Thursday, April 30, 2015

Where Is The Righteous Premium?

The rich sometimes think their wealth is the best measure of human success, purpose and ... even righteousness. The educated often see higher education in the same light ... as godliness. The famous are also susceptible to that same illusion. Strangely, a similar illusion exists in some people who are in poverty, uneducated or feel like they are nobodys. They sometimes worship the wealthy, highly educated, famous, movie stars, sports idols and even preachers, which is worse. There are even people in poverty or ignominy who think their lack of wealth, fame and education is a sacrificial, righteous order of some kind and see the rich and famous as their enemies.

The truth is, there is no special premium or goodness in any of it ... in God's eyes. God so loved the whole world that he gave Jesus to die that whosoever believes on him will receive everlasting life. God puts the premium on believers in Christ and obeyers of His word. More exactly, righteousness is not so much what is seen, outwardly, as it is an inner grace of God in the heart and mind.  "... The LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Sam.16:7.

The "righteous premium" is accurately measured only by God and never by man or woman. And that righteousness is not even their own, who possess it, but God's righteousness bestowed upon them when they repent and are converted.  As Isaiah testified in Isaiah 61:10.... "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the  robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth  herself  with her jewels." All true righteousness is God's righteousness ... within Himself or bestowed upon those who were created to be in His image and likeness before sin marred us. Jesus came to restore us to that image and likeness. Here is where eternity hangs, not in our personal goodness, not in our self-righteousness. RB

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Image Of The Beast, Cyber Person & New Human Information Warehouses

Common Sense Commentary: Technological developments and recent signs of the latter days are somewhat like a heavily loaded freight train going downhill with brakes burned out. Its speed, regardless of braking, continues to increase as it descends, faster and faster to the bottom ... where the track ends. Enjoy the trip ... Jesus will return before this trip terminates at the bottom of time.

The Image of the Beast

Revelation 13:13-15

"And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."

The "Image of the Beast" is probably a technological means of replicating the mind and global agenda of the Beast in a virtual, cyber, robotic form. RB

Another Brain/Machine combination
development article I found in the
British, Daily Mail under Science &
Tech, is this: RB

The real-life Matrix: MIT researchers 
reveal interface that can allow a 
computer to plug into the brain 


It has been the holy grail of science fiction - an interface that allows us to plug our brain into a computer. Now, researchers at MIT have revealed new fibers less than a width of a hair that could make it a reality. They say their system that could deliver optical signals and drugs directly into the brain, along with electrical readouts to continuously monitor the effects of the various inputs. 


The new fibers are made of polymers that closely resemble the characteristics of neural tissues. Combining the different channels could enable precision mapping of neural activity, and ultimately treatment of neurological disorders, that would not be possible with single-function neural probes. 'We're building neural interfaces that will interact with tissues in a more organic way than devices that have been used previously,' said MIT's Polina Anikeeva, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering. The human brain's complexity makes it extremely challenging to study not only because of its sheer size, but also because of the variety of signaling methods it uses simultaneously.


The absolute global control the Antichrist will have on the entire world of people would seem to indicate his use of ultra high-tech computer development  which enables him to maintain a detailed record of every human being on Earth and all human necessities and services. This global ID system will obviously give the beast or Antichrist the ability to not only "equalize" goods and services globally, but also give him the means of cutting off those things to people unmarked, unidentifiable, uncooperative or undesirable.

Even now our government and those of other countries are developing human records warehouses of personal information. They are letting out contracts to hi-tech companies to develop and run these so called "Information Warehouses".  RB

This From The Weekly Standard

National and Global Warehouses of personal Information being developed on every human being on earth.

Feds Looking for Company to Run 'National Data Warehouse' for Obamacare, Medicare

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is looking for vendors to run its "National Data Warehouse," a database for "capturing, aggregating, and analyzing information" related to beneficiary and customer experiences with Medicare and the federal Obamacare marketplaces. Although the database primarily consists of quality control metrics related to individuals' interactions with customer service, potential contractors are to "demonstrate ... experience with scalability and security in protecting data and information with customer, person-sensitive information including Personal Health Information and Personally Identifiable information (personal health records, etc.)." Vendors are also instructed that one of the requirements of a possible future contract would be "ensuring that all products developed and delivered adhere to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance standards."

