Martin Collins points out the potential dangers of a recent trend called "social scoring"—the rating of a person's influence by such criteria as the number of social media followers on Twitter and Facebook. The effect will be to create a 'caste system," as media platforms or government bureaucrats implement automated algorithms to determine whether one is 'trustworthy' or not—calculated by how comments, likes, or dislikes conform with politically correct dogma. When the dubious social score is paired with FICO data, a person's ability to take part in normal economic activity (buying and selling) may be jeopardized. Social scoring would hold free speech hostage as illiberal political agendas would punish citizens for "politically incorrect" behavior. Lacking God's moral compass, the world judges harshly and unfairly, posing a grave danger for God's called-out ones and those suspected of harboring old-fashioned moral standards.
Steven Skidmore: In 2011, Eli Pariser, CEO of viral content website Upworthy, gave a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talk discussing what he called "filter bubbles" and their impact ...
John Ritenbaugh, reiterating the highly important principle that the lessons a child learns early will impact them years later (Proverbs 22:6), states that this principle has society-wide meaning as well. If parents have not assumed their rightful roles as the gatekeepers of their children's culture, other philosophies will capture their attention and warp their perception of reality. Daniel Greenfield proclaimed that all wars are culture wars, a fact of which America and Britain have unfortunately been oblivious for many decades. Consequently, these peoples have seemingly lost the last culture war and are on the brink of having their way of life replaced by something vastly inferior. Because we did not think our culture important enough to protect, it will be taken from us. Often God has raised a leader to steer His people in the right direction, but Israel failed to follow him. The ruler of this world has been successfully poisoning our offspring with the garbage of humanist thinking. The current Roman Catholic Pope has even proffered the despicable lie that Joseph and Mary are equivalent to Muslim refugees fleeing from oppression. Children not protected from such lies will succumb to them.
Martin Collins, focusing on Romans 1:18-20, reiterates that those who refuse to acknowledge the Creation's public revelation that God exists are totally without excuse. Mankind plagiarized every one of his inventions and innovations from a design God had already patented. Recently, the copycats developed 1.) a bionic handling assistant based on the elephant, 2.) a material that is both lightweight and tough, based on the principle of deer antlers, 3.) an adhesive that attaches and releases, based on the principle of a gecko's feet, 4.) devices to increase visual acuity based on the gecko's eyes, enabling clear night vision, 5.) a multi-focal lens based on the design of the human eye, and 6.) synthetic radio- chip cochlea, based upon the structure of the human ear. As scientists move away from acknowledging God as the Creator, and as humanists continue to denigrate the Bible, mankind will misuse these marvelous 'inventions' copied from God's Creation, or evil purpose, bringing on tribulation and self- destruction unless God mercifully intervenes.
Martin Collins, reflecting on the Creation account in Genesis, notices evidence of patterns suggesting an artist systematically filling a canvas, populating it according to a certain order of species equipped to multiply. Mankind, the highest rung of physical Creation, has always displayed a knack for genius-level intelligence, as is seen anciently in the invention of the Lycurgus cup, wherein colors in the cup indicate the presence of poison. Today, engineers develop optical materials from bird feathers, utilizing nano-structures of light rather than pigments to generate color. Automobile manufactures copy biomimetic structures, inspired by the impact-resistant skull, to make automobile frames stronger. Engineers have copied the nose-structure of the Kingfisher beak to make bullet-trains more aerodynamic and shock resistant. Other engineers have produced surveillance cameras based on the structure of Swift bird wings. Engineers have copied bat-sonar, enabling blind people to navigate more safely by means of ultra [sound] canes. The military has also employed this principle for its ComBat surveillance plane. Scientists and engineers often mimic God's patterns and structures when creating 'modern' technology.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on our prayers for God to "bless the electronics," asks whether the marvels of modern electronics are really a God-send or something less than a blessing. Perhaps some of us need to change our thinking about electronic devices as we strive to stay awake while awaiting Christ's return. At this critical juncture, time management has become a "must have," not an option. Because our time is our life, we must be careful to avoid wasting precious time using various electronic devices. Although TV-watching may have modestly decreased, electronic demands on our attention (for example, via cellphones, I-Pads and computers) have more than filled the gap. The amount of time gobbled up by the combined sources of electronic media is mind-boggling, as well as mind-numbing. We need to carefully consider whether the Internet is really a blessing or a potentially life-threatening curse—another pull we are forced to resist.
