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My Love Affair with Apple May Be Over :-(

Samsung vs iPhoneI have been using Apple Mac computers since they first came out in 1984. I have lived in a Macintosh universe since then. All my applications and contacts and emails have been integrated into one environment. All was well until about 2 years ago when Apple tried to integrate contacts, photos, and music on iCloud. While I still love the Mac computer and don’t see switching anytime in the foreseeable future, I am thinking about dropping the iPhone and switching to Samsung. What was always the selling point for me in the Apple universe was the simplicity of the user interface with the intuitive nature of its functions. That is no more, and I am so frustrated with the way things are going that I’m a seriously thinking about dumping many things Apple. From a long time, hardcore user, that foretells a dangerous future for Apple. Many things are promised in the about to be released iOS9. I am hoping things improve, but if not, my next phone will be a Samsung and I will figure out a way to move my contacts over to the Android environment. Frankly, the only thing that was keeping me was the ability to sync my contacts on all devices… but there have been problems with that as you will see below.

What are the Problems?

Apple has gone from simple elegance to complex incomprehensibility in the last couple of years. For example…

  1. I cannot show my iTunes playlists from my computer on my phone. Why not? That is a basic feature. I have had playlists for years, and now I have to recreate them from scratch?
  2. With iOS 7 or 8, Apple wanted you to store all your music on iCloud so that you could sync your library on all devices. That’s just great, except for one thing, when you are on the road and want to play a song on your iPhone, there a no songs stored on your phone and you have to wait to download every single song you want to hear and use data to do so!
  3. Using Photos and iCloud has become such a mess, taking up so much space on my iCloud account that I’d have to pay $200 a year for the privilege. Not only that, but when Apple replaced both iPhoto and Aperture (its pro-photo program) with Photos, I wound up with thousands of duplicate photos and had to buy a third party program to straighten out my photo library. I am so disgusted with Apple that I’m switching from iPhoto, Aperture, and Photos to Adobe Lightroom and am now looking for alternate online storage from another provider… perhaps Amazon Cloud?
  4. With the introduction of SSD boot drives on new computers, Apple suffers from limited space, making it necessary to move parts of my Identity to an external drive for storage (music and photos, e.g.), but apparently apple doesn’t recognize my new locations, and so it recreates my picture folder, download folder, and music folder on my boot drive and loses track of my preferences, adding files there instead of to the other drive.
  5. Even worse, Apple keeps recreating iPhoto libraries on my iCloud account after I have deleted them multiple times!
  6. The ability to sync my laptop, iPhone, iPad, and desktop is great, in theory, but one of the dastardly effects of the syncing on iCloud was that my contacts in Address Book, now called Contacts, would be duplicated and multiplied. Editing and deleting an address on one device only caused it to be added back in on the next sync. I think they may have fixed that, but again, I had to use a third party service to fix my address book.

I am so frustrated with Apple’s making easy things complex, that I am actually considering getting a Samsung for my next phone and switching most of my important stuff to Android. If it weren’t for the fact that I don’t trust Google with my email, I would have already.    I have been a Mac user since 1985, and have never been as disappointed and turned off by Apple as I am now. The computers are great, but the iOS thing has just become a minefield of problems and organizational chaos. 
I realize that there are some settings for music, syncing, the cloud and the devices that may have avoided or fixed these problems, but my point is that I am no dummy. I read ancient Greek, have completed post graduate level studies, and have worked with and on Apple computers for over 30 years and am somewhat of a tech support geek for my friends and family, and if I have trouble understanding how things are supposed to work, then what of the average consumer who just wants things to make sense and function properly? And finally, I saw a photo my mom took on her Samsung, and it is so much better than my iPhone 6’s camera, that I just about turned green with envy. And that, my friends, has never happened to me before with any device that made me want to give up on Apple. My love affair with Apple may not just turn into an affair with Samsung, but cause a real divorce.

