Small code with powerful results, the occasional opinion … and beer. 

08 Mar 2021
The Dangerous Trend Towards a Purist Democracy

I have to start this with a story.  When I was in High School, I had a history teacher who went on a very emotional rant against the Founding Fathers of our country–in front of the whole class.

His reason?  He thought that it was ludicrous that the United States would have a House of Representatives based on population, but also have a Senate which has only 2 representatives for the state without any regard to population. I was in California at the time, and he made the point that the state had 43 congressmen and a state like Rhode Island only had one. But both states have 2 senators apiece. This literally drove him nuts to think about it. “Why should a state like Rhode Island have as much influence as California?”

He was championing a pure democracy.  The founding fathers of America, who understood the real dangers of it, fought against it.

My history teacher’s thinking is unfortunately becoming more prevalent as society, heavily influenced by a centralized social media, leans more and more toward making populous opinion prevail.  The populous opinion prevailing is also part of the thinking behind the challenges to the usefulness of the Electoral College as well.

More and more people talk about the threat to American Democracy, while forgetting that the United Sates was intentionally designed by the founders as a republic. The founders were wise men who understood that a democracy historically devolves into an oppressive majority rule and usually ends very badly, but a working democracy always gives a fair voice to the minority.  They struck a balance between state, public and personal interests, which is the democratic model for the world today.

This has worked for over 200 years, but the value of it is not taught in school anymore. Those limits in the constitution on any one group (or branch of government) having unchallenged control is intended to pressure all parties to continue to work together and iron out differences, so that one party does not unilaterally implement its agendas unchallenged.  It is a valuable concept that people are sadly villainizing currently.  It’s called compromise, and it is a foundation of good government–and good relations.

I heard someone say it quite well once.  “The number of points of debate in all areas of your life, must always greatly outnumber the number of points causing division.”  This way of thinking is critical to our national motto:  Out of many–one (E Pluribus Unum).

A subtle threat to keeping the majority from becoming oppressive made its way onto the ballot in Florida as an amendment to the State constitution this fall (November 2020).  It was Amendment 3.. It proposed a change to the way elections occur for the primary and general elections. The primary election has always been a pre-qualification of candidates for office, with the winners of each party moving on to the general election.  Amendment 3 changes the candidates who move forward to the general election, to be the top candidates REGARDLESS of party affiliation.

While it may seem like a good logical change, it upsets the balance in the American republic which protects the interests of the minority from being usurped by the majority.  As my high school teacher made his rant about, Rhode Island is underrepresented in Congress, but equally represented in the Senate.  While most times there is no conflict, when Rhode Island and other smaller states are unfairly threatened by a law passed by Congress, they have the ability to vote down the law in the Senate to prevent what is essentially legal bullying.  This forces the majority and the minority to negotiate and compromise on the law to make it acceptable to all (or at least, enough to be workable without excessively favoring one over the other).

When multiple candidates from only the same party go to the general election for an office, that balance is lost.  Parties in America have become hives of specific doctrines and worldviews, which isn’t to be unexpected.  This is especially true nowadays, with each party putting enough pressure on their members elected to office to “stick to the party line”.  Not having a candidate from parties of opposing worldviews and thoughts in the general election truly increases the danger of not only oppressing a minority, but losing the influence on local government policy to a nationalized or central agenda.  This is exactly what the founding fathers were fighting against, by putting in the safeguards to keep a balance of power at the Federal government level–yet this threat exists at all levels of government.

Never forget, that in every Communist country (and in many socialist countries, including Germany), the ballot is always really asking “what party do you want running the country?”.  In socialism parties are elected, but not people in a party (which means no personal accountability, only “party” accountability).  In communism, there’s always only one answer to the party question.

Think about whether that’s what you really want.  This proposal and similar ones are a pathway to it.  And anyone who understands democracy should recognize… that’s not a democracy.

