Restart

Many of you, depending on your age, may remember the “black screen of death,” or some of you may have suffered this fatal error recently.  It’s just a term that defines what happens when a Microsoft Windows based computer suffers an internal error causing the whole system to shut down.  Often when this occurs, because the system didn’t shut down properly, the user experiences great emotional pain and intellectual suffering when the computer fails to restart.  “According to Wallace McClure of ASP.net, the phrase was originally coined in mid-1991 by Ed Brown, a technician with The Coca-Cola Company‘s IT department in Atlanta, GA. He reports that the company was rolling out Windows 3.0 within the Global Marketing group and when the users would attempt to run WordPerfect, they would randomly receive a black screen.” (click on restart, for more information.)

Missing files, compressing files, or running certain software programs, were all thought to be reasonable starting points for the random, and eerily unpredictable event, which would most often occur at the most inopportune time. Imagine working for hours, then reaching a critical point in a data set, or proposal due by 8:00 a.m. the next morning, and suddenly with a single key-stroke, your computer screen goes black (or blue, depending on the operating system software version), and you’ve lost hours and hours of work.  Hence, the other phrase people who work with Microsoft based systems are familiar with today, “Save, and save often.”

One of the most unpredictable aspects of human existence is the timing of an event we also call “death.”  Like the computer systems which just go black, at some point along our human journey, our bodies, the human system will also just go black.  How morbid, right?  How unthinkable, right?  The fact remains, human existence on this planet is not guaranteed for anyone, and trying to predict the moment of a terminal/fatal event or action is impossible.  Many have tried to answer the questions, “Is that all there is?  When it’s over, it’s just over?  There isn’t anything else?”  The logical answer for those who disavow the existence of God, the salvation of Jesus, the eternal bliss of heaven, or the eternal punishment of hell remains, “yep, that’s all there is.  There is no re-boot, or restart.”

However…

For those seekers of truth who remain far from God, but are open to the facts regarding life here, as well as life after death, I offer you great hope.  This topic of death not only doesn’t have to be morbid or macabre, but the reality of going black here, for some really does mean stepping into the Light.  For those who believe the Bible is the authoritative guidebook for a journey through this life, and the next, see the event of death as the hope of eternal bliss.

While sitting at your computer, it would be great to be able to predict when the screen would turn black, but again that is impossible.  Likewise, it would be great to know the point of our human demise, so we could be “ready” when it happened.  The only guarantee for your data to remain on your computer, is to save what you are working on regularly.  The only way for you to experience a true restart, of life as it was intended to be lived, is to be “saved” by stepping over the line of faith into Jesus.

Like malware hiding and lurking in the corners of your computer, just waiting to create chaos and destruction, and ultimately the black screed of death… sin is hiding and lurking in the corners of your mind and heart, just waiting to wreak havoc and destruction on your soul, and ultimately separate you from God for eternity.

Is there something more?  Of course there is!  Life with God, as God intended us to live all along.

How do you find it?  Restart.

How do you restart?  See, that’s the right question!  And here is the answer…

Romans 10:9-10
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

 

 

 

Restart

Mythology and Make-believe

Daily Post:  Imaginary

imaginary

I know for a fact that truth is stranger than fiction.  All the tall tales about dragons and unicorns combined are not as strange as the continuing saga that is Hillary Clinton’s loss in the election.  People’s imaginations, including Hillary’s, have run wild, dreaming up all the reasons why President Trump won, and the list grows every day.  Two days ago Mark Steyn sat in for Rush Limbaugh and discussed how Hillary now blames the “Content Farmers” for her loss.  I thought He was making this up.  And in fact, he was being sarcastically funny, but the fact is she said it.  She’s blamed the Russians, the FBI director, the DNC, former President Obama, Anti-American “forces”, low-information voters, high-information voters, stupid Republicans, Bernie sanders, incompetent pollsters, rural women, misogynists, suburban women, the New York Times, Fox news, and fake news.  She blames social media, Facebook, Twitter, and yes, “content farms.”  At a tech conference in Silicon Valley on Wednesday this week she said, “The other side was using content that was just flat-out-false, and delivering it in a very personalized way, both sort of above the radar screen and below.”  Read the article, click here.  In the end she basically said if only stupid people had voted for her, she would be in the Oval.  Here’s the thing, I’m not stupid.

Do you know what a content farmer is?  Here is the formal definition in Wikipedia:

In the context of the World Wide Web, a content farm (or content mill) is a company that employs large numbers of freelance writers to generate large amounts of textual content which is specifically designed to satisfy algorithms for maximal retrieval by automated search engines.

I didn’t make this up.  There are real companies, with real people, who do nothing but sit at computers all day long, cranking out large volumes of articles a day, (4,000 a day is not uncommon).  The content of these articles is low quality, written with the specific intent of being discovered by search engines, to improve their rankings and move them to the top in rankings.  Hillary is suggesting that the DNC and Trump campaign used these companies to skew the election in some way.  Now that’s what I call a vivid imagination.