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The Problem with the Socialist Vision and Income Inequality

Lou Holtz said this so well, I thought it worthy of sharing:

Lou Holtz Describes the Problem with the Socialist Vision and Income Inequality

The Democrats are right, there are two Americas. The America that works, and the America that doesn’t. The America that contributes, and the America that doesn’t. It’s not the haves and the have not’s, it’s the dos and the don’ts. Some people do their duty as Americans, obey the law, support themselves, contribute to society, and others don’t. That’s the divide in America .
It’s not about income inequality, it’s about civic irresponsibility. It’s about a political party that preaches hatred, greed and victimization in order to win elective office. It’s about a political party that loves power more than it loves its country.
That’s not invective, that’s truth, and it’s about time someone said it.
The politics of envy was on proud display a couple weeks ago when President Obama pledged the rest of his term to fighting “income inequality.” He noted that some people make more than other people, that some people have higher incomes than others, and he says that’s not just. That is the rationale of thievery.

The other guy has it, you want it, Obama will take it for you. Vote Democrat. That is the philosophy that produced Detroit .
It is the electoral philosophy that is destroying America. It conceals a fundamental deviation from American values and common sense because it ends up not benefiting the people who support it, but a betrayal.

The Democrats have not empowered their followers, they have enslaved them in a culture of dependence and entitlement, of victim-hood and anger instead of ability and hope. The president’s premise – that you reduce income inequality by debasing the successful–seeks to deny the successful the consequences of their choices and spare the unsuccessful the consequences of their choices. Because, by and large, income variations in society is a result of different choices leading to different consequences. Those who choose wisely and responsibly have a far greater likelihood of success, while those who choose foolishly and irresponsibly have a far greater likelihood of failure. Success and failure usually manifest themselves in personal and family income. You choose to drop out of high school or to skip college – and you are apt to have a different outcome than someone who gets a diploma and pushes on with purposeful education. You have your children out of wedlock and life is apt to take one course; you have them within a marriage and life is apt to take another course. Most often in life our destination is determined by the course we take.
My doctor, for example, makes far more than I do. There is significant income inequality between us. Our lives have had an inequality of outcome, but, our lives also have had an in equality of effort. While my doctor went to college and then devoted his young adulthood to medical school and residency, I got a job in a restaurant. He made a choice, I made a choice, and our choices led us to different outcomes. His outcome pays a lot better than mine. Does that mean he cheated and Barack Obama needs to take away his wealth? No, it means we are both free men in a free society where free choices lead to different outcomes.
It is not inequality Barack Obama intends to take away, it is freedom. The freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail. There is no true option for success if there is no true option for failure. The pursuit of happiness means a whole lot less when you face the punitive hand of government if your pursuit brings you more happiness than the other guy. Even if the other guy sat on his arse and did nothing. Even if the other guy made a lifetime’s worth of asinine and short sighted decisions.
Barack Obama and the Democrats preach equality of outcome as a right, while completely ignoring inequality of effort.
The simple Law of the Harvest – as ye sow, so shall ye reap – is sometimes applied as, “The harder you work, the more you get.”
Obama would turn that upside down. Those who achieve are to be punished as enemies of society and those who fail are to be rewarded as wards of society. Entitlement will replace effort as the key to upward mobility in American society if Barack Obama gets his way. He seeks a lowest common denominator society in which the government besieges the successful and productive to foster equality through mediocrity. He and his party speak of two Americas, and their grip on power is based on using the votes of one to sap the productivity of the other. America is not divided by the differences in our outcomes, it is divided by the differences in our efforts.
It is a false philosophy to say one man’s success comes about unavoidably as the result of another man’s victimization.
What Obama offered was not a solution, but a separatism. He fomented division and strife, pitted one set of Americans against another for his own political benefit. That’s what socialists offer. Marxist class warfare wrapped up with a bow. Two Americas, coming closer each day to proving the truth to Lincoln ’s maxim that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”

Lou Holtz

Leo “Lou” Holtz (born January 6, 1937) is a retired American football coach, and active sportscaster, author, and motivational speaker.

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God, Time, and Foreknowledge – How Can God Know the Future?

Gravity Affects the passage of timeEinstein’s Theory of Relativity measures time by the speed of light, but the experience of time changes relative to gravity and to the speed of light. In other words, time is not a constant .  For someone traveling at the speed of light, one day is thousands of years on earth. So for God, creating in One Day is not a problem. It is only a problem for the limited human who tries to measure God’s day from his miniature, finite frame of reference, and then insists that God has to do Creation in a way that he understands and which conforms to his human experience of time.

