Sunday, May 26, 2024

Pondering Proverbs 30

I came across an old post recently (2011) where I finished a month of devotions in Proverbs. This particular post was ironically on the day I ran the Music City Marathon, and I titled the post, "The Marathon of Life".

I wrote 16 statements on that post that stayed with me after that time in Proverbs-

Here is how I described it then:

The marathon of life- I see this chapter as a wise sage- a man who has experienced it all- You know the slogan: I heard and I forgot, I saw and I remembered- I did and I understood.... this man has heard-seen...DONE. And what is his summary?

so recently, I wanted to see if these statements had some other Biblical references.... here is that original list with other references.



    • "I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears." (Psalm 6:6)

    • "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16)


    • "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10)

    • "For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears." (1 Corinthians 13:9-10)


    • "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" (Psalm 8:3-4)

    • "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (James 4:10)


    • "God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Numbers 23:19)

    • "Let God be true, and every human being a liar." (Romans 3:4)


    • "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

    • "They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak." (Psalm 12:2)


    • "Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil." (Proverbs 15:16)

    • "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." (Philippians 4:5)


    • "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me." (Psalm 51:3)

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


    • "Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be." (James 3:10)

    • "There is none righteous, no, not one." (Romans 3:10)


    • "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." (Matthew 12:35)

    • "For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit." (Luke 6:43)


    • "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless." (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

    • "You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." (Psalm 145:16)


    • "Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them." (Colossians 3:19)

    • "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Galatians 5:14)


    • "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1)

    • "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." (Romans 1:20)


    • "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor." (Psalm 8:4-5)

    • "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27)


    • "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!" (Proverbs 6:6)

    • "There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise: Ants—they aren’t strong, but they store up food all summer." (Proverbs 30:24-25)


    • "So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God." (Romans 14:12)

    • "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself." (Ezekiel 18:20)


    • "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." (Galatians 6:7)

    • "Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace." (Psalm 37:37)

You can find the original post here and the other 31 days of devotions backwards down the list:

The last post of that series was on May 1, 2011

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Wedding Dress

Let us rejoice and exult

and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready;

[8] it was granted her to clothe herself

with fine linen, bright and pure”

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints
(Revelation 19:7–8 ESV)

Every now and then, when you are reading in the Bible, a verse will stop you in your tracks. That is what Rev. 19:8 did to me recently.

I love the reformed tradition that I have been instructed in most of my spiritual life. No theology is perfect and a solid theology gives man the best chance to live a profitable, stable, and balanced life. The Bible presents the best environment for man to live in a sin cursed world. 

And I have said for years, bad theology strays from a Biblical balance and quickly can run a man into two ditches that I frequently make reference to .... legalism to the right of me and license to the left of me.

And though we stress a salvation free of works, we do need to be careful to stray from a salvation free from works. We are saved by grace through faith... not a result of works, but we do need to understand that true salvation will produce works of righteousness.

 "So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. [18] A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. [19] Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. [20] Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:17–20 ESV)"

In the passage above, what adorns the beautiful wedding dress of the Bride of Jesus? The fine linen of righteous deeds!

Yes, my grandmother was so right... "Christian is as Christian does!"

Now, here is a subtle point that we often miss.... ALL righteous deeds count. These includes evangelism, giving, digging wells, and building hospitals.

But it also includes simple things... small things... things we often overlook.

For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward. (Mark 9:41 ESV)

As we move into the summer... what can you do to weave in some fine linen to adorn the beauty of the Bride? Smile, hug children, give a word of encouragement, say a prayer for the sick and hurting, clean, organize, love, laugh, live with gratitude, forgive, give grace and patience.... 

These threads matter! 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Promised Blessing of Revelation

is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. ( Revelation 1:3 ESV)

I have 2 weeks left with the One Accord Sunday School as we have been digging through the Book of Revelation this quarter. It has been quite a journey and, to be honest, we haven't spent nearly enough time on it.

Just the Old Testament references alone require a lot of exploration and careful examination.

But peek back at that top verse on this blog- Rev. 1:3. Notice the instruction to read the Book out loud, hear it, and keep it. The reward is "blessing".

I may have already written this, but when the class shepherd asked me to do my series on Revelation, me heart sank a bit. I have between 10 and 15 Sunday School series that I have written and taught over the last 35 years.