Martin Collins warns against accepting the secularist doctrine that technology demonstrates the primacy of human intelligence over anything else. If we measure intelligence as the ability to adequately respond to challenging situations, humans are faring no better than ancient civilizations. As a matter of fact, archeology has demonstrated that even in technology, modern man has some gaping deficits in comparison to earlier civilization. Humans have never invented anything new, but have relied on biomimicry—mimicking what God had already created in nature. As examples, consider that Velcro mimics the adhesive properties of the cocklebur, e-readers mimic the properties of luminous butterfly wings, and medical tape inspired by spider silk which will not damage the flesh when peeled off tender skin. God created these intricacies from nothing. It is important for us to distinguish the creation from the Creator, giving the honor and worship to the Creator and not the creation.
David Grabbe, marveling that over the past 25 years the Church of the Great God has assembled a massive library of electronic resources as a service to the Greater Church of God, as well as to the world at large, asserts that God performed this work at a fraction of the cost incurred by our previous fellowship. Though our main focus has not been "to preach the Gospel to the world," we nevertheless provide prodigious quantities of spiritual food to anyone who requests it. If people are hungry, there is plenty of nourishing food to satisfy them. CGG.org received 1.7 million visitors last year and BibleTools.org 2.3 million. These figures testify that the world at large is receiving a witness. The things that we can quantifiably measure are not really important, the Head of the Church decides subscribers, members and income. Noah's warning was fruitless; Jesus Christ's ministry netted meager results. Without Christ, we could produce no fruit. What is important to God is faith—faith which He gives and by which we live. As technology becomes more affordable and available, the material world threatens to crowd God out of the picture. The information age will destroy us unless we learn to manage it properly, discarding carnality and diligently focusing on the Word of God.
Martin Collins, reflecting on some of the dazzling recent accomplishments of technology, cautions us not to swallow the deceptive Satanic evolutionary hypothesis taught in our public schools that mankind is becoming smarter than ever before. While Daniel proclaimed that knowledge would increase in the end times, he did not debunk the stellar accomplishments of ancient civilizations such as the Great Pyramid, a structure whose measurements indicate the circumference of the earth and its axial movements, all done without the aid of computers. Moderns have never replicated the knowledge possessed by the engineers of these great pyramids. Not a primitive folk, but one enjoying superior knowledge, informed by God Himself, constructed this structure, occupying 13 acres, 481 feet high (50 stories tall), containing 2 ½ million blocks of stones, some weighing 7 tons. In many ways, moderns, using technology for destructive purposes, are more ignorant than their ancient counterparts.
