Tuesday, October 13, 2015

God Never Said that...

Ever thought this?
When we make a decision based on our inherent goodness and reason, it must be correct.

Yeah, that's not Biblical at all, and it certainly doesn't align with my personal experiences over the last six decades.

We're immersed in a society that teaches us our INTELLECT will guide us correctly, especially when it is paired with our EMOTIONS. The news services and the government seem to concur with the thought that repetition makes something true - so our WILL can govern our actions.

In Grad school classes I interacted with a lot of smart people - and I liked them. Still, one of the basic arguments we had in every class was whether morality was absolute or relative. Most of the others argued for a relative morality. I always took (and still take) the stance that morality is, and should be, absolute.

I will never forget the one comment after I said "For instance, we can all agree that murder is wrong."
Another student said "Well, I think murder is wrong, but if a Father feels it is right to kill his infant daughter because of his society, who am I to say he's wrong?"

I had no response.

The point is, there is an absolute morality. I believe that morality is defined by the Word of God as given to us in the Bible, where God's character is defined for us. Does the Bible confuse me? Sure it does, but some things in it do not.

Do not lie. Do not cheat. Do not steal. Do not murder. Do not condone these actions in others.

As the Pastor of the new church I visited said "The Word of God is Powerful, Perpetual and Permanent." (They do like alliteration.)

God's Word is the ultimate authority in my life. It isn't my personal thoughts, feelings or decisions,

That premise simply makes me a better person than I was.

PS - Nope, I'm not always successful at doing what I should, but I keep trying.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer

Darling is doing a new Bible study. This one is by Priscilla Shirer and is called The Armor of God. Darling is letting me read through the study with her.

I'll post my notes for the study, but please bear in mind that most of what I'm writing is directly from Priscilla Shirer's book. I'll italicize when the thoughts are mine.

Week One was a summary with background information. Priscilla Shirer is an author and an actress in the amazing movie The War Room.

If you are not familiar with the Armor of God passages in the Bible, you probably already quit reading. Here's the NIV version of the passage from Ephesians 6.

The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Her first week reminded me of something an African missionary said: "The African people see it clearly. We are spiritual beings in a physical world, not the other way around." Most people I know battle in the physical world when they should battle in the spiritual world. I'm as guilty as anyone of that.

The enemy is invisible, but he is not fictional.

We overestimate Satan's impact on our lives and therefore we live in fear.

We underestimate Satan and miscalculate his impact on our lives.

I tend to ignore Satan unless I feel temptations, then I call on God. That isn't always successful because I am not prepared.

We are unaware of Satan's conspiracies in our lives because he appears as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). Let's face it; if Satan appeared like the ugly caricatures we have of him, we'd know to run. He always wraps his attacks in deception. He cannot help it. He is, after all, the Father of lies. But he is very, very good at what he does, and he knows what bait attracts each of us.

The Enemy (Satan) has strategies against your1. Passion2. Focus3. Identity4. Family5. Confidence6. Calling7. Purity8. Rest and Contentment9. Heart10. Relationships.

I have to admit, as I look through the list, I see a lot of areas where I was attacked - and still am.


With the standard of truth in place, you can adjust everything else in your life - your ambitions, choices, and feelings; your mind, will and emotions - until all of it is "tuned" correctly. When you have a strong, stable, well-supported core you can't easily be led astray by the enemy's clever lies. Gird yourself with truth ...

You uphold and affirm the standard – the truth and boundaries set by God in scripture. You commit yourself to them and resolve to teach them to your family.

You daily, systematically, repeatedly begin letting God help you align your decisions and responses, even your attitudes and ambitions, alongside His benchmark of truth.

You continually learn about the character and purposes of God – both from the Bible and from His Spirit. Then you unapologetically synchronize your convictions, even when you find it hard or unpopular to do so.

You filter every circumstance, personally and culturally, through the prism of His Word instead of merely leaning on your feelings, political correctness, or the opinions of others.

Truth becomes your starting place ...

Sensitivity taking offense is one of the key ways Satan traps believers in his web of deception.

The soldier's belt secured several pieces of his armor, which are listed in the rest of the passage in Ephesians 6:
  • Righteousness means right living.
  • Peace is a deep, inner, eternal stability by virtue of our relationship with Jesus.
  • Faith is an application of what we believe.
  • Salvation is our eternal security as well as full inheritance.
  • The word of God is the Bible and God's Spirit.
  • Finally, we use prayer to communicate with God and access the promises of God.