Time is Finite, a Created and Limited Dimension

God is infinite not finite. He has no beginning and no end. He is before Time and after it. Our Time is finite. Our Time began with the “Big Bang” and the creation of material light.  Anything that is finite must be a created thing. It has a beginning and an end, and it has limits. Science is the study of the created order, and as such, gives us insight into the glory of God clearly seen in the things that have been made. So an investigation into what God has created can give us insight into His works, if not directly into his nature. What that said, I’ll lay out the arguments:

  1. Time is relative and measured by the speed of light. At the speed of light, time slows to infinity. In a black hole, time ceases to exist because light is crushed. These physical barriers reveal the natural limits of Time and its finitude.
  2. Time has a beginning. God said, Let there be light, and it was so. Whether that was a Big Bang, or not, Time was created when Light was created.
  3. Einstein’s theories of the relativity of Time and the space-time continuum have been demonstrated through experimentation. His theories show that matter, energy, light, and gravity are all intertwined and are inextricably related. That makes our 4 dimensional universe (space in 3D and time) a created order. God is not the created order but above and beyond it. He is the Uncaused Causer.
  4. The Hebrew understanding of time is revealed in the word Zakar, or Remember: to put the members back together again, to relive or make live again. Thus when one enters into the Passover, the words of institution are present tense: “In haste we went out of Egypt [with our] bread of affliction, [now we are] free people.” This is not a past event, but a reliving of a present participation in a timeless event. So, also, Communion is a participation in the sacrifice of Christ. It is beyond time and is an eternal sacrifice, once for all sin, which we enter into and celebrate with Christ in the NOW.
  1. God has set the universe in order and does not violate chronology and there is no record that he has or will do so. His purpose for this life is a test and we are judged for the way we live our lives, but in a sense, when he casts our sins into the sea of forgetfulness, our past is remade into the image of Christ’s life of perfect obedience.
  2. Finally we see Jesus’ reply to the Sadducees: “‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living. ” The souls of the saints are ever present to God.

God’s Experience of Time is Transcendent

Since Time ceases to exist in a black hole, where there are no days or nights, and slows to infinity at the speed of light, and since God is omnipresent, he is present in the black hole and at the speed of light, so what is time to him? And how does he measure days? Since God created time, he exists outside of time, being before and after time, the Alpha and the Omega. What is Time in a 5th, 6th or 7th dimension, which in our terms might be where heaven is?

For human beings, the passage of Time is perspectival: where we stand in relation to gravity and the speed of light changes our perception of Time. If God “lisps” (talks baby-talk) to us because of our limited ability to understand, as Calvin suggests, then what if God gave Moses the metaphor of earth time to point analogously to the divine nature and the manner of creation?

 “He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11, RSV.

My point is that a 24 hour day only exists once a rotation pattern has been created in a natural world, as the earth turns. Time being relative, God’s Time would not be measured in our time frame in a heavenly realm, where to God a “thousand years is a as a single day.” Moses was on the mountain 40 days, but do you think it seemed like 40 days to him? Maybe, but maybe he was so in awe of the presence of God, it seemed by a mere moment and he was not aware of the passage of time. Maybe to him, in the presence of Infinite Light, it merely seemed an hour.

Foreknowledge:  How Can God Know the Future? 

Because our time is a dimension of the universe created by God, it is finite. Because God is infinite and transcends time,  God can see the end from the beginning,  just as one can see both sides of a box by walking past it. My analogy is this:

A two dimensional creature cannot see the end of a line from the beginning of it because he is embedded in the line itself; it is however no problem for a three dimensional being to see the end from the beginning because he has a z-axis, another perspective where he can view the line from outside the line (just as we can see a line drawn on paper). In the same way, modern physics has mathematical indications of a 5th and 6th dimension. My interpretation of Jesus disappearing from sight and entering heaven is that the disciples witnessed a trans-dimensional movement to heavenly places, which does not exist within our 3 dimensional or even 4 dimensional universe. Heaven, as we might describe it, is possibly a 5th dimensional or 6th dimensional reality, whose perspective on Our time is unlike anything we can know or understand. Therefore to limit God’s ability to know the future is to presume that we understand the limits of higher dimensions. Since we cannot experience those higher planes, we cannot proscribe their limits with theology or philosophy, nor can we understand their perspective.

