News and the scriptures. Encourage one another in these days of chaos.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
If you question some things, I would say write down what you are feeling about yourself and God and why. Then set aside what people might say and how lousy you feel and seek God by way of the scriptures. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in all truth. Write down first what you think and feel and why and then on another list each of those things and write the TRUTH about each thing by what the word of God says. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Jesus Christ is both God and man in full. Consider that Jesus Christ is the kind of man, and the kind of God, that would suffer and die on a cross so that you would be made free. That Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God. His hope is still that you would be saved; a path made possible by Him alone. He is the same God today, and offers the same promise of eternal life to all who will believe in Him. Praise Jesus for He is worthy!
Verse/Commentary courtesy of ‘Verse-A-Day’ android app.
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!
Mark Sagar Made a Baby in His Lab. Now It Plays the Piano
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
Encourage one another!
Jas 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Jas 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Jas 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
Jas 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Jas 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Jas 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
I can remember that day 25 years ago like it was yesterday. My memory of about a 45-minute time span appears in my mind as a video from another perspective. It is like it was filmed by someone who was not even there and I was nothing but an actor. I could see it all as though I was about 15 feet above the unfolding drama.
I have had many things in my life prior to this moment that were very despairing and although they had a great impact on my life, they each almost made my heart or my attitude harden. I used each thing that hurt me deeply to build a wall so that would not happen to me again! What I did not realize was that hardening of one’s heart does not make one stronger. My heart was deceiving me. I would rise up and say…never again.
This day was different. This moment in time felt as though it destroyed me. It felt like someone reached inside of me and turned me inside out!
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1Pe 1:7 KJV
Faith? I have to ask myself as I look back on that time. How much faith did I have? At the same time it was perfect timing for God to allow this.
Have you heard the saying “be careful what you ask for because you just might get it”?
It had only been maybe 4 or 5 weeks or so before, I had been up late and as I turned the channels on TV I stopped on a channel of a man preaching. I felt convicted deeper than in the past. I fell to my knees in front of the couch and prayed so hard. Tears streamed down my face and I said change me, change my life, whatever it takes. I want my life to be yours. I meant it. I had said this before and meant it before but it felt deeper this time.
I remember the very next day I went to the mailbox and there was a letter written to me from my husband. (Yes, we were still living together he was just always working.) You can imagine my puzzlement. Why would my husband have mailed me a letter? It was thick and certainly not a one pager. I remember going to my bedroom and sitting on the bed and opening this and began to read it. My husband had been what I now call the CON-MAN. He was an excellent liar! Not something one usually wants to list on a resume’. I always caught him in lies. I would question him several ways so as not to end up thinking I was making more of something than I should be. I would ask it in so many ways that it would be clear and he would only hang himself. So, this was literally a suicide letter. (or was it really?) He was working for an insurance company and he began to tell how he had been embezzling from it, he had been scamming the system.
He also went all the way back to the beginning when we met. He came clean with lies he had told me. Things he made up about his life before he met me. I suppose these things were supposed to make me fall for him more? Those things would not have changed that I fell for him. But, at that moment they changed everything. WOW, I did not even know this man. We had a son together. Yet EVERYTHING that I still had thought was true about him was ALSO A LIE. Who was this man I was married to?
I remember crying out to the Lord God, sort of tears and laughter. “What God? I said to change my life but what is this??? What on earth do I do with this?”
Shortly after my mother and father in law came to my door. They had also received a letter. His boss had received a letter. (Personally, I think it was one more con because he knew he was about to get busted and so he was going to play on the emotions of those closest to him in order to get the sympathy to get him out of the hot water he had created for himself. You see his boss was also very close friends of his mom and dad and that is how he got the job in the first place. So, a letter to him would make sense. He would only fire him and charges for embezzlement would not happen.)
That is not what happened on June 11th. That was a few weeks before. He was supposed to be going to counseling and our marriage was totally over. This was all just a prelude to June 11th.
June 11th. It was only myself and my two sons at home in our small apartment that morning. I had a weight lifting bench set up between the kitchen and the living room. The phone rang and my oldest son (from a previous marriage) answered the phone. He was 9 and his little brother was 3. My son told me it was grandma (my mom). I was living in Michigan and my parents lived in Arkansas where I was born and raised. I get on the phone and my mom tells me she has bad news. Your daddy died this morning. WHAT?