Martin Collins, informing us that even though the electric automobile entered the scene concurrently with the gasoline powered car, the limited capacity of batteries forced the producers of these vehicles into bankruptcy. Over the years, engineers have improved the prospects for the electric car, lengthening battery life as they implemented lead-acid, then nickel-cadmium and currently lithium ion technology. Ironically, many of the scientists who have improved the range and speed of these vehicles deny the very Creator of nickel, cadmium, lithium and all the other elements, thinking they came up with the scientific principles on their own. Genesis 11:6 indicates that the spirit in man enables mankind to discover incredible scientific principles created by God, sometimes going beyond the bounds of sanity, tampering with genetics, nuclear fission, using God's scientific principles for evil purposes. Mankind will never solve the major problems of civilization as long as it cleaves to the pulls of sin, resisting God's Holy Law and the prompts of His Holy Spirit.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the horrendous prospect of surrendering our control to a driverless vehicle, maintains that Americans treasure their freedom of movement despite the "Nanny State's" insincere protestations about safety as it attempts to camouflage seizing power. The number of actual "on-the-road" situations which can occur is so high that no amount of programming can enable the driverless vehicle to be safe, even when it utilizes artificial intelligence, the fastest computers and the highest level of sensor sophistication and redundancy. The highly resilient and flexible human brain—under the control of a responsible person—remains the best facilitator of safe driving. While politicians desire to control everything, Christianity wants to instill self-control. Paradoxically, when we yield to God's sovereignty, He wants to cede control over to us, teaching us to develop self-control as a habit, enabling us to have dominion over the earth , handling it responsibly. On the night of Passover, Jesus taught the disciples to avoid imitating the narcissistic Gentile leaders who love to lord it over other people, demanding their obedience and service. Our Savior's leadership style emulated the servant, esteeming all others over self. Agape love dispenses with the way of control and selfish ambition. God's way consists of self-discipline and rigorous self-mastery, as exemplified by Jesus Christ, who never relaxed His self-control—even in the prospect of His impending crucifixion. Those who aspire to follow Jesus Christ must emulate His example of rigorous restraint.
Martin Collins, reviewing the process of how God's Word has been preserved and distributed—on media ranging from animal skins to papyrus to the printed word to the internet—warns that sinister forces have reared their ugly heads to censor the Word of God, calling it intolerant, malicious hate speech. In recent years, mean-spirited billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg and George Soros have commandeered Apple, Twitter, Twitter, Google, and Facebook, all ostensibly created for promoting free speech for the purpose of censoring comments not conforming to the Satanic "progressive" agenda. Apple has jettisoned an app that promotes the pro-life view, and Facebook has openly partnered with gay activists, effectively censoring any comments questioning the morality of their lifestyle. Additionally, the United Nations is actively pursuing power to police online platforms, censoring any speech that does not conform to politically correct standards. The famine of the hearing the Word prophesied in Amos 8:12 is ready to descend on our people like a hideous locust plague. Even in the darkness of media control and media manipulation, we are assured that "everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
John Ritenbaugh, quoting from efficiency expert or "business chaos crusher" Dave Crenshaw, urges that distractions and interruptions caused by phone, e-mail, computers, or texting, are detrimental to productivity and to the operating a business at a profit. The average worker is interrupted 15 times per hour, 120 times in 8 hours, 4800 times per week, or 240,000 times per year. These interruptions are like tiny cuts destroying productivity, as blood flows from a wound, When we allow our focus to become divided, we are unable to give our full attention to the assigned task. The continuous shifts in our attention seriously damage our focus. One research company calculates that the average clerical worker loses 28% of his work per day because of interruptions, adding up to losing an entire work week each month. In our journey to the Kingdom of God, we frequently become magnets for distraction. We must organize our priorities and our time to play defense against continuous distractions, refusing to respond when we are focused on a task, assuming if necessary the profile of a curmudgeon when focused on an important task. Establishing and enforcing definite and rational anti-interruption strategies are especially important when we are communicating with God through study and prayer. We need to ensure that we hardwire these strategies as top priorities in our daily chores.
Bill Onisick reminds us that God never intended work to be a curse, but instead an exhilarating experience unleashing creativity. This inventiveness has led to the creation of the wheel and axle, compass, combustion engines, electricity, computerized technology, the internet, etc., placing us once again on the verge of erecting a new tower of Babel, with an exponential ability to commit sin on a greater scale than ever. No matter how advanced our technology becomes, mankind's genius is vastly inferior to God's capabilities. Mankind, from the time of Adam and Eve to the present, has always tried to prove itself better than God. The current focus of technology, fusing human brains with computerized intelligence, threatens to put applied science on a collision course with God's plan for mankind. Technocrats have plans to make work obsolete and perhaps render mankind irrelevant and obsolete through artificial intelligence, making it difficult to distinguish the created from the synthetic. Interestingly, the Beast of Daniel is composed entirely of metal—perhaps an emblem of mankind's idolatry with manufactured things. When humans start to worship the things they make instead of the Creator who gave them the ability to craft these things, they place their faith in destructible, perishable things. As God's called-out ones, we cannot love a decaying, perishable world; our confidence needs to be in the indestructible, imperishable Creator, who can give us abundant Eternal life.
