The Ten Variants?

Remember those ten plagues that came across Egypt toward the beginning of the book of Exodus, but stayed away from Goshen, where the tribes of Israel were living? If the story were from today, I wonder if the plagues would have been referred to as “variants.”

Sure, God brought these plagues upon Egypt while China, along with some funding from Fauci (among others) brought our variants. But even so, Pharaoh hardened his heart, leading to further plagues. We hardened our hearts, requiring the removal of solutions that work and instead mandating a vaccine that unleashes the next variant.

Like any parallel, this one will break down. but it is a less eskew parallel than I thought it was when this Plagues and Variants concept first came upon me. And before anyone accuses me of eisegesis in this post, allow me to be the first one to admit just that. I would not present this before a church gathering, but in a blog setting, with disclaimers in tow, I believe it to be harmless to anyone willing to read this paragraph.

Evil, foolishness, chaos, disorder. These are the signs of the works of the devil. I use biblical definitions for foolishness, so I am not saying that they are stupid. I am saying that they disregard the wisdom of living in light of the one who created you and reject the truth in their unrighteousness. And these plans may appear to be successful for a time, but they cannot hold together.

Romans 1: 21-25 ESV
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Let me know what you think. As for me and my house, we plan to remain residing in Goshen and putting horse paste on the lintel and posts of my front door, just in case you were wondering.

Blessed are Those who are Left Behind

I remember a documentary on the History Channel about the Black Death that killed a large swath of Europe, Asia and northern Africa in the mid 1300’s. The documentary explained some of what was going on, why it was happening, what effects it had on the victims, and what lasting effect it had on society as a whole. Yes, this was from when the History Channel had actual history on it, rather than UFO and Ghost stories, so it has been a while. The fact that this series stayed with me this long is evidence that it left an impression on me that came from the many impressions the Black Death made on the survivors.

One lasting effect was the rise of the middle class. The plague killed people indiscriminately, and there were wealthy landowners who succumbed to it, including their families. There was land that was suddenly unowned as there were no remaining heirs. In many cases, former serfs occupied the land and started working it.

With all that, it may seem hard to believe but there were also positive consequences to the Black Death. Primarily, manpower was suddenly of much greater value than it had been before. For the first time in centuries, peasants weren’t available in prodigious numbers and nobles had difficulty securing the workforce necessary to sow their fields and harvest their crops. Thus, the late Medieval peasant found himself quite unexpectedly and unprecedentedly in demand, a shift which shook European society to its core.

Kings and dukes now had to bargain with their laborers over working conditions, and the under-classes were able to demand better compensation for their services. Wages rose, in some places doubling over the course of just one year. At the same time, prices were falling because there were fewer people to buy goods. So, caught between rising production costs and falling revenue, middle-class lords tried to force a price-freeze and, when they couldn’t, many gave up and sold their estates.

Man and Disease: The Black Death

One family of serfs wasn’t able to maintain the amount of land there was either, so the land of one wealthy family with servants quickly became plots of land for many former servants to own and operate. These self-sufficient people no longer had to work for their former owners, some of which had survived. All of a sudden these wealthier land owners had a comparative shortage of people to work their fields. This resulted in the workers who would return to them demanding wages and conditions that were more equitable.

Having said all of that…

This virus is NOT the Black Death. Not even close. But the vaccines that are being rushed out to everyone may eventually disrupt society in a similar, though less pronounced way. Hindsight is 20/20 and the truth will one day be impossible to hide. I pray that the elevated death and suppressed birth rates from this insanity proves to be as overblown and coincidental as the Leftists in government want us to believe. But if it is true in any degree, those with (shall we say) healthier genes to add to the gene pool will multiply while those who accepted an injection financed by those who believe that the world is overpopulated will find it harder to successfully reproduce.

This strategy only works if we are willing to play the long game. It may take a generation or two, just as the Israelites had to wander in the wilderness until the faithless ones died out. To win this struggle is to do the very things laid out in the Bible. Make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands, which just so happens to include all that the Bible commands. Start in your household, and disciple your own children rather than allow some member of the Teacher’s Union to do that. No, I don’t care if that teacher goes to your church. They are beholden to a curriculum while in school and any Godly impact they have on your kids is the exception and not the rule.

