Monday, May 24, 2010

Bible Misunderstandings - Through His Stripes...

There are some misunderstood verses in the Bible and on the top this list today is one near and dear to my heart (no tongue in cheek here). This concerns the very misinterpreted verse that seems to dog everyone and misused, will make more than one Christian on the fence question his or her faith. For one thing, Jesus spoke in parables during His ministry on earth and while everything in context should be clear, they've been twisted around to invoke a meaning the Bible never intended.

The verse today concerns a prophesy concerning Jesus in the book of Isaiah, one rich with prophesy and symbolism. The verse is one the band Stryper used as its tag line in the 1980's: Isaiah 5:5 "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

The key words here concern what Jesus went through in boldface and what we did to cause them in italics. The word or group of words in "question" I will underscore.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

Wounded and bruised are the result of being beaten and scourged or striped as it were. This isn't to sound like R.C. Sproul splitting hairs (no offense, but his explanations are very thorough), but this is the way I understand this verse. I am in no way minimizing God's glory in any way, but this is one he's directed me to speak about at this hour.

From my limited understanding, the words in italic are synonymous for our sins. While one might argue correctly that sickness is the result of sin, this isn't what the Lord meant by this with this verse. Nevertheless, this is used by the "name it, claim it" crowd that has done more harm to the faith than good. More on this later...

The word heal (the verb) has three basic meanings:

1. To restore to health or soundness; cure.
2. To set right; repair: healed the rift between us.
3. To restore (a person) to spiritual wholeness.
The word healed, an adjective or descriptive word means the state that person or persons is in. In this case that person or persons received healing.

If we use the word heal in restoring to health or soundness, we would be out of context. The second meaning is a little better, as it could mean to heal the rift between us and God (and this is a really good meaning). However, the whole gist of the Bible concerns the fall of man and the need to be spiritually restored with the Lord. While Jesus Himself has the power physically and did on more than a few occasions, this was not what His mission was. He even made mention for those cured NOT to say anything to the populace. See Mark 8:26. His mission was not to become a physical (or political) healer, but to heal the rift between the Father and us and to allow us to escape eternal punishment. However, He is still the Messiah and WILL rule over the earth.

I could go on forever on this, but my suggestion is to read your Bible and see how many people, including Jesus Himself, were rewarded with financial prosperity or abundant health. See Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:28, also see John 15:18. Now for some personal experience.

Since January of 2009, I have prayed fervently for a job. Instead, I have had scant interviews and few leads since then and have to contend with issues with my feet, my car self-destructing, and many other challenges. I believe in God's power and dominion, right? Of course. Maybe it was that I didn't have enough faith. Come on people, God is not in the wish granting business. The earth and its inhabitants suffered a curse when Adam and Eve sinned. I've read about individuals with physical healing, but collectively, spiritual healing.

I believed as many students of the prosperity gospel and the say it and claim it crowd did, and was sorely disappointed and angry with God. After all, how much faith does one need? I'm living proof this is a destructive way of thinking straight from the pit of hell, if not James Ewing .

What brought me back was that Jesus suffered, died, was buried and rose again to heal me spiritually with God and provide for me as He (not I) sees fit. The way I look at it, saving my soul is mercy enough. I renounced my anger and have been doing what I should have been doing all along; this is proclaiming His gospel and taking care of my family. Those are the two most important things anyone can do in this life. The rewards are forthcoming soon. Maranatha!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Price of Abortion!

In ONE day in the United States, 3700 children are murdered in the interest of convenience. Worldwide, there are over 115,000 unborn babies slain in the womb EVERY SINGLE DAY! 1,370,000 of our sons and daughters are snuffed out every year in the United States while 42,000,000 innocent lives are cut short before they are even born WORLDWIDE.

83% of all abortions are obtained in developing countries and 17% occur in developed countries.

In the U.S., 52% are younger than 25 years of age. Women ages 20-24 have 32% of abortions. Teenage girls have 20% while girls under 15 have less than 2%.

Abortions involving rape or incest involve 1 percent, 6% involve potential health problems with the mother or baby and 93% are for social reasons.

I got these statistics from the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform website. Their address is here.

But I'm not here to talk about statistics, but to tell you that I had the rare "privilege" of talking to a former abortion clinic worker. I don't give names, but I will say she is an otherwise normal fifty something who had to face the horrors of the aftermath firsthand. There are many of you, even those who call yourselves Christians, who are tired of hearing about abortions. This woman had to carry garbage bags filled with dead children from trash cans into dumpsters. This sickened her to the point that she quit her job, but curiously, she also intimated to me that she felt that women should still have a "right to choose." Unfortunately, this was not the "right" to keep the hem of one's skirt or ones britches on, but this is beside the point.