(In the end, the Florida ballot failed short of the majority it needed to pass, even though it received a 54% yes vote)

 

08 Mar 2021
The Need For a Critical Eye With Election Fraud Claims

Dominion Voting Systems and other companies who make automated voting systems have been under suspicion for systemic fraud after this presidential election.  And recently a Georgia election office supervisor produced a video showing how fraud can be done in the Dominion Voting System.

But … is it really enabling the systemic, and mass fraud that Trump and the Republicans claim it isThe video can be watched here.

There have been several areas of concern for fraud in the election, namely…

  • Ballot harvesting (which can easily circumvent a chain of custody for tracking and accountability).
  • Lack of transparency in electronic tabulation.
  • Lack of a clear unalterable audit trail in some voting systems.
  • Lack of verification of voters and residences, determining whether they even have the right to vote.

Automation systems have the potential for widespread fraud, but is this really the case in the video?  What the video shows is a standard method for an election worker to retrieve a single questionable ballot, to review it and make a clarification or adjustment–if needed.  It’s simply a standard managerial or administrative function, but in automated form. This same process exists in primary schools for correcting or rectifying problems with mark-sense tests after they have been scanned. To claim that this capability enables fraud would be to claim that the paper system it replaces is also fraudulent.  The ability to make this change is not new, nor is it a serious threat.

And while it is a door for fraud when abused, it isn’t a door for mass fraud as shown.  Imagine someone sat at the terminal and wanted to change lots of votes. Each vote has to be loaded individually, and go through more than one screen prompt to confirm the change.  A good operator might be able to change a vote every 10-15 seconds, or 240 to 300 per hour.  That’s really not the efficient level of fraud that needs to take place to steal most elections–especially those large scale federal elections.

In fact, the electronic voting systems have logging built-in.  So every action an operator takes on a ballot scanned in to the system has an audit trail.  That’s more likely to detect fraud via a managerial function than a manual review process, and there is a case in Pennsylvania where it happened.  But that case also showed how a simple audit trail detects it.

If you’re looking for bulk fraud, the clearest case which has any merit is the Atlanta, Georgia, where the person in charge of the ballot counting told the observers to leave, then the workers pulled boxes from under tables and counted them while the observers were out.

Still waiting for any action on any law enforcement on that one.  But that’s the only case I have seen (outside of ballot harvesting) that has any real merit as far as a widespread conspiracy to commit voter fraud.

 

 

 

 

13 Jan 2021
Goodbye cash… we’re REALLY !!! going to miss you.

Over the years I have posted a number of things related to the timing and sequence of removing paper currency and coin currency from all societies.  My earliest post was in 1999 on my own website, as part of a long article on why the Y2K scare was never going to be allowed to happen.  The reasoning was simple: the forces working to build the New World Order (the end times One World Government) were not going to let any trust with computers and commerce be broken: this distrust in the aftermath would have set back, by decades, the use of them in the future as a control mechanism for commerce.

Sadly, that original post has been lost… I can’t find my backup of it, and even the internet way-back machine has rolled it off (sigh).  Here are some others I have made over the last 10 years since that original one in 1999, for reference:

A giant leap towards the cashless society

Paper currency… its final countdown has begun

And now, the first actions of Phase 4: a (costly) disincentive for using the old, and actually removing the old so that it is no longer available.  That is, removing cash (the old) as a payment method.  COVID-19 started the first indirect actions to eliminate cash.  Walmart stopped stocking cash in all their automate registers for a period of time, requiring a credit or debit payment.  Note: they changed this for awhile, about a month or two after COVID-19 and did stock some registers.  There were other stores also complaining about a shortage of cash.  Whether or not that is true, COVID-19 provided a convenient (and, face it, true) reason to want to handle cash less–or not at all.

Yet, touching a credit card to take a payment can have the same danger.  Oh wait…I remember!  The stores started turning the payment terminal in your direction, so you would insert or swipe the card and not the clerk… or use the option of “tapping” the credit card on the payment terminal to use its touchless payment method.