It’s always easier to blame someone else, or something else, for our failures isn’t it.  I find it fascinating that in all of this nonsense, and the huge list of people to blame for her loss, there is not one mention that it could even remotely be her fault.  It is beyond reason or imagination in her mind that she should have lost, so it had to be someone else who caused it.

Is there a lesson here for the common man and woman in the world today?  You betcha.

We all make mistakes, some bigger than others, some on a grand blunderous scale.  When you do, or when I do, let’s simply own it.  Let’s just admit, “my bad”, take our lumps and try not to repeat the blunder.  Imagining all the reasons or people to blame for our blunders doesn’t make it true.  This reasoning makes it mythology or make-believe.

Now for the truly frightening aspect of what happens when we don’t just ‘fess up.  We will someday stand before a Creator-God who will be all too well-informed with all our blunders.  He will have full knowledge of just how wrong we are, and when we try to make excuses, or blame someone or something else for our mess-ups, He will not have any of it.  Imaginary phrases like “the devil made me do it,” will not work with Him either.  Let’s at least be honest and admit what the Bible states all too clearly.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9-10
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Whatever you do, don’t be like Hillary Clinton, finding no fault in herself, and only blaming everyone else around her for her own failures.  Own it.  We are not perfect people and we fail miserably many times.  Admit to yourself and to God, you aren’t everything God designed the perfect human to be.  There was only one perfect human and we are not Him.  But He came, Jesus came, so we could be in right relationship to the God of the universe and our Creator.

Paul was more than just a low-quality content farmer.  His writings are more than just mythology and make-believe.  The apostle Paul was called to preach and teach and write the very words of God to us today.  Don’t be led astray by the mindless meanderings of those who think themselves God’s gift to the planet.

There is only one Gift – His name is Jesus.

 

 

 

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C, C, & A

via Acceptance

members-only

C, C, & A …  churches, country clubs, and acceptance.  Acceptance is important to almost all of us.  We all want to be included.  We all gain a great deal of our self esteem or self-perception from those who accept us.   Or, we take a huge hit personally when we are rejected.  It doesn’t matter whether it is churches, country clubs, a sports team, a club, a university, fraternity, sorority, or picking teams for Red Rover, we all seek acceptance.   Every game, team, or group has their own dogma, ideology, doctrine, code or creed to which we must adhere in order to be accepted.  We must accept and incorporate these beliefs into our fiber of life, or we are deemed unacceptable.  The paradox of acceptance, is the challenge to accept in order to be accepted.

One would think that joining a country club would be pretty simple.  Pay the initiation fee, commit to pay the monthly dues, and adhere to the club’s rules and you’re in.  However, while this may be true in some smaller clubs, the reality is that there is a selection committee who deems which of all the applicants are worthy of club membership.  These folks determine if the applicant is acceptable or not.

One would think that joining a church would be pretty simple.  While some churches make it extremely easy, others are virtually impossible to join even when compared to country clubs.  In this case most churches don’t require an up front initiation fee, but expect and often demand a financial commitment to support the church.  Indoctrination to the church’s beliefs is standard in many churches large or small today, known as “new member orientation.”  Often before a person can have a place of leadership in the church they must attend the classes and pass inspection so to speak.  I get it.  The church wants to make sure all their leadership is on the same page doctrinally, so they don’t confuse the churches message to guests or other members.

I guess my question is:  Is this how God designed it?  Is this how it was supposed to be?  Was there supposed to be some kind of acceptance process to be included as part of the church?  You only have to go to the book of Acts in the Bible to know the answer.

In Acts 15:1-35 the Council at Jerusalem were to answer a very basic question:  “What must a person do to be saved.”  Or put another way, “Who receives acceptance into the Faith?”  The question was raised because there were those not Jewish coming to accept Christ as Lord by the thousands as Paul and Barnabas went bout preaching the gospel.  So there was dissent in the ranks of the early church about who was acceptable.  The Jewish leaders wanted to impose “circumcision” on the Gentile men coming to faith, as a condition of acceptance.  In the end, the Council determined acceptance would be based on: abstaining from food sacrificed to idols, abstaining from sexual immorality, abstain from eating anything that was strangled, abstain from blood. [See Acts 15:19-21]  This was the first acceptance criteria for outsiders (Gentiles) to be included in the largely Jewish entity known as the Church.  For my more detailed bible study on this passage click: The Council at Jerusalem Acts 15_1-35.

Acceptance in the long run is not determined by the church.  Acceptance is determined by God the Father.  His terms for acceptance of any individual into His family (what we euphemistically call The Church), is more than clear in His Word.  Here are the terms of inclusion:

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8
God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

Romans 10:9-10
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

These passages are the entrance exam to be included into God’s family.  All who accept these conditions, commit to them, believe them dogmatically, and yield their life to these truths… receives acceptance from God.

No other earthly entity can add to these or take away from these and still be called a church.  If they do… they are a country club, social club, fraternity, sorority, or some such other thing… but not a church.  Is that harsh?  Maybe so.  But God will be straightening this out someday for everyone.  I hope it is pretty soon.