Several years ago, a pro-life church did the unthinkable and posted pictures of these precious, murdered little ones on signs and paraded them down West Saginaw Ave. before the authorities closed the streets and probably confiscated the signs. These were graphic and poignant reminders of those whom society deems worthless. As long as those railing about a woman's "right" to "reproductive freedom" are not burdened with the results of their lobbying, this will never change. Society bases the worth of a person based on their standards of viability, all while ignoring those of a Creator who made us in His image and therefore defined our worth to Him.

In days past, children were scarified to Molech, Dagon, Semiramis, Baal, Melkart, etc. Today, children are sacrificed to keep people from being awkward or "burdened" with the responsibility of children. It is a selfish act perpetuated by a selfish industry that seeks to line their pockets while trying to shame those who would dare speak out. Christians today have caved to the god of political correctness to save their jobs, marriages, social and economic standings while this travesty continues unabated. For 37 years it has been legal in the United States; all the while she has been in steady decline. This was accelerated when collectively, we elected a man who champions for "rights" and turning a blind eye to responsibilities.

I've said this before, I'll say this again, The LORD was angered with infanticide on a much smaller scale that is going on today. He was angry enough to shut off the water, allow Israel to be exiled, etc. One can only imagine what horrors await those unrepentant souls perpetrating these crimes against humanity that would make the crimes of Hitler, Pol Pot and other despots look like simple larceny. Compared to the judgements past, the one coming against this world will make the others look like a domestic dispute. It will have to happen soon (in the LORD's economy of time) or He will have to apologize to those past. The LORD is just, and these crimes will not stand much longer.

As for the woman I talked to yesterday, I pray she repents of the mass murder she participated in. (We still talk and are on good terms). Jesus forgives and will forgive her, and so do I (for what that's worth). For anyone contemplating violence against a clinic or provider, don't do anyone any favors. Violence is not the answer for violence. Jesus covered for all of our sins on the cross and it is unwise for any of us to sin to try and counter another. We are not just by any means save Christ and no one (myself included) dare pretend otherwise.

If the unsaved can see the wrong in this, there is wrong indeed!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some News...

One thing that I remember from my college is that news is news. It isn't good or bad, but information for the affected (or offended) party to use to their advantage. Even the news that one is getting fired can be useful. Who wants to work for a month to realize they haven't been getting paid because they were fired, but the management was too short-sighted to inform the former employee of this. This was the cause for a lot of heat (pun intended) in the movie "Office Space" in the 1990's, when the stapler guy burned Inotech to the ground, but I digress.

No, I haven't forgotten my calling, but most of the news I've gotten has been redundant as of late. Now there are a few happenings on the horizon that you should know about and get ready for what's coming. No, I'm not trying to be subversive in the least, but you need to know and be ready for the coming storm.

In 2008, when Barack Hussein Muhammed Obama was running for President of the United States of America, I warned everyone that this was the beginning of the end of the United States as we knew it. I want you to make up your own minds about this and yes, there are readers who've "heard this all before." Maybe you have and maybe you haven't. All I know is that I'm charged to deliver what has been handed to me. So the saying, "don't shoot the messenger," applies.

This was from Pastor's for Israel in one of my emails. No, I'm not a pastor formally, but since my employer is Jesus Christ I'll gladly be one for Him. The following in blue font are not my words, but those of Aaron Hecht, a resident of Jerusalem in Israel.

"From someone who moves in high circles in Israel

Tonight I heard very disturbing information – we heard it from a consultant to the United States who meets once a month with the President in the White house. He is in the know. This is what actually has happened with the relationship with Israel and the USA and it is not pretty:

1. Israel during the Bush and Clinton Administrations – had landing rights in Turkey , and in the USA bases in the middle east and more recently under George Bush, in Iraq . This was in case they were invaded by Iran , or Saudi or any other Arab country. Obama has withdrawn those landing rights. Israel now has nowhere to refuel in the middle east.

2. Netanyahu was instructed to come to the white house for a meeting. He was brought in through a servants entrance – the only head of state ever in US history to be given that disgraceful treatment. He was not offered even a cup of tea – but was lectured to by Obama who told him that he is not permitted to attack Iran and that he has to withdraw all forces from the West bank and may not build any more settlements ( neighbourhoods) in East Jerusalem.

3. Israel found out that there were four terrorists meeting in Dubai . As they have done for the past 62 years, they informed the US of that and said that these terrorists had to be dealt with. Obama said under no circumstances. Israel decided to go ahead. They killed the one terrorist who showed up. However the CIA was sent there to film the entire event by Obama – and then a concerted PR campaign was waged by the White house to discredit Israel and what they did – this kind of action has taken place with US support for the past 62 years since we have common enemies.