Note: the same radio frequency responder in the new credit cards for “tapping” on the payment terminal is also the mark of the beast in Revelation 13, just not in an implantable form.  The only difference in the future will be, that the back of the hand is waived over the payment terminal instead of the card.

Knowing this, I had to smile a little when I realized that Revelation 13 says the location of the mark is the back of the right hand or the forehead.  I understand that there has to be an alternate location for people with a missing limb. I hope this doesn’t mean that in the future, some people make payments by head-butting the payment terminal.

Or, depending on your point of view, not head-butting … but bowing before it.

Elimination

SunPass, the electronic toll system in Florida, has announced that cash payment at all toll booths on the Florida turnpike will no longer be available starting January 15th (two days from now).  For anyone who does not have a SunPass transmitter and account, they will still bill the toll by mail using the license plate (with an added service fee).  That added service fee is the disincentive to stop using cash and get the electronic payment–the transmitter.  For each recipient which shuts off cash in the future, this extra service fee will appear as the disincentive for those still cling to the freedom of cash.

Expect more of this, until the next phase of elimination kicks in: it’s already started (in a very early phase) and will accelerate very soon in the United States and abroad.  It’s hyperinflation.  The US Dollar has been losing about 10% real value per year for the last 2-3 years, so all the arguments for cash will get the final nail in the coffin when this kicks in.  I’ve discussed why in the other blog posts.

So why will we miss it when electronic payment is so easy and convenient?  Because there is always a middleman who can cut off any payment between you and the other party in a transaction. People are upset about how Twitter and Facebook have been cutting off certain posts and accounts. Well, when electronic cash (including most if not all cryptocurrencies) is the only option, anyone for any reason can be cutoff by a central entity.

It starts with enforcing this on the state’s declared enemies.  This video produced by 60 Minutes Australia about two years ago shows where this path leads: Exposing China’s Digital Dystopian Dictatorship | Foreign Correspondent (TL;DR … the whole report is excellent, but watch from 09:30 to 15:10 if you are pressed for time)

Maybe you will notice that the description the Chinese reporter provides about the state of the Chinese populace, doesn’t apply just to China.

The Book of Revelation has warned us about this for almost 2,000 years, and other related texts in the Old Testament have also warned us for longer than that. Censorship from a totalitarian central authority is part of the end times judgment, where extorted loyalty and worship to God’s enemy is enforced through the control of buying and selling.

The Lord Jesus is calling everyone to repent and turn to Him.  He is the only one who can save your soul from the devil’s claim on it. Don’t wait.. cry out to him now. He didn’t die in vain, unless you don’t claim the gift of life which he gives freely to anyone who calls on His name.  His sacrifice did what was necessary to make our relationship right with God: something we can not do ourselves, ever.  He died as a sacrifice out of love for us, to restore the relationship with God.  But you must also sign the pardon… which is you confessing with your tongue and crying out for that pardon.

If you want to get right with him, do it now.  Dark days are coming… soon.

 

08 Dec 2020
The Electoral College, Part 2…

In an earlier post in 2016 after the presidential election, I noted how many angry people falsely believe the United States is a democracy, and forget (or just don’t know) that our structure is a republic. Some politicians were even pushing for reforming or even eliminating the Electoral College.  You can read it here ( So, what did you learn at the Electoral College? ).

As I pointed out in the previous post, the Electoral College is one of two safety valves the founding fathers put into the Constitution to prevent a federal government from becoming tyrannical. Originally, after losing the Revolutionary War to the colonists, it would have been used to keep King George III’s loyalists from using their allegiances with England to install a puppet president who was still loyal to the king.  But the Electoral College was designed to be a check and balance against more than just an old royal tyrant not happy with losing a part of his kingdom.  It’s a tool against corruption.  That’s why the electors are fully free to vote their conscious, with no binding on them from any outside force–even the election results.

