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These Times

These Times

A penetrating look at current world events in light of Bible prophecy

Caught without Cash

Cashless societies and digital banking are the trend in many countries around the world. But are we really ready to abandon cash? Canadians may say, No!

In Canada, three communications monopolies control 90 percent of the country's telecoms market. In July, customers of one of them, Rogers Communications, lost service for 19 hours. More than 10 million people were affected—over a quarter of the country's population. The consequences of suddenly having no internet or wireless were dangerous as well as frustrating.

Police services reported that 911 services were inaccessible on many mobile phones. Hospitals reported communications problems and inability to offer some procedures. Banking services were disrupted, and shops and businesses could only take cash. This left the many people who do not use cash in limbo since ATMs were also affected. Frustration ran high.

As a result of the outage, Canadians’ trust in the digital banking system has been understandably eroded and more Canadians will likely start keeping cash on hand.

"If the power goes out, or if there’s a run on the banks, if there’s a cyberattack on a retailer or financial institution or on a country’s internet system, the digital economy may be severely affected but cash will still work,” one commentator noted. “Going completely cashless is very risky.

The outage gave some Canadians a brief taste of what it could be like to be barred from buying and selling at the end of time because of loyalty to God. Rev. 13:16, 17. Even a stash of cash won’t be helpful then. 

Rogers outage: Why a network upgrade pushed millions in Canada offline,” BBC News, July 21, 2022.

“‘Always keep cash on hand,’ experts say after massive Rogers outage,” Yahoo Finance, July 19, 2022.

Starbucks CEO: “America has become unsafe”

The coffee store chain Starbucks is closing in some locations, not due to unprofitability, but because of safety concerns voiced by the stores’ employees. 

Sixteen stores in five US cities—six in Seattle, six in Los Angeles, two in Portland, one in Philadelphia, and one in Washington, DC—will be closed by the end of July due to repeated security disturbances. Such incidents include customers and other members of the public using drugs in the stores.

In a leaked video of an internal meeting, company CEO Howard Schultz stated, “It has shocked me that one of the primary concerns that our retail partners have is their own personal safety. America has become unsafe.”

“We heard the stories about what happens in our bathrooms,” he added, “the issues of mental illness, the issues of homelessness, the issues of crime. Starbucks is a window into America—we have stores in every community—and we are facing things which the stores were not built for. So, we’re listening to our people and closing stores.”

Schultz noted that Starbucks’ struggle to keep its doors open in increasingly violent and volatile neighborhoods and metropolitan areas reflects the national experience with declining law and order in recent years.

To help address the growing problem, the company will train their baristas in handling active shooter situations and de-escalating conflict. 

Schultz also hinted that the 16 store closings may only be the first of more to come. 

The prophecy of 2 Timothy 3:1 is being fulfilled: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.” They are most certainly here. 

Starbucks CEO says ‘America has become unsafe,’” Bizpac Review, July 15, 2022.

Starbucks CEO: Progressive Cities ‘Have Abdicated Their Responsibility in Fighting Crime,’” Yahoo News, July 15, 2022.

“Apocalyptic” Heat in Europe

Europe’s July weather has been dubbed a “heat apocalypse.” An extreme heatwave moved in with record-setting temperatures as the continent struggles with one of its most difficult years in natural disasters, including droughts and massive fires.

Portugal has experienced a national high of 117°F—a record temperature for July—while in France temperatures hit 104°F, with 64 areas registering record high temperatures.

According to Dr. Amir Givati from Tel Aviv University Department of Environmental Studies, "Early forecasts predicted that summer 2022 will be hotter than usual in the northern hemisphere, but in reality, it's hotter than the forecast.”

Britain’s weather agency issued its first-ever “red warning” of extreme heat in the third week of July. Temperatures on July 19 broke the UK record, hitting 104°F for the first time ever.

“There is an element of shock at reaching 40°C (104°F) in the UK,” commented TV weather forecaster Nick Miller. “But really no one should be surprised. Scientists told us this day would come because of climate change, and now that it’s arrived, it’s likely to happen again.”

Two years ago, the British meteorological service presented a hypothetical forecast of Britain's expected temperatures in 2050 due to climate change. That forecast hit Britain 28 years early.

The Bible also prophesies that extreme global heat will be one of the seven last plagues. Rev. 16:8, 9. This prophecy hasn’t been fulfilled yet, but when it is, it will be much hotter than July 2022 in Europe.

A 117 Degree Day in Portugal: Record-breaking Heat Waves Hit Europe,” Reuters, July 18, 2022. 

The UK’s Hottest Day, A New Normal? BBC News, July 19, 2022.

Cooperating with God in Nature

The city of Medellín, once notorious as Columbia’s cocaine capital, is making headlines because of its award-winning “Green Corridors” project. Started in 2016, the project provides a 12-mile continuous network of shade by transforming 18 roads and 12 waterways into green space. By 2019, the city had reduced its average air temperature by 5.4°F and its average surface temperature by 18.5°F.

As the air quality improved, the health benefits of green spaces became apparent: the city's morbidity rate from acute respiratory infections decreased from 159.8 to 95.3 per 1,000 people.

The project didn’t just benefit people. Trees were selected to provide food for wildlife and create a network of greenery that birds, mammals, and insects can also use to travel around the city.

Recognizing that a nature-based solution especially aids vulnerable poor communities who are most exposed to climate change, the city has now increased green public spaces in Medellín’s poor neighborhoods. Establishing green spaces in the surrounding hillside slums is the next goal.

Since the project started, 75 new gardeners have been trained and 2,600 workers have been employed through an apprenticeship program, helping residents who are most in need of employment. The project has brought people together who have suffered years of violence to be trained to nurture plants. 

Although nature “groans” because of our sin (Rom. 8:22), God’s creation is still a great blessing to us when we care for it.

“Nature-based Solutions: Green corridors—Medellín, Colombia,” Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, 2022.

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