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Microchips, Monitoring, and the Mark of the Beast

RFID implant, Author James Wisniewski (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Over the past few years, microchips equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) have become commonplace in animal shelters.  Implanted under an animal’s skin, RFID chips are a safe and reliable means of identifying and retrieving lost pets [1].

Now, a small number of companies have begun requiring that their employees implant microchips [2].

Designed to enable employees to gain access to secure areas and locked buildings, use copy machines, log into computers, and make purchases in the company break room, these chips are said to improve workplace efficiency.  Medical information can, also, be encoded.

Microchips (about the size of a grain of rice) are not large enough to contain current GPS hardware. The devices do not, therefore, have tracking capabilities…at least not presently. Read more…

Redemption

Art in Prison: Prison Artist Creates Moving Images of Christ Passion

Image by “Noel”, a prison artist in the Oregon Dept. of Corrections.  See, Prison Fellowship at https://www.prisonfellowship.org/2017/04/art-in-prison-prison-artist-christs-passion/.

Wildfires have ravaged the western United States this year [1].  Largely unheralded among those fighting the fires is a group of convicts.

The state of Oregon has a program in place which enlists the aid of willing prisoners to enlarge its firefighting force, in the process teaching them a trade [2A].

The aim of this program is to rehabilitate prisoners, many of whom are “adrenaline junkies”.  The program provides such prisoners a meaningful outlet.  Those who have committed homicide or sexual offenses are excluded from participation.

“This gives us a different opportunity, rather than going back to something that we already know, which is guns, gangs, violence and drugs.”

-Eddie Correia, serving 6 year term for assault [2B]

Like firefighters everywhere, these men risk their lives to protect the lives and property of their neighbors.  Some are assigned to pick up trash, serve food, and prove other support services.

Few of us give much thought to the rehabilitation of prisoners, particularly with government funds limited.  Scripture, however, makes clear that this is not God’s attitude.  Redemption is not limited, even if government funds are.

God considers every soul worth saving.

“ ‘…I was in prison and you came to Me…Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’ ” (Matt. 25: 36, 40).


[1]  CNET, “Latest on wildfires in California, Oregon and West. Plus, how to help” by Jackson Ryan and Alan Mack, 9/17/20, https://www.cnet.com/how-to/updates-on-wildfires-ravaging-california-oregon-and-west-and-how-to-help/.

[2]  ABC News (Reuters), “Oregon prison inmates find redemption, adrenaline in fighting fires”, 9/30/20, https://abcnews.go.com/US/oregon-prison-inmates-find-redemption-adrenaline-fighting-wildfires/story?id=73310741.

In what appeared an Islamic terrorist attack, a history teacher was beheaded this week in a Paris suburb for having discussed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class.  Our hearts go out to the family of the victim.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

Providence, Part 4 – Poverty

Beggar girl, Mumbai, India, Author Varun Chatterji (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

We conclude our series on God’s providence by addressing the subject of poverty.

Millions are born into abject poverty.  Is this a matter of random chance, perhaps the fate assigned them by a sentient universe?  Or is it karma, a consequence of their actions in a prior life, as Hindus and Buddhists believe?

And, if so, are the poor destined to live and die in poverty? Read more…

Providence, Part 3 – Crime

US Army CID agents at crime scene (PD as work product of federal govt.)

We continue our examination of God’s providence by turning to the subject of crime.

The victims of crime and their loved ones cry out to God for justice.  But, far too often, justice in this flawed world of ours is imperfect or delayed.

Depending on the crime, necessary proof may be difficult to come by.

A victim may not be able to identify his/her attacker or may not survive at all.  Witnesses may be intimidated or reluctant to come forward for other reasons.  Critical evidence may be lost or destroyed.  Perpetrators may relocate, or assume a new identity.  At times, the system, itself, is corrupt.