For a number of years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the division of HHS responsible for Medicare and now Obamacare also, has maintained a "national data warehouse" (NDW) related to the 1-800-MEDICARE helpline. The passage of the Affordable Care Act and subsequent establishment of the Marketplaces has expanded the scope of the NDW. The CMS notice explains the NDW as follows:

The NDW acts as the central repository for capturing, aggregating, and analyzing information related to the beneficiary experience with Medicare and the consumer experience with Marketplaces. The NDW also serves as a foundation for operational and management reporting to support improved decision-making, business practices, and services to callers.
The type of data included in the NDW "includes information for CMS’ Virtual Contact Center operations including, but not necessarily limited to" items such as "Workforce management data,""Quality monitoring," "Medicare disenrollments," "Beneficiary satisfaction surveys," and "Web Chat metrics." The NDW is part of CMS's larger $15 billion "Virtual Data Center" program awarded to multiple vendors in 2012. The eventual vendor for the NDW must be able to integrate and share data with the other Virtual Data Center vendors.
The description for the "NDW Functional Requirements" included thirty-six items, several with multiple subpoints, and even this list is not meant to be "all inclusive" according to CMS. In addition to these functions, the "contractor shall implement a security program that adheres to CMS security standards." Interested vendors have until January 19, 2015, to respond.


And this from Discover

Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and 

the Risks of Artificial Intelligence

Technology enhanced with artificial intelligence is all around us. You might have a robot vacuum cleaner ready to leap into action to clean up your kitchen floor. Maybe you asked Siri or Google—two apps using decent examples of artificial intelligence technology—for some help already today. The continual enhancement of AI and its increased presence in our world speak to achievements in science and engineering that have tremendous potential to improve our lives. Or destroy us.

At least, that’s the central theme in the new Avengers: Age of Ultron movie with headliner Ultron serving as exemplar for AI gone bad. It’s a timely theme, given some high-profile AI concerns lately. But is it something we should be worried about?

Artificial Intelligence Gone Rogue

How bad is Ultron? The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe lists his occupation as “would-be conquerer, enslaver of men” with genius intelligence, superhuman speed, stamina, reflexes, and strength, subsonic flight speed, and demi-godlike durability. The good news is that Ultron has “normal” agility and “average hand to hand skills.” Meaning if you can get in close to an autonomous robot with superhuman speed, you should be good to go. At least briefly.

But perhaps most importantly, Ultron represents the ultimate example of artificial intelligence applications gone wrong: intelligence that seeks to overthrow the humans who created it.

Subsequent iterations of Ultron were self-created, each one getting stronger, smarter, and more bent on fulfilling two main desires: survival and bringing peace and order to the universe. The unfortunate part for us humans is that Ultron would like to bring peace and order by eliminating all other intelligent life in the universe. The main theme in Age of Ultron is this fictional conflict between biological beings and artificial intelligence (with a mean streak). But how fictional is it?

Thinking Machines

The answers are found in scientific research related to the fields of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and artificial life. These are fields that continue to expand at a ridiculous, if not superhuman, pace.

One of the most recent breakthroughs was a study in which Volodymyr Mnih and colleagues at Google DeepMind challenged a neural network to learn how to play video games.

The point was to see if the software (rather ominously called a “deep Q-network agent”) could apply lessons learned in one game to master another game. For more than half of the games examined, the deep Q-network agent was better than human level. This list includes Boxing, Video Pinball, Robotank (a favorite of mine), and Tutankham.

And though arcade games may seem trivial, the takeaway here really had nothing to do with games per se. The relevance is that an AI system could adapt its skills to situations for which its programmer had never prepared it. The AI was effectively learning how to apply skills in a new way, basically thinking on its own. Which is relevant in considering the possibility of an AI going rogue.

IBM's Watson computer is a well-known instance of AI. Credit: Clockready IBM’s Watson computer is a well-known instance of AI. Credit: Clockready Sounding an Alarm

So, is this a problem? Coverage in popular media often seems to give the spin that machine learning and artificial intelligence are things to fear. There is a boundary that separates helpful applications of AI—imagine a scenario of robot-conducted surgery performed in a remote community and overseen by a physician in a distant location—from truly frightening scenarios of near-future military applications. Imagine the combination of current combat drone technology with artificial intelligence computer engines giving independence to machine warfare.