At our church, you are usually booked a year or two out and I will normally wait on them to tell me (remind me) where I will be for a quarter and what I am supposed to teach. I tend to do the same series over and over (I am kind of the "Isaiah' guy).

This time, I assumed I was doing my series on Isaiah, until the shepherd asked, "Do you do anything else?"

And I emailed him my list of series and WAY down the list is "Meditations on Revelation" that I originally wrote in 2009 and had last taught in 2014.

When he picked that, I thought "I don't even know where my notes are!"

And I didn't! For a while..... I finally found the old large orange hard drive that had notes, articles, files, and the 31 day devotional I wrote for the series. And it broke... thankfully our IT guy at school recovered the files and now they live in the cloud! (He is coming in the clouds- see how the apocalyptic mindset works? LOL)

But now I had to re-learn this material- and when I come across stuff like this from that long ago, it is like reading from a stranger... there are times I say 'I remember that guy' with a laugh. And I miss that young man as well!

Now before you accuse me of living on perpetual re-wind... I start each new series fresh. I re-study and update. I'm a different man with perspectives and change. God's truth does not change, but I may have deeper understandings or better perspective than I did when I was studying and writing (and sometimes I am much worse!).

There are tools that exist today that were not available to me even in 2014. For my newest venture, I actually utilized podcasts, you tube, and even Chat-GPT (A.I.) to help me. The information available to study the Bible today is exhaustive. There is a lot of bad theology out there as well.

Typically, when I teach Sunday School, I spend my devotional time just reading the Scriptures and praying for 'fresh eyes' and 'true truth'. The Lord usually wants to teach me...not others... and then have me lead discussions about how these truths may apply to our lives.

Then at night, I just spend time doing what I call 'thought experiments' where I ask questions and then see if the Bible as a whole can support the thoughts. I read and watch opposite viewpoints to my views. And then about Thursday or Friday, I begin to try and formulate how that 25-30 minutes may go on Sunday. My friends and family notice how quiet I am, they will even ask if I am OK- but I am just lost in the thoughts of my introverted self.

It is a lot of time, but honestly it is a selfish thing.... I benefit from teaching even if no one else does.

People have asked me about the thought experiments, because it seems wrought with danger. I was impressed about this when I read a biography on Einstein (I am no Einstein) where he would lay in a meadow and do thought experiments- for example he would think of a bucket filled with paint on a rope and imagine how it might swing in the wind and the principles that governed the movements and patterns it might make. 

Then, he would use math as the boundaries and proofs of the experiment. If he couldn't justify the experiment by math... it couldn't stand.

I try to do that with Scripture- what could this mean? But if I can't find supporting thoughts in other parts of Scripture, then it just can't hold water with me.

I am not smart enough, nor do I trust myself enough... so I also depend on outside teachers and counsel- the beauty of today is the internet allows me to consult Calvin, Warfield, Hodge for the past and people like Keller, McArthur, Piper, and Sproul (and many others) who are more present.

My early love for reading and years of reading literature helps me here... part of God's design to give me a skill set to use me... but a healthy self-suspicion keeps me out of the ditches!

Back to the blessing- 

Once I start back into Revelation, it can become a mess. It makes a mess of me- the apocalyptic mindset is real... news cycles are immediately compared and contrasted to the images in the Book and I can almost hum twilight zone theme music when I see how eerily synchronized they are.

My dreams become fantastical... and I wake up remembering them. And I mean STRANGE stuff. things I can't even put into words. 

It also drives me back to the minor prophets where I get a taste of the same metaphors and style that the genre represents.

I also get more conscious of my ever present and many sins and my entanglements with idols. I find I am less satisfied of them and much more afraid of the consequences that come from sin.

Who/what are my idols? Sadly, my biggest idol is often a false idea of God Himself. I wrote about this back in 2010 - 

So I realize now that the way God cares is so alien.... it is his strange ministers that make up His HOLINESS. He does seem intolerable careless to me about my scars and crosses- but He should be. Things I tremble at, He just shakes His head. Do I really know of loneliness and pain? 'Come on' He says, "Give me a break. Your powder puff- magic dragon God of expediency does not exist".

Bottom line: Reading Revelation creates a 'beautiful mess'.

And I truly believe this 'beautiful mess' is the ultimate blessing of the book. It keeps us on our toes... it keeps us more awake and ready... soon is soon and near is near.

