Human or Is It Artificial Intelligence? Should We Be Asking Now?

What is your preferred gender pronoun?

Which restroom do you FEEL like you need to use today?

Do you have an online chat with a customer service rep?

They really need to connect with us more on a human level so we can take ‘them’ seriously.  Right?  NOT TO WORRY…nope!  They are working on that right now.  Please…read this article.  Read it twice.  Then read it again.

Are you ready?  Things are getting creepier by the day!

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Sagar and BabyX in Soul Machines’ Auckland office.

Photographer: Ian Teh for Bloomberg Businessweek

Mark Sagar Made a Baby in His Lab. Now It Plays the Piano

The AI genius, who has built out his virtual BabyX from a laughing, crying head, sees a symbiotic relationship between humans and machines.

People get up to weird things in New Zealand. At the University of Auckland, if you want to run hours upon hours of experiments on a baby trapped in a high chair, that’s cool. You can even have a conversation with her surprisingly chatty disembodied head.

BabyX, the virtual creation of Mark Sagar and his researchers, looks impossibly real. The child, a 3D digital rendering based on images of Sagar’s daughter at 18 months, has rosy cheeks, warm eyes, a full head of blond hair, and a soft, sweet voice. When I visited the computer scientist’s lab last year, BabyX was stuck inside a computer but could still see me sitting in front of the screen with her “father.” To get her attention, we’d call out, “Hi, baby. Look at me, baby,” and wave our hands. When her gaze locked onto our faces, we’d hold up a book filled with words (such as “apple” or “ball”) and pictures (sheep, clocks), then ask BabyX to read the words and identify the objects. When she got an answer right, we praised her, and she smiled with confidence. When she got one wrong, chiding her would turn her teary and sullen.

If it sounds odd to encounter a virtual child that can read words from a book, it’s much more disorienting to feel a sense of fatherly pride after she nails a bunch in a row and lights up with what appears to be authentic joy. BabyX and I seemed to be having a moment, learning from each other while trading expressions and subtle cues so familiar to the human experience. That’s the feeling Sagar is after with his research and his new company Soul Machines Ltd.

The term “artificial intelligence” has become a catchall for impersonal, mysterious calculations performed behind closed doors. Huge farms of computers crank away at piles of data, using statistics to analyze our internet history, driving habits, and speech to produce targeted ads, better maps, and Apple Inc.’s Siri. This sense of AI as an amorphous shadow falling over more and more of our lives has left people from Stephen Hawking to Elon Musk skeptical of the technology, which tends to feel unnatural, somehow less than real.

Sagar is a leading figure in the camp trying to humanize AI, which he says has the potential to yield a more symbiotic relationship between humans and machines. While he wasn’t the first to this idea, his approach is unique, a synthesis of his early years as a computer scientist and later ones in the world of Hollywood special effects. The face, he’s concluded, is the key to barreling through the uncanny valley and making virtual beings feel truly lifelike. Soul Machines’ creations are unparalleled in this respect, able to wince and grin with musculature and features that move shockingly like ours. They have human voices, too, and are already contracted for use as online helpers for companies ranging from insurance providers to airlines. Soul Machines wants to produce the first wave of likable, believable virtual assistants that work as customer service agents and breathe life into hunks of plastic such as Amazon.com’s Echo and Google Inc.’s Home.

Source: Soul Machines

Companies with similar aspirations throughout Japan and the U.S. have produced a wide array of virtual avatars, assistants, and holograms. Many of the people behind these projects say AI systems and robots can achieve their full potential only if they become more humanlike. They need to have memories, the thinking goes, plus something resembling emotions, to propel them to seek out their own experiences.

Sagar’s approach on this front may be his most radical contribution to the field. Behind the exquisite faces he builds are unprecedented biological models and simulations. When BabyX smiles, it’s because her simulated brain has responded to stimuli by releasing a cocktail of virtual dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin into her system. This is part of Sagar’s larger quest, using AI to reverse-engineer how humans work. He wants to get to the roots of emotion, desire, and thought and impart the lessons to computers and robots, making them more like us.