Blessed are the unvaccinated for they shall inherit the earth.

Me, not Jesus, so don’t call me a heretic

I don’t want to add a burden on you that hasn’t been placed there by God, so I will not condemn anyone who receives a vaccine, just as I hope to be afforded the same respect (love for neighbor) from those who disagree with me. However, the degree of faith you place in an injection or a mask to save you, compared to the scores of data to the contrary that are out there, if only we’d look, will influence how much I am willing to trust you. I say that to be honest, rather than to pretend that I am more pious than you.

If I intend to play the long game, I may as well be open about my presuppositions. I have them. So do you. We now can see how it is that a nation that can stomach the slaughter of the unborn can quickly become one that turns against its own inconvenient citizens, the way so many have in the past. We also have been able to see an alarming number of likely citizens all around us who would have turned in Anne Frank had they known her family’s location. If you have to ask, I’m talking about you.

This survive and disciple strategy is undermined by Christians who keep staring up at the sky waiting for something to happen, by the way. So many of us are caught up in the idea that Jesus is coming any minute now, resulting in some neglecting the work that Jesus has for them. There are plow lines in one direction, but they are looking in another direction, so to speak. See Luke 9:62 for context on that statement.

Moving along…

And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:10-11 ESV

I do not begrudge those who focus on the last part of the sentence, for it is scriptural. Jesus will return one day in a similar way as he left. I do not dispute this. But I do want to point out that these people were scolded for standing there and gawking at the sky. And I do want to suggest that we have many Christians who are still gawking.

We comfort each other with the notion that the return of Christ must now be close because it really sucks to be a Christian right now. Our children are disobedient, our government is as beastly as Rome ever was, the red light district is prospering even as our churches are being closed “for our safety” as bitter is redefined to be called sweet even as Fascism is redefined to make it OK now for governments to ask businesses to enforce illegal mandates on their behalf.

They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now!” “Great. Now we can shoot at them from every direction.” 

Puller: Hero of World War II and Korea The most decorated Marine in Corps History

Christian, we have a lot of work to do. Now is the time to show that our true colors are neither red nor blue. Now is the time to acknowledge that Jesus has given us a job to do. We are not meant to gawk at the sky. We are here to make disciples and to have a real impact upon this land, even on the governance of it.

Isaian 2:2-4 ESV
It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”

For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.

If you believe that such a state could only come after we have let this world get so bad that finally Jesus came to rapture us into victory, I must wonder what motivation you may have for trying to improve the world. After all, if Jesus won’t come back until it’s bad enough, why would you stand in the way of those trying to make it… bad enough?

I’m playing the long game. The game that doesn’t involve gawking at the sky. The game that says to get to work doing that which you were instructed. If Jesus returns before I suspect, then let Him find me busy. But do not forget that the ten virgins in the parable trimmed their lamps to allow the oil to last FOR A LONG TIME. The master went on a LONG JOURNEY. There will be those who fall away because it has been a long time. Blessed are those who endure to the end.

Just don’t act as if the Master of the Harvest hasn’t given you a job to do. Look for opportunities to bless others. Pray for those who curse you. Make sure that their reason for cursing you is that you are remaining faithful to Jesus. There is foolishness in the schemes of the evil one. And foolishness is not able to sustain itself indefinitely. So be ready to reap where you haven’t sown. Everyone on earth was swept away in the flood. Only Noah and his family were left behind. Pharoah and his army were destroyed in the Red Sea. The people of Israel were left behind.

It is good to be left behind. Let’s stop gawking and start building something great.

Revelation 1-6 ESV
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Decisional regeneration is heresy

My pattern of writing has been to place anything shorter into Gab and anything longer into this blog with a link to it placed in Gab.