4. Obama has refused to oppose Syria ’s re arming of Hezbollah and Hamas – Israel now sits in imminent danger from the amounts of missiles that can be sent into her territory.

5. Israel will never tell the US again of its plans – since they cannot trust us.

6. Israel intends to attack Iran – there are over 30 installations of which 4 have underground bunkers that contain nuclear weapons. Israel cannot wait any longer. The US is no longer supporting Israel ’s self defence.

7. This is the same man that gave the White House a full file on the 9.11 attack – his warnings and proof were laughed at.

8. He believes that the next attacks in the USA will be mass transportation – subways and malls – especially the largest malls where the most people can be killed - and that Vegas and wherever there are conventions of employees will be a huge target. We are not prepared and are na├»ve in our lack thereof.

9. Once Israel attacks Iran, every Jew and Jewish institution will be at risk – temples, religious schools etc. We must be prepared.

10. This kept a room of 200 people spellbound. It is not fiction. It is fact.

What can be done?

It is essential that everyone who doesn’t know yet, now understands that the protection and survival of Israel is not on Obama’s list – and he is now taking ACTUAL steps to move all protections away – no more landing rights, negotiating with Iran and Syria, making nice to the Moslem World in the face of allies of long standing and he is no friend of the Jewish people and Israel.

We must be sure that we elect politicians who protect Israel as well as the USA – our interests are intertwined. Please forward to everyone you know."

I can tell you these are FACT NOT FICTION! I also have it from good authority that the U.S.A. has joined the Pro-Muslim 'Alliance of Civilizations." This is a group our government boycotted in 2006 because of its anti-Israel stance and that it would be a "forum for bashing Israel and the United States. All I can tell you is regardless of what we as individuals might believe, collectively, we've turned our backs on Israel by our votes. Our government is going to follow through as these votes have given them a carte' blanche' to do whatever they please. This is a lot like the results of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections and the quagmires we were involved in then.

Israel is the ONLY democracy in the Middle East. While Iraq might seem like one, it wil only be a matter of time that it too will become another Mullah-run theocracy. No matter what Muslims tell Christians or Jews about becoming friends, there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. These people, under their god Allah, will stop at nothing to subjugate under Shariah law or destroy us.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Recipe for Chicken Stir Fry

This is somewhat of a tradition in the Grace place, and considering this has included no less than 7 places in the past 15 years, this means something. I got it out of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which is always a good source for some yummy recipes. The fact that I could get my wife to eat something besides meat and potatoes speaks for itself. Not to mention this is one even the fussiest of youngsters will eat (unless they're really weird, of course).

The original recipe calls for olive oil, (not Popeye's squeeze) sherry, ginger root, minced garlic, soy sauce, cornstarch and of course the chicken. Because sherry (a form of fortified wine) is a bit pricey, and I've used Christian Brothers primarily (the regular sherry, not cream or any other sherry or the sauce will taste yucky. This is from experience), I've figured out a way to save a buck in preparation, not to mention making this easier to do. If you want to see the original, look in the cookbook and try it, but my quicker, easier and less expensive (and just as yummy) version is the one here.

I'm not very precise when cooking this stuff and that the beauty of it. You can make this stuff taste great without a lot of precision. Just start with the basics and go from there.

You'll need basic kitchen stuff, a fry pan or electric wok, spatula, measuring spoons (or the regular ones), a sharp knife and a cutting board.

Olive oil is nice, but cooking spray (without silicone) works fine to coat the pan. Other than that you'll need or want;

Four de-boned chicken breasts
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger (more or less)
1/4 cup of Kikkoman teriyaki sauce (in the orange bottle. Do not use the store brand; pony up and buy the good stuff).
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch (this is dirt cheap).
1 - 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar (to take the saltiness out of the sauce or use a low sodium version, the choice is yours).
1 Tablespoon of water (for the sauce).
3 -4 cups of frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower [yucky, but to each his or her own] green beans or water chestnuts are fine, so are carrots).

The sauce is best made by putting the dry ingredients in first, then adding just enough of the teriyaki to turn this into a paste. Once this is mixed through and through, you can slowly add the rest of the sauce and some water if you like, stir this well. I like to use a Pyrex measuring cup for this "chore."

Slice the chicken thinly using a (sharp) chef's knife and a cutting board. I would not use a plate or the Formica counter top for this anymore than I would use a paring knife to cut the chicken. Bad form and this can get you a nasty cut. Not fun with raw chicken.