“Since my 20s, I’ve had these thoughts of can a computer become intelligent, can it have consciousness, burning in my mind,” he says. “We want to build a system that not only learns for itself but that is motivated to learn and motivated to interact with the world. And so I set out with this crazy goal of trying to build a computational model of human consciousness.”

Here’s what should really freak you out: He’s getting there a lot quicker than anybody would have thought. Since last year, BabyX has, among other things, sprouted a body and learned to play the piano. They grow up so fast.

Unlike most of those working in Silicon Valley, Sagar doesn’t reflexively defer to engineering. “When scientists see the world and artists see the world, they are looking at the same thing,” he says, “using a different language and viewpoint to describe it. But it’s all true. Everything is interconnected.”

He got that idea early. When he was born in Nairobi in 1966, his father was working for the East African Railways and Harbours Corp. as a systems analyst, programming punch-card computers to run the train infrastructure. His mother, a painter, took him to game reserves every Thursday to practice drawing animals. A few years later, the family moved to New Zealand, where Sagar started helping his dad DIY around the house—fixing the TV, monkeying with the plumbing, tuning up the cars. He kept honing his drawing skills, too, paying particular attention to his mom’s portrait work. “She was able to almost capture somebody’s likeness with about three lines, getting someone’s curves just right,” he says. “It made me really conscious of the importance of the exact curves of people’s eyes and mouths and things like that.”

Sagar made use of those observations as a young man abroad, when he sketched portraits for cash on the street and in restaurants. Like many youngsters from his part of the world, he took an extended break between high school and college. For four years he crisscrossed the globe, drawing, bartending, selling door to door, even filling sandbags for the Australian army to pay his way. After returning to New Zealand, he earned a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Auckland, then pursued postdoctoral work at MIT. In Massachusetts, he and some colleagues built digital models of the human eye that were detailed and lifelike enough for surgeons to use for practice. By 1998, Hollywood had called on Sagar to try to make computer-generated imagery, or CGI, look less CG.

His first project was a remake of The Incredible Mr. Limpet, which called for Sagar’s team to morph Jim Carrey into a talking fish capable of hunting Nazi U-boats. (Yes, really. The original starred Don Knotts.) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. abandoned the project after paying for $10 million in digital Carrey-fish expressions, deeming it too costly for a full-length film. Sagar, however, wasn’t ready to stop working on digital faces. For a couple of years he used the creatures as the basis of a virtual assistant startup called Life F/X and had his faces read emails aloud. The company died with the dot-com bubble, so Sagar took a job doing special effects for Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. (Spider-Man 2). That made him well-known in the movie business and led him back to New Zealand in 2004.

Source: Soul Machines

At Weta Digital, the effects shop run by Lord of the Rings director and fellow Kiwi Peter Jackson, Sagar won two Academy Awards in seven years, overseeing the digital character creation for Jackson’s King Kong remake and James Cameron’s Avatar. His synthesis of engineering and artistry had provided him with an advantage in making Kong and the alien Na’vi seem real. Years of drawing portraits and crafting virtual eyeballs had given him insights into the nuances of the face that are uncommon among CGI specialists, while his effects software has made it relatively easy to film an actor going through a range of emotions and to automatically fuse the expressions into, say, a giant gorilla. “It’s these almost imperceptible movements in the eye and face that we pick up on as something having a soul behind it,” he says.

Feeling he’d solved the riddles of the face, Sagar dreamed bigger. He’d kept an eye on advancements in AI technology and saw an opportunity to marry it with his art. In 2011 he left the film business and returned to academia to see if he could go beyond replicating emotions and expressions. He wanted to get to the heart of what caused them. He wanted to start modeling humans from the inside out.

At the University of Auckland, Sagar created the Laboratory for Animate Technologies and recruited about a dozen researchers. Far from Weta—or his Life F/X office on Hollywood Boulevard, with Bob Marley’s star out front—the Animate team worked in a cramped room kept permanently hot and sticky by the heat from their powerful computers. When I saw the space last year, the engineers were surrounded by giant animated faces projected onto the walls, every pore and eyebrow hair distinctly rendered. Far from being lifeless, the faces appeared eager to strike up conversations, their muscles contracting and relaxing with each breath.

