UN unveils plan to release untapped wealth of...$7 trillion 

There was a time in my life where I obssessed over the end times. I was constantly looking for the "signs" and what not, until I realized that really every generation since Christ ascended into heaven has wondered if He was coming back in their day. It's no different today with the Irvin Baxter's of the world constantly preaching end times this and end times that, but never offering any hope of how to be saved from the wrath of God against sin. Well that's another point ...

My main point is that though I'm not one of those guys just banging the drums of eschatology day in and day out, this particular article really caught my attention, because it involves the UN essentially stating the concept of the nation-state should be revoked by nations of the world in order to bring about more prosperity on the earth, economically. So here it is, tell me what you think. I find it quite interesting, though it still could be several hundred or several thousand years before the end actually comes.

UN unveils plan to release untapped wealth of...$7 trillion (and solve the world's problems at a stroke)
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Alito Filibuster Fails 

Alito Filibuster Fails, Confirmation Vote Expected Tuesday

That's right dude! Booya! Tip that Court ...

Update 1/31/06 10:58 am ...

He's officially been confirmed by the Senate. Rock on.

Alito Confirmed as Nation's 110th Supreme Court Justice

Update 2/10/06 3:54 pm ...

Well, it appears he may not be as close to the right as I thought ...
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Some of My Favorite Net Radio Stations 

SomaFM.com >
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CliqHop 128 kbps
DroneZone 128 kbps
GrooveSalad 128 kbps
BeatBlender 128 kbps

RadioIO.com
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Ambient - RadioIO.com
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My Laptop is About to Drive Me Insane 

I've been having this problem with my laptop where I'm just doing my normal thing and for no stinkin' reason, it just shuts off, instantaneously, with no warning. It first started happening at work, so I thought maybe it had to do with the power outlet I was plugged into. So I switched out the plug to a different outlet. No go. It did it again. After that I then attempted to switch out power strips. No go. I then took it home and it did it there too! I took the battery out, unplugged it from the wall, and just let it sit for about five minutes thinking maybe it just needed the electrons to fully drain out of it (due to possible static build-up or whatever). After I did that, I carried along with my business for a while, but then it happened again and again, both at work and home. So I'm thinking maybe there's an issue with the power regulation on the laptop. It doesn't seem to be the power cable for the laptop itself either because I have two different power cords, one at work (in my docking station) and one at home. Argh. That's my frustrated rant for the day. Oh Lord, be my light, and sanctify me in the midst of frustrating, insignificant issues like this, that I may not burn with anger because I don't get what I want in my way, but that I might turn from myself and give you glory and be satisfied by You. I pray You work in me to put my theology into practice.
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Jesus as Man, and Jesus as God 

Studying through Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, I have now arrived to the section on the hypostatic union of Christ, or that Jesus exists as both fully man and fully God, consisting in one person, our Lord Jesus Christ. Though this is incomprehensible to the natural human mind as to how this can be reconciled, it is something confirmed in the Scriptures to which we must reverently submit to. But how can that be? That's what the word says, we submit to it, and leave it there. There are many things within Scripture that are so, yet seem to be impossible in the reality in which we find ourselves. One example is the Trinity. There is only one God. This one God exists as three persons in one, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And yet He is one. He has always been this way. These things are confirmed in Scripture over and over again. How can this be? Trying to wrap our minds around this concept is essentially impossible, and yet it is so. There is no human example that rightly gives justice to how this is so, mainly because it is so far above us. It is also the same with God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. God, in His divine wisdom, permitted a world in which sin exists. And yet He is without sin. The former confirmed in so many passages of the Old Testament; the latter confirmed throughout the word, both Old and New Testaments. God is sovereign over all of the actions of man, everything, and yet man is held fully responsible for His actions. How can this be? Well, that is what Scripture says. But ... ? There are no buts. We silence our mouths before the Lord in great reverential submission to His ability to do things beyond our comprehension, things that seem impossible, yet are confirmed to be so in the word. Scripture confirms that all of these realities exist, yet are outside of our intellectual conception. God is one, existing in three persons; God is fully sovereign over all things, man is fully responsible for his actions; and we accept all these things by faith. And so it is with the two nature's of Christ. He is both fully man and fully God. And yet He is the one Christ, the Son of God. Only Christ could have lived a human life without sin, because He is God in the flesh. And to think of the ramifications of this as Jesus hung on that cross. Wow. The God-man was pierced, beaten, whipped, and bore in His being the wrath of God. When looking at Christ on the cross, we clearly see His humanity and the torture He endured on our behalf; but consider for a moment that the God of the universe, through which creation came to be, the mighty Lord that with a word spoke the heavens and the earth into existence, hung on a dirty Roman cross by nails and that He was cut off from His Father in eternal pain at that moment. This was the most tragic thing that has ever happened for all time! There is nothing worse than this. And yet it is the most wonderful thing that has happened. On the one hand, God the Son was put to death by our wickedness, and yet He bore in Himself the wrath of God for any who would believe in Him. How wonderful! At the cross, we see all of God's attributes so wonderfully displayed. We see His love for this world (generally speaking) that the Father would send His own Son into it to be a sacrifice for sins, we see God's justice displayed that He must uphold the honor and purity of His name in passing over sins from the past, we see how utterly wicked we all are in nailing God to the cross, we see God's utter hatred of sin that in order to declare sinners just and righteous He had to put His own precious Son to death for us and give us His righteousness, we see God's sovereign abilitiy that allowed all the events that occurred to even take place at all (mainly because God could have wiped everyone out right then if He wanted), and yet there are so many other attributes. For us who believe, what an amazing and powerful God we serve!
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The Sovereignty of God 