The real problem is that we don’t often recognize that we have crossed these kinds of boundaries until we are already on the other side. In science we often push to discover and apply things before we truly understand all the implications—both positive and negative—that will accompany them. We often do things because we can without fully considering if we should, in fact, do them at all.

It’s a sentiment that has been surprisingly echoed among various tech cognoscenti in recent months. In late 2014, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told an MIT symposium, “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that.” And in January he put his money behind the cause, donating $10 million to a non-profit for AI safety.

Bill Gates revealed his reservations about AI in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session later that same month, writing, “I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”

And last year, Stephen Hawking co-authored an article on the risks of AI, saying it could be the “worst mistake in history.”

A Different Vision

Central to these concerns is artificial intelligence’s theoretical independence from human regulatory interaction. To avoid such extreme independence—and that sci-fi end-game of Ultron—maybe we’d be better off adopting the approach of “collaborative intelligence” as computer scientist Susan Epstein proposed in a recent study.

We traditionally build machines because we need help, Epstein writes. But perhaps a less-capable machine could be equally helpful, by allowing humans to do things that they’re better at anyway, such as pattern recognition and problem solving. In other words, built-in inabilities in our intelligent robots could allow them to perform their jobs better while keeping them in check—though at the cost of requiring more interaction with their human overseers.

In the tradition of sci-fi futurists Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Isaac Asimov, the future is “supposed to be a fully automated, atomic-powered, germ-free utopia” Daniel H. Wilson wrote some years back. A collaborative view of AI, on the other hand, equates to thinking about robots as tools—sometimes very smart ones—that humans can employ and work with rather than a replacement for humans altogether.

This view, though, is at odds with the imperative to instrument and mechanize operations of all sorts wherever they are found. The end game—as Ultron’s creators discover—has disastrous ramifications. We all get to enjoy watching this dystopian future play out on the big screen this week. Luckily for our future selves, in the real world these conversations are still happening as we continue to progress toward smarter and smarter machines.

But maybe not too smart. I still want to win at Robotank.

Top image courtesy Marvel

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How Did John Baptist Know Messiah's Arrival Was Imminent, Preached It And Baptized Converts Before The Fact?

The word "baptize" is an English transliterated word from the Greek word "baptizeim" meaning to dip, immerse or bury".

Webster defines "baptism" as .... "To dip or immerse in water".

Wikipedia says of baptism "The usual form of baptism among the earliest Christians was for the candidate to be immersed...."

 John the Baptist distinguished his baptism in water from the Holy Spirit's baptism, or immersion, of repentant believers, into Christ and the body of Christ, His church. "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." Matt.3:11. 

"The Apostle Paul declared to the Colossian Church that we are, "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." Col.2:12. He repeated that to the Roman Church in Rom.6:3-4 "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

Jesus included water baptism as an ordinance His church could perform as a testimony every new Christian could give of his salvation and death, burial and resurrection with Christ. 

My question is, "How did John Baptist know about the soon coming of Messiah/Christ, the necessity of repentance followed by baptism? All this he knew before Christ's ministry ever began and before he baptized Jesus himself as an example for us to follow? How did he know?

My answer to the question is this ....

1. His father, Zacharias, was priest in Jerusalem and his mother, Elizabeth, was a godly woman. Both of whom knew the Old Testament prophecies and taught them to their son, John. Luke 1:67-80.

2. Their home country was in the desert wilderness east of Jerusalem near or maybe at Jericho or Qumran on the eastern shore at the northern end of the Dead Sea. Luke 1:80. When Zacharias' term as priest in Jerusalem was finished, he and Elizabeth, in their old age, moved back to their desert hill country home near Jericho and Qumran. Lk.1:23.  Elizabeth and Zacharias, like Sarai and Abraham, had been praying for a child for many years and God had miraculously heard their prayer and she was six months pregnant when the virgin Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Mary, cousin to Elizabeth, traveled 60 miles from Nazareth to visit them at their home in the wilderness, and stayed the 3 months till John the Baptist was born.  Lk.1:39-40. John grew up in the desert wilderness and dry hills around Jericho Qumran, the southern end of the Jordan River at the northern end of the Dead Sea. It was there that He began his ministry as forerunner of Messiah/Christ, preaching repentance and baptizing converts where the Jordan runs into the Dead Sea, at it's nearest point to Jerusalem.  Lk.3:2-4.