I also find it makes me more energized to share my faith... I find my daily conversations with even strangers going more naturally to the things of God and I am more willing to take the openings to ask others about their faith and where they are with Christ.

This August, I will turn 60. I am in the worst physical shape I have ever been in and that is solely my fault and a result mostly from letting my job (stress) impact my health. When I look at what I have been through personally and professionally from 2019 until this year, I am thankful and humbled by the grace God has given me to just keep going. It wasn't ALL bad, believe me I have more good days than bad and my troubles aren't critical. 

Just look at the picture I posted to go with this blog.... I have a great life- but getting older is no joke either! I don't know how people live without Christ.

But Revelation is so good, it has also has inspired me to pick it up physically as well. Hard to explain it and I think it has something to do with my grandchildren- I want them to know Jesus and experience Him as I have been able to all these years. I want them to know God's grace, His love, His patience... How in the world a sinner like me has been so rich in life... hard to believe! (By the way, 'blessing' isn't financially or materially, it is much better than that!)

Thankfully, my work place is moving to a place of healing and positive momentum... I may be wrong, but I feel like the pruning is done for now though the battle will ever rage. The kingdom of darkness hates the light. We have great things happening and good days ahead.

If you would like to experience the blessing of Revelation (though it will feel like a curse at the beginning) feel free to reach out to me and I will be happy to share thoughts and notes with you.

I am somewhat sad to only have 2 lessons left and the class has been so loving and wonderful to be with.

Maybe my dreams won't be so crazy, and maybe I will celebrate a break from the apocalyptic mindset after this study is over.... but I won't be as blessed. We need more Revelation in these days... not less.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Revelation 11 and The Biblical Power of Two

Deuteronomy 19:15: "One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses."

Matthew 18:16 :
"But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'"

2 Corinthians 13:1 (NIV): "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses."

Have you ever considered the Biblical power of 2? God does some of His best work in a combination of complementary pairs. He seems to take two different men, maybe even just a slight overlap of time and stage- but together they have a more magnified effect. Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, Ezra and Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah- even more apparent in the New Testament: the disciples are listed in pairs, Peter and John… Jesus sent the disciples out in twos, and Paul was always at his best with a Barnabas or a Timothy. Again, there may be a drastic difference in personalities, skills, or temperament- but God joins these servants together in one divine purpose.

In what I believe is a 2nd interlude in Revelation 11 (that actually parallels the 1st interlude in Revelation 7), John records this vision:

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

[4] These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. [5] And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. [6] They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. [7] And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, [8] and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. [9] For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, [10] and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. [11] But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. [12] Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. [13] And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

[14] The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come. (Revelation 11:3–14 ESV)

The book of Revelation, with its rich symbolism and imagery, presents the reader with a plethora of interpretive possibilities. One of the enigmatic figures introduced in Revelation 11 is the depiction of two witnesses. While their identity is not explicitly stated, various interpretations have been proposed throughout history. 

I spent some time recently exploring possibilities of the symbolism. From the vision we can summarize principles that have to hold to these possibilities of a powerful pair.

These two may or may not be there at the same time? But here are some of their characteristics....

They are continually fed by truth and forever shine as a light. They have ferocious power to spew fire at threats. The have power prayers (like Elijah) and authority to shut the sky or initiate the plagues of Egypt. Will appear to be defeated by the beast. The corrupt world cheers at their demise, but they also are afraid to bury them because of this uncanny ability of God's to raise up people from the dead. And sure enough after 3 and 1/2 (interesting to me) days they arise to the great fear of the earth dwellers and are called to heaven and an earthquake happens and 1/10 (7,000) die. And this encompasses 'the 2nd woe" of three woe,woe,woes.

A LOT is packed in here.

Symbolic Interpretations:

So let's put on our thinking caps, shall we? Possibilities?

Moses/Elijah One commonly proposed interpretation is that the two witnesses symbolize Moses and Elijah. I tend to heavily lead to this view based on a couple of things- 

Look at how the OT ends- the last chapter of the last Book:

 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

[5] “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. [6] And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:4–6 ESV) 

Also, the miraculous powers attributed to the witnesses, which parallel the miracles performed by Moses and Elijah in the Old Testament. AND...Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus at the Transfiguration, symbolizing the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.