Understanding and knowing God in His sovereignty and what the ramifications are of this, have implications all across the board of our lives, practically speaking. It is like planting an oak tree by a mountain stream or building a house on solid rock. It gives firm ground for you to stand on and hope in the midst of adversity, that the Lord orders your trials, every aspect, for your good in being conformed to Christ and most importantly of all, for His glory. The Lord is sovereign and reigns from His throne above, in control of the good and bad. Read the book of Job, the whole thing. Read the conclusions of Job. Nothing is outside of the Lord's grasp. Nothing.

If God is not in control of all things, even evil, even ordering our trials, then we have much reason to fear. When Paul states in Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose," how could He say this if God were not in control of all things, including all of our trials? How could our trials work for our good if God has not ordered them? This is our only hope! If God is not in control, we have a God who is less than powerful. But this is how sovereign He is, that He is sovereign even over sin and is yet without sin at the same time! Though this is incomprehensible to the natural mind of man, it is a theme throughout the Bible, particularly illustrated in the Old Testament, and it is a theme from my subjective experience that has given me so much hope in the midst of some of the most terrible things. He orders and controls all things. There is nothing outside of His grasp.

My mother was sexually abused by her mother when she was young. She was gang-raped, multiple times, when she was older. Later in life, she broke down mentally when I was about 4 and her mind split into multiple personalities. She went into mental hospitals multiple times, attempting to commit suicide from her manic depression over and over again. She passed away unexpectedly 3 weeks after Courtney and I were married. How can I say that God is sovereign over all of these events? My question is, how can He not be? What other hope do I have? If He's not, then man my God is small, and less than able to deliver me. But if He's sovereign and allowed it, ordaining these things from before the foundation of the world even, then I have nothing to fear and my hope lies not in anything of myself but all my hope is in Him, that He is bringing these things in love for my good and His glory. He brought these things into my life to draw me closer to Christ, to conform me more and more to His image.

The natural, sinful reaction of mankind to trials is the response of Job's wife in Job 2:9 after having lost their children, property, and after Job lost His health: "Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.'" And what is Job's response in verse 10? Pay attention to this: "But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips." Job knew God had ordered these things. Though Satan carried out these attacks, is he not on a leash before God? Must he not ask God's permission to do the things he does? And Why did God allow it? For the good of Job and his wife, and God's glory. It seems backward to our natural minds. God has Satan on a leash and he can only do what God allows him to do. If a trial comes into the believer's life, it is brought for the purpose of conforming us to the image of Christ and bringing glory to God. This is our only hope in this cursed world of sin and suffering, for us who believe.

