Sunday, April 29, 2012

Look! Up In Sky!

I found the following JPEG more than a year ago but then couldn't remember the terms to find it again. This post is only for keepsake.

This amazing artist's portrayal of the 3 major zones of orbit (low, medium and high) is fascinating to examine. After clicking on the link below, when the image appears, click (or tap) it so that you can see a larger version and the notations made on it. On a computer, you can click a second time on the image for maximum enlarged view of the graphic.

You will notice toward the bottom of the image is a white line going completely across. It separates the upper "zoomed" view from the lower "distance" view. The distance view helps the viewer to get the scale in proportion to earth, man made satellites and the moon. Also with the bottom section you can see that HEO (High Earth Orbit) is considered to be just a tad more than half way to the moon.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Contentment or Angst--Which Do You Choose?

Twice, over the past month (April 2012), I have been asked what I thought about UFO sightings and conspiracy theories. According to those I've spoken to, since around 2009 more and more “sightings” are being made and people are concerned. I thought I would at least attempt to capture in this article what I think of the subject.

You’ve seen the videos of cats chasing dots of light. We all laugh and think, “stupid cat.” Yet how intelligent can we be when we go off chasing lights in the sky? There is no physical object that can make the turns (abrupt course changes) and accelerations/decelerations that those lights are making. What are they? I have no idea. What am I suggesting?

Paul, at 2 Corinthians 11:14, wrote: “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.” Now don’t go jumping to conclusions about what I am saying. I readily acknowledge that what Paul was saying is that Satan makes his propaganda seem enlightening to those who sadly are really in spiritual darkness. However, in the past, angels (both good and bad) have become visible to us, materializing through whatever means are available to them. Is it possible that they are manipulating energy & matter to create these objects (possibly even mere illusions) and then laughing at us just as we do when we tease cats with light? Yes, it is not only possible and plausible, it is also probable.

Am I completely discounting that unidentified flying objects exist? No--with qualifications. There is a huge difference between an extraterrestrial vehicle and a man-made vehicle that the public is unaware of. Just to say that something is “unidentified” is not implying that it is from another world. It only means that the ones who spotted it didn’t know what it was. In the cases of top military testing secrets, you can bet your life that the military would deny it. Then again, in some cases it is also possible that it is merely "space junk" falling back into earth's atmosphere. Just because the common citizen doesn’t know what the object is, doesn’t mean its from another planet.

So the next question you’ll have is, “do you believe in intelligent life outside of humans here on earth?” Yes, I do. They are clearly identified in the Bible as spirit beings, angels. But you already knew about them, didn’t you? So, despite the disclosed & known impact they have on our lives, you want to focus attention on the "unknown," the existence of assumed other physical life-forms. Some who argue in favor of that raise questions like: “Are you so arrogant as to think we are the only planet in the whole universe with intelligent life?” Um, no, I’m not that arrogant.

The point is not if they exist, the point is what their significant impact is on us. God, through the Bible, has always clearly advised & warned us of things, including life-forms, that can & will have a significant impact on us. There is no mention in scripture of other planets being inhabited. Why? One possible reason is that they have no importance in the outworking of the bigger picture of our lives. However, angels, both good and bad, do have an impact and we were told about them.

Then there is the whole matter of the substantive evidence that even the proponents agree is lacking. I sat down with pen and paper a while back and watched no less than 20 of these televised alien hunting and "evidence" stories. They went into great detail about the research surrounding each event. Yet at the end of each show, without exception, they always concluded that there really is no indisputable evidence and "we may never know." In truth, there is more concrete archaeological evidence that Bible history is true (which people tend to ignore) than the whole sum of extraterrestrial stories (which many swallow hook, line, and sinker). Some of the space alien stories have since been discounted as nothing more than mass hysteria. (Case 1, Case 2)

So what does it boil down to? To me it seems that everything that God, through his word in the Bible tries to help us with, the majority of mankind dismisses as hogwash. But things that the Bible doesn’t mention at all, those same people want to turn it into some sort of “brilliance,” either intellectual, philosophical, physical or otherwise. Yes, once again, Satan has got the majority of mankind chasing lights, conspiracy theories, and worthless stories that add no value to our lives. He has them so worked up over what “might” happen that they are too distracted to listen to what the Bible says WILL happen. (Matthew 24:36-39)

Stop and think: The Bible’s message is one of hope, peace and contentment. The message of conspiracy theorists is one of distrust, angst and fear. Which lifestyle sounds better to you?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hebrews 12:2,3 "Despising Shame"

At Heb.12:2,3 Paul encouraged us to “look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus.” The reason was that he (Jesus) didn’t lose focus of “the joy that was set before him” especially during the time “he endured a torture stake, despising shame,”  Then focusing on our personal application of this Paul continues: “Indeed, consider closely the one who has endured such contrary talk by sinners against their own interests, that you may not get tired and give out in your souls.”