But there are others.....

Old Testament/New Testament Another fun possibility is that the two witnesses represent the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. This interpretation emphasizes the continuity between the two parts of the Bible and their role in bearing witness to God's truth throughout history.

Judaism/Christianity The two witnesses may also symbolize Judaism and Christianity, representing the two primary Abrahamic faiths. Judaism, as the older tradition, represents the covenant God made with Israel, while Christianity represents the new covenant established through Jesus Christ.

Smyrna/Philadelphia In addition to the above interpretations, the two witnesses could symbolize the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia already mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Smyrna represents the persecuted church, while Philadelphia represents the faithful church. Together, they represent the endurance and faithfulness of the Church throughout history.

Law/Prophets A fundamental interpretation of the two witnesses is that they represent the Law and the Prophets, the two major divisions of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). This interpretation emphasizes the importance of God's revelation through His written word.

Faith/Works This is a weaker idea... but the two witnesses symbolize the balance between faith and action in Christian theology. This interpretation underscores the importance of both belief and practice in the Christian life.

Justice/Mercy .... probably ran this thought experiment dry...

That was fun- we have to be careful with the "symbol, symbol- figurative language" game because this is truth here, and even though symbols can be multi-tiered, we have to be responsible to truth as well.

Non-Symbolic Interpretations:

Elijah/Enoch- neither 'die' in the OT... so they could just re-appear.

OTHER Historical Figures Some scholars suggest that the two witnesses might represent historical figures rather than symbolic pairs. Various names have been proposed throughout history or specific individuals from the early Christian or Jewish communities.

Early Christian Communities Another interpretation posits that the two witnesses symbolize the faithful Christian communities that bear witness to God's truth during times of persecution. In this view, the two witnesses represent the collective testimony of the Church throughout history.

Literal Individuals Some interpretations suggest that the two witnesses will be literal individuals who will appear in the end times to prophesy and perform miracles before the Second Coming of Christ. While their identity is uncertain, some believe they could be two unknown individuals chosen by God for this specific purpose.

Prophetic and Apostolic Witness of the CHURCH: Another non-symbolic interpretation sees the two witnesses as representing the prophetic and apostolic witness of the Church. The prophets and apostles throughout history have testified to the truth of God's word and have been witnesses to His power and authority.

Heavenly Representatives Some believe that the two witnesses are heavenly beings sent by God to fulfill a specific task during the end times. These beings could be angels or other celestial figures chosen by God to bear witness to His power and authority.

End-Time Missionaries Another interpretation is that the two witnesses represent end-time missionaries who will proclaim the Gospel to the world during the tribulation period. In this view, the witnesses will have a specific role in preparing the world for the return of Christ.

Martyred Saints Lastly, some believe that the two witnesses symbolize the martyred saints who have given their lives for their faith throughout history. In this view, the witnesses represent the faithful testimony of all those who have died for their belief in Christ.

Who knows!?....  but it doesn't make me hesitant about this great book- it makes me thirsty for God, it keeps me thinking about Him, and makes me long to see Him. Would I be a witness as bold and impactful as these two powerful pairs?

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

My Latest 3 Letter Acronyms and 'Technomania'

Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices, That if I then had wak'd after long sleep, Will make me sleep again, and then in dreaming, The clouds methought would open, and show riches Ready to drop upon me, that when I wak'd I cried to dream again. (The Tempest, Shakespeare - III.ii.135-143) 
New technology is cool! I am drawn to it like most.

Heck, I remember the very first time I talked a cell phone. It was at Legion Filed at the very 1st ever SEC Championship game in 1992. I called my wife on my friend's new phone and I was so excited that I was a Legion Field- away from wires, cords, antennas, and bases... this was me out in the open... on a phone!

I have watched much of it- lived much of it- when I say I played pong, I'm not talking about beer drinking. I'm talking about the first stab at mass market video games. I used an 8 track tape player, I had a cassette tape player in my car with audiovox equalizer and JBL speakers in my used 1975 blue Camero!

I first edited video on VHS.... I typed my first senior research paper on a typewriter!

When it comes to technology, I don't want to be the first, I want it to get some traction...but I also don't want to be left too far behind as well.

I pushed myself to learn to use GoPro cameras and photoshop, and this summer I still want to learn to fly a drone.