3. Qumran is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in cliff side caves overlooking Qumran. and the Dead Sea. Here is what Wikapedia says about Qumran and the Essenes who lived there.

"The remains at Qumran were left by a sectarian religious community. Using his excavations as well as textual sources, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the historical accounts recorded by Pliny the ElderPhilo, and Flavius Josephus. De Vaux's conclusion was that the inhabitants of the site were a sect of highly ritualistic Jews called the Essenes.  This .... suggests that the original residents of the settlement were the Essenes, and that they established the site in the desert for religious purposesHe interpreted the room above locus 30 as a "scriptorium" because he discovered inkwells there. A plastered bench was also discovered in the remains of an upper story. De Vaux concluded that this was the area where the Essenes could have written some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. De Vaux also interpreted locus 77 as a "refectory", or a community dining hall, based on the discovery of numerous sets of bowls in the nearby "pantry" of locus 89. Additionally, de Vaux interpreted many of the numerous stepped cisterns as "miqva’ot", or Jewish ritual baths...."  Wikapedia.  

It is thought, by a few scholars, that at least one of these ritual pools was in fact a baptistry. Neither the Jews nor Wikapedia nor anyone else I have read associate John the Baptist with the Essenes but there is no doubt that John was at least aware of the Essenes in Qumran and may have been one of them. They were the Jewish Fundamentalists of the day, separated from the worldly cities and ways of life, majoring on the written word of God, making copies of it and preserving it on scrolls in sealed clay jars, baptizing believers and this ... Their primary message was of the soon coming of Messiah/Christ. John came preaching the exact same message ... and baptizing repentant believers, preparing the way for Jesus.

The Essenes in Qumran were about 6 miles from Jericho and 2 or 3 miles from where John the Baptizer began his ministry preaching "Prepare ye the way of the LORD", and baptizing converts in the fresh waters of the Jordan River where it enters into the northern end of the Dead Sea. Was he in fellowship with the Essenes at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found? I cannot prove it but it seems very likely.  

During one of the Jewish uprisings against Rome, the Essenes were later driven out of Qumran by the Romans. At about the same time, a similar sized group of Jewish believers took over King Herod's summer retreat on the top of a high, steep mesa called Masada, overlooking the Dead Sea and very near Qumran. I have been there too and saw the ruins of Herod's quarters, a vast network of water collecting channels with filled caverns of mammoth capacity ... and a baptistry carved out of the rock by these renegade Jewish believers who were eventually rooted out and all executed by the Roman army. RB

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Open Secret To John 3:16's Unequaled Impact

It was not God's Omnipresence, Omniscience, Omnipotence, or even His Omniholiness that moved Him to give "his only begotten Son" to die in our place for out sins. It was His agape love for us.  Agape is the deepest spiritual love of total committment.

We ignored His presence, rejected His knowledge, doubted His power and violated His holiness ... but He still loved us. We were created in His own "image and likeness" to be His children, but because of our fleshly rebellion and sin nature, inherited from Adam and Eve, and willfully embraced by each of us, a new birth, a spiritual birth became necessary. That new birth, devised by our Creator, would only take place when we, as lost sinners, repented of our sins and within our spirits believed on and accepted His remedy, "His only begotten Son", as our Savior. This miraculous cleansing means of redemption from hopeless, lost sinners, to hope full, forgiven children of God, comes about only through true faith in Jesus Christ and by God's grace, a fruit of His agape love. 

We, then, having been "spiritually" born again, due only to His agape love, believe His knowledge, feel His presence, yield to His power, and seek His holiness. And like our Father, who's agape love moved Him to provide us a means of Salvation, we, as His children, are moved by that same love to worship Him, obey Him, and seek His will in prayer and Bible study; And through that same agape love tell others about Him. Agape love is the motivating factor in all true Christian service which is empowered by God's own presence in our lives .... and which comes to us in the person of His Holy Spirit when we are born again.