Today, I wrote a post in Gab and I will be linking to it in this blog post. The title of this post is the last sentence in the Gab post. Feel free to read it in Gab. While you’re there, you can look at my profile to see my history. You may notice that I don’t have to misspell anything to get around censors the way others do in order to utilize Leftist controlled social media.

https://gab.com/CoffeeSwirls/posts/106806374984163031

If you would like that same freedom to speak whatever is on your mind, open an account and follow me. Then look at the people I follow. Some are a bit… controversial. All of them are in my feed for a reason. You may want to follow some of them as well.

The Great Covenant

First a little context: Moses and Aaron had confronted Pharaoh and God unleashed ten plagues upon Egypt, showing the might of God and the impotence of the gods of Egypt, until the Israelites were allowed to leave after 400 years of slavery. Even then, Pharaoh sought to enslave them again and the Red Sea opened up to allow Israel to cross on dry land, but it closed to swallow Pharaoh and his chariots. Following that, God provided food and water for a large multitude of people. Moses went up the mountain and returned to the people with a more formal introduction from this God.

Exodus 20:1-3 ESV
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.”

This introduction begins with a showing of authority, as many covenants did in the ancient world. One king would rescue another, then they would covenant together with a preamble. “This is who I am. This is what I have done for you. Therefore, I am requiring you fulfill these terms as I fulfill my portion of the agreement. I know it sounds a bit odd to us in this time, but should it? We reached out to a bank because we couldn’t just write a check for our home. The bank agreed to pay for our home and we agreed to reimburse the bank, adding interest. We also agreed to protect this investment with insurance and to maintain the property. Not just because this is our nest egg, but also because the bank requires their investment not to be devalued through any malice or negligence on our part.

All agreements have terms to the relationship between the parties. In Exodus, God begins by saying that He will be the God of Israel, the God who removed the slavery status from the people and removed them safely from Egypt. Just as the people had been beholden to Pharaoh, so they were to be beholden to God. Just under different terms. And the very first term was that there was to be no worship of any deity besides the One who had rescued the people. He was to be God and there was to be no other.

Fast Forward about a millenia and a half. Give or take.

First a little context: Jesus walked on the earth and taught a message unlike anything the people had contemplated before. He backed this message up with signs and wonders. He spoke as one with authority, not like the scribes and teachers of the day. He lived the life of total fealty to God that I should have lived. He amassed a following that threatened the political figures of the day and was crucified for it, a death on the cursed tree that should have been my punishment under the wrath of God. And then he rose again on the third day, walking out of the tomb that had been guarded by the strongest empire of the time. He appeared to hundreds of people, and continued to teach his message until it was time for him to return to Heaven from whence he came. And before leaving, he introduced the marching orders for the new covenant.

Jesus was speaking to men who had walked with Him for years. They were all devoted to Him, even before His resurrection from the dead. Granted, all but one of them scattered when it looked bleak, but let’s offer them some grace here. He cemented His message by carrying the sins and sorrows of the world to the cross and then by rising from the dead. Neither the Sanhedrin nor the Romans held any power over Jesus any longer. As a matter of fact no authority was above Him. None on Heaven and Earth. And His final instructions begin with this statement of authority.

Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

In a very real sense, the God who brought Israel up from the house of slavery is the same God who holds all authority, including the slavery to sin that once captivated us. See Romans 6 for my reason to include this concept here. And just as God included instructions of what His people would look like in Exodus, we have instructions of what we are to be about in the Great Commission.

We are to be people who:

  1. REMEMBER that all authority belongs to Jesus. Yes, this is part of the instruction. The key part of the instruction.
  2. Go to others both near and far to make disciples. And this looks like:
    • Baptizing in the name of all three members of the trinity
    • Teaching the disciples to observe/obey all that Jesus commanded
  3. REMEMBER that Jesus is with us. The power to accomplish these goals comes from Him. Always.

The word translated as “Baptizing” refers to immersion. I don’t mean to spark a baptism mode debate here, but instead want to point out that a disciple is to be immersed, engulfed, in the Father/Son/Holy Spirit. We are to marinate in God. We are to desire God, to borrow from John Piper. And coupled with that, we are to teach the disciples to obey all of the commands of God. Those commands are discovered over 66 books in the BIble and not just the red letters in the gospels.