Yet, against all odds, impossibly “cold” cases are solved everyday. Read more…

Providence, Part 2 – The Holocaust

Child survivors of the Holocaust liberated at Auschwitz (1945), Source “A History of the Holocaust” by Yehuda Bauer (ISBN 0531155765), Author Alexander Voroncov (PD)

In our examination of providence, we turn now to focus on the Holocaust.

Six million Jewish men, women, and children – along with five million Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, disabled persons, and Roma gypsies – were systematically slaughtered by the Nazis.

Where was God while this happened?  Where was God’s providence?  Surely, He could have intervened to save His people.

As mentioned earlier in this series, God’s thoughts are not our own (Isa. 55: 8-9).  We can only surmise that He had a higher purpose to permit suffering on such a scale.  What we do know is that the Holocaust led to establishment of the modern state of Israel, and that God still loves the Jewish people.

As for the impossible act of forgiveness by Holocaust survivors, Corrie Ten Boom is among the prime examples.  Corrie forgave her guard at Ravensbruck.  She used as her example Christ, who forgave us.

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them.  Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more?  Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him…As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened.  From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.  And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

-Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

This series will continue next week with Part 3 – Crime

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

Providence, Part 1 – War

Mille Fleur Tapestry (16th Century), Victor and Albert Museum, London, Author Andrew Dunn (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Sometimes we can see the hand of God in events. Other times, the situation is not as clear.

At best, we see the reverse of an intricate tapestry, catch a glimpse of God’s overarching plan.  More often than not, we are left to draw our own conclusions.  That may actually grow our faith.

This series will examine the providential reversal of fortune, i.e. deliverance by the hand of God, in the context of war, the Holocaust, crime, and poverty.

Direct and Indirect Intervention

God can intervene in any circumstance.  He can intervene directly or indirectly. In the biblical heroine Esther’s case, for example, God intervened indirectly [1].  He did not move mountains or part waters.

That God does not intervene as or when we might wish does not mean He is uncaring.  His ways are higher than ours (Isa. 55: 8-9).

God allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery in Egypt, and did not immediately rescue him from prison.  Yet He did ultimately elevate Joseph to a position of power, using him for the good of many.

Always, God allows the individuals involved in events free will to make their own decisions.  That is a reflection of His great love for us.

American Revolution

During the American Revolution, George Washington’s escape from Brooklyn Heights to New York astonished the larger British force he was facing.

Washington managed to ferry some 9,000 troops, horses, cannons, and supplies across the East River under the cover of fog and darkness.  Had that evacuation not succeeded – had the fog not rolled in – the Revolution might well have ended then and there. Read more…

“Coronavirus – Oncoming Eviction Tidal Wave” by Ken Liu

“Homeless Jesus” sculpture by Timothy Schmalz, Barcelona, Spain, Author Canaan (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Below is a message from Ken Liu Esq., Legal Aid Director of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) https://www.christianlegalsociety.org/.

CLS members commit to seeking justice with the love of God.  (For more about Christian legal aid see above.)

Ken addresses the affordable housing crisis in this country, and the large number of evictions predicted as a result of Covid-19.  Please, pray for those impacted.

“As COVID-19 hit this spring and workers were let go by the millions across the country, the federal government and many state governments ordered moratoriums on evictions.  All of these moratoriums have either recently expired or about to expire, at the same time that extra federal unemployment benefits are also ending.  Even before the pandemic, 25% of all renters in the US were already overburdened, paying more than half their income in rent.

Some housing experts predict a tidal wave of evictions in the next few months, leading to massive homelessness.  Many of those affected will be minorities and households led by women, both of whom historically are more likely to be evicted.  Despite the federal moratorium that ended July 24, some landlords have raised rent, issued late fees, and initiated eviction proceedings earlier than the federal timeline, which requires 30 days notice for eviction.” Read more…

Food Justice

Fresh fruits and vegetables at a supermarket, Author Wolfmann (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

“The right of communities everywhere to produce, process, distribute, access, and eat good food regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, ability, religion, or community.”