Heat up the cooking spray under medium-high heat, then add half of the garlic powder and ginger to the pan. Give it fifteen seconds and add the chicken, which should cook in less than five minutes. Turn the heat to high and stir it up until cooked all the way through. Add the vegetables and cook until crisp tender. This means hot, but not soggy.

Clear out the center section of the pan and slowly add the sauce. Once this thickens stir everything together until the meat and vegetables are well-coated. You can and should serve this with rice, but French fries or tater tots also work well (my wife can attest to that, she doesn't like rice. I can hear her laughing in the background).

If my kids'll eat it, anyone will. Happy supper time. Maranatha!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Possible cause for code p0440 or p0441 on a Dodge Intrepid with a 2.7 liter V-6

This is an update from an earlier post concerning a problem with the evaporative emissions on my Dodge Intrepid with the 2.7 liter v-6 engine installed. While I imagine this could apply in some way, shape, or form to the 3.2 or 3.5 liter engines, this is unlikely unless the engine is very high-mileage or has been used and abused. There's one fundamental difference between the 3.2/3.5 and the 2.7 liter that I'll go over later in this post.

These are facts, and nothing but facts. I am not writing to bad mouth Chrysler or one product over another, but to help someone save some time and money. I am not a car mechanic, but gifted with better than average problem solving skills. The processes described should be a very low risk of messing anything up (unless of course, you're all thumbs). However, since I have no control over your work you assume the risks.

The evaporative emissions control is a necessary evil to prevent pollution and I do not advocate disconnecting or tampering with any emissions control device. This also means removing the "check engine" light. I've been around long enough to know neglecting maintenance can mean taking the shoe leather express at some point in time.

The EVAP system uses the engine to suck gasoline vapors from the carbon canister into the intake manifold to be burned in the combustion chamber. An electronic valve shuts off when the engine is off to prevent the uncontrolled flow of vapors into the atmosphere. In the case of the Intrepid, a NVLD, or Natural Vacuum Leak Detection switch, measures the flow and gives the computer a play by play. Leaks in the hoses, parts or a problem with the canister purge valve (solenoid) will set a trouble code and turn on the MIL or Malfunction indicator Light (check engine light). Because the NVLD on the Dodge is failure prone, the natural (pun intended) reaction is to replace the part. This is about $200 and if not the right part, this is a costly mistake. No, I did not replace mine.

The 2.7 liter V-6 in the Dodge Intrepid, Stratus, Concorde, etc is not known for their long-term durability. Like anything else with lots of parts it will have a propensity to break down more frequently. Added to this is Chrysler's tendency (along with any other automaker) to get their parts from the lowest bidder. The result is an engine that seldom lasts more than two or three years even rebuilt. Two weeks ago, mine started to make noise that got progressively worse. Then it misfired so badly I couldn't get the car to crack 35 miles an hour on I496, where speeds easily double that. I limped the car to my parents, let it sit, started it up and it drove relatively normal (save for the noise).

My checks included running the engine and disconnecting each coil, one-by-one, to see if the engine idle would change. It did markedly on each one; so the coils, plugs and computer were fine. The ticking noise was about the same. My engine has less than 34,000 miles on a rebuild which is now out of warranty. The check engine light came on over a year ago at 72,000 miles and the car has 84,000 as it stands now. On a hunch, realizing that the engine is a vacuum pump manufactured to close tolerances (and the fact there was a lot of oil in the air cleaner), I removed the right-side valve cover. This is going to mean removing the upper intake manifold as well. There are 10 bolts on top and one or two under the throttle body, but the object is to move the manifold aside to access the screws holding the valve cover on. Just remove those screws and leave them in place. The coils and plug wires can stay on the cover, but put it aside.

There's three timing chains in this engine and you'll be able to see two of them. The primary chain drives the sprockets and water pump and the other two drive the camshafts in sync. The primary timing chain is held taut with no less than four plastic guides and a plunger filled with oil to hold it together as the chain stretches. If each link stretches a tiny amount, this is amplified by the number of links on the chain, which by my reckoning could exceed several inches. I found a fair amount of slack and the plunger that lives in the right cylinder head extended past its body 1 3/8 inches. This is about the maximum wear limit for the chain and it will cause the engine to have blow by (remember the oil), affect the pumping and sealing of the engine. In my humble opinion, this could be affecting the performance of the EVAP system to the point the "check engine" light is on.

But there is another, more disastrous consequence associated with this that you need to know about. The 2.7 liter is what's called an interference engine. This means the valves extend into the potential path of the pistons when they open. This is very common to raise the compression ratio and allow the engine to "breathe" better. The most famous of these was the 1981 Ford Escort with the timing belts failing at 70,000 miles. It resulted in a lot of ruined engines and possibly a few consumer complaints for Ford.