Nations are comprised of people. The people are to be reached and thus the nations will be transformed as the residents are won by the gospel through the power of Jesus, not the power of our presentations of the gospel. The Onus is never on us! The power is always from God, never sinful disciples making other disciples. God doesn’t require “winners” in any sense that we would think of. God demands faithfulness. And even when we prove to be faithless, God remains faithful. For He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13) This Great Commission will succeed! And we get to play a small part in it!

Rejoice when you are persecuted. How are we doing with that?

Matthew 5:11-12 ESV
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I’m opening this post with the end of the Beatitudes. No, this isn’t a part of a series. No, you haven’t missed the ones before this. It’s just something that has been on my brain back burner for a bit and I figured I’d share some thoughts about it. Opening up the thoughts, it is best to be familiar with the context. This is part of a larger section. That section is part of a larger sermon. That sermon was presented to many people toward the earlier part of Jesus’ ministry, though sections of it and possibly all of it were likely shared in other settings as well. It is recorded most famously in Matthew 5-7. That is a great three chapter section to read every day for a period of time. Truly immerse yourself in it. But for today two verses are on my mind.

Jesus tells us that we are blessed, fortunate, even favored when others revile and persecute us. In certain situations. For certain reasons.Here in the USA, we are told that we do not experience any reviling or persecution. I reject that notion outright. We may not have the same intensity of persecution that they have in other places in the world, but that is not to say that we do not suffer from the attacks of the enemy here. Satan has many tools in his toolbox and he knows how to go after both groups and individuals. Look at the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, chapters 2-3. Different churches face different challenges.

  • Some face physical attacks.
  • Some have economic penalties for following Jesus.
  • Some are being challenged to put a stop to sinful behavior from within, rather than try to find some kind of compromise as they had been doing.
  • Some are so prosperous they have wandered away from their desperate need for Jesus to sustain them.
  • Some of them are just going through the motions, hoping their fellow church members don’t notice.

All of these are ways that Satan persecutes the church, not just through burning buildings down and killing anyone who calls on the name of the Lord. The best tool is used for each job, and all of the jobs are one form or another of persecution. You may recognize some of these tactics in the churches near you. Perhaps even your own. It happens, and Jesus does give His commands on how to address these situations. To do anything less than what Jesus commands is to assume that your way is more loving than the one who gave His life for you.

There are ways to stand against the attacks on your church. There are right ways. There are wrong ways. The right ways involve prayer and a multitude of wise voices. The best ways remember that we are blessed WHEN we are reviled and persecuted. We don’t pursue abuse for the sake of a blessing, but the blessing gives us hope to endure. If you orchestrate some persecution for yourself and live-stream the persecution, hoping to go viral, congratulations. You already received your reward in full.

It is good to look at all of the words Jesus says here. When people say or tweet mean things about us, we shouldn’t automatically begin the persecution party (Acts 5:41). Let’s look at the qualifiers that Jesus gives to help us determine when we are blessed. For your sake, I’ll share the verses again. It’s also for my sake so I don’t have to scroll my screen or switch tabs so often. Don’t make this awkward. Read it again!

Matthew 5:11-12 ESV
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

When you (individually or collectively) are suffering, it is not a bad idea to examine yourself. Is this slander true or false? Could it be an honest misunderstanding? Did someone accuse your church of misusing funds? Double check to be sure everything is on the up and up. Did someone say that you hate other people because you don’t accept the spirit of the age? Examine yourself and see if you do hold hate for people. While you’re at it, make sure that it is correct that you reject the spirit of the age. Make sure that your communication regarding the matter is filled with gentleness and respect while honoring Christ as holy (1 Peter 3:15). And also notice that Jesus said we were blessed when the slander is false AND when it is on His account. That means that even when an accusation is false, you can’t yet dance a jig. Was the action against you done because you were doing what Jesus would have you be doing?