At the back corner of the lab, Sagar sat amid a clutter of notes and books such as The Archaeology of Mind and Principles of Computational Modelling in Neuroscience. It was there, on his pair of massive computer monitors, that he put BabyX through her virtual paces. The baby represented the culmination of much of the lab’s efforts, combining Sagar’s facial artistry with the latest in AI learning and speech software. Underneath that cherubic face, there was also some pioneering, and borderline horrifying, technology.

With a click of his mouse, Sagar stripped away BabyX’s skin, leaving a floating pair of eyes—bloody veins and all—attached to a finely detailed brain with a brain stem running down the back. This version of BabyX could still see out into the world and interact with us. When we showed her words, the part of the brain that deals with language glowed purple. When we praised her, the pleasure center lit up yellow. “Researchers have built lots of computational models of cognition and pieces of this, but no one has stuck them together,” he said. “This is what we’re trying to do: wire them together and put them in an animated body. We are trying to make a central nervous system for human computing.”

Sagar clicked again, and the tissue of the brain and eyes vanished to reveal an intricate picture of the neurons and synapses within BabyX’s brain—a supercomplex highway of fine lines and nodules that glowed with varying degrees of intensity as BabyX did her thing. This layer of engineering owes its existence to the years Sagar’s team spent studying and synthesizing the latest research into how the brain works. The basal ganglia connect to the amygdala, which connects to the thalamus, and so on, with their respective functions (tactile processing, reward processing, memory formation) likewise laid out. In other words, the Auckland team has built what may be the most detailed map of the human brain in existence and has used it to run a remarkable set of simulations.

BabyX isn’t just an intimate picture; she’s more like a live circuit board. Virtual hits of serotonin, oxytocin, and other chemicals can be pumped into the simulation, activating virtual neuroreceptors. You can watch in real time as BabyX’s virtual brain releases virtual dopamine, lighting up certain regions and producing a smile on her facial layer. All the parts work together through an operating system called Brain Language, which Sagar and his team invented. Since we first spoke last year, his goals haven’t gotten any more modest. “We want to know what makes us tick, what drives social learning, what is the nature of free will, what gives rise to curiosity and how does it manifest itself in the world,” he says. “There are these fantastic questions about the nature of human beings that we can try and answer now because the technology has improved so much.”

Source: Soul Machines

Not long after my first play date with BabyX, Sagar packed up his lab and researchers and moved them to the top floor of Auckland’s iconic Ferry Building, where he started Soul Machines to commercialize his team’s breakthroughs. By his standards, the near-term commercial applications are pretty straightforward. About 45 staffers, including artists, AI experts, language experts, and coders, are building a cast of virtual assistants. For the most part, these are refined versions of Sagar’s Hollywood work, only they’re smart enough to understand spoken language and respond to queries, with less of the creep factor characteristic of virtual people.

The first face Soul Machines revealed to the world, in February, is Nadia, a pretty white woman with pulled-back brown hair, greenish eyes, pink lipstick, and Cate Blanchett’s voice. Sagar’s team developed her for Australia’s National Disability Insurance Agency, which plans to employ her as an online aid for the country’s 500,000 people with disabilities. The hope is that those interacting with Nadia on the agency’s website will find her more personable and usable than text-based chatbots or the menu trees on its automated phone line.

The interactivity goes both ways, according to Sagar. Nadia gives a subtle nod to signal understanding and appears quizzical when confused, but she also interprets viewers’ expressions through the cameras on their PCs or mobile devices. “If you look confused, it can see that and proactively guide you,” Sagar says. “You can also still yell at these things, but they will respond in the most gracious way. People are good at dealing with irate customers and adjust their body language for the situation. We can do the same thing.”

Sagar had some help with Nadia, using International Business Machines Corp.’s Watson technology as the basis for her speech recognition. His company recruited Blanchett to spend 15 hours recording phrases that the software can turn into a much wider variety of responses to questions. Nadia has already been tested on 10,000 people, who taught her to refine her answers and the emotions she displays at certain times. The Australian government expects her to start full-time work early next year.

Soul Machines has 10 trials under way with airlines, health-care providers, and financial-services firms. In the early going, the company’s biggest test will be whether users find its software realistic enough to be as satisfying as human conversation. Even successful customer-relations experiences with chatbots, ones where the bot gives the right answer, tend to leave people dissatisfied because they feel like they’ve been pawned off on an inferior being.