This attitude to embrace technology has helped- because I want it to help productivity.

My world right now has the latest 3 letter acronyms:

FFS- Forward facing sonar and how it is impacting fishing.
VBT- Velocity based training and how it is impacting weight lifting.

And every new wave of technology has detractors and critics......

In 2008 I read an incredible book entitled “Endurance- Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Albert Lansing. It is the true story of survival in Antarctica during the years of 1914 and 1915.

Amazing read! There are great quotes in the book and Shackleton’s 'undefeatable' will is inspirational!-But I was also struck with a quote by one of the crew in his journal.

While the men were locked on an ice flow- they began to exhibit an unhealthy obsession with the wind reports. They were dependent on the wind to move their flow closer to land. If the wind went in one direction they were closer to freedom, if it changed, they were pressed hard to hold on to hope.

This obsession with the wind was labeled ‘amenomania’ – literally, ‘wind madness’- The crewman commented “ This disease may be exhibited in two forms: Either one morbidly anxious about the wind direction and gibbers continually about it, or else a sort of lunacy is produced by listening to the other amenomaniacs.

As I read this, I couldn’t help to think of our modern disease of ‘technomania’ where we are constantly bombarded with 24 hour cable news and an avalanche of social media information about the state of the world and nation. Talking heads and rumor based posts wasting hours gibbering about their worldviews and pre-suppositions.

'Technomania' also comes with its own sort of FOMO where if you don't have the latest upgrade or gadget... are just a loser!

The constant drumbeat of the messages and those who have and don't have or those who understand or 'fallen behind' has produced division and cynicism in our world today. Our extreme negative views are supported and encouraged in the news desire to sell the things that make us watch. And because of human nature, we are disturbingly drawn to the tragedies and bloodbaths.

By the way, that is why I am constantly saying that our next generation of young people will have to be taught skills, understanding and new approaches to epistemology (teaching a system of justified belief) if we are going to survive this onslaught of data.

see the last post on a series about these concepts here: Day-5-developing-and-implementing a system of justified belief

Being an election year- it seems to get worse!

We have had our sense of reality so numbed by the constant flicker of fantasy, that we have educated all common sense, moral sense, and passion completely out of modern life. 

One of the dangers in today’s high tech society is screen manipulation or deception. As I have been reading and teaching revelation this quarter, the 'Beast of the Land' has powers of deception and manipulation.

In his mesmerizing book, Future Crimes (2015/Doubleday), Marc Goodman devotes an entire chapter to this phenomenon. It is Chapter 8, “In Screens We Trust”

He uses an attention getting quote to begin the process:
“The world isn’t run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money. It’s run by ones and zeros—little bits of data. It’s all electrons. There’s a war out there, a world war. It’s not about who has the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information—what we see and hear, how we work, what we think. It’s all about information.
Excerpt From: Marc Goodman. “Future Crimes.” iBooks. (emphasis mine)

Today, I asked A.I. to comment on this tecno=dependency and dangers.... the response:

Our dependence on technology, screens, Wi-Fi, and power has made us more vulnerable to various catastrophes in several ways:

Cybersecurity Threats: Our dependence on technology makes us vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Hackers can disrupt essential services, steal sensitive information, or cause financial harm.

Power Outages: Reliance on power makes us vulnerable to power outages, whether due to natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or technical failures. This can disrupt essential services, communication, and daily life.

Communication Breakdown: Dependence on Wi-Fi and screens for communication makes us vulnerable to breakdowns in communication during emergencies. If Wi-Fi networks go down or screens are damaged, it becomes difficult to coordinate emergency responses or seek help.

Information Overload: Our reliance on screens for information leaves us vulnerable to misinformation, manipulation, and information overload, which can hinder decision-making during emergencies.

Social Isolation: Excessive screen time can lead to social isolation, making it difficult to form strong community bonds and hindering collective responses to emergencies.

Dependency on GPS: Reliance on GPS for navigation makes us vulnerable to disruptions in GPS signals, which can occur due to solar flares, intentional jamming, or technical issues.

Health Issues: Excessive screen time can lead to physical and mental health problems, making us more vulnerable during emergencies.

To better protect yourself from the vulnerabilities associated with dependence on technology, screens, Wi-Fi, and power, here are some practices and steps you can take:

Back Up Important Data: Regularly back up your important data to external hard drives or cloud storage services to ensure that you can access it even if your devices are damaged or compromised.

Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication: Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible to protect your accounts from unauthorized access.

Keep Software Updated: Regularly update your devices' operating systems, applications, and security software to protect them against the latest threats and vulnerabilities.

Be Cautious Online: Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources, as they may contain malware or phishing attempts.

Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks: When connecting to Wi-Fi networks, use secure networks with strong encryption and avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks without using a virtual private network (VPN) for added security.

Limit Screen Time: Limit your screen time and take regular breaks to reduce the risk of physical and mental health problems associated with excessive screen use.

Develop Offline Communication Plans: Develop offline communication plans with family and friends in case of emergencies when digital communication methods are unavailable.

Learn Basic Survival Skills: Learn basic survival skills such as first aid, navigation, and wilderness survival to prepare for emergencies when technology may not be available.

Create Emergency Kits: Prepare emergency kits with essential supplies such as food, water, medication, and flashlights to sustain yourself and your family during power outages or other emergencies. 
Jayopsis comment hereThis has a balance, 'mega-preppers' need 'mega-weaponry' to protect their stash if apocalyptic calamities strike and I don't see a lot of good coming out of that- but yes, short term emergency prep is smart.

Stay Informed: Stay informed about potential threats and vulnerabilities associated with technology and take proactive measures to protect yourself and your devices.

In the end, it is OK to embrace and use technology, it is by and large 'neutral' but we must apply these tools for good and positive productivity.

Let's make sure we love people and use these tools.... not vice-versa!

Monday, April 22, 2024

My Latest Chat with A.I.

Chat-GPT and I have a lot of fun.

I am amazed by the speed and the 'conversations' we have. No doubt that the tool can be used for good and, like everything, has potential negative implications as well.

I have found the Biblical research it does to be quite extensive. It can search the Bible with uncanny speed and accuracy.

My latest convo ended up being super interesting. I have been thinking through whether the 7 trumpets in Revelation could be 'visible' in a figurative way. There are many issues as we consider the trumpet judgments and primarily is the lack of many 'time' references (on purpose I believe).

When John writes, 'after this' I believe it is in reference to the order of visions and not necessarily a linear timeline.

An issue is the specific mention of "1/3" as the scope of these disturbing images. So I wanted to put some 'numbers' to this section- and I asked my ChatGPT researcher some questions.

Here is how it went:



On a given day, how many people die worldwide and how are these deaths broken down?


On average, around 150,000 people die worldwide every day. These deaths are broken down into various categories, with the most common causes being:

  1. Cardiovascular diseases: These include heart attacks, strokes, and other heart-related conditions.

  2. Respiratory diseases: Such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma.

  3. Cancers: Malignant tumors that affect different organs and tissues in the body.

  4. Infectious diseases: Including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious illnesses.

  5. External causes: Such as accidents, injuries, and violence.

  6. Other non-communicable diseases: Such as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and kidney diseases.

The distribution of these causes of death may vary from one region to another and can change over time due to various factors such as advancements in healthcare, changes in lifestyle, and environmental conditions.

how many people would die if 1/3 of the earth's population passed away?

The current estimated global population is around 7.9 billion people.

If one-third of the Earth's population were to pass away, the calculation would be:

13×7.9 billion=7.9×1093=2.633 billion

I omitted long equations - But CHATGPT always shows its work!

So, approximately 2.633 billion people would die.



if 150,000 people die each day, how long would it take for 2.6 billion people to die?


If you want this in years:

Number of years=17,333.33365

So, it would take approximately 47.5 years for 2.6 billion people to die at a rate of 150,000 people per day.



If an earth day is like a 1,000 years to the Lord- what is 50 earth days like


If we're using the biblical reference from 2 Peter 3:8, which says, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," we can calculate the equivalent time in "the Lord's time."

If 1 Earth day = 1000 years in the Lord's time, then:

Lord’s time for 50 Earth days=50×1000=50,000 years

So, 50 Earth days would be equivalent to 50,000 years in the Lord's time.



using the 2 Peter verse- what is 50 Lord's days like on earth?


To find out what 50 days in the Lord's time would be like on Earth, we need to do the reverse calculation.