Churches have been fined and shut down for meeting together during a time when the government objected. SWAT teams have been involved, dressed in riot gear. In the Western hemisphere, this has been well documented in Canada. The Bible is very clear about the need for Christians to meet together. Jesus is Lord. Lord of the Church. Lord of Lords. The government can claim authority, but ALL authority has been given to Jesus. Faithful churches who reopened and suffered for it are blessed! It doesn’t always feel that way when the pastor is in jail, but the Canadian pastors who suffered are merely following in the same footsteps that the Apostles walked in. And when your footsteps match the Apostles and the Prophets, you can take that as a sign that your feet are facing in the right direction.

Matthew 10:16 ESV
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Addendum: I use the name of the deceiver/accuser to refer to all of the forces he has amassed to go after the people of God. The demonic activity against you or me are probably not being done by the same one who tempted Eve in the garden. Probably not the same one who tempted Jesus in the wilderness. God can be everywhere at once. Satan cannot. Most likely, he’s never heard of you.

It’s funny how something like a little case of COVID can interrupt your momentum

That’s right. I’ve joined the club of those with naturally-produced antibodies. Before this, I was starting to pick up momentum. If I had something short and pithy, it would be posted to Gab. If it got a little long, I would start to weigh it out and perhaps it would still go there, maybe it would go here with a link to it there. I hope to regain this flow in the coming weeks, and this is my first blog post toward that end.

Relax, I’m going to tell the story. It’s actually pretty good. At least I think so.

So the early part of June was dedicated to me preparing for a high school graduation party for Ana. You may recall the photo backdrop post on this blog where I described the build process. Well after that, I introduced Dayna to the propane torch and she went to town on the backdrop for a darker burnt look. Then she added the paper flowers she had been working on. It came out looking really great! I just wish more of the guests would have used it for group photos with or without the graduation girl.

A week after the party, we dropped the dog off with my parents and started driving to Florida with a stop in Nashville on the way. That was the stop where I first noticed something was a little off. We (Two adults and three children who think they are adults) visited a honky tonk with a live band. The key draw was that they had a place where underage people could sit. Most of these places are bars with live bands and usually some food and most of them are for people over the age of 21. Not that reaching that age makes you into an adult either. The place specialized in pizza, but I wanted a burger. I’m told from the girls that the pizza was fantastic. The burger was incredible as well, but I was only able to eat two bites of it. I was hungry. The burger tasted great. I felt fine. I just couldn’t will myself to eat more of it.

The next morning we headed to Florida through a tropical storm or tropical depression. I’m not sure what the difference is. All I know is that it rained a lot. I was looking forward to visiting certain places and discussed it with the group at first, but after a couple hours of driving I started to get very tired. I slept off and on the rest of that leg of the trip. When we got to the condo I helped unload the car, because that’s one of the things the dad does, and then I went in. The bedrooms were upstairs but I couldn’t get that far. I fell into the couch on the main level and fell asleep. I didn’t get upstairs until the third day, and once I got there I barely left. I would sleep and wake up to use the restroom. Dayna brought me food and water but like before I was unable to consume it. It seemed like a mental block or something. I’m not sure how better to describe it.

Eventually Dayna had enough and she took me to an Urgent Care facility. The nurse swabbed my nose and left. I was sure that was a formality. My breathing was fine, I was just exhausted. I have had pneumonia before, and this was eerily similar. As we waited for the doctor, I was looking forward to taking the antibiotics and resuming our vacation. Instead we were told to quarantine due to a COVID diagnosis. I asked for some of the drugs that are now proven to be effective and the doctor told me that the CDC doesn’t recommend them. I didn’t have the strength to point out that the CDC owns patents on competing products so of course they wouldn’t recommend something effective that costs a small fraction of those alternatives. Instead we went back so I could focus on taking in fluids, as if that had worked for me the previous three days.