Watch out for deception, because is a lie cloaked in a tweaked version of truth.

Without truth - without an absolute, non-negotiable standard - there is no real liberty. Most people don't understand that and think that by accepting Jesus as their Lord they give up their freedom. Exactly the opposite is true.

In John 8:31-32, Jesus says if we abide in His word the truth will set us free.

Accumulated knowledge is not truth. You can learn things that are untrue - and choose to believe them. Also, knowing things about God does not mean the same as honoring Him as your Lord.

Truth is God's absolute standard, and you do not know truth unless you know God. A knowledge of God is found in the Bible, and imparted by the Holy Spirit.

Me: Wow, Priscilla Shirer really knows her stuff… I'll post more from her book in the future. Until then, God bless you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Random thoughts on the first of September

September swept in, surprising me in how quickly it displaced the months of summer.
(I do miss the fall leaves the the sweet smell of the earth as it falls into winter slumber.)

I retired in January. People ask me if I'm bored. No, not yet. In fact, I still have so many things on my list of to-dos and I keep adding to the list. What, for example? Story ideas, game ideas, reading books, taking classes on Udemy...

I wake up some mornings with story ideas. I write them down in my notebook. It's a standard spiral notebook with a hundred pages or so. I usually write on both sides of the page. Since January, the notebook is almost full of ideas and thoughts. I'll need a new notebook in a few weeks. That's okay.

If you don't keep a personal notebook of your ideas and thoughts, you should. Jim Rohn, one of my favorite speakers, recommends it as well. He was the mentor of Tony Robbins. You can catch recordings from both of them on YouTube, and I recommend them.

Sometimes I get a game idea. I came up with another wonderful one the other day. That one came to me in a dream, too. Well, parts of it. Dreams are not a good template for a complete story or a comprehensive game, but they give a good hint.

Darling sits next to me on the couch, playing "Mary, Did You Know" from a link on her Facebook page. (This links to Clay Aiken, the same singer, but isn't the same video.) She enjoys Facebook a lot. I use it to keep track of my relatives, so if you send me a friend request, don't be surprised if I don't accept. Very, very few non-family members are on my Facebook page. Most of those knew my parents and grew up with me.

I take notes in my notebook on what I'm currently reading, watching or studying. After half a year of studying finance information, I've concluded that there are no financial experts. I think when people get a degree in finances, they simply learn the lingo so they can express personal opinions in the right economic jargon.

I'm reading (diligently) Tony Robbins' new book "MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom" and I really like it. Some financial people say he oversimplifies the subject and that the book is full of Tony's brand of personal development information. It is. I think if Tony pulled his development thoughts out of the book it would be a mere hundred pages instead of over SIX HUNDRED PAGES (ouch), but it would lose much of the flavor that Tony Robbins can bring to the subject. I plan to post my notes on the book soon, so keep an eye open.

Just a side note - the guy is six foot seven. Impressive.

So, bored? Not a chance. I don't miss going to work. I do sort of miss the paychecks. The stock market drop last week hurt our finances a bit, but reminded me - I'm just the caretaker. My God owns it all.

So no worries.

Welcome to September.

Friday, August 14, 2015

iPhone to Droid - Part Four (Fini)

I have a lot of data on my iPhone 4S. There are - literally - hundreds of solutions in the internet to capture and transfer the data. Some are more useful than others, but I didn't manage to successfully finish any of them.

I made a complete backup of my iPhone on the Mac and traversed the directory to find the files. Without some sort of database schema, I'm lost at that point.

Some sites said backing it up to the cloud from one machine and bringing it into the other machine via the cloud would work. I can see that working for the pictures, but I backed my pictures up manually. Just plugged the iPhone into my computer, opened the disk and copied each of the picture folders. In my opinion, it should be that easy for all the data on a phone.

My picture history spanned a few years. I hope the pictures are captured elsewhere, but I don't know for certain. That's a future project (I'll put it on my list).

The tricky part seemed to be the SMS text data. I mentioned I have some important history there - the text history with my youngest brother, for instance. I could not find any good solutions for transferring those important bits of personal history.

I found the Phone transfer program by Apowersoft. For about $40, I transferred all my calendar, contact and SMS messages (as well as phone call logs) to my Galaxy S4 from my iPhone 4S. If I were programming a solution, it would be as clean as this one. Check it out here - I don't have any affiliation with them.