Source: Soul Machines

For now, Sagar’s team has been developing each of its first few virtual assistants in a one-off fashion, a bit like a consulting company. “Most of our clients today see their first digital employee as an extension of their brand,” says Chief Business Officer Greg Cross. “They are going through a design process that is similar to selecting a spokesperson for your TV advertising campaign.”

To make its process easier to repeat, Soul Machines is writing character creation software that reduces development to a series of simple menus. By sliding a few dials, Sagar can transform a young, thin avatar into an older, chubbier one and alter complexion and other features. Each menu-built result looks as lifelike as a character that a film production or video game developer might spend millions of dollars and many months to create. The company has paid actors to record hundreds of hours of monologue, assembling an audio library it can use to give voice to characters such as a troll meant for a client in Scandinavia or an animated, anthropomorphic strawberry that’ll be used on an educational site for children.

As the technology matures, Cross expects it to travel further from the PC screen. Automakers are already thinking about the characters fielding questions and answers from riders on screens in their self-driving cars. Similarly, Amazon, Apple, and Google parent Alphabet will likely want faces to go with their voice-activated virtual assistants. “We’re also exploring the idea of creating a digital celebrity,” Cross says. “What if you could take one of the top recording artists or sports people and build a digital version that fans could interact with in a very emotionally intelligent way?”

Like Cross, Sagar often appears oblivious that his pitch might sound creepy. In August, when I pay a visit to Soul Machines to see Sagar’s latest creations, he’s wearing a T-shirt that depicts two fetuses sharing a womb, arranged head-to-toe in a kind of yin-yang pose. One of the fetuses is human; the other has a distinctly artificial brain filled with circuitry. He wanted to make this design the company logo. The investors who gave him $7.5 million last November said no.

Sagar comes off like a visionary academic, at times almost possessed. Ask a basic question, and you’re likely to get an impassioned 30-minute response that weaves in AI, art, psychology, and Plato. It’s hard to imagine this man holding court with a car insurer, trying to sell a suit-wearing executive on a virtual avatar, without things getting weird. But Sagar says he relishes the commercial part of the business, because it’s helping him better understand what people like and don’t like about his avatars and zero in on the finer details of interpersonal interactions.

Version 5.0 of BabyX has gone far beyond the original floating head. BabyX now has a full body that sits in a high chair, legs bobbing back and forth while her hands look for something to do. For the next part, you’ll want to sit down and grab a pacifier, too.

Source: Soul Machines

Sagar’s software allows him to place a virtual pane of glass in front of BabyX. Onto this glass, he can project anything, including an internet browser. This means Sagar can present a piano keyboard from a site such as Virtual Piano or a drawing pad from Sketch.IO in front of BabyX to see what happens. It turns out she does what any other child would: She tries to smack her hands against the keyboard or scratch out a shabby drawing.

What compels BabyX to hit the keys? Well, when one of her hands nudges against a piano key, it produces a sound that the software turns into a waveform and feeds into her biological simulation. The software then triggers a signal within BabyX’s auditory system, mimicking the hairs that would vibrate in a real baby’s cochlea. Separately, the system sets off virtual touch receptors in her fingers and releases a dose of digital dopamine in her simulated brain. “The first time this happens, it’s a huge novelty because the baby has not had this reaction before when it touched something,” Sagar says. “We are simulating the feeling of discovery. That changes the plasticity of the sensory motor neurons, which allows for learning to happen at that moment.”

Does the baby get bored of the piano like your non-Mozart baby? Yes, indeed. As she bangs away at the keys, the amount of dopamine being simulated within the brain receptors decreases, and BabyX starts to ignore the keyboard.

Sagar has teamed up with Annette Henderson, a psychologist who runs a baby research lab in Auckland, to advance the technology. Henderson has filmed hundreds of hours of interactions between babies and caregivers while performing different experiments, such as teaching a baby a new word or ignoring him for a few minutes. The children’s response data—laughs, cries, hand movements, shifts in posture—are being digitized to create a better-informed behavioral model. “We know the exact movements, microexpressions, and responses,” Sagar says. “When we build our next models for BabyX, we should be able to generate this same behavior.”