The wide-scale fraud which occurred in the presidential election balloting this year is not much different to what the King of England would do: use subversion.  This time, the outside influences are mostly from China and people loyal to them spiritually, politically–and especially financially by being on their payroll, or on the payroll of an entity with the same goal of toppling the United States government from within.  So the purpose of the Electoral College as a filter for determining the next President of the United States is really no different than it was 220+ years ago.

Make no mistake: the stakes are really high. The Electoral College deviating from traditionally following the popular vote allocations is intended to be done only when there are clear indications of manipulation and gerrymandering (i.e. subversion) going on. And only those who are deluded and misled don’t see it–even when it is right in front of their eyes.

The Constitutional Convention (the other safety valve) is now inevitable, thanks to the attempts to defraud the electorate. The other cleanup will occur there.

(Dec 9, 2020): The Epoch Times published a commentary related to this which is worth reading. Dec. 8 Does Not Have to Be the Day Democracy Dies in America

13 Oct 2020
Just Scribble While You Work

In 2015, there was a picture taken of Putin listening to Obama give a speech.  When the photo was zoomed, it was clear that notes he was writing during the speech were just scribbles.  It made its way around the internet and, this being an election year, it’s making a comeback on Facebook in 2020.

Facebook, in addition for a place for people to play Chicken Little, often prompts people to post things without understanding what they are looking at. A lot of people posted it with text that was mocking. If you’ve ever tuned into a Russian TV station on the internet (yes, I know most of you haven’t), he does this quite often when he is listening to people giving speeches. And while it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s very smart. In fact, many American presidents have been known to do it as well during speeches.

I often do this as well, especially in classes where the material didn’t peak my interest or the material was too mundane.  I was also one of those students who had no problems taking tests, which I attribute in part to this practice of doodling.

Harvard Health has a fascinating blog post on this subject, which I encourage you to read. It may actually give you a new technique to deal with working from home.

The Thinking Benefits of Doodling (Harvard Health).

11 Sep 2020
Show Me Your Anchor

Proverbs 29:18 contains one of the more widely quoted verses from the Bible.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (KJV)

I recently read the Christian Standard Bible’s translation, which is slightly different.

“Without revelation* people run wild, but one who follows divine instruction will be happy.”

The choice of the term revelation in the CSB translation appeals to me.  The authors included a footnote for their choice of revelation, saying it can also be read as vision.  The more I have learned about Jesus and our heavenly father, the more I have learned that we really only “discover” things on earth, even when we invent.  The Latin root of the word discover is discooperire, “uncover,” which combines the prefix dis-, or “opposite of,” with cooperire, “to cover up.”  So discover really means to remove the cover on something which was always there.  That’s what revelation and vision are: the time has arrived to remove the cover.

The phrase “people run wild” adds amplification to “perish” in the original KJV version. Perishing itself is a process, and manifests after an extended period of running wild.  I was once told by a pastor that the best way to understand Proverbs 29:18a is “Without vision the people cast off all restraint”.  This is better way of understanding running wild. It’s interesting to think of that interpretation in the context of what has been going on in the past two decades , and is now moving into the next logical phase in this year of 2020.

So with the insights of the old and new translations, and the context of this year 2020 (which so many are anxiously awaiting its end), it is easy to see the progression which has been going on for a long time, and culminating in what we are starting to see today.

  1. Push God to the side, as less important than something else.
  2. When the consideration of God and being accountable to Him  is not number one in your life, there is nothing stop you from doing something which you know He would not approve of.
  3. When you have done something which you know doesn’t please him, push God further away so that He is not bothering you anymore.
  4. When there is finally no influence from God (which can accompany total forgetfulness of God or unthrottled hostility), there is no ultimate accountability.
  5. When there is no ultimate accountability, there is no reason I should not do anything I want.  (this is known as relative morality)
  6. When I can do anything I want, there is no reason anyone else should not be able to do what they want.
  7. When everyone realizes that they can do what they want, trust erodes and fights break out over what little there is.  (God has halted his blessing of abundance by this point).
  8. Finally, the point of perishing sets in.