The difference is that a timing belt is about $30 to $50 dollars and a water pump about $50. Tack on an hour labor that any backyard mechanic can do and this is small potatoes to save your motor. The timing chain on the Intrepid's 2.7 liter, at least on mine, by my reckoning, lasted about 25,000 miles (on a rebuilt engine) before it stretched enough to cause the engine light to come on. This is not small potatoes to fix. A timing set with gears, chains and guides is going to be about $500. A tensioner is $60 and a water pump (driven off the timing chain) is about $90. Gaskets will run upwards of $100 and in my case the balancer is also distorted (probably another $100 to replace). A mechanic bills 10 hours to get this done, so at $80 an hour, this is $800 for labor.

Before even fixing the engine cradle and transmission mount, this is going to cost $1450.00, but the price of a used engine is about $3500 and a new one is upwards of $6000 without the 17 hours of labor to install it. A 3.5 liter is an option, but that will require more mods to accomplish, all on a car worth about $2000 in pristine condition. The main feature of a 3.5 or 3.2 is that they use a belt that's much less costly and isn't prone to stretch the way a chain does.

This isn't to make any ones mind up for them, but to help you understand that things are not what they seem in the auto repair world. This is an expensive engine to work on and one not known for its durability. I've driven GM and Ford cars thousands of miles without even replacing a timing chain. Belts were a no brainer, I've done these in less than an hour, even on a V-6. But this is a different animal and I know it. God never meant us to try and figure out a dual overhead cam V-6 with three timing chains.

Right now, I've got a paperweight that mercifully, we're making our last payment on in June. It has 84,000 miles and on its second engine. This is going to cost over $3000 to fix, but because it's still poorly engineered means the replacement parts won't be much better. We're not in the market for another car, but the Lord provides. Regardless of what happens, He's still in control.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What's the Big Deal with Blastphemy?

I'm a sinner and I'll admit it every day 'till Jesus comes for me (one way or the other). I'm no better than anyone else and the only reason I'm saved is because of what Jesus did on the cross for me. He saved my wretched self from certain and eternal punishment through His precious blood on the cross. I am not worthy and one of the worst of sinners saved by grace alone. His is the true fixing grace for all of us. There is no way that anyone can come close and His name, the mere mention of Him in any context should be of the utmost reverence and respect. Jesus is God and so is God the Father and the Holy Spirit. (See 1 John 5:7 KJV for Trinity) (See John 3:16 and Romans 3:22-27).

God's name, occupation, etc. is to be revered above all names. In addition, the Holy Spirit is of particular importance because He is the One who courts us to be born again and indwells us when we are born again.

We are also God's creation. Think about this for a moment; if you built a rocking chair, car, or potato peeler, you'd want it to work as intended, right? You'd be very offended if the chair collapsed, the car broke down, or the potato peeler cut nothing but your hand.

We were created by the Lord to love Him and be Loved by Him (See Genesis 1:27-31), not to shame Him, which we're all guilty of.

I'm going to get to the point. The name above all names is treated flippantly, even by those who profess to be Christians. Yes, it's bad enough that atheists are now challenging each other to blasphemy the Holy Spirit, which is by their own admission the unpardonable sin (See Mark 3:29) ( Since the Holy Spirit is the One courting sinners to repentance, this is akin to someone refusing a life raft, FOR YOUR SOUL. While this is meant to shock Christians, this is really worse than giving God the finger. This is a one way ticket to Hell and these people don't know the trouble their in. I feel badly for them.

What's just as disturbing is the use of the Lord's name, occupation, etc not just as a curse word (been there, done that), but even the phrases "Oh god, "oh my god" or even the letters "OMG" on so many text messages so casually made that it begs the question; how does He feel about it? Jesus Christ is my redeemer and not a name to profane. Neither is using God in a sentence expressing your displeasure. (See Exodus 20:7). Even a person claiming to be a Christian on one of the discussion boards used "Oh my God anymore false prophesies like this and Im leaving this group.." Not only did was this in poor judgement, but poor sentence structure (forgive me, Lord Jesus for the attempt at humor).

When you get the urge to blasphemy, don't. If you use the words, pray for forgiveness, EVERY time one slips out. You'll likely get tired of apologizing for this and hopefully program yourself into not saying this again. As for the Holy Spirit thing, don't even go there. I remind my wife and son not to use these word in vain either. These words made mention in vain are and should be offensive to a Christian enough to not want to be around it. If there was ever a stench in words, this would be it. The Lord is very serious about this. Maranatha!