John Ritenbaugh, acknowledging that joy is enumerated second in the order of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22, speculates upon the possibility that God intended a pre-determined order for these spiritual gifts, perhaps from the most important to lesser degrees of importance. If this is the case, Joy occupies a lofty position on this descending scale, following love, which the apostle Paul rates as the most important of all virtues. Because we live in a troubling world, our reserves of joy are probably somewhat low, making us feel that we are deficient in our apportioned measure of God's Holy Spirit. Because we are, through the Internet and media, profoundly cognizant of upheaval of the entire world community, our sense of angst is super-amplified. The ubiquitous craving for constant entertainment reflects a desire to anesthetize the nervous system from stark reality, anxiety, and depression. Solomon demonstrated that seeking relief through pleasure leads to a dead-end. Laughter seems to him sheer madness. Laughter and pleasure often hide grief and sorrow. C.S. Lewis distinguishes joy from happiness or pleasure, but suggests it is more synonymous with cheerfulness or calm delight. In Greek both grace and joy have the same etymological root. Consequently, joy is what God gives rather than what men chase after and produce. Biblical joy is a God-given sense of satisfaction and sense of well-being despite the difficulties of life. Joy is a calm cheerfulness, a hopeful, upbeat attitude which does not spring from anything earthly, but instead is inseparable from godly love. Biblical joy can only arise with a relationship with God. The quality of this relationship will determine our ability to withstand the horrible trials and tests ahead.
Martin Collins, reflecting on some significant archeological findings of metal pots and utensils, tiny metallic rods, tubes, screws, and intricate microscopic artwork found in deposits of coal, granite, and feldspar all around the world, reckoned by radiocarbon dating to be at least hundreds of thousands of years old or more (if the radiocarbon measurements can be trusted), asserts that the social anthropological evolutionary hypothesis (from caveman to farmer to city dweller) suffers violence when we realize that sophisticated industrial metallurgical and optical technology as well as a sophisticated understanding of genetics (Genesis 4:17-22) existed before The Flood. There is no longer any reason to believe that the technology of the civilizations from the time of Noah to Adam were not only just as advanced as today, but perhaps far more superior. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun; nothing happens that is really new. All material accomplishments produce a degree of weariness unless we fix our sights on things that are truly eternal and above the sun.
John Reid, anticipating the pressure to conform and compromise placed on God's called-out ones in the coming years, admonishes all of us, that though we may feel worn out, we will ultimately prevail in the end. If the beast power succeeds in revising the calendar, it will make keeping God's laws more challenging and dangerously difficult. In modern Israel violent crime is on the rise. Abortion, pornography, same-sex marriage, secular progressivism , hopelessly corrupt government, denying God's sovereignty, are reaping a horrible crop of curses, further wearing out the saints. Satan has already captured the world, but he cannot succeed until he has compromised the Saints. We must resist the darkness, keeping our light shining at all times. As God's called out ones, we must warn or caution our brethren against danger, comforting one another, praying without ceasing, holding fast to and proving what is true, abstaining from evil, praying for the ministry, anticipating the reward at the end of the spiritual trek.
The devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 have not garnered as much concern as the subsequent crisis involving the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. David Grabbe ponders, not just the effects of this catastrophe on Japan's economy, but also how Tokyo will react on the world stage as a result.