I dropped the phone to the floor. I fell to the floor and just kept crying and screaming NO…NO…NOOOO. It was loud. Phone still laying in the floor where I dropped it, I was just screaming and ran through the living room and into my bedroom and fell onto the bed and cried and screamed until I got it all out. Then I just stopped. It was not real. I will never see my daddy again? Not him, God, why not mom….not my dad. (mom and I had always had issues…mom and daughter issues). I got up and went back to the phone. She told me she would let me know about arrangements. My two little boys had just sat down on that weight bench. They were sitting there when I ran into the bedroom. I can see them from the memory of that moment. They had to have been scared. They knew something horrible had to have happened. They had never seen me react like that. They were afraid to move, to say a word.
What was God doing? I asked Him to take my life a few weeks before and my life seemed to spiral even more out of control.
So, what do the scriptures say before this one I put at the beginning of this blog about trials?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1Pe 1:3 KJV
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 1Pe 1:4 KJV
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1Pe 1:5 KJV
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 1Pe 1:6 KJV
We see in verse 6 it says we BECAUSE OF verses 3-5 we will GREATLY REJOICE! BUT…now for a season (or a period of time…long or short), IF NEED BE, we will be in HEAVINESS (in the Greek means, sadness, sorrowfulness, distress, grieve).
Heaviness of what? Verse 6 says through manifold temptations. What does that mean?
Manifold – Of uncertain derivation; motley, that is, various in character: – divers, manifold. (Means many different; many different colors; many different things.)
Temptation- From G3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity: – temptation,
So, we during this time before Jesus Christ returns for His children we have a big chance of being saddened and distressed by many different temptations or trials. Temptations are as stated above trial by putting to proof by experiment of good or experience of evil. Solicitation, discipline or provocation by implication adversity…temptation.
As I said at the beginning of this blog, I had taken bad experiences and built up a wall saying NEVER AGAIN. Never again will someone hurt me like this. Never again will I be taken advantage of. Never again will I love someone to that degree. Never again will I be walked out on but I will walk out first. NEVER AGAIN.
After my dad died I began to learn I HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO TRUST AND LEAN ON GOD, JESUS CHRIST AS MY SAVIOUR. Faith would begin to grow. My life forever changed that day. It was a sad day but I would not change it for anything. I lost my daddy but I was truly beginning to be introduced to my eternal Father in Heaven!
Before watching this one in-particular I had told a friend that the 6 day war suddenly reminded me of how God created the world and all in it in 6 days and then rested on the 7th. That suddenly came to my mind and then after I watched this and it mentioned the same. I could not help but to cry as I heard the shofar blow after they reached the wailing wall.
Are you watching? Are you reading the word of God? It is time for much more to happen!
You don’t like Israel you say? You have a list of reasons?
I would say that we each need to pray that the Lord God would show us where we are wrong in any way we think. Pray for God to circumcise (cut away) our hearts of anything wicked, of anything not in line with the will of our Father in Heaven. You see, it really does not matter what we think but only matters what God Almighty desires. His way is perfect, ALWAYS. One day we will see that.
3 That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.
4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
5 And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
7 And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
8 And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.
9 And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Are you paying attention? Are you aware of what the Lord God says in the Holy Bible? Do you know what the Holy Bible says because YOU read it or because of maybe what you heard someone say? Or because you heard Oprah talk about ways to God or whatever your higher power might be?
Folks, not all will be saved. How do I know that? Gods word tells me that. I am not going to tell you how to believe or what to believe but I will say this. You better KNOW WHAT AND WHY you believe whatever it is that you do believe. As religions are working toward a conglomeration of sorts or so it appears anyway. It is important more so today than ever to know the truth! Do not be caught in the web of deception. It is so easy to listen to things even a pastor you trust might say and it will cause you to be deceived. KNOW WHAT AND WHY YOU BELIEVE AND HAVE FACTS TO BACK IT UP AND DO NOT PUT YOUR TRUST IN ANY MAN.
If you don’t know then pray and ask God to reveal Himself and His word and truth to you and repent and keep seeking Him with all your heart and soul. God bless each one of us and let us praise His name and give Him Glory in all we do!
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. – Luke 21:25-38 http://bit.ly/1ikExbO