Eternity, And Life Forever 

Hebrew has a word for eternity: Olam. Our time, created time, is different than that of the Olam the ages upon ages of God. God can enter into time and space, but He is not bound by it. He sent his Son, Jesus, to take on human flesh and walk among us in our Time and Space. He was crucified for our sins, buried, but raised from the dead and broke the chains of our Time, entering into eternity in his own resurrected body –  a body no longer subject to natural laws. And he was raised to give Olam, eternity, to us.  God is not a God of the dead, but of the living!

After Jesus said this, he looked towards heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one. John 17:1-11, NIV.

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Mischief by Statute – a Prophetic view of the Role of the Supreme Court, from 1995

Reprint from “The Scholars Corner”

Mischief By Statute

Psalm 94:20 Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who write mischief by statute?

Many people have suggested that the Declaration of Independence introduced a concept of individual rights into the values of this nation. They insist this concept of rights is foreign to authentic, biblical Christianity. Instead, the concern for “rights” is a product of 18th Century Enlightenment philosophy and is opposed to the very heart of Christianity. They argue: “Christians don’t have rights. Our life is a gift from God, and we give up our right to do what we wish when we acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. We yield our ‘right’ to pursue happiness, to have liberty, even our ‘right’ to life in order to become His servants. As Martin Luther King, Jr. so aptly put it, a Christian is not called to pursue happiness, but ‘to do the will of God, come what may!’ ”

What is missing from this argument is the social context in which the Founding Fathers thought and reasoned. The Founders of this nation never denied social obligations incumbent on individual members of society. They recognized that individual liberty was cradled in the larger responsibility of preserving the general welfare. The modern atomization of individual liberty into a selfish assertion of “rights” above the welfare of the community never entered their minds, for they understood every right presupposes responsibilities. The Founders accepted the necessity of sacrifice for the sake of the community, and to that end, they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. They lived in such a context that our modern craving for selfish interests would have been intolerable to them.

As they forged a new form of civil government to preserve the general welfare, the Founding Fathers were concerned about the accumulation of excessive power by government. Their recent experiences with British tyranny left them with a great distrust of centralized authority. The Constitution was so written as to restrict the accumulation of powers by civil government. But these limitations of power were not based on Enlightenment philosophy (though that influence was part of contemporary political thought). Rather, this founding principle of the Constitution was the Biblical acknowledgment of God’s supreme right over the lives of men, a right that even a legitimate civil government has no authority to transgress – not because a government would be robbing the people of their rights, but because the government would be robbing God of His!

The opening lines of the Declaration of Independence declare:

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…”

This statement about “equality” is not rooted in egalitarian philosophy, but in the belief of our equal value and worth to our Creator. Because we were created by God in His own image, we belong to Him. Because we belong to Him, He has certain rights over us that no State has a right to transgress. The Declaration was written to affirm God’s right over His creatures in opposition to a King who attempted to be god over his subjects.

Although we may have no rights that we can assert before God, He Who owns us has given us rights before one another, and has ordained civil government to protect His people from injustice (Romans 13:1-7). For example, God set a legal restraint on our right to do to other men what we want when He commanded, “Thou Shalt not Murder.” Capital punishment was prescribed as an instrument of just human government because God determined that no man has the right to infringe upon the right to life of another (Genesis 9:6). Capital Punishment is God’s response to man robbing God of his possessions!

The framers of the Constitution did not reason from a purely secular understanding of liberties but looked to the Old Testament for a godly pattern for civil government.1 The Scriptures acknowledged civil authority as delegated authority from God, upon which He placed divine limits. Even kings were not allowed to abuse God’s people. Those who did suffered not only divine retribution, but natural disaster.2 Biblical principles cautioned the Founders of the need to restrain the exercise of civil authority to its God given charter. The Biblical charter ordained civil authority chiefly to restrain evil and the wickedness of men and to promote an environment where the proclamation of God’s Truth was permitted freely.3 The Constitution framed the legitimate use and role of secular authority according to these Biblical patterns.

Can a civil authority remain legitimate and under divine favor if it throws off restraint and claims for itself rights and privileges not granted by God? No! Such a government sets itself up as a higher authority than God when it presumes to write and implement laws opposed to God’s Law. We have that situation today in America. The laws of the land, which now forbid the teaching of God’s Law in the schools and in public, imply that God is a threat to the State. The State must therefore control the free expression of religion in order to protect the people from harm. But the truth is that the State is entirely dependent upon the Law of God for its very existence! Yet the State, by its laws, has made itself the enemy of God.