In about 18 months, Henderson plans to use an upgraded version of BabyX to run experiments with caregivers and other children. She sees the virtual baby as a way to test new theories in previously unimaginable ways, by altering thousands of variables at will—what if a baby doesn’t smile, what if she won’t hold your gaze, and so on. Studying a virtual child’s response to stimuli, she says, may help researchers understand how to better engage with flesh-and-blood children who aren’t particularly social.

In return, Sagar gets to advance his quest to understand human nature. “We can record the mother interacting with a virtual baby and keep adding features to BabyX until she is so lifelike that we get a natural interaction,” he says. “At that point, we have achieved our goal.”

And then what?

Source: Soul Machines

Many of the world’s leading brain researchers have come away impressed by the types of simulations Sagar and other AI optimists are building. “I spend more and more time with these guys,” says Gary Lynch, a professor of neurobiology at the University of California at Irvine. “This is all real. It’s not an academic enterprise any longer.” The problem with work like Sagar’s, as Lynch sees it, is that the end result—a truly conscious virtual baby—is so complex and unique that it’s not a useful mirror of human behavior. “It will do something that nobody ever dreamed of,” he says. “It will head out the door and say, ‘Goodbye. I have stuff I want to do.’ ”

Other researchers caution that Sagar could be misleading people about the state of the technology through his cute, intricate faces. “Westerners tend to want to anthropomorphize these things, and we can get very enchanted by them,” says Ken Goldberg, a professor of industrial engineering and operations research at University of California at Berkeley. “If you make it look human and act human, you almost have a double responsibility to be clear about its limitations.” He applauds Sagar for doing this type of research but doesn’t want people to get false hope about the near-term benefits of such technology. Sagar has a tendency to talk as though BabyX can already do all the things he’s dreaming.

While it seems reasonable to assume Sagar’s endgame is a world that ties humans inextricably with machines, he often spends weekends in the wilderness to get away from computers, and he won’t let his kids use the internet at night. This isn’t exactly the type of behavior one might expect from someone pushing AI as fast as he can into the unknown and hoping for the best. During one of our conversations, I point out that tales such as Frankenstein don’t usually end up well for the humans. “We’re not digging up dead bodies,” he says, neatly dodging the real moral of the playing-God story.

You don’t have to be paranoid to believe the rise of AI could turn out quite badly for humans. The computers might start making decisions for themselves, and those decisions could include things detrimental to mankind. One minute, BabyX is eating a virtual pudding cup off a website; the next, she’s sold your house for personal amusement or decided she should be in charge.

Sagar remains sanguine about the lessons AI can learn from us and vice versa. “We’re searching for the basis of things like cooperation, which is the most powerful force in human nature,” he says. As he sees it, an intelligent robot that he’s taught cooperation will be easier for humans to work with and relate to and less likely to enslave us or harvest our bodies for energy. “If we are really going to take advantage of AI, we’re going to need to learn to cooperate with the machines,” he says. “The future is a movie. We can make it dystopian or utopian.” Let’s all pray for a heartwarming comedy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Family 

I only want to say thank you to my heavenly family!  

The family I have in this world, the one I was born into, the one I married into, the ones I gave birth to.  I feel like I don’t belong in any sectors of my family in this life.  

I can relate to what Jesus was speaking in Matthew 12:48-50.

God is Shaking America 

This morning I was having coffee trying to wake up and planning to drive to Tennessee to visit grandkids and son and daughter in law who are serving in the military. 


I also thought back on this day 34 years ago when my first son was born!  He is a fine man. Also serving in the military and based out of Norfolk.  He shook my world 34 years ago!  This morning sitting in our living room my morning violently shook again!   I am in my 50’s and about 5 years ago we had 2 earthquakes in Oklahoma within a 2 week period that I felt in Arkansas. First time I had ever felt one in Arkansas.   This morning again,  Oklahoma had a 5.6 and in our house we heard a loud roar and windows were rattling and it literally felt like a truck ran into our home!  I kid you not!  I screamed and ran to my husband who was in the bathroom,  and yelled WHAT WAS THAT?  He said, “it is an earthquake”!  I really thought something hit the house! 

