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The Taliban must be confronted by Afghanistan itself; No more military action: US

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If the Taliban had seized three provincial capitals in northern Afghanistan a year ago, like they did Sunday, the U.S. response would most likely have been ferocious. Fighter jets and helicopter gunships would have responded in force, beating back the Islamic group or, at the very least, stalling its advance.

But these are different times. What aircraft the U.S. military could muster from hundreds of miles away struck a cache of weapons far from Kunduz, Taliqan or Sari-i-pol, the cities that already had been all but lost to the Taliban.

The muted American response Sunday showed in no uncertain terms that America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan is over. The mismanaged and exhausted Afghan forces will have to retake the cities on their own, or leave them to the Taliban for good.

The recent string of Taliban military victories has not moved President Joe Biden to reassess his decision to end the U.S. combat mission by the end of the month, senior administration officials said Sunday. But the violence shows just how difficult it will be for Biden to extract America from the war while insisting that he is not abandoning the country in the middle of a brutal Taliban offensive.

In a speech defending the U.S. withdrawal last month, Biden said the United States had done more than enough to empower the Afghan police and military to secure the future of their people. U.S. officials have acknowledged that those forces will struggle, but argue they must now fend for themselves.

So far, the administration’s sink-or-swim strategy has not shown promising results.

Over the past week, Taliban fighters have moved swiftly to retake cities around Afghanistan, assassinated government officials, and killed civilians in the process. Throughout this, U.S. officials have publicly held out hope that Afghan forces have the resources and ability to fight back, while at the same time negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban that seems more unlikely by the day.

Leon Panetta, who served as defense secretary under President Barack Obama, said he had expected to see more U.S. air support Sunday, but he did not expect the situation would improve markedly even with the help of U.S. forces.

“Let’s face it,” Panetta said. “The most you can hope for now is some kind of stalemate” between Afghan forces and Taliban fighters, who have demonstrated little interest in reaching an accord since the U.S. troop withdrawal was announced.

At the Pentagon, where senior leaders have reluctantly cut off most military support to Afghanistan, officials were on phone calls Sunday about the unfolding events around Kunduz, a city of more than 350,000 people. The United States has twice in the past intervened to retake Kunduz from the Taliban.

But defense officials said there were no plans to take action this time beyond limited airstrikes. Over the past three weeks, the United States has used armed Reaper drones and AC-130 aerial gunships to target Taliban equipment, including heavy artillery, that threaten population centers, foreign embassies and Afghan government buildings, officials said.

One official acknowledged that with only 650 U.S. troops remaining on the ground in Afghanistan, a concerted air campaign was unlikely to undo the advances the Taliban had made.

Although the U.S. military mission will formally conclude at the end of this month, U.S. troops and their Western allies are mostly gone already. The U.S. handed over Bagram Airfield — once the military’s nerve center — to the Afghans last month, effectively ending major U.S. military operations.

Now, air support for the Afghan forces and overhead surveillance arrives from outside the country, from bases in Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, or from an aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea.

Wesley Clark, the former top NATO general under President Bill Clinton, called the weekend’s events “a tragedy for the people of Afghanistan, and a consequence of American misjudgments and failures.”

Civilian casualties have skyrocketed. Nearly 2,400 civilians have been killed or injured between May 1 and June 30, according to a United Nations report released last month, the highest number recorded for that period since monitoring began in 2009.

When asked about the Taliban’s advances Friday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters that Biden had long been prepared to make “difficult choices” as part of his commitment to disengaging from Afghanistan.

“The president made clear: After 20 years at war, it’s time for American troops to come home,” Psaki said. “He also feels and has stated that the Afghan government and the Afghan National Defense Forces have the training, equipment and numbers to prevail, and now is the moment for the leadership and the will in the face of the Taliban’s aggression and violence.”

Psaki’s comments echoed a prevailing view among the progressive national security wing of Biden’s party that Afghan troops would fight back if given no other option.

“Like in Iraq, at a certain point the training wheels have to come off,” said Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran and chair of the progressive veterans group VoteVets. “That’s when the Iraqi army stepped up, and it will be when the Afghan army does.”

“They may have their backs against the wall as things move closer to Kabul, but that’s precisely when they’ll fight the hardest and hold the line,” said Soltz, who helped to train the Iraqi army. “We have done all we can to prepare them for this moment.”

So far, no senior Pentagon official has expressed exasperation publicly with Biden over the Taliban surge, which Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III predicted this past spring, when he and Gen. Mark A. Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both counseled Biden against the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops.

“We’ve seen this movie before,” Austin told his boss, in a reference to the Obama-era withdrawal from Iraq, which was followed by the rise of the Islamic State group. The United States ended up returning to Iraq and launching five years of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to help Iraqi security forces beat back that insurgent group.

