Jul 9, 2012
The Great Heat Wave of 2012
In my Nearing Midnight update for April 16, I wrote about the incredibly warm March we had just experienced. Few people were complaining about a winter month that was 8.6 degrees above the average. Now that summer is here and we are experiencing the same pattern of record warmth, people are starting to press the panic button.
For the past few weeks, the central part of the U.S. has been under a massive dome of high pressure that has produced stunning records for heat. So far this month, over
4,500 record high temperatures have been matched or broken. Many all-time highs were set in late June, and the average temperature doesn't top out until the 21st of this month.
Here in Benton, Arkansas, we set the all-time record for June twice. On June 25, the high reached 105 degrees. Three days later, we set a new record of 107 degrees. Our temps were relatively mild compared to some areas in Kansas. Hill City, Kansas, hit 115 two days in a row, which was an all-time high. A few days later, Norton Dam, Kansas, hit 118, briefly making it the hottest location on planet earth.
The heat wave took on an apocalyptic nature when it helped produce a powerful straight-line wind storm called a "derecho" that swept over an area from Indiana to the Maryland coast. A derecho is the result of rain-chilled air rushing out ahead of thunderstorms. Since the areas impacted by the June 29 derecho were still in the upper 80s or 90s, the extreme temperature difference amplified the wind velocity. At one point, over 5 million people were without power. Hurricane Andrew only left 3 million people in the dark.
The Great Heat Wave of 2012 is having a profoundly negative impact on the nation's breadbasket. Corn is the most important grain because it goes into 75 percent of all food products. Over the past month, corn futures have shot up from $5.50 per bushel to over $7.50 per bushel on the spot market. Economists are already predicting a rise in food prices of 4 percent over the next year.
The Department of Agriculture says that 22 percent of all U.S. corn fields are in poor condition, and that number could rise significantly with corn currently undergoing its critical pollination phase. Some analysts have lowered their yield estimates to an average of about 140 bushels per acre. That compares with the Ag Department’s June estimate of 166 bushels per acre.
A relentless spate of bad luck has caused U.S. corn supplies to decline to levels not seen in nearly two decades. Bloomberg News reports that stockpiles were probably 3.168 billion bushels (80.47 million metric tons) on June 1, 47 percent less than on March 1. Last year, the problem was massive flooding on the Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi River deltas, and this year it's too little rain.
I remember in the 1980s, in my home state of Iowa, there was such a bumper crop of corn that it was common to see the yellow kernels piled up on the ground in massive hills because of the lack of room in storage facilities. Those days of overabundance have been replaced by the possibility of future shortages.
I do believe God has slowly lifted His blessing from this nation. We are suffering from a deluge that cannot be explained by CO2-induced global warming. The year is only half over, but we are almost assured of having a record year for heat. The climate models call for a slow rise of 2.5 degrees over 100 years. At this rate, we would all be baked alive if the trend were to continue for just a couple of decades.
A more likely reason we are experiencing an unending chain of calamities is our potential proximity to the Tribulation hour. As we get closer to this seven-year period of judgment, the earth will look all the more like the pictures painted by prophecy. One of the images the Bible gives us is one of a day when a day's wage will equal a loaf of bread.
“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny” (Revelation 6:5-6).
Denying the Power…
The year 2012 has brought with it strange geophysical manifestations. The heat and storms of recent days are unprecedented in many cases, in terms of records falling. Power outages in parts of the nation are particularly thought provoking. The following excerpt encapsulates the plight of many Americans as I write this commentary.
WASHINGTON -- Millions of people in a swath of states along the East Coast and farther west went into a third sweltering day without power Monday after a round of summer storms that killed more than a dozen people.
The outages left many to contend with stifling homes and spoiled food over the weekend as temperatures approached or exceeded 100 degrees.
Around 2 million customers from North Carolina to New Jersey and as far west as Illinois were without power Monday morning. And utility officials said the power would likely be out for several more days. Since Friday, severe weather has been blamed for at least 22 deaths, most from trees falling on homes and cars. (http://www.mercurynews.com/nation-world/ci_20990988/2-million-without-power-east-coast-temperatures-top)
This outbreak of devastation is joined by myriad earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other geophysical phenomena that seem to be ratcheting up by the hour around the world.
Paul the apostle’s words provide the thought-provoking impetus for this commentary: “This also know, that in the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall…have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof" (2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 5).
My own cerebral meanderings on what's going on conjured the thought. This generation, through denying even the mention of the power of God’s dealing with mankind, might be resulting in an increasing lack of power of the electrical sort to energize the households and businesses of large parts of America.
A stretch, you say?
The supposition/postulation isn’t as far-fetched as might be thought at first assessment. To begin, we must ask: Using Paul’s perilous-times indicator, what is the “power”–albeit of spiritual nature--within the “form of godliness” that this generation is denying? The answer is found in the following Scripture. That power is He “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:15-8).
The name is Jesus. It is the name above every other name–now, and in the ages to come (see Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:9). Come to think of it, it is totally relevant to analyze these matters in this way. The One who owns that holy name holds in His mighty hand all power, whether of the natural or supernatural variety, according to God’s Word as given above. Without the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be nothing whatsoever upon which to cogitate–nor would you and I be here to think upon anything.
But, this is not the way many people in America now view the God of all creation. Jesus, in this country whose founders and other leaders invoked that holy name in many of their writings, is now considered persona non grata. His name can be used as a curse word in film and other public entertainment venues, and in private conversations. But, He isn’t to be mentioned in the public school systems, nor can public prayers be ended with His name for fear of offending those of other religious belief systems.
As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court ruled in 1963 that God will no longer be allowed in public classrooms. Our leaders have turned their backs on God, and, sadly, many of America’s citizenry prove by their daily way of life that they indeed follow the leaders. Jesus, as we’ve written before in these commentaries, spoke to the very conditions we see developing with regard to geophysical upheaval. While the Lord rode the little donkey toward Jerusalem to offer himself as Israel’s Messiah, the people laid palm fronds before the animal’s path. They praised Jesus, shouting, “Hosanna!” They were shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The pharisaical religionists told Jesus to make the people stop their praise of Him. These considered it blasphemous for the people to attribute the title of Messiah to this carpenter from Nazareth. The Judaizers hated Him and wanted Him dead. They would shortly get their wish, because Jesus would soon be crucified upon Golgotha.
The modern-day religionists and those who hate the name of Jesus Christ, because He represents to them a narrow-minded way of righteous living to which they will not conform, are doing all within their power to keep the people of the nation from seeing Jesus as the Savior of the world. The name of Jesus is suppressed at every level they can manage to influence.
Luke recorded Jesus’ words to the God-despisers of those times–those who had a form of godliness but denied the power thereof:
“And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:40).
Jesus is again about to interject His majestic presence into this Christ-rejecting world. It seems to me that nature is shouting, “Hosanna!”