Friday, April 17, 2015

What Succeeded Then Will Succeed Now ... Given Time

To speak of a "Christian Businessman" is more than simply a title. It is a way of life and, therefore, a way of conducting all of the affairs of life including business.
Whether as a customer or a business owner, "Christian business" methods are the same. Be consistently fair to everyone equally. Be an example of diligence, hard work, organization, and wisdom in purchasing and in pricing. Keep your word no matter what it costs you. Care about other people's needs and problems and help them accomplish their goals. Pray for them and do not hesitate to be a witness for Christ to them. Above all, be honest no matter the cost or loss to yourself. Making a profit is not a sin. Not making a profit is a quick exit into bankruptcy. Living well is not a sin. Not caring whether others live well also is a sin. Christian Business practices will and do lead to a successful outcome of any worthy venture but do not think it will come quickly. You must be proven to prospective customers. They have all been deceived, lied to and taken advantage of by other, more unreputable business people. Stay the course, do not compromise your Christian principles and keep on keeping on. You do not have to pursue business success. If you pursue Christ and His teachings long enough, success in business will pursue you. Isn't that the kind of people you want to do business with?  Everyone else feels the same but it is very difficult for them to break old ties. But they will .... given time and a better deal. RB

Here is the classic example of Christian 
Business success ... J.C. Penny.

J.C. Penny reached it's zenith until he died and they soon lost their rudder.

In this day when business in America seems to be all about money and when there is crookedness in both high and low places, it is refreshing to think of businessmen who have put God first. James Cash Penny (1875-1971), founder of the J.C. Penny stores, is an example. His father, a Baptist pastor, died when James was a teenager, but not before he was instilled with biblical principles of living.

When the young James got a job with a grocer, he bragged one night at supper to his mother and father about how "foxy" his employer was in selling low quality coffee for the price of expensive coffee. Even though jobs were rare in that small town, James' father told him to quit. Though he was dying of tuberculosis and they needed the money, the preacher would rather that his son be unemployed than associated with a crooked businessman.

At first the J.C. Penny stores were called Golden Rule, because he was "dedicated to following the Golden Rule as a basic commercial principle." The Golden Rule refers to Christ's principle of "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Penny offered quality products at fair prices and treated the customers with respect. He kept the profit margin small. He tested every policy by asking if it was "right and just?" He made his managers part owners of the stores in order to share the wealth. Yet though he was Christian in name, he didn't come to saving faith until he was older.

He had become embittered at churches in his youth when his father was fired for wanting to start a Sunday School. (Primitive Baptists officially hold to extreme sovereign election and often do not believe in gospel missions.) After experiencing a financial crash during America's Great Depression, Penny's health broke, physically and emotionally, and he ended up in a sanitarium. There he attended a Christian meeting and saw that he had been trusting his good works rather than God's grace in Christ. Through the words of the hymn "God Will Take Care of You" and Christ's invitation in Matthew 11:28-30, J.C. Penny was converted. He recalled, "I can't explain it. I can only call it a miracle. I felt as if I had been instantly lifted out of the darkness of a dungeon into a warm, brilliant sunlight. I felt as if I had been transported from hell to paradise. I felt the power of God as I had never felt it before. From that day to this, my life has been free from worry. The most dramatic and glorious 20 minutes of my life were those I spent in that chapel that morning."

Penny gave millions of dollars to Christian charities. He said he would rather be known as a Christian than a merchant. In an advertisement he said: "Business is therefore as much religious as it is secular. If we follow the admonition to love God, and our neighbors as ourselves, it will lead us to understand that, first of all, success is a matter of the spirit." This is the attitude that will permeate Christ's coming kingdom, and it is the attitude that should permeate the lives of those who belong to Christ in this present world.

Monday, April 13, 2015

"IF" Is At Once The Biggest Little Word In Any Language

The little word "if", a conjunction of condition, incorporates limitless possibilities and immeasurable imagination. "To" points in one direction and means one thing. "Is", a verb, makes a single, flat statement of fact. "At" identifies a single point of placement. "I" means one thing "A" is always followed by a single thing such as a flock or a bird. "It" speaks of one thing. But "if" opens an infinity of time, space, question, condition, possibility, imagination or negative point of debate.

