Saturday, May 24, 2014

'Here I Am! I Stand At The Door And Knock'

This story is becoming more and more common - especially in the Middle East, as Jesus comes to people, often Muslims, in dreams and visions. Below is yet another one of those stories (in full):

A British-based Iranian woman brought up as a devoted Muslim has told a conference in Jerusalem how she became a Christian after an encounter with the God of the Bible.
She heard His voice as she watched a movie about Jesus, and later responded to His personal invitation spelt out in the Book of Revelation.
At the time Esther Esfahani was in the midst of divorce proceedings against her husband because he had become a Christian, but they were subsequently reconciled and her entire family is now following Jesus.

[Editor's Note: We have not used her real name for security reasons as the Iranian government not only persecutes Christians but has also vowed to destroy Israel.]
Esther was addressing a conference in Jerusalem called At the Crossroads aimed at deepening bonds of reconciliation between Arab and other Muslim-background Christians and Jewish followers of Jesus.
Delegates arrived from all over the Middle East and beyond - some at risk to their lives - to sample the hospitality of their Jewish brothers and be shown around some of the Holy Land sites.
Shortly after moving to England some years ago, Esther started a coffee shop and took on some Christian staff. But she left strict instructions that they were not to talk about their faith.
On her day off, Esther's husband, who worked elsewhere, took care of the shop, and one day she noticed a book about Christianity on top of the dishes. It turned out that her husband had decided to follow Jesus.
Speaking in Farsi, translated by her sister, she said: "I had this idea that if you're a Muslim and you accept another religion something bad will happen to you."
Two weeks later she saw a Bible in the shop. "I got so angry I kicked out the Christian staff and initiated divorce proceedings against my husband - we had been married 19 years."
She wasn't just a committed follower of Islam; she had actually taught the Koran. In Esther's own words:
"So I told him I could not be with him any longer if he was now a Christian. But the angrier I became, the calmer he grew. He was being so kind.
"So to prove Islam is better I started to read more of the Koran and wrote down what was either good or interesting. But then I discovered things that weren't so good, like all this about cutting hands and taking multiple wives. So I decided not to read it anymore, but still wanted to divorce my husband.
"So I went to inform my sister about this, only to find that she too had become a Christian! And a little later, when my husband was away, she suggested we watch a movie together.
"It was all about Jesus, and I was so angry that people opposed him when he had done so many good things.
"Then suddenly I heard a voice saying: 'You are just the same! You are watching this, but cannot believe it.' I looked around to see who was speaking, but there was no-one there.
"I subsequently got quite depressed because I didn't have any kind of relationship with God and after all these years was suffering at the hands of my husband.
"So when my sister took a shower, I secretly picked up her Bible and started to read it. Eventually I prayed: 'If you're real and alive, can you start speaking to me as you speak to them?'
"And that evening I opened the Bible at random (as Muslims do with the Koran) and it fell open at Revelation (the last book of the New Testament). My eyes were drawn to the words of Jesus, which said: 'Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.' (Rev 3.20)
"I was so afraid I was shaking. So I closed the book, but then opened it again at the very same place, at which point I just fell down and said, 'OK, you are God; I want to accept you!'
"Next day I was crying when I called my husband, who at first misunderstood as he pleaded for me to give him another chance. But I told him that, when he came home, I wanted to read the Bible with him and together commit our way to Jesus.
"By this time he too was crying as he thanked God for answering his prayers.
"When he returned, my heart had been totally changed and I was in love with my husband. My two sons noticed the difference in our lives and how Jesus had brought peace out of conflict, and now all our family are serving God in church."
Esther finished by praying for all Iranians and believes the gift of God her family has experienced is also available to all Muslims.