Perishing is when God has removed his blessing and allows judgement.  And it is not what most people expect.  Most people expect things to fall from the sky, nasty storms, maybe even lightning blasting people from the sky like a laser, or a series of bad luck which can’t be explained.

His judgment is actually more straight-forward: it’s subtle yet observable.  He simply gives everyone more of what they are doing, and does not hold back the consequences.  The consequences won’t be felt at first: God’s enemy has no interest in making a person’s life miserable, until they have fallen far enough into his trap.  Remember, the devil is not a creature with a pitchfork and a pointed tail, and doesn’t look threatening.  That would work against his cause.  He will always appear as a beautiful, self-confident creature, and the thing you have chosen will be sold to you as great, not harmful.  The Bible even says the devil was the most beautiful creature in heaven–before the fall.  He can even masquerade as an angel of light, and fool those not close to God.

If the person does not repent and cry out to the Lord, they are drawn into an endless cycle of desensitization and needing more of their sin or idol to maintain the pleasure expected from it. It doesn’t matter what it is: money, sex, power, drugs, alcohol (and includes even politics and political figures). He won’t stop whispering to us our about need to let go and come back, but he also will not hold back on the growing negative consequences if we chose to cling to our addictions and idols. And the devil will always be pulling the guilt strings to try and stop us from responding to the Lord. “How could God love or forgive you after what you did?” But that’s exactly what He does.  (Doctor) Jesus pointed out that it is not the healthy who need a doctor.

Ultimately everyone needs to realize when they are in this cycle, and to get out… immediately!  “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13).  The running wild part of life is not hard to recognize.  You just have to slow yourself down enough to see it.  So abandon your addictions or idols, and run back to the restraint which comes from loving the Lord.  The only thing that is hard to know is when the point of perishing will arrive.  And that’s a game of chicken or a dare that no one should ever accept.

Get out with Jesus, while you still can.  His love never fails and his forgiveness is available for the asking, but you have to be in it … before the grace period is over.

 

10 Aug 2020
Asking For Forgiveness… An Earthly Example of How Not To Do It

In 1833, the Supreme Court took on one its more unusual cases: UNITED STATES v. GEORGE WILSON

The case does not appear that special at first glance. It involved two defendants named James Porter and George Wilson.  They were accused of a few instances of obstructing the United States mail service, and assaulting and wounding a mail carrier in 1830.  They were both convicted and sentenced to death.

James Porter was put to death on July 2nd, 1830.  But George Wilson was different.  Prior to the judge pronouncing their sentence on the morning of May 27th, 1830, George Wilson recanted his not guilty plea in court and changed it to a guilty plea.  It did not change his sentence.

On June 10th, with George Wilson’s friends pleaded with President Andrew Jackson for his life, and the president issued a pardon for the crime which caused him to receive the death penalty. Later in October, George Wilson rejected the pardon in a reconvened court by saying nothing.

WHAT???

The President of the United States of America takes the time and effort to issue a reprieve, and it is not used?  What’s going on here?

This case was so unusual it was heard by the United States Supreme Court.  Evidently this was new ground for a convict to reject forgiveness.

The Court ultimately ruled, and this is a quote from the detailed document at Cornell’s web site below:

This court is of opinion, that the pardon in the proceedings mentioned, not having been brought judicially before the court, by plea, motion or otherwise, cannot be noticed by the judges.

To use an analogy, it’s like playing the game monopoly and drawing a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.  If you don’t take the initiative to play the card when you land on the dreaded Go To Jail spot, the card is useless–even if you just forget to play it before the next person’s turn.

George Wilson was hanged in the end, despite a pardon on the table for him just for the asking.

George Wilson had done nothing to earn a pardon.  President Jackson was responding to a group of petitioners who approached the president on George Wilson’s behalf.  Prayer groups do the same on behalf of their friends, family, and many others they do not even know.  They petition Jesus to draw them to salvation.  They are not asking Jesus to actually forgive them: he has done that already.  They (we) are asking Jesus to intervene and bring the person to the awareness of it, the acknowledgement of it, and ultimately the desire to cry out to Him for it.

Our prayer is to remove the person’s obstacles to accepting Jesus’ salvation.  “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  — Romans 10:13  (CSB)

Jesus is not our errand runner, nor is He some kind of puppet master.  He is a loving Father, and the King of Kings.  The Supreme Court said in their ruling, when the petitioner pleads, only then will the court hear it.  Jesus does likewise: he offers the forgiveness (pardon) which is already complete, but he will not force it on anyone.

This decision by the Supreme Court has so much Godly wisdom in it. George Wilson’s admission of guilt didn’t change his sentence.  God’s word tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Simply admitting that we have sinned is a good step, but by itself it won’t undo the sentence of eternal death.  We have to cry out to Jesus for his pardon of our sins.  He’s already created it and signed it, but we have to add our signature to it.  Otherwise, we will hear the dreaded words at the great day of judgement: “Depart from me you sinners, for I never knew you.”

Also, what motivated George Wilson to ignore the pardon will always be a mystery.  But I can give a multitude of speculations why, which would even apply today to those who have not accepted Christ.

  • Did he have a misguided loyalty to his partner in crime? He confessed but his partner James Porter had not.  Did he feel it was not fair unless James was pardoned as well, and he would die for that opinionated sense of fairness? After all, he may have seen good sides of James having spent so much time with him. A person who is fully evil is indeed rare.  Why save me and not him?
  • Did he have a masochistic personality or conscience?  Did he feel that he was not worth the attention of the President, or embarrassed to admit that what he had done was so bad that he needed a pardon? In fact, why wouldn’t someone admit that the president must see something worthy of a pardon?  Presidents do not issue pardons like candy.  Neither does Jesus.
  • Was there a bad incident or imprint with the government in his past which caused a level of hate or distrust strong enough to push this away?  It is common to hear people discuss something about pain or hurt by a church’s members from people who have walked away from God.  Despite whatever hate or distrust exists, a pardon is still a pardon.  It’s authority does not change. Leaders in higher positions always look at things differently (more broadly) than lower level leaders do.

This list could on and on.  The sole question which George Wilson had to answer is the same one we have to answer with Jesus: what or who are we letting stand between the King who sees things differently than us, and extends his offer of pardon directly to us–bypassing any and all middlemen.

Don’t wait to accept the invitation: George Smith missed his chance to have things made right.  And unlike George, we have the problem of not knowing when our death will occur.

Too many people wait for the 11th hour to do something critically important, only to die at 10:30.  Cry out to him now for that pardon.  Time is short.


Wikpedia summary of the case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Wilson

Full document at Cornell University’s web site: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/32/150

Note: Be prepared for wordy, run-on sentences in the 19th century text of the full document.

01 Aug 2020
Seeing The Works of God Through His Eyes

Ezra 3:10-13  (CSB)
When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments were stationed to praise the Lord with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, according to the directions of King David of Israel; and they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,

“For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

And all the people responded with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

But many of the priests and Levites and heads of families, old people who had seen the first house on its foundations, wept with a loud voice when they saw this house, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted so loudly that the sound was heard far away.”


Recently I found myself falling into a classic mental trap: bitterness.  And the Lord rebuked me for it.  He used the verses above to show me the source of the problem.

These verses document the reactions of two generations of Israelites to the wonderful start of God’s magnificent work rebuilding the temple.  The newer generation is very enthusiastic, shouting with joy.  The older generation is weeping loudly.  That generation had seen the first house on its foundations, and its destruction.  It left an imprint of hurt on them.

And that imprint was so strong, that a truly magnificent work of God was souring their minds instead of causing them to rejoice.  After all, God is the redeemer.  He was rebuilding something the enemies of God had destroyed.

God is moving in a big way in America and the world: this bizarre year of 2020 has caused everyone to rethink so many things in their lives, myself included.  I love Jesus, and pray that He move in America and restore it.  YET, there was one thing which began to creep into my prayers.  To paraphrase it, I was asking him, “Restore America, but if the people just want you to restore things the way they were… I won’t ask you to delay or retreat from its judgment.”

When you’ve lived a long time, it’s important to fight a tendency to think that your greater experience (than what you had in your youth) allows better insight into what we ask God.  It creates a false of sense of security and confidence in us, and honestly–a cheap excuse to allow for a door of failure.  That is the wrong way to think.

There’s an important concept in these verses not to miss.   Despite rebellion and unbelief which led to the events which caused the first temple to be destroyed, God chose to forgive the Israelites and set things in motion for a successful rebuilding of a temple.  How could any children of God mourn that?

He can do that with America. Notice carefully, that this event in Ezra isn’t at the completion but at the start of building the temple.  How much different would the celebrations be at the completion.  So we are now with God’s work at this point in history.  He has work which will soon produce a massive harvest, but … it is still in progress.

The Lord was reminding me not to judge (which no Christian is supposed to do), and pray to God for the desire of the heart… with no concern of how He will do it.  His works are to be celebrated, not judged by our vision or standard we have formed, nor tainted by the past… which is over.  This must also be reflected in our prayers.

Mathew Henry wrote a commentary on this verse over 300 years ago, which says it in a very elegant way.

There was a remarkable mixture of affections upon laying the foundation of the temple. Those that only knew the misery of having no temple at all, praised the Lord with shouts of joy. To them, even this foundation seemed great. We ought to be thankful for the beginnings of mercy, though it be not yet perfect. But those who remembered the glory of the first temple, and considered how far inferior this was likely to be, wept with a loud voice. There was reason for it, and if they bewailed the sin that was the cause of this melancholy change, they did well.

Yet it was wrong to cast a damp upon the common joys. They despised the day of small things, and were unthankful for the good they enjoyed.

Let not the remembrance of former afflictions drown the sense of present mercies.

 

17 Jun 2020
From Slippery Slope to Avalance.. an Old Warning for a Modern Time (Genesis 6:1-6)

A protester recently at the BLM protests in the USA.

This picture was taken at a 2004 in a protest in Vancouver Canada against the Iraq war, and is truly heartbreaking.  We have slowly watched the God of Israel being pushed out of Western culture over the decades, and other counterfeits taught in His place.  So events like this are becoming more commonplace–and bolder as time progresses.

And what does this protester hope to achieve?  At a minimum he is in front of a camera , so a need of recognition is there–whether for a cause or himself, or both. This picture is the best demonstration of a hurting heart masquerading as a hard heart, but hopefully not of a seared-conscious.  We have far too much of that in the world as it is.

Don’t give up hope on him, or condemn him even if just in your mind. As loud as the sign is and as offensive as it appears (which it is what it is designed to do), God’s not rattled by it.  Neither should you be.  God just smiles, because this is exactly the type of person he chases in love to expose the enemy’s lies and His truth.  This man is at a protest today, but where will he be in 3 months, 6 months, maybe even a year.  Will he be married, and have a child (which suddenly changes EVERYONE’s mind about the existence of God if they have any love in them at all).

I know, because in some ways I was like him.  Will his actions (like all of our actions) become artifacts which the Lord later uses for his glorification.  This is a true statement: our actions ultimately testify to God’s work in one of two ways.  They demonstrate things that align with the Lord, or they don’t.  It’s our call.

To understand what you are seeing happening around you in these frantic times, it is very important to understand what led up to this.  There are some very good parallels in Genesis 6:1-6.  You know, it’s in that Myth of the Bible.  The one which so many people have been taught to refer to this way, despite the fact of its longevity and it being the entire basis of the Western society we live in.  Chapter 6 begins to describe the events leading to the great flood: the first judgement against mankind which God had to do.

One of my favorite commentators on the Bible is Matthew Henry (our pastor jokingly refers to him as the church’s associate pastor).  Matthew Henry wrote his commentaries not long after the publication of the King James Bible (which appeared thanks to the invention of the printing press).  Considering when they were written, the profound insight endures to this day as one of the best commentaries ever written.  I encourage you to read Genesis chapter 6 for the actual text, but here is Matthew Henry’s commentary on the first few verses (emphasis with bold text is mine):

For the glory of God’s justice, and for warning to a wicked world, before the history of the ruin of the old world, we have a full account of its degeneracy, its apostasy from God and rebellion against him.

The destroying of it was an act, not of an absolute sovereignty, but of necessary justice, for the maintaining of the honor of God’s government.

Now here we have an account of two things which occasioned the wickedness of the old world:-1. The increase of mankind: Men began to multiply upon the face of the earth. This was the effect of the blessing (ch. 1:28), and yet man’s corruption so abused and perverted this blessing that it was turned into a curse. Thus sin takes occasion by the mercies of God to be the more exceedingly sinful.

Prov. 29:16, When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth. The more sinners the more sin; and the multitude of offenders emboldens men. Infectious diseases are most destructive in populous cities; and sin is a spreading leprosy. Thus in the New-Testament church, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring (Acts 6:1), and we read of a nation that was multiplied, not to the increase of their joy, Isa. 9:3. Numerous families need to be well-governed, lest they become wicked families.

“The multitude of offenders emboldens men.”  Notice that it does not say justifies them.  Our culture has been taken over by entertainment, comfort, pop-culture and many things which encourage people to seek the experience and cruise on their emotion-of-the-moment.  There are people who will go to BLM protests (or any other public gathering) and take loads of selfies and share them with the world to surf the emotion of being there. And emotions are something God’s enemy really knows how to manipulate.

The real problem, as Matthew Henry points out, is that it is easy for sin and wickedness to grow in the absence or sparsity of God’s influence.  Persecution (and shaming is part of that) comes from the attitude of “we all think this way, why shouldn’t you?”  It’s when mob mentality takes over: one of the things most likely to occur when a group of disgruntled people get together thinking they have the same pure motive.  As a longtime friend of mine recently pointed out, a mob is the devil’s playground.  It leads to the violence and destruction we see, when the emotions–already elevated–are easily pushed over the edge.  The more a person is angry, the more rational thinking is shutdown.

——————

So keep people who think like this protester in your prayers to God.  You see, we’ve been warning about slippery slopes for years.  But when the avalanche comes, the people holding up signs like this will suddenly come to the realization that they were wrong and are in trouble.  And even people flaunting signs like this will change.  It has happened over and over throughout history.

They will need help and guidance, and the Lord will be sending them to us to help provide that.  Just like he sent other believers to us, in the last moments of our previous lives in darkness–when we were disillusioned and had lost hope.

It will be big, so prepare now.. especially your heart.

NOTE: The original post described the picture as being from a recent protest with Black Lives Matter, but it was from a much earlier time… and I have corrected that description above.

12 Jun 2020
Spare Computing During a Crisis.. Helping to Fight the Crisis

I recently discovered a distributed computing project for COVID-19 DNA research called Rosetta@Home  ( https://foldforcovid.io/ ).  Having 8 Raspberry Pis which are lying dormant after I completed a project with them, I decided to put them online as workers.

For security precautions, I decided to create a segmented guest network on my router for the Pis to operate on: a standard precaution I use.  The software for the Raspberry Pi’s is well-written, and even provides a status web page on the localhost to monitor its progress, and even whether it is active.

There are some places which have enormous computing power available, serving no purpose during the COVID related shutdowns: the Miami planetarium is a prime example. They have donated their server’s CPU time to the project until they re-open.

The University of Washington posted some interesting cost comparisons for this project.  The cost of distributing the work to the community of spare computers on the internet is about $122,000 versus hosting on Amazon AWS at $175 million.

Having worked in the open software community, which I love, I am really happy to see the influence the open computing can have on a project like this.  If you’ve got a raspberry pi (or a unused laptop or desktop computer) laying around, check the site out on how to contribute to the project.