I understand that Jesus “despised shame” in that he was willing to suffer the humiliation of dying as a common criminal. He was charged with being a seditionist, a blasphemer and a liar. Can you even imagine Jesus saying to his Father something like: “Wait a minute, I’m willing to die for these people but don’t take away my dignity. Don’t make me die utterly humiliated!” Yet that is exactly what happened to him.

I can learn a lesson from this. I’ve said in the past that I don’t mind being humble but being humiliated is just more than I can bear, especially when I am falsely represented or even accused. But then I am forced to remember Paul’s words in verse three—essentially, we need to reflect deeply on Jesus’ example because doing so will help us not to “get tired and give out” in our integrity. Yes, no matter what those who talk against us say, we know what we need to do to keep ourselves right with God and Jesus. Whatever the humiliation we are suffering, if we have made our peace with God, we can be assured of his kind and tender affection.

Especially for those who may have undergone some corrective counsel, it can be easy to feel embarrassed (“shamed”) for what happened.* We may be inclined to stop associating with our brotherhood. But instead, we can be like Jesus and despise (not give into) the shame of the situation but hold our heads up, not in pride, but in confidence that we are going to do our very best in the situation regardless of whatever negativity we are subjected to. In that way, we can truly prove the caliber of person we are.

* To a certain extent, if we have committed a wrong, some degree of shame is natural. But Paul helps up to get a right viewpoint at 2 Corinthians 7:10, “For sadness in a godly way makes for repentance to salvation that is not to be regretted; but the sadness of the world produces death.”

How To Make A Big Deal Out Of Nothing

1. Start with a common assumption, vaguely and generally accepted by most, but actually, in detail, false.
    (Monkeys are just like mankind)

2. Accelerate to an absurd deduction based on the above assumption that will fascinate many.
    (Mankind therefore came from monkeys)

3. Present the view as fact that, if not wholly accepted, only proves the listener's ignorance and low mental capacity.
    (Evolution is an established fact that only the ignorant refuse to accept.)

4. Develop a following and give it a look of prestige so that borderliners will want to be in, regardless of any logic or moral issues.
    (Scientists accept evolution. Why don't you?)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Earthquake Data from USGS

Jesus indicated that the time of the end would be marked by increases in many notable events.... including earthquakes. The naysayers have long held that it is just that we've become more proficient at reporting them, but the actual numbers have not increased. Alas, they are self-deceived.

(Click on image below for a larger view.)

You may wonder why I started with 1973. Actually, my query started with 1950. However, the earliest data the USGS had available to share started in 1973.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reasonableness In Translation

I am impressed with the Publisher’s Forward of the Amplified Bible. The translation itself is worthy of inclusion in any serious Bible student’s library. But it wasn't until a few years ago that I actually stopped to read the Forward (1965 printed edition).

I was surprised they felt the need to defend their decisions in the way they rendered their translation. It seems that even in our modern day they anticipated criticism for the rendering. Why? In short, instead of just dogmatically choosing one modern-language word to render a Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek word that may not completely and accurately convey the nuances of that word, they chose to insert all the colors and flavors needed in our language to convey the most accurate meaning  of the original text.

Apparently the naysayers might ignorantly (and wrongly) charge them with "adding to" God's Word when, in fact, they were providing what the English reader so desperately needs--again, an accurate & well-rounded presentation of what is truly intended by the original writers.

So if you are one who enjoys digging deeper and willing to reflect just a little longer on Bible reading, try at least reading one of the gospel accounts all the way through using the Amplified Bible. See if your understanding isn't increased considerably. If you agree, try reading this translation just for one complete reading of the Bible. I think that, like me, you will find yourself returning to this translation time and time again.

Online copy of Amplified at (Click here)
Online copy of Amplified at (Click here)
Purchase hardcopy from Amazon here.

(This article updated 10/30/2014)