Apart from being in Christ, believing in Him for salvation, none of this applies. There is no hope that the trials brought are for the good of unbeliever's. In fact, the trials further deepen the wrong convictions of unbeliever's that God is the problem. God sends pain to the unbelieving world to rouse deaf ears to believe in Christ (borrowing from C.S. Lewis), and for the most part the trials are to no avail. To them, none of the bad things that occur in this life will work out for good in the end, as long as they stay in unbelief. For the unbeliever it will be pain in this life, and eternal pain beyond comprehension for all eternity because of sinning done against a holy, infinite God. I plea with you to believe in Christ. He is your only hope, that He bore the sin of any who would believe in Him, died, and rose again. And this is our only hope, daily, for us who believe as well. Recite the Gospel to yourself daily, for it is a heart of the believer's walk.

Some articles pertaining to these things:

The Sovereignty of God (Scriptural Evidence)
Suffering and Sovereignty of God - Desiring God 2005 National Conference
Was Katrina Intelligent Design? - John Piper
Why I Do Not Say, "God Did Not Cause the Calamity, but He Can Use it for Good - John Piper
Tsunami and Repentance - John Piper
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The Doctrine of Perseverance - Security and Warning 

This doctrine contains two sides to it. It states, in a very basic form, that those who have been elected by God to partake in salvation by the atoning sacrifice of the blood of Christ through faith in Him alone will be saved, they cannot be lost. The believer will persevere to the end in faith, though stumbling at many points along the way, being preserved by the power of God by the indwelling Holy Spirit that is given us when we believe. You cannot be elect and then be eternally lost. You are secured. This is prevalent in Scripture. (John 6:37, John 6:39)

However, in order to prevent error in people's minds, and to not give false assurance to people who are not saved, there is a warning that comes right after this that is also prevalent throughout Scripture. This is the other side of the doctrine. It states that those who claim faith in Christ, partaking of the Holy Spirit, and even doing works in the name of Christ, that if they then fall away into unrepentant sin (or never repented to begin with), it is proof they never had true faith to begin with. This is a frightening prospect, as it should be. Jesus stated in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'" Why is that? The warning here in the doctrine of perseverance is the warning against apostasy, a warning against falling away into sin so far that you are given over to it, hardened by sin's deceitfulness, unable to hear the inner call of God to true saving faith, beyond the point of repentance (Apostasy - Hebrews 6:4-6).

And this warning amply applies in our day, where antinomianism seems to be running rampant in the church. Antinomianism is essentially what is commonly called Carnal Christianity. This states, in no uncertain terms, "Once saved, always saved." Though this is true at a fundamental level (as shown at the beginning of this entry), it is very misleading. The problem is that it leads to this kind of thinking and belief: "I signed the card, prayed the prayer, so now I'm in. It doesn't matter what I do now, I will always be secured in the love of God. I can go and live like a heathen, continue partying it up, sleep with all the women I want the rest of my life, and I will still be saved." Wrong! But why is that? We know that our works, both good or bad, do not change our standing before the Father because of the imputed righteousness of Christ. Right? We do not earn a better standing based on our good works, and we don't lose favor in the sight of the Father because of our sin. "Christ alone, not our works, makes us acceptable before God." Doesn't it seem contradictory to say on the one hand that if you're saved you cannot lose your salvation, and then on the other hand say that if you continue in unrepentant sin you're not saved? But here's what it's saying: if you claim faith in Christ, and spin off into sin, unrepentant sin where there is no struggle, living a life of rebellion to God, it proves that you never had authentic faith to begin with, and still rest under the condemnation of God. Works do not earn favor with God, but they are the natural result of authentic faith (James 2:14-26). Works without faith is dead. Faith without works is dead. On the one hand, there are unbelievers who say that their works and good deeds are their salvation, or that loving others is their salvation. And then on the other hand there are those that claim their faith is their salvation, but have no works (the natural result of faith, i.e. repentance from known sins) to back it up. If you claim Christ as Savior but you live a life of lawlessness, not even struggling with your sin, not caring for any of the things of God and His holiness, believing yourself to still be saved by what you perceive as Christ's "fire insurance" salvation, you have reason to fear, for it may be that you have not truly believed in Christ. The true believer will persevere to the end in faith, and though they will sin and slip at times, there will be a confidence in Christ and a struggle to pursue holiness in the light of Christ, being purified by His blood, sanctified even.