I returned to bed and forced myself to drink water. Everything I swallowed found its way out rather quickly, along with other contents of my digestive system. I’ll spare you the details but Dayna came upstairs to find me laying on the hardwood floor in my own fluids. We went immediately to the Emergency Room, where they replenished my fluids with an IV and gave me anti-nausea medication which enabled me to drink again. My ability to eat came a couple days later, but that’s OK. The human body can survive without eating for quite some time. Taking in water is much more pressing. And I may or may not have a few extra pounds that I could stand to lose. The fluids helped me greatly and made possible the rest of this story.

After some discussion and debate with the group, it was decided that we should all mask up and head back. Everyone in the car had been exposed for a few days already and if the only other responsible adult were to get what I had we would be in a real fix. One of the girls objected and used her magical age of 18 to say that she didn’t have to do as she was told. I understand she was firmly rebuffed and told to get in the car, which she did wearing two masks. I wore a mask the entire time, but not because I believe it is effective at mitigation of an airborne virus. That has been disproven time after time with real-world data. It is effective in giving teenage girls a sense of relative calmness and that is why I wore it. I took over the counter drugs like DayQuil and Mucinex to avoid coughing and rode most of the way, taking a turn at driving when Dayna got tired. Again, the fluids were very helpful and I drank lots of Gatorade on the way back.

We drove through the deep south, stopping for gas and continuing on. We drove through the night through small towns and on back roads. I marvelled that the southern states don’t seem to have any sort of highway system like they have up north. I wondered why this might be, it just seemed so surreal! After almost 24 hours, we got home and began our quarantines. In the days that followed, all three of the eighteen year old girls tested negative and both adults were confirmed positive, though Dayna had it much milder than me. She eats better than I do and she takes her vitamins. We rested and quarantined. We ordered grocery delivery and quickly saw that you’re better off choosing your own fresh produce. We improved quickly. I would estimate that I felt less than 100% for five or six days in total, but the peak of the illness was quite intense.

I have had worse illnesses in my lifetime. Pneumonia was worse. Shingles was worse. Pleurisy was worse. I would not desire to have any of these illnesses again, including COVID. All four of these are events that interrupted what my life looked like at the time. Psalm 23:2 says that “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” If the pastures are green, why would a sheep have to be made to lie down? Could it be that the sheep doesn’t realize it is in the place the shepherd knows is best for that time? Maybe the sheep thinks it knows better than the shepherd, and the shepherd lovingly corrects the sheep in such a way that it can only lie there until the shepherd is ready to move on to the still waters.

Addendum

A few days ago, we used the same navigation system for a more local trip. We were pretty sure how to get there, but not sure of the details. The navigation took us in a very illogical route. City streets, stop lights and more on a route parallel to the highway. It made no sense! So I went into the settings. We had travelled from Florida to Iowa in about 24 hours under less than ideal conditions, taking back roads and gassing up at small town gas stations in the wee hours of the morning. All because the settings on the app instructed it to avoid highways. I mapped the same route allowing highways and the time difference was four hours. We spent four additional hours in that “pasture” and didn’t even realize it. I wonder what was so green about it anyway. Perhaps one day I will know.

Why are there so many versions of the Bible?

Before you read this post, it really would be a good idea to read this article by the same name on The Aquila Report, written by Greg Gilbert. The reasons he gives for multiple Bible versions in this article are all true and accurate. I would add one more reason there are so many English versions. That is the litigious nature of our society.

A publishing company owns the rights to the translation of the Bible that they produced or that they purchased. So when their authors write their books, citing scripture from the owned translation, there is no copyright worry. If they cite a different translation, there may be a fee requested by the owner of that translation, cutting into the profits of the book. Different publishers have different allowances for the use of their translation.

I believe the King James Version is open source, so it can be quoted without worry by any publishing company. That explains why this is the version quoted most often in movies and television shows. That also explains why you can find copies of the KJV in discount stores.

Genesis 50:20 ESV
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good

The litigious nature of American companies did play a role in the multitude of translations. And while it is not good that we are so quick to let a secular court settle differences between Christian publishing houses, God has used this to provide many faithful translations of the Bible, which can be used in a myriad of ways to build His church.