According to an anonymous Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official, the control system for an unidentified US utilities corporation was hacked into.
The unnamed DHS official claimed: “While unauthorized access was identified, ICS-CERT was able to work with the affected entity to put in place mitigation strategies and ensure the security of their control systems before there was any impact to operations.”
DHS and the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) revealed this in a recent report.
The known details are:
• A hacker attacked a utilities corporation previously attacked
• Employee access was used
• This was a “simple hack”
• Brute Force was used to confirm the password obtained
Two years ago, a team of unknown persons took down 17 PG&E power transformers at a single substation in San Jose, California.
Media reported on this event: “The attack began just before 1 a.m. on April 16 last year, when someone slipped into an underground vault not far from a busy freeway and cut telephone cables. Within half an hour, snipers opened fire on a nearby electrical substation. Shooting for 19 minutes, they surgically knocked out 17 giant transformers that funnel power to Silicon Valley. A minute before a police car arrived, the shooters disappeared into the night.”
The unidentified ‘attackers” targeted the oil-filled cooling systems, forcing the transformers to overheat and crash with a fireworks display finale.
Officials were reported to have scrambled to redirect power from Silicon Valley to make up for the downed substation.
In February of last year, hackers breached the Department of Energy (D0E) computers to syphon personal information from employees. DoE officials reported the incident to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) who stated that the hackers used “sophisticated” attacks to steal “personally identifiable information” digital data, yet could have more sinister plans in the future should access be gained again.
Several hundred employees, including 14 computer servers and 20 workstations were involved in the hack. The DoE have been cooperating with the FBI to identify the stolen data; as well as devise comprehensive strategies to prevent this from happening again.
SCADA Systems, a corporation that provides industrial automation technology to agencies surveilling the energy grid was targeted for an elaborate hack of their facilities in the US and Spain.
In a statement representatives from SCADA said: “We do not have any reason to believe that the intruder(s) acquired any information that would enable them to gain access to a customer system or that any of the compromised computers have been connected to a customer system.”
SCADA is connected through networks to power plants, water-treatment facilities, traffic lights and other “critical infrastructure”.
DHS confirmed that hackers posed an increasing risk to electrical utilities because some control systems may be connected to the internet.
The NA report pointed out that “cyber-attacks are unlikely to cause extended outages, but if well-coordinated they could magnify the damage of a physical attack.”
A hacker attack on the power system “could deny large regions of the country access to bulk system power for weeks or even months,” which would generate “turmoil, widespread public fear and an image of helplessness that would play directly into the hands of the 

Pro-Russia separatists killed 16 Ukrainian soldiers on Thursday (22 May), as the country prepares to elect the man or woman who will try to end de facto Russian rule.
The attack, near Volnovakha in eastern Ukraine, is the deadliest incident since clashes in Odessa, in the south, led to more than 40 deaths on 2 May.
It augurs badly for Ukrainian and EU leaders who fear Russian President Vladimir Putin will try to derail Ukraine's presidential vote on Sunday despite EU threats to impose economic sanctions if he does.
As EU citizens elect MEPs the same day, the Ukraine vote is also about Europe.

It comes after the “Maidan” revolution in February overthrew ex-president Viktor Yanukovych because he abandoned EU integration in favour of closer ties with Russia.
It also comes after Putin in March annexed Crimea, shattering Europe’s post-WWII legal order, and creating the prospect of a new Cold War.
If all goes well, Ukraine’s next leader will get a big mandate in a free and fair vote.
In the worst case, Russian-backed violence could stop the vote from going ahead. Clashes with separatists could escalate, and Russia could invade Ukraine in line with Putin’s doctrine of protecting Russian-speakers abroad.
In a third option, events might yield a lame duck president who agrees to create a federal Ukraine unable to take pro-EU steps.
The man tipped to win by a landslide on Sunday is Petro Poroshenko.
Poroshenko, a 48-year old billionaire, owns Ukraine’s best-known chocolate brand, Roshen. He has served in past governments of all colours and has close ties with the country’s oligarchs.
People like him because he was the first big man to join the Maidan. They trust him to be pragmatic with Russia and to fix Ukraine’s economy. He got a bump when star boxer Vitali Klitschko quit the race to back him. According to Odihr, the European election-monitoring body, he has also bought 48 percent of all TV ads.