The phrase, "Once saved, always saved," is so terribly misleading, to the point of guiding people straight to hell, making people feel good about themselves while sending them straight into the furnace of God's eternal wrath. I instead prefer the phrase, "Once saved, always changed," because the believer will, though imperfectly, pursue holiness based upon the free grace and merit of Jesus Christ, faith alone in Christ alone. The end result of the true believer is a life set apart from the world. It is inevitable. We don't become perfect in this life by any means, but there will be a struggle to get there. If there is no struggle, you should fear, and repent from your sin and rebellion against the almighty God, and place your faith in Jesus Christ, that He bore your sins on the cross, died, rose from the grave, ascended into heaven where He now reigns, and will come back to wipe out His adversaries and glorify Himself by glorifying His church.

Some articles pertaining to these things:

Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation? - John Hendryx
The Doctrine of Perseverance: The Earnest Pursuit of Assurance - John Piper
The Doctrine of Perseverance: The Future of a Fruitless Field - John Piper
The Lordship Controversy and Repentance - Ernest Reisinger
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I was a little early "out of the gate" on BPL ... 

Well I contacted Current Communications last night via email and this is the response I got from them ...

"Dear David Westerfield,

Thank you for contacting Current Communications. We have just recently worked out a partnership with TXU in Texas, and hope to work out deals with others so that they can also offer our service. We do not, unfortunately have a specific area in mind to begin, as this largely depends on which areas we get the most initial requests in as well as the preferences of the power company themselves.

We hope to have service in some areas by late this year. You can search for particular addresses on our website under 'learn more' then 'service availability' and this will also let us know where people are looking for it.
If you have a power company other than TXU, I would suggest contacting them and asking if or when they intend to have broadband over power line service.

Once again I thank you for contacting Current Communications. You can also contact our Customer Support Office at the following number: 1-877-7PLUGIN (1-877-775-8446).


Thank you,
Darrell Smith"

Well, there it is. It's not quite here yet. But can you blame me for being excited? Oh well, it looks like SBC is also working diligently to get their Project Lightspeed going to more customers as well. So I guess we'll see who gets here first ... Project Lightspeed
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Here it is! BPL is Starting to be Deployed ... 

Current Communications will be offering their Broadband over Power internet service in certain areas within DFW very soon apparently. The prices are comparable to DSL/Cable and the speed is awesome. 3 mbps down and up! Hopefully they'll be deploying that to my area soon :) ...

Current Communications - Residential Broadband Pricing & Benefits
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Studying the Wrath and Judgment of God 

In order to appreciate what you have been saved from (that is if you've believed in Christ), it is highly important to contrast eternal life with eternal death (heaven and hell). So often within our Christian culture, we will highlight the things we love hearing about, namely God's love, patience, mercy, kindness, forbearance, etc. But even as Christians, at times, in this mindset alone, we will forget what it is we've been saved from and wander in complacency. We forget the awful and horrific, eternal, conscious wrath of God that should have been ours because of our sinfulness and rebellion against Him. You and I should go there deservingly!

This leads me to my main point: going deep into the depths of understanding the wrath of God will give you a much greater appreciation for the cross and what Jesus bore and what you've been saved from. While studying deep into the wrath and justice of God though, never take your eyes off the cross of Christ. This is where our hell and judgment was met out at its fullest, in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, where He atoned and propitiated for our sin. In studying God's wrath, hell, and justice, it can be terribly frightening. We can then see 1) how great, mighty, powerful, and frightening God really is, 2) how great His love for us really is that He would even provide us a Savior at all, and 3) how great of an offense our sin really is that we should deserve hell for all eternity even for one sin! We are despicable creatures that deserve the wrath of God, without relenting, for all eternity. We deserve to be eternally scorched in the furnace of His fury against wickedness, deservingly. We took our filth and slapped Him in the face with it. We scorned and mocked Him in our sin and degrading behavior. We deserve unspeakable, conscious torment forever! And yet God in His great mercy sent His Son to die and rise from the dead in our place, to propitiate (or turn away) the wrath of God for us who believe in Him. How wonderful is that love? Wow. It never ceases to amaze me. Why would He rescue someone like me from the pit of eternal death when I deserved it so clearly? What an awesome God!

Here are some links that go in depth and look at many Scriptural references pertaining to hell, God's wrath, and His righteous judgment:

The Wrath of God (Read this first)
Hell, Judgment (Monergism.com)
Nature and Duration of Hell's Torments
Lake of Fire
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