Richard Ritenbaugh, asking if we have ever been worried or anxious about something, suggested that fear is a normal human emotion. People naturally worry about their own welfare and the welfare of their loved ones, even though our God and Savior tells us to be anxious about nothing. Fears are pervasive and have deep tentacles, making them seemingly impossible to shake off. Stress (other than the several kinds of eustress) describes the negative effects of fear or anxiety to our nervous system, opening us up to many diseases, some of which may become fatal. God wants us to temper our fears with a change of perspective, realizing He has promised to ultimately rescue the children of Jacob after He makes an end of the world's godless regimes. We need to have the depth of faith and knowledge of God to realize He is with us and will rescue us, providing we trust Him, making Him our dwelling place, living obediently according to His commands, loving Him, serving Him with willing sacrificial service, and calling upon Him in constant communicative prayer, which by doing we could conquer our myriad fears and anxieties by changing our focus from earthly to heavenly things, growing continually in righteousness and godliness. We need to take everything to God in prayer, ensuring the peace of God will abound in our lives.
Our age is more technologically advanced than any that man has previously known. ...
With populations around the world in decline, how will governments and businesses maintain the present standard of living? Charles Whitaker reveals that their solution, hinted at in the sudden surge in biotechnology, resides in technology discovering a brave new world.
John Ritenbaugh, focusing upon the statement of Almighty God in Psalm 50 that He needs absolutely nothing from us, proclaims God's absolute sovereignty and power over everything. Surprisingly, mankind refuses to acknowledge God in their daily dealings. Unfortunately, mankind will marshal their 'brilliance' and 'intelligence' in technology to nearly wipe life off the face of the earth. Young people (and all of us) must make a choice in favor of God's will for us. We have the freedom of choice to set our destiny, and must bear the consequences of our choice. The book of Deuteronomy is perhaps the most important guide to Godly choices. God has urged that we choose life (keeping God's commandments), requiring an act of the will as we are confronted with alternatives. Only those who choose to live life as God lives will live eternally. Life consists of a constant stream of choices, leading to the development (or destruction) of character. Young people must choose: (1) the right set of standards to live by, finishing high school, refraining from premarital sex, and staying faithful to our lifelong partners once we become married. (2) To work to develop a continuous relationship with God- the source of eternal life. (3) To develop a strong relationship with their parents, submitting in respectful humility. (4) Their friends wisely. (5) Carefully choose the occupation they will go into, making proactive preparations, choosing according to our talents, and (6)Have the right relationship with the opposite sex.
What are the causes—moral, social, and technological—behind the new demographic realities? Perhaps more importantly, what will be their consequences? Charles Whitaker spotlights the value of children to society—one that is increasingly ignored in this age of materialism.
David C. Grabbe: Is the globalist dream fading? Forces have long been at work to unite the world—economically, militarily, religiously, educationally, technologically, and governmentally. ...
Globalism is a fact of our age, but what ideas and institutions undergird it? Charles Whitaker shows that most of globalisms underlying principles have their origins in the Israelitish peoples.
Charles Whitaker begins a series of articles on globalism. What is it? Where is it headed? Does it have a balancing counterpart? Who is driving it? What does it have to do with the prophecies of the end time?
In this sermon, Charles Whitaker focuses on the marvelous opportunities for young people in God's church who find themselves on the threshold of God's Millennium, a time population growth will take place in abundant prosperity brought about by creative God-inspired technology, refashioning and terraforming the entire eco-system. In this Edenic setting, the family of God and the family of man will be collaborating on preparing the world for billions of additional human beings in the Great White Throne Period. Abundance, growth, and an expanding population of animals and people will characterize the New Eden, constructed out of the tohu and bohu or wreckage of the previous era. Young people need to prepare themselves now, envisioning themselves as architects, civil engineers, transportation engineers, explorers, teachers, replacing today's inefficient and misdirected technologies with God's perfect and efficient technology.
Human civilization has experienced two major sociological ages since the beginning of its appearance on the earth. Currently we are in transition to the third age or Third Wave, which has frightening prophetic consequences. However, it's the Fourth Wave, God's soon-coming Kingdom, we need to catch!