Cat and mouse

For his part, Putin is keeping the EU guessing.

On one hand, he endorsed a Swiss and German initiative for peace talks between Ukraine authorities and rebels. But on the other hand, he says the election is void because Yanukovych, who is in Russia, is still president and because Ukraine is on the brink of "civil war".
“In terms of legitimacy and objectivity of the results, this will raise big questions for us,” Putin said while in China on Wednesday (21 May).
EU diplomats are quick to call out his “hypocrisy”.
One source told this website: “How can you invade Crimea then question the legitimacy of the election on grounds that Ukraine is divided? It’s the world turned upside down.”
A second EU diplomat predicted trouble.
He said: “Putin’s goal is to undermine the legitimacy of the new president, so there will be attempts to disrupt the voting, provocations. The most vulnerable spots are regional stations, where ballots are sent and counted. But the FSB [Russian intelligence] has levers everywhere in Ukraine, so you can’t exclude anything, even in the capital or in the west of the country.”


EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy has invited EU leaders to Brussels on Tuesday to “exchange views” on Ukraine, among other topics.
The European Commission in recent weeks drafted potential sanctions on Russia’s energy, banking, high-tech and arms industries. But if leaders opt to go ahead, they will be unable to implement them immediately because EU countries have not decided how far to go.
Maja Kocijancic, the EU foreign relations spokeswoman, told EUobserver the work is “ongoing.” A third EU diplomat noted: “We still have to negotiate the legal details … So the leaders could take a general decision, but this does not mean, of course, that on Wednesday the sanctions will be ready.”
The delay is due to an EU split, with the UK, Nordic countries, and ex-Iron Curtain states on the hawkish side, but with France, Germany, and southern EU countries keen to go back to business as usual.
“Instead of hard diplomacy, there’s an appetite to find a compromise with Russia at any cost in order to stop escalation. Putin sees this as fear, paralysis - the politics of the white flag. It’s a clear sign to him the West is weak and that he can expand his borders without a fight,” a diplomat from one of the hawkish EU states said.

A light earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter Scale was felt in areas across southern Israel at around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Police received notices from residents who felt the seismic activity in the areas spanning from the central port city of Ashdod to Israel's southern-most city of Eilat.

The epicenter of the earthquake was suspected to be in the Sinai Peninsula region, police reported.
No injuries or damage were reported.
Meanwhile, an earthquake of 6.4 magnitude struck off the coast of northern Greece on Saturday and was felt as far away as neighboring Turkey and Bulgaria but there were no reports of serious casualties or destruction, police and fire brigade officials said.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 6.9
Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2014-05-24 12:25:01
GMT/UTC Time : 2014-05-24 09:25:01

Update 09:50 UTC : This earthquake was also felt in neighboring countries like Bulgaria and Romania
Update 09:49 UTC : The first aftershocks are already raging in the epicentral area. Some stronger than M5!
Update 09:43 UTC : Shaking map below shows strong to very strong shaking on the Greek Islands – Damage may at least be expected on these islands

Update 12:36 UTC : Dogan news agency said the temblor caused damage to some old houses on the island of Gokceada, off Turkey’s northern Aegean coast, and 30 people were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
Update 12:26 UTC : Seismologist Dr. Stephen Hicks reports on Twitter account that this earthquake occurred  along the westernmost strand of the Northern Anatolian Fault system. Today’s earthquake looks to be the largest recorded in this part of the fault since detailed records are available (1970)

Update 13:12 UTC : The tremors from this earthquake were felt as far as Israel!. Israel had thus a very busy earthquake day with another earthquake they have felt in the Dead Sea area
Update 13:03 UTC : In the meantime we have noticed a lot of aftershocks, some of them moderate to strong.
Update 12:43 UTC : The Governor of Canakkale has reported that at least 105 people have been treated for various injuries. Based on our experience, this number will be likely increasing further.  Below a shaking video recorded in Canakkale, Turkey. The shaking seems to have been fierce but (luckily) did not last long.

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