On my S4, I manually walked through my contacts and cleaned them up. To delete one, I simply have to touch and hold a contact, then select the Delete. I was vicious about the cleaning, too. If I just contact you via LinkedIn, you've been purged from my phone. Not that you'd notice…

My music? The program wasn't successful for that. I didn't have enough room on my new phone - and it didn't see all my music, anyway. I'm guessing that's an iTunes thing. I do have a solution, though. Almost all our music comes from CDs that we copied to the computer, so I have the originally copied files. I will lose a few songs that I bought through iTunes. I'll worry about them later (I wouldn't want to lose Felicia Day's Do You Want to Date My Avatar?).

So that's it. There are a few things left on my iPhone 4S, but it is comfortably nestled in a music cradle in the study acting as my personal music player. If I need something, I can always go check the phone. I didn't bother with a lot of the apps - how many do I actually use? How many do you?

Back to writing my books. If you're interested in writing (or in my books!), you can check out my Writer's site, or even sign up for my Writer's newsletter.

Ever onward...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

iPhone to Droid - Part Three

I don't know if this is a mental shift away from Apple or not, but I even set up Darling's iMac to boot directly into her Windows partition. (See my Back From Mac post)

I am probably more driven by cost. My iPhone 4S was getting old and I had an almost new Galaxy S4 sitting on my desk.

I jumped ship from my iPhone to my Droid two weeks ago (and a day, but who's counting?). For over a year I tried to make a good, comprehensive plan for switching over, but my analysis paralysis became to obsessive. So I simply leaped from one to the other.

The initial shock is detailed in Part One, with some follow-up in Part Two.

 I have a few more observations...

I installed Pandora, Chromecast (for my Google Chromecast) and Netflix. With the latter two I can use the phone to stream movies to my television. How nice is that?

Wow, the Galaxy S4 drained power fast! I didn't even do much with it, but I knew something was going on because it sat in my pocket and got warm. Heat is a byproduct of inefficient energy usage - so the phone was doing something even though I didn't know what.

I'll admit, this isn't my biggest priority. I'm currently writing three books (at various speeds). The S4 makes phone calls and I get the occasional text, so I'm fine with the functionality. The power drain annoyed me, but not enough to actually do the research and make changes.

For those out there who are adept at the Droid phones - yes, I did use the Home button to shut down running programs, compulsively trying to conserve energy. I especially like the "Close All" selection. Apple™ could take notice of such a simple and effective addition.

I also used the Notification Window (dragging it down from the top of the screen by swiping downward) and looked for things that might be draining power. In fact, I also selected the "Power Saving" option.

Still, the phone drained quickly and stayed warm in my pocket. I set aside some research time and went after the probable causes.

The candidates jumped out at me when I knew where to look. In the upper right of the Notification Window is a small icon with tiny squares. Touching that gave me a look at some extended functions on my phone, ones I didn't see by scrolling left and right on the Notification Screen. Icons for "Air Gesture" and "Air View" both glowed green, showing them enabled. Turning those off seems to resolve the problem. The phone no longer gets warm in my pocket.

I sort of miss the companionable warmth. (Just kidding! The phone is neither kitten nor puppy, is it?)

On another note, the text in Messages became huge! Just look at the photo. I did it accidentally, but didn't know how to fix the problem. I researched that straight away, but it still took me a few hours to find the answer, hidden among all the billions and billions of bytes on the internet.

While looking at Messages you simply need to use the Volume Up and Down keys to change the font size.

One more thing. I wanted a screen shot to post the picture of the Messages screen in this post. Just like the iPhone, you have to press the home button and the power button at the same time to capture it. Just like the iPhone, that took a few tries.

On the iPhone, the screen capture goes to photos, where I can view it and send it. I went to the Photo app and it needed to do an update.

Of course it did.

Once updated, I scrolled through photos of a few years ago - pictures that Darling took when she first got the phone and before she switched to the S5. Nowhere did I see the screen capture.

The S4 did tell me it captured the screen to the clipboard. So I simply sent myself and email and pasted the screen shot into the message area. Problem solved. In fact, I like the Droid clipboard, since it kept a few items on the clipboard available for me to use.

What's next? I still don't have my music. I still haven't addressed the abandoned text messages from the iPhone 4S. Neither issue is critical. I still have the iPhone sitting on my desk.

It still has about 18% charge on it. I think I'll plug it in.

Final note:
The Lad updated his phone to a Galaxy S5 and doesn't seem to be having any problems at all. In fact, he totally rearranged all his apps so he is only two clicks away from anything and doesn't need to scroll from screen to screen. Here's what it looks like (and he said nothing about problems sending me the screen capture).

That's pretty clean. I like it.