-“food justice” as defined by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)[1]

“We weren’t the ones who made fresh food a luxury and junk food an easily obtained comfort.  We didn’t chase the grocery store out of …[the inner city] neighborhood…We weren’t responsible for the poverty that was eating the neighborhood like a cancer, leaving a generation of people exhausted and malnourished.”

-Harmony Cox [1A]

In an excellent article on Narratively, Harmony Cox makes the following points regarding food justice [1B]:

  • The link between poverty and obesity is not one of indolence.
  • There is an enormous divide between what those living in poverty are “supposed” to eat and what is actually available to them.
  • A food budget is more flexible than pre-determined expenses like rent. For that reason, it is frequently the first thing a family living in poverty will cut when trying to save money.

Read more…

The Flying Scotsman

Eric Liddell at British v. US Relays (1924), Source http://lewishamlegacy.wdfiles.com (PD)

“One word stands out from all others as the key to knowing God, to having his peace and assurance in your heart; it is OBEDIENCE…OBEDIENCE to God’s Will is the secret of spiritual knowledge and insight.  It is not willingness to know, but willingness to DO God’s Will that brings certainty.”

-Eric Liddell, “The Key to Knowing God”

Eric Liddell was a beloved Scottish rugby player and track star, a British Olympic gold medalist, and a Christian missionary, memorialized in the film “Chariots of Fire” [1][2].

Born to missionary parents in China, Liddell displayed early athletic prowess.  While still at the University of Edinburgh, Liddell became widely known as the fastest runner in Scotland, justifiably earning his nickname as “the Flying Scotsman” (a reference to the famous express train between London and Edinburgh).

At the 1924 Paris Olympics, Liddell refused to break the Sabbath, withdrawing from the 100 meter qualifying heat and forfeiting his best chance for gold.  Liddell, nonetheless, went on to win a gold medal – in record-breaking time – in the 400 meter race, not his favored distance.

In 1925, Liddell returned to China to follow in his parents’ footsteps.  When in 1941 the government warned British nationals of increasing Japanese aggression, Liddell’s wife Florence and their children left for Canada.  But Liddell stayed on in the missionary field.

In 1943, he was imprisoned at Weihsien Internment Camp.  There he became a leader and organizer of the captives – assisting the elderly, arranging games for the young, as well as teaching science and Bible study.

Liddell died at Weihsien of a brain tumor at the age of 43, his faith undaunted.  Overwork and malnourishment may have contributed to his death.

Langdon Gilkey, a fellow prisoner who survived the camp to become a theologian, said of Liddell:  “It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint, but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known.”

Outstanding for both his character and accomplishments, Eric Liddell remains an inspiration.

[1]  Wikipedia, “Eric Liddell”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Liddell.

[2]  Duncan Hamilton, For the Glory:  The Untold and Inspiring Story of Eric Liddell, Hero of Chariots of Fire (2017).

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

Religious Spam

Do a Google search on “religion” and you are likely to come across thousands of posts decrying religion.

White Noise

Unbelievers often hold Christian proselytizing efforts in contempt, characterizing such efforts as unwanted messaging – more of a nuisance than anything else.  In short, as religious spam, the equivalent of white noise.

Encyclopedia Salesmen

Missionaries (however sincere, however well-intentioned) are viewed as encyclopedia salesmen, hawking an unnecessary, outdated, and costly product.  Their pitch is compared to cheesy advertising; the Gospel, reduced to a secret handshake; and tithing, seen as “pay to play”.

The Great Commission

“ ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…’ ” (Mark 28: 19).

Why should this matter to Christians?  The answer, of course, is that Christ instructed us to spread the Good News of Salvation to all the world.  We have been commissioned by Christ, Himself; charged with accomplishing a sacred task.

How then can we accomplish the task more effectively?

Led by the Spirit

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom 8: 14).

As sons and daughters of God, believers are led by the Spirit [1].  The Spirit’s direction extends to witnessing (Acts 1: 8).  We must pray for obedience and boldness to follow the Spirit’s direction.

But boldness does not exclude sensitivity. Read more…