If there is no authority higher than the State, then the State effectively becomes the arbiter of all that is just and right. The danger of this autonomous humanistic State is that it will not be restrained from exercising despotic and tyrannical power over its citizenry because it has become accountable to no one but itself. Recognizing no divine limit to its function, it becomes the arbiter of morals as well as policies. When a religious objection arises to a particular law or policy, the State appeals only to itself for its decision. It has no guiding principle higher than a flimsy social contract that is easily reinterpreted to suit present whims. There are no abiding principles or enduring truths to which the government must subject itself with reverence, respect, and awe. There is no absolute authority to which it may turn for counsel and wisdom.

When the Supreme Court publicly and officially expelled the Ten Commandments from our public schools in the 1960’s, it denied a divine sanction for morals and the State declared itself “Supreme.” A black-robed, gang of nine has become our nation’s god. It has declared its authority higher than the Creator’s by standing in opposition to God’s Law and by presuming to pass judgment upon the counsel of God. As a result, our protection as God’s property is being removed. Today, individual rights may serve the State’s interests, but tomorrow the State might change its mind. Who is to stop it now from dissolving those rights we so cherish? Are we nor already seeing an erosion of our freedom?

Cut off from divine favor and divine justice, the State can write laws opposed to the heart of God. Babies can be murdered in the womb as a legal right. Practicers of moral perversion can become a protected class deserving special privileges. The State is able to frame mischief (evil) into the very foundation and fabric of the law. Injustice and immorality are promoted and evil is rewarded and righteousness punished.

Secular authority in a vacuum cannot last. Without a divine sanction, a State loses its authority and ability to govern. As it writes mischief by statute it opposes God, and then God opposes the State. Just as Israel and Judah were destroyed by God for their defiance of His laws, His justice, and His divine compassion for the poor, so God’s patience with America draws to an end. The Founders knew, and cited often, the fact that when rulers in the Old Testament heeded God, Israel prospered, but when rulers did not, their nation floundered.4 Our Forefathers begged for mercy from Almighty God, lest this nation also fail to be sustained by divine favor and providence.

Thomas Jefferson said, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice does not sleep forever….”5

With the rejection of conscience and the Word, with the promotion of immorality and perverseness under the banner of liberty, with selfishness and greed replacing commitment and sacrifice, and with the blood of 30 million innocent children on our hands, can we really believe God remains indifferent to our disobedience? Can we really hope as a nation to be spared the rod of his wrath?

Endnotes

1. For extensive documentation of the Founder’s reliance on Scripture as the principal founding document for the U.S. Constitution, get David Barton’s video or audio cassette entitled “America’s Godly Heritage,” Wallbuilders P.O. Box 397, Aledo TX 76008; Tel. #817- 441-6044.

2. See the life of David as one example (esp. 2 Sam. 24). Chronicles and Kings are full of examples too numerous to mention.

3. Romans 13:1-7, Ephesians 3: 10, & John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV. XX. 3, 6, 8, 9,31 & 32.

4. From a Conversation on the Floor of the Constitutional Convention, the Founders discussed how a nation will answer to God: “As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this, by an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.” As recounted by David Barton, op. cit.

5. Thomas Jefferson, from A Summary View of the Rights of British America, & Notes on The State of Virginia, Query 18., as quoted on the Jefferson Memorial, Wash. D.C.

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Love Interrupted

First sermon I’ve preached in years, and never had people clap and cheer for a sermon before :-)

June 7, 2015

God’s Desire for Love and Fellowship – Interrupted

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, Where are you? And he said, I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. (Genesis 3:6–10, ESV)

God’s Problem is in us! Sin Causes Shame and Fear

Fear Causes us to Avoid God and Run from His Presence, when all He wants is Fellowship

Every Time God Reaches Out… Fear Causes us to Pull Away:

You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. (Exodus 19:4–6, ESV)

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die. Moses said to the people, Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin. The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:18–21, ESV)

God’s Plan… Send a Redeemer

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (Luke 1:68–75, ESV)

And Cross the Barrier of our Guilt, Fear, and Shame

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God . (2 Corinthians 5:16–6:1, ESV)