The Apostle Paul was a highly educated man, whose teacher was Gamaliel, a celebrated teacher and Doctor of the Law, in Jerusalem. Paul was well trained in the Old Testament Scriptures, including the Law given by God to Moses. He had been taught the rudiments of debate and used that skill in his reasoning with the Sadducee converts in the Corinth Church. Sadducee doctrine had taught them that resurrection from the dead is impossible, which, of course, it is, but "with God all things are possible" (Matt.19:26).  So they still did not believe in a resurrection, though they professed faith in Christ. In First Corinthians Paul was dealing with a long list of errors in that church. One of which was this problem with these former Sadducees. In his argument, he used the "If" negative approach to the question. His use of "if", a conjunction of condition, does not reflect any doubt in his own mind but did in theirs. In other words, "If what you believe is true, here are the consequences". So here is his case for the fact of a resurrection: "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." 1 Cor.15:12-20. 

Many of you know that my favorite poem is Rudyard Kipling's "IF".

.................. If by Rudyard Kipling ..................

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise.

If you can dream and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken;
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them; "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And -- which is more -- you'll be a man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling was not just a good poet, he was a fine Christian. I first read his poem, "IF", when I was a young preacher in Seminary. This was the most impressive thing that really spoke to my sense of what a man should be, except for my father's example and Scripture. "If" is the biggest, little word in any language. Everything henges on this one syllable word. The "Law of First Mention" says that the first mention of a word in the Bible has special significance in defining what the word means in all the rest of its uses following the first. Our word "If" is first used in Genesis 4:7...."If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted ? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door...." The last mention, in the Bible, of "if" is in Rev.22:19, and is God's final warning. "If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take his part out of the book of life...." Jesus, Himself, put forgiveness of sin, redemption and eternal life in the simplest, shortest possible form, when He said, "I am the door: by me, .if any man enter in, he shall be saved...." John 10:9. In all three of these verses, "IF" is the pivot point of ETERNITY. "If you do well (believe),"Heaven". "If you do not well...."Hell". Every good and bad thing has a big if between them. Every right and wrong has that big if to deal with. That one little two letter word standing there in the crossroads of the most important decisions of life and you must make the choice..."which way shall I go?" "Shall I follow Jesus or not?" Life and death issues are decided here..."IF". Eternity itself is decided here...."IF". "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Rom.10:9

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Seed And Root Of The Jewish ... Muslim Conflict

The Middle East is a boiling caldron of Muslim division and contradiction, popping and spitting out molten hatred, burning, wounding and killing its own and anyone else with a different opinion. This is not a new, strangely perverted religious conflict. It's toxic roots reach all the way back to Ishmael, the illegitimate son of Abraham and his wife's maid servant, Hagar. God promised Abraham and Sarai a son who would pass the seed of Abraham through many generations and eventually bring forth the virgin-born Jesus. This son of Mary was the body in which the Jewish Messiah/Christian Christ would live in this world, deliver the truth of God and die for our sins. Satan knew that and violently opposed it.  Abraham and Sarai were impatient with waiting upon the Lord for that son and they presumed to help God fulfill his promise. Sarai suggested and Abraham gladly accommodated and lay with Sarai's young hand maiden. Her resulting baby, Ishmael, became the first in what is now over a billion people composing 48 majority Muslim nations. There is just one predominately Jewish nation ... Israel.

When Sarai finally gave birth to her promised son, Isaac, the lineage of the Jewish nation began ... and nineteen hundred years later God's promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, was born in Bethlehem. The descendants of Isaac and those of Ishmael, though half brothers, both sons of Abraham, are total opposites. As the descendants of Ishmael are almost all Muslim, the descendants of Isaac are almost all Judaic. God promised to bless the world through Isaac with the Messiah/Christ and predicted conflict through Ishmael's descendants. The basis for this problem is recorded in Genesis 16 of which the central verses are Gen.16:11-12 "And the angel of the LORD said unto her (Hagar), Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." 

