Friday, October 14, 2016

Faith in the Blood of Jesus

I read an article that got "the gears of my mind” turning. It mentioned putting "faith in the blood of Jesus," a phrase loosely based on Romans 3:25. (It never ceases to amaze me how I can read a particular scripture, any scripture, over and over again, and yet in a split moment have a lightbulb turn on that never turned on before.)

We all know we should put faith in God and in Jesus. But how in the world do we put faith in the BLOOD of Jesus? That phrase seems to carry a significantly different meaning. So I began to reflect if there was ever a time before where people had to put (or demonstrate) faith in the value of blood. As I researched different websites, one in particular extended the phrase "put faith in the blood of Jesus" to include the words "through actions." Then the lightbulb turned on. The Israelites preparing to exit Egypt were told to splatter blood on their doorposts. Those that put faith in that instruction and acted on it, were spared the life of their firstborn. Those that did not obey lost the life of their firstborn.

For the early Christian congregations, who were predominantly offspring of Abraham, they were under command to remember their deliverance from Egypt in a commemoration known as the Passover. For them to accept that "The Law" (handed down from God through Moses) and related Jewish customs were no longer needed, was a huge issue. Yet Paul mentioned that it was a necessary transformation. At Galatians 3:13 Paul reasons that we must now put faith in Christ, that is, that Christ purchased us (through his sacrificial blood) and thus released Christian converts "from the curse of the Law."

But faith in the blood of Jesus goes beyond removal of a curse. It was a huge breath of fresh air, a "new covenant," just as prophesied at Jer 31:31-34. This will help obedient ones appreciate that true loyalty to God goes beyond perfunctory observations of rituals. It is something deep in the heart of a sincere person. It is no longer "I'm required to obey," but rather "I desire to, I want to obey." God becomes more than some unseen, distant entity. He now becomes "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15-17

So for the early converts to Christianity, putting faith in the blood of Jesus (at least in part) came down to accepting that works of the Mosaic Law would not win them approval with our Creator. Back then, as well as today, trust that his Son, Jesus Christ, provides the ransom and the scriptural instruction we need to live a truly godly life is what is paramount for all to realize.

(I do not intend this essay to be an exhaustive consideration of the meaning of our putting “faith in the blood of Jesus.” The intent here was to provide a snippet of thought in appreciation that putting faith in anything requires demonstrable action.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Good Bye Good Riddance Samsung

Before I start my article, I want to say I didn’t have any issue with the original Note 7 I owned nor with its replacement, which I still own. The one and only reason I returned the original was because my wife kept urging me to return it. At one point (regarding the original) she said to me: “How many warnings do you need!? The news media is saying to ditch it; Samsung has told everyone to immediately power it down and return it; your carrier has sent you texts along that line; even governmental agencies are urging people to get rid of it.”

My main reason for keeping it isn’t (wasn’t) customer loyalty. Although I’ve been a user of Samsung products for at very least six years now (in fact, presently I own the Note Pro 12.2 (tablet) and my wife (under my guidance) has the S5 and the Galaxy Tab S2 (tablet)), my main reason was that I hate all the fallout of having to reconfigure, reinstall, re-customize my phone. I have around 200 apps and it takes days to get my CLIP (Communications, Life-Management, Information Portal) (aka phone) back in working order.

Now, Samsung claimed that the issue was the battery in the original Note 7. From the burn patterns on the replacement Note 7’s, it also appears to be battery related. However, one anonymous commenter on one of the many phone-focused websites I read, boisterously insisted it was never the battery in the first place. He (she) claimed it was actually the circuitry inside the phone that was supposed to control the battery’s charging. Whether or not this is true, I don’t know. One thing I am certain of, this is not the first Note-series device that Samsung has made. Most of the technology already existed in the S7 and S7-Edge. There is nothing significantly different about the S7 and the Note 7. Not even the IRIS scanner nor the S-Pen and related software BECAUSE they are inconsequential in considering the issue of burning devices.

Besides the technical issues then, what else went wrong here. Most likely it was Samsung’s greed to be first to market, before the release of the iPhone7. They rushed production, probably including sub-par components made with sub-par standards. (I have no proof of this claim, it is just a conclusion based, again, on the fact that this was the 6th iteration of the Note-series device and that it essentially contains the innards and “design language” of the S7-Edge.) The Note 7’s failure is what happens when profit and ego overshadow quality manufacturing and good reputation.

So where do I personally go from here? Samsung has seriously, negatively, and permanently affected my trust in them. And it is not based solely on this event. First, Samsung was criticized for dropping the Action Memo app from the Note 7. It was probably the singularly most useful app that Samsung has ever made. Samsung promised to bring it back toward the end of September 2016. It is now mid October 2016 and it was NOT deployed. They lied. Second, the COO and President of Samsung Electronics America said that Samsung planned on regaining their loyal base “through a series of unprecedented actions.” The only unprecedented actions I’ve seen so far are 1) deploying a second round of defective devices, 2) initial denial of the 2nd issue (they’ve since acknowledged it), 3) no compensation for the trouble they’ve caused beyond a refund. What compensation?

My time is way too valuable to have to constantly be replacing phones. In a mere two months I have gone from the Note 3 to the Note 7, to an interim S7-Edge, to a replacement Note 7. In each case I had numerous hiccups with software issues. Samsung’s Smart Switch app is a piece of junk.

So I’ve noticed in the past several years, after just now reflecting on my experiences, that I’m actually fed up with Samsung. Year after year they have disappointed me. At present, I am waiting on the LG V20 to arrive (sometime this month). I am seriously thinking of buying it even though I love Samsung’s display. I am one of the few that actually love Samsung’s Android overlay (TouchWiz). But I can no longer tolerate Samsung’s ignoring the customers, poor customer service, and now catastrophic failure of the flagship device. Another reason that I am seriously considering ditching the replacement Note 7 is that neither Samsung nor the carriers will probably give any support for fixes, security updates, or OS upgrades to the Note 7 seeing as it is technically an abandoned, orphaned device. (In my experience, even with supported devices, Samsung typically only provides upgrades for one year. Why? Even Apple and Microsoft provide updates for the life of the device. Clearly Samsung has never really cared about customer support.)

Since I am no one of any consequence to Samsung, I don’t expect any attempt on their part to win me back. That’s fine.