Biden has argued for pulling out of Afghanistan for years. In 2009, while serving as vice president, he argued for a minimal force, only to be overruled as Obama ordered a surge of forces, then a rapid drawdown.

But a dozen years later, as president, he made the decision to withdraw, one of the most significant decisions of his presidency so far. And despite the likelihood that the White House will confront terrible images of human suffering and loss in the coming weeks and months, Biden has vowed to press ahead regardless of the conditions on the ground.

Polls show that large numbers of Americans in both parties support leaving Afghanistan.

Biden, declaring that the United States had long ago accomplished its mission of denying terrorists a haven in Afghanistan, said in April that all U.S. troops would leave the country by Sept. 11. That date has since been moved up to Aug. 31, giving the Pentagon — and Afghan forces — under a month to slow the Taliban surge.

Administration and military officials have voiced conflicting views on whether the United States will continue airstrikes after Aug. 31 to prevent Afghan cities and the Afghan government, led by President Ashraf Ghani, from falling. But even if the airstrikes continue, they can only do so much; the bulk of the effort will have to come from Afghan forces on the ground.

In any event, Kunduz was never going to be the Afghan city that might prompt Biden to rethink his strategy, two U.S. officials said Sunday on condition of anonymity.

His hand might be forced if Taliban forces are on the verge of overrunning Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city, or even Kabul, where the United States maintains an embassy with some 4,000 people.

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Woman Who Prayed While Dangling From Bridge in Semi Truck Credits Lord For Surviving Horrific Ordeal: ‘God Is Listening’

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Newly released dashcam footage of an accident that left a massive semitruck dangling from a bridge earlier this year is going viral — and for good reason.

The shocking footage of the Kentucky four-vehicle crash, which unfolded March 1 on the Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville, Kentucky, is absolutely terrifying.

The accident allegedly took place after Trevor W. Branham, 33, lost control of his vehicle, crossed into the wrong lanes, hit another car, then struck the semitruck in question.

Sydney Thomas, 26, was reportedly driving the semitruck, which was sent off the bridge and dangling — an unimaginable scenario.

Fortunately, Thomas wasn’t injured in the astonishing event. She spoke out this week about what unfolded that day, how she believes God heard her prayers, and how she’s faring.

“Sometimes you pray, and I’m guilty of this: I pray, and I don’t think God is listening,” she told WHAS-TV. “But He was that day.”

Her dad, Marc Thomas, told the outlet he, too, believes the Lord was watching over her.

“It didn’t really hit me until I looked over to my right [while crossing the Kennedy Bridge] and I’d seen that equipment hanging into the air,” he said. “That [rescue] was nothing but God displaying himself to me.”

Sydney Thomas explained what led the truck to go off the bridge, noting the suspension on the vehicle went out and she lost total control — a shocking horror that left her dangling 100 feet over the Ohio River, as WHAS-TV noted.

“When I went through the railing, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a crazy way to die,’” she said, noting she really believed her life would come to an end.

Thomas hung for 40 minutes until firefighters were able to use a crane to lift someone down to reach her. She remained still the whole time, fearing movement would send the truck plummeting into the water.

Louisville firefighter Bryce Carden soon appeared at her window mid-air latched to a harness and hanging from the crane. He asked if he could pray with her – and the two proceeded to invoke the Lord.

“She was praying a lot,” Carden told WHAS-TV. “And I prayed with her.”

In the end, Thomas was rescued by the firefighter and lifted out of the truck.

Though she has no plans of traveling ever again on the Clark Memorial Bridge, she credited God for saving her, and pledged not to be overtaken by fear.

“God has me here for a reason and I have to fulfill my purpose in life,” she said. “And I can’t let something like that stop me from doing what I’m supposed to do for Him, because He brought me out of it.”

Thomas added, “He doesn’t want me to…live in fear the rest of my life.”

As for Branham, he was arrested in March and charged with four counts of wanton endangerment and one count of operating on a suspended license, WDRB-TV reported. His next court appearance is in June.

Please continue to pray for Thomas as she processes through the chaos of that day.
Sources:faithwire

http://theendtimeradio.com

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What Is the Biblical Definition of ‘Revival?’ Well-Known Pastor Steve Gaines Explains

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As impressive moves of faith unfold across America — from the beaches of northeastern Florida to the shorelines of Southern California — many are wondering if the country could be on the cusp of revival.

Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is the author of the forthcoming book, “Revival: When God Comes to Church,” in which he unpacks a biblical understanding of the word “revival” and what Christians ought to do to create an atmosphere for spiritual restoration.

The most succinct definition of “revival” Gaines has come across, he said during a recent appearance on CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture,” comes straight from the Old Testament: “When the glory of God fills the house of God.”