This conflict will not end until the end of time. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

If You Can Open Your Mind To This.... You Too Can Believe

There is a time in most people's lives when they come to grips with these two most important questions anyone will ever face. What is the truth as to how we, the earth and universe came to be? And if God did it, what does He expect of me? The Bible has the answers, but if you doubt those answers, do this ....

If you can open your mind to the fact that it is scientifically and physically impossible that the infinite, complex universe, dirt's content and Earth's atmosphere, the human mind and body, life itself and 10,000 other miraculous facts of existence, EVOLVED FROM NOTHING VOID OF ANY KIND OF INTELLIGENCE,  .... your only other alternative is a Creator God.  Believing in God, based on the inerrant Bible, intelligent observation of creation and the Spirit of God convincing us, is not an unreasonable faith, as unbelievers like to accuse us of. But their own totally illogical and impossible theory of evolution, based on A GIGANTIC ACCIDENT IN WHICH EVERYTHING EVOLVED OUT OF NOTHING...., without Any Intelligence input .... IS "an unreasonable faith". 

If believing in the existence of a Creator God is inconceivable to you, the non-existence of a Creator God is a thousand times more incomprehensible and illogical. Think about it. Settle this question and faith in Christ will follow. RB

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Blood Moon This Easter Weekend On Jewish Passover Sabbath

The Earth, Moon, and Sun are aligned at a rare, historic and critical moment of world events.

Something is very different, something big impending. The entire world is quickly changing.

The loneliest job in the world is not that of Obama or Putin but atop them all is Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamine Netanyahu. Here is a man who sits in desperate detachment from the whole world, alone at the desk of final decision, and at the center of the most critical moment in history. He is surrounded by over a billion Muslims, armed to the teeth, with hearts full of hatred of Jews, and sworn to annihilate Israel and to kill every Jew on earth. Netanyahu's hour of decision rides him like the weight of the world and he must make that earth-shaking decision ... now. He only has two options. One is to attack Iran's nuclear capability and neutralize their constant, threatening determination to turn Israel into a holocaust heap of nuclear ash. But if he attempts to pre-empt Iran's nuclear attack by attacking it first, the world would retaliate and Obama has publically warned he will shoot down Israel's planes if they try it. Netanyahu's only other option is to do nothing and leave his homeland exposed to Iran's almost certain nuclear annihilation of Israel as soon as they are ready. Either way, Netanyahu  will be blamed for the horrific consequences which will befall Israel. Of all the appalling, ghastly jobs in the world, I would not want to be in Netanyahu's shoes, but I would rather be in his than in Obama's. RB

"Let it even be established, that thy name may be magnified for ever, 
saying, The LORD of hosts is the God of Israel ...." 1 Chron.17:24.
The god of Islam, Allah, hates the Jews. Jehovah God loves them.

Even the "religious curiosity" of CBS has been given print space.

Blood Moon With Total Lunar 

Eclipse & Eerie Biblical Message 

Rising Over U.S. Easter Weekend

From CBS SF Bay Area April 1, 2015

(CBS SF) — Get ready to feast your eyes on an extra special and rare total lunar eclipse Saturday morning that has some Christians worried this Easter weekend. For the third time in less than a year, the moon will dip into Earth’s shadow, turning its bright white globe a deep coppery red in a matter of minutes. The action begins at 3:16 a.m. PST on the morning of April 4 when the edge of the moon first enters the amber core of Earth’s shadow. For the next hour and 45 minutes, Earth’s shadow will move across the lunar disk, ultimately covering the entire moon at 4:58 a.m. PST. The total phase of the lunar eclipse will only last about 5 minutes, making it the shortest lunar eclipse of the century on the morning of Easter Vigil, traditionally observed as the period between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The eclipse also falls within the first night of Passover, observed by Jews worldwide beginning Friday at sunset. Some total eclipses last for more than an hour, in this case, totality spans just 4 minutes and 43 seconds since the moon will be skimming the outskirts of the Earth’s shadow, rather than passing centrally through it. The moon’s red tint is caused by the Earth covering the sun. This red light from the rim of the Earth then beams onto moon, transforming it into a giant red orb. Lunar eclipses usually come in no particular order, but sometimes the sequence is more orderly. When four lunar eclipses are all total, the series is called a tetrad. This Saturday will be the third of four total eclipses in the 18-month long tetrad series. Previous eclipses occurred on April 15, 2014 and. Oct. 8, 2014. After Saturday, the next one is expected on Sept. 28, 2015. Such a closely-spaced succession of eclipses is a fairly rare occurrence.