That we might Live without Fear:

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father! (Romans 8:15, ESV) For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:6–7, ESV)

By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:17–19, ESV)

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I’ve Had it With Yahoo! as My Home Page

Yahoo Browser Hijack leads to ExodusFor years I have used Yahoo! as my home page. It has a lot of nice features: stock market, latest business news, a pleasing layout that you can modify, and it isn’t too cluttered.   However, I’ve reached my limit with a particular hack Yahoo uses for it’s search field.  When you start typing anything in the Safari URL field, Yahoo! hijacks the focus and puts it in the Yahoo! search bar field.  Not only is this “feature” unwelcome, it is also so annoying that I’m dropping it from my life. The most frustrating thing about this javascript hijack is that it will grab your text in the middle of typing, leaving you with part of your se…
arch… in the URL field and the rest of it in the Yahoo! search bar. I have turned off all extensions and it still happens. There are plenty of other people who have complained about this hijack on Chrome, Firefox and Safari. The problem was I couldn’t find another page to replace it as my start page.  I recently have found 3 that I am investigating. Start.meProtopage.com, and Netvibes.  Start.me is very customizable in terms of widgets and feeds, but it doesn’t seem to offer much in terms of color schemes and legibility options. The text is thin and bland.   Protopage has more customizable color schemes and text, and Netvibes I find to be a bit confusing and less intuitive for using widgets and settings to make it personal, although it has the best color scheme and layout.

None of them have some of the features I really appreciated in iGoogle pages, where I could follow and track all my web services and clients.  I recently talked to a Google employee who told me that the development teams are allowed to experiment in all sorts of different ways, but one problem that arises with all these experiments is a lack of coordination of the various services. I see a bit of that disconnectedness when I wish to tie my Webmaster account with my Analytics and my Adwords.  It is almost as if you need to sign out and sign in to the other parts of your account to access them. You don’t, but it is not seamless and intuitive.  With all the inventions, there is a lot of confusion.
Today, I’m setting Start.me as my home page and will try that for a week.

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DANGER! DANGER TO US LIBERTY!!! Please VETO THE TRANS-PACIFIC TREATY!!!

The fact that this document is so secret that its contents cannot be revealed to the American people for 4 years after it has passed is an affront to the democratic process and the liberties of the people. It is the greatest power grab by the government, over and against the people, since the founding of the Republic. 

Wikileaks has gotten their hands on a copy of Obama’s phony TPP trade bill.  It contains 29 chapters but only 5 pertain to trade.  Wikileaks will be publishing the entire bill and they have already released the chapter on Investment.  It’s very interesting.  It is written in a such a way as to give multinational companies a huge advantage on trade.  If a public hospital is built close to a private one, the private hospital has the right to sue the country for expected losses.  That is outrageous.  Here is where you can find the chapter on investment: https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/WikiLeaks-TPP-Investment-Chapter/page-2.html

The agreement also regulates the internet and requires internet companies to gather certain data which they will be required to share with certain private companies.  Many of the provisions will not only be secret before the vote in the House, but will also be kept secret for four years after the bill is signed.  That means we won’t know what’s in it even after it’s passed. From Wikileaks:

The Investment Chapter highlights the intent of the TPP negotiating parties, led by the United States, to increase the power of global corporations by creating a supra-national court, or tribunal, where foreign firms can “sue” states and obtain taxpayer compensation for “expected future profits”. These investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals are designed to overrule the national court systems. ISDS tribunals introduce a mechanism by which multinational corporations can force governments to pay compensation if the tribunal states that a country’s laws or policies affect the company’s claimed future profits. In return, states hope that multinationals will invest more. Similar mechanisms have already been used. For example, US tobacco company Phillip Morris used one such tribunal to sue Australia (June 2011 – ongoing) for mandating plain packaging of tobacco products on public health grounds; and by the oil giant Chevron against Ecuador in an attempt to evade a multi-billion-dollar compensation ruling for polluting the environment. The threat of future lawsuits chilled environmental and other legislation in Canada after it was sued by pesticide companies in 2008/9. ISDS tribunals are often held in secret, have no appeal mechanism, do not subordinate themselves to human rights laws or the public interest, and have few means by which other affected parties can make representations.

Do we really want to turn our laws over to large corporations?  I don’t think so.

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