“The word ‘vive’ has to do with life; ‘re’ means to repeat or to have fresh life,” the pastor said. “So it means ‘to have new life’. That’s what it is. And revival is not for people who don’t know Christ. I like to say it this way: You can’t revive something that’s never been ‘vived.’ So if they’ve never been given life in Jesus Christ, they can’t be revived. That’s for Christians. So revival is specifically for the people of God.”

Gaines turned then toward a passage of Scripture he believes is often “totally misrepresented.”

In Revelation 3:20, the Apostle John wrote, “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 that person, and they with me” (NIV).

The verse, the pastor explained, isn’t addressing individual salvation, as it’s often used. Rather, the passage is referring to Jesus attempting to regain access to — or to revive — His collective church.

“He’s not knocking on the door of somebody’s heart,” Gaines said. “He’s knocking on the door of the church of Laodicea, and He’s trying to get back into His church! That’s an amazing picture: that Jesus — a lot of the time — we lock Him out of His own church. We’ve got our programs, we’ve got our stuff, we’ve got our denominations, we’ve got all this stuff that we rely on, and we’re not relying on the Lord.”

He added, “The greatest thing we can give anybody is the manifest presence of God. When they come [into the church], is God there? Is God really there in manifest presence, or is He outside knocking, trying to get into His own church? I just believe we ought to let Him have His church.”

The Memphis-based minister addressed what he believes are the main hindrances to revival, the traps that often keep God from engaging with His church.

“I tell everybody there are ‘isms’ that need to become ‘wasms,’” Gaines joked.

Traditionalism, he said, is when “tradition becomes more important than the Scripture,” formalism is when “you’re trying to make sure every little dot is dotted and every T is crossed and that you’ve got it down perfectly,” fanaticism is when “you start doing things that are not biblical” and “going beyond the Word of God,” liberalism is when “you don’t really believe everything that the Bible says, and that quenches the Holy Spirit,” and, finally, legalism is “adding to the Word of God.”

“I don’t know how many times, as a Baptist, I’ve heard, ‘This is the Baptist way,’” Gaines said. “Well, with all due respect, I’m a Baptist, but I’m a Christian first. And I don’t believe in the Baptist way if it’s not the Bible way. … I just believe that we need to make sure that we realize that we do have enemies that want to quench the Spirit of God.”

As believers’ relationships with the Lord are being restored from coast to coast, it’s critical believers have a biblical understanding of revival and are equipped to create an atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to move among His people.

To learn more about Gaines’ forthcoming book, “Revival: When God Comes to Church,” click here. Also, check out the full episode of “Faith vs. Culture” above for a health update from Gaines, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment after revealing his diagnosis in November 2023.
Sources:faithwire

http://theendtimeradio.com

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ടാബർനാക്കിൾ പെന്തക്കോസ്ത് സഭയുടെ (TPC) മൂന്നാമത് കോൺഫറൻസ് ജൂൺ 01, 02 തീയതികളിൽ നടക്കും

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സൗത്ത് വെയിൽസിലെ മലയാളി പെന്തക്കോസ്ത് കൂട്ടായ്മയായ ടാബർനാക്കിൾ പെന്തക്കോസ്ത് സഭയുടെ (TPC) മൂന്നാമത് വാർഷിക കോൺഫറൻസ് ജൂൺ 01, 02 (ശനി, ഞായർ) തീയതികളിൽ നടക്കും. ന്യൂപോർട്ട് പിൽ മില്ലേനിയം സെന്ററിൽ (Pill Millennium Center, Courtrybella Terrace, Newport) വച്ചു നടക്കുന്ന യോഗങ്ങളിൽ മുഖ്യ പ്രഭാഷകനായി അനുഗ്രഹിത കൺവൻഷൻ പ്രാസംഗകനും ഓക്ലഹോമയിലെ ഐ.പി.സി ഹെബ്രോൺ സഭയുടെ സീനിയർ ശുശ്രൂഷകനുമായ പാസ്റ്റർ ഷിബു തോമസ് ഓക്ലഹോമ ദൈവ വചനത്തിൽ നിന്ന് ശുശ്രുഷിക്കും.

ടാബർനാക്കിൾ പെന്തകോസ്ത് ചർച്ച് ക്വയർ അനുഗ്രഹീത ആരാധനയ്ക്ക് നേതൃത്വം നൽകുന്നു. റ്റി.പി.സിയുടെ സീനിയർ ശുശ്രൂഷകൻ പാസ്റ്റർ പ്രിൻസ് പ്രയ്‌സൺ യോഗങ്ങൾക്ക് നേതൃത്വം നൽകും.
Sources:christiansworldnews

http://theendtimeradio.com

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