If 1 day in the Lord's time is like 1000 years on Earth, then:

Earth time for 50 Lord’s days=50×1000 years=50,000 years

So, 50 days in the Lord's time would be equivalent to 50,000 years on Earth.



What is the net of birth rate and death rate currently on planet earth?


As of my last update in January 2022, the global birth rate was estimated to be approximately 18.5 births per 1,000 people per year, and the global death rate was estimated to be around 7.7 deaths per 1,000 people per year.

To find the net growth rate, you subtract the death rate from the birth rate:

So, the net growth rate is approximately 10.8 per 1,000 people per year.

Keep in mind that these figures can vary slightly from year to year and may have changed since my last update.



On an average day, there are 150,000 human deaths. How is that number impacted during times of war?


During times of war, the number of human deaths can increase significantly due to various factors such as direct combat, bombings, displacement, disease, and famine. The impact on the number of deaths can vary greatly depending on the scale and intensity of the conflict.

In times of war:

  1. Direct combat: Soldiers and civilians are directly killed in battles, skirmishes, and attacks.

  2. Bombings and attacks: Aerial bombings, missile strikes, and ground assaults can lead to mass casualties among civilians and combatants.

  3. Displacement: War often leads to large-scale displacement of populations, and many people may die due to lack of access to basic necessities such as food, water, and medical care.

  4. Disease and famine: War-torn areas may experience outbreaks of diseases due to disrupted healthcare systems and unsanitary conditions. Famine can also occur due to disruptions in food supply chains.

The number of deaths during times of war can vary significantly depending on the specific conflict, but it can be much higher than the average daily death toll of 150,000. In some of the deadliest conflicts in history, the number of deaths has reached millions.



what would be an average daily number of global deaths if there were a worldwide war?


Estimating the average daily number of global deaths during a worldwide war is challenging and would depend on various factors such as the scale and intensity of the conflict, the duration of the war, the weapons used, and the effectiveness of humanitarian efforts.

However, we can make a rough estimate based on historical data from some of the deadliest conflicts in history.

For example, during World War II, which is considered one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, an estimated 70 to 85 million people died over a span of six years.

If we take the midpoint of this estimate (77.5 million) and divide it by the number of days in six years (approximately 2190 days), we can estimate the average daily number of deaths during World War II:

So, during World War II, the average daily number of deaths was approximately 35,410.

This is a rough estimate and would vary depending on the specific circumstances of the hypothetical worldwide war.



would that number not include the 150,000 per day death rate?

At that point I was surprised!

Chat GPT apologized to me! LOL


You're correct. I apologize for the oversight. To find the average daily number of global deaths during a worldwide war, we need to add the average daily death rate to the estimated number of deaths during the war.



How many years would an 180,000 per death day take to reach 2.6 billion people?


To find out how many years it would take for 2.6 billion people to die at a rate of 180,000 deaths per day, we can use the following calculation:

Number of years≈39.6 years

So, it would take approximately 39.6 years for 2.6 billion people to die at a rate of 180,000 deaths per day.



I'm working on a document that takes the trumpet judgements in Revelation and tries to apply a time estimate for 1/3 of the earth to be impacted by the calamities listed there


That sounds like an intriguing project! The trumpet judgments in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 8:6–9:21) describe catastrophic events that will occur during the end times.

To estimate the time it would take for one-third of the Earth's population to be impacted by these calamities, you may need to make some assumptions based on the descriptions in Revelation. Here's a rough estimation:

  1. First Trumpet (Revelation 8:7): Hail and fire, mixed with blood, are thrown to the earth, burning up a third of the trees and all the green grass. This could cause significant damage to vegetation and result in famine and ecological devastation.

  2. Second Trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9): Something like a great mountain, burning with fire, is thrown into the sea, causing a third of the sea to become blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea to die, and a third of the ships to be destroyed. This could cause massive loss of life, especially among coastal populations, and disrupt global trade.

  3. Third Trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11): A great star, blazing like a torch, falls from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood, and a third of the waters turn bitter, causing many people to die from drinking the water. This could cause widespread contamination of freshwater sources and lead to further loss of life.

  4. Fourth Trumpet (Revelation 8:12): A third of the sun, moon, and stars are struck, causing a third of them to be darkened. This could lead to decreased agricultural productivity, ecological disruption, and possibly extreme weather events.