It is crazy.  I don’t care why it is explained.  Don’t care that people will say it’s fracking. Does it really matter?   Jesus Christ told us.  His word is true.  I can’t help but wonder if most people just blow it off.  We all better be taking inventory in our lives.   JESUS IS COMING BACK! 

Matthew 24:4-8

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Like a Family Quilt 

We cry out and we are saved and then what?

1 John 4:15 

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

Romans 10:9-13

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Galatians 6:1-2

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Jude 1:22-23

And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

 

Comparison

I am a person who likes to quilt.  I am nor the best but I have made some pretty nice ones for a beginner who for the most part was self taught.   Thanks for you tube videos and the tips I have found from many who are professionals!

So we have the quilt that is so worn and soft and it is used often. Then we have the quilt that IS very beautiful but it seems to be stuck up in the top shelf of the closet and the closet that is located in the bedroom that is vacant and rarely occupied even for a night.

I wonder if Christians can define themselves as the quilt that is accessible and used often or as the one hidden in the top of a closet that is rarely even seen?

It is interesting how maybe we think we are doing well by putting the beautiful quilt away for that special guest that might stop in one day.  Ironically they would probably want the one that the rest of the family goes for.  The nice soft and comfortable and the accessible one.

The quilts might be likened unto two grandmothers.  One is accessible and one is not.  One is comforting and the other is not.   The one that is soft and accessible and often used for comfort, just to be wrapped up in love.  That one probably has much wisdom to share.  She has many family stories to share.  She shares family history.  The one that is rarely used is a little stiff.   Can it be likened to a person that makes you feel a little like you are intruding on them and therefore they simply feel they would do you a favor and fold you back up and put you back up in the dark top shelf of the closet?

God created both.  Both cried out to God that they might be saved.  God called both to go out and comfort many.  God desires both to be used for the glory of the Lord.

It may not be easy for the quilt in the dark closet.  Maybe it longs to share the warmth that God gave it to share.  Perhaps it was in a home for most of the folded years where no one wanted to see it or hear from it so opening up is not as easy for it.  Maybe the one that is so wonderfully used never lived a moment being folded up and stuck in darkness and therefore is confident and comfortable being around everyone.  The one in the closet might be yearning for someone to get it out and wash it a time or two help it, diciple it.

We may cry out to the Lord and He does hear our cry and He saves us but then what?   Most need someone who is able to take them out of the darkness and into the light and show them the ropes.   Soon that quilt might be comfortable and accessible too.  If you are saved and no one cares about you right after then you are more than likely going to go back into the darkness where you feel accepted.  It isn’t where we are called to be but for many of us we are still too vulnerable to be in the light without someone walking with us and showing us the next steps in our journey with the Lord.

As Christians we are all part of the blocks that are sewn together.  Together we can make that family quilt.  Do you see someone who might be gravitating back into the dark closet?  Are you standing around gossiping about them and saying how they must have never been saved?  Are you going to them and helping them feel accepted in their new walk so they don’t end up vulnerable and more comfortable in the place they first started.

Matthew 12:43-45

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Jude 1:22-23

And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
I  will end with this praise to the Lord.

Jude 1:24-25

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

I Needed this Today

I  felt do attacked today.  This was the encouragement I needed!  A reminder of who I am and who I belong to!

Numbers 6:22-27
The Lord said to Moses,  “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:  “‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’  “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

Commentary
Lord God, we praise your name! We are so grateful that you have put your name on us through Christ Jesus. Through His gift of the Holy Spirit, our seal in Christ, we look to you and desire to be a people that is after your heart; boldly and truthfully sharing the gospel message. Protect us from pride, deceit, and buying lies that seek to destroy our faith and trust in you. Thank you that you are with us, Lord God, and thank you that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39 paraphrased)

Verse/Commentary courtesy of ‘Verse-A-Day’ android app.
http://www.verse-a-day.com/Apps

John Haller Prophecy Update: Strong Delusion March 27th, 2016

I will say that I believe it to be very important to watch at least from 39 minute mark. A couple of minutes in that spot might make you think you have already heard it but it is important as John Haller continues with the next segment on whom he met.

Did You Not Know?

Life.
Hope.
Future.
Mistakes.
Left Empty.
Help someone.  Tell someone.

