and seen this site myself. Now let’s get back to the Scriptures starting with verse #17. At this time the Lord put His right hand upon John and said to him “Fear not, I am the First and the Last, I am He that lives and was dead. Behold I am alive forever more and I have the keys to Hell and to death.” “Write the things which you have seen, the things which are and the things which shall be hereafter.” (v-20) “The mystery of the seven Stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven Golden Candlesticks. The seven Stars are the seven Angels of the seven Churches: and the seven candlesticks which you saw are the seven Churches.”
This completes the first chapter of this fascinating book of Prophecy. This first chapter simply lays the foundation for the rest of this really interesting story on the events that are here now, and that are coming for everyone who calls Earth their home. Chapter number two is the messages that God has for those seven Churches in Asia-minor. Yet, don’t be fooled, the messages God has for those Churches, those people, are also directed at all Churches and all people. There are 22 chapters in this last Book of the Bible and each chapter has eternity shaking messages for all of us human beings, I hope that you will join me as we go through these messages from our Creator, to all of us. Thank you for your time, I appreciate you very much.
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(This article is courtesy on the CNN News Network)
Woman killed in Philly shooting rampage; gunman also dead
By Carma Hassan, Joe Sutton and Joe Sterling, CNN
Updated 12:31 PM ET, Sat September 17, 2016
Woman dies after being shot seven times, police say
Gunman pumped rounds into a police cruiser, police say
(CNN)A gunman with a reported hatred of law enforcement went on a deadly tear late Friday in Philadelphia, ambushing a police sergeant and firing rounds into a tavern and a car before police shot him dead, authorities said.
The rampage left a 25-year-old woman dead after she was shot seven times in the torso, police said. Two police officers and three others — two men and a woman — also were wounded.
“Right now we have a lot of questions. This is completely a bizarre situation,” Philadelphia police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. said at a press conference Saturday.
Ross said police found a rambling note at the scene that said the gunman hated police and probation officers and it mentions a “particular probation officer.”
“Obviously we are trying to track that individual down to make sure they are OK first and foremost,” he said.
Thank you for your kind words and support for our Sgt, the@PennDPS Officer, and the civilian victims from last night’s senseless attack.
Sergeant shot in protective vest
The shooting occurred at about 11:20 p.m. Friday when a man approached a police car and fired through the window at Sgt. Sylvia Young, who was sitting in her cruiser at 52nd and Sansom streets in west Philadelphia, police said.
No words were exchanged, according to Ross.
Young, a 19-year veteran of the force, was struck in her left arm and her protective vest. She is in stable condition at a hospital, police said. Ross said she is talking and is going to be OK.
Officers nearby heard the gunfire and responded, chasing down the man as he fled.
Cornered in an alley
The gunman fired into a bar, which had its door open, injuring a security guard, police said. He then grabbed a woman and used her as a human shield, shooting her in the leg, authorities said.
He discharged further rounds into a car, striking a man and woman inside, police said.
The man ran into an alley before a University of Pennsylvania police officer and two others from the city police cornered him. Police said they shot and killed him, and he was declared dead at the scene.
The university police officer was shot in the pelvis and the right ankle, police said, and he is in stable condition at a hospital.
Four officers were believed to have discharged their weapons, police said.
There was no immediate information on the gunman’s identity, but police said they don’t believe anyone else was involved at this time.
CNN affiliate WPVI reported that “officers will be riding two to a car until further notice.”
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This morning I read an article on my Google-News that President Obama wants to create a ‘green space’ in New York City’s Greenwich Village area and create a monument to Gay men. Evidently this area is considered the original beginning location of the ‘Gay Movement’ here in America. The article informed me that to this day this is an area that is frequented by men of this lifestyle so I guess that if a ‘Monument’ need’s to be built to celebrate anyone’s sexual life style this is as good a spot as any. Personally I do not believe that any monument to anyone’s sexual lifestyle should be or needs to be built unless a person wants to build one on their own property that they themselves pay for. Yet today my article is not about these men’s lifestyle, it is about calling this future monument ‘the first’, it is not the first. Does our President not know that there is already a monument to a very Gay American that is almost 12,000 feet long that took four years to build?
This ‘monument’ that I speak of is called the Walt Whitman Bridge that spans the Delaware River on the south side of Philadelphia Pa. to Gloucester City New Jersey. Ever since I attended college and learned about this man it has ticked me off that he of all people has any public thing named after him. I am not saying this because he was a gay person I say this because I happened to pick his name out of many names in American history to make a history report on. I knew of Mr. Whitman because of that bridge as I had crossed it a couple of hundred times while driving a truck for a living but until I started digging into this mans life did I know of his sexual orientation. The issue here is the things I found out about him personally that just turns my proverbial stomach.
Throughout Mr. Whitman’s life he very plainly preferred young men and very very young men. This report that I mentioned that I had to write I titled it “Walt Whitman The Pedophile Poet”. The reason wasn’t his explicit homosexual rantings he called poems in his self published book Leaves Of Grass, it was because of his actions that literally caused him to be physically chased out of the state of New Jersey by angry parents. You see, when he was a young man in New Jersey he chose to be an elementary school teacher. In just two years he had worked at five different schools and he was chased away all five times by the towns people and these kids parents. The fifth time the people literally chased him out of the State of New Jersey across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. Why would you honestly think that he would have been ran out of the state and out of all of those towns and schools? This is why I say that America already has a “monument” to a gay man. If this man had lived in the 20th or 21st centuries he would have either been lynched (which is rather obvious what would have happened to him if he hadn’t escaped those N.J. parents), or he would have spent his life in the American prison system. It is like saying that I do not have a problem with America having a female President but saying about Ms. Hillary, just not that woman. I honestly believe that we as a nation can do better than Ms. Hillary for our first woman President and I believe that we can do better than to name a ‘monument’ after a better person than Walt Whitman.
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