Have you ever considered what it will be like right after Christ returns? What will you do, as a king, to help and govern the people placed under you? Believe it or not, you are already developing those skills!
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon a phenomenon described by Alvin Toffler as Future Shock, a stressful malady caused by an inability to accommodate or adjust to rapid change. Over-stimulation and rapid change (accompanied by the death of permanence) eventually produces apathy and future shock. The antidote to future shock (or attaining the way back to permanence) includes (1) becoming goal oriented toward permanent things (Matthew 6:33), (2) making sure of permanent values (Deuteronomy 4:40; Hebrews 13:8) (3) working to build wholesome habit, custom or routine (Exodus 31:13), and (4) building quality human relationships (Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; 27:10; Ecclesiastes 4:9)
John Ritenbaugh poses the question of whether technology really improves our character or quality of life. Are we really better people because we ride around in cars rather than walk? Technology, because of the spin it puts on expectations, can be a great source of discouragement and disillusionment when applying this heightened sense of expectation to God's seemingly slow and deliberate performance. Technology makes us susceptible to the 'quick fix' mentality, expecting dramatic miraculous solutions to all problems, making us susceptible to frauds and even deceptive demonic influence (Matthew 24:24; II Thessalonians 2:9-10; Revelation 13:13). When it comes to developing character, a quick fix miracle will not substitute for patient overcoming. God only works miracles consistent with His purpose (bearing witness to truth), not for any selfish desires on our part.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting upon themes covered in previous sermons and sermonettes, including commitment and our ultimate goal of becoming a member of the God family, explores sanctification as both a state and a process - a time period between justification and glorification during which overcoming, purification, and holiness takes place with the help and aid of God's Holy Spirit.
Addressing the problem of our supposed anonymity and insignificance, John Ritenbaugh asserts that the little things we do make big impacts in the grand scheme of things; little things make a big difference. Corollaries of this "little things count" principle include: 1) In the reproductive process, there is a powerful tendency toward increase. 2) Every action has a corresponding reaction. 3) We reap what we sow. 4) The fruit produced will be more than what was sown. Sin produces increase (the leavening effect) just as righteousness does. In carnal human nature, there is no impediment to sin. Sin has an addictive, drug-like quality that requires more and more to satisfy. Degeneracy (as a consequence of natural law) is exponentially incremental. Like Achan's "hidden" transgression, what we do in secret eventually comes to light, making an impact on the whole body.
John Ritenbaugh ponders the qualifier "righteous" when applied to Lot. Unlike Abraham who separated himself from sinful society, Lot seemed to involve himself in the affairs of the perverted city, arrogating to himself the role of a judge, attempting to change the behavior of the people- but nevertheless, attempting to co-exist with sin. Evidently Lot's close proximity to the evil behavior, while not corrupting him personally, gave him a somewhat confused divided attention, compromising the safety and morality of his family, leading him to prostitute his principles to gain favor of the world. When communicating with God, Lot, unlike Abraham, equivocated with God's instructions, looking for conditions and escape clauses, showing him to be a very self-centered, worldly wise, carnal Christian, attached to or compromised by the values of the corrupt world.
Taking issue with misguided notions of the primitiveness of Abraham, John Ritenbaugh contends that the patriarch was an extremely learned man, a product of a highly advanced civilization. Far from being "an ignorant donkey caravaneer," Abraham was a gifted, wealthy and influential man, who instructed the Chaldean priesthood on the reality of God, demonstrating the foolishness of worshipping created objects rather than the Creator. In terms of prestige, honor, and wealth, he perhaps sacrificed more than anyone else, including Moses, to obey God's command to follow Him. For his faithfulness, Abraham's offspring were richly repaid and blessed for his sacrifice.
Can the existence of God be scientifically proved? Can we know whether God can possess MIND power? Is it rational to believe in God?
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