  5. Fifth Trumpet (Revelation 9:1-12): A star falls from heaven, and the abyss is opened, releasing locusts with the power to torment people for five months. These locusts are described as having the appearance of horses prepared for battle, with faces like human faces, hair like women's hair, teeth like lions' teeth, and stingers like scorpions. They are allowed to torment people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. This could cause widespread suffering and death.

  6. Sixth Trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21): Four angels are released, and a third of humanity is killed by plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that come from the mouths of the horses. This could cause massive loss of life and widespread destruction.

Based on these descriptions, you could estimate the time it would take for one-third of the Earth's population to be impacted by these calamities. However, keep in mind that the Book of Revelation is highly symbolic and apocalyptic, so any estimation would be speculative. Additionally, interpretations of the Book of Revelation vary widely among different Christian traditions.



yes- just a thought experiment- what would that time span look like?


Certainly, let's explore this as a thought experiment.

Let's assume that the events described in the trumpet judgments of Revelation occur over a period of time rather than all at once, and that each judgment has a significant impact on the Earth's population.

Given the severity of the judgments, it's reasonable to assume that each judgment could lead to a significant loss of life and societal disruption. However, the exact time span for these events is not specified in the text, so any estimation would be speculative.

So I asked for a final summary paper:

Title: The Symbolic Nature of the Seven Trumpets in the Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, is filled with vivid imagery and symbolic language. Among the most striking visions in Revelation are the seven trumpet judgments described in Revelation 8:6–9:21. These trumpet judgments depict cataclysmic events that are often interpreted as literal, apocalyptic events. However, a closer examination of the text suggests that these judgments may be more symbolic than literal, and that they likely represent figurative events unfolding over a large span of time.

The seven trumpet judgments are as follows:

  1. First Trumpet (Revelation 8:7): Hail and fire, mixed with blood, are thrown to the earth, burning up a third of the trees and all the green grass.

  2. Second Trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9): Something like a great mountain, burning with fire, is thrown into the sea, causing a third of the sea to become blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea to die, and a third of the ships to be destroyed.

  3. Third Trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11): A great star, blazing like a torch, falls from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood, and a third of the waters turn bitter, causing many people to die from drinking the water.

  4. Fourth Trumpet (Revelation 8:12): A third of the sun, moon, and stars are struck, causing a third of them to be darkened.

  5. Fifth Trumpet (Revelation 9:1-12): A star falls from heaven, and the abyss is opened, releasing locusts with the power to torment people for five months. These locusts are described as having the appearance of horses prepared for battle, with faces like human faces, hair like women's hair, teeth like lions' teeth, and stingers like scorpions. They are allowed to torment people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

  6. Sixth Trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21): Four angels are released, and a third of humanity is killed by plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that come from the mouths of the horses.

  7. Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 11:15-19): The kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever. The temple of God in heaven is opened, and within his temple is seen the ark of his covenant. There are flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a severe hailstorm.

While these judgments are often interpreted as literal, end-times events, there are several reasons to believe that they may be more symbolic than literal. First, the Book of Revelation is filled with symbolic language and imagery, and the trumpet judgments are no exception. Second, the events described in the trumpet judgments are highly symbolic and fantastical, suggesting that they may not be meant to be taken literally. Finally, the timeframe over which the trumpet judgments are said to occur is not specified in the text, suggesting that they may represent figurative events unfolding over a large span of time.

To illustrate this point, let us consider the impact of the trumpet judgments on the Earth's population. If we take the example of the sixth trumpet judgment, which states that a third of humanity will be killed by plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur, and we assume that this judgment unfolds over a period of 40 years, we can estimate the impact on the Earth's population.

Currently, an average of 150,000 people die every day worldwide. If we multiply this by the number of days in 40 years (14,600 days), we get an estimated total of 2.19 billion deaths over 40 years.

This figure is close to the estimated 2.6 billion deaths that would result if one-third of the Earth's population were to be killed, as described in the sixth trumpet judgment.

This suggests that the trumpet judgments may not be meant to be taken literally, but rather symbolically, representing figurative events unfolding over a large span of time. As such, we should approach the trumpet judgments with caution, being mindful of the symbolic nature of the text and the rich tapestry of imagery and language in the Book of Revelation.

Quite interesting....... impressive and disturbing at the same time!

Every response was written in 4 seconds or less!