Jesus restores your future and hope and your life.  He is going to return one day.  Ready or not….

What Have You Read Lately?

Frustrated Because They Don’t Listen?

I bet we have all experienced this feeling.  We try to get our family or friends to understand the time in which we live.  We try to make them see they need to know the Lord.  We try to make them understand there is so much more to this life or more importantly  the eternal one  We try to get them to realize they need a  Saviour.  We maybe push too much.  Our frustration may begin to show.  Do we sometimes act like WE are their hope?  If they don’t listen to us then is it all over?

I think we  often do that without meaning to.  Without realizing we might create more harm.

This scripture speaks to me. It takes a load off my shoulders too. Put my focus back on simply loving the Lord and people and plant a seed and then move along. I no longer need to stand over the seed with my hoe and a water hose waiting on it to shoot up out of the ground immediately before me.  How much time am I wasting? I could be planting another seed.  We are nothing but servants and the Lord does the important work. Do you think sometimes the Lord wants to say “Enough already. ..move on”?

1 Corinthians 3:5-9
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.  I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.  So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
COMMENTARY
Here Paul describes a co-operative effort, not by the design of men, but that it is God’s design to have them plant and water together. To plant a seed, God must make the soil (people’s hearts) ready and open to receive it. The watering and caring for a seed once planted is something only the power of God can accomplish, and it is an amazing work by done by the Holy Spirit through various avenues. The point is that the apostles are in service to the same God through Jesus Christ, and that these early believers were theirs to care for.

Verse/Commentary courtesy of ‘Verse-A-Day’ android app.

Our Savior! He Lives!

The song at the end was posted by “RevelationNow101”.

Revelation 22

1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

 

The Time Is Near
6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.

” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book
.”
8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”

Jesus Testifies to the Churches
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, hand may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

A Warning
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

I Am Coming Quickly
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Listening to the World?

Tonight I am still thinking about the same verse from yesterday.  Sometimes I read a verse and really only see one thing and them look at it another time and see something different.  Yesterday my mind was focused on shouting out to the Lord and to continue doing so and keep the faith.  I missed something.  Today I read the verse again and this time the following jumped out at me.  “The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet.”  I immediately thought about how that reminds me of the world around us.  Think about it.  We have called out once and nothing.  Again we wonder if the Lord hears us and then we allow the world to infiltrate our minds.  We turn on the TV and watch things that steal our hope and faith and replace them with doubt.  Let’s face it, TV today is not the Waltons or Leave it to Beaver or Little House on the Prairie.  Today you get a lot of trash.  Movies or sitcoms or talk shows tell us everything is ok and cool and acceptable.   Most of which the word of God clearly says is not His way.  Maybe the crowd is the world around us and is whispering to you instead of shouting.  Maybe putting doubt in place of hope and faith.  Maybe you find yourself thinking like the world and that you must be crazy to keep asking God to help.  Perhaps this is all non existent.  BE CAREFUL BECAUSE YOU WOULD BE LISTENING TO THE CROWD...the crowd that was telling the blind men to shut up.  Keep crying out and don’t listen to the world.

Matthew 20:29-34
As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him.

Deception. Don’t Be Your Own Problem.

Am I alone?  I find it sobering to think we could be deceiving ourselves.  Fool yourself into thinking you are doing just fine.  What does the word of God say?

James 1:22-25
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
COMMENTARY
Our faith in Christ must collide with appropriate action. Living for Christ implies repentance and the birth of a new creation. A hunger is born for the things of God, and to live according to the new life that is found in Christ. The forgetful listener is the person who attends church every week and listens to the word, but never engages the message toward life change. The Word of God is designed to be lived out, and the hearing of the Word is a catalyst to that change. Satan continues to sabotage your life after you have heard the good news. Disregard the lies and live out the truth!

Verse/Commentary courtesy of ‘Verse-A-Day’ android app.
http://www.verse-a-day.com/Apps

Anyone guilty?

James 3:7-9 ()
7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.A)’> 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in Gods likeness.B)’>Cross references:James 3:8 : Ps 140:3; Ro 3:13 #Bible http://mydailybible.org/dv/niv/2014-07-18.htm