Some Christians believe the blood moon lunar eclipse tetrad could be connected to Jesus’ return — or signify a world-changing event about to take place. According to the King James Bible, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord comes,” (Joel 2:31). Regardless of your religious beliefs, it will be a breathtaking spectacle you’ll want to wake up early to see. Just make sure to be outside no later than 4:58 a.m. PST to watch the transition.

'Blood Moons' a special message America?

From WorldNet Daily

“The Bible talks of the times we are living in. Here we have the re-establishment of Israel as a nation in 1948 and the return of Jerusalem into Israel’s hands in 1967. Now we have the signs in the heavens where the sun is turning to sackcloth and the moon to blood on the biblical holy days, warning both the nations and Israel against a two state solution,” he said.
The discoverer of the blood-moons phenomenon, Biltz says there’s no way to get around the fact that Israel is at the center of God’s plans for events to come.
In an interview with WND, the author of the theological blockbuster “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs” suggested astronomical signs show Americans are living in “prophetic times” and the fate of the Jewish state is central to God’s plan.
“People need to realize the Middle East problem is not a political one but a religious one. They need to realize that Allah and the God of the Bible are not the same being. One hates and wants to destroy Israel, and the other loves Israel. Until this is understood, you will never have peace in the Middle East.”
The “blood moon” occurring this weekend is a lunar eclipse that will make the moon appear blood red for a short time on Saturday morning, April 4. It is the third in a tetradShabbat, or the Jewish day of rest.
But Biltz and others say it is not just the timing of the Passover blood moon that is remarkable but the length of the eclipse.
Biltz said the eclipse will last for just under five minutes, the “shortest lunar eclipse ever recorded in human history on the night of Passover.” For that reason, Biltz is calling on Christians to pray for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem for four minutes and 44 seconds during the eclipse.
He is joined in this effort by Bob O’Dell and Gidon Ariel of the educational foundation Root Source, a group that provides Christians access to Jewish teachings online. Root Source was responsible for discovering how the March 20 solar eclipse darkened the sun just in time for the sunrise at the North Pole in what some biblical experts called an unmistakable sign of judgment to the whole world.
In a statement provided to WND, Biltz pointed out that according to Jewish tradition, a solar eclipse is seen as a sign to the whole world, while a lunar eclipse is seen as a sign to the Jewish people specifically.
Biltz says of the prayer effort, “We want all the Jewish people worldwide to know on this Shabbat the nations are praying for them and thanking them for guarding the Torah for the last several thousand years.”

The blood moons by themselves are significant signs that mankind should wake up. But a skeptic of the blood moons phenomenon wrote to me recently and asked the following question: ‘What if, after these celestial events take place, nothing much happens involving Israel?’ But let’s first look at what has already happened and what appears to be on the horizon in full view right now.”

He said: “After the first blood moon, we’ve had the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, we’ve had the advance of ISIS, a two-month war between Israel and Gaza, the Ebola plague, the overthrow of Yemen, upheaval in the Middle East, and economic meltdowns coming. We still have over a year to go. More judgment coming anytime in 2016 as well is what these blood moons are referring to.”

Gallups also warns that events around the world and especially in the Middle East testify to the continuing relevance of prophecy.

“The scriptures foretold of a certain coalition of nations that would form in the last days to attempt to expel the ‘returned Israel’ from the land. We are now watching that coalition form – for that precise purpose – openly and unashamedly stated on our television sets and computer screens, almost daily. The scriptures also speak, according to numerous Bible scholars, of a time when that returned Israel would eventually ‘stand alone’ against its enemies … those who desire to see them utterly exterminated.”

At such a time, says Gallups, it is critical for American Christians to stand with the Jewish state and turn to God.

“I have been appalled to watch President Obama’s sordid dealings with Israel and her leaders, at the same time watching his obvious deference toward practically all things Islamic – including the sheer numbers of Muslim Brotherhood affiliated..... (with the White House).