To whom much is given, though, much is required. As the body of Christ, we have resources that were unimaginable in past generations. We have a responsibility to study the word diligently, to meditate on the light that has overcome the darkness, to use these translations to the glory of God. And this message must reproduce both locally and afar.

A day of infamy

China wants all memory of this event erased.

On This Day in 1989: The Tiananmen Square Massacre took place in Beijing when thousands of students were slaughtered by the Chinese “People’s Liberation Army.” No remembrances are allowed in Communist China, but the rest of the world must never forget.

I remember the scene well, as students had learned about the freedoms of the Western world. Freedom to worship something other than the State. Freedom to seek your own happiness through employment based on your own desires and through private ownership of property. The freedom of personal success and of personal failure.

After a few days, the troops came in with armored vehicles. The bullets were not rubber. The students were not organized for such violence. They were gassed, shot, crushed under tank treads and beaten. Then morning came.

A lone student walked out into the courtyard and stood in defiance of the row of tanks patrolling the square. For reasons I can only assume, the tanks stopped and a stare down ensued. What was said? Whatever happened to the student?

And why is our government and corporations so quick to celebrate this evil regime? Is it because they want to emulate it here? Again, pure speculation. I haven’t been on Facebook or Twitter for several months now, and I prefer it that way, but I imagine this post would quickly be “fact-checked” if I did share it there.

Are you tired of censorship in the public square? Then get on www.Gab.com and look me up.

If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

Martin Luther

DIY Photo Wall

The photo wall is ready for decoration.

I really should have been taking pictures as this process went from concept to finished product. Instead, I’ll describe how I made it.

Step one is to have a wife who is into Pinterest. You know, that site where you can find inspiration for a whole lot of projects to suggest to your husband. My wife has a few boards of projects for me, so I avoid Pinterest like the plague.

Step two is to have an event. My daughter is having a graduation party, and my wife wanted a photo station. If I understand, she will be adding paper flowers and favorite photos to it and it will serve as a display board and as a backdrop for picture taking.

Step three is for your wife to ask you to recreate what she sees on Pinterest. So you accept your fate, push your other projects to the back burner, and get a plan.

Step four is to gather materials and tools. This is when you have a bit more leverage to make purchases. Unfortunately, I already had all that I needed for this one, except for pallets and the frame.

The frame is three sets of two boards, so six boards unless math is still racist. My boards were 1x3s, cut to seven feet. Then comes the pallets. Ugh.

Most businesses don’t mind you taking pallets, just be sure to ask. Also, do a little research about pallets. You don’t know what may have spilled on the wood, but you can know how that pallet was treated to withstand the elements. Pallets are gross. Wear eye and breathing protection whenever you work with it and hearing protection when needed. And don’t use it to hold food.

I took a bunch of pallets and had to disassemble them. A circular saw or a jigsaw down the sides is my first step. Yes, I do lose some wood that way, but in my experience, pallet edges aren’t worth the added hassle. The center bar is all that’s left and I pry the slats up with a dedicated crowbar. These slats have nails in them so be careful. I bought a nail cutter, but that sucked. So I tapped the nails out and pulled them.

To process this crappy wood, I ran the straighter side through my table saw with a blade that is old and cheap. I then used that side to reference against my fence for a parallel cut. My wife wanted eight feet of overall width, but nine feet meant easier math, so I cut the end of each piece square, then cut the other end at a length of three feet.

Now would have been a great time to scrub the wood with a wire brush. It also would have been a great time to connect the 7-foot boards with the hinges. I hope I remember that lesson the next time I have a project. A La Brava.

I did use a framing square to set up the construction. If you begin with a square frame, the rest will go much better. I used my air nail gun to attach the pallet wood to the frame. I used similar width boards across the three frames and spaced them with the edge of a board for a uniform look. Had I brushed the boards and attached the hinges I would have been done. Instead I did those steps at this point.

The photo wall stands on its own, but I may install bracing if my wife wants it outside